Archive for November, 2009
If England had been offered a drawn One Day International Series at the start of this tour, they would have taken it. Now, as they lead 2-1 in the series with one match to play, it is the least they will achieve.
The victory that has put England in the driving seat was mainly down to some fantastic bowling from James Anderson. The ‘Burnley Express’ ripped through the South Africa top order to record his best ever ODI figures of 5-23.
Anderson’s performance helped England dismiss the hosts for 119 with Tim Bresnan, Paul Collingwood and Stuart Broad providing more than ample support. Andrew Strauss’ men then chased the total down with relative ease, mainly thanks to Jonathan Trott’s unbeaten 52, as they won by seven wickets.
Anderson was deservedly given the man-of-the-match award in the aftermath for his match-winning spell, but the 27-year-old didn’t actually think he bowled the best he ever has. Despite achieving his best ODI figures, he said that he has ‘bowled better and got less rewards’ in the past.
Moving the praise away from his individual display, Anderson then said that it was the ‘pressure built up as a unit’ that ultimately caused South Africa’s downfall. The wicket was ‘conductive to seam bowling’ as well and the Lancashire man was very pleased that he ‘made the most of it’.
As for the team overall, it has to be said that it was an extremely impressive bowling and fielding display from England. They bowled in the right areas, held their catches and looked like a throughouly organised ODI team.
The whole squad is playing with confidence right now and a great deal of self-belief. That is what has been most pleasing about this tour so far. England believe that they can and will beat South Africa in this series and eventually in the test matches.
It is certainly a good sign for where Strauss and co are heading. It is all about building on the Ashes success and so far, so good. England’s odds in the final ODI game in Durban are looking good for them to wrap up a series victory.
by Thomas Rooney
Ricky Ponting wants to go back to England for the 2013 Ashes Tour. If he goes he will be 38.5 years old. Will he be able to contribute in the same manner as he has done for the rest of his career? Can he compete at such an advanced age?
If the Australian side was a different one in 2009 then it will be completely different again in 2013. Off the bat you can expect that none of Stuart Clark, Michael Hussey, Simon Katich will be there. By then, they will all be on the wrong side of 30. Michael Clarke will be four years older and his injuries could be four years worst by then. (more…)
It wasn’t that long ago that Monty Panesar was comfortably England’s No.1 spinner. He never quite performed consistently enough, but he showed flashes of being a match winner for his country and everyone thought it was a matter of time before he established himself firmly on the international stage.
Unfortunately though, it never quite happened. There were still the odd moments of quality, but the selectors finally ran out of patience with him and the form of Graeme Swann meant that he lost his place in the England side.
Panesar did return for the first Ashes test in the summer, but it says it all when it can be concluded that his best moment came with the bat. He and Jimmy Anderson batted resiliently for the last wicket on the final day at Cardiff to save a draw for England.
This aside, it was a disappointing summer for Panesar unfortunately and not only while he was in England colours. For Northants, his 18 County Championship wickets came at an average of almost 60 and more often than not he was rather ineffective in terms of improving their cricket betting odds.
A lack of form, confidence and wickets then led to him losing his central contract with England. All in all, it is fair to say that he hasn’t had the best few months. Not by a long shot. So, going back to my original question – what does the future hold for him?
Well, there has been some significant news today in that Panesar has agreed to join Sussex on a three-year contract. Northants coach David Capel claimed that financial issues have led to the spinner’s departure, due to the fact that they would have to pay him instead of England.
Whatever the reason though, it has to be a good thing that Panesar is making a fresh start. As part of this new challenge with Sussex, the 27-year-old can start to enjoy his cricket again. He can work with some new coaches, get some new ideas and learn to take wickets again.
Sussex manager Mark Robinson will certainly hope that this is the case, although he admits that Panesar’s career ‘has stalled’ recently. He also points out that Sussex’s latest signing went from playing for ‘Loughborough University to the England team almost overnight’.
One of the main contributing factors behind Panesar’s move to Sussex could be the fact that Mushtaq Ahmed – who took an extraordinary amount of wickets for the County – is the part-time spinning coach at the moment and he will look to get the best out of Monty.
I certainly hope he can start to find his game again. It is clear that he has something special in my eyes. In fact, he has every attribute to be a world-class spinner. He just needs to implement them in the right way.
Hopefully, a combination of a fresh start, working with Ahmed and playing in Division Two will help him do just that and 2010 will be a much better year for Monty Panesar.
In other betting news the Cheltenham Gold Cup odds are hotting up, so keep you eye on them!
England’s tour of South Africa is a litmus test for the side. They did well in defeating Australia but now have to tackle the South African’s in South Africa. The tour is a gruelling one and consists of two Twenty20 matches, five 50 over matches and will be finished off with four Test matches to be played in a month. Cricket betting has the hosts as favorites which is fair enough.
This is going to be a tough tour both physically and mentally and England will have to be on top of their game if they are to come out on top. It is a shame that the Test matches have been left till last because they are what the tour is really about. Alot of cricket is going to be played before them and one can only hope that both sides stay relatively intact until then.
It will be a big tour for a number of players for different reasons. Alastair Cook is the vice-captain but in some ways is lucky to be in the side. He didn’t have the best of Ashes series and but for his 96 at Lords, didn’t really do much.
Ian Bell fought his way back into the side but didn’t grasp his opportunity in the same way that Jonathan Trott did. He can’t have too many chances left.
How will Stuart Broad fare now that Andrew Flintoff has retired? The pressure is going to be on him to deliver all the time with both the bat and ball.
Kevin Pietersen is returning from injury and will be keen to make up for lost time. He needs to be patient and not suffer the brain explosions that affected him in the West Indies.
Will Adil Rashid get his chance to shine and how will he fare if that time comes? He has the potential to be a match winner for England and after being on the receiving end of some legspin they will appreciate having a legspinner in their side.
After his magnificent debut, the expectation will be on Trott to deliver every time. How will he fare on return to his home country?
Then there is Andrew Strauss and his captaincy. At times against Australia he went into his shell and every time he did it was costly. He will need to make the right decisions and hope that he also gets luck when it comes to the toss.
They are a good squad and will need to play at their best if they are to win.
David Wiseman writes for this blog. When he doesn’t do that he can be found pondering his tennis betting.
England have been dealt a boost ahead of their tour to South Africa with the news that Kevin Pietersen is likely to be fit for the one-day series and test matches in the country of his birth after recovering from an Achilles injury.
The 29-year-old missed the majority of the recent Ashes series with the problem, but now it seems as though he is ready to return to action. To make sure his rehabilitation goes exactly according to plan though, he will not fly out with the rest of the squad on Saturday.
Speaking about the situation, England coach Andy Flower said that he was hopeful Pietersen would be ready for the first One Day International, but he has got a bit more ‘work to do’ before he is able to fly out to South Africa.
As for putting a specific date on the first game Pietersen is able to play, Flower said that ‘the warm-up game against South Africa A on 17 November’ was a very realistic aim. The infection that Pietersen had on the injury has now cleared and this was the main reason his comeback was delayed throughout the English summer.
As mentioned already, this is a huge boost for England. Pietersen makes the batting line-up so much stronger. He brings confidence to the side and inflicts the fear factor on the opposition. Not many England players can do this and it is why Pietersen is so important to the team and their Cricket betting odds.
Flower echoed these sentiments by saying that KP ‘brings a superb record, flair, confidence and the ability to counter attack.’ He also revealed that the player is ‘chomping at the bit’ to get going again and play his part in England moving forward as a test match team.
This is good for England as well. The fact Pietersen is likely to be highly motivated can only be a good thing. He admitted that he had fallen out of love with cricket a little bit by playing so much over the last couple of years, so hopefully this break will increase his desire to achieve great things.
The reality is that he is adding to an already confident England batting line-up after the Ashes win as well. There will be plenty of decisions for the selectors to make in terms of who joins Alistair Cook, Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott in the top six.
All in all, it is a good situation to be in ahead of a very tough tour.
Welcome back KP.
Andrew Strauss has had a fairly remarkable couple of years. Not so long ago, he was out of the England team and facing a challenge to prolong his international career. Now though, he has just spent the summer captaining England to Ashes glory and is widely considered as one of the best batsman in the world.
The next test for Strauss comes this winter as he takes his relatively young side to play the Rainbow Nation in South Africa. The squad fly there this weekend and it is clear that the England captain is focused on the job in hand.
Speaking about the upcoming tour, Strauss says that it will be a ‘great gauge’ to see where abouts his team are at the moment. As everyone knows, England have ‘pretences to be the number one team in the World’, meaning that the test series against the current No.1 team on the back of beating Australia is very significant indeed.
As for his general approach to captaincy, it is fair to say that Strauss isn’t the type of person to shout or be aggressive towards his players, much like Nasser Hussain used to.
Even though he admits he has ‘lost it a couple of times’ over the past nine months, he prefers to have a team meeting where every team member has their say, remaining ‘honest’ at all times. This seems to be very important for the Strauss / Andy Flower partnership. Honesty. The players will know where they stand under this regime and know how they need to improve.
That’s what this winter is all about as well – improvement. England lost in India and the West Indies last year and they will want a more positive outcome this time around. The Ashes win needs to be built on and Strauss knows this. He knows the team must raise their game even further.
One thing you can count on is the Middlesex man leading from the front. He will know the standards he wants for the team and he will set them himself. His form with the bat while captain has been superb and this isn’t even something Michael Vaughan ever quite mastered.
Overall, Strauss seems like the perfect England Cricket captain. One that speaks to the media well, brings the best out of his players and leads from the front with his own performances.
Can he lead England to victory in South Africa though? After the few months he has had, nothing is impossible. Bring it on.