Lizelle Lee retires from International cricket

South Africa batter Lizelle Lee has announced her retirement from the international cricket, the cricketer took to social media to confirm the matter on Friday.

“It is with a lot of mixed emotions that I announce my retirement from international cricket. From a very young age, I have lived cricket and wanted to represent my country at the highest level. Over the past 8 years I was able to live that dream and I feel I have given everything I could to the Proteas,” Lee said in an official statement released by Cricket South Africa.

“I feel that I am ready for the next phase in my career and will continue to play domestic T20 cricket around the world. It has been an incredible journey and it would not have been possible without everyone who has supported me during my international career. I want to thank my family, especially my wife Tanja for all the sacrifices they have made for me to live out my dream to represent my country,”

“My fellow Proteas teammates, thank you for the wonderful memories we have made together. You have made this journey incredible, and I could not have done this without you. I will always be supporting you; we will always be rising together”, the statement further read.

“Lastly to my fans, I am the person I am because of the love and support you have given me throughout my international career. I look forward to continuing this journey with you in the different leagues around the world,” she added.

Only the recently retired Mignon du Preez has scored more ODI runs than Lee, and Cricket South Africa director of cricket.

“It is with great sadness we have to bid farewell to a titan of South African cricket at a relatively young age, however we wholeheartedly respect the individual’s decision,” Enoch Nkwe said.


McCullum: I don’t really like that silly term Bazball

England’s Test coach Brendon McCullum has said that he has no idea what ‘Bazball’ means because it oversimplifies what is quite a planned and meticulous approach to the game.

“I don’t have any idea what ‘Bazball’ is. It’s not just all crash and burn, if you look at the approach, and that’s why I don’t really like that silly term that people are throwing out there,” said McCullum.

“Because there’s actually quite a bit of thought that goes into how the guys manufacture their performances and when they put pressure on bowlers and which bowlers they put pressure on. There’s also times where they’ve absorbed pressure beautifully as well.”

McCullum also responded to Steve Smith’s comments where he doubted the longevity of England’s style of play.

“I saw those flick up on one of the feeds somewhere. Isn’t that what the game’s all about? It is to sort of reinvigorate yourself and then be confronted against the very best. I do believe that both New Zealand and India are two very, very good cricket sides as well,” he added.


Pooran: One of the best innings I have played for West Indies

West Indies skipper Nicholas Pooran was delighted to cruise past Bangladesh in the third and final match to win the three-match T20 series.

Pooran led West Indies to a comfortable five-wicket win over Bangladesh in the third and final T20 International.

Pooran’s unbeaten 74, and 55 from opening batsman Kyle Mayers anchored the host’s pursuit of the visitors’ total of 163 for five.

“It is one of the best innings I have played for West Indies just because of the fact that I was there till the end. It is something that I have always wanted to do,”

“Our template was always to put the bowlers under pressure early in the over. Kyle put away anything loose from their offspinners. I think I fed off that today. In T20s, a partnership is the most important thing,”

Bangladesh and West Indies will lock horns in the three-match One-Day International series starting on Sunday.


Wriddhiman Saha chooses Tripura for 2022-23 domestic season

Prabath Jayasuriya completed a fine performance on debut with 6 for 118, the second-best return for a Sri Lankan in their first Test, then captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis built a second-wicket stand of 53 having waited until the 15th over for the first boundary as Australia’s bowlers created early pressure.

Australia’s only breakthrough came courtesy of a brilliant catch in the gully by Cameron Green who leapt full-stretch to his left to grab Pathum Nissanka’s outside edge off Mitchell Starc. However, Karunaratne would have been run out on 18 if Starc’s throw from mid-on had hit and, in the final over before tea, was given a life when he toe-ended a full toss back towards Mitchell Swepson who couldn’t get into position in his follow through.

As another reminder to the wider reality while the Test match is taking place, the second day’s play unfolded against the backdrop of major anti-government protests at the ongoing economic crisis in the country. Protesters in Galle were prevented from travelling to Colombo for the main rally as the government blocked public transport and fuel sales.

Crowds quickly swelled and marched around the stadium before making their way on the iconic Galle Fort which had been closed to everyone on Friday following the forced removal of protesters during the opening Test. By the lunch interval, the protest had relocated outside the gates of the ground and during the afternoon session grew in size and noise.

Australia have been very aware of the bigger picture throughout this tour and before play Pat Cummins posted a video on social media in association with UNICEF where he spoke to two young female cricketers about the impact of the crisis.

On the field, Australia had resumed on 298 for 5 and initially, it appeared they were tracking well towards 400 as Steven Smith and Alex Carey extended their partnership to 77. However, that changed when Carey top-edged a reverse sweep to be taken deep on the off side and none of the lower order could stay with Smith for a substantial amount of time.

That was soon followed by a superb catch at slip by Kusal Mendis to remove Starc, after an outside edge flew very quickly, which gave Jayasuriya his fifth wicket.

Kasun Rajitha then chipped in by trapping Cummins lbw, although it required the DRS after the decision was given not out on field by Michael Gough, and Nathan Lyon was also caught in front by one which went straight from Jayasuriya. In the end, Jayasuriya’s figures sat as the second-best for Sri Lanka on Test debut, behind fellow left-arm Praveen Jayawickrama’s 6 for 92 against Bangladesh last year.

Smith largely tried to farm the strike with No. 11 Swepson for company but Sri Lanka were able to end things before it became too frustrating. The final wicket went to another debutant, Maheesh Theekshana, who opened his account by removing Swepson lbw when there was one ball of the over to survive, leaving Smith unbeaten on 145.


Middlesex sign Umesh Yadav for remainder of 2022 season

Umesh Yadav has begun a maiden stint in county cricket in England, with Middlesex signing him for the remainder of the 2022 season in place of Shaheen Shah Afridi. The Pakistan fast bowler returned home to prepare for the national team’s two-Test tour of Sri Lanka, which is already underway with a warm-up fixture in Colombo.

Umesh was initially set to play five County Championship games from early next week, but has now been drafted into the squad with immediate effect following a late visa clearance. He has been included in the XI for Middlesex’ ongoing clash against Worcestershire, which began in Northwood on Monday.

Umesh will also be available for Middlesex’s Royal London One-Day Cup. He isn’t part of India’s white-ball plans, and is free from national-team commitments over the coming months, much like fellow Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara, who is playing for Sussex this season. Both players were part of India’s squad for the final Test of their five-match series against England at Edgbaston last week.

“He is a proven world-class performer and can not only make a huge difference himself for the remainder of our Championship campaign and to our prospects in the Royal London Cup but will also be a fantastic role model for our younger bowlers to work alongside,” said Alan Coleman, the club’s head of men’s performance.

“As a bowler he offers a huge amount. He delivers the ball from wide of the crease, can move the ball both ways, regularly tops 140 kph, and possesses a vicious short ball, so will be a real handful for opposition batters in English conditions.”

Umesh brings with him over a decade’s experience in international cricket but has lately been a back-up seamer for India in Test cricket. He last played ODIs and T20Is in 2018 and 2019 respectively, while the most recent of his 52 Tests, which have brought him 158 wickets at an average of 30.80, came earlier this year in Cape Town.

Apart from Umesh and Pujara, it is also widely expected that allrounder Washington Sundar will feature in the Royal London One-Day Cup, having signed for Lancashire. Sundar is currently in the final stages of rehabilitation from a leg injury, and could be one of India’s options for the T20 World Cup later in the year.


Jayasuriya’s 12-wicket haul, Chandimal’s 206* give Sri Lanka series-levelling win

Sri Lanka 554 (Chandimal 206*, Karunaratne 86, Kusal Mendis 85, Starc 4-89, Swepson 3-103) beat Australia 364 (Smith 145, Labuschagne 104, Jayasuriya 6-118) and 151 (Labuschagne 32, Jayasuriya 6-59, Theekshana 2-28, Ramesh Mendis 2-47) by an innings and 39 runs

Sri Lanka had one of their great days as they levelled the two-Test series against Australia in Galle. First, Dinesh Chandimal’s double-century – also his career-best – carried them to a huge lead, and then Prabath Jayasuriya completed the best figures by a Sri Lankan on Test debut with a 12-wicket haul as they surged to an-innings-and-39-run win with time to spare on the fourth evening.

They were ahead when play began, but not a position of such strength that this sort of finish was the most likely outcome. However, Australia had no answer to Chandimal – who helped the last four wickets add 145 [in comparison, Australia’s last five in the first innings added 35]. And then their second innings resembled one of the subcontinent nightmares of the not-too-distant past.

They lost all ten wickets for 102, across just 28 overs, and nine in the final session. Jayasuriya twice took two wickets in an over, breaking the back of the top order with the first brace of Usman Khawaja and Steven Smith, and fittingly wrapped up the victory with his record-breaking strike when he spun one past Mitchell Swepson. Just five bowlers in history have taken 12 or more wickets on debut, and for a spinner, he sits behind only Narendra Hirwani’s 16, against West Indies in Chennai in 1988.

For Australia, it was their first innings defeat since losing to South Africa in Hobart in 2016, and the first ever after making more than 350 in their first innings

They could have lost a wicket in the second over – Niroshan Dickwella missed a stumping chance offered by Khawaja, when Maheesh Theekshana was handed the new ball – but the relative ease with which Khawaja and David Warner progressed ended up being very misleading.

Warner fell shortly before tea sweeping at Ramesh Mendis and reviewed an lbw decision that was plumb – more of that was to come – but it was in the final session where mayhem really ensued.

Jayasuriya, handed a Test debut at the age of 30 after the continued travails of Lasith Embuldeniya and Covid-19 for Praveen Jayawickrama, settled into his work and caused all manner of problems. It was a performance to do Rangana Herath proud.

Khawaja was his first victim, getting an inside edge to backward short-leg, which was sharply held by Oshada Fernando, who, for the second game running, was needed as a Covid substitute when Pathum Nissanka tested positive. Three balls later, Jayasuriya trapped Smith lbw with one which straightened enough to beat him on the back foot. Smith knew he was out, but still reviewed. Ultimately, it did not matter, but it was a questionable call from Smith.

Sri Lanka sensed their moment. Travis Head’s lean Test tour concluded when he got into a poor position to tackle Ramesh, beaten on the outside edge by one which spun sharply, and his returns in Sri Lanka and Pakistan will likely provoke much debate ahead of next year’s India tour regardless of his home form.

Marnus Labuschagne and Cameron Green briefly rallied against deep-set fields that allowed plenty of scoring opportunities, but after nine overs the next cluster of wickets arrived. Labuschagne had swept Jayasuriya often from very full deliveries, but the stroke let him down when he played over one which was heading low into middle stump.

Jayasuriya then completed his second five-wicket haul of the game with two in three balls. Green charged past one, and this time Dickwella completed the job, and Mitchell Starc edged to slip where Kusal Mendis held a superb catch. The only question left was whether the light would hold for Sri Lanka to finish it. Jayasuriya ensured they did.

The ability to put Australia under such big scoreboard pressure was down to Chandimal. When he went to 193, he set a new high for a Sri Lanka batter against Australia, surpassing Kumar Sangakkara’s 192 in Hobart, and the last-wicket stand also lifted the team to their highest total against Australia.

At times, every Australia fielder was on the rope, but Chandimal was either able to weigh strokes perfectly to scamper back for a second, or clear the ropes. He brought up his double-hundred with a second consecutive six off Starc, the ball after sending one nearly into the fort, during a final-wicket stand of 49 in 37 balls with Kasun Rajitha, where he farmed the strike smartly and showed his power at the conclusion of an innings that had largely been about careful accumulation.

Prior to that, Chandimal and Ramesh took their seventh-wicket stand to 68 before Starc struck with the first delivery after taking the third new ball, a swinging low full toss that caught Ramesh straight in front. However, thoughts of quickly running through Sri Lanka’s remaining wickets were frustrated by Theekshana, who showed stubbornness at No. 9 in his first Test innings.

Pat Cummins eventually got one past Theekshana’s outside edge to rip out his off stump, giving the Australia captain his 199th Test wicket. Nathan Lyon’s enormous workload continued as he reached 64 overs with only two wickets to show for it. This was just the third time since 1981 that an Australian bowler has sent down more than 60 overs in an innings. A few hours later, both he and Cummins were batting, albeit briefly.


Former New Zealand captain Barry Sinclair dies aged 85

Sinclair led his country three times, and scored three hundreds in a 21-match Test career

Barry Sinclair plays the pull, The Oval, April 24, 1965

Former New Zealand captain Barry Sinclair, who was the third player to pass 1000 runs for his country, has died aged 85.

Sinclair played 21 Tests between 1963 and 1968, scoring three centuries – one each against South Africa, Pakistan and England.

“We were all very sad to hear of Barry’s passing,” Heath Mills, the chief executive of the New Zealand Cricket players’ association, said. “We have been blessed to have him involved with the NZCPA for so many years.

“Barry was one of the first past players to sign up to our organisation and loved being involved and helping the current players achieve a better environment in the game. We are going to miss him greatly.”

He led New Zealand thrice, firstly in place of an injured Murray Chapple against England at Dunedin in 1966, and then in the final match of the same series. It was nearly two years before New Zealand’s next Test, and Sinclair captained them against India in Dunedin before making himself unavailable for the next two games due to work commitments.

He returned for the final match of the series in Auckland for what would be his last Test.

When he passed 1000 runs with his century against England in 1966, he followed Bert Sutcliffe and John R Reid as New Zealand batters to that milestone.

In total, he played 118 first-class games, making 6114 runs at 32.87, including six centuries. He was also regarded as a brilliant fielder.

In the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours, Sinclair was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.


Meg Lanning steps down as Victoria captain, Sophie Molineux takes over

Lanning took on the state captaincy in 2014 as a 22-year-old but Australia commitments have limited the number of appearances she has been able to make in the WNCL.

Although there is a window at the start of the upcoming season with Australia not playing internationals in late September, as they have in recent summers, further international duty will limit Lanning’s matches.

“It’s been a huge honour to captain Victoria and I love representing my state,” Lanning said. “The Victorian squad has some fantastic young leaders and I’m excited to continue working with them in the seasons ahead.”

Molineux, who also captains Melbourne Renegades in the WBBL, is currently outside of the national team having had her 2021-22 season cut short by injury then losing her central contract earlier this year.

“Coming from country Victoria it’s a privilege to be named captain of the state,” she said. “I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of captaining the Renegades and am looking forward to the years ahead with Victoria.

“Playing with and learning from Meg since I started at Victoria has been a great experience, she has an incredible understanding of the game, hopefully I’m able to take some of that into my own game.”

Cricket Victoria’s head of female cricket Sharelle McMahon said Lanning endorsed Molineux as the outstanding candidate.

“We’re fortunate to have Meg’s leadership skills to support Sophie and the full squad in years to come,” she said. “Sophie has done a fantastic job leading the Renegades and has long been seen as a leader within Victorian cricket. This is an excellent opportunity to further her leadership skills with our playing group.

“Nicole Faltum did a great job stepping into the role last season and will continue to play an important role supporting Sophie.”

The expanded WNCL, which will now feature teams playing each other twice, begins in September 23


Matthew Mott – ‘India’s ferocity took us by surprise’ in T20I series loss

Jos Buttler implored his England team to be “braver” after “timid” performances with the bat in their first two T20 internationals against India, Matthew Mott has revealed.

England were bowled out for 148 and 121 in Buttler’s first two matches as their full-time limited-overs captain on Thursday and Saturday, losing by 50 and 49 runs respectively. Mott, their new white-ball coach, admitted they had been taken aback by the “ferocity” of India’s new attacking gameplan.

Buttler addressed his squad after the second defeat in Birmingham on Saturday night and told them they should be “prepared to make some mistakes” rather than batting too cautiously. The response was a total of 215 for 6 batting first at Trent Bridge on Sunday, their highest T20I score since February 2020 and one which they defended by a margin of 17 runs despite Suryakumar Yadav’s brilliant 117.

“We learned a lot of lessons in the first two games,” Mott said. “India obviously came out with a really attacking mindset and put us under pressure a lot. We expected that, but the ferocity of it took us by surprise a little bit.

“After the second loss and the series loss, I thought he [Buttler] spoke exceptionally well in the group about these being the times where you learn about character. It’s easy when you’re dominating teams but we’re going to learn more about ourselves playing great teams like India and South Africa leading into a World Cup – we’re going to learn more about what we need in Australia when we’re put under pressure.

“We talked about just being a bit braver. If anything, we could have been accused of being a bit timid with the bat. [On Sunday] we just went out there and thought, ‘it’s a great wicket, let’s put a score out there and hang on.’ We don’t like losing but I think there is plenty that we’ve taken out of this series already and it sets us up well for the summer.”

England were without several first-choice players throughout the series including Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow, who have been pencilled in at No. 3 and 4 respectively for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year. But, if he is available, Stokes could alternatively be used lower down in a finishing role, with Dawid Malan’s 77 off 39 balls on Sunday serving a reminder of his credentials after an early reprieve when Harshal Patel dropped a caught-and-bowled chance.

Malan’s innings was his first T20I half-century in a year and came after a scratchy innings of 19 off 25 on Saturday. His attacking intent early in his innings was a notable departure from his usual template: “Malan was unbelievable,” Mott said. “In the last game he wasn’t that happy with the way he got going and he worked really hard this morning. He played a special innings.”

Mott expects to have something approaching a full-strength squad available for the three T20Is against South Africa from July 27-31. They will be the final games England play before naming their T20 World Cup squad in mid-September, immediately before they travel to Pakistan for a seven-match series – though some multi-format players will be rested for that tour.

“I don’t think [the World Cup squad] is all locked in yet,” Mott said. “This far out, you’ve got so many things that could happen – whether it’s injuries or form, or whatever. We’ve got a fair idea of what we think the right make-up is, but you want players to come in and perform and really warrant that spot. It’s still open for a lot of players and that’s why we are having looks at different combinations and trying to learn.”

Mott also took positives from England’s death bowling, which has been a problem area over the last two years. “It was an unbelievable experience for some of those bowlers,” he said. “[Reece] Topley was magnificent and [Richard] Gleeson has been a real find for us. All the intel that I’ve had is that it’s definitely been an area that we’re looking to improve, so to be under that sort of pressure and hold our nerve gives us a lot of confidence.”

England will welcome Stokes, Bairstow, Joe Root and Craig Overton into their squad for this week’s ODI series against India, which starts on Tuesday at the Kia Oval. “They’re obviously world-class players,” Mott said. “As a coach, it’s a great opportunity to learn from probably some of the best players in this format of all-time.

“They’ll bring some energy into the group and they’re really excited to be there. I don’t think they’ll have to change a hell of a lot from the way they’ve been playing but it’s a slightly different format. They come in pretty hot and we’re straight into it: that’s the modern game. We’ll see how everyone pulls up.”


New Zealand ‘potentially left a few runs out there’ – Guptill on their tense finish at Mahlaide

New Zealand piled up 360 for 6 – the second-highest total in ODI cricket at The Village in Malahide – but it appeared lighter once Paul Stirling and Harry Tector hit full-tilt in the chase. After New Zealand ultimately scraped home by one run, Martin Guptill , who had set up the narrow victory with 115 off 126 balls, conceded that they “potentially left a few [runs] out there” and that they could’ve been at the wrong end of a tense finish had Stirling and Tector extended their 179-run third-wicket partnership.

“It was always challenging. We potentially left a few out there,” Guptill told New Zealand Cricket. “I think if we had [lost] couple of less wickets at certain wickets, we could have really put the hammer down towards the end but to be able to get 360 and defend it, it was a great effort.

“[Ireland’s chase] was impressive. They lost an early wicket and a little partnership and another wicket and obviously, a massive partnership. [For] chasing big totals like that, partnerships are a key and if they [Stirling and Tector] could’ve taken it another five-ten overs longer, that would’ve taken it away from us very quickly.”

That New Zealand defended 360 was down to impressive spells from Matt Henry and Mitchell Santner who picked up seven wickets between them. Even Blair Tickner, who often erred short during his previous shifts on tour, eventually dragged the ball away from the hitting arcs of Ireland’s lower order when he began trusting his changes of pace.

“I think the boys came back really well,” Guptill said. “It’s pretty tough to defend on a ground like this – small ground, good wicket, fast outfield – and we got two guys in and going. It was tough to shut them down. I thought the guys stuck at it really well. They came out here and played with no fear, which is what you want to do when you’re batting, so it was good. Matt Henry, to take four [4-68] on that wicket, unbelievable effort.”

Guptill’s contribution to the victory earned him the Player-of-the-Match award, which he dedicated to his father who died in 2017 after a long battle with cancer. With 18 ODI centuries, the 35-year old opener is getting ever closer to the New Zealand record – 21 – currently held by his great mate Ross Taylor.

“A bit of an innings of two halves, really,” Guptill said while assessing his performance. “Out of the blocks pretty quickly, felt really good up until about 75, then I just got myself stuck in a bit of a hole and couldn’t rotate the strike as well as I had been. I just got a little bit frustrated.”

New Zealand could afford that little splutter with their lower middle order picking up the slack. Henry Nicholls walloped 79 off 54, Glenn Phillips hit 47 off 30 and Michael Bracewell put the finishing touches in while also taking his tournament tally to 190 off 138 without being dismissed.

“[Those contributions were] vital,” Guptill said. “Obviously, Beast [Bracewell] at the end as well; he was striking it nicely. To have those guys pitching in and GP [Phillips] ended up close to fifty…Unlucky, not to get to his first fifty, but he contributed with a fantastic innings to help us get to that 360.”

Phillips, though, had a forgettable day in the field, dropping as many as three catches, one of which he parried over the ropes for four, which left Ireland needing five off the last three balls. Such lapses in the field prompted New Zealand into some tense mid-over conferences, which involved Guptill among other senior players.

“I didn’t say too much (laughs). It was just to keep sticking at it,” Guptill said. “Obviously, Glenn can do pretty freakish things on the boundary and he made a couple of outstanding efforts there and you know that didn’t quite go to hand, but that’s how cricket goes, isn’t it? You’re not going to catch everything and things like that…ebbs and flows of the game. That’s what makes it so exciting. It was just to keep sticking at it and make sure we keep doing our processes and hopefully, come out on top.”

Guptill is not used in Test cricket anymore, so he wasn’t part of the squad who became the format’s first champions last year. His only shot at winning an ICC trophy lies in white-ball cricket and ahead of New Zealand’s European tour, he laid bare his motivation to play the T20 World Cup later this year and the ODI World Cup that follows in 2023. With this innings, he put those words to action.