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Stephen Fleming to ‘talk about conditions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi’ during his gig with New Zealand

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Earlier this week, he coached Chennai Super Kings to their fourth IPL title

A day after coaching Chennai Super Kings to their fourth IPL title, Stephen Fleming joined the New Zealand coaching staff for a short gig in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup in the UAE. Fleming has established himself as a high-profile coach in franchise T20 cricket, having stints in the IPL (Chennai Super Kings) and BBL (Melbourne Stars) among other franchise leagues, but this is his first official coaching role with New Zealand since his retirement in 2008.

Fleming had ruled out international coaching back in 2012, but now he will assist Gary Stead (head coach), Luke Ronchi (batting coach), Shane Jurgensen (bowling coach), Shane Bond (who will work specifically with the spinners) in the New Zealand backroom during their warm-ups before he heads back home to serve his Managed Isolation Quarantine (MIQ). As per government rules, all those arriving in New Zealand are required to undergo 14 days of managed isolation in hotel rooms. However, there are various eligibility criteria to be met for individuals or groups to be granted MIQ.

“There’s a little bit of time before my MIQ spot and it’s just a great opportunity,” Fleming told NZC’s in-house media team in Dubai. “We’ve talked for a while about sharing ideas and coming into the camp and watching these players who I’m a big fan of. [I’m] very lucky to have that opportunity.

“I’m doing five days now pre-World Cup and talk about the conditions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which we [Super Kings] have been playing in, and also cast an eye over and get some ideas back from him [Stead]. So, it’s a great opportunity, very proud to get the Black Caps kit back on as well. So, straight into it and will be looking forward to it.”

Having recently been around the venues in the UAE, Fleming was particularly eager to work with Stead and pass his inputs to the New Zealand squad.

“The T20 is what I’ve had my head into for so long now,” Fleming said. “With the Black Caps performing well and the World Cup around the corner, to share some of those experiences and get a bit closer to some of these guys… From coaching the best players around the world you learn some lessons. So, it’s just passing on the knowledge and being a fan and being around [the team]. I’m looking forward to it. It’s a good coaching group. There’s a lot of experience there and I’ll get some stuff come back my way as well. So, it’s a win-win.”

Fleming also delivered a glowing endorsement of New Zealand’s depth and urged them to adjust their games to the slow, low conditions in the UAE.

“It’s a good squad,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent, we’ve never had as much talent as this within New Zealand cricket, so getting the right balance and the way you want to play the game is very important. But the skillset, and what these guys put out and entertain us with, is very high.

“Coming to grips with these conditions will be the challenge in warm-up games, and there’s a couple of key games first up. So dealing with pressure and starting the tournament well, I think, is a priority.”

Spin-bowling allrounder Mitchell Santner was with Fleming at Super Kings but didn’t get a game in the IPL. However, he shook off the rust on a hot Saturday afternoon, picking up a wicket in New Zealand’s six-run warm-up victory against Netherlands at the ICC Academy in Dubai. He is hoping to tap into Fleming’s experience further in the New Zealand backroom.

“I’ve had enough of him actually (laughs),” Santner said of Fleming. “No, he’s obviously had a wealth of experience, he’s been at Chennai [Super Kings] for 14 years, I think, and he has seen a lot of T20 cricket. I think trying to bring some of those characteristics that he has got and he has obviously got a pretty good record as a coach in franchise cricket, so he’ll bring in some good stuff.”

New Zealand will play two more warm-up games against Australia and England before they face Pakistan in the main tournament in Sharjah on October 26.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe 3rd ODI 2021/22

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Vandersay picks up 4 for 10 in 7.4 overs as hosts bowlers run rampant

Sri Lanka 254 for 9 (Nissanka 55, Asalanka 52, Ngarava 2-46) beat Zimbabwe 70 (Kaitano 19, Vandersay 4-10) by 184 runs

Sri Lanka’s bowlers ran rampant in the early overs of Zimbabwe’s chase reducing the opposition to 20 for 3, then 31 for 5, and eventually 70 all out, decimating their hopes of chasing down 255 and claiming a series victory.

Dushmantha Chameera blasted out the first two wickets, before the spinners claimed the limelight – Maheesh Theekshana squeezing one between Sean Williams’ bat and pad, Jeffrey Vandersay taking four of his own, before Ramesh Mendis also took two. Somewhere in that cascade of wickets, seamer Chamika Karunaratne struck too, to remove the dangerous Sikandar Raza.

After 15 overs, Zimbabwe were 37 for 5, the required rate had crept above six, and the chase was essentially buried. Ryan Burl and Tendai Chatara fought briefly to put up 18 for the ninth wicket – the best stand of the innings. But it was all over by the 25th over, with Vandersay scything through the lower order.

The collapse was particularly disappointing for Zimbabwe, because their attack had operated with such discipline to keep Sri Lanka to a manageable total. Where Zimbabwe’s own batters had put up totals in the 300 range batting first in the two previous matches, Sri Lanka lurched only to 254 for 9, with each of their top eight getting to double-figures, but only Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka managing half-centuries.
Zimbabwe’s had been a collective bowling effort. Richard Ngarava claimed 2 for 46 from his nine overs while Chatara, Blessing Muzarabani, Wellington Masakadza, Ryan Burl, and Sean Williams all claimed one wicket apiece. Aside from an 80-run opening stand between Nissanka and Kusal Mendis, Zimbabwe never let another pair prosper for long, the next-best partnership coming much later in the innings, when Karunaratne and Ramesh Mendis put on 48 together.

It was Chameera who precipitated Zimbabwe’s rapid downfall, in the third over. He bowled a shortish ball outside off stump to right-hander Regis Chakabva, who edged it to slip. Then, next ball, he angled one across captain Ervine, who nicked it to the keeper. When Theekshana sent a straighter one through Williams’ defences in the eighth over, Zimbabwe had lost their three best top-order batters in the series.

After the first powerplay, Kaitano was given out stumped off the bowling of Vandersay, although the evidence that his back foot was in the air when keeper Kusal Mendis took the bails off did not seem totally conclusive. Next over, Raza spooned a catch to cover, and all of Zimbabwe’s serious batting hopes had departed.

Vandersay then took three of the five remaining wickets, and Ramesh Mendis claimed the other two. There was no substantial turn in the pitch – Sri Lanka were menacing, but not unplayable. Zimbabwe will feel they let themselves down.

In the first innings, Sri Lanka had begun steadily with the bat – Nissanka and Kusal Mendis hitting only five boundaries in the powerplay, as they strode to 43 for 0 in ten overs. As has been the case right through the series, Zimbabwe’s quicks were disciplined and sharp, though they didn’t find the early wickets they had managed in the first two games.

Perhaps sensing that he needed to raise the tempo if Sri Lanka were to near the 300 mark, Kusal Mendis was the first to depart, lofting the left-arm spin of Masakadza to long off. He was out for 36 off 51 balls. Nissanka brought up his second successive half-century of the series with a four through backward point, but was run out not long after that, thanks to an excellent direct hit from Zimbabwe’s substitute fielder.

Asalanka struck a four through third man first ball, and provided Sri Lanka’s main thrust of the middle overs even as wickets fell around him. He was strong square of the wicket as usual, and hit five fours in his 56-ball 52. It was his second fifty of the series.

Sri Lanka’s 2-1 victory pushes them up to fourth in the ODI Super League table, though they have played 18 out of their 24 games, and all other sides aside from Ireland (also 18) have played fewer. Zimbabwe are down at No. 11, on 35 points after 12 games. Only teams finishing in the top eight, effectively, gain direct qualification to next year’s ODI World Cup.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf



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Two West Indies players sidelined with Covid-19 at Under-19 World Cup 2022

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Onaje Amory and Jaden Carmichael are out. Kevin Wickham and Nathan Edwards are in

Two players from the West Indies squad, Onaje Amory and Jaden Carmichael, have tested Covid positive at the U-19 World Cup. The tournament’s Event Technical Committee has allowed temporary replacements Kevin Wickham and Nathan Edwards for the two players who will now serve an isolation period.
The announcement from ICC came just hours before a match that West Indies must win match to make to the quarter-finals. Offspinner Amory is the only West Indies bowler to complete all ten overs in the two games they have played so far, taking three wickets with an economy rate of 3.75. Carmichael has not yet played a game.

There are provisions at the Under-19 World Cup for fixtures to either be postponed or relocated in case of a Covid-19 outbreak. But, with West Indies having adequate replacements on hand, there was no need to take any extreme measures. Wickham and Edwards were immediately brought into XI to play against Sri Lanka on Friday but their time with the team is temporary. They will be removed from the squad as soon as the infected players are able to return.

West Indies are the third team to be affected by Covid-19 at this tournament. Four players from Zimbabwe tested positive in early January, and at least five India players returned positive tests too.

So far, West Indies have a 1-1 win-loss record at the Under-19 World Cup. They lost their opening fixture against Australia by six wickets before beating Scotland by seven wickets. If they beat Sri Lanka on Friday, they will set up a quarter-final clash against Pakistan, Zimbabwe or Afghanistan.



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Vikram Solanki leaves Surrey job after being appointed Ahmedabad IPL team’s director of cricket

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Joins Gary Kirsten and Ashish Nehra in the backroom of the new IPL franchise

Vikram Solanki has resigned from his position as head coach at Surrey CCC with immediate effect, ending a nine-year association with the club, after being recruited to join the new IPL franchise – based in Ahmedabad – as its director of cricket.

“Surrey has been an extremely valuable part of my life for the last nine years, both as a player and as a coach, making the decision to leave a difficult one,” Solanki said in a statement issued by Surrey. “I am forever grateful for the level of support that has always been afforded to me and my family during my time here. A special thank you too to Alec Stewart who has been a mentor and a guide.

“I will always remain inspired by all the interactions and learnings with players and staff I have had the good fortune of working so closely with. There are many respected friendships I will cherish for a lifetime.

“Finally, it has been a privilege to serve this great club in the small way I have, and it has been an honour to have been the head coach of Surrey for the last two years. To all the players, staff and Members, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!”

Solanki, who played 51 ODIs and three T20Is for England between 2000 and 2007 with moderate returns, had joined Surrey as a player ahead of the 2013 season. In 2016, he took on a player-cum-coach role with the Surrey Second XI. He stayed with the Second XI for the 2017 season entirely in a coaching capacity.

He became assistant head coach, to Michael di Venuto, in the winter of 2017, and following di Venuto’s departure at the end of the 2020 season, Solanki was appointed head coach – making him the first British Asian to hold such a position at any of the first-class counties.

“Taking over during a period of great uncertainty at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK, Solanki guided Surrey to the final of the 2020 Vitality Blast with a squad including 16 academy graduates,” a Surrey statement said. “During his time at the helm, seven Surrey players have featured in England men’s sides.”

Solanki was also named president of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations in March 2016, a position he holds to this day.

An announcement on Solanki’s successor as Surrey head coach will be made in due course.



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