Middlesex 79 and 208 for 4 (White 73*, Gubbins 67, Abbas 2-14) need another 323 runs to beat Hampshire 319 and 299 for 4 declared (Holland 146*, Northeast 118)
This weekend’s cricket lay spread out for Hampshire, as inviting as the Saturday papers on the kitchen table with time aplenty to leaf through the supplements. Mohammad Abbas had cast a bewitching spell on Middlesex’s first innings, and having chosen to bat again rather than enforce the follow-on, they returned to the Ageas Bowl on this third morning with eight wickets standing, two batsmen in the 90s, and a lead approaching 450.
James Vince, the home captain, was at liberty to do pretty much as he pleased, with the luxury of time and scoreboard pressure bearing down on the opposition. None but the greediest of Hampshire fans would have expected another Middlesex implosion, and sure enough this time around the visitors brought a stiffened resolve to their batting. Three quick wickets in the afternoon session raised Hampshire tails before Nick Gubbins and Robbie White lashed together a century stand from the flotsam and jetsam bobbing around them.
Set a notional target of 531 to win or, more realistically (though still on the improbable side), five-and-a-bit sessions to survive, Middlesex finished the day on a doughty 208 for 4, White still ensconced after almost three-and-a-half hours at the crease. The draw remained on the table, tucked away somewhere between the business and travel sections, though Hampshire will feel they have the tools to take six more wickets and start the season with back-to-back wins.
There is a distance left to run in this game then, but it has already been a memorable one for Ian Holland. The USA-born, Australia-raised allrounder, winner of the Cricket Superstar reality TV show almost a decade ago, has become a valuable cog in Hampshire’s side but you might reasonably have suggested he had hid his superstardom under a bushel for much of his five seasons in England. First-class batting and bowling averages of 23.18 and 26.94 going into this game hinted at all-round usefulness but not a great deal more.
That said, Holland’s record since being promoted up the order in 2019 is quietly impressive, and his second first-class hundred here ticked his average as an opener above 40. There were a few nervy slashes as he made his way through the 90s, slipstreaming senior colleague Sam Northeast to the landmark in the first few overs of the day, but he was soon thumping the ball about with gusto and walked off with a career-best 146 not out when Vince finally called a close to the innings.
His day got better during the evening session, as Hampshire sought a way through the Gubbins-White roadblock. Keeper up to the stumps, Holland was on the mark with his right-arm seam-ups straight away, and with the final ball of his first over, he coaxed enough lateral movement to draw Gubbins forward and clip the outside edge, Liam Dawson throwing himself to his right to snaffle the chance at slip.
Holland charged off in celebration, star of the moment without doubt, while Gubbins held the pose and then began to trudge for the dressing room, thumping his bat in frustration as he went. A lengthy evening session, following the break around the country to observe Prince Philip’s funeral, had developed belatedly into an engaging contest as the fourth-wicket pair produced Middlesex’s most-substantial partnership of the season so far.
Gubbins, who began the second innings on a king pair after being the filling in the sandwich of Abbas’ second-day hat-trick, provided a glimpse or two of the class that saw him elevated to the England Lions set-up several seasons ago, having played such a vital role in Middlesex’s 2016 Championship success. His footwork was sharp, defence compact, and he unfurled his cover drive with a sense of curled-lip disdain. Brad Wheal’s short ball was dispatched with a flourish, though the left-arm spin of Dawson induced one or two moments of uncertainty.
His partnership with White, after Middlesex had slipped to 33 for 3 in the face of another examination from Abbas and Kyle Abbott, ensured that Hampshire would have to shelve any notion of a three-day win. White’s half-century, only his third in first-class cricket, was a characterful response to his own first-innings duck. Middlesex’s deputy wicketkeeper, his place in the side was perhaps under most scrutiny with club captain and overseas signing Peter Handscomb set to be available for the next round of games.
White will return hoping to convert an overnight 73 to his maiden hundred – he fell agonisingly short when making 99 against Kent in last year’s Bob Willis Trophy – and give Stuart Law and the Middlesex coaching set-up plenty to ponder ahead of the London derby against Surrey. White and Martin Andersson kept Hampshire at bay until the close, adding another fifty stand, though the target, 323 runs away, still appeared as distant as the South Downs visible away beyond the Hilton Hotel.
Though the surface has settled down appreciably, Hampshire’s requirement looks altogether more gettable – with Abbas currently sitting on pristine match figures of 8 for 25, Dawson finding some turn and Mason Crane’s legspin a potential gamebreaker. Whether it turns into a Sunday stroll or one for the headline writers, well, that remains to be seen.
Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick
India women tour of England 2021-22
The squad hasn’t been named yet, but players have been asked to assemble in Mumbai on May 18
The India Women players are without central contracts from September 30, 2020 and aren’t sure if they will have signed new annual retainers by the time they board their flight to the UK on June 2 for a tour comprising one Test (their first in nearly seven years), three ODIs and three T20Is.
A BCCI functionary told ESPNcricinfo that the matter was wholly being dealt by secretary Jay Shah’s office. As of Friday (May 14) afternoon, the selection committee headed by former India left-arm spinner Neetu David hadn’t named the squad for the England tour.
However, ESPNcricinfo understands the players have been asked to assemble in Mumbai on May 18, and follow a two-week quarantine, like their male counterparts, before the entire contingent flies to the UK on June 2.
The only cricket the women players have played since their runners-up finish at the T20 World Cup in March last year has been the four-match Women’s T20 Challenge in Sharjah in November and two limited-overs series at home against South Africa, which they lost, earlier this year. Those defeats led to scrutiny on WV Raman’s position as head coach, and on Thursday, he was replaced by Ramesh Powar.
After the tour of England, which ends on July 15, India are slated to tour Australia and New Zealand later in the year or early next year as part of their 2022 ODI World Cup preparation. Several Indian players are also set to feature in the Hundred in the UK and the WBBL in Australia between late July and late November.
In April, the BCCI had announced new annual retainers for 28 male players across four categories (Grade A+: INR 7 crore, Grade A: INR 5 crore, Grade B: INR 3 crore, Grade C: INR 1 crore). As per their previous contracts, the women’s retainers, in comparison, were awarded across three categories: Grade A: 50 lakhs, Grade B: 30 lakhs and Grade C: 10 lakhs.
In all, 22 women’s players were awarded annual retainers in 2020, with Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and Poonam Yadav part of the highest bracket. Mithali Raj, the current ODI captain, was demoted to Grade B after retiring from T20Is.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
Versatile Glenn Phillips ‘pretty dumbfounded’ upon getting New Zealand contract
The CPL proved a springboard to Phillips’ transformation into a reliable T20I batter
“It’s pretty unreal!”
Phillips played 11 T20Is between 2017 and 2018 before he was dropped from the side. In particular, Phillips was uncomfortable against short balls at his hips – and the upper body – and was asked by the team management to expand his game before he could get another crack at New Zealand’s T20I line-up.
It was at the CPL that Phillips transformed himself into a more versatile batter and won his T20I spot back at the start of New Zealand’s home summer. By the end of the summer, Phillips had made it his own.
In the Caribbean, Phillips worked on his strike-rotation against spin with the assistance of former Jamaica Tallawahs assistant coach Ramnaresh Sarwan and also became more adept at muscling the ball down the ground against the seamers. Along the way, Phillips honed his ramps and switch-hits, which have served him well in the shortest format. In both CPL 2019 and 2020, he was the top-scorer for the Tallawahs, tallying 374 and 316 respectively.
Those runs came at the top of the order for the Tallawahs, but there would be no opening in that role for New Zealand. So, Phillips slotted into the middle order, dislodged Ross Taylor from the T20I side, and aced that challenge. He featured in all the 14 T20Is New Zealand played over the summer, in which he also contributed with his fastish offbreaks and electric fielding.
The highlight of his summer, though, was his blazing 46-ball century against West Indies at Bay Oval – the fastest by a New Zealander in T20I cricket. All up, Phillips hit 366 runs at an average of 40.66 and strike rate of just under 185.
“I didn’t see it [the central contract] coming,” Phillips says. “So, when I got the call it was very much a surprise as opposed to anything else. I was pretty dumbfounded. I had no idea what to say to be fair.
“It was a pretty unreal season in the end, wasn’t it? To be able to go out there and perform at the highest stage and highest level for the Black Caps – it was pretty incredible. To be able to trust my game at that level and that the coaching staff and all the boys in the team all had my back and believed in me the whole time really made a massive difference. I think that was a big contributing factor in how I went this season, which is cool.”
Phillips prides himself on being an entertainer. His ‘sniper’ celebration, borrowed from the Call of Duty videogame franchise, thrills crowds, and he continues to thrill them with his all-round skills. Phillips believes focusing on entertaining the spectators helps ease his nervous energy and brings the best out of him.
“When I was over in the Caribbean for the first time (2017), I had to learn that every time I started to focus on myself, things actually went the opposite way that I wanted them to go,” Phillips says. So, when I realised I’m part of an entertainment complex and regardless of whether I have a good or bad game, it’s part of the entertainment as a whole thing for the crowd. Being able to see it that way allowed me to have a bit more freedom, especially when Steady [New Zealand coach Gary Stead] goes out there and says: ‘Do what you do best.’ It allows me to go out there and have fun and try to be as entertaining as possible for everyone around.”
Having established himself as a permanent member of the New Zealand T20I side, Phillips has now set his sights on the T20 World Cup, scheduled for October-November later this year, and an ODI spot.
“Ideally, the T20 World Cup firstly [is my aspiration]. I’d love to get into the one-day side,” he says. “It’s an incredibly strong side, but I’ll keep pushing my case and doing the best I can to put results on the board?”
For Phillips, one-day cricket is the “pinnacle” – he is still uncapped in ODIs – but he also hopes to be ready for Test action. He was a surprise call-up for the Sydney Test in 2020 after five key players, including captain Kane Williamson, went down with injury or illness. Phillips made 52 and 0 at the SCG and hasn’t played Test cricket since.
“I think one-day cricket for me is probably the pinnacle, but Test cricket is definitely one thing I’m still trying to strive towards,” he says. I enjoy my four-day cricket and I’ve started knowing my game better as well. So, I think, if I can keep putting numbers on the board, when that opportunity does come again I’m ready.”
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
Nottinghamshire left-arm seamer Harry Gurney retires from cricket at age of 34
Left-arm seamer collected eight trophies in globetrotting T20 career
Harry Gurney, the Nottinghamshire and England seamer who became a fixture on the T20 franchise circuit, has announced his retirement from cricket at the age of 34.
Gurney announced the decision after failing to recover from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss Nottinghamshire’s triumphant campaign in last season’s Vitality Blast.
However, Gurney claimed three one-day trophies with Nottinghamshire in the course of his career – two List A finals at Lord’s, and the 2017 Vitality Blast title, in which he claimed figures of 7 for 36 across their two fixtures on Finals Day at Edgbaston.
“The time has arrived for me to hang up my boots,” Gurney told the club website. “After trying to recover from the recent injury to my shoulder, I am truly disappointed to have to end my playing career as a result of it.
“From the first time I picked up a cricket ball at the age of ten, I was completely obsessed. Cricket has been my life for 24 years and has taken me on an incredible journey that I will cherish forever.”
As a left-arm seamer with a natural ability to swing the ball, Gurney played 12 times for England, all in 2014 – 10 ODIs and two T20Is – but enjoyed significantly more success on the T20 domestic circuit, with trophy-winning stints at Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash and Barbados Tridents in the CPL. He also represented Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, and Quetta Gladiators in the PSL.
“Playing for England, in the IPL and winning eight trophies at home and abroad including the Blast, Big Bash and CPL has exceeded my wildest dreams,” he said.
Outside of cricket, Gurney runs a pub company, the Cat and Wickets, with his Nottinghamshire and England team-mate Stuart Broad. Although the duo confirmed on Thursday that they would not be renewing the lease on their original Leicestershire project, The Three Crowns, in Wymeswold, near Loughborough, due to the impact of Covid-19, Gurney says he will be continuing in the hospitality industry.
“I always prepared for leaving cricket and I have discovered a new path in business that gives me the same excitement that I felt when I discovered the game all those years ago,” he said.
“That is a path I will now go down with immediate effect, as I have found this injury recovery too much of a mountain to climb.”
Mick Newell, who brought Gurney to Nottinghamshire ahead of the 2012 season, highlighted his achievements in both the red- and white-ball game.
“Harry has been a terrific, match winning, bowler for this club for a number of years,” Newell said.
“He’s carved out a niche in limited-overs competitions in recent times and been very successful in that at home and abroad, but his record in the First-Class game is something he can be immensely proud of as well.
“Harry sets a good example to all cricketers in that he’s prepared himself for life after the game, and that is something I hope will make the transition a lot easier.
“He moves into a new phase of his life with the very best wishes of everyone at Trent Bridge, and we hope to see him as a welcome visitor on a regular basis during the coming years.”
Wesley Fofana confidant details Leicester star's private view on Man Utd transfer
India women tour of England 2021-22
Chelsea's Edouard Mendy opens up on 'tough time’ despite Blues success before FA Cup final
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp's Jordan Henderson incident shows Sadio Mane anger no issue
Versatile Glenn Phillips ‘pretty dumbfounded’ upon getting New Zealand contract
After losing his mom to cancer, Titans’ Caleb Farley leaned on faith to help realize his NFL dream – Tennessee Titans Blog
Man Utd ace Bruno Fernandes smashed two Premier League records in Liverpool defeat
Chris Long poses as airline on Twitter to troll Texans RB Mark Ingram
BAL’s Ater Majok learned his work ethic from Lakers legend Kobe Bryant
Five centre-backs Man Utd could sign after Liverpool defeat shows they need to strengthen
MLB3 days ago
New York Yankees 3B coach Phil Nevin positive for COVID-19, other coaches pending, Aaron Boone says
Soccer2 days ago
Five Arsenal players 'have decided they want to leave the club' this summer
Soccer4 days ago
West Brom win shows Mikel Arteta who Arsenal's most important player is
NHL7 days ago
NHL: Nathan Walker fights Andrew Shaw video, Connor Hobbs hit, Capitals vs Canadiens
Soccer2 days ago
Chelsea and Man City denied Wembley Champions League final as UEFA decide location
NHL7 days ago
Ice Hockey Classic to return to Australia in 2017 for two exhibition matches between Team US, Canada
Cricket2 days ago
Laura Delany to lead Ireland Women in T20I series against Scotland Women
Soccer7 days ago
Man Utd have perfect chance to scout ideal transfer target in Europa League final