April 19, 2013
Leading the table in the IPL with four wins apiece are Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad. Delhi Daredevils are pointless – they prop up the table after six successive defeats. Current leading run scorer (341) sporting the orange cap is Virat Kohli (RCB). Sunil Narine (Kolkata Knight Riders) holds the purple cap as the tournament’s leading wicket taker with 10 wickets. The hitting is as spectacular as ever, but spin bowling, once considered the lost art, is having a decisive influence in this year’s competition. Hard at work statisticians have noticed that more than two thirds of games are being won by the home sides. With such fanatical support at all venues, maybe this is no surprise.
Convincing wins for Sussex, Middlesex and Durham in the first round of matches have taken them to the top of the table in Division 1 of the English County Championship. Holders Warwickshire were held up by the weather. Rain across the country ensured that there were no winners in Division 2. The second round of games is now under way. Spectators arriving at The Oval expecting to see a big score from the expensive South African opening batsman found themselves watching the wrong opener as it was Somerset’s Alviro Petersen rather than Surrey’s Graeme Smith who piled on first innings runs. England’s test players are being eased back into action. Middlesex’s Steven Finn (4-51) and Somerset’s Nick Compton (18 ball duck) have experienced contrasting fortunes.
Controversy in the New Zealand captaincy affair rumbles on. With New Zealand’s tour to England merely weeks away, new skipper Brendon McCullum and coach Mike Hesson are set to take legal action against former Kiwi captain John Parker for his written comments concerning the way Ross Taylor’s removal as captain was handled. Expect this story to run and run.
Away from the world’s media spotlight, Brendon Taylor has made the highest individual score (171) by a Zimbabwean test captain in the first test against Bangladesh to help his team to a first innings score of 389. Belittle Zimbabwe if you must, but this was a monumental achievement.
At the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Pakistan’s Salman Butt and Mohammed Asif have failed in their bids to have their bans from all cricket reduced. Along with Mohammed Amir, the pair received five-year suspensions for their roles in the no ball spot-fixing affair in 2010. Zaka Ashraf, the PCB chairman, has offered the players an olive branch by suggesting that, form permitting, they will be welcomed back to the international fold when the ban is over. As ever with Pakistan, expect the unexpected.
The Scoop 19/04/13