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England fire in warm-up win

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Published in Cricket
Sunday, 26 February 2017 20:16

England's batsmen fired in the opening game of their tour of the West Indies, scoring 379-8 in a 117-run warm-up win over a University of West Indies Vice Chancellor's XI, in St Kitts.

Captain Eoin Morgan top scored with 95 - smashing six fours and six sixes in his 84-ball knock - while Jason Roy (79 off 43 balls), Joe Root (71 off 76) and Ben Stokes (61 off 53) also hit half centuries.

In reply, opener Chadwick Walton (121 off 109) scored a magnificent century, but wickets steadily fell at the other end and the hosts were ultimately bowled out for 262 in the 40th over.

England, put into bat first, got off to a flying start despite the early wicket of Sam Billings (14), as Roy hit 12 fours and three sixes and in a characteristically enterprising innings.

He had helped the score rattle along to 114-1 in the 14th over when he was finally dismissed caught and bowled by Khary Pierre (2-53).

Root and Morgan maintained the momentum in a century stand for the fourth wicket, though the latter departed five runs short of a personal hundred.

Jos Buttler (1) fell cheaply in the pursuit of quick runs in the final 10 overs, but Stokes - well supported by Liam Dawson (30 off 19) helped England to a formidable score.

Steven Finn (2-22) then struck twice in the second over of the hosts' run-chase - removing Amir Jangoo and Anthony Alleyne for ducks - to have the West Indies outfit immediately on the back foot.

But Walton's battling hundred frustrated the England attack, as he shared in 70 and 81-run partnerships with Shimron Hetmyer (40) and Cassius Burton (25) for the third and fourth wickets.

Burton's departure - one of three run outs in the innings - sparked a mini-collapse as four wickets fell for 33 runs, including Shivnarine Chanderpaul's son, Tagenarine, for 13.

Walton was the eighth wicket to fall as England ultimately cruised to a comfortable win in the first of their two warm-up games before their three-match ODI series against the West Indies starts on Friday.

Roy aims to play big hand

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Published in Cricket
Sunday, 26 February 2017 20:12

England's Jason Roy does not expect a bruised index finger to hamper his quest for big runs in the upcoming one-day series against West Indies.

Roy (79) was one of four batsmen to post a half-century in England's 117-run win over a UWI Vice-Chancellor's XI in the first warm-up match on their tour.

Yet while discomfort in his right hand prevented him fielding, the Surrey opener says the problem is unlikely to stop him opening the batting again in the second fixture here on Monday.

"It's just a minor bruise," he said. "It's fine, but I just needed to kind of look after it until our first (international) game.

"I've had a lot of fielding practice over the last couple of months, and just developed a 'hotspot' and a bruise which has gone into my index finger. But it shouldn't affect it too much."

He expects to be fit to face the President's XI at this same venue.

"I can't say 'definitely' - but yes, I would have thought so," he added. "It was a little bit (painful when I was batting) - but I had painkillers. You've just got to get on with it - it's my job."

England chalked up 379-8 - with captain Eoin Morgan top-scoring with 95 - before their inexperienced hosts were bowled out for 262 in 39.5 overs.

Roy's team-mate Ben Stokes had an especially eventful first match here, battling hard for his 61 to add to the efforts of Morgan and Joe Root (71) and then conceding 23 runs in his opening over to big-hitting Shimron Hetmyer.

Roy reflected: "It was a bit of fun today - very good pitch, and anything short was nice to hit. It was good to get out there and get used to these conditions."

He hit 12 fours and three sixes from just 43 balls, putting him in fine heart for the three-match one-day international series against West Indies.

"I'm really looking forward to these next three games, and getting a few wins under our belts," Roy added.

Bayliss in dark over Cook call

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Published in Cricket
Thursday, 02 February 2017 23:27

Trevor Bayliss says he has no idea whether Alastair Cook will choose to stay on as England's Test captain.

Cook's future remains unresolved six weeks after a 4-0 series defeat in India brought an admission he was considering his position as skipper.

A meeting with former opening partner Andrew Strauss, now the England and Wales Cricket Board's managing director, came and went in January without word on a decision.

And Bayliss, who remained in India for the one-day series, said: "I'll be as interested as anyone else in the decision that he makes. I've had my thoughts on white-ball cricket. I haven't spoken to Cookie since he left India.

"I haven't even had any messages with him at all. I haven't spoken to Straussy about his meeting or chatted with him either. He just said 'we'll let you concentrate on what you're doing out there'.

"I'll wait for a couple of days after I get home and make a few phone calls and see what's happened.

"I said to him when he left I'd be happy if he stays and I'd be happy if he wants to go. From a captaincy point of view he's the only one that will know if the time is right for him to go. I don't know how he's feeling on the inside and to be
honest I haven't spoken to him about that."

Joe Root is favourite to succeed Cook should the captaincy become available, but Bayliss said: "I think you could throw a few of them in the mix and find they've got the respect of the rest of their team-mates."

The winter tour ended of India on a low as they lost eight wickets for eight runs in Bangalore to slip to series defeat in the T20s, but India captain Virat Kohli said after the game he did not expect the collapse to hit England players' chances of landing Indian Premier League places.

Ben Stokes and Jason Roy are expected to enter the auction later this month and Bayliss - former coach of Kolkata Knight Riders - has urged franchises to take a chance.

"If any team picked those guys up, they'd be getting some very, very good cricketers," he said.

"Obviously Stokes and Jason have done extremely well for England in white-ball cricket just recently and neither of those guys have really played over here."

Rogers to coach at Somerset

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Published in Cricket
Monday, 23 January 2017 23:47

Somerset have announced former captain Chris Rogers will return to the county as batting coach and player mentor.

The 39-year-old retired from playing in 2016 after leading Somerset to the brink of their first County Championship title but will be back at Taunton from March to June subject to visa approval.

"Chris made a massive impact both on and off the field last year," said Somerset director of cricket Matt Maynard.

"He was a huge part of what we achieved in the summer and was by far the outstanding candidate for the position.

"It goes without saying that we are delighted he will be working with us again in 2017."

Helm signs Middlesex deal

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Published in Cricket
Monday, 23 January 2017 23:45

Middlesex have given Tom Helm a new contract, tying him to Lord's until 2019.

The new deal represents a vote of confidence in the fast bowler, whose injury problems mean he has played just seven first-class games since making his County Championship debut in 2013.

Helm was fast-tracked into the England Lions side late last year after impressing in the nets in the United Arab Emirates, and Middlesex director of cricket Angus Fraser believes the 22-year-old is "one of the most exciting young cricketers in the country".

"All Tom needs is an injury free period," Fraser added. "When he gets this his career will move forward very quickly. We all hope that period is 2017 - he deserves it to be."

Helm, who tours Sri Lanka with the Lions next month, said: "I am thrilled to have extended my contract.

"I would like to pass on my thanks to Angus and the rest of the management at Middlesex for continuing to show faith in me and for supporting me through what has been a difficult and frustrating couple of years spent largely on the sidelines.

"I'm feeling fit and strong now and am excited about the prospect of a winter ahead with the England Lions before returning to Middlesex in pre-season when I can set about repaying the belief they've shown in me."

Miller stars for South Africa

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Published in Cricket
Friday, 20 January 2017 23:06

David Miller smashed 40 off 18 balls as a new-look South Africa side beat Sri Lanka by 19 runs in the first of three Twenty20 internationals.

Rain shortened the match to 10 overs a side at Centurion Park and, having been put in to bat, a South Africa team featuring five debutants made 126-5.

Sri Lanka were on course when they reached 73-1 in the sixth over but then lost five wickets in quick succession, and eventually finished short on 107-6.

The hosts rested a number of experienced players and handed debuts to batsmen Theunis de Bruyn and Jon-Jon Smuts, wicketkeeper Mangaliso Mosehle, all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo, and fast bowler Lungisani Ngidi.

Openers Heino Kuhn (10) and Smuts (13) failed to build on promising starts and De Bruyn then went for 19.

But Miller and captain Farhaan Behardien (31 not out from 18 balls) gave the South Africa innings some impetus with a stand of 51 for the fourth wicket in less than four overs, as Miller smashed three fours and three sixes.

Opener Niroshan Dickwella (43 from 19 balls) then got Sri Lanka off to a great start before he was caught at deep midwicket off leg-spinner Imran Tahir (2-23).

And Tahir went on to remove the other opener Dhananjaya de Silva (27 from 16 balls) in the same over.

The Sri Lanka innings faded from that point, with 20-year-old debutant Ngidi particularly impressive for the home side, taking 2-12 to claim player of the match honours.

Sri Lanka gave a first appearance to Thikshila de Silva but he fell for a first ball duck, caught in the deep off spinner Aaron Phangiso as Sri Lanka's challenge faltered.

The second Twenty20 International will be played in Johannesburg on Sunday, before the series finale in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Carberry returns to training

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Published in Cricket
Friday, 20 January 2017 23:04

Former England opener Michael Carberry is back in training with Hampshire as he continues his recovery from cancer.

Carberry, 36, has not played since July having been diagnosed with a cancerous tumour last summer but has made encouraging progress following a successful operation.

"Michael is doing really well, and it's great to see him back in the nets and striking the ball," said Hampshire director of cricket Giles White.

Carberry played the last of his six Tests three years ago as England took on Australia in Sydney, and has seven limited-overs caps to his name.

It is still too early for the left-hander to return to full action, according to White, but Hampshire will continue to monitor his progress.

"Obviously it's still fairly early on in terms of working his way back to full fitness," he said.

"There's currently no timetable for a return to playing, but we'll see how he progresses over the coming weeks and be sure to continue to support him in whatever way we can."

Hameed wants white-ball bow

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Published in Cricket
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 22:56

Haseeb Hameed hopes to make an impact in limited-overs cricket this summer after being given the go-ahead to return to the nets.

The Lancashire opener suffered a broken finger three matches into his first England Test series, having scored two half-centuries in his first six senior international innings.

But his county has so far protected Hameed from 20 and 50-over cricket, and he is yet to make his Lancashire debut in anything other than the County Championship.

Hameed, who turned 20 on Tuesday, hopes that will change early in the 2017 season with England not playing another Test match until the series with South Africa in July.

Speaking at a Chance to Shine tape ball cricket event, Hameed told Sky Sports News HQ: "I've always said I aspire to play all three formats for England, and although I've not made my white-ball debut for Lancashire yet, it's one of my aims going into the season.

"I think it's nice because the 50-over competition has been moved to the start of the season and hopefully I can get involved with that. I'll be prepared and ready to play if I get the chance.

"I've had an X-ray today and it is fully healed now. I've got the go-ahead to start hitting some cricket balls now and I can start preparing for the tour to Sri Lanka next month with the Lions - it's good news."

Lancashire appoint Chapple

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Tuesday, 17 January 2017 22:53

Lancashire have confirmed that Glen Chapple will take over from Ashley Giles as the county's head coach.

Chapple has been in interim charge at Emirates Old Trafford since Giles revealed just after Christmas that he was returning to Warwickshire.

The 42-year-old has been with Lancashire for the entirety of his professional career, which started in 1992 and ended in playing retirement in 2015.

He stayed registered as a player last season, but was not called on to make an appearance as he took on the role as first-team coach.

Chapple will be assisted by former Lancashire opener Mark Chilton.

He told Sky Sports News HQ: "It's a fantastic opportunity for us and this is the best job I could wish for. It will be mentally challenging and I can't wait to get stuck in.

"I feel I have got enough experience and hopefully I have got the trust and support of the players. We've got a great young staff at the moment, with tremendous potential, and I am looking forward to helping them develop to become as good as they can be.

"I'm looking to develop the side to become competitive and hopefully win trophies.

"We've worked with six or seven international coaches and you take everything they give you and offer, then try to do it your way.

"It's not about copying them. You have to have your own ideas and you have to do things your way to be believable. I've put a lot of time into how I want to go about coaching and now it's time to put it into practice."

Billings fires in warm-up win

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Tuesday, 10 January 2017 22:58

Sam Billings top-scored with 93 as England chased down a stiff 305-run target to win their opening one-day warm-up match against India A by three wickets.

Batting at No 3, Billings' perfectly paced innings off 85 balls, including eight fours, helped England overcome a couple of stutters in their run-chase, including slipping to 191-5 in the 31st over.

Put in to bat first, the hosts had posted 304-5 from their 50 overs, with Ambati Rayudu scoring a century before being retired, while more familiar foes, Yuvraj Singh (56 off 48 balls) and MS Dhoni (68no off 40), both smashed quickfire fifties.

Dhoni's presence skippering the side, a week on from resigning as India ODI captain, and free entry in to the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, ensured there was a full crowd despite it only being a warm-up game.

And that crowd were treated to quite the contest, with Billings' 99-run stand for sixth wicket with Liam Dawson (41 off 47) seemingly sealing the tourists' triumph before both fell in consecutive overs, leaving Chris Woakes to hit the winning runs with seven balls to spare.

England left Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow on the sidelines for the game, rested after a taxing 2016, while Liam Plunkett also missed out, nursing a calf injury, and Joe Root was still absent after the birth of his son.

The visitors made a strong start, with David Willey (2-55) bowling Mandeep Singh for eight in the eighth over, but Shikhar Dhawan (63) and Rayudu swiftly rebuilt.

The pair put on 111 runs for the second wicket across the next 21 overs - taking a particular liking to Dawson, his two overs costing 24 runs - before Jake Ball (2-61) picked up Dhawan, caught behind.

Yuvraj kept up the scoring, hitting six fours, and two sweetly-struck sixes off Adil Rashid in the 34th over, on his way to a half century, while Rayudu reached his hundred off his 97th ball before retiring.

Dhoni came to the crease with nine over remaining, and despite playing and missing with a few lusty blows early on, he soon found his range, cracking eight fours and two sixes.

Ball and Willey took the wickets of Yuvraj and Sanju Samson - for a first-ball duck - in back-to-back overs, before Dhoni decimated England's attack, particularly Woakes, in the closing stages.

Woakes' final two overs cost a combined 38 runs, 23 coming from the last to lift India's score over 300.

In trademark fashion, Jason Roy (62 off 57 balls) and Alex Hales (40 off 37) got England off to a flying start, with a 95-run opening partnership before both, and skipper Eoin Morgan (3), fell inside a four-over spell.

Kuldeep Yadav - who impressed for the hosts, finishing with 5-60 - accounted for England's openers in consecutive overs, while Yuzvendra Chahal (1-56) removed Morgan.

Jos Buttler came in and biffed 46 from 38 balls - striking three fours and a pair of sixes - but again England lost wickets in a cluster.

Two fell in three balls as Kuldeep got Buttler caught on the long-off boundary and then trapped Moeen Ali lbw for a duck.

And despite another scare when Dawson and Billings departed with 15 runs still needed for victory, England ultimately got home thanks to back-to-back Woakes (11no) boundaries in the penultimate over.


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