Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Pakistan beat India first time in T20I at Banglore

Pakistan won 1st T20I by 5 wickets and leads series by 1-0:

Two of Pakistan's experienced hands guided them to victory in their first game in almost three months, and their first bilateral tour of India in five years. An early burst from debutant Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who began his international career with a fabulous display of swing bowling, rattled the Pakistan top order but the calm presence of Mohammad Hafeez and some enterprising batting from Shoaib Malik put a chase of 134 back on track.

Pakistan had another scare at the death, losing two in quick time when victory appeared secure, but Malik ultimately saw them through in the final over, sealing the game with a six. The hosts were a specialist bowler short, as the Pakistan pair targeted the non-regulars, but a more significant factor in India's loss was their implosion with the bat, when they lost nine wickets for 47 runs in 46 balls.

A 36,000-strong crowd had been silenced during an impressive display of bowling backed up by some excellent ground fielding that had helped Pakistan fight back after India's openers had laid a strong foundation in an attractive stand of 77 in under 11 overs. The decibel levels at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, however, hit their peak when Bhuvneshwar swung it this way and that, setting up two of this three victims with outswingers before nipping one back in to dismantle the stumps. At 12 for 3, Pakistan were reeling; their rebuilding was steady, and resulted in 24 boundary-less deliveries, but Hafeez and Malik pounced in at the right time.

Virat Kohli was one of the part-timers used by India, and Hafeez slogged him for two boundaries in the 11th over, at the start of which the required-rate had hit almost nine an over. Yuvraj Singh dragged the ball too short on occasion and was heaved for two sixes by the pair and they each stepped out to Ravindra Jadeja to dispatch him for maximums over his head.

The return of India's seamers didn't immediately check Pakistan, as the equation was brought down to 16 off the last three overs, but Ishant Sharma dismissed Hafeez and conceded just two in an over in which he had Malik caught off a no-ball for height. Ashok Dinda was given the penultimate over and he left Pakistan needing 10 off the last, which Malik helped achieve with a straight six off a Jadeja length delivery to win with two balls to spare.

Monday, 24 December 2012

The stand-off between international news agencies and the BCCI

International news agencies have suspended coverage of Pakistan's cricket tour of India:

International news agencies have suspended coverage of Pakistan's cricket tour of India - the first in five years - over the BCCI's decision to bar some of their photo counterparts.

The blackout continued a stand-off with the BCCI that first began during England's Test series in India in November and which shows no signs of being resolved.

News outlets said they would not be filing any text or pictures after the BCCI again refused to accredit the international picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images as well as two Indian agencies. Some news organisations, that have depended on these agencies have used the pictures made available on the BCCI website.

The BCCI's stance is based upon the belief that it has a monopolistic right to all commercial revenue from photographic coverage of the games it stages, immediate news coverage apart. Support is coming from behind the scenes from key commercial figures in Cricket Australia.

"It is regrettable that the politically-charged Pakistan tour will be affected by the BCCI's failure to recognise the long-standing importance of photographic news agencies in the flow of sport and news images every day," said the News Media Coalition, which represents a group of media organisations.

International agencies who are members of the coalition, such as AFP, Thomson Reuters and the Associated Press, will halt text and photo coverage.

English newspapers and some websites refused to use images supplied by the BCCI during the England tour and instead used file pictures, cartoons or hurried paintings by the cricket artist Jocelyn Galsworthy.

Great moments in England cricket history, such as the 19 wickets shared by the spinners Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar in the Mumbai Test, have only scant photographic record. Getty Images' Gareth Copley and freelance photographers such as Phil Brown and Graham Morris have a worldwide reputation for the quality of their cricket photos and all were either barred or supported the dispute during the England tour.

"As a direct result of the BCCI stance, great sporting moments from the cricket tours to India are going unrecorded and therefore lost forever. England's games were the hidden series and the Pakistan tour is heading for the same fate," said Andrew Moger, executive director of the NMC.

The World Association of Newspapers is backing the suspension, saying the BCCI was "denying the ability of editors to select from the best of photography for the benefit of readers".

A BCCI spokesman declined to comment but did refer reporters to a statement issued for the England tour, which said there was "no intention to censor or limit bona fide news reporting" and emphasised that news agencies had been accredited.

The photo agencies however had been refused as the BCCI deemed "their primary businesses involved the commercial sale and licensing of images rather than the supply of images to news publications for bona fide editorial purposes".

The BCCI has refused to draw up specific agreements with these photo agencies so that they can cover the tour under new terms and conditions.

 Pakistan's tour begins with a Twenty20 fixture in Bangalore on today.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Australia has won first test match against Sri Lanka

Starc & Siddle keeps Australia at victory stand:

At last, Michael Clarke must have thought. At last Australia have tasted victory this summer. It took until the fourth Test of their home campaign, and into the final hour at that, but Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle delivered a 137-run win for Clarke and their team-mates as Sri Lanka's tail-enders narrowly failed to hold on for a draw at Bellerive Oval. Despite the best efforts of Kumar Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera in particular, Sri Lanka will walk out on Boxing Day at the MCG 1-0 down.

As the gloom began to close in, Australia entered the final hour needing two more wickets; Sri Lanka's victory target of 393 had become irrelevant during the morning. Starc delivered precisely what his captain required. All the Twenty20 cricket he has played over the past year began to pay off. He viewed the task as similar to bowling at the death in the short format, sending in yorkers and mixing it up with the occasional shorter delivery. And unlike in T20, he had the luxury of catching men everywhere.

After a few yorkers narrowly missed the stumps, or hit the pads on their way down the leg side, Starc finally directed one that bowled Rangana Herath to leave Sri Lanka at 9 for 250. In his next over, Starc banged one in shorter and Shaminda Eranga couldn't work out how to play it, in the end offering a fend of sorts that was edged through to Matthew Wade. Starc had 5 for 63. Sri Lanka were out for 255. And Australia had won the fourth Test of their home season, the first time since 2001-02 it had taken them so long to register a win.

There was a sense of inevitability about the victory, at least, after Samaraweera and Sangakkara had departed. Unlike in the Adelaide Test last month, where the South Africans held off Australia's bowlers to survive for a draw, this time the pitch was tougher for batting, the weather was much cooler and allowed the bowlers some respite, and importantly, it wasn't all left to Siddle. It was him who provided the spark, though.

AB De Villiers rled out of T20I's Squad

"I am missing T20s to be able to paly",AB de Villiers:

AB de Villiers has pulled out of South Africa's Twenty20 internationals at home against New Zealand in December, citing the need for extra rest before the Tests in January. Justin Ontong, the Cape Cobras captain, has been called into the squad.

"It's been an exhausting few months and I feel that I need some extra rest before the Test series," De Villiers said. "It's for this reason that I have put in the request and I'm grateful to the team management for supporting this decision."

When the squad was announced on December 13, South Africa's selectors had named Faf du Plessis as captain in order to reduce the workload on de Villiers, who was included as a player. Quinton de Kock, who was part of South Africa's Under-19 squad for the 2012 World Cup, had been designated as wicketkeeper for the T20s, he will also keep in the one-dayers after the Tests, although the ODI squad has not been named yet.

De Villiers has a history of back problems that have worsened because of wicketkeeping, and this request for a break will fuel speculation that he is in trouble again. After the World Twenty20 in September, de Villiers needed three weeks of rehabilitation for his back, and South Africa's management denied the injury has recurred again.

"There is nothing imminently wrong with his back, it is just about managing workload," Mohammed Moosajee said, the team manager. "The plan is to rotate players like Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla because of the schedule. Morne and Dale will probably only play one or two matches each. With AB, it's about getting his mindset right and getting him energised. It's physical and mental."

De Villiers had complained of stiffness and fatigue after playing in the domestic one-day cup playoff match on December 9. Moosajee said that could be a result of jetlag, as the team had only arrived from Australia four days before. De Villiers' role in the game could also have contributed to the fatigue. He scored a century and fielded for the entire duration of Cobras' innings because Heino Kuhn kept wicket.

Three days after that match, De Villiers said the game was "hard on my body," and that he was glad he was a wicketkeeper for South Africa "because the time in the field was tiring."

However,wicketkeeping is partly responsible for de Villiers' back injuries. He became the permanent Test wicketkeeper after Mark Boucher retired and wants to continue in the role. A source close to Cricket South Africa said de Villiers had been initially reluctant to take on the job but had "changed his mind" since. With Tests the focus for de Villiers, despite his role as limited-overs captain, he will be rested when the schedule allows, although he will play the IPL.

De Villiers' replacement Ontong captained Cobras to the final of the domestic one-day cup. He scored 268 runs in 12 matches at an average of 44.66. He was part of South Africa's squad at the World T20, although he did not play, and will lead the A side in a practice match against New Zealand this afternoon.

"Justin has been in our limited-overs plans for some time now and he has underlined his worth during the recent one-day cup, when he excelled as a finisher," Andrew Hudson, the convenor of selectors, said. "As we all know he is also an outstanding fielder with his direct hits and a more than useful spin bowler. We are fortunate to have a player of his calibre to replace AB and the loss of one is certainly an opportunity for the other."

Revised Twenty20 squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Farhaan Behardien, Henry Davids, Quinton de Kock, Justin Ontong, Rory Kleinveldt, Richard Levi, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Now it's time for BCB to do it

The PCB is yet to issue Pakistan players NOCs to play in the upcoming Bangladesh Premier League:

The auction for the upcoming season of the Bangladesh Premier League, which is set to happen on December 20, has become the Pakistan Cricket Board's bargaining chip with the Bangladesh Cricket Board over their 'written commitment' to tour Pakistan. The PCB is yet to handover No-Objection Certificates to its players to participate in BPL 2013, and without them the tournament will be without 20 of its star overseas players from the inaugural edition.

The PCB and BCB have been discussing a short tour of Pakistan, which would mark the return of top-flight international cricket to the country for the first time since the March 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore. The PCB is seeking an official announcement from the BCB, regarding the proposed tour. A window has been created by the PCB to accommodate an ODI and T20 between January 10 and 15 ahead of the BPL, which starts from January 17.

"Onus is on Bangladesh now, whether they want to honour their commitment or not as we have already honored out commitment [by nominating Bangladesh's candidate for the ICC presidency]," a top PCB official. "We did everything to ensure our full support to Bangladesh every time, now it's time for BCB to do it.

"The Bangladesh delegation was satisfied with the security plan [for the proposed tour] and we are committed to give them the best security. The window is open for the series of two matches, preferably when we return back from the India tour."

Earlier, Bangladesh was all set to tour Pakistan in April this year after a deal had been cut between the two boards, by which the PCB would back the BCB president Mustafa Kamal as the nominee for the ICC vice-presidency and Bangladesh would tour Pakistan in 2012. However, the tour was postponed after a Dhaka court order embargoed the series.

In view of the tour, the ICC had introduced a special dispensation, to be made in exceptional circumstances, by which bilateral series can take place even if the ruling body determined it unsafe to appoint its officials for the series. As per the dispensation, such series could be manned by "non-neutral match officials".

England defeat India after 28 years in India

England won the series by 2-1:

As an individual event this torturous Test match will not linger long in the memory, but for what the end result enabled England to achieve will be chronicled as one of the team's finest hours.

By batting out the final day with barely an alarm, largely through a 208-run stand between Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell, who both scored hundreds, England secured their first series win in India for 28 years.

India have significant weaknesses and problems that need to be addressed, but it has been England's excellence over the last three games that has exposed those shortcomings. On the last day in Nagpur it was two batsmen earning redemption for relatively lean years that prevented any late nerves and added to the complete team nature of the performance.

Trott's hundred, his eighth, was his first since March and for Bell, while also being his first hundred in India, it ended an even longer wait for three figures going back to The Oval against this opposition in 2011 at the end of what had threatened to be a low trip for him.

What was really extraordinary, though, is the turnaround, not only from a crushing defeat in Ahmedabad but also from a year that was on the brink of being their worst ever in Test cricket. Throw into the mix controversy surrounding their star batsman and a change of captain before this series and it is one of England's finest achievements. Alastair Cook, who was able to watch contently from the dressing room during the final day, has laid down a high marker for his captaincy career.

India needed a couple of early wickets to send a few tremors through the England camp but they never threatened. The new ball was taken one over into the day without making a jot of difference. Barring a couple of sessions, this has been a Test devoid of excitement and low in the watchability stakes. England, of course, will not care in the slightest about that but pitches like this are far worse that the "result" surfaces that get the ICC twitchy. If it is not marked down the game's priorities are wrong.

However dead the surface, for Trott and Bell there was a job to do in the first session and they did it expertly. There was good intent from the pair in the first half an hour of the day to ensure the lead was soon in excess of 200 and getting out of sight of India.

Trott has played as freely as anyone in the game and twice drove Ravindra Jadeja beautifully through mid-on - or, in the second case, under mid-on as R Ashwin dived over the ball. His leg-side play was wonderfully elegant throughout the innings. He reached his hundred with two boundaries in three balls against Piyush Chawla, a cover drive followed by a trademark flick wide of mid-on, and allowed a little bit of emotion to come through his steely demeanour.

Trott had not reached three figures since the second innings against Sri Lanka in Galle earlier this year, and it was only his second hundred since making 203 against Sri Lanka in Cardiff in May 2011. However, he has continued to chip in, the average has only dipped and not plummeted, and once again England were immensely grateful to their rock-solid No. 3.

It did not look as though he was going to give away the chance to boost his statistics during the afternoon and it came as a surprise when he clipped Ashwin to leg slip shortly before tea, a few runs short of setting a new record fourth-wicket stand for England in India. That mark remains held by Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood, who added 214 in Chennai in 2008.

Trott's Warwickshire team-mate, Bell, was equally composed in making his first major contribution of a difficult series, where his frailties in India had been exposed again. Although the situation was comfortable for England by lunch, that was not the case when Bell had come in at 94 for 3 so it was a strong display of character from him. His fifty, just the second he had scored in India, came with a straight drive off Ashwin as the off-side play that makes him so pleasing to watch when in form began to make an appearance.

He was given a life on 75 when Virender Sehwag spilled a catch at slip and he would have been run out for 97 by a direct hit from square leg. For much of the afternoon he eked along at a pace befitting this match, but started using his feet to Jadeja, lofting him for a straight six followed by a slightly scuffed boundary over mid-on.

 Bell's series had begun ingloriously when he tried to launch Pragyan Ojha over the top first ball in Ahmedabad only to find mid-off, for which he was heavily, and rightly, criticised. But he is too good a player to shelve the shot. Deep into the final session, shortly before Cook called his men in to put the final stamp on the result, Bell tickled Ashwin down to fine leg from his 293rd delivery. Everything really had come full circle.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Ben Hilfenhaus left the field after indicating soreness in his side

He had left for scans to give further clarity on the injury:

Australia face the grim prospect of trying to win a Test with only three specialist bowlers for the second time in three matches after Ben Hilfenhaus shuffled off Bellerive Oval with a suspected left side strain.

After bowling the second ball of his 13th over to Sri Lanka's vice-captain Angelo Mathews, Hilfenhaus grimaced, felt for his hip or side, spoke briefly to his captain Michael Clarke and left the field, leaving Shane Watson to complete the over. He later left the ground for further medical examination. "Ben Hilfenhaus has some sort of left side injury, which is being investigated," a team spokesperson said. "He is going for scans to give further clarity on the injury."

The injury is a serious blow to the hosts, as Hilfenhaus had been considered alongside Peter Siddle one of the two durable, senior bowlers to be relied upon across the summer. They were outlined as critical to Australia's planning as the youthful group including Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood could be rotated around them.

Of that quartet, only Starc has reached this point of the summer without being sidelined, while John Hastings, called up when both Siddle and Hilfenhaus missed the Perth Test against South Africa, is recovering from a back injury.

Siddle and Hilfenhaus were unable to be considered for the WACA match as a direct result of Pattinson's withdrawal midway through the draining Adelaide Test due to a side/rib injury, which left the older duo with a heavy workload across the second innings.

Nathan Lyon was also leaned on heavily in Pattinson's absence, and he can now expect another hefty shift while Hilfenhaus convalesces. Watson's return to the team in the interim as an allrounder will be of some help to Clarke's bowling options, but Australia's captain is reluctant to overbowl his deputy out of fear it will both detract from his batting and also cause another round of injury.

Hilfenhaus' bowling has been the subject of considerable scrutiny so far this summer, as he appeared to lapse into the bad habits that bedevilled him during the 2010-11 Ashes series following a year punctuated by lots of Twenty20 assignments and precious little first-class cricket.

When Hilfenhaus was recalled after missing the Perth Test, having picked up a slight knee niggle in Adelaide while wrestling with his bowling action, the national selector John Inverarity described his halting progress, which has required plenty of time with Australia's bowling coach Ali de Winter.

"The history with Ben, he was doing well then the last series against England in Australia [in 2010-11] he didn't bowl to his highest level," Inverarity said. "He got things sorted out, a few niggles were sorted out and he got his bowling action right, and his bowling last summer was superb. He bowled at good pace and very well.

"His bowling in the first Test was a bit like against England, it wasn't as good as he'd hoped. So he needs to get 100% fit to perform, and his action so that he bowls like he did against India last summer, and we're hopefully that during this little break he'll be back to that sort of form."

In Hobart, Hilfenhaus did not generate his customary outswing, and struggled early on for his line as he drifted too often into the pads of Tillakaratne Dilshan. This angle proved more profitable against Dimuth Karunaratne, as a ball running across the left-hander caught an outside edge on the way through to Matthew Wade. As things stand, it will be his last major contribution to this match.

"Pakistan should play Aggressive against India",Inzamam

Inzamam-ul-Haq says he is passing on his experience to Pakistan's batsmen:

Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan's former captain and newly-appointed batting consultant, has advised his batsmen to be 'aggressive' against India. The team that handles pressure better, he said, could control how the matches go in the upcoming limited-overs series'.

Pakistan are preparing for the India series with a conditioning camp at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, and Inzamam will spend the week with the batsmen to assist them. Since his retirement in 2007, Inzamam had not been associated with Pakistan cricket in any form, running a business instead; this is the first in five years that he has taken up a role with the team.

"My job will be to pass on my playing experience to the players, rather than working on batsmen's techniques," Inzamam told reporters at the end of the day's training. "I will be discussing with them how to chase, how to set a target and what's required while batting."

Pakistan will kick-off their tour of India with a two-match T20 series, followed by three ODIs. Inzamam, who led Pakistan in 22 ODIs against India and has a win-loss ratio of 12-10, said Pakistan have plenty of matchwinners in the squad but they need 'collective' effort.

"Pakistan have a lot of players who could individually win matches for us, it's a good sign,'' he said. "But cricket is a team game, we lack in collective effort from the batsmen. Our bowling is very strong and we have to have confidence in ourselves. We have to make up our minds that we can win.

"Playing in Indian conditions isn't different; we have been winning [there] and can win again. It's only about pressure and how to handle it. What we need is to play aggressively and whoever copes with it [pressure] well, will play better."

Pakistan have played 16 completed ODIs in 2012, losing four out of eight while chasing and failing to defend their target on six instances out of eight. Batting first this year, they have crossed the 200-run mark seven times, winning only twice. When chasing a target of more than 200, they have won only on one occasion out of five.

"It's not a new problem, it's been going on for a long time now," Inzamam said of their batting issues, citing the lack of quality cricket in Pakistan, which has been a no-go zone for major international cricket teams. "For the last two years we have not played a lot of cricket and the batsmen are lacking in temperament due to T20 cricket.

"Flaws in our players are down to us not playing on a regular basis. If we start playing 10-12 Test matches every year, you will obviously see an improvement in our batting. As more we play cricket, the more players will learn from it."

Inzamam said it will be important for the players to put aside distractions in India and focus on the cricket: "Against India, one should be focused on the game instead of other activities. We have to focus on our game and don't worry about what others are doing. If we keep focus on ourselves, we will perform better.

"India will play with passion, so must Pakistan. I think the way this Pakistan team lines-up, we can put pressure on India. But they're a big team too and could make a comeback [after faltering in the Test series against England], so we have to focus ourselves."

Friday, 14 December 2012

Bangladesh Cricket Board wills to Pakistan tour

Bangladesh could tour of Pakistan next year:

The Bangladesh Cricket Board is in talks with the Pakistan Cricket Board about a short tour to the country next month. BCB president Nazmul Hassan said that the talks are now all about a suitable timeframe for the tour.

"We can't go in December so we will speak to the PCB today, about whether we can fit in a small tour before the BPL," Hassan told ESPNcricinfo.

Bangladesh's proposed tour to Pakistan hit a snag earlier this year when, on April 19, a Dhaka court order embargoed a series between the two scheduled for the end of April.

In November, Hassan said that the BCB had made a "written commitment" to the PCB to go ahead with the tour.

On Friday Hassan explained that they are now in the second phase of talks with the PCB because the first phase, which dealt with security issues, was satisfactory. "I have spoken to those who went for the security assessment and they are quite satisfied," he said. "If we can agree on a time, we will go next month."

He also said that the players and the support staff will be spoken to about the tour, but no one will be forced to go on the tour. "The last time when we discussed [touring Pakistan], we wanted to talk to the players and find out their opinion. We will also speak to foreign staff but it is highly likely that they won't go. That we can understand. We don't want to force them."

Back in March, the ICC had introduced a "special dispensation" to be made only in "exceptional circumstances" that allowed bilateral series to take place even if the ruling body determined it "unsafe" to appoint its officials for these series. This would allow such series to be manned by "non-neutral match officials", a departure from the ICC's Standard Playing Conditions.

Hassan said the dispensation will take effect if the ICC doesn't send its officials to conduct the matches. "They [ICC] are quite clear about it. They want us to decide if we want to go or not. We will submit a security plan to them, after which they will decide whether they will send their match officials or not. If they don't, we will have to appoint match officials."

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Stuart Broad could miss the Twenty20s against India

Stuart Broad has been sent for scan on his left heel:

Fast bowler Stuart Broad has been sent for scan on his left heel and is a doubt for England's two T20 matches against India.

Broad suffered a recurrence of the heel injury that threatened his involvement in the first Test of the series during training at the VCA Stadium on Tuesday, ahead of the fourth and final Test of the series that starts on Thursday.

While Broad is unlikely to win a recall to the side for that game, he remains a key player in England's T20 side. His absence would also necessitate England naming a new captain for the two games. Eoin Morgan would appear to be the likely replacement.

It may be an inexperienced looking England squad assembled for the T20 games. Not only have experienced players such as Graeme Swann and Kevin Pietersen been rested, but senior coaches Andy Flower, Graham Gooch and the team manager Phil Neale are also going home immediately after the Test. Richard Halsall, the assistant coach, will take charge.

The training session also afforded England their first look at the Nagpur pitch. While it has not been used recently, unlike the tracks used in Mumbai and Kolkata, it looks white and dry. The curator has been asked by the BCCI not to talk to the media, but those close to him suggest the groundstaff stopped watering the pitch a couple of days ago and expect it to start assisting spinners on the second day. The outfield, however, is lush and green which may not aid the seamers on either side as they search for reverse swing.

 There have only been three Tests at this ground and none of them have ended in a draw. On all three occasions, the side winning the toss has batted first - as they surely will again - and on two of those occasions they have gone on to win the game.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Shahid Afridi is dropped from ODI team squad

Abdul Razzaq & Shahid Afridi dropped from team:

Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan allrounder, has been dropped from the one-day squad for the tour of India in December, one of six changes made to the team that lost 1-2 to Australia in the UAE in August and September. Afridi retained his spot in Pakistan's Twenty20 squad, which also had six changes made to the outfit that went to Sri Lanka for the World Twenty20.

Apart from Afridi, the players cut from the ODI squad that went to the UAE were: left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman, fast bowlers Aizaz Cheema and Sohail Tanvir, and allrounder Shoaib Malik. Asad Shafiq was also left out because of injury.

They were replaced by Younis Khan, Haris Sohail, Wahab Riaz, Umar Gul, and Zulfiqar Babar. Younis and Gul were making comebacks after being axed for the series against Australia. Fast bowler Riaz was returning to the squad after last playing in the Asia Cup in March, while batsman Sohail and left-arm spinner Babar received their maiden call-ups to the one-day squad.

"Dropping Afridi was a difficult decision," Pakistan's chief selector Iqbal Qasim said at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. "He is no doubt a great player and has the ability to win a game, but the decision has been taken in the interest of the team. We did retain him in the T20 squad and if he performs well he can win back his ODI place in the future. Meanwhile, we are looking for a youngster as Afridi's replacement and I am sure we will find the right man soon from the domestic circuit."

Pakistan lost the World Twenty20 semi-final to Sri Lanka and from that squad allrounders Abdul Razzaq and Yasir Arafat, and opening batsman Imran Nazir were left out. Shafiq and left-arm spinner Raza Hasan were injured.

Fast bowler Junaid Khan , who was a surprising omission from the World T20 campaign, returned to the squad, and Ahmed Shehzad, Babar, Asad Ali , seven-foot tall Mohammad Irfan and Umar Amin were the other inclusions.

Irfan had been selected in 2010 for an ODI series against England, but conceded 37 and 40 in first two matches and was dropped for the rest of the series. He has been on the domestic circuit since then and in this season's President's Trophy, he took 27 wickets in eight matches. He also took 11 wickets in the Faysal Bank T-20. He has been preferred ahead of Under-19 fast bowler Ehsan Adil, who was the second highest wicket-taker in the President's Trophy after Babar, with 53 wickets. Adil also took 10 wickets in four domestic T20 matches.

"Irfan is a surprise package," Qasim said, while explaining why Irfan was preferred over other notable performers. "Nobody is discouraged, I know we have Ehsan Adil and Imran Khan on the bench waiting for the call but they will be considered soon. They are our future prospects. Irfan currently is in good form and he has the height advantage and could be our surprise package. I am sure he will live up to our expectations and will perform very well."

"India's performance against England hasn't been good and their chips are down. Compared to our side, they have always relied heavily on their batsman and we were more effective with the ball. So, we have selected a balanced mix with the consensus of both the captains and the coach. We have always beaten them when we are consistent with the batting, with bowling as an advantage, so I hope these teams will have good results on the tour."

Pakistan are scheduled to play two Twenty20 internationals and three ODIs in India from December 25 to January 6. The players will assemble for a seven-day camp in Lahore between December 14 and 22 before leaving for India on December 22.

ODI squad: Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Haris Sohail, Kamran Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Umar Gul, Imran Farhat, Umar Akmal, Anwar Ali, Zulfiqar Babar.

Twenty20 squad: Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Umar Amin, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Asad Ali, Zulfiqar Babar, Ahmed Shehzad.

Cricket South Africa will-possibly appoint Balck African selector

CSA will soon possibly appoint Black African selector:

Cricket South Africa will soon - possibly as early as next year - appoint a black African selector in accordance with their transformation policy, in an attempt to better represent the country's demographics. South Africa's population is more than 80% black African but they are largely under-represented in cricket.

 "We want to transform and reflect the demographic of our country as best as possible. A black African selector is needed to help address representation on all levels, which includes management," Jacques Faul, acting CSA chief executive.

He clarified that the move should not be seen as one which will push the case for black players only. "Just as white selectors don't only select white players, so would black selectors not only select black players," Faul said.

Ntini was quoted saying reserve wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile would have played for the national team if he was white, but Tsolekile brushed off the remarks. Despite being nationally contracted in February and identified as the replacement to Mark Boucher, Tsolekile has not played a Test because AB de Villiers has been promoted to the role of the permanent keeper.

In Perth, South Africa played their 200th Test since readmission but in that time, only five black Africans have represented the country. Of those, Ntini played 101 Tests but the other four: Mfuneko Ngam, Monde Zondeki, Tsolekile and Lonwabo Tsotsobe have less than 20 between them and South Africa have not fielded a single black African in Test cricket in the past year.

It is a record CSA wants to change. "I don't think people realise what a big gap Ntini left when he retired from international cricket. He was a great role model and obvious choice for the Test team," Faul said. "It is important for us to improve on this statistic. We hope that in the next 200 Tests we will be able to do that."

CSA does not enforce a quota system but state in their policy they intend to make cricket a "truly national game." They fund an academy at the University of Fort Hare which Ngam runs, exclusively for black African cricketers to further that aim. Ntini was due to start an academy in the Mdantsane township in the Eastern Cape for the same purpose but has not been able to secure sufficient funding to get the project off the ground.

Failed endeavours like that are what CSA hopes to avoid in future. Their transformation policy thus "recognises the fact that, although now all South Africans are equal under the constitution, serious inequalities still exist in terms of creating opportunities and providing facilities and adequate coaching for cricketers of colour. The transformation charter carries the responsibility of capacity building in all communities and thus making cricket a truly national game."

Faul said CSA are encouraged by the "black African talent within the franchise system." Players such as batsman Khaya Zondo from the Dolphins Temba Bavuma, left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso from the Lions and wicketkeeper batsman Mangaliso Mosehle from the Titans are on the national radar, with Phangiso likely to be picked in the Twenty20 squad to play New Zealand.

The new selector will not be in place in time to pick those squads, though. South Africa are expected to name their T20 and Test squad for the New Zealand series on Thursday.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

India ruled out Zaheer,Yuvraj and Harbhajansingh

India changed his team after 2nd defeat:

India have dropped Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh for the Nagpur Test. Delhi fast bowler Parvinder Awana and Saurashtra allrounder Ravindra Jadeja have received their first call-ups, and legspinner Piyush Chawla replaced Harbhajan.

Zaheer's is the biggest fall. This is the first time he has been dropped from the Test side after his rousing comeback in 2006-07. He has taken 15 wickets in eight Tests in 2012 at a strike rate of 98 balls per wicket. In this series, he has taken four scalps at a strike rate of 133. Moreover, his fielding has been below par for some time. His replacement, Awana, took 5 for 81 against Karnataka in a Ranji Trophy match a day before the selection meeting. Reputed to be brisk, Awana has taken 21 Ranji wickets at an average of 21.57 this season.

Yuvraj, called back after a double-century in the Duleep Trophy was deemed enough to prove his fitness, did not take his chance either. He scored 125 runs in five innings in the series. He has now played 40 Tests over various comebacks for three centuries and an average of 33.92.

Yuvraj's replacement, Jadeja, recently scored his third first-class triple-century in 13 months. He was dropped from India's limited-overs squads earlier this year, but the two triples in one month this season and 18 Ranji wickets at 23.72 have put him ahead of Rohit Sharma and Manoj Tiwary in the queue for a middle-order slot. Even as the squad was being debated, Tiwary was busy rescuing Bengal with 55 out of Bengal's score of 112. Four of their wickets, though, fell to Jadeja. Tiwary retired-hurt with a pulled muscle, but that happened after the squad was announced.

Harbhajan was recalled for the Tests without any improvement shown in domestic cricket, but a lacklustre show in Mumbai means he will be stuck on 99 Tests for a while. Not that his replacement, Chawla, has set the domestic scene on fire, with nine wickets at an average of 48.33.

Awana and Jadeja made it to the T20 side too. Uttar Pradesh allrounder Bhuvneshwar Kumar joined them in place of the injured Irfan Pathan. Virender Sehwag and Zaheer, left out of T20 squad, were unavailable for reasons the BCCI didn't state. Ajinkya Rahane took Sehwag's place. Harbhajan has been dropped for T20s as well.

Squad for Nagpur Test: MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara, R Ashwin, Ashok Dinda, Pragyan Ojha, Ajinkya Rahane, Piyush Chawla, Ishant Sharma, M Vijay, Parvinder Awana.

Squad for T20Is: MS Dhoni (capt &wk), Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Manoj Tiwary, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla, Ashok Dinda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Laxmipathy Balaji, Parvinder Awana.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

West Indies tried hard but lost

Bangladesh won the ODI series:

Bangladesh's batsmen held it together, but only just. After failing to chase 211 last night, they overcame three difficult phases in their pursuit of a target of similar proportion, to win a series they had led 2-0 but almost let slip out of their grasp. Twenty-four hours after their fans exited Shere Bangla in despair, the stadium was a venue of riotous celebration, as Nasir Hossain carved the winning boundary to drag his team to a two-wicket victory and claim the series against West Indies 3-2.

There was chaos at the finish. With one run needed, Nasir smashed the ball over cover and raised his arms in triumph as he completed the winning run. His partner, the No. 10 Elias Sunny, however, did not make it to the other end because he thought the ball had gone for four. The fielder in the deep returned it and Kieran Powell uprooted a stump amid the celebrations. Darren Sammy's protests that a run had not been completed prompted the umpires to check. No run had indeed been completed; nobody was run out either. Everyone took their positions again and Nasir's slashing bat sparked off another round of celebrations.

The confusion in those final moments was in contrast to the calm with which Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah and Nasir steered a tense chase, after Bangladesh's bowlers had recovered admirably from a Kieron Pollard battering.

Chasing 217, Tamim Iqbal was bowled playing across the line, Anamul Haque fended a rising delivery to point, and Jahurul Islam nicked one that burst off a length to the wicketkeeper. Kemar Roach had Bangladesh were 30 for 3 in the ninth over. The previous evening, the collapse ended only when the hosts were shot out for 136, but not in this deciding contest.

Pakistan Blind Cricket Team's captain was in big trouble

Zeeshan Abbasi drank chemical by mistake at Bangalore:

The captain of Pakistan's visually challenged cricket team, Zeshan Abbasi, who is in Bangalore to play the T20 Blind Cricket World Cup, was hospitalised on Saturday after accidentally drinking phenyl at the team hotel. He was discharged later in the day, and was 'absolutely fine' according to the doctors.

Abbasi had sipped the contents of a plastic bottle left on the table during breakfast, mistaking it for mineral water. He was taken to hospital, where was treated and kept under observation before being discharged a few hours later.

"Abbasi was discharged at 4.30pm. He is absolutely fine", the president of the hospital, Dr Shetty, was quoted. He said Abbasi had had an endoscopy and all the results were normal.

Pakistan team manager Sultan Shah said the hotel had apologised for the incident, but they wanted it probed further. "We want to know from the hotel management, who have orally apologised to us, how such an incident happened and who is responsible for such negligence," Shah said. "It has to be ensured that such incidents do not recur. Otherwise, we are happy with the arrangements here."

SP Nagesh, the president of the All Indian Cricket Association, also called for an investigation: "[The hotel must] tell us how such a lapse occurred. We are awaiting their reply."

Friday, 7 December 2012

Victory in Colombo was Ross Taylor's last act as New Zealand captain

Brendon McCullum has been appointed New Zealand's captain:

Brendon McCullum has been appointed New Zealand's captain in all three formats after Ross Taylor declined an offer to stay on as leader of the Test side in a split-captaincy scenario. Taylor has also chosen to make himself unavailable for the upcoming tour of South Africa, although New Zealand are hopeful he will be back in the side for the home series against England early next year.

The confirmation of the change came at a press conference in Auckland on Friday morning where David White, the New Zealand Cricket CEO, said he regretted the way the captaincy debate had played out in the public spotlight. McCullum, who has previously led New Zealand in eight ODIs and 12 Twenty20s, will become the country's 28th Test captain when the series against South Africa begins on January 2 in Cape Town.

There had been much speculation this week about the future of Taylor since the squad returned from Sri Lanka despite their impressive series-leveling victory in Colombo. In that match Taylor, who took over as captain in 2011 after being preferred to McCullum for the role, scored 142 in the first innings, but it was one of few highlights in a disappointing year for New Zealand, whose only other victory came in the first Test of the year against Zimbabwe.

They lost Test series against South Africa, West Indies and India before the draw in Sri Lanka while they have slipped to ninth in the one-day rankings below Bangladesh. They were also knocked out in the Super Eights of the World Twenty20. It was after the review of that tournament, as well as the tours of India and Sri Lanka, that the coach Mike Hesson recommended splitting the captaincy.

"Mike Hesson proposed a split captaincy that was endorsed by me as CEO and agreed by the board," White said. "The original recommendation was for Ross Taylor to be retained as Test captain and Brendon McCullum to be short-form captain. We regret that Ross Taylor has declined the opportunity, therefore Brendon McCullum has been appointed as Black Caps captain for all three forms of the game.

"I met with Ross ... for about three hours yesterday and we considered a number of different options. One of them was ... for him to go to South Africa and even just play the Test matches if he wanted to do that. But he thought about it long and hard and he said that he would like a break and to spend time with his family and we've agreed with that and we respect that. It's not ideal and we would be a stronger team with Ross Taylor in it."

England has tighten the grip on 3rd test

Neither the old ball nor the new one swung: 

The feeling of helplessness that enveloped much of India's horrendous tours of England and Australia descended again on MS Dhoni's side on the third day at Eden Gardens, as two of the most bloody-minded batsmen in world cricket, Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott, set about grinding down toothless bowling in the morning. After lunch, India managed to dismiss both of them, but that didn't alter England's dominance of the match as Kevin Pietersen and the lower order stacked up some quick runs to stretch the lead towards a comfortable 200.

The moment typifying India's ineptness was Ishant Sharma putting down an absolute dolly off his own bowling when Cook was on 156. A rare Cook mistake sent the ball looping towards Ishant at waist height and at slow pace, but Ishant contrived to fluff that chance, the ball missing his palm and hitting the wrist. Ishant was left scratching his head in disappointment, while MS Dhoni maintained his famously expressionless demeanour.

Neither the old ball nor the new one swung, and though there was some uneven bounce - Cook was once surprised by a lifter from Ishant that struck the bat handle - the batsmen weren't tested much by the quicks as they wiped out the deficit.

India's spinners turned in a much-improved effort after Thursday's disappointing show, bowling accurately with the old ball in the first hour before getting some bounce and turn with the shiny one. In the second session, they got some help from the pitch as well, spinning the ball past the outside edge several times, and asking questions of the well-set Cook and Trott.

Ricky Ponting never took a backward step

Viv Richards had always been impressed with Ricky Ponting:

Viv Richards has hailed Ricky Ponting's brashness and "show-no-fear" attitude as among his greatest traits, and Shane Warne has lauded Ponting's habit of making runs when Australia most needed them. Ponting farewelled Test cricket with Australia's loss to South Africa in Perth this week and on Thursday, Warne and Richards, in Melbourne in the lead-up to Friday night's Big Bash League opener, reflected on Ponting's 17-year Test career.

"Certainly he's up there with the very best," Richards said. "What I love about him more than anything else, you look at the way he walks out to the crease. He always has presence. There is a tenaciousness about him. He walks out and believes. He's not going to be intimidated by no one. I would like guys like that. I appreciate seeing guys who come out and have a particular presence."

The same words could have been used to describe Richards, one of Wisden's five cricketers of the century, a man who never wore a helmet and stared down fast bowlers all over the world while nonchalantly chewing his gum. Although the careers of the two men did not overlap - Richards retired from Test cricket four years before Ponting made his debut - Richards saw plenty of Ponting's batting and was impressed by the attitude he displayed from his very first match in 1995.

"A young batter who wants to make it, you cannot feel like you have one foot in and one foot out," Richards said. "You've got to make that crease your house. Ricky always made the crease his house. I've always been in his corner as a player because of that brashness, he's an in-your-face sort of guy. Show no fear. Batsmen sometimes can be intimidated by a guy from how far he runs up, but you just put that at the back of your mind and bat with what you have. Ricky, to me, certainly did that."

Richards is part of the BBL this year as a batting mentor for the Melbourne Stars, who are captained by Warne, a man who played 85 Tests alongside Ponting. Although Warne was not always enamoured with Ponting's captaincy decisions, he said Ponting's ability to score runs when Australia faced potential trouble was one of the reasons the team was so successful.

 "It was fun to play with Ricky Ponting," Warne said. "I met him as a 16-year-old at the cricket academy in Adelaide. He was a guy who was pretty tough and an uncompromising sort of player. He will definitely go down with Greg Chappell and Allan Border and Bradman as the greatest batsmen Australia have had, and he'll hold up well on the international stage.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Shane Warne's sympathy for his Michael Clarke

I felt for Pup, I really felt for him:

Shane Warne's sympathy for his close friend Michael Clarke - and fervent desire to remain in the spotlight - has extended far enough for the former Australian legspinner to present an outlandish scenario by which he would return to the Test team for next year's dual Ashes series.

Watching Clarke look powerless for just about the first time as Australian captain as Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith battered a wayward bowling attack to all parts of the WACA ground during the third Test, Warne said he felt a strong urge to help out. This time, Warne said, the desire to aid Clarke went beyond the regular advice he shares with his former team-mate around Test matches.

"I felt like I wanted to jump off the couch and grab the ball," Warne told News Ltd. "I really felt for Michael Clarke from a captaincy point of view. When you've got international bowlers bowling one or two full-tosses an over and half-volleys, I felt for Pup, I really felt for him."

While the scenario is highly improbable, if not laughable, Warne said a suitable persuasive phone call from Clarke would be enough for him to forego the "Shane Warne inc." of his life since retirement in order to play for Australia again. Warne even suggested he would be happy to return through grade cricket and earn his way with wickets for club and state before a Test recall could be considered.

"If your best friend says, 'Mate, I want you to seriously consider making a commitment to Australian cricket and coming back out of retirement', (to) make myself available for selection, that's a different scenario,'' Warne said. "Especially with back-to-back Ashes coming up next year, it could be a 12-month thing where you take three spinners with you and say, 'Righto, work with these spinners and see how you go for 12 months.' That's a different kettle of fish.

Bowlers may be turned the match so quickly

Few bowlers can change the rhythm of a match so quickly:

Australia lost the Perth Test in Adelaide, where hearts were broken with no time to mend. South Africa knew this. Rarely can a team have approached a clutch match with such confidence. Imagine you are running a marathon. You give it your best shot but each time you look over your shoulder, the enemy is still there. Then, on the home run, the enemy cruises past you. Though Michael Clarke was chosen as Man of the Series for the brilliant back-to-back double-hundreds he scored in the first two Tests, Faf du Plessis was the man over his shoulder, the man who made it possible for South Africa. The prize should have been his.

A strong enough argument is made for longer series between the better-quality and best-matched teams but a short and sharp three-Test bout with two of the games played inside a fortnight provides a compelling narrative. Much was made of the damage done to Peter Siddle on Black Monday at the Adelaide Oval but it was physical and therefore had identity. The real suffering was in the mind, and most particularly the mind of the captain, who surely knew that his own team's strongest race had been run. He also knew that key members of the opposition had air left in their lungs.

Hazlewood eleminated from test squad against Sri Lanka

Hazlewood out of test against Sri Lanka due to Injury:

Josh Hazlewood is out of contention for the looming Test series against Sri Lanka after complaining of foot soreness eerily reminiscent of the stress fracture he suffered last season.

Twelfth man for the third Test against South Africa in Perth, Hazlewood was highly likely to debut against the Sri Lankans before the foot soreness emerged.

One of the stand-out performers at this year's Twenty20 Champions League with the Sydney Sixers, 21-year-old Hazlewood has been ordered to rest for four to six weeks, meaning he will also be out of action for this summer's BBL, which begins on Friday.

"Josh Hazlewood reported some left foot soreness in the same region of his foot where he had a stress fracture last season," Cricket Australia's Chief Medical Officer Justin Paoloni said. "Because of his age and history with this type of injury, he will have a short break from bowling for a few weeks and be back playing in approximately 4-6 weeks."

Hazlewood trained with the Australian team in Brisbane at the start of the South Africa series before being formally named in the squad for the Perth Test. He was only narrowly edged out of a spot in the team by John Hastings after both Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle were ruled out.

India Lost his confidence for 3rd Test

India under pressure due to pitch factors:

It has been a strange old few days between Test matches. Much of the talk has been about an 83-year-old groundsman and the 22 yards he is in charge of. MS Dhoni wants another pitch with spin and bounce - qualities that brought his side's downfall in Mumbai - and predictions for the surface have seemingly covered all bases. England, meanwhile, have sat back, enjoyed a few days off in Mumbai, done some charity work and worked hard in getting a key fast bowler fit.

The two results in this series - India's nine-wicket win and England's ten-wicket success - were of such convincing margins in opposite directions that it makes it difficult to really know where each team sits against each other. Yet such was the turnaround performed by England last week that the prospect of a first series win in India since 1984-85 is now a realistic ambition.

A link between the two results is that they have been achieved with a small collection of outstanding performances. In Ahmedabad it was largely Virender Sehwag, Cheteshwar Pujara and Pragyan Ojha. In Mumbai the matchwinners were Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann. While some individuals have been outstanding, both teams have also carried a number of players.

For England, pressure will be on the Warwickshire pair of Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell (should the latter return) to supplement Cook and Pietersen. Then, of course, there is Sachin Tendulkar. Nobody really knows what he is thinking about the future - it is all rumour and hearsay - but the bottom line is that he has averaged 22.83 this year. It's an intriguing subplot in a fascinating series.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Jayawardene decides his future after Australia's tour

Jayawardene will decide his cricket future after tour of Australia:

Mahela Jayawardene will seriously re-assess his future as Sri Lanka's captain and as an international cricketer at the end of the tour of Australia.

"I am going to take it one series at a time especially after the Australian tour I will have time to think," he said. "I took on the responsibility to lead the team for one year and that will end after the Australian tour."

He was speaking before Sri Lanka left for Australia on a tour which includes a series of three Tests, five one-day internationals and twoTwenty20 internationals.

"(After the tour) I can sit back and think what I want to achieve not just for myself but for the team as well. I have always said that I am not a guy who will just hang around for the sake of playing. If the youngsters take on the responsibility and do the job for Sri Lanka then I will be very happy to step aside and give them that opportunity but at the same time I don't want the team in a situation where it will have a harmful effect.

"I want to make that transition as smooth as possible. I don't want to let go all the good things that's been done all these years and just walk away from that. I will sit down and talk to a few people that I talk to usually when it comes to taking a decision and have a chat with the selectors as well especially with the captaincy position, then it will be much easier for me to make a call on what I want to do in my career."

Jayawardene is of the view that it would be the right time to hand over the captaincy to his deputy Angelo Mathews who has been groomed for the position over the past year or so. "Angelo hasn't had the experience of leading the team at international level I agree but the way he led the provincial and SLPL teams to reach the final was most commendable.

"As a deputy he has contributed on the field and off the field and that is something that the public and others don't see. He is very mature. The other important thing is he's earned the respect of all the players, the younger and older players.

"In a way personally I feel that it would be better for him to be captain while there are some senior hands around in the team to help him rather than him taking over when there is no one. You can look at it in different ways.

"You never know whether he can handle the situation unless you give him that opportunity. There were a few issues when I took over the captaincy and to a certain extent I've been able to settle them. The team is more focused on what they want to achieve now. It is a much settled set-up. It could be the right time to give Angelo the captaincy."

One of the priorities of the team is to win a Test in Australia. It is an achievement that has eluded many past Sri Lankan captains. Whether the present team has it in them to tame Australia at this moment of time seems questionable.

"No one gave us a chance to win in South Africa they were the No. 1 team and to beat them on their home soil was a very big achievement," Jayawardene said. "We have the capacity and the talent to go and win a match but how consistently we can do it is something we have to challenge ourselves, that's where we lack. We are definitely in a position to go and beat Australia and put pressure on them.

"When we played Australia in the last one-day series we actually handled their bowlers in their conditions. We do play much better when we are in that kind of situation when it is more challenging and the conditions tough. We've shown that in South Africa and in Australia in the ODI series when the Indians got bamboozled against the same attack we were beating. We didn't perform against New Zealand when we had a bad Test match. We had a couple of sessions that we didn't play well. It doesn't mean that if we challenge their (Australian) bowling unit and if we adapt and play better cricket there we can't hold them on level terms.

"It's very much a mental thing. You have to be mentally stronger to beat Australia. They will come at us. Everyone will know what you have to do in Australia so knowing how you tackle that situation is the most important thing. In a way it's like when you know what going to happen you sometimes know too much about it and then you fall into a trap rather than just concentrate on your strengths. That would be the way to go."

Whether Sri Lanka wins a Test in Australia or not Jayawardene stated that there was no substitute to winning a fifty-over World Cup. "Ask any international cricketer, winning a 50-over World Cup will be one of their priorities. That would always be my disappointment if I don't win a World Cup before I retire. Definitely winning a Test in Australia would be brilliant. We won a Test match in West Indies we've done that in South Africa, in New Zealand and in England. We haven't won a Test in Australia and India so we must try and get those two opportunities before I hang up."

Bangladesh crush West Indies to set record of biggest win

Bangladesh crush West Indies by 160 runs in 2nd ODI:

Bangladesh recorded their biggest win in ODIs in terms of runs, thrashing a listless West Indies by 160 runs to take a 2-0 lead and are in prime position to claim the five-match series. The spinners delivered for the second game in succession, but Bangladesh owed their early dominance in this match largely to Anamul Haque, who became the third teenager from the country to score a ODI century, and Mushfiqur Rahim for propelling them to 292. The cushion of runs was more than enough for the spinners to run through the line-up.

Finn Push himself for England Test Squad

Finn declared himself fit to select for England: 

Steven Finn has declared himself fit for selection for the third Test and looks set to displace Stuart Broad in England's team.

Finn, who suffered a thigh strain in the first warm-up game of the tour, bowled two spells in the nets at training at Eden Gardens on Monday without discomfort and then stated: "If I'm needed on Wednesday, then I'll be ready to go. I feel in good rhythm. I'm in a good place."

Finn could face a tough return at Eden Gardens. For all the talk of the pitch - and the Eden Park curator, Prabir Mukherjee, has certainly talked a good game over recent days - it seems that the India captain, MS Dhoni, is going to receive exactly what he requested. Recently used - the last Ranji Trophy match on it ended on November 20 - it will offer, on the evidence of the practice pitches on the same square, far more to spinners than seamers. The England seamers struggled to get the ball to bounce above hip height in the nets which, according to Mukherjee, are much like the Test pitch. Finn may have extra pace but, on such surfaces, his control and skill will be even more important.

"If I'm picked as part of a two-man seam attack, I might be used in a strike-bowling capacity," Finn said. "There is a little bit of pressure, but you don't change your plans or the way that you bowl. Just because you're being used as a strike bowler doesn't mean you start bowling bumpers and yorkers all the time searching for wickets. You still have to have a degree of patience and use your skills wisely."

South Africa won 3rd test match against Australia

Australia lost 3rd test match by 309 runs:

To crib a line from E.T.'s Elliot, this is reality. South Africa embossed their No. 1 ranking with a fearful hiding of Australia in the series-deciding third Test in Perth, and not even the torrent of goodwill sent Ricky Ponting's way on his final day as an international cricketer could prevent resounding confirmation that the hosts remain a long way short of genuine aspirations to be the best team in the world. Three-hundred-and-nine runs short, in fact.

Ponting made an emotional last appearance at the Test match batting crease - fittingly afforded a guard of honour by Graeme Smith - but his final tally of eight was as unsatisfying as the rest of the day for Australia, as they failed completely to cope with the dimensions of a world-record run chase, or alternatively the need to bat for two days to save the match. The Ponting episode was a brief interlude in a day characterised by South Africa's unrelenting attack on the batsmen.

Ricky Ponting's internatinal cricket career ended

Ricky Ponting now got retired from test cricket:

For a moment, Ricky Ponting was a kid again. As he sat in the WACA gym and spoke one last time as a Test cricketer, the emotion finally got the better of him. Ponting, perhaps the toughest competitor of his cricketing generation, fought back tears as he thanked his family for all of their sacrifices. His wife Rianna was there with his daughters Emmy and Matisse. His parents, Graeme and Lorraine, were there too. It was a rare glimpse of the human side of one of sport's hardest men.

To understand Ponting, you have to understand his roots. Australia's most prolific run scorer was raised in working-class northern Tasmania and when he was nine or ten, he used to ride his BMX all around Launceston and the surrounding areas to watch the Mowbray Cricket Club play. He would sit in the change-rooms, rummage through the players' bags when they were on the field and try on their gloves, hold their bats. He helped run the scoreboard at the NTCA ground when Tasmania played there, for a few dollars a day.

At 11, Ponting was playing third-grade cricket with his father; when he became a first-class player, he financed new club-rooms with his first sponsorship payment. He learnt the value of the baggy green when his uncle Greg Campbell, Lorraine's brother and also a Mowbray player, played Test cricket briefly in the late 1980s. Ponting now lives in Sydney but has never changed clubs; if he was to play a club match again it would be for Mowbray.

Ponting walked off the WACA on Monday afternoon having equalled Steve Waugh's record of 168 Test appearances. Nobody has been part of more victories than Ponting. He has played 560 international matches in 15 countries around the world, or 24 if the individual nations that make up the West Indies are taken into consideration. As Ponting sat back and for the first time reflected on his 17-year international career, he became emotional when he considered where it all started.

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the opportunities I was given by them at an early age," Ponting said of his parents. A cough, as he held back the tears. "It's getting a bit harder". Sniff. "The Mowbray Cricket Club, if they see me up here like this at the moment they'll be all over me. That's the place I learnt the game and the person I am was moulded from my background and my upbringing. What you've seen over 17 years is a result of my early days at the Mowbray Cricket Club. Thanks to the boys back there."

Tough as they make them in Mowbray, there wouldn't have been a dry eye there either. Ponting still keeps a close eye on his club's scores. In fact, he keeps a close eye on everything related to the world of cricket. The kid who sat in the change-rooms and listened to the first-grade players tell stories about the match they'd just played still exists. That's what will make retirement so difficult for Ponting. Cricket has been his life.

It is no surprise that he will play on for Tasmania this season, like a junkie being weaned off slowly. From Perth, he will fly to Tasmania to start training for the Hobart Hurricanes. The Big Bash League starts later this week and Ponting will be part of it. Always renowned as a realist, the dreamer in Ponting came through when he considered watching Australia's next Test, against Sri Lanka in Hobart, and joked about warming up with the Test players and earning a late call-up.

"You ask the boys in the dressing room, they reckon I don't miss a ball that's bowled anywhere around the world," he said. "Of course I'll keep an eye on it because I'll miss not being out there. I'll be interested to see who comes in and slots into the No.4 spot and I'll be interested to see what the bowling attack looks like for Hobart.

"The way it works out I'll probably be down there anyway. I've got some training to do for the Hurricanes, leading up to that game, so I'll probably be in Hobart just before that. Who knows, I might even be around for the first day of the game. If I am, I might even join in the warm-up with the boys and see if there's just one more chance!"

There's that kid in the change-rooms again. Pick me! Let me play!

But for all of his cricket passion, Ponting knew the time was right to walk away from the international game. His scores over the past few weeks have confirmed it. Not that he had given up hope of ending with a match-winning hundred.

"I had a bit more of a fairytale ending in my own eyes than what's happened this week," Ponting said. Just then, the pipes in the WACA gym began to squeal, almost drowning out his voice. "Still things are going badly for me here as well! It's been one of those weeks."

Apart from when discussing his family, Ponting was relaxed in retirement. He joked about the standing ovation he had received, and the one given to his nightwatchman Nathan Lyon on the first day. He thanked the media for promoting the game and held no grudges about the criticism levelled on him in recent times. He finished with a brief thought about his legacy.

"Hopefully my impact and input on Australian cricket has left something behind. Thank you."