May 042013

Ashes watch: The selection of 35-year-old Chris Rogers for Australia’s Ashes squad has been interpreted as both a sign of desperation on the tourists’ part and a decision that reflects the wisdom of the selectors. Either way, the Middlesex batsman will want to prove that his solitary Test cap so far, won five years ago, has been woefully insufficient recognition of his talent. His form this English season, from an Australian point of view, looks reassuringly strong. He completed the 59th first-class hundred of his career against Surrey at Lord’s yesterday as Middlesex made nonsense of their first-innings dismissal for 166. Rogers and opening partner Sam Robson each posted three-figure scores in an opening stand of 259.

India spring squad surprises

Extras India have sprung some surprises in their 15-man squad for the Champions Trophy, omitting experienced batsmen Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh but including left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan, who last played a 50-over match for India in June 2011. Wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Karthik was also recalled after almost three years. Opener Murali Vijay, similarly without a ODI appearance since 2011, was another unexpected pick. The dropping of opener Gambhir comes after his long-time partner Virender Sehwag was not included even in the 30-member provisional list. In Gambhir’s absence, Dhawan and Vijay are likely to be the opening combination, though Karthik could also be an option. Yuvraj, who made a comeback last year after battling a rare form of lung cancer, has struggled for form of late and the selectors chose Rohit Sharma ahead of him.

Centuries don’t run in the family

Batsman of the day Josh Cobb’s father, Russell, made almost 150 senior appearances for Leicestershire, many as an opener, yet never made a century. Cobb Jnr, captaining their 40-over team, hit 107 off 95 balls against Gloucestershire at Grace Road, his fourth hundred so far.

Warks Brown in pitch bitch

Gripe of the day The return of the heavy roller has prompted complaints about lifeless pitches. After the rain-hit match between Sussex and Warwickshire ended in a draw with not two innings played, the latter’s director of cricket, Dougie Brown, asked: “Is that a first-class pitch? I would doubt it.”

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