Joe Root and Jos Buttler agree Sydney Thunder stint in Big Bash League

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The two Englishmen will turn out for Sydney Thunder.

England Test skipper Joe Root and batsman Jos Buttler have been provided No Objection Certificates by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to participate in the next edition of the Big Bash League (BBL).

The England duo have signed for BBL franchise Sydney Thunder and will be made available for the first half of the competition which gets underway in December.

This will be Root’s maiden appearance in a T20 league outside England while Buttler is already part of various leagues like the IPL. Root had also thrown his hat in the ring in the IPL auction at the start of the year but failed to find any takers for his signature.

The England Test skipper has been on record previously wanting to improve his T20 record as he bids to make the squad for the 2020 World Twenty20 to be held in Australia.

“I want to gain as much experience as possible in T20 cricket. It’s one of those tournaments where you want to be involved in it and I’m really excited to get that opportunity now with Sydney,” Root said recently.

“I’m sure there will be some mixed emotions for the fans, but hopefully I can win them over through the time there. There’s an opportunity for myself now to put in some strong performances and help Sydney Thunder go on and do some special things this year,” he added.

Buttler, meanwhile, will be turning out for the Sydney franchise for the second successive year.

“I loved my time there, there’s a great atmosphere in the group. There’s a lot of young guys but some experience in there as well, including Shane Watson, who I really got to enjoy getting to know and playing under his captaincy,” Buttler said.

The two England stars will play in the first half of the tournament in Australia before returning to join up with the England squad for the tour of West Indies at the start of 2019.

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Michael Holding still not convinced by India pacer Jasprit Bumrah's new ball suitability

Sudhir Gupta 24/08/2018
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Bumrah had starred in India's 203-run win at Trent Bridge.

West Indies fast bowling great Michael Holding has been in the headlines of late after his comments on India’s Hardik Pandya.

The legendary pacer had said that Pandya was ‘nowhere close to Kapil Dev’ while questioning his suitability to the role of India’s seaming all-rounder.

The India all-rounder had then hit back at his critics following his maiden five-wicket haul in India’s 203-run win over England in the third Test at Edgbaston.

During India’s tour of South Africa at the start of the year, the West Indies man had also cast doubts over Jasprit Bumrah’s suitability to take the new ball for India and had claimed that he would not pick him for the series in England.

Bumrah returned from a thumb injury to bag seven wickets in Nottingham including a five-wicket haul in the second innings. His hostile spell with the second new ball during England’s second innings resulted in the wickets of Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes in quick succession as India fought their way back into the five-match series.

Despite that display on his maiden Test in English soil, Holding is still not convinced by Bumrah’s new ball abilities.

“I would still not have him (Bumrah) as my opening bowler. Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami do a bit more with the brand new ball and they will remain my opening bowlers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s absence,” Holding said to the Times of India.

Bumrah picked up 5-85 in England's second innings at Trent Bridge.

Bumrah picked up 5-85 in England’s second innings at Trent Bridge.

“What I have seen is he can get the ball to straighten from wide of the crease and is more effective with the slightly older ball.”

“What you have to remember is that in England, with so much assistance from both pitch and atmosphere for the quick bowlers, Bumrah will get the odd ball to straighten on the right-handers’ off-stump, although his action doesn’t enhance his ability to do so.

“The same delivery in South Africa, Australia, etc would not straighten as it can tend to do in England. He has pace, though, which is a welcome asset that cannot be bought.”

The former pacer also clarified his previous comments on Pandya.

“Please go back and listen to or read what I have said about Pandya. I was more critical of the people who were telling me he is the next Kapil Dev, not of Pandya himself. I have gone on to say that he is not the man to fill that sort of role as yet, batting at number six and bowling. What I am glad also to see is that I read somewhere that he had said he doesn’t want to be known as the new Kapil Dev; he is Hardik Pandya, which is the right attitude,” Holding said.

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Australia's Steve Smith taking inspiration from Shahid Afridi to revamp his bowling action

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Smith picked up two wickets in his last CPL outing.

Steve Smith’s transformation from a leg-spinner to batting colossal has been one of the greatest stories in modern-day cricket.

On Thursday in the Caribbean Premier League, the banned Australia star showed that he can still put his bowling to good effect by picking up two wickets in Barbados Tridents’ two-run win over Jamaica Tallawahs.

The 29-year-old starred with an all-round display, scoring a 44-ball 63 before returning with figures of 2-19 from three overs.

The Aussie removed both Jamaica openers Johnson Charles and Glenn Phillips in the space of five deliveries with his leg spin in a man-of-the-match performance at Florida.

Following his side’s thrilling win, Smith attributed his bowling display to remodeling his action on former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi.

“I’ve changed a few things – I’m trying to base my action off Shahid Afridi actually, and try and bowl quite fast and into the wicket,” Smith said.

“There wasn’t a heap of bounce on this wicket so you could almost hit that back-of-a-length and make them go across the line.

“Fortunately, it worked tonight.”

Afridi picked up 541 international wickets over the course of his career.

Afridi picked up 541 international wickets over the course of his career.

Afridi picked up 541 wickets across all formats in an international career spanning more than two decades. When asked why he has chosen the Peshawar man’s action out of all people, Smith spoke about his longevity.

“Why not? The bloke’s (Afridi) played for a long time. He’s been a terrific leg-spinner,” he replied.

“As I’m getting a bit older I can’t walk in anymore and bowl as fast as I need to, so I’ve got a bit more momentum through my run-up so I can get the ball down a bit quicker, otherwise it just goes miles.

“So yeah, change it up and it works.”

So far in his career, Smith has picked up 61 international wickets in all three formats in 202 appearances. The former Australia skipper is currently serving a one-year ban from international cricket handed to him by Cricket Australia for his role in the ball-tampering saga.

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