Jofra Archer to see specialist about long-standing elbow problem
Ben Stokes is set to play for Durham at some stage during the Vitality T20 Blast after making “excellent progress” following the finger injury which has ruled him out of England’s Test series against New Zealand.
Stokes underwent surgery last month after he fractured his left index finger while taking a catch in Rajasthan Royals’ opening game of the IPL season, an injury which the ECB initially suggested would rule him out for up to 12 weeks. He will be assessed again later this month, with a view to returning during the Blast. The competition’s group stage runs from June 9 to July 16.
Chris Silverwood, England’s head coach, said: “[He] is making excellent progress. If he continues to improve without any impact on his rehabilitation, we could see him return next month for Durham in the Vitality Blast competition.
“It’ll be a slow return. We’re potentially looking at the T20 Blast and then a gradual build back into international cricket for him. He has started bowling again and he’s not far off hitting a few balls as well. He’s progressing nicely and on course for where we expected him to be.”
Stokes’ return – and that of several other England regulars – would be a boost to the Blast’s stature in the year that it becomes the country’s secondary domestic short-form competition, behind the Hundred. Confirming that England’s multi-format IPL players – Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes – would be rested for the New Zealand series following their 10-day hotel quarantine period, which ended last weekend, Silverwood said that all five could feature for their respective counties in the tournament.
“We felt it necessary for them to have an extended break [as] we need them to recharge mentally,” he said. “We will then take a view when they return to cricket. It will mean that they will get some competitive matches with their respective counties either in the LV= Insurance County Championship or the Vitality Blast next month. We will work closely with each individual on when they are likely to play again.”
Buttler, Stokes and Woakes have not played in the Blast since 2018, while Bairstow’s last appearance for Yorkshire in the competition was in 2016. Eoin Morgan said in March that he expects to be without England’s multi-format players throughout the white-ball series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan this summer, though circumstances may now allow some of them to be involved.
Meanwhile, Jofra Archer will see a specialist this week as Silverwood looks to make sure his elbow problem is resolved “once and for all” ahead of England’s busy winter – which includes the T20 World Cup and an away Ashes series – and the Test series against India this summer.
Archer was ruled out of the New Zealand series on Sunday evening after struggling to get through Sussex’s Championship fixture against Kent, which saw him bowl 18 overs across the first two days but none in the last two.
“We need to get this resolved once and for all to give him the best chance of being fully fit as we build up to an intense winter,” Silverwood said. “We need him firing in all formats of the game.
“I feel for him: so far he’s done everything we’ve asked of him to try and get into a good position to get back playing again. That hasn’t worked, so we’ve just got to take the next step now: find out what the consultants will say. The best thing were can do is stay calm at this moment in time, support Jofra and make sure he gets all the help he needs to get him back.
“We all want Jofra fit and firing on the park, in all forms of cricket really and that’s exactly what Jofra wants as well. The important thing here is actually we stay calm and we support Jofra in whatever he needs.”
Dom Sibley, who broke his finger last month playing in the Championship for Warwickshire and was named in the squad for the New Zealand series, made a rain-interrupted comeback in second-team cricket on Tuesday, scoring 4 not out off 22 balls against Northamptonshire. He could make his first-team return away against Essex on Thursday, with the majority of the Test squad expected to feature in this week’s round of Championship games.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
Sri Lanka vs India, 1st ODI, 2021
The return of his pairing with Yuzvendra Chahal paid dividends for India
After the game against Sri Lanka on Sunday, Yadav pointed to his past record when asked if he feared his white-ball career was over, and said it would be nicer if that was talked about as much as the times he’s not done well.
“Sometimes you get hit for runs, but other times you get wickets too. I have taken three-four wickets often, taken five-six wickets too,” Yadav said. “If people talk about that more, it’ll be nicer (smiles). Nobody’s cricket [career] is finished after one game or two games. I think the last series was good for England because the pitches were very good in Pune. Spinners didn’t have much help. It happens sometimes, the pitch is not in your favour. But sometimes you should credit the batsmen too for batting well, rather than say someone’s cricket is finished.”
Yadav did admit to nerves at the start of the game, nerves compounded by spending a lot of time on the bench, and within bio-bubbles, which can foster self-doubt even with well-intentioned advice.
“Pressure… nervousness is always there when you play, and I was playing after a long time,” he said. “Rahul [Dravid] sir backed me a lot and motivated me. We spoke a lot, and he told me that I should just enjoy bowling, focus on the processes that we have worked on in the last 15 days, and don’t be tense about the result. I’m very happy that my performance was good. You’re definitely nervous if you play cricket after so long, and you want to perform well.
“It is difficult in bubbles. If you don’t play, you get a lot of doubts in your mind,” Yadav added. “There are many people who want to help you, talk to you. But if you talk to too many people, then you create doubts within yourself also. But this is a team sport, and sometimes people get opportunities, sometimes you don’t. You have to just wait for your chance.
“We’re lucky that the kind of atmosphere that is there in the team is so good. We’ve been in a bubble for a month, and the first 14 days were in quarantine in Mumbai. Then when we came here, the series also got rescheduled, so we got five more days. The kind of atmosphere that is there is so good, that we didn’t feel it [the extended time in the bubble].”
“I’m very happy that we both got to play together after quite some time,” Yadav said. “I think we’re comfortable with each other, and back each other. Whenever it is needed on the field, I tell him something or he tells me things. Our bonding is good. Maybe because we’re so comfortable with each other, it shows on the ground. Our performance was quite good, and the way we did well, playing together after so long, was good for the team.”
Yadav gave a straight-batted reply to the familiar question of what he made of Arjuna Ranatunga’s comment on this being a second-string Indian side, and whether winning by seven wickets with 80 balls remaining was an “answer” to the former Sri Lanka captain.
“We don’t need to answer anybody, we just need to focus on our jobs,” Yadav said. “We have come here to play cricket. We’re really lucky that we’re getting to play cricket in this situation. Our focus is on our team and on how we can perform well in six matches, because we have a lot of youngsters. Definitely, we’ll see every match in the same way, that how can we win it for the team. That’s our motto. Other than that, who says what are their thoughts. We should focus on ourselves and enjoy our cricket.”
The pitch at the R Premadasa Stadium offered a fair bit of turn, with Yadav extracting full use out of it. He anticipated more help for the spinners over the course of the tour.
“I feel that if you bowl in the first innings, because it’s very hot and it’s humid too, the pitch becomes dry and takes turn,” Yadav said. “Definitely if there is a second game on the same pitch, it’ll spin more than in the first match. There are several pitches. Hopefully in the T20Is, some pitches get repeated, although there will be a time gap. But the kind of heat and humidity that’s there, spinners will get turn.”
Saurabh Somani is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
Recent Match Report – Kent vs Sussex South Group 2021
Luke Wright, Delray Rawlins overhaul small target to secure quarter-final vs Yorkshire
Sussex 134 for 6 (Wright 39, Podmore 3-35) beat Kent 130 for 7 (Bopara 3-15) by four wickets
Archer was restricted to three overs as an injury precaution, returning figures of 0 for 20 as he bowled two overs with the new ball and then returned to bowl the 19th. It was his first appearance since May, when he aggravated an elbow injury during a County Championship match against Kent and was required to undergo surgery.
Kent had already ensured top spot in the South Group and will play their quarter-final against Birmingham Bears at the St Lawrence Ground despite tonight’s defeat, while Sussex will play Yorkshire at Chester-le-Street on August 24.
Kent won the toss and chose to bat, but Wiese quickly removed the openers, getting George Munsey caught by Oliver Carter for 11. Zak Crawley was given a life when Harrison Ward fell over while attempting to catch him at deep point, but Wiese then deceived him with a slower ball, which he chipped to Ollie Robinson at mid-on for 19.
Will Beer caught and bowled Heino Kuhn for four with his first ball, before Harry Finch and MacLeod partially rebuilt the innings with a stand of 44.
Finch, however, fell for 30, caught by Ollie Robinson off Bopara and when MacLeod was lbw to Rashid Khan, Kent were 101 for 5.
It was left to the lower order to nudge the score towards respectability. Dan Lincoln was caught by Wiese for 10 and the same combination removed Harry Podmore for 0, leaving Marcus O’Riordan and Safyaan Sharif unbeaten on 13 and 7.
The target looked low and although Elliot Hooper bowled Phil Salt for a duck with the third ball of Sussex’s innings, Wright and Bopara put on 61 for the next wicket. There was a wobble when the former holed out to O’Riordan and was caught by Munsey for 39, and Bopara was out in the same over for 19, caught by Matt Quinn.
However, Crawley stumbled when well-placed to catch Rawlins and by the time Wiese was caught by Kuhn off Podmore for 21, the run rate was down to 2.8.
Just two were needed when Kuhn made a diving catch off Podmore to dismiss Ward for 8 and Rawlins skied the next ball to O’Riordan, but Khan hit the winning runs with a four through cow corner.
Recent Match Report – Somerset vs Gloucs South Group 2021
Somerset 183 for 7 (Lammony 90) beat Gloucestershire 160 for 6 (Cobain 72, Overton 2-18) by 23 runs
Until Lammonby transformed the mood, Gloucestershire had everything under control. Their disciplined bowling performance had restricted Somerset to 89 for 5 after 14.2 overs, the run out of Will Smeed for 39, the one batsman to muster any sort of resistance, pointing towards the win they needed to secure a quarter-final place alongside Somerset.
How Taunton deserves that quarter-final. Cold-shouldered in the Hundred, they can at least look forward to a home tie against Lancashire, followed by a possible Finals Day at Edgbaston and they are still in the hunt for a first Championship title, too.
Lammonby, 21, long limbed and wristy, evidenced why there was such excitement over his entry into county cricket last season. Discriminating judges were prone to a touch of fantasy. Talk was more of his Test potential rather than white-ball – and how England must yearn for a touch of class in their top order. As for white-ball, the queue is a long one, but perhaps this was the night when Lammonby signalled his intention one day to join them.
This innings – a veritable one-man show – was the evening that a bright flash of sunlight finally flashed through the clouds. A demoralising second season in the Championship led to his omission at the start of the Blast, but that was hard to credit as he appeared to be intent on exhibition cricket, running through his repertoire with a game-changing confidence.
At one stage a 12th man seemed about to bring on a drink, but Lammonby waved him away, a batter back in the zone, desperate not to lose his uninhibited mood. His whiplash wrists enabled him to find gaps in the field. He was masterful behind square, his speciality the paddle and reverse paddle. All but 14 of his runs came in the arc between midwicket and third. If there was a defensive shot, it must have been an accident.
David Payne and Dan Worrall, who had the game where they wanted it with the new ball, ran into a young upstart of high ambition. “It was a special knock,” said Gloucestershire’s captain, Jack Taylor, “but our execution was a bit wanting.” Somerset’s stand-in skipper, Craig Overton, was obviously more ecstatic. “He will be the first to admit he has struggled this year, but I think that’s the best I’ve ever seen him play.”
Sixteen from three balls from Worrall – paddle against a head high full toss, reverse paddle from the free hit, and a no-messing long-on six, took him to his first Blast fifty at the 26th attempt, a reminder that not all nights have been like this. But another 20 came off Payne’s penultimate over and Ryan Higgins, charged with controlling things at the death, spilled 45 from three overs.
Gloucestershire had set the tone with an excellent Powerplay during which they drew pace and a little movement from an excellent surface. Somerset were restricted to 32 for 2 for the loss of Devon Conway and Steve Davies.
Conway has had a plentiful season, averaging more than 60, his moderate strike rate of 124 also illustrating how he has glued this Somerset side together. Payne had bowled only four overs in July after his inactive spell with England’s ODI shadow squad, but he outfoxed him with a widish delivery as he tried to make room to hit over the off side. Davies, who has been brought back late in the tournament as injury cover, trod on his stumps as Payne took a second wicket. Benny Howell’s sleight of hand removed James Hildreth in his first over.
Somerset’s innings descended into a succession of scrambled runs and what felt like endless TV adjudications. Gloucestershire finally got the run-out they had threatened when Higgins, alert and well in from the rope at deep midwicket, defeated Smeed’s second run.
Somerset’s most pressing need in the field was to curb Glenn Phillips, the leading six-hitter in the tournament, well ahead of the Nottinghamshire pair of Alex Hales and Joe Clarke. Phillips added two more to his total – he finishes on 35 for the season – but he miscued Ben Green to deep mid-off on 29.
Overton and Brooks both delivered spells for under 20, and the medium-pacer Green hit his yorkers in the closing overs, one of them bowling Taylor. Cockbain was left needing to hit the last four balls for six, but nobody was about to steal Lammonby’s thunder.
David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps
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