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Cricket News & Views

Oh, no... chinamen in the Himalayas

THE trip to Nepal has proved to be a thoroughly unrewarding exercise for Jersey from a cricket point of view. The scenery might be fine, but their performances in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division Five declined with each day, and this time they were overwhelmed by Arabian chinamen in the Himalayas.

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Their fourth match ended in a third consecutive defeat when they lost by 27 runs to Bahrain at the Army Ground in Baktapur after once again wasting a good position. Bahrain lost their seventh wicket on 170 with exactly 10 overs remaining, with the Jersey bowlers sharing the wickets -- but Qamar Saeed, with 50 off 57 balls, and Tahir Dar, 44 off 34 balls, piled on 94 withut being parted.

Bahrain, one of the lesser cricketing Arab emirates, produced a 50-over total of 264-7 that was too high to be challenged, and that man Saeed popped up again with his left-arm wrist spin, his chinamen taking 6-33 to round off a memorable day. Jersey's captain Ryan Driver top-scored with 80, but his side's chances disappeared when he was run out. Jersey were bowled out in the 47th over for 237.

Singapore beat the United States by 99 runs to draw level with them in the points table behind the leaders Nepal. The former Guyana seamer Kevin Darlington took four wickets for the Americans, but little went right otherwise. Two teams will be promoted to Division Four with one round of matches remaining.

At Tribhuvan University:

Nepal 267-7, 50 overs (Sherad Versawkar 105*, Pras Khadka 75)

Fiji 74 all out, 26.4 overs (Basant Regmi 4-11)

Nepal won by 193 runs

At Army Ground, Baktapur:

Bahrain 264-7, 50 overs (Qamar Saeed 50*, Tahir Dar 44*)

Jersey 237, 46.5 overs (Ryan Driver 80, Dean Morrison 49, Qamar Saeed 6-33)

Bahrain won by 27 runs

At Engineering Ground:

Singapore 245-9, 50 overs (Narender Reddy 51, Pramodh Raju 45, Kevin Darlington 4-65)

United States 146 all out, 37.5 overs (Steve Massiah 50, Jackie Manoj-Kumar 4-23)

Singapore won by 99 runs

Posted by Charlie Randall
24/02/2010 12:49:06

American shock 'n awe hits Jersey

JERSEY seemed to have the United States in their grip, but a stunning turn-around ended in a 66-run defeat for the Channel Islanders at the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division Five tournament in Nepal.

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This second loss in Kathmandu almost guaranteed Jersey could not achieve promotion this year, with the Americans and Nepal out in front with three wins in three games. Events at Tribhuvan University looked like being so different when the United States slipped to 55-5 after a great spell by Ryan Driver, the Jersey captain.

Jersey must have felt confident of repeating their league win of 2008, but a sixth-wicket partnership of 118 between Carl Wright, with 76, and Aditya Thyagarajan, undefeated with 83, changed the picture. Then an electrifying display by Rashard Marshall -- five sixes in a 21-ball innings of 42 not out -- took the game right away. The Gough off-spin twins were roughly treated, with Jonathan conceding 58 off his nine overs after an early wicket and Peter going for 60 in eight wicketless overs.

The Americans' 50-over score 253-6 on an awkward pitch was always likely to be too many. Though Dean Morrison and Samuel de la Haye showed good form all too briefly, no batsman could find the big innings required. The former Guyana off-spinner Lennox Cush, with 4-37, sealed victory for his side.

Man of the match Wright had to leave the field early due to a finger injury sustained while keeping wicket. He said: "I’m delighted – it was a real team effort to achieve the victory. The pitch was difficult to bat on, so I aimed to occupy the crease for as long as possible and eventually it paid off for me. The situation called for that type of innings."

Fog delayed the start of play between Nepal and Bahrain at the Army Ground in Baktapur, a game which ended with an easy eight-wicket win for the hosts, their captain Paras Khadka hitting 71 not out.

Singapore slipped to 106-7 while chasing Fiji's total of 194, but 94 not out by Monish Arora squeezed out a two-wicket win with 14 balls to spare. That meant Singapore, Division Six champions, could still achieve back-to-back promotions.

At Army Ground:

Bahrain 114 all out, 42.5 overs, 47 overs per side (Basant Regmi 4-11, Sanjam Regmi 3-18)

Nepal 115-2, 22.5 overs (Paras Khadka 71*)

Nepal won by eight wickets

At Tribhuvan University:

United States 253-6, 50 overs (Aditya Thyagarajan 83*, Carl Wright 76, Rashard Marshall 42*)

Jersey 187-9, 50 overs (Dean Morrison 36, Samuel de la Haye 36; Lennox Cush 4-37, Saurabh Verma 3-19)

United States won by 66 runs.

At Engineering Ground:

Fiji 194 all out, 48.5 overs (Josefa Rika 32, Sevoke Ravoka 30; Pramodh Raja 4-26)

Singapore 198-8, 47.4 overs (Monish Arora 94*; Sakaraia Lomani 3-33)

Singapore won by two wickets

Posted by Charlie Randall
23/02/2010 13:27:24

Jersey avoid any TV setback

NEPALESE television broadcast live Jersey's nine-wicket win over Fiji in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division Five tournament in Kathmandu.

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After their disappointing defeat by Nepal on the opening day Jersey could not afford to miss out against probably the weakest nation, and they bowled Fiji out for 120 in 36.2 overs at Tribhuvan University, with Ben Stevens taking two wickets for 11 in an all-round team effort. Fiji's top scorers were Sekove Ravoka, Tikovanualevu Kida and veteran player Iniasi Cakacaka, each making 25, before Mathew Hague and Dean Morrison, in 53 balls, hit quick-fire fifties in reply.

Hague, who recently came out of retirement, said: "It was an important game for us to win. The first thing we have to do is get a couple of wins under our belt and ensure that we do stay in Division Five."

Fiji's coach Steve Jenkin reflected on his side’s second loss of the tournament: "It’s a bit early for in-depth reflections, but we were set up to score 250 plus and unfortunately we weren’t patient enough to get those runs and lost wickets too quickly. Our guys want to hit every ball – they aren’t showing the patience to stay there. We need to change that approach in our future games."

Nepal defeated Division Six champions Singapore by 16 runs in front of a crowd of more than 2,500 high-spirited home fans who had flocked to the University Ground. All-rounder Basanta Regmi put in a shining all-round performance for the Nepalese with a hard-fought innings of 54 and bowling figures of 2-33 while Sanjam Regmi, no relation, took 4-28. Former Singapore Under-19 batsman Anish Param top-scored for the losers with 41.

Lennox Cush, 35, the former Guyana off-spin all-rounder, who switched to American residency in 2006, shone for the United States in a 19-run win over Bahrain at the Army Ground. Cush smashed 11 fours and two sixes in making his 91, with his captain Steve Massiah adding a gritty 67. The former Pakistan seam-bowler Mohsin Kamal, Bahrain's coach, said: "We still have another three matches and a 50-50 chance of qualifying. The USA have already won two matches and we don’t mind if they win all their matches. We just need to win our last three matches and we will try our best."

At Tribhuvan University:

Fiji 122 all out, 36.2 overs (Ravoka 25, Kida 25, Cakacaka 25; Stevens 2-11, Hague 2-26, Driver 2-33)

Jersey 123-1, 20.3 overs (Morrison 52, Hague 52; Cakacaka 1-47)

Jersey won by nine wickets

At Army Ground:

United States 273-6, 50 overs (Cush 91, Massiah 67; Zaheer 3-48)

Bahrain 254 all out, 48.4 overs (Sajjad 75, Majeed 47; Allen 2-30, Cush 2-44, Baker 2-44)

United States won by 19 runs

At Engineering Ground:

Nepal 180-9, 50 overs (B Regmi 54, Vesawkar 32; Mulewa 3-34)

Singapore 164 all out, 47.5 overs (Param 41; S Regmi 4-28, B Regmi 2-33)

Nepal won by 16 runs.

Posted by Charlie Randall
21/02/2010 17:29:12

Jersey flop in Nepal opener

JERSEY, captained by the former Worcestershire all-rounder Ryan Driver, lost their opening match in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division Five tournament when host nation Nepal beat them by six wickets in the Kathmandu valley.

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Jersey had no answer to Nepal's captain and man of the match Paras Khadka, who hit an impressive 69 off 66 balls as his team sailed home with 12 overs to spare in pursuit of Jersey's total of 174 all out at the Army Ground in Baktapur, about nine miles outside Kathmandu city.

Electing to bat first, Jersey never got to grips with the Nepal bowling, and opener Dean Morrison, with 62 off 112 balls, lacked support, apart from Samuel de la Haye's 38. The batting crumbled after Morrison’s departure, bowled out with more than five overs of the 50 allocation unused.

Driver said: "I’m obviously disappointed today and would have liked to have made it to the full 50 overs. All credit to Nepal and especially their captain for a good all-round performance. We need to pick ourselves up and take tomorrow as a new game and focus on winning against Fiji."

Division Six winners and runners-up, Singapore and Bahrain, went head-to-head at the Tribhuvan University Ground in front of a lively crowd, and Singapore, coached by former Sri Lanka batsman Marvan Atapattu, came out victorious with a 126-run win in a match that was broadcast live on Nepal national television.

Having won the toss, Singapore elected to bat and posted a decent target of 224-8 in 50 overs. Wicketkeeper and opening batsman Chetan Suryawanshi made an impressive 54. His captain Munish Arora and his vice-captain Buddika Mendis made 33 and 39 respectively.

Atapattu commented: "Playing in front of live television cameras is one thing, but playing in front of large crowds is a another thing here as you don’t get too many people watching cricket back home in Singapore. I hope that they will continue to enjoy it, especially when we play Nepal."

At the Engineering Ground the United States made a huge total of 353-8 against Fiji, inspired by their captain Steve Massiah with 74. Fiji collapsed to 68 all out in 28.2 overs.

At Army Ground:

Jersey 174 all out, 44.5 overs (Morrison 62, De La Haye 38; Regmi 2-24)

Nepal 176-4, 38 overs (Khadka 69, Vesawkar 33; Driver 2-24)

Nepal won by six wickets

At Tribhuvan University:

Singapore 224-8, 50 overs (Suryawanshi 54, Mendis 39; Hanif 3-40)

Bahrain 98 all out, 33.3 overs (Hanif 26, Dar 21; Manoj-Kumar 3-15, Param 3-7)

Singapore won by 126 runs

At Engineering Ground:

United States 353-8, 50 overs (Massiah 74, Marshall 61, Cush 50, Baker 46; Dabea 4-84)

Fiji 68 runs, 28.2 overs (Dabea 13 not out; Darlington 3-9, Awan 3-16)

United States won by 285 runs

Posted by Charlie Randall
20/02/2010 21:28:10

Ireland progressing to top table

IRELAND'S prospects of joining the circle of Test countries look even better with their qualification alongside Afghanistan for the World Twenty20 tournament in the West Indies this summer

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Presence in the Caribbean on April 30-May 16 gives the Irish another chance to defeat a Test country, as they did during the 2007 World Cup in Jamaica, where they upset Pakistan. This time in the shorter format they join England and the West Indies in a group.

Ireland’s formal expression of intent to apply for Full or Enhanced Membership of the ICC was put on hold at the February meeting in Dubai. The ICC announced that the board were opting for a three-step process recommended by the governance review committee, starting with a review of categories of membership. "When that work has been completed and consideration has been given to the process for dealing with applications, Cricket Ireland’s application for Full or Enhanced Membership of the ICC will be formally considered," a statement said.

Ireland finished as runners-up to Afghanistan in the qualifying tournament, having beaten Holland in the all-important semi-final. The Afghans, after eliminating United Arab Emirates, won the final by eight wickets. Afghanistan's victory in the final was their fourth win over the Irish this winter.

On the opening day Afghanistan made Ireland pay a heavy price for sloppy fielding and mediocre batting in a comfortable 13-run Group victory. The Irish dropped no fewer than half a dozen catches, then slipped from 52-1 to 78-5 in their 140-run chase and finally failed to finish off the game when requiring 16 runs off the last 11 balls with three wickets standing.

Afghanistan beat undoubtedly the best Associate side in the 50-over format, winning their World Cup Qualifier 2009 game in South Africa by 22 runs at Krugersdorp. Then they won the four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup match by seven wickets in Dambulla in January. This was a surprise as the Irish were champions and very adept in first class cricket.

Afghanistan have turned themselves into candidates for the big step upwards, despite the shambolic state of their domestic cricket during the Taliban war. Reports often suggest that the Taliban hindered the game, but the war itself is to blame. Cricket is just about the only leisure activity that has been endorsed by all governments in this ravaged country.

Apparently most of the Afghan international players are full-time professionals, and all their successes, including promotions through the ICC world leagues, have been rapturously received back home. The passion for cricket is undeniable, and one suspects they will be level with Bangladesh within the next couple of years.

One obstacle is a lack of cricket and exposure to foreign teams outside the ICC umbrella. In Kabul, for example, there is only one turf pitch, and terrorist bombs have made internal travel dangerous. There is no chance of playing matches against incoming teams on home soil, and tours abroad to countries such as England and Australia seem bound to run into visa problems.

Five players from the Afghanistan Under-19 squad, in Toronto for the junior world cup qualifying tournament last October, disappeared into the local expatriate community presumably to live illegally in Canada. Indeed a couple of players were later spotted at nets in Montreal.

A weakened Afghan side competed in the Under-19 World Cup at Christchurch in January and finished last out of 16 countries. The New Zealand government were reluctant to issue visas and probably would have barred them if it had not been an ICC event. All countries had to surrender their passports during the tournament and the Afghans were closely monitored by the immigration authorities.

In the final week immigration officials followed all players during leisure hours, and the final match in Napier was switched overnight from Nelson Park to McLean Park, apparently because McLean was enclosed and therefore more secure. The behaviour of the Toronto absconders has made travel more difficult than it should be for subsequent Afghan teams.

The senior Afghanistan side will be in a group with India (St Lucia) and South Africa (Barbados). The final at Dubai International Cricket Stadium was watched by a crowd of about 6,000, the vast majority of whom extremely vocal in their support for Afghanistan.

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat congratulated both sides on the quality of their cricket. "Judging by what I have seen during this tournament," he said, "they will give some of the Full Members more than a few awkward moments during the event. One of the memorable aspects of this event has been the passionate support that Afghanistan and indeed other teams have attracted to this wonderful stadium in Dubai. It has been fantastic to see so many people at Associate and Affiliate cricket matches, and it completely surpassed our expectations."

Ireland, captained by the Gloucestershire batsman William Porterfield, are more familiar participants at this level, having competed in the ICC World Twenty20 in England in the 2009 summer and in the 2007 World Cup. But they were definitely second-best against Afghanistan in The Gulf, losing to them twice.

Player of the Tournament: Alex Cusack (Ireland)

FINAL

Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai Sports City:

Ireland 142-8, 20 overs (Nowroz Mangal 3-23; Niall O’Brien 28, Alex Cusack 28)

Afghanistan 147-2, 17.3 overs (Mohammad Shahzad 65*, Karim Sadiq 34)

Afghanistan won by eight wickets

SUPER FOURS

Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai Sports City:

UAE 100-9, 20 overs (Saqib Ali 24; Mohammad Nabi 3-17, Mirwais Ashraf 2-15, Hamid Hassan 2-21)

Afghanistan 101-6, 19.3 overs (Noor Ali 38*, Asghar Stanikzai 26; Fayyaz Ahmed 2-14, Silva 2-14)

Afghanistan won by four wickets

Ireland 151-6, 20 overs (Alex Cusack 65, Gary Wilson 29; Mark Jonkman 2-21)

Holland 86 all out, 15.3 overs (Ryan ten Doeschate 32; George Dockrell 4-20, Trent Johnston 2-14, Peter Connell 2-21)

Ireland won by 65 runs

Afghanistan 128-9, 20 overs (Raees Ahmadzai 28; Mark Jonkman 2-23)

Holland 132-6, 18.5 overs (Alexei Kervezee 39; Mohammad Nabi 3-23)

Holland won by four wickets

Ireland 152-7, 20 overs (Niall O’Brien 46; Qadar Nawaz 3-23, Saqib Ali 2-27)

UAE 130 all out, 19.1 overs (Saqib Ali 63; Alex Cusack 3-19, Andre Botha 2-21, Peter Connell 2-30)

Ireland won by 22 runs

Group A

Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi:

Afghanistan 131-7, 20 overs (Noor Ali 42, Mohammad Shahzad 30; Kyle Coetzer 3-25, Gordon Drummond 2-14)

Scotland 119-9, 20 overs (Neil McCallum 38, Gavin Hamilton 32; Hamid Hassan 3-32, Mohammad Nabi 2-27)

Afghanistan won by 14 runs

Ireland 202-4, 20 overs (Niall O’Brien 84, Alex Cusack 46, William Porterfield 45; Timroy Allen 2-29)

United States 124-6, 20 overs (Aditya Thyagarajan 72 not out; Peter Connell 4-14, Trent Johnston 2-17)

Ireland won by 78 runs

Afghanistan 131-7, 20 overs (Noor Ali 42, Mohammad Shahzad 30; Kyle Coetzer 3-25, Gordon Drummond 2-14)

Scotland 119-9, 20 overs (Neil McCallum 38, Gavin Hamilton 32; Hamid Hassan 3-32, Mohammad Nabi 2-27)

Afghanistan won by 12 runs

Ireland 202-4, 20 overs (Niall O’Brien 84, Alex Cusack 46, William Porterfield 45; Timroy Allen 2-29)

United States 124-6, 20 overs (Aditya Thyagarajan 72 not out; Peter Connell 4-14, Trent Johnston 2-17)

Ireland won by 78 runs

Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai Sports City:

Scotland 120-7, 20 overs (Gavin Hamilton 41; Kevin Darlington 2-19)

United States 121-4, 19.1 overs (Carl Wright 62, Lennox Cush 41; Ryan Watson 2-10)

United States won by six wickets 

Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi:

Afghanistan 139-8, 20 overs (Mohammad Nabi 43*, Noor Ali 42; Trent Johnston 2-18, Andre Botha 2-25)

Ireland 126 all out, 19.2 overs (William Porterfield 35, Paul Stirling 21; Karim Sadiq 3-21, Hamid Hassan 2-19, Mohammad Nabi 2-25)

Afghanistan won by 13 runs

Group B

Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai Sports City:

Canada 138-9, 20 overs (Ashish Bagai 36, Rizwan Cheema 32, Geoff Barnett 30; Nehemiah Odhiambo 3-16, Jimmy Kamande 2-18)

Kenya 141-1, 14.5 overs (Alex Obanda 79, Steve Tikolo 50*)

Kenya won by nine wickets

Holland 164-8, 20 overs (Daan van Bunge 76; Qasim Zubair 5-26)

UAE 168-4, 18.5 overs (Naeemuddin Aslam 60*, Khurram Khan 52*)

UAE won six wickets

Canada 138-9, 20 overs (Ashish Bagai 36, Rizwan Cheema 32, Geoff Barnett 30; Nehemiah Odhiambo 3-16, Jimmy Kamande 2-18)

Kenya 141-1, 14.5 overs (Alex Obanda 79, Steve Tikolo 50*)

Kenya won by nine wickets

Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi:

UAE 165-5, 20 overs (Arfan Haider 59, Saqib Ali 31, Khurram Khan 28; Lameck Onyango 2-32, Nelson Odhiambo 2-33)

Kenya 150-5, 20 overs (Collins Obuya 42*, Maurice Ouma 39; Ahmed Raza 2-17, Shadeep Silva 2-25)

UAE won by 15 runs

Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai Sports City

Canada 142-7, 50 overs (Ian Billcliffe 37, Geoff Barnett 36; Peter Seelaar 2-18)

Holland 146-4, 19.1 overs (Alexei Kervezee 39, Bas Zuiderent 39*)

Holland won by six wickets

Posted by Charlie Randall
14/02/2010 00:29:02

Adam Ball: Kent's special talent

THE Bexley all-rounder Adam Ball, 16, has been called up by England for next month's Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand to replace Calum Haggett, of Somerset, who withdrew on medical advice.

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Ball, a Kent Academy left-armer already in the ECB fast-bowling elite group, scored a 118-ball century for Bexley in the Kent League last July, an achievement at Tunbridge Wells that marked him out as a player of special promise at such a young age. The Beths Grammar School pupil was a deserved winner of the league's Young Cricketer of the Year award at the end of the season.

The England Under-19 squad, captained by the Yorkshire off-spinner Azeem Rafiq, are due to leave on Jan 1 for a week acclimatising in Wellington before reporting to Christchurch for the start of the World Cup. England play two warm-up matches against Papua New Guinea Under-19 on Jan 11 and New Zealand Under-19 on Jan 12.

England’s first match in the group stages will be against Hong Kong at Lincoln University on Jan 16, followed by Afghanistan at Queen Elizabeth II Park in New Brighton on Jan 18 and by the holders India at Lincoln on Jan 20. The top two teams in each group will progress to the quarter-finals. The final will be held at Lincoln on Jan 30.

England Under-19 Squad

Adam Ball                Kent

Michael Bates          Hampshire

Paul Best               Warwickshire

Danny Briggs           Hampshire

Nathan Buck            Leicestershire

Jos Buttler              Somerset

Chris Dent              Gloucestershire

Matthew Dunn         Surrey

Ateeq Javid            Warwickshire

Jack Manuel           Worcestershire

David Payne           Gloucestershire

Azeem Rafiq           Yorkshire, capt

Joe Root               Yorkshire

Ben Stokes            Durham

James Vince          Hampshire

Posted by Charlie Randall
22/12/2009 14:35:08

Sean Morris jumps ship to IPL

ANYONE wondering why Sean Morris resigned suddenly from the Professional Cricketers Association had their curiosity satisfied today when Rajasthan Royals announced his appointment as their new chief executive .

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Morris, 41, a former Hampshire player, lasted less than two years as the PCA's chief executive after the previous incumbent, Richard Bevan, had spent 11 years building a players association into a major support organisation, providing leadership with 80 commercial partners and a seven-figure turnover.

Bevan left to join the football managers equivalent with some typically perceptive comments about the ICC and the state of the world game. "The ICC is not a governing body, it is a facilitator of events," he said before leaving cricket behind. "It must move to an independent board structure based on good governance and accountability. Only strong ICC leadership devoid of political influence will have the ability to control and grow the game." But another comment strikes a chord in 2009 when he touched on the large sums spent on developing the game in new countries while allowing existing pillars to become marginalised. "The ICC says it is promoting cricket in 120 or so countries, but what about safeguarding New Zealand and West Indies?" Bevan said. This point was raised angrily in November 2009 by Joel Garner while managing the West Indies in Australia. Caribbean cricket was withering while the ICC pursued their grand schemes.

Morris began his post-Hampshire career with Dunlop Slazenger and after joining the PCA in January 2008 he was faced with a turbulent period in the game, most notably the terrorist atrocities in India and Pakistan, the explosion of heavily enriched Indian Premier League 20-overs cricket and the ECB's sacking of Peter Moores and Kevin Pietersen, the England coach and captain at the start of 2009.

Morris is to assume immediate responsibility for the Jaipur-based Rajasthan Royals, the first IPL champions in May 2008, and he will be focusing on developing the brand outside of India. Shane Warne, the Rajasthan Royals captain, said: "I am delighted that Sean will be joining the Rajasthan Royals management team. He is well respected by players around the world and we look forward to him helping us build on the phenomenal successes that we have enjoyed so far".

Posted by Charlie Randall
07/12/2009 19:34:00

Holland benefit as Irish opt out

IRELAND are halfway to joining the big boys in cricket -- limited Test status in the future is not completely impossible -- and they have decided against joining the counties in next year's Friends Provident Trophy next season.

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This is not because the Irish think they are too strong, which is certainly not the case, but because their ICC playing commitments are so extensive. Phil Simmons, their coach, described another county season as "a step too far". Holland have accepted the chance to step in, a very good consequence as they should have been in the mix intitially to join Scotland and England Amateurs.

Simmons explained the Irish decision. "Our international fixture calendar has become very comprehensive, and, assuming we get what we think we will get fixture-wise and we continue to qualify for events and their latter stages like the last couple of years, we may have between 40-50 international fixtures in 2010. Leading up to the 2011 World Cup in the subcontinent, I want to focus on primarily the 15 or 16 players who will represent us there, and I feel that the 12 additional games would be a step too far for the guys."

Simmons continued: "The Friends Provident Trophy used to serve us well timing-wise in terms of preparing the players for the international summer. However, given our success and expansion, we are now playing more and more cricket out of season. It's approaching an all year round game for Irish cricket, therefore the timing doesn't work as well as in past years. Next year we will have Intercontinental Cup games, the ICC World Twenty 20 qualifiers, and hopefully the finals themselves before our traditional season begins."

The Friends Provident Trophy used to serve us well timing-wise in terms of preparing the players for the international summer. However, given our success and expansion, we are now playing more and more cricket out of season. It's approaching an all year round game for Irish cricket, therefore the timing doesn't work as well as in past years. Next year we will have Intercontinental Cup games, the ICC World Twenty 20 qualifiers, and hopefully the finals themselves before our traditional season begins."

Simmons however recognised that the Friends Provident Trophy had played a crucial role in the development of some of Ireland's best players, and he revealed his plans to fill that void; ?There is no doubt that the Friends Provident Trophy provided a great platform for players to show their potential, and Paul Stirling and Regan West showed to me just what they were capable of in these games.

"To ensure that the fringe players get plenty of opportunities to showcase their talent, the ECB are actively assisting us to increase our A team schedule. I hope that we can get a minimum of five three- day games against County Second XIs next year. In addition, we have also accepted the offer to play a couple of matches against one of the touring Full Member A teams next year, details of which are currently being finalised with the ECB."

Ireland will also be playing in the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand in January. They compete in the World Cricket League and could send a team for the European Championship.

"To ensure that the fringe players get plenty of opportunities to showcase their talent, the ECB are actively assisting us to increase our A team schedule. I hope that we can get a minimum of five three- day games against County Second XIs next year. In addition, we have also accepted the offer to play a couple of matches against one of the touring Full Member A teams next year, details of which are currently being finalised with the ECB."

Ireland will also be playing in the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand in January. They compete in the World Cricket League and could send a team for the European Championship.

"There is no doubt that the Friends Provident Trophy provided a great platform for players to show their potential, and Paul Stirling and Regan West showed to me just what they were capable of in these games.

"To ensure that the fringe players get plenty of opportunities to showcase their talent, the ECB are actively assisting us to increase our A team schedule. I hope that we can get a minimum of five three- day games against County Second XIs next year. In addition, we have also accepted the offer to play a couple of matches against one of the touring Full Member A teams next year, details of which are currently being finalised with the ECB."

Ireland will also be playing in the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand in January. They compete in the World Cricket League and could send a team for the European Championship.

Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom added: "This was not an easy decision for us, and it was only reached after careful consultation with our key stakeholders, including the national coaches, the Board, the Cricket Committee, ICC and our key commercial partners. Notwithstanding any possible changes to its format down the line, international cricket is our bread and butter and the means by which we are measured on the global stage. Therefore, we felt that we needed to focus our limited financial resources on preparing for our international programme.

"This was not an easy decision for us, and it was only reached after careful consultation with our key stakeholders, including the national coaches, the Board, the Cricket Committee, ICC and our key commercial partners. Notwithstanding any possible changes to its format down the line, international cricket is our bread and butter and the means by which we are measured on the global stage. Therefore, we felt that we needed to focus our limited financial resources on preparing for our international programme." He paid tribute to the generous support of the ECB.

"This was not an easy decision for us, and it was only reached after careful consultation with our key stakeholders, including the national coaches, the Board, the Cricket Committee, ICC and our key commercial partners. Notwithstanding any possible changes to its format down the line, international cricket is our bread and butter and the means by which we are measured on the global stage. Therefore, we felt that we needed to focus our limited financial resources on preparing for our international programme." He paid tribute to the generous support of the ECB.

Posted by Charlie Randall
28/09/2009 16:19:03

ICC stress cricket's rich history

THE ICC will be hosting an orgy of nostalgia at their cricket history conference in Oxford this week, and certainly tradition is a trump card in the battle of wits with the Twenty20 money men because even the Indian Premier League marketing puffs have highlighted Test pedigree to stress the quality of players.

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The ICC have stressed the primacy of Test cricket more than once, but making logical decisions in the face of the huge payments on offer to players, by the Indian Premier League for example, is no easy matter. Divided loyalty is nothing new; a raft of players were prepared to desert the ICC family for relatively large fees in the Kerry Packer tournaments in Australia in the 1970s and to tour South Africa behind the apartheid curtain in the 1980s.

The ICC began as the Imperial Cricket Conference in 1909 with only three members – Australia, England and South Africa -- and a century later the organisation has 104 members. The development over those 100 years will be charted by a host of experts in the Nissan Institute at St Antony’s College on Wednesday July 22 and Thursday.

Leading administrators, players, academics, historians and statisticians gather for reflection as part of the ICC’s centenary celebrations. The ICC's president David Morgan said: "One of the key themes of the ICC’s centenary year is tradition, to use 2009 as an opportunity to look back at the game’s rich history. The history conference should be a fantastic occasion."

Former ICC president Ehsan Mani and the organisation’s first chief executive David Richards will come together to reflect upon the big issues they had to deal with during their times at the helm of the global game long before the advent of the 20-overs explosion. And ex-international greats Bishan Bedi, Angus Fraser, Sourav Ganguly, Clive Lloyd and Bob Willis will assess how the game has changed since they began their careers.

Other contributors include Sir Hilary Beckles, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Principal and Professor of Economic and Social History of the University of the West Indies, Brian Stoddart, the former Vice-Chancellor of La Trobe University, Australia, Boria Majumdar, of the University of Central Lancashire, Don Neely, the president of New Zealand Cricket, and leading journalists and cricket historians Mihir Bose, David Frith and Gideon Haigh.

Women’s cricket past and present will be represented by former England captain Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, who lifted the inaugural women’s world cup in 1973, as well as current captain Charlotte Edwards and her team-mate Ebony Rainford-Brent. MCC curator Adam Chadwick will talk about the importance of cricket heritage and perpetuating the game’s legacy, and David Kendix and Rob Eastaway, two of the men behind the Reliance Mobile ICC team and player rankings respectively, will explain how statistics and rankings allow comparisons across history.

To bring the conference right up to date, it will also be attended by current ICC president David Morgan and chief executive Haroon Lorgat, as well as ICC director and ECB chairman Giles Clarke and ECB chief executive David Collier.

Looking ahead to the conference, Morgan said: "One of the key themes of the ICC’s centenary year is tradition, to use 2009 as an opportunity to look back at the game’s rich history, to honour past greats and recognise milestones. We are honouring those past greats through the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in association with the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations, recognising the achievements of the great players who have graced the game.

"And the ICC History Conference will be an opportunity for administrators past and present, as well as players, journalists, academics, historians and statisticians to come together and reflect on the events of the past 100 years. It should be a fantastic occasion and a highlight of the ICC centenary year."

Limited space is available for anyone wishing to attend. Media and public must register by email at history@icc-cricket.com .

Posted by Charlie Randall
20/07/2009 12:30:17

MCC thinkers fear for Test format

THE THINK tank of cricket, based at Lord's, believes the time has come to implement a world Test championship operating over a relatively short period of time.

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The MCC's World Cricket Committee, an unpaid voluntary panel with many of the world's leading thinkers at the table, noted that, apart from certain icon series such as the Ashes, Test cricket throughout the world, and in particular among the lower-ranked nations, was in very real danger of dying.

According to consensus, a World Test Championship would re-invigorate players, spectators and broadcasters for what is the pinnacle of the game. Every series would have a meaning, and every Test match would have a context. Players would have the motivation to compete on the biggest stage and would have an annual or biannual chance of winning the title.

Neil Priscott, an MCC official, said: "MCC research has proved that attendances at Test cricket have declined in recent years. In addition, there is a growing ambivalence towards the longer format of the game from cricketers in certain nations, with player surveys revealing that an Indian Premier League contract was the main career aspiration for many. Indeed, the World Cricket Committee noted that the IPL is entirely market-led, as explained by its Commissioner Lalit Modi at the meeting."

The Committee reckons Test cricket is not marketed sufficiently around the world, certainly not to the same extent as other forms of the game, and that crucial to its success is a focused and well resourced marketing strategy.

The Committee also believes that a trial of day/night Test cricket should take place within the next 12 months. Trials should be conducted in first-class cricket beforehand to assess the suitability of the playing conditions and the type of ball used. After hearing endorsements from Shaun Pollock and Steve Waugh, who had both been involved with trials of various coloured balls, the committee were unanimous in their support of the pink ball, which would enable Test cricket to continue to be played in white clothing. The committee feels that a trial of day/night Test cricket could bring new audiences to the game, both in grounds and on television.

The Committee expressed concern about overkill, financial imbalance and the attitude to No Objection Certificates. The panel believes that national boards must carefully control the release of their contracted players to domestic Twenty20 leagues.

The No Objection Certificates required from boards for the release of players for domestic Twenty20 cricket are crucial and must be enforced. Domestic leagues must honour the current agreement whereby cricketers without an NOC are not permitted to compete for two years since their last international appearance.

The Committee is deeply concerned that the proliferation of lucrative domestic 20-over leagues, such as the Indian Premier League, will lead to the premature retirement of quality international cricketers. Those from the lower-ranked Test nations could be particularly susceptible to such a career choice, based on earnings alone.

In 2010 international cricketers will compete in the Indian Premier League, the ICC World Twenty20 West Indies and the inaugural English P20 within a matter of months. There will be no sustained opportunity for these cricketers to play first class or Test cricket in this period. The Committee feels that this is too much 20-over cricket and recognises that players might be forced to make a difficult decision between playing for their country or taking the money on offer elsewhere.

Lalit Modi, the Indian Premier League commissioner, addressed the Committee meeting on the impact of the IPL, outlining the successes of the 2009 tournament and potential plans for expansion in the future. The committee was impressed with the aggressive marketing campaign which resulted in a 93 per cent attendance rate in the grounds in South Africa, with 70 per cent of this audience seeing live cricket for the first time. Test playing countries must be proactive in their marketing strategies for the longer formats of the game.

The Committee endorse ICC’s umpire decision review system, noting three particular successes from the trial. These were an increase in the percentage of correct decisions being made, a marked improvement in on-field player behaviour and endorsement of the system from the umpires themselves.

The Committee was pleased to learn that ICC has sought to rectify areas of the system that caused problems or confusion. The Committee supports ICC’s proposed use of the predictive element of ball-tracking technology for LBW decisions, subject to the introduction of enhanced software which builds in a degree of certainty and would still give the benefit of the doubt to the batsman.

The full list of Committee members:

Tony Lewis (Chairman)

Mike Atherton

Mike Brearley

Geoffrey Boycott

Martin Crowe

Tony Dodemaide

Rahul Dravid

Andy Flower

Mike Gatting

Majid Khan

Anil Kumble

Shaun Pollock

Barry Richards

Dave Richardson

David Shepherd

Alec Stewart

Michael Tissera

Courtney Walsh

Steve Waugh

Posted by Charlie Randall
14/07/2009 15:13:09
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