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Oct 29, 2010

Steve Waugh warned to out-of-form Australia

Former Test skipper Steve Waugh Friday warned Australia's under-performing senior players they might not count on experience alone to keep their places in the Ashes team to play England next month.

Ricky Ponting's Australians are emotions the heat after a 2-0 series defeat in India this month left them languishing at 5th on the ICC world rankings, below 4th-listed England and on their worst losing streak for more than 20 years.

Waugh, who led Australia to 41 Test victories - including eight out of nine Ashes Tests -- said inexperience should not rule out players when the team is selected for the November 25 1st Test at Brisbane's Gabba ground.

"I don't see why not," the hard-bitten warrior of 168 Test matches told reporters. "Just because it's an Ashes series it doesn't make it any different from any other series.

"You've got to put your best 11 players on the park irrespective of age or experience."

"I'm never a big believer of picking players by age, it's more the passion, your form and whether you're the right person for the job," he said.

Australia's bowlers failed to take all 20 wickets in either Test against India but Waugh said he had no concerns about the pace bowling depth as the team returns to home pitches.

Waugh said under- pressure captain Ponting may be able to turn the censure he has received to his advantage this summer as he bids to reclaim the Ashes urn lost last year in England.

"With criticism, you've just got to look at it and see whether you can get something constructive from those comments," he said.

"If you can learn by it that's a positive, if you think it was unjustified then move on.

"You can't please everyone as captain. It's about having the respect of the team.

"That's your number one priority, if he's got that then I don't think he should worry too much."

Waugh believes Australia will win a tightly-contested Ashes series 3-2 due to superior knowledge of the home conditions.

Oct 28, 2010

Pietersen can recover his form if he clears his mind: Tendulkar

England batsman Kevin Pietersen can recover his form if he "clears his mind" before the Ashes series against an Australian side who is no longer the team to beat in Test cricket, feels India's batting genius Sachin Tendulkar.

Kevin Pietersen"If Kevin Pietersen is thinking right it will replicate in his game and the runs will come. All I would say to him is just be relaxed, be calm and watch the ball as closely as possible because that is what a batsman is meant to do," Tendulkar told the “Evening Standard”.

Tendulkar spoke after receiving the "People's Choice Award and the Outstanding Achievement in Sport Award," at the Asian Awards at Grosvenor House last night.

"If Kevin clears his mind and perceives that Australia is no longer the team to beat, he will regain his form. The thought process has to be free flowing and that's when you react and your body movement is not stiff and tight. If he can clear his mind I am sure his game will improve."

The iconic batsman gave Australia a hot time a fortnight ago with his mammoth first-innings score of 214, helping India to a comfortable win over the visitors in Bangalore.

In stark contrast to Tendulkar's dominance, Pietersen has been struggling, with the last of his 16 Test centuries coming way back in March 2009.

Oct 27, 2010

I missed being a part of the test squad: Gambhir

Indian opening batsman Gautam Gambhir has said that he is happy with his fitness and cannot wait to start batting again. Gambhir's show has been hampered by knee problems, which also saw him sit out Tests against Sri Lanka and Australia. The left-hander has been named in India's Test team against New Zealand and he will be eager to prove his critics wrong and get back to rhythm.

"It's important to get back into the rhythm," Gambhir told the Indian Express in an interview. "I have increased my batting time at the nets and am happy with my fitness."

"I watched every bit of the Visakhapatnam game and I missed being part of the team. To be frank, missing out on a game after being dropped feels bad but to sit out with injury and watch other people play feels even worse."

Gambhir admitted that it will be a challenge for him to get into groove after a long break. "When you go out to bat in a match after a long break, you just try to test if you still have the old touch. When you come back from a break, you need time to get used to things around you. If you look, I haven't played much in the last three months. It's a challenge that I am now looking forward to meet."

He added that he was focused on the World Cup and wants to use the upcoming series against the New Zealand and the Proteas to provide him with the impetus to play at the peak in the WC. "It is not just about playing the World Cup but it's about being in good form and being absolutely fit. I plan to build on it from this Kiwis series, then to South Africa series and so on."

Oct 26, 2010

Gambhir, VVS and Ishant return for test series against Kiwis

India are back to their full power side as the three injured players - Gautam Gambhir, VVS Laxman and Ishant Sharma, returned to the side for the three match test series against New Zealand. The above mentioned players had missed the 2nd test match against Australia at Bengaluru with injuries.

Ishant and Gambhir were stressed with knee problems and VVS had to bat with a runner, due to a bad back in that marathon chase at Mohali. Due to the injuries continued during the opening test at Mohali.

Gambhir would be under pressure to perform against the New Zealand. An in-form Murali Vijay, is breathing down Gambhir's neck.

Though Cheteshwar Pujara played an outstandingly well on his debut, retains his place, making a crucial 72 in a match winning chase, he will have to sit out of the playing eleven as Laxman would take his place. Suresh Raina would maintain to bat at No. 6, while an under pressure Dravid will get a chance at 3 to make some crucial runs before the arduous away tour of South Africa.

Yuvraj Singh, was again left dissatisfied when the selectors preferred Pujara as the standby batsman in case someone suffers an injury. Yuvraj Singh, has not played a test match since the 1st test against Sri Lanka at Galle where he scored 52 and 5.

Indian Test Squad: MS Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag (vice-capt), Gautam Gambhir, M Vijay, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Suresh Raina, VVS Laxman, Cheteshwar Pujara, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Sreesanth, Pragyan Ojha, Amit Mishra.

Oct 21, 2010

New Zealand in India 2010, Schedule

3 Match Test Series Schedule
DateMatch DetailsTime ISTPlace
Nov 04 - 08India v New Zealand, 1st Test
Nov 12 - 16India v New Zealand, 2nd Test09:30Hyderabad
Nov 20 - 24India v New Zealand, 3rd Test09:30Nagpur

5 Match ODI Cricket Schedule
DateMatch DetailsTime ISTPlace
Nov 28 - SunIndia v New Zealand, 1st ODI08:30Guwahati
Dec 01 - WedIndia v New Zealand, 2nd ODI14:30*Chandigarh
Dec 04 - SatIndia v New Zealand, 3rd ODI14:30*Vadodara
Dec 07 - TueIndia v New Zealand, 4th ODI14:30*Bengaluru
Dec 10 - FriIndia v New Zealand, 5th ODI14:30*Chennai

* - Day-night Match...

Oct 20, 2010

Ricky is the right man to lead Aus for the Ashes: Warne

While suggesting that Ricky Ponting is still the best man for the captaincy, Shane Warne has written on his own website that there was no rift between Ricky and himself, and that he never ever told that Ricky's time as Aussie captain is over.

Ricky PontingFormer Aussie players including Geoff Lawson have been advised Ricky to give up captaincy and focus on his batting which has seen a slump in the last few seasons. The issue has occupied abundance of airtime on sports talk back radio stations over the past week, but Warne doesn't agree with the many callers who think Ponting's reign should end.

Shane Warne"Ricky Ponting, to me, is the right man to lead Australia for the Ashes Test Series," Warne wrote. "It's a great opportunity for him to show his leadership skills. He also looks in super touch with the bat; I am sure he's going to fill his boots this summer.

"This Ashes series is going to be the biggest of his and the Australian team's career. I think Ricky is at his best when he shows his Tassie devil side which is, aggressive with a dash of flair."

Oct 18, 2010

Chris Gayle axed, Darren Sammy Named New WI Skipper

The West Indies Cricket Board axed Chris Gayle as the captain of the national side, and replaced him with Darren Sammy, while installing Brendon Fraser as the vice-captain.

Darren SammyThe West Indies will tour Sri Lanka for a 3 match Test series in November, and though Gayle has kept his place as part of the team, he is no longer the skipper. The move came after Gayle and Dwayne Bravo refused to sign central contracts with the WICB. Bravo was before the vice-captain under Gayle.

Gayle, Bravo and Pollard have all got profitable Twenty20 contracts, and are likely to be in high demand in the IPL Twenty20 auctions too, which has led to their refusing the WICB central contracts, which stipulated availability at all times for the West Indies.

Sammy, who is the Windward Islands captain, was not a regular member of the Test starting XI, but he now finds himself in the hot seat. His appointment as skipper and Fraser's as vice-captain will run till the end of the West Indies' home series in 2011. Sammy said he regarded the appointment as a distinction and an honour.

"Being appointed West Indies captain is an honour and distinction which I will treat with the highest regard and dignity," Sammy said. "I believe my captaincy of the Windward Islands, a young team which I have been molding into playing consistently spirited cricket, will stand me in good stead as West Indies captain as we work on building a team for the future.

Oct 13, 2010

India sweep the test series 2-0 against Australia

Debutant batsman Cheteshwar Pujara proved an unlikely hero as India thrashed Australia by seven wickets in the 2nd and final Test on Wednesday to sweep the Test series 2-0.

Pujara hit 72 as the hosts, set 207 runs to win on a wearing wicket, cruised home soon after tea on the 5th and final day at Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru.

"University of Cricket” Sachin Tendulkar, who hit a double-century in the 1st innings, remained unbeaten on 53 as India enhanced their reputation as the world's No.1 Test side.

Ricky Ponting's Australia Team, preparing for next month's start of the Ashes series at home against England, slipped to 5th place behind the Indians, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the England.

Match Summary:

Aus 1st Innings 478/10

M. North 128
R. Ponting 77

H. Singh 4/148
P.Ojha 3/120

India 1st innings 495/10

S.Tendulkar 214
M. Vijay 139

M. Johnson 3/105

Aus 2nd innings 223/10

R. Ponting 72

Z. Khan 3/41
P. Ojha 3/57
India 2nd innings 207/3

C. Pujara 72
S. Tendulkar 53*

Man of the match: Sachin Tendulkar

Man of the Series: Sachin Tendulkar

Oct 11, 2010

Sachin crosses the 14,000 landmark

In yet another first, India's all time great Sachin Tendulkar became the only person to scale the 14,000 landmark in Test cricket during their 2nd test match against Australia.

Needs 27 runs to reach the landmark, the 37-year-old cut Nathan Hauritz through cover point for a four and accomplished the feat in his 171st Test.

A packed Chinnaswamy Stadium crowd rose and gave the Indian little maestro a standing applause as Australian captain Ricky Ponting came up to congratulate Tendulkar. At 12178, Ponting remains Tendulkar's next-door rival.

Oct 8, 2010

Misbah-ul-Haq named Test skipper

Misbah-ul-Haq has been appointed skipper of Pakistan's Test side a day after he was recalled to the squad. Misbah-ul-Haq, who has been in and out of the Pakistan side was axed following the catastrophic tour of Australia in 2009-10, is Pakistan's 4rth Test captain this year. Shahid Afridi has been retained as the captain of the ODI and T20 team.

Misbah-ul-HaqFormer Test Captain Younis Khan however failed to get the nod of the selectors, something that was seen as a surprising choice by the cricketing fraternity in Pakistan.

Taufeeq Umar makes a surprise recall to the squad, after a long gap of 4 years and will be looking to cement his place in the squad.

Zulqarnain Haider, who daunted on his debut in England Test Series, has been included at the cost of Kamran Akmal.

Pakistan Test team: Misbah ul Haq (capt), Imran Farhat, Taufeeq Umar, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Yousuf, Umar Akmal. Azhar Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Danish Kaneria, Abdur Rehman, Zulqarnain Haider, Umar Gul, Tanvir Ahmed, Mohammad Sami, Wahab Riaz, Sohail Tanvir.

Pakistan ODI & T20 Squad: Shahid Afridi(Captain), Imran Farhat, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Tanveer Ahmed, Zulqarnain Haider.

Oct 7, 2010

Gautam, Ishant sharma ruled out of 2nd Test against Aus

In a huge blow to the Indian cricket team, Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma were ruled out of the 2nd Test against Australia due to knee injuries while VVS Laxman was rendered doubtful on account of back spasms.

Gautam Gambhir and Ishant SharmaThe celebrations of a narrow 1-wicket win over the Australia had not even ended when the Indians were left to deal with the twin loss ahead of the 2nd and final match of the test series scheduled from October 9 in Bangalore.

"I have an injury and I won't be playing in the Bangalore Test," Gautam Gambhir told PTI.

The BCCI named batsman Abhinav Mukund and fast bowler Jaydev Unadkat as replaces for Gambhir and Ishant sharma.

"Gambhir and Ishant have been ruled out of the 2nd Test against Australia in Bangalore, on number of injuries to their right knees."

"The All-India Selection Committee has picked Abhinav Mukund and Jaydev Unadkat in their place. Mukund and Unadkat will be replaced in the squads for the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy by Harpreet Singh and Pankaj Singh respectively," BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan said in a statement.

While Mukund plays for India Red, Unadkat represents India Green in the tournament.

Oct 6, 2010

It was one of my best knocks: VVS Laxman

After single-handedly guiding India to a 1-wicket victory over Australia in the nail-biting 1st Test, VVS Laxman termed his unbeaten 73 as one of his best innings of his career.

VVS Laxman"It is definitely one of my best innings. I have always enjoyed batting in such situations and I feel disappointed if I do not perform in such situations. I was able to deliver," he said after helping India taken unassailable 1-0 lead in the two-match Test series.

"Whatever knock you play, if it helps the team in winning it feels really satisfying," he added.

VVS Laxman gave credit to the tailenders Ishant Sharma and Pragyan Ojha for supporting him in completing a unforgettable win.

"It was a great effort from Ishant at the other end because with an injured leg he played and showed his character. He displayed great temperament. The partnership with Ishant was very important," said Laxman.

"All our tailenders take a lot of pride in their batting and they work really hard on their batting," he said.

Asked about how he reserved his best for the Australians, Laxman said, "You always feel good when you play well against Australia. Each session, the fortunes were fluctuating."

Oct 5, 2010

Injured Laxman guides India to nail biting 1 wicket victory

VVS Laxman defied a back injury to make an unbeaten 73 as India rushed a amazing 1-wicket victory from the jaws of overcome in the first Test against Australia on Tuesday.

In a nail biting encounter, India sealed the cliffhanger by 1 wicket. India thrashed Australia in the1st Test of two-match series here at PCA ground in Mohali on Tuesday.

It was the Very Very Special Laxaman innings, which helped Team India to take 1-0 lead in the two test-series.

VVS Laxman made crucial 9th wicket partnership with Ishant Sharma (31) to take India close to the target of 216 runs.

However, Ishant Sharma fell prey to wrong decision of umpire Ian Gould, bringing Australia back to the match.

But After several ups and down, Laxman and Pragyan Ojha took India home. It must be one of the greatest innings by Laxman, who was playing with a runner due to back stiff.

Earlier, Zaheer and Sachin Tendulkar started final day's proceedings on positive note but Zaheer khan was dismissed by spinner Hauritz for 10 runs.

Later, Tendulkar and Laxman embarked on run chase brilliantly but confident Sachin Tendulkar was caught at Gully region off Bollinger for 38.

After Tendulkar’s dismissal India lost skipper Dhoni (2) and Harbhajan Singh (2) in fast session.

Credit should go to Ishant Sharma, who shown brilliant spirit against might Australian fast bowling attack.

Sharma's crucial partnership with Laxman helped India to win the Mohali Test.

Match Summary:

Aus won the toss elected to bat first

Aus 1st innings: 428 all out
S. Watson 126
T. Paine 92

Z. Khan 5/94
H. Singh 3/114

Aus 2nd innings: 192 all out
S. Watson 56

Z. khan 3/43
I. Sharma 3/34
India 1st innings: 405 all out
S. Tendulkar 98
S. Raina 86

M.Johnson 5/64

India 2nd innings: 216/9

VVS Laxman 73 not out

B. Hilfenhaus 4/57

Man of the Match: Zaheer Khan

Australia in India 2010, Schedule