World Cup Central: No sanction for Sri Lanka after press conference no-show

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The Sri Lankans celebrate an Australian wicket  •  Getty Images

The Sri Lankans celebrate an Australian wicket  •  Getty Images

June 17

Sri Lanka's refusal to send a player to the press conference after the loss to Australia will not result in any official sanctions. Upon being informed that the refusal is a breach of the Members Participation Agreement that the ICC has with each board, however, SLC has instructed the team to ensure media commitments are met for the remainder of the tournament.
"I got an email from the board saying we should send someone from now on," team manager Ashantha de Mel said. "Even if players are unwilling, we can send a coach or someone from management. Even I am happy to go if needed - I have no issues with that."
The refusal on Saturday, de Mel explained, was down to media fatigue. Only a small minority of Sri Lanka players converse in English, and as that is the language the majority of the media at the World Cup operates in, the same players had been put up for media commitments over the previous few games. Following the loss against Australia, each member of that group of players had been reluctant to appear, and "I didn't want to force anyone," de Mel said.
An SLC statement on Monday clarified that "contrary to various media reports, there won't be any sanctions imposed on the Sri Lanka team by the ICC, over its non-participation in the post-match media conference on Saturday".
Gulbadin Naib, and the DLS puzzle
Afghanistan don't have a point yet, after four matches, at the World Cup. None of their matches have ended in a split-point no-result either, like most of the other teams have experienced.
"We played the last four games, we faced four different kind of conditions," Gulbadin Naib, the captain, said ahead of the game against England. "It's very difficult in this kind of surface. You play in Asia and then you move to England, so it's very difficult."
Naib promised that Afghanistan would "be in good form now" that they have had some time in the UK, but it might get tricky for him, and his team, if it came to a DLS-affected chase.
Sample this: Q: Have you figured out how the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern system works? A: You should ask this question of ICC, not me […] I have no answer for them.
Who did it better? Tendulkar in 2003 or Rohit in 2019?
For fans of Indian cricket who grew up in the 2000s, Sachin Tendulkar's upper-cut over point for a six off Shoaib Akhtar is a piece of memory that is hard to forget. But in the 27th over of India's World Cup game against Pakistan, Rohit Sharma produced a carbon-copy shot off Hasan Ali that rolled back the years to leave fans on the internet gobsmacked at the similarity between Tendulkar and Sharma's shot.
The forward-prod with the bowler in his stride was the same, the quick shuffle onto the backfoot - after noticing that the ball is short - was same and while Tendulkar's shot was off a much quicker Akhtar, fans of Rohit exclaimed that his shot off Hasan would've travelled further.
Who cut it better? Decide for yourself!

June 16

Behrendorff is hoping to 'get away with it' as best as he can
Jason Behrendorff's World Cup debut didn't go too badly. He picked up his maiden wicket, the crucial one of Lahiru Thirimanne, but even as Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson and Pat Cummins shared the rest of the Sri Lanka wickets, Behrendorff was the most expensive of the Australia bowlers.
"It is always tough waiting because you want to be playing cricket," Behrendorff, who has had to wait for his turn, said. "If I can keep my economy rate pretty good and take some wickets along the way, that will go a long way to playing more games which is definitely what I want."
As far as the future is concerned, he knows it will be tough, but is ready for the challenge. "It is always tough, because if they do get off to a good start and you are handed the ball a few overs in you know they are going and you have to be on your game straight away," he said. "But that is nothing new, it is about backing yourself and with two new balls as well it is always going to fly if they go hard.
"It is about trying to minimise the damage at times and try and get away with it as best you can."

June 15

Mushfiqur Rahim leaves nets after blow to the hand
Mushfiqur Rahim left the nets midway through his batting session in Taunton two days before Bangladesh's game against West Indies after being hit on his right hand by a delivery from Mustafizur Rahman. He didn't come back out after that, staying in the dressing room with the team physio for company.
The injury isn't too serious, Bangladesh media manager Rabeed Imam confirmed shortly afterwards.
This is the second time a key Bangladesh batsman has suffered a hand injury during a nets session, Tamim Iqbal having been struck earlier at The Oval before their opening game against South Africa.
Injury has been a major problem for Bangladesh in the recent past. Apart from Shakib Al Hasan, who has a thigh strain, Mashrafe Mortaza (hamstring) and Mohammad Saifuddin (back) are also carrying niggles.
Net bowler laid low by Saifuddin shot to the head
The medical officer at the County Ground in Taunton cleared young Ranel after he was hit on the head by a Mohammad Saifuddin shot during a Bangladesh net session. The ball struck him on the back of his head to the right, there was bleeding immediately.
Bangladesh physio Thihan Chandramohan and the ground medical staff rushed to the spot, where Ranel had slouched over. He was checked on the field first and walked off soon after with Chandramohan.
This is the second incident of a net bowler being hit on the head during the course of the World Cup, after a David Warner shot had struck Jai Kishen earlier during an Australia training session.
Brathwaite reprimanded for showing dissent after dismissal
West Indies allrounder Carlos Brathwaite has received an official reprimand and one demerit point, for breaching the ICC's Code of Conduct, related to showing dissent at an umpire's decision. The incident occurred in the 44th over of West Indies' match against England in Southampton on Friday,
Brathwaite was given out caught behind off Jofra Archer's bowling for 14, attempting a pull shot. The initial impression was that the ball had hit his arm, but since West Indies were out of reviews at that stage, he couldn't opt for DRS. Replays later confirmed that there was indeed an edge off the bat.
Brathwaite admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee David Boon and there was no need for a formal hearing.

June 13

New Zealand coach Gary Stead is aware of the importance of allowing his squad to relax during the World Cup and players will be given the option to spend a few days away from the tour treadmill following the washout against India.
They next play against South Africa on June 19 meaning it will be 11 days without getting on the field, but Stead said it was still important to get away from the scrutiny of the tournament and spend time with family who are with them.
"I think it's important that you manage your breaks," Stead said. "Whilst we haven't played India, we've still prepared and everything you do in the build-up days is on the assumption you'll play a full day of cricket.
"It's quite ironic, our last four training sessions have been indoors. It's something we have to deal with. We pride ourselves on our adaptability and we'll have to prove that again.
"We travel to Birmingham now but the players have the option to go elsewhere with their families. They have the option to stay elsewhere for a couple of days and get a bit of down time."
Cummins delighted with his dot balls
Wickets are what make Pat Cummins happiest, but he has also been delighted with his ability to string together dot balls during the early stages of the World Cup.
Cummins was Australia's most impressive bowler in the 41-run win against Pakistan in Taunton as he bagged 3 for 33 during which he delivered 41 dot balls in his 10 overs, taking his tally for the tournament to 152 which puts him well ahead of the pack - albeit Australia have now played four games without weather interruption.
"That's the big improvement in my game in the last couple of years, the ability to hold a length and make it difficult to get runs," Cummins said. "If you give away easy singles then 300 becomes quite an achievable score. Cutting out the singles is huge, it means if you give away a boundary it might not be that big over of ten or 11, it may just be a five or a six."
Mitchell Starc also chipped in with two key wickets at the death - ending a dangerous counterattack from Wahab Riaz - but Cummins insisted the pair do not feel overburdened to carry the attack. Australia fielded four frontline quicks in Taunton, leaving out legspinner Adam Zampa, after rebalancing their side in the absence of the injured Marcus Stoinis.
"Richo [Kane Richardson] and Coults [Nathan Coulter-Nile)] have played a bit of cricket but still not heaps. I think they're always going to get better. That role in the middle it's always so hard to take wickets. And that's where someone like Zamps has been great."

June 12

Cottrell salute not England coach's cup of tea
Sheldon Cottrell's wicket-taking celebration may have charmed many and created an army of imitators, but Trevor Bayliss is not impressed.
Cottrell, West Indies' left-arm swing bowler, honours his colleagues in the Jamaica Defence Force - he continues to serve as a soldier - by standing to attention and saluting in theatrical fashion each time he takes a wicket.
But while Bayliss, the England coach, accepts the celebration is "entertainment" that may "put a smile on the face" of younger supporters, he confesses - in a good-natured, curmudgeonly way - that the charm is lost on him.
"It probably pisses me off more than anyone else," he said. "If you're older than about 40 years old it pisses you off.
"But every team has their way of celebrating and I'm sure other teams might not like the way we celebrate. In the end, it's a young man's game. It's all entertainment. If it gets a bit of a laugh or a smile on people's faces so be it."
England and West Indies play each other in Southampton on Friday with both teams having suffered a loss in their first three matches. Whichever side loses will have little margin for error in their remaining group games.

June 11

Bereaved Malinga to make a short trip home
Lasith Malinga will make a short trip back home in between Sri Lanka's World Cup 2019 matches due to the demise of his mother-in-law.
Sri Lanka Cricket said that Malinga would leave the team after their match against Bangladesh, which will take place on Tuesday in Bristol.
The funeral for the late Kanthi Perera will be on Thursday, in Colombo, and Malinga is expected to fly back in time for Sri Lanka's next engagement, against Australia at The Oval on Saturday.
"Lasith will be leaving today for Sri Lanka. He promised us he'd be back for the Australia match," Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne said. "We're all hoping he'll be back. If for some reason he's not able to, we'll have to manage that game with the players available to us. Even if he misses the Australia game, he'll definitely be here for the next game onwards. "
Malinga was one of the stars of Sri Lanka's win against Afghanistan, taking 3 for 39 to hasten victory. Sri Lanka were thrashed by ten wickets in their World Cup opener, against New Zealand, before the win against Afghanistan. They haven't played a match since then, due to washouts against Pakistan and Bangladesh. They have also been impacted by an injury to Nuwan Pradeep, who was hit on his bowling hand while training on Sunday.
'Batters have got to step up' - SA batting coach Dale Benkenstein
South Africa got their first point in their fourth World Cup game when their fixture against West Indies in Southampton was washed out. It's looking bleaker than the English weather for the team right now, and batting coach Dale Benkenstein wants the batsmen to bat more responsibly and stay in the middle longer to help get to the top half of the table.
"The message is that the batters have got to step up and we haven't," he said four days away from South Africa's next match, against Afghanistan in Cardiff. "I feel like we are batting well, but we just haven't done it long enough. Everyone has got in. We've had opportunities to have hundred partnerships and win matches, but we haven't done it.
"We try and play quite an aggressive form of cricket. Scores are much higher than they used to be. Teams are scoring big totals. So when you are in and you are dominating, you've got to try and make the most of it. Sometimes we don't get that balance right. We try and accelerate maybe a bit too fast rather than getting our heads down and ticking it over and the batters getting us more to the end of the game."

June 10

Gayle's 'Universe Boss' bat sticker got ICC thumbs down too
The ICC's equipment regulations might just have become the most widely read official document in the past week, thanks to MS Dhoni's glove affair. But before Dhoni had to get his equipment right, somebody else had to, too. The Universe Boss.
Chris Gayle wanted to emblazon his bat with the moniker he has coined for himself, but was told that he couldn't.
"ICC couldn't have made an exception for Dhoni as no personal messages are allowed on equipment. Gayle wanted it but when he was refused permission, he accepted it and moved on," PTI reported an ICC spokesperson as saying. "It is not about military symbolism. It is about a simple rule that no personal messages are allowed.
"If ICC did not make an exception for Gayle, then how come they would make it for Dhoni."
Jos Buttler on course after hip bruising
Jos Buttler is expected to resume training on Wednesday ahead of England's next World Cup fixture, against West Indies in Southampton on Friday, after sustaining "heavy bruising on his right hip" during England's victory over Bangladesh in Cardiff on Saturday.
Buttler, who was hobbling noticeably towards the end of his hard-hitting half-century, did not take the field during Bangladesh's innings, with the wicketkeeping duties passing to Jonny Bairstow. Initially it appeared that he had jarred his hip while hitting a back-foot drive for six off Mosaddek Hossain, but Eoin Morgan, England's captain, had played down any long-term concerns at the end of the match.
And now, after being monitored for 48 hours since the injury, the ECB have stated that he was "responding well to treatment and will be reassessed later this week".
"We anticipate he will train with the rest of the squad at the Hampshire Bowl on Wednesday ahead of the match against West Indies on Friday," added an ECB spokesman.
Hardik Pandya reminds Steve Waugh of Lance Klusener from the 1999 World Cup
The win over Australia "in the pressure cooker of a World Cup clash" will give India loads of confidence, but it's the innings from Hardik Pandya that "will send shivers down opposition spines", according to Steve Waugh.
Hardik slammed a 27-ball 48 at No. 4 with four fours and three sixes to provide India the late thrust as they put up 352 for 5, before bowling Australia out for 316.
"This guy might just be the equivalent of Lance Klusener in the 1999 World Cup," Waugh wrote in his column for the ICC. "He has the ability to begin his innings like most finish with clean hitting that no opposing captain can protect."
Unlike Hardik, Glenn Maxwell didn't get a promotion in the batting order, walking in at No. 5 with the scoreboard reading 202 for 3 in 36.4 overs, and scoring 28 in 14 balls. "The cameo of Glenn Maxwell will increase calls for his elevation up the batting order as he is a match-winner that can turn a game in a few overs," Waugh wrote.
'Had a point to prove' against Australia - Kohli
After India sealed a 36-run win over Australia in their second World Cup match, Virat Kohli said that the 3-2 home series defeat against the same opponents before the IPL was precisely the spur the team needed.
"After losing in India, we had a point to prove and that was our motivation," Kohli said.
India's World Cup campaign has begun brightly but New Zealand up next followed by Pakistan. That, according to Kohli, suits the team just fine, but thinking about the knockouts is best left for another day.
"We couldn't ask for a better start against two very strong sides and I like we've got the strongest sides in world cricket early on," he said. "It's far too early to talk about semi-finals, after six games we will be in a better position to think about that but it's not for now."

June 9

Dhawan sustains hand injury during century
India opener Shikhar Dhawan has picked up a hand injury while batting against Australia at The Oval on Sunday. The extent of the injury is not known yet, but Dhawan was seen with an ice pack on his left hand in the dressing room, and did not take the field during Australia's batting. The Indian team manager later said Dhawan would not take the field at all.
Dhawan, who scored a century to help India post 352, was hit on the left hand by a short ball from Pat Cummins off the first ball of the ninth over. Dhawan tried to defend the ball with a straight bat but the ball rose on him and struck his bottom hand before hitting his shoulder and helmet grille. Later in the over, India physio Patrick Farhart came out and used a spray on the opener's left thumb. Dhawan was on 24 off 26 balls then and finished with 117 off 109 balls.

June 8

Rashid Khan is being treated for concussion after taking a blow to the head in Afghanistan's game against New Zealand on Saturday.
He was struck on the helmet by quick bowler Lockie Ferguson, misjudging the length and ducking into a short of a length ball on off stump. The ball also ricocheted onto his stumps and bowled him.
Rashid walked off the field looking very dazed and when he failed two concussion tests, the team management asked him to sit out of the rest of the game as a precautionary measure. Afghanistan next play South Africa on June 15.

June 7

Sarfaraz hopes rain doesn't mess with Pakistan momentum
The forecast promised rain, and rain it did in Bristol, washing out Pakistan's - and Sri Lanka's - hopes of notching up a second win at the World Cup.
For Pakistan, the lost point from the abandonment might perhaps be more frustrating, favourites as they were to beat the Sri Lankans. Their captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, however, was more disappointed at how the team couldn't build on the momentum gained from beating England.
"As a team we really wanted to play this match especially after gaining momentum with the win against England," he said. "It is unfortunate that we were not able to play. We have great team spirit and our confidence is on a high after beating England. We would want to carry the momentum into the remaining games. We won't relax in our remaining six matches."
Pakistan next go up against Australia on June 12 in Taunton, while Sri Lanka's play Bangladesh on June 11, again in Bristol.
Zampa penalised for 'audible obscenity'
Adam Zampa picked up a demerit point, along with an official warning, after on-field umpires Marais Erasmus and Chris Gaffaney, third umpire Ruchira Palliyaguruge and fourth official S Ravi reported him for "audible obscenity" during the Australia v West Indies game at Trent Bridge on June 6.
The incident took place in the 29th over of West Indies' chase of Australia's 288 - they fell short by 15 runs in the end - when Zampa was bowling to Shai Hope and Jason Holder.
Zampa, who sent back Nicholas Pooran on his way to figures of 1 for 58, admitted the offence and accepted the sanction handed out by match referee Jeff Crowe.
Defeat a 'tough pill to swallow' for West Indies
Shai Hope has admitted that defeat against Australia will be a "tough pill to swallow" but thinks that West Indies have sent out another reminder of what they are capable of at the World Cup.
Having rolled Pakistan for 105 in their opening match, West Indies had Australia 38 for 4 and 79 for 5 before they recovered to post 288 through impressive batting from Steven Smith (73) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (92). Still, in the chase West Indies were well placed on 190 for 4 in the 35th over before Hope's wicket shifted the game back to Australia.
"Obviously it's going to be a tough pill to swallow having basically been dominating the game for the majority of it then not being able to cross the line," he said. "When you get wickets with the new ball you always put a team under pressure, it's just unfortunate that we couldn't drive it home and get the tail in a bit earlier. Australia are a quality side and showed us they can rebuild to post a different score."
When asked if West Indies' short-ball tactics had shown a vulnerability in Australia's top order, Hope said: "I think so, yes, but regardless of what plan you throw at them sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't so you always have to be able to adapt to what they throw at you as well."

June 6

Dhoni's army gloves fall foul of ICC
The ICC has asked the BCCI to have the army logo removed off MS Dhoni's wicketkeeping gloves. It has been pointed out to the BCCI that the logo on the gloves contravenes the ICC clothing and equipment regulations, which allow only sponsor logos on them. ESPNcricinfo understands there is no fine or reprimand involved at the moment but the message has been made clear to the BCCI.
Dhoni is an honorary lieutenant colonel of the Parachute Regiment in the Indian territorial army. In India's World Cup opener, against South Africa, Dhoni was seen keeping in gloves that sported the dagger insignia of Dhoni's regiment of the Indian Para Special Forces. This particular insignia - "Balidaan", meaning sacrifice - can only be worn by paramilitary commandos.
During possibly his last international match at his home ground in Ranchi, India played against Australia in army camouflage caps to pay respect to those armymen who lost their lives in the Pulwama terror attacks. The players' earnings from the match went to the families of the martyrs. At that time the ICC cleared the jerseys "as part of charity fund-raising effort".
That India-Australia series was not an ICC event. The World Cup is.
Imran Khan not a fan of "stupid" cricket celebrations
Before they left for the World Cup, one of the farewell meetings the Pakistan team had was with their Prime Minister. He is, of course, the only Prime Minister from among the teams in this competition who has won any World Cups. Actually to be more accurate, he is the only head of state from CWC 2019 to have played a dash of international cricket. When Imran Khan addressed an awed Pakistan squad, among his other pearls of wisdom was this one - to refrain from what he referred to as "stupid" wicket-celebrations. Hasan Ali's starburst may have been the one that got his attention and unfortunately, there is no celebrato-meter to see if there ever was a dip in intensity following that particular remonstration. Not sure what the Wazir e Azam made of the madness at Trent Bridge.
Hendricks hopes to be South Africa's lucky charm
Beuran Hendricks was sitting on his couch, watching TV when he got the call telling him he would be part of South Africa's World Cup squad. He didn't know then he would be Dale Steyn's replacement, but admitted being overwhelmed on finding out that he was replacing arguably the greatest pacer his country had produced. Hendricks joined the squad a day prior to their clash against India, but didn't make the XI. Now, as South Africa fight to stay alive, Hendricks hopes he is the "good luck the team needs."
In December, Hendricks was part of the winning Jozi Stars in the Mzansi Super League. He also helped the Lions claim South Africa's franchise first-class and T20 tournaments. In April, he was a a late call-up to the Mumbai Indians, who went on to win the IPL. Hendricks hopes some of his good fortunes can rub off on South Africa.
"It's been a good year for me personally and for the teams I have been with this year so let's hope I can make it five (trophies) out of five," he said. "I am not going to say I can fill his shoes because its Dale. I come here with my own set of skills and my own ambition in this competition," he said. "It's just about making sure I can fight the good fight and contribute with the set of skills that I have."
'Faf's wicket most special' - Chahal after four-for
Yuzvendra Chahal's 4 for 51 against South Africa played a big role in India's first win of the World Cup. What was most impressive about Chahal's performance was the quality of the batsmen he dismissed: Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis, David Miller and Andile Phehlukwayo.
After the match, Chahal was asked by his spin partner Kuldeep Yadav on on his favourite scalp of the night, to which he promptly replied: "Faf du Plessis."
"Faf was playing with small forward-steps and I was drifting the ball well," Chahal said. "The previous two balls, I had bowled the legbreak. So for the wicket ball, I chose to bowl on off stump with the ball drifting in sharply. He couldn't pick it, thinking I was bowling the legbreak, and that's why the ball hit the inside of his bat and broke the stumps."
Chahal also praised Rohit Sharma's century against a difficult bowling attack that includes Kagiso Rabada. "He showed the temperament that an experienced batsman has," Chahal said. "It wasn't easy batting there against the new ball, but he stayed and finished the match. That was huge."
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