England get their mind right

There was no ticket-tape parade, no open-air bus ride, no ICC mace or MBEs for the victory at the Ageas Bowl but, in years to come, we may just look back on it as the first step in a journey that led to a resurgence in England cricket.

There is, no doubt, a great deal of room for improvement in the England team. They need to find greater consistency, they need greater contributions from all areas of the side and they will know that, at the Ageas Bowl, had Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Gary Ballance and Jos Buttler all been dismissed early in their innings – as they so nearly were – the result might well have been different. One good game does not end the legitimate concerns about Cook’s – or Bell’s – form and there will be times, as the likes of Buttler, Moeen Ali and Sam Robson learn their trade at the highest level, when patience is required. Read more

India in England: Five Things to Watch Out for in Third Test

After England’s last-day batting collapse against India in the second Test at Lord’s, the pressure and scrutiny on captain Alastair Cook seems to be reaching its peak.

England slumped from 198 for 5 to 225 all out as India won their first Test away from home in three years, taking a 1-0 lead in the five-Test series. The squads drew the first Test at Trent Bridge. (Jos Buttler says he is not England’s ‘quick fix’)

Here are five things to watch out for in the third Test at the Rose Bowl, starting Sunday:Read more

James Anderson and Ravindra Jadeja not guilty of ICC breach

England’s James Anderson and India’s Ravindra Jadeja have been found not guilty of breaching the International Cricket Council code of conduct.

Seamer Anderson, 32, was given a level three misconduct charge over claims he abused and pushed Jadeja during the first Test at Trent Bridge.

All-rounder Jadeja, 25, was appealing against a fine imposed for his part in the incident last month.

Anderson could have faced a maximum four-Test ban if found guilty. Read more

India to skip Asian Games again

The BCCI has continued to stay away from multinational games by refusing to field the women’s and the men’s cricket teams in the forthcoming Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea from September 19 to October 4.

According to the list of participating teams for the men’s and women’s cricket events, India is the only Test nation from Asia to not participate. While Pakistan have entered only in the women’s event, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will be playing in both categories. Even after the list of participating teams was made public on the Asian Cricket Council’s website, BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said the board, “was considering whether to be a part of Asian Games”. Read more

Mangongo threatens to drop Zimbabwe seniors

Stephen Mangongo, the Zimbabwe head coach, has said that he is ready to drop senior players if their experience does not translate into improved results for the team. Zimbabwe lost successive ODIs at home to Associate side Afghanistan in July and their A team went down to Afghanistan A in a four-day match.

Vusi Sibanda, one of Zimbabwe’s most experienced players, was dropped after the first ODI against Afghanistan, and Mangongo said “bold” decisions needed to be made following years of disappointment.

“We have underperformed for a long time and the time has come for us to be bold and make the right decisions,” Mangongo told the Zimbabwe Independent. “We will not hesitate to chop dead wood and we will not hesitate to unleash raw genuine talent if experience fails us. Read more

Rahul Dravid Should be Hailed for Lord’s Conquest

The man nicknamed ‘The Wall’ was the only one who stood tall amidst the ruins of India’s dismal outing on their 2011 tour of England. It was not a big surprise really then that Dravid was invited by the Indian team management to mentor a very young side ahead of their current Test series in England.

And the results are showing. (Happy Times for India, But Let’s not Think too far Ahead, Says Tendulkar)

Ajinky Rahane had said “I played with him at Rajasthan Royals and he was here with us before the Test series so. He told us to just believe in ourselves, just be confident and go and produce good cricket.”

Murali Vijay added: “We all look up to him as a hero. When I was a youngster, I always saw Rahul bhai playing for India, the way he was organising his innings.” Read More

India Won’t Have Ishant Sharma in Manchester Test, Says Mahendra Singh Dhoni

India went down to England by 266 runs in the third Test in Southampton on Thursday, but there was more bad news for the tourists after skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni confirmed that senior pacer Ishant Sharma will miss the fourth Test in Manchester from Monday (August 7). Injured Ishant missed the third Test at Ageas Bowl.

Ishant had bowled India to victory at Lord’s, with a sensational seven-wicket burst, bouncing England’s batsmen with short balls and intimidating with pace. However, the lanky Delhi pacer had to sit out of the Rose Bowl Test, paving the way for Pankaj Singh to make his Test debut. Singh failed to bag a single wicket in either innings.

Ishant has had major injury concerns in the past but this one, in the middle of a crucial series, will hurt India. Especially after losing at Southampton. Read more

England v India: How everything changed for Cook’s men

If you don’t become a bad side overnight, how long does it take?

One Test? A series? What about 10 matches and 354 days?

When Stuart Broad had Australia’s Peter Siddle caught by James Anderson to seal a third successive Ashes triumph at Chester-le-Street last August, it seemed inconceivable that England would have to wait almost a year for their next win.

The downward trajectory was not so much a slide, more the steepest of helter-skelters, with the out-of-control England team losing player after player and showing few signs of stopping. Read more

Moeen Ali: Worcestershire disappointed by T20 absence

Worcestershire have expressed disappointment that England will not allow all-rounder Moeen Ali to play in their T20 Blast quarter-final.

On Saturday, they face Surrey at The Oval with a finals day place at stake.

“I would have loved for him to be helping us qualify. It means a lot to Worcestershire to try and get there,” director of cricket Steve Rhodes said.

“But rules are rules and coaches are coaches – and I thoroughly understand Peter Moores’ situation.”

Rhodes continued: “He’s got a right and he wants his team fresh and quite rightly raring to go for the next Test. Who can blame him for that? I rang up Pete, but I had no joy.” Read more

Dhoni defends four-bowler strategy

When Bob Dylan asked who killed Davey Moore, the answer was everyone involved with boxing. Yet they didn’t want a finger pointed at them. MS Dhoni, after enduring a Test where everything went wrong, didn’t mind pointing that finger. In Ishant Sharma’s absence, the bowlers were flat. Forget 20, they didn’t look like picking up 10 wickets. India’s shoddy slip catching contributed to debutant Pankaj Singh ending up wicketless. The opening partnership is yet to add 50 outside Asia. The middle order got in and fell to soft dismissals. Mooen Ali taking six wickets against accomplished players of spin was the perfect riposte to Ishant’s bouncing out of England’s batsmen at Lord’s.

“That’s what international cricket is all about,” Dhoni said. “It was not like we were expecting England to win. We knew they would come back strongly at us, and for us also it was a new challenge to keep the momentum going after the Lord’s win. This Test showed some areas where we have to improve. Read more