Apr 172014
 
Stokes set for Blast-off

By Rob Barnett

Ben Stokes’ recovery from a broken wrist is on course and he could well make his comeback in the NatWest T20 Blast, which was launched today at Edgbaston.

The Durham and England all-rounder fractured the joint when he struck a dressing-room locker following his cheap dismissal in the Twenty20 international with West Indies on March 13.

Having consequently been ruled out of what would have been his first World Twenty20, Stokes underwent surgery soon after sustaining the injury.

The 22-year-old is seeing a specialist on May 12 with a view to returning for England’s summer contests versus Sri Lanka and India.

He is most likely to make his comeback for Durham, possibly in their T20 Blast opener on May 16 when the Jets host the similarly newly-named, Worcestershire Rapids.

Speaking at Edgbaston today, Stokes said his recovery is “coming on strong.”

He continued: “I’m back in the gym getting myself fit. There’s no date set for a comeback.  

“It’s just a matter of time and how it feels and when I can get back in the nets. I see a specialist again on the 12th of next month.”

Stokes, a high achiever in a disappointing winter for England, fractured scaphoid bone in his right wrist.

His good progress means he may play in England’s limited-overs series against Sri Lanka, although the first Twenty20 international on May 20 could come too soon.

“At the moment it seems to be going really well; no signs to say I’ll be out for longer than anticipated,” he added.

“I haven’t ruled myself out of anything England-wise. Whenever I do get back on the field I have to make sure I find some form and make sure I’m in the selectors’ thoughts.”

Ben Stokes grew considerably in all forms of the game during a highly-testing winter for England in Australia and the Caribbean

Durham will be selfishly hoping to have Stokes available for as much of the season as possible.

While he will no doubt want to retain the LV= County Championship crown, some one-day silverware would not go amiss.

Durham reached the quarter-finals of last year’s Twenty20 tournament, only to lose to eventual winners Northants Steelbacks in the last eight.

“We always seem to be there or thereabouts,” he said. “We managed to scrape through last year to the quarters and unfortunately got beat by Northants.

“When we play well as a team we can be very good. We can score big totals and bowl other teams out for little totals.”

Unlike its predecessor, the T20 Blast will be mainly played on Friday evenings, rather than in a mid-summer block, with the teams being split into two groups rather than three.

“There should be more crowds coming in to watch,” Stokes added. 

“With it being spaced out more it will give teams more time to prepare. You have to come to terms with switching between formats.”

Stokes was speaking ahead of the start of the NatWest T20 Blast season. Blast off is Friday 16 May. Tickets can be purchased from www.ecb.co.uk/natwestt20blast

Apr 082014
 
Jayawardene, Sangakkara hit back at criticism

Published: 11:04AM Wednesday April 09, 2014 Source: AP

Veterans Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara hit out today at Sri Lanka Cricket administrators who criticised them for announcing their retirement from Twenty20 internationals to the media without discussing with the board first.

The former captains, who are both aged 36, revealed their plans to retire from the shortest form of international cricket just before start of the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh – a tournament they went on to win on Monday (NZT).

At a news conference on their return, the players said they only responded to a media query – adding that they had simply said they were playing in their last World Twenty20 and hadn’t mentioned retirement.

SLC Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga and Chief Executive Officer Ashley de Silva had criticised them without ascertaining the truth, the players said.

Chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya had also said that he felt let down by the senior players.

“We are deeply saddened by the way in which the chief executive and the secretary went before media and told things about us without asking us if we made such a statement,” Jayawardene said.

“If they are responsible people they should have asked us first if we made such a statement or not.”

“It is disappointing that those responsible disturbed our state of mind just before the tournament,” he said.

Sangakkara also said that he agreed with Jayawardene’s stand and said they were not responsible for the dispute.

Jayawardene played 55 Twenty20 internationals before his retirement for 1,493 runs also including a century while Sangakkara played 56 and scored 1,382 runs.

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Apr 072014
 
Sri Lanka win the World Twenty20
Sri Lanka win the World Twenty20 | Gossip Lanka News

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Apr 062014
 
’It’s been a very long wait for a title’

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INDIA has faltered when it mattered most, being easily beaten by Sri Lanka in the World Twenty20 final thanks to a wonderful farewell innings by veteran Kumar Sangakarra.

SRI LANKA CLAIMS T20 TITLE

MS Dhoni’s side went into the final in Dhaka as the only unbeaten team in the tournament, having coasted through four league matches and the semi-final against South Africa. But their vaunted batting line-up managed just 4-130 in 20 overs against a disciplined Sri Lankan attack after being sent in to bat on a sluggish pitch.

Sri Lankan's captain Lasith Malinga, third right, and his teammates celebrate their win o

Sri Lankan’s captain Lasith Malinga, third right, and his teammates celebrate their win over India in the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup final match in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sunday, April 6, 2014. Sri Lanka won the match by six wickets. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad) Source: AP

Sri Lanka raced past the modest target with 13 balls to spare, with Sangakkara – playing his last T20 international, like his long-time team-mate Mahela Jayawardene – leading the way with a glorious unbeaten 52.

The win sparked frenzied celebrations in the Sri Lanka dressing room, as jubilant players lifted Sangakkara and Jayawardene on their shoulders before doing a victory lap around the Sher-e-Bangla stadium.

Sri Lanka had every reason to celebrate. They finally broke the habit of coming unstuck in title-deciding matches to record their first victory in five major limited-overs finals over the last seven years.

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The win was even sweeter for the two veterans. Jayawardene was captain when Sri Lanka lost the 50-over World Cup final to Australia in the Caribbean in 2007, and again when the West Indies won the 2012 World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

Sangakkara was at the helm during the 2009 World T20 final in England when Sri Lanka lost to Pakistan, and the World Cup in 2011 when Dhoni’s Indians won the title at home in Mumbai.

The victory capped a successful three-month tour of Bangladesh in which Sri Lanka won the bilateral Test, one-day and T20 series against the hosts, and lifted the Asia Cup one-day title in March.

The squad, which was led in the last three games by Lasith Malinga after T20 captain Dinesh Chandimal opted out due to poor form, will return home richer by a million-dollar winning bonus announced by Sri Lanka Cricket before the final.

“It was a long wait for a title, but playing in five finals also showed we were a very good side,” Jayawardene said.

“This one means a lot to us. It’s a nice way to sign off for both Kumar and me in T20 international cricket. But we are not going anywhere, there are still Tests and one-dayers to play.”

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India, meanwhile, failed in their bid to become the first team to hold all three major limited-overs titles, having won the 50-over World Cup in 2011 and the Champions Trophy last year.

Virat Kohli continued his stupendous batting form with a brilliant 77 off 58 balls that earned him the player of the tournament award for being the leading scorer with 319 runs.

But he found no support at the other end, with the usually-flamboyant Yuvraj Singh taking 21 deliveries to make a scratchy 11 that broke the tempo which Kohli had set.

“It was an off-day for Yuvi,” Dhoni said.

“No one wants to perform badly in a final, but these sort of days come for the best of international athletes, not just cricketers.

“One can say Sri Lanka played a near-perfect T20 game, like we had done in previous matches.”

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