BBC BLOGS - Alison Mitchell

Archives for November 2009

Panesar eager to set the record straight

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Alison Mitchell | 19:58 UK time, Thursday, 26 November 2009

While England's cricketers used their day off to hare around Cape Town on roaring Harley Davidsons, England's forgotten spinner Monty Panesar has been trying to make amends with his former employers Northants, after ruffling a few feathers with comments he made last weekend.

Monty is in Johannesburg where he's playing for the South Africa domestic side Highveld Lions, with a view to getting his career back on track. A bid to win back his England place is also behind his recent move from Northamptonshire to Sussex.

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Indoor fielding drills, lions and a Mongoose

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Alison Mitchell | 17:30 UK time, Thursday, 19 November 2009

There's never a great deal of free time on cricket tours these days but the England team bonded with a visit to Lion Park in Johannesburg on Wednesday, taking the opportunity to get close to some cubs, even stroking a couple of the cute youngsters.

Once they take to the cricket field though, they'll find South Africa somewhat less submissive than those playful purring cats.

Although, it must be said that for the first one-day international to take place at the Wanderers at all, the rain storms of the last two days have to stay away. The forecast isn't good and England were forced to practise indoors on Thursday as puddles formed on the outfield.

Never ideal, particularly as the Wanderers' nets are in an underground car park, with no space for fielding and fitness drills. Matt Prior carried out a wicketkeeping drill on the concrete alongside a silver estate.

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England hoping to sparkle

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Alison Mitchell | 12:03 UK time, Sunday, 8 November 2009

In Kimberley

I've been in South Africa for a few days now and am getting into the swing of the England tour. One warm-up match has already been won convincingly and the second is taking place in Kimberley, a former mining town with an intriguing history, as it was central to the country's diamond rush in the late 19th century.

Having driven the two hours west from Bloemfontein, across wide red-earthed plains, and past a myriad of termite mounds as well as the odd ostrich, the attention of producer Louise Sutton and I was soon focused on Stuart Broad, after he got off the team bus with his right arm in a sling.

It transpired that he'd injured his bowling shoulder diving in the field during the warm up game against the Eagles, but fortunately, the results of scans have shown there is no major damage.

England will be hoping his shoulder responds to treatment by the end of the week, so he can play in the Twenty20 international on Friday. However, the fact that the ECB have said he'll miss the next two matches "at least" suggests they will err on the side of caution, with the one-day series taking priority over T20s.

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