South Africa to assess Dale Steyn's fitness for 2019 World Cup following IPL injury exit

Sport360 staff 26/04/2019
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Steyn's IPL campaign lasted just two games. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

South Africa are sweating over the fitness of pacer Dale Steyn ahead of the 2019 ICC World Cup in England after he was ruled out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) with a shoulder injury.

The veteran had been roped in by Royal Challengers Bangalore as a replacement for the injured Nathan Coulter-Nile and played two matches for the franchise before experiencing a flare-up of his old shoulder injury.

Steyn is now set to see a specialist in South Africa to assess the extent of the injury and faces an anxious wait just one month ahead of the start of the 2019 World Cup in England.

“Upon assessment and subsequent investigations, a flare-up of his right shoulder was confirmed,” Proteas team manager Mohammed Moosajee stated.

“With the World Cup around the corner, it is our priority to get him back to full fitness before the squad departs on May 19.

“He will consult with a shoulder specialist upon his return and a recovery plan will be put in place.”

The 35-year-old was only last week named in the 15-man South Africa World Cup squad after battling a spate of injuries over the past two years or so.

He had been out of the Proteas ODI squad for more than two years after fracturing his shoulder in a tour of Australia.

In the two IPL games that Steyn played for RCB, he picked up four wickets while going at an economy-rate of 8.62.

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Shane Watson ends Australian professional cricket career with BBL retirement

Sport360 staff 26/04/2019
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Sydney Thunder skipper Shane Watson calls time on BBL career.

Veteran opener Shane Watson has official retired from all professional cricket in Australia in order to spend more time with his family.

The 37-year-old will now longer take part in the Big Bash League (BBL) where he is the all-time leading run-scorer for Sydney Thunder.

While he will no longer play professional cricket in Australia, Watson will continue to ply his trade in overseas franchise T20 leagues such as the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Pakistan Super League (PSL).

“Shane Watson was one of the most exciting short-form players ever to grace a cricket field,” Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts stated.

“In a career which spanned almost two decades, Shane made a major contribution to Australian cricket firstly at international level and then in domestic cricket as a significant contributor to the Big Bash.

“His greatest quality was persistence, overcoming a number of sometimes serious injuries and curtailing his pace. He became a probing swing and seam bowler.”

Watson had earlier retired from international cricket in 2016 after playing 59 Tests, 190 ODIs and 58 T20Is for Australia. In the BBL, the right-hander has scored a total of 1,058 runs from 42 matches while also picking up 20 wickets with the ball.

Watson is currently turning out for Chennai Super Kings in the ongoing 2019 IPL edition and recently scored 96 in his side’s six-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad.

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Stoinis believes Australia have World Cup-winning combination with return of Smith and Warner

Sport360 staff 24/04/2019
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Stoinis is excited by the return of Warner and Smith.

Australia all-rounder Marcus Stoinis has welcomed the return of David Warner and Steve Smith to the international fold and believes the duo will bolster the side’s chances at the upcoming 2019 ICC World Cup.

Both Smith and Warner were named in Australia’s World Cup squad following the end of their one-year suspensions for their roles in the ball-tampering saga.

The two batsmen have been in excellent form for their respective sides in the ongoing 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) where Stoinis is playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore.

“It’s (return of Smith and Warner) a massive boost,” Stoinis said on the eve of RCB’s clash against Kings XI Punjab.

“Also, the fact that people stepped up in the last three to four months and we started winning games consistently. It all adds to the mix and hopefully, it adds to a World Cup-winning combination,” he added.

Australia are currently on an eight-match winning streak.

Australia are currently on an eight-match winning streak.

After a disastrous 2018 in ODI cricket, Australia have been in excellent form of late with the team set to head into the World Cup on the back of an eight-match winning run.

The Aussies first came from 0-2 behind to beat India 3-2 in the five-match ODI series before drubbing Pakistan 5-0 in the UAE. Stoinis feels that the with those victories under their belt, the side is peaking at just the right time for the World Cup.

“I think everyone is really confident. Eight wins, to have them all away from home, I think is very important for us. We needed it as well,” he stated.

“We lost a lot of games over the last year or so. It’s good timing and I think everyone started to really believe in each other and we started playing really well as a team. It’s exciting times.”

Australia will open their World Cup campaign on June 1 against Afghanistan at Bristol.

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