Broad leads the way for England

Posted: Saturday, December 31, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , ,
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Back in September, it was England player Jonathan Trott who picked up the coveted International Cricket Council Player of the Year Award fro 2011. And it would be hard to argue with that.

But with cricket in 2011 almost done, it is time to move away from casino war to look back and assess who has been England’s shining star of the year.

It would be easy to point to Trott, following his performances against India and Sri Lanka in the summer, but there are plenty of other fine individuals who would almost certainly be in the running.

Ian Bell enjoyed a fantastic year. Ahead of last summer, much criticism was levelled at Bell, and many questioned his right to be in the team. It seems, however, he took that criticism and found a positive out of it.

Though he did not make many huge scores throughout the summer, he always did a solid job when called upon, with a couple of very big scores thrown in.

His most spectacular moment came at the Oval, though, when with England somewhat on the ropes, he produced the innings of a life time, hitting a stunning double century against India, finishing eventually on 235. His half-century at Lords was another key moment.

You could hardly ignore Andrew Strauss either. Despite not making any truly big scores in an England shirt over the summer, it was his inspirational captaincy that guided the side to two series victories, and of course, the world number one ranking.

For me though, there was no one more deserving of the award for England’s best player in 2011 than Stuart Broad
.
 
The Nottinghamshire bowler was a constant thorn in the side of India as England recorded a memorable series whitewash over them. Whether it was with the bat or the ball, he consistently seemed to be the go to man.

It was in his hometown, playing at Trent Bridge that his most memorable occasion came along.

Batting first, England had the perfect opportunity to lay down a marker and set India a big chase. It certainly did not seem to be going that way early on, however. The bowling duo of Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth had England struggling at 117-7 at one point.

Any chance of getting 150 looked unlikely, let alone 200.

But then Broad came to the crease. Primarily a bowler, few expected him to have much of an impact at this stage of the game. Nevertheless, he began to play his shots, and by the time he was dismissed for a hearty 64, England had reached the rather more respectable score of 221.

India always likely to close that score down with ease, but thanks to Broad’s batting, they were unlikely to build an unassailable lead.

Back to the day job, bowling, Broad again took things into his own hands. With India already well past England’s total, and seemingly in cruise control, he bowled a magnificent over, which included a superb hat trick. Within the blink of an eye, India had gone from 273-6 to 288 all out.

A magnificent 159 from Ian Bell helped England build a big lead in the second innings, with Broad making a welcome contribution again, of 44.

India were eventually bowled out in their second innings for just 158, as Broad took a further two wickets.


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This is a guest post. Hence, it has not been written by blog author jimmymycrushie (Sanya).

Strauss queries “strange” test venue

Posted: Thursday, December 8, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , ,
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England captain Andrew Strauss has admitted he is slightly concerned about playing their upcoming test series against Pakistan in the UAE, saying that playing at the neutral venue will be “slightly strange”.
 
Those assessing cricket world cup betting note how no touring side has played cricket in Pakistan ever since a ban was imposed following an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009, with the United Arab Emirates as the preferred venue for Pakistan’s home series.
 
Strauss believes it would be preferable to play the test series in front of the Pakistani fans, but says he understands the decision to play it overseas.
 
“It’s slight strange playing in Dubai, we haven’t been there before, Pakistan have been playing there recently so I suppose they will still have some advantage in the sense they will know the conditions better than us.” Strauss told BBC Sport.

 
“It’s not ideal playing in a neutral venue but that’s where we’re at at the moment and it should be a good series.”
 
Pakistan continue to progress in the wake of  the spot fixing scandal that has marred cricket in the country, and won a three match home series against Sri Lanka last month, also in the United Arab Emirates, leading Strauss to believe that Pakistani test cricket is currently undergoing something of a resurgence.
 
“Pakistan look as though they are in good form, they played well against Sri Lanka and should be a big test for us.” The England skipper commented.
 
Anyone checking out betting offers will tell you how England have been putting their feet up since returning from their ODI series loss against India in October, with Strauss admitting that he had “enjoyed” a couple weeks of rest ahead of a busy winter schedule.
 
Vice-captain Alastair Cook meanwhile has been busy during the break, and collected an MBE from the Queen for services to cricket thanks to his record breaking exploits that helped England win the Ashes in Australia for the first time in 24 years.
 
Speaking after receiving the honour, the opening batsman said: “It’s been a fantastic couple of years for the England cricket team and for me to be here and get the MBE is an honour - I feel very humble to be given it.”

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This is a guest post. It has not been written by blog author jimmymycrushie (Sanya).

Anderson targets Botham’s record

Posted: Thursday, December 1, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , ,
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England seamer James Anderson has spoken about his desire to become England’s leading wicket taker of all time in test matches.

The 29-year-old is the leader of England’s impressive attach right now and in the form of his life to help Andrew Strauss’ men to the top of the world rankings. The Lancashire man has 240 test victims to his name, 140 behind England’s most successful test bowler Botham and he admits that he will have to be on top of his game for the next five years to stand a chance.

Speaking about his future, Anderson said: “I’m excited about the success of our bowling attack, but first and foremost, it keeps you on your toes trying to keep your place in the side. Part of you doesn’t want to get rested for that reason because you know somebody is going to come and step up to the plate. If I’m going to pass Ian Botham’s record then I’ll have to bowl as well as I ever have for the next five years, which is a tough ask. If my body puts up with it then I might have a chance. It’s more a dream than an actual goal. I’m just happy at the minute contributing to a successful team.

Anderson then spoke about how pleased he was to be spending Christmas at home this year – for the first time in two years – although he is raring to go again in 2012. He continued: “I’m going to try and give my first Christmas dinner a go. I can cook a roast potato so I reckon I can cook a turkey. Everything comes with instructions so I think it will be fine. I’m looking forward to seeing my kids’ faces when they open their presents on Christmas morning.

Anderson is pivotal to England’s hopes of staying at the top of the world rankings of course. They face tough challenges in the next twelve months – including test series against Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and South Africa – and Anderson is a very important figure. Not only is he the go to bowler for Strauss and England’s biggest threat with the new ball, but he is now an experienced member of the time and an important figure for the likes of Steven Finn and Jade Dernbach. Hopefully Anderson – who missed the recent ODI series in India – will be able to rest up over the next month or so before flying out to Abu Dhabi in January to take on Pakistan.

Other posts:
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Does India hold an edge in the shorter format?
England demolish World No.1 India by 319 runs
England embarks on home glory

This post has not been written by blog author jimmymycrushie (Sanya). It's a guest post.

Strauss ready to go again in 2012

Posted: Saturday, November 26, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , ,
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England captain Andrew Strauss has spoken positively about the tough challenges ahead for his team in 2012.
Strauss hasn’t played international cricket since the 4-0 victory over India in the summer and he will next lead out England’s test team in January in a test series against Pakistan.
This is swiftly followed by a test series against Sri Lanka in March, before the English summer sees England take on West Indies and South Africa.
2012 is the first year that England will begin as the No.1 test team in the world of course and Strauss is ready for the task ahead of his team in the next 12 months.
The England skipper said: “The next 12 months will be the biggest test we've had yet, it's a different mindset being the hunted rather than the hunters. We'll have to retain that desperate desire to improve if we want to stay on top.”

"It's an exciting time for us. I'm certainly very excited about it, but we don't underestimate the size of the challenge. There are a lot of teams below us who want to knock us off our perch.”
Strauss then spoke of how keen he was to look forward rather than back when England take on Pakistan in January, the first time the two sides have met since the spot-fixing scandal.
He continued: “It will be a keenly contested series as they always are and the focus will be on the cricket. It is an opportunity to move on and that's the right way to go.”
Strauss finished by talking about the West Indies, a team he thinks are on the up and will offer a tough challenge for England in the first part of the England summer and South Africa, who are contenders to take England’s No.1 ranking in the future.
“We've seen a resurgence in West Indies cricket in recent times, so that will be a challenge for us. Hopefully early-season conditions will suit us more than them.”
“And we all know about the qualities of South Africa, they've just finished an outstanding series against Australia.”
"They have a very good bowling attack and their record here is very good.”
It will certainly be good to see test cricket return in January. It seems like ages since the India series and with the Ashes underway this time last year, the sport seems a bit empty without an England series at the moment.
As for Strauss, he has had plenty of time off to play texas hold-em and is now raring to go again. Bring it on!

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A true legend within cricket: Shane Warne

Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , ,
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This is a guest post. Hence it is not written by blog author jimmymycrushie.

There have been a lot of great cricket players throughout the years, but one that really sticks out would be Shane Warne. He’s known as a great cricket player, but equally famous for his activities off the pitch.

Today Shane isn’t playing cricket anymore, but playing poker for a poker site called 888. He’s become the team captain for their live poker team they have. The team participated in the WSOP, one of the biggest poker tournaments in the world and Shane participated.

But when Shane played he was known as one of the best bowlers of all time with over 1000 wickets behind him. Warne was born in Australia in 1969 and started playing first-class cricket back in 1991. His premier though was back in 83/84 for his university (University of Melbourne Cricket Club). He has played both in Australia for Victoria as well as for England in Hampshire. Shane retired from first-class international cricket in 2007, but made a small comeback to play in the Indian team Rajasthan Royals in March 2008. With a win in the Indian Premier League, a lot of fans wanted Shane back in international cricket.

Banned from cricket
Back in 2003, Shane was banned from play due to a positive drug test. The test showed that there was a sign of a banned diuretic in the system and Shane was reviewed by the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) and they imposed a one year ban. During the ban Shane could play in charity matches, a rule that was highly criticized by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Warne returned to international cricket in February 2004. As soon as March the same year, Shane became the second cricketer of the West Indies to take 500 test wickets.

From a personal view
Shane was married to Simone Callahan and they had three children together. In 2010 Shane announced on Twitter that he and Simone are going through a divorce.  Lately there have been photos and articles about Shane and Liz Hurley are an item.

There’s a lot to the Shane Warne story and we all look forward to see the next adventure of his amazing life.

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England flying high

Posted: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , ,
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England continue to dominate a depleted India squad. A 4-0 whitewash in the Tests, victory in the one-off Twenty20 and now the hosts lead 2-0 in the one-day series, with one to play.

It doesn’t get much better than that. The fact England are using the limited-overs matches to blood emerging youngsters into the side, says a lot about the current regime and how they want to build a strong squad capable of world domination in all formats.

They are at the top in the longest format of the game but in the shorter aspects of cricket, England need to be a lot more consistent. Resting Kevin Pietersen, who has been rumoured to be considering retiring from one-day cricket, for a crucial series that can see England continue their rise up the rankings in the one-day arena, is testament to the players coming through the ranks.

That together with Eoin Morgan’s injury leaves a huge hole in England’s middle order. However, someone’s loss is another player’s gain. Step forward Ravi Bopara and Ben Stokes. The pair now have three more one-day matches to stamp their authority on the team.

Although Stokes is yet to bat, the experience he is attaining is vital and a reward for all his hard work on the county circuit with Durham. A fine start to the season saw him catch the eye of Andy Flower, with only a nasty finger injury stopping him entering the England setup earlier than now.

Those looking at free bets  note how rain and England’s convincing victory in the first two Tests has seen the all-rounder’s progress halted but Stokes is seen as England’s next finisher. He could be the new Flintoff, the guy who comes in, clears the ropes and wins games of cricket for England. Even if his chances in this series are limited, he is sure to be used again in the future.

As for Bopara, many people have questioned his continued selection. The fact he has been given the chance to perform in the past and failed has seen him receive some criticism. Now the Essex batsman has the opportunity to come out from Morgan and Pietersen’s shadow and show the English faithful he has what it takes to be a success in international one-day cricket.

Bopara clearly has talent but he has to step up and perform sooner or later or he will end up on the scrapheap like previous players such as Owais Shah, who has slipped out of the pecking order. Bopara is clearly under pressure from Leicestershire’s James Taylor, who is inches away from another call up. Taylor, who was included in Flower’s youthful looking squad for the ODI with Ireland, has to be in the England management’s thoughts following his form for the England Lions, where he scored a 90 and two centuries in recent weeks.

The fact he was named Lions captain suggests England have faith in the 21-year-old and he has been unlucky to miss out on a call up for this series. There still maybe time if Flower decides to add another player to fill the void left by Irishman Morgan, who is to undergo surgery. Although the loss of Pietersen and Morgan weakens England’s team, younger players have the opportunity to take their chance and capitalise to prove there is plenty to look forward to in the future.

Placing a free bet on England to win the 2015 World Cup, might be a decent idea!

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India's disastrous tour continues

Posted: Thursday, September 8, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , ,
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England vs India, 2nd ODI played at the Rose Bowl, Southampton on 6 September, Tuesday
England made two changes, Ravi Bopara and Samit Patel came in for Jonathan Trott and Eoin Morgan (injured). Jonathan Trott was dropped because the game was reduced to 23 overs per side as rain delayed the start. The game began at 7 pm local time. It was pretty much a Twenty20 and England's side was well suited to it. England had 5 bowlers (Broad, Anderson, Dernbach, Swann and Bresnan) and 2 all-rounders (Bopara, Patel). None of the batsmen were reliable. The captain, Alastair Cook, doesn't even have a place in England's Twenty20 side. But Cook has always had the potential to be a good one-day and Twenty20 player.

Tuesday was no different to how this tour has been. India have been exposed. Such disastrous tours are rare for any team, and especially for a side like India. If not Tests, we expected more from India in the shorter formats at least. Indian fans are reading too much into the 1st one-day but a win can never be guaranteed. If the 2nd one-day would also be washed out after the Indian innings, I'm sure Indian fans would say the same. 187 is considered a pretty good score in Twenty20s but England had no trouble chasing it. Alastair Cook, who has been the run machine for a year, carried his form into the shorter format by finishing on 80*. Kieswetter provided a perfect start. One disappointment was Ian Bell's innings. His 25 off 16 were no doubt useful and elegant, his dismissal was a replay of most of his innings. How often have we seen Ian Bell getting caught at cover before 50? It's a classic Bell dismissal following the most stylish batting.

Nasser Hussain fancies Alastair Cook as captain in all three format and I am not completely against the idea. England seems to be doing well at the moment but the three captain theory is certainly a controversial one. Strauss has already retired from one-day and Twenty20s so the day when he quits Tests may not be far. Though given how good of a batsman he is, hopefully he continues for some time. It might seem like captaining all three sides will put too much pressure on young Cook's shoulder but let's not forget, whenever he has been handed responsibility, he has delivered. When his Test place was under threat, he scored more runs than anyone else in the Ashes. He has responded well to captaincy too. Stuart Broad is yet to convince us about his captaincy. If a team has the same captain in all formats, the captain has a bigger platform to practice his captaincy. Not all can handle this, but if someone can, he can learn more about captaincy and sooner than only a one-format captain would.

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Does India hold an edge in the shorter format?

Posted: Saturday, August 27, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , ,
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By William Taylor
England have every right to boast about being the best test cricketing side in the world right now, after their emphatic 4-0 series win over India this summer. However, in the shorter form of the game they are still a long way short.

The test series will live on in the memory of cricket fans for a long, long time, with many calling it a bigger achievement than the series win in Australia over the winter. But one-day cricket is a whole different game. The endurance factor that makes a test match so tense and intriguing will be put aside and be replaced by the thrill a minute excitement which comes with limited overs cricket.

Both England and India will be going all out to win the series – England to cap what has been a magnificent summer, and India to regain some pride before returning to see the reaction of their compatriots. Ok, England did win the Twenty20 World Cup last year, but very few experts will be backing England in the ODI series. Instead they will probably be backing India, who won 2011 World Cup.

It may be a surprise to know that England are just about favourites for the series – with many bookies expecting them to take advantage of India’s poor form and low confidence.

But taking on the world champions at their own game is a daunting prospect in any sport, and there have been few sides as thrilling and explosive as India on the one-day stage in recent years. On their day they can tear anyone apart – no matter how good they are. With Sachin Tendulkar at the forefront, as well as the likes of Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni, it is clear they have one of the most formidable looking sides in the shortened form of the game. Amit Mishra showed in the test series that he can score quickly lower down the order – as did Praveen Kumar. Both will be hoping that they can repeat that, as well as improving their bowling performances.

But first up is the T20 series, which despite the fact that England rightfully are the World Cup holders, many fans may choose to back India. Not only does the fact they are considered outsiders mean any potential winnings are far greater than they would be if they were to back England, but the fact that India are such a good one day side has been somewhat brushed under the carpet. It will be an exciting series – one totally different from the Test series, and it will be great to see how it all eventually unfolds.

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England demolish World No.1 India by 319 runs

Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , , ,
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India tour of England
The much awaited encounter between England and India has brought excitement but so far, the two Tests haven't been hard fought. England couldn't have asked for a better showdown. The clash between these two teams was exaggerated because this will decide whether India will stay on top of ICC Test rankings or if England will overtake them. But, what we have seen at Lord's and Trent Bridge so far has been far from an epic battle of best teams.

India's casual attitude
At Lord's, while England declared in both of their innings (474/8 and 269/6), India were bundled out for 286 in the 1st innings and 261 in the 2nd innings. India have failed to reach 300 in these two Tests. But you don't even need figures to tell you. India's body language has been as if they are thinking, "We just had to come here because we had to. Let's just survive this and hopefully the one-dayers will be here before we know it. We'll get through this. Hopefully the critical Indian fans will be as laid-back as us. Hopefully they'll enjoy their life for once and let us enjoy ours. Our performance shouldn't be taken too seriously, we don't even know how we are the No.1 side when we don't even want to play Tests, we had to lose this spot anyway"

The centre of attention - Kevin Pietersen
However, England's faults cannot be overlooked. Declaring at 474 as soon as Kevin Pietersen reached 200 was an early declaration. Pietersen was in full flow and England would have benefited from his swashbuckling style of batting. England had to come out and bat again, 474 were certainly not going to be enough at Lord's. The difference between scoring the runs in the 2nd innings and the 1st innings is that as KP was at his best, he would have scored the runs in no time. From a spectator point of view, it's always good to see the man score as he entertains as much as anyone can. But this knock also provided relief and happiness. Although, he made 72 and 85 against Sri Lanka earlier this summer, its the double centuries which make us proud of him and prove that he can bat in any way he wants. Sure he performs every now and then, but it's hard to be satisfied with the success of someone as flamboyant and as talented as him. He has the backing up of Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss thus it was great to prove them right.

Of Cook and Broad
This series has seen a turnaround of form as Alastair Cook, who was unstoppable for 10 months prior to this, has seen a slump in form. And the blonde, Stuart Broad, whose inclusion in the Test side has always been met by my fury and curiosity (I could never understand why he was picked!), has been the star of the series. Quite appropriately, Kevin Pietersen was awarded the Man of the Match at Lord's and Stuart Broad at Trent Bridge.

Another attention getter - England's substitute fielder
Another interesting sight was Scott Elstone, England's substitute. Most teams have a 12th man who is close to being picked but not England. Elstone has only played 9 List A matches and 15 Twenty20s for Nottinghamshire. He is 21, but looks no more than 12. He played a role in England's victory by taking two catches. If you are wondering why I'm talking about him, it's because he got a lot of attention as apart from taking two catches, he also dropped one, Praveen Kumar at 1. Alastair Cook and Matt Prior consoled him, which caught Saurav Ganguly's attention, who is an improving commentator.

The controversy which won Dhoni applause
One thing which cannot be neglected about this Test is Ian Bell's dismissal at Tea on Day 3. He assumed it's Tea before the umpire called so, and started walking off but since ball was still in play, the Indians took the bails off. Eoin Morgan and Ian Bell waited near the boundary rope as the on-field umpire handed the decision to the 3rd umpire. He was declared out. The English were hit by a jolt when all was going well and obviously were not happy. There was a clear air of despair in the England balcony. During tea, Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower went to the Indian dressing room and requested the Indian captain MS Dhoni and coach Fletcher to withdraw their appeal. And their request was not turned out by Dhoni. Having seen the circumstances on TV, I do think what Dhoni did was incredible. But, in my view, Bell should have been given out as it was his fault. After tea, there was a lot of confusion as the commentators and the crowd did not know who took the decision to call Bell back. It could have been the umpires.

There is a lot of time for the 3rd Test, which starts on August 10 so we have time to ponder upon these selections, performances and the controversies. See you later!

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England embarks on home glory

Posted: Sunday, July 17, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , ,
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Sri Lanka tour of England 2011
After most of the Test series was spoiled by rain, England took on Sri Lanka in shorter formats. The Twenty20 was a flop show for England but the one-day series provided some entertainment. Although, Alastair Cook had captained England before, this was his first stint as a full-time captain.

1st ODI, The Oval: The first one-day was reduced to 32 overs per side because rain decided not to spare cricket even after the Test series. England's innings was interesting, with 4 batsmen firing up. England finished with 229/8 at a run rate of 7.15. Sri Lanka's innings was a complete wipe-out as England won by 110 runs.

2nd ODI, Headingley: The second one-day was the opposite to the first. Sri Lanka batted first and beat England by 69 runs. Also, in the first game, Alastair Cook went cheaply but scored 48 in the second. That's the thing about being a captain, you aren't happy if you don't perform or if your team loses.

Alastair Cook showed he has a captain's mind with his brief stints as captain earlier but now, it's clear that the man leads from the front. Whether England are batting or fielding, you can always tell who the captain is. He stays more involved in the game than England's Test captain Andrew Strauss and his authority shows. And he is calm and cool, unlike Stuart Broad, who looked anxious during the Twenty20 defeat. Cook can take loses sportingly and knows how to come back. His strategies are hard to understand though. His bowling changes unpredictable.

3rd ODI, Lord's: The third one-day was Sri Lanka's show. The only positives for England were the century by Alastair Cook and Pietersen's smashing 41. From the time Pietersen arrived to the time he went, 49 runs were scored including extras. He came, stole the show and lofted a sweep into deep mid-wicket's hands. Another interesting sight was Angelo Mathews' batting, who made a shocking 21-ball 1. No wonder he drove the Sri Lankans, especially captain Dilshan crazy on the balcony. Also, he was only given one over earlier in the day so that suggests all is not well between him and the management.

4th ODI, Trent Bridge: The teams kept the rivalry interesting by squaring the series at 2-2. The 4th one day was the most one-sided game of the series. All England bowlers and the openers, who didn't let other batsmen bat, were impressive. England's captain ended with 95*. The victory would have so much more sweeter with another century by Cook but the captain only cared about one thing - winning. When England needed 8, he needed 6 and took a single and Kieswetter smacked Kulasekara for a six!

At the presentation ceremony, Cook was asked if asking the groundsmen to leave some grass on the pitch was a right thing to do, to which Cook replied aptly,
The home advantage is there in all sports so you can use it.

It certainly doesn't seem unfair after what Sri Lanka gives us when we go there. They got a taste of their own medicine and should learn to adapt to English conditions. England and Sri Lanka's rivalry has heated up this year, with Sri Lanka sending England home from the World Cup, England making Sri Lanka toil in the Tests, Sri Lanka winning the Twenty20 with no struggle and England winning the one-dayers by 3-2.

5th ODI, Old Trafford: I heard the final game was a rocker. Yeah, I barely watched it. Somehow, I wasn't interested in cricket on that day and slept after England took a few wickets. Stuart Broad should be dropped though. He is a gem England found for one-day and Twenty20 but damaged his confidence by giving him a permanent place in Tests. He is someone I want to see in the shorter formats in the future but not in Tests.

Whatever I've heard or seen of Jade Dernbach has impressed me and I think he is capable of being a member of England's Test squad. Though, he is also a drama queen like Broad.

Sri Lanka's tour of England had been cited as a preparation for the showdown, which will start on July 21. England v/s India is always an exciting battle so hopefully we'll get our summer dose of entertaining cricket through it. For now, this is Sanya Batra, signing off. Cheers!

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The many amusements ECB provides us

Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , , ,
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England vs Sri Lanka 1st One-day International: 28 June 2011

Kennington Oval, London: At the time I'm writing this, England are 35/1. I was sleeping until 13:00 GMT. So, when I switched the TV on, it was raining. However, that isn't what I focused on. I saw the scoreboard and after seeing Alastair Cook in the team, I wondered if this is some old match. Then I saw Ian Bell and I was more doubtful about some old game's scoreboard. The, Bresnan and I was almost certain it's an old match. Then, I saw Dernbach and I realised this is today's match. Oh yeah, I had forgotten Alastair Cook has been made captain. I was just figuring how many changes they have made to the team which Stuart Broad captained on Saturday. And I was thinking they have over taken Pakistan in amusing us.

This does raise questions about my memory, but more than that, it asks us, would Alastair Cook be in the team had he not been captain? Well, he hasn't played a one-day game in a year and the last one came in Bangladesh, where he captained. Prior to that, he hadn't played in a year either. So, I'm guessing no, Alastair Cook only plays in shorter formats when England want to try him as captain or when they don't want anyone else as captain. Like, he did in South Africa in late '09. If he would have been gifted a place in the side in the Word Cup for being unstoppable in the Ashes down under, that would have made sense, but this doesn't.

Let's go back to the game on Saturday and the blonde one. England had some hope until Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan were batting, after that they played for formality. This isn't the first Twenty20 International in which they didn't have victory in mind, so it wasn't a surprise. Paul Collingwood, who retired from Tests, has been left to the sidelines. Stuart Broad was chosen as captain, ahead of the one who captained England to their first ICC tournament victory. Perhaps they are thinking too much about the future rather than the present. He wasn't included in the one-day squad either, so ECB must have put an end to his career. The Englishmen usually depart from the team like this, with no farewell, facing the ECB's brashness.

Here are the changes England made to their Twenty20 side (comparing to the side which starred against Australia in January: Bell, Davies, Bresnan, Yardy and Shahzad dropped for Lumb, Bopara, Patel, Broad, Dernbach. Of course England hadn't dropped Broad in January, they just can't do that, he was injured. In my opinion, Bell and Davies were doing their job fine so they shouldn't have been dropped. And then, Bell has been in a sublime form lately. Bopara hasn't been among the runs for a while and Patel failed to impress me on Saturday. His run out was an embarrassment and his bowling had nothing special. I was excited to see Dernbach in, who turned out to be England's most inexperienced, yet best bowler in this game.

The only Twenty20 International on this tour, was played after a Test series, in which England dominated expectedly, but one which failed to generate much interest, due to being spoiled by rain. There were six changes made to the Test XI to make the side more "suitable" to the Twenty20 game. But, as emails to the Sky commentary team suggested, the Test would have done a lot better than this side so playing the same team wouldn't have caused any harm. One big positive a lot of people and the media is deriving from the game is the comeback of Kevin Pietersen into form. However, in my post The Preview: Sri Lanka hopes for turnaround; England aim to continue domination, I had stated that he is already in form and there is nothing to worry about. The difference is that, he announced himself on the stage in this Twenty20 so ruthlessly that he made everyone against him know that there is no point in questioning the man, who is as talented as anyone can hope to be. The truth is far from him being in the team for his past record.

So, much to talk about and so little time! Anyways, post your views in the form below or on twitter (@jimmymycrushie). Hopefully, we'll see some cricket today. For now, take care. Cheers.

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England keep Sri Lanka on a short lead

Posted: Sunday, June 19, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , , ,
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This post has not been written by blog author jimmymycrushie (Sanya). It's a guest post.

In spite of the English rain which continued to keep in check both the progress of the game and the momentum of the Sri Lankan first innings, Andrew Strauss’s men have been able stifle any resistance form the touring side – who did little to help themselves with an array of wayward shots to gift wickets to the English attack.
With less than 90 overs played across two rain drenched days, England’s bowling pack, who had come in for some heavy criticism after their insipid display on a flat Lord’s track, realigned their sights on day two of the third test at the Rose Bowl to restrain Sri Lanka with a period of bowling that used the overcast conditions to its advantage nicely.
Rain has been the most prominent factor in this series.
It was ironic Chris Tremlett, the man who struggled to impose himself on the game during his days with the Rose Bowl’s current occupants Hampshire, was able to produce a hostile spell that cramped and hurried Sri Lankan batsman; his three wickets in twenty minutes as the second day got underway was a testament to a man who had found an inner-belief in his abilities.
Having taken the first ever wicket at the Rose Bowl when the ground opened in 2001, he now has the honour of being the first man on the honours board; plenty more accolades seemed destined to be coming his way as he establishes himself as the sharpest point of England’s attack.
The return of Jimmy Anderson will also hearten Strauss and coach Andy Flower, however the form of Stuart Broad will be a concern. The T20 captain hasn’t taken a five wicket haul since 2009 – and his position in the test squad is coming increasingly under scrutiny – especially with Steve Finn waiting in the wings.
Without Dilshan meanwhile, Sri Lanka looked directionless as they prodded around under the grey sky, with Prasanna Jayawardene the sole obstacle in the way of a convincing 2-0 series win for England. Any side whose top four batsman can only compile 28 runs between them will always struggle, so when Jayawardene and to a lesser extent Thilan Samaraweera resistance did come, it had an air of ‘too little too late’ about it.
With a series draw all they could aim for before the third test, they are now staring in the face of  a series defeat and must now deal with the problems that hinder their progress. Sri Lanka have only won overseas series against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh this century despite being graced with some of the finest players in the world. They are a side in crisis at the moment, at least in the test match form of the game,  after losing their captain and selectors board after the world
A result looks possible – although the rain continues to dampen the atmosphere – but both teams have already taken what they need from the series. But both England and Sri Lanka are heading in opposite directions at the moment, and for the time being there is little the visitors can do about it.

Is Anderson the right man to lead England’s bowling attack?

Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , , , ,
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England have named James Anderson in their squad for the third npower Test against Sri Lanka at the Rose Bowl on Thursday.

The Lancashire paceman, who missed the draw at Lord’s after picking up a side strain in the first Test at Cardiff,  is the sports betting favourite to return to the side at the expense of Middlesex fast bowler Steven Finn.

Anderson, the leader of England’s attack, will shore up the bowling options at captain Andrew Strauss’ disposal after a wayward display at the home of cricket. The bowling attack offered plenty of height, but with the slope causing problems, the bowlers were wayward and not as aggressive as first thought which helped Sri Lanka bat out the Test for a draw. Strauss’ decision to declare when he did was seen to be too conservative against a side who were without injured captain Tillakaratne Dilshan in the second innings.

This Test is significant for England, not just because it’s the first five-day game held at Hampshire’s home ground, but certain players need to show signs of form heading into the biggest series of the summer against India.

That starts with the captain and opening batsmen Strauss, who has struggled for runs in this series so far. Much has been said about Kevin Pietersen’s flaws against left-arm spin but Strauss, who has looked a little off the pace at the top of the order, is also having trouble with left-arm seamers which was also apparent during the tour of Australia.

Strauss’ form needs to show an upturn soon as fellow opener Alastair Cook continues to pile on the runs and re-write the record books. To say his place in the England side was up for debate heading into the Ashes, his transformation is astounding. His minor criticism is the way he scores runs and after been named England one-day captain, Cook will need to go up the gears and score at a faster rate if he is to succeed.

Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell have cemented their places within the side during the last 12 months and the Test at Lord’s was significant for Pietersen, who looked like he had returned to for with a textbook 72 in the second innings. If England are to become the best side in the world, they need KP to fire and score runs quickly.

Matt Prior, fresh from windowgate, needs a better game after his patience was tested thanks to some wayward bowling down the leg-side from the England bowlers and to add insult to injury, his run out in the second innings as he tried to move the score along.

The bowling attack is up for debate as Stuart Broad’s wicket-taking ability seems to have dried up. Finn looks to be the bowler sacrificed for the returning Anderson, but should he after taking wickets at Lord’s. Chris Tremlett and Graeme Swann will continue to make up the four-man attack.

Sri Lanka fought hard and were put under enormous pressure when batting out 58 overs following their 82 all out in the first Test – a result that looked so unlikely sports bets punters were offered odds of 100-1 on a win for either side at one point. The tourists will rely on Kumar Sangakarra, who is set to captain the side as Dilshan’s inclusion looks unlikely as he continues to nurse a broken thumb.

Ambitious England aims for formidable victory

Posted: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , ,
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England have given an interesting turn to 2nd Test, declaring at 335/7 with a lead of 342. England have 58 overs to bowl Sri Lanka out. They would be more optimistic about winning than usual, having won the last Test in a similar scenario, the difference being England winning by an innings at Cardiff, which is not possible now. Earlier today, setting a target of 350 with 60 overs remaining seemed appropriate to me and England came to close to that so I agree with their decision.

Alastair Cook, who made 96 in the 1st innings, struck yet another century. 18th for him. At 26, he is not too far away from scoring most centuries by an England player, 22. One notable positive aspect is Kevin Pietersen's 72. He must not be satisfied and it wouldn't shut up critics but it's always good to see him among the runs. I don't think his critics know, but he averaged 41.55 last year and 60 in Ashes 2010. The former is good for a batsman and the latter great. Though nothing less than the consistency of Alastair Cook (Ashes and this series) and Jonathan Trott (in England and Australia) will be enough for a batsman of his calibre in the eyes of the audience.

England's run rate in the 2nd innings was 4.28, which closely matches their 1st innings run rate of 4.30. In the last decade, 21 matches have been played at Lord's, out of which a win has been obtained in 13 of them. But, either Lord's has witnessed victories by huge margins or draws. During this time, England and Sri Lanka have faced each other twice, both resulting in draws. Though some England fans are positive Sri Lanka won't survive without Dilshan, who had his thumb injured by the bowling of Chris Tremlett, who struck the same area twice during Dilshan's 193, the second time being 192. Tremlett hit the same spot at Cardiff as well.

At the time I'm writing this, 32 overs are left. So the series will probably be levelled at 1-1, the decider will be played at The Rose Bowl.

Earlier, I had to tweet about my blog posts again and again or to different people manually but at least that task has been made easy by scheduling tweets through socialoomph. Apologies to anyone who has been annoyed by this practice of mine! If they are too much to tolerate, do let me know!

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The Preview: Sri Lanka hopes for turnaround; England aim to continue domination

Posted: Friday, June 3, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , ,
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Pietersen on the verge of big runs
Unlike the media, Andy Flower isn't too concerned regarding their star batsman's form. For my take on it, read on...

Sri Lanka's confidence has sunk to its lowest in a long time, with their bowlers being written off before the start of the tour and their batting having collapsed for 82. Tilakratne Dilshan wants his team to forget about this match while Jayawardene only wants to forget Day 5. Fair enough. While Suranga Lakmal and Thisara Perera are not established, with only a few Tests under their belt, Maharoof has a bowling average of 62 and a batting average of 19.10. Mendis was regarded as the new sensation of Sri Lankan cricket, but has averaged over 38 on each year, except his first year in cricket. In all of his Test career, he has struggled everywhere except while bowling in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Sri Lankans are masters, but only at home as Herath too, averages over 45 on foreign soil.

After a successful start to their summer, the English don't have much to worry about. Their only concern is the injury to the leader of the attack, James Anderson. In the 2nd innings at Cardiff, England had to bowl without him, but Swann and Tremlett's 4 wickets each, followed by Stuart Broad's wrapping up of the tail, didn't let England miss him. In a perfect world, any two of the three paceman - Finn, Dernbach and Onions would be brought in and Broad would be out. Nevertheless, Surrey's 25-year-old Jade Dernback has been called up as cover for Anderson in the twelve man squad but it's Steven Finn who is expected to take his place. I love Finn but Dernbach sounds like an exciting prospect. Though Lord's being Finn's home ground, he holds an advantage over Dernbach.

For Sri Lanka, it would be obvious to attack, there is no way they are coming back in the series without triumphing at Lord's. After being bundled out for 82, it would take nothing less than a satisfying victory to gain momentum. England will look to push Sri Lanka down further below. If England go for Finn, they will have a pace attack, Sri Lankans will 'look up to' as Finn, standing at 6'7", will add to Stuart Broad, 6'6" and the giant Chris Tremlett, 6'8". They will be among the tallest of all time. Strauss indicated Dernbach's inclusion is not out of the question as he will bring variety. Among these bowlers, Stuart Broad has played the most number of matches, 35. But, considering his performance at Cardiff, Tremlett, will lead the attack, despite having played fewer Test matches than even Finn.

Kevin Pietersen's form has been cited as another issue by the media, but England don't have to do too much in that case, as the man knows what he has to do. It should be kept in mind that the Ashes down under was a successful tour for him. Although left arm spinners have been troubling him but even though they have taken his wickets, he has shown he can smack them around as well. All great batsmen face such challenges and I'm sure he'll overcome this hindrance the way he has tackled others throughout his career. The good thing is that the coach and captain are behind him.

The show begins at 10:00 GMT, June 3 live from Lord's, London. Watch out!

England Continues to Shock in 2011; Wraps Lanka for 82 to clinch 1st Test

Posted: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , ,
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Thanks to a double century by Jonathan Trott and centuries by Alastair Cook and Ian Bell, England amassed 496/5. After adding just 5 runs to their overnight score, England declared to give themselves a herculean task of bowling Sri Lanka out cheaply. The reason to bat on Day 5 was obvious, Ian Bell needed two runs for his century. But, it not only meant England batted for 2 overs, it also meant a loss of 2 overs. In the end, England managed to win by an innings and 14 runs but if Sri Lanka would have managed to keep 1 or 2 wickets in tact, questions would be raised about whether a century is more important or a victory. And we all know what the priority should be. So, yeah I don't agree with their decision.

Though they don't deserve much flak after their unbelievable victory. Before the Test, I did expect England to win, despite the ground being Sophia Gardens, where England and Australia stocked up 1361 runs for the loss of 25 wickets together in the Ashes '09. Sri Lanka escaping a Test defeat in England just doesn't make sense. But only 298.2 overs were bowled in this Test (450 overs are bowled if a result is not achieved). A result was achieved here, but the rain delayed start of play on almost all days. Here is a quick recap:
Day 1 - Four and a half hours
Day 3 - Three and a half hours
Day 4 - Four hours
Day 5 - Four and a half hours

Here is what Blake from Australia sent Cricinfo before the start of Day 4:

How can England become #1 in the world when they don't believe they can clean up a team in one day?" asks Ryan. "Remember what Australia did to them at Adelaide in the 06/07 Ashes?
That's ridiculous. You don't have to clean up a team in a day to be world #1. The top teams should be able to survive a day and world #1 only means being the best, better than all other teams. The way Sri Lanka batted in their 2nd innings, it seemed as if England were bowling to Bangladesh. I wonder what Blake has to say now. 

More from Blake: 
Since there is not enough time for england to amass enough runs and then bowl out sri lanka for a chaseable target, England may as well bat the next 2 days, give a chance for Cook and trott to knock up 200-300 each. 
 He knows what it's like to watch these two bat all day. 

Jonathan Trott, who has played 19 Tests averages 66.77. He is behind only one man, Don Bradman, among the batsmen who have played at least 5 Tests. That's a perfect start to his career and going by how stubborn he has been so far, England have found someone they can rely upon. I hope you enjoyed the 1st showdown of the summer and learnt something from this post. Cheers.

Don't miss the live action from the Mecca of cricket, Lord's - 2nd Test, June 3, 10:00 GMT.

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Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott carry winter dominance into summer

Posted: Sunday, May 29, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , ,
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Day 3 proved to be England's day self-evidently as the runs galore. Run machines Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott carried their winter form into the summer. It was a privilege to watch them pile runs with ease. The Sri Lankan bowlers not only struggled, but had no options, no plans left. Sri Lanka's opening bowler, Lakmal wasn't effective, in fact, he was probably practising his bowling. This is his third Test by the way.

Cook and Trott were unstoppable. Let me remind you, Cook was the highest run scorer (with a whopping average of 127.66!) in England's Ashes victory down under. But, Trott wasn't too far behind, as only Hussey & Cook preceded him. These two just won't give their wicket away. They don't just stay on the field and wait for the runs. They are no Kevin Pietersen, but the stylish Cook knows how to maneuver the field and make the opposition surrender. He may not play attacking shots as often as he can, but announces his supremacy by dictating the terms. There were some shots which no one ran after - as they were out of reach the moment they left his blade.

You might be interested in knowing that the 26-year-old 'Chef' has now scored 17 hundreds for England. He is possibly on his way to scoring most hundreds for England, as he is at No.10 on the list. Cowdrey, Hammond and Boycott are all at the top, with 22 centuries. From the current lot, Andrew Strauss has scored 19 tons, while Kevin Pietersen has exactly as many as Cook.

The play has just begun on Day 4, three and a half hours after the scheduled start, England are 292/2. I hope you are enjoying it as much as me. Bye for now!

Read Captain's Diary 2008: A Season of Tests, Turmoil and Twenty20 by Ricky Ponting here.

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India finally get their man; England keep theirs

Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , ,
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It was a tale of two Zimbabweans this week as their respective teams got their house in order ahead of a clash that will go some way to deciding who the best test team in world cricket currently is – and the fact Duncan Fletcher and his successor Andy Flower will go head to head will only add spice to an already engrossing contest.
But while England only ever had eyes for Flower, Duncan Fletcher was eventually appointed Gary Kirsten’s replacement after a lengthy and at times damaging recruitment process.
Kirsten stepped down following a successful stint in charge of the cricket mad nation, and he left them in rude health; with the World Cup tucked safely under their arms and sitting atop of the test match rankings.
It would be a difficult act for anyone to follow, but the fact that Kirsten is a protégé of Fletcher’s only serves to set the former England man up for a fall, especially given the success Kirsten enjoyed during his time with India.
“He became one of the greatest influences on my life and career” said Kirsten of Fletcher in his autobiography, and the Zimbabwean has been accredited with transforming Kirsten’s career when the pair met at the University of Cape Town.
But now the roles have been reversed and it is Fletcher who is following in the path of his young charge, and must prove himself in a job which it became apparent he was far from the first choice for.
In fact, it was Flower himself who the BCCI turned to when their overtures of South African Graham Ford were rejected for the second time (Ford turned down the job back in 2007).

The younger of the two coaches was said to be tempted by the offer - who could blame him when the money on offer was more than double that of his wages with England – and for a while there was a real possibility that he could leave the job that he had gained following the fallout of Peter Moore’s acrimonious departure.
Although the former batsman publicly refused to comment on his future, little should be read into his unwillingness to pin his colours to the mast. Flower is nothing if not stoic and stubborn, unwilling to leave anything to chance – much like the technically minded Fletcher – and was always unlikely to comment unless he fully understood his options.
The main one of which was his reluctance to tour while he has a young family at home. Already a vocal critic of the international calendar, Flower was able to name his demands and present the evidence of an Ashes win and a Twenty20 World Cup victory as enough to convince the ECB that his demands must be met to secure his services for another three years.
And now both have made their beds and must lie in them, the prospect of a battle of the wits between the pair has been set up.
An already enthralling summer of cricket has just been turned up to 11.                     
If cricket betting isn’t your thing, play scratchcards online for your chance to win big. 

New Flower deal could mean missed tours

Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , ,
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When rumours began to circulate that Andy flower was a target for the BCCI to replace Gary Kirsten as the coach of India following the departure of the South African after the World Cup earlier this year the ECB were forced into action and offered the Zimbabwean a three-year deal.
But it has now emerged that for Flower to ignore the overtures of India and to sign a new deal with England will come at a price.
While the ECB are determined to keep hold of Flower and not let him slip through their grasp and into the hands of their rivals, it is rumoured that for the former Essex batsman to put pen to paper, the deal would have to include a condition allowing him to reduce his schedule to stay with his young family by sitting out lengthy tours abroad.
With a trip to India pencilled in for later this year and visits to Pakistan and Sri Lanka in early 2012, Flower, could conceivably miss out on the tour to India after a hectic summer which sees both Pakistan and India tour England.
While sports betting never suggested Flower would leave his post, he was vocal in his disapproval of the packed international calendar which saw his side go straight from their Ashes tour in Australia over the winter to the World Cup in Asia with some players given just a few days break – covered a period stretching from October 2010 to March this year.
Now spurred on by his refusal to commit his long term future to England after the Ashes – Flower said: “Personally I don't look much further forward than a few months.” – English cricket’s governing body look set to bow to his demands in order to keep him away from the lure of doubling his salary with India.
The duration of the three year deal would take in two Ashes tours but not the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The deal would be unprecedented amongst English coaches but would follow in the footsteps of captain Andrew Strauss, who sat out the 2009/10 tour of Bangladesh, while players such as Steve Finn and Stuart Broad have also benefitted from prolonged breaks from the international circuit.
But how the England set up would work without flower present remains to be seen. Once the best batsman in the world, Flower is seen as instrumental to the success England have enjoyed of late, which includes winning the Twenty20 World Cup last year and winning the Ashes for the first time in Australia since 1986/87.
What the ECB’s managing director Hugh Morris will have to figure out is whether it is worth having Flower on a part-time basis or not at all. Morris will also be concerned that the team may suffer to motivate themselves in Flower’s absence, and finding it difficult to give it their all while their coach is at home.
Michael Vaughan expressed his fears over Flower’s future earlier this year, and believes he could suffer because of the hectic schedule.
I do fear for Andy," said Vaughan. "The last thing you'd want is to risk him passing on the reins because the job involves so much time away. It's important to keep him fresh.”
“But you look at the guys with young families and they are the ones who are going to be affected. I couldn't do the touring they do now." He added.
Meanwhile, India continue their search for a new coach, with former New Zealand batsman Stephen Fleming the new front runner according to sports bets.

The end of an era?

Posted: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , ,
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This is the season of captains bidding adieu. On March 23rd, we heard Cricket Australia denied any chances of the controversial Aussie captain Ricky Ponting's retirement. On 29th, he resigned. The Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday that Ponting, 36, was likely to face stiff opposition at boardroom level to retain his job for next month's tour of Bangladesh. Australian Cricketers' Association chief Paul Marsh said it was "gutless" and "irresponsible" for a Cricket Australia official to forecast the axing of the Australian captain so close to the team's World Cup clash with India. What does that tell us? Are CA and Ponting not on good terms? The resignation has come when Ponting has failed to hit an International century for 13 months. Ponting has had major highs and lows.

Ponting's  last words as captain:
It’s funny how we talk about losing the Ashes series three times.
Playing on three World Cup winning teams doesn’t come up very often, winning 16 consecutive Test matches doesn’t come up very much, winning 30-odd consecutive World Cup matches doesn’t come up very often. 
So right. He has experienced extremes, from losing to Bangladesh in the summer of '05 to winning World Cups. The one dream which will remain a dream is winning the Ashes in England, something Ponting himself referred to, as a dream. After losing the Ashes '09, he said he'd like to come back here in 2013 and accomplish his goal. Captains like him are rare. I personally hold a lot against him, he's annoying, too quarreling, extremely arrogant. He wants to win, by hook or by crook. But it's all for Australia. Not many are as patriotic and win hungry as this guy. Following him, Sri Lanka's Sangakkara has resigned as one-day and Twenty20 captain. Daniel Vettori has retired from Twenty20 cricket and resigned from one-day captaincy. He said he's almost sure that he won't captain NZ in Tests either. However, Tests are a big part of why he plays the game so he'll continue to do so. He has had to bear many disappoints as a captain. The most prominent being the whitewash by Bangladesh.


Rumours of England captain Andrew Strauss stepping down have been doing rounds ever since England went home from the World Cup. There is also word from the coach that his future as the one-day captain is being discussed. There are 2 and a half months to go for England's first ODI against Sri Lanka so Straussy has a lot of time of think.

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What do England need? Changes or something else?

Posted: Friday, April 1, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , ,
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After fulfilling one of their earnest dreams, winning the Ashes down under, losing to the Aussies by 6-1 in a no one gives a damn series and their teetar-totter World Cup campaign, the English winter has finally come to an end. The players are relaxing back home.

Paul Collingwood's daughters were not too ecstatic by the prospect of reaching semi-finals. Here is what they said:

We hope you lose tomorrow, daddy. Then you can come home. 

While, their families are relieved, the cricketing fraternity is full of criticism. With not much happening in English cricket, the media is discussing who should be the next captain. The ones in contention are Stuart Broad and Alastair Cook. Yeah, you heard it right, Stuart baby dramatic Broad. Suggested by Michael Vaughan, who refuses to stop giving his senseless suggestions. He has a history of countless comments against Kevin Pietersen, ranging from saying the big bloke is insecure to reckoning he should be replaced by Eoin Morgan as an opener to citing his technique as a reason for his downfall. Stuart Broad is a winner, he is a fighter, but god knows if has the mind of a captain. He is 24, over-dramatic. Generally, when a player loses his composure, the captain confronts him. It will be the opposite if Broad will be the captain. If Strauss does step down as captain, which he should, Cook is my man. But hey, we are talking about one-day captaincy here and he wasn't even picked for World Cup! But if anyone can choose their captain before choosing the side, it's England as Strauss wasn't a part of the squad before he was chosen as captain. So he went from being a nobody during England's one-day series against South Africa at the end of the summer of '08 to captaining England in the Caribbean next year.

So, what after World Cup for England? Before their success in '09 and '10, they used to make changes every now and then. Probably because they have too many good players and only a few spectacular players. But the reason my mates, is rarely only one. The English are inconsistent and suffer from too many injuries. But that doesn't make them unlucky. Keeping themselves fit is part of their job. This year, too, the XI and even the 16 men world cup squad. They need solidification which can only be achieved with stability. So, no more changes!

England defy all odds to blast Windies in electrifying encounter, reach quarters

Posted: Thursday, March 17, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , ,
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England needed to win today and they did it. The last few overs have almost wiped my memory of the rest of the game. England continues to amaze all of this. This was by far their most entertaining match. A while ago I thought I'd have to write something like..."England's campaign comes to a miserable close." The moment was the "catch" Trott didn't take. It's still not clear whether it was a six or catch but the umpire gave it a six. Trott indicated he caught it. Russell was the man, West Indies needed 40 runs to win before the six. I've seen one such instance earlier and the fielder was believed at that time. But nevertheless, all is well that ends well. When West Indies needed 22 runs, Tredwell sent Russell packing, which brought hopes back. I can't tell how degrading that six was and how ecstatic the victory has made us all, the players and English fans. A lot of bloggers and writers think England don't deserve to go through, including Russel Arnold. Are they kidding me? True, Ireland and Bangladesh beat England but South Africa, India and West Indies couldn't. Now, England moves to the 3rd spot in Group B. The only way they could go out is if West Indies defeat India and Bangladesh defeat South Africa. Cheers!

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Shahzad is out with a stomach bug, Strauss and Swann have recovered. All these was already all out on twitter, though there were also rumours of Wright opening, but that isn't happening. West Indies, meanwhile, have Chris Gayle back in place of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and legspinner Devendra Bishoo makes his ODI debut, in place of Nikita Miller. England won the toss and opted to bat first.


England team:
A Strauss
M Prior
J Trott,
I Bell,
E Morgan,
R Bopara,
L Wright,
T Bresnan,
G Swann,
J Tredwell,
C Tremlett

Related post: Road to Quarterfinals: England face Windies hurdle...