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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

India To Meet Pakistan In Blind Cricket T20 World Cup Final

Hosts India will take as yet undefeated rivals Pakistan in the final of the Blind Cricket Twenty20 World Cup in Bangalore after both sides won their semi-finals convincingly.
Pakistan, who took a record of eight straight wins into their match against England, made it nine wins in a row courtesy of a nine-wicket win.
England battled hard but could only make 181 for nine as Matt Dean top scored with 61. Mohammad Akram blasted 103 not out in 43 balls to help Pakistan reach their target in 13 overs.

Bangladesh star Shakib al Hasan to wed on 12/12/12

Bangladesh's star player and formerly the nation's most eligible bachelor Shakib al Hasan is set to marry his American girlfriend Wednesday in a ceremony timed for 12/12/12, a friend and local reports said.

The 25-year-old cricketer, the world's leading all-rounder, will tie the knot with an American of Bangladeshi origin in a private family ceremony organised on the once-in-a-lifetime date, his friend told AFP.
"They want to make the occasion memorable by marrying on 12/12/12. But only a few people are invited in the ceremony," the friend said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
A spokesman for the upmarket Ruposhi Bangla hotel in Dhaka said the couple would hold a small family party at the hotel. "To the best of my knowledge, it's a wedding party," he told AFP.

Alastair Cook in line to become first England batsman in nine years to top batting charts

Alastair Cook is in line to become the first England batsman since 2003 to top the Reliance ICC Test Player Rankings when his side takes on India in the fourth and last cricket Test which starts in Nagpur from Thursday.
Captain Cook is currently ranked fourth in the table with 874 points, just five behind number-one ranked Shivnarine Chanderpaul. And although Michael Clarke is just one rating point behind Chanderpaul, Cook will have the first crack on the number-one ranking as his Test finishes a day before the Australia-Sri Lanka Test, which begins in Hobart on Friday, 14 December.

Sachin Tendulkar himself should take a call on his international career, says Wasim Akram

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram feels since it might be difficult for the selectors to ask a player of Sachin Tendulkar's stature to retire, the senior batsman should himself take a call on his international career.
Stating that the pressure on Tendulkar has increased after India's two back-to-back defeats in four-Test series against England, Akram said, "When your most experienced batsman hasn't scored a Test century in almost two years, questions are bound to rise. "It finally boils down to your own assessment as (Australia's Ricky) Ponting did.

Everyone expected this bad patch once seniors go, says Mahendra Singh Dhoni

 Nagpur: Even as India continue to falter in Test cricket, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said this phase was a forgone conclusion after the retirement of legends like Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.
"Everybody was talking about this phase in Indian cricket when the big players would move on and the pressure will come on the youngsters and we may go through a rough patch. I think everybody expected this kind of a patch. Of course, we have struggled in the last two Tests. If you ask big questions depending on two Test matches...it (a situation) may come in the future too where we may lose two Test matches and people will say, okay all these youngsters should go out and someone else should come in," Dhoni said on the eve of the fourth and final Test here. 

Don't speculate on Tendulkar's future, says Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Well aware of Sachin Tendulkar's penchant for proving his detractors "wrong", Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday advised everyone to stop speculating about the senior batsman's future in international cricket. "When it comes to Sachin I feel the best thing to do is not to speculate. He has proved everybody wrong throughout his career. But I am not Sachin Tendulkar, may be when he comes for pc (press conference) you will have to ask him," Dhoni said.

Surprised by the character shown by team: Alastair Cook

England captain Alastair Cook on Wednesday said he has been left pleasantly surprised by the way his team bounced back from the opening loss to win back-to-back Tests against India but insisted that the job is still not over.
Cook hoped that his side will continue the good run in the fourth and final game commencing at the VCA Stadium in Jamtha here on Thursday. 
"I am pleasantly surprised by the character shown by the team [after Ahmedabad] in the last two games. I am pleased. We have played good, tough cricket. But we have to continue that," said Cook at the pre-match media conference.

India vs England, 4th Test: Hurt India chase victory to level series

Only twice since the turn of the century have India gone into the final Test of a home series seeking victory to level the contest. Only twice since January 1, 2000, have India lost a Test series at home. That is an exemplary record, spanning 23 series and 62 matches, and one which showed how tough teams found it to beat India at home. But that aura of near invincibility that India prided itself on for so long stands to be dashed by a dominant England going into the fourth and final Test in Nagpur starting Thursday.

Dhoni miffed with Gambhir, lodges complaint with BCCI

Against the backdrop of India's dismal performances in Mumbai and Kolkata, which have led to the hosts trailing England 1-2 heading into the final Test in Nagpur starting Thursday, Cricketnext has learned that MS Dhoni is not pleased with Gautam Gambhir's attitude and on-field ethics.
A member of the Indian team, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told this website that Dhoni feels that Gambhir puts his interest above the team and has become too self-centred and that the Indian captain has gone to the extent of lodging a complaint to the BCCI tagging Gambhir's approach as 'selfish' and 'hurtful to the team

Mohsin Khan disappointed over Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq India tour snub

Former Pakistan coach Mohsin Khan has expressed disappointment at the omission of all-rounders Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq from the tour of India, terming it a huge mistake by the selection committee.
"You can never drop a match-winner. Afridi is the kind of player who has an impact on the opposition just by his presence. He's an all-rounder and can compensate his poor batting with the ball or vice versa," The Express Tribune quoted Mohsin, as saying.
"Regaining form for a player of his calibre is a matter of just one game. The selection committee should have supported him in this tough time much like how Ricky Ponting was supported recently. Secondly it's a game of 11 players and expecting every single thing from an individual is illogical," he added.
He also criticised the decision to drop Razzaq from both formats.

Brendon McCullum says time will heal current pandemonium in Kiwi cricket

Brendon McCullum is confident that time will heal all the issues surrounding New Zealand cricket despite the uproar over how he became Kiwi cricket captain.
McCullum is preparing to lead the Black Caps on the tough assignment of touring South Africa.
Absent from the squad is the man he succeeded as captain, Ross Taylor, who is taking a break from international cricket after losing the job, and McCullum believes it's a case of when, not if, Taylor returns to the Black Caps.
"What's unfolding at the moment is very disappointing. But I'm sure that will all heal in due course," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted McCullum, as saying.

New Zealand Cricket chairman apologises to Ross Taylor for captaincy row

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chairman Chris Moller has publicly apologised to Ross Taylor for it's handling of the captaincy fiasco but confirmed no one will be sacked as a result.
Moller and NZC chief executive David White conducted a press conference at the Basin Reserve where little light was shed on the standoff between Taylor and NZC over the way he was removed from the captaincy.
Moller said the board took the correct decision to support a change in captaincy, which went to Brendon McCullum, but regretted the way it played out publicly.
"The board has reviewed all aspects of the captaincy issue and wishes to publicly place on record its apologies to Ross Taylor and his family for the manner in which events have unfolded," Stuff.co.nz quoted Moller, as saying.

Kiwi batsman Jesse Ryder says still not ready for comeback in international cricket

Troubled New Zealand batsman Jesse Ryder has claimed he's not yet ready to return to international cricket, despite scoring his third century of the season in Kiwi domestic first class competition.
Ryder scored 162 from 174 balls for his Wellington province against Central Districts on Tuesday, taking his tally of runs for the season to 530 at an average of 106.
However, Ryder said that despite being in top form, he has things to work on before he considers returning to the New Zealand team, Sport24 reports.
Ryder hasn't played for New Zealand since February last year when he was censured for breaking team rules on alcohol.

Shane Watson says batting at No.4 will enhance bowling performance

Shane Watson has said he expects his imminent move to number four in the batting line-up to succeed Ricky Ponting in the Test team will allow him to have a bigger impact with his bowling.
Watson, the Test vice-captain, confirmed on Wednesday that with Ponting's retirement he would move down the order from three to four with the recalled Phillip Hughes, typically an opener, to bat at first drop, starting against Sri Lanka in Hobart on Friday.
"I really am seeing it as a big positive; one, for my batting side of things, but also for my bowling, to hopefully be able to really contribute that little bit more with the ball because I feel like I have like I have got a bit more to contribute with the ball," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Watson, as saying.

Graeme Swann says Eng players to invoke 'spirit of Sydney' to finish off India in Nagpur Test

England off spinner Graeme Swann has claimed his teammates will invoke the spirit of Sydney, when they performed brilliantly to beat Australia in the final Test despite already claiming the Ashes, to try and beat India in the final Test match at Nagpur even with an unassailable 2-1 lead in the series.
At 2-1 up with one to play England are in the same situation in Nagpur as they were Down Under two years ago and they are aiming for the same result.
There was no sitting back on any laurels for England and there was just another assault on the Australian ramparts at their most inspirational home.

Stuart Broad in doubt for T20 matches following yet another injury setback

Stuart Broad's nightmarish tour to India got worse on Tuesday when his fitness for the upcoming Twenty20 matches was pushed into doubt after he suffered a recurrence of his heel injury bowling in the nets and went to hospital for a scan.
Broad was ruled out of Friday's final Test match against India in Nagpur although he was unlikely to play anyway.
More ominously, Broad's captaincy for the two T20 games that follow the Tests is under threat and Eoin Morgan is standing by to captain the team.
Broad first bruised his left heel during the warm-up games but was fit enough to play in the first two Tests, and he failed to take a wicket in either match before losing his place to Steven Finn for the Third Test in Kolkata.

Captaincy row rages as New Zealand head to South Africa

New Zealand cricket chiefs issued a public apology to axed captain Ross Taylor Wednesday, as a weakened Black Caps side prepared to depart for South Africa without the in-form batsman.

Taylor opted to sit out the tour against the Proteas after being replaced as skipper by opener Brendon McCullum last Friday, leaving a gaping hole in the New Zealand batting line-up as the side faces the world's top-ranked Test team.

Attitude is India’s big problem

India have big questions to answer in the aftermath of the Kolkata Test and the biggest surrounds the attitude of their near god- like top names.

When the likes of MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir and the rest went back to their hotel rooms after that defeat, how much were they hurting? How much hunger for the long- haul form of the game — with its mental and physical demands — have these multi- millionaire players still got? Are they thinking, deep down, “ Never mind”, and prioritising instead the fun, glamour and huge financial rewards that come from the Indian Premier League? That is the crux of the issue now for India. The last thing their cricket needs, really, is a win in Nagpur and a share of this series because all that would do is paper over the cracks.

Ravindra Jadeja is not yet a serious Test No. 6

The selection committee’s decision to pick Ravindra Jadeja in the Test squad for Nagpur as Yuvraj Singh’s replacement seems a no- brainer.

After all, the Saurashtra boy whacked two triple centuries in the space of three weeks and is fitter, more agile and a better part- time leftarm spinner than the man he replaces.

And yet, there seems to be hardly any chance of Jadeja making his Test debut ahead of Ajinkya Rahane, given that the Mumbaikar is a better pure batsman, something Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team is in dire need of given its performances over the last year or so.

Ex-Kiwi coach Mark Greatbatch calls for NZC chairman's head over Taylor captaincy fiasco

Former New Zealand batsman and national coach Mark Greatbatch is calling for New Zealand Cricket chairman Chris Moller to resign in the wake of the Ross Taylor captaincy saga.
Greatbatch is adamant Moller's first move should be to resign, having presided over the captaincy fiasco which has seen Ross Taylor refuse to tour South Africa following his axing as national team skipper and subsequent fallout with coach Mike Hesson.

Former bowling coachCraig McDermott says Oz can play both Starc, Johnson in Hobart Test

Australia's former fast bowling coach, Craig McDermott, has claimed he can see no reason why left-arm fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson cannot both play against Sri Lanka in the first Test in Hobart.
The general vision is that one of Johnson or Starc will sit out the series opener, but with Ben Hilfenhaus yet to rediscover the form of 12 months ago, selectors will seriously contemplate retaining both left-arm pace men.
"You can play two right-armers so why can't you play two left-armers? I don't understand the thinking of that," the Age quoted McDermott, as saying.

Shane Watson backs 'helmet cam' for ODIs, Tests

Shane Watson, who became the first batsman in the world to wear a camera in his helmet, is a brazen fan of the latest innovative technology and believes it could be used in one-day international or Test cricket in the future.

Watson said he was enthralled by the experience during the Brisbane Heat's Big Bash game at the Gabba last Sunday.
The helmet camera gave viewers an eagle-eye view of what it feels like for batsmen to have 145km/h thunderbolts coming directly at them.
Watson said the innovation could be taken to the next level, claiming it was less disturbing than the floating aerial 'Spidercam' used during Tests this summer.
"During a Test, Spidercam can move around a lot and you can feel it around you. But the helmet cam, you are not feeling it at all. It is just absolutely normal," News.com.au quoted Watson, as saying to an Australian newspaper.