Stokes, Root and Bairstow provide reinforcements as England look to avenge T20I series loss to India

By Sports Desk July 11, 2022

England will draft in the big-hitters from their in-form Test team as they look to bounce back from a T20I series defeat to India in their three-match ODI series.

Jos Buttler's first series as permanent white-ball captain following Eoin Morgan's retirement did not go to plan as India claimed a 2-1 win.

The hosts avoided a whitewash with victory in the third match at Trent Bridge, with Buttler having called on his side to be "braver" in the wake of defeats at the Ageas Bowl and Edgbaston.

Having more confidence over the course of a 50-over series should be easier for the reigning world champions with Test captain Ben Stokes and Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow –  the latter pair each in remarkable form in the red-ball game – set to link up with the squad. Fast bowler Craig Overton is also due to come into the group.

"They're obviously world-class players," head coach Matthew Mott said ahead of the series opener at The Oval on Tuesday. "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."

India's main selection issue surrounds whether to pick Suryakumar Yadav, whose electric 117 in the third T20I proved in vain.

Suryakumar's century came in just 48 balls and, with an impressive average of 53.40 from seven ODIs, India may back him to carry that form into the 50-over game and pick him over Shreyas Iyer.

The tourists won the most recent ODI series between the teams back in March 2021; however, history is against them carrying on where they left off in a seven-run series-clinching victory in Pune and prevailing at The Oval.

Indeed, India have not won successive men's ODIs against England since January 2017, while Buttler's men head into the game trying to preserve an unbeaten run at The Oval that stretches back to 2015. New Zealand were the last team to beat England in ODI cricket at the south London venue.

Rohit and Kohli's contrasting form

India's captain Rohit Sharma clearly feels at home playing in England. He has seven centuries in 24 ODI innings in England, the most by any visiting player. The 1,335 runs he has scored in England have come at a gaudy average of 66.75.

By contrast, Virat Kohli remains in a substantial slump. He has gone 77 innings in international cricket without a century. Him breaking that streak would go a long way to helping India claim another white-ball series win.

Will Buttler get back to his best?

Buttler, the top scorer in this year's Indian Premier League, endured uncharacteristic struggles with the bat in the T20I series, scoring only 22 runs across three matches. However, he was in rude form in the recent ODI series with the Netherlands, the highlight of which was his incredible 162 in 70 deliveries.

England will look for him to return to that level against much tougher opposition, but even if he cannot do so at The Oval, England have insurance in the form of Root, the world's top Test batter who has 548 runs in 10 ODI innings at an average of 68.50 at the venue, and his fellow Yorkshireman Bairstow.

Bairstow posted scores of 94 and 124 in last year's series in India and should have no difficulty translating his scorching red-ball form to the white-ball game having scored four centuries in his past five Test innings through an extremely attacking approach.

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    A report by Katharine Newton KC published last December found reference to players’ ethnic, racial and religious origins was “entirely normalised and tolerated behaviour” within the dressing-room culture between the mid-1990s until around 2013, under the misguided belief that it was acceptable ‘banter’.

    Newton was commissioned to carry out the report in 2021 after allegations of discrimination were made by former Essex players Jahid Ahmed, Maurice Chambers and Zoheb Sharif.

    The club revealed on Wednesday that sanctions have now been issued, but have not confirmed who has been sanctioned, how many individuals are involved and what the nature of those sanctions are.

    Mohindru told the PA news agency: “I am not going to give a number because it’s about jigsaw identification.

    “Everyone who has been implicated and had an adverse finding in the report has been sanctioned in some way.

    “When the report came out we gave it to the independent panel, who then had nothing off the table for them at that stage. They could decide what was appropriate from bans, to losing membership to bans from the ground.

    “That was then sent back to the board and everybody had an opportunity to make representation with regards to mitigating circumstances or anything we thought the board should take into consideration.

    “The board then took the starting point that the panel had thought or the range, took mitigation into place and then we imposed the sanction.

    “Each person has been told individually. We haven’t told anybody what anybody else has got and so forth like that. And that’s keeping in line with the anonymity we wanted to keep throughout this.

    “It is not a matter of us trying to shut shop, but with regards to the Katharine report, we were very clear in our mind we needed to follow the anonymity that stemmed from the start.”

    Mohindru refused to reveal if any of the individuals sanctioned were still working for Essex, but said the England and Wales Cricket Board had been told about all those sanctioned and what those sanctions were.

    “I can’t tell you that because again, I can’t confirm or deny that. All I can say is anybody that has been in the report has been sanctioned and there has been an array of sanctions that have been put forward,” Mohindru said when questioned if any of the sanctioned individuals were still at Essex.

    “I absolutely understand (criticism) but I need to also keep an eye on people’s welfare and the process we’ve followed from the start. We had to follow legal advice, which we have done all the way through and I think we were in a catch 22.

    “If we had revealed it, I am sure we would have been criticised for that and by not revealing it, we’ll be criticised for that, but what I can say is it has been a very strong process.

    “The independent panel are an experienced panel that are used to dealing with regulatory as well as sanctions so they would know what would be appropriate. It is my day job as well so I know how to deal with it.

    “It is a matter of this board had nothing to do with anything that happened before and it is an independent board that was pretty much elected after all of this started, so we’ve tried to be as fair as possible all across the board in every way. That’s been robust sanctions as well as being fair to the individuals.”

    Newton said in her report conclusions that those on the receiving end of discriminatory treatment “were too scared to speak up for fear of damaging their prospects of selection and progression”.

    “In any event, there were no effective mechanisms for raising such concerns,” she added.

    Her report also found a lack of understanding of the needs of Muslim players at Essex.

    Newton also found that the club’s former chairman, John Faragher, used racist language during a board meeting in 2017 and that the club failed to properly investigate a complaint about the language used.

    Newton said in the summary report that she had upheld “a number” of complaints of racially discriminatory conduct, and that the perpetrators were named in the full report she sent to Essex.

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    Ahmed, who has been contacted for comment, has previously told PA the term “curry muncher” was directed towards him during his time at the club.

    The ECB has not commented on the sanctions. The Cricket Regulator is continuing its own investigation into what happened at Essex, but Mohindru is unsure when it will conclude.

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    The Bajan received good support from Yastika Bhatia with 26 and Amelia Kerr with 23.

    The Warriorz then needed only 16.3 overs to reach 163-3 and get their first win of the season.

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    Navgire led the charge with a top score of 57 off 31 balls including six fours and four sixes. Healy was more measured in her approach, making a 29-ball 33 including five fours.

    The finishing touches were put on by Grace Harris and Deepti Sharma who made 38* and 27*, respectively.

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  • Essex not naming those sanctioned over independent review into racist abuse Essex not naming those sanctioned over independent review into racist abuse

    Essex are not naming the individuals they have sanctioned over an independent review which found players at the club had been subjected to racist abuse and discriminatory treatment.

    A report by Katharine Newton KC published last December found reference to players’ ethnic, racial and religious origins was “entirely normalised and tolerated behaviour” within the dressing-room culture between the mid-1990s until around 2013, under the misguided belief that it was acceptable ‘banter’.

    Newton was commissioned to carry out the report in 2021 after allegations of discrimination were made by former Essex players Jahid Ahmed, Maurice Chambers and Zoheb Sharif.

    The club say sanctions have now been issued, but have not confirmed who has been sanctioned, how many individuals are involved and what the nature of those sanctions are.

    “Essex County Cricket Club can confirm that sanctions have been imposed against the individuals implicated in Katharine Newton KC’s independent review into historic allegations of racism,” a club statement read.

    “Following the publication of Ms Newton’s report on December 8, 2023, the club commissioned an independent committee who recommended disciplinary measures.

    “While the individuals are not named to align with the anonymised report, Essex CCC takes allegations of racism extremely seriously and the measures are a further commitment to creating an inclusive and welcoming club for everyone.

    “Essex CCC have shared the measures with the England and Wales Cricket Board and reaffirms its pledge to promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion within cricket to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.”

    Newton said in her report conclusions that those on the receiving end of discriminatory treatment “were too scared to speak up for fear of damaging their prospects of selection and progression”.

    “In any event, there were no effective mechanisms for raising such concerns,” she added.

    Her report also found a lack of understanding of the needs of Muslim players at Essex.

    Newton also found that the club’s former chairman, John Faragher, used racist language during a board meeting in 2017 and that the club failed to properly investigate a complaint about the language used.

    Newton said in the summary report that she had upheld “a number” of complaints of racially discriminatory conduct, and that the perpetrators were named in the full report she sent to Essex.

    Newton said one of the players was given the nickname ‘bomber’ following the September 11 terrorist attacks. She also found that the phrase ‘curry muncher’ was “commonly used” in the dressing room to describe individuals of South Asian heritage.

    Ahmed, who has been contacted for comment, has previously told PA the term “curry muncher” was directed towards him during his time at the club.

    The ECB has not commented on the sanctions. The Cricket Regulator is continuing its own investigation into what happened at Essex.

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