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Will retire at my discretion, says Mashrafe, but speculation rolls on

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The Mashrafe Mortaza Retirement Speculation Circus™ has rolled into its 13th month. The end of his side Dhaka Platoon’s BPL campaign on Monday became the latest occasion on which to pitch the uncomfortably large tent. The press conference, which at times veered into terse and tense exchanges, ended with Mashrafe clearly stating that he has “no interest” in receiving a prepared send-off from Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB). A response, no doubt, to board president Nazmul Hassan saying that they had offered Mashrafe a massive send-off party, “the likes of which has never happened and never will”.

In the Circus™, this is seen at a level higher than his proclamation on Friday, where he questioned his own selection in the ODI side based on his 2019 World Cup performance. But Monday’s statements were edgier, as he shot back at every question that either contained the word “retirement” or hinted at it.

His appearance in the BPL’s eliminator match itself had piqued speculation. Mashrafe played with 14 stitches on his left hand. He batted and bowled without showing any discomfort, and then took a one-handed catch to dismiss Chris Gayle. His wife and kids were seen in the Shere Bangla National Stadium’s grandstand too. Surely that was it?

In the face of several questions, Mashrafe was firm in his stance to keep playing as long as he is enjoying the game, and not retiring just because the BCB president has said that they would throw a big party as a send-off.

“Till yesterday, I was a centrally contracted cricketer with the cricket board but not anymore,” Mashrafe said. “I always believe the BCB is the cricketers’ guardian. I never took pride in going against them. I thank the BCB for considering me to give me a proper send-off, but I don’t have much interest in it.

“I have always said that a cricketer’s entire career isn’t only about playing for the national team. I think I have the freedom to play as long as I want. I think we have had bigger cricketers who couldn’t retire from the field. Habibul Bashar, who always made runs in crisis situation, didn’t get to retire while still playing. I think only Sujon bhai [Khaled Mahmud] did it, but otherwise it is a rare case. I even have thought of it at times, but it is not really necessary.”

The difficulty in avoiding this speculation is the absence of ODIs in Bangladesh’s schedule since last July. If there had been a regular staple of ODI series during the home season, even Mashrafe may have had some clarity. Instead, the speculation has raged on.

On Friday after Dhaka’s defeat to Khulna Tigers, Mashrafe had said that he wouldn’t expect to be picked in the ODI squad based on his World Cup performance.

“As far as I am concerned, I shouldn’t be selected based on my one wicket in eight games at the World Cup. If I am selected, I will give my best. But how can I say I will play for the national team after taking one wicket in eight games? Someone else in my place would have been axed much earlier,” he said.

Mashrafe said that he got a lifeline when the selectors picked him for the ODI series against Sri Lanka last July, but since then he is unaware of the selectors’ thinking process as they have not been in contact.

“I was picked for the Sri Lanka series, which would have been an opportunity for me to get back in form. But there hasn’t been any playing opportunities. I don’t know what the selectors are thinking. I haven’t spoken to them. But if they decide to give me a chance, I will certainly welcome it. The board shall decide whether I should be the captain too,” he said.

In an ideal world, Mashrafe should have been left alone long ago, at least after the last match in the World Cup, where he didn’t announce his retirement even though he was largely expected to. He made himself available for the Sri Lanka series that followed, but missed it due to injury. It is now January 2020, and he has gone through a full season of the BPL, just like he has over the last seven seasons. Clearly there is fire in the belly.

The Circus™, however, rolls on. Next, perhaps, the large tent will be pitched at the selection panel’s meeting for the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe in February or March. Nobody is paying attention to his repeated assertions that he wants to retire at his own discretion, not that of anyone else – whether he is questioned long and hard, or tempted with a big party.



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Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne and Michael Neser headline Queensland’s Sheffield Shield squad

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Queensland could field a top order with 17 Test centuries under their belt after naming a 15-man squad for the Adelaide Sheffield Shield hub during October and November.

Incumbent Test opener Joe Burns will be joined by Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja in the likely top four with Matt Renshaw a chance to bat at No. 5. Bryce Street, who enjoyed a breakout first season with 489 runs at 37.61, is expected to open with Burns.

Consistent top-order runs has been a challenge for Queensland in recent seasons. In the 2018-19 Sheffield Shield there was just one individual century although that improved to four last season – two of them from Street. Part of that may be attributable to conditions at the Gabba which can often aid pace bowling, something which won’t be a factor in the first part of this season.

Pace bowler Michael Neser, who has recovered from a groin injury, and legspinner Mitchell Swepson will both be in the mix to join Australia’s Test squad for the India series which will need to be larger than usual to cover for travel restrictions.

Benji Floros, a Queensland contracted player for the first time this season, and left-arm spinner Matthew Kuhnemann are the two uncapped players in the squad – the first to be confirmed ahead of the start of the competition.

The squad will begin a self-quarantine period on Monday and travel to Adelaide later in the week. Queensland’s opening game is against Tasmania at Park 25 on October 10.

Queensland squad Usman Khawaja (capt), Xavier Bartlett, Joe Burns, Blake Edwards, Benji Floros, Matthew Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Jimmy Peirson, Lachy Pfeffer, Matt Renshaw, Mark Steketee, Bryce Street, Mitchell Swepson, Jack Wildermuth.



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Delhi Capitals vs Sunrisers Hyderabad live streaming where to watch DC vs SRH IPL 2020 7.30pm Sep 29

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Two games into the season, the Sunrisers Hyderabad are still trying to resolve their middle-order batting issues from last season, and searching for their first points. It doesn’t help that their opponents on Tuesday are the Delhi Capitals, who have one of the most balanced bowling attacks in the tournament. Despite two premier bowlers – Ishant Sharma and R Ashwin – being unavailable, the Capitals strangled the Chennai Super Kings on Friday to register their second win in as many matches. The Sunrisers, on the other hand, are yet to figure out their best XI. With David Warner and Jonny Bairstow opening the innings and Manish Pandey coming in at No. 3, Priyam Garg is forced to bat out of position. Expect them to field a different starting XI to the one that played on Saturday.

Delhi Capitals vs Sunrisers Hyderabad is available to view in India on Disney+ Hotstar, Jio TV and Airtel TV.

When does the DC vs SRH live streaming start?
The DC vs SRH live streaming will start at 7:00 PM India Time September 29, 2020.

Where is the DC vs SRH match being played?
The DC vs SRH match will be played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

On which TV channels will DC vs SRH live coverage be available?
In India, Star Sports 1 and 1HD, Star Sports Select 1 and 1HD and SS1 Hindi and 1 Hindi HD will telecast the match live.

Where can one find DC vs SRH live score and commentary online?
The fastest and most comprehensive live score and details will be available here: DC vs SRH live score.

What are the likely playing XIs for today’s DC vs SRH game?

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

Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 David Warner (capt), 2 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 3 Manish Pandey, 4 Vijay Shankar/Wriddhiman Saha, 5 Mohammad Nabi, 6 Abdul Samad, 7 Abhishek Sharma, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Sandeep Sharma, 11 Khaleel Ahmed/T Natarajan

Who are the captains for today’s DC vs SRH game?
The captains for today’s game will be Shreyas Iyer (DC) and David Warner (SRH).

Who are the umpires for DC vs SRH game?
The on-field umpires for today’s game will be Virender Sharma and S Ravi. The third umpire will be Chris Gaffaney.

Who will be the match referee for DC vs SRH game?
The match referee for today’s game will be Manu Nayyar.

All telecast and streaming timings are according to information received from the host broadcaster.



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Dane Vilas, Cameron Delport face tricky times as UK’s transition period with EU nears conclusion

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South African Dane Vilas and Cameron Delport‘s hopes of continuing to play in county cricket as local players courtesy their ancestry visas have been dealt a terminal blow, after the ECB confirmed that they would not be exempted from the cancellation of Kolpak registrations when the UK’s transition period with the European Union (EU) ends on December 31, 2020.

Alan Fordham, the ECB’s head of first-class cricket operations, sent a letter to the counties, the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) and the relevant boards last week, setting out the changes that would be made to eligibility registrations following the end of the transition period. That included the long-anticipated cancellation of Kolpak registrations and confirmation that EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK would continue to qualify as local players.

After lobbying from the PCA, the ECB had confirmed this July that counties would be able to field two overseas players rather than one in both the County Championship and the One-Day Cup in order to protect the jobs of players on Kolpak deals.

ALSO READ: ECB clarifies player retention plans for postponed Hundred

Both Vilas and Delport had appealed to the ECB in the hope that their ancestry visas would mean they remained eligible to play as non-overseas players for Lancashire and Essex respectively, and both remained optimistic when contacted by ESPNcricinfo last week.

But Fordham’s letter, published on the ECB’s website, affirmed that the cancellation of Kolpak registrations would “apply regardless of whether such player currently holds, or is able to obtain, an ancestral or family visa giving them the right to work in the UK”.

ESPNcricinfo understands that the changes have been approved by the ECB board and are not pending appeals. It is unclear, however, whether the ruling will face any legal challenge from players affected at this stage.

“Confirmation that EU nationals would only be eligible if they have settled or pre-settled status came as a blow to Dutch cricket as well, seemingly ending the pathway for young players to gain experience at the county level – much like the now first-class-veteran Ryan ten Doeschate – unless they move to the UK on a permanent basis”

Vilas, 35, is expected to stay at Lancashire next season despite the ruling. Since signing for the club in 2017, he has settled in London with his wife Pippa, whose ancestral visa means that he has – and would continue to have – the right to live and work in the UK. Lancashire have previously given him guarantees that he would stay on as an overseas player. That said, he is unlikely to retain his top-bracket contract in the Hundred with the Manchester Originals, competing for one of three overseas spots rather than being one of the better local players available.

For Delport, meanwhile, the ruling could be the first step on his return to the international fold. He has previously held conversations with South Africa’s director of cricket Graeme Smith and head coach Mark Boucher about the possibility of playing for his native country in the 2021 T20 World Cup, and publicly revealed his intentions to represent them while speaking to ESPNcricinfo last month.

In practice, many players on Kolpak registrations – including Simon Harmer, Duanne Olivier and Stiaan van Zyl – will become their respective counties’ overseas player next year, while a handful – like Fidel Edwards and David Wiese – are expected to be released at the end of the season.

Confirmation that EU nationals would only be eligible if they have settled or pre-settled status came as a blow to Dutch cricket as well, seemingly ending the pathway for young players to gain experience at the county level – much like the now first-class-veteran Ryan ten Doeschate – unless they move to the UK on a permanent basis.



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