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BBL 2020-21 – Mohammad Nabi’s versatility lauded as he returns to Melbourne Renegades

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Afghanistan allrounder Mohammad Nabi will return as one of Melbourne Renegades’ overseas players for the BBL.

Nabi, who is the No.1-ranked T20I allrounder, has been part of three previous campaigns for the Renegades: in 27 matches he has scored 476 runs at a strike-rate of 130.76 and has taken 21 wickets with an economy rate of 7.17.

He is the second signing for the Renegades in recent days following the return of James Pattinson from the Brisbane Heat. They have lost Dan Christian (Sydney Sixers), Tom Cooper and Jack Wildermuth (both Brisbane Heat) as they look to rebuild the squad having finished bottom last season following the title-winning 2018-19 season.

Nabi is also the first overseas player from outside of England to be confirmed for this year’s BBL.

“Nabi’s versatility makes him a very valuable member of our team. He can bat and bowl in a number of different situations and he reads the game so well,” Renegades coach Michael Klinger said. “We’ll again be looking for Nabi to play a key role in our middle order and he’ll be called upon to bowl some important overs.”

Current Renegades squad: Cameron Boyce, Zak Evans, Aaron Finch (capt), Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Jon Holland, Shaun Marsh, Mohammad Nabi, James Pattinson, Kane Richardson, Will Sutherland, Beau Webster.



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Cricket Australia vs Channel Seven

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Tasmania’s state government has emphatically denied allegations from Channel Seven that it provided financial inducement for Cricket Australia to play the opening rounds of the BBL in a hub in the island state.

In an affidavit lodged with the Australian Federal Court on Monday, Seven’s head of sport Lewis Martin sought to outline the network’s claims that CA has breached its broadcast contract by not prioritising the broadcaster’s interests at every turn of a year that has been overturned in planning terms by Covid-19.

Among the claims was that CA had scheduled the opening matches of the BBL in Tasmania, a decision Martin described as “commercially irrational unless CA were otherwise incentivised, presumably by arrangement with the government of Tasmania, to do so”.

ALSO READ: Seven sues CA for not being centre of cricket universe

CA has stated that commencing the BBL in Tasmania gave it far greater flexibility to travel elsewhere once the tournament gets underway, due to the state’s low instances of Covid-19 and low risk status with other state health authorities as a result.

“It appears to me that CA’s scheduling decisions may have been motivated by CA’s broader interests in relation to the BCCI, Foxtel and also a positive incentive given to CA by the State of Tasmania,” Martin wrote. “If my belief is well-founded I expect that Seven’s damages claim may be for many millions of dollars given the significance of cricket coverage to Seven’s advertising revenue and the magnitude of the scheduling changes made by CA.”

The Tasmanian premier, Peter Gutwein, was quick to respond to the allegations on Tuesday night. “The Government welcomes the BBL games being played in Tasmania, in view of the COVID-safe nature of our state and to provide opportunities for Tasmanians to experience world-class cricket. We are thrilled to host the 10 world-class games, which is a huge win for Tasmanians and puts our state on a global stage,” he said in a statement.

“The Tasmanian Government continues to provide funding to Cricket Tasmania to support cricket development and the hosting of Big Bash League and Women’s Big Bash League matches in the state, but there were no incentive payments made.”

Andrew Gaggin, the long-serving Cricket Tasmania chairman, followed up on Wednesday, referring to Seven’s allegations as “Trump-like” in their distortion. “The Trump-like allegations concerning the Tasmanian State Government are patently absurd and untrue,” Gaggin said. “The Tasmanian Government has certainly provided an incentive. Its proactive and responsible Covid-19 policies have ensured that Tasmania is one of the world’s safest places and the perfect location to host the start of the Big Bash.

“However, let it be clear that no financial incentive was provided by the Tasmanian Government to Cricket Australia for BBL matches to be played in Tasmania. The Tasmanian Government continues to be a great supporter of all cricket in Tasmania.

“Tasmania has long been the grassroots champion of Australian cricket, having provided a host of great players and the current Test captain. It is pleasing that Cricket Australia has acknowledged this and we look forward to an amazing start to the tournament.

“Cricket Tasmania is an equal owner of Australian cricket and will continue to push for world class content to be played in this State. Tasmania has successfully hosted international cricket for over 30 years and will continue to do so.”



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New Zealand v West Indies, 1st Test, Hamilton

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Will Young has been handed his Test debut against West Indies in Hamilton after BJ Watling was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Tom Blundell will take the wicketkeeping gloves and move down the order with Young partnering Tom Latham at the top.

Young, 28, has been close to a Test debut before and was set to play against Bangladesh in 2019 before the final Test in Christchurch was cancelled following the terror attack in the city.

He averages 43.76 in his first-class career with ten centuries, the most recent of which came against West Indies for New Zealand A last week

“He’s been around the environment for some time without getting his first opportunity so I think that’s also a real positive,” captain Kane Williamson said. “Often you come into teams and it’s new, you are trying to get a feel for the group but he’s got that feel, he’s an experienced player, has played a lot of first-class cricket and to a very high standard and he deserves that opportunity.”

Watling picked up the injury during his last outing in the Ford Trophy and following assessment in Hamilton it was decided there was too much risking including him for a Test.

A decision over the rest of the final XI is yet to be made with one of the key debates whether New Zealand go in with a frontline spin option in Mitchell Santner, who was called up in place of the injured Ajaz Patel, or opt for an all-pace attack.



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Australia vs India, 3rd ODI, Fantasy Pick, team predictions

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Dec 2: Australia vs India, 3rd ODI, Canberra

Pro Tip: Average score batting first at this venue in the last four games is 377. The last seven games here have been won by the team batting first and, in all those seven occasions, chasing teams have lost all their ten wickets. So load your team with players from the team that bats first.

Our XI: KL Rahul, Aaron Finch, Shikhar Dhawan, Steven Smith, Virat Kohli, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Hardik Pandya, Josh Hazlewood, Mohammed Shami, Adam Zampa

Substitutes: Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Iyer, Mitchell Starc, Moises Henriques

Player availability: The injured David Warner is out for the rest of the limited-overs series, and Pat Cummins has been rested too. Expect some more players to be rested as the series is already decided. We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates, so please finalise your team after the toss.

Captain: Steven Smith

Don’t be surprised if Smith scores yet another 62-ball 100 in the third ODI. His last five ODIs against India have netted him 69, 98, 131, 105 and 104 are. In the three ODIs he has played in Canberra, Smith has scored 196 runs at an average of 98 and a strike rate of 122.50.

Vice-captain: Virat Kohli

Among all current players, Kohli has scored the most runs in international cricket across formats, reaching 22,000 runs in the last game. He is coming into this game after a good 89 off 87 balls. The last time he played an ODI in Canberra, he scored a 92-ball 106.

Hot Picks

Shikhar Dhawan: Dhawan has scored 104 runs in the two games and is in good form. Like his skipper, he too scored a century the last time he played here – a 113-ball 126. He can be an alternate vice-captain choice for Kohli, especially if India bat first.

Marnus Labuschagne: Labuschagne scored a 61-ball 70 in the last game and if he gets to bat a bit earlier, he is sure to make an even bigger impact. He averages 42.36 in 11 innings and has four 50-plus scores.

Aaron Finch: His opening partner Warner’s absence means the onus will be on Finch to give Australia another good start with the bat. He has scored 174 runs in two games in this series, and is also the highest run-scorer at this venue, with 273 in four matches, which includes two centuries.

Differential Picks

Hardik Pandya: India’s highest run-scorer in this series so far is Pandya, with 118 runs in two games. In the seven innings he has batted in against Australia, he has scored 388 runs at an average of 55.42 and a strike rate of 114.79.

Josh Hazlewood: The second-highest wicket taker of this series with five wickets at an average of 22.80, Hazlewood has also picked up five wickets in two games in Canberra. In the last year, he picked up nine wickets in nine games in powerplays, at an economy of 3.92.

Alternate Scenarios

  • If India are defending a total, go with Bumrah instead of Hazlewood.

  • If India bat first, go with Shreyas Iyer over either Maxwell or Labuschagne



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