Amit Mishra sixth Indian to take a 4-wicket haul
India 'A' leg-spinner Amit Mishra's 4 for 41 against the Britsh Universities at Durham made him the sixth Indian bowler to take a four-plus wicket haul while on a tour with an India 'A' side, according to the Rediff's statistician Mohandas Menon.
Former Indian pace bowler Harvinder Singh has the best bowling performance for an India 'A' bowler while on tour -- 6-43 against Pakistan 'A' at Dhaka in 1997. (Only Ashish Nehra's 6-23 against England at Durban on 26-2-2003, in the recent World Cup betters Harvinder's performance for the best bowling by any Indian bowler in a limited-overs game while on tour).
Harvinder also has the unique distinction of being the only India 'A' bowler to take a four-plus wicket haul on two separate occasions.
The full list:
6-43 - Harvinder Singh - India A v Pakistan A at Dhaka on 23-2-1997
5-30 - Ajay Sharma - India A v Sri Lanka A at Dhaka on 6-12-1992
4-11 - Venkatesh Prasad - India A v Bangladesh at Dhaka on 28-12-1994
4-23 - S Sriram - India A v Australia A at Los Los Angeles on 16-9-1999
4-30 - Mohd. Kaif - India A v West Indies A at St. Georges (Grenada) on 12-12-1999
4-41 - Amit Mishra - India A v British Universities at Durham on 25-6-2003
4-44 - Harvinder Singh - India A v Bangladesh at Dhaka on 26-2-1997
MRF Pace Foundation to become full-fledged academy
The internationally renowned MRF Pace Foundation will soon become 'a full fledged academy', on the lines of the world class cricket academy run by the Australian Cricket Board, by diversifying to encompass all aspects of the game.
Disclosing this, legendary Australian speedster Dennis Lillee said that though no timeframe has been fixed, it was imperative for the foundation to provide coaching in batting and fielding too.
"I have had discussions on this with Vinoo Mammen, the MRF chairman and S R Ratnam, Director Corporate Affairs, alongwith T A Sekar, chief coach. No time frame has been set for this project, but there is unanimity that the academy should enlarge its scope of helping bowlers and batsmen," he said.
"MRF Academy has been rendering yeoman's service since 1987 and reached a milestone in helping fast bowlers from across the globe. The academy is being run on the lines of ACB in terms of pace bowling. It is time it attended to all forms of cricket."
He said the next move is to provide facilities for coaching in batting. "We may later accommodate training for spinners. Today's cricket is all about performing well in batting, bowling and fielding," he said.
The academy, he said, is not looking at financial gains, but is only keen on doing a good job in helping fast bowlers throughout the world, particularly in India. The MRF pace foundation has a good system in place in India, he added.
Lillee welcomed the Indian cricket administration's move on setting up coaching facilities at the National Cricket Academy and its zonal affiliates.
To a question on his recent article in Western Australian newspapers terming Bangladesh's visit to Australia next year as a 'mockery', Lillee said it was his observation that there should be two divisions for "such lowly" teams.
"I have put the stick in the ground and it is left for them [ICC] to take it. I will be fishing when Bangladesh tour Australia".
More youngsters taking to fast bowling in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is looking to produce world class fast bowlers like those in Australia and Pakistan through its newly set up Sony Max Cricket Academy for Pace Bowling, its coach Champaga Ramanayake said.
"The academy has given a boost to the potential aspirants in the Emerld Islands and the number of youngsters taking to fast bowling has been on the increase... sooner or later we will produce world class opening bowlers," he said.
Ramanayake is accompanying pace bowler Dilhara Fernando for correction of his bowling action by former Australian speedster Dennis Lillee at the MRF Pace Foundation.
Crediting Chaminda Vass's performance in international cricket as the reason for the rage for fast bowling in his country, Ramanayake said: "For the last four or five years, we embarked on talent search and now there are 20 trainees from the age group of 19 to 23 in the Sony Max Academy."
"With Muthiah Muralitharan in total control of spin attack of Sri Lanka, we have decided to provide support to him in the form of pace attack," he added.
On the lack of consistency by the Sri Lankan fast bowlers except Vass, he blamed the selection committee's policy.
"We have fast bowlers but they have not been given proper opportunities. What happened was the selectors change every year. They pick somebody else and we had this problem. Now we have enough fast bowlers," he said.
Praising the MRF foundation for its contribution in developing fast bowlers in Sri Lanka, he said: "We regularly send five or six bowlers to train under Lillee."
Returning to basics have revived Trescothick's game
England opener Marcus Trescothick says taking a break from cricket after a tough winter -- and changing his batting stance -- has revived his game.
Trescothick, one of the two senior batsmen in England's new-look one-day team -- captain Michael Vaughan is the other -- impressed in the 2-1 win over Pakistan last week. The left-hander smashed 86 runs off 55 balls at The Oval to level the series, then followed it up with a 108 not out in a four-wicket win to clinch the series.
Trescothick hopes it continues, when England play Zimbabwe at Trent Bridge on Thursday, in the opener of a tri-series that also features South Africa.
"I hope I can contnue on and have more weks like I had," he said.
The recent performances were a far cry from the Ashes series in Australia last year, when Trescothick scored 577 runs in 16 innings. He also struggled in the World Cup in march, notching 116 runs in five knocks as England was eliminated in the first round.
Trescothick took time off after the World Cup, spending time with his girlfriend.
"I always try to get some time off after a tour," he said. "But this was important, and gave me time to reflect on my game. I returned to county cricket stronger."
The change in stance has not hurt, either. Trescothick is now standing more upright, like he did earlier in his career.
"I have gone back to how I used to stand, that's it," he said.
After facing fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohmmad Sami -- the quickest new-ball tandem in world cricket --Trescothick said he was looking forward to facing Zimbabwe. Only skipper Heath Streak, with 198 one-day wickets, will command similar respect.
"I am going to treat them with the same respect," said Trescothick. "I hope I continue to score runs, whoever the opposition is."
Trescothick said the Pakistan attack was the quickest he has faced in this three-year international career.
South Africa ready to reward public, says Smith
South Africa captain Graeme Smith said his new-look side owed their fans an improved performance during the one-day triangular series in England which starts on Thursday.
Hosts South Africa failed to make it into the knockout stages of the World Cup earlier this year, one of the shock outcomes of the tournament.
"When we went out so early the country took it badly," Smith admitted ahead of the series where Zimbabwe also feature.
"We realise we owe the South African public something big," added Smith, 22, who only came into the Proteas' World Cup squad after an injury to Jonty Rhodes.
Following the World Cup debacle left-hand batsman Smith lept from stand-in to skipper, replacing all-rounder Shaun Pollock.
But while Pollock remains a key member of the side, other stars have departed the scene.
Fielding maestro Rhodes, now playing for English county Gloucestershire, and fast bowler Allan Donald have both retired from international cricket.
Controversially, Lance Klusener, 31, was left out of the squads for both the triangular tournament and the subsequent five Test series in England, even though the all-rounder was available.
Much will depend on the peformances of Pollock and new-ball partner Makhaya Ntini.
There was a huge gap in class between the pair and the rest of the South Africa quicks at the World Cup where spinner Nicky Boje was repeatedly targeted.
Smith, sounding like an old-fashioned English county professional, said Pollock-like discipline represented South Africa's best way back to bowling respectability.
"We want to become a really tight unit that gives nothing away, that builds extreme pressure with dot ball after dot ball."
But in order to help build that pressur batsmen will have to give the bowlers defensible targets and runs will be expected from the gifted Herschelle Gibbs as well as Smith himself.
England, like South Africa in a post-World Cup rebuilding phase, go into the series boosted by a 2-1 one-day triumph against Pakistan which concluded Sunday.