Durham sign South Africa's Aiden Markram; Tom Latham named captain for One-Day Cup

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Durham have signed South Africa opener Aiden Markram for the beginning of the county season and appointed New Zealand batsman Tom Latham as their captain in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Markram has made a bright start to his international career after registering two centuries in his opening six Tests while he stood in as skipper for the Proteas in their recent one-day series against India following an injury to Faf du Plessis.

He will bolster Durham’s batting for the first four matches of their Specsavers County Championship campaign before being replaced by fellow overseas signing Latham for the remainder of the year.

The 25-year-old Latham, who has earned 34 Test, 70 ODI and 13 Twenty20 caps for the Black Caps, had a successful stint with Durham last year and his return had already been pencilled in, but the north-east county announced he would take the reins in the 50-over format following Keaton Jennings’ departure to Lancashire.

Durham chairman Sir Ian Botham said: “We’re delighted to have both Aiden and Tom at Emirates Riverside this season and I am confident they will both contribute to what we hope will be a successful season.

“Aiden offers confidence and maturity at the top of the batting order and despite being just 23 years old, he has already been recognised by South Africa as a leader in the dressing room.

“It’s great news that we will have Aiden at the beginning of our championship campaign, especially with Tom Latham, Ben Stokes and Mark Wood all missing due to their international and IPL commitments.

“We’re delighted to welcome Tom back to Chester-le-Street and I’m excited to see him captain the RL50; he has a wealth of international experience and brings exceptional batting, fielding and leadership skills into the dressing room.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Ravichandran Ashwin responds to Herschelle Gibbs' joke with angry match-fixing jibe

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Ravi Ashwin has sparked a war of words on Twitter.

India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and former South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs were involved in a social media war of words on Monday after Ashwin brought up the latter’s match-fixing ban in a Twitter joke that went horribly wrong.

Ashwin sent out a promotional tweet regarding his new Nike cricket shoes, calling them the “best running shoes” he’s used, to which Gibbs jokingly responded that the shoes should help the Indian, a notoriously poor runner between the wickets, run faster.

The off-spinner failed to see the funny side, however, swiftly responding, “Surely not as fast you did mate, unfortunately I wasn’t as blessed as you were. But I was blessed with a wonderfully ethical mind not to fix games which put food on my plate.”

Ashwin was referring to the infamous 2000 Hansie Cronje match-fixing scandal, in which Gibbs received a six-month ban for his involvement.

Gibbs deftly moved away, saying, “Can’t take a joke I see”, but not before Ashwin’s reply had gone viral.

The India spinner later took down that tweet amid heavy backlash, although he maintained that he, too, was joking.

Just another day in the wonderfully weird world of cricket.

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Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi guide Afghanistan to T20I series win over Zimbabwe in Sharjah

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In the wickets again: Rashid Khan.

Rising star Rashid Khan led Afghanistan to a 17-run victory over Zimbabwe in the second T20 international at Sharjah on Tuesday to wrap up a 2-0 win in the two-match series.

Mohammad Nabi top-scored with a 26-ball 45 as Afghanistan finished on 158-9 from their 20 overs despite losing six wickets for 18 runs, with Zimbabwe falling short on 141-5.

Nabi had also struck 40 in the opening match which saw Afghanistan win by five wickets on Monday.

Zimbabwe were always behind the rate once 16-year-old spinner Mujeeb Zadran – who played a starring role in Afghanistan’s run to the Under-19 World Cup semi-finals – took two early wickets to finish with 2-21 in just his second T20 international.

Leg-spinner Khan, 19, was signed by Sunrisers Hyderabad for $1.41 million in last month’s Indian Premier League auction and finished with 2-23.

Afghan captain Asghar Stanikzai held his trump card up his sleeve on Tuesday, not introducing Rashid until the 13th over, and the youngster claimed the crucial wicket of Sikandar Raza for a 26-ball 40 as the Zimbabwe all-rounder was trapped lbw by a googly.

Afghanistan are now ranked eighth in the ICC T20 rankings.

The Africans’ last hope was Ryan Burl, but he holed out for 30 off Khan.

The two teams will play a five-match one-day international series starting on February 9, with Afghanistan set to take on India in their maiden Test match at Bangalore in June.

Scores in the second T20 between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe in Sharjah on Tuesday:

Afghanistan 158-9 in 20 overs (Mohammad Nabi 45; Tendai Chatara 3-20) v Zimbabwe 141-5 in 20 overs (Sikandar Raza 40; Mujeeb Zadran 2-21, Rashid Khan 2-23)

Afghanistan win by 17 runs

Provided by AFP Sport

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