Michael Atherton wants Ben Stokes to take the opportunity to "grab hold" of the dressing room if England are still without a head coach in his first Test as captain against New Zealand.

Stokes was last week confirmed as the successor to Joe Root, who ended his long reign as skipper following a nightmare Ashes series in Australia and subsequent disappointment in the Caribbean. 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are not due to start interviewing for both a Test and limited-overs head coach until next week, with Chris Silverwood sacked after the 4-0 hammering Down Under.

England start a three-match Test series against the Black Caps at Lord's on June 2 and former skipper Atherton believes Stokes can stamp his authority on the side in the absence of a head coach.

He told Sky Sports News: "Ben Stokes will be his own man; he has got a chance to shape that team now and take it in a different direction.

"There may not be a coach in place in time. These things go through a process; I think May 6 is when job applications close and June 2 is the first Test match. That's quite tight.

"That's not a bad thing in my view. I don't think since Sir Andrew Strauss that an England captain has really grabbed hold of a dressing room.

"If there is no coach in there, it will be a chance for Ben to absolutely grab hold of it, mould the team and say 'this is the way we're going to run things.'

"When [Paul] Farbrace was interim coach before [Trevor] Bayliss came in, that was actually when Stokes came back into the side, so it's not a disaster if a coach is not in place by June 2."

Atherton is fully behind the decision to split coaching duties, but did not specify who he wants to take over from Silverwood.

The former opening batter added: "Who should it be? My goodness, all of the candidates that have been talked about are very good. Gary Kirsten is a very good candidate, Simon Katich an excellent candidate. There will be any number of people.

"It's the right thing though to split, or look to split, the job. Years ago I said on Sky that England needed to consider split coaching roles. You look at the schedules now, they are so crammed, it's very difficult for one man to do everything.

"In the middle of the summer, England will be in Amsterdam for some one-day internationals in the middle of a Test series. How does one man plan for that? It's impossible.

"Last year when England were in Dubai playing the T20 World Cup, the Ashes were coming up two weeks later. Impossible.

"Looking to split responsibilities is exactly the right way to go. Two distinct coaching staffs for Test cricket and limited-overs cricket, that will make life much easier."

MS Dhoni has claimed the Chennai Super Kings captaincy "burdened" Ravindra Jadeja and "affected his mind" after a period of "spoon-feeding" in a brutal assessment of his team-mate.

Long-serving CSK skipper Dhoni stepped aside on the eve of the 2022 IPL season for Jadeja to take charge.

But after a miserable start to the tournament, losing six of their first eight matches, CSK reinstated Dhoni this weekend.

That move paid off in a 13-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Dhoni has now explained why Jadeja was not cut out for the captaincy – even if he suggested the appointment was not a surprise to the all-rounder.

"I think Jadeja knew last season that he would be captaining this year," Dhoni told Star Sports.

"For the first two games, I simply oversaw his work and let him be later. After that, I insisted that he take his own decisions and bear responsibility for them.

"Once you become captain, it means a lot of demands come in. But it affected his mind as the tasks grew. I think captaincy burdened his prep and performances.

"So it was a gradual transition. Spoon-feeding doesn't really help the captain; on the field you have to take those crucial decisions and you have to take responsibility for those decisions.

"Once you become the captain, we have to take care of many things and that also includes your own game."

Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway combined for the highest partnership of the Indian Premier League season as Chennai Super Kings dented Sunrisers Hyderabad's play-off hopes.

Playing their first game since Ravindra Jadeja stepped down as skipper and returned the captaincy to MS Dhoni, the Super Kings delivered a performance that belied their form this season.

Indeed, this 13-run triumph was only Chennai's third of the season, and it came as a result of glorious batting from their opening pair.

Gaikwad (99) and Conway (85 not out) put on 182 for the first wicket as the Super Kings posted 202-2, that target proving beyond Sunrisers, who missed the chance to move level on 12 points with third-placed Rajasthan Royals.

Each of the Chennai openers either found or cleared the rope 12 times, Gaikwad hitting six fours and as many sixes while Conway struck eight fours and four maximums.

The latter's most fortuitous six came in the 15th over when he went for a pull and top-edged over fine leg to bring up his maiden IPL half-century, Conway then hammered another over mid-off to take Chennai to 150.

Gaikwad missed out on a stunning century when he was undone by a slower length ball from Thangarasu Natarajan. Dhoni fell to the same bowler in the final over for just eight but successive fours from Conway took Chennai to 200.

Sunrisers had already lost two wickets by the end of the powerplay and their chase lost momentum when captain Kane Williamson went for 47. Nicholas Pooran (64 not out) hit three sixes and a four in a final over in which Hyderabad needed 38.

Mukesh Choudhary took 4-46 as CSK moved four points clear of bottom side Mumbai Indians.

 

Openers send records tumbling

The stand between Gaikwad and Conway was also the highest in the IPL against Sunrisers and the biggest opening IPL stand at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.

Gaikwad misses out

Two players, Jos Buttler (3) and KL Rahul (2) have combined for the IPL's five centuries this season. Gaikwad missed out on joining that select club but can take solace in victory and a remarkable partnership.

Mohsin Khan starred with the ball and KL Rahul made another half-century as Lucknow Super Giants moved up to second in the Indian Premier League with a six-run defeat of Delhi Capitals on Sunday.

Rahul blasted 77 off 51 balls and Deepak Hooda (52 from 34) also made a half-century as the Super Giants posted an imposing 195-3 at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.

The Capitals fell short on 189-7 in a run-fest, seamer Mohsin claiming outstanding figures of 4-16 from his four overs as Lucknow extended their winning run to three matches to sit two points behind leaders Gujarat Titans in a dream start for the two new franchises.

Axar Patel smashed a rapid unbeaten 42, while Rishabh Pant (44), Mitchell Marsh (37) and Rovman Powell (35) chipped in but sixth-placed Delhi slumped to a fifth defeat.

Captain Rahul and Hooda put on 95 for the second wicket after Quinton de Kock departed for 23.

Hooda was caught and bowled by Shardul Thakur soon after reaching his half-century, but Rahul continued to motor - hitting five sixes before he was dismissed by the same bowler in the penultimate over.

Thakur (3-40) was Delhi's only wicket-taker and their run chase got off to a nightmare start, with Prithvi Shaw and David Warner failing to made double figures.

Marsh and Pant put on 50 before Krishnappa Gowtham had the Australia all-rounder caught behind and the Capitals were 120-5 with seven over remaining after Mohsin cleaned up the India wicketkeeper-batter.

Lusty blows from Powell and Axar left Delhi needing 21 off the last over from Marcus Stoinis and although he was launched for two sixes, the all-rounder also bowled three dot balls to deny Pant's side.

 

Rahul leading by example

Captain Rahul has been outstanding for Lucknow, with only Jos Buttler (566) having scored more runs than his total of 451.

The India batter has registered two hundreds and as many half-centuries, averaging 56.38 from his 10 innings.

 

Mohsin the machine

Left-armer Mohsin claimed the huge scalps of Warner and Pant before returning to send the dangerous Powell packing and remove Thakur.

He bowled 15 dot balls and conceded just the one boundary in a match that was otherwise dominated by the batters.

MS Dhoni has taken over as Chennai Super Kings captain once again after Ravindra Jadeja decided to step down.

Jadeja was named skipper just before the tournament started last month after the long-serving Dhoni opted to relinquish the captaincy.

Defending champions CSK are second-bottom of the table with only two wins from eight games.

Jadeja has taken only five wickets – three of those coming in one match against Royal Challengers Bangalore - and scored just 112 runs at an average of 22.40.

The Super Kings on Saturday announced that the India all-rounder has decided to hand over captaincy duties in order to try and rediscover his form.

A statement released by the franchise said: "Ravindra Jadeja has decided to relinquish captaincy to focus and concentrate more on his game and has requested MS Dhoni to lead CSK.

"MS Dhoni has accepted to lead CSK in the larger interest and to allow Jadeja to focus on his game."

Former India captain Dhoni led CSK from the start of the IPL in 2008 before bringing his reign to an end, guiding the franchise to four titles and losing five finals.

The 40-year-old wicketkeeper-batter lifted the trophy in Dubai last year after his side beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs in the final.

Fast bowler Christopher Powell and batsman Sadique Henry came up big to help the Surrey Risers pull of an upset over the top of the table Surrey Kings as action continued in the Dream 11 Jamaica T10 at Sabina Park on Saturday.

The Risers won the toss and elected to field, bowling brilliantly to restrict an extremely dangerous Kings batting line-up to 96-7 off their 10 overs.

The Kings were struggling at 63-6 at one point before a vital 33 not out from St. Lucia Kings representative Jeavor Royal propelled them to 96.

Royal’s innings came off 20 balls and included one four and two sixes.

West Indies batsman and Kings captain Jermaine Blackwood contributed 19 against Powell (2-14 off two overs) and Warren Campbell (2-18 off two overs) who were the best bowlers for the Risers.

The Risers then batted sensibly throughout their reply to successfully chase their target, reaching 97-4 off 9.3 overs.

Henry (32) and Delbert Gayle (24) were the main contributors to the successful chase.

The Risers are still at the top of the points standings with 11 points despite suffering their second straight defeat, while victory for the Risers takes them off the bottom of the table with six points.

 

Daniel Sams blasted his first ball for six in the final over to finally give Mumbai Indians a first Indian Premier League win of the season over Rajasthan Royals on Rohit Sharma's birthday.

Mumbai had lost all eight games, but finally got up and running with a five-wicket victory at the DY Patil Stadium on Saturday.

Run machine Jos Buttler yet again top scored with 67 off 52 balls as the second-placed Royals posted 158-6 and that was not enough to consign the Indians to another defeat.

Suryakumar Yadav (51 from 39) laid the platform for the win and with four needed from the last over, Sams stepped up to win it on captain Rohit's 35th birthday after Kieron Pollard fell to Kuldeep Sen.

Hrithik Shokeen claimed the early wicket of Devdutt Padikkal and the Royals were 54-2 in the eight over when Sanju Samson departed.

Buttler had only 28 off as many balls halfway through Rajasthan's innings and Daryl Mitchell was also unable to get into full flow before he was removed by Sams.

The powerful Buttler had not struck a six until he exploded into life in the 16th over, disdainfully dispatching Shokeen over the ropes from four successive deliveries before he was caught in the deep off the last ball of that over.

Ravichandran Ashwin added a brisk 21 before he was dismissed by the impressive Riley Meredith (2-24) and the India spinner claimed the scalp of Rohit for two in the third over of the run chase.

Yadav and Tilak Varma (35) put 81 on for the third wicket, but departed in quick succession to Yuzvendra Chahal and Prasidh Krishna to leave the game in the balance.

The nerves were jangling when Mitchell caught Pollard in the deep from the first ball of the last over, but Sams launched a huge six into the leg side to raise the root and Tim David was unbeaten on 20 off nine balls.

 

Normal service resumed by brilliant Buttler 

It has been an incredible IPL for Buttler, who is comfortably the leading run-scorer in the tournament with 566 at an average of 70.75 with a strike rate of 155.06.

He struggled to get going after making eight against Royal Challengers Bangalore last time out, but brutally took Shokeen part to reach another half-century from 48 balls before departing trying to hit the spinner over the rope for a fifth time in the 16th over.

Yadav a shining light

It has been a nightmare season for Mumbai – the most successful IPL franchise – but Yadav has been a shining light.

While Rohit has been unable to register a half-century in the tournament, Yadav now has three and averages 48.33, sitting sixth on the list of the highest scorers.

Exciting action continued in the Dream 11 Jamaica T10 at Sabina Park on Saturday as the Surrey Royals scored a comfortable seven-wicket win over the Middlesex Titans.

The Titans batted first and posted a respectable 101-7 off their 10 overs after the Royals won the toss and chose to field.

Sherdon Allen (25) and Tristan Coleman (19) were the main contributors against a solid all-round bowling effort from the Royals.

The Royals only used five bowlers with Khari Campbell (2-14) and Ryan Francis (2-10) being the two best.

102 proved to be not enough for the Titans to defend against a powerful Royals batting line-up as Surrey needed only 8.3 overs to get to 107-3 and secure a seven-wicket victory.

Jamaica Scorpions wicketkeeper/batsman Romaine Morris (38) and opener Leroy Lugg (31) were the main contributors for the Royals.

West Indies batsman Nkrumah Bonner made 17 and Royals skipper Javelle Glen saw his team get their fifth win in eight matches with 12 not out.

Gujarat Titans' inaugural Indian Premier League season goes from strength to strength after David Miller and Rahul Tewatia inspired a six-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The table-topping Titans have now won eight of their opening nine games, chasing down a target of 171 as half-centuries from Virat Kohli (58) and Rajat Patidar (52) proved to be in vain for RCB.

That pair put on 99 for the second wicket after Faf du Plessis went for a duck in the second over but Glenn Maxwell (33) was the only batter to provide a key contribution after Patidar top-edged to square leg and Kohli was undone by a Mohammed Shami yorker.

Wriddhiman Saha (29) and Shubman Gill (31) laid the platform for a successful chase for Gujarat, which Miller (39 not out) and Tewatia (43 not out) ensured despite Shahbaz Ahmed (2-26) trapping Gill lbw and then removing captain Hardik Pandya (3) to reduce the Titans to 78-3.

Their 50 partnership came in just 29 balls and RCB looked increasingly forlorn as they attempted in vain to break up their stand.

Indeed, it is now three defeats in five for RCB, Miller and Tewatia finishing with an unbeaten stand of 79, the latter lofting a cover drive to the boundary to wrap up the win in style.

Wanindu Hasaranga impressed with 2-28, but it was not enough to halt the Titans.

Kohli finds his form

Averaging 20.66 in the IPL this year, Kohli's half-century was his first of the season. He was not able to record another 100 partnership, having put on 118 alongside Du Plessis against Punjab Kings last month. RCB will be hoping he can produce more performances of this ilk to inspire them to a top-four finish.

Miller and Tewatia magic

The Titans needed 36 off the final 18 balls, with a dramatic finish seemingly in the offing. However, Miller and Tewatia took 17 off the 18th over and 12 from the 19th, with a four apiece off the helpless Josh Hazlewood in the final over finishing the job.

The West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) extends sympathies to West Indies spinner Veerasammy Permaul and his family.

Waynmattie ‘Dataley’ Permaul, Veerasammy’s mother, had been missing for seven days when her son made the report of such to the Guyanese authorities on Thursday, April 28. Upon searching her Berbice home, her body was found lifeless in a shallow grave. She was 52 years old.  

WIPA President and CEO, Wavell Hinds expressed, “The WIPA family extends condolences to Veerasammy Permaul and his family during this stressful time. We regret the untimely passing of his mother and hope he will find the strength and courage to continue his lifelong journey. May her soul rest in peace and light perpetually shine upon her.” 

The Cornwall Warriors used a total team effort to secure a six-wicket win over the Middlesex Titans in their Dream 11 Jamaica T10 fixture at Sabina Park on Friday.

The Warriors won the toss and chose to field first, a decision which looked like the wrong one at the halfway stage of the game.

Former West Indies Under-19 representative Tristan Coleman was in destructive form for the Titans with a rapid 23 off just 10 balls including three sixes.

Cameos from Oshane Walters (20), Wayne Davis (18) and Jamaica Scorpions all-rounder Jamie Merchant (16) helped the Titans post a formidable 106-6 off their 10 overs.

Mikheil Silver (3-11 off two overs) and Andre McCarthy (2-21 off two overs) were the best bowlers for the Warriors.

Cornwall then got contributions from all their batsmen to eventually overhaul the Titans' total on the very last ball of the match reaching 107-4 off 10 overs.

Ockeeno Farquharson (29), Andre McCarthy (23) and Kerry Holness (17) were the main contributors while Jamaica Scorpions batsman Paul Palmer Jr and Captain Damion Ebanks chipped in with 13 and 13 not out, respectively.

Merchant took 2-21 off his two overs for the Titans.

Lucknow Super Giants moved to within two points of the Indian Premier League summit as Quinton de Kock's stand helped see off Punjab Kings by 20 runs.

Opener De Kock scored 46 from 37 balls as the Super Giants reached 153-8 from their 20 overs on Friday.

That was despite the efforts of Kagiso Rabada, who took 4-38, including the early wicket of Super Giants captain KL Rahul.

Yet after Rahul's dismissal, De Kock – with the assistance of Deepak Hooda (34) – guided the Super Giants from 13-1 to 98-2 before falling to Sandeep Sharma (1-18).

Deepak was run out by Jonny Bairstow in the next over to kick-start a middle-order collapse, but Dushmantha Chameera's 17 from 10 balls and an unbeaten 13 from Mohsin Khan added vital runs.

Mohsin went on to impress with the ball for the Super Giants, taking 3-24 from his four overs, which included a maiden.

Mayank Agarwal (25) and Bairstow (32) tried to get Punjab going, but both fell to Chameera (2-17) before Khan sent dangerman Liam Livingstone packing on 18 to all but end the Kings' hopes – Rishi Dhawan's flurry of 21 proving too little, too late.

De Kock back to form

Rabada gave his best but it was fellow South African De Kock who was the difference in this match.

The wicketkeeper-batsman had only scored a combined 13 runs across his previous two appearances but was the anchor of the Super Giants' innings here, with his 46 coming at a strike rate of 124.32 and including six boundaries – two of those were sixes.

Mohsin shows his worth

After adding a useful tally to the Super Giants' score, Mohsin – who had only taken one wicket this season before Friday's match – delivered with the ball, taking the key wicket of Livingstone (who has scored 60+ three times already this season) before dismissing Rabada and Rahul Chahar in the 18th over.

The Middlesex United Stars defeated the Surrey Risers by nine wickets in a rain-affected fixture in the Dream 11 Jamaica T10 at Sabina Park on Friday.

The Risers found it hard from the start after winning the toss and electing to bat first.

Delbert Gayle (27) and Nicholas Lewin (15 not out) were the only batsmen to reach double figures as pacers Ojay Shields (2-9 off two overs) and Andel Gordon (2-13 off two) combined to restrict the Risers to a modest 72-6 off their 10 overs.

Jamaica Scorpions all-rounder Alwyn Williams with 30 not out and Damani Sewell with 15 not out then helped the Stars reach 71-1 in the eighth over before rain ended proceedings with the Stars comfortably 19 runs ahead of the Duckworth/Lewis par score.

West Indies opener John Campbell earlier made 20 for the Stars who now have four wins from eight matches.

Rovman Powell hit 33 off 16 balls to ensure the Delhi Capitals sealed a four-wicket victory against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday.

A knock of 42 from David Warner had helped to set the table for Powell, with the Capitals condemning the Knight Riders to their fifth straight loss in the Indian Premier League.

Kolkata mostly struggled with the bat themselves, with captain Shreyas Iyer the only man to show any resistance in the early stages with 42, while Nitish Rana added a much-needed 57 later on.

Apart from Rinku Singh's 23, no other Knight Rider managed double figures, and they were only able to reach 146-9 from their 20 overs.

Prithvi Shaw was out first ball for Delhi in reply, caught and bowled by Umesh Yadav (3-24), but Warner was able to guide his team through the early overs to build a base for the chase.

The Capitals did enter panic mode slightly as they went from 82-2 to 84-5, with skipper Rishabh Pant out for just two.

However, Powell and Axar Patel (24) calmed things down, with Powell the aggressor with one four and three sixes as he saw his team home with an over the spare.

Batting woes for Knight Riders

If you bat first in T20 cricket, you better set a big total, even if just to put an element of doubt in the chasing team's minds.

It's not that 146 is a poor total, but that almost all the runs came from just three batsmen was the real issue for Kolkata.

Six others came and went without making more than six runs, with Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and Tim Southee all falling for ducks.

Tight bowling the difference

It would be harsh to dismiss those batting failures without crediting the bowling that caused them. Delhi's attack was fierce at the Wankhede Stadium.

Mustafizur Rahman (3-18) and Kuldeep Yadav (4-14) were particularly impressive, with the former bowling 14 dot balls in his four-over spell.

Ben Stokes has told England chiefs he wants James Anderson and Stuart Broad back in the Test team under his captaincy.

The new skipper believes it is too soon to dispense with the fast-bowling expertise of the duo who between them have taken 1,177 wickets in the five-day international game.

Broad, 35, looks set to add to his 152 caps, and 39-year-old Anderson can expect to boost his total of 169 Test appearances in the upcoming series against New Zealand.

That is set to mark Stokes' debut as England's new full-time Test captain, with the first match beginning on June 2 at Lord's.

Joe Root's successor made it an urgent matter when he spoke to new England managing director Rob Key, after the pace pair were left out for the recent West Indies series and used sparingly in the Ashes.

"When I met Ben Stokes the other day, one of the first things he said was, 'Jimmy and Broady are back'," Key said.

"I said, 'Absolutely, no problem'. Now that might have been a bit of a problem if I didn't think that, but I was on exactly the same page.

"That wasn't much of a debate, we both agreed. I sat with Broady a week and a half ago and Jimmy last night. They're both keen and ready to go."

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