Thursday, January 24, 2013

Woakes given chance on New Zealand tour

Chris Woakes has been given the chance to stake an early claim for an Ashes call-up after being drafted into England’s touring squad that faces New Zealand this February.

Woakes replaces the injured Tim Bresnan, who will return home when England finish their tour of India and seek medical advice regarding an elbow injury to his right arm.

If the hurt proves bad enough to keep Bresnan out for a while, he may find it difficult to force his way back into the England fold when they play the Kiwis in the summer – for Woakes may have solidified his place in the squad.

Woakes, has an excellent chance to prove himself worthy of a Test place after making a number of games for England’s short-form teams. The all-rounder made his debut for England in a T20 international against Australia in January 2011 and has since gone on to make seven ODI appearances, crucially taking six wickets for 45 in England’s fifth one-dayer against the Aussies two years ago in Brisbane.

The all-rounder has proven competent with the bat and ball at club level, hitting over 2,800 first-class runs at an average of 38; while his 254 wickets in 128 innings proves this medium-pacer can bowl at a consistent level.England’s T20 cricket odds will certainly not be hindered by his inclusion.

Although he scored a duck in his most recent England outing – against India in Kochi this January – and was sunk for 1-60 in his nine overs, he nevertheless deserves a chance to prove his worth in New Zealand and may even earn a Test cap should Alastair Cook’s side waver in their first match in early March. Though the England Cricket Betting suggest they should win the Test series with relative ease.

If Woakes can prove a valuable asset to this England side the all-rounder could secure his place in the reverse tour in England come May. All things going well, he will fight with Bresnan for a place in the squad when Australia visit later this summer and could develop into a major player of England’s Ashes series.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

England should leave out Patel for New Zealand

England selectors should seriously consider omitting Samit Patel from the England squad that tours New Zealand next month after the all-rounder again proved unreliable both at the crease and with ball in hand.

Patel fell for one during England’s humble one-day defeat to India in Mohali, a loss that sent them 3-1 down in the five-match series and deflates the confidence built from a superb Test effort before Christmas. Although the India v England betting briefly swung in the tourists’ favour after the first match, their hopes have mirrored Patel’s decline. With his duck in Ranchi and this single on Wednesday effectively seals his fate for selection next month.

For Patel has been too inconsistent over this tour of India and has not always proved the reliable middle-order batsman captain Alastair Cook requires, while his bowling figures are way askew.
Having recorded 0-85 in his last four ODI outings, it is clear this reserve spinner is not capable of moving the ball enough to warrant a first-team place and his batting has again exposed an unreliable middle-order contributor.

He was rightly subject to squad rotation in the final Test in Nagpur last December having made meagre totals of 10, 0, 26 and 33 in his four innings at the crease.

One of his uses on Indian soil was that he offered good spin cover on a turning pitch, but now England are heading to New Zealand, where they T20 odds have them as favourites.

They are expecting to use just one spinner – Graeme Swann - and after Monty Panesar’s impressive form this winter, the reserve spin spot in the 15-man touring squad is filled. With Jonny Bairstow, Nick Compton and Joe Root also in the squad there is no place for Patel in the order.

Patel shouldn’t be too surprised, for his form hasn’t warranted a place in the team, but with a long 2013 ahead for England there is still a chance he can make it back into the squad before the Australians fly north for the Ashes this summer.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Treadwell calls for improvement

England spinner James Treadwell concedes that the side need to improve quickly ahead of the  first one-day international against India in Rajkot on Friday.

Ashley Giles’ side crashed to a six wicket warm-up defeat against Delhi on Tuesday, just three days after they were heavily beaten by India A in Mumbai.

With the first of five one-day internationals just days away, Giles knows his experimental side need to get to grips with sub-continent conditions or risk yet another limited overs series defeat.

England have not won a one-day series in India since 1984 and have one just one of their last 17, taking in two successive whitewashes. It is little wonder then that Betfair England markets are tipping the hosts to win once more.

However, they can at least take heart from the Test side, who won their first series in India 28 years in December.

England have also entered an experimental era , with the role of coach now split, with Giles taking charge of the limited overs sides, while Andy Flower remains responsible for the Test side.

There has been changes among the playing staff as well, with the likes of James Anderson, Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad left at home in order to rest up ahead of later tours.

Treadwell is one of those expected to step up in the absence of more experienced stars and he knows there is plenty of scope for improvement given their performances in the warm-ups.

"It's obviously not been ideal,” he said. “We like to go in and win these games but we've not hit our skills in the way we'd have liked,"

"We need to make some improvements in the next couple of days. We didn't hit our lengths consistently enough to build pressure over periods of time. That's what it boils down to.

"To be able to turn it around in the next couple of days going into the first ODI is crucial.
For more information on England’s ODI tour of India, as well as the future meetings with New Zealand and Australia later in the year, make sure you head over to: