Australia Cricket

Uncapped Alana King added to women’s Ashes squad

Uncapped Alana King added to women’s Ashes squad

12/01/2022, Australia, Cricket, T20 Big Bash League, Article # 30586727

Leg-spinner Alana King is confident she’ll be able to thrive in the Test arena as well as in white-ball cricket after being included in Australia’s 15-player squad for the women’s Ashes series.

The hosts will be boosted by the return of experienced trio Rachael Haynes, Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen in the series against England, which features three Twenty20s, three ODIs and a Test.

King, who was part of Perth Scorchers’ title-winning WBBL side this season, could make her international debut as soon as the series-opening T20 on January 20 at Adelaide Oval.

The injury-enforced absence of tweakers Georgia Wareham and Sophie Molineux left selectors with a huge call to make.

Adelaide Strikers leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington, coming off a a league-best 22 wickets at 15.72 in her WBBL side’s campaign, loomed as the frontrunner to fill the void.

But Wellington, who played an Ashes Test in 2017, has instead been selected in a 15-player Australia A squad that will take on England A in six white-ball matches that overlap with the Ashes.

“This was a tough selection process with so many players coming off strong WBBL tournaments, but we’re confident we’ve selected a balanced, all-round squad with players who can perform across all three formats,” national selector Shawn Flegler said.

“Alana King … (has) a great opportunity to show what she can do at this level.

“Having improved in all facets of her game over the last few seasons, she’s well placed to play an important role in the series.

“While Georgia Redmayne, Stella Campbell, Maitlan Brown and Molly Strano have missed out from the India series due to a decrease in squad size, we know they’ll be able to lead the way with the A side and will be able to slot straight into the side if the opportunity arises.”

King has no experience in long-form cricket, but is backing her skills to adapt to the format if she is called up for the January 27 to 30 Test match in Canberra.

“I’ve got full confidence in my game,” King said on Wednesday.

“They believe and I believe that I can play in any format of the game. Whatever it is, I know I’ll be ready to go whenever I get the call up.

“Saturday afternoon I got a phone call from the head selector (telling me I was in the squad). It’s probably been the happiest day of my life.”

Australia is hopeful Molineux could be fit in time for the ODI World Cup in New Zealand, which immediately follows the Ashes.

Wareham will miss that tournament and the Commonwealth Games because of her knee injury.

Ashes squad

Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Meg Lanning (capt), Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck.

Australia A squad

Georgia Redmayne (capt), Maitlan Brown, Erin Burns, Stella Campbell, Nicole Faltum, Tess Flintoff, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Phoebe Litchfield, Katie Mack, Courtney Sippel, Molly Strano, Elyse Villani, Georgia Voll, Amanda-Jade Wellington.


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Melbourne Stars edge narrow BBL win against Adelaide Strikers

Melbourne Stars edge narrow BBL win against Adelaide Strikers

10/01/2022, Australia, Cricket, T20 Big Bash League, Article # 30584956

Joe Clarke’s fourth consecutive half-century and some quality spin bowling helped Melbourne Stars claim a vital BBL victory on Monday night.

Playing against Adelaide Strikers at the MCG, the Stars won the toss and bowled and held their opponent to a middling 9-139 before tracking it down with five balls to spare.

Wickets fell regularly throughout the chase but Clarke stuck strong and made 83, whacking four huge sixes in the pivotal knock, including a huge late bomb just when the Strikers looked back in the game.

Fill-in Stars’ captain Adam Zampa said Clarke’s knock was “unbelievable”.

“Obviously you’ve seen the class now. He struggled early in the tournament, but we knew he had it in him,” he told Channel Seven.

“We’ve seen it in the nets and his record is unbelievable. I think he strikes at 160 in T20 cricket opening the batting, so he’s class.”

The Stars copped early setbacks with Clint Hinchcliffe and Nick Larkin dismissed cheaply and were 2-25, but Clarke got things rolling by pulling Harry Conway for six and four in the one over.

Superstar spinner Rashid Khan produced some of his regular brilliance by going for just three runs off his first two overs and also claiming the huge wicket of Joe Burns for nine to put the Stars in a degree of trouble at 3-44 off eight overs.

Clarke, though, took charge by hitting Ahmed back over his head for six twice in the 10th over to leave the side 3-69 at halfway.

Hilton Cartwright top-edged Siddle soon after though and went for 17 but Clarke just pushed on, bringing up his 50 off 36 balls.

The Stars went 28 deliveries without a boundary and they needed 31 off the last three overs, but a huge Clarke six over square-leg swung the momentum.

Clarke holed out for 83 and the Stars still needed seven off the last over, but Qais Ahmad hoisted his first ball for six.

Khan was comfortably the pick of the bowlers with 1-16 off his four overs.

Having won the toss and bowled, the Stars’ spinners did the job through Zampa (2-24) and Ahmad (2-22), while quick Haris Rauf found two late wickets.

Adelaide had Jon Wells to thank for posting even a vaguely respectable total, five fours and a six helping him make 68 off 58 balls to drag them from 3-34 to the 9-139 total.

The Strikers would be kicking themselves for the lamentable batting effort, particularly the soft dismissals of important batters Matt Short and Jake Weatherald who both chipped shots straight to fielders.

With a number of Stars only exiting COVID quarantine in the past 48 hours after battling the virus, Zampa said the win was a special one.

“It’s been a long time coming for us. Obviously it’s been a very interesting couple of weeks … it’s great to be back out here though and obviously great to finish the night with the win,” he said.


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Ashton Turner helps Perth Scorchers surge past Sydney Sixers

Ashton Turner helps Perth Scorchers surge past Sydney Sixers

10/01/2022, Australia, Cricket, T20 Big Bash League, Article # 30583919

A match-winning 69 from Ashton Turner has lifted Perth Scorchers to a five-wicket victory against Sydney Sixers at Coffs Harbour.

The Scorchers made it back-to-back wins against the Sixers, recovering from 3-44 to track down Sydney’s 4-151 with an over to spare.

Turner, who did benefit from being dropped twice, made the Sixers pay in a starring knock that included seven fours and two sixes, helping his side remain on top of the BBL table at 9-2.

Having moved up the order in place of missing Colin Munro, who got COVID in the lead up to the match, the skipper said the win showed his side’s versatility.

“We’ve got a lot of depth and we’ve got guys who can fill roles and do a great job,” Turner said.

“Tonight, it was my turn, I went up the order a little bit. It was nice to face a few more balls and play a different role.

“We know in T20 Cricket a lot of responsibility goes on the top four batters to get the bulk of the runs, so it was pleasing for me to contribute in that facet.”

Perth had lost opener Kurtis Patterson for 11 after he top-edged a Ben Dwarshuis short-ball to midwicket, but things got worse when Cameron Bancroft chopped the very next ball onto his stumps to fall for five.

At 2-17, Laurie Evans looked in strong form but lofted a sweep to deep mid-wicket to fall for 19, with Perth falling to 3-44.

But Turner spearheaded the fightback with a flick over square-leg bringing the first six of the innings and he led Perth to 3-72 at the 10-over mark.

Turner was handed a lifeline on 42 when he was dropped by Dan Hughes off Dwarshuis’ bowling and he didn’t look back, whacking two fours in the same over to bring up his 50 off 29 balls.

Turner just kept swinging, slogging Shadab Khan over cow corner for a huge six, while Aaron Hardie played an inside-out loft to take Jackson Bird for the same result as Perth zeroed in on victory.

Turner eventually holed out to long-off for 69 and the contest continued to tighten when Hardie top edged Hayden Kerr and was caught for 35, with the Scorchers still needing eight runs off the last 10 balls.

But Perth had no further issues, with club debutant Chris Sabburg making seven not out off three balls and hitting the winning runs.

Earlier, the Sixers started strongly through openers Josh Philippe and Justin Avendano, who made 32 and 23 respectively before Scorchers spinner Ashton Agar picked both up in one over.

Having been well held through their middle overs, the Sixers finished with a flourish as Dan Christian and Jordan Silk put on 50 runs together off 27 balls to give their bowlers something to defend.

Christian top scored with 35 not out, while Agar was the pick of the bowlers with 2-23.

Silk did not take to the field after his innings, having tweaked his hamstring while batting.


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BBL teams to move to Melbourne

BBL teams to move to Melbourne

06/01/2022, Australia, Cricket, T20 Big Bash League, Article # 30581129

Big Bash League teams will move into a Melbourne hub while still playing home games interstate as part of a plan to combat the COVID-19 outbreaks that have hampered the competition’s schedule.

Under Cricket Australia’s soon-to-be-announced model, all eight BBL teams will begin to take residence in a Melbourne hub over the final stage of the season.

Some matches will be relocated to Victoria, while some teams will be able to host home games in a fly-in, fly-out plan to still play around the country.

It’s understood chartered flights could be used for those matches outside Victoria in a bid to minimise contact with the public and the risk of further infection.

CA has so far had to postpone two matches in the tournament, but are determined to press on with outbreaks in both the Brisbane and Melbourne Stars camps.

Having all teams based in one city will allow organisers to swap the order of games if required, as was done on the Gold Coast this week after positive virus cases at the Brisbane Heat.

“It’s very complex. We are gradually moving the teams into Melbourne,” CA CEO Nick Hockley told SEN.

“We saw the other night we had a critical mass of teams in south-east Queensland, and we were able to rejig fixtures to keep going.

“The last 10 days of the group stage of the competition, we will be gradually moving teams into Melbourne.

“They will still fly in and fly out for games in home markets.

“But if a team is impacted it gives us much more opportunity to swap teams in.”

Hockley said his belief the competition could continue on was based on the fact the outbreaks were “predominantly” in only two teams.

The Heat were set to be missing at least 12 players for their clash with the Melbourne Renegades in Geelong on Thursday night, after a major outbreak in their squad.

It comes after their clash with the Sydney Sixers has been postponed twice this week, first on Tuesday night and then again on Wednesday.

The Melbourne Stars have also had one game postponed, but been forced to play two others with local replacement players filling in.

They should welcome back the bulk of their 12 infected players against Adelaide Strikers on Friday if negative PCR results return in time, but that won’t include Glenn Maxwell who tested positive for COVID-19.

The Sixers and Strikers remain the only teams unaffected, with the Sydney Thunder, Hobart Hurricanes, Renegades and Perth Scorchers having players unavailable at times this season.

However, Hockley insisted the integrity of the competition had not been damaged, with more than 20 regular season matches to be played plus finals.

“While it’s not ideal, it’s great the level of commitment everyone is showing to the competition continuing,” Hockley said.

“In every step we have prioritised the health and wellbeing of those involved.

“We have a clear plan now for the final run in. We are very confident we will be able to complete the competition fully.”


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Scorchers win to extend lead on top of BBL

Scorchers win to extend lead on top of BBL

05/01/2022, Australia, Cricket, T20 Big Bash League, Article # 30579540

The Perth Scorchers have extended their lead at the top of the BBL ladder after surviving a Dan Christian masterclass and some last-minute rescheduling dramas to defeat the Sydney Sixers by 10 runs at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast.

After limiting the Scorchers to a seemingly modest 8-143 on Tuesday night, the Sixers slumped to 4-16 courtesy of a searing new-ball assault from firebrands Lance Morris and Tymal Mills, who both pushed the speedgun past the 150kmh mark.

The Sixers remained in trouble in the top-of-the-table blockbuster at 6-67 when Sean Abbott, the hero in their miraculous win over Brisbane Heat, nicked off to the impressive Andrew Tye (3-17).

The Sixers’ flickering hopes remained in the hands of ageless Twenty20 master Christian, who threatened a similar miracle, riding his luck in an entertaining 73.

Flurry of big blows

He started slowly, survived two confident caught-behind shouts and a missed stumping before launching a flurry of big blows late to give the Sixers a sniff before finally succumbing to Tye in the penultimate over.

The Sixers ended their innings on 8-133.

“The way we started (with the ball), it (Perth’s 143) was probably a bit above par,” Christian said.

“We felt the wicket was a bit two-paced and had some undulations in it.

“It was more a 130 wicket, particularly with the start we got off to.

“(With the bat) we wanted to make sure we had as many guys in the sheds as late as possible.

“Jordan Silk and I soaked up as many balls as we could, just to try to take it a bit deeper.

“They bowled really well at the start and we left ourselves with a bit too much to do.”

Miserly with the ball

Earlier, Christian proved miserly with the ball (2-14), combining with speedster Hayden Kerr (4-32) to keep the Scorchers in relative check.

Christian snared two wickets in the 11th over — after spinner Stephen O’Keefe left the field with a suspected broken right middle finger — before taking a wonderful one-handed catch at short cover to dismiss Perth captain Ashton Turner (1).

The Scorchers blasted 70 off the last six overs, thanks chiefly to a career-best 45 from Aaron Hardie as a difficult day ended on a sparkling high.

The Scorchers were originally slated to play Sydney Thunder on Thursday before being bumped into the Tuesday night timeslot to replace the Heat at short notice after positive COVID-19 cases were recorded in Brisbane’s squad.


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Renegades scramble past Stars in BBL Melbourne derby

Renegades scramble past Stars in BBL Melbourne derby

03/01/2022, Australia, Cricket, T20 Big Bash League, Article # 30578456

Melbourne Renegades have snatched a rare BBL derby win, stumbling to a five-wicket victory against the COVID-19 ravaged Melbourne Stars at the MCG.

Having to call up club cricketers as they attempt to push on without 12 squad players, the Stars were eyeing off an extraordinary upset as the Renegades lost 4-18 on Monday night.

But the inexperienced pair of Mackenzie Harvey (23no) and James Seymour (17no) steered the Renegades past the Stars’ paltry total of 126 with 12 balls to spare.

The Renegades’ second win of the tournament – and just their seventh victory in 21 games against the Stars – came with plenty of anxious moments.

Melbourne’s red team was cruising at 1-73 from just nine overs with ace duo Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh at the crease.

But Finch’s important innings of 50 ended in controversy after the video umpire deemed Haris Rauf completed a catch despite footage possibly indicating the Pakistani quick touched the boundary rope with his foot.

The mini collapse ultimately did not matter as Harvey and Seymour showed composure to lead the Renegades home.

In a shining light for the Stars, young Pakistani fast bowler Ahmed Daniyal dismissed Marsh for a wicket on his BBL debut.

Renegades captain Nic Maddinson proved to be the unlikely destroyer with the ball to set the tone for the contest.

Maddinson claimed career-best figures of 3-20 after entering the match having taken just nine wickets from 127 T20 games.

The 30-year-old knocked over the Stars’ unheralded top three of Justin Avendano, Travis Dean and Charlie Wakim to leave captain Glenn Maxwell with all the work to do.

But Maxwell, who was one of just four players remaining from his team’s game seven days ago, was unable to pull the Stars out of a hole and was dismissed for seven.

One of the few recognised Stars players available, Maxwell joked to Renegades wicketkeeper Sam Harper that “he may have COVID” so to stay away.

Star quick Kane Richardson (3-24) followed up Maddinson’s good work to strike fear through the Stars’ tail.

Already without 10 squad members for Sunday’s loss against Perth Scorchers, English opener Joe Clarke and top-up player Tom Rogers were ruled out of the derby after recording positive COVID-19 tests.

Internationals such as Marcus Stoinis and Adam Zampa have been replaced by cricketers who were not even dreaming of a BBL game just a few days ago.

Renegades fast bowler James Pattinson was also unable to take to the field as he awaits his result from a coronavirus test taken four days ago.

The former Australia Test bowler undertook a PCR test on December 30 but is still waiting to hear if he is positive or negative.

There have been major delays on COVID-19 test results coming back right across Australia as the Omicron strain causes case numbers to soar to record levels.


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Matthew Gilkes, Muhammad Hasnain impress in Sydney Thunder win over Adelaide Strikers

Matthew Gilkes, Muhammad Hasnain impress in Sydney Thunder win over Adelaide Strikers

02/01/2022, Australia, Cricket, T20 Big Bash League, Article # 30577344

Pakistan sensation Muhammad Hasnain wasted no time making an impact on his Sydney Thunder debut, becoming the first bowler in BBL history to take three wickets in their first over in the competition.

The 21-year-old took wickets with his second, third and fifth balls, completing a triple-wicket maiden to steer his side to a 28-run win against Adelaide Strikers.

He finished with 3-20 after Sydney had earlier taken control of the game batting first via Matthew Gilkes’ classy 93 helping Thunder make 7-172.

Hasnain had Matthew Short caught on the boundary, trapped Jake Weatherald lbw with his next, while a sharp Ben Cutting catch earned his third scalp with Jonathon Wells out for a duck, to leave the Strikers 3-25 after just three overs of their chase.

Having pushed on to 3-50 with Matt Renshaw looking steady, Henry Hunt danced down the pitch to Jason Sangha and was stumped.

And Sangha struck again in his next over with Renshaw picking out deep mid-wicket, falling for 30 and leaving the Strikers 5-65.

But Adelaide slowly worked its way into the chase with Harry Nielsen and Thomas Kelly adding 45 before a stunning direct-hit throw from Gilkes had the latter run out for 19 with the Strikers 6-110.

Nielsen top scored for Thunder with 39, but the Strikers never threatened to reach their target, eventually rolled for 144.

Earlier, the Thunder won the toss and batted, scoring 7-172.

Gilkes, dropped second ball by Rashid Khan, batted all bar one ball of Thunder’s innings in making 93 from 57 balls, a knock that included nine fours and three sixes.

Ben Cutting was also an important contributor, blasting two sixes in his 34 off 25 balls.

Gilkes thrived late in the innings taking three consecutive fours off Strikers star Rashid Khan and had a century in his sights after clearing the boundary off Wes Agar before holing out to deep mid-wicket.

Siddle and Agar each finished with three wickets.

The win moved Thunder to third on the BBL table, while the Strikers are seventh after just one win.


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BBL Strikers-Thunder clash goes ahead despite COVID infections

BBL Strikers-Thunder clash goes ahead despite COVID infections

31/12/2021, Australia, Cricket, T20 Big Bash League, Article # 30575461

The adoption of extreme protocols has saved the New Year’s Eve BBL match between the Sydney Thunder and Adelaide Strikers at Adelaide Oval, but COVID-19 cases are threatening to derail another marquee fixture.

Thursday night’s clash between Melbourne Stars and Perth Scorchers was postponed because a Stars staffer tested positive for COVID-19.

There were fears Friday night’s game between the Strikers and Thunder would also be canned after four Thunder players contracted the virus.

But BBL administrators, locked in talks with South Australia’s government throughout Friday, got the green light for the match to proceed with strict social-distancing protocols.

The four Thunder players who tested positive are isolating, but the rest of the squad are free to play after returning negative PCR tests.

Further scheduling headaches are on the cards for Cricket Australia (CA), which is also reeling from news that Test batter Travis Head has the virus.

The Stars have revealed seven players and eight staff members now have the virus, casting extreme doubt on whether their upcoming games will take place as scheduled.

Glenn Maxwell’s side are slated to face Perth in Melbourne on Sunday then tackle the Melbourne Renegades on Monday, an MCG match that would ordinarily attract one of the biggest crowds of the regular season.

But the Stars’ contingent with coronavirus have started a seven-day stint in isolation, as per government guidelines.

CA faces the prospect of further fixture rejigs and more cases popping up among players and staff as community transmission continues to grow.

The governing body is keen to stage as many BBL games as possible in the school-holiday period, and ensure that the season wraps up on January 28.

Elsewhere, the Renegades have been forced to omit James Pattinson from their 15-man squad for Saturday’s game against Hobart.

Pattinson is awaiting the outcome of a PCR test.

The Stars players who tested negative on Thursday will be tested again on Saturday, with general manager Blair Crouch saying the health of safety of the squad and staff was the club’s priority.

“We are providing all the support we can to players, staff and their families. I’d like to thank the medical teams at both Cricket Victoria and Cricket Australia for their ongoing guidance,” Crouch said.

AFLW hit too

The BBL news came as the AFLW rejigged its fixture for rounds one and two.

The catalyst for the changes was Western Australia’s border restrictions, rather than the fact that five members of Gold Coast’s AFLW program have tested positive to COVID-19.

However, further coronavirus cases among the Suns would cast doubt on their round-one match against GWS proceeding on January 9.

Meanwhile, Melbourne City’s A-League Men game with Adelaide United on January 5 has been postponed due to City’s FFA Cup quarter-final with Wellington Phoenix.

City were subject to three postponements due to COVID-19 over the festive period with games against Western Sydney, Brisbane and Newcastle all called off.

All but one of the New Year’s Day weekend A-League Men fixtures were cancelled with Wellington facing Adelaide on January 1 in South Australia the sole surviving match.



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Australian batter Travis Head tests positive to COVID-19

Australian batter Travis Head tests positive to COVID-19

31/12/2021, Australia, Cricket, T20 Big Bash League, Article # 30575291

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused further Ashes disruption after Travis Head contracted the virus, prompting Australia to call in three players as cover for the fourth Test.

Head will miss the SCG match, beginning on January 5, after becoming the first Australian cricketer to test positive for COVID-19 while on duty with the Test squad.

The South Australian, who was man of the match in the hosts’ series-opening win at the Gabba, is asymptomatic but will spend seven days isolating in Melbourne with his partner.

The potential for further positive cases among Australia’s players, families and support staff looms large with everyone in the touring party undergoing PCR and RAT tests on Friday morning.

Mitch Marsh, Nic Maddinson and would-be debutant Josh Inglis have joined Usman Khawaja in Australia’s enlarged squad.

Cricket Australia (CA) is determined to press on with this summer’s schedule as planned despite a backdrop of cases in both squads, and 21,151 cases of COVID-19 reported by NSW Health on New Year’s Eve.

Pat Cummins’ side is slated to travel to Sydney on Friday via charter flight.

England, minus head coach Chris Silverwood, is set to fly out on a separate charter flight after a late change to travel arrangements.

England’s touring party reported no new COVID-19 cases on Friday, meaning their outbreak is still limited to three support staff and four family members.

Silverwood is isolating because he is a close contact while match referee David Boon will be another omission for the SCG Test after testing positive for COVID-19.

Australia expect Head will be available for the series finale in Hobart, which begins on January 14.

“As part of our testing procedures, we are PCR testing players, their families and our support staff daily,” a CA spokesperson said.

“We are grateful to our exceptional medical staff for all the work they have done throughout this series and we will continue to work with and support the players, their families and staff from both teams.”

The BBL is also facing COVID-19 hurdles.

Thursday night’s match between Perth Scorchers and Melbourne Stars was postponed because a Stars staffer returned a positive test.

There is speculation the New Year’s Eve clash between Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Thunder could also be moved.


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