Young guns Liam Scott and Spencer Johnson have signed their first Big Bash deals, joining the Adelaide Strikers for the upcoming BBL edition which starts from December 10.
Scott most recently featured in each of South Australia’s four Marsh Sheffield Shield rounds in Adelaide this season, with a highest score of 61 which saved the game against Victoria.
The 20-year-old was also selected in Australia’s U19 World Cup squad that went to South Africa in January, finishing the tournament with 107 runs including a half-century, and four wickets, from six matches.
On the other hand, Johnson’s left-arm fast bowling will bring more firepower to the Strikers’ attack, long touted to be in the Mitchell Starc mould, he even once body-doubled for the Australian quick in a promotional shoot.
The 24-year-old spent three seasons on the West End Redbacks rookie list off the back of a standout year with West Torrens in 2016-17, which saw him steer the club to all three Premier Cricket First Grade championships.
“We welcome Liam and Spencer to the Adelaide Strikers, and we are most pleased to be able to offer them their first Big Bash contracts,” said head coach Jason Gillespie.
“They’re excitement machines, and with Spencer’s left-arm pace and what we’ve seen already with Scotty in the Sheffield Shield, we’re very happy to welcome and continue the development of these fine young players,” he added.
Strikers squad to date: Danny Briggs (OS), Phil Salt (OS), Rashid Khan (OS), Wes Agar, Harry Conway, Travis Head, Spencer Johnson, Michael Neser, Harry Nielsen, Liam O’Connor, Matt Renshaw, Liam Scott, Matt Short, Peter Siddle, Cameron Valente, Jake Weatherald, Jon Wells, Daniel Worrall.
Australia vs India: Ishant, Rohit’s absence in Tests no concern to us, says Justin Langer
Australia head coach Justin Langer has said that the likely absence of Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma from the first two Tests of the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy will have no bearing on the hosts’ psyche and the frequent limited-overs match-ups between the two sides in recent times will eventually help them in facing the Indian challenge.
“Not our business, we have got our challenges. We will come together as a group for the first time on the morning of the game. It is up to India what they do and who they choose as we have zero control over things. One thing I have learnt through Covid-19 is that if you get caught up with things you can’t control, you literally go crazy. They can pick whoever they want but we have our own challenges so who they pick (as replacements), we’ll go ahead and face them,” said Langer while responding to a question from IANS on whether the absence of Ishant and Rohit from the first two Tests will affect the Australians.
Both Rohit and Ishant are undergoing rehab at the National Cricket Academy and there have been reports that the duo might miss the first half of the Test series as they will recover late and will have to undergo hard quarantine upon arrival in Australia which will make it impossible for them to play the first two matches to be played at the Adelaide Oval (December 17-21) and Melbourne Cricket Ground (December 26-30).
Langer added that since both the sides have played each other frequently in limited-overs cricket in recent times, it has helped Australia batsmen have a measure of the Indian bowling. This is apart from the IPL experience, he says.
“We know that (Jasprit) Bumrah is world-class, with (Mohammed) Shami (that is a) really good opening combination. Our guys have seen fair bit of them through the IPL, through the last couple of summers, we’ve played 14 ODIs and it is seven-all. Our guys have seen a lot of each other. That is what I love about the contests. How teams are growing, we have played a bit against each other. We have great respect for their spinners, for Bumrah, Shami, their other bowlers, like (Navdeep) Saini. Our guys know they will be on their toes against the Indian bowling attack. They are working hard, they’ve seen a bit and they’ll be ready for it,” said Langer.
Before the Test series, Australia and India will compete in three ODIs and as many T20Is starting Friday. The matches will be broadcast live on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six channels.
Australia vs India: Ricky Ponting’s arms ‘falling off’ while giving throwdowns to Smith
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who coached Delhi Capitals to the final of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) a fortnight ago, is busy giving throwdowns to Steve Smith as, unlike the Indian team, there is no throwdown specialist within the Australian team.
“That is where we have to help each other. I had been a batting coach 10 years ago, for 2-3 years then, it is a really tough job. Sadly, in these times, we don’t have Graeme Hick with us. In the past we had Michael di Venuto with the team (both to help batting). It (helping the batsmen) is a big role. I know Ricky Ponting, his arms have fallen off from throwing to Steve Smith over the last 10 days or so,” Australia head coach Justin Langer, who is taking care of the players who had not been to the IPL and are training at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) ahead of the all-format series against India, said on Wednesday.
Those returning from IPL, like Smith, David Warner and Ponting, are lodged at Sydney Olympic Park and training separately.
“I always had a joke with Punter (Ponting) over the last few months, how it is to throw to Steve Smith. Our boys love to hit balls, they only get better. That is part of our job. We have to keep preparing our boys as best as possible and we have to do that, whether it is through throwdown specialists. Time will tell. (But) we have got a pretty good system,” added Langer.
Unlike the Australian team, the entire Indian team in Sydney is located at one place, the Sydney Olympic Park. They stay in touch with each other during practice. The two Aussie groups will assemble only on the day of the match.
“We are working hard. Warner, Smith, Maxi (Glenn Maxwell) are facing (Pat) Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Dan Sams and Andrew Tye. At the SCG, against (Michael) Starc, Michael Nesser, Sean Abbott are helping the players who are here (not been to IPL). The Australia A bowlers are also keeping their loads up at SCG. The boys will be ready,” said Langer.
The Australia head coach further said that despite their top bowlers having played a bit of cricket in recent times, they are looking to field them in all the Test matches and not thinking of resting them.
“I say that with great respect to others, I hope not (that Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood don’t play and rest) because our bowlers, those three guys, if they are fit and healthy and firing, they will play all Tests. That is how it is going to be. About the old saying that it is harder to get out of the team than it is to get into team I said two years back when I got the job. That’s what we want,” Langer said.
“It is great to see competition building in domestic cricket. We are going to hope we are bowling well, they are fit and healthy – we have three first peak bowlers. But who knows (if something happens to them). Through these last 8-9 months of Covid, we have had to be agile and take on challenges. Guys we have brought in now (as back-ups) are (also) good, seasoned cricketers,” he added.
India and Australia will begin the much-anticipated clash with the three-match ODI series starting Friday.
Cricket Australia confirms charity partners for 2020-21 season
Cricket Australia. (Photo: Twitter/@CAComms)
Cricket Australia has confirmed the 2020-21 Cricket Cares program, naming its official charity partners across matches for the season ahead which includes Day 5 gold coin donations during the upcoming Test series against India.
The Alannah & Madeline Foundation, McGrath Foundation, Movember and Taverners Australia will align to fixtures across the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) Finals and the men’s international calendar.
The fixtures will provide each charity partner with an opportunity to raise awareness for their respective areas, along with the opportunity to fundraise.
The 2019-20 season resulted in $3.15 million raised for the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund through The Big Appeal, along with more than $780,000 being raised for various bushfire relief organisations. The Cricket Cares program also raised $1.69 million for its charity partners last season, Cricket Australia said in a media release.
Day 5 gold coin donations will continue this year after being permanently introduced in 2018-19, the last time India toured Australia, with all proceeds of entry to the ground going to the nominated charity partner.
Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia’s Interim CEO said, “We’re proud to continue our long-standing partnerships with the McGrath Foundation, Movember, the Alannah & Madeline Foundation and Taverners Australia,” Hockley said.
“As a sporting organisation, we believe we have a responsibility to raise awareness about these important causes, and in doing so raise much needed funds to help make a difference in the community. Having a presence at matches allows our charity partners to connect with fans and educate them about the life-changing work they do. We are grateful to the cricket community for supporting their fundraising efforts,” he added.
Australia are slated to face India in three ODIs, three T20Is and four Test matches beginning Friday in Sydney.
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