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Buttler, Stokes and Archer back for South Africa T20Is, no room for Root



England have named four uncapped players in their ODI squad to face South Africa, while recalling the likes of Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer for the T20I series to follow. Moeen Ali and Jason Roy return in both white-ball formats after being rested for the New Zealand tour, but there was no room in the T20I squad for Joe Root.

Tom Banton, Pat Brown, Saqib Mahmood and Matt Parkinson have all been picked in 50-over cricket for the first time – though only Brown and Parkinson retained their T20I spots. Of the group that beat New Zealand 3-2 last month, Sam Billings, James Vince and Lewis Gregory also miss out.

The three-match ODI series, starting on February 4 at Cape Town, will be England’s first involvement in the format since lifting the World Cup in July. Eoin Morgan remains as captain, with Dawid Malan winning a recall after his excellent T20I form and Chris Jordan and Sam Curran also included, having last won ODI caps in 2016 and 2018 respectively.

The squad contains eight members of the World Cup-winning group. Mark Wood is also rested, alongside Buttler, Stokes and Archer; Liam Dawson has once again been overtaken by Joe Denly as the spinning allrounder; and England appear to have moved on from Vince and Liam Plunkett.

The four new faces were all involved, to varying degrees of success, in New Zealand. Banton scored 56 runs in three innings, at a strike rate of 164.70, Parkinson claimed a four-wicket haul in his second game, while Brown and Mahmood picked up three wickets each. In List A cricket, Banton scored two hundreds as Somerset won the 2019 Royal London Cup; Lancashire’s Mahmood was the competition’s leading wicket-taker with 28 at 18.50.

England will also play three T20Is in South Africa and they have prioritised the shortest format ahead of next year’s T20 World Cup. The absence of Root suggests his chances of involvement are receding, with England well-stocked for top-order batting options.

“These two squads were selected with an eye on the T20 World Cup in Australia in 2020,” England’s national selector, Ed Smith, said. “In the T20s, a number of players who were rested for the successful 3-2 victory in New Zealand return to the squad: Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali and Jason Roy.

“We want to expand the pool of players who can perform successfully for England, while also helping the team to peak for major tournaments.”

England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Pat Brown, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Matthew Parkinson, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Chris Woakes

England T20I squad: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Pat Brown, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Matt Parkinson, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood

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Black Lives Matter – Justin Langer accepts Michael Holding’s criticism about not taking a knee



Australia’s coach Justin Langer has admitted that the national team did not commit enough time to understanding and learning about the Black Lives Matter movement before choosing not to take a knee prior to their first game since the start of the movement earlier this year.

Following blunt criticism from Michael Holding, Langer said that as Cricket Australia went through its own extensive process of reflection about how inclusive it has been for people of colour, the team should have found more time to contemplate taking a knee before the opening match of the T20I series in Southampton.

“In terms of the taking a knee, to be completely honest we could’ve talked more about it perhaps leading up to that first game; there was so much going on leading up to us getting here, maybe we should’ve thought and talked a bit more about it,” Langer said. “What we do talk about in the team is we want to have a response that is sustained and powerful and it can go, not just in one action, but sustained periods, not just throughout this series, throughout our summer, but throughout time.

ALSO READ: Holding ‘doesn’t know anything that’s going on’ – Archer

“We’re looking at ways, I know there’s a lot of talk going on within our group about how we can, I know there’s a lot of talking going on about the Australian women’s team as well, about how we can have a sustained and powerful response to Black Lives Matter. It’s incredibly important, and I just hope and certainly from Mikey’s point of view I hope if it looked like there was a lack of respect there, that certainly wasn’t the intention of our team.

“We’re very aware of it, and when Mikey says what he says, then it’s certainly worth listening to and we’ll be doing that.”

Prior to the game, Australia captain Aaron Finch had explained that “education around it is more important than the protest”, in reference to the symbolic gesture made by a succession of sporting teams around the world in recent months.

“Michael Holding is one of the great people of world sport, and certainly our game. He’s a person who I personally have great admiration, great respect, great love for, and we all watched his presentation, his heartfelt thoughts at the start of the summer. When someone like Michael says something like that, it is certainly important we all listen to it”

Justin Langer

Holding had bridled at this attitude. “Now Australia come here and I see another lame statement from the Australia captain who is saying that he and the England captain have spoken and they decided not to take a knee,” Holding had said on Sky Sports. “I would hope that anyone who gets involved in something like this [does it] because they want to get involved.

“So I would hope that people who are joining in, and are still willing to accept that things need to change and need to send a signal, will voluntarily do what they think is right.”

Langer, who has overseen a reinvention of the Australian team’s image since the Newlands ball-tampering scandal in 2018, conceded he and others had been stopped in their tracks by Holding’s words.

“Michael Holding is one of the great people of world sport, and certainly our game,” Langer said. “He’s a person who I personally have great admiration, great respect, great love for, and we all watched his presentation, his heartfelt thoughts at the start of the summer. When someone like Michael says something like that, it is certainly important we all listen to it.

“It was a powerful statement by Mikey, as it has been consistently from him and from others throughout the summer, and because of that, it was a powerful message.”

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Seven and Foxtel won’t pay full rights fee to Cricket Australia as broadcast dispute escalates



Channel Seven and Foxtel will not pay their full broadcast rights instalment of A$55 million to Cricket Australia for September, with the free-to-air network going as far as to suggest its partial payment of the A$25 million it owed would be its one and only fee handed over for the entire summer.

In an incendiary move at the end of a winter in which the networks have consistently harried CA for a rights discount in the time of coronavirus – without necessarily having a clear contractual basis on which to do so – Seven and Foxtel have effectively challenged the governing body to pursue legal options to recoup its agreed fees, or come to the negotiating table.

CA, which has been awaiting the networks’ choice of action on the due date for its next rights instalment, has stood by the soundness of its legal position. This is based on the contention that there is no discount required besides those increments already inked into the A$1.18 billion rights deals settled with Seven and Foxtel in 2018 in the event of any reduction in content.

ALSO READ: Cricket Australia v Channel Seven: Gold Coast glow forgotten in broadcast battle

Those clauses have already applied to Fox Sports, given the postponement of scheduled white-ball matches against New Zealand, Zimbabwe and the West Indies this year, while the domestic limited-overs tournament and the annual Prime Minister’s XI game are all more or less guaranteed to be missing from the fixture this season.

However, Seven’s deal to cover Test matches and the majority of the BBL and WBBL have yet to be cut back, meaning the failure to pay the full instalment on Tuesday may be interpreted as a contractual breach. The network’s outspoken chief executive, James Warburton, delivered a statement on Tuesday claiming that this was not the case, due to Seven’s notice last week that it sought to enter into a dispute resolution process with CA over an independent assessment of the rights value.

“Putting aside the questions of breach, in accordance with the contract Seven has invoked the right to appoint an independent expert to determine the fair value of the media rights against the expected schedule for the season compared to the originally published schedule,” Warburton said. “Seven has paid the first instalment reflecting our fair value.”

CA has been contacted for comment.

More to come

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Recent Match Report – Surrey vs Middlesex South Group 2020



Surrey 218 for 5 (Jacks 55, Amla 67) beat Middlesex 188 for 5 (Eskinazi 77) by 30 runs

For a while, it seemed a blessing in disguise that this match, Middlesex’s final Lord’s appearance of a truncated season, was taking place behind closed doors. Certainly, for those fans tuning in via the club’s livestream, the first half did not make for pretty viewing. In the end it was simply a shame that a giddy, run-filled evening was not accompanied by a full house roaring on the home side’s bid at a record chase against their cross-town rivals.

Ultimately, they would have gone home disappointed, as Surrey, resurgent after four wins in a row, held their nerve to claim back-to-back London derby bragging rights and power their way to the top of the South Group on net run-rate. Fourth-placed Middlesex have three games remaining, all away from home, in which to hoist themselves back into contention.

That Middlesex ensured their supporters had not switched off from following online long before the closing stages was largely down to the efforts of Stevie Eskinazi, whose 77 from 44 balls lifted him to the top of the Blast run-scorers list. Joe Cracknell, on Blast debut, signalled his ability by cracking Jamie Overton on to the roof of the scorers’ box at deep midwicket – leaving a visible dent just below Father Time – during a spirited outing at No. 3, while John Simpson and Eskinazi combined to add 65 in 5.4 overs but Surrey always remained just out of reach.

Will Jacks, who had produced a smash-and-grab half-century to fire Surrey with the bat, burgled his way through four overs for 23 – by far the most economical return of the night – and left-arm spinner Dan Moriarty produced another impressive showing in his debut season. When Overton turned in his follow through to run Eskinazi out, with 61 needed from 18 balls, the jig was up.

“We’re really happy. [It’s a] London derby, we’ve been playing well coming in, and we knew a win could take us top,” Jacks said. “It was a really important game with a couple of teams on our tail. We’ve been gradually improving, got a few wins under our belt and this was a really good performance.”

Having successfully defended a total of 142 at this ground on Saturday, it was a curiosity that Middlesex on this occasion decided to chase, albeit on a hybrid pitch that played well throughout. Pretty soon it was their bowlers receiving a chasing, as Hashim Amla stroked his first and fourth balls to the boundary, 10 runs coming off Tom Helm’s opening over. Amla and Jacks, velvet glove and iron fist, had soon jounced along to 59 without loss from the Powerplay and the tone of the innings was set.

Jacks demonstrated his clean-striking with sixes over extra cover off both Tim Murtagh and Helm and it was not until the eight over that Middlesex managed to get through an over without conceding a boundary. Luke Hollman did not get off lightly, however, as his next saw Jacks begin a trend for losing the ball by planting successive deliveries into the building site at the Nursery End. Not so much under construction as demolition job, the second a straight hit over the sightscreen to bring up a 26-ball fifty.

It was Amla and Jacks who propelled Surrey to their first win of the season (after five defeats, a no-result and a tie), against Hampshire at The Oval 11 days ago, and they extended their opening stand into three figures before the latter picked out long-off to give Nathan Sowter the breakthrough – Hollman clutching the ball gratefully at the second attempt.

Amla, magic in the old wand still, skipped out to loft Hollman, Middlesex’s highly-regarded young leggie, just beyond the rope at extra cover to move to his own half-century, from 37 balls. The former South Africa opener swept Sowter, normally Middlesex’s thriftiest bowler during the middle overs, for six more in the 14th but was then bowled aiming a less-cultured hack later in the same over.

Still Surrey kept coming, England Test opener Rory Burns dinging another ball into the concrete and necessitating a replacement as Martin Andersson was left with figures of 0.1 for 11 after his first two deliveries were deemed no-balls. Andersson’s over eventually cost 21 but none of the Middlesex attack was left unscathed, with only Murtagh and Hollman managing to go at less than 10 an over.

Steven Finn had probably long begun to question the wisdom of bowling first when he ran in to deliver the final over. Overton pulverised 21 runs, including perhaps the biggest blow of the night into the hospitality boxes in the Grandstand (where it will likely remain until next March) as Surrey streaked past 200 and on to their joint second-highest total in London derbies. Had it been a possibility, they would have gone a long way to silencing the crowd.

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