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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fletcher appointed Team India coach

Fletcher appointed Team India coach
Sixty-two-year-old Duncan Fletcher has been appointed as the coach of India ahead of the team's tour to the West Indies.
The decision to appoint Fletcher, whose name was doing the rounds as a possible successor to outgoing coach Gary Kirsten, was taken at the BCCI's working committee meeting. The announcement came as a surprise as the BCCI had given no indication that it would name the coach on Wednesday itself.
"The contract with Fletcher is for two years. He may not join the team in the West Indies as he has some prior commitments," BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan told reporters after the meeting.
Eric Simmons, who was the bowling coach during Kirsten's tenure, will continue in the same position, Srinivasan said.
BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla said the terms and conditions of Fletcher's appointment would be the same as Kirsten's.

"After a lot of thought and consultation, BCCI president and BCCI secretary placed Fletcher's name before the Working Committee, which the Committee ratified," Shukla said when asked why Fletcher was selected over other contenders.

According to BCCI sources, current England coach Andy Flower was also considered, but he was reluctant. Former New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming, reportedly one of the contenders, was not in the race, they said.
Fletcher, who captained Zimbabwe during the 1983 World Cup and played just six one-dayers during the African nation's pre-Test days, had mixed fortunes as coach for England.
The high points of his career was England's Ashes triumph over Australia in the home series of 2005, England's first series win in West Indies in 36 years and taking England to the third spot in Test rankings.
Fletcher has a tough job ahead of him as he replaces the amiable South African Kirsten, who set a high benchmark for the Indian team and completed his stint with the memorable World Cup triumph earlier this month.
With Kirsten at helm, India reached the pinnacle of Test rankings and number two in the ODI list after conjuring up memorable wins and draws in series abroad. He relinquished the job to spend more time with his family.
Fletcher was the first foreigner to coach England's cricket team, a stint that had its share of highs and lows.
Known to be a strict task-master, Fletcher guided England to eight straight Test wins during his stint.
The biggest moment for him came in 2005 when England upstaged a star-studded Australian team to win the Ashes for the first time since 1987.
The Zimbabwean was honoured with an OBE before England's form slid and his position came under the scanner.
England managed to draw series in India and Pakistan but the 5-0 whitewash in the 2006-07 Ashes series in Australia led to widespread criticism of Fletcher, who refused to step down at that stage.
But England's early exit from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 in the West Indies ended any chances of him holding on to the post and he put in his papers.
Former England opener Michael Vaughan, who took over as national captain from Nasser Hussain during Fletcher's reign, was full of praise for the 62-year-old on social networking site Twitter soon after the BCCI's announcement.

He posted: "Great coach who will work well with [India captain Mahendra Singh] Dhoni [and] all the talent."

Vaughan also sounded a warning of sorts to his former coach about the potential media frenzy that could follow his appointment, though, adding: "His biggest challenge will come from the media. He has never really understood how it works!"

2 Wickt In 1 Ball

Rana Naved-ul-Hasan names Inzamam as best captain, Woolmer greatest coach

Pakistani pacer Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, who is representing Sussex in this English county season, has named Inzamamul Haq as his best captain and the late Bob Woolmer as the “greatest coach” he ever had.
Rana, a veteran of over 80 international matches for Pakistan, has had the distinct honour of playing under the captaincy of Inzamam and the legendary coach, the late Bob Woolmer.
Rana recalled that Inzamam was the captain when he made it to the Pakistan team.
“He [Inzamam] was able to utilize all the players very well and got the best out of the players. I really enjoyed playing under him. If you are enjoying your cricket then you will perform well,” quoted Rana, as saying.
Rana, who considers Inzamam his role model, also feels that the then skipper had the unique ability to “get the most out of his players, and I think Inzamam was the best captain I played under”.
Talking about the late Bob Woolmer, he said that the Englishman “was a very good coach. Everybody in the team respected him.”
Rana’s association with Woolmer lasted for 3-4 years – a period that provided a great learning experience to Rana. owever, what really stands out in Rana’s mind is the way Woolmer handled the team, especially given his foreign background.
“He [Woolmer] had created a great atmosphere within the team and everybody really enjoyed playing under him. Bob had learnt how to deal with Pakistanis and we picked up a lot of skills from him. We still miss him and always will. I still consider him to be the greatest coach I ever played for,” he said.
Rana, who last appeared for Pakistan on the troubled 2009/10 tour of Australia, remains positive about making a comeback to the Pakistan team.
“I played domestic cricket and performed very well. I went on to play in Australia and now am playing in England. So I think I will make a comeback if I continue to stay fit and perform well,” he stated.


Former Pakistan captain Moin Khan has said that Zulqarnain Haider is mentally ill and his statements do not make any kind of sense.
Haider ran away from Dubai on the morning of the fifth match of the One Day International series between Pakistan and South Africa in 2010, claiming that he received threats from bookmakers to under perform.
The wicketkeeper then went on to seek asylum in United Kingdom but withdrew his request after meeting the Interior Minister of Pakistan Rehman Malik. He came back to Pakistan on Monday and resumed giving controversial statements against his former teammates.
Moin, who was also a wicketkeeper in his playing days, said that the acts of Zulqarnain have not brought good name to Pakistan and it seems as if the lanky wicketkeeper is mentally retarded.
The former Pakistan captain said that he does not know what Zulqarnain wants to do but it would be very difficult for him to resume his cricketing career after giving such controversial statements.
Moin said, “I don’t know what Zulqarnain Haider wants to do. His statements still seems confusion. If Zulqarnain wants to play cricket again then he should come in ground with positive mind and start from zero. His department should realize that from which situation he has passed through.”  
The former wicketkeeper batsman added that this is not the right way for a youngster to play the game and Zulqarnain has many questions to answer before he resumes his cricketing career in Pakistan. He went on to say that if Zulqarnain received threats then those names should be made public in order to avoid any kind of confusion.
After his arrival in Pakistan, Zulqarnain has once again started to give statements without giving any proof. He accused that the father-in-law of Kamran Akmal is a bookmaker and Umar Akmal insulted him many times during the series against South Africa in United Arab Emirates. The father-in-law of Kamran Akmal has now decided to take legal action against Zulqarnain.
Although Zulqarnain has returned to Pakistan and wants to resume his career in the country but it looks highly improbable that he will be given another opportunity to play for Pakistan.

Balaji hails Wasim Akram for his resurgence

KOLKATA: Man-of-the-match Laxmipathy Balajion Sunday gave credit to bowling coach Wasim Akram for his impressive three for 15 run spell against Rajasthan Royals, and said he and his fellow pace colleagues were learning a lot from the the iconic Pakistani bowler. 

The former India seamer wrecked the Rajasthan batting line up to help Knight Riders bundle out the Jaipur side for a paltry 81 in 15.2 overs after sent into bat. 

"We all know what is he (Akram) capable of. Definitely it's an education for each and every member of the team. We all are learning every bit of what he does. Like how to attack and all. All these things are very important for a bowler. The next generation of players will gain a lot (from him)," Balaji said of Akram. 

With this win, the Knight Riders completed their second victory over Rajasthan in a period of three days to climb to the top of the IPL standings. 

"It's a process. It's not over yet. We have still 10 more matches to go. It has to be planned like a ladder. We have to have a rhythm to go into the next level," the lanky pacer insisted. 

Balaji gave the first breakthrough to Knight Riders, cleaning up in-form Shane Watson with a classic outswinger and the former India seamer said it was a dream ball. 

"It was a really good ball, something that I used to bowl some seven eight years ago. It was really thrilling to see the batsmen beaten. I would like to bowl similar balls again and again," he said. 

"Watson was a very important wicket. We needed the wicket very badly in the first six overs. His breakthrough gave me an immense pleasure." Balaji added. 

Balaji said the Eden Gardens wicket was on the slower side. 

"It was a little bit on the slower side. But you can't help conditions. Our batsmen really applied themselves well. (Gautam) Gambhir, (Manoj) Tiwary and (Manvinder) Bisla played sensibly," he said. 

"There is a long way to go. We will just take match by match. We got to have a relaxed mind. We have got a good initiative," Balaji said about their approach for the upcoming matches in the tournament. 

Asked whether Knight Riders performances in the previous seasons affected the team in any ways, Balaji said, "It's a completely new team with a new captain. We all get together very well and play as unit. It's a new season, whatever happened in the past is history."

Basit Ali says Junaid''s action is suspect

Former Pakistan batsman Basit Ali believes that the national team's young pace bowler, Junaid Khan will soon land into trouble over his bowling action. "There is a problem with his bowling action and there is a visible jerk when he bowls. The selectors should have seen this before picking him in the side," Basit said today. Basit, who played 19 Tests and 50 one-day internationals, said that Junaid's bowling action would soon be reported by match officials in the ongoing series in the West Indies. Junaid, a left-arm pace bowler, made his international debut in the T20 match against West Indies in St Lucia yesterday. He was also called up to the World Cup squad by the selectors as a replacement for the unfit Sohail Tanvir but didn't get play. The selectors rate him highly as a promising future prospect. But Basit said Junaid needed corrective measures on his bowling action. Basit, who had been a national selector, also said that dropping Younis Khan for the one-day series in the Caribbean while retaining Misbah-ul-Haq was sheer injustice. "The selectors talk about rebuilding and new players but Misbah, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman are all in their thirties." Pakistan lost the T20 international to a depleted West Indian side by seven runs. Pakistan cricket has a history of problems, with many of its bowlers being reported for suspect action. In the recent past Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Saeed Ajmal have all been reported by match officials.PT Cor AH

"The Doosra Cannot be Bowled Legally" : Michael Holding

Pakistan's spinners have been a major force in the ongoing one day series in the Caribbean, with Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi weaving their magic over the rather flat footed and confused West Indian batsmen in the first two one day internationals.

In a total of sixty completed overs, the Pakistani spin trio have impressive combined figures of eight wickets for only 202 runs, with Hafeez and Ajmal's doosra's being virtually unplayable, allowing Pakistan to wrap up comfortable 8 wicket and 7 wicket wins respectively.

However the legality of one of Ajmal and Hafeez's main weapons, the doosra has been questioned by former West Indies fast bowling legend turned commentator Michael Holding. The Jamaican commentator was heard during the second one day international in St Lucia, questioning the legality of the doosra and clarifying his comments to, Holding stated that "My belief regarding the doosra is very clear, I don't think it can be bowled legally."

Holding's main gripe with the doosra is that he feels that it cannot be bowled from the wrist alone and that the elbow is used unfairly during the course of bowling the delivery.

"I find it difficult to believe any human being can bowl that delivery with his wrist alone, the elbow has to be used for the power. It's a matter of how much elbow power the bowler uses and the ICC obviously believe some bowlers use less than the 15 degrees and others don't, as only some bowlers actions are questioned and reported."

The current guidelines state that during the bowling action the elbow may be held at any angle and may bend further, but may not straighten out. If the elbow straightens illegally then the square-leg umpire may call a no-ball. The current laws allow a bowler to straighten his arm 15 degrees or less.

The doosra came into prominence with world class off spinners such as Saqlain Mushtaq, Muttiah Muralitharan and Harbhajan Singh utilising the doosra as a surprise delivery. Off spinners the world over perfected the art of the delivery that moved away from the right handed batsmen and the delivery produced great results for them. However controversy has never been far away from the doosra and pundits over the years have continued to question its legality, with several high profile off spinners being “called” for throwing.

The most famous such instance occurred at the 1995 Boxing day test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where controversial umpire Darell Hair called spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing. 'Murali' was no-balled seven times in three overs by Hair, who believed the then-23-year-old was bending his arm and straightening it in the process of delivery; an illegal action in cricket.

Hafeez and Ajmal as well as Shoaib Malik and Harbhajan Singh are amongst a group of bowlers who over the years have been reported to the ICC because of official concerns about their bowling actions but were never called in a match. They were cleared to continue bowling without sanction.

Two other off spinners who have come under the ICC scanner for illegal actions are South Africa's Johan Botha and Bangladesh off spinner Abdur Razzak.

In February 2006 Botha was suspended from bowling following an analysis by bowling expert Bruce Elliott. After an examination by the ICC in August 2006 he was found still to be straightening his arm more than the acceptable 15 degrees. On November 21, 2006, Johan Botha's action was passed by the International Cricket Council and he was again eligible for selection by the South African national team.

On 14 April 2009, Botha was again reported for a suspected illegal action. The match officials cited concern over two components of Botha's repertoire, his quicker ball and his doosra, after the completion of fourth ODI against Australia at Port Elizabeth. On May 12, 2009 the ICC announced that Botha's doosra ball had been deemed 'illegal' by an independent test and that he would not be allowed to bowl the delivery in international cricket. The same test found his off-break and arm-ball deliveries to be bowled within the permitted tolerance level of 15 degrees of elbow extension.

The test was carried out on April 30 by Prof. Bruce Elliott, member of the ICC Panel of Human Movement Specialists, at the School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, University of Western Australia, Perth. The doosra delivery was found to have an extension of 26.7 degrees and no single delivery tested was within the legal limit. Botha was told that he could re-apply for the delivery to be tested again once he had modified it, or appeal the decision within 14 days. However his action was then deemed within the legal limits.

Following New Zealand's tour of Bangladesh in October 2008, Razzak was reported by umpires Daryl Harper and Asoka de Silva for having a "suspect bowling action". This was the second time in his career that he had been reported for his bowling action. Tests showed that Razzak was bending his arm by 22–28 degrees, usually averaging 25 degrees although his quicker ball was delivered at an average of 24 degrees. As a result, Razzak was suspended from international cricket. In March 2009, the ICC lifted Razzak's suspension after he changed his bowling action.
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