Tim Bresnan will play for England Lions

England selectors has confirmed that the right-arm fast-medium bowler Tim Bresnan will join the England Lions squad for the last three one-day matches against South Africa A.

The 29-year-old, who is currently playing in Big Bash League with the Hobart Hurricanes but the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed that the Yorkshire seamer will join the Lions squad for one-day international series against South Africa A on January 31.

"The Lions one-day series in South Africa means we can have a group of players involved in high quality and competitive 50-over cricket in the weeks leading up to the World Cup," said national selector James Whitaker.

"Joining the squad will give Tim the opportunity to show that he is ready to be considered if a replacement is required."

Bresnan has claimed 204 wickets since making his England debut in 2006
25 January, 2015

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Preview

There may have been snow in various parts of the UK recently, but things are hotting up in the cricket world. We’re just weeks away from the Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. It may be a one-day tournament but this World Cup goes on forever, starting on February 14 and ending on March 29.
The tournament starts with two groups of seven with the top four from each group qualifying for the quarter-finals. It actually takes just over a month to eliminate just six teams. Considering the 14 competing sides include Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and Scotland, the first month will either be full of sensational shocks or very predictable results. So who are the likely winners of the tournament?

You can rule out…

Let’s face it, the winners aren’t going to be England, who have never won the World Cup and gone 23 years without even reaching the final. Captain (Alastair) Cook may not have made it to Australia this time but even Eoin Morgan can’t turn this team into winners.  This is a side that always seems to find a way to lose when playing one-day internationals.

Unlike their football counterparts, this England squad should get out of their group. Expect a traditional English bumpy ride though, as they face Australia and New Zealand in their first two games before a possible make or break clash against Scotland. With Bangladesh and Afghanistan as their last two fixtures, any crisis they do get themselves in should be overcome. A quarter-final against South Africa, India, West Indies or Pakistan looks likely and that should be the end of the road for Morgan and company.

The favourites

It’s really difficult to bet against Australia making it four wins in the last five tournaments especially on home territory. Often the way they bat in test matches is similar to one-day internationals, and players such as David Warner, Aaron Finch and Steve Smith are capable of blasting any side out of contention. The same can be said for their bowling line-up who’ll be helped by the new law that sees five fielders inside the 30-yard circle at all times in an innings.
South Africa are the number one test-playing nation but have never even reached a World Cup Final. They start off in the stronger of the two pools but with AB de Villiers in record-breaking mood and their batting line-up always capable of posting a massive score, they could have their best World Cup ever.

Defending champions India are a side going through many changes at present and the days of Tendulkar and Dhoni are history. On their day though, they can still beat anyone.  Pakistan are down to seventh in the latest ODI rankings and are unlikely to give Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi a winning end to their ODI careers. Sri Lanka has a great record in this tournament and with Kumar Sangakkara still piling on the runs another good run looks likely.

New Zealand could well be the surprise side in this tournament. They have a strong batting line-up and home advantage too. If Brendon McCullum and Corey Anderson hit form, then any side they face will be in trouble. The return of Daniel Vettori and Grant Elliott are added bonuses.

Also rans

West Indies used to be the kings of one-day cricket but that was the last century. They pin far too many hopes on Chris Gayle blowing the opposition away. Having seen him bat against South Africa, when he just tried to hit every ball for six, he’s not going to be around too long in most of their games. As for the bowling attack, well they’ll probably be having nightmares for the next month after that hammering by South Africa last week.
20 January, 2015

Sri Lanka’s Sangakkara joins Surrey for 2015

The county club Surrey have announced the signing of Sri Lankan wicket-keeper batsman Kumar Sangakkara for the 2015 campaign.

The 37-year-old, who is currently regarded as the one of the world’s number one Test batsman, will be available for the second Division of the County Championship in 2015.
The Left handed batsman will announce his retirement from ODIs after the conclusion of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and will make his return to English county following the previous spells at Warwickshire and Durham.

Alec Stewart, the Surrey director said: "We're delighted that Kumar has agreed to join us. He is the number one Test batsman in the world but it's the special character that he has which is as important to us.

"He is a five-star player and five-star person and that is important because he will be working with our young homegrown players as they become serious cricketers at this level.

"He has worked a lot with our coach Graham Ford, when he was in charge of Sri Lanka, and we are both very happy to reach this stage."

Sangakkara has scored 13,414 ODI runs, which is the fourth-highest run-scorer in cricket history.

Top 10 Fastest ODIs Fifties (Half Centuries)

One Day International cricket has seen many outstanding batting action, but nothing matches a quick fire hard centuries either at the beginning of the match or at the end of the innings.

Here are the Top Ten fastest ODIs fifties in cricket history.

10. New Zealand’s Ross Taylor in 19 balls vs. Ireland, Aberdeen, 2008

9. New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum in 19 balls vs. Bangladesh, Queenstown, 2007

8. South Africa’s Justin Kemp in 19 balls vs. Zimbabwe Durban, 2005

7. South Africa’s  Mark Boucher in 19 balls vs. Kenya Cape Town, 2001

6. Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi in 18 balls vs. Bangladesh Mirpur, 2014

5. Australia’s Glen Maxwell in 18 balls vs. India Bangalore, 2013

4. Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi in 18 balls vs. Netherlands SSC Colombo, 2002

3. Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi in 18 balls vs. Sri Lanka Nairobi, 1997

2. Australia’s Simon O’Donnell in 18 balls vs. Sri Lanka Sharjah, 1990

1. Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya in 17 balls vs. Pakistan, 1996

*All stats updated till 13th January 2015.

14 January, 2015

World Cup 2015: Australia’s Final 15-man squad announced

The 33-year-old Michael Clarke, who is recovering from hamstring surgery will lead the Australia's 15-man squad for the ICC cricket World Cup 2015, but he has to prove his fitness until February 21 for the one-day tournament.

Surprisingly, the all-rounder Mitchell Marsh has been included in a squad despite sustaining a hamstring injury during the second Test against India in Brisbane.

The four-times World Cup winners - Australia are the favourites to lift the title once again this year and will start their campaign against England at Melbourne on February 14.

Australia Squad: Michael Clarke (c), George Bailey, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Marsh, Josh Hazlewood, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Steve Smith, Shane Watson.

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