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Tash Farrant impressed during the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy © Getty Images


Anya Shrubsole will miss England’s upcoming tour of New Zealand because of a knee injury, with Tash Farrant earning a recall to the national women’s squad.

The vastly experienced Shrubsole was ruled out of a 16-strong England squad named on Thursday to play three ODIs and three T20Is in February and March, as was fellow seamer Katie George, who has suffered another stress fracture in her back. George, the 21-year-old left-armer, has been troubled by back injuries during her career and has played just two ODIs and three T20Is since making her international debut in 2018.

Sophia Dunkley retains her place in the squad, having scored 0 and 3* upon breaking back into the England T20 team after 18 months during the five-match T20 series against West Indies in September.

While there was room for another left-arm seamer, Farrant, who impressed during last year’s inaugural Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, Georgia Adams missed out on selection despite being the domestic 50-over competition’s leading runscorer with 500 runs at an average of 83.33 and including a highest score of 154 not out. Farrant made her solitary ODI appearance back in 2013 and played the last of her 14 T20Is against New Zealand in England in 2018.

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Talented 18-year-old pace bowler Issy Wong will travel with the group to New Zealand as part of her on-going development, having spent time around the squad during the series against West Indies. Georgia Elwiss returns after missing that series with a back injury.

The England touring party will fly out on January 24 and spend 14 days in quarantine as required by the New Zealand Government. During that time, they will follow Covid-19 testing protocols which will allow them to train ahead of the first one-day match on February 23 at Hagley Oval in Christchurch with two fixtures at the Universtiy of Otago to follow. The T20Is will begin on March 3 at Wellington's Sky Stadium before moving to Eden Park and then Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.

Jonathan Finch, director of England Women's Cricket, said that despite the challenges posed by a shortened 2020 season and ongoing limitations due to the global coronavirus pandemic, players were already working towards major tournaments in 2022-23.

"We're hugely excited about getting over to New Zealand and maintaining our commitment to play international cricket despite these challenging times" Finch said. "We have a really important 24 months in front of us with two ICC global events, the Women's Ashes and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Our ambition is to be successful across all these events and this tour is the first step towards achieving that."

The T20 series against West Indies was the only international women's cricket played in England last year after travel restrictions prevented India and 2023 T20 World Cup hosts South Africa from touring as was planned before the pandemic hit. New Zealand will host the ICC Women's World Cup, where England will be defending champions, in early 2022 after the event was postponed for a year.

England squad: Heather Knight (capt.), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Tash Farrant, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones, Nat Sciver, Mady Villiers, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danni Wyatt.

Match Schedule
ODI series:

Tuesday February 23: 1st ODI, New Zealand v England (Hagley Oval, 1am GMT)
Friday February 26: 2nd ODI, New Zealand v England (University of Otago Oval, 10pm GMT)
Sunday February 28: 3rd ODI, New Zealand v England (University of Otago Oval, 10pm GMT)

T20I series:

Wednesday March 3: 1st IT20, New Zealand v England (Sky Stadium, 2am GMT)
Friday March 5: 2nd IT20, New Zealand v England (Eden Park, 2am GMT)
Sunday March 7: 3rd IT20, New Zealand v England (Bay Oval, 11pm GMT)

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.





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SA-W vs Pak-W 2020-21 – Mignon du Preez

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du Preez, though, is hoping that it will spur the younger players to “step up, show their skills”

Mignon du Preez, the senior South Africa Women batter, believes the absence of premier allrounders Dane van Niekerk and Chloe Tryon, due to injuries, for the upcoming home series against Pakistan will pose a “challenge” for the hosts. However, she is hoping that the unavailability of the two mainstays will spur the younger players in the side to “step up, show their skills”.

van Niekerk, the regular captain, and Tryon, the vice-captain, are among the three players – the other an unnamed player who tested positive for Covid-19 – to be ruled out of the three ODIs and as many T20Is that South Africa are due to play against Pakistan, who are without their designated captain Bismah Maroof, starting January 20 at Kingsmead. van Niekerk and Tryon are recovering lower-back injuries sustained in September.

“She [van Niekerk] is extremely passionate about her team, so we’ll definitely miss that this time around,” du Preez told ESPNcricinfo. “I know it’s not going to be easy for her sitting on the sidelines. I’ve seen her sending some messages that it’s really tough not being here.



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Sri Lanka vs England, 1st Test, Galle – Moeen Ali returns to England bubble after release from quarantine | Cricket

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Moeen Ali has been separated from his England team-mates since the start of the tour © Getty Images


Moeen Ali has been released from quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19 on arrival in Sri Lanka, and has returned to the England team bubble in Galle after serving an extended isolation period.

Moeen, 33, tested negative for the virus prior to England’s departure from the UK earlier this month, but returned a positive test after the team touched down in Hambantota on January 3.

He had initially been expected to isolate for ten days, but that period was extended to 13 with the England management’s blessing last week, after the Sri Lankan government expressed their reservations in light of a new strain of the virus being found in the UK late last year.

Aside from being unable to train, Moeen has been kept away from his team-mates for the duration of the tour – and at one stage completed a 150-mile round trip from Hambantota to Galle and back again, when it transpired that the hotel that he had been allocated was undergoing building works.

He will now link up with the rest of the squad at the Lighthouse Hotel in Galle, and was welcomed back into the dressing-room midway through the third day of the first Test.

“It’s great to have Mo back,” Sam Curran, Moeen’s team-mate, said. “When we walked into the changing room after one of the sessions today, we saw Mo and just saw the smile on everyone’s faces.

“He’s obviously had a really tough couple of weeks and no-one wants to get into the situation he was in. Thankfully he got through that okay, and we’re all really excited to have him back in the group to play cricket again, because we all know what an awesome player he is, and to be around.

“The guys are really happy, and hopefully it doesn’t happen to anyone else, because no one wants to have players leaving the group and isolating for a couple of weeks.”

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Moeen had been in line for his first Test appearance in 18 months, having taken a break from the format after the opening match of the 2019 Ashes, and missing last winter's tours of New Zealand and South Africa. But, given his lack of match practice, and with the second Sri Lanka Test due to start in less than a week's time, it's unlikely he will be available for selection until the India series gets underway next month.

"I'm sure tomorrow when he has a run around it will be nice for him to get back playing cricket but to be honest I don't really know when he'll be back," Curran said. "I'm sure everyone's just really looking forward to having Mo back. I'm sure he'll start training tomorrow."

Earlier this week, two members of the catering staff at England's team hotel tested positive for Covid-19, but a team spokesman said they were unconcerned by the development, despite having pulled out of their pre-Christmas tour of South Africa following a similar situation.

"Our protocols have been excellent and we continue to be vigilant," the spokesman added.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @miller_cricket

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.





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Recent Match Report – Scorchers vs Sixers 41st Match 2020

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Livingstone heroics went in vain as Sixers cement hold on top spot

Sydney Sixers 3 for 164 (Philippe 84, Behrendorff 1-19) beat Perth Scorchers 7 for 163 (Livingstone 67, Christian 2-22, Brathwaite 2-12) by seven wickets

Josh Philippe may well have secured a trip to New Zealand with Australia’s T20 side after producing yet another dazzling display with the bat to entrench Sydney Sixers in top spot on the BBL table with a comfortable win over Perth Scorchers.

Philippe, the tournament’s leading runscorer, made light work of what could have been a tricky chase of 164 showcasing his full array of skills in an innings of 84 from 52 balls. He shared a 106-run stand with James Vince who scored an equally classy 52 from just 35 as the Sixers cruised to victory by seven wickets with seven balls to spare.

The Scorchers only have themselves to blame after inviting the Sixers back into the game. At the ten-over mark of the first innings, they were for 1 for 103 having won the toss and batted first. Liam Livingstone lit up Manuka Oval with some phenomenal striking, launching six balls into the stands in a blistering 38-ball 67. But they boldly took the Power Surge in the 11th over and Livingstone holed out first ball to spark a stunning collapse. They lost 6 for 60 in the last 10 overs with Dan Christian, Carlos Brathwaite, and Jake Ball strangling the Scorchers middle order taking two wickets each.

The Sixers moved nine points clear on top of the BBL table, while the Scorchers remain in third thanks to the Bash Boost point.

Living dangerously

Livingstone was dropped first ball in the last game against the Hobart Hurricanes and made them pay with a half-century. He was dropped fifth ball off Steve O’Keefe and made the Sixers pay a heavy price. It was a straightforward chance at mid-off which Daniel Hughes made a mess of.

The Scorchers scored just nine runs off the first two overs before Livingstone teed off. Jackson Bird’s line and length was treated with disdain as he clubbed two fours a six in one over. O’Keefe then suffered the ignominy of conceding the most runs in an over in this BBL season. Livingstone plundered 26 off the bat, including three sixes, two of which were struck one-handed down the ground, while O’Keefe delivered a wide as well. The Scorchers took 53 off the powerplay and kept rolling.

Livingstone brought up his half-century in the seventh over off just 29 balls with his fifth six. Even the loss of Jason Roy didn’t slow him down as he cleared the rope for a sixth time. The Scorchers were 1 for 103 after 10 overs but incredibly, Dan Christian bowled the eighth and 10th over and conceded just 10 runs while picking up Roy.

Power Failure

The Scorchers took the Power Surge immediately and it triggered a collapse as they lost 4 for 18 in four overs. Livingstone later blamed himself after chipping the first ball from Jake Ball to mid-off, and Ashton Turner holed out later in the over. They managed to score just 9 runs from the Surge with Ball and Christian tying them down with some excellent yorkers and slower balls. Colin Munro watched his teammates come and go and struggled for fluency against some clever bowling and fell to Carlos Brathwaite for 34 off 32. The Scorchers scored just 60 off the last 10 overs and lost six wickets.

Philippe fires

Philippe continued his outstanding form on a day when Australian T20 captain Aaron Finch suggested he was being looked at closely for national duties. He got off the mark with a streaky outside edge past slip but was flawless thereafter, feasting on Andrew Tye in the third over taxing three overpitched deliveries in a row. The chase stalled a touch when Philippe and Vince didn’t score a boundary for four overs after Justin Avendano fell to Jason Behrendorff in the midst of a tidy spell from the left-armer. But Tye returned and Philippe pumped him through midwicket to bring up a very comfortable half-century off 31 balls.

He then stepped on the accelerator and Vince went with him. The pair struck six fours and two sixes in 30 balls without taking the Power Surge. They called for the Surge in the 16th over and brought up a century stand and Vince’s half-century in the same over. They couldn’t finish the game off themselves. Philippe was hit in the helmet trying to pull a slower ball bouncer off Jhye Richardson and lost his middle stump next ball trying to paddle scoop fine. Vince played all around a leg break from Fawad Ahmed in the next over but Hughes and Christian scored the last 16 runs without error.

Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne



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