Thursday, April 26, 2012

Strauss Criticism is Ridiculous - Vaughan

Former England captain, Michael Vaughan, has described the speculation surrounding the future of current skipper, Andrew Strauss, as “ridiculous”, and has backed his successor to continue leading the side.

Strauss has struggled in recent series, averaging just 26, in 2011, and has scored just one century in his last 50 Test innings, leading some pundits to question whether he is still good enough to lead the side.

Vaughan accepts that the 35-year-old “needs a big score” but says suggestions that he should be left out of the team are totally over the top, as he believes Strauss’ man-management skills are vital to his side’s success.

"As a captain, it's ridiculous to talk about Strauss' position", Vaughan told ESPNcricinfo. "You only get better as a captain: tactically and management-wise.

“I'd be a better captain now than I was when I retired. You're more mature. You've seen more situations. And that's what captaincy is: it's a man-management role”, he added.

Following his disappointing performances against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Strauss has returned to play for Middlesex, in an attempt to find his form during the break in England’s fixtures. 

However, he has also struggled for his county, scoring just six runs in their match against Durham, including a second ball duck in the first innings.

England’s next series sees the side host the West Indies, in May, and Vaughan has called upon the skipper to prove his worth to the side, when they take on Ottis Gibson’s men. Place a cricket bet on the favourites, England, or take aim at a big payout by gambling on the West Indies.

"There's no question that, in the series against the West Indies, he needs a big score or that problem will get bigger”, Vaughan said. "You can't keep going on as an opening batsman, even if the side are winning.”

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Aussie win thriller

Australia held their nerve to beat West Indies by three wickets on a thrilling final day of the first Test in Bridgetown.
The tourists bowled West Indies out for 148 on the stroke of lunch, with seam bowler Ben Hilfenhaus leading the way with 4-27.
Australia were left with a victory target of 192 in two sessions and were in trouble at 140-5, with plenty of punters placing cricket bets backing the hosts to grasp the victory.
However, Michael Hussey backed up Shane Watson's good early work (52 from 57 balls) with a 26-ball 32 in fading light to take his side home.
Man-of-the-match Ryan Harris, who took five wickets in the match and scored a precious 68 not out in Australia’s first innings, said it was "one of the hardest Test matches I've played in my short career".
"To win a game like that after they batted for two days, it's pretty amazing," he added.
West Indies took a firm grip on the Test with a first-innings total of 449 before strengthening their hold on the contest with a strong bowling performance.
Harris led a recovery with Australia 285-8 and allowed his captain Michael Clarke to declare 43 runs short of the hosts’ total.
Despite the cricket odds being firmly in their favour, the Windies crumbled in their second innings, collapsing to 75-6 before being bowled out for 148 on the fifth day.
After a spirited bowling performance second time around, Hilfenhaus scrambled the winning run to
give Australia a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
West Indies skipper Darren Sammy was pleased despite the crushing defeat.
 "We dominated a top side with some good players and the way I heard them celebrating on the balcony means a lot to me," he said.
"We'll take that to heart and look to come back strong in Trinidad."
Australia will look to clinch the series when the second Test begins on April 15.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Warwickshire raring to make up for 2011

Warwickshire came up just short in the LV County Championship Division One, last season, and their captain, Jim Troughton, reckons the players are desperate to make up for the disappointments in 2012.

On the final day of the season, they missed out on the title after a draw against Hampshire. Lancashire pipped them to the post with a win over Somerset to leave the Bears facing a winter of anguish to dwell on what happened.

Warwickshire have enjoyed an impressive pre-season tour of the Caribbean. Their captain claims that the players are chomping at the bit to get back on the pitch and get their County Championship campaign underway.

Troughton told Sky Sports the Bears need to focus now, but Warwickshire will not be the surprise package they were last season; their County Championship rivals know what to expect. Fans may need to look to India – and IPL betting – for their surprises, this season.

"I've challenged the guys to go out there, not look too far ahead, and look after each session, win each delivery and each battle,” he added.

 “That's the challenge, forget about last year, be ruthless, be consistent this year, do the basics better than the opposition and if we do that I'm confident we'll be up near the top of the table."

Warwickshire struggled in the limited-overs competitions, last season, but Troughton and, perhaps, the Betfair cricket odds, predict a successful season in the Friends Life T20, after the team reached the final of the Banks Barbados T20 Cup over the winter.

Friday, April 6, 2012

2012 season is go!

Its a freezing cold day, so obviously must be the start of the cricket season! Actually the English season officially started yesterday though Warwickshire began their season today with a friendly against Cardiff MCCU (university team). I attended the morning session, or most of it anyway until the cold drove me out! I wonder if they should have "cold stops play" in the playing conditions too? Anyway its good to get back to the ground, a picture of which i took using Instagram and cunningly gave the (nearly) brand new building an ironic 70s twist. More photos i took can be seen here.
Start of the new cricket season (Instagram Photo)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Northants looking for big Friends Life t20

Northamptonshire have confirmed that the big-hitting Australian star Cameron White will play for them in the summer’s Friends Life t20 competition and he will provide a massive boost to a squad which struggled in 2011; something which will delight cricket betting fans..

Last summer Northants finished bottom of the northern group in the competition with only two wins from their 11 games and recently their chief executive David Smith said improvement in the t20 format is a real priority for 2012.

The signing of former Australia t20 captain White for the entire tournament will certainly give them an added edge as he has previously enjoyed great success in the Friends Like t20 tournament – indeed, he got the fourth-highest t20 score of all time with a 141 while playing for Somerset in 2006.

White is a highly experienced short-overs cricketer and can be destructive in the t20 format, so his presence should strike fear into some of Northants rivals.

The county’s head coach David Capel confirmed everyone associated with the club knows they have signed a player with a “proven track record” in the shorter forms of
 cricket and they will be looking to White to lead them to Finals Day.

“This is an important signing for Northants
 Cricket’s Friends Life t20 campaign, where Cameron will be able to add huge amounts of firepower to our middle order batting,” he added.

While Friends Life t20 success is a priority for Northants, they will also be striving to make it out of LV County Championship Division Two after finishing third last season. They led the table for much of the season and narrowly missed out, being pipped to second play by a single point by Surrey; an event which made England cricket seems as exciting as Betfair IPL.

Hampshire looking to get out of Division Two

Hampshire were relegated to LV County Championship Division Two and will battle despite having one of the smallest budgets in professional cricket, but manager Giles White is confident he can wheel-and-deal to bring success.

The county has a tiny squad compared to some of its Championship rivals – just 17 players registered to date for the 2012 season – and they have missed out financially by not being named as an Ashes venue during the last series or for the next two in England.

White told BBC Radio Solent the team find themselves “in difficulty” when it comes to finances so he hopes the loan system can pay dividends and they can gather a good enough squad to compete for promotion out of LV County Championship Division Two.

He admits all counties have been hit by “financial constraints” given the overall economic downturn and there will be a number of rivals also chasing potential loan targets. But he remains confident there is enough talent at Hampshire to set them on the right path to recovery.

"We've got a slightly different set up this year and in many ways it is more exciting. We've got a good developing, young side that can stay together for the next five years,” said Mr White.

"There is good quality there, also there is a loan system out there that counties are using more regularly."

Hampshire have been out in Barbados during pre-season and new captain Jimmy Adams has been delighted with what he has seen from his team. He admits the squad are “over the moon” with their progress and he hopes to see that potential come to fruition in their opening County Championship games.

Those looking to take part in gamble with Betfair should note the development of this story and its impact on the England cricket team.