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Steve Rhodes urges Shakib Al Hasan to show the World Cup why he’s No. 1

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Thanks to the finger injury that kept him out of Bangladesh’s tour of New Zealand, the recently concluded tri-series in Ireland was Shakib Al Hasan‘s first taste of ODI cricket in nearly five months. He recovered from that injury in time for the IPL, but only got to play three matches for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the tournament.

In Ireland, Shakib played an important role in Bangladesh winning their first ever non-bilateral ODI tournament, scoring two unbeaten fifties and bowling economically. Though he missed the final with a side strain, the performance was enough to move him back up to the top of the ICC rankings for ODI allrounders, 20 points clear of Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan.

Shakib is fit again in the lead-up to the World Cup, and, according to Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes, is looking to prove a point.

“Shakib is fine,” Rhodes told the ICC in Cardiff, after Sunday’s warm-up match against Pakistan was washed out. “He’s in a great position physically. He had a little problem in Ireland but he’s got over that and is raring to go.

“He’s looking forward to a wonderful tournament. I think he’s got a bit of a point to prove and he probably thinks that as well. He seems to have been a little bit forgotten but now he’s back as the world’s No.1 allrounder in ODI cricket – and that’s where we think he belongs.

“But he’s got a point to prove to make sure everybody else believes that.”

Another Bangladesh player who hasn’t been at full fitness of late is Mahmudullah, who has been playing as a specialist batsman in recent matches thanks to a shoulder issue that is keeping him from bowling his offspin. While admitting that the injury was affecting the balance of the side, Rhodes was confident Mahmudullah would be back to bowling in matches at some point during the World Cup.

“Mahmudullah’s shoulder is coming along a little slowly,” Rhodes said. “I don’t think it would have been possible for him to bowl against Pakistan. We’re very optimistic that we can get him up and running for the early stages of the World Cup.

“It may affect our balance slightly, but the good thing about Mahmudullah is that he doesn’t need a lot of practice to be good at bowling.”

Bangladesh’s squad is among the most experienced at the World Cup, featuring five players with 175 or more ODIs under their belt.

“People keep telling me that to win a world tournament you need experience,” Rhodes said. “I’m glad because we’ve got a wealth of experience there. I listen to them a lot because why wouldn’t you with that vast experience?

“It will be a good thing when it gets a little tight towards the end of the group. There are 10 teams in this World Cup, but when I looked at the odds, we were ninth favourites and Afghanistan were tenth favourites – but on our day we both could beat the favourites.

“There’s going to be a lot of winning and losing by all teams.”



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How Kane Richardson learned to stop worrying and love the game

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Kane Richardson would have challenged Justin Langer if the Australia coach had told him to his face that he didn’t seem to have the bottle to come back and play for Australia again. Before the start of the World Cup, Langer used Richardson as an example of how far the Australia team had come in a year.

Langer said he remembered a chat with Richardson after the tour of England last year where they lost each of the six internationals. This was after the only T20I following the 5-0 whitewash in the ODI series. Langer, used to winning a lot when he played for Australia and when he coached Perth Scorchers, wasn’t quite impressed with the team he had. Richardson had gone for 59 runs in his four overs in that game. On the next tour that Richardson went to – in Zimbabwe – he didn’t get a single game, which told him where he stood with Langer.

“I’m thinking about someone like Kane Richardson who I sat with after the T20 game last year and I never thought he’d play cricket for Australia again,” Langer said before the start of this World Cup. “I didn’t think he had the bottle and we talked about it but how he has come on and you see he is having a red hot dip here. Everything he does, whether it’s at training, he’s talked about it to the group, he doesn’t want to play scared cricket, he wants to be an Australian cricketer, he’s a great role model for our players to come from where we were 12 months ago, he’s standing tall and he’s having a go.”

Richardson had to wait nine months for his next appearance for Australia, and he still didn’t make it to the original World Cup squad. It was an injury to Jhye Richardson that got him in, and a green track in overcast Taunton that finally got him a World Cup match. He didn’t have great List A numbers in between – averaging 43.5 and conceding runs at 6.21 to the over – but it could be his T20 performances that got him back into the mix. He averaged 17.7 and conceded runs at 7.75 an over in the BBL, which is quite acceptable.

Most importantly, though, Richardson gave up worrying about selection and started believing in himself. “Since then – it will sound silly – I have just gone and stopped caring about selection,” Richardson said. “You just go back and do your best. And I think that’s what happened in the end. I took some wickets. All of a sudden, a few blokes fall down and you are the next one in. Yeah I just kind of gave up all – kind of – thought about it and just played cricket.”

Langer didn’t actually let Richardson know what he thought of him. “He didn’t say it that time,” Richardson said. “I would have been pretty upset. Not so much upset, but I would have challenged him, I reckon. Any time some questions your bottle – as he said – I am pretty strong in my competitiveness. Just good to read and know that he thought that and now he thinks … it is quite positive. At the time I was pretty disappointed in my performance, and I knew something had to change.”

Langer has seen a completely transformed Richardson on this trip. “It was just about believing in himself,” Langer said. “He is a really talented athlete. He has great skills. He is a beautiful athlete. He can field well, catch well, but when you are just holding back a little bit – maybe I won’t go for that because I don’t want to mess it up – now he is having a dip and a red-hot crack at it.”

Richardson himself never believed he was done playing for Australia, but he wouldn’t have beaten himself up had he not. “I kind of stopped caring about it,” Richardson said. “There is no point worrying about it. I just thought well if I do never end up playing again, then so be it. I will do everything I can to play but it is what it is. All I can do is do my best, and that’s it.”



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Recent Match Report – Glamorgan vs Derbyshire, County Championship Division Two, 1st Innings

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Derbyshire 504 for 4 (Godleman 211*, Lace 143) lead Glamorgan 394 (Wagg 100, Carey 62*) by 110 runs

After Glamorgan’s batsmen had set new batting records yesterday, Billy Godleman followed suit in Derbyshire’s first innings as they ended the third day’s play on 504 for 4 – a lead of 110, with maximum batting points. The captain led by example, scoring a career best 211 not out – surpassing the 204 he scored against Worcestershire three years ago.

Much will depend on the weather on tomorrow’s final day, but the likely outcome will be for Derbyshire to adopt a positive approach, and gain a lead in excess of 200, and then try to dismiss Glamorgan in their second innings.

Tom Lace joined his captain in the 12th over, and they were not separated for a further 61 overs, having shared a partnership of 291 for the third wicket. During that stand, they broke the record for the third wicket against Glamorgan, and later for any wicket against the Welsh county.

Another ten runs would have seen a 300 partnership for only the tenth time in Derbyshire’s history, but Lace was dismissed by a remarkable catch by Owen Morgan, who dived to his right on the fine leg boundary to hold the catch one handed, inches from the ground.

Lace, 21, is on a season’s loan from Middlesex, and during his time there was coached by David Houghton, who is now Derbyshire’s Head of Cricket. He was at the crease for four and a half hours for his chanceless innings and struck 18 fours. If any of Middlesex’s batsmen are injured, then Lace could be recalled for their next championship game which, ironically, is against Glamorgan on Sunday.

Godleman, despite being dropped twice behind the wicket and then a difficult chance to slip, scored most of his runs through the off-side, and although he played and missed on numerous occasions, remained steadfast and ensured his team would gain a sizeable first-innings lead.

The second new ball accounted for Lace, and nine overs later Michael Hogan, who had changed ends dismissed Alex Hughes, who was leg before without moving his feet. Harvey Hosein then joined Godleman to extend the lead, as Glamorgan’s bowlers toiled on the unresponsive pitch. Hosein is 53 not out, as the pair shared a hundred-run partnership in the penultimate over.

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Recent Match Report – Sussex vs Gloucestershire, County Championship Division Two, 1st Innings

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Gloucestershire 146 for 3 (Dent 59, Roderick 51*) trail Sussex 351 for 8 dec by 205 runs

Gloucestershire pair Chris Dent and Gareth Roderick both made half-centuries between the showers but their Specsavers County Championship match against Sussex is heading towards a draw.

Only 49 overs in two sessions were possible on the third day at Arundel Castle, with Gloucestershire reaching 146 for 3 in reply to Sussex’s 351 for 8. With just a day left a stalemate looks certain, which would at least keep Sussex in the top three promotion places in Division Two.

Umpires Ian Blackwell and Neil Bainton took the players off again at 5pm because of light drizzle and play was abandoned at 5.40pm. So far, 123 overs have been lost to rain during the match.

Dent made 851 runs and was Gloucestershire’s leading run scorer in the Championship last season but his 59 on a slow pitch was only his second half-century of the season.

After the early loss of Miles Hammond, Dent shared stands of 60 with James Bracey and Roderick, who was unbeaten on 51 when the rain returned an hour after play had resumed at 4pm following a three-hour delay.

Dent will have been disappointed with his dismissal. On a slow pitch he had survived one escape when he was dropped at third slip by Luke Wells off Ollie Robinson. He had moved onto 59 when he chased a ball from Chris Jordan down the leg side and Sussex wicketkeeper Ben Brown dived to his right to pull off a good catch. Dent faced 141 balls and hit eight fours.

Roderick did the bulk of the scoring in the hour after the resumption and his 88-ball half-century included six boundaries.

Earlier, Sussex had declared on their overnight score of 351 for 8 after rain had wiped out two sessions on the second day. Robinson was a handful with the new ball and was rewarded in his second over when he moved one away from Hammond who edged to third slip where Danny Briggs took a good catch.

Robinson’s progress was being monitored by England scout Geoff Arnold, with a view to a possible call-up for England Lions’ match against Australia A next month.

He would have been celebrating again in his second spell had Wells held on when Dent was on 46. Instead, David Wiese took the second wicket when Bracey, who had played well for his 21, chased a wide delivery and slapped it into Briggs’s hands at point.



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