Archive for August, 2012
One of the advantages of having such a crowded cricket calendar is the fact that a side can move on quickly after a defeat, with another game always lurking around the corner.
For England, the five match one-day series with South Africa means they can restore some pride after their Test series loss.
The defeat meant the Proteas replaced them at the top of the ICC Test rankings, inflicting a defeat that will hurt deeply, given that this side have enjoyed such success in recent years.
However, their improvement in the one-day game – traditionally a weakness – should not be discounted either. After a Test series whitewash against Pakistan last winter, England went on to whitewash the same opponents in their one-day encounters.
Thanks to the great British weather, a 5-0 whitewash is not possible, with Saturday’s match in Cardiff succumbing to the rain.
However, England have actually climbed to the top of the one-day rankings, though they can once again be knocked off the perch by South Africa, who are behind them by just one sixth of a point.
Victory in Wales would have been good enough for South Africa to become the first country to hold the top spot in all formats of the game, a fact not lost on Michael Vaughan, pundit on Betfair.
One-day captain, Alastair Cook, is typically modest about his side’s rise, accepting that it is partly down to the peculiarity of the ratings system, much like why the England football team is ranked so highly.
“I don’t think we feel like No. 1,” he said. “It was something we were aiming for a bit later on. We’ve got such a long way to go.”
England fans can take some solace from the fact that the World Cup in Sri Lanka is still ahead of the side. View the T20 World Cup odds on Betfair for all the latest picks for the competition.
The news that Shane Warne is set to play in the Big Bash League this summer will come as a great relief to members of the Australian cricket betting community after rumours surfaced that he was on the verge on definite retirement.
Warne has been confirmed as captain of the Melbourne Stars along with Sri Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga, and the Stars are already hotly tipped to take the BBL title when the tournament gets underway in December.
He will be 43-years-old come the first bowl yet Warne continually amazes those who bet on cricket with his ability to maintain a decent level of performance at the top of the game. Although long retired from the international scene, the spinner played in the IPL last year and played a full BBL season with the Stars in the tournament’s inaugural year.
What he lacks in youthful fitness Warne more than makes up for in class and experience, and it seems part of the spinner’s job this season will be to inspire the younger members of his Melbourne squad.
For Warne may now be playing with team-mates not even born when he made his Australian Test debut in 1992; kids who have grown up with him as their cricketing hero and who will look to Warne to offer guidance.
The actual wicket-taking duties will no doubt fall to players like Malinga; the 28-year-old determined to erase a miserable IPL tournament due to a troublesome back strain. Yet Warne should make himself useful with the ball in his hands having taken seven wickets in last year’s BBL at an average of 26.
Although still a few months away, Melbourne’s charge for the BBL title has already started in earnest. Another semi-final birth is certainly achievable with the final in late January a definite possibility.
England captain, Andrew Strauss, is confident that his team can bounce back from losing the Test series and their number one ranking to South Africa.
The Proteas went into the final Test at Lord’s needing to avoid defeat in order to leapfrog Strauss’ men at the top of the rankings.
They went one better, sealing the three-match rubber with a thrilling 51-run victory to inflict a first home series defeat on England since 2008.
The 2-0 reverse extended England’s miserable run since replacing India at the summit of Test cricket last summer. The Lord’s reverse was England’s sixth in 11 Tests in the past year.
Strauss has called on his side to dig deep, with a tough trip to India on the horizon at the end of 2012.
“I’ve got great faith in the talent and desire in the dressing room and we’re going to need that,” said Strauss.
“Maybe the tag of being number one hasn’t sat as comfortably as it should have done. We’ve learned important lessons on how we should approach it in the future but our first priority is to get back in that situation.”
To England’s credit, they went down fighting in the third Test. Chasing an improbable 346 to win, the hosts adopted a positive approach throughout the final day, with youngster, Jonny Bairstow, leading the way.
However, despite some lusty lower-order hitting, England fell short of their target in an enthralling evening session.
“When Prior and Swann were together, I thought the chase was getting into the realms of possibility. If they’d put on another 20 or so then it would have looked like a fairly even contest,” added Strauss, who claimed the Kevin Pietersen saga did not affect England’s performance.
“But South Africa definitely played the better cricket over the course of the three Test matches.”
Visit the Bet365 YouTube website for all the best sports videos, as well as that (in)famous Bet365 Ray Winstone video, played during football matches.
In a straight head-to-head comparison of raw cricketing ability, Kevin Pietersen would beat Andrew Strauss hands down.
That’s not to say that Strauss is a poor player, but Pietersen’s ability to ruthlessly dismantle a bowling attack and wrench the game away from the opposition puts him among the world’s best.
But Pietersen’s now notorious ego and temperament means he can be a liability as much as an inspiration. The 32-year-old has tested the patience of the authorities throughout his career, but his behaviour in recent days appears to have been the final straw.
The furore sounding some derogatory text messages sent by Pietersen to South Africa players during last week’s Test at Headingley highlighted his arrogance and unprofessionalism. And those characteristics will always be a black mark against his character.
Strauss on the other hand is the consummate professional; his cool temperament always allows him to handle the pressure of opening the batting, as well as leading the team on and off the field.
While Pietersen’s initial silence and then management company-led YouTube video in response to last week’s saga spoke volumes, so did Strauss’ perfect handling of the media prior to the third and final Test at Lord’s.
His obvious frustration – and even anger – at Pietersen’s behaviour was subtlety hidden, and he did well to douse the flames that were threatening to ruin his side’s preparations for what is a crucial match.
There was even a little time for Strauss to talk about the game itself, which is to be his hundredth Test, only the ninth England player ever to do so.
His typically modest and balanced appraisal of his career is perhaps the secret behind his longevity – and the reason why Pietersen, despite all his talents, will watch this game on TV.
Sport updates suggest that key South African duo Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis will be passed fit to play in the crucial third and final Test against England.
Skipper Smith was struggling with a knee injury during the second Test draw at Headingley, suffered whilst fielding in the deep.
Meanwhile, Kallis suffered back spasms in Leeds and seemed to be in pain when batting during the second innings.
But the senior duo, so crucial for the Proteas, look like being available for the forthcoming showdown at Lord’s, which begins on August 16.
Smith and Kallis will feature for South Africa in the tour match against Derbyshire, hoping they will come through without suffering any reaction.
Proteas team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee said: “Graeme has fully recovered from the minor ligament sprain to his left knee and we also have positive feedback from Jacques, who has responded well to treatment following the acute back spasms that he suffered during the Test.”
Smith and Kallis scored centuries in the first Test win at the Oval, with the captain also smashing two half centuries at Headingley.
Meanwhile, the tourists have announced that Alviro Petersen will miss the Derbyshire match due to a hamstring strain.
But Peterson, who scored 182 in the first innings at Headingley, is expected to be fit enough to open the batting alongside his captain.
All-rounder Albie Morkel, who is unlikely to start at Lord’s, has has been struggling with an ankle injury, but is also available for the two-day game.
The team manager said the 31-year-old will be sidelined in order to “focus on his rehabilitation with the aim of making sure he is fully fit”.
He should have been on top of the world after smashing a magnificent century against South Africa at Headingley, but instead Kevin Pietersen has waged war on the game’s authorities once more.
Pietersen remains unhappy with the scheduling of the cricket calendar, which means he cannot give up just one-day internationals in order to pursue his IPL career.
The ECB insist that he has no choice but to give up ALL limited overs cricket, meaning he will now miss the upcoming T20 World Cup.
The rumblings of discontent have seemingly festered over recent weeks and have come to a head in the aftermath of his display in Leeds.
The 31-year-old appears bolstered by his resilient display, which he feels gives him greater bargaining power when it comes to dealing with the game’s authorities.
“I can’t give any assurances that the next Test won’t be my last,” Pietersen said of next week’s match at Lord’s. “I’d like to carry on but there are obstacles that need to be worked out. There are other points I’m trying to sort out in the dressing room.
“It’s absolutely 100% not about money,” he said. “This is not a money issue. The politics is what I have to deal with personally. It’s tough being me playing for England.”
Comments like that certainly mark KP out as a maverick and one of the game’s more colourful characters. He is talent is without doubt, but that has led to him developing a precious ego.
I can understand his concerns regarding the cricket calendar, the IPL and Test cricket and many also share the worries. But while others are still willing to fall in line and push for change in others ways, Pietersen does so bydisrupting the dressing room harmony and causing trouble for the authorities.
Do they drop Pietersen to try and restore dressing room balance? Or would that be weakening the side in what is a must win game? Or will giving in to his demands undermine the authority as the game’s guardians?
It is a tough situation to be in, but nearly as tough as it is to be Kevin Pietersen, it seems.For all the latest England Cricket Betting as well as news, tips and advice, don’t forget to head over to the Betfair Cricket website.
There appears to be the very real possibility that England could go into next year’s Ashes series against Australia without the services of Kevin Pietersen, a development that will give fans placing a bet on cricket something to ponder.
The mercurial batsman admitted that he is unsure whether he will continue playing for England in the Test side, insisting a decision would be made following the conclusion of the ongoing series against South Africa.
Pietersen made the announcement at the end of the second Test, in which his sensational innings of 149 secured a draw for England against a rampant South African side.
The innings was classic Pietersen, with the batsman attacking the ferocious Proteas pace attack without fear or concern, proving he is still one of the world’s most creative and powerful batsmen.
“I can’t give any assurances [that the next Test will not be his last].I love playing Test cricket, but there are obstacles and I’ll decide what happens at the end of the next Test.
“It’s absolutely 100% not about money. There are clear things that I’m discussing, but there are other issues that need to be sorted.”
The comments pointing towards money comes following reports that Pietersen was keen to continue playing Test match cricket but only on the proviso that he would be released for the full duration of the IPL.
Playing the Twenty20 tournament would see Pietersen miss next year’s series against New Zealand, going against the ECB’s view on their players missing international duty to play in the IPL.
Whatever the outcome of Pietersen’s decision, the fact remains that England are a much more beatable side without the big-hitting batsman in the side, giving the Aussies a huge boost, as they prepare to try and regain their hold on the famous urn.
Visit the Australia cricket betting webpage for more information on upcoming Test and twenty20 matches.