Apr 192014

By Julian Guyer

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end when England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) managing director Paul Downton said there was no way back for the star batsman.

Pietersen, England's leading run-scorer across all formats, was sensationally axed from the national set-up following the team's recent 5-0 Ashes series loss in Australia.

At first, the ECB would cite only the need for a new "team ethic and philosophy" and support for skipper Alastair Cook as the reason behind the move, with Cook saying it was a brave call.

But that left unanswered the question of what 33-year-old South African-born Pietersen had done in Australia to deserve such drastic treatment.

However, during a Lord's news conference on Saturday, where Peter Moores was unveiled as England coach after Andy Flower stood down following the Ashes debacle, Downton gave the most detailed explanation yet by anyone in the England hierarchy for Pietersen's exile.

"I arrived in Sydney (the venue for the fifth and final Ashes Test) on 31st December, and it was clear that there were two issues: Andy Flower's future and what we were going to do about Kevin," said Downton, who was flanked by Moores and Cook.

"I watched every ball of that Sydney Test match and I've never seen anybody so disengaged from what was going on," former England wicketkeeper Downton said of a match the tourists lost by 281 runs, with Pietersen managing scores of just three and six.

"What you need from a senior player is backing, support and everybody working together. We just got to a stage where that was no longer the case.

"We came to the conclusion that if England was going to rebuild after a 5-0 loss, then we had to make a decision for the future and for the side to grow, and let's remember that we hadn't replaced (Andrew) Strauss, (Graeme) Swann had retired, (Jonathan) Trott had gone home and is still recovering now (from a stress-related illness), that we had to invest in new players and build a new team with some core values.

"What you see here is the future and I don't see any going back."

Last week Pietersen, who is playing for the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League, said he still had hope of becoming the first England player to score 10,000 Test runs.

"Yes, maybe I'll still get to 10,000," Pietersen told the Indian Express.

But that cut little ice with Downton.

"We had a strong side over 10 years with strong leadership and established captains and coaches, and that side could accommodate Kevin, but that balance has shifted now," Downton said.

Moores, 51, was previously England coach from 2007 to 2009 before a falling out with Pietersen cost him the job and the batsman the England captaincy.

Rejoining the England set-up from his position as Lancashire coach, Moores laughed when he was told Pietersen had tweeted: "Everyone deserves a 2nd chance!".

Moores added: "The important point to make is I never fell out with Kevin, Kevin fell out with me. There's a notable difference."


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Apr 192014
Video - Bring On Delhi, Say Knight Riders

After their win against the Mumbai Indians, a confident Kolkata Knight Riders team say it’s time to bring on the Delhi Daredevils in the latest series of behind the scenes videos.

First though, they get a chance to show off their modelling skills, dressing to impress after their victory over the reigning champions. Look out for a ‘regal’ looking Jacques Kallis…

Chris Lynn and Suryakumar Yadav tell the story behind their tattoos

Next, it’s time for some football, but as Lynn says, the boys are lucky they can play cricket as this is not their strongest suit!

It always seems to be somebody’s birthday and this team it is team analyst Srikkanth’s turn to ‘take the cake’…

And there is more celebration as the team pass on their messsages of congratulation to Yusuf Pathan, who headed back home to be with his newly-born son.

And with the Daredevils game just hours away, there’s a great mood in the camp.

Videos from Kolkata Knight Riders / YouTube

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Apr 162014
Video - Kohli Excited Ahead Of IPL 2014
Wednesday 16 April 2014 

Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli says he is ‘really excited’ ahead of the seventh season of Indian Premier League, which is now underway.

The tournament begins this year in the United Arab Emirates to avoid a clash with the Indian general election and there are plenty of changes as the Bangalore side chase their first title.

Former captain Daniel Vettori now coaches the side and Kohli has taken over as full-time captain.

“I am just really excited, looking forward to the IPL,” Kohli said before the tournament got underway.

“We have a great bunch of guys looking to do well, we do well every year and excite a lot of people in the IPL, and a lot of people love our team and the way we play, so hopefully we will entertain all you guys this time around as well.

“This time around we hope to go a few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy, we have added a bit of quality players to the side and I’m sure they will come out with flying colours.”

Bangalore have twice reached the final – in 2009 and 2011 – losing out to the Deccan Chargers and Chennai Super Kings respectively.

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Apr 112014
Video - Go Behind The Scenes At KKR - Birthdays & Training

With the start of the Indian Premier League 2014 just days away, watch these behind-the-scenes videos as Kolkata Knight Riders step up their preparations Abu Dhabi.

The 2012 champions will take on the reigning champions Mumbai Indians in the tournament’s opening game on 16th April.

In the video above, watch as Robin Uthappa and Ranganath Vinay Kumar give their thoughts on the season ahead and adventurer, explorer and motivator of men Mike Horn gives the Knight Riders his backing.

In episode 2 below, Australian batsman Chris Lyn celebrates his 24th birthday in what is described as an ancient and ‘barbaric’ Indian tradition.

He then thanks the Knight Riders fans for their birthday messages.

We also hear from Ryan ten Doeschate and get an insight into how the team are limbering up in Abu Dhabi.

Videos courtesy of Kolkata Knight Riders’ YouTube channel

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Apr 022014
Video - West Indies Power Into WT20 Semi-Finals - Cricket World TV

In our latest cricket news video, we look back at the West Indies’ impressive charge into the semi-finals of the ICC World Twenty20 and the last games of the group stages.

Defending champions the West Indies were on top form and they defended a score of 166 for six by dismissing Pakistan for just 82.

Earlier, pre-tournament favourites Australia took just their first win, a seven-wicket hammering of Bangladesh, as they finished strongly.

And in the women’s competition, there were upset wins for Bangladesh and India, which had an impact on the semi-final line-up.

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Apr 022014
Video - Rahim, Finch Express WT20 Disappointment

Watch as Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim and Australian batsman Aaron Finch talk about how disappointing the ICC World Twenty20 2014 has been for their respective sides.

Although Rahim led his side through the qualifying stages with wins over Afghanistan and Nepal, once in the Super 10s, they failed to win a game.

They succumbed to comprehensive defeats against the West Indies, Pakistan, India, and finally Australia, who won the last game in the group by seven wickets.

Rahim said his team had struggled to cope with playing against the stronger teams in the Super 10s.

“A bit (difficult) because after playing Hong Kong, you’re not playing Nepal or someone, you’re playing against India, Pakistan and Australia and the West Indies so that really was probably a big shock for us,” he admitted.

“But really I thought we really recovered well but as I said there were a couple of guys who didn’t perform well and were not in good form in key areas so that also didn’t help us throughout these four matches because when you have four or five guys out of form, it’s very difficult to play well as a team and also probably to play for 40 overs competitive cricket.

“So it cost us our planning and also our application so I think we have to look after those areas and hopefully we will come back and we have to come back for the country and hopefully we will do that.”

Finch went into the tournament as the number one-ranked Twenty20 International batsman but only produced an innings of note in the game against Bangladesh, hitting 71 in 45 balls.

He says that as a team, Australia let themselves down with a disappointing performance.

“It’s been very disappointing, to not make it through to the semi-final stages has been really disappointing from the team’s point of view,” he said.

“I mean, I think we’ve let ourselves down in all three disciplines over the first couple of games and in such a short format as this, that really comes back to haunt you quickly.

“When you have games back to back like this, I think momentum is absolutely crucial and we probably let that slip in the West Indies game and then when we got to the India game, we were out of the tournament.

“We came here with hopes to win the competition and we’re going home with nothing.”

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Mar 302014
Video - Dhoni Praises Yuvraj, Bailey Disappointed

Watch as Indian captain MS Dhoni praises Yuvraj Singh for setting up a 73-run win over Australia, who were bowled out for just 86 – much to the disappointment of their captain George Bailey.

Yuvraj struck 60 in 43 balls to signal a return to form as India hit 159 for seven, having to set a target for the first time in the competition.

And 160 proved way beyond Australia, who were shot out for their lowest ever score at the ICC World Twenty20 in just 16.2 overs.

Dhoni paid tribute to the way that Yuvraj’s innings helped them put a good score on the board.

“You know, at times you tend to still look at maybe 160-plus is a good score, we need to accelerate, we need to accelerate and you lose too many (wickets) and you end up getting 130 runs, so I felt in the middle period, Yuvraj (Singh) batted really well,” he said.

“He gave himself time, it was an ideal opportunity for him to see through the initial 10 or 15 deliveries and we all know the kind of batting line-up we have, anyone who eats up the deliveries initially, if he stays to the end, he’ll make much more runs than the amount of deliveries he faces, so that’s a big positive for us.

“Overall the whole batting line-up got a bit of batting, so it looks good as of now and hopefully, we won’t have any injuries before the semis.”

And after Ravichandran Ashwin picked up the man-of-the-match award by taking four wickets, Dhoni lauded his bowling attack for their performance.

“We have bowled really well so far in the tournament, but still, as I said, on that particular day, you have to bowl well and bat well.

“It’s a very short format, 20 overs, every couple of overs that you bowl, they can actually change the entire course of the game, so you have to see at what pace the game is going and all the things that are happening.

“It’s not easy to judge a T20 game and you have to be in the scenario, in the mix of the game on that particular day.

“So I think it will be interesting, you know, the coming games, the semi-finals, I feel the better teams will be the ones who will play consistently and win games.”

As group winners, India will play the runners-up of Group One, which will be South Africa while one of New Zealand and Sri Lanka will also qualify.

Australia were already out of the competition before the match started and Bailey confirmed that this was the worst batting performance from the team since he took over as captain.

“I’d go so far as to say it’s the most disappointing game that I’ve led from this team for three years,” he began.

“Yes, very disappointing…batting performance, sorry…I was quite happy with the way we bowled and fielded. I probably should qualify that.”

He added that the Indian bowlers had done well but the Australian batsmen were guilty of letting themselves down, slumping to a third straight defeat.

“I’ll give every credit to the Indian bowlers, they obviously bowled really well, but I certainly don’t think that our batters can hold their heads particularly high in terms of our shot selection, our match awareness, our game sense.

“All the stuff we spoke about from the last game (six wicket defeat by West Indies) that we weren’t partucularly happy with.

“We asked for improvement and we certainly didn’t have that.”

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Mar 302014
Video - Reaction As Pakistan Thrash Bangladesh

Watch as Pakistan batsman Ahmed Shehzad and Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim give their reactions to Pakistan’s 50-run ICC World Twenty20 victory in Mirpur.

Pakistan’s comprehensive win ended the hopes of both Bangladesh and Australia, who would later go on to lose to India.

Shehzad scored 111 not out to help Pakistan post a winning score of 190 for five before Bangladesh replied with 140 for seven.

Speaking after the game, Shehzad said he was proud to have become the first Pakistani to score a century in Twenty20 Internationals.

“I’m very proud, because before coming here, it was my aim in pool games themselves, I need to make a century,” he said.

“To become the first Pakistani player who can have centuries in all three formats. So I feel proud.”

He said that he felt under pressure to produce a big innings but that he backed his game – a policy which paid off as he hit 10 fours and five sixes during his 62-ball knock.

“To be very honest with you, I’ve been listening to so many things after the last two games and this is what happens in cricket.

“When you don’t play good in a couple of games, there is pressure on you, but this is when you have to show your character.

“This is when you have to come out, so I just backed myself, captain, coaches, I would like to thank them and whoever supported me, I would like to thanks them.

“I was just backing myself and sticking to my game plan. I wasn’t trying to do anything extra, but just… that was my aim, to pick up the bowlers first and make sure I go after them.”

Meanwhile, a disappointed Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim hopes that his side will be able to bounce back from this latest defeat and put up a better showing against Australia on Tuesday (1st April).

“It’s really disappointing, but still, I thought we… against India, Pakistan, all those teams, we haven’t been performing in the T20 format,” he said.

“And we don’t have that, like powerful batsman down there or we don’t have that speciality match winner (batting at) four or five.

“There are a few, but not like (Saeed) Ajmal or Umar (Gul), (Shahid) Afridi or someone like (Mohammad) Hafeez (all Pakistan) so, it’s really been struggling, we are really trying our best, but as I’ve said, some of the boys are not at their peak form and that also hasn’t helped us, so hopefully one more game to go and hopefully we will finish up on a high.

“If we can win the last game it will give us something to cheer.”

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Mar 282014
Video - Dhoni, Rahim After India Qualify

Opposing captains Mushfiqur Rahim and MS Dhoni talk to the press following India’s eight-wicket win over Bangladesh that qualified them for the semi-finals of the ICC World Twenty20.

Dhoni hit the winning runs as India made it three wins out of three to become the first side through to the semi-finals.

The defeat for the tournament hosts ends their hopes of making it to the knockout stages.

Dhoni says India partly owe their win to the fact that they are used to playing in similar conditions to that which they have encountered in Mirpur, Dhaka, where they are playing all of their matches.

“We knew the conditions quite well, we play in the sub-continent quite a few games, especially the IPL (Indian Premier League), so we had the right kind of exposure.

“We knew the kind of problems that we would face when it comes to bowling and batting and we had to work on that.

So again, we were concentrating on the process, irrespective of what format you are playing.

“I feel it’s always the process, that’s very important because once you know the problem areas, you can work on it and in a tournament like this, it’s very important that you don’t expose yourself, your weak links, to the opposition too much.”

It was another disappointing day for Rahim and his team, who have won just two games – against Afghanistan and Nepal – since the tournament got underway.

They had planned to make a fast start but once that didn’t materialise, they were in trouble, setting a target of just 139 for India.

“We wanted to start really well, but unfortunately it didn’t happen, in the first game also, but today probably, as I said, probably a bit improvement in our batting department at least – (better than) what we had last match.

“But still I think there is a lot of areas we need to work on, especially our top order, didn’t get enough runs.”

He cited the loss of too many wickets, too early in the game, as a key problem for his team.

“Probably if you lose three, four wickets in that top six overs then it’s very difficult from there to come back and you are playing against top teams, so you need to play smart cricket, so that didn’t happen either.

“So, still two more games to go. Hopefully, from this tonight we will come up with good plans and probably we will come up with better improvements in the next couple of matches.”

Bangladesh meet Australia and Pakistan in their final matches while India also play Australia before preparing for their semi-final.

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Mar 282014
Video - Sammy, Lehmann React To West Indies Win

Watch as West Indies captain Darren Sammy and Australia coach Darren Lehmann give their reaction to the reigning champions taking a six-wicket win in their ICC World Twenty20 Group Two game.

Sammy hit the winning runs with a six to lift the West Indies into second place in the group behind India, while Australia’s defeat means they are relying on an unlikely set of circumstances to qualify.

Prior to the match, Australian all-rounder James Faulkner had said that he ‘didn’t like’ the West Indian team.

Sammy says he prefers to let his action on the pitch doing the talking.

“Talk is cheap. You know, cricket is a game of action, and you could talk all you want, it’s the action that happens on the field that matters and West Indies acted today,” he said.

“It feels very good to come home. It was not an easy win, but we fought for it and that win will definitely hurt them, so I guess Faulkner will not like us any more!”

Meanwhile, Lehmann refused to be too hard on his players, saying that such verbal battles are all part of the game.

“From my point of view James has probably got to choose his words a little bit better, but that’s just part and parcel of the game, isn’t it,” he said.

“We’re in the entertainment business and if I could dance like (West Indies batsman) Chris Gayle I’d be dancing every night of the week.

“We play our cricket hard, and verbally that’s what’s going to happen, but we play it fair.

“So, that’s just part and parcel. You live and die by the sword, don’t you. You win, you lose, you’ve just got to cop it (take it) and move on,” he added.

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