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Recent Match Report – Surrey vs Yorkshire, County Championship Division One, 2nd Innings

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Surrey 313 (Foakes 62, Stoneman 61, Smith 56; Patterson 5-81, Coad 3-71) drew with Yorkshire 148 (Morkel 4-43, Clarke 3-35) and 30 for 0

“When an hour is all thou hast, make much of that hour.” The phrase might be found on an old sampler reminding folk of the virtues of the Protestant work ethic yet it carried topical power on the final morning of this wet game at Guildford. For against the background clatter of staff gracelessly stacking chairs long before this match ended, Surrey’s Morne Morkel took three wickets in 12 balls, thereby establishing a dominance that would reach its climax when Yorkshire were bowled out for 148 just before tea.

Steve Patterson’s batsmen thus spent the truncated last session of this suddenly dramatic game ensuring cock-up did not become total calamity. They achieved that goal although it was fitting that the weather came to their aid. Bad light trimmed four overs from the 38 Yorkshire might have faced but the openers, Adam Lyth and Will Fraine, had negotiated their way to 30 without loss when the draw was agreed amid gloom and approaching showers. All the same, a contest which had hitherto been notable mainly for its appalling weather had suddenly acquired much greater interest and that was a fitting reward for the tough souls who had braved both wind and rain on this last day.

“Vigilance is the watchword of the righteous.” That saying, too, might once have been embroidered and framed in God-fearing households yet it has carried a powerful admonition for Yorkshire this week, quite regardless of their beliefs. To borrow a more modern idiom, they have not always been at it during this game. They didn’t expect to play on the second day and had to be roused from their hotel by coaches who were astonished to see Surrey warming up and groundsmen preparing the pitch. Then on this final morning, with nothing but bonus points seemingly at stake, they batted as if shocked into timidity by the intensity of Ben Foakes’ attack.

But any tendency to pile blame on Yorkshire’s batsmen for their side’s collapse should be balanced by recognition of the excellence of Surrey’s bowling. That quality was apparent when Morkel dug in the first ball of the morning with perfect accuracy and a disconcerted Gary Ballance could only fend a catch to Dean Elgar in the gully. We little knew it but the tone of the day had been set. Next over Morkel pitched the ball up and had both Fraine and Jack Leaning caught behind by Foakes, who dived in front of first slip to make the second snare.

After bowling only four overs Morkel was replaced by Jordan Clark who took his first wicket for his new county when Jonny Tattersall’s thoroughly irresponsible slash edged the ball high to Rikki Clarke at first slip. Next ball the same combination did for a rather less culpable Dom Bess and one’s thoughts went back to the July morning last summer when Clark, then wearing Lancashire’s colours, dismissed Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Johnny Bairstow with successive balls. There was no repeat of that famous hat-trick this damp morning in Guildford but the sense of panic among the batting side was similar.

There was a rain break but it did not douse Surrey’s fire. Immediately the players returned Tom Kohler-Cadmore was caught down the leg side off Clarke for 14 and made his way off the field rubbing his hip. Three wickets had fallen for no runs and there was really no telling which way this game would go.

As it turned out, an utterly unpredictable morning was followed by the most of predictable of early afternoons in a week which has taught us all to value the high days of summer. The rain set in and prevented any resumption until 2.30pm. But still the pattern of the cricket did not change. Despite Jordan Thompson’s late aggression – the debutant included a huge six off Clarke in his 34 – the 55 runs added by his side’s last three wickets could not prevent the follow on being enforced. After taking four wickets in the innings, Morkel took an excellent catch over his head at long leg to remove Thompson off Matt Dunn. Surrey’s cricketers then beetled off to have tea and prepare to bowl again. Yorkshire had lost all their wickets for 97 runs, the last nine of them in 26 overs.

But the excitement was over. Lyth and Fraine batted with immense care in the final session of this game and spectators were left to wonder what might have happened had not 56.3 overs been lost on this last day. Surrey now have a free week but can be emboldened by their cricket at Guildford. Yorkshire, for their part, were probably grateful they could skedaddle home with five points for the draw. Not so far away, Somerset were the big winners from this rain-wrecked four days. Even in mid-June neutrals may be tantalised by the thought that this may finally be the Wyverns’ year.



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Zimbabwe cricketers ‘heart-broken’ after suspension – Sikandar Raza

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Disappointment, despair and heartbreak. These are the words Sikandar Raza used to describe the mood among his Zimbabwe team-mates, as they frantically called each other and exchanged messages in the minutes following the ICC’s decision to suspend Zimbabwe with immediate effect over ‘government interference’.

Raza said his team-mates’ emotions were similar to the way they felt after the World Cup Qualifier last year, when their defeat to UAE cost them a place in the 2019 World Cup. But the situation was a lot worse, he said, as players remain in the dark over their immediate and foreseeable future. Zimbabwe are scheduled to play a T20 tri-series in September in Bangladesh, against the hosts and Afghanistan, in the lead-up to the Men’s World T20 Qualifier in October in the UAE. While Zimbabwe remain suspended, representative teams will not be allowed to participate in any ICC events, making their presence in the Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in August and Men’s World T20 Qualifier highly unlikely.

Effectively, Zimbabwe Cricket has to get its house in order by the next ICC meeting in October. Raza said that the ICC could have applied the same conditions but at least allowed them to play cricket.

“We are all pretty heart-broken at the moment,” Raza told ESPNcricinfo. “We are still in shock to be honest, seeing how our international career can come to an end like that. Not just for one player, but for the whole country. I am not coming to terms with it so easily, and I am sure my team-mates feel the same way. Where do we go from here? Is there a way out?

“I don’t know what is the way out. We have been told that we have been suspended but not told for how long. [A] two-year [suspension] could basically bring an end to a lot of careers. I don’t know the conditions but to totally suspend us from playing cricket, while you allow whoever is responsible to get our house in order, you basically stop cricket in Zimbabwe. I don’t know how one can do that but it has happened to us now.”

Raza feared it may be time for Zimbabwe players to think of alternative careers. Raza, himself, is a software engineer, and had also attended the Air Force College in Pakistan. Although he picked up cricket as a profession later than most players, he has quickly built himself into a solid batting allrounder in international cricket, and has picked up gigs in many of the T20 leagues around the world .

“If we miss the World T20 qualifiers, we will miss the T20 tri-series in Bangladesh [in September]. What if the house [ZC] is not in order? Is the ICC going to recognise the interim committee or the old committee? What is happening?

“I don’t know where we go as international cricketers. Is it club cricket or no cricket for us? Do we just burn our kit and apply for jobs? I don’t know what we have to do right now.”

Raza said that if the ICC had directly overseen the Zimbabwe Cricket elections in June, they may have quickly recognised why the government’s Sports and Recreation Commission dismissed the board in the first place. “I genuinely thought that it would have been ideal if one member of the ICC had come and overseen the election process, for the reasons SRC dismissed the board, while we continued to play cricket. I thought that would have been a very good quick fix.”

Last year, while accepting the Player of the Tournament award at the World Cup Qualifier in Harare, Raza had voiced his disappointment at the ICC’s decision to limit the number of teams in the 2019 World Cup. He maintained a similar stance regarding cricket’s decision-makers

“As much as I want to say, there’s nothing to say. Our cricket and livelihoods have been taken away from us,” he said. “Whatever I say now will mean nothing. It will fall on deaf ears. I just thought the motto was to grow the game, and it keeps on shrinking.”



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Sachin Tendulkar, Allan Donald, Cathryn Fitzpatrick inducted in ICC Hall of Fame

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Former India captain Sachin Tendulkar, former South Africa fast bowler Allan Donald and former Australia Women’s fast bowler Cathryn Fitzpatrick have become the newest additions to the ICC Hall of Fame. The trio were inducted in a ceremony in London on Thursday.

Tendulkar, cricket’s most prolific run-getter, was inducted immediately after becoming eligible: the ICC rule requires that a player should have played his last international match at least five years before and Tendulkar had retired in November 2013. He is the sixth Indian to be part of the ICC’s Hall of Fame, following Sunil Gavaskar, Bishan Singh Bedi, Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid.

The only player to feature in 200 Test matches, Tendulkar scored 15921 runs in the longest format and 18426 runs in ODIs, both run tallies standing as records. He is also the only player to have scored 100 centuries in international cricket (51 in Tests and 49 in ODIs) and was part of India’s World Cup winning side in 2011.

“It is an honour to be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame, which cherishes the contribution of cricketers over generations,” Tendulkar said. “They have all contributed to the growth and popularity of the game and I am happy to have done my bit.”

Donald, who retired from all formats in 2004, was one of South Africa’s greatest fast bowlers, and the first bowler from the side to take 300 Test wickets and 200 ODI wickets. Donald ended with a wickets tally of 602 wickets in an international career that spanned more than a decade.

“The biggest shock when you open an e-mail like that – it says congratulations Allan Donald, you have been inducted in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame! It hits you, it hits you quite hard because it is a prestigious award and something that you can’t take lightly. I thank the ICC for the huge honour.”

Fitzpatrick, the eighth woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, was the fastest bowler in women’s cricket over the course of her 16-year international career. Her tally of 180 ODI wickets was the highest in women’s cricket, until it was surpassed by India seamer Jhulan Goswami in May 2017. Fitzpatrick helped Australia lift two Women’s World Cups – in 1997 and 2005 – and was coach of the side between May 2012 and May 2015, in which time Australia Women won a World Cup and two World T20 titles.

“To gain recognition alongside many of the games’ giants is a huge honour. I look at the list of past inductees and what stands out most is not only their outstanding talent, but that they were game changers. They took the game on and changed the way it was played.”

ICC’s chief executive Manu Sawhney said the three were among the finest players to have ever graced the game. “It is a great honour for us to announce the 2019 inductees into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. Sachin, Allan and Cathryn are three of the finest players to ever grace our game and are deserved additions to the Hall of Fame. On behalf of the ICC, I would like to congratulate all three players, who enrich the list of all-time greats already members of this select club.”



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Recent Match Report – Gloucestershire vs Leicestershire, County Championship Division Two, 2nd Innings

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Gloucestershire 504 for 9 dec (Dent 125, J Taylor 99, Smith 84, Howell 76) and 48 for 4 beat Leicestershire 252 (Dexter 56, M Taylor 3-39) and 299 (Azad 121, Higgins 5-71) by six wickets

Ryan Higgins claimed five wickets as Gloucestershire moved into the Division Two promotion race with a thrilling six-wicket Specsavers County Championship win over Leicestershire at Cheltenham.

Hassan Azad‘s battling last-day hundred helped the visitors extend their second-innings total from an overnight 78 for 2 to 299 all out, Higgins returning 5 for 71, but did not prove enough in an exciting finale.

The visitors collapsed from 255 for 4 at tea and Gloucestershire were left with eight overs to score the 48 needed for victory. They got home with three balls to spare, Gareth Roderick ending the game with an amazing six over point off Chris Wright. The home side took 22 points to move within ten of third-placed Northamptonshire with a game in hand, while Leicestershire had to be content with four.

Azad, who had hit 137 and 100 not out in the corresponding game at Grace Road this summer, began the day on 38, with occupation of the crease was his primary objective as his side chased the 174 more runs needed to make Gloucestershire bat again. He offered just one chance in the morning session, on 69 when Jack Taylor could not grasp a sharp catch at short-leg off the bowling of left-arm spinner Tom Smith.

Colin Ackerman helped frustrate the home attack on a fourth-day pitch offering little other than some variable bounce for the seamers, although there was some evidence of turn out of the rough. He and Azad maintained their third-wicket partnership until lunch, which was taken at 168 for 2, Azad having progressed to 82 after reaching a 134-ball fifty.

The second ball after lunch saw Ackerman edge Matt Taylor to wicketkeeper Roderick and depart for 41. Leicestershire still trailed by 83 and it looked an important breakthrough with a new ball not far away. It was taken at 205 for 3 and Higgins made good use, sending Harry Dearden’s middle stump cartwheeling after he had made 19.

Azad remained unruffled, having combined excellent defensive technique with neat footwork against spinners Smith and Graeme van Buuren to reach his hundred off 256 balls.

By tea, he and Ben Mike had taken the total to 255 for 4, a lead of three runs. But the first ball after the break raised Gloucestershire hopes again as Azad edged Ethan Bamber to Miles Hammond at slip to end six hours and 22 minutes of intense concentration.

Mike was caught behind off Taylor, whose hostile post-tea spell brought him 1 for 6 from seven overs. Then, after Harry Swindells and Callum Parkinson had added 33 to take Leicestershire to the brink of safety, both fell in quick succession. Swindells was well caught by Benny Howell at first slip off Higgins and the following over saw Parkinson nick Chadd Sayers to Hammond at second slip. When Will Davis was lbw to Higgins for a duck, three wickets had fallen in 14 balls.

There were still more than 15 overs remaining and the Foxes led by only 41 at 293 for 9. Amid growing tension, Sayers ripped through Wright’s defence to bowl him and end the innings with only six runs added.

Gloucestershire’s frantic second innings saw Chris Dent bowled by Wright, who also had Miles Hammond caught on the boundary, while Abbas had Jack Taylor caught in the deep before a Higgins straight six off Abbas off the last ball of the penultimate over left nine runs needed.

Benny Howell was run out seeking a second run off the first ball of the final over. But Roderick marched out to hit a two before his extraordinary match-winning shot.



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