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Ban vs Oman, T20 World Cup 2021

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Dropping Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur down the order was a sensible call, even if it didn’t pay off against Oman

Only one of Bangladesh’s changes was successful in their 26-run win over Oman. Mohammad Naim made 64 after being brought back to the side replacing Soumya Sarkar. But Mahedi Hasan, Nurul Hasan and Afif Hossain couldn’t do justice to their batting promotions at the expense of the experienced Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim.

It looked like a reactionary decision from the team management, particularly after BCB president Nazmul Hassan criticized the senior batters after the Scotland defeat. But going by Bangladesh’s usual decision-making this was close to actually being a brave move. It was the correct call to bring back their regular opener, try to fire up the Powerplay with someone who has the ability to clear the infield and then give two of their known big-hitters some space to do their job.



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Big Bash 2021-22 – Ian Bell joins Hobart Hurricanes as assistant coach

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Former England batter won title with Perth Scorchers in 2016-17

Ian Bell was a Big Bash champion with Perth Scorchers in 2016-17 but returns to the league five seasons later hoping to inspire Hobart Hurricanes to the title.

Bell retired from professional cricket at the end of the English domestic season in 2020 and has moved into coaching: he worked with England Under-19s as a batting coach across the 2019-20 winter and was part of Birmingham Phoenix’s coaching staff during their run to the inaugural men’s Hundred final this summer.

He has now been appointed as one of two assistant coaches at the Hurricanes ahead of their BBL season opener on December 8 against Sydney Sixers, the defending champions, and has arrived in Australia following a stint with Chennai Braves in the Abu Dhabi T10 League.

“I’m so excited to be joining up with the Hurricanes and working alongside Adam Griffith,” Bell said. “The Big Bash is without doubt one of the best competitions in world cricket, and having previously taken part as a player, I can’t wait to get stuck in as a coach.”

Bell captained Warwickshire in their T20 guise as the Birmingham Bears during the 2016 Blast, during which Matthew Wade, the Hurricanes’ captain, was one of their overseas players, while two of the Hurricanes’ three international recruits – Jordan Thompson and Harry Brook – are compatriots.

“I already know a great deal about the team having either played with them before or having admired them from afar, and I’m certain we have got some serious talent in there,” Bell said. “I was fortunate enough to win the BBL as a player and I would love nothing more than to be a small cog in a winning team but this time as a coach.”



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Trevor Bayliss backs both sides to block out off-field issues once Ashes start

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Former head coach admits build-up has been less than ideal for England and Australia

Trevor Bayliss‘ only away Ashes series during his five-year tenure as England’s head coach ended in a 4-0 defeat and was overshadowed by off-field distractions amid questions about his squad’s drinking culture and the absence of Ben Stokes due to his involvement in a fight outside a Bristol nightclub.

Four years later, both teams have endured rough build-ups to the series on and off the field, with English cricket engulfed in a racism crisis, Australia reeling from Tim Paine’s sexting scandal, and La Niña reaping havoc with scheduled warm-up games in Queensland.

Bayliss, speaking to reporters in his capacity as Sydney Thunder’s new head coach ahead of the BBL season, said that while the build-up had not been ideal, both teams would be fully focused on the series rather than the sideshow around it once they step onto the field at the Gabba next Wednesday.

“It probably makes a little bit of a change,” Bayliss said, asked about the spotlight on Australia following Paine’s resignation and subsequent decision to step away from the game for an unspecified period of time. “Normally when the England team comes here, all the focus is on them and the one or two small pick-ups they might have along the way get blown out of all proportion.

“With what’s going on in England at the moment, there’s obviously a bit in the background there as well. I think both teams will be more than happy for the cricket to start and all of that can get pushed into the background and they can concentrate on their cricket.

“I fully expect with both sets of players, that’s exactly what will happen. Once the cricket starts, there might be talk behind the scenes with commentators and journalists and that type of thing but I’m quite sure that once things get underway out on the field it’ll be all about the cricket.”

The first day of England’s second intra-squad warm-up game was washed out on Tuesday after only 29 overs were possible in the first, while Australia are set to cancel their practice fixture due to inclement weather. Bayliss said that the lack of a proper preparation period might lead teams to rotate their fast bowlers throughout the series, but stressed that for England, combating the pace trio of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc would be a major challenge.

“Playing games would be the No. 1 criteria but both teams would be trying to do what they can through practice and making sure they’ve got the workloads up to scratch with the number of balls or overs bowled in the build-up,” Bayliss said. “It might force the hand a little bit of bringing in replacement guys every Test or two, making sure that the workload on the bowlers is not over the top.

“The three big, tall pace bowlers Australia have got have done a lot of damage over the last few years and have bowled extremely well on these flat Australian pitches. They’re able to bang the ball in, they’ve got good pace, they’re tall, and they’re able to get a bit more out of it because of that pace and extra bounce.

“So that’ll be something that the England batters will have to negate. But as we saw on the last tour, they might have lost 4-0 but on different occasions they showed they could score runs against that attack. It’s about that consistency and doing it Test after Test, which I’m sure they’ll be looking for.”

As for Stokes, whose absence proved costly in 2017-18 as England struggled to balance their side, Bayliss said that it was a “massive bonus” for them to have him available for this summer’s series, not only due to his ability as an allrounder but also as a talisman who galvanises others in the side.

“It’s not just his batting, his bowling or his fielding,” Bayliss said. “He’s one of those guys who is a leader within the group. He’s a very positive influence. There were times where he didn’t play because of injury in England and I think the team felt his loss when he wasn’t there. Certainly when he plays, he’s able to drag a lot more of the players along with him. He’s got a great attitude, a never-say-die attitude.”

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98



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SL vs WI, 2nd Test, 2nd day, Galle

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The former captain was expected to bowl in this game, but that now appears unlikely

Angelo Mathews‘ role in the ongoing second Test against West Indies in Galle could be substantially restricted after he picked up a thigh strain on the second morning.

He sustained the injury while running a single in Sri Lanka’s first innings, and ended up having to retire hurt, when on 12, presumably to receive further treatment in the dressing room.

Mathews did return to bat after a gap of just under eight overs, during which four Sri Lanka wickets fell. Coming in essentially at No. 10, Mathews completed only one hobbled single, choosing instead to remain in his crease and try to clobber boundaries. He hit two straight sixes and a four in the company of the tail, before becoming the last batter to be dismissed, scoring 29 of Sri Lanka’s 204.

When West Indies came out to bat, Mathews did not take the field. He had been expected to bowl in this match, but that now looks unlikely. He will be assessed over the next 24 hours, but given his long-standing problems with hamstring, quad, and calf injuries, it is possible that he will not field, and only bat if required.

This is Mathews’ first international series since May. In the first Test, he had hit 3 and 69 not out.

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



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