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West Indies begin search for new women’s head coach

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West Indies women will have a new head coach soon, with the board having started the recruitment process to replace the outgoing Gus Logie. The former West Indies batsman had been appointed interim head coach in October 2019 and his last assignment was the T20 World Cup in Australia, where West Indies suffered a premature exit, winning just one of their four league games.

“Following the recently concluded Women’s T20 World Cup, we have now begun the recruitment process for finding a permanent Women’s team head coach,” Jimmy Adams, the CWI director of cricket, said. “The successful candidate will be expected to drive our women’s program forward and improve our results across both formats. We are grateful for the efforts of interim head coach, Gus Logie, who has led the squad during this transition period and will continue in his interim role until the process has concluded.”

According to a CWI release, the new candidate will primarily be responsible for:

  • Producing West Indies Women’s teams which perform consistently with winning performance in ODIs and T20Is through the design and delivery of well-structured and progressive coaching programs.

  • Effectively deploying resources and implementing tactical initiatives to ensure the achievement of superior match results and top placement in all ICC competitions.

  • Managing the on and off-field development of current and new players through elite player development, health and welfare programmes.

  • Managing an elite and dynamic team management unit to get the maximum output from the players.

The deadline for interested candidates to apply is May 26, 2020.



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Unique circumstances provide no consolation for England’s outsiders

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One day in the summer of 1987, Paul Smith found himself in the England dressing room at Edgbaston during a rain break.

Smith, a Warwickshire player, was 23 at the time. He had scored 1,500 first-class runs as an opening batsmen the previous season and, as a bowler, had been dubbed “the fastest white man in the world” by Bob Willis. He had, he thought, a decent chance of a call-up as England started to contemplate life after Sir Ian Botham.

But then he heard Micky Stewart, the England coach at the time, list some of the issues facing his team. And one sentence, in particular, put him back in his place with a jolt. “The problem is, we just don’t have any allrounders,” he recalls Stewart saying.

It was a moment of crushing disappointment. A moment when all the hopes and dreams of recent months suddenly seemed foolish and naive. A moment when the door to the England team seemed to have been slammed in his face.

There will be a host of England-qualified cricketers feeling the same way today. For as much as it has been encouraging for the likes of Laurie Evans and Richard Gleeson to win inclusion in this extended training group, it is probably the omissions which tell us most. Not to be in included among the 55 – that’s five teams – really does seem like a knockout punch.

ALSO READ: Who are the new names in the England frame?

The absence of Alex Hales‘ name that will draw the most attention. And it’s true that, on form, he should be there. But Eoin Morgan, England’s limited-overs captain, made it clear on Wednesday that there would be no imminent return.

Many might think missing a World Cup – and such a World Cup – was punishment enough. It now seems Hales will miss the T20 one as well. But Morgan has earned the right to lead the limited-overs teams as he sees fit and clearly feels the culture he has inculcated requires further entrenchment. And it is true, it is not so long since some cricketers seemed more motivated by thoughts of their next night out than training or even playing for their country. The treatment of Hales provides a sobering reminder of the consequences and will serve as a deterrent.

There’s still a way back. He could win a recall in 2021, if he continues to score heavily and maintain a clean disciplinary record. He really is very good. But he’s 31 now. And some of those who have taken advantage of his absence, notably Tom Banton, are every bit of 10 years younger. That’s an uncomfortable equation for Hales.

There’s probably no way back for Liam Plunkett. He is now 35 and, in the year leading into the World Cup, clearly struggled to redress a notable drop of pace. As England look to challenges ahead, conditions in which his cutters may find little grip and that drop in pace might be punished, it is clear they have decided to move on. It’s not necessarily wrong, but it is ruthless.

Plunkett really was terrific in that World Cup. England won every match in which he played and, lest it be forgotten, he claimed three wickets – including that of Kane Williamson – in the final. Indeed, it’s probably no coincidence they lost only six of his final 57 ODIs. Maybe, in time, he will reflect that bowing out of international cricket in that Lord’s final was better than doing so in an empty Ageas Bowl in September. Either way, it to be hoped this ending does not leave a sour taste in a mouth that was full of champagne not so long ago.

Whatever happens, Hales and Plunkett and even Gary Ballance, who seems destined for a Ramprakashian second half of his career, can console themselves with the memories of many fine days in the sun wearing an England shirt. It has to end sometime and it nearly always ends badly.

Jamie Porter and Sam Northeast do not even have that consolation. Porter’s frustration, in particular, is understandable. He was told, in the summer of 2018, that he would play Test cricket at some stage that year. But James Anderson refused to age, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran offered better batting options and Porter fell back among the pack.

He’s only 27 so there is time to come again. But with the next couple of winters offering Test tours of India and Australia, his style of bowling – fast-medium, accurate and skilful though it is – is not as fashionable as it once was. Like Jake Ball, who not so long ago looked the best seamer in the county game, the sense lingers that England have not extracted all they could from their talent. Both could be forgiven for concluding, in the dark hours, that their moment has gone.

Northeast, meanwhile, may reflect that he needs to bat at No. 3 – or higher – if he is to force his way into the England side. He is a fine player but in batting at No. 4, where he is expected to feature for Hampshire this summer, he is putting himself up against Joe Root. That’s not a battle he’s going to win. Increasingly it seems he’ll be sharing knowing expressions with James Hildreth, who long ago stopped looking out for his name on such lists, when the pair pass on the county circuit.

ALSO READ: Hales, Plunkett left out as England name 55-strong training group

Perhaps the exclusion of Joe Clarke is the most unfortunate. Not so long ago, Clarke looked the outstanding young batsman in the county game. Clearly his involvement in the ugliness around the Alex Hepburn case disturbed his equilibrium, but he remains a special talent and one, perhaps, who could have done with some encouragement. It is to be hoped the timing of Hepburn’s appeal is not relevant. Clarke was never accused of anything unlawful and has served his time in respect to other matters. He endured a grim 2019 but remains a potential England player.

The door is not shut on him or several others. While Mark Stoneman may feel distraught at having fallen behind almost two-dozen other batsmen, he must remind himself this training group contains many white-ball options or middle-order Test players. It will only take a broken finger here and a poor run of form there to see him back in the reckoning as a Test opener. This is a setback, of course, but it need not signal the end.

Usually, after squads are announced, players can console themselves that they just missed out. This time feels different: not only is it vast, but the fact that many of those excluded will remain furloughed and distanced from the game will make it tough to accept for those on the outside. It’s another reminder, if one were required, that professional sport is a brutal business.



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T20 World Cup fate under ‘very high risk’- Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts

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The ICC may continue to insist that this year’s men’s T20 World Cup in Australia has not yet been postponed, but Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts said on Friday there’s “a very high risk about the prospect” of the tournament taking place as planned in October-November. Roberts’ comments came a day after the emergence of a communication from CA chairman Earl Eddings to the ICC in which he asked for Australia to be able to host the event in the same window next year.

The tournament, featuring 16 teams (including eight qualifiers for four spots), is scheduled to be held between October 18 and November 15, but as reported earlier this week, there is a strong likelihood of the event being postponed, something the ICC said on Wednesday was “inaccurate.” On Thursday, the ICC board was meant to discuss the postponement and contingency planning, but eventually deferred that discussion to June 10.

“The timing of the men’s T20 World Cup is really a matter for the ICC,” Roberts said on Friday in a virtual media briefing. “Obviously, we’ve been hopeful all along that it could be staged in October-November. But you’d have to say that there’s a very high risk about the prospect of that happening.”

In case the World Cup does get postponed, Roberts said there were a few potential windows to stage the event in 2021 and 2022, some of which were listed by ESPNcricinfo on Wednesday. “In the event that that doesn’t happen, there are other potential windows in the February-March period, October-November the following year.”

“We are exploring all options, from chartered flights in from other countries through to creating bio-security bubbles in different venues, and it may well be as much as we’ve released the schedule and we have for example four Indian Tests scheduled for four states, that assumes that state borders are open to domestic travel.”

Kevin Roberts

However, Roberts stressed that the ICC would have to “deal with a lot of complexity” in order to work out an alternate window, especially since India are scheduled to host the 2021 men’s T20 World Cup (scheduled for October-November) and the 2023 men’s ODI World Cup (scheduled for February-March).

“There’s implications for ICC events over a number of years,” Roberts said. “They need to be thinking about when to stage the men’s T20 World Cup that’s planned for Australia. There’s another one planned in India a year later and then in 2023 there’s the men’s cricket World Cup for India as well. And not to forget on the women’s side of the ledger, you’ve got the cricket World Cup in NZ early next year. The ICC is juggling a lot of balls there and looking at the windows that are possible over the coming years.”

Roberts’ comments come on the back of Eddings writing to the ICC to say it would be “detrimental to cricket” in case the “cancellation” of the World Cup in Australia this year is “replaced by award of” the tournament in October-November 2022. Contents of Eddings’ correspondence with the ICC were reported by the Times of India on Thursday.

Eddings instead suggested that Australia host the event in October-November 2021 and India stage the tournament on roughly the same dates a year later in 2022. Doing that, Eddings said, would financially help all the member countries.

“Australia has thankfully managed to flatten the (Covid-19) curve, meaning there is greater certainty of being able to play in Australia in 2021 (which is key to maintaining member distribution). This would give India another year to resolve any Covid-related problems,” the paper quoted Eddings as saying in his communication, which it said was only addressed to the ICC’s Finance and Commercial Affairs (F&CA) committee.

The F&CA is headed by former ICC president Ehsan Mani, who is currently the chairman of the PCB as well. The other members of the F&CA are Imran Khawaja (ICC deputy chairman), Colin Graves (ECB chairman), Chris Nenzani (CSA chairman), former Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi (independent women’s director) and Eddings. Shashank Manohar (ICC chairman) and Manu Sawhney (ICC CEO) sit as ex-officio members in the committee along with Ankur Khanna (ICC chief financial officer) as the secretary.

Test venues for India tour could be cut to ‘one or two’

Roberts said that in case the World Cup is ruled out this year, CA would suffer a potential loss of approximately A$20 million (US$13.3 million approx.). As far as the international summer is concerned, CA has forecast a shortfall of around A$80 million (US$53.3 million approx.).

Roberts said that about A$10 million (US$6.66 million approx.) would be spent on creating the biosecure environment that is being considered for cricket to resume with precautions. On Thursday, CA released the home schedule for 2020-21, which includes India playing three T20Is in October followed by four Tests (starting December 3) and then three ODIs in January 2021. Zimbabwe, West Indies, Afghanistan and New Zealand are also scheduled to feature in men’s bilateral series with several venues across Australia pencilled in at this stage.

However, Roberts accepted that based on the Covid-19 situation at the time, the number of venues might be shrunk.

“It’s still very early days,” he said. “The international season doesn’t start for some time. So you’d appreciate those plans will evolve. We are exploring all options, from chartered flights in from other countries through to creating bio-security bubbles in different venues, and it may well be as much as we’ve released the schedule and we have for example four Indian Tests scheduled for four states, that assumes that state borders are open to domestic travel.

“It may be that circumstances dictate that when the time comes, maybe we can use only one or two venues. We don’t know any of that yet. We need to plan for all those scenarios. There are a lot of variables based on whether we have four venues.”



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Peter Siddle switches to Tasmania after 15 years with Victoria

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Fast bowler Peter Siddle has switched to Tasmania with a two-year contract after 15 years of playing for his home team Victoria. Siddle said a future career in coaching and a chance to mentor the young crop of Tasmania’s fast bowlers were the reasons behind his move.

The 35-year old, who had retired from international cricket last year after playing 67 Tests in 11 years, started his Victoria career at underage level and debuted for the senior side in 2005. He went on to play 62 first-class matches and 35 one-day games for them, where he picked 234 and 43 wickets respectively. He was also part of their two successful Sheffield Shield campaigns and a one-day title. He finished with 32 wickets at 19.87 in eight matches in the 2019-20 Shield season.

“My greatest goal is to come to Tasmania and play good cricket, while hopefully winning a few games which will be my biggest aim,” Siddle said. “There’s a few players down here that I’ve played a lot of cricket with, and there’s a bunch of younger players that I’m looking forward to playing alongside.

“It’s a great opportunity for me while I’m still playing to work alongside Griff (Adam Griffith, Tasmania’s mentor). I want to develop my coaching skills further and really help some of the younger boys who have already shown a great amount of talent. I see this as an exciting venture for me, and it’s something that I am really looking forward to.”

Siddle said he was planning for the future as he knew his playing days would be over in the near future. “When you’re an older player, it’s always nerve-wracking not knowing whether you’re going to get another deal with your home state or any state,” Siddle told cricket.com.au. “To have four states interested in signing me … it’s always nice to feel loved, especially at the back end of my career.

“But it was about making the right decision to help develop me not just as a player at the back end of my career but also looking ahead to the future and what I might move into once my playing days are done.”

Meanwhile, James Faulkner, who last played first-class cricket for Tasmania in 2017, has been left out of the state’s contract list. He debuted for the side in 2008 and last played for them in the domestic one-day cup last year where he finished with seven wickets in as many games.

George Bailey, who took up a role in the national selection panel last year, is no longer contracted with Tasmania, while Alex Bevilaqua, Gurinder Sandhu, Sean Willis and Simon Milenko have also been left out.



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