April 5, 2013
With no international cricket scheduled for the next six weeks, the decks have been cleared to enable the Indian Premier League to take centre stage. All the world’s leading players are involved, except Pakistan’s (excluded), most of England’s (not selected or fulfilling domestic contracts) and the ever-growing list of crocks. There are even opportunities for former greats (Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid, Adam Gilchrist, Muttiah Muralitheran, Brett Lee et al) to pick up pension cheques as they take their final bows on the world’s stage. Information from this competition will be provided over the coming weeks.
‘News from around the world’ this week concentrates on announcements of provisional 30-man squads for the forthcoming ICC Trophy in England in June. South Africa are tournament favourites, but England will be hoping that home advantage enables them to clinch their first major ODI trophy, particularly if summer fails to arrive in the old country by June. In advance of the April 6 deadline, squad news from four of the eight competing nations has been received.
Pakistan has sprung a surprise (no surprise here) with the controversial non-selection of leading run scorer Younis Khan, dropped thirteen years after making his debut. It seems that he and he alone has been made the scapegoat for Pakistan’s recent poor showing in South Africa.
Four uncapped players have been named in England’s provisional squad – James Harris of Middlesex, the most sought-after player of the winter in county cricket, Warwickshire’s Varun Chopra and Chris Wright and Yorkshire’s aggressive Gary Ballance. Matt Prior, test vice-captain and in the form of his life, remains in the ODI wilderness and will find himself playing county cricket for Sussex in June in front of the statutory two men and a deckchair.
Luke Ronchi, the former Australia wicketkeeper, has made the New Zealand squad, which also includes former skipper Daniel Vettori, out of international cricket for the last eight months with an ankle injury.
Australia, meanwhile, are adopting a cloak and dagger approach to selection. Exploiting a loophole in the rules, they have received permission from the ICC for their 30-man squad to remain a secret for the next month until it has to be pruned down to 15 names. Is this part of a cunning plan or do the selectors really have no idea what they are doing?
Particularly heartening is the news that Jessie Ryder is on the road to recovery after his horrific injuries in New Zealand and now out of hospital. We wish him well.
The Scoop 05/04/13