Australia to not use Dukes ball in first-class cricket from 2020-21 season

News Network
July 2,2020

Jul 2: Cricket Australia has decided to not use the Dukes ball from this summer's Sheffield Shield, having used it alongside Kookaburra for four seasons.

CA has confirmed that the Kookaburra ball will be used for the entire 2020-21 first-class season.

Australia has been using Dukes ball since the 2016-17 season in Shield matches with an aim to help its cricketers prepare for the hostile English conditions.

CA's Head of Cricket Operations, Peter Roach, said the decision to axe the Dukes was the right call. "The introduction of the Dukes ball has been a worthwhile exercise, particularly in the lead up to overseas Ashes series where the Dukes is used so well by our English opponents," Roach said.

"We have been happy with how the ball has performed when used in Australian conditions over the past four seasons. We do, however, feel that reverting to one ball for 2020-21 will provide the consistent examination of our players over a full season that CA and the states are presently seeking. The Kookaburra is the ball used for international cricket in Australia and many parts of the world and we see benefits this season of maximising our use of it," he added.

Roach said the ineffectiveness of spinners in first-class cricket in recent times played a role in CA's decision to do away with the Dukes. "We have noted that spin bowlers in the Sheffield Shield have been playing less of a role in recent seasons, most notably in games when the Dukes ball is in use. We need spinners bowling in first-class cricket and we need our batters facing spin. We hope that the change to one ball will have a positive benefit here," he said.

The CA official, however, didn't rule out the possibility of re-introducing it later.

"We see a definite opportunity to reintroduce the Dukes ball at some stage in the future."

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I see Ben Stokes becoming one of England's greatest cricketers, says Dominic Cork

July 19,2020

Manchester, Jul 19: Former England pacer Dominic Cork reckons star all-rounder Ben Stokes will go on to become one of his country's greatest cricketers ever.

Stokes, the hero of England's World Cup triumph last year, sparkled with a fine 176 and powered his side to a strong first-inning total of 469/9 declared in the ongoing second Test against the West Indies here.

"I genuinely think he can get better because of his work ethic. He wants to bat, he wants to bowl, he wants to work on his game, wants to get better," Cork said on Sky Sports show The Cricket Debate.

"I know he works a hell of a lot on his bowling as well. I just see this man not becoming only the best in the world but one of the best we have had ever. That's how highly I rate him."

The former seamer thought things changed for better for the World Cup hero after the Bristol bar brawl three years ago.

Last year, Stokes himself had said that the unsavoury incident and the ensuing chain of events, which dogged his career for 15 months, may be the best thing that could have happened to him.

Following the incident in September 2017, Stokes was acquitted of affray by a Bristol court in August 2018, before the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) ended his 15-month exile after a hearing in December 2018.

Former England batsman Ravi Bopara also spoke about the remarkable change in Stokes' approach.

"I think there has definitely been a change with Ben. He has made his mistakes and learnt from them. He looks a formidable cricketer," he said.

"He is a fiery character and always has been - even if you are playing PlayStation in hotel rooms.

"But as he has had a more important role in the side as an all-rounder, making an impact with bat and ball, winning games for England, and since England have started looking at him as the main guy, his attitude has changed with it."

West Indies lead the three-match series 1-0 after their win in the opener at Southamton.

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IPL teams taking their own net bowlers to UAE

News Network
August 13,2020

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New Delhi, Aug 13: Indian Premier League (IPL) teams are planning to take their own practice bowlers to the United Arab Emirates as the bio-secure 'bubble' surrounding the Twenty20 tournament prevents them from using local cricketers, franchise officials told Reuters.

The IPL was scheduled to begin in late March but was indefinitely postponed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak before being switched to the UAE earlier this month.

Strict bio-security measures are being put in place for the 53-day tournament, which begins on Sept. 19, and the IPL's eight teams will have to arrange their own net bowlers while maintaining the league's health protocols.

"We're planning to take around eight-10 net bowlers," Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Chief Executive Kasi Viswanathan said by telephone.

"We have a list of players from Tamil Nadu to pick from and most of them will be first class cricketers."

CSK would hold a training camp in Chennai from Sunday before flying to UAE on Aug. 21, he added.

Kings XI Punjab Chief Executive Satish Menon confirmed they too would fly with their own set of net bowlers.

"Around seven of them will join the players in Delhi and Bangalore before we leave on the 20th," he told Reuters.

Delhi Capitals said they were yet to finalise how many net bowlers they would take when the players fly out next week.

"We haven't made a decision on how many, but there will be net bowlers travelling with us," Chief Executive Dheeraj Malhotra told Reuters.

Kolkata and Rajasthan franchises will also follow suit, according to local media reports.

However, Rajasthan will have to fly without fielding coach Dishant Yagnik, who has tested positive for Covid-19. He must return five negative results -- two in India and three in the UAE -- before he can rejoin the side.

Punjab dismissed media reports that batsman Karun Nair had recently recovered after contracting Covid-19.

"He had some mild fever, that's all. Nothing to do with coronavirus. He's perfectly alright," franchise CEO Menon said.

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Sohail Khan credits Waqar Younis for teaching him to swing the ball 'late'

News Network
July 22,2020

Derbyshire, Jul 22: Ahead of the upcoming Test series against England, Pakistan pacer Sohail Khan has credited bowling coach Waqar Younis for teaching him how to swing the ball late.

On the third day of the practice match between Azhar Ali's Team Green and Babar Azam's Team White, the 36-year-old Khan returned figures of five for 50 in 20.1 overs which saw the former fold for 181 in the first innings before they staged a comeback on the final day to win the match by six wickets.

Prior to the practice match, Sohail had a conversation with bowling coach Waqar Younis on the art of late swing. The pacer shared how the presence of the bowling legend in the support staff helped him gear up for the four-day match.

"The conditions in England are swing conducive so every fast bowler gets the ball to move. I asked Waqar bhai to teach me how to swing the ball late. It took him only two minutes to explain it to me. It is because of his tips that I took five wickets in the first innings," Khan said in a release issued by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

"I am eager to learn from Waqar Bhai. I follow him wherever he goes and speak to him about the art of bowling as he has an abundance of knowledge to share. A few days back I was struggling with something while bowling, I thought of reaching out to him and even before I spoke to him about it, he said he knew what I wanted to talk to him about and he explained it to me in a minute," he added.

During Pakistan's tour of England in 2016, Sohail played a crucial role in helping Pakistan secure a 2-2 Test series draw by returning two five-wicket hauls in as many matches.

In total, he picked up 13 wickets at 25 apiece and finished as the third-best wicket-taker.

"Definitely, it is an honour for me to return to the side. I had taken two fifers here against England in 2016 and now in the practice match, I have started off with five wickets so I am feeling very good. We had been at our homes for the past four months due to coronavirus so starting off on a high feels nice," Khan said.

Prior to Sohail's five wickets, 17-year-old Naseem Shah made a big impact when he took five wickets for Team Green. The strength of Pakistan's pace attack was further established as Mohammad Abbas and Shaheen Shah Afridi picked up three wickets each providing valuable support to Naseem and Sohail respectively.
Naseem and Shaheen finished the match with six and four wickets respectively.

Shedding light on the youngsters' performances, Sohail said: "It gives me immense pleasure to see Naseem Shah. He bowls consistently at 150kph. Just like him, Shaheen Shah Afridi is another good bowler. I like both of them."

"It gave me great happiness to see Naseem pick five wickets in the first innings. He is in rhythm and is looking great. What is astonishing is that he is playing in these conditions for the first time but still he is doing so well. Shaheen has also been phenomenal," he added.

Pakistan and England are slated to play three Tests and as many T20Is against each other. The first Test will be played at Manchester from August 5.

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