September 14, 2013
The damp September in England is causing ECB chiefs to be rue their decision to hold the current England v Australia five-match Nat West ODI series in early autumn. Two of three games scheduled so far have been washed out and there is little prospect of a turnaround in the weather. Australia seem to be holding all the aces, having won at Old Trafford by a convincing 88 run margin. Australia’s bowlers, with a rejuvenated 90+ mph Mitchell Johnson restored to the team, look sharp while the top order batsmen, led by skipper Michael Clarke, are in a rich vein of form. England’s coach Ashley Giles, batting away criticism of his policy of resting five first team regulars ahead of the forthcoming Ashes series Down Under, insists that he and his management team are thinking long term with the 2015 World Cup in their sights.
Pakistan, nearing the end of their tour of Zimbabwe, are confident that they can follow up their T20 and ODI series victories by wrapping up the two-match test series with a win in the second test in Harare. In generally low scoring encounters, the pattern has been for Zimbabwe to hold their own for three quarters of matches only to fold under the pressure of trying to finish games off. In particular, they seem to have no answer to the wiles of Saeed Ajmal, the world’s No 1 spinner. Zimbabwe’s lack of exposure to tough international cricket is, at present, holding back their development. Their hope, probably a forlorn one, is for more countries to include them in future tour schedules.
Off-field issues continue to dominate headlines in India. Four Rajasthan Royals players, including international Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, have been found guilty of match fixing in this year’s IPL competition, while the BCCI’s disciplinary committee has found Lalit Modi, the former IPL chairman, guilty on eight different charges of “various acts of indiscipline and misconduct”. In addition, the spat between the BCCI and South Africa over tour scheduling remains unresolved.
The county season in England is drawing to a close. In the Championship, Durham and Yorkshire are fighting it out for the LV Division 1 title, while only one of Somerset, Derbyshire and Surrey can survive the drop. Lancashire are likely to end up champions of Division 2, with Northamptonshire, this year’s Friends Life t20 champions, strong favourites for the second promotion slot. The showpiece YB40 final at Lord’s will feature Glamorgan and Nottinghamshire. Age has crept up on 2005 Ashes legends Matthew Hoggard and Simon Jones who have decided now is the time to hang up their boots.
The Scoop 13/09/13