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Recent Match Report – Lancashire vs Northants Group 3 2021

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Saqib Mahmood helps reduce Northants to 59 for three, still needing 366 runs on final day

Northamptonshire 177 and 59 for 3 (Vasconcelos 22*, Proctor 15*, Mahmood 2-9) need another 366 runs to beat Lancashire 305 and 296 for 7 declared (Croft 103*)

When this morning’s play began Lancashire had a lead of 188 over Northamptonshire and all their second-innings wickets in hand. By the time the long day closed at 7.20pm they had reduced the visitors to 59 for 3 and a victory target of 425 appeared merely fantastical. A good day for the Red Rose, you might think, and you would be correct. Yet much of their batting had been so careless that it might have been designed to have their head coach, Glen Chapple, emulating Bertie Wooster’s Aunt Agatha and hopping about with a hatchet.

The one player exempted from Chapple’s ire was Steven Croft, whose unbeaten century will have had Lancashire supporters smiling in shared pleasure. Croft’s love for the county of his birth is undoubted. When he pulled Nathan Buck for six to reach his hundred, thereby prompting a declaration, the home dressing room erupted in noisy acclamation. Croft was hugged by Tom Hartley, his batting partner, and he raised his arms towards his team-mates, some of whom may still have been watching Peppa Pig when he first played for Lancashire.

The century had been the product of careful workmanship rather than effortless style. There were pulls to square leg, nudges through the slips and leg glances but only seven fours. The one concession to modernity, albeit Croft has kept his place in Lancashire’s T20 team, was the reverse sweep, which he now plays as easily as Robert Browning once produced rhyming couplets. He could have gone for three early in the morning session had Adam Rossington clung on to a right-handed diving catch but Croft has long been careful to make the most of such opportunities, for he has no clue how many more he might get.

Three years ago he thought he would not get another contract with Lancashire but the coaches opted to give him another season, then one more, then another. There was nothing indulgent about these decisions. Although not the five-furlong favourite he once was, Croft can still do a job anywhere in the field and held on to two slip catches as Northants subsided this evening.



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Daren Sammy relinquishes captaincy at St Lucia Zouks

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Two-time World Cup winner joins Andy Flower as part of the backroom staff

Daren Sammy has stepped down from his role as St Lucia Zouks captain to become the franchise’s “T20 cricket consultant and brand ambassador” for the 2021 CPL season.

Sammy led the Zouks – who had previously reached the play-offs once in seven seasons – to the final last year, after they finished third in the league phase and then bowled Guyana Amazon Warriors out for 55 in the semi-finals.

Sammy himself faced 51 balls and bowled only three overs across his 12 appearances, and with his playing role increasingly limited, he will now join Andy Flower’s coaching staff instead.

Sammy, a two-time T20 World champion, is yet to confirm his retirement from all cricket, but has not played since the 2020 CPL final, and is now head coach at his PSL franchise, Peshawar Zalmi.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to have led and been a part of the St Lucia Zouks from its inception,” Sammy said in a CPL media release. “Even though some may say good things must come to an end it will not be in this instance: St Lucia Zouks and I will always be a team.

“But since venturing into coaching, I realise I have a new passion that can allow me to still contribute and play a part in taking the franchise forward on its quest to winning a CPL title and developing future stars.”

Flower, who called Sammy an “icon of West Indies white-ball cricket” and “the heartbeat of St Lucia Zouks,” said: “He’s decided to step away from playing after an amazing career both with the West Indies, where he led the side to two T20 World Cups, but also as a really inspirational leader, full of integrity, for the island. We want to continue our partnership with Daren coming in as part ambassador, part coach, part mentor alongside me.”

The Zouks also announced the retention of seven players from their 2020 squad ahead of the upcoming season, which starts on August 28 in St Kitts: Andre Fletcher, Kesrick Williams, Rahkeem Cornwall, Roston Chase, Obed McCoy, Mark Deyal and Javelle Glen.



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South Africa cricket – AB de Villiers decides ‘his retirement will remain final’

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Last month it had emerged he was in discussions over a possible South Africa comeback with an eye on the T20 World Cup

The chances of AB de Villiers featuring in this year’s T20 World Cup have dimmed, with Cricket South Africa stating that he has decided “once and for all, that his retirement will remain final”.



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India Women get another Test match, this time in Australia during September tour

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It will be the first time since 2014 that India Women will play two Tests in a calendar year

India Women will play a Test match in Australia for the first time in 15 years during their tour of the country in September. ESPNcricinfo has learned that the solitary Test match will feature as part of the bilateral series which is also expected to feature a white-ball segment, details of which are yet to be announced by Cricket Australia or BCCI.

The September Test will be India’s first in Australia since the Adelaide Test in 2006. In all, Australia and India have played five Tests, with Australia having a 4-0 record along with a draw. Both countries played their first women’s Test in 1976, followed by a three-Test series in 1990-91 and then the last one in 2006.



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