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Fantasy XI – Afghanistan vs Scotland 17th Match, Group 2 2021/22 – Cricket Insights

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Fantasy Tips

Your fantasy tips for the T20 World Cup game between Afghanistan and Scotland

Match 17: Afghanistan vs Scotland, Sharjah

Fantasy XI: Matthew Cross, George Munsey, Hazratullah Zazai, Najibullah Zadran, Richie Berrington, Mohammad Nabi (capt), Chris Greaves, Rashid Khan, Josh Davey, Mujeeb Ur Rahman (vice-capt), Naveen-ul-Haq

Captain: Mohammad Nabi

He has been in splendid form of late, scoring an unbeaten 34 in one warm-up game against South Africa and bowling a dream spell of 4-2-2-3 in another warm-up game against West Indies.
Vice-captain: Mujeeb Ur Rahman

He has taken 14 wickets in 11 games at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. He is likely to open the bowling from one of the ends.
Matthew Cross: He recorded scores of 45 and 26 not out in Scotland’s last two games.
George Munsey: Three scores of 50 or more runs in his last six outings in the UAE.
Hazratullah Zazai: 212 runs in five games at a strike rate of 185.96, with three half-centuries, in PSL 2021
Najibullah Zadran: In his last T20I innings earlier this year, he smashed an unbeaten 35-ball 72 against Zimbabwe, and the previous time he batted against Scotland – albeit in 2015 – he smashed a 21-ball 37
Richie Berrington: Leading run scorer for Scotland in T20I’s this year with 373 runs in just eight games at an average of 74.60
Chris Greaves: Man-of-the-Match performance in Scotland’s historic win over Bangladesh earlier in the tournament for his 28-ball 45 and 3-0-19-2
Rashid Khan: He has not gone wicketless in his last ten outings in Sharjah, but he has picked just the one wicket in nine of those games and that is why he has not been selected for one of the captaincy roles here.
Josh Davey: He has been bowling exceptionally well so far in the tournament, picking up eight wickets in three games at an economy of 5.82.
Naveen-ul-Haq: He was the leading wicket-taker in England’s Vitality Blast 2021, with 26 wickets in 14 games.



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Middlesex chairman criticised after claiming football ‘is more attractive’ to Black people

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Gaffe at select committee hearing is proof of cricket’s “endemic problem”, says Azeem Rafiq

The chairman of Middlesex County Cricket Club has been accused of reinforcing racial stereotypes, after telling MPs at a Parliamentary hearing in Westminster that the club’s lack of diversity is partly attributable to Black people preferring football, and Asians putting more focus on education.

Addressing the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, Mike O’Farrell attracted widespread condemnation for his attempt to defend Middlesex’s poor record in bringing ethnic minority players through to its senior ranks – including from Azeem Rafiq, whose allegations of institutional racism at Yorkshire had triggered the parliamentary inquest, and who stated that O’Farrell’s remarks were further proof of the sport’s “endemic problem”.

“The football and rugby world becomes much more attractive to the Afro-Caribbean community,” O’Farrell said, in a bid to explain why – despite claiming that 57 percent of Middlesex’s youth-team participants come from diverse backgrounds – the current first-team squad has just two British Asian representatives out of 25, and no Black players.

“And in terms of the South Asian community, there is a moment where we’re finding that they do not want necessarily to commit the same time that is necessary to go the next step because they prefer, not always saying they do it, they sometimes prefer to go into other educational fields,” O’Farrell added. “Then cricket becomes secondary, and part of that is because it’s a rather more time-consuming sport than some others.”

Responding on Twitter, Rafiq wrote: “Painful listen and just shows how far removed from reality these people are. This has just confirmed what an endemic problem the game has. I actually can’t believe what I am listening to.”

Ebony Rainford-Brent, the former England player-turned-commentator – who founded the ACE (African Caribbean Engagement) Programme in 2020 to help reinvigorate cricket in the Black British community – was similarly critical of O’Farrell’s comments.

“Honestly these outdated views in the game are exactly why we are in this position,” Rainford-Brent wrote. “Unfortunately the decision-makers hold onto these myths. ‘The Black community only like football, and Asian community only interested in education’ Seriously the game deserves better.”

The remarks came on the same day that the ECB announced a partnership with Kick It Out, football’s anti-discrimination organisation, alongside a full review of dressing-room culture in all men’s and women’s professional teams, at both domestic and international level. This will be led by Clare Connor, the ECB’s director of women’s cricket, with a report due in September.

O’Farrell later issued an apology for his comments, insisting that the “misunderstanding” was down to a “lack of clarity and context in the answers I provided”.

“For the purposes of clarification, I was aiming to make the point that as a game, cricket has failed a generation of young cricketers, in systematically failing to provide them with the same opportunities that other sports and sectors so successfully provide,” O’Farrell said.

“Cricket has to take responsibility for these failings and must learn that until we make the game an attractive proposition for youngsters of all backgrounds to continue through the pathway into the professional game, much like other sports and sectors are doing, the game won’t make the progress it needs to.”

A commitment to “remove barriers in talent pathways”, such as those that seem to exist at Middlesex, was one of the five key points in the ECB Action Plan that emerged in the wake of their last appearance before the DCMS committee in November.

A number of factors have contributed to the lack of minority representation in the professional game, including a tendency among youth-team coaches towards conformity; a lack of feedback to talented youngsters from marginalised backgrounds, and the prohibitive cost of equipment – including bats and helmets – that impedes the game’s reach in poorer communities.

Addressing such issues in November, Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive, said: “That decision-making point between talented youngsters and becoming professionals around the country is a worrying statistic for us. There may be structural and cultural barriers in place that we need to remove. We just need to accelerate the work that’s going on here, but I don’t think we have all the answers yet.”

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket



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SA vs Ind 2021-22 – Ravi Shastri not reading much into India’s twin losses: ‘How can the standard go down suddenly?’

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Former India head coach suggests not announcing a vice-captain beforehand, but picking someone who can ‘fit into the XI’ on the day

Former India head coach Ravi Shastri does not see any reason to panic after the team’s twin losses in South Africa. Speaking to PTI on the sidelines of the ongoing Legends Cricket League in Oman, Shastri said given India’s strong performances over the past few years, “how can the standard go down suddenly?”

Shastri took over as commissioner of the Legends League Cricket, a T20 league that features former players, following his stint as India head coach. He said he did not follow the series in South Africa, but he was confident the team would bounce back. “If you lose one series, you people start criticising… You can’t win every game, there will be wins and losses,” he said. “How can the standard go down suddenly? For five years, you have been number one side in the world.”

Shastri’s time with the Indian team has spanned from 2014 to 2021, with a break of a year in between from mid-2016 to mid-2017, when Anil Kumble was the coach. Under Shastri, India became the first Asian team to win a Test series against Australia in Australia, doing it in 2018-19 and then repeating the feat in 2020-21. They also made the final of the inaugural World Test Championship, and were leading in a series in England in 2021 before it was stalled by fears of Covid-19. After taking over from Kumble in 2017, Shastri’s term was extended in 2019 till the end of the T20 World Cup 2021. Shastri, 59, would have not been eligible to serve another term as coach though due to age restrictions on the role.
Rahul Dravid has since taken over from Shastri, but there has also been churn on the captaincy front with Virat Kohli giving up the T20 and Test captaincy a couple of months apart, and being stripped of job in ODIs in between. Shastri, who worked closely with Kohli all through his tenure, said his decision to quit as Test captain should not be questioned.

“It’s his choice. You have to respect his decision. There is a time for everything. A lot of big players in the past have left captaincy when they felt they wanted to focus on their batting or on their cricket.

“Whether it’s (Sachin) Tendulkar, (Sunil) Gavaskar or (MS) Dhoni. And, it’s Virat Kohli now.”

If you announce beforehand, then what happens if the player can’t fit into the team? Then there will be a problem, because ‘How can we drop the vice-captain?’

Ravi Shastri

Shastri said Kohli’s highly successful stint should not be judged on him not having led India to a global title in any format. “Many big players have not won a World Cup. That’s alright. (Sourav) Ganguly, (Rahul) Dravid, (Anil) Kumble also have not won. So can we label them as bad players?

“You can’t generalise. You go and play. How many World Cup winning captains do we have. Sachin Tendulkar had to play six World Cups before winning it.

“At the end of the day, you are judged by how you play, are you an ambassador of the game? Do you play the game with integrity, and do you play for a long period of time? That’s how you judge players at the end of it all.”

Speaking to Sports Tak, Shastri also suggested that India would do better not to name an official vice-captain, but pick one of the playing XI to do the job ahead of each game. Rohit Sharma, who is widely believed to be next is line to take up the captaincy in Test cricket, is currently India’s vice-captain, following a long stint in the role by the out-of-form Ajinkya Rahane.

Asked who should be the next vice-captain if Rohit is promoted to the captaincy, Shastri said: “That will have to be seen. Rahul Dravid will have to see who’s the right candidate. Because that player needs to be a certainty in the team, that’s very important.

“I often think the vice-captaincy is made into too big an issue by people. Sometimes I think, ‘Why do you even need to announce one (a vice-captain)?’ Go to the ground and see, among those who fit into the XI, who is the most experienced and who can captain, make him the vice-captain.

“If you announce beforehand, then what happens if the player can’t fit into the team? Then there will be a problem, because ‘How can we drop the vice-captain?’ Is there a rule in any coaching manual that you can’t drop a vice-captain? Of course you can drop them. So if you have some doubts like that, don’t announce the vice-captain at all. Say we’ll go there and decide.”

While Shastri didn’t get drawn into who should, or shouldn’t be the vice-captain, he did say that Rishabh Pant‘s reading of the game made him a potential future leader.

“Rishabh is a tremendous young player. I say it openly, when I was a coach I was very fond of him,” Shastri said. “And he listens too. Many people say that he plays how he wants, but that’s not true. He always has the team’s interest in mind. And I’ve always seen that he reads the game well. You should always keep in mind his leadership qualities for the future.”



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Match Preview – West Indies vs England, England tour of West Indies 2021/22, 3rd T20I

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Preview

Series level as West Indies keep the pressure on after near-miss in second game

Big Picture

Too close for comfort for England. Captain Eoin Morgan can view it how he likes – wanting to be pushed in matches, exposing a developing squad to pressure and a simple failure to execute, particularly at the death, if you’ll pardon the pun. Sunday night’s one-run thriller was all of those things. But the over-riding fact is that West Indies had no business even getting close after they needed 61 runs off the last three overs with just two wickets in hand. Had it not been for a ninth-wicket stand of 72 between Romario Shepherd and Akeal Hosein, who both finished unbeaten on 44, they wouldn’t have. And so, like England, West Indies have had plenty to chew over going into Wednesday’s third of five games with the series level at 1-1.
While England’s batting line-up showed vast improvement on their woeful 103 all out from the first match, no one breached fifty during their 171 for 8 in the second with Jason Roy’s 45 the top score. The fact West Indies could rely on a valiantly wagging tail was a plus for them, that they had to was not.
A fresh pitch offered less of the bounce that West Indies had exploited so well in the first match, where Jason Holder returned the remarkable figures of 4 for 7 from 3.4 overs. England, meanwhile, turned to a mix of experience and youth in Chris Jordan and Saqib Mahmood to bowl two of the last three overs on Sunday, and they conceded 23 and 28 runs respectively as both struggled to calibrate their yorkers.
The fielding could do with some work on both sides, with Liam Dawson and Morgan (twice) missing chances with varying degrees of difficulty in the covers, while Shepherd identified poor catching attempts as costly to their cause in his post-match dissection after Moeen Ali was twice reprieved in the deep during his 31 off 24 balls which, combined with his three wickets, led to Player of the Match honours.

Form guide

West Indies LWLLL (most recent first)
England WLLLW

In the spotlight

Moeen backed Saqib Mahmood to learn from a chastening night in which he went wicketless and conceded 45 off his four overs. It will be interesting to see how Mahmood responds and, indeed, how England respond at the selection table. There is a case to be made for sticking with him while those lessons are fresh and in light of Morgan’s desire to increase experience with a view to improving execution. With Tymal Mills fresh from a rest during the second match, Mahmood could be rotated out of the side but the effect of being rested, rotated or dropped on Mahmood’s confidence could well be the same and is worth considering.
Allrounder Odean Smith has played a minimal role in the series thus far amid a wealth of options in West Indies’ middle order and the success of others with the ball, including captain Kieron Pollard. Smith has bowled just one over, which went for four runs, and hit 7 off 3 balls from No. 8 on Sunday. But, speaking after their narrow defeat, Nicholas Pooran backed Smith as “power-hitter”. With their batting line-up largely untested in the first match, as the top three overhauled a paltry target for a nine-wicket victory, single-figure scores for four of the top six in the second match mean the spotlight could be thrown a little wider should it fall to Smith or his lower-order counterparts to lift them again.

Team news

West Indies’ ability to get so close with an unchanged side would indicate few, if any changes, all being well recovery-wise after two outings on the trot. With Shepherd and Hosein performing so admirably in the last game, it’s hard to see them being squeezed out.

West Indies (possible): 1 Shai Hope (wk), 2 Brandon King, 3 Nicholas Pooran, 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Kieron Pollard (capt), 6 Jason Holder, 7 Fabian Allen, 8 Odean Smith, 9 Romario Shepherd, 10 Akeal Hosein, 11 Sheldon Cottrell

Illness forced Liam Livingstone to miss England’s first two matches, although he sat in the dugout for the Sunday’s fixture, suggesting that he’s up and about at least and perhaps in contention for the third game, where his big hitting can bolster a line-up bereft of multi-format players Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler. His versatility with the ball would also be welcome for England and Livingstone’s inclusion could see Liam Dawson make way. Reece Topley did more than enough playing his first T20I since 2016 to hold his place with an excellent new-ball spell and tight bowling in the penultimate over of West Indies’ chase if rotation plans allow, so it may come down to a choice between Mahmood and Mills among the seamers.

England (possible): 1 Jason Roy, 2 Tom Banton, 3 James Vince, 4 Moeen Ali, 5 Eoin Morgan (capt), 6 Sam Billings (wk), 7 Chris Jordan, 8 Liam Livingstone / Liam Dawson, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Saqib Mahmood, 11 Reece Topley

Pitch and conditions

Kensington Oval remains limited to 50% capacity, due to Covid restrictions, but that has done little to dampen the party atmosphere in the stands. Mild temperatures in the mid-20s Celsius are forecast for the start of the match, as is a 40% chance of rain with cloud cover increasing through the evening.

Stats and trivia

  • The 59 runs West Indies scored from the final three overs on Sunday were the joint-most conceded by England in that phase and the second-most by any team in T20Is
  • West Indies have only once chased down a target of 170-plus in T20Is since 2018.
  • Quotes

    “We are, we’re just getting it wrong.”
    England captain, Eoin Morgan, when asked why his side aren’t trying to bowl yorkers.

    “It must be frightening for other teams to know that our No. 10 batter can do that.”
    Romario Sheperd on Akeal Hosein’s heroics.

    Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo



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