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Archives for June 2008

England one-day ratings

Alec Stewart - former England captain | 19:16 UK time, Saturday, 28 June 2008

Here's how I rated the performances of the England team in the one-day series against New Zealand.

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Pietersen shows captaincy promise

Jonathan Agnew | 18:38 UK time, Saturday, 28 June 2008

This was a really poor batting performance by England, but in the field, at least, Kevin Pietersen showed a refreshingly positive attitude to the captaincy.

For a man who can't remember ever having led a team before - is anyone else amazed that he never even captained his school team? - he seemed calm and definitely in charge.

I liked the way he kept his slip in position in the 19th over of New Zealand's innings, and he was rewarded for that when Graeme Swann took the catch to remove the curiously subdued Brendon McCullum whose 23 came from 57 balls.

Pietersen also insisted on keeping his mid on and mid off inside the circle, pressurising the batsman to hit over the top.

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Keeping up with the headlines

Adam Mountford | 14:53 UK time, Thursday, 26 June 2008

When the NatWest Series got under way 10 days ago, all the talk was about the potential death of the 50-over game because of the seemingly unstoppable growth of Twenty20 cricket.

And with Euro 2008 and Wimbledon going on at the same time, there were fears that the series may fail to grab the headlines - but how wrong we were!

There has been so much to keep the BBC cricket team busy over the past few days, we have hardly had time to pause for breath.

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ICC boxed in over Zimbabwe

Jonathan Agnew | 17:26 UK time, Wednesday, 25 June 2008

There's a quiet confidence in cricket circles that the ICC will suspend Zimbabwe from all international cricket next week.

This is based on the significant shift in the position of the South Africans, who have now halted all bilateral cricket relations with Zimbabwe.

The current president of the ICC, Ray Mali, is a South African, as is the new chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, and it will be the president who opens the debate around the table in Dubai on Wednesday, with his views now widely known.

Can you really imagine Mr Lorgat emerging after the meeting to announce that the ICC endorses Zimbabwe Cricket? In the current climate, it is absolutely unthinkable.

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Ask Bearders #173

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Bill Frindall | 13:23 UK time, Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Welcome to Ask Bearders, where Test Match Special statistician Bill "The Bearded Wonder" Frindall answers your questions on all things cricket.

Below are Bill's responses to some of your questions posed at the end of his last column and if you have a question for Bill, leave it at the end of this blog entry. Please do include your country of residence - Bill loves to hear where all his correspondents are posting from.

Bill isn't able to answer all of your questions, however. BBC Sport staff will choose a selection of them and send them to Bearders for him to answer.

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Low-scoring games can be fascinating

Jonathan Agnew | 18:54 UK time, Saturday, 21 June 2008

One-day cricket doesn't have to be all about fours and sixes. Low-scoring games have a fascination all of their own as every run is painstakingly eked out, and 50-over matches allow teams to recover from potentially dire positions - something Twenty20 rarely permits.

Both teams battled hard in this game - the batsmen all finding it awkward to cope with a ball that bounced just a fraction more than they are used to.

In truth, the majority of the dismissals were the result of poor technique, but the bowlers deserve credit for squeezing the run rate.

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The Dark Night to Incredible Hulk

Graeme Swann | 06:41 UK time, Friday, 20 June 2008

Scroll down to read my answers to your questions

A lot was said after our abandoned one-dayer against New Zealand, but as far as I'm concerned the umpires had no choice at all other than to call it off when they did.

Anyone who questions the timing of the abandonment is just being ludicrous.

It was a no-brainer. By the time we went off they were the darkest conditions I've ever played in by a long way - even with the white ball it was too dark. I couldn't see past the end of my nose.

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Farce at Edgbaston

Adam Mountford Adam Mountford | 11:33 UK time, Thursday, 19 June 2008

Kevin Pietersen said last week that he believed 50-over one-day international cricket would be a "thing of the past" in a couple of years. If we get any more matches like last night's at Edgbaston it may not take that long.

The events in Birmingham were yet another example of cricket not helping itself - and all this at a time when there is so much debate about trying to make the game more popular.

I feel really sorry for the 16,000 spectators at Edgbaston on Wednesday night who waited patiently through some horrid weather until 3.00pm to finally see some action in the second NatWest ODI.

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Laws should change for switch-hitters

Jonathan Agnew | 19:06 UK time, Wednesday, 18 June 2008

It is clear that there must be some serious tinkering of the Laws of the game if "switch-hitting" is to be permitted.

Indeed, dare I suggest that the MCC, the custodian of the Laws, might have acted a little too swiftly in permitting a batsman to change hands as Kevin Pietersen did at Chester-le-Street on Sunday because the implications are more far reaching than simply Kevin's shot.

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England outplay jaded Kiwis

Jonathan Agnew | 18:02 UK time, Sunday, 15 June 2008

Riverside: When England play one-day cricket with this level of intensity, they look capable of beating anybody.

The re-jigged top order has a much more positive appearance to it, and the fielding inside the circle was aggressive and mightily impressive.

In contrast, New Zealand never really got going again and, frankly, look as if they have had enough of playing against England, losing the first one-day international by 114 runs.

After all, they have now lost six of the last seven matches they have played against them and haven't won a game....

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Don't worry, KP, 50-over matches are here for a while...

Adam Mountford Adam Mountford | 15:55 UK time, Saturday, 14 June 2008

In a fascinating interview after the Twenty20 International at Old Trafford England batsman Kevin Pietersen predicted that the 50-over version of international cricket will be "a thing of the past in a couple of years' time".

Pietersen explained that as far as he is concerned "Twenty20 Cricket is here to stay, it's the future. We are entertainers and if you ask people what they want to watch then it's the Twenty20 form of the game".

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Cash, bang, wallets!

Jonathan Agnew | 10:34 UK time, Saturday, 14 June 2008

Guess what: Twenty20 can produce flat, one-sided matches too!

After a week of hype and multi-million pound pledges, this game never got going. It's a good job this wasn't Sir Allen Stanford's introduction to Twenty20 because he would have kept his cash to himself.

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Six strings and 20 overs

Graeme Swann | 09:19 UK time, Thursday, 12 June 2008

Those of you who think the life of an international cricketer is one of glitz and glamour (I appreciate that may not be many of you) should see me now.

I sit here, alone in my hotel room in Manchester, stuck with rubbish TV all night and with none of the England boys due to arrive until Thursday.

And to make matters worse, I've not only forgotten to pack half my gear, including my shoes, I've forgotten my guitar.

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Stanford brings riches and headaches

Jonathan Agnew | 18:50 UK time, Wednesday, 11 June 2008

It really was a bizarre day at Lord's.

When Sir Allen Stanford landed his private helicopter on the Nursery End, the traditionalists would've left the ground wondering if this is a sensible venture that the ECB is embarking on.

My own view of Sir Allen, having talked to the man himself and people around him, is that he is a genuine West Indian cricket enthusiast. He has spent 26 years living in the Caribbean and really enjoyed being part of their success 20 years ago.

He certainly has a world plan - he is, after all, a global financier. He has the potential to take cricket to the States, he is American and could connect with people in the States like no-one has done before.

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Ask Bearders #172

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Bill Frindall | 13:05 UK time, Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Welcome to Ask Bearders, where Test Match Special statistician Bill "The Bearded Wonder" Frindall answers your questions on all things cricket.

Below are Bill's responses to some of your questions posed at the end of his last column and if you have a question for Bill, leave it at the end of this blog entry. Please do include your country of residence - Bill loves to hear where all his correspondents are posting from.

Bill isn't able to answer all of your questions, however. BBC Sport staff will choose a selection of them and send them to Bearders for him to answer.

Read the rest of this entry

TMS gears up for Twenty20

Adam Mountford | 12:03 UK time, Tuesday, 10 June 2008

BBC Radio 5 Live's coverage of this season's Twenty20 Cup gets underway on Wednesday with interest in the tournament at an all-time high.

Twenty20 has been on what seems an unstoppable roll since the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa last year.

But the announcement over the weekend of a highly lucrative "Champions League" which will feature the finalists of this year's Twenty20 domestic cup has added even more spice to this season's competition.

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Alec Stewart's England player ratings

Here's how I rated the performances of the England team in the third Test at Trent Bridge.

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Questions need answering over Champions League

Jonathan Agnew | 18:19 UK time, Saturday, 7 June 2008

With England apparently well on course for victory at Trent Bridge, the most interesting development was the announcement of the Twenty20 Champions League.

This, you will recall, appeared to be merely a pipe dream when its concept was first announced, as well as a handy tool for the Indian Board to apply pressure on the Indian Cricket League (ICL).

Basically, the two finalists from the domestic Twenty20 competitions in England, Australia, South Africa and India will all meet for a 10-day tournament in the autumn with the winner picking up $5m.

That's the straightforward bit - but there are many questions that need answering.

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Who will make way for Flintoff?

Alec Stewart - former England captain | 14:48 UK time, Saturday, 7 June 2008

With quality performances from the England bowlers in this New Zealand series, the anticipated return of Andrew Flintoff for the South Africa series is going to cause a nice headache for the selectors.

Once Flintoff has proved that he is fit and in the right form to return, by bowling the necessary overs for Lancashire and ideally scoring a few runs, he is a definite pick.

This will mean changing the line-up for the first time in the last five Tests. Who will be the player to make way?

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Anderson shines for England

Jonathan Agnew | 18:21 UK time, Friday, 6 June 2008

James Anderson - with his best Test figures with both bat and ball - has put New Zealand on the rack and, finally, England appear to be on course to finish the series with an emphatic victory.

Anderson is always dangerous when the ball swings.

It remains frustrating that he is still inconsistent when it does not, but today he was in his element and will return to Trent Bridge with the chance to become only the third Test bowler in history to take all 10 wickets in an innings.

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Should the ICC tighten qualification laws?

With Euro 2008 starting this weekend, without England, possibly due to the limited number of English qualified players playing in the Premier League, should the qualification laws be tightened in cricket?

If you come to live in England after your 16th birthday or once your schooling has finished - should you be allowed to play for England? What are your reasons for wanting to come and play here in England - financial or do you really have a passion for your adopted country?

In my career I played with the South African-born Allan Lamb and Robin Smith and the New Zealand-bred Andrew Caddick, all outstanding cricketers who performed exceptionally well. On Thursday, we witnessed Kevin Pietersen and Tim Ambrose, who grew up and learned their cricket in South Africa and Australia respectively, turn England's fortunes around.

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Pietersen spares England's blushes

Jonathan Agnew | 18:37 UK time, Thursday, 5 June 2008

Kevin Pietersen produced a fighting century of the highest quality to spare England another embarrassment with the bat on the opening day.

This was his 12th century and, under the circumstances, one of his most valuable as England slumped to 86-5 shortly after lunch.

Andrew Strauss's shot, which started the slump and resulted in a catch at first slip, will give him nightmares tonight.

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Vettori's surprising decision

Alec Stewart - former England captain | 14:59 UK time, Thursday, 5 June 2008

Steve Waugh always said, just because you win the toss doesn't mean you win the game - it all depends on how you play.

When Daniel Vettori put England in to bat, I was surprised, as having been out in the middle and seen the pitch I would have taken a braver decision and batted - as would Michael Vaughan.

At lunch it appeared as though England had got their noses ahead and Vettori would be questioning his decision - but 20 minutes after lunch it looks like he made the right one.

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England aim to seal series win

Jonathan Agnew | 12:52 UK time, Wednesday, 4 June 2008

A month's worth of rain has fallen on Trent Bridge over the past couple of days, and the outfield is sodden.

The pitch, however, is absolutely dry and given a sunny afternoon, there seems to be no threat to a prompt start to the final Test.

England have named an unchanged team for the fifth match in a row, by Michael Vaughan's reckoning the first time in 123 years they have been able to do so, and that obviously reflects a level of satisfaction within the camp as to how the team is performing.


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About Mark Mitchener

Mark Mitchener Mark Mitchener | 13:18 UK time, Sunday, 1 June 2008

I've been following cricket since before I could do joined-up writing - and those who know my love for the game (or my indecipherable handwriting) would probably not be surprised to hear that.

Having been taken by my father to my first county game aged six (when Gordon Greenidge kindly marked the occasion with a century), I was swiftly hooked - and have spent much of the intervening period waiting for Hampshire to win the County Championship, which they haven't done since before I was born. I've also followed England to Australia and New Zealand as a supporter during the last two winters.

I've worked for the BBC since shortly after leaving university, and after a short spell at BBC Radio Solent, I've spent nearly a decade in London - initially for BBC Ceefax Sport, and subsequently for the BBC Sport website, where I frequently have to turn my hand to just about anything, although our cricket live text commentaries are always a pleasurable task.

I still play cricket for a team called Canford Cygnets, although my love of the game is matched only by my utter ineptness at playing it. Considering I bat like Chris Martin and field like Monty Panesar, I'm lucky still to get a game anywhere.

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