Saturday, 31 December 2011

Cricket recognised in New Year’s Honours List

Giles Clarke
ECB chairman Giles Clarke, former international umpire Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird, ECB disability cricketer of the year Umesh Valjee and disability cricket pioneer Jeffrey Levick have all been honoured in the New Year’s Honours List announced today.
Clarke, who has been ECB chairman since 2007, received a CBE for services to cricket while Bird was awarded an OBE for services to cricket and charity. The former Yorkshire and Leicestershire batsman was a first-class umpire for 28 years and officiated in 68 Test matches and three World Cup finals. He has previously been awarded an MBE.Valjee, who captained England’s deaf cricketers to victory in the T20 tri-series in Australia earlier this year, scoring three centuries, received an MBE together with Levick, chairman of Hampshire Cricket Board.
Levick, who has been involved in grass-roots cricket for more than 50 years, chairs the ECB’s Regional Disability Cricket Development Forum for the south and west and has been instrumental in developing disability cricket in the Hampshire region.
Clarke said: “This has been a marvellous year for cricket at all levels with the England team becoming the world’s number one ranked Test side, a memorable finish to our county season and a five per cent growth in participation at grass-roots level in our national network of ECB focus clubs.
“The entire game will be pleased to see that the excellent work which is being done to promote disability cricket has been acknowledged and, of course, that one of our most popular and best-loved umpires has received further national recognition.
“These awards are a tremendous accolade for cricket in this country and will provide a real boost for all those who work tirelessly to promote our national summer sport.”

Friday, 30 December 2011

India beated By Australia In First Test

India's famed batting line-up produced yet another spineless display to crash to an embarrassing 122-run defeat in the first cricket Test and hand Australia a 1-0 lead in the four-match Test series here today.
Chasing a target of 292 in the second innings, India's top-order collapsed like a proverbial house of cards against the pace trio of James Pattinson (4/53), Peter Siddle (3/42) and Ben Hilfenhaus (2/39) to be bundled out for a paltry 169 in 47.5 overs on the final session of the penultimate day.
India were always up against history as no side since 1963 has made more than 250 runs in the fourth innings at MCG to win a Test match.
Sachin Tendulkar promised some ray of hope during his little cameo of 32 runs, but the rest of the top-order batsmen cut a sorry figure against the Australian quicks and at one stage the tourists had lost four wickets for just 22 runs.
Openers Virender Sehwag (7) and Gautam Gambhir (13) and the senior trio of Rahul Dravid (10), Tendulkar and VVS Laxman (1) all failed to save the day for India and departed inside the 90-run mark.
Young Virat Kohli (0) suffered his second failure of the match and made matters worse by showing his displeasure at a plumb leg before decision.
Ravichandran Ashwin (30) rode his luck for a while and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (23) was street-smart during his stay, but the task proved to be too tall for them to achieve once the top-order departed early.
India (From): Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni(w/c), Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Abhimanyu Mithun, Umesh Yadav, Pragyan Ojha, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Rohit Sharma, Vinay Kumar
Australia (From): David Warner, Ed Cowan, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke(c), Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin(w), Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Pattinson, Daniel Christian, Mitchell Starc

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Ponting, Hussey steady Australia after early strikes

Umesh Yadav's triple strike brought India right back into the match before Ricky Ponting  and Mike Hussey  held fort for Australia  as the first Test between the two sides hung in balance at tea on the third day in Melbourne, on Wednesday.
Australia, leading by 51 runs in the first innings, lost their first four wickets for mere 27 runs in their second essay, three of them to Yadav, before the experienced pair of Ponting (33 not out) and Hussey (29) stretched the score to 81 for four at the break.

Australia presently lead India by 132 runs overall.
Ben HilfenhausPonting and Hussey have so far put on 54 runs for the fifth wicket and halted Australia's slide after their four top-order batsmen batted poorly to leave the hosts in a mess.
Yadav sent tremors through the Australian top-order by removing openers David Warner (5) and Ed Cowan (8) in his fourth over with the hosts scoreboard reading 13.
Warner aimed a cut at a Yadav delivery without much footwork and dragged the ball on to his stumps while Cowan shouldered arm to an incoming ball and was trapped leg before wicket.
To make matters worse for Australia, Shaun Marsh (3) inside edged a Yadav delivery on to his stumps.
If that was not enough, skipper Michael Clarke  was done in by a beautiful incutter from Ishant Sharma , which hit the stumps after getting a slight inside edge.
New man in Hussey, on a king's pair, drove the first ball he faced from Ishant to midwicket for three and from then on seized the initiative for his Australia along with Ponting.
Hussey flicked and then hooked Yadav imperiously for fours and later gloriously straight drove Ishant and cut Zaheer Khan.
His senior partner Ponting looked compact at the other end. A straight driven four of Ishant was the pick of the former Aussie skipper's shots in the afternoon.
Earlier, India dished out poor batting display this morning to be bowled out for 282 as Australia made a remarkable comeback to gain a vital 51-run first innings lead at lunch.
Comeback man Ben Hilfenhaus  (5/75) turned out to be the star performer for Australia with his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests.
Hilfenhaus accounted for overnight batsmen Rahul Dravid (68), Virat Kohli  (11), captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni  (6) and Ishant (11) in the morning session to bring Australia back in the reckoning after India were comfortably placed at 214 for three at the close of play on day two.
Peter Siddle also did his bit by inducing an edge from a tentative VVS Laxman (2) and getting the wicket of Ravichandran Ashwin (31) to finish with figures of three for 63.
Resuming at 214 for three, India lost their final seven wickets for just 68 runs this morning.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Ron Reed: Twenty20 Big Bash jury still out

Shane Warne THE most enjoyable sporting moment of the week? It's a no-brainer. Take yet another bow, Shane Warne. Watching and listening to the old master nominate precisely how he was going to dismiss the Brisbane Heat's star batsman Brendon McCullum and then doing it exactly to order the next ball was fascinating.
He said later a bit of luck was involved because you can try those things 50 times on another day and they don't come off.
That's perfectly true, but luck still had less to do with it than the sublime skill, vast experience and unwavering confidence that went into his astonishing career as the best spin bowler in history.
His sense of showmanship was an important ingredient, too.The context for all this, of course, was that Warne's team, the Melbourne Stars, recorded their first win of the Big Bash, with a tick under 30,000 people almost filling Brisbane's Gabba ground.
For Cricket Australia, this was gold. If the Big Bash becomes the success story they hope for - and after the first six matches in week one the jury is still very much out - this will be remembered as the night it took off.
But it also posed what is perhaps the most perplexing question about the ambitious project - what's most important, the box office or the TV ratings?
The Brisbane game went through the roof in both respects but elsewhere the crowds - 13,000 in Sydney, 23,000 at the MCG and 13,000 at Etihad Stadium - have been underwhelming, to say the least.
But the TV audiences have been strong, giving Cricket Australia something to hang its hat on when it comes to jousting with the critics and sceptics.
I have always believed that while TV sport offers a lot, there is nothing like actually being at an event to suck up the atmosphere and take in the big picture.
But when you've got Warne miked up and delivering the insight and drama that he produced the other night ... well, you just don't get that sitting in the grandstand, watching the game in the old-fashioned way.
You have to suspect that whether they meant to or not, CA has found a way to get people to watch cricket as distinct from going to it - time will tell.
Another question that could prove critical is whether the combination of mostly low-profile international hired-guns, superannuated locals coming out of retirement, domestic level stalwarts and a few young up-and-comers will deliver enough star power to keep the punters interested.
Warne is Warne, of course, but whether Stuart MacGill and Brad Hogg, for instance, add much to the mix is debatable.
The two most entertaining innings so far have been played by David Warner and Shaun Marsh, who are part of the future of Australian cricket at all levels - but their Test priorities mean that the Big Bash won't see much more of them, probably no more in fact.
The Melbourne Renegades have made a disastrous start, losing both games and pulling a poor crowd to Etihad Stadium, but they have been desperately unlucky to lose their best player - and that includes their Pakistani imports - when Brad Hodge hurt his hammy in a practice match.
This column has been a fan of Twenty20 from the outset and we've watched some or all of every match so far, live or on TV. The positives have outweighed the negatives but for a range of reasons it simply hasn't caught fire - yet. Hopefully it will.
And on the subject of T20, the week's worst development was Boroondara Council's ban on the game at the 40 park grounds it controls. Councils and all other public rule-makers should be encouraging kids to play sport, not depriving them of it.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Cricket Australia defends scheduling of Big Bash Twenty20 tournament immedately before Boxing Day Test

Cricket Australia yesterday defended their scheduling of the Big Bash Twenty20 tournament immediately before the Boxing Day Test by saying no player out of the picture could have forced their way in.

Cricket“The point we have reached, the selectors know exactly where we are … we know which players we want,” CA spokesman Peter Young said.
“There is no conjecture about the scheduling here, the planning has been very, very careful and deliberate.
“The planning was always that players would arrive for the first Big Bash game and then beyond that develop their individual planning.”
The next Sheffield Shield match is not until February 2, by which time Australia’s four-Test seriesSo regardless of injuries and form slumps over the course of the series, no player beyond those in current peripheral considerations can make a claim because they will only be playing short-form cricket.
But the situation will be far worse for any Australian player who is dropped from the side between now and the fourth Test, because no amount of Twenty20 runs would convince selectors of recalling them for the five-day game.
Test prospect Ed Cowan was yesterday pulled from a Chairman’s XI match against India on Thursday to play Twenty20 instead. Cowan was named in a different Chairman’s XI side to play India in a three-dayer, but with Test incumbents Phillip Hughes and David Warner also named in that team, Cowan may not have the opportunity to open the batting, where he has been most successful of late.
“At this stage with the individual development that each player has, playing a Big Bash or Chairman’s XI match is neither here nor there,” Young said.
Meanwhile, injured paceman Mitchell Johnson believes he can return to the Test side after his six-month layoff due to a foot injury, despite the emergence of young stars James Pattinson, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc.
“This gives me a good chance to work on a few things,” said Johnson, 30.
“I haven’t been really able to do that for the last few years because of the scheduling.
“It gives me a great opportunity to get my fitness back up, my strength and then work on some technique stuff with my bowling and batting.
“(Age) 28, 29, 30 is meant to be at your peak as a bowler.
“Brett Lee performed at that age and he was unbelievable. I don’t think age should have anything to do with it.
“For me I’ve learned a lot about my game and experience for me over the last couple of years is a good thing.
“I’m not really too worried to be honest.”

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Bracewell takes six New Zealand Beat To Ausralia

HOBART: New Zealand paceman Doug Bracewell took six wickets in a devastating spell around lunch on the fourth day of the second test on Monday to fire his country to a dramatic first victory over Australia since 1993.
Australia, requiring 241 for victory in the second test, had appeared to be grinding their way to their target on the back of David Warner’s maiden test century until Bracewell (6-40) helped send them tumbling from 159 for two to 233 all out.
The seven-run victory was the first on Australian soil for the Black Caps since 1985 and came despite opener Warner’s unbeaten 123, which earned him the man of the match award in his second test.
In a thrillingly tense finish, Warner and Nathan Lyon put on 34 for the last wicket before Bracewell bowled the spinner through the gate to end what had been a topsy-turvey test match on a greentop wicket at the Bellerive Oval.
New Zealand’s victory, only their third in Australia, levelled the series at 1-1 after the hosts won the first test in Brisbane by nine wickets.
“It was a great turnaround from Brisbane,” New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor said at the presentation ceremony. “It’s always enjoyable captaining the country and beating Australia. I’m proud of the team.”
Australia had started the day on 72 without loss and confident of victory despite being bundled out for 136 in their first innings on Saturday.
“Disappointed, no doubt,” captain Michael Clarke said. “We were pretty inconsistent throughout this test … the ball swung all day and we needed a couple more partnerships.”
New Zealand struck almost immediately after play started with quick Chris Martin having Phil Hughes caught by Martin Guptill in the slips for 20 without any addition to the score.
It was the fourth time the Martin-Guptill combination had claimed the wicket of Hughes in four innings in the series and probably ended the embattled lefthander’s hopes of a place in the side for the upcoming series against India.
Warner combined with Usman Khawaja to put on 50 runs for the second wicket before the Black Caps struck again when a brilliant catch from Taylor in the slips off the bowling of debutant Trent Boult sent Khawaja back to the pavilion for 23.
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting had been looking for a big score on his home island and settled in well enough but had made just 16 when he slapped a short ball from Bracewell straight to Tim Southee at extra cover.
Bracewell’s next over put the match back in the balance when he dismissed Clarke and Michael Hussey for ducks on consecutive balls.
Clarke was deceived by an outswinger and caught in the slips by Taylor before an inswinger trapped Hussey lbw with umpire Asad Rauf forced to reverse his decision after a TV review.
Warner reached his century with two runs through square leg soon after lunch but the Australians were reduced to 192-6 when Tim Southee had Brad Haddin, the last recognised batsman, caught by Taylor for 15.
Peter Siddle followed for two soon afterwards with Southee again taking the wicket courtesy of a catch by Jesse Ryder before Bracewell took over to end the match.
James Pattinson (4) got a thick edge which Guptill snapped up in the slips and two balls later a peach of a delivery clean-bowled Mitchell Starc for a duck to leave the Australians languishing on 199-9 and set up the dramatic climax.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Umpire Aleem Dar fires in a couple of bouncers at Dave Warner in the nets

Aleem Dar joined the Australians in the nets yesterdayTEST umpire Aleem Dar spends most of his time giving batsmen out but yesterday he decided to have a crack at getting one or two out. The popular Pakistani showed he has a fiery side too, coming off his long run to fire in a series of bouncers at Australian opener Dave Warner.
Formerly a first-class leg spinner, the umpire decided to let go a few medium pacers at the end of yesterday's optional net session.
Michael Clarke was not too impressed with Dar's length, advising him that he was bowling too short and an amused Warner announced the official fancied himself a chance outside off when bowling to left-handers.
"Don't give him the pleasure," Clarke jested.
Dar's first-class career consisted of 17 matches over 12 years and was rather modest. He gave up playing cricket in 1998 and took up umpiring in 2000.
He does, however, keep his hand in and made an appearance in the B3 division of Brisbane's Warehouse Association on the Saturday before the Brisbane Test.
Dar had appeared for the Macgregor side on an earlier visit, scoring an 80 and a 50.
However, he did not do so well this time.
The umpire had apparently cruised to 16 when there was an appeal for caught down the leg side. Those on the scene swear there was no nick but the official was undone by one of his own kind and given out.
Dar accepted the decision with good grace. His friend, fellow Pakistani Asad Rauf, was an amused spectator.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

New Record In Cricket History

Virender SEHWAG 219 becomes the 2nd player in the history of cricket to score double century in ODI cricket. Well done Champion!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Now luck with Clarke

Michael Clarke's superb 139 against New Zealand at the Gabba was sparkled with class, but the Aussie skipper was happy to admit it'd been a lucky journey to the triple figures.
Clarke's century in his first innings on home soil as Test captain seemed fate at times.
On the second day on just 23, he played on to Doug Bracewell, but was called back after video replays confirmed umpire Aleem Dar's suspicion that the young Kiwi had over-stepped the crease.
And then on 85 he feathered an inside edge to Reece Young, who had no excuse for spilling the easy chance.

Michael ClarkeFinally, after reaching his third century in his last six innings, he was put down once more, this time by third slip Jesse Ryder on 105.
Clarke was happy to acknowledge his hot streak of luck, but said that he'd take big runs whichever way they came.
"You have to perform personally; you have to score runs personally to stay in the team. If you're not scoring runs, somebody else is going to take your place," said Clarke.
"Probably my main goal since taking over the captaincy has been trying to lead from the front on the field, making sure I'm scoring runs and doing whatever I can to help the team have success."
"When things are going your way ... you have to cash in and make the most of it. That was my goal in this innings once I got that life on twenty-odd."
Clarke wasn't the only Aussie to pile up some form and approval, with senior statesman Brad Haddin (80) and Ricky Ponting (78) easing pressure with composed and fluent knocks.
The Australian skipper was delighted to see two of his most experienced bats contributing, but was quick to downplay suggestions that either had been under serious scrutiny.
"(Ponting's) probably as pleased as anyone ... he's brought some momentum home with him (from South Africa) and it was really nice (to see him score runs)," said Clarke.
"I'm sure he's disappointed he didn't make 100, but he's not far away, that's for sure."
"(Haddin has) been working hard for a while now, so it was a real positive for him. Coming into the summer he's trained as hard as ever and his confidence is back up."
"That's how Hadds plays his best, and there's going to be times when he's going to get out playing his shots, but when he's positive in his mind and attacking in the way he plays, I think that's when he has the most success."
"I don't think (runs) were crucial for his future. I've known Hadds for a long time but I've made it very clear to him that his keeping is the number one priority to me; that's his main job in the team."

Kohli and Rohit overpower West Indies

Lendl Simmons withstood like the boy on the burning deck, while Ravi Rampaul shot from the hip like the last man standing. Their half-centuries were stirring for they created them from ruins, but neither led West Indies to victory. Instead, Virat Kohli's methodical century, which enhanced his growing stature as an expert of the chase, and Rohit Sharma's efficient finishing act, prevailed and led India to a 2-0 lead on a drizzly day in Visakhapatnam.
India's bowlers had a critical role in the victory as well, before they were rendered bereft of ideas by Rampaul's record-breaking assault at No. 10. Umesh Yadav and Vinay Kumar, the new-ball operators, exploited rare seam-bowling conditions on the subcontinent and cut through the West Indian top order. Under cloudy skies, on a cracked pitch that had bounce, they used consistent outswing to help reduce West Indies to 149 for 8 despite defiance from Simmons. The end should have quickly followed, but it didn't, because Rampaul blitzed 86 off 66 balls and added 99 for the tenth wicket to lead West Indies to 269 for 9. 

Rohit Sharma got to his fifth half-century in seven matches against West Indies, India v West Indies, 2nd ODI, Visakhapatnam, December 2, 2011The chase was not hiccup-free either. India suffered two early wickets and the loss of an off-colour Sehwag - whose 26 lacked enough strike and momentum - to slip to 84 for 3 in the 17th over. Sehwag could have fallen on 1 and 15 but was dropped by Darren Sammy and Darren Bravo, who is as poor a fielder as he is promising a batsman.
The moments that cost West Indies most, however, were the let-offs Kohli had. On 24, Kohli swiveled and tried to pull Andre Russell, a shot he would execute with success later during his eighth century. This time Denesh Ramdin failed to catch the ball and the umpire did not signal leg-byes. On 40, Kohli drove the ball hard back at the bowler Marlon Samuels, who couldn't hold on as he dived to his right. Kohli gave West Indies no more chances.
Rohit had a painful start to his innings. His third ball was a short one from Rampaul and it thudded into the glove of his bottom hand. Three balls later Rohit retorted with a audacious pull off the front foot that sent the ball into the crowd beyond the midwicket boundary. It was the start of a 163-run partnership that decided the game.
Though the challenge was sizeable, Kohli and Rohit ensured the asking-rate, which hit a run a ball for the first time after 23 overs, was always under control. Sammy, unlike his counterpart Sehwag who often had six fielders in the circle when India were bowling, spread his field and the batsmen were able to whittle down the target without risking their wickets.
There were a few more tense moments as the contest entered its home stretch. After closing the gap between runs required and balls left with five boundaries in ten balls - Kohli 3, Rohit 2 - Kohli was dismissed for 117. Raina was caught behind hooking a short ball soon after, and India needed 22 off 24 balls. Rohit, however, did the job he didn't do in Cuttack. He stayed the course, striking a six over long-off to reach 90 and then watching from the other end as the game was won.
A few hours earlier, the match didn't look like it would go into its 99th over. The floodlights were on as play began after a delayed start in front of a strong crowd and Yadav didn't take long to give them reason to roar. In the second over, he produced a late outswinger that grazed Adrian Barath's outside edge en route to the wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel.
A feature of Yadav's bowling was how upright the seam was before the ball hit the pitch and seamed away. Sehwag had a third slip because of all the movement, and when Samuels edged Yadav, Raina dived to his right and took a low catch. West Indies were 25 for 2.
Simmons went on the attack, stylishly whipping Yadav to the square-leg boundary, and walking out of his crease to drive Vinay on the up through extra cover to bring up 1000 career runs. At the other end, there was false promise from Bravo, who flicked and straight drove Varun Aaron for fours before lofting Vinay to the fielder at mid-on. Two balls later, Danza Hyatt was walking back for nought.
Only after Ramdin - Yadav's third wicket - departed with his team reeling at 63 for 5, did things begin to look up for West Indies. Simmons reached his half-century and Pollard brought up the 50 partnership by launching the offspinner R Ashwin over the straight boundary. He followed that with another six over wide long-on next ball. Another slump was around the corner, though.
Pollard, Sammy and Russell fell in quick time and it was then that Rampaul made his entrance. He swept Ashwin for four and clubbed him over long-on, before targeting Jadeja and scoring two more fours. Between those braces of shots, Simmons had been run out for 78.
The boundaries were small but Rampaul would have cleared larger ones today. He brought up his half-century off 35 balls and hit half a dozen sixes and as many fours, most of them swung with power on the leg side. There was an inevitability about how the innings ended, with Rampaul slamming Aaron over the straight boundary. He walked off the field with a composed look on his face, knowing the job was only half done. He wouldn't be able to complete it, though.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Afridi rips Bangladesh to shreds

Shahid Afridi grabbed five wickets for 23 runs and then kept his cool in a batting crisis as Pakistan overcame Bangladesh by five wickets in the first one-day international in Dhaka yesterday.
The leg-spinner ripped through the Bangladesh line-up as the hosts were bowled out for 91.

  Shahid Afridi celebrates another Bangladeshi dismissal. Photo / AP 

Pakistan lost five wickets chasing the modest target which was eventually overhauled in the 26th over to give the tourists the lead in the three-match series.
Seamer Rubel Hossain and spinner Shakib Al Hasan claimed two wickets apiece to leave Pakistan struggling at 5-63 before Afridi took his team home with an unbeaten 24 off 23 balls.
As the runs dried up on the turning wicket, Afridi broke free with three successive fours off Shakib and then cut the same bowler for another boundary to win the game.
Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq made 16 not out, sharing a match-winning stand of 30 with Afridi.
It was Pakistan's 26th win in 27 one-dayers against Bangladesh, the lone defeat having come during the 1999 World Cup in England.
Bangladesh, who lost half their batsmen for 31 runs on the slow wicket, were dismissed in 30.3 overs and barely passed their lowest one-day total against Pakistan of 87.
Wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed picked up four catches as the four Pakistani spinners shared eight of the 10 wickets.
Bangladesh's batting never recovered after losing opener Tamim Iqbal with the fourth ball of the innings, trapped leg-before by off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez.
Seamer Umar Gul, who shared the new ball with the spinner, struck in his third over when he forced Naeem Islam to edge a catch to the slips.
Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim was caught behind off Shoaib Malik for 11, before Afridi grabbed two wickets in one over to reduce the Tigers to 5-31.
Afridi had opener Shahriar Nafees caught at backward point by Malik and then saw Mohammad Mahmudullah edge a catch to Sarfraz three balls later.
Nasir Hossain and Shakib put on 36 for the sixth wicket and Nasir made 21 before he top-edged a catch off Aizaz Cheema, while Shakib became Afridi's third victim on 15.
Last man Rubel Hossain hit an unbeaten 15 before Afridi claimed the final two wickets.
The second one-dayer will be played at the same venue tomorrow.
Afridi made his peace with former coach Waqar Younis, who took the captaincy from him after a fiery tour of the West Indies.
The pair met recently in the United Arab Emirates and resolved their differences.
"Look, when you work together like I and Shahid did you have such difference of opinions and disagreements and that is exactly what happened with us,"Waqar said.
"But in the end what is important is that both of us just wanted to see Pakistan cricket do well."

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

India vs West Indies, 1st ODI at Cuttack

Having taken the Test series 2-0, India will be looking to extend their dominance over West Indies in the five-match ODI series. But it will not be all that simple for the home team as West Indies displayed tremendous fighting spirit in the Test series and they will be hoping to come up with a similar effort in the ODIs.

With the internet user base growing day by day, the concept of watching the matches live on your laptop/desktop has taken a massive step. People do multi-tasking even without being in front of the television set. Because of the demand there are several sites which stream cricket matches on the net. But not all of them are authentic. Some take you into other domains while some make you click hundreds of links without taking you to the streaming page.

Live streaming of the cricket matches is catching up with lot of cricket fans. Many people love watching cricket on web. There are many TV companies that offer live telecast of cricket on internet, and one would think that it would be satisfying to watch the sport via these companies, owing to the fact that there are so many of them, and the competition would spur them to good provision.

Several sites live stream cricket matches as Internet penetrates the smallest of cities in India. Here is a group of authentic streaming sites. These mentioned websites provide nonstop coverage and that too at a single click. Also you have option of multiple servers to view it.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Praveen Kumar to miss Windies and Australia Matches

New Delhi: India have been dealt a blow ahead of next month's tough tour of Australia with pacer Praveen Kumar on Tuesday ruled out of the Tests there besides the entire ongoing ODI series against the West Indies due to a fractured rib.
What was on Monday described as "a blunt chest on the left side", which ruled him out of the first three ODIs of the ongoing series against the West Indies, was on Tuesday declared a fractured rib by the BCCI needing over a month's recovery time.
"Praveen Kumar underwent a scan yesterday (28 Nov 2011) evening, and was found to have a fractured rib, as per the report that came through today," the BCCI said in a statement.
"He is expected to recover in 5-6 weeks and has therefore been ruled out of the ODI series against the West Indies, as well as the Test series in Australia that follows," it added.
While Abhimanyu Mithun has replaced for the ongoing ODIs against the West Indies, Praveen's replacement for the four Tests against Australia, starting December 26, will be announced on Monday next.replacement for the Australia tour will be named on 5 December 2011, when the selectors meet in Ahmedabad to pick the Indian team for the last two ODIs against the West Indies," the BCCI said.
Praveen suffered some pain after the Twenty20 match against England on October 29 and requested for a two-week break.
He then played the Ranji Trophy match for Uttar Pradesh against Saurashtra in Meerut where he aggravated the problem.
Ahead of the first ODI on Tuesday in Cuttack, India's stand-in captain Virender Sehwag had described Praveen's injury as a "niggle".
Praveen has been battling quite a few injury problems this season. The 25-year-old had been ruled out of the World Cup due to a tennis-elbow injury.
He had also sustained an ankle injury during the Test series in England in July-August.
Praveen has 27 wickets from six Tests and 69 scalps from 61 ODIs under his belt.

Bowlers lead Pakistan to crushing win

Mushfiqur Rahim said before the match that it was time for Bangladesh to stop aiming for "respectable losses" and show they can compete against the best. By the interval, their spinners had laid the groundwork for a confidence-building win at the start of the series, but those hopes fizzled out as Pakistan's varied attack proved far superior. Barely seven overs into the chase, the result was a foregone conclusion.
 Mohammad Hafeez took 2 for 11, Bangladesh v Pakistan, only Twenty20, Mirpur, November 29, 2011
Pakistan's ruthlessness wasn't surprising. Their bowlers, especially the spinners, downed Sri Lanka in all three formats in the UAE barely a few days before they landed in Bangladesh. That they conceded their first boundary only in the ninth over was an example of their discipline.
Pakistan had their anxious moments with the bat, struggling to post even 135 despite their brisk start, but with the ball in hand, they never gave the hosts an inch. There was an air of expectation from the packed, weekday crowd at the Shere Bangla Stadium when the Bangladesh openers walked out, but the chase had derailed once Pakistan had them struggling at 15 for 3 at the end of five overs.
Umar Gul started the slide when he trapped Naeem Islam in front in the second over. Mohammad Hafeez then had Alok Kapali chipping to midwicket for a duck, and confusion in the calling led to Imrul Kayes' run-out. Save for a drop at long-off by Umar Gul, Pakistan's fielding was sharp.
The more experienced duo of Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim had a tougher task than they would have anticipated, but even they couldn't display any resilience to make the chase more competitive. They didn't have the luxury of time - the run-rate inched along at a rate comparable to modern Test cricket.
Shakib lost his offstump trying to cut Hafeez, and that increased the pressure on Mushfiqur, who struggled to combat Saeed Ajmal's parsimonious bowling from round the wicket. Mahmudullah nicked Aizaz Cheema's first ball of the match, and with the required rate crossing 11, Mushfiqur perished trying to be innovative - a reverse paddle landed just short of short third man, but Nasir wasn't interested in the single, leaving his captain stranded.
A flat-batted swat in the ninth over by Nasir off Cheema gave Bangladesh a release, but it was only momentary as Bangladesh had to wait till the 16th over for their next boundary. The result was inevitable, and the only positive for Bangladesh was the fact that they batted out 20 overs.
It wasn't the easiest outing for Pakistan's batsmen either. It was a tough initiation as Bangladesh played to their strength - spin - to restrict the tourists to 135. Pakistan started brightly after winning the toss, but the going got tough once the slower bowlers - five in all - began operating at either end on a typically dark Dhaka pitch.
The captain Mushfiqur Rahim didn't waste any time getting his spinners on, bringing in Abdur Razzak as early as the second over. The in-form Hafeez went on the attack and while he was around, Pakistan were motoring along at eight an over.
The ninth over was significant for Bangladesh as Shakib managed to keep the aggressive Hafeez quiet for five balls. Determined to break the shackles, Hafeez attempted a slog and lost his wicket. Bangladesh took control after that wicket-maiden.
Asad Shafiq and Shahid Afridi both perished in similar fashion, getting caught in the deep. The captain Misbah tried restoring some order but he kept running out of partners.
The procession of wickets continued when Bangladesh went out to bat. With spin expected to dominate this tour, Bangladesh will have to figure out how to tackle Pakistan's slower bowlers on pitches suited to their style.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Misbah thrilled with 'outstanding performance'

he Pakistan captain, has termed his side's 4-1 humbling of World Cup finalists Sri Lanka in the one-day series in UAE an "outstanding performance". Pakistan have won all their bilateral ODI series this year, against New Zealand, West Indies, Ireland, Zimbabwe and now Sri Lanka.
"It good to see us beating a top-ranked side 4-1, and I congratulate my side for this," Misbah said after the victory in the fifth match in Abu Dhabi. "I am happy because the team is improving and performing so well. The goal is to improve day by day and we want to extend the victory succession. This team has now been playing together for almost a year and a half, so it is now getting good experience and developing into a good team."
In UAE, Misbah had the experience of three former captains - Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi - to fall back on, while a number of youngsters also performed creditably. Misbah was happy with the combination of youth and experience available at his disposal. The victorious Pakistan team strikes a happy pose, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI, Abu Dhabi, November 23, 2011
"I am really pleased to have a mixture of junior and senior players," he said. "They are understanding their roles and responsibilities, and I am very happy with the way they are fulfilling the duty. Now you can say that it's an experienced side, and I foresee a good future for my team."
The win allowed Pakistan to climb to fifth spot in the ICC rankings, their best rating in recent times as they look to shrug off the tumultuous after-effects of the spot-fixing scandal. The depth of their bowling options gave Pakistan the edge in the series, in addition to their reserve strength.
"Our bench strength and the playing XI are outstanding, and this is the main reason team is performing well," Misbah said. "It's a tough competition in the bowling department as whoever is handed a chance to play is performing. The idea is to rotate the circle and try out every one accordingly, and so far everyone is taking the opportunity well."
Misbah backed the returning allrounder Shoab Malik, who endured a torrid time in the two chances he got, making scores of 2 and 0. "Malik came in after an outstanding performance in Pakistan [at the domestic level] but he is going through tough time and this happens sometimes in your career.
"He is batting well at the nets as well but it happens that sometimes you aren't able to score runs at the top level. But he is still a good batsman and a match-winner for the team. So he still has a lot of cricket in him and just needs one innings to get back in touch."

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Razzaq a doubt for Pakistan tour of Bangladesh

 Allrounder Abdul Razzaq was on Tuesday ruled out of Pakistan's two last matches against Sri Lanka, throwing into doubt his participation in the tour of Bangladesh starting next week.
The 31-year-old injured his shoulder during the third day-night international against Sri Lanka in Dubai on Friday and missed out on the fourth match in Sharjah two days later.
"Razzaq has injured his shoulder and will be returning home," assistant manager Naushad Ali told AFP. "He will undergo rehabilitation in the academy in Lahore."
Pakistan lead the ODI series 3-1 ahead of the fifth and final match in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. The teams also play a Twenty20 here on Friday.
The Pakistan team are scheduled to then play a Twenty20 international against Bangladesh on November 29, and go on to also play three one-day internationals and two Tests there.
Razzaq has so far played 46 Tests, 265 one-day internationals and 26 Twenty20s in a career that started in 1995.
Dropped after the World Cup for his poor performance, Razzaq scored 11 and three and took two wickets in the three matches he played against Sri Lanka, and a replacement will be called up should he not be able to make the tour.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Australia pull off two-wicket win

Mitchell Johnson and  Patrick Cummins

Pat Cummins crowned his astonishing Test debut by belting the runs that delivered Australia a heroic and improbable two-wicket victory over South Africa after a record run chase in the second Test at the Wanderers.
Cummins was almost caught by Dale Steyn in his follow-through and survived a referred lbw decision against leg-spinner Imran Tahir that was judged too close for the third umpire to call.
Cummins was cool personified.
"As soon as it hit my pad, I thought it must be going down leg," he said. "Then I went down the other end and Johnno's [Mitch Johnson] like, 'Yeah, it hit you outside off.'
"I said, 'I thought so.'" Umpire Gould said not out, and Hawkeye showed it was only glancing leg stump, which is not enough to overrule.
Two balls later, he pulled Tahir to the mid-wicket boundary. "I was pretty much thinking, yeah, if he throws it up there, there's four to win, so try and go over the top somewhere," Cummins said.
"He dropped one short and luckily it hit the gap."
He clenched his batting glove in delight, but forgot to take a stump as a souvenir; umpire Ian Gould obliged. Mitchell Johnson was 40 not out, but at the players' race insisted that Cummins precede him. Cummins was named man-of-the-match. Disbelief hung in the air.
So ended a truly grand Test match and a memorable pair of them, made so by the fragility of both teams as well as their strength. Victory in every moment and on every day was to the brave. Credit also is due to two excellent cricket pitches. The only pity was the absence of witnesses: only twice in seven days was there the semblance of a crowd. Today's was a throng.
Australia have had many bigger wins than this, but rarely a prouder one. They arrived here demoralised by their eight-wicket capitulation in Cape Town. They were decimated by injury at the start of this match and seemingly out of it at most of the crucial junctures.
They wrestled with and tamed all the demons and monsters, their own, South Africa's, and at the death the great Steyn.
Charged with leading the defence of 309, he took just one tail-end wicket. By such epic wins do struggling sporting teams sometimes discover their vocation. Suddenly, Australian cannot wait for next week.
Captain Michael Clarke said it was one of the best wins of his career. "A big part of that is the way we got beaten in Cape Town," he said. "To be able to fight back, and the roller-coaster throughout the Test, the light, the weather, chasing the record last innings total: for so many reasons it's one of my most special Test matches and I'll remember it for a long time."
South Africa's mood was sombre: they still have not beaten Australia in a Test series in South Africa since 1970, nor won any home series since 2008.
In Test cricket, acorns grow into oaks in a day. For the first 2½ hours, nothing happened except rain. When play at last was possible, the early wickets of Clarke and Ricky Ponting looked to doom Australia. The sky was overcast, the pitch sporty. Vernon Philander, the find of the series, was rampant. His off-cutter to Clarke was a sizzler. Each of the few runs then was hard-earned. The first boundary took almost an hour.
But Mike Hussey and the wicketkeeper Brad Haddin relieved the siege with a stand of 50 for the sixth wicket. Just as important as the runs was the time that elapsed. The sun emerged, the pitch grew docile and the ball swung less than at any stage in the match.
Out of what was now clear blue sky, Hussey fell lbw to a Philander delivery that straightened down the line of leg stump. Hussey, disbelieving, referred immediately, and just as summarily was rejected. It was an untimely wicket.
But the conditions were made for free hitters Haddin and Mitch Johnson. Both are under pressure to hold their places, but instead of playing like condemned men, they tucked in as if this was their last meal. The match took its last decisive turn in the two overs after tea, when Haddin and Johnson took Philander and Steyn for 19. Within 50 balls, 50 runs were added, blithely. Before anyone knew it, they had put on 72.
Suddenly, the South Africans were on the defensive. They have a history of not clinching the deal against Australia, and now it came back to haunt them. A no-ball, a wide, a misfield, an overthrow: they gave away one of each, and then blew an optimistic referral against Haddin. It smacked of desperation. Captain Graeme Smith seemed at a loss to know how to stem the flow. Leg-spinner Imran Tahir bowled attractively, but, without maverick bounce in the pitch, could not penetrate.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Afridi props up Pakistan

The flamboyant Shahid Afridi provided the most entertaining batting in the Pakistan Innings much of it featuring solid shots for the predominantly Pakistani crowd that filled the Sharjah Stadium staging an International cricket match after a lapse of eight years.
Sri Lanka’s spinner Seekkuge Prasanna celebrates after he dismissed Pakistan’s Sarfraz Ahmed for 10. AFP

Afridi strode to the wicket when his side was sensing disaster losing five of their batsmen for 71 runs in the 24th over batted in his own inimitable style and took the Pakistan score towards some respectability striking a 65 ball 75 which included three sixes and four boundaries.Afridi is  not play like stick be stick cricket for other player.if you want to see more about Afridi visit on Google this keyword cricinfo.cricifo have a lot of information about Afridi.
The Pakistan batting revival was mostly based on Afridi’s innings, he was ably assisted by Saeed Ajmal as the 8th wicket pair added 61 runs when Ajmal was lbw to Dilhara Fernando for 20. Pakistan finally ended their innings at 200 in 49.3 overs. Form and situations change in most games and in Sharjah that was the situation yesterday. Pakistan captain Misbah-Ul-Haq won the toss in a venue where an International was staged after eight years and electing to bat had an inauspicious start on a pitch seemed to be a slow turner.
Sri Lanka who went with the same combination, which they had in, the losing Dubai third ODI with the bowling strength of the side largely concentrated in the fast bowlers. Dilhara Fernando who had not had the best of the games in recent times gave his side the early breakthrough they needed in his very first ball when he had left hander Imran Farhat caught behind on the leg side by a tumbling Kumar Sangakkara.
Farhat and Hafeez put on a 151 run stand for the opening wicket in the third match at Dubai, but found themselves tough going on a sluggish wicket. Fernando struck again when he induced Younus Khan to push one into the covers and Jeevan Mendis accepted the easy catch.
The Sri Lankan spinners too,made a notable contribution. Jeevan Mendis (2 for 40) and Seekkuge Prasanna (2 for 55) kept the Pakistani batsmen guessing and Mendis got the vital wickets of Shoaib Malik who came in as a replacement for Abdul Rasaaq and the talented Umar Akmal both trapped leg before wickets.
Pakistan plunged into further trouble when Afridi struck a gigantic six into the stand off Jeevan Mendis, but the next ball he pushed on to the leg side and Misbah-Ul-Haq took off for a single which wasn’t there and was run our at the non-strikers end. Pakistan at 97 for 6 and was facing a crisis situation.


Mohammad Hafeez c Chandimal b Prasanna 27
Imran Farhat c Sangakkara b Fernando 10
Younis Khan c Mendis b Fernando  18
Misbah-ul Haq run out   16
Shoaib Malik lbw b Mendis   2
Umar Akmal lbw b Mendis    2
Shahid Afridi c Sangakkara b Perera 75
Sarfraz Ahmed lbw b Prasanna  10
Saeed Ajmal lbw b Fernando  20
Umar Gul b Malinga    7
Aizaz Cheema not out    3
Extras: (lb2, w8)   10
Total:     200
Fall of wickets: 1-18 (Farhat), 2-57 (Hafeez), 3-62 (Younis), 4-69 (Malik), 5-71 (Akmal), 
6-97 (Misbah), 7-120 (Ahmed), 8-181 (Afridi), 9-191 (Ajmal).
Bowling: Malinga 9.3-0-38-1 (w2), Perera 10-1-36-1 (w2), Fernando 10-3-26-3, 
Mendis 9-0-40-2, Prasanna 10-1-55-2 (w4), Dilshan 1-0-3-0
Overs: 49.3

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Cricket: Hey Ricky, jump before you're pushed

  Ricky Ponting hasn't passed 50 in his last 12 innings. Photo / Getty Images

After all these years, Ricky Ponting still loves playing cricket. Not for him the outlook of the jaundiced old pro hanging on for dear life because he fears what the future holds. There is no trace of envy about those coming up behind, no bitterness invades his soul about what should have been.
Last week, Australia's batting coach, Justin Langer was lavish in his praise. Without much prompting, Langer said: "He is an incredibly important part of this team.'' In case there was room for doubt he added: "His influence in the team is unbelievable.''
It was perhaps unfortunate that Langer was speaking two days after Australia had been bowled out by South Africa for 47, their lowest total in a Test match for 109 years. With importance and influence on that scale, they might as well start picking Ponting and a bunch of larrikins. Langer's heartfelt encomium was partly delivered doubtless because he was Ponting's team-mate in 83 Test matches when Australia ruled the world, partly because he was desperate to halt a tide of disapproval which implies that Ponting is hanging on for dear life. Ponting is struggling for form. It is 12 innings since he made a fifty, 26 innings and almost two years since his most recent hundred.
There is a difference having this run at going on 37, as Ponting is, than at 27. It becomes easier to suggest that the light has faded to a flicker, and, come to think of it, at 27 the probability is that a player would be dropped for such a sequence.
Sometime in the next few days, Ponting's immediate future will become clearer. Australia's new national selector, John Inverarity, has yet to pick a team but he has flown out to South Africa for the second Test match which begins in Johannesburg today.
On being appointed, Inverarity was asked about his likely approach and part of his studied reply was: "When you sit down to select the side, you select for that next week, for later in the season, later in the year, the next year and probably two or three years hence. You need to keep all of those in balance as you make selections. Generating youth is the lifeblood of all sports. You need to keep an ideal balance in terms of age profile and how much longer people have got in their careers.'' That might be good for Ponting, or it might not.
The possibility then is that the match in Johannesburg will be his 156th and last, equal to Allan Border's Australian caps record. It would have a certain congruity. If he failed to make runs in either innings the point of giving kids a chance would have added lustre; if he were to make a big score there would be a case for his going out at the top.
As batsmen, Ponting and Nasser Hussain have little in common, but as lovers of the game they are on equal terms. Still now, Hussain can barely walk past a television set without switching it on to check if there is a cricket match being shown from somewhere round the world. Ponting is similar and he might also do well to recall that Hussain knew when to call it a day, after scoring an unbeaten hundred that saw England to a Test match victory over New Zealand at Lord's.
Ponting started playing for Australia back in 1996. His talent was such that he had a bat contract at 12. Playing cricket was his destiny and it has never palled.
He might have treated it a shade lightly as a young buck and the story of his drunken escapade in the Bourbon and Beefsteak nightclub in Sydney after a one-day international will forever be part of his back story. It must have been a particularly extravagant occasion because he arrived for his flight minutes after the last of a bunch of English reporters left and they had gone home with the dawn chorus.
But that was a turning point. Duly censored by his bosses, Ponting recognised from then on that his talent was a precious commodity not to be messed around with. He went on to captain Australia in 322 international matches, 77 of them Tests.
For most of them, he has been one of the best batsmen in the world. All the five leading Test run-scorers are from this or the immediate past generation, all of them laying immense claim to being greats of the game. They are Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Ponting, Brian Lara and Jacques Kallis.
If you wanted to be entertained to distraction, Tendulkar and Lara would be your men. If you wanted someone to bat for your life it would be a toss-up between the other three. But if you wanted to be entertained while your life was also at stake, Ponting is a shoo-in.
Vulnerable at the start of innings (but aren't they all?), sometimes undone by hard hands going at the ball, he was impregnable once in. But there has been precious little lately either of getting in or staying in. The unburdening of the captaincy has not done the trick and a poor Ashes series last winter has been followed by three under-achieving Test matches.
Australia's next series is against New Zealand early in December after which a rejuvenated India come visiting. Between now and then, Inverarity and his fresh panel will assess whether the team needs a similar spring clean. It is in Ponting's favour that successors are not banging the door down and there is certainly no 21-year-old Ricky Ponting.
Maybe Inverarity will feel Ponting has something more to give. Michael Clarke, his successor as captain, has plenty to do trying to revive an ailing team without acting as mentor to untried fledglings. But then Australia's captains traditionally walk off into the sunset once they no longer hold the job. The last to play on after giving up was Ian Chappell and he had handed over to his little brother, Greg.
What Langer was driving at in his defence was Ponting's overwhelming passion, knowledge, desire and willingness. Ponting genuinely believes he has something to offer his side through his presence (and he will almost certainly come back into the game after a break of a year or two following retirement to spend some time with his young family). He is a hard-nosed competitor who has invariably been magnanimous in defeat.
He is unselfish. At the nets during the Ashes Test in Adelaide last year, he spent almost an hour in a one-to-one with current captain Clarke, who was out of form at the time, trying to eradicate flaws. And of all his great moments he tends to recall one in particular. It is not a magnificent Ashes triumph, or a World Cup win, or his 16th successive Test victory.
It was in South Africa of all places, where it might all now end. Three years ago, a young side which had been beaten at home by the same opposition, prevailed. "Purposely that day, I walked off the pitch about 10 or 15 metres ahead of some of the younger guys so I could look back from the boundary at the smiles on their faces and it showed how special it was.''
Ponting deserves to go at a time of his own choosing, he really does. But the feeling is that he had better do it soon.

All cricket countries involved in match-fixing, former ICC investigator says

"In the late 1990s, Test and World Cup matches were being routinely fixed," Paul Condon, the founding head of the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption unit, said in an interview with London Evening Standard.
"There were a number of teams involved in fixing, and certainly more than the Indian sub-continent teams were involved.
"Every international team, at some stage, had someone doing some funny stuff."
This month a British court jailed three Pakistan cricketers for deliberately bowling no-balls in a Test against England at Lord's last year in order to effect an illegal betting coup.
Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt was sentenced to 30 months in prison while bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were jailed for a year and six months respectively.
But Condon, a former head of London's Metropolitan Police Force who helped set up the ICC's anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU) in 2000 and chaired it for a decade, said: "A whole generation of cricketers playing in the late 1990s must have known what was going on and did nothing."
And Condon added the root of the problem lay not in Asia but in English county cricket, where favours were traded between teams across the domestic 40-over Sunday league and first-class Championship competitions.
"If you're Team A and have a higher position in the Sunday league and I'm captain of Team B and my team have no chance in the Sunday league, I might do a deal to ensure you got maximum points in your Sunday league match.
"You would reciprocate in the County Championship. These friendly fixes quickly became more sinister, probably in the Eighties."
Despite widespread speculation about the probity of several fixtures, cricket chiefs only took action in 2000 when South Africa captain Hansie Cronje was revealed to have accepted bribes from bookmakers.
Condon was brought on board by the ICC, with the initial aim of making sure matches in the 2003 World Cup in southern Africa were 'clean'.
Although confident those games were above board, and that the rigging of matches is no longer a major concern, the 64-year-old believes the tournament marked the emergence of 'spot-fixing' when unscrupulous gamblers realised they could pull off huge betting coups merely on specific incidents.
Yet it was not the ACSU, now headed by another former British police officer in Ronnie Flanagan, who carried out the 'sting' operation that caught the Pakistan trio but now defunct UK tabloid newspaper the News of the World.
"We considered it and a policy decision was taken that, firstly, it would be highly unlikely the police would prosecute," Condon said. "They would say, 'This is entrapment'."
Condon, who helped persuade the British Government to make cheating in sport a criminal offence in the 2005 Gambling Act, had some sympathy for Aamer, saying he was "unsophisticated".
"But that's not to say he doesn't deserve a symbolic punishment. To keep cricket clean sentences have to be exemplary."
And he added he knew of cases where Pakistan players risked intimidation by assisting in ACSU inquiries.
"We had this Pakistani cricketer who was genuinely frightened that if he had revealed what he knew, there would be repercussions on his family. He was a very valuable informant. We flew him from Pakistan at the ICC's expense and put him up in safe accommodation in London for about a week while we debriefed him."
Condon urged present-day players to do more in the fight against corruption, saying: "In recent years, there's been very little whistle-blowing from current players."

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Malinga inspires Sri Lankan win over Pakistan

Sling-action paceman Lasith Malinga took three wickets to help Sri Lanka to a 25-run win over Pakistan in the second one day international to level the five-match series 1-1 here on Monday.

Malinga took two wickets in the first over and then returned in his second spell to finish with 3-36 to help dismiss Pakistan for 210 in 46.3 overs after setting them a target of 236 runs at Dubai stadium.

Pakistan won the first match by eight wickets, also played here on Friday.

Umar Akmal led the chase with a brilliant 102-ball 91 but Pakistan lost three wickets in succession in the batting power-play, including that of Akmal which saw them lose their way.

Akmal hit one six and eight boundaries -- three of them in Dilhara Fernando's 38th over -- before hitting the sixth delivery of the same over straight into the hands of mid-on to end Pakistan's hopes of winning.

Earlier the 28-year-old Malinga removed opener Mohammad Hafeez (four) with the third delivery of his first over -- his 150th one-day wicket in his 96th match -- and then Younis Khan (nought) off the fifth -- both caught behind.

Thisara Perera, who finished with 2-30, removed Imran Farhat (three) before Akmal steadied the innings through a 64-run fourth wicket stand with Misbah-ul Haq (21) and another 62-run stand for the next wicket with Sarfraz Ahmed (24).

Shahid Afridi, who hit a 14-ball 29, and Saeed Ajmal added a quickfire 30 in four overs before Afridi was run out by Tillakaratne Dilshan, much to the relief of the Sri Lankans.

Dilshan said the win was a great relief.

"Of course, we are relieved. This win was very much needed and now the series is open and we hope to play this type of cricket in the remaining matches," said Dilshan, who has yet to win a series since taking over in May this year.

Pakistan captain Misbah rued the loss of early wickets.

"We lost three early wickets and although Akmal played well we ended the day on the losing side, so we now know our weaknesses and will come back in the series with some hard work," said Misbah, who has been praised for his captaincy of the side in the wake of last year's spotfixing scandal.

Earlier Sri Lankan opener Upul Tharanga (77) and Mahela Jayawardene (50) set the foundations for the Sri Lankan total.

Dilshan and Tharanga gave a solid 56-run start to their team by the 12th over when leg-spinner Shahid Afridi, man-of-the-match in the first game for his 3-27, provided Pakistan with a breakthrough.

Afridi bowled Sri Lanka captain Dilshan with a sharp googly after he had threatened to make a big score by hitting four boundaries. He fell for a 40-ball 28.

Kumar Sangakkara made just five.

It became 3-94 when Dinesh Chandimal (15) fell to off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, leaving Tharanga and Jayawardene to give the innings some respectability.

Tharanga hit eight boundaries during his 120-ball knock before he was caught off Afridi.

Jayawardene, who was lacklustre in the Tests as well as in the first one-dayer, hit five boundaries during his 57-ball knock before he was bowled by Ajmal.

Ajmal finished with 3-61 while Afridi bagged 2-35.

The remaining matches in the series will be played in Dubai (November 18), Sharjah (November 20) and Abu Dhabi (November 23). Both teams will also play a Twenty20 in Abu Dhabi on November 25.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Afridi, Ajmal heroics help Pakistan win first ODI

DUBAI: Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the first day-night international at Dubai stadium here on Friday to go 1-0 up in the five-match series.
Pakistan chased down the target in 21.5 overs on the back of half-centuries from Imran Farhat and Younus Khan.
Earlier, the Sri Lankan batting line up collapsed for 131 on a bowler friendly track, after a match winning comeback performance by Shahid Afridi who took 3-27 while Saeed Ajmal took 2-21.
LD Chandimal was the highest run getter for Sri Lanka, scoring 28.
Earlier Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan won the toss and decided to bat in the first day-night international against Pakistan at Dubai stadium here on Friday.
Sri Lanka preferred leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna over the more experienced off-spinner Syraj Randiv, while they also gave debut to 26-year-old allrounder Kosala Kulasekara.
As expected, Pakistan included Shahid Afridi but left out Shoaib Malik. Afridi was recalled for the series after he last month went back on his decision to retire decision.
Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmed, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Aizaz Cheema, Abdul Razzaq
Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan (captain), Upul Tharanga, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Kosala Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Seekkuge Prasanna, Dilhara Fernando
Umpires: Marais Erasmus (RSA) and Ahsan Raza (PAK)
TV umpire: Richard Illingworth (ENG)
Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Pakistan spot-fixing scandal: Mazhar Majeed, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir jailed - judge's verdict in full

Sentencing remarks in full of Mr Justice Cooke as Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir and spot-fixing agent Mazhar Majeed are handed prison terms. 

 Pakistan spot-fixing scandal: Mazhar Majeed, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir jailed - judges verdict in full



1. The gravamen of the offences committed by all four of you is the corruption in which you engaged in a pastime, the very name of which used to be associated with fair dealing on the sporting field. It’s not cricket was an adage. It is the insidious effect of your actions on professional cricket and the followers of it which make the offences so serious. The image and integrity of what was once a game, but is now a business is damaged in the eyes of all, including the many youngsters who regarded three of you as heroes and would have given their eye teeth to play at the levels and with the skill that you had. You procured the bowling of 3 no balls for money, to the detriment of your national cricket team, with the object of enabling others to cheat at gambling. Now, whenever people look back on a surprising event in a game or a surprising result or whenever in the future there are surprising events or results, followers of the game who have paid good money to watch it live or to watch it on TV, in the shape of license money or TV subscriptions, will be led to wonder whether there has been a fix and whether what they have been watching is a genuine contest between bat and ball. What ought to be honest sporting competition may not be such at all.
2. In Pakistan, where cricket is the national sport, the ordinary follower of the national team feels betrayed by your activities, as do your fellow countrymen in this country. You Butt, Asif and Amir have let down all your supporters and all followers of the game, whether suborned by you, Majeed, or more than willing co- conspirators. Whilst those involved in unlawful betting in this country where the market is regulated, may not deserve much sympathy, and the evidence was that betting on no balls only occurred in unlawful markets, mostly abroad, where betting on cricket may not be allowed at all, the effect of what you were seeking to do was to defraud bookmakers, whether licensed or unlicensed and whether carrying out lawful or unlawful bookmaking in the country in question, where public policy may differ from this country. If other fixes were to be done on less esoteric events than no balls, such as brackets, then it is certain that they would affect lawful betting. Your motive was greed, despite the high legitimate rewards available in earnings and prize money.
3. I bear in mind that this was a sting by the News Of The World (NOTW), but that does not render your culpability any the less, once it is recognised that you were involved in discussing such activities outside the scope of the sting, as it is clear that you Majeed, Butt and Amir were. Though no cheating bets were placed by reason of the information given to the journalist, the intention was that they should be and if information was supplied to others, as it was, that could only have been for one purpose.
4. These offences, regardless of pleas, are so serious that only a sentence of imprisonment will suffice to mark the nature of the crimes and to deter any other cricketer, agent or anyone else who considers corrupt activity of this kind, with its hugely detrimental impact on the lives of many who look to find good honest entertainment and good-hearted enjoyment from following an honest, albeit professional sport.
Mazhar Majeed
5. You have pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy:
5.1. first - conspiracy corruptly to give Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammed Amir money as an inducement to identify in advance occasions during the Test Match series between Pakistan and England when they would play in a specified manner.
5.2. secondly - conspiracy to do acts to enable others to cheat at gambling by identifying those occasions to others including the NOTW journalist so that those individuals you thought were part of his betting syndicate could win money by betting on the occurrence of those events.
6. In your basis of plea, you asserted that your actions related solely to the arrangement of the bowling of no balls and that some of what you said to the journalist with regard to previous spot or match fixing was untrue and merely designed to impress him and attract his confidence. I refused to accept that basis of plea.
7. In consequence I gave you the opportunity to give evidence in a Newton hearing on these issues, but you have since accepted that your part in the conspiracy covered not just the no balls actually bowled at Lords but wider events at Lords and the Oval.
8. Whilst others have described you as a blagger and your own counsel now says, along with other defendants, that much of what you said to the Journalist is not to be believed, the fact remains that, in your meetings with him, you spoke of your involvement in spot fixing and match fixing and of the players you managed in the Pakistan team and your ability to use the three players before me in such activities, naming others also who are not before the court. You said it had been going on for years. The fact that of the £150,000 that you actually received, only £2500 in marked notes was found in Butt’s possession and £1500 in Amir’s possession, together with the evidence of payment of £13,000 into Butt’s bank account and some £23,000 into your company’s accounts, suggests that you took the lion’s share of the cash paid by the journalist, notwithstanding what, through your counsel, you have now said about its distribution. Moreover, what the court has mostly been concerned with here- the arrangement of three no balls- is only part of the corrupt activities in which you have been involved.
9. On the evidence, you were not only responsible for arranging with Salman Butt, and directly or indirectly with Amir and Asif, for the 3 specified no balls in the Lord’s test which were actually bowled, (2 on the 26th and one on the 27th August2011 but you also agreed with Salman Butt:
9.1. for Salman Butt to bat out a maiden over at the Oval test match on 21 August on the first full over that he faced that day
9.2. for a second no ball to be bowled by Amir on 26th August, when he was first to bowl round the wicket, which did not occur that day, and was then replaced by agreement that evening by the no ball actually bowled by him on the third ball of the third full over that he bowled on 27 August . You agreed this with Salman Butt and either directly or indirectly with Amir.
10. You told the journalist that you had been fixing things with the Pakistani team for about two and a half years, though your counsel now says that the suggestion of spot fixing first came up in June 2009. I can give little credence to anything said by your counsel on your instructions to this court and approach what you said to the Journalist with more than a pinch of sale, as it was sales talk to gain his confidence to part with money, of which you were short at the time.
11. What is clear however is that you were involved in fixing not only with the journalist but with others during the period covered by the Indictment. Whether or not what this court has had to consider is just the tip of an iceberg, is not for me to say and lies beyond the scope of the evidence I have heard, but, even allowing for your “sales talk” to the journalist, I am sure that there was an element of truth in what you said about past fixing.
11.1. you were paid £150,000 for information given and to be given in the future.
11.2. it was agreed that the journalist would pay you £10,000 for each no ball identified to him in advance – or at least £20,000 for 3 no balls, of which he paid £10,000. Bets could be placed on these no balls in unlawful markets, mostly abroad, based on inside advance knowledge of what was going to happen.
11.3. it was agreed that he would pay £150,000 as a deposit (of which he paid £140,000) from which you would draw down for information to be given to him in respect of brackets – the number of runs to be scored or wickets taken (or rather runs or wickets given away) in a specified number of overs and information about the scoring rate involved, on which bets could be placed, in both lawful and unlawful markets.
11.4. it is clear from the telephone schedules that you were in touch with contacts in India and Dubai and were passing on information relating to the Oval and Lord’s test matches in relation to gambling activity there. I find that this was all part of your corrupt activity because you were intent on passing the same information about fixed events to different people so they could place bets based on them in different markets- Dubai, India, and as you thought, the Far East where the journalist said his punters were involved. There is evidence of a telephone call, conducted in the presence of the journalist where there was discussion of $1m changing hands. You told the journalist that it would cost £50-80,000 to fix a bracket, £400,000 to fix a 20/20 match result, anything between £300,000-£450,000 to fix a one day international and £1m to fix a test match. The fact that you could talk in these terms to someone who was, as you thought, prepared to put up that sort of money, lends credence to your knowledge or involvement in matters of that kind and your confidence in your ability to do so for him. You were not seeking simply to con him out of money but to start a long term corrupt relationship with future exchanges of money for information given, in the same way as you must have made arrangements with your Dubai and Indian contacts. On your say-so, individuals in India were making £40,000-£50,000 on each identified no ball. On three no balls therefore the bookmakers stood to lose £150,000 on each bet by a cheating punter.
12. Your position as manager to half a dozen members of the Pakistan team and your close friendship with Salman Butt, who became the captain on July 16th 2010, meant that you and he together were in a position to influence other players in the team as you did. Whereas the defendant players present have already been the subject of an ICC arbitration and have suffered bans which significantly affect their cricket playing careers and their future earnings, which I will bear in mind when I come to sentence them, you stand alone as a non player, who decided, according to an email exchange with your brother in February 2010, to make as much money as you could from the game of cricket- by corrupting those involved.
13. I take into account everything said on your behalf and the character references produced which speak well of you as a good family man and a man who has made significant contributions to your local community.
14. You were agent of the players and to that extent were trusted by them, and obtained for them legitimate contracts of sponsorship as well as being the source of illegitimate earnings for them. It was through Salman Butt that your influence over them was largely gained and you and he were the architects of the fixing of which the court has heard, procuring the other two defendants to do what they did.
15. I give you full credit for your plea, which the Prosecution accepts was entered at the first effective opportunity.
16. I have considered the guidelines for any analogous offences such as fraud on insurers and the sums of money involved here. You, of the four defendants, gained the most from these offences-it would appear, well over £100,000, quite apart from the $1m referred to in the phone call, which may or may not ever have materialised. Notional punters stood to gain sums in excess of £150,000 from cheating when gambling on 3 no balls and more in respect of a maiden over. It is hard to assess the amounts of money of which persons might have been but were not defrauded in the gambling industry, by virtue of information given to the journalist and to say whether or not any money was made as a result of the information given to the Indian and Dubai contacts, of which there is no evidence. The extent of your gain remains unclear.
17. There is no distinction to be made in respect of the two charges you face and the sentences I impose will be concurrent sentences in respect of each, limited to the period of the indictment, but bearing in mind the fact that the journalist’ sting was not an isolated event.
18. If you had not pleaded guilty the sentence would have been 4 years on each count. In the light of your plea, the sentence on each count, to run concurrently is one of 2 years and 8 months.
Salman Butt
19. You have been convicted by the jury on two counts:
19.1. first - conspiracy to accept corrupt payments for identifying in advance occasions when 3 no balls would be bowled in the Test match at Lords on 26 and 27 August last year and procuring the bowling of those no balls by your two fast bowlers, Amir and Asif
19.2. secondly - conspiracy to do the same acts in order to enable others to cheat at gambling.
19.3. i sentence you for matters covered by the narrowed indictment alone, relating to the no balls in the Lord’s test match, but I cannot ignore the fact that these were not isolated incidents.
20. It is clear to me that you were the orchestrator of this activity, as you had to be, as Captain, in arranging for these bowlers to be bowling the overs which were identified in advance to Majeed and which he identified to the NOTW journalist. You were a natural captain, picked out as such from the age of 17 for national teams, and had the advantage of a good education. You were a man of status. As I have already said, you bear the major responsibility for the corrupt activities, along with Majeed. The evidence of the text exchange between you and Majeed in the West Indies in May 2010 shows your involvement in such activities outside the scope of the period covered by the indictment.
21. I sentence you in respect of the no balls bowled at Lords alone but bear in mind your prior agreement in respect of the maiden over at the Oval, of which telephone evidence was heard, as well as the West Indies exchanges.
22. Because of your leadership status, your direct involvement with Majeed and your key role in directing the corrupt activities, you are more culpable than either of your two bowlers.
23. I consider that you were responsible for involving Amir in the corruption – an 18 year old from a poverty stricken village background, very different to your own privileged one, who, whilst a very talented bowler, would be inclined to do what his senior players and particularly his captain told him, especially when told there was money in it for him and this was part of the common culture. For an impressionable youngster, not long in the team to stand out against the blandishments of his captain would have been hard. It appears that the corruption may have been more widespread than the defendants here before me, and may have permeated the team in earlier days, though I have seen no direct evidence of that. If that is the case, you, as Captain, perpetuated such an atmosphere of corruption and would be responsible for it and for the desire to use Majeed and his contacts to make money for yourself and others in the team.
24. In the words you used to the jury- what you did was a terrible thing- it is bad for the game of cricket, bad for the country and shows the character of the man involved. Not only were you involved but you involved others and abused your position as captain and leader in doing so, bringing to bear your considerable influence on Amir at the very least.
25. I have taken account of all the matters I referred to when sentencing Majeed and the difficulties in assessing the amounts of money of which persons might have been defrauded, as well as the gain to you from what you did, which remains unclear.
26. You do not have the advantage of a plea. You have been subjected to a ban on playing cricket for 10 years, of which 5 are suspended. You will be 31 or so, when the active part of that ban comes to an end and you will have lost some of the best years of a batsman’s life as well as the years of captaincy. Your playing career may well be at an end for all practical purposes.
27. I bear in mind all that has been said on your behalf and the domestic circumstances outlined to me. You have been very good to your family and you have now a second child, born yesterday to your wife in Pakistan. I have well in mind the financial support you have given to your family and all the other matters raised in the letters produced to the court.
28. I take fully into account the ICC ban and the effect it has on you, which in itself is a considerable punishment for a man in your position. This enables me to take a more lenient course, than I otherwise might. But for that ban, the sentence would have been of the same order as that which I would have imposed on Majeed if he had not pleaded guilty. You do not have the benefit of a plea but the effect of the ban on you is such that I can reduce the sentence I would otherwise have imposed to 30 months imprisonment.
Mohammed Asif
29. You have been convicted of the same 2 offences as your captain Salman Butt. You do not have the benefit of a plea but your culpability is less than his, both because of his key role as captain and orchestrator along with Majeed and because your participation in this conspiracy was limited to the bowling of one no ball.
30. Whilst no marked NOTW money was found in your possession, the jury have found that you conspired to accept money in the same way as your captain. You bowled a no ball in order to obtain payment and in order to assist others to cheat at gambling. If it was £10,000 for a no ball, you would have got a share of that sum, allowing for a cut for Salman Butt and Majeed. The sums of money of which others could have been defrauded, for the reasons I have already given cannot be accurately calculated.
31. There is no evidence of any prior involvement on your part in such activities but it is clear that Majeed had every confidence in you playing your part when identifying the no ball that you would bowl on the 26th August. It is hard to see how this could be an isolated occurrence for you either.
32. I sentence you in respect of your agreement to bowl that no ball, again bearing in mind all the factors I have mentioned before in sentencing today.
33. I take account of all that is said on your behalf and in particular I bear in mind the 7 year ICC ban imposed last year, of which 2 years are suspended, and its effect on your career as a fast bowler now aged 28, which means that your cricketing career is effectively over. This in itself is a considerable punishment for a man in your position. This enables me to take a more lenient course, than I otherwise might. That is the punishment imposed by the cricket authorities but these crimes of which you have been convicted require that a sentence be imposed which marks them for what they are and acts as a deterrent for any future cricketers who may be tempted.
34. In your case there will be concurrent sentences of 1 year’s imprisonment on each count.
Mohammed Amir
35. You have pleaded guilty to the same two offences as those of which Asif has been convicted. I give you full credit for that plea, which the Prosecution accepts was entered at the first real opportunity. Following the ICC arbitration in Doha, where you contested the allegations, you made it clear to the cricket authorities that you accepted your responsibility for what you had done, despite the situation in which you found yourself where, it seems, activity such as this was widespread. It took courage to do so, as appears from the information I have been given about pressures you faced.
36. You pleaded on a basis which I refused to accept - namely that your only involvement in spot fixing was at Lords on 26th and 27th August and that you only became involved as a result of pressure (not amounting to physical threats) and influence to the effect that if you did not become involved, it would have serious professional implications for your future career.
37. I therefore gave you the opportunity of a Newton hearing but you decided not to give evidence of the pressure to which your basis of plea referred. You have referred, in material presented to the court, to threats to yourself and your family, saying that there are significant limits to what you can say in public. The reality of those threats and the strength of the underworld influences who control unlawful betting abroad is shown by the supporting evidence in the bundle of documents, including materials from the Anti Corruption and Security Unit of the ICC.
38. You agreed to bowl 2 no balls on the 26th August, of which you bowled one, before the rain set in and then agreed that evening to bowl another on 27th, which you duly did. They were the largest infringements of the front foot rule seen by experienced test cricket observers. The Umpire could not have missed them.
39. I take into account all the factors I have already mentioned when sentencing Asif and all that has been said on your behalf
40. You come from a village background where life has been hard and you struggled with serious back problems to reach the peak you did when bowling for Pakistan. Compared with others, you were unsophisticated, uneducated and impressionable. You were only 18 at the time and readily leant on by others. I am clear that you bear less responsibility than your captain who influenced you in the manner to which I have earlier referred.
41. But you agreed to do this for money and £1500 of NOTW marked money was found in your possession.
42. Moreover the fact remains, that there is evidence, in the shape of texts and telephone calls with a Pakistani number of your involvement in discussions about fixing brackets at the Oval during the period of the indictment, though there is no evidence that such fixing actually occurred. That discussion did not relate to Majeed. The 2 no balls you actually bowled cannot be seen in isolation from this prior discussion.
43. I take account also of the 5 year ICC ban imposed last year, and its effect on your career as a fast bowler now aged 19, which will create problems for you in returning to play when the ban expires. That is the punishment imposed by the cricket authorities but these crimes of which you have been convicted require that a sentence be imposed which marks them for what they are and acts as a deterrent for any future cricketers who may be tempted, notwithstanding the mitigation which I have heard.
44. If you had not pleaded guilty you would have received concurrent sentences of 9 months’ imprisonment on each offence. As you did plead the sentence will be 6 months in each case.
45. Each of you will serve half the time imposed in custody and then you will be released on licence. If you breach your licence or commit any other offence, you may be brought back to serve the remainder of your sentence. Your counsel will explain the effect of this to you, if you do not understand.
46. I make no orders for compensation as I consider that the NOTW got what it bargained for when paying the £150,000 in question.
47. I order each of the defendants to make the following contributions towards the costs of the Prosecution:
47.1. Amir £9,389 - payable forthwith as it is in the possession of the police
47.2. Asif £8,120 - ditto
47.3. Butt £30,937 - ditto
47.4. Majeed £56,554 - payable within 6 months of today’s date.
48. The transcript of my sentencing remarks can be obtained from the judicial website.
49. Thanks to Counsel and Press.
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