Category: Cricket


Immigration may seem a peculiar topic when talking about sport, but it is a subject that has been on my mind since Mo Farah became one of Britain’s most beloved sporting stars.

Icon | Mo Farah is idolised as a British sporting hero, putting him in the 'good immigration' bracket. (Image | NME)

Icon | Mo Farah is idolised as a British sporting hero, putting him in the ‘good immigration’ bracket. (Image | NME)

Few in this country will forget the sight of Farah winning gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the London 2012 Olympic Games: yet after the latter victory, Somali-born Farah had to deal with a journalist asking if he would have preferred to have run for Somalia, rather than Britain.

The 30-year-old gave the question short shrift, and has since developed into a sporting superstar, building on last year’s gold medals with two more at the World Athletics Championships last month.

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Stuart Broad is congratulated by his England team-mates as his six wickets help England win another Ashes series (Image | Action)

Stuart Broad is congratulated by his England team-mates as his six wickets help England win another Ashes series (Image | Action)

The 2013 Ashes Series (mark 1) has not always been a display of two world-leading teams giving each other their best shot. There has been inconsistency of umpiring, sub-par batting aplenty and the occasional, inevitable washout.

What this series has had throughout, however, is drama. It was punctuated in characteristic style at Durham this weekend by the stoic Ian Bell, unarguably the outstanding performer of the series thus far.

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Joe Root (left) will captain the Lions squad, with Yorkshire teammate Jonny Bairstow set to feature in the lineup (Image | Action Images)

Joe Root (left) will captain the Lions squad, with Yorkshire teammate Jonny Bairstow set to feature in the lineup (Image | Action Images)

More than one Lions squad was announced recently. The ECB released their team for the tour matches against New Zealand.

Lions matches traditionally don’t attract as much attention, but they are useful to see who is likely to feature heavily in the internationals. Places are up for grabs.

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Substance trumps style in the IPL

After nearly 30 matches in the IPL, one thing is clear. The flashy teams have largely failed to fire, while those with grit have got the results.

CAPTION | Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Cameron White celebrates with Amit Mishra (left) after his hat-trick against Pune Warriors. (Image | The Hindu)

Warm glow | Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Cameron White celebrates with Amit Mishra (left) after the latter’s third IPL hat-trick against Pune Warriors. (Image | The Hindu)

Surprise package of the tournament so far are the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Their name and orange uniform aside, they are one of the most dour sides in the competition. However, at this stage, the Sunrisers lie in second.

The Sunrisers have only scored more than 130 in an innings once across seven matches. Yet they have not needed to. What the Sunrisers lack in big-hitting batsmen they make up for with strong team efforts in the field.

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A beginner’s guide to the IPL

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is a strange beast, writes Alex Braae. Some consider it to be the ultimate showcase of cricketing talent, others see it as a glorified exercise in marketing and hype.

Favourites | Chennai Super Kings comprehensively defeated Kings XI Punjab in the last round. (Image | Sports Keeda)

Favourites | Chennai Super Kings comprehensively defeated Kings XI Punjab in a recent match, and are heavily fancied. (Image | Sports Keeda)

Bearing in mind that both points of view may be right, who and what should you watch out for at IPL 6?

The competition, while billed as a level playing field, has a few favourites expected to contest the finals, the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) being one such team.

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The first two tests were resigned to draws after weather forced New Zealand, and then England, into accepting a stalemate where they would otherwise have cantered to victory.

Prior commitment | England captain Alastair Cook embraces Matt Prior after his century against New Zealand. (Image | The Telegraph)

Prior commitment | England captain Alastair Cook embraces Matt Prior after his century against New Zealand. (Image | The Telegraph)

As a result, the series came down to the third and final test on an exceptionally flat pitch at Eden Park in Auckland.

Surely England, so recently victorious in India and sitting second in the ICC world rankings, could beat a New Zealand side down in eighth that have only beaten Bangladesh and Zimbabwe since 2006?

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As another sporting year begins there may be a certain feeling that nothing could top the unforgettable year of 2012, which saw a magnificent Olympic Games, the European Championships, a British Grand Slam winner after so long and much more.

Mario Balotelli | Why, oh why is it always him? (Image | Manchester City FC)

Mario Balotelli | Having once again hit the headlines after a row with manager Roberto Mancini in training, we ask: why, oh why is it always him? (Image | Manchester City FC)

However, there are more than enough prizes to be decided over the next 12 months, some of which are fairly easy to predict, while others remain very much open to debate.

The Armchair Pundits, therefore, has taken a look at the calendar and pinpointed five “sure-fire successes”, some of which are bound to be as controversial as Mario Balotelli and about as likely as Tom Daley being handed his own diving-themed show on televi… Oh, hang on.

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Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen were two of England's best performers with the bat - especially in Mumbai (Image | S. Subramanium via the Hindu Business Times)

Leading lights | Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen were two of England’s best performers with the bat, especially in Mumbai. (Image | S. Subramanium via Hindu Business Times)

India is not supposed to be a happy hunting ground for the England cricket team.

The slow, dusty wickets and near-Equatorial climate have caused England no end of problems in recent tours, and the Three Lions were without a Test series win in India in 25 years until the events of the past few weeks.

Now, not only have Alistair Cook‘s side delivered Test triumph, but a seriously depleted Twenty20 side have made a statement ahead of the build-up to the South Africa series next summer.

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Ready | India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni sits alongside England skipper Alastair Cook ahead of the first test in Ahmedabad. (Image | NDTV)

India are firm favourites to win the opening test of the four-match series with England, and history would certainly point this way with England failing to win a test series in India for 28 years.

The visitors are clearly underdogs, but maybe, just maybe, they have a chance of victory. Firstly, historical results have their merits, but today’s England are arguably a far better side than the country has had for decades.

Meanwhile India may well be playing high quality cricket, but England will certainly come into this with a better chance than they would normally have.

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The phenomenon of the sporting egotist

Ego | Cristiano Ronaldo is widely regarded as the most arrogant professional sportsman. (Image | Cristiano Ronaldo.org)

As William Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage“. Many of the most fascinating stories in sport come from the athletes who view their profession as exactly that – a stage for them to display their talents.

Personally, I do not subscribe to the maxim that says sport is entertainment, especially when justifying its more oleaginous aspects.

I have always viewed it as an athletic contest between either individuals or a group of people to determine which is superior. The fact that this happens to be something that is engrossing is a happy coincidence, nothing else.

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