“Haven’t heard anything spoken about it, I’m not sure anything from that game will come into it.”
“I haven’t heard anything spoken about it [2019 World Cup final here] here,” Stead said. “I think the guys are looking forward to the prospect of facing England again. As I said, they’re a quality side and yes, we just look forward to the challenge of playing the best side as well. So, I’m not sure there will be anything from the 2019 game that will come into it…maybe a Super Over it might.”
“He’s obviously a quality player and first and foremost you don’t want to see anyone go down injured like that,” Stead said of Roy. “I mean we had the same with Lockie [Ferguson] and we know that we felt that as a big loss; I’m sure England are as well. I expect someone like Bairstow to probably go up to the top of the order and they’ve got a number of players that can do that.
“But they’ve also toyed with the idea of floating different players at different times, so maybe they’ve got match-ups they can do against us. But I don’t think that will change the way that we approach the game. We’re looking forward to playing England again and being I guess a one-off game, where anything can happen.”
“Personally, I’m very, very proud of the team – the way they keep finding ways to fight and to adapt on the biggest stage,” he said. “I’m not sure when you line each player up – man for man – a lot of people that perhaps give us the credit that some of these guys deserve. It’s a pretty experienced group of guys now who know each other’s games very, very well and know the skills of each other. As a collective group, we do fight and fight hard. That’s all I keep asking for. The results, at the end of the day, will look after themselves if we do those little things well.”
One of the little things that made a big impact for New Zealand in a virtual quarter-final for them against Afghanistan was their fielding, according to Stead. It’s often an over-rated aspect in modern T20 cricket, but New Zealand showed that it could still make a difference.
After Devon Conway set the tone with a fantastic catch behind the stumps, despite being wrong-footed, Jimmy Neesham and Kane Williamson pulled off tumbling catches. Daryl Mitchell and Glenn Phillips also aggressively patrolled the boundaries as New Zealand pinned down Afghanistan to 124 for 8.
“We held onto some very, very good catches, in particular, and I guess you start to see the skills of the modern-day cricketer as well,” Stead said. “What Daryl Mitchell did [in] the first ball of the last over was incredible really. I think [he] not only saved four runs, but possibly saved another 10-12 runs in the context of what might’ve been in that over. So, that put us on the right foot, and I guess gave us that real high and lift leading into our batting innings as well that it was 125 and not 140 potentially.
“You never know with those little things, but they do make a big difference and I thought Kane took a great catch, Jimmy Neesham took a great catch, Devon what he did as a keeper there to get the first wicket as well with the one-handed grab. They were all really important things for us. So, we pride ourselves on that and hopefully it backs up the job the bowlers are doing as well.”
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
Travis Head wins the race to be Australia's No. 5 in the Ashes
Mithali Raj – We have had ‘good preparation’ for 2022 World Cup by playing SA, England, Australia this year
“We are getting to play in New Zealand before World Cup which is also good,” she says
India will play World Cup hosts New Zealand for five ODIs before the World Cup in March-April.
“We have played three best teams since March and it has given us good preparation,” Raj said after a partnership between KFC and Indian Deaf Cricket Association in Delhi on Wednesday. “Players have played domestic cricket and also in the Women’s Big Bash so they are getting game time which is the most important thing.
“We are getting to play in New Zealand before World Cup which is also good.”
India, who were unable to post 250-plus scores regularly earlier, did that twice in the Australia series and chased down 265 in the final ODI.
India’s middle-order batting needs improvement but Raj said all departments must fire as a unit if they are to win the World Cup.
“We bat as a unit so you can’t pinpoint one area,” she said. “There are times when the top order failed and the others performed. As a unit if we look to post a good total then it will help. If we focus on one area like middle order then it becomes too much of a burden for that particular slot.”
India finished runners-up in the 2017 World Cup in England when not many expected them to but expectations will be higher this time.
“There were not enough expectations back then,” Raj said. “Now in 2021, players have got experience and got a lot of exposure with the T20 leagues. Overall we have young players but they have got enough exposure. It is just of matter of gelling well as a team.
“Every match will be different there. The quicker we read our opponents the better it will be for us.”
The Ashes 2021-22 – Michael Vaughan stood down from BT Sport Ashes coverage after Azeem Rafiq allegations
Channel to adopt a “hybrid” approach with Vaughan’s stints on Fox Sports to be overlaid
Vaughan, 47, was last week stood down from BBC Test Match Special’s coverage for “editorial” reasons, following allegations from Azeem Rafiq, the former Yorkshire cricketer, that he had said “there are too many of you lot” following the selection of four players of Asian heritage in a county fixture in 2009.
However, BT Sport – who are due to take the Fox Sports feed after choosing not to send a bespoke commentary team to Australia – announced on Tuesday that they will be taking a “hybrid” approach to their coverage, with Vaughan’s on-air stints to be overlaid with studio analysis.
“As a result of Covid and travel restrictions BT Sport had made the decision to take our commentary feed from the Australian host broadcaster,” the channel said in a statement. “The recent report presented to UK Parliament uncovering institutional racism within cricket and specifically Yorkshire County Cricket Club is extremely disappointing and a concern for all.
“Given these recent events and the controversy with the situation we have taken the decision that including Michael Vaughan within our Ashes coverage would not be editorially appropriate or fit with BT Sport’s values. We are still finalising plans but we are assessing the option of taking a hybrid approach, using Fox commentary where possible with the aim of putting our own commentary team in place if necessary.”
Vaughan’s troubled build-up to the series continued on Tuesday, when he announced on Twitter that his arrival in Australia had been delayed by a week due to a positive Covid test. “[It] is frustrating,” he wrote. “But at least I’ll avoid the rain in Brisbane for a few days!”
However, his hopes of being retained by the BBC after the Ashes have received a boost, after the corporation confirmed that they had been in “regular contact” with Vaughan since his suspension, and had held “positive conversations with him in recent days”.
“Our contributors are required to talk about relevant issues, so Michael’s involvement in a story of such significance means it’s not possible for him to be part of our Ashes coverage or wider cricket coverage at the moment,” the statement added. “We’re pleased with how our conversations are going and expect to work with Michael again in the future. He remains on contract to the BBC.”
The BBC’s stance was criticised this week by his former England team-mate Monty Panesar, who wrote in a column in the Daily Telegraph: “This feels deeply unethical — a classic case of someone being tried and convicted without any form of due process being undertaken.”
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