Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Tendulkar the best I’ve played against: Ricky Ponting

Newly retired Ricky Ponting says while India's Sachin Tendulkar was the best batsman he played against, West Indian Brian Lara was the opponent he feared most.

Ponting pulled stumps on his Australian record-equalling 168-Test career at the conclusion of the third Test loss to South Africa in Perth on Monday.

In 17 years of Test cricket, which produced 13,378 runs at 51.85 and made him the second-highest runscorer in Test history behind Tendulkar, Ponting said the pair stood out as his highest quality opponents.

Young cricketers should be encouraged, says Ricky Ponting

Australian legend Ricky Ponting has outlined just how tough life may become for the cricket team over the coming years, pleading for encouragement for young cricketers.
Australia's heavy loss to South Africa in Perth, losing the series 1-0 after almost winning the second Test in Adelaide, has been a serious wake-up call, as they have now been pushed further back in third place behind the Proteas and England.
And after a three-Test series against Sri Lanka, beginning in Hobart on Friday week, Australia faces tough tours of India and England next year, reports.
"Some of the young guys might need a little bit of patting on the back every now and then and given a bit of a push along because it's a pretty hard thing we do," Ponting said during his farewell press conference.

BCCI to reduce Team India's tours

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is mulling to reduce the touring commitments of Team India during the winter.

In order to ensure availability of the top-rung players during the domestic season, BCCI president Narayanswamy Srinivasan says that they are looking to establish a “prime” home season.

“We are starting to look at and define our prime season, and during your prime season you should be playing at home,” Srinivasan was quoted as saying by the ESPNcricinfo.

“We want to have possibly one or two visiting teams during our domestic season, starting in September all the way up to March, and we’ll see the extent to which we don’t tour outside. Given the FTP that is there, we are going to see how we can adjust.” Srinivasan said.

He said the domestic season would be rescheduled to make Tests at home the centre of attraction, and encourage international players to play in the Ranji Trophy.

Australia looking for new number three

Australian coach Mickey Arthur says Ricky Ponting's retirement opens the door for Shane Watson to drop further down the batting order, but would not be drawn on the contenders to replace him.

Watson returned from a calf injury in the third Test against South Africa, making 10 and 25 batting at number three as South Africa won by 309 runs to take the series 1-0.
Despite establishing himself as a Test opener in recent years, there has been speculation about Watson's best role in the team and his ability to continue to perform with both bat and ball given his long injury history.

South Africa look to build on Australia win

South Africa want to use their recent series win in Australia as a stepping stone to cement their position as the world's dominant test team and to build something "really special", captain Graeme Smith said on Wednesday.
The Proteas, who have not lost an away test series since 2006, won their second consecutive series in Australia after their victory in the third test in Perth. They have a rating of 123 in the test rankings, with England in second place on 117.
South Africa take on New Zealand in a two-test home series in January and Smith said the tests would provide the Proteas the opportunity to build on the momentum from Australia.

Shane Warne plays down Ashes comeback talk

Shane Warne on Wednesday apologised to Australia Test skipper Michael Clarke after comments about a possible dramatic return for next year's Ashes series against England sparked a media frenzy.

"Sorry @MClarke23 if you woke up to calls!!!! See you soon buddy," he tweeted to the skipper, a close friend.

The 43-year-old leg-spinner, regarded as one of the game's greatest players, quit Tests in 2007 but captained the Indian Premier League side Rajasthan Royals for four years, winning the inaugural tournament in 2008.

Now preparing for another season in Australia's Big Bash League with the Melbourne Stars, he told News Limited newspapers that he had "absolutely no doubt" he could bowl successfully at Test level again.

Warne said that if Clarke suggested his services were needed after the Test team's recent bowling struggles against South Africa, he would give it some serious thought.

Captaincy has brought out the best in me: Alastair CookCook

Alastair Cook feels the responsibility of captaincy has brought the best out of him.

“May be the added responsibility makes you more accountable to the side. That may have helped my batting... I really don’t know if it happened that way, but it’s nice."

“As a captain you always want a good start with the bat... Show that you can cope with the demands. That’s how it has happened, but I can’t put a finger on how it happened,” Cook, who has hit centuries in all his four Tests as captain, said on Tuesday.

Cook feels that the Mumbai victory has had a positive impact on the team.
“It (the Mumbai win) certainly left us a little more confident and belief that what we are doing is fine. That doesn’t mean it is going to count for anything in this match."

Brett Lee questions Australia rotation policy

After playing in the second Test, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus were rested for the third and final match against South Africa and with James Pattinson injured, Australia went with a new seam attack of Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and John Hastings. Because of Pattinson's side strain, Siddle and Hilfenhaus bowled 67 overs between them in the second.
And Lee feels Siddle would have been disappointed to miss out on the final Test, and he said: "If I was Sidds (Siddle), I would have been blowing up. He bowled so well in Adelaide."
He added: "They say it's because of back-to-back matches but that's Test cricket. It's nothing to do with the planning.