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Kraigg Brathwaite joins Gloucestershire for start of Championship campaign

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West Indies captain to link up with squad following conclusion of Antigua Test match

Gloucestershire have made a last-minute addition to their County Championship squad by signing West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite as an overseas player for the first two months of the domestic season.

Brathwaite will be available for up to eight Championship fixtures. He will travel to Bristol immediately after West Indies’ ongoing second Test against Sri Lanka in Antigua – in which he scored 126 in the first innings – although with the match now heading towards a fifth day, he will not now arrive in time to face Surrey on April 8. He is likelier to debut against Somerset on April 15.

Brathwaite is set to open the batting for Gloucestershire alongside club captain Chris Dent, and will be their second overseas player alongside Daniel Worrall when he arrives after the conclusion of the Sheffield Shield season. Gloucestershire will be Brathwaite’s fourth county after spells at Glamorgan, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire, and he is the third member of the Test side to sign as an overseas player for the early rounds of the Championship season following deals for Kemar Roach (Surrey) and Alzarri Joseph (Worcestershire).

“I truly look forward to the opportunity to represent Gloucestershire,” Brathwaite said. “I have always enjoyed county cricket and cherished the times I’ve been able to play in England. I’m excited to come to Bristol and do my best for the team, the club and of course the Gloucestershire supporters.”

Ian Harvey, the club’s interim head coach following Richard Dawson’s appointment as the ECB’s elite performance pathway coach, said that Brathwaite had been on Gloucestershire’s radar for some time.



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Stuart Broad believes more could be revealed on Newlands affair once key protagonists retire

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Stuart Broad has expressed a note of scepticism at the official explanation of the ball tampering debacle involving the Australia team and suggested there could be more information revealed once key protagonists retire.

In recent days Cameron Bancroft, who was suspended for nine-months for his role in the Newlands scandal, and David Saker, who was the Australian bowling coach at the time, have appeared to concede that knowledge of the ploy was not limited to the three men who were suspended for their part in it.

Now Broad, talking at an event organised by soap and hand cleanser manufacturers Lifebuoy aimed at doubling the rate of handwashing in the UK, has suggested that, in his experience, a bowler is very sensitive to the condition of the ball and everyone in the team is required to “buy into” plans to look after it.

“I’ve obviously never bowled within the Australian bowling attack but I can talk about how, in an England Test team, if I miss the seam by four millimetres, Jimmy Anderson is on me,” Broad said. “He’ll be saying ‘why has this ball got a mark on it here? It’s because you’ve missed the seam! Start hitting the seam, will you’.

“Reverse swing with the red ball can be affected by so many different things. If you chase it to the boundary and throw it into the grass it can smooth the ball over and stop it reversing. If you touch the ball with wet hands it will stop it reversing. If you shine it in a way that smooths over the rough side it will stop it reversing.

“So as an England team, we are aware if we’re trying to get the ball reversing every player has to buy into that or it will stop it.

“There’s no doubt the Aussies would have been hoping this episode was signed sealed and delivered. It was an incredibly tough thing for those three players to go through. I can’t see it still being a conversation [when the Ashes start] in November, December, but I can see it being sung in the Barmy Army stands if they’re allowed.

“I have seen a couple of comments from David Warner’s agent, too, and I think it will be an interesting time when he stops playing for Australia and writes a book.”

Broad also expressed sympathy for Jofra Archer, who has been ruled out of the New Zealand series with a recurrence of an elbow injury. With “rest and rehab” having not worked, though, Broad suggested “more intensive” treatment may be necessary. While he stopped short of using the word ‘surgery’, he did suggest England – and Archer – would have to accept he can’t play every game.

“I saw Jofra this morning,” Broad said. “He is in decent spirits. I think it’s been frustrating for him. You know, the first time I was really aware that he had a bit of an elbow issue was in South Africa. He missed a couple of games there and he tried to get fit for the Wanderers; he bowled in the morning and it hurt him too much. It’s been a bit of an underlying niggle for him since.

“The rest and rehab option hasn’t pulled through for him. He was obviously hopeful of coming back after having that hand surgery and resting the elbow. But it’s still niggled him, so I’m sure the ECB will be thinking long and hard of what the next step is, but it’s probably a little bit more intensive than rest and recoup now.

“I think Jofra can play a huge part in all three formats for England. But he won’t just be able to play every game. It’s unrealistic to think that any all-format player – Ben Stokes included – can and that’s when, without being disrespectful to any other type of international cricket, you do have to get him right for the games you want him right for.

“I was annoyed at the time, aged 28 or 29, when the decision was almost forced on me not to play in the white-ball stuff anymore. But sat here now aged 34, I feel fresh as a daisy. I feel excited and buzzing every time I play cricket. It’s quite hard to keep that when you play all three formats.

“It’s still too early for Jofra to start having doubts of whether he’s a three-format cricketer, but he needs to get very clear in his mind what cricket he wants to be absolutely fit and firing for.

“If I was a captain or head coach looking at Jofra Archer, I’d want him bowling my last over in the T20 World Cup and I’d want him playing [in the first Ashes Test] at Brisbane.”

Lifebuoy are proud to partner with Chance to Shine, as part of their ambition to double the rate of handwashing in the UK. Stuart Broad was coaching schoolchildren at Hague Primary School, as a representative of the England Cricket team, of which Lifebuoy are also a partner.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo



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Hundred may lose overseas stars amid packed schedule and travel restrictions

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New tournament might have to bow to demands of international calendar, Covid-related travel rules

A number of overseas players are expected to withdraw from the inaugural season of the Hundred due to clashes in the international calendar and complications regarding international travel caused by Covid restrictions.

West Indies, Pakistan and Australia players with contracts to appear in the men’s competition will have their availability limited if they are involved in the two T20I series due to take place in the Caribbean in July and August, while two Australia players – Rachael Haynes and Jess Jonassen – have already withdrawn from the women’s tournament due to quarantine requirements.

Cricket West Indies announced its men’s fixtures for the 2021 home season last week, with the end of the T20I series against Australia overlapping with the start of the Hundred. Seven of the nine Australians contracted to play in the men’s competition were named in an enlarged 23-man squad on Monday – Chris Lynn and Nathan Coulter-Nile were the exceptions.

Those seven include marquee names in Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell and David Warner, and while it is possible that they could still play the majority of the eight-game group stage subject to quarantine periods, Cricket Australia remain in talks with the Bangladesh Cricket Board regarding a possible tour which would present a further clash.



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Shiv Sunder Das named India Women batting coach for England tour

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The former Test opener will be part of a nine-member support staff under head coach Ramesh Powar



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