Cricket: Precedents or just another ban: the Ajmal saga

Saeed Ajmal in training (photo: Reuters/SMH website)

Saeed Ajmal in training (photo: Reuters/SMH website)

Was he a target? Is he another in a long line that will be banned? How will Pakistan go without him now?

These are all good questions that surround off-spinner Saeed Ajmal.  Banned by the International Cricket Council this week for throwing, after having been once cleared in 2009 of any illegal action, this ban is an eyebrow-raiser.  Yet, it could well set a precedent of future punishment. Continue reading

Cricket: Spinning our way into the unknown

James Muirhead playing for the Melbourne Stars (photo: SMH/Getty Images)

James Muirhead playing for the Melbourne Stars (photo: SMH/Getty Images)

Australian cricket saw what could be considered its best summer last year – the last one came against India just a couple of short years back.

Breaking down the constituents, one topic of interest has seemingly plagued journos, critics and fans alike; why is there so much talk about the choice of a front-line spinner? Continue reading

Cricket: Australian Champions Trophy 2013 Squad Preview

ICC CT13 Logo (from thenewstribe.com)

ICC CT13 Logo (from thenewstribe.com)

It’s almost “the battle before the Ashes“.  Australia will be in England from June 3-23 for the very last installment of the ICC Champions Trophy.  If you wanted Ashes preparation, this is it.

While a few players in the Champions Trophy squad will not be participating in the coveted test series, a fair majority of the team will have several matches to adjust to both the playing and weather conditions in England.  Perhaps not outright favourites for the Ashes, Australia still boasts a very good one day record at the tournament, and will be looking to secure another piece of silverware.

The following is a look at each player in the squad and how they can help Australia to victory: Continue reading

Cricket: 2012 World XIII (Tests, T20’s, OD’s)

James Anderson, 2010 (photo mine)

James Anderson, 2010 (photo mine)

Well, it is that time of year again.  The time where obsessed cricket fanatics (such as myself) sit down, ponder for hours, and then finally write some sort of scribble about the top players for the year.

This is a first for me, and I’ve decided to pick 13 players worldwide who will make up my inaugural World XIII.  They are in no particular order.

When some of you read this, you might ask ‘where’s Brendon McCullum, or perhaps Hashim Amla?’  Yes, I did consider them, but in my mind didn’t make the cut for 2012.  Their years were both excellent and helped lead their teams to some great victories, but in my mind they were beaten by others for consistency and other similar factors.  Add to the fact that picking just thirteen players is extremely difficult.

Amla was ahead of McCullum in breaking into the squad however. Continue reading