Thursday, 29 July 2010

Strauss issues social media warning

England captain Andrew Strauss has issued a warning to his players about using social networking sites such as Twitter. The comments come after Azeem Rafiq’s rant on the site about being dropped for an England Under-19 match.

The Yorkshire bowler used his Twitter account to launch an explosive attack on Coach John Abrahams after being left out for disciplinary reasons.

Strauss’ advice for Rafiq and other England players was to “be careful” and “be aware that what they write is going to be seen by people they might not want it to be seen by.”

Cricket Betting pundits note that several England cricketers have Twitter accounts now. James Anderson and Graeme Swann have been on there for a while, Paul Collingwood has had a go and recent additions include Kevin Pietersen and Steven Finn.

Then there is Tim Bresnan who got in trouble with the ECB after swearing on his page last year. All of these players should certainly take Strauss’ advice of being careful, especially during a series against Pakistan, which online sports betting odds expect to be incredibly tight.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Chennai expecting Flintoff comeback

It would be harsh to describe Andrew Flintoff as the forgotten man of English cricket. However, after his retirement from tests, his continued injury problems and the success of the national team in recent months – it is fair to say that England have moved on.

This doesn’t take anything away from what Flintoff achieved for England. He was their talisman for a number of years and one of the most influential all-rounders to ever grace a cricket field.

It is good that England have moved on too. Had Cricket Betting pundits been been waiting on the fitness of Flintoff at this stage, you just know that it would have been an unsuccessful few months in limited overs cricket.

That has been far from the case though, with the World Twenty20 title in the bag along with ODI series victories over Australia and Bangladesh. In truth, it is hard to see where Flintoff would fit into the team at the moment.

Anyway, back to the man himself and his plans for the future. Well, one team expecting to come back into the fold before long is the Chennai Super Kings. They have included Flintoff in a preliminary 20-man squad for the Champions League Twenty20 in South Africa in September.

They will be forced to trim their squad down to 15 on the 9th August and online sports betting experts would expect them to assess Flintoff’s fitness then.

The 32-year-old is said to be a fortnight away from making a comeback, so he is cutting it fine in terms of proving his fitness before the Champions League Twenty20 final squad is announced.

As ever, all England fans will be wishing him well and hope that he can have an impact for the Chennai Super Kings this year, even if a return to the England squad seems a long way off at the moment.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Muralitharan prepares for final bow

One of the world's greatest and most controversial cricketers, Muttiah Muralitharan, is finally set to bring the curtain down on an illustrious Test career.

Why the greatest? Well the stats speak for themselves: A world record 792 test victims from 132 matches at an average of less than 23. He picked up a further 515 in the one day games with an average of just over 23 and he has even had time to squeeze in 13 wickets in 11 T20 matches at an average of less than 21.

Whatever the pitch, whatever the venue and whatever the game, Muralitharan has been the man every Sri Lanka captain has called on in a crisis - and he more often than not delivered. He certainly helped the side upset the Test cricket odds on a few occasions.

Why controversial? Because of the long standing debate about throwing was ripped open again each time a fussy umpire questioned his unusual action.

A deformed elbow was part of the reason but he also had exceptionally flexible wrists and a shoulder that rotated as rapidly as a fast bowler's at the time of delivery. This allowed him to achieve an exceptional level of spin. His killer delivery though was the doosra - the one that went the other way or held its line.

All of a sudden Murali could tee up his victims before bamboozling with a wicked delivery, putting him up there with the greats.

Umpires haven't been so kind to him though. Darrell Hair called him for throwing on the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne 1995 and the same happened in Brisbane and Adelaide. Another umpire Ross Emerson followed suit three years later. Even former Australian prime minister John Howard once labelled him a chucker - though he later apologised.

Murali even bowled on television in a special cast, going through his entire repertoire of deliveries to try and convince the critics.

He finally won the day and despite the controversy he has kept a dignified stance throughout. He is often accused of lacking that passion and fire in the belly that marks out the great players.

And although I agree that determination often put the elite players above the rest, Murali's unassuming nature betrays his devastating affect with the ball. He has no need to shout and bawl - his actions speak for themselves. Sri Lanka's cricket odds will no doubt take a hit after his departure.

He finally brings the curtain down on his Test career against India this week - I'm sure much to the authorities and opposition batsmen's relief.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Derbyshire v Surrey

Chance lost for me.

200 to win, even on the last day at Chesterfield, should be attainable with 9 wickets in hand hand.

Very disappointing, especially for Wayne Madsen with two tons and still on the losing side.

More in due course but thought we had that sussed at lunchtime with their bowlers limping.

England hold all the aces over Australia

England find themselves in an unusual position at the moment. After securing the one day series against Australia with two games to spare they can now laud it over their great rivals in every format of the game.

The Ashes are in their possession after last year's dramatic home victory, while their first ever ICC trophy was secured in the form of the World T20 where they beat the Aussies in the final.

The feel-good factor among the players is in stark contrast to England's footballers, whose 4-1 hammering by Germany threatened to ruin the afternoon for the supporters packed into Old Trafford on Sunday, before Tim Bresnan's late pushed nervously sealed a series deciding victory. Graeme Swann even went as to say they were the "golden generation" of England cricketers, a title rather embarrassingly applied to England's failed footballers.

The football side, who were third favourites in the World Cup online odds, could learn a thing or two from their cricketing counterparts.

Swann's argument certainly seems to hold water as the side are backing up their talent with results. England are historically weak at the shorter forms of the game but it appears they are flourishing in all forms of the game - don't forget this is just a year after England lost to the Netherlands in the T20 World Cup and were hammered by Australia in the post-Ashes One day series.

Each win in this series was achieved via different methods. The first at Rose Bowl was all about the bat with Eoin Morgan's superb century leading them comfortably home. The second in Cardiff was all about the bowlers, with the short bouncing, skidding deliveries of Broad and co skittling through the Aussie top order. The third was achieved with grit, determination and nerve.

Too often in the past England have bottled it at the crucial moment so a win of this nature is another sign of an emerging side determined to win at all costs. This is reflected in the cricket odds.

Andy Flower deserves a lot of credit for setting England on a path to complete cricket domination. Flower gathered his players last year and stated his ambition to be number one at all forms of the game. It sounds ambitious but the self-belief and confidence flooding through the players suggests they agree with his vision and ethos.

Don't write off the Aussies yet though. Listening to Ricky Ponting after the game suggested he is as determined as ever to gain the last laugh and that could come when the Ashes kick off next November.

But the fact we have barely mentioned Freddie Flintoff shows just how far England have come and the genuine threat they pose in the world game.