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Shastri wants India to have legacy like West Indies’ and Australia’s past teams

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India head coach Ravi Shastri wants his team to leave behind a legacy like West Indies and Australia did in the past. He also called reports of a rift between Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma “nonsense”, and said it was important to “get behind the team and be positive rather than try and create any trouble”.

Shastri’s comments came after India’s series sweep in the Caribbean, where they blanked West Indies in all three formats, denying the hosts even a solitary win in the T20Is, ODIs and Tests. “This kind of consistency I have not seen any time,” Shastri, who was recently given an extension in the job until the 2021 T20 World Cup, told Gulf News. “This team has an opportunity to do great things. We have a legacy like the West Indies did in the eighties and Australia did at the turn of the century. This team, too, has an opportunity to leave that kind of legacy, and they are already doing it.”

What gives Shastri the belief that Kohli’s India can match the feats of Clive Lloyd’s West Indies and Australian teams lead by Allan Border, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting? Overseas performances. Apart from the West Indies, India have won Test series in Sri Lanka and Australia, the latter a historic 2-1 triumph earlier this year, during Shastri’s tenure.

“Look at how we have performed in T20, one-dayers and Tests, and even in the big ICC tournaments, it is unbelievable,” he said. “People used to say earlier that we only perform at home and we don’t do anything abroad. Now they are saying the opposite as wherever they are going they are performing.”

India have been No. 1 in the ICC’s Test rankings since October 2016, and were favourites at the recent ODI World Cup, alongside hosts England. India’s World Cup campaign, however, was ended by a semi-final loss to New Zealand, following a top-order collapse. Incidentally, India, currently ranked No. 2 on the ODI rankings, had failed to clear the semi-finals at the 2015 World Cup, too.

In T20Is, India are fourth in the ICC rankings. They won seven straight T20I series, including the four-team Nidahas Trophy, between November 2017 to November 2018, a streak that included away wins in South Africa (2-1), Ireland (2-0) and England (2-1), but they lost series in New Zealand and at home against Australia.

Addressing recent reports of differences between Kohli and Rohit, Shastri said India India would not have performed the way they have if there was a rift between the two, neither would the pair have scored as freely as they have in recent series.

“Listen, I have been around the dressing room for the last five years. I have seen how the boys have played and how they have complemented the team and know their work ethics. I feel it is absolute nonsense (reports of a rift). I have been there with them and I know the way they play. If that was the case why would Rohit get five hundreds in the World Cup? Why would Virat do what he is doing? How would they have partnerships together?

“In a side when you have 15 players there will always be times when there will be opinions that will be different. That is what is needed. I don’t want everyone toeing the same line. You have got to have discussions and someone might then think of a fresh strategy, which has to be encouraged. So you have to give the guys the opportunity to express themselves and then decide what is best. Sometimes it might be the junior-most player in the team who may come up with a strategy which we hadn’t even thought of and we need to bring that to the table. So these should not be seen as a conflict.”



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From local icons to ‘non-playing players’: Details of The Hundred draft revealed

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The Professional Cricketers Association has sent its members full details of how to register for The Hundred, with the wheres, whens and wherefores starting to become clear. If you’re after the full lowdown on local icons, luxury coach travel, non-playing players, Finals Day details, wildcard picks and fixtures at Sedbergh, you’ve come to the right place…

Draft details:

On October 3, each team will pick players from the list of those with a Test contract. Each team will be able to select one such player from its catchment area, or in the case of the teams without such a player, from the pool of those left over. Any remaining players will then be automatically allocated according to their catchment area.

One or more men’s Test players may be appointed as a ‘non-playing player’ for The Hundred, seemingly at the ECB’s discretion. They will be used in promotional material, but will not train or play. James Anderson is almost certain to have such status, having last played a T20 in 2014, while Stuart Broad and Rory Burns are other candidates.

Overseas players:

Each team will be permitted a maximum of three overseas players. As reported by ESPNcricinfo, the ECB have been successful in changing the visa criteria with the Home Office. In addition to the existing criteria regarding international appearances, players will now qualify for a visa if they have played 20 domestic T20s in full-member countries in the past 24 months – though the stipulations were mistakenly omitted from the men’s draft FAQs.

Several Australia players are expected to enter the draft. They have no international cricket scheduled between their six white-ball games in England, which finish immediately before the competition starts.

The gap in Australia’s schedule also means that some of their Test specialists will hope to secure county deals. Several counties are understood to have enquired about Nathan Lyon’s availability, while several of those who had deals this year will plan to extend them into 2020.

Local icon draft:

Also on October 3, each team will be able (but not obliged) to pick up to two ‘local icon’ players, who have played at a county within the team’s catchment area in the 2019 season, at a fee at or above their reserve price. The team will then lose a pick in the actual draft according to the player’s salary band. For example, if Southern Brave wanted to sign Liam Dawson, and agreed a fee of £75,000, they would lose a Round Six pick in the main draft.

The ‘local icon’ draft will only be held this year – effectively in order to increase the number of players signed by their local team – but raises conflict-of-interest issues due to the shared governance between ‘stakeholder’ counties and new teams. It would be feasible for ‘bundling’ – the practice allegedly carried out by Western Australia and Perth Scorchers – to take place between counties and Hundred teams.

The ECB have inserted a clause in the draft regulations attempting to outlaw the practice, but it is possible that given the overlap in management between counties and Hundred teams, a county could offer a higher county salary on the agreement that they would sign a less lucrative Hundred deal and thus open up an earlier-round pick.

The ECB maintain such a scenario is unlikely, due to the risk involved, the role of independent head coaches in picking players, and the fact they are funding Hundred salaries.

The PCA have previously flagged the possibility of conflict of interests, and chairman Daryl Mitchell said in a statement that they were “very strong” in pushing for an independent selection structure.

“The ECB have put governance in place where the counties self-police behaviours as part of these team boards,” Mitchell said. In response to concerns about the overlap between the governance of Lancashire and Manchester Originals, he added: “Lancashire is a standalone county which has caused concerns which has been raised from the very outset.”

Wildcards:

Each men’s team will pick one ‘wildcard’ player around ten days before the tournament starts, expected to be based on performances in the T20 Blast. Each wildcard player will be paid £30,000, the lowest men’s salary band.

The Blast’s group stage will end before The Hundred starts, despite the fact its Finals Day is not scheduled until September 2, more than six weeks later.

Finals Day formats:

Both the men’s and women’s competitions will mirror the current Kia Super League format for their knockout stages. The team that finishes top of the 32-match group stage will go straight into the final, while the second and third-placed teams will play a semi-final immediately before.

Women’s Finals Day will be on Friday, August 14, while the men’s version is likely to be on Saturday, August 15.* The venues for both days are yet to be confirmed.

Women’s tournament:

The salary bands for the women’s competition have been released. Each squad will comprise players earning: £15,000 (two players), £12,000 (two), £9,000 (two), £7,200 (two), £6,000 (two), £4,800 (two), £3,600 (three), with the captain earning a further £1,200 as a bonus.

While the top salaries are not dissimilar to those on offer in the Women’s Big Bash League, each men’s team will have two players earning £125,000, while the total budget for an entire women’s squad of 15 will be £120,000.

The Manchester Originals’ women’s venue will be Sedbergh School, in Cumbria. The decision to host a Lancashire men’s County Championship game there was unpopular with the club’s members due to the school’s location (80 miles from Old Trafford). Lancashire Thunder, the KSL team, had hosted its games at Aigburth, Chester, and Blackpool.

As previously reported, each women’s team will play at least one double-header at their paired men’s venue.

Post-scripts:

Players have been told to register by 4pm on September 30. It is anticipated that the vast majority of players with county contracts will do so. Players without a first-class contract can apply to enter the draft, and will be entered if a team expresses an interest in them.

All players coming from overseas will be booked on business-class flights, and players will be given a daily allowance of £35 to cover basic expenses like food and drink. “Luxury coach travel” will be provided for away games.

*1715 BST – this piece was updated to amend the likely date of men’s Finals Day



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Recent Match Report – Lancashire vs Middlesex, County Championship Division Two, 2nd Innings

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Lancashire 259 (Livingstone 84, Croft 55*) and 347 (Jennings 97, Livingstone 68, Cummins 4-77) beat Middlesex 337 (Simpson 167*, Sowter 52, Bailey 5-78) and 165 (Andersson 83, Bailey 5-41) by 104 runs

Lancashire’s cricketers were able to celebrate the presentation of the Second Division Championship trophy in some style late on Thursday afternoon after they had completed a 104-run defeat of Middlesex at the end of the best game of four-day cricket seen at Emirates Old Trafford this season.

Needing 270 to win, Middlesex were bowled out for 165 with Tom Bailey taking 5 for 41 in the innings to complete a match return of 10 for 119. But the visitors’ fine contribution to this game continued on the final day when Martin Andersson‘s career-best 83, also his maiden first-class fifty, prolonged the contest almost an hour into the final session.

Yet the visitors’ pursuit had begun atrociously when they lost three wickets for one run in eight balls and were thus 3 for 3 after 23 balls of their innings.

The first batsman dismissed was Nick Gubbins, who was bowled for one playing no shot to Bailey, and Max Holden was leg before wicket to the medium-quick bowler’s next ball. Although Dawid Malan saved the hat-trick, the Middlesex captain collected a pair next over when his attempted clip to leg off Graham Onions only gave a catch to cover fielder Bailey off a leading edge.

Saqib Mahmood conceded 16 runs, all in boundaries, when Andersson cashed in on four over-pitched deliveries but Onions restored Lancashire’s dominance when he had Sam Robson lbw for 14, leaving Middlesex on 55 for 4 at lunch.

The only batsman dismissed in the afternoon session was John Simpson, who was leg before wicket to Matt Parkinson for five, and Middlesex entered the final session needing 144 off 36 overs, albeit with only five wickets in hand but with both Andersson and James Harris batting competently.

However, any prospects of victory were ended in the five overs after the resumption. Predictably, Bailey struck the first blow when he had Harris caught behind by Dane Vilas for 38, thus ending his 81-run stand for the sixth wicket. Two overs later the same bowler had Toby Roland-Jones lbw for five and just five balls later Nathan Sowter was caught at slip by Keaton Jennings off Parkinson for a single.

Bailey was not to be denied further success. His dismissal of Cummins, caught behind by Vilas for nine, completed the ninth five-wicket haul of his career, five of which have been secured against Middlesex. But the honour of taking the last wicket to fall at Old Trafford this season fell to Mahmood, who bowled Andersson when the batsman inside-edged the ball onto his stumps to end his 167-ball innings and preserve Lancashire’s unbeaten record.

In the first 45 minutes of the day Lancashire had added 56 runs in 9.5 overs, Parkinson making a career-best 14 and Steven Croft contributing 40 off 67 balls before losing his middle stump to James Harris. Parkinson had earlier been caught behind by Simpson off Roland-Jones but Lancashire had found run-scoring relatively easy, especially when Miguel Cummins offered Croft several short balls.



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Recent Match Report – Northamptonshire vs Durham, County Championship Division Two, 2nd Innings

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Northamptonshire 217 (Rossington 82, Rushworth 5-68) and 315 (Proctor 86*, Levi 60, Rossington 52) beat Durham 131 (Sanderson 6-54) and 232 (Eckersley 67*, Hutton 5-59) by 169 runs

Long after thundering out their team song and clinking rare glasses of champagne, the Northamptonshire players unwound on the Wantage Road outfield and reflected on a job well done. Some basked bare-chested, others wore their county caps and lay full stretch on the grass. Big Richard Levi, in stripy flip-flops, perched on a blue cool-box, green empties blending in with the turf.

“Champagne,” mused captain Adam Rossington from a corner of the dressing room an hour or so earlier. “Don’t know where that came from. There are too many northerners in here for champagne.”

The origin of the tipple may have been a mystery, but the reason corks popped was quite clear. Northamptonshire are all but promoted to the first division. Victory over Durham less than half-an-hour into the final day left them only four points short of certain elevation next week, and even that assuming Glamorgan were to beat Leicestershire from a dominant position at Cardiff later in the day.

Success represents a personal triumph for Rossington, who took over from Alex Wakely in early June. Wakely had been unhappy with his form for a while and Rossington was the obvious replacement. Northants are unbeaten in eight Championship games since, a period incorporating five wins and a very commendable draw against Lancashire, the runaway leaders.

“We were never a million miles from being where we wanted,” Rossington said. “Alex had done it for a while and done a brilliant job. It was just the key moments we were losing, dropping catches and then those players going on to hurt us. Really, it has been a case of carrying on the work from beforehand, but seizing those crucial moments.”

Rossington is aware that Northants have struggled during their rare appearances in the top flight. All three seasons have ended in relegation. He himself arrived on loan from Middlesex during the most recent, 2014, when their points tally of 79 was the joint-lowest since the Championship became a split-division competition. For the first time in 76 years they failed to record a single win.

One reason is obvious. They lost Mike Hussey and Phil Jaques from 2013, a combined tally of more than 3,000 runs. Under the strain of poor results, the dressing room fractured with Graeme Swann suggesting the club had lost its soul (he left for Nottinghamshire after that campaign) while Kepler Wessels, the coach, claimed that local players were not taking their opportunities.

David Ripley, the head coach, is steeped in the county and an altogether different character to the authoritarian Wessels. Crucially, perhaps, two teams from ten rather than nine will go down in 2020 and if the squad now has a journeyman look – with no overseas player yet signed – Rossington is understandably quick to highlight their credentials.

Ben Sanderson and Brett Hutton have taken almost 100 wickets between them this summer and both average under 20. Rossington and Ricardo Vasconcelos, 21, have batting means above 45. “We know it will be tough,” Rossington said, “but we have players who have been in division one and some hungry lads who have not seen it before but want to make an impact and be competitive.

“Our bowlers can definitely be successful. They are proven. Ben has taken 50 wickets three seasons out of four, Brett has taken wickets for Nottinghamshire in that division and done a job. They complement each other terrifically. Gareth [Berg] has just come from the first division. Teams will have good players, but we’ve also got good players ourselves.”

Besides which, Rossington insists that the second division is underestimated. “We have played against attacks this season that might have two international bowlers,” he said. “It isn’t a poor division at all. You see us second and Gloucestershire third, but look at some of those below. Middlesex and Sussex have international bowlers in their line-ups, so we can’t be bad.”

They made short shrift of Durham on Thursday morning. Hutton and Sanderson, fittingly, claimed a wicket apiece, with Ned Eckersley left unbeaten on 67. James Franklin, the Durham head coach, acknowledged on Wednesday that his side was returning for the last rites, their own hopes of promotion dashed. Defeat in their first four matches left too much ground to retrieve.

“Our batting here was pretty average,” Franklin admitted. “We will spend another year in Division Two, which is disappointing. We have had a really good run in the Championship in the last eight games and made some strong progress, but we have come to the crunch and not been able to pitch up in a pressurised situation.”

Durham still carry influence as they entertain Glamorgan next week. The most likely outcome is that Northants and Gloucestershire will finish second and third – nine points will ensure the latter’s promotion – and Dean Cosker as an ECB cricket liaison officer will be on hand to ensure there is no contrivance when those two counties meet at Bristol.

“Even though three go up, it is a big incentive to finish second,” Rossington said. “Lancashire are a good side and rightly won the division. We want to be next to them, we are adamant about that, and we will be fighting down at Bristol. You don’t want to put in a poor performance and have that lingering over you all winter. We want to enjoy our time off.”



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