Friday, 14 December 2012

Du Plessis named South Africa T20 captain against New Zealand

Faf du Plessis will lead South Africa in the three-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand later this month to free regular limited overs skipper AB de Villiers from the burden of captaincy, the cricket board said on Thursday.
De Villiers remained part of the 15-member squad, which includes four uncapped players, for the Twenty20 matches in Durban (December 21), East London (December 23) and Port Elizabeth (December 26).
"AB de Villiers remains our first-choice captain in this format," selection convener Andrew Hudson said in a statement.
"But AB is one of the players we need to rotate in the interest of his workload across all three formats and we want to have one captain for the entire series," he added.
For the two-test series against the Kiwis starting on January 2, South Africa stuck with the same squad which beat Australia earlier this month to retain the number one ranking.

Saeed Ajmal will be trump card against India: Dav Whatmore

Offspinner Saeed Ajmal will be Pakistan's "trump card" during their short cricket tour of India this month, coach Dav Whatmore said on Friday. The 35-year-old Ajmal is ranked No. 1 in one-day internationals and Twenty20s, with 109 wickets in 71 ODIs and 69 wickets in 48 T20s.
"Saeed Ajmal will always remain a trump card for us as we all know he's a wonderful bowler," Whatmore said in Lahore. "He's very much needed, and he will always remain a threat." 
Ajmal's doosra that turns away from the right-handers continues to baffle batsmen. But he's expected to have to share an extra workload in the one-dayers after enigmatic allrounder Shahid Afridi was dropped by the selectors due to poor form.

Indian players became casual after World Cup success: Sunil Gavaskar

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar feels that some of the Indian players became very "casual" after their success in the 2011 World Cup which is "less than acceptable."
"After the success of 2011 World Cup, the attitude of some of the players became too casual. They started behaving as if the nation owes it to them for winning World Cup which is less than acceptable," Gavaskar told a news channel when asked about the reasons for India's consistent failures in the last 18 months.

Adapting to conditions was the key to success, says Joe Root

Debutant Joe Root, who impressed one and all with his patient knock of 73 stated that adapting to situations as quickly as possible was the main recipe of his success against India in the fourth cricket Test. "I was trying to understand and adapt to the situation as quickly as possible. I just tried to do that. I was thinking more about adapting than anything else," Root said at the post-match media conference.
Root's main focus was to grind it out for long hours. "More than anything else, I had to keep my footwork precise and work very hard and just grind it out. It was a very defensive field and I had to be patient and keep things as simple as possible," said the 21-year-old Yorkshire man. "I have dreamed about this opportunity for a very long time and very proud I finally got this opportunity," he added.

India can make comeback in Nagpur Test: Piyush Chawla

Notwithstanding Indian top order's pathetic show once again after the bowlers did a decent job to restrict England to 330, leg spinner Piyush Chawla said the hosts can still make a comeback in the fourth Test if Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni manage to put on a good session on Saturday.
"We lost a few quick wickets but we still have two quality batsmen at the crease and they are having a good partnership (Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni) and seeing the ball really well. Let's hope for the best because the way these guys are middling the ball we could have a good session tomorrow," said Chawla after the second day's play here India, in reply to England's 330 in the first innings, were tottering at 87 for four with the fiery England fast bowler James Anderson having grabbed three quick wickets for 24 runs at the VCA Stadium.

McCullum says Loss of Ross Taylor will not affect team

New Zealand will not be distracted by the axing of former captain Ross Taylor ahead of their cricket tour of South Africa, new skipper Brendon McCullum said on Friday.
"We can't control what has unfolded back home and, as players, our focus is very much on the cricket field and what we can control there," McCullum told a news conference.
"What has happened behind the scenes over the last little while is, from a team perspective, now over and our focus is now moving forward."
Taylor was stripped of the one-day and Twenty20 captaincy last week and rejected an offer to stay on as test captain while also making himself unavailable for the South Africa tour which includes three T20 internationals, two tests and three one-day games.

Ind vs Eng: India stutter to reach 87/4 at stumps on Day 2, trail by 243 runs

India's batting woes continued to haunt them with the top-order batsmen succumbing tamely yet again as England snapped up four quick wickets to gain firm control of the crucial fourth and final Test on Friday.

After posting a decent score of 330 in the first innings, the visitors exploited the slow and uneven bounce of the track to leave India gasping at a precarious 87 for four at close on an eventful second day which saw nine wickets fall.

Shahid Afridi may be retained for ODIs if he does well in T20s

Pakistan's flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi can be retained for the three ODIs in India if he strikes form in the two T20 International matches to be held in in Bangalore and Ahmedabad. There has been a lot of hue and cry over the decision of the national selection committee to drop Afridi for the ODI series while retaining him in the T20 squad.
But Chief selector Iqbal Qasim indicated on Thursday that if Afridi did well in the T20 matches and if the team management made any request to retain him for the ODIs, the selection committee would definitely consider the request. "Shahid is a very experienced player and we felt the time now was to give him a chance to focus on the two T20 matches as his form has not been consistent in the ODI matches," Qasim said. 

Wasim Akram not impressed with India's reverse swing

One of the finest exponents of reverse swing, former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram feels the Indian bowlers have not been able to use the art as well as their English counterparts are, in the ongoing Test series.
"Look at the state of the ball in Calcutta when the two teams were bowling. When India had the ball, it was average looking. Nobody was bothering to shine the ball, or take responsibility for keeping it dry. When England bowled, it was different. One side of the ball was shiny and the other dry," Akram said. 

West Indies to launch franchise-based T20 league

A new franchise-based Twenty20 league will begin play in the Caribbean next year the West Indies Cricket Board said on Thursday, filling the hole left by the collapse of Allen Stanford's tournament.
The Stanford 20/20, held in 2006 and 2008, kick-started Caribbean interest in the shortest form of the game but since the collapse of the Texan's financial empire, leading to his imprisonment for fraud, there has been a lack of resources for players. 
The West Indies were crowned Twenty20 world champions this year and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has run a lower-key regional tournament to keep top players involved in the shortest format.

Michael Clarke happy with Warner's 'moment of madness' as long he delivers big tons

Australia captain Michael Clarke has said he is happy to take explosive opener David Warner's moments of madness if he keeps delivering big centuries at the current rate.
The potent opener has three hundreds from his first 12 Tests and the best of them was his first, made a year ago in Hobart, where the first Test against Sri Lanka begins on Friday.
Just two Tests ago, Warner smashed a run-a-ball century against South Africa in Adelaide, then last week played one of the most injudicious shots of the summer, a wild swipe against Dale Steyn just seven balls into the second day, which left Australia 3-34.
"The one thing we need to understand with Davey is the same ball he got out on in Perth, we're all standing and clapping in Adelaide when it went over cover or went over slips for four," quoted Clarke, as saying.

Thilan Samaraweera reveals Lahore shooting incident taught him to enjoy cricket

Sri Lanka batsman Thilan Samaraweera has revealed how he went within centimetres of paralysis after being shot during the notorious Lahore terrorist attack that rocked world cricket, and added the horrific incident taught him to enjoy cricket.
Samaraweera is a key plank in Sri Lanka's top order, with the 36-year-old having amassed 5383 runs at a world-class mark of 50.78 entering the first Test against Australia at Bellerive Oval.
But the batting veteran admits he is fortunate to be alive after narrowly surviving the horrific shooting in March 2009, when 12 masked Pakistani terrorists targeted Sri Lanka's team bus with grenades, rocket launchers and AK-47s.

Marlon Samuels claims to be better player than West Indies teammate Gayle on current form

Marlon Samuels has said he would look to steal West Indies teammate Chris Gayle's limelight when he makes his debut for the Melbourne Renegades against the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League on Friday.
Samuels was the star for the Windies during their recent tour of Bangladesh, and capped a memorable tour with an unbeaten 85 off 43 balls in Tuesday's 18-run T20 win, but explosive Gayle failed to perform during the series.
"Chris and I have been best friends for ages, since we were teenagers. He's in the Big Bash, now I'm joining him and playing against him," quoted Samuels, as saying.

South Africa squads to face New Zealand

South Africa on Thursday named their Test and Twenty20 squads to face New Zealand.
Test squad: Graeme Smith (capt), Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers (wkt), Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Jacques Kallis, Rory Kleinveldt, Morne Morkel, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Jacques Rudolph, Dale Steyn.
Twenty20 squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Farhaan Behardien, Henry Davids, Quinton de Kock (wkt), AB de Villiers (wkt), Rory Kleinveldt, Richard Levi, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Sports psychologist Maqbool Babri to accompany Pakistan team

Sports psychologist Maqbool Babri will accompany the Pakistan cricket team on their tour of India this month for the first bilateral series between the two countries since 2007.
"It will be a high pressure tour and the T20 and ODI squads include some youngsters. So we are sending Dr Maqbool Babri with the team to India," Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf told reporters on Thursday.
Babri was hired recently by the board to hold counseling sessions with fast bowler Mohammad Amir, who was jailed for corruption along with

Michael Clarke says 'dropped' Mitchell Johnson unlucky to miss out Hobart Test

Australia captain Michael Clarke has claimed pace man Mitchell Johnson was unlucky to miss selection for the first Test against Sri Lanka in Hobart.
Johnson rebutted criticism of his inclusion for the recent Perth Test against South Africa by being Australia's best bowler, even though not the most rewarded in wickets.
Johnson's fall from being a walk-up start for Australia was toughened by the selections for the series opener against Sri Lanka starting on Friday, with Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus being instead treated as the first-choice pace men.
Fellow left-armer Mitchell Starc was also preferred to Johnson, the former mainstay of the pace attack.
Clarke acknowledged the tough call on Johnson to drop him but said it was a nice problem to have.

Shane Watson says 'stress' deterring ability to score big tons in Tests

Australia vice-captain Shane Watson has claimed stress is the major reason behind his inability to convert good starts into big centuries as the all-rounder attempts to end a century drought spanning more than two years in the first Test against Sri Lanka on Friday.
Watson is under pressure to deliver in his new role as a replacement for Australia's greatest Test run-scorer Ricky Ponting in the No. 4 slot.
While Watson is rarely troubled getting out of the blocks, he has found it difficult converting the starts into tons, and has just two centuries from 66 Test innings at 36.92.
Watson faces the Sri Lankans having gone 30 innings without a Test ton since blasting 126 on Australia's tour of India in October 2010.
Watson has fallen just shy of a Test century six times with scores of 96, 89, 93, 97, 95 and 88, and attributes his near misses to his mental application in the heat of battle.

Dirk Nannes urges budding speedsters to avoid over-stressing themselves in early 20s

Veteran fast bowler Dirk Nannes has called for a fundamental alteration on preventing injuries in younger colleagues, urging them to forget about bowling while in their early 20s.
Nannes, who at 36 hopes for a few more years of express bowling in Twenty20 competitions, said there was more to lose than gain for young quicks bowling when their bodies were still developing.
Nannes said the likes of James Pattinson and Pat Cummins, who won't play again this summer because of injury, would be better taking time out of cricket if they wanted to play into their 30s.
"My theory is fast bowlers achieve nothing between the ages of 19 and 23 so they should go a full Olympiad and travel the world ... and go out to pasture because all they can do is pick up stress fractures and injuries and stuff themselves up," the Age quoted Nannes, as saying.

Ricky Ponting comfortable with life after retirement

Former Australia Test captain Ricky Ponting, who recently retired from international cricket after the series against South Africa, has said he is comfortable with his decision since it was made for the right reasons.
With the Australian Test team training in the background, Ponting is a familiar figure at Bellerive, but instead of being dressed in Test attire, the former captains is in the purple and black of the Hobart Hurricanes.
Ponting claims it was this backdrop that made arguably Tasmania's greatest sportsman realise his international career was now officially over, but while reality has set in, regrets haven't.

Aus vs Sri: Australia 299 for 4 at close in 1st Sri Lanka Test

Australia were 299 for four at the close after winning the toss on the opening day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Hobart on Friday.
Skipper Michael Clarke was unbeaten on 70 with veteran Mike Hussey not out 37.
Scoreboard at the close of the opening day of the first Test between Australia and Sri Lanka at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart on Friday:
Australia 1st Innings