Cricket Briefs: Faf Du Plessis excited about Test Championship, no Indian umpires in ICC elite panelhttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/cricket-wrap-up-faf-du-plessis-world-test-championship-icc-elite-panel-umpires-5864355/

Cricket Briefs: Faf Du Plessis excited about Test Championship, no Indian umpires in ICC elite panel

In other cricket news: Sri Lanka is set to honour retired Nuwan Kulasekara, Zimbabwe senior cricketer wants to play for free to save the game, and New Zealand have appointed Thilan Samaraweera to their support staff ahead of their tour of Sri Lanka.

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Faf du Plessis in action (Source: AP)

Faf Du Plessis backs World Test Championship to boost five-day game

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis believes the new World Test Championship will add “proper context” to the five-day game and has backed the introduction of the global league as a step forward for the sport. He feels the five-day game has been given a boost by the introduction of the format as the stakes are higher than before.

READ | World Test Championship Explained: A total of 71 Test matches played over 27 series

“I feel test cricket is in a healthy state. The players who play all three formats will attest to the fact that test cricket is the purest format of the game and it is still the number one format. The younger generation may enjoy the hustle and bustle of T20 cricket but when a test match goes down to the final hour on the fifth day, that entertainment is hard to beat,” he said.

South Africa start their championship campaign away with three tests in India in October, before welcoming England for four matches over the New Year.

(With Reuters inputs)

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ICC names two new umpires in elite panel for 2019-20

The International Cricket Council Tuesday named Michael Gough of England and Joel Wilson of the West Indies in the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Umpires for 2019-20 season following the annual review and selection process. They have been elevated by the selection panel consisting of ICC General Manager, Geoff Alardice, commentator Sanjay Manjrekar, and match referees Ranjan Madugalle and David Boon.

Replacing Ian Gould and Ravi Sundaram, Gough and Wilson has officiated in a combined 22 Tests, 122 ODIs and 40 T20Is. The other members of the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Umpires are Aleem Dar, Kumar Dharmasena, Marais Erasmus, Chris Gaffaney, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong, Bruce Oxenford, Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker.

(With PTI inputs)

We will play for free for sake of game, says senior Zimbabwe cricketer

Barred from competing in any ICC event, Zimbabwe’s cricketers are willing to play “for free” to keep the game alive in the country, expressing their desperation to compete in the upcoming World Twenty20 Qualifiers, after the ICC had recently banned Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) on grounds of government interference.

“We will play for free. As long as we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our next assignment is the qualifiers. We will play for free,” a senior squad member told ESPNcricinfo.

Neither of the two senior national squads have been paid in the last two months, and the men were not paid match fees during their recent tour of Netherlands and Ireland. The suspension, though, does not bar them from competing in bilateral series and the ICC can even appoint match officials for bilateral series they host. However, without ICC funding, it will be difficult for them to host any series. The ICC has directed that the elected Zimbabwe Cricket Board be reinstated to office within three months, and progress in this respect will be considered again at the October Board meeting.

(With PTI inputs)

Sri Lanka to honour retired quick Nuwan Kulasekara on Wednesday

Sri Lanka will dedicate Wednesday’s third and final match of their ongoing one-day series with Bangladesh to Nuwan Kulasekara following the seam bowler’s retirement from international cricket, the country’s cricket board (SLC) has said. He will be invited to watch the match in Colombo where he will be honoured at a ceremony for his services to Sri Lankan cricket.

Kulasekara, 37, was part of the Lankan side that won the Twenty20 World Cup in 2014 and in the team that finished runners-up to India at the 2011 50-overs World Cup. His retirement follows that of veteran quick Lasith Malinga, who ended his ODI career after the first match of the series against Bangladesh on Friday.

(With Reuters inputs)

New Zealand add Thilan Samaraweera to support staff for Sri Lanka tests

New Zealand Cricket added former Sri Lanka batsman and batting coach Thilan Samaraweera to their support staff on Tuesday for next month’s two-test series in the island country, where the first Test will start in Galle on August 14.

Middle order batsman Samaraweera, now 42, scored over 5,000 runs from 81 tests for Sri Lanka at an average of 48.76 with 14 centuries in the format before retiring in 2013. He has worked as the batting coach of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the past.

(With Reuters inputs)