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Mark Boucher appointed South Africa head coach till 2023

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Mark Boucher has been appointed as the new head coach of the South Africa men’s team on a four-year deal, running until 2023, with Enoch Nkwe, who was the interim team director, taking up the role of assistant coach.

“I have brought Boucher on board because I feel he will bring the toughness to turn a young and inexperienced Proteas squad into a battle-ready outfit,” Graeme Smith, the newly-appointed CSA acting director of cricket, said in his first interaction with the media after taking up the new position. “With his experience of a long career as an international cricketer he has first-hand experience of what it takes to succeed in the Test arena.

“I have the highest regard for Enoch as well and I want to create a clear path for him to grow into a top international coach. At the same time there is a clear need to maintain continuity and stability in the Proteas management team and we will be retaining the technical support staff along with Volvo Masubelele continuing as team manager and Justin Ontong as fielding coach.”

Smith mentioned that he would be appointing batting and bowling consultants over the “next couple of days”, with it looking increasingly likely that Jacques Kallis could take up the first of those positions.

The Boucher update came just three days after Smith was named director of cricket on a three-month term. A key part of Smith’s job was to appoint coaching staff for the men’s national team as it prepares to take on England at the turn of the year.

In other appointments and updates announced on the day, Linda Zondi has resumed as convener of the national selection panel, Faf du Plessis has been confirmed as the Test match captain, and Ashwell Prince will take charge of the South Africa A side for their upcoming three-day tour match against England, starting December 20 in Benoni. There will also be a two-day tour game prior to that in Benoni, from December 17, between the visiting side and a CSA Invitation XI. The first Test starts in Centurion on Boxing Day, and Zondi is expected name the squad for it on Monday.

“We will be announcing both the Proteas Test squad and the South Africa A squad to play England on Monday,” Smith said. “The Test squad will then go into immediate camp to prepare for the Test series and some of them will be included in the South Africa A team. Aiden Markram is likely to be the only player released for franchise duty in the 4-day series as he is in need of match practice after his lengthy injury-enforced absence.

“As far as my vision for the future is concerned, we need to rewind to performance excellence and that will be the focus going forward. Our public want and demand a world-class Proteas side and we must deliver on that. As far as my own future is concerned, I face a very busy and at times hectic three months and I am not going to look further ahead than that. I am sure everybody will understand that.

“Because of the time frame the Proteas Test squad is my most immediate concern and we will be rolling out plans for the Proteas Women and the under-19s, who both face important ICC global events next year, in the immediate future.”



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Moeen Ali to assist with England Lions camp ahead of Australia tour

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Moeen Ali will join an England Lions camp in Loughborough on Wednesday ahead of their upcoming tour to Australia.

Moeen, the offspinning allrounder whose most recent international appearance came in last summer’s first Ashes Test at Edgbaston, declared himself unavailable for the ongoing Test series in South Africa, writing in his Guardian column that he was hoping to “freshen up” while away from the side.

He is expected to remain absent for the two-Test series in Sri Lanka this March, having signalled his intention to “see out” his contract with Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League, but his presence at Loughborough suggests that his relationship with the ECB remains very healthy.

He will travel to South Africa for the white-ball leg of England’s tour at the end of the month, having been named in both the ODI and T20I squads.

Moeen will be joined at the Lions camp by Tim Bresnan, who played 23 Tests and 119 white-ball internationals for England between 2006 and 2015, with the pair asked to share their respective experiences of playing in Australia and adjusting to local conditions.

“I’d like to thank Tim and Moeen for their time this week at the camp,” ECB performance director Mo Bobat said. “I’m sure the information and experience they can impart will be very useful to many members of our squad as they look to hone their games to Australian conditions.”

The ECB has also confirmed that Lewis Gregory, the Somerset allrounder, will captain the Lions for both the 50-over and four-day legs of their tour, which starts later this month.

Gregory, who made his international debut during England’s T20I series in New Zealand in November, is Somerset’s T20 Blast captain, and has previously captained the Lions in white-ball cricket against Pakistan A last winter and in red-ball cricket against Australia A during the 2019 summer.

Tom Abell, his county team-mate, is vice-captain for the white-ball series, while Keaton Jennings – who is in line for a call-up to England’s Test squad for their tour of Sri Lanka – will be Gregory’s deputy in the four-day games.

Gregory said: “It’s an honour to be chosen to captain the Lions again and I’m looking forward to what will be a great challenge in Australia. I can’t wait to lead the team out at the iconic MCG against Australia A and try to lay a foundation for future England success Down Under across the whole tour.

“I’m fortunate to have some good experience around me, including Tom and Keaton – my vice-captains. It’s important to have reliable people to turn to for advice, as well as players who have experience of playing in Australian conditions, such as Mason Crane, Craig Overton and Richard Gleeson.

“It promises to be a tough but rewarding tour and one that will help all of us improve our games in unfamiliar conditions.”

Bobat added: “Lewis was an obvious choice to captain the Lions in Australia and I’m confident he’ll bring out the best in our two squads. His previous experience leading the Lions shows that he commands the respect of his team-mates. Tom and Keaton will provide great support in the white and red-ball formats respectively.”



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Recent Match Report – India vs Australia 1st ODI 2020

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Toss Australia chose to bowl v India

Aaron Finch won his first toss on the tour and put India in on what he called a “reasonably good wicket”. Finch said Australia hoped that dew would come in as they chased later, and pointed out that it had when they trained under lights in the days leading up to the match. Australia named both their frontline spinners – Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa – alongside fast bowlers Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Kane Richardson. Marnus Labuschage was handed a debut and could bat in the top four. He is also a legspinning option.

Virat Kohli said his side was always looking to be put out of its comfort zone and was “pretty happy” with the toss despite also wanting to bowl first. Kohli acknowledged that Australia – which was the other team to lose in the World Cup semi-final round last year – was the only team that had seriously challenged India at home in recent times and that India would have to be at their best. To try and do that, India also named two spinners – Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja – alongside Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Shardul Thakur.

India’s selection also hinted at the possibility of Kohli dropping to No. 4 in the batting order as all three opening options, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul, were named in the XI. Kedar Jadhav was left out of the XI, meaning one of Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant will take his position at No. 6.

India 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 KL Rahul, 4 Virat Kohli (capt), 5 Shreyas Iyer, 6 Rishabh Pant (wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Shardul Thakur, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

Australia 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch (capt), 3 Steven Smith, 4 Marnus Labuschagne, 5 Ashton Turner, 6 Alex Carey (wk), 7 Ashton Agar, 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Kane Richardson, 11 Adam Zampa



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James Pattinson and AB de Villiers star in big Brisbane Heat win

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The South African drove his first ball in the BBL for four and looked in sparkling touch



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