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SL v AFG (1)
PSL 2024 (3)
NZ v AUS (1)
WCL 2 (1)
CWC Play-off (3)
WI 4-Day (4)

The Surfer

The life-saving work of the PCA

The Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) do a vast amount of incredible work supporting current and former players through difficult times in a range of situations

Matthew Maynard
You need to talk, you need that avenue of communication and that channel is very helpful. Speaking to a counsellor about Tom really helps. I still have dark days but I know that I can always pick up the phone and speak to someone if I need to. And the PCA will not just help the one person who has played cricket: their Benevolent Fund will look after the whole family.
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A peek into street cricket in the UAE

Paul Radley on Friday cricket that is a ritual for the masses in the UAE

Writing in The National, Paul Radley, charts out the craze for tape-ball cricket among people from various walks of life, including fast bowler Mohammed Naveed, who represented UAE in the 2015 World Cup.
7.30am. A Friday during Ramadan, in a car park in the middle of Al Quoz industrial estate, Dubai.
While his teammates crouch between two Isuzu utility vehicles to shade themselves from the early morning sun, a batsman removes his sandals and stands in front a set of thin metal stumps.
It is an internal match between the staff of a construction firm, in the nearest car park to their company accommodation in Al Quoz. A friendly, as it were. Although it doesn't seem so friendly just at the moment.
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Ronchi's post-retirement plans

Former New Zealand wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi talks life after retirement, plans of taking up a coaching role with Cricket Wellington and New Zealand Cricket, and playing in the domestic T20 leagues across the globe

Speaking to Mark Geenty of former New Zealand wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi lays his thoughts out on playing a prospective mentor role to the up-and-coming glovemen in the national ranks and the "amazing period" that the 2015 World Cup was for the team.
"I played cricket for so long and had so many guys help out with my career and I think I'm in a position to do the same thing. There aren't too many wicketkeeping coaches around. To try and give back in that sense, and even help out during the summer with BJ [Watling, Test wicketkeeper] and others. Just the knowledge I've gained from keeping for as long as I have, you've got to pass it on and help people get better."
It seems odd that specialist wicketkeeping coaching appears rare in New Zealand. Especially now, after a long line of quality gloveman like Ian Smith, Adam Parore, Brendon McCullum and Ronchi, the race is wide open for someone in white ball cricket. Batting ability and hitting power in the top-five can sometimes trump glovework as the No 1 consideration, although Ronchi was rightly recognised as the country's best gloveman when picked for his Champions Trophy farewell.
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Dribbling with the double

Having represented New Zealand in two different sports, double internationals Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine reflect on the learnings gathered from playing basketball and hockey at the highest level

Speaking to, New Zealand Women's captain Suzie Bates and allrounder Sophie Devine reflect on the pros and cons of having donned the hat of a double international and the growing opportunities offered to female cricketers by the domestic T20 leagues
Captain Suzie Bates, her country's second highest run scorer, was part of the New Zealand basketball team that competed at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, while Sophie Devine represented the Black Sticks hockey team.
"There must be something in the Kiwi water as Suzie Bates played basketball for New Zealand as well," Devine said. "Playing both taught me a few different things, like time management, and I had great support with family and friends in school and cricket. I was very fortunate in that regard.
"The opportunity to play around the world in two sports was fantastic, it's been a real privilege."
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Cooking up the Test love

Barney Ronay considers Alastair Cook's prolific county scoring after giving up the Test captaincy and wonders if he is set for a "Gooch-like late career surge"

Ahead of the start of England's Test summer, Barney Ronay in the Guardian muses on Alastair Cook's prolific county scoring, after giving up the captaincy, and wonders if he is set for a "Gooch-like late career surge". With Test cricket precariously placed and England's top order a mess, is it about time to give Cook the love he's due?
It has been said that Cook has built a great career out of only three shots. But this is unfair. He has at least four shots. The short-arm back cut. The flick off the pads. That pull shot, where suddenly he is brandishing the bat with a startling sense of freedom like a man expertly hurling the hotel mini-fridge out of his 17th-floor window. Best of all he has an excellent leave. Not a fancy, bat-twirling leave, more a pointed kind of stillness, the most English of shots in a country where silence, the refusal to engage or acknowledge, is often the most devastating weapon.
The point is that Cook embodies more than any player in world cricket, perhaps more than anyone to come, those other virtues: the difficult pleasures of the most achingly complex global sport devised, a stately physical art-form that is, for all its past glories, in decline.
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Bringing cricket to Khayelitsha

Gary Kirsten shares his thoughts on developing sporting infrastructure in the biggest township in Cape Town, coaching and leadership

Speaking to Alec Hogg in, Gary Kirsten reflects on his foundation's motive of raising £600 000 to set up an artificial pitch for the Chris Hani High School in Khayelitsha, a township in Cape Town. He also shares his thoughts on the questions surrounding AB de Villiers' captaincy in the wake of South Africa's pre-mature exit from the Champions Trophy.
I think there are many initiatives on the go and we've just felt that the one gap in that space is through the schools and I think that there's a lot of emphasis being placed on development within the clubs, club systems and facilities dotted up all over the place and it's not to say that those aren't working. I think a lot of those projects are working, but you know, as I said, Khayelitsha's the biggest township in Cape Town, where I live and when we did some research on it, it was glaring to kind of see that through eight schools we went to, each with a thousand scholars, that they were absolutely no sporting facilities.
I mean, it actually shocked me to be honest with you. I couldn't believe that with sport being such a crucial component to a young person' s development in their life as we know, and it's not about producing one or two that go onto play cricket at the highest level, it's actually not about that. It's about young kids after school, having extramural activities to keep them occupied and to grow their general wellbeing. Sport plays a huge component for every one of us in that and for them to be denied that opportunity; I think it's something we need to address.
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Sehwag's swashbuckling ways

With the Cricket Advisory Committee set to name India's coach for the next two years soon, Sandeep Dwivedi, in the Indian Express, looks at what Virender Sehwag, one of the shortlisted candidates, can bring to the role

Writing in the Indian Express Sandeep Dwivedi busts the stereotypes that surround Virender Sehwag to give an insight into his coaching style that, like his batting, is largely uncluttered and is in favour a "liberal and permissive dressing room atmosphere".
Sehwag had a mischievous smile as he narrated his early days as a mentor, rather a visiting faculty. "I told them that in cricket, it's always your decision. What you want to do is up to you. It is your effort - how much you want to improve your game and how you want to enjoy your game. It's your wish, it's not the coach's or manager's wish. They can't force you to do this and do that. As I was saying this, the coach had a question," Sehwag had recalled the Punjab dressing room scene in a 2015 interview with The Indian Express.
The coach's worries were expected. In a team sport, independent thinkers often get labeled as disrupters, they are seen as selfish spoilers who rock the boat. Anticipating mass absence, or maybe a minor rebellion, at the next training session, the coach blurted out: "What do I do if a player says he doesn't want to practice?" Sehwag's answer would light up the fresh young faces around the room. "I said it is fine as long as he scores runs. Most players start playing the game since the time they are six to seven years old. So, say from the age of 7 to 20, a player has trained for about 13 years. He is likely to get bored, even I get bored, I want to get away from the game. I want to go and watch a movie, listen to music … and then come back to the cricket and enjoy it more."
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De Villiers lauds 'consummate surgeon' Kohli

South Africa captain AB de Villers shares his thoughts on the talent and hard work that has helped Virat Kohli evolve into 'the very model of a calm, clinical and confident professional cricketer'

There were occasions earlier in his career when his determination to succeed spilled over into outbursts anger and volatility on the field, but such incidents are rare now. He has evolved into the very model of a calm, clinical and confident professional cricketer, seemingly in control of every situation.
Intense and serious in matches and at practice, he retains the invaluable ability to switch off from the game, relaxing, laughing and joking at every opportunity.
He enjoys calling people by playful nicknames and he can find humour in almost every situation, even when we are spending hour after hour at another photo shoot, waiting for the photographer to be ready, then being told how and where to pose, then waiting some more, then being told we have to start the process all over again.
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Afridi and India-Pakistan classics

Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi recounts his experiences with India's cricketers over the years

Over the years, Shahid Afridi has featured in countless India-Pakistan matches and hopes the June 4 tie between the two sides in the Champions Trophy turns out to be a "classic". Writing in a column on the ICC website, Afridi also recalled many pleasant memories he shared with India's cricketers.
Contrary to popular belief, India and Pakistan players get along very well. Of course, there are exceptions like Gautam Gambhir, who dare I say isn't the friendliest. We are unlikely to be found together at a coffee shop anytime soon. We had a heated exchange on the field some years ago and it made headlines all over the world. While I have moved on in life as I feel these things are part and parcel of the game, Gautam for some reason can't get over it. Good luck to him! While Gautam is clearly an exception, I have enjoyed excellent relationships with Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh. The three are one of my best mates and we have some wonderful memories together.
I recall during one of India's tours to Pakistan, I invited the entire India team to my Karachi house. We prepared special Pathan-style rich food, full of lamb and mutton dishes. When the food was served, there was a complete silence in the room and my Indian friends were looking at each other. At that point, I realised that my honourable and respectable guests don't eat that type of food!
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Jennings hungry for more Test success

England opener Keaton Jennings discusses Durham's ECB punishment, his own rise and the challenge of taking on South Africa - the country of his birth - this summer

Speaking to Donald McRae in the Guardian, Keaton Jennings reflects on a significant six months in his career. From the run glut he experienced in 2016, to his county, Durham, being demoted from Division One for financial mismanagement, captaining the England Lions and then going on to score a century on Test debut in India, Jennings has come of age. He is tipped to be part of the Test side for England's series against South Africa, the country of his birth, later this summer and the question of his allegiances is likely to come to the fore once again:
"I expected the negativity," Jennings says when recalling the response to his first Test century. "But I didn't expect the quantity or some of the criticism to go so far. Lots of people got involved in social media - including really big names - and it caused a massive ripple effect. People were arguing for and against me. Some articles had nasty words, some articles had really nice words. The majority were nice but it's hard not to think of the nasty 20%. At the same time, social media has given people a voice to reach those they admire or hate. You've got to take the good with the bad and I know I made the right decision."
How will South Africa's players react? "It's probably divided in terms of being understanding or being unhappy with me. It doesn't really bother me what they think to be totally honest. I'm sure they're not going to be too friendly on the field which is the way it should be."
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