Jos Buttler is feeling refreshed after the emotional grind of a Cricket World Cup and Ashes series and revealed he has been working with Marcus Trescothick to improve his red-ball game.

Buttler scored a century in England's drawn tour match against New Zealand A and heads into the Test series against the Black Caps as first-choice wicketkeeper.

The 29-year-old's touch with the bat and neat work with the gloves were among the plusses for England in the three-day contest.

After taking a five-week break to recover from a busy English summer, which resulted in World Cup glory and a drawn Ashes, Buttler is taking an open-minded approach into the two-Test series, for which he has been preparing with former Somerset team-mate and England opener Trescothick. 

"I've nothing to lose with the bat or the gloves," Buttler said. "It's a great time to be involved with a new head coach [Chris Silverwood]. It's a new challenge and I'm going to throw myself into it.

"It was a tough summer - physically and emotionally - great fun, a huge challenge and one you look back on with real fondness. But it took a lot out of most of us. The time we have had off has been invaluable.

"I had a couple of net sessions at Somerset with Marcus Trescothick during this time. I really enjoyed that and got a lot out of it. It gave some building blocks to come here feeling in good touch."

England may have fallen short of victory but skipper Joe Root was encouraged by his side's batting in Whangarei.

During the Ashes, England's highest first-innings score was 374 in the lost Edgbaston Test but they posted 405 all out here and Root wants to see his team making big numbers.

"We want to bat long, especially in the first innings - get ourselves into the game and give us an opportunity of making really big scores. Four-hundred-plus, as generally you can dictate terms from there," Root told Sky Sports.

"It is something we have struggled with over the last couple of years, granted that at home, in particular, we have played on some very challenging surfaces.

"On flatter surfaces, like here, I think it's really important that we get into that mindset.

"I think we have done that really well so far in the two games that we have played, with a couple of guys looking in really good order. I feel we are in pretty good shape going into two big Test matches."

Legendary West Indies all-rounder Gary Sobers does not believe the regional cricket team did enough to hold on to Barbadian-born fast bowler Jofra Archer and must be a little ‘sad’ to have missed out on such a top prospect.

The 24-year-old was born in Barbados and played youth cricket for the Windies but failed to secure a spot on the youth World Cup team.  The player later moved to England before deciding to switch allegiance and represent the country of his father’s birth.

Archer made his debut for England at the World Cup earlier this year, after a change in the country’s eligibility rules allowed the player to represent England earlier than originally stipulated.  The bowler went on to make a major impact at the tournament as England claimed a maiden title.  Archer then went on to make his impact felt during the Ashes series.

“We have lost a good one, there's no doubt about that," Sobers told the DailyMail.

“Jofra is an amazing bowler. For him to jump to where he is in the England team already is tremendous. I believe there was an argument as to whether they should play him in the World Cup but eventually they got over that and they must be very happy they did because he has been great for them,” he added.

“The West Indies must be very sad when they see what he has done because we don't seem to have given him the opportunities we should have done," said Sobers. 

"He started in Barbados and wanted to get in the West Indies team but he didn't get the chance to do that so he went to the best place he could.”

Newly appointed Windies chairman of selectors Roger Harper confirmed veteran batsman Chris Gayle was unavailable for the upcoming series against Afghanistan but suggested the panel would focus on younger talent going forward.

Speculation has continued to surround the future of the star batsman after he announced plans to retire, following the ICC World Cup earlier this year.  The 40-year-old, however, appeared to have a change of heart and went on to claim that the team's series again India, following the cricketing showpiece, would instead be his final. 

Controversy, however, erupted with many suggesting the batsman should hang up his tips and allow for the development of younger players.  Following the series against India, Gayle was again quick to insist that he was in no hurry to retire.  With young openers like Evin Lewis and Brandon King included in the squad, Harper suggested it was time to give younger players an opportunity to showcase their skills.

“Gayle told us he is unavailable for Afghanistan Series, but we all know Chris, he is a world-class player with a tremendous record and of course it’s difficult to replace Chris Gayle,” Harper explained.

"But I think going forward it is in a way an opportunity for young players to showcase their skills and make a name for themselves as we look ahead to the next two T20 World Cups in 2020 and 2021 and the future.”

Ashely Giles is thrilled Eoin Morgan elected to stay on as ODI captain following England's triumphant Cricket World Cup campaign.

Morgan led England to their maiden success in a 50-over World Cup in July, with the final settled in dramatic fashion at Lord's – the tournament hosts edging out New Zealand in a super over.

Following the tournament, the 33-year-old suggested he was undecided as to whether he should stay on as captain of the limited-overs side.

However, the ECB confirmed on Friday that Morgan would remain in charge and Giles is delighted with the batsman's decision with England now having the T20 World Cup in their sights.

"Eoin took some time to decide whether, all things considered, it was right to continue," Giles told Sky Sports.

"It didn't take him too long, thankfully. I'm delighted, he's been a great leader for us and with us losing [coach] Trevor Bayliss as well it's great for the team and the environment that he's staying on.

"Having one of those two guys still there gives us consistency and now we can look to perhaps go with the team we've got and to hold two white-ball trophies within a year would be a great achievement."

Bayliss called time on his tenure as England coach across all formats at the end of the Ashes series, but Giles is confident a replacement will be finalised within the coming weeks.

"I see one coach leading the whole thing. I've been part of a set-up where there are two coaches and role-playing that out, for me, it doesn't end particularly well," Giles told BBC Sport.

"If we have one head coach and some very good assistants, we are going to have to look after those guys well. The head coach would have some time off, so it's an opportunity for those assistants to lead in different forms.

"I hope we have a shortlist in a week to 10 days and we will go through interviews. We won't rush it but it would be nice to have someone in place before we leave for New Zealand."

Giles also added Alex Hales – who was dropped ahead of the World Cup due to an "off-field incident" – should not give up hope of returning to the fold despite not being given a central contract.

"The door isn't closed. He's a very fine short-format player," Giles said. "He needs to keep working hard and getting the runs - but if he does that, who knows?"

West Indies legend Sir Vivian Richards has admitted to feeling let down by the Ricky Skerritt-led Cricket West Indies (CWI), following its controversial decision to dismiss the coaching staff ahead of the ICC World Cup.

Less than a month after taking the reins of the association from the four-term president Dave Cameron, the decision was taken to dismiss interim coach Richard Pybus and the entire selection panel.

 The decision was particularly debatable with the ICC World Cup just a few weeks away and the interim-coach and team having put on an outstanding performance against England, the world’s number one team, and eventual World Cup winners only a month prior.

Despite being a huge supporter of the Skerritt slate ahead of it being elected, Richards strongly believed it was a major misstep.

“To be fair I did put my everything behind my support for the individual who is at the helm, but I wasn’t happy with the so-called coming into that particular position and just the way in which subtle little changes were made to get certain individuals in place for them to be managers and coaches of the tour to the World Cup.  I didn’t like the start and I made my point, Richards said.

“I didn’t like the start. I am hoping that the finish is much better than the start.”

Eoin Morgan wants to captain England in next year's Twenty20 World Cup but says he "needs more time" to reflect after a back injury.

Morgan led England as hosts as they won the Cricket World Cup, beating New Zealand in a classic final at Lord's last month.

But his future is uncertain in the aftermath of that success, while he has been battling a back injury that dogged him through the 50-over tournament.

Morgan is keen to continue in the limited-overs leadership role but will first take some time to consider his options, determined he will only captain the side if he is physically fit.

"I need more time to think, that's the honest answer," he told the BBC's Test Match Special. "It's a big decision, a big commitment.

"Given the injury that I went through in the World Cup, I need time to get fully fit.

"I actually need the season to end pretty soon so I can have that time to physically get fit and guarantee that it's not an injury risk between this year and next, and then I'll be able to make a call on that."

Asked if he wanted to skipper the side, Morgan added: "Absolutely. Who doesn't?

"I just don't want to let anybody down. When you lead, you have to lead from the front and you have to be physically fit.

"Finding form is another thing. Hopefully that works itself out."

Ravi Shastri will continue as India head coach for another two years, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed on Friday.

Shastri's role had been one of several positions in which the BCCI invited applicants last month, putting his future in doubt.

The 57-year-old's contract as coach had initially expired after the Cricket World Cup, where India lost in the semi-finals to New Zealand.

But an extension had seen Shastri take charge of the ongoing series against West Indies.

And Shastri will now keep his role after the BCCI's cricket advisory committee named him as their preferred candidate.

Mike Hesson was selected as the second choice, with Tom Moody third.

But Shastri is to continue in a job he has held since July 2017, having previously worked as team director.

He oversaw India's first ever away Test series win against Australia at the turn of the year.

Windies bowling legend Curtly Ambrose admits he has an issue with a lack of aggression from current captain Jason Holder but believes the Barbadian remains the best man for the job.

The 27-year-old all-rounder has been in the post since 2015 but has come under heavy pressure in recent weeks, following a dismal performance for the team at ICC World Cup.  Managing just a single win, which came against Pakistan, the regional team finished ninth out of 10 teams.

While the outspoken Ambrose insisted that Holder needed to be more assertive in the post, the pace bowler pointed out that there was a lack of suitable replacements available.

“When you look at the resources it is a very short list so what are your options? You have Jason Holder, you got Craig Brathwaite who is his deputy and who are the others who lead or have led before? Hetmyer led the under-19s so maybe he is one to look at in the future once he can cement himself and get going but there is nobody really. The list is very short so we can’t just give a guy captaincy … because we need to be very careful. I think Jason should just continue for now and then we see what happens,” Ambrose told Antiguan radio show Good Morning Jojo.

“I think he has improved from when he started, so let’s be real, but my thing with Jason Holder is that I think is he may not be aggressive enough as a leader. I think he is a little too laid back because when you’re captain you’re a leader and people should recognize right away that he’s the leader. When you look at the West Indies team you’re not sure who the leader is, so Jason needs to, maybe, be more authoritative or just have some kind of presence so you know that he is the man in charge,” he said.

 

 

Joe Root baulked at the suggestion he is under less pressure to deliver an Ashes series win because of his part in England's Cricket World Cup victory.

England and Australia resume their famous rivalry at Edgbaston on Thursday, the first of five Tests in a packed seven-week schedule as the hosts aim to build upon their breathless triumph over New Zealand at Lord's with another memorable success in the longest format.

Root was England's leading runs scorer as Eoin Morgan's men lifted the trophy, comfortably dispatching Australia in the semi-finals en route to glory.

But the 28-year-old is captain once again for Test duties, as he was when Australia took back possession of the urn with a 4-0 win on home soil 18 months ago.

"I think if you speak to anyone that's captained England and is on the verge of an Ashes series… to say that it doesn't mean as much as any other event, I don't think any of them would agree. It's huge," Root, who will step up again to the crucial number three position in England's brittle top order, told a pre-match news conference.

"Cricket in this country is at an all-time high and probably has interest it's not had for a long time. We've got an opportunity as a team to make this summer a very memorable one."

It is a joust limited-overs specialist Morgan will watch from afar.

Root spoke warmly of the Irishman's influence on his leadership of the Test team as he seeks to plot a similarly defining triumph.

"I'm sure he's still celebrating somewhere, to be honest," Root grinned. "He's obviously desperate for us to do well.

"He's been great with me in terms of helping me find my feet as a captain and someone I will always will look up to.

"He's a great man and a great leader. He'll be as supportive as anyone watching on from wherever he is – hopefully with a glass of red somewhere."

Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes return to the England side after sitting out last week's topsy-turvy Test win over Ireland – the duo prescribed rest after showing nerves of steel to guide England towards and through the super-over finale versus New Zealand.

"When you look back at that final and everything that it threw at the group who played in it, those are experiences you can hold with you for ever," Root said, acknowledging the lingering benefit such exploits could have over the coming weeks.

"For people like Jos and Ben, who spent a long period out there under pressure, it must make you think differently and it'll be interesting to see that unfold throughout this series.

"It can only be positive to have two senior players perform for a long period of time under the biggest scrutiny and pressure in the white-ball format.

"They've got a chance now to take that into the red-ball stuff and into this series."

Sunil Gavaskar has hit out at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) selectors ahead of India's tour of West Indies, labelling the body "lame ducks" over Virat Kohli continuing as captain.

India exited the Cricket World Cup in the semi-finals, losing to New Zealand after topping the group stage table under Kohli.

He will continue to lead the team in the United States and the Caribbean, though, with Gavaskar questioning why there was no discussions about Kohli's position after India failed to reach the World Cup final.

In a column in Indian outlet Mid Day, Gavaskar said: "That they selected the team for West Indies without first having a meeting to select the captain brings up the question of whether Virat Kohli is the captain of the team at his or the selection committee's pleasure.

"To the best of our knowledge his [Kohli’s] appointment was till the World Cup. After that, it was incumbent on the selectors to meet, even if it was for five minutes for his reappointment."

The India great continued: "Speaking of lame ducks, the Indian selection committee appears to be one.

"After the reappointment, he [Kohli] gets invited to the meeting for his views on selecting the players for the team.

"By bypassing the procedure, the message that goes out is that while the players like Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik get dropped after below-expectations performance, the captain continues despite much below-par expectations, where the team did not even reach the final."

India play the first of three T20 internationals against West Indies on August 3, with three ODI games following before a two-match Test series.

Regardless of who lifts the urn at The Oval in September, one Australian who is plotting Ashes glory should forever be revered in England.

Just 16 months ago Trevor Bayliss was facing calls for him to be axed as England head coach after New Zealand rolled Joe Root's side for only 58 in an embarrassing first-Test defeat in Auckland.

That came on the back of a chastening 4-0 Ashes thumping in Australia, where Bayliss also fended off questions over his future – much more assertively than the tourists did with the Australia bowling attack.

Bayliss would be entitled to feel he had more than enough credit in the bank at that point, having masterminded a transformation of the ODI side from a Cricket World Cup shambles in 2015 to a major force.

There was no word from his critics when top-ranked England were crowned world champions for the first time this month, an ambitious mission that he was challenged to achieve when he took the reins four years ago.

The unassuming Bayliss started his tenure with a home Ashes win and could sign off with another before stepping aside at the end of the series.

An emphatic home Test series win over India and two series victories against South Africa have also been achieved with the former Sri Lanka coach at the helm, as well as a run to the final of the 2016 World T20.

Paul Farbrace, long-time assistant to the man from New South Wales both with England and Sri Lanka, knows as well as anybody why Bayliss has been so successful over the years.

He told Omnisport: "It's very easy when you are a coach to talk a lot, it's very hard not to say a lot and when you do speak, you speak at the right time and you say the right thing.

"That is where I think he is a genius, in that when he speaks, people listen and when he speaks, he genuinely says something that is very good and you think 'that is a great point'.

"There is a lot of things Trevor gets underestimated about. He appears to sit quietly and not say a lot, but he gets his point across and he knows what is going on all the time in the game, he never misses a ball.

"He is a genuine cricket lover and he's passionate about the game, with exceptional knowledge. He may forget the odd name, but he doesn't forget too much about the game.

"He has been the perfect fit for England over the last four years. The World Cup was the goal four years ago and that's what they have achieved."

Farbrace added: "It's a special summer for English cricket; a home World Cup and Ashes in the same six-month period, it's magnificent for the game in this country at all levels of the game.

"There's never been a better time to introduce people to get involved in the game of cricket. If England can win the Ashes it would be the perfect way to see things home and I see no reason why they can't do that."

Whether or not England regain the Ashes, Bayliss can leave the job with his head held high, although he may prefer to stay poker-faced wearing dark shades under his floppy sun hat to stay out of the limelight.

Lasith Malinga has played his final ODI, starring for Sri Lanka in Friday's victory against Bangladesh in Colombo.

The Lions seamer went out in style as he took three wickets for 38 runs - his dismissal of Mustafizur Rahman wrapping up the win - in a 91-run triumph.

Malinga will continue to play 20-over internationals until next year's T20 World Cup, but it was in the 50-over format that he first established himself as a worldwide bowling icon.

Marking the end of a brilliant career, we take a look at how he compares to the very best.

 

ONE OF SRI LANKA'S ELITE

Malinga ends his career at number three on Sri Lanka's list of ODI wicket-takers, having claimed 338 from 220 innings.

Only the great Muttiah Muralitharan (523) and Chaminda Vaas (399) can better that tally, both playing considerably more innings - 334 and 319 respectively.

That puts Malinga ahead of Sanath Jayasuriya, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dilhara Fernando and team-mate Thisara Perera, with his average of 28.87 better than each of those four players, too.

 

HIS PLACE AMONG THE GREATS

Those figures unsurprisingly put Malinga high on the all-time worldwide list, too.

The 35-year-old is ninth in a table that again sees compatriot Muralitharan on top, also trailing Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Vaas, Shahid Afridi, Shaun Pollock, Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee.

Counting only seamers in ODIs, Malinga is seventh, with Javagal Srinath (315 wickets) the next after him.

He also collected three hat-tricks, which is more than any other bowler in ODI history, while he had eight five-wicket hauls.

 

A GENUINE WORLD CUP STAR

A rare bowling list that Muralitharan does not lead is that of Cricket World Cup wickets, where he is second behind McGrath. Malinga, with 56, 15 behind the leader, is third.

That total came from just 28 innings as Malinga produced his best on the big stage, playing in four World Cups (2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019) and taking 12 or more wickets in each of them. No other bowler has taken at least 10 wickets in more than three tournaments.

Sri Lanka were runners-up in 2007 and 2011, and big-game player Malinga took a hat-trick in each tournament. He took four wickets from four balls for the first of those against South Africa.

Ben Stokes is "flattered" to be nominated for the New Zealander of the Year award but England's Cricket World Cup hero says Kane Williamson should receive the accolade.

Votes were cast for the New Zealand-born all-rounder to claim the prize last week after he was named man of the match following a decisive innings in a World Cup final defeat of the Black Caps at Lord's.

However, Stokes believes New Zealand captain Williamson is the man who should be given the honour.

"I am flattered to be nominated for New Zealander of the Year. I am proud of my New Zealand and Maori heritage but it would not sit right with me to be nominated for this prestigious award," said the 28-year-old.

"There are people who deserve this recognition more and have done a lot more for the country of New Zealand.

"I have helped England lift a World Cup and my life is firmly established in the UK – it has been since I was 12 years old.

"I feel the whole country should align their support to New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. He should be revered as a Kiwi legend. He led his team in this World Cup with distinction and honour. 

"He was the player of the tournament and an inspirational leader of men. He shows humility and empathy to every situation and is an all-round good bloke.

"He typifies what it is to be a New Zealander. He would be a worthy recipient of this accolade. New Zealand, fully support him. He deserves it and gets my vote."

Lasith Malinga has told Dimuth Karunaratne he will retire from ODIs following the first match against Bangladesh, according to the Sri Lanka captain.

The 35-year-old had already announced plans to quit cricket following next year's T20 World Cup, yet his final ODI appearance is set to come this week.

Sri Lanka face Bangladesh in a three-match ODI series, starting on Friday, but Karunaratne is expecting to be without Malinga following the opener in Colombo.

"We need to find a wicket-taking bowler because Malinga is not available after this series," the skipper told a news conference.

"He is going to play the first match. After that, he is retiring. That's what he said to me. I don't know what he said for the selectors but, for me, he said he is playing only one match."

Malinga has taken 335 wickets in 225 ODIs, sitting third on his country's all-time list, with 13 dismissals at the recent Cricket World Cup.

Karunaratne added ahead of taking on Bangladesh: "As the captain of Sri Lanka, after the World Cup, we need to build a good team.

"We are trying to find some new talent, so we are giving some chances to the youngsters in this series. We want to play a good cricket series."

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