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Sean Abbott weights up the risks to push for World Cup spot

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The allrounder admits this season has been a challenge but is committed to a spell overseas

Sean Abbott admitted that there have been days during a long season when finding the motivation to train has been difficult but after a brief break he is ready to keeping playing in order to push his case for a T20 World Cup spot.

Abbott’s Australian season will come to a close over the next 10 days with two finals – the Marsh Cup and Sheffield Shield – as he aims to hold all three domestic titles aloft having also been part of the Sydney Sixers side to secure the BBL then he will head to the UK for a spell with Surrey in mid-May.

The state campaign is stretching further into April that it normally would due to the impact of Covid-19 on the schedule and Abbott’s season effectively began in mid-August when he travelled to England with Australia’s white-ball squad.

After returning from that tour there was two weeks quarantine before he went into the Sheffield hub in Adelaide, then to Australia A duty before returning to the Test squad after a calf strain. He then slotted into the Sixers line-up before resuming duties with New South Wales following the postponement of the South Africa Test tour.



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ENG vs NZ – 2021 – Ross Taylor

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Thirteen years since his first Test tour of England, he relishes another opportunity to dominate in the country

Right after his first IPL stint in 2008, where he struck at nearly 184, Ross Taylor went on his first international tour of England and cracked 154 not out off merely 176 balls in the Manchester Test. Daniel Vettori was New Zealand’s captain back then and Chris Martin was still an active cricketer. Thirteen years later, Taylor, now 37, looked back on his first tour and looked ahead to his seventh tour of England.

“It was a strange time,” Taylor recalled at Auckland airport. “I guess a lot of Black Caps were retired and I don’t think I’ve batted at four [before]. So, that was the first time that I batted at four in Test cricket. Being one of the senior batsmen after five Tests was probably something strange.

“Hundred-odd Tests later, [England is] still a great place to play cricket – probably one of the best tours to go on. Obviously being in a bubble is going to be a bit strange. Thirteen years ago, fond memories of that tour and still to date one of the best innings I’ve played in Manchester in the second Test.”

Taylor had sustained a calf strain earlier this month when he was training at the high performance centre in Lincoln. Taylor had also recently suffered a hamstring injury, which disrupted the end of his home summer, but he was confident of his fitness in the lead-up to the two Tests against England and the following World Test Championship (WTC) final against India.

“Obviously you don’t want to have those little niggles and this [calf] niggle came about trying to get the hamstring right,” he said. “It’s part and parcel of being an international cricketer.

“More is made of it when you get older. If you get a calf or a hamstring injury at 32, nothing’s made of it, but when you’re 37, there’s a few more headlines, but it is what it is, and I’m comfortable with where I’m at.”



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BCB sells 2021-23 TV rights for $19.07 million

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Marketing agency Ban Tech won the bid after quoting an offer just above the floor price

The BCB has sold its 2021-23 TV rights to marketing agency Ban Tech for a reported price of BDT 161.5 crore ($19.07 million approx). The company won the bid after quoting an offer price just above the $19 million floor price set by the board last month. The Bangladesh-Sri Lanka ODI series, to be held in Dhaka next week, will be the first home series under this deal, which runs up to October 2023.

The amount is 5% less than BCB’s previous long-term broadcast deal with Gazi TV, which was $20.02 million for six years. It is understood that the BCB is pleased with the deal, and will make a formal announcement on Tuesday.

“We will disclose the deal after the board’s approval tomorrow. It is definitely a good thing, given the circumstances. They were the only bidders, and they met the floor price,” Jalal Yunus, BCB’s media committee chairman, said.

Ban Tech had previously bid successfully for the Bangladesh-West Indies home series in January-February this year, for a reported $2.12 million (approx.) price, bidding $620,000 more than the floor price on that occasion. One major difference between previous TV deals and the new one is that BCB will produce the home series during this period after they also separately advertised for offers from production companies. This is the first time that the BCB will produce the broadcast on their own.

ESPNcricinfo understands that both Gazi TV and T-Sports, the two major sports channels in Bangladesh, will be buying the rights from Ban Tech. T-Sports had previously shown the Bangabandhu T20 Cup and this year’s Bangladesh-West Indies home series.

The new TV deal includes ten home series including tours of Australia and England this year, and India’s tour next year. Australia are supposed to play only T20Is (the number of matches are not yet confirmed) and according to the ICC’s Future Tours Programme, England have three ODIs and three T20Is scheduled just before the World Cup T20 this year.

India are scheduled to play two Tests and three ODIs in November 2022. Apart from these teams, Sri Lanka (twice), New Zealand, Pakistan, Afghanistan and West Indies are also scheduled to tour Bangladesh till January 2023. In the previous six-year cycle that contained 80 international matches, India toured Bangladesh twice, in 2014 and 2015, while England and Australia toured once each.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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Stuart Broad on Ed Smith

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Seamer suggests ‘communication disappeared’ when Ed Smith was national selector

Stuart Broad has suggested the “communication disappeared” when Ed Smith was national selector but insisted he would “understand” if he is left out of England’s Test side at any stage this summer.

Broad took to Sky Sports to register his anger and disappointment after he was left out of England’s side for the first Test of last summer. He made his point even more eloquently on the pitch, being named England’s player of the series just a few weeks later.

While Broad is adamant he would like to play all seven Tests in the English summer, he accepts it is not “realistic” to play every game and says he would “absolutely” understand if the team management decided to leave him out to “build experience into different players”.

“Last year I was disgruntled because the selectors had said the first Test team of the summer will be our best team,” Broad said. “For someone who had been through the Ashes successfully, been through South Africa successfully and stayed fit, I felt it was my shirt. I felt I was in the best team. So to be told I suddenly wasn’t in the best team with my record in England, that’s what upset me.

“Is it realistic I’m going to play every Test? No. But if the communication is done well then you understand the reasons for it. You understand why you might miss certain games to be fit for other games. That along with building experience into different players.

“If I had a choice I’d want to play all seven Tests. Part of the reason I don’t play white ball cricket any more is so I’m fit and available for Test cricket and fresh when I’m needed. But if Chris Silverwood decides he needs to get experience into some players and have a look at a different line-up and it’s explained in a good way… absolutely, I would understand.

“I pride myself on being available and ready. I’m bowling well, taking wickets for Notts and helping win games. I don’t think many could argue against Jimmy and I being in the best bowling attack in England, but if you need to get experience and overs into bowlers that is what it is.

“It’s when the communication disappears; that’s when players can’t see reasons or see through it.”

That complaint about communication would appear to be directed firmly towards Smith. While Broad rates Smith’s overall as “a success”, he admits their own relationship was strained.



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