South Africa's AB de Villiers cools interest in securing Big Bash League stint

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Former South Africa batsman AB de Villiers.

In a setback for Cricket Australia, South African ace AB de Villiers has reportedly pulled out of negotiations for a future stint in the Big Bash League (BBL).

Cricket Australia, the BBL franchises and broadcasters had come together to rope in the former Proteas batsman as a marquee player for the T20 league with a package deal of A$350,000 reportedly mooted to tempt the South African.

35-year-old AB de Villiers has been concentrating on T20 franchise tournaments ever since his shock retirement from international cricket. The right-handed batsman has recently played in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and the Indian Premier League (IPL).

As of a few weeks ago, de Villiers remained interested in working out a possible deal with almost every BBL franchise expressing their interest in securing his services.

AB de Villiers in action for RCB in IPL 2019. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

AB de Villiers in action for RCB in IPL 2019. Image – BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

However, according to a report by the News Corp, the 35-year-old batsman has now cooled down his interest in joining the league for the 2019-20 edition.

Cricket Australia and its partners have been attempting to raise the popularity of the T20 competition with the board recently raising the limit for overseas players per franchise to six. Previously, each franchise was only allowed to contract two overseas players in its roster.

Now, teams will be allowed to sign six foreign players over the course of the BBL although they will still be permitted to keep only two of them in their 18-man roster at any particular stage.

Along with de Villiers, the BBL franchises have also expressed an interest in bringing big-hitting West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell to the league following his stupendous displays in the recently concluded 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL).

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Sri Lanka performance analyst Sanath Jayasundara slapped with corruption charges

Sudhir Gupta 12/05/2019
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Sri Lankan cricket continues to be hit with controversy.

Sanath Jayasundara, a performance analyst with Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) Brain Centre, has been charged with two counts of corruption by the ICC and suspended with immediate effect.

Jayasundara has been firstly charged of offering a bribe to Sri Lanka Sports Minister Harin Fernando along with a charge of attempting to “influence improperly the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of an international match.”

According to a report by ESPNcricinfo, it was the Sri Lankan Sports Minister to reported the matter to ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU). The performance analyst now has 14 days to respond to the two charges laid out by the ICC.

Jayasundara has previously worked with the U19 and senior Sri Lankan team as a performance analyst before moving on to his role at SLC’s Brain Centre. He has been associated with Sri Lankan cricket for over 15 years now.

Jayasundara is not the first Sri Lankan cricket figure to be embroiled in match-fixing and corruption charges of late. Three months ago, the ICC banned Sri Lanka’s former skipper and selector Sanath Jayasuriya from all forms of the game for two years for failing to cooperate with anti-corruption investigations.

On Friday, two former Sri Lanka Test players Nuwan Zoysa and Avishka Gunawardane were slapped with corruption charges relating to the T10 League in the UAE and given two weeks to respond.

Also last month, former pacer Dilhara Lokuhettige was suspended over three corruption accusations.

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Pakistan skipper Sarfraz encouraged by Fakhar's form despite second ODI defeat to England

Waseem Ahmed 12/05/2019
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Fakhar Zaman smashed 138 off 106 deliveries in the second ODI.

Despite his team falling just short of what would have been a record run chase for Pakistan, skipper Sarfraz Ahmed is taking plenty of positives from his side’s 12-run loss to England in the second ODI.

Pakistan came close to pulling off the second highest run-chase in ODI history when they scored 361-7 in reply to England’s 373-3 at Southampton on Saturday.

It was the highest ODI score ever by Pakistan while batting second and it came courtesy of a superb attacking ton from opener Fakhar Zaman along with a quick-fire fifty from Asif Ali down the order.

Fakhar registered his fourth ODI ton in a 106-ball 138 while Asif registered his second fifty in the format with a 36-ball 51 in Pakistan’s chase.

Speaking after the narrow defeat, Sarfraz said, “I think it’s hard to take, we were very close.”

“I’m very proud of the team the way they batted, Fakhar Zaman, Babar (Azam), Asif Ali especially, will be good for the upcoming matches.

Asif Ali struck four sixes in his 36-ball cameo.

Asif Ali struck four sixes in his 36-ball cameo.

“Whatever the target is, we have to work hard. I have to give credit to my batsmen, I’m very proud.”

While the loss gave hosts England a 1-0 lead in the five-match series, the return to form for opener Fakhar Zaman has Sarfraz encouraged ahead of the 2019 ICC World Cup.

“We will aim to get better. We can take positives, like Fakhar, before the World Cup definitely,” Sarfraz remarked.

Sarfraz’s England counterpart Eoin Morgan too praised Fakhar’s efforts and called on his team to improve.

“We still believed, 370 is a tough score to chase down,” the England skipper stated after the win.

“Fakhar surprised us with how well he played, he had a day out. We need to work on some of our skills. But to post that score and defend it, it very pleasing.”

Earlier, he first ODI between the two sides had been washed out due to rain. The two teams will now meet in the third ODI at Bristol on Tuesday.

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