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Cricket-S Africa Cook up new plan for fourth test

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CAPE TOWN, South Africa have added uncapped opener Stephen Cook to their squad for the final test against England in Pretoria starting on Friday in a bid to bolster their brittle top order.

The 33-year-old has enjoyed an excellent season in the domestic four-day competition with 415 runs in six innings at an average of 83, including two centuries.

South Africa have battled with their top six batsman over the past year and in the last three months have been bowled out for their two lowest scores since returning to international cricket in 1991 — 79 in India and 83 by England on Saturday.

The right-handed Cook is the son of former test opener Jimmy Cook who played in three test matches in the twilight of his career following South Africa’s return to the global game.

The Lions batsman, who is expected to replace the woefully out-of-form Stiaan van Zyl, was the only change to the squad from the one that lost to England by seven wickets at the Wanderers to surrender the four-match series.

It was reported on Monday that Dale Steyn will again miss out in Centurion with a shoulder injury despite lengthy treatment in a hyperbaric chamber in a bid to get him ready.

The fast bowler will work towards being fit for the five-match one-day international series starting on Feb. 3.

Wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock will also be assessed to see if he has recovered the knee injury sustained while walking his dog on the eve of the Wanderers test. If he does not, Dane Vilas will retain his place in the side.

South Africa test squad: AB de Villiers (captain), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Stephen Cook, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn, Stiaan van Zyl, Hardus Viljoen.

(Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Ed Osmond; nick.said@thomsonreuters.com; +27832722948; Reuters Messaging: Reuters Messaging: nick.said.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)


Source: R-Csports

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Cricket-Under-pressure Dhoni gets Indian board's backing

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NEW DELHI Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s job as India’s limited-overs captain is safe despite the team’s third successive one-day series defeat, the country’s cricket board (BCCI) said on Monday.

Speculation has been swirling over the future of the 34-year-old who quit tests in late 2014 but remains in charge of the team in shorter formats.

The recent results, however, have not really enhanced the reputation of the man who led India to virtually every honour across formats.

Under him, India lost their first ODI series in Bangladesh in June last year and went down to a visiting South African team in October.

On Sunday, Dhoni’s men succumbed to their third successive defeat in Australia who took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series, chasing down big totals in Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne.

While some pundits believe test captain Virat Kohli should take over the limited-overs duties as well, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur insisted Dhoni was the right man to lead India in shorter formats.

“The kind of performance we have had from Dhoni and the team under him in the last eight-nine years, I think it’s unfair to question his leadership after just one series,” Thakur told reporters.

“Dhoni is one of the most successful captains of the country. Under him, we won the World Cup in 2007 (T20) and 2011 (ODI). Team India rose to number one both in tests and ODIs under his leadership.

“Unfortunately we lost all three matches so far, and we’ve noticed our bowling limitations too, not being able to defend big totals.

“It’s a concern and the selectors and team management would assess the performance keeping the Asia Cup and the Twenty20 World Cup in mind,” Thakur said.

Dhoni himself felt more than his captaincy, the team needed to look at the grey areas and how to fix them.

“It’s not about the leader. I’m there (now), somebody else will come later,” the stumper-batsman said after the loss in Melbourne.

“What is more important is to see the areas we are lacking in, the departments which have to improve when it comes to shorter formats.”

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)


Source: R-Csports

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Cricket-Uncapped Bumrah to replace Shami in India T20 squad

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MUMBAI Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah will replace injured Mohammed Shami in India’s squad for the three Twenty20 internationals against Australia, the country’s cricket board said on Monday.

The 25-year-old has not played international cricket since finishing as India’s second-highest wicket taker at last year’s World Cup with 17 victims.

Shami underwent surgery in March and was named in the squad for the limited-overs series in Australia, only to be ruled out again with a hamstring injury.

The 22-year-old Bumrah sprung to prominence playing for the Mumbai Indians franchise in the Indian Premier League and is the joint-highest wicket-taker in his country’s domestic Twenty20 competition this season.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Ed Osmond)

Source: R-Csports

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