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Vitality T20 Blast 2021 – Paul Stirling returns to Middlesex as overseas signing for Blast

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Ireland batter expected to be available for initial five-game spell during group stage

Paul Stirling will make his Middlesex comeback in this year’s Vitality T20 Blast, two years after leaving the club due to a change in ECB regulations.

Stirling, a British passport-holder who was born in Belfast, was forced to make a choice between playing as a local player in county cricket and continuing his international career but giving up his Middlesex contract as a result of regulation changes following Ireland’s ascent to ICC full-member status. He chose the latter, and will play as an overseas player in this year’s Blast.

Stirling played for Northamptonshire in last year’s T20 Blast, finishing as their top-scorer as they reached the quarter-finals, and attracted interest from several counties including Lancashire and Hampshire before his Middlesex deal was confirmed. He has initially agreed to play five games at the start of the Blast’s group stage, before Ireland’s limited-overs series at home to South Africa.



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Youngsters ‘far better off’ playing the Hundred ahead of Blast quarter-finals

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He insisted that the competition was ‘really important’ for the young players who have been called up as replacements from the Royal London Cup

Sam Billings has insisted that the last-minute withdrawals of a number of players from the Royal London Cup as replacements for teams in the Hundred will leave young cricketers “far better off” than staying with their counties.
Kent, where Billings is club captain, have ten Vitality Blast regulars – including overseas players Qais Ahmad and Adam Milne – involved in the Hundred, with Zak Crawley on England Test duty, Jack Leaning (Trent Rockets) and Matt Milnes (Welsh Fire) both called up as late replacements in the last week, and Jordan Cox (Oval Invincibles) and Fred Klaassen (Manchester Originals) picked as wildcards.

As a result, their Royal London Cup campaign has started poorly, with three defeats and a no-result, but Billings said that players’ involvement in the competition would serve the club well ahead of their Blast quarter-final against Birmingham Bears later this month and in the longer term.

In particular, he highlighted the example of Milnes, who played for Kent in the Royal London Cup on Sunday afternoon and was called into the Fire’s set-up on Monday as an injury replacement for Liam Plunkett. With Jake Ball also sidelined – he had a scan on Monday after leaving the field in Saturday’s fixture against Manchester Originals – Milnes went straight into the side against Billings’ Oval Invincibles and dismissed Jason Roy with his first ball in the Hundred, eventually returning figures of 1 for 28 from 20 balls and capturing the attention of Dale Steyn on Twitter as he was clocked at 87mph/140kph.

“What a great opportunity for him,” Billings said. “This is what the Hundred is about. Look, I know that in terms of the 50-over comp, the performances for Kent haven’t quite been there at the moment and of course as a club it’s disappointing.

“But the positive is we’ve got nine or ten guys in this Hundred at the moment and this is international cricket. You’ve got a full Oval crowd there and he’s come in for his first game after playing for Kent yesterday. It’s a completely different atmosphere, completely different level, against an international line-up.

“What a great experience for a young bloke, getting a wicket with his first ball and riding the emotions of that game. That is what’s going to produce international cricketers. For us as a club – and as Kent fans in general – that’s what we want to do: produce England cricketers and franchise cricketers.





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Nepal’s Paras Khadka retires from international cricket

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Khadka was a talismanic figure in Nepal and the longest-serving captain in Associate Cricket before resigning in 2019

Former Nepal captain Paras Khadka has announced his retirement from international cricket. The 33-year old allrounder, who started out representing Nepal at the Under-15 level in 2002, played 10 ODIs and 33 T20Is and served as captain from 2009 to 2019, which made him the longest-serving captain in Associate cricket when he had resigned from the role.





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Eng tour of Ban – Trying to reschedule England series after T20 World Cup, says BCB chief executive

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ESPNcricinfo understands that the two boards favour rescheduling the series for late 2022 or early 2023

The England white-ball tour of Bangladesh has been postponed, but not cancelled altogether, the BCB has said, adding that talks were on to slot it after the T20 World Cup, which ends on November 14.

“Both the teams [Bangladesh and England] are playing a lot of cricket before the T20 World Cup, so we are discussing with the ECB whether the series can be hosted after the World Cup,” BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury was quoted as saying by Bangladesh daily Prothom Alo on Tuesday.

Saying that the proposal to reschedule the series of three T20Is and three ODIs had come from the ECB, Chowdhury added: “If the series is pushed to after the T20 World Cup, we have to know when it can be hosted. If the two teams don’t have a gap in the calendar at the same time, we can hold it on the original dates.”



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