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Olly Stone out for season after recurrence of back stress fracture

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England fast bowler Olly Stone has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after suffering a recurrence of the back stress fracture he picked up in the Caribbean earlier this year.

Stone made an encouraging Test debut against Ireland last month, taking 3 for 29 with swing and pace touching 90mph. However, his county Warwickshire announced last week that he had experienced “inflammation”, initially putting him out of action for two weeks, before a scan revealed the full extent of the injury.

“Olly had such a fantastic season in 2018 and looked set to play an important role for England as well as ourselves this summer after making his Test debut just two weeks ago,” Warwickshire’s director of sport, Paul Farbrace, said. “We’re obviously gutted to lose him just over a month after returning to senior cricket.

“Being able to bowl consistently at speeds in excess of 90mph places huge demands on the body and, with Olly’s season having ended prematurely, he will now work our medical and strength and conditioning teams to get stronger and fitter than ever.”

Stone has featured in four ODIs and one Test for England since being first capped on the tour of Sri Lanka last winter. His extra pace had been highlighted recently as an important factor for England, but he has now joined Mark Wood, one of the other bowlers singled out by by Trevor Bayliss, on the treatment table.



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Kane Wiliamson lauds team’s ‘cricket smarts’ after series win

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No Trent Boult. No Lockie Ferguson. No Matt Henry. New Zealand’s second line of fast men – Adam Milne and Seth Rance are also recovering from injuries. To add to their troubles, Scott Kuggeleijn and Mitchell Santner were unavailable for the second ODI due to illness. Tim Southee, too, was sick at Eden Park, but still soldiered on to finish his ten overs and claim the prize scalp of India captain Virat Kohli.

New Zealand were so depleted during the second game that they needed their assistant coach Luke Ronchi to fill in as a substitute on the field. They’d also called up local lad R Majitha as a reserve player.

Despite being struck down by multiple injuries and illness, New Zealand found a way to beat India 3-0 and hand them their first bilateral ODI series whitewash in 30 years. This, after losing the preceding T20I series 5-0 from winning positions.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who had sat out the first two games in the ODI series because of injury, was particularly pleased with how the likes of Hamish Bennett and Kyle Jamieson stepped up in the absence of the seniors.

Bennett, who had been central to Wellington Firebirds clinching the 20-over Super Smash title earlier in the domestic season, changed up his pace and lengths smartly at Bay Oval. He also unveiled his knuckle ball at the death as his four strikes, including that of centurion KL Rahul, pinned India down to 296 for 7.

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New Zealand captain talks about the takeaways from the ODI series win

Jamieson, who had sparkled both with bat and ball on debut at Eden Park, his home ground, followed it with a fine spell with the new ball at Bay Oval, where he castled Mayank Agarwal with a beauty.

“As you know on some of these surfaces with some short boundaries, the job of the bowlers is so important,” Williamson said at the post-match press conference. “They also operated nicely in partnerships and we were able to hold our nerve in key moments. Today, was a great example of [it]. Once again we were put under pressure by India, but we were able to have a really good death phase, which helped us keep India to about a par total. A lot of positives in different areas, so it’s an opportunity to build on this series and keep moving forward as an ODI side.

“An outstanding start from Kyle. Obviously, he has been around the squad for a little period of time. To get the opportunity to bowl with the new ball today and bowl really nicely in the first [second] ODI […] he’s an exciting prospect. Coming in with that height does bring a point of difference – a great attacking weapon.”

New Zealand’s batting had cracked under pressure in the T20I series – and they lost in two Super Over finishes – but they responded better in the ODIs. On Tuesday, Henry Nicholls and Martin Guptill forged a rapid 106-run opening stand, with both batsmen passing fifties. However, the hosts lost 4 for 61 after the opening stand ended and gave India a sniff.

Tom Latham, one of the stars of the first match, and Colin de Grandhomme, though, shut Kohli and co. down with a calculated, unbeaten 80-run partnership off 46 balls. While de Grandhomme was largely circumspect against the experienced Indian bowlers, he lined up Shardul Thakur’s length balls and slower variations, taking him for 33 off nine balls at a strike rate of 366.66.

“I can’t say one thing, but I think throughout the series the most pleasant thing could be the cricket smarts and the composure the guys had,” Williamson said.

Gary Stead, who had taken a break and handed over the reins to bowling coach Shane Jurgensen for the ODIs, came in for heavy criticism over the past few days. But, Williamson opted not to read too much into his absence, and reiterated that the coach had taken his pre-planned leave.

“Yeah, we both have each others’ numbers (laughs). We talk to each other,” Williamson said. He’s [Stead’s] obviously thrilled with the performance and progression of the team and that’s always the focus – for the side to keep developing and improving. And that’s the message we have been speaking about for a long period of time .”

New Zealand are set to not only welcome back Stead for the two-match Test series, but also Ferguson and Boult. Ferguson had returned to action in the ongoing 50-over Ford Trophy for Auckland on Sunday. The bowler went wicketless but got through his ten overs, while Boult has been bowling in the New Zealand nets in the lead-up to the Test series, which begins with the first game at the Basin Reserve from February 21.

“Expecting all of those guys to be fit for the first Test and they’re all tracking nicely,” Williamson said. “So, yeah, it’s an exciting opportunity, like I say, against one of the best sides in the world.”



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We didn’t deserve to win, they deserve 3-0 – Virat Kohli

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Virat Kohli looked dejected after India suffered only their third whitewash in a series of three or more ODIs. It was a first for Kohli, too, as Indian captain. However, Kohli admitted that India did not deserve to win and New Zealand did because the hosts showed better “composure under pressure”.

After losing T20 series 5-0, New Zealand bounced back strongly, winning the each of the three ODIs convincingly. In Hamilton, Ross Taylor and stand-in captain Tom Latham chased down a record target to surprise Kohli’s men. In Auckland, chasing 274, India’s batsmen struggled and fell short by 22 runs. And on Tuesday, New Zealand won with just under three overs to spare in a chase of 297. Poor fielding and bowling were two areas Kohli pointed at after the loss.

“The games are not as bad as the scoreline suggests,” Kohli said to the host broadcaster during the post-match presentation. “The first game, we were pretty much in the contest. Again, it boils down to the chances we didn’t grab. And all three games, I thought, the way we fielded and the composure with the ball – I don’t think that was enough to win games of cricket at the international level.

:With the ball we were not able to make enough breakthroughs. And in the field as well, we were not good at all. So didn’t deserve to be on the winning side at all in the series. Haven’t played so badly, but if you don’t grab your chances at this level then teams are going to hurt you.”

With India’s regular openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan injured, India brought in Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw to the top of the order. Although Shaw got starts in all the three matches, he could not convert them into bigger scores. Mayank got 32 in the first ODI, but followed up with single digit scores. Pressure mounted for India after Kohli failed in the last two ODIs with single digit scores.

“We played really well in the T20 series, a bit more experience there. Here in the ODIs a couple of new guys still finding their feet at the international level, so a good experience for them (Agarwal and Shaw).

“Obviously New Zealand was keen to come back and get few wins under their belt after the T20 series and they played with a lot more intensity than we did. And in the crunch moments they were better in the field, better with the ball and better with the bat as well. We didn’t deserve to win because of the way we did not show enough composure under pressure and New Zealand did so. They deservedly won three-nil.”

The results on this tour are an inversion of India’s tour last year, when they won the five-match ODI series but lost in three match T20I series. This tour, however, will end with a Test series – something that will have as much significance as the ODI World Cup did last year and the T20 World Cup does this year, because it falls under the World Test Championship.

“Very very excited,” Kohli said about the upcoming series. “I think because of the Championship, every Test match has that much more importance. As I said, Test cricket, T20 cricket – there’s so many things to look forward to this year and the next year as well. We’re very excited for the Test series now. We have a really good and balanced team in Test cricket and we definitely feel that we can win the series here. We have that kind of team, but we obviously need to step onto the park in the right kind of mindset.”



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Jerome Taylor joins Gloucestershire on initial Kolpak deal

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Gloucestershire have signed West Indies quick Jerome Taylor on a three-year deal. The 35-year-old will be registered for the 2020 season as a Kolpak player, but will fill one of the overseas slots from next year if the regulations change, as expected, due to Brexit.

Taylor, who has previously played for Leicestershire, Sussex and Somerset, will be available in all formats. The 35-year-old last played for his country in 2018, and has a wealth of experience in competitions around the world. He joins Gloucestershire after they won promotion to Division One of the County Championship for the first time since 2005.

“Jerome is an exciting player who will add some pace and international experience to the bowling attack,” Gloucestershire’s head coach, Richard Dawson, said. “He can contribute in all formats so he will be a valuable addition to the squad.

“We played some very good cricket last season to get us into Division One and Jerome can help us to set a high standard in the field against some talented opposition.”

Last week, the ECB confirmed to counties that Kolpak registrations are set to become invalid from 2021, when the UK’s transition arrangements with the EU come to an end. The Professional Cricketers’ Association has backed proposals for clubs to be able to sign two overseas players, rather than one, as is currently the case in the Championship and List A tournaments.

Rapid on his day, Taylor left his mark on England on his home ground in 2009, taking 5 for 11 to skittle the tourists for 51 at Sabina Park. In 46 Tests, he claimed 130 wickets at 34.46; he was also capped more than 100 times in limited-overs internationals, collecting a World T20 winners’ medal when West Indies lifted the trophy in 2016.

In T20, he has featured at the Big Bash, Caribbean Premier League and Bangladesh Premier League, as well as in the Blast. Over the last two seasons with Somerset, he bagged 36 wickets at 21.69 with an economy of 9.20.

“I am very excited to be joining Gloucestershire and I am looking forward to meeting up with the players and the staff and getting underway,” Taylor said. “I am grateful for the opportunity as I really enjoy playing county cricket and I am hopeful that my experience can help the Club on and off the field.”



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