Irfan, Jamshed out of Pakistan Test squad

Wednesday August 7, 2013
Tags: Paksitan, Zimbabwe, Nasir Jamshed
For the Zimbabwe tour, Pakistan has excluded pacer Mohammad Irfan and opener Nasir Jamshed from the 15-man Test squad.
Other players who played in South Africa in February but were ruled out of this tour are fast bowler Umar Gul, wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed, batsman Taufeeq Umar, and batsman Haris Sohail. Gul is out due to an injury.

The vacant places will be filled by wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal, batsmen Khurram Manzoor and Imran Farhat, and fast bowlers Rahat Ali and Wahab Riaz. Farhat was not a part of the original Test squad selected for the South Africa series.

The selectors announced the T20 and ODI squads too. Without a chief selector, a three-member selection committee announced the squads. Without giving any explanation to the changes brought into the squads, the PCB announced the squads though a press release.
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We are looking to win series: England

Tuesday August 6, 2013
Tags: Australia, England, Andy Flower
A draw in the washed out third Test at Old Trafford, may have seen England retain the Ashes, but already the thoughts of the team's director, Andy Flower, and the captain, Alastair Cook, are focused on winning the series, rather than revelling in the retention of the urn.
England lead the series 2-0 with two matches left to play, at Durham and the Oval, having been victorious at Trent Bridge by 14 runs, and Lord's by a record breaking 347 runs.

The fourth Test is due to start on Friday, and Flower has stated that his players are totally focused on winning that game, and securing the series, and that despite the result at Manchester meaning they retained the Ashes, the players had a muted celebration, so as not to lose focus on the match to come.

England won the Ashes back in 2009, and successfully retained them in Australia in 2010-11.

The infamous Manchester weather was certainly England's ally on this occasion. Australia led by 159 on first innings, and had set England 332 to win on the last day, having declared their second innings on 172-7.
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Afghanistan to play a T20 match with Pakistan

Monday August 5, 2013
Tags: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mohammad Nabi
The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has announced that their team would play a single T20 match against Pakistan in Sharjah on December 8, just before the beginning of the T20 series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Pakistan will play the match as a fulfillment of commitment signed under Memorandum of Understanding between the two boards. According to the agreement, PCB will help the ACB through the preparation period of the 2015 World Cup.

The chief executive of the ACB, Noor Mohammad Murad, said that they were happy to have the chance of playing against a Full Member nation. He said that they were not bothered about the possible result of the match. Rather, they considered the experience that the players would gain as invaluable.

According to Murad, one of the issues that the Afghanistan cricket has been facing in recent few years is that they are among the top teams of the Affiliate and Associate members. They have also a high percentage of winning the matches against them.
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Sri Lanka vs South Africa Preview

Monday August 5, 2013
Tags: South Africa, Sri Lanka, David Miller
After losing the series in the 2nd T20, Sri Lanka look to salvage some pride as they face the South Africans in the 3rd T20, tomorrow. Hambantota will again host the last of the three T20s.
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Sri Lanka vs South Africa Preview

Monday August 5, 2013
Tags: South Africa, Sri Lanka, David Miller
After losing the series in the 2nd T20, Sri Lanka look to salvage some pride as they face the South Africans in the 3rd T20, tomorrow. Hambantota will again host the last of the three T20s.
Sri Lankan batting was a total mishap, as none of the batsmen could make impact, in the last game. Kumar Sangakkara was the lone warrior again, and he would be feeling totally disappointed with the performance of his fellow batsmen.

The senior batsmen and others need to take a leaf out of Sangakkara’s batting; otherwise a whitewash looms over them, tomorrow.

Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis, the two T20 specialists, were given a beating, and that also allowed South Africa to reach a good total. They need to deliver the goods, and prevent Sri Lanka from a 3-0 defeat, tomorrow.

Sachithra Senanayake seems to be their trump card, but only he cannot win matches for the team. A more combined effort will be required to overcome the rampant South Africa in the last game.
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Australia in command at Old Trafford

Sunday August 4, 2013
Tags: Australia, England, The Ashes, Kevin Pietersen
Australia had the better of the day's play for the third consecutive day at Old Trafford, but still face an uphill battle, if they are to secure the victory that will retain their chance of winning back the Ashes, always assuming that the infamous Manchester weather doesn't play a part in the outcome of the third Test.
Kevin Pietersen provided the Australian's with their main stumbling block on day three, as he edged, on the whole cautiously, to a crucial century. Pietersen, who was dismissed for 113, had obstinate support from captain, Alastair Cook and the in form Ian Bell, who both scored half centuries, and enabled the home team to finish the day on 294-7, having been 64-3 at one stage during the morning.

England will begin day four still 233 behind, but more importantly they still require 34 more runs to avoid the follow. Rain is forecast to fall on Sunday and Monday, which may mean that Australia's chances of forcing a victory will depend on them taking the last three wickets quickly, and enforcing the follow-on.

After both Jonathan Trott and Cook were dismissed in the morning session, Pietersen and Bell put on 115 and took England to 225-4, at which stage England were looking likely to make their follow-on target before the close, and in all likelihood close the game out.
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Usman Khawaja given out controversially by DRS

Friday August 2, 2013
Tags: Australia, England, The Ashes, Usman Khawaja
In the light of the controversy that once again surrounded the Decision Review System (DRS) on the first day of the third Test at Old Trafford, both Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian prime minister have become embroiled in the criticism around the decision to give Usman Khawaja out caught just before lunch.
Khawaja was given out by the onfield umpire, caught behind, a decision that was upheld by the third umpire, despite the video evidence appearing to show that the batsman had made no contact with the ball.

In view of the outcome of the Khawaja review, CA has taken the step of asking the International Cricket Council (ICC) to clarify the DRS procedure.

The Australian PM Kevin Rudd used his twitter account, to describe the decision as one of the worst decisions he has ever seen, while legendary Aussie leg-spinner Shane Warne, never one to shirk his words, described the outcome as a shocker of a decision.

A marvellous Test series has been undermined by DRS controversy throughout the three Tests so far played. The latest decision has only led to further concerns about the reliability of the technology that is available, and the reliability of the processes using the DRS.
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Australia on top in Ashes

Friday August 2, 2013
Tags: Australia, England, The Ashes, Michael Clarke
Australia had by far their best day’s cricket of the summer, on the opening day of the third Ashes Test of the series, as captain, Michael Clarke posted the tourists first century of what has been a frustrating and disappointing series so far for the baggy green caps.
The Australian's trail the five match series by 2-0, and need to win the match in Manchester, to have any chance of winning back the Ashes.

Winning the toss and deciding to bat, Clarke's side dominated the first day, and had reached 303-3 by the close of the day's play, with Clarke himself unbeaten on 125, and the young all-rounder, Steve Smith not out on 70.

Opener, Chris Rogers set the early tone for the day, with a belligerent 84, while Clarke and Smith made the England bowlers toil in the Old Trafford heat, as they shared a stand that has so far reached 174 for the fourth wicket.

However, not for the first time in the series, the main talking points at the close were about the Decision Review System (DRS), as the day's play was clouded once more by controversial decisions. Though on this occasion, both sides might consider themselves to have been on the wrong end of the technological outcomes.
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Kulasekara back in Sri Lanka T20 squad

Thursday August 1, 2013
Tags: Sri Lanka, South Africa, Nuwan Kulasekara
The selectors have included fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara in the squad for the T20 leg against South Africa. The bowler missed the ODI series of the tour due to an injury.
Legspinner Jeevan Mendis also earned a call from the selectors for the T20 squad. Angelo Perera, Kusal Perera, and Suranga Lakmal, who were in the ODI squad, have also been named for the side.

A finger injury kept Kulasekara out of the game for almost three weeks. He picked that injury while playing in the tri-series in West Indies.

On the other hand, Mendis was out of the ODI series against SA due to his poor form. However, he played in the last Twenty20 match of the team against Bangladesh in March.

Two players who played in that match against Bangladesh but could not make it to this T20 squad were pacer Shaminda Eranga and Twenty20 specialist Dilshan Munaweera.
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Sri Lanka vs South Africa Preview

Thursday August 1, 2013
Tags: South Africa, Sri Lanka, faf du Plessis
After being thrashed in the ODI series, South Africa look to end the tour on a high, as they face Sri Lanka in the 3 match T20 series, starting from tomorrow. The action remains at Colombo for the 1st T20.
South Africa hope for a change in fortune with the change of skippers, as Faf Du Plessis will take over from AB De Villiers. Du Plessis has matured quite quickly as a cricketer, and a lot of responsibility is now on his shoulders, to use his experience to marshall the troops, tomorrow.

In the ODI series, the batting let South Africa down completely. In the T20 series, a much more better showing is expected, as batsmen take risks confidently in this shorter format.

Henry Davids will replace Hashim Amla from the ODIs, he needs to bring a positive change to the batting line-up, as a good knock from him at the top, will inject confidence in the whole batting line-up, tomorrow.
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Steven Smith injury an issue

Wednesday July 31, 2013
Tags: Australia, England, Steven Smith
Having given the Australian camp a boost by scoring a century in the tour match against Sussex at Hove, the only tourist to do so, Steven Smith has given his camp an injury scare ahead of the third Test in Manchester.
Smith failed to train at Old Trafford on Tuesday as the result of suffering a sore back. His unbeaten 102 at Hove, meant that despite his struggles with the bat in the first two Tests, he was likely to retain his place in the the third Investec Test at Old Trafford.

Assuming that his back is less sore on Wednesday, Smith will have only one practice session in which to prove his fitness to stand up to the rigours of potentially a five day Test match. A match that Australia must win, if they are to retain any chance of wrestling the Ashes back from England, who lead the five match series by 2-0.

The Australian selectors are confident that Smith will be fit to take his place in the team, though the unpredictable nature of a back injury means that they will have to wait for as long as possible before making a decision on the player's fitness.
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England vs Australia Preview

Wednesday July 31, 2013
Tags: England, Australia, Alastair Cook
After losing the 2nd Ashes test as well, Australia are on the brink of third consecutive Ashes defeat, as the 3rd Investec Ashes Test begins, tomorrow. This time, the action moves to Old Trafford in Manchester.
Australian batting has been letting down the bowlers from the start of the 1st Test, and if they do not improve their play, the bowlers might get further demoralized and a much bigger defeat might be on the cards.

In order to curb the batting woes, David Warner is likely to slot in the playing XI, as his aggressive mindset might come in handy to push England back. He is likely to replace the out of form Philip Hughes, as Australia look to make healthy runs on the board, in the 3rd test.

The youngster, Steven Smith, has been suffering for a sore back, and if he does not recover in time, Warner will play in place of him, and Hughes will retain his place. Ashton Agar also did not impress with the ball, and another potent spinner is likely to make way ahead of him, tomorrow.
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Zimbabwe vs India Preview

Wednesday July 31, 2013
Tags: India, Zimbabwe, Shikhar Dhawan
After being humbled by India in the 3rd ODI as well, Zimbabwe look to make a difficult looking comeback, into this low-profile series, as the 4th ODI between them and India, kicks off tomorrow. The 2nd last game of the ODI series moves to Bulawayo.
India won half the last match, when they had won the toss, and then Zimbabwe batsmen gave them an easy way, as the Indian bowlers rooted out the whole batting lineup below 200. The batsmen chased down the target with further hiccups to bury any chances of a miracle.

Indian team was expected to get the better of Zimbabwe, and fresh legs have further lighten up their cause. The rise of Amit Mishra has been the best positive for India in this series, and he needs to be given confidence in the next matches of the tour and beyond.

The young fast bowlers have also risen to the ocassion, and shape up as the future of Indian cricket. India should pe praised to give chance to youngsters, as they did not think that defeat will lower their reputation, and youngsters have responded to the call. They need to continue improving, as the tour moves into the final stages.
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Kusal, Angelo Perera in Sri Lanka ODI team for fifth match

Wednesday July 31, 2013
Tags: Sri Lanka, Kusal Perera
On Wednesday, Sri Lanka will play the final match of the five-match ODI series against South Africa. The team management has brought four changes to the squad for that match. The management named two uncapped players and recalled Kusal Perera and Dimuth Karunaratne for the last ODI.
By winning the Sunday’s match, Sri Lanka has already sealed the series. So, the selectors have turned their focus on giving chances to emerging players. In fact, the selector’s panel has made it their priority this year. For this reason, two players have been dropped and three seniors have been given rest.

Apart from Perera, the other three players – left-arm seamer Vimukthi Perera, allrounder and left-arm spinner Chaturanga de Silva, and left-hand opener Karunaratne – were new additions to the team.

All these three players have recently traveled to West Indies with the Sri Lanka A team. All of them, especially Karunaratne, showed good performances in the tour.
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Philander wants to play limited overs cricket

Tuesday July 30, 2013
Tags: Souh Africa, Vernon Philander
The South Africa pacer Vernon Philander hoped to make his way back to the limited-overs squads of South Africa through his performances in the Caribbean Premiere League (CPL). He will play in the CPL for the team Jamaica Tallawahs.
Since his debut in the international cricket in 2007, Philander has played only eight one-day and seven T20 matches. In fact, the South Africa selectors have identified him as a Test specialist since his remarkable Test debut in 2011.

By referring to his less limited-overs appearances, Philander told ‘Barbados Nation’ that the CPL had come to him as a chance to prove himself in the shorter versions of the game. He also said that he was pretty much excited by having the chance.

Philander said that all he wanted was to see his name in the ODI and T20 squads of South Africa.
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