Cricket: Warner motivated to win series in India

Australian batting stalwart David Warner has indicated he wants the 2024 T20 World Cup in the United States and the West Indies to be his international swansong, saying winning the title would be an icing on the cake.

“(This will) most likely be my last year of my international career. I’ve got my sights set on the 2024 (T20) World Cup as well, so finishing in the Americas (North America and Caribbean islands), that’d be nice to top it off with a win over there, pending selection,” Warner was quoted as saying by Sky Sports on Thursday.

Warner was adjudged the ‘Player of the Tournament’ for his tally of 289 runs in Australia’s winning campaign in the T20 World Cup in the UAE in 2021. He is currently playing BBL for Sydney Thunders.

“I’ve signed (with the Thunder) for this year and next year, and it’s my time to contribute and give back. I’ve got that time to do that now … (this will) most likely be my last year of my international career,” added Warner.

The T20 World Cup is being jointly hosted by the West Indies and the United States in June next year.

In December last year, Warner had said that he was highly motivated for the four-Test Border-Gavaskar series in India if he is included in the touring party.

“The extra motivation for me is winning in India and completely winning a series in England. I’ve been told by the coach and the selectors they would like me to be there.

“Was there doubt? Of course there was doubt in my mind but for me it was about going out there and knowing that I’ve still got that hunger and determination because every time I rock up to training, I’ve got it,” he had said.

Meanwhile, Steve Smith has said he will keep concentrating on his ODI and Test careers and had not given much thought to his T20 international future. The former Test captain had played just one match during Australia’s home World Cup campaign last year.

“There’s not a great deal of T20 internationals, so for me, Test and one-day cricket are the huge priorities with what’s coming up and then we’ll wait and see,” Smith told reporters on Thursday.

Nepal court releases rape accused cricketer Lamichhane on bail

Nepal’s top court on Thursday released cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane on bail after he was accused of raping a minor in the Himalayan nation, officials said.

On September 8, a court in Nepal issued an arrest warrant for the national cricket team captain Lamichhane after a 17-year-old girl alleged that he raped her in a hotel room in Kathmandu, police had said.

The Patan High Court ordered release of Lamichhane with the bail of Rs 2 million, according to the court sources.

In October, Lamichhane was taken into custody.

A joint bench of judges Dhruvaraj Nanda and Ramesh Dhakal decided to release the former IPL star on bail of Rs 2 million, reversing the decision of the Kathmandu district court.

A minor, had registered a complaint against Lamichhane on September 5 at the police saying that she was raped by the cricket star and Lamichhane was subsequently sent to custody for investigation as per the district court verdict.

In October, Lamichhane wrote on Facebook that he would “fully cooperate in all stages of the investigation and will fight a legal battle to prove my innocence”, before being arrested.

However, Lamichhane has been barred to leave the country until the final verdict of the court in the case.

Lamichhane is Nepal’s most high-profile cricketer, and the first cricketer from Nepal to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL), when he made his debut for the Delhi Capitals franchise in 2018.

A wily leg-spinner, armed with a vicious googly, he was a much sought-after cricketer in other big-ticket T20 leagues around the world, including the Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia, the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and the CPL.

The prodigiously gifted cricketer holds the record for the world’s second-fastest bowler to capture 50 ODI wickets and the third-fastest to race to 50 T20I wickets.

Lamichhane’s last international appearance came in August this year, when he played against Kenya in a T20I encounter.

Former England batsman Ballance makes winning debut for Zimbabwe

Former England batsman Gary Ballance contributed 30 runs on his international debut for Zimbabwe as they beat Ireland by five wickets on Thursday to win the opening Twenty20 international of their three-match series.

Ballance’s runs came off 29 balls as Zimbabwe scored 118-5 as they initially made heavy weather of chasing down Ireland’s modest total of 114 all out but in the end won with two overs to spare at the Harare Sports Club.

The 33-year-old left-handed batter last month signed a two-year contract to play domestic and international cricket in the country of his birth following his release from county cricket side Yorkshire.

Ballance played 23 Tests for England between 2014 and 2017, scoring 1,498 runs, including four centuries, at an average of 37.45. He also appeared in 16 one-day internationals but has been allowed to switch his international allegiance.

The Harare-born player has spent the last year on the sidelines while dealing with mental health issues after he admitted to using racist language against former Yorkshire team mate Azeem Rafiq.

Yorkshire, who released Ballance two years early from his contract as per the player’s wishes, have made sweeping changes following Rafiq’s explosive allegations of institutional racism at the club. Ballance has apologised to Rafiq in person.

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