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English rotation policy is efficient: Sangakkara

At a time when former England cricketers like Ian Botham, Kevin Pietersen and Michael Vaughan have criticised the rotation policy employed by the visiting team, the former Sri Lankan great has come in its support.

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Former Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara feels England’s rotation policy has worked out quite well for the team in recent years.

With the cricketing action getting resumed amid the pandemic in a bio-secure bubble, players opt-out from the tour due to exhaustion and hence many cricket boards have started to follow a rotation policy. England, however, was following the policy even before the coronavirus pandemic and Sangakkara feels the rotation policy opted by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has done well in forming a bench strength.

Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer are an integral part of both IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals and England’s Test squad.

Sangakkara also opined that players need to strike a fine balance between international duties and franchise cricket.

“Yeah, I think it (rotating players) has become a necessity with the growth of IPL and of course what IPL itself tells in terms of participation and the financial returns. So a lot of thought has gone through every cricket board on the way they kind of construct their program around this,” said Sangakkara.

“England, irrespective of IPL have put in the rest and rotation policy and that seems to have worked quite well for them at times or most times. Of course, international duties and franchise duties have to be balanced out but it is difficult to strike an ideal balance for everyone,” he further said.

“Some boards are looking at the areas where they keep their core players playing international cricket for much longer in terms of allowing the opportunity to players to play franchise cricket, like in the IPL, which then allows them to play for much longer period of time in terms of an international career for their country,” Sangakkara added.

Earlier this week, England head coach Chris Silverwood said cricketers do need to spend some time with their families, and as a result, his side would continue with their rotation policy.

England’s squad was named for the third and fourth Test after the result of the second Test, and it was revealed that Moeen Ali will head back home. This is all a part of ECB’s rotation policy.

This rotation policy has already seen Jos Buttler going back home after the first Test. Jonny Bairstow also missed the first two Tests against India as per the rotation policy.

However, former England cricketers like Sir Ian Botham, Kevin Pietersen and Michael Vaughan have criticised this rotation policy employed by the Three Lions.

“It is very difficult to say to the players that no you cannot play the IPL. You cannot say no if you just see the numbers. IPL is a marquee cricket event in the world and so it’s very difficult. I don’t think it is an issue because players are playing a fantastic high level of T20 cricket, which can only benefit us really. Moving forward it benefits the player. Obviously, players make their own minds up about competitions they go in but we benefit from their playing,” said Silverwood during a virtual press conference.

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SLC appoints Mathews as stand-in T20I captain for West Indies tour

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Colombo [Sri Lanka], February 28 (ANI): Sri Lanka Cricket on Saturday appointed Angelo Mathews as the stand-in captain for the T20I series against West Indies.
Mathews was named the stand-in captain as Dasun Shanaka, who was appointed as the T20I captain for the Tour of West Indies, is yet to join the team, owing to a visa-related issue.
“Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to announce the appointment of Angelo Mathews, as the stand-in captain, for the T20 International series vs West Indies,” Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement.
“Mathews was appointed by the National Selectors, as Dasun Shanaka, who was appointed as the T20i Captain for the Tour of West Indies, is yet to join the team, owing to a delay in obtaining a US Transit Visa. Shanaka confronted this issue pursuant to the loss of his previous passport, which had a valid visa for the USA stamped on it. He is expected to join the team once the issue is resolved,” it added.
Cricket West Indies on Friday named the West Indies squads for the T20I series and ODI series against Sri Lanka.
Chris Gayle and experienced fast bowler Fidel Edwards, were named in the T20I squad, marking their return to the international stage, while off-spinner Kevin Sinclair had earned his first West Indies selection and left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein received his first T20I call-up.
The three T20I matches will be played on March 3, 5 and 7 at the Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua, while the ODI series will be played at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium, Antigua on March 10, 12, and 14. (ANI)

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CSA announces 17-member women’s squad for T20I, ODI series against India

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Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], February 28 (ANI): Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Sunday named a 17-member squad for their upcoming series against India, an away tour that will see the Proteas Women play five ODIs and three T20Is.
Head coach Hilton Moreeng and his squad landed in India on Saturday afternoon ahead of fixtures in the month of March that will take place in Lucknow. All the ODIs as well as the T20Is will take place in a bio-secure environment.
The South Africans have named an unchanged unit to the one that did duty against the Pakistan Women in Durban earlier this year. CSA said all-rounders Chloe Tryon and Dane van Niekerk will miss the series due to injuries, while Masabata Klaas has sustained an eleventh-hour injury that will see her miss out.
Following the squad announcement head coach Moreeng, in a statement, said: “It is really exciting to finally have this tour confirmed and announce our squad that will do duty here in India, and we are looking forward to getting out there to see our ladies prove themselves under different playing conditions.
“India is always a wonderful place to tour and we are looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead.”
The squad is currently in a six-day quarantine which will be followed by a two-day training session before their first ODI on March 7 at the Ekana Stadium.
Squad: Sune Luus, Ayabonga Khaka, Shabnim Ismail, Laura Wolvaardt, Trisha Chetty, Sinalo Jafta, Tasmin Britz, Marizanne Kapp, Nondumiso Shangase, Lizelle Lee, Anneke Bosch, Faye Tunniclife, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Mignon du Preez, Nadine de Klerk, Lara Goodall, Tumi Sekhukhune. (ANI)

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That’s what we expect from players: Pochettino revels in PSG’s 4-0 win over Dijon

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Dijon [France], February 28 (ANI): Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) manager Mauricio Pochettino is delighted with his team’s dominating showing in victory over Dijon and said that’s what he expects from the players.
PSG put on a commanding display in the Ligue 1 match and registered a 4-0 win over the bottom-placed club Dijon here on Saturday.
“I think it was a very professional performance in the squad’s approach to the game. We expect that in every single game and every training session from our players. I think that with the very difficult circumstances the team put in a good performance and we were very solid,” Pochettino told PSGTV.
“I’m happy because that’s what we expect from the players and maybe some of them haven’t played too much but they showed their quality and put the coaching staff in a difficult position to pick the starting eleven for the next game,” he added.
During the match, Moise Kean put PSG ahead in the game in just the sixth minute before Kylian Mbappe converted a penalty to make it 2-0. Mbappe then scored his second goal of the match in the 51st minute, handing PSG a three-goal lead.
Danilo Pereira then netted a stunning goal to seal the final scoreline. Securing three points from the game, PSG now have 57 points, only one point behind the table-toppers Lille.
PSG will next play against Bordeaux on March 4. (ANI)

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Pirlo rues Juventus’ lack of aggression after draw against Verona

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Verona [Italy], February 28 (ANI): Juventus manager Andrea Pirlo expressed frustration after being held to a draw by Verona and said that his side was not “aggressive enough” during the match.
Juventus and Verona played out a 1-1 draw in the Serie A here on Sunday.
“It’s a shame because we knew it was going to be a tough, scrappy game but we played well and managed to take the lead. We weren’t aggressive enough when they equalised. We should have closed them down and details like that can make the difference,” the club’s official website quoted Pirlo as saying.
“In the second half we dropped off a bit when the tempo died down and they managed to carve out openings in the wide areas. I didn’t have the players to play four at the back and once we lost a bit of aggression on [Federico] Chiesa and [Merih] Demiral’s side they managed to get a few crosses in. We were missing lots of players and I asked the more experienced guys like [Cristiano] Ronaldo and Alex Sandro to make themselves heard. It’s not easy playing against Verona with the way they press you,” he added.
During the match, Ronaldo scored the opening goal in the 49th minute. However, Antonin Barak’s strike in the 77th minute levelled the scores and the match concluded on the same.
Securing one point from the game, Juventus now have 46 points and are placed on the third spot, seven points behind table-toppers Inter Milan. Pirlo’s men will next play against Spezia on March 3. (ANI)

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Narine had indicated that he’s not ready to return to international cricket: Harper

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St John’s [Antigua], February 28 (ANI): Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) lead selector Roger Harper said that Sunil Narine was not selected in the squad for the T20I series against Sri Lanka as the player had indicated that he “is not ready to return to international cricket”.
Narine has not played for West Indies in any format since August 2019.
“Sunil Narine had indicated earlier that he is not ready to return to international cricket. He’s still fine-tuning his game and getting himself ready. From that perspective, he wasn’t considered for this series,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Harper as saying.
CWI Selection Panel on Friday named the West Indies squads for the T20I series and ODI series against Sri Lanka at the Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) and Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (SVRS).
Chris Gayle, and experienced fast bowler Fidel Edwards, were named in the T20I squad, marking their return to the international stage, while off-spinner Kevin Sinclair had earned his first West Indies selection and left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein received his first T20I call-up.
The three T20I matches will be played on March 3, 5 and 7 at the Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua, while the ODI series will be played at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium, Antigua on March 10, 12, and 14.
Also, CWI had said that all-rounder Andre Russell is still recovering from contracting COVID-19 earlier this month, and despite testing negative over a week ago was ruled out of the T20Is by the CWI Medical Panel whilst he completes his “return to play” protocols. (ANI)

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ISL 7: Concentration levels have let us down again, says Fowler after defeat

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Panaji (Goa) [India], February 28 (ANI): SC East Bengal head coach Robbie Fowler is disappointed after suffering a defeat against Odisha FC and said his side was not good enough defensively.
Odisha FC secured a 6-5 win over SC East Bengal in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Saturday. The Bhubaneswar-based club scored five goals in the second period after they were trailing at the end of the first half.
“In the first half, I could see us winning. But in the second half, we conceded two goals which put us on the back foot for a little bit. It was hard to take. Every time they attacked, they seemed to score,” Fowler said after the game.
“Defensively, we weren’t good enough. Concentration levels have let us down again, but we have to take this result and soldier on. This is a league where anyone can be beaten and this season has proven that many times. Five games ago, we were still in the hunt for the top four. But our concentration levels and our poor starts to the second halves have cost us again,” he added.
SC East Bengal finished ninth on the league table in their debut ISL campaign, but Fowler is confident about them being stronger next season.
“With the right recruitment and the right amount of time on the training pitch to get my ideas to the players on the way we want to play, we can do well. We had not had enough time for preparation [this season]. We haven’t played how we have wanted to. We have lacked a little bit of fitness,” he said. (ANI)

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