Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Strauss targets more Ashes glory

Andrew Strauss wants to become the first England captain to win four consecutive Ashes series in the post-war era.

Although he is now 34, the batsman believes he can carry on and wants to add series wins at home against Australia in 2013 and then repeat the feat down under in 2013-14.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live he revealed that he felt the goal of at least playing in the series was a realistic one, although admitted that there was a lot of cricket to come between now and then. People looking at the in-play cricket betting online will know this.

“But I'm not going to say that is definitely what is going to happen. There's a lot of cricket to be played between now and then,” he said.

"We will see where we are in 12 months, then another 12 months and go from there.”

Strauss became the first England captain to win back-to-back Ashes series for 24 years when he led the side to a 3-1 win in Australia last winter.

If the side can win the 2013 series, he would take his place next to Mike Brearley who led England to victory in 1977, 1979 and then took charge of the team midway through the 1981 series after Ian Botham was stripped of the captaincy.

However, the world’s number one Test side have a lot of work to before they can even start thinking about the 2013 series.

They will face Pakistan and Sri Lanka this winter before hosting tours by the West Indies and South Africa in the summer.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Taskforce to look at domestic cricket in Pakistan

A taskforce has been formed by the Pakistan Cricket Board as the body looks to improve domestic cricket in the country.

The new team will undertake a review of the current structure of the game in nation, its strength and weaknesses and then make its recommendations after two months. Those who bet on international cricket will be keeping an eye on things.

It will feature a number of faces already linked to the administration of cricket in the country, with former Pakistan captains Javed Miandad, Intikhab Alam, Zaheer Abbas and Moin Khan involved.

Ex-players Sarfraz Nawaz, Iqbal Qasim, Imtiaz Ahmed and Zakir Khan are also involved, with the latter being director of Pakistani domestic cricket.

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Nawaz said: "There is definitely some problem with our existing domestic structure that is hampering the quality of our players. We have to sit down and discuss it right from the start."

He added the fact that the taskforce was made up of ex-pros means that everyone involved will understand the way in which the game works and as such should be able to identify the flaws which are stopping the development of world class players.

Nawaz also stated that the PCB had "invested a huge amount in domestic cricket" but it still was not a "quality" product.

Despite the fact he seems convinced that the domestic game needs to be changed in some way, the recommendations the taskforce makes to the PCB will not be binding so it could be that the body's work will be in vain.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Worcestershire makes big strides with new signing

Worcestershire will be out to improve on their LV County Championship Division One showing this year when the 2012 campaign gets underway, and they already have a huge boost with the news Australia opener Phil Hughes will join for the second half of the season.

The 23-year-old made his Australia debut aged only 20 and went on to become the youngest player to score successive centuries in both innings of a Test Match.

Hughes boasts previous experience of English domestic county cricket from periods with Middlesex and Hampshire, while his international class will be a big boost to a Worcestershire side looking to improve on a struggling LV County Championship Division One campaign just gone. Those looking at the cricket betting promotions should remember this.

Their seventh-place finish in the table saw them win only four games all season and they will want to be sitting in a good position when Hughes joins them during the first week of June 2012, and he will stay at New Road for the remainder of the season. Anyone following the cricket odds should bear this in mind.

Director of Cricket, Steve Rhodes, admitted the signing of Hughes will be huge for the club as they go looking for LV County Championship Division One honours in 2012.

“To gain the signature of the current Australian Test Match opener is a tremendous boost for the Club and the players for the 2012 season,” he added.

“Phil is a heavy run scorer with a career ratio of a century every four games in First Class cricket. In 2009 he amassed 574 First Class runs in three games for Middlesex including three centuries which demonstrates his hunger for run scoring.”

The LV County Championship 2012 season starts on Thursday 5 April with the last round commencing on Tuesday 11 September, with the first game seeing defending Division One champions Lancashire taking on Sussex at Old Trafford.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Arthur calls for maturity

Australian cricketers must grow up and understand they may not be picked for every game, head coach Mickey Arthur has warned.

Mike Hussey has expressed concerns about the wisdom of shuffling batsmen around, fearing it could impact on form and confidence, but Arthur believes that the rigours of modern cricket mean that no one can expect to play in every game. Anyone looking at the best cricket online betting should remember this.

"We need to keep rotating guys through the summer because there is just so much cricket, guys are going to break down and we need others ready to come in at any given time," he told ESPNcricinfo.

He added that players need to be "mature enough" to accept this issue, but also stated that he and the selectors understood that there is a need to ensure the reasons for any changes in personnel are properly communicated to everyone involved.

Arthur also spoke about the form of Philip Hughes, with the 23-year-old suffering from something of a slump in form lately.

The coach called on him to work on some technical issues with his game, because the batsman has been getting out in the same way recently.

Arthur seems to be causing something of a stir in Australian cricket already, not least because he is the first foreign-born head coach the side has ever had.
He also has his work cut out, with the once all-conquering side suffering something of a decline in fortunes, most notably their home defeat against England in the Ashes last summer.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bopara and Panesar Given England Call-up

English cricketers, Ravi Bopara and Monty Panesar, will travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with England in 2012, when the national team takes on Pakistan, from January 17. The fixture, which is being played on neutral ground, mirroring the arrangements for Pakistan's matches with neighbouring country, India, will be a three-Test series.

The development is part of a wider announcement detailing England's 16-player squad, which includes a number of staples, such as long-suffering captain, Andrew Strauss, Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, and Kevin Pietersen. Bopara and Panesar are provided as relief batsman and second spinner, respectively. Those following the latest betting will be keeping an eye on things.

Panesar, a crowd favourite, will make his first appearance in a Test match since the Ashes in 2009, in the UAE. His performance in the County Championship is ostensibly the reason for England's newfound confidence in the Sultan; his "plate-sized hands", to quote ESPN, took 69 wickets during the 2011 season.

National selector, Geoff Miller, intimated that Monty could play a "very big part" in the upcoming Test series, while Bopara, who replaces Paul Collingwood, has "another opportunity to show his growth as a Test player".

Joining Panesar in Dubai will be James Anderson, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Alistair Cook, and Steven Davies. Middlesex's Steven Finn and Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior, of Sussex fame, Surrey's Chris Tremlett, and Jonathan Trott, from Warwickshire, have also been handed their orders by the England brass.

Speaking about the finalised squad list, former cricketer, Geoffrey Boycott, said: "I don't think anybody expected any big changes". The 71-year-old added that he has "always liked" new-entrant, Panesar. "I'm sure he will get a chance to prove he can still be effective for England."

Friday, December 9, 2011

Australia name unchanged side

Australia have named an unchanged liner-up to the team that won at Brisbane for the second test against New Zealand at Hobart.

The Aussies picked-up a convincing win in the first match of the series, defeating their opponents by nine wickets and captain Michael Clarke believes that its only fair that he and the selectors stay true to those players. Fans of cricket betting will be keeping an eye on things.

This means all-rounder Dan Christian will continue as 12th man in place of the injured Ben Cutting.

Hobart is traditionally a pitch that suits the team that bowls first and Clarke says there is a good chance that he will decide to bowl first, if he wins the toss on Thursday morning.

“I'll wait and see tomorrow. I think overhead conditions will play a part. For me it's more about looking up than looking down to see what the weather is like," he said.

"If the wicket doesn't change much from what I see and it's still a little bit tacky and there's overhead conditions, there's a big chance I'll bowl first.

"But I've said that a few times in the past and gone out there and batted.

"I guess the two things I find really hard are bowling first when I win the toss and not picking a spinner” he added.

The only injury concern for Clarke surrounds opening batsman Shane Watson. The 30-year-old has been truly superb in recent months and Clarke says he expects the all-rounder to be fit for Hobart. Those betting online should remember this.

"Watto has got a slight calf strain. It's put him a couple of days behind but we're confident he'll be right for the Boxing Day Test."