Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 4th 2015 Contents A45
Thursday, June 4, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
LEEDS---From the euphoria of Lord s to the
disappointment of Headingley, England s
fortunes swung wildly in the drawn test
series against New Zealand.
So, heading into the main event of the sum-
mer---the Ashes against old foe Australia---
what state is England s test team in?
Invariably there s a mixture of good and
The main positive is that Alastair Cook is
well and truly over his sticky patch, and back
in the kind of form that made him one of the
world s best and toughest opening batsmen.
The England captain was the top scorer in
the New Zealand series with 309 runs, show-
ing authority and those renowned concen-
tration levels, and will take confidence from
becoming the youngest player ever to reach
9,000 Test runs.
There were some other crumbs of comfort:
Ben Stokes looks to have sewn up the all-
rounder slot after two punchy innings in Eng-
land s win in the first test at Lord s, while
Cook finally seems to have found an opening
partner in Adam Lyth---a centurion in the lost
second Test at Headingley.
Otherwise, it s slim pickings for England
fans going into a five-match series against
the world s No 2 Test team after South Africa.
Gary Ballance and Ian Bell are woefully out
of form at Nos 3 and 4 in the batting lineup,
averaging 10 and 9, respectively, in the New
Zealand series. Bell has scored 55 runs in his
last eight innings and is bereft of confidence.
Within minutes of their latest failures in
the second test in Leeds, one British book-
maker gave odds of 6-1 that Kevin Pietersen
will be back in an England shirt some time
in 2015. Those calling for the return of
Pietersen---an outcast since the 2013-14 Ashes
whitewash Down Under---fell silent after the
124-run win at Lord s but they will back given
England s middle-order problems.
Moeen Ali hasn t convinced as England s
main spinner, and is "lacking consistency"
according to Cook, and England s pace bowling
attack lacks variety without a left-armer and
England s fielding was also a big problem,
dropping catches in both innings at Headin-
gley---including three in eight balls in the first
It s not enough, however, to stop Cook
believing England can still win back the Ashes.
"Yes I do," Cook said Tuesday after the
Headingley defeat, "... but we have to make
that step forward as a side and we have to
do it quickly. When you get in that habit of
real seasoned pros winning games, people
stand up at certain times to do it. We re just
probably lacking a little bit of that---those
crucial moments of getting through, taking
those wickets, taking those opportunities with
the ball and in the field and getting through
with the bat, we re just not quite doing it.
opening batsmen Ahmed
Shehzad and Shan
Masood have been
recalled for the three-Test
series against Sri Lanka
this month while offspin-
ner Saeed Ajmal missed
Both openers didn t fea-
ture in the two-Test series
in Bangladesh, which Pak-
istan won 1-0 last month.
Ajmal has been strug-
gling with his remodeled
bowling action since
returning from suspension
in February. He took part
in the limited-overs series
against Bangladesh before
he was left out for the sub-
sequent two Tests.
Chief selector Haroon
Rashid said the selectors
kept form and fitness in
mind, while also consid-
ering feedback from the
team management on per-
formances in Bangladesh.
Legspinner Yasir Shah
is the only specialist slow
bowler in the squad, while
Hafeez will be utilized as
Fast bowlers Imran
Khan and Ehsan Adil were
included in the 15-man
squad, while the first
choice Rahat Ali and Sohail
Khan were still recovering
from injuries. Batsman
Sohaib Maqsood was also
rehabilitating from injury.
Rashid said they may
pick a 16th player, keeping
in mind the extreme
weather conditions in Sri
Pakistan will leave for
Colombo next Tuesday,
and the first test begins at
Galle from June 17. Colom-
bo will host the second test
from June 25, followed by
the last test at Pallekele
from July 3-7.
After the Tests are five
one-day internationals and
two Twenty20s. (AP)
ISLAMABAD---Former Test captain
Zaheer Abbas was nominated by Pak-
istan for ICC president yesterday.
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Sha-
haryar Khan said he informed ICC chair-
man N Srinivasan.
PCB member Najam Sethi withdrew
his nomination on Monday after the
International Cricket Council asked
member boards to encourage nominating
ex-test cricketers for the ceremonial post.
Abbas, aged 67, played in 78 tests and
62 one-day internationals from 1974-
85. He scored 100 centuries in first-class
In April, Bangladesh s Mustafa Kamal
England's captain Alastair Cook stands on the pitch after his side
are beaten on the fifth day of the second Test match between
England and New Zealand at Headingley cricket ground in Leeds,
England, Tuesday. AP PHOTO
England faces introspection
before Ashes series
for Tests vs
Shan Masood, Azhar
Ali, Younis Khan,
Asad Shafiq, Haris
Ahmed, Yasir Shah,
Wahab Riaz, Junaid
Khan, Imran Khan,
Pakistan nominates Abbas for ICC presidency
resigned as ICC president in protest after
blaming the umpires for his national
team s Cricket World Cup quarterfinal
loss against India.
Khan said the ICC decision to encour-
age former Test cricketers to vie for pres-
ident wouldn t have affected Sethi s
appointment for a period of one year
from July 1.
"I know Sethi withdrew his nomina-
tion because he wanted some iconic
cricketer to replace him from this year,"
Khan said the board considered several
names, including former test captain
Javed Miandad, but Abbas was approved
"He (Abbas) is a non-controversial
cricketer and he has earned a name in
international cricket," he said.
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