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County Championship 2021 – Jamie Overton ready to step up sibling rivalry after leaving Somerset for Surrey

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Midway through last season’s Bob Willis Trophy campaign, Jamie Overton took the agonising decision to call time on his career at Somerset, and seek out pastures new at The Kia Oval, where he hopes to find the freedom to break out of the constraints that he had found himself in at Taunton, and fulfil his ultimate goal of breaking into the England team.

But no-one gets to break lifelong ties quite that easily – especially when your twin brother, and fellow fast-bowling allrounder, Craig is still a stalwart for your former county. And sure enough, when the fixtures were drawn up for this season’s rejigged County Championship, there were Surrey and Somerset, lined up in Group 2 for a pair of home-and-away fixtures – at Taunton on May 13 and The Oval on July 11 – where the Overton sibling rivalry can be stepped up an extra notch.

“Excited is probably not the right word,” Overton said of his impending return to Taunton. “I’m not apprehensive but going back to a ground that you’ve called home for near enough ten years is going to be very strange. But it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to. Hopefully I won’t get too many boos, or that sort of thing.

“The strangest thing will be playing against Craig,” he added. “I’ve played with him since I was probably 7 or 8, but I’ve never actually played a cricket game against him, so that’s going to be the strangest part. Knowing what we’re like, we will be very competitive. And we won’t be taking it easy on each other, that’s for sure.”

The two brothers had been neck-and-neck for the formative years of their careers – and even featured in the same England squad back in 2015, when Jamie was called up to join his brother as an injury replacement for that summer’s ODI series against New Zealand.

I’ve played with Craig since I was probably 7 or 8, but I’ve never actually played a cricket game against him, so that’s going to be the strangest part

More recently, however, it has been Craig who has stolen the edge in their rivalry. He has earned more opportunities as a first-team pick for Somerset – as shown by his tally of 95 first-class matches compared to his brother’s 69 – and he’s got the England recognition too, with four Tests to his name so far, most recently at Old Trafford in the 2019 Ashes, and a one-off ODI against Australia the previous summer.

“I wouldn’t say there’s extra motivation but it’s always nice to get one over your brother,” Jamie said. “Any sibling rivalry, you always want to get one over them a little bit, so we’ll see what happens. The last three, four, five years he’s done really well, so it’s going to be hard to pip him, but I’ll be doing my best, that’s for sure.”

The one area in which Jamie does have the edge over his brother is on the speed gun. When he’s fully fit and firing, he is capable of speeds that are up there with the most rapid on the county circuit – and with England seeking to expand their fast-bowling stocks ahead of next winter’s Ashes, he recognises the chance to get hold of the new ball at The Oval could yet propel him into the selector’s thoughts.

“I want to take the new ball,” he said. “I’ve done my years in Somerset with the old ball, so I want a new challenge, but I wouldn’t be too unhappy if I didn’t get a new ball. It’s just one of those things.

“I’ve done quite a bit of work with Richard Johnson [Surrey’s bowling coach] in the last three or four weeks, just trying to fine-tune my action a bit,” he added. “That should help me to bowl quicker easier, if that makes sense, rather than trying to muscle it down, which I’ve done in the past. So fingers crossed, everything goes well and I have a good season.

“Obviously, pace helps, but you’ve still got to be accurate. You’ve still got to put the ball in the right areas, you’ve still got to put shape on the ball. At times I’ve probably gone too much on the pace side of things and not relied on accuracy. And I think, going forward, I want to try and be more accurate. Over the last couple years, I’ve worked on it quite hard, but having both is a very good attribute to have.”

Somerset’s consistent strength in recent seasons has cramped Overton’s style in other ways too. It’s hard to get much recognition for your all-round game when you’re surrounded by a glut of other bowlers with more than a passing ability with the bat – not just his brother, but Lewis Gregory, Roelof van der Merwe and Jack Brooks among others too.

But it was while batting at No. 10 against Warwickshire last summer that Jamie crashed his way to a startling maiden hundred – 120 from 92 balls all told, with 15 fours and six sixes.

“My bowling is probably my strongest asset at the moment, but I’m always trying to make myself more of an allrounder,” he said. “The move here was to give me more chances with the bat. You can never say where you’re going to bat, but I’d like to be around seven or eight.”

Two weeks later, however, he was a Surrey player – signed on loan for the remainder of the season, ahead of his permanent switch this summer. And though that meant missing out on Somerset’s final push for that elusive silverware (they would once again lose out to Essex in the Bob Willis Trophy final), he was able to get stuck in immediately for his new club, playing a full part in their run to the final of the T20 Blast, where Nottinghamshire got the better of them in a rain-reduced final.



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SL vs Ind 2021 – Shikhar Dhawan to captain India on limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka

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Bhuvneshwar Kumar named vice-captain, Chetan Sakariya and Nitish Rana among new faces in the mix

Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana, K Gowtham and Chetan Sakariya have all received maiden call-ups to the national team, figuring in the 20-man India squad for the white-ball series in Sri Lanka, scheduled for July. The second-string squad – the main team will be in England at the time – will be captained by opening batter Shikhar Dhawan, who has never led India previously, and will also see the international comeback of fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has been appointed vice-captain.
India’s Sri Lanka tour comprises six matches: three ODIs (on July 13, 16 and 18), followed by three T20Is (July 21, 23, 25). Former India captain Rahul Dravid has been confirmed as the head coach, although the BCCI did not announce the coaching staff for the side on Thursday when it announced the squad, which will have five reserve bowlers.

Squad: Shikhar Dhawan (capt), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (vice-capt), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya

Net bowlers: Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Arshdeep Singh, R Sai Kishore, Simarjeet Singh

More to follow…



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County cricket 2021 – Kyle Jamieson signs for Surrey on short-term deal

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Fast bowler will head to Kia Oval at conclusion of the World Test Championship final

Kyle Jamieson, the New Zealand fast bowler, has signed a short-term deal for Surrey across formats, and will link up with the club at the conclusion of the World Test Championship final against India later this month.

Jamieson, who has been rested from the ongoing second Test against England after claiming three wickets in the opening match at Lord’s, will be available for the Vitality Blast London Derby against Middlesex at The Kia Oval on June 25, and will remain with the squad until their final group game in mid-July.

In that period, he will also be available for Surrey’s final two group games in the LV= Insurance County Championship, against Hampshire at The Ageas Bowl from July 4-7 and against Somerset at The Oval from July 11-14. This will be his first time playing in English domestic cricket.

“I’m really excited to get the chance to play some county cricket after the Black Caps tour,” Jamieson said. “Originally I didn’t think this opportunity would be possible with the schedule this year, but with how things have unfolded it’s great to be able to join Surrey and experience both T20 and first-class cricket.

“Playing county cricket is something I’ve always wanted to do in my career, so to have the chance to do so now is awesome. I’ve heard a lot of great things about county cricket, particularly T20 Blast nights at The Kia Oval, and can’t wait to take up the opportunity with Surrey to continue to learn and grow whilst trying my best to contribute to the teams’ success.”



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The Hundred 2021 – David Warner, Marcus Stoinis and Sophie Devine pull out of the Hundred

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ECB bracing for further withdrawals amid clashes with international tours and restrictions on overseas travel

David Warner, Marcus Stoinis and Sophie Devine have pulled out of the inaugural season of the Hundred, with the ECB bracing for further withdrawals amid clashes with international tours and restrictions on overseas travel.

Warner and Stoinis were both contracted by the Southern Brave on deals worth £100,000 and £80,000 respectively, but have opted to withdraw from the competition. Both players have been named in Australia’s preliminary squad for white-ball tours to the Caribbean and Bangladesh, which overlap with the Hundred’s window from July 21-August 21, but are expected to withdraw in order to spend time with their families.

Trevor Hohns, Australia’s national selector, added six players to the preliminary squad for those tours following discussions with those initially named. “During the course of those discussions, it has become clear that recent experiences abroad, including but not limited to extended periods in bio-secure hubs and hard quarantine, have had an impact on the health and wellbeing of some players and their families,” he said.

“CA has maintained that the wellbeing of players, staff and officials is a top priority, and never more so than during the Covid-19 pandemic given the extraordinary challenges it has placed upon international athletes and sporting teams.”

“It is obviously disappointing to lose players with the ability of David and Marcus, but the realities of Covid mean there are practicalities that are difficult for some overseas players to overcome,” the ECB said in a statement to ESPNcricinfo. “Replacement overseas players will be signed by Southern Brave, and we look forward to the Hundred showcasing world-class cricket this summer.”



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