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Ireland name uncapped Curtis Campher, Harry Tector for England ODI series opener



Curtis Campher and Harry Tector are in line to make their Ireland ODI debuts against England on Thursday after being included in a 14-man squad for the first match of the series, which will kick off the Men’s World Cup Super League.

Campher, a 21-year-old allrounder, toured England in 2018 with South Africa Under-19s, but decided earlier this year to use his mother’s Irish passport to boost his international prospects. He signed a development contract earlier this year and travelled with the Ireland Wolves on their A-team tour to Namibia before the pandemic struck.

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An attacking middle-order batsman, Tector has already won 20 T20I caps at the age of 20, but is now in line for a 50-over debut. He warmed up for the series with a pair of fifties – in Ireland’s intra-squad practice match and in their fixture against England Lions – and showcased his ability as a hitter in the T20I series against Afghanistan in March.

The high-profile omission from the squad is Mark Adair, Ireland’s leading ODI wicket-taker in 2019. Adair got through eight overs against the Lions following an ankle surgery earlier this year, but is not yet fully fit after limited cricket so far this year.

Ireland will name squads on a match-by-match basis, with a 22-man group staying on-site at the Ageas Bowl. Left-arm spinner George Dockrell and middle-order batsman Gary Wilson are also left among the reserves, with the selectors looking to give younger players an opportunity to bed into the international set-up.

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“Curtis has impressed selectors and coaches with both his batting and bowling, played very well for the Ireland Wolves against Namibia in February, has trained well in recent weeks and provides a great balance to the side,” said Andrew White, the chairman of selectors. “Fans saw a little of what he can offer during the intra-squad match last Wednesday, and we believe he’ll be ready to step up if called upon.

“Another exciting one for Irish fans is Harry Tector, who comes into the reckoning now to make his ODI debut. Harry has already featured in 20 T20 Internationals for Ireland, and has demonstrated during warm-up games and in training that he is ready for this format of the game. His half-century on Sunday was against an excellent attack, and demonstrated a maturity in his batting for a player so early in their career.

Our deliberations on selection took into account not only those two warm-up games, but also form shown earlier in the year before lockdown. In addition, we also took into account that we have a larger squad here than would be normal, so we decided on a side for the first game only at this point. This means that the eight players who miss out on this playing squad may still have an opportunity to feature in the series.”

Ireland squad for first ODI: Andrew Balbirnie (c), Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, Josh Little, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Kevin O’Brien, William Porterfield, Boyd Rankin, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Craig Young

Reserves: Mark Adair, Peter Chase, George Dockrell, JJ Garth, Tyrone Kane, James McCollum, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson

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England in India 2020-21 – Ed Smith defends ‘pragmatic’ selection as Jonny Bairstow faces return to Test sidelines



Ed Smith, England’s national selector, has defended the timing of Jonny Bairstow‘s rotation out of England’s Test squad for the first leg of the forthcoming tour of India, despite it coming only days after he marked his first Test appearance in over a year with a match-winning role in last week’s first Test against Sri Lanka.

Recalled to the team at No. 3 in the absence of a number of first-choice picks, including Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope, Bairstow responded with 47 in the first innings and a crucial 35 not out in the second, as he overcame a scoreline of 14 for 3 on the penultimate evening of the match to ease his side to a seven-wicket victory on the fifth morning.

However, with the T20 World Cup in India looming towards the end of the year, Bairstow’s importance to England’s white-ball squad has been cited as the reason to give him a break from Test action so soon after his recall.

England are set to play five T20Is and three ODIs against India in March, where they will hope to hone their strategies on surfaces similar to those they will face at the World Cup in October and November, and Smith said Bairstow’s omission was consistent with the ECB’s policy of giving their multi-format specialists a break from the team’s bio-secure environment at different stages of their winter campaign.

“I spoke at length to Jonny yesterday, as well as at Loughborough before the Sri Lankan tour,” Smith said. “[I said you have] a fantastic opportunity coming up in Sri Lanka, where we expect you to get game time. But at some point, as is the case with the other multi-format players, you’re going to need your rest too, and he completely understands that and endorses it.”

Nevertheless, Bairstow’s impending absence in India means that – no matter how he fares in Friday’s second Test in Galle – he will have featured in just three of England’s last 15 Tests, dating back to the end of the Ashes in August 2019, by the time he returns to the squad ahead of the third Test in Ahmedabad at the end of February.

What’s more, Jos Buttler’s impending absence for the final three Tests of the India tour means that Bairstow could yet be competing with Ben Foakes for the wicketkeeper’s role when he returns to the squad, having been picked as a specialist No. 3 in Sri Lanka.

“It was great to see Jonny looking very focused and clear in Test cricket,” Smith said. “He was given lots of visibility ahead of time that he would be likely to bat three, playing as a batsman. But over the long term, as I’ve said many times, I think Jonny is a highly talented player, and we know he brings a lot to the party and can play a number of different roles. That remains the case.”

Bairstow will be departing the squad alongside Sam Curran and Mark Wood – two other players who can expect to feature heavily in England’s World Cup build-up – with Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer returning in their stead, alongside Rory Burns, who has missed the Sri Lanka tour following the birth of his first child.

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Bangladesh vs West Indies – Alzarri Joseph says West Indies ‘have to play harder, dig deeper’




Fast bowler realises that both he and his team needs to take more responsibility with the bat

West Indies can no longer think about their lack of experience if they are to beat Bangladesh at home. Fast bowler Alzarri Joseph, one of the few members of this squad to have ODI caps prior to the game, said that they now have enough information about the opposition and conditions to mount a comeback in the second game on Friday.

West Indies went down by six wickets after being bowled out for 122. Joseph gave them a steady start, before left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein showed that their bowling has the bite that their batting lacked.

Joseph, who went wicketless in his eight overs but was highly economical, said that the West Indies camp is very motivated to bounce back in the second game, knowing full well that another defeat would be the end of the series for them.

“It probably might have boiled down to not having the experience playing against a team that is well experienced,” Joseph said. “Probably a bit of (lack of) application as well. But, that being said, we have already seen what is there to come at us, so we have no excuses in the second ODI. We have seen their bowling attack and somewhat of their batting. So we should be well prepared to give a better showing in the second ODI.

“Everyone is aware of what’s at stake. Everyone is pumped up to give a better showing in the second ODI. It is really important for us to come in. This game is even more important than the last one. If we lose this game, it’s the series. Everyone knows exactly what they need to do. We have to play harder, dig deeper and push the Bangladeshis all the way. From ball one to ball 300.”

Joseph admitted that had there been a hundred more runs on the board in the first game, they could have made a good fist of it. He said that the pace bowlers have to show patience in order to get the best of out pitches that are generally spin-friendly.

“Maybe 220 would have been a more challenging total based on what the bowlers put up yesterday. A few more early wickets, and you don’t know what could have happened.

“It wasn’t the best (pitch) to bat on, if I was to be honest. As a fast bowling group, we have to more consistent, hit good areas. Also play the patient game. I know its 50 overs, not necessarily the longest format. But being patient in the good areas is what is needed for the fast bowlers to be successful in this wicket,” he said.

West Indies could have made a bigger score on Wednesday, particularly after Kyle Mayers and Rovman Powell added 59 runs for the sixth wicket. But from 115 for 5, they slipped to 122 all out.

Joseph said that the lower order must take a bit more responsibility, and he himself has ambitions to become an allrounder, although his first priority being bowling.

“We all have our roles to play, weight to pull. If the top half got skittled out earlier, the bottom half has to pull that weight. It is a team. We all need to look within ourselves and realise that this is international cricket, and we have to do better.

“Personally I am aiming to become an allrounder myself. But as of now, I am just taking everything step by step. I am looking to, firstly, do my main attribute which is contribute what I can with the ball, and then I will give my best in batting.

Joseph however ruled out the notion that bowling first is the best way to go with their fragile batting and somewhat better bowling attack. “A toss could go either way. We all have to be prepared for what we have to do first, or second. I think it all boils down to cricket.

“We shouldn’t focus on the toss. We have to be better than Bangladesh in all three aspects if we want to win games,” he said.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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England in India 2020-21 – Jonny Bairstow, Mark Wood and Sam Curran rested for first two India Tests




Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes and Rory Burns return for Chennai Tests

Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran and Mark Wood have been rested by England for the first two Tests of their series in India next month, with Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes and Rory Burns all added to the squad currently touring Sri Lanka.

Ollie Pope, who is currently in Sri Lanka continuing his rehab after a shoulder injury, will also travel to India and will be added to the squad when passed fit. Excluding Pope, the squad comprises 16 players, while six of the seven reserves will travel to India from Sri Lanka on standby in case of illness or injury. Craig Overton will return home, subject to the fitness of the rest of the touring party.

England had signalled their intentions to rest all of their multi-format players at some stage after Christmas when naming their squad for the ongoing Sri Lanka series, with Archer and Stokes rested for those two Tests. Burns returns following paternity leave.

The decision to rest Bairstow for the start of the series leaves England with fewer selection headaches than they might have anticipated. Zak Crawley has been moved up to open alongside Dom Sibley in Galle, but looks set to move back down to No. 3 – where Bairstow has batted – with Burns back at the top of the order.

After missing the series in Sri Lanka following a positive Covid test, Moeen Ali will be in contention for the first two Tests in Chennai, which start on February 5. England will have various options as to how they balance their side, with Stokes’ return to the middle order likely to provide them with greater flexibility.

Jos Buttler is set to continue as first-choice wicketkeeper after an accomplished performance with the gloves in the first Sri Lanka Test, but is likely to be rested for the second half of the series, with Ed Smith, England’s national selector, suggesting in December that Ben Foakes would be handed a chance at some stage on the tour.

Wood’s omission could create an opportunity for Olly Stone to win his second Test cap, after he was surprisingly overlooked for Friday’s second Test in Galle.

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