Archive for May, 2012
England batsmen Kevin Pietersen has announced his retirement from international limited overs cricket with immediate effect.
The 31-year-old will, however, remain available for all of England’s test matches and the IPL.
Pietersen’s international future has been the subject of intense debate over recent months with this announcement not entirely surprising.
The increasingly crowded cricket calendar is placing an ever greater physical strain on the players, with more and more international cricketers in their late 20s and early 30s feeling forced to choose one form of the game over another due to fitness concerns.
Pietersen’s choice to continue with Test cricket is a boost for the ECB and the longer form of the game as a whole. With the growth of T20 cricket Test match attendances are falling worldwide so the continued presence of a star name like Pietersen will only be of benefit.
However, a rather bizarre ECB ruling means that he cannot represent England in upcoming T20 World Cup as his central contract stipulates he is available for all forms of the limited overs game or none at all. Pietersen, incidentally, revealed he would have been willing to play at the World Cup – where England will be defending their title – had he been allowed to.
In explaining their ruling, an ECB statement read: “This [ruling] is designed to reflect the importance of one-day international cricket which is a strategic priority as England look for improved performances in the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy and the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.”
His decision to continue in the IPL is also a controversial one. The huge sums on offer for the players are understandably tempting and the competition has reached such a level now whereby a dedicated part of the cricket calendar should now be devoted to it, in order to avoid collisions with international matches. Plenty more players will follow Pietersen’s lead in the coming years.
Both on and off the pitch, the actions and decisions of Kevin Pietersen have always caused debate, and here is no different.
KP has played 127 ODIs and 36 T20s for England, making his international debut in 2004 against Zimbabwe in Harare. He has scored 4,184 runs at an average of 41.84 in one-day internationals and averages 37.93 in international T20 cricket.
England captain Andrew Strauss insists he understands the frustrations of the bowlers outside the Test team but says it serves to highlight the embarrassment of riches at his disposal.
Tim Bresnan got the nod as England’s third seamer in the first Test against West Indies at Lord’s, leaving Steven Finn kicking his heels on his home ground. Graham Onions, who has not featured for his country since January 2010, is also waiting in the wings.
Finn revealed his frustration in the build up to the second Test at Trent Bridge, saying he wants to be out in the middle helping England win Test matches.
“You have to accept the squad mentality but I want to be playing. I don’t want to be sitting there watching other people bowling – I want to be doing it. It is frustrating when you are not involved, you almost don’t feel part of it,” admitted Finn, who has taken 53 wickets in 13 Tests and whose live scores in the domestic game this season have been equally as impressive.
“Sat on the sidelines you don’t feel as if you are contributing. It’s important that I keep working when I go back to Middlesex and keep taking wickets. Both of which I feel I’ve been doing.”
Strauss said it was ‘the way of the world at the moment’ and urged the bowlers out of the side to remain patient.
“We have five or six test quality seamers and only three of them can play so it’s unfortunate for the guys who are left out,” said Strauss.
“It’s a great position for us as a side to be in, but frustrating when you are left out. But you learn from that and it makes you hungrier when you get the chance.”
England are heavy favourites in the online betting to wrap up a Test Series whitewash against the West Indies. Strauss’ men went 2-0 up with victory at Trent Bridge on Monday and even though they are expected to rest some players for the final Test, the depth of quality in the squad should be enough to see them home.
England will then put their number one ranking on the line when they face South Africa – currently ranked number two – later in the summer.
Somerset director of cricket Brian Rose has hinted former England opener Marcus Trescothick might not play again this season.
Trescothick ruptured ankle tendons while fielding at Trent Bridge in April in only his third game of the new county campaign. He is expected to be in a protective boot for another three weeks.
Rose insisted Somerset will not take any risks and are unwilling to put any kind of timeframe on his return – a view shared by many cricket fans from within the online betting community.
While Rose is reluctant to rule the 36-year-old out of the rest of the season, he accepted they may have to go down that route if it means prolonging Trescothick’s career.
“With his age, and because he has had a history of foot trouble, we can’t afford to rush it,” said Rose.
“I think we would rather get him fit and happy and make sure he can actually play again, than try to rush it, only for it to go again and become career-threatening.”
Trescothick made his first-class debut in 1993 and has gone on to score 19,781 runs at an average of 42.63. He represented England between 2000 and 2006, playing 76 Test matches and 123 one-day internationals.
His loss is a blow to Somerset, who those on cricket’s inside betting line will tell you are well-placed for an assault on the County Championship Division One title.
But Rose says he is already planning for the worst-case scenario.
“I have got to the stage where I’m happy with the situation whereby, if we have him before the end of the season, that’s fine. If not, then we will fully realise that he has a serious injury and we would rather get him right first,” added Rose.
“We knew it was going to be weeks longer than we first anticipated once the surgeon told us that it was ruptured rather than torn. So we are looking in the long term.”
Mickey Arthur’s hopes of having a fully-fit two-pronged attack full of youth for Australia’s upcoming tour of the British Isles has received a timely boost.
Fast bowler James Pattinson has revealed the only ingredient missing from his mission to recover from a back injury is “match intensity” but the chance to put in some hard miles at the AIS Centre of Excellence this week means he should be ready to go come late June.
Arthur has made no secret of his desire to unleash the Victoria man with fellow youngster Pat Cummins on old rivals England in a series that will undoubtedly provide a number of exciting live in-play betting options.
The coach believes the series represents a huge chance for Pattinson and Cummins to stake a claim for the summer home Test series against South Africa and beyond.
Pattinson jarred his back in the second Test against West Indies on the recent tour of the Caribbean but is now targeting “three weeks of going 100 per cent in the nets”.
The 22-year-old Melbourne-born prospect said he was relishing the chance to strike a psychological blow to their rivals ahead of the Ashes 2013 series and was determined to push for a place in the Test squad.
The cricket bets have not yet started to roll in, but when they do it’ll produce an accurate prediction of how the series might unfold.
“It’s an exciting time for Australian cricket at the moment with a lot of young guys coming through,” said Pattinson.
“I don’t think we’ve played in these conditions before so it’ll be a great learning curve before the Ashes next year.
“Hopefully it gives us a bit of an edge over the Poms and we can go over to the Ashes with one up over them.”
England survived a scare on their way to a five-wicket victory over West Indies in the opening Test at Lord’s.
The tourists fought hard on day three and day four – firstly to restrict England to a first-innings lead of 155 and then to go past that mark on their way to setting the hosts a tricky 191 to win.
Kemar Roach took two wickets late on day four to set up a fascinating finale and the betting suggested it could go either way.
England began the final day on 10-2 and with the 72 all out in a run chase against Pakistan during the winter fresh in their minds. The pitch at Lord’s, however, was in sharp contrast to the one in the United Arab Emirates, as too was the Windies attack.
Roach led the all-seam attack with pace and purpose throughout the Test and he was the man to strike early. Jonathan Trott was caught by Darren Sammy at second slip to leave England 29-3.
Kevin Pietersen strode to the crease and played in typically aggressive fashion early in his innings. However, he tried one shot too many and was caught behind off Shannon Gabriel, leaving England 131 runs short of their target.
While England had Alastair Cook at the crease, they were always in the box seat. The opener was joined by Ian Bell and the pair scored at a healthy rate to leave England on the brink of victory at lunch.
Cook made his half century just before the break and his partner followed suit in the afternoon session as England cruised towards a hard-earned win.
The hosts lost Cook for 79 with only two runs needed but Bell (63 not out) guided them home.
It was not a complete performance by England but they will have learned a lot ahead of a busy summer where the latest odds have them as slender favourites to win both of their Test series against West Indies and South Africa.
Graeme Swann is bullish about England’s chances of clinching the first Test against West Indies, despite a rally by the tourists on day four at Lord’s. The home side remain the favourites to triumph in the England cricket betting.
The Windies began the day 120-4, still 35 runs behind England. Shivnarine Chanderpaul (91) and Marlon Samuels (86) continued to frustrate the hosts in the morning session, as the West Indies headed into lunch unscathed.
England were rewarded for their patience in the afternoon session but they struggled to see off the tail, and the West Indies dragged their innings long into the evening, leaving England with an uncomfortable short session.
Chasing 191 to win after the Windies’ second innings 345, England lost Andrew Strauss and night watchman, James Anderson, to close the day on 10-2.
“We’re fairly happy. Cookie (Alastair Cook) and Trotty (Jonathan Trott) will be confident out there”, said Swann.
“It was tough going for a lot of the day, and it was always going to be a tricky 10 or 15-minute period in the gloom. It was a shame to lose the captain but we’re not too fussed about Jimmy.”
West Indies hero, Chanderpaul, believes his team have given themselves a good chance of victory heading into the final day.
“I’m hoping it will be enough. It’s there on the board, and we have a good bowling attack. We’ll put the ball in the right areas, be patient and anything is possible”, said the Windies stalwart.
“It was really good for us to get the two wickets and, hopefully, we can take that momentum into the fifth day.”
England are still favourites to seal victory on Betfair, on a pitch with no demons, and an attack without a world-class spinner. West Indies will not give up without a fight, though.
Northamptonshire seamer Jack Brooks is encouraged by Jonny Bairstow’s England call-up and will strive to reach that level.
Brooks impressed for his county in Division Two last season – taking 43 wickets at 21.90 – and has picked up where he left off at the start of the current campaign.
The 27-year-old has taken 20 wickets in four matches for Northants and impressed for England Lions in their victory over West Indies. He took three wickets in each innings as England’s emerging side stunned the tourists.
Brooks accepted he has his work cut out forcing his way into the Test line-up – with quality bowlers like Steven Finn, Graham Onions and Tim Bresnan struggling to nail down a place – but does not believe the door is closed.
“It’s very difficult to get into England’s Test side, probably more so for a fast bowler than a batsman,” Brooks told sport news reporters.
“But if you put the performances in, your name is in the hat for when somebody gets injured or is dropped.”
England go into the game as heavy favourites according to online betting markets, with the Windies struggling on recent tours to the country. The cool, early summer conditions will also play into the hosts’ hands.
The England hopeful performed alongside Jade Dernbach, Matt Coles and Stuart Meaker in the tour match on his home ground and was happy with his feedback.
“The (England) selectors said I bowled very well and stood out from the guys that bowled, who all bowled well. It’s a case of not trying too hard and worrying about it,” he added.
While he enjoyed the experience, Brooks conceded his best hope was to perform consistently for his county.
“I’ve just got to carry on taking wickets for Northants and try to catch the eye of the selectors,” Brooks said.
“A chance may well come, with England playing with three seam bowlers and (potentially) a few injuries (during) the heavy international schedule for the next 18 months. I’d hope my name would be in the frame.”
Veteran batsman Mark Ramprakash has been dropped for Surrey’s County Championship match against Somerset after a difficult start to the season.
The 42-year-old has hit just 62 runs in eight Championship innings in 2012, including only the third pair of his illustrious career in Surrey’s last fixture against Worcestershire last week.
Ramprakash was fined three points under the England and Wales Cricket Board’s disciplinary system for using abusive language to the umpires during the reverse fixture against Worcestershire at the Oval in April.
He claimed the early-season batting conditions in England, set on a backdrop of cool and wet weather, were the worst he has experienced in 25 years of county cricket.
Surrey director of cricket Chris Adams admitted it was a “difficult” decision leaving out the most experienced player in the country but backed Ramprakash to bounce back.
“We have not selected Mark Ramprakash for the game against Somerset which was a very difficult decision to make. Mark has had a tough start to the season and has not made the impact with the bat that he would have wanted to,” Adams said.
“But you do not score the amount of runs that Mark has without knowing your own game and I know he will work hard to find his form again. The challenge now for Mark is to push hard to regain his place for the remainder of the season.”
Surrey will have to reshuffle their pack for Wednesday’s four-day clash at the Oval, which they start as outsiders according to Betfair Cricket tipsters.
Kevin Pietersen is back on England duty after a rare county appearance at Worcester, with Jason Roy and Chris Jordan likely to come into the side.
Seamers Jade Dernbach and Stuart Meaker are available again after featuring for England Lions against West Indies last week.
For more info, odds, tips and opinion on England cricket head over to http://betting.betfair.com/cricket/
Middlesex should be classed as one of the favourites for the Friends Life t20 competition, after pulling off a massive coup by securing the legendary spinner, Lasith Malinga, for the tournament.
However, the county are currently 20/1 outsiders for the win, according to the great odds at Bet Victor.
Many regard the Sri Lankan as one of the world’s leading T20 bowlers, so he will provide a massive boost to Middlesex’s attack, when the Friends Life t20 gets underway, this summer.
International commitments mean that he will miss the first three matches of the competition but he will be there to spearhead the bowling attack for the final seven group games, and possibly even at Finals day.
Having such a potent weapon in their squad will give Middlesex a massive boost in their tournament, with his capability currently being proven in the Indian Premier League, where he is the top wicket-taker in the competition.
Indeed, one look at the stats, which shows that he has 151 wickets in t20 cricket, at an average of 16.4 in 108 matches, prove Middlesex fans should be salivating at the prospect of unleashing him at their county rivals in the Friends Life t20.
Angus Fraser, Middlesex’s Managing Director of Cricket, is understandably thrilled about the addition. He said: “In t20 cricket every county is looking for a bowler that provides their attack with variety, the ability to bowl during Powerplays and at the death, basically something different from the norm and, in Lasith, we will have the best in the world.”
When it comes to County Championship Division One, this season, Middlesex are going to be hampered by the number of England internationals taking part this year, with Andrew Strauss and Steven Finn likely to play tiny roles for them, throughout the campaign.
Gamble on the County Championship with a bet with www.betvictor.com.
Those who planning to check out the live cricket online this Summer may notice the presence of Mitchell Johnson, who has been brought back from the international cold for the ODI games against Ireland and England in June and July with a ringing endorsement from chairman of selectors John Inverarity.
The 30-year-old, who missed the home summer because of a toe injury, has been told he is in contention to figure in the ICC T20 World Cup in September in Sri Lanka.
Seasoned observers had questioned whether or not the 47-Test former ICC international player of the year was a fading light at the top level, having seen youngsters like James Pattinson move ahead of him in an exciting new pecking order.
Pattinson has been included in the 15-man ODI squad but a back problem remains a concern and fellow pace bowler Pat Cummins is carrying a heel injury.
Johnson has also been named in an Australia A squad of 17 led by Test opener Ed Cowan for two four-day games against the England Lions in August. It promises to be an unpredictable Summer for the Aussies and it’ll be interesting to see how the cricket betting patterns pan out.
“Mitch is very much in our sights for the ICC T20 World Cup (in September in Sri Lanka),” Inverarity said.
“We’ll see how he goes in the nets and in the initial three matches before the ODI series and we’ve got plenty of back-up there.”
Inverarity said Townsville-born left-hander Johnson still had a chance of making the Ashes squad against old rivals England in 2013.
“Mitchell Johnson is a fine cricketer with a very good record (190 wickets at 31.29) so we’re hoping that he comes back,” he added.
Australia 15-man squad:
Michael Clarke (capt), Shane Watson, George Bailey, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, Ben Hilfenhaus, Michael Hussey, David Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Clint McKay, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade (wk), David Warner.