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Monday, July 28, 2014

Early Indicators for the 2015 World Cup

Early Indicators for the 2015 World Cup
By: Matthew Harris (Sky Sports and Huffington Post)

Test cricket currently dominates the international schedule but with the 2015 World Cup looming, attention will soon turn to the One Day form of the game. The tournament itself starts in February 2015 so, with little more than six months remaining, which countries are in form ahead of the first ball?

Home advantage
Australia and New Zealand are joint hosts for the 11th One Day World Cup and as you may expect, the Aussies are favourites at 3.20 with Betfair to lift the trophy. After demolishing England on their winter tour, Michael Clarke’s men climbed to the top of the ICC ODI rankings and the side will have a busy schedule leading up to the tournament, starting with the Triangular series against Zimbabwe and South Africa in August.

Australia haven’t played a one day international since their final game against England at the end of January but all signs were good. Aaron Finch and David Warner form the most explosive opening partnership in world cricket and if Michael Clarke and Mitchell Johnson can stay fit, the Aussies will be the side to beat.
New Zealand continue to perform strongly in all forms of the game and their batting will be strong in 2015. Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson will be supported by Jimmy Neesham and Corey Anderson in the middle order and if the bowlers can keep things tight, the Kiwis should progress to the knockout stages at the very least.

Recent Series
Traditionally, South Africa do not travel well, particularly to the subcontinent but AB De Villiers’ side were hugely impressive in taking a 2-1 series win over Sri Lanka in July. HashimAmla was in supreme form, scoring two hundreds in the series while Quinton de Kock and De Villiers also made tons as their team passed 300 on two separate occasions.

Australia and New Zealand will also offer favourable conditions for South Africa’s strong bowling attack led by Dale Steyn. The Proteas have yet to win a major ICC trophy but judging by the form shown in the Sri Lanka series, this may finally be their time.

Sri Lanka themselves will have been disappointed by those recent performances, particularly after defeating England by three matches to two in a controversial series earlier in the season. Angelo Mathews’ men will now play Pakistan before hosting the English again at the end of 2014.

As for England’s hopes, it’s clear that they are undergoing a ‘transitional period’ under Peter Moores and little is expected from them at the 2015 World Cup. There are criticisms of a relatively pedestrian opening partnership of Alastair Cook and Ian Bell and perhaps the selectors need to be brave and to introduce a power hitter such as Alex Hales at the top of the order.

Upcoming clashes
Before England and Sri Lanka do battle again, Cook will lead his side in five ODIs against the touring Indians. MS Dhoni’s men have been poor away from home and a 4-0 reverse against New Zealand in January suggests they will struggle to retain their trophy.

Elsewhere, Pakistan will always threaten with their bright, if inconsistent brand of One Day cricket while West Indies currently seem to prefer the T20 format, almost to the complete exclusion of all other forms of the game.

Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ireland, Afghanistan, Scotland and the UAE will also travel to Australia and New Zealand in 2015 but while they are capable of providing the occasional upset, it’s hard to see any of these sides progressing beyond the groups.

The forthcoming World Cup promises to be the most entertaining and possibly the closest tournament ever but can these recent ODIs really help us to pick a winner?


Matthew Harris is freelance journalist who writes for the likes of Huffington Post and for some of the larger sports bookmakers such as Sky Sports.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cricket: The basics of the game

Cricket is one of the most popular and amazing sports in the world. Very few athletic competitions can charge up the atmosphere like a game of cricket. This enticing pastime inspires millions of fans worldwide. The rules of the game seem complicated at first, but once you get around to knowing the basics, you will see that’s actually one of the most fun sports you can watch or play.

The game is played on a cricket field with a pitch in the middle. The pitch is in the shape of rectangle and is exactly 22 yards in length. The entire playing area goes way beyond it, but the pitch is where most of the action is happening. The pitch is sometimes referred to as a wicket. Wicket is a term you need to remember – it not only refers to the pitch sometimes, but it is also the name of a construction of three stumps and two bails near the ends of the pitch. Finally, wicket is also one of the ways a batsman is being dismissed. There is no other sport where the sentence, “A wicket occurs when the batsman loses a wicket near the end of the wicket” would make sense. One more thing we need to explain about the field are the creases – lines signifying the borders where the batsmen and the bowlers have to stay.

The game is played with 22 people –2 teams of 11 players each. There are two halves of the game, called innings. One team is batting while the other team is fielding in the first inning, and then they switch roles in the second one. The batting team has two batsmen on the field at all times – their job is to guard the stumps (or the wickets) using the bat to hit the ball, as well as to score a run. Once the batsman hits the ball, he has to reach the other end of the pitch, thus scoring a run. Both batsmen stand at the ends of the pitch facing each other so they can score runs. If a batsman hits the ball so hard that it reaches the boundary of the field, his team is automatically rewarded 4 runs and if it leaves the boundaries without touching the ground – they’re rewarded 6 runs. All the runs the batsmen make during the inning is recorded and summed up. The opposition has to make more runs during the second inning if they want to win.

The fielding team has to prevent runs and dismiss batsmen. This can be done by hitting the wickets, catching the ball before it touches the ground or returning the ball to the end of the pitch before the batsman has finished their run. The inning is over once all batsmen have been dismissed.

This is a brief overview of the rules – the game is actually way more complicated and this is what makes it so interesting. It’s amazing that something that looks so simple from the side can hold so much complexity into its core. When you begin to understand the game, you will find that it’s one of the most amazing sports you can watch.

You can watch cricket anywhere on the Internet or on TV, but the best venue for betting cricket ultimately remains the Winner. The site is fitting for this exhilarating game and if you register with JohnnyBet , and use coupon code: JOHNNYBET, you can get a €/£/$25 free bet. It’s an amazing offer worthy of an amazing sport. JohnnyBet is an extremely helpful sites that gives you access to tons of tips and connects you with an active community. Some of the members are among the biggest names in the industry, so you can’t go wrong in registering. Claim nice bonuses, get useful tips and watch one of the most interesting sports in the world!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Wolf of cricket takes charge of ICC

John Oliver on his HBO show recently ripped apart FIFA to shreds for being a big corrupt, bully whose actions are not always for the betterment of the game of football. ICC have long been accused of the same. Now that N Srinivasan - the former President of the BCCI and owner of the IPL franchisee, CSK - has taken over the reigns and the power structure of the entire organization resting with the cricket boards of India, Australia and England, the question now arises if ICC has become a huge monster like FIFA. The odds of that is one scary thought and with Srinivasan's appointment one can bet with certainty on this!

This is what Emperor Palpatine would look like in real life.
To understand just how bad Srinivasan's appointment to the ICC is, one must first understand who really is Srinivasan. Who is this wolf of cricket?

Srinivasan is an industrialist from a rich family with many connections. His younger brother Ramachandran is the head of the Tamil Nadu Squash Rackets Association, president of the Indian Olympic Association and the chief of World Squash Federation. Srinivasan has been the president of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association for over a decade and he had the constitution of the board changed so that there was no limit to the tenure of presidency. Srinivasan joined the BCCI under the tutelage of then BCCI president, AC Muthiah (who he eventually pushed out of office in a power struggle that saw Jagmohan Dalmiya into power).

Since then he has gained prominence in the BCCI and during the formation of the IPL, despite being the then treasurer of BCCI, he gained an ownership stake in Chennai Super Kings. This was a direct contradiction of the BCCI clause (no administrator of BCCI could have had, directly or indirectly, any commercial interest in the matches or events conducted by the cricket board), and hence Srinivasan had the BCCI amend that rule. Despite the evident conflict of interest,Srinivasan went onto become the president of the BCCI and under him BCCI bullied and coerced ICC to make decisions in it's favor and often threatening to pull out of a tour or even ICC. During his reign as president he shuffled around the members of the BCCI and anyone who opposed him was quietly shown the door.

Even after Srinivasan's son-in-law and CSK team principal - Gurunath Meiyappan got arrested for his involvement in illegal betting and providing inside information to bookies, Srinivasan remained defiant and only after the supreme court of India stepped in and forced Srinivasan to resign, commenting that it was 'nauseating' to see him in office, did he leave loudly protesting. Srinivasan also heads the Tamil Nadu Golf Federation and the All India Chess Federation.

Great sport. Great spirit. And now great corruption. 
Even in his private life, Srinivasan is just as ruthless and his homosexual son on numerous occasions accused his father of physically and mentally abusing him and his partner. In 2012, Srinivasan even had the Mumbai police physically beat his son in a restaurant.

Now that is the man who now heads the body that is in charge of the game called cricket! He makes Sepp Blatter look like a cute puppy next to him! Srinivasan is the devil. Scratch that. The devil works for Srinivasan.

So is the ICC the same as FIFA? Only time will tell. But one thing is certain. If FIFA and ICC join hands, they can form one large corrupt syndicate and rule the world.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Indian Premier League

One area of serious interest for cricket punters is the Indian Premier League, or IPL as it is better known. This Twenty20 cricket tournament began life in 2008 and has grown to become one of the biggest commercial successes that the world of cricket has ever seen. IPL is watched by fans from around the globe and has a brand value estimated to be worth over $3 billion. Pepsi are the official sponsor of the Indian Premier League and this tournament became the first sporting event to be broadcast live on YouTube back in 2010. There are a total of eight teams within the league and there have been eleven different sides compete since its inception in 2008. Five different teams have won the title and the Chennai Super Kings are the only side to have two tournament wins to their credit.

Betting markets on the IPL are growing all the time and for England Cricket or IPL Odds visit here. All the major bookmakers have outright odds for the championship as well as prices on the outcome of each individual Indian Premier League match. The Chennai Super Kings are currently challenging Kings XI Punjab for favouritism at the head of the IPL outright market and it would be no surprise to see them add a third title to their impressive record in 2014. Betting odds are also available on top batsman and top bowler as well as a top four finish and there are even price on offer for teams to reach the final with some betting firms. When it comes to the Premier League matches, there are even more betting opportunities available. Some of the most popular markets include highest opening partnership, first ball and fifty in match.

DLF paid a  $50 million fee for a five year sponsorship deal with the Indian Premier League which gave them exclusive rights from 2008 to 2012. Pepsi then increased the stakes by paying a total of $72 for the next five years from 2013. When the league began, Sony paid a massive fee of $1 billion for the broadcasting rights to the IPL for the next ten years. While Brand Finance valued the IPL at $4.13 billion in 2010, this figure has been subject to some debate. That being said, there is no doubt that the IPL is very a profitable business and one that continues to grow in stature year on year.

During the Indian Premier League season, all eight teams play each other home and away, with the top four teams in the tournament progressing to a semi final stage. Two points are awarded for a win, one point for a no result and zero is the return for a defeated side. Any teams on equal points in the league are separated by various criteria including number of wins, net run rate, bowling strike rate, and finally their head to head results. This format appears to work very well and allows for a very exciting and extremely watchable cricket tournament which looks set to be around for many years to come.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Scotland cricket team inspire at the grassroots level

Inspiring the Next Generation: Scottish Cricket Team Visit Aberdeen Schoolchildren
If you love the game and you have children of your own, then you’ll know that most cricket-mad parents hope and pray that one of their brood will one day share their passion. One sure fire way to guarantee a new generation of fans is to recruit members of your country’s national team, just two days before an international with their most infamous historic rivals, so Aberdeenshire parents must be over the moon following a recent ‘come and try’ session.
A Hero’s Welcome
Cricket Scotland’s development manager Neil Cameron managed to pull off the impossible; just one day before their international against England on Friday, he persuaded five members of Scotland’s cricket team to take part in a ‘come and try’ session.
As the team’s minibus pulled up at Harlaw Playing Fields in Aberdeen, the heavy rain stopped. The clouds parted to reveal a sun-bathed pitch with over one hundred excited children rushing towards their heroes, Scottish stars Moneeb Iqbal, Gordon Goudie, Michael Leask, Richie Berrington and Craig Wallace. 
The eight and nine year olds from Ashley Road and St Joseph’s Primary Schools threw themselves into the session with unbridled enthusiasm and a healthy dose of gusto, happily lapping up lessons in throwing and catching, batting routines and even executing the perfect celebratory cartwheel.
A New Legion of Fans
Neil Cameron said: “We invited schools to come here and try some cricket-related skills, have a bit of fun, and introduce them to a game that they’re not familiar with. The whole point of today is a preamble to the big event on Friday – Scotland v England. We just want to generate as much enthusiasm, as much knowledge [as we can], and raise the profile of the game in Aberdeen. The fact that we’ve got guys playing on Friday who are involved today is fantastic.”   
The event certainly seemed to have the desired impact on the children involved. Eight-year-old Kirsty Hogg said “I’ve enjoyed today because I never knew about cricket, but now I really enjoy it.”
Ambitious nine-year-old Joe Millar added: “I do feel like I just want to play cricket again, and I want to play for Scotland or England or any of the major teams.”
Looking to the Future
Michael Leask, who played in Scotland’s successful 2015 Cricket World Cup qualifying tournament and was one of the players who helped out, said: “It’s something I’ve done from a very young age and to see these guys have such enthusiasm for it gives you a little bit more encouragement to carry on. To know you’re inspiring kids to do it as well is a bonus for me.”
Richie Berrington, who was also present, believes that Scotland’s involvement in next year’s World Cup, and Grant Bradburn’s appointment as national coach, mean that it’s the perfect time to invest in the future of the sport by attracting a new generation of fans and players. “We’ve got a big 12 months leading up to that [World Cup]. We’ve also just got a new coach, and I think the game is definitely starting to grow in Scotland. There’s a lot more kids getting involved. Obviously the more exposure we can have at the highest level is going to help bring more people into the game.”

Aberdeenshire has a history of high-levels of participation in the sport, and events like this will undoubtedly help those trends to continue. The city has yielded an impressive crop of international cricketers over the years, and perhaps its future stars were among those attending this week’s ‘come and try session. At the very least, the squad found themselves 100 new fans. Arm them with the right equipment, and we’re sure that they’ll one day take the cricketing world by storm. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Star-studded Sides Promise Cracking Opener

By: Shrinivas Uppili
Edited By: Ajay Suresh

With the inclusion of new stars, the Defending champions will be looking
 to strike early this tournament and regain their momentum

With the defending champions Mumbai Indians, taking on the glamorous Kolkata Knight Riders in the Sheik Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, the IPL 2014 is expected to begin with a cracker.  Given the track record, it does seem like the advantage is with Mumbai, but with both teams having an equal set of strong players in their squad, the match looks at balance.

Although there have been relatively significant losses for both sides this auction, their owners have managed to grab some brilliant picks which might make up for the losses. Kolkata would certainly feel the heat due to the loss of McCullum, a star who is in ripe form since the Indian tour this February. He’s repetitively proved that he has been a vital asset for any team. The absence of Brett Lee’s stealth would hurt KKR dearly. Mumbai would also face some trouble due to the absence of their legendary icon, Tendulkar. He has been a source of inspiration and motivation for Mumbai. Johnson is another ‘one that went away’. His mercurial rise in the past few months have made him look rough and deadly. But with all said, the teams have acquired a couple of valuable additions who can turn games around. The format of T20 also provides the balance to any match since in this format, absolutely nothing is predictable!

 Ø  Rohit Sharma vs. Sunil Narine: Rohit’s recent show at the World T20 has shown that he is quite mastering the way he
handles spin. His exploits against Narine in the group stage match would’ve certainly fuelled Narine up. However, many still find it difficult to read Narine. The UAE tracks are known to help spin bowlers, and we’ve seen it happening it with Saeed Ajmal. Will Narine be able to make the most out of the pitch or will Rohit get the better of him?

Ø Corey Anderson vs. Jacques Kallis: Two mighty all-rounders. The former yet to forge a mark, while the latter’s retired a hero! Who will emerge victorious in this clash of the titans?
Ø Gautam Gambhir vs. Lasith Malinga: The KKR skipper’s got no better opportunity to redeem himself than this. His composed yet aggressive batting on top of the order will be tested by the suave and offensive bowling of Malinga, another name which every opponent would be wary about.
Ø KKR’s bowling vs. the Mumbai Batting: With a strong bowling line-up that’s second only to SRH, KKR could cause some woes to any batting line-up. But with big names such as Narine and Morkel, can Mumbai still have the last laugh?
Ø Kieron Pollard vsYusuf Pathan: Two great strikers of the ball who can hit any ball out of the park. Both their contributions will be key to their respective teams.
The key lies in Kolkata making the most out of their bowling, especially Narine, who could extract maximum turn from the pitch. Morkel is another key player who would like to bounce the ball as much as possible, and create problems for the opening batsmen. Skipper Gambhir even quoted yesterday that he firmly believes that it’s the bowlers who’ll win them matches. Vinay Kumar, who guided Karnataka to a Ranji win this season, is in prime form, and he could also add to the misery of the batsmen. Piyush Chawla is another good leggie, who could provide some assistance to Narine. Gambhir should make the best out of the occasion, and he should bear in mind the fact that UAE tracks are friendly for batting and spin. Mumbai, on the other hand, have an explosive looking line-up. Big match winners like Mr. Cricket, Pollard, Malinga, Anderson and Rohit; they do pose a grave threat. Rohit Sharma must make use of the two excellent spinners in his team, who are equally good. Ojha and Harbhajan had performed well last season, and Rohit must make sure that they step in bowl at the right time, so as to pick crucial wickets or slow down the run rate. Lasith Malinga is another deadly bowler at the death, and his recent performance as the skipper of the Lankan team this World T20 has certainly earned him laurels. For now, this match certainly seems as a clash of two good bowling units.

Mumbai however, would believe otherwise. They have a tremendous track record against KKR through all seasons of the IPL. Having an
80 % success rate against KKR, they would be holding this as a psychological advantage today. However, given the fact that both the teams have a fairly new bunch of players, this does seem like an even contest. Both Mumbai and KKR must make use of the local pool of talent, such as Jasprit Bumrah and Suryakumar Yadav, to make their team strong and balanced. Jasprit had created problems for the batsmen in the initial stages of the previous season. He has an astounding average of 22.61 in all domestic T20s he’s played, and he would be waiting for an opportunity to get into the limelight. The leadership and manhandling skills would be tested. KKR has been seen as a side with a lot of potential, yet they've failed to utilize it completely. Mumbai on the other hand, is a team that rises to the occasion. However, after the auctions, one could certainly say that their Team Balance has taken a beating. Kolkata has players, but now it’s all in Gambhir’s hands. He must make good use of the players he’s got to swing the chances in his favour.

Looking at team balance and fitness woes, it looks as if KKR has the upper hand in today’s match. KKR does seem to be a stronger side. However, given their poor record against Mumbai, they still need to work a lot and change their tactics.  KKR does have the upper hand in today’s game if one doesn’t look at their past. But hold on, you never know what’s going to happen, because this is T20 cricket, and unpredictability is in the DNA of this format.

Mumbai Indians Expected 11: Rohit Sharma (Capt.), Mike Hussey, Lasith Malinga, Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson, Ambati Rayudu, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Aditya Tare (WK) and Jalaj Saxena. 

Kolkata Knight Riders Expected 11: Gautam Gambhir (Capt.), Jacques Kallis, Sunil Narine, Morne Morkel, Yusuf Pathan, Manvinder Bisla (WK), Umesh Yadav, Suryakumar Yadav, Robin Uthappa, Vinay Kumar and Piyush Chawla.


Ø Lasith Malinga
Ø Kieron Pollard
Ø Jacques Kallis
Ø Pragyan Ojha
Ø Corey Anderson
Ø Vinay Kumar