Cricket: Farewell to a champion

Ricky Ponting, MCG, 2011 (photo mine)

Yesterday the cricketing world said goodbye to a retiring champion of the game.

Ricky Thomas ‘Punter’ Ponting will be remembered as a selfless, confident player; one who scored over 40 centuries and 13,300 runs for Australia at test level.  Add to that almost 14,000 runs and 30 centuries in one-day internationals.

His final hurrah will be at the WACA, starting today, for the third test against South Africa.  His record feats are etched not only in the record books, but also in the minds of every cricket fan.  The cricketing great certainly has put his mark on the game forever.Highlights abound for the 37-year-old include: a 96 on debut in 1995; one-day captaincy in 2002 and test captaincy in 2004; twin centuries in his 100thtest; and six double centuries.

He will also become Australia’s most capped test player along with Steve Waugh on 168 matches (he also played 375 one-day internationals) and recorded the most wins as an Australian captain, with a total of 48.

From a young age Ponting was touted as an excellent cricketer.  At the age of just 11, Ponting scored four centuries inside of a week during an under-13 tournament in Tasmania.  He was in the same form for an under-16 competition shortly after.  It was this form that sparked the beginning of a magical career.

Read the full article at Upstart

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Cricket: Australia v South Africa: Third Test Preview

Peter Siddle in Adelaide (photo from cricket.com.au)

Attention turns to the WACA on Friday as the third and final test between Australia and South Africa gets underway.

It has been a test of endurance and fitness this series, as bowlers and batters alike have toiled in the middle for hours on end.

For the Australians, the side injury to James Pattinson is a bitter blow for both the paceman and the Australian team.  After being injured last summer, Pattinson will once again sit on the sidelines for the majority of Australia’s summer campaign.

Here’s a look at the areas for both teams in which could prove vital in Perth:

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Cricket: Under The Microscope: Melbourne Renegades

Melbourne Renegades Banner
(Courtesy Renegades website)

‘A law unto our own’ says  a promotional poster for the Melbourne Renegades.  They’ve certainly developed that.

Finishing seventh in the first instalment of the Big Bash League, the red army had the team but didn’t post the results.  That, however, seems set to change this summer.

With a fresh new look, some solid team signings, and their home ground of Etihad Stadium, the Renegades will be competing in a much stronger and even pool.  Let’s take a look at some of the key players:

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Cricket: Australia v South Africa: Second Test Preview

Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke at Adelaide (ESPN Cricinfo)

(At the time of writing, the squad is unconfirmed)

Adelaide Oval will see a very fierce battle begin on Thursday, as the Aussies take on South Africa in the second test.

With the first match at the Gabba ending in a draw, Michael Clarke will be looking to put the South Africans back in their box.  Having had the entirety of Day 2 of the first test washed out, making the chance of an outright result small, both teams will be looking to stamp their mark on the series. Continue reading

The Aura Behind Sports Stadiums

Melbourne Park (sourced from Google Images)

The makings of great games begin and end at massive arenas.  They draw tens, possibly even hundreds of thousands of people to watch balls fly, cars crash, even watch our favourite bands.

So what is it that gives some of these impressive stadiums their image?  Maybe the architecture, perhaps the field of play, or the atmosphere of flocks of screaming fans.

In any case, sports stadiums are fast becoming more stunning and aesthetically pleasing.  The stadium built for the 2012 London Olympics is one such example.  It was built with sustainability and the environment in mind. Continue reading

Cricket: Under The Microscope: Melbourne Stars

Melbourne Stars (sourced from Google Images)

Dubbed ‘Melbourne’s favourite cricket team,’ the MCG will be swamped with green this summer as the Melbourne Stars vie for the BBL|02 title.

Making the finals last year by the skin of their teeth, and bowing out gracefully against the Perth Scorchers, the Stars have once again recruited a strong team, with the likes of Captain Shane Warne, David Hussey, and Sri Lankan icon Lasith Malinga.

As we approach the start of the tournament, three weeks from now, let’s take a look at some of the big name players that will don the green shirts this summer: Continue reading

Cricket: Analysis of the Gabba Test

Michael Clarke at the Gabba (sourced from Cricket Australia)

A lifeless start to the first test between Australia and South Africa panned out into an entertaining draw at the Gabba yesterday.

After skipper Michael Clarke declared 115 runs ahead in the first innings, the South Africans looked wobbly early, losing Alviro Petersen (5) and Graeme Smith (23) to slump to 2/55. However, the likes of first innings heroes Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis again proved to be the wall that could not be penetrated.

With Day 2 completely washed out, and Australia seemingly on the back foot, a possible result began to rise when the Australians pegged South Africa back on Day 3, but then looked in trouble themselves.  Clarke was the turning point of the Australian innings, scoring 259 not out, along with Ed Cowan, who posted his maiden test century.

Here’s my analysis of the test, Day by Day: Continue reading

Cricket: Under The Microscope: Hobart Hurricanes

Hobart Hurricanes (sourced from Google Images)

Hobart’s cricketing “purple power” is back for BBL|02 and primed to make another run for the finals.  The Hurricanes welcome back a strong team from BBL|01, including a couple of new signings, and some players who have made the move from other teams.

The Hurricanes first game is against the Brisbane Heat on December 9.  Let’s take a look at some key players and stats for the upcoming season:

Ricky Ponting: “Punter” was limited to just one game in the inaugural Big Bash League season due to international commitments.  The veteran 37 year old will be back once again to add strength and experience to a strong batting line-up.  Never backs down from a pull or hook shot, and is a sublime timer of the ball.  Reinvigorated form after last summer but must keep going to ensure national spot. Continue reading

Cricket: Drama over selection

Rob Quiney (mine)

The bickering and criticism that has been unleashed at the selection of the squad for the first test leaves me puzzled.

Surely Australians are not that hypocritical of who plays?  Sure, some are better than others, but is it really necessary to have a yelling match?

I’m a huge of fan of Rob Quiney, the man who has come in to the 1st Test squad to replace the injured Shane Watson.  He has been a consistent and level-headed cricket during his Victorian career.  He is not a name plucked from obscurity: he has established his place in the Victorian line-up, and deserves this chance. Continue reading

Cricket: Victoria v Western Australia: Bushrangers cruise home

Victorian Aaron Finch at the MCG (photo mine)

Overcast skies threatened throughout the whole day, but the rain never eventuated.  Jayde Herrick grabbed five wickets for the Victorian Bushrangers while Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell saw Victoria home by nine wickets against Western Australia Warriors at the MCG.  The game, however, did see Clint McKay go off the ground injured.

The  Warriors looked shaky from the start, opening bowler Clint McKay collecting Warrior opener Liam Davis twice on the hand in the first over.  Darren Pattinson followed suit with a fiery spell, and Western Australia fell to be 3-64, with Davis, Tom Triffit and Sam Whiteman back in the shed.
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