Thursday, May 31, 2012

KP retirement raises pertinent questions

Kevin Pietersen has announced his retirement from international limited overs cricket – but is to continue in Test matches and the IPL.

The decision is not that surprising given the intense demands placed on players nowadays, as the fixture list is crammed with more and more matches with each passing year.

The modern international cricketer is virtually forced to choose between different forms of the game and with age not on his side, a 32-year-old Pietersen has made the logical choice.

After all his loyalty to England and Test cricket is well known and admirable. But like so many of his peers, the riches of the IPL are also one of the modern game’s star attractions.

KP’s decision to continue with the two forms of the game comes at a time where the ICC's cricket committee is to meet and discuss, among other things, the relationship between the IPL and the international calendar.

While it shouldn’t be a case of ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’, the rapid growth in popularity of the IPL simply cannot be ignored and I believe that should the two forms of the game work together they can be mutually benefit.

Players should not be forced to choose between huge riches and the pride of playing Test cricket for their country, or what could be known as the ‘Chris Gayle syndrome’.

A dedicated window for the IPL to be played will allow more cricketers to play in the tournament without hampering their international sides – witness the current West Indies team, shorn of two of their best players, as evidence of this.

If an agreement cannot be reached then the IPL will carry on regardless, it is growing year-on-year, generating millions not just for the players but the game as a whole.

Maybe then in the future players of the ilk of Kevin Pietersen will not feel forced into choosing where and when they can play their cricket, while the paying public won’t fork out their cash to see a side shorn of its best players, who are off chasing the pound signs on foreign shores.

Don’t forget to head over to Betfair for all the latest cricket odds , advice, news and Betfair England Cricket Tips news ahead of a busy summer of international cricket.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Newell backs Taylor for call-up

Nottinghamshire director of cricket Mike Newell believes it is only a matter of time before James Taylor breaks into the Test side.

The diminutive right-hander impressed captaining England Lions against West Indies earlier this month, hitting 118 to set up a convincing 10-wicket victory.

However, the 22-year-old has not replicated that kind of form for his new county. Taylor has yet to score a 50 for Notts in Division One since his winter move from Leicestershire.

Taylor missed out on an England call-up for their opening Test of the summer against West Indies at Lord’s, with Lions’ team-mate Jonny Bairstow getting the nod ahead of him.

Despite his omission, Taylor was asked to report to Lord’s and spent a few days with the England team, with the sport betting now suggesting it won’t be long before he does get a call-up. Newell agrees and says that it shows Taylor is in the selectors’ plans.

"It's all part of making players feel like they are close to the team and to show them how it works so it's not a surprise when they do eventually get the call," said Newell.

Newell has urged Taylor to get his head down and work hard for Nottinghamshire, insisting an England Test call-up will come if he scores heavily in county cricket.

"He could make his Test breakthrough this summer, but it might take him a little bit longer. If England keep winning then changes to the team will be minimal," added Newell.

"The selectors want to see what he can do in Division One – that is the first test for him. Can he score heavily in Division One? That is still the thing England are waiting to see."

Taylor will be hoping to add to his maiden one-day international appearance when England take on West Indies next month. The hosts are favourites in the sports betting having already wrapped up the test series with a game to spare.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Adams eyeing Ashraful

Kent coach Jimmy Adams admits he is looking at former Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful in a bid to bolster his Twenty20 ranks.

Ashraful, who has played 57 Tests and 171 one-day internationals for his country, is in England coaching and playing for Blackheath in the Kent Premier League.

Kent were alerted about the possibility of signing the 27-year-old as their second overseas player after he made 100 against Bromley last weekend and took 3-1 with the ball.

He looks the sort of player capable of settling results and scores at County level, much to Adams’ interest.

"We have to be mindful of the players we already have as we're trying to create an environment where the players get as much of an opportunity as they can. But it's definitely something I'll look at," Adams told This is Kent.

"We still have some time left before the start of the t20 in June although finding a player hasn't been looking too good for us up to now. Azhar (Mahmood) is back in the next few days and we have enough to work with if we can't get someone in."

Ashraful has scored 289 runs in 16 t20 internationals at an average of 18.06, with a highest score of 65 against Pakistan in 2010.

He is team-mates with Kent’s Daniel Bell-Drummond at Blackheath, while he featured alongside Azhar Mahmood and Darren Stevens for the Dhaka Gladiators on their way to winning the Bangladesh Premier League earlier this year.

Blackheath skipper Chris Willetts insisted he would not prevent Ashraful from leaving the club but believes visa regulations could prove to be a snag in any deal.

 "We'd never stand in the way of any player going on to play better cricket," said Willetts.

"It's his choice if he wants to do that but there may be a problem with the visa that he's on if Kent want to sign him."

Those interested in betting on sports, and in particular cricket, will no doubt be keeping a close eye on this developing story.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Stewart tips England to Wrap up Series

Former England captain, Alec Stewart, expects the West Indies to struggle in seam-friendly conditions at Trent Bridge, and believes that the hosts are firm favourites to wrap up the series.

England began their international summer with a five-wicket victory over the Windies at Lord’s, though they were pushed all the way by the resolute tourists.

The West Indies were below par on the opening two days of the Test, but improved as the match wore on. They dug deep with bat in hand and looked threatening with the ball, particularly quick bowler, Kemar Roach.

Despite an impressive first Test showing, Stewart reckons the Windies will struggle to live with England, in Nottingham. The bookies share Stewart’s belief – England are the current favourites to triumph in the Betfair Cricket tips.

"I expect England to be stronger at Trent Bridge, where they have won their last three Test matches - against India, Pakistan and New Zealand - by massive margins", he told BBC Sport. 

"The West Indies will find the going in Nottingham even tougher than they did at Lord's because the ground is renowned as a swing bowler's paradise and, in James Anderson, Stuart Broad, and Tim Bresnan, England have three of the best in the business."

England’s biggest problem will again be finding a way to remove the obdurate Shivnarine Chanderpaul, according to Stewart.

Chanderpaul has long been a thorn in England’s side, and scored 178 across both innings in a losing cause in the first Test, losing his wicket just once.

"I still believe the best bet is to bowl full and straight at him. He is a prime candidate for leg-before, as he hangs back and plays from the crease line", added Stewart.

"It does mean potentially giving away a few runs through mid-wicket or square leg, but as he batted for more than 10 hours at Lord's for just once out, I would suggest it's worth a go."

Get betting advice from somebody who knows what he is talking about; visit the Michael Vaughan tips page on Betfair.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hussey insists he is settled in IPL

Michael Hussey gets the chance to go again when defending champions Chennai Super Kings look to send Mumbai Indians packing from the Indian Premier League on Wednesday.

The two franchises square up in the second of the playoff games hoping their charmed lives in the lucrative competition continue.

Indeed, Chennai Super Kings got in through the back door when Royal Challengers Bangalore were torpedoed by Deccan Chargers in a shock reverse. A 50 per cent success record is also their poorest showing in the league stages of an IPL season.

Hussey has produced heroics before, as punters who bet on Australian cricket well know. You only have to cast your mind back to his match-winning innings of 60 against Pakistan in the semi-finals of the ICC World T20 in 2010 for evidence of that. Chennai Super Kings will need the no-nonsense Australian to pull out all the stops again.

The 27-year-old 73-match Test veteran had little time to settle back in following the series against West Indies but indicated the transition to the IPL had not been an issue.

The Perth-born star said: "I've obviously been in Indian conditions for quite a period of time now. I've played at Bengaluru quite a few times. I know the conditions here quite well."

On the Mumbai Indians, he added: "It would be nice to get in and get a start, and then,hopefully, go on and get a really big score."

Mumbai Indians have a 6-4 win-loss record against the two-time champions and punters wanting to place cricket bets also need to note that the last four matches at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium have been won by the team chasing.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Arthur's delight at Cummins return

Mickey Arthur has made no bones about the fact he is positively beaming about the return of exciting youngster Pat Cummins to the Australia one-day international squad.

The Westmead teenager burst onto the scene with a seven-wicket haul on Test debut against South Africa last November but has seen his fledgling international career blighted by injury.

The 19-year-old picked up a foot injury against the same opposition and it has been a slow road to recovery.

Now, he gets the chance to make up for his time as Australia look to defy cricket bets and odds against when they face old rivals England during the one-day series, and stake a claim for an Ashes place.

Arthur also indicated Cummins and Mitchell Johnson, also brought back to the international fold after a foot injury, could be used to beef up the Australia attack in what promises to be another compelling series next year.

Arthur revealed: "The player I am most excited about is Pat Cummins, we all saw what he could do in his one and only Test match and to have him back in the mix is fantastic."

Arthur said the upcoming tour of the UK, and the chance to learn about the opposition and tactics, would prove invaluable for right-arm fast Cummins.

He added: "He has the ability to become one of the best in the world. He and Patto will take a huge amount out of this tour, we hope they both will be firing this time next year when we go to England to claim The Ashes back and drawing on the experience of touring the UK before will certainly give them an edge."

The Australia coach said it was imperative his players struck a psychological blow to England ahead of next year, and those that bet on Australian cricket will surely take note of his words.

He said: "We are all having some time off now after what was a long summer for us but rest assured we want to put a marker down on this UK tour and leave a strong message that we are coming to get The Ashes in 2013."

England Rewarded for Patience - Broad

Stuart Broad believes that England were rewarded for patience in the final session, as the West Indies lost five wickets to close the first day of the opening Test on 243-9. England ‘s win was not surprising; the side were the favourites to triumph over the Windes on Betfair.

England, the top-ranked Test side in the world, were expected to run through the tourists’ batting line-up in helpful conditions at Lord’s, but Broad was pleased with his side’s efforts on a day marked by attrition. 

"It was still a very white wicket this morning; it didn't do a huge amount, it was quite slow and quickened up throughout the day", said the fast bowler.

"We talked before we went out that we'd take seven down as long we bowled tidily and didn't give them too many freebies."

The 25-year-old claimed 6-72, his fifth Test five-wicket haul, as Shivnarine Chanderpaul (87no) held the West Indies together.

The Windies lost just two wickets in the opening session, standing firm in the face of prodigious swing from James Anderson, who picked up both scalps.

Anderson was again the most threatening bowler in the afternoon session, as West Indies limped to 146-4 at tea. Broad paid tribute to his new ball partner, who finished with 2-59 from his 25 overs.

"His lines are incredible. He bowled loads of away swingers to the right handers and, as soon as he tried an "innie," it was hitting the middle of middle", he said. 

"That's the skill of the guy now and it's really good to bowl with someone like that in your side."

It turned into the Broad show, later in the day, as he earned a place on the Lord’s honours board and passed 150 Test wickets

"We're delighted with the day – to have them nine down is really pleasing", added Broad. Take advantage of a busy cricket calendar with England cricket betting online.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Prior praises 'rival' Bairstow

England wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior insists he is used to pressure and is not worried by the arrival of Yorkshire star Jonny Bairstow.

Prior is widely regarded as one of the best wicketkeeper-batsmen in Test cricket – averaging over 43 with the bat and providing a reliable presence behind the stumps.

Bairstow, 22, received his maiden Test call-up on Sunday and is expected to bat at number six in the first Test against West Indies at Lord’s, starting on Thursday.

The latest Cricket Odds have England as heavy favourites to win the series, which is seen as ideal preparation for younger, more inexperienced players ahead of a tough looking series with South Africa later in the summer.

Bairstow is a gloveman himself and kept wicket in England Lions’ comfortable victory over the tourists last week.

Bairstow is not expected to challenge Prior for his position in the immediate future, but has been touted as a long-term successor.

"If he smashes a double hundred and I get nought he'll probably become a rival pretty quickly," Prior joked with sport news reporters.

"He's a team-mate, obviously he's a wicketkeeper as well, but there are a number of wicketkeepers around the country and there always has been. Whether they're in the team or playing county cricket I know that I have to perform well to keep my place."

Rather than feel threatened by Bairstow, who was among the Betfair England Cricket Tips  to watch this summer the 30-year-old is excited to line-up alongside such a promising talent.

"It's always exciting when a player like Jonny comes through into the squad, he's settled in very well," added Prior.

"It's nice to form a relationship with another keeper because ultimately he's the only other bloke in the room that knows what it's like to be a keeper. It's hugely exciting for Jonny this week and if he does get selected to make his debut it will be a great feeling I'm sure."

Beefy predicts Anderson record

England legend Sir Ian Botham expects fast bowler James Anderson to threaten his wicket-taking record and believes he is the best bowler in the world.

Anderson, third in the ICC’s Test bowling rankings, passed 250 Test wickets on the recent tour of Sri Lanka and is tipped to go past Botham’s long-standing record of 383.

"I don’t see any reason why he can’t beat it. I am getting a bit bored of it now anyway!" Botham joked.

"Jimmy is the best bowler in world cricket at the moment.  I have watched him over the last two years carry the England attack – he is the leader of the pack and let’s hope he stays fit because he is the most feared new ball bowler around."

The 29-year-old led the England attack with distinction during a difficult winter that saw some inconsistent live scores and he has become a man for all occasions and conditions.
Anderson admitted the record is in the back of his mind but is simply enjoying being fit and healthy at the moment.

"Ian Botham’s record is a realistic possibility. But I don’t really think about it. My main focus is to keep fit, keep my place in the team and help England or Lancashire win games," said Anderson.

 "If, in a few years’ time, I get close then great. I am happy with what I have achieved so far but it would be nice at the end of my career to look back on things like that."

Anderson’s battle with South Africa’s Dale Steyn, the world's number one Test bowler, promises to be one of the sport news headlines of the summer. The Lancashire quick is expecting a fierce encounter in the three-match series, which begins on July 19.
"Our biggest test will be South Africa – they will provide us with a huge challenge," added Anderson.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Door open for Khawaja and Hughes

Those who enjoy a bet on Australian cricket matches will be interested to hear that the international door has not been closed on Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja, or so Australia national selector John Inverarity insists.

Hughes and Khawaja will not be involved on the Australia A squad for the tour of the UK next month and have been told they can stay with counties Worcestershire and Derbyshire respectively.

The pair's omission has inevitably led to suggestions that they have little chance of earning a national recall any time soon, but Inverarity denied that was the case.

"They're still very much in our thinking," he said.

"I spoke to them last Friday before they headed off to play county cricket."

Inverarity added: "The word to them was we picked very much on performance and their performances this last summer weren't quite what they might have been but we're delighted they're going overseas to play."

Hughes paid the price for a poor series against New Zealand last November and was replaced by Ed Cowan, whose stock has risen to the point he was named as skipper of Australia A.

Khawaja, who in the 2011 Sydney Ashes Test became the first Muslim to play for Australia, batting at No. 3 for the injured Ricky Ponting, was also dropped after the New Zealand series. The number of cricket bets placed is likely to rise as we edge closer to Summer, and the selection process is certain to have a significant impact on where money is placed.

Australia's ODI Tour of The British Isles
Jun 21: Tour Match v Leicestershire
Jun 23: ODI v Ireland, Belfast
Jun 26: Tour Match v Essex
Jun 29: 1st ODI v England, Lord's
Jul 1: 2nd ODI v England, The Oval
Jul 4: 3rd ODI v England, Edgbaston
Jul 7: 4th ODI v England, Durham
Jul 10: 5th ODI v England, Old Trafford

Australia A's Tour of England
Jul 27-29: Three-day game v Derbyshire
Aug 1-3: Three-day game v Durham
Aug 7-10: Four-day game v England Lions, Old Trafford
Aug 14-17: Four-day game v England Lions, Edgbaston

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Starc Endures Visa Nightmare

Australia bowler, Mitchell Starc, will have to wait for his Yorkshire debut, after visa problems led to him being deported.

The 22-year-old, who arrived at Heathrow Airport last weekend, and was initially cleared to remain in the country, following four hours of questioning, will not now make his bow in Yorkshire’s County Championship Second Division match against Gloucestershire at Bristol, starting on Wednesday.

Yorkshire are currently the favourites for the win, with odds of around 8/13 in the cricket betting. The side are also favoured for an outright win of the County Championship Division Two on

The paceman was confident of being back in England in time for next week's match against Hampshire in Leeds.

"Well that's a first! Being deported from England. Surely nothing else can go wrong can it?!" Starc told his Twitter followers, on Tuesday.

"Visa issue. Incorrect communication from Aus. Will be straight back to UK ASAP once sorted. In time for next Yorkshire game."

Yorkshire blamed an error by Cricket Australia, with the problem a result of incorrect advice given to Starc in Australia.

A Yorkshire statement read: "The necessary paperwork from Yorkshire County Cricket Club is in order and accepted by the UK Border Agency but, unfortunately, is insufficient to allow Mitchell to fulfil the full visa requirement."

Starc's manager, Andrew Fraser, claimed it was an administrative error and that no one was to blame.

The quick is only joining Yorkshire for a limited period, with the youngster likely to be involved in Australia’s one-day tour of England, in the summer. His arrival was set to counter the loss of seamer, Ajmal Shahzad, who left the county in controversial circumstances, last week.

Yorkshire chairman, Colin Graves, said: "The whole thing, to be honest, is a fiasco. We have [said] straight; we are not paying the air fare again."

Starc has made four Test appearances for Australia, taking 10 wickets at an average of 32.50. He has featured seven times in ODIs.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Shahzad set for surprise Yorkshire departure

Ajmal Shahzad is set to leave Yorkshire, in a surprise move that will see the fast bowler cut ties with the county he has played at throughout his entire career.

The 26-year old was expected to be a major part of Yorkshire’s plans, this season, as the county looked to achieve instant promotion back to Division One.

That won’t be the case, the bowler will be allowed to leave this season, even though he is contracted at Headingley until the end of the current campaign.

After eight years at the club, Shahzad admitted it wouldn’t be easy to leave. However, the bowler made it clear he was looking forward to the next challenge away from Yorkshire.

“I would like to thank both the staff and supporters of YCCC for all the help and encouragement that I have received since I joined the staff, and I wish the club lots of success in the coming years.”

“I am now looking forward to the next chapter in my career and hope to push for further honours within the game”, admitted Shahzad.

While establishing himself in the England one-day squads, Shahzad had failed to make the step up into the Test side, despite taking 4-62 in his one and only Test appearance, against Bangladesh in 2010. 

The paceman will now be hoping his next move will be the catalyst he needs to get himself back into the thoughts of the England selectors.

Demonstrate your support for Yorkshire's promotion campaign by placing a cricket bet on the northern side.