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Australia coach Andrew McDonald believes they can avoid situations like Ben Stokes' ODI retirement and Trent Boult's New Zealand contract release by managing their multi-format players carefully.
Boult's decision to walk away from his NZC contract on Wednesday was another example of the challenge national teams face with multi-format international players, especially when they are also in hot demand to play in lucrative T20 franchise leagues around the world.
Australia have been very careful with their management of Test captain Pat Cummins this year with McDonald saying that CA are keen to rest him and others when necessary to avoid them walking away from one or more formats.

"You can't be everything to everyone and we've said that from the get-go," McDonald told SEN. "We'll manage our players on a needs basis and a priority basis. I think it's disappointing to see Ben Stokes retire. Could they have managed him through that? We feel as though we can manage our players through all three formats.

"But that will mean missing the odd series here and there and we've got to be clear on what our priorities are and at the moment the priority for Pat is to get his body right for the summer, the World Cup and the Test matches, and being the captain as well we'll probably err on the side of caution when it comes to big decisions."

Cummins is being rested for Australia's two upcoming home ODI series against Zimbabwe and New Zealand starting in late August but is set to be part of the short T20I tour to India before the World Cup. He was also rested from Australia's limited-overs matches in Pakistan earlier this year to freshen up for the IPL and he was rested from the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka which immediately followed the IPL.

David Warner and Mitchell Marsh were rested from a five-match home T20I series against Sri Lanka earlier in the year and Warner was also rested from the limited-over matches in Pakistan along with Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc. Warner, Marsh and Hazlewood all played a full IPL season.

Australia's next future tours program is likely to be jammed packed and the proliferation of franchise leagues has only heaped more pressure on international teams and players. McDonald was uncertain about where the game is going but he does believe there will still be strong interest in all three international formats, but that it may be cyclical, with some formats coming under pressure in non-World Cup years.

"The short answer is, I don't know [where we are headed]," McDonald said. "If you reflect on the last 10 years, did you think we'd be here in this situation? The answer is probably no. The game has accelerated in the last 10 years, and what does it look like in the next 10 years? I'm not sure. What I will say is that Test cricket was under the pump 12 months ago and now one-day cricket is. Seems like we have three formats that are all trying to co-exist among a franchise-driven world.

"So I think the heat will come onto different formats at different times. One-day cricket is under the pump now. What does it look like in terms of a World Cup next year in India? I think it's going to be big. Then it will become about T20 international cricket, is that relevant because it's not a T20 World Cup year? I think it will bounce in and out of relevance in terms of the two white-ball formats.

"But I think the great thing for Test cricket is that it's back. It's back on the agenda. People are talking positively about it, and for a player to make a decision based around his longevity in Test cricket is a great reflection on how people view Test cricket right now. I think Test cricket is wonderful. It underpins the game and always has."

The league, which is expected to offer player salaries up to USD 300,000, is in direct competition for players with the International League T20 - UAE's new T20 league - which is also scheduled to begin in January next year. The ILT20, however, released a list of big-ticket players on Monday, which included names like Andre Russell, Moeen Ali, Wanindu Hasaranga, Alex Hales, Shimron Hetmyer, Chris Jordan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Jason Roy will lead a team for the first time in his professional career on Thursday after being named Oval Invincibles' stand-in captain for their game against Northern Superchargers.
Sam Billings, the Invincibles captain, is missing Thursday's game to play for England Lions against South Africa in Canterbury, while Will Jacks, the obvious replacement, is also involved in that fixture. As a result, Roy will step up to lead the side. His previous captaincy experience is limited to second-team cricket and a non-first-class match against Oxford MCCU in 2013.

"I was delighted to be asked to captain the guys and am relishing the extra responsibility," Roy said in a statement. "Although it's only for one game, it's an honour to lead the team."

Roy has struggled for runs throughout this summer with his place in England's first-choice T20 World Cup side under threat after a stretch of 76 runs off 98 balls across six T20I innings. He started the Hundred with a first-baller against London Spirit before making a run-a-ball 10 against Welsh Fire on Sunday, middling a flick off his pads straight to short fine-leg.

"It's obviously frustrating that we've lost two players but it's a good opportunity for Jacksy and Bilbo to play in the Lions game," Sam Curran, Roy's Invincibles team-mate, said. "It's going to be very exciting for Jase, playing at his home ground and captaining. There's been some great energy around the training sessions over the last couple of days and the guys are really excited.

"He's not far away. He's been middling the ball and the last couple of games, the ways he has got out have been extremely unlucky: one metre either side of the fielder, it's four and he's away. There'll be an attack very, very shortly who are thinking he's out of form and they'll regret it. I think he'll come very good, very soon and we all know how good a player he is. I don't think people should be getting too worried about him."

Superchargers, meanwhile, will continue to miss Harry Brook, who is also involved in the Lions game and has been replaced on a short-term basis by Saif Zaib, the Northamptonshire batter.
ESPNcricinfo understands they have lined up Craig Miles, the Warwickshire seamer, as a replacement when Matthew Potts leaves on England duty, while Wayne Parnell will link up with the squad for the last two group games after Dwayne Bravo departs to the CPL.

Phil Simmons: We can't beg people to play for West Indies

Published in Cricket
Wednesday, 10 August 2022 04:06
The three-T20I series against New Zealand, starting later today, gives the team management one last chance to see the players in an international setting - the CPL will follow - and lead selector Desmond Haynes and chief coach Phil Simmons expressed their disappointment at the state of affairs ahead of the series.

Russell, for example, has not played for West Indies since the 2021 T20 World Cup. He's playing the Hundred at the moment - along with Narine - and missed the home series against India and now against New Zealand. A couple of days ago, Russell was part of the list of overseas players unveiled by the UAE's International League T20, which begins in January next year.

"From what I have gathered, I think he us unavailable because he hasn't made himself available," Haynes said of the Russell situation.

"I will love everyone to play for West Indies. I would love to make sure that all the guys make themselves available to play," Haynes said. "But you must realise that the guys have options now, and if guys are choosing other franchises in front of West Indies, then we have to pick from who is available to us."

Simmons' comments were stronger: "It hurts. There's no other way to put it. But what can you do? I don't think that I should be begging people to play for their countries. I think if you want to represent West Indies, you will make yourself available."

"Life has changed, in that people have the opportunities to go different places and if they choose that over West Indies, that's just how it is."

"If there is a competition that is run by the West Indies (and) somebody is playing well, I think his name should really come up for selection. That performance is very important to us"

Desmond Haynes, on selectors looking at CPL performances

The CPL, which runs from September 1 to October 1, will come at a good time vis-à-vis West Indies' selection for the T20 World Cup. The West Indies will have to play the first round of games, which starts on October 16, to qualify for the Super 12 round of the T20 World Cup.

"If there is a competition that is run by the West Indies (and) somebody is playing well, I think his name should really come up for selection," Haynes said about considering CPL performances for World Cup selection. "That performance is very important to us, and we didn't say that we have picked the World Cup team yet, so all the games that are going to be played leading up to the World Cup, we must take into consideration."

In the three T20Is against New Zealand, West Indies could tinker with the positions of their two main batters in the middle order, Nicholas Pooran, the captain, and Shimron Hetmyer.

"So far we have been experimenting; as we get to the end of these games, we're going to have a better idea how we want them to be put in the order and how we want them to go in," Simmons said. "And we tend to judge it by overs and the situation. So in each game it could be different. Shimron could bat higher and Pooran could bat lower. It just depends on the game, the situation in the game."

Sources: World Cup starts day earlier on Nov. 20

Published in Breaking News
Wednesday, 10 August 2022 05:05

The 2022 World Cup is set to start a day earlier than planned with FIFA expected to move Qatar's opening game to Sunday, Nov. 20, sources have confirmed to ESPN.

- World Cup finals bracket and fixtures schedule
- Brazil to walk on the wild side at World Cup with jaguar print kits

Since 2006 the first match of the tournament has featured the host country, but the 2022 edition is currently scheduled to begin on Monday, Nov. 21 with Senegal vs. Netherlands.

The proposal, with agreement from both countries and CONMEBOL, the South American confederation, is for Qatar vs. Ecuador to move forward one day, with a kickoff time of 7 p.m. local (4 p.m. GMT, 11 a.m. ET). It will be the only match played on the Sunday and will extend the tournament to 29 days.

Sources have told ESPN that moving the game to Sunday will give Qatar the chance to showcase the World Cup and have the opening ceremony as a standalone event.

It will now be put forward to the Bureau of the FIFA Council, made up of president Gianni Infantino and the leaders from the six confederations, for approval with confirmation expected later this week. Sources told ESPN that FIFA has assessed the impact on supporters and expects it to be minimal, though any issues over travel and accommodation will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Sources told ESPN earlier this year that Qatar initially requested to have a later kickoff on Nov. 21 because the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, insisted on having a huge fireworks display before his country's opening match and an afternoon kick-off would have severely reduced its visual impact. The hosts' first match is due to be the third game on the Monday, kicking off at 7 p.m. local time, effectively meaning there would be an opening ceremony after the tournament had kicked off.

Senegal vs. Netherlands will move from 1 p.m. local time to 7 p.m., the slot left vacant by moving Qatar's match, on the Monday. It means there will be no early kickoff. The other two games on Monday -- England vs. Iran (4 p.m. local) and United States vs. Wales (10 p.m. local) -- are unaffected.

Proposed new schedule

Sunday, Nov. 20
Group A: Qatar vs. Ecuador (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor; 7 p.m.)

Monday, Nov. 21
Group B: England vs. Iran (Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan; 4 p.m.)
Group A: Senegal vs. Netherlands (Al Thumama Stadium, Doha; 7 p.m.)
Group B: United States vs. Wales (Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan; 10 p.m.)

The news was first reported by Ole in Argentina.

Emma Raducanu's US Open title defence preparations suffered another blow as she was beaten by Camila Giorgi in the National Bank Open first round.

The British number one, who is 10th in the world rankings, lost 7-6 (7-0) 6-2 to the Italian defending champion.

Raducanu had led by an early break in the second set before Giorgi reeled off six games in a row to win in Toronto.

The US Open, where the 19-year-old memorably triumphed last year, begins on 29 August in New York.

The Toronto event is one of several hard court events before the final major of the season.

Raducanu reached the quarter-finals of the Citi Open last week, but could not find a way past 29th-ranked Giorgi.

The two traded early breaks in the opening set before Raducanu saved a set point to force an eventual tie-break.

Giorgi, 30, won all seven points in the tie-break to take it, but Raducanu hit back, winning the first two games of the second set.

However, the Briton could not hold on to her lead and did not hold serve for the rest of the set as Giorgi powered to victory.

Earlier, 10th seed Coco Gauff beat American compatriot Madison Brengle 6-1 6-3, and will face Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina next.

However, two-time US Open champion Naomi Osaka was forced to retire midway through her match against Kaia Kanepi. Osaka trailed 7-6 (7-4) 3-0 when she quit with a lower back injury,

Wasps Group chief executive Stephen Vaughan says he is "saddened" by the criticism aimed at the Premiership rugby club about their "unsafe pitch".

The Championship club have also switched Wednesday's Carabao Cup home tie to Burton Albion's Pirelli Stadium.

"In May we informed CCFC we would not be relaying the pitch," Vaughan said.

"No objection was raised to that course of action then or at any other time.

"We were saddened to see that information and stories have been put out in the press without our prior knowledge, and this message has been relayed to the football club.

Vaughan added that the contract to host Commonwealth Games events at the stadium was signed before Coventry committed to returning to the ground, in March 2021.

"They were fully aware of the timetable of events."

Vaughan points out that City were advised that they should switch their opening few home games of the season - as the pitch would never have be ready in time after such heavy use.

"But we were informed by CCFC that this was not possible," he said.

"Sixty-five rugby sevens matches were played at the Arena in three days and a pitch, new or established, could not withstand that amount of wear and tear, and then be in pristine condition a week later, regardless of the efforts of the ground staff.

"Maintaining a pitch with two sports on it is always a challenge, so the recent unique set of circumstances has been particularly difficult and has naturally put the pitch under enormous strain.

"Despite what some may think, we want CCFC to play all their home games here, and it benefits no-one when there are issues such as this played out in public with incorrect or missing information.

Vaughan said Coventry's Carabao Cup game was moved "without a further pitch inspection", adding that he hoped the club "feel they are able" to play their next Championship home game, against Wigan on 16 August, at the stadium.

"We have agreed that an independent agronomist selected by the EFL can come to the arena and carry out their own inspection of the pitch.

"We hope they feel it is able to be played on and I know, as professionals, they are aware and understand the circumstances surrounding the pitch recently."

'Not getting involved in protracted, public discussion'

In the statement, Vaughan also said it was "extremely disappointing" to "yet again be defending ourselves against rumour and accusation".

"We won't be getting involved in a protracted, public discussion about this, which serves no-one's interest, but felt we needed to ensure people had the correct information," he added.

Wasps first became City's landlords when they moved in but bought the ground in December 2014 - shortly after the Sky Blues' return to the city from 14 months' exile in Northampton, following a dispute over rent.

But they have been under a financial strain, especially since the Covid pandemic, and in June requested millions of pounds of public money from the West Midlands Combined Authority.

The stadium was jointly owned by Arena Coventry Ltd, set up partially from a trust fund left by a Sky Blues fan when City first moved there in 2005 after the controversial sale of their previous home, Highfield Road, for housing development.

A further dispute then led to City playing in Birmingham at St Andrew's for two seasons, before returning to Coventry last year.

DMP Durham Sharks have been given an extra 24 hours to secure further funding to compete in this season's Premier 15s.

The side launched a crowdfunding bid last week to make up the £50,000 shortfall they would need to compete in this year's competition.

Sharks posted an open letter thanking fans for their support.

"The level of support for keeping elite women's rugby alive in the North East has been truly extraordinary," it read.

Sharks finished bottom of last season's table, losing all 18 games and conceding 1,240 points.

They have been part of the Premier 15s since 2017 but, unlike most teams in the league, are not affiliated with a men's Premiership team.

"We have been granted an extra 24 hours by the club to secure the commitment to underwrite any shortfall in running costs this coming season," the letter read.

"We would like to express our gratitude for all of your generosity so far, we are so close!"

Hockey Canada names interim chair amid scrutiny

Published in Hockey
Tuesday, 09 August 2022 15:34

CALGARY, Alberta -- Andrea Skinner has been appointed interim chair of Hockey Canada's board of directors amid scrutiny of the organization for its handling of sexual assault allegations against members of previous men's junior teams.

Skinner, a Toronto attorney, is the first woman to lead the Hockey Canada board. She succeeds Michael Brind'Amour, who resigned last week.

The national governing body's 13 provincial, regional and territorial associations recommended Skinner step in as interim chair until the current board's term ends in November, Hockey Canada said Tuesday in a statement.

The federal government froze Hockey Canada's funding after it was revealed the organization had quietly settled a lawsuit with a woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by members of the 2018 men's junior team at the Hockey Canada gala in London, Ontario, that year.

Since then, Hockey Canada has said members of the 2003 junior team are under investigation for alleged sexual assault in Nova Scotia.

The funding freeze will continue until Hockey Canada meets several conditions, including a plan to change its culture. Hockey Canada has appointed former Supreme Court of Canada judge Thomas Cromwell to review its governance.

"Since 1914, Hockey Canada has been the organization that Canadians have trusted to lead, develop and promote positive hockey experiences. Recent events have called that trust into question," Hockey Canada said in the statement announcing Skinner's appointment.

"Through the recent launch of Hockey Canada's Action Plan, we are committed to, among other things, elevating the expectations for everyone involved in hockey and effecting positive behavior from the grassroots to the national team level."

Skinner was first elected to the board in 2020. She played four years of college hockey at Cornell.

"As a board we are listening to Canadians," Skinner said. "We are working to make meaningful positive changes to the culture of the sport of hockey."

Surgery will sideline Canes F Pacioretty 6 months

Published in Hockey
Tuesday, 09 August 2022 21:43

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Star acquisition Max Pacioretty will have surgery for a torn Achilles tendon and face a six-month recovery, the Carolina Hurricanes said Tuesday night.

The Hurricanes, who lost in the Eastern Conference's second round and went into the offseason in the market for more veteran scoring, acquired the 33-year-old Pacioretty in July from Vegas for future considerations due to the Golden Knights' salary-cap crunch.

The six-time 30-goal scorer filled a need for a team looking for more output to a forward group led by young talents Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen, but the injury will delay those plans for a franchise considered one of the favorites in the Metropolitan Division.

The Hurricanes did not provide any details on how or when Pacioretty was hurt. Messages left with the team and Pacioretty's agent from The Associated Press were not immediately returned.

Earlier in the day, Carolina announced it had re-signed another veteran forward, Martin Necas, to a two-year, $6 million contract.

The contract will pay the 23-year-old Necas $2.5 million next season and $3.5 million for the 2023-24 season. That keeps the young forward with the franchise that selected him in the first round of the 2017 draft and ensures some depth behind the aforementioned top liners.

Necas relies on his speed and skill, and he often takes advantages of mismatches going up against the opposition's bottom-two lines. He was inconsistent last season, however, while finishing with 14 goals and 26 assists. In the playoffs, during which Carolina defeated the Boston Bruins in Round 1 before falling to the New York Rangers in Round 2, he couldn't find the net in either series.

"I've got to help the team more, got to produce way more," Necas said in June after the Hurricanes were eliminated. "That's what everyone kind of expects from me. I didn't do it this year, so, like I said, it was disappointing for me."

Still, Carolina is betting on Necas' long-term potential.

"We've got to find a way to punch through [in the playoffs]," Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said in June, "and I think Marty obviously has the potential to help us do that."

Necas, who was a restricted free agent, has 45 goals in 203 NHL games with Carolina.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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