Saturday, April 12, 2008

Chanderpaul and Samuels seal series for West Indies

And another: Chamara Silva was bowled by Chris Gayle for 2...

Shivnarine Chanderpaul came to West Indies' rescue for the second time in three days, cracking an unbeaten 52 to guide his side to a seven-wicket win in Trindad and, in doing so, they take the series.

It may not have matched Thursday for drama, but West Indies can be proud of dominating Sri Lanka for most of the day. Their bowlers, led by the increasingly mature Jerome Taylor, tied Sri Lanka in knots while the batsmen for once coped with the jolt of losing three early wickets. They cantered home in the end, but two hours beforehand the match was heading for a soggy conclusion as the clouds evacuated a torrent of rain on the Queen's Park Oval. Such is the superb drainage at the ground that play was able to resume, though cricket's favourite double act, Duckworth and Lewis, revised West Indies' total to a rather generous 125 from 25 overs.

Predictably, they did their best to make a meal of it. Nuwan Kulasekara exposed Dwayne Bravo's gaping gate, cutting one back to bowl him, and Chris Gayle wellied the same bowler straight to mid-on to leave them tottering on 15 for 2. Kulasekara wasn't finished: he trapped Ramnaresh Sarwan in front for 1, and West Indies still needed 107 from 113 balls.

Enter Chanderpaul. After his nail-biting last-ball six in the first one-dayer, today's scenario was far less worrisome and he casually calmed West Indies' nerves, nudging and nurdling singles before exploding when the loose balls presented themselves. Kaushalya Weeraratne thought he had him caught behind for five but it was turned down, prompting Chanderpaul into a furious onslaught. A premeditated pull through midwicket was followed by a sweetly pinged six over deep midwicket, and he made it a triplet of boundaries with a third pulled four in the same region. He and West Indies were in no mood to kowtow to Sri Lanka's medium pacers.

Meanwhile, Samuels was at his belligerent best, bashing Chaminda Vaas for consecutive fours; hoiking Kapugedera for six over midwicket, then another at long-on. West Indies were racing towards their target, and Samuels made sure of it with another huge six off Sri Lanka's mystery spinner, Ajantha Mendis, who tonight was rather more earthly than his deliciously mercurial display in the first ODI. Samuels' slap for six over long-off hit the top tier of the stand, simultaneously burying Sri Lanka's spirits. Chanderpaul notched his fifty from 40 balls; Samuels' took 48 and West Indies galloped home with 27 balls to spare.

For all Chanderpaul and Samuels' ease in reaching their target, they have their bowlers to thank for restricting Sri Lanka so well. Taylor led the attack brilliantly, ably supported by Daren Powell, the pair tying Sri Lanka in knots. Taylor took 1 for 6 in his opening spell, rarely straying from the off stump and troubling both Upul Tharanga and Mahela Udawatte. Udawatte, who fell for nought on debut two days ago, broke his international duck with a neat tuck off his hips through midwicket. There is a consensus of opinion that Udawatte is a dead ringer - stylistically at any rate - for Sanath Jayasuriya, and when he crashed Fidel Edwards for four over point, the similarities were clear. After clouting another four in the same over, he fell to a superb slower-ball from Taylor, trying to launch him over point.

Then followed a steady partnership of 40 between Tharanga and Kumar Sangakkara, before the first of two rain showers interrupted proceedings. Afterwards, Sri Lanka's approach smacked of desperation and they lost 3 for 7 in 13 balls, with Gayle removing Sangakkara and Chamara Silva. It was a position from which they couldn't recover, though the second rain break didn't give them chance to make amends.

Chanderpaul won the first ODI almost single handedly, and again he has thwarted Sri Lanka with another matchwinning knock. What price experience? It is a question which might be haunting Mahela Jayawardene and his new young side.

West Indies v Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI, Port-of-Spain

Friday, April 11, 2008

Aggressive Butt scripts seven-wicket win

Salman Butt's 76 set up a seven-wicket victory for Pakistan, who now lead the series 2-0...

A blazing 76 by Salman Butt led Pakistan to a comprehensive seven-wicket win in a rain-curtailed match at the Iqbal Stadium. Heavy rain after 48.2 overs in Bangladesh's innings kept the players off the field for more than two hours and the target of 226 was reduced to 158 in 25 overs by the D/L method. Pakistan made easy work of the target, despite an asking-rate of more than six an over, and extended their lead to 2-0 in the five-match series.

Despite the heavy defeat, Bangladesh had something to write home about, especially their lower-order revival. Mahmudullah's unbeaten half-century pushed Bangladesh to a respectable score of 225 for 8 after a characteristic top-order wobble. Tamim Iqbal piloted the early charge with an attacking 60 but the excitement was rather shortlived, with half the side back in the pavilion by the 25th over. Mahmudullah then proceeded to add 37 with Farhad Reza, doubled that effort with Dhiman Ghosh, and those stands were significant in ensuring Bangladesh didn't fold up before the allotted overs.

Tamim set the pace with some gorgeous drives through extra cover and controlled flicks off the pads, making it fairly obvious from the start that the margin for error on this surface was minimal. The high elbows were a feature of his technique as he punched crisply through the off side and back past the bowler.

Shahriar Nafees wasn't as technically correct and like a repeat offender, perished in identical fashion to the Lahore game, swatting at a wide delivery away from the body. Aftab Ahmed's dismissal was unfortunate as replays indicated the ball struck him above the knee roll off Gul, who picked up his 50th ODI wicket in the process.

Ashraful walked in and went on the offensive with an exquisite cover drive off Tanvir to go past Habibul Bashar as the highest run-getter in ODIs for Bangladesh, before taking Gul to task with three fours in a single over. However, Bangladesh lost two quick wickets against the run of play - including Ashraful - and Tamim fell shortly after bringing up his fifty.

Mahmudullah and Reza got together for damage control after Tamim's wicket, and the pair brought some stability to the innings. With spinners bowling from either end, the pair grafted - staying back and waiting for the turn, pushing the ball into the gaps and fetching the odd boundary. The partnership was worth 37 before Reza lunged forward to Shahid Afridi and was trapped lbw just after a drinks break, in the 34th over.

Luckily for Mahmudullah, he found an able partner in Ghosh and the pair strung together the most fruitful stand of the evening. In the five overs after Reza's dismissal, Bangladesh added 34. Pakistan lost the plot, and the introduction of Younis Khan to break the stand only leaked more runs. Mahmudullah never got tied down at any stage, and shortly after the pair added 50 runs, he brought up his own half-century, giving Sohail Tanvir the charge and punching him through extra cover and then glancing one down to fine leg the following ball. Rain intervened with ten balls left, leaving Mahmudullah unbeaten on 58.

The overcast conditions mattered little for Pakistan as the openers blazed away in a stand of 46 in just over seven overs. Butt took to Mashrafe Mortaza early, punching him through extra cover and followed it up with a pull over midwicket in the same over. His innings was a suitably classy affair, full of proper cricket shots, drives, cuts and the odd pull.

The early pounding forced Ashraful to bring his slow bowlers on in the fifth over and the move worked as the left-armers, Abdur Razzak and Shakib Al Hasan, plugged the scoring for three consecutive overs. Nasir Jamshed fell after attempting one ugly heave too many, bowled by Shakib.

Younis Khan walked in and carted Mahmudullah for a huge six over midwicket before a swing and a miss off Reza sent him back for 13. Yousuf joined Butt, and during his cameo knock of 32 became the second Pakistani to go past 9000 ODI runs behind Inzamam-ul-Haq. Butt brought up his fifty in the 18th over, launched Mahmudullah for a six over long-off before he was run-out off a direct hit for 76. His 72-ball knock had all but sealed the victory, with Pakistan needing just seven to win.

Pakistan v Bangladesh, 2nd ODI, Faisalabad

Media stand has IPL franchises worried

The Hyderabad franchise is confident that the IPL officials will handle the media coalition smoothly...

The stand-off between the Indian Premier League (IPL) and leading news agencies over contentious accreditation clauses for the Twenty20 tournament starting on April 18 has been termed as a matter of concern by franchises, with some of them planning to discuss the issue with IPL officials if media coverage of the event is affected.

"If the issue escalates to a point where media or sections of the media will choose to ignore the IPL, we will have to step in, meet with IPL and seek clarifications. We need to find an amicable solution," Charu Sharma, the chief executive of the Bangalore Royal Challengers, told Cricinfo.

Fraser Castellino, the CEO of Jaipur's Rajasthan Royals, said they had invested heavily in the venture and would like the entire media on board to ensure that the event "reaches every heart". J Krishnan, of Hyderabad's Deccan Chargers, said he was sure the IPL officials would sort out the issue.

Sharma is a well-known television professional while the Jaipur franchise is backed by the UK-based Investors in Cricket, a media group with significant interests in television. The Hyderabad franchise is owned by Deccan Chronicle, the newspaper group.

The Press Trust of India (PTI), the country's leading news agency, on Friday joined leading international agencies in calling for modifications in IPL's coverage norms, failing which they have decided to ignore the event. The News Media Coalition (NMC), the umbrella body that covers global news and photograph agencies Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Getty Images, had earlier expressed deep concerns about IPL's media norms, including curbs on selling photographs to websites and a press-box bar on websites.

The Editors Guild of India has expressed reservations on the IPL's media clauses and the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), a representative body of newspaper publishers, said it was disappointed about the accreditation terms, even after the IPL revised them following discussions with media representatives on Monday.

"As far as we are concerned, this issue involves the IPL's IPR, and has to be sorted out by the IPL. However, if the situation [on media accreditation] escalates we will have to have a say in the matter and will want to discuss the issue with IPL," said Sharma. "If push comes to shove, we will want to get involved as a franchise on this matter. Generally, we believe that nobody can go forward on an event of this magnitude without getting the media on board and addressing all their concerns."

Castellino offered help to resolve the issue because the franchises needed "the entire media" on their side. "Definitely, the possibility of the media ignoring the event is not a great development from the franchise point of view. We are concerned and may need to discuss with the IPL if the situation is not resolved," he said. "We have invested heavily in this venture, and we need the event to touch every heart. For that, we need the entire media on our side. We hope the two parties, like two sensible people, will sit across the table and resolve the issue. We really have no time but we, as a franchise, are willing to step in and help resolve this situation."

Krishnan said Hyderabad will leave the issue to the "capable" IPL officials. "We really don't want to comment on this matter, except to state that we are sure the IPL will find a solution to this issue."

The inaugural IPL tournament starts in Bangalore with the Royal Challengers, the home team, taking on the Kolkata Knight Riders. A Knight Riders spokesman declined to comment on the issue.

Indian Premier League

Thursday, April 10, 2008

News agencies to ignore IPL

The Press Trust of India (PTI) has joined international agencies in calling for a modifications in the media guidelines for the Indian Premier League, failing which they have decided to ignore the event.

PTI's reluctance to accept the terms and conditions will no doubt come as a big blow to the IPL, considering the reach that the agency enjoys across various Indian publications. "We have not applied for accreditation [the last date was April 10] because the current terms and conditions are not acceptable to us," VS Chandrashekar, an executive editor with PTI, told Cricinfo. "We will cover the event only if the media guidelines are changed."

Despite the IPL releasing fresh terms and conditions after vociferous protests from the media against its original guidelines on accreditation for the event, news agencies are still left high and dry because they are prohibited from selling photographs to websites or newspapers.

The News Media Coalition, the umbrella body that has under its wings global news and photograph agencies Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France Presse and Getty Images, had expressed deep concerns about limitations on access imposed by the IPL.

Barry Parker, AFP's South Asia bureau chief, stuck to his earlier stance and it is learnt that Reuters and AP, the two other major international agencies, were also of a similar view.

Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, had an almost two-hour meeting with representatives of various media in India on Monday, and all parties announced later that they had removed most of the bottlenecks. Even then, some of the contentious clauses remained, including the ban on selling photographs and the bar on representatives from websites covering matches.

World Top Batsman's

1. Kumar Sangakkara ( SL )

Kumar Sangakkara born on October, 27, 1977 in Matale is a left handed batsman. He has acqiured number 3 position in batting and learned wiketkeeping and become a specialist wicketkeeper. His wicket keeping has improved to such an extent that he is now considered, by the LG ICC Test ratings, the best current wicket-keeping batsman. He likes to hit the ball square of the wicket on the off-side. In July 2006, he scored his highest Test score of 287 against South Africa and shared a record-breaking partnership of 624 with Mahela Jayawardene. This is a world record in both Test and first class cricket, and was the first case of a partnership of 600 or more in a first-class or Test match innings. Sangakkara also has six ODI centuries, including one against Australia in Colombo, 2004, in his hundredth match.

Kumar Sangakkara ( SL )

2. Michael Hussey ( AUS)

Michael Hussey born on May 27, 1975 in Morley, Western Australia. Michael is left-handed batsman, he has made a highly successful start to his international career. He plays his first-class cricket as vice-captain for the Western Warriors in Australia, and has played for several counties in England. His batting average in both forms of the game is over 70, and he currently tops the list of best averages ever in ODI cricket. Statistically, Hussey's international career (so far) has been extraordinarily successful. His batting average in Tests is nearly 80 and in ODIs just under 60. He currently tops the list of best averages ever in ODI cricket. Hussey's ODI average would be lower were it not for an early string of not outs, but nevertheless his strike rate of 90.90 is very respectable.

Michael Hussey ( AUS )

3. Ricky Ponting ( AUS )

Ricky Thomas Ponting Born on December 19, 1974, in Launceston, Tasmania, is the present captain of the Australian One-Day and Test cricket teams. He is one of the world's leading batsmen in both forms of the game, as of June 2004 having made 6019 runs in 78 Tests at the outstanding batting average of 54.7, and 7255 runs at 42 (and with the good strike rate of 78) in 201 one-day international matches.

Unlike many Australian cricketers, Ponting's talents were quickly rewarded with selection, playing for Tasmania at age 17, and his test debut coming against Sri Lanka in the 1995/96 season at age 20.

Ricky Ponting ( AUS )

Early off-field difficulties, involving him on two occasions getting excessively drunk while on tour, and once becoming involved in a bar fight, saw him temporarily dropped from the team in 1999, but aside from an ankle injury in 2000 he has been a permanent fixture in the team, mostly batting in the number 3 position where the best batsman in the team is traditionally played.

3. Jacques Kallis ( SA )

Jacques Kallis is the best allrounder in the world. The burly Capetonian bats at number three or four in the South African line-up, although this World Cup is more likely to find him in the latter position. He is the rock amongst SA's batsmen: able to focus mercilessly for long periods of time and defy the opposition bowling. He is also capable of accelerating the scoring with a wide array of strokes. He has no discernable weakness against pace or spin bowling. He is a difficult man to dislodge.

Kallis is also one of the ten best seam bowlers in the world. He usually moves the ball away from the right-handed batsman and possesses

Jacques Kallis ( SA )

a short ball surprising in its pace, as well as a slow ball surprising in its lack of pace. He is likely to feature first change, but is also very adept at firing in the yorkers at the death. Finally, Kallis is also SA's premier slip fielder. Big hands and sharp reflexes serve him well in this crucial position.

5. Mohammad Yousuf ( PAK )

Mohammad Yousuf is the highest star on Pakistan's cricket horizon and has established himself as one of the most exciting batsmen in contemporary cricket. Born on August 27, 1974, Yousuf has proved his mettle in both genres of the game. In the abridged version, the youngster has the eye and reflexes to maintain a brisk run-rate. Making his intentions clear at the very outset, Yousuf shows a ready willingness to dance down the wicket to the flighted hall and loft it high and straight over the are between mid-off and mid-on. The fast men of the game also fare no better against his onslaught.

Mohammad Yousuf ( PAK )
6. Matthew Hayden ( AUS )

The left handed Matthew Hayden is a masterful opening batsman who is rarely unsettled and who hits the ball to all parts of the wicket. He possesses a beautifully uncomplicated technique which allows him to drive forcefully from the front foot and to issue thunderously executed cuts, hooks and pulls from the back. He is tall, powerfully built, and plays with muscular authority.

From the moment that he struck a magnificent 149 in his maiden first-class innings, Hayden has continued to demonstrate a seemingly unquenchable thirst for big scores.His sheer weight of runs for Queensland,

Matthew Hayden ( AUS )

Hampshire and Northamptonshire has made him one of domestic cricket's best performing batsmen of recent times and, though he struggled initially on his elevation in the mid-1990s, he has now begun to make a decisive mark for himself in the international arena as well.

Hayden's qualities were arguably best showcased during a phenomenal personal tour of India in early 2001 that netted him 549 Test runs from a mere six innings. Striking evidence of his ability also arrived in twin home series against New Zealand and South Africa in 2001-02, when he cracked four individual centuries and joined with fellow opener Justin Langer to produce a world-record four double century partnerships in the course of a single season.

7. Mahela Jayawardene ( SL )

Mahela Jayawardene born on May 27, 1977 in Colombo is the captain of Sri Lanka team. He is a specialist batsman who has a Test average close to 50, and an ODI average in the 30s. In 2006, he was named by the International Cricket Council as the best international captain of the year. He is also known for his fielding skills in the inner ring, he had effected the most number of run-outs in ODI cricket of any fieldsman, with the fifth highest success rate. He made his Test debut in the record breaking Test in 1997 against India at R.P.S., Colombo. His ODI debut was against Zimbabwe at Premadasa in January 1998. They won the match, with Jayawardene hitting the winning run.

Mahela Jayawardene ( SL )

8. Shiv Chanderpaul ( WI )

Shiv Chanderpaul born on August 16, 1974 in Unity Village, Demerara-Mahaica, Guyana is a former captain of West Indies cricket team. He is a left handed batsman and has a ability to stick on the wickets for long hours. He is known for his very unorthodox front-on batting stance, although his footwork just before delivery shifts his body into a more conventional position by the time he plays the ball which makes him a prolific scorer on both sides of the wicket with the off driver and the flick off the toes.

Shiv Chanderpaul ( WI )

9. Kevin Pietersen( ENG )

Kevin Pietersen born on June, 27, 1980 in Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa. He is an attacking right-handed batsman and occasional off spin bowler who plays for Hampshire County Cricket Club and is an important member of both the England Test match and One-day International teams. He became the fastest batsman to reach both 1000 and 2000 runs in One-day International cricket, and currently has the highest average of any England player to have played more than 20 innings of one-day cricket. He also has the second-highest run total from his first 25.

Kevin Pietersen ( ENG )

10. Younis Khan ( PAK )

A middle-order batsman, Younis Khan is fearless, as befits his Pathan ancestry. He plays with a flourish and is especially strong in the arc from backward point to extra cover. He is prone to getting down on one knee and driving extravagantly. But this flamboyance is coupled with grit.

His main weaknesses are playing away from the body and leaving straight balls. Younis was one of the few batsmen who retained his place in the team after Pakistan's disastrous World Cup campaign in 2003, but lost it soon after due to a string of poor scores in the home series against Bangladesh and South Africa.

Younis Khan ( PAK )

He came back for the one-day series against India, but failed to cement a place in the Test side. Younis also aspires to be a legspinner, but the truth is that he is barely first-class standard. His fielding, though, is better, and he took a world-record four catches in one innings as substitute during Pakistan's demolition of Bangladesh in the 2001-02 Asian Test Championship.

11. Michael Clarke ( AUS )

Michael Clarke born on April 2, 1981 in Liverpool, New South Wales, Australia is a right-handed batsman, highly-regarded fielder and occasional left-arm orthodox spin bowler. He made his first-class debut for New South Wales as an eighteen year old in the 1999-2000 Australian domestic season. He played a major part in Australia's 2-1 series victory, their first in India in over thirty years, contributing outstanding bowling figures of 6 for 9 in the final Test of the series. In recognition of his performance in the 2004 calendar year, he was awarded the Allan Border Medal in 2005.

Michael Clarke ( AUS )

12. Sachin Tendulkar ( IND )

Sachin Tendulkar born on April 24, 1973 in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India is the second greatest test batsman. He made his international debut in 1989 and is a perennial crowd-favorite, he is the only Indian cricketer to receive the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India's highest sporting honour for his performance in 1997-1998. Sachin Tendulkar made his debut when he was only 15 years plus when he visited Pakistan with Indian team in 1989. He hit 59 at Faisalabad in his second Test. His first century came against England when he made 119 at Old Trafford in 1990.

Sachin Tendulkar ( IND )

13. Alastair Cook ( ENG )

Alastair Cook born on December 25, 1984 in Gloucester is a left handed batsman. On the 28 December 2006 in Melbourne, Cook scored his thousandth Test run and in doing so joined Mark Taylor as the only other player in Test history to score 1000 runs in his maiden year and the fastest England batsman to reach 1000 Test runs. He has scored centuries in his first Test matches against India, Pakistan and the West Indies.

Alastair Cook ( ENG )

14. Graeme Smith ( SA )

Graeme Smith born on February, 1, 1981 in Johannesburg is the captain of south africa team and an occasional off spin bowler. He is youngest ever cricketer to became captain at the age of 22. He is a tall and strongly built left handed opening batsman standing at 6'3 and 15 stone who is usually very leg-side orientated at the crease. He made his Test debut for South Africa in 2002 in Cape Town against Australia. He displayed strong character and mental strength in that match by scoring a half century.

Graeme Smith ( SA )

15. Rahul Dravid ( IND )

Rahul Dravid has been one of the main pillars of the Indian batting with his blend of technical proficiency and stylish strokes. In a side bristling with dashing batsmen, he has frequently played the sheet-anchor role to perfection. Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly has even gone on record as saying that 'keeper Dravid is his man for the World Cup. The World Cup, incidentally, has been a stage where Dravid has revelled. In the 1999 edition of the premier one-day championship, he ended up with two hundreds and the highest aggregate, a feat which led to his being named the Wisden cricketer of 2000.For sheer consistency, Dravid has few equals and has maintained a Test career average of over 50. His temperament is exemplary and his concentration legendary.

Rahul Dravid ( IND )

A batsman who revels in a crisis, Dravid, against New Zealand in January 1999, joined Vijay Hazare and Sunil Gavaskar as one of only three Indians to have scored a century in each innings in a Test. The poor run in Australia in 1999-2000 was only a passing phase and he returned to top form the next season, most memorably notching up his first double century in Tests. His promotion as vice-captain was widely acclaimed and now he is promoted as Captain of Indian Team.

16. Stephen Fleming ( NZ )

Stephen Fleming born on April 1, 1973 in Christchurch is a test captain of New Zealand cricket team. He is a left handed batsman who made his Test debut in 1994 against India and assumed the captaincy role during the home series against England in 1997. Known for his astute tactical abilities, he is New Zealand's most successful Test captain, having led the side to 28 victories (as of April 2007) and having won Test match series against India, England, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. As a fielder, he has taken over 150 catches giving him the 4th highest Test aggregate for a non-wicketkeeper

Stephen Fleming ( NZ )

17. Ashwell Prince ( SA )

Ashwell Prince born on May 28, 1977 in Port Elizabeth, Cape Province plays Test and One-day International cricket for South Africa. He is a left handed middle order batsman, he has a high batted stance and is strong through the offside. He is noted for his gritty style of batting and also for being an athletic fielder in the covers. At the age of 29, he becomes the first non-white man to captain the mostly-white South African cricket team. He is strong through the offside. He is often regarded as a good fielder. He has a good conversion rate from fifties to hundreds

Ashwell Prince  ( SA )

18. V.V.S. Laxman ( IND )

Laxman born on November 1, 1974 in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India is noted for his superb timing and ability to hit against the turn against spin bowlers. He is right handed batsman and right arm off break bowler. His batting style is similar to the more famous Hyderabadi, Mohammed Azharuddin - whom Laxman says is his role-model. He made his Test debut in 1996, hitting a fifty against South Africa at Ahmedabad.

V.V.S. Laxman ( IND )

19. Paul Collingwood ( ENG )

Paul Collingwood born on May 26, 1976 in Shotley Bridge, Durham is vice-captain of Durham County Cricket Club and plays Test and One-day International cricket for England, and on 22 June 2007 appointed to England's one-day captaincy. Paul Collingwood is perhaps the first specialist fielder to earn regular selection for a Test squad. He made England's one-day team in 2001, but four years and numerous tours later, he had played in just three Tests. In Australia in 2002-03 he started the VB Series as 12th man, but was soon spanking a memorable maiden international century against Sri Lanka at Perth - a round 100 that confirmed his place in the 2003 World Cup squad.

Paul Collingwood ( ENG )

20. Ian Ronald Bell ( ENG )

Ian Bell born on April 11, 1982 in Coventry, West Midlands is a right handed batsman and right arm medium bowler. He had been earmarked for greatness long before he was drafted onto the England tour of New Zealand in 2001-02, as cover for the injured Mark Butcher. A former England U19 captain, Bell had played just 13 first-class games when called into the England squad, though in 2001 he scored 836 runs for Warwickshire at an average of over 64, including three centuries.

Ian Ronald Bell ( ENG )

21. Andrew Symonds ( AUS )

Symonds born on June 9, 1975 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, Australia. He is a talented powerful right-handed batsman. He can also bowl off spin or medium pace, making him a good all-rounder. He is an outstanding fielder as well, able to take catches well and with powerful throws and excellent reflexes; some may consider him almost the 'perfect cricket package'.

Andrew Symonds ( AUS )

22. Saurav Ganguly ( IND )

Ganguly born on July 08, 1972 in Kolkata, India. His international career began in a disastrous way. As a 19 year-old, he was on tour to Australia in 1991/92 where both his ability and attitude was questioned. His recall for the 1996 tour to England was severely criticized but this talented left-hander silenced his critics by hitting century at Lord's.

Saurav Ganguly ( IND )

23. Adam Gilchrist ( AUS )

Adam Gilchrist born on November 14, 1971 in Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia is a Vice Captain of Australian cricket team. Gilchrist is an outstanding, aggressive left-handed batsman and effective wicketkeeper, combining the two roles for the Australian national team. His strike rate is amongst the highest in the history of both One-day and Test cricket and he currently holds the record for the second fastest century in Test match cricket. At Old Trafford in August 2005 he passed Alec Stewart's world record of 4,540 runs as a Test wicketkeeper. His ability to destroy the opposition in a very short period of time led him to be known as 'The Demolition Man'

Adam Gilchrist ( AUS )

24. Virender Sehwag ( IND )

Virender Sehwag's name is now on everybody's lips. The series against South Africa was an unforgettable one in the young man's career. After impressing in the one-dayers and following it up by scoring a debut Test hundred while giving Sachin Tendulkar excellent company in a glorious stand at Bloemfontein, Sehwag found himself dragged into the match-referee controversy along with his idol in the next Test at Port Elizabeth.

The whole controversy ensured that he missed the first Test of the England series which was played at Mohali. But once he was back, he had managed to successfully brush it all aside and return to his free-flowing, ebullient self.

Virender Sehwag ( IND )

An injury while fielding in the second Test against Zimbabwe put him out of cricket again for a brief while. There were fleeting glimpses of his destructive potential in the three one-dayers that he played in the West Indies, but England is where Sehwag would be hoping to prove, once and for all, that his is a talent that here is stay.

Sehwag made a strong comeback to the Indian team during the Australia tour of India in 2000-01. In the first one-dayer at Bangalore, Sehwag helped himself to a quick half-century before scalping three crucial wickets to play a leading role in India's victory. Man of the Match in the first one-dayer, Sehwag was forced to miss the rest of the series with a fractured finger. Promoted to open the batting in the absence of Sachin Tendulkar, Sehwag hammered a 70-ball ton against the hapless Kiwis in a tri-series played in Sri Lanka. That innings made his reputation and secured his place in the Indian one-day team.

25. Chris Gayle ( WI )

Chris Gayle born on September 21, 1979 in Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. He is a thrusting Jamaican left-handed batsman in West Indies team; Gayle earned himself a black mark on his first senior tour - to England in 2000 - where the new boys were felt to be insufficiently respectful of their elders. But a lack of respect, for opposition bowlers at least, has served Gayle well since then. He has the ability to decimate the figures of even the thriftiest of opening bowlers. Gayle is tall and imposing at the crease, he loves to cut through the covers off either foot.

Chris Gayle  ( WI )

Chanderpaul clinches final-ball thriller

Shivnarine Chanderpaul launches the final ball for six to win the opening ODI for West Indies...

Shivnarine Chanderpaul carried West Indies to a thrilling final-ball one-wicket thriller in the first one-day international Port of Spain after being left needing 10 off two deliveries. He responded with a straight drive before flicking a Chaminda Vaas full toss over deep midwicket to send the Trinidad crowd into wild celebrations.

An enthralling match had swung one way then the other. Sri Lanka recovered from 49 for 5 to post a competitive total with Chamara Kapugedera hitting a career-best 95 in a record sixth-wicket stand of 159 with Chamara Silva. West Indies were well placed on 109 for 1 before Chris Gayle fell for 52, and when Dwayne Bravo was run out the lower-order was exposed. Sri Lanka appeared to have done enough, but Chanderpaul had other ideas.

He'd struggled to find the boundary, and the strike, in the final stages but clipped a four off the final ball of the 49th over. Only three runs came off the first four balls of the last over from Vaas before Chanderpaul slammed a drive past mid-off, followed by the match-clinching six which sailed over Mahela Jayawardene on the fence. Jayawardene knew he wasn't going to haul in a last-ditch catch and although he made his displeasure clear at the full toss from Vaas, on reflection he'll find plenty to be pleased about from his team's performance.

This series marks something of a watershed for Sri Lanka as they start to build for the next World Cup. Muttiah Muralitharan has been rested, something that will become the norm for non-major tournaments or series, while Sanath Jayasuriya has been dropped to blood a young top order. Throw in the absence of Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando and Farveez Maharoof through injury and this was Sri Lanka's weakest one-day bowling attack for some time. After Vaas's 392 wickets, the next best was Tillakaratne Dilshan with 45.

It didn't leave Jayawardene with much to work with, especially when Ishara Amerasinghe was taken to the cleaners and Kapugedera's bowling was less successful than his batting. It was the debutant spinner, Ajantha Mendis, who stood up with three wickets leaving West Indies dumbfounded by his variations to suggest Sri Lanka may have unearthed someone to help ease the burden on Muralitharan.

Mendis showed the calmness and control of a seasoned international player, not a 23-year-old playing his first game. He broke through a 56-run stand between Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan, later adding Darren Sammy and, one ball after being launched for six, claiming Jerome Taylor in his further spells.

Nuwan Kulasekera was another to answer his captain's call with top-order wickets. Starting with Devon Smith he also removed Sarwan and two balls later trapped Marlon Samuels lbw . Dwayne Bravo decided the best way to counter the flurry of wickets was with aggression and joined the list of batsmen to take a liking to Amerasinghe. He played his trademark pull off one leg through midwicket before unfurling the shot of the match, a back-foot drive high over extra-cover which struck one of the photographers a nasty blow on the head.

It was a piece of headless cricket that opened the door again for Sri Lanka as Bravo succumbed to a misunderstanding with Chanderpaul and both ended up at the same end. Bravo's dismissal left West Indies needing 67 off 12 overs and the onus on Chanderpaul. He was composed, but his colleagues less so. Patrick Browne couldn't pick Mendis's box of tricks, but his team-mates will forgive him that. They will be less generous about his dismissal. One ball after easing the pressure with a sweet six off Dilshan he tried a repeat and found Mendis at long on. However, in the final throws it was the two most experienced players on the field who went head-to-head, with Chanderpaul coming out on top

West Indies would never have envisaged such a close call after they'd taken advantage of early movement to reduce Sri Lanka's top order to ruins. Bravo claimed three, including Jayawardene who drove loosely to backward point, after Kumar Sangakkara had fallen in similar fashion against Taylor.

Kapugedera has struggled to nail a consistent place in the middle order since making his debut two years ago but has continued to knock on the door with performances for Sri Lanka A. He expanded his strokeplay in the closing overs, taking two sixes off Sulieman Benn plus another off Fidel Edwards, and seemed to be timing his pursuit of three figures nicely until falling to the penultimate ball of the innings.

He'd been helped in the well-paced fightback by Silva, the more experienced player who was happy to let Kapugedera play his natural game. With the charge on in the final 10 overs Silva also began to open his shoulders, but picked out midwicket for a 96-ball 67, full of inventive strokes and quick running, to hand Bravo his fourth wicket. Bravo's all-round contribution earned him the match award, but the Trinidad crowd made it clear they knew who West Indies had to thank for pulling off a victory that had appeared to have slipped away

West Indies v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Trinidad

South Africans to miss first four IPL games

Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher are set to miss the early part of the IPL...

The South African cricketers selected by the eight Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises will lose part of their treasure chest after they decided to fly back home at the conclusion of the ongoing Test series to take part in the final stages of the Standard Bank Pro20.

The likes of Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith, Mark Boucher, Dale Steyn and Makhaya Ntini will now be available for the semi-finals and finals of the domestic competition, and will enter the IPL fray only after April 25. As a result, most of them will miss four games.

The news comes three days after Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, said the members of the Cobras side would stay Back in India for the start of the IPL. He said the Titans players could also follow suit.

However, Gerald Majola, the chief executive of Cricket South Africa (CSA), confirmed to Cricinfo that the South Africans would be available for IPL only after the first week of the tournament. "That was always the arrangement," Majola said.

Charu Sharma, the chief executive of the Bangalore Royal Challengers, told Cricinfo that the franchise was yet to receive any official information. Bangalore, who play their first match on April 18, have Kallis, Boucher and Steyn and will be the most affected. The Chennai Super Kings will lose Makhaya Ntini and Albie Morkel but VB Chandreshekar, who overseas cricket operations, said the team was always expecting this situation, especially after Majola's visit to Chennai last month.

The decision, made in consultation with Majola, was taken on Wednesday night, and the players will now fly home, via Dubai, at the conclusion of the Kanpur Test.

Under the terms of their contracts, the players could end up forfeiting more than 25 percent of what they would otherwise have earned during the IPL season. Kallis, signed by the Royal Challengers for $900,000 stands to lose more than $200,000. As things stand, he and Smith, who are team-mates at the Cape Cobras, will now miss their first head-to-head confrontation, when the Royal Challengers take on the Rajasthan Royals at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on April 26.

Indian Premier League

Team England Wallpapers


Paul Collingwood,Ravi Bopara,Stephen Fleming,Andrew Strauss,Owais Shah,Monty Panesar,Michael Vaughan,Kevin Pietersen,James Anderson,Andrew Flintoff,Stuart Broad,Rayan Sidebottom,Ian Botham Wallpapers.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Lorgat open to revising Future Tours Programme

Daniel Vettori: "I think everybody would like to see some space for the IPL in the FTP. If it is feasible, then it will be great and easy on the players"...

Haroon Lorgat, who is set to take over from Malcolm Speed as the ICC chief executive, is open to the idea of revising the Future Tours Programme (FTP) in order to make space for the IPL.

"The game is growing and the world is changing," Lorgat told the Sydney Morning Herald. "With the successful introduction of Twenty20 to the calendar, there is more cricket to be played, and as a result the time could come where workloads have to be managed.

"The IPL is something that is exciting and can be used to enhance and grow the game around the globe. Cricket is unique in that we have three formats now, and that can be used to attract new fans. If we need to revisit the FTP, we will do that."

The inaugural edition of the IPL will overlap with Australia's tour of West Indies and New Zealand's summer in England. "If well managed, I think all three forms of the game are sustainable, Lorgat said. "It's just about finding the right balance." Earlier in an interview with Cricinfo, Lorgat had said IPL deserved strong support at the highest level.

Meanwhile New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said though it was unlikely that players would retire to play in the IPL it was difficult to refuse when big offers came one's way. "I think everybody would like to see some space for the IPL in the FTP," Vettori told the Hindustan Times. "If it is feasible, then it will be great and easy on the players."

But according to a survey by the Australian Cricketers Association, 47% of Cricket Australia -contracted players and 49% of players with state contracts polled said they would consider early retirement to play in an Indian Twenty20 league.


Kallis wins Wisden's leading player award

Kevin Pietersen graces the front cover of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2008...

Jacques Kallis, the South Africa allrounder, has been named the Leading Cricketer in the World for 2007, as the 145th edition of the Wisden Cricketer's Almanack prepares to hit the bookshelves.

Kallis becomes the fifth recipient of the award, which was introduced in 2004, after Australians Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne, Andrew Flintoff of England and, last year, Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka. The Almanack, which is published today, awarded Kallis the prize for his 1210 Test runs at 86.42; last year and 20 wickets at 25.75.

Peter Roebuck, in his article on Kallis, said 2007 was the year "he cut loose, the year he dared to dominate a match and even a series, after his omission from the World Twenty20", while labelling him "the first indisputably great African cricketer of the post-apartheid era".

Meanwhile, Ian Bell, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ottis Gibson, Ryan Sidebottom and Zaheer Khan were named as the five Cricketers of the Year for their achievements in the English season in 2007. Bell arrived in both Tests and one-dayers, revealing genuine class; Gibson revelled in the autumn of his career with an outstanding season for Durham, culminating in 10 for 47 against Hampshire while Zaheer and Sidebottom led the left-armer's renaissance. Chanderpaul stood head and shoulders above any of his West Indian peers, averaging 148 in the three Tests against England.

Editing the Almanack for the first time, Scyld Berry is forthright in his call for the ICC to take greater responsibility over the safety of players. Physical violence, he says, is threatening to take over the tradition non-contact game of cricket and the ICC "must be no less effective in preventing physical violence. For once this taboo is broken, it could rapidly spread, just as sledging - sustained personal abuse - has spread from international teams downwards".

Elsewhere in the broad-ranged Editor's Notes, Berry questions why the batsmen of today cannot hit the ball as far as their Victorian counterparts. The biggest ever hit of 175 yards, or 160 metres, was recorded at Oxford in 1856 "from hit to pitch" by Walter Fellows; the Australian George Bonnor struck a ball 160 yards a few years later. Yet the biggest strike in last year's inaugural World Twenty20 championship, by India's Yuvraj Singh, was only 119 metres. Berry offers a possible explanation in a piece entitled "Hail Fellows, well hit".

Wisden also look at five great cricketers who were never selected as Cricketers of the Year - which include Abdul Qadir, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Wes Hall - and they introduce a new award, the Young Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year.

Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2008

ACSU questions three Pakistan players

Danish Kaneria and Younis Khan were interviewed by the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit in Lahore...

The International Cricket Council has confirmed that its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) carried out interviews with three Pakistan players, Danish Kaneria, Younis Khan and Umar Gul.

The interviews took place in Lahore over April 5 and 6. The ICC said the purpose of these interviews was to seek specific information and that the ACSU was provided the required details by the players.

A report in the News, quoting unspecifed sources, said the interviews were related to a function the three players may have attended while touring India in November-December 2007 and the identity of one of the other guests. Naghmi said the board could not confirm whether that was the case, though a source close to one of the players suggested to Cricinfo this was the case. An ICC spokesperson confirmed to Cricinfo that the questioning was not connected to Shoaib Akhtar's recent claims and that it was in relation to "a separate issue".

The confirmation does clear up considerable confusion over the purpose of the ACSU's visit to Pakistan. Though the visit was widely reported, its purpose was thought to be to question Shoaib and specifically comments he had made last week when he told a local news channel he had been offered money to underperform while touring India and South Africa.

The Pakistan board said they had been informed prior to the visit and insisted the purpose of the visit was only to share information. "The ICC itself says there has been no alleged breach of the code of conduct," Shafqat Naghmi, chief operating officer PCB, told Cricinfo.

"It was just an information-sharing exercise. They called us before and told us 'We're not raising any red flags, we're not accusing anyone. We just want to share some information with them and get some information from them,'" Naghmi said.

"A briefcase full of money was placed before me and I was asked to under-bowl in a match at Johannesburg but I refused," Shoaib told Geo TV. "Then on tour to India I was offered money but I again turned it down." The ICC said subsequently the claims would be investigated.

The visit has already had an indirect effect on the team. Cricinfo has learnt that Younis was upset about the questioning, particularly that he hadn't been warned of it beforehand. He then threatened to pull out of the first ODI against Bangladesh, though he was eventually convinced to take part by the board chairman and selectors. Shoaib Malik, during his post-match press conference, however, denied these claims

Anti-corruption unit investigation