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Posts Tagged ‘adil rashid’

Monty Panesar may have been cut adrift by England despite winning the Ashes for them with the bat, but he’s on a new mission now – trying to bring success to the Highveld Lions. Monty looks set to make his debut in tomorrow’s match against the Chevrolet Warriors, and it will be interesting to see how he copes with the pressure of being the side’s star turn.

With Monty facing a difficult winter out in the metaphorical cold, success in South Africa could be just the kick-start he needs to get back onto the international scene. Overhauling Swann and Rashid will take a serious improvement in Panesar’s technique, and some time playing overseas could help him add some much-needed variety to his bowling.

Panesar’s new team-mates will need a strong performance to get a win against the Warriors, who have just recorded a victory over the Dolphins, with their performance in the field particularly impressive. They won’t need to worry about facing Wayne Parnell, though, as he is suspended for undisclosed disciplinary reasons.

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The ECB’s decision not to offer central contracts, nor even incremental contracts, to Steve Harmison or Monty Panesar has left both with their international futures in doubt. Harmison has been rumoured to be considering international retirement in any case, but Panesar now looks to have been cut adrift, particularly when the fact that Adil Rashid has been given an incremental contract is taken into account. Being England’s third-choice spin bowler isn’t a particularly attractive proposition, but at least he’ll always have Cardiff.

Just in case anyone thought the ECB were being radical, though, they gave full central contracts to Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell.

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Despite their central contracts, neither Steve Harmison nor Michael Vaughan were included in the England ‘pre-Ashes’ squad of 16 (not 17 as was reported at the weekend – does anyone know what went on there?) that was announced today. Although Geoff Miller has said that “[t]he door has not been closed on any player at this stage“, their exclusion more or less signals the end of both players’ hopes of featuring in the First Ashes Test in just over two weeks’ time.

Given that neither player really merits a place in the side at the moment, it isn’t a massive surprise that Harmison and Vaughan are both left out, but the selectors’ past loyalty to the stars of the 2005 series, along with the considerable investment made in both via their central contracts, had convinced many that there would be roles for both in the squad. Harmison does feature in the England Lions team to play Australia next week, but he is currently England’s sixth-choice pace bowler at best.

Amongst those who have been included, there number three spinners: Swann, Panesar and Rashid. The latter two are likely to be in direct competition for the role of second spinner now that Swann is well established in the side, and suggestions are being made in some quarters that Rashid’s superior batting ability may see him edge out Monty, something that would arguably portend the end of Panesar’s England career.

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The news that Andrew Flintoff will miss the World Twenty20 tournament will have been unwelcome for most involved in English cricket (and, of course, for the competition’s sponsors), but it could prove to be Adil Rashid’s big break.

The young Yorkshire spinner has been called into England’s 15-man squad to replace Flintoff. Rashid played a strong role in Yorkshire’s Twenty20 Cup campaign last year (unfortunately doomed by an administrative error), and is highly rated by many (including myself), although Gareth Batty was preferred by England for the ODIs over in the Carribbean despite Rashid being over there already. The debate about his ‘readiness’ for international cricket is really a debate about his quality, but if he features for England, he will have been granted a golden opportunity to announce himself as ‘ready’ to the world of cricket.

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  • Durham surprised a lot of people with their Championship win last year, and with Steve Harmison out of favour with England once again, their bowling attack looks just as strong as it was in 2008. Ian Blackwell has come in to bolster the middle order and add a spin option, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul returns in June following the World Twenty20.
  • Hampshire arguably owe last year’s survival, let alone their eventual third place, to the spin bowling of Imran Tahir, who returns from June. In the meantime, Australian Marcus North comes in as an overseas player to add runs, and Dominic Cork also arrives following his release by Lancashire. Chris Tremlett will also be key for the attack, whilst Mascarenhas’ England and IPL commitments will drain the Rose Bowl’s resources for much of the season.
  • Lancashire have released Dominic Cork and Stuart Law, whilst Andrew Flintoff and James Anderson are likely to make very few appearances for their county, so the Red Rose lineup will be somewhat unfamiliar in places. Mark Chilton and Francois Du Plessis need to improve on last year’s performances with the bat, or relegation may threaten to make Peter Moores’ 2009 even worse.
  • Nottinghamshire may spend the majority of the season watching their three best bowlers ply their trade for England, so the likes of Shreck and Pattinson will be key. If Samit Patel gets fit enough to be called up as well, the side could look a little thin in the middle order, but if newlywed Adam Voges can translate his limited-overs form to the four-day game then the prospect of a title challenge isn’t too far-fetched to consider.
  • Somerset continue to have an incredibly strong top order (especially with and Marcus Trescothick as an opening pair), but with Ian Blackwell moving to Durham and Andy Caddick into his 40s, the bowling attack looks worryingly thin. Unless a young gun steps up to take wickets, a proliferation of draws may ensue.
  • Warwickshire face the step up from Division Two without Ian Salisbury, but Jeetan Patel should be a strong addition to their four-day side. If Ian Bell stays out of the England team long enough to feature regularly, then the Bears can reap the benefits. Similarly, Tim Ambrose will be a force in the County game even he doesn’t cut it at Test level.
  • Worcestershire enter the post-Hick era in 2009, which puts a lot of pressure on Vikram Solanki and the likes of Stephen Moore. Gareth Batty’s recent England call-up underlined his quality with the ball, but the pace attack is relatively weak, especially given Simon Jones’ continuing injury problems. If Solanki and Kabir Ali find form, then the side can look for more than just consolidation in their return to Division One.
  • Yorkshire came uncomfortably close to relegation last year, but players of the quality of Michael Vaughan, Anthony McGrath, Matthew Hoggard and Adil Rashid should see them improve in 2009 (assuming England call-ups don’t intervene). A championship challenge may be asking too much, and adjusting to life without Darren Gough will be difficult, but there is enough class (especially with Jacques Rudolph in the side) for a top-half finish.

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It’s more than a year now since I named my 11 to watch, so it’s probably time to weigh up (briefly) who’s lived up to their potential and who hasn’t:

Nasir Jamshed is still under 20, but had little chance to impress this year given Pakistan’s effective exile from international cricket; Virat Kohli made some waves, and is still well-placed for a call-up to the Indian Test side after some good ODI performances and a strong showing in domestic cricket; Tamim Iqbal has shown some promise, but Bangladesh’s continued position at the bottom of the cricketing pile has frustrated his ability to shine; Fawad Alam is probably the one that got away; Steve Davies has finally been called up to the England side, and looked good for a while when he got his chance; Adil Rashid has also won some recognition from the ECB, and will probably play Test cricket in the next year or two; Beau Casson has sunk from the international picture seemingly without trace; Sulieman Benn gave England a torrid time in the Tests and looks set to be a part of the Windies side for some time to come; Tim Southee hasn’t quite lived up to the early hype but still shows promise; Ishant Sharma continues to scare batsmen (especially Ricky Ponting) the world over; Mitchell Johnson continues to do the same to everyone that isn’t Australian.

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The start of the English County season is almost upon us, and the evidence arrived today with the naming of the MCC’s team to take on County Champions Durham in the traditional curtain-raiser. Most reports are highlighting the inclusion of former England captain Michael Vaughan in the side (alongside fellow England castaway Ian Bell), but it’s worth mentioning that the team will be captained by Rob Key, who hasn’t played Test cricket since January 2005.

Key’s continued absence from the main England side whilst simultaneously being viewed by the ECB as ‘reserve captain‘ (the ECB was involved in the selection of the MCC team, and Key has led the England Lions for some time) suggests that Vaughan is the most likely player in the team to play in this summer’s Ashes defeat series against Australia.

The MCC team in full is: Rob Key (c), Kabir Ali, Ian Bell, Steven Finn, James Foster, Sajid Mahmood, Stephen Moore, Adil Rashid, Michael Vaughan, Chris Woakes, Tom Westley

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