Head coach full of praise for Venkatesh Iyer and the rest of the young Indians in his top order despite final defeat
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“Before I start talking about CSK, I feel it’s important that I talk about KKR,” Dhoni told Star Sports. “The position they were in, in the first half of IPL, it is very difficult from that position to come back and do what they have really done. If any team deserved to win this year’s IPL, I feel it was KKR. Big credit to the support staff and the players. It’s not really easy…whenever the team is not doing well, it’s a very difficult task. I think the break really helped them. But tremendous performance.”
“The break probably came at a really good time for us to be honest,” McCullum said at the post-match press conference. “It can be hard in a tournament such as the IPL to be able to keep your composure when results are going against you. Where we sat after seven games, with only two wins, it was pretty disappointing. So the break came at a good time. During that time, we had some conversations right throughout the few months in between with some guys, and just tried to smooth out a couple of rough edges.
“I always felt that our intent needed to increase to be able to put pressure back on the opposition. I cannot talk highly enough of our top four Indian batters in particular for what they were able to achieve in the second half of the competition. It takes guts to play the way that they did and it takes courage to change the method and to trust the method that us as coaches were asking them to play, which was a more up-tempo game. But they were absolutely fantastic, and were such a massive reason why we were a huge chance in this competition, why we made it as well as what we had. So we’ve certainly got something to work with there, moving forward.”
McCullum was particularly pleased with how Iyer had gone. The tall left-hand batter made an immediate impact in the UAE, hitting 370 runs in 10 innings, at an average of 41.11 and a strike rate of 128.47. The true value of Iyer’s runs was brought forth by ESPNcricinfo’s Smart Stats, which take into account the situation and opposition that a player faces. Iyer’s Smart Runs value was 404.28, a good chunk above his actual runs scored, while his Smart Strike Rate was 140.37, also considerably higher. Among batters who played at least 10 innings, Iyer’s batting rating of 41.12 was the sixth-highest in the tournament.
“Venkatesh Iyer has been quite an incredible story,” McCullum said. “Looking back, he was actually going to play the next game when we were in India. He was actually going to be in that squad then. But in a funny way, the break came at a good time there too. I think it gave him the opportunity just to get another couple of months of cricket under his belt to understand that his opportunities weren’t too far away. And then for him, it was a matter of just bringing the game which he owns, the Venkatesh Iyer gameplan to the table, which is aggressive and (full of) intent.
“He’s a big presence, he’s a tall man, he plays the game with a bit of a cavalier kind of streak and I think it’s so important he holds on to that. He’ll be challenged to change his methods at times too, because he might not necessarily be the most consistent because of his flamboyancy, but I hope he remains the Venkatesh Iyer that we’ve seen so far. He’s got a ginormous future in this game. He’s a very intelligent man, and I wish him all the very best, and I thank him also for all his efforts. He was a big catalyst for our turnaround in this season.”
“Yeah I think that’s a fair assessment,” McCullum said, when asked if the majority of the team’s problems lay with the middle order. “I think our bowling group did a really good job. We fielded well, and our top-order batting was superb. But unfortunately, we weren’t quite able to get the real impact through our middle-order players… You know there’s a lot of experience there, they’re the first ones to admit they didn’t have the greatest of tournaments. That can happen at times, it wasn’t for a lack of trying, that’s for sure. The guys certainly invested, they put the work in, it just wasn’t necessarily their tournament. That was just unfortunate, that it kind of happened amongst all of the middle order. But that can happen sometimes.
“But again, I’m just really proud of all of the guys for their efforts, and what a story it was – to go as close as we did after being under the pump halfway through the tournament. More positives than negatives, that’s for sure. We’ll walk away with our head held high. I think we represented our owners and our fans and all those who support this team as best we possibly could.”
Saurabh Somani is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
2022 Men’s T20 World Cup
India will face Pakistan at the MCG on October 23
Australia will start the defence of their men’s T20 World Cup title against trans-tasman rivals New Zealand at the SCG in a rematch of last year’s final while India and Pakistan will face each other at the MCG.
They were among the standout contests in the fixture list for the 2022 T20 World Cup that was announced in Friday. The tournament begins on October 16 with Sri Lanka facing Namibia in Geelong before the Super 12 starts on October 22 in Sydney.
The India-Pakistan fixture will take place on October 23.
The two semi-finals will be in Sydney (November 9) and Adelaide (November 10) before the final at the MCG on November 13.
In Group one of the Super 12s, Australia are alongside New Zealand, England, Afghanistan plus the winner of the Group A qualifiers and the runner-up in Group B.
Group two features India, Pakistan, South Africa, Bangladesh and the other two qualifying teams.
Two global qualifiers will determine the final teams who will head to Australia Matches will be played in Adelaide, Brisbane, Geelong, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
2022 English season – County Championship gets midsummer boost as 2022 fixtures are announced
Bob Willis Trophy shelved, Yorkshire retained in Division One, Blast to be played in single block
“Lessons have been learnt” from England’s poor Test showing in 2021, according to Neil Snowball, the ECB’s managing director of county cricket, following the announcement of a 2022 domestic schedule which will provide prospective Test players more opportunity for red-ball cricket in the lead-up to their encounters with New Zealand, South Africa and India this summer.
Two “County Select XI” fixtures against New Zealand and South Africa, distinct from the England Lions set-up, have been added to the schedule as well, to provide Test candidates with further opportunities to pit themselves against the tourists. This comes after complaints in 2021 that England were undercooked going into their main campaign of the summer, against India in August and September, following just two Championship rounds in early July prior to the launch of the first season of the Hundred.
“It’s obviously well documented and acknowledged that recent results were extremely disappointing which again has called for a look at our approach to red-ball cricket,” Snowball said. “Clearly, the men’s domestic game has got a significant role to play in that, in terms of making sure that we can develop the best possible Test players who can then go on to aspire to be the best team in the world. We don’t think that county cricket has all the answers, but it certainly has some of the answers, and it certainly has an important role to play going forward, along with the first-class counties and the PCA and other stakeholders.”
“The Bob Willis Trophy served us very well in 2020 to rescue the season, and of course we played for it last year as well,” Snowball said. “We’re very keen to continue to celebrate Bob’s legacy with a Bob Willis Trophy in some format but we’re not quite sure what that’s going to be yet. We’re in discussions with his family on that.”
In a bid to maximise the counties’ preference for Blast fixtures towards the back end of the working week, 99 of the 126 fixtures have been scheduled for Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. And, in an echo of the successful staging of the Hundred, in which the majority of women’s fixtures were played as double-headers alongside the men, ten Charlotte Edwards Cup matches will also feature on the same bill as the Blast, and at their respective county HQs.
Alan Fordham, the ECB’s head of cricket operations, said that the counties’ desire to put the women’s game on an equal footing to the men had been a factor in the double-header decision – as had the double bank holiday at the beginning of June, which encompasses half term and will provide an opportunity for more families to attend the matches. At this stage, one of the double-headers is due to be televised on Sky Sports.
A further boost for the women’s game will come with the final of the 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, which is due to be held at Lord’s for the first time, on Sunday, September 25. The men’s Royal London Cup final will once again be held at Trent Bridge, but has been moved back to a Saturday (September 17), having been held on a Thursday last season.
“The women’s game is just going to have a phenomenal year,” Snowball added. “We’ve got the Ashes starting in Adelaide. We’ve got the Women’s World Cup and then the Commonwealth Games In Birmingham as well as the second edition of the Hundred. So it’s a huge year for women’s domestic cricket and international cricket. We look forward to seeing how that unfolds.”
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket
CPL 2022 – Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Curtly Ambrose join Jamaica Tallawahs coaching staff
The pair have been appointed as head coach and bowling coach respectively
Ambrose, 58, took 405 wickets in Tests and 225 wickets in ODIs in an international career spanning 274 matches over 12 years, from 1988 to 2000. He has had spells as bowling coach of West Indies – he was in the role when the team won the T20 World Cup in 2016 – as well as in the CPL (with Guyana Amazon Warriors for three years). He also spent three years as assistant coach of the Combined Campuses and Colleges in Caribbean regional cricket. He is qualified to Level 3 standard.
“Shivnarine has had an illustrious playing career and is one of the greats of the game. He has served West Indies cricket with distinction, and I know he will take the Tallawahs to new heights,” Krishna Persaud, the Tallawahs owner, said. “Sir Curtly brings in a lot of technical expertise and experience to the Tallawahs and we look forward to having him in the team.”
Chanderpaul said being appointed the head coach was an honour.
“It’s an absolute honour to be appointed as the new Head Coach of the Jamaica Tallawahs and I am really looking forward to working with the players and support staff to bring another championship to Jamaica,” Chanderpaul said.
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