He is back to full fitness and participated in his first team training session on Friday
After spending nearly three weeks in a medical care facility in Mumbai, India and Delhi Capitals allrounder Axar Patel has bounced back from Covid-19. Patel, who tested positive in early April, rejoined the Capitals on Thursday in Chennai.
“Aadmi dekh ke hi toh mujhe maza aa rahan hai (I’m getting sheer joy just by seeing people),” Patel said in a video put out by the franchise on Friday, expressing his joy and relief at recovering from Covid-19 which has enveloped India with a vicious second wave. Patel is back to full fitness and participated in his first team training session on Friday.
Patel had originally checked into the Capitals’ team hotel on March 28 in Mumbai, where the 2020 IPL runners-up played their first three matches this season. While he had entered the bubble with a negative test report, on April 3 the Capitals issued a media statement, saying Patel’s second test at the team hotel had come out positive. He was immediately moved to a medical facility where he was isolating in his own room.
In his absence, the Capitals had roped in Shams Mulani, a left-arm-fingerspin-bowling allrounder from Mumbai, as a temporary like-for-like replacement for Patel.
Patel’s all-round skills offer the Capitals a good balance as he can provide depth in the batting, too. Along with R Ashwin and Amit Mishra, the Capitals, who are currently third on the points table, fielded uncapped Indian allrounder Lalit Yadav in their last two matches.
However, it is likely the franchise will allow Patel a bit more time to recover and train considering he has not played since March 12, in the first T20I against England.
The Capitals play their next game on April 25 against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Chennai.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo
ENG vs NZ – 2021 – Ross Taylor
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.”
Taylor was among the second group of New Zealand players – along with Tim Southee, BJ Watling and Neil Wagner – to depart for the UK on Monday afternoon. All players will undergo a hard quarantine of three days inside their hotel rooms upon arrival.
Taylor revealed that it was the first time he had packed his golf clubs for a tour. He could potentially test them out after the quarantine at the Boundary Lakes golf course, which is located inside the Ageas Bowl.
“This is the first time I’ve ever taken golf clubs on a trip,” Taylor said. “The boys were hassling me because the last time I played golf with them, I was taking the plastic off as I was going around.
“It’ll be something different. You’re never too old to try something new, and it will be nice to get some time on your feet after having been in your room for a while.”
Taylor also reckoned Will Young‘s twin centuries for Durham against the Dukes Ball in county cricket could create a pleasant selection headache at the top of the order.
Tom Blundell, the incumbent opener, had a rough time against West Indies and Pakistan, but then hit form in the Plunket Shield, scoring back-to-back hundreds. Blundell’s Wellington team-mate Devon Conway, who is uncapped in Test cricket, is also in the opening mix.
“It’s nice to see these guys get an opportunity to play county cricket,” Taylor said of Young. “I guess before the IPL, county cricket was sort of where you cut your teeth in and learned your craft. The way Will has gone over there and got two first-class 100s, I sent him a message last night and said ‘well done’. And I’m sure he’ll be looking forward to joining the team in a few days.
“I guess it just adds another different dimension to the team. I’m sure Steady [coach Gary Stead] and Kane [Williamson] will have an idea of what their team is, but this puts another spanner in the works. I’m sure Will is there or thereabouts. It’s a nice place to be.
The upcoming intra-squad match – Team Latham vs Team Williamson – could help the team management identify the second opener behind Tom Latham. It will also be a chance for Taylor to tune up after recovering from injuries.
“I’ll go [in] Williamson team. They’ll win [laughs]. Obviously with 20 players there and then the IPL guys, a lot has happened in the last couple of weeks,” Taylor said. This was just going to be the guys who went over, where you add the IPL players to the mix I think.
“So that’ll add a little bit more spice. It’ll be nice to get a proper game but playing amongst ourselves is probably not a bad thing as well.”
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
BCB sells 2021-23 TV rights for $19.07 million
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
Stuart Broad on Ed Smith
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.
“You can say [Smith’s period as National Selector] was a success in the sense that the team won games and a World Cup,” Broad said. “And he brought some fine players through.
“But from my point of view we struggled a bit on the communication side and probably saw the game of cricket slightly differently. A lot of people have bosses who don’t rate them as much as other people and I think he was mine. He probably didn’t rate me as much as other players. That’s fine but I kept trying to prove some selection decisions wrong.
“I really disagreed with getting left out in Barbados [at the start of 2019]. It’s one of the best places to bowl as a tall fast bowler. And there are a few occasions where I have felt a bit disgruntled and didn’t have the clarity of communication that I would have liked. That Test I missed at the Ageas Bowl is the only English Test I’ve missed in what, 10 years? And that was through selection.
“I am very open to being told things. You have a discussion face to face and then have a beer and move on. That’s how I like to do things. Maybe Ed and I didn’t have that sort of relationship. But he did a lot for bringing through some young cricketers and giving them exposure to the international scene. But he didn’t rate me overly highly and I just had to keep proving that view wrong.”
Broad, now aged 34, is at what he terms “the sexy phase” of his career.
“In Ryan Giggs’ last few years at Manchester United he wouldn’t play every game but he’d have a big impact at certain times,” Broad said. “I’m sure it was made very clear what his role was in the side. If that means that Jimmy Anderson and I get rested at certain times then that’s much easier to take.
“I still want to be around to help and guide bowlers through the Test match. We’re all part of a unit wanting to get the team better and better. But if I had a choice I’d want to play all seven.
“It’s nice to be able to share my experience. Peter Moores calls it the sexy stage of your career: you know what you’re doing, you don’t have too many bad days because if you bowl a bad ball you know why you’ve bowled a bad ball. You’re also sharing all your information on how to be competitive, how to grab momentum, how to take a stride forward in a game.
“I look at Jimmy aged 38. Three years ago I’d have thought no chance I’d get anywhere near that. Now I can sit here and think why not play and enjoy it? The ECB have looked after Jimmy really well in the last few years. Whenever he’s had a niggle or an injury they’ve rehabbed him back and given him the chance to play more cricket. Why wouldn’t I want the same opportunity? Keep enjoying it, keep learning and keep winning games for Notts and England.
“But there’s a difference between being rested and dropped. I feel as though I’ve had a career of being dropped and others have had a career of being rested. If I can finish my career with the games I miss being through being rested rather than dropped then I’ll be a bit happier.”
Lifebuoy are proud to partner with Chance to Shine, as part of their ambition to double the rate of handwashing in the UK. Stuart Broad was coaching schoolchildren at Hague Primary School, as a representative of the England Cricket team, of which Lifebuoy are also a partner.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
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