Gloucestershire cut ties with Bracewell

Gloucestershire have announced the departure of director of cricket John Bracewell as part of a cricket operations restructure at the club.

The 56-year-old has reached a mutual agreement to leave the county, who are hoping to appoint his successor before his exit on January 31.

The former New Zealand international had a huge amount of success during his first spell in charge at the Bristol County Ground, between 1999 and 2003.

Pietersen and Wright star but Adelaide strike

Kevin Pietersen hit 66 and Luke Wright 45 for Melbourne Stars but it was in vain as Tim Ludeman’s 44-ball 92 not out led Adelaide Strikers to an emphatic win in the first game of this winter’s Big Bash League.

Pietersen, making his Big Bash bow, and Wright, among eight England players past and present set to play in this tournament, shared 57 for the second wicket but they were the only two of their team to make double-figures at the Adelaide Oval.

Cross working hard this winter

England Women international Kate Cross talks through her training regime this winter…

We have had a relatively quiet winter. We have got only one tour and that is to New Zealand in February. It has been really nice to have some time to train and not have the pressure of preparing for a tour.

Last winter it was just tour after tour after tour and it was keeping yourself in the mind frame of competition. This winter we have been able to step back from that and really work on our skills and develop.

Billings loving life on EPP

By Will Jackson

Sam Billings, who is in contention to play for England at the World Cup, has hailed an “invaluable experience” after spending the last three weeks with the England Performance Programme in Sri Lanka.

Billings, who was called up to England’s provisional 30-man World Cup squad on Friday after Craig Kieswetter was ruled out through injury, was part of the group selected on the EPP ahead of a Lions tour in the new year.

Cook admits to being outplayed

England skipper Alastair Cook admitted his side were outplayed as Sri Lanka took an unassailable 4-2 lead in the one-day international series.

Cook’s side fell to a 90-run defeat after Kumar Sangakkara starred on his final appearance at his home ground in Kandy, making a match-winning 112 as Sri Lanka piled on 292 for seven.

Despite a fighting knock of 55 from Joe Root, England suffered regular setbacks in the chase and were eventually bowled out for 202 in the 42nd over, with Suranga Lakmal taking 4-30 for the hosts.