Monday, 31 October 2011

Warriors, Bulls battle for top spot

 Liam Davis

Western Australian skipper Marcus North doesn't believe the air-traffic chaos that almost saw the Sheffield Shield clash between the Warriors and Bulls postponed by a day, will have any effect on WA's preparation for this match.
The top-of-the-table clash between Western Australia and Queensland was originally put back 24 hours to Wednesday after the Qantas grounding on the weekend saw the Bulls stranded in Brisbane.
But when former Queensland Cricket sponsor Strategic Airlines stepped up to fly the Bulls to Perth, the game shifted back to its original start date.
North, though, said the unusual changes wouldn't make any difference to his side.
"Yesterday I had the day off so I was just chilling with the family, and got the odd text through saying it's on Wednesday, then back on Tuesday," North said.
"Our preparation was always to train today ... so it's not going to distract us."
"Obviously Queensland have had a bit of an issue with their travel, so they will probably feel a lot more than certainly we have."
The Bulls and Warriors, two states who have under-performed over recent seasons, find themselves in the unlikely top-two positions on the Sheffield Shield table heading into this encounter.
Queensland have been particularly impressive, the Bulls utterly destroying reigning Shield champions Tasmania by an innings and 28 runs in their last Shield encounter as Ryan Harris produced a devastating 6-70.
With a maximum 12 points from their opening two matches, Queensland find themselves four points ahead of WA, who came within one wicket last Friday of also having a perfect record, as South Australia's last two batsmen held on for a draw in a rain-affected clash at Adelaide Oval.
The Warriors will have the opportunity, though, to leapfrog the Bulls into top spot if they can take first-innings and maximum points in this encounter.
However, as has often been the case with the Warriors, the good has been mixed with the bad, as WA have lost both their games in the Ryobi Cup competition.
And, it's this inconsistency of form that means North certainly isn't taking this recent Shield hot streak for granted.
"We're playing some good cricket in that format and hopefully we can continue on against Queensland this week," he said.
"It's been good because it's not just the same blokes performing in the four-day format."
"There's guys putting their hand up throughout the first two games. The batters seem to be in form and the bowlers are certainly doing their work as well."
"As an all-around performance we're doing okay."
"But we don't want to get ahead of ourselves, we've got about three games in three weeks, so after that we'll have a good understanding of exactly where we stand."

Sunday, 30 October 2011

England beat India by 6 wickets in T20 match

I had to beg coach to get T20 berth: Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen struck a rollicking 53 as England salvaged some pride on an otherwise dismal Indian tour with a comprehensive six-wicket victory over the hosts in the lone Twenty20 International. Pietersen, who missed the visitors' last ODI here because of a fractured left thumb, returned in style with a match-winning knock that came off 39 balls as England chased down India's modest 121-run target with eight balls to spare. After being dropped on one by Suresh Raina, Pietersen hit five boundaries and three sixes en route his quickfire innings as the reigning T20 champions proved their supremacy in the shortest format of the game. Samit Patel was the second-best run-maker for England with a 25-ball 21, while Ravi Bopara remained unbeaten on 14.

Indian Captain M S Dhoni congratulates England's Kevin Pieterson after England won the T20 Match at Eden Garden in Kolkata on Saturday. Photo: PTI
Earlier, India produced an ordinary batting performance to be restricted to 120 for nine. India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's decision to bat first at a slowish Eden Gardens pitch backfired as barring Suresh Raina (39) and the skipper (21) himself, no other batsmen could post a challenge before the determined English attack. Virat Kolhi and Manoj Tiwary made identical 15 and towards the end R Ashwin (17) played a short-little cameo to help the home team's cause.

Right-arm pacer Steven Finn, who impressed in the just-concluded ODI series, was the pick of the English bowlers with figures of three for 22, while Tim Bresnan (2/19) and part-timer Ravi Bopara (2/16) gave him the perfect support from the other end. England, however, did not have the best of the starts while chasing against an all-spin Indian attack. Ashwin and Pathan managed to hold the England openers but it was left-arm spinner Jadeja who gave the first breakthrough removing Kieswetter for 12 to give some ray of hope to the Indians. England could have been further trouble if not for otherwise an agile Raina, who dropped Pietersen in the next over with the star batsman on one. Three Indian fielders chased for Pietersen's top-edge that came from Ashwin's bowling and in the end Raina went for
it, only to put it down, in what appeared to be the turning point of the match. Pathan dismissed the other opener Alex Hales (11) but Pietersen grew in stature, unperturbed of what's happening around him. After a cautious start, Pietersen opened up with some good blows against Pathan as he stitched a decisive third wicket 60-run partnership with Samit Patel.

The duo completed 50 runs together from 36 balls as the target looked within reach. Pietersen completed his half-century from 34 balls with three sixes and five boundaries before he was adjudged leg before wicket to Raina, 15 runs short of the target. But from there on victory was just a formality as Bopara and Jonny Bairstow (2 not out) ensured that there was no further damage and gave England its first win in the tour. Earlier, India witnessed a disastrous start losing both the openers cheaply.

Having waited in the sidelines for more than three years, Robin Uthappa's comeback match turned out to be a nightmare as, sent in as a opener, he could manage only one. Uthappa's opening partner, Ajinkya Rahane, who shone with the bat in England as well as in the ODI series at home, too did not last long and fell for a duck. Uthappa was caught unaware by a rising Bresnan delivery, while Mumbai youngster Rahane disappointed with a poor shot selection against Finn as both were dismissed caught behind. In need of a partnership with the scorecard reading five for two, in-form Kohli looked in fine nick as he began the repair work with vice-captain Raina.

Kohli, who was the Indian top-scorer in the ODI series against England, looked in an ominous mood before Bresnan cut short his innings, brilliantly caught by a running Hales. But Raina in debutant Tiwary's company then started to resurrect the Indian innings with a 40-run fourth wicket stand before the former was cleaned up by left-arm spinner Patel. Finn then removed Raina and scalped Jadeja in two successive leave tottering at 74 for six. India once again banked on Dhoni to marshal the sinking ship, but the captain became a mute spectator when Bopara took two wickets in the form of Pathan (10) and Praveen to add to the home team's misery. At 91 for eight, India looked in danger of being bowled inside 100, but R Ashwin (17) played a nice cameo in Dhoni's company to take the score to the 120-mark.

Robin Uthappa c Kieswetter b Bresnan 1, Ajinkya Rahane c Kieswetter b Finn 0, Virat Kohli c Hales b Bresnan 15, Suresh Raina c Bairstow b Finn 39, Manoj Tiwary b Patel 15, M S Dhoni run out (Dernbach) 21, Ravindra Jadeja b Finn 0, Yusuf Pathan b Bopara 10, Praveen Kumar b Bopara 0, R Ashwin not out 17
Extras (LB 1, W 1) 2
Total (for 9 wickets in 20 overs) 120
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-5, 3-26, 4-66, 5-74, 6-74, 7-91, 8-91, 9-120
Bowling: Steven Finn 4-0-22-3, Tim Bresnan 4-1-19-2, Jade Dernbach 4-0-26-0, Samit Patel 3-0-13-1, Graeme Swann 2-0-23-0, Ravi Bopara 3-1-16-2.

Alex Hales c Rahane b Pathan 11, Craig Kieswetter c Tiwary b Jadeja 12, Kevin Pietersen lbw b Raina 53, Samit Patel c Tiwary b Kohli 21, Ravi Bopara not out 14, Jonny Bairstow not out 2
Extras (B 1, LB 3, W 4) 8
Total (for 4 wickets in 18.4 overs) 121
Fall of wickets: 1-21, 2-40, 3-100, 4-106
Bowling: R Ashwin 4-0-20-0, Yusuf Pathan 3-0-34-1, Ravindra Jadeja 4-1-9-1, Praveen Kumar 1-0-13-0, R Vinay Kumar 2-0-19-0, Virat Kohli 2.4-0-13-1, Suresh Raina 2-0-9-1.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Sri Lanka skittled in Dubai

Gul and Ajmal do the damage as Sri Lanka slump to 239 all out

 Image text here

 Sri Lanka failed to make the most of ideal batting conditions as Pakistan's bowlers enjoyed another dominant day by dismissing their opponents on day one of the second Test in Dubai.
Seamer Umar Gul (3-78) blew the top order away with an impressive new ball burst and Saeed Ajmal (3-45) left the tail-enders spinning as Sri Lanka were dismissed for 239 after winning the toss.
Sri Lanka's plight would have been much worse had it not been for a spirited 75-run wicket partnership for the ninth wicket between Chanaka Welegedara (48) and Rangana Herath (29), however the tourists were still skittled in 79 overs.
That left Pakistan opening duo Mohammad Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar a tricky nine-over spell to negotiate before the close, a job did they did without alarm, adding 42 runs in the process.


After the first Test ended in stalemate in Abu Dhabi, Sri Lanka gained an early advantage when captain Tillakaratne Dilshan called correctly at the toss and opted to make first use of a flat track at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
But Gul, bowling accurately with a hint of assistance off the pitch, produced a superb opening burst to leave Sri Lanka struggling at 78-5 heading into lunch.
First, the right-arm paceman angled one back into Lahiru Thirimanne (one) to win an lbw verdict and then had Tharanga Paranavitana (six) caught at slip after a loose shot.
When a fine outswinger drew Mahela Jayawardene into an edge which gave skipper Misbah-ul-Haq his second catch at slip, Sri Lanka were 30-3.
And Misbah was soon in the action again as Sri Lanka captain Dilshan flashed loosely at a short ball from Junaid Khan to leave his side 45-4.
Kumar Sangakkara, who scored a match-saving 211 in the first Test, had watched the chaos unfold and finally received a semblance of support from Angelo Mathews in a stand of 28 for the fifth wicket.
But the all-rounder became Junaid's second victim in the final over before lunch after edging to keeper Adnan Ahmed.
With Prasanna Jayawardene, whose second-innings 120 also played a vital role in saving a draw in Abu Dhabi, absent with a groin injury, it was left to Test debutant Kaushal Silva to help Sangakkara rebuild in a partnership of 54 either side of tea.
Sangakkara reached his half-century by pulling Gul for his eighth boundary, and swiftly added a ninth.
But, after Gul and Junaid's heroics in the morning session, it was the turn of spinners Abdur Rehman and Ajmal to step up. The former dismissed Silva for 20, trapped leg before after missing a sweep.
Dhammika Prasad showed patience and responsibility but departed for seven when Ajmal trimmed his outside edge and Akmal took the catch.
And worse was to follow from the next ball as Sangakkara lofted the first delivery of Rehman's over down Asad Shafiq's throat at long-on to end a classy innings of 78, from 122 balls and featuring 11 fours.
Herath and Welegedara negotiated the nine overs until tea - thanks largely to a dropped catch by Younis Khan with the former on nought - and took calculated risks thereafter as Sri Lanka passed 200.
The partnership was worth 75 when Herath edged Ajmal to slip and Younis made amends with a comfortable catch.
Rehman appeared to have wrapped things up in the next over when, after being heaved for six by Welegedara, he had Suranga Lakmal caught by Azhar Ali at silly point, but the bowler had overstepped.
Welegedara, whose previous Test best was 11, was on 48 when Lakmal was reprieved, but he spurned the opportunity for a maiden international half-century when he was stumped off the bowling of Ajmal without adding another run.
It meant Sri Lanka had recovered from 73-5 and 154-8 to post a total of 239, with a short session remaining to bowl at the Pakistan openers.
But Hafeez (18 not out) and Taufeeq (20no) showed the way to bat in the short spell before stumps, both men finding the rope on three occasions to leave Pakistan in control heading into day two.

Katich, Rohrer save Blues

Steve Orme at the SCG, Sportal

Simon Katich
Simon Katich
The Sheffield Shield clash between New South Wales and Victoria has ended in a draw after former Test opener Simon Katich and Ben Rohrer struck match-saving centuries on day four at the SCG.
Starting the day at 2-51, still trailing Victoria's first-innings total by 175 runs, the Blues lost debutants Scott Henry (31) and Tim Cruickshank (45) in the first hour to be staring down the barrel of outright defeat.
But Katich (110) and Rohrer (114) came to the rescue with a timely 216-run fifth-wicket stand to guide the hosts to safety and deny the Bushrangers maximum points.
Moises Henriques (38 not out) and Peter Nevill (43) added a further 75 runs to add to the Bushrangers' frustrations before the match was abandoned when the Blues declared at 7-433 at 5.31pm.
First innings destroyer Jade Herrick (2-111) took both wickets in the opening session to take his match tally to seven scalps and finish the pick of the bowlers, while Jon Holland (3-118) toiled manfully for the visitors.
The Bushrangers collected first-innings points after scoring 427 in response to NSW's 201.
But the final day belonged to Katich and Rohrer.
Katich was the dominant partner as both lefties reached their half-centuries before lunch, however Rohrer (114) won the race to triple figures midway through the middle session with a deflection to the third-man boundary off Andrew McDonald (0-33).
The 30-year-old's fourth first-class century lasted 144 deliveries and consisted of 13 boundaries.
Katich's sublime 110 was a master-class in batting under pressure.
He brought up his 52nd first-class ton with a full-blooded cut-shot off Clint McKay (1-60).
The discarded Test opener struck 14 boundaries in his chanceless four-hour knock to send a timely reminder to new full-time national selector John Inverarity.
Rohrer departed two deliveries after his partner reached triple figures when he edged McKay straight to David Hussey at first slip.
Katich continued to dominate the bowling before playing his only loose shot of the day.
He swiped a ball from well outside off stump to Hussey who took a sharp overhead catch on the run at mid on to give Holland his second scalp of the innings.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Gul gets going

He can take wickets and he can give the batsmen lip. What's not to love?

 Umar Gul steams in, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Dubai, 1st day, October 26, 2011

Choice of game
I'd always wanted to watch the opening day of a Test match, and with Pakistan's second Test against Sri Lanka being held in Dubai, where I live and work, I took the day off and made sure I was there.
Team supported
As a Pakistani, it was only natural for me to be supporting Pakistan. I hoped they would get to bowl first because I believed that was my best chance to see some exciting cricket. Dilshan won the toss, elected to bat, and the Pakistan bowling line-up duly delivered.
Key performer
Umar Gul, without a doubt. He shook the Sri Lankan top order with three wickets in his first five overs. His sensational new-ball spell set the tone for the rest of the innings, and though he took no further wickets, the damage had already been done. He also dispelled any doubts about his match fitness by bowling close to 20 overs in the day
One thing I'd have changed
I would have picked a third seamer for Pakistan. The choice to include two specialist spinners, Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman, might end up being vindicated, but today, with the conditions offering some assistance to the seamers and Sri Lanka at 73 for 5, Pakistan really missed the pace and energy that Aizaz Cheema or Wahab Riaz would have offered them.
Interplay I enjoyed
The 65th over of play was an absolute cracker. It was after tea and Sri Lanka's ninth-wicket partnership was beginning to frustrate Pakistan. Misbah-ul-Haq had just replaced Ajmal with Rehman, and Junaid Khan looked like he was warming up to replace Gul, who walked up to Misbah and requested one more over.
Gul's first ball to Herath hit him on the pads, and the fielders and the crowd went up in an almighty appeal, which was turned down. Gul turned around and gave Herath a earful. The crowd, loving the aggression, turned the noise up even further; Gul, seemingly spurred on by the crowd, kept the verbal barrage going. Herath's strike partner, Chanaka Welegedara, came up and had a word, only to get his own share of abuse. As Gul finally returned to the top of his mark, the crowd could sense the battle in the middle was heating up. Herath took a single off the next ball, bringing Welegedara on strike to face some fiery short-pitched stuff. The first delivery was, incredibly, hooked for six, and the remaining ones safely if not utterly convincingly negotiated. It would be the last over Gul would bowl in the day. He had quite clearly given it his all and the crowd let him know his efforts were appreciated.
Wow moment
Pakistan's catching in the morning stood out for its assuredness. After the catching in the second innings of the Abu Dhabi Test, it was remarkable to see the first four catching opportunities offered today being comfortably snapped up. Unfortunately Pakistan soon reverted to type: Sangakkara was dropped by Taufeeq Umar before he had reached 30, and Herath by Younis Khan off the first ball he faced.
Shot of the day
Although there was some brilliant strokeplay all around the wicket from Sangakkara, the shot of the day had to be Welegedara's pull shot off Junaid Khan right before tea. It was positively thumped for four, and the crack literally reverberated around the stadium. The fact that it came completely against the run of play with Pakistan well on top and Junaid in the middle of another probing spell from around the wicket made it even more remarkable.
Banner of the day
The only ones I saw were the ones I was holding up! Despite my best efforts I remained unsuccessful in catching the cameraman's eye with a "Who needs Amir and Asif when you have Junaid and Gul" poster, and one offering some freelance consultancy to the PCB.
Marks out of 10
An 8. I do wish more people had turned up to watch than the few hundred in attendance. There were moments when the crowd really got into the game. Had it been 10,000 people making noise rather than a few hundred, it would have made for a truly memorable experience.
The day lived up to all that I had hoped for and I thoroughly enjoyed the cricket. I especially loved the ebbs and flows through the day and the battles within the game that seem to be a luxury afforded only to the longest format of cricket.
A very well-informed British gentleman of Pakistani origin was next to me in the stands. He was here especially for the Test match. As he took his seat, Junaid had just bowled the first ball of the 12th over from over the wicket to Dilshan and had had a leg before-appeal turned down. "He needs to go around the wicket if he wants to take a wicket," my new neighbour said. The very next ball Junaid went around the wicket, and with the last ball of the over, bowling from around the wicket, he dismissed Dilshan.
Osama Siddiqui is a 26-year-old from Karachi. He currently resides in Dubai and works for HSBC Amanah. An absolute sports nut since the time he learned to turn on the TV, cricket is one of his passions. Although he never quite had what it takes to become a professional sportsman, he never stops dreaming. His goals include coaching at the school level and continuing to dream about life as a sportsman.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Printer Friendly Version Email this Page Small Text Large Text Print this page | Return to site India complete England ODI whitewash

Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja
India have completed a series whitewash after beating England by 95 runs in the fifth ODI at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Having set the visitors a target of 272 thanks to an unbeaten 75 from skipper MS Dhoni, England looked on course for an upset win as openers Alastair Cook (60 off 61) and Craig Kieswetter (63 off 64) put on 129 in 20.2 overs.
But after Varun Aaron (1-19) sent back Cook, the spinners took over as England capitulated to 176 all out in 37 overs, losing 10 wickets for 47 runs in 16.4 overs.
Ravindra Jadeja was the pick of the Indian spinners claiming 4-33 in eight overs with R Ashwin taking 3-28 in nine and part-timers Manoj Tiwary and Suresh Raina claimed one each.
Apart from Cook and Kieswetter, Samit Patel (18) Graeme Swann (10) was the only other batsmen to reach double figures.
Cook was a touch unfortunate to head back to the pavilion as an Aaron delivery kept low and crashed into the stumps.
Kieswetter, Ian Bell (2) and Jonathan Trott (5) fell in the next three overs as England found themselves tottering at 137 for 4 with Jadeja scalping two wickets.
Jonny Bairstow's (2) struggle against spin continued as he was dismissed in the 26th over and the match was all but over when Ravi Bopara (4) fell leaving England at 6-155.
With the pitch offering a lot of turn and bounce, Tim Bresnan (0), Patel, Stuart Meaker (1) and Steve Finn (2) also fell in quick succession to hand India the whitewash.
Earlier, a middle order collapse undid the good work of the Indian openers after they were put in to bat.
Ajinkya Rahane (42 off 61) and Gautam Gambhir (38 off 46) took India to 80 for no loss in the 18th over before quick wickets from Finn (2-47) reduced the hosts to 4-123 in the 28th.
However, runs from Dhoni, Raina (38 off 46) and Ravindra Jadeja (21 off 21) took India to a challenging total.
The two teams will now face-off in a lone T20 encounter in Kolkata on Saturday.

Five-star Herrick makes his mark

 Jayde Herrick

Victoria paceman Jayde Herrick had only seen the SCG on television before this week's Sheffield Shield match against NSW - but it's proved love at first sight after his five-wicket haul put the visitors in complete charge.
The bald-headed paceman, who sports a Dennis Lillee-style headband, star-shaped tattoos and a ring through his lip, took a career-best 5-79 to help dismiss the Blues for a paltry 201.
The Bushrangers are 2-131 in reply at the end of day two.
"I'd never been here (the SCG) until the other day to train before the game, so to get out there and get a few wickets, I'm very happy with that," Herrick said at stumps.
"I didn't think the pitch actually played too bad. It was a little bit slow, it had a little bit of moisture in it and a bit of grass and if you bowled in the right areas you gave yourself a chance."
"I just think we batted really well and showed the pitch is in reasonable nick."
NSW all-rounder Moises Henriques, who top scored with 68 and picked up a wicket late in the day, is still optimistic the Blues can salvage something from the match.
"We've got to toil hard. The ball's started doing different kinds of tricks and we've got to try and get the reverse swing happening and see what we can do," he said.
"We've got to try and use different tactics."
"At times we gave them a couple too many four balls."
"They've got some attacking batsmen at the top of the order and they certainly took the game to us."
"I thought they batted quite well."
Former Test opener Chris Rogers (67) and David Hussey (7) will resume Victoria's push for first innings points when day three begins on Thursday.
The first two days have been affected by rain but if the weather holds for the remainder of the match, an outright result is assured.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

ICC Test, ODI and Twenty20 Championships Ranking

ICC Test Championship As on : 20-Sep-2011  
S# Team Matches Points Rating 

1. England 37 4634 125

2. South Africa 21 2469 118

3. India 37 4336 117

4. Australia 31 3224 104

5. Sri Lanka 27 2786 103

6. Pakistan 24 2245 94

7. West Indies 23 2039 89

8. New Zealand 19 1485 78

9. Zimbabwe 2 106 53

10. Bangladesh 12 94 8

ICC ODI Championship As on : 23-Oct-2011  
S# Team Matches Points Rating 

1. Australia 32 4124 129

2. Sri Lanka 28 3327 119

3. South Africa 21 2458 117

4. India 38 4446 117

5. England 34 3639 107

6. Pakistan 29 2931 101

7. New Zealand 24 2173 91

8. West Indies 22 1711 78

9. Bangladesh 29 1836 63

10. Zimbabwe 29 1268 44

11. Ireland 12 492 41

12. Netherlands 7 37 5

13. Kenya 5 0 0

ICC T20 Championship As on : 24-Oct-2011  
S# Team Matches Points Rating 

1. England 18 1273 127

2. Sri Lanka 17 1009 126

3. New Zealand 19 1056 117

4. South Africa 16 900 113

5. India 12 558 112

6. Australia 21 1223 111

7. Pakistan 24 1164 97

8. West Indies 16 711 97

9. Afghanistan 8 224 75

10. Zimbabwe 11 376 54
Note: Bangladesh, Netherlands, Kenya, Ireland, Canada and Scotland will have to play eight T20Is before they will have a ranking. The table reflects all T20Is played since August 2009.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Watson tipped to play

23 October, 2011
Shane Watson
Shane Watson
Injury-doubt Shane Watson will play in the second one-day international against South Africa, according to Australia captain Michael Clarke.
Watson picked up a hip problem during the second Twenty20 international in Johannesburg last week and missed Australia's victory in the first ODI on Wednesday.
But the all-rounder's absence from the last match in Centurion was largely precautionary, with two remaining ODIs and two Test matches still to come in the tour.
"I'm confident with how Shane trained yesterday and that he'll be fine to go," Clarke said ahead of Sunday's clash in Port Elizabeth.
Shaun Marsh remains in doubt due to a shoulder injury, but will be allowed as much time as possible to prove his fitness.
If both men are deemed to be available, Australia will have four players capable of opening the batting, after David Warner and former skipper Ricky Ponting filled the top spots for the win at SuperSport Park.
"It's not a bad problem to have," Clarke said.
"We will wait and see what happens with Shaun today and with Shane. We'll see how he pulls up and we will work out what the best XI is in these conditions. We need to make sure we assess them correctly."
South Africa's former ODI captain Graeme Smith is under the spotlight in the series after failing to make so much as a half century from his last 13 international innings in all forms of the game.
As another senior player to have struggled for form in recent years, Clarke can sympathise with Smith's situation, but believes the 30-year-old remains a threat to Australia.
"There's certainly going to be a time in this series when Graeme will make runs," Clarke said. "He is a good player and his statistics certainly show that."
"He has been a very good captain and a very good player so I don't know why he copped so much criticism."
"In regards to playing against him, I respect him."

Michael Clarke's Profile

Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke (23)
Born: April 2, 1981
State: New South Wales
Right-hand bat
Slow left-arm orthodox
Test cap number: 389
One-day cap number: 149
2010-11 was a rollercoaster ride for Michael Clarke.

The season began with victories over Pakistan and New Zealand and ended with losses to India in India and the Ashes at home. To cap it off, Clarke made his debut as Test captain in the final match of the Vodafone Ashes series at the SCG, becoming Australia’s 43rd long-form leader.

Clarke has taken over the reins in both Test and one-day cricket following the ICC World Cup, where Australia bowed out in the quarter-finals.

The Australian team has a tough season ahead and Clarke will need to manage not only his men but his own form in order to have success against Sri Lanka and South Africa away for a tough summer at home and then a tour to the West Indies early next year.

Clarke is more focused than ever to perform for Australia, undergoing a gruelling 11 day personal training camp in Coffs Harbour to get his mind and body right for the long season ahead.

Centre of Excellence Class: 2000
COE Scholar: 156
Where you played junior cricket: Milo Have A Go cricket at Woodlands Park Youth Club, then Western Suburbs
Heroes growing up: Michael Jordan
Favourite Ashes moment: Winning 5-0 in 2006-07
Sportsperson you’d like to be for a day: Mark Webber
Actor who’d play you in a movie: Russell Crowe
Music you listen to before a game: Whatever’s on the radio top 40
Cricket Cares: Life Education Australia
Batting / Fielding

Twenty20 Int342854886721.22103.1701130
Aus One-day dom38355105710135.2371.8117110
Aus Twenty20 dom-----------

Twenty20 Int3415622561/21/237.508.6526.000
Aus One-day dom38402284153/203/2018.934.2426.800
Aus Twenty20 dom-----------

Bookie Majeed approached me, claims Afridi

Shahid Afridi

Karachi, Oct 22: Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has revealed that alleged bookmaker Mazhar Majeed, who is at the centre of a spot-fixing scandal since last year, approached him and tried to befriend him several times in the past.

"He made several attempts to get friendly and close to me. But every time he tried to do this I ticked him off with some straight talk," Afridi said.

The seasoned all-rounder said he had never trusted Majeed, who although based in the United Kingdom, worked as agent for some Pakistani players, three of whom, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer have been banned by ICC for their role in spot-fixing and also face further penalties in a crown court trial, which is going on in London.

Majeed has confessed to the crown court about trying to defraud bookmakers and cheat and indulge in corruption by doing spot-fixing with the help of the banned trio during the fourth Test between Pakistan and England last year at Lords.

Afridi said the entire spot-fixing episode badly damaged the image and reputation of Pakistan cricket.

The flamboyant all-rounder, who recently announced he was available for national selection again after observing a forced retirement in protest against policies of the Pakistan Cricket Board, also said that he had forewarned the team management in England to be careful about Majeed's link with players.

Afridi said he was looking forward to making a comeback to the Pakistan team soon and was training hard.

"I have made myself available for national selection again because of the enormous pressure on me from my supporters, fans, friends and family who wanted me to play for Pakistan again," he said on a show in Geo News.

"Obviously there will be pressure on me to perform when I come back but I am confident because of the great support I have got from everyone in the last few months," he added.


Saturday, 22 October 2011

New PCB chief Ashraf to take charge from Monday

LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board's new chairman Zaka Ashraf will take charge from Monday after being released from his position as the head of a state-owned Agricultural Development Bank this week.
Sources close to Ashraf said now that he has been released from his duties as bank head he would start attending to his PCB portfolio from Monday.
"He will finally sit in the Board from Monday although it has been a week since the government issued the notification confirming his appointment as PCB chief," one source said.
The source indicated that Ashraf, who is also an active member of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and also a successful businessman, was not very happy with the fact that no one from the Board had tried to contact him or get in touch with him.
"Zaka is very particular about protocol and he is disappointed that anybody from the board until now has not tried to contact him to find out when he will take charge," the source added.
Sources in the board said that some aides of Ashraf from the bank had paid unofficial visits to the PCB offices at the Gaddafi stadium and the National Stadium in Karachi to have a look at the offices of the chairman.
The biggest challenge facing Ashraf is the issue of discarded senior players as not only has Shahid Afridi taken back his retirement but the Sindh high court has also reserved its judgement on the petition filed by Danish Kaneria against the PCB's refusal to consider him for international selection.
"In the case of Danish, the court should announce its decision within two or three days time around the same time Zaka Ashraf takes charge," one source noted.
Ashraf's predecessor, Ijaz Butt kept the players on a tight leash unwilling to make any compromises over discipline for them and this led to constant tussles between the PCB and senior players.
A source close to Ashraf said the new PCB chief was the sort of man who didn't like controversies and getting involved in them. "He is very particular about protocol and about his image in the media," the source added.

Friday, 21 October 2011

India v England: MS Dhoni fires broadside at counterpart Alastair Cook over pitch behaviour in Mohali

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has questioned England's fractious behaviour among themselves and towards their hosts during three successive losses over the past week.

India v England: MS Dhoni fires broadside at counterpart Alastair Cook over pitch behaviour
Telling the story: Tim Bresnan rues an overthrow in Mohali and vents his anger Photo: GETTY IMAGES
England will be playing only for pride, and maybe International Cricket Council rankings points in the final two matches in Mumbai and Kolkata, after their five-wicket defeat in Mohali.
After India had wrapped up this five-match one-day international series early, with an unassailable 3-0 scoreline, Dhoni made it clear he wants England to quell their behaviour on the pitch.
Several England players earned rebuke from the umpires in Monday's eight-wicket defeat in Delhi, yet have vowed to continue with a policy they believe may knock India "out of their comfort zone".
He said: "I think their strategy is not working. That's what's happening right now. It's not only about 'giving it' to the opposition. You have to be fair.
"If our players are saying something to the opposition - which happens at times - I don't want them to get really personal or say things that are not within the guidelines.
"A bit of chit-chat is fine, because that makes the game interesting. You don't always want a friendly series, as long as things don't get too personal.
"But I think they should change the plan for the next two games."
England skipper Alastair Cook previously declared himself at ease with his team's readiness to 'challenge' the opposition verbally.
But he was simply looking for answers to how England can make sure they avoid a 5-0 whitewash.

"We prepared as well as we could have prepared, but just haven't quite delivered," he said.
"But we've got two more games to go and need to pick ourselves up when we've already lost the series. That is the challenge.

"You saw the desperation out there to try to win, and we've got to keep that desperation for the next two games."
Meanwhile, injured fast bowler Umesh Yadav has been ruled out for India's last two one-dayers against England and will be replaced by seamer Abhimanyu Mithun.
Yadav hurt the webbing of his left hand while fielding in Mohali.

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