Aussies out to regain top spot- Clarke

Posted: Friday, October 26, 2012 by Celia in Labels: , ,

Australia captain Michael Clarke has set his sights high ahead of a gruelling year of test cricket for his side. "I make no bones about the Australian team getting back on top," Clarke said, with his team currently lying in third in the test rankings.

Clarke, who took over from Ricky Ponting as the Australian test captain in early 2011, faces a tough challenge in trying to revive the glory years of the early 2000’s and go into the upcoming series with South Africa as underdogs.

But Clarke feels that their recent home demolition of India should stand his young test side in good stead. "We started well against India and we are wanting to build on that," Clarke said. "It is a really exciting time for this young side."

Where in the past the Australian side could rely on stand out individual performances from the likes of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, Clarke knows that his side will need to work together to get back to the top of the test rankings and he is confident that his team have the determination to succeed. "I can guarantee you it certainly won't be lack of work ethic that lets the Australian cricket team down" Clarke said.

Australia are currently behind South Africa and England in the test rankings and they will face both of these sides in the next year. Clarke knows that these series could define his time as captain of his country so he is keen to ensure that his team take care of the Proteas before worrying about the Ashes; "It's a really exciting 12-15 months, as big a time that I will have in my career” Clarke said.

"We have some really tough opposition in South Africa, the number one side in Test cricket, coming to Australia very soon and our main focus is on that," he added.
Australia’s first Test against South Africa begins in Brisbane on 9th November and if Michael Clarke can inspire his side to defy the cricket betting odds, then they could well take their first step towards regaining top spot.


Flintoff believes KP saga can be forgotten

Posted: Friday, October 19, 2012 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , ,

Former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff believes that the Kevin Pietersen saga will be forgotten about if the Three Lions do well in their upcoming tour of India.

Pietersen was recalled to the England set-up on Thursday afternoon after being left out of the initial squad to tour India last month after sending ‘provocative’ texts to members of the South African team during the recent Test series between the two sides.

Now though, after a few months of uncertainty, the 32-year-old will be involved for his country in the winter’s action and now Flintoff thinks this Test series will be key in whether the situation is forgotten about or not. He said: "I'm sure there'll be a few words in the dressing room, in certain ears, to make sure it's a smooth transition going back in. But in a few months' time, if we start performing well in India, this will be forgotten." Flintoff then added: "What tends to happen is that when a team's doing well, everyone talks about the team spirit, togetherness and how everyone gets on. It's tested when you don't perform. When you start having a few bad results, little groups form in the dressing room and people start talking, and that's when it can happen."

Many people know that with Pietersen in the England side, they are a stronger outfit and he certainly does increase the chances of a victory in India. Experienced players are just what new captain Alistair Cook needs in these kinds of tough conditions and Pietersen’s quality with the bat and ability to play spin could be key to the team’s hopes. With Ian Bell likely to return home at some point of the series for the birth of his child, it does make the South African born player all the more important to the number two side in the world.

It is going to be a long and tough tour for England, but one they are capable of winning. Whether you will be watching every ball of this series, or keeping an eye on it whilst playing some Classic Fruit Machine Games, it looks to be a thriller and hangs right in the balance.


Will we see the same KP?

Posted: by Celia in Labels: , , , , , ,

So, after months of awkward talks and a bizarrely named period of ‘reintegration’, Kevin Pietersen is back in the England squad.

His route back into the international fold has not been straight forward, and has only really been possible due to a number of grovelling apologies.

Pietersen clearly has been made to jump through some hoops to get his place back and reflect on the damage his over-inflated ego has had on the squad.

But it is that ego that is also the 32-year-old’s greatest strength. Pietersen thrives on his status as a superstar cricketer. With the crowd behind him and the cameras pointed in his direction, he flourishes.

He is one of the game’s most devastating batsmen, capable of turning a game in his side’s favour within a few overs.

Of course, that huge ego needs massaging and has to be carefully managed. That has not been the case in recent months, with his expulsion from the squad the all too inevitable outcome. But in welcoming a remorseful KP back to the fold, have they taken away his greatest weapon?

Like players who need to be angry in order to play well, Pietersen needs that supreme confidence and belief that he is better than anyone else in order to operate. If he is going to stride out into the middle conscious of his place within the team, will his natural free-flowing game be hampered?

It is clear that England need Pietersen in India, one of the toughest countries to play cricket against. But the whole messy process over the last few months may have come at a price, something which can only be assessed when KP strides out into the middle in Mumbai next month.


Performance equals power: Kevin Pietersen beats ECB

Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2012 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , ,

Kevin Pietersen doesn't lead the life of a movie star but he sure lives in a movie. There has been no shortage of drama from him and the ECB over his future international career. Things finally seem to be going Kevin's way as he was welcomed warmly everyday in the TV studio of ESPN if not in the England dressing room. He offered his charm as well as witty remarks. He fitted well among the experienced commentators and showed that he is almost as entertaining off-field as he is on-field. Just like his switch hit, the gangnam style dance he performed won't be forgotten any time soon.

Early this month, he signed a contract with the England board. They say, both sides are at a loss in a war as both lose their men, resources and peace. It's no different in this battle. Both the ECB and Kevin Pietersen must have done a lot of thinking as the changing scenario kept them on their feet. Neither could guess the next move of the enemy. But, to me it seems KP enjoyed it all. One day, his heart spoke of being 100% committed to playing for England. But, the ECB wasn't satisfied, they asked for more apologies and explanation. They are never satisfied with anything if you ask me. Why else do they keep picking new players every month? Anyway, the next day his ego growled that lions don't bow to anyone. So, he didn't explain further and later accused Swann, Broad and Anderson of bitching behind his back. A few of the English players said they can win without KP. But, KP wasn't concerned, he always knew they were jealous of him. Plus, it wasn't going to take along for them to be proved wrong. Actions speak louder than words but England's inaction in the ICC World Twenty20 without KP spoke the loudest.

No wonder, Flower commented KP is on his way back into the English side a day after the tournament. Whether that was meant to distract us from England's dismal performance or to shut those who think England must bring KP back, it was a welcome statement. And no wonder now England Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad wants to have a beer with KP, the English team could worship KP if that's what he demanded to come back to the side. England have learned that you can't throw your top performers because of your so-called values. We don't need to get serious though folks, the ECB, KP and Stuart Broad never do. It's just a game they love to play. They don't want to make cricket boring by winning all the matches and making all the right choices.


Australia primed for cricketing comeback

Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 by Celia in Labels: , , , ,

Cricket Australia has continued its resurgence under new captaincy after George Bailey’s side cruised into the ICC World Twenty20 semi-finals on Tuesday, upsetting the world rankings in the process.

The Australia cricket betting considered them as outsiders for the tournament at its outset, but they have now shot up to sixth in the world rankings following their exploits in Sri Lanka.

Yet in beating India and South Africa earlier in the group, Bailey and co. proved they have what it takes to raise to the top of short-form cricket once again.

They now face West Indies again, looking to equal their final appearance two years ago. Punters who bet on cricket are even lumping their money on a Australian World Cup triumph, as they finally look to be taking the format seriously.

All this success comes in contrast with England, who crashed out of the tournament following humbling defeats to Sri Lanka and West Indies. While Bailey’s men were preparing to notch up the 112 needed to secure progression to the semi-finals, Stuart Broad’s side limped to an uninspiring 15-run defeat to the Windies in Pallekele.

The defending champions are already home while Australia look to win the title they almost lifted in 2010. The Aussies look resurgent under Bailey and with Test captain Michael Clarke in the middle of reforming his side ahead of a busy year to come, suddenly Australia strike the pose of future world dominators once again.

While Australia rise, England continue their fall and their T20 humiliation comes after a difficult summer of cricket where Alastair Cook’s Test squad lost their number one spot to South Africa

Although not expected to win the World T20, the fact that Australia are in the semi-finals proves they have turned a new leaf. This success – matched with a reformed Test side that will welcome South Africa this November – could propel Australia back to cricketing fruition in time for back-to-back Ashes series next summer.

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The batting
Crazy, crazy stuff from England. We could not guess it was the semi-final of a world cup if we didn't already know. England gave Luke Wright a go at the opening position, which is a laudable decision as Kieswetter wasn't doing his job. But, to send Bairstow at No.3 was a blunder. He is a finisher and a new member of the team. One of the openers can be so, but No.3 is a position where you need solidity. Samit Patel at No.4 wasn't a bad move though, because Bopara is not in form and Buttler is yet to prove his worth. Though in a big tournament like this, you shouldn't be experimenting with the likes of Bopara and Buttler.

The dictator: Stuart Broad brings his electric aura to the side.
The captain who loves to give surprises
The whole team was an experiment. Some were new, others not in form. I wouldn't blame Bairstow or Hales. The easiest way to make new players uncomfortable is to send them at positions they are not suited for and shoving all the responsibility on their shoulders. The ball before Bairstow got out, Hales and him were involved in a terrible mix attempting a run. And on the next ball, Hales got out as well. It takes time for batsmen to gain an understanding of each other and form partnerships. At least someone experienced like Morgan could be sent at No.3 to support Hales. It did work in the previous game when Wright came at 3 and Morgan at 4. There was no need for these crazy experiments. Broad reminded me he is the same man who couldn't hit the stumps from a two feet distance against Netherlands in the ICC World Twenty20 at home.

The bowler who doesn't get tired of performing
Steven Finn was once again impressive. His progress and consistency is something I'm very pleased with. England would benefit a great deal if they play him regularly in all 3 formats. Only Watson, Balaji, Starc and Mendis have taken more wickets than him in this tournament. And Yuvraj Singh has taken as many as him. Yuvraj and Finn have the best economy rate among these. Finn has also bowled the most dot balls in this tournament so far.

The bowler who doesn't get tired of being smacked
I was stunned to see Jade Dernbach back in the side. Only Raza Hasan, James Franklin, Shapoor Zadran, Chris Gayle, Zaheer Khan and Shahid Afridi have taken less wickets than him. And all of these, except Afridi have bowled less overs than him. He has the worst economy rate of 9.83 among all 38 bowlers in this tournament. And only 8 have a poorer strike rate. Only Cummins and Afridi have a worse bowling average. I don't think I need to say anything more on this.

The players who are exchanging roles
Also, Patel went for 27 in his two overs and Bopara for 12, England need to take note. As we have seen lately, Bopara no longer performs with the bat but he does perform with the ball. And as Samit Patel impressed with the bat, might we say they should swap their roles?

The all-rounder
If there was any man in the English side who looked like an all-rounder, it was Graeme Swann. He not only took 2-26 in 4 overs but also struck 34 off 20 in a tense situation. This is something he always does. Bats with a good strike rate, never wastes deliveries and stays calm under pressure. His strike rate in Tests is 80, in one-day it's 90 and 117 in Twenty20. His bowling averages in all formats are better than James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan. This man must be given an award.

The end
That's all I have to say about England's ousting in ICC World Twenty20 2012. We can only hope they'll learn their lessons. Until then, we can only make fun of them and enjoy the drama caused by Kevin Pietersen and everyone's comments on him. Thanks for reading. Good day!

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