Both sides will likely need a bonus point victory to qualify for the final against New South Wales
Western Australia have been able to stack their one-day side with Australia players for their final Marsh Cup group match against Tasmania at the WACA with both sides chasing a bonus-point victory to qualify for the final against New South Wales.
D’Arcy Short, Ashton Turner and Jason Behrendorff have been included along with Josh Philippe, Mitchell Marsh and Ashton Agar who were part of the recent Sheffield Shield squad. All six were in the Australia squad that toured New Zealand and had to undergo two weeks quarantine when they returned.
If Behrendorff, the left-arm quick, makes the starting XI it will be his first appearance for Western Australia since October 2018.
However, the home side will be without Shaun Marsh who is unavailable for personal reasons. Fast bowlers Matt Kelly and Joel Paris both picked up injuries in the Shield match against Tasmania.
Tasmania have also been boosted by the availability of Ben McDermott who has recovered from a hamstring injury but are without three first-choice quicks: Riley Meredith (IPL), Nathan Ellis (injury) and Peter Siddle (border restrictions).
A bonus-point victory for either side would see them leapfrog Queensland into second place and leave them ruing the fact they missed a double bonus point by one run against South Australia late last month which was followed by a heavy defeat against New South Wales.
The final will take place at Bankstown Oval in Sydney on April 11.
Western Australia squad Mitch Marsh (capt), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Hilton Cartwright, Cameron Green, Liam Guthrie, Josh Inglis, David Moody, Lance Morris, Josh Philippe, D’Arcy Short, Ashton Turner, Sam Whiteman
Tasmania squad Matthew Wade (capt), Tom Andrews, Jackson Bird, Jake Doran, Jarrod Freeman, Caleb Jewell, Ben McDermott, Mitch Owen, Tim Paine, Alex Pyecroft, Sam Rainbird, Tom Rogers, Jordan Silk, Beau Webster
Newlands ball-tampering scandal – Cameron Bancroft contacted by Cricket Australia integrity unit
The problem CA has is they have tried to sweep it under the carpet and not come out with the full story, says Michael Clarke
Ben Oliver, Cricket Australia’s head of national teams, confirmed on Monday that the integrity unit, which is currently headed by Rebecca Murray, had reached out to Bancroft to see if he was willing to speak further about the affair that led to him being banned for nine months, while Steven Smith and David Warner were both suspended for a year.
“There was obviously a thorough investigation into that, to that incident,” Oliver said. “There were actions taken on the back of that and then since that time, everyone who’s been involved in the team has worked incredibly hard to rebuild confidence and to ultimately sort of aspire to make Australians proud of the Australian cricket team. So from that point of view that processes have taken place.
“I think we’ve maintained all the way through that if, if anyone had any new information relating to that incident that we’ve encouraged people to come forward and discuss that with our integrity unit. In this particular case, our integrity team have reached out to Cam again extending that invitation to him if he does have any, any new information. We’ll wait to see his response on that, we haven’t had had a response. But in saying that we’re operating on different time zones.”
Earlier on Monday, Michael Clarke had spoken plainly about the unresolved elements of the episode. “If you’d played the game of cricket, you would know more than three people know what was going on in there,” Clarke told Sky Sports Radio. “The problem Cricket Australia has is the fact they’ve tried to sweep it under the carpet and not come out and tell the full story.
“They go and do that Netflix or whatever it was [Amazon] and show all that, come inside the change room and let’s talk about what happened after Sandpapergate, but the public want to go ‘hang on a second, take me through the few months before Sandpapergate, what led up to that, what happened in South Africa, there’s a TV show for you Netflix, give us that information. It will continue because it hasn’t been finished, so much is left unsaid from the players and even what happened with staff.
“They [CA] did not want to go any deeper than that superficial example of ball-tampering. They did not investigate to see whether it was systemic had it been going on and on and on. Around the cricketing globe it was widely accepted a lot of teams were doing it.”
“You don’t have to have played cricket at the highest level. If you know anything about the game of cricket, you know on that day, on that field, what went down, more than three people had to know about it. Impossible not to… that’s why there’s going to be finger-pointing until, I think until someone writes their book and tells the complete, honest truth. I don’t think Cameron Bancroft should be smashed for what he’s come out and said, he’s tried to say nothing but he’s doing an interview.”
Adam Gilchrist had also stated that he felt the issue was not resolved properly because it had not been fully investigated, particularly in terms of global “ball management” in the period leading up to Newlands.
“There was an opportunity for CA if they were going to make such a strong statement they needed to do a more thorough investigation to work out where the root of the problem was,” Gilchrist said on SEN Radio. “Anyone would be naïve to think people were not aware with what was going on about ball maintenance. I don’t think Cricket Australia wanted to go there. They did not want to go any deeper than that superficial example of ball-tampering.
“They did not investigate to see whether it was systemic had it been going on and on and on. Around the cricketing globe it was widely accepted a lot of teams were doing it. You haven’t seen any reverse swing since that incident as a general statement across world cricket. Very minimal reverse swing. The positive that has come out with that punishment is it seems to have been eradicated from the game because it was getting out of control around the entire cricket world, not just the Australian cricket team.”
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
More New Zealanders watching cricket than ever before
More people watched women’s cricket than ever before and more cricket was viewed “on the go” during the home summer
More New Zealanders watched cricket than ever before during the first season of New Zealand Cricket’s six-year deal with Spark Sport and TVNZ. As per the findings, more people watched women’s cricket than ever before, more young people watched cricket and more cricket was viewed by fans “on the go” – via a range of mobile devices.
In a press release, NZC said that this was made possible because of the combination of free-to-air and digital subscription, a “ground-breaking arrangement which is taking cricket to not only more Kiwis, but demographics of New Zealanders previously lost to the game”.
The six matches screened live on TVNZ 1 reached 1.86 million viewers, while almost 240,000 Spark Sport viewers watched cricket during the summer. The most viewed T20I during the Australia series attracted 1.24 million viewers. The final ODI between New Zealand Women and Australia Women in Brisbane was viewed by 840,300 fans.
Without going into the numbers, the release said Test matches were also proving to be just as popular as T20Is. The most popular Test was the second one against Pakistan in Christchurch, which New Zealand won by an innings and 176 runs to wrap up the series 2-0. There was also an increase in viewership of both the men’s and women’s Super Smash, New Zealand’s domestic T20 competition.
NZC CEO David White said the results exceeded expectations and he was confident the reach will continue to grow.
“We’re hugely encouraged,” he said. “The production was professional; the look and feel was fresh and appealing – it was everything we were hoping for.
“On top of the increase in viewership, our latest census is also indicating a significant increase in the number of New Zealanders playing cricket – including a 12% increase in the number of female participants, and a nine percent increase in the number of males.
“We’ve also had excellent crowd attendances across the season, and we were well on track for sold-out crowds throughout the Australian men’s tour before COVID took its toll.”
Head of Spark Sport, Jeff Latch, said that getting younger audience on the board via streaming services was the game-changer. “To see these numbers in the first months of our six-year partnership is really encouraging, particularly when you consider sports streaming is still new to many New Zealanders and a sports streaming business like ours takes time to grow,” he said.
“It shows that New Zealand households are embracing streaming, which is consistent with the global experience, in which it is now the norm. We’ve unlocked a new younger audience with streaming given that close to half (47%) of our customer base is aged under 34 years old but are still catering to the traditional fan through TVNZ.”
Marnus Labuschagne to miss white-ball tour of the West Indies
Australian batter “deeply upset to miss out due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control,” says Trevor Hohns
Marnus Labuschagne is missing from the Australia limited-overs squad for a tour of the West Indies starting next month, after it was decided he would play out his current county stint with Glamorgan instead.
A vast preliminary squad for the tour – which may still theoretically be followed by a trip to Bangladesh for more white-ball matches – includes the likes of Matthew Wade, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Swepson, all of whom missed out on Cricket Australia contracts in the annual list.
“Anyone who knows Marnus understands he would give absolutely anything to play for Australia and he is deeply upset to miss out due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control,” selection chairman Trevor Hohns said. “We worked through numerous options in conversations with Marnus to find a workable solution but ultimately came to the conclusion it was more practical for him to remain in the UK.
“Had we not been in the middle of a global pandemic, Marnus would be on this tour as a well-established member and important part of the one-day side. It’s an unfortunate circumstance of the many challenges the world is facing right now. As it stands, Marnus has the opportunity to continue in county cricket and T20 games with Glamorgan as we head into the World Cup and home summer.”
Daniel Sams, who was part of Australia’s squad for the recent limited-overs tour of New Zealand but then endured an unhappy time during the IPL where he tested positive for Covid-19 before the tournament, which was then cut short by India’s spate of outbreaks, asked not to be considered for the trip because of personal and mental health reasons.
Ben Oliver, the head of national teams, said that while discussions about the Bangladesh phase of the tour were continuing, the squad had been cleared to receive vaccinations before their departure in line with those being afforded to Australia’s Olympic team scheduled to compete in Tokyo later this year.
“It was great to see our Olympians receiving their vaccination shots ahead of the Tokyo Games and we are working through logistics for the Australian men’s team with the relevant agencies.” Oliver said. “We will comply with all government directives in relation to vaccinations and international travel.
“The Australian men’s team has completed successful tours of England and New Zealand during the pandemic, including the accompanying quarantine periods, and we are hopeful of being able to travel to Bangladesh at the completion of the West Indies tour. Those discussions are progressing well and updates will be provided in due course.”
Australia are scheduled to play five T20Is in St Lucia and three ODIs in Barbados between July 9 and July 24, their tour sandwiched between tours of the Caribbean by South Africa and Pakistan.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
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