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Recent Match Report – Essex vs Warwickshire Group 1 2021

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Warwickshire 243 for 8 (Lamb 47, Siddle 3-52) trail Essex
295 (Browne 68, Walter 66, ten Doeschate 56, Stone 4-89, Hannon-Dalby 4-73) by 52 runs

It was not, perhaps, the sort of day you would recall forever. There were no especially large innings or remarkable bowling returns. The run-rate – around 2.4 an over – was, by modern standards, pretty sedate.

But in terms of providing the tough, uncompromising environment which is required to provide players with the experience required to succeed at Test level, this was a fine advert for the virtues of County Championship cricket.

By the end of it, Essex’s relentless attack had earned them the upper hand. On a surface that is, perhaps, a little drier than might have been expected at this time of year, Simon Harmer‘s off-spin could prove a handful in the fourth innings. With the seamers having gone round the wicket to left-handers at times throughout the game, there is rough outside the right-handers’ off stump which may prove crucial.

But Essex are not in the overwhelmingly dominant position they might have been. And with Warwickshire having pulled off an impressive run-chase in their last game against Durham, both sides will know there is nothing inevitable about the course of this match.

That Warwickshire remain in the hunt was, in no small part, down to a ninth-wicket stand between Danny Briggs and Craig Miles. Coming together with Warwickshire still trailling by 102 runs, they have so far resisted for 28 overs in adding 50 runs and inching their side towards parity.

There was nothing especially clever in their method. It was founded on patience, a sound defence and accumulation when the opportunity arose. Miles has yet to hit a boundary in his 85-ball innings and, while Briggs heaved a six over the short leg-side boundary when Sam Cook dropped short, it was very much the aberration.

Essex also put down three chances of varying difficulty in the field. Firstly, Harmer dropped Rob Yates, on 3, in the slips off the deserving Jamie Porter, before then missing a sharp caught-and-bowled chance offered by Hanuma Vihari on 25. Later an edge from Tim Bresnan, then on 10, flew between Harmer and Alastair Cook in the slips.

Warwickshire were unable to take advantage, though. Yates was bowled through the gate as he pushed forward hopefully, before Vihari, who had looked ominously comfortable, was caught behind off a fine delivery which may have left him a fraction. Bresnan, who received his county cap from former England team-mate Ian Bell before play, was bowled when he attempted to drive an off-break which turned sharply out of the rough.

Ahead of that ninth-wicket stand, Warwickshire’s most resolute batting came from Sam Hain and Matt Lamb. But Hain was defeated by a beauty which dipped and turned sharply, before Lamb was bowled by one from Peter Siddle which nipped in sharply.



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Former India Women’s coach WV Raman alleges ‘smear campaign’ against him in email to Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid

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He says it will be “extremely disconcerting” if his candidature was rejected due to reasons other than “my incompetency as a coach”

India Women’s outgoing head coach WV Raman has alleged that a “smear campaign” against him has gained unwarranted traction and he has urged the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly to stop it. In an email that Raman also sent to the National Cricket Academy head Rahul Dravid, he wrote it will be “extremely disconcerting” if his candidature was rejected due to reasons other than “my incompetency as a coach”.

Raman was not retained as the head coach of the senior women’s team by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) which picked Ramesh Powar for the job.

“I presume you might have been told different views about my style of functioning and work ethic,” Raman wrote. “Whether those views conveyed to the officials of the BCCI had any impact on my candidature is of no consequence now.



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Cameron Bancroft – ‘Self-explanatory’ that bowlers were aware of ball-tampering tactics in Newlands Test

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“All I wanted to do was to be responsible and accountable for my own actions and part”

Cameron Bancroft has conceded there had to be wider knowledge of Australia’s ball-tampering tactics against South Africa in the Newlands Test than the punished trio of himself, David Warner and Steven Smith.

Speaking to the Guardian interviewer Donald McRae in Durham where he is playing county cricket, Bancroft admitted under questioning that it was “self-explanatory” that bowlers in the Test team had to be aware the ball was being tampered with.

“Yeah, look, all I wanted to do was to be responsible and accountable for my own actions and part. Yeah, obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” Bancroft said. “I guess one thing I learnt through the journey and being responsible is that’s where the buck stops [with Bancroft himself]. Had I had better awareness I would have made a much better decision.”

When pressed further, he replied: “Uh… yeah, look, I think, yeah, I think it’s pretty probably self-explanatory.”

While levying extremely heavy penalties on Bancroft, Warner and Smith for their roles in the ball-tampering, Cricket Australia ring-fenced the matter away from the rest of the team, although head coach Darren Lehmann resigned a few days later after seeing the tearful press conferences of the players upon their early returns to Australia.

The lengthy bans placed on Bancroft (nine months), Warner and Smith (one year each, with Warner banned from holding any leadership positions for life) have left plenty of questions unanswered, even though CA has in the past called for anyone with further evidence about the affair to come forward. Former chief executive Kevin Roberts had this to say in March 2019 about that prospect, while defending the initial investigation conducted by the former CA head of integrity, Iain Roy, between the Cape Town and Johannesburg Tests.

“If they’ve got any concerns about ball-tampering or any concerns about any integrity issue in the game, we’ve invited them to report that through our anonymous integrity hotline or through other means that are available to them,” Roberts had said. “We haven’t had any such reports, so we won’t jump at shadows, but if anyone does report concerns about any integrity matter prior to ball-tampering or whatever it may be, we’re serious about addressing that, and we have a process to address it.

“We’re really serious about addressing any unresolved issues and we’re sincere in the way we’re going about that. So if there are any reports or allegations as opposed to innuendo, then we will investigate that thoroughly.

“Certainly the investigation needed to be conducted swiftly, we needed to fulfil our commitment to field a team against South Africa the following week, and we didn’t know whether we’d need to fly 11 new players in to fill that team or no new players. The ultimate answer was somewhere in between. So the investigation was absolutely fit for purpose, but we haven’t rested on those laurels. We’ve made repeated and extensive invitations to anyone to report any integrity matters or concerns about ball-tampering ever since.”

Though Smith and Warner have returned to the team, Bancroft is now a long way from international consideration, having played the first two Test of the 2019 Ashes series before being discarded and then struggling to recreate his best days in the Sheffield Shield in 2019-20. He performed better last summer but is not considered to be in the front rank of contenders for a place in the national side.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig



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England head coach Chris Silverwood to take time off during Sri Lanka, Pakistan ODI series

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England head coach will hand over to assistants Thorpe and Collingwood during busy summer

Chris Silverwood will miss the ODI series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan as part of England’s rest-and-rotation policy.

Silverwood, the England coach, was one of few ever-presents on England’s tours of Sri Lanka and India and accepts he will find it hard to switch off. But he also acknowledged the need for fallow periods amid England’s relentlessly busy schedule and said that without such breaks, he “won’t be providing the level of service” players deserve.

England’s assistant coaches, Paul Collingwood and Graham Thorpe, will each take charge of an ODI series in his absence.

“It is important we keep our personnel as fresh as possible,” Silverwood said. “It’s not fair on the players if I am operating at less than 100 percent and it is not fair on myself either. I won’t be providing the level of service that I need.



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