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‘Careless whispers’ about Maxwell leave Langer fuming – WSAIGO Sports
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‘Careless whispers’ about Maxwell leave Langer fuming

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Another day, another drama around Australian selection. Head coach Justin Langer was involved in a tense exchange, which he later apologized for, as he said he had “zero knowledge” of guidance given to Glenn Maxwell last year for him to not take up a county deal in England on the assumption that he would be selected for Australia A.

That Australia A place, for a tour of India, never transpired – the justification given was that enough was known about Maxwell’s ability on the subcontinent – and Maxwell was then not selected for the Test tour of the UAE with the instruction of Langer to go and “score more hundreds” to push his credentials. Due to white-ball commitments he has since played just two first-class matches and was not part of Australia’s revamped Test batting line-up to face Sri Lanka.

Speaking on Wednesday, national selector Trevor Hohns said he did not know about any instruction to Maxwell not to spend time in county cricket last year. He added Maxwell was “content” to focus on white-ball cricket ahead of the World Cup, but acknowledged he still had a strong desire to add to his seven Test caps. Maxwell opted against putting his name into the IPL auction this year, instead taking a county stint with Lancashire that will include both first-class and one-day cricket.

The guidance to Maxwell to put rest ahead of county cricket last year – following the one-day tours of England and Zimbabwe – was understood to be made before Langer was appointed the new coach in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal. When pressed on the issue he went back and forth with a journalist before saying he had no knowledge of it.

“Are you certain that’s what happened,” Langer asked of the instructions given to Maxwell, with the journalist responding, “I’m asking”. After two rounds of this, Langer was asked who gave the directive to which he replied: “Did it happen?”

“Well you’re telling me it did happen, I’m asking did it happen?” Langer repeated. “No, I’ve got zero knowledge of that,” he then said, before calling it “careless whispers”.

Before answering the next question, Langer apologised: “Sorry for getting grumpy,” he said. “I don’t like getting grumpy but there’s so many stories that go around about so much stuff. Sorry everyone for getting grumpy. I didn’t mean to get grumpy, but the truth is a beautiful thing.”

Before the exchange about the details of the county deal, Langer had reiterated that Maxwell’s continued omission from the Test side had nothing to do with factors outside of cricket.

“Glenn is crystal clear from me and the selectors, what he needs to do to get back in the Test team,” he said. “He’s shown he is brilliant around the group in white-ball cricket. There’s been some reports about personality. It is literally false. It’s not true. He’s crystal clear what he has to do and that’s important, that he knows that and I know that as the coach and one of the selectors. All the conjecture about it – that’s all part of the noise. Glenn knows exactly what he has to do.”

*Cricket Australia later confirmed Maxwell had in fact been sent a planning email in April discussing his options for the coming year, in which mention was made of resting between the limited-overs tours of England and Zimbabwe and the Australia A tour of India a few weeks later. However a spokesperson denied that the planning email, a common part of discussions between CA and the players, was tantamount to a guarantee of selection.

Selection has been a key debate through the Australian season with the absence of David Warner and Steven Smith leaving a threadbare Test batting order. Marnus Labuschagne was the surprise choice to bat No. 3 in the final Test against India while Matt Renshaw, Joe Burns and Will Pucovski have been called up for the series against Sri Lanka. There have also been considerable changes to the one-day team that will face India.

Maxwell remains part of the one-day set-up but has been asked to take a role lower down the order in recent times, batting at No. 6 in last year’s series against England and South Africa, having been briefly dropped from the team after a lean run in 2017. He has made one half-century in his last 14 ODI innings.

*GMT 0845 The story was amended to include this paragraph.



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Mumbai teen gets three-year ban for flashing in dressing room

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A Mumbai age-group player has been banned for three years for “gross misconduct” towards a team-mate during an all-India tournament in December. The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) took the decision after a complaint was raised against the player by his team-mate on December 22. The ban will last till January 14, 2022, during which the player will not be allowed to participate in any cricket organised by the MCA, or represent Mumbai in any BCCI tournament.

The player’s details are being withheld given that he is a minor.

ESPNcricinfo understands that the in addition to using bad language, something the player admitted to during the inquiry by an ad-hoc committee set up by the MCA, the player exposed himself in front of his team-mate. It is understood that the player will appeal to the MCA to review the ban.

This is believed to be the first such case where a player in India has been punished for a sexually offensive act in front of, and following a complaint by, his peers.

The MCA’s verdict did not specify the offence. But in the notice sent to the player, the MCA said he was guilty of “gross misconduct and bringing the name of the association to disrepute”. It also pointed out that the player had resorted to “the ugliest behaviour, which has shocked the entire team. In fact, this [incident] also affected the team atmosphere and is against the very principles of sportsmanship and healthy atmosphere amongst the team members.”

The verdict was reached by the ad-hoc inquiry committee, after a meeting held at the MCA office on January 14. In addition to hearing the player and the complainant, he committee also spoke with the team coach, manager and chairman of the age-group selection committee. The ad-hoc committee comprised MCA secretary Unmesh Khanvilkar, CEO CS Naik, and managing committee members Naveen Shetty, Ganesh Iyer and Shah Alam Shaikh.



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Pakistan heritage causes India visa delay for England Lion Saqib Mahmood

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An administrative delay has caused Tom Bailey to be added to the England Lions squad as cover for Saqib Mahmood.

ESPNcricinfo understands that Saqib, who is Birmingham-born, is struggling to obtain a visa for India due to his Pakistan heritage. While the ECB hope the issue can be resolved within the next few days, he did not fly out with the rest of the squad.

Bailey, like Saqib a Lancashire seamer, enjoyed an excellent 2018 season, claiming 64 wickets at 19 in the County Championship, the most by any bowler. He was voted the PCA’s Championship Player of the Year.

England Lions are set to play five 50-over matches against India A in Trivandrum, in the southern state of Kerala, before two unofficial four-day Test matches in February.

“Both sides will want to play good, winning cricket but I think we all understand that it’s the development opportunity for these high potential youngsters that we’re after,” Andy Flower, the England Lions head coach, told the ECB website.

“The purpose of these Lions tours is to offer our highest potential young talent in the country the opportunity to either train or to play in a competitive tour in foreign conditions. Our county system is good; there are some really talented, outstanding cricketers that come out of it.”

Saqib’s late omission was the third change that the Lions squad was forced to make prior to their departure at the weekend. The Worcestershire pair of Joe Clarke and Tom Kohler-Cadmore were withdrawn on the eve of the squad’s gathering after details of their off-field activities emerged during the trial of former team-mate, Alex Hepburn.



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SLC elections postponed to February 21

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Sri Lanka Cricket elections, which were set to be held on February 7, 2019, have been postponed by another two weeks to February 21. The move comes as a result of a technical error in the Sinhala to English translation of the gazette which empowers Sri Lanka’s sports minister to appoint an advisory committee to hear election-related appeals.

The original Sinhala gazette had stated that a retired judge would have to head the committee, however the English translation had missed out on the word “retired”, sports minister Harin Fernando said. Therefore, following consultation with Sri Lanka’s Attorney General, it was decided that elections be postponed by two weeks until the error was rectified.

“It is because we had to correct the gazette, it was a legal issue,” said Fernando. “I couldn’t appoint a sitting judge. The gazette was done by the previous minister, and according to the Attorney General’s advice we had to change it and give ample time for the new appeal committee to make their considerations.”

Sri Lanka Cricket elections have been postponed indefinitely since May 31, 2018, after a court of appeal found that election protocol had been flouted. The ICC had set a deadline of February 9 for elections to be held. Fernando said that the recent developments were conveyed to the ICC, and that he hopes to meet with ICC chairman Shashank Manohar as soon as possible to explain the present state of affairs.



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