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SA v IND: For a period of time, India forgot about the game, says Elgar on DRS drama

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South Africa captain Dean Elgar believes India expressing their displeasure over the DRS call off him worked well for his team as the tourists forgot the match situation for a period of time.

On day three of the third Test in Cape Town, Elgar reviewed a lbw decision off Ravichandran Ashwin on the fourth delivery of the 21st over in South Africa’s chase of 212.

Umpire Marais Erasmus had adjudged Elgar lbw on a delivery which came in and hit him in front of the middle stump on the knee roll. The ball-tracking technology showed that the ball would go over the stumps, thereby overturning the original decision.

It resulted in anger expressed by the Indian team through stump mics. Though Elgar was dismissed at stumps by Jasprit Bumrah, South Africa were needing just 111 runs to win on day four, which they knocked off with seven wickets in hand on Friday.

“Loved it. It was obviously a team that was a little bit under pressure. Things weren’t going their way, which they are obviously quite used to of late. But in Test match cricket, it was pressure I think which gave us a little bit of window period, especially yesterday (Thursday) to score a little bit freer and chip away at the target we needed. It worked out well in our hands and played nicely into our hands.

“For a period of time, they actually forgot about the game and were channelling a bit more of their emotional side of what Test cricket has to offer. Extremely happy that it happened that way,” said Elgar in post-match virtual conference.

After losing the first Test at Centurion by 113 runs, South Africa came back from behind to deny a formidable Indian side from winning the series. Elgar had said after the seven-wicket win at Johannesburg that he had a chat to fire up Kagiso Rabada, which was enough to get the pace spearhead at his best.

Asked about the nature of the chats, Elgar refused to go into the details.

“I am not going to reveal anything because what happens in the team, stays in the team. Basically, after losing the first Test, we knew the guys will have to stand up from a character point of view. We had to make the guys a bit more of conscious effort and be a lot more aware of what position they have within the side, purely to bring the best out of that player. Ultimately, bringing the best out of the player will influence the environment.

“I am glad, very, very relieved and thankful to all the guys for responding the way they did. This was a proper squad effort and by no means, can’t pinpoint the guys. Sure, a few individuals did exceptional things in the series.

“Going forward, it has always been a squad effort. Even to the guys who didn’t play, they stood up in the right occasions for us. Those chats will stay behind the closed doors for us.”

Speaking about the nature of chats with players like Rabada and others in the team, Elgar explained, “You got to have a mutual respect within the squad, with every individual player. That’s a two-way street which enables you to have the conversations we had in the last two weeks. The players needed to take them on board and need to understand I am not there to manipulate them or do injustice to their careers as I need them to be operating at a level which is respectable at the level of Test cricket.

“If you want to be the best, you need to operate at a level like we have done in the last few weeks. But you need to be pretty consistent around that. I think I have a pretty good relationship with everyone in the team, be it the oldest or youngest player in the team.

“I would like to think I connect with them in a pretty good way, a special way where the guys think that Dean’s doing this for the right reasons. It comes into the buying process, where the guys have to give in to the message that I speak of and echo throughout the changing room. It all boils down to respect, you need to respect each other irrespective of age and how long you have been playing the game.

“We all play for one cause, that is to win the game and another cause, which is playing for the country. We all are influenced in our own respective ways bearing in mind that the team’s way is the only way going forward. It sounds a little bit harsh but if you want to be the best, you need to have that skill which you need to have and the guys have started to develop as this process of our journey has continued. I like to think I am not offending anyone by the language I use, the words I speak just to know that I need to motivate and influence this group.”

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England beat Germany after extra time to win UEFA women’s Euro

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England beat Germany 2-1 after extra time in a packed Wembley Stadium in London, bringing home the trophy of the UEFA women’s Euro for the first time.

Germany suffered a heavy blow minutes ahead of the final on Sunday evening as their captain Alex Popp had to pull out after picking up an injury during the warm-up.

The 31-year-old forward had scored in all five previous matches in this tournament and scored twice in Germany’s 2-1 win against France in Wednesday’s semifinal, reports Xinhua. England, reaching the Euro’s final for the third time, couldn’t break the deadlock until Ella Toone came off the bench to score the opener in the 62nd minute.

But midfielder Lina Magull helped Germany equalise in the 79th minute.

The 1-1 scoreline was held until the 110th minute while substitute Chloe Kelly prodded in her first goal for the England team.

“What we’ve done is incredible. I knew we had England behind us- we saw that coming to the stadium,” said England head coach Sarina Wiegman in front of 87,192 fans in Wembley.

“But the whole tournament we’ve had so much support from our fans. I’m so proud of the team.”

The 52-year-old Dutchwoman, who also guided the Netherlands to win the women’s Euro trophy in 2017, is the first coach to lead two different teams to the title.

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Pakistan Cricket Board wants ICC to form strategy on growth of franchise T20 leagues

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Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Saturday that it has asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) to form a strategy on controlling the growth of lucrative franchise T20 leagues with rising concerns about its impact on the international cricket calendar.

Earlier this week, South Africa pulled out of a three-match bilateral ODI against Australia in January as it clashes with their new domestic T20 competition, the third time they will be attempting to have a successful franchise T20 League.

The next cycle of the Future Tours Programme (FTP), for 2024-31, which shows the schedule of teams playing bilateral series against each other and at what venues, is set to be confirmed in the upcoming week during the annual conference of the ICC at Birmingham.

“Growth of franchise cricket is impacting the already crammed international cricket calendar. The PCB is concerned about this development and wants the ICC to formulate a strategy on this issue,” said PCB Chief Executive Faisal Hasnain in a statement.

“We have sent a proposal to the ICC, which they have added to their meeting agenda. Two other boards have also conveyed their apprehensions to the ICC on this matter and urged the ICC to create a working group to debate on the expansion of franchise-based T20 leagues,” added Hasnain.

Talking about the confirmation of the FTP, in the context of Pakistan recently starting to host international cricket at home, Hasnain remarked, “Finalising the Future Tours Programme (FTP) is very important for us.

“This will give us certainty about which teams will be visiting us and which countries we will be touring. 80 per cent of the FTP has already been agreed upon and the remaining 20 per cent will be completed in the upcoming meeting.”

The upcoming ICC Annual Conference in Birmingham also marks the first time the meeting will happen after a Covid-19 pandemic caused a stoppage. “The annual conference presents a unique opportunity for networking with representatives of the world cricket.

“We are planning several initiatives that involve fellow members and meetings have already been set up on the sidelines with other boards to collectively enhance our common interest,” concluded Hasnain.

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T20 World Cup could be a swansong for several Australian cricketers, indicates Finch

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Australia white-ball skipper Aaron Finch has no doubt in his mind that he will be leading an “ageing side” in the ICC T20 World Cup at home later this year, and indicated that the tournament could be a swansong for several cricketers, especially batters.

As Australia prepare to defend the title they won in the UAE in 2021, Finch added that lifting the trophy in front of a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground in November would be a dream come true for him.

“It might be a full stop on everything (several players retiring from T20Is, including him) if it goes to plan like that. Fairy tales can happen in sport,” Finch, 35, was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au during the 100-day countdown celebration to the mega event on Friday.

While Finch has indicated that this could be the last T20 World Cup for him, it could also be opener David Warner and wicketkeeper-batter Matthew Wade’s last mega T20 event, given that both are in their mid-30s.

Wade has already said the 2022 T20 World Cup will be his international swansong, while Warner has also indicated that he might retire from T20Is to prolong his Test and ODI career. Finch will also probably turn his attention to the 50-over World Cup in India in 2023 to finally call it a day from international cricket.

Asked about his white-ball future post the T20 World Cup, Finch said, “Good question… It obviously shifts to a 50-over World Cup focus… after the (T20) World Cup, so I don’t think there’s too many T20 games in the next 12 months (after the World Cup) anyway. So I don’t know.

“I think just naturally when guys get to their mid-30s, it’s going to be that way. Davey (Warner) just keeps going; he could play for another 10 years, I think, with how fit he is and how much he loves the competition and continuing to challenge himself.

“(Matthew) Wadey has gone through a few phases (and) he’s now become so important to the structure of our team, batting at seven there and being so dynamic. But it’s an ageing side, isn’t it? Especially in that batting group,” said Finch.

Finch added that the World Cup in Australia would be “incredibly tough” after what he saw in the UAE last year where South Africa, in spite of winning four out of their five games, missed out on net run rate.

“Iit’s going to be an incredibly tough competition. We saw how brutal the format is with South Africa winning four out of their five games at the last World Cup and still not qualifying on net run rate. It’s just so brutal that you do need a bit of luck along the way. So let’s see.”

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