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Eng vs NZ 2021 – ‘It happens when you don’t expect it’

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Wicketkeeper’s spot is yet to be confirmed but he is suddenly the frontline option after Foakes’ injury

When England announced their 55-man return-to-training squad last summer, it’s probably fair to say James Bracey was in the outer orbit among candidates for the Test side. But Bracey, a well thought of young wicketkeeper-batter from Gloucestershire, who had impressed for England Lions on their 2019-20 tour of Australia, quickly made an impression. Twelve months on, he is on the verge of a Test debut at Lord’s.
Having spent almost 20 weeks in bio-secure bubbles as England’s reserve batting option last summer and on tours of Sri Lanka and India, Bracey had been seen as vying for a spot in the top three when the squad to face New Zealand was announced earlier this month. However, with a dressing-room mishap ruling out Ben Foakes, and England’s other wicketkeeping options, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, not considered after their post-IPL quarantine, Bracey is set to take the gloves – something he admits he “didn’t really have on my radar.”

“I was really excited when I got the call about being in the 15,” he said. “It’s a bit different to how I have been around the group in the last year or so. I think that step up into the main squad is a big landmark. I have been taken on in each group – originally in the 55 and then it kept being cut down and now I feel like I am really close. I am really keen to get going.

“When I heard about Ben it was almost a shock – I didn’t really have it on my radar to be there as a keeper. I knew that Ben was highly likely to take those gloves, and when I got that call it didn’t really sink in straight away but when I arrived in London it started to hit that it was a distinct possibility.”

Bracey’s spot has yet to be confirmed, but he is suddenly the frontline option in a position where England have not been short of competition over recent years (Sam Billings, who has kept in the white-ball teams, is also with the squad as cover). Buttler is currently first choice, while Foakes has won universal plaudits for the standard of his keeping and was in line to play his first home Test after impressing in India. But given Bracey’s rapid rise, it would not be a surprise if he grabbed his chance.



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SL vs Ind 2021 – Shikhar Dhawan to captain India on limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka

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Bhuvneshwar Kumar named vice-captain, Chetan Sakariya and Nitish Rana among new faces in the mix

Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana, K Gowtham and Chetan Sakariya have all received maiden call-ups to the national team, figuring in the 20-man India squad for the white-ball series in Sri Lanka, scheduled for July. The second-string squad – the main team will be in England at the time – will be captained by opening batter Shikhar Dhawan, who has never led India previously, and will also see the international comeback of fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has been appointed vice-captain.
India’s Sri Lanka tour comprises six matches: three ODIs (on July 13, 16 and 18), followed by three T20Is (July 21, 23, 25). Former India captain Rahul Dravid has been confirmed as the head coach, although the BCCI did not announce the coaching staff for the side on Thursday when it announced the squad, which will have five reserve bowlers.

Squad: Shikhar Dhawan (capt), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (vice-capt), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya

Net bowlers: Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Arshdeep Singh, R Sai Kishore, Simarjeet Singh

More to follow…



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County cricket 2021 – Kyle Jamieson signs for Surrey on short-term deal

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Fast bowler will head to Kia Oval at conclusion of the World Test Championship final

Kyle Jamieson, the New Zealand fast bowler, has signed a short-term deal for Surrey across formats, and will link up with the club at the conclusion of the World Test Championship final against India later this month.

Jamieson, who has been rested from the ongoing second Test against England after claiming three wickets in the opening match at Lord’s, will be available for the Vitality Blast London Derby against Middlesex at The Kia Oval on June 25, and will remain with the squad until their final group game in mid-July.

In that period, he will also be available for Surrey’s final two group games in the LV= Insurance County Championship, against Hampshire at The Ageas Bowl from July 4-7 and against Somerset at The Oval from July 11-14. This will be his first time playing in English domestic cricket.

“I’m really excited to get the chance to play some county cricket after the Black Caps tour,” Jamieson said. “Originally I didn’t think this opportunity would be possible with the schedule this year, but with how things have unfolded it’s great to be able to join Surrey and experience both T20 and first-class cricket.

“Playing county cricket is something I’ve always wanted to do in my career, so to have the chance to do so now is awesome. I’ve heard a lot of great things about county cricket, particularly T20 Blast nights at The Kia Oval, and can’t wait to take up the opportunity with Surrey to continue to learn and grow whilst trying my best to contribute to the teams’ success.”



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The Hundred 2021 – David Warner, Marcus Stoinis and Sophie Devine pull out of the Hundred

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ECB bracing for further withdrawals amid clashes with international tours and restrictions on overseas travel

David Warner, Marcus Stoinis and Sophie Devine have pulled out of the inaugural season of the Hundred, with the ECB bracing for further withdrawals amid clashes with international tours and restrictions on overseas travel.

Warner and Stoinis were both contracted by the Southern Brave on deals worth £100,000 and £80,000 respectively, but have opted to withdraw from the competition. Both players have been named in Australia’s preliminary squad for white-ball tours to the Caribbean and Bangladesh, which overlap with the Hundred’s window from July 21-August 21, but are expected to withdraw in order to spend time with their families.

Trevor Hohns, Australia’s national selector, added six players to the preliminary squad for those tours following discussions with those initially named. “During the course of those discussions, it has become clear that recent experiences abroad, including but not limited to extended periods in bio-secure hubs and hard quarantine, have had an impact on the health and wellbeing of some players and their families,” he said.

“CA has maintained that the wellbeing of players, staff and officials is a top priority, and never more so than during the Covid-19 pandemic given the extraordinary challenges it has placed upon international athletes and sporting teams.”

“It is obviously disappointing to lose players with the ability of David and Marcus, but the realities of Covid mean there are practicalities that are difficult for some overseas players to overcome,” the ECB said in a statement to ESPNcricinfo. “Replacement overseas players will be signed by Southern Brave, and we look forward to the Hundred showcasing world-class cricket this summer.”



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