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  • admin 10:50 on 08/18/2019  

    England players could be given berths in Cricket ‘s Futures League competition as part of an agreement between the two boards aimed at making the Ashes more competitive.
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    As applied the finishing touches to its 4-0 hammering of Joe Root’s side on Monday, senior officials from CA and the England and Wales Cricket Board began discussions about changing future Ashes tours.

    There are worries from both countries over the one-sided nature of recent battles and, in particular, the massive advantage held by the home team. Only one visiting side has won a series since Steve Waugh’s ns retained the urn in 2001.

    Although England won here in 2010/11, they were whitewashed in 2006/07 and 2013/14 and were comprehensively beaten this summer by an n team that started the series ranked fifth.

    Among the areas being looked at are the schedule, quality of opposition in tour games and participation in each other’s domestic competitions.

    England players would be given the chance to play in the Futures League, a second XI state competition, which would expose their players to n conditions.

    It is more common to see ns playing in England’s first-class competition, which has 18 teams compared to six in the Sheffield Shield. This was point of bemusement for England coach Trevor Bayliss after the Adelaide Test.

    The states have room for one international player on their lists but with the n season coinciding with England’s winter tours they are not seen as practical options. Leggie Mason Crane, who made his debut in the fifth Test, played for NSW last season but came over to play grade cricket in Sydney and was not on a state contract.

    Both boards are concerned by the quality of opposition in tour games, which may result in more matches against the England Lions in ‘s future tours.

    The last time a visiting team played an “A” side was in the 2010/11 series in , which mirrored the preceding Ashes in 2009.

    will want to play warm up matches on venues that will stage a Test. It’s believed is the only full member nation which stages warm up matches at Test venues.

    Acclimatising to foreign conditions will be less of an issue for Steve Smith’s men next year with the World Cup to be held in England before the Ashes.

    The length of the tournament should provide opportunities for to practice with the red Dukes ball, particularly leading into matches against non-Test nations.

    Smith, David Warner, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are all regulars in ‘s Test and one-day sides.

    has already implemented strategies aimed at improving their chances of winning in England. CA started using the Dukes ball in last season’s Shield and bring them back again after the break for the Big Bash League.

    The fallout has started from England’s poor campaign with Bayliss confirming he will step down after the 2019 series. While Bayliss has transformed England in the limited-overs arena, his Test record has been modest with 15 wins from 38 games and three from 19 away.

    “I told Andrew Strauss probably 12 months ago that September 2019 I’m contracted to and that would see me out. I’ve never been anywhere any more than four of five years,” Bayliss said.

    “Whether you’re going well or not I’ve always felt that roundabout that four-year mark is time to change. A new voice, a slightly different approach slightly reinvigorates things. So I passed that on him 12 months ago.”

    Despite losing 4-0, England is unlikely to make wholesale changes for its series in New Zealand. But underperforming duo Mark Stoneman and James Vince may not get another chance back home if they do not lift against the Black Caps.

    “It’s about slowly getting them (new players) involved, not necessarily in the team but around the squad to begin with and filtering them into the team when positions become available or when they force their way in,” Bayliss said.

    “It’s not going to be an overnight success. If you bring three or four young blokes into the team it will be a slower process as they learn what the international game is about.”

    Continue reading Changes flagged for future Ashes tours
  • admin 10:50 on 08/18/2019  

    9/1/18 Bernard Tomic is seen during his match with Yoshihito Nishioka at the 2018 Kooyong Classic, Melbourne. Photograph by Chris HopkinsBernard Tomic will draw on his experience in going from qualifiers to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon seven years ago as the 25-year-old fights for his tennis future and a main draw berth in this year’s n Open.
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    Overlooked for a discretionary wildcard from Tennis last month, Tomic says he won’t need assistance from the sport’s governing body as he seeks to qualify for a 10th consecutive n Open and reignite his career.

    Asked about missing out on a wildcard after Tennis took a hardline approach on the world No.143, Tomic was somewhat tight-lipped and said he was happy to do things his way.

    “I never needed the help of Tennis to achieve what I’ve achieved in my career,” Tomic said.

    “For me it’s not a big problem.”

    Tomic featured in an exhibition match at Kooyong on Tuesday, losing 3-6, 3-6 to Yoshihito Nishioka, a young Japanese player with a career high world ranking of 58.

    Asked about his motivation levels and having to negotiate the tricky path of qualifying against seasoned opponents and hungry youngsters, Tomic referenced his rags-to-riches run at Wimbledon seven years ago.

    “For me, it’s in the back of my mind. I know if you’re playing the right tennis ??? good things will come,” he said.

    “Tomorrow I will play, so I have to be ready.”

    Tomic will face Vincent Millot in qualifying on Wednesday, a Frenchman ranked 191 in the world.

    The controversial n, whose tennis career has been in free-fall through a disastrous 2017, admitted he sometimes looks uncommitted on court, but stressed he was motivated to do well in .

    “My hunger has always been there, it’s always been there to achieve stuff. Sometimes I probably look a bit lazy and stuff, but that’s me. I don’t really go about it 100 per cent,” he said.

    “I think this year has to be a good year for me, I know a couple of years back I was 130 in the world, and was also top 20 for two years after that.”

    Tomic has achieved some of his best grand slam results in Melbourne and can point to a 17-9 career record.

    “I’ve been (at) the n Open 10 times, since I was 15 years old,” he said.

    “I think I’ve made fourth rounds, or three or four third rounds, so I was very consistent at the n Open throughout my whole career.

    “I’d love to qualify and do well but it’s going to be tough. There’s a lot of good players in quallies and you have to respect everyone, so I’ll see how it goes.”

    Tomic was happy to douse speculation that instead of trying to move up the rankings, he would instead take up a place in the next series of I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here, the Network Ten reality show set in the African jungle.

    “I have no idea who started that,” he said.

    The one-time world No.17 said he needed to find consistency in his game.

    “I need to get back playing consistently ??? for me that’s the main priority in 2018. We’ll see how it goes. Obviously there’s another 10 years of my career left. For me, it’s not a problem.”

    Continue reading ‘I never needed the help of Tennis China’: Tomic set for qualifying
  • admin 10:50 on 08/18/2019  

    On December 20, Todd Greenberg dispatched a friendly email to club bosses wishing them season’s greetings for Christmas and New Year.
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    Apparently, a season exists outside of the rugby league season. Many of us call it “hell”. While the NRL chief executive had their attention, he wanted to remind them about all the great things the game had achieved in 2017.

    A new digital network! New stadiums! New owners for the Titans and Knights! A new strategic plan! A new collective bargaining agreement! New! New! New! Yay! Yay! Yay!

    As one club boss told this column: “He forgot to add how the game has run out of money, but anyway …”

    “Importantly,” Greenberg said in his email, “I believe we have made significant progress this year building a greater level of trust and collaboration among the game’s largest stakeholders. This has been a key focus for me and one that will continue into the New Year.”

    This is where Greenberg often bemuses the audience he’s speaking to. Because they know as much as he does that it’s bullshit. Trust and collaboration have never been the game’s strongest points, so much so that the clubs and the state leagues had to hold a gun to the commission’s head in the past year so it could have its own people on board. On February 21, at the NRL’s annual general meeting, the “independent commission” becomes the “sort-of independent commission” when two appointees from the clubs and one each from the NSWRL and QRL join the party.

    The most significant change, though, is the man being bundled out the door: chairman John Grant, who is about to climb aboard a new gravy train headed towards the Rugby League International Federation. Mark the day down as the exact moment when Greenberg has one season to prove why he should keep his job.

    No longer hamstrung by a chairman who micro-managed every detail of the game and not much of it particularly well, this is Greenberg’s time to shine. His time to show us what he stands for. His vision for the game in the next five years. His time to give us less of Todd Greenberg, the politician, and more of Todd Greenberg, the leader of the game.

    Greenberg abhors the “politician” tag often attached to him and that’s fair enough: it suggests he is more worried about keeping his job than doing his job. I’m sure he does more than conceive ways to look good.

    Often, the claim is unfair. Last year he backed same-sex marriage and was heavily lambasted for taking a stance on a “political issue” just for the sake of politically correct publicity.

    In reality, he had done so after a heartfelt letter from openly gay former player Ian Roberts. Greenberg took the stance on behalf of the game because he felt it was the right thing to do. And it was.

    That said, there were two incidents last year that made many wonder where his priorities rested.

    The first came in August when Kangaroos and NSW playmaker James Maloney, in an interview with Fairfax Media, squared up NRL management at the height of tense pay negotiations, claiming they were “just accessories” compared to the game’s most important “stakeholder”, the players.

    Greenberg issued a statement the day the story appeared, twisting Maloney’s comments so it appeared that he’d had a shot at the fans. It seemed extraordinarily reactive.

    The second instance came a few weeks later when Sharks coach Shane Flanagan and Manly’s Trent Barrett were fined for taking aim at referees following their sides’ exit from the finals.

    Greenberg called a media conference, took out Mr Smack and told everyone to “grow up”. He was right, of course, but this particular smackdown could’ve happened at any stage in the past two years. Like Maloney, the coaches were easy targets, incapable of striking back. Greenberg would never pick a fight with those who could hurt him most.

    It’s probably why he is one of the game’s great survivors, from Bulldogs chief executive, to NRL head of football who fell out with his then boss, Dave Smith, before replacing him two years later, before he then fell out with his chairman, only to also see him off. That is House of Cards stuff.

    But all that’s in the past now. From February 21, Greenberg has a new boss. He used to be a politician, too. Grant ushered former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie onto the commission in July last year, and it was widely considered at the time to be a two-fingered salute to the all-powerful Sydney clubs: another Queenslander, like Grant, in control. It was viewed by many with great suspicion. As the months have gone by and Beattie edges closer to the top job, there is some optimism in the game about a new dawn.

    Greenberg, in particular, is said to be enthusiastic about what he can achieve working under a chairman who he can trust and is prepared to do what’s best for the game, not just appease angry clubs.

    Because there is a lot to be done.

    Rugby league played a part in securing the $2.3 billion overhaul of Allianz and ANZ stadiums, but it cannot claim responsibility for it. This season, more than ever, it needs to start doing as much as possible to get people to its matches.

    Away from the NRL, at the grassroots level, junior, bush and and suburban clubs are screaming out for more support. They are tired of watching their participation numbers dwindle. They are tired of seeing the deeply resourced AFL increasingly swamp them as the NRL trots out participation numbers that have been overinflated by touch footy players.

    We’ve just witnessed a superb World Cup, especially because of Tonga. Does the NRL have any vision for international footy? Or will it simply shrug its shoulders and say its an RLIF thing, talk to them?

    Of course, the game faces many more issues and problems, not least its apparent lack of money. But if there is one thing it is lacking it’s a sense of direction.

    In his email, Greenberg asked all the clubs to schedule a time before the season starts when he can meet their boards and then their players. It will provide a perfect opportunity for him to tell them what the game stands for. What he stands for.

    And, after that, he should talk to the most important stakeholder out of the lot … you.

    Continue reading Greenberg has one year to show us why he should keep his job
  • admin 10:50 on 08/18/2019  

    Adelaide: A superb Melbourne Stars debut from 16-year-old Annabel Sutherland wasn’t enough to get her side over the line as a Tabatha Saville four from the last ball of the match gave the Adelaide Strikers a one-wicket win at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday.
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    Sutherland, the daughter of Cricket chief James Sutherland and sister of talented all-rounder Will Sutherland, played four games for the Melbourne Renegades last season but hadn’t bowled in the Women’s Big Bash League until Tuesday, when she was included in the Stars’ XI for the first time.

    Stars openers Lizelle Lee (52 from 52 balls) and Katie Mack (42 from 34) helped their team to a total of 5-132 from their 20 overs. The game was in the balance with the Strikers 2-70 after 11 overs when Stars captain Kristen Beams, back from a finger injury, brought Sutherland into the attack. The seamer struck with her first ball, claiming the scalp of n international Tahlia McGrath for 13, caught at mid off by Anna Lanning. Sutherland took three more wickets to finish with 4-20 from her four overs.

    But the Strikers weren’t done with yet. The match came down to the wire, with Beams getting a hand to a straight drive from Saville to run out non-striker Alex Price with four runs needed from the last three balls. Beams bowled a dot ball the next ball, but with one ball left she bowled a chest high no-ball. Saville then struck a four off a free hit through deep backward point to win the match by one wicket on the last ball of the game.

    The loss further reduced the Stars’ already slim finals hopes. They are three games and net run rate adrift of fourth-placed Brisbane Heat, with six matches to play.

    Sutherland said she’d been told by Stars coach David Hemp at the team’s hotel on Tuesday morning that she’d be playing. It was too late for her family to make it for the game but she was confident they’d be watching a live stream on the Cricket website, and was anticipating some phone chats with her parents and Will.

    She said it was “an amazing feeling” to bowl so successfully, while the final over was “a rollercoaster”.

    “We didn’t finish as well as we would’ve liked, but I guess that’s cricket and we can’t do much about it,” Sutherland said.

    The Stars’ English all-rounder Georgia Elwiss missed the game with a finger injury and is set to be assessed ahead of the side’s next games against Brisbane in Mackay on Friday night and Saturday night.

    Continue reading Last-ball drama ends in heartbreak for Melbourne Stars
  • admin 10:50 on 08/18/2019  

    A new kind of court will help clear case backlogs by discouraging last-minute guilty pleas, a NSW trial suggests.
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    But the NSW Bar Association has said adopting the approach would not do much to fix an underfunded system “near breaking point”.

    From March 2015, District Court judge Ian McClintock presided over a “rolling list” court where dedicated teams of prosecution and defence lawyers appeared before him alone, rather than diverting to other judges after adjournments.

    Don Weatherburn, director of the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, said after nearly 30 years of mooted solutions to court delays, the trial had shown “spectacular” results.

    The new court system allowed for senior lawyers to negotiate sooner, saving time and money, proponents say. Photo: James Davies

    “I’ve never seen anything they have done that produces effects as dramatic as this,” Mr Weatherburn said. “It shows you can actually change the system.”

    The crime research bureau measured the success of the new court by randomly allocating Legal Aid cases between the regular lists and Judge McClintock’s rolling list.

    Criminals who pleaded guilty early in either were entitled to sentence reductions of up to 25 per cent.

    In the rolling list court, 58 per cent of cases ended in a guilty plea before trial, compared with 22 per cent in the regular courts.

    Mr Weatherburn said the difference came down to one of two factors, or some combination of the two.

    First, the “docket” system of appearing before a single judge throughout a case meant “instantly the inducement to seek an adjournment to get before some other judge is gone”.

    Second, placing senior lawyers on both sides in dedicated teams allowed for negotiations over charges and trial issues to happen much earlier, he said.

    Rolling list cases also progressed from committal hearings to trials 40 per cent sooner and were finalised more quickly.

    Legal Aid solicitor Sally McLaughlin, one of the early participants, said the court allowed for an immediate dialogue and “real trust” with public prosecutors.

    “There’s an efficiency in knowing your counterpart well, knowing how they operate,” Ms McLaughlin said.

    A spokeswoman for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said it was “extremely pleased” with the results.

    Attorney-General Mark Speakman said while the rolling list court was an initiative of Chief Judge Derek Price, this year the government would introduce statewide reforms requiring early negotiations between senior prosecutors and defence lawyers.

    “This will include appointing senior counsel sooner and providing continuity in defence and prosecution, leading to more open communication and earlier plea negotiations,” Mr Speakman said.

    But NSW Bar Association president Arthur Moses, SC, said “with the criminal justice system near breaking point due to delays, the District Court needs more than a new case management approach to reduce the backlog”.

    Mr Moses said the government needed to appoint more judges and provide more funding for Legal Aid and senior lawyers to deal with the “tsunami of cases”.

    While the rolling list court produced more guilty pleas overall, researchers found the increase was not significant enough to prove anything. The new system did not lead to shorter, more focused trials, as had been predicted from early results.

    Continue reading Criminals pleading guilty much earlier in new kind of court
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