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Archive for August, 2008

The Flintoff comeback is gathering pace. At the time of writing, he tops England’s series averages for both batting and bowling, has taken more wickets and scored more runs than any of his team-mates against South Africa, and is rated first in the ICC’s rankings for all-rounders.

Whilst Freddie is unlikely ever to reproduce his golden form of 2005, he’s certainly still got something special about him.

Here’s hoping for more of this and this, and much less of this

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Shoaib Aktar-watchers are used to surprises, but many an eyebrow will be raised if he signs for Surrey.

The county are facing relegation from the top level of the County Championship, and an injection of Shoaib‘s raw pace (not to mention the extra revenue he might generate in ticket sales) could be just what the Bears need.

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Bangladesh were destroyed by Australia, as one would expect. Australia’s bowlers took advantage of the opportunity to improve their averages, with Cameron White taking 3-5, Mitchell Johnson picking up 2-10, and Brett Geeves taking 2-11.

Tamim Iqbal, one of those you should be watching, made 21, which sounds rubbish until you realise that 21 runs was more than a quarter of his team’s total.

Interestingly, Andrew Symonds didn’t play after being sent home. What for? Drunken rock ‘n’ roll excess? Punching a paparazzo? No, fishing.

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India were all out for 103 in the fifth and final ODI against Sri Lanka, allowing the hosts a handsome 112 run win under the D/L method as consolation in the face of losing the series.

India’s collapse (only Kohli managed to score more than 20) was mainly orchestrated by Ajantha Mendis (4-10) and Nuwan Kulasekara (4-40), proving that India’s batsmen are still as vulnerable as ever.

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Another One Day International for England, another ‘Michelle‘ for an English bowler. Samit Patel took 5-41 as South Africa were 170 all out in lukewarm pursuit of England’s 296/7.

Kevin Pietersen might be tempted to get carried away with himself (after all, England have won every match since his permanent appointment as captain), but this South Africa side look about ready for the plane home, and aren’t really the side to set a benchmark against. Only Amla made any real impression for the tourists, with 46 runs from 66 balls.

Aside from Patel, England’s star performer was Flintoff, who made 78 not out at more than a run a ball, then took 2-33 from his 7 overs.

The next match is at Lords’ on Sunday, but the series is already England’s.

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Ambiguities over to what extent the Stanford Superstars are a West Indies team look set to spill over into court, with a date set in London for a hearing of an injuction brought by Digicel (the official sponsors of the West Indies team, but not the Stanford side, which has an agreement with rival telecoms company Cable & Wireless) against the WICB.

The board are confident that the venture will go ahead as planned, but a court date so close to the start of the Super Series, including the game against England, will increase the uncertainty surrounding the event. Watch this space.

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The Don would have been 100 today. There’s not much I can add to the forest of features that have been written this week, so here are a few clips:

Enjoy.

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