Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel and all-rounder Yannic Cariah will provide added experience to the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force outfit as they look to move up the West Indies Championship table.

With just two rounds of matches left in the regional first-class season, the Red Force sit sixth on the eight-team standings with 51 points from five games.

The Leeward Islands Hurricanes currently lead the table with 81.2 points.

Gabriel took a back seat earlier in the season with Jayden Seales available to play the first five matches of the campaign.

However, with Seales unavailable for the final two games due to his commitment to play in the England County Championship with Sussex, Gabriel has made himself available for the final two matches.

Meanwhile, Cariah is also available following his stint in the Bangladesh Premier League T20 and Jyd Goolie also comes back into the team after recovering from injury which kept him out of the previous game.

Veteran leg-spinner Imran Khan was left out of the squad having played just one game for the Red Force this season.

Joshua Da Silva will captain the team with Bryan Charles serving as vice-captain.

The players will have the option of playing for their local clubs when the T&T Cricket Board Sunday League 50-over competition bowls off with matches tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday.

The Red Force will take on CCC in round five at the Sir Frank Worrell Memorial Ground from April 10-13 before finishing their season against Jamaica as Sabina Park from April 17-20.

T&T Red Force squad: Joshua Da Silva (captain), Brian Charles (vice-captain), Vikash Mohan, Kjorn Ottley, Amir Jangoo, Jason Mohammed, Tion Webster, Anderson Phillip, Shannon Gabriel, Terrance Hinds, Jyd Goolie, Yannic Cariah, Khary Pierre.

 

 

 

Trinidad & Tobago Red Force and West Indies pacer Jayden Seales is hoping to use his upcoming stint at Vitality County Championship team Sussex to boost his bid for a recall to the West Indies Test squad.

The 22-year-old hasn’t represented the West Indies in the format since the first Test against Australia back in December 2022.

Overall, he’s taken 37 wickets in 10 Tests at an average of 24.24 and a strike rate of 42.9 with one five-wicket haul coming against Pakistan at Sabina Park in 2021.

He missed the rest of that Australia series after suffering a knee injury that required surgery.

He made a successful return to the Windies setup in an ODI series in August 2023 against India but then faced another spell on the sidelines after sustaining a shoulder injury while touring South Africa with the West Indies A team last November.

This season, Seales has played in all five matches for the Trinidad & Tobago Red Force in the ongoing West Indies Championship, taking 11 wickets.

The West Indies next Test assignment will be three games in England from July 10-30.

“Of course,” was the quick’s response when asked whether he views this County Championship stint as an opportunity to get back into the squad for that series in an interview with Sussex.

“Obviously being able to play first-class cricket back home and now getting the opportunity to play in England, it will help me hone my skills in English conditions and, hopefully, the management is watching and I’m putting in the performances that I need to get back into the Test side,” he added.

The first Test of that series will be played at the ground commonly referred to as ‘the home of cricket,’ Lord’s cricket Ground.

Playing at this ground is the dream of a number of cricketers and Seales is no exception.

“Definitely. I think every cricketer’s dream is to play in England and play at Lord’s. I know the first Test will be there so I’m definitely hoping to get into the squad for that series and start in that Test,” he said before proclaiming his preference for Test cricket over other formats.

“Test cricket is always the first choice for me. I’d always love to play Test cricket for the West Indies at any given time. White ball cricket will come around at any time but I want to focus on the red ball first,” Seales added.

Seales is set to make his County Championship Division Two debut when Sussex faces Northamptonshire at Hove.

 

 

 

 

Nathan Lyon has tipped new county team-mate Tom Hartley to have a “big future” and insisted he is not at Lancashire to take his place in the team.

Lancashire pulled off a major coup by signing Australia’s record-breaking off-spinner on an overseas deal, but it was immediately brought into sharp focus when Hartley surged to prominence with a match-winning second-innings haul of seven for 62 on his Test debut in Hyderabad.

Brendon McCullum, England’s red-ball head coach, admitted during the five-match series against India that it would be “mad” if Hartley and Somerset’s Shoaib Bashir were overlooked at the start of the Vitality County Championship season.

However, Lyon rejected suggestions he could stall the development of Hartley and instead believes he can pass on plenty of wisdom to the 24-year-old during his stint at Emirates Old Trafford, which was originally for the whole campaign, but has since been reduced to seven first-class games.

“I was glued to that Test series,” Lyon told reporters on Thursday.

“To see Tom go over there, make his debut and play the five Test matches, I actually watched it quite closely.

“He’s a talent, he’s only 24 and to see what he does, what I believe he can get better at, he’s got a big future ahead of him which is exciting for England cricket and world cricket as well.

“I know what Baz has come out and said in the media, and that’s all well and good – but I’m not here to take Tom’s spot. I’m here to bowl in tandem with Tom.

“If you can play two spinners in the side, in my opinion, you’ll win a lot of games of cricket. So I’m here to bowl in tandem with Tom and to be honest I’m happy to help Tom out along the way, and no doubt he’ll help me as well with different skillsets, different mindsets, tactically as well.

“There’s no secrets in what I do, so I’m more than happy to help out. If Tom calls me every day, sits down with me for a coffee every day, to talk spin bowling, I’m more than happy to do that.”

 

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Lyon also revealed the chance to bowl alongside Ashes rival James Anderson was part of the reason for his arrival in county cricket.

He only touched down in the country on Tuesday, but went straight into the Lancashire squad for Friday’s curtain-raiser against defending champions Surrey.

Anderson, the most prolific seamer of all time, is currently resting up after his exertions in the five-match series against India but the prospect of two greats with a combined 1,230 wickets to their name is already being teased.

“That would be pretty amazing. I’d be lying if I said that opportunity coming around wasn’t a big part of the reason I signed,” Lyon told BBC Radio Lancashire.

“He’s one of the greatest, if not the greatest, fast bowler to have played the game. I’ve had some incredible battles against him.

“I admire his skill, there’s nothing but respect from my end for what he’s been able to do for English cricket but also world cricket, inspiring young boys and girls to play the game.

“If the opportunity comes around that I get to bowl in tandem with him and share a changing room with him it will be pretty special, so I’m looking forward to that.”

Lyon was set to spend the whole summer in England, but Cricket Australia made the decision to cut his spell over his workload management.

“It’s definitely not my call, that’s the nature of the beast,” he said.

“CA have come over the top and said they wanted to manage me and hopefully extend my career. My hands are tied.”

Alec Stewart is braced for the “toughest” season yet, but has still set Surrey the target of winning a third consecutive Vitality County Championship title.

It was confirmed last month that Stewart would leave his director of cricket role at the end of 2024 in order to spend more time with his family following 11 years in the post.

Stewart signed his first contract with the county in 1981 and has been involved in six Championship successes, but he is striving for one more.

While there have been multiple back-to-back Division One winners in recent seasons, Brian Close’s Yorkshire side from the 1960s are the last team to win three Championships in a row.

Chelsea-fan Stewart is well aware of how difficult that will be, especially with a T20 World Cup in June, but has challenged Surrey to go up a level in the longest format and to fulfil their potential in white-ball cricket with an overdue Vitality Blast win.

“It’ll be the hardest year because of the World Cup,” Stewart reflected.

“We’ll have players who will go from the IPL (Indian Premier League), straight into the World Cup or near enough.

“This season is the toughest because it’s an extra month or six weeks that we won’t have those players for, but we’ve known that, so therefore you try and plan for that.

“I’m greedy, I want to win everything. We won it (Vitality Blast) in 2003, the first year, and we’ve got to Finals Day since but we haven’t won it.

“So, of course I’d like to win it, but so would 17 other counties.

“The Championship is still, for me, the pinnacle. The fact we’ve won it two in two is fantastic. Can we do it three in three? That’s what we’re going for.

“And then it’s how do we play, because the champions are always the side to beat and have we got the skillsets? And can we up our game enough?

“We were good last year, but I didn’t think we were great last year.”

Surrey players are determined to give Stewart a fitting farewell, but even the former England captain knows it will not really be goodbye.

The Kia Oval has largely been Stewart’s home for the best part of five decades and even longer for the family given his father Micky made his debut for the county in 1954.

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Stewart acknowledged: “It’s never going to end. Formally, yes, but I’ll still be coming to this place or still feel a part of it.

“They want me to try and stay in some role but I’ve said, I’m never going to walk away completely, but they’ve got to get the person in place first, because that person may not want me hanging about, which I fully understand.

“So, yep, I’m stepping down from a role I have thoroughly enjoyed and continue to enjoy. And then in December or whenever it will be, then I’ll drive out and say goodbye.

“Whatever job you’re in, you want to leave it in a better shape than when you took it over. That’s for others to judge, but we’ve certainly made progress.

“I want to win every trophy, but I get as much enjoyment seeing a (Ollie) Pope, (Will) Jacks or (Jamie) Smith come through our system as youngsters, come into our first team and then going to play for England because that to me counts as success.

“The trophy cabinet has the Championship in it at the minute, but if you have another cabinet, it’d be full of Surrey players that have come through the pathway then got England caps.”

Nathan Lyon admits the chance to bowl alongside Ashes rival James Anderson was part of the reason for his arrival in county cricket.

Lancashire pulled off a major coup by signing Australia’s record-breaking off-spinner on an overseas deal and, despite only touching down in the country on Tuesday, he goes straight into the squad for Friday’s curtain-raiser against defending champions Surrey.

Much has been made of the possibility of Lyon forging a mentor relationship with Tom Hartley, following the slow left-armer’s emergence for England this winter, but Lyon has revealed it was the chance to go into battle against an old adversary that really attracted him to Emirates Old Trafford.

Anderson, the most prolific seamer of all time, is currently resting up after his exertions in the five-match series against India but the prospect of two greats with a combined 1,230 wickets to their name is already being teased.

“That would be pretty amazing. I’d be lying if I said that opportunity coming around wasn’t a big part of the reason I signed,” he told BBC Radio Lancashire.

“He’s one of the greatest, if not the greatest, fast bowler to have played the game. I’ve had some incredible battles against him. I admire his skill, there’s nothing but respect from my end for what he’s been able to do for English cricket but also world cricket inspiring young boys and girls to play the game.

“If the opportunity comes around that I get to bowl in tandem with him and share a changing room with him it will be pretty special, so I’m looking forward to that.”

Lyon was initially brought in for the entire season, across all formats, but has seen his schedule cut to seven first-class games after a call was made by Cricket Australia over his workload management.

“It’s definitely not my call, that’s nature of the beast,” he said.

“CA have come over the top and said they wanted to manage me and hopefully extend my career. My hands are tied.”

The Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League (CPL) created a total economic impact of US$39,470,999 for Saint Lucia during the 2023 tournament.

 There were six matches scheduled in Saint Lucia between 16 and 20 August with games taking place at Daren Sammy Cricket Ground with all six CPL teams visiting the island over that period.

 The total event impact is calculated by world renowned research organization, YouGov Sport with the final figure being determined by organiser spend, visitor spend and media and promotional value for Saint Lucia. During CPL’s stay in St Lucia, CPL booked 12,818 hotel room nights, made up of players, coaches, administrators, TV and media crews, team owner groups, league and franchise event management teams, alongside overseas visitors who arrived to watch the games. A meaningful part of the total economic impact figure stems from the money spent by these overseas visitors.

Saint Lucia also benefited from the tournament being broadcast around the world with CPL’s audience reaching 853.5million total viewers in 2023. As always, CPL worked closely with the local tourism authorities to create world class content which helped promote the spectacular benefits on offer to visitors to Saint Lucia. These exclusive features and vignettes were shown during the CPL matches, further promoting the tourism message.

Pete Russell, Republic Bank CPL’s CEO, said: “Saint Lucia was once again a wonderful host for CPL matches in 2023 and we enjoyed the unrivalled hospitality in such beautiful surroundings. We are looking forward to returning for the 2024 season to once again contribute positively to the Saint Lucian economy.”

 Hon. Dr. Ernest Hilaire, Saint Lucia’s Minister for Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information, said: “Through the synergy of sports and tourism, the Republic Bank CPL has not only brought thrilling cricket action to Saint Lucia but has also catalyzed a ripple effect of economic prosperity. Some of our household names have developed through the sport even beyond the boundary. The tournament's impact resonates across sectors enriching our local economy and showcasing the unparalleled beauty of Saint Lucia to a global audience."

 

England took an unassailable 2-0 lead in their ODI series against New Zealand with a 56-run win in the second match in Hamilton.

After being dismissed for a duck in the first match on Monday, opener Tammy Beaumont bounced back with a stellar 81-run stand to get England off to a hot start at Seddon Park.

Once Maia Bouchier was caught by Hannah Rowe for 20, England captain Heather Knight set about building an intimidating target alongside Beaumont.

The pair combined for 70 runs before Knight was dismissed by Jess Kerr.

Beaumont was not fazed however, continuing to belt boundaries despite the quick exits of Nat Sciver-Brunt and Alice Capsey.

She lifted England to 158 for five before she was finally dismissed by Rowe.

Amy Jones took the baton from there, contributing 48 from 40 balls as England set a lofty target of 253.

Despite a staunch 57 from Brooke Halliday and a blistering 47 off 48 balls from Izzy Gaze, New Zealand’s batters were unable to threaten England’s score, ultimately being bowled out for 196.

Sciver-Brunt led the way for England’s bowlers with three wickets from her seven overs.

The final match of the series takes place on Sunday.

Barbados copped the West Indies Under-15 Rising Stars title following a stunning 192-run victory over Windwards Islands in the final round of the tournament on Wednesday.

Jahidi Hinds with a top score of 84 from 105 balls propelled Barbados to 297 runs in 49.2 overs, and later returned to grab two wickets that assisted to restrict Windward Islands to a paltry 105.

Hinds, who slammed five fours and three sixes in his knock, was one of three batsmen that scored half-centuries for the Barbadians at Bethesda. Captain Damarko Wiggins supported with a 69-ball 62, including five fours and three sixes, while Justin Parris contributed 58 from 61 balls.

Earsinho Fontaine was the pick of the Windward Islands bowlers, as he ended with five for 18 from 4.2 overs.

Windward Islands in their reply failed to get going with Jorden Charles the only batsman to offer little resistance with 32. No other Windwards batsman got to 20, as they were dismissed in 26.2 overs.

Javed Worrell, with 3-17 from five overs, led the Barbados bowling, while Kelani Clarke and Hinds took two wickets apiece.

It was the fourth win in a row for the Barbadians after their opening match against Guyana was washed out without a ball bowled.

Last year, Trinidad & Tobago emerged victorious in the tournament which was also held in Antigua.

The annual tournament represents Cricket West Indies continued investment in the development of the region's rising stars.

 

 

In a riveting clash at the Indian Premier League, Kolkata Knight Riders displayed an unparalleled batting spectacle that nearly eclipsed the record set just a week ago by Sunrisers Hyderabad. With a blistering onslaught led by Sunil Narine's career-best 85, Kolkata Knight Riders left the Delhi Capitals in awe with a monumental score of 272 for 7, falling just short of rewriting history by breaking the highest IPL score record.

Narine's ferocious innings, peppered with seven fours and as many towering sixes, set the stage on fire as he found an able partner in the form of Angkrish Raghuvanshi. The young talent showcased his mettle with a scintillating 54 off 27 balls, matching Narine blow for blow. Together, they formed a formidable partnership that laid waste to the Capitals' bowling attack.

But the onslaught didn't stop there. Andre Russell, with his trademark power-hitting, unleashed havoc upon the Capitals' bowlers, plundering 41 runs in just 19 deliveries. However, a searing yorker from Ishant Sharma in the final over denied Kolkata Knight Riders the chance to etch their name in the history books by surpassing the highest IPL score.

Despite falling short of the record, Kolkata Knight Riders' colossal total proved insurmountable for the Delhi Capitals, as they succumbed to a crushing defeat by a mammoth margin of 106 runs. With this victory, Kolkata Knight Riders soared to the top of the table, joining Rajasthan Royals with three wins from three matches, solidifying their position as serious title contenders in the IPL.

The Capitals, despite a valiant effort from their batsmen, including notable half-centuries from Rishabh Pant and Tristan Stubbs, found themselves outclassed by the Knight Riders' clinical performance. Vaibhav Arora emerged as the hero for Kolkata Knight Riders with a stellar bowling display, claiming three crucial wickets for a mere 27 runs, further sealing the Capitals' fate.

As the dust settled on the electrifying encounter, Kolkata Knight Riders celebrated their third consecutive win in the tournament, marking the first time in their history that they had started a season with three victories in three matches. With their batsmen firing on all cylinders and their bowlers delivering under pressure, Kolkata Knight Riders sent a clear message to their competitors: they were a force to be reckoned with in the race for the IPL title.

Durham wicketkeeper Ollie Robinson is ready to take his chance in a potential “shootout” for the England gloves this summer.

With Ben Foakes yet to match imperious glovework with consistent runs and Jonny Bairstow potentially at a career crossroads following a lean tour of India, there are a number of contenders eager to push to the front of the queue.

Foakes’ Surrey team-mate Jamie Smith has no shortage of admirers, Somerset’s James Rew enjoyed a superb breakout season in 2023 and white-ball regular Phil Salt is keen to make the move across formats.

But there is also a compelling candidate at Chester-le-Street. Robinson was outstanding as Durham stormed to the Division Two title last season, scoring three centuries and 931 runs at a strike-rate of 88.66 to mark himself out as a ‘Bazball’ natural. In the field he contributed 37 catches and 10 stumpings.

That won him a place on England Lions’ winter series against India A and the 25-year-old is not shying away from the possibility of a swift promotion ahead of Durham’s top-flight return against Hampshire on Friday.

“You see articles all the time, people putting stuff online, and it sounds like the media think there’s going to be changes with England,” he told the PA news agency.

“Whether it’s me or someone else, who knows, but that’s an exciting place to be at the start of the season. It’s a bit of a shootout in a way.

“Things like the Lions call-up show you you’re not that far away. It might just be about who starts the best. That’s not me putting pressure on myself but it is an exciting opportunity to really put your name in the hat if something was to happen and changes are to be made.

“Coaches talk about having healthy competition all the time and that’s what drives people onwards, knowing someone is on your tail. I’m used to that, before I was here I was at Kent and I had Jordan Cox and Sam Billings around me so I’ve always had that feeling of trying to force my way in.”

Robinson is also pleased to be coming through at a time when England’s attacking philosophy, led by head coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes, chimes with his own instincts.

“That’s the way I’ve always played, I like to score runs and hit boundaries,” he said.

“I remember opening the batting for Kent against Northamptonshire once and getting 100 off 100 balls. Everyone was asking, ‘Are you in a rush to get somewhere?’.

“It’s a breath of fresh air for me that it’s becoming more the norm to go about things that way. I score quickly and hit the ball in areas that some players don’t. Batters are there to score runs, it doesn’t matter how many you face.”

With the much-anticipated International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 Men’s World Cup roughly eight weeks away, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the Trinidad and Tobago leg of the tournament confirmed that there will be an expansion of the seating capacity at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy (BLCA) in the twin island republic.

The LOC, in a media conference at the Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair on Tuesday, provided an update on their preparations ahead of the June 1-29 tournament, which is being co-hosted by the Caribbean and the United States. The Brian Lara Cricket Academy, in Tarouba, will host five matches in the tournament, including four group matches and the first semifinal.

Haresh Ragoonath, venue and facilities manager for the T20 World Cup, said the refurbishing of the venue should be wrapped up within the next three weeks.

“The needs for the tournament are so great, when the facility was built it was not designed for T20 cricket as it is modernised so much right now. The commercial aspect of cricket has grown so much," Ragoonath told T&T Newsday.

Ragoonath pointed out that the adjustments are being made at the North media tower at the venue, with the installation of eastern and western wings set to see the venue comfortably accommodating over 120 media personnel.

“It’s about 95 per cent completed already. It should be completed in the next ten to 12 days in time for the tournament," he shared.

Perhaps, more importantly, to add to the atmosphere and ambience in the stadium, Ragoonath said there will be more seating to accommodate approximately 2,400 more spectators, thus turning the already 15,000-seater into a 17,000-plus capacity venue.

“There were a couple of areas we identified that had no seats, so we are going to increase the seating capacity of the stadium – all the sections," he explained.

“This has already started and will be completed in the next 20 days as well. The additional capacity will be increasing by about 2,400," Ragoonath noted.

Dawid Malan accepts his time with England has likely run its course but is planning his future in cricket by taking the first steps towards a coaching career with Yorkshire.

Malan still has six months left to run on the England central contract he signed last October but, despite finishing last year’s disappointing World Cup defence as top-scorer in a well beaten side, he is highly unlikely to wear the national team shirt again.

While not officially retired Malan’s name was conspicuous by its absence from the squads which immediately followed the dire campaign in India and, after 92 limited-overs internationals and 22 Test caps, the 36-year-old is looking to the next chapter.

Having agreed a white-ball only deal at Headingley for 2024 he will spend the early part of the season on hand to help his fellow batters, from first-team level downwards, before returning to the playing fold for the Vitality Blast.

“It’s quite exciting. I’ll see if can share some of my knowledge, if anyone wants it, and find out if it’s something I enjoy,” he said.

“I still feel I’ve got two or three years of playing if things go well and I can still perform, but I want to give back as much as I can now. It’s exciting to be back and give myself a different kind of challenge at this time of year than the one I usually have.

“It’s something I suggested to the club, because I’ve been thinking for a while about what I want to do after I’m finished. Do I want to get out totally or stay in cricket?

“Regardless of whether you earn £20million or £20,000 doing something, it’s whether you enjoy it or not. I don’t know if I’d enjoy sitting in four walls and sitting on phones all day, so this is the perfect opportunity for me.

“It’s an unofficial capacity but I’ll throw some balls and speak to whoever wants to speak to me about batting without treading on any of the coaches’ toes.”

Despite being midway through a year-long England deal, Malan is realistic enough not to pin his hopes on getting a comeback call for this summer’s T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the United States of America.

“I had a chat the day after (the World Cup) and that’s been it pretty much. They told me their reasons and that’s fine,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say performance would have anything to do with it. In 2023 I had a pretty good year in 50-over cricket and I wouldn’t say I’m old considering Jimmy Anderson is 41 or something like that!

“Obviously I know they might want to go in a different direction and they’re entitled to do whatever they think is the best way to move English cricket in the right direction. I still feel I’m good enough and young enough to do it but that’s out of my control, selection-wise.”

Despite spending a long period ranked as the number one T20 batter in the world, and averaging 55 in ODI cricket, Malan has spent much of his time as an international player defending his methods against those who prefer more extravagant hitters.

 

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And, as he turns his attention to mentoring others, he plans to learn from his own experiences.

“I guess I’ve never been someone who likes to be told what to do,” he said.

“Whether it’s by coaches or by the media, I feel it’s always been ‘you have to play this way to be successful’. But there’s not just one way to score runs or win games of cricket. There’s plenty of ways to score runs without being the stereotypical batter, put it that way.

“Hopefully that’s enjoyable for me as well – putting in the work with guys and seeing how they can put that into practice.

“I know I’ll have to be the guy that throws a thousand balls because I’m a player who demanded a thousand balls from the coaches when they’re throwing at me.”

Haseeb Hameed will always harbour aspirations of resuming his England career but he is for now ignoring outside distractions as he prepares to captain Nottinghamshire this season.

Already Nottinghamshire’s 50-over skipper, Hameed was named the successor to Steven Mullaney in the off-season for their Vitality County Championship campaign, starting with the visit of Essex on Friday.

While he believes he has time on his side to add to his 10 Test caps, the last of which came two years ago, the 27-year-old is channelling all his energies into Nottinghamshire’s Division One campaign.

“The focus for me is Notts but that doesn’t mean I’ve not got ambitions to play for England again,” he told the PA news agency. “As long as I’m playing, I’ll never lose the ambition to play for England.”

 

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Hameed first opened the batting for England aged 19 and earned glowing reviews for a measured approach and tight technique in three Tests in India, but injuries and a drastic drop in form prompted a change of counties in 2020 as he swapped Lancashire for Nottinghamshire, breathing fresh life into his career.

He played seven more Tests between August 2021 and January 2022 but, while there were a couple of promising showings against India at home, he was part of the collateral after a humbling 2021-22 Ashes.

“I’d played 10 Test matches by the age of 24 – all of them were against India and Australia and seven of them in their backyard, I don’t think it will get too much tougher than that,” he said.

“Those experiences were invaluable to me and I’m still edging towards the prime of my career. Hopefully, a number of years of that can be in an England shirt.

“I’ve been playing for nine years now and I feel like I’ve had so many different experiences that I’ve learnt from, I’d like to think I’m a better player for it. I’m definitely keen to keep improving, too.”

England’s much-discussed approach under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum in the last couple of years might seem at odds with a batter who was once recognised as ‘Baby Boycott’.

While Hameed has previously committed to embracing the new philosophy, he believes ‘Bazball’ has been widely misinterpreted.

“I’ve been in England Lions environments, I’ve sat in meetings where Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes have spoken and they were clear that when it’s necessary, it’s about absorbing pressure,” Hameed added.

“But then it’s about having the confidence to put pressure back on them whenever the opportunity is there. People look at the second part and don’t acknowledge the first part. That’s not lost on me.”

With Stuart Broad’s retirement and the departures of club stalwarts Samit Patel and Jake Ball in the winter, there is a feeling of a new dawn at Nottinghamshire – who have signed England fast bowler Josh Tongue, plus promising pair Dillon Pennington and Jack Haynes from Worcestershire.

“I’m just looking for players to play with confidence and back their strengths, knowing I’ve got their back,” Hameed added.

“We’ve lost some big, senior players but as big as those losses are, it opens up opportunities for different people to step into that space and mark their mark.

“I’m going to learn a lot on the job. I’m fresh to this kind of role even though I’ve been captain in the past. I’ve had a little bit of experience but getting a full-time role at this level is new to me.”

West Indies cricketer John Campbell finds himself in a frustrating state of limbo as his appeal hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against his four-year ban is postponed for a sixth time without any explanation.

The saga began in April 2022 when Campbell was handed a four-year ban for refusing to submit a blood sample. Despite the ban being retroactively effective from May 10, 2022, Campbell and his attorneys were determined to fight the decision. In December 2022, they filed an appeal with CAS, seeking justice and the opportunity to clear Campbell's name.

Months have turned into years as the appeal process drags on. The matter was finally heard before CAS in April 2023, raising hopes for a resolution. However, those hopes were dashed when the decision, initially scheduled for August 31, 2023, was postponed repeatedly, with the latest ruling date set for May 31, 2024.

For Campbell, each postponement brings a fresh wave of frustration and uncertainty. The prolonged legal battle takes its toll on him, both mentally and emotionally. As a professional athlete, the uncertainty surrounding his future is particularly agonizing.

Unfortunately, Campbell's case is not an isolated incident. Many athletes, across different sports and countries, find themselves entangled in the web of the sports dispute resolution system, unable to access timely justice. The ineffective processes of CAS leave athletes like Campbell stranded, facing the daunting prospect of abandoning their careers due to the financial and emotional strain of prolonged legal battles.

Calls for reform echo loudly across the sporting world. Human rights experts urge CAS to overhaul its processes to ensure fairness and transparency for all athletes. Player associations, including the World Players’ Association (WPA), the Federation of Cricketers’ Association (FICA), and the West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA), stand in solidarity with Campbell, demanding immediate action from CAS.

Surrey wicketkeeper-batter Jamie Smith will relish the chance to take on Nathan Lyon in Friday’s season opener at Lancashire but is relaxed about his future international prospects.

Smith made his England bow in September when he appeared in two ODIs against Ireland after an excellent domestic campaign.

The 23-year-old has long been earmarked as a future international since he scored a century on his first-class debut in 2019 against an MCC attack which included Stuart Broad. Last year he turned potential into results.

 

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A tally of 736 red-ball runs helped Surrey to Vitality County Championship success and Smith is excited to begin the new campaign against a high-quality Lancashire line-up that should include Aussie spinner Lyon.

“Yeah, I think you have to (relish it) and with aspirations of playing Test cricket, you will come up against world class players anyway,” Smith told the PA news agency.

“There is always a little bit of analysis that goes into it and he’s played a lot. A few guys have played against him in the changing room, so I guess it is getting those experiences as well.

“We know he is a fantastic player. No one gets that many Test wickets (530) without being a fantastic player so you respect what he has done, but also play him like anyone else on the day.”

After Smith started the 2022 season with a maiden double ton at Gloucestershire but failed to back it up, he was determined to bring a level of consistency to his game last year.

What followed was two hundreds, which included a sensational 114 off 77 balls to help Surrey chase 501 at Kent, four fifties and an average of 40.88 with a 65.3 strike rate.

His success was not just limited to red-ball cricket either, with contributions with both the bat and gloves able to fire Surrey to Vitality Blast finals’ day and he also starred for Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred.

It earned Smith two England white-ball caps in September and his name is in the mix for a Test shot should Surrey team-mate Ben Foakes be discarded.

Smith added: “That was important to put a season together instead of a few scores. For me what was a big turning point was staying consistent with my approach.

“There are going to be low scores in there, but instead of panicking about it or changing the way you want to play, I stayed quite consistent with a positive style.

“It was obviously an incredible end to a fantastic summer and fantastic recognition to have that (England debut).

“No one can ever take it away from you that you have represented your country, no matter who it was against or in what capacity.

“It was a proud day for my family. They made a lot of sacrifices when I was growing up and still now, so it was an incredibly proud moment.

“When you get a taste of something like that, you obviously want to have it again knowing that it is probably not my time right now, with the guys they’ve got picked but if I keep chipping away and scoring runs you never know when the next one could come.

“If you are outscoring people in the County Championship or the Blast and putting in performances, winning games when it matters, scoring runs when it matters, then people will always take notice.”

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