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Moeen Ali set for ‘short break’ from cricket after Lord’s omission

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Moeen Ali will take a short break from cricket after his omission from the England squad for the second Ashes Test at Lord’s this week.

Moeen struggled badly in the first Test of the series, taking 2 for 130 in Australia’s second innings on a turning pitch and twice being dismissed cheaply by Nathan Lyon, who has now dismissed him in nine of his last 11 innings against Australia.

He was left out of the squad for Lord’s in favour of Jack Leach, the Somerset left-arm spinner, and was expected to return to Worcestershire’s squads for the Vitality Blast.

ALSO READ: The triumphs and travails of Moeen Ali’s Test career

Instead, Worcestershire announced that he would be stepping away from cricket for a “short break” after a “hectic and high-intensity period of international cricket” before linking up with the county again.

Despite Moeen’s brief break, England’s captain Joe Root said that he remained integral to England’s long-term success, and backed him to bounce back after a spell in county cricket, just as he did against India last summer, when he returned to the side for the fourth Test at Southampton with a Player-of-the-Match-winning nine-wicket haul.

“I spent a good while chatting to Mo, making sure he understood where he’s at, and where we’re at in terms of getting him back to his best,” said Root. “We felt it was best for him to play some county cricket, and perform well for Worcestershire.

“Now, as he proved last summer, coming into that India series having a massive influence on it, there’s no reason why he can’t go back and do the same again, and try and force his way back into the squad.

“You know, he’s been a big part of English cricket and he’s done some fantastic things in a Test shirt. And it’s certainly not the last we’ll see of him, he’s a fine character, a great man and gives so much to this team. I’m sure that it won’t be long until you see him back involved.”

Worcestershire coach Alex Gidman said: “Mo is spending a little time away from the middle recharging his batteries and putting in some quality practice time which he feels he needs, and we completely respect. He has had an intense schedule of international cricket involving the ICC World Cup and the start of the Ashes.

“Mo loves playing for Worcestershire and he gives a lift to everyone in the dressing room when he comes back and plays for us. We saw at Trent Bridge [in the Blast] what he gives to us and we look forward to when he returns soon.”

The announcement, in addition to Adil Rashid’s season-ending shoulder injury, suggests that Leach is likely to be England’s spinner for much of the ongoing series – though it is possible Moeen could return for Sunday’s Championship match against Northamptonshire.

Leach told the BBC this week that he had been in conversation with Moeen after the squad announcement.

“Mo sent me a text wishing me all the best,” Leach said. “He said he hopes that I do really well. He’s been so supportive of me coming into this environment and helping me with my bowling. I actually told him to be ready for the third Test, so we had a little laugh.”



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TV umpire to call front-foot no-balls in England-Pakistan Test series

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Front-foot no-balls will be called by the TV umpire for the first time in Test cricket during the England-Pakistan series which begins on Wednesday as the system is assessed with a view to further use in the future.

The system was recently introduced as part of the ICC World Cup Super League, which began with the England-Ireland series, having been trialed in the ODI series between India and West Indies in 2019 and used during the T20 Women’s World Cup earlier this year.

However, it had not yet been implemented in Test cricket – a format where there has been increasing scrutiny over the volume of no-balls not called by the on-field umpires. Under this system, all calling of front-foot no-balls is left to the TV umpire who then alerts the on-field officials of any overstepping within a matter of seconds.

In a tweet, the ICC said: “Front foot no ball technology to be used in ICC World Test Championship series featuring England and Pakistan, with the support of both teams. Performance of the technology in these Tests will be reviewed before any decisions taken on its future use in Test cricket.”

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Vivo pulls out as IPL 2020 title sponsors

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IPL title rights holders Vivo have pulled out of this year’s tournament, ESPNcricinfo understands. The development follows a public outcry over the tournament’s association with Vivo, a Chinese company, following clashes at the India-China border in June.

Neither the BCCI nor Vivo were available for comment on the issue.

In June, the BCCI had said it would “review” the sponsorship deals concerning the IPL, but did not name any brand. “Taking note of the border skirmish that resulted in the martyrdom of our brave jawans, the IPL Governing Council has convened a meeting next week to review IPL’s various sponsorship deals,” BCCI said in a tweet posted on June 19.

According to India Today Vivo would return as IPL’s title sponsor for the 2022 and 2023 editions. It also has reported that the BCCI will issue a tender in the coming days to find a title sponsor for the 2020 IPL season.

Two days ago, the BCCI’s formal announcement – signed by secretary Jay Shah – of the IPL being played in the UAE between September 15 and November 10 mentioned Vivo as the title sponsor.

The decision is not likely to significantly affect the franchises financially. ESPNcricinfo spoke with several franchises, each of whom said that while the IPL was yet to inform them of the development, they were not fussed at the news. It is understood each franchise gets approximately Rs 20 crore per year from the Vivo contract. As far they are concerned, as long as the BCCI can rope in a replacement for Vivo, this development will not have any impact on them.

Vivo had bagged the title sponsorship for two years initially in 2015, and retained the rights signing a five-year contract (2017-22), paying about USD 341 million.



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Recent Match Report – Northamptonshire vs Warwickshire Central Group 2020

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Northamptonshire 142 (Stone 4-39) and 507 for 6 declared (Rossington 135*, Proctor 112* Thurston 96, Curran 58) drew with Warwickshire 369 for 8 (Bresnan 105, Yates 88)

Northamptonshire secured a Bob Willis Trophy draw that felt like a win after seventh-wicket pair Adam Rossington and Luke Procter batted through the final day to crush the life out of Warwickshire’s victory bid at Edgbaston.

Northamptonshire seemed to be hurling to defeat when, just after lunch on the third day, trailing by 227 on first innings, they hit 148 for 5 in their second. But from that point onwards they showed enormous resilience and resolve to bat their way to safety on a flattening pitch.

The great escape was led by Rossington who dug in to deliver the archetypal captain’s innings – 135 from 399 balls with 17 fours. After adding 159 with Charlie Thurston on the third day, on the fourth, the skipper added an unbroken 200 in 83 overs with Procter, who reached 112 not out, to steer his side to 507 for 6, their record total against Warwickshire.

The superb rearguard action left a young Northamptonshire side proud and delighted, but there were the opposite feelings in the home dressing-room. After completely dominating the first two days, Warwickshire let victory slip through their fingers, literally with several dropped catches, while the bowling attack failed to deal with the loss of spearhead Olly Stone.

The absence of Stone, who was off the field having a side injury assessed, was a big blow but did not excuse the lack of potency and control from too many other members of the attack.

Northamptonshire still had plenty to do to reach safety in the match when they resumed on the final morning on 317 for 6, but Procter set down an immediate marker for the day with successive fours off Tim Bresnan.

On a pitch which offered the seamers less and less assistance as the match lengthened, very few balls did not locate the middle of the bat. Rossington reached his seventh first-class century from 227 balls with his 14th four, punched straight off Ryan Sidebottom before, in the next over, Procter posted his 50 from 91 balls with eight fours.

The pair added 98 in the morning, then in the afternoon Rossington dropped anchor deeper than ever. The captain scored just 15 runs in the session, settling for largely strokeless resistance and challenging the home side to find the potency to dislodge him, which they failed to do.

Procter completed his fourth first-class century with his 17th boundary, cut off Rob Yates, in the first over after tea. That Yates, having never before purveyed his off-spin in first-class cricket, was into his 14th over said everything about Warwickshire’s bowling performance. They will hope to welcome Liam Norwell and Henry Brookes back into the attack for the match away to Gloucestershire starting next Saturday.



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