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About the time Cameron Green was getting into the 190s for Western Australia in Adelaide, a fourth century in his most recent nine Sheffield Sheld matches, a mea culpa message buzzed through to the phone of the former selector Greg Chappell. It was from Australia’s coach, Justin Langer, who was finally ready to concede his first impressions of Green had been overtaken.

In fairness to Langer, that first impression had taken the shape of a zingy, swinging spell of pace bowling from Green at Bellerive in early 2017, when he snapped up 5 for 24 on his Shield debut for the state while batting at No. 8. Chappell, though, had remained steadfast in his belief that Green would ultimately be more valuable to Australian cricket as a batsman than a bowler, with the risk of losing that opportunity through the injuries so often suffered by young speedsters.

ALSO READ: Warner, Smith, Cummins and Hazlewood likely to be rested before India Tests

So Langer, a few days before selecting Green in Australia’s limited-overs squad to face India without seeing him even bowl a single competitive ball this season, reached out magnanimously to Chappell. “I texted Greg Chappell a couple days ago,” Langer said, “and I said ‘GC, wasn’t it me that was telling you what a great batsman Cameron Green was’ and I had a whole lot of smiley emojis, because Greg Chappell’s been telling me for two years ‘Cameron Green is brilliant, he is the best young batting talent’.

“[Back then] I said ‘mate he’s six foot seven, I saw him bowl to George Bailey in his first over and he’ll never bowl a better over in his whole career than he did’. When I first saw him bowl I thought his action was like a young Shaun Pollock, because it was just so simple, but then he grew a lot.

“I know he’s working hard on his action to ensure he stays healthy, but if Greg Chappell’s telling me he’s the best young talent he’s seen for a long time, and I’ve seen how he bowls, he’s potentially in the future a great all-round package. At the moment his batting speaks for itself and he’s bowling a few overs. But it’ll be a pretty good package won’t it, if he stays fit and healthy.”

Leaving aside a low score on a grassy pitch in the Shield game against Tasmania that began on Friday, Green has won plaudits from opposing captains, bowlers and team-mates for offering a maturity of approach that does not always seem the way of a 21-year-old. No less a judge than the Test captain Tim Paine has spoken warmly of Green’s awareness of what bowlers and captains are trying to do, and of the unruffled countenance that has allowed him to put together many hours at the crease.

“He bats long periods,” Langer said. “I know George Bailey’s really big on this as one of our new selectors, he bats time. Allan Border used to say ‘there’s a lot more time than you think young fella’, so there’s a lot of time in Test cricket, there’s a bit more time in one-day cricket. Obviously there’s less time in T20 and he was batting down the order for the Scorchers last year, which is a tough spot for anyone let alone a kid, but he’s ticking a lot of boxes at the moment.

“I go back to the point, competition’s healthy, he is banging really hard on the door, like Moises [Henriques] has been doing, and he deserves an opportunity as a specific replacement for Mitch [Marsh]. So they’re banging on the door hard, which is a positive thing.

“When I used to go play county cricket all those years ago, all the English guys used to say ‘in Australia you’ve got this great youth policy, you always pick these young players’ and they talk about Damien Martyn or Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke. But what I kept saying was ‘it’s not a youth policy, you just pick the guys who are playing the best cricket’. Cameron Green’s got, albeit in Sheffield Shield cricket, four hundreds in his last six or seven Shield games, so he’s a terrific young player.”

Expectations of course are now sky high, not least after Chappell himself labelled Green the best young talent he had seen come through since Ricky Ponting. But Langer is hopeful that the same temperament Green has displayed in the middle will be applied to dead-bat the dangers of thinking too far ahead, or letting the ego chase deliveries that the mind and hands would prefer to leave well alone.

“It tends to happen doesn’t it, the new kid on the block comes in and there’s high praise and people get carried away,” Langer said. “How does he handle it? He watches the ball as closely as he is now, he stays fit and healthy and he gets on with his job.

“That’s the hardest part actually of playing international cricket, eliminating the distractions, but that’s what mental toughness is about, he’s not going to have it all at the moment, it’s going to be a journey for a long time for him as it is with any young player. But this is all part of it, people will say ‘he’s the next future captain, he’s the next Ben Stokes, he’s the next this and this’, that’s why I tell all of them not to listen to any of it. If he wants to keep watching the ball, that’s all he needs to do.”

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Recent Match Report – India vs Australia 3rd ODI 2020

India 302 for 5 (Pandya 92*, Jadeja 66*, Kohli 63, Agar 2-44) vs Australia

Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja nearly doubled India’s 32-over score of 152 for 5, but India’s 302 for 5 was still only the third-highest score in a full-length ODI at the high-scoring Manuka Oval. Pandya came within a couple of hits of a maiden ODI hundred, but he ran out of strike in the final overs, which was just as well for India because Jadeja ran rampage against an inexperienced Sean Abbott just then. The last five overs yielded 76 runs, but it remained to be seen whether the damage in the first 32 overs was enough for Australia to seal a sweep of the three-ODI series.

Josh Hazlewood got Virat Kohli for a third straight time with a short ball, and the rest of the engine room made errors against the spinners in the middle overs after a solid enough start. In those middle overs, Kohli went 50 balls without a boundary after getting off to a start of 21 off 16. It is a chicken-and-egg question: did the falling wickets necessitate a Kohli slowdown or did the slowdown bring about ambitious shots from the other end that resulted in those wickets?

The conditions were probably not as flat as India had expected when they won the toss after having lost chasing two humongous totals in the first two games of the series. There was some extra bounce and just the tiny bit of nibble for Australia to get off to their best bowling start of the series even though they were resting two of their first-choice quicks, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins. As Shikhar Dhawan tried to upset this controlled start, dancing down to Sean Abbott, he only managed a chip to short cover to make it 26 for 1 in the sixth over.

Even before Abbott had had a go, Australia had tried a couple of overs from Glenn Maxwell at the top. Australia clearly expected some assistance for the spinners having brought in fingerspinner Ashton Agar for Starc. The first specialist spinner introduced, Agar interrupted a threatening partnership between Kohli and Shubman Gill, who inexplicably replaced Mayank Agarwal, who had selflessly got India off to quick starts in the two tall chases. Agar’s intervention brought about a boundary drought, Gill brought out the big sweep, and was trapped in front by one that just held its line. The promising innings ended at 33 off 39.

Tight bowling continued from both ends, Kohli set up his stall to bat through, and in these circumstances, the onus was on Shreyas Iyer to try and unsettle the bowlers. Seven overs into the partnership, he went too hard at an Adam Zampa legbreak, edging him to point. Tied down, KL Rahul repeated the Gill mistake: sweeping Agar and missing the length completely. India had now slipped from 59 for 1 in the 11th over to 123 for 4 in the 26th.

At the other end, Kohli played serenely, but he let the bowlers bowl at him. When he got a short and wide delivery from Zampa in the 29th over to finally hit a boundary for the first time since the 12th, his last 50 deliveries had brought him 34 runs. The intent now intensified, but he still eschewed aerial hits. This was the time Aaron Finch felt he needed to go back to Hazlewood. He kept banging the ball in to Kohli, using changes of pace and keeping the ball wide of his reach. In the 32nd over, he premiered his knuckle ball to take the edge but it didn’t carry. The next ball was on-pace, and it held its line to take a faint scratch, which needed a DRS review to be ascertained.

India were now staring at the possibility of a well-below-par total with a long tail only one wicket from being exposed. This was when came together two allrounders whose batting has been under pressure to justify their selection. Pandya has not been bowling of late, which means he has had to justify the tag of a specialist batsman (and only a part-time bowling option). The need to play Jadeja has split India’s two wristspinners, hampering their ability to pick up middle-overs wickets, which means he has to keep performing with the bat to justify that call.

Both batted like proper batsmen to keep criticism at bay. They got into their innings without sacrificing strike rate, especially with Pandya keeping the bowlers on their toes. With only two specialist quicks in the XI – debutant Cameron Green did put in four overs – Hazlewood and Abbott had to bowl all of the final six overs. This usually brings familiarity and the opportunity to line bowlers up, which is exactly what Pandya and Jadeja did.

Pandya first got stuck into Abbott, taking 17 off the 46th over, reaching 75 off 66 by the end of it. In the last four overs, though, it was all Jadeja as the bowling disintegrated. Abbott failed to bowl to his fields, providing Jadeja relatively easy opportunities to hit boundaries, which he took with both hands. By the end, he had hit more sixes than Pandya and his strike rate was higher too.

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No. 4 Badgers pound Green Bay 82-42

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MADISON, Wis. — Micah Potter scored 14 points, Tyler Wahl had 11 points and 15 rebounds, and No. 4 Wisconsin breezed to an 82-42 victory over Green Bay on Tuesday in Phoenix coach Will Ryan’s return to Madison.

Ryan is the son of former Badgers head coach Bo Ryan. Will Ryan and current Badgers coach Greg Gard worked together on Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin staff from 2002-07.

Bo Ryan coached Wisconsin from 2001-15 and posted a 364-130 record, making him the program’s career wins leader. There were no spectators Tuesday due to COVID-19 safety protocols, and Bo Ryan was expected to watch the game from his home in La Quinta, California.

Aleem Ford and Nate Reuvers each scored 13 points for the Badgers (3-0), and Brad Davison added 10 points. Josh Jefferson led Green Bay (0-2) with 12 points.

Wisconsin won its 11th straight, including its final eight games of the 2019-20 season to earn a share of the Big Ten title. The Badgers opened this season by defeating Eastern Illinois and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Green Bay took a 4-2 lead but didn’t score again for over eight minutes. The Phoenix missed 13 straight shots as Wisconsin went on an 11-0 run to pull ahead for good.

Wisconsin’s own struggles on offense kept the game close for a while. The Badgers led 13-8 nearly 13 minutes into the game.

Once the Badgers finally started to heat up, they wasted no time putting the game out of reach.

After making just five of its first 16 field-goal attempts, Wisconsin shot 64.4% (29 of 45) the rest of the way. The Badgers also outrebounded Green Bay 45-25 and outscored the Phoenix 42-22 in the paint.

Wisconsin closed the first half on a 21-4 spurt to take a 34-12 lead into the locker room. That stretch underscored the work Will Ryan has ahead of him in his first season as a Division I head coach.

Green Bay hired Ryan after he went 14-13 in one season as head coach at Division II Wheeling (West Virginia). He previously worked as an assistant coach at Ohio and North Dakota State after serving as a video coordinator and director of basketball operations during his years at Wisconsin.

BIG PICTURE

Green Bay: The Phoenix got blown out by another Big Ten team after opening the season with a 99-69 loss at Minnesota. That one-two punch should at least make Green Bay ready for whatever it might encounter the rest of the season. Green Bay will have to improve its outside shooting after going a combined 6 of 33 from 3-point range over its first two games.

Wisconsin: The Badgers have three straight double-digit victories over overmatched opponents to start the season. They’ll have a much better idea of where they stand over the next week as they visit Marquette and host Louisville in their next two games.

BADGERS’ McGRORY OUT INDEFINITELY

Wisconsin announced before the game that senior Walt McGrory had undergone hip surgery and will be out indefinitely. The reserve guard hadn’t appeared in either of the Badgers’ first two games. He has played in 36 career games, including 14 last season.

UP NEXT

Green Bay hosts Eastern Illinois in its home opener Saturday.

Wisconsin visits Marquette on Friday.



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Claressa Shields signs with PFL as women’s boxing champion makes transition to MMA, per report

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After winning world championships in three weight divisions in just 10 fights as a professional boxer, Claressa Shields has signed on to take her talents to the MMA cage as the two-time Olympic gold medalist signed a contract to compete in the Professional Fighters League, according to a report by MMA Junkie.

Shields won gold medals in 2012 and 2016 before turning professional in November 2016. In just her fourth professional bout, Shields won the WBC and IBF super middleweight titles. She then added the WBA and IBF middleweight titles in her sixth fight. Four fights later, she dropped to light middleweight and won the WBC and WBO world championships.

Her name had been previously tied to both two-division UFC champion Amanda Nunes and former UFC and current Bellator champion Cris Cyborg for dream fights, either in the cage or the boxing ring.

While those promotions didn’t land Shields, there are some appealing fights in PFL. The promotion employs a “season” structure, featuring tournaments across multiple weight classes. In 2019, Kayla Harrison, who won Olympic gold medals in judo at the same two Olympic Games in 2012 and 2016, won the women’s lightweight title.

Similar to Harrison’s path, though, Shields will begin her PFL career by taking one-off fights as opposed to competing in the 2021 season, according to the report. Harrison took the same route in 2018 before claiming the PFL gold in 2019. 

Shields teased the move in February, posting a social media video of her throwing kicks in training and stating she was “serious about transitioning.”



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