KP Desperate For SA Tour

Posted on/at 4:59 PM by The Cricket Corollary

"I am trying to get as fit as possible as quick as I can. I have had a few setbacks and I am really frustrated. It will be a couple of weeks before it totally heals over - the next 10 to 14 days - then I can start working really hard. The timescale is difficult but I will definitely be doing everything I can to get on that first plane to South Africa, which is at the end of October. I might be a few days off that but I will certainly be in the Test squad. The One-dayers I am really pushing for but the Twenty20s might be a rush. For obvious reasons, it is a very important trip for me. For the team as well after the Ashes to take the momentum forwards. We want to have our best team out there," -Kevin Pietersen

Majola Fed Up With Proteas

Posted on/at 3:24 PM by The Cricket Corollary

Gerald Majola is fed up. The Cricket South Africa chief executive and Mickey Arthur issued a statement on the Proteas being knocked out of yet another ICC tournament.

"There will be a brutally honest analysis of the Proteas' early demise in the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy and other failures of this nature in knock-out competitions to ensure that it does not happen again...If mistakes have been made, then they must be acknowledged and remedied before the next World Cup. All credit must go to the Proteas for being ranked as the world's top Test and ODI team. However, this must not overshadow the urgent need to bridge the gap between these ratings and the failure of the Proteas to reach the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy on home soil as well as other major knock-out tournaments elsewhere.

The best systems available have been put in place, such as:
* A broad base of outstanding players which is the envy of the cricketing world
* Variety and balance in key playing positions
* Full-time support specialists in all relevant fields
* An efficient high performance programme
* Loyal and committed sponsors
* A large and enthusiastic supporters' base

With these basics on hand, a way must surely be found to get the Proteas to take their winning ways into knock-out tournaments. The analysis and remedial process is to begin immediately and a report on the way forward will be presented to the Board of Directors of Cricket South Africa by the National Coach at its next Board meeting on the October 30."

Smith out of Champions League

Posted on/at 9:33 PM by The Cricket Corollary

What is really going on here? ...Graeme Smith has been withdrawn from the Nashua Cape Cobras squad for the Champions' League tournament starting in India next week... Are you saying that Biff wasn't fit for the CT? We could have had Captain Botha?

Cricket South Africa announced the decision on Tuesday on the advice of CSA's medical committee.

"After much discussion and deliberation, the Proteas' management together with the medical committee of Cricket South Africa headed by Dr Shuaib Manjra have made a decision to withdraw Graeme from the upcoming Champions League in India," commented national team manager Dr. Mohammed Moosajee.

"This decision is based on Graeme's current upper limb dysfunction," he added.
Team physiotherapist Brandon Jackson said that it was important for Smith to be withdrawn from playing cricket for the next four to six weeks to get him through what was going to be a very long season.

"We need to work on strengthening his muscles around the shoulder area and continue his post-operation rehab," commented Jackson.

"The elbow operation was 100 percent successful and I am confident that he will be ready for action by the start of the England series in November."
Smith said he was very disappointed not to be leading the Cobras in India.

"It is very important for South African cricket that the two franchises representing us in India should do well," he commented, "and, like all the national players, I enjoy playing franchise cricket whenever national circumstances permit."
"I would like to wish the Cobras all the best and I am confident they will represent our country with pride."

More Rain Forecasted

Posted on/at 7:58 AM by The Cricket Corollary

Johannesburg 53% rain for the ENG vs NZ match


Daryl Tuffey has been ruled out of the match because of a broken hand. Jacob Oram is still out, Jesse Ryder is out after he suffered a groin injury.

Team manager Dave Currie told Radio Live here from South Africa that Tuffey suffered his injury while fielding."He broke a bone in the back of his hand. He needs to get back to New Zealand now to have surgery,"

Tuffey will be replaced by Ian Butler who is available for selection again after being down with a stomach illness.Meanwhile, batsman Aaron Redmond who was rushed to South Africa to replace Ryder is unlikely to be considered for the match as flight delays mean he will only arrive a few hours before the game begins. New Zealand need to win this match to qualify for semi's.

Jonty Rhodes' blog

Posted on/at 7:46 AM by The Cricket Corollary

Another disappointment for South Africa in an ICC world event but what unexpected joy and delight for the England players and their supporters who have had precious little to cheer in one-day cricket for some time.
It’s natural to talk about where the game was ‘won’ and where it was ‘lost’ depending on your allegiance but, as poorly as South Africa bowled, the third wicket partnership of 163 between Owais Shah and Paul Collingwood was superb and deserved to be the match-winning contribution.
The difference between the England team of ten days ago and the one which played Sri Lanka and South Africa in the Champions Trophy is hard to believe let alone explain. I didn’t watch much of the one-day series against Australia but every time I did tune in all I saw was players who appeared to lack conviction, belief and intensity. Perhaps they were just tired. Or tired of playing Australia!
I have no idea what the catalyst was for the change but it has worked wonders. The tentativeness which characterised their six successive losses to Australia had disappeared by the time they arrived in South Africa and they were positive – even aggressive – against Sri Lanka.
Sometimes it can be a blessing when you are genuine underdogs in a two-horse race because it allows you to relax without the weight of expectation of victory and that seems to be what happened with Andrew Strauss and his team. It’s like when a batsman losses form – he can either try to graft his way back to form or, if that fails, smash his way back to form.
There comes a point when you just get fed up with losing and throw caution to the wind in a desperate bid to turn things around. Perhaps there has been an element of that in England’s change of fortunes.
Andrew Strauss’s refusal to allow Graeme Smith a runner will no doubt come in for some scrutiny but, obviously, he was within his rights to do that because Graeme had cramp rather than an injury and the playing conditions are quite clear.
The England captain could have agreed to the request and probably would have done in many other circumstances – it’s not uncommon for a batsman with cramp to be granted a runner in a first-class match or even a Test match but with so much at stake, including a guaranteed place in the semi finals and the little matter of $2 million for the winners, he decided to play by the rules. Perhaps he thought he used up his quota of good sportsmanship by recalling Angelo Matthews after the run out mix-up against Sri Lanka!
The tournament rolls on, however, and England – incredibly given their pre-tournament odds – must now be regarded amongst the favourites having qualified for the semis with a game to spare. Who would have thought it 10 days ago.

Graeme Smith's blog

Posted on/at 7:44 AM by The Cricket Corollary

SA's final ICC Match

Graeme Smith

It’s not pleasant having to explain and deal with another early exit from an ICC event just three months after the T20 disappointment in England but we have to deal with whatever life throws at us and move forward in a positive frame of mind.

There are reasons for our failure to reach the semi finals of the Champions Trophy but there are no excuses. We weren’t good enough over three games and we accept that. It hurts – it hurts a lot – but it’s happened and we have to do everything in our power to improve and make sure we are contenders in the next T20 World Championship in the West Indies next year and also at the 2011 World Cup on the subcontinent.

We always knew that our schedule might be a problem coming into this tournament because we had not played any hard, international cricket for over two months but we did everything we could to prepare and overcome that. We had two hard training camps and played warm-up matches but there simply is no substitute for the real thing.

Bowlers take longer than batsmen to shake off the rust and get back into the rhythm and we conceded over 300 in two of the games as a result. I’m proud of the way we chased a huge score against England but would have been a lot prouder if we had managed to get over the line.

I was a bit surprised and disappointed that Andrew Strauss refused to let me have a runner for the final five overs when I was suffering from cramp but that is something he will live with. The world is round which means things come back to you.

The inconsistency of the runner situation is a problem. Sometimes the runner is allowed and sometimes not. Most captains agree to a runner in that situation but Andrew decided to stick to the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law. Once again, it is not an excuse and I am not saying it would have made the difference.

As much as we have ourselves to blame and can look at the things we did wrong, or poorly, we have to pay due credit to Owais Shah and Paul Collingwood for the way they laid the platform for Eion Morgan who played some audacious shots which probably took the game away from us. England played superbly and deserve credit far more than we deserve criticism.

Sri Lanka are also one of the best one-day sides in the world and they, too, have been eliminated before the semi finals. Anything can happen in a sprint format like this involving the best teams in the world. India are also under pressure to qualify which means that the three ‘favourite’ teams could all miss the semis.

We have a lot of domestic cricket to play before England come back in November and I expect us all to be battle-hardened and ready to do justice to our status in both forms of the game. We had high expectations for the Champions Trophy but we have not lived up to them. The challenge now is to use the pain of defeat and disappointment as a tool to inspire an even more determined drive to win and consolidate our position at the top of world cricket.

I am deeply sorry for all those supporters who hoped and believed we would do it this time, but please don’t think for a moment that we won’t get the job done. We still strongly believe in our ability as individuals and our ability to win as a team. We will get the job done.

Worth Every Penny

Posted on/at 7:08 PM by The Cricket Corollary

England has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during its 22-run victory over South Africa.

Match Referee Roshan Mahanama imposed the fines after Andrew Strauss's side was ruled to be one over short of its target at the end of the match when time allowances were taken into consideration. In accordance with the International Cricket Council (ICC) Code of Conduct regulations governing over-rate penalties, players are fined five per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.
As such, Strauss was fined 10 per cent of his match fee while each of his players received a five per cent fine.

In other news the CSA chief executive, Gerald Majola said on Monday that South Africa's loss to England in their final Champions Trophy group match in Centurion on Sunday was "deeply disappointing".

"There are some hard questions to be answered. At no stage did the team look anything like a team that is the world No 1 in both Tests and one-day internationals.They certainly were way off where they should be at this stage, and I will be speaking to Mickey and the team management to find out what went wrong."

But Majola said there were no plans at this stage to fire either the captain or the coach.
"That's not going to happen, but we definitely want answers. The team's performance in this tournament was just not good enough. I don't want to pick out individuals, but there were problems with the bowling and the batting, and the team's body language was not that of the world's best team." -We just can't get rid of them, can we?

Former Pakistan Test Captain, Javed Miandad is very unhappy calling the pitches being used at the Champions Trophy in South Africa "dangerous".

"(With) the sort of scary pitches they have prepared for such a big event it is not going to help the International Cricket Council (ICC) or its members keep interest in one-day internationals alive," Miandad told Reuters.

"Some of the pitches they have played on can be ranked as dangerous. The bounce is inconsistent. Balls are kicking up from a good length. All this is not good for the survival of ODIs."

"The pitches at Centurion have made matches one-sided with the side winning the toss having the advantage. The ICC is quick to monitor the pitches in member countries but they also need to talk to their curators about the pitches in the Champions Trophy," he said.
The ICC moved the Champions Trophy to South Africa due to security concerns after it was postponed from its original date in Pakistan last year.

Dinesh Karthik Interview

Posted on/at 11:03 AM by The Cricket Corollary

I found this recently at cricinfo, Interview by Nagraj Gollapudi

Are you tired of carrying drinks yet?
A little bit, but I prefer carrying drinks for the Indian team than being anywhere else. 
Any funny experiences as a drinks carrier?
The first time I carried drinks was during the 2004 Champions Trophy. It was a wet outfield and I was running with the drinks and I couldn't stop myself and just went sliding into Sourav Ganguly, who was giving a team chat in the huddle. 
We've heard Daniel Vettori gifted you a motorbike during this year's IPL?
He won the Man of the Match in our first game. He doesn't like motorbikes and he probably thought I was a good guy. I've kept it back home in Chennai and ride it sometimes. 
Name an interesting thing you own.
I have a St Bernard dog. They are very tough to take care of in the tropical wetather in Chennai. They usually are found in mountains and the snow. 

If you were a coach how would you keep Sreesanth quiet?
Send him to dance class every day. 
Are you talkative?
Hmm, yes, I am. 
Are you punctual?
I've overslept a couple of times. 
Do you swear in Hindi or English on the field?
Hindi - the other teams don't understand it. 
If you could change one thing in cricket, what would it be?
I would change 50-overs cricket into two innings each of 20-overs. 
Are you a walker?
Not really. 
You seemed to have finally settled on a name after changing it a few times. How many have you had?
My mom asked me to change it the first time. I had an extra "a" in my last name , and it then became an extra "c" as well, and then the extra "a" without the "c", and I don't know how many times I had to change it. But now it's back to normal: Karthik. 

Did you have to change your signature, too?
Name one disadvantage of having your wife on tour.
It's very tough to have a boys' day out. 
Tell us about a cricketing souvenir you treasure.
The 2007 Twenty20 World Cup shirt, signed by the whole team.

Who was your favourite Tamil movie hero as a kid?
It was Rajnikant, and it will be Rajnikant. I also like Surya, the present-day superstar, who is a good guy. 
What is your favorite Rajni line of dialogue?
"Naan oru thadava sonna nooru thadava sonna mathiri" [If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times]. 
What would you do if you're stuck at a airport?
I don't Twitter, and I'm done with Sudoku, so probably read a book or chat with someone.

Have you ever given MS Dhoni a wicketkeeping tip?
I don't remember giving him any tips, but I gave him my pads during the finals of the tri-series in Sri Lanka recently. He tried to stop a ball that was going down and he tried to slide, but the straps of his pads came off and he had to use mine. We won the game! 
Was there ever a cricket role you wanted to enact when you growing up?
I heard a lot about Ian Botham's Ashes, in 1981. Everybody still talks about his performance. I always wanted to do be an allrounder. I don't know why I picked keeping. I really wish I could contribute with both bat and ball, just like he did.

Jonty Rhodes' blog

Posted on/at 6:04 AM by The Cricket Corollary

Miss a game at your peril

Jonty Rhodes

Just about every game is a knockout from here onwards which is a fantastic endorsement of the format of the tournament because there's no cruising for the players and no blinking for the supporters. Miss a game at your peril - you might not see your favourite team again.

I've thoroughly enjoyed the tournament so far although I have the feeling that we've only seen the support act so far and the real thing is about to burst onto stage. It only takes a couple of brilliant individual performances or a really close game, a classic contest and suddenly everyone is talking cricket.

It looks very obvious to me that the tournament is being played in a great spirit and there are plenty of smiles on the players' faces. I wonder whether that might become a feature of the ICC Champions Trophy. With $2 million at stake for the winners I'm not suggesting for a moment that the players won't be taking it seriously but it's not the ICC World Cup and, perhaps, this tournament can provide an opportunity for players to remember the spirit of cricket.

Andrew Strauss set a great example in that regard when he called the batsman back when he was run out after colliding with the bowler. That sort of gesture sets an example that thousands of kids might, one day, decided to copy. Just as kids can swear and spit and do other nasty things if they see their heroes doing them, so they can mimic the good stuff.

England were very good indeed against Sri Lanka and if they pitch up in the same frame of mind against South Africa on Sunday then they could well ruin the hosts' party. Supersport Park in Centurion is very different to the Wanderers, however, and a dry surface has favoured the spinners more than the seamers. Up until now the ball hasn't really swung at Centurion - if anyone can make it happen I guess James Anderson would be a contender.

Herschelle Gibbs is available for the Proteas once again although it was interesting to hear Graeme Smith speculating about the possibility of Hashim Amla retaining his place at the top of the order. Hashim is playing well and is probably a more ‘reliable' option than Herschelle but it would take a brave man to leave Hersch out. He's unique – capable of playing more audacious innings than just about anyone else. And he's still got the X factor in the field, even at the ago of 35.

It is still possible that at least one semi-final place could be decided on net run-rate. In my opinion the players shouldn't even consider that until well into the game. Get yourself into a winning position and take it from there. If you take anything for granted, if you assume victory, you will lose. Then run-rates are irrelevant anyway!

Ricky Ponting's blog

Posted on/at 6:01 AM by The Cricket Corollary

I am looking forward to playing India

Ricky Ponting

It's been a challenge for Australia to come straight into this tournament with no acclimatization or practise. True, we were in the heat of battle during the recently-concluded one-dayers against England, but conditions here are vastly different from the ones we had gotten used to in England.

Our opening game was played in really difficult conditions, and the pitch at the Wanderers was borderline dangerous when we started our innings. Paine got a few sharp raps on his knuckles as the ball was moving and rising dangerously. Mitchell Johnson help us get to a very good total on that track, which helped us win quite comfortably in the end. The devils in the wicket had been laid when the sun dried out the wicket, and we had to defend our total in much more batsman-friendly conditions.

The tournament has been a little bit of a lottery especially in the day games. Sri Lanka got a rough one when they batted against England in very difficult conditions. It's early summer in South Africa and early starts, particularly at the Wanderers should have been avoided.

The Indians have been hit hard by the absence of Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag. These guys are really good in conditions like those at Centurion, and MS Dhoni felt their absence during India’s game against Pakistan. That said, it was a close game and India were in with a chance till the last 10 overs.

The loss to Pakistan makes tomorrow’s game a must-win for India. We are pretty confident going into this game primarily because all our players are fit and we have a full squad to pick from.

Michael Clarke, who was struggling with his back, has a good chance of being match-fit tomorrow, and that will be a big boost for us. It also helps that this is a day-night game, which means the match will be better balanced. However, there was a bit of dew in the evening, which was a bit hard for the spinners.

It's been a long time since we have played a one-dayer against the Indians, and I am looking forward to playing them. This tournament is a lot more open than many of the earlier editions. There are quite a few teams that fancy their chances of winning and India is certainly one of them. However, with the injuries list including some key players, there is a lot of pressure on their others at the moment, and we need to capitalize on this.

Smith vs Strauss

Posted on/at 5:49 AM by The Cricket Corollary

"I was cramping quite badly and I requested a runner...Andrew spoke with the umpires and turned it down. He felt that if you score a hundred, you're going to be tired. From my perspective, it felt a touch inconsistent. Guys have got runners for cramps in the past, so there needs to be a degree of consistency there. This is the frustration that we have. I'm not going to sit here and slag Andrew and say that he should have done this or that. The decision rests with the umpires as well. From my perspective, it's just about putting it behind me now. The thing I've learned from this game is that the world's round. It's going to come back somewhere in the game, at some period of time in his captaincy. It'll be interesting to see how he handles it again." -Graeme Smith

"He asked me for a runner because he was cramping. The umpires were not particularly keen to give him one. I felt that at the end of a long game, after a long innings, you're going to be tired. Cramping to a certain extent is a preparation thing. To a certain extent, it's a conditioning thing. I didn't feel that he merited having a runner at that stage. You just go with each situation as it comes. I think the umpires were very uncomfortable with it as well. My personal view is that you shouldn't get a runner for cramps, full stop. That's something for the ICC to look at. I didn't feel he was cramping that badly either. He was still able to run. That was my view." -Andrew Strauss

That's the wrong finger.

Same sh*t, different day

Posted on/at 12:00 AM by The Cricket Corollary

South Africa got knocked out of another major ICC tournament... Blah-blah-blah, what else is new?
Biff is back, leaner and meaner and he is coming to get Strauss.

 Now that SA is out who will we support? I'll feel like a traitor if I support England. So it will be either Sri Lanka or New Zealand then. Who ever will make it to the semi's will gain some Saffer support.

From Hero To Zero

Posted on/at 11:52 PM by The Cricket Corollary

You've guessed it. I'm talking Strauss. This is coming from someone who doesn't even like Graeme Smith and who has nothing against the England team. Let me say one thing, if their roles were reversed I would be posting the exact same thing on Biff...I am very dissapointed.

It wasn't a very smart thing to do either. You are still in the country, staying at the Sandton Hotel, right? If I were you, I'd think twice about eating the breakfast that the proudly South African waiter will bring you.

Shoaib Malik Interviews

Posted on/at 8:44 AM by The Cricket Corollary

Will you accept the fact that Pakistan could have lost the match, if Suresh Raina and Rahul Dravid would have played a bit longer?  
There was little threat. But we knew they would get caught. They tried very hard but we knew our bowlers could have broken the partnership. Actually it is our partnership which made the difference between the two teams. 
Is it your best hundred? 
It would be a memorable one. The team won and I have played a small role which is really very very satisfying. 
What would be your target for this tournament?
I want to carry on the current form in the remaining matches of ICC Champions trophy.
Why did you start slowly?
I wanted to consolidate the situation by being cautious, not losing any wicket. Actually that is my game. After I settle down I normally try to accelerate later. 
That’s what it had happened on Friday against India. You took 70 balls to score 36 runs. But the next 70 run came in 40 balls? 
Team needed that blocking. We did not want to invite any pressure by losing wickets early. 
Were you surprised when Virat Kohli came into bowl? 
Yes, I was. I think Harbhajan would have been brought then. Dhoni then wanted to finish the quota of the fifth bowler by bringing Kohli and Yousuf.  
You got maximum runs by putting the ball in the backward point area? 
Initially the Indian bowlers were bowling straight. Gradually they attacked the off stump line. Naturally I had to play in that area and collect solid runs.

Daniel Vettori Interview

Posted on/at 8:03 AM by The Cricket Corollary

Do you think the loss in the first match would create a major problem in the ICC CT?
It doesn't make a lot of difference to us. We know we still have to turn up and play pretty well to beat a strong South Africa side. Sri Lanka played exceptionally well in the first match. We're under no illusions about how hard it is going to be.
What would be your impression about the wicket here in SA?
The wicket is a lot better than we expected it to be. Not sure we're going to play on the same one or we've got a new block. It was a slow deck and suited the Sri Lanka more than the South Africans and it brings the question whether we play two spinners and what's the best tactic on a wicket like that.
Will you support of keeping 2 spinners in the side?
In the past if you look at how balanced South Africa line-up, is that they play two spinners. I think they will adapt pretty quickly to the conditions and they know them pretty well. It won't hurt us coming out of Sri Lanka for last six weeks. We've played on wickets like this and hopefully we're ready for that. But it'll be a tough ask.
What is your impression about the ODI cricket?
I think it's great. The format of the ICC Champions Trophy is also nice. It feels like every game is relevant. In the past ICC Champions Trophy there's probably been a few almost warm-up like games you've been able to get yourself into the tournament. You have to turn up here ready to play and ready to win, otherwise you can get knocked out quickly. For me personally, the relevance of the ODI game, the easiest solution is to play less games. I don't think we need to tinker around with the format. I think we've played so much people get a bit sick of seeing it so if you reduce the amount of games that is a quick fix solution.
Lot of talk about tinkering...
So much talk about tinkering and there has been in the past, for me personally, it is a good format and it has produced an array of good cricketers and different styles as well. With the ODI format you can still get a number of different cricketers who can succeed. If we take that away and keep tinkering with it we'll lose those styles of cricketers. We're lucky in cricket that we have three formats and people can enjoy all three. If we keep changing we might lose some of the fanbase. As long as we don't overload the public we can get a nice balance between the three.
Tell us something about the preparation for the ICC CT.
We know coming here that we have to beat quality teams. England has come off a tough series against Australia. But all teams in the group will be wary of each other. We had mixed results in the warm-ups. We lost to a first-class team and then played really well against India. Hopefully we can take the confidence of the India game into our first game. Particularly it's our batting department where we've struggled a lot. But a couple of guys stepped up. To make 300 against an Indian side is always something that makes me happy as captain and pleases the team as well. Challenge is to put a score on that board and defend it as a bowling unit.

The Must Win Scenario

Posted on/at 7:55 AM by The Cricket Corollary

South Africa will have to beat England today at Centurion to make it through to the semi-finals.

Don't shit on my parade.

"The most important thing for us tomorrow is to win, to focus on our basics and to carry out our game plan well...We can't be worrying about run-rates. The important thing for us is to win and to get to four points on the log. If we get to 40 overs and we are close to winning the game, then we will definitely up the tempo a bit. It is a massive game for us. We normally come off when the pressure is there and we need to win. The same thing happened at the 2007 World Cup when we had a 'must win' game against England and we managed to do it then and pull through.The Wanderers wicket suited them (England). In addition they have just come out of a tough series at home and managed to win the last one there where they had similar conditions. But they (England) played extremely well against a very strong Sri Lankan side and deserved their win. It is going to be a tough group for us and I think it is going to come down to net run-rate.  " -AB de Villiers

We're buddies :D

The Black Caps will have to beat England on Tuesday.

Bouch is preparing Baz

Graeme Swann is sporting a new hairstyle:



Calling on the Black Caps

Posted on/at 7:36 AM by The Cricket Corollary

I went prowling in Purna's mind and just realised that England winning has caused South Africa to fall to 3rd place on their Group B log. This means that the Proteas & the Black Caps will need to murder England. Oh shit! Come on Dan, Baz & Taylor, don't let us down.

TCC would like to thank Luke Wright for playing like shit.

Smith will never change

Posted on/at 7:21 AM by The Cricket Corollary

Who would resist?


Posted on/at 10:18 PM by The Cricket Corollary



Posted on/at 3:29 PM by The Cricket Corollary


Kumar Sangakarra Blog

Posted on/at 3:28 PM by The Cricket Corollary

Our bowling attack has been firing well

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when Asian teams were routinely labelled underdogs for tournaments like the ICC Champions Trophy, particularly if it was being held in South Africa. To be fair, we often lived up to that pre-tournament billing with uninspiring displays, and struggled with the alien conditions.

Fortunately, things have changed for Asian cricketers, who travel better these days and Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan all have real ambitions of winning the tournament.
Non-Asian teams have become much better at playing spin on the subcontinent and we, similarly, have adapted to playing pace on bouncier and quicker pitches. Some of that stems from improved skills and technique but mostly from our growing mental strength and confidence. Our aim was to learn how to win in all conditions against any opposition and we now believe we can achieve that.

While India must have been disappointed with their early exit from the ICC World Twenty20 in England, Sri Lanka and Pakistan kept the Asia flag flying. In the end, the variety of our bowlers and the natural flair of our batsmen made the best use of the conditions, albeit on pitches at Trent Bridge and the Oval that were quite slow and spin-friendly. The same could happen in South Africa.

It's very early to be playing international cricket in South Africa and you'd expect fresh pitches and pace bowlers running amok. But this is an international tournament rather than a bilateral series and the curators will have been given clear instructions to produce batting surfaces. With the modern technology of greenhouse pitches available to ground staff these days, as well as the dry highveld climate in Johannesburg and Pretoria, I don't think batsmen need be too worried aside for the odd late thunderstorm.

We've played both India and Pakistan in recent times and I think we have managed to close the gap that was between us with regard to the one-day format. After being in the doldrums for a while, Pakistan have been slowly getting their house in order while India are, deservedly, perched at the top of the ICC ODI rankings after a very impressive run since their ICC World Cup disaster.

India looked a little bit rusty at times during the recent tri-series back home - where the third team was New Zealand - but they saved their best performance for the final and we were outplayed fair and square. That win was fashioned from the blade of Sachin Tendulkar with a brilliant century, a master class in how to construct a match-winning century in a high-pressure final.

While India certainly have some talented players coming through, I think his presence, coupled with the return of Rahul Dravid, stiffens their batting line-up. Their vast experience and battle-hardened techniques, especially against fast bowling, gives them a more solid feel, especially in the absence of Virender Sehwag.

Sehwag, who has an excellent record in South Africa, is a huge player for India and he'll be sorely missed. The likes of Sehwag - or, for us right now, Tillekeratne Dilshan - are initiative-snatching players. They unsettle bowlers, pressurizing them into making mistakes. Within a few overs they've gifted you momentum and made the job for the rest of the batsmen so much easier. So, yes, Sehwag is a loss. Fortunately, though, India have plenty of batting stars and this facet of their game remains their strength.

Their bowling is strong, especially when Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh are fit and in form, but it is their batting that makes them so formidable. Their fielding, like ours and Pakistan's, remains an area that needs plenty of work. The fielding of both India and Sri Lanka during the earlier-mentioned tri-series was well below acceptable standards.

M.S. Dhoni is a captain I enjoy playing against and he's obviously a natural leader, a man that likes to lead from the front and a captain whose calm and unflustered demeanor feeds his players with confidence. He follows his instincts as a decision-maker and seems to be willing to make the tough choices that a captain sometimes needs to make.

Pakistan have a similarly charismatic leader in Younis Khan and seem to have gelled into a pretty cohesive side. We outplayed Pakistan in our recent Test series and also in our first three one-dayers to take that ODI series. However, they finished the tour on a high with three powerful performances that showed just how dangerous they can be when on-song. There is no doubt they are a mercurial bunch, totally and dangerously unpredictable. That makes them a team no one can make the mistake of taking lightly.

We, as a team, are also evolving quite nicely. We have been going through a period of transition in our one-day cricket for some time now and the results of that rebuilding are starting to be seen. We have a strong core of players to take us forward to the World Cup in 2011. After a few inconsistent performances in recent ODI tours and series I think we are improving.

The most promising development has been the growing strength of our middle-order. We were too reliant on our top-order and vulnerable if we lost early wickets but the reintegration of Thilan Samaraweera into the side has given it some stability and two youngsters, left-hander Thilina Kandamby and all-rounder Angelo Mathews, have impressed me with their attitude, commitment and mental strength.

Our bowling attack has been firing well for a while now. We have a great variety in our attack with different types of pace bowlers and spinners. We are blessed to have unique and unorthodox talents like Murali, Mendis and Malinga who give us a bit of the 'X-factor' in a tournament like this. Our bowling was excellent during the ICC World Twenty20 and I am hoping the same combinations will be similarly effective here.

Proteas Blog

Posted on/at 3:25 PM by The Cricket Corollary

Thursday's Game

Wayne Parnell

Cricket gives you the biggest ups and downs, and so close together! It was horrible after Tuesday when we played so badly against Sri Lanka and then just 48 hours later we were celebrating victory over New Zealand.
I couldn’t have imagined losing and being eliminated from the tournament so early, especially after bowling poorly in the first game. I started alright with the new ball but I became a bit tentative in the middle and lost my rhythm completely at one stage. It was the most pressure I’ve felt in my international career but I got through it and I know I’ll be a better player and a better person because of it.
Graeme could have changed the plan and given the ‘death’ overs to somebody else because I’d gone for more runs in both games than I should have but he showed faith in me and I really, really appreciate that. There’s nothing better than having a captain who backs you and trusts you not to let the team down. Fortunately I was able to repay him with five wickets, including the vital one of Ross Taylor which probably made the difference between chasing 250 and 215.
Some cricketers never get to play in an ICC event and others have to wait years to get the chance – and there’s me playing in two world events within three months at the age of 20. I am very, very lucky and I know it!
Herschelle and Makhaya have too much energy at the best of times but when they aren’t playing they are like two fireworks in the changing room. But it was a great relief to have them there on Tuesday night because they refused to let anybody feel ‘down’ and they were so positive, constantly reminding us that we could win the next two games and the defeat wouldn’t matter.
People probably imagine that we have two days ‘off’ between matches but it doesn’t feel like that with practise sessions, physio and various functions that we attend for the BCCI or sponsors. The time will go very quickly until we play England on Sunday which is a good thing because I’m raring to go and can’t wait to get back on the field again.

Sri Lanka Match

Johan Botha

There is no doubt that a lack of hard, international match practise counted against us on Tuesday but we did everything we possibly could to prepare for the tournament and we certainly cannot have any excuses.
Sri Lanka came straight from a tough triangular series against India and New Zealand and they hit the ground running. It also helps that they have one of the most talented and well balanced squads in the tournament!

SA were in complete control

Jonty Rhodes

The prospect of South Africa being eliminated from the tournament after three days was too horrible to contemplate - so I didn't! I was always confident that they would be too strong for New Zealand even though the Black Caps have some dangerous players.
The Proteas have not only stayed alive but did some useful work in repairing the damage which Sri Lanka inflicted on their net run rate. It didn't look like they were deliberately trying to score quickly which pleased me because you don’t take liberties with the game of cricket at any level, but certainly not in a tournament involving the best eight teams in the world.
Having bowled and fielded brilliantly to dismiss New Zealand for just 214, it would have been unforgivable if South Africa had assumed that the hard work was done and taken victory for granted.
It was an absolute pleasure watching them construct the run chase in the methodical and clinical way they did and, although the people around me in the Standard Bank hospitality box became a bit nervous when wickets fell, I always thought they were in complete control. It was a comprehensive win and will give the team's collective confidence a vital boost after the shock of the Sri Lanka game.
 The only thing which didn’t work for the guys was their throwing at the stumps. JP Duminy must have had a dozen unsuccessful throws while AB de Villiers tried even more often from backward point without making contact once! It reminded of the last guy to spend a lot of time at backward point for South Africa, that Rhodes guy. He was hopeless at hitting the stumps.
Actually, there is quite a lot of luck involved and sometimes it’s just not your day. We always learn to throw at the base of the stumps when the 'keeper can't get there and sometimes the ball hits a piece of turf and defelects away - or bounces straight over the top. You just have to console yourself with the fact that you’ll hit them all the time in the next game.
 I said after the heavy loss to Sri Lanka that South Africa’s habit of starting quickly and fading may be about to turn around. If they can maintain the intensity they showed against New Zealand and win again against England on Sunday, then they should reach the semi finals with huge momentum piled up behind them.
For now, though, I think we can all breath a collective sigh of relief (apart from Kiwis, of course) because the tournament might just have felt a little flat if the hosts had been eliminated before half the teams had even played a game.

Win with the ICC Champions Trophy

Posted on/at 7:35 PM by The Cricket Corollary

Going to an ICC Champions Trophy Match? Click on the images for more info.


Still In It

Posted on/at 7:29 PM by The Cricket Corollary

 Smith is at it again...poor Roelof...

It has been a fantastic day at Centurion. I've been worried about AB de Villiers' form but he seems to be on track now. Parnell, well...uhm... 5 wickets but he still got smashed. 


A good question is: Why did they take the powerplay so late in the game? Trying to steal the shine from Boucher, maybe?

I always enjoy watching SA beat the shit out of NZ. Tomorrow Sri Lanka is taking on England. I will be wearing my blue and yellow shirt. I am not sure if Team Luke will play but I am still rooting for SL.

Duminy did it again

Posted on/at 7:02 PM by The Cricket Corollary



Botha tackled Baz

Posted on/at 5:50 PM by Bella



Posted on/at 5:48 PM by Bella


Shahid Afridi Interview

Posted on/at 8:05 AM by The Cricket Corollary

Gradually you have become the captain of Pakistan?
I know for sure that I am the vice-captain of Pakistan Team. The deputy of Younus khan as far as the Test and One-day cricket is concerned but captain of Twenty20 team.    
Do you feel any pressure to perform the duty of a skipper?
Pressure? Each and every player has to swallow pressure in international cricket. You must know how to perform under pressure situation. I am enjoying every moment in the cricket field. Life is full of struggle and if you remember you are representing 16 crore people, you will have special feeling. I am really lucky and honored indeed, to have played for Pakistan.    
What is your experience so far playing for Pakistan in the last thirteen years?
Every player has to go through success and failure. So did I, I have no hesitation in announcing that I cried more than laughing in the cricket field.    
How do you see the fortune of Pakistan team in this ICC Champions Trophy?
We have got a very balanced side which gives us tremendous confidence of winning the trophy here as well.    
Why are you so confident this time?
It has got many reasons. First of all, our bowling department. They are very sharp. If you go to the history of Pakistan cricket, you will notice that our bowlers have done a great job for Pakistan. I am sure, they will do a great job this time here also. We are ready to challenge any team.    
Will you not be relieved to have Mohd. Asif in your team?
Oh, Yes. Asif is a match winner. He served his ban period till 22nd September 2009. So he will be available. He is fit and raring to go. And trust me he is very hungry to play in international cricket which would be a major plus point for our team's strength.    
Since you won the World Twenty20, people are expecting that you would do well in ICC Champions Trophy as well. Do you agree?
The entire nation would be disappointed if we fail to deliver. We have our self belief which should be transformed into action in the middle. We can only assure you that we are all focused to do well.


Posted on/at 7:51 AM by Bella

Who was the photographer? These are aweful. Shiny foreheads, visible blemishes. I know they're not supermodels but still.


Collingwood: "No booze cruise"

Posted on/at 7:27 AM by The Cricket Corollary

I haven't read Andrew Flintoff's quotes in full, but I am told he has likened the 2006/07 Ashes tour of Australia to a 'booze cruise', which surprises me.
Again, I don't know the complete context of his remarks, but I can say that in all my time playing for England we have been very professional individually and as a team in our preparations.
If that's his opinion, so be it, but I do not think we have been unprofessional. I take playing for England very seriously and prepare for each game as if it will be my last.
Each person is an individual, and they do different things on tour. Some people will go for a meal and have a couple of drinks, while others might stay in their hotel room.
From my point of view I have always thought the England team to be very professional.
On a lighter note, I had a belter of a question when we spoke to the media earlier on Wednesday. I was talking to several television crews when a lady from Indian TV asked if we should have more sex as cricketers.
I was a bit taken aback and thought I had heard her wrong, but it turns out that India coach Gary Kirsten has come out with a dossier saying your testosterone levels drop if you don't have sex.
She wanted to know if we had a similar dossier, but I can confirm it doesn't enter into the England gameplan!
We flew in to South Africa on Tuesday for the ICC Champions Trophy and had a runaround to get the journey out of our legs, and are just off for some proper training now.
Although we haven't got any warm-up games ahead of our first match against Sri Lanka on Friday, I don't think a lack of match practice will be a problem after seven one-dayers against Australia!
We will have a look at the wicket between now and Friday, and the only other thing we have to cope with is the altitude up here in Johannesburg.
We have to take as much confidence as we can from the last one-dayer against Australia.
It is easy to be negative, but we can beat anyone on our day and if we can build on a superb bowling performance we can definitely win.
Sri Lanka looked awesome against South Africa, and they have two quality spin bowlers in Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis who will be a real challenge.
We are without Kevin Pietersen for this tournament and we are all hoping he will be fit for the Test series against South Africa.
Of course you miss a world class batsman like KP, but we have just won the Ashes without him, and if he is not available there will be players ready to step up and fill the void.

Graeme Smith Interview

Posted on/at 12:23 PM by The Cricket Corollary

Proteas Blog

Posted on/at 12:20 PM by The Cricket Corollary

 My first ICC experience  


The Champions Trophy is my first experience of an ICC world tournament and I can promise you it has felt very different, and very special from the moment the squad gathered. In a bilateral series against another country there is inevitably a sense of familiarity that comes after three or four games. You only need to prepare once for the bowlers you will be facing and the batsmen you will be bowling to. Here we face three very different teams in the group stage, although Рto use an old clich̩ - we really are taking it one game at a time!
Even the veterans of seven or eight of these ICC tournaments say that this time it feels more like a ‘sprint’ than ever. We could, in theory, be out of the tournament after three days if we lose our first two games. Some teams won’t even have played a match by then! It will feel like a 100 metre sprinter being disqualified for making a false start.
But that sort of tension is good, it keeps you on your toes and mentally sharp. We cannot afford a false start and everybody knows that. It would be going too far to say we are relaxed, but we are all confident in our own ability and in the skills of all team mates in the squad. Nobody has any doubts.
Although I started as a ‘reserve’ in the squad I’m looking forward to making an impact. I really enjoyed my run in the ODI side last season against Australia and I was fortunate to make a couple of match-winning contributions, so I know I can do it. I love the big stage as much as anybody and, with luck, I’ll be able to take the chance offered to me by Herschelle’s injury.
It’s never a happy time watching a team mate lose his place tp injury, especially when they are as keen and determined as Herschelle is, but there isn’t a single player in the squad who hasn’t suffered that fate or taken advantage of it, so we all accept it as part of the game.
Sri Lanka pose a unique threat in world cricket because of the extreme unorthodoxy of the ‘three Ms’- Malinga, Murali and Mendis. Batsmen have virtually no chance against all three of them on first sighting, but the element of surprise has gradually been worn away now and we all have experience of facing them. It doesn’t necessarily get any easier, but at least we now know what to expect. Well, most of the time…!
There is huge excitement in the Proteas squad but definitely no nervous tension, not of the negative variety anyway. If people say we are the favourites then that must mean we are quite good. And we’d rather people thought we were quite good than quite bad!

 The future of the ICC champions trophy  

Some of the talk concerning the status and future of the ICC Champions Trophy has amused me. The people who have said and written that its future is in jeopardy because of a lack of interest clearly haven’t been talking to the players.
When the top eight teams in the world get together to play for a trophy, you can call it whatever you like and play over as many overs as you like, you won’t be able to compromise the effort and determination of a cricketers representing their countries.
Personally I think the balance is perfect between the three ICC world tournaments. The T20 World Championship and the Champions Trophy are both ‘sprints’ which will only enhance the reputation of the 50-over World Cup which is a longer tournament requiring sustained form and endurance for over a month.
There are four Majors in tennis and golf – why can’t cricket have three? When all the major cricket nations gather in one place the level of competition and interest is bound to intensify. If cricket has a problem with too many fixtures, then they are the tours and games which Graeme Smith earlier this week called the ‘meaningless’ ones, not the pinnacle of international competition.
ICC events are very special occasions for the players. I’ll never forget the 1992 World Cup when I was just a boy but mingling with the likes of Imran Khan and Ian Botham, it was an incredible experience. The same applies today when I see the looks on the faces of young players when the walk past Sachin Tendulkar or Jacques Kallis in the lobby of the hotel. Try telling them that the Champions Trophy isn’t special or important!
I’m not saying that the balance between ODIs and T20 fixtures is perfect, or that it won’t change – it probably will. But, for all the power of television, sponsors and advertisers, and the influence of the people who pay money to watch, I am quite certain that one-dayers will never disappear. The players enjoy the contest too much and, provided there is no ‘overkill’ of the 50-over game, crowds will continue to enjoy them, too. But in moderation. I suspect that administrators in England are beginning to realise that a seven match ODI series after the Ashes was completely excessive. Less is more!
Nobody will be surprised that I’m tipping South Africa to win. But it’s not just about the quality in their squad, it’s also that I can see too many things holding back the other teams! The West Indies are fearfully under strength, England and Australia will be too tired to keep their eyes open, Pakistan can be slow starters and, as I said, this tournament is a sprint. India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand all look well balanced and will obviously be hard to beat – but I’m banking on home ground advantage to help the Proteas cross the line first on October 5th.

SA's First Game


We have faced greater adversity than this before so, although we’re very disappointed, we know we can still get things back on track with victories over New Zealand and England in our last two group games.
We were very tentative with the ball, especially the first 20 overs. We didn’t do the basics well and, despite preparing as well as we possibly could, the lack of hard match practice in the last three months showed quite clearly. It’s no excuse – we did as much as we could to be match-ready but there’s no substitute for the real thing.
Ajantha Mendis obviously had a huge impact once Jacques and me had tried to lay the platform for what was always going to be a tough run chase. He’s very different to most spinners. It was the first time we’ve seen him live – and it’s very different seeing a guy like him during a video analysis session and actually facing him. He bowled well. Very well. He has some unique skills and should be applauded and celebrated for that.
Our final two games are now ‘must-win’ matches which brings a different sort of pressure but, once again, not something we are unfamiliar with. We all know that the best way to succeed is to relax and trust yourself and your team mates. It doesn’t do any good worrying and stressing about the result. It’s the next delivery that counts.
At the same time it’s vital that we are honest with ourselves as individuals and as a team and face up to why it went wrong against Sri Lanka and how we can improve. It’s a very quick turnaround between games and but we will be doing everything in our power to ensure we do ourselves justice on Thursday.
Despite the overall success of the last 18 months there have been low moments when we have underperformed and let ourselves down. One of the key ingredients to bouncing back from those days is to acknowledge your mistakes and accept the responsibility for putting them right.
We started that process straight after the game and will discuss it further on Wednesday morning. Then we will do the ‘practical’ in the nets at Centurion in the afternoon.
Having said all that, it would be wrong to concentrate purely on our shortcomings without paying proper credit to Sri Lanka. Tillekeratne Dilshan made a brilliant century and the innings by Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene were world class.
We know we are capable of performing a lot better and we are certainly capable of beating both New Zealand and England if we play to our potential, but we have to get ourselves to that level very quickly.

Graeme Swann Interview

Posted on/at 11:57 AM by The Cricket Corollary

I know that a lot of people don't like Graeme Swann but I like him. He is a funny man. He has that dry crude English humour that I get.

If you were to bet on Andy Murray winning the Wimbledon or England the Ashes, which one would you fancy?
England winning the Ashes, because Andy Murray is Scottish, so I don't care if he wins Wimbledon or not.
What is the funniest thing someone ever said about you?
I read in the newspaper the other day that I've matured a lot. 

What's the worst headline you read about yourself?
I don't know about the headline, but there are sometimes fans who shout words that are a bit tedious at times. Sometimes they shout that my last name shouldn't be Swann, it should be Duck, which is just appalling. Then there was someone shouting out the other day that I've got Swann flu and not swine flu. That is not very clever.
Do you like intellectual things?
I like to do the crossword in the Times, but it tends to be I can't finish it, so I end up making my own words to fill in. 

What's the best book you ever read?
1984 by George Orwell - a super book. I tend to read on tours and I end up reading Tom Clancy and Frederic Forsyth and Patrick Robinson rather than [Fyodor] Dostoyevsky and [Frederick] Nietzsche. 
Who's sledged you the most?
Dominic Cork 

And who have you sledged most?
Cork again. I used to reply to everyone, but I soon realised the best way is to just shut up and get on with it. 

What kind of batsman is most difficult to bowl to?
Unpredictable players, because you don't know what they are gonna do next. They normally happen to be down the order.
What would you write on the whiteboard in the dressing room?
"Enjoy yourself." 

Your band is called Dr Comfort and the Lurid Revelations. What's behind the name?
Dr Comfort was actually a psychologist in the 1970s, and he released a book of lurid revelations about the women who visited him. Apparently at the time it was quite shocking. It made us chuckle, so we thought we we'd go with that. 

Do you see yourself as a rock star?
No, not at all. I'm a charlatan. I've sung in front of at most 200 people. 

If not a cricketer what would you be?
I wish I could've been a fighter pilot. When I was at school there was a US airbase not far from us, and when we were playing rugby the planes used to dogfight over the top. And after watching Top Gun every schoolboy in England wanted to be a fighter pilot. 

Tell us something we don't know about you.
Some people are just cat people, some people are just dog people, but I love both. At the moment I have two cats. 

You seem outrageous by all accounts. Did you ever fancy being a streaker?
No. But they always make me laugh, and it is a shame people get arrested for doing it. I think there are too many killjoys in the world. 

What do you think of Duncan Fletcher?
Excellent coach. 

Have you ever tested your IQ?
I got it tested at school. It'd probably be in the high 150s

What's the one question the media should be banned from asking you?
The media should be allowed to ask anything, but they should be prepared to get any sort of reply back. It can't be one-way traffic. You can't say exactly what they want you to. 

What has been your best dismissal to date?
[Sachin] Tendulkar lbw in the Mohali Test last year, specially after he got the hundred in the Test match before, and also being the best player by miles in the world. A week before, in Chennai, we'd bowled so much at him trying to get him out. It was like banging our heads against a brick wall, and all of sudden I get him in Mohali, so it was the relief the moment that was the best thing about that wicket. 

What's the best compliment you've ever got?
Mushy [Mushtaq Ahmed] once told me it's nice to see me always smiling in the dressing room. 
One thing you would like from Muttiah Muralitharan?
His doosra

 Follow him on Twitter