Friday, 17 September 2010

McCullem shifts focus

Brendon McCullem is probably the best wicket-keeper/batsmen since Adam Gilchrist. The New Zealander has now decided to hang up his gloves and focus on his batting. This is a brave call from McCullem, who won’t be guaranteed a place in the side on his batting alone. The Kiwi knows the risk he is taking stating "You go from being one of the major certainties in the team to now being in the mix and being relatively unproven. It's a huge challenge and hopefully it'll be the right decision."

Luckily for the 28 year old has proved his quality over the years and should keep his place. The hard hitting batsman was just awarded his country’s best ODI batting prize along with the best all-rounder award but will still need to perform to keep his place.

While McCullem will carry on behind the stumps during the shorter forms of the game, he will give up the gloves for Test matches. The main reason is that as a keeper, Online Cricket Betting pundits note how McCullem very rarely gets the chance to bat higher than number seven in the Test side.

His current average of 35 indicates he could do a good job for the Kiwi’s further up the order. Giving up the extra pressure of keeping should extend McCullem’s career with his national side.

While New Zealand will miss McCullem’s glove work behind the stumps, Gareth Hopkins will be a very capable replacement who should maintain the team’s Cricket odds in matches.With McCullem further up the order in their Test side, they will go into future matches knowing their batting line up has been significantly strengthened.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Magnificent seventh would be welcome distraction from off-field dramas

England's seamless transition from Test cricket to T20 was achieved with only the minimum of fuss on Sunday as they lived up to their mantle of T20 World Champions with an ultimately comfortable win over Pakistan in Cardiff.

It wasn't a totally straightforward victory though - a mid-innings wobble saw them reduced to 62-5, with Luke Wright failing with the bat again, before Michael Yardy and Eoin Morgan dug England out of a hole. The Three Lions weren't totally convincing in the field either and the two dropped catches were a disappointment. However, there was some good work out on the boundary and the bowling of Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann stood out.

It was the sides sixth consecutive T20 win and a seventh would secure a 2-0 series victory to go with their Test series triumph, the England cricket odds suggest they should wrap up the win.

It is a shame that the series will be tainted by the ongoing spot fixing controversy, and also hasn't been helped by the Twitter outbursts of first Kevin Pietersen and Dimitri Mascarenhas, who have both subsequently been fined.

But the fact England have stayed focused and adapted to the short form of the game so quickly is testament to the players and the coaching staff.

All they can do is go out and try to win matches and try to put off-field distractions to one side. Pakistan are understandably coping worse with the scandal. They are no strangers to chaotic off-field preparations though, and the rumoured recall of Younus Khan as test captain - despite the lifetime ban he received in March - is symptomatic of their inconsistent management.

With a one-day series still to come there is plenty of cricket left in this tour, but given what is going on between games, I get the impression both sides just want it over and done with.

Meanwhile, the Ashes cricket betting suggests England are in for another tough series Downunder.

They will have to iron out several problems in their game if they are to retain the urn.