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T20 World Cup – Mark Wood set to replace injured Tymal Mills against South Africa

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Wood comes through training unscathed after ankle issue that has kept him out of tournament

Mark Wood looks set to replace Tymal Mills in the England team for their final T20 World Cup Super 12s fixture against South Africa on Saturday after coming through Thursday’s training session in Sharjah unscathed.

Wood reported a niggle in his ankle after England’s final warm-up game against New Zealand, which required an injection, and has not played any part in the tournament to date. He did not warm up with the rest of the squad ahead of Monday’s 26-run win over Sri Lanka, during which Mills picked up the thigh injury which has ruled him out of the tournament, and is likely to play against South Africa this weekend if he trains as planned on Friday.

Paul Collingwood, England’s assistant coach, said that Wood represents an “ideal replacement” for Mills if he is declared fully fit, particularly given the low bounce of Sharjah’s pitches since the square was relaid ahead of this year’s IPL.

“What seems to have been difficult to play in Sharjah is the real fast, skiddy bowlers that bash the wicket from about eight metres and try to hit the top of the stumps and get a little bit of variable bounce there,” Collingwood said. “If Woody was 100% fit then he’s the type of bowler you would look for on that surface.

“It did seem to make it a lot more difficult when the dew came down, I have to say. I was expecting a lot more variable bounce in that second innings but the dew certainly had an effect on the wicket. Woody would be the ideal replacement if he was 100% fit. As long as he comes through these next two sessions, I’d hope he’d be available for selection.”

Mills was expensive in England’s last two games against Australia and Sri Lanka but remains their joint-highest wicket-taker in the World Cup to date, and offered an attractive combination of a left-arm angle, high pace through the middle overs, and a world-class record bowling at the death in franchise leagues. He has been replaced in the squad by Reece Topley, the tall left-arm seamer.

“It’s a big loss,” Collingwood said. “It looked an innocuous kind of injury, really, so it’s a huge loss in terms of the point of difference that it gives, obviously the left arm angle. He can bowl at 90mph+ and has got some great T20 experience under his belt with franchise cricket that he’s played, so it’s a huge loss for us, but another person’s gain with Reece Topley coming into the side – again, [he offers a] left-arm angle and has got more height than most bowlers.

“We’ll see where the guys are over the next 48 hours in terms of training. Stats right from the start of T20 cricket show that the left-arm angle goes pretty well in the back end of the innings, so it’s always good to have that option. We’re a very versatile attack – with different heights, different skills, different angles. The more bowlers that you can have that are different I guess the better, so batters can’t line you up as a bowling attack. We do have options.”

If Wood is not risked ahead of two knockout games next week, England’s alternatives would be David Willey, Tom Curran and Topley, all of whom offer different skillsets. The current balance of their side – with only three seamers – forces them to bowl at least eight overs of spin, and their experiences trying to defend a score with a wet ball against Sri Lanka may tempt them to consider leaving out a batter in favour of a fourth seamer.

Collingwood also said that the England squad were “keeping a close eye” on developments in Azeem Rafiq’s allegations of institutional racism at Yorkshire, and stressed the importance of ensuring their dressing room was “a place that everyone wants to be”.

“Obviously we’ve seen it in the news,” he said. “Of course, when something as big as this is in the news, you have a chat about it. From our point of view, it’s important that what we’ve created in the England dressing room over the last few years with our culture… we’ve done a lot of work in our dressing room to make it a place that everyone wants to be.

“There’s an ongoing investigation back home so I can’t comment too much on that but we’ve just got to get on with the cricket out here… hopefully we can let the cricket do the talking. We’ve really worked hard over the last few years on the courage, respect and unity that we have in the dressing room and that’s a motto that we live by. [We need to] keep trying to learn, understand and get better.”

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98



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BBL11 2021-22 – Bowling attack gives Melbourne Renegades hope of revival

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The batting remains questionable and they will be looking for the youngsters to develop

Captain Nic Maddinson
Coach David Saker

Squad
Cameron Boyce, Zak Evans, Aaron Finch, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Josh Lalor, Shaun Marsh, Jono Merlo (replacement player), James Pattinson, Mitch Perry, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, James Seymour (replacement player), Will Sutherland, Nic Maddinson, Reece Topley (Eng), Unmukt Chand (Ind), Mohammad Nabi (Afg), Zahir Khan (Afg)

In Nic Maddinson, Jono Merlo, James Seymour, Reece Topley, Unmukt Chand, Zahir Khan
Out Beau Webster, Peter Hazloglou, Jon Holland, Benny, Howell, Noor Ahmed, Imran Tahir, Imad Wasim

Last season

It was another disastrous season for the Renegades finishing last for the second straight year. They won their first match and then lost seven in a row. Their batting was abysmal, bowled out for less than 90 on three occasions and 111 in another match against Adelaide. The bowling was nowhere near as effective as season’s past and they struggled to find a consistent unit as they mixed and matched their overseas players. There was one bright spot as they produced a brilliant chasing win over Melbourne Stars late in the season. Mackenzie Harvey starred smashing 47 not out from 21 balls to give a glimpse into the future.
International impact
Renegades have been severely impacted by both Australia selection and injury. Nic Maddinson‘s selection in the Australia A side to face England Lions means the new Renegades captain won’t get a chance to lead his new club until their fourth game at the earliest. Marcus Harris is set to miss most of the season due to Test duty. Aaron Finch is in doubt for the early games due to his ongoing knee issue while Shaun Marsh is set to miss at least half the tournament due to a calf tear. England does have tour of West Indies in the new year and Afghanistan is scheduled to visit Bangladesh but it is unknown if the likes of Reece Topley, Mohammad Nabi or Zahir Khan will need to leave the BBL early.
Player to watch
Reece Topley is an important recruit for Renegades and has a chance to make a serious statement to England selectors ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia next year. Fellow Englishman Harry Gurney was a key part of Renegades’ run to the title three years ago and Topley has a similar opportunity to cause havoc on the inconsistent home surface of Marvel Stadium.

Key stat (Gaurav Sundararaman)
Renegades were the worst bowling unit in the previous BBL edition. Their bowling economy rate of 8.61 was the highest among all teams and their death bowling economy was 11.24. If Renegades want to play finals, this is an area they need to focus on. Their attack certainly looks stronger this season

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Chris Gayle farewell on the cards with Jamaica set to host West Indies-Ireland series

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The series will comprise three ODIs and a one-off T20I, all at Sabina Park

West Indies will play three ODIs and a T20I against Ireland in Jamaica from January 8 to 16, the CWI has announced, with the possibility that the standalone T20I will be used as a farewell match for Chris Gayle.

While Gayle will not be part of the ODI squad, with the series counting towards 2023 World Cup qualification through the Super League, the one-off fixture at Sabina Park could be used as his farewell game. ESPNcricinfo understands that a decision has yet to be made on Gayle’s inclusion but that the issue will be up for discussion at the next meeting of CWI’s board of directors later this month.

“It’s whether collectively we all feel that it’s appropriate for him to have one last game at home to say farewell in a one-off game,” Johnny Grave, CWI’s chief executive, told the Mason and Guest radio show in Barbados last month. “That Ireland series would represent that opportunity.

“It would certainly be appropriate, as far as I can see it, to treat our players and give them the opportunity to bow out – especially players like Chris who have had unbelievable careers and won trophies for the West Indies.”

Ireland will travel to the Caribbean on December 31, immediately after their series against USA which starts on December 22 and comprises two T20Is and three ODIs. They have already named their squads for both tours, with Kevin O’Brien left out and David Ripley taking temporary charge as interim head coach.
Ireland last toured the Caribbean in 2020, drawing the T20I series 1-1 and losing the ODI series 3-0. Sabina Park was also the venue for one of the finest moments in Irish cricketing history, their victory over Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup on St Patrick’s Day.

“We are pleased to be returning to the Caribbean where we have so many great memories,” Richard Holdsworth, Cricket Ireland’s performance director, said. “The World Cup Super League is a crucial set of fixtures for Ireland as we attempt to qualify for the next Cricket World Cup, and – if the series in 2020 is anything to go by – we look forward to a highly competitive series in January.”

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98



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Bangladesh tour of NZ BCB approves Shakib Al Hasan’s request to skip New Zealand tour

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Nazmul Hassan says BCB has no problem with players wanting a break, but says it should happen via official channels

BCB president Nazmul Hassan said on Monday that the board has accepted Shakib Al Hasan‘s leave request to skip the New Zealand tour for which Bangladesh are scheduled to leave later this week. Some days ago, Hassan claimed that Shakib only informed them “unofficially” of his reluctance to be on the tour, and hours later, Shakib reportedly had requested the board by handing over a letter officially.

“We have accepted his request,” Hassan said. “We have been saying this for a long time that we have no objection if a player wants to take a break or rest, but it has to be informed officially. The thing is, we want to be informed about such a decision in advance as it is difficult for us if it is informed suddenly. From January, if anyone wants a break, he has to inform us in advance so that we can prepare alternatives.”

This is the third time in 2021 that Shakib has skipped a tour for Bangladesh. He opted out of the white-ball tour of New Zealand in March due to paternity leave before missing the two Tests against Sri Lanka in April to play in the IPL.

Hassan felt Shakib should have asked for the leave officially, rather than informing them verbally.

“This [the confusion] is not embarrassing, to be honest. We simply didn’t know about it, officially,” Hassan said. “The thing is, these things have always happened unofficially. Now, to avoid confusion, we are emphasising that these matters should be official.”

Bangladesh’s tour of New Zealand includes two Tests, part of the World Test Championship, beginning on New Year’s Day. The team will leave on December 9 to complete quarantine and then play practice matches.



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