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Jackson Bird ruled out of County Championship with bulging disk in his neck

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Lancashire consider options to sign another overseas player after Australia seamer is told to rest

Jackson Bird has a bulging disk in his neck and has been ordered to rest for a month, ruling him out of his planned County Championship stint with Lancashire.

Bird, the Australia seamer who has 414 wickets from 99 first-class matches, was due to arrive in England later this month to play in six Championship matches starting at Kent on April 22 but, following a scan, he has been advised to rest for the next four weeks. He played a week ago in Tasmania’s 175-run victory over Western Australia in their last match of the Sheffield Shield season.

Paul Allott, Lancashire’s Director of Cricket, said: “We are disappointed to lose Jackson as he would have been a great addition to our side for six LV= County Championship matches this summer. But of course, we understand that his long-term health and fitness must come first, and we all hope to see him back out on a cricket field soon.”

With Richard Gleeson still recovering from the back injury that restricted him to just one first-class appearance last year and James Anderson’s workload expected to be managed carefully by England, it was hoped Bird would add fast-bowling depth to Lancashire’s squad.

Lancashire is now considering its options to sign another overseas player alongside South Africa-born captain Dane Vilas. They have already agreed deals with India’s Shreyas Iyer for the One-Day Cup and Finn Allen of New Zealand for the T20 Blast.

Lancashire’s opening Championship match with Sussex ended in a draw at Old Trafford on Sunday when heavy show wiped out the final day’s play shortly after the lunch break.



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Match Preview – ENG Women vs IND Women, India Women tour of England 2021, Only Test

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First Test encounter for seven years sets the scene for multi-format series

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They call it the seven-year itch and after so long in the Test match wilderness, India are ready for a change of scene which they and their opponents, England, hope will be anything but dull or scratchy. So rare are women’s Tests that there is a sense of pressure to provide excitement, not least to a live TV audience, as well as to fans who are just beginning to whet their appetites for witnessing the action in person as pandemic-enforced restrictions slowly ease.

But more pressing for two professional sports teams is the will to win. England haven’t done so at home to India in eight completed Test matches while India are playing just their second Test since their last meeting in the format in 2014, having also played and beaten South Africa later the same year. In fact, India are on a three-match winning streak in Tests – if you can call it a streak given that that streak begins in 2006 – and victory in Bristol would pull them clear of Australia to a women’s record number of Test victories on the trot.



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The Hundred 2021 – Kagiso Rabada set to pull out of deal to play in the Hundred

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South Africa fast bowler becomes latest international player to withdraw

The Hundred is set to lose more big-name players as the competition battles to compete with international schedules and bubble fatigue. Days after it emerged that David Warner, Marcus Stoinis and Sophie Devine had pulled out, ESPNcricinfo understands that Kagiso Rabada is also withdrawing.

Rabada, the South Africa fast bowler who had signed for Manchester Originals, is currently involved in a Test series in the Caribbean. The team is then scheduled to play six limited-overs matches (three T20Is and three ODIs) in Ireland in a tour that finishes on July 25, the same day as Manchester Originals’ first home fixture.



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Eng vs Ind women’s Test

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Surface for clash between England and India previously used for Gloucestershire T20 fixture

Heather Knight, the England captain, has expressed her disappointment at being given a used pitch to host India in the first women’s Test between the sides for seven years.

Knight revealed on the eve of the match at Bristol’s County Ground that the pitch had been used for Gloucestershire’s T20 Blast fixture against Sussex last Friday and described the situation as “not ideal”.

“We’d much prefer to be on a fresh one but it is what it is,” Knight said. “We found out last week, which obviously we tried to get changed, but it was a little bit too late for that to happen.

“It’s unfortunate, it’s not ideal, we’d much rather be on a fresh one, but we don’t know how it’s going to play yet. It still could play very well. Generally, at Bristol you look at the deck, sometimes it looks not great but actually plays brilliantly. So yeah, look, it’s not ideal but it is what it is and we’re obviously going to have to perform as best we can on the wicket we’re given.”

The provision of a used pitch at Taunton for the 2019 Women’s Ashes Test sparked controversy. On that occasion the same surface had been used during the men’s World Cup nearly six weeks prior. As it turned out, the pitch offered little assistance to anyone and the match ended in a draw allowing Australia to retain the Ashes.



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