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Cremer temporarily puts cricket career on hold for family

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Former Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer has temporarily put his cricket career on hold due to family commitments. The 32-year-old legspinner recently relocated from Harare to join his wife Merna, who is now based in Dubai and working as a pilot.

“With my wife always away flying, I now have a full-time job looking after the kids and settling them into this new environment,” explained Cremer. “I am hoping this may only be temporary, so I may be able to commute back and forth to Zimbabwe, but who knows what the future holds. That’s all I can say at this stage.

“But while I am away I wish Zimbabwe Cricket all the very best in what’s to come, and I hope to join the boys again in the future.”

Cremer has played 19 Tests, 96 one-day internationals and 29 Twenty20 internationals, taking a combined 211 wickets for Zimbabwe across formats. He missed Zimbabwe’s recent tours to South Africa and Bangladesh due to knee surgery, but had made a tentative return to action in December, helping his franchise Rhinos to victory over Mountaineers in a Pro50 Championship match played in Kwekwe.

ZC acting managing director Givemore Makoni said Cremer would be greatly missed and hoped that the former captain will be available for selection again soon.

“Your wickets, numbers and everything you have contributed to our game speak for themselves and we as ZC are proud of you,” said Makoni.

“Your services will be greatly missed but we hope to have you in our national colours again soon. In the meantime, we send our best wishes to you and your family.”



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Warner reveals unlikely secret to slower tempo

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Name the artist most likely to provide the soundtrack to a David Warner batting montage over the past decade and many would reach for an AC/DC record – all blazing guitars and hair-raising lyrics – or perhaps something even heavier.

An absence of the aforementioned metallic clang about Warner’s performances at this year’s World Cup has been so evident as to raise questions about what is now going on inside the left-hander’s head, for he has been seemingly batting to the loping rhythm of an emo folkie. Following Australia’s win over England at Lord’s he has finally provided an answer: emo folk indeed, from the Scotsman Lewis Capaldi. Lewis Capaldi? The Bruises, Grace, Someone You Loved Lewis Capaldi, so loathed by Noel Gallagher? Yes, really.

The flip side of Warner’s composed and relaxed visage in the middle during games – a jarring contrast with so many of his previous, antagonistic displays – has been his use of headphones in the nets. During Australia’s training sessions, Warner has donned the ear buds and played tracks off his watch to block out external noise and slow his tempo. It’s a technique drawn from one of the many relaxation methods Warner tried during his 12 months banned from the international game.

“Why do I wear headphones at training, well I was waiting for that. It is something for me to relax my mind,” Warner said. “We do a lot of different things. In the last 12 months I just did a lot of different stuff. I did a lot of stuff on recovery.

WATCH on Hotstar (India only)David Warner’s 166 against Bangladesh

“I am not an ice bath man but I went and did cryotherapy [use of extreme cold to aid recovery], I did a whole session with my headphones on a couple of times and it really relaxed me at training. When you have guys coming at you at 150kph you don’t want to be listening to any external noise around the training sessions. So I just sing along to whatever top 40 is on my iWatch. It is a bit of a tempo thing.”

“There is a Lewis Capaldi [song], I think he is on there at the moment. There is a bit of slow music, but for me it is calming me down while I am out there.”

Blocking out external noise, of course, was something Warner and Steven Smith needed to be ready for on their returns to Australian ranks, and there were still plenty of boos at Lord’s, tacitly approved of by England’s captain Eoin Morgan. Smith’s own year of self-discovery featured the taking up of music – he now travels with an acoustic guitar – and for Warner the decision to find a different headspace in which to bat and play the game can be related to what he saw when he played club cricket in Sydney over the summer.

“For me it is about enjoying the game when it is taken away from you, you realise what it is all about,” Warner said. “Going back to grass roots was fantastic. I really saw smiles on people’s faces to be out there on a Saturday afternoon. All the volunteers that come down and put time and effort, whether it is making the drinks, making the lunches. People’s parents, my mum, my dad coming down, it is just great. You can’t take that for granted. I am just grateful for the second opportunity to come back here and represent my country and do the country proud. You know I am just excited to be back here and playing World Cup cricket for Australia.”

If there was criticism of the way Warner dragged Australia’s run rate down against India at The Oval, this has been drowned out by how he and Aaron Finch have proven to be this tournament’s calmest and most reliable opening pair.

Their qualities have been most evident on a pair of days, against Pakistan and England, when they were sent in to bat in conditions tailored to seam and swing. But instead of being methodically nicked off, they have won the battle between the ears on a big occasion as Pakistan sprayed the new balls and England dropped too short. Then when Australia bowled in defence of middling tallies, their pacemen took on the lessons and fashioned the wins that have qualified Australia for the semi-finals.

“I think when we looked at this wicket specifically that was our game plan, to keep wickets in hand,” Warner said of Lord’s. “We knew up front Woakesey [Chris Woakes] was going to be challenging, obviously Jofra [Archer] as well with his pace.

“But I really think there was a lot of pace taken out of that wicket. It did seam a bit but there was just no real pace in that wicket. So credit to the way our bowlers came out and bowled, we knew early wickets was going to be the key and we managed to do that. You saw I think nine wickets taken by our fast bowlers which is exceptional.

“It’s always challenging. I was thinking back to the Pakistan game, it’s one of those things where you tighten up a little bit and you pounce on anything that’s short and if anything’s full, as we say you throw the kitchen sink at it. We were patient, we bought our time and the knock that Finchy played, to get a hundred there – I know he was disappointed not to go on – but he played an exceptional knock. And the little cameo that Kez [Alex Carey] did as well was fantastic and put us into a great position to put 280 on the board.”

For this tournament at least, Australia now have well founded confidence that they have chosen the right method, one to which Warner has adapted by way of his own self-knowledge from 12 months away. A similar approach during the Ashes from a similar group of players would appear likely too.

While the question remains open as to how sustainable it all is – Warner, after all, did not become a dominant international batsman at Test level by simply hanging around and waiting for the bad ball – it appears the right approach for this moment. Time will tell whether Warner’s head stays full of Lewis Capaldi, or something livelier takes his place.



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Nicholas Pooran joins Yorkshire for Vitality T20 Blast

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Nicholas Pooran will seek to banish memories of West Indies’ unproductive World Cup by staying on in England to play five matches for Yorkshire in the Vitality T20 Blast.

Pooran was one of several rookie players that West Indies’ captain Jason Holder had in mind when he called for them to become the heart and the soul of the team. That is what Yorkshire have in mind by calling up the Trinidadian with a view to improving a mediocre T20 record.

One aspect of the World Cup that has at least worked in Pooran’s favour is that he has reached the requisite number of international appearances (15 over the preceding two years) during the West Indies’ campaign to qualify for a visa as an overseas player in the tournament.

He has not had a bad World Cup, getting starts in four of his five innings, but his 63 against England at the Ageas Bowl is his only half-century for a West Indies side that is on the brink of elimination.

“It is hard work playing for different teams and still trying to be as professional as you can be,” Pooran said. “You’ve just got to adapt and learn about different people’s cultures and just try to be the best I can be for the team. It will be a new and exciting experience for me.

Pooran, who made his ODI debut in Bridgetown against England in February this year, will return to the West Indies setup in time for their home T20I series against India, which begins on August 3 in Florida. He has quickly established himself as one of the most explosive batsmen in limited-overs cricket with a strike rate of 140 in his 11 T20 internationals. He also top scored in the fledgling T10 competition in the UAE before Christmas, scoring 324 runs in nine matches for Champions Northern Warriors, including 33 sixes.

Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of cricket, said: “Nicholas is an excellent young talent, although he is only available for a short period, we hope it will give us early impetus in the competition.

“Johnny Tattersall has been incredibly effective as a batter in limited-overs cricket, but he has played every game this season. He has now got three back-to-back Championship fixtures and only a couple of days between the end of the Somerset match and the start of the T20s.

“We’re mindful of the workload of Tatts and we have been leaving things open to see how he was going. There are other areas we feel we need for the T20s, so Nicholas has been on the radar for some time. At some point we needed to make a decision on which path to take, so we decided to go for him, albeit for a short five-game spell.”



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Recent Match Report – Surrey vs Warwickshire, County Championship Division One, 2nd Innings

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Surrey 194 (Lester 4-41) and 325 (Stoneman 71, Elgar 53, Curran 52, Miles 5-91) beat Warwickshire 230 (Rhodes 51, S Curran 3-50) and 215 (Sibley 73, Morkel 4-34) by 74 runs

Surrey wrapped up their maiden Specsavers County Championship victory of the season by claiming Warwickshire’s last seven wickets for 67 runs to win by 74 runs at an overcast Kia Oval.

After a cut and thrust opening three days to this Division One basement battle, it was the hosts who took a grip on proceedings on the final morning by wrapping up the innings inside two hours to win with two sessions to spare, banking 19 points to Warwickshire’s four. Veteran spinner Gareth Batty proved their nemesis with 4 for 34, but pacemen Sam Curran and Morne Morkel each chipped in with two wickets apiece during an action-packed session.

Warwickshire, needing 142 to land their third Championship win of the summer, resumed on their overnight score of 148 for 3 only to lose nightwatchman Craig Miles leg before to Rikki Clarke’s fourth ball of the day.

On a gloomy morning, the visiting top order attempted to dig in but found batting a struggle, particularly against the pace of Morkel, who had shouts for leg before and a catch in the cordon turned down against Adam Hose and Dominic Sibley respectively.

Warwickshire’s fifth-wicket partners saw off Clarke who, after 45 minutes from the Pavilion End, gave way to the offspin of Batty. In his opening over Batty had two leg-before shouts in three balls turned down by umpire James Middlebrook as Sibley battled on.

With 100 runs required for victory, Warwickshire lost Hose for 21, squared up on the walk to one from Curran that thudded into the back pad forcing umpire Martin Saggers to uphold the leg before appeal. Four balls later and again from around the wicket, Curran swung one back in to pluck put Matthew Lamb’s off stump with one that nipped through the gate via a thin inside edge.

Warwickshire’s demise continued as they lost their third wicket inside seven balls and without addition to the total. Sibley, looking to rotate the strike against Batty, called a hesitant Tim Ambrose through for a risky single only for Scott Borthwick to swoop and throw to the non-striker’s end where Ben Foakes ran out his counterpart for a duck.

Curran, whose workload in the match was restricted to 30 overs under an ECB request, gave way at the Vauxhall End to Morkel who ended Sibley’s 231-minute stay for 73 with his fifth delivery. Sibley, driving on the up, appeared stunned when the tall South African stooped in his follow through to claim a stunning return catch low to his left.

With 81 still needed, Jeetan Patel danced down the pitch to Batty only to miss an attempted heave over mid-on and gift a regulation stumping to Foakes. Last man Oliver Hannon-Dalby then skied an attempted slog sweep to Batty who ran around toward mid-on to claim the catch and end the match.



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