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William Porterfield, Gary Wilson given Ireland coaching consultancy roles

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Veteran Porterfield to combine playing career with job as fielding coach

Cricket Ireland has announced new coaching consultancy roles for William Porterfield, Ireland’s former captain across all formats, and Gary Wilson, the wicketkeeper-batsman who retired last week.

Porterfield, 36, will combine his playing career with a job as consultant fielding coach, working with the men’s and women’s teams and the Ireland pathway system. He has also be named as Wilson’s assistant at the North West Warriors in Ireland’s interprovincial set-up.

Recognised as one of Ireland’s best fielders, Porterfield’s last international appearance came in an ODI in January 2020, having stepped down from the captaincy a few months earlier.

“I’m really excited about these two roles – both working within the national system and within the provincial system in the North West,” Porterfield said. “I had a bit of a taste of coaching with the Birmingham Bears last year, and am looking forward to working with some of Ireland’s most talented players – being able to pass on knowledge and experience from a coach’s perspective. It will be a bit different being a coach while still playing, but it’s going to be a great opportunity and I can’t wait to get stuck in.

“The fielding role with Ireland is something I’m passionate about. I’ve prided myself on my fielding throughout my career, and tried to set high standards, so hopefully I’ll be able to help not only players from the senior men’s and women’s squads, but players from the under-age teams as well.”



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James Anderson thought he ‘wasn’t good enough’ on debut, as he closes in on England caps record

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Few players have married skill and longevity to quite such staggering effect as James Anderson, who stands to overtake Alastair Cook as England’s most-capped Test cricketer this week, if selected for his 162nd appearance against New Zealand in the second Test at Edgbaston.
But, as he reflected on his 18-year journey from a raw but successful debut against Zimbabwe at Lord’s in 2003, Anderson admitted that his initial reaction to the big stage was one of intense self-doubt, as he questioned his right to be there at all.

“I thought I wasn’t good enough,” Anderson said, as he recalled how his first over, from the Nursery End at Lord’s, was picked off by Zimbabwe’s openers for 17 runs, including two fours and a three for Dion Ebrahim as he strayed too close to the right-hander’s pads.

“I thought it was a huge step up from county cricket,” Anderson added. “I remember Nasser [Hussain] didn’t have a fine leg for me and I went for quite a few runs. My first ball was a no-ball as well so there were a lot of nerves there and I did feel like this was maybe a step too far for me at that point.”

Anderson soon settled into his spell, however, and after striking in his third over to bowl Mark Vermeulen through the gate for 1, he returned from the Pavilion End to pick off four quick wickets in the final 20 balls of the innings.

He left the field with figures of 5 for 73 to earn the first of his six entries on the Lord’s honours board, and begin his journey towards becoming the most successful fast bowler in history, with 616 wickets now to his name.

“I think I cleaned up the tail in that game,” he said. “Until you play against the best players in the world and you’ve got them out, only then do you feel like you can compete and belong there.”

That process, however, was not a swift one for Anderson, who slipped out of favour after a tough series against South Africa later that summer. He played a total of four Tests in 2004 and 2005 as England, under the new captaincy of Michael Vaughan, finetuned the four-pronged seam attack that would go on to reclaim the Ashes.

Throughout this period, Anderson cut a forlorn figure, often practising alone during lunch breaks at Test matches, and though he played an important role in a famous victory in Mumbai in 2005-06, his progress was further hampered by the diagnosis of a stress fracture in his back – an issue that was partially brought about by the ECB’s efforts to remodel his action, ironically to reduce the likelihood of injury.

“I’m proud of the fact that I’ve overcome little hurdles throughout my career and they’ve made me stronger,” he said. “The stress fracture was like hitting the re-set button I guess.

“I’d gone through a lot of changes in my action before that and that stress fracture was probably a Godsend. It made me go back to my old action and since then I’ve felt really comfortable and got more consistent. That’s really helped me and makes me feel proud I got stronger from that and never looked back.”

The pivotal moment, however, arguably came against Anderson’s current opponents, New Zealand, on England’s 2007-08 tour when – for the second Test at Wellington – he and Stuart Broad were thrust into the front line in place of Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison, to form a matchwinning partnership that has scarcely looked back since.

“We both look back on that Test with great fondness,” he said. “I think it was a proper starting point in our Test careers. The fact that Peter Moores, the coach at that time, showed that confidence in us, because he left out two senior bowlers who’d been extremely influential in the England side up until that point.

“He brought us in and gave us that responsibility, showed that faith in us. We still look back on that with great fondness and we’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Hopefully there will be a few more memories to come.”

Since that recall, Anderson has claimed 554 Test wickets at 25.17, compared to 62 at 39.20 in the first 20 matches of his career, spread across five years. He went on to play key roles in three consecutive Ashes victories from 2009 to 2013, and was also described as the “difference between the sides” by MS Dhoni when England won in India in 2012-13.

“It took a few years,” Anderson said. “I think it was about putting in some performances against the better sides in the world.



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Peter Siddle cuts short Essex stint for personal reasons

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Seamer returns to Australia after playing in six Championship matches

Peter Siddle has returned to Australia for personal reasons, cutting short his spell in county cricket with Essex.

The former Australia seamer, who was awarded his county cap last month, had been expected to play a full season at Chelmsford, after his 2020 deal was deferred by the Covid-19 pandemic. He will not be returning this summer but held out hopes of coming back in future.

“I’m sad to be leaving Chelmsford early as I love playing for Essex,” he said. “I’ve got some great friends in the dressing room and they’re a great bunch to be around and play cricket with. I’ve built some really strong bonds with the guys, so it’s upsetting that I have to go home, but hopefully in the future I can come back and play some more cricket for this great club.

“I know I’m getting to the back end of my career, but I’ve still got some playing time left. We’ll see what happens in the coming months and in the build-up to the 2022 season, but fingers crossed there’s still a little bit more cricket to be played for Essex.”



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Praveen Jayawickrama, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Charith Asalanka, Ishan Jayaratne in SL squad for England tour

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Angelo Mathews was omitted while Nuwan Pradeep earned a recall to bolster the seam attack

Left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama, and allrounders Dhananjaya Lakshan, Charith Asalanka, and Ishan Jayaratne are the surprise entrants to Sri Lanka men’s 24-member squad for the limited-overs tour of England. Although Sri Lanka have again insisted on picking young players, omitting Angelo Mathews, they have recalled Nuwan Pradeep to beef up the seam-bowling stocks. Batter Avishka Fernando, who missed the last two tours due to substandard fitness, made it into this squad, having passed his tests. Batter Ashen Bandara, however, was not in the squad.
Jayaratne, 31, is perhaps the most unheralded name in the squad. He made it on the back of an excellent List A domestic tournament, in which he claimed 18 wickets at 20.61, with an economy rate of 5.44. He has been handy, rather than consistent, with the bat, averaging 20.57 in List A cricket, with a high score of 105 not out.
Lakshan, 22, had been one of the breakout players of the Lanka Premier League last year. Asalanka, 23, is a former Sri Lanka under-19 captain, and has been on the radar of the senior team for years. Left-arm spinner Jayawickrama, meanwhile, had impressed on Test debut against Bangladesh earlier this year, earning the Player-of-the Match award for his 11 wickets.

Avishka Fernando’s return will create competition at the top of the order. Kusal Perera, Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis had formed the top three in the recent ODIs in Bangladesh. But if Avishka makes it into the XI, it is likely that either Kusal Mendis or Perera may move down the order.



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