Cric Buzz: Bell is England's Player of Year; Neesham makes history
Batsman Ian Bell was named England's player of the year for 2013-14 in recognition of his outstanding performances in the home Ashes series victory over Australia last season.
Bell scored three centuries and two half centuries as England overcame the Australians 3-0 in the five-Test series.
His 562 runs proved the difference between the sides with his 109 in the second Test in Nottingham, his second Ashes century, helping his team to a 14-run victory.
Another century in the first innings of the second Test at Lord's paved the way for a crushing home win.
Bell, like his England team mates, suffered in the return Ashes series in Australia a few months later, however, failing to score a century as the tourists were thrashed 5-0.
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Image: England batsman Ian Bell
Photographs: Stu Forster/Getty Images
Neesham scores century, makes NZ cricket history
All-rounder Jimmy Neesham became the first New Zealander, and just the eighth player overall, to score centuries in each of his first two Tests as the tourists ended the second day of the first Test against West Indies with a huge first innings lead.
Neesham, who scored 137 not out on debut against India in February, was dismissed for 107 after sharing a 201-run partnership with wicketkeeper BJ Watling (89) to take the visitors to 508 for seven declared at Sabina Park in Kingston.
West Indies openers Chris Gayle (eight) and Kieran Powell (11) guided the hosts to 19 without loss at stumps, still 489 runs in arrears, though Powell should have been dismissed on eight when he was dropped by Peter Fulton at second slip off Tim Southee.
"It's very pleasing obviously," Neesham said of his achievement.
"Individual stuff is nice but you play the game to win and that's what's most important.
"It's quite a flat wicket but there is some turn and bounce if the bowlers put the ball in the right area so if we can get some early wickets tomorrow it will be interesting if we could put them under pressure."
The left-hander and Watling resurrected New Zealand's innings when the Kiwis lost three wickets for 20 runs in the first session on Monday after they had resumed on 240 for two.
First day centurion Kane Williamson failed to pick a Sulieman Benn arm ball and was bowled without playing a shot for 113 to leave the visitors on 259 for three before Ross Taylor (55) was deceived by a Shane Shillingford flighted delivery and spooned an easy catch to Kirk Edwards at midwicket.
Captain Brendon McCullum then fell for seven when he was caught by Gayle at first slip to leave the hosts on 279 for five and in danger of undoing their good work on a slow and low pitch.
Neesham and Watling guided their side through to lunch and accelerated in the middle session, scoring 129 runs in 28 overs to put New Zealand in the box seat.
The 23-year-old Neesham brought up his hundred with a cover drive for two runs off Jerome Taylor before he was Benn's third wicket when he got a faint edge to a delivery that was taken by Denesh Ramdin.
Watling was the last wicket to fall, hitting out in an effort to reach his fourth Test century when he was caught in the deep off Shillingford to trigger the declaration.
The only other players to score hundreds in their first two Tests are Mohammad Azharuddin, who also scored a century in his third Test, as well as Bill Ponsford, Doug Walters, Alvin Kallicharran, Greg Blewett, Sourav Ganguly and Rohit Sharma.
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Image: New Zealand's Jimmy Neesham
Photographs: Anthony Phelps/Reuters
Gibbs, Oram pull out of Karachi T20 event after attack
Pakistan cricket was dealt a new blow on Monday when former Test players Herschelle Gibbs and Jacob Oram opted out of a Twenty20 competition because of a deadly attack by Taliban militants on a Karachi airport.
At least 27 people were killed on Sunday when Taliban militants disguised as security forces stormed the JinnahInternationalAirport.
South African Gibbs and New Zealander Oram had been due to play for Omar Associates next month in a high-profile T20 tournament held annually in Karachi.
"We spoke to them through their agent and they were keen to come but after this incident the agent has said they have been told not to travel to Pakistan," entrepreneur Nadeem Omar told Reuters.
"What happened is most unfortunate and disappointing because we were looking forward to hosting Gibbs and Oram but we are still trying to convince them they should come to Karachi."
No Test-playing nation has toured Pakistan since an attack on the Sri Lanka team in Lahore in March 2009.
Most of the top Pakistan players turn out in the T20 tournament. The competition is shown live on domestic television and attracts big crowds.
Image: Herschelle Gibbs
Photographs: Paul Kane/Getty Images
Former Australia cricketer Gary Gilmour passes away
Former Australia cricketer Gary Gilmour, who dazzled in the inaugural World Cup, passed away after a prolonged fight with ill health, Cricket Australia said on its Twitter feed on Tuesday.
The left-arm swing bowler, who was also known for his hard-hitting abilities with the bat, died at Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital at the age of 62.
Gilmour took 54 wickets and scored a century in 15 Tests, but is remembered more for his heroics in the 1975 World Cup.
His six wickets for 14 runs in the semi-final against arch-rivals England guided Australia to the final against the West Indies in which Gilmour took five wickets in a losing cause.
‘Gus’ Gilmour introduced himself in the Test arena with a half-century and four wickets on debut against New Zealand in 1973-74 at the MCG, and went on to represent his country in 15 Tests and five One-Day Internationals.
He still holds the Australian Test record for the seventh wicket with Doug Walters, contributing 101 runs (which included 86 runs in boundaries) in a partnership of 217 against New Zealand in Christchurch in 1976-77.
Gilmour was born in Newcastle in 1951 and scored 122 in his maiden game for New South Wales in 1971-72. His Test cap number was 267 and ODI cap number was 22.
CA Chief Executive Office James Sutherland said: "Gary was a captivating talent who had the rare ability to singlehandedly turn a game.
"Anyone who witnessed Gary in full flight during the 1970s will remember fondly how he could influence matches with his all-round abilities.
"Our heartfelt condolences go out to Gary’s family and friends. His memory will live on in Australian cricket," Sutherland said.
Australian cricket coach Darren Lehmann said: "On behalf of the Australian cricket team, I take this opportunity to pass on our condolences to the Gilmour family following the passing of Gary earlier today.
"Gary was a decorated player for Australia and New South Wales and will certainly be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Gilmour family during this difficult time," Lehmann said.
Australian Test great Greg Chappell said in the early 1980s about Gary Gilmour: "Nobody had more talent than that bloke – as much as Garry Sobers."
Image: Gary Gilmour
Photographs: Adrian Murrell/Getty Images