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‘Cricket has a huge amount of learning to do’

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England captain reiterates claim that he did not witness any instances of racism in the Yorkshire dressing-room

Root’s initial statement on the subject earlier this month led Rafiq to claim he was “incredibly hurt” by his former team-mate’s failure to back up his claims of discrimination during their shared time at Yorkshire. And though Root added that the pair had exchanged a “couple of messages” since, he doubled down on his position while speaking ahead of England’s four-day Ashes warm-up in Brisbane.

“I stand by what I said. I don’t recall those incidents,” Root said. “If they are an oversight on my part then that’s an area that we all have to learn from, and I have to learn from.

“Hopefully when we finish this tour, we will get the opportunity to sit down and talk about this whole situation,” Root said of his relationship with Rafiq. “Along with talking to Azeem, I mentioned in my statement that I want to talk to Lord Patel [the chairman] at the club – those dialogues have started. I think it’s important we keep finding ways of bettering the sport, finding ways how we can individually affect things for the better and make a real change in it.

“There is still education that I need to undergo to develop myself further, and I think everyone does,” he added. “There’s so much work that has to be done, so much energy that has to be thrown into this and there has to be a real drive to make a real difference.”

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ICC chairman: 'Discrimination has no place in sport'

ICC chairman: ‘Discrimination has no place in sport’

Root said he was unable to comment, however, on Rafiq’s separate allegation that the nickname “Kevin” – a term he said had been coined by his former team-mate Gary Ballance to describe people of colour – had been an open secret within the England dressing-room. Rafiq’s testimony before Parliament also included the claim that Alex Hales had even named his dog “Kevin” as an in-joke, and the ECB has since opened an inquiry into the issue.

“That’s part of a live investigation and I’m currently not able to discuss matters on that because of that investigation,” Root said. “But clearly that is a phrase that should never be used whether in the dressing room or any part of society. I don’t think I’m in a position to comment more about that.”

Root did, however, insist that there had since been moments when “I feel like I have stepped in and called things out” – namely his on-field criticism of the West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, for making homophobic comments during a Test match in St Lucia in 2019.

“That comes from growth and learning and understanding and education,” he added. “Discrimination in general is something we have to look to stamp out as much as we can. If there are mistakes, maybe we call them out straight away, and we find a way to keep improving the environments we are playing and working in.

“I’m not saying we’ve always got things completely right, we haven’t, but we clearly have to look to keep getting better and better the sport as much as we can and have those difficult, uncomfortable conversations sometimes. Hopefully that makes a game better for everyone.

“I look at the group of players that are around this team right now and the other two England men’s teams,” Root added. “We have spent a lot of time talking about these topics and what’s happened, and how we can make a real difference.

“I certainly feel like there are a lot of good conversations happening which hopefully can follow into action and we can start to drive the game from our position at the spear point of the sport. That will only come in time from proving it and actually delivering on some of the things that we’ve discussed as a group.”

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket



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Under-19 World Cup – Bawa, Raghuvanshi centuries set up massive win for India against Uganda

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India 405 for 5 (Bawa 162, Raghuvanshi 144, Murungi 3-72) beat Uganda 79 all out (Sindhu 4-19, Hangargekar 2-8) by 326 runs

The 16-year-old Raghuvanshi started attacking the Uganda bowling right from the first over when he cut one square for four, and then dominated a 40-run opening stand with Harnoor Singh by playing the short balls offered by the Uganda bowlers on both sides behind square. He displayed his wristwork by flicking shots off his toes through midwicket and playing strong drives down the ground to reach his fifty in 49 balls.

Raghuvanshi, on 50, was joined by Raj Bawa after Nishant Sindhu fell for 15, and together they dominated for the next 22.4 overs where they scored 206 runs together. Bawa started his innings by putting away a low full toss through midwicket, and after a short period of quiet batting till the 21st over, the duo broke free.

The 22nd over went for 20 runs as Raghuvanshi hit two fours and Bawa smacked back-to-back sixes, the 26th had Raghuvanshi playing two sweeps for four and one drive past the bowler, and in the 27th over, Bawa played a sublime punch through deep cover and followed it up with pull to the long-on boundary to push India to 172 for 2. Bawa reached his fifty in 44 balls in the 28th over in style slog-sweeping a six over the leg side and by the end of the 30th over, India had breached 200.

Raghuvanshi reached his 93-ball century next over by pulling a short ball for four, and with at least one boundary coming off their bat till the 34th over, India’s run rate was hovering near seven and the chances of a 400+ score was looking like a reality for the first time in the innings.

Bawa then tore into Uganda bowler Joseph Baguma by hitting consecutive sixes off full-tosses and on 90, offered the first real chance when he edged a shot past the vacant slip cordon for four. He followed it up to move to 98 with a square cut that raced through the carpet. He reached his century in only 69 balls with a single to midwicket.

With both batters in triple digits, it appeared like the duo had shed all inhibitions and looked to tonk every ball out of the ground. Raghuvanshi went 6, 4, 4 in the 38th over, however, he was out on 144, top-edging a swipe to the wicketkeeper.

Bawa, though, was not going to stop, and he brought up India’s 300 in the 40th over with a six over extra cover. He kept finding the boundaries with ease and buried a six down the ground to reach his 101-ball 150 by easily flicking a shot over deep midwicket.

With Kaushal Tambe not lasting long, Bawa needed someone from the other end to also bring out the fireworks to help India breach 400, and wicketkeeper Dinesh Bana offered that aid by hitting a quickfire 14-ball 22. Bawa then saw off the innings in Aneeshwar Gautam’s company as their six-run 50th over took India to 405 for 5.

Uganda did not get going in their chase at all, with six batters failing to score a run. Rajvardhan Hangargekar rattled the top order with his two wickets and the stand-in captain Nishant Sindhu, who had bowled tight through the tournament but without the wickets to show for it, then ran through the middle order with a four-for, including the scalp of Uganda captain Pascal Murungi (34). Vicky Ostwal and Vasu Vats, drafted into the India squad hours before the match, took a wicket apiece to complete the rout. India will next play Bangladesh in the quarter-finals.

Bangladesh 110 for 1 (Mahfijul 64*, Iftakher 37) beat United Arab Emirates 148 all out (Mehra 43, Mondol 3-31) by nine wickets (DLS method)

In what was a virtual pre-quarterfinal match, defending champions Bangladesh rode on the back of a complete bowling performance in a rain-hit Group A game to secure their passage into the final eight by beating UAE by nine wickets.
Right-arm seamer Ripon Mondol took 3 for 31 while Ashiqur Zaman and Tanzim Hasan Sakib took two wickets apiece to bowl UAE out for 148. UAE had three batters getting starts, with Punya Mehra top-scoring with 43, but they lost their last six wickets for 46 runs, with Mondol causing maximum damage.

A rain-break changed the 149-run target to Bangladesh requiring 107 in 35 overs, and their openers set up the chase with an 86-run opening stand. Mahfijul Islam hit six fours and two sixes in his unbeaten 69-ball 64 and was assisted by Iftakher Hossain’s 70-ball 37. No. 3 Prantik Nawrose Nabil then gave Mahfijul company through to the end as Bangladesh wrapped up the nine-wicket win by the 25th over to finish second, behind England, in the group.

Pakistan 51 for 1 (Abbas 27*, Haseebullah 18*) beat Papua New Guinea 50 all out (Shehzad 5-7, Ahmed 3-10) by nine wickets

Seam-bowling allrounder Muhammad Shehzad took a five-wicket haul while conceding only seven runs to set up Pakistan’s demolition of Papua New Guinea and help his side finish table-toppers in Group C. Their nine-wicket win now sets up a quarter-final date against Australia.

Shehzad was the first-change bowler, and he had middle-order batters Aue Oru and Patrick Nou caught behind first up. He then returned to pick up the wickets of Sigo Kelly, Rasan Kevau and Karoho Kevau – all three for ducks – to bowl PNG out for 50 in 22.4 overs.

Shehzad’s bowling form, however, could not convert into a good batting show for him personally. He was out for a duck as opener, but the other opener Abbas Ali scored 27 in 32 balls in the company of the captain Hasebullah Khan (18*) to leave Pakistan with a perfect Group C record of three wins in three games.

Afghanistan 261 for 6 (Safi 111, Kharote 50, Falao 3-54) beat Zimbabwe 152 all out (Welch 53, Kharote 4-30) by 109 runs

In a must-win game for both sides, Afghanistan rode on the back of their captain Suliman Safi‘s 111 and an all-round show from Nangeyalia Kharote to pip Zimbabwe to the second spot in Group C with a comprehensive 109-run win. Afghanistan will now participate in an all-Asian quarter-final against Group D toppers Sri Lanka.

The left-hand opener Kharote hit a 45-ball 50 to build Afghanistan’s foundation, but it was Safi’s century from No. 4 that took them to 261 for 6. Safi hit 14 fours and three sixes in his 118-ball 111, dominating a 108-run fifth-wicket stand with Mohammad Ishaq where he made just 39. Although expensive, Zimbabwe seamer Alex Falao took a three-for.

Zimbabwe made a promising start to the chase, putting up 49 in their opening stand, with Matthew Welch making most of the runs. However, Kharote’s left-arm spin then ran through the middle order, helping him finish with 4 for 30, which also included the wickets of Zimbabwe’s top-scorer Welch (53), the captain Emmanuel Bawa, and David and Brian Bennett. Sandwiched between his wickets was the run out that Kharote effected to send Connor Mitchell back for a duck, and leg spinner Izharulhaq Naveed made short work of the tail. The other left-arm spinner Shahidullah Hasani took two top-order wickets too, and Zimbabwe folded for 152.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx



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No Australian free-to-air broadcaster for Women’s ODI World Cup

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Australia’s matches at both upcoming men’s World Cups in 2022 and 2023 will be broadcast by Nine

Australia’s defence of the Men’s T20 World Cup will be broadcast on the Nine Network but the Women’s ODI World Cup is set to be without a free-to-air broadcaster.

Nine has confirmed it will screen every game involving Aaron Finch’s side at this year’s Men’s T20 World Cup, which is being staged in Australia from October 16 to November 13.

The network has flagged it will broadcast “other big match-ups”, likely to include a blockbuster between India and Pakistan at the MCG on October 23.
Nine will also show the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup as part of its broadcast deal with the International Cricket Council (ICC) that covers major tournaments. Every match at the two World Cups will be screened on Foxtel and Kayo.

But it appears the Women’s ODI World Cup, which begins in March and is being hosted by New Zealand, will only be available to Australian fans via Foxtel and its streaming service.

Wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy was quick to respond to the news on Twitter.

“In light of this mornings “interesting” news – I’m going to offer up 20x @kayosports Gift Cards for people to be able to watch our World Cup next month… Only available to Aussie based watchers (sorry). Hit me up if you want one. #BreakTheBias,” she tweeted.

Nine had local broadcast rights for the 2020 Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia, which culminated in the hosts defeating India in front of a crowd of 86,174 at the MCG on International Women’s Day.

That T20 World Cup final was relegated to 9Gem, while Married At First Sight was screened on Nine’s main channel. The match attracted a national TV audience of 825,000 on 9Gem, while 406,000 tuned in via Foxtel.

Nine’s long-term arrangement with Cricket Australia ended in 2018, when Foxtel and the Seven Network shelled out a combined AUD$1.182 billion as part of a six-year broadcast deal. However, broadcast rights for ICC events fall under a different umbrella.



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Tayla Vlaeminck ruled out of Ashes and ODI World Cup with stress fracture

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The quick bowler has suffered a recurrence of the injury which ended her T20 World Cup

Australia fast bowler Tayla Vlaeminck will miss her second consecutive World Cup as well as the remainder of the ongoing Ashes after suffering another stress fracture in her right foot.

Vlaeminck played the opening T20I against England in Adelaide where she bowled with good pace but then reported soreness and was seen in a moonboot during the second match that was washed out on Saturday.

The injury has again occurred in the navicular bone, which is the same one which ruled her out of 2020 T20 World Cup on the eve of the tournament although that fracture had completely healed, and she will now miss the ODI event in New Zealand.

Australia have tried to carefully manage Vlaeminck, one of the quickest bowlers in the world, through the early stages of her career and she has been limited to 24 appearances across three formats since her debut in 2018.

“Tayla has sustained an acute navicular stress fracture,” Australia team doctor Phillipa Inge said. “She had a similar injury in early 2020; this fracture completely healed and Tayla made a successful return to play to international cricket in March 2021.

“Tayla reported a return in midfoot pain and subsequent images have confirmed a recurrent stress fracture of the navicular.

“The Cricket Australia and Cricket Victoria medical teams will work collaboratively on the immediate management over the coming days and a subsequent return to play plan. She will be unavailable for the Ashes series and ODI World Cup.”

Australia’s selectors will decide on a replacement for Vlaeminck in the coming days but, if they want a like-for-like, it could open the door for tall quick Stella Campbell who made her debut against India earlier this season. Campbell is currently part of the Australia A squad and took 7 for 25 in the WNCL at the start of January.

Vlaeminck adds to a growing list of injuries for Australia as they begin an intensive period of cricket. Legspinner Georgia Wareham is out until next season due to an ACL injury while left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux is unavailable for the Ashes due to a stress fracture of her foot, but it is hoped she will recover for the World Cup.

Beth Mooney has missed the start of the Ashes after suffering a fractured jaw at training although has already returned to light training following surgery last week.



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