Thatscricket - News - Irani makes out case for England recall with fine show
Published: Friday, June 7, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Family, friends give dead Cronje a tearful farewell
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London: Essex captain Ronnie Irani advanced his case for a recall to England's One-day side with an impressive all-round performance on Thursday that left his side on the brink of the Benson and Hedges Cup final. His 56 from 57 balls took Essex to 262 for nine against Worcestershire at Chelmsford.[an error occurred while processing this directive]He then gave the home supporters even more to cheer about by taking three for 19 with his medium pacers as Worcestershire collapsed to 26 for four before bad light stopped play.It was a different story for South Africa fast bowler Allan Donald, a familiar figure in English cricket from his time as Warwickshire's overseas player.Donald, drafted in by Midlands rivals Worcestershire as temporary cover while Australia all-rounder Andrew Bichel is away on international duty, only arrived back in England in the early hours of Thursday morning after attending the funeral of former South Africa captain Hansie Cronje.Although a rain-delayed start gave the 35-year-old paceman some extra rest time it also helped soften up the pitch, making it more suitable for medium-pace swing bowling rather than Donald's sheer pace.Donald, who persuaded his teammates to wear black armbands in memory of Cronje, had an expensive return of nought for 54 from his permitted 10 overs.But nothing could detract from the quality of Irani's display. With England captain Nasser Hussain in the Essex side, the 30-year-old Irani struck three huge sixes over mid-wicket as well as five fours.Together with Zimbabwe stalwart Andy Flower he put on 64 for the fourth wicket as Essex eyed a total near the 300-mark before the wicket-keeper was run out backing up for 45.Irani, who played the last of his 10 One-day Internationals back in 1996-97, saw his innings ended by another former England player when Steve Rhodes completed a leg-side stumping off seamer Alamgir Sheriyar.But any disappointment Irani may have felt was quickly put behind him, with two wickets in two balls.First Anurag Singh was lbw before Irani claimed the prize wicket of Worcestershire danger man Graeme Hick, the visitors' captain steering an unconvincing shot to backward point.Ashley Cowan then had opener Vikram Solanki lbw for 14 and 15 for three became 15 for four when Irani had Ben Smith leg before for one.In Friday's other semi-final, at Old Trafford, Lancashire face Warwickshire.South Africa captain Shaun Pollock, Warwickshire's overseas player, is also expected to ask his teammates to wear black armbands as a mark of respect for Cronje, killed last Saturday in an aeroplane crash.
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