Broad leads the way for England

Posted: Saturday, December 31, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , ,

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: , , , ,

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: , , ,

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.

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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.