Northamptonshire have surprised a few people with the signing of Pakistani big-hitter Shahid Afridi for this year's NatWest T20 Blast.
The all-rounder will be available for the first six games of the tournament, if the deal is cleared by the Pakistan Cricket Board.
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen says county cricket should follow the example of Australia's Big Bash and have a franchise Twenty20 competition.
Pietersen, who is currently playing for the Melbourne Stars, believes the system would help the best young players in England to prosper,
"What's frustrating is they say they want to help home-grown players.
"But the best way to make them become better is to play against better players. Find a way to franchise county cricket. You would have 10 counties or franchises who play each other in Twenty20 or one-day cricket.
"All the muppets who are on 18 grand (£18,000), 15 grand (£15,000), either you become better or you go and do something else. The best players would play against each other week in week out. That's how you become better. You don't do that by reducing salary caps."
New South Wales and Sydney Thunder batsman Daniel Hughes was struck on the neck by a bouncer in a incident similar to the one that caused the death of Australian cricketer Phil Hughes.
Hughes, 25, was hit below his helmet by the ball while batting in a grade match in Sydney. Play was suspended while an ambulance entered the field of play to treat the injured batsman.
Northern Districts president Mike Langford told Australian newspaper the Sunday Telegraph: "His neck was swelling up and we thought 'oh god'.
"This Phil Hughes thing, it's gone deeper...you know how it was at the time. It's in the back of everyone's mind now and (there was) especially something ironic about the last name Hughes and (being) hit in the same spot.
"But at no stage was he convulsing or throwing up or any of that sort. We got him in the club room and then we called an ambulance. He had CT scans and that came back with some good news saying there's no burst (artery).''
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England one-day international cricket captain Eoin Morgan has been targeted in a blackmail plot, the England and Wales Cricket Board said.
The ECB was contacted by an Australian man demanding a five-figure sum before the first ball of the team's match against Australia tomorrow.
The man threatened to reveal details of an alleged relationship between Morgan and an Australian woman five years ago and blamed jealousy for his threats.
Police investigated the claims and approached the man who admitted and apologised for his actions, ECB said.
In a statement, the ECB said: "The ECB will not allow anyone to disrupt our team’s performance on the field of play. We are wholly focused on winning cricket matches.
"This matter has now been brought to a conclusion and we will not be seeking further action against the individual at this stage."
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England seamer James Anderson has argued against drastic measures to curb sledging.
The Lancashire bowler doesn't think sledging needs to be halted ahead of the World Cup, despite heated on-field incidents recently.
The issue of verbal spats is increasingly becoming the game's cause celebre, with former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe proposing a yellow and red card system
"I don't think at the moment there is any more sledging than there's been in the history of cricket - it's something that's gone on for years and years," the Lancastrian said.
"There's a spotlight on it a little bit more, with stump mics and lots of cameras on the ground.
"But of course there's a line and I think all players are aware of that.
"I'm not sure about (a card system). At the moment if you cross that line the umpires are within their rights to give either a fine or a ban. For me, I don't want to get fined or banned so I'm more than happy with that rather than cards."
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