Nottinghamshire opener ends day not-out in follow-on as Worcestershire keep pressing
Nottinghamshire 276 (Hameed 111, Moores 62; Morris 3-30) and 87 for 0 (Slater 45*, Hameed 37*) trail Worcestershire 436 by 73 runs
Haseeb Hameed is long past the time in his life when he accepts cricket’s assurances at face value. While the rest of us are free to view the perfectly timed push through the off side that brought him to his first hundred in over two years as marking a further confirmation of his return to form after haunted late seasons at Lancashire, the batter himself will now want more, for both himself and for Nottinghamshire. He was plainly irritated to be caught behind by Ben Cox off Joe Leach for 111 when trying to angle the ball to third man. In the manner of all professional batters his attention will have shifted to the next innings.
That opportunity was not long in arriving. Hameed had been one of the last five Nottinghamshire batters dismissed in little more than ten overs and his side’s concession of a 160-run first-innings lead was followed quickly afterwards by Leach exercising his option of enforcing the follow-on. This was a surprise in itself: unless time is clearly pressing, asking a side to bat again sometimes seems to belong to the same era as pressing button B, buying a postal order or listening to the Third Programme on a wireless receiving set.
Nevertheless, barely 40 minutes after he trooped off New Road, slapping his pad in annoyance, Hameed was walking out again to face an attack clearly set on keeping their boots on the necks of Nottinghamshire’s cricketers. Like the April sunshine on this chilly afternoon at Worcester, his century was to be enjoyed but not yet unconditionally trusted. There was more work to be done. And despite the fact that he had already batted 400 minutes, Hameed will have relished this fresh responsibility just as he welcomed being appointed Nottinghamshire’s vice-captain at the start of this season. For one thing, fresh labours will replace some painful memories…
In 2016 watching Hameed bat might have been prescribed for people needing to find calm in their lives; three years later, a disordered relic of that gorgeous technique had itself become enough to cause anxiety among spectators. A player who had once invested the act of leaving the ball with natural grace suddenly found he was incapable of performing the act with even functional efficiency. Hameed was lbw or bowled letting deliveries go; he nicked catches off balls he should have left. A barely launched career that had been a statistical wonder became a repository of oddities. Lovers of the game who had derived deep joy from Hameed’s batting sat in the stands like John Steinbeck’s farmers: thinking, figuring, but never quite losing hope. After all, this was ‘Has’ and they had been through a lot together.
Early in 2019 there had been a quite lovely hundred against Middlesex at Lord’s but that summer brought him only 341 first-class runs and in late August the player seen two years previously as the future of English top-order batting was released by Lancashire. The news broke during an Ashes Test in which, so it had once been blithely assumed, Hameed was likely to be playing. Some thought Old Trafford’s decision premature but it was actually helpful. In order to revive the gift he valued most of all, Hameed needed to free himself from connections that had outlived their usefulness. Trent Bridge and the coaching of Peter Moores seemed the place to go. It still does.
In such a broad context it is easy to imagine the quiet pleasure Hameed might have derived from helping his fellow opener, Ben Slater, bat out the remaining 35 overs of this day. Nottinghamshire reached the close on 87 without loss after the third evening’s cricket at New Road bore a remarkable resemblance to the second. But Nottinghamshire’s coaches will hope that is where the comparisons end.
And, of course, one sees their point. Resuming on 99 without loss this morning, the visitors progressed carefully to 115 before Slater attempted to drive a ball from Brett D’Oliveira and was well caught by Daryl Mitchell at slip. After a similarly fine snare by Ed Barnard at point off Alzarri Joseph had ended Ben Duckett’s brief innings on 5, the rest of the session was dominated by a high-quality six-over spell by Charlie Morris that removed Joe Clarke, Lyndon James and Steven Mullaney.
Morris bowled beautifully this morning: compelling the shot, nipping it around and nagging like the taxman. He fully deserved to take three wickets in 14 balls. Clarke was bowled by one that squirmed between bat and pad; James was leg before to one that came back; Mullaney was castled when he opted to not even hoist the drawbridge. (Incidentally this has so far been a lousy match for middle-order batters. Clarke’s 27 is the best any of them have managed and he was badly dropped by Leach at mid-on off D’Oliveira when he had made only 8.)
Recovery of a sort was mounted by Tom Moores who scored 62 of the 89 runs in his sixth-wicket partnership with Hameed. However, after pulling two sixes and taking 24 runs off the first five balls of a D’Oliveira over, Moores tried to smack the sixth ball into New Road but only skied it to Leach at long-on. It was an extraordinarily ill-conceived shot, especially given that patting the ball down the pitch would have been equally wounding, albeit in a different way. That began the late collapse that brought Hameed back to the middle rather sooner than he or probably his colleagues had envisaged.
Given that they were perhaps expecting to be asked to save the game on Sunday, the composure displayed by the Nottinghamshire openers bodes well for their side’s hopes in the final sessions of this game. The pitch is not yet helping the bowlers to an extent that will cause alarm and the odds are surely on a draw. Only a repeat of the general frailty displayed on this third day will lead to this game ending with the unexpected denouement of a home win.
However, another mystery has already been solved in a most heart-warming fashion with the note from cathedral authorities informing local media that the flag of St George was not flying atop the tower on April 23 because two peregrine falcons were nesting there and no one was allowed near them. Quite right, too. Falcons are rare birds. Batters of Hameed’s ability and composure are pretty scarce as well and the strange arc of his career has not yet reached his apogee.
Paul Edwards is a freelance cricket writer. He has written for the Times, ESPNcricinfo, Wisden, Southport Visiter and other publications
WBBL 2021 – Shafali Verma, Radha Yadav set for maiden WBBL deals
Verma has already signed a contract with two-time champions Sydney Sixers
ESPNcricinfo understands that Verma, 17, has already signed a contract with two-time champions Sydney Sixers while Yadav, 21, is on the verge of finalising her deal with one of the two Sydney-based clubs. Aside from Verma and Yadav, at least one more India player is likely to make her maiden appearance in the competition this season.
“Yes, Shafali has signed the contract with Sydney Sixers, and given she is a minor, I have had to give my consent, too,” Verma’s father, Sanjeev, told ESPNcricinfo. “I would like to thank the BCCI and Haryana Cricket Association [HCA] for giving my daughter the permission and support to play in the WBBL. Without the guidance of the HCA, whatever Shafali is doing in her career wouldn’t have been possible.”
A senior BCCI official told ESPNcricinfo that the WBBL could see the largest ever Indian contingent this season. “All players who have been or will be approached by Big Bash teams will be given all necessary permissions to participate in the WBBL this season,” he said on the condition of anonymity.
Verma, as reported by ESPNcricinfo last week, is also set to make her debut in the inaugural edition of the Hundred, the 100-ball domestic competition of the ECB. She will be joined by her India team-mates Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma and Jemimah Rodrigues.
Only three India players have played in the WBBL previously. India T20I captain Kaur and vice-captain Mandhana debuted in the 2016-17 edition for the Sydney Thunder and the Brisbane Heat respectively. While Kaur played three straight seasons for the Thunder, Mandhana’s second bow in the competition was for the Hobart Hurricanes, in 2018-19. Veda Krishnamurthy played a solitary season, in 2017-18, also for the Hurricanes.
The WBBL didn’t have any Indian representation in 2019-20 as they focussed on preparing for the 2020 T20 World Cup instead, with assignments against South Africa and West Indies during the same time as the WBBL. A clash in scheduling with the 2020 Women’s T20 Challenge, the domestic three-team, four-match competition run by the BCCI, ruled at least three top-drawer India players out of the WBBL.
The seventh season of the WBBL is likely to run in its usual October-November window, and overseas players will be expected to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival in Australia.
Additional reporting by Daniel Brettig
Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha
Charter flight may return Maldives-bound Australia players this week
The group of 38 would be able to take a charter flight out of the Maldives via Malaysia to Sydney on May 16
Australian cricketers, coaches and media currently stranded in the Maldives may be able to return to home shores as soon as Sunday.
Cricket Australia, the Australian Cricketers Association and the BCCI are still awaiting confirmation from the Australian government that citizens who have recently been to India will be allowed to return to home shores after May 15 as previously flagged.
However, under plans currently being thrashed out on that condition, the group of 38 would be able to take a charter flight out of the Maldives via Malaysia to Sydney on May 16, where they would then serve their mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association have been at great pains to ensure that this return would take place over and above the allowable cap of overseas arrivals to New South Wales so that no other inbound travellers miss out as a result.
“The BCCI is putting in place the best possible arrangements. We’re not seeking any kind of special exemptions whatsoever,” CA’s chief executive Nick Hockley said when addressing the matter on May 5.
“We will – any kind of quarantine arrangements would be over and above the cap. So our main priority is we would work with the Australian government and the relevant state governments to make sure that we’re not taking spaces of anyone else that’s available. So, you know, certainly that’s what we’re committed to do.”
It would be the second time in less than a year that the New South Wales government has answered a plea from CA for players to quarantine in the state, after the arrival of the Indian touring team last summer was flown into Sydney to quarantine after lengthy negotiations with Queensland were unsuccessful.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
India retain No. 1 spot in Test rankings, West Indies rise to sixth place | Cricket
India and New Zealand retained the top two places in the ICC men’s Test rankings after the annual update, while England overtook Australia for the third spot. West Indies also moved up by two positions to be placed sixth, one slot above South Africa.
India, who have an aggregate of 121 rating points, are only one point ahead of New Zealand. The two teams will face off against each other in the World Test Championship final to be held on June 18 in Southampton.
England climbed up by a place after their 4-0 defeat to Australia in 2017-18 was dropped from the rankings in the latest update. In the current cycle, all matches played since May 2020 are rated at 100% and those of the previous two years at 50%.
Meanwhile, West Indies moved from eighth to sixth place on the back of a 2-0 series win against Bangladesh and 0-0 draw with Sri Lanka earlier this year. This is their best position since 2013.
Pakistan remained fifth despite gaining three points after their 2-0 win against Zimbabwe. South Africa are placed seventh, their joint-lowest in Test ranking history. Only Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are below them. Ireland and Afghanistan are yet to play enough Tests to figure on the rankings table.
Click here for full rankings table
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel hits back at form suggestion over two Blues outcasts
Manchester United star Edinson Cavani refuses to rule out transfer despite new contract
Zinedine Zidane to quit Real Madrid as Florentino Perez identifies two replacements
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp names first four 'transfers' of summer window
Alan Sugar warns Chelsea and Tottenham about 'ridiculous' board plan
Real Madrid have Manchester City belief about Erling Haaland transfer this summer
WBBL 2021 – Shafali Verma, Radha Yadav set for maiden WBBL deals
Dayot Upamecano opens up on rejecting Man Utd after parents advice
Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already 'asked' John Murtough for summer signing
Michael Schumacher health update, wife Corinna selling Lake Geneva mansion
NHL7 days ago
NHL 2019-20: Bill Peters quits as Calgary Flames coach, alleged racist slurs, kicking and punching players, NHL racism
NHL7 days ago
NHL, news: Ice hockey fan wins $50,000 with impossible shot from opposite blue line, video
NHL6 days ago
NHL 2017/18: Nathan Walker set to become first Aussie to play in NHL
Boxing7 days ago
Billy Joe Saunders receives Canelo Alvarez warning as British challenger given advice
Motorsport1 day ago
Lewis Hamilton puts heat on Red Bull rear wing, Mercedes, new FIA testing
NFL2 days ago
Cameron McGrone is Patriots’ latest gamble on prospect with medical risk – New England Patriots Blog
NHL6 days ago
On verge of NHL call-up Aussie Nathan Walker suffers unlucky broken hand
Cricket7 days ago
Recent Match Report – Middlesex vs Gloucs Group 2 2021