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Steve Smith and Warner return as Australia announce World Cup squad




Former skipper Steve Smith and deputy David Warner have walked their way back into the Australian team as the national selectors announced the squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup in England and Wales.

Having served their bans following the Sandpaper Gate fiasco in South Africa in 2018, the two have been currently playing in the Indian Premier League. Aaron Finch will lead the squad. Josh Hazlewood is the only senior player left out as he is still working on his fitness after suffering a stress fracture in January.

Australia have picked five pacers and two spinners in Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Jason Behrendorff, Jhye Richardson and Nathan Coulter-Nile, Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa. Starc and Richardson’s position will be assessed further as they recover from injuries.

Usman Khawaja, Finch, Alex Carey, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis complete the squad.

Interestingly, there will be a 14-member Australia A team that will be playing against county team during the World Cup and they will provide substitutes if any player in the World Cup team is injured.

Speaking on the selection, chief selector Trevor Hohns said: “Given the depth of talent and competition for spots there were a number of tough calls we had to make to settle on our squad of 15.

“Unfortunately, from the recent squad which toured India and the UAE, Peter Handscomb, Ashton Turner and Kane Richardson have made way for the above inclusions (Smith, Warner and Starc), but all three have been included in the Australia A squad for the tour of England.

“Josh Hazlewood has also been named in the Australia A squad. Having not played at the highest level for some time, we feel this will provide him with the best preparation to get some quality cricket under his belt. Our focus is to have Josh back bowling at his best for the commencement of a big Ashes Tour.”

Australia squad: Aaron Finch (capt), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Alex Carey, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Jhye Richardson, Pat Cummins, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon.


Expecting tough match against KXIP, Rahul will be key wicket: Jos Buttler




Rajasthan Royals will be looking to make it two out of two when they face Kings XI Punjab in their next IPL encounter and wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler is expecting a tough fight from the KL Rahul side at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

Buttler, who had missed the first game, said his team came out with a great performance against Chennai Super Kings in their opening Indian Premier League 2020 encounter on Tuesday.

“Great to get a win on the board, the team played fantastically well in the first game. It was an outstanding batting performance and a fantastic bowling performance in tough bowling conditions,” said Buttler as per a release shared by the Royals.

“I am really excited to play my first game, it was great to be back in training with the boys. There’s a great vibe around the team, so I’m really looking forward to taking the field. The atmosphere and energy around the squad is fantastic. Obviously, (there’s) lots of confidence after that first game,” he added.

The England batsman also hailed Rahul who scored a brilliant 132 not out against Royal Challengers Bangalore, a game which Kings XI won by 97 runs.

“The training has been very energetic, guys are lively and enjoying each other’s company. So yeah (it’s a) good atmosphere around (and we are) expecting a really tough match against Kings XI,” said Buttler.

“Obviously a fantastic team, KL Rahul was in exceptional form the other night against RCB, so he will be a key wicket as always and I think we’ll see another potentially high-scoring game at Sharjah with small boundaries and the dew factor coming in,” he added.

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SRH win toss, choose to bat against KKR




SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Saturday became the first team to choose to bat on winning the toss in the IPL, against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. SRH captain David Warner felt that the conditions would remain the more or less the same throughout the match.

Both sides have made changes to their playing XIs. Warner said that Afghanistan all rounder Mohammad Nabi and Wriddhiman Saha come in for Mitchell Marsh and Vijay Shankar respectively. Khaleel Ahmed will also play in place of Sandeep Sharma.

For KKR, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Varun CV replace Sandeep Warrier and Nikhil Naik respectively.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill, Dinesh Karthik (captain, wicketkeeper), Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Varun CV, Kuldeep Yadav, Shivam Mavi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti

SunRisers Hyderabad: Jonny Bairstow (wicket-keeper), David Warner (captain), Manish Pandey, Priyam Garg, Mohammad Nabi, Wriddhiman Saha, Abhishek Sharma, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, T Natarajan

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Dean Jones was my friend for 35 years, will miss him: Kapil Dev



Kapil Dev-Dean Jones

No foreign cricketer has visited India as many times as former Australian batting mainstay Dean Jones – more than 100 times – such was his connection with this country, said legendary Kapil Dev, while recalling his “35-year long association” with one of his closest friends who passed away on Thursday.

Jones, 59, collapsed and died following a cardiac arrest in a Mumbai hotel where he was staying during an assignment with the official broadcaster of the Indian Premier League (IPL). He was his usual jovial self on Thursday morning, but by the afternoon, he was gone. His fellow Australian Brett Lee tried to revive him, but could not.

“Deano was quite a dear friend of mine and I was shocked to hear the news of his passing away. I feel quite sad and sorry for his family. You are going to miss him, but his family is going to suffer the most. I knew him for about 35 years,” Kapil, who first played against Jones during the 1985 World Championship of Cricket in Australia, told IANS.

“He was a great cricketer and one of the best athletes. He was a master at running between the wickets. He was also a great commentator and had a wonderful sense of humour,” said the 1983 World Cup-winning captain.

Kapil also pointed out that because of his close connection with Jones individually and also because of the Aussie’s professional work in India, he visited this country many times.

“No other foreign cricketer has perhaps travelled to India as many times as Deano. He would have visited India more than 100 times. But now he is gone; he was not even 60 years old. Even Malcolm Marshall passed away quite young [aged 41 years 200 days in November 1999],” he rued.

Kapil bowled to Jones in 20 ODI innings and dismissed him four times – twice bowled and as many times had him caught – and in 15 Test innings, the Indian ‘Sultan of Swing’ got him out twice.

One more reason for Jones to love India was that he scored his first Test century – it was actually a fabulous double century in the testing conditions of Madras – in India in September 1986. It was only his third Test and fifth innings. After his eight-and-a-half hours innings in hot and humid conditions, during which he got dehydrated and vomited, he was taken to a hospital and was put on a saline drip. The Test at the Chepauk ended in a tie, only the second such result till date.

“A day that changed my life forever,” Jones tweeted on September 19, on the 34th anniversary of the tied Test. Another tweet read: “This Test was the renaissance for Australian cricket. It was our Mt Everest moment. Under AB [Allan Border] we started to believe that we can compete against the best. Great friendships started with the Indians. Our journey had just begun!”

After his retirement, Jones started working with Indian TV channels and broadcasters. Somewhere along the line, he was nicknamed ‘Professor Deano’ and he named his Twitter handle @ProfDeano.

Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar recalled once playing alongside Jones. “He was a very nice and jovial person. I was shocked when I heard this news. Of course, we played against each other, representing India and Australia. We also played together once. It was one of the three matches played before the main five-day game between the Marylebone Cricket Club and a Rest of the World XI at Lord’s, London. In that World XI-Gloucestershire game in Bristol, Deano and I had a 200-odd-run partnership. I scored 171 and he scored 70-odd in that match,” Vengsarkar told IANS.

Jones was working for the official broadcaster of the IPL and was staying in Mumbai.

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