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Cameron Green ruled out of bowling due to stress fracture

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Cameron Green, the Western Australia allrounder who has been tipped to soon feature for Australia, will be unable to bowl for the foreseeable future after suffering a stress fracture of his back.

Green, 20, has been lauded by Ricky Ponting and compared to Andrew Flintoff after starring for Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield with two centuries this season but has been unable to bowl in the last two matches and that will now extend at least throughout the Big Bash.

ALSO READ: Cameron Green dampens hype around Australia prospects

“Follow up scans this week on Cameron’s lower back have revealed the early stages of a lumbar stress fracture,” Western Australia sports science medicine manager, Nick Jones, said. “This will require an extended period of rest from bowling to ensure the fracture heals adequately.

“No timeframe has been set for Cameron to return to bowling, however we are not expecting him to be bowling during the BBL. He will continue to be available for selection as a batter.”

Speaking earlier this week, Green had been confident that his current back soreness had not been serious and viewed himself as a genuine allrounder in the future.

“Coming through as a junior I’ve always seen myself as a genuine allrounder,” he said. “At times for WA, I was definitely a bowling allrounder, batting nine or ten and not scoring too many runs. So I’m pretty happy I’m getting a couple of runs out the way but in the future, I’d like to be a genuine allrounder.”

Trevor Hohns, the Australia selection chairman, said that picking someone at a young age would not be an issue but Green’s back problem would be monitored.

“I don’t have an issue with his age, it’s more about whether his body can cope and what he can do bowling, particularly in the allrounder category,” Hohns said. “We know he’s a very good bat, he is a fine up-and-coming young player.”



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Justin Langer’s plans to handle the era of Covid cricket hubs

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Four consecutive weeks of hotel quarantine must elapse before Justin Langer – or any of the other West Australian or Tasmanian members of Australia’s England tour party – can see their families again. And that’s just for starters.

Langer was at close to his most wide-eyed and pleading on a recent podcast with the England rugby coach Eddie Jones, as he emphasised the possibility that some members of the national team may go 173 consecutive days without seeing their families this summer.

It’s the sort of assignment that gives lie to the notion that cricketers are better equipped than most to deal with the maze of hubs and quarantine periods inherent in a “Covid normal” home summer, since overseas tours or home series have about as much in common with coronavirus hub existence as train journeys do with space flight.

ALSO READ: Steven Smith ruled out of England series after first game: ‘We saw how unwell he looked’ – Langer

To that end, Langer had two clear takeaways from England. The first being that every possible chance must be taken to allow players to see their families whether that means Steven Smith missing a game here and there, or Pat Cummins continuing to skip the Big Bash League. The second is that within the hubs themselves, all efforts must be taken to keep things fresh for players and staff, while also ensuring that perspective is retained: losing a game is not the end of the world, nor the start of a global pandemic.

“We know how hectic it’s going to be, a long time away from their families, a long time away from home, but we know the sacrifices we have to make to ensure that cricket stays up and running and we keep entertaining people,” Langer said. “That’s the main thing, the quarantine issues which are going to cause the greatest angst for the families, whether it’s two weeks before they come into our hub or for example in Perth or Hobart and Tasmania’s case, if our families come into the hub, then they’ve got to quarantine for two weeks when they get home.

“Every opportunity we’re going to get for our players and our support staff to see their families we are definitely going to take it, but it’s really complex”

Justin Langer

“So it’s really problematic but I guess it’s the sacrifices we have to make. It’s something I’ve talked about for the last four or five months with CA, no doubt we’ll talk about it with the ACA, it’s one of the contentious issue at the moment, but our families all have their lives to live, with the current restrictions in place it’s problematic for a lot of the families. We’ll just keep working our way through those things.”

Government restrictions and requirements are, according to Cricket Australia, the main reason why the summer schedule is yet to be announced even as the first international cricket of the season is due to be played between Australia and New Zealand women in Brisbane as soon as Saturday. Langer said that any player who put his hand up and requested time out of the bubble would have their wishes respected, citing the example of Glenn Maxwell’s break from the game on mental helth grounds late last year.

“It’s not so much about the training, all our guys are super fit, they’ll be up and running and playing, it’s more to do with quarantine regulations and every state’s different,” Langer said. “That’s where it becomes so problematic and that’s where our management of the players individually and collectively is going to be so important.

“Every opportunity we’re going to get for our players and our support staff to see their families we are definitely going to take it, but it’s really complex. We saw it with Glenn Maxwell last summer. One of the most important things in this Australian cricket team is we care for our people. We are all very respectful of the present climate with guys being away from home, guys living in this hub life, and we are looking at ways to manage that. The Latin origin of the word culture comes from the word care. And hopefully we are showing that consistently that we care for our people.”

There must be consideration, too, for players kept in reserve and thus missing out either on Sheffield Shield assignments for their states or BBL outings with their clubs. “One of our lessons from England, whatever [size] our squad is going to be, they’re going to see a lot of their mates playing Big Bash cricket or potentially playing some Shield cricket,” Langer said. “It’s not going to be as easy as before to come in and out.

“We are also very mindful though that we want all our cricketers playing as much cricket as possible. So, working out the exact number [for the squad], won’t necessarily be a science. There’ll be an art to it. So that we get the balance between guys playing and guys being ready in case there’s some infections or anything like that.”

As for keeping things fresh, Langer was able to call on a new pair of eyes and many more opinions from the assistant coach Trent Woodhill during the England tour, who substituted for Andrew McDonald due to his pre-existing IPL contract with Rajasthan Royals. He also introduced a boxing “fight club” to the squad, albeit in the form of boxing training sessions with hand pads: as much as Langer is known as a pugilist, there are no immediate plans to send Matthew Wade into the ring against Mitchell Starc.

“I know from a lifetime of doing it, there’s real advantages in staying fit and healthy and letting off some steam. A number of the guys got all our boxing gear over here and we’ve been doing a bit of that, as much to keep us stimulated as anything,” he said. “I’ve said for many years that the best form of training for batting particularly is boxing, because you’ve got to concentrate, its footwork, its technique, you’ve got to face your opponent, got to have good defence and good offence.

“For me it’s a lot of fun, it’s something I’ve done for a long time, I know some of the players are enjoying doing some boxing training away from the normal realms of cricket training. We have to be really conscious that we keep things as fresh as possible, because if you’re going through the same routine over and over any way we can break it up is going to be really important.”

Last but not least will be the need to take whatever environmental advantages that are available. In Adelaide, Langer has been gratified to see that the new hotel built into the oval’s eastern stand does not overlook the ground directly, but instead offers a sweeping panorama of the parklands and the nearby cathedral, granting a precious chance to switch off from the sights and sounds of professional cricket.

Nevertheless, it will be hard at times to avoid a sense of the walls closing in – as Langer discovered when the hotel’s curtains began shutting automatically on his view of St Peter’s.



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Women’s cricket during Covid-19 – return to action for some teams, but not all

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The series between Austria and Germany marked the return of women’s international cricket in August, but for the top-level nations the game resumes for the first time since March this week with England facing West Indies before Australia play New Zealand. However, while there is light at the end of tunnel for some countries, it is certainly not the same for all in an uncertain landscape. Here’s how things are for the top-10 ranked ODI nations

Australia

Where do things stand?

It became clear just a few days after the historic T20 World Cup final at the MCG how lucky it was that the game was played with sport shutting down less than a week later. The world champions will be back in action for the first time since that heady night when they face New Zealand this weekend (with a small crowd). After that there is the WBBL which will be played entirely in Sydney beginning on October 25. So while it won’t be normal, there should be plenty of cricket.

What’s next?

The first of three T20Is is on September 26 at Allan Border Field in Brisbane which will host all the matches against New Zealand. The tour also includes a three-game ODI series. Internationally after that things remain uncertain; India are due to tour Australia in mid-January although that was originally meant as a lead-in to the World Cup, but there are positive talks about a tri-series in New Zealand during February also involving England.

India

Where do things stand?

Very much in limbo. As Covid continues to rise across India it’s very difficult, or impossible, for the female players to train as a group. The key event on the horizon, although details remains sketchy, is the T20 Challenge that is due to be held in the UAE alongside the IPL playoffs in early November. Since the initial announcement there has not been much further information which has left players nervous. The prospect of a domestic season in India looks bleak at the moment.

What’s next?

India were due to tour England, initially in June, and then there was hope of a tri-series in September also involving South Africa. However, both fell through and the fact that the IPL could be relocated but the women’s tour could not take place – despite much of the cost being borne by the ECB – creating some controversy. They are scheduled to have three ODIs in Australia in mid-January but it remains unclear whether they will go ahead.

England

Where do things stand?

The ECB has moved mountains to ensure the women can get some international cricket this season by hastily arranging for West Indies to head over for five T20Is after visits by India and South Africa couldn’t be made to happen. On the domestic scene, newly-created professional teams have managed to play the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint trophy, while a few players will head off to Australia for the WBBL in a few weeks and others may get a gig at the T20 Challenge.

What’s next?

Alongside the tours by India and South Africa, the launch of the Hundred – the new domestic format – has been pushed back by a year, although the ECB has ensured the salaries, which were considerably lower than the men’s tournament, have been ring-fenced from cuts. For those not getting places either at the WBBL or T20 Challenge, the next action could be a tri-series in New Zealand in February, when the World Cup was due to be held, involving the hosts and Australia.

New Zealand

Where do things stand?

A trip across the Tasman will see them resume international cricket in a few days. The squad has had to undergo two weeks of quarantine in Brisbane, but they have been able to train for a few hours day during that period. After this short tour a number of players will remain in Australia to join WBBL clubs while others will return home (through another period of managed isolation) and prepare for the home summer which include the T20 Super Smash competition.

What’s next?

After the Australia tour it is still to be confirmed but NZC are confident of having women’s international matches during the latter part of the season. They had been due to host the ODI World Cup next February and March but that has been delayed by a year.

South Africa

Where do things stand?

That’s a loaded question in South African cricket. Things are such a mess that it’s hard to know what the knock-on effect will be on the women’s team. International travel restrictions, which mean that only individual athletes and not full teams could get exemptions, prevented the tour to England taking place so for the some the WBBL will provide a playing lifeline.

What’s next?

South Africa have been hit hard so far with two significant series, hosting Australia and touring England, not taking place. It is also difficult to know what sort of domestic season will take place. The squad has been able to resume training with the lifting of some restrictions and while borders have partially reopened no international sport is yet allowed.

West Indies

Where do things stand?

Cricket West Indies has done a huge amount to help the ECB get a season played, firstly with the Test tour by the men and now arranging the women’s visit at short notice. The players had barely been able to training before leaving the Caribbean but have spent the last three weeks in Derby preparing for the T20I series where they will look to start rebuilding after a very disappointing T20 World Cup.

What’s next?

West Indies would have been part of the World Cup qualifiers in June as they looked to secure a spot at the main event in New Zealand. After the England tour it’s unclear what will follow, although something in West Indies’ favour is the number of Caribbean islands that have managed to keep Covid numbers down. Hayley Matthews has a WBBL deal with the Hobart Hurricanes.

Pakistan

Where do things stand?

There have been positive developments in the women’s game in Pakistan over recent years and the challenge will be ensuring that does not fall by the wayside amid the multitude issues to confront. However, there was the encouraging sign of the PCB offering increased salaries to their centrally contracted players and in August the board also offered a three-month support package to 25 unemployed cricketers outside of the contract system.

What’s next?

Pakistan were one of the teams set to take part at the World Cup qualifiers while there was also due to be a T20 Asia Cup tournament. There is no indication of when they will be able to return to action, although the fact that the PCB are hopeful of staging cricket again over the next few months offers some hope.

Sri Lanka

Where do things stand?

After the T20 World Cup where they gave Australia a fright and beat Bangladesh, it will be a barren year for Sri Lanka with the World Cup Qualifiers postponed. There has been a change of coach with Lanka de Silva taking over until the end of the year although it is unlikely he’ll have any matches to take charge of. With the retirements of Shashikala Siriwardene and Sripali Weerakkody they will need to look to the future when cricket resumes.

What’s next?

They are expected to remain hosts of the qualifiers when they are rescheduled for some time next year and Sri Lanka has an advantage of being a nation to have coped well with Covid-19 which may make it a more practical destination for hosting matches. A few of the players, notably captain Chamari Atapattu, could have their eyes on the T20 Challenge as a chance to get back into the middle.

Bangladesh

Where do things stand?

Huge uncertainty surrounds the game at all levels in Bangladesh with the women’s set-up in danger of being particularly hard hit. The cancellation of domestic cricket has left many without any income. The BCB has offered some financial assistance with two lots of payments: in March it offered grants to all those who had been involved Women’s National Cricket League and in May another payment to all male and female league cricketers.

What’s next?

It is a waiting game. The priority for the BCB is to try and get the men’s international team back into action and work towards a resumption of domestic cricket. It remains highly likely that the women won’t play again this year.

Ireland

Where do things stand?

Ireland’s last international cricket was a year ago during the T20 World Cup qualifiers. Since then they have had a tour to Thailand – part of a quadrangular 50-over series – cancelled along with the ODI World Cup qualifiers. There has, at least, been a small domestic programme during the summer with a two-team Super Cricket Series while there has been additional investment in a new category of retainer contracts below the full deals handed out by Cricket Ireland.

What’s next?

They will be waiting to see when the World Cup qualifier is moved to so they can resume planning for that. They have been dealt the significant blow of losing allrounder Kim Garth who has committed her future to Australian cricket with Victoria.



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Bangladesh player shows ‘classical Covid-like symptoms’, isolated from training camp

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A Bangladesh men’s player, who was among the 27 to participate in the skill-training camp ahead of the Sri Lanka tour, has been isolated after showing “classical Covid-like symptoms”, according to the BCB. Those who came in close contact with him have also been isolated, following the latest Covid-19 tests conducted by the board ahead of the camp that began in Dhaka on Sunday. Their next set of tests will be on September 22.

The BCB said two players were identified as “borderline negative” in the tests conducted on September 18 and 19, including the one with Covid-19-like symptoms. The players in question did not participate in the camp.

“Out of the 27 cricketers for the Bangladesh team skill camp tested on September 18 and 19, two cases have been identified as ‘borderline negative’ with one of them showing classical Covid-19-like symptoms,” the BCB said in a statement. “As per the Covid-19 management guideline and to maintain Bio-Secure Environment standards, the symptomatic individual along with all the players who have been in close contact with him recently, have been isolated until the next test on September 22.”

The BCB, however, didn’t say what would happen to the other player who it called “borderline negative”.

Saif Hassan, too, is scheduled to be tested for a third time, on September 22. Hassan is currently quarantined at home after two recent positive results, although he is part of the 27-man training squad. These players have been isolating at a city hotel, from where they are expected to go to Mirpur every day for the next six days, starting Sunday.



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