Tag Archive: Kevin Pietersen

Stuart Broad is congratulated by his England team-mates as his six wickets help England win another Ashes series (Image | Action)

Stuart Broad is congratulated by his England team-mates as his six wickets help England win another Ashes series (Image | Action)

The 2013 Ashes Series (mark 1) has not always been a display of two world-leading teams giving each other their best shot. There has been inconsistency of umpiring, sub-par batting aplenty and the occasional, inevitable washout.

What this series has had throughout, however, is drama. It was punctuated in characteristic style at Durham this weekend by the stoic Ian Bell, unarguably the outstanding performer of the series thus far.

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Joe Root (left) will captain the Lions squad, with Yorkshire teammate Jonny Bairstow set to feature in the lineup (Image | Action Images)

Joe Root (left) will captain the Lions squad, with Yorkshire teammate Jonny Bairstow set to feature in the lineup (Image | Action Images)

More than one Lions squad was announced recently. The ECB released their team for the tour matches against New Zealand.

Lions matches traditionally don’t attract as much attention, but they are useful to see who is likely to feature heavily in the internationals. Places are up for grabs.

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Substance trumps style in the IPL

After nearly 30 matches in the IPL, one thing is clear. The flashy teams have largely failed to fire, while those with grit have got the results.

CAPTION | Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Cameron White celebrates with Amit Mishra (left) after his hat-trick against Pune Warriors. (Image | The Hindu)

Warm glow | Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Cameron White celebrates with Amit Mishra (left) after the latter’s third IPL hat-trick against Pune Warriors. (Image | The Hindu)

Surprise package of the tournament so far are the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Their name and orange uniform aside, they are one of the most dour sides in the competition. However, at this stage, the Sunrisers lie in second.

The Sunrisers have only scored more than 130 in an innings once across seven matches. Yet they have not needed to. What the Sunrisers lack in big-hitting batsmen they make up for with strong team efforts in the field.

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People love stories, particularly tales of greatness, and a major reason as to why the London 2012 Olympic Games held such thrall in Britain was the daily accounts of athletes finding the best of themselves.

Enn-chanting | Jessica Ennis storms to first place in the 200m, part of her hepthathlon glory at London 2012. (Image | Evening Standard)

Enn-chanting | Jessica Ennis storms to first place in the 200m, part of her heptathlon triumph at the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Image | Evening Standard)

We had yarns of the woman who grabbed her last chance of glory, Katherine Grainger; the chosen one adored by her public, Jessica Ennis; or the wounded king that ruthlessly crushed those who would usurp him, Usain Bolt. They were the legends of our time, not just athletes.

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Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen were two of England's best performers with the bat - especially in Mumbai (Image | S. Subramanium via the Hindu Business Times)

Leading lights | Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen were two of England’s best performers with the bat, especially in Mumbai. (Image | S. Subramanium via Hindu Business Times)

India is not supposed to be a happy hunting ground for the England cricket team.

The slow, dusty wickets and near-Equatorial climate have caused England no end of problems in recent tours, and the Three Lions were without a Test series win in India in 25 years until the events of the past few weeks.

Now, not only have Alistair Cook‘s side delivered Test triumph, but a seriously depleted Twenty20 side have made a statement ahead of the build-up to the South Africa series next summer.

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Ready | India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni sits alongside England skipper Alastair Cook ahead of the first test in Ahmedabad. (Image | NDTV)

India are firm favourites to win the opening test of the four-match series with England, and history would certainly point this way with England failing to win a test series in India for 28 years.

The visitors are clearly underdogs, but maybe, just maybe, they have a chance of victory. Firstly, historical results have their merits, but today’s England are arguably a far better side than the country has had for decades.

Meanwhile India may well be playing high quality cricket, but England will certainly come into this with a better chance than they would normally have.

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The phenomenon of the sporting egotist

Ego | Cristiano Ronaldo is widely regarded as the most arrogant professional sportsman. (Image | Cristiano Ronaldo.org)

As William Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage“. Many of the most fascinating stories in sport come from the athletes who view their profession as exactly that – a stage for them to display their talents.

Personally, I do not subscribe to the maxim that says sport is entertainment, especially when justifying its more oleaginous aspects.

I have always viewed it as an athletic contest between either individuals or a group of people to determine which is superior. The fact that this happens to be something that is engrossing is a happy coincidence, nothing else.

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Lessons from the 2012 domestic cricket season

All smiles | Derbyshire County Cricket Club greatly benefited from Essex CCC’s losses. (Image | Derbyshire CCC)

The 2012 season will not live long in the memories of the players, management and supporters of Essex CCC. A forgettable County Championship campaign saw them achieve a mid-table finish, while the side’s previously limited overs form at fortress Chelmsford deserted them. However, for three players deemed surplus to requirements at the County Ground, it was a year they would never forget. Tony Palladino, who jokingly claimed the Essex chairman did not even know his name during his time at the club before leaving in 2010, claimed 56 wickets, fired Derbyshire to promotion into Division 1 of the Championship.

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Final concerto | Strauss has gone out on a high note, but his departure will have ramifications for England. (Image | BBC)

Press conferences are, by their very nature, meant to generate hype, suspense and a palpable sense of dread, if only to encourage interest and enthuse people to sit up and pay attention. Which the entire cricketing world did yesterday, as Andrew Strauss announced that he intended to retire from all forms of cricket immediately, bringing an end to a career that began with a first class début for Middlesex County Cricket Club in 1998.

Stating that he wished to “keep things brief” at the conference, in order to avoid turning proceedings into an Oscar acceptance speech, Strauss proceeded to, with the finesse of a Hollywood star, bow out, expire, cease to perform – the curtain was being lowered, not by the stage hand, but the lead star.

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England’s final Test

They’ve been the world’s best Test side since the start of the year, but now England can secure their legacy if they overcome the best bowling attack in cricket (Image | Reuters)

England have been a significant power at the top end of world cricket for long enough now to prove that it’s no fluke. Fans can rub their eyes and realise they’re not dreaming. After a generation of enduring mediocrity, and sometime worse, the phrase “English cricket” is no longer a national punchline.

England are officially the world’s best side at the five-day format of the game – a reign that’s lasted almost a year. They have just come off the back of playing five one-day matches against Australia. While Australia are currently ranked the planet’s finest at the 50-over version of the sport, they took a pasting – England hammered them 4-0, and probably would have made it a whitewash had this unseasonable English summer not intervened.

But while all may currently be rosy in the English garden, there is a potential thorn on the horizon, in the form of South Africa.

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