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Ind vs Nam – T20 World Cup

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Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri tip the multiple-time IPL winner to take the reigns as they sign off

Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri gave the clearest indication yet that Rohit Sharma will be India’s new T20I captain either side of their cruise to victory over Namibia in the final Super 12s match of the T20 World Cup.

Kohli announced in September that he would step down from the T20I captaincy after the World Cup at a time of transition for India, with Shastri, Bharat Arun and R Sridhar also leaving their respective roles as head coach, bowling coach and fielding coach. Speaking at the toss, he said it had been “an honour” to captain India, and hinted that Rohit was primed to be become his successor.

“It’s been an honour for me,” Kohli said. “I was given the opportunity and I tried to do my best. It’s also time for me to create some space and prioritise things moving forward and unfortunately, the shortest format of the game has to give way to the longer formats.

“I’ve been immensely proud of how the team has played and also grateful for the opportunity to have led the Indian cricket team in the T20 format for so many years, and now I think it’s time for the next lot to take this team format. Obviously Rohit is here, he’s [been] overlooking [overseeing] things for a while now. We’ll always be the leaders in the group but [it’s] also a milestone moment for Indian cricket, especially moving forwards.”

Shastri, meanwhile, said that Rohit was “ready in the wings” to take over as T20I captain, and suggested that while India will “always have a strong team” in the format due to the depth of talent showcased by the IPL, following a split-captaincy model is “not such a bad thing” due to the national team’s fixture congestion.

“It’s not such a bad thing because of the bubble and because of the amount of cricket being played,” Shastri said at his post-match press conference. “The players need to be rotated around and given the space they need to spend some time with their families and see their parents. When a guy doesn’t go home for six months, he might have his [close] family with him, but if he’s got parents and other family and you don’t get a chance to see them, it’s not easy at all.

“It’s not such a bad thing and I think in Rohit you’ve got a very capable guy, he’s won so many IPLs, he’s the vice-captain of this side. He’s ready in the wings to take that job. As far as the T20 team goes, I think we’ll always have a strong team. We might have not won this World Cup but I think going forward you’ll continue to have a very strong team because the IPL throws a lot of young players into the mix. Rahul [Dravid, the new coach] will have his own ideas on how to take this team forwards and I see it still being a very good team.”

Kohli reiterated at the post-match presentation that it was “the right time” to step away from the T20I captaincy in order to manage his workload, and insisted that he would keep his intensity on the field despite giving up the job.

“It’s been an honour, but things have to be kept in the right perspective,” he said. “This was the right time for me to manage my workload. It’s been six, seven years of intense cricket every time we take the field and it takes a lot out of you. It’s been great fun, great bunch of guys and we’ve really performed well as a team.

“I know we have not gone far in this World Cup, but we have had some good results in T20 and enjoyed playing together. It’s a game of margins, T20 cricket. You talk about two overs of cricket with intent in the first two games and things could have been different. We were not brave enough, as I said. We are not a team that will give excuse of tosses.

“[My intensity] is never going to change. If I can’t do that I will not play anymore. Even when I wasn’t captain before I was always keen to see where the game is going. I’m not going to stand around and do nothing.”

Kohli did not bat in his final game as captain, demoting himself to No. 4, and explained that he had wanted Suryakumar Yadav to “take back some good memories” from the World Cup after limited opportunities in the middle throughout the tournament. “Surya didn’t get much time,” he said. “It’s a T20 World Cup and I thought it might be a nice memory for him to take back.”

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98



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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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Pakistan news – Lahore court stays PCB decision to suspend broadcast deal with PTV

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The PCB had terminated its cable-distribution deal and suspended the broadcasting deal with PTV Sports, which was expected to earn them US$ 200 million over three years

A sessions court in Lahore has issued a stay order to prevent the PCB from suspending its deal with the state-owned broadcaster PTV.
The PCB had signed a three-year broadcast deal in 2020 with PTV, as well as an agreement with I-Media Communications Services, to ensure the PCB’s broadcast content is not redistributed illegally by cable operators. The official signing of the deal had taken place in the presence of Imran Khan, the Pakistan prime minister who is also the PCB’s patron-in-chief.

But last week the PCB terminated its cable-distribution deal and suspended the broadcasting deal with PTV Sports, deals from which, on signing them, the PCB said were expected to fetch them US$ 200 million over three years. The PCB also opened a new tender inviting bids for new media rights for home internationals for the upcoming series against West Indies and Australia. That process will have to be put on hold for now until the dispute is sorted.

At heart is the nature of the arrangement. The deal allowed PTV to broadcast all Pakistan’s home bilateral commitments as well as all domestic cricket, though the PCB held on to the production rights. The deal with I-Media Communications Services was meant to ensure that the distribution of cricket content would only be done through licensed cable operators, and the value of the content would be protected against potential illegal distribution.

The expected earnings from this deal would come from advertising revenue and also, for the first time in Pakistan, distribution revenue from the cable operators – the equivalent of revenues that broadcasters make from subscriptions – through I-Media. That revenue is important in countries such as England, Australia and, increasingly, India but has been non-existent in Pakistan due to the nature of the industry.

It is believed to be on the basis of non-compliance on payments from the I-Media contract that the PCB has gone to court. In its plea before judge Talat Mahmood, PTV said that it “had been honouring” the terms of the deal at every stage. PCB, however, had suspended the deal with both parties because of the supposed non-compliance when it came to implementing the Digital Pakistan policy (one part of which is regulating the illegal cable operator business).

PTV also claim that PCB had never addressed any grievances to PTV’s managing director, as the contract stipulated – ESPNcricinfo understands that PCB wrote directly to the Information Minister – who oversees the state-owned PTV – when required.

The broadcast deal was signed in the face of a shrinking broadcast market, more so after the Covid-19 pandemic. It ended a long-running broadcast relationship with Ten Sports. International rights for PCB’s home series were sold separately to various channels around the world.

Pakistan has few local sports broadcasters to choose from though recently, the ARY Group has launched an HD sports channel called A-Sports, which covered the T20 World Cup and is presently broadcasting the Abu Dhabi T10 league. PTV, however, broadcasts its content on standard definition, which the PCB wants to change to HD.

Neither PTV or PCB chose to speak on the matter when contacted.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent



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