All 27 entries tagged Sport
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December 24, 2009
Andrew Flintoff is hopeful that he will resume batting in the New Year as he continues his recovery from knee surgery. The England all-rounder - who hasn't played since the final Ashes Test of the summer - doesn't expect to bowl for some time yet though.
Speaking about his progress to date, Freddie said that it will be 'great to start hitting balls again' as he looks to get himself in adequate condition to compete in the shorter forms of the game for Lancashire and England.
As for the first step in Flintoff's return to cricket, he says that he should 'start batting against a bowling machine' next month, although this is assuming he doesn't have any setbacks in the next couple of weeks. Something he is famous for, it has to be said.
Freddie says that he 'won't be doing anything daft' as this is obviously a crucial stage in his career. It is very important that he doesn't return too early as this could hamper what he is able to achieve in the rest of his life as a cricketer.
This is probably why he is remaining realistic about when he will return. Flintoff says that the prospect of bowling again is 'still some way off'. It could even be a 'good few weeks' until he is able to start practising this form of the game.
Overall, it seems like everyone involved knows how important it is that Flintoff gets the recovery process right. The next aim is to start batting, then he will look to pick up a ball again before hoping to join in with some of Lancashire's training sessions in February.
The 32-year-old will then aim to return to England duties next summer in the one day international and Twenty20 games. If he does return, his presence would provide a boost to England's ODI odds. This may well seem like a long way off, but he has to aim for something. It will be what keeps him going.
The thought of representing his country again and performing to the best of his ability will help him get through this latest bout of rehabilitation. Hopefully it will be a smooth process and he can get back to somewhere near his best before too long, something he thoroughly deserves for everything he has given to English cricket.
Meanwhile, his former international colleagues are preparing for the next match against South Africa as they attempt to enhance England's second Test chances.
One of the main talking points from the five days in Centurion was when Kevin Pietersen was bowled off a no-ball by Morne Morkel. Despite the introduction of technology, the decision could not be overturned under the current rules.
This seems to be one of the things that Flower has a problem with. He believes there are some 'illogical anomalies' with the system and that if technology is going to be used it should be 'done properly'.
Flower has a point, that's for sure. Why have someone sitting in the pavilion after being bowled off a no-ball when the third umpire could check this in a matter of seconds?
The Zimbabwean wasn't finished there though. He said that he would prefer it if 'the umpire made a decision and people get on with it'. Overall, Flower believes cricket has gone from a system that was 'nice and simple' to one that has 'more and more complications'.
Basically, he isn't a fan of reviews and his comments back up the fact that England have been against the system from the start. However, it is unlikely that the ICC will abandon the project any time soon, so England will have to get used to it.
Perhaps if they start having a bit more success with it, that will help things along. After all, they lost seven of their on-field referrals in Centurion. They were also unhappy with how long South Africa took to refer a decision regarding Stuart Broad's dismissal in the first innings.
The fact is Flower makes some valid points. It does make everything more complicated. Nobody is quite sure where they stand and it would be a lot easier if everything was moved back to how it was. However, as frustrating as the system might be, the team will have to make sure it doesn't impact onEngland's second Test chances.
In other sports news, pundits have already started casting their eyes over the runners and riders for next year'sGrand National.
December 18, 2009
I am going to come out and say it straight away - I am not a fan of the review system. It takes something away from the greatest sport in the world.
I don't want to be celebrating a wicket, forget about the new rule and then be forced to wait for the decision to come through. Then, either the decision is overturned and my celebrations were a waste or the decision stands and it feels like a bit of an afterthought.
While the change won't have any impact on England South African Test odds, it does seem to have taken something away from the game.
To be honest, I didn't think there was much wrong with just the umpires doing their jobs, at least everyone knows where they stand. Yes, there may well the occasional wrong decision, but that's all part of the game.
The review system should only be used to prevent absolute howlers. In this sense, I think the power should be taken away from the players. At the moment, they are using the 'might as well challenge it' approach, which doesn't suit the game.
When one of a team's best batsman is given out, they think they should challenge it just on the off chance that they will be able to keep their star man in. Again, not quite what the system is intended for.
Likewise, the bowling side might challenge an LBW decision if it concerns an opposition player that is taking the game away from them. They might not think it is definitely out, but if there is an outside chance Hawkeye will say it is brushing the off stump, they will challenge the decision.
So, unless things improve in this sense, I think the decision to refer should be taken away from the players. Let the Umpires or whoever watches the replays decide if a decision should be reviewed.
Again though, there are flaws to this system. Which is why I think it should have been left how it was. If England take a wicket to 'win the series' and I celebrate like a mad man before realising the decision has been overturned – I'm not going to be happy.
The umpires are of the highest quality and they should be left to do their job.
In other sports new, the odds for the 2010 Cheltenham Festival are really starting to hot up.
Blog by Thomas Rooney, Professional Sports Writer
November 26, 2009
Jonathan Trott has revealed to England coach Andy Flower that he feels happy to remain at the top of the order for the 3rd One Day International against South Africa on Friday.
The South African born batsman opened the innings with captain Andrew Strauss in the second game of the series to great success. He scored a crucial 87, playing anchor to the fantastic Paul Collingwood as England emerged victorious by 7 wickets.
Trott looked classy and assured throughout his innings and now it seems he is comfortable with trying to make a name for himself as an ODI opening batsman. He revealed that he has opened for Warwickshire on a number of occasions and that he ‘enjoyed batting there’ on Sunday.
The 28-year-old certainly provided a rare sense of stability at the top of the order in this form of the game. Over the past couple of years, Matt Prior, Ian Bell, Phil Mustard and Ravi Bopara have all tried their luck without consistent enough success to improve the sports betting oddsof the team.
Hopefully, in the remainder of this series and beyond, Trott can keep making valuable solutions and solve a few problems for Strauss and Flower. He has certainly made an impressive start to his international career – averaging 43 in ODI matches and 80 in test matches - with many seeing him in the team for years to come.
Should the rest of this limited over series go well, some have suggested that Trott could even open the batting in the test arena. However, he has been less enthusiastic about this prospect saying that he has never done so in first-class cricket and that he is most affective as ‘a number four’.
Thinking about it, this is probably better for England anyway. Trott is clearly more comfortable in the middle order during test matches, so why risk jeopardising the good start he has made by forcing him to open the batting?
If Alistair Cook is fit for the test series, he will open with Strauss. Then Kevin Pietersen, Trott and Collingwood will follow. That seems strong enough for England to be happy with their selections.
As for the remainder of the One Day International series, Trott will be opening the batting again on Friday as England look to go 2-0 up in the five match series.
November 04, 2009
Some of the most famous names from the world of cricket have had their say on the death of David Shepherd. The former international umpiredied last Wednesday after a battle with cancer, aged 68.
During his career as an umpire, Shepherd officiated in 92 test and 172 one-day international matchesbefore deciding to retire in 2005. Only Steve Bucknor and Rudi Koertzen have stood in more tests than the Englishman who was famous for his aversion to ‘Nelson’.
Whenever the score was on a multiple of 111, he used to nervously hop at the crease between deliveries, much to the amusement of the crowd. In fact, it was one of many characteristics that made him a very popular character within the game.
Tributes have poured in for him as well since his death. Former England captain Michael Vaughan said he was a ‘respected individual because he got a lot of decisions right’ and because of his close relationships with the players, he will be ‘greatly missed’.
Dickie Bird – who umpired alongside him on many occasions – said that Shepherd was a ‘fine umpire and great friend’. ICC President David Morgan echoed these sentiments by describing Shepherd as a ‘true gentleman’ of the game.
Morgan also reminded everybody that Shepherd was a ‘fine player’ as well as a ‘match official of the highest quality’. David Graveney also had his say by describing him as ‘universally popular with players and crowds alike.’
So, there has been plenty of praise for a man that brought so much to the sport of cricket. To my mind, it is a shame that there aren’t more officials like him around today. An umpire that can have a laugh with the crowd and players is exactly what cricket needs.
He will be greatly missed
October 14, 2009
What has Matthew Hoggard done wrong?
Matthew Hoggard comes across as a funny, down to earth, reliable and respected man. On top of this, he was a fantastic international cricketer in his day and is still a very, very handy county player. So what has he done wrong to be treated so badly by club and country in recent times?
Let me explain a little bit first what I am talking about. After being off the pace somewhat for ONE test match during England’s tour to New Zealand in March 2008, Hoggard was dropped from the team for the rest of the series and following summer. This, in itself, wasn’t that unexpected.
However, Hoggard never got a re-call (unlike Steve Harmison who got chance after chance to impress) and was basically cast aside by the England selectors.
Speaking about his lack of appearances for England at the time, he said that his contact with the ECB ‘had been zero’ and that it ‘breaks his heart’ how he lost his place in the squad. The quote “One minute I was sixth on England's all-time list of wicket-takers, the next I was told I'd lost my central contract and I was completely out on my ear” sums it up quite nicely.
Looking back, he was treated poorly. He always gave his all for England and more often than not this was with success. So why on earth wasn’t he given an explanation?
To make matters worse, the same thing has now happened for Hoggard with his County. He has been released from his contract with Yorkshire County Cricket clubdespite being the team’s leading wicket-taker and taking a hat-trick against Sussex only a few weeks ago.
The club have said that Hoggard turned down a contract to stay with the County, but he has denied this by saying that he feels ‘disappointed, gutted and angry’ about how he has been treated. According to the 32-year-old, the contract was ‘suddenly off the table”.
So, what on earth has been going on with Hoggard? Is he making a meal out of things? Has he been awkward in his reaction to England and Yorkshire’s actions? Something funny seems to be going on, that’s for sure.
Personally, I am going with the player and saying that he has been badly treated. He seems an honest individual and I don’t think he would come out and make accusations that aren’t true. Not long ago he was England’s opening bowler and one of Yorkshire’s most valuable assets in regards to improving their cricket betting odds.
Now, he will never play for his country again and he is on the hunt for a new County. I will ask it one last time – what has Matthew Hoggard done wrong?
October 01, 2009
Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say well done to a player
you may have criticised in the past. This is the case with myself and
Owais Shah. After the shocking displays of the England team in the One
Day International series against Australia, I questioned his place in
Then, when he was promoted to No.3 in the batting line-up, I
questioned the England selectors. However, I have to give credit to
Shah for how well he played against South Africa on Sunday. He hit six
sixes in his fantastic innings of 98 to help England post a
match-winning 323-8 against the hosts.
England went on to win the game by 22 runs to reach the semi-finals of
the ICC Champions Trophy competition
and in doing so, knocking South Africa out of the
competition. It has been a drastic turnaround since the Australia ODI
series and this is represented superbly by Shah’s change in fortunes.
Finally, after constantly getting himself in, Shah went on to get a
big score. It would have been nice if he made it to three figures, but
his innings was just as valuable as a century. It was what England had
been crying out for.
Both Shah and Paul Collingwood – who played well for his 82 – blended
maturity and aggression perfectly to set England on their way and
leave Eoin Morgan with the final power-play to blast the score above
300. It was a near perfect batting performance and boy did I enjoy
Speaking after restricting South Africa to 301 to win the game, Shah
admitted that he was ‘low on confidence’ going into the game, but that
he and the batting unit showed just how ‘dangerous’ they can be on
The key for the Middlesex man (and the team as a whole) is that we
take things on from here. Shah must produce more innings like this and
they must perform with this freedom, aggression and purpose more
often to ensure that Englands cricket betting odds
Let’s face it, if they manage to do so twice more in this competition,
we could be celebrating a very unexpected ICC Champions Trophy
September 11, 2009
In what has been a successful summer for English cricket (despite the recent One Day International performances) Ravi Bopara has had a pretty rough time. He failed to make an impact batting at No.3 in the Ashes, was dropped from the side for the final test and wasn’t present for the series win celebrations.
Since then, he has been given the chance to redeem himself by opening the batting in the One Day International games, but so far it has been the same old story – Bopara is getting a start and then getting out. So, cna he overcome this nightmare run of form and establish himself in the England team?
Well, the man himself thinks so. Speaking after making only 10 in England’s defeat at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday, Bopara said that ‘there is a lot to come’ from him as a batsman yet and that it is just a case of getting his game ‘in order’.
It hasn’t just been Bopara that has been suffering in this series though. We have all been frustratingly put through three mediocre England batting performances in this series with Owais Shah, Matt Prior and Paul Collingwood all struggling to find form as well as Bopara.
It is the Essex man who has come and fighting ahead of the must-win match at Lords on Saturday though. He says that he is determined to ‘go out and get a big one’ and start to become ‘the main man for England’.
This would be a fairly drastic turnaround for the 24-year-old, but it is good that he is staying positive. There is no doubting his talentand every England fan will be hoping he comes good. Perhaps he just needs one decent innings in this form of the game to help him kick on.
Part of me feels sorry for Bopara anyway. He has to opening the batting with Andrew Strauss, with the captain’s role clearly to tryand bat through most of the innings. This means that for England to make a positive start, Bopara has to take plenty of risks.
This isn’t an excuse, but perhaps it explains his struggles a little bit more. The team are missing their best batsman in Kevin Pietersen as well let’s not forget. Again, not an excuse, but it does explain why the ‘X Factor’ is missing from England’s cricket batting line up.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, I would make a few changes. Bring in Joe Denly, Stuart Broad and Adil Rashid in for Owais Shah, Eoin Morgan and Tim Bresnan. Then change the batting line-up slightly to relive Bopara of his opening duties and to stop embarrassing Prior at No.3.
So, my team to give us a sniff in this series would be: Strauss, Denly, Bopara, Prior, Collingwood, Wright, Broad, Rashid, Swann, Sidebottom, Anderson.
July 30, 2009
This summer isn't all about Ricky Ponting v Andrew Strauss, Alistair Cook v Philip Hughes or Graeme Swann v Nathan Hauritz. Instead, one of the biggest rivalries in this Ashes series is between Philip 'Tuffers' Tufnell and Jason 'Dizzy' Gillespie.
The former cricketers have been competing against each other all summer as part of Betfair's fanvfan series. Both competitors attempt to drum up support for their respective nations before going head to head in a number of entertaining challenges!
There have been three so far and you can see them here - enjoy!
Challenge One: Tuffers and Dizzy compete on a pedalo.
Challenge Two: Tuffers and Dizzy take to the lawnmower!
Challenge Three: Tuffers and Dizzy try their hands at horse racing in
the most recent event.
There we have it, three very entertaining videos I'm sure you'll agree. Ian Bell's cameo in the third challenge was especially good!
Next time, Tuffers and Dizzy take part in some 'Zorbing' in Leeds on the 7th August ahead of the fourth test match at Headingley.
June 30, 2009
It appears that Michael Vaughan has played his last game of professional cricket. The former England captain will officially announce his retirement on Tuesday after meeting with Yorkshire officials on Sunday to discuss his
Vaughan was left out of the 2009 Ashes training squad earlier this month and this indicated that his international career was all but over. Therefore, with a return to the England side out of reach, he has decided to call it a day on all first-class cricket.
It is a relatively sad end to what has been a successful career for the 34-year-old. The pinnacle for him was, of course, when he led England to Ashes glory in 2005. It mustn’t be forgotten that he was a world-class international batsman on his day though.
Not only that, he was the most successful captain of all time and a model professional throughout his career. The Ashes win four years ago will be what Vaughan is remembered for in years to come, but it is important topoint out that he achieved more than this during his time as an England cricketer.
As a batsman he scored 5,719 test match runs at an average of over 40, notching 18 centuries along the way. Vaughan wasn’t always on top form – especially during the latter stages of his England career – but when he was on his game, he was one of the most attractive batsmen to watch in world cricket.
It was as a captain that Vaughan really shone though. Nasser Hussain’s England were hard to beat, but Vaughan turned them in to winners. His relaxed approach and excellent tactical nous were to the benefit of English cricket and this will always be looked back on fondly.
Critics will argue that he never quite achieved enough as a batsman and given his ability – they could be right. His average of 41.44 doesn’t really reflect his talent and definitely took a nose dive in the last couple of years. He also failed to make a name for himself in the One-day game during his career.
For his sheer talent, sublime batting technique and captaincy success though, he can bow out of professional cricket with his head held high. His determination to play for England was higher than ever in the early parts of the summer, but the failure to score runs for Yorkshire cost him his place in the Ashes training party.
Vaughan then knew that there wouldn’t be a way back for him. As difficult as it may seem, this may have been for the better. Yes, to play a part in regaining the Ashes would have been the perfect way to head into retirement.
What if he had come in and failed though? What if he played the first two tests, didn’t score any runs and was dropped? That would have been a poor way to end. At least this way he has ended it on his own terms. He even ‘took a break’ from international cricket after his resignation as captain, so he has never been dropped as such.
Like the headline says – thanks for the memories Michael. You were a fantastic captain for England and will go down in English cricket history as one of the greatest. Now, go and land yourself a job on Sky Sports. At least you will be involved in the Ashes that way!
Make sure you keep up to date with the Ashes odds before making your 2009 Ashes bet. If you need to get in the mood for some good old-fashioned rivalry this summer, visit Betfair's new fanvfan site.
*By Thomas Rooney*