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England cricket boss Giles targets World Cup and Ashes double

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England cricket boss Giles targets World Cup and Ashes double

England’s new director of cricket Ashley Giles said on Wednesday he believes a World Cup and Ashes double is possible for his side this year.

England is currently top of the global 50-over rankings and will head into a home World Cup that starts in May as one of the favourites to win a trophy they have never lifted.

After that tournament, they defend the Ashes in a five-Test series, also on home soil, against arch-rivals Australia.

It will be the first time the two events have taken place in the same country in the same year since the inaugural 1975 men’s World Cup in England.

Asked which he would rather win, Giles, most recently head of sport at Warwickshire — the county he represented during his career as an England left-arm spinner — told Sky Sports at Lord’s: “I’ll have both thanks.

“This year represents a great opportunity for us to do something really special but at the moment that’s all it is.

“The train is moving at a hell of a pace down the tracks for the World Cup but my role is to make sure we stay on track and there’s nothing there ahead of us that can derail us.

“We’ve probably never been in such a strong position to challenge for both,” he added, with England second only to India in the Test standings.

Giles is filling a vacancy left by the departure of Andrew Strauss. The former England captain stood down after his wife, Ruth, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that eventually led to her death in December.

“Obviously, the circumstances of the position becoming available are not great at all. I honestly feel for Straussy and the family,” said Giles.

“But the opportunity for me was great heading into a really exciting year.

“Straussy has done a lot of good work. He redressed that balance between white ball (limited-overs) and red-ball cricket, which I think was important and of late we’ve started to see the Test team flourish as well.”

Giles had an 18-month spell as England limited-overs coach that ended in a humiliating defeat by minnows the Netherlands at the 2014 World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

But he was always confident of a return to the England and Wales Cricket Board set-up.

“I think I actually said at the time, I’d come back and do this job, perhaps a bit flippantly,” Giles explained.

“I’ve always been driven to work at the highest level and test myself as much as I can. I’m fully aware of the pressure that can come but 2014 was a long time ago.”

One of Giles’s main tasks will be to find a replacement for current England coach Trevor Bayliss, with the Australian stepping down at the end of the 2019 season.

Giles said he remained open to the idea of having specialist Test and one-day coaches despite his own experience when he and Andy Flower split the jobs.

“The benefits of two coaches are clearly (sharing) the workload. The disadvantages are two different voices,” he explained.

“I think we always imagined when Andy and I took the roles on that we’d see two different squads developing. We are actually seeing those squads come together now.”

Giles said he was determined to clamp down on the kind of incidents that led to star all-rounder Ben Stokes facing an affray charge last year following a late-night drinking session in Bristol. Stokes was acquitted.

“I have a reputation for being a bit of disciplinarian but you also have to accept these guys are human and are going to make mistakes,” said Giles.

“Everyone needs boundaries, guys need to know where they stand and what’s right and wrong.

“It’s important to me, how we look to our supporters and how we are respected. It’s almost as important as actually winning.

Sri Lanka savours rare cricket win after ‘unthinkable’ victory

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Sri Lanka savours rare cricket win after ‘unthinkable’ victory

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan politicians, cricket legends and newspaper were gushing praise Sunday after the national team’s “unthinkable” series triumph against South Africa.

The depleted Sri Lankan side led by interim captain Dimuth Karunaratne won the two-Test series at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Saturday in a stunning performance.

“First Asian nation to win a series in South Africa,” said the Sunday Island in banner headlines. “Sri Lanka pull off the unthinkable in South Africa.”

The Sunday Times of Colombo called the national team “conquerors” for snatching an unexpected series win.

“Rookie Lankans silence critics,” said the Sunday Morning weekly.

Both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe were quick to hail the team’s rare success.

Former skipper Kumar Sangakkara noted they had been under pressure both on and off field.

“Congratulations … for achieving what no other Sri Lankan team has ever come close to. Huge character shown by all concerned with The team, coaching staff and management having been under tremendous pressure,” Sangakkara said on Twitter.

“A team effort for the ages. Keep believing and keep fighting.”

Fellow former captain Mahela Jayawardena called it a “great team effort”.

 

Sri Lanka went in for the series without a single win since October.

They arrived in South Africa after two heavy Test defeats in Australia, which led to Dinesh Chandimal being fired as captain, coach Chandika Hathurusingha having his powers curtailed and major changes in personnel, some caused by injuries.

Sri Lanka’s series win was one of the biggest upsets in recent cricket history.

South Africa had won their previous seven series at home and had won 16 out of 19 home Tests, with only two defeats, before losing in Durban.

Sri Lanka, by contrast, had lost six and drawn one of their previous seven Tests before arriving in South Africa.

South Africa had won 19 of 21 previous home series against Asian opponents, with the only exceptions being when India and Pakistan shared one series each.

Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1996 and since then the sport has been plagued by management scandals, allegations of corruption and player squabbling.

 

PSL success boosts Pakistan’s cricket revival

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PSL success boosts Pakistan’s cricket revival

KARACHI: All future Pakistan Super League matches could be played on home soil after the last eight games of the 2019 tournament went off without a hitch in Karachi, boosting hopes of attracting more international teams, said the country’s cricket chief at Sunday’s final.

Quetta Gladiators beat former champions Peshawar Zalmi by eight wickets on Sunday to lift their maiden PSL title in a pulsating atmosphere created by a capacity crowd of 32,000 fans at the National Stadium.

“Today is a historic day,” said Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani at the closing ceremony on Sunday.

“Around 230,000 people have watched matches in Karachi which indicates that Pakistan is a safe country and we are gradually returning to normal as far as hosting cricket is concerned.”

Sri Lanka are in discussions about playing two Tests in Pakistan in October and talks are also taking place with Bangladesh about a tour in early 2020.

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“I thank all the foreign players who came here and I hope to see them here for all the PSL matches next year,” said Mani.

Peshawar were restricted to 138 for eight in their 20 overs. Umar Amin top scored with 38, while rookie 18-year-old quick bowler Mohammad Husnain finished with three for 30.

Quetta raced to victory with eight wickets and 13 balls to spare as former Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad (57) and Rilee (38) put on an unbroken 73-run stand to see the Gladiators home at 139 for two.

The first 26 round-robin matches were held in the United Arab Emirates, which has been Pakistan’s neutral venue since a deadly attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore 10 years ago.

Pakistan hosted Zimbabwe for five limited-over matches in 2015 which was followed by the PSL final, three Twenty20 internationals against a World XI and a single Twenty20 international all in Lahore in 2017.

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Clear message

Last year Pakistan hosted three PSL matches and the West Indies for a Twenty20 series.

This year 43 foreign players, including former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson and current New Zealand opener Colin Munro, took part in the PSL latter stages in Karachi.

“I thank the people for coming in big numbers,” Pakistan and Quetta captain Sarfraz Ahmed told the crowds at the pre-match toss.

“We have sent a clear message that Pakistan is passionate about cricket and we are ready to host more cricket.”

Cricket-starved fans thronged the National Stadium for all eight matches, putting up with tight security checks and long walks after shuttles dropped them 1.6 km away from the stadium with 13,000 policemen and 2,500 military personnel deployed

“Pakistan is a peaceful country,” said one banner in the Imran Khan stand, named after the former World Cup-winning skipper and current Pakistan prime minister who last week pledged to hold all PSL matches on home grounds next year.

Watson said he had enjoyed playing for the first time in Pakistan, a country where Australia have not toured since 1998 over security fears.

“It’s incredibly special to be able to play in front of incredible atmosphere and fans,” said Watson.

Losing skipper and former West Indies captain Darren Sammy described the atmosphere as “electric.”

“I have never played in such an atmosphere,” said Sammy, who led West Indies to two World Twenty20 titles in 2012 and 2016. “This proves that Pakistan is ready for more cricket.”

Younis hails Pakistan’s ‘fearless cricket’ against South Africa

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Pakistan's Wahab Riaz (C) celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of India's K.L. Rahul during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match between India and Pakistan at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on June 16, 2019. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE

Younis hails Pakistan’s ‘fearless cricket’ against South Africa

Pakistan’s brand of “fearless cricket” to beat South Africa by 49 runs in their World Cup match on Sunday at Lord’s was exactly the response they needed after losing to India last week, former fast bowler Waqar Younis has said.

After being humiliated by India in a one-sided contest at Old Trafford, which took their World Cup win-loss record to 0-7 against their arch-rivals, Pakistan was stung by criticism and backlash from pundits and fans.

However, a convincing win over South Africa – which ended the Proteas’ chances of qualifying for the semi-finals – kept alive their own chances of reaching the knockout stages with three more matches to go.

“It was all about the positive intent for Pakistan against South Africa,” Younis wrote in a column for the International Cricket Council.

 

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“They played fearless cricket and weren’t really worried about losing the match, which in turn gave them the freedom to pay their natural game. Coming after the disappointment of Old Trafford, Pakistan badly needed such a win.

“They have been criticised a lot and the last week has been hard on them, so coming out of that and producing such a performance was particularly pleasing… I’d really like to see them play the same way in the coming matches.”

Pakistan’s Haris Sohail was adjudged the player of the match for his 89 off 59 balls, which included nine boundaries and three sixes, and Younis reserved special praise for the middle-order batsman, saying his innings was a “breath of fresh air”.

Sohail, who had not played in the World Cup since Pakistan’s opening-match defeat to West Indies, built an 81-run partnership with Babar Azam (69), and his knock was hailed as the game’s turning point by captain Sarfaraz Ahmed.

“He played magnificently well, and ultimately, his innings… was the difference,” Younis added. “Pakistan has needed someone to come in at five or six and up the ante.

“Haris has always been a very conservative and technically sound batsman but against South Africa, he took the mantle and played in a very different fashion.

 

“For me, he’s my number four batsman in the team… and you can give him more overs to build that innings. He and Babar Azam could really complement each other.”

Pakistan next play table-toppers New Zealand, who are unbeaten at the tournament, at Edgbaston on Wednesday

West Indies beat Pakistan in Cricket World Cup

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West Indies' bowler Andre Russell, second from right, celebrates with Darren Bravo taking the wicket of Pakistan's Haris Sohail as West Indies' captain Jason Holder, left, smiles during a Cricket World Cup match at Trent Bridge cricket ground in Nottingham, England, Friday, May 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

West Indies beat Pakistan in Cricket World Cup

NOTTINGHAM: West Indies hammered Pakistan by seven wickets at Trent Bridge on Friday to launch their World Cup campaign in style.

Chris Gayle, set to retire at the end of the tournament, then led the West Indies reply with 50 off 34 balls as the two-times champions reached 108-3 off just 13.4 overs.

Having won the toss and elected to field, West Indies made full use of overcast conditions as Thomas took four wickets for 27 runs, while captain Jason Holder (3-42) and the returning Andre Russell (2-4) completed the demolition job.

“It’s good to have a young quick like Oshane, we know he can be expensive at times but he’s a genuine wicket-taker,” Holder said after the match.

“That’s the gamble we need to take in one-dayers, with big scores going around.”

Pakistan’s batsmen have struggled with short deliveries and West Indies’ plan to pepper them with bouncers soon paid off.

Opener Imam-ul-Haq was caught behind down the leg side off fast bowler Sheldon Cottrel before Russell hit Fakhar Zaman on the helmet and the ball ricocheted onto the stumps.

Wicketkeeper Shai Hope grabbed two more catches when Russell and Holder removed Haris Sohail and captain Sarfaraz Ahmed to leave Pakistan on 75-5.

Wahab Riaz struck 18 off 11 balls to help Pakistan breach the 100-run mark before he was cleaned up by Thomas.

“I was confident of running in and doing my job,” man-of-the-match Thomas said.

“Andre Russell started it for us, I just followed his footsteps today. Lot of guys tried to mix it up with short balls. We wanted to execute our plans well.”

The only concerns for the West Indies were Russell limping with a knee issue in the first innings, while Gayle appeared to have sustained a back injury.

After smashing two fours and a six in the 10th over, Gayle appeared to hold his back and limp to the other end for a single.

He looked increasingly edgy before holing out to point for Mohammad Amir’s third wicket of the match.

Batting woes

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Pakistan 21.4-over innings was their lowest World Cup total since making 74 against England at Adelaide in 1992, the year Imran Khan’s team went on to lift their only 50-overs crown.

The in-form Zaman and Babar Azam got off to solid starts but were both dismissed for 22, exposing the middle order against the new ball and Pakistan never recovered.

The hammering was Pakistan’s 11th consecutive ODI defeat in matches where a result was achieved, following series losses to Australia and England.

“If you lose the toss and lose so many wickets early on, it’s tough to come back into the game,” Sarfaraz said.

“It was tricky for half an hour, but this is a good batting track, we didn’t bat well. I think we have to play positive cricket, didn’t do well today but hopefully we’ll bounce back.”

Pakistan next face hosts England on Monday, while the West Indies take on defending champions Australia three days later.

New Zealand qualify for Cricket World Cup semi-finals

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New Zealand qualify for Cricket World Cup semi-finals

LONDON: New Zealand qualified for the Cricket World Cup semi-finals on Friday without playing when Pakistan could no longer better their net run-rate.

If Pakistan beat Bangladesh at Lord’s they will finish level with New Zealand on 11 points and five wins, but the run-rate tie-breaker means they will be heading home.

Pakistan, needing to smash the world record for margin of victory in a one-day international, scored 315 for nine in their 50 overs at Lord’s.

As soon as Bangladesh, already eliminated from the 10-team competition, reached eight runs in their innings, Pakistan were mathematically out of contention.

The other semi-finalists are Australia, India and host nation England.

ICC suspends Zimbabwe Cricket over ‘political interference’

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ICC suspends Zimbabwe Cricket over ‘political interference’

LONDON: International cricket chiefs on Thursday suspended Zimbabwe over a failure to keep the sport free from government interference, throwing into doubt their participation in qualifiers for the T20 World Cup.

The decision means International Cricket Council funding to Zimbabwe Cricket will be frozen and representative teams from the country will not be allowed to participate in any ICC events.

The punishment comes after the Zimbabwe Cricket Board was suspended by the government last month and replaced with an interim committee.

“The ICC has directed that the elected Zimbabwe Cricket Board be reinstated to office within three months, and progress in this respect will be considered again at the October board meeting,” the ICC said in a statement.

“The ICC board heard from both the sports and recreation committee representatives of the Zimbabwe government and Zimbabwe Cricket before making their decision.”

ICC chairman Shashank Manohar said: “We do not take the decision to suspend a member lightly but we must keep our sport free from political interference.

“What has happened in Zimbabwe is a serious breach of the ICC constitution and we cannot allow it to continue unchecked.

“The ICC wants cricket to continue in Zimbabwe in accordance with the ICC constitution.”

Zimbabwe were due to compete in the men’s World T20 qualifiers in October and November and the women’s qualifiers starting in late August but their participation is now unclear.

Political turmoil within the sport and a string of humiliating performances led Zimbabwe to suspend their involvement in Test cricket in 2005 although they continued to play one-day internationals and Twenty20 (T20) internationals at the highest level.

They returned to Test cricket in 2011 but are languishing in 10th place in the rankings.

They are 12th in the one-day international rankings and did not take part in the just-concluded World Cup in England and Wales.

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The Croatia Cricket Federation and the Zambia Cricket Union have both also been suspended for continuing non-compliance with ICC membership criteria while the Moroccan Royal Cricket Federation has been expelled over continuing non-compliance.

At the same meeting in London, the ICC also approved the introduction of concussion replacements, effective from the first Ashes Test starting on August 1, following successful trials in domestic cricket.

The player will need to be a like-for-like substitute, and any switch will need to be approved by the match referee.

And the ICC agreed that captains would no longer be suspended for repeated or serious over-rate breaches.

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All players will be held equally responsible for slow over rates, and as such will be fined at the same level as the captain.

In World Test Championship matches, a team that is behind the required over rate at the end of a match will have points deducted.

Cricket body to bar Sri Lankans with betting interest

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Cricket body to bar Sri Lankans with betting interest

COLOMBO: Sri Lankans involved in gambling firms will be barred from the nation’s cricket governing body as officials bid to eradicate match-fixing scandals that have dogged the sport, the government said Thursday.

Sri Lankan cricket has been mired in corruption scandals in recent years, including claims of match fixing ahead of an international Test against England last year.

Sports minister Harin Fernando said he was introducing regulations to bring the country in line with International Cricket Council (ICC) provisions that ban individuals with connections to gambling firms from being involved in the sport’s administration.

“From now on, anyone who is involved in betting or has a close relative involved in betting will not be able to hold office,” Fernando told reporters in Colombo.

The changes appear aimed at the former president of Sri Lanka Cricket, Thilanga Sumathipala, whose family owns a gambling business.

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Sumathipala, a controversial businessman and politician, is an executive committee member of Sri Lanka Cricket.

He has repeatedly denied involvement in the gambling side of the family business.

Fernando said earlier this year that the ICC considered Sri Lanka one of the world’s most corrupt cricketing nations, adding the sport’s local governance was riddled with graft “from top to bottom”.

In November, former Sri Lankan fast bowler Dilhara Lokuhettige was suspended for corruption linked to a limited-over league in 2017.

He was the third Sri Lankan player charged for violating the ICC’s anti-corruption code, following charges levelled against former captain and ex-chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya, and former paceman Nuwan Zoysa.

England cricketer racially abused by spectator

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England's Jofra Archer walks from the field after he was dismissed during play on the final day of the first cricket test between England and New Zealand at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, Monday, Nov. 25, 2019. New Zealand defeated England by an innings and 65 runs. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

England cricketer racially abused by spectator

WELLINGTON: The England and New Zealand cricket boards launched a probe on Monday after England fast bowler Jofra Archer said he was subjected to racial insults by a spectator while batting during the final day of the opening test at Bay Oval.

New Zealand cruised to an innings and 65-run win over England to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.

Archer scored 30 and combined in a 59-run partnership for the ninth wicket with Sam Curran to delay the hosts’ victory.

“A bit disturbing hearing racial insults today whilst battling to help save my team, the crowd has been amazing this week except for that one guy,” the 24-year-old said on Twitter.

Archer, who was born in Barbados and represented West Indies at U-19 level, has been fast-tracked into the England side and made an impressive test debut during the Ashes series against Australia.

According to protocol, International Cricket Council-appointed match referee Javagal Srinath of India is expected to mention the incident in his match report to the world governing body.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said the incident took place after Archer was dismissed and was walking off the field to the pavilion.

“Through the scrutiny of CCTV footage at the Bay Oval, authorities are trying to identify the individual or individuals responsible for the remarks,” the ECB said in a statement.

“The investigation is ongoing.”

New Zealand Cricket said the security providers at the venue were unable to locate the perpetrator and the board will apologise to Archer.

“NZC has zero tolerance towards abusive or offensive language at any of its venues and will refer any developments in the case to police,” the NZC added.

“It will contact Mr Archer tomorrow to apologise for the unacceptable experience, and to promise increased vigilance in the matter when the teams next meet in Hamilton.”

The second test starts in Hamilton on Friday.

Tennis, cricket stars rally behind Australia bushfire relief

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Australia's Nick Kyrgios plays against Belgium's Steve Darcis during their Davis Cup tennis match in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Tennis, cricket stars rally behind Australia bushfire relief

SYDNEY: Tennis and cricket stars spearheaded by Nick Kyrgios and Chris Lynn on Friday pledged support for victims of bushfires raging around Australia, donating cash for every ace or six they hit.

The blazes have claimed 18 lives and forced mass evacuations, with the country bracing for a weekend heatwave expected to fan the deadly infernos.

Tennis Australia also announced a “Rally for Relief” exhibition match at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on Jan 15 ahead of the Australian Open, with “the world’s top players” taking part.

It also made a A$1 million donation to help communities repair and rebuild tennis facilities damaged or lost in the bushfires.

Kyrgios, a controversial figure with a bad boy reputation, has been at the forefront of building support and pledged A$200 for each ace he serves in the Australian summer of tennis, starting with the ATP Cup, which began Friday.

“I’m kicking off the support for those affected by the fires. I’ll be donating A$200 per ace that I hit across all the events I play this summer,” tweeted the 24-year-old, who was handed a 16-week suspended ban in September after a series of outbursts.

His Australian teammate at the inaugural ATP Cup Alex de Minaur went one better.

“I like this, I will go A$250 per ace, just because I don’t think I’ll be hitting as many aces as you mate,” he replied, with Australian veteran Samantha Stosur also pledging A$200 per ace.

Kyrgios, who will also play the upcoming Kooyong Classic and the Australian Open, on Thursday issued a call for fundraisers for victims of the blazes, which have been a big talking point at the 24-team ATP Cup being staged in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.

Tournament director Tom Larner announced that each ace served at the 10-day event would deliver A$100 to bushfire relief.

The initiative is forecast to raise around A$150,000, with more than 1,500 aces expected to be sent down over the duration of the January 3-12 tournament.

“Most of the players are already keen to score aces and win a quick point, and having the chance to raise money for the bushfire appeal will give them that extra bit of motivation,” he said.

Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley said he was working with the ATP and WTA to extend the move to all tournaments in Australia this month, including at Brisbane, Adelaide and Hobart.

“During the Australian Open we also plan to honour and recognise the incredible work of our firefighters, emergency services workers and volunteers who serve our communities so tirelessly,” he said.

“I know fans will turn out in force to the AO Rally for Relief to support this great cause, as well as get involved in all our other fundraising activities.”

There are fears that smoke haze from the fires could impact the ATP Cup in Sydney, with officials relying on on-site medical experts to monitor air quality, although there were no concerns on Friday.

The third cricket Test in Sydney between Australia and New Zealand is also monitoring for smoke, with players wearing black armbands Friday as a mark of respect for those who have died.

Two of the biggest hitters in the game, Lynn and Glenn Maxwell, said they would donate A$250 for every six they smash during the ongoing Big Bash League Twenty20 tournament.

“Hey Guys, for every six I hit in this years Big Bash League I will donate A$250 towards the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal,” tweeted Lynn.

“It is special to see so many athletes from various sports getting in behind the real heroes who are fighting to save lives and properties around our country.”

Maxwell, back in action after a short mental health sabbatical, replied: “Love it Lynny!! I’ll match you on A$250 per six I hit in this years BBL.”

D’Arcy Short, who was last week added to Australia’s squad for their upcoming one-day tour of India, also jumped on board with the same commitment.

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