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Criticism of Australia team culture out of proportion – Ponting



The ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town is being seen as much more than just that. Australia’s team culture has come under the scanner, with suggestions that such a fall was inevitable in a win-at-all-costs side. Outgoing Australia coach Darren Lehmann even said New Zealand might be a good example to follow for on-field behaviour, and Cricket Australia ordered an independent review into the team culture.

However, former Australia captain and a possible candidate for the role of coach, Ricky Ponting, believes the talk about the team culture is out of proportion.

Ponting, currently in India as head coach of IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils, addressed the issue for the first time at a press conference on Thursday. Ponting expressed shock at the events in Cape Town, and said the reaction from Cricket Australia was befitting. However, he didn’t necessarily feel the team culture had deteriorated drastically.

“The cultural issue for me is really an interesting thing because if we wind the clock back to just a couple of months, when Australia won the Ashes like they did, there was no talk about cultural problems or issues whatsoever,” Ponting said. “I honestly feel on this occasion the cultural stuff that’s been spoken about has probably been blown out of proportion to a certain degree.”

Ponting, however, did not play down what a big disappointment the ball-tampering incident was for him and the rest of Australia. “As a past player and past captain, I was quite shocked to see what actually took place out on the field,” he said. “The pleasing thing for me is that now it seems the issue is starting to come to an end. We hear this morning that David Warner also accepted his sanction, means all three guys have accepted the sanctions before them.”

Ponting said the country was jolted by what they saw. “Look, when I was back at home a week and half ago, if you think it was big news over here, it was astronomical how big the issue was in Australia, and rightly so,” he said. “As Australians, we like to play the game hard, we like to play the game fair. Our fans expect the Australian player to play that way. I think the reaction back in Australia was as big as it was because the Australian public felt the Australian players had not played the game in a fair way.

“It seems it’s like coming to an end, it’s a good thing for the game’s sake, it’s a good thing for the player’s sake as well, that they can try and get away from it all now. As hard as that’s going to be for them, it’s also a good thing for cricket in Australia as well. Now that the Test series is over, the guys have got a few weeks to get away from it all and then start rebuilding what has sort of collapsed for them over the last couple of weeks.”

When asked how he would have reacted to the incident if he had been in a position to act, Ponting said it would be unfair for him to say, but did acknowledge that Cricket Australia’s sanctions were pretty much necessary.

“There’s a very big picture there for the world game’s sake, and Cricket Australia, I think, have reacted to what the world game pretty much demanded,” he said. “The world game and the Australian public demanded that these players were dealt with and treated in a certain way.

“Now it would appear that 12-month bans would appear to be a very severe ban. If you go back to what the ICC sanction was: one-game ban for Smith and nothing for the other two. You can understand the gap is vast between what the ICC deemed fair [and what CA handed out]. I wouldn’t comment on what I would have done. It would be unfair.”

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Sheffield Shield to start next month with four rounds in Adelaide hub



The first four rounds of the 2020-21 Sheffield Shield season will be played in an Adelaide hub starting on October 10 and stretching through until November 17.

Playing a full Sheffield Shield season was one of the key commitments made at an Australian Cricket Council meeting last month – comprising of the chairs of Cricket Australia, state and territory associations and the Australian Cricketers Association – with CA also aiming to play the Marsh One-Day Cup, WNCL and Under-19 male and female championships in early 2021.

The Shield will begin with South Australia facing Western Australia at Karen Rolton Oval and Queensland playing Tasmania at the Park 25 ground. Due to the 14-day quarantine period imposed on people arriving into South Australia from Victoria, their first-round match against New South Wales will take place from November 17-20.

With the opening up of the New South Wales-South Australia border on Thursday travel between those states will not require quarantine, should that remain the case into next month, and could also mean New South Wales’ players are able to play extra grade cricket before their Shield season starts on October 22 with the reverse fixture against Victoria.

“The Marsh Sheffield Shield is an incredibly strong competition and for generations has been a crucial factor in the success of the Australian men’s team,” CA chief executive Nick Hockley said. “It is the envy of cricketing countries throughout the world. We would like to thank the South Australian government for their willingness to work together to deliver these fixtures.

“Many people have worked incredibly hard to arrive at this outcome, whilst recognising that player and staff safety and wellbeing remains the priority and having government restrictions in place to keep the community safe from Covid-19.

“CA will also be staging full WBBL and BBL competitions this summer, so there will be no shortage of action and opportunity for our women’s and men’s players.

“I would like to thank all our stakeholders across the game for their support, most notably the State and Territory Associations and the Australian Cricketers’ Association.”

Alistair Nicholson, the ACA chief executive, said: “Our players place an enormous value on our domestic competitions, and this has been reflected in their commitment and flexibility to get the game going.”

Confirmation of the reworked WBBL season, which will be played entirely in Sydney starting October 25, is expected shortly while the BBL may involve a rolling hubs around the country depending on Covid-19 restrictions.

2020-21 Sheffield Shield fixtures

Round 1

October 10-13: South Australia v Western Australia, Karen Rolton Oval
October 10-13: Queensland v Tasmania, Park 25
November 17-20: New South Wales v Victoria, venue TBC

Round 2

October 19-22: South Australia v Tasmania, Karen Rolton Oval
October 19-22: Western Australia v Queensland, Park 25
October 22-25: Victoria v New South Wales, Adelaide Oval No. 2

Round 3

October 30-November 2: New South Wales v Western Australia, Karen Rolton Oval
October 30-November 2: Victoria v Tasmania, Park 25
October 30-November 2: South Australia v Queensland, ACH Group Stadium, Glenelg

Round 4

November 8-11: Queensland v Victoria, Karen Rolton Oval
November 8-11: Western Australia v Tasmania, Park 25
November 8-11: South Australia v NSW, ACH Group Stadium, Glenelg

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Match Preview – Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Capitals, Indian Premier League 2020 2020, 7th Match



Big picture

Even when he wasn’t playing, wasn’t anywhere near the Indian team for major parts of the last 12 months, the focus was forever on MS Dhoni. Why should it change now that he’s back?

There is a raging debate over the Super Kings captain pushing himself down the order, and while he isn’t the type to respond to them, here is a stat that is worth remembering. In the IPL, any time Dhoni bats at No. 5 or above, the Chennai Super Kings has a win percentage of at least 57. When he comes in at No. 6 and below, that figure drops to 37 or worse.

The Delhi Capitals may well be happy that all the focus is on their opposition. They have a strong core of young Indian batsmen who are learning all the time and a strike bowler who basically rejects the concept of pressure. Maybe, just maybe, that’s enough to secure what will be only their third victory over the Super Kings since 2013.

In the news

  • Ambati Rayudu (hamstring) and Dwayne Bravo (knee) are recovering from injuries and won’t be available for selection.

  • R Ashwin injured his shoulder on Sunday and though he has already said the “pain has settled“, Capitals may take extra precautions before rushing their main spinner back.

Likely XIs

Chennai Super Kings: 1 Shane Watson, 2 Faf du Plessis, 3 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 4 Sam Curran, 5 Kedar Jadhav, 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 8 Deepak Chahar, 9 Shardul Thakur/Karn Sharma, 10 Piyush Chawla, 11 Lungi Ngidi/Imran Tahir

Delhi Capitals: 1 Prithvi Shaw, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Shimron Hetmyer, 4 Shreyas Iyer (capt), 5 Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Axar Patel, 8 R Ashwin/Amit Mishra, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Anrich Norje, 11 Mohit Sharma

Strategy punt

  • Since IPL 2018, Rishabh Pant has an average over 40 and a strike rate above 150. Only four other men are in the same bracket and he hits harder (166) than every single one of them. Even AB de Villiers (164). But if Lungi Ngidi keeps his spot and ups his game, the threat can be managed. His head-to-head against Pant in the IPL goes six balls, seven runs and two dismissals.

  • Although Shane Watson hasn’t quite come off yet, it can be frightening when he does. Since IPL 2018, he has a strike rate of 185 and hits a boundary every 3.8 balls – and that’s between overs seven and 15, when fielding restrictions are relaxed. So the Capitals will need a plan, which might well revolve around Axar Patel (38 balls, 42 runs, five dismissals) or Amit Mishra (68 balls, 79 runs, six dismissals)

Stats that matter

  • Among players with a minimum of 100 runs in the IPL since 2019, Sam Curran’s strike rate of 194 is second-best, only behind Andre Russell.

  • The IPL’s greatest ever bowler, Lasith Malinga, picked up at least two wickets for eight matches straight in 2012. No one’s beaten that streak just yet, but Kagiso Rabada has already matched it. He really has been that good in the IPL.

  • Dhoni needs two sixes to get his tally up to 300 in T20 cricket.

  • The average score in Dubai over the last one-and-a-half years of T20 cricket is 153. Fast bowlers take twice as many wickets as spinners (four per game vs two per game), but spinners have been better at keeping the runs down (6.7 vs 7.7)

ALSO SEE: CSK vs DC live score 25th September, 2020

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IPL 2020 – Injury, illness, selection, the ups and downs of Mitchell Marsh



Mitchell Marsh has been forced out of the IPL with an ankle injury to continue a rollercoaster few years for the allrounder and it leaves him in doubt for the start of the Australian home summer.

March 2017: India tour cut short

Having returned to the Test side after been dropped the previous Australia summer, Marsh was forced out of the tour after the second Test by a long-standing shoulder injury that impacted his bowling too much. “He had the injury through the summer, he was fine when he got here but it just got worse,” coach Darren Lehmann said.

December 2017: Prolific Ashes comeback

Marsh returned to the side later the same year for the third Test of the Ashes and produced a career-best 181 on his home ground at the WACA as Australia regained the urn. He followed that with another century at the SCG, brought up with emotional scenes alongside his brother Shaun, and when he started the following tour of South Africa with 96 in Durban the signs were that the promise was being fulfilled although the trip would soon go rapidly downhill for Marsh and Australia.

2018: Sidelined by injury then a difficult return

Following the South Africa tour that ended in the ball-tampering scandal, Marsh underwent surgery on an ankle problem that had been troubling him for some time. It ruled him out of a county stint with Surrey, plus the limited-overs tours of England and Zimbabwe, but he returned later in the year for the Test series against Pakistan in the UAE, by which time he had also been named joint vice-captain amid Australia’s leadership reshuffle. He struggled in the two matches and was then left out at the start of the home series against India before brief recall for the Boxing Day Test where two failures saw him ditched again.

January 2019: Illness scuppers one-day return

Just when it looked like Marsh would have the chance to regain his ODI berth and push for a place at the 2019 World Cup he suffered a nasty illness on the eve of the series against India which briefly put him in hospital. When Australia wanted all-round cover in the Test squad to face Sri Lanka, they called up Marcus Stoinis. Marsh’s return to Sheffield Shield cricket was then interrupted when he was struck in the box at training which required surgery. Though he eventually finished the season strongly he missed the World Cup squad and lost his CA contract.

September 2019: Ashes haul

When Stoinis was injured during the World Cup Marsh was put on standby but was not required in the end. He earned a recall for the Ashes series that followed and had to wait until the final Test at The Oval for his chance, but with the ball he grabbed the opportunity with both hands as he claimed his maiden five-wicket haul in the first innings. Though his batting was more modest he had given him a good chance of being involved at the start of the home summer

October 2019: Taking on the wall

However, any hopes of keeping his Test place were ended when he took out his frustration at a dismissal in the Sheffield Shield by thumping the dressing room wall at the WACA which led to a broken hand. When asked what coach Justin Langer said to him, Marsh replied: “He just told me I’m an idiot basically. He was disappointed for me.” The injury kept him out of action for half the summer although towards the end of the season he earned a recall to the limited-overs set-up shortly before Covid-19 shut down sport.

September 2020: Another injury setback

Marsh produced back-to-back impressive innings on the tour of England as Australia resumed action after a six-month hiatus, the first securing a consolation T20I victory and the second setting up a win in the opening ODI. He jetted to the UAE to take up his IPL deal with Sunrisers Hyderabad but rolled his ankle during his first over of the tournament. He hobbled out to bat late in the chase to try and help the Sunrisers across the line but fell for a duck and two days later was ruled out of the tournament.

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