Monday, 7 January 2013

Mahendra Singh Dhoni climbs to fourth spot in ODI rankings

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has returned to the top five in the latest ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen following his consistent performance with the bat in the recently-concluded three-match ODI series against Pakistan.
Although India lost the series 1-2, Dhoni scored 203 runs in three games, including a century, and that helped him move up two places to fourth position in the chart. Other Indians to have made upward movements are Suresh Raina in 26th [up by one] spot and Yuvraj Singh, who re-entered the rankings in 41st position. 

Pakistan is safe for international cricket, says Zaka Ashraf

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf said on Monday that Pakistan is a safe venue and talks are on with International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) for resumption of cricket ties in the country. Ashraf told IANS that he met ICC chief executive Dave Richardson on the sidelines of the third and the final ODI against India here on Sunday and "talks were fruitful".
"Pakistan is a safe venue for international cricket. Yesterday we had talks with the ICC and it has agreed in principle Pakistan can host international cricket teams. Last year, an ICC committee also assessed the security situation in Pakistan and the reports were positive," Ashraf told IANS in an interview before leaving for Lahore. 

England look for improved show in final warm-up

England XI will look to get a win under their belt when they take on Delhi in their final warm-up game ahead of the ODI series at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Tuesday. England, back in India following the historic win in Tests, were surprised by India A in first practice game at the Palam Ground here on Sunday. The visitors failed to overcome the 225-run target in a match reduced to 39 overs-a-side due to bad light. Ian Bell, who opened the innings alongside Kevin Pietersen, looked in great touch scoring 91 off 89 balls.
Not many people turn up at the state team's net session the very next afternoon after having played a day-night game for the country but probably Gautam Gambhir has no option but to seriously think about ironing out the flaws that has crept into his batting.

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson says focus on 2015 WC not affecting Test form

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has admitted that the 2015 cricket World Cup is Kiwis' primary focus but denied that team's Test game is suffering as a result.

The coach put his players through their second torrid three-hour session in as many days at the Newlands nets today, the scheduled fifth day of the first test against South Africa following their humiliating defeat in the first Test match, reports.

Michael Hussey says Lyon's 'great character' behind becoming Oz's next 'song leader'

Retired Australian Test batsman Michael Hussey has claimed off-spinner Nathan Lyon's great character is one of the major reason that persuaded him to hand over the sacrosanct duties of leading the team song to the young spinner spinner.

Lyon follows some of the most esteemed names in Australian cricket history in taking up the honour, held in descending order by Hussey, Justin Langer, Ricky Ponting, Ian Healy, David Boon, Allan Border and Rod Marsh, reports.

Brad Haddin says cricket not in mind during daughter's battle with cancer

Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has said he was not thinking about cricket during his time out of the team last year as his daughter fought a battle with cancer.

Haddin has won a surprise recall to Australia's 50-over team for two matches against Sri Lanka and has been pencilled in as the second keeper for the Ashes tour if Australia plumps for a back up to Matthew Wade, reports.

Haddin stepped down from the Australian keeping position for last year's West Indian tour after his daughter Mia, then 17 months old, was diagnosed with cancer.

Wade took Haddin's place as a fill-in and has subsequently cemented his position.

T20 captainGeorge Bailey says still doesn't feel like permanent member of Oz team

George Bailey, who will be the new Australian one-day captain and is also country's leading 50-over run-scorer since his debut, has claimed he still does not feel like a permanent member of the national team, but believes there is nothing bad in it.

The Tasmania, Hobart Hurricanes and Australian Twenty20 captain will act take charge of the one-day team for the first two games against Sri Lanka, with Michael Clarke rested and his deputy, Shane Watson, out injured, reports.

Since his debut against the West Indies in March last year, Bailey has scored 441 runs at 40.1 with three half-centuries, which is 87 runs more than his nearest teammate, the now retired Mike Hussey.

Cricket Australia not to stop Oz players from playing in IPL despite looming Ashes series

Cricket Australia (CA) won't stop its star players to participate in the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) despite growing fears that some of country's best players could be fatigued before the all important Ashes series.

In a huge year of cricket, the IPL is about to replace the Test team's rotation policy as the most controversial topic of Australian cricket, with the cash versus country debate to flare in a hectic 2013, reports.

As the IPL is in April and May this year, it falls during the official leave period for players, and CA will not attempt to ban its stars from playing in the lucrative seven-week tournament, it further reported.

Coach's nationality doesn't make a difference, says Misbahul Haq

Pakistan captain Misbahul Haq has said that lauded coach Dav Whatmore, who is yet to finish his first year with the Pakistan team, saying that his presence is already being reflected in the results and the show of strength on the field.
The Express Tribune quoted Misbah, as saying that Whatmore has brought about a change in attitude. According to Misbah, when a coach joins in a professional capacity, his job is to improve the team and the players, and it doesn't matter where he's from. It depends on the players how they benefit from him, Misbah added.

Pakistan needs 'to do more' to convince international teams over security in country: ICC

The efforts of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to revive international cricket on home soil has suffered another major blow after the International Cricket Council (ICC) refused to term the country safe to host international cricket, adding that Pakistan will need to do more on the security front to win the confidence of foreign teams.
ICC Chief Executive Dave Richardson said it is "premature" to say if the country is safe to host international matches, reports The Nation.
No Test playing nation has toured Pakistan since militants attacked Sri Lankan team in March 2009 in Lahore. Bangladesh, which was expected to tour Pakistan for a short series, also called off their January tour of Pakistan due to security concerns.

India's spin worries Australia ahead of tour

Australia's series win over Sri Lanka did nothing to ease the uncertainty over their batsmen facing India's spinners on next month's tour to the subcontinent, newspapers said on Monday. Australia made hard work of chasing down 141 runs for victory on a turning Sydney Cricket Ground pitch before wrapping up a five-wicket win in the final Test and a 3-0 series clean sweep.
Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath took three wickets for 47 and had most of the Australian top order in trouble in a tense few hours late on Sunday's fourth day. Australian newspapers, looking ahead to the four-Test tour to India, sense problems ahead for the team, who will now be without 79-Test veteran Mike Hussey following his Test retirement
"Australia won a Test yesterday, but missed a precious chance to get their house in order. As a consequence, they will fly into India for a four-Test tour a bit like an explorer heading into a dark forest at night. A pungent whiff of uncertainty is in the air," News Ltd's Robert Craddock said.

Shane Warne banned, fined after ugly T20 bust-up

Australian star Shane Warne was banned for one match and fined Aus$4,500 (US$4,700) on Monday after an ugly, foul-mouthed clash with West Indian Marlon Samuels during a Twenty20 match in Melbourne.
The spin legend, captaining the Melbourne Stars against city rivals the Renegades in the domestic Big Bash tournament on Sunday, was furious that Samuels pulled back David Hussey when the batsman was turning for a second run. 
And when Samuels was batting later in the game, Warne confronted the West Indian by swearing at him. In the next over, Warne, in the field, threw the ball at the Jamaican's chest and Samuels reacted by tossing his bat down the pitch towards the Australian.

Jacques Kallis rested for New Zealand ODIs

South Africa have rested Jacques Kallis for the three-match one-day international series against New Zealand, starting January 19. AB de Villiers returned to captain the side after he opted out from the T20s series between the two sides. Faf du Plessis led the Proteas in De Villiers’ absence.
Four uncapped players - wicketkeeper batsman Quinton de Kock, left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso, middle order batsman Farhaan Behardien and paceman Rory Kleinveldt - have also been named in the 14-member squad. 

Mike Hussey finishes 11th in Test rankings

Just-retired veteran Australian batsman Mike Hussey ended his career at 11th in the International Cricket Council's Test Rankings issued on Monday.
Hussey last achieved the number-one ranking on the batting table in 2008 and is one of seven from Australia after Don Bradman, Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Doug Walters, Neil Harvey to break the 900-point barrier
Hussey achieved the rare distinction in 2007-08 after the second Test against India in Sydney after scores of 41 and 145 not out. Michael Clarke became the seventh from Australia to break the barrier during the series against Sri Lanka.

India in no mood to tour Pakistan

According to a report published in the Mumbai Mirror, the BCCI has turned down the PCB's request to send the Indian team to Pakistan, who have been trying to revive international cricket in the country after the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009.

The report said that PCB chief Zaka Ashraf met his BCCI counterpart N Srinivsan in Chennai during the first ODI between India and Pakistan and tried to persuade him to send the Indian team to Pakistan. However, according to an unnamed board official, Srinivasan did not accede to Ashraf's insistence.

Wasim Akram told me to bowl in-swingers to Indian batsmen: Junaid Khan

New Delhi: The most impressive among the Pakistani pacers who made life difficult for Indian batsmen, Junaid Khan revealed that the legendary Wasim Akram's inputs about the host batsmen's "weaknesses" helped him get eight wickets in the just-concluded three-match ODI series.

"I have been a bowler who has relied on bowling outswingers consistently at a good pace. It was Wasim bhai (Akram) who told me to develop the incoming delivery which would be my weapon against the Indian right-handers," the 23-year-old Junaid told PTI during an interaction before leaving for Lahore on Monday.

Allrounder Shane Watson to put bowling duties on hold

Injury-plagued allrounder Shane Watson is set to put his bowling duties on hold and concentrate on his batting when he makes his return to the Australia team, coach Mickey Arthur said on Monday.
The burly 31-year-old has struggled with injuries and missed the third Test against Sri Lanka in Sydney after sustaining a calf strain during the second Test in Melbourne.
Watson also missed Test matches last season due to injuries and it might have convinced him to give up bowling for the time being, Arthur said.
"Watto wants to come back as a batsman. He wants to come back into the team with a primary focus of batting," Arthur told reporters in Sydney.