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Scans clear Mark Wood of serious injury



Mark Wood has been cleared of serious injury and will remain part of England’s World Cup squad.

Wood, one of two England bowlers who regularly generate pace in excess of 90 mph – Jofra Archer is the other – pulled up during his fourth over of the warm-up match against Australia in Southampton on Saturday. Given his history of foot and ankle problems, there was some trepidation in the England camp when he was subsequently sent for scans.

But those scans have shown no sign of injury. Instead the England medical team believe Wood simply jarred his foot while bowling.

While Wood will not take part in Monday’s warm-up match against Afghanistan, he was seen bowling on a pitch on the edge of the square at The Oval shortly before play. England believe he will be available for selection for their first World Cup match, against South Africa, at The Oval on Thursday.

England have also had good news about the fitness of their captain, Eoin Morgan. Morgan was diagnosed with a small fracture in a finger on Thursday, but has recovered sufficiently to play on Monday in a 12-man side. Adil Rashid, who missed Saturday’s game with a shoulder injury, also returns to the side.

More to follow…

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Cricket Association of Uttarakhand gets BCCI membership



The Committee of Administrators (CoA) has appointed the Cricket Association of Uttarakhand (CAU) as the representative body to run cricket in the state, ending a long-standing dispute in which four different associations (later three, with two of them merging) had pushed their claims to be in charge.

The CoA order on August 13 came after it constituted an Affiliation Committee, consisting of Saba Karim, the BCCI general manger, and Anshuman Gaekwad. On the basis of their report, the CoA determined that CAU was the best placed to take charge of cricket affairs. The CAU will have to comply with the Supreme Court judgment of August 9, 2018, and file a compliance certificate with the CoA, appoint an electoral officer, and conduct elections in accordance with the approved constitution on or before September 14.

With the infighting among associations, the BCCI had constituted a Uttarakhand Cricket Consensus Committee headed by Ratnakar Shetty to run cricket affairs in the state last year, when Uttarakhand made its debut in domestic cricket. The players did exceptionally well on the field, not losing a single game in the Plate Group and qualifying for the quarter-finals, where they lost to eventual champions Vidarbha. Their showing earned them a promotion, and they will be in Group C this year.

The four associations who each staked claim for BCCI recognition were United Cricket Association (UTCA), Uttaranchal Cricket Association (UCA) and Uttarakhand Cricket Association (UKCA), apart from the CAU. In September 2017, UTCA merged with CAU, making it a three-horse race. That was narrowed to two associations – UCA and CAU – with the CoA stating that the documents provided by UKCA to the Affiliate Committee proved “grossly inadequate” to make a fair assessment of the association’s ability to run cricket in the state. The CoA also said the infighting within UKCA showed that promoting cricket appeared to be a “secondary objective” for UKCA.

While the Affiliation Committee did not make any recommendation between the two remaining associations (UCA and CAU), the CoA leaned towards CAU due to their superior revenue generation. The CAU’s aggregate revenue from the financial years 2005-06 to 2017-18 was INR 25,980,456, while that of UCA was only INR 1,084,028. The CoA found this to be a significant difference in the ability of both associations to carry out cricketing activities in the state, and awarded membership to CAU.

However, the CoA also noted that as per the report prepared by Karim and Gaekwad, UCA had much better administrative infrastructure, more professional management, better connect with former cricketers, and had their documents in order – all of which were lacking in CAU.

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The Hundred a ‘great opportunity’ missed for English coaches – Andrew Strauss



Andrew Strauss, the man who appointed Trevor Bayliss during his stint as England’s director of men’s cricket, has said that the lack of English coaches at the highest levels of the game is a concern for the sport, and believes that The Hundred has missed an opportunity to advance the careers of some of the best home-grown candidates.

Strauss, who stood down from his role late last year to care for his wife Ruth in the last months of her fight with a rare form of lung cancer, also believes that the demands of England’s schedule across all three formats are “too much” for one man to manage alone. He added that his successor in the role, Ashley Giles, will have to factor in the attractiveness of short-term coaching gigs in franchise T20 cricket.

Bayliss, who joined the England set-up ahead of the Ashes in 2015, was appointed very much on the strength of his success in white-ball cricket, where he enjoyed trophy-winning stints with Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash and Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL.

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He duly lived up to his primary expectation by helping to transform England’s white-ball fortunes from the misery of the 2015 World Cup to the glory in the final of the 2019 tournament, against New Zealand at Lord’s last month. However, in Test cricket, England’s standards have failed to progess, with last week’s defeat in the first Test against Australia being their sixth in their last seven Ashes encounters.

“For Trevor to win the World Cup, that is an extraordinary feather in his cap,” Strauss said. “He has been a fantastic England coach, he has been a great man and you speak to the guys who have played under him and they all have huge respect for him as a person and you can’t ask for more than that.

“He will be slightly frustrated that the Test team has not progressed as much as he would have liked. But considering the long-term trend in England cricket, my argument would be that a coach can only do so much. But we’ve got to do more to prepare players to perform away from home in particular, and that is a systemic thing rather than something that the coach has full control over.”

With the exception of two truncated stints from Peter Moores, England have not had a long-term English head coach for two decades, with Duncan Fletcher (1999 to 2007) and Andy Flower (2009 to 2014) taking charge of the team’s fortunes with some notable success, particularly in Test cricket.

And though Strauss believes that the likes of Chris Silverwood and Paul Collingwood – currently within the England set-up – could develop into high-calibre contenders, the lack of top-level opportunities is creating a “chicken-and-egg scenario” for their progression. The confirmed appointments for the men’s Hundred include several Australians in Shane Warne, Simon Katich and Andrew McDonald, as well as the South African Gary Kirsten.

“Personally I think that [The Hundred] was a great opportunity for English coaches to be appointed,” Strauss said. “Each of those teams will have their own reasons for appointing experienced coaches, who have coached in T20 cricket elsewhere in the world. You can completely understand that, but there is a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation in that unless English coaches get an opportunity, how do they get the experience.

“We’ve always got to look for an opportunity for our English coaches to get more experience than just doing county coaching gigs. They need to do more than that if they are going to be viable candidates for England jobs going forward.

“Some of the really good, young English coaches are currently involved in the England team. So Paul Collingwood being a great example, Chris Silverwood, Marcus Trescothick is doing some work as well. So those are guys who may have had some appeal to The Hundred teams but actually are involved with the England teams at the moment.”

The right candidate for the England job, however, will need to deal with more than just the mechanics of red- and white-ball cricket.

“The coaching is one thing, dealing with the media is another, dealing with the pressure of high-intensity series and all those things play in just as much as your ability to coach 11 players,” Strauss said.

“I personally don’t think it’s sustainable for the same coaches to do all formats, whether it’s a coach or assistant coaches, you need people to be able to come and go because it’s just too much.

“We can’t prepare and play at the same time. If you’re playing one series, you need someone who’s preparing for the next series that’s coming on in a couple of weeks. It’s very hard to do that.

“His [Giles’] thinking at the moment, from what I’ve heard, is that he thinks that there is value in having one head coach who looks after the whole thing, who you identify periods of rest for. And then you have support staff there who will dip in and out. Which is fine, I think that makes sense.”

However, the lure of The Hundred for overseas coaches merely underlines the attractiveness of franchise-style competitions, and the problems that Giles is likely to face in persuading a suitable name to commit to the long-term challenge of guiding England’s fortunes.

“That’s the real challenge, there’s some great coaching opportunities for people out there who can go for three months of the year, and have the rest of the year off to do other things,” Strauss said. “So I think if I was in Ashley’s shoes right now, I’d be asking myself the question around what does the England team need going forward. If he feels he needs a coach for all formats, then he’s got to think whether he’s looking for a certain type of experience and style, and then try and identify the candidates from there.”

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Alex Hales continues comeback push with Mzansi Super League stint



Alex Hales‘ attempts to ensure he is England’s T20 World Cup plans will continue this winter, after he was announced as a marquee player for the Mzansi Super League in South Africa.

Hales will play for Durban Heat, and is one of four marquee overseas signings appearing in the league for the first time along with compatriots Tom Curran (Tshwane Spartans) and David Willey (Paarl Rocks), and Pakistan seamer Wahab Riaz (Cape Town Blitz).

The other international marquee players are the retained pair of Jason Roy (Nelson Mandela Bay Giants) and Chris Gayle (Jozi Stars).

There is one change among the domestic marquee players, with Andile Phehlukwayo replacing Hashim Amla at Durban Heat.

Hales was deselected from England’s 50-over World Cup squad after a 21-day ban for using recreational drugs, and in May said that he was targeting the T20 World Cup in Australia next year for a potential comeback. He opted out of first-class cricket last year and his attempts to focus on cricket have been limited to seven appearances in the Vitality Blast.

“I hope the door is not closed. That’s one of my aims, that T20 World Cup,” Hales said at the Caribbean Premier League draft in May. “I’m going to go through the process, hopefully score some runs in these tournaments and see how we go. I want to enjoy my cricket.

“I think it’s a good opportunity,” he said of his attempts to use franchise leagues as a springboard. “These tournaments now are well respected all around the world, particularly by the selectors and ECB. I’d love to use these tournaments to hopefully get back into the frame for next year.”

Hales will play in the CPL for Barbados Tridents, and has another year on his deal with Rangpur Riders in the Bangladesh Premier League. He has scored 207 runs for Nottinghamshire in the ongoing Vitality Blast, with two fifties and a strike rate of 140.54.

The MSL is scheduled for November and December – though the exact dates are yet to be finalised – and England’s players will likely arrive straight after their five-match T20I series in New Zealand at the start of November. If Roy keeps his spot in the Test team, he may miss the first handful of games playing in England’s two-Test series there.

The list of other retained players was released last week. The exact date of the player draft is yet to be confirmed, though it is likely to be in early September.

South African marquee players: Quinton de Kock (Cape Town Blitz), Andile Phehlukwayo (Durban Heat), Kagiso Radaba (Jozi Stars), Imran Tahir (Nelson Mandela Bay Giants), Faf du Plessis (Paarl Rocks), AB de Villiers (Tshwane Spartans)

International marquee players: Wahab Riaz (Cape Town Blitz), Alex Hales (Durban Heat), Chris Gayle (Jozi Stars), Jason Roy (Nelson Mandela Bay Giants), David Willey (Paarl Rocks), Tom Curran (Tshwane Spartans)

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