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Chris Morris to join Hampshire for Vitality Blast

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South Africa allrounder Chris Morris will join Hampshire for this year’s Vitality Blast.

The 32-year-old Morris was this week called into South Africa’s World Cup squad as a replacement for fast bowler Anrich Nortje, who was ruled out of the tournament because of a fractured thumb.

Morris will join Hampshire at the end of his World Cup commitments and will be available for the entire Blast season.

A fierce right-arm seamer and destructive middle-order hitter, Morris has made 63 appearances so far for his national side since his debut in a T20I against New Zealand in 2012. He averages 20.50 with the ball in T20Is with a strike rate of 130.39 with the bat.

Playing domestically for the Titans, Morris has also featured in several franchise competitions around the world, including the IPL and CPL, and he played for Surrey in the 2016 Blast.

“I’m really looking forward to joining Hampshire for the Vitality Blast,” Morris said. “It’s an exciting tournament and it’s an exciting summer coming up – I can’t wait to get there and play at the Ageas Bowl and express what I can do.”

Hampshire director of cricket, Giles White said: “We were delighted when Chris agreed early on to join us for the season. He’s a dynamic batsman in the middle-order and a handful with the ball both up front and at the death, so he’s a great fit for us and hopefully he’ll make a big difference this summer.”

Hampshire begin their quest to reach an eighth T20 finals day in 10 years on July 19 when they host Sussex.



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Graeme Smith seeks clarity on Faf du Plessis’ future following ODI captaincy change

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Graeme Smith, South Africa’s director of cricket, has confirmed that Quinton de Kock’s appointment as ODI captain is a permanent move, not just an interim decision with Faf du Plessis rested for the forthcoming series against England.

Speaking at a press conference in Johannesburg, Smith added that the selectors would review du Plessis’ remaining roles as Test and T20 captain at the conclusion of the England tour, but stressed the need for a “robust” discussion about his long-term future in the team.

Du Plessis, 35, hinted at the end of last week’s innings defeat in Port Elizabeth that the fourth Test at the Wanderers, starting on Friday, could be his last on home soil.

He has been short of runs in the past few months – his second-innings 36 was his highest score in six innings against England, in which time he has been averaging 18.83.

And though du Plessis has earmarked South Africa’s Test tour of the West Indies in July as his farewell series, Smith is cautious about committing to the incumbent captain, both for that trip and for the T20 World Cup that takes place in Australia in November.

“We see Faf playing a role as a player but from a leadership perspective, we felt the need to move on,” Smith said of the decision to hand over the ODI reins to de Kock.

“T20 we will review after this Test series,” he added. “At the moment, Faf is in that position. I need to sit with him post this Test series. We will have a robust discussion on his future.

“He is the South Africa Test captain. The next series is in the Caribbean. I need to understand how he sees his future in the game.”

The T20 World Cup could also feature a return to South Africa colours for AB de Villiers, whose belated decision to make himself available for last year’s 50-over World Cup came too late for the selectors to include him.

However, even at the age of 36, de Villiers remains one of the pre-eminent T20 batsmen in the world, and Smith said he was open to the prospect of his return.

“His record in one-day and T20 cricket is outstanding,” said Smith. “It would be silly of us not have him involved.”



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Kevin Kasuza suffers delayed concussion, replaced by Mudzinganyama | Cricket

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Kevin Kasuza hits one off the back foot © Associated Press


Zimbabwe’s debutant opener Kevin Kasuza has suffered a delayed concussion after sustaining a blow to the helmet at short leg on day three of the first Test in Harare. Although Kasuza had been cleared of concussion via scans on Tuesday, Zimbabwe’s team doctor has confirmed that concussion has set in on Wednesday

The hosts have now named a like-for-like concussion substitute under the ICC’s new rules, bringing in 24-year old opener Brian Mudzinganyama into the XI. Mudzinganyama has impressed in recent domestic matches, hitting 127 for Rangers in late December. The substitution means he will now be make a Test debut.

Kasuza, who made 63 in the first innings, had not immediately felt the effects of the blow, when a full-blooded Kusal Mendis pull caught him flush on the helmet in the first session of day three. After a few seconds, however, he took his helmet off, and suddenly appeared groggy. He was able to continue standing, partly with the support of his teammates, and after the Zimbabwe team doctor came out to assess him, he left the field before another ball was bowled. Despite being cleared of an immediate concussion by scans, Kasuza did not return to the field of play .

The recently introduced concussion substitution protocols dictate that the team’s medical representative – usually the physio – must run standardised tests and submit a report to the match referee. On this occasion, match referee Javagal Srinath has accepted that Kasuza is suffering from concussion. It seems likely that Kasuza will be unavailable for the second Test as well, which starts on Monday.

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ESPN Sports Media Ltd.






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Jonathan Wells, Peter Siddle take Strikers closer to playoffs

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Despite a late flourish from Peter Handscomb, Melbourne Stars fell short of their 163 target



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