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Ban vs Pak 2021 – ‘Everyone dreams of this day’

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With stories mirroring those of cricket nuts across the subcontinent, Mahmudul Hasan Joy and Rejaur Rahman Raja are on the brink of realising their dreams

Mahmudul Hasan Joy and Rejaur Rahman Raja, the newest faces in Bangladesh’s Test squad, might have taken very different paths to the top, but taped-tennis-ball cricket, ubiquitous in cricketing stories across the subcontinent, inevitably comes up when they look back on their journeys. Speaking ahead of the home Tests against Pakistan, the two relived some memories of their formative years, and spoke of their joy at breaking into the Test squad.

Virtually an unknown quantity, fast-bowler Raja came through a talent-hunt programme, sponsored by Gazi Group, in 2016, before playing the Dhaka leagues, and eventually being picked for first-class cricket. He has played only a handful of first-class matches for Sylhet Division, but had already impressed the likes of high-performance bowling coach Champaka Ramanayake and chief selector Habibul Bashar.

“I started playing cricket with a taped tennis ball. After I played in my first cricket ball tournament, some of the elder brothers from my neighbourhood told me I should start training in the stadium,” Raja said after a training session with the squad at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram on Tuesday. “Once I started doing that, I realised I can do well with the cricket ball too. That’s how I got started.”

Raja feels an ability to continue to bowl fast during his later spells on any given day is one of his main strengths. “Fast bowlers from Sylhet like Rahi bhai [Abu Jayed Rahi], Ebadat bhai [Ebadat Hossain] and Khaled bhai [Khaled Ahmed] have motivated me.

“I like taking on challenges. I have done well in first-class competitions. I can build on bowling a number of spells in a four-day match. I can maintain my strength. I can bowl consistently. I can move the ball too. I have bowled faster later in the day than I bowl at the start of the day.”

“I have a hard time expressing my feelings about this moment,” Joy said. “Everyone dreams of this day. I am really happy at my first opportunity in the Test squad. I am quite confident after a few good innings in the NCL. I also did well in the high-performance and A-team matches. These matches have prepared me for the challenges ahead.”

In another story common to players across the subcontinent, both had to convince their families to let them pursue cricket even if it sidelined their education. Now the question remains, come match-day against Pakistan, can they realise the dream of scores of other cricket-mad kids from the region who face similar obstacles and nurture similar aspirations?

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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Brandon King has his sights on 2022 T20 World Cup

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The batter’s immediate aim is to top the scoring charts in the coming T20Is against England at home



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WI vs Eng, 2022 – Jason Roy returns to action with 36-ball hundred ahead of West Indies T20Is

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England signalled his fitness by smashing 115 off 47 in a warm-up match ahead of the T20I series against West Indies

England 231 for 4 (Roy 115, Vince 40*) beat Barbados Cricket Association President’s XI 137 for 11 (Springer 36, Mills 3-25) by 94 runs

Jason Roy marked his return to fitness by hitting a 36-ball hundred – and 115 off 47 overall – in England’s warm-up match against a BCA President’s XI at Kensington Oval.
Roy has not played any cricket since tearing his left calf muscle during England’s final Super 12s game of the T20 World Cup against South Africa in November when he collapsed in pain after running a single and was carried off the pitch.

But his onslaught, which contained nine fours and ten sixes, signalled his fitness ahead of the five-match T20I series that starts on Saturday and will be staged in Barbados in its entirety.



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Recent Match Report – ENG Women vs AUS Women 1st T20I 2021/22

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Meg Lanning said while her side had undergone some enforced changes, she was confident in their make-up

Toss Australia chose to bowl vs England

Australia opted to field in the first T20I against England in Adelaide, the opening match of the 2022 Women’s Ashes.

Grace Harris has been recalled to cover for Mooney’s absence and is listed in the middle order, while legspinner Alana King will make her debut for the home side, who are without the injured Georgia Wareham and Sophie Molineux.
Maia Bouchier will play just her third T20I for England after she impressed during the warm-ups. Part of England’s senior Ashes squad, she top-scored with 27 for England A in the second T20 warm-up, both of which were won by the A side.

Lanning, the Australia captain, said while her side had undergone some enforced changes, she was confident in their make-up.

“It’s a belter of a wicket, it always is at Adelaide Oval,” Lanning told the host broadcaster. “We feel like we’ve got a different look but hopefully we’ve got all bases covered.”

Heather Knight said she would have also opted to bowl, had she won the toss.

Making up the multi-format series, three T20Is in Adelaide will be followed by a Test in Canberra, then three ODIs – the first in Canberra and two in Melbourne. Two points will be awarded for victory in each of the limited-overs matches, with the Test worth four points for the win.

Australia: 1 Alyssa Healy (wk), 2 Meg Lanning (capt), 3 Tahlia McGrath, 4 Rachael Haynes, 5 Ashleigh Gardner, 6 Grace Harris, 7 Nicola Carey, 8 Jess Jonassen, 9 Alana King, 10 Tayla Vlaeminck, 11 Megan Schutt

England: 1 Tammy Beaumont, 2 Danni Wyatt, 3 Heather Knight (capt), 4 Nat Sciver, 5 Amy Jones, 6 Sophia Dunkley, 7 Maia Bouchier, 8 Katherine Brunt, 9 Sophie Ecclestone, 10 Sarah Glenn, 11 Freya Davies

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo



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