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Mashrafe Mortaza bowled in the nets for the first time since recovering from a hamstring injury, with one eye on returning to competitive cricket. Although he is not part of any of the Bangabandhu T20 squads, it was mentioned during the players’ draft that he can join any of the squads after recovering from the injury.

Mortaza, whose last competitive appearance was during the Dhaka Premier League in March, has had a rough time since the pandemic began, having tested positive for Covid-19 in June. Members of his family also contracted the virus in the past few months, and he hurt his hamstring while training last month.

Tushar Kanti Howlader, the BCB trainer, said that Mortaza bowled four overs in the nets after completing his fitness work on Tuesday.

“I am helping him with his return to training,” Howlader said. “He had been doing some work after recovering from Covid, so now he wants to get into a better position, fitness-wise. He is just bowling now. We cannot talk about match fitness just yet. He can be fit if he continues to train in this way. He doesn’t have to work on technique, it’s only his fitness that is the main concern.”

Howlader said that Mortaza also lost a lot of weight which could pave the way for a comeback in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup, in which eight matches have been played and another 12 league games remain before the playoffs begin on December 14. So far Gazi Group Chattogram have lost Mominul Haque to injury, but any of the five participating teams would love to take Mortaza in their squad.

“He has bowled four overs with full run up. I think he is around 84kg, after losing ten kilos,” Howlader said. “He will reduce more, I am sure. I think the match fitness is also up to him. He is Mashrafe, quite different, and he can do a lot of things. It is up to him, if he wants to play. He has to bowl four overs in the middle, so if he can manage it, then he will have match fitness.”

Mortaza, who resigned from ODI captaincy earlier this year with a 3-0 win over Zimbabwe, could still become available for the ODI series during West Indies’ scheduled tour of Bangladesh next month.



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Cricket

Men’s Hundred – Eoin Morgan

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Middle order failing to fire, absence of three members of Test squad, Maxwell’s relatively late withdrawal hurt winless London Spirit

Few pundits backed London Spirit for the title in the inaugural season of the men’s Hundred but nobody whose memory stretched as far back as 2008 was willing to write them off. Playing in blue from head to toe, with Shane Warne as head coach and an unfancied squad? There were enough parallels with the Rajasthan Royals side that won the first-ever IPL to suggest they might just pull something improbable out the bag.

But five games into their first season, the Spirit have been the Hundred’s weakest side. They are the only side in the men’s competition yet to win a game, and were thrashed in their fourth and final home fixture (one was a washout) by Northern Superchargers on Tuesday night. The table is still tight enough that they are mathematically in the running, but any realistic chances of qualifying for knockout stages have dissipated.

Their first three defeats were all tight, with each game going down to the final set of five balls. At Edgbaston, they were just short of par in setting Birmingham Phoenix 145 to win, and in the home losses against Trent Rockets and Southern Brave, they were two boundaries away from getting across the line.



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Bangladesh vs Australia T20Is, 2021

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The 1994 tour to Pakistan was the last time a full series was not available to viewers in Australia

For the first time since 1994 a tour by the Australia men’s team will not broadcast into Australia after a last-minute deal failed to materialise for the rights to the T20I series in Bangladesh.

It had been hoped that in the absence of a traditional television deal the series would be streamed on YouTube but there was no live coverage into Australia.

Australia’s injured captain Aaron Finch, who is currently in hotel quarantine in Melbourne having left the tour with a knee injury, was among those caught out by the lack of coverage during the first T20I.

While the occasional one-off limited-overs match has not been seen in Australia over the last few years, it is not since the 1994 tour of Pakistan that an entire series won’t have been shown.



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IPL 2021 – Eoin Morgan to return to Kolkata Knight Riders for second half of IPL

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He says involvement of other England players in the tournament, scheduled in September-October in the UAE, was a matter of personal choice

Eoin Morgan has confirmed he will return to Kolkata Knight Riders for the rescheduled second half of the IPL in the UAE in September-October following the postponement of England’s limited-overs tour to Bangladesh.

England were due to play three ODIs and three T20Is in Bangladesh in September-October but the ECB and the BCB released statements on Tuesday morning confirming that they had “mutually decided” to postpone the tour until March 2023. The IPL is due to resume on September 19 after its postponement midway through the season earlier this year, with the tour’s postponement opening up the opportunity for England’s white-ball players to take part ahead of the T20 World Cup in the UAE.



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