Cricket notes: India makes England pay

NORMAN DA COSTA, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:29 PM ET

TORONTO - India is burying the ghosts of its embarrassing summer in England by dishing out the same kind of treatment it suffered to its visitors. India followed its 126-run victory over England in the first one-day international in Hyderabad last week with an emphatic eight-wicket drubbing in Delhi Monday.

It is indeed redemption time for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s young India outfit playing without its injured World Cup heroes Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh. Fast bowler Vinay Kumar bagged four wickets to send England crashing to 237 and then local Delhi boys Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir shared in an unbeaten 209-run third wicket partnership as India ambled to 238 for two off with 80 balls to spare. Kohli hit a majestic 112 and Gambhir 84.

SWANN STIRS THE POT

It appears cricketers love putting their thoughts on paper and, in the process, creating controversy. First we had Pakistani Shoaib Akhtar ruffling Indian feathers with his autobiography Controversially Yours. Now ace England spinner Graeme Swann has fired a broadside at his teammate and former England captain Kevin Pietersen in his book The Breaks Are Off. England management says there is no sign of a rift between the two on the current tour of India, but since Pietersen is known to have a thin skin we are sure this will add extra spice to the proceedings on the sub-continent.

“There is no doubt that Kev is a good player, a really fine batsman, but he was never the right man to captain England in my opinion. Some people are better leaders of men and Kev, for all his abundant talent, is not one of those natural leaders. At one point of the Chennai Test in 2008, Pietersen was reduced to screaming at our bowlers “F****** bowl f****** straight at everyone.’’

England coach Andy Flower told reporters Monday such tell-all books are best kept for after retirement. “I personally don’t think that it’s a good idea for current players to be talking about their fellow players,’’ Flower was quoted as saying by The Daily Mail.

He added: “Pietersen and Swann get on well, and I think Pietersen has handled it very maturely.’’

AUSSIES UNEARTH A GEM

Former powerhouse Australia is buzzing with excitement over explosive 18-year-old speed merchant Patrick Cummins. He is already being compared to the great Glen McGrath who retired four years ago. Cummins was so impressive in the first two Twenty20 matches against South Africa last week that he has been included in next month’s Test squad. In the first match Cummins captured three for 25 to power the Aussies to victory, but despite another impressive outing (two for 26) in the second, he couldn’t stop the home team from squaring the series.

MATCH-FIXING STASH?

There have been some explosive allegations made in the corruption trial of former Pakistan captain Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif during the last two weeks in London. Butt has denied any involvement in fixing matches.

If that were the case one wonders why huge amounts of cash were found in his hotel room at different stages of Pakistan’s tour to England last summer. Website Cricket365 reveals the stash included: 30,002 British pounds ($47,400 (US); 6,015 Pakistani rupees ($12,617) and 24,300 U.A.E. dirham ($6,700). Taking the witness stand for the first time Monday Butt revealed he has earned roughly $3 million since making his debut for Pakistan in 2003.

BANKER TAKES CHARGE

Pakistani cricket can breathe a sigh of relief now that the bumbling Ijaz Butt has been replaced as chairman of the national board. The new man in charge is banker Zaka Ashraf, a close friend of Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari, who also happens to be a patron of the board. Butt had asked Zardari for a six-month extension, but the request was turned down. The 59-year-old Ashraf, a member of the executive committee of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, said his priority was to improve Pakistan cricket’s image abroad after a series of high-profile scandals.

Butt’s turbulent three years at the helm included sacking Shahid Afridi as captain in May and also alleging English players were involved in match-fixing. He later apologized after England threatened to sue him.

KIWIS THRASH ZIMBABWE

New Zealand hammered Zimbabwe by 34 runs Monday in the second Twenty20 match on the heels of a 10-wicket annihilation of the home team last week. Opening bats Brendon McCallum hit 81 in the first match and followed that with 64 Monday. Martin Guptill weighed in with 40 and 67, respectively . . . Touring West Indies will be looking for a clean sweep when it concludes its three-match ODI series versus Bangladesh in Chittagong Tuesday. Lendl Simmons and Marlon Samuels were impressive in the first two wins with Simmons scoring a century and half-century, while Samuels weighed in with 71 and 88 . . . Pakistan and Sri Lanka lock horns in the first of three Tests in the United Arab Emirates starting Tuesday. No international cricket has been played in Pakistan since 2009 following a militant attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.

QUICK WICKETS

Here’s a sight that warmed the cockles of every Indian cricket fan. Sachin Tendulkar was seen practising in Mumbai after being sidelined for the past month. He was ruled out of the recent one-dayers in England with a toe injury and then missed Mumbai’s thrilling Champions League win. He is expected to pad up for the series against visiting West Indies next month, but could well return for the fourth one-day match against versus England Oct. 23. . . Rahul Dravid, who last month retired from the one-day version of the game, considers his chances of a role in Bollywood films as nil. “I don’t think anyone will ever give me a chance in films because I think I’m not good enough. I am a very bad actor.” . . . Former South African coach Mickey Arthur is favoured to land the job as Pakistan’s national coach.

— normandacosta@hotmail.com


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