Latest Ashes Betting

The news that Kevin Pietersen is now out of the series against New Zealand starting in May hasn’t really had any impact with the online bookmakers‘ odds with regard to cricket betting for the Ashes series.

In reality, it shouldn’t impact Ashes betting, as what has the New Zealand series got to do with the Ashes? In short, the answer is nothing, but we have been here before with ECB injury updates.

When news of Pietersen’s knee injury first emerged, he was only supposed to be out of the IPL. Now he is out of the New Zealand series as well.

So what next? The Ashes as well!!

Obviously the injury is worse than first thought. Are the ECB not telling us the full story? Are the medical staff getting their diagnosis wrong? Is he really a doubt for the Ashes? Because if he is, the odds will certainly change.

The problem I see here is that we have been here before. We had similar problems a few years back with Michael Vaughan, Simon Jones, Andrew Flintoff and Chris Tremlett.

More recently we have had the issues with Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, and I’m convinced Stuart Broad isn’t right.

ECB injury updates remind me of a train delay when you are standing on a platform needing to get somewhere. It starts off as 5 minute delay, then a 10 minute delay, and so on…. I’m sure you get the picture.

Is this a deliberate drip feed of information, designed not to give the Aussies the complete picture of the England players health? Or is this (allegedly) misdiagnosis again?

I fully understand the ECB not wanting to give the Aussies a heads up about the medical conditions of some of our better players. My fear is that I’m not convinced this is what the ECB are actually doing.

Anyway, onto the cricket betting and with regard to the odds on the Ashes, they haven’t really changed. England are still around the 2/5 to 4/9 mark for a series victory. A drawn series is still around 5/1 to 11/2. The Aussies have slightly shortened, a few weeks back they were generally 7/2 to 4/1, with a couple of bookies going 3/1. They are still in that price range, but I’ve noticed quite a few bookmakers are now offering 10/3 – as well as 3/1, 7/2 and 4/1.

When betting on cricket I feel it is worthwhile keeping an eye on markets long term. As we get closer to the Ashes, if news of the injuries to Pietersen and Swann isn’t getting better, England will almost certainly drift on Betfair and the other betting exchanges. If you know where England’s price has been sitting, it’s easier to make a judgement call as to where you think it may go to.

Delhi Daredevils drift slightly in IPL Betting

The news that Kevin Pietersen is too miss the whole of the IPL has seen only a smallish drift in the odds for Delhi Daredevils to win the title.

Before Pietersen’s injury was announced, you could bet on the Daredevils at odds of between 4/1 and 5/1. Since the announcement of the injury, you can now get best odds of 11/2 on them winning the IPL for the first time – with some online bookmakers still offering the original 4/1.

This shows that the online betting markets clearly don’t see Pietersen as pivotal to the Daredevils chances of winning the IPL, and with talents such as David Warner, Jesse Ryder, Virender Sehwag and skipper Mehala Jarawardene in the side, why would they?

Obviously it is a big loss though, and it is all the more ironic that he now won’t hit a ball in the competition at all (this season) given the rumpus kicked up by Pietersen last year, in his wanting to play the whole of the series.

Looking further afield and with the Ashes looming, this is starting to be a bit of a worry for England fans. That’s Graeme Swann and Kevin Pietersen both out now, and although the prognosis is that they will both be back in time, we have heard that sort of thing before from the England medical staff.

In the Ashes Betting, England are still massive favourites at odds of between 2/5 and 4/9. Australia are in the main around 7/2 to 4/1 (although a couple of online bookmakers go as short as 3/1) and a drawn series is 5/1 to 11/2.

No Great Surprise

It wasn’t a massive shock to me to see England go crashing out of the World T20 on Monday, to be honest I believe it was the culmination of a sustained period of shoddy management and a lack of joined up thinking.

Any regular readers of this blog will know that for a few weeks now I have had a bee in my bonnet about the lack of leadership and poor decision making that I believe has been taking place for some time now.

I’m not going to go over the top and hammer the players for what has happened, as I think they are (on the whole) a decent, inexperienced bunch of talented blokes, some of whom have a decent future within the game.

What I am annoyed about is the lack of joined up thinking over the past 12-18 with this T20 side, and the management in general.

Who exactly is England’s strongest T20 XI at the moment? With the exception of Broad, Finn, Swann and Morgan, I am struggling to think of another player who has a spot nailed down in this side.

Compare this to the XI who won 2 years ago, of which I can name 10 of the players off the top of my head.

For a few years the 50 Over side seemed to be the ‘let’s have a look at him and see if he has test potential’ team, now it appears to have moved onto the T20 side.

This side seems to have had no level of consistency with selection lately. Where have all the experienced guys gone? This team is way too inexperienced for one, I have no problem with chucking youngsters in, but not a whole host of them in one go.

Craig Kieswetter has been asking to get dropped from the limited overs’ sides for about 12-18 months now, so England leave it until the ‘do or die’ game to do it. And then throw Jonny Bairstow in at the deep end with the gloves!

The batting was too inexperienced and hasn’t played enough games at this level. Where have the likes of Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler had the chance to face the likes of Malinga before?

You can’t chuck young blokes with no experience in against world class performers like this in a world cup and expect them to succeed, it’s ridiculous. They had no chance, it’s totally unfair on them in my view.

And the ECB’s stance on the IPL, where these guys could perhaps gain some experience? Don’t mention it!

I’m no fan of IPL, and it’s been proven that your players don’t have to play there to win a World T20, but your players do need some experience of facing this class of cricketer.

At the moment England have discarded too many of the players with experience, and for that, I blame the management.

In a further twist of management failings, I see that Kevin Pietersen is now expected to be welcomed back into the England fold sometime this week.

At last!!

Maybe some light will now be shed on what the delay has been to all this, if I don’t hear any explanation, then I’m going to assume that it is down to the management not sorting it out quick enough. The same management that allowed this situation to develop.

I heard Ryan Sidebottom talking on the radio this morning, it was quite interesting what he had to say. He pointed out that for the sake of the England cricket team, the Pietersen situation needed to be resolved. Agreed!

He then went on to say that not one player he has spoken too would turn down the chance to play in the IPL. It did strike me as slightly ironic that this whole situation seems to have arisen out of one players desire to play IPL, but yet the rest of the squad (some of whom are supposed to be anti Pietersen for some reason) would jump at the chance if offered it.

I’m well aware that Bopara and Broad, and possibly others have turned down the chance. But I think the point that Sidebottom was making was that the majority would gladly go there if offered.

I think it’s pretty clear by now that I think that the England management have to up their game somewhat. They have again allowed English cricket to slip from the top of the tree, as opposed to building on it. We didn’t even manage to consolidate our position.

I do hope that when Pietersen is given his contract and they have all kissed and made up, that a bit of common sense is arrived at and he is added to the India touring party.

Let’s see what happens.

Pietersen omission is very disappointing

I’ve left it a few days before writing what I think about Kevin Pietersen’s omission from the Test touring party to India in order to evaluate the fall out from it.

The general consensus within the cricketing media is that he will be back for New Zealand next year and that this continued enforced absence is part of his punishment.

But who exactly is causing this enforced absence?

Is it the ECB hierarchy? Some of the senior players? Andy Flower? Alastair Cook? The Selectors? Some of the above listed? Or a combination of all of them?

Then we have the latest instalment of ECB mixed signals. The 4 month contract offer, the seeking of assurances that Pietersen will waive his rights to any future legal action in employment disputes against the ECB, asking him to pull out of his contract to commentate for ESPN on the World T20, and now just for good measure the opening of contract negotiations on a new 12 month central contract. You just couldn’t make it up.

Just what the hell is going on? There are now more questions than answers with this saga and it is the England cricket team that is becoming the biggest loser in all this.

The failure in management is spectacular here. The allowing of cliques to build up in the dressing room (which apparently involves the T20 captain who should be mature enough to be a leader and put a stop to it). The failure of the other two captains (at the time) to put a stop to it, or maybe they didn’t notice, which would be worse in my view.

The failure of Andy Flower to put a stop to it. I seen an interview with him in which he said he should have nipped it in the bud, so he obviously knew what was going on.

And now with reconciliation in the air there seems to be a massive game of brinkmanship taking place instead, again with no one showing any signs of leadership.

Is it Andy Flower keeping Pietersen out and pushing the agenda by trying to tell Pietersen that he is the boss and a repeat of the Peter Moores’ incident won’t be happening while he is in charge?

Or is it the senior players, Broad, Swann and Anderson telling the team management that they don’t want him in?

And while this is happening the ECB are floundering around, making lame contract offers and then crapping themselves at the thought of being sued for constructive dismissal.

It’s clear to me now that the whole English management structure has failed miserably.

There is also a story doing the rounds that Pietersen still wants the issue with the players he believes were behind the Twitter account resolved, and in a way I don’t blame him. Although for the better and good of all concerned, maybe he should drop this issue, if indeed it is an issue.

This should have been sorted by now. Pietersen has apparently backed down, he humiliated himself on Youtube, and he was a total idiot and was in the wrong to start with.

In general I now believe that they all have a collective responsibility in these failures, and they all have a collective responsibility to put things right.

It has got to the point now where personal feeling have to be put aside. Pride has to be put on the back burner and people have to find some common ground to move forward.

Pietersen is guilty and he has admitted so. Can Broad, Anderson, Swann, etc all look in the mirror and say they have acted responsibly? I doubt it.

Can Flower, Cook, Strauss and the ECB all look in the mirror and say they did all they could to prevent this happening, and then sort this out after they allowed it to happen? I also doubt it.

This is my prediction for what will happen moving forward. England will almost definitely get hammered in the Test series in India, I reckon they would have got comfortably beaten with Pietersen in the side also.

His stock will almost certainly rise if/when England get thrashed, I then believe a lot of these people slagging Pietersen off and wearing their ‘Kevin Who’ T-Shirts at the T20 match against South Africa will all be calling for him to return.

The ECB will panic and will want him back also, especially if they think the team suffering defeats might start costing them commercially.

Let’s wait and see.

Pietersen and the ECB, it’s time to put an end to it all.

The fact that there is a fairly important Test match due to start on Thursday seems to be going largely unnoticed at the moment such is the furore over the Kevin Pietersen text affair.
According to reports, Pietersen contacted the ECB on Tuesday and apologised over the text messages as he wishes to put things right before it’s too late for him to be named in the World T20 squad.
Personally I hope that this apology will put an end to things and see Pietersen reinstated into all three sides and a line drawn under this whole sorry affair.
I’ve heard and read so many contrasting views over the last few days, such as the ECB were out to get Pietersen and the texts were all the ammo they needed, he needs to apologise over the texts, why should he apologise for the texts, they were just banter, it’s all KP’s fault as his ego is too big, the other players are jealous, etc ,etc.
For me I think if the ECB stand firm over this and don’t pick him, they may well see public opinion start to turn against them if results on the pitch go wrong.
There are plenty of different interpretations of what has happened here and there are also plenty of past incidents that don’t seem to have been treated with the same level of firmness by the ECB.
Stuart Broad may claim he had nothing to do with the parody twitter account set up by his friend. It may also be impossible to prove he knew anything about it (unless he gets grassed up by his mate who ran the account), but people will draw their own opinions on this.
If he is guilty, it’s a very bad misjudgement by the captain of the T20 side, and could it be argued a possible sacking offence?

Either way, people could interpret it as one rule for Broad and one rule for KP. Pietersen was certain a (so called) team mate was behind it, and for it too be a good buddy of a team mate, says enough too me.  
In the recent past it could also be argued that Graeme Swann was allowed off the hook when he publicly criticised his team mates in his book. It would rightly be argued that he didn’t slag them off to the opposition during a game, but even so, it wasn’t clever and he could and probably should have been disciplined over it.
Again, is this one rule for Swann, and one rule for KP?
The ECB have also allowed all these leaks over the Pietersen affair. They also watched him back down in humiliating style on Youtube last Saturday, before dropping him and further humiliating him.
The South Africans have played down the texts as banter, the ECB haven’t requested to see them. By not doing so, they are surely leaving themselves open to the accusation of judging Pietersen without all the facts.
The ECB need to be careful here, all these incidents could eventually make them look to be the bad apple in all of this.
My own personal view on the ECB is that they have managed this in an appalling manner. Their job is supposed to be to manage and I don’t see where they have managed here. Prevention is better than cure and they have failed miserably to stop this getting out of hand.
That’s not to say Pietersen is totally innocent, as I don’t believe he is. I’m just trying to present a balanced argument here, as we don’t appear to be getting one at the moment.
Pietersen’s camp must have behind the persistent rumours that he was going to quit 50 Over cricket for the 12 months or so prior to him doing so. Who else’s interest would it have been in to keep spreading that story around?
He also can’t quit ODI’s one minute, and then say he wants to play the next. His press conference after the 2nd Test was stupid, the text messages (banter or not, and I don’t believe they were banter) were totally brainless.
He is far from innocent in all this. But the point I’m trying to make is, he’s not the only one.
So it’s for these reasons that I hope the ECB see past all the crap and just get back to selecting the best side for England. If Pietersen can come back into the fold and be professional, then why can’t the others be professional and accept him.
They don’t have to like each other, just respect each other and play as a team again. 

England’s, Pietersen selection dilemma

If press reports are to be believed then it is possible that Kevin Pietersen may have already played his last game for England.

John Etheridge, the Sun’s cricket correspondent said on Twitter last night (Friday) that it is his understanding that the selectors met at Edgbaston on Friday and couldn’t decide whether or not to include Pietersen in the squad for the 3rd test at Lord’s.
He claimed that the selectors wanted to find out more about the contents of the text messages Pietersen is alleged to have sent to South African players during the 2nd test, before they decide whether or not to pick him. It is rumoured that the texts were less than complementary about Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower.
If this is found to be the case, I get the feeling that could be it for KP. Why else would the selectors be undecided? After all, this England side generally picks itself.
Even if Pietersen is picked, I still think it is a stay of execution. The situation has a very terminal feel about it with neither side showing any signs of backing down.
Although I can see Pietersen’s gripes – his wish to play IPL, his unhappiness at the leaks about conversations – I don’t believe he has done himself any favours in the way he has handled things.
I’ve also said it before, I believe that the ECB need to be a bit more flexible when it comes to IPL, they are also out of order with the leaks. But I also have to ask myself why has this been allowed to happen?
Are the ECB totally incompetent? Personally, I doubt it. I get the feeling that the leaks are more deliberate than incompetent.
This leaves me to believe that Pietersen must have been behaving like a right pain in the arse lately, otherwise why the hell is England apparently trying to force him out? It seems senseless to hang your best player out to dry (as it looks like the ECB have done by releasing these leaks that are damaging Pietersen’s reputation).
Maybe I’m guilty of buying the ECB’s story? I don’t know. But they didn’t send the texts, and they didn’t make the inflammatory remarks last Monday.
Even taking Pietersen’s gripes into consideration, I now find myself questioning his approach towards resolving them. Things aren’t always as we would like them, sometimes in life we have to accept things we are not comfortable with.
In the past Pietersen has done this, like he did when he was sacked as England captain. But in the past he has also left Natal, Nottinghamshire and Hampshire under a cloud. According to Jack Bannister, he was also not signed by Warwickshire as a youngster because of his temperament, when they wanted to sign him on his ability.
A lot of people can be wrong and one man right, that is not impossible, but it is highly unlikely.

If this is the end, and I really hope it isn’t, then that will be a ridiculous way for his international career to end. Both England and Pietersen will be worse off for it, and cricket in general probably will be. There will no doubt be people who will disagree because he can play their beloved IPL, but I think 6 weeks of Pietersen a year, compared to seeing him playing international cricket all year round, is crickets loss.

Pietersen parody Twitter account is closed

It is with great sadness tonight that I have read on the Telegraph website that the Kevin Pietersen Twitter parody account has been closed.
Why? It was a bit of banter for goodness sake. Pietersen is a big enough man to withstand a bit of piss take, isn’t he? Instead of taking it, he instructs his lawyers to close the spoof Twitter account.
In my view Pietersen would have helped his wavering public image if he had just played along with the joke. Retweeting some of the tweets (which I believe he had occasionally been doing), or exchanging banter with the account.
I know it is slightly different, as it was a personal grudge, but Pietersen was more than happy to stick the boot into Nick Knight on his account, but when he gets a bit of piss take aimed at him, he instructs lawyers to get the account closed.
Absolutely ridiculous in my view, a sense of humour seems to have gone missing somewhere.  
Before I go on, I would just like to stress that I have been a massive supporter of KP on this site. Feel free to check back and apart from his last outburst at Nick Knight, I doubt very much you will find any KP criticism on this site.
On the serious issue, Pietersen’s stand off with the ECB seems to be heading for a stalemate in my view. I can’t really see where there is much wriggle room for either party now and both seem to be dug in fairly deeply and are not showing much sign of backing down.
I can sympathise with Pietersen wanting to play the full IPL and maximize his contract, who wouldn’t? And for this I don’t blame him. I also don’t blame him for being annoyed about his conversations with the ECB having been leaked out, that sounds out of order to me.
Without knowing the facts, I’m forming an opinion here – and that is if Pietersen has become that unbearable and is causing that much trouble in the camp, or is that disliked by officials and/or players that they no longer want him – and as a result of this the ECB are trying to force him out by allowing these leaks, then I’d prefer it if they just booted him out instead and revealed why they have done so.
Whatever the reason, these leaks are wrong.
I also understand the ECB’s position here. They are trying to protect the 50 Over game in my view. They know that most Englandplayers regard Test cricket as the pinnacle and if they are going to dump a format, it will be 50 Over cricket. Like it or not, in my view that is why they have brought in this ruling.
I also can kind of see the ECB’s stance on treating all players the same. The point is though that all players are not the same.
There now needs to be more flexibility in the approach of the national board. Like it or not, the IPL is here to stay. Instead of fighting it, the ECB need to work with it.
It could be too late in the case of Pietersen as the ECB won’t want to be seen to be backing down to him, but for the future they have to try to work in some sort of flexibility to give the players some more licence to go and earn at the IPL, otherwise this situation is only going to continue to arise again and again.
I’m not suggesting it will be easy, as I’m sure it won’t be. There is also the possibility of other tournaments such as the Big Bash taking off as well, what do we do then? Create another window for players?  
In theory there could be T20 competitions all over the world all year long taking the best players. But at the moment it is only the IPL, so surely that is all that the ECB need to deal with. Worry about the others if or when they arise.
In the meantime, if they think Pietersen is worth keeping in the side, they need to do more and sort this mess out. Stop being stubborn, and get it sorted. It’s the ECB’s job to manage situations or prevent them from occurring at all, and in this instant they have failed miserably and are not doing a good enough job of sorting it out.
But conversely, if he has become a disruptive influence and is no longer welcome or wanted in the team, then just boot him out and stop this stupid PR game.

Pietersen’s latest childish twitter remarks

I never criticise Kevin Pietersen’s batting or cricket in general on this blog. I think a lot of the stick he has come in for over the years is wrong, and that at times in the past he has carried England’s batting almost single handed.

I’ve also been criticised in the past for saying this – but I really do believe that we owe him big time.

At the same time I’ve mentioned it on here before about Pietersen’s twitter comments, they have been stupid and childish in my view and are getting worse.

That’s why I am delighted to see the ECB give him a kick up the arse over it.

I really don’t see where he is going with his what seems to be bitter vendetta against Nick Knight, Knight is hardly an outspoken commentator who rubs people up with outrageous views, he’s certainly no Geoff Boycott is he?

Singling out Knight in this manner seems daft. It’s making Pietersen look somehow jealous or bitter. Is there something Knight has done to Pietersen that is really that bad? Or is this just as stupid as it seems?

It’s not just Knight either, as in the past he has had a swipe at Dominic Cork and Kepler Wessels.

Come on Pietersen, time to grow up and get the chip off your shoulder.

Kevin Pietersen on Twitter

KP has been using his Twitter account to again let his feelings be known. Today he tweeted….

Hate having to watch SA v AUS test match muted.. Cork in studio-MUTE!! Wessels commentating-MUTE!! Both as bad as Nick Knight.. #clowns

In the past he used it to let the world know he thought that Nick Knight was Stealing a Living from the Sky commentary box, today he used it to tell us all he isn’t a fan of Kepler Wessels and Dominic Cork.

I’ve never been a critic of Pietersen on this blog, but I do believe this Twitter sniping makes him look a bit stupid and childish, almost cowardly.

I’d imagine his animosity towards Cork probably stems from their time together at Hampshire. Cork doesn’t strike me as the sort of man who would stand for Pietersen’s bullshit, maybe he played a part in stopping Pietersen representing Hampshire in the T20 finals day a couple of years ago?

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Lay Off Kevin Pietersen

I can’t believe I’m hearing and reading all this stuff that Kevin Pietersen should be dropped from the England test team if his form doesn’t pick up. Are people for real?

Ok, so no one is undroppable and if he is still struggling after another 6 or 7 tests then there could be good reason for dropping him. But talk of dropping him for the 3rd test against Sri Lanka is just madness.

There are a number of reasons why he shouldn’t be dropped,

1) After carrying Englnd’s batting for years, we owe him.
2) It was only 6 tests ago he scored a double hundred, before succumbing to his (so called) weakness of slow left hand bowlers – 227 runs later.
3) He averaged the small matter of 60 in the Ashes.
4) He scares the opposition, both Sri Lanka and India would rather not face him.
5) The opposition keep picking crappy left arm slow bowlers that the rest of England’s batsmen cash in on.
6) Consistency of selection – Alastair Cook and Paul Collingwood didn’t get dropped for far worse form.

Apart from all that he is a world class batsman, England need to back him, not drop him. Also, on the matter of slow left arm bowlers, Mike Atherton struggled against Glenn McGrath, Gooch against Alderman, etc – did we call for them to be dropped every time we played Australia? No, because they were our best batsmen and we rightly backed them.

Onto the TV coverage of Day 1 of the 2nd test and didn’t Ian Botham have a stinker. First he claimed the ball that got Andrew Strauss out LBW was too high and should be reviewed by England, before then seeing the replay show that it was hitting three quarters of the way up the stump.

Would Botham have slaughtered England for wasting a review had they done as he suggested? By the end of the days play, I believe he probably would have.

It didn’t get much better as he claimed that Sri Lanka wasted a review on Eoin Morgan’s wicket as the ball was (according to him) going down the leg side, before getting shown up again as the replay showed the ball hitting middle and leg.

As I haven’t been around for a while on here, I have another issue I wish to go back too and give my opinion on. I totally disagree with the criticism levelled at Andrew Strauss for allowing Ian Bell to complete his century on Monday.

I choose to look at this in the greater scheme of things and there are a number of factors why I think this was the correct thing too do. At the time an England victory was highly unlikely, so why not let Ian Bell further boost his confidence with another century?

England have invested a lot of time in Bell, centuries are only going to further build up Bell’s self belief and make him feel like he belongs in the England side. That’s why I think it was the correct call from Strauss, to criticise and say that England let Bell put a personal milestone ahead of the good of the team, is in my view, a short sighted theory.

For example look at the difference in Matt Prior’s performances last year against Pakistan when he finally felt part of the set-up. Bell seems like one of the more fragile players that needs to be built up like Prior was, this can only serve to help him.

It was a totally different set of circumstances from Mike Atherton’s decision to declare on Graeme Hick (98no) in Sydney back in 1995, but from what I can remember that proved to do England no favours at all in the long run.