Monday, February 27, 2012

Wade looking at home on the big stage

Australia's new wicket-keeper Matthew Wade continued to impress on the international stage, hitting a well-built half century as the Aussies claimed a comfortable 87-run victory against India.

The 24-year old has looked very much at home in the Australian one-day side since being given the nod ahead of an out-of-form Brad Haddin for the current Tri-Nation tournament against India and Sri Lanka, matching some solid glove-work with some consistent runs in the middle order. Those following the international cricket betting will be keeping an eye on him.

Chairman of selectors John Inverarity admitted Wade was being groomed as the long-term custodian of the keeper gloves, not only in the one-day side, but also on the Test stage, a major factor in the decision to drop the 34-year-old Haddin for this series.

"We were keen to further develop Matthew Wade and have a look at him. We'd identified him as the second wicketkeeper in Australia," Inverarity said.

"We want to know that we've got more than one keeper of international standard and blooded, ready for the fray of Test cricket whenever required."

With Australia preparing to set off to the Caribbean for their Test series against the West Indies, it will be interesting to see whether or not Wade is given the chance to prove himself in the Test side. Haddin's case is hardly being helped by disappointing form of late and this could well spell the end of his international career.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pietersen proves point in comprehensive fashion

Kevin Pietersen ended a wait of over three years by hitting his first one-day century since November 2008 as England romped home to a nine-wicket victory against Pakistan in Dubai. The victory ensured England claimed a 3-0 lead in the four-game series and going some way to putting the disappointment of the recent Test humiliation behind them. 

The batsman had been struggling for runs at the top of order but silenced his critics with a stunning 111-not out as England reached their target of 223 with 78 balls remaining, ably assisted by opening partner Alistair Cook's innings of 80, the skipper narrowly missing out on a famous third consecutive one-day century. Those looking at the best ODI cricket betting will have been impressed.

Pietersen looked assured and relaxed at the crease as he hit the Pakistan bowlers – who had caused him so many problems over the past few weeks – to all part of the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, as the batsman made his way past 4000 ODI runs.

The 31-year old, who had been dropped on 45, looked at his absolute best as he and Cook shared a record-breaking opening stand of 170 for the first wicket.

Following Cook's dismissal for 80, Pietersen continued to play effortlessly as he and Eoin Morgan eased past the finish line with nine English wickets remaining.

Pietersen will now be looking to maintain this level of form as England's busy summer schedule comes around, as well as his participation – albeit brief – in the IPL with the Delhi Daredevils. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cook Urges England Performance

It hasn't been the greatest few weeks for English cricket. After securing top spot in the world as seen in the stan james review, there was an air of optimism going into 2012, but that optimism has been abruptly halted after their dismal showing against Pakistan in their 3-0 whitewash loss in the Middle East. 

England are now preparing to face India again in Abu Dhabi as they look to not only bounce back from the 3-0 loss to Pakistan, but they will also be out for revenge after the 5-0 drubbing they received at the hands of India back in October of last year. It's because of these statistics that England aren't victor chandler favourites for a win.

England captain Alastair Cook however has urged his side to prove they have learned from their whitewash defeats. England have lost nine of their last 10 one-dayers heading into Monday's opener against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi and Cook is determined that such a run will come to an end.
Cook said: "One of the things we said at the time was we tried as hard as we could and we came up quite a long way short again against India.
"There's no shame in that, but there will be a shame if we don't learn individually from that and where we need to take our game. I hope people have done that."

How times have changed since the last time England faced India. Back in October, they began their Indian tour in seventh heaven having just added an ODI series victory over the world champions to the 4-0 Test success which took them to the top of the International Cricket Council rankings last summer.

Current circumstances are very different now however, as England try to put behind them not only that 5-0 ODI drubbing in India, but also a shock 3-0 Test whitewash here against Pakistan over the past month.

"The Tests didn't go to plan, and we didn't play very well," said Cook. "But it's a new format, and the squad has introduced six new faces. It's brought a freshness and enthusiasm to the squad."

Let's hope that England can bounce back from a disappointing few months and show the world just why they are top of the world rankings!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

'Boom Boom' returns for Pakistan

Pakistan will welcome back Shahid Afridi for their upcoming one-day and T20 series against England in the United Arab Emirates. The all-rounder was absent from the Test side's sensational 3-0 series whitewash against the English, following his decision not to be considered for selection, but will now return to action in the shorter forms of the game as Pakistan look to continue the tourists' troubles.

The star attraction in the Pakistan side has turned down a $700,000 move to the Dhaka Gladiators in the inaugural Bangladeshi Premier League in order to be available for selection against England in these one-day series. Afridi confirmed he had turned down the move in order to continue his international career. Those looking at the cricket betting need to bear this in mind.

"Unfortunately the dates of the league conflict directly with the one-day and Twenty20 series against England. So, I have decided to skip the Bangladesh event as national duty is more important," he said.

"I am looking forward to that series against England, so obviously it was not a difficult choice at all. I am available to play in foreign leagues only when not required on national duty."

Joining Afridi in the one-day squads will be exciting batsman Azhar Ali, who hit stunning century in the third Test against England and will now have a chance to add to his solitary one-day cap anyone looking at Betfair will be keeping an eye on him.

There are call-ups for Rawalpindi duo Awais Zia and Hammad Azam, who have both earned spots in the squads for the T20 squad following impressive domestic form. The three-game Twenty20 series will follow the squad's four one-day matches against England to be held in Abu Dhabi, with Pakistan probably going into both series as slight favourites following their comprehensive Test victory. 

Leading both sides will be Misbah-ul-Haq, who will continue the role his has taken to so well in the Test game into the one-day and T20 squads. The skipper has overseen this resurgent Pakistan side with some promising tactical calls, while maintaining his high batting levels.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bell Fit Enough For Third Test

The Betvictor review shows how England's batsmen have come under criticism for their poor displays in Abu Dhabi in the test matches with Pakistan, but they haven't been helped by a stomach bug that Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, and Ravi Bopara have all been victim of.

Going into the third test it looked like Bell would be absent from the wicket but he has fortunately recovered from the upset and completed practice with the rest of the team yesterday. 
This is England's first test as Crickets number one ranked test team in the world and they have so far felt the strain, having already surrendered the three match series after heavy defeats in the first two games against bwin odds.

So the fact that Bell, Bopara and Trott are all fit enough to go into the third test means England have a great chance to try and finish the series on a high and avoid a whitewash that looms over the squad.

The Warwickshire batsman Bell, has missed a few days practice session but England are confident that he will be in good enough health to face Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

"Bell was laid low yesterday but he's back practising today," said England captain Andrew Strauss.
Stomach problems are an occupational hazard for England teams in the Asian subcontinent, and appear to be just as much of an issue in the Middle East."

"It's one of those things that happens on a different tour of a different country, different foods and everything," Strauss added.

"You've got to make the best of the situation and try and avoid it happening to you. The other 10 have to step up for 24 hours, until they get better."