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It’s the right time to end my Test career

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In a statement released by the BCB, Mahmudullah said “leaving a format of which I have been a part of for such a long time is not easy.”

Four months after informing his team-mates that he would no longer play Test cricket, the BCB has confirmed that Mahmudullah has indeed retired from the format, bringing the end to a 12-year career that began in 2009.
Mahmudullah had chatted with the team on day three of Bangladesh’s one-off Test against Zimbabwe in Harare, and had received a guard of honour from them on the final morning of the match, where he scored a career-best 150 not out. But there was no official recognition of the retirement from the BCB till now, as the timing of Mahmudullah’s decision is believed to have irked the board president Nazmul Hassan

In a press release, the board thanked Mahmudullah for his services in Tests but didn’t mention that he had announced his retirement in July. Mahmudullah’s statement was attached in the announcement too, where he thanked BCB president Hassan for bringing him back into the Test side against Zimbabwe.

Mahmudullah said “leaving a format of which I have been a part of for such a long time is not easy.” He, however, confirmed that he would still be playing limited-overs internationals.

“I had always thought of going on a high and I believe this is the right time to end my Test career,” he said. “I want to extend my gratitude to the BCB president for supporting me when I returned to the Test team. I thank my teammates and the support staff for always encouraging me and believing in my ability. It has been an absolute honour and privilege to play Test cricket for Bangladesh and I will cherish the many memories.

“Although I am retiring from Tests, I will still be playing ODIs and T20 internationals and really looking forward to continue giving my best for my country in white-ball cricket.”

The statement from both the board as well as Mahmudullah closes an uneasy chapter between the two parties regarding his retirement since July.

Mahmudullah was a last-minute inclusion in the Test side for the Zimbabwe match, part of his in-and-out routine in the Test side since 2017. He was first dropped for the home Tests against Australia that year, before being dropped last year following a long poor run in red-ball cricket.

Mahmudullah marked his return against Zimbabwe in style, hitting a career-high 150. He added 171 runs for the ninth wicket with tail-ender Taskin Ahmed, to set up Bangladesh’s 220-run win, their only Test victory this year.

The Harare Test also happened to be Mahmudullah’s 50th match in the format, having made his debut in 2009 in West Indies. He finished his career with 2914 runs at an average of 33.49, as well as taking 43 wickets with his offspin. Mahmudullah also led Bangladesh in one Test victory out of the six matches he captained, mostly in the absence of Shakib Al Hasan, since 2018.



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CPL 2022 – Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Curtly Ambrose join Jamaica Tallawahs coaching staff

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The pair have been appointed as head coach and bowling coach respectively

Former West Indies batter Shivnarine Chanderpaul has been named Jamaica Tallawahs head coach for the 2022 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) while Curtly Ambrose, the former West Indies quick, has been roped in as bowling coach.
Chanderpaul, 47, represented West Indies in 164 Tests, 264 ODIs, and 22 T20Is, scoring more than 20,000 international runs in an international career that began in 1994 and ended in 2015. He replaces Floyd Reifer, who quit the position after taking over as head coach of the West Indies Under-19 side.

Ambrose, 58, took 405 wickets in Tests and 225 wickets in ODIs in an international career spanning 274 matches over 12 years, from 1988 to 2000. He has had spells as bowling coach of West Indies – he was in the role when the team won the T20 World Cup in 2016 – as well as in the CPL (with Guyana Amazon Warriors for three years). He also spent three years as assistant coach of the Combined Campuses and Colleges in Caribbean regional cricket. He is qualified to Level 3 standard.

“Shivnarine has had an illustrious playing career and is one of the greats of the game. He has served West Indies cricket with distinction, and I know he will take the Tallawahs to new heights,” Krishna Persaud, the Tallawahs owner, said. “Sir Curtly brings in a lot of technical expertise and experience to the Tallawahs and we look forward to having him in the team.”

Chanderpaul said being appointed the head coach was an honour.

“It’s an absolute honour to be appointed as the new Head Coach of the Jamaica Tallawahs and I am really looking forward to working with the players and support staff to bring another championship to Jamaica,” Chanderpaul said.

Andre Coley will serve as the Tallawahs assistant coach. He was part of the inaugural management team at the High Performance Centre Programme in Barbados from 2010-2013.



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Mark Boucher charged with ‘gross misconduct’

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South Africa’s head coach to face a disciplinary hearing chaired by senior counsel advocate Terry Motau; he will remain in his role as coach in the interim

In a follow-up to the Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) report, Mark Boucher has been charged with gross misconduct by Cricket South Africa, and will face a disciplinary hearing chaired by senior counsel advocate Terry Motau. Boucher remains in his role as head coach of the senior men’s team, and will be with the team as they take on India in the second ODI in Paarl on Friday.

On Thursday, CSA named Motau as chairperson of the disciplinary hearing into the allegations of misconduct against Boucher, and said in a statement that the coach had been presented with his charge sheet.

The statement said: “It is proposed that the parties [Boucher] will meet with Advocate [Motau] on 26th January 2022 to determine a timetable for the proceedings.

“This follows December’s Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) report, which made tentative findings regarding allegations of discrimination and racism against various persons, including Mr Boucher. Specifically, during the SJN process, allegations of racism were levelled against Mr Boucher by his former Proteas team-mate, Paul Adams.
“CSA confirms that a charge sheet, containing both the disciplinary charges against Mr Boucher, as well as his rights, was provided to him on 17 January. The upcoming inquiry will also consider concerns and allegations that arose following the resignation of former assistant coach, Enoch Nkwe.

“While Mr Boucher is being charged with gross misconduct, which could lead to his dismissal, CSA emphasises it is important that the independent inquiry first needs to test all allegations before any question of sanction can arise.”

Responding to the development, Boucher issued a statement of his own later in the day, saying: “I look forward to dealing with and defending these allegations which have been made and will do so at the hearing in due course. For now I am solely focused on my duties as head coach of the Proteas.”*

The SJN report, which was released in December, made “tentative” findings that Boucher, among others, had engaged in prejudicial and discriminatory conduct in the past on the basis of race. But ombudsman Dumisa Ntsebeza was unable to make definite findings, and recommended to CSA that a further process be undertaken for this. This secondary process is now what CSA is flagging off, with Motau at the helm.

The CSA statement said further steps in this regard will be announced “in due course”. “Further steps and action by CSA to transform cricket and act on other applicable recommendations in the SJN report, aligned to the Board’s new strategic framework and pillars of access, inclusion and excellence, will be announced in due course.”

*2.45pm GMT, February 20: The article was updated with Boucher’s statement.



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Match Preview – Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe in Sri Lanka 2021/22, 3rd ODI

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Sri Lanka looked a batter short in the second ODI, with the Zimbabwe quicks triggering a collapse

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On Tuesday, two significant weaknesses in Sri Lanka’s XI were exposed. On flat tracks, even with Dushmantha Chameera in the side, the bowling attack lacked for penetration through the early and middle overs, with only legspinner Jeffrey Vandersay claiming wickets in the first 35. Then, while chasing 303, the top order’s fragilities were laid bare. Against testing but hardly unplayable bowling, Sri Lanka were 31 for 3 inside eight overs, and 63 for 4 inside 15. Although captain Dasun Shanaka‘s maiden international hundred kept Sri Lanka in the hunt, you don’t come out on top of many chases with the kind of start they had.

Their strategy has come under serious review with that loss; perhaps they are a batter short. With Kamindu Mendis and Charith Asalanka capable of contributing overs, could they perhaps push Chamika Karunaratne down to No. 8? And it is possible they did not use their better bowlers enough. Vandersay had one over unbowled; Karunaratne, who had taken a wicket and gone at only four an over, delivered only six of his possible ten.

Zimbabwe, meanwhile, will be thrilled at their own bowlers’ performances. Blessing Muzarabani was the standout on Tuesday, as he, Tendai Chatara and Richard Ngarava produced arguably the defining period of the game – the early overs of Sri Lanka’s innings. In fact, such was the dominance of those three quicks, and the control of left-arm spinner Wellington Masakadza, that Zimbabwe didn’t even need Sikandar Raza to bowl his offspin at any stage. The attack also held its nerve when the match seemed headed for a tight finish.
A victory in the final match would give Zimbabwe their first series win of this inaugural Super League cycle after also tying a series against Ireland. And it would be the second successive ODI series they would have won in Sri Lanka, having done the same back in 2017, which amounts to serious bragging rights.

Big picture

Sri Lanka LWWLW (Last five completed matches; most recent first)
Zimbabwe WLLWL

In the spotlight

In the four years that Blessing Muzarabani has played ODIs for Zimbabwe, he has had a substantial impact. Away from home, his numbers are excellent: 25 wickets from 16 matches at an average of 27.32. And what is more, since late 2020, he is on a pretty serious run of form despite the infrequency with which Zimbabwe play. In his last nine ODIs, he has gone wicketless only once. Tall, sharp and accurate, he will likely be a menace again come Friday.

While Dasun Shanaka did not have the best night as captain, perhaps mismanaging his bowling resources, he will at least be pleased that he produced his first excellent innings since taking over as Sri Lanka’s white-ball captain last year. His form had been a concern right through the last few months, and was perhaps the greatest sticking point in his captaincy so far. Another good innings will help shore up his leadership.

Pitch and conditions

Another flat surface is expected in Pallekele. The weather is not forecast to interrupt.

Team news

Offspinning allrounder Ramesh Mendis is likely to come into Sri Lanka’s XI in order to target Craig Ervine and Sean Williams, the two left-handers in Zimbabwe’s middle order, as well as to bolster the hosts’ batting. Maheesh Theekshana, who has been economical without being a major wicket-taking threat, is likeliest to make way.

Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Pathum Nissanka, 2 Kusal Mendis (wk), 3 Kamindu Mendis, 4 Dinesh Chandimal, 5 Charith Asalanka, 6 Dasun Shanaka (capt), 7 Chamika Karunaratne, 8 Ramesh Mendis, 9 Dushmantha Chameera, 10 Jeffrey Vandersay, 11 Nuwan Pradeep

Zimbabwe were unchanged in the second ODI, and will probably see no need to switch things up for this game too.

Zimbabwe (possible): 1 Regis Chakabva (wk), 2 Takudzwanashe Kaitano, 3 Craig Ervine (capt), 4 Wesley Madhevere, 5 Sean Williams, 6 Sikandar Raza, 7 Ryan Burl, 8 Wellington Masakadza, 9 Blessing Muzarabani, 10 Tendai Chatara, 11 Richard Ngarava

Stats and trivia

  • Zimbabwe have now won four of their last seven ODIs in Sri Lanka. Before 2017, they had never won a match on the island.
  • In 12 innings in 2020, Shanaka averaged 22.45 with a strike rate of 71. But thanks to Tuesday’s knock, he averages 112 and strikes at 106 across two innings so far this year.
  • Despite their modest overall ODI record, Sri Lanka have won three of their last four bilateral ODI series at home, defeating Bangladesh, West Indies and South Africa since 2019.
  • Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf



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