"I often have to explain to people he didn't score all of the 375 off me," Chris Lewis quips as he reflects with mixed emotions on Brian Lara's astonishing record knock in Antigua.

It is 25 years to the day since Lara whipped an expectant Antigua crowd into a frenzy by hooking Lewis to the boundary to eclipse fellow West Indies legend Garry Sobers' long-standing highest Test score of 365 not out.

A quarter of a century on, that historic moment is still fresh in the memory of former England all-rounder Lewis.

"Oh no," Lewis replies when asked if he would mind sharing his recollection of an incredible tour de force from one of the greatest batsmen of all time.

That must have been what the England bowlers were thinking when captain Michael Atherton asked them to warm up as Lara majestically piled on the runs.

The Windies had been reduced to 12-2 on day one of the final match of the series, but Lara spent 12 hours and 46 minutes at the crease to surpass a record set by Sobers back in 1958.

Lewis had tried everything to remove the elegant left hander, whose foot dislodged a bail - which fell back into the groove - as he swung around after hitting one of 45 fours to make history.

He told Omnisport: "People identify me with running in to bowl that ball to Brian, so I often have to explain to people he didn't score all of the 375 off me!

"But I remember running in to bowl the ball and really just thinking, 'I've tried everything else, so I'll have a go at getting [the ball] as high as I can', and there were two men back, so see what happens.

"I bowled the ball, he whacked it for four and it was chaotic, with the game stopped halfway through, people came onto the field - including Garry Sobers - and we're just spectators taking it in, not quite believing what's going on.

"While that was happening, Jack [Russell, England wicketkeeper] came up to me and said, 'Do you know he stepped on his stumps when he hooked it?' I had no idea.

"Here we are 25 years later and certainly I didn't want Brian to break the record, certainly not off my bowling and certainly not against our team. I wouldn't say I was happy to be a part of it but I'm happy for Brian. He was the best batter I ever played against, one of the most exciting cricketers I've ever seen and he deserves it."

Lewis added: "It was really surreal. I remember Brian getting his hundred and I remember thinking, he's got his hundred so sooner or later - hopefully sooner - he'll probably chip one to cover or point or something like that, because it often happens - batsmen give it away after getting to the century.

"But he kept going and after day one nobody was thinking of the world record, then during the second day there almost seemed to be a build-up and an inevitably about it."

While Lewis is now happy to doff his cap to Lara - who went on to make an unbeaten 400 on the same ground against the same opponents to reclaim the Test record 10 years later - for his herculean knock, it was too painful to appreciate at the time.

"I must admit it took me a while to be admiring it, because it's a bit like being in the midst of a boxing fight and someone has given you a great right hook and you stand back and admire," the 51-year-old said. 

"It's very much later when there is not so much aggression going on or in some cases even after your career when you can look back. I didn't want to admire batters too much, it was a competition, but 25 years later Brian Lara coming into bat... if I wasn't bowling it would be a very enjoyable day!"

 

- Lewis is currently on tour for The Long Walk Back, a theatre production based on his fall from grace. 

Cameron Bancroft hopes to impress Australia's selectors and earn a Test recall in the future as he looks to move on from the ball-tampering scandal.

Bancroft was banned for nine months after admitting to trying to alter the condition of the ball during Australia's third Test against South Africa in 2018.

The 26-year-old made his return to action in the Big Bash League last December and will spend the next few months with Durham in the County Championship.

Bancroft will captain Durham in the second tier this season, a decision that was met with some surprise given his involvement in the scandal that also saw Australia team-mates Steve Smith and David Warner suspended for 12 months.

Smith and Warner are expected to make their international comebacks ahead of the Cricket World Cup, with the plan to see them return to Test cricket at the Ashes later in 2019.

When Bancroft could add to his eight Test caps remains unclear, but he hopes that it will happen one day.

"The aspiration to play Test cricket is certainly in my mind and where I'd love to be one day. But I also can't be there. I'm here right now," he told reporters ahead of Durham's home match with Sussex.

"[Playing for Australia] would mean a lot to me, definitely. But I also know that I've got a lot of great things in my life

"Even just playing club cricket back home in Perth, it's a game I felt like where you get self-absorbed and single-minded in your pursuits to achieve things.

"At the forefront is just the enjoyment of it all. If I do that then I know the results will take care of themselves. Hopefully it will happen one day."

Bancroft says he grew up during his time out of the game and believes there have been some positives to come out of what happened.

He added: "We all make mistakes and I guess it's how you're able to grow as a person, in admitting and being honest with yourself about those mistakes.

"I certainly have been and as a person that's something that I'm completely accountable for. I wouldn't have it any other way.

"I've learned a lot about myself, I think being able to take time to detach myself from cricket was something that I found a lot of joy in.

"Turning that event from South Africa into a positive was something I was really proud of and to have that opportunity to grow as a person, you'd be silly not to take those steps forward."

Virat Kohli has become the first player to be crowned the world's leading cricketer for a third successive year by Wisden.

The cricketing almanack annually recognises the top players across all formats of the game, and once again Kohli has been named as the world's best.

During 2018, India captain Kohli scored five Test hundreds and amassed an impressive 1,322 runs – 299 more than any other player.

Across all three formats Kohli scored 2,735 runs, with 1,202 of them coming in ODIs – the 30-year-old averaging 133.55 in the 50-over format.

Smriti Mandhana claimed the women's leading player award, completing a clean sweep for India, while Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan is the top Twenty20 player for a second year in a row.

Meanwhile, Kohli has also been named as one of Wisden's five cricketers of the year, where he is joined by England quartet Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran and Tammy Beaumont – who scored a 47-ball T20 hundred against South Africa at Taunton in June.

England captain Joe Root is "fine" after taking a blow to his left hand late on day three of Yorkshire's County Championship fixture at Nottinghamshire.

Root was struck by a Joe Clarke drive with three overs remaining at Trent Bridge on Sunday and left the pitch for medical attention.

However, Yorkshire head coach Andrew Gale quickly allayed any fears of serious damage when speaking to Sky Sports at the close of play.

"No, he's fine. He's just strapped it up, just icing it up," he said.

"It was just precautionary really, he'll be fine for tomorrow [Monday]."

Nottinghamshire closed day three on 329-5 in their second innings, a lead of 446 runs.

Ben Stokes hopes his response to being arrested and the subsequent court case could prove to be a major positive influence on his mentality during the rest of his career.

The star all-rounder was arrested in September 2017 during a night out after England's one-day international against West Indies.

He missed the 2017-18 Ashes series against Australia as a consequence, but was later acquitted after facing charges of affray. 

"No matter what happens in life with me now, the Bristol thing will always be there," he told ESPNcricinfo.

"It's something I'll always carry with me. It'll always be there. Always.

"I want to do things on the field to be remembered for. If we win the World Cup, that becomes the first paragraph [of a career profile], doesn't it? I don't want to be remembered as the guy who had a fight in the street."

Despite his international and professional future being at risk before and during the trial, Stokes claims he had always considered himself fortunate to play cricket for a living.

"The easy thing to say is yes, it made me appreciate it more," he said.

"But I don't know - I always did appreciate it.

"But thinking all this is going to be taken away from me might be the thing that has changed the way I do things. I was that close to my career ending and being thrown away just like that. Maybe that is it.

"It sounds silly but, could Bristol have been the best thing that could have happened to me? Who knows. But maybe in terms of my way of thinking."

Alastair Cook says the battle to become England's first-choice opener is wide open ahead of the Ashes, with James Vince, Jason Roy and Keaton Jennings all in contention.

England have been unable to settle on a reliable opening pair since Andrew Strauss' retirement in 2012, with Cook having a string of partners in the years that followed.

Jennings was one of the many to try their hand alongside Cook and following the latter's retirement last year England again began to assess their options.

In the West Indies only Rory Burns opened in all three Tests, with Jennings partnering him in two and Joe Denly in the other.

None of them averaged more than 30, though, and the make-up of England's top order remains uncertain heading into the Ashes, beginning on August 1.

Vince will open for Hampshire in a bid to boost his chances, while Roy has also expressed a desire to be given the nod against Australia, though a hamstring injury may have damaged his hopes.

Cook believes all three have the quality to force their way in and is relishing watching the battle unfold.

"It's very exciting for anyone out there, the top order hasn't been settled for England for a while and there are places up for grabs," he told Sky Sports. 

"Any player, with such a big summer ahead with the World Cup and Ashes, has such an opportunity. If you have a good year you can make a name for yourself.

"I haven't seen much of Jason playing four-day cricket, we've all seen what he can do in white-ball stuff and it is – in one way – a very similar game. 

"You can see he can handle himself in international cricket, he's a fantastic strokemaker. He hasn't batted a huge amount at the top of the order for Surrey so that's a bit of a concern in one way but he's so talented."

Cook added: "Obviously now [Vince's] opening for Hampshire, going up the order, I think it's a fantastic opportunity for him.

"Vincey is a brilliant cricketer, a brilliant batter, one I love watching bat. The amount of time he's got playing against pace bowling, he got a fantastic 80 [against Australia] in Brisbane, a real high-pressure situation, so he can do it as well.

"Keats [Jennings] is a great guy, a great batter who's experienced everything in Test cricket in such a short space of time. A hundred on debut, a hundred in Sri Lanka and then some tough moments back at home in English conditions. 

"He'll be like anyone, desperate to score runs for Lancashire, desperate for some form and to make the call for the selectors very hard. 

"No one's nailed a place and no one can say they are a shoe-in for that top three, so it's all to play for."

Australia international Marnus Labuschagne has signed for Glamorgan for the first half of the 2019 season.  

Labuschagne broke into Australia's Test team in October last year and will undoubtedly hope strong performances in the English county game can be a springboard to further international recognition, particularly with the Ashes coming up later this year.  

The 24-year-old, who was born in South Africa, has scored 210 runs in five Tests at an average of 26.25, hitting a top score of 81 against Sri Lanka in January.  

He has also taken nine Test wickets at an average of 27.11 with his leg-spin, though is yet to play any limited-overs games for Australia.

"I've always wanted to play county cricket and test myself in different conditions and a new environment, so I'm delighted to sign for Glamorgan," said Labuschagne.  
   
"I understand it was a difficult season last year for the club, but hopefully I can hit the ground running and put in some good performances to get us off to a winning start."

Australia bowlers Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon have denied that they planned to boycott last year's fourth Test against South Africa if David Warner had been free to play.

Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft were given long bans for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal at Newlands last March.

It was reported in the Australian media this week that Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins and Lyon would have refused to play in the final match of the series in Johannesburg in the wake of the Cape Town fiasco if Warner was in the side.

With Warner and Smith now eligible to resume their international careers as of this week, the quartet have refuted claims they would have made themselves unavailable if the former vice-captain had been selected.

They said in a statement released by Cricket Australia: "We are extremely disappointed in an article which was first published across Fairfax platforms on March 29, 2019.

"The article claims we intended to withdraw from the fourth Test during last year's tour of South Africa had David Warner been free to play.

"This claim is disappointing on a number of fronts but most importantly because it is false. 

"False claims circulated in the media, such as these, which question our relationship with David are inflammatory and misleading. 

"As a team we are all focused on moving forward together and helping the Australian Men's team prepare for the World Cup and the Ashes."

Adil Rashid is excited to face a full-strength Australia side featuring Steve Smith and David Warner at the Cricket World Cup.

A year on from the ball-tampering scandal that rocked Test cricket, Smith and Warner have now completed their suspensions and will eligible for selection going forward.

Both batsmen are likely to come straight back into the Australia ODI side for the World Cup, while Test spots are also expected as Australia prepare to travel to England for the Ashes.

While some may not be too welcoming towards the duo, Rashid is looking forward to facing them as England embark on a big year of their own.

"It'll be nice to face a full-strength Australia with all their batters and all their bowlers," the leg-spinner told Omnisport.

"It's better for everybody watching as well with all the players playing. It'll be exciting for us boys to play against them again."

Even if Smith and Warner return to their ranks, Australia are unlikely to be considered favourites for the World Cup.

That honour is likely to fall on England's shoulders, and Rashid is confident they will be able to handle the weight of expectation.

"I think we'll handle it [the favourites tag] quite well, in the past few years we've handled that pressure well, playing against the best teams wherever," he added.

"But we don't look that far ahead and that we may be favourites or not, we'll take it a game at a time, a step at a time, a practice at a time and work like that and let everything else fall into place and let it happen.

"We know if we go out there, stick to our strengths, we all back each other, we have that belief, we'll go a long way."

Jofra Archer could feature for England and Rashid is confident the Barbados-born seamer would be a useful asset should he be selected.

"I've seen a bit of him on tv, but I’ve not spent much time with him," he said. "It's up to the selectors [if he plays for England], but I'm sure if he is selected he will fit right in straight away because he has proven himself to be a top bowler."

Duanne Olivier would welcome a chance to represent England at international level once he has gained citizenship.

The seamer turned his back on South Africa in February when he signed a three-year deal with Yorkshire on a Kolpak contract.

His decision came in the week that Olivier broke into the top 20 of the ICC's Test bowling rankings, the 26-year-old having impressed during the Proteas' series with Sri Lanka.

It may not be the last time Olivier appears on the international scene, though, after admitting a role with England is something he would consider in the future.

"There's been controversy around the situation, for me my main focus is playing for Yorkshire," he told Omnisport.

"There is rules and regulations where you can qualify [for] citizenship, that's my bigger goal to become a citizen here, and if it allows me to play for England one day I will never say no to that.

"For me, playing for South Africa was an honour and I never used that as a stepping stone to move to England, there were different factors and situations that played a role to me coming here.

"My main focus is to play cricket and do well for Yorkshire and win trophies."

His decision has led to some criticism, but Olivier has no regrets as he prepares for the start of the County Championship next month.

"I think if you focus on external things it will influence your game," he added. "For me it is more about what I feel, what I want to do, what I want to achieve.

"I focus more internally, and at the end of the day I'm here to play cricket, I'm not here to entertain or field matters on how people feel.

"Every person has their opinion and they can share their opinion, so for me it has been ok, yes there have been people criticise me and there's people understanding, that's part of life."

Any Australia captain would expect to be sternly tested in a year that features a Cricket World Cup and an Ashes series, but Aaron Finch and Tim Paine are set to face particularly challenging examinations of their leadership credentials as they prepare to welcome Steve Smith and David Warner back to the international fold.

Twelve months on from the sensational ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town that prompted suspensions, recriminations and plenty of tears, Smith and Warner are now available to play at the highest level once again.

Ahead of the expiry of their year-long bans, Australia's former skipper and second-in-command, who were sanctioned by their country's cricketing governing body along with opening batsman Cameron Bancroft, met up with the ODI squad in the United Arab Emirates this month. 

Somewhat predictably, Smith, Warner and head coach Justin Langer - appointed as the successor to Darren Lehmann soon after last year's controversy erupted - all offered glowing reviews of that reunion, each man sure to reference the importance of the team's "values" at every opportunity.

Yet while the returns of two of the world's best batsmen would appear to provide obvious positives for Australia in such an important year, Finch and Paine will surely be aware that the comebacks of Smith and Warner could also act as destabilising influences for a team that finally appears to be heading in the right direction.

Australia endured plenty of on-field misery in the aftermath of the ball-tampering saga. A humiliating 492-run defeat in the fourth Test against South Africa – after Smith, Warner and Bancroft had been sent home - was followed by a limited-overs humbling at the hands of England and further series losses across all three formats before 2018 was up.

However, there were encouraging signs for the Test team as they beat Sri Lanka 2-0 on home soil earlier this year after going down 2-1 to India, while recent Australian ODI displays have been nothing short of magnificent, with a stunning series win from 2-0 down in India preceding three emphatic thrashings of Pakistan in the UAE.

Intriguingly, 50-over skipper Finch has found top form in the ongoing rubber with Pakistan, compiling successive scores of 116, 153 not out and 90 to seemingly end any debate over whether he will retain the captaincy for the World Cup that begins at the end of May.

In a sense, though, the success of Finch and Australia over the last few weeks has only made things more complicated. Smith and Warner - who are both in Indian Premier League action at present - remain likely to earn immediate recalls in England given their hugely impressive records, but their availability is now set to provide a bigger headache than many may previously have imagined, with the team in such superb form.

Rather than approaching a major event with their best XI locked down and every player aware of their precise role in the team, a scenario you could reasonably expect after six successive away wins against high-calibre opponents, Australia face the prospect of two significant changes being made just before the World Cup begins.

If that has the potential to damage morale in certain quarters, the fact Smith and Warner are returning to international action in England is also far from ideal.

The pair would anticipate plenty of scrutiny and reminders of their transgressions in any circumstances, but English fans and media alike will doubtless be particularly persistent in bringing up the subject.

It remains to be seen how Australia's players react to that situation and there are many other unanswered questions.

Will Smith and Warner really slot seamlessly back into the dressing room? Or will some of their team-mates harbour resentment?

Can Finch and Paine fully exert their authority – in high-octane situations - over two men who were previously above them in the hierarchy?

And perhaps the biggest elephant in the slip cordon … if Paine continues to struggle for Test runs at the start of the Ashes, how awkward will it be for Australia to have Smith, who boasts a stunning average of 61.37 and plenty of experience as the chief decision-maker, in the side but unable to take over as skipper? The former captain is barred from taking a leadership position for at least another 12 months.

This month's carefully managed meeting in the UAE, complete with talk of "hugs and cuddles", represented the first step in the reintegration of Australia's fallen stars, but the answers to these posers will only become clearer as the pressure ramps up during the World Cup and Ashes.

Turning around a listing ship in the absence of two marquee players has proven a stern challenge for Australia over the past year. Smith and Warner may be set to come back on board, but that does not mean it will now be plain sailing.

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the Australia ball-tampering scandal that rocked world cricket. 

During the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town in March 2018, Australia opening batsman Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera attempting to change the condition of the ball with a piece of sandpaper that he subsequently hid down the front of his trousers. 

Bancroft, captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were subsequently banned by Cricket Australia (CA), as the cricketing fraternity expressed its severe condemnation of such a blatant act of cheating. 

Bancroft is back playing while Smith and Warner's lengthier suspensions are set to come to an end - in a World Cup and Ashes year, no less. 

Below, we recap the events of a damaging 12 months for Australian cricket.

 

March 24, 2018: During day three at Newlands, television replays begin to emerge of Bancroft rubbing the ball with sandpaper, which he then hides down his whites.

March 24: Bancroft and Smith face the media after the day's play, admitting - along with the "leadership group" - their plot to manipulate the ball, although they claim the foreign object was tape. Bancroft confirms he has been charged by the International Cricket Council (ICC) while Smith insists he will not resign as skipper.

March 25: Amid rising condemnation, Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is scathing in his assessment of the issue, saying the plan to cheat "beggars belief". CA promises to investigate.

March 25: Shortly before the start of day four, it is confirmed Smith and Warner will relinquish their leadership roles for the remainder of the Test, with Tim Paine taking over as captain.

March 25: The ICC announces that Smith has been suspended for the fourth Test, although Bancroft is free to play. Australia collapse from 57-0 to 107 all out to lose by 322 runs in Cape Town.

March 27: Smith, Bancroft and Warner are all sent home from the tour. CA decrees they were the only individuals who knew of the plan. Matt Renshaw, Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell are called up.

March 28: CA hands Smith and Warner one-year bans from international and domestic cricket. Bancroft is suspended for nine months, while Warner will not be considered for any leadership roles in future. James Sutherland, CEO of CA, reiterates that head coach Darren Lehmann knew nothing of the plan. It is confirmed Bancroft used sandpaper and not tape on the ball.

March 29: An 'absolutely devastated' Smith breaks down in tears when addressing the media upon his return to Sydney. Bancroft also faces reporters and expresses remorse for his part in the fiasco.

March 29: Lehmann confirms he will resign from his post after the fourth Test. Sutherland insists he will not follow suit. Somerset cancel plans for Bancroft to join as the county's overseas player for 2018.

March 31: Speaking to the media at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Warner takes full responsibility for his actions while adding he has a "tiny ray of hope" that he will play for Australia again.

April 6: CA launches a review into "cultural, organisational and governance issues", employing an independent, player-driven panel to advise on future steps.

April 11: As expected, Smith, Warner and Bancroft are absent from CA's contract list for 2018-19.

May 2: Former opening batsman Justin Langer is appointed as Lehmann's successor as head coach.

June 3: Smith and Warner are each selected to play in the inaugural Global T20 Canada tournament. The pair later feature in the Caribbean and Bangladesh Premier Leagues, as well as Australian grade cricket.

June 13: During the first ODI between the sides at The Oval, England fans mock Australia's plight, distributing sandpaper marked with "4" and "6" to celebrate boundaries.

October 29: CA slammed as "arrogant" and "controlling" in the results of the body's independent review. 

December 26: In the build-up to the Boxing Day Test against India, Bancroft gives an interview during which he suggests the plan to tamper with the ball was Warner's. "I didn't know any better," says Bancroft.

December 30: Bancroft returns from his ban and scores two for Perth Scorchers in a Big Bash League defeat to Hobart Hurricanes.

March 8, 2019: Although set to be eligible for the final two matches of the ODI series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates following the expiry of their bans, Smith and Warner are not included in the Australia squad.

March 21: Durham announce Bancroft as their new captain for the County Championship and One-Day Cup ahead of the start of the English domestic season.

Troy Cooley has been appointed as Australia's bowling coach for the Ashes, 14 years after helping England regain the urn.

Cooley will take over from Tasmania coach Adam Griffith, who has been handed the role for the Cricket World Cup.

Justin Langer turned to the duo after David Saker - another former England coach - resigned in February.

Cooley worked with the Australia bowlers in the recent one-day international series in India, which the tourists won 3-2.

The 53-year-old is credited with playing an important role in England's victory over Australia in the classic 2005 Ashes series.

Australia have played 43 games across all formats in the time Steve Smith and David Warner have been banned - and the statistics suggest the two should have no problem walking back into the XI for the upcoming Ashes.

Ex-captain Smith and former vice-captain Warner are available to be selected for their country again from this week when the 12-month bans for their roles in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal come to an end.

Here, with the help of Opta, we take a look at how Australia's batsmen have fared across all three formats over the past year without the duo.

 

TESTS (P9 W3 D2 L4)

The first Test without Smith, Warner and Cameron Bancroft, who was given a nine-month ban for his part in the saga, ended in a 492-run loss to South Africa as the Proteas wrapped up a 3-1 series success.

Matthew Renshaw was one of those drafted in for that final match in Johannesburg, but having scored a cumulative 13 across two innings, he has not appeared in a Test since. 

Peter Handscomb initially filled Smith's spot at four and averaged fewer than 19 across seven innings, though Joe Burns was one of the success stories, the opener's 180 against Sri Lanka last month helping him to an average of 50 over the past year.

Travis Head (51) had a better average than Burns in that time, but openers Aaron Finch (27.8) and Marcus Harris (32.7) were unable to replicate Warner (48.2), particularly when they struggled in a 2-1 home series loss to India.

Having made his Test debut in October, Marnus Labuschagne batted at four in the recent two-match series with Sri Lanka, yet his average of 26.3 pales in comparison with Smith's 61.4.

 

ODIS (P18 W7 L11)

With a World Cup on English soil looming on the horizon later in 2019, Australia's 50-over fortunes were looking grim as little as three weeks ago.

A five-match series in India began with defeats in the opening two matches, meaning the world champions had lost 11 of 13 ODIs since the Newlands scandal.

But a stunning comeback sealed a 3-2 win over Virat Kohli's men, and Australia have continued that momentum in the UAE, where successive Finch hundreds mean the tourists lead Pakistan 2-0 in a best-of-five contest.

Those centuries have lifted Finch's ODI average across the past year to 39.4, while the likes of Usman Khawaja (60.9), Shaun Marsh (59.3) and Handscomb (52.1) have all benefitted from opportunities they may not otherwise have had.

Two months out from the start of the World Cup, the holders appear to be finding form at just the right time, and the returns of Smith and Warner will leave head coach Justin Langer nursing a welcome selection headache.

 

TWENTY20S (P16 W7 L8 NR1)

Smith's ban had little effect on his nation's T20 form - the 29-year-old having not featured in that format since March 2016 - yet Warner left a bigger void to fill having scored more than any other Australian in the shortest format.

Despite that, four leading batsmen averaged more than Warner's 26.7 over the previous 12 months.

Finch amassed 465 runs, though that total comes with the caveat that 324 of those were accrued in his first three innings. In his past 13 T20 knocks for Australia, Finch has averaged only 10.8.

All-rounder Glenn Maxwell (averaging 34), D'Arcy Short (28.3) and Head (27.3) were the others to shine in Warner and Smith's absences.

Andrew Hall says Cricket South Africa (CSA) must let young players know how highly they are regarded to prevent the cream of the crop from signing Kolpak deals.

The Proteas were rocked last month when seamer Duanne Olivier turned his back on his country to sign a three-year deal with Yorkshire.

Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw are among the other South Africa internationals who have signed Kolpak deals, while Morne Morkel joined Surrey after ending his Proteas career.

Former South Africa all-rounder Hall expects more to follow, but wants CSA to do everything in its powers to stop promising talent from slipping through the net.

He told Omnisport: "It's a tough one. It's more prevelant to the younger players who are coming through the system. 

"Cricket South Africa must earmark players and have open, honest conversations with them to let them know they have been identified and are being watched.

"They must be encouraged to keep playing and earn a place. There are times when you can't get into the side because of the players who are already established.

"I think back to having to compete with Jacques Kallis, Shaun Pollock and Lance Klusener - three world-class all-rounders - so it was difficult to get into that side and you have to keep working at it.

"But I was spoken to by the people in charge and told I was next in line. It gives you reassurances and that must happen now as the young players coming through are the ones, on the whole, who are going to be targeted."

Hall can understand why Olivier opted to ply his trade in county cricket.

He said of the 26-year-old's move to Headingley: "I would imagine that contract would have been signed last year, I don't think it's the type of thing that at the back end of him doing exceptionally well in the Tests, he'd say 'I'm just going to go and sign a Kolpak deal'.

"I think it was done prior to him having this good run of form where he's played in the system in South Africa [and] done well, he felt he's not going to get given a long run in Test cricket so because of that he signed a Kolpak deal.

"He's got to think of his future and we all know you only get a limited amount of time, so in his position he'll know he will be well looked after at Yorkshire.

"He could end up being there for the next five or 10 years. It's a catch 22 situation for him, but I would imagine with the money being talked of that he was offered, he would not make that in international cricket."

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