The Lord's pavilion will be filled with 250 local schoolchildren for Friday's World Cup match-up between Pakistan and Bangladesh, after MCC was forced to take unprecedented measures to protect its "global reputation" amid a poor application for tickets among members.
With only days to go until the venue's final group-stage fixture, only 50% of the pavilion's tickets had been sold, causing MCC's chief executive Guy Lavender to send an email to the club's membership database, imploring them to put in an appearance.
Writing to members on Tuesday, Lavender invoked the scenes at the final of the Women's World Cup in 2017, when England's thrilling victory over India was watched by a packed house around three-quarters of the ground, but only a smattering of members in the pavilion, and warned that a repeat would not be good for the club.
At the time of writing, with Wednesday's key clash between England and New Zealand at Chester-le-Street still to be played, the Lord's contest had a chance to be one of the most eagerly fought in the competition - with Pakistan potentially needing to beat Bangladesh to push England out of the semi-final spots.
"The latest tournament standings mean the outcome could prove crucial to England's prospects of reaching the semi-finals," Lavender wrote. "From this perspective, Friday's match may yet prove to be one of the most decisive of the tournament. Unfortunately, and notwithstanding the context of the match, the Pavilion remains heavily undersubscribed.
"Members may recall the ICC Women's World Cup final in 2017, when unfavourable comparisons were made between the number of members in the Pavilion and full stands in the rest of the ground. This is damaging to MCC's global reputation and the committee is determined to avoid a repetition of these images on Friday."
The World Cup is the first tournament for which MCC members have had to pay for their tickets, in spite of membership, with Friday's match costing an additional £45. In spite of this, the previous three matches at Lord's had all been well attended, including Australia's two victories over England and New Zealand last week.
However, as of Wednesday, the take-up has not been sufficient to fill the pavilion, which means that 250 children from local state schools in Westminster are set to be given a very special day out "under the strict supervision of their teachers and our community staff".
ESPNcricinfo understands that that the pupils will be required to wear their school uniforms (or a "uniform equivalent", in the case of one school), but that ties will not be obligatory.
"It is hoped [this] will both improve the appearance of the pavilion and provide the youngsters with a memorable and formative experience," Lavender added.
How 'negative' news fuelled Saifuddin's India fifty
Mohammad Saifuddin has said that he was charged up to beat India after a recent newspaper report alleged that he had used an injury to not play in a World Cup match. Saifuddin and Mosaddek Hossain both missed the Australia game in Nottingham on June 20, but featured in the following game against Afghanistan, with the team management confirming that they both had picked injuries from the preceding game, against West Indies.
Saifuddin's half-century at Edgbaston kept Bangladesh in the hunt till the end but they came up short as India bowled them out with two overs to spare. Saifuddin explained he wanted to win against India to prove that he wasn't the type to shirk from a big game.
"A few days ago, there was a negative news that I used an injury as an excuse to get out of a match against a big team," Saifuddin said. "So, I was thinking that I would become a hero by winning a match against a big team. When I took the field against India, from the first ball to the last, I was determined to win the match, so that I could prove the allegations against my name were wrong. Unfortunately that did not happen."
Saifuddin said that he thumped his chest after reaching fifty, as a retort to the news. "For us players, we have nothing to do but give our answers on the field of play. That is what we try to do," he said.
West Indies and Sri Lanka were both fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during their World Cup 2019 match in Durham on July 1. The two captains - Jason Holder and Dimuth Karunaratne - were slapped with a hefty 40 % fine each, while the rest of the players on both sides earned 20 % cuts.
As per Article 2.22 of the ICC's Code of Conduct, players are fined 10 % of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.
Both sides were ruled to be two overs short of their targets after allowances were made for natural stoppages in play. If either West Indies or Sri Lanka commit another minor over-rate breach in an ODI within 12 months of this offence with Holder or Karunaratne as captain, it will be deemed a second offence and they will face a suspension.
Sri Lanka won a thrilling game by 23 runs, though it had no bearing on the qualifications race for the semi-finals, with both teams already out of the running.
'I want the camera to be on me' - Fabian Allen
Fabian Allen took a sharp catch off his own bowling to send back Kusal Mendis and then smashed 51 in 32 balls to make a good impression in the game against Sri Lanka. "Once I go on the field I want the camera to be on me," he said later. Allen certainly got his wish on Monday.
Happy to have made his family proud with his all-round performance - though in a losing cause - Allen said, "I will do all sorts of stuff to make the camera is on me. I will slide around in the field, cheer on everyone. People are going to love me. I am fan person so they are going to love me."
Allen and Nicholas Pooran got together on 199 for 6 in West Indies' chase of Sri Lanka's 338 for 6, and proceeded to add 83 runs in quick time, Allen scoring the majority of the runs. The stand ended when a mix-up resulted in Allen being run out, tilting the game decisively in Sri Lanka's favour.
"It was a good innings but unfortunate to get out at the end there. That cost us the game," Allen said. "I wanted to give Pooran the support, give him a bit more of the strike but the run out was a disappointing moment."
Warner confirms birth of his third child
David Warner confirmed the birth of his third child, Isla Rose, over social media on Monday.
Warner said last week that his wife Candice would give birth following the match against New Zealand with him rejoining Australia's World Cup squad ahead of the final group game against South Africa at Old Trafford on Saturday.
"We welcomed our newest family member Isla Rose Warner at 10:30pm late last night," he tweeted. "candywarner1 was absolutely amazing. Mum and Bub doing very well and her big sisters are over the moon."
Warner has previously spoken about the importance of his family during his year-long ban from international cricket. "I just love being a father. I've got a great, supportive wife, a great family base at home as well. We've got great support around us, the guys here have been fantastic, they've really got around me at this important time for my family."
ICC sees red as planes fly political messages above Headingley
An aeroplane appeared above Headingley during the Afghanistan v Pakistan with a message saying "Justice for Balochistan". Not long after, there was another: "Help end disappearances in Pakistan".
A big World Cup match, with the international media in attendance, it certainly got the attention it expected, but the ICC isn't too pleased about it.
"We work with local police forces around the country to prevent this type of incident occurring and were assured that given Headingley is under the flight path for the Leeds Bradford Airport it would not be an issue," an ICC statement read. "We do not condone any sort of political messages at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup and will work with West Yorkshire police to deal with and understand why this has happened and to ensure it doesn't happen again."
As well as the banners, there have been chants in favour of Khalistan at the grounds during Pakistan's last two games in Edgbaston and Leeds. Khalistan was a political movement for secession in India's Punjab, at its peak in the 1980s.
Pradeep down with chicken pox, Rajitha called up
Nuwan Pradeep has been ruled out of the remainder of the World Cup after being diagnosed with chicken pox, and the ICC has approved Kasun Rajitha as his replacement following a request from the Sri Lanka team.
Pradeep, the 32-year-old fast bowler, played three of Sri Lanka's games at the World Cup, starring in the 34-run (DLS method) over Afghanistan, but has been out of the XI since the win against England on June 21. He had earlier missed a couple of games after picking up a hand injury while training on June 9.
Rajitha, the 26-year-old medium pacer, is quite inexperienced at the ODI level, having played just six games to date, picking up five wickets in them.
Sri Lanka have two more group-stage games to go, against West Indies (Chester-le-Street, July 1) and India (Leeds, July 6), and are still in the race for the semi-finals.
— Ash Barty (@ashbar96) June 25, 2019
Lara recovering well after being hospitalised with 'pain in the chest'
News of Brian Lara being taken to hospital in Mumbai, where he is as part of the Star Sports team of experts for the World Cup, came out on Tuesday afternoon and, understandably, there was a fair bit of concern.
Lara, however, confirmed in the evening that he was fine and put down the "pain in the chest" to going a little extra in the hotel gym.
"I know everyone's very concerned about what's happening," he said in a statement released by Cricket West Indies. "I think I just extended myself a bit too much in the gym this morning and I was feeling a bit of pain in my chest. I just felt that it was best to see a doctor and I was taken to the hospital. The pain continued, so obviously a lot of tests have been done."
The message was recorded when Lara was watching the England v Australia game on TV - "hopefully Australia can restrict England and beat them, not a big fan of England" - and he said more than once that he didn't want to be disturbed, even referring to "breach of privacy".
"Just ease off the messages, my phone is going non-stop, so I'm going to switch it off. I don't want to switch it off because I'd like to speak to my family. Just letting everyone know that I'm fine and I'm recovering and I'll be back in my hotel room tomorrow," he said. "And a couple of the tests have come back already, the doctors are happy there's nothing major. Thanks again for your concern."
Mahmudullah sustains grade 1 tear in right calf
Mahmudullah has reportedly sustained a grade 1 tear in his right calf muscle. The injury occurred while he was batting against Afghanistan in Southampton on Monday - he hobbled between the wickets for most of the duration of his 38-ball 27.
Mahmudullah did not field during Afghanistan's innings, and underwent scans on his calf. "The scan results showed a Grade-1 tear on Riyad's right calf," Khaled Mahmud, Bangladesh's manager, told The Daily Star. "At the moment, that is all I can say as I have not spoken to the physio [Thihan Chandramohan] yet. I can tell you more about the recovery period in the morning after speaking to the physio."
Typically, grade 1 tears take seven to ten days to heal. If this is the case with Mahmudullah's calf, he may not miss too many games; Bangladesh's next match, against India at Edgbaston, is on July 2, and their final round-robin match, against Pakistan at Lord's, is on July 5.
Tendulkar unhappy with Dhoni's lack of 'positive intent'
MS Dhoni's 28 in 52 balls against Afghanistan, perhaps the most glaring go-slow in a poor Indian batting effort overall, hasn't gone down well with Sachin Tendulkar, who said that Dhoni, especially, should have shown more intent against the spinners. The combined figures of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rahmat Shah read 34-0-119-5.
Speaking to India Today after the game, Tendulkar said, "MS Dhoni is a senior player and should show positive intent. Afghanistan's bowling is good but you can't score only 119 runs in 34 overs. He did not show any positive intent against Afghanistan."
India stopped at 224 for 8, and Afghanistan then got to within two shots of pulling off the shock of the World Cup before being bowled out for 213 with one ball left in their chase.
Virat Kohli (67 in 63 balls) and Kedar Jadhav (52 in 68) were the only Indian batsmen to get a measure of the pitch, and the wiles of the Afghanistan spin pack, but the others struggled. Dhoni, in particular, just couldn't get going, hitting just three fours in his innings before being stumped off Rashid.
"MS Dhoni has the ability to hit but yesterday his strike rotation was not good. He faced too many dot balls and this hampered a strong finish for India," Tendulkar said. "The intent could have been much better by the middle-order batsmen.
"I believe MS Dhoni needs to up his ante when it comes to strike rotation in the next matches."
How Wahab Riaz battled illness to do the job for Pakistan
Wahab Riaz, Pakistan's most experienced bowler, battled illness on the eve of his team's crucial group encounter against South Africa before turning up to deliver an emphatic end-overs performance. His wickets left the South Africans without any chance of qualifying for the final four of the World Cup.
Wahab struggled with sinus problems for more than a decade before being operated on for the same in April 2018. He told ESPNcricinfo that he found himself stricken with hay fever on the night before the match, which left him without much sleep. "Meri body toot rahi thi (my body was breaking)," he said as he described his condition before the game.
Wahab informed the physio, took a few pills to deal with the fever and the bodyache, and let the team management know of the situation. The adrenalin rush of being part of a must-win game, though, saw him through, but by the time it ended, he was exhausted, as he had eaten very little during the day. It is routine for Wahab: "Whenever I'm bowling second, I don't eat much." But on a day when he took to the field with depleted energy, he dipped into reserves and pride to make up.
There was no question of missing the match. "To be very honest, I was determined and the whole team was determined. We knew how important this game was for us, we just wanted to do well in this game," he said. "We knew this was just time to deliver now. There were no ifs and buts, there was nothing to lose after this and everybody chipped in."
Kallis asks South Africa to learn from England
Jacques Kallis wants South Africa to follow England's ODI blueprint to overcome the disappointment of their 2019 World Cup campaign. They haven't lost five games in any of the earlier editions. He also felt they were "too defensive" this time around. While advocating the need for changes, he also advised against a complete revamp.
"You don't need to make wholesale changes, England are still captained by Eoin Morgan, as they were four years ago," he wrote in his column for the ICC. "Some will demand everything is changed but a total clean out is just not the way ahead, we need to be more considered and thoughtful."
He wasn't specifically happy with their brand of cricket. On ESPNcricinfo Match Day, Albie Morkel, the former South Africa allrounder, too felt South Africa's brand of cricket was outdated.
"The first thing that needs to be looked at is the brand of cricket South Africa are playing and all the players will want to be part of that conversation," Kallis said. "There will need to be some honest conversations and they will need to trust each other. However, you cannot keep chopping and changing a team and I don't think they will."
"South Africa have some great young players in their 20s (Kagiso Rabada, 24, Lungi Ngidi, 23, Andile Phehlukwayo,23, and Aiden Markram, 24) and they can be the foundation for the future. England are proof how quickly things can change in four years, so long as you have the right approach."
Kohli fined for excessive appealing, New Zealand fined for overrate
"Excessive appealing and charging aggressively towards the umpire" has cost Virat Kohli 25 percent of his match fees. The incident occurred in Southampton on Saturday when Kohli advanced towards umpire Aleem Dar in appeal of an lbw decision against Rahmat Shah in the 29th over of Afghanistan's chase.
This was in breach of Article 2.1 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel that relates to "excessive appealing." This means Kohli now has two demerit points against his name, having received one during the Centurion Test against South Africa in January last year.
There was no need for a separate hearing as Kohli admitted to the sanction proposed by on-field umpires Aleem Dar and Richard Illingworth, third umpire Richard Kettleborough and fourth official Michael Gough. Two more demerit points for Kohli within the next seven months could result in a ban for either one Test, two ODIs or two T20Is, whichever comes first.
Too slow, New Zealand. Too slow
Long after the emotions in Manchester had settled down (or maybe not) New Zealand were fined for their slow over rate in a heart-stopping game against West Indies. Match referee David Boon found the side to be one over short and Kane Williamson accepted the sanction. If New Zealand were to commit another minor over rate offence with Williamson in the side, then as captain he will likely face a one-match suspension. For now, he has been fined 20% of his match fees and his team-mates 10% of theirs.
Khawaja lauds the 'special trait' of Ponting
Many of the Australian squad have made no secret of the thrill of having former captain Ricky Ponting as part of their backroom staff for the World Cup and Usman Khawaja has been the latest to praise his presence in the dressing room.
"I talk to Ricky all the time. He is an absolute legend," Khawaja said. "For someone who has scored so many runs in all forms of the game, he is the most humble person I have ever met. His humility is outstanding. He is like another one of the lads up there. He makes everyone feel like you are mates really.
"I have played a lot of golf with him while we have been here, trained, talked a lot about cricket, too. I think he is great to have around. I think that is why the boys love having him - someone with the experience and knowledge but, at the same time, he can still be a mate. It's a special trait to have."
On a personal level, Khawaja's World Cup campaign has seen him moved up and down the order having lost his opening role, where he had enjoyed a prolific run, with the return of David Warner. His best innings of the tournament, 89 off 72 balls against Bangladesh, came when he returned to the No. 3 spot.
"Everyone is communicating, everyone is talking and no one, myself, Smithy, Maxi, no-one really has any issue batting anywhere," he said. "Where the game situation is for us is what we will play. Whether that is against India where we needed 10 an over or a first innings like [Bangladesh] where we are setting a total, we are just playing a game situation. First and foremost it's what the team needs. We are all really happy with that."
'I don't play for my captain or my cricket board' - Rashid
For Afghanistan, the World Cup hasn't quite gone the way they would have wanted - five losses in five games so far. For their star legspinner Rashid Khan, it has been especially bad. He has picked up just three wickets, and in the last game, against England, conceded 110 runs from nine wicketless overs, the most expensive spell in World Cup history and second on the list of most expensive ODI spells.
Off the field, there was the controversy around Mohammad Shahzad's exit from the World Cup, and since then, a war of words has broken out between Phil Simmons, the coach, and Dawlat Ahmadzai, their former chief selector.
"I don't think we prepared that well for a tournament like this," Rashid said in an interview with Mid-day. "It is a big stage, there will be ups and downs, but we have learnt a lot so far. We should have won at least one or two games; we had the opportunity to do so, but we lacked experience. Hopefully, we will get that with time."
Controversies for Afghanistan, incidentally, stated well before the World Cup when Asghar Afghan was removed as captain and Gulbadin Naib named in his place. At the time, Rashid had expressed his disgust at the decision.
"I am clear about my role in the team. When the captain was changed, yes we made our anger public. I did not do that to support our previous captain or anybody else. I did it for Afghanistan cricket," Rashid said. "If someone is trying to spoil my Afghanistan cricket, then it does not matter who it is… cricket is the only thing that brings a smile on people's faces. I wanted to say that it was not the right time to take such a big decision - just before the World Cup.
"When I am on the field, I don't think I play for my captain or for my cricket board. I play only for Afghanistan. No one is important than my country."
Downcast West Indies have 'frank discussions', go clay-pigeon shooting
Three losses in a row at the World Cup can hurt. With West Indies, it's a tournament that started well but has since turned rather pear-shaped, and they chose to take out their frustration at clay pigeons, getting the team together and going shooting instead of training.
"We had a team event. We wanted to get the guys together, just have a team event, a team bonding session. And I think it went really well," Jason Holder, the captain, said the day before the game against New Zealand. "I think we still have a possible chance to qualify for the semi-finals, but we've just got to take it game by game. This encounter with New Zealand is very important. We all know what's at stake and we just have to come and bring our A game. It's as simple as that."
Holder also revealed that there had been some "frank discussions" within the team after the seven-wicket loss to Bangladesh.
"I think it's a situation where you've had to be tough. We've had a few frank discussions within the dressing room to find ways in which we can improve on," he said. "I think all teams would get themselves in that situation at some point. But, yeah, we've had some pretty good discussions over the last couple of days. And tomorrow is just a day to deliver."
De Grandhomme's impact similar to McCullum's - Hesson
The former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has lauded the dynamic that Colin de Grandhomme brings to the team, likening it to the impact Brendon McCullum had on the side four years ago.
While Kane Williamson understandably gained much of the focus after the victory against South Africa, de Grandhomme's 60 off 47 balls was crucial in keeping New Zealand in the game while the captain was finding the fielders. It was just his second ODI half-century in 23 innings, but Hesson said he showed why he is such a valued member of the New Zealand unit.
"Kane won't win New Zealand this tournament on his own. To go all the way you also need a player who is capable of snatching victory from nowhere in big games," Hesson wrote in his column for Stuff.co.nz. "That's the beauty of de Grandhomme and what he offers this Black Caps team. When you're in all sorts of trouble, with a 20 percent chance of winning, he is one player who can turn a game on its head.
"In 2015 we had Brendon McCullum who played on instinct and so often got us off to a flyer. This, combined with the craft players in the rest of order, gave us that excellent balance and de Grandhomme can do something similar just from a different place in the order.
"He's going to get out poorly and people will absolutely hammer him, but in our set-up if you play Colin you know exactly what you're going to get, and you either take it or leave it. This was a great reason why you 'take it'."
Hesson also praised de Grandhomme's role with the ball as he took 1 for 33 off his 10 overs as South Africa were rarely able to cut loose.
"The way Kane used him, that slower pace was perfect on that surface. Colin clearly doesn't bowl 140kmh, but he was able to get the most movement of anyone at Edgbaston…He's often got what I call OSP (optimal swinging pace) and he was the only one who really swung the ball all day. It was one of those days where his pace was perfect for the conditions."
Australia looking forward to England's extra pace
Glenn Maxwell has suggested that the extra pace in England's attack could work in Australia's favour when the two sides meet at Lord's next week.
England are likely to include both Jofra Archer and Mark Wood in their XI with the pair among the quickest bowlers on show at the tournament. But Maxwell said that Australia's batsmen can often find it easier against the quicker bowlers, rather than having to manufacture pace onto the ball against medium pacers as was the case at stages against Bangladesh.
"I think they'll be more excited at that than someone bowling 120, that sort of pace probably suits out batting line-up a bit more with more pace on the ball, something we are a bit more used to," he said. "It's a challenge that we are up for, we certainly get enough practise in the nets for sure against our bowling attack so the guys are pretty used to that."
Australia have only beaten England four times in 16 ODIs since the last World Cup, but Maxwell said that the squad was eagerly awaiting the challenge.
"It's been a pretty long tournament so far but we have a few days to refresh and get ourselves up for England and what better place to get amped for than England at Lord's and we are all looking forward to that."
Hashmatullah bounces back ... for the sake of his mum
Hashmatullah Shahidi will never forget Old Trafford and Old Trafford can never forget Hashmatullah.
Hit flush on the side of his helmet by a Mark Wood short ball when on 24, Afghanistan's top-scorer ignored his broken helmet and the doctor's advice to walk off the field. He stood his ground he says, for his team and his family.
When the ICC doctor and the team physio attended to him, Hashmatullah said he knew what he had to do. "They told me 'let's go' and I said 'no. I can't leave my team at the moment because my team needed me' and so I carry on."
Hashmatullah said one of the reasons he had got up quickly after being stuck such a fierce blow - the impact made a sound that left the first slip Joe Root visibly distressed - was that he knew his mother and his family back home would be watching.
"My mom is always thinking of me and I lost my father last year and I didn't want her to hurt. I carry on and I get up early because of my mom."
His elder brother was also in the capacity Manchester crowd and saw Hashmatullah survive five balls at top pace from Wood, fending one that fell short of short leg.
"You can see [Jofra] Archer and Mark Wood, they were too quick for me," he laughed, "Mark Wood was consistently bowling too quick for me and I said 'okay, I'm not going out'. He took a short leg, he keep [bowling] bouncers to me and I said 'okay, I will never give up'."
Off the sixth ball from Wood after having his helmet shattered, Hashmatullah smacked him over long on for a six. "I will not give up and I try and hit a six." The crowd roared.
Afghan management plays down restaurant altercation
The Afghanistan team manager has played down an incident that saw the police called to a restaurant in Manchester late on Monday night.
Naweed Sajem insists nobody in the squad was spoken to by police, despite reports of an altercation involving a player at around 11pm, the night before Afghanistan's match against England at Old Trafford.
Greater Manchester Police confirmed that "shortly after 11.15pm, police were called to reports of an altercation at a premises on Liverpool Road in Manchester." They said "no one was injured and no arrests have been made" but confirmed that "enquiries are ongoing".
Gulbadin Naib, the Afghanistan captain, denied any knowledge of the incident and threatened to walk out of a press conference if questioned about it further.
One eye-witness claims there was a minor disagreement between Mohammad Nabi and a member of the public, who had suggested the players may be eating too much the night before a game. Another claims players were irritated by a particularly persistent supporter looking to video them as they ate. Neither allege any physical altercation.