MELBOURNE: Cameron Bancroft, Matthew Wade, and Mitchell Marsh have earned a recall to Australia’s 17-man touring party for the Ashes series against England, while uncapped Queenslander Michael Neser is a surprise selection in the pace attack.Opener Bancroft earned a spot in the squad with an unbeaten match-winning knock of 93 on day three of the intra-squad clash in Southampton on Thursday.The 26-year-old’s return means all three players – along with Steve Smith and David Warner – who were banned after the South Africa ball-tampering scandal feature in the squad and could all lineup for the first Test at Edgbaston starting on Aug. 1.”David Warner, Steve Smith, and Cameron Bancroft have forced their way back into the Test squad through the excellence of their recent performances,” Trevor Hohns, the chairman of selectors, said in a statement.”David and Steve also have the advantage of being proven players at test level while Cameron has produced impressive numbers for county side Durham this season and his innings in the intra-squad match in Southampton on a tough pitch was outstanding and showed his quality.”Wade, who last played a Test in September 2017, edged out Alex Carey as the squad’s reserve wicketkeeper-batsman behind captain Tim Paine, while all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne will serve as a second spinning option alongside Nathan Lyon.”We have faith in his ability, we know our strength lies in our pace attack and we have Marnus Labuschagne’s leg-spin as another spin option as he has bowled almost 200 overs for county side Glamorgan in first-class cricket this season,” Hohns added.”Wade fully deserves his recall as he has made an irresistible case for inclusion through sheer weight of runs with 1021 first-class runs at home last summer followed by three hundred on Australia A tour.”Neser, the right-arm seam bowling all-rounder, is one of the seven fast-bowling options in the squad, led by world number one test bowler Pat Cummins, alongside Mitch Starc, Josh Hazlewood, James Pattinson, and Peter Siddle as well as Marsh.Hazlewood returns for the first time since suffering a stress fracture of his back in January, which kept him out of contention for the World Cup squad.The squad will travel to Birmingham on Saturday and practice at Edgbaston ahead of the first Test.Squad: Tim Paine (captain), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner. IANSAlso Read: Aaron Finch Rubbishes Adam Zampa Ball-Tampering Claims
Chelsea interim manager, Guus Hiddink, has urged Ghana international Baba Rahman to toughen up and dominate defensively in order to make him a leading star in the Premier League.The defender has been the subject of much criticism after Chelsea’s lackluster display against Manchester City which saw the Blues hammered by 3 goals.Rahman was singled out for playing poorly which Chelsea fans taking to twitter to criticize him.However, the Dutchman has jumped to the defence of Baba Rahman stating he will be a leading star in the Premier League should he toughen.“When you come in you have your impressions of players, and from Baba I had the impression after a few days that he was too quiet but very skillful in both legs.””He has his left foot from nature but he can handle very well his right foot, which is unusual for left-footed players. “This week I played him in some [training] games in the right-back position, because I was curious to see if he could do it. He did it without any problems. He’s a skillful player but to survive also in the Premier League, he must make it difficult for a manager to take him out of the team.“He has the skill but he must also be able to be dominant defensively. He’s working on that. He’s a very nice person and I said to him: ‘Be a nice person outside the pitch but be less nice on it.’“With experience I hope he can make the next step, because he has the skill. He has to get the attitude of: ‘This is my area and whoever comes in, I kill them.”Baba Rahman was signed in the summer of 2015 for a fee believed to be in the region of £ 21million. – Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySports
Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins is trying hard to sell fans on the idea that Vladimir Guerrero isn’t one of the club’s 25 best players right now.Atkins on Tuesday cited Guerrero’s age — and attempted a string of other explanations — to tamp down expectations that Guerrero will come north with the big club next month. “Our vision is it really comes down to development, so I just don’t see him as a major league player, right? You just pencil him in, it’s done,” Atkins told MLB Network Radio. “He’s 19.”🌴 @MLBNetworkRadio at #BlueJays camp 🌴GM Ross Atkins: Vlad Guerrero Jr. is not a Major League player right now…… not yet. pic.twitter.com/ydqZdvXFro— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) February 26, 2019Guerrero will turn 20 on March 16.FACES OF 2019: Guerrero should be among best from moment he debutsAtkins could argue that Guerrero did not play a full season in the minors last year because of an injury and thus needs a few more at-bats before being promoted. He compiled just 408 plate appearances between four levels in 2018. Then again, he did a lot of damage with those PAs (20 home runs, 50 extra-base hits, 1.073 combined OPS). He also played in the high-level Arizona Fall League and took part in its All-Star Game.That leaves defense, baserunning and a hazy “physical aspect” that Atkins referenced multiple times as the main areas of development. Guerrero is listed at 6-1 and 200 pounds and has a thick lower body. That lower body also produces a powerful swing, and it doesn’t seem to be affecting his running speed. ✔️ First Hit✔️ First Run✔️ First RBIVlad Jr. brought the hustle and flow in his #SpringTraining debut! pic.twitter.com/lhi1clqr5m— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) February 25, 2019What’s left, then? Well, there is that whole service time thing, something Atkins avoided in his answer. Toronto can wait until about mid-April to promote Guerrero and thus delay his free-agent eligibility until after the 2025 season. MLB players loathe the tactic, but teams are within their rights under the collective bargaining agreement to use it.If Guerrero does begin the season with Triple-A Buffalo, he’ll get to briefly address that “physical aspect” in addition to his defense and baserunning.Brandon Drury figures to be the Jays’ Opening Day third baseman if it isn’t Guerrero, but Drury also figures to be on the clock as Vlad Jr. Watch continues. Atkins is trying to prolong that watch as much as possible.