Sri Lanka will now play three Twenty20 Internationals in January 2020 against India after Zimbabwe were suspended by the ICC. (Image credit: Twitter)
Sri Lanka will tour India for three Twenty20 Internationals starting on January 5, 2020. The tour has come about after Zimbabwe after suspended by the International Cricket Council due to government interference. Initially, Zimbabwe were scheduled to tour the country after 18 years but the move has seen them being replaced by Sri Lanka. The Lankans will tour India for three T20Is starting on January 5. The first match will be played in Guwahati followed by the second match which will take place on January 7 in Indore. The final match of the Twenty20 International series will be played on January 10 in Pune. The last time Sri Lanka played a Twenty20 International series against India, it was back in 2017 and Rohit Sharma had scored a blazing century in Indore.
India went on to whitewash Sri Lanka 3-0 in that 2017 series. Under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma, India won the first match by a massive margin of 93 runs and Sri Lanka were bowled out for 87 in Cuttack. In the second match, Rohit's joint-fastest ton propelled them to 260/5 and they won the match by 88 runs. In the third and final match, it was a close encounter but India got over the line by five wickets. In the Nidahas Trophy tri-series that followed, India lost the first match but went on to win their second encounter against Sri Lanka. In 16 Twenty20 International encounters between the two sides, India have a 11-5 head-to-head record.
Zimbabwe, who were going to play their first Twenty20 Internationals against India in India for the first time on the same dates mentioned, have now been suspended by the ICC for government interference in their cricket board. Recently, the team played in the Twenty20 tri-series which involved Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Zimbabwe lost three out of their four games but they were boosted by Hamilton Masakadza's fifty as they won against Afghanistan after eight attempts in Chattogram. Incidentally, the match was Masakadza's last as an international player and it brought at end to his 18-year international career.
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As a consequence of suspension, ICC funding to Zimbabwe Cricket will be frozen and representative teams from Zimbabwe will not be allowed to participate in any ICC events. 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.
The ICC Board heard from both the Sports and Recreation Committee representatives of the Zimbabwe Government and Zimbabwe Cricket before making their decision. ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar said: “We do not take the decision to suspend a Member lightly, but we must keep our sport free from political interference. What has happened in Zimbabwe is a serious breach of the ICC Constitution and we cannot allow it to continue unchecked. The ICC wants cricket to continue in Zimbabwe in accordance with the ICC Constitution,” Shashank Manohar, the chairman of the ICC said.