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Euro T20 Slam cancellation ‘deflated’ Scotland players – Coetzer

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Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer has called for Euro T20 Slam organisers to show “a gesture” of good faith in order to restore confidence that the tournament will indeed go-ahead for 2020. Just two weeks before the start of the tournament, the organisers had cancelled the Euro T20 Slam.

Coetzer stated that the news, which was delivered to the Scotland squad in a team meeting on Wednesday before organisers sent out an official release to the general public, may leave Scotland players in a bind and many will now have to seek other ways to recoup the expected earnings from the tournament.

“Let’s be honest, pretty much every one of the players was going to earn more in that space of time, to what they would earn in a full year playing cricket,” Coetzer told ESPNcricinfo. “You have to look at the impact it may have on some guys and certainly there’s a couple of boys that were potentially looking to go away at some time during the winter and now they probably need to get a job. It would have created giving guys an opportunity to feel an element of security in what we try and do.”

The players from the three host countries were all due to earn between USD 10,000 and USD 35,000 in three salary tiers for Associate players in the three-week competition. Coetzer was due to receive USD 40,000 as all three T20 captains from the host countries – Ireland’s Gary Wilson and the Netherlands’ Pieter Seelaar – were stipulated to receive a USD 5000 bonus payment. In addition to the exposure of playing against world-class players, the financial lift to help professionalise players has now disappeared – which is significant.

“It’s always hard enough,”Coetzer said. “You’re just getting by and no one complains because we all love playing for Scotland and we’re all heading towards the same goal but it’s gonna make things harder. It would have just given guys, even if it was a year of breathing space, just to let them ease their minds a little bit, just go and play cricket, show the passion, which we always show anyway. But it would have taken a bit of a weight off some of the guys’ shoulders financially. That’s gonna be tough for guys to take.”

Coetzer had returned just days earlier from the Global T20 Canada, where his Montreal Tigers squad was involved in a player protest along with Toronto Nationals as players refused to take the field until overdue salary disbursements were paid out. The Scotland captain said that organizers, who are in charge of both events, need to consider a make-good financial gesture to restore the confidence and credibility in the eyes of players and fans.

“It’s reasonably well documented that something happened in Canada,” Coetzer said. “I think all the players felt as if they would be getting paid. Part of it was there was a structure within the contract that says certain amounts should be paid within certain dates and that’s where the issue was. I feel if they hold onto those agreements when they agree to them, then there would be no issue.”

“What they may need to do to convince people for the Slam would be possibly a kind gesture towards some of the players to say, ‘Look, we apologize for this but it will go ahead next year.’ They probably need to show some kind of sign that they’re willing to do that because we need the people to believe that it will still go ahead next year. The international players, the marquee players, they still need to have confidence that they won’t miss out on something else if they come to the Slam. A number of our guys didn’t put their names in other competitions.”

Scotland coach Shane Burger also felt that the news influenced his players mentally prior to taking the field in their first Cricket World Cup League Two ODI against Oman, a match in which they were bowled out for 168. But he hopes they’ll be able to bounce back over the next three matches in Aberdeen against Oman and Papua New Guinea.

“I have no doubt that there was an impact,” Burger said. “I think if there wasn’t an impact because of that, then I’d be surprised. There was a massive disappointment when the news was heard. However, in saying all of that, this is a professional cricket team that needs to make sure that they can switch on and off when they need to. It’s not gonna be the first time they get given bad news.

“This team has had to deal with a lot this season, people passing away, Euro Slam news, all of it. I believe the team has come a long way in terms of maturity and they should have been able to deal with the news, as tough as it is to handle. I don’t think that played a role in us losing the game today. I just think they outplayed us.”



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Retaining the core ‘probably the best way’ – Justin Langer on Test selection

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Australian cricket is moving on from the crisis that enveloped them after the events in Cape Town, but for some time to come there will remain the dividing line of before Newlands and after Newlands when assessing the state of the national team and the overall game.

Barring a late change of heart or an injury, Australia are set to name an unchanged side for the third Test in a row when they face New Zealand in Perth on Thursday. The last time they went three Tests with the same XI was on the tour of South Africa, in the first three matches of the series before things fell apart in Cape Town.

“I’d be a brave man to change the XI,” Justin Langer said. “The boys are playing well. We’ve still got a couple of training sessions, we haven’t had a look at the wicket yet but I’d say at this stage more than likely we’ll have the same XI.”

It is another stepping stone in the rebuilding of the Test side which has gathered momentum in recent months. There were missed opportunities in England to earn better than a 2-2 share of the series – a reminder that, in the batting especially, the team remained a work in progress – but the start of this summer has been very convincing against Pakistan, to the point that Travis Head and Tim Paine only batted once in the series.

There were tactical reasons for the pace-bowling changes made during the Ashes as a horses-for-courses approach was taken for each ground before Australia overthought the process at The Oval and picked the wrong side. This summer there is a sense they are keeping things simple, helped, of course, by innings victories where almost everyone has looked in good form. The season started with questions over the batting order and, while Australia will need to be more thoroughly tested than they were by Pakistan, it is likely this top six will now remain for the summer.

James Pattinson, whose unavailability for the opening Test of the season due to his code of conduct suspension turned a potentially tricky head-to-head decision with Mitchell Starc into a no contest, remains in the squad. Michael Neser will join having played the Sheffield Shield match against Queensland at the SCG, but there is little prospect of them breaking apart the trio of Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.

“I’ve said for 18 months there used to be a philosophy in Australian cricket which worked so well for us, it’s harder to get into the Australian cricket team than it is to get out of it,” Langer said. “That usually happens when guys are playing well and the team is playing well. We’ve won the last couple of Test matches. There’s definite benefit and advantage in keeping the core group of players together and hopefully this will be another opportunity this week to do that.”

The much sought-after continuity in selection does not mean, however, that Australia will shelve the approach they took in England although there is now a good chance – with a nine-day gap between the Perth and Melbourne Tests – that these three quicks could feature throughout the whole summer, although a potential change to the balance of the side for the SCG still looms.

“I’ll let everyone else to judge if it’s [Australia’s] the best attack in the world, statistically, we aren’t yet in terms of rankings but the guys are moving up and are getting better and better as a unit.”

Justin Langer

“Certainly, there was benefit in that [rotation] in England. We had six healthy, fit fast bowlers available to us and in different conditions,” Langer said. “We had a very specific game plan on how we thought we’d retain the Ashes so we used it to our advantage there.

“There’s some different conditions here in Australia – the SCG might be different to Optus Stadium or the Gabba. But at the moment the three guys – Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood – they’re a quality combination with Nathan Lyon, they’re bowling really well, they’re fit and healthy and there’s a bit of a gap between Test matches. From that point of view that’s probably the best way we’ll go about this Test match.”

Starc was the one most impacted by the selections in the Ashes, playing just once at Old Trafford in the match where the Ashes were retained, but after some early-season tinkering with New South Wales bowling coach Andre Adams, he has been much more consistent this season. There is a good contest at the moment for the tag of ‘best pace attack in the world’ with India laying a very strong claim and while Langer would not be drawn into a definite answer on that, he lauded the bench strength that’s available.

“I’d rather have it as our side than play against it, no doubt,” he said. “Put Nathan Lyon in it who’s just brilliant then it’s a very good attack. I’ll let everyone else to judge if it’s the best attack in the world, statistically, we aren’t yet in terms of rankings but the guys are moving up and are getting better and better as a unit. I’ve said since England if we make enough runs we’ll win a lot of games because we have a very good pace-bowling attack, the best offspin bowling in the world I’d say and James Pattinson, Jhye Richardson, Michael Neser – there’s some really good depth as well. It’s a nice position to be in.”



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Recent Match Report – Tasmania vs South Australia, Sheffield Shield, 18th Match

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South Australia 346 (Weatherald 126, Carey 73, Bird 4-70) and 4 for 170 beat Tasmania 254 (Milenko 100, Agar 3-68) and 261 (McDermott 89, Agar 5-53) by six wickets

An unbeaten sixth-wicket stand of 136 between Harry Nielsen and William Bosisto delivered South Australia their first Sheffield Shield victory after a drought of 18 matches over 659 days, in what was also the 161st – and last – first-class game for the Australian selector-in-waiting George Bailey.

The Redbacks, as may have been expected given their run of defeats, made life hard for themselves by slipping to 4 for 34 in pursuit of 170 to beat Tasmania by six wickets at Bellerive Oval, as Gabe Bell and Riley Meredith found swing and bounce respectively with the new ball.

However Nielsen – with only one half century from his previous 15 innings for SA – and the former West Australian Bosisto fought their way through the difficult period and did not offer a chance as they glided home, doing so on the stroke of tea in Hobart.

Resuming at 6 for 241 on the final morning, the Tigers could add only 20 runs to their overnight total, as Chadd Sayers and Wes Agar combined potently for the visitors. Agar’s eight wickets for the game were to earn him Player-of-the-Match honours, while SA also had reason to thank Jake Weatherald, the captain Alex Carey, Joe Mennie and Nick Winter for their first innings batting contributions.

Nevertheless, victory looked a long way off when Bell swerved the newish ball into Henry Hunt’s back pad and then Callum Ferguson’s off stump, while at the other end Meredith drew edges from Weatherald and Carey. An older ball meant that conditions eased for Nielsen and Bosisto, but they showed a remarkable level of composure in knocking off the runs with minimal fuss.

Bailey was left to bowl the final over of the match, clad in his state cap, before accepting congratulations from both sides for a long and fruitful red-ball career that featured five Test match appearances in the 2013-14 Ashes and a leading hand in all three of Tasmania’s Sheffield Shield-winning seasons.



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Recent Match Report – New South Wales vs Queensland, Sheffield Shield, 17th Match

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New South Wales 375 (Henriques 116, Nevill 88*, Abbott 86, Neser 4-60) and 1 for 42 (Hughes 27, Swepson 1-27) beat Queensland 240 and 176 (Khawaja 54, O’Keefe 3-28) by nine wickets

New South Wales shrugged off appalling air conditions in Sydney to record a nine-wicket victory over Queensland at the SCG and go to the Big-Bash-League break at the top of the Sheffield Shield table with five wins and a draw after six matches.

On a day when NSW health authorities held an afternoon press conference advising all caught in the bushfire-smoke-filled air around Sydney to stay indoors and the harbour’s ferry service was suspended due to low visibility, the Blues and Bulls played out the final act of their contest after Dr John Orchard assessed conditions with match officials and concluded it was safe to play.

Not only was the air a concern on a breathing level, the smoke was so thick that visibility also looked to be an issue for players on both sides – reminiscent of some of the worst smog-induced conditions seen at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi from time to time.

On Friday, Cricket NSW had advised club and community cricket organisations to consider cancelling weekend matches amidst similar conditions emanating from the bushfires that have engulfed the east coast of Australia in recent weeks.

Resuming at 5 for 111, still needing another 25 runs to make NSW bat again, Queensland suffered arguably the decisive blow in the first half an hour when Trent Copeland coaxed an outside edge from Usman Khawaja from around the wicket.

Michael Neser and Mitchell Swepson kept the Bulls’ wicketkeeper Jimmy Peirson company for long enough to allow the visitors to forge a lead, but when Peirson was last out, shortly before lunch, they had left the Blues needing just 42. This was enough to allow Swepson the wicket of Daniel Hughes, but with only another four runs required.

The allrounder Moises Henriques was named Player of the Match for his match-shaping first-innings century.



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