Wales captain Jones 'very confident' of being fit for Six Nations opener

By Sports Desk January 07, 2021

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  • Six uncapped players make England squad for Japan, New Zealand Tests Six uncapped players make England squad for Japan, New Zealand Tests

    England coach Steve Borthwick has named six uncapped players in his squad for their summer internationals against Japan and New Zealand. 

    England face Japan in Tokyo on June 21 in their first outing since the Six Nations, then take on the All Blacks on July 6 and July 13.

    Harlequins prop Fin Baxter and centre Luke Northmore, Sale pair Joe Carpenter and Tom Roebuck, Bristol's Gabriel Oghre and Northampton's Ollie Sleightholme are all included.

    Having named a 36-man squad, England will train at Twickenham on Tuesday before flying out to Japan to prepare for their opening Test.

    "The Summer Series presents a valuable opportunity for the continued development of this squad and is a demanding challenge to conclude the season," Borthwick said.

    "The National Stadium in Tokyo is an incredible venue for Test match rugby, and we will need to be at our very best against a Japanese team who will want to play fast.

    "New Zealand's home record is well documented, and we face a team who came within one point of winning a World Cup.

    "The players know that they will need to be mentally strong and tactically smart if we are to get the result we want."

    Full England squad: Fin Baxter, Dan Cole, Alex Coles, Chandler Cunningham-South, Ben Curry, Tom Curry, Theo Dan, Alex Dombrandt, Ben Earl, Charlie Ewels, Jamie George (c), Joe Heyes, Maro Itoje, Joe Marler, George Martin, Gabriel Oghre, Bevan Rodd, Ethan Roots, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Joe Carpenter, Fraser Dingwall, Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, Tommy Freeman, George Furbank, Ollie Lawrence, Alex Mitchell, Luke Northmore, Harry Randall, Tom Roebuck, Henry Slade, Ollie Sleightholme, Fin Smith, Marcus Smith, Ben Spencer, Freddie Steward.

  • Bajan-born Nicholas Kirton among runs as Canada shock Ireland to earn first World Cup victory Bajan-born Nicholas Kirton among runs as Canada shock Ireland to earn first World Cup victory

    Canada earned their first-ever T20 World Cup win with a shock 12-run victory over Ireland on Friday.

    It was not the best start for Canada in the power play, but they soon found their rhythm when Barbados-born Nicholas Kirton and Shreyas Movva came into the fold, scoring 49 and 37 respectively, before Barry McCarthy got them both out in his 2-24.

    They fizzled out shortly after, finishing with 137-7, though it soon became clear an upset was on the cards as Ireland stumbled to 59-6 in the 13th over, thanks to Canada's impressive bowling.

    A strong display from George Dockrell (30 not out) and Mark Adair (34), paired with fielding mistakes, set up a nervy finish. However, Adair was then taken by Jeremy Gordon (2-16) in the final over to ensure Ireland would finish short of their target with 125-7.

    Ireland stay bottom of Group A with no points, while Canada are right in the mix, level on two with Pakistan. 

    Meanwhile, Scotland continued their strong start to the World Cup with their first win of the tournament, a five-wicket victory over Namibia on Thursday to move them top of Group B.

    Data Debrief: History made for Canada

    Before this game, Canada had lost each of their last five men's T20Is; they had lost only four of their 23 games prior to this run in the format (W18 T1). However, that run has now ended in perfect fashion.

    For just the second time, Ireland have lost their opening two games in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup; only in 2016 did they do the same in a single edition of the tournament.

  • Windies spinner Motie shortlisted for ICC Player-of-the-Month award for May Windies spinner Motie shortlisted for ICC Player-of-the-Month award for May

    West Indies slow left-arm orthodox bowler Gudakesh Motie is reaping the benefits of his consistent performances in recent times, as he has been shortlisted for the International Cricket Council (ICC) Player of the Month awards, which celebrates the outstanding performers from international competition in May.

    The Guyanese, who is currently on duty with the West Indies at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, is joined by Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Ireland's Lorcan Tucker on the men's list released by ICC on Friday. The women's list is headlined by Sri Lankan captain Chamari Athapaththu, with England's Sophie Ecclestone and Scotland's captain Kathryn Bryce, the other nominees.

    Motie, 29, earned a nomination after his Player of the Series exploits in West Indies whitewash series triumph over South Africa. Similarly, Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi enjoyed a prolific wicket-taking month in his side’s T20I tours of Ireland and England last month, while Ireland's wicketkeeper/batsman Tucker recorded consistent scores against Pakistan, Netherlands and Scotland in his side’s preparations for the T20 World Cup.

    Like Motie, Afridi and Tucker are both on duty at the T20 World Cup being hosted in the Caribbean and United States.

    Meanwhile, two stars from the recently concluded ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in the UAE are nominated in the Women’s Player of the Month category, alongside an England spin sensation.

    Sri Lankan skipper Athapaththu is nominated for the second month in a row after topping the run-scoring charts in Abu Dhabi and hitting a sparkling century in the final match. She is joined by Scotland skipper Bryce, who led her side to an historic first qualification for a women’s World Cup event thanks to memorable individual contributions. England’s Ecclestone is the third name in contention, nominated for more wicket-taking feats as her side overcame Pakistan in both shorter formats last month.

    An independent ICC Voting Academy and fans around the world will now be invited to cast their votes to decide the winners, which will be announced next week. Fans are now able to vote for their favourite performers at icc-cricket.com/awards.

    Shaheen Shah Afridi

    ICC Men’s Player of the Month Nominees for May:

    Gudakesh Motie (WI)

    The West Indies’ left-arm spinner enjoyed plenty of success in the home series against South Africa in May, taking eight wickets across three matches at an average of 8.50, as the hosts sealed a statement 3-0 victory in Jamaica. Motie took three for 25 in the opening contest to restrict the tourists’ chase and he backed that performance up with another impressive spell of three for 22 to stifle the middle order in the second fixture. Another two wickets in the final match turned the tide in favour of the hosts once more and allowed the 29-year-old to claim the Player of the Series accolade.

    Shaheen Shah Afridi (PAK)

    Pakistan’s frontline pacer is nominated for the second successive month after another blistering spell of fast bowling in May. Afridi took ten wickets in his five T20I contests during the month, which included three consecutive three-wicket hauls. Spells of three for 49 and three for 14 against Ireland helped Pakistan overturn a series deficit to win in Dublin, before the 24-year-old followed up with three for 36 against England in Birmingham. The three-time nominee has never won a Men’s Player of the Month award but has a strong case to claim his maiden prize.

     

    Lorcan Tucker (IRE)

    The wicketkeeper-batter aims to become the first Irish winner of the Men’s Player of the Month award since Harry Tector in May 2023, and is nominated thanks to explosive run-scoring feats during a busy month of international competition. Tucker top-scored for Ireland in the second and third matches against Pakistan with successive quickfire scores of 51 and 73, and carried that momentum into the tri-series against Scotland and Netherlands, hitting 40 and 55 as Ireland sealed confidence boosting wins ahead of their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup campaign.