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India beat England to win inaugural Physical Disability World Series



India defeated a spirited England by 36 runs to lift the inaugural Physical Disability World Series trophy at New Road.

India’s 180 for 7, bolstered by some mesmerising hitting at the back end of the innings, ultimately proved too steep for Iain Nairn’s side, who finished on 144 for 9.

England booked their place in the final after beating Afghanistan by 10 runs in a tense morning semi-final and were well placed at 90 for 1 in the 11th over of the final.

But when Angus Brown, just 17 last month and one of the tournament’s standout performers, was caught in the covers for 44 off Goyat, the pendulum swung India’s way.

The 13th over proved decisive. Callum Flynn, such a lynchpin for England with bat, ball and in the field, was dismissed for 28 off the first delivery of Goyat’s over, leaving the hosts 97 for 3. Two balls later, Liam O’Brien was run out without facing a ball after chancing a single through a misfield to the keeper.

When Liam Thomas and skipper Nairn followed cheaply in the 14th over, England were 105 for 6 with five wickets having fallen in 22 deliveries.

It was the decisive stage of the final after India’s innings had also been a tale of two halves.

England had bowled well to restrict India to 85 for 2 after 13 overs, making a dream start when Ben Tyler had Khan caught behind with the second ball of the innings.

A patient 47-run second-wicket partnership between Phanase (36) and skipper Keni (29) kept India ticking over.

After Keni was caught and bowled by left-arm spinner Fred Bridges, Ravindra Sante (53 from 35) and Phanase took India to 113 before the latter was run out off the final ball of the 15th over.

That brought Suganesh Mahendran to the crease and a seismic shift to the proceedings, whose remarkable 11-ball 33 included four sixes, including one monstrous hit into the top of the New Road stand.

India had more than doubled their total, with 95 coming off the last seven overs.

The result was a target that was always going to require something special against a team that had arrived fresh – and had the advantage of winning the toss, against a team tiring after a stirring 10-wicket victory in the morning over big-hitting Afghanistan. Liam O’Brien’s 34-ball 53 and 45 from Jamie Goodwin helped England post 147 for 7.

In reply, a tight spell from Fred Bridges, whose four overs yielded just 12 and two wickets, applied the squeeze, with regular wickets leaving them with an unlikely 20 required from the final over, from which just 10 came.

As the dust settled on India’s victory, skipper Nairn was philosophical in defeat.

“We’ve given it everything we had,” he said. “We’re a young team, with two teenagers in our 11, and three in the squad. India are adults, they are playing televised cricket over there, some of them – so to come into an environment like this is more normal.

“For our kids, we’re playing club cricket – some of them are playing on village greens on a Saturday. We have some very special human beings in this team.”

Goodwin added: “I don’t think you can fault the cricket that we’ve played all week. We’ve been brilliant in the field – as good as we have ever been. We probably lacked a little bit with the bat, but you can’t fault the effort that everyone has put in.

“We’re a close group of lads and that will get us through the disappointment. We’ve been beaten by a better team on the day – they’ve played five, won five.

“It was an example of power hitting at its best, a great example of what this game can offer. It can only have helped.”

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Recent Match Report – Australia A vs Pakistanis Tour Match 2019



Pakistanis 428 (Azam 157, Shafiq 119, Yasir 53, Richardson 3-79) and 3 dec for 152 (Ahmed 79*, Masood 65) drew with Australia A 122 (Bancroft 49, Khan 5-32) and 2 for 91 (Khawaja 37)

The first sight of 16-year-old Naseem Shah on the tour was the highlight of the final day of the Pakistanis’ match against Australia A in Perth as the young quick produced eight overs that made everyone watching sit up and take notice.

Having been given compassionate leave on the second day in the tragic circumstance of his mother’s death, Shah showed immense fortitude to send down a succession of high-quality overs after Pakistan had declared midway through the day.

He had Marcus Harris dropped at slip on 12 – the second of two spills for Haris Sohail who had a poor match – but responded a short while later with a ripping delivery that climbed from a back of a length to take the shoulder of Harris’ bat through to stand-in keeper Abid Ali. It would have been a wonderful delivery for any fast bowler, but when you factor in his age and lack of experience, it was quite something.

One delivery, or one good day, does not make a tour but anyone asked has been ready to laud Shah’s talent, and the viral videos of his performances in domestic cricket in Pakistan fully justify it. After eight overs, and a few problems with the footmarks, he took his leave for the rest of the evening and was given an appreciative pat on the back by coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq.

Away from the excitement generated by Shah, it was a story of potential indications about Australia’s batting line-up for the Gabba Test and mixed results for Pakistan’s batsmen in their second innings. Australia head coach Justin Langer was spotted having what appeared a positive conversation with the uncapped Will Pucovski on the boundary at dinner, but the batsman did not pad up in the second innings.

Joe Burns completed a miserable match when he edged behind off Shaheen Afridi. He has been incredibly unlucky not to play more Tests – he struck 180 against Sri Lanka in his most recent Test appearance – but the sense is time is now running out for him to add more to the tally. Harris, the incumbent Test opener alongside David Warner, will have known his fate while battling to 20 as the selectors met during the afternoon in Perth.

Usman Khawaja, hoping for a recall and another option to open the batting or for a middle-order slot, made his highest first-class score of the season – 37 not out – before the players shook hands.

Pakistan did not finish this match without questions and concerns. Captain Azhar Ali was trapped lbw by Michael Neser for the second time in the game to complete returns of 11 and 1, leaving him wanting a few runs against the Cricket Australia XI in the two-day game starting on Friday at the WACA. Sohail, who fell to a wild drive in the first innings, edged to gully when he was squared up by Neser and, on this small evidence, did not look an ideal No. 3 for the Gabba.

However, there were better returns for Shan Masood and Iftikhar Ahmed as they both eased to half-centuries in a third-wicket stand of 134, although they did have the chance to take advantage of Travis Head’s part-time offspin which went at six an over.

Wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan didn’t feature at all on the final day following the blows he took to the hand while batting yesterday.

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Match Preview Afghanistan vs West Indies, 1st T20I 2019



Big picture

Afghanistan must be hurting. Playing hosts to West Indies in their adopted home in India, their ODI campaign went so badly that the team’s losing streak in the format extended to 11 by the end of the series. There’s a mismatch in the philosophy of their batting (defensive) and bowling (attacking) units, and that gulf appears to have become deeper after the recent integration of a few young batsmen in the squad.

But T20Is are Afghanistan’s best format. With a stockpile of mystery spinners and a batting unit that goes deep (if not always big) Afghanistan have made oppositions, especially when in the subcontinent, wary.

There’s only one problem, though: they appear to have forgotten the art of winning.

Last month, they shared the tri-nation T20I series trophy in Bangladesh because of a washed-out final. Prior to the title clash, they had lost two in a row, to Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

T20I defeats used to be rare for Afghanistan, back-to-back losses even more, but the only team since 2017 to hand them that fate in a bilateral series are West Indies.

Although the West Indies side that blanked Afghanistan 3-0 in 2017 is vastly different from the squad that is touring India currently, there are a few similarities. The side is rejuvenated under a new captain – Kieron Pollard – and the influx of a new set of cricketers after the latest Caribbean Premier League season gives them an opportunity to blindside Afghanistan since they have seen very little of these players.

What used to be Afghanistan’s advantage earlier has now shifted away from them, and if the visitors can negate the spin threat Afghanistan possess, there’s no reason why West Indies cannot top Afghanistan in the T20I series too.

Form guide

Afghanistan LLWWW (completed matches, most recent first)

West Indies LLLLL

In the spotlight

Mujeeb Ur Rahman has, for long, been the junior in the trio of spinners Afghanistan have unleashed on their opponents. But as teams focused more and more on not giving wickets to Rashid Khan, they have ended up exposing themselves to Mujeeb’s guiles. The teenager was Afghanistan’s highest wicket-taker in the ODIs against West Indies, and earlier this year was the most successful spinner at the Shpageeza Premier League as well. In 2019, Mujeeb’s gone wicketless only once and takes a wicket every 15.66 runs. Not once has he conceded more than 30 runs in T20Is this year and as a new-ball bowler, the tone Mujeeb sets against a West Indian opening unit – that hasn’t seen much of him – may just be the difference between West Indies scoring a middling score and a big one.

Opening batsman Brandon King made a useful 39 in his national debut for West Indies in their win in the third ODI and it won’t be surprising if he walks into the T20I team as well after a fantastic CPL 2019. A ninth-round pick during the CPL draft, King smacked 496 runs in 12 innings, at an average of 55.11 and a strike rate of 149.94 as an opener for Guyana Amazon Warriors to break down the door that was stopping him from wearing the West Indies maroon. A right-hand batsman who prefers hitting straight rather than square, the potential for King to make an impact in his first T20I series is massive. He’s a traditional stroke player, something missing among most of West Indies’ white-ball batsmen these days, and if he can get into his zone swiftly against Afghanistan, King has shown that the longer he stays in the middle, the more dangerous he gets.

Team news

There are plenty of youngsters in both squads, and with the T20 World Cup only 12 months away, expect a few new faces in the XIs. West Indies, however, will be without Nicholas Pooran, who was handed a four-match ban for ball tampering in the ODI series.

Afghanistan (possible): 1 Hazratullah Zazai, 2 Ibrahim Zadran, 3 Javed Ahmadi, 4 Najibullah Zadran, 5 Asghar Afghan, 6 Gulbadin Naib, 7 Rashid Khan (capt), 8 Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), 9 Naveen-ul-Haq, 10 Sayed Shirzad, 11 Mujeeb Ur Rahman

West Indies (possible): 1 Lendl Simmons, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Brandon King, 4 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 5 Sherfane Rutherford, 6 Kieron Pollard (capt), 7 Jason Holder, 8 Khary Pierre, 9 Hayden Walsh Jr, 10 Alzarri Joseph, 11 Sheldon Cottrell

Pitch and conditions

A bug invasion in the third ODI forced players to wear masks, and with the game being played under floodlights in Lucknow again, another attack can’t be ruled out. North India is now experiencing the onset of winter, and dew is expected to play a big role as the evening progresses. With both teams expected to field multiple spin bowlers, there could be an effect. The night sky in Lucknow is expected to be hazy, and some reports suggest that the air quality could be hazardous.

Stats and trivia

  • West Indies will become the first team to play two T20Is at Lucknow’s Ekana Stadium, having played in the ground’s inaugural match against India in November 2018.

  • Afghanistan’s spin bowlers have conceded 7.87 runs per over in 2019, but average more than six wickets per game for the side.

  • Less than 12 months ago, Hayden Walsh Jr was playing for USA

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James Anderson’s desire for comeback is undimmed – Alastair Cook



James Anderson‘s desire to resume his record-breaking England career remains as burning as ever, according to his former captain Sir Alastair Cook, who believes that his old team-mate’s devastation at missing out on this summer’s Ashes campaign will help drive him in his comeback from a long-term calf injury.

Anderson, 37, bowled just four overs in this summer’s Tests against Australia, after breaking down early in the first Test at Edgbaston – a game that England went on to lose in his absence.

He was subsequently omitted from the current tour of New Zealand, and has spent the off-season working with the medical team at Manchester City in a bid to regain his fitness in time for the South Africa tour that begins next month.

Last week, another former England captain, Michael Vaughan, said that the time had come to break up for good the record-breaking alliance between Anderson and Stuart Broad, which began in earnest on the New Zealand tour in 2007-08, and which has since realised a total of 1042 Test wickets.

The emergence of Jofra Archer during the summer may encourage England that there is life after Anderson, and Archer will take centre stage for his first overseas international next week, when the first Test against New Zealand begins in Mount Maunganui on November 20.

Cook, however, says that we’ve been here before with Anderson, a player who seems determined to defy the ageing process as he seeks to build on his record of 575 wickets in 149 Tests.

“You never know with Jimmy,” said Cook. “He’s surprised us all, all the time. I remember going into a press conference as captain a few years ago, and saying there’s no way that we’ll get five Tests out of Jimmy and Stuart [Broad], and they surprised us all with their fitness record.

“I know how devastated he was after the Edgbaston Test match. It was a horrendous feeling for him, but his desire and hunger is incredible. He wants to come back and wants to play, and while you’ve got that, why wouldn’t you?”

At an age when most sportsmen are beginning to wind down, Anderson’s technical mastery has propelled him to new heights. He finished the 2018 home summer as the top-ranked Test bowler in the world, with his average dipping below 27 for the first time since the formative months of his career in 2003.

“His record over the last couple of years is getting better and better. Father Time catches up with everyone, and there will be a time when he moves on, but while he wants to do it and is able to do it, we should appreciate him,” Cook said. “But, speaking to him recently, he wants to keep breaking records for England and keep helping England win games of cricket, and I’m sure he will.”

Cook himself bowed out of international cricket with an emotional century in his final Test against India at The Oval in September 2018 – a match which finished with Anderson claiming his 564th wicket to move him ahead of Glenn McGrath as the most prolific seamer in Test history.

Cook then went on this summer to play a key role in Essex’s second County Championship title in three years, and recognises that such uplifting events in his twilight years have helped assuage any sense of regret as his professional career begins to wind down.

“It just shows how lucky I was that that happened,” he said of that Oval Test, when his innings of 71 and 147 included a glorious and sustained ovation as he brought up his 33rd and final Test hundred.

“To walk off there after winning a game and Jimmy breaking Glenn McGrath’s record. It’s all happy memories, and not many people have that, and that for me made the transition a lot easier.”

His experience contrasted markedly with that of so many other sportsmen, not least another former England team-mate, Matt Prior, who last week spoke to the PCA about his own struggles in the wake of his career-ending Achilles injury in 2014.

“Matt was an all-time great among English wicketkeepers, he played such a significant role over such a long time in getting England to No.1 in the world, but he didn’t get the chance to have the send-off that I had,” Cook said.

“It was taken out of his hands, and it all happened abruptly, so his last memory of playing for England would be the injury, the rehab, and all the bad stuff. My last memory was totally different.”

That said, it would have been understandable had Cook felt slightly conflicted during a remarkable English summer which, from a Test perspective at least, was crowned by that extraordinary final day at Headingley, when Ben Stokes’ century snatched a one-wicket win from the jaws of defeat.

Cook witnessed the denouement at first hand in his unfamiliar new vantage point as a summariser on Test Match Special, but he insisted he had no regrets at being on the other side of the rope for a change.

“It was a strange week,” he said. “But it was one of the great knocks. To be at Headingley, but without the nerves [was a privilege] – at least at the beginning of the day. Towards the end, I was as nervous as I would have been back in the days when I was trying to find a space in the changing room!

“I was actually ferrying Glenn McGrath around in the back of my car that week,” he added. “I didn’t quite think when I first played against him in 2006 that I’d be his chauffeur for a week during a Test match. But it was an incredible game to be a part of that, and I was lucky enough to be on air for the final overs.

“But there were no mixed emotions. People find that hard to believe, but it’s genuinely true. It was sad to hand the cap back, it was sad to make that decision, and you’re going to miss the identity of being an England cricketer but, for me, it was clear in my mind, and the right decision for my family at that time.”

But, at the age of 34, Cook has kept his competitive fires burning by playing a key role in Essex’s triumphant Championship campaign, scoring 913 first-class runs in 14 matches at 45.65, including a pair of vital innings in the title decider against Somerset at Taunton.

“2005 was the last season in which I played every game [for Essex],” he said, “and part of the reason for playing on after England was to experience that again, to play with guys like Ryan [Ten Doeschate] and Ravi [Bopara], who signed for Essex at the same time as me in 2003. To go back and play a lot of cricket with those guys meant a lot to me, actually.

“I’m not sure I’ll keep playing until I’m 40, but I will very much take each year as it comes,” he added. “And if we have the sort of success that we had this year, then that obviously makes it easier.”

Sir Alastair Cook was speaking at an event to mark 25 years of the National Lottery, which has raised £5.7 billion for grassroots sport. #BecauseYouPlay

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