Aussie woman cricketers to host New Zealand for six games

By: AFP      Published: 01:56 PM, 29 Aug, 2020
Aussie woman cricketers to host New Zealand for six games

Australia's women cricketers will take to the field for the first time since winning the Twenty20 World Cup in a six-game series against New Zealand starting next month, officials said Saturday.

The three one-dayers and three T20s will all be played at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane -- the country's first internationals since the coronavirus pandemic shut down sport in March.

The entire New Zealand squad, and all Australian players from New South Wales and Victoria states, will need to enter a 14-day quarantine before the series begins.

"We can't wait to get the season started and what better way to celebrate the return of our world champions," Cricket Australia's interim chief Nick Hockley said.

"We're as confident as ever that we will be able to deliver a schedule of matches that excites and entertains fans across the country and around the world."

The Meg Lanning-led Australia have not played since sweeping to a fifth World Cup title against India in front of 86,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in March, just before Covid-19 halted sport.

They will pad-up for T20s against their trans-Tasman neighbours on September 26, 27 and 30 ahead of three one-dayers starting on October 3.

Stokes returns to New Zealand

Ged Stokes, the father of New Zealand-born England cricket star Ben Stokes, has revealed he has brain cancer which is why his son pulled out of the Test series against Pakistan to return home to be with his family. 

Ben Stokes left England after the first Test in Manchester, and is now undergoing 14-days Covid-19 enforced quarantine in New Zealand before he can join his parents in Christchurch. 

Ged, a former New Zealand rugby league international, was first hospitalised while in Johannesburg in December when he required emergency surgery for a brain bleed three days before England's first Test against South Africa. 

Further medical tests on his return to New Zealand found tumours on his brain.

"So, basically brain cancer," Ged Stokes told the New Zealand Herald in an article published Saturday. 

"How that came about nobody knows but obviously I've had a few bangs on my head through my life so that's probably contributed to it. It wouldn't have helped." 

Ben Stokes, who last year played a man-of-the-match role to help England beat New Zealand in a dramatic World Cup final, said he sensed when his father collapsed in South Africa that it was something serious. 

"I was carrying a knee injury in South Africa but I felt my attitude change. What's a sore knee? I can bowl another over or I can bowl another spell. I decided an injury meant very little compared with what Dad was going through. That has been there since because I felt Dad might not see me play again," he said. 

"Even when I left South Africa to get back home (to England), I had a feeling something else would happen. I felt like I was constantly preparing myself for another phone call, so when it came it wasn't necessarily a surprise but it didn't make it any easier." 

He praised his father, and his experiences as professional rugby league player, for showing him the discipline required to be a professional sportsman. 

"He was hard on me, especially as a teenager -- 17, 18, 19, when you're a bit rebellious -- he was tough. But as I got older I realised it was all for a reason. He knew I wanted to be a professional sportsman and he was drilling that into me as I started to make a career in cricket," Ben said.

"I didn't realise it at the time but when I look back I know he was doing it for the right reasons. 

"He used to get me out of bed early to go to the gym with him when I didn't want to … all that kind of stuff you don't appreciate at the time but looking back now I do."