Thursday, 29 March 2012

My Greatest ODI XI 1990-2012 (7-11)

Wasim Akram(Pakistan)

Wasim Akram, regarded as one of the finest left-arm fast bowlers of all time. He did things with the ball that some could only dream of. He could move the ball both ways, sometimes in the one delivery. While doing all of this, he came in at a high speed. He also had more than one string to his bow, with an ability to bat aswell. He has 502 ODI wickets to his name at an average of 23.52. While also accumulating 3717 runs throughout his ODI career. With the bulk of his runs coming in at 7, with 1222 runs being scored there. Inclusive of his top score of 86 vs Australia in the Benson & Hedges World Series - 1st final. Though he reached the 500-wickets lamndmark in ODI's during the 2003 World Cup. He was still among the eight players to be dumped from the squad after their disastrous performance. He was to retire shortly after, despite a brief spell with English side Hampshire.

Lance Klusener(South Africa)

Following his star performance in the 1999 World Cup he topped the ICC ODI Batting rankings. His high strike rate and career ODI average of 41.10 had him placed among the names in South Africa's most accomplished one-day batsmen. Along with 3576 runs while also picking up 192 wickets at an average of 29.95. He did the bulk of the damage with his bat at 8, with 1056 runs coming. While also keeping an average of 58.66. Making him one very special number 8.

Shane Warne(Australia)

Despite the headlines he made on the field, he was equally capable of making them off the field. Despite some mistakes off the field, while he was on it. He was regarded as the greatest spinner of all time. In the Test stakes he only finished behind Muralitharan. He rejuvinated legspin, making it fasionable to perform again. He picked up 293 wickets at an average of 25.73. While also having scored 1018 runs in the ODI format and a top score of 55. His priority was bowling. He remains a man with a colourful character, perhaps that's why he's adored so much around the world.

Allan Donald(South Africa)

One of the greats in South African bowling history. With 272 ODI wickets at an average of 21.78. A lot of the success that South Africa has gained in the modern era can be credited to the work of Allan Donald. Possibly being the only world-class performer in the South African team at that time. With his top-drawer pace and his ability to make things happen. As his body began to take more of a pounding through wear and tear. He retired from ODI cricket after South Africa's exit from the 2003 World Cup.

Glenn McGrath(Australia)

Glenn McGrath regarded as one of the best bowlers of all time. Arguably the greatest in Australia's history. His unremitting off-stump line with an immaculate length had batsmen throughout the world in dire straits. He specialised in gaining the opposition's biggest wickets, especially Michael Atherton and Brian Lara's. Picking up 381 ODI wickets at an average of 22.02, including seven 5-wicket hauls. He currently holds the record for the most wickets taken in the World Cup with 71. With 26 of those wickets falling in the 2007 World Cup. Helped by an impressive 7-15 against the outclassed Namibians.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

My Greatest ODI XI 1990-2012 (1-6)

My greatest all time ODI XI, first we start with the openers. With the field up in the opening overs of a ODI game, it's important to take advantage of this. These next two players to me, are two of the best players at taking advantage of this. With aggression and high skilled strokeplay.

Sachin Tendulkar(India)

What can one say about Sachin Tendulkar. The man has done it all, he was the first batsman to score a double ODI century. When in a ODI vs South Africa on the 24th of February 2010 he scored 200*. He has scored a staggering 18,374 runs in ODI cricket at an average of 44.81 with 49 centuries. He was also the first batsman to score 10,000 ODI runs. While also being the first man to reach each subsequent 1000 run mark that has been crossed in ODI cricket history. The goal of the man they call the little master was to win the World Cup. Something which he was finally able to do so in the 2011 Cricket World Cup. There has been much talk about how long he will continue for. Although based on recent performances, I don't see this legend of cricket retiring anytime soon.

Adam Gilchrist(Australia)(wk)

Adam Gilchrist is the great wicket-keeper batsmen in the history of the game. His strike rate is amongst the highest in the history of One-day and Test cricket. With 9,619 runs at an average of 35.89 and 16 centuries. He has the unique record for scoring at least 50 runs in successive World Cup finals (1999, 2003 and 2007). While being one of only three players to have won three titles. He is known to have completely re-written the role of the wicket-keeper batsman in cricket. His discipline at the crease is one that many players could learn from. With his decision to walk at times from the crease, even with the umpire ruling in his favour.

Ricky Ponting(Australia)

Ricky Ponting is one of the greatest batsmen of all time, a must have selection in any Australian side. With his 13,704 ODI runs at an average of 42.03, with 30 centuries. He has been part of what's been so good for Australia for many years. To me, he is what a batsman should be, a tough character, a competitor and gritty. Too many of modern day players don't like it when its hard work out there.

He's been recently dropped from the ODI side, while he continues to ply his trade in the Test arena. We all should make sure to watch him for as long as we can. As when he finally retires we will all surely miss the great batsman that is Ricky Ponting.

Brian Lara(West Indies)

Brian Lara generally regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time. Muttiah Muralitharan has rated him the toughest opponent among all batsmen in the world. He's also a member of the 10,000 ODI run club, with an average of 40.48 and 19 centuries. Nobody since Bradman has built massive scores as often and as fast as Lara in his heyday. With his aggressiveness and pomp and ability to dismantle any bowling attack.

Jacques Kallis(South Africa)

Kallis regarded as arguably the greatest all-rounder of all time. He has amassed 11,498 runs at an average of 45.26. While also picking up 270 wickets at an average of 31.69. His dominance at the crease has been evident for many years. He's a colossus of a man, not many wickets come harder than his. His rock-solid technique and a mind unwavering to any distraction. He's a near perfect cricketer. Showing there is still room for finesse.

Michael Bevan(Australia)

Michael Bevan known as the finisher for Australia, played 232 ODI's for Australia. While picking up 6,912 runs at a lovely average of 53.58. While also holding the batting record for highest average among retired players. Criritcs have claimed his high average was an inflated average due to a high level of not outs(67 in 232 ODI's), considering he batted in the lower-middle order. Although his best batting was at number 4.
When in the uncommon situation where the Australian top order might collapse. He would be the calmness of the side, whilst performing a perfect anchoring role. Guiding his side home on many occasions which gave him his nickname ''The Finisher''.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Tim Murtagh

The merry-go-round for players leaving Ireland to play for England will continue for many years. So what can Ireland do to prevent the exodus of players from worsening the team. With Test cricket not around the corner anytime soon, they must think of new ways to add to the side.

One of the ways is using players born outside Ireland, with Irish relations as a path to qualify for Ireland.

I've heard people say that Ireland are just as bad when they take these players in. As this is exactly what England are doing.

Although there is a distinct difference with these situations. The likes of Trent Johnston, Andre Botha, Tim Murtagh etc, were never likely to play for their countries of birth. Then Eoin Morgan & Ed Joyce were always wanted for their countries of birth.

If a player is willing to come to an associate side. Do the hard work put the training in and stick with the side through all the situations. Not just there for the marquee games and have the right temperament. Then why not welcome him in with open arms. Although there is a line to be drawn somewhere in this situation, we can't have associates playing 11 Australians in their side.

So we come to Ireland's newest recruit in Tim Murtagh the Middlesex fast bowler.

He is a left-handed batsman and a right-arm fast-medium bowler. He has represented England during the 2000 ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup.

His first talent is bowling however he has improved significantly with the bat over years.

Injury among the Surrey bowling attack in 2005 had led to more opportunities for him. Including a very impressive 6/24 against Middlesex in the 2005 T20 Cup.

After a struggle to find a regular spot with Surrey, he began a search for a new club after the 2006 season. He was to sign for Middlesex in December 2006.

Where he was to quickly find his feet with scoring 874 runs at an average of 32.37. Whilst also taking 68 wickets at an average of 37.72 in first-class fixtures.

Since the move to Middlesex his bowling average was to improve vastly. With his wickets costing nearly 12 runs fewer than his wickets for Surrey. While his bowling average in List A games is nine runs less than it was for Surrey.

After a conversation with Ed Joyce of Ireland in 2011 led Murtagh to seriously consider qualifying for Ireland. He was entitled to apply for an Irish passport through his grandfather, who was born in Dublin.

He didn't dawdle with his application and was granted Irish citizenship in January 2012. He was first called into the Irish team as a reserve player. If any of the first 14 squad were to get injured he would be likely to be called into the squad as a replacement.

So in the upcoming 2012 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers in the UAE, we could get our first viewing of Murtagh in an Irish jersey. With 16 teams vying for the two measly spot available for the associate sides.

Hopefully if he was to get his chance in these qualifiers, he could show the Irish fans why he was selected for Ireland. Especially if he were able to replicate his 6/24 for Ireland, it would cause a lot of people to be very happy.

While Tim Murtagh is still quite young for cricket, he appears to be a big coup for Ireland. His long experience of English County cricket will hopefully help him hit the ground running. Also with his ability to bat lower down in the order will also strengthen the Irish side hugely.

He's also well known with many of the Irish squad. He's played with Ed Joyce in the past. While he currently plays with Paul Stirling, Andrew/Stewart Poynter, Andrew Balbirnie, so it shouldn't be difficult to incorperate himself into the side

With Ireland losing Eoin Morgan and possibly other players over the coming years. Tim Murtagh will be a vital signing for Ireland. As they look to continue their utter dominance at the associate level.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Players to watch out for in the upcoming World T20 Qualifiers...

Hamid Hassan(Afganistan)

The right-arm pacey from Afghanistan is a danger to a lot of batsmen. With his ability to swing the ball both ways, added with his 6ft height and his aggressive approach to the game. This all makes for positive results for Hassan and with the T20 format, all of his experience will be needed to help cement Afghanistan's place as one of the favourite's.

David Hemp(Bermuda)

The leader of the Bermuda squad going into the qualifiers. He is 41 years young and a very classy left-handed batsman. He has a lot of experience playing English county cricket, where he has played for Glamorgan and Warwickshire. Where even an English call up was somewhere on the radar but never went further than that. This experience will be needed if one of the outsiders of the qualifiers is planning to go far. His T20 career makes for good reading, with 952 runs and a top score of 74 at an average of 26.44.

Jimmy Hansra(Canada)

One of the better batsmen in the Canadian side. He would have hoped for a better debut than a 2nd ball duck. Though his rise to fame would come during the 2011 World Cup. With contributing some mature knocks. With a well played 43 vs Pakistan. And also a very impressive 70* vs New Zealand. He has produces some occasional bowling duties with his offbreaks.

Frederik Klokker(Denmark)

A hard-hitting top-order wicketkeeper batsman. Who first played at the 2001 ICC Trophy while producing a career best 138* vs the USA in 2005. Who has plenty of experience having made his debut in his teens. Also coming on as a substitute fielder for England at Lord's. His record at the T20 level is very impressive with 238 runs and a top score of 91* at an average of 59.50. Teams will be looking to knock him over quickly.

Aizaz Khan(Hong Kong)

The young Aizaz is a medium pace bowler. Aizaz finished as Hong Kong's top wicket-taker at the 2010 U-19 World Cup qualifiers with an impressive 15 wickets. He made his World Cricket League debut for Hong Kong in the 2011 WCL Division Three, where he was able to help them earn promotion to Division Two.

Paul Stirling(Ireland)

Paul Stirling is one of the most promising young cricketers in Ireland. Who has played for Ireland in all formats and currently is playing for English county side Middlesex. His aggressive approach at the crease mixed with his capabilities with the ball, has had comparisons made with Sri Lankan all time great Sanath Jayasuriya. He made his first International century against a Test playing nation in 2011 against Pakistan. A performance which impressed Waqar Younis.

Michael Di Venuto(Italy)

Although Di Venuto was born in Australia and even played cricket for Australia. He never quite got the consistent performances for the Aussies. He's an excellent player of the hook, pull and square shot. With many English fans knowing him from his days with Derbyshire and Durham. Including an excellent campaign leading to Durham winning the 2009 championship. With his contribution of 1,601 runs at an average of 80.05, where he destroyed bowlers right across England. Then in 2012 he made his intentions clear when he chose to play for Italy in the World Cup T20 Qualifiers. Also having scored 951 T20 runs with a top score of 95* he will be pivotal for Italy.

Hiren Varaiya(Kenya)

The left-arm spinner was given a chance in 2006 and it was a challenge he accepted. Taking a wicket with his first ball on debut against Canada. Although he struggled against Bangladesh, he had made some significant performances against other associates. He recently picked up 12-73 against the leading associate team of Ireland in a four-day game. Where he had caused trouble to the majority of the Irish batsmen.

Louis van der Westhuizen(Namibia)

Louis is a slow left-arm spinner. He was one of the outstanding players in the Qualification for the U-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka. Ensuring qualification with his 113 against Papua New Guinea. Where he also collected nine wickets during the five games. He's also a very powerful hitter, recently scoring 159 from only 70 balls in a T20 match vs Kenya, where Namibia were able to put on 262/1 from 20 overs.

Paras Khadka(Nepal)

A middle order batsman who bowls medium pace. He has represented Nepal in three U-19 World Cup, 2004/06/08 while also a regular in the senior team. He was named the captain in 2009 of the national side. While he is also a man for pressure, also being named Man of the Tournament in the U-19 ACC Trophy in 2007. With 261 runs in T20 and a top score of 47* and 16 wickets at an average of 16.56 with a best of 3-5 he looks to be a leading all-rounder for his side.

Tom Cooper(Netherlands)

The Australian born top order batsman is a crucial part of this Netherlands team. In 2010 he decided to play for the nation his mother hails from. Scoring half-centuries in each of his first three ODI's. Where he added a century in his fifth game and 97 in his seventh. With Ryan ten Doeschate opting to not play during the qualifiers, the importance of Cooper is stronger now than ever. While his T20 average is only 16.61, he has played 30 games while scoring 349 runs. Having also played in many T20 leagues around the World he is well versed to this format.

Vaibhav Wategaonkar(Oman)

The Indian born cricketer is a very hand opening batsman. With 818 runs in the 50 over format. Also contributing 212 runs at the T20 level with a top score of 56* and an average of 30.28. He is likely to be one of the leading batsman for Oman. Also his experience will be needed if Oman are to progress with them being one of the outsiders.

Geraint Jones(Papua New Guinea)

Geraint Jones returns home to his home nation. After spending many years in the English county side and also the English national side. Although his stints with the Test side weren't always the best. His return to his roots will significantly boost the hopes of Papua New Guinea. Especially with his experience of T20 cricket, having played 79 games scoring 793 runs.

Richie Berrington(Scotland)

The South African born cricketer. However he's been a part of the Scottish side since his days in the U-15 side. He made his ODI debut against Ireland in July 2008. He was later given a full-time professional contract by Scotland. His powerhouse hitting is one of his key skills. Where he recently broke Irish hearts when he smashed 56 from 23 balls to help see Scotland home against Ireland in a recent ODI game.

Benjamin Musoke(Uganda)

In a team filled with players in their 20's, Benjamin Musoke represents the experience of the side. Having represented Uganda since 2001. He's an opening batsman for Uganda, who had a lot expected of him throughout his career. With one T20 fifty to his name he will be looking to improve that come the qualifiers.

Ryan Corns(USA)

The South African born youngster shot to prominence at the 2010 World Cup qualifiers. Scoring 230 runs and picking up 13 wickets gained him the Player-of-the-Tournament title and also helped USA qualify for the World Cup in 2010. His batting style is out of the Michael Vaughan yard. At the age of 21, he appears to be heading in the right direction.