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Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock among six South Africa regulars rested for Netherlands ODIs




Keshav Maharaj will lead the team, which also sees a return for the Kolpak-returned Wayne Parnell

Parnell’s comeback is the first indication that South Africa are ready to reintegrate players who gave up their international careers when they signed Kolpak deals. Since the UK’s exit from the European Union, which has dissolved the Kolpak system, several players have returned to South Africa and signed contracts with provincial teams, which has made them available for the national side again. Parnell is the first to be recalled with the selectors also keeping a close eye on top-order batter Rilee Rossouw.

“The question we’ve been receiving of late is what we will do with the former Kolpak players and we have always said that once they come and perform well domestically we will consider them,” South Africa’s convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang told ESPNcricinfo. “Wayne and Rilee both did well in the T20 challenge. With the squad we have at the moment, we want to give the current batters an opportunity but we are specifically looking for an allrounder and Wayne bringing that skillset into the mix is what we needed. We will keep an eye on all the Kolpak players. Kolpak players coming back in the system strengthens the system.”
Rossouw may consider himself unlucky, as he was the top run-scorer in the domestic T20 competition and one of only three players to score a hundred. But Mpitsang believes he will come into the mix later in the summer. Parnell, meanwhile, did not finish among the bowlers or batters in the domestic T20 competition but scored an unbeaten 29-ball 80 in the quarterfinal against the eventual champions, the Knights, and captained Western Province. His maturity caught Mpitsang and his committee’s eyes.

“Wayne is only 31 years old and the fact that he has been away, he knows his game and he is an experienced player and with all the other players being rested, gives us an opportunity to look at our broader base,” Mpitsang said. “When we told him, he was like a little child. He was so excited; over the moon to get the call-up.”

One of the other centurions from the domestic T20 competition was Hamza, who finished third on the overall run charts, and has not yet played white-ball cricket for South Africa. He is likely to bat in the top three after Reeza Hendricks and Janneman Malan, with the other newcomer in the squad, Rickelton in reserve. The middle-order contains the experience of David Miller, who will marshall Kyle Verreynne, who is also set to take the gloves, and Zondo, who has not played international cricket since 2018. Zondo averaged 43 in the domestic T20 tournament.

South Africa will be spoilt for choice in the seam-bowling allrounder department with Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius and Andile Phehlukwayo all selected in the squad, but they are without a spin-bowling allrounder. With Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi in the group, there was no room for George Linde, who traveled as a reserve to the T20 World Cup.

“The matches will be played on the Highveld, which also informed our selections. George is slightly disappointed but we explained to him that the season is long and he will get more opportunities.”

All three matches will take place at SuperSport Park, where conditions are expected to be seamer-friendly. Despite being without Rabada and Nortje, South Africa will look to give game time to Lungi Ngidi, who did not get a game at the T20 World Cup and “just wants to play cricket,” according to Mpitsang.

Lizaad Williams, who was a reserve at the tournament, Sisanda Magala, who was part of their winter tours but missed out on selection through injury and Dupavillon, the joint-highest wicket-taker from the T20 competition.

“It’s a squad with good balance,” Mpitsang said. “We’ve got some experienced guys and some younger ones and we have all our bases covered.”

The three ODIs are part of the World Cup Super League, where both teams are in need of points. Netherlands are in last place on the table, with 20 points from two wins over Ireland. South Africa sit in ninth place, having dropped points in Ireland, but they could climb to as high as No. 2 with a 3-0 sweep.

Squad: Keshav Maharaj (capt), Daryn Dupavillon, Zubayr Hamza, Reeza Hendricks, Sisanda Magala, Janneman Malan, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Wayne Parnell, Ryan Rickelton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams, Khaya Zondo.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent

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Six Sri Lankan women cricketers test positive for Covid-19




The players had taken part in the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe; unclear whether the positive tests were for the new Omicron variant

Six Sri Lanka women cricketers who took part in the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe have tested positive for Covid-19, the SLC said on Sunday.

The ICC had called off the qualifiers in Zimbabwe on Saturday after discovery of a new variant in South Africa, which has prompted widespread travel curbs. It was not known whether the Sri Lankan players’ positive tests were for the new Omicron variant of the virus.

The ICC took its decision after Saturday’s game between the West Indies and Sri Lanka was called off when a member of the Sri Lankan support staff tested positive for Covid.

“Steps will be taken to bring back the Sri Lanka women’s team from Zimbabwe,” SLC said.

The detection of the Omicron variant in South Africa has prompted some countries to tighten border controls and impose curbs on travel from several southern African countries, including Zimbabwe.

After the cancellation of the qualifiers, the ICC said that Bangladesh, Pakistan and the West Indies will progress to next year’s World Cup in New Zealand by virtue of their rankings. The three teams will join New Zealand, Australia, India, England and South Africa.

South African sport began to shut down on Friday as the travel bans forced rugby teams and golfers to scramble to try to leave the country.

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Aus vs Eng, Men’s Ashes 2021-22




The uncapped wicketkeeper is in the running alongside Alex Carey to replace Tim Paine

Frustration over his own inability to convert starts into big scores was the catalyst for Josh Inglis‘ rapid rise towards Test selection for the Ashes.
Inglis is likely to find out in the coming days if he has bolted into Australia’s team for the first Test in Brisbane, locked in a battle with Alex Carey to succeed Tim Paine. But it comes after a remarkable 15 months for the West Australian.

Sixty innings into his first-class career at the start of last summer, Inglis was yet to reach three figures after failing to convert nine half-centuries. It prompted him to speak with sports psychologist Matthew Burgin and spend more time with batting coach Beau Casson, with a heavy focus on how to train his mind in between deliveries.

“It sort of plays on your mind after 20 or 25 Shield games without making a hundred,” Inglis said. “It was something that I really wanted to work on in my game.

“I went to Matt, who’s now with Cricket Australia. I just really narrowed down my focus and my routines…I just really wanted to face more balls and prolong my innings.

“I spoke in depth about that, it was brilliant. It changed my game and allowed me to build a couple of big innings last year.”

Inglis, 26, is doing his best to put Test selection out of his mind, reasoning he will still have a game for Australia A to prepare for if overlooked for the Ashes opener. But the difference in Inglis since starting with Burgin has been stark, with his first-class average before last summer 28.15 compared to 58.00 since – including three centuries.

It’s also held him in good stead in recent weeks, with time as a reserve in Australia’s T20 World Cup squad and the ensuing hotel quarantine limiting time in the middle.

“That’s probably the beauty of it. I can replicate what I’m doing in training and in games,” Inglis said. “It’s not something that just comes out during a Shield game or an A game or whatever. I’m trying to use that every time I pick up a bat to help myself.

“It’s before the ball is bowled, facing the delivery and then after the ball is bowled. It’s everything. And it’s doing it at training as well to make sure I’m replicating it as much as possible.”

The other narrative around Inglis’ potential Test debut is that it would come against the country of his birth.

Born in Leeds and a product of the Yorkshire system, his first memories of the Ashes centre around hapless nights watching Matthew Hayden plunder runs in the 2002-03 series.

He vividly remembers Kevin Pietersen and current quick James Anderson reclaiming the urn in 2005, and still supported England when he arrived in Australia at age 14.

Inglis also has his old English accent back, admitting the “twang” had returned to his voice in a county stint earlier this year.

“It would obviously be very interesting [debuting against England]. It doesn’t happen very often,” Inglis said. “As a kid obviously growing up in England, I supported England.

“But [my family] would obviously still be really proud and happy for me if it were to happen. It’s incredibly exciting. If given the opportunity, I’m feeling really confident.”

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More WBBL matches could move to primetime as viewership hits new records




The crowd for the final in Perth set a new benchmark for a standalone WBBL match

A WBBL final which brought a record crowd and record TV ratings could herald a shift towards more primetime matches in the future as the tournament looks to its next stage of evolution.

Perth Scorchers claimed the title on Saturday in front of 15,511 spectators at Optus Stadium which set a new benchmark for a standalone WBBL match. It also had the largest average broadcast audience in the competition’s history with 535,000 put it ahead of the 2018-19 final which was played ahead of a day of men’s Test cricket.

This was the first season where every match was available on television and overall CA said it was the most-watched edition. While Alistair Dobson, the general manager of Big Bash Leagues, believes the weekend festivals, which see multiple matches at the same venue, will continue to be an important part of the tournament there will be a push to exploit more evening time slots.

“Ultimately the ambition was of getting every game on TV and we were really thankful we could do that this year,” Dobson told ESPNcricinfo. “The next evolution is to optimise those blockbusters and there’s an opportunity for us to explore more primetime matches, whether that’s Thursday or Friday nights, and working with our broadcasters to build up some big annual marquee matches which I think is the obvious next step for the competition.”

The new finals structure, which gave the team who finished top of the regular season direct entry into the final, meant there was a week to promote the match in Perth.

“I think it worked exactly how we intended to give us a full week’s build-up but also rightfully rewarding the team that finished first with the biggest advantage which we felt was warranted,” Dobson said. “The atmosphere and noise just showed how passionate the fans are and think the quality of the game did it justice as well.

The season started in a Tasmania-based hub due to border restrictions in Australia and barring a brief lockdown in Hobart was played without significant problems although two major markets – Melbourne and Sydney – were unable to stage games.

“Firstly just being able to play and getting all eight teams together in Tasmania was no mean feat,” Dobson said. “But then the quality of the cricket throughout, the quality of the overseas players, it was amazing to have such a great group of Indian players, they brought a whole new dimension, alongside all the other players.

“Matched by the depth of talent in Australia, a lot of the really big household names were easily matched by a lot of players we are all getting to know a lot better.

“In reinforces the WBBL as the No.1 cricket league for women and it’s really important we maintain that position in the future.”

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