Archive for July, 2012
Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi believes his country’s upcoming series against India is even bigger than the Ashes due to the rivalry between the two nations.
It was recently announced that the countries, who have regularly clashed politically since they split in 1947, will face each other in three one-day internationals and two twenty20s to be played in December and January.
Once again, it will be an away fixture for Pakistan due to their homeland still being deemed too dangerous to host touring sides.
Misbah-ul-Haq’s men, who have defied cricket betting tips on a number of occasions, haven’t played a home series since 2009 following a terrorist attack against the Sri Lankan team which saw two civilians and six policemen killed in Lahore.
This has meant that they have been forced to play all of their ‘home’ series over the last three years on foreign soil, with the majority being staged in the United Arab Emirates but this time around their opponents have refused to play at a neutral venue so the matches have been switched back to India.
This has added even more fuel to the fire and Afridi, who still strikes fear into the hearts of the Australia betting community, believes the latest developments will only spur his side on to beat their fierce rivals.
The all-rounder is seen as an icon in his homeland and believes that the passion for cricket in the two countries is so strong that the series between these two great adversaries is even more important than the Ashes.
“The series between Pakistan and India is more popular than the Ashes series between Australia and England,” he said. “The matches between Pakistan and India are widely followed and people throughout the world are greatly interested in their matches.
“The pressure is great when we play against India but it is also more thrilling,” he added.
Top of the world rankings they may be, but England were truly taught a lesson in Test cricket, after they were heavily beaten by South Africa in their opening encounter.
Losing on home soil has been a rare thing for the national side in recent seasons, with it being two years since their last defeat in their own back yard.
What has been even rarer has been a defeat by an innings, as the Proteas made the most of the flat pitch at the Kia Oval, before rattling through England’s batting order.
It was a disappointing outcome for England, who had started the game with the favour of the sports betting with www.betvictor.com, and looked set for at least a draw.
However, things soon went wrong, and now it will be a case of analysing the game in the 10-day break they have, before the next Test at Headingley, next month.
Batsman, Ian Bell, was one of the few bright sparks when England were up against it, and he has admitted that there are areas the side must work on in the coming days.
He told Sky Sports News: “Obviously, it was a very tough Test match for us. Credit to South Africa; I thought they were outstanding from the second morning and outplayed us.
“We’ve got to come back hard now at Headingley. It was thoroughly disappointing, but everyone will be up for it next week.
“We had a good chat last night. Some good honesty was talked about around the team. We’ll have to come back; there will be some big preparation around the team both individually and when we come together as a group on Monday. We need to get things right.”
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You suspect Brett Lee’s countless victims will not lose too much sleep tonight.
The 35-year-old, who shaped the face of many cricket bets over the course of his international career, has confirmed his retirement from national duty, marking the end of a distinguished career in the short and long format of the game.
He is the equal leading wicket taker for Australia in one-day internationals, having moved level with Glenn McGrath on 380 victims.
He retired from Test cricket in February 2010 and finished as Australia’s fourth-most successful bowler with 310 wickets in 76 matches.
Lee will continue in the Big Bash and IPL but international followers will be deprived a true exponent of speed who took down his opponents with a flashy smile.
For the bulk of his career Lee operated as the support cast for McGrath and Jason Gillespie but to pin him down as merely an underling would be to do him a massive disservice.
There were highs and lows; England proved a cruel host and who can forget a consoling arm from Andrew Flintoff at the end of his Edgbaston batting near-miss in 2005?
His withdrawal from cricket’s top table also leaves a dearth of experienced top paceman on the world stage.
Dale Steyn is next best in terms of outright speed while the spotlight now falls on Mitchell Johnson, who hasn’t missed a match in 32 Tests since his debut, although critics would argue he lacks natural pace. Shaun Tait reached over 160kph against Pakistan and Dirk Nannes can hit the 150s.
On a wider point, it also sparks the debate among those who in to watch live cricket online about whether a punishing international schedule is robbing cricket purists the sight of the finer art.
Former Pakistan pace bowler, Shoaib Akhtar, has suggested that his country is still not in a position to guarantee the safety of visiting cricket teams, and that the Pakistan Cricket Board should continue to host tours in neighbouring countries.
Akhtar, who retired from international cricket following the 2011 World Cup, stressed that whilst the Pakistani government could not guarantee the safety of their own citizens they should not invite visiting teams.
“Our citizens are not safe, and there is a war going on in the country. Therefore, inviting a team in these conditions will be risky,” he said.
Pakistan have not hosted a Test playing nation since March 2009, when the Sri Lankan team were attacked by militants in Lahore.
Akhtar is concerned by the possibility of a repeat of that attack. “What if a visiting team is attacked again? So, I would advise to the PCB not to invite foreign teams since the country is not in a position to stage any international event,” he said.
Pakistan’s next ‘home’ fixtures are against Australia, who they face in three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches. Cricket fans who like to bet on sports will no doubt be relieved to see that Pakistan are still an active part of the Test circuit.
These matches will be held in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai and, if they are to mount any sort of a challenge in the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka, they will need to show a significant improvement in form.
In their most recent series, Pakistan were humbled in Sri Lanka, with the hosts winning the Test series and the one day international series; the two game twenty20 series ended in a draw.
Pakistan’s twenty20 World Cup campaign begins on September 23rd, when they face New Zealand in Kandy. Get a head start on your gambling rivals by visiting the online betting page on Bet365.
England captain Alastair Cook gave credit to his side after they extended their winning run in 2012 with another thumping victory over Australia.
Cook’s men coasted to a seven-wicket win at Old Trafford on Tuesday to complete a 4-0 series victory. It was England’s 10th consecutive one-day international win and moved them up to third in the world rankings.
“Clearly at the beginning of the series, you’d scrap and take a series win. So to win 4-0, it’s fantastic and a huge credit to the lads,” Cook told sport news reporters.
England have improved markedly in one-day cricket since Cook took the reins from Andrew Strauss. They have won five out of six series under his leadership and remain unbeaten this year.
But for a rained-off third ODI at Edgbaston, England could well be sat at the top of the rankings. Cook was pleased with the way his side outplayed a team ranked the best in the world.
“It’s been a brilliant effort from the lads. We’ve always been at Australia, and always tried to put them under some pressure,” added the opener.
In a rain-affected match in Manchester, recalled spinner James Tredwell and part-time bowler Ravi Bopara took two wickets apiece as England restricted the tourists to 145-7 from 32 overs.
Set a revised target of 138 from 29 overs, England reached the total with 11 balls to spare courtesy of a partnership of 92 between Cook (58) and Bopara (52 not out).
Australia skipper Michael Clarke was impressed with the way England performed in the series.
“There are a lot of good teams at the moment but I think England’s bowling attack is as good as there is in the world,” Clarke admitted.
England will hope to continue their excellent form and showcase their talents in front of the sports betting community when they face South Africa in the one-day format later this summer.
Jonathan Bairstow has revealed his disappointment about being dropped for England’s upcoming series with South Africa but believes the snub will only make him stronger.
The Yorkshireman played in all three of his country’s matches against the West Indies earlier this summer but has now been replaced in the line-up by Ravi Bopara for the three Test showdown with the Proteas.
Despite the disappointment the game’s selectors are tipping Bairstow for a bright future, with former England and Yorkshire skipper and now columnist for Betfair Michael Vaughan lauding his potential.
Bairstow has now been sent back to his county to ensure he doesn’t fall out of touch in case he’s needed later in the summer and says he is “hungry” to make his case for another crack at the whip at international level.
The Tykes are currently second in the LV County Championship Division Two table and travel to league leaders Derbyshire this week for a match that could have a big say on the outcome of the league.
Despite being dropped from the Test side, the 22-year-old is quickly becoming a key part of the both the one-day and twenty20 teams, with punters on the Betfair England forums predicting that it won’t be long before he is a regular for all three sides.
Bairstow’s ability to also play as a wicketkeeper, a role he regularly takes for Yorkshire means he’s almost guaranteed a place at the T20World Cup later this year in Sri Lanka but the youngster isn’t getting ahead of himself and says he’s simply looking forward to spending some time on the field.
“It’s obviously disappointing not to be in that squad. But I haven’t scored enough runs, so that’s fair enough,” Bairstow said.
“I’ve come back down to Yorkshire really hungry to score runs, really hungry to get back out on the park and spend some time in the middle and get back keeping as well – that’s something I’ve not necessarily done much of recently.
“I’m really excited to be back, keeping wicket and hopefully scoring some runs,” he added.
South Africa all-rounder, Jacques Kallis, insists that he is not worried by his poor showing in England, last time out, and says history counts for nothing in the upcoming series.
The 36-year-old, who has played 152 Test matches, struggled on English soil in 2008, hitting only 104 runs in seven innings with just one score over 13.
To add to that, the Proteas have not tasted success on their last 10 Test visits to the Oval, the venue of the opening Test, which begins on Thursday. The side are also down in the betting stakes, following their recent lack of form in England.
“I’m not someone who worries too much about what happened in the last innings or on previous tours. You don’t get a head start if you’ve done well in a previous innings or previous tours,” said Kallis.
“It would be nice to have a good tour here, but if I have a bad tour and we win, I’ll take that.”
Kallis is expecting an excellent spectacle between the best two Test sides in the world, with the focus on the respective bowling attacks going into the series.
“They are two good attacks, certainly as good as any in world cricket at the moment. Both sides have got good batters as well. It’s going to be a fantastic series,” added Kallis.
South Africa head into the first Test without experienced wicketkeeper, Mark Boucher, who was forced to retire with a serious eye injury picked up in a tour match at Taunton.
Kallis feels the blow has galvanised the squad and given them an extra incentive to emerge victorious.
“He certainly said he wants the guys to go out and play cricket – that will please him the most – and not worry about him,” said the South Africa stalwart.
“We’ve got to play some good cricket for Graeme’s [Smith] 100th Test match and for Bouch.”
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