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Archive for June, 2009

What is it about international cricketers and buses? After Jamie Siddons’ concerns about Bangladesh’s coach-related timekeeping comes news that Andrew Flintoff is similarly lacing in bus-catching skills. Although no mention of alcohol consumption has been made by the ECB, The Times have chosen to illustrate Michael Atherton’s report with a picture of Flintoff downing a beer, implicitly drawing parallels with a certain other power-hitting all-rounder who has recently made headlines for reasons other than cricket, as well as raising the spectre of the infamous ‘Fredalo‘ incident of 2007.

Perhaps more worryingly, Andrew Strauss has said that “punctuality has been a bit of an issue recently with a few players“, which doesn’t bode well for team morale, togetherness and all the other things that the team’s trip to Belgium was supposed to instill in the first place.

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India evidently used up all their runs in the First ODI against the West Indies, as they only managed 188 at the same ground as they slumped to defeat in the second match. Of the 188, 95 were made by Dhoni, sharing a century partnership with RP Singh to rescue the tourists from the depths of 82/8. For the hosts, the bowlers ran riot, with Ravi Rampaul’s 4-37 doing a large chunk of the damage.

Chasing down such a meagre total was child’s play for the Windies, with the tourists cruising to victory with nearly 16 full overs to spare. Runako Morton made 85 not out and Gayle blasted 64 from 46 balls as the hosts levelled the series at the halfway stage with surprising ease.

The best and worst of India has been on display already in this series, and it is only two matches old. Meanwhile, the West Indian bowlers may just be starting to get going.

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Rumours have been circulating since the announcement of England’s ‘pre-Ashes’ squad that Michael Vaughan is set to call time on his cricketing career, and it seems that it’s about to happen.

Undoubtedly, Vaughan will be remembered chiefly for his acheivements as England captain, most famously regaining the Ashes in 2005, but he wasn’t a bad player either (at least until he was struck by the curse of the straight one). Enjoy some of his best moments below:

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Yuvraj Singh evidently didn’t realise the World Twenty20 was over, smashing 131 from 102 balls for India in yesterday’s ODI against the West Indies. Enjoy highlights below:

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The ECB have announced that Pakistan will play two Tests and two Twenty20 matches (no ODIs, interestingly) against Australia in England (and possibly Wales – the venues are yet to be confirmed) next July.

Previously, hosting matches in England had been considered too expensive for the PCB, but that obstacle seems to have been overcome. English fans (as well as UK-based Aussies or Pakistan fans) can now look forward to Afridi vs Johnson and Gul vs Ponting at a ground near them.

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For any of you on pre-Ashes Flintoff-watch, he’s just made 93 from 41 balls in Lancashire’s Twenty20 Cup match with Derbyshire. If any England fans are looking for an excuse to get carried away, then this is as good as you’re going to get. Indulge in some 2005 nostalgia below:

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After the sugary delights of the World Twenty20, it’s back to the slightly more balanced diet of 50-over cricket for the West Indies and India with the four-match ODI series which starts tomorrow at Sabina Park.

The tourists have been hit by injury (Sehwag, Raina) as well as the desire to give some key players (Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan) a rest, but a ‘weak’ Indian side still contains the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Ishant Sharma and Gambhir. Whilst their performance at the World Twenty20 was a disappointment, a disappointed India often bounce back strongly, and the inclusion of fresh faces may well prove to be the catalyst for a revival of their fortunes. Dhoni, as ever, will be key.

For the West Indies, an encouraging home Test series (at least in terms of results, the WICB‘s reputation took a bit of a beating) against England was followed up with a seemingly jaded performance against the same side away from home, and the contrast between the Chris Gayle who grumbled and griped his way thought that series and his swashbuckling Twenty20 alter-ego was vivid. The Windies will be hoping that they have the latter at their disposal for the next couple of weeks, as well as his partner-in-boundaries Dwayne Bravo (who is joined by brother Darren in the West Indies side for the first time). Sulieman Benn is also likely to have to play at his best, as he will face a tough examination of his bowling from the side who are traditionally considered the best in the world at playing spin.

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