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Hafeez, Wahab and four others clear covid tests

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Pakistan’s touring party in the United Kingdom is set to get bigger after six more players who returned two successive negative covid-19 tests are eligible to join the initial squad of 20 at the earliest in Worcester.

Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan and Wahab Riaz all underwent a second test inside three days on Monday, following a first negative test last week (June 26). The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is now working out their travel arrangements.

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Recent Match Report – Team Buttler vs Team Stokes Warm Up 2020

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Team Buttler 287 for 5 (Bracey 85, Lawrence 58) v Team Stokes

Newcomers James Bracey and Dan Lawrence stole the spotlight as England’s leading red-ball players went head to head on day one of a rare intra-squad clash at the Ageas Bowl.

When growing concerns over the spread of coronavirus brought an early end to England’s last official outing 111 days ago in Sri Lanka, neither man was even in the country never mind the conversation.

But with circumstances, much changed and the national side was forced to schedule its own internal tune-up between ‘Team Stokes’ and ‘Team Buttler’ and it was the latter’s uncapped batsmen who gained most as their contrasting half-centuries underpinned a score of 287 for 5.

Gloucestershire’s Bracey batted diligently at the top of the order, reaching 85 in 194 balls to make good on an opportunity few would have forecast at the start of the summer, while heavily touted Essex batsman Dan Lawrence turned in a sparkling 58.

Already a two-time county champion, and scorer of a century in the Lions’ victory over Australia A in Melbourne over the winter, he scored his runs with an unmistakeable swagger in 83 deliveries.

With regular Test skipper Joe Root missing next week’s series opener due to the birth of his second child, Lawrence made a strong pitch for the vacant number four spot and could ultimately find himself competing with Joe Denly.

Denly managed 48 here but, had Saqib Mahmood not overstepped when he took out his off stump on 12, the contrast between his contribution and Lawrence’s would have been stark. As it was, he faced over 100 balls but failed to kick on to a major score, a well-worn trope of his 14 Test appearances.

In bowling terms, the 18 overs sent down by James Anderson will probably have the most impact on England’s immediate plans. The country’s record wicket-taker has not played since breaking a rib during the New Year Test in Cape Town, but looked reliable and fit as he returned two for 49.

The remaining wickets fell to the Overton twins, both of whom turned in impressive performances as they jostle for position in a packed seam attack.

Craig Overton got the first wicket of the day, finding Rory Burns’ outside edge in the morning session, and had Ollie Pope lbw for 25 in the evening. Brother Jamie was not initially included among the 27 players taking part, added to Stokes’ side only after Olly Stone reported a tight hamstring.

The younger Overton added some heat to the line-up after tea but got slightly lucky when Bracey flicked a leg-side delivery to the waiting Ben Foakes while in sight of a century.

The 23-year-old had been given a life early on, edging Craig Overton on 14 only for Stokes to parry the chance at second slip. He put that chance swiftly to one side, shaping up well against Anderson to reach 33 not out in a lunch score of 70 for one.

Denly and Bracey put on 98 for the second wicket, both men striking straight sixes off Jack Leach, with latter bringing up his half-century by successfully taking on Moeen Ali for a quick single.

Denly was hoping to follow suit but was pinned in front by Anderson to end a middling innings.

Lawrence scored just 10 more runs but did it with greater aggression and purpose, whipping Leach over midwicket for six, repeatedly getting the better of a battle against Moeen’s off-spin and dominating a stand of 53 with the settled Bracey.

Both had cause to regret their dismissals, Bracey feathering Jamie Overton off his pads after being forced back by the short ball and Lawrence’s ambition getting the better of him as he flicked Anderson to midwicket.​

Jos Buttler and Sam Curran combined to see their side to stumps without further loss.



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Gareth Roderick to join Worcestershire from Gloucestershire

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Gareth Roderick, the Gloucestershire wicketkeeper/batsman, will join Worcestershire at the end of the 2020 season on a three-year-deal.

Roderick, 28, has spent eight years as a Gloucestershire player, representing the club 168 times in all formats, and was part of the side that won the 2015 Royal London Cup. His place in the side came under pressure last year due to the emergence of James Bracey, who looks set to be the club’s long-term option as wicketkeeper.

Worcestershire’s coach Alex Gidman was a team-mate of Roderick’s earlier in his career, and said that he was the “stand-out” amount the 134 out-of-contract players around the country. He will likely start as second-choice wicketkeeper at the club behind Ben Cox, but will compete as a specialist batsman in the County Championship.

ALSO READ: Warwickshire size up move for Bess as Patel successor

“Gareth is an established first-class performer and a top-order batsman which again, as we identify the areas in our squad that we need to strengthen, that is one of them,” he said.

“Like most modern players, he is well suited to all formats. He wants to improve his T20 cricket as well, which is good to hear, and has a lot of experience in English first-class cricket, which is crucial.”

“Members were concerned last year, quite rightly, about the lack of runs at the top of the batting order and we’ve made some real effort to improve it,” said Paul Pridgeon, the head of Worcestershire’s cricket steering group.

“We’ve signed Jake Libby from Nottinghamshire, had signed Hamish Rutherford as the overseas player, and have now signed Gareth as well. These new signings also help to provide competition and, if you are going to be successful, that’s what you need.”

“I’m very excited to be joining Worcestershire,” Roderick said. “When I spoke to Alex and he explained the kind of path he wants to take Worcestershire CCC on in the next five years, it became an exciting project to tie myself to.

“It has been such a privilege playing for this great club [Gloucestershire]. There are so many people who deserve a massive thank you; from the coaches I have played under and who have helped me so much, through to the fans who have always been behind the team and myself.”



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Cricket Ireland award new set of women’s contracts

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Cricket Ireland (CI) have introduced a new category of contract for women’s players in the latest move towards a professional set-up.

CI introduced professional contracts for the first time in 2019, with six players (Laura Delany, Kim Garth, Shauna Kavanagh, Mary Waldron, Gaby Lewis and Celeste Raack) signing part-time terms last April. The same six players were offered deals for 2020, but Garth turned her contract down in order to sign with Cricket Victoria instead.

A further 11 players have now been offered a new, ‘non-retainer’ contract, which will give them access to insurance, strength and conditioning support, health and lifestyle programmes, match fees for all internationals and compensation for loss of earnings during competition periods.

“Given the nature and profile of our players, we needed to provide a greater level of support and service to the fitness, health, conditioning and, most important, access to services that they need year-round,” said Richard Holdsworth, Ireland’s performance director. “The medical and healthcare coverage alone will provide some peace-of-mind to the squad, and we hope to continue to build on these in subsequent years.”

ALSO READ: Matthew Mott: Kim Garth exit could push Ireland towards professionalism

Ed Joyce, the women’s head coach, admitted that Garth’s decision to turn down a contract was “a blow” but insisted that the team is in a good place. “We had hoped that she [Garth] could have helped us through the [World Cup] Qualifier in July before moving to Australia, but the postponement of the tournament ended that idea,” Joyce said.

“It is great the squad is back in training as of this month and we’re all enjoying the chance to get back into some sort of normality. The players have come through the lockdown in good shape and we are now turning our minds to what will hopefully be a rescheduled Qualifier in late 2020.

“The future is bright if we can get our on-field and off-field plans to succeed, but there is a lot of hard work ahead. We aren’t blind to the financial and resource constraints we are working with – but the willingness to push on is there from myself and the players, and Cricket Ireland has committed to grow the women’s game in the long-term.”

Holdsworth said that the funds that would have gone towards Garth’s contract would be reinvested elsewhere in the women’s game. “Given the uncertainty over the impact of the pandemic and the rescheduling of the World Cup Qualifier, we will delay a decision on how to invest the residual funds,” he said. “The funds may be able to provide additional contact hours with the players or additional warm-up preparation and matches, for example, once we know the timing of the Qualifier.”

Ireland women’s contracts, 2020:

Part-time professional contracts: Laura Delany, Shauna Kavanagh, Mary Waldron, Gaby Lewis, Celeste Raack

Non-retainer contracts: Eimear Richardson, Lara Maritz, Louise Little, Rebecca Stokell, Una Raymond-Hoey, Hannah Little, Leah Paul, Orla Prendergast, Sophie MacMahon, Cara Murray, Louise McCarthy



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