Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sachin hands captaincy to Singh

Harbhajan Singh will lead the Mumbai Indians through this year’s IPL tournament after Sachin Tendulkar stepped down from the role on the eve of the start of the competition. The Indian spinner is certainly experienced enough to lead the side, although what impact the decision by Tendulkar to step down will have on the team remains to be seen.
The record breaking batsman has taken the decision in order to focus on his form, admitting he had taken time and consideration in making the move but believed it would be the best for both parties, as the veteran’s body begins to feel the effects of such a long career at the top of the game. 

“The Mumbai Indians is more than a team. It is like a family to me. At this point of time, I feel I need a break from the responsibility of captaincy.”

“After due consideration, I discussed my intention to hand over the captaincy of the team to Harbhajan Singh,” admitted the 39-year old.

Singh will now have to ensure Mumbai are fully focused on the job in hand, looking to improve on their play-off defeat Royal Challengers Bangalore in last year’s tournament. Those considering a Stan James bet will note that they did go on to claim victory at the Champions League tournament at the end of the year, and will be hoping to continue that momentum into this year’s IPL.

The squad is certainly capable of challenging for this year’s title with the star-studded group that has been assembled - plenty of interest in particular being paid to South African batting sensation Richard Levi, who is also popular bet on Stan James . It’ll now be down to the players to prove their worth as they aim to get their campaign off to a good start.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Strauss points to mistakes

England captain Andrew Strauss was under no illusions that too many errors cost his side as they went down to a 75-run defeat against Sri Lanka in Galle; their fourth straight Test defeat on the sub-continent this winter. The tourists never recovered from another disappointing first innings total of less than 200, with the English batsmen failing to get to grips with the left arm spin of man-of-the-match Rangana Herath, who finished the match with 12 wickets.

The second innings was an improvement, although without Jonathan Trott's century it would have been another comprehensive failure for the English batting line-up. Trott, along with Ian Bell, Graeme Swann and James Anderson, were the only players to come out of the defeat with any credit. The problem for England was the sheer number of basic errors – something which hadn't been an issue for much of the last two years and fans of the Betfair cricket betting odds will be wondering if they can sort out their problems.

Dropped catches and shocking shot selection put paid to any hope England had of claiming a 1-0 lead in this two-Test series, with Sri Lanka producing the sort of performance that they have been struggling to find over recent times.

Strauss made it clear England would need to tighten up in all aspects of the game if they are going to start winning on these turning Asian pitches, and the England cricket betting reflects this.

"We're bitterly disappointed. In truth we made too many mistakes to win the game. We fought very hard but we left ourselves with too much to do."
"All credit to Sri Lanka, they put us under pressure, outplayed us and deserved the victory."

"There's no room for mistakes. If you take them you've got be lucky to get away with them and this game we weren't. We were in a great position to make use of the wicket but we all fell a bit too softly."

Botha all set for South Australia

South African all-rounder Johan Botha has confirmed he will leave his contract with the national side after the World Twenty20 later this year before going on to take up his new role as captain of South Australia.

The experienced one-day specialist appears to have impressed the South Australian management following his impressive spell for the Adelaide Strikers in last season's Big Bash League. Now, the South African will take over the captaincy from Michael Klinger, following a Sheffield Shield season which saw the club fail to win a single match. Those placing cricket bets will have been surprised.

Despite winning their first one-day title in 25 years, Klinger has paid the price for a shocking first class campaign, prompting the decision to bring in Botha – despite the South African's modest record in the longer format of the game. While he will still be available for selection in the future, Botha will take this chance to try his hand at cricket in Australia. Those looking at the IPL betting need to bear this in mind.

There have been some that have accused Botha of making the decision to leave his central contract with the Proteas due to financial reasons, however, the 29-year old has insisted he could have made more money by sticking with his contract in South Africa, maintaining the decision has been made based solely on cricketing matters.

"I remain fully committed to the Proteas in the long term but I would hate to look back on my career at the end and regret that I did not take this opportunity."

"It is purely a cricket decision and there is no financial incentive in accepting it. If anything I will be earning less than I would as a contracted player."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Promotion the main focus for Hall

Northants captain Andrew Hall has made it clear the county will be doing everything they can to ensure they bounce back from last season’s disappointments and achieve promotion back to Division One.

Northants are of the favourites from promotion this year according to punters who bet with Stan James  and many will believe the county will be among the front-runners again this season.

The Steelbacks were left broken hearted on the final day of last season, Surrey sneaking in at the last minute to achieve promotion out of the County Championship Division Two and resigning Northamptonshire to another year in the second flight. It was an especially heavy blow for Hall’s men, following a year in which they had looked dead certainties for promotion from the start.

Hall lead the club’s run charts last season and has been well backed to do so again in the online betting at Stan James .

He has admitted he is hoping last year’s disappointment will stand Northants in good stead for their promotion push, this time around. The South African will be a critical part of the county’s hopes this year and the all rounder is confident they will go one better than last season.

"We know where we went wrong last year, we've talked about it and we know there were opportunities we didn't take.”

"Again this year, the guys are a bit more mature, it's another year playing together, we are all determined to go one better and we all believe we are good enough to play First Division cricket. It's up to us now to put everything together and get over the line."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Croft not ready to quit

Glamorgan all-rounder Robert Croft has insisted he still feels able to play for another two seasons despite his 42nd birthday coming up. The Welshman will begin his 24th first-class season with the county, yet still believes he has plenty to offer the club despite his advancing years.

The former England spinner has made it clear he is still as excited about playing as he ever has been, insisting he still feels able to play a full season should he maintain his form and those looking at the cricket betting will be keeping an eye on him.

"It's fair to say I'm in the winter of my career, but who's to say the winter can't be two seasons long," said the experienced Croft.

"It comes down to form, it comes down to how well I play and it comes down to if the club still want me. There are a lot of factors."

"I'm not looking at this season being my last. I'm looking at this season starting of well and trying to be in every team Glamorgan set out on that field."

With 21 Test and 50 ODI caps for England, Croft's experience as proved essential to Glamorgan for over two decades now. He may be the wrong side of 40 but Croft proved last season that he is still capable of playing a major role in matches. The Welshmen have endured a tough and fruitless few years, something Croft will want to see change before ending his career at the club he has spent so long and fans of Betfair should bear this in mind.

There is a renewed hope around the club after a positive winter, with many believing this could finally be the year that sees Glamorgan once again challenge for honours. While he may not be an ever-present in the side, Croft will have a key role to play if the club are going to enjoy a happier campaign this summer.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

West Indies look for Gayle resolution

The West Indies are pulling out all the stops in a bid to see former captain Chris Gayle return to the international set-up following a self-imposed exile from the batsman. Jamaican Cricket secretary Fritz Harris has revealed the West Indian Cricket Board will soon meet with Gayle to discuss the possibility of some sort of reconciliation between the two parties, in talks that will also be attended by a number of politicians – proving just how eager the board are to have Gayle back in the team.

West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson will also be present at the meeting, despite the former bowler being one of those criticised by Gayle before he quit international cricket. The batsman has been a regular on the Twenty20 scene over the past year, but now the West Indies are hoping to see the opener back in their side as they look to build on some positive recent form. People looking at the best cricket online betting will be keeping a close eye on things.

“A meeting has been arranged between Gayle, the WICB and a few heads of government in a bid to arrive at an amicable solution that could result in Gayle returning to the team,” Harris told the Jamaica Gleaner.

While Gayle would not only bring his brutal batting style back to the West Indian side but also a vast amount of experience, which would really strengthen this current young team.

With 91 Tests, 228 ODI and 20 T20 appearances for the West Indies there aren’t many in world cricket who can match Gayle for experience, and there certainly aren’t many batsmen in the world who can match the 32-year old for sheer effectiveness at the top of the order.