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Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley believes that the absence of Virat Kohli from the major part of India’s Test series in Australia will not have any financial implications for the board even considering how much attention India’s captain attracts. Kohli is set to miss three of the four Tests in order to fly back home to attend the birth of his first child, and Hockley said he respected that decision.

“I think the first thing is that we’re delighted for Virat and Anushka [Sharma, his wife] for the imminent birth of their child,” Hockley said in an interaction with the Indian media. “We respect Virat’s decision and the BCCI to grant him leave. We’re just delighted he’ll be here to captain the side for the ODIs and the T20Is and the first Test. He’ll bring competitive leadership that we’ve seen before and have become accustomed to watching. I don’t think his absence will have a financial bearing.”

With international cricket finally resuming in Australia after all the months of inaction due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Hockley termed India’s tour as one of “great importance” to CA. There were multiple staff cuts in the lead-up to the home summer, with apprehensions of massive financial losses, with Afghanistan having to lose out on an opportunity to play a Test match in Australia.

“This series is of great importance to world cricket and Australian cricket,” Hockley said. “One of the features of the pandemic has been how the international cricket community has supported each other. Even we had travelled to England in September, and we are extremely grateful to the BCCI to make this tour happen.

“This is a testament to all countries that we’ve got international cricket back up and running. Australia have been extremely fortunate that we’ve managed the Covid-19 situation very well, and I’m excited that the [India] series will be played in front of crowds.”

Playing while managing life in a bubble for a lengthy period of time poses its own challenges, and numerous international cricketers – including the Australia opener David Warner – have expressed concern over the long-term feasibility of playing cricket in these circumstances. And so far as its financial implications are concerned, Hockley revealed that the board has had to spend millions to maintain a biosecure bubble that contains a large contingent of players and staff.

“We’re taking precautions and using charter planes,” he said. “We had an endeavour of movement of the returning IPL players from the UAE. But precautions and measures have run into several million dollars.”

ALSO READ: Marcus Stoinis expects Virat Kohli to be ‘extra motivated’ in abridged tour

But Hockley also accepted how difficult it has been for players to sustain lives in isolation. Some of Australia’s players travelled to England for a two-week tour that involved quarantine before it began, and then flew directly to the UAE to remain in another bubble for nearly two months during the IPL. The series against India, and more life in bubbles, came immediately after.

“We’re extremely fortunate with limited cases [of Covid-19] and negligible community transmission,” Hockley said of the current state of the pandemic in the country. “We’ve worked hard to put the best possible conditions. There is an outdoor gym for India and the returning Australian IPL players. The safety of all participants is our number one priority. We’re working closely with the BCCI and working hard to provide the best possible conditions.”

Despite all the arrangements and the facilities across Australia, there remains the possibility of an unprecedented outbreak taking place while the India series is on. But Hockley said CA had adequate cover “to ensure there are rescues in case of outbreaks”.

“There has been a negligible community transmission in Australia, and more cases have been attached to the return of visitors from other countries,” he said. “We’re confident the work of our medical experts will mitigate that risk.”

Hockley sounded positive about the pandemic’s situation in Australia and was confident of the arrangements that CA has made to host India smoothly.

“Depending on the situation in each city, what I can say is that from our initial risk ratings, it’s very low,” Hockley said when asked about the protocols and the arrangements for all the players and staff. “[There’s] no or negligible community transmission; Melbourne now has 28 days of zero community transmission. The protocols are clear – [maintain] social distancing – and we’re making sure we have secure, separate areas.”

The tour begins with the first of three ODIs in Sydney on November 27. The ODIs will be followed by three T20Is and four Tests.



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ENG vs SL 2nd T20I – Mickey Arthur on England and Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka’s head coach said he wants the batsmen to be more proactive against a world-class England attack

Mickey Arthur has urged his Sri Lanka side to stay patient after they slipped to a second defeat in as many nights in Cardiff, leaving them on a run of 11 defeats in their last 12 completed T20Is dating back to October 2019.
Opting to bat first in both games after winning the toss, Sri Lanka posted scores of 129 and 111, and while they came much closer to defending their total on Thursday night than in Wednesday’s eight-wicket pasting, they always looked a long way short of a par score, failing to hit a boundary in the powerplay for the first time in their T20I history. Arthur, Sri Lanka’s head coach, stressed at the start of the tour that he wanted to add a level of consistency to selection following a turbulent period of chopping and changing, and that it would be important to “nail down the guys’ roles” in this series.
Dasun Shanaka, with scores of 50 and 8 from No. 7, is their leading run-scorer in the series, with Danushka Gunathilaka and Avishka Fernando – backed as opening options for the long term – both struggling to make an impact at the top of the order. Their lack of attacking intent with the bat came under scrutiny on Thursday, but while Arthur suggested that they could be “more proactive” in future, he said that there had been limited opportunities to score against a “world-class” England side on a slow, two-paced pitch being used for the second night in a row.



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England vs Sri Lanka T20Is – Liam Livingstone makes virtue of versatility in pitch for England World Cup role | Cricket

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Liam Livingstone has enhanced his World Cup claims with two important displays © Getty Images


Teams can take a squad of 33 players to cover 15 starting positions in rugby’s next World Cup, and 23 for 11 spots in football’s, but cricket diverges from the norm. England will take a 15-man squad to the T20 World Cup this winter – albeit with the possibility of a couple of reserves as a Covid precaution – and as a result, the ability of back-up players to cover a range of roles is crucial.

With that in mind, Liam Livingstone has done his chances of inclusion no harm at all in the first two games of their T20I series against Sri Lanka in Cardiff. An innings of 29 not out off 26 balls and four tight overs of liquorice-all-sort spin that have cost 19 runs do not demand retention in themselves, but have demonstrated the flexibility that Livingstone would add to a touring party as a utility player.

“It’s something that I pride myself on, being as versatile as I can,” he said after the second T20I, in which he won the match award after steering England home from No. 6. “It’s something that’s rolled into my bowling as well, trying to bowl both legspin and offspin to give people different options [and] it’s the same with my batting, trying to make myself a player who can bat all the way from No. 1 to No. 8.”

While he has made a reputation for himself as a power-hitter who deals in sixes – in last year’s Big Bash, he scored a higher percentages of his runs in sixes (39.4%) than anyone else in the top 25 run-scorers – Livingstone’s innings on Thursday night demonstrated his willingness to adapt, with a single ramped six standing out alongside a series of clips and pushes into gaps to suit the situation and build a partnership with Sam Billings. Four years on from a pair of frenetic innings in his first two T20Is, he looked a different player.

Importantly, given England’s logjam of top-three options, it also demonstrated an ability to bat in the middle order. Twenty-five of Livingstone’s last 26 innings in domestic T20 cricket for Lancashire and Perth Scorchers have come as an opener, with Jos Buttler even moving down to No. 4 in order to accommodate him at the top in this year’s T20 Blast, but there is little chance of him batting there in an England shirt.

While he will have limited opportunity to do so before the start of the World Cup, Livingstone should consider shuffling down the order for one of his clubs if he can – potentially for Birmingham Phoenix in the Hundred – in order to gain more experience in the role, though batting in the middle order for Peshawar Zalmi and Cape Town Blitz two winters ago meant he had something to lean back on.

“I batted at No. 4 and 5 in the PSL and in the South African T20 [MSL],” he said. “I guess that’s the reason I go away and play in these competitions: trying to get experience of batting in different roles, which has obviously helped me coming into an England side, batting in a position I’m not really used to.”

But it is with the ball that Livingstone is particularly multi-talented, as he has demonstrated in this series. He generally bowls legbreaks to right-handers and offbreaks to left-handers, and while not a prodigious turner of the ball, he gets enough spin both ways to keep batters guessing and forcing them to watch him carefully out of the hand.

“It’s certainly advantageous isn’t it?” Buttler said after Wednesday night’s game. “It’s a fantastic skill to have, to be able to bowl offspin and legspin to international standard. We will potentially see that come into the game more and more. He’s an exciting package, a great guy to have in your squad and your XI.”

Livingstone is not the finished article with the ball. Two of the three most expensive overs of his T20 career have come at crunch moments, confirming Lancashire’s exits in the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the last two Blast seasons when Ravi Bopara and Dan Christian took him down, but he insisted that those experiences have been beneficial in the long run.

“[My bowling] has always been well-regarded at Lancashire,” he said. “I’ve obviously had a couple of tough moments with it over the last couple of years, but they are the moments that have made me a better bowler. It’s something I’ve worked hard on for this sort of opportunity, to push my way into a team as someone that can offer something in all three facets of the game.”

As an excellent outfielder too, Livingstone’s case for inclusion in the World Cup squad is strong: even if he is unlikely to start once Ben Stokes returns from injury, the fact he offers some overs as a second – or even third – spinner, can cover a number of batting roles and is a good option to come on as a substitute fielder mean that he has quickly become England’s Mr Versatile.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98


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ESPN Sports Media Ltd.






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WTC final Ind vs NZ – Michael Mason and Kane ‘not the last man standing’ Williamson

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“I have never experienced 139 runs taking so long and there was a lot of nervous energy in the change room” – Southee

Meet “Michael Mason“. Not him, actually, but the mace that has gone to the New Zealand team after they became the inaugural Test world champions. They also took home a prize money of US$ 1.6 million, but it’s the mace, nicknamed after the former fast bowler by the current players, that is all the talk.
But impressive as it looks, you still can’t drink out of it. You can instead give it a special nickname. Or, as a wise man agreed to a suggestion on Twitter, it can be used to stir drinks in the Bledisloe Cup.
The party’s just started
The mace – or the Mason – was also given a seat on the flight the players are taking back home. The team – minus the players who are staying back for The Hundred and county stints – is expected to land in Auckland on Saturday morning, and Trent Boult is hoping the celebrations continue at home after they get through their quarantine.

“Waggy [Neil Wagner] probably hasn’t let the mace go since last night,” Boult was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz. “The boys are ecstatic. There’s been a mixture of emotion and jubilation. Once we get home and through quarantine, we’ll hopefully continue the celebrations.





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