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Justin Langer hands over the keys to Andrew McDonald for India tour

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Australia coach head Justin Langer has promised he won’t call his senior assistant Andrew McDonald as he hands over the reins for Australia’s three-match ODI tour of India next week.

Langer will remain in Perth to take a well-earned break following a triumphant home summer thus far where his side went undefeated across six T20Is and five Test matches.

McDonald will take the lead coaching role with Australia for the first time after being convinced to join Langer’s coaching staff late last year. Langer, who had a similar chance to take the job in a stand-in capacity when Darren Lehmann missed a series in West Indies in 2016, wants to allow McDonald to take control of this tour.

ALSO READ: A summer for Australia to savour, but not for long

“I said to him this morning, we aren’t inventing the wheel,” Langer said. “He’s got a really good opportunity, I’m so confident in our coaching staff with the cricket side of things.

“He’s an excellent coach and we have other excellent coaches to back him up. I said to him I won’t ring him, I’ll let him go, but he said ‘I might ring you’. He’ll do a really good job. I’m sure for three one-dayers it will go really well.”

McDonald was so highly regarded by Langer that in a bid to lure him into the national set-up he was allowed to maintain his coaching roles in the IPL with the Rajasthan Royals and in the Hundred with the Birmingham Phoenix. McDonald is the clear front-runner to take the Australia job in the future, should he want it, and taking charge of this tour is part of his development.”Of course,” Langer said when asked about the potential of McDonald stepping up permanently one day. “He’s the senior assistant coach of the Australian team.”

“Looking back, it was a big part of my apprenticeship, no doubt about that. There’s different things that happen along the way and one of those was getting the opportunity to coach in the West Indies from Boof [Darren Lehmann]. It’s all part of the apprenticeship. He’s got great credentials and he’ll keep growing.”

Australia have made a number of changes to the ODI squad from the one that lost the World Cup semi-final to England. The all-round duo of Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis have been omitted after being automatic selections over the previous 18 months while Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh have also made way in the top order.

Marnus Labuschagne has been given his opportunity after a stunning Test summer and strong domestic form, where he was named joint player of the tournament in the Marsh Cup, Australia’s 50-over domestic competition, which Langer said gave the selectors the opportunity to bring him in.

“[I’m] really excited about that,” Langer said. “If you look at his domestic one-day record, it’s excellent. The fact that he’s done so well, he’s given us some ammunition to select him but he also fits one of those roles we’re looking for – the middle-order batsman, runs hard between the wickets, plays spin very well, very fit, gun fielder, bowls a few leggies. It’s a great package for one-day cricket so we’re very excited to see how he goes. And he deserves that opportunity. Not just on his Test form but on his domestic one-day form as well.”Australia do not play Test cricket again until June in Bangladesh, with ODI and T20 assignments in India, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand taking place before then. But Langer was already casting his mind forward to a tour where Australia have had trouble in the past. He was part of a team that almost lost the first Test to Bangladesh in 2006 when they arrived horribly underdone after a three-Test tour to South Africa.

Australia then lost a Test there in 2017, eventually drawing the two-Test series 1-1. They played with three spinners in one of the matches but the success of Australia’s frontline quicks on some slower pitches in England as well as in Australia may see a rethink of their strategy, as they did in India in 2004.

“Maybe,” Langer said. “We’ll look at the conditions. I remember when Australia won after many, many years in India – in 2004 – it was on the back of some very, very disciplined fast bowling. Adam Gilchrist was the captain. We had very clear plans and we talked about during the Ashes series, we had very clear plans on that.

“So it could happen, it’d be so hard to leave out one of those three or four bowlers. So we’ll look at that when it comes to Bangladesh, but there’s a good combination at the moment.”

Mitchell Swepson, who was called into the squad for the Sydney Test, is the frontrunner for one of the extra spin-bowling slots alongside Nathan Lyon. The other key question will be whether they take a seam-bowling allrounder but, as Langer noted, the candidates – he name-checked Mitchell Marsh, Cameron Green, Marcus Stoinis and Moises Henriques – are currently either not bowling or doing very little.

Marsh, who broke his hand early in the season, should be able to increase his bowling loads when the Sheffield Shield resumes in February but it remains to be seen whether 20-year-old Green, who is tipped for higher honours, will have the ball back after suffering a stress fracture of his back.



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AB de Villiers' magic keeps Brisbane Heat alive

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The Melbourne Stars have been uncatchable at the top of the points table for a while, but they have now lost three matches in a row



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Match Preview New Zealand vs India, 2nd T20I 2020

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Big Picture

New Zealand actually had a fairly decent game with the ball – their plans were good, execution not always but spot on but more on than off – but they still lost comfortably to India in the series opener. This tells you two things: when India are chasing, you need to put on an above-par score, and Jasprit Bumrah always stands in the way of such an endeavour. In an innings that New Zealand kept nudging at 10 an over, looking for a final kick to push them past 220, Bumrah conceded just 16 runs in overs 18 and 20, three overthrows included.

New Zealand can match India’s accomplished batting line-up over 20 overs with power and innovation, but it is in the bowling that India continue to be a superior side. In the second of the double-header at Eden Park, the hosts will have to find a way to hurt India’s bowling to give their bowlers a chance. Expect Shivam Dube and Yuzvendra Chahal to be put under more pressure and not be allowed to go at eight an over on such a small ground.

India’s batting remains good as gold in chases, but if they lose the toss, their newfound intent – and they have shown it when batting first against West Indies and Australia in both T20Is and ODIs recently – will be tested when setting a target on the small ground.

Form guide

New Zealand LLLWW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
India WWWWL

In the spotlight

New Zealand openers gave them a start in the first T20I, but they ended up with strike rates of 140 and 158. They will want at least one of Martin Guptill and Colin Munro to score at near two runs a ball to get a score big enough for this venue.

Five overs for 42 runs and two wickets, Ravindra Jadeja and Shivam Dube will have pleased India no end with their performance in the first match. That there are two allrounders eases the pressure on both of them. If they can keep delivering similar results, India will be closer to finding a plan for the T20 World Cup.

Team news

New Zealand might think of the odd change but they will know it was not in the choice of the personnel that they lost the first game.

New Zealand (probable): 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Colin Munro, 3 Kane Williamson (capt.),4 Colin de Grandhomme, 5 Ross Taylor, 6 Tim Seifert (wk) 7 Mitchell Santner/ Daryl Mitchell, 8 Ish Sodhi, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Blair Tickner, 11 Hamish Bennett

Now that they have preferred Manish Pandey to Rishabh Pant in the middle order, India are expected to give him a decent run. Expect only one change in the Indian XI: Navdeep Saini in for Shardul Thakur.

India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 KL Rahul (wk), 3 Virat Kohli (capt.), 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 Manish Pandey, 6 Shivam Dube 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Yuzvendra Chahal, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Navdeep Saini, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

Pitch and conditions

The first T20I featured some dew, which will be on the minds of captains at the toss. Other than that, expect a lot of runs and no stoppages.

Stats and trivia

  • Ish Sodhi needs one wicket to become the fourth New Zealand bowler to take 50. Mitchell Santner had reached the landmark on Friday.

  • Only one of the last six matches at Eden Park has resulted in a win for the side batting first.

Quotes

“We had great support. We had 80% India fans here, and the atmosphere was great. You need that in a 200-plus chase, they help us go further, be braver.”
Virat Kohli is thankful for the fans turning it into a home game

“Every time we play India, whether it is a home game, away game or a neutral venue, they’re always very well supported. I am not sure what the numbers were today. There’s probably 20,000, and probably 12,000 were Indian supporters.”
Ross Taylor on playing at home but not quite



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Recent Match Report – New Zealand Women vs South Africa Women, ICC Women’s Championship, 1st ODI

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South Africa women 260 for 3 (Lee 99, Wolvaardt 91, Jensen 1-36) beat New Zealand women 259 for 9 (Perkins 78, Bates 53, Klaas 3-37, Khaka 3-43) by seven wickets

Openers Lizelle Lee (99) and Laura Wolvaardt (91*) helped South Africa women pull off a chase of 260 – their second highest in ODI cricket – in the series opener against New Zealand women in Auckland. While Lee was dismissed for a run-a-ball 99, Wolvaardt made a more sedate 91 not out off 124 balls and sealed victory along with Mignon du Preez.

It was Lee who made the early running in the chase, and she brought up her half-century off 51 balls in the 16th over. By then, South Africa were 83 for 0. Lee and Wolvaardt stretched their opening stand to 163 before Lee fell to medium-pacer Hayley Jensen in the 32nd over. Three overs later, Suzie Bates had Luus caught behind for 15 and when Dane van Niekerk departed for 37 in the 47th over, South Africa were all but home. Wolvaardt and du Preez completed the formalities with seven wickets and nine balls to spare.

Lee had struck 13 fours while Wolvaardt hit nine. In all, the entire New Zealand side managed only 20 fours and a six. Fresh off winning the Super Smash title with Wellington Blaze, Sophie Devine had a good start – hitting 27 off 31 balls – but couldn’t convert it into a substantial score. It was Katie Perkins who had top-scored for the hosts, with 78 off 83 balls, including six fours. No.3 Suzie Bates produced the next best score for New Zealand, making 53 off 75 balls.

At 146 for 3 in the 34th over, New Zealand seemed to have the upper hand, but Bates’ dismissal triggered a meltdown as they lost their last six wickets for 113 runs. After Masabata Klaas had taken down the first two wickets, Ayabonga Khaka picked up three wickets in the middle to peg New Zealand back.

Wicketkeeper Rachel Priest (21) and Jensen (20) made late cameos to help push the total beyond 250, but it was not enough on the day for New Zealand.



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