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Cricket (758)

Bashir may face investigation

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Published in Cricket
Thursday, 30 March 2017 11:20

Cricketer Mustafa Bashir could face an investigation over claims he perverted the course of justice.

Bashir was given an 18-month sentence suspended for two years after admitting two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The 34-year-old was said to have beaten his wife, Fakhara Karim, with a cricket bat and forced her to drink bleach.

The judge's decision was in part because Bashir's lawyers claimed he would sign a contract with Leicestershire County Cricket Club if he was spared jail.

However, Leicestershire have said Bashir's claim was 'wholly false' and the CPS have confirmed to Sky Sports News HQ that they are looking at the case.

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesperson said: 'We are aware of recent developments relating to this case and are currently considering our options'.

Bashir's lawyer Hugh McKee has yet to respond to Sky Sports News HQ's request from comment.

A Leicestershire statement said: 'The club's legal advisers emailed a letter to Bashir's legal team reiterating that the club had never spoken or had any contact with Bashir or offered him a job.

"They also contacted the CPS to arrange for the club's Chief Executive, Wasim Khan, to give a statement to the same effect. This has now been given to Manchester police and they and the CPS will now be taking this matter forward."

Leicestershire CCC Chief Executive Wasim Khan said: "Leicestershire CCC are appalled that Bashir could have invented a job offer from the club in order, it would seem, to evade a prison sentence.

"The club are actively involved in the fight against domestic abuse and had already arranged a 'Bowling Out Domestic Violence' cricket match in September in support of the White Ribbon Campaign, set up to tackle domestic violence.

"So Bashir's claim was deeply disturbing for the club and we will continue to do what we can to support the authorities bring about justice."

Leinster to manage Sexton

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Published in Cricket
Tuesday, 28 March 2017 19:06

Stuart Lancaster insists Johnny Sexton will be carefully managed throughout the business end of a season that concludes with the British and Irish Lions' tour to New Zealand.

Sexton will return to Leinster's starting XV for their Champions Cup quarter-final against Wasps at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday in his first appearance since helping Ireland deny England back-to-back Grand Slams.

The 31-year-old missed the start of the championship with a calf problem but made enough of an impact on his return - including a brave shift against Eddie Jones' men - to identify him as favourite for the role of Lions Test fly-half.

Injury appears to be the main obstacle to his chances of featuring against the All Blacks but Lancaster, Leinster's senior coach, expects him to enjoy a productive run-in.

"Johnny is available," said Lancaster. "He's not had a great run of games this season, but when he has played he's been excellent, particularly in Europe.

"He's just been a bit unlucky with minor injuries - they've been nothing major and hopefully he'll get a decent run now until the end of the season.

"He'll be managed over the next few weeks. Johnny won't play every match but he's certainly fit and available for this one.

"I wouldn't go as far as to say he'll be first choice for the Lions because there's a long way to go.

"He was frustrated to miss the first two Six Nations games because of the calf injury.

"To play as well as he did in the games that he did play, he has to be contention for the Lions squad, not just because of his talent but because of his experience as well."

Leinster and Wasps have set the pace in their respective leagues and score on average over four tries in each match, pointing to a high-octane showdown in Dublin.

"We're both top of our competitions and something will have to give," Lancaster said. "It's great to go into a game where both teams are attack-minded.

"But with my defence coach's hat on, we need to be conceding less than four tries to win."

Lancaster confirmed that Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney hope to recover from their respective back and knee injuries in time for the end of the campaign.

Middlesex beat MCC in thriller

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Published in Cricket
Tuesday, 28 March 2017 19:04

John Simpson's crucial unbeaten 89 helped Middlesex to a thrilling one-wicket win over the MCC on day three of the Champion County match, in Abu Dhabi.

Set a stiff target of 305 to win, Middlesex were going along nicely at 242-4 - Nick Gubbins (52), Nick Compton (59) also hitting half centuries - before Craig Overton took a hat-trick to swing the game back in the MCC's favour.

Somerset seamer Overton (3-55), who also claimed impressive figures of 4-37 in the first innings, took the wickets of Stevie Eskinazi (44), skipper James Franklin and James Harris in consecutive deliveries shortly before the tea interval.

After the break, though legspinner Mason Crane added two further Middlesex wickets in the form of Harry Podmore (7) and Tom Helm (12), Simpson held his nerve to see the side through to a stunning victory.

Earlier, the MCC could add only six runs to their overnight score before being dismissed for 151 in their second innings, with the absent-through-injury Liam Plunkett unable to bat.

Despite the lofty fourth-innings target, and with a day still to spare, Middlesex went about the run-chase aggressively with the bat, bringing up their 100 inside 24 overs for the loss of only one wicket, Jack Leach picking up Sam Robson (20).

Crane (4-95) added the strikes of Gubbins and Compton, with Lewis Gregory bowling Dawid Malan (14) in between, to see the reigning county champions slip to 158-4.

Eskinazi and Simpson recovered things for Middlesex with their 84-run stand for the fifth wicket seemingly steering the side to victory only for Overton to intervene.

He trapped Eskinazi and Harris lbw either side of picking up Franklin caught behind, but the crucial wicket of Simpson proved elusive.

ODI off after Taskin hat-trick

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Published in Cricket
Tuesday, 28 March 2017 19:03

Taskin Ahmed became just the fifth Bangladeshi to take an ODI hat-trick before the second ODI against Sri Lanka was abandoned due to rain.

The 21-year-old seamer had Asela Gunaratne and Suranga Lakmal caught before bowling Nuwan Pradeep with a yorker to end the Sri Lanka innings.

However, Taskin's hat-trick ball proved to be the last of the match as rain came down during the innings break with no more action possible before the umpires were forced to abandon the game.

While Taskin (4-47) will take the plaudits following his hat-trick, it was Sri Lanka who appeared to have the upper hand at the halfway stage after Kusal Mendis' (102) maiden ODI century had taken them to 311 from 49.5 overs in Dambulla.

No side has ever successfully chased down over 300 in an ODI in Sri Lanka and the weather denied Bangladesh the chance to become the first.

The result means Bangladesh maintain their 1-0 series lead going into the the third and final ODI on Saturday.

Members balloted on T20 plan

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Published in Cricket
Tuesday, 28 March 2017 19:01

The England and Wales Cricket Board's proposals for a new franchise-style Twenty20 competition will be put to the vote over the next 28 days.

The plan was approved at ECB board level on Tuesday and it will now be up to the organisation's 41 members to rule on its implementation.

A quarter of members must be in favour, which means 31 'yes' votes are needed to approve the introduction of an eight-team tournament from 2020 to rival the likes of the Indian Premier League and Australia's Big Bash.

ECB chairman Colin Graves said: "The ECB Board today gave their unanimous support to trigger a formal process to change the game's Articles of Association and allow a new T20 competition.

"Our members have seen the evidence for why the new T20 proposal is the right way to reach new audiences, create new fans and fuel the future of the game.

"Together, we can now take a huge opportunity to not only create a deeper engagement with those who currently follow cricket but to attract a whole new audience and ensure the sustainability of our game. This is a watershed moment for us all to make the whole game stronger."

The ECB's 41 members comprise the first-class counties, 21 recreational boards, the Marylebone Cricket Club and the Minor Counties Cricket Association.

Sri Lanka lose injured Perera

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Published in Cricket
Friday, 24 March 2017 12:07

Sri Lanka will be without injured Kusal Perara for the first two one-day internationals against Bangladesh.

The wicketkeeper-batsman suffered a hamstring strain as a Sri Lanka Board President's XI earned a two-run win over the tourists on Wednesday.

Bangladesh include teenage off-spinner Mehedi Hasan in their squad; the 19-year-old was part of the squad that defeated Sri Lanka at the weekend in Colombo to draw the two-Test series 1-1.

Mehedi and several other Test specialists have returned home since the historic win, which was Bangladesh's 100th Test since their elevation to full status 17 years ago.

Mehedi has played seven Tests since making his debut against England last year but is yet to feature in a limited-over game.

Chief selector Minhajul Abedin said team management felt an off-spinner would work against Sri Lanka's left-handed batsmen in the ODI series opener in Dambula on Saturday.

"The composition of the Sri Lanka team suggested that we would need an extra off-spinner in the series," he told AFP.

Mehedi will join the 16-man Bangladesh squad already in Sri Lanka. The three-match ODI series will be followed by two Twenty20 internationals next month.

Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga (Capt.), Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis, Asela Gunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal, Danushka Gunathilaka, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Vikum Sanjaya, Thisara Perera, Sachith Pathirana, Seekkuge Prassanna, Lakshan Sandakan

Bangladesh squad: Mashrafe Mortaza (Capt), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mosaddek Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Subashis Roy, Sanjamul Islam, Shuvagata Hom, Nurul Hasan and Mehedi Hasan.

Plunkett: We can win ICC Trophy

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Published in Cricket
Friday, 24 March 2017 12:04

Liam Plunkett is confident England can claim their maiden major ODI title by winning this summer's ICC Champions Trophy.

The tournament is being contested this June with the hosts hoping to break their duck, with the hosts hoping to go one better than the 2013 tournament in England, when they lost to West Indies in the final.

England have reached five major finals in this form of cricket since the late 1970s, only to lose each one.

But Plunkett believes their luck is about to changem with the Yorkshire bowler speaking: "We've got a strong squad, big stars in our team.

"We fancy our chances. There are some good teams coming to England this summer, but we back ourselves to beat them.

"We're obviously flying and we're on home turf."

As for his own chances of being selected, he added: "It is tough, there are people who have been injured who are coming back.

"But I hope, after doing well this winter, I'll get the nod."

2017 ICC Champions Trophy fixtures

June 1 Group A: England v Bangladesh Oval

June 2 Group A: Australia v New Zealand Edgbaston

June 3 Group B: Sri Lanka v South Africa Oval

June 4 Group B: India v Pakistan Edgbaston

June 5 Group A: Australia v Bangladesh Oval

June 6 Group A: England v New Zealand Sophia Gardens

June 7 Group B: Pakistan v South Africa Edgbaston

June 8 Group B: India v Sri Lanka Oval

June 9 Group A: New Zealand v Bangladesh Sophia Gardens

June 10 Group A: England v Australia Edgbaston

June 11 Group B: India v South Africa Oval

June 12 Group B: Sri Lanka vs Pakistan Sophia Gardens

June 14 1st Semi-Final: Winner Group A v Runner-Up Group B Sophia Gardens

June 15 2nd Semi-Final: Runner-up Group A v Winner Group B Edgbaston

June 18 Final: Oval

Ex-Glamorgan coach John Derrick dies

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Published in Cricket
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 14:39

Former Glamorgan coach and player John Derrick has died at the age of 54.

Derrick, who played over 200 matches for Glamorgan and New Zealand's Northern Districts between 1983 and 1991 as a seam bowler and lower-order batsman, was diagnosed with a brain tumour last summer.

A statement on Glamorgan's official website said: "JD embodied all that is good about cricket at both professional and club level.

"Glamorgan CCC, and Welsh cricket as a whole, has lost a great and loyal servant, and the game will be very much the poorer for his passing."

Glamorgan chief executive Hugh Morris, a former team-mate, said: "John Derrick was one of my closest friends in the game.

"He was always a hugely popular member of the dressing room and universally liked throughout the game."

Former Glamorgan and England bowler Simon Jones also paid tribute, tweeting: "Saddened to hear the passing of John Derrick. Coached me, mentored me, amazing man.. RIP JD"

Cwmaman-born Derrick moved into coaching after his playing career finished and quickly rose through the ranks at Glamorgan.


He was Duncan Fletcher's assistant when Glamorgan won the county championship title in 1997.

Derrick took charge of his beloved Glamorgan five years later and steered them to National League titles in 2002 and 2004.

He also led Glamorgan to their only Twenty20 Finals Day appearance in 2004, as well as winning promotion in the county championship.

Derrick was replaced as coach in February 2007, but he remained in Welsh cricket and was appointed national performance director of the Cricket Board of Wales in 2010.

He was working in that role in charge of all the Wales age group sides, as well as the senior women's team, when he was taken ill last summer.

Gambhir: Aussies proved critics wrong

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Published in Cricket
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 14:05

Australia’s performances in the ongoing Test series against India have proved doubters wrong, says Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir.

The tourists, who lost five of their last six overseas series, were tipped for a rout by several high profile names, including former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly and spinner Harbhajan Singh.

However, Australia handed India their first loss in 19 Tests last month, and the four match-series is square at 1-1 with the final Test taking place on Saturday at Dharamsala.

"We should give credit to the Australian side which has played remarkably," said Gambhir, who was not picked for the series.


"Most players like Harbhajan and Sourav predicted a whitewash for India, but they have proved themselves brilliantly and with everything on the line, Australia will be a tricky opponent."

A major talking point emerged from the second Test, when Australian captain Steve Smith was accused by the Indians of looking to the dressing room for guidance, whilst making use of DRS. The ill-tempered second Test, concluded in victory for the India.

Gambhir, who last played a Test match in November last year, said keeping emotions in check at the international level was hard for players and sledging was an implicit part of the game.

The Delhi left-hander added: "It is fine to play hard and do whatever you can to upset the opposition till the time you don't get personal,"

"These are not robots playing the game, and when you are playing for your country and there are so many expectations on your shoulder, emotions can take over sometimes."


South seal series whitewash

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Published in Cricket
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 14:01

Mason Crane produced a stunning spell of leg-spin to secure a 3-0 whitewash for the South in a rain-affected climax to the North-South Series in Abu Dhabi.

The North seemed on course for victory in a game restricted to 40 overs per side by rare desert rain, with Ben Duckett providing a flying start to their pursuit of a modest South total of 228-8, and Sam Hain and Liam Livingstone sharing a mature third-wicket stand of 67 to steer the North to 146-2.

But Crane - the 20-year-old having recently become the first overseas player to represent New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield since Imran Khan - then offered further evidence of his exciting potential by taking four wickets for one run in the space of 10 balls under the floodlights at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

The game had been delayed by almost four hours by steady morning rain, and North captain Keaton Jennings chose to bowl when he won his third toss of the series.

Wickets fell steadily on a tricky pitch, but Daniel Bell-Drummond again displayed patience and skill to hold things together with his knock of 81 before Toby Roland-Jones provided some much-needed late runs, thumping an unbeaten 43 from 24 balls.

Mark Wood continued his encouraging comeback after ankle surgery by taking 2-38, and the North spinners Josh Poysden and Graeme White both impressed - Poysden taking 3-55, and White claiming James Vince and Bell-Drummond as classic slow-left-arm victims.

Duckett responded by whacking 37 from 17 balls with seven fours and a six, but Roland-Jones prevented him from inflicting any further damage, and Liam Dawson produced another tidy spell of left-arm spin before Crane's match-winning burst.

Hain was bowled for 44 from 97 balls, Joe Clarke was also bowled for a golden duck, and Crane went close to a hat-trick as Jack Leaning's edge fell short of second slip.

Leaning was out in the next over, also bowled and bemused, and finally Crane claimed the key wicket of Livingstone, the Lancashire all-rounder who excelled on the recent England Lions tour of Sri Lanka, and had just reached his first half century of the series.

He was lured down the pitch and smartly stumped by Ben Foakes, and despite another battling innings from Tim Bresnan, Toby Roland-Jones and Tom Curran polished of the North tail.


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