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Oct 312014
 

Sussex have signed England Lions paceman Tymal Mills following his departure from Essex.

The left-armer, 22, has signed a two-year contract at Hove, with Sussex claiming to have beaten a number of rivals to his signature.

Mills rejected a new offer from Essex after suffering an injury-plagued 2014 in which he played in only 12 games.

Mills remains one of the fastest bowlers in the country, regularly topping 90mph – England used him to prepare for Mitchell Johnson ahead of last winter’s ill-fated Ashes tour.

He left Essex after taking 76 wickets in 59 first-team matches.

Really pleased

"I'm really pleased to be on board," Mills said. "As soon as Sussex came in for me, I knew it was a county that I wanted to join. I'm really glad it is all finalised.

"The injuries look to be behind me now and I'm really looking forward to moving down here, getting stuck in this winter and going strong next year."

Sussex's professional cricket manager Mark Robinson, who has worked with Mills in his role with the Lions, said: "We're hugely excited by the arrival of Tymal.

“He's a player of enormous potential who is blessed with great pace and a true fast bowler's frame, and we can't wait to see him bowl next season."

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Oct 312014
 
Ryder recalled by New Zealand

Jesse Ryder has been given a World Cup lifeline after being selected in the New Zealand ‘A’ team for one-day matches in the United Arab Emirates next month.

The 30-year-old Essex all-rounder has been kept out of the national side after he broke team protocols by drinking the night before a Test against India in February, the latest in a long line of off-field disciplinary issues.

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said last week Ryder needed to show form on the field and a willingness to play by the team’s rules off it before being considered for the top team again.

On the pitch, Ryder has responded, smashing a 39-ball century for Otago against Ireland last week, and he says he is willing to conform off it too.

“The passion’s still there to make the team,” Ryder said. “If I didn’t I wouldn’t be in the ‘A’ team so it’s definitely something I want.

“It’s just a stepping stone isn’t it? Hopefully it’s a good one for me. I’ll go over there and just do what I need to do to show that I’m still keen to be a part of it.

“It’s just about slowly getting back involved and obviously this is the first stepping stone towards it.”

Ryder, who had a successful county season withj Essex, said his fitness was not up to the standard he had hoped but that was something else he would work on before the team leaves for Dubai.

While Ryder’s selection had indicated he was still in contention for coach Mike Hesson’s World Cup squad, New Zealand chairman of selectors Bruce Edgar reiterated what McCullum had said earlier.

“I’d remind people that, at this point, Jesse has been selected for NZ ‘A’, nothing more; nothing less,” Edgar said.

Important step

“It’s an important step for Jesse but it is only a first step and we’re anxious not to get ahead of ourselves.

“Like everyone else in the squad, his future prospects will depend on his performance, on and off the field, in Dubai.”

Ryder’s inclusion in the squad, however, indicated Hesson is concerned at the make-up of his top order ahead of the World Cup with regular opener Martin Guptill struggling against the pace of South Africa’s bowlers in a one-day series last week.

All-rounder Jimmy Neesham was promoted to open with Guptill in what was seen as a trial of his temperament at the top of the order and he whilst he displayed some positive indicators he also struggled against the Proteas.

Edgar said the ‘A’ tour was the opportunity for several fringe World Cup players to press their claims for the final squad.

“The squad for CWC 2015 is named on 8 January, so we want to ensure every player in contention is given a chance on the international stage,” Edgar added.

“We need to know we’ve left no questions unanswered.”

The New Zealand ‘A’ team will play World Cup teams Ireland, the UAE and Afghanistan in four one-day matches in Dubai that will dovetail with the limited overs series the top side is playing against Pakistan in the Middle East.

New Zealand face Pakistan in three Tests, two Twenty20 internationals and five one-day matches on their November 3-December 20 tour with matches in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

The World Cup runs from February 14-March 29 in New Zealand and Australia.

Oct 192014
 
Mahmood: Twenty20 not a threat

Former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood does not believe Twenty20 cricket is a threat to Test and one-day cricket.

The 39-year-old, speaking at the launch of the International Cricket Council’s nine-day camp in the United Arab Emirates for emerging players to learn how to play the shortest format of the game, feels it is not harming the youngsters’ batting techniques.

Mahmood quoted the example of South African batsman AB de Villiers who he said adjusts to all three formats with consummate ease.

“You need basic technique to bat and if your technique is good, then you can easily switch the gears like de Villiers is doing so wonderfully,” said Mahmood, who played 21 Tests and 143 one-day internationals for Pakistan.

“I don’t accept that Twenty20 is threatening for future generations in terms of batting techniques.”

Twenty20 cricket has been Mahmood’s speciality, having played a key role in Surrey’s county win in England when the shortest format was introduced in 2003.

He is one of only 13 players to have featured in more than 200 Twenty20 matches at all levels, with 213, and feels it is a good complement to the five-day game.

“When one-day cricket started (in 1971) people used to say that it will hurt Tests, but it didn’t and now Twenty20 is an innovation and it complements Tests,” said Mahmood.

“Look at the number of Tests ending in draws before Twenty20 came into being and now, Tests are bearing more results than before, so Twenty20 is helping.”

Oct 182014
 
Umar back to face Australia

Pakistan have recalled experienced opener Taufeeq Umar for the first Test of the two-match series against Australia starting next week.

The 33-year-old, who played the last of his 43 Tests in Sri Lanka two years ago, is one of the four openers in the 16-man squad with fit-again Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shahzad likely to get into the final eleven for the first Test starting in Dubai from October 22.            

Pakistan, who announced a preliminary 19-man squad on Wednesday, are in a fix to find a suitable replacement for star spinner Saeed Ajmal who was suspended last month because of an illegal bowling action.                 

The 37-year-old’s action was reported during the Test series in Sri Lanka in August and he remains on the sidelines as he undergoes remedial work on his biomechanics.

Pakistani selectors have named leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who is yet to play a Test, and left-armer Zulfiqar Babar who made his Test debut last year.

Also included in the team is uncapped 27-year-old paceman Imran Khan, who is a prolific wicket taker at domestic level.

Left-arm paceman Rahat Ali, Mohammad Talha and Ehsan Adil are the other fast bowlers in the squad in the absence of frontline bowlers Junaid Khan and Wahab Riaz who are nursing knee injuries.

Veteran batsman Younis Khan and Azhar Ali also joined the squad after missing out on selection for the 3-0 defeat in the one-day series.

Pakistan Squad: Misbah-ul Haq (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Shan Masood, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Talha, Rahat Ali, Imran Khan, Ehsan Adil, Sarfraz Ahmed, Zulfiqar Babar, Yasir Shah.

Oct 182014
 
Mitchell signs Worcs extension

Worcestershire captain Daryl Mitchell has signed a new four-year contract with the county.

The 30-year-old scored 1,334 runs last season at the top of the order to lead his side back to Division One of the LV= County Championship, while he was also their leading scorer in Twenty20 cricket.

Mitchell, who made his first-class debut for Worcestershire back in 2005, still had two years left to run on his exsisting deal but will now remain at New Road until the end of the 2018 campaign.

“I’m really pleased to sign the contract. Obviously coming off the back of a really good season for the lads, with getting promotion to Division One, it’s a nice way to finish the year,” he told the county’s website.

“Worcestershire is the only club I ever want to play for. I grew up watching and supporting the county, then going through the Academy, the second team and captaining the club is the pinnacle.”

Director of cricket Steve Rhodes added: “I’m absolutely delighted. Mitch is an important and integral part of our push for better things at the club,” he said. 

“To know we’ve got our best players signed up long-term is excellent news going forward. Daryl is Worcestershire through and through from his early years as an Evesham schoolboy to what he is now which is county captain.

“He is very proud of the county and is exactly the type of cricketer we want here for a period of time.”

Oct 172014
 
Windies board blames players

The West Indies Cricket Board has apologised “unreservedly” after the collapse of its side’s tour of India.

A dispute with the touring players came to a head during the fourth one-day international, leading the Indian cricket authorities (BCCI) to release a statement claiming the remaining five scheduled games would not go ahead.

The WICB initially denied withdrawing from the tour, but West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo made it clear in the aftermath of their 59-run defeat in Dharamsala that the players considered the trip over.

And after meeting to discuss the crisis, the WICB later released a second statement blaming the players and confirming there would be no fifth ODI, no one-off T20 international and no three-Test series.

It read: “Players in the West Indies Squad currently in India represented by Mr. Dwayne Bravo indicated to the WICB that the players have taken a decision to withdraw their services for the remainder of the tour of India.

“As a result of this action by the players the WICB was left with no option but to advise the BCCI that it will no longer be able to provide a West Indies team for the remaining five matches.”

An offer to bring out a second-string team was rejected by the BCCI, which has been urged to seek compensation by joint honorary secretary Anurag Thakur.

But the WIBC statement claimed the BCCI had been forewarned about possible player action and said a delegation was due to arrive in India on Monday to discuss the squad’s concerns.

Regrets

“The WICB regrets that the delegation which was pre-scheduled to travel to India to meet with the players on a number of issues will no longer be able to conduct such meeting,” the statement read.

Captain Bravo has also been accused of using “inflammatory language” in a complaint to the West Indies Players’ Association chief Wavell Hinds which the WICB says read: “Please note that we are giving you the opportunity to right this wrong before things deteriorate [sic] to such an extent that West Indies cricket to the wider cricket world looks to fall to its knees again.”

The WICB will now hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday “to conduct a thorough assessment of all the ramifications of the premature end to the tour”.

In the meantime, India have lined up Sri Lanka as replacement tourists for a five-match one-day series.

Oct 162014
 
Cairns on perjury charge

Former New Zealand captain Chris Cairns has appeared in court in London charged with perjury linked to a libel action he brought in the UK in 2012.

Cairns won £90,000 in damages after he sued Lalit Modi, founder of the Indian Premier League, over an accusation of match-fixing made on Twitter in January 2010.

But the 44-year-old was accused of perjury and faced Southwark Crown Court on Thursday.

Cairns appeared in the glass-fronted dock alongside barrister Andrew Fitch-Holland, who faces one count of perverting the course of justice.

The pair, both dressed in dark blue suits and blue ties, spoke only to confirm their names.

Judge Alistair McCreath gave the pair unconditional bail to appear for a plea and case management hearing at the same court on January 16 next year. 

Both men have indicated they will contest the allegations.

The trial is expected to last around four weeks and is expected to begin on October 5 next year.

Oct 162014
 
Swann: KP has damaged legacy

Graeme Swann believes Kevin Pietersen has damaged his legacy with his controversial autobiography.

The former England batsman sparked uproar among former players after he criticised wicketkeeper Matt Prior and former coach Andy Flower in his explosive book.

Pietersen, 34, also alleged there was a bullying culture led by bowlers including Swann.

Swann, 35, feels Pietersen’s glittering England career – where he amassed over 8,000 runs – may now be tarnished.

Different

The former England spinner, who retired in the middle of the Ashes whitewash defeat in Australia last winter, said: “You can’t say what people will think but I don’t think he has done himself any favours in the long run – but Kev has always been different.

“It is all because someone is trying to sell a book. Honestly, in two weeks’ time when the inevitable amount of interviews are done, no-one will give a monkeys.

“Certain things you have been led to believe didn’t happen. I think the very fact that however many people have been interviewed, no-one is supporting these claims that Kev has come out with.”

Swann was criticised for his decision to retire from international cricket after the third Test of the nightmare Ashes tour due to an elbow injury.

Hindrance

Former England batting coach Graham Gooch told the Daily Telegraph it was “criminal” to leave during the tour and that it “left a bad taste”.

Now Swann has defended his actions but admitted he should have retired earlier. “I said at the time that I don’t think it is right and proper to carry on in a sport when you are a hindrance to the team,” he added.

“Some think differently, some think you should carry on regardless but I don’t and I never will. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have gone on the tour at all.”

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