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First hit in the nets in 3 months: Steve Smith back in training

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Steve Smith has hit the nets for the first time in three months, Australia’s premier batsman said in a social media post on Monday.

“First hit in the nets in 3 months. Good news… I remembered how to hold the bat,” said former captain Smith in an Instagram post with a photo of him in cricket gear.

The coronavirus pandemic had brought the world to a standstill since March with all outdoor activity severely limited in almost every part of the globe. Cricket was halted since mid March due to the deadly virus with the Indian Premier League also being postponed.

Australia are currently scheduled to play their first Test of the revamped FTP in November, against Afghanistan. It will be followed by the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy against India in December.

Smith has been a vital cog in Australia’s wheel especially in red-ball cricket where he is the No.1 batsman in the world at the moment.

Recently, former England captain Mike Atherton said Smith is someone he loves watching because of his unorthodox batting style.

He added that it’s not easy to find a way to get Smith out and it will be interesting to see how India devise a way for that when they tour Australia later in the year.

“I enjoy watching him because he is an unorthodox player. The game is a better game because of people who are very unusual in the way that they play. England did not find a way to get him out, I don’t have any easy answers too on how to get him out. It will be interesting to see how India goes about it,” Atherton said on Sony Network for their show Pit Stop on their Facebook page.

International

Was a little surprised England didn’t pick Broad: Jason Holder

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Jason-Holder

West Indies Test captain Jason Holder conceded he was left surprised after he saw speedster Stuart Broad wasn’t part of the England playing XI for the first Test of #raisethebat series at Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

West Indies beat England by four wickets to take a 1-0 lead on the three-match series. The last two matches will now be played at Old Trafford in Manchester starting July 16 and July 24 respectively.

Broad, who wasn’t picked for the first Test, had let his feelings known on national TV and had even sought assurances regarding his future from national selector Ed Smith. Holder stated even he was surprised at Broad’s omission.

“I was a little surprised England didn’t pick Stuart Broad. His record, particularly in this country, is outstanding and I thought they would leave out either Jofra Archer or Mark Wood,” Holder wrote in his column for Daily Mail.

“But they put out a high quality attack, that’s for sure. It was the first time we have played a Test against Jofra and he was eager to get going against us and we were eager to get going against him,” he added.

Holder also sort of won the battle of all-rounders against Ben Stokes, who was named as England’s stand-in captain for Southampton Test. Regular skipper Joe Root had left the bio-secure bubble to be with his wife during the birth of their second child in Sheffield.

“Taking six wickets in the first innings fulfilled a personal ambition for me because I have always wanted to take a five-for in England and dreamt about getting on the Lord’s honours board in this series,” Holder wrote.

“That’s not to be but my next big aim is to make a hundred in England. A bit has been made about me taking on Ben Stokes in the battle of the all-rounders but getting him out twice in Southampton was enough for me without worrying about making any points.

“Stokesey is a great competitor and an excellent cricketer so to get someone of his calibre twice was great for the team. It really isn’t about individuals. It’s about the collective and what we are trying to achieve on this tour,” he added.

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International

Ben Stokes took a cigarette break to calm nerves before WC final Super Over

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All-rounder Ben Stokes played a pivotal role in England winning their first ICC men’s World Cup trophy, on this day, last year. His match of the match performance in the summit clash stunned New Zealand as the hosts were declared the winners on boundary count rule after regulation time and Super Over both ended in a tie.

Stokes’ inspirational knock of 84* off 98 deliveries helped England force the match into Super Over, in which both teams scored 15 runs each off six deliveries.

It has now been revealed that Stokes took a cigarette break to calm his nerves before the Super Over. He ran inside the shower to clear his head before the most important over in the history of England cricket.

“Finding a quiet spot as the frenzy of the Super Over approached was hard in a ground packed out with 27,000 supporters and television cameras following the players from the middle, through the Long Room and up the stairs to the dressing room,” authors Nick Hoult and Steve James wrote in the book titled ‘Morgan’s Men: The Inside Story of England’s Rise from Cricket World Cup Humiliation to Glory’ as according to the excerpt published by stuff.co.nz.

“But Ben Stokes had played at Lord’s many times. He knows every nook and cranny. As Eoin Morgan tries to bring calm to the England dressing room and sort out their tactics, Stokes nips off for a moment of peace.

“He is covered in dirt and sweat. He has batted for two hours and 27 minutes of unbelievable tension. What does Stokes do? He goes to the back of the England dressing room, past the attendant’s little office and into the showers. There he lights up a cigarette and has few minutes on his own.”

Stokes returned to score eight runs of England’s 15 in the Super Over and then Jofra Archer helped the hosts restrict New Zealand to the same score. England were awarded the cup as they had scored more boundaries than New Zealand in the match (26-17).

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England vs West Indies: Chris Silverwood bats for Buttler ahead of second Test

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London: England’s Jos Buttler dismisses Martin Guptill in the last ball of the super over to win the 2019 World Cup at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London on July 15, 2019. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

England head coach Chris Silverwood has thrown his weight behind under-fire wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler ahead of the second Test against the West Indies beginning Thursday at the Old Trafford.

England are down 0-1 in the three-match series after West Indies pulled off a stunning four-wicket win at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

Buttler recorded scores of 35 and 9 in the two innings while his drop catch of Jermaine Blackwood proved to be costly as he ended up scoring a match-winning knock of 95 for the visitors.

“Jos (Buttler) looked brilliant in practice coming into the game. He just needs to go on and make those big scores now, doesn’t he? He knows that,” Silverwood was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.

“From our point of view it’s just making sure he feels confident in the environment he’s in. We’ll give him the best chance to succeed and then if he has a day out and gets some runs the rest will be history,” he added.

England gave their vote of confidence to Buttler ahead of the series by not including Jonny Bairstow in the squad. However, Silverwood reminded they still have back-up stumper Ben Foakes in the side who could come in if Buttler’s problems persist.

“I’m not going to go down the road of putting Jos under pressure because I don’t think that will help him,’ Silverwood said.

“First and foremost we want to give him the best chance to succeed but, yes, we have a very good gloveman here in Ben Foakes.”

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