Archive for November, 2011
England’s Andrew Strauss believes that his country’s position at the apex of the Reliance ICC Test Rankings has caused the side to slip down the food chain, becoming prey for other countries to pounce upon. The South Africa-born player says that England are now the “hunted, rather than the hunters”.
With two series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan looming on the horizon, and a further two contests, this time against South Africa and the West Indies, waiting in the summer months, the world’s cricket teams have plenty of opportunities to dethrone England at the top of the official Test leaderboard. People looking at the England cricket odds betting online should remember this.
England have a rating of 125 on the ICC rankings, just seven points more than India, in second place, and nine points more than South Africa, in third. Strauss summed up the mood of the nine-nation league, by noting: “there are a lot of teams below us who want to knock us off our perch”.
Strauss’ England ascended to the ICC throne earlier this year, when the side dispatched India 4-0, in what was variously described as a “whitewash”, a “stunning victory”, and “quite a performance”, for the home side. However, a number of England players, including Strauss, have intimated that there is still room for improvement, on the pitch.
“We’ll have to retain that desperate desire to improve if we want to stay on top”, Strauss said, recently. The cricketer indicated that the Test against South Africa, who have drawn praise for their recent performances, could prove to be the greatest challenge of the year, with the fixture against the West Indies a close second.
The upcoming Test against Pakistan will be England’s first encounter with the South Asian team since sentence was passed upon three Pakistani players involved in the now-infamous spot-fixing scam. The clash will be hosted in neutral territory, in the United Arab Emirates.
All-round Samit Patel has his eye on a Test spot after his reintroduction into the international scene.
The Nottinghamshire man was part of the squad which embarked on the disastrous one-day tour of India earlier this winter, but despite the side’s struggles he remains hopeful that he will be part of the team which will face Pakistan in the longer form of the game.
However, he knows he faces a tough task to break into the number one Test side in the world. Anyone following the best betting odds will also be aware of this.
“I have to get my team-mate out of the way first. I don’t think I can do that so I will have to play behind him as a second spinner,” he told the BBC.
Patel admitted that it was unlikely he would take the place of Graeme Swan, but is hopeful he will be the man England turn to when they decide to play two spinners.
Although he first broke on to the international scene back in 2008 when he played a one-day match against Scotland he has spent the last three years in the wilderness because of concerns about his fitness.
Now he is back, Patel is keen to make the most of the opportunity that has been offered to him and a total of 160 runs in the five one dayers against India suggests he does have a role to play, especially with many of his team-mates failing to impress.
Whether he gets the nod for England’s trip to Abu Dhabi and Dubai remains to be seen, but he has certainly given the selectors something to think about.
Veteran batsman, Sachin Tendulkar, has scored a record 15,000 runs in Test cricket, making the Indian the most prolific slugger of balls in cricket history. The 38-year-old, who is also sitting on 99 centuries at international level, now has four batting benchmarks under his helmet.
As the first player to reach 12,000, 13,000 and 14,000 runs, Tendulkar, or the ‘Little Master’, as he is affectionately known, has scored more runs than West Indian legend, Brian Lara, who claimed 11,953 before retiring from Test cricket in 2007. Tendulkar surpassed Lara’s total in 2008, to become the undisputed king of the crease. Anyone who looks at cricket odds online will know just how good he is.
However, the Indian cricket team are withholding congratulations until Tendulkar finds that elusive 100th century. The Mumbai-born player claimed his 99th ton in a World Cup match against South Africa, in March 2011. He scored almost 500 runs in the competition as a whole, but a final hundred was not among them.
In fact, as of November 9, and India’s victorious clash with the West Indies, Tendulkar remains on 99 centuries. He was taken for 76, earlier today, by Guyanese leg-spinner, Devendra Bishoo. The match was Tendulkar’s first start for his team since he was felled by a toe injury in the summer.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, captain of the Indian cricket team, said that the national team will “speak” about festivities when Tendulkar breaks the deadlock on his 100th century. “It’s a milestone Sachin will achieve, whether in this game, the next game or some other game. It’s bound to happen”.
Tendulkar has a batting average of 56.25, one of the highest of the modern era. He has played 635 matches, ODI and Test fixtures combined, in a career spanning two decades.
England have experienced some ups-and-down in 2011 but there is no doubt they can be proud about ending the world ranked top in two disciplines of world cricket.
Andy Flower’s side started the year by humiliating Australia in the Ashes, dominating the series in a way possibly never-before-seen by a generation of cricket fans, then come February they flopped in the World Cup.
Then during the summer England defeated Sri Lanka and then secured their rise to the top of the international Test rankings with a thrashing of India, notably by a whitewash score before also beating them in one-day and T20 series. People looking at the cricket betting promotions need to bear this in mind.
England then headed to the sub-continent to face India in a series of one-day games and they were humbled 5-0, before wrestling a measure of confidence by winning the one T20 games.
The teams are Test and Twenty20 world number one and face some massive challenges in 2012, with trips to Pakistan and Sri Lanka before facing West Indies and South Africa, then there is a trip to Sri Lanka to defend their world Twenty20 title.
England bowler Tim Bresnan reckons there is a still a lot to learn across all three formats as the team look to not only cement their current position, but get better over the next 12 months. Those placing cricket bets should remember this.
He said: “To be number one in the world in two out of three competitions … we’re not in a bad place, are we, really? Test match cricket is the pinnacle of the sport.
“The way we’ve played our cricket over this year is fantastic, but we’re still looking to improve in any way we can.”
The Test match series against Pakistan gets underway on January 17th in Dubai to start what looks a really challenging 2012 itinerary on paper.
Ricky Ponting reckons not having the burden of captaining Australia is resulting in his improved form as he enjoys some real success with the bat.
The 36-year-old led Australia as a captain between 2002 and 2011 and has gone down in captain as the most successful Aussie skipper of all time. Those following the cricket betting promotions should remember this.
He now plays an important role for the Baggy Green and is part of the tour to South Africa, with involves two one-day internationals and three Test matches remaining. The first one-day game was affected with rain, but Australia managed a 93-run win.
Ponting was the only player to hit a half-century in that game, as he struck 63 runs to help drive Australia to victory.
The Tasmanian claims he is “really enjoying” just playing and not having to deal with a lot of issues as captain of the side. But he is also liking being able to help develop the younger generation of Aussie cricketers by using his experience to help guide them forward. People looking at the cricket bets need to bear this in mind.
“What I’m trying to do now is spend as much time as I can with the young guys, away from the cricket ground as well, learn a bit about them and try and help them to learn as fast as possible,” Ponting said.
One of those young stars Ponting wants to help is 18-year-old fast bowler Pat Cummins, who was a surprise inclusion in the touring squad to South Africa.
Ponting described him as an “exceptional young talent” and he displayed that when taking three wickets for 28 in the first one-day international.