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My heart sank when everyone left: Tim Seifert recalls Covid in IPL




New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert, who was one of four Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) players to test positive for Covid-19, said his heart sank the moment he first heard result of his test and struggled to accept that he was the only overseas player stranded.

“I got pulled aside and told I’d tested positive and my heart sank straight away when everyone left. I was the only overseas player basically still left in India out of the whole tournament. That’s when things got a little bit real,” Seifert was quoted as saying by New Zealand Herald on Tuesday.

Seifert, who is isolating in Auckland after returning from India, has another week before he returns home on June 2 or 3, just under a month after his first test yielded positive result.

“The world stops a little bit, I just couldn’t really think what was next and that’s the scary part of it – you hear about things, and I thought that was going to happen to me,” said the 26-year-old.

“My room looked over the entrance of the hotel so when they were leaving I was waving goodbye to them,” he added.

As time went by, he started to come to terms.

“Once a few days had gone by, everything had kind of died down a little bit… I just knew it was a time of getting through it, looking at the positives. I’m getting married in two months so that’s exciting. My fiancée Morgs – she’s quite happy that I’m back a bit earlier so I can help plan for that,” said Seifert who has played three ODIs and 35 T20 Internationals.

“It definitely was hard and I couldn’t thank Brendan [McCullum] and [Stephen] Fleming enough, they made everything a lot easier. Making sure things would be put in place and the KKR, the CSK support staff, management, CEO of KKR — they made life easy for me to know that everything would be alright and when that time was to come home, they would do everything to get me home safely and on time,” he further said.

He said that quarantining was the toughest part and not the virus itself since he had a very mild infection.

“From my point of view of going back, I’m very lucky that having Covid has very minimal-mild symptoms. From having the virus and how I’m feeling, if that was going to be the whole time then I’d be happy. It’s more about the process of quarantining, being stuck in a room knowing that if I get it I could get it worse, other people could get it worse,” he added.


Heather Knight shines as England Women win opening ODI vs New Zealand





 Veteran England star and captain Heather Knight slammed a 107-ball 89 and Katherine Brunt scored a quick 43 as the hosts powered to a 30-run victory in the opening One-day International against New Zealand Women at the County Ground here.

Sent in to bat on Thursday evening, England were bowled out for 241 in the 50th over, with captain Knight (89) leading the way alongside Tammy Beaumont (44) and Brunt (43).

That proved 30 runs too many for New Zealand, as Brunt (1/22) and the England attack squeezed them out of the game, eventually bowling them out for 211 in the 47th over.

England were put in to bat first by New Zealand and got off to a good start. Openers Lauren Winfield-Hill and Beaumont capitalised on the bad balls and kept the scoreboard ticking. They were going strong at 44 in the ninth over when Hannah Rowe (1/47) struck, removing Winfield-Hill on 21 via a faint nick through to the keeper.

Her wicket did little to slow down the scoring as captain Knight joined Beaumont at the crease. The duo forged a strong partnership and soon took England past the 100-run mark in the 22nd over.

Just as it looked like England were going to reach top gear, Sophie Devine (2/57) provided New Zealand with the second breakthrough, ending the half-century stand. Beaumont fell just six runs short of a fifty, struck in front of the middle stump.

Two overs later, Natalie Sciver (2) fell to the returning Lea Tahuhu (2/32). She also picked up the wicket of Amy Jones (2) in the 30th over and Jess Kerr (3/42) got Sophia Dunkley (5) in the 32nd over to reduce England to 140/5.

Despite the regular fall of wickets, Knight continued to take on the New Zealand bowlers. She paired with Brunt to push England past 220. The 88-run stand was broken by Leigh Kasperek (1/48) in the 47th over when she caught and bowled Knight for 89.

The remaining four England wickets fell for 13 runs as the hosts were bowled out for 241.

New Zealand were in trouble early in the chase as Sciver (2/10) accounted for Suzie Bates (1) and Lauren Down (5) inside the opening 10 overs.

The pressure continued to mount as Kate Cross (2/37) had Maddy Green (19) caught at slip in the 13th over to reduce New Zealand to 31/3. The duo of Amy Satterthwaite (79*) and captain Sophie Devine (34) rebuilt the innings in a 78-run stand but just as they were getting back into the game, Cross struck again, removing the Kiwi skipper for 34 in the 29th over.

Wickets fell at regular intervals from there as New Zealand slipped to 143/8, with Sophie Ecclestone (2/39) on a hat-trick at one point after removing Katey Martin (9) and Brooke Halliday (0).

Brief scores: England Women 241 in 49.3 overs (T Beaumont 44, H Knight 89, K Brunt 43; J Kerr 3/42, S Devine 2/57) beat New Zealand Women 211 in 46.3 overs (A Satterthwaite 79 not out, S Devine 34; N Sciver 2/10, K Cross 2/37, S Ecclestone 2/39) by 30 runs.

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Pakistan all set to host New Zealand after 18 years





History will be made when the Tom Latham-led New Zealand take on Babar Azam’s Pakistan in the first of the three ODIs at the Pindi Cricket Stadium later on Friday. The occasion will see the visitors play their first match on Pakistan soil since 2003.

This will be the fourth time the two sides will meet at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in an ODI with Pakistan enjoying a 3-0 advantage. Prior to this match, Pakistan and New Zealand have met 19 times in an ODI in Pakistan between 1976 and 2003 with Pakistan winning 16 times.

Pakistan and New Zealand last met in an international 50-over competition during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 when Azam’s century anchored his side to a six-wicket win at Birmingham.

This series provides an opportunity to sixth-ranked Pakistan to climb a spot in the ICC Rankings. If the hosts beat the tourists by a 3-0 scoreline, they will jump to fifth position. However, any other result will see both sides retain their pre-series rankings.

New Zealand, the top-ranked ODI team in the ICC Rankings and the finalists of the 2019 World Cup, come into this series with a 3-0 sweep over Bangladesh in the three-match ODI series at home in March and will be eager to extend their winning streak.

Pakistan’s last outing in the format at this venue was in October-November 2020, when they defeated Zimbabwe 2-1, while in their last ODI series, they defeated South Africa 2-1.

The series will not be part of the ICC World Cup Super League as both the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and New Zealand Cricket (NZC) have mutually agreed to swap the status of this series with the one taking place in the 2022/23 season. This means the ODI series in the 2022/23 season will count towards the World Cup 2023 qualification while the series commencing later on Friday will be a bilateral fixture in which team and player ranking points will be up for grabs.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam, in his pre-series media conference, said, “Our entire camp is very excited to play New Zealand at home. We have practiced hard for this series and I am sure we will take full advantage of our home conditions.

“We have a balanced squad and I remain optimistic about our chances in what promises to be an exciting series. I am sure fans at the stadium and millions watching us on screens will enjoy these matches.”

New Zealand captain Tom Latham said, “We know it is special for Pakistan to have cricket in their country and we are excited to be here. Pakistan are a quality side and they have some talented white-ball players in their line-up.

“We have desired fire-power in our ranks to win this series and I am sure our batters and bowlers will rise to the occasion and make this historic series memorable for us.”

The second and third matches will be played on September 19 and 21 at the same venue after which the two sides will travel to Lahore for five T20Is between September 25 to October 3.

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India did not respect Test cricket: Paul Newman





 Former England cricketer Paul Newman has slammed Indian cricketers, BCCI and the IPL following the cancellation of Manchester Test due to Covid-19 fears in the visiting camp.

He went on to say that “India did not respect this series and they did not respect Test cricket either in flouting Covid guidelines ahead of the fourth Test”. India’s assistant physio Yogesh Parmar tested positive for Covid-19 on the eve of the series-decider sending tremors down the Indian dressing room and ultimately leading to the cancellation of the match.

“There is no way the series decider would have been called off on the morning of the first day had the majority of India’s players not been flying to Dubai for the resumption of the richest tournament in cricket.

“No India player with an IPL contract wanted to risk playing in this Test, then testing positive and being forced to stay in England for another 10 days, so missing the restart of the tournament in the UAE on September 19,” former seamer Newman, who has played 135 first-class matches and 177 List A games, wrote in his column for the Daily Mail.

“India did not respect this series in pulling out yesterday and they did not respect Test cricket either in flouting Covid guidelines ahead of the fourth Test.”

He also blamed Team India chief coach Ravi Shastri’s book launch event ahead of the fourth Test in London.

“This whole outbreak in their camp could well have been started by the presence of Shastri along with captain Virat Kohli and several players and staff at a book launch at a London hotel attended by more than 150 people two days before the Oval Test.

“It was a breach of protocols that privately angered those at the ECB who have done so much to keep the show on the road in the last 18 months, not least with three Tests at Old Trafford last year that salvaged millions of pounds of revenue for the game. What a way for Lancashire to be rewarded for all they did then,” he wrote.

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