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‘Playing in a World Cup final seemed laughable after 2015 exit’ – Morgan

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Eoin Morgan has admitted the prospect of playing in a World Cup final seemed laughable by the time England were knocked out of the 2015 World Cup.

England endured a miserable campaign in New Zealand and Australia four-years ago sustaining a series of crushing defeats and failing to make it to the quarter-finals.

But a resounding victory over Australia at Edgbaston on Thursday means England will play their first World Cup final since 1992 at Lord’s on Sunday. All of which left Morgan, the England captain, reflecting on a remarkable improvement in his side’s ODI cricket during the last four years.

WATCH on Hotstar: Jason Roy’s innings (India only)

“If you had offered us the position to play in a final the day after we were knocked out of the 2015 Cup, I would have laughed at you,” Morgan said. “Looking back where we were in 2015 to where we will be on Sunday, it is a dramatic improvement in the style of play and the level of expectation which we’ve created.

“In 2015 we were way off the mark. We struggled against the top teams – and the teams below that level – so there was quite a drastic change in the way we played and the way we looked at playing our 50-over cricket. The last four years have been a process.”

Chris Woakes was named Player of the Match for his return of 3 for 20, but Morgan was equally full of praise for Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy, who recorded their fourth century partnership in succession.

“Chris is a cool customer,” he said. “He goes about his business, day in and day out, exceptionally. Today was his day. He and Jofra Archer were outstanding. It was one of our bowlers’ standout performances in the last four years.

“Jason and Jonny are in the form of their lives. They are imposing when they get in. And they set the tone for the whole group.”

While Morgan accepts Sunday’s final will be a high-profile affair, he is urging his team to embrace the occasion and continue to play the bold style of cricket that earned them victory on Thursday.

“Sunday’s not a day to shy away from,” Morgan said. “It’s a day to look forward to. We have created the opportunity to play in a World Cup final. It will be a matter of trying to produce everything that we can performance-wise, but enjoy the day.

“It’s an opportunity for us on Sunday. A huge one. Making the most of the opportunity of getting to the final would be fantastic, but just getting there is awesome.

“Everybody out there on the field and in the changing room loved every ball that was bowled [against Australia]. There was no lack of commitment, application and we had a bit of a day out. It’s cool when it happens like that, particularly when the bowlers bowl like that. It is awesome.”

Morgan is particularly pleased that Sunday’s final will be broadcast free-to-air on Channel 4 or, while the British Grand Prix is in progress, on More 4. He says his own experiences of watching cricket on free to air television helped inspire his love for the game and hopes more people will now have the same opportunity.

“It’s very cool,” he said. “Particularly given that the 2005 Ashes [which was the last series broadcast free-to-air in the UK] was, for me, sort of the day cricket became cool. Throughout the whole summer, the game was on the front and back page of every newspaper and everyone was talking about it. That is really good for the game and it’s the game I love, so it’s great news that it’s on free-to-air.”



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Marcus Trescothick to join Ashes coaching set-up

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Marcus Trescothick is set to join the England coaching team for the first two Tests of the Ashes series.

Trescothick, the former England opening batsman, has recently announced his decision to retire as a player at the end of this season and is currently struggling to break into the Somerset side. He will spend the training days ahead of the Edgbaston and Lord’s Tests with the England squad at both training sessions and at the team hotel.

Jonathan Trott has fulfilled a similar role with England ahead of the Test against Ireland.

The appointment does not necessarily suggest that Trescothick – or Trott – is about to be appointed as the England team’s batting coach. The ECB have yet to identify a successor to Mark Ramprakash, who left his role a couple of months ago, but are using the likes of Trott and Trescothick to help ease the burden on Graham Thorpe – the ECB’s lead batting coach – on training days where coaches are expected to provide throw-downs for several hours at a time.

Thorpe is currently suffering from a sore shoulder and missed England training on Tuesday due to illness.

As a vastly experienced and successful player – the 2005 Ashes series was among his 76 Tests – Trescothick has the respect of all current players and understands the demands, both emotionally and technically, of playing at international level.

He will be on hand both in training sessions and at the team hotel, to support players as required. And, aged 43, the sessions may also help him to decide if he wants to pursue a career in coaching.



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Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka Board President’s XI vs Bangladesh Tour Match 2019

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Bangladesh 285 for 5 (Mithun 91, Mushfiqur 50, Kumara 2-26) beat Sri Lanka Board President’s XI 282 for 8 (Shanaka 86, Shehan 56, Soumya 2-29, Rubel 2-31) by five wickets

Bangladesh got their tour of Sri Lanka off to a winning start with a five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka Board President’s XI in their one-off warm-up game at the P Sara Oval. The visitors added pace bowler Shafiul Islam to their squad for the three-match ODI series which begins on June 26. Shafiul is expected to join the team in Colombo on Wednesday.

Set a target of 283, fifties from Mohammad Mithun and Mushfiqur Rahim ensured the visitors remained in control through their chase.

Mithun’s 100-ball 91 in particular will please the Bangladesh coaching staff, after he was given a chance in the No. 3 position vacated by Shakib Al Hasan. Scoring 11 boundaries and a six, the 28-year-old right-hand batsman put on partnerships of 73 and 96 for the fourth and fifth wickets respectively, with the rest of the Bangladesh line-up batting around him.

Mithun’s calm approach also allowed Mushfiqur to take on a more attacking role on his way to a 46-ball 50, built on a threatening 37 from Tamim Iqbal at the top of the order. Mahmadullah (33) and Sabbir Rahman (31) kept the Bangladesh innings on track, as Sri Lanka’s bowlers – apart from Lahiru Kumara, who impressed with figures of 2 for 26 in six overs – struggled to gain any foothold in the game. Mithun fell with Bangladesh only 21 runs shy of the target, but some lusty hitting from Mosaddek Hossain and Sabbir made sure there were no late scares.

For the hosts, Dasun Shanaka was arguably the only Sri Lankan player to come out of the game with his reputation significantly enhanced. Having come in to bat at 127 for 5, his 63-ball 86, studded with six boundaries and as many sixes, put a significant dampener on what was an otherwise stellar bowling performance from Bangladesh. The hosts put on a respectable 282 for 8 in 50 overs.

Shanaka was aided by 21-year-old legspinning allrounder Wanindu Hasaranga, who bolstered his case for selection in the first ODI with a quickfire 28 that included three fours and a six to go with his bowling figures of 1 for 39.

Earlier, Shehan Jayasuriya’s 56 off 78 deliveries had helped the hosts recover from a top-order collapse during which Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka and Oshada Fernando fell by the eighth over of the game. Shehan put on 82 for the fourth wicket with Bhanuka Rajapakse and helped steer Board President’s XI past 100.

Of the Bangladesh bowlers, on a wicket that didn’t offer much assistance, fast bowlers Rubel Hossain and Taskin Ahmed struck early after the hosts opted to bat. Alongside Rubel, medium-pacer Soumya Sarkar stood out, taking the two crucial middle-order wickets of Jayasuriya and Rajapakse.



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Darren Stevens to leave Kent but wants to play on

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Darren Stevens will leave Kent at the end of the current season after 15 years with the club but has no intention of retiring from the professional game.

Stevens, 43, joined Kent from Leicestershire in 2005 and has enjoyed an outstanding career with bat and ball, scoring 11,718 first-class runs and claiming 487 wickets for his second county.

He is currently on loan to Derbyshire for the T20 Blast, but had continued to be impressive with the ball in the County Championship with 28 wickets at 24.21 in eight matches although runs had been harder to come by with an average of 20.36.

“It’s been an amazing 15 years,” Stevens said. “So many wonderful memories both on and off the pitch and many strong friendships made along the way. This is not retirement for me as I think I still have a lot to offer on the pitch, both as a player and a coach and am excited by the next stage in my career.

“I believe I can still do it at the top level, as my recent form shows, and I am looking forward to the remainder of the T20 season with Derbyshire and finishing the season successfully with Kent. I will look back at my time with Kent with nothing but happiness and pride but must now look forward to the next challenge.”

Kent have an eye on the future and want to invest in their younger players while also hoping to bring in an overseas fast bowler next season.

“When you look at his record, it is a travesty that Darren Stevens did not receive the international call-up he so richly deserved whilst in his prime,” Paul Downton, Kent’s director of cricket, said. “It’s now time for a new chapter at Kent with a number of young bowlers, and hopefully an overseas fast bowler next year, all demanding the new ball as the club seeks to keep raising standards and compete for the Division One Championship title.”



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