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Mitchell Marsh’s rise and fall, now what next?



Amid all the announcements made by Cricket Australia earlier this week, the player with the biggest fall from grace was probably Mitchell Marsh who finds himself without a central contract six months after being named Test vice-captain. This is a look back over a rollercoaster 18 months for the allrounder

Ashes breakthrough?

Marsh was recalled midway through the 2017-18 Ashes for his hometown Test in Perth, returning in style with a maiden Test hundred which he pushed to 181. He followed that with another ton in Sydney, brought up in emotional scenes with his brother alongside him at the crease. Had things clicked for Mitchell?

Fades in South Africa

The runs continued in the first Test in Durban, his 96 the top score in Australia’s first innings and helping them set up victory. He fought hard for 45 in the second innings in Port Elizabeth, chipping in with wickets as well, but South Africa levelled the series and the tour quickly turned sour from a personal and team perspective. As the ball-tampering controversy erupted, Marsh’s runs dried up with 25 runs in the last four innings

Leadership promotion

As Australia tried to pick up the pieces of their Test side six months later in the UAE, Marsh was promoted to joint vice-captain alongside Josh Hazlewood – who missed the series against Pakistan – in support of new captain Tim Paine. “I’ve certainly grown as a leader in the past 12 months for WA, found out about myself and about my leadership,” Marsh said. “But I absolutely love captaining WA, probably my biggest strength is that hasn’t changed me as a person, and I certainly don’t see the vice-captaincy role changing me as a person.”

ALSO READ: The winners and losers from Australia’s big day

UAE struggles

The two Tests against Pakistan proved difficult for Marsh as he made 30 runs across four innings having initially been promoted to No. 4. He was trapped lbw three times in four innings by Mohammad Abbas who tormented the Australia batsmen, particularly in the second Test where he claimed ten wickets in a crushing 373-run victory.

MCG misery

Australia reverted to six frotnline batsmen, a keeper and four bowlers at the start of the home series against India which meant Marsh was surplus to requirements in Adelaide and Perth. He was recalled for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, when Australia wanted bowling reinforcements, and with the ball Marsh did a good holding role. Things went badly with the bat, however, as he failed twice with India claiming victory, dismissed by Ravindra Jadeja in both innings.

Test omission

Marsh was dropped for the final Test in Sydney and a few days later was ditched from the Test set-up altogether when he wasn’t selected for the Sri Lanka series. His slip down the pecking order was reinforced when Marcus Stoinis was briefly called into the squad ahead of the second Test in Canberra, indicating he was the allrounder of choice. To compound things for Marsh, illness meant he didn’t play the one-day series against India.

Solid in the Shield

He was left to focus on the latter half of the domestic season, firstly with Perth Scorchers in the BBL and then Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield. BBL runs were tough to come by until an unbeaten half-century in the Scorchers final match of a wooden-spoon season, but the last couple of rounds of the Shield provided some encouragement – after recovering from a nasty injury – as WA made a late push for the final. He claimed six wickets in victory over Tasmania then scored a century against Queensland although WA were ultimately pipped to the final by New South Wales.

ALSO READ: Pattinson, Warner, Smith handed central contracts; Mitchell Marsh dropped

Contract cut

However, that all-round showing wasn’t enough for him to retain his CA contract when the 20-man list for 2019-2020 was announced. “It’s really hard because he’s like my little brother,” head coach Justin Langer said. “And his dad, Swampy [Geoff], who is one of the really good guys of Australian cricket, he’s been like my old man or one of my best mates. Again, it’s tough, but it’s not the end of the road. The message I guess there for him, or all the players, is there’s great competition in Australian cricket now and you’ve got to be on top of your game all the time.”

Glimmer of hope?

Perhaps there is already a route back for Marsh. Despite losing his contract he was named in both Australia A squads to tour England which runs concurrent to the World Cup and Ashes build-up. It has been made clear from the selectors that strong performances in the four-day portion will play a key role in Ashes selection. “We know how quickly it can change and we also know he’s such a talented player, he’s not far off,” Langer said.

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Recent Match Report – Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Indian Premier League, 38th Match



Toss Sunrisers chose to bowl v Knight Riders

Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson decided to field first against Kolkata Knight Riders in the second day game of the season at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal. The home side are unchanged, while the Knight Riders have made three changes.

They have dropped Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Yadav and Prasidh Krishna, and replaced them with Rinku Singh, KC Cariappa and Prithvi Raj, the 21-year old left-arm pace bowler making his IPL debut.

It is a crucial game for the Knight Riders who have lost their last four games. Sunrisers, on the other hand, are coming off a win against the Super Kings that helped them break a three-match losing streak.

Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Kane Williamson (capt), Vijay Shankar, Deepak Hooda, Yusuf Pathan, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Khaleel Ahmed

Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (capt, wk), Rinku Singh, Piyush Chawla, KC Cariappa, Harry Gurney, Prithvi Raj

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Shadab Khan ruled out of England series with virus



Legspinner Shadab Khan has been ruled out of the limited-overs series that Paksitan will play in England in the lead-up to the World Cup. Shadab is ill with a virus, though the exact nature of his illness is not known. A PCB release said “tests revealed a virus that will require treatment and rest for, at least, four weeks”.

Shadab is also part of Pakistan’s World Cup squad. Should he not be fit for the showpiece event, the PCB can make changes to the squad without seeking ICC permission till May 23.

The PCB said further investigations into Shadab’s illness will be done in England. “The Pakistan Cricket Board will now set up Shadab’s appointment with specialists in England to help him fully recover before Pakistan’s World Cup 2019 opener against the Windies on 31 May at Trent Bridge,” the PCB release said.

Shadab is the only specialist spinner in Pakistan’s 15 for the World Cup. The PCB is also waiting on the fitness of Mohammad Hafeez, who was included while still recovering from the finger injury he picked up during the Pakistan Super League. Hafeez is Pakistan’s other major spin option, alongside fellow allrounder Imad Wasim.

The series against England includes one T20I and five ODIs, between May 5 and 19. In addition to the World Cup 15, two more players will travel to England for this series: pacer Mohammad Amir and big-hitter Asif Ali. The PCB said it will name a replacement for Shadab for this series in “due course”.

Squad for the World Cup: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abid Ali, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez (subject to fitness), Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hasnain, Haris Sohail

Additions for England series: Mohammad Amir, Asif Ali

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Oman ride on Mohammad Nadeem’s sizzling form to overcome USA



Oman 152 for 4 (Nadeem 55*, Suraj 50*, Ali Khan 4-27) beat USA 148 (Silva 33, Fayyaz 3-23) by six wickets

Allrounder Mohammad Nadeem‘s sizzling 2019 form helped Oman to a six-wicket win over USA at United CC. Coming into the tournament on the back of half-centuries in wins over Scotland and UAE, Nadeem made another unbeaten half-century in a 97-run unbroken stand with Suraj Kumar to repel USA after Ali Khan‘s four-wicket burst.

On a very sluggish outfield and up-and-down pitch in the first innings, USA were bowled out for 148 in just 38.5 overs as a sensational fast bowling effort from Bilal Khan, Kaleemullah and Fayyaz Butt set up what should have been a straightforward chase of a below-par target. The surface had begun to flatten out in the afternoon sun, but Ali took three wickets with the new ball to leave Oman reeling at 17 for 3.

Ali then returned in the 22nd over and struck with his very first ball of a new spell to get captain Zeeshan Maqsood fiddling an edge behind to make it 55 for 4. Curiously though, Ali only bowled two more overs, meaning he bowled two short of his available quota in one of several eyebrow-raising strategic moves on the day for USA, who also left out Nosthush Kenjige from the XI just a few matches after he had claimed 5 for 27 against Lancashire.

With Ali hidden from the attack, Nadeem and Kumar rebuilt the chase and soon became impossible to dislodge. Nadeem ended on 55 not out off 120 balls while Kumar brought up his half-century on the last ball of the match, sweeping Timil Patel for four through midwicket when scores were level.

Hong Kong 223 for 3 (Rath 114*, Atkinson 35, Dutta 2-30) beat Canada 222 for 8 (Jacobs 52*, Kinchit 4-34) by seven wickets

Hong Kong captain Anshy Rath helped construct a trio of half-century stands, including 90 for the first wicket with former captain Jamie Atkinson to chase down Canada’s 222 with 16 balls to spare at Affies Park.

It was Rath’s second ton for Hong Kong in the last eight months after compiling 102 in a win over UAE at the Asia Cup Qualifier in Malaysia. In addition to the stand with Atkinson, Rath added 50 with Kinchit Shah and another 63 with Ahsan Abbasi for the third wicket.

It was a superb all-round day for Kinchit, who bowled spin with the new ball and claimed the prized scalp of Ruvindu Gunasekera with his fourth ball of the day before coming back to take a hat-trick in the final over. With captain Davy Jacobs red-hot on 52 off 53 balls, he went ice cold at the non-striker’s end watching helplessly as Kinchit nabbed Saad bin Zafar, Dilon Heyliger and Nikhil Dutta with the last three balls of the innings to ensure Canada were defending a below part total.

Namibia 120 for 7 (Frylinck 23*, Amini 3-46) beat PNG 118 (Soper 36, Frylinck 3-16, Williams 3-25, Smit 3-34) by three wickets

Jan Frylinck played a vital role in a low-scoring thriller to help the tournament hosts off to a winning start against Papua New Guinea. Frylinck snared the prized pair of Tony Ura and captain Assad Vala inside the Powerplay and from there, PNG’s innings never gained any momentum. Chad Soper stretched the innings out with 36 from No. 6 before he was last person out in the 43rd for Frylinck’s third victim.

The early part of Namibia’s chase wasn’t much better than what PNG had produced. After legspinner Charles Amini ripped though the middle-order, Christi Viljoe was runout for 8 to leave Namibia 67 for 6 chasing a target of 119.

But Frylinck followed up his wickets with an instrumental 23 not out off of 20 balls to get Namibia over the line with a whopping 19.3 overs to spare. It means they hold a sizeable early advantage with the tournament tiebreaker of net run rate.

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