Eoin Morgan Wallpaper!

Posted: Monday, September 27, 2010 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , ,

Best Times For English Cricket?

Posted: Saturday, September 25, 2010 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , ,

Since 1st July '09, England have only lost one series, to Australia in England (6-1). Apart from that all one-day, Tests and Twenty20 series have either been drawn or won by England. During this time, England also reached the semi-final of Champions Trophy and won their first ICC Tournament - World Twenty20 in the West Indies. England have encountered Australia, Pakistan, South Africa and Bangladesh and different teams in ICC Champions Trophy (Defeated Sri Lanka, South Africa, lost to New Zealand and Australia) and ICC World Twenty20. This summer has been amazing too. This season, England have played 29 matches and won a staggering 21 out of them and lost 7 games. England have never won so many matches in a season before. The only low was losing their first match to Bangladesh. England played 20 matches in the winter and won 12 of them, lost 6. This year, England have played 38 matches so far, winning 27 and losing 9 of them. In the last 10 years, the win/loss ratio hasn't been so good in any year.

Shah was the most impressive in the Champions Trophy and Swann and Morgan have made a lot of difference. Morgan has played a big role in some chases. England used to be crap at chasing, they are better but still win more when they defend. The bowlers are exciting. No England spinner has been as successful as Swann, now regarded as the best spinner in the world. And the fast bowlers have been doing their job very well. Hoggard, Harmison were dropped for Broad, Anderson in New Zealand. And I was very critical of playing Broad in Tests but he is good enough now. Harmison did come back, thanks to KP, but went out again. Sidebottom was great in Tests in '08 but he was dropped later. He has been the most successful in county but England have under used him and thus, he retired. What some people and ECB don't understand is that it's not necessary to play the same bowlers in all or even 2 formats. Wasn't right to bring Broad into Tests, Bresnan into Tests, Yardy in one-dayers. They realised that they need to drop Jimmy from Twenty20s, that was so right, just at the wrong time. Sidebottom and James Anderson are much better in Tests than the shorter formats. Andrew Flintoff played a big role in the start of this new era - in the Ashes '09 but he retired this month. Sidebottom retired too. The future of fast bowling is bright, with Steven Finn, Ajmal Shahzad, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Liam Plunkett, Chris Tremlett and Chris Woakes.

England vs Pakistan one-day series posts:

1st one-day: Pak's carelessness pays off as England defeat Pakistan in 1st ODI
2nd one-day: England triumph in tight clash 
3rd one-day: Pakistan win thriller to come back in the series               
4th one-day:  Superb Bowling and Razzaq Routs England, Series Levelled
5th one-day: England Drubs Pakistan to Finish Summer On A High

Other recent posts (As on 25th Sep '10): 

Tim Bresnan, Chris Tremlett, Monty Panesar picked for Ashes

Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2010 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , ,

The squad for Ashes has just been announced. It is as follows:

Andrew Strauss,  Alastair Cook,  James Anderson, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Steven Davies, Steven Finn, Eoin Morgan, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Graeme Swann, Chris Tremlett, Jonathan Trott

I don't see why Davies should play unless Prior is injured. Prior has always done well with the bat and his keeping has improved incredibly. I guess they just never want him to feel that his place his secure. His place has always been threatened. Other keepers are good too but he was doing well in one-dayers. England change their keepers often in one-dayers and thus, the openers. Chris Tremlett's selection is a bit of a surprise since he played his last Test in Aug '07 and last one-day in June '08. I like his bowling. In fact, when Broad was brought into Tests, England could give him a chance. Now, Broad is good in Tests too but Tremlett could have also excelled with support. He has only played 3 Tests (all against India) and averages 29.69. Bressie has been picked too, ahead of Shahzad, the wicket-taker. I have been frustrated by his bowling in the one-day series and he is even worse in Tests. Seems like either the staff of ECB or Flower or Strauss are good friends of him. There was doubt over who would be picked as a 2nd spinner. Monty wasn't good in Ashes 2009 and Yardy is only successful in Twenty20s. The other options were James Tredwell and Adil Rashid. It's hard to decide between these 3 but I'd have gone with Rashid or Tredwell since Monty has already disappointed me. Signing off, jimmymycrushie.

England Drubs Pakistan to Finish Summer On A High

Posted: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , ,

England won the toss and choose to bat first. England lost a few wickets and Collingwood had to go off the field because he was having a migraine. He tried to stay, the physio was called twice but it was just unbearable. I was thinking that he should go. Was struggling to concentrate so it was hard to bat well anyway. Could return when he would feel better. He was batting with Belly and Morgan and Wright were yet to bat. The worst that could happen, is England losing a one-day. It wasn't worth risking his health. Looked all right when I saw him in the balcony shortly after he had gone off. Colly came back as soon as the wicket fell. Belly always plays classy shots and usually gives his wicket away after an impressive start. But he was a bit unlucky to be bowled like that. Morgan was amazing. Loved watching him bat, like his other 80s and centuries.

Pakistan's openers smashed England all around the park in the first 9 overs (except the 4th over by Anderson and 5th by Broad). The first wicket was the most important in the match, the turnaround. Broady took it and Collingwood took a stunning catch, showing us that no matter how old he is, he is still athletic. Collingwood was the world's best fielder but his fielding has dipped down in the past few months or so. All wickets are important but breakthroughs are important because the opposition needs partnerships. Pakistan got off to a flyer and if Akmal and Hafeez would continue to hit in the same fashion for a while, the stage would be set for Pakistan to win. Akmal and Hafeez were quite upset by each other. On one occasion, Hafeez (at the running end) wanted a run but Akmal (the striker) didn't, it wasn't a run, Hafeez was sent back and Akmal was furious. A ball before Hafeez got out (the first wicket), Akmal kept standing, Hafeez was the striker and wanted a run. It's harder for the batsman to make it so I reckon Akmal wasn't right there. When Hafeez got out, he stared at Akmal, as if saying "Wouldn't have happened if we had taken that run, you increased the pressure." We saw a few other confusions while running between the Pakistani players. The 9th wicket (Ajmal) was a run out by Moggy, who was ecstatic, ran onto the field and hugged Broad tightly. Seemed like they couldn't be separated. Lol. Wright played in place of Yardy, who is ill. I wanted Yardy to go out anyway. Wright did pretty well with the ball. No need to play 5 bowlers, Colly bowls too. Not to forget, Pakistan's bowling was magnificent again in the death.

Man Of The Match: Eoin Morgan

Man Of The Series: Andrew Strauss

Hard to chase under lights and England are better at defending anyway. Before Moggy came into the side, England used to try to preserve wickets and lose wickets as soon as they would try to accelerate and usually fall short of 10-20 runs. Old school cricket. But Morgan made a difference, won England games while chasing.

Delighted to see England win. Always great to finish season or tour with a win. Morgan, Broad and Swann were the stars of the match. England couldn't have done it without these. England-Pakistan matches in England are always exciting and this tour too gave us some thrilling clashes. England will have a boot camp before their first practice match against Western Australia on November 5. They will play 2 more practice matches - against South Australia and Australia A before the 1st Ashes Test on November 25. I don't mind this long break. I think it's good for the players. The summer was very long and the Ashes is very important. Hopefully, it will be exciting and they need to be in the best state of mind before it. After a long summer, they will look forward to spending some time with their family, which is good. This tour was tough, given the allegations and other off-field controversies.

Until next time, take care. Cheers!

 Wallpapers: Jimmy and Belly Wallpaper!
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                          James Anderson Wallpaper

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Superb Bowling and Razzaq Routs England, Series Levelled

Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , ,

England went with Ian Bell, fresh from winning the trophy for Warwickshire and Paul Collingwood, who didn't play in the 3rd ODI due to a virus. Playing these guys was the right thing to do, but not in place of Luke Wright and Ravi Bopara. Bopara hadn't been bad but England had to drop him to bring in the in-form Ian Bell but Wright shouldn't have been dropped. He should have played, instead of Yardy. Ajmal Shahzad should have replaced Bresnan. These changes can still be made, since an ODI is remaining in the series, the last of the summer. Or Fall I shall say.

Pakistan won the toss and choose to bat first. Jimmy Anderson started well but failed to pick up any wicket. Bresnan wasn't too bad either but he too, couldn't take a wicket. Anderson gave only 8 runs in his first 3 overs but was taken out of the attack by Strauss. But no for too long, as he replaced Bresnan. Broady, the wicket-taker provided the breakthrough. In his last 21 games he has taken at least a wicket in all matches except for the one against Scotland. Swann took a wicket in his first over - again! And got Yousuf in his 2nd over. Swann fetched 2 more wickets to put England in a good position. But I'm not sure Fawad Alam's wicket was good for which team. He made 29 from 52 deliveries. He just tries to take a single on each delivery. And man, how many times does he succeed at that? He always fails to accelerate. Failed in the 1st Twenty20 too. Cannot say the same about the 2nd Twenty20 because Pakistan didn't even last long enough to accelerate. Coming back to yesterday's game, till the 48th over, it looked like the target wouldn't be more than 235 but Pakistan, who scored only 13 runs in their first 3 overs of batting Powerplay, smashed Anderson and Bresnan for 42 runs in 2 overs! The figures of both the bowlers were not bad until their last over.

It seemed like England should win this one, after being 77/0 in 10 overs and 107/0 in 19 overs. But as soon as Davies got out (when England were 113), it started going downhill. Trott failed to score runs, even though he tried and made 4 from 16 balls. Strauss, the top scorer (68) went soon. Bell looked promising as he lasted for just about an hour, 41 balls. But he had to hit, the required rate and the pressure were increasing. Yardy and Bresnan, England's 'all-rounders' failed. And that put all the pressure on Morgan, as he too got out, trying to hit. Bresnan has usually done well with the bat but Yardy has failed with both the bat and the ball in one-dayers. Teams are not using the batting Powerplay well. Some, like Pakistan, just don't take it and hence it is forced on them, in the last 5 overs. England should have taken it when Belly and Moggy were batting. Ian Botham always talks about this but I disagreed with him on this in the 3rd ODI, you don't always need to take the Powerplay early. When the required run rate is low, as it was in the 3rd one-dayer, you don't need to take the Powerplay. Powerplays don't just let you score runs but may also take your wickets. The bowling was fab, 7 of the 10 batsmen were bowled. Ajmal, Gul, Akhtar were all amazing.

MOM: Abdul Razzaq

I don't know how much England will consider this series in choosing the team for the next one-day after this series, which will be played in Australia after the Ashes and the Twenty20s. If they consider this series, they may drop Collingwood, which they may do in the last one-day of the on-going series too. I don't think they should do this though. In this series, they may do it to bring Wright in. In the next one, they'll need to bring KP in. None of the current batsman is bad, but Trott is a bit slow and if anyone, then he shall be dropped.

Kevin Pietersen during the 4th one day at Lord's>>>

In a shocking press statement, Ryan Sidebottom has announced his retirement from International cricket. England have not picked him in Tests in the near past and I guess, that's what encouraged Sidebottom to retire.

England play Pakistan in the last match of the summer, on September 22 at The Rose Bowl, Southampton at 13:30 GMT. Until next time, take care. Cheers!

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Everything Goes The Notts Way And Not So Surprisingly, Freddie Retires

Posted: Sunday, September 19, 2010 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , ,

In terms of one-day cricket I probably haven't played better than that. I grew up watching Warwickshire. I was lucky enough growing up when they were winning a lot of trophies. I feel very lucky to captain Warwickshire, it's something I've wanted to do for a long time - especially to lead the side out at Lord's. 

Ian Bell is overwhelmed at winning the Clydesdale Bank 40 title.

The end of the domestic English cricket season was exciting. Ian Bell, who was in the form of his life when he got injured, is showing that he is still in form. Captain Ian Bell lead the way as Warwickshire chased 200 with 6 balls remaining to win the Clydesdale Bank 40 title. It was a hell of a knock which encouraged ECB to bring Bell back to International cricket. I'm so glad this happened. The series will be more exciting now. Ian Bell is the best against Pakistan. Against Pakistan, he averages 66 in ODIs, 66.80 in Tests, a whooping 93.75 against Pakistan in Tests in England.

Nottinghamshire had to take six wickets if they would fail to reach 400 in a rain marred match against Lancashire. They were 390/9 but Ryan Sidebottom and Darren Pattinson ensured that they reach 400 and thus would have to take 3 wickets, which they did. Ryan Sidebottom and Andre Adams did the miraculous job of taking 3 wickets in 4.4 overs. Nottinghamshire's win was nothing less than a fairytale. Even on the last day, the start was delayed due to rain. Somerset's Trescothick is gutted at being 'trophyless' after being close to winning the trophy in all 3 formats.

Freddie Retires
Andrew Flintoff has bid adieu to all forms of cricket. The last time he played for England, was in the Ashes 2009. At that time, I didn't know we would never see Fred play. I was just thinking that England need him more in Tests than one-dayers and he is retiring from Tests. But I moved on, and so did the England team. England have got a good lot of fast bowlers and Freddie's batting had been declining anyway. But he was still the star, the hero. He gave us some memorable moments. He was exciting to watch, got the love and the attention. He starred in Ashes 2005 and Ashes 2009. England couldn't have done it without him. He didn't play in the only Test England lost in Ashes 2009. He was England's best bowler, unplayable at times. Stats won't tell you that. He performed when needed, when it mattered. His enthusiasm will be missed. A few months ago, I was thinking about whom he would replace in case he comes back for the one-day series against Pakistan. But during this series, I wasn't thinking about him. Last I heard, he was hoping to play Australian domestic cricket in January.

Pakistan win thriller to come back in the series

Posted: Saturday, September 18, 2010 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , ,

The gap between the 2nd and 3rd one dayer was so long that it felt like I'm watching a whole new series. Half an hour before the toss, Collingwood went for a fitness test and after having a conversation with Strauss, Flower and the team's physio, decided not to play. He is said to be suffering from a virus. But England didn't have a batsman for back-up. England had Wright (batting all-rounder who has disappointed in Internationals), Ajmal Shahzad (young fast bowler), Ryan Sidebottom (Left arm swing bowler) so it was obvious to go for Wright. Even though England are playing at home, they announced the squad for the whole series. This doesn't give players the chance to make their way into the team. The possibilities are endless. Kieswetter, Prior, Cook, Bell, Malan, KP, Shah, other keepers could replace Collingwood. The line-up for the 3rd ODI only had 4 batsman (Strauss, Trott, Bopara), a batting all-rounder (Wright), 4 bowling all-rounders (Bresnan, Swann, Broad, Yardy), a pure bowler (Anderson) and a wicketkeeper batsman (Davies). England paid the price for not playing enough pure batsman. I reckon playing 5 pure batsman, a batting all-rounder and the bowlers can contribute to batting but their bowling should be considered more than their batting while picking them.  It's good to have 2 or 3 bowlers who can contribute to batting in case you need 20-30 runs but you don't need all bowlers to be good with the bat. When wickets tumble, usually they all do. There are some all-rounders in cricket who take 1 wicket, score 20-30 runs and that is not good enough. Despite long batting, England failed to score 242. It was evident that England had gone with weak batting.

England don't need to play Yardy and Bresnan has never looked better than the ones sitting out. Yardy's bowling average in the series is 44.66 with an economy rate of 6.09. James Anderson has been superb in the series but he doesn't always take a wicket in his first spell and that's where Shahzad can be useful (he just needs to improve his catching, otherwise he fits the bill). Shahzad must replace Bresnan. Bresnan did pick 3 wickets but mostly luckily. The ball on which he bowled Kamran Akmal, was going down the leg side but just flicked the thigh pad and went to the stumps. I liked Atherton's remark when the ball went for four in Wright's first over,
Anderson couldn't get there. And if he couldn't, no one could.

England have got some brilliant fielders. Yardy must be the worst, followed by Swann I guess. Swann is good in the slips though. Umar Akmal kept the wickets as bro Kamran got injured. He did well I think. Afridi brought in the drama, by being run-out off his own bat. He was looking at Swann when Swann threw it and still he was just walking and as he was putting his bat down, the ball hit his bat and went on to hit the stumps. He was casual, he didn't even know England were gonna appeal. Lol.

Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul (thanks to his 6/42 in this match) are the leading wicket-takers of the series followed by Jimmy, Bressie and Broady. Jimmy has been amazing in all 3 matches and has the best economy rate (3.34) out of everyone who has bowled in this series. Shoaib Akhtar is the 2nd best in the economy rate (4.61). I must say he has surprised me by bowling beautifully. When I saw him in the squad at the start of the series, I thought Pakistan are clinging on to the past and Akhtar's career is over. He has been hit by controversies, drugs and bad fitness, or else he would have been far better.

Superb Deliveries Of The Day
Quite a few stupefying deliveries were bowled in this match. The first by Jimmy Anderson, to fetch the wicket of Mohammad Hafeez. Akhtar bowled an unplayable one to remove Trott. And Umar Gul produced some dumbfounding deliveries, notably the ones which sent the stumps flying out of the ground.

Hats off to Wright for trying so hard. Apart from his debut, ICC World Twenty20, this was his best batting display. He believed in Anderson, rightly so. You have to believe in tail-enders because it's really hard to score all the runs all by yourself. And even if you are a far better batsman, you can still get out. It's also important to believe in the tail-enders to improve their batting. I almost couldn't believe when Anderson was bowled, I thought the match would go closer than that. Jimmy needs to learn some leg-side shots. Straussy, Morgan and Wright were the only ones who got going.

England look to wrap up the series at Lord's, London on September 20 at 12:00 GMT. Watch out for it! Cheers!

England triumph in tight clash

Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , ,

 Pakistan won the toss and choose to bat first. Jimmy Anderson and Bresnan started the bowling. As Bresnan was leaking runs from one end, Anderson kept it tight. One way of taking a wicket is to create pressure from both ends so that the batsmen get frustrated and try to hit.  The first 6 overs went like this - 6 runs - 4 runs - 9 runs - maiden - 12 runs - 2 runs. After this, Broady replaced Bressie. Jimmy Anderson gave only 18 runs in his 6 overs before he was taken out of the attack, impressive. But his  fielding wasn't so impressive. England failed to break the opening partnership until Collingwood came to bowl and that must be a bad decision by the umpire. But that didn't stop Pakistan, they continued to flourish. Pakistan lost their 2nd wicket in the 26th over and 3rd wicket in the 39th over. Pakistan took the batting Powerplay at the end of over 44, just to tell England they are not afraid. They lost 2 wickets in the 45th over. Umar Akmal struck Broad for three boundaries in a row but Broad proved that he is not someone to target as he got Akmal on the very next ball, back of a length delivery, thin edge to Davies, just like the Yousuf dismissal. England and especially Broad conceded some runs but got the wickets as well. Broad finished with 4/81 in 10 overs, the most wickets but that's just too many runs. Jimmy (1/36 in 10 overs) had the best economy rate followed by Swann (1/43 in 10 overs). Bresnan (1/53 in 9 overs) and Yardy (0/43 in 6 overs) struggled. Wickets are so important and yet Strauss had only one slip till over 6 and no slips after that! Pakistan set up a very good target of 295 and I had my doubts over England winning this match unless Morgan or Collingwood get going.

But Strauss was the main man in this chase. Strauss and Trott shared a partnership of 146 runs. Trott was a bit slow as usual but that was needed. A big parnership makes it easier to chase big totals. Davies smashed a quick 26 in 21 balls. When Trott and Strauss were batting, it seemed like England would win it easily but England made it exciting by losing a 2 wickets. Colly and Moggie only scored about as many runs as they did in the 1st ODI. Bopara went for 16 off 13 on the 1st ball of the 49th over. At this stage, England needed 13 from 11 deliveries. The next ball was a wide and Bressie struck a boundary on the 3rd ball of the over. At the end of over 49, England needed 6 from 6 deliveries. And Umar Gul lost steam and bowled a wide after the 1st ball. Bresnan hit a 4 on the 2nd ball and this was enough, single on the next ball to finish it off. England must have enjoyed winning this one day much more than the Twenty20s and the 1st one day.

I don't regard Bresnan as anywhere close to being one of England's best bowlers. I know that he bowls better than I'm a fan of his bowling and not as good with the bat as much as I like his batting. Broad is better as a first change bowler but not when England play Bresnan. No idea why they play him. Why not give Shahzad/ Sidebottom/ Wright a chance?  England were not good in the field except about the last 10 overs. I don't think I've seen them field so badly in the past few years.

 The gap between 2nd One-day and the 3rd is too long. The 3rd One-day will be played on September 17 at the Oval at 12:00 GMT.

Sorry for posting late about this match. I've not been at peace in the past few days. One reason being waking up late. I like doing more serious work in the morn.

Pak's carelessness pays off as England defeat Pakistan in 1st ODI

Posted: Saturday, September 11, 2010 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , ,

England vs Pakistan 1st ODI: 10 September
Although I enjoyed the Twenty20s, some people complained that they were both one-sided games. Well, how many of England's Twenty20 matches this year have not been one-sided? And are those people happy now that Pakistan, didn't still beat England but at least lost by only 24 runs? Well, at least I'm happy.

The match was reduced to 41 over per side due to rain. Pakistan batted first in both the Twenty20s, losing the toss in the 1st Twenty20 and winning the toss in the 2nd. This time they won the toss and decided to field first. They played far better than the Twenty20s but that wasn't enough. None of the England batsmen disappointed with the openers getting to a flying start. Steven Davies blossomed the most. Strauss smashed the ball all around the park (41, three 4s, two 6s). Trott played almost till the end and did a good job by scoring 69. Collingwood came out to bat in the 25th over and when he needed to press on, he did, struck a boundary and a six before getting out in the batting powerplay. Morgan hit 2 boundaries (13 off 11). Bopara was innovative and magnificent in his 35* off 27 hitting 3 sixes! Perfect finishing. England finished with 274/6 which was better than scoring 300 in 50 overs since this was a 41 over game. Pakistan were rather casual in the field, as usual. Their giraffe, Mohammad Irfan, 7'11" debuted in this match and had to dive to pick up balls while fielding in the out field. And later, he suffered from cramps and went out of the field after bowling 3 balls in his 6th over. This led to a funny moment as Afridi, who bowled the rest of the Irfan's over, came to bowl the last over the innings but the umpires denied him saying that his those 3 deliveries will be counted as an over. Lol.

Pakistan were not that bad with the bat. Kamran Akmal actually managed to score 53 runs and Pakistan lost their first wicket (Hafeez) at 62. Anderson and Bresnan failed to get an early breakthrough. Though there was a close lbw shout off Anderson's delivery, which the hawk-eye suggested as hitting the stumps. And yet, even if the review system was in use, it would have stayed with the umpire's decision since only half the ball was hitting the stumps. The spinners got the first 3 wickets. Bresnan gave away runs but fetched Alam's wicket. Nothing special in the delivery, Alam just failed to hit boundaries, as he did in the 1st Twenty20 too. Umar Akmal provided some entertainment and hope for the Pakistan fans (43 off 33) but the hopes faded as he tried a paddle-scoop but sent it straight to Davies' hands off Broad. Afridi tried not to lose his wicket, scoring 19 off 25 but he had to hit boundaries as the required rate was soaring high. He gave a catch to Swann in Anderson's over (38th over), the ball went high but not too far. Pakistan's new batsman, Asad Shafiq, playing his 2nd ODI, came out to bat at No.7. He provided last hopes of Pakistan winning as he struck Timothy Bresnan for 4 boundaries in a row! At this time I was thinking, I've always wanted Bresnan out of the team and this time he may actually make England pay for choosing him. But his show wasn't going to last any longer as Yardy bowled him in the next over. Smart. Umar Gul tried his best, hit a six but later hit it straight to Moggie, the birthday boy, now 24, on a slower ball bowled by Jimmy Anderson. I wonder if umpires will have to change their thinking for Mohammad Irfan regarding lbw, his pads were as tall as the stumps. Stevie D bagged the Man Of The Match award in his 2nd ODI. Good day for England.

The 2nd One Day is on September 12, Sunday at 09:15 GMT at Leeds. Come back here for the interesting bits of the 2nd ODI. Bye for now!

The worst Twenty20?

Posted: Thursday, September 9, 2010 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , , ,

Kevin Pietersen has opted to play for KwaZulu-Natal in October as the county season ends on September 18. Pietersen used to play for them before making his way into the Nottinghamshire team and later to the England team. He has expressed his desire to play as much cricket as possible before Ashes. And South Africa will provide the ideal preparation for it. But he won't be paid for it. Owais Shah, who was in form when he was dropped from the England side after last year's Champions Trophy, will play for Cape Cobras after being released by Middlesex.

Referring to my post, I'm with KP, are you?, I would like to say that even though most people don't agree with me, I stand by my opinions. Pietersen was not performing but I think that Twenty20 and one-day would have been ideal to bring him back to form. To those who think Pietersen did not deserve a place in the side, he couldn't have been worse than Bopara and before the 2nd Twenty20, I'd have said Kieswetter too. The Tests are a lot different, they really test you, put you under pressure. I understand that ECB dropped him to let him play county cricket for a while and also because England are beating Pakistan easily. None of Pakistan's Tests have been drawn in recent times, given their inexperienced batsman and inconsistency. Twenty20 and one-day does provide them a chance to finish the tour with satisfaction because it's easier to win in shorter formats.

England vs Pakistan 2nd Twenty20: 7 September
But that hasn't happened on this tour yet as Pakistan lost another Twenty20 without causing any trouble. From the first ball to the last, it never seemed like Pakistan has any chance of winning. They made one change to their side, bringing in Mohammad Hafeez in the place of Wahab Riaz. Bizarre. How many batsmen do they need for a 20 over game? Their opposition, England played 5 bowlers in both the matches and they played Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal along with Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez and Razzaq. The exciting thing in the match was Umar Akmal vs Graeme Swann. On the 4th ball of the 9th over, the first ball which Swann bowled to Akmal, he hit it for a six! In Swann's next over, (11th over) Hafeez faced the first ball, on the 2nd ball, Akmal again hit it for a six. But this wasn't going to last long as Swanny, the cunning witch, bowled him on the very next delivery. Dumbfounding. And this was it, Pakistan were left struggling at 44/5 and England never looked back. Pakistan were bowled out for 89. England bowlers shared the wickets with Sidebottom, Broad, Swann taking 2 wickets each, Bresnan 3 and Yardy being superb again conceding only 10 runs off his 4 overs.

I had criticised him in my last post but Kieswetter looked impressive but was ran out by Umar Akmal. I wouldn't give Akmal much credit, Kieswetter shouldn't have tried to take a sneaky single. There is not much to talk about England's batting. Collingwood didn't score much but still top scored with 21 and Morgan and Yardy finished it. David Lloyd has regarded this Twenty20 as the worst Twenty20 match he has ever seen. There wasn't much crowd but I think I have seen a worse Twenty20, England vs West Indies on England tour of West Indies last year. It seemed like England played only for formality. No fun.

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                       Astonishment at its best, daring ECB drops Kevin Pietersen

World Twenty20 Champions beat Pakistan effortlessly

Posted: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , , , ,

England vs Pakistan 1st Twenty 20: 5 September
Amid all the controversies, a week after a 4 Test series, England took the field against Pakistan, who were without Amir, Asif and Butt. It took me a while to start enjoying the game. Not because of the match fixing but only because I had got accustomed to watching them in whites. I started enjoying when Swann came to bowl, in the 7th over and the fun did not end there. Swann took 2 wickets in his first 2 overs. What Twenty20 brings is Collingwood and athletic fielding. Have always loved the way Colly captains the side. Uses the bowlers well and doesn't put much pressure on anyone. He is never tensed himself and inspires with his scintillating fielding. On the other hand, there were quite a few changes to the Pakistan side which played at Lord's. Shahzaib Hasan (the centurian against Somerset), Fawad Alam (scored 97 against Somerset on Thursday), Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul replaced Imran Farhat, Yasir Hameed, Salman Butt, Azhar Ali, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif. Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Irfan will join the team for ODIs. England went with their strategy of ICC World Twenty and dropped James Anderson. Broad is a fiery bowler in Twenty20 and ODIs so it was obvious to pick him. Swann has been very successful in all formats and looks promising. So it comes down to Jimmy, Shahzad, Sidebottom, Bresnan if Yardy plays as he did on Sunday, rightly so. Jimmy and Sidebottom are both swing bowlers but Jimmy goes for some runs. I remember Collingwood used to do an excellent job in using Jimmy. When Jimmy would go for some runs, he would take Jimmy out of the attack and bring him back when the pressure would be on the opposition in both Twenty20 and ODIs. Anderson is better than Bresnan but Bresnan isn't too bad in Twenty20 and One-day since he is economical. Shahzad, Anderson, Sidebottom, Broad, Swann are all wicket-takers so it helps to have Yardy and Bresnan along with them. I think England also consider Bresnan's batting but in Twenty20 bowlers can't do much with the bat. Even Afridi (No.6) couldn't do much as he went for 16* and Razzaq kept waiting. You don't need 10 batsman for 20 overs, hard to score when wickets fall anyway.

England won the match rather easily with Morgan top scoring with 38* and Yardy doing well with 35*. Davies batted brilliantly for his 33. The guy looks nice and calm and he is good behind the stumps too. Kieswetter shouldn't have been playing in International cricket now. He needs a break from the pressure of the Internationals and must go back to Somerset. Shoaib Akhtar bowled pretty well, didn't look fit though. He was tired after bowling 3 overs. Surprisingly, England dropped a few catches. They were good in stopping the boundaries but Bresnan and Wright dropped one catch each. Broad dropped a difficult chance off his own bowling so he cannot be blamed for that.

Match fixing
There has been too much talk on this issue. Former cricketers, cricketers who still play, everybody has been commenting on this issue. Media, bloggers and websites have been busy covering it. They got news. But I reckon there are better things to do. The fans should rather concentrate on cricket. The last thing I read was Vettori calling for a life ban. The last notable thing I read was Pakistan’s high commissioner in London Wajid Hasan saying that he sensed a conspiracy in ICC’s decision to suspend the players. He said the players had opted out of the rest of the tour and ECB chairman Giles Clarke was happy with it. He said that after ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat and ICC president Sharad Pawar talked, they prepared a 5 page notice, handed it to the players and they were suspended. Now, we don't know what the truth is here but I did hear about the players opting out before hearing about the suspension. I don't like Sharad Pawar, don't know which fools wanted him as president. Remember, he is the one who was pushed off the stage by Ponting. I wonder if anyone involved with ECB or any former player can be pushed off the stage. Pawar got no respect.

Wouldn't be wrong if Pakistan is banned from cricket, their own players like Yaseer Hameed and Rashid Latif are speaking out against their team mates. Some suggesting that "they do it in every match". PCB are still trying to save the players though. Gross. I don't wish to talk about this issue anymore. I am, therefore, burying this topic.

Twitter Tirade
Meanwhile, Kevin Pietersen and Dimitri Mascarenhas have both been fined by ECB and Hampshire respectively. I don't think there was a need to fine KP since he already apologised for it. Mascarenhas has also apologised now. Take a look at his tweet:
Chairman of selectors came to Liverpool and didn't even come and say hi.. what a p****.. Doesn't take much to say hello does it?

England vs Pakistan 2nd Twenty20: 7 September
Fielding has been a big difference between these two sides over the years. On Sunday, Pakistan's fielding was as usual, say, bad, that's the least I can say about it. England did a good job in ground fielding but were unlike themselves when the catches came. Kieswetter will play as the only ones who missed out on Sunday were fast bowlers Ajmal Shahzad and James Anderson. There is a long time for the next Twenty20 (after the Ashes) so Kieswetter will go and play for Somerset for a while anyway. Since they dropped KP and Ian Bell will play for Warwickshire before returning to International cricket, the only option in my view was to play Prior as a batsman, wouldn't have been a bad idea. Pakistan's batsmen could not score enough runs even though they only lost 4 wickets so Afridi and Razzaq must move up the order.

England take on Pakistan at 17:00 GMT tonight. Cheers!

I'm with KP, are you?

Posted: Saturday, September 4, 2010 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , ,

ECB didn't needed to drop Kevin Pietersen. He knew he wasn't performing and he was trying. If they wanted him to get some time in the middle, he could play for Surrey while England would play Twenty20 Internationals against Pakistan and return to the team for the ODIs but even that wasn't needed in my view. After all, he is Kevin Pietersen, the guy who reached 1000 one-day runs in just 21 matches, holding the world record with Viv Richards. He is 2nd in the list of batsmen scoring most runs in first 25 Tests, only behind Don Bradman. He was among the heroes of Ashes 2005. But dropping him would still work. ECB is preparing him for the Ashes. Somehow, they thought dropping Cook will not work but dropping KP would bring out the best in him. They wanted Cook to prosper and come back to form while playing for England and KP to score some runs in county cricket before the Ashes. KP has been treated differently also because he had feuds with Hampshire and Surrey signed him on a loan after taking permission from Hampshire. He needs a permanent county. If everything goes well for him this season, Surrey will probably sign him for a few years. And if he wouldn't be dropped, Surrey's money would go waste. ECB have been criticised for the tight England schedule, which doesn't let England players to play for their county teams.

The way people have reacted to Pietersen's twitter goof up is disheartening. It was just one tweet about him being dropped and being signed by Surrey. He didn't tweet against any player/coach or ECB. He just got angry at being dropped. Is that something a player cannot say? When Jimmy was dropped earlier this year, he didn't tweet about it but commented in the media that "first he was rested, then dropped. Hats off to the selectors." The only blunder here was that he tweeted before ECB announced the squad officially. But he deleted the tweet and later apologised for it.

In the first 3 days of the 4th Test, I was thinking about what I'll post after the series, stats, pictures, the ones who blossomed and the failures and perhaps even a video compilation. But posting these after the series would mean nothing since people were left talking about how match fixing has affected cricket over the years, how it should be stopped and later about KP being dropped. Some sent him tweets saying that ECB have done the right thing since he was not performing, others abused ECB and told KP, they are with him.

Astonishment at its best, daring ECB drops Kevin Pietersen

Posted: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Yep..Done for rest of summer!! Man of the World Cup T20 and dropped from the T20 side too..Its a f**k up!! Surrey have signed me for 1 ..
 Kevin Pietersen shows his frustration at being dropped via Twitter, a while before the squad was officially announced

Pakistan may amaze us by banning their players, doing drugs, indulging in match/spot fixing and more but ECB and English cricketers are not too far behind. The big difference is that the jolts given by ECB and English cricketers are not disgraceful or unethical. Regarded as one of the best batsman by many, Kevin Peter Pietersen has been dropped. Yes, dropped. And the ECB did not even play safe by using the word 'rested' here. While cricket fans were still absorbing the spot-fixing scandal, ECB took a bold decision. England cricket fans can now take their minds off the spot-fixing. ECB has hit KP's ego, similar to what South Africa did, when they overlooked him and preferred Graeme Smith because of the racial quota system. KP will probably hit a few centuries and point the bat to Geoff Miller if he comes to watch KP play for Surrey.

Though I find his Twitter revelation very funny. Since when do cricketers need social networking/micro-blogging websites to take on selectors? He deleted the tweet in a few minutes but that doesn't change anything. There is a need to put some hold on this. Let me remind you that it's been 10 days since England cricketers were banned from using twitter and facebook while on England duty. The coaches, the selectors and Andrew Strauss do not support using twitter but the cricketers just don't learn. Andrew Strauss' captaincy has not impressed me much but he is a good one, for he dislikes twitter and Twenty20 and yet called Marcus Trescothick to ask him to play for England in the ICC World Twenty20 even though Strauss wasn't playing himself!

Another bit of bewilderment was provided by not calling Matt Prior back to the one-day side. Craig Kieswetter has been dropped from the one-day side but not the Twenty20 side. Steven Davies has been picked for both of the formats and will keep the wickets in both. Matt Prior, 28 year old, has been in great form and averages 42.13 in Tests and 25.38 in ODIs. Steven Davies is 24 and has only played an ODI (Oct '09) and a Twenty20 International (Mar '09) for England. Prior has more potential and I expect him to prosper in one day cricket as well.

Ian Bell, recovering from a foot injury, will play for Warwickshire against Nottinghamshire on Saturday, September 4. I missed Bell in the Test series and will miss him in the Twenty20s and ODIs too. He smacked Pakistan's bowlers all over the ground when Pakistan last toured England in 2006. Belly loves to play against Pakistan and would have made the series more interesting.

Middlesex provided the last bit of shock by releasing star batsman Owais Shah. Shah was in form, scoring more than any England player when he was dropped from the England side and now he has been ditched by Middlesex and in search of a county team. Absurdly, Eoin Morgan, who now plays in all formats for England, has been retained by Middlesex. Don't know their criteria of contracting a player but it's very different from mine.

One of the best England bowlers, Ryan Sidebottom is all set to leave Nottinghamshire. Sidebottom had commented a while ago that he wanted to end his career with Nottinghamshire but Notts have a policy of not offering more than a 2 year contract for a 32 year old player. But they have offered Sidebottom a performance based 3 year contract in addition to an unconditional two years but Sidebottom stated that this is the last contract he will sign so he wants a longer contract for the best interest of his family. Sidey does not expect England to renew his central contract since they rarely pick him for Tests. He will be welcomed by fans and counties with open arms since he is the most performing bowler in the county circuit. He is likely to join Lancashire, Hampshire, Somerset or Surrey. He will join the England team for the Twenty20 and ODI series against Pakistan.

Twenty20 squad Paul Collingwood (capt), James Anderson,Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Steven Davies, Craig Kieswetter, Eoin Morgan, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright, Michael Yardy. 

One-day squad Andrew Strauss (capt), James Anderson, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Steven Davies, Eoin Morgan, Ajmal Shahzad, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott, Luke Wright, Michael Yardy.

I'll try to absorb all the shocks till Sunday (spot fixing, KP dropped, Prior still not picked, Shah released). I was not a serious cricket fan until Feb 2006 so I read about all the match fixing which has taken place over the years on Sunday and Monday. Earlier, I had just heard about Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja (not sure about Jadeja) being banned, Shane Warne indulging in match fixing, Hansie Cronje being questioned in India, Pakistan fixing the 1999 World Cup final. But obviously, it did not affect me at that time and I didn't know that it had been going on such a large scale. I had not expected cricketers to be so unethical. No idea what people are going to do with so much money and why some cricketers don't care about their team or country pride. Signing off, jimmymycrushie.

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