May 242017
England take on South Africa in Champions Trophy buildup

AB de Villiers and Eoin Morgan pose with the trophy. Photo: ICC LONDON: Eoin Morgan is hoping the return of three key players from the Indian Premier League will help England defeat top-ranked South Africa in their upcoming one-day international series.A three-match contest between the sides starts with a day/nighter at Headingley on Wednesday, with the series given added spice by the fact it acts as a warm-up for next week´s Champions Trophy tournament in England and Wales.That competition will see England trying to end their 42-year wait for a maiden major International Cricket Council ODI trophy, with the 2010 World Twenty their lone global short-format title.All-rounders Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes, together with wicket-keeper Jos Buttler, were all given permission to miss England´s opening two ODIs this season against Morgan´s native Ireland and instead extend their IPL stints.Stokes and Buttler, who played for Rising Pune Supergiant and Mumbai Indians respectively, might have been in opposition in Sunday´s final had they not been recalled to an England training camp in Spain.Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen told Sky Sports the decision was “an absolute shambles”.“What are they going to Spain for? To field a couple of balls? They should be playing in the IPL,” he said.Stokes — paid a record $2.16 million to play the eight-week IPL season — was instrumental in Pune reaching the knockout phase after a brilliant debut campaign in the lucrative Twenty20 competition.The 25-year-old left-handed batsman and right-handed pace bowler scored 316 runs in 12 matches, with a [Read More…]

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