Sri Lankan all-rounder Angelo Mathews passed fit for India tour

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Angelo Mathews has recovered from his calf injury.

Sri Lanka were handed a huge boost ahead of their full tour of India with all-rounder Angelo Mathews being declared fit and available for selection.

One of the mainstays of the Sri Lankan team, Mathews had missed the islanders’ two-Test series against Pakistan in the UAE due to a calf strain. Dinesh Chandimal’s men had inflicted a first-ever Test series defeat on Pakistan in the UAE after they shocked Sarfraz Ahmed’s men 2-0.

Along with Mathews, there was more good news for the tourists with Kusal Perera and Asela Gunaratne also being declared fit for the tour.

“Angelo and Kusal Janith (Perera) have both recovered and they will be considered for selection for the Indian series,” Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chief executive Ashley De Silva was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

“Asela Gunaratne is fit as well,” De Silva added.

While Sri Lanka did manage to shock Pakistan for an unexpected Test series win, their results in the limited-overs format leave a lot to be desired with 16 consecutive losses on the bounce.

The islanders were blanked 5-0 and 3-0 in the ODI and T20I series which followed against Pakistan and had earlier suffered the same fate against India at home.

Young gun Kusal Mendis was also declared fit for the India series.

Young gun Kusal Mendis was also declared fit for the India series.

“It’s pretty obvious what the mood will be like when you’ve lost 16 games,” interim coach Nic Pothas said.

“With respect to new faces, that’s a conversation that we need to have with the selectors,” the South African added.

“But I think it stands to reason that in any walk of life, when you’ve had negative results for a period of time you need to see some change somewhere.”

Sri Lanka are set to play three Tests and as many ODIs and T20Is against India with the first Test slated to begin on November 16.

SLC also expects to announce a permanent coach for the team by the end of the calendar year with Pothas still functioning in an interim capacity.

“We are discussing with about three or four coaches, including Nic Pothas. We hope to finalise the decision by the end of the year,” De Silva said.

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England coach Trevor Bayliss confident side have left Ben Stokes' debacle behind them ahead of Ashes battle

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Bayliss says England are not distracted by the Stokes saga anymore.

Trevor Bayliss is confident England’s minds are uncluttered by the Ben Stokes debacle as they prepare for the imminent Ashes challenge ahead without their match-winning all-rounder.

Stokes is back in England, awaiting news on whether he will be charged over an incident last month that saw him arrested by Avon and Somerset Police on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and placed under investigation.

A cricket Discipline Commission inquiry will follow, under England and Wales cricket Board policy, all of which indicates a timeline to prevent Stokes joining the 16-man squad at any point during a series which ends in Sydney on January 8.

As England settle in Perth, where they will open their campaign with a two-day tour match against a Western Australia XI, coach Bayliss acknowledged it had been a “difficult” past month since Stokes’s arrest in Bristol in the early hours of September 25.

The Australian referenced, with a smile, the impact on his own best-laid plans between England commitments – but also clarified that the situation has not led to any raft of new management directives about off-field behaviour.

“I’ve been on a plane for about half of that [past month], backwards and forwards to England,” he told the BBC’s Test Match Special.

“Obviously, at the end of the season, it was a difficult time for everyone. I suppose that comes with the territory.

“It involves everyone, not just the one or two guys that were involved on that night.

“But it’s a month ago now, and certainly the guys here … have been going about their business, and there hasn’t been any chat about it at all.”

Stokes’ absence is felt, of course, and will continue to be – but England will not fret about circumstances which have spiralled beyond their control.

Losing a player of Stokes' caliblre will not be easy, says Bayliss.

Losing a player of Stokes’ calibre will not be easy, says Bayliss.

“Everyone’s been concentrating on what we need to do, to win this series,” added Bayliss.

“You lose a player of Ben’s calibre, and it will make a bit of a difference.

“So we’re going to have to work out a different combination for the first Test … and we’ve got three games to sort that out.

“I’m quite confident we can come up with a team that’s more than capable of winning.”

The players themselves have worked out if they need to do anything differently off the pitch.

Bayliss said: “There’s been no set curfews … I think they’re just sensible rulings, to me what we should have been sticking to anyway as a player or someone around a professional set-up.

“To me, not drinking in-between matches is just sensible.

“The players have sat down and had a chat, and they’re the ones who’ve come up with it.

“We certainly don’t want to put too many curfews that keep them in their rooms, because it is a long tour – you’ve got to get out and experience what they’ve got to offer in the country you’re touring.

“It’s about picking the right time to have a couple of drinks, but knowing when to stay away from it when you’re preparing for a match.”

Stokes’ strife is bound to provide extra material for hosts accustomed to coming up with plenty of verbal distractions for their opponents – and Bayliss knows well what Joe Root’s team should expect not just from their opposite numbers but the entire Australian population.

“I suppose we’ll be on the other end of some of the sledging,” he said.

“You’ve just got to realise, when you come here, you’re not playing 11 – you’re playing 24 million.”

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Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez departs for England to undergo tests for suspect bowling action

Ashish Peter 30/10/2017
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Mohammad Hafeez will undergo tests on his bowling action.

Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has departed for England where he will undergo tests on his bowling action.

The 37-year-old had been reported for a suspect bowling action following the third ODI in the recently concluded five-match series with Sri Lanka in the UAE.

This was the third instance the veteran all-rounder has been reported for a suspect action in his long career. Hafeez will now undergo scrutiny over his action at an ICC accredited centre in England.

The Pakistan man had played a vital role in his side’s convincing win over Sri Lanka in the final T20I at Lahore as top-level cricket made a return to the country after a long hiatus.

The right-armed spinner’s off-breaks earned him one wicket in the match which Pakistan went on to win by 36 runs, completing a 3-0 clean sweep in the series over the islanders in the process.

Hafeez has had a fine time with the ball of late in limited-overs cricket.

Hafeez has had a fine time with the ball of late in limited-overs cricket.

Sunday’s historic tie at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore had seen a sell-out crowd in attendance as the Pakistan supporters made the most of the opportunity to see proper international cricket in its own backyard in a long time.

Hafeez meanwhile has been on a fine run of late in the limited-overs format, especially T20Is, where he currently sits atop the ICC all-rounder’s rankings.

The veteran is now just one shy of breaching the 50-wickets mark in T20Is, having played a total of 81 matches.

Hafeez was first suspended from bowling in December 2014 but was cleared to bowl again the following April. His action was called into question a second time in June 2015 which led to a 12-month suspension from bowling in international cricket.

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