James Pamment, the 51-year-old former Auckland batsman, has taken the role of USA head coach on an interim basis through to the end of 2019. This comes after the contracts of USA director of cricket Kiran More and a string of other assistant coaches were not renewed following an initial three-month period. Pamment’s appointment had been rumoured since the start of the month but has since been confirmed to ESPNcricinfo by multiple USA Cricket sources.
More had been appointed in July by USA Cricket to oversee their quest to qualify for the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia, serving as a “senior operations consultant” according to a USA Cricket press release. But his arrival sparked a power struggle with USA head coach Pubudu Dassanayake, who had been in place since September 2016 and had led USA to ODI status in April at WCL Division Two. After mounting tension at a USA squad camp at Los Angeles in June, Dassanayake resigned, citing a “loss of freedom” in selection decisions.
More did not to travel with the USA squad to Bermuda in August for the Americas Regional Final for the T20 World Cup Qualifier. Sunil Joshi was notified by email after the team arrived on tour that he would be the stand-in head coach in More’s place. Though USA headed into the four-team event as favourites after winning the sub-regional qualifier over Canada in North Carolina in September 2018, the team finished third after losing all four of their matches to Canada and Bermuda, who wound up advancing instead of USA to the T20 World Cup Qualifier in the UAE.
A tentative plan had been discussed to extend More’s consultant contract through to the 2020 T20 World Cup had USA qualified, but once they failed in Bermuda, that became a non-starter. He oversaw USA’s ODI tri-series performances in Florida last month, where they went 3-1 in their opening round of Cricket World Cup League Two matches against Namibia and Papua New Guinea. Those were his last matches in charge. David Saker had left as fast bowling consultant coach to go back to Australia immediately after the Bermuda tour while batting consultant coaches Pravin Amre and Kieran Powell were not present in Bermuda nor Florida.
Pamment had initially been contracted as fielding coach for USA when More came on board. However, he has been asked to remain to help oversee a transition period for USA’s next two tours – the CWI Super50 in Trinidad next month and a CWC League Two ODI tri-series against UAE and Scotland in Dubai in December – until a full-time appointment can be made in January 2020. Pamment is not expected to apply for the full-time role because, like More, he has a multi-year contract with Mumbai Indians in the IPL, having replaced Jonty Rhodes as their fielding coach in 2018.
USA Cricket is seeking a full-time commitment after the failed strategy of hiring short-term consultants to replace Dassanayake for T20 World Cup Qualifier.
Originally from Yorkshire, Pamment migrated to New Zealand early in his career and played 14 first-class and 33 List A games from 1993 to 1996. Aside from his stint with Mumbai Indians in the IPL, Pamment previously coached Northern Districts in New Zealand from 2013 to 2017.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo’s USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plunket Shield round-up: Lockie Ferguson and Neil Wagner let it rip
It’s Fergie time
All three matches of the final round of the Plunket Shield ended in a draw but that didn’t mean you should’ve taken your eyes off them. Because it’s when you do silly things like that that you run the risk of becoming a meme. Like the guy here at first slip who thought he was out of the firing line after Auckland’s Lockie Ferguson had clean bowled Wellington’s Fraser Colson.
Lockie Ferguson gets the ACES started with a beauty.
150 First Class wickets for the speedster.
— Auckland Cricket (@aucklandcricket) November 7, 2019
Ferguson hadn’t played any first-class cricket since March 2019, but he did have a spectacular World Cup, turning himself into a first-choice pick for New Zealand in white-ball cricket, and on the back of his 4 for 23 in only 9.3 overs, which made league leaders Wellington crumble to 93 all out, he seems to be in line to make the Test squad as well when the two-match series against England starts on November 21.
The entire day four of that game was washed out despite every effort to tempt the sun out from the rain clouds. If mother nature listen to Twitter, does she really even exist?
We would to you in Wellington today.
Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
The ACES #PlunketShield
— Auckland Cricket (@aucklandcricket) November 10, 2019
As a result Wellington went into the Plunket Shield break as the No .1 team again with their 21-year old fast bowler Ben Sears making quite a name for himself. In only his third-first class game, he picked up 6 for 43 in 13 overs. Two of those wickets were Black Cap batsmen – opener Jeet Raval who will have to go into the Tests against England with scores of 7, 3 and 14 in his last three innings and Mark Chapman
Hi I’m Ben Sears and I like to bowl fast! While we wait on an inspection at the @BasinReserve there is plenty of time to check out a sharp spell from young @wgtnfirebirds quick Ben Sears this morning v @aucklandcricket. VIDEO scorecard | https://t.co/9120PQW6OT #PlunketShield pic.twitter.com/92dFoe3zA4
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) November 9, 2019
Watch Wags go
Northern Districts were bowled out for 243 in their first innings in Dunedin and they should have been behind the game but try telling Neil Wagner that. With Trent Boult and Tim Southee out on international duty, the left-arm quick took the new ball and sliced through the Otago line-up, claiming four of the top five batsmen.
Leading wicket taker in Plunket Shield as it takes break is Neil Wagner (17). Took 8 wickets at venue for 1st test, 9 wickets in his last test, 2nd best strike rate and 4th best average in NZ test history (min 100 wkts) #plunketshield #NZvENG
— Francis Payne (@FPayne100) November 11, 2019
But a stunning lower-order fightback, which included Nathan Smith (114) and Michael Rippon (98) putting on Otago’s best ever seventh-wicket partnership, going past the 182 set by the great Bert Sutcliffe and Alan Gilbertson in 1952-53, stemmed the fall of wickets and secured a first-innings lead.
It also put overs into Wagner’s legs. He got through 40.2 of them to finish with his second six-for in as many innings. England, you’re next.
STUMPS – 29/2 | Two wickets to Neil Wagner, including this dismissal of Hamish Rutherford, have made some early inroads into the @OtagoVolts batting line-up.
A day that belongs to Henry Cooper
— Northern Districts (@ndcricket) November 8, 2019
Central Districts, who are looking to become the first team in 80 years to win a hat-trick of Plunket Shield titles, leapt up to second place, from second-to-last, with a draw against Canterbury. The season resumes on November 22 with five rounds still left to play.
You make your highest first-class score – 149 – but your team gets all out for 243. You’ve scored 60% of the total, but you were also given four lives. And for all that effort rain still has the final say. So was that a good day or a bad day at the office? Meh, let’s just call it a weird one and watch Henry Cooper go to his third first-class hundred with a superb six and remember the next highest score of the innings was 20.
A Henry Cooper was the headline act at University of @otago Oval on day one between the @OtagoVolts and @ndcricket. Catch up on the opening day action with our VIDEO scorecard | https://t.co/xEdvuxsaCX #PlunketShield pic.twitter.com/uSE6Vbw6EX
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) November 8, 2019
Northern Districts captain Daniel Flynn was playing his 100th first-class game. Also,
— Francis Payne (@FPayne100) November 11, 2019
‘BCCI amendments, if permitted, will mean ridiculing of the Supreme Court’
The adoption of the amendments proposed by the BCCI to its constitution would, if unchallenged, be tantamount to “ridiculing” of the Supreme Court and its endeavour over the past several years to introduce reforms in the richest and most powerful cricket board.
That’s the opinion of Gopal Sankaranarayanan secretary of the RM Lodha Committee, whose recommended reforms were approved by the Supreme Court on July 18, 2016. The Lodha Committee, appointed by the court in 2015, was headed by former Chief Justice of India Lodha along with former Supreme Court Justices RV Raveendran and Ashok Bhan.
Sankaranarayanan, speaking to ESPNcricinfo, said he believed the highest court in the country still “had a role to play” in the issue and that the BCCI’s proposed changes, if adopted, could be challenged by any member of the public. He did, however, concede that the court itself was partly to blame for gradually “diluting” the reforms it had first approved three years ago.
Sankaranarayanan is the first person closely involved with the drafting of the reforms to react to the BCCI’s proposals. Chief Justice (Retd) Lodha, when contacted by this reporter on Monday, said he had stop commenting on BCCI matters.
The proposals to change the constitution came to light last Saturday when the BCCI’s new secretary, Jay Shah, circulated the agenda for the board’s annual general meeting, to be held on December 1. The constitution, which had been registered in August 2018, had been drafted by the committee of administrators (CoA).
The most radical amendments include altering the rules concerning the cooling-off period for office-bearers, relaxing various disqualification criteria and removing the need for any changes to the constitution to be approved by the Supreme Court.
Adopting of the proposals, Sankaranarayanan said, would mean the reforms had ceased to exist. “If this is permitted to be done and if it remains unchallenged in court and the Supreme Court does not either have a challenge before it or it does not take up suo motu, it will mean ridiculing of the Supreme Court and everything that it did over the years,” he said. “It will completely mean going back to square one as far as cricket administration and reforms are concerned. Most of the significant changes would have ceased to exist.”
He pointed out the BCCI was trying to further loosen the reforms, which had already been revisited by various benches of the court after the principal judgement in July 2016 delivered by TS Thakur, the then Chief Justice of India. “It suggests that they are almost completely effacing what is left of the reforms after the Supreme Court had stepped in. They feel that there might be some kind of lacuna left behind after the Supreme Court has been looking at stuff for several years.
“They could possibly try and argue that, ‘Look, the Supreme Court has not barred us from amending our own constitution so we are more than capable of amending it and making all sorts of changes to it.’ That is a narrow way of looking at things. They will somehow ensure whatever is left after Supreme Court itself had reversed much of the [original reforms] so that old cliques can continue to operate in a big way.”
The amendments will be voted on at BCCI AGM on December 1 by the general body, comprising elected representatives of the state associations, and need a three-fourth majority to be passed. After that, the board will need the court’s approval to alter the constitution to accommodate the amendments.
Sankaranarayanan said regardless of whether the amendments were approved unanimously or not, the court “will have a role to play” even if the BCCI might not believe so. “They are trying to imply that they will no longer need the Supreme Court’s imprimatur when it [the board] makes changes [to the constitution],” he said. “It is very clear, the way the Supreme Court has approached this over the years, that any reforms that have come by way of its judgement are full and final. Those changes which came because of the judgement cannot be trifled with without the court’s consent. Anything the court has dealt with, you will have to go back to the court if you want to make any changes.
“It makes no difference if the amendment is unanimous or third-fourth majority or anything – in my view the court will have a role because the court had a role all this while. It was specific when it approved the initial reforms [in 2016], then it approved the constitution that was drafted and submitted by the CoA last year.”
The upheaval in the BCCI was prompted by then Bihar Cricket Association secretary Aditya Verma’s petition in the Supreme Court concerning the 2013 IPL corruption scandal. Sankaranarayanan said that an outsider could once again knock on the court’s doors to draw its attention to the BCCI’s latest move. “An outsider will definitely have locus standi because that is how it came to the Supreme Court to start with, with the Bihar Cricket Association representative bringing it to the court.”
Although there is a feeling the court’s intervention has failed to make any impact on the BCCI, which is once again threatening to become an exclusive club, Sankaranarayanan said he thought otherwise because he said cricket was followed by the masses who were “invested” in the sport.
He agreed, though, that the Lodha Committee could have put in place more safeguards to make the reforms more complete and said he believed the court had shot itself in the foot when it revised the 2016 set of reforms. That has allowed the BCCI and the state associations to raise objections. “I would have of course wished the Supreme Court had not just kept changing its views and diluting the reforms more and more every time a new bench came to look at the matter because that is precisely what has happened.
“What we are seeing now as the final version of the constitution that the BCCI wants to amend even further is quite a shadow of what was initially was proposed by the reforms. Small tweaks I can understand, but after a final judgment of the Chief Justice Thakur’s bench and a review being dismissed there should never have been an exercise of jurisdiction which allowed further changes, which is what has happened now. The rule of law has been utilised very flexibly, much to the advantage of the BCCI in this case. Let’s hope it doesn’t see a repeat of that.”
Mahmudullah blames lack of ‘game sense’ after 8 for 34 meltdown
Despite giving India a good run for their money in their three-match T20Is series, the result ultimately went against Bangladesh, and Mahmudullah, leading the side after Shakib Al Hasan was banned for a year, conceded afterwards that his team had “a long way to go” in the format.
On the night, Bangladesh lost their last eight wickets for just 34 runs in the space of 6.2 overs – Deepak Chahar picking up a hat-trick on his way to record-breaking returns of 6 for 7 – to collapse from a commanding 110 for 2 in the 13th over to be bowled out for 144.
“We had our chance when we needed 50 runs off 30 balls, but we lost a few wickets rapidly. It cost us the match,” Mahmudullah said. “If you analyse these three games, we played good cricket. It is hard to get the momentum back once you lose it in T20 cricket. As I have mentioned, we were very close in this game. We lost three or four wickets in six or seven balls. It was the crucial part of this game. We can’t make these mistakes again and again.
“Honestly, we have a long way to go in T20s. We are a team dependent on skilled hitting, not big hitters. If we can be consistent with our game sense and mentality, we can improve in this format.”
“I think we are not overdoing in giving opportunities. It is important to back players in T20Is where it is hard to be consistent”
Having arrived in India without two of their best players in Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, and the emerging Mohammad Saifuddin, and on the back of the much-publicised players’ strike, there were doubts about the team’s ability. But newcomer Mohammad Naim played a sparkling innings in the last game, while Shafiul Islam and Al-Amin Hossain took responsibility with the new and old ball. Legspinner Aminul Islam showed glimpses of his skills, and Mushfiqur Rahim played a match-winning knock in the first game.
But prominent players like Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das and Mustafizur Rahman didn’t have a good time at all.
“I think we are not overdoing in giving opportunities,” Mahmudullah said. “It is important to back players in T20Is where it is hard to be consistent. As a team and the management, we should back players who are going through a rough time.
“Every cricketer has a time in their career when they go through a patch of five or six games. I think we expect a lot from [Mustafizur, who went wicketless in all the games]. He is a champion bowler. I don’t think we should give him a rethink. We should support him. He is working hard. It is a matter of one match.”
Where Mustafizur faltered, Al-Amin returned to the T20I side after three years displaying all the guiles that have helped him become a strong performer in the domestic scene. “Al-Amin was brilliant. He is one of our best T20 bowlers, if you look at his track record. I was confident that he would do well here.”
It went 2-1 to India, but could well have been 2-1 to the visitors had they batted with more purpose in the last game, where young Naim scored a 48-ball 81 but Mohammad Mithun’s 27 was the next best. In fact, the two of them were the only ones to get into double-digits as Nos 5, 6, 7 and 8 scored 17 runs between them.
“It was an attractive innings,” Mahmudullah said of Naim’s innings. “I felt bad for him that we couldn’t finish what he had done with his innings.”
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