Left-arm pacer played only two matches for Sunrisers Hyderabad before leaving the team bubble
India and Sunrisers Hyderabad left-arm pacer T Natarajan has undergone surgery on his knee for the injury that put him out of the ongoing IPL 2021.
Natarajan had injured his knee first during India’s tour of Australia at the turn of the year, and subsequently missed games at home against England too. He played the first two games of IPL 2021 for the Sunrisers, but was then ruled out.
Natarajan made his international debut across all three formats in Australia, but the knee injury meant he had to undergo rehabilitation upon returning and missed the first three T20Is of a five-match series against England, playing in the last two matches before joining the Sunrisers for the start of the IPL. Sunrisers captain David Warner had initially said Natarajan would not leave the IPL bubble because of quarantine requirements. However, the bowler’s exit from the tournament was confirmed last week.
Natarajan played the Sunrisers’ first two games, against the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Once he was out, the Sunrisers replaced him with another left-arm pacer in Khaleel Ahmed.
Natarajan rose to prominence during IPL 2020 in the UAE, where his yorkers and death-bowling smarts stood out. His rise was particularly useful for the Sunrisers, who had lost Bhuvneshwar Kumar to injury.
The Sunrisers, who are yet to name a replacement for Natarajan, have so far won only a single game out of the five they have played, and are languishing at the bottom of the points table.
Gender equality campaigners call on Lord’s to cancel men’s Varsity fixture
The Stump Out Sexism (SOS) campaign has called upon Marylebone Cricket Club to revoke its traditional invitation to Oxford and Cambridge universities to play the men’s Varsity match at Lord’s, unless a women’s game is also included.
Replying to a request from the campaign to “step in” to find an “equitable solution” to a disagreement about gender parity in university cricket, the MCC chief executive, Guy Lavender, wrote in a letter on Friday that Lord’s would be “very happy to accommodate a men’s and women’s T20 double header on the same day next year” in response.
But he also suggested the dispute was “primarily a matter for [the] respective universities” and stopped short of committing to intervene to ensure the match came to fruition.
While that response has encouraged the organisers of the SOS campaign, who have noted they won more commitment from MCC in two days than they had from the universities’ cricket clubs in two-and-a-half years, they describe themselves as “not completely satisfied”.
They argue that MCC could go further and use their power as hosts to insist on gender parity. The men’s varsity match has been played (in various formats) at Lord’s for almost 200 years. The women’s match has never made it beyond the Nursery Ground and this year, with Lord’s undergoing a redevelopment, has not even made it that far.
Now, while expressing their appreciation for the MCC offer, the SOS campaign have called for a “further commitment to ensuring the Varsity fixture is equitable”.
The men’s Varsity match, a 50-overs a side affair, is scheduled to be played on May 23. Despite previous requests from figures involved in the SOS campaign (notably the former Oxford University captain, Vanessa Picker) to share the day with the women’s teams (meaning the men’s match would become a T20), the universities’ cricket clubs have been reluctant to do so. While SOS were delighted to gain such a swift reply from MCC, they have now called upon them to go a step further and compel the clubs to comply.
“We do not accept that, as their letter states, this is primarily a matter for the universities,” SOS said in a statement. “The MCC have control over their own calendar and thus have the power to influence the parameters of fixture invitations and to raise the bar further.
“We, therefore, ask the MCC to specify that the offer of next year’s Oxbridge Varsity match being played on the main ground is entirely conditional upon both the men’s and the women’s teams being involved equally. If the clubs continue to insist that any date should be exclusively for the men, the invitation must be revoked.
“A tentative offer of a double-header T20 Varsity event in a future season (which is still contingent on the clubs agreeing to do this) does not make up for years of exclusion.”
While acknowledging that “it may indeed be too short notice” to convert this year’s Varsity fixture at Lord’s into a T20 double-header – not least because is being used as a test event to enable MCC to gain a license to host the first Test against New Zealand 10 days later – the campaigners have requested a “women’s match to be scheduled for later this season.”
Their statement continues: “We request that the MCC utilise one of the days currently unallocated on the 2021 fixture list (of which there are still 95) to schedule at least a 100-ball format match for the women.”
It is perhaps worth noting that, among those taking to Twitter to express their support for the SOS campaign was Beth Barrett-Wild, the Head of The Hundred Women’s Competition and Female Engagement at the ECB. She played in three Varsity matches – all on the Nursery Ground at Lord’s – and also previously worked in the MCC communications department. She is, therefore, not without influence.
In the longer term, though, the disagreement could compromise the future of Varsity cricket at Lord’s. The MCC executive is already acutely sensitive to the club’s reputation towards inclusivity – a reputation they feel is out-dated – and may have little tolerance for being dragged into what they see as someone else’s fight. Their attitude might be summed up with a phrase uttered by many a frustrated parent: if you can’t share nicely, you won’t get to play at all.
MCC have, over the last couple of decades, pumped millions of pounds in university cricket (as sponsors of the MCCU scheme), funded numerous leagues and coaching schemes in the community, started to recognise the achievements in women’s internationals on the ground on honours boards and recently announced the appointment of their first female president (former England captain Clare Connor starts the role in October). As a result, they are more than a little peeved at any suggestion they may be the villains of the piece.
At the same time, the disagreement may also draw attention to the somewhat antiquated tradition of hosting Varsity matches at Lord’s at all. There are many other organisations (not least other universities) with equal claims on the basis of cricketing merit and Oxbridge’s connotations with privilege and entitlement may not be helpful to the modern MCC.
SOS campaigners have also confirmed they will be approaching the cricket clubs at both universities to request “confirmation that they will respond favourably to the MCC’s invitation for a men’s and women’s T20 double-header”. They are also asking “that an apology be made by the clubs for failing to address this issue sooner despite repeated requests”.
ESPNcricinfo contacted MCC and officials at both university cricket clubs for comment. MCC declined; officials from the cricket clubs had not, at the time of publication, responded
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
Women’s cricket – India Women set to tour Australia in September 2021
CA is yet to confirm the make-up of the postponed series, but an announcement is expected soon
India Women are set to tour Australia for a bilateral series in September. The tour, originally comprising three ODIs and slated for January this year, was officially postponed in December 2020. A report on the Cricket Australia website at the time said the series, rescheduled for the 2021-22 season, would be expanded to include three T20Is.
While CA is yet to make an official announcement on the dates or make-up of the series, Australia pace bowler Megan Schutt said on a recent podcast that her side’s next assignment would be against India.
“We have got a tour against India in mid-September,” Schutt said on No Balls: The Cricket Podcast, hosted by Kate Cross and Alex Hartley, in an episode aired on May 13. “So, there’s a couple of camps. I believe we are doing one in Darwin, which will be really cool… and then the tour against India. And then pretty much from there things get crazy with Big Bash, WNCL, Ashes, World Cup, and hopefully the Commonwealth Games.”
It is understood the Australian board will make an announcement regarding the new dates for the series soon.
India are due to tour England next month for a multi-format assignment that gets underway on June 16 with a one-off Test in Bristol. Three ODIs and as many T20Is follow, with the tour ending on July 15. At least five India players – Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, and Shafali Verma – are expected to then stay back to participate in the inaugural edition of the Hundred, which will take place from July 21 to August 21.
A number of India players, including Verma and Radha Yadav, are also set to be part of the seventh edition of the WBBL, which is likely to run in its usual October-November window.
Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha
Covid-19 at IPL 2021 – Michael Hussey, and rest of Australia contingent in Maldives, set to fly home
While Hussey flies commercial via Doha, the group waiting in the Maldives will take a BCCI charter flight
Michael Hussey will be home from India on Monday, about the same time as the 38 Australian players, coaches and media land on their return from the Maldives.
Following a series of Covid-19 positive tests, Hussey was unable to join the Maldives group after the postponement of the IPL but returned a negative test on Thursday night India time. He has now been cleared to return to Australian soil on a commercial flight via Doha.
The larger Maldives contingent, including the likes of Pat Cummins, David Warner, Steven Smith and Michael Slater, will travel home to hotel quarantine in Sydney, on a BCCI charter flight that will also stopover in Perth once it reaches Australian airspace.
The return of the cricketers, coaches and media have been secured over the incoming arrival caps put in place for overseas travellers to Australia, following negotiations between Cricket Australia, the Australian Cricketers Association, and state and federal governments.
“The public will see our best Australian cricketers as almost superheroes. They’re brilliant athletes, great cricketers but they’re human beings [too],” Todd Greenberg, the ACA chief executive had said on May 5. “Some of them are fathers and husbands, and they’re under enormous amounts of stress. Some deal with it differently. This will probably be an experience they will never forget. We will help them when they come home. Some will cope with it really well, others will need support and counselling and that’s what we’ll do.
“The last 12 months around the globe, we’ve seen all professional athletes travel differently and charter flights maybe two years ago would have seen a different type of commentary than what we would see today. The reality is we’re going to try to keep them as safe as possible and if that’s available, I don’t think we should shy away from that.
“I’m not sure it will create reticence but it will ensure players do their due diligence before they sign [future] agreements,” he added, with the ACA having already advised its players to complete due diligence before signing up for T20 leagues during the pandemic.
“The world is literally changing before our eyes, particularly with Covid and on that side of the world, obviously those cases are going up exponentially. We’re enjoying our freedoms here in Australia. It is a very different place over there. If anything it sends a message to players about making sure you do your homework before making any decisions.”
A federal government pause on the return of Australians from India concluded on Saturday, with a series of repatriation flights for the first portion of some 9000 citizens beginning over the weekend.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
2021 NBA playoffs – Everything at stake on the last day of the regular season
Manchester United put low price tag on Paul Pogba with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in conflict
Falcons rookie minicamp proves a starting point for Arthur Smith and his players – Atlanta Falcons Blog
Kyrie Irving focused on issues other than hoops, says ‘basketball is just not the most important thing to me right now’
Messi and Guardiola reunion given green light as father considers Man City switch
Carolina in his mind? New York Jets rookie Zach Wilson catches a tough break – New York Jets Blog
Lionel Messi's camp ‘contact Man Utd and Chelsea’ in surprising new transfer twist
Gender equality campaigners call on Lord’s to cancel men’s Varsity fixture
Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may give Anthony Martial a new role next season
Man Utd star Paul Pogba labels N’Golo Kante a ‘cheat’ but explains why everyone loves him
Soccer7 days ago
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp personally scouting £25m transfer target who wants move
MLB5 days ago
Oakland Athletics to start looking at relocating elsewhere
NBA6 days ago
Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal out at least next 2 games with hamstring injury
MLB5 days ago
New York Yankees 3B coach Phil Nevin positive for COVID-19, other coaches pending, Aaron Boone says
Soccer4 days ago
Five Arsenal players 'have decided they want to leave the club' this summer
Soccer6 days ago
West Brom win shows Mikel Arteta who Arsenal's most important player is
NFL4 days ago
New York Jets-Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins-Jacksonville Jaguars set as 2021 London games
Soccer4 days ago
Chelsea and Man City denied Wembley Champions League final as UEFA decide location