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Somerset part company with chief executive Andrew Cornish

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Somerset are understood to have parted company with their chief executive, Andrew Cornish.

Despite an apparently successful season – Somerset retain hopes of completing a treble and have sold out every one of their home T20 Blast games – the club are concerned about a projected shortfall against their upbeat financial predictions.

At the start of the year, the club anticipated profits of £600,000 (before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization). In recent weeks, however, that has been downgraded to the extent that they may struggle to break even.

Somerset have declined to confirm or deny the news. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Cornish who only joined the club at the start of the 2018 season.

Cornish’s departure leaves the club in something of a flux at the top level. The chairman, Charles Clark, recently died meaning they are currently without a permanent chief executive or chairman.

Cornish’s predecessor, Lee Cooper, lasted less than a year in the role meaning the club are looking for their fourth chief executive within two years.

There is no sign of such turbulence on the pitch, however. Somerset, having won the Royal London Cup in May (their first trophy since 2005), are currently second in Division One of the County Championship and have a decent chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the T20 Blast. They have never won the County Championship title.



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Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam come in as Bangladesh revamp T20I squad

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Bangladesh have rung in a host of changes following the defeat to Afghanistan, including bringing back experienced pacemen Rubel Hossain and Shafiul Islam, for their third and fourth matches of the ongoing T20I tri-series at home, where Zimbabwe are the third team.

Soumya Sarkar, a regular with the team across formats, had a poor World Cup, and though he shone with bat and ball in the third ODI in Sri Lanka in late July, returns of 4 and 0 in the two tri-series games have led to his axing. Also going out were offspinner Mahedi Hasan, and pacemen Abu Hider and Yeasin Arafat, none of whom played any of the two matches – a win over Zimbabwe and the loss to Afghanistan.

Both those matches, as well as Afghanistan’s win over Zimbabwe, were played in Dhaka, and now the action shifts to Chattogram for the second set of round-robin matches. Apart from Rubel and Shafiul, Bangladesh have drafted in Najmul Hossain, the offspinner, teenaged legspinning-allrounder Aminul Islam, and exciting young opening batsman Mohammad Naim.

Najmul, 21, has played two Test matches and three ODIs since making his international debut in January 2017, and was recently among the runs in both the one-dayers and the four-dayers on the Bangladesh Emerging Team’s tour of Sri Lanka.

Aminul, 19, was also on that tour, but didn’t do much of note. However, with Bangladesh looking for a wristspinner to complement their many fingerspinners, Aminul might get a chance in the two remaining group-stage matches to show his capabilities.

Like Aminul, Naim is uncapped at the international level, but is regarded highly in local cricket circles. A tall, left-handed opening batsman, 20-year-old Naim made a name for himself in last season’s Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League, scoring 807 runs in 16 games for Legends of Rupganj to finish second on the run-scorers’ list.

Rubel Hossain, meanwhile, hasn’t played a T20I since August last year and hasn’t played any T20 cricket since February this year, but has likely been brought back to add some experience to the pace attack, which is also the case with Shafiul, whose last T20I appearance came back in October 2017.

Squad: Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah, Sabbir Rahman, Mosaddek Hossain, Liton Das, Afif Hossain, Taijul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mohammad Naim Shaikh, Aminul Islam, Najmul Hossain



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Recent Match Report – St Kitts and Nevis Patriots vs St Lucia Zouks, Caribbean Premier League, 13th Match

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St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 143 for 4 (Lewis 65, Fawad 1-11) beat St Lucia Zouks 138 for 9 (de Grandhomme 30, Jordan 4-33, Mir 2-13) by six wickets

For the second night in a row at Warner Park, the first innings batting lineup was shredded apart. Whereas St Kitts & Nevis Patriots were sliced and diced by the spinners of the Amazon Warriors on Saturday night, on this occasion it was the Patriots pace-unit that inflicted maximum damage on the St. Lucia Zouks in a six-wicket win on Sunday evening.

Debutant Akeem Jordan was one of four changes to the Patriots XI and galvanized the bowling unit with a four-wicket haul, including three in the Powerplay, to dismantle the heart of the Zouks batting, the visitors scraping their way to 138 for 9. Patriots navigated their way through a pair of rain stoppages in the chase before knocking off the target with 31 balls to spare following a blistering knock from Evin Lewis.

Akeem the Dream

The 24-year-old fast bowler had a fairy-tale debut. He struck with his third ball when Andre Fletcher cut straight to Fabian Allen at backward point. Jordan followed it up in his next over getting Rahkeem Cornwall to slash to third man. Bowlers rarely bowl three overs in a row at any stage of a T20 match but Carlos Brathwaite’s persistence to stick with Jordan was rewarded when Kavem Hodge picked out Kjorn Ottley at deep midwicket with a pull in the fifth to make it 33 for 3.

The recalled Usama Mir then built off Jordan’s early breakthroughs, striking with his very first ball in the sixth when Roland Cato’s clumsy paddle flick ballooned off a top edge to Rayad Emrit at short fine leg. Emrit got into the act with the ball in the ninth, inducing a top-edged swat from Thisara Perera to Laurie Evans on the ring at point to make it 52 for 5 and from there the Zouks were behind the game.

Colin de Grandhomme did his best to get the Zouks innings back in gear. In the same over that Thisara fell, de Grandhomme struck 16 in three balls off Emrit. But he found the going much tougher against legspinner Usama Mir, eventually falling in a wicket-maiden 12th over skying a drive to Ottley on the cover sweeper rope.

Who’s Tommy?

Devon Thomas then took center stage with a pair of sensational catches. The first came on the final ball of the 15th when Darren Sammy was unlucky to be given out off the thigh guard missing a pull down the leg side. But Thomas sold it well with an acrobatic effort supporting the appeal from Sheldon Cottrell.

There was no doubt about the edge off the bat of Kesrick Williams two balls later though. A full ball from Jordan produced the edge that flew to the keeper’s right.

Caught wrong-footed, he leaped one-handed to his right to pull off a stunning catch for Jordan’s fourth wicket. At 100 for 8, Hardus Viljoen and Obed McCoy did their best to stretch the innings to the full 20 overs.

You just dropped the 13th match of CPL 2019!

Coming back into the lineup after missing Saturday night’s loss due to an injury sustained playing football in warm-ups, Lewis tore apart the Zouks attack with five fours and six sixes. But the Zouks had two chances in the first two overs to nip the Lewis knock in the bud, failing on both occasions.

The first opportunity came off his second ball when he had yet to score as the lefty drove hard at Obed McCoy. Cornwall stabbed at a chance high to his left but only managed to parry it to the third man rope. It would have been a regulation catch for a second slip but Sammy opted to stay conservative despite needing to press for wickets. A far easier offering came in the second over. Williams had struck off his second ball getting Thomas to slash to third man and three balls later set a trap for Lewis putting in place a deep square leg. Williams sent down a bouncer that produced a top edge on the attempted pull by Lewis. Kavem Hodge was in perfect position but spilled it badly.

After taking two off the drop to move to six, Lewis hooked the next ball for his first maximum and never looked back. He continued to remind Hodge of his error by belting him for two sixes – the first of which brought up a 26-ball fifty – and two fours off the left-arm spinner in the 11th. Hodge finally got him out off a full toss off the last ball of the over. But by that stage the Patriots needed 21 off nine overs and cantered over the line.



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‘Jofra thought he could rip my head off or get me out’ – Matthew Wade on epic duel

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At the end of an English summer and an Ashes series that had provided so many passages to remember, Jofra Archer and Matthew Wade squared up for the last of them. Archer was striving for a final burst of wickets to seal the Test, Wade for a century to underline his re-emergence as a batsman of quality after too many years as an indifferent wicketkeeper.

Even if the Ashes were already Australia’s and the match was more or less already England’s, 24,000 spectators were transfixed one more time as Archer, for the umpteenth time, backed up his words that the touring coach Justin Langer had “another thing coming” after suggesting that Test cricket would beat the 24-year-old down with its sheer physical brutality.

Undoubtedly, Wade had enriched the occasion through his series-long dialogue when in the field, yammering away at whoever would listen and many who would not, at one point talking across Archer about their shared history at the Hobart Hurricanes and how, in the opinion of Travis Head, the fast man would be moving across Bass Strait to the Adelaide Strikers next summer. All this history, plus the sense that this was summer’s final fling, made for a wondrous contest.

“We all thought he’d slow down eventually but I can tell you that, through that spell, he certainly didn’t slow down too much, and he kept coming,” Wade said. “I was saying to Patty ‘he’s going again’. Patty was like ‘you’re right, you’ll get through’. I was like ‘yeah, we’ve been saying that for four overs now!’. He just keeps coming and coming. It’s good hard Test cricket, I was feeling comfortable with the way I was playing.

“I felt like I could deal with what he was delivering, and he obviously thought he could rip my head off or get me out. It was a good battle, there was a little bit of banter, no words really. Just good, hard Test cricket. That’s what I expected coming into an Ashes series, I’d never played an Ashes series before and the way Jofra has taken to Test cricket – I knew he was obviously a freakish talent – and when he was around the England team I knew he’d be playing this series.

“That’s what Test cricket is. Especially Ashes cricket, you’ve got to be ready for the contest. It’s a take-no-prisoners kind of environment when you walk onto the ground and when you walk off the ground, all is forgotten. You move on with your lives, hopefully he comes to Hobart and plays with me again but we’ll wait and see. That’s the way it is.”

At the height of the battle, Archer struck Wade a stinging blow on the shoulder, something the Tasmanian did his very best to shrug off. “A little bit of a bruise. I wasn’t showing him too much, I wasn’t letting him know, that would have got him going again. I don’t know how many overs he bowled in a row, it felt like a long, long time so I wasn’t showing him too much pain. I was just trying to get through it.”

The spell, all up, lasted for eight overs and ended wicketless. Wade went on to his fourth Test century, going a long way to shoring up his spot for the Gabba Test against Pakistan in November, and demonstrating how he had, at critical times, found ways to survive more effectively than the other left-handers on the tour – none of whom managed to reach three figures. Wade walked towards Australia’s viewing area to toast his century, applauded by none other than Steve Waugh, who had seen off similar bursts by Curtly Ambrose and company decades before.

“I think the new ball was obviously quite difficult for our left-handers at the top of the order, with the way Stuart [Broad] was bowling, scrambled seam as well,” Wade said. “To be honest through the middle – facing Stuart and Jofra, I was quite comfortable facing those two through the whole tour. So I can only speak on what I faced. I obviously hit the ball in slightly different areas to the guys at the top of the order. But no doubt, the guys at the top of the order would love to have scored a lot more runs.

“Round the wicket was really, really effective to our left-handers at the top of the order, But personally I felt quite comfortable against those two. I bat on an off stump guard, and feel like if they get outside my body I can leave them. If they come straight, I’ve got to hit it, otherwise I’m in trouble. But we’ve got to get better in all departments. Barring Smithy, nobody really lit it up this tour for us.”

Whether or not Wade is still playing Test cricket in two years is very much an open question, but he reckoned that Archer would pose a considerable, if somewhat different, challenge on faster and truer Australian pitches. “I think he’ll be a handful on any pitch he plays on. Traditionally Australia is a little bit easier to play the short ball especially, because of the consistency of the bounce,” he said. “You can get under balls, but in this series you saw a lot of guys ducking into balls, myself included.

“The pace of the wickets aren’t the same as what we have, and the consistency in Australia. He’ll be hard work, you’ve gotta bowl probably a touch fuller than what you can bowl sometimes over here with the slowness of the pitches and not as much bounce. But he’s going to be a handful on any pitch that he bowls on over the next couple of years, and Australia will be no different. At least with his bouncer you can trust that you can get underneath it which will be nice, instead of copping it on the body.”

Reflecting on the series, Wade defended his verbally active ways, and there were certainly few signs of animosity at the end-of-season party, as both teams mixed freely. “That’s the great thing about Ashes cricket and the way this series was played,” Wade said. “There was no abuse throughout this series – it was hard Test cricket. I know there’s been a lot of stuff reported and written, on the ground it’s just been good, hard cricket. I can only speak for myself, and for the whole team in our dressing room. Once you walk off the ground, all is forgotten.

ALSO READ: Why Australia deserved to go home with the Ashes

“We don’t really need to jump in and talk about in the media. Whatever happens on the ground stays on the ground, that’s just the way Australian cricket teams play. But I can tell you now it’s been a tame series compared to other series I’ve played in.”

Tame, though, did not reflect how consuming the atmosphere of an Ashes series can be. Even Wade, who had spoken at length after his Edgbaston century about the perspective he had found since his previous stint in the national team, admitted that it was easy to get caught up.

“It’s been difficult at times. I think you get caught up at times in the whirlwind of Test cricket, and this series and everything that’s reported,” he said. “”It can grind on you pretty quick. I’m lucky to have my family over here, two kids keep you away from the game a lot and keep your mind off the game and they don’t care too much what’s going on at the ground.

“But it is important to understand that it is only a game and that everyone is doing their best, and when we walk away in 20 years there won’t be too many people talking about us.”

But they will talk, for many years, about Archer and Wade at The Oval, just like they will about Smith, Stokes, Broad, Cummins and the bewitching summer of 2019. Rightly so.



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