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China gives up 2023 Asian Cup hosting rights – AFC

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(Last Updated On: May 14, 2022)

China has relinquished its rights to host the 2023 Asian Cup finals due to the COVID-19 situation in the country, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced on Saturday.

The event, which is played every four years and features 24 national teams from across the continent, was due to be held in 10 cities from June 16 to July 16 next year.

“Following extensive discussions with the Chinese Football Association (CFA), the Asian Football Confederation has been officially informed by the CFA that it would not be able to host the AFC Asian Cup 2023,” the confederation said in a statement.

“The AFC acknowledges the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the relinquishment by China PR of its hosting rights.”

The AFC said a decision about the hosting of the tournament would be revealed in due course.

The Asian Cup is the latest international sporting event to be affected by China’s attempts to tackle the pandemic.

Earlier this month, Asian Games organisers the Olympic Council of Asia postponed the next edition of the multi-sport event, due to be held in the Chinese city of Hangzhou in September, until 2023.

China continues to implement a zero-COVID policy and cities across the country have faced tight restrictions as a result of a recent outbreak of the Omicron variant.

Shanghai has been under lockdown for more than a month while other cities, including the capital Beijing, are facing a wave of additional curbs, frequent testing and targeted lockdowns.

Most international sporting events in China have been postponed or cancelled since the start of the pandemic, with the notable exception of the Winter Olympics, which went ahead in Beijing under strict health controls in February.

The Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix has been not been held since 2019, while WTA events have been suspended due to a standoff over concerns relating to the safety of Chinese player Peng Shuai.

China is scheduled to host four ATP events this year, including the Shanghai Masters and the China Open in October.

The Chinese Super League yet to announce when the new football season will begin.

The Chinese Football Association also gave up the right to host July’s East Asian Championships, with that tournament now taking place in Japan.

China had been due to host the Asian Cup for the first time since 2004, when the national team lost in the final in Beijing’s Workers’ Stadium to Japan.

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Afghanistan-Pakistan ODI series ‘not possible this year’

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(Last Updated On: June 27, 2022)

Afghanistan’s three-match ODI series against Pakistan has been postponed again until next year, a Pakistani media outlet reported on Sunday.

The two countries were originally due to play three ODI matches in early September in 2021 in Sri Lanka, but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said that the Afghanistan Cricket Board had requested the series be postponed.

Pakistan Cricket Board had said both boards would try to reschedule the series in 2022.

This time it has been postponed due to the busy schedule of the Pakistan team, Geo News reported citing unidentified sources.

According to reports, the series will now not be possible until April next year.

 

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ACB announces Shpageeza Cricket League 2022 schedule

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(Last Updated On: June 21, 2022)

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) announced Monday fixtures for the eighth edition of the Shpageeza Cricket League (SCL) 2022, which is scheduled to be held from July 18 to August 5 in Kabul.

Eight star national players will be retained by their SCL teams, including Rashid Khan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Najibullah Zadran.

In the players’ draft for the tournament, conducted on June 10, a total of 142 players, national and uncapped, were drafted in five categories by the franchises, now numbering eight after the addition of two new franchises.

The players retained ahead of the draft were Rashid for Band-e-Amir Dragons; Gurbaz for Kabul Eagles, the defending champions; Najibullah Zadran for Speenghar Tigers; Mohammad Shahzad for Mis Ainak Knights; Darwish Rasooli for Amo Sharks and Samiullah Shinwari for Bost Defenders.

Two new teams, Pamir Zalmi and Hindukush Stars, picked Shapoor Zadran and Hamid Hassan as their retained players respectively.

Of these players, Shahzad was retained in the highest category, Icon, as were ten others: Mohammad Nabi (Kabul Eagles), Fazalhaq Farooqi (Bost Defenders), Hashmatullah Shahidi (Pamir Zalmi), Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Hindukush Stars), Usman Ghani (Speenghar Tigers), Hazratullah Zazai (Hindukush Stars), Asghar Afghan (Mis Ainak Knights), Karim Janat (Band-e-Amir Dragons), Ihsanullah Janat (Amo Sharks) and Noor Ali Zadran (Pamir Zalmi).

In addition, two players have been drafted in the Diamond category by each franchise, three in Platinum, four in Golden, and six in the Silver category.

The Afghanistan Cricket Board said in a statement that “it’s fine to note that the SCL2022 is expected to be conducted from July 15 to August 2 in Kabul”. 

Kabul Eagles beat Mis Ainak Knights in the final the last time the tournament was played, in 2020, making it their second title, after 2016. Mis Ainak Knights and Speenghar Tigers have also each won the tournament twice, while Band-e-Amir Dragons have won it once.

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Pakistan take top two spots on latest ICC ODI rankings

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(Last Updated On: June 16, 2022)

Pakistan now boast the two highest-rated ODI batters in the world for the first time after in-form opener Imam-ul-Haq went past India veteran Virat Kohli, to join team-mate Babar Azam at the top of the ICC MRF Tyres Men’s One Day Batter rankings.

Imam scored three half-centuries during Pakistan’s recent ODI series at home against West Indies. His form was duly rewarded as he won the Player of the Series award and made a move on the latest rankings that were released on Wednesday, the International Cricket Council (ICC) reported.

The 26-year-old jumped a massive 20 rating points to move in front of Kohli and now has a career best mark of 815 rating points.

This is still well behind Babar’s mark of 892, with the Pakistan captain maintaining his enormous lead at the head of the ODI batter rankings following his 17th ODI century in the opening match against West Indies.

There was some other minor moves inside the top 10, with Aaron Finch rising a spot to ninth as Australia team-mate David Warner fell to 10th – while England’s Jonny Bairstow dropped two places to eighth and South Africa’s Rassie van der Dussen jumped a spot to seventh.

There was more good news for Pakistan on the latest bowler rankings, as tall pacer Shaheen Afridi jumped two places to fourth following his good series with the ball against West Indies.

New Zealand’s Trent Boult remains on top of the bowler rankings, but Australia seamer Josh Hazlewood and Kiwi team-mate Matt Henry are closing in after they jumped one spot to second and third respectively.

England’s Chris Woakes was the man to make way out of the top five as he fell four spots to equal sixth, tied with Mujeeb Ur Rahman after the Afghan spinner rose two places.

The biggest mover on the all-rounder rankings is Oman’s Zeeshan Maqsood, with the leftie jumping 13 places to 10th following a string of impressive performances in the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 action.

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