Victoria's second Sheffield Shield match after the Big Bash League break has been identified as a possible return date for James Pattinson as the injury-prone paceman looks to mount a case for inclusion in the touring party for this year's Ashes series.Pattinson, 28, has an excellent Test record with 70 wickets at 26.15, as well as a more than handy batting average of 27.66, however hasn't played a Test since early 2016 due to injury.He played four of the Vics' six Shield matches before Christmas, performing solidly with nine wickets at 33.11 on a limited workload,
and had been hopeful of building form and bowling loads in the back half of the campaign with the English Duke ball, which is used in post-Christmas Shield action.But Pattinson was dealt a setback when a side strain ruled him out of much of the BBL campaign, where he had been playing with Brisbane Heat.Pattinson bowled 10 overs in Premier Cricket for Dandenong on the weekend but has been ruled out of Victoria's Shield match against Queensland, which begins at Junction Oval on Saturday. He is instead set to play for Victoria in a Futures League match against Queensland which begins in Brisbane next Monday.Should he get through that game, he is likely to be strongly considered for the Shield game against Tasmania at Junction Oval, which begins on March 5.Former Australian coach Darren Lehmann has strongly endorsed Pattinson for the Ashes tour.
A Big Bash League homecoming for Fawad Ahmed is not out of the question with the veteran leg-spinner yet to re-sign with Sydney Thunder and on the radar of the Melbourne Renegades.Having revelled in their unlikely BBL triumph into the wee hours of Monday morning, the Renegades were set to this week turn their attention to ensuring their list is primed for another title assault.Having recently retired from first-class cricket as he chases a spot in Australia’s World Cup
squad, veteran Ahmed has emerged as one of the best available players without a contract for next BBL season.Ahmed, 37, remains a white-ball force, taking 13 wickets at 25.38 for Thunder this season with an economy rate of 7.02.The Thunder are keen to keep the one-time refugee and have offered him a contract for 2019-20.However Ahmed has so far opted not to recommit.It’s understood the leggie has attracted interest from the Renegades, who he left to join the Thunder four years ago.The Renegades were tight-lipped about Ahmed on Monday as they prepared to review their list situation later in the week.
There’s no doubting Marcus Stoinis was the Stars’ MVP for the season and he was mighty important with both bat and ball. He took control at the top of the order for the Stars, some games playing a lone hand as the Stars
made it all the way to the BBL final. Opening the batting, he showed patience to knock the ball around and put the bad balls over the fence when required. Mostly used outside of the powerplay, Stoinis’ change of pace bowling was crucial in the later overs as the Stars were able to restrict teams under pressure.
533 runs at 53.30, strike rate 130.63. High score of 81
The 22-year-old from Tasmania earned praise from high places during the tournament for his blistering pace. Meredith was one of the fastest bowlers to feature in the BBL, regularly bowling around 145km/h and occasionally tipping 150 km/h.That pace raised the eyebrows of cricket legend Shane Warne, who wants to see the right-armer in
Australia’s 15-man World Cup squad. Former Australia speed demons Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson also took notice, both praising his pace on social media during the tournament.The Hobart Hurricanes quick ended the season with 16 wickets at 26.37. His campaign was highlighted by his 4-21 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against finalists the Melbourne Stars.
Brisbane Heat can rest easy despite Brendon McCullum’s departure, because Max Bryant promises to step up the plate
Brisbane Heat can rest easy despite Brendon McCullum’s departure, because his ‘baby Bash Brother’ Bryant promises to step up the plate. In fact, the 19-year-old already has after smashing 335 runs at 27.91 from the top of the order.Like Philippe, the right-hander set the tournament alight
with some swashbuckling displays, ending the tournament with a strike rate of 150.22 - the second-highest from the top 50 scorers. He was also largely responsible for one of the most remarkable chases in BBL history. He scored 71 runs off 30 balls alongside Ben Cutting to chase down Melbourne Stars’ 156 in just ten overs.
The 21-year-old proved to be a major coup for the Sydney Sixers, who brought him east from the Perth Scorchers at the start of the season. He was handed a place at the top of the order and played a pivotal role in taking the franchise to the semi finals.Philippe made 304 runs at 30.40 for the season, which included a high score of 86 not out.
The Western Australian right-hander was positive throughout, ending the tournament with a strike rate of 158.33 - higher than any of the top 50 scorers in the competition. He also equal topscored for his side in the semi final against the Melbourne Renegades, scoring 52 off 31 balls.Another string to Philippe’s bow is his ability with the gloves. He kept wicket for the Sixers and took the most dismissals in the tournament with nine catches and three stumpings.Philippe’s sizzling form has even prompted calls from analysts for him to be considered for Australia’s World Cup squad.
Former captain Michael Clarke says Australia need Steve Smith and David Warner back in the line-up as soon as possible, however stresses their return alone will not fix the problems that have left the side languishing at fourth and sixth in the world in Test and one-day cricket. Smith and Warner will be eligible for national selection from March 29 following 12-month bans from Cricket Australia, while Cameron Bancroft has been free to play since the start of the year.Given
the events of Cape Town, Clarke waits with bated breath to see how the three men function within the same team again but says the side needs them back.“It’s going to be really interesting to see how the three of them go when they are back in the same team together,” Clarke told Fox Sports News. “How is the relationship between Warner and Smith or Bancroft and Warner?“But for Australian cricket there’s absolutely no doubt we need them back. They deserve to come back because they’ve done their crime, they’ve suffered their time.”And Clarke expects the trio to make an instant impact with the bat when they are back in the XI.
What they said
"It's important that as a side we are aware of the good bits we have done and put that into practice every time we come out to bat" - Kane Williamson reflects on New Zealand's batting in the second T20I.
"It's important to understand the mistakes that we made - it's been a long tour for everyone" - Rohit Sharma praises his side after India bounced back from a 80-run mauling.
“The senior players will play a massive role at the World Cup. In big tournaments, you need guys who have been there and done it. I hope Hafeez and Malik have exceptional World Cups because if they do, we’ll be getting enough runs to put pressure on the opposition,” Arthur was quoted as saying by Pak Passion. Malik and Hafeez have played 487 ODIs between them scoring over 13,800 runs and 20 hundreds and 79 fifties.Pakistan will open
their WC campaign by taking on two-time champions Windies in Bristol on May 31. In the 1992 edition that the side had won under the captaincy of Imran Khan, too, Pakistan had kicked off their campaign against the Caribbeans and were thrashed by 10 wickets.The South African also said that Pakistan’s bowling attack has to get back to where it was during the Champions Trophy 2017. “I’m still of the opinion that our bowling attack won us the Champions Trophy and we have to get that up to the mark again. Our batters will complement the bowling attack,” he said.
Yuvraj confident about Shubman’s success - Shubman, who also hails from Punjab and plays alongside Yuvraj Singh in the first-class tournament like Ranji Trophy, recently made his international debut against New Zealand and his senior partner was ecstatic about it. Though Shubman could not do much in the two ODIs he has played so far, scoring just nine
and seven runs in seamer-friendly conditions, Yuvraj was convinced that the 19-year-old is going to attain greater heights in days to come.“I am extremely happy for him. I was excited to see him (Shubman) play for India. It is amazing, how he has improved so much. He came back from the (India) A tour, scored a lot of runs in domestic cricket, straightaway got an opportunity (to play for India),” Yuvraj was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
Khaleel Ahmed was asked a plethora of questions but among them came a tricky one which left the youngster blinded like a rabbit caught in powerful headlights. One reporter asked the bowler whether the team was missing Virat Kohli who has gone a break after playing the first three ODIs against the Kiwis. Khaleel did not answer and rather burst into laughter and hid his face before recovering and saying, “Don’t ask… Next question please.”A smart
question that had to be negotiated carefully, for sure. Khaleel also spoke about the challenges that the fast bowlers faced in New Zealand even though India have won five of the seven matches they have played so far. “One difficulty that we face in New Zealand while bowling is running into the wind which is a rarity elsewhere. But then these are little things that you learn and it’s a great experience.”The third and deciding T20I will be played in Hamilton on Sunday. The venue is bowling-friendly where the Men in Blue were bowled out for a paltry 92 in the fourth ODI last month.
It goes without saying that Jasprit Bumrah is one of the most dependable bowlers India currently have in all three formats of the sport. He made his debut a couple of years ago after he impressed for Mumbai Indians (MI) in the Indian Premier League (IPL). He forayed into Test cricket last year against South Africa and has already cobbled together some stupendous performance.The Ahmedabad-born was outstanding in the four-match Test series against Australia that the visiting won 2-1. The right-arm pacer mixed his pace cleverly and also used the short ball to good effect. Subsequently, the lanky speedster
turned out to be a tough nut to crack for the Aussies. He is currently on a break and is not a part of the limited-overs series against New Zealand.Like every other youngster, even Bumrah has his idol and its none other than Glenn McGrath, the legendary Australian fast bowler, who is celebrating his 49th birthday today. Bumrah didn’t miss out on the chance of wishing the Aussie great on the auspicious occasion. He took to Twitter and posted a picture where he can be seen interacting with the veteran bowler.Moreover, he hailed the Pigeon, as McGrath is popularly known, and wrote, “Wishing you a great Happy birthday and a wonderful year ahead. @glennmcgrath11 You’ve always been an inspiration. Keep inspiring! Cheers,”
India Women squad for the ODI series: Mithali Raj (Captain), Jhulan Goswami, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia (wicket-keeper), R Kalpana (wicket-keeper), Mona Meshram, Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Shikha Pandey, Mansi Joshi, Punam Raut.
Board President’s XI squad: Smriti Mandhana (Captain), Veda Krishnamurthy, Devika Vaidya, S Meghana, Bharati Fulmali, Komal Zanzad, R Kalpana, Priya Punia, Harleen Deol, Reemalaxmi Ekka, Manali Dakshini, Minnu Mani, Tanuja Kanwar.
Backing for Dhoni from former cricketers - Not just Yuvraj, but many other major cricketers have spoken in Dhoni’s favour. We all know what went down between Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni that also involved the former’s father, Yograj Singh. But keeping everything aside, the
batsman, famous for his six sixes in 2007 WT20, acknowledged the value of MS.Besides Yuvraj, even Gautam Gambhir, in the commentary box during the ongoing tour of New Zealand, spoke about how Dhoni should bat at No.4. Former Indian legend, Sunil Gavaskar has also backed Dhoni due to his enormous grasp of match situations which makes him invaluable.
After the conclusion of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), the Bangladesh players would now be focusing on their upcoming tour of New Zealand. Their journey starts with a three ODIs, starting Wednesday, February 13 at the McLean Park in Napier. The limited-overs series will be followed by a three-match Test series, which is scheduled to be played
from Thursday, February 28.In the meantime, the Tigers have been dealt with a body blow as their premier all-rounder in Shakib Al Hasan has been ruled out of the ODI series owing to an injury that he sustained on his left ring finger. He was hit by Thisara Perera during the BPL’s final yesterday where he was representing Dhaka Dynamites in their match against Comilla Victorians at the Sher-E-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka.