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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



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Cricket

Newlands ball-tampering scandal – Cameron Bancroft contacted by Cricket Australia integrity unit

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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

Cricket Australia’s integrity unit has contacted Cameron Bancroft to ask whether he has anything to add to his recent comments suggesting wider knowledge of the 2018 Newlands ball-tampering plot.

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.



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More New Zealanders watching cricket than ever before

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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.”



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Marnus Labuschagne to miss white-ball tour of the West Indies

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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.



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