While Sri Lanka managed to escape a heavy defeat by skin of their teeth, it was English bowlers who were toiled to break the resistance. In the process, their captain Andrew Flintoff provided one of the rarest instances in the last 17 years of international Test cricket. By bowling 51 overs for his two wickets in Sri Lanka’s second innings, the English captain registered only the 18th occasion of a captain bowling 50 or more overs in an innings. Flintoff became the 11th captain to do so. The last time a captain had to bear such burden was way back in 1989-90 when Imran Khan sent down 50.2 overs against at Lahore. For reader’s interest the accompanying table has the complete details.
May 20th, 2006
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England’s growing pace bowling resources were in evidence as seven seamers were included in their 25-man development squad announced on Friday.
All the squad will come under the control of England coach Duncan Fletcher for the rest of the year in a bid to make sure the team travel to Australia in November in as good as shape as possible for the defence of the Ashes.
The 12 players who are presently on England central contracts were all included, which meant places for the Ashes-winning pace quartet of Stephen Harmison, Matthew Hoggard, Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones not to mention injured captain Michael Vaughan.
Former England wicket-keeper Chris Read received on Friday a fresh punishment from English cricket chiefs after an extraordinary pitch-side bust-up with Pakistan leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed.
Read was handed a suspended one-match ban from the County Championship, until the end of the 2007 season, and any further disciplinary penalty he receives between now and then will see that ban enforced.
He had already been given three penalty points under the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)’s disciplinary code for breaching provisions relating to the use of obscene or insulting language towards another player.
Cricketers aspiring to make the national grades will have to polish their fielding skills as their talents to bat or bowl well are no more enough to guide them through the selection process, a top Pakistan cricket official stressed on Thursday.
“Gone are the days when players could force their way into the national team entirely through batting and bowling performances,” national selection committee chairman Wasim Bari told ‘The News’.
“In modern day cricket, a player’s fielding ability has become a very important aspect and that is going to show in our selection process in the future,” said the former Test cricketer.
A top Pakistan A team official downplayed an incident when the accumulated prize from the EurAsia Cricket Series in Abu Dhabi was equally distributed between the players and the team management against the rules and regulations set by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Former Test cricketer Rashid Khan, who coached Pakistan A to a title-winning triumph in Abu Dhabi earlier this month, told ‘The News’ that a controversy is being cooked up over the distribution of prize money for no rhyme or reason.
“There was an unintentional mistake on the part of team officials while distributing the prize money,” said Rashid. “But it wasn’t a case of dishonesty,” he stressed.
India’s Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Irfan Pathan remained in second places of batting and bowling ranking charts announced by the International Cricket Council (ICC) here Monday.
But Indian captain Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh slipped by one place each to be 10th and 11th respectively in the latest official list headed by Australia’s Adam Gilchrist with 809 points.
The top eight batsmen kept their places in the list, with Dhoni just three points behind Gilchrist. Dravid, the only other Indian in top 10, tripped to 10th with 729 points. Yuvraj went out of the top-10 bracket and has 722 points.
Confusion surrounded last week’s announcement, as part of the ICC’s new Future Tours Programme, of the next instalment of the Afro-Asia Cup. The Cup was first played last August in South Africa between sides from the two continents and was accorded full one-day status by the ICC.
Although it raised funds for the Africa Cricket Association (ACA) and the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) the two split around $1 million there were question marks over its future, especially as crowds at the three matches were desultory. What is more, the tournament was the brainchild of Jagmohan Dalimya, and as such was believed to be in doubt following his removal from power.
The history of Sabina Park might be littered with instances of great West Indian fast bowlers hammering hapless opposition, but when India play their opening two one-dayers next week, the only hammering might be from the Northern Stand.
In scenes that are likely to be reminiscent of the Boxing Day Test of 2003, when Melbourne geared up for the Commonwealth Games, or even the Feroz Shah Kotla in 2004, when the ground was being renovated, fans at one end will be complemented by rubble at the other.
Steve Waugh, the former Australia captain, has sent out a message to the ageing members of the current Australian side to retire when they feel it’s best for each of them, rather than getting caught in unnecessary media publicity.
“It’s a high-profile sport. As a player, you can make the decision and let everyone know and then get on with it,” Waugh told the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’. “Just go ahead and do it, if that’s your plan.”
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