Archive for February, 2013

England’s pacemen still the key to success

Graeme Swann may have taken all the plaudits last winter, but this summer England’s success lies in its pacemen taking wickets rather than relying on the spin of one hand.

England’s seamers were in blistering form during their final ODI clash with New Zealand last week, taking seven dismissals during their five-wicket victory over the Kiwis to win the series 2-1.

It was an impressive haul from the bowling attack, with Stephen Finn recording 3/27 while Stuart Broad continued his comeback from injury with a neat double. For captain Alastair Cook, the seamers’ form is vital to England’s success this coming summer, where they face tough back-to-back Ashes series and another match-up with New Zealand.

“Finny got the wickets and with Jimmy (Anderson) as well, for 15 overs we had an exceptionally high standard of bowling,” the captain told BBC Sport.

“Our opening bowlers have had a lot of success against [New Zealand] and that can only hold us in good stead.”

In his latest Michael Vaughan tips column, former England skipper Vaughan has already highlighted the need for Cook’s attack to be consistent if they are to pick apart a resurgent Australia top order this summer.

They will be heavy favourites in the England Cricket betting for the games against New Zealand, but they should be viewed as a warm-up to the greater threat posed by the old enemy later in the summer.

England may have won a historic tour Test series over India last December but their success was mainly down to Swann and Monty Panesar’s ability to turn the ball.

Soon, on England’s flatter, more predictable surfaces, we need pacemen to eke out wickets and so Finn, Broad and Anderson will be expected to maintain their game throughout 2013.

It is a tough ask for fast bowlers, may of whom suffer at least two injuries over the season after putting so much stress on their bodies, but standards must be met and Cook will expect a lot of his attack this March in the New Zealand Tests.


February 26, 2013 at 1:53 pm Leave a comment

Kiwis name interesting Test squad

New Zealand have handed call-ups to uncapped trio Hamish Rutherford, Tom Latham and Bruce Martin ahead of the upcoming opening Test against England. The three players have been named in the Kiwis’ 12-man ahead of the first Test in Dunedin, with head coach Mike Hesson looking to cover injuries to a couple of key players.

Martin Guptill’s thumb injury has opened the door for Rutherford and Latham to battle it out to make their Test debut at the top of the order. Both have experience in ODI cricket but are still awaiting their Test debuts, and now appear to be in a straight race to fill in for the absent Guptill.

Daneil Vettori’s ongoing Achilles’ problem will rule him out until New Zealand’s tour of England in May, handing the chance for 32-year old Bruce Martin to finally win his maiden Test cap.

The left-arm spinner toured South Africa with the Black Caps last year but failed to get a taste of the action, but sports betting news reports that he could now be set to take on one of Test cricket’s most formidable batting line-ups. England star batsman Kevin Pietersen hasn’t had a great relationship wit left-arm spinners in the past, and that may have been behind the thinking when Vettori was ruled out.

Tim Southee is one of three young bowlers that will form New Zealand’s pace attack, joining up with Trent Boult and Doug Bracewell in an exciting but relatively untested group of fast bowlers.

Captain Brendon McCullum will continue to bat at number five in Tests and step down from the wicket-keeping role, with BJ Watling to keep wicket and bat at number seven for the first of two matches in this Test series.

According to the majority of cricket betting news previews, there doesn’t appear to be any real chance for New Zealand to overcome an England side that is right up there challenging South Africa for the number one ranking. That said, this young Kiwi side will certainly be given the freedom of playing without any pressure on their shoulders.

February 25, 2013 at 1:42 pm 1 comment

Compton right to stay focused

Nick Compton has rightly confirmed he is not thinking about England’s upcoming Ashes series with Australia this summer, instead maintaining focus on the task in hand as the team tour New Zealand.

Currently away with England, Compton is not part of their ODI series against the Kiwis and instead is preparing for a tough two-match test in the England whites. Having opened the batting in each of his previous four international appearances, it is clear the pressure will be on Compton’s shoulders to form a solid partnership with Alastair Cook this spring.

Fans in England betting markets will be confident he can perform, however, for he has become a Test specialist for England after making an impressive series debut away to India last winter.

In his eight innings on the subcontinent’s unpredictable surface, Compton made one half-century and a 167 partnership with captain Alastair Cook. Although by no means the finished article, former skipper Michael Vaughan says his willingness to open during a debut tour away in India is commendable and should put him in good stead for the Kiwis this spring – a series that will define his Ashes chances.

“I need to concentrate on the here and now which is New Zealand,” he told BBC Sport. “If I do my job then hopefully the rewards will come further down the line.”

Indeed, the rewards for a successful stint with the bat are potentially huge, with the prestige of opening for England in an Ashes series bestowed upon a select few.

The 29-year-old has two series with New Zealand and the start of the County Championship to find his rhythm before Australia come to town, and if he can prove to selectors a viable partner for Cook then England have a dangerous weapon in their arsenal this summer.

February 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm 1 comment

Giles backs Pietersen for big summer

Ashley Giles has backed Kevin Pietersen to play a key role in England’s one-day matches this summer. While much of the focus has been surrounding this year’s back-to-back Ashes series’, England will also be well aware of their tough looking limited-overs schedule that includes the Champions Trophy as well as home T20 and ODI series against New Zealand and Australia.

The former spin bowler took over from Andy Flower as England’s limited overs coach before the India tour at the end of last year. Most betting news writers believe Pietersen’s form could be decisive in England’s quest to get try and put together a winning run in all formats of the game this summer.

Giles, who played with Pietersen in England’s 2005 and 2006/07 Ashes campaigns, has admitted his close relationship with his former team-mate could help get the best out of the batsman.

“Kevin is an incredible player,” he told cricket betting news reporters. “He’s got a great record and is an important part of the setup. I think it’s advantageous because I know him very well, so hopefully I know what makes him tick and he respects me.”

“But there is always a line there. Once you develop into new roles, different roles, you have different responsibilities and so does Kevin. He has as big a responsibility as I do to make sure that we get it right for the team,” added Giles.

While there are a number of exciting young batsmen coming through the England ranks, Pietersen is still one of the most important members of the one-day and T20 line-ups. England’s 50-over form has been extremely patchy of late and there is no doubt that Pietersen’s inclusion will be essential to the hosts’ chances in June’s Champions Trophy.

February 20, 2013 at 12:45 pm Leave a comment

Inconsistencies Blighting England’s Tour

England’s tour of New Zealand is fast becoming a farce after another shock defeat outlined severe inconsistencies in the side that may have a devastating impact on their short-form matches later this summer.

Stuart Broad’s T20 side fared well in their opening match of the three-game series with New Zealand earlier this week, smashing 15 sixes to record 214-7: their highest ever 20-over total. They were as convincing with the ball in hand as the whole order was at the crease.

Three days later and the complete reverse happened, England falling to a humiliating 55-run defeat in Hamilton, upsetting the New Zealand v England betting odds, and abruptly ending any hopes of building form before the ODI and Test series later this spring.

It was a damning result and a demoralising performance, where England let Martin Guptill (47) and Hamish Rutherford (40) make 75 before the first wicket. The pace attack were all at sea and Broad – captain who made 4-24 in the first match on Sunday – recorded a demoralising 0-53.

England’s reply to the Kiwis’ stunning 193-6 was short-lived: Alex Hales, Luke Wright, and Jonny Bairstow all falling for eight or less. Only Jos Buttler, who has fitted into the team perfectly this spring, made any headway with a spirited 54 but his team-mates’ lacklustre efforts meant no partnership ever materialised.

Heading into a final T20 on Friday, England must reform their bowling attack and implant some backbone to this top order. When the wickets start falling there is nothing we can do and that form cannot be afforded to move into the summer, where England face both New Zealand and Australia in home T20s.

2013 is a crucial year for England international cricket and, with back-to-back Ashes series on the horizon, our short-form game can prove pivotal to inspiring confidence in the squad.

Broad must get his men together and win this T20 series, for the risk of a rut setting in the side is one neither Broad, Alastair Cook, nor fans learning how to bet on cricket can afford to take.

February 13, 2013 at 2:57 pm Leave a comment

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