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County cricket – Ben Brown signs for Hampshire after early Sussex contract release




Wicketkeeper-batter will form part of a strong Championship middle order

Ben Brown has signed a two-year contract at Hampshire after leaving Sussex at the end of last year following his removal from the club captaincy.
Brown, 33, had two years left to run on his Sussex contract but was released from his deal in December following talks with the club. Brown had an excellent 2021 season with the bat, making 976 County Championship runs with four hundreds, but was axed as captain in mid-summer and requested a move.

He has signed an all-formats contract with Hampshire but will be expected to perform in the Championship in particular, as part of a strong middle order already containing James Vince, Nick Gubbins and Liam Dawson. He will be competing with Lewis McManus and Tom Alsop for the wicketkeeping gloves.

“Ben’s arrival is exciting news for the club and we are looking forward to welcoming him to the group next week,” Giles White, Hampshire’s director of cricket, said. “He brings many qualities and has a particularly impressive red-ball record; we are confident he’ll be a great addition to the squad.”

Brown said: “I am extremely proud and humbled to sign for Hampshire. To be joining such a talented playing squad and to have the opportunity to work with the club’s impressive coaching staff is a privilege.

“I’m looking forward to being able to call the Ageas Bowl my home ground and am hugely grateful to everyone at Hampshire for the opportunity to do so. I’m excited to be joining the group next week and to play my part in pushing for trophies and silverware over the coming years.”

Brown’s departure made him the latest in a string of senior players to leave Sussex in recent years, and came two weeks after Ian Salisbury, their Championship and 50-over head coach, had insisted he would see out the rest of his contract at a fans’ forum.

Sussex announced on Friday that Chris Adams and Tony Cottey have been added to their cricket committee, with Adams declaring that “it has been too long” since Sussex were regularly competing for trophies and that “many challenges lie ahead for the team and all the coaching staff”.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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Recent Match Report – Kings vs Sultans 1st Match 2021/22




Kings collapse after breezy Sharjeel knock to finish with below par total

Multan Sultans 126 for 3 (Rizwan 52*) beat Karachi Kings 124 for 5 (Sharjeel 43, Tahir 3-16) by seven wickets

There was split opinion on whether the opening ceremony of this year’s Pakistan Super League fell flat, but there was universal congruity that the opening match certainly did. A drab, one-sided contest saw Mohammad Rizwan’s Multan Sultans, who won the toss and, as expected, opted to field first crush home favourites Karachi Kings by seven wickets.

The Kings got off to a solid start but stuttered once a swashbuckling 31-ball 43 from Sharjeel Khan ended, and set the defending champions 125 for victory. Sultans were never in a rush to finish the game off, but the outcome was never in doubt, and by the 19th over, made official what everyone had known for a while – the Sultans had been much too good for the Kings.

Imran Tahir was the Sultans superstar, derailing a Kings innings that perhaps never quite took off as it was meant to. Babar Azam’s role as T20 opener was much scrutinised in the wake of Pakistan’s T20 World Cup semifinal loss to Australia, and he didn’t do his reputation any favours with a scratchy 29-ball 23 for his side, allowing the Sultans to gain the early momentum.

It was only thanks to Sharjeel, and some generous, gentle full tosses from Tim David that helped the Kings push their scoring rate up, and by the end of the 9th over, they had a solid platform, the scoreline reading 64 for none.

The evergreen Tahir, though, would change all that when a googly drew Sharjeel Khan into miscuing one to point, and Khushdil Shah snared an off-colour Babar the following over. Joe Clarke and Mohammad Nabi struggled for timing badly as the Sultans applied the squeeze, and as the need for runs grew desperate, Tahir returned to gobble up a couple more wickets and send the Kings sliding further, his figures reading 4-0-16-3.

The low target, combined with the expectation of heavy dew, meant Sultans strode out under little pressure, and batted like a side that knew it. Rizwan scored just one of his first 7, allowing Shan Masood to take the lead in the Powerplay. A few elegant shots from the left-hander, none more so than a classy drive back over Mohammad Imran’s head for six, set the tone early, and when Masood sent one straight to extra cover’s throat, he had perhaps already done his job with an 18-ball 26.

Multan might look at this game and think this game needed to be killed off more ruthlessly. Sohaib Maqsood and Rizwan trundled along at around a run-a-ball, unencumbered by scoreboard pressure, but in the 15th over, with the Sultans at 101 for one and the game seemingly wrapped up, Nabi struck twice in an over, getting rid of Maqsood and Rossouw. Some nerves kept in as the gap between runs required and balls remaining shrunk, but they were more jitters than panic.

Rizwan drove one beautifully over mid-off to bring up his half-century, and Tim David smashed another a few balls later over square leg for six to finish the Kings off. The stutter was over, and the defending champions are up and running.

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000

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WI vs Eng 2022 – Eoin Morgan ruled out of T20I series after sustaining quad injury




Captain missed third match after experiencing pain during England’s warm-up

Eoin Morgan, England’s white-ball captain, has been ruled out of the remaining two matches of England’s T20I series against West Indies in Barbados, after sustaining a low-grade quadriceps injury.

Morgan sat out England’s 20-run defeat in Wednesday’s third match, with Moeen Ali stepping in as his deputy, after feeling pain in his right quad during the pre-match warm-up.

An ECB statement added: “Follow-up testing revealed he sustained a right thigh-muscle injury which, whilst relatively minor, will prevent him from playing further games during the current tour.”

Morgan, 35, made scores of 17 from 29 balls and 13 from 12 in England’s first two fixtures – the former innings coming in the midst of a top-order collapse that included the loss of three wickets in the first two overs, and an eventual total of 103 all out.

England bounced back to win the second match, although West Indies’ lower-order battled back from the brink to reduce the margin to a solitary run.

Although England are currently ranked as the No.1 T20I team in the world, Morgan had identified this campaign as an opportunity to expand their options ahead of the next T20 World Cup in Australia in November.

“The whole tour is one where the development of our game is more important than a series win,” Morgan said ahead of the first T20I. “We’ve gone through this process before, and identifying the level of intensity, and our performance is far more important than the result.”

The squad in the Caribbean had already been missing a core of proven performers, with Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood among those rested following their involvement in the Ashes, while Jofra Archer has been absent following his recent elbow operation – although he has been back training with his team-mates on this trip.

In Morgan’s absence on Wednesday, England gave a T20I debut to Phil Salt, with Harry Brook and George Garton also making their maiden England appearances in place of Sam Billings and Saqib Mahmood, who was hit for 28 runs in his final over of the second match.

“A lot of talented guys will get opportunities throughout this series which is very exciting, not only for the team, but for them as well,” Morgan added. “They don’t get a lot of opportunity to go through a process like this so, for our long-term planning, as we strive to have deeper, stronger squads, it’s very important. The group that we would normally take to a World Cup has been together for quite some time, so the planning behind that is important to us.”

More to follow

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County news – Gareth Batty steps up as Surrey’s interim head coach




Former spinner takes over from Vikram Solanki, alongside Jim Troughton and Azhar Mahmood

Batty, 44, retired last season after a lengthy career as an offspinner that included nine Tests for England between 2003 and 2016. He was Surrey’s captain in the T20 Blast in the two seasons prior to his retirement, and had since been serving as an assistant coach from the club across all aspects of the professional squad.

He will be supported in his new role by Jim Troughton and Azhar Mahmood, who have been recruited as assistant coaches, also on an interim basis, until the end of the 2022 season.

“To be offered this opportunity is a great but very unexpected honour for me,” Batty said. “After retiring last summer, I was really enjoying working under Vikram and I see this as a great chance to keep working with this group of players.”

Alec Stewart, Surrey’s director of cricket, added: “Losing our Head Coach and an Assistant Coach so close to the start of the season is not ideal but I have every confidence in Gareth, Jim and Azhar stepping up to the plate and passing on their vast experience and knowledge to the squad.

“Gareth knows the club inside-out and already has the respect of the dressing room which will make his transition to Interim Head Coach a seamless one.

“Jim and Azhar are both excellent additions to our coaching team and I look forward to them working with the players and being an important part of our set up this season.”

Troughton, who was a former captain and head coach of Warwickshire, is joining Surrey for the first time, having worked as a batting coach with Somerset last season, while Mahmood is returning to the club where he won the County Championship, the National League and the Twenty20 Cup during his playing days.

Mahmood will be with the squad until the end of July, a period which will span the T20 Blast campaign, whereupon he will return to an existing role with the Oval Invincibles in The Hundred. He has previously served as bowling coach with Pakistan, and worked with Karachi Kings and Multan Sultans. He is currently Head Coach of Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League.

Speaking from Pakistan, where the PSL has just got underway, Mahmood said: “I’m very excited and thrilled to be back at Surrey County Cricket Club. The club is very close to my heart and I’m looking forward to working with old friends and new and a very talented and skilful squad.”

Troughton added: “I have a huge amount of respect for Alec Stewart and Vikram Solanki. Both were instrumental in me making this decision to join an illustrious club such as Surrey CCC. Alec’s vision for the role and the chance to work with some fantastic senior and junior players in the current set up is extremely exciting.

“Surrey have the ability to compete in all forms, possess current and potential England players and to be a part of that is a fantastic opportunity. I can’t wait to get started.”

Both Troughton and Mahmood will arrive at The Oval in early March, in time to play a full role in Surrey’s pre-season programme. The club intends to advertise for permanent coaching roles at the end of the 2022 season.

Richard Johnson, Surrey’s current assistant coach, is alo expected to leave the club after emerging as the frontrunner to fill the vacancy left by Stuart Law as Middlesex’s head coach.

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