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IPL 2021 – SRH bowler T Natarajan undergoes knee surgery after being ruled out of IPL

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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.





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Gender equality campaigners call on Lord’s to cancel men’s Varsity fixture

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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”.



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Women’s cricket – India Women set to tour Australia in September 2021

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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.



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Covid-19 at IPL 2021 – Michael Hussey, and rest of Australia contingent in Maldives, set to fly home

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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



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