Gale calls for T20 revamp before England’s version gets left behind

FRESH OUTLOOK: Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale.FRESH OUTLOOK: Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale.
FRESH OUTLOOK: Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale.
YORKSHIRE captain Andrew Gale would not be averse to seeing counties replaced by cities in the Twenty 20 competition.

He has called for a reform of the domestic competition to prevent English cricket being “left behind”.

The 18 first-class counties contest the NatWest T20 Blast – albeit with 2014 champions Warwickshire rebranded as Birmingham Bears – with group games played mostly on Friday evenings from mid-May to late July and this year’s finals day taking place on August 29.

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Gale, however, favours a shorter, smaller competition between city-based franchises, along the lines of the Indian Premier League or Australia’s Big Bash League.

He wrote on Twitter: “How good is the big bash? We have to do something with our comp otherwise we’ll get left behind. Gotta inspire the kids.

“Franchise system would work in England – 10 cities, over a three-week period, straight after IPL (Indian Premier League). World’s best players, bigger crowds.”

That would effectively mean his Yorkshire team in their current form ceasing to compete in Twenty20 cricket, an unpalatable move to many.

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Gale also had one more left-field suggestion up his sleeve when he tweeted: “Be good if two Big Bash teams played in our competition and two English teams played in their competition.”

Australia have ruled paceman Mitchell Johnson out of their plans for the fourth Test against India.

Johnson is struggling with a hamstring problem and is effectively being rested by Australia, who carry a 2-0 winning lead into the final match of the series.

With one-day matches against England and India to come, followed by the World Cup, Australia are determined to protect the 33-year-old Johnson to ensure he is available for the key matches that lie ahead.

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Australia head coach Darren Lehmann said: “Mitchell is an important part of our plans for the remainder of our summer and we want him 100 per cent right so won’t be taking any risks with him.

“We believe it is best for Mitchell to take this opportunity to freshen up and get his body fully fit ahead of the Tri Series.”

The fourth Test takes place in Sydney from 11.30pm GMT tonight.

Australia physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said: “Mitchell had some right hamstring soreness during the Boxing Day Test and we have been closely monitoring his recovery since that match but feel he has not fully recovered.

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“As such, he will not play in the upcoming Sydney Test match. We expect him to recover in time to play a part in the upcoming Tri Series.”

A double century from Kumar Sangakkara helped Sri Lanka finish day two of the second Test against New Zealand in the ascendancy.

Fresh from becoming just the fifth batsman – and first Sri Lankan – to pass 12,000 Test runs on Saturday’s opening day, Sangakkara made the Black Caps bowlers toil in yesterday’s action at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.

The stylish No 3 scored his 11th Test double century to help the tourists to a first-innings total of 356 all out to lead by 135 runs – an impressive feat considering they started the day in the perilous position of 78-5.

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New Zealand reached the close on 22 without loss in response to trail the tourists by 113 runs.

The Black Caps bowlers sought to snare the five remaining wickets when play resumed but Sangakkara and Dinesh Chandimal had other ideas as they chased New Zealand’s first-innings 221.

Seamers Trent Boult, Tim Southee and then Doug Bracewell had little joy as Sangakkara and Chandimal played flawlessly to steer Sri Lanka to 159 at lunch, with Sangakkara registering his half-century in the process.

New Zealand had only an opportunistic lbw shout from off-spinner Mark Craig to show for their efforts and it did not get any better after the interval as Chandimal reached his 50.

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Chandimal then passed 1,000 Test runs before his and Sangakkara’s sixth-wicket partnership ended on 130 when Jimmy Neesham tempted him to drive at a full, swinging delivery and he succeeded only in edging behind.

Sangakkara cut Craig to bring up his 38th Test century moments later and useful stands with Dhammika Prasad, Rangana Herath and Suranga Lakmal saw Sri Lanka pass the New Zealand total and then build a decent lead.

Sangakkara blazed a cover drive off Neesham after tea to bring up his 11th Test double century – he needs one more to equal Sir Donald Bradman’s world record of 12 – before falling on 203 to a stunning catch by Boult catch at backward point.

Lakmal danced down the wicket to slog the next delivery, from Craig, but got it horribly wrong and was stumped by BJ Watling, who ended with five victims.

New Zealand openers Tom Latham and Hamish Rutherford saw out the remaining 11 overs without incident.