Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Shahid Afridi may be reconsidered for India ODIs: Misbah-ul-Haq

Dropped allrounder Shahid Afridi might be reconsidered for Pakistan's one-day international series against India, limited-overs captain Misbah-ul-Haq said on Wednesday. Afridi was picked only for the two Twenty20s against India this month but left out of the three one-dayers because he's scored only 182 runs in his last 16 ODIs with only one half century.
But Afridi has scored two half centuries in 50-over practice matches in the last three days, including 90 off 64 balls on Wednesday to catch the eyes of his captain. "If his form remains like this and we needed him, we will definitely consider him," Misbah said in Lahore at Pakistan's training camp for the tour. "The form of senior players, who are experienced enough, is very important."

PIL challenging Sachin Tendulkar's nomination to Rajya Sabha dismissed

The Delhi High Court Wednesday dismissed a plea challenging the nomination of cricketer Sachin Tendulkar to the Rajya Sabha.
A division bench of Chief Justice D. Murugesan and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw dismissed the petition, filed by Ram Gopal Singh Sisodia, a former Delhi legislator, claiming that Tendulkar did not possess "special knowledge and practical experience," a criterion prescribed under Article 80 of the constitution for such nomination. 
The central government, however, had informed the court that the nomination of the cricketer to the Rajya Sabha was according to a constitutional provision.

Kevin Peitersen will get new England contract: Andy Flower

England's head coach Andy Flower on Wednesday said former cricket captain Kevin Peitersen will be offered a new central contract.
Pietersen is currently on a four-month deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after he was not initially picked for the tour of India. The batsman was dropped in August for sending 'provocative texts' about his team to South Africa players. 
"The contract won't be a problem. Kevin has been excellent in every way," Flower told BBC. Pietersen agreed a four-month deal in September to be part of the tour to India. He played an important role in England winning an historic first Test series victory on Indian sold since 1984-85.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni avoids probing questions on his captaincy

Under-fire Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday refused to be drawn into a debate over split-captaincy theory as suggested by former greats after his team's humiliating 1-2 Test series defeat against England. "Your question on my view about split captaincy is good but let's stick to T20 format as we have a T20 game tomorrow," was Dhoni's curt reply when a local reporter asked him about the hotly debated topic.

Wasim Akram advises Pakistan Cricket Board to not treat players like schoolboys

Pakistan's former captain, Wasim Akram has advised the PCB and the national team management to not treat the players like schoolboys during the tour of India. Responding to remarks made by the Pakistan team manager, Naved Cheema that players would not be allowed free movement or to attend private parties or functions in India, Akram said on Tuesday that if they were made to feel like they were in jail in India it would affect their performances.
"I don't agree with this approach. I think the players should be given space and freedom. If they are relaxed and open minded they will perform better as well. I know due to the spot-fixing scandal and increased media glare things have changed in international cricket but still players must be given responsibility," Akram said. 

India aims for number-one spot on the T20I Championship table

India is presented with a chance to go top of the Reliance ICC T20I Championship table if it wins all four matches scheduled to be played against England and Pakistan before the end of 2012.
India plays England in a two-match series starting tomorrow in Pune and then squares off against its traditional rival Pakistan - also in a two-match series starting on 25 December in Bengaluru.
India is currently ranked third on the T20I Championship table with 120 ratings points. If India was to win all four matches, it will be propelled to the number-one rank with a gain of 12 ratings points and in doing so will open up a five points lead over current number-one ranked Sri Lanka.

Michael Clarke in race to be fit for 2nd Test

Australian captain Michael Clarke is confident he will be fit for the second Test against Sri Lanka and started an intensive physio campaign Wednesday to overcome a hamstring strain.

The world's leading Test batsman suffered the twinge in his team's 137-run win over the tourists in Hobart this week and he is racing the clock to recover in time for the next encounter in Melbourne from December 26.

"I know I'm in great hands with (team physio) Alex (Kountouris) and I know how great a physio he is," said Clarke, who reclaimed the top spot in the ICC Test batsman rankings released Tuesday evening.

Mahela Jayawardene says Sri Lanka has moved on following 'ball-tampering' saga

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene has strongly defended his team management as the ball tampering saga exploded after the first Test in Hobart, and added the team has moved on.
Speaking after his side crashed to a 137-run loss to Australia at Bellerive, Jayawardene was riled by suggestions his team had made a complaint about alleged incidents involving man of the match Peter Siddle.

New Zealand start with win

Uncapped fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan destroyed South Africa A's top order to get the New Zealand cricketers off to a winning start in a Twenty20 match at the City Oval on Tuesday.

New Zealand posted a modest 140 for seven after winning the toss and batting. The South African second stringers were soon in deep trouble at 23 for four before limping to 116 for nine to give the tourists a 24-run win.

South Africa complete long road to the top

South Africa celebrated their long-heralded arrival at the summit of test cricket in 2012 while West Indies enjoyed their first world title since the team's 1970s heyday with a maiden Twenty20 trophy.

The giddy heights proved too much for England whose year-long reign as the number one test nation ended at Lord's with a 2-0 series thumping by Graeme Smith's South Africa in August.

The Proteas appear determined to build a dynasty as they backed up their coronation with a 1-0 series win in Australia to finish an exhausting year unbeaten in 10 tests, with nine of them coming on tour.

Graeme Swann says series win in India perfect 'launch pad' ahead of Ashes 2013

England off spinner Graeme Swann believes their historic Test series win in India has given the team the perfect launch pad ahead of the Ashes series next year.

Swann said winning in India after such a long span was a special achievement for the team and winning the Ashes next year would be the icing on the cake.

"I'm already looking forward like an excited child to the back-to-back Ashes series in 2013. I just can't wait," Swann wrote in his column for the Sun.

Pakistan's great Waqar Younis says 'glad ball-tampering claims not directed at sub-continental teams'

Legendary Pakistani fast bowler Waqar Younis has claimed ball-tampering is still rife in the game, and added that he was glad these accusations have not been directed towards any team from the sub-continent.
Waqar had not seen the drama unfold in Hobart on Tuesday, but was hardly surprised when told of the accusations being hurled by the Sri Lankans at Australian quick Peter Siddle.
Waqar was banned and fined 50 per cent of his match fee for lifting the seam off the ball during a one-day game against Sri Lanka in 2000.
"To be really honest, I'm not surprised. If people want to close their eyes and say, 'Oh, it's not happening and cricket is very clean', you're kidding me, that's rubbish," quoted Waqar, as saying.

'Cleared' Peter Siddle slams 'ridiculous' ball-tampering accusations

Australia fast bowler Peter Siddle has blasted ball-tampering allegations on him as ridiculous after he along with opener Ed Cowan were embroiled in controversy following persistent complaints from Sri Lankan hierarchy

Siddle's man-of-the-match performance in the Hobart Test was overshadowed by explosive allegations of ball tampering after Sri Lankan management informally raised concerns on Sunday night with International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Chris Broad.

Coach Graham Ford says Clarke not playing in Melbourne Test 'big boost' for Lanka

Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford has said Australia captain Michael Clarke was a huge factor behind the host nation winning the first Test match in Hobart, and added that his absence would be a big boost for the touring team.

Clarke is desperate to overcome a hamstring complaint for the Boxing Day clash, after limping through Tuesday's final day of play in the first Test in Hobart as the home side claimed a 137-run win.

Craig McDermott finally convinced by Starc's 'red ball' ability after Hobart Test heroics

Former Australia Test bowling coach Craig McDermott has said all the doubts he had in his minds regarding Mitchell Starc's ability to bowl well in Test cricket have been vanquished after the left-arm pace man produced match-winning performance against Sri Lanka in Hobart.

"I'm a fan of Mitch's and I've been waiting to see that from him with a red ball," quoted McDermott, as saying after Starc bagged 5-63 to clinch Australia's win over Sri Lanka in Hobart - his second big haul in successive Tests.

McDermott had not been convinced by Starc's career-best figures of 6-154 in the second innings of the third Test against South Africa, which Australia lost.

Dean Jones says privilege to work as mentor with Oz team

Former Australia batsman Dean Jones has accepted an invitation from captain Michael Clarke and Mickey Arthur to be a team mentor for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, saying that it would be an honour and privilege to be involved with the team once again.

"'It's an honour and a privilege to work with the team again," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Jones, as saying.

Jones's recruitment is part of an initiative driven by Clarke, who wants to have past players more involved with the national team.

Michael Clarke reclaims top spot in ICC Test rankings

Australia captain Michael Clarke has strengthened his position as number one in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test rankings after he moved nine points clear of second-placed Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Clarke's knocks of 74 and 57 in the Hobart Test against Sri Lanka, won by Australia by 137 runs, played a part in helping him reach the top, according to an ICC statement.

Other big gainers were Australia's Mike Hussey, England's Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell, Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan and India's Virat Kohli, reports.

Adam Gilchrist defends Shane Watson after Oz cricket fans dismiss captaincy credentials

A vast majority of Australian cricket fans have written of Shane Watson's captaincy credentials after the vice-captain was tipped to lead the Test team in the Melbourne Test against Sri Lanka if Michael Clarke fails to recover from injury, but former wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist believes captaincy can bring the best out of the all rounder.

Watson will be officially ordained as Australia's 44th Test skipper if Clarke fails to overcome a hamstring complaint in time for the Boxing Day Test.