Monday, October 29, 2012

Broad - We Should all Take the Blame

England pace bowler, Stuart Broad, believes that “both parties can hold their hands up” and take some responsibility for the Kevin Pietersen saga that has dogged English cricket and annoyed England betting fans over the past few months

Pietersen was excluded from all England squads following text messages sent to South Africa players in August; they were believed to have criticised England players and management.

The incident in isolation is bad enough, but the reality is that relationships between Pietersen, the ECB, and has teammates have been deteriorating for some time.

KP is frustrated at the ECB’s reluctance to embrace T20 cricket, namely the IPL, and feels it is restricting his ability to play T20 cricket across the globe.

The England players, meanwhile, have grown tired of KP’s posturing. They feel that his precious ego is only having a negative effect on morale and results.

In truth, everyone was in the wrong to a certain degree, something Broad, who was forced to captain the England T20 side at the World Cup without star player, Pietersen, acknowledges.

With Pietersen back in the squad following several rounds of high profile talks, Broad accepts that the saga could have been avoided had communication been better over the preceding months.

“Maybe that could have been avoided,” said Broad. “Maybe the team could have looked after KP better in certain aspects and given him some support he wanted in that battle. Both parties can hold their hands up.

“It was obviously right for KP to come back. By all accounts he is desperate to play for England and we know when he’s desperate to play he’s very dangerous. If he’s back in that place, which he is, he’ll score runs and help us win matches.”

The England v India betting tips are predicting a tough encounter for Broad’s team on the sub-continent.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Warne Woe at Holland Injury

Australian cricketing legend, Shane Warne, has described the absence of spinner, Jon Holland, as a “big loss” ahead of his country’s crucial Test series with South Africa.

The Proteas moved to the top of the ICC World Test rankings with victory in England last August but would be replaced at the summit by Australia should the hosts come out on top in the three match series.

Though uncapped, 25-year-old Holland was pinpointed as one of Australia’s brightest young spin prospects by coach national selector, John Inverarity.

A former Australia Under-19s player, who has also spent time at the Centre of Excellence, he burst onto the scene in 2009, earning himself a call-up to the ODI side for the tour of India.

Though his progress has not been as rapid since, he had been pencilled in for a key role in next month’s series.

However, the Victoria-born bowler injured a shoulder in a grade cricket match last month and is set to miss out completely.

He missed almost the entire 2008/08 season with a shoulder complaint and, although it is hoped the problem is not as serious this time around, it is enough to rule him out of contention.

Warne, regarded on Bet365 cricket online as Australia’s greatest ever spinner, admits he had spotted Holland’s talents some time ago.

He is disappointed to see him pull out through injury as he believes he would have made a significant impact.

"Jon is a big loss, I had him penciled in about 12 or 18 months ago that he and Nathan Lyon would be on the tour," said Warne. "It's a real big loss to lose Holland, who has really improved.

"I was hopeful that both would play, especially with the balance of the team when you have guys like Shane Watson, Mitchell Marsh who could play as all-rounders."

Check out the South Africa test odds on Bet365 if you are thinking of placing a bet on cricket, this autumn.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

ATP Finals hopefuls dealt injury blows

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Janko Tipsarevic have been dealt blows in their bids to reach the end-of-season ATP Tour Finals in London, with the duo both being forced to retire during their first-round matches of the Valencia Open.
The two players currently occupy the final two qualifying places for the season-ending event at the O2 Arena, but there will now be doubts over whether either player would be fit enough to compete even if they do qualify.
Frenchman Tsonga was forced to call the trainer early in his opening round clash against Xavier Malisse when he sustained a back injury, making the decision to withdraw from his match at 3-1 down. Tipsarevic was 5-4 down to Gilles Simon when a shoulder problem forced him to retire in the first set.
Both players may have taken the decision to pull out of the tournament in Spain in order to save themselves for the Tour Finals, but there is still no guarantee that both players will have done enough to qualify.

Juan Martin Del Potro now climbs ahead of Tipsarevic in the rankings, with the Argentinean looking to make his first appearance at the end-of-season tournament since reaching the final in 2009, though most Betfair Tennis Tips think he will struggle to make an impact at the 02 Arena.
All this may become irrelevant should Rafael Nadal’s on-going knee problems force him to pull out of the tournament in London. The Spaniard hasn’t played since his second round defeat at Wimbledon, and there is a wide-held belief among Tennis match previews that the number four seed will write off 2012 and focus on ensuring he is fit enough to play at the Australian Open in January.

That would open up another place at the O2, which could see all three players reach the final tournament of the year.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Poulter will Win a Major - Gallacher

Ryder Cup legend, Bernard Gallacher, believes that Ian Poulter will defy the golf betting odds to win a major, following his displays in the recent Ryder Cup triumph at the Medinah Country Club in Chicago.
However, Poulter’s displays in the Ryder Cup do not mean that the 36-year-old will go on to finally break his major duck.

Gallacher is right that Poulter’s magical display against the Americans - when he won all four of his points and holed an amazing five birdies on Saturday night to give Europe a fighting chance - was more than just passion but showed real skill and nerve.

But where Gallacher’s argument falls down is that he does not understand the animal that is ‘Ian Poulter’.

Poulter grew up a football fan but found his life and career in the solitary profession of golf. For the other 23 months between Ryder Cups, the Arsenal fan stands alone on the course and does not experience the camaraderie of a team.

Put Poults in a team environment and there is nothing quite like him. He is a beast that plays with passion and drive that no other player in the current era can match. It is something that comes from within but can only be triggered by a team atmosphere.

Already in his mid-thirties and with no major to his name, time is running out for Poulter.

The 63-year-old Scot said: "I think if he's going to win a major it'll be our Open, that's what I do think he'll win so next year at Muirfield maybe things will turn for Ian Poulter - I hope so as he deserves it."

The truth of the matter is that Poulter will struggle to bother the best odds golf with his performances.

NBA: Surgery not an option for Nowitzki

Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki hopes he will not need surgery on his troublesome right knee that would keep him out of action for up to six weeks.
The 34-year-old German is prepared to reduce his workload in the build-up to the new season so that he can avoid an operation.
Nowitzki, who has already been forced to sit out two pre-season matches because of the injury, told NBA news reporters: "I'm doing everything I can not to have surgery.
"I guess that's obvious that I really don't want it done now. If I want to do it, I would love to do it after the season, get through the season somehow, but the swelling came back three or four times now. That's obviously not good news.
"If it's going to keep swelling up on me, that's obviously not a way to go throughout an 82-game season and hopefully long play-off run."
Nowitzki first reported the problem during the Mavericks’ pre-season ' trip to Europe and missed the defeat to FC Barcelona Regal.
Even though he was able to practice on his return to Dallas, it was decided not to risk him for the victory against the Houston Rockets when the swelling returned.
Nowitzki, a 15-year veteran and 11-time All-Star, also had problems with swelling and soreness in his right knee early last season.
It turned out to be a bad campaign for Nowitzki, one of the worst of his career, and was particularly disappointing as he had been a key figure in Dallas’ 2010-11 Championship winning campaign.
Nowitzki has enjoyed 14 successful seasons with the Mavericks, helping them to reach the play-offs in each of the last 12 campaigns.
Dallas’ first NBA stream of the new season will be against the LA Lakers on 30th October.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

MLB: Verlander brilliance blows Oakland away

The Oakland Athletics simply had no answer for Justin Verlander’s sensational pitching as the Detroit Tigers ensured their postseason continued following a 6-0 victory in the deciding game of the series.

The Tigers never looked in any danger as Verlander turned in some impressive MLB scores,  thanks to one of the most dynamic pitching displays in recent American League history; throwing nine solid innings and only conceding four hits, striking out 11 and continuing his stunning 0.56 ERA from another impressively consistent season for the five-time All Star.

The 29-year-old admitted he had been determined to pitch the entire game, knowing just how important it
was for him to be in the zone for the deciding game of the series.

"I think it's one of those things, I expected to go nine innings, In this situation, in a Game 5, I wanted to go all the way," Verlander said.

If the 2011 MVP and MLB world series picks can continue this form in the rest of the postseason then the Tigers will be confident coming up against any batting line-up they face. Detroit manager Jim Leyland admitted he had full confidence in his starting pitcher to be a tough prospect for any batter in the league.

"He had a look in his eye today, A complete-game look in his eye. Justin Verlander's a pretty tough chore for anybody and a great asset to our team,” Leyland said after Verlander’s pitching master-class.

The Tigers may still not be many people’s favourite to be in with a chance of World Series glory, but with Verlander in this sort of form then there really is no reason as to why Detroit couldn’t win their first major league title since 1984.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Good news for injured Goodes

Sydney Swans fans still buoyed by their grand final victory over Hawthorn at the weekend have further reason to celebrate after star Adam Goodes confirmed he would not need surgery in the offseason.

Goodes, who was impervious for the Swans on Saturday, tore his posterior cruciate ligament during the game but played on to ensure Sydney won their second Premiership title in seven years.

After the celebrations there was concern Goodes would need to go under the knife to put right the hurt he played through at Melbourne Cricket Ground but on Wednesday Swans fans received very good news.

“My focus is about getting my body right for the start of the pre-season, so the sacrifice I make now for the next three weeks will put me in good stead.” He told AFP, following doctors orders to rest his knee and wait for it to naturally recover.

 Instead of surgery that would take months of rehabilitation to overcome, Goodes is scheduled to return for pre-season training. With this comeback already in Goodes’ mind, Swans fans can expect another competitive year ahead of them as they revel in the glory of their current success.

Goodes was an important part of Sydney’s charge to the Grand Final this season and the 32-year-old is expected to make just as much impact next year.

 With two Brownlow Medals and a second Premiership under his belt, Goodes is one of the greatest ever players to wear the red and white jersey. The utility is a model professional and his influence on the Sydney team has grown since arriving in 1999 as an unknown draft pick.

 For now he can sit back and enjoy the memories of Saturday night but Swans fans can rest assured Goodes will be back up on his feet ready for his 15th AFL season next year.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Robson out but not down

Laura Robson’s efforts to break into the WTA top-50 by the end of the season suffered a big blow after the Briton lost out to Chang Kai-Chen in the quarter-finals of the Japan Open.

Robson, in superb form this latter half of the season, was heavily fancied in tennis previews of this game to beat world number 134 Chang. but a spirited fightback from the Taipei 21-year-old ended her hopes of winning a first WTA tour event.

The Brit lost 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-4) and endured a gruelling third set with neither player conceding their serve. Indeed, so ferocious was the set at times that Robson looked beat on her feet and were it not for some bad luck in the tie break she would be in the semis by now.

The loss also means British tennis fans won’t get the rare spectacle of seeing two female players in the semi-finals of the same tournament. Placed in separate halves of the draw, there was vain hope among British fans watching live tennis online back home that Robson would meet Heather Watson in the final in Osaka. Yet despite her best efforts the 18-year-old could not replicate Watson’s feat of reaching the semis.

Nevertheless, Robson should be pleased that quarter-final defeats are now a disappointment rather than a learning curve. The world number 56 has an Olympic silver medal to her name and made the fourth round of the US Open this year, overcoming former champion Kim Clijsters and Li Na. She made the final of Guangzhou last month and is now a bona fide member of the WTA tour: a sure challenger for titles in the near future.

Granted, a place in the Japan semis would have been a dream for Robson but with a long career ahead of her she take heed in knowing she can mix it with the best.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Celtic end away-day hoodoo

Georgios Samaras is one heck of a frustrating player. He runs like a donkey, has eyes like a rabbit in the headlights and on Tuesday evening was more preoccupied by an opponent’s recovery from an elbow he accidently delivered, rather than see off the win.

Hoops fans will accept he didn’t do too much in Russia this midweek but they will forgive him after the Greek scored the winning goal that ended Celtic’s poor run of results and scores away from home in the Champions League. Indeed their dramatic 3-2 victory was their first ever away from Celtic Park in the competition.

When Emilio Izaguirre picked up the ball on the left wing there was only one place his cross was going. Samaras timed his lumbering run to perfection, taking a yard ahead of his marker to glance Izaguirre’s cross into the far corner of the net. Spartak Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium fell silent bar a rabble of Scots in the far end of the ground and 10 men on the pitch – all surrounding Samaras.

The header encapsulated Celtic’s drive all night. Neil Lennon’s side were unfazed by the plastic pitch, intimidating atmosphere and unfavourable odds betting. Not to mention the imposing record of never winning a Champions League away fixture. Samaras can be as inconsistent as Celtic in Europe yet on Tuesday night proved himself unbeatable on his day – much like his club.

The Scottish champions now have a genuine chance of progressing from a difficult group stage and currently sit second behind Barcelona in Group G. Despite drawing their first match 0-0 with Benfica at Celtic Park, Lennon’s men never gave up hope of claiming all three points in Russia with a superb performance of team spirit and composure.

Up next is a back-to-back clash with Barcelona and if Samaras can pull out another quality moment in the Nou Camp then Celtic may well rip apart all the form books before the autumn is out.