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Cricket Buzz: Mithali Raj bats for more women's Tests

Last updated on: June 05, 2014 18:57 IST

Cricket Buzz: Mithali Raj bats for more women's Tests

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India's top women's cricketer Mithali Raj has urged the Board of Control for Cricket in India to organise more Test matches for the national women's team, which will play its first five-day match in eight years when they tour England in August.

The Test in England will be their first since 2006.

Mithali, 31, has played 148 ODIs since making her debut in 1999, but has featured in only eight Tests.

"We are touring England in August and we are playing one Test. Though I have scored 214 in a Test match, I am playing a Test after eight long years. It is sad that there are so few Test matches in women's cricket and I hope the Boards come together and organise more Test matches for women," said the former India captain, at the Sports Journalists' Federation of India's 37th annual convention in Hyderabad, on Thursday.

The right-hander stressed that while the takeover of Indian women's cricket by the BCCI has proved beneficial, it also has its flip side, like a short-duration domestic season.

She urged the BCCI to follow the example of other Boards and offer centralised contracts to its women players.

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Image: Mithali Raj addresses the Sports Journalists' Federation of India's 37th annual convention in Hyderabad, on Thursday


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'Batsmen from Asia also need to work on game against spinners'

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Rising shuttler Sindhu, who also addressed the convention, said she is working hard to win medals at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, and Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, that follows.

“For me this is just the start and I have to work harder with tournaments coming up in Australia and Indonesia and then the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which is also my first," said the lanky Hyderabadi.

"I want to win a medal there (CWG) and also at the Asian Games which will also have the Chinese players. It would be the toughest tournament. I will try to give my best and win a medal there," said the teenager who won a World Championship singles bronze medal last year in Guangzhou, China.

Former India hockey player Viren Rasquinha, who is CEO of Olympic Gold Quest, stressed the role of the organisation in helping raise funds to support training of the Indian athletes to prepare for mega events like the Olympic Games.

“OGQ has to raise funds to raise money to support our athletes. We currently support 55 athletes. Forty are senior athletes, like as (shuttlers) PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal. We have set protocol on the medical support. It's the speed of medical support which is made available to the athletes (that is important).

“The athletes are not training in big metros like Mumbai or Delhi but in small towns -- like the wrestlers are doing in Sonepat where doctors are not easily available. Everyone who works in our support team, like doctors or physiotherapists, need to be world class because they are dealing with top international stars like Sindhu, Saina or (shooter) Gagan Narang," he said.

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Image: Badminton ace P V Sindhu addresses the SJFI convention in Hyederabd, on Thursday.


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Aus-born Robson set for England debut against Sri Lanka

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Australia-born Sam Robson is in line for his England debut after being named in the squad to play Sri Lanka in next week's first Test at his 'home' ground, Lord’s.

The Middlesex opener was one of three uncapped players named by national selector James Whitaker in a 12-man group along with all-rounder Chris Jordan, who impressed during the recent one-day series, and Moeen Ali, who provides England with their lone spin option.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire seamer Liam Plunkett, who last played Test cricket seven years ago, was recalled.

Matt Prior, who has been struggling with an Achilles injury, was passed fit to keep wickets.

And that meant there was no place for Jos Buttler, who scored a blistering century for England against Sri Lanka in the fourth One-Day International at Lord's on Saturday or Jonny Bairstow, the man who replaced Prior during England's 5-0 Ashes series loss in Australia.

England, with pace bowling all-rounder Ben Stokes deemed not to have had enough bowling following injury, also included Warwickshire's Chris Woakes in their squad for the first of a two-Test series.

Robson is set to open alongside England captain Alastair Cook after Michael Carberry was dropped in what was Peter Moores's first Test squad since he returned to the job of England coach.

England squad: Alastair Cook (Essex, captain), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Chris Jordan (Sussex), Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire), Matt Prior (Sussex, wkt), Sam Robson (Middlesex), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire).

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Image: Sam Robson of Middlesex
Photographs: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

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AB de Villiers named South African Cricketer of the Year

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AB de Villiers dominated the Cricket South Africa Awards banquet by bagging four awards, including Cricketer of the Year 2014.

De Villiers was also named Test Cricketer of the Year, recognised by his peers as SA Players' Player of the Year and by popular vote of the public, SA Fans' Cricketer of the Year.

The only award for which De Villiers was nominated but did not win was the ODI Player of the Year, which went to Quinton de Kock, who scored four centuries in the period under review, including three in consecutive innings.

Imran Tahir was named T20 International Player of the Year, paceman Dale Steyn won the Delivery of the Year and veteran Kallis won the KFC 'So Good' Award for his century in his final Test match appearance against India.

Marizanne Kapp was named Momentum Women’s Cricketer of the Year for the second successive year.

"This has been another great year of wonderful achievements for our top players," said CSA Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat.

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Image: AB de Villiers
Photographs: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images/Getty Images

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'Batsmen from Asia also need to work on game against spinners'

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Batsmen from the Indian sub-continent are considered well-equipped to tackle spinners. However, Pakistan's bowling coach, Mushtaq Ahmed, says even batsmen from Asian countries need to work on their game against slow bowlers.

During the national summer training camp in Lahore for the Pakistan team, Mustaq worked not only with the slow bowlers but also with the batsmen on handling spinners.

"I have been talking to the batsmen and giving them tips on how to play the slow bowlers, who nowadays play an integral part not only in Test but in one-day and T20 formats as well," he said.

"My main task is to help Pakistan develop some good mystery spinners, but at the same time having spent so much time with the England team and working with some of their batsmen it is a natural urge in me to also give tips to our batsmen on how best to play spinners," he said.

The former leggie pointed out that in modern-day cricket even players from Asian countries need to constantly keep working on how to play spinners.

Mushtaq, who remained spin bowling consultant with the England team since 2008 before joining the Pakistan cricket Board coaching panel last month, worked with spinners Zulfiqar Babar, Yasir Shah, Reza Hasan and others during the camp.


Image: Mushtaq Ahmed and England spinner Monty Panesar.
Photographs: Julian Herbert/Getty Images

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