Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hayden considering retirement due to prolonged injury

Australian batsman Matthew Hayden is looking very desperate regarding his career due to his prolonged injury and he has started thinking seriously for taking retirement from One-day cricket.

The veteran opener said that he is making all out efforts to overcome his fitness problems.

The Player of the Tournament in the World Cup 2007, Matthew Hayden, is going to be 37 in October.

Suffering from Achilles, Hayden said that he does not want to make any hasty decision for announcing his retirement but if he does not overcome his injury then he can think about leaving cricket.

Hayden has been ruled out of the ODI series against Bangladesh due to his injury.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Darrell Hair resigns from post

Darrell Hair, the Australian umpire, has tended his resignation with the ICC in order to take up a coaching role.

Hair returned to top-flight umpiring in March, six months after a period of rehabilitation that was enforced by his employers, the ICC, in response to the forfeited England-Pakistan Oval Test in 2006. Hair officiated in two Tests between England and New Zealand in May but, in spite of continuing to be on the Elite Panel of umpires, he has not been offered any more.

Consequently, he has decided to end what has been a successful umpiring career, albeit one blighted by controversy in recent years. He takes up his new role with the New South Wales Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWUSA) in 10 days.

"Darrell will concentrate on what he will do best: mentor, coaching and getting umpires up to a higher level,"

Peter Hughes, a spokesman for the NSWUSA, told The Australian.

The fracas at The Oval in 2006 was the first game in history to be forfeited after Pakistan refused to take the field, following Hair's ruling that they had tampered with the ball. Hair was subsequently stood down from any matches which involved full-member nations, although never officially removed from the Elite panel, but continued to stand in Associate games. Indeed, he is currently standing in West Indies' match against Canada in King City. He took the ICC to court claiming racial discrimination, but withdrew his claims seven days into a tribunal in London last October.

He moved back to Australia and went on a six-month rehabilitation course before being reinstated at the ICC's March meeting in Dubai. Yet although he made a quiet return to the fold in England this year, the fact he was to be "kept away" from matches involving Pakistan led many to question his status as an international umpire. In addition, Pakistan were outraged at his return to the fold.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

India level series with tense victory over Sri Laanka

Mahendra Singh Dhoni capped Zaheer Khan's devastating spell with a crucial 39 as India posted a tense three-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the second one-day international here on Wednesday.

Left-arm seamer Zaheer ran through the top order in his incisive opening spell to finish with 4-21 as India bundled Sri Lanka out for a meagre 142. He was brilliantly backed by paceman Praveen Kumar (3-34).

But India skipped a few heartbeats before achieving the modest target with more than 10 overs to spare to level the five-match series 1-1.

They were wobbling at 75-5 after seamers Thilan Thushara and Nuwan Kulasekara shared four wickets, but skipper Dhoni and debutant Subramaniam Badrinath (27 not out) held their nerve under pressure.

When Dhoni inside-edged paceman Dilhara Fernando's delivery on to his stumps, his team were just eight runs short of the win with four wickets in hand.

Unorthodox Sri Lankan spinner Mendis yet again made the Indian batsmen struggle for runs with shrewd variations, getting the big wicket of Yuvraj Singh before finishing with 2-22 off 10 overs.

Yuvraj (20) tried to ease the pressure by smashing Thushara for three fours in two overs, but his flourish did not last long. He was trapped leg-before by Mendis to leave his team wobbling at 52-3.

India appeared to have squandered the advantage given by Zaheer when they lost makeshift opener Irfan Pathan and Suresh Raina in Kulasekara's opening spell and then Virat Kohli (37) and Rohit Sharma in Thushara's one over.

Dhoni and Badrinath then applied themselves well to add 60 for the sixth wicket which proved vital in a low-scoring game.

Sri Lanka were earlier in danger of falling to their lowest-ever total of 96 against India when they were reduced to 44-6, but Thushara (44) and Kulasekara (25) rallied their side with a defiant 74-run stand.

The Indian skipper's decision to put the hosts in to bat after winning the toss produced instant results as Zaheer bowled Kumar Sangakkara with his sixth
delivery which moved in sharply to hit the off-stump.

Man-of-the-match Zaheer claimed two wickets in his third over, removing in-form Jayawardene and Chamara Kapugedera.

Kumar had Chamara Silva caught by Kohli at point to reduce the hosts to 11-4. He also ended Sri Lanka's fightback when he dismissed Thushara and Kulasekara in the same over.

Sri Lanka's aggressive opener Sanath Jayasuriya, watching the disaster unfold from one end, was not allowed to play strokes as he faced 37 balls for his 13 runs before being trapped leg-before by Zaheer.

Tillakaratne Dilshan (16), the last specialist batsman, was caught by a diving Badrinath at deep midwicket off a mistimed pull off seamer Irfan Pathan.

Sri Lanka named Fernando in their playing eleven in place of left-arm seamer Chaminda Vaas, who missed the match due to a hamstring injury.

The third match will be played in Colombo on Sunday.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Champions League will start on December 3

The inaugural Champions League Twenty20 will be played between December 3 and 10, instead of October, the organisers - the boards of India, Australia and South Africa - have announced. To accommodate the change, the first Test between Australia and South Africa in Perth has been pushed back from December 12 to December 17.

The eight-team tournament was initially due to begin on September 29, the reserve day of the Champions Trophy final, but the ICC was unhappy with its timing, given its close proximity to the Pakistan event. It asked the three founding members of the Champions League to rethink the programme.

No other international fixtures have been scheduled on those dates, allowing all players to participate, although the domestic seasons of Australia and South Africa will have to be rearranged. The tournament has been sandwiched between India's seventh one-dayer against England and the first Test in Ahmedabad, games which start a day before and after the tournament respectively.

"We are happy that we were able to find a window during the first week of December,"

Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, said.

"There was a gap in between the one-day internationals and Tests [in India] against the touring England squad, which will enable both the Rajasthan Royals and the Chennai Super Kings (the IPL finalists) to regroup and focus on the Champions League."

Gerald Majola and James Sutherland, the chief executives of the South African and Australian boards respectively, said they had consulted the players, players' associations and the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) - the hosts of the Perth Test - before deciding the dates.

"We were pleased with the WACA's reaction that the new playing dates offer local fans, including corporate groups wanting to entertain at the cricket, good dates for pre-Christmas Test match enjoyment,"

Sutherland said.

"We also took feedback from players that the changes could be accommodated without compromising what will be a defacto World Test Cricket Championship bout between Australian and South Africa during December and January."

Majola told Cricinfo that the organisers have "conveyed the new dates to the ICC and they are fine with it". The venues and commercial partnership details will be finalised in the coming weeks.

The Champions Twenty 20 League comprises the Twenty20 domestic finalists from India , Australia and South Africa, Pakistan's winner Sialkot and England's champion Middlesex. The competition was announced on July 30, with a total prize money of US$6 million which will be shared between all teams.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Gilchrist calls for including Twenty20 at Olympics

Former Australian star Adam Gilchrist has called for the inclusion of cricket's Twenty20 format at the 2020 Olympics, saying it will help secure the global future of the game.

The wicketkeeper-batsman, who retired from international cricket this year but played in the Indian Premier League (IPL), said the International Cricket Council (ICC) must push for Twenty20 to become an Olympic sport.

"It doesn't matter where the 2020 Olympic Games are held,"
he wrote in a column for Indian daily the Deccan Chronicle on Monday.

"But many of us who've experienced international Twenty20 cricket and the IPL are convinced that cricket should bid to become an Olympic sport in time for the Games,"
he wrote.

Gilchrist, 36, said re-introducing cricket as an Olympic sport would help the sport grow internationally and also boost the Olympic movement in the subcontinent.

"We have a responsibility to grow our game in new territories and amongst the women of the world.

"I believe the Olympic Games is the vehicle the sport should use to aggressively sell the message of our sport to all 202 competing Olympic nations.

"So that our sport is strong and robust in countries where it is currently played, and exciting and ground-breaking in countries who haven't yet caught the 'cricket-bug',"
he said.

Cricket was part of the Olympics just once, in 1900, but last year it was recognised as an Olympic sport -- the first step towards full admission to the Games.

"With Twenty20 cricket here to stay, now is the time for the 10 full-member nations of the ICC to plan for the development of the sport over the next 100 years,"
Gilchrist said.

Gilchrist said winning an Olympic medal would be the ultimate for any cricketer.

"Take it from someone who has won almost everything cricket has to offer -- the Olympics is the absolute pinnacle in sport.

"Cricketers won't care about the money. The chance to stand on top of the Olympic podium, to wear an Olympic gold medal and the pride of belting out your national anthem would be a life-changing money-can't-buy experience,"
he said.

India’s 170-run win levels series against Sri Lanka

Teenager Ishant Sharma gave a superb display of fast bowling to help India square the series with a 170-run victory over Sri Lanka in the second Test here on Sunday.

Sharma finished with 3-20 off 15 testing overs as Sri Lanka were shot out for 136 in their second innings in the closing session on the fourth day chasing a challenging 307-run target.

India lost the opening match of the three-Test series by an innings and 239 runs. The final match starts in Colombo on August 8.

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh (4-51) and leg-spinner (2-41) built on Sharma's effort to help their team win with more than a day to spare.

Harbhajan, who took six wickets in the first innings, completed his fifth haul of 10 or more wickets in a Test.

The 19-year-old Sharma wrecked Sri Lanka's top order with two quick wickets in a sharp opening spell before returning to break a stubborn partnership in his second spell.

Sri Lanka were on the backfoot following Sharma's double-strike before collapsing against spin late in the day. The hosts lost their last five wickets for just six runs, with Harbhajan taking three and Kumble two.

The hosts began the chase on a disastrous note as they lost three wickets for a meagre 10 runs in the opening four overs, with Sharma taking two and left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan one.

India's spinners were expected to call the shots on a wearing track but the tourists seized the advantage through their fast bowlers as Sharma unsettled the batsmen with his pace and bounce and Zaheer with his movement.

Thilan Samaraweera (67 not out) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (38) alone defied the Indian pace-spin combination with a 76-run stand for the fifth wicket.

Sharma broke the stand immediately after the tea-break when he had Dilshan caught by wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik. Harbhajan had Prasanna Jayawardene caught by Sourav Ganguly, who took a well-judged catch at square-leg.

Sri Lanka were in deep trouble after losing Kumar Sangakkara (one) and in-form skipper Mahela Jayawardene (five), who were known for playing long innings.

Sharma, who removed Malinda Warnapura with his third ball, got the big wicket when he had Jayawardene caught by Rahul Dravid at gully. Jayawardene scored a century in the opening Test and 86 in the first innings here.

Zaheer struck in his second over when he dismissed Sangakkara, beaten by the movement to be caught by Venkatsai Laxman at second slip.

Michael Vandort was dropped before he had opened his account when Dravid failed to latch on to a high catch at third slip in Zaheer's opening over.

The Sri Lankan batsman was on six when he offered another chance, this time Dravid holding the catch but off a Zaheer no-ball. His uncomfortable stay at the crease ended when he fell leg-before in Harbhajan's opening over.

India earlier faltered against Sri Lankan spinners Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan as they were bowled out for 269 after resuming at 200-4. They lost their last five wickets for 17 runs in a dramatic collapse.

Unorthodox spinner Mendis, who took six wickets in the first innings, finished with 4-92 to complete a maiden 10-wicket haul in only his second Test.

Muralitharan took two of the six wickets that fell in the morning to finish with 3-107.

Vaughan quits as England captain

Michael Vaughan on Sunday resigned as England cricket captain, saying it was both the hardest and the easiest decision he has made.

His decision follows Saturday's five-wicket defeat against South Africa in the third Test at Edgbaston, which gave the Proteas an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series.

It meant the 33-year-old had overseen three series losses against top-class opposition since returning from a career-threatening knee injury.

"I've made the decision to stand down as England captain,"
a tearful Vaughan told a press conference.

"It's the hardest decision I've ever had to make but also the easiest.

"The hardest because I'm giving away the job I've loved for the last five years, one I've put my heart and soul into, but also the easiest because my mind has told me to pack it in.

"I felt if I kept going my career could come to an abrupt end - hopefully, this can prolong my career.

"I will carry on playing because I think there are a lot more runs in me.

"This decision will prolong my career. I'm moving better than ever in the field so hopefully this decision will make my last few years a very exciting time."

Vaughan said he does not want to be considered for the final Test of the series and would take a break to consider his future before coming back and finishing the season for county cricket side Yorkshire.

"I will take a break from the game so I won't be playing at The Oval,"
he said.

"I just want to try and freshen up the mind and get back to playing as a batsman. I do believe these could be the best years of my playing career.

"That's the one thing I want to get back doing."

And Vaughan revealed he had first considered resigning at the start of the year during the tour of New Zealand, when England came back from 1-0 down to win 2-1.

"In New Zealand I had a few thoughts that I might go,"
said Vaughan.

"It is a fairytale to captain your country but it hasn't had a fairytale ending. I know that it is the right time because my mind told me it was. My body is working well but my mind is not.

"I wish whoever gets the job all the luck in the world, it's a great privilege."

Vaughan made his Test debut in South Africa in 1999, and captained his country for the first time at Lord's.

Smith leads South Africa to series win against England

South African captain Graeme Smith hit what he described as the best century of his career to lead his team to a series-clinching victory on the fourth day of the third Test against England at Edgbaston on Saturday.

Smith made an unbeaten 154 as South Africa won by five wickets to take a winning 2-0 lead in the four-Test series.
"I've had some meaningful innings in my life but with the whole situation and for the people back home, it's bigger than just us, this victory. I'd have to say it's my best innings,"
said Smith.

England counterpart Michael Vaughan said defeat was a bitter blow but paid tribute to Smith.
"We've all just witnessed a very, very special innings. The way Graeme Smith came out and played was as good as I've seen anyone chase down that sort of target under that sort of pressure."

South Africa were set to make 281, by 70 runs the highest successful fourth innings chase in a Test match at Edgbaston and South Africa's fourth highest of all time.

It was South Africa's first series win in England since 1965 and ended a sequence of three series in the country in which they failed to capitalise after going one Test up.

The victory seemed unlikely when South Africa slumped to 93 for four, with two of the wickets falling to balls from Andrew Flintoff which the batsmen did not see.

But Smith survived the collapse and found able partners in AB de Villiers (27) who helped him put on 78 for the fifth wicket and Mark Boucher (45 not out), who shared an unbeaten 112-run stand for the sixth wicket.

Flintoff, who first swung the momentum towards England with a fiery spell on the second evening, made vital breakthroughs with full deliveries which the batsmen appeared not to see.

He trapped Neil McKenzie leg before for 22 after McKenzie and Smith put on 65 for the first wicket. McKenzie appeared to lose the ball completely and was ducking when the ball hit him on the boot.

Jacques Kallis also ducked against a ball which struck him on the full on his right thigh in line with the stumps.

Kallis, bowled by a Flintoff yorker in the first innings which he admitted he did not pick up from the bowler's hand as it was delivered against the backdrop of the committee room balcony immediately above the sightscreen, showed his anger as he was given out leg before.

In between Flintoff's two wickets, Hashim Amla was leg before to an arm ball from left-arm spinner Monty Panesar. Flintoff was rested after taking two for 28 in eight overs but Ashwell Prince was caught behind off James Anderson as South Africa crashed to 93 for four.

South Africa, leading the four-match series 1-0, earlier bowled out England for 363 in their second innings. Paul Collingwood was last man out for 135.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Former India Test batsman Mankad dies aged 61

Former India Test batsman Ashok Mankad died in his sleep here on Friday aged 61, cricket officials said.

Mankad, regarded as a shrewd thinker of the game and one of India's finest domestic captains, played 22 Tests between 1969 and 1978 and scored 991 runs at an average of 25.41.

His record in first-class cricket was more impressive as he scored 12,980 runs at an average of 50.90 before retiring in 1982-83. He scored 44 in his only one-day international, against England at The Oval.

"Indian cricket lost one of its stalwarts when Ashok Mankad passed away early on Friday,"
Indian cricket board secretary Niranjan Shah said.

"He was a gifted batsman, an outstanding captain, and a respected cricket guru. An individual who dedicated his life to the sport, he will be missed by every single follower of cricket in this country,"
he said in a statement.

Board president Sharad Pawar said the country had lost one of its sharpest cricketing brains.

"Mankad had a great cricketing brain and was regarded by one and all as a great tactician,"
he said.

"His contribution and records in domestic cricket are unmatched."

The middle-order batsman, son of legendary Test all-rounder Vinoo Mankad, is survived by his wife Nirupama, a former national tennis champion, and two tennis-playing sons Mihir and Harsh.

Mankad also served as manager of the Indian cricket team in 1982-83 and coached first-class sides like his native Mumbai, Madhya Pradesh, Railways and Baroda.

Former India left-arm spinner Bapu Nadkarni said Mankad could not fulfil his potential because he was promoted as an opener.

Former India captain Ajit Wadekar also said Mankad could have done better had he continued as a middle-order batsman.

"He could have done better had he continued to play in the middle order. He was a great reader of the wicket and opposition.

"He was a perfect team man who kept his mates in good humour in the dressing room,"
Wadekar said.