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T20 World Cup 2021 – Australia – Mitchell Starc

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Left-arm quick was struck in the nets two days before Sri Lanka game, but trained on match eve

Australia aren’t concerned over the fitness of fast bowler Mitchell Starc ahead of their crucial T20 World Cup clash with Sri Lanka despite him copping a blow on the knee in the nets on Tuesday.

Starc was struck on the right knee by a straight drive in his follow-through during Australia’s Tuesday night training session at the ICC Academy. He left the session with a heavy limp and in some discomfort, but was moving without assistance.

Starc trained fully on Wednesday with a compression bandage on his knee but did bat and bowl during the session with medical staff continuing to monitor his bruising.

Australia have two matches in three days, as they face Sri Lanka on Thursday and England on Saturday, and management of their fast bowling stocks will be critical.

Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins all played in Australia’s opening win against South Africa in Abu Dhabi as part of an attack with only four specialist bowlers. It was the first time all three had played a T20I together, having played six times together in T20s for Sydney Sixers in 2012, with the Sixers winning all six games.

Kane Richardson and Ashton Agar were left out of the win over South Africa, and coach Justin Langer said the decision was very tough. The coach stressed Australia would be flexible throughout the tournament with their selections, depending on conditions and match-ups.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Recent Match Report – Barishal vs Dhaka 5th Match 2021/22

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Shakib Al Hasan becomes the fifth bowler to take 400 wickets in T20 cricket

Minister Group Dhaka 130 for 6 (Mahmudullah 47, Russell 31*, Shafiul 2-20) beat Fortune Barishal 129 for 8 (Gayle 36, Russell 2-27, Udana 2-29) by four wickets

How the match played out
Andre Russell was in his element, following up figures of 2 for 27 with an unbeaten 31 off 15 balls, as Minister Group Dhaka beat Fortune Barishal by four wickets in Mirpur. This was Dhaka’s first win in three matches in BPL 2022 and Russell’s first major contribution this season.
Chasing 130, Dhaka were in early trouble at 10 for 4 in the third over. Left-arm quick Shafiqul Islam bowled Tamim Iqbal in the first over of their chase before Alzarri Joseph dismissed both Mohammad Naim and Jahurul Islam in the second over. When Shafiqul bowled Mohammad Shahzad in the next over, Dhaka were tottering.
Mahmudullah and Shuvagata Hom then steadied things with a 69-run fifth-wicket stand before Russell did what he does best: close out games with his big hits. Shakib Al Hasan, however, gave Barishal a reason to celebrate: he became only the fifth bowler to take 400 T20 wickets.

Earlier, Barishal had slipped to 23 for 3 in the powerplay, when they lost Najmul Hossain Shanto, Shykat Ali and Towhid Hridoy. The experienced pair of Shakib (23) and Chris Gayle (36) then added a semblance of respectability to their innings. But neither could convert it into a bigger knock, which left Barishal at 94 for 6 in the 16th over. Dwayne Bravo’s unbeaten 26-ball 33 then dragged the side to 129 for 8.

All six of Dhaka’s bowlers were among the wickets, with Isuru Udana and Russell taking two each. Meanwhile, Rubel Hossain, Hom and Hasan Murad all bowled economical spells.

Big hit
Russell’s big blows – a four and a six clobbered through square-leg off Joseph – gave Dhaka a huge sigh of relief. It ensured Dhaka were in touch with the asking rate before Russell rushed them to victory with a six and a brace of fours off Taijul Islam in the 17th over.

Dhaka captain Mahmudullah provided Russell great support at the other end, scoring a run-a-ball 47. He struck three fours and a six before he became Shakib’s 400th victim in T20 cricket.

Barishal made a decent fist of their defence, thanks to Shafiqul who bowled with good pace and a bit of movement with the new ball. He was well-supported by Joseph before Russell lined up his West Indies team-mate.

Big miss
Tamim missed out for the first time in three matches, getting out for a second-ball duck in this game. Dhaka’s top four managed only single-digit scores of 0,5,4,0. It could be an alarming sign for Naim and Jahurul who are yet to make a sizeable contribution this season.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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Zimbabwe cricket – Brendan Taylor says he faces ICC ban for delay in reporting approach

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Former Zimbabwe captain says cocaine involved in trap laid by alleged corruptors

Former Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor has revealed that the ICC is about to “impose a multi-year ban” on his international career after he allegedly delayed reporting a corrupt approach “by an Indian businessman”. Taylor had met with the businessman in October 2019 after being asked “to discuss sponsorships and the potential launch of a T20 competition in Zimbabwe”.
Taylor delayed reporting that meeting in India because, he said, he wanted to protect his family. He describes substance abuse having taken place during that meeting in a statement on Twitter, which he says led to him being allegedly blackmailed. The men he had met, Taylor said, stormed into his hotel room the next day, and threatened to release video of the substance abuse unless he carried out spot-fixing for them. He was given USD 15,000 – which he said he took to flee India – and told it was a deposit for a future payment once the fix was carried out.

“It took me 4 months to report this offence and interaction to the ICC,” Taylor said. “I acknowledge this was too long of a time but I thought I could protect everyone and in particular, my family. I approached the ICC on my own terms and I hoped that if I explained my predicament, my genuine fear for our safety and wellbeing, that they would understand the delay.

“Unfortunately, they did not, but I cannot feign ignorance in this regard. I have attended many anti-corruption seminars over the years and we know that time is of the essence when making reports.”

Taylor also said he had “never been involved in any form of match-fixing. I may be many things but I am not a cheat. My love for the beautiful game of cricket far outweighs and surpasses any threats which could be thrown my way.”

The ICC has yet to comment on Taylor’s statement, and if he does – as he said – face a ban on his international cricket career, it’s worth noting he does not have much of one at the moment: in September last year he retired from international cricket, after a 17-year career.

Taylor’s statement does reveal, however, some of the difficulties in playing for Zimbabwe, which led to him eventually being prescribed a strong anti-psychotic medication. He said that at the time of the incident he hadn’t been paid by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) for six months “and it was questionable whether Zimbabwe would be able to continue playing in the international arena”.

Another former Zimbabwe captain, Heath Streak, was banned by the ICC for breaches of the anti-corruption code in April 2021. Streak was coach of the side during the World Cup qualifiers in Harare in 2018 and revealed in a recent interview with The Cricket Monthly that the coaching team had agreed to forfeit pay during that period, hoping that if Zimbabwe qualified, the ICC prize money for doing so would enable payments to be made eventually. Zimbabwe did not qualify for the 2019 World Cup.

“I would also like to let you know that on Tuesday the 25th of January I am checking into a rehabilitation centre to get clean and to get my life back on track. I have to tell my story now because I know people will want to hear from me. To try and understand what led to this point.”

Brendan Taylor

Taylor revealed that he will be “checking into a rehabilitation centre” from January 25th in order to deal with the substance abuse.

“I will admit that the past two years have been incredibly challenging, both personally and professionally and it is from absolute rock bottom that I am trying to climb out of this mess I made. My family and friends have been incredibly supportive of me and it is clear to me now that I have a much bigger problem which for some time has needed addressing.

“And so, I would also like to let you know that on Tuesday the 25th of January I am checking into a rehabilitation centre to get clean and to get my life back on track. I have to tell my story now because I know people will want to hear from me. To try and understand what led to this point. But for many weeks I will be away and trying to get better.

“l owe it to myself and to my family to get clean and to put them first. I have let a substance take control of me and impair my vision, my morals and my values and it is time that I prioritise what really matters.”

Taylor captained Zimbabwe in 71 games between 2011 and 2021 across the three formats. He was full-time captain between mid-2011 and mid 2014, before Zimbabwe went the split captaincy route and Taylor remained in charge only in Test cricket. Then, at the end of the 2015 World Cup, he retired from internationals and went to the UK on a Kolpak deal aged 29. In late 2017, he ended his Kolpak deal and returned to Zimbabwean cricket.



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ICC awards – Babar Azam and Joe Root take ICC men’s honours for 2021

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Babar was named the ODI cricketer of the year, while Root bagged the Test award after making six centuries from 15 matches

Babar Azam, the Pakistan captain, has been named the ICC men’s ODI cricketer of the year for 2021, while England Test captain Joe Root bagged the award for men’s Test cricketer of the year.
Babar’s 158 in the third ODI against England at Edgbaston during the summer was instrumental in him winning the award.

With the series already lost, Pakistan were left to fight for World Cup Super League points, and Babar built on a solid foundation to bring up his career-best score. The knock, however, ended up in a losing cause due to a century stand between James Vince and Lewis Gregory.

Overall, Babar featured in just six ODIs in 2021, finishing with 405 runs at an average of 67.50.

“The best innings of the year if you ask me of the year, it’s this one. It’s the best innings of my career,” Babar said of his knock. “I was struggling a bit, I needed a knock like that and it gave me a lot of confidence.”

Meanwhile, Root’s splendid batting year that fetched him 1708 runs in 15 Tests with six centuries, played a key role in him bagging the Test honours.

Root’s purple patch started right at the start in Sri Lanka, where made a stunning double-century on a Galle turner, and followed that with prolific returns against India, both home and away. With the ball too, Root chipped in with 14 wickets including a maiden Test five-for against India in Ahmedabad.

Root’s numbers stood out amid a poor run from England, as they lost to India both home and away, and finished the year with two losses in Australia. England eventually lost the Ashes 4-0.

The knock that stood out was his 128 that helped England begin their India tour with a win in Chennai in February. He batted for 377 deliveries to craft 218 as England’s imposing first-innings total helped set the tone for a 227-run win.

“The Chennai hundred sticks out, to get it in my hundredth game will live long in may memory,” Root said. “Incredibly proud to have received this award. Humbled to be in the same breath as a number of players around the world. It means a huge amount to get this award.”



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