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Sri Lanka Women’s cricket – Former Sri Lanka captain Hashan Tillakaratne named women’s head coach

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SLC also confirmed that it is looking at arranging “one or two” tours for women in the next few months

Former Sri Lanka captain and batter Hashan Tillakaratne has been appointed the new head coach of the Sri Lanka women’s team, SLC confirmed on Wednesday.

He took up the role officially on June 1 and will be contracted up to December 31, 2021. It is understood that an extension is a mere formality, with SLC set to renew several contracts at the end of the year. Tillakaratne will likely be in the position for a further two to three years.

His first job will be in preparing the team for the 2022 ODI World Cup and Commonwealth Games qualifiers scheduled for early next year. SLC also confirmed that it is looking at arranging “one or two” tours in the next few months. The Sri Lanka women’s team hasn’t played any international cricket since the T20 World Cup last March, owing to the pandemic.

“It’s an honour and a privilege to work with the girls,” Tillakaratne told ESPNcricinfo. “They’re very talented and skilful. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Tillakaratne, a World Cup winner who was also in charge of the Sri Lanka Under-19 side from 2018 to 2020, is the most high-profile appointment for the post of women’s head coach. The move, he believes, is a sign that SLC is seriously looking at popularising the women’s game in the country.

“What they want is to justify the money being put into women’s cricket by the ICC,” Tillakaratne said. “Everyone knows about Chamari Athapaththu, but there are other talented girls also. They just need to be handled properly.”

While Tillakaratne hasn’t had a chance to link up with his players yet, in his capacity as coach in Sri Lanka’s high-performance set-up he had seen several of the national players first-hand. As such, he already has a few plans on where improvements can be made.

“We need to analyse and identify what our strengths are. One key aspect I’m looking at is their fitness. Right now, the girls are doing their fitness workouts on their own, and they’re sending us over their video clips. So they’re quite keen and committed, that’s a plus point.”

During his playing career, Tillakaratne was renowned for his dogged displays with the bat and his impressive close-in fielding. In 83 Tests, he racked up 4,545 runs at an average of 42.87, while his 200 ODIs brought him 3789 runs at 29.60. Having made his debut in 1986, he retired from international cricket in 2004 and all forms of cricket in 2006, before turning his eye towards coaching.



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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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Recent Match Report – West Indies vs South Africa 1st Test 2021

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Teenager Jayden Seales, who has only one first-class match to his name, got his first Test cap for West Indies

West Indies chose to bat vs South Africa

South Africa’s four-pace-and-solo-spin attack will get first use of the St Lucia surface after Kraigg Brathwaite decided to bat first in the two teams’ first meeting in the Caribbean for 11 years. South Africa last toured West Indies in 2010 and none of the current squad were part of that group of players. That means all XI visitors will be making their first Test appearance on the islands.
It’s also a first for Dean Elgar, who takes charge of South Africa in whites, after being appointed captain in the winter break. Elgar has led South Africa once before, when Faf du Plessis was on paternity leave, at Lord’s in 2017. du Plessis is also no longer part of the team and retired earlier this year, making way for Keegan Petersen, a top-order batter from Durban via Bloemfontein and Paarl. Petersen’s first cap was planned ahead of the series but South Africa also had to make a last-minute adjustment to their XI after vice-captain Temba Bavuma was ruled out of the match with a hip injury. Kyle Verreynne was given an opportunity in his place.
West Indies also have a newcomer in their team. Teenager Jayden Seales, who has only one first-class match to his name, has been included in an attack that contains Kemar Roach and Jason Holder but not Alzarri Joseph. West Indies opted for two spinners in Roston Chase and Rakheem Cornwall. In the line-up, Shai Hope has been recalled after last playing in July last year against England and will open the batting with his captain Brathwaite. That left no space for Kieran Powell, who was also back in the squad after a period of time on the sidelines.

West Indies: 1 Kraigg Brathwaite (capt), 2 Shai Hope, 3 Nkrumah Bonner, 4 Kyle Mayers, 5 Jermanine Blackwood, 6 Joshua da Silva (wk), 7 Jason Holder, 8 Roston Chase, 9 Rakheem Cornwall, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Jayden Seales

South Africa: 1 Dean Elgar (capt), 2 Aiden Markram, 3 Keegan Petersen, 4 Rassie van der Dussen, 5 Kyle Verreynne, 6 Quinton de Kock (wk), 7 Wiaan Mulder, 8 Keshav Maharaj 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Anrich Nortje, 11 Lungi Ngidi

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent



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Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Mushfiqur Rahim and pacers shine after first six rounds

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A summary of the first six rounds of games at the Dhaka Premier League T20s

How the table stands

Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club lost their top place in the Dhaka Premier League T20 following their three-run loss to Prime Bank Cricket Club on Thursday. Prime Bank and Abahani Limited are now on ten points each, followed by Doleshwar who are on nine points in third place.
Partex Sporting Club are the only team without a win after six rounds, while Shinepukur Cricket Club are just above them with two points. Click here for the full points table.

Top performers

It is of no surprise that Mushfiqur Rahim is among the top performers in the DPL, after his player-of-the-series winning exploits against Sri Lanka last month. Rahim has batted Abahani Limited into winning positions in nearly every one of their five wins.
But it is young Mahmudul Hasan Joy who leads the batters’ leaderboard with 241 runs. He has been dismissed twice in five innings and hit the most sixes. Joy’s strike rate of 136.15 is the highest among batters who have faced 100 balls till now.
Rahatul Ferdous of Brothers Union put together the best all-round showing in the tournament when he made 54 after his side was reduced to 57 for 6 against Partex. He followed it up with a four-wicket haul with his left-arm spin that decimated the opposition.
Left-arm quicks Mustafizur Rahman and Salauddin Sakil took the only five-wicket hauls in the tournament so far, while Alauddin Babu took the only hat-trick. Fast bowlers have generally done well in this competition, with five of them among the top ten wicket-takers so far.

Players with poor returns

Najmul Hossain Shanto, Anamul Haque and Nasir Hossain haven’t been among the runs despite playing in important positions for big clubs. Abahani’s Shanto, who was dropped from Bangladesh’s ODI side recently, has so far made 85 runs in five innings. Haque, who plays for Prime Bank, averages 15.50 with a top score of 35 runs in six outings. Hossain, playing for Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club, averages 15 with the bat and 80 with the ball, having struck just one six in his six innings.

Pace bowler Shohidul Islam, who was picked as Mohammad Saifuddin’s replacement in Bangladesh’s ODI squad against Sri Lanka last month, has been surprisingly expensive in his five games, conceding runs at 9.21 while having taken just four wickets. Islam’s Abahani team-mate Taijul Islam also hasn’t done too well, having taken just two wickets and conceded runs at seven per over in his four outings.

On the national radar

T20 skills are at a premium in Bangladesh, which is why Nurul Hasan‘s unbeaten 66 against Mohammedan Sporting Club won’t go unnoticed by the selectors. He struck five sixes and four boundaries in a 34-ball knock that help Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club to a 16-run win. Hasan isn’t usually regarded as a big-hitter but his wicketkeeping skills and middle-order ability could be tested in the build-up to Bangladesh’s T20 World Cup campaign.
Another who has staked a claim is Kamrul Islam Rabbi, an underrated death bowler. He is among the wickets in this competition, as he had been in the Bangabandhu T20s last year, and during the BPL the past couple of years. Rabbi also hit a 12-ball 38, including four sixes off Rubel Hossain in a last over in which they needed 31 to win. He couldn’t help Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club to the win, but very few lower-order batters in Bangladesh have shown this proclivity towards hitting sixes in the death overs.

Talking points

BCB’s monetary and logistical effort to ensure a bio-bubble environment for 12 DPL clubs and match officials is commendable. Never before have the Dhaka league players seen such opulence in their accommodation, but the cricket on the field hasn’t quite matched the budget. There have been no more than two or three tight finishes. Pitches have been predictably slow at the Shere Bangla National Stadium while the drainage in the two BKSP venues hasn’t helped in the monsoon.

Rain has had a lot to do with the 130-ish average scoring rate in all three venues as matches have been interrupted, reduced and abandoned in the first ten days. Batting line-ups have found themselves out of rhythm. When Dhaka has to host three matches per day from 9am to 10pm, it is clear that the BCB and the clubs are desperate to finish the tournament, rather than worry too much about the quality of cricket.

The other disappointment has been the performance of teams like Gazi Group Cricketers, Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club and Legends of Rupganj. Rupganj lost their first four matches before recovering with two wins, while Gazi Group and Dhanmondi Club have been lacklustre. This, despite all three spending big on player salaries.

Paying for a bio-bubble that costs more than 7 crore takas (USD $825,000 approx.) isn’t sustainable, but Bangladesh is in the middle of a prolonged lockdown so there weren’t too many alternatives to finish what is essentially the 2019-20 DPL. There are still 30 matches left in the first round apart from the Super League and the relegation playoffs.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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