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Cricket News & Views

ICC start Pakistan talk shop

THE Pakistan Task Team, a panel set up under Giles Clarke by the ICC to drag Pakistan cricket out of the mire after spot-fixing allegations, has underlined the zero-tolerance policy towards corruption.

======STOP SUMMARY=====

The panel's main activity has been to help educate players on corruption issues and to make reforms to restore confidence in the administration of the game in Pakistan. The ICC are taking a well-worn path and, while intentions remain good, it is easy to see Clarke's group as another talk shop. In practical terms the cancer of corruption is extremely difficult to stamp out, especially while betting remains illegal in India, with unusual betting patterns impossible to monitor. In the meantime the ICC are having to rely on 'messages'.

The game in Pakistan has been damaged by terrorism and by the corruption allegations against Mohammad Amir and Salman Butt, a captain with some serious explaining to do at the ICC hearing to be heard by Michael Beloff QC in Qatar on October 30-31. Amir and Butt are contesting their suspension by the ICC. The third player under a cloud, Mohammad Asif, decided to withdraw his appeal.

The provisional suspensions were imposed on the players in accordance with the ICC Anti-Corruption Code after they were charged with various offences under the code on September 2. The charges followed revelations by The News of the World newspaper and subsequent investigations by the ICC’s Anti Corruption and Security Unit into ‘spot-fixing’ allegations. Beloff will be considering only the suspensions and not the substantive charges laid against the players.

ECB chairman Clarke was joined in an ICC teleconference by members of his task team, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt and the Board's senior general manager Subhan Ahmed. The discussion, a process that followed a recent ICC board meeting in Dubai, included raising awareness of anti-corruption issues among international players, particularly those from Pakistan, and supporting the country's urgent delivery of anti-corruption policies, processes and education.

The panel supported the Pakistan Board in reviewing its structures and making reforms necessary to restore confidence in the administration of the game in Pakistan, and the enforcing of the ICC's zero-tolerance approach to protect the integrity of international cricket.

The PTT received an update on the agreed measures that the Pakistanis had already started to introduce. ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said: "We are encouraged by the excellent progress reported and also the willingness of the Pakistan Cricket Board to embrace the ICC recommendations. However, we can never be complacent nor distracted in our determination to tackle corruption.

"Recognising that integrity is fundamental, the Board was unanimous and showed absolutely no compromise in taking steps to ensure the public retains confidence in the game."

Lorgat said all 105 ICC members were advised to immediately consider and undertake the following actions:

>To remind all registered players, support personnel and member board officials about their responsibilities, the ICC's clear stance on corruption, the need to abide by the ICC Anti-Corruption Code and that failure to take these measures could result in severe penalties.

>To review the adequacy of processes and procedures to protect against all threats of corruption (domestic or international) and, where necessary, introduce new measures which would include a domestic anti-corruption code that mirrors the ICC code.

>To review player contracts and introduce relevant clauses to ensure players comply with all relevant anti-corruption rules and regulations.

Lorgat added: "We have issued a broad advisory to every ICC Member about the need to root out corruption from our great sport. This advisory requests all international players and support personnel to sign a once-off declaration before participating in the next FTP match and/or ICC event. Such declaration is intended to serve as an important reminder of the spirit in which the game is meant to be played, the importance of its integrity and their roles and responsibilities in this regard."

The task team meeting reminded the Pakistan Board of its agreement to encourage all its players to come forward and disclose to the Anti-Corruption and Safety Unit any relevant information which will be treated as strictly confidential.

Mr Lorgat said: "Every single player who cares about the game should step forward and help us to eradicate corruption from the game. I can assure that such disclosures will be treated in strict confidence."

Pakistan Task Team: Giles Clarke (England, ICC director), Peter Chingoka (Zimbabwe, ICC director), Haroon Lorgat (ICC chief executive), David Richardson (ICC general manager, cricket), Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka, ICC chief match referee), Mike Brearley (England), Ramiz Raja (Pakistan).

Posted by Charlie Randall
24/10/2010 13:33:03

MCC 'grand matches' up for auction

THE MCC are putting some fabulously valuable and rare cricketana up for auction with Christie's in November, including three books on 'grand matches' published in 1799 with an estimated value of more than £50,000.

======STOP SUMMARY=====

The MCC announced that their auction of sporting books and pictures would take place at Christie’s auction house in South Kensington on November 17. It would hardly take a master salesman to say that the occasion offers a unique opportunity to own a piece of cricketing history from a curated selection of 100 lots.

A complete set of Wisden Almanacks seems likely to be the most valuable lot, but the outstanding items of great rarity would be the William Epps set Cricket: A Collection of All the Grand Matches played in England from 1771 to 1791 , published in Rochester, Kent.

Also on offer will be the almanack's less well known predecessors, most notably three editions of the rare scorebooks produced by Samuel Britcher (1792, 1793 and 1796). Estimates for these are £40,000-60,000, £40,000-60,000 and £20,000-30,000 respectively. The importance of these works is highlighted by the fact that their author, Britcher, was an official scorer for Marylebone Cricket Club, and the first person to produce an annual scorebook on a regular basis.

Epps's books are considered by many as the most important historical publication on cricket in the later 18th century, compiled from the manuscripts of noblemen such as the Duke of Dorset and Earl of Tankerville. His work was intended to supplement the publications of Britcher, which ran from 1790 to 1805.

All the MCC lots to be offered at Christie’s are duplicate items from the collections, and proceeds will be used by MCC to sustain and care for the core collections and facilitate further strengthening through acquisitions.

Adam Chadwick, curator of collections at MCC, commented: "MCC Collections continue to attract an increasing number of admirers, and in 2009 we set a record having welcomed 60,000 people through the doors. We are committed in our aim to continue developing the accessibility of the collections, and to maintaining them as the world’s most important celebration of the history of cricket.

"Following advice from the arts and library committee, the MCC committee has authorised the sale of a number of duplicate items from the collections. The majority of items will come from the MCC Library collection and we are pleased to offer international cricket enthusiasts, as well as MCC members, the opportunity to bid on items from the library at Lord’s. The proceeds will provide MCC with the much needed funds required to enhance and conserve the core collection."

A familiar sight for any Lord’s visitor is a portrait of The Young Cricketer – Portrait of Lewis Cage by Katharine Lloyd, which has hung in the pavilion at Lord’s for the past 60 years (estimate: £4,000-6,000). The charming portrait is after an original by Francis Cotes RA and was commissioned to coincide with the opening of the Lord’s museum in the 1950s. It is offered by MCC following their recent acquisition of the original portrait.

The first independent works on cricket ever published were verse accounts of cricket matches, mock heroic poems in the genre established by Alexander Pope’s Rape of the Lock (1714). Highlights of the MCC auction include the first of these humorous poems, James Dance’s Cricket. An Heroic Poem , London (1744), and three other rare cricket, which appeared as 18th Century pamphlets.

John Duncombe’s Surry Triumphant and John Burnby’s Kentish Cricketers were both written by clergymen and both published in 1773, and MCC are offering a magnificent volume, in which these two poems are bound together. Estimates range from £18,000 to £25,000. The fourth of these 18th Century poems is the anonymous The Noble Cricketers … addresss’d to Two of the Idlest Lords in His Majesty’s Kingdom - estimate £7,000-10,000 - a 1778 satire on two indolent, cricket-loving aristocrats, the Duke of Dorset and the Earl of Tankerville. They were accused of preferring to play cricket while England was losing the war against the American colonies.

Public viewing:

Saturday November 13: 11am - 5pm

Sunday November 14: 11am - 5pm

Monday November 15: 9am - 7.30pm

Tuesday November 16: 9am – 5pm

Auction:

Wednesday, November 17: 10.30am

Posted by Charlie Randall
23/10/2010 09:53:49

MCC rein in boundary acrobatics

SOME laws of cricket have been amended today to counter a trend of gamesmanship, and one spectacular aspect of the Indian Premier League has been whacked into the shrubbery.

======STOP SUMMARY=====

The sight of boundary fielders in the IPL turning seemingly certain sixes into catches will become rarer now that the Laws define the legality of certain fielding tactics. The MCC, custodians of the Laws, announced eight changes today, including a new 'bad light' convention, tougher penalties on pitch scuffing and restrictions on the sort of boundary acrobatics seen in Twenty20 cricket.

The Laws, a fourth edition of the 2000 code, now state that a fielder’s first contact with the ball must be within the boundary or, if he is airborne, his last contact with the ground must be within the field of play. Knocking 'sixes' back into play for a colleague to catch or gather cannot be done jumping from outside the boundary. The fielder may subsequently step outside the rope, but a four or six will be scored, as to be expected, if he makes further contact with the ball while still grounded outside the boundary.

Umpires will now be the sole arbiters of whether play should continue in poor light, as has been the case in first class cricket regulations. "The batting side will no longer have any say in the decision, which was often made for tactical reasons," the MCC said.

At the toss at least one umpire will be required to attend, and the winning captain must notify his counterpart of his decision to bat or field immediately. "Previously, captains could wait until 10 minutes before the start of the game, but in some cases this was being exploited to the losing side’s disadvantage – and therefore contravened the Spirit of Cricket," the MCC said.

Other Law changes aimed at achieving more fairness between the teams include giving batsmen who damage the pitch only one warning before penalty runs are issued, rather than two – to mirror the punishment for fielders. Bowlers are prevented from delivering the ball with their front foot beyond an imaginary line between the middle stumps, releasing the ball as though they were bowling round the wicket.

Bowlers are forbidden to bowl the ball into the ground to a team-mate, which damages the ball and may waste time. Fielders will no longer be able to practise with a twelfth man or coach outside the boundary during a game, as this affords them an opportunity to prepare that is not granted to the batsmen in the middle.

The two final Law changes deal with very rare forms of dismissal. Law 28.1 has been amended so, if a batsman’s bat breaks in the act of playing a shot and the broken part of the bat hits the stumps, he will now be out. A new sub-section has been added to Law 29.1 to protect a batsman who is well in his ground – for example a sprinting batsman who has run past his stumps, but whose feet and bat happen to be in the air as the bails are removed. He will now be deemed to be in.

To explain the Law changes, MCC have produced a video with clips of international and MCC Young Cricketers illustrating both legal and illegal practices.

www.lords.org

Posted by Charlie Randall
30/09/2010 16:00:18

Neil Carter's value soars again

THE SUCCESS of Neil Carter in becoming the Most Valuable Player of 2010 is an extraordinary turn-up at the age of 35 three years after his Warwickshire career seemed to have nose-dived.

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The MVP award, sponsored by FTI Consulting, is based on a league table of points gained from performances in all three county competitions through the season, and Carter's 80 wickets and 1,270 runs took him well clear of the field, with Yorkshire all-rounder Adil Rashid finishing second.

Carter is an awkward left-arm seamer and a clunky left-hander who can launch an innings with a biff in one-day cricket. That might have applied more in past years, as this season he scored 617 runs as a lower order bat in the LV Championship, averaging a very respectable 36.29, to add to his 51 wickets.

Yet back in 2004 the powerful Carter was unsure whether he would be offered another contract. His form returned and he rated 2005 as his best season, but within two years he seemed certain to leave Edgbaston until he was belatedly offered another year. Chief executive Colin Povey commented in August 2007: "The club are unlikely to offer Neil another contract and would not stand in the way of an approach from any other counties at this stage. Everyone wishes Neil all the best." But Warwickshire changed their minds with the departure of Mark Greatbatch as coach. By then Carter certainly felt he still had some good cricket in him and he proved that with a very productive 2008, culminating with a loan to Middlesex for the Stanford series in Antigua that October.

Move the clock on to 2010, and the player who so often seemed 'about to leave' Warwickshire was voted the Professional Cricketers Association player of the year and finished top of the MVP table, twice winning the monthly award. Born in Cape Town and raised in South Africa, he was naturalised too late to consider international cricket. Rashid finished well behind Carter in the MVP stakes, though he topped the LV Championship rankings. Alfonso Thomas, of Somerset, was the leading wicket taker with 109 across all competitions for third place overall.

Speaking on his achievement Carter said: "I won the first FTI MVP monthly award in April and felt that was a great achievement, but I never imagined that I would stay top for the rest of the season. It's a real honour to come out on top. It's a massive incentive for the players, as I think they all realise that it is a true reflection of your performances throughout the season."

The monthly awards in 2010 went to Carter (April and July), Ryan ten Doeschate (May), Chaminda Vaas (June), Marcus Trescothick (August) and Moeen Ali (September).

www.ecb.co.uk/stats

Posted by Charlie Randall
25/09/2010 12:31:24

England's day of The Pylons

THE selection of the 6ft 7in Chris Tremlett for the tour of Australia is a sound move, and England could field the tallest seam-bowling attack yet to hit Down Under if James Anderson were to be injured in the Ashes series.

======STOP SUMMARY=====

Tremlett could be drafted in to join Stuart Broad, only an inch shorter, and the lofty Steve Finn casting shadows in the evening with the floodlight pylons. Since his move from Hampshire to Surrey, Tremlett has confirmed much of his promise as a very good cricketer and he deserves a proper chance.

One alternative would have been to take the youthful Yorkshire fast-bowler Ajmal Shahzad, but this would have been too risky in view of Finn's inexperience. With Tremlett on board as back-up, England's bowling looks especially potent, and when Graeme Swann's world class off-spin is added into the mix, a first series win in Australia since 1986/87 looks very much on the cards.

Ladbrokes actually make Australia slight favourites at 4/6 on to win the series, with England 9/4 against. Swann is evens to be England’s top wicket-taker ahead of Anderson, at 3/1. Andrew Strauss, the captain, is 7/2 to be the top run scorer ahead of Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott at 4/1. David Williams, of Ladbrokes, commented: "It’s 24 years since the last England series victory against the Aussies on home soil, so it’s no surprise they’re slight favourites. England are in great form, though, and it’s likely the Barmy Army will heavily back the boys in the coming weeks as they fully expect England to right the wrongs of 2006/7."

The England selectors named a 16-man tour party at the Brit Oval, recalling Tremlett and the Sussex left-arm spinner Monty Panesar. The Yorkshire leg-spin all-rounder Adil Rashid, 22, has been give a rest from all international duty, though he is a high-quality player who will feature in due course.

Tremlett, 29, won the last of his three Test caps against India in 2007, though he did tour of New Zealand in 2008. His sheer size has made him injury-prone in the past, and his apparent 'softness' has been distorted a little in the media. Panesar will probably have few opportunities for those cavorting celebrations at taking a wicket until Sydney, when two spinners might well be chosen, but he had a successful season for Sussex with 52 first class wickets and nips in ahead of James Tredwell.

The selectors listed 11 players to be awarded 12-month England central contracts, with Jonathan Trott and Finn winning a central contract for the first time. A further five players have been awarded incremental contracts.

England also announced the 16-man England Performance Programme squad, who will be based in Australia in the lead up to the first Test in Brisbane through until the start of the third Test in Perth. Michael Carberry, Craig Kieswetter, Shahzad and Tredwell, all with senior England exerience over the past 12 months, are among those included. New faces include all-rounder Ben Stokes and left-arm spinner Danny Briggs, successes in the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand early this year.

Commenting on the selections, ECB national selector, Geoff Miller, said: "We believe we’ve selected an outstanding Test squad for what will be a fiercely contested Ashes series in Australia. In order to retain the Ashes we will need to play to a very high level and we believe we’ve selected a squad to do just that.

"Clearly there are always difficult decisions to make when selecting an England squad and this Ashes squad was no different. We feel that Chris Tremlett’s inclusion will add a real threat of pace and bounce to our bowling attack given the conditions in Australia. Chris will be vying for a place in the final team amongst a confident attack including James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn."

The England Performance Programme will be based in Brisbane from Nov 13 where they will play a four-day match against a Queensland XI (Nov 25-28) before relocating to Perth on Nov 29 to play a Western Australia XI (Dec 7-10). The party will remain in Perth for the lead-up to the third Test before departing for the UK on Dec 16.

David Parsons, ECB Performance Director, said: "The time spent at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough and Australia allows our national lead coaches to work intensively with the players and assess their readiness to graduate to the full England side when the opportunity arises. It has been very pleasing to see the likes of Jonathan Trott, Eoin Morgan, Steven Finn and Steven Davies who have all spent time on the programme in recent years, go on to play important roles for England."

England Test squad in Australia

Andrew Strauss (Middlesex, capt)

Alastair Cook (Essex)

James Anderson (Lancashire)

Ian Bell (Warwickshire)

Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire)

Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire)

Paul Collingwood (Durham)

Steven Davies (Surrey,wkt)

Steven Finn (Middlesex)

Eoin Morgan (Middlesex)

Monty Panesar (Sussex)

Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire)

Matt Prior (Sussex, wkt)

Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire)

Chris Tremlett (Surrey)

Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire)

Tour Itinerary 2010-11

Nov 5-7: v Western Australia, WACA, Perth

Nov 11-13: v South Australia, Adelaide Oval, Adelaide

Nov 17-20: v Australia A, Bellerive Oval, Hobart

Nov 25-29: 1st Ashes Test v Australia, Gabba, Brisbane

Dec 3-7: 2nd Ashes Test v Australia, Adelaide

Dec 10-12: v Victoria, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne

Dec 16-20: 3rd Ashes Test v Australia, Perth

Dec 26-30: 4th Ashes Test v Australia, Melbourne

Jan 3-7: 5th Ashes Test v Australia, Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney

Jan 10: v Prime Minister’s XI, Manuka Oval, Canberra

Jan 12: 1st T20 v Australia, Adelaide

Jan 14: 2nd T20 v Australia, Melbourne

Jan 16: 1st ODI v Australia, Melbourne

Jan 21: 2nd ODI v Australia, Hobart

Jan 23: 3rd ODI v Australia, Sydney

Jan 26: 4th ODI v Australia, Adelaide

Jan 30: 5th ODI v Australia, Brisbane

Feb 2: 6th ODI v Australia, Sydney

Feb 6: 7th ODI v Australia, Perth

England Performance Programme squad

Jimmy Adams (Hampshire)

Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire)

Danny Briggs (Hampshire)

Michael Carberry (Hampshire)

Maurice Chambers (Essex)

Jade Dernbach (Surrey)

Andrew Gale (Yorkshire)

James Hildreth (Somerset)

Craig Kieswetter (Somerset)

Adam Lyth (Yorkshire)

Liam Plunkett (Durham)

Ajmal Shahzad (Yorkshire)

Ben Stokes (Durham)

James Taylor (Leicestershire)

James Tredwell (Kent)

Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)

England Central Contracts

Andrew Strauss (Middlesex)

James Anderson (Lancashire)

Ian Bell (Warwickshire)

Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire)

Paul Collingwood (Durham)

Alastair Cook (Essex)

Steven Finn (Middlesex)

Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire)

Matt Prior (Sussex)

Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire)

Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire)

Incremental Contracts

Ravi Bopara (Essex)

Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire)

Eoin Morgan (Middlesex)

Luke Wright (Sussex)

Michael Yardy (Sussex)

Ladbrokes odds

Ashes outright

Australia 4/6

England 9/4

Drawn series 9/2

Australia  to win by:   England

20/1        5-0           100/1

16/1        4-0             66/1

12/1        4-1             40/1

16/1        3-0             50/1

6/1          3-1             12/1

10/1        3-2             12/1

25/1        2-0             66/1

8/1          2-1             10/1

50/1        1-0              66/1

Drawn series

0-0 125/1

1-1 20/1

2-2 6/1

Top England series run scorer

A Strauss 7/2

K Pietersen 4/1

J Trott 4/1

A Cook 5/1

P Collingwood 7/1

I Bell 7/1

E Morgan 12/1

M Prior 16/1

S Davies 33/1

S Broad 100/1

G Swann 200/1

T Bresnan 200/1

Top England series wicket-taker

G Swann Evens

J Anderson 3/1

S Broad 4/1

S Finn 4/1

C Tremlett 16/1

T Bresnan 16/1

M Panesar 20/1

P Collingwood 50/1

======STOP SUMMARY=====

Tremlett could be drafted in to join Stuart Broad, only an inch shorter, and the lofty Steve Finn casting shadows in the evening with the floodlight pylons. Since his move from Hampshire to Surrey, Tremlett has confirmed much of his promise as a very good cricketer and he deserves a proper chance.

One alternative would have been to take the youthful Yorkshire fast-bowler Ajmal Shahzad, but this would have been too risky in view of Finn's inexperience. With Tremlett on board as back-up, England's bowling looks especially potent, and when Graeme Swann's world class off-spin is added into the mix, a first series win in Australia since 1986/87 looks very much on the cards.

Ladbrokes actually make Australia slight favourites at 4/6 on to win the series, with England 9/4 against. Swann is evens to be England’s top wicket-taker ahead of Anderson, at 3/1. Andrew Strauss, the captain, is 7/2 to be the top run scorer ahead of Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott at 4/1. David Williams, of Ladbrokes, commented: "It’s 24 years since the last England series victory against the Aussies on home soil, so it’s no surprise they’re slight favourites. England are in great form, though, and it’s likely the Barmy Army will heavily back the boys in the coming weeks as they fully expect England to right the wrongs of 2006/7."

The England selectors named a 16-man tour party at the Brit Oval, recalling Tremlett and the Sussex left-arm spinner Monty Panesar. The Yorkshire leg-spin all-rounder Adil Rashid, 22, has been give a rest from all international duty, though he is a high-quality player who will feature in due course.

Tremlett, 29, won the last of his three Test caps against India in 2007, though he did tour of New Zealand in 2008. His sheer size has made him injury-prone in the past, and his apparent 'softness' has been distorted a little in the media. Panesar will probably have few opportunities for those cavorting celebrations at taking a wicket until Sydney, when two spinners might well be chosen, but he had a successful season for Sussex with 52 first class wickets and nips in ahead of James Tredwell.

The selectors listed 11 players to be awarded 12-month England central contracts, with Jonathan Trott and Finn winning a central contract for the first time. A further five players have been awarded incremental contracts.

England also announced the 16-man England Performance Programme squad, who will be based in Australia in the lead up to the first Test in Brisbane through until the start of the third Test in Perth. Michael Carberry, Craig Kieswetter, Shahzad and Tredwell, all with senior England exerience over the past 12 months, are among those included. New faces include all-rounder Ben Stokes and left-arm spinner Danny Briggs, successes in the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand early this year.

Commenting on the selections, ECB national selector, Geoff Miller, said: "We believe we’ve selected an outstanding Test squad for what will be a fiercely contested Ashes series in Australia. In order to retain the Ashes we will need to play to a very high level and we believe we’ve selected a squad to do just that.

"Clearly there are always difficult decisions to make when selecting an England squad and this Ashes squad was no different. We feel that Chris Tremlett’s inclusion will add a real threat of pace and bounce to our bowling attack given the conditions in Australia. Chris will be vying for a place in the final team amongst a confident attack including James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn."

The England Performance Programme will be based in Brisbane from Nov 13 where they will play a four-day match against a Queensland XI (Nov 25-28) before relocating to Perth on Nov 29 to play a Western Australia XI (Dec 7-10). The party will remain in Perth for the lead-up to the third Test before departing for the UK on Dec 16.

David Parsons, ECB Performance Director, said: "The time spent at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough and Australia allows our national lead coaches to work intensively with the players and assess their readiness to graduate to the full England side when the opportunity arises. It has been very pleasing to see the likes of Jonathan Trott, Eoin Morgan, Steven Finn and Steven Davies who have all spent time on the programme in recent years, go on to play important roles for England."

England Test squad in Australia

Andrew Strauss (Middlesex, capt)

Alastair Cook (Essex)

James Anderson (Lancashire)

Ian Bell (Warwickshire)

Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire)

Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire)

Paul Collingwood (Durham)

Steven Davies (Surrey,wkt)

Steven Finn (Middlesex)

Eoin Morgan (Middlesex)

Monty Panesar (Sussex)

Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire)

Matt Prior (Sussex, wkt)

Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire)

Chris Tremlett (Surrey)

Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire)

Tour Itinerary 2010-11

Nov 5-7: v Western Australia, WACA, Perth

Nov 11-13: v South Australia, Adelaide Oval, Adelaide

Nov 17-20: v Australia A, Bellerive Oval, Hobart

Nov 25-29: 1st Ashes Test v Australia, Gabba, Brisbane

Dec 3-7: 2nd Ashes Test v Australia, Adelaide

Dec 10-12: v Victoria, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne

Dec 16-20: 3rd Ashes Test v Australia, Perth

Dec 26-30: 4th Ashes Test v Australia, Melbourne

Jan 3-7: 5th Ashes Test v Australia, Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney

Jan 10: v Prime Minister’s XI, Manuka Oval, Canberra

Jan 12: 1st T20 v Australia, Adelaide

Jan 14: 2nd T20 v Australia, Melbourne

Jan 16: 1st ODI v Australia, Melbourne

Jan 21: 2nd ODI v Australia, Hobart

Jan 23: 3rd ODI v Australia, Sydney

Jan 26: 4th ODI v Australia, Adelaide

Jan 30: 5th ODI v Australia, Brisbane

Feb 2: 6th ODI v Australia, Sydney

Feb 6: 7th ODI v Australia, Perth

England Performance Programme squad

Jimmy Adams (Hampshire)

Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire)

Danny Briggs (Hampshire)

Michael Carberry (Hampshire)

Maurice Chambers (Essex)

Jade Dernbach (Surrey)

Andrew Gale (Yorkshire)

James Hildreth (Somerset)

Craig Kieswetter (Somerset)

Adam Lyth (Yorkshire)

Liam Plunkett (Durham)

Ajmal Shahzad (Yorkshire)

Ben Stokes (Durham)

James Taylor (Leicestershire)

James Tredwell (Kent)

Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)

England Central Contracts

Andrew Strauss (Middlesex)

James Anderson (Lancashire)

Ian Bell (Warwickshire)

Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire)

Paul Collingwood (Durham)

Alastair Cook (Essex)

Steven Finn (Middlesex)

Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire)

Matt Prior (Sussex)

Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire)

Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire)

Incremental Contracts

Ravi Bopara (Essex)

Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire)

Eoin Morgan (Middlesex)

Luke Wright (Sussex)

Michael Yardy (Sussex)

Ladbrokes odds

Ashes outright

Australia 4/6

England 9/4

Drawn series 9/2

Australia  to win by:   England

20/1        5-0           100/1

16/1        4-0             66/1

12/1        4-1             40/1

16/1        3-0             50/1

6/1          3-1             12/1

10/1        3-2             12/1

25/1        2-0             66/1

8/1          2-1             10/1

50/1        1-0              66/1

Drawn series

0-0 125/1

1-1 20/1

2-2 6/1

Top England series run scorer

A Strauss 7/2

K Pietersen 4/1

J Trott 4/1

A Cook 5/1

P Collingwood 7/1

I Bell 7/1

E Morgan 12/1

M Prior 16/1

S Davies 33/1

S Broad 100/1

G Swann 200/1

T Bresnan 200/1

Top England series wicket-taker

G Swann Evens

J Anderson 3/1

S Broad 4/1

S Finn 4/1

C Tremlett 16/1

T Bresnan 16/1

M Panesar 20/1

P Collingwood 50/1

Posted by Charlie Randall
23/09/2010 15:52:11

Pakistan alienation almost complete

THE alienation of Pakistan from world cricket continues -- partly with blame and partly without -- as the relationship with erstwhile friends, England, on and off the field dissolves into hostility. This week's ECB press release said it all.

======STOP SUMMARY=====

Terrorist activity left Pakistan unavoidably without a home base, attracting sympathy and help, but now there is corruption suspicion against three of their players -- with some apparent 'forecast' evidence published in The News of the World newspaper. Then comes the comments by Ijaz Butt, the Pakistan Board chairman, in a blatantly political attempt to tarnish England, and his words have left a sour taste.

The England players already detested playing against Pakistan in this one-day series, and hearing that Butt claimed there were rumours that England threw the match at the Brit Oval might have had them walking out. Andrew Strauss reacted with "surprise, dismay and outrage" at Butt's suggestion.

It was clear from a radio interview, repeated on the BBC, that Butt felt that the allegations against three Pakistan players were no more than insinuation and that he reckoned these individuals should not be suspended without being found guilty. Then he made a vague claim that there was talk among bookmakers that England threw the Oval match. He added that he could not name any bookmaker in the same way that no bookmakers could be identified in the English newspaper allegations. That was his thinking -- unfairness and conspiracy against Pakistan. 

On Monday the ECB circulated the following press release. Nothing like this has been issued probably since the Kerry Packer break-away circuit storm almost 40 years ago. While sympathising, one must pray that the ECB do not invest their hard-earned funds in libel action against an admittedly "wholly irresponsible" Butt. This would be a total waste of time and money. The law action involving Packer certainly was.

ECB press release (Sept 20, 2010):

"For Immediate Use

"ECB and England team to continue NatWest Series against Pakistan

"The ECB and the England team today announced that they were committed to continuing with the current NatWest Series against Pakistan. This decision was unanimously taken by the ECB Board following a meeting between the ECB chairman Giles Clarke, CEO David Collier, ECB managing director of England cricket, Hugh Morris, and the England captain and coach, Andrew Strauss and Andrew Flower, and a subsequent meeting with all of the England team.

"The ECB and the England players completely reject the remarks made by the PCB chairman Ijaz Butt yesterday about the England team's conduct in the third NatWest ODI at The Brit Insurance Oval. Mr Butt’s comments were wholly irresponsible and completely without foundation.

"The ECB expresses its gratitude for the outstanding conduct of the England team this summer and will take all legal and disciplinary action which may result from Mr Butt’s comments.

"The Board and the team, however, are of a view that it remains in the best interests of world cricket, the players and in particular of cricket supporters that the tour should continue and it would set a dangerous precedent to call off a tour based on the misguided and inaccurate remarks made by one individual.

"ECB will continue to offer ICC its full support in taking the strongest possible action against all areas of corruption and is pledged to offering the ACSU its full support at all times.

"Given the current sensitivities surrounding this issue, ECB believes it is imperative that any serious allegations made against another team or player should be presented through the proper channels to the ACSU. Both ECB and Team England view the comments made by Mr Butt as defamatory and not based in fact.

"Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and the Olympics, said: "I welcome the decision by England to play the last two games of this tour. It is a pragmatic decision that is in the best interests of world cricket."

"Media Statement issued on behalf of the England Cricket Team

"The England Cricket team has this morning issued a statement in conjunction with the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA), following allegations made yesterday by the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board.

"The team deplores and rejects unreservedly the suggestion that any England cricketer was involved in manipulating the outcome, or any individual element, of the third NatWest Series ODI at the Brit Insurance Oval between England and Pakistan last week. The players fully understand their responsibilities as representatives of their country, and would not countenance giving less than 100 per cent in any match they play.

"Andrew Strauss, England captain, speaking on behalf of the team, said:

"We would like to express our surprise, dismay and outrage at the comments made by Mr Butt yesterday. We are deeply concerned and disappointed that our integrity as cricketers has been brought into question. We refute these allegations completely and will be working closely with the ECB to explore all legal options open to us.

"Under the circumstances, we have strong misgivings about continuing to play the last two games of the current series and urge the Pakistani team and management to distance themselves from Mr Butt's allegations. We do, however, recognise our responsibilities to the game of cricket, and in particular to the cricket-loving public in this country, and will therefore endeavour to fulfil these fixtures to the best of our ability."

"Angus Porter, chief executive of the PCA, added: "The players appreciate the difficult position the ECB finds itself in, and is fully supportive of the actions taken by the Board, along with the ICC, to ensure all allegations of wrong-doing are properly investigated and acted upon. We will continue to cooperate closely with the ECB, with the aim of ensuring that the work to root out corruption is not derailed by mischievous attempts to detract attention from the real issues."

This is an amazing document from an organisation that prefers to understate and rarely deals in feelings. After the distasteful events that had Kevin Pietersen (who he?) getting Peter Moores sacked as coach early in the year, it has been a rough 2010 off the field for the ECB. Just as well the boys have won plenty of cricket games.

Posted by Charlie Randall
21/09/2010 11:02:39

ICC powerless to stop the cheating

THE unpalatable truth is that the ICC can do very little to stop spot-fixing in international cricket. This has been apparent ever since Hansie Cronje, captain of South Africa, was exposed as a greedy cheat in 2000.

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Cronje showed remorse, perhaps genuine, though he was probably more upset at being caught. He was forced to own up to spot-fixing as the result of compromising cellphone conversations with underworld characters recorded by Indian police, and he never admitted anything that was not put to him at the King Inquiry. He was proud to insist that he never threw an actual match, though he did entertain the idea in the presence of an incredulous dressing room.

Yet some people in South Africa were satisfied that Cronje had made "a mistake" and that he should be forgiven and allowed back into the game. Apologists, presumably those who did not understand sport, even remembered him as a saintly figure who carried the sins of others. In short, his misdemeanors had been a blip.

The ICC can ban mobile phones from dressing rooms and keep peripheral people at a distance during match days. That helps, but the bottom line is that a sector of society sees fixing incidents in a mere game as none too serious. Compared with murder and violence, it isn't serious, even though the consequences are far-reaching. Tainted sport is undermined as a meaningful event, and that is all. That is very very damaging for sports followers, but the courts would have a hard job proving that no-balls and dropped catches are deliberate.

The possible charges against Mazhar Majeed would be for defrauding bookmakers and not for ruining professional cricket. Even the players under a cloud -- Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and the captain Salman Butt after allegedly arranging no-balls at certain points in the match -- will not face a prison term.

The best defence against the fixers is for the players themselves to report any approaches immediately, as already required. That is what the home boards expect of all those with international aspirations. Players are told that co-operating with fixers over something 'harmless' such as the weather or a wide would leave them open to blackmail and far deeper involvement.

Pakistan players have become more vulnerable than ever. There has been so little income after terrorist activity ruled out international home matches. Relatively low pay leaves all of them open to the temptation of great wealth.

There was a rumour circulating after the 1999 World Cup in England that an England seam bowler was offered a few thousand for starting with a wide, which could be a normal occurrence. How many readers of this column could honestly say they would not bowl one wide early in a match with, say, £10,000 on offer?

The following year the Cronje story broke. Several Pakistan and India players were 'at it' and were exposed by circumstantial evidence that nevertheless did not withstand legal testing on appeal. Once a senior group in a team acquire the taste of corruption their influence becomes very powerful and invasive.

Posted by Charlie Randall
30/08/2010 16:49:40

DeFreitas has Ashes 'vibes' again

THE former England hero Phil DeFreitas has the same vibes about the Ashes that he had all those years ago when the coveted urn was last won in Australia.

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DeFreitas was only 20 when he was selected for his first England tour in 1986/87, joining a force that was written off as having no chance against the Australians. But contrary to expectations, Mike Gatting's side won the series 2-1, a success that has not been emulated since.

DeFreitas, now cricket coach at Oakham School, suffered with the rest of England's cricket followers when series after series in Australia went pear-shaped, but this year could be different, with Andy Flower playing an important part as coach. "I get the same vibes, the same feeling that we'll go over there with a fair chance of winning," DeFreitas said at Wormsley on Sunday. "It's easy to say that, and playing for the Ashes in Australia is totally different. I know that Ricky Ponting will be up for it, the Australians will be up for it and it certainly won't be easy. It'll be tough, but I do fancy England to win it."

DeFreitas chatted about the Ashes after playing in a new 'old' fixture as a member of a past and present professional side led by Rob Key against a team of under-19s representing Chance to Shine, the phenomenally successful cricket outreach scheme. The match was called Gentlemen versus Players, after the now defunct amateurs versus professionals contest that was laid to rest in 1962. The organisers hope that resurrecting such an evocative name -- the matches started in 1806 -- they could draw attention to the charity and assist fund-raising.

DeFreitas made his debut in the first Test of that Ashes upset, a seven-wicket victory at Brisbane, Ian Botham hitting a magnificent 138. No one had given England a chance, and the Australians, led by Allan Border, could have been forgiven for complacency.

DeFreitas recalled: "We were told we weren't the best side going out to Australia, but looking around the team at players with the experience of Gower, Botham, Lamb, Gatting, Emburey and Edmonds, as a youngster aged 20 looking around the room, I thought 'wow, there are my heroes -- this ia a great side'.

"When we first started the tour, there was a great bonding and friendship with everyone. We lost warm-up games early doors, but no one got really concerned. We felt we had a decent balanced side capable of winning the Ashes. The day before the first Test at a dinner David Gower and Botham stood up and said the real stuff starts now. You could feel there was something special about the group of guys we had out there, and I think that helped us in a big way. I was quite fortunate in that my first room-mate was Botham and then Lamby -- bit worrying, you might think, but it was OK. I escaped from that."

DeFreitas first came across Border a few months earlier during the 1986 English summer. The Australian helped Essex win the championship for the third time in four years, the first with Graham Gooch as captain, but they came a cropper against Leicestershire at Southend. DeFreitas took 6-42 and 7-44 in an attack containing the future BBC cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew, and he dismissed Border twice in a 10-wicket win. "There was a big piece in the press under his name when he said that if I played in the Ashes he would come and get me and that he was after me."

Border was probably so concerned about not losing his wicket to DeFreitas in the Ashes that he fell victim to left-arm spinner Phil Edmonds more often than not. But the Australian pundits were scornful about England's chances before the series. "All sorts had been written about us, but we took no notice of it," DeFreitas said. "Ian Botham's knock in Brisbane set the tone for the est of the tour. It was important to get the senior players firing, and his innings in that Test gave us so much confidence."

DeFreitas believes Flower has done a "fantastic job" as coach. "People sometimes say that you don't need international experience to coach at international level, but my personal view is that you do," he said. "You've got to have played at that standard and to have experienced those situations to pass on that information to the players.

"I think Andy Flower has brought that to the side. You can see the way the players are playing spinners. He's taught them how to play spin because he was a very good player of spin himself, and that's changed our batting as well. He's got the guys playing.

"From the outside looking in, I think the players are being themselves -- they're playing their natural game. There's no one playing and thinking 'I had better get some runs here or I'm out of the side', where we had that before. I always felt that every Test I played would be my last one unless I performed. I don't think they have that now. If you are in, you are given a fair chance, and you have the captain and coach believing in you. And I see that in the whole team and that's the advantage England have now."

DeFreitas shares the common view, accepted by the Australians themselves, that the retirements of Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath created a void. "England won't be frightened by this Australian attack," he said. "We used to be concerned about Warne and McGrath and what sort of damage they could do. It's different scenario now. In my book England have to favourites."

At Wormsley, DeFreitas still looked fit and threatening with the ball playing alongside Key and Darren Stevens -- both current Kent -- and former internationals Lou Vincent, Richie Richardson, Devon Malcolm, Ed Giddins, Dean Headley, Alex Tudor, Min Patel and Chris Harris. The 20-over match, while bearing little resemblance to the real Gents v Players, was a worthwhile way of giving young players experience against seasoned professionals and potentially raising money for Chance to Shine. The game at this beautiful rural ground preceded a Lord's Taverners match against the local club Aston Rowant.

Chance to Shine, supported by Brit Insurance, is one of the single biggest grass-roots sports development programmes ever undertaken in Britain. The campaign, run by independent registered charity The Cricket Foundation, aims to establish regular coaching and competitive cricket opportunities in a third of state schools by 2015. That means 5,200 primary and 1,500 secondary schools. A total of £25 million needs to be raised through private donors, which the Government has pledged to match-fund. The England and Wales Cricket Board and all the main cricketing bodies support Chance to Shine, both financially and logistically.

www.chancetoshine.org

Posted by Charlie Randall
16/08/2010 11:35:26

Worcs swimming against the tide

JUST as Worcestershire are wondering how they can pay for their £15 million hotel and development plans at New Road their chief executive resigns and the captain stands down.

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Mark Newton ended his tenure as chief executive this week after 10 years, to be replaced by his assistant and former player David Leatherdale, and Vikram Solanki handed on the captaincy to Daryl Mitchell as a disappointing season in Division Two was drawing to a close.

After the financial disaster caused by the deep flooding in 2007, Worcestershire continued to suffer. Losses in 2009 stacked up to £118,439 after a £350,000 profit in 2008 that followed the £693,000 loss in the 'Atlantis' summer. Each year county clubs receive a pay-out of about £1.3 million from the ECB. Mediocre results on the field last year did not help the atmosphere at Worcester. At the start of 2009 the club invested heavily in a squad of 20 contracted players, including 10 with international experience at full, Lions or Under-19 level.

The chairman Martyn Price disclosed at last winter's annual meeting that for the first time cricket expenditure rose above the £2 million mark, and Championship relegation in 2009 was an unexpected blow. "We all felt the squad would be strong enough to compete in the Championship and challenge for one-day titles," he said. "Unfortunately it was not to be, and as the season progressed it was clear that a change of direction was required as some senior players chose not to extend or see through existing contracts and others were released."

Apparently players were not easy to attract for a county with no indoor training facilities on site. And the club might be regarded as a cricketing backwater -- all too literally during the flooding that ruined 2007 and affected 2008. The coach Steve Rhodes was landed with an unenviable task, though he had money to spend after a clear-out of players saved the club £491,000 in salaries, with £214,000 re-invested for 2010.

The scheme to build a 120-room Premier Inn hotel as part of a ground redevelopment met with opposition from conservation groups who complained that the bland design did not suit the environment at a ground renowned for its beauty and cathedral view. The plans were amended -- for example, one storey was wiped off -- and Worcester City Council gave the go-ahead, but the Worcester Civic Society, English Heritage, the Inland Waterways Association and the city’s advisory body on conservation areas remained doubtful. The hotel, they said, looked too "modern" and "simplistic" and out of keeping with the surroundings. The council’s own conservation officer admitted the design was "one-dimensional" and needed "more animation".

In a letter to the Worcester News , the chairman of Worcester Civic Society’s development committee, Richard Lockett, described the designs as "characterless". He wrote: "Budget constraints should not be allowed to dominate on a site where only highest-quality design is acceptable".

The city planner John Wrightson rejected the criticisms, saying that the use of "quality materials and a contemporary design" would preserve and enhance the character of the riverside. The proposed new hotel should rise above the flood plain in time for the start of the 2011 season, assuming financial deals are completed. The first phase of new building, the £2 million Graeme Hick pavilion, opened in May 2009 and has been well received.

It was a tough 10 years for Newton, and the challenge will be no easier for Leatherdale, though Rhodes' position as coach looks more secure with his former team-mate in charge.

CHARLIE SAYS: The New Road frontage, as planned, looks ordinary at best, but this area of the ground has always been less than imposing. An iconic building would presumably not fit the budget. A great shame.

Posted by Charlie Randall
13/08/2010 17:43:36

Umpire Gould set for the Italian job

THE English international umpire Ian Gould is Italy-bound this week to officiate in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division Four, the pathway to World Cup qualification for minor countries.

======STOP SUMMARY=====

The tournament starts in Bologna on Saturday, with Gould adding experience to the umpiring panel and David Jukes acting as referee. Tension can boil over in these events, and the Division Five tournament in Nepal was scarred by serious crowd trouble. The United States and Nepal were promoted and compete in Division Four alongside Italy, Cayman Islands, Argentina and Tanzania on Aug 14-21.

Two sides will be promoted as they push towards inclusion in the ICC World Cup 2015. The Division Three tournament is to be held in Hong Kong in January 2011.

Commenting on the upcoming tournament Steve Massiah, the American captain, said: "We have good knowledge of Nepal, who we played against in February, and also Cayman Islands and Argentina, whom we have regularly played, including as recently as May in ICC Americas Division One and we beat them on both occasions. The other two teams we don’t know so well, but I’m confident we’re prepared and ready to continue moving up the World Cricket League ladder."

This will be the first global ICC event to be hosted in Italy. Matches will be played at three venues in the Bologna area at Pianoro, Medicina and Bologna.

WCL Division Four schedule

Aug 14: United States v Nepal (Pianoro); Italy v Cayman Islands (Medicina); Tanzania v Argentina (Bologna)

Aug 15: Italy v Nepal (Pianoro); Argentina v Cayman Islands (Medicina); United States v Tanzania (Bologna)

Aug 16: Rest/Reserve Day

Aug 17: Italy v Argentina (Pianoro); Nepal v Tanzania (Medicina); United States v Cayman Islands (Bologna)

Aug 18: Cayman Islands v Tanzania (Pianoro); Italy v United States (Medicina); Nepal v Argentina (Bologna)

Aug 19: Rest/Reserve Day

Aug 20: United States v Argentina (Pianoro); Cayman Islands v Nepal (Medicina); Tanzania v Italy (Bologna)

Aug 21: Final (Pianoro); third/fourth play-off (Medicina); fifth/sixth play-off (Bologna)

ARGENTINA: Esteban MacDermott (capt), Grant Dugmore, Agustin Casime, Alejandro Ferguson, Pablo Ferguson, Donald Forrester, Tomas Francis, Carlos Gibson, Diego Lord, Lucas Paterlini, Matias Paterlini, Pablo Ryan, Gary Savage, Martin Siri.

CAYMAN ISLANDS: Saheed Mohamed (capt), Pearson Best, Ryan Bovell, Kervin Ebanks, Paul Chin, Marlon Byran, Ricardo Roach, Jaylon Linton, Abali Hoilett, Conroy Wright, Alassandra Morris, Kevin Bazil, Ramon Sealy, Ronald Ebanks.

ITALY: Alessandro Bonora (capt), Roshendra Suroshan Abewickrama, Din Alaud, Dilan Shameera Fernando Arsakulasuriya, Damien Crowley, Gayashan Ranga de Silva Munasinghe, Thushara Achintha Kurukulasuriya, Damian Muthunamagonnage Fernando, Andrew Northcoste, Nicholas Northcote, Hayden Patrizi dell’Agnello, Peter Petricola, Michael Raso, Stanly Hemantha Samaraweera Kankanamge.

NEPAL: Paras Kadka (capt), Gyanendra Malla, Shakti Gauchan, Sharad Vesawkar, Mahesh Kumar Chhetri, Anil Kumar Mandal, Amrit Battarai, Basant Regmi, Binod Kumar Das, Sanjam Regmi, Rahul Kumar Vishwakarma, Mahaboob Alam, Manjeet Shrestha, Pradeep Airee.

TANZANIA: Hamzi Abdallah (capt), Abhik Patwa, Hasnain Damji, Khalil Rehemtulla, Seif Khalifa, Riziki Kiseto, Kassim Nassoro, Issa Kikasi, Enjo Kiongozi, Shaheed Danani, Rashidi Amiri, Benson Mwita, Harsh Ramaiya, Ally Kimote.

UNITED STATES: Steve Massiah (capt), Muhammad Asad Ghous, Steven Taylor, Rashard Marshall, Sushil Nadkarni, Timroy Allen, Orlando Baker, Carl Wright, Aditya Thyagarajan, Adrian Gordon, Lennox Cush, Khawaja Usman Shuja, Kevin Darlington, Nasir Javed.

Posted by Charlie Randall
09/08/2010 10:09:05
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