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Champions Trophy defeat will serve England well at World Cup – Farbrace



England’s experience of “messing up” in the semi-final of the 2017 Champions Trophy should serve them well in the World Cup, Paul Farbrace believes.

England were the only side to progress through the group stages of that Champions Trophy without losing a game but, faced with a used Cardiff surface and the pressure of a big knock-out game, they appeared to suffer an attack of stage fright. In fairness, they also came up against an accomplished Pakistan side which went on to beat India in the final.

The semi-final saw England limp to 211, with their final wicket falling to the penultimate delivery of the 50th over. Tellingly, two of their most aggressive batsmen played uncharacteristically cautious innings, with Ben Stokes making 34 from 64 balls without a boundary, and Eoin Morgan making 33 from 53 balls. In reply, Pakistan raced to victory with eight wickets and almost 13 overs in hand.

While England’s failure to adapt to that used surface – low and slow as it was – was thought to be a key factor at the time, Farbrace feels the pressure of expectation was more relevant. And Farbrace, England’s assistant coach at the time, believes the experience should prove helpful ahead of the World Cup. In particular, he feels it should serve to enforce England’s policy of playing fearless, attacking cricket.

“The experience of messing the semi-final up in Cardiff has been a really good lesson,” Farbrace said. “The team will have learned a lot from that experience. It was almost a dress rehearsal for the World Cup.

“The message coming off the pitch that day was that it wasn’t a great surface and we only needed 180. So instead of saying, ‘right: let’s try to get 180 as fast as we can and risk being bowled out with 12 overs to go; we don’t mind that because we’re trying to play in a certain way,’ we stopped trying to play in that way.

“We went back to playing old-fashioned one-day cricket. We went back to trying to bat the 50 overs and thinking that, if we did that, we would have a score. We went against everything we had tried to do in the previous couple of years.

“That makes it even more frustrating and disappointing. If we’d been bowled out for 170 in 32 overs and lost, we could have lived with that, because that’s how we set out to play. But the fact we tried to play a different way and lost is even more difficult to accept.”

Partly as a result of that experience, there has been more talk in the England camp about acknowledging the expectations people will have of them this year and trying to embrace that experience.

“We have spent a lot of time talking about the experience of being a favourite going into a home World Cup,” Bayliss said. “There’s a been a lot of talk about embracing and enjoying the tournament. Not locking themselves away, but watching it, reading it, getting involved and trying to enjoy it.

“The team are quite comfortable with being favourite and being at home. They are comfortable with the high level of expectation that goes with it.

“They genuinely are a favourite. They’ve been No. 1 for 15 months. They’ve played excellent cricket and earned the right be No. 1.

“One of the goals we set was to be in the top two or three in the world going into that tournament. We know teams outside that have very little chance. We proved that last time: we were ranked No. 7 going into that and it was no surprise we finished where we did.”

Meanwhile, Farbrace confirmed Warwickshire would continue not to play football as part of their warm-up routines. While the England sides under Bayliss and Farbrace have continued to play the game before almost every training session and game, Warwickshire’s former director of cricket, Ashley Giles, banned it from the club as he felt it presented too strong an injury risk. As the new director of the England’s men’s teams, Giles is also expected to ban it at that level at some stage.

But while Farbrace is an enthusiastic footballer – he used to coach the game and describes himself as “a huge Chelsea fan” – and England continued to play it on the recently-concluded Caribbean tour, he will not go back on Giles’ decision at Warwickshire.

“Football is off limits here,” Farbrace said on his first day as director of sport at Edgbaston. “I love football and a few of us staff might play.

“But the club policy has been for players not to play and that won’t change. Not for the moment, anyway. They came to that decision a little while ago.”

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Recent Match Report – Derbyshire vs Glamorgan, County Championship Division Two, 2nd Innings



Derbyshire 378 and 171 for 9 (Douthwaite 4-33) lead Glamorgan 346 (Hemphrey 75, Root 68, Rampaul 5-94) by 203 runs

Daniel Douthwaite inspired a Glamorgan fightback to set up an intriguing finale to the Division Two match against Derbyshire after Ravi Rampaul had celebrated his first five-wicket haul for three years.

The West Indian seamer claimed 5 for 94 as Glamorgan were bowled out for 346, 32 runs behind, with Billy Root scoring 68 and Douthwaite 39 in his first Championship innings. Derbyshire were going well at 96 for 1 but they lost seven wickets for 60 runs with Douthwaite taking four in five overs, and closed on 171 for 9, a lead of 203.

Glamorgan’s success in denying Derbyshire a bigger lead was largely down to a seventh-wicket stand of 72 in 29 overs between Douthwaite and Tom Cullen.

When Luis Reece nipped one back to trap Root lbw, Glamorgan were still 143 runs adrift but Douthwaite and Cullen showed restraint and resolve to get through the second new ball.

Derbyshire gave little away and two dropped slip catches did not prove expensive but the batsmen did well until Rampaul had Douthwaite caught behind for 39.

Cullen quickly followed, well taken at second slip for 40, and Rampaul secured a third bowling point when he yorked Andrew Salter in the 110th over. But Lukas Carey landed some uncomplicated blows, launching Reece into the seats in front of the pavilion, before his attempt to put Rampaul onto the ring road ended in the hands of deep midwicket to give him his maiden Derbyshire five-wicket bag.

Derbyshire started their second innings poorly with skipper Billy Godleman again failing when he was caught behind down the leg side off Michael Hogan for 9, but Wayne Madsen and Reece raised the tempo before a clatter of wickets checked their progress.

Madsen edged David Lloyd to second slip and Reece went the same way in his next over before Alex Hughes chipped Carey to square leg.

When Harvey Hosein was caught by Cullen diving full length, the contest was wide open and Douthwaite struck twice in four balls. Tom Lace chopped on trying to steer to third man and Matt Critchley walked across and was lbw before Logan van Beek top edged a pull and was caught behind.

Hogan returned to bowl Tony Palladino and it needed two firm blows from Rampaul to take Derbyshire’s lead past 200 before stumps were drawn at 7.15pm.

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Recent Match Report – Kent vs Surrey, County Championship Division One, 2nd Innings



Surrey 439 and 11 for 0 lead Kent 294 (Dickson 128, Crawley 63, Batty 3-49) by 156 runs

In deciding on the readiness of young players to compete at the highest level, it is often said “if they’re good enough, they’re old enough”. Seldom though do you hear people opining that “if he’s good enough, he’s young enough”. In the 41-year-old Gareth Batty and the 37-year-old Rikki Clarke, Surrey quite definitely possess two of the more mature players on the circuit; yet they are both very much young enough.

With this match drifting listlessly to what already seemed an inevitable high-scoring draw, Surrey’s gnarled old pros, longer in the tooth than your average walrus, broke the game open with a pair of interventions after tea.

On Monday, it was Darren Stevens assuming the role of Yoda. This time, with Kent cruising comfortably at 227 for 2 on a placid pitch offering nothing to the bowlers since before lunch on day one, it was Batty to whom Rory Burns turned, much as Princess Leia did to Obi Wan Kenobi.

Batty was, it seemed, Surrey’s “last hope”. The pitch was offering little by way of turn, but Batty summoned his most seductive Jedi mind tricks in assuring first Heino Kuhn and then Ollie Robinson the very next delivery that “these are the balls you are looking to edge”. Two arm balls, albeit with a little more bounce than either batsman was expecting, assisted by two very sharp Ben Foakes catches had suddenly thrown this somnolent, soporific match wide open.

Wiaan “agent” Mulder came in to face the hat-trick ball but knew “the truth was out there”, just on a length outside off stump and spoiled the fun with the middle of a stoutly defensive bat.

What Mulder didn’t see coming was the leaping left hand of Will Jacks at gully who dived impossibly far to snatch the ball an inch off the ground to an audible collective gasp from this now thoroughly engaged crowd. Jacks repeated the trick in the first over of a new spell from Clarke to remove Alex Blake, and when Stevens, who had survived two mighty close shouts for lbw off Clarke was finally put out of his misery by umpire Graham Lloyd, Kent had lost five wickets for 33 runs.

All the while, Sean Dickson, who scored 318 the last time Kent played a first-class fixture at Beckenham, was looking on aghast from the other end. Just three hours earlier he and Zak Crawley had been busy compiling an untroubled, and often attractive opening stand of 128.

Crawley really does look the real deal. Against a seam attack of Morne Morkel, Clarke, Sam Curran and the distinctly brisk Conor Mckerr, he appeared to have all the time in the world. Granted, there was little happening off the pitch, and neither did it swing, much to the surprise of the odd luminary in the commentary box, but there are few more testing attacks than Surrey’s and it came as a surprise when he was spectacularly castled by Clarke for 63, pushing out at a ball he should have been defending and losing his middle and off stumps in the process.

Just as Clarke had sprung that first surprise, it was down to Batty to deliver the second when he too removed the middle stump, this time of Daniel Bell-Drummond who was attempting to run the ball down through third man. It was both too close to him and way too full. An ugly drag back ensued. Those Jedi mind tricks again. Frustration, disappointment and unfulfillment again from a player who has promised so much for years, at least since that terrific hundred against the touring Australians in 2015.

The second new ball was taken as soon as it was available. Curran immediately accounted for Dickson, getting him caught strangled down the leg side to end an unspectacular but highly efficient innings from the opener in rather unfortunate circumstances. The last two wickets soon followed, the final one to another quite brilliant catch from Jacks at short leg to give Morkel his only wicket. Surrey’s catching had been exemplary, even spectacular on occasion.

One bad session had produced eight wickets for just 91 runs. What at one time looked like a possible first-innings lead had resulted in a deficit of 145 runs. It is frequently the challenge for promoted sides to maintain intensity across the full duration of a match in this highly competitive top tier. Kent’s squad in large part lack Division One experience. Experience, though, is something Surrey have in abundance, and Batty and Clarke were quite simply the difference. Young enough? You bet.

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Glenn Maxwell keen to control with the ball and finish with the bat



Australia and the West Indies will play their first World Cup practice match “behind closed doors” on an out ground in Hampshire on Wednesday. The sides were officially scheduled to play two warm-up games before the start of the tournament but an extra hit-out was agreed between the camps when Stuart Law was West Indies’ coach.

Before training on Tuesday, Glenn Maxwell compared the size of the Nursery Ground to Hurstville in Sydney, the venue of many a thumping score in Australia’s domestic one-day competition, and as a result this warm-up will likely provide a serious test of both sides’ containment bowling.

As a part-time offspinner, Maxwell knows he will have his work cut out for him should he bowl to the likes of Chris Gayle and Andre Russell. But, while it is his batting that is most often discussed, he is clear on his objectives with the ball in hand.

“Try not to get hit for six most of the time,” laughed Maxwell. “For me I suppose, a lot of the time that I bowl, I just try to limit the boundary balls. As long as I’m doing that, if they hit some good shots off my bowling I’m not too fazed. If I’m limiting the boundary balls and giving myself the best chance to squeeze a few dot balls, bowl a couple of tight overs, it might create a bit of pressure at the other end.”

Maxwell spent time at Lancashire after Australia’s tours of India and Pakistan, choosing to prepare for the summer in England and giving himself the best chance of making the Ashes squad rather than playing in the IPL. His stint in county cricket included seven List A games and while he performed modestly with the bat – his top score was 35 – he took wickets in all but one match and eight in all.

“I think it’s important for me to just bowl in a partnership with someone. That’s probably the clarity I have in my role and it’s something I did a bit in Dubai [against Pakistan] and India and started to get a few more overs, a bit more consistency… To have that continue into my time at Lancashire where I got plenty of time at the bowling crease, you get that rhythm, you get that feel of the ball coming out consistently. You need that as a part-time bowler, to have that consistency of time at the crease and get a few of the cobwebs out I suppose.”

His bowling may be a handy option but it is Maxwell’s destructive batting that has the real potential to dismantle attacks and the Nursery Ground may be just the first on this tour that struggles to contain his powerful hitting. But in this, too, Maxwell has found clarity on how he fits into the Australian side.

“I suppose my role in the team is to adapt to whatever start we have, whether it be we get off to a flyer or we’ve lost a few early wickets. It’s just to adapt to whatever I get thrown into,” he said. “I just want to have an impact on games in a really positive way and be able to control the back end.

“I have expectations on myself to finish off games and be the guy who’s standing there at the end of the game and making sure that we win the game.”

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