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Injured Williamson in doubt for third Test, may delay IPL departure

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Injured Williamson in doubt for third Test, may delay IPL departure

WELLINGTON: Injured Kane Williamson could sit out the third Test against Bangladesh beginning Saturday in Christchurch and might have to delay his departure for the Indian Premier League (IPL), New Zealand said Tuesday.

Captain Williamson suffered a shoulder injury while fielding in Bangladesh’s first innings of the second Test in Wellington, which New Zealand won on Tuesday by an innings and 12 runs.

Coach Gary Stead said scans had detected a tear to Williamson’s left pectoral minor muscle in his shoulder.

“There’s obviously irritation and a wee bit of bleeding, it’s not a major injury,” Stead said.

“We’re hopeful that he will recover quickly, and the thing for us is to make sure he doesn’t aggravate it any more. He will come to Christchurch and we will make an assessment there on whether he plays.”

With the series already won, Stead said New Zealand would take a “safety first” approach, particularly with this year’s World Cup on the horizon.

“No player wants to give up their spot in the Test team. But I think it’s safe to say that we will probably err on the conservative side, and if there’s any chance of risk then we’re likely to pull him from that game.”

Williamson had suffered considerable discomfort while batting, although he managed to score 74.

He did not take the field for Bangladesh’s second innings with Tim Southee taking over the captaincy.

Williamson is due to fly to India after the Bangladesh series to join up with the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the money-spinning Twenty20 IPL.

“If things progress as we hope, then still going to the IPL shouldn’t be a problem to him,” said Stead.

“But he’s also aware that if he’s not quite 100 per cent, then we will potentially hold him back as well and make sure that he is right before he goes on that plane.”

Victory early on the fifth day after the first two days were lost to rain gave New Zealand an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the series and ensured they would end the season with an International Cricket Council cheque for $500,000 as the second-ranked Test side behind India.

 

 

 

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Cricket

South Africa unveil England cricket tour dates

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JOHANNESBURG: South Africa on Friday announced the dates for a tour by England which will include four Tests, three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 internationals.

The Test series will start in Centurion on December 26, followed by South Africa’s traditional New Year Test at Newlands in Cape Town, starting on January 3.

The remaining Tests will be in Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg.

England will play two warm-up matches before the Tests, a two-day game against an Invitation XI and a three-day match against South Africa A. Both fixtures will be in Benoni.

Cricket South Africa chief executive Thabang Moroe said the series would have special significance, “as this will be our first home series in the ICC World Test championship following our away series in India in October.”

South Africa will also host Australia for three Twenty20 internationals and three one-day internationals, starting five days after England’s final fixture on February 16.

 

 

 

 

 

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Smith ready to pick up where he left off at World Cup

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SYDNEY: Before his dramatic fall from grace, Steve Smith was drawing comparisons with Australian batting icon Donald Bradman, and there are signs he is ready to pick up where he left off.

Smith was the golden boy of Australian cricket until he opted to turn a blind eye to teammates Cameron Bancroft and David Warner conspiring to alter the ball during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town in early 2018.

It proved catastrophic, with his career and reputation crumbling — he was banned for a year and sacked as national captain.

The 29-year-old has admitted it left him devastated but he has done his time, worked hard to be in prime condition for his return and provided an ominous reminder of his sublime skills in pre-World Cup warm-up games against a New Zealand XI.

“Best physical condition of his life,” coach Justin Langer said recently of Smith, who is also returning from elbow surgery.

“That was one of his goals at the start of the ban, come back in better physical shape than ever before. He and Davey (Warner) have done the same thing, they are in pristine condition.”

While the Test format is where Smith has really excelled, he has also been formidable in one-day internationals, where he averages 41.84 from his 108 matches, hitting eight hundreds and 19 half-centuries.

 

 

 

 

 

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Cricket World Cup: Is Sri Lankan build-up chaotic?

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LONDON: Kumar Sangakkara hopes Sri Lanka can somehow overcome their “chaotic” build-up to the World Cup thanks to new captain Dimuth Karunaratne’s “lack of baggage”.
The 1996 champions head into this year’s edition in England, which starts next week, having lost eight of their last nine one-day internationals — with the lone win in that run Tuesday’s rain-affected victory over Scotland, a non-Test nation who have not qualified for the World Cup.
“It’s been quite chaotic, both in terms of continuity in selection and giving players a very good, consistent run in the team, which is essential for confidence,” former Sri Lanka captain Sangakkara said at Lord’s on Thursday.

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