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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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2022 English season – County Championship gets midsummer boost as 2022 fixtures are announced

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Bob Willis Trophy shelved, Yorkshire retained in Division One, Blast to be played in single block

“Lessons have been learnt” from England’s poor Test showing in 2021, according to Neil Snowball, the ECB’s managing director of county cricket, following the announcement of a 2022 domestic schedule which will provide prospective Test players more opportunity for red-ball cricket in the lead-up to their encounters with New Zealand, South Africa and India this summer.

Two “County Select XI” fixtures against New Zealand and South Africa, distinct from the England Lions set-up, have been added to the schedule as well, to provide Test candidates with further opportunities to pit themselves against the tourists. This comes after complaints in 2021 that England were undercooked going into their main campaign of the summer, against India in August and September, following just two Championship rounds in early July prior to the launch of the first season of the Hundred.

“It’s obviously well documented and acknowledged that recent results were extremely disappointing which again has called for a look at our approach to red-ball cricket,” Snowball said. “Clearly, the men’s domestic game has got a significant role to play in that, in terms of making sure that we can develop the best possible Test players who can then go on to aspire to be the best team in the world. We don’t think that county cricket has all the answers, but it certainly has some of the answers, and it certainly has an important role to play going forward, along with the first-class counties and the PCA and other stakeholders.”

Yorkshire have been included in the schedule as a Division One team, in spite of the ongoing investigation into the racism scandal that rocked the club in 2021 and may yet lead to further sanctions from the Cricket Discipline Committee (CDC), while both the Bob Willis Trophy final and the traditional Champion County versus MCC fixture, which has been held in the UAE and Barbados in recent seasons, have been shelved.
The Bob Willis Trophy, hastily arranged for the delayed 2020 season, was a success in providing context to a condensed first-class programme and culminated in a showpiece final at Lord’s. However, last season’s final was an anti-climax – comfortably won by Warwickshire, for whom it was a distant second to their County Championship triumph.

“The Bob Willis Trophy served us very well in 2020 to rescue the season, and of course we played for it last year as well,” Snowball said. “We’re very keen to continue to celebrate Bob’s legacy with a Bob Willis Trophy in some format but we’re not quite sure what that’s going to be yet. We’re in discussions with his family on that.”

In a bid to maximise the counties’ preference for Blast fixtures towards the back end of the working week, 99 of the 126 fixtures have been scheduled for Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. And, in an echo of the successful staging of the Hundred, in which the majority of women’s fixtures were played as double-headers alongside the men, ten Charlotte Edwards Cup matches will also feature on the same bill as the Blast, and at their respective county HQs.

Alan Fordham, the ECB’s head of cricket operations, said that the counties’ desire to put the women’s game on an equal footing to the men had been a factor in the double-header decision – as had the double bank holiday at the beginning of June, which encompasses half term and will provide an opportunity for more families to attend the matches. At this stage, one of the double-headers is due to be televised on Sky Sports.

A further boost for the women’s game will come with the final of the 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, which is due to be held at Lord’s for the first time, on Sunday, September 25. The men’s Royal London Cup final will once again be held at Trent Bridge, but has been moved back to a Saturday (September 17), having been held on a Thursday last season.

“The women’s game is just going to have a phenomenal year,” Snowball added. “We’ve got the Ashes starting in Adelaide. We’ve got the Women’s World Cup and then the Commonwealth Games In Birmingham as well as the second edition of the Hundred. So it’s a huge year for women’s domestic cricket and international cricket. We look forward to seeing how that unfolds.”

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket



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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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