Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Warne Not Ready To Retire Just Yet

Having retired from the international game back in 2007, Australia test legend Shane Warne is preparing for another season of domestic Twenty20 Cricket in his home country and he isn’t ready to put a date on his retirement just yet.
Warne remains Australia’s all-time leading test wicket taker with 708 victims in his 145 matches and, having come out of retirement to play for and coach the Rajasthan Royals in 2008, and then come close to retiring again in 2011, he won’t be drawn on any possible future retirement plans.
"I have to never say 'never' because in 2007 I said I'd never play cricket again," Warne said. "But 18 months later the IPL came up, so that was something that interested me, to captain/coach and do it the way I always thought it should be done."
After leaving the Rajasthan Royals in 2011, Warne joined the Melbourne Stars to play in the Inaugural Australian Big Bash League and, having played in eight games for them last year, Warne is raring to go again in 2012. In his role as a senior pro, Warne will not only be playing alongside  the former Australian T20 captain Cameron White, but also the current captain George Bailey.
His influence could not only improve Melbourne’s chances but also help out the national T20 side; something that he would be more than happy to do.
"I do love cricket, I'm passionate about the game and if I can help Australian cricket in any way, shape or form then I will," he said.
Melbourne Stars’ 2012-13 campaign kicks off with a local derby against Melbourne Renegades and, having reached the semi-finals of the competition last year, they will be looking for an improvement this time round.
Meanwhile England have touched down in India ahead of their winter Test series. Don’t forget to check out all the latest Cricket betting previews  as well as the latest Betfair England Tips over at the new and freshly updated Betfair cricket website.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Haddin Not Hopeful of Test Spot

Brad Haddin concedes that he is likely to lose his Test place to Matthew Wade, but hopes his recent break from the game is not a factor in the selectors’ decision.

Haddin took six months away from cricket for personal reasons last April, allowing Wade to make his Test debut against the West Indies in the Caribbean.

Wade has since established himself in the Aussies one-day and T20 squads, playing in the mini one-day series in England and the T20 World Cup with Sri Lanka.

Haddin is back playing cricket again and is currently in South Africa with the Sydney Sixers, bidding to win the T20 Champions League.

The five-man selection panel insist they have not yet made a decision on who to pick behind the stumps for the upcoming Test series with South Africa, which will decide who sees in 2013 as the World’s number one ranked Test side.

However, Haddin feels they have already made their minds up, tipping Wade to take his place.

The 35-year-old is hopeful that is a purely cricketing decision though, rather than due to his break from the game, and also insists that he has plenty to offer still at international level.

"From my point of view, I hope that would never come into it [his break],'' Haddin said. ''I've had a six-month break away from the game, and haven't played that much cricket to be perfectly honest, so you wouldn't have to be Einstein to work out that they're not going to go my way, but my cricket, I think, is not done.

''I've been able to find the form that I needed to get back to playing cricket, which is pretty rewarding after the break, so all that stuff will take care of itself in the long term so I'm not too worried about it at the moment."

Thinking of placing a bet on cricket this autumn? Be sure to check out the odds on the Australia cricket betting website for the most accurate picks for Australia’s upcoming clash with South Africa.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Flintoff: Performances key for returning Pietersen

Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff feels the Kevin Pietersen fiasco will soon be forgotten should Alastair Cook's team gain momentum on their upcoming tour of India.

Pietersen has not featured for England since the second Test against South Africa in August. The middle-order batsman found himself at the centre of controversy after he allegedly sent "provocative texts" to opposition players during the Headingley Test.

The 32-year-old was dropped for the final Test at Lord's and then left out of the party which travelled to Sri Lanka to defend England's World Twenty20 title. He was also left out of the squad for the Test tour of India.

However, after a series of meetings with the England Cricket Board and Cook about his "reintegration", Pietersen has been handed a recall and is in line to face India in the first Test in Ahmedabad on November 15.

Flintoff, who will undoubtedly be tuning in for sport updates, says the early tension in the camp will soon disappear if England begin the tour with a bang.

"I'm sure there'll be a few words in the dressing room, in certain ears, to make sure it's a smooth transition going back in," the 34-year-old told a latest sport news network.

"But in a few months' time, if we start performing well in India, this will be forgotten."

However, the former Lancashire star was keen to urge caution.

"What tends to happen is that when a team's doing well, everyone talks about the team spirit, togetherness and how everyone gets on. It's tested when you don't perform," added Flintoff, who scored 3845 runs and took 226 wickets during his 79-Test career.

"When you start having a few bad results, little groups form in the dressing room and people start talking, and that's when it can happen."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gibbs Predicts Proteas Whitewash

Former South Africa batsman Herschelle Gibbs has predicted that his old team-mates will continue their fine run of form and inflict a heavy defeat on the Australians in their forthcoming series.
Gibbs, who averaged over 40 with the bat in his 90 tests for the Proteas thinks that the experience and confidence that South Africa have built up over the last couple of years will be enough for them to defeat Michael Clarke’s men. ''I've said all along South Africa have been a most consistent team home and away in the last three years - they've got a very solid Test squad” Gibbs said. ''They should be the favourites to win … they probably should win 2-0.''
Most Cricket betting previews     agree with Gibbs and put South Africa as favourites, given they knocked England off the top spot in the test rankings with victory on English soil in the summer.
Gibbs puts the rise of Proteas down to consistency of selection and being able to build a strong team ethic. ''I think the Test side have been together for a good couple of years,'' Gibbs said. ''It's having the same players and gelling as a unit and knowing each others' games and drawing inspiration and confidence from each other - that's exactly what the Test squad's been”  he said.
South Africa have only been defeated in one series since April 2006 and their victory in England was fitting reward for years of hard work.  Punters at Betfair cricket find it hard to imagine Graeme Smith allowing his side to lose the momentum that they have built up ahead of their trip down under. However there are fewer more difficult places to play cricket and their only series defeat in the last six and a half years came against Australia.

The first Test between Australia and South Africa begins in Brisbane on 9th November and, if Smith can lead his side to victory, then surely even England wouldn’t begrudge calling them the best Test team in the world.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Gale keen to spring more surprises

Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale insists the White Rose will continue to play no-fear cricket when they take on the best Twenty20 sides in the world in the Champions League.

Gale's team qualified for the main event by beating Sri Lanka's Uva Next and West Indian champions Trinidad & Tobago to top their pool.

The Yorkshire skipper was pleased to continue the county's T20 adventure. The Headingley outfit earned the right to compete in South Africa after reaching the final of the domestic competition, their first ever trip to finals day and most sport updates think they can go further than many expected.

"We're really looking forward to the rollercoaster. We're going to be playing against some of the guys that we watch on TV," Gale said.

"We're going to go in with a no-fear attitude and see where it takes us. Even if we lose every single game, that's okay."

Yorkshire have joined IPL heavyweights Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, Sydney Sixers (Australia) and Highveld Lions (South Africa) in Group B.

The group represents a tough challenge for Yorkshire, the least fancied of the 10 finalists among punters who bet on sport. Gale, however, is keen to cause a few upsets along the way.

"We certainly don't fear anyone and we can now go into the main tournament with our heads held high," said Gale.

"We've got a really good team spirit, we did exceptionally well in the English domestic competition and we're ready to take on the big stage."

Yorkshire begin their campaign against Sydney Sixers in Cape Town on October 16 before taking on Mumbai Indians at the same venue two days later. They face Highveld Lions in Johannesburg on October 20 and complete the group stage against Chennai Super Kings in Durban on October 22.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Broad would welcome back KP

England pace bowler Stuart Broad insists he would share a beer with Kevin Pietersen and he would be welcomed back into the England dressing room.

Pietersen was dropped from the England squad in all forms of the game when it was revealed he had sent derogatory text messages about Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower to South Africa players.

That meant the 32-year-old missed the remainder of the South Africa series as well as the T20 World Cup in
Sri Lanka.

He was also left out of the squad for the winter tour of India, with his international future at real risk. Most England v India betting Tips thought England would struggle even with KP in the side, so if he was absent, things would be even worse.

However, following extensive talks with the ECB, Flower and former skipper Strauss, it appears a resolution had been found.

He has been offered a four-month central contract and after another round of talks with England players – including more public apologies – he should be allowed back into the England fold. Certainly most online cricket betting previews are confident Pietersen will be playing against India in the autumn.

It remains to be seen how the rest of the players will react to Pietersen return. The test message saga was, for some, the final straw given the player’s egotistical behaviour.

When asked by reporters about the issue Broad played down talk of a rift and insists Pietersen will be welcomed back.

"I'd have no problems playing with him or having a beer with him. It's not an issue," Broad told reporters .

"Once the England management has decided when he's available to return, he'll be welcomed back into the changing room.

"We know he's a great cricketer, he's won a lot of trophies and has been a really good team-mate for England, certainly ever since I've been playing for them. We know that when KP's focused on playing for England and he's happy, he's a really dangerous player."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Razzaq in Hot Water over Hafeez Criticism

According to Betfair, Veteran Pakistan all-rounder, Abdul Razzaq, has been given seven days to respond to an allegation that he has violated the players’ code of conduct after his sharp criticism of national captain, Mohammad Hafeez.

"I was disappointed sitting outside while the team was losing the match," Razzaq said, following Pakistan’s narrow defeat to Sri Lanka in the semi-finals of the world T20 in Colombo. 

Razzaq was clearly devastated to have missed the chance of meeting the West Indies in the final and he was clear as to who he blamed for leaving him out of the team. 

"I know the team management didn't drop me, it was Hafeez who left me out. He should speak up and admit his decision," Razzaq said.

Razzaq has certainly been an effective performer for Pakistan since he broke into the one-day side at the age of 17, back in 1996. 

Since his debut against Zimbabwe, he has gone on to play over 200 ODIs as well as nearly fifty tests but this latest outburst could spell the end of his international career. 

Having previously retired from internationals after omission from the 2007 World Cup squad, there is surely only so much more that the Pakistan management will take from the 32 year old. 

Razzaq’s impact on this year’s tournament was limited to just two appearances - one against Bangladesh, where he did not bat and failed to take a wicket when bowling, and one against perennial Betfair cricket odds favourite, Australia, when he scored 22 but was not called upon to bowl.
Quite why Razzaq feels that he would have made such a difference to the Pakistani effort against Sri Lanka is known only to himself, but if Hafeez and the management want to build on reaching the semi-finals at the World T20, then they will surely deal with his petulance harshly. 

It would come as no surprise if Razzaq had played his last game for Pakistan and, quite frankly, it would be nobody’s fault but his own.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Can Tendulkar rekindle old flame against England?

Discussing the eventual retirement of India’s greatest ever cricketer has for years been a hushed taboo on the sub continent, but the realisation that Sachin Tendulkar’s career is drawing to a close has suddenly come to light ahead of India’s Test series with England this winter.

Tendulkar, 39, has been in the Test side for over two decades and recently admitted his time at the India wicket is shortening amid growing concerns he does not have the ability to play cricket at the highest level any more. A subject never spoken about even three years ago is finally coming to the fore and Tendulkar is keen to outline his thoughts on retirement.

“I don’t think I have plenty of cricket left in me,” Tendulkar told BBC Sport.

“I am still the best judge of what happens to my mind and body. When I feel it is time, I will take a call. It is going to be a tough call nevertheless, because this is what I have been doing all my life.”

Indeed, very few of us have the experience to know when their game is up like Tendulkar. Over 15,000 Test runs and 100 international centuries puts the right-hander down as Indian cricket’s undisputed legend and punters betting on cricket would certainly like him to stride out into the middle a few more times. Yet over the past two years the toll of traveling and training has got to the veteran superstar. Just last month the senior batsman was clean bowled three times by a mediocre New Zealand attack and although India went on to win the series Tendulkar did very little to aid their efforts.

This winter the 1989 debutant has a serious decision to make. He will be up against a drained England attack hurting from their series loss to South Africa this summer and hefty outsiders according to the latest England v India betting odds. But Tendulkar must be switched on if he is to rekindle his own flame and give Indian spectators one last magic moment before retirement.

However, should he fail to live up to expectations against England, Tendulkar’s career will be over and much maligned for his insistence of stretching it too far.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cricket Australia to feel force of industrial changes

Australian cricket could be about to witness some huge changes after Cricket Australia appointed three business behemoths to the new board – none with previous management experience in the sport.

Rio Tinto managing director David Peever and former chief exec of a retail company Kevin Roberts are two men relatively unknown outside the world of business, yet they will oversee the development of cricket in Australia for the foreseeable future.

Among the three new appointments is Jacquie Hey, the first female board member at Cricket Australia for 107 years, a decision that is likely to open the gateways for further attention and investment into the women’s game. Yet while this potential will no-doubt be warmly accepted by cricket fans across the world, there are concerns that in appointing three non-cricketing board members the CA could switch its focus away from the sport.

Business people at board level are good for protecting revenue streams, income flows and every other kind of corporate mumbo jumbo, and the concern is the actual sport may be swept under the carpet. The IPL is a perfect example of a top-heavy tournament that increasingly looks likely to implode on itself.

The CA’s current big project, the Big Bash League, is struggling to garner the IPL-like attention it craves. Maybe it is coincidence that after a poor debut BBL the sport’s governing body brings in three business bigwigs to oversee things. Money is increasingly becoming a deciding factor in cricket but the CA must be careful not to side too heavily with ‘good business’ ideas and risk straying away from communal, grass roots investment.

Australia is still struggling to replicate the talents of their ‘golden generation’ and it will take a few years of hard work to develop a new set of talented cricketers. These three appointments must keep to advisory roles and not delve into CA policy, a move that would potentially risk the financial future of cricket in the country.

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