June 4, 2013Final preparations are under way as attention now turns to the ICC Champions Trophy in England. The weather seems fair and dry and we are set for 15 matches, all receiving ball-by-ball TV coverage, that should produce good crowds and plenty of runs. The competition seems wide open; a convincing case could be made for most of the eight contesting teams to lift the trophy on 23 June.
England, the early bookies’ favourites, have fallen from grace, having been comprehensively beaten in the first two of three ODIs by New Zealand, their first home series defeat since 2009. Batsmen have got starts, but with the exception of Jonathan Trott, have all found ways of getting out before reaching 40. The fielding has been poor while aggressive Kiwi batting has dispatched the attack, missing injured Stuart Broad and Steven Finn, to all parts. Ahead of the Champions Trophy, Ashley Giles, the ODI coach, is already under pressure. Black Cap Martin Guptill, with scores of 103 and 189, both not out, has deservedly received all the plaudits while, in contrast to their showing in the recent test series, New Zealand’s out cricket has looked sharp.
In warm-up games which do not have official ODI status, Pakistan, India and Australia have impressed with victories over South Africa, West Indies and Sri Lanka. The competition proper starts in Cardiff on 6 June with India taking on South Africa.
There seems to be no let up in the fall-out from the IPL spot-fixing controversy. N Srivinasan, the BCCI president, has agreed to step aside while police investigations continue while Sanjay Jagdale and Ajay Shirke, the secretary and treasurer, have both resigned from the board. Under investigation are Gurunath Meiyappan, the Chennai Super Kings’ official, the owners of the Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals and three Royals’ players. Expect much accusation and counter accusation before the fog clears.
Ricky Ponting has begun his two-month stint as Surrey’s overseas player with an impressive 192 against Derbyshire. At the same time he has confirmed that he will not be available for any Ashes comeback, should injuries beset the Australian party. The domestic YB40 competition is taking shape, with Nottinghamshire, Essex and Gloucestershire sitting on top of the three group tables. Graham Napier took four wickets in four balls in a televised game against Surrey.
The Scoop 04/06/13