Tuesday, April 30, 2013

England confident over injured trio

National selector Geoff Miller has revealed the signs are positive regarding three players hoping to be fit in time for England’s busy summer. Graeme Swann, Tim Bresnan and Kevin Pietersen all had their winter’s cut short due to injury, but Miller has admitted all three could be ready for the home series against New Zealand which kicks off England’s summer.

Spinner Swann and seamer Bresnan are both recovering from elbow injuries, while Pietersen was forced to return home from the tour of New Zealand with a worrying knee problem. Swann is expected to be able to return to training by the end of the next month, and Pietersen and Bresnan will also be both aiming to prove themselves in time for the first Test against the Kiwis next month, series which should be relatively straightforward, according to betting news reporters.

With the series against New Zealand and the Champions Trophy coming up before the first of back-to-back Ashes series, England will know they may have to manage all three, especially Pietersen and Swann, extremely carefully over the next few months.

For the time being, however, all three are on course to be able to return action during the opening part of the English summer, but Miller did make it clear he was comfortable in the ability of the squad handle the gruelling schedule over the next few months.

"I talked to Graeme Swann the other night and he's fine, and Bressie will be starting with Yorkshire very soon. It was a nasty injury for Kevin but it's been rectified and the medical staff will continue with that. He'll be fine,” admitted Miller to cricket betting news reporters.

"We will be ready when New Zealand come around, we have strength in depth to cope, then we've got the Champions Trophy, and the public can be sure we'll be ready for Australia when they arrive."

Monday, April 22, 2013

Modest Wright praises bowling unit

Match-winner Chris Wright hailed a team effort after Warwickshire blew Durham away on the final day at Edgbaston to secure their first win of their title defence.

The County Championship Division One champions dismissed the visitors for just 94 in their second innings to record an emphatic 318-run victory.

Durham simply had no answer to England-hopeful Wright, who gave the selectors a nudge with an impressive haul of 6-31 from 16 overs.

Wright was keen to deflect praise onto his fellow bowlers, who gave Warwickshire a chance of victory in the first innings, with Keith Barker and Chris Woakes particularly impressive in restricting Durham to 284.

"We bowled exceptionally as a unit. A lot of the guys bowled seriously good spells – I think at one stage I was the expensive one, going at one and a half runs per over," Wright said.

"The great thing about our attack is that we share the wickets around. In the first innings it was Barks and Woakesy and in the second I picked up a few. That's how we work."

The 27-year-old felt Warwickshire benefited from improved conditions in the second half of the match. Wright, who took 62 championship wickets in 2012, admitted he is striving for even greater consistency this season – meaning punters should consider using their free online bets to back the Bears for further glory in 2013.

"I have been trying to start spells well and it came out nicely in the second innings. There wasn't a gale-force wind today, unlike earlier in the match, which made it a struggle to swing the ball. The weather was kinder and that helped us but we took advantage really well," he added.

Wright will look to pick up where he left off when Warwickshire travel to Somerset for a four-day match on Thursday. Another match-winning display could push him into contention for England's two-Test series against New Zealand.

Root pleased with comeback despite lack of runs

England batsman Joe Root was pleased to get back out in the middle with Yorkshire, even though he failed to make a significant contribution in the first innings of the three-day Roses friendly against Lancashire.

The 22-year-old has come a long way since he last pulled on his Yorkshire whites at the end of last season. He burst onto the international scene in India before Christmas and earned rave reviews throughout the winter.

Root is set to make his first Test appearance on home soil in next month's two-match series against New Zealand, with one eye undoubtedly on this summer's Ashes. However, Root must first score runs in the County Championship to ensure he keeps his England place.

The Yorkshire opener only managed 11 runs in a total of 381-8 against Lancashire. He accepted the early-season conditions mean he will not score runs every time he goes out to bat.

"It was great to be back out there and good to be back at Headingley, although it was slightly disappointing today. But on a team front it was an excellent day," said Root, who is making his first appearance since last month's final Test in New Zealand.

"I felt fine out there, but it's all part of playing in England in April. It seams about a bit and as an opener sometimes you get a good ball."

One player who could join Root in the England line-up for the first Test of the summer is Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow. He did his chances of continuing to deputise for the injured Kevin Pietersen no harm with a fine 131 and punters may want to use their free bet online to back Baristow to do the business for England next month.

Like Bairstow, Root will hope to make the most of his time with Yorkshire as he looks to nail down a place in the Test side ahead of the visit of Australia. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Anderson not writing off Australia

Pace bowler James Anderson has made it clear England won’t be underestimating Australia in this summer’s Ashes series despite being heavy favourites to retain the urn again. The fast bowler has been on both winning and losing England teams in the Ashes, but it’s been more good than bad for Anderson in recent series against Australia.

Australia will go into the Ashes on the back of a disappointing 4-0 series humbling in India, which was as embarrassing off the field as it was on it. Despite a number of exciting youngsters coming through the ranks, Australia are still a shadow of the team that dominated Test cricket for so many years, not least against England.

 England will be well aware that form usually goes out the window when it comes to the Ashes, and Alastair Cook’s men won’t be taking the Aussies lightly in the first of back-to-back series against Australia.

"Form kind of goes out of the window a little bit with an Ashes series. Australia are always competitive regardless of what form they've been in leading up to an Ashes series, they always fight hard and make it difficult for us,” insisted Anderson.

"Every team we play against we respect them and we'll prepare as well as we always do for any Test series. We'll prepare with a lot of detail and hopefully we'll be fighting fit and produce a good Ashes series."

Before taking on Michael Clarke’s Australia team, England will first welcome New Zealand for the return Test series, coming shortly after returning from a tough three-Test series against Kiwis during the winter.

While England will be looking to rediscover their form against the Black Caps in preparation for the Ashes, there will also be a certain amount of caution that nobody picks up any injuries ahead of such an important few months.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cook – Aussies still a Real Threat

Despite suffering a miserable 4-0 Test drubbing in India last month, Alastair Cook has made it clear Australia still can’t be written off ahead of this summer’s Ashes series.

It wasn’t just on the field in India that Australia were left embarrassed, as head coach, Mickey Arthur’s decision to suspend four players for failing to submit a feedback report left many conceding this was a squad in disarray ahead of the Ashes.

The England captain knows his side will go into the first of back-to-back Ashes series as favourites in many peoples’ eyes, but Cook has refused to draw too much from Australia’s recent troubles.

Despite Australia’s clear problems going into this summer, England skipper, Cook, knows that form is not as important going into an Ashes series as it may be with other series.

"I wouldn't read too much into what happened in India with Australia. The conditions were very different to what we are going to experience in England,” said Cook.

"They are going to be a very tough side to beat”, Cook said to cricket betting news pundits. “The Ashes is a unique event so hopefully it will bring the best out of both sides. The favourites stuff is all off the field. You can read all you want about that sort of stuff but it is irrelevant."      

While Cook couldn’t really say anything else, there is no denying that this has to be the weakest Australia squad an England side will have faced in a good few years.

England might not be in the best of form themselves, a point attested to in the betting news, but it would still be hard to picture anything other than Cook’s men retaining the Ashes by the time the fifth and final Test finishes in August.