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T20 World Cup 2021 – England

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“I think he brings so much more than just the batting” – England coach says of white-ball captain

Eoin Morgan is the only man who can determine his future as England’s limited-overs captain and he was already making plans for the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia on the bus back from Abu Dhabi to Dubai after their defeat to New Zealand, Chris Silverwood has said.
England lost by five wickets with an over to spare in Wednesday’s semi-final, thanks to a late surge from James Neesham and Daryl Mitchell, after which Morgan insisted that he would continue in the role in spite of his poor form with the bat this year. Silverwood, England’s head coach, gave Morgan carte blanche to stay on, saying that “the longer he is there, the better”.

“He’s got to make that decision himself,” Silverwood said on Thursday. “Morgs and I talk a lot. We are always chatting away. Even last night on the coach on the way back, his mind had already gone on to the next [World Cup], what do we need to do, what are we looking for. As soon as those conversations start, in my mind, that is it for us: he’s in. He wants it, and he wants to lead. I think he will make his mind up when he’s ready.

“He’s a very strong leader, and has been for many years now. I still think he’s got a lot of years in front of him that he can give to this team, and this team enjoy having him at the front. I think we are a stronger unit for it. We’ve seen that, at stages in the tournament, he has slipped down the order to let others put their mark on the game. I think that’s testament to what a good leader he is. For me, the longer he is there, the better.

“He probably hasn’t got the runs he wanted, but the value he brings as a leader outweighs that. That’s how I see it. What he brings to the team from a tactical point of view, a motivational point of view and from the way he gets all the players and staff to buy in behind him and to follow him… I think he brings so much more than just the batting.”

Silverwood said that England were “hurting” after having their place in the final “snatched away” from them but that he took pride in their performances across the World Cup in the absence of three important players in Jofra Archer, Sam Curran and Ben Stokes, with Tymal Mills and Jason Roy ruled out later in the tournament and that the same core would be in Australia next year.

“I’m not going to lie – it would have been nice to have had Tymal out there, or bring in Archer. But at the same time we did have strength on the bench,” Silverwood said. “It does show a depth of talent, which is very encouraging. A lot of people will be better for the experience.

“At the same time, we have got a group of lads who are hurting, which you can understand as well. To get so close, touching distance, and then to have it snatched away… we had the game under control for a lot of the time, [but Neesham] came in and played some exceptional shots, made life difficult for us.

“We have a lot of talent. It [the next World Cup] comes in such a short period of time – it’s not like it’s in three or four years’ time. I don’t think age particularly comes into this one. We have got a good pool of players that we are picking from… I imagine everyone will be throwing their hat in the ring.”

“We have got a group of lads who are hurting, which you can understand as well. To get so close, touching distance, and then to have it snatched away.”

Chris Silverwood, England coach

England’s multi-format players – Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Dawid Malan, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood – will fly out of Dubai this weekend on a charter flight with the Australia squad, along with most of the coaching staff at the World Cup. Silverwood, whose appointment in 2019 was intended to signal an increased focus on Test cricket rather than white-ball formats, maintained that he was the right man to coach England’s limited-overs sides.

“It does keep me very busy, but at the same time I’m enjoying the role,” he said. “You’re involved in everything, you’re an integral part of it and that’s exactly what you want and you want to have the ability to effect change if you can and try and bring some success and help the players. The big one for me is to make sure that myself, the coaching staff, all of us are helping the players to be in the best place possible to go out there and perform and live their dreams. That’s what I enjoy doing, so for the moment I’m fine.”

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98



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BBL11 2021-22 – Adelaide Strikers hit by Ashes selection calls, but Rashid Khan provides star quality

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Travis Head and Alex Carey look set to miss most of the tournament

Squad
Wes Agar, Fawad Ahmed, Alex Carey, Harry Conway, George Garton (England), Ryan Gibson, Travis Head, Spencer Johnson, Rashid Khan (Afghanistan), Harry Nielsen, Liam O’Connor, Matt Renshaw, Liam Scott, Matt Short, Peter Siddle, Jake Weatherald, Jon Wells, Daniel Worrall, Daniel Drew (replacement), Thomas Kelly (replacement)

In Fawad Ahmed (Scorchers), George Garton
Out Danny Briggs, Michael Neser (Heat), Phil Salt, Cameron Valente

Last season Fifth
The BBL07 champions endured an inconsistent season marked by several perplexing home defeats and they were fortunate to qualify for the playoffs after results went their way. There was hope a strong top-order of Alex Carey, Jake Weatherald and Travis Head could click into gear at the pointy end but the Strikers’ disappointing season ended at the hands of Brisbane Heat in the eliminator. They showed occasional signs of being a force, but lapses proved costly – none more so than during a disastrous home loss to struggling Melbourne Renegades. Their middle-order constantly struggled to fire, while the absence of brilliant spinner Rashid Khan in the latter stages considerably weakened Strikers’ attack.

International impact
The final Ashes selection calls have left Strikers significantly shorthanded at the top of the order. Alex Carey has won the race to be Tim Paine’s replacement while Head has been preferred over Usman Khawaja to bat No. 5. Matt Renshaw is also with the Australia A squad so will miss the early matches. Rashid should be available for the entire tournament.

Player to watch
Rashid Khan has proven to be Strikers’ talisman for many years and brings a concoction of high skill and showmanship to the team. When he’s in his groove, Strikers are tough to beat and his absence late last season due to international duties magnified Rashid’s importance. The 23-year-old arrives in Australia in form following a typically brilliant showing at the T20 World Cup, where he snared eight wickets in five games. Rashid has had to shrug off the disappointment of Afghanistan’s historic Test in Australia being postponed, but helping inspire the Strikers back up the ladder would provide some solace.

Key stat (Gaurav Sundararaman)
Strikers have been the most economical bowling unit over the last two seasons. In 2019-20 they went at 7.80 while in 2020 they went at 7.60. Although Rashid is a big contributor to that stat the support provided by the pace bowlers is also very valuable. Their quicks go only at 7.83 which is the second best in the competition

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth



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Recent Match Report – Heat vs Thunder 2nd Match 2021/22

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Daniel Sams and Gurinder Sandhu stood out with the ball to take combined figures of 5 for 39

Sydney Thunder 3 for 141 (Ross 61*, Billings 45*) beat Brisbane Heat 8 for 140 (Duckett 46, Heazlett 42, Sams 3-22) by seven wickets

Sydney Thunder made a succesful start to their BBL campaign, easing to a seven-wicket win over Brisbane Heat. The contest looked finely poised when Thunder slumped to 3 for 32 chasing Heat’s 8 for 140 at Manuka Oval, but an unbeaten 109-run stand between Alex Ross and Sam Billings saw them take complete control.

Ross, who top scored with 61 not out off 46 balls to be named player of the match, was in command throughout striking seven fours and two sixes in a masterful display in which he scored freely around the ground.

Thunder’s chase began poorly when Alex Hales was dismissed off the second ball, chipping a Xavier Bartlett delivery to cover. Matthew Gilkes looked in control, driving the second ball he faced for four through point and flicking another off his pads two overs later for six.

Thunder then lost Sam Whiteman, who spooned a pull shot down midwicket’s throat off debutant Heat paceman Liam Guthrie for 12, to leave the side 2 for 28. Two balls later it was double delight for Guthrie, who trapped Gilkes lbw dismissing the danger man for 20 off 10 balls.

Thunder were reeling until Billings played the perfect supporting role for Ross and they claimed the win with 17 balls to spare.

Thunder quicks Daniel Sams and Gurinder Sandhu earlier combined for five wickets. Heat limped to 2 for 20 from their first four overs, with openers Max Bryant and Chris Lynn dismissed in quick succession.

Bryant departed for 5 after popping a leading edge into the hands of Ross off Nathan McAndrew’s bowling. Lynn joined him three balls later, smashing one straight to short cover off Sandhu.

Ben Duckett and Sam Heazlett steadied without playing too many huge shots and crossed the 10-over mark at 2 for 58, having built their side a platform. As the pressure built, Heazlett teed off and was lucky to be dropped in successive balls after skying Ben Cutting in the 12th over.

Heat took flight in their Power Surge, smashing 12 off the first over before Heazlett miscued a slower ball to be caught and bowled by Sams.

The first and only six of the innings came in the 18th over when Bartlett hit one into the Bob Hawke Stand, his cameo 26 off 18 balls helping Heat find some late runs.



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IND vs NZ, 2nd Test, Day 4 – Tom Latham

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Stand-in captain explains rationale behind their intent to attack India’s spinners

It is the nature of cricket conversations that when you get bowled out for 62 and 167 all the focus is on the batters, who essentially just respond to the conditions and the opposition bowling. It isn’t so much around the bowlers who allow the opposition to score 325 and 276 for 7 on the same surface.

When you are faced, as a traveling team, with such conditions and the bowling of India’s quality, there is not much the batters can do really if the bowlers allow the hosts to score above-par scores.

Tom Latham, New Zealand’s stand-in captain, though, found himself talking about his batters extensively, and Ross Taylor in particular. Taylor’s approach in the second innings, where he tried to attack the spinners and failed to do so, came in for sharper criticism than Will Somerville’s returns: the only spinner to have bowled 50 overs in a series in India without a wicket.

“Ross obviously had the approach where he tried to put their bowlers under pressure,” Latham said. “As soon as you do that, subcontinent teams tend to take players from under the bat pretty quickly. Unfortunately for Ross, it didn’t quite work out for him. That was the plan Ross had going into that innings.

“In these conditions, you can’t just allow them to bowl. They are very good. They are very accurate, and they don’t give you much to hit. For us it was about trying to put a little bit more pressure on them to get a few more fielders away from the bat. Because you know they don’t miss that often.

“For us it was about guys having a certain plan and being able to stick to that. If you have a plan and you get out, that’s just the game of cricket. It’s up to individuals how they approach their innings.”

Latham said there wasn’t much they could have done differently when they got bowled out for 62. “One of those things in cricket where everything you do doesn’t tend to work,” Latham said. “One of those days that happens in cricket. We have done that to teams at different times around the world. Unfortunately it was our time and things didn’t quite unfold the way we would have wanted.

“From our point of view, you have to take a lot of learnings from it. The way we came out in the second innings, and the guys sort of changed their game plan a little bit and put a bit of pressure on their bowlers… [but] as we know in India, the longer you go, the harder is gets to bat. One of those games where we unfortunately couldn’t get the right result.”

There were small positives on the Test tour, but far from a finished product. “Those three guys you mentioned [Ajaz Patel, Will Young, Rachin Ravindra], their first time in this part of the world, for them to step up at different times for us, and to make contributions throughout the series was outstanding,” Latham said. “It is great for the depth of New Zealand cricket to have more exposure in these conditions.

“The more you play in this part of the world, the more you sort of learn and are able to grow your game. Obviously pleasing for those guys but also for everyone else there are learnings to take. So that the next time we are here, those learnings will be put to practice.”

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo



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