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Nick Hockley named permanent Cricket Australia chief executive after interim role for a year




Hockley stepped into the job last June following the sacking of Kevin Roberts

Nick Hockley has been named the new permanent chief executive of Cricket Australia, having held the role in an interim capacity for almost a year.

Hockley stepped into the job last June following the sacking of Kevin Roberts during the fallout to CA’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As Australia’s national sport, cricket is at the heart of our national and cultural identity. I am under no illusion about the importance of cricket to the lives of so many Australians, nor the magnitude and responsibility of this role,” Hockley said. “Leading Cricket Australia is the greatest privilege of my working life and I am committed to doing all I can to making a positive contribution to the game and the community.

“It has been extremely rewarding to be part of CA, State and Territory Associations and the Australian Cricketers’ Association working together like never before over the past 12 months, to overcome the challenges presented by Covid-19 and deliver a summer for the ages. I look forward to building on this momentum and playing my role in deepening those relationships further, as well as playing a leading role in growing the game internationally alongside fellow ICC members.”

Amid the pressure of funding cuts to states – which were eventually much lower than originally forecast – other than a battle with host broadcaster Channel Seven and the ongoing challenges of border closures, Hockley was able to steer the game through a turbulent 2020-21 season which enabled them to deliver a full professional programme. That included a tour by India, which involved tense negotiations almost until the final day, alongside two Big Bash tournaments and a full state professional summer.

Despite having done an impressive job dealing with the impact of the pandemic, there have been questions raised as to whether Hockley has the broader vision to carry CA forward. But he now has the chance to make changes and decisions that were difficult while he still held the interim tag.

“Nick’s contribution to Australian Cricket has been immense and on behalf of the board, I am most pleased to confirm his appointment as CEO, which was unanimously endorsed by the board,” Earl Eddings, the CA chairman, said. “From delivering the historic T20 Women’s World Cup to ensuring a safe and successful 2020-21 season, Nick has already proven himself to be in the very top echelon of sports administrators both in Australia and around the world.

“Nick was named interim CEO at an incredibly challenging period for Australian sport, and society in general, and there were many instances where the once-in-a-generation obstacles in his path must have seemed overwhelming. But through his leadership, resolve, worth ethic and vision for the game, Australian Cricket emerged stronger than ever. For that, Nick deserves enormous credit.”

Prior to his hasty elevation into the top CA role, Hockley had been chief executive of the 2020 T20 World Cup committee that had staged the record-breaking women’s tournament in Australia last year, and which concluded just days before the pandemic shut down global sport. Before that, he had worked on the 2015 men’s World Cup as well, having also previously been involved in the London Olympics.

Confirmation of Hockley’s full-time job removes one of the leadership uncertainties around Australian cricket. Earl Eddings is set to seek a second term as CA chairman at October’s elections, although there are significant divisions in the game over what would be a highly unusual move.

On the playing front, the subject of who succeeds Tim Paine as Test captain potentially after next summer’s Ashes has not made much movement, while Justin Langer, the men’s head coach, is out of contract after the 2021-22 season amid rumblings of discontent in the dressing room.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Recent Match Report – Notts vs Essex Group 1 2021




Brett Hutton bags five before bad light, rain intervene leaving Essex likely to rely on favours to progress

Nottinghamshire 293 (Clarke 67, Mullaney 55, James 54, Harmer 4-71) and 44 for 2 (Slater 19*) drew with Essex 210 (Westley 71, Hutton 5-65)

Essex’s hopes of defending the LV= Insurance County Championship and Bob Willis Trophy took a massive hit as they drew with Nottinghamshire at the Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford.

Notts fast bowler Brett Hutton, on just his second outing of the season, took 5 for 65, including his 200th first-class wicket to bowl Essex out for 210 – and give Notts an 83-run first-innings lead.

Ben Slater killed off any potential drama by reaching 19 before bad light, and subsequently rain, ended play at 2.20pm, with the match officially abandoned at 3pm.

The stalemate does Essex no help in their attempt to reach Division One- with favours likely needed from elsewhere to stop one of Warwickshire, Durham and Notts from progressing.

The top four in Group 1 are now separated by only nine points, although Essex have played a game more than their rivals.

Hopes for a positive result had all but been kiboshed by a washed-out second day, along with a pitch which had made scoring slow.

Notts needed 10 morning overs to wrap up the Essex first innings, with both sides picking up a bonus point – the former for taking nine wickets and the latter for sliding past 200.

After the second new ball was taken an over into the day, Shane Snater and Simon Harmer’s eighth-wicket partnership reached exactly 50 before both fell in consecutive overs.

First, Snater was adjudged leg-before to Hutton, and then Harmer was pinned in front by Luke Fletcher – the burly seamer’s 38th wicket of an impressive campaign.

The innings concluded as Hutton made Sam Cook’s off stump go kerplunk to complete his five-wicket haul, the 10th of his career.

In reply, the visitors had no need nor intention to take any risks as they reached 44 for 2 before umpires Ian Blackwell and Neil Mallender ended proceedings.

Peter Siddle provided a probing spell with the new ball and was rewarded with the edge to first slip of Ben Compton.

Ben Duckett was bowled around his legs by Snater, having eaten up 50 minutes, with Slater holding things together for an unbeaten 87-ball 19.

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Recent Match Report – Lightning vs Thunder 2021




Kirstie Gordon finishes the job as Thunder are rumbled by 134 runs

Lightning 259 for 5 (Beaumont 89, K. Bryce 74) beat Thunder 125 (Lamb 42, Gordon 4-23) by 134 runs

Half-centuries for Tammy Beaumont and Kathryn Bryce and four wickets for spinner Kirstie Gordon ensured Lightning posted their first victory in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy after a one-sided clash with North West Thunder at Chester Boughton Hall.

Beaumont confirmed her status as one of the finest batters around with a chanceless 89 before Bryce’s 74 took Lightning to a daunting total of 259 for 5 off their 50 overs. Gordon then claimed 4 for 23 as Thunder slumped to 125 all out with Katie Higham’s 3 for 10 also contributing to the 134-run win.

Earlier, Beaumont had begun the day in confident fashion in sharp contrast to her opening partner, Sarah Bryce, who took until the eighth over to get off the mark.

But once the pair got into stride the runs came easily with both Kate Cross and Piepa Cleary struggling to make an impact as the stand advanced to 74 before Bryce hit Alex Hartley straight to Nat Brown at mid-off for 24.

Kathryn Bryce replaced her sister at the crease and with Beaumont continuing to show her class, 98 runs were added for the second wicket until the World Cup winner fell 11 short of a deserved century after Hartley took a superb tumbling catch off Sophie Ecclestone.

England spinner Ecclestone was proving the one thorn in Lightning’s side and she picked up a second victim by bowling Abigail Freeborn for 0.

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NZ vs England 2021 – Trent Boult in line to play second Test after relaxed quarantine in UK




Boult is out of isolation “three or four days earlier than expected,” coach Gary Stead says

Trent Boult is firming as a chance to play the second Test against England at Edgbaston starting June 10, having previously only been inked in for the World Test Championship final against India.

Boult joined the New Zealand squad late last week having opted to return home after the aborted IPL rather than head straight to the UK.

Before the opening Test, coach Gary Stead indicated the turnaround for Edgbaston would be too tight for Boult but updated quarantine protocols have allowed him to train immediately after arriving which has advanced his preparations by a few days. While a final decision on whether he plays on Thursday will not be taken for a couple more days it would now be a surprise if he did not line up.
“There’s a chance, there are a few things that have changed,” Stead said after the drawn first Test. “The British government has relaxed their quarantine stipulations so Trent is out of isolation three or four days earlier than expected.

“The original plan we had in place with all the information we had at the time was we weren’t going to play him in the second Test, but coming out of that isolation probably three days earlier than what we originally anticipated does put a slightly different spin on it. So we’ll weigh up the pros and cons and work out with Trent what we think is the best course forward to make sure he is fit and raring to go for that final.

“Trent is more keen than he was a week ago and that’s because he’s over here now, he’s part of the environment. Probably right now it’s a bit early to make that call, he’s only been here 48 hours and probably still suffering a little bit of jet lag.”

If Boult was available for Edgbaston somebody would have to make way from the attack that featured at Lord’s and had England under pressure almost throughout. It could present the chance to manage the workloads of Tim Southee (42.1 overs at Lord’s), Kyle Jamieson (41 overs) or Neil Wagner (40 overs) ahead of the WTC final against India with Southee perhaps the frontrunner to be rotated.

“We have to manage all the bowlers,” Stead said. “Haven’t had that conversation yet with Tim. He bowled really well, he’s a work horse and loves the hard work. Again, a conversation we’ll have with our support staff in the morning to see where everyone is at and scrub up before we make that firm decision.”

Mitchell Santner was hampered in the second innings by the finger he injured during the build-up in Southampton. Though he went wicketless in the Test (he should have had Rory Burns stumped on the fourth day) Stead was pleased with how he bowled and sees a spinner as having a continued role to play. Ajaz Patel and the uncapped Rachin Ravindra are the other spin options in the squad.

“Mitch got the scab knocked off where it’s been heeling…another one we’ll talk through tomorrow,” Stead said. “I thought Mitch bowled really well, that first innings in particular, and could easily have picked up two or three wickets, cleaned them up 50-60 runs earlier. If that had been the case the game might have looked different.

“It’s hard when you look at a five-day game to not consider a spinner. At various times it’s always good to have those different options. The pitches here provide us a with a slightly different outlook to what they do in New Zealand.”

Overall, Stead was delighted with his team’s performance at Lord’s in what was their first Test since January. “We set the pace, we were confident enough to leave England a chase on the last day and throw the option to them about whether they were prepared to take that carrot or not. Takes a confident team to do that, so said to the boys I was really proud the way we were prepared to do that.”

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