ECB Latest England News

May 222013

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Joe Root plans to continue “living my dream” by lining up for his first Test appearance on his home ground of Headingley.

The 22-year-old established himself in the England side with some exceptionally mature displays on tour in New Zealand and India, then made important scores of 40 and 71 on his home debut at Lord’s last week.

That contributed to England’s 170-run win over the Black Caps and Sheffield-born Root is hoping for another memorable match when he lines up at his Yorkshire base on Friday.

He has been coming to the stadium for well over a decade, as both player and fan, and is ready to play his own part in the ground’s international history.

“Lord’s was obviously a very enjoyable experience, especially winning and being part of such an exciting last day…it was brilliant,” he said.

“It was a great experience and I loved every minute of it. But this is my home ground, I’ve grown up watching cricket and playing here so it’s obviously got connections which are quite close to me.

Alastair Cook & Joe Root

Yorkshire batsman Joe Root, foreground, enjoys a net on his home ground of Headingley ahead of the second Investec Test. “To get the opportunity to play here in an international game is very exciting,” said the in-form youngster

“You watch the game and as a kid your dream is to play for England and be a part of all that. It’s something that spurs you on and I just want to keep living my dream really and making the most of it.

“It will be very enjoyable I’m sure, and I look forward to getting out there.

“To get the opportunity to play here now is really exciting. There’s been some fantastic games here over the years and hopefully we can have another one this week.”

Root recalls being intimidated the first time he arrived as a youngster at Headingley, but has clearly grown in self-confidence since then.

His hallmark since being drafted into the England side for a decisive Test in Nagpur has been an unflappable poise at the crease, whether being charged with batting for time in the longer format or playing the role of strokemaker in the 50-over game.

England expect more of the same this week, as Root prepares to follow in the footsteps of his own Headingley heroes.

“I was probably about 10 or so the first time I came here; it was for a Yorkshire trial or something like that,” he recalled.

“I was probably quite nervous and very small. But since then it has always been quite a special place and hopefully that will continue.

“I remember coming up here and watching a lot of games as a young lad and seeing some of my heroes play.

“I remember coming to a Test match here when I was quite young and Sachin Tendulkar was playing against England. Obviously then there’s Michael Vaughan, who I grew up watching as a kid and I just remember it being a really enjoyable experience.

“In the County Championship I’d watch people like Darren Lehmann, Anthony McGrath, Jacques Rudolph…great players who I’ve always looked up to. So to get the opportunity to play here in an international game is very exciting.”

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May 222013
McCullum to keep as Guptill comes in

22 May 2013

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New Zealand have confirmed Brendon McCullum will keep wicket in the second Investec Test at Headingley, a decision that sees Martin Guptill recalled to bat at six.

First-choice wicketkeeper BJ Watling has been ruled out of the game having injured his left knee when attempting to effect a run-out on day three of the first Test at Lord’s last week.

Watling trained with the tourists this morning, but was unable to prove his fitness.

Although New Zealand have a back-up wicketkeeper on tour in Tom Latham, the 21-year-old is uncapped at Test level.

Brendon McCullum & Jonathan Trott

Brendon McCullum was forced to take over wicketkeeping duties for New Zealand during the first Investec Test and will continue to wear the gloves at Headingley after BJ Watling failed to shake off an injury to his left knee

The Black Caps have therefore opted to hand McCullum the gloves, with Guptill – a player familiar with English conditions following his time at Derbyshire – taking Watling’s place in the line-up.

It remains to be seen whether Daniel Vettori will be able to replace fellow spinner Bruce Martin, who has left the tour with an injured calf.

Vettori, who last played a Test in July before suffering from a chronic Achilles problem, also trained today but will be assessed further after tomorrow’s session to determine his availability.

The veteran is expected to be selected ahead of Doug Bracewell if he is deemed match-fit and Neil Wagner, for one, would welcome his experience.

“It is exciting seeing a guy like Dan around the changing room again and just having the possibility of him playing,” Wagner said.

“To have him stand at mid-on or mid-off to pick his brains when I’m bowling will be quite nice because he’s an experienced campaigner and someone you can rely on.

“He brings a good spirit to the team and he’s quite a funny bloke who brings a bit of humour in tough situations.

“He’s got immense experience so as a bowler if you’ve got a question or something to pick then he’s the one to talk to.

“You know what you get from him, he’s a class performer and it is good to see him back.”

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May 222013
Such looks beyond big three

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Peter Such has stressed the importance of England not becoming complacent because they have three high-quality spinners at their disposal.

Rarely before have England had such depth in the tweak department, with genuine world-class options in Test and limited-overs cricket.

While Graeme Swann transcends all formats, Monty Panesar has proved himself as an outstanding five-day performer and James Tredwell likewise in the one-day formats.

Such, the ECB’s lead spin bowling coach, is tasked with ensuring the next generation are similarly impressive; merely looking at how Australia have struggled to find a consistent option since Shane Warne’s retirement shows just how important such a role is.

Graeme Swann

Peter Such knows the importance of developing quality spinners underneath the main trio of Monty Panesar, James Tredwell and Graeme Swann, pictured

“The health of spin bowling in the country is very good at the top level,” he told

“Graeme Swann is very high in the world rankings, Monty Panesar did an excellent job in the Test in India and James Tredwell is exceptional in one-day cricket.

“So at that level we are pretty much well covered; what we need ideally is greater depth in the talent pool to get better young spinners into county cricket and hopefully pushing on to replace the Tredwells, Panesars and Swanns in the next five, eight years, whenever it is.”

It is the need to ensure English spin bowling remains capable of operating at international level that makes the Brian Johnston Memorial Trust Spin Programme so useful.

The scheme, which has reached over 200 spinners, ensures that coaching is available at all levels of the sport – as Such explained.

“When I took this role on nearly four years ago, one of the major reasons that was cited for the lack of young spin bowlers in the country was a lack of really quality spin-bowling coaching,” he added.

“That was one of the first thing we addressed, in terms of getting together a pool of exceptional coaches and getting them to work with our best young talent from age 13 onwards to young pros.

“Through the very generous support of the BJMT, who have been really great supporters of the spin programme for a number of years, we have done that.

“The programme means a designated spin coach is now supplied to every first-class county cricket club academy in the country.

“We’ve extended it out into the MCC universities, who also have their own designated spin coach.

“Spin bowlers take time to develop so if they are at university, they get that help and support when they’re there.

“The idea is to get quality knowledge into guys at a young age so they can develop a really good action and spin the ball hard; we can then work on the finer points from there.

“If we can get those things nailed early on, it is fantastic.”

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May 212013
ECB sets ambitious targets in strategic plan

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David Collier launched the ECB’s strategic plan titled Champion Counties

The England and Wales Cricket Board today unveiled a new and ambitious strategic plan which seeks to deliver successful England teams at all levels, to produce a vibrant domestic game as well as increasing and enthusing participation during the period 2014-17.

The latest strategic plan – Champion Counties – is designed to build on the outstanding success of the 2005 plan – Building Partnerships – and the subsequent 2009 initiative – Grounds to Play.

ECB Chief Executive David Collier said: “Those strategic plans transformed the face of the game in England and Wales. During the last eight years community club facilities have secured more than £200million worth of enhanced facilities and our first-class cricket grounds have developed world-class spectator facilities, which boast outstanding drainage and multi-use facilities.

“In our third strategic plan ‘Champion Counties’ we are targeting operational excellence to make maximum use of scarce resources and facilities during a time of economic austerity. The plan will take advantage of the local partnerships developed in earlier plans and supports the local delivery of priorities through our extensive county network.”

ECB Chairman Giles Clarke added: “In the past six years I have seen our game build partnerships, develop facilities and achieve one of the most successful performance records in England’s cricketing history. The economic challenges in recent years have demanded that all businesses reassess their priorities and achieve more with less. Cricket is no exception to this challenge.

“During the past two years ECB has conducted a widespread review of its expenditure and as a result the central costs of the game have decreased as a percentage of our total expenditure. First-class counties have submitted business plans to support ECB’s investment of £18million in our county game and in partnership with Sport England targets have been set to sustain participation in our club and community game.

“The main driving force of this new strategic plan is to excel in our operations and to localise delivery wherever possible. At a time when investment in leisure and entertainment is under great pressure the plan allows us to consolidate our facilities, to enhance our operations and to achieve excellence both on and off the field.“

Among the targets set under the four pillars of effective governance, vibrant domestic game, enthusing participation and successful England teams, for the period until 2017 are:

  • An increase in participation as measured by Sport England’s Active People Survey from 183,400 to 197,500.
  • Increase attendances at at county cricket matches by 200,000.
  • Complete sponsorship and broadcasting agreements through 2019.
  • Win the World Test Championship and Women’s World Cup in 2017.
  • Win the Investec Ashes Series and World Cup in 2015.
  • Expand the number of clubs participating in NatWest CricketForce from 2,000 to 2,200.
  • Complete co-operation agreements for each of the 39 county boards with their first-class county or Minor County partner.
  • Deliver two world-class global events in 2017 which exceed budget and exceed customer satisfaction targets.
  • Increase the number of cricket’s volunteers to 80,000 by 2017.
  • Expand the number of participants in women’s and disabilities cricket by 10% by 2017.
  • Award all Major Matches through 2019 by December 2014.
  • To increase the number of TwelfthMan members (the official fan community of England Cricket) from 220,000 to 250,000 by 2017.
  • Complete an approved community engagement programme with all 18 first-class counties and MCC.
  • Provide first-class counties with total fee payments of £144m between 2014 and 2017.
  • For each £1 provided in facility grants through the ‘Sport England Whole Sport Plan Grant Programme’ ensure a multiplier of three with other funding partners.
  • Provide a fund of £8.1m of capital investment to enhance floodlights, sightscreens, replay screens, power sub-stations and broadcasting facilities at first-class county venues.
  • Provide an interest-free loan fund to community clubs of £10million.
  • Leverage the 2014 tour by India to engage with a minimum of 10,000 cricket supporters of Asian origin.
  • Qualify and engage 50 Level 4 coaches to support the development of professional cricketers.
  • Expand the number of coaches who have received teacher level 1, 2 or 3 qualifications to 50,000.
  • Deliver an annual fixture for the Unicorns against a touring (Full, A or U19) ICC member nation.
  • Provide a fund of £2million for community clubs to combat the impact of climate change.
  • Introduce a youth T20 competition engaging 500 teams by 2017.

Hugh Morris, Managing Director England cricket, recognised the challenges set for Team England but said: “This England set-up is determined to deliver success and we have already shown with successful back-to-back Ashes campaigns in 2009 and 2010-11, reaching number one in the world in 2011 and winning the ICC World Twenty20 in 2010 that we are capable of delivering success on a regular basis. This England team goes out with the sole intention of winning every series or global event.”

Mr Collier admitted: “These are challenging targets but we will work tirelessly with all the stakeholders in the game to deliver not only a successful England team but also 39 ‘Champion Counties’ in the period until 2017.”

ECB Strategic Plan 2013-2017 (2.1 MB)

May 202013
Saker: Jimmy's got the skills

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England bowling coach David Saker has hailed James Anderson as the “most skilful bowler in the world” and believes the seamer’s determination to keep improving is key to his success.

Anderson became the fourth Englishman to reach the landmark of 300 Test wickets when returning 7-70 in the 170-run victory over New Zealand at Lord’s.

While the 30-year-old’s performances alone are worthy of high praise, Saker is perhaps more impressed with the attitude of his attack-leader.

“I have never met a guy as good as him who wants to keep getting better. That is one of the reasons why he is as good as he is,” Saker explained.

“Jimmy to me keeps getting better. He is the one player I have coached who is never satisfied with what he has got.

James Anderson

England bowling coach David Saker believes a combination of supreme skill and hard work lies at the root of James Anderson’s achievements

“For him it would be easy to be satisfied; he has got a lot of skills and weapons. But he keeps working on different things at training.

“Hopefully he can take 400 wickets and be England’s greatest wicket-taker. That would be a great feat for him.”

Midway through last week’s Lord’s Test, New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor described Anderson as a cross between South Africa duo Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander.

Steyn currently holds top spot in the International Cricket Council bowling rankings, yet Saker would not swap Anderson for any other paceman.

“To me, he (Anderson) is the most skilful bowler in the world,” added the Australian.

“I know Dale Steyn is an outstanding bowler, but when you watch Jimmy and the way he went about things (at Lord’s) – he has got more skills than Dale Steyn in his locker.

“Obviously Steyn is a little bit quicker, but when you watch Jimmy deliver those skills it is just mind-blowing.

“I would love to be in a position where Matty Prior is to watch it really closely first-hand. I get an opportunity to catch him at training and it is exciting just to watch him do that.

“When he gets things right there is no more skilful bowler in the world. He is a class bowler.”

Saker is also pleased with the progress of Stuart Broad, who lit up proceedings at the home of cricket yesterday with a match-winning performance of rare potency.

The Nottinghamshire quick claimed five wickets in a remarkable hour prior to lunch as New Zealand crumbled to 29 for six, and then added two more scalps in the afternoon for a career-best return of 7-44.

Broad has previous form for producing magical spells – as Australia and India among others can testify – yet Saker is confident England are starting to see the Nottinghamshire quick at his best on a more frequent basis.

Stuart Broad

Saker feels Stuart Broad’s spell out of the England side in India may have done the paceman a favour

“We always want players to be consistent. It is the one thing that stands out from the greats to the very good,” said Saker.

“Stuart has still got things to learn about bowling, but in my book he is getting better every time.”

Saker feels Broad’s recent struggles in India, which saw him dropped due to a combination of injuries and loss of form, may have proved to be a blessing in disguise.

“He has come back bigger and better from some down times in India. Those things happen,” he added.

“All bowlers have gone through times when it’s tough. It happens to batters and all sportsmen.

“It’s how they come back and over the last month he has worked hard on his game and got some good rewards for it.

“He has got a few big assets – he’s tall, he’s quite fast and he can move the ball. When he gets everything right there are not many better in the world.

“He has days where he just tears teams apart. You can talk about that spell (prior to lunch at Lord’s) for a long time and it was as good a spell as you will see anywhere.”

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May 202013
Anderson's route to 300 and beyond

20 May 2013  | By Chris Devine

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In the first Investec Test victory over New Zealand at Lord’s, James Anderson became only the fourth England bowler to reach the milestone of 300 Test wickets.

The 30-year-old follows Sir Ian Botham, Bob Willis and Fred Trueman in achieving the feat.

To commemorate his success, has trawled through the statistical archives to pick out a few facts and figures regarding Anderson’s ascent to the 300 club.

Maiden Test wicket
It is almost 10 years to the day since Anderson clipped the off bail of Zimbabwe’s Mark Vermeulen at Lord’s to pick up his first Test scalp. The breakthrough came in only his third over and further success soon arrived as Anderson claimed first-innings figures of 5-73.

James Anderson

Happy at HQ
After returning a match aggregate of 7-70 against the Black Caps, Anderson now boasts 305 Test wickets and a whopping 58 at Lord’s alone. The home of cricket has therefore witnessed considerably more Anderson dismissals than any other venue. He has also made it on to the honours board for a five-wicket haul on four occasions, most recently when completing figures of 5-47 on Friday.

Helping hands
Anderson has received assistance from 32 different fielders (33 if he counts himself) en route to his triple-century of victims, including three men who have yet to earn a Test cap. Scott Borthwick, Chris Woakes and Adam Rouse have all taken catches off Anderson while serving as substitute fielders. Another 12th man, MCC Young Cricketer Adam Dobb, had the chance to add his name to the list yesterday, only to put down a steepling chance at long-leg. It mattered little, as Neil Wagner was run out seconds later to bring New Zealand’s second innings – and the match – to an end.

Bring on the big guns
It can never be said that Anderson preys on the weak. His most frequent victim in Tests is the great Sachin Tendulkar, who he has ousted nine times. Eight other players have been dismissed by Anderson five times or more, including Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith, Kumar Sangakkara, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag. Not a bad selection of names and we have yet to mention a certain Michael Clarke. Australia’s skipper has already fallen to Anderson on six occasions and, with back-to-back Ashes creeping ever closer, that number could soon rise.

Top-order destroyer
Given that he is a new-ball specialist, it is perhaps no surprise that more than half of Anderson’s 305 Test wickets have involved the removal of a player batting at four or higher. He has accounted for an opener on 82 occasions, with Hamish Rutherford and Peter Fulton the latest additions to that particular list. Fulton, of course, was victim number 300, while the men falling for Anderson’s 100th and 200th wickets were Kallis and Peter Siddle respectively.

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May 202013
Vettori poised to replace injured Martin

20 May 2013  | By Rob Barnett

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Bruce Martin has been ruled out of the second Investec Test at Headingley and former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori has been placed on standby to replace his fellow spinner.

Martin, who will leave the tour, picked up a calf injury in the first Test at Lord’s, which England won by 170 runs yesterday. He bowled 13 overs on Saturday but did not take the field yesterday until required to bat.

Vettori has not been added to the tourists’ Test squad but is due to arrive in England tomorrow for the NatWest Series and the Champions Trophy. He will replace Martin at Leeds for the last Test, which starts on Friday, if the tourists opt to play a specialist spinner.

The 34-year-old, who has been hampered by a hamstring injury, won the most recent of his 112 Test caps in July last year and has recently been at the Indian Premier League, although he did not feature for his team Royal Challengers Bangalore this year.

A New Zealand spokesman today said: “At this stage, we are not bringing anyone into the Test squad. But the ODI players are arriving over the next couple of days and Daniel will be here tomorrow.

“(Coach) Mike (Hesson) will have a look at the conditions in Headingley and has the option of bringing Daniel in if he thinks a spinner will be needed there.”

Speaking after yesterday’s loss, New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum revealed Vettori was in contention to replace Martin.

BJ Watling & Joe Root

BJ Watling injures his left knee while diving in a failed attempt to run Joe Root out on Saturday. Watling is a doubt for the second Investec Test

“(He is) another option in the mix,” McCullum said. “I know that the one-day players are on the way over and Dan will obviously be a part of that, so he certainly comes into the mix.

“Jeetan Patel is bowling well for Warwickshire as well so he’s in the mix if Bruce is ruled out, which is looking likely I’m guessing. Also the four-seamer option is something we need to consider too, if the conditions are suited to it. We’ll work everything out closer to the time.”

The tourists have a doubt over wicketkeeper BJ Watling who fell on his left knee, diving in a failed attempt to run out Joe Root, on Saturday but an x-ray that night revealed there was no fracture.

McCullum himself took the gloves following Watling’s injury, but there are alternatives to the skipper returning to his former wicketkeeper-batsman role.

One is 21-year-old squad member Tom Latham, capped in limited-overs internationals but not Tests, replacing Watling who batted but did not field yesterday. Another is top-order batsman Martin Guptill returning to the team, with McCullum keeping wicket.

Referring to Guptill, McCullum said: “He comes into the reckoning. We’ve obviously got to assess BJ as well and see how he’s travelling for the next game and look at our options there.

“Whether that means Tom Latham comes in and bats at seven and takes the gloves, or I bat down at number seven and take the gloves and we’re afforded the luxury, I guess, of playing another batsman at six, there’s plenty of different options to look at.”

The imminent arrival of New Zealand’s non-Test party members of their squad for the NatWest Series and Champions Trophy gives further options to the tourists, Luke Ronchi being a wicketkeeping alternative.

“Without speaking to the selectors I would imagine he’d come into the reckoning,” McCullum added.

“It just depends on whether as a group we feel Tom is ready to take over the gloves in the Test match at Headingley, or whether the balance is right with me going to seven, or whether we think Ronchi coming out of winter is the right option. There’s many different options that we’ve got up our sleeve.”

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