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Stokes would quite like Virat Kohli to be captain for rescheduled Test: Swann



As England’s white-ball team soared to greater heights and became a force to reckon with, its fortunes in Test cricket were on a downward spiral, which hit the rock bottom when they were thrashed 0-4 in the Ashes in Australia and lost 0-1 to the West Indies.

With new appointments made to the men’s cricket managing director positions as well as coaches and captains in both formats, the new regime of Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes in Tests had a lot riding on them when New Zealand came calling.

Their talk of positive and attacking cricket with a shift in attitude came true when they defeated New Zealand 3-0, leaving former England off-spinner Graeme Swann impressed.

“I have been incredibly impressed by the way England have embraced this new, positive attitude. It was a crying outfit to be honest, we had become very stagnant and stereo in the last couple of years of Test cricket. McCullum and Stokes have injected joie de vivre and the confidence is contagious, going through the veins of all the players,” said Swann in a virtual conference organised by Sony Sports.

Up next for England is the rescheduled fifth Test in Edgbaston against India, who are leading the series 2-1. “Whether they can maintain this against the Indian bowling attack, we have to wait and see. England did this (won 3-0) against New Zealand bowling attack, who are World Test champions at the minute. It’s exciting that England are playing this brand of cricket and will be up against an Indian team, who are one of the best teams in the world,” observed Swann.

Swann felt that a red-hot England have the upper hand over India ahead of the Edgbaston decider as they are coming off from facing New Zealand, while India, who last played a Test against Sri Lanka in March, played a four-day tour match against Leicestershire.

“It is a real bad time to play England because they just played these three games against New Zealand. There are chinks in the armour; the opening batting slot is still very weak. But nearly all the other spots are excellent.

“Even the spinner Jack Leach, who is under a lot of pressure, has got 10 wickets in a match at Headingley. England are in a very good position and I would say, they are slight favourites. The fact that India just had one (tour) game in Leicester, so they are coming in cold for the Test match, which is a bit of a disadvantage.”

Just like England, India will also be led by a new captain-coach combination in Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid. But with Sharma in isolation due to Covid-19 positive test, Swann believes that England won’t mind seeing senior batter Virat Kohli captain India in Test cricket again.

“You could say why not let Virat Kohli finish off the things he started and could have a final hoorah. Whether Virat would want to do that, I don’t know whether India would do that. I don’t think England will really mind. Maybe, if you think about Ben Stokes. He would quite like Virat Kohli to be captain as then he could directly compare to how Joe Root’s team played against Virat’s Indian team.”

Swann concluded by saying that who will be captaining India won’t bother England much. “England won’t be worried too much about who would be India’s captain. They would be looking for how they can put as much pressure on the Indian batsmen. The only way to beat India is to bowl them out.

“When we used to play against the Indian team, they had some of the greatest names of a generation in the team, we always used to worry about how to get them out for 200, 250, how to get them out. They will be thinking about how to get these guys out,” said Swann ahead of the rescheduled Test which will be broadcast on Sony Sports Network from July 1-5.


Dhawan named captain for India’s upcoming ODI series against South Africa, maiden call-ups for Patidar, Mukesh 




Senior left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan on Sunday was named captain of India’s squad which will play three ODIs against South Africa on October 6, 9 and 11 in Lucknow, Ranchi and New Delhi respectively.

The All-India Senior Selection Committee has also given maiden ODI call-ups to middle-order batter Rajat Patidar and pacer Mukesh Kumar. Patidar’s career has been on an upswing since making a breathtaking 112 for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2022 Eliminator against the Lucknow Super Giants at Kolkata.

Patidar went on to score 122 and 30 not out in Madhya Pradesh’s Ranji Trophy final win over Mumbai at Bengaluru. Recently, he scored two centuries, one of which was a mammoth 176, in four innings of India A’s multi-day series against New Zealand A to be the top run-scorer for the hosts with 319 runs at an average of 106.33. He also made 45 not out and 20 in one-day matches against New Zealand A in Chennai.

Mukesh, the right-arm medium pacer who represents Bengal in domestic cricket, picked up nine wickets at an average of 21.78 in the multi-day series against New Zealand A, including taking 5/86 on day one of the series. More recently, he rattled a famed Saurashtra batting line-up with his deadly spell of 4/23 for the Rest of India in the ongoing Irani Cup final in Rajkot.

Interestingly, batter Shreyas Iyer, pace all-rounder Deepak Chahar and leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi, who are travelling reserves in India’s squad for the Men’s T20 World Cup to be held later in Australia, have been included in the ODI squad with no member of the main squad to take part in the series as they depart for Australia on October 6.

Left-arm spin all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed, who had been called in as a replacement for the injured Washington Sundar in the 3-0 ODI series triumph in Zimbabwe but didn’t get a game, retains his place in the squad, and so does right-handed batter, Rahul Tripathi. Pacer Avesh Khan also comes back into the ODI fold after missing the last few matches of the T20 Asia Cup 2022 due to illness.

India’s ODI squad: Shikhar Dhawan (captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer (vice-captain), Rajat Patidar, Rahul Tripathi, Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper), Shahbaz Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravi Bishnoi, Mukesh Kumar, Avesh Khan, Mohammed Siraj, Deepak Chahar

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Stampede at football match in Indonesia, death toll reaches 174




At least 174 people have died and 180 others are injured in a stampede at a football match in Indonesia’s Malang in East Java province, Indonesian Police said on Sunday.

The incident took place after police tear-gassed supporters who invaded the pitch late on Saturday evening, BBC reported.

It is one of the world’s worst stadium disasters after local team Arema FC lost 2-3 to bitter rivals Persebaya Surabaya in East Java.

The country’s Chief Security Minister said that spectators exceeded the stadium’s 38,000 capacity by around 4,000, BBC reported.

President Joko Widodo has ordered that all matches in Indonesia’s top league must be stopped until an investigation is done.

Videos show fans running on to the pitch after the final whistle.

Police then fired tear gas, leading to a crowd stampede and cases of suffocation, said Nico Afinta, Police Chief in East Java.

“It had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars,” he said, adding that two police officers were among the deceased.

“We would like to convey that not all of them were anarchic. Only about 3,000 who entered the pitch,” he said.

Fleeing fans “went out to one point at the exit. Then there was a build-up, in the process of accumulation, there was shortness of breath, lack of oxygen”, he added.

Videos on social media show fans clambering over fences to escape. Separate videos appear to show lifeless bodies on the floor.

FIFA, the world’s governing football body, states that no “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police at matches.

The Indonesian football association (PSSI) said it had launched an investigation, adding that the incident had “tarnished the face of Indonesian football”.

Violence at football matches is not new in Indonesia, and Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya are long-time rivals.

Persebaya Surabaya fans were banned from buying tickets for the game because of fears of clashes.

But Chief Security Minister Mahfud MD posted on Instagram that 42,000 tickets had been sold for the match at the Kanjuruhan stadium.

President Widodo called for this to be the “last soccer tragedy in the nation” after ordering that all Liga 1 games should be paused pending an investigation.

The stampede is the latest in a long line of disasters at stadiums.

In 1964, a total of 320 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured during a stampede at a Peru-Argentina Olympic qualifier in Lima.

In 1985, 39 people died and 600 were hurt at the Heysel stadium in Brussels, Belgium, when fans were crushed against a wall that then collapsed during the European Cup final between Liverpool (England) and Juventus (Italy).

In the UK, a crush developed at the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield, resulting in the deaths of 97 Liverpool fans attending the club’s FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

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Hayley Matthews to lead West Indies women in white-ball series against New Zealand




Newly-appointed captain Hayley Matthews will lead the West Indies side to take on New Zealand Women in three ODIs from September 16-22 at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium here.

The side sees the return of the experienced wicketkeeper-batter Natasha McLean. The squad was selected based on the performances in the recently concluded 6ixty and the Women’s Caribbean Premier League (WCPL) tournaments.

The 17-member provisional squad will be pruned down to 13 a day before the start of the series.

The five T20 Internationals are scheduled for September 25 to October 6.

For the ODI series, West Indies will be looking to build on the progress after reaching the semifinals of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand earlier this year. The team will then look to the five T20I matches as part of their preparations for the 2023 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa in January.

Mandy Mangru and Kaysia Schultz have also joined the players in Antigua for a 10-day training camp led by head coach Courtney Walsh.

“The New Zealand series is very important on the women’s cricket landscape not only because it starts a new cycle, but also because it is part of the preparation leading towards the T20 World Cup in South Africa,” CWI’s lead selector for women’s cricket, Ann Browne-John, said.

“With a few senior players unavailable at this time, for different reasons, like the experienced Anisa Mohammed, Kycia Knight and recently retired Deandra Dottin, the selectors were still able to get a blend of senior and developing players including Under-19 player Jannillea Glasgow and returning players Natasha McLean and Sheneta Grimmond. Ultimately, we believe that captain Hayley Matthews, in her first series, will have a promising squad of players to start building with,” added Browne-John

Full squad: Hayley Matthews (C), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Afy Fletcher, Cherry Ann Fraser, Shabika Gajnabi, Jannillea Glasgow, Sheneta Grimmond, Chinelle Henry, Kyshona Knight, Natasha McLean, Chedean Nation, Karishma Ramharack, Shakera Selman, Stafanie Taylor, Rashada Williams.

Schedule: ODI Series – September 16, 18 and 22. T20I Series – September 25, 28, Oct 1, 4 and 6.

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