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Cricket Australia targets sport’s inclusion at 2032 Olympics

Cricket Australia has targeted the inclusion of the sport at the 2032 Brisbane Olympics as part of a strategic plan to expand participation and maintain the game’s position at the heart of the country’s sporting culture.

The ambitious “Where the Game Grows” plan released on Monday aims to double the number of children aged five to 12 playing the game to 210,000 over the next five years, with girls making up 60,000 of that tally.

Another of the targets is to get cricket back into the Olympics for the first time since 1900 – if that goal has not already been achieved at the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles.

Cricket has been shortlisted for possible inclusion at the 2028 Olympics along eight other sports and the International Cricket Council (ICC) will make a presentation to organizers later this month.

The host city can include any sport but needs the approval of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Brisbane has plans to rebuild the city’s Gabba cricket ground as a 50,000-seater Olympic Stadium to host the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2032 Games.

The inclusion of cricket in the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics is part of the “sustainable future” strand of the plan, which also aims to improve fan experience, expand the grassroots and continue Australia’s success on the world stage.

CA has set a target of at least three ICC tournament triumphs over the next five years for both the men’s and women’s national teams.

Elsewhere, it has committed to publishing an action plan related to environmental sustainability.

“Cricket is a quintessential part of the Australian summer. However, recent years have shown how vulnerable our game is to a changing climate,” the document said.

There is also a strong focus on the BBL and WBBL with this season labeled the “Rebound” following the impact of Covid, especially on attendance, before a period that has been called “Reimagine”. The challenges are particularly acute for the BBL given the rapid growth of T20 leagues in the January window.

“This strategy contains both a vision and a clear plan for how we can achieve bold, transformative change while also meeting our core responsibilities,” said CA chief executive Nick Hockley.

“I would like to thank everyone across the game for their passion and commitment as we work to unite and inspire everyone to love and play cricket, and in so doing make cricket a sport for all that makes Australians proud.”



Women’s Hundred 2022 – ‘Will I get my name up next to Warnie?’

Alana King paid a touching tribute to her hero Shane Warne after taking her first ever hat-trick, with the feat coming at Emirates Old Trafford, the ground where the late Australian icon made his name almost 30 years ago.

The 26-year-old Commonwealth Games gold medalist – who narrowly missed out on taking a hat-trick in the group stage against Barbados – bowled Cordelia Griffith, trapped Sophie Ecclestone lbw and bowled Kate Cross to etch her name into history with the first hat -trick in one-and-a-bit seasons of the women’s Hundred.

“Will I get my name up here at Old Trafford?” she asked. “That would be brilliant. Hopefully right next to Warnie. He took poles here for fun, and I’m sure he was looking down pretty happy.”

King was of course referring to Warne’s ball of the century to Mike Gatting here in 1993.

“He was a massive inspiration, but it wasn’t just me. It was kids all around the world who he inspired to pick up legspin. He was definitely the reason I picked up legspin. Hopefully he’s been proud watching down on me spin a few.

“When I was a bit younger, I did a couple of sessions with him. All I remember from that was him saying, ‘Spin it hard and have some fun’. I live by that every single day.

“That’s my first hat-trick. Not even in juniors did I take one. My first hat-trick at Old Trafford, I couldn’t have written it.

“As soon as I got that first wicket, I knew I had to keep aiming for the stumps. I’m just stoked that I can play my part for this team. Kate Cross came up to me after the game and said, ‘I can’t believe I gave that wicket to you’.”

Not only did King shine with the ball, she contributed two sixes in a crucial unbeaten 19 off nine deliveries at the end of the Rockets innings, boosting them to 119 for 5. She also took a smart low catch out at deep midwicket.

King added: “The atmosphere was absolutely incredible. To get our first win was pretty special. We knew we were under par with the bat, and we needed to stick to our game plan with the ball. We wanted to take some early wickets in the powerplay, which we did. As soon as we got their two openers out, we knew the pressure was back on them.”

Originals’ coach Paul Shaw said: “In the first half, I thought we bowled and fielded really well, and we were happy chasing 120. But then the second bit, we didn’t play like we wanted to play.

“Alana King’s a quality performer who will be around for a long time. She bowled really, really well. But we didn’t play her that well.”



Lisa Keightley steps down as England Women head coach

Lisa Keightley will leave her position as England Women’s head coach at the end of the summer after deciding not to pursue the option of a contract extension.

Keightley was appointed in late 2019, and guided England to the final of the 2022 ODI World Cup. She also oversaw runs to the semi-finals of the 2020 T20 World Cup and Commonwealth Games, where England were beaten in the bronze-medal match on Sunday.

She will continue to coach the team until the end of the home season, with limited-overs series against India scheduled next month. It is understood the decision to part ways was mutually agreed on before the Commonwealth Games.

The ECB will now begin the process of recruiting a new head coach ahead of the next Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa in February.

Although England failed to defend the World Cup they won in 2017, and missed out on successive T20 titles, Keightley’s period in charge was marked by an injection of younger talent into the side, with Sophia Dunkley establishing herself as a first-choice pick and the likes of Issy Wong, Alice Capsey and Freya Kemp coming through.

Jonathan Finch, the ECB’s director of England women’s cricket, said: “We are incredibly grateful for the commitment and passion Lisa has shown over the last two-and-a-half years in the role. We have seen increased competition for places over the Last 12 months and the squad Lisa leaves is an exciting blend of youth and experience.

“Leading an international team is challenging at the best of times. It is more challenging during a pandemic, and Lisa has been able to continue the development of the team during what has been the toughest period we have faced off the field.”

Clare Connor, ECB interim chief executive, said: “I’d like to place on record our sincere thanks to Lisa for all her efforts across the last two-and-a-half years.

“Lisa was always a fierce opponent when she represented Australia, and she’s brought that same pride, passion and will to win into everything she’s done with the England Women’s team.

“The team have enjoyed working with her immensely and I know they’ll join me in wishing her all the very best for her next challenge.”

Keightley’s departure follows that of her senior assistant and fellow Australian, Tim Macdonald, who announced in June that he would be leaving after the Commonwealth Games to take up an assistant coaching post with the Perth Scorchers and Western Australian men’s teams.



New Zealand news – NZC agrees to release Trent Boult from central contract

New Zealand Cricket has agreed to release Trent Boult from his central contract after the fast bowler requested to spend more time with his family and to make himself available for T20 leagues with his international career now to be “significantly reduced”.

Boult, 33, had held several conversations with NZC prior to Wednesday’s announcement. The move will have huge ramifications for New Zealand given the proliferation of T20 leagues that are popping up within the time period of their summer domestic season.

NZC released a statement explaining that Boult had made it clear to NZC chief executive David White that his appetite for touring had diminished and he wished to spend more time with his family.

“This has been a really tough decision for me and I’d like to thank NZC for their support in getting to this point,” Boult said.

“Playing cricket for my country was a childhood dream and I’m so proud of everything I’ve been able to achieve with the Black Caps over the past 12 years.

“Ultimately this decision is about my wife Gert and our three young boys. Family has always been the biggest motivator for me and I feel comfortable with putting it first and preparing ourselves for life after cricket.”

Boult has not retired from international cricket but he is likely to play a lot less with White confirming that Boult was aware of the ramifications of his decision and that NZC would prioritize contracted players.

“We’ve had several conversations and I know Trent understands that, in terms of selection, NZC will continue to make a priority of those players with either central or domestic contracts,” White said.

Boult understood that his decision would affect his selection for New Zealand.

“I still have a big desire to represent my country and feel I have the skills to deliver at the international level,” he said. “However, I respect the fact that not having a national contract will affect my chances of selection.

“Having said that, as a fast bowler I know I have a limited career span, and I feel the time is right to move into this next phase.”

White said he was sad to be losing Boult as a centrally contracted player but understood his decision.

“We respect Trent’s position,” White said. “He’s been completely honest and up-front with us about his reasoning about him and, while we’re sad to be losing him as a fully-contracted player, he leaves with our best wishes and our sincere thanks.

“Trent’s made a massive contribution to the Black Caps since his Test debut in late 2011 and is now considered one of the best multi-format cricketers in the world. We’re very proud of what he’s achieved.”

Earlier this year, Boult went straight from the IPL into the Test series against England. He played 16 games for Rajasthan Royals, including the final in Ahmedabad on May 29, before playing in the Test match at Lord’s just five days later on June 2 where he bowled nearly 38 overs. However, he has since been rested from New Zealand’s limited-overs tours around Europe but is part of the current squad in West Indies and will complete that series.

Boult has represented New Zealand 215 times across all three formats after debuting against Australia in the famous 2011 Test victory in Hobart. He is one of only four men to have taken 300 Test wickets for New Zealand, having taken 317 scalps at 27.49 with 10 five-wicket hauls and one ten-for. He also has 169 ODI wickets and 62 in T20Is. He is currently the No.1 ranked ODI bowler in the world and is ranked 11th on the Test rankings.



‘I wanted to dig a hole and jump in it’

“Are you going to have nightma…”


The question wasn’t even fully formed and Meg Lanning had given her answer. No, she would not be sleeping well after dropping the catch that would have handed legspinner Alana King a hat-trick, just the second for her country in women’s T20Is.

In fairness, Lanning, the Australia captain, was as good-natured as anyone could possibly be about the situation, from burying her face in the Edgbaston turf right there at slip where if you gave her 99 similar chances she’d take them, to wincing in the background as reporters quizzed King a couple of meters away afterwards about the incident and then facing up to the same journalists, knowing full well what was coming.

“I’ll have nightmares,” Lanning said. “I wanted to dig a hole and jump in it as quick as I could. I tried my best and I dropped it.”

Softening the blow somewhat was the fact that Australia had one foot in the Commonwealth Games semi-finals with Barbados 53 for 8 at that point. Barbados managed just 64 before being bowled out. Then Australia, led by Lanning’s unbeaten 21-ball 36, overhauled the target with 71 balls to spare and sealed a place in the knockout stages with one group game to go.

Asked if her innings was a response to her faux pas in the field, Lanning said: “I wasn’t overly pleased, let’s put it that way. I was just disappointed for Kingy. She was bowling so well and to let her down like that was not ideal. But that’s cricket, I guess.

“I was just keen to contribute really. I was just pouncing on some loose balls when I got them and giving myself a chance and it felt like I was able to do that.”

Deandra Dottin conceded 25 runs off her first over, the last of the powerplay, all to Lanning and extras as Australia, via their captain, accelerated after a watchful start on a slow, hybrid pitch staging its sixth match in three days. From that point, Alyssa Healy joined the fray also, moving from four runs off 14 balls to 23 not out off 24 as Australia eased to victory.

For her part, King was understanding.

“That’s cricket, right? No one means to drop a ball or anything,” King said. “It’s just the way the game goes, but I’m just happy that I could contribute in any way I can.

“Every ball I bowl, I’m trying to get a wicket so that was no different but it caught the outside edge and yeah, that’s just cricket, I guess. But I’m just really happy with how I played today.

“I felt that there was definitely a bit more bite in the wicket today. It is the sixth game on it so it’s a bit tired, a bit slow, which works into our hands a little bit.”

King entered the attack in the eighth over after Lanning had won the toss and sent in Barbados, who lost captain Hayley Matthews early for what turned out to be their top score, on 18.

King struck with her second ball, brushing the outside of Dottin’s front pad in line with middle stump as she knelt down to tuck the ball to fine leg, having faced 22 balls for her eight runs.

After Tahlia McGrath claimed the first of her three wickets when she had Kycia Knight caught by Megan Schutt at deep backward square and Ashleigh Gardner bowled a tight spell, including a double-wicket maiden to remove Kyshona Knight and Trishnan Holder, King roared back into action .

At the end of her second over, King dismissed Aaliyah Alleyne playing across a ball that pegged back leg stump. Then, with the third ball of her third over, King pinned Shakera Selman lbw and then struck Shamilia Connell on the back leg next ball. What followed as Keila Elliott’s edge somehow popped out of Lanning’s hands at first slip was the stuff of bad dreams. Fortunately for Australia, it was all right on the night.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo