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



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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Back surgeon doubted he could fix Pattinson



James Pattinson‘s back was in such a bad state less than two years ago that the world renowned surgeon recruited to give him one last chance at a sustainable international career initially told the fast bowler that it was unlikely he would be able to help.

As Pattinson is rested from the second Ashes Test at Lord’s in recognition of the fact that too often in the past he was used by Cricket Australia when either at a high risk of injury or too soon after rehab from a previous problem, he has revealed that the New Zealand surgeon Grahame Inglis, who had worked wonders for the likes of Shane Bond and Matt Henry with spinal surgery, was at first highly hesitant about operating.

“There was probably a month after I found out about my stressy in my L4 [vertebra] where we were umming and ahhing whether the surgery would be a success,” Pattinson told The Final Word podcast. “We had opinions from over in England, people who’d done surgeries over here and the guy in New Zealand initially said ‘I don’t think I can really do much, your back looks like it’s too far gone’.

“For me that was pretty tough news to take. Maybe I was going to have a one-day career, I might play a few T20s or one-dayers and first-class cricket I might never get back there. So there was a fair bit of contemplating over that month then eventually he said ‘if you’re willing to take the risk, if I can make a 15% difference it might be what you need to keep you on the park with a bit of management’.

“I was in constant talks with [Shane Bond] about how he felt before the surgery leading into it and then post-surgery as well, and Corey Anderson as well had it before me, he was another guy I shot off a few texts to and got his opinion on a few things. Having people go through that experience and be able to lean on them is great.”

Inglis, who went on to conduct the 2017 surgery with another surgeon, Rowan Schouten, said at the time that this was very much a final roll of the dice to see if Pattinson could find a way back to playing long form cricket.

“Pattinson is the highest risk of the ones I’ve done. I’ve kept very tight criteria… and if you do that you get a good outcome and you finish up with a good reputation,” Inglis told in 2017. “In my opinion he’s on the margin and it’s a last-ditch attempt to try and keep him bowling. He’s got multiple problems up and down his back and we’re trying to pick off the one that’s stopping him from returning.”

The surgery turned out to be a success, and a steady path back to playing resulted in Pattinson bowling at close to his best in the opening Ashes Test at Edgbaston, before he was spelled for Lord’s. The Australian captain Tim Paine admitted in explaining the decision that Pattinson had been used and abused at times as a fast bowler in the past, and there have been numerous instances of the eagerness to play him overwhelming more rational and data-driven decisions about his welfare.

It was a pattern that began as early as his second Test series in 2011-12, when Pattinson played the second of back-to-back Tests against India in Sydney despite warnings that his workload was placing him at a high risk of injury – a foot stress fracture was the result. In 2013, Pattinson bowled 51 overs in the first Test of the Ashes at Trent Bridge, and played immediately after at Lord’s while Mitchell Starc was rested instead. Another 40 overs – with a brief turnaround because of Australia’s first innings batting collapse – contributed greatly to the first of the back stress fractures that ultimately led to the surgery in New Zealand five years later.

Pattinson said that in his younger years it had been difficult to say no to the offer of playing, no matter how his body was feeling. The pattern culminated in an unhappy match against New Zealand at Hagley Oval in 2016, the most recent of his Tests before this tour, where he ended the match with back and leg stress fractures, plus a torn ab muscle.

“The great thing with having so many bowlers around now is if you are a bit sore before the game, we are in a position now where you can go the other way rather than push through it … there are plenty of Test matches, we’ve got to look long term” Pattinson said. “For me, that’s probably a big learning curve.

“I’d come in with a stress fracture in my fibula into the [New Zealand] series, I was basically playing with a broken leg and in that Test match I started to feel my back start to go. I was in a bit of agony at the time. I tore my ab as well in that same game. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong…at the time I knew it was my last Test for a while and I just wanted to get it over and done with as quick as possible because at the time I wasn’t really in a great place.”

Earlier in 2017, Pattinson had made a significant change of his own by declining to go to India for that year’s Test tour as he did not feel his body was yet up to the rigours of Test cricket – something proven by the need for the back surgery later that same year. It helped that he was growing into maturity, marriage and fatherhood, and better able to speak for his own body.

“As a young bloke it’s hard to say no sometimes,” Pattinson said. “That’s why we’re always in constant communication now with the selectors after Test matches, how you pull up, how do you think you’ll go this game, and that’s the beauty of having so many bowlers available now and that’s what they’ve been wanting for ages, that opportunity for bowlers not at 100% we don’t have to risk that, we can have someone come in and do just as good a job. Looking back on those sorts of Tests, if I had my time again I probably would have taken longer at that stage.”

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Recent Match Report – West Indies vs India 3rd ODI 2019



Toss West Indies opt to bat v India

For the first time in the white-ball leg of India’s tour of the USA and West Indies, Virat Kohli lost the toss. He was asked to field first by West Indies captain Jason Holder. The hosts need a win to level the ODI series 1-1.

Despite showers expected later in the day, Holder backed his decision to bat first in Port-of-Spain. While announcing two changes that will bolster their batting, Holder said the team needed to bat as a collective.

“It’s a good opportunity for the batsman to have a good bat,” Holder said. “We try not to play the weather, need to focus on ourselves. We’ve done some talking, now it’s time for execution. Told the boys to take it as deep as possible. I try to take responsibility too, but we need to play as a collection. Sheldon Cottrell’s out with an illness, while Oshane Thomas has been rested. Keemo Paul and Fabian Allen are in.”

Kohli was not opposed to chasing, announcing one change to the team that won the second ODI. Left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav makes way for legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal, getting a game in India’s final white-ball match of the tour. Kohli also stressed that the team was looking to “plug” a few concerns, especially on the field.

“Not a bad thing, we have most often done what we wanted to do when we win the toss,” Kohli said. “Sometimes you are put up against what you want, but it’s a good chance to play on a pitch that may be challenging. We just spoke about how we sort of lost our way after drinks breaks, while batting and fielding. Sometimes you can make those mistakes during the breaks, and that brings the opposition back into the game.”

West Indies: 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Shai Hope (wk), 4 Shimron Hetmyer, 5 Nicholas Pooran, 6 Roston Chase, 7 Jason Holder (capt), 8 Carlos Brathwaite, 9 Fabian Allen, 10 Keemo Paul, 11 Kemar Roach

India: 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Rishabh Pant (wk), 5 Shreyas Iyer, 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Khaleel Ahmed, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

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South Africa door not closed for Chris Morris



Chris Morris will not be part of South Africa’s T20I side in India in September, but he remains in Cricket South Africa’s plans for the future. “He still wants to play cricket for South Africa,” CSA’s acting Director of Cricket Corrie van Zyl said of Morris’ status after the 32-year-old allrounder did not make himself available for selection for the India tour, which includes three T20Is and three Tests.

Morris’ national contract expired after the World Cup in England, and he has spent the last month playing for Hampshire in the Vitality Blast, alongside former Proteas Rilee Rossouw and Kyle Abbott. Morris has taken eight wickets and scored 84 runs so far in his time with Hampshire, but they are currently nestled at No. 6 in the South Group points table, with five defeats from nine games. ESPNcricinfo understands that Hampshire are not pursuing a Kolpak deal for Morris.

“It is well known that Chris’ national contract was not renewed beyond the World Cup,” van Zyl explained to Sport24. “Then, following his super performance at the World Cup, negotiations began on awarding him a new national contract but by then he had already made other commitments.”

Those commitments could well include the Caribbean Premier League, which starts on September 4. Morris has previously been contracted to the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the competition. The Euro T20 Slam also takes at the same time as the T20 leg of South Africa’s trip to India, starting on 30 August and ending on 22 September, the same day as the third T20I between South Africa and India.

“It absolutely does not mean that the door is closed, and we will start negotiations on a new contract again after the tour,” Van Zyl added.

Morris should be in the frame for what will be a busy home summer, with England and Australia both visiting before South Africa return to India in March next year.

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