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Long-suffering Zimbabwe fans turn on team – but Aaron Finch wins support

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Zimbabwe are in the doldrums. They had lost five frontline players before this tri-series began, lost their senior seamer to injury in their opening game, and now it seems they might have lost the backing of their long-suffering fans. The Zimbabwe players fielding in front of the boisterous Castle Corner stands at Harare Sports Club copped some flak during Aaron Finch‘s record-breaking knock, with allrounder Solomon Mire getting an earful when he was in that position.

“It’s a tough one,” Mire said. “The fans are a little bit angry [at what has been happening]. But that’s something that’s out of our control at the moment. The only thing we can do is concentrate on trying to perform, and hopefully that will win back the fans. Unfortunately, nothing went to plan in the first innings. The wicket didn’t behave like we thought it would and we didn’t get any early wickets.”

Performance would seem to be key, as the disgruntled fans eventually started cheering every boundary Finch hit. “That was nice,” Finch said. “This is my fifth time here to Harare, and down in that far pocket at long-off there’s always a good crowd and some really good support for whoever plays well on the day, whether it’s a Zimbabwean batter or Australian bowler, whatever it might be. It’s nice to get them on side.”

Some of the loudest cheers for Zimbabwe were delivered ironically, the game long since gone, when Nos. 10 and 11 were clinging stubbornly to the crease and solid forward defensive strokes were applauded.

“It’s disappointing,” Mire said. “It’s been the trend in the last two games that we’re scrambling to get over the line and finish our 20 overs at the end. That’s testament to the fact that we’re continuing to go hard and we’re not really working those middle overs very well. If we go hard early, we’ve got to consolidate if we lose early wickets. Which also comes down to maybe me or one of the top order guys have to bat through.

“With the current set-up that we have, it’s important that the guys who get in cash in. That’s probably the big difference. We’re probably a little bit light in that regard.”

Mire suggested that Zimbabwe had a lot to learn from how the Australian openers built their record-breaking partnership. “You can learn from how the opposition went about it. The guy that was in definitely cashed in, and they didn’t both try to go. D’Arcy [Short] did well to give Finchy a lot of the strike, and he was the guy who was in and he cashed in. We have to do that. If a guy gets a good start, he’s got to continue.”



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Stuart Broad ‘frustrated’ and ‘angry’ at being left out of England side for first Test

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Stuart Broad has described himself as “frustrated” and “angry” at having been left out of England’s side for the first Test of the series against West Indies.

Broad, the second highest wicket-taker in England’s Test history, said he found the decision “difficult to understand” and suggested he had sought clarification on his future from Ed Smith, the national selector.

“I’m not a particularly emotional person but I’ve found the last couple of days quite tough,” Broad told Sky Sports shortly before play resumed on the third day. “To say I was disappointed would be an understatement; you’re disappointed if you drop your phone and the screen breaks.

“I’m frustrated, angry and gutted. It’s difficult to understand. I’ve probably bowled the best I’ve ever bowled the last couple of years, I felt it was my shirt. I was in the team for the Ashes and going to South Africa and winning there.”

ALSO READ: Broad’s stock rises in lone spectator role

Broad was England’s leading wicket-taker in their previous Test series – he claimed 14 wickets at a cost of 19.42 apiece in South Africa – and in the Ashes series of 2019, when he claimed 23 wickets at 26.65.

“I spoke to Ed Smith [the national selector] last night, he said he was involved in picking the 13 and this side was picked purely for this pitch,” Broad continued. “I wanted clarification on my the future going forward and I was given pretty positive feedback going forward.

“So yes, I was frustrated in the fact that I felt like I deserved a spot in the team.”

ALSO READ: Broad faces axe as England ponder Wood and Archer for first Test

Despite that frustration, Broad accepted the bowlers picked in front of him also deserved their places and accepted that the current competition for places was probably a healthy thing for England.

“You can’t argue the bowlers walking on that field don’t deserve to play,” Broad said. “Everyone deserves to play. Chris Woakes, Sam Curran were bowling really well and probably deserve to be in the XI. It’s just annoying when it’s not you that’s in that XI. Very rarely do you get guys fit and available for each Test match. That’s where selection has been tricky.

“It’s great to see strength and depth in the fast bowling ranks. It’s the only way that England cricket moves forward and gets better. And with high competition in squads it keeps the standard high. Everyone is under pressure for their spots.”

Broad’s omission broke a run of 51 consecutive home Tests dating back to 2012.



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Curtis Campher, Jonathan Garth the new faces as Ireland name 21-man squad for England ODIs

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Ireland have left Stuart Thompson and Shane Getkate out while naming an expanded 21-man squad for a three-match ODI series against England this month, while David Delany is missing the trip as precaution following an injury.

Curtis Campher, the South Africa-born allrounder who was awarded an emerging contract earlier this year, has been included in a senior squad for the first time after having represented Ireland A against Namibia in February, while there is another new face in legspinner Jonathan Garth – whose sister Kim quit Irish cricket to take up a contract with Cricket Victoria last month.

Ireland will arrive in Southampton on a charter flight from Dublin on July 18, and play an intra-squad warm-up match and a fixture against England Lions before the group is separated into a 14-man squad and seven reserves. They will play three ODIs – the first game in the new ODI Super League – at the Ageas Bowl, before returning to Dublin on August 5.

“The selectors were delighted to have been able to meet once more to select a squad for international action. We have lost so much cricket this year, so to have a series – let alone such a major series as this – to look forward to is a great relief for all,” Andrew White, the chair of national men’s selectors, said. “This lack of on-field action since March – and the short lead-in programme to the ODI series – influenced our thinking on the broader squad. However, the unique circumstances of the situation has allowed us to involve more players than we would normally bring on such a tour.”

White also said that some players had been selected to “help our batters prepare for the type of opposition we’ll be facing”, which seemed like a nod to Garth’s inclusion. He is the only legspinner in the wider party, while England have named two in their 24-man training group in Adil Rashid and Matt Parkinson.

“While a number of players like Stuart Thompson and Shane Getkate are unfortunate to not to be travelling, the experience that will be gained on this trip by a number of the younger players will be invaluable in their development”

Andrew White

“The form shown by several players in the Caribbean in January, Wolves tour in February and the Afghan series in March really bolstered their case for selection,” White said. “We’re delighted that our top wicket-taker in 2019, Mark Adair, returns after recovering from ankle surgery, and feel we have the right squad balance for these important fixtures – keeping in mind that they are World Cup qualifiers.”

Thompson and Getkate’s exclusions might come as a surprise, not least given that both have central contracts for 2020-21 and that both have been regulars in white-ball squads in recent years.

“While a number of players like Stuart Thompson and Shane Getkate are unfortunate to not to be travelling, the experience that will be gained on this trip by a number of the younger players will be invaluable in their development,” White said. “Additionally, David Delany was not considered for selection this time. As a result of his previous surgery, and the subsequent extended lockdown period, we were not fully confident that he has had the time to complete the necessary amount of preparation in order to safely play in these matches.”

As well as the task at hand, several Ireland players will hope that strong performances in this series can provide them with a springboard towards contracts for the T20 Blast. Paul Stirling’s overseas deal at Northants is one of only a handful yet to be cancelled in the competition, and ESPNcricinfo understands that some names in this squad have been floated to counties in recent weeks as possible options to replace their bigger overseas names.



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Trinidad & Tobago gets government nod to host CPL 2020

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The 2020 CPL will take place in Trinidad & Tobago between August 18 and September 10, after the organisers got the final nod from the local government. A total of 33 matches including two semifinals and a final will be played behind closer doors across two stadiums.

As per the agreement between the CPL and the T&T government, all the participants – squads and team management of the six franchises, the organisers and the rest of the crews – will need to self-isolate for two weeks before they board their flights, and for two weeks upon arrival in T&T. All the participants will be tested for Covid-19 upon arrival followed by two more tests – a week and two weeks after arrival.

All six teams will stay in the same hotel in Trinidad. Even within that bio-secure bubble, it is understood that each team will be broken up into mini clusters. In case anyone from one of the clusters tests positive before or during the tournament, that cluster will have to self-isolate.

The CPL is set to be the first time people from outside of T&T are allowed into the country since the closure of its borders in late March. The Caribbean has been relatively unaffected during the Covid-19 pandemic, with T&T only recording 133 positive tests and eight deaths until July 9, according to data released by its health ministry. As a precaution, the T&T government has closed borders even to other countries in the Caribbean and its own citizens who are overseas.



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