Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Start time 1400 local (0800 GMT)
While cricket boards slink around wooing the moneyed and coaxing promises of bilateral tours for the new Future Tours Programme, Pakistan and Sri Lanka raise the curtain on the Asia Cup knowing fixtures between the two nations may soon become more common. They already play each other plenty, but having risked ostracisation from cricket’s oligarchy at the Singapore meeting, they may find other nations anxious about designing tours with either of them. In short: Sri Lanka v Pakistan could be the new Sri Lanka v India.
But at least if that transpires, the limited-overs encounters may produce good contests. Pakistan won the December ODI series 3-2, but three of those matches featured close finishes. In Bangladesh, the teams appear well-matched again. Read more
One of Alex Doolan or Shaun Marsh will make way for Shane Watson provided the Australia allrounder proves his fitness. James Pattinson and Jackson Bird will also push for recalls ahead of the decisive third Test against South Africa at Newlands, following the hosts’ resounding victory in Port Elizabeth.
Major contributors to Australia’s victory at Centurion, neither Doolan nor Marsh could add much at St George’s Park, where both were dismissed cheaply in each innings. Doolan hung around marginally longer than Marsh, who made a pair that gave him the unflattering tally of six ducks in his past 11 Test innings.
The coach Darren Lehmann said he was eager to return Watson to the team, leaving the selectors to deliberate on who should make way for a match in which Australia must find a way to banish memories not only of Sunday’s defeat but also their razing for 47 to lose the dramatic Cape Town Test of 2011. Read more
Nikita Miller, the West Indies spinner, said that spin coach Saqlain Mushtaq’s advice will be crucial in the limited-overs series against England that begins on February 28. Saqlain was brought in to help West Indies’ spinners after a clinic at the WICB High Performance Centre last year and Miller believes his addition has benefitted players like Samuel Badree, Sunil Narine and himself.
“Mushy [Mushtaq] has been helping me for a little time now,” Miller said. “We have a few days before the first ODI and there are some things we are going to work on. We spoke about a few points and I’ll be going into the nets with him and work on them because England is a much tougher opponent. Hopefully I can bring the sort of form forward that I had in New Zealand but it will be challenging indeed.” Read more
South Africa, who are in the same group as holders India in the 2015 ICC World Cup, are set to prepare for the mega event by playing eight ODI games in Australia as well as New Zealand, the joint Cup hosts, in October-November.
South Africa, who would clash in the World Cup with India in Pool B on February 22 under lights at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, are to play three ODIs against New Zealand in October before crossing the Tasman Sea and play Australia in a best-of-five ODI series in November, Cricket South Africa announced on Monday.
South Africa and Australia would also play a best-of-three T20 International series before the Proteas return home to continue their preparations against the the West Indies in a full series comprising three Tests, five ODI’s and two T20 Internationals, CSA stated.Read more
Owing to his decent performance in the recently-concluded two-Test series against New Zealand, India batsman Virat Kohli rose to his career-best eighth position in the latest ICC Test rankings issued in Dubai on Monday. (Stand-in skipper Virat Kohli defends MS Dhoni)
Kohli, who made 214 runs in four innings in New Zealand, jumped a place to be at eighth with 784 ranking points. Cheteshwar Pujara is still the highest-ranked Indian at seventh position in the batsmen’s list, which is headed by South Africa’s AB de Villiers.
In the bowlers’ table, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has climbed up a spot to be the highest-ranked Indian Test bowler at ninth place. Ashwin also, maintained his top position in the player rankings for Test all-rounders.Read more
Humiliated and winless for quite a while, a bruised Indian cricket team would seek to rediscover the lost touch in a five-way battle for regional supremacy when the 12th Asia Cup one-day tournament starts on Tuesday.
India were thoroughly embarrassed in their recent trips to South Africa and New Zealand, failing to win a single match in any format. And now, India are up for another tough challenge when they square off against arch-rivals Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and debutantes Afghanistan in the sub-continent’s premier ODI event. (Also read: Kohli ready to test himself as Team India skipper)
Captained by Virat Kohli in the absence of an injured Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India have been a record five-time Asia Cup champions but can hardly be considered favourites this time around given the way they have faltered in recent months. The struggles in South Africa and New Zealand have laid bare the team’s bowling frailties and the over-reliance on Kohli in the batting department.Read more
There is really no scale to measure Dale Steyn’s fury on a cricket pitch. The Indians were at the receiving end last year. The Australians felt the Steyn heat in Port Elizabeth on Sunday. Steyn took three wickets for four runs in 15 balls to break Australian resistance wide open and set the Proteas on their way to a massive victory by 231 runs with a day to spare in the second Test match at St George’s Park. The high-profile series is now tied 1-1. The third and deciding Test match will be played in Cape Town from Saturday.Read more
Luke Wright says he is “desperate” to be selected for England’s one-day side and wants to be in pole position to take on Kevin Pietersen’s mantle.
The Sussex all-rounder has won only two ODI caps since the 2011 World Cup.
But the 29-year-old believes the end of Pietersen’s international career has given him an opportunity to impress the new England regime.
“Whenever you have a winter like that there’s places up for grabs,” said Wright. Read more
England’s women will host India women in August for a one-off Test and three one-day internationals before welcoming South Africa for a Twenty20 series.
The India Test will be played at Wormsley Cricket Ground, Buckinghamshire, from 13 to 16 August.
It will be the first Test between the sides since 2006 when India won in Taunton to secure a series victory. Read more
England’s dream of reaching their first ICC Under-19 World Cup final since 1998 ended with a dramatic three-wicket semi-final defeat by Pakistan in Dubai.
After winning the toss, England fought back from 1-2 to post 204-7 thanks to captain Will Rhodes’s 76 from 79 balls.
Off-spinner Rob Sayer and 16-year-old Yorkshire seamer Matthew Fisher reduced Pakistan to 142-7 in the 37th over.
But Zafar Gohar and Amad Butt’s eighth-wicket stand of 63 from 74 balls saw Pakistan home with five balls to spare. Read more