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Ali Khan and Hayden Walsh Jr. skip USA home ODI debut to stay in CPL

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USA will be making their home ODI debut on Friday without two of their most high profile stars with Ali Khan and Hayden Walsh Jr. absent from the 14-man squad for the Cricket World Cup League Two tri-series against Papua New Guinea and Namibia starting September 13 in Lauderhill, Florida.

Both of them had already rejected central contracts offered by USA Cricket and are now choosing to stay on at the CPL which clashes with the dates of the tri-series. Khan is in his second year with Trinbago Knight Riders while Walsh Jr. switched from St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots to Barbados Tridents for the 2019 tournament.

They are two of five players who have been switched out of the USA squad that played the recent T20 World Cup Qualifier Americas regional final in Bermuda. USA finished in third place behind Bermuda and Canada after losing twice to both sides in the double round-robin event. Their only wins were over Cayman Islands as they fell short of reaching the global T20 Qualifier in the UAE next month.

Also, according to sources, fast bowling coach David Saker has abruptly gone back to Australia rather than serve out the remainder of his three-month contract as part of USA’s coaching staff in Florida. Saker had been one of USA’s assistant coaches in Bermuda but decided to cut his term short after the team’s poor results at the T20 qualifier.

Among the players, fast bowler Cameron Gannon also went back to Queensland at the end of the Bermuda tour for the start of the Australian domestic summer and was unavailable for selection. Batsman Sunny Sohal has been dropped while allrounder Timroy Allen has been relegated to a reserve member despite being part of the main 14-man squad in Bermuda.

As expected, former South African international Rusty Theron has been named in USA’s ODI squad after meeting the three-year residency threshold under the ICC’s eligibility requirements. Theron moved to Florida in 2015 and was part of a USA squad camp in July. He was recently given a three-month retainer contract but was unable to be part of USA’s touring squad last month in Bermuda because he had to submit his passport along with other documents as part of his application for permanent residency.

The others to come into the team are left-arm spinner Nosthush Kenjige, left-arm seamer Elmore Hutchinson and opening batsman Sagar Patel. Kenjige and Hutchinson were part of USA’s squad to Namibia in April where they played the WCL Division Two and the team won ODI status, but both men were dropped for the tour of Bermuda. Sagar has not played for USA since a bilateral tour of Oman in December 2017.

Three other players in USA’s roster besides Khan and Walsh Jr. were also taken in the CPL draft this spring: Aaron Jones, Xavier Marshall and captain Saurabh Netravalkar. But Jones and Marshall accepted central contract offers from USA Cricket over the summer and were not given NOCs to skip the tour. Netravalkar has opted to miss the early part of the CPL to fulfill his role as USA captain.

USA are scheduled to play four ODIs as part of the tri-series. The first match against PNG takes place on September 13 at the Central Broward Regional Park. They play three more matches on September 17, 19 and 20 before PNG and Namibia go head to head in the final two matches of the series on September 22 and 23.





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Recent Match Report – India A vs South Africa A 2nd unofficial Test 2019

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India A 417 (Gill 92, Nair 78, Dube 68, Mulder 3-47, Piedt 3-78) and 202 for 3 dec (Panchal 109, Nair 51*, Piedt 2-88) drew with South Africa A 400 (Markram 161, Mulder 131*, de Bruyn 41, Kuldeep 4-121, Nadeem 3-76)

Priyank Panchal scored a century and Karun Nair hit his second half-century of the match on the final day of the second unofficial Test between India A and South Africa A in Mysuru, before the two teams agreed to call off the game after just 64 overs of action on Friday. The result meant India A won the two-match series 1-0.

Opener Panchal’s 109 and Nair’s 51 not out from No. 4 took the home side to 202 for 3 in their second innings, with the declaration coming once Nair had reached his milestone. But with not much time left on the day, South Africa opted not to chase their 220-run target.

Panchal – who had batted at No. 3 with Shubman Gill opening in the first innings – was on 9 with his opening partner Abhimanyu Easwaran on 5 overnight. The two built on the Indians’ 17-run first-innings lead with a 94-run stand before Abhimanyu fell, bowled by offspinner Dane Piedt, for 37 off 93 balls with three hits to the boundary.

That was in the 34th over, and Piedt struck again in his next over when he had Gill, batting at No. 3 this time after top-scoring with 92 in the first dig, caught by Senuran Muthusamy for a duck.

Panchal chugged along though, and proceeded to add 92 more with Nair, bringing up his 22nd first-class century in the process. His innings included nine fours and four sixes. It continued Panchal’s rich vein of form, which had hit a temporary snag in the Duleep Trophy with a top score of 33 across four innings.

Muthuswamy, the left-arm spinner, did succeed in sending back Panchal, caught and bowled, but Nair, who had settled down by then, continued his own strong form in recent times with a half-century. His scores in first-class cricket this season read: 99, 166*, 90, 20, 78 and 51*. When the teams shook hands, Nair had captain Wriddhiman Saha, unbeaten on 1 off 33 balls, for company.

Earlier, after Aiden Markram asked the Indians to bat, they rode on the half-centuries from Gill and Nair as well as Saha’s 60, Shivam Dube’s 68 and Jalaj Saxena’s unbeaten 48 to put up 417.

Kuldeep Yadav and Shahbaz Nadeem combined to then reduce South Africa to 142 for 5, before hundreds by Markram and Wiaan Mulder rescued the visiting side. Markram (161) and Mulder (131*) added 155 runs for the sixth wicket, and though Markram was eventually bowled by Mohammed Siraj, Mulder carried South Africa close to India’s total.

Kuldeep and Nadeem picked up seven wickets between them, and Markram was named the player of the match.

This match marked the end of South Africa A’s tour of India, which started with a five-match one-day series – India took that 4-1 – and concluded with the two four-dayers, the first of which the Indians won by seven wickets.

The senior sides from the two countries are currently engaged in a T20I series and will then play three Test matches.



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Not worried about exclusion from T20Is – Kuldeep Yadav

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Kuldeep Yadav hasn’t been part of the last two T20I squads India’s selectors have chosen, for the West Indies tour and at home against South Africa, but that hasn’t dented his confidence. Kuldeep was instead picked in the India A side for the second unofficial Test against South Africa A, which ended in a draw in Mysore on Friday.

Kuldeep had a reasonable outing in the game, taking 4 for 121 in 29 overs in the only innings India bowled in.

“So far, I have done a good job in limited-overs format. I feel very comfortable with the white ball,” Kuldeep told reporters after the third day. “I am not worried about not being picked for the last two T20I series. Maybe the selectors felt I needed a break. Maybe the team thinks some changes are required. I respect that, and I have no complaints. I see this as an opportunity to do well in Tests.”

Stats bear out Kuldeep’s assertion. After the 2016 T20 World Cup, he has been among the best spinners in the world in T20 cricket, and one of the top two Indians.

In 68 T20 matches since that T20 World Cup, Kuldeep has taken 81 wickets at an average of 22.97 (ninth-best in the world, second among Indians), and an economy rate of 7.60 (fifth among Indians). His strike rate of 18.1 is seventh-best among all spinners. Yuzvendra Chahal has a marginally better average (22.11) and a better strike rate (16.9, third-best in the world), but a higher economy rate of 7.83.

“There is no doubt that wristspinners are dominating the world,” Kuldeep said. “But sometimes, when you try to stop runs, you actually turn out to be expensive. We need to work on our accuracy. You need to accept that you do get hit for runs and work on being economical.”

The recent T20I series exclusion, however, could be down to India’s desire to have bowlers who can contribute with the bat, as was expressed recently by captain Virat Kohli.

That might work towards pushing Kuldeep to hone his red-ball skills, where he is still in the mix, even though he has had little game time of late. Since the start of 2017, Kuldeep has played in just 10 first-class games, six of them Test matches, largely due to his national commitments and being the third spinner in a Test team that already has R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. He has done reasonably well in those games though, taking 40 wickets at 25.87, with three five-wicket hauls.

“It’s hard to play red-ball cricket when you aren’t consistently playing that format,” Kuldeep said. “If you aren’t a regular in this format, it takes time to get into your rhythm. When you are consistently playing limited overs and suddenly switch to Tests without much preparation, it will be tough to excel. You need to bowl long spells, play practice games, to understand field placements and to know how to pick wickets. It was important for me to come here (in the India A game) and bowl as many overs as possible. There is still plenty of work to do.

“When three spinners like Ashwin, Jaddu and I are in the squad, it’s challenging to pick the right combination. You need to be ready to grab your chance. Of course, there is pressure because you only get a few chances, and you have to make full use of them.”



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Recent Match Report – Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe, Bangladesh Twenty20 Tri-Series, 5th Match

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Toss Afghanistan opt to bowl v Zimbabwe

Afghanistan will bat first against Zimbabwe in the fifth match of the T20 tri-series in Chattogram. Already assured of their place in next week’s final, Afghanistan made three changes to their playing XI, handing an international debut to allrounder Fazal Niazai.

The match is essentially a dead rubber for both sides, but the occasion will still have some context as it marks Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza‘s final game for his country. Zimbabwe’s most-capped player in this format, Masakadza announced his retirement from international cricket ahead of Zimbabwe’s departure for Bangladesh and will be leading his team out in his 66th T20I, and 310th game for Zimbabwe overall. Zimbabwe, still searching for their first win of the series, named an unchanged XI to that which lost to Bangladesh on Wednesday.

“Bittersweet,” Masakadza said of the occasion at the toss. “It’s my last game. I would have wanted it to be under better circumstances, but it is what it is. It’s still another game for us and an international for Zimbabwe. We’ve never beaten Afghanistan in a T20 so hopefully we can do that today, and that can be my send-off.”

Aside from handing the 29-year-old Niazai a debut, Afghanistan also tinkered with their middle order and bowling attack. Karim Janat, Najeeb Tarakai and Fareed Ahmad will sit this match out, while wicket-keeper batsman Shafiqullah slots in to the top order and seamer Dawlat Zadran comes back to play his first T20I in more than two years.

The pitch being used tonight is the same as that used on Wednesday night, upon which Bangladesh racked up 175 for 7. It is expected to encourage the batsmen once again, though play a little more slowly as the evening goes on.

“It doesn’t matter, whether we’re in the final or not,” Rashid Khan said. “We have to play positive cricket. We shouldn’t change our momentum, and we have to be 100% in batting, bowling and fielding. To be playing on my birthday, as I was this time last year when I got [the] Man-of-the-Match [Award] against Bangladesh, is pretty special.”

Afghanistan: 1 Hazratullah Zazai, 2 Shafiqullah, 3 Fazal Niazai, 4 Asghar Afghan, 5 Mohammad Nabi, 6 Najibullah Zadran, 7 Gulbadin Naib, 8 Rahmanullah Gurbanz (wk), 9 Rashid Khan (capt), 10 Dawlat Zadran, 11 Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Zimbabwe: 1 Brendan Taylor (wk), 2 Hamilton Masakadza (capt), 3 Sean Williams, 4 Regis Chakabva, 5 Tinotenda Mutombodzi, 6 Ryan Burl, 7 Richmond Mutumbami, 8 Neville Madziva, 9 Kyle Jarvis, 10 Ainsley Ndlovu, 11 Chris Mpofu



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