Chance to train with Michael Vaughan and England for club teams in the UK

Posted: Sunday, January 29, 2012 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , ,

In a bid to expand grassroots cricket in England, AEG in association with Super Skills travel will be offering 40 teams in UK a chance to win an ultimate laundry and kit package. The prize includes 12 bespoke Canterburry cricket kits which you will be designing yourself! That means, you will have kits which represent your team, with your logo. An AEG top of the range watching machine is also up for grab.

Here is your shot to watch the England cricket team train, up and close! Also, you can win training days at Lord's where you will be coached by Michael Vaughan, Paul Nixon and many other England legends. They will also pay a visit to your home club.

The competition is open to all teams in the UK. Don't miss this opportunity to shine, visit AEG Grassroots for more information and to apply. The last date is January 30.

Sponsored by AEG.

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England lose edge Cook and Trott bestowed on Day 2

Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , ,

England vs Pakistan 2nd Test: 25-29 January
Abu Dhabi: England finished Day 2 at 207/5. England clearly looked the better team of the two, bowling Pakistan out for 257. They were in a commanding position, thanks to run machines Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott, who have both been breaking records since the Ashes down under began. This was their 6th hundred run partnership. Jonathan Trott is also the highest run getter for England in Tests with no sixes. These two took England to 166/1. Trott made 74 while Cook fell 6 runs short of a century. Trott's dismissal was Rehman's brilliant mind on display. Trott tried to defend it in the way he defended previous deliveries, but this one spun. The day had a perfect ending for Pakistan - Morgan's wicket, who never looked comfortable. Ian Bell is still out there, while Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Strauss went cheaply. It should be noted that poor batting has cost England matches, time and again. In the previous Test as well, England were bundled out for 192 and 160.

The referral system has been an interesting and funny topic ever since it was implemented. It was very funny, when at first, Cook's catch was dropped, and a while later, the Pakistanis appealed for lbw, with all their heart, to no avail. They could not review since they had none remaining. It wasn't out anyway, but they were going crazy because they were thinking, "If, only if we hadn't wasted our reviews earlier, oh we would have Cook out of our way."

The funniest thing about the DRS is umpire's call, it makes sure that there is no use of the system, except for making the players think more, wait and waste more time. I wonder if it has been brought to improve the decision-making of cricketers. In the event I just mentioned, the impact was outside, but the technology showed it as umpire's call. So, while the decision would have stayed not out, even if Pakistan would have reviewed it, it would have been given out had the on-field umpire made a mistake. On numerous occasions in the series so far, we have seen umpire's call to be the culprit. According to it, even if 10% of the ball is on the other side, it is umpire's call. As if the ball is made of cardboard and the whole ball touches the pad. What I suggest is that if the seam is inside, it should be given out, otherwise not out.

I'm sure Pakistan would be the first team to be in favour of scrapping this system. They have had 10 unsuccessful and just 1 successful review. It was no different today as they were left scratching their heads at every lbw shout. They didn't review when Trott was plumb lbw and reviewed twice when you just wouldn't believe they went for it!

One change that I would like to see in this England side is Steven Finn replacing Monty Panesar. Monty isn't so bad, despite being hit for, 5 sixes I think, he still bowled well. But, England just doesn't look ideal with Monty in the side. On the other hand, Finn is the best bowler in the country. The man has 50 wickets in 12 matches, with an average of 26.92 and a strike rate of 41.4, what more could you ask for? Among bowlers who have taken 50 or more wickets, he has the 5th best bowling strike rate, in the history of the game. The top four are Dale Steyn (4), Shane Bond (3), John Ferris (2) and George Lohmann (1).

Catch the action live at 6 am GMT. Until next time, take care. Cheers.

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England must address sub-continent flaws

Posted: Sunday, January 22, 2012 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , ,

Striding into the game as officially the world’s best test side and favourites for victory, England were well and truly humbled against Pakistan in the first test on Thursday.

From a triumphant whitewash of India, a team ranked as the best test side in the world before last summer’s humbling in England, to a test defeat inside three days against a Pakistan team that is no doubt talented but has yet to show it can win at the very top – there are plenty more questions than answers that have emerged from this unpredictable first test.

Having built their success upon a simple formula – a long batting line up and bowlers that posses the weapons to torment batsmen the world over – it was certainly surprising to see England’s top six falter and succumb in the manner they did to Pakistan’s bowling attack.

Ripping pace wasn’t on offer for Umar Gul, a man not exactly noted for his express speed, nor was there a crumbling, turning surface from which Saeed Ajmal to conjure up spin at a right angle, yet English batsmen fell like dominoes for two totals under 200 while Pakistan neared 400 in their solitary effort.

It wasn’t so much demons in the pitch that did for England but in the arm of the bowler, most notably Ajmal, who took ten wickets in the match and became the first spinner to trap seven of his victims LBW in a single match.
Ajmal’s Doosra is a thing of beauty, virtually unreadable from the position of the seam which hints at turn only to go away from the batsman rather than back in at him.

Ian Bell, a noted expert at dealing with spin with a natural talent and beauty, struggled to pick Ajmal’s ‘other ‘delivery, culminating in the Warwickshire man posting two very low scores.

Bell wasn’t the only one caught out of course, Eoin Morgan, Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior were all victims at some point in the game, and it is certainly an area of weakness that Pakistan have exposed in an otherwise impenetrable veneer formed by England over the last two years.

Because of their inability to read the ball from the hand, England were forced back into the crease and were caught red handed in front of their stumps, or worse opted for the sweep and became victims that way.

This is not a new problem; England have only won series against Bangladesh on the sub-continent since 2003, but they must do more to negate the problem by playing forward with bat and pad, and stifle the problems that have been the main difference between the sides in the first two tests.

Of course, while there are questions of technique there are also questions of personnel, mostly aimed at Kevin Pietersen.

Pietersen’s two innings bordered on shambolic, from the scratchy two he recorded from 29 balls in the first inning to his thoughtless hoik to deep square leg in the second innings, there was little to cheer about for his supporters and plenty for his detractors who believe he is on the wane to sink their teeth into.

Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss have built their house upon stone, and have no time for knee-jerk reactions that call for the head of one of their most accomplished players after a single defeat.

However Pietersen needs big performances in the next two test matches, or face testing the captain and coach’s patience more than he would ever care to.

This is a guest post, hence it is not written by blog author jimmymycrushie.

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