Wednesday, April 02, 2014

India and South Africa train differently

India and South Africa teams trained hard to make sure that they are strong in all departments of the game. While Indians followed the usual rule of not meeting the media except the day before the match, South African cricketers Hashim Amla and J.P. Duminy freely talked to the journalists.
Indians often loosen up playing soccer and it gave a scare to everyone when on Tuesday evening their star batsman Yuvraj Singh was seen limping out. The entire team play soccer with bare feet following the instruction of their fitness trainer.

When asked about the enthusiasm with which Indian team plays soccer, Indian off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin remarked: “The camp is pretty upbeat in terms of having some good soccer. We’ve enjoyed ourselves. You keep playing cricket all your life so playing soccer gives you leisure time. Those are the things we’re associating with most times.”
Everyone is hoping that Singh who cracked a 43-ball 60 runs against Australia is fit and continues his form.
The South African team were into serious practice. When Amla was asked about his team meeting an inform Indian side, he said: “We have to play against whoever you get drawn in, it’s out of your hand. It’s a good opportunity for us. We have played some good cricket, won some close games and that is as hard as our team has ever been,” he said.

Does he think India is in terrific form? Amla said: “Very difficult to say before the game. Any team can win on a given day.”

Duminy was more forthright in his views: “We have been successful in the last few games but does not mean we will be successful again. We know that Indian spinners will be key components to their teams. We know it’s going to be a big challenge for us. Spinners have bowled exceptionally well against us. We want to put up a big performance against their spinners. Sort of played against them in number of times. It’s a big game. Semi-final of a World Cup, doesn’t get bigger than this ever.”
When Duminy was asked about India’s strike bowler Amit Mishra, Duminy said: “Look it’s not only me who has played against him but all the other guys have also played against him. You kind of know what to expect. He has been on top form for India in this tournament. Definitely not going to take him lightly. We will do our homework and see that our game plan is in order.”

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Afridi blames negative mindset for loss against Windies

Afridi blames negative mindset for loss against Windies

Senior all-rounder Shahid Afridi has blamed the negative mindset of the team for Pakistan`s defeat at the hands of the West Indies in the must-win league match of the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

The defeat to the West Indies knocked Pakistan out of the tournament with former players and critics lashing out at the team for its appalling batting performance.

"It is the negative mindset of the players that brought about our downfall," Afridi told reporters after returning here from Dhaka along with coach Moin Khan and cricket consultant Zaheer Abbas.

Afridi without taking names dropped a clear hint that he was ready to accept the challenge of captaincy if given the chance.

"Look we just have to change our mindset and be fearless and positive. Ok we conceded lot of runs in the last few overs but it was still a gettable target for us but our batsman just played with the wrong attitude," Afridi insisted.

"In T20 or any other cricket you need to have a positive approach," he noted.

Afridi said there was no major problem with the team as it had some very good players who had won matches for Pakistan before against top sides.

"These same players performed well when we beat Australia so we have the right ployers but not the right attitude," he felt.

The all-rounder said he didn`t think captaincy was a major issue but changing the attitude of the players was a big one.

"Obviously one can understand the disappointment and anger of the people after the way we performed against the West Indies and we have to see where we went wrong," he said.

Asked if he would be willing to accept the captaincy, Afridi said for Pakistan cricket he was ready to take up any role or challenge.

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Captain Alastair Cook admits England require a huge rebuild after awful winter

Alastair Cook, England

The 29-year-old is not part of the T20 squad so missed Tuesday's humiliation by Holland, but he was in charge for the mauling by Australia over the winter.

And Cook admits he and whoever is appointed new coach face a long slog to restore England to anywhere near the top of the world game.

"We don't know our best XI any more, there are a lot of places up for grabs and that makes it a very exciting time for English cricket," said Cook, who has the backing of the ECB to carry on as captain.

"You can't hide behind the five years of success we enjoyed before. We've had an incredibly tough winter and we didn't produce anywhere near the standards required.

"We've lost the core of the side - the coach and some very good senior players - and it's not going to be a quick fix. It's not going to turn again for us overnight.

"Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower started off from a similar spot to where we are now, after we were bowled out for 51 in Jamaica. This is a new era because it has to be that way," he said.

"We can't guarantee lots of great results straight away - that's not how international sport works - because we need to get those standards and skills back to where we were.

"It took two-and-a-half years of building momentum to the point where we reached No1 in the world, and it will take time to get back to that level.

Alastair Cook, Ashley Giles, England cricket

"The Test side that won three Ashes series in a row has broken up quicker than we'd all imagined, but that provides an opportunity for guys to put themselves up for selection.

"But we can still win the Ashes in 2015, of course we can. You only have to look at Australia, who were 2-0 down after two Tests here in England last summer, and they bounced back very quickly."

Apart from getting the team back on track Cook has got to get some runs to make sure he is certain of a place as opener, and not just as skipper.

He averaged just 24 in the winter's Ashes series and needs some big scores for his own peace of mind, despite having the backing of the ECB to carry on as captain.

"Sometimes the harder you try, the worse it gets, and it's how you bounce back that really defines you," he said.

"I'm looking forward to getting out in the middle, but it's a very exciting time for my family (he is due to become a dad any day soon) and that's got to come first.

"If all is well, I'll be taking guard against Cambridge University next week."

Apart from his own form Cook will be keeping a close eye on Jonathan Trott, who made his playing return for Warwickshire yesterday four months after quitting the Ashes tour with fatigue.

In a two-day friendly against Gloucestershire at Edgbaston, Trott scored just four before being caught LBW.

WEST INDIES booked a place against Sri Lanka in tomorrow's World T20 semi-final when they beat Pakistan by 84 runs yesterday.

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ICC World T20: Injury scare for Yuvraj ahead of semi-final match against Proteas

ICC World T20: Injury scare for Yuvraj ahead of semi-final match against Proteas

Days after he regained form with a stupendous knock against Australia in the ICC World Twenty20, star Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh was seen limping towards the team bus after falling while playing football during team`s practice at the Dhaka academy.

The incident took place while the cricketers were enjoying a barefoot football session. Yuvraj slipped while running on the lush green outfield, after which he was seen walking towards the bus with a bandage wrapped around his knees.

The seriousness of the injury is yet to be known, however, from the body language of other players, it seemed nothing serious.

Yuvraj, who had struggled with his form in the first three matches, showed his class once again in the team`s fourth match against Australia, where he smashed 60 runs off just 43 balls.

India are the only unbeaten side in the ICC World T20 and they will take on South Africa in the second semi-final scheduled to be played at Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur on Friday.

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