Hesson keen to blood youngsters on Africa tour

Mike Hesson – “If we are looking ahead to four years’ time and the next World Cup, this is the perfect opportunity to start that development” © Getty Images

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has two main objectives for the team’s upcoming tours of Zimbabwe and South Africa – to win both the ODI series, and ensure his players evolve into “solid international cricketers”.

Speaking ahead of New Zealand’s departure for Africa, Hesson admitted that New Zealand were still hurting from their 2-3 series defeat to England last month, but said the team’s young talents will be “better off” from the experience.

Continue reading

Middlesex bring in Junaid Khan

Junaid Khan impressed when he joined Lancashire in 2011 © Getty Images

Middlesex have signed Junaid Khan as their latest overseas player. The Pakistan left-armer will be available to play in the Royal London Cup as well as the Championship, if required.

Junaid replaces Joe Burns, who was brought in after Adam Voges, initially signed as captain, was selected in Australia’s Ashes squad. Junaid has previously played county cricket with Lancashire, for whom he took 31 T20 wickets at 14.58 during two spells between 2011 and 2014. His first game for Middlesex could come against Lancashire at Blackpool on Wednesday.

Junaid has not played since Pakistan’s defeat to Sri Lanka in the Colombo Test last month. A regular in the side since his debut in 2011, he has struggled since returning from a knee injury sustained in late 2014.

Continue reading

Fit-again Agar hopeful of Australia return

‘You want to have a career for Australia, not just a few games here and there’ – Ashton Agar © Getty Images

Ashton Agar had a stellar start to his international career when he struck 98, the Test record for a No. 11 on debut in the 2013 Ashes. But he has yet to impress in his primary role, as a left-arm spinner and a shoulder injury has not helped. After being sidelined for four months from March to July, he is ready to get back to cricket and hopes to play the second unofficial Test against India A on Wednesday.

“It’s been about 15 weeks [since the shoulder surgery],” Agar said. “The strength is improving, the range is improving. It has improved enough to allow me to play in this game. I won’t be diving in the field, but everything else is okay.”

Agar got a surprise call-up for the fourth Test against India at the SCG, but he did not get to play. His last competitive game was the Sheffield Final in March. Playing for Western Australia, he took four wickets and scored a 44 not out in the first innings. He stressed that his ultimate goal was to have a long career with Australia, rather than making sporadic appearances.

“That’s the ultimate goal, to play for Australia. You want to have a career for Australia, not just a few games here and there.” he said.

Continue reading

Australia seek to make 1-1 advantage count

window.espni = window.espni || {}; espni.video = espni.video || {}; espni.video.timeStamp = “1438118145”; espni.video.genre = “index:pressconference”; espni.video.adSet = “cric”; Play 01:53 Clarke: Time for Australia to run with momentum

It was Peter Siddle, back home after the miniature epic two-Test series against South Africa in 2011, who described the result as “a good one-all series win”. Having humiliated the Australians in Cape Town, South Africa walked away unfulfilled. Having scrambled to a cathartic victory in Johannesburg thanks largely to Pat Cummins, Michael Clarke’s team were understandably chuffed, even if they did not win the series.

Entering the Edgbaston Ashes Test there is a similar sense of the scoreboard not reflecting how the two teams see themselves. After a surprise defeat at Cardiff, Australia’s demolition of England at Lord’s carried the air of natural order restored, and the confident strut of the tourists appears to be that of a team in the ascendant. England, meanwhile, are the men on the run, having changed their team and batting order while also looking warily towards the fitness of the third seamer Mark Wood.

It would be easy then to be lulled into the impression that Australia will rumble on smoothly to the retention of the urn, having responded to England’s opening salvo with a riposte more or less twice the size. A certain sense of the triumphal accompanied Australian celebrations at Lord’s, which is always a major event match for the number of Cricket Australia management, board directors and corporate backers present. In the midst of the post-match revelry, one or two sober observers could have been forgiven for thinking “hang on, isn’t it only 1-1?”

Continue reading

Lanning and Perry earn Australia Ashes lead

Australia Women 241 for 7 (Lanning 85, Perry 67) beat England Women 152 (Greenway 45, Beams 3-13) by 89 runs Scorecard

Ellyse Perry made significant inroads into England’s top order after also starring with the bat © Getty Images

An outstanding all-round display from Ellyse Perry earned Australia the lead in the Women’s Ashes as they claimed the one-day series 2-1, giving them a 4-2 points advantage over England heading into the Test match next month.

Continue reading

Recovered Rogers eager to play

Chris Rogers returns from the nets with team doctor Peter Brukner © Getty Images

This past week, Chris Rogers the vestibular case has been getting a lot more attention than Chris Rogers the opening batsman.

Rogers’ meticulous and scene-setting 173 at Lord’s has been almost entirely overshadowed. First Steven Smith’s coruscating 215 took the headlines. Then it was the conjecture over whether Rogers could recover from the dizzy spells and fatigue caused by a blow to the head that gave him a rare case of inner ear trouble but not, fortunately, concussion.

Now, Rogers is only the slimmest chance of not playing in the third Investec Ashes Test at Edgbaston, having faced up to Australia’s pacemen in the nets at the team’s main training session and not shown any signs of his former wobbles. The touring side’s eagerness to have Rogers available speaks volumes for the value of his contributions thus far in the series. After a week of tribulations, he is eager to do more.

“I was probably a little bit dubious and initially after the Test I thought it might be a little bit difficult, but I felt pretty good over the last few days and see no reason at the moment not to play,” Rogers said. “It just looked like it [the pavilion] was going from left to right and almost like my eyes were jumping. A really bizarre sensation and kind of scary. I wouldn’t have been able to continue, that’s why I went off.

Continue reading