Sri Lanka cricketers adopt La Liga giants Barcelona's software to manage player injury

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Sri Lanka is adopting an advanced software used by football club Barcelona to manage its injury-prone cricketers as the national team trains for the World Cup next year, officials said on Monday.

The island’s cricket board hopes the state-of-the-art player management system will restore Sri Lanka’s prestige on the world stage after their worst year in international cricket.

The board spent $75,000 on the software, adapting it to suit its cricketers.

Officials said coupled with a match analysis system designed in-house, Sri Lanka will now have the most advanced player management technology of any cricketing nation.

“We are investing a lot of resources and technology to develop the game with an eye on the World Cup,” Sri Lanka cricket chief Ashley de Silva said.

Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1996 but have not repeated the feat since, despite twice making the finals. They were World T20 champions in 2014 but have tumbled down the rankings, hit by injuries and scandal.

Under new coach Chandika Hathurusingha, the side has been rebuilding after a year of humiliating defeats and few wins.

Sri Lanka bounced backed in a tour of Bangladesh in January, thrashing the hosts in all three formats of the game.

The team’s high-performance manager Simon Willis said the new technology would help selectors and managers monitor their squad’s performance with real-time data.

“This system will benefit the national team and allow evidence-based decisions to be made,” the former Kent coach said.

“It’s not cheap, but it is a good investment because it gives us instant information.”

Sri Lanka’s cricketers will wear GPS devices during training and tournaments to monitor fitness and performance, he added.

The technology has been rolled out during the ongoing home tri-nation series against India and Bangladesh, with players wearing the GPS devices during matches.

Willis said instead of subjective decisions about players and their fitness, the new system allowed for better-informed choices.

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England star Ben Stokes to miss Test against India as trial date is set

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England star all-rounder Ben Stokes will not be able to participate in the summer’s Lord’s Test against India after the Bristol Crown Court set his trial for affray charges for August 6.

Stoke’s trial preparation hearing got underway on Monday at Bristol with the England man linking up with the court via a video link to enter his ‘not guilty’ plea.

The 26-year-old is in New Zealand currently with the rest of the England squad for the upcoming two-match Test series and had recently made his return to international cricket after suspension in the preceding ODIs.

Stokes had been indefinitely suspended by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) following a video of him in a scuffle with another man outside a Bristol night club surfacing in September last year.

Stokes' trial will begin on August 6.

Stokes’ trial will begin on August 6.

The England man had to subsequently miss out on England’s Ashes battle Down Under with Australia with James Anderson replacing him as the vice-captain of the Test squad.

Despite being suspended from international cricket at the time, Stokes went on to become the costliest overseas recruit for the second time in the Indian Premier League with Rajasthan Royals splashing huge cash to secure the England star’s services.

India are set to tour for five Tests, three ODIs and as many T20s starting in July this year. The second Test at Lord’s is scheduled to get underway on August 9. Stokes’ trial begins three days before that and is anticipated to last for approximately a week, thereby ruling him out of the Test.

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Key talking points as South Africa level Test series against Australia

Ashish Peter 12/03/2018
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Rabada tore through Australia's lineup once again.

South Africa levelled the four-match series against Australia at 1-1 with an important six-wicket victory in the second Test at Port Elizabeth on Monday.

Chasing 101 to win in the final innings, the hosts survived a late response by Australia’s bowlers to make up for the 118-run loss at Durban in the opener.

Here, we take a look at the key talking points from the fourth day at Port Elizabeth.

RABADA’S MAGIC 10

The Proteas pace sensation was on fire in the first innings after his five-wicket burst within the space of just 18 deliveries decimated Australia’s batting order after they had got off to a strong start.

He went a step further in the second innings, accounting for six Aussie wickets to leave the hosts with a paltry total to chase down. Kagiso Rabada had done the bulk of the damage on Sunday itself with three key wickets of David Warner, Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh.

The visitors added just six runs to their overnight score when Rabada burst through the gates of the younger Marsh sibling to give South Africa a flying start on Monday morning. The 22-year-old pacer then dismissed Pat Cummins to complete his second five-for in the match and fourth 10-wicket haul in Test cricket. It is the joint-most 10-wicket haul by any bowler in Test history before the age of 23, along with Pakistan great Waqar Younis. For reference, the leading South Africa pacer Dale Steyn has five to his name.

It is indeed crazy to think that he is spearheading South Africa’s pace attack at the age of 22 and already has 124 Test wickets in his kitty. It is scary to think that he is only going to get better and is he keeps going like this, he is almost certain to end up as the greatest pacer in South Africa’s history.

Rabada completed a 11-wicket haul in the Test.

Rabada completed a 11-wicket haul in the Test.

RABADA FACES SUSPENSION

The first Test had been overshadowed by the Warner-Quinton de Kock saga but all the talk in the second Test has centered around Rabada. While plenty of it has to do with his sensational display of fast bowling, most of it pertains to his disciplinary issues.

He came into the Test with five demerit points and has already been charged with an ICC Level 2 offence for his aggressive send-off for Australia skipper Steve Smith in the first innings. The Proteas pacer has now been charged with another Level 1 offence for his send-off for Warner on Sunday evening. This time, instead of a brush of the shoulders, it had been for screaming in the face of the batsman as he walked by.

Another three demerit points for his Level 2 offence could see him suspended for two Tests, effectively ruling him out for the remainder of the series.

The pacer could be out for the rest of the series with eight demerit points.

The pacer could be out for the rest of the series with eight demerit points.

ABD SALVO NULLIFIES LATE AUSSIE CHARGE

Australia had dismissed opener Dean Elgar at the stroke of lunch to carve a miniscule opening, If they had any faint hopes of staging a dramatic comeback in the second session after dismissing Aiden Markram, they were quickly dashed as AB de Villiers carried off from where he left in the first innings.

The South African stalwart was in a hurry to finish off the match and made batting look easy on a difficult wicket as he launched a counter-attack on Australia’s bowlers.

The 33-year-old clubbed Nathan Lyon for a huge six at the start of his innings and was equally ferocious against the pacers. He, along with Hashim Amla, brought the hosts to the brink of victory before Australia dismissed the pair in quick succession.

With 20 runs still to get, Cummins had Amla caught behind before Lyon had De Villiers caught in the deep in the very next over. It was, however, scant consolation for the visitors as the Test had well and truly been lost by then.

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