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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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England squad for third Ashes Test announced

Monday July 29, 2013
Tags: Australia, England, Chris Tremlett
There was no surprise that England included star batsman, Kevin Pietersen, in the squad for the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford, which is due to start on 1st August. Despite concerns over the calf injury that Pietersen picked up during the victory in the Lord's Test, the selectors are determined to give him every chance to recover from the injury.
Nottinghamshire's 23 year old batsman, James Taylor, who played in two Tests last summer against the touring South Africans, before being dropped, and ultimately replaced by Yorkshire's Joe Root, is recalled to the squad as cover for Pietersen.

More surprising was the announcement that Sussex left-arm spinner, Monty Panesar, had been drafted into the squad along with the Surrey quickie, Chris Tremlett, while seamers Steven Finn and Graham Onions have both been omitted from the squad that was on duty at Lord's.

Panesar has taken 164 wickets in his 48 Tests, and took seven New Zealand wickets in the last Test that he played at Old Trafford, although that was back in 2008. While the last time he played a home Test at all, was in July 2009, when he was in the side at Cardiff against Australia.
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Australia battling for team unity before Lord's Test

Thursday July 18, 2013
Tags: Australia, Mickey Arthur
Having played their part in one of the great Ashes Tests of all time at Trent Bridge, the Australian tourists have been shaken by tales of a rift in the camp just days before the start of the second Test at Lord's.
Australia's Seven Network have reported that former coach, Mickey Arthur, who was sacked shortly before the start of the first Test, and replaced by Darren Lehmann, has tendered documents to court, showing that the tourists had a serious divisions within the side.

In particular, there is claimed to be a major issue between the team's captain, Michael Clarke, and all-rounder, and ex-vice captain Shane Watson.

The Australian wicket keeper, Brad Haddin, who replaced Watson as vice-captain for the Ashes tour to England, has publically stated that there is no rift in the camp, claiming that the dressing room is harmonious, and the squad is looking forward to the start of the Test at Lord's on Thursday.

Haddin stated that the touring party has been in complete harmony from day one of the tour, and that losing the Trent Bridge Test by such a narrow margin (they lost an enthralling match by just 14 runs), has only served to make them an even tighter knit group than before.
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England on cusp of Ashes 1st Test win

Sunday July 14, 2013
Tags: Graeme Swann, Australia, England
A late flurry of Australian wickets left England in control of the first Test at Trent Bridge, though Australia will still have hope of pulling off an unlikely victory, thanks to the number of twists and turns that this enthralling Test match has already seen.
England had set the visitors a victory target of 311, and they were advancing steadily towards the target, having reached 161-3. But the final hour of the day belonged to England, as they removed the Australian captain, Michael Clarke, Steven Smith and Phil Hughes within the space of just 18 balls, which saw the visitors tumble to 174-6 by the close of the day's play.

England were a little disappointed to add only a further 49 runs to their overnight total, leaving them 375 all out. Though Ian Bell duly completed his 18th Test century, and many consider it his best, in the morning sessions, while Stuart Broad put the controversy from the previous day behind him, to score a half century, finishing with 65 to his name.

Broad who was bowled sparingly in the first innings, broke the opening stand of 84 between Watson and Rogers, and later remover Clarke for 23, caught behind by Matt Prior.
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Vettori could play second Test

Tuesday May 21, 2013
Tags: New Zealand, England, Daniel Vettori
Former New Zealand Test captain, Daniel Vettori, who was originally selected only for the one-day and Champions Trophy legs of the tour to England, could play an unexpected part in the second Test of the series against England at Headingley later this week.
The 34 year-old, left-arm spinner, has joined his country's squad earlier than expected, and with Bruce Martin being forced to return home due to a calf injury, the way is now open for Vettori to take his place in the starting line up for the forthcoming Test. A match that the Black Caps need to win, in order to share the series, after their crushing defeat at Lord's.

Vettori has played 111 Tests for his country, taking 360 wickets, which leaves him second on his nation's all time list, behind only the legendary Sir Richard Hadlee, and the most successful left-arm spinner in test history. But he hasn't played Test cricket since July 2012, due to an achilles tendon injury.

In the wake of their defeat at Lord's, when they were dismissed just 68 in their second innings, the Kiwis would undoubtedly welcome back a player, who quite apart from the wickets he has taken, has also scored over 4,500 runs at an average of over 30
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Mitchell Marsh wants to play Tests

Monday May 6, 2013
Tags: Mitchell Marsh, Australia
Mitchell Marsh had more than his fair share of disciplinary problems during the last year, but the young Western Australian player is adamant that he has learnt valuable lessons from the issues he has encountered.
Although he remains firm in his belief that the issues at the Centre of Excellence and the Champions League in South Africa were blown out of all proportion.

Initially, Marsh found himself sent home from Cricket Australia's academy in Brisbane. The reason given, being that he had turned up for a training session in no fit state to take part. He was then one of a number of players who were dropped by the Perth Scorchers from their team at the CLT20 in South Africa, after the celebration of Marsh's 21st birthday got out of control.

With a hamstring injury limiting his playing opportunities during the Australian summer, Marsh had plenty of time to consider his priorities, and his ambitions for the future.
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No Test for Pakistan in West Indies

Monday April 29, 2013
Tags: Misbah ul Haq, Pakistan, West Indies
The PCB and WICB have at last agreed to save Pakistan’s West Indies tour by cutting the Test matches from the schedule. Pakistan will now play five ODIs and two Twenty20s but no Tests against West Indies.
Due to their other commitments, the two boards were in trouble finding a window for a full tour. However, the dates for the revised, trimmed tour have not been finalized yet.

Michael Muirhead, the chief executive of the WICB, said in Port-of-Spain that it would not be fair to say that they had fully closed negotiations or final dates on the Pakistan issue. However, Muirhead was confident that they would do so very soon.

Muirhead confirmed that the Test matches had been removed from the schedule and they would now focus on five ODIs and two Twenty20s. According to him, the newly proposed tour has not been finalized yet because Pakistan is yet to sign off on the schedule provided by the WICB.

Dave Cameron, the president of the WICB, said that though he was not satisfied about trimming down the Test matches, little could be done about the schedule. Cameron said that they had to do so because of the ongoing circumstances. However, he hoped to arrange for a complete series between the two teams next year.
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England hold on to number two in Tests

Sunday March 31, 2013
Tags: England, Alastair Cook
England have just about hung on to their second place in the ICC's Test match rankings, following their sub-standard performance during the 0-0 drawn series in New Zealand. However, they will point to their memorable series victory in India before Christmas as a true reflection of their ability.
Australia's form on the other hand, suggests that they have been papering over the cracks for some time now. A 3-0 victory at home against Sri Lanka, gave them 12 wins from 20 Tests, and Michael Clarke had suffered only one series defeat, by the No.1 ranked side South Africa, in seven series. However, a 4-0 mauling in India, exposed the team's shortcomings.

Many of England's winter touring party have been resting ahead of the two match series at home against New Zealand, a series that will now have added edge. England's cricket director, Andy Flower, will be grateful for the additional competitive element to the short series ahead of the Ashes series later in the summer.

Australia, have had a rare extended break from the rigours of international cricket, following the disastrous tour to India. Which has given coach Mickey Arthur, the time to try and establish a strategy that will enable his side to defend Champions Trophy, and then regain the Ashes.
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Rahim wants more Tests

Thursday March 21, 2013
Tags: Bangladesh, Mushfiqur Rahim
After showing much improved performances against Sri Lanka in the two-Test series, Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim pleaded for allocating more Test matches to his team. Though the visitors lost the series by 1-0, they showed better resistance against Sri Lanka. They even managed to secure a draw in the first match, which was their first in this country.
Bangladesh lost the second Test but there were several moments at the Premadasa when they were at the equal level with Sri Lanka. This certain and evident improvement has encouraged Mushfiqur to ask for giving them opportunity to play more Tests.

Mushfiqur pleaded to the authority for more matches. He said that they could create more chances in game and show everybody their ability to play good, consistent cricket had they been given more Tests to play.

According to him, they should be given at least eight to ten Test matches per year. He also added that Test cricket was the ultimate means of improving skill as a cricketer no matter how many Twenty20s and ODIs a player had played. He said that every team built their character and confidence through the hard, long, and struggling way of playing Test cricket.
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New Zealand, England draw second Test after rain disrupts final day

Monday March 18, 2013
Tags: New Zealand, English, Alastair Cook
After cyclone Sandra arrived at the Basin Reserve in Wellington at lunchtime on the fourth day, it was almost inevitable that the second Test match would end in a draw, so there was little surprise when the final day's play was indeed washed out, leaving the series all square at 0-0.
England may still have been hoping for some sort of weather miracle to allow them to press for victory, with the hosts still trailing overnight by 49 runs, having closed the truncated fourth day on 162-2.

However, the rain that Sandra had brought with her, caused play to be finally called off at 01.00 GMT, sending the sides to Eden Park in Auckland on Thursday for the third Test, still level in the series.

Although the visitors will be dis-appointed to have been denied the chance to force a victory, they will have taken some solace in their improved performance on the first Test at Dunedin, when they fought a rearguard action over the final two days, to avoid defeat.
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Can New Zealand win a Test against England?

Thursday March 14, 2013
Tags: England, New Zealand, Brendon McCullum
New Zealand could struggle to win a Test in the three-match Test series against England after missing out on that opportunity in the first Test
New Zealand had England on the ropes for most of the first Test in Dunedin, bowling them out for a meagre 167 in the first innings, and replying themselves with 460, giving them a massive first innings lead of 293. That they were unable to finish England off, and secure a victory that few had thought possible, may come back to haunt them, given England's history of improving in Test series, after making faltering starts.

Although there is some debate as to how the pitch in Wellington will play, it is generally accepted that it will certainly provide more assistance to England's seamers. Emphasising the home side's missed opportunity even more.

England's tour to New Zealand in 2008 is a typical example of how England's performances improve with subsequent matches. Back in 2008, New Zealand had won the opening Test in Hamilton, before England struck back to level the series in Wellington. The visitors subsequently went on to clinch the series by winning the third Test in Napier.
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Four Australian players banned from playing third Test

Wednesday March 13, 2013
Tags: Australia, India, Shane Watson
On Monday, the Australian team management axed four players including the vice-captain Shane Watson for the Mohali Test.
The management accused the players for ignoring the team orders after the Hyderabad Test. Other three players were Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Johnson, and James Pattinson.

Watson was all set to go back home hours after Mickey Arthur, the coach of Australia, made the announcement. However, the Cricket Australia denied any connection between this incident and Watson’s leaving India. It rather said that the vice captain left early on the occasion of the birth of his first child.

The baby was supposed to be born right after the India our. The CA had already permitted Watson to leave early if necessary. It could not be confirmed yet whether Watson would return before the fourth Test in Delhi scheduled on Friday next week.

The players were totally unaware of what was coming on them. On Monday morning, the coach told them about the unprecedented decision.

What actually happened was that after the defeat in Hyderabad Test, the players were told by the coach to write three points about how to improve their individual as well as team’s performance. The players had three and a half days to perform the task.
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Andy Flower wants first Test improvement

Monday March 11, 2013
Tags: England, New Zealand, Andy Flower
It was almost inevitable that the ultra-thorough England Test coach, Andy Flower, would announce that he would be investigating England's continuing problems at the beginning of overseas tours, following their backs to the wall draw in the first Test of the New Zealand tour in Dunedin.
Although fought back to save the Test comfortably on the final day, their performance on day two, when they managed a woeful 167 all out, and then saw the home side rattle up 131-0, was probably the worst of all starts to an away Test series under Flower's leadership.

Defeating Bangladesh in 2010, was the only occasion since 2004-05 that England have won the opening game of an away series. England have played 14 series since they beat South Africa at Port Elizabeth, with nine of them beginning with a defeat, and only once in those matches did England have any amount of control over the game for any period of time, when they played India in Mohali in 2006.

The lack of a suitable warm up time prior to the Test series is often quoted as being the problem. However, Flower is known for his insistence that his side has sufficient preparation, although on this particular tour England played just one four-day warm up match against a fairly strong New Zealand XI. When England undertake an Ashes tour to Australia later in the year, they will play three first-class matches before the opening Test in Brisbane.
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New Zealand tighten grip over Dunedin Test

Friday March 8, 2013
Tags: New Zealand, England, Hamish Rutherford
The third day of the opening Test was one of toil for England, as their hosts, New Zealand, strengthened their grip on the match in Dunedin.
Test debutant, Hamish Rutherford, took his overnight 77 to 171, in the process posting the seventh highest ever score by a player on his Test debut, and the second highest ever by a New Zealander, as the hosts finished the day on 402-7, giving them a lead of 235.

By the time bad light brought an early end to the day, shortly after the tea interval, Peter Fulton had also contributed a half-century, while the captain, Brendon McCullum, remained unbeaten with 44.

James Anderson was the pick of England's bowlers, claiming four wickets as he countered the kiwis with his skill and aggression. Anderson aside, England's attack was wayward, and conceded runs at an average of four an over.

However, the day undoubtedly belonged to the 23-year-old Rutherford, who having batted with such authority on the second evening, continued in the same vain on day three. He deserved ever bit of the the standing ovation he received when he left the field, with 22 fours and three sixes in his locker, and having made two-thirds of his side's runs.
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India win Hyderabad Test

Tuesday March 5, 2013
Tags: India, Australia, MS Dhoni
India crushed Australia in the second Test at Hyderabad to go 2-0 up in the series.
While India have been on the receiving end of thrashings in England and Australia over the past two years, they have sought some refuge of consolation in the outstanding home record. Though Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann shook that confidence to the core, as they outspun India's own slow bowling attack before Christmas.

Only the most staunch of Australian supporters expected their side to take the second Test into a fifth day, but few predicted the way that they would capitulate on the fourth day. However, the turning ball once more mesmerised the visiting batsmen, as they again appeared like rabbits caught in a car's headlights when faced with India's spinners on a helpful pitch.

Australia's almost non-existent chances are the start of play, disappeared with two deliveries of differing quality. Ishant Sharma dismissed Shane Watson with a harmless leg-side ball which was caught by the wicketkeeper, while Ravindra Jadeja produced an unplayable delivery that had drift and spin to beat Michael Clarke's forward defensive.
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