Former captain’s departure may hasten new deal for Alastair Cook
Ronnie Irani has stepped down from his position on the board at Essex, a move that may help to convince Alastair Cook to extend his first-class career by another season.
Irani, the former chairman of the club’s Cricket Committee, has been the centre of a season-long dispute at Essex, with a number of players raising objections to his interference in club matters.
Irani’s recommendation of Chris Silverwood for the role of head coach in 2015 was a key factor in the club’s recent spate of trophies, including two County Championships and the Bob Willis Trophy, as well two Division Two titles and the T20 Blast in 2019.
More recently, however, he attracted the ire of the players by recommending a review into an alleged drinking culture at Essex – an inquest which may have been related to the team’s celebrations after winning the Bob Willis Trophy at Lord’s last season, when photographs of beer being poured on the head of the young batter Feroze Khushi – a non-drinker for religious reasons – were circulated to widespread condemnation.
Irani is understood to have suggested such behaviour was not conducive to an elite sporting environment and may be deemed exclusive to those who do not drink. However, the insinuation of a lack of professionalism was a frustration to the club’s senior core, including Cook, 36, who was their leading run-scorer in last year’s Bob Willis Trophy, and whom Essex’s new chief executive, John Stephenson, will hope can be persuaded to extend his career by another year, following a further 611 runs and two centuries this summer.
While Essex did endure a below-par start to their 2021 campaign, resulting in them missing the cut for Division One when the first half of the season was concluded in July, they finished strongly to claim the Division Two title with a two-day win over Northamptonshire – a result that Dan Lawrence, their stand-in captain, claimed they would be reluctant to celebrate given their high standards in red-ball cricket.
Irani is understood to have held ambitions of becoming the next chair of Essex in the new year. But his candidature was opposed by many of the club’s grandees, including Graham Gooch and David Acfield, and he was a notable omission from Ryan ten Doeschate’s vote of thanks in his farewell speech at Chelmsford, as he officially retired after 19 years of service during Essex’s final match of the season.
Essex’s chairman, John Faragher, said: “I would like to thank Ronnie for his services over the last twelve years during which time the club has achieved considerable success on the field.
“Ronnie’s contribution on the Essex County Cricket Club board and as chairman of the Cricket Committee has been central to this success and we wish him well in the future.”
More WBBL matches could move to primetime as viewership hits new records
The crowd for the final in Perth set a new benchmark for a standalone WBBL match
A WBBL final which brought a record crowd and record TV ratings could herald a shift towards more primetime matches in the future as the tournament looks to its next stage of evolution.
Perth Scorchers claimed the title on Saturday in front of 15,511 spectators at Optus Stadium which set a new benchmark for a standalone WBBL match. It also had the largest average broadcast audience in the competition’s history with 535,000 put it ahead of the 2018-19 final which was played ahead of a day of men’s Test cricket.
This was the first season where every match was available on television and overall CA said it was the most-watched edition. While Alistair Dobson, the general manager of Big Bash Leagues, believes the weekend festivals, which see multiple matches at the same venue, will continue to be an important part of the tournament there will be a push to exploit more evening time slots.
“Ultimately the ambition was of getting every game on TV and we were really thankful we could do that this year,” Dobson told ESPNcricinfo. “The next evolution is to optimise those blockbusters and there’s an opportunity for us to explore more primetime matches, whether that’s Thursday or Friday nights, and working with our broadcasters to build up some big annual marquee matches which I think is the obvious next step for the competition.”
The new finals structure, which gave the team who finished top of the regular season direct entry into the final, meant there was a week to promote the match in Perth.
“I think it worked exactly how we intended to give us a full week’s build-up but also rightfully rewarding the team that finished first with the biggest advantage which we felt was warranted,” Dobson said. “The atmosphere and noise just showed how passionate the fans are and think the quality of the game did it justice as well.
The season started in a Tasmania-based hub due to border restrictions in Australia and barring a brief lockdown in Hobart was played without significant problems although two major markets – Melbourne and Sydney – were unable to stage games.
“Firstly just being able to play and getting all eight teams together in Tasmania was no mean feat,” Dobson said. “But then the quality of the cricket throughout, the quality of the overseas players, it was amazing to have such a great group of Indian players, they brought a whole new dimension, alongside all the other players.
“Matched by the depth of talent in Australia, a lot of the really big household names were easily matched by a lot of players we are all getting to know a lot better.
“In reinforces the WBBL as the No.1 cricket league for women and it’s really important we maintain that position in the future.”
Recent Match Report – South Aust vs Queensland 10th Match 2021/22
Renshaw hammered 156 from 109 balls after Gurinder Sandhu’s hat-trick had restricted the home side
Queensland 4 for 275 (Renshaw 156*, Bryant 68) beat South Australia 274 (Carey 101, Sandhu 4-44) by six wickets
It was Queensland’s second win from four matches in the one-day competition this season, while South Australia are struggling with a 1-3 record.
In the mix to replace former captain Tim Paine as Australia’s Test gloveman at the Gabba next month, Carey had failed to reach double figures in any of his previous six innings for the Redbacks this season.
He made a patient start to his innings before blasting his second 50 in just 30 balls, charging to his second one-day century of the season. He smashed a huge slog-sweep six off Marnus Labuschagne but was eventually bowled by the part-time legspinner when attempting to cut a delivery that wasn’t quite as short as he had expected.
Queensland quick Sandhu finished with 4 for 44 from his nine overs, with Matt Kuhnemann also impressing as the final six South Australia wickets fell in the space of just 15 balls.
Like Carey, Travis Head was hoping to impress national selectors, but he was dropped twice before his luck ran out on 29, caught by Mark Steketee off Kuhnemann.
Queensland’s run chase began slowly and they were in trouble early when Test squad members Usman Khawaja and Labuschagne fell cheaply. Labuschagne departed in stunning fashion when he was run out by Hunt’s direct hit from a tough angle.
But Renshaw’s composed knock steered the Bulls home. Featuring 15 fours and five sixes, his century came from 91 balls with his third fifty taking just 16 deliveries as he plundered Wes Agar.
Abu Dhabi T10, 2021 – Phil Salt, Tom Banton show off their credentials
Across a weekend of triple-headers, there has been an exhibition of opening batting on display
Across a weekend of triple-headers at the Abu Dhabi T10, there has been an exhibition of opening batting on display. No doubt, the shorter boundaries have helped, especially in a format whereby the risk of losing a wicket is also considerably less.
If there was any doubt as to whether the injury could have affected him, Salt erased it instantly. In the first over of the chase, he blasted 21 runs off the five deliveries he faced, clipping away his first and last ball from Nuwan Pradeep to the boundary, and smashing two sixes in between.
In a tournament with some of the biggest names in world cricket, Salt has been one of the standout players. The game he was injured in and the game he missed subsequently have been the only two games that Team Abu Dhabi have lost this season.
Amongst anyone who has scored at least 100 runs in the Abu Dhabi T10, no batter possesses a better strike rate than Salt. In fact, no one has scored more boundaries than his 17 fours and 21 sixes.
“Something you do when you’re playing well is that you pick your areas based on instinct” Salt said. “Chris Gayle, I’ve chewed his ear off. He’s got so many tools that I want to add to my game… The most impressive thing and a few guys have it, is that ruthless mentality that someone like Chris has, in the way he takes the game on.
“If I can just keep tapping into things like that, the biggest improvements to be made and the lessons to be learnt are from those guys, in terms of how they deal with the game upstairs.”
Asked where he sees himself across formats domestically and internationally, Salt said: “It’s something I used to struggle with, really wanting to get on to the next stage. I still do want it just as bad, but I’m very aware now that the only way to get there is to take it day by day by day. I know that’s a really boring answer, but I’ve found that’s the most effective way to improve and not get ahead of myself.”
Salt’s tale bears a hint of similarity with that of Banton, whose unbeaten 46 against Delhi Bulls included seven fours and two sixes. Two players brimming with talent, with aspirations to regularly represent their country, yet coming to an understanding with their opportunities and their experiences thus far, that ultimately it is something that will find its way, rather than something that can be chased.
Whilst Salt made his international bow in perhaps fortuitous circumstances with three ODIs against Pakistan, Banton was unfortunately part of the England playing group that was forced to isolate before that series.
Banton was the breakout star of 2019 and an England call-up followed – he was part of Eoin Morgan’s white-ball set-up for the best part of a year between November 2019 and September 2020 – yet bubble life and quarantine took its toll on him.
A blistering 47-ball century in the T20 Blast against Kent served as a reminder of his ability, but a second-ball duck in the final against the same opposition summed up a somewhat disappointing and challenging year in which he was also released by Kolkata Knight Riders.
“I had quite a big break. For the whole of October, I didn’t play any cricket – nothing whatsoever. I just lived a social life and saw a lot of friends and family, which I felt was quite important, and now I feel like I’m enjoying it again,” said Banton.
“I’d love to get back in the squad but I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself to be there next year. I just want to enjoy my cricket and I think if you’re in that headspace, the rest will take care of itself.”
For the pair of them, knowing that Morgan is around, will no doubt add some extra motivation as the Abu Dhabi T10 enters its final week.
Dolphins rookie Jaylen Waddle establishing himself as a No. 1 receiver – Miami Dolphins Blog
Kevin Gausman finds new home, agrees with Toronto Blue Jays on $110 million contract, sources say
Dallas Cowboys haven’t asked me to sit vs. New Orleans Saints
Stephen Curry ‘let my emotions go,’ then sparked Golden State Warriors to eighth straight win
MLB free-agency grades – Texas Rangers bet big on their future with Marcus Semien signing
Follow live: Lamar returns for Ravens in AFC North showdown vs. Browns
MRI results come back for Atlanta Hawks’ Bogdan Bogdanovic, Cam Reddish
Groin injury ends Randall Cobb’s most productive day since his return to Green Bay Packers
Police investigate Serie A incident, Fiorentina vs Empoli
Rams vs. Packers – Game Summary – November 28, 2021
NFL7 days ago
What is your NFL team’s most heartbreaking loss? From ’28-3′ to the ‘Ice Bowl’ to ‘The Drive’
NBA6 days ago
Short-handed Philadelphia 76ers spoil Alvin Gentry’s debut as interim head coach of Sacramento Kings
NBA6 days ago
Lakers credit Carmelo Anthony for sparking post-tussle comeback vs. Pistons
NFL4 days ago
Minnesota Vikings DE Everson Griffen leaves home, getting care
Cricket5 days ago
WBBL round-up – Alana King reigns supreme as Sydney Sixers finish bottom for first time
MLB1 day ago
Wander Franco finalizes $182 million, 11-year contract in ‘great day’ for Tampa Bay Rays
NFL4 days ago
Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers says his toe is fractured, puts bare foot in front of camera to clear up COVID toe ‘disinformation’
NFL2 days ago
Cleveland Browns activating RB Kareem Hunt, RT Jack Conklin off injured reserve