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Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Can India beat England 5-0 to regain top ODI ranking?

The five-match one-day series between India and England will throw open the race to the number one team and Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men will have to inflict a whitewash on the visiting side to regain their numero uno status on the Reliance ICC ODI Championship table.
India are playing England in a five-match ODI series starting on Friday in Rajkot and the only way the hosts, currently ranked third, can regain their number one ranking is by winning all the five matches of the series. A 5-0 win will see India jump two places to claim the top spot. 
England too will be aiming to carry their Test form into the ODI format and win their first series in India in 28 years, and cement their status as the number-one ranked side.

9 million thanks, Sachin Tendulkar tells FB fans

Undoubtedly one of the most widely followed Indian celebrities on Facebook, Sachin Tendulkar's fan following on the social networking site has crossed nine million and it's still counting. "9 million thanks!!! Thankyou for making me feel so special," Tendulkar posted on his facebook account.
Tendulkar had joined Facebook last September and within hours, had a staggering four lakh likes to his name. The cricketer started his Facebook innings with a video message welcoming everyone to his official page. "I'll like to welcome you to my facebook family. As a child I always dreamt of playing cricket for India and I chased my dream of winning the World Cup for 22 years. It wouldn't have been possible without your support. I wanna take this opportunity to thank all of you for having prayed for me and wish well for me," he had posted the first time.

Kevin Pietersen given full England contract

Kevin Pietersen rubber-stamped his return to the England set-up on Wednesday by signing a full central contract with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). Pietersen was frozen out of the international picture in August last year when he was dropped for the final Test against South Africa over claims he sent text messages to rival players criticising then-England captain Andrew Strauss.
The South Africa-born batsman subsequently returned to the squad towards the end of 2012, but was only tied to a short-term contract that was due to expire at the end of the month.However, limited-overs coach Ashley Giles confirmed on Wednesday that the 32-year-old has now signed a full central contract with the ECB that puts him on a par with the rest of his England team-mates.

Geoff Boycott tips India as favourites for England ODIs

India might have lost the recent ODIs against Pakistan but former England captain Geoffrey Boycott feels that the hosts still stand a better chance of winning the five-match series against England, starting in Rajkot on January 11.
"...it's about 60-40 in India's favour, I would say, in this series to come," said Boycott. 
"I don't think India will be as tough to beat as they were. They'll still be tough in their own country, they've still got a lot of other good players.
"[MS] Dhoni is a fantastic player, there's [Virat] Kohli - they are good players. It just gives England a bit more of a chance, maybe, but I believe India are right to try and plan ahead and move forward," Boycott told ESPNcricinfo.

PCB positive about playing a full series with India this year

Pakistan remains optimistic about playing a full series with India later this year despite reports that the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) has refused to send its team to Pakistan due to security concerns and also has ruled out the possibility of playing at any neutral venue.
The Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf, who returned home with the national team on Monday, said that there was still lot of time left before the proposed series in August. 

India will find it difficult to beat us in Pakistan: Saeed Ajmal

Buoyed by their recent success in India, offspinner Saeed Ajmal has challenged the arch-rivals to beat Pakistan in their own backyard. Ajmal said the Indian team would find it difficult to beat Pakistan on their home turf.
"We looked at it as a challenge. We felt if we beat them in their own backyard then it will pose a challenge before them to come and try to win in Pakistan. I hope this happens soon," Ajmal said. 
The 35-year old spinner took 5 for 24 in the final ODI in New Delhi on Sunday but still failed to get the man-of-the-match award which went to India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for his fighting 36-run knock and leadership qualities.

Big Bash: Stars and Thunder fined for slow over rates

Melbourne Stars and Sydney Thunders were fined for maintaining slow over rates during their Big Bash Twenty20 match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). After time allowances were taken into consideration, both teams were assessed to be one over behind the required rate at the end of the match on Tuesday night.
Under the playing conditions, each member of a team's playing XI is fined $250 for every over they finish behind the required rate. The captains of each team in last night's match also incur one strike. 

Misbahul Haq hails Whatmore's impact on Pakistan team

Coach Dav Whatmore has brought about a positive change in the attitude of the country's cricketers, said Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq.
"I think Dav Whatmore has done well with us and he has brought about a change in our attitude. The most positive thing about him is that he always backs the captain and players," Misbah said in an interview after returning victorious in the ODI series from India. 
The senior batsman, who captains Pakistan in ODIs and Test cricket, felt that a coach should be judged by his performance and not by nationality.

Pakistan Cricket Board to hold Twenty20 league in March

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is set to hold its proposed super league T20 tournament, named Pakistan Priemer League, in March this year. A source in PCB said that tentatively the super league has been planned from March 24 in Lahore, a day after Pakistan's tour to South Africa ends.
"The chairman of the board, Zaka Ashraf is expected to unveil league's logo on Thursday," the source said. 

Spin legend Shane Warne fined for over speeding in Glasgow

Spin legend Shane Warne has been fined 770 Australian dollars after admitting driving at more than 160hm/hr on a Scotland motorway where the maximum speed limit is 110km/hr.
Warne had five penalty points put on his licence at Dumfries Justice of the Peace Court, south of Glasgow, on Tuesday, News.com.au reports.
Lawyer Graham Walker, who entered a petition of guilty on behalf of the cricket great, represented Warne, it further reported.
In remarks, Walker described the incident on the A74(M) motorway north of Gretna in September as an error of judgment, the paper reported.

Dean Jones advises Oz batsman to 'take attack' to Lasith Malinga during ODI series

Australia interim batting coach Dean Jones has urged his batsmen to play aggressively against Sri Lanka pace wizard Lasith Malinga during the one-day series between the two teams, starting on Friday in Melbourne.
Jones has told the likes of Phillip Hughes, Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch not to focus solely on survival against Malinga in their debut ODI campaign but attack him, the Age reports.
Malinga, a limited-overs specialist, is a welcome addition to a Sri Lankan attack, which struggled to consistently pressure the Australians during the Test series.

Pakistan should rethink 'timid' Misbah's place in ODI team, says Sunil Gavaskar

Former India great Sunil Gavaskar has termed Pakistan's abject surrender in the 3rd ODI against India "baffling display of timid batting" and has suggested captain Misbah-ul-Haq to rethink his place in the shorter-form of the game.
Pakistan, who won the three-match ODI series 2-1, lost the last game in New Delhi by 10 runs chasing a paltry total of 167. Although the defeat was drowned in euphoria at Pakistan's triumph, the Indian batting legend said the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) needed to take some tough decisions, reports The Dawn.

Umar Akmal blames 'team combination', not form and unreliability for ODI omission

Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal has said it is team combination, and not his form and unreliability, that is to be blamed for his omission from the opening two One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against India.
Umar was stumped for 25 off 50 balls, jumping down the pitch at a time when the required rate was just over four an over with the tail to follow. Pakistan went on to lose the next four wickets for just 33 runs and lose the match by 10. While Umar tried to justify his earlier omission, he was also content with his performance at Feroz Shah Kotla despite the effect his dismissal had on the result, reports The Express Tribune.

Junaid, Irfan 'outclassed' world's best batters India, says Misbahul Haq

Pakistan one-day captain Misbah-ul-Haq has credited left-arm fast bowler Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan for the 2-1 series victory over India, the team's first win in India in seven years.
Irfan and Khan combined for 11 wickets in the series and destroyed the top order batting lineup in all the three matches. Khan claimed the key wicket of Virat Kohli for 0, 6 and 7 in all the three matches which severely jolted the Indian middle order, reports The Dawn.
Misbah was quoted, as saying that the way Irfan and Khan have performed, it shows they have a bright future. He said they proved against the world's best batting lineup and outclassed them for a huge win.

Mohsin Khan says Misbahul Haq should stay Pak's ODI captain

Former Pakistan coach Mohsin Khan has urged the selectors to keep Misbahul Haq as the captain of the one-day team despite his average performances in their ODI series win over archrivals India recently.
Misbah's form has been under the scanner for a while, and questions continue to be raised despite him being the leader of the winning side.
Mohsin asked the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to not repeat their mistakes in the handling of experienced players such as Misbah.
"As for Misbah, he did have two shaky innings in India. All I would ask of the PCB is that if you want him to be a captain of future series, don't put pressure on him or any other player, like they did on Afridi regarding his performance, saying that 'if you don't perform in one or two matches we will drop you',"