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New Zealand tour of India 2021

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The two had asked to be left out because of bubble fatigue; Williamson-led squad has five spin options

Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme have opted out of New Zealand’s two-Test tour of India, while Mumbai-born Ajaz Patel is set to lead the spin attack with William Somerville and Mitchell Santner for company. The series will mark the start of New Zealand’s new ICC World Test Championship cycle; they are the defending champions, having beaten India in the final of the inaugural edition in Southampton.
Ajaz and Somerville have been exceptional when bowling in tandem, picking up 28 wickets in three Tests in the UAE and in Sri Lanka in 2018-19. In all, New Zealand have named five spinning options, including two allrounders – the uncapped Rachin Ravindra and Glenn Phillips, who is one Test old. Ravindra will be on his second Test tour, having earlier been part of the England tour in June.

The pace attack is headlined by Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson, after Boult and de Grandhomme made themselves unavailable because of the prospect of further time in biobubbles and managed isolation.

“Trent has already spent the best part of 60 days in hard managed isolation this year, while Colin had been on the road since May until recently returning home from Pakistan,” head coach Gary Stead said in an NZC release. “From talking to both players it was clear the best option for them was to be left out of this Test tour and for them to instead focus on being ready for the New Zealand home summer.”

Tom Blundell has been named first-choice wicketkeeper following the retirement of BJ Watling after the WTC final in June. The squad has another wicketkeeping option in Devon Conway.

Stead said he expected the tracks in Kanpur and Mumbai, the venues of the two Tests, to bring the spinners into play. “Touring India is one of the greatest experiences in cricket and I know our guys are really looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “It’s fair to say we’re expecting spin-friendly conditions and it’s great to have a range of options in this department.

“The success of our spinners on recent tours to the sub-continent has been encouraging and we hope they can once again feature prominently. It’s really exciting to begin the second instalment of the WTC and we know there’ll be an extra incentive for all the teams we play following our win in the inaugural competition.”

New Zealand will begin their tour on November 17 with the first of three T20Is, in Jaipur. The Tests will be played between November 25 and 29 (Kanpur) and December 3 and 7 (Mumbai).



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Every Associate country is wondering what next?

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Netherlands coach reacts to the ICC scrapping the ODI Super League

Campbell and his team are in South Africa for a three-match ODI series which is part of the Super League, which is set to disappear after just one edition. The 13-team league will decide the countries for the coming World Cup, which will be made up of hosts India and the nine best-placed finishers. But for 2027, the top 10 teams in the ICC rankings at a scheduled cut-off date will qualify directly. Four more will be added to the main draw after a global qualifier. This, Campbell says, will further minimise the chances of smaller teams getting to play against top-ranked nations.

“The Super League was always meant to give that 13th team, an Associate, an opportunity to play the best teams in the world. It was the first time in the history of Dutch cricket that cricket was shown live on Dutch television. The scrapping of the Super League was disappointing for all Associate countries but that’s the decision that’s been made,” Campbell said. “Every Associate country is wondering what next? How do we play? Where do we get our fixtures? Is the World Cricket League Two going to stay in place? How do you get into a ranking league and compete for a spot in the 2027 World Cup? There’s lots of answers we need to find and I think that is only going to be in time.”

While Campbell said Netherlands would “make the most,” of the year-and-a-half they have left to compete against the likes of England, West Indies, Pakistan, New Zealand and Afghanistan, he urged Full Members to develop a better understanding of the Associate game and commit to cricket’s growth.

“I was lucky enough to be involved in the greatest team for Australian cricket and while I was there, I had no thought of what goes on in Associate cricket. I had no idea. I was drafted to go to Hong Kong and that was my first hard look at Associate cricket and the rigours you’ve got to go through, mostly unpaid. It really gets under my skin that the top cricket teams in the world – and I am trying not to be political here – but the facts are that we should be leaving this game in a better state for future generations.

“We can come out and say we want to be the most participated sport in the world and go on and ‘blah blah blah’ but if you’re not giving opportunities to the best Associate teams or teams lower down the scale to improve and go up against the big ten, it’s very frustrating. If you follow the game, teams ranked 11, 12, 13 are very close to teams 14, 15 and 16.

“I just get the feeling that sometimes individual countries forget that it’s supposed to be a world game. I think it was Donald Bradman who said we are supposed to leave the game in a better position when we go and I would ask that question of all the big teams: are they doing that or are they just worried about their own backyards and interests?

“When you look at the last division of (ICC) money that was split up, England and India and Australia wanted more and that came out of the Associate pool and then within weeks, they were announcing billion dollar new TV rights deals which is pretty frustrating.

“At the end of the day, it’s the world game and hopefully some of these bigger countries understand that if we want to grow the world game, the growth isn’t going to come from the big countries, it’s going to come from all the ones underneath them and they need to get in and help.”

While the last financial model did favour the Big Three countries in a massive way, the money that went to them also came out of the ICC cutting down operational costs. It wasn’t all from the Associates’ coffers.

Keshav Maharaj, South Africa’s stand-in white-ball captain, said he supports playing as much as possible, against as many different teams as possible, because it will make his side stronger. “It’s really important. The more we play, the better we get and the more we gel as a unit,” he said. “From a tactical point of view, we can try various combinations, see what works, see who fits in. I would love to play more against any nation, whether deemed as a smaller nation or a bigger nation. Cricket is really important and match time and game time is really important.”
Campbell knows that better than most. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected Associate teams like his more than most, with Netherlands going almost two years without any ODI cricket. They came out of that drought with a series against Scotland and then upset Ireland 2-1 as well to gain 20 points but they remain last on the points table. Campbell is optimistic they can climb the ladder though.

“Our short term goal is to finish 10th in the Super League. That’s always been our goal. That sounds a bit brash but this group of players will always set out to not just survive but show what we are all about,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of good professionals playing in the county system but also back home. It’s really important for us that we go out there and to inspire the next generation of Dutch cricketers but also to show the world that we can compete against the best teams in the world.”

While historically, the Dutch have done that, their most recent performances have slipped. They failed to qualify for the Super 12s at the recently completed T20 World Cup and Campbell hopes they will move on swiftly from that to make a statement in South Africa. “We had a disappointing World Cup but three bad games of cricket shouldn’t define this group,” he said.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent



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Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka vs West Indies 1st Test 2021/22

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Cornwall fell on what turned out to be the last ball of the day

West Indies 224 for 9 (Mayers 45, Brathwaite 41, Jayawickrama 3-38, Ramesh 3-75) trail Sri Lanka 386 by 162 runs

Rain washed out the final session and pretty much the entirety of the second session – only four overs were completed after lunch before the groundstaff was called into action – as West Indies ended the third day on 224 for 9, still 162 runs behind Sri Lanka’s first-innings total. Play will begin 15 minutes earlier on the fourth and fifth days, provided the rain stays away.

In the end, the rain proved a welcome reprieve for the visitors on a day that had otherwise begun rather promisingly, with Jason Holder and Kyle Mayers taking the attack to the home side. It ended, however, with Rahkeem Cornwall being dismissed off what turned out to be the final ball of the day.

For Sri Lanka, Praveen Jayawickrama added to his wicket tally from the previous day to finish the day with figures of 3 for 38, while Dhananjaya de Silva and Suranga Lakmal also got in on the act. And despite Ramesh Mendis, the pick of Sri Lanka’s bowlers on the second day, being unable to reproduce the same control he had shown the previous evening – his 11 overs on the third day went for 52 runs with no wickets to show for it – Sri Lanka nevertheless remained in firm control of the Test.

But for the first hour or so in the morning, West Indies had looked rather threatening. Both Mayers and Holder showed they were unafraid to use the depth of the crease against the spinners, while Holder in particular used his extra reach to consistently get to the pitch of the ball and smother the considerable spin on offer – two delicious drives through cover for boundaries were the pick of his shots. Mayer, meanwhile, was content to rock back whenever possible, thrice flaying deliveries short and wide past point for four.

In between, the pair rotated the strike with ease, as Sri Lanka’s spinners gradually lost their early confidence in flighting the ball and resorted to flatter trajectories. The breakthrough eventually came courtesy some outstanding catching – first from captain Dimuth Karunaratne and then Dushmantha Chameera.

The first to go was Mayers, who failed to get to the pitch of one from de Silva that held up a touch and bounced up off a length. Mayers, who was already through an attempted drive, could only pop it up in the direction of short extra cover, where Karunaratne threw himself full pelt to his weaker right side to complete the take.

Chameera followed suit a little later, diving forward – again at full stretch – from point, to hold on to a cut that Holder had failed to keep down. Once more it was the extra bounce off a length that proved to be decisive.

Cornwall and Joshua Da Silva then proceeded to put on 49 for the ninth wicket, but just as that partnership was beginning to look promising, Cornwall top-edged a pull off Lakmal to square leg on the last ball of the 80th over. The second new ball was available but rain ensured there would be no more action.



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‘Fully committed to the path going forward’

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He is the first former Kolpak player to be recalled for the national team since the system ceased to exist

Wayne Parnell is four years older, has represented ten more teams and collected 100 more white-ball wickets since he last played limited-overs cricket for South Africa. He is now promising to contribute “experience” during the World Cup Super League clash against the Netherlands. It’s a series he didn’t think he’d be playing in, after putting his international career on the back-burner to pursue the county game and life as a T20 league specialist. But with the Kolpak system coming to an end, Parnell is back and believes he has a role to play.

“I didn’t set out my store to say I am coming back into South African cricket and I want to play for the Proteas again,” Parnell said at a press conference to mark his return. “I was quite happy coming back to Western Province and trying to add value in their environment. But then it led to these bigger things. For me, I don’t have any expectations. “He (Victor Mpitsang, convener of selectors) asked me if I was interested to play international cricket and I said I cannot turn down my country. I am fully committed to the path going forward.”

Parnell is the first former Kolpak player to be recalled for the national team since the system ceased to exist after the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union and selection convener Victor Mpitsang has indicated he won’t be the last. Also on the radar is Rilee Rossouw, and it wouldn’t be a reach to suggest Duanne Olivier, who currently tops the first-class bowling charts, is not far behind. What there doesn’t seem to be yet is a clear plan for how the Kolpak returnees will be reintegrated.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone else besides Victor in terms of where do I fit in, am I just filling in a gap or is there an opportunity to take this forward,” Parnell said. “Once we get into camp, I will have to sit down with Mark (Boucher) to understand what the thinking is. But I am available.”

While Parnell doesn’t come into the series on the back of strong form – he has played just six matches since rejoining the set-up – he does have a significant cache of game-time. Since 2017, Parnell has played in the Afghanistan, and Bangladesh Premier Leagues, the Pakistan Super League and for two counties, where he believed he learnt the most.

“In England, when it comes to white-ball cricket, every team is dangerous and that was the thing that took me by surprise initially,” he said. “It came off the back of the 2015 World Cup, where they had to rebuild and they basically said if you want to play for England, this is how you have to play and this is how the counties have to play. That made me more experienced. I wouldn’t say I am a completely different player, I am just more experienced.”

In these domestic set-ups, Parnell found the environments more conducive to information sharing and individual growth. “I found I could play with a lot more freedom,” he said. “When you are playing international cricket, it’s a little bit different because I don’t feel there is a lot of helping each other because I am fighting for my spot and the other players are fighting for their spot, so when there were more senior players the transfer of information and knowledge wasn’t as forthcoming, whereas my way of looking at cricket now, is completely different. I know what I can do and I feel comfortable with what I can bring to any team and that’s been my biggest focus over the last couple of years – focusing on myself and not focusing on the next guy.”

The maturity that Parnell developed through what can only be described as a personal study of his own game meant that when he returned to a rebuilding Western Province side, he was offered the white-ball captaincy. He led them through the domestic T20 knockout competition, where they lost to the eventual champions, the Knights, and hopes to be able to pick up the reins for other tournaments later this summer.

“I’ve always seen myself as a leader within the team,” Parnell said. “Maybe I haven’t been given enough responsibility in the past but when the opportunity came up at Western Province and it was something I grabbed with both hands. It’s something I really wanted to do. I really enjoy helping people, helping the younger guys and trying to get them to the next level, trying to pass on the knowledge that I have picked up in years of playing.”

Parnell may find himself doing a similar role in the ODI set-up. South Africa have rested six regulars, including captain Temba Bavuma, for the Netherlands series and will field a fairly inexperienced outfit against a team they last played against seven years ago.

Parnell is familiar with some of the Dutch players from the county circuit but will also bring in fresh ideas from his Kolpak days, which South Africa have not had in the past. If all goes well, it may prompt a return for others who are back in the fold but at the least, it has opened the door for Parnell to have a second stint as an international. “I am very comfortable with where my game is at, and with myself as a person,” he said. “I am still young enough. I am playing good cricket. I feel that I can still contribute at this level.”

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent



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