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Kane Williamson walking a tightrope over persistent elbow issues

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New Zealand captain trying to find a balance to manage the problem better

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has found it challenging to refrain himself from over-hitting at the nets and instead keep himself fresh for the matches. Williamson’s elbow injury flared up during the warm-ups in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup and the team management has managed him carefully since then.

Williamson had sat out New Zealand’s first warm-up, against Netherlands, with a niggly hamstring. He then returned to action against Australia, top-scoring for his side with 37 off 30 balls, but aggravated his elbow.

The elbow complaint has been a long-standing one for Williamson, forcing him to miss the ODI series at home against Bangladesh, the start of the first leg of IPL 2021 in India in April, the Edgbaston Test against England and the inaugural Hundred. The elbow was more recently put to test, again, when New Zealand played three Super-12 fixtures in five days across three venues in UAE.

“Yeah that has been a bit of a challenge for me personally – the balance between the loading of the elbow and things like that,” Williamson said on the eve of the semi-finals against England in Abu Dhabi.

“So, trying to stay as fresh as possible for the game. So, it’s been a bit of a delicate balance to get my head around and I certainly look forward to the day it’s gone (laughs) and I don’t have to worry too much about it.

“But, as it stands, it’s a topic of discussion and [I’m] just trying to work closely with the physio to make sure I’m as fresh as possible for the game. It has had an impact on loading, which therefore means training has been a lot less to be fair.”

Head coach Gary Stead also said that Williamson’s stints at the nets have been limited although he prefers to hit a lot of balls at training.

“Kane’s good at the moment,” Stead said. “He hasn’t probably trained as much as he would have liked. But that’s just making sure that the time when he’s batting, hopefully, that’s in the middle for us and winning games of cricket that he’s not overdoing the elbow and probably training for him is the chance of making it worse. We’ve managed that well and I think that’s the mental challenge for Kane – to work that out as well.”

Three days after the T20 World Cup final in Dubai, New Zealand are set to kick off their India tour with a three-match T20I series. New Zealand will then begin their World Test Championship defence in the two-match Test series in Kanpur and Mumbai.

The same T20I squad that was picked for the World Cup will also tour India. This means Williamson’s niggly elbow is set for a heavier workout in the subcontinent.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Green vs Stokes? Let Cam be his own man

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The clash of the allrounders will be a closely watched head-to-head but there still needs to patience with Green



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SJN report – Another delay as CSA ombudsman asks for week’s extension

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“We will have a board meeting soon after we receive the report and then we will release it publicly,” CSA acting CEO Pholetsi Moseki

CSA’s Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) report will be delivered to the organisation a week later than scheduled, with the ombudsman, Dumisa Ntsebeza, requesting an extension to the revised November 30 deadline. The report will now be sent to the board on December 6.

Pholetsi Moseki, the CSA acting chief executive, confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that the report would be made public after the board has spent time deliberating on its contents: “We will have a board meeting soon after we receive the report and then we will release it publicly.”

The report will contain recommendations made by Ntsebeza on issues relating to discrimination in South African cricket, and is expected to cover issues around the culture in the national teams, selection, match fees, and the grassroots.

CSA is not obligated to implement any of Ntsebeza’s suggestions, but is likely to act on at least some of them.

This is the second time the report has been delayed after it was initially expected to be completed by September 30. The deadline had to be extended after several parties that were implicated in the first phase of testimonies between July 5 and August 6 requested for time to compile their replies, which was granted.
The second phase of testimonies was held in October and included responses by current head coach Mark Boucher, director of cricket Graeme Smith, and former men’s captain AB de Villiers. All three submitted written affidavits and did not appear before the SJN to give oral evidence, and only Boucher’s statement has been made public so far.
Although Ntsebeza had previously indicated that the process could do with more time, it has already run for most of 2021 after the first call for submissions was put out at the end of April. It is believed that CSA had budgeted Rand 5 million (US$ 350,000 approx) for the project but the amount has gone up because of the extensions. The costs have come at a time when CSA is waiting to see if its coffers will be filled by an India tour, scheduled to begin in mid-December but in doubt because of the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant in southern Africa.

South Africa’s men’s team is also due to play New Zealand (away) and Bangladesh (at home) this summer, while the women’s team is scheduled to host West Indies before the Women’s World Cup.

Last week, CSA confirmed that all national teams would continue to take a knee before each match this season to show solidarity with the fight against racism.



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Manchester United owners acquire team in UAE T20 League

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After failed bids to acquire an IPL franchise, the Glazers have made their first formal foray into cricket

Manchester United Football Club’s American owner, Lancer Capital, has made its first foray into cricket by acquiring a franchise in the soon-to-be-launched UAE T20 League. The update came a week after Reliance Industries, the owner of Mumbai Indians in the IPL, also announced their investment in the league through a franchise ownership.

“I am very excited to be a part of UAE T20 at its formation,” Avram Glazer, chairman of Lancer Capital, said in a statement. “UAE T20 promises to be a world class event that will be transformative to the growth of cricket in the Emirates.”

Last month, Lancer Capitals was among the final shortlisted bidders for the two new IPL franchises, eventually losing out to RPSG Group and CVC Capital, the groups that acquired the Lucknow and Ahmedabad franchises respectively.

Out of the nine bids, Lancer Capital had posted the lowest bid at INR 4128.65 crore (US$ 551 million approx.) for the Ahmedabad franchise, and INR 4023 crore (US$ 537 million approx.) for the Lucknow franchise.

The latest investment adds to the company’s portfolio in the sporting world: the Glazer family also owns Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“I am very excited to welcome Mr. Glazer to the UAE T20 Family,” Khalid Al Zarooni, UAE T20 League chairman, said. “To have a partner who has invested into sports properties with a long term investment perspective is a testament to the strength of the UAE T20 League’s Business Model and its value proposition to its stakeholders and an ode to the UAE as the destination of choice for global sports events.”

The owners of the Knight Riders T20 teams are also understood to be “on-board” to own one of the teams in the UAE event. Capri Global, which also made a failed bid for the two new IPL franchises, Big Bash League’s Sydney Sixers, and Kiran Kumar Grandhi, a co-owner of Delhi Capitals, are believed to be among the other interested parties.

The six-team league has been sanctioned by the Emirates Cricket Board and is looking to make room for itself in the January-February window, although its inaugural edition in 2022 is likely to be played in February-March.



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