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Can England Solve The ‘Ashes Puzzle’ Without Key Players Like Ben Stokes?

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Starc’s twin hat-trick in the Sheffield Shield will do little to help the cause of the English side, which has already been plagued with injuries. Although England completed a comfortable win in the practice match against Cricket Australia XI, all is certainly not well on the English side.

Pacer Jake Ball is the latest entry into the list of injured English players. The Nottinghamshire bowler was bowling in the practice match against Cricket Australia XI when he sprained his ankle in the midst of his stride. The extent of the injury is not known yet.

“He’s been bowling nicely on this trip so far, so when you see a fellow fast bowler go off the field – particularly the way he did it, falling under himself – it’s quite frustrating for him and us as a team.” said Chris Woakes after Ball was spotted leaving the ground on crutches.

Just two weeks before the first Ashes Test match, Ball’s injury comes at a time which may prove to be a huge setback for England. Ben Stokes, Steven Finn, Toby Roland and Mark Wood are already set to miss out due to injuries.

Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes and Alex Hales were slapped a ban after videos surfaced of their late-night brawl in Bristol. Stokes can be clearly seen punching a man in the CCTV footage. The man was severely injured and fell on the ground after Stokes’ punch.

Even Mitchell Starc conceded that Stokes would have had an impact on the upcoming series. He said, “Everyone in world cricket knows how good a cricketer Ben is. He is England’s best all-rounder. It is yet to be seen whether he will be on the plane – if he does come we know how good a player he is and he makes that team more balanced. If he is not there, it is a blow for them and good for us.”

Stokes’ exploits with the bat and the ball have been crucial to England’s victories in the recent past. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Stokes’ all-round abilities would have been of the utmost use to England, but a moment of fury cost him his place in the side. James Anderson has been announced the vice-captain for the Ashes tour in his place.

Steven Finn

Steven Finn, who had been announced as the replacement for Stokes, met the same fate. He tore the cartilage in his left knee. The 28-year-old, who was injured in a practice session, has returned to the UK.

Surrey all-rounder Tom Curran, who is yet to make his Test debut, has been named as his replacement. Tom has featured in only one ODI and three T20s for England.

Toby Roland-Jones

The brother of OGK Roland-Jones, Toby made his test debut at the Oval against South Africa. He was all set to seal his spot in England’s team. Unfortunately, the right-arm medium pacer suffered a stress fracture in his back during Middlesex’s championship win over Lancashire.

Though the injury is not very serious, it will keep the Durham fast bowler out of the field for at least six weeks. He will certainly not be fully fit until the middle of the series, and the English team management cannot afford to take a half-fit player on the tour.

Mark Wood

Mark Wood burst on to the scene bagging three wickets in the first innings of a match against New Zealand at Lord’s. He is not your ‘Anderson-like’ swing bowler but possesses great work ethics. Wood’s persistent heel problem has flared up again and has denied him a debut Ashes appearance.

Not all is lost!

However, all is not lost for the English side. The 192-run victory over Cricket Australia XI came as a confidence booster for them. The victory may strike a chord with the English team which has otherwise been caught up in a spiral of injuries.

Mark Stoneman has been a ray of hope for the English side, with half-centuries in each of the two innings in the practice match against Cricket Australia XI. Chris Woakes and James Anderson have also been swinging the ball well. Moeen Ali is also gradually recovering from his injury.

If England succeeds in getting its act together and is able to gain the much-required momentum, a cracker of a series will be on display for cricket lovers all over the world.

A version of this post was first published here.

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Featured image source: Dan Mullan/Getty Images
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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