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ICC shifts Men’s Under 19 World Cup from Sri Lanka to South Africa

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File photo: South Africa hosted the 2023 women's U-19 event and the 2020 men's U-19 event (pic Cricinfo)

The ICC Board on Tuesday decided to shift the 2024 men’s Under-19 World Cup from Sri Lanka to South Africa. The move, a unanimous decision by the board, was taken as a consequence of the ICC recently provisionally suspending Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) due to extensive government interference in the board’s administration.

The development will have no immediate implication on the daily running of cricket. ESPNcricinfo has learned that the ICC Board agreed that cricket at all levels, including any bilateral and domestic series and tournaments, will not be disrupted by the suspension. As for the ICC annual funding, that would be controlled until the suspension is lifted.

In a media release, the ICC confirmed moving the tournament to South Africa having heard the SLC. “After hearing representation from SLC, the ICC Board decided that Sri Lanka can continue to compete internationally both in bilateral cricket and ICC events after being suspended recently for breaching its obligations as a Member in particular the requirement to manage its affairs autonomously and without government interference.”

Shammi Silva, SLC president, had recently warned that the biennial tournament, scheduled in January 2024 was in danger of being moved out of the country unless the ICC was satisfied that Sri Lanla government was not meddling in board’s working, which goes against the ICC constitution. The SLC and the country’s sports minister Roshan Ranasinghe have been in conflict over the past year, with Ranasinghe making accusations of corruption and mismanagement in the cricket board, while Silva and SLC accuse him of meddling with cricket.

Silva also notified the ICC in November 2022 of government interference which forced the ICC Board to ask its deputy chairman Imran Khawaja to travel to Sri Lanka to establish the facts.

Four cities shortlisted

South Africa has been a favourite for hosting U-19 World Cup events recently. The country hosted the inaugural edition of the Women’s U-19 World Cup in 2023 and the men’s U-19 World Cup in 2020 too.

The 16-team tournament, originally scheduled for January 13 – February 4 in Sri Lanka, is likely to be played close to the same window. The venues for the 2024 edition are likely to be Benoni, Potchefstroom, Kimberley, and Bloemfontein. It is understood that South Africa and the UAE were among the shortlist of venues the ICC had pencilled in as contingencies in case it had to be moved out of Sri Lanka. The UAE, though, had to be ruled out with the ILT20 clashing with the World Cup.

The top 11 Full Member sides from the 2022 edition have qualified directly, and five teams – Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Scotland, and USA – have earned their spots through regional qualification events. The 2024 edition will also be played in a fresh format – with the ‘Super Sixes’ a new segment during the second stage of the event.

India, with five titles, are the most successful team in the competition’s history, followed by Australia with three. Pakistan have won twice and each of England, Bangladesh, South Africa, and West Indies have lifted the crown once. For fans in South Africa, the tournament now clashes with the SA20 franchise competition that runs from January 10 to February 10.

(Cricinfo)



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United Republic Front presents ‘A united step for the country’ to the President

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Leader of the United Republic Front Member of Parliament Patali Champika Ranawaka, presented the proposal titled “A United Step for the Country” to President Ranil Wickremesinghe , at ‘Srikota’, the United National Party headquarters in Colombo this morning (24).

Speaking at the event President Ranil Wickremesinghe, highlighted the government’s concerted efforts over the past two years to stabilize the country’s economy, which had faced significant challenges. Stressing the government’s commitment to steering the economy towards recovery through strategic reforms, the President expressed his determination to continue these initiatives with the collective support of everyone.

Recalling his open invitation to all political parties to unite under a common agenda for the country, regardless of political differences, the President reiterated his willingness to embrace constructive proposals from all political parties as part of the nation-building efforts.

The President responded positively to the request made by Member of Parliament Patali Champika Ranawaka to allow other political parties to participate in the upcoming negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) next month concerning the restructuring of foreign debt.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, responding queries about the scheduling of elections, affirmed that the Presidential Election will proceed as scheduled, with the General Election anticipated to take place early next year.

 

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Spinners put England in command on Day 2

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Shoaib Bashir bagged four wickets on Day 2 (Cricbuzz)

England’s spin duo of Shoaib Bashir and Tom Hartley put India in trouble on the second day of the fourth Test in Ranchi by sharing six wickets between them. After getting bowled out for 353 in their first innings, England kept striking at regular intervals despite Yashasvi Jaiswal’s efforts at the other end.

England made a positive start to the day with Ollie Robinson opening up to hit a flurry of boundaries to catch India off guard. He ended up stretching the stand over 100 runs alongside overnight centurion Joe Root with the latter taking a backseat on the second morning. In the process, Robinson ended up registering his first-ever fifty in Test cricket with India desperately searching for a breakthrough. That breakthrough arrived in the form of Ravindra Jadeja as Robinson gloved one to the ‘keeper while attempting to reverse sweep.

Jadeja then made quick work of the tail as Bashir first miscued one hoick and James Anderson got trapped lbw, leaving Root stranded on 122. England would have still been fairly pleased with the score of 353 though given they were reeling at 112/5 at one stage on the opening day. They received a massive boost with the ball too as Rohit Sharma ended up nicking Anderson behind very early in his innings.

Jaiswal on the other hand though got off to a bright start yet again. Having already smashed two double tons in the series, the opener was in great touch prior to the lunch break. He carried on the same vein post resumption as well but ended up watching a procession from the non-striker’s end. Bashir hurt India big time in the second session as he first trapped the well-set Shubman Gill lbw before getting rid of Rajat Patidar and Jadeja, who had smashed successive sixes prior to that.

Those three wickets put India on the backfoot and the onus was on Jaiswal again to revive the innings. The opener did  continue to pile on the runs but England managed to keep Sarfaraz Khan quiet at the other end. The visitors then took full control of the game when Jaiswal dragged one back on to his stumps to fall for 73. With half the side back in the pavilion and almost 200 runs still behind England’s tally, India needed a massive contribution from the lower order. However, England cashed in on their advantage as Hartley drew the outside edge of Sarfaraz before trapping R Ashwin leg-before-wicket. Kuldeep Yadav and Dhruv Jurel put up a brave fight batting out almost 18 overs before stumps but India still need a huge effort from the duo on the third morning to bridge the gap.

Brief scores:
India
219/7 (Yashasvi Jaiswal 73, Shubman Gill 38; Shoaib Bashir 4/84) trail  England 353 in 104.5 overs (Joe Root 122*; Ravindra Jadeja 4/67) by 134 runs

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Senegal’s President Sall agrees to step down in April but sets no poll date

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People nationwide gathered to watch President Sall being interviewed on Thursday evening (BBC)

Senegal’s President Macky Sall has said he will leave office when his term comes to an end on 2 April, but tensions remain over an election date.

His recent decision to delay the vote, originally scheduled for Sunday, to mid-December sparked deadly protests. In a televised interview, Mr Sall said an election date would now be decided in political talks to start on Monday.

But the opposition has refused to take part in the proposed dialogue dashing hopes of resolving the turmoil.

Sixteen of the 19 presidential hopefuls have said they will not be turning up for what the president has termed a “national dialogue”. A number of civil society organisations have also declined to take part in the exercise.

Mr Sall, who is on his way to the Nigerian capital, Abuja, for an extraordinary summit of the regional bloc Ecowas, has been under pressure to announce a new date since Senegal’s highest court declared last week that the postponement of the poll was illegal.

His original decree to delay the vote received strong condemnation from the international community. Many feared the postponement would lead to President Sall’s remaining leader of the country indefinitely in a region plagued by coups and military governments.

Speaking on national television on Thursday evening, Mr Sall said he felt there was not enough time to vote in a new president by the time he steps down on 2 April. He said that the dialogue forum would decide what should happen if this was the case.

In a show of good faith, the president said he was prepared to release the popular opposition politician, Ousmane Sonko, from prison. His arrest sparked nationwide protests last year. Dozens of the president’s opponents have already been set free since Senegal’s Constitutional Council ruled that his decision to postpone the election was illegal.

But the fact that the president did not set a new election date has further fuelled suspicions by his critics that this is just another stalling tactic.

President Sall has served two terms as Senegal’s leader and when he was first elected in 2012 he promised he would not overstay.

His televised interview has not yet restored his country’s reputation as a bastion of democracy in an increasingly totalitarian region.

(BBC)

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