England limited overs captain Eoin Morgan believes international cricket taking place behind closed doors during the English summer could be good for the nation's morale.

Morgan and his team-mates are, like most other elite athletes around the globe, in a state of flux at present as the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic have the knock-on effect of bringing sporting schedules to a halt.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has postponed the start of its domestic season until May 28 and on Tuesday announced a £61million relief package to help the game withstand the financial impact of coronavirus.

England have Test series planned against West Indies and Pakistan over the coming months, with the latter joining Australia in facing Morgan's side in white-ball series.

Morgan joked that playing before empty stands would not be much different to some of his experiences in the County Championship, but he feels televised sport could provide a rallying point for the general public.

"I've played county cricket for a long time and I've played Test cricket in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It’s the exact same, I would say," said the 33-year-old, who also underlined his intention to skipper England at the next two T20 World Cups, even if this year's edition in Australia is postponed.

"From a very serious point of view, if medical experts came and advised us that it was okay to play behind closed doors and it was on TV, I think that would be a huge step forward for the game.

"Sport, I think, could play a huge role in uplifting the world and people's perspective on things.

"Isolation encourages idle minds and I think sport can create that theatre and level of expectation around what it's like to be outside again and be active.

"If it came to it, I think it'd be a huge step forward."

Asked whether such events would be good for morale in the country, he replied: "Yes, I think it would."

An enforced lay-off has been usefully timed in one respect for Morgan, whose wife gave birth to the couple's first child, Leo, three weeks ago.

"We've sort of been preoccupied with looking after the baby," he said. "We've been isolated for a bit longer than everyone else.

"I've been bunkered away for a while and haven't been under pressure to go off and play cricket, which is really nice.

"In between that reading some books, watching some TV shows. Sleep, but in very short periods."

Kevin O'Brien hit a match-winning six as Ireland defeated Afghanistan in a dramatic super over to avoid a Twenty20 series whitewash.

With all three matches being played in Greater Noida, India, the series outcome was already decided after the opening two contests were won by Afghanistan, but that did not prevent a thrilling finale.

Ireland posted 142-8 after winning the toss and electing to bat, Afghanistan debutant Qais Ahmad and Naveen-ul-Haq combining for six wickets as Gareth Delany top-scored with 37.

In response, an innings of 42 from opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz set up an intriguing run chase which left his side needing 16 off the final over.

It looked like it was all over for Afghanistan when captain Asghar Afghan (32) was dismissed with three balls left and 13 runs still needed. 

But Rashid Khan, helped by two wides from bowler Josh Little, hit a four off the last delivery to thrillingly force a super over as they ended on 142-7.

Craig Young then superbly restricted Afghanistan to only eight and although Ireland initially stumbled, leaving them needing three off the final ball, man-of-the-match O'Brien cleared the ropes.

Faf du Plessis has returned to South Africa's squad for the upcoming Twenty20 International series with Australia on the day he stepped down as captain.

Du Plessis announced earlier on Monday that he has taken a step back, relinquishing his responsibilities as Test and T20 captain, with Quinton de Kock, who last month took over the ODI job, poised to take over across all formats.

The 35-year-old was rested for the recent 2-1 T20 series defeat to England, as were Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje.

All three return to the fold in a 16-man group to face Australia in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town on February 21, 23 and 26.

Reeza Hendricks, Beuran Hendricks and Sisanda Magala drop out of the squad.

De Kock captains the side as he did in Du Plessis' absence against England, with the upcoming series key preparation for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.

Independent selector Linda Zondi specifically hailed Du Plessis' experience following his return after the batsman expressed his determination to continue as a player for the Proteas.

He said: "As a selection panel, we are happy with the team that we have finalised for the Australia tour.

"We are confident that the return of Kagiso and Anrich will provide the boost that the bowling unit needs in order to return to its dangerous ways.

"The experience of Faf will add an extra dimension to the batting unit's already fledgling prowess."

AB de Villiers is not involved in this squad, although coach Mark Boucher has confirmed the explosive batsman is likely to be selected for the World Cup as long as he is in form and makes himself available.

Temba Bavuma is picked for the squad, but his involvement is dependent on the results of a scan on a hamstring injury he sustained against England.

Following the T20 series, South Africa will also play three ODIs against Australia.
 

South Africa T20 squad: Quinton de Kock (captain), Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Pite van Biljon, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Jon-Jon Smuts, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi, Bjorn Fortuin, Anrich Nortje, Dale Steyn, Heinrich Klaasen.

Faf du Plessis has stepped down as the Test and Twenty20 captain of South Africa.

The 35-year-old was replaced by Quinton de Kock as ODI captain in January and, with immediate effect, no longer leads the Proteas in any form of the game.

Du Plessis wants to continue contributing as a batsman and senior player and will advise the new leadership group as of the team's succession planning, Cricket South Africa said in a statement on Monday.

England captain Eoin Morgan believes the team's one-run defeat to South Africa was a "great game to play in" ahead of the T20 World Cup.

South Africa handed England an agonising loss at Buffalo Park, where the Proteas prevailed in an astonishing finish in the first T20 international on Wednesday.

England – chasing 178 – needed seven runs from seven balls but the tourists fell short as Morgan holed out to long on before a stunning final over from Lungi Ngidi (3-30) saw him remove Tom Curran and Moeen Ali.

Adil Rashid required three from the last delivery for victory but he could only manage one as Dale Steyn and captain Quinton de Kock combined for a runout.

Despite the loss, Morgan was upbeat with the T20 World Cup on the horizon – the 20-over tournament scheduled to get underway in October.

"I definitely think we could've [found an extra run or two], I thought particularly during the chase we were in a very commanding position," Morgan, who scored 52 runs, told Sky Sports.

"We never through a cluster of losing wickets, Jason [Roy] and myself established a partnership quite well with the new guys coming in and with the short boundary one side, we never really looked flustered - probably until Ngidi came on in the 18th and probably the last over that he bowled turned the came on its head.

"Even in a position needing seven off the last over with new guys coming in, we'd have expected to win that game.

"It's a great game to play in because you get a feeling of where guys are at, they're put under pressure, you get to see what skill-level they produce, how their temperament is. So in terms of actually improving in that position, I think it is great for us."

Ngidi dazzled in the first of three T20's in East London and the South Africa paceman does not plan on relinquishing his spot in the team.

"We know that there are a lot of fast bowlers fighting for a spot so you've got to be on your A game," he said afterwards, with the Proteas able to call upon Steyn, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada and Sisanda Magala.

"If you're not quite there, someone else is going to come in and do the job you're supposed to be doing. I don't plan on letting anyone take my spot so I am just going to keep playing as best as I can."

South Africa defeated England by one run after an astonishing finish to the first T20 international at Buffalo Park.

Chasing 178, England looked poised for victory after Jason Roy scored a rapid 70 and captain Eoin Morgan added a vital 52 that included some clutch late boundaries.

The tourists only needed seven from the last seven balls but Morgan holed out to long on to set up a tense finale before a tremendous last over from Lungi Ngidi (3-30) saw him remove Tom Curran and Moeen Ali.

Adil Rashid was left needing three from the final delivery for victory or two to force a super over, but he could only manage one as the returning Dale Steyn and captain Quinton de Kock combined for a runout that sparked joyous scenes in East London.

Earlier, South Africa were well set for a huge total before England recovered to limit them to 177-8.

Roy's superb innings – which saw him become the country's first player to score three consecutive T20I fifties - took just 38 balls with seven fours and three sixes as Morgan's men made a strong start to their reply.

Morgan appeared ready to put the finishing touches on a strong run chase but a dramatic conclusion meant it was South Africa who took a 1-0 lead in the three-match rubber, with their opponents finishing agonisingly short on 176-8.

England are now in danger of losing their first T20I series since July 2018 and this morale-denting defeat was an unwelcome start to a year that builds towards the T20 World Cup in October.

David Warner says he is most likely to retire from Twenty20 internationals over the coming years in order to prolong his Test and ODI careers with Australia.

The batsman, who this week won his third Allan Border Medal, is eager to play the upcoming T20 World Cup tournaments in 2020 and 2021, though he is pondering stepping down from the shortest form of the game after that.

Warner was also named Australia's Twenty20 player of the year at Monday's awards ceremony.

But the 33-year-old did not play the most recent edition of the Big Bash League and the international T20s could be the next to go.

"I don't have a BBL team; I took a break during this period, and that was about my body and my mind, making sure I'm getting ready for the next series that comes up," said Warner.  

"If you look at T20 internationals, we've got back-to-back World Cups as well, that's probably a format that could be one I'd probably drop in a few years.

"I have to look at the schedule; it's going to be very difficult [for me] to play all three forms, and good luck to all the guys who want to keep playing that. 

"You talk to guys like AB de Villiers and Virender Sehwag, these guys who've done it for a long time, it does become challenging. 

"Having three young kids and my wife at home all the time, the constant travelling becomes very difficult. 

"If it was to come down to [leaving out] one format, it would probably be the international T20s."

The BBL has increased in size every year and is now a mammoth 61-match event, though Warner insisted that is not the only factor at play in his decision to step aside.

Warner added: "For me it's about working out timeframes with different series, identify when you need a bit of a rest.

"Generally, we play a Test series and go into a one-day series. We went to India and then generally you have a one-day series at home, back-to-back games and then you go away. 

"So, it was a bit different this year; I was able to have that opportunity to have that break which I'm grateful for.

"A lot of the guys try to go back and play as much as they can. Sometimes, you look at the [BBL] finals as an example, they come back and play the final.

"You're taking someone's spot as well, which is always tough as a player, you don't want to come back and just take someone's spot for one game."

David Warner showed his emotion and expressed gratitude for being allowed back into the Australia set-up as he accepted his third Allan Border Medal.

Having been reintegrated to the team after his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal against South Africa in 2018 resulted in a one-year ban, Warner edged out Steve Smith by one vote to win the country's top individual prize.

He expressed his thanks to team-mates, coaches and Cricket Australia after beating Smith and last year's winner Pat Cummins to the accolade.

Warner also fought back the tears as he thanked his parents and wife Candice, who he described as his "rock and inspiration".

"I'm taken aback by this," said Warner. "It has been quite challenging. I want to thank Cricket Australia, Belinda Clark, Kevin Roberts and Justin Langer for that opportunity [to come back].

"You were really working your backsides off behind the scenes to reintegrate the three of us [Warner, Smith and Cameron Bancroft] into the cricketing family.

"Everything to get us back in there amongst the guys, taking us to Dubai, starting that way, was absolutely fantastic and the way [ODI captain] Aaron Finch and [Test captain] Tim Paine accepted us and were always in contact with us, we really appreciate that. 

"I want to thank my home club team at Randwick-Petersham for giving me that opportunity to go out there and play grade cricket. 

"I realised a lot of things during that time off that we don't actually understand or realise when we're in this bubble, the importance of what this game is and the smiles on the faces that we bring to a lot of people.

"Sitting back and reflecting upon the time I had away from the game, you don't realise the importance and effect it has on everyone. It put things in perspective.

"Getting cricket taken away from you, something you've always dreamed of, it really hurt, so I'm just extremely grateful to be accepted back by Cricket Australia, the peers and also by the fans. 

"I had mixed emotions about how I was going to be received back here at home - I definitely knew what I was in for in England and obviously in a couple of weeks' time [in South Africa]. But it's just been remarkable to come back.

"Standing here I'm just really proud to have that opportunity again." 

Warner struggled in the Ashes but otherwise enjoyed a superb year across all formats.

But he thought his woes against England would have cost him a shot at the Allan Border Medal, which only Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting have won on more occasions.

"It was a shock and a surprise," he said. "When it is that close, you really don't know so it's a big surprise to be honest.

"I had an absolutely horrendous Ashes and generally, across the Test matches, that's where a lot of the votes are polled, so I didn't think I had a chance.

"I really had the hunger and determination to come back and do the best for our team. We've been great across all three formats for 12 months, I couldn't be any prouder to stand here and receive the award."

David Warner has won the Allan Border Medal for the third time after edging out team-mate Steve Smith by the narrowest of margins.

Australia opener Warner polled 194 votes, one more than Smith, while last year's winner Pat Cummins was also close behind with 185.

Marnus Labuschagne won the award for Men's Test Player of the Year, with Smith again coming a close second, while Aaron Finch claimed the ODI honour for the first time and Warner made it a double by landing the T20I gong.

Warner previously won the Allan Border Medal in 2016 and 2017, with four-time winners Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke the only players to have won the accolade, considered the most prestigious individual prize in Australian men's cricket, on more occasions.

The 33-year-old impressed across all formats during last season, scoring three centuries at the Cricket World Cup at an average of 71.88.

Warner struggled as Australia retained the Ashes in England but rebounded with superb home Test performances against Pakistan, versus whom he scored 335 not out in Adelaide, and then New Zealand.

The batsman's T20 form was spectacular, as he averaged 147.61 in three clashes with Sri Lanka and 140 in another trio of matches against Pakistan, helping him to see off 2019 winner Glenn Maxwell in the voting for the T20 honour in addition to the Allan Border Medal.

Warner and Smith both impressed as they returned from one-year suspensions in 2019 after their involvement in the ball-tampering affair the previous year.

The Australian Cricket Awards are voted for by players, the media and umpires after each Australia game.

Fast bowler Wes Agar was named The Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year, while in the women's game The Belinda Clark Award went to Ellyse Perry, who like Warner is a three-time winner of the top prize available.

Rain wreaked havoc as the second Twenty20 international between West Indies and Ireland was washed out in Basseterre on Saturday.

No result was declared after the game was called off approaching 22:00 local time – Ireland boasting a 1-0 lead in the three-game series.

Career-best figures from captain Kieron Pollard helped restrict Ireland to 147-9 from 19 overs, with a rain delay leading to a reduction in overs.

Confidence was high in the Ireland camp after their memorable four-run triumph in the opening T20I in Grenada.

But Pollard claimed 4-25 from four overs – the 10th best performance for the Windies in T20I history, dismissing Gareth Delany (44), skipper Andy Balbirnie (36), Gary Wilson (5) and George Dockrell (2).

Sheldon Cottrell (2-10) and Romario Shepherd (1-38) also chopped in with wickets for the Windies.

West Indies managed to start their run chase and they reached 16-1 after Lendl Simmons (10) fell victim to Paul Stirling (1-11) before the rain set in for good.

Paul Stirling's blistering 95 set up a thrilling four-run triumph for Ireland in the opening T20I against West Indies in Grenada.

Stirling clattered eight sixes and six fours in a 47-ball knock, putting on 154 alongside Kevin O'Brien (48) for the opening wicket – meaning the tourists' eventual haul of 208-7 was relatively disappointing.

Evin Lewis was the only Windies batsman to pass fifty but muscular contributions from Shimron Hetmyer (28), Kieron Pollard (31), Nicholas Pooran and Sherfane Rutherford (both 26) took the contest to the wire.

Rutherford and Dwayne Bravo – making his first international appearance since 2016 - fell to impressive left-arm seamer Josh Little (3-29) in the final over as Ireland bounced back from defeat in the recent ODI series to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match rubber.

Their success was built upon the best powerplay score in T20I history as the openers stood on 83 without loss after six overs, Stirling having brought up his half century from 20 deliveries with his fifth six.

They duly brought up three figures in the next over but, after leg-spinner Hayden Walsh and Pollard took pace off the ball to slightly check the scoring rate, veteran all-rounder Bravo bowled O'Brien with a fine yorker that ducked in late.

Sterling mistimed a slog sweep off Walsh to be caught by Lewis five shy of a deserved century and Ireland never truly regained momentum.

Gareth Delany was their next highest scorer with 19, producing the shot of the innings with a glorious six over extra cover from Kesrick Williams, who returned a woeful 0-48 from three overs as Bravo, Khary Pierre and Sheldon Cottrell took two wickets apiece.

West Indies were unable to find a contribution of similar substance to Stirling's at the top of the innings after George Dockrell pouched a stunning catch at deep point to remove Lendl Simmons for 22, with Little the beneficiary.

Lewis stormed to a sixth T20I fifty and was typically strong square of the wicket until he hit Craig Young to a scampering Harry Tector on 53.

Hetmyer looked in the mood with three towering sixes, only for an embattled Dockrell (1-51) to have him caught by captain Andy Balbirnie.

Pollard took up the mantle and kept his side up with the rate, although Dockrell continued to enjoy himself far more in the field and held on when the Windies skipper sent Simi Singh skyward.

The pattern continued with Pooran, who pulled Young (2-31) to Delany for 26 after the 18th over from Barry McCarthy (0-55) cost a damaging 27.

Rutherford found Dockrell's unerring hands at wide long-on before Bravo – sensing a picture-book return – also went six and out as Little and further flawless catching in the deep saw Ireland home, the Windies finishing just short on 204-7.

Peter Siddle has called time on his international career after 11 years representing Australia in Test, ODI and Twenty20 cricket.

Veteran bowler Siddle made the announcement prior to day four of the second Test between Australia and New Zealand in Melbourne on Sunday.

The 35-year-old, who was overlooked for the final XI to face the Black Caps at the MCG, decided to call it quits on the international stage following 67 Tests.

Siddle – a member of Australia's triumphant Ashes series in England – claimed 221 wickets at 30.66 after making his Test debut against India in 2008.

The Victorian paceman, who is Australia's 13th highest Test wicket-taker, also played 20 ODIs and a pair of T20s for Australia.

"It's always hard to know when the right time is," Siddle Fox Cricket. "The Ashes was the main goal, to try and get on that touring party and be a part of that series.

"Once I'd ticked that off, I was talking to 'Painey' [captain Tim Paine] and JL [Justin Langer] – I thought I could have done it there, but the chance of getting one last crack if it came in Australia, to [have one more Test] at home would have been nice.

"To think as a young kid I wouldn't get a chance to play, I'm obviously very happy and a bit sad."

Australia head coach Justin Langer said: "The year after I retired from playing, Matty Hayden and Ricky Ponting were raving about this guy called Peter Siddle. If it came from them, you knew it was right and so it proved throughout his brilliant international career.

"He is an unbelievable bloke and an extremely good cricketer. He is the everything of what a team player is. He has given his heart and soul to the Australian team and the game of cricket.

"We'll always be thankful to him for what he's given to the national team, and for the critical role he played in helping us retain the Ashes in England this year. He's going out when he's still playing well which, in a perfect world, is something every athlete wants to do."

Captain Tim Paine added: "Sids has been the heart and soul of the team for a long time. I remember coming up through with him through the academies and even back then he was one of the great team men, something he has continued to this day.

"He has a massive heart and is a fantastic bowler. He'll be very much missed around the group. He's been unbelievably good for our younger fast bowlers over the last 18 months and been a great support for me during that time, as well.

"It's sad to see him leave international cricket, but the time is right for him. He's had a wonderful career, he's achieved a lot and I know he's still got plenty to offer in domestic cricket."

Sean Abbott described his Australia return as "a privilege" after he earned the man-of-the-match award in his first international appearance for five years.

The fast bowler, 27, had not played for his country since a Twenty20 against South Africa in Sydney on November 9, 2014, but was back to face Pakistan in Perth on Friday.

Abbott was only hit for two boundaries as his figures of 2-14 from four overs helped Australia to restrict Pakistan to 106-8 in the third T20I. 

Captain Aaron Finch (52 not out) and David Warner (48 not out) then led Australia to a 10-wicket triumph, sealing a 2-0 win in the three-match series.

"It's been a privilege to be part of this side," Abbott said of his return. "It's awesome to be back out here.

"A lot of hard work has gone into it, but there's a lot of talent in this country.

"The guys have been playing really well and they've welcomed me back in the group. Very pleased."

Australia have a rating of 269 in the T20I rankings and are just one behind leaders Pakistan.

They have won series against India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan in 2019 without losing a match, putting them in a strong position ahead of hosting next year's T20 World Cup.

Finch said: "Really proud of my boys. The way we've applied ourselves over the last couple of weeks has been really impressive. We're improving as a team and that's the most important thing. 

"The way Ashton Agar bowled in these two series was amazing. He was outstanding, alongside Adam Zampa and they were bowling against quality players of spin. The quicks in the powerplay were outstanding, too. Mitchell Starc in general and Abbott in this game.

"It's pleasing one of our top three batted really deep throughout the two series and we can only kick on from here."

Pakistan, by contrast, are on a miserable run. They have lost 2-1 to South Africa, 1-0 to England, 3-0 to Sri Lanka and now struggled against the Aussies in their last four series in the shortest format.

"I am very disappointed, but we lost to a very good team," said captain Babar Azam.

"We've learnt a lot and we want to make sure we don't make the same mistakes again. As captain, I learnt a lot personally too, but there's a long way to go. 

"[Muhammad] Musa and [Mohammad] Hasnain were bowling well, but Finch and Warner were just in a different class. We wanted to blood them and I'm sure the experience will be good for them in future."

Australia and Pakistan will now prepare for two Test matches, the first coming in Brisbane on November 21.

Aaron Finch hit an unbeaten fifty as Australia stormed to a 10-wicket victory over Pakistan in the third Twenty20 international, sealing a 2-0 triumph in the three-match series.

After weather impacted the first match, Steve Smith inspired Australia to victory in Canberra and Friday's match in Perth also went the way of the hosts in comprehensive fashion.

Captain Finch opted to bowl after winning the toss on a lively pitch and was rewarded when Pakistan struggled to 106-8, Kane Richardson recording the best figures as he took 3-18.

Openers Finch (52 not out) and David Warner (48no) reached the target themselves in only 11.5 overs.

Australia's win cuts Pakistan's lead at the top of the world rankings to just one point.

Mitchell Starc got Australia off to a flying start, taking the key wicket of Pakistan captain Babar Azam (6), which was upheld after the batsman reviewed, before bowling wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan for a golden duck.

Pakistan were in a hole at 22-3 when man of the match Sean Abbott (2-14) – playing his first international in five years – got rid of Imam-ul-Haq (14).

Iftikhar Ahmed was the only man to offer meaningful resistance as he hit 45 from 37 balls, but wickets tumbled around him, including that of debutant Khushdil Shah (8), who fell to Richardson.

When Richardson removed Iftikhar as Starc caught him at fine leg, the tourists' total was only 92 with 23 deliveries left, the tail left to bat out the innings.

Australia's reply got off to an eventful start, with David Warner's six from the third ball only just beating third man before Imam missed a glorious run-out opportunity.

The openers were in control from there, though, Finch's total coming from just 36 balls with three maximums, and Warner ending just short of a half century himself after hitting six boundaries in a 35-ball knock.

Pakistan's other debutant, Muhammad Musa, came in for punishment with figures of 0-39 from his 3.5 overs.

The teams will now turn their attention to two Test matches, the first of which starts in Brisbane on November 21.

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan has been handed a two-year suspension from all forms of cricket after accepting three charges relating to breaches of the ICC anti-corruption code.

Shakib's ban, one year of which is suspended, comes after he contravened article 2.4.4 of the code on multiple occasions, the International Cricket Council said.

That part of the code compels cricketers to disclose full details of "any approaches or invitations received to engage in corrupt conduct" to the governing body's anti-corruption unit (ACU).

"I am obviously extremely sad to have been banned from the game I love, but I completely accept my sanction for not reporting the approaches," world number one all-rounder Shakib said in a statement released by the ICC.

"The ICC ACU is reliant on players to play a central part in the fight against corruption and I didn't do my duty in this instance.

"Like the majority of players and fans around the world, I want cricket to be a corruption-free sport and I am looking forward to working with the ICC ACU team to support their education programme and ensure young players don't make the same mistake I did."

The first charge relates to the Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe Tri-Series in January 2018 and/or that year's IPL; the second to another approach in respect of the same Tri-Series; and the third to an IPL match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab on 26 April 2018.

In its summary of the background to the case, the ICC detailed the various instances where there was contact, via WhatsApp, between Shakib and a man "suspected of involvement in corruption in cricket".

Shakib has appeared in all three formats for his country, with 56 Tests under his belt and 206 ODI outings.

The 32-year-old's ban is effective immediately.

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