Australia batsman Dean Jones, who passed away on 24 September, had a keen interest in the game beyond its traditional borders.
Cricket is in mourning this week, at the news of Dean Jones’ death due to cardiac arrest on Thursday. The champion Australian player is best known for his revolutionary approach to ODI cricket and a heroic double-century in the 1986 Madras tied Test, but he also had a keen interest in the game beyond its traditional borders.
In 2017 Jones linked up with Afghanistan just after the country’s elevation to Full Member status, commentating in the Shpageeza T20 league (and remaining in the country despite a bomb blast outside a stadium mid-tournament), as well as coaching the men’s national team to a comprehensive victory over Hong Kong in their Intercontinental Cup fixture. In 2018 and 2019, he became more actively involved in the game’s development in North America and Europe, taking up advisory roles for the commonly owned GT20 Canada and Euro T20 Slam leagues, working as a commentator in the former.
In 2016, he travelled to Hong Kong to commentate on the inaugural HK T20 Blitz tournament, maintaining ties with the game in the territory afterwards.
“Despite falling ill during the flight from Melbourne and having to seek medical attention on arrival in Hong Kong – all after agreeing to support our fledgling event by coming for only economy travel expenses and a daily allowance – Jones was the consummate professional in his commentary and interactions with fans who came to the inaugural Blitz,” Emerging Cricket’s Tim Cutler, former CEO of Cricket Hong Kong, reflected. “Behind the scenes, he was responsible for introducing us to the Hong Kong-based owners of PSL team Islamabad United, who then also became Blitz franchise owners, and Jones stayed in touch with the management team as we planned future events, including a second commentary stint in 2018.”
Nepal announces 19 women’s central contracts
Last week’s board meeting of the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) broke new ground, with the women’s team awarded central contracts for the first time. 19 women will be employed on A, B and C level deals, which pay NPR 15,000, 12,000 and 10,000 respectively. On the men’s side, 18 players have been retained, with some shuffling of personnel - Subash Khakurel and Kamal Singh Airee move onto the list, and Ishan Pandey, Lalit Rajbanshi, Pradip Airee, Raju Rijal, Kushal Bhurtel, Sandeep Jora all missed out. The three tiers of male contracts are worth NPR 50,000, 40,000 and 30,000.
In good news for both teams, CAN has committed to insuring all playing and non-playing staff, with a committee assembled to report on the issue next week. The case of medical insurance hit the headlines recently after men’s seamer Lalit Bhandari was injured in a motorcycle accident and had his treatment partially paid for through the crowdfunding efforts of Nepali fans.
Dutch star’s half-century not enough for Diamonds in Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy final
England's domestic 50-over tournament concluded on Sunday, with the Southern Vipers claiming the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy over the Northern Diamonds, despite the best efforts of Dutch star Sterre Kalis. Batting at No.3, Kalis helped the Diamonds make a steady start to a chase of 232 as they reached 1/74 after 14 overs, but Vipers tweaker Charlotte Taylor derailed the middle order. Kalis watched wickets tumble from the other end, as her team lost 6/34 in just over 10 overs, before marshalling the tail on her way to a rearguard 55. It was her third consecutive half-century in the competition (after three ducks to begin her campaign), but not quite enough as she was ultimately the 9th woman out and the Diamonds fell 38 runs short.
Twin T20I wins for Malta men over Bulgaria
Bulgaria hosted Malta in a welcome return to the field for both sides. Four T20Is were scheduled to be played at the Vasil Levski National Sports Academy in Sofia, though only the first two were possible due to rain. Despite being ranked some 33 places lower before the series, the visitors recorded two comprehensive wins, which gave them enough of a boost to move off the bottom of the MRF Tyres ICC Men's T20I Team Rankings table.
After winning the toss on the morning of the 23rd, Maltese skipper Samuel Aquilina opted to bat, and would have been pleased with the collective batting effort. Though the top-scorer was Ravinder Singh with just 34 (18), they charged to an imposing 216/8 off their allotted overs, with seven contributions of 20 or more. In response, an opening stand of 59 from all-rounder Hristo Lakov and wicket-keeper Kiran Dasan got Bulgaria off to a good start, but the Eastern Europeans struggled to maintain the momentum as their middle order stalled chasing a steep run rate. They ended on 159/8 after Malta’s off-spin duo of Thomas Kanakalil and Amar Sharma did the damage with seven wickets between them.
The afternoon match saw Bulgaria improve their batting, with Dasan dropping to number three and anchoring the innings with 47 (39). He was joined by Bulgaria’s very own Aravinda de Silva, who channelled his namesake with a speedy 42(21), lifting the hosts to 184/6 off their 20 overs. The Kanakalil and Sharma off-spin double act failed to replicate the success of the morning game, finishing with 0/43 and 1/39 respectively; opening seamer Noshair Akhter was the most successful bowler with 3/35. Heinrich Gericke powered Malta’s chase with an imposing 91(54) that saw the islanders home with eight wickets and seven balls to spare.
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