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India women’s England tour cancellation ‘not a case of neglect’ – Shanta Rangaswamy



The BCCI’s decision to pull the women’s national team out their England tour was “not a case of neglect”, former India captain and Apex Council member Shanta Rangaswamy said on Monday, arguing that there hadn’t been enough time to make arrangements. Rangaswamy said the situation was not in the BCCI’s control and that “even nature” – in the form of the Covid-19 pandemic – was conspiring against women’s cricket.

“It is not a case of neglect. You need at least six weeks to be match fit and with the Covid-19 affecting most part of the country, is it possible to organise a training camp right away? Then you would also have 14-day quarantine in England,” she told PTI.

India were scheduled to tour England for a bilateral limited-overs series in July-August this year. That couldn’t happen because of the pandemic, but the ECB had suggested tweaking it into a tri-series, also involving South Africa, tentatively in September. But it was cancelled after the BCCI opted to pull out.

ALSO READ: No cricket, no selectors, no plans – what next for India women?

Though the Indian board didn’t say anything officially, as reported by ESPNcricinfo, the withdrawal was primarily because of the worsening Covid-19 situation in India. The ECB, however, is understood to have been prepared to cover costs for India’s accommodation and travel, including a charter flight if required, as the English board has done for the West Indies and Pakistan men’s teams currently touring the UK.

“There was just not enough time to make it happen. Covid-19 has hurt world cricket, more so women’s cricket,” Rangaswamy said. “We have gone back a couple of years after a record attendance for the T20 World Cup final at MCG in March. It is sad and an anti-climax.”

It is unclear if concerns over players getting adequate pre-tour training played a part in the cancellation. The BCCI is expected to organise a biosecure training camp in Ahmedabad for the men’s team ahead of their tour of Australia in December, according to an Indian Express report. With a women’s ODI World Cup scheduled in New Zealand in February-March, questions arise around whether the board has let go a chance for its women – especially ODI stalwarts Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami, who haven’t played international cricket since early November last year – to get some much-needed game time under their belts.

“People doubting BCCI’s intentions will have to wait for things to be normal before passing their judgement. The situation was not in their control on this occasion. The late announcement on the men’s T20 World Cup postponement has also given the BCCI little time to prepare for the IPL”

Shanta Rangaswamy

Then there is the Women’s T20 Challenge, usually played alongside the IPL. The rescheduled IPL this year is clashing with the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia, where at least three Indian players are expected to participate.

“It looks like even nature is conspiring against women’s cricket,” Rangaswamy said. “Last year, a third team was added to the IPL Women’s Challenge, this year it was supposed to be four. Now the shift of venue. More importantly, it is clashing with the Women’s Big Bash, which was already scheduled. Let’s see what the IPL Governing Council decides.

“Going to England was more important than the IPL exhibition games. England tour would have been ideal preparation for the World Cup.”

With no selectors in place and no tours lined-up, women’s cricket in India is facing uncertainty after the gains over the last three years, which included runners-up finishes at the 50-over World Cup in 2017 and then at the T20 World Cup earlier this year. Rangaswamy, however, wanted to give the BCCI the benefit of the doubt on the matter.

“The post-Covid-19 scenario will be a testimony to their [BCCI’s] commitment on women’s cricket,” she said. “People doubting BCCI’s intentions will have to wait for things to be normal before passing their judgement. The situation was not in their control on this occasion. The late announcement on the men’s T20 World Cup postponement has also given the BCCI little time to prepare for the IPL.”

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TV umpire to call front-foot no-balls in England-Pakistan Test series



Front-foot no-balls will be called by the TV umpire for the first time in Test cricket during the England-Pakistan series which begins on Wednesday as the system is assessed with a view to further use in the future.

ESPNcricinfo understands since the technology has been used successfully in the ICC events, including the World Cup Super League recently, and all the necessary equipment is already in the UK, both England and Pakistan were keen to use it. It is understood that the ICC would forward the results of the trial to the chief executive committee to determine whether it can be used consistently in the future World Test Championship series.

Of late, there has been increasing scrutiny over the volume of no-balls not called by the on-field umpires in Test cricket. Under this system, all calling of front-foot no-balls is left to the TV umpire who then alerts the on-field officials of any overstepping within a matter of seconds.

In a tweet, the ICC said: “Front foot no ball technology to be used in ICC World Test Championship series featuring England and Pakistan, with the support of both teams. Performance of the technology in these Tests will be reviewed before any decisions taken on its future use in Test cricket.”

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Recent Match Report – Northamptonshire vs Warwickshire Central Group 2020



Northamptonshire 142 (Stone 4-39) and 507 for 6 declared (Rossington 135*, Proctor 112* Thurston 96, Curran 58) drew with Warwickshire 369 for 8 (Bresnan 105, Yates 88)

Northamptonshire secured a Bob Willis Trophy draw that felt like a win after seventh-wicket pair Adam Rossington and Luke Procter batted through the final day to crush the life out of Warwickshire’s victory bid at Edgbaston.

Northamptonshire seemed to be hurling to defeat when, just after lunch on the third day, trailing by 227 on first innings, they hit 148 for 5 in their second. But from that point onwards they showed enormous resilience and resolve to bat their way to safety on a flattening pitch.

The great escape was led by Rossington who dug in to deliver the archetypal captain’s innings – 135 from 399 balls with 17 fours. After adding 159 with Charlie Thurston on the third day, on the fourth, the skipper added an unbroken 200 in 83 overs with Procter, who reached 112 not out, to steer his side to 507 for 6, their record total against Warwickshire.

The superb rearguard action left a young Northamptonshire side proud and delighted, but there were the opposite feelings in the home dressing-room. After completely dominating the first two days, Warwickshire let victory slip through their fingers, literally with several dropped catches, while the bowling attack failed to deal with the loss of spearhead Olly Stone.

The absence of Stone, who was off the field having a side injury assessed, was a big blow but did not excuse the lack of potency and control from too many other members of the attack.

Northamptonshire still had plenty to do to reach safety in the match when they resumed on the final morning on 317 for 6, but Procter set down an immediate marker for the day with successive fours off Tim Bresnan.

On a pitch which offered the seamers less and less assistance as the match lengthened, very few balls did not locate the middle of the bat. Rossington reached his seventh first-class century from 227 balls with his 14th four, punched straight off Ryan Sidebottom before, in the next over, Procter posted his 50 from 91 balls with eight fours.

The pair added 98 in the morning, then in the afternoon Rossington dropped anchor deeper than ever. The captain scored just 15 runs in the session, settling for largely strokeless resistance and challenging the home side to find the potency to dislodge him, which they failed to do.

Procter completed his fourth first-class century with his 17th boundary, cut off Rob Yates, in the first over after tea. That Yates, having never before purveyed his off-spin in first-class cricket, was into his 14th over said everything about Warwickshire’s bowling performance. They will hope to welcome Liam Norwell and Henry Brookes back into the attack for the match away to Gloucestershire starting next Saturday.

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Recent Match Report – Gloucestershire vs Worcestershire Central Group 2020



Worcestershire 428 for 5 (D’Oliveira 91, Mitchell 80, Libby 77) and 113 for 2 beat Gloucestershire 267 and 270 (Hankins 69, Dent 67, Leach 4-70) by eight wickets

Joe Leach took four wickets in a devastating five-over spell to propel Worcestershire to an ultimately comfortable eight-wicket victory over neighbours Gloucestershire in the Bob Willis Trophy Central Group.

Afforded hope by George Hankins‘ battling innings of 69, Gloucestershire were 73 runs ahead with four second-innings wickets in hand when Worcestershire’s captain took the second new ball.

Sensing one final opportunity to force the issue, Leach took matters into his own hands, single-handedly eradicating the tail and finishing with figures of 4 for 70 as the home side were dismissed for 270.

Set 110 to win in 35 overs, Worcestershire reached their target with 8.5 overs to spare, Tom Fell and Jack Haynes staging an unbroken stand of 53 for the third wicket after Daryl Mitchell and Jake Libby had given the chase a sound start.

Commencing the final day on 135 for 3, still 26 runs behind, Gloucestershire were indebted to Hankins, whose patient four-hour vigil occupied 195 balls, yielded 69 runs and served to frustrate Worcestershire’s ambition. Together with nightwatchman Josh Shaw, who traded almost exclusively in boundaries in making 21, Hankins first helped Gloucestershire eradicate their overnight arrears.

No sooner were the hosts back in credit though, than Shaw succumbed, trapped lbw by Josh Tongue. Undeterred, Hankins continued to apply himself to the business of steady accumulation, going to 50 via 147 balls, his innings a perfect template for what was required in the circumstances.

No doubt encouraged by memories of Gloucestershire’s first-innings collapse, Leach continued to ring the changes, and his imaginative decision to call upon occasional bowler Daryl MItchell paid instant dividends when Ryan Higgins played at and missed a straight ball that rapped him on the back pad.

Worcestershire certainly fancied their chances when removing the hitherto adhesive Hankins shortly after lunch, Tongue cleverly setting him up and then pinning him lbw in his crease for 69. With him went Gloucestershire’s best chance of staving off defeat.

Leach took the new ball soon afterwards and quickly accounted for the unfortunate Gareth Roderick, who offered no shot to a ball which appeared to be going high. Set to join the Worcestershire staff next season, Roderick beat a diplomatic retreat having contributed a modest 9.

When debutant Tom Price departed in identical fashion, pinned in his crease by Leach, Gloucestershire were 236 for 8 – just 75 in front – and deep in trouble. Worse followed, Jack Taylor offering a catch behind on 23 as the irrepressible Leach made it three wickets in as many overs. Matt Taylor and David Payne hit out in a breezy last-wicket partnership of 31 to hold up the visitors, but their resistance was summarily ended when Leach uprooted the latter’s off stump.

If Leach’s new-ball heroics caught the eye, it was fellow seamers Tongue and Charlie Morris who laid the foundations for victory, these two taking six wickets apiece in the match.

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