ECB allow Holmes return to second XI cricket

The England and Wales Cricket Board have further relaxed their bowling ban on Warwickshire’s Maurice Holmes to allow the off-spinner to play in county Second XI cricket.

Holmes, who has a similar action to Muttiah Muralitharan, was suspended from all county cricket by the ECB last month after he was twice reported by umpires in the first half of the season and his action failed to pass muster with an independent review panel.

The ban was subsequently extended to include Birmingham & District Premier League cricket, though Holmes was allowed to resume playing for Barnt Green two weeks ago.

The Loughborough University student has now been permitted to resume bowling in second team cricket and he played for Warwickshire against Lancashire last week when he took two wickets for 51 in a one-day match on his comeback.

But Holmes will not be allowed to play in first team cricket until he has been re-tested and his action has been approved by the ECB. At the moment there is no date fixed for Holmes to be re-tested.

Meanwhile Warwickshire have been confirmed as champions of the north group of the Second XI Championship for the second consecutive season. They will meet the yet to be determined winners of the south group at a venue to be decided on September 6.

Three members of the side that helped Warwickshire reach the final will be on duty with England in the third Test against India at Edgbaston this week.

Batsman Laurie Evans, who has played in Warwickshire’s last two County Championship matches, and all-rounder Steffan Piolet will be joined by academy batsman Ben Williams, next year’s Oxford MCCU captain, as substitute fielders and drinks carriers.

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