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‘Playing in a World Cup final seemed laughable after 2015 exit’ – Morgan

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Eoin Morgan has admitted the prospect of playing in a World Cup final seemed laughable by the time England were knocked out of the 2015 World Cup.

England endured a miserable campaign in New Zealand and Australia four-years ago sustaining a series of crushing defeats and failing to make it to the quarter-finals.

But a resounding victory over Australia at Edgbaston on Thursday means England will play their first World Cup final since 1992 at Lord’s on Sunday. All of which left Morgan, the England captain, reflecting on a remarkable improvement in his side’s ODI cricket during the last four years.

WATCH on Hotstar: Jason Roy’s innings (India only)

“If you had offered us the position to play in a final the day after we were knocked out of the 2015 Cup, I would have laughed at you,” Morgan said. “Looking back where we were in 2015 to where we will be on Sunday, it is a dramatic improvement in the style of play and the level of expectation which we’ve created.

“In 2015 we were way off the mark. We struggled against the top teams – and the teams below that level – so there was quite a drastic change in the way we played and the way we looked at playing our 50-over cricket. The last four years have been a process.”

Chris Woakes was named Player of the Match for his return of 3 for 20, but Morgan was equally full of praise for Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy, who recorded their fourth century partnership in succession.

“Chris is a cool customer,” he said. “He goes about his business, day in and day out, exceptionally. Today was his day. He and Jofra Archer were outstanding. It was one of our bowlers’ standout performances in the last four years.

“Jason and Jonny are in the form of their lives. They are imposing when they get in. And they set the tone for the whole group.”

While Morgan accepts Sunday’s final will be a high-profile affair, he is urging his team to embrace the occasion and continue to play the bold style of cricket that earned them victory on Thursday.

“Sunday’s not a day to shy away from,” Morgan said. “It’s a day to look forward to. We have created the opportunity to play in a World Cup final. It will be a matter of trying to produce everything that we can performance-wise, but enjoy the day.

“It’s an opportunity for us on Sunday. A huge one. Making the most of the opportunity of getting to the final would be fantastic, but just getting there is awesome.

“Everybody out there on the field and in the changing room loved every ball that was bowled [against Australia]. There was no lack of commitment, application and we had a bit of a day out. It’s cool when it happens like that, particularly when the bowlers bowl like that. It is awesome.”

Morgan is particularly pleased that Sunday’s final will be broadcast free-to-air on Channel 4 or, while the British Grand Prix is in progress, on More 4. He says his own experiences of watching cricket on free to air television helped inspire his love for the game and hopes more people will now have the same opportunity.

“It’s very cool,” he said. “Particularly given that the 2005 Ashes [which was the last series broadcast free-to-air in the UK] was, for me, sort of the day cricket became cool. Throughout the whole summer, the game was on the front and back page of every newspaper and everyone was talking about it. That is really good for the game and it’s the game I love, so it’s great news that it’s on free-to-air.”



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BCCI invites fresh applications for India team’s support staff

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The BCCI has called for applications for the entire roster of support staff for the India senior men’s cricket team, which ended its World Cup 2019 campaign with a semi-final defeat to New Zealand.

The contracts of the coaching staff, led by head coach Ravi Shastri, run up to the end of the World Cup. The BCCI subsequently extended the contracts by 45 days to include India’s tour of the West Indies, which starts on August 3 with the first of three T20Is. Three ODIs will follow the T20Is, with two Tests – part of the World Test Championship cycle – to come after the limited-overs matches.

The applications have been called for the positions of head coach, batting coach, bowling coach, fielding coach, physiotherapist, strength and conditioning coach, and administrative manager, with the deadline being 5pm on July 30.

The BCCI said that the current coaching staff of the team would get “automatic entry in the recruitment process”, but it’s unclear as yet if Shastri, Sanjay Bangar (assistant and batting coach), Bharat Arun (bowling coach), R Sridhar (fielding coach), and Sunil Subramaniam (team manager) are going to re-apply for their positions or not.

Physiotherapist Patrick Farhart and strength and conditioning coach Shankar Basu have both opted not to renew their contracts, and ended their association with the Indian team after the World Cup.

For the position of the head coach, who should be below 60 years of age, the BCCI wants the candidates who apply to have a BCCI Level 3 qualification. Failing that, the person should have played at least 30 Tests or 50 ODIs.

The support staff – with the exception of the team manager – have all had long stints with the team. While Shastri, Bangar, Arun and Sridhar all joined the team in mid-2014 for the limited-overs leg of the tour of England after a heavy loss in the Test series, Farhart and Basu had been part of the set-up since July 2015. Shastri, originally brought in as team director, was not part of the support staff for a year between mid-2016 to 2017, when Anil Kumble was in charge – and neither was Arun – but returned as head coach after that.

The BCCI’s elections are scheduled for October 22, which will also mean the exit of the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators, and CoA chairman Vinod Rai had clarified earlier that until the elections were held, the body would continue to monitor and authorise cricketing operations, including matters related to the appointment or renewal of coaching staff.



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

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Derbyshire 146 (Hudson-Prentice 55, Sanderson 5-46) and 155 for 5 need a further 164 runs to beat Northamptonshire 342 and 122 (Palladino 4-33) by 308 runs

An astonishing day on which 24 wickets fell ended with Northamptonshire closing in on victory against Derbyshire at Chesterfield.

After Ben Sanderson took 5 for 46 to bowl Derbyshire out for 146 with Fynn Hudson-Prentice unbeaten on 55, Tony Palladino claimed 4 for 33 as Northants were shot out for 122. That left Derbyshire chasing 319 for victory but by the close, they were 155 for 5, still 164 runs short of the target.

A pitch offering spin and variable bounce was certainly demanding to bat on but lack of foot movement and poor shot selection accounted for the majority of the wickets.

The carnage began when Wayne Madsen played across the line to give Sanderson his first victim and the rest of the day became a procession as wickets tumbled to a rash of poor strokes. Tom Lace and Leus du Plooy paid the price for failing to get forward as Derbyshire slipped to 60 for 6 before Hudson-Prentice took 22 from a Rob Keogh over.

Matt Coles struck with his third delivery by trapping Matt Critchley on the crease but Hudson-Prentice reached 50 before Keogh wrapped up the innings giving Northants a lead of 196.

They chose not to enforce the follow-on but instead of an afternoon of accumulation, Northants moved into T20 mode and were bowled out in a chaotic session on a pitch which had clearly put doubts in the minds of the batsmen.

Ricardo Vasconcelos was run out attempting a second to deep square leg and after Luke Proctor offered no shot to Hudson-Prentice, Palladino profited from inadequate technique and ill-judged shots.

Keogh played across the line, Adam Rossington drove wildly at his first ball and although Temba Bavuma and Josh Cobb briefly threatened to restore order, more frantic shot selection sent the innings into terminal decline.

Cobb drove Critchley to long off and Bavuma fell victim to the mood of recklessness when he skied Palladino to point. Hamidullah Qadri beat Coles’s charge and less than 31 overs had been bowled when Saif Zaib holed out to leave Derbyshire facing the highest successful run chase at Queen’s Park.

They clearly decided to approach it in a positive way as Billy Godleman and Luis Reece came out swinging in the late afternoon sunshine. Godleman repeatedly charged the opening bowlers before he was stumped for 25 off Sanderson in the fifth over and Madsen lost his middle stump trying to work Coles through midwicket.

Reece was lbw playing back to Keogh and Luke Proctor struck twice in his first over to leave Northants favourites to wrap up victory on Tuesday.



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World Cup final viewing figures compete with 2005 Ashes after free-to-air return

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Sunday’s World Cup final, the first England international on free-to-air UK television since the 2005 Ashes, attracted a peak viewership of 8.3 million.

The game was simulcast on several channels: Sky showed it on Sky One, Main Event, and their Cricket channel, while Channel 4 split their coverage between their main channel and More 4 during the British Grand Prix.

The peak audience was only marginally below that recorded during the 2005 Ashes, when 8.4 million people watched the culmination of England’s win at Trent Bridge on Channel 4. By contrast, the first Test of the 2015 Ashes, shown only on Sky, attracted a peak viewership of 467,000.

The World Cup final had to compete for attention with the men’s singles final at Wimbledon between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, as well as the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Cricket will return to free-to-air TV in the UK from next summer, after the BBC agreed a deal in 2017 to show ten men’s and eight women’s matches from The Hundred per year, as well as two men’s T20Is and one women’s T20I.

Liam Plunkett, the fast bowler who took three wickets in England’s win, had previously voiced support for the final to be broadcast free-to-air.

“Playing for England, you’re the pride of the country and you want people to be able to access that and watch that,” he said after the group stage win against New Zealand. “I’m not sure it’s going to happen but for the guys, you want as many people to watch it as possible.”

Sunday’s final was a sell-out, with unofficial resale platforms offering tickets priced at several thousand pounds. As well as the millions watching on TV, thousands of fans gathered in the fanzone in Trafalgar Square, first to watch and then to celebrate England’s win.

There was widespread support for Sky’s decision to allow the game to be shown on free-to-air TV, a move that the ECB encouraged but did not demand. But Ashley Giles, the director of cricket for England’s men’s teams, suggested that England might not have been able to win the World Cup without Sky’s investment.

When asked by BBC Radio 4 if it would have been impossible, Giles said: “Quite possibly, yes. The investment in the game from grassroots to professional has allowed us to do what we’ve done.

“Sky took the game on and have been fantastic supporters since. Thank you to them for allowing it on Channel 4.”

Channel 4’s chief executive Alex Mahon said it was “wonderful that the whole nation can come together to share these momentous British sporting events”.



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