Faf: Proteas ready to play with a wet ball

South Africa's T20 captain Faf du Plessis says the Proteas team management have put plans in place so that the team can cope with the dew in day/night matches on their tour of India.

The Proteas play India in the first three T20s in Dharamsala on Friday and Du Plessis says he was surprised by the amount of dew that was on the ground when they practiced at the stadium on Wednesday.

Du Plessis said: "It was a big surprise last night coming to practice and see that the dew was there at half past six. I reckon it will be the same for both teams.

"Dew is never a nice thing for a bowling team or for a fielding team because the ball gets slippery. The ball doesn't spin as much, so hopefully the wet ball takes the advantage away from the Indian spinners and they play into our hands a little bit.

"It is just for the guys to get used to batting with the wet ball. It is something that you always want to make sure and tick that box in training in terms of preparation if the ball gets wet.

"You don't want to get into a situation where the spinners get the ball in the middle of the game and they can't control it and they are bowling full tosses.

"Also from a seamer's point of view, we don't want our bowlers to be bowling beamers at the end. We have done some work with the wet ball."

After the T20s the Proteas and India will five ODIs as well as four Test matches.

Australia postpone Bangladesh Test tour

Cricket Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland has confirmed that the Aussies' two-match Test tour to Bangladesh has been postponed due to a security threat.

The first match of the tour was scheduled for Saturday when Australia were to play a three-day warm-up match against a Bangladesh Board XI in Fatullah.

Cricket Australia had sent out a their officials to Dhaka for talks with their Bangladesh counterparts and even though the Australia team were offered VVIP security, Sutherland said they could not take a risk with the players' safety.

Sutherland said: "After six days of extensive deliberations and research, we've come to the conclusion that we have no other alternative than to postpone our tour to Bangladesh.

"It's a very disappointing outcome from our perspective. Six days ago we were informed by ASIO and our Department of Foreign Affairs that there was a credible risk to Australians in Bangladesh and we've worked through a rigorous process to try and understand that.

"We've had three people on the ground meeting with Bangladesh Cricket, Bangladesh government sources and members of our foreign affairs department in Bangladesh.

"In the end, all things considered, we've made this decision to postpone the tour for now and we'll enter into discussions with the Bangladesh Cricket Board about when we can play this cricket series next."

"It's not really appropriate for me to go into specific detail on this. But all I can say is that the threats were credible and real and targeted, not only against Westerners but against Australians."

MCC updates fielder movement law

The MCC has confirmed that they have amended a law that allows a fielder to move once the ball has been delivered by the bowler.

The law has been updated because Australia's Steve Smith took a catch to dismiss Fawad Alam of Pakistan in an ODI in Abu Dhabi last year.

Smith moved form his fielding position when he anticipated where Fawad was going to play a shot and took a diving catch to dismiss the Pakistan batsman.

Previously, under Laws 41.7 and 41.8, Smith's movement would have resulted in a dead ball, with "significant movement ... before the ball reaches the striker" deemed as "unfair".

John Stephenson, MCC's head of cricket, said: "As the Guardian of the Laws and Spirit of cricket, it is important that MCC continues to keep pace with the game's development, and that's why we have made these changes to the Laws.
 
"Steve Smith's excellent catch in Abu Dhabi last year illustrated that such skilful anticipation by a fielder should be within the Laws of the game, and these changes now make that the case."

Cook: England face 'tricky tour' in UAE

Alastair Cook and his England Test team have touched down in the UAE ahead of the Test series against Pakistan, with the Three Lions skipper saying he is expecting a 'tricky tour'.

The last time England played Test cricket in the UAE, they were whitewashed three-nil by Pakistan in 2012 and Cook knows they face another tough test of their abilities in the longest format of the game.

Like the Tests in the Middle East three years ago, Pakistan will attack the visitors with an assortment of spin bowlers but Cook says his team will take some valuable lessons from the 2012 series even though he is one of only four survivors from that England side.

Cook said: "It's definitely going to be a tricky tour with their history in terms of how strong Pakistan are and their record in the UAE.

"I think they've played six or seven series and haven't lost a series. That shows what is in front of us. The great thing is in Test cricket is trying to win away from home. It's getting harder and harder.

"You do learn lessons but it happened quite a few years ago. And this is a very different side. Only four of us are going back.

"I think also that the pitches have changed a little. The matches seem to be a lot higher scoring than they were in 2012."
 
The first of three Tests between England and Pakistan starts on 13 October in Abu Dhabi.

Houghton to help Ireland on Zimbabwe tour

Ireland have appointed Dave Houghton as a batting consultant for their upcoming tour to Zimbabwe which will see them play three ODIs and a four-day match against the hosts.

Houghton was Zimbabwe's first-ever Test captain and, along with Andy Flower, probably the best batsman the African country has produced with the 58 year-old boasting an average of 43.05 in 22 Tests, including four centuries.

The former Zimbabwe mentor, who is currently the batting coach at English county side Middlesex, will help the European side with his extensive knowledge of local conditions.

Ireland coach, John Bracewell said: "What a great opportunity it is to have the likes of Dave Houghton with us for the Zimbabwe leg of the tour. His experience as a coach and knowledge of Zimbabwe is a real bonus to the group.

"I have played and coached against Dave for over 30 years and have always admired his manner and temperament in and around cricket. He has always been generous with his time and knowledge and I believe he will be invaluable to all skill-sets on tour.

"His coaching brief in Zimbabwe will be 'game sense' - passing on his insight into what the modern batsman is thinking. This will benefit not only the batters, but also the bowlers - advising on how the opposition batsmen are trying to manipulate them, and how best to counteract this."

Houghton said: "I am very pleased to have been asked by John Bracewell, and Cricket Ireland, to assist as a batting consultant for their tour of Zimbabwe.

"This is a very exciting time to be involved with Irish cricket, as they sit on the cusp of achieving their ambition of entering the Test arena. I hope that my knowledge and energy will be of great benefit to them."

Ireland will play three ODI's against Zimbabwe on 9, 11 and 13 October before playing a four-day fixture against Zimbabwe A starting on 17 October.

ICC launch women's team rankings

The International Cricket Council (ICC) launched the official ICC Women's Team Rankings, which incorporate results in all three formats of the game into one rankings system.

Not surprisingly, Australia is ranked number one following its success in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2013 in India and the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2014 in Bangladesh.

It also leads the ICC Women's Championship, which is the qualifying tournament for the ICC Women's World Cup 2017. England is ranked second in the 10-team table, 10 points behind Australia, followed by New Zealand (109), India (105), West Indies (99), South Africa (92), Pakistan (81), Sri Lanka (74), Bangladesh (57) and Ireland (26).

Teams will be added to the table as and when they reach the required standard. The launch of ICC Women's team rankings is part of the ICC's long-term commitment to investing, incentivising, promoting and publicising women's cricket, which has already started to drive substantial increase in public interest and participation as well as a marked improvement in the standard of the international game.

The innovative new system treats results from Test, ODI and T20I cricket equally. This means there will be rankings points to play for in every international match, while the volume of matches will ensure the table is a credible reflection of overall performance.

The rankings table is based on results between three and four years, but with the first two years being weighted at only 50 per cent. Currently, results from October 2012 to September 2014 are weighted at 50 per cent, while results since October 2014 are weighted at 100 per cent.

The annual update of the ICC Women’s team rankings, in which the oldest results will be dropped from rankings and the weightings updated, will be carried out on 1 October each year, whereas the annual updates for men’s Test, ODI and T20I team rankings take place in May.

Australia captain Meg Lanning, the world’s number-one batter in ODIs, said: "It's certainly nice to be recognised as world number one.

"We've done a lot of hard work in the past few years to win the Women's World Cup and Women’s World T20, as well as the Ashes recently.

"We are looking forward to staying at the top of the tree for a long time, which is going to be a big challenge but we have the players to do that."

ICC Women’s Team Rankings (as on 1 October 2015)

Ranking         Team              Points

1                      Australia         134

2                      England           124

3                      New Zealand   109

4                      India                105

5                      West Indies     99

6                      South Africa   92

7                      Pakistan          81

8                      Sri Lanka        74

9                      Bangladesh     57

10                    Ireland             26       

Bilal Asif added to Pakistan ODI squad in Zim

Offspinner Bilal Asif has been added to the Pakistan ODI squad, which is a favourite, for the three matches against Zimbabwe so the selectors can assess him ahead of the England Tests later this month.

With Mohammad Hafeez not able to bowl in international cricket for a year because of an illegal action, the Pakistan selectors would like an right-arm offspinner in the squad for the England Tests to back up legspinner Yasir Shah and left-arm tweaker Zulfiqar Babar.

The request was also made by Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq as he wants to see Bilal in action, even in a different format, on the international stage.

Chief selector Haroon Rashid said in a statement. "The request to retain Bilal Asif had been made by the team management, as conveyed by the manager Mr Intikhab Alam."

"In a separate discussion with Misbah-ul-Haq, it was put forth by the Pakistan Test captain that since the England team contains five left-handed batsmen and because of Hafeez's inability to bowl at international level, we were left with no offspin bowling options in the Test squad.

"Misbah suggested that since Bilal Asif is presently the standout available option in the domestic circuit, so if we can try him in the ODI matches against Zimbabwe for assessing his offspin bowling credentials, it may help us in case we intended to add him as the 16th member in the Test squad against England."

The three ODIs against Zimbabwe takes place on the 1, 3 and 5 October all at the Harare Sports Club.

Cook challenges Hales to grab his opportunity

England Test captain Alastair Cook has challenged Alex Hales to take his opportunity to nail down the opening batsman berth if he gets an opportunity in the warm-up matches before the Tests in the UAE against Pakistan.

Adam Lyth has been dropped after having a torrid time in the Ashes against Australia with Hales called up in his place after impressing for Nottinghamshire in four-day cricket this season.

It is not an open an shut case that Hales will be Cook's partner at the top of the order as the England management are pondering whether to promote Moeen Ali to the opening role so they could play two spinners on the subcontinent.

Cook hinted that Moeen could open in the UAE and Hales could get the nod against South Africa later this year, but that can all change if Hales hits the ground running later this month.

The left-handed Cook said: "It might be a short-term option and that Mo opens in this series but not in South Africa. But Alex could always take his chance in a warm-up game and we go that way, so we do have options.

"No-one has quite nailed the opportunity - they all did okay without really grabbing it. It's a big step from county cricket to international cricket and opening the batting you are playing against the best bowlers with the new ball.

"We have a balanced squad so we could play two spinners - something you pretty much have to do on flat wickets - and four seamers."

England will play three Tests against Pakistan, starting in Abu Dhabi on 13 October.

Haddin signs up for Pakistan Super League

Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has signed up to play in the Pakistan Super League, which will be held in the UAE between 4 and 24 February next year.

Haddin, who recently retired from international cricket, and veteran batsman Brad Hodge are the only two Australian players signed up for the PSL so far.

The 37 year-old Haddin quit ODI cricket after the Australia's World Cup triumph in March while he walked away from Test cricket after the Aussies lost the recent Ashes series in England.

However he did confirm that he will play for the Sydney Sixes in the T20 Big Bash League later this year and has now thrown his name in the PSL hat.

Other international players already signed up for the tournament are Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright and Tim Bresnan while the West Indies' Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith and Sunil Narine will also be seen at the event.

Lehmann: We can't risk players' safety

Australia coach Darren Lehmann admits that the longer they wait for their Board to decide if they will tour Bangladesh, the more likely it is that the trip will be cancelled.

The Aussies were scheduled to tour Bangladesh and take on the Tigers in two Tests, starting on 9 October, but have not yet left their shores due to a security threat.

Cricket Australia officials have arrived back from Dhaka after meeting the relevant Bangladeshi government and security organisations.

Australia will announce in the next day or two if the tour will go ahead and although Lehmann says it will be a shame if the tour got called off, player safety is the most important.

The Australia players have already been released from their training camp back to their State squads so they can prepare for the domestic season.

Lehmann said: "It's getting pretty tight now, to be honest. At the end of the day we have to wait and see what the boards and the security come up with, but we have to make the right decision for player and staff safety.

"We're still on hold. The security guys got back from Bangladesh today so they're obviously speaking to the board as we speak. Hopefully we come to some sort of answer in the next 24 hours or so.

"The young side is exciting. It will be an exciting time if we get there and play, if we don't we'll go to plan B.

"I can't say what plan B is. But they're back in their state squads at the moment. We've put them back into training with their state sides and we'll make a decision from there."