Archive for September, 2008

Swann, Prior and Shah make england test squad

England named their 15 man test team to tour India for Two tests today. The headline selections of the team is the call up for Matt Prior, Graeme Swann and Owais Shah. Prior joins keeper Tim Ambrose in the squad and will be keen to make an impression in the 7 match ODI series before the test series. Both keepers have been given an increment central contract and between them will be vying for the Test spot. Matt Prior has had a good domestic summer scoring 931 runs at 51.72, including three 100s and seven 50s. His good form earned him a recall to the ODI team and if he makes an impression in the ODI series leading up to the test series, he could get the keeper position. Tim Ambrose showed a sign of form with 1 hundred and a 50 in 10 innings for Warwickshire at 47, however, Prior is no doubt the better batsmen. James Foster’s form looks to have been ignored again, even though he has had his best season, and was the best keeper this season.


Graeme Swann will provide the second spin bowling option to Monty Panesar, beating off competition form Adil Rashid and Samit Patel. His inclusion is down to the fact that he spins the ball the opposite way to Monty Panesar.

“The inclusion of Graeme Swann as off spinner provides us with a right-arm/left-arm slow bowling combination which we believe can be effective in India”

-Geoff Miller


Swann also brings with him the experience which could be vital in India and also is a handy lower order batsmen. His inclusion in the team would mean that either England drop a bowler or a batter from the side that played the final test against South Africa. Stuart Broad, who has struggled for test wickets, and either Collingwood or Strauss look likeliest to miss out in the starting XI. Swann has token 30 first class wickets compared to 62 Adil Rashid wickets, however, Rashid’s lack of experience counts against him.


The most difficult decision to be made was who occupies the final batting spot in the squad left vacant by Vaughan’s omission. Owais Shah was selected ahead of the unlucky Ravi Bopara. His selection in the team is mainly down to the fact that he is thought to be a better player of spin and can also bowl occasional spin.


“He played a superb innings in India on his Test debut two years ago,”

“It’s a further opportunity for him to build on his success with the one-day side this year and his inclusion in the squad will create real competition for places within the batting unit.”

  Geoff Miller


The cricket writer’s young player of the year Ravi Bopara will be disappointed to miss out having a better first class record for the season. Bopara has scored 1162 runs at an average of 64.55 including 4 100s and 6 50s. Owais Shah’s stats however show he has scored 894 runs at an average of 42.57 with 3 100s and 5 50s. The stats call for an Bopara inclusion but Shah has been assisted by his experience of playing a test in India last time. He also bowls useful spin picking up 1 wicket compared to Bopara’s 25 in this season’s division two. Ravi Bopara was selected in the 12 man test team for the final test against South Africa but since Pietersen’s reign as captain he has been demoted and has only featured in one game, which Pietersen admitted was just until Collingwood had returned.

Bopara on merit deserves a chance to improve his modest test average as his county form indicates. His experience of 3 tests against Sri Lanka will also be of assistance but he has been left out of both the senior and performance squads.



England squad: Kevin Pietersen (capt), Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Tim Ambrose (wk), Matt Prior (wk), Stuart Broad, Steve Harmison, James Anderson, Monty Panesar, Ryan Sidebottom, Owais Shah, Graeme Swann.


England Performance Programme squad: Tim Bresnan, Mark Davies, Steven Davies, Joe Denly, Robbie Joseph, Robert Key, Amjad Khan, Sajid Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan, Stephen Moore, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Ollie Rayner, Jonathan Trott


September 29, 2008 at 12:32 pm Leave a comment

Durham secure County Championship title

Durham secured their maiden county championship title in an exciting final day of the season. Coming in to the final round of games Nott’s looked favourites but were denied by a excellent recovery by Hampshire who ended up finishing 3rd. Hampshire frustrated Nottinghamshire and set them 441 at a rate of 6 an over to take the title. In reply Notts could only muster 238 from 53 overs leaving them to lose by a massive 203 runs. While at Chester-le street Durham defeated Kent by an innings and 71 runs to condemn Kent to division two cricket and to take the title themselves. Durham only needed 16 overs on the final day to wrap up the title, with Thorp taking a career best 7-88. The trophy ceremony will be held at Chester Le street at 5pm on Monday.


Elsewhere. Somerset ended the season in a disappointing note, losing to Lancashire by 8 wickets to destroy their title hopes. Yorkshire and Sussex played out a draw to ensure that both survived at the expense of Kent, who joined Surrey in relegation to division two. The Division two title was taken by Warwickshire who defeated Glamorgan on the final day after they claimed the points required to overtake Worcestershire.

September 29, 2008 at 9:09 am Leave a comment

A look at the career of Darren Gough

Darren Gough announced in May his retirement from first class cricket at the close of the season. On Monday he announced his decision not to include himself for Yorkshire’s must win game against Sussex. His decision means he misses a match which could if Yorkshire lose condemn them to division two cricket next year. His final appearance came against Somerset in front of his home crowd, where he was applauded of the pitch.

He will be remembered by England fans as being the countries leading ODI wicket taker. In 159 matches he took 235 ODI wickets. His England test career included being the 12th bowler to take a hat trick dismissing Australia’s Ian Healy, Stuart MacGill and Colin Miller in 1999. His England test career came to a close in 2003 at Lord’s against South Africa. He continued his ODI career for a further three years.

He spent most of his first class career at Yorkshire but enjoyed a short stint at Essex. He will be remembered among Yorkshire fans after guiding them to the County Championship during his rein.

His retirement is a big loss to English Cricket as he was a fiery bowler on the pitch, enjoying many duels and a character off the pitch, positively affecting the careers of those around him. 





























































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September 23, 2008 at 11:18 am Leave a comment

Reports: Neil Dexter joins Middlesex

Reports are suggesting that departing Kent batsmen Neil Dexter has signed for Middlesex. The South African born batsmen has struggled to hold down a regular place in the team this season. He had recently turned down a three year deal form Kent stating that he feels that he feels that “a fresh start at a new county will give me greater opportunity to establish myself as a first team player in all forms of the game”

September 18, 2008 at 11:34 am 1 comment

Ravi Bopara takes Young Cricket of the Year award

Ravi bopara was named the as the Young Cricketer of the Year by the Cricket Writers’ club. The England and Essex allrounder, 23, beat off competition from other contenders: Stuart Broad, Joe Denly and Liam Dawson for the award.

The Annual award is given to an England qualified player who must be under 23 on May 1 of the season. Ravi Bopara was beaten to the award in 2007 by Yorkshire’s Adil Rashid but deservedly takes this award. Bopara has won three test caps for England in Sri Lanka and has played in 28 England internationals.

His award comes after an amazing year for Essex, leading the team to the Friends Provident title, Pro 40 Division Two title and the semi’s of the twenty20 cup. He also scored Essex’s first ever double hundred with a blistering 201 not out against Leistershire in the Friends Provident.
He has scored 971 CC Div2 runs at an average of 64.73, including 3 100s and 6 50s. He is the second leading run scorer in the FP trophy, scoring 499 runs at an average of 71.28. He averages 56.75 in pro 40 Div 2 this year and 34.5 in the Twenty20 cup. He also has 43 wickets in all formats.

2006 winner Broad misses out despite a good summer for England. His ODI form has seen him rise to forth best ODI bowler but his bowling is test matches has seen him struggle to get wickets despite bowling well.

September 16, 2008 at 11:07 am 3 comments

A statistical look at England’s second spin bowling options

 With the tour to test tour to India to get under way in 2 months I took a look at the second spin bowling options available to the selectors. On most Indian surfaces there is likely to be two spinners played to make best use of the turning pitches. Panesar already has the first spot and the second spot is still up for grabs.

Greame Swann
Is most people’s favourite for the second spinner spot. The Nottinghamshire allrounder has had a good season so far for his county and is pushing for a England spot. Swann has missed a handful of games for Notts while on England duty but has took 25 wickets at an average of 24.48. That compares with 477 wickets at a average of 32.86 in first his class cricket career. The second spinner position could be decided by the batting abilities of the batsmen. Swann averages 38.0 this season, scoring 418 runs, with 3 50s and a high score of 68. If the selection is made purely on bowling abilities then Swann will be favourite, after bowling well in the county championship and in the ODI matches he featured in. He has the ability to spin the ball into left handers and is good at varying his pace and pace and also processes a arm ball.


September 16, 2008 at 10:33 am 1 comment

Vaughan eyes Ashes after retaining central contract

The ECB announced on Tuesday the central contracts and the squad for stanford series and ODI tour to India. The squad and central contracts were largely what were expected with Michael Vaughan retianing his central contract. This is a huge indication that the selectors and Pietersen are eager for Vaughan to rediscover his form and play a part in the Ashes next year.

Vaughan’s selection recieved mixed reactions from the media and former players following Vaughan’s dip of form and resignation as captain. The decision has been criticised because it is unsure whether vaughan will rediscover form and how he would react to being just a player. Nasser Hussain famously resigned as captian, then recieved a central contract and retired from internation cricket two games later. If Vaughan is to play some part in the India tour then he would have to find some form in Yorkshire’s remaining county championship matches and may have to play domestic cricket abroad during the winter. The reasons to include Vaughan is because of the experience he has of playing in the sub continent and against the Australians.

Another choice that has been criticised is handing Tim Ambrose a Increment Contract. This contract allows a player to recieve a central contract next year if they achieve a certain number of points. Tim Ambrose has so far failed to show that he can play at international level but the contract suggests that he will go to India as the second Keeper. His form for England shows that he doesn’t really deserve another go until he goes back to county cricket and works on his batting. This is a huge blow for Foster who seemed certain to get a spot on the tour follwing Ambrose drop in form and Foster’s bright end to the season with bat and behind the stumps. Foster has scored 733 runs in 19 innings at an average of 48.86, which includes two successive hundreds and four 50s.

Central contracts James Anderson, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Andrew Flintoff, Stephen Harmison, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Ryan Sidebottom, Andrew Strauss, Michael Vaughan.

Increment contracts Tim Ambrose, Ravi Bopara, Samit Patel, Matt Prior, Owais Shah, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright.

Squad for Stanford and India ODIs Kevin Pietersen (capt), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Andrew Flintoff, Stephen Harmison, Samit Patel, Matt Prior (wk), Owais Shah, Graeme Swann, Ryan Sidebottom, Luke Wright

September 10, 2008 at 12:21 pm 1 comment

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