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Netherlands vs Ireland ODIs – Andy Balbirnie

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Ireland’s captain is also impressed with Ben White, the uncapped legspinner who has replaced the injured Gareth Delany

When Ireland play the first of three ODIs against Netherlands on Wednesday, their line-up is likely to include a familiar name in an unfamiliar role. George Dockrell is their second-highest wicket-taker in all international cricket, but his left-arm spin is set to become his second string now, in his second coming as a batting allrounder.

Dockrell’s ODI numbers with the bat aren’t flash – 579 runs in 87 matches at an average of 16.54 – but having slipped behind Andy McBrine and Simi Singh in Ireland’s spin hierarchy, he’s reinvented himself in remarkable fashion, forcing his way back into the ODI side for the first time since May 2019 with the weight of his run-scoring. He topped the charts in this year’s Inter-Provincial Limited-Over Cup, scoring 364 runs at an average of 121.33 and a strike rate of 87.92.

With allrounders Curtis Campher and Gareth Delany missing the series against Netherlands with ankle and knee injuries respectively, Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie has said Dockrell will most likely come into the side as a No. 5 batter who can bowl a few overs.

“Yeah, I think George is probably going to slot in at five,” Balbirnie said in a media interaction on Monday. “He’s been really good in the Inter-Pro games he’s played so far, and he’s played like a batter, he’s not looked out of place whatsoever; in fact he’s been the best batter in the competition, so unless something drastic happens he’ll probably play at five.

“He obviously gives us a bit with the ball as well, but what’s been really impressive is, having had the setback at the start of the year, not being given a contract, what he was told to do was go away, work on his batting, and he’s done exactly that, and we’re just hoping that he could bring that forward into the one-dayers come Wednesday.”

As Dockrell’s team-mate at Leinster Lightning, Balbirnie has kept a close eye on the work he’s put in behind the scenes to lift his batting to its current level. He pointed to two ODI half-centuries against Afghanistan as proof of the potential that Dockrell has always had, and suggested the expansion of the Inter-Provincial tournament from three teams to four also helped him get in more games to hone his skill.

“He’s obviously played a lot of international cricket, he’s played quite a lot of county cricket, so he’s been exposed to pretty good bowling, albeit batting down the order, but I vaguely remember him doing a bit of nightwatchman for Somerset and Ireland, so he’s technically always been quite good,” Balbirnie said.

“We’ve always felt that he was good enough, and if we look back over the last couple of years, I can remember a game in Dehradun where he came in and batted maybe at six, and he got a fifty (54 in a successful chase of 257); he got a fifty batting at about eight or nine in Sharjah in 2017, I think it was (an unbeaten 62 off 48 balls), so we’ve always known he’s got the ability and the talent.

“I suppose what’s helped is the restructure of the Inter-Pros. So having four teams with the best players playing, so George now not batting at eight for Leinster but batting five and getting more chance to spend time in the middle, and his statistics in the competition are ridiculous. He’s gone away and he’s been told that he needs to work on his batting, and that’s an area that he could potentially get in the team as, and he’s done exactly that, so a lot boils down to his work ethic and his frame of mind, and getting his head down and working as hard as he can on his batting. I think we’re going to see the rewards over the next six to 12 months.”

With Delany ruled out just before the squad departed for the Netherlands, Ireland have included the uncapped legspinner Ben White as a replacement. While White is unlikely to get his chance immediately, Balbirnie is impressed with what he’s seen of the 22-year-old so far.

“He’s someone that’s been on the radar for a year or two now that we’ve kept an eye on,” Balbirnie said. “He’s really impressive. He bowled really well this morning. I got a good 20 minutes at him. He’s a bit different to what we have, he’s not your kind of classical legspinner. He’s tall, he kind of fires it into the pads, but he can get a bit of spin if it’s there, so he’s someone that I think will be in and around the squad for the next period of time if he keeps up his performances.

“It’s obviously an area that’s so crucial to white-ball cricket around the world, the legspinner. We probably haven’t had the legspinner that we’ve wanted over the last couple of years, Gareth has done a pretty good job whenever required but he’s been more of a batter who bowls, so Ben White is someone that can give us that complete legspinner, and he’s just come into the squad for the first time and hopefully he can take strides forward and potentially be that legspinner that we’ve been looking for.”



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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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