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T20 World Cup 2021 – Kagiso Rabada

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The fast bowler says South Africa enter the tournament without any baggage and can hopefully end the trophy drought

For Kagiso Rabada, winning the T20 World Cup in UAE would be “one of the highest achievements in cricket” by South Africa.



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Australia news – Aaron Finch expects to be involved in Justin Langer contract talks along with Pat Cummins

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Finch is unsure what the process will be as Cricket Australia is still yet to start formal contract discussions with Langer

Australia’s limited-overs captain Aaron Finch expects to be consulted, along with Test captain Pat Cummins, by Cricket Australia on Justin Langer‘s coaching contract, but is unsure what the process will entail.

“I think he’s done a fantastic job,” Finch said at the 2021 T20 World Cup launch on Friday. “I think whatever happens from the Cricket Australia side of things, that’s out of our control as players, but his contract is up so no doubt there’ll be some talk there and I know Patty [Cummins] and myself might be in contact or might be contacted about that.

“But I’ve actually got no idea. I’ve never really been in a leadership role when somebody’s coaching contract is up. But he’s done an unbelievable job and to see how good the environment has been throughout the T20 World Cup and then throughout the Ashes is a credit to everyone involved there.”

Langer’s contract is the elephant in the room at CA at the moment, after the two parties mutually agreed to hold off discussions on the matter until after the Ashes. Langer’s current contract is due to expire in June after Australia’s tour of Pakistan in March and April.

The head coach has been left in limbo and is awaiting formal talks with CA, while former players such as Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Steve Waugh and Shane Warne have all publicly asked why he has not yet been re-signed after winning the T20 World Cup and the Ashes 4-0 in a four-month period.

Langer said in an interview with SEN Radio on Wednesday that he was “not edgy” about his future. But he did admit in a second interview with 6PR Radio that he didn’t know why his contract process had become so drawn out.

He also cautioned against having multiple coaches for multiple formats, something that has been mooted for Australia’s men’s teams moving forward. “There’s a lot of talk about splitting it up,” Langer told 6PR. “On the surface, it seems to be the way to go. But, look, I’ve been consistent with this for ten years when I was at the WACA as well with the [Perth] Scorchers and Western Australia, it’s not as simple as that sounds.

“For example, we go to Pakistan in a few weeks’ time for three Test matches, and then a few days later there’s three ODIs and one T20I game. So if you just have a T20 coach, for example, is he going to fly in with a whole new support staff for one T20 game? It just doesn’t seem to add up. I think there’s certainly got to be someone overseeing it. There’s also management of players, they play 12 months of the year. On the surface, it looks like a good idea but when you get into the logistics of it, it’s not that simple. But it’s certainly something which will be looked at.”

Langer is currently in Tasmania as he was unable to fly home to Perth because of Western Australia’s border restrictions. He was planning on returning home when the border was due to open on February 5, but WA premier Mark McGowan announced on Thursday night that WA’s border would remain closed indefinitely, which has left every WA-based cricketer currently interstate unable to return to Perth without doing 14 days of isolation.

So Langer is unlikely to be able to return home until after the Pakistan tour.

Langer and Australia’s selectors are set to convene over the coming days to pick Australia’s T20I squad for the five-match series against Sri Lanka, and will undoubtedly discuss the Pakistan touring squad during the process as they look to manage the players playing all three formats.

Finch himself will enjoy a couple of days off prior to the Sri Lanka series after Melbourne Renegades failed to make the BBL finals. He scored back-to-back half-centuries in his last two BBL games but the knee injury that troubled him during the T20 World Cup and saw him miss the first part of the BBL has still not fully healed.

“It’s been better,” Finch said. “It’s been worse as well. It’s okay. I’ll get through for a little while longer.”

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo



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2022 Men’s T20 World Cup

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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.

Australia won the title for the first time last November when they beat New Zealand by eight wickets in Dubai. Mitchell Marsh was Player of the Match for his unbeaten 77 off 50 balls.



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2022 English season – County Championship gets midsummer boost as 2022 fixtures are announced

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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.”

Yorkshire have been included in the schedule as a Division One team, in spite of the ongoing investigation into the racism scandal that rocked the club in 2021 and may yet lead to further sanctions from the Cricket Discipline Committee (CDC), while both the Bob Willis Trophy final and the traditional Champion County versus MCC fixture, which has been held in the UAE and Barbados in recent seasons, have been shelved.
The Bob Willis Trophy, hastily arranged for the delayed 2020 season, was a success in providing context to a condensed first-class programme and culminated in a showpiece final at Lord’s. However, last season’s final was an anti-climax – comfortably won by Warwickshire, for whom it was a distant second to their County Championship triumph.

“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



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