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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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Former SA pacer Rusty Theron named in USA squad



Rusty Theron, who played for Kings XI Punjab, Deccan Chargers and Rajasthan Royals between 2010 and 2015 in the IPL, has been named in a 30-man USA squad traveling to Los Angeles this weekend for a selection camp. Theron, who also represented South Africa in four ODIs and nine T20Is between 2010 and 2012, will be looking to make the USA squad for the next round of 2020 World T20 Qualifiers, in Bermuda this August.

Theron had retired from South African first-class cricket in 2015 before moving to Florida where he was pursuing a teaching degree at a local college. He has now qualified to represent USA under the ICC’s three-year residency rule. According to multiple sources, USA Cricket had been aggressively pursuing Theron to join their squad for WCL Division Three in Oman last November but he made himself unavailable due to the tournament clashing with his own wedding.

Theron has been a regular fixture at T20 club tournaments around the USA in the last several years, most prominently at the annual US Open T20 Cricket tournament in Florida. It’s the same tournament used by USA’s Ali Khan to gain attention on the T20 franchise radar. Theron appeared there most recently in December for Somerset (New Jersey) Cavaliers where he was team-mates with Andre Russell and helped bowl Cavaliers into the final, where they eventually lost to California Bears.

Also in the USA squad are a pair of English County players with USA passports aiming to force their way into the national team for the first time. Durham’s Cameron Steel and Hampshire’s Ian Holland have both been included in the weekend camp.

The 23-year-old Steel, born in California, made a career-best 224 against Leicestershire at age 21 two seasons ago but has struggled to keep his place in the Durham first XI this season. The 28-year-old Wisconsin-born, Australian-raised Holland similarly has struggled to keep a place in the Hampshire first XI – he was loaned to Northants for the Royal London One-Day Cup – since relocating to England after a solitary first-class appearance for Victoria in 2016.

Another big name to emerge from the list for different reasons is allrounder Timroy Allen, one of USA’s biggest match-winners of the last decade. Allen was a key role player for Jamaica Tallawahs in 2016, playing six matches during their run to the CPL title, but has not played for USA since May 2017 due to work commitments.

Vikash Mohan, former captain of Combined Campuses & Colleges, has also been included in the 30-man list. The US passport holder from Trinidad & Tobago took part in a USA fitness camp at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and was also part of a USA selection camp held in Antigua in February ahead of WCL Division Two in Namibia but was not selected for that tour.

Five other uncapped players are in the 30-man list besides Theron, Holland, Steel and Mohan. The most prominent of the bunch is Akshay Homraj, a former Guyana Under-19 wicketkeeper-batsman who has since migrated to New York and been part of multiple USA squad camps. The others are Dallas batsman Ali Samad, Chicago area wicketkeeper Shaheer Hassan, Los Angeles fast bowler Sahaj Patel and Los Angeles left-arm spinning allrounder Srinivas Raghavan.

Players will participate in six T20 intra-squad trial matches during the camp before a squad is expected to be announced next month ahead of the ICC Americas Regional T20 Qualifier Final in Bermuda to be held from August 18-25. USA will take on Bermuda, Canada and Cayman Islands in a double-round robin event with the top two teams advancing to the Global T20 World Cup Qualifier in the UAE in October.

USA squad: Timroy Allen, Usman Ashraf, Karima Gore, Shaheer Hassan, Ian Holland, Akshay Homraj, Elmore Hutchinson, Aaron Jones, Nosthush Kenjige, Ali Khan, Jaskaran Malhotra, Xavier Marshall, Vikash Mohan, Saurabh Netravalkar, Monank Patel, Nisarg Patel, Sagar Patel, Sahaj Patel, Timil Patel, Kyle Phillip, Srinivas Raghavan, Srini Salver, Ali Samad, Roy Silva, Jessy Singh, Cameron Steel, Abdullah Syed, Steven Taylor, Rusty Theron, Hayden Walsh Jr.

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



Lancashire 236 (Croft 53, Reece 6-58) and 4 for 0 beat Derbyshire 153 (Anderson 5-18) and 84 (Onions 5-38, Anderson 4-29) by 10 wickets

With the start of the Ashes six weeks away, the health of Jimmy Anderson is one of England’s prime concerns. MI5 probably have surveillance officers monitoring his every movement, poised to warn of anything disturbing like a bit of a limp or, even worse, the merest sign of a smile.

Intelligence reports from Derby will be filed away with satisfaction. Another four wickets on the third morning for Anderson, and nine in the match at a cost of only 47 runs. Fitness and rhythm exceeding expectations at this stage. Grumpiness at a promising level when the ball kept passing the outside edge. Too many of those to count.

Recommendation: With Lancashire top of Division Two, and 10 days’ inactivity until their next game, against Durham at Sedbergh School, surveillance can be called back. MI5 resources perhaps better employed taking a closer look at Stuart Broad.

The only concern surrounds the fact that the opening day of the Ashes is on Yorkshire Day. As a Lancastrian, Anderson’s mood cannot be reliably predicted.

Twenty-eight Championship wickets at 8.64 runs apiece have massaged Anderson’s mood and, if they have come disturbingly easily, his method looks as ingrained as ever. At 36, his fitness and suppleness remains exemplary. He bowls when he wants and comes off when he chooses.

Derbyshire resumed at 19 for 4, 64 runs away from making Lancashire bat again. It was a modest aim, but as helpful bowling conditions persisted into the third day it was an entirely realistic one. They managed to set Lancashire two runs to win, Keaton Jennings avoided a pair by thick edging the first ball for four and everything was wrapped up five minutes before lunch.

Derbyshire’s fifth-wicket pair survived for 50 minutes more by luck than judgment against Anderson and Graham Onions. Frustration was welling up; the surveillance team by the sightscreen began to fret about possible overload.

Anderson, in solemn mood, applauded Alex Hughes with good humour for managing to leave a wide one after endless playing and missing. Four byes when a bouncer sailed over Harvey Hosein’s head did not disturb him, nor did a hook shot from the same batsmen which fell close to Onions at long leg. At least it was Onions who suffered a bad drop at first slip by Jennings when Hughes managed to make contact.

Then three wickets in seven balls restored equilibrium and the pessimism of Derbyshire supporters was proved to be based on decades of evidence. Anderson claimed the first two. Hughes got bat on an outswinger and then Matt Critchley, seeking out the leg-side as is his habit, was lbw and left gesturing that he touched it.

The third fell to Onions, a simple catch at first slip to remove Luis Reece who had been demoted to No. 8 because of injury and didn’t really look up for it. Logan van Beek drove Anderson to gully and Onions mopped up the last two, including Hosein, who resisted diligently until he was caught behind for 29.

Five to Anderson, four to Onions and the promise of a dry afternoon to return to Manchester. When it comes to fast bowlers, especially vintage ones, the fear is that something could go wrong at any moment. Nothing did. Quite the opposite.

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Shikhar Dhawan ruled out of World Cup, Rishabh Pant confirmed as replacement | Cricket



Shikhar Dhawan was hit on his left hand early in his innings against Australia © Getty Images

Shikhar Dhawan has been ruled out of the remainder of the World Cup. The India opener suffered a hairline fracture to his left thumb during his century against Australia last Sunday and hasn’t recovered well enough to play the tournament.

Rishabh Pant, who was rushed in as a cover by the BCCI on June 11, two days after Dhawan suffered the blow, and trained with the Indian squad in Manchester ahead of the Pakistan match, has been announced as Dhawan’s replacement.

Dhawan was present in Southampton today during the Indian training session, with his left hand wrapped in bandage. The update is that the hand will be in a cast for another month or so.

Speaking at a press conference, Sunil Subramaniam, the India team manager, said, “Shikhar has a fracture at the base of his first metacarpal on his left hand. Following several specialist opinions, he will remain in cast until July, mid-July, which rules him out of the ICC World Cup 2019.”

The injury took place when he was facing Pat Cummins in India’s second match of the World Cup, at The Oval. Dhawan carried on batting and scored a century, which earned him the Man of the Match award as India won by 36 runs. However, he did not field during the Australia innings.

Rishabh Pant has trained with the Indian squad over the past few days © Getty Images

He travelled to Leeds to meet a surgeon after that, where the hairline fracture was diagnosed. The Indian selectors opted to take time on the matter and not name a replacement immediately following a positive appraisal from the team’s medical staff led by physio Patrick Farhart.

“We want to hold him back, keep him here, because he wants to play. I think that kind of mindset will help in healing the injury as well as he really wants to play,” Virat Kohli, the India captain, had said on June 14 while discussing the team’s plans vis-à-vis Dhawan.

Dhawan has been the highest scorer in each of the last five multi-team (five-plus teams) ODI tournaments for India – Champions Trophy 2013, Asia Cup 2014, World Cup 2015, Champions Trophy 2017 and Asia Cup 2018 – and was also the only left-hander in the Indian batting order at the World Cup. These are understood to have been big factors in the team’s reaction to his injury. As mentioned previously on ESPNcricinfo, Pant being a left-hand batsman worked in his favour – ahead of Ambati Rayudu, the other frontline batsman among the stand-bys – even though he has only played five ODIs and has a not-too-impressive record: 93 runs in four innings, at an average of 23.25 and strike rate of 130.08.

Following the injury to Dhawan, India’s match against New Zealand was washed out, and KL Rahul opened the innings alongside Rohit Sharma in the next match, against Pakistan, scoring a 78-ball 57. Rahul’s presence in the squad helped the Indians opt for Pant, usually a middle-order batsman.

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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