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Ashes 2021-22 – ‘Still up in the air’




Carey makes 101 off 93 for South Australia, but Australia assistant coach Andrew McDonald does not know yet who will play the first Test against England

As clear as the decision was on Tim Paine’s successor as Australia’s Test captain, the decision to find his successor behind the stumps remains up in the air according to assistant coach Andrew McDonald, as Alex Carey and Josh Inglis appear neck and neck in the race to be named for the first Test against England.
It was announced on Friday that Paine would be stepping away from cricket indefinitely for a mental health break on the same day Australia announced Pat Cummins would replace him as captain.

But in the 48 hours since the Australia selectors, George Bailey, Justin Langer and Tony Dodemaide, have been mulling over the choice of Carey and Inglis to make their debut in Brisbane with McDonald none the wiser as to which way they are leaning.

“I think it’s really still up in the air,” McDonald said. “I think if it was clear then there would have been an announcement, so I’m sure that the selectors will be taking all the information in the last game today, I think, domestically before we switch out our focus into the Test match.

“We’ve got plenty of time before the first Test match, but I’m sure once they’re clear that there’ll be an announcement because we’ve got an Australia game and obviously Australia A game as well. So the preparation will split into sort of two camps from [December 5] onwards, so that’ll be something that will become clearer I would say over the next few days for us as coaches and then communicated externally.”

Carey made a statement today scoring 101 off 93 balls in the Marsh Cup clash with Queensland at Adelaide Oval. It was his second limited-overs century of the season after making 128 not out against Western Australia. He also scored a match-saving 66 not out against Queensland in a Sheffield Shield clash in October batting at No. 5 but his form with the bat in red-ball cricket has been abysmal with the bat since with scores of 0, 7, 6, 2, and 3 in his last five Shield innings. But his century today certainly came at the right time.

“It’s white-ball cricket, but any form is good form as we like to say,” McDonald said. “Obviously we’ve got Josh Inglis in camp with us at the moment, so he starved for match opportunities. Alex Carey was named in Australia A squad as a keeper as well. So we’ve got some options.

“And that’s the beauty of it, it’s always better to have options than no options. So look forward to whichever way that goes and the start of someone’s career.”

Carey does have a distinct advantage over Inglis having already played three years of international cricket, including in the cauldron of a World Cup in 2019. He has captained Australia in ODI cricket as recently as this year and has led Australia A twice in first-class matches. He had long been seen as the natural successor to Paine both as a wicketkeeper but also as a leader.

Inglis hasn’t yet played an international for Australia but has come with a rush into national calculations over the last few months. He took Carey’s spot as the second wicketkeeper in the T20I squad for the World Cup and is currently with the team in quarantine on the Gold Coast. But he has not played any official fixture since Australia’s T20 World Cup warm-up game against New Zealand after one Shield match against South Australia prior to heading to the UAE.

Carey’s toughness and temperament has long been his great strength and he bats No. 5 in South Australia meaning he is exposed to tougher batting conditions than Inglis is batting at No. 7 in a very strong Western Australia team.

While both men have solid first-class records with the bat, the debate among the selectors appears to be around their glovework with a clear preference to pick the best gloveman for the role, as was proven by Paine’s four years in the team having been recalled from near obscurity in 2017.

Inglis is regarded among the players and coaches on the domestic circuit as a slightly superior gloveman, although Carey’s work can’t be undersold as he does hold the record for the most dismissals in a Shield season with 59 in 2016-17.
The pair could set to face off on opposite sides if the three-day trial game in Brisbane starting on Wednesday goes ahead but the weather could force Australia’s hierarchy to reconsider their plans. After washing out England’s first practice game, heavy rain and thunderstorms are forecast in Brisbane on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Meanwhile, Jhye Richardson looks increasingly likely to play a part in the Ashes series at some stage after taking 23 wickets in his first four Shield games this season. Although he does still appear to be behind the big three of Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc in the pecking order for the first Test at least.

“Really positive return clearly on the back of some shoulder issues last year, so it’s great to see him up and running,” McDonald said. “George Bailey, has been casting a keen eye along with Tony Dodemaide following that form line very, very closely.

“There’s no doubt that he’ll be putting some pressure on across the summer, whether that’s the first Test match, whether that’s later on in the summer, but, you know, there’s three very handy ball is in front of him at the moment.”

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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




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’




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




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

Big picture

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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