Tag Archives: pietersen

SJA awards: Lawrence Booth wins scoop of the year for Kevin Pietersen texts

Sportsmail's Booth wins scoop of the year at SJA awards for revealing Pietersen texts

PUBLISHED:

22:41 GMT, 25 March 2013

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UPDATED:

08:10 GMT, 26 March 2013

Sportsmail's Lawrence Booth picked up a prestigious gong at this year's Sports Journalists' Association awards.

Our cricket reporter – who is also the editor of Wisden – led the way with his brilliant story about Kevin Pietersen's text-message scandal last summer.

This was recognised as the scoop of the year at the awards night in London on Monday night.

LAWRENCE BOOTH

Neil Ashton

Recognition: Sportsmail cricket writer Lawrence Booth (left) won the scoop of the year and Neil Ashton (right), Jeff Powell (bottom left) and Jonathan McEvoy (bottom right) were highly commended in their categories

JEFF POWELL

Jonathan McEvoy

Pietersen was revealed to have sent text
messages to members of the South African dressing room about his then
captain Andrew Strauss – later described by Pietersen himself as
'provocative' – which caused an almighty schism in the team's dressing
room.

The scandal led to England's star
batsman being exiled from the squad for the rest of the Test series
defeat against the Proteas. It was also the final straw for Strauss, who
resigned the England captaincy soon after and retired from all cricket.

Meanwhile, Sportsmail's football news correspondent Neil Ashton was highly commended in the specialist correspondent category at the awards, while Jonathan McEvoy was highly commended as a sports news reporter. Boxing correspondent Jeff Powell was highly commended in the feature writer award.

The Mail on Sunday also picked up two prestigious awards, with Patrick Collins named as the columnist of year, while Martha Kelner won the young sports writer award.

Read Lawrence Booth's scoop of the year and his latest Top Spin column
EXCLUSIVE: KP text alert! Pietersen sent messages to opposition during Test

CLICK HERE to read the full award-winning story

The Top Spin: It's the end of an era as throwback Blackwell calls it a day (and ensures he will be a permanent one-cap wonder)

CLICK HERE to read the full column

And don't forget to read Lawrence Booth's latest Top Spin column on Tuesday morning at www.dailymail.co.uk/sport

England lose Test warm-up game by three wickets to New Zealand XI

Watling's second half-century gives Cook and Co plenty to ponder ahead of first Test as England lose tour match

By
David Clough, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

07:33 GMT, 2 March 2013

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UPDATED:

07:33 GMT, 2 March 2013

England suffered an unexpected defeat as BJ Watling's second half-century of the match proved too much for the tourists at the Queenstown Event Centre ground.

Watling (89no) followed his unbeaten 66 in the first innings with another telling contribution to help a New Zealand XI chase 334 to prevail in a tight finish with eight balls and three wickets to spare.

England, in their first red-ball fixture of a double-Ashes year in this warm-up for the first of three Tests in Dunedin, were losing in a first-class tour match for the first time in almost seven years – the last defeat came against an India board XI in Vadodara.

Trudging off: England captain Alastair Cook alongside Kevin Pietersen and Stuart Broad react after losing to the New Zealand XI

Trudging off: England captain Alastair Cook alongside Kevin Pietersen and Stuart Broad react after losing to the New Zealand XI

Watling finished with eight fours and two sixes from 122 balls, in a run chase which featured three other individual scores between 40 and 50 as England – without rested frontline seamers James Anderson and Steven Finn – paid for an unconvincing performance with the ball in particular.

Graham Onions lost his way, and it is hard to see him being considered as the go-to back-up Test seamer if needed after recording match figures of one for 213.

Inconsistent batting from the top six was also part of the problem – with Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Nick Compton all short of runs as the Test series looms.

There was no particular shame in losing to a team in which all but Carl Cachopa have international experience, and five – including wicketkeeper Watling – are in the squad to face England again next week.

It is hardly the start Alastair Cook would have wanted nonetheless as his side seek to follow up their historic series win in India with more success here over the next three weeks.

After England declared on their overnight 256 for nine, progress was initially unremarkable for both sides.

Openers Hamish Rutherford and Tom Latham began the chase with their second stand of 56 in this match, at four-an-over on a cloudy morning which yielded no immediate headway for Stuart Broad and Onions with the new ball.

Rutherford even climbed into an upper-cut which deposited a short ball from Broad high over point and into the enclosure in front of the players' pavilion for six.

Soon afterwards, Broad hit the same batsman on the head with a sharp bouncer.
But it was first-change Chris Woakes who made the first breakthrough when Rutherford cut him into the hands of point.

Woakes was rewarded for a spell which was much-improved from his first-innings efforts, and Broad also struck in the next over when he switched to a fuller length and bowled a static Cachopa for a third-ball duck.

Onions looked a slightly more likely wicket-taker too for a time, but no one could find a way past Latham or Neil Broom up to lunch.

Their stand had extended to 64 by the time Swann got Latham two short of his half-century, apparently caught-behind as he tried to sweep.

Then with the first ball after mid-session drinks, Broad saw off Broom lbw playing no shot.

When Dean Brownlie went too before tea, neatly caught low at second slip by Swann off the returning Woakes, the hosts were running out of frontline batsmen.

But Watling and Corey Anderson, who had battered England for a rapid century stand in the first innings, were once more in occupation.

They almost repeated the dose too, in a partnership of 82 this time which took the hosts to well within 100 runs of their target with more than 20 overs remaining.

Onions had suffered at Anderson's hands yesterday, and did so again today in two overs which cost 23 runs and contained three no-balls.

A much-needed wicket came from an unlikely source in Joe Root, who did Anderson in the flight as he aimed another big hit to leg and was bowled.

Swann, off the field for several overs previously, returned only to almost immediately drop Watling on 47 off Broad at gully.

It proved a costly miss – because, even after Jimmy Neesham had pulled a Root long-hop straight into Broad's hands at square-leg, Watling saw the job through against the second new ball in an unbroken half-century stand alongside Neil Wagner.

England lose to Delhi in India warm-up match

Bell century in vain as England slump to second consecutive ODI warm-up defeat

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

15:03 GMT, 8 January 2013

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UPDATED:

15:58 GMT, 8 January 2013

An Ian Bell century was not enough as England slumped to a second warm-up defeat in three days ahead of Friday’s opening one-day international against India.

The tourists will head to Rajkot on Wednesday with plenty to think about, notably their failure to defend a formidable total of 294-4 against a Delhi team weaker than the India A side who overcame them at the weekend.

On another chill day, this time at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium where internationals are played, they could not stop the local select eleven overhauling them for the loss of four wickets with nine balls to spare.

Century boy: Bell scored a ton, but it wasn't enough to save England

Century boy: Bell scored a ton, but it wasn't enough to save England

While the batsmen did their job in the
watery afternoon sun, particularly Bell, who made light of the absence
of the rested Kevin Pietersen with a polished 108, the bowlers were
powerless to prevent their youthful opposition picking off the runs.

With Graeme Swann, Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad at home, new one-day coach Ashley Giles does not have too many options to turn things round before the end of the week, although Tim Bresnan sat this one out.

Certainly the attack looks short of leadership, with James Tredwell probably the pick and Steven Finn among those not having the happiest day.

Alastair Cook won the toss and chose to bat against a team featuring three players with full international experience on a day when temperatures mercifully crept over double figures.

Having sufficiently recovered from the heavy cold that kept him out of Sunday’s defeat, Cook looked fluent in making 44 before he was bowled when Sumit Narwal went round the wicket.

Bell looked slightly awkward at first but then accelerated gracefully, hitting a series of extravagant drives through the covers after advancing down the wicket. He should have been stumped on 60, but otherwise he added to Sunday’s 91 almost faultlessly, making his 108 in 125 balls with two sixes and 10 fours.

Rough start: New limited-overs head coach Giles is yet to savour victory

Rough start: New limited-overs head coach Giles is yet to savour victory

Eoin Morgan looked comfortable in making a near run-a-ball 52 and Craig Kieswetter added the late surge with 41 off 27 balls that finished with two consecutive sixes swiped over mid wicket.

Having overdone the bouncers under the new two-per-over rule at the weekend there was less of them yesterday and Finn was guilty over-pitching as India made a strong start that was only undone with the introduction of Tredwell.

Unmukt Chand, India’s Under 19 skipper and regarded as high quality prospect, had been going well for his 37 but then lamely chipped the Kent spinner to Cook at mid-on.

With captain Shikhar Darwan, owner of five one-day caps, heading towards a century, the home team went smoothly to 188 for two but two quick wickets halted their progress and suggested that England would get their first win of this tour.

When part-time spinner Joe Root trapped Darwan for an excellent 110 – Tredwell was convinced he had him caught behind just before he brought up a century with a six – Cook looked to have pulled off a masterstroke.

But the inexperienced Milind Kumar, 21, rebuilt the momentum of the innings to the point where 75 were needed off the last 10 overs, and he ended unbeaten on 78.

Picture dispute

We are unable to carry live pictures from the ODI Series in India due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

England lose to India A by 53 runs

Giles' reign off to losing start as England slump to 53-run defeat in frosty conditions in first ODI warm-up against India A

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

11:52 GMT, 6 January 2013

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UPDATED:

21:23 GMT, 6 January 2013

Aside from the numbing cold, Ashley Giles will not remember much about his first match in charge of England’s one-day team, and nor will he wish to do so.

The new jobshare era alongside Andy Flower began in temperatures of a mere four degrees at a windswept Indian Air Force ground, and ended in a 54-run defeat with the tourists dismissed for 175 in 36 overs.

India A made 224 for four from a reduced 39 overs, and the victory target was adjusted to 229 under the Duckworth/Lewis system.

Class act: Ian bell made England's scoreline respectable

Class act: Ian bell made England's scoreline respectable

But England were never in the chase, with Ian Bell’s increasingly belligerent 91 bringing respectability rather than a genuine threat of victory. It served as a timely reminder of why the team Giles has stepped up to coach from Warwickshire have won only once in their last 17 matches in the 50-over format at international level when visiting this country.

Bell correctly pointed out afterwards that it was unlikely to have a huge effect on their chances in the first match of the series on Friday in Rajkot, but they will hope to do better tomorrow in the final warm-up against Delhi.

There was not even the compensation of knowing India are still in freefall, as they clinched a 10-run victory over Pakistan, albeit in the dead rubber of a series in which they already trailed 2-0.

That match, and India’s decision to drop Virender Sehwag for the series against England, were the main talking points in the Indian capital as Giles’s men slipped under one of the many radars around this military venue.

The only way... Kevin Pietersen (right) and Mushtaq Ahmed (left) warm their hands over an open flame

The only way… Kevin Pietersen (right) and Mushtaq Ahmed (left) warm their hands over an open flame

It will have been a learning experience, especially as this was England’s first match under the latest 50-over regulations, which include two bouncers allowed per over and only four fielders outside the 30-metre circle in non-powerplay overs. England overdid the head-high bombardment, while the pick of the bowlers was Jade Dernbach, against determined batting from Indian players keen to impress national selectors.

NEIL ADCOCK (1931-2013)

Former South Africa fast bowler Neil
Adcock has died aged 81 after a long battle with cancer. He played 26
Tests between 1953 and 1962 and was a Wisden cricketer of the year in
1961.

Eoin Morgan had inserted after winning the toss, taking the role of captain in place of Alastair Cook, whose absence through a heavy cold depleted a side already missing Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott and Jimmy Anderson.

A successful run chase probably required something from Kevin Pietersen, in his first one-day international since dual hundreds against Pakistan last winter.

He started brightly enough before chipping Shree Sreesanth to mid-on after making 19. Then, what had been 42 for one swiftly became 72 for six with the kind of collapse Giles will be keen to iron out. Bell had anchored the innings, but then began to play with his trademark fluency, getting support from Tim Bresnan and Steve Finn as he mustered some respectability.

‘It’s disappointing and we aimed to win but we were outplayed,’ said Bell.

‘With more wickets in hand we might have been able to knock it off. It would have been nice to get the full 50 (overs) in. We wanted to get going this morning so that was a bit frustrating.’

We are unable to carry live pictures from the ODI Series in India due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

Gotta keep the best! Pietersen takes to Twitter to demand Chelsea"s Lampard is given a new contract

Gotta keep the best! Pietersen takes to Twitter to demand Chelsea's Lampard is given a new contract

PUBLISHED:

23:21 GMT, 30 December 2012

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UPDATED:

23:21 GMT, 30 December 2012

As someone who knows how it feels to be instrumental to a team's fortunes but be ushered out, it's perhaps no wonder Kevin Pietersen took to Twitter to remind everyone of the virtues of Frank Lampard on Sunday night.

The England batsman and Chelsea fan took delight in Lampard's outstanding performance – and two goals – in Sunday's 2-1 win at Everton and urged owner Roman Abramovich to renew his contract when it expires at the end of the season.

He wrote: 'Lamps shows who the boss is today.. YOU DARE, Roman! #gottakeepthebest' and posted it just after watching a re-run of the Chelsea win on Match of the Day 2.

Support: England cricketer Kevin Pietersen took to Twitter to demand Chelsea's Frank Lampard be offered a new contract

Support: England cricketer Kevin Pietersen (below) took to Twitter to demand Chelsea's Frank Lampard be offered a new contract

England batsman Kevin Pietersen

The hashtag could be interpreted as a reference to his own reintegration to the England cricket squad after being outcast during the summer Test series with South Africa for allegedly sending defamatory text message to members of the opposition squad.

Pietersen was forced to make an apology to his captain Andrew Strauss, coach Andy Flower and other teammates after the text messages emerged and was reinstated for the tour of India this winter.

Food for thought: Lampard's double in an excellent performance at Goodison Park may prompt the Chelsea hierarchy to rethink not offering him a new contract in the summer

Food for thought: Lampard's double in an excellent performance at Goodison Park may prompt the Chelsea hierarchy to rethink not offering him a new contract in the summer

Lampard, 34, is out of contract at Stamford Bridge at the end of this season and, with negotiations over a new deal seemingly a non-starter, his two goals against Everton were a timely reminder of his undiminished abilities.

Pietersen is no stranger to airing his views on Chelsea's fortunes on Twitter – in November 2011, he called then manager Andre Villas-Boas a 'muppet' and gave him six months in the job. This turned out to be true, with the Portuguese sacked a few months later.

Matt Prior phone call to Kevin Pietersen built bridges for reintegration

Prior: My phone call built the bridges for Pietersen's England reintegration

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 29 December 2012

At the height of last summer’s textgate affair, Kevin Pietersen’s phone had never rung colder.

Few in English cricket were prepared to call a man many believed had, by sending a string of derogatory messages to ‘close friends’ in the South Africa dressing room, betrayed captain Andrew Strauss and severely undermined the team’s carefully fostered morale.

While several England players were minded to wash their hands of the side’s most talented but highest maintenance player, wicketkeeper Matt Prior saw the bigger picture and called his troubled team-mate in an effort to thrash out the seismic differences few in the dressing room had seen coming.

Old friends: Prior (right) and Pietersen (left) patched things up over the phone

Old friends: Prior (right) and Pietersen (left) patched things up over the phone

It was a move that showed Pietersen he was still valued by his team-mates and cemented Prior’s position as the most inclusive – and, arguably, most important – member of the team.

‘If that situation arose another 100 times, I would phone Kev another 100 times,’ Prior said. ‘It wasn’t done for any other reason than that I saw a team-mate struggling and, as far as I’m concerned, that becomes the responsibility of the players.

‘If someone isn’t happy in the dressing room then you have to go out of your way to find out what the issue is and do as much as you can to make it right.

‘That might be a case of seeing a person’s point and saying: “You know what, mate You’re right”. Or it might be a case of being honest and saying: “You need to sort a few things out”.

‘Kevin and I are both pretty straightforward and honest guys who don’t mince our words. I think he was pleased to hear from me and, from what I’ve heard him say, I think he was pleased someone made the call.

Reintegrated: Pietersen was dropped following the Headingley Test last summer

Reintegrated: Pietersen was dropped following the Headingley Test last summer

‘It was a case of “what’s up buddy You
tell me and I’ll tell you”. It was a refreshing way to have a
conversation. Sometimes, you need to say tough things to your mates in
order for them to improve and, more importantly, for the team to move
forward.

‘We’d worked extremely hard under Strauss and Andy Flower to build the team culture and we got to a good place, No 1 in the world. But what last summer proved was how fragile that team spirit can be if you don’t look after it.’

Prior’s intervention saw England’s players begin a dialogue that eventually led to Pietersen being reintegrated after he was dropped for the final Test of the summer on disciplinary grounds.

The appointment of Alastair Cook as Strauss’s successor, after the decision of England’s most successful captain of all time to resign at the end of the South Africa series, also provided an opportunity to bring Pietersen back into the fold for the tour of India.

England were rewarded with a sublime innings of 186 in the series-altering second Test win in Mumbai and an overall contribution of 338 runs at 48.28 in the series.

Down Under: Prior is currently playing in the Big Bash tournament in Australia

Down Under: Prior is currently playing in the Big Bash tournament in Australia

But it was Pietersen’s off-field contribution which impressed Prior most.

‘Kevin was absolutely sensational,’ he said. ‘The public will see he hit 180 in Mumbai, which showed his class, but we all know how good he is and that he can play those match-winning innings.

‘He was fantastic talking to the young players and passing on his experience. Because he’d been to India more than anybody else, he also knew where to go and what restaurants to eat at. Little things like that are incredibly important on a tour to somewhere like India.

‘It wasn’t just Kev who had to make changes, everyone had to. We did that well and proved we’re again a tight unit and can move forward without having to talk about it any more.’

England’s one-day squad, minus the rested Pietersen and the out-of-favour Prior, leave for their five-match tour to India on January 2.

Prior, widely acknowledged as the world’s finest wicketkeeper batsman, remains desperate to reclaim both his one-day and Twenty20 shirt and is spending his time away from the Test team honing his skills in Australia’s Big Bash tournament.

Twitter highlights from 2012 with Usain Bolt, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Phelps and more

How Bolt, Rio, Phelps and the rest told the story of sport in 2012 using 140 characters

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UPDATED:

21:22 GMT, 24 December 2012

Ah Twitter. How did the sporting world manage before it had you

It's quite astounding how many sportsmen have managed to land themselves in hot water this year in only 140 characters. Joey Barton, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand – the list goes on.

But there are some sporting stars with a much better grasp of Twitter, and choose to use its powers for good rather than evil.

Top Twits: Sportsmen and women used Twitter to offer a brilliant insight into their life away from the track, field or pitch, with Usain Bolt, Bradley Wiggins and Lance Armstrong producing the most memorable

Top Twits: Sportsmen and women used Twitter to offer a brilliant insight into their life away from the track, field or pitch, with Usain Bolt, Bradley Wiggins and Lance Armstrong producing the most memorable

Top Twits: Sportsmen and women used Twitter to offer a brilliant insight into their life away from the track, field or pitch, with Usain Bolt, Bradley Wiggins and Lance Armstrong producing the most memorable

Top Twits: Sportsmen and women used Twitter to offer a brilliant insight into their life away from the track, field or pitch, with Usain Bolt, Bradley Wiggins and Lance Armstrong producing the most memorable

The Olympics saw a social media explosion as it became the most tweeted event 2012, with a staggering 150 million tweets being sent over the 16 days.

And the athletes involved were desperate to share their moments of joy with the fans, as well as with watching celebrities.

After Bradley Wiggins won time trial gold medal he posted a picture of himself celebrating next to St Paul's iconic dome in central London. Ever the life and soul of the party, the cyclist added: ‘Well what a day, blind drunk at the minute and overwhelmed with all the messages, Thank You everyone it’s been emotional X’

Others not directly involved just had to express their pride in the British team as they watched them storm to victory. Kevin Pietersen could barely contain his excitement as Mo Farah took his second gold of the games.

His tweet was simple, but said what most of those at home and in the stadium were screaming: 'Moooooooooooooo Mooooooooooooo Moooooooooooo #BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM'

The American athletes were thrilled to be given personal praise from Barack Obama himself.

Michael Phelps received congratulations from the President as he tweeted: 'Congrats to Michael Phelps for breaking the all-time Olympic medal record. You've made your country proud. –bo.'

Says what we're thinking: Kevin Pietersen summed up the nation's feelings as Mo Farah claimed gold

Says what we're thinking: Kevin Pietersen summed up the nation's feelings as Mo Farah claimed gold

Says what we're thinking: Kevin Pietersen summed up the nation's feelings as Mo Farah claimed gold

Phelps replied: 'Thank you Mr. President!! It’s an honor representing the #USA!! The best country in the world!!'

Teen sensation Missy Franklin was also beside herself when she received a tweet of congratulations following her first gold medal in the 100m backstroke, but hers was from Justin Bieber, who tweeted: 'Heard @FranklinMissy is a fan of mine. Now I'm a fan of hers too. CONGRATS on winning GOLD! #muchlove.'

'I just died,' was Franklin’s simple response.

There were some more poignant moments over the 16 days.

As Michael Phelps bowed out of the Games for good he tweeted: 'Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened – Dr Seuss.'

Ryan Lochte joined his American team-mate in putting forward more philosophical thoughts, tweeting: 'Always reach for the moon cuz if u slip up u will still be a star!! #Jeah'

And of course, the Olympics wouldn’t be complete without a classic from Usain Bolt.

He had just become the first man to defend both the 100m and 200m Olympic titles and, never one to shy away from his own success, the Jamaican superstar tweeted: 'Thanks to all my real fans and people who believe in me. I am now a living legend that’s for sure.'

Later a picture was posted of him with three members of the women's Swedish handball team.

Behind the scenes: We were treated to celebrating dressing rooms

Behind the scenes: We saw celebrating dressing rooms and even the toilets at Buckingham Palace

Behind the scenes: We saw celebrating dressing rooms and even the toilets at Buckingham Palace

TOP 10 TWEETS OF THE YEAR

1. ‘Feels Good To Be Awesome.’ – Bubba Watson

2.
‘Well what a day, blind drunk at the minute and overwhelmed with all
the messages, Thank You everyone it's been emotional X’ – Bradley
Wiggins

3. ‘Moooooooooooooo Mooooooooooooo Moooooooooooo #BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM’ – Kevin Pietersen

4. ‘Roger uv got the moves like jagger’ – Yuvraj Singh (after Roger Federer’s Wimbledon victory

5. ‘Loving
the lights on the stumps and bails at the BBL (Big Bash League). Remind
me of a pair of trainers I had as a kid.’ – Eoin Morgan

6. ’Andy
Murray did himself, his family and his nation proud today. Played like a
champ. His time will come for sure!’ – Rory McIlroy

7. ‘Thank you Mr. President!! It’s an honor representing the #USA!! The best country in the world!!’ – Michael Phelps

8. ’OMFG I think it just hit me, I'm a CHAMPION!! I AM a CHAMPION!!’ – Lebron James, after the 2012 NBA Finals

9.
‘Coach, told me to go do a pool workout. So I went & did some Push
ups next to the pool. What! I aint getting this hair wet #mixedchick
#afro’ – Lolo Jones

10. ‘Where did it all go wrong They say it’s the
organiser’s fault, but I blame myself.’ – Twitter user impersonating
an unoccupied Olympic chair

Another athlete having fun on Twitter this year was Bubba Watson. After winning his first Major he told the world how he felt in quite simple terms, tweeting: 'Feels Good To Be Awesome.'

The golfer also managed to please an over-excitable fan, who tweeted at him: 'Hey Bubba, Please could You tweet me saying hi or something :3'

Watson responded with a brief 'hi' and the fan replied with: 'You have just made my day! Thank You!! :3'

But 2012 did see some darker moments on the social networking site, with many a careless comment resulting in a fine or worse.

Racism as an issue has been the ever-present spectre in sport this year, and Twitter was in no way immune.

Rio Ferdinand committed one of the most high-profile foul-ups when he re-tweeted a comment about Ashley Cole.

Cole had been appearing in court as part of John Terry’s defence against charges of racially aggravated abuse towards Anton Ferdinand, and a Twitter user labelled him a 'choc ice' – a slang term which refers to someone being black on the outside but white on the inside.

Ferdinand re-tweeted the comment, saying: 'I hear you fella! Choc ice is classic! hahahahahahha!!'

The comment drew criticism from many who felt it smacked of hypocrisy in an argument about racism. The Manchester United defender was fined 45,000 but suffered no harsher punishment.

The same cannot be said for Voula Papachristou and Michel Morganella, both of whom were sent home from the Olympics after tweeting offensive remarks.

Breaking news: After his collapse on the pitch at White Hart Lane, the world waited for news of Fabrice Muamba. It was provided through Twitter

Breaking news: After his collapse on the pitch at White Hart Lane, the world waited for news of Fabrice Muamba. It was provided through Twitter

Papachristou, a triple-jumper, was expelled from the Greek Olympic team after tweeting in reference to mosquitos carrying the West Nile virus: 'With so many Africans in Greece, at least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home made food!'

The tweet was seen as xenophobic and against the ideals of the Olympic Games, as were the comments made by Michel Morganella, who labelled Koreans, 'retards' and said they could 'burn' after Switzerland's 2-1 defeat at the hands of South Korea.

Like Papachristou, the Swiss was immediately sent home.

Snooker ace Mark Allen also got himself into trouble with offensive tweets during the Haikou World Open, after he tweeted: 'Journey a nightmare. People are ignorant. Place stinks. Arena's rubbish, tables poor, food is horrendous. Other than that I love China.'

Though that particular tweet was removed, it was one in a number of less-than-flattering statements about the host country.

There were some downright uncomfortable moments too, such as when Lance Armstrong, ever defiant in the face of criticism, tweeted a picture of his seven Tour de France jerseys hanging on his wall.

The titles may have been stripped after doping allegations, but the disgraced cyclist didn’t seem to take that too seriously as he tweeted ‘Back in Austin and just layin’ around’ with the picture of him lying on a sofa beneath the jerseys.

There was also bewilderment when three-time Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton revealed on Twitter that she had been working as an escort.

Hamilton competed in three Olympic Games for the US, in 1992, 1996 and 2000. The middle-distance runner lived in Wisconsin with her husband, but had been working for an escort service in Las Vegas.

'I do not expect people to understand,' tweeted the American. 'But the reasons for doing this made sense to me at the time and were very much related to depression.'

Dad's the word: Gerard Pique and Dan Carter were two to take to Twitter to reveal good news to the world

Dad's the word: Gerard Pique and Dan Carter were two to take to Twitter to reveal good news to the world

Dad's the word: Gerard Pique and Dan Carter were two to take to Twitter to reveal good news to the world

Some athletes used Twitter for what could be called 'professional reasons' in 2012, but perhaps unadvisedly so.

As a rule of thumb it’s usually best
not to criticise your employers in public forums, but that didn’t stop
Australian fly-half Quade Cooper from labelling the environment in the
Wallabies as ‘toxic’ on Twitter.

Cooper spent a few months in limbo as
he waited to see what the long-term fall-out would be from his comments,
but all was forgiven in the end and he re-joined the national squad
earlier this month.

But there was some heart-warming tweeting amongst all the fraying tempers. Gerard Pique and Dan Carter both used Twitter to announce baby news this year, with Pique posting the picture of his first child’s sonogram.

'His first pic! #excited #cute,' tweeted the proud prospective papa.

All Black Carter announced that his wife Honor was expecting a baby in November, tweeting: 'Thought it was time to share our exciting news.. @honorcarter is 21 weeks pregnant! We are both very excited about being parents Babycarter.'

All in all the year has exemplified Twitter’s ubiquity in sport, and whether or not we see managers and agents start to ban their charges from using it remains to be seen.

It would be a shame for fans to lose the chance to interact with their idols in the way that 2012 has shown is possible. But with so many players making headlines for the wrong reasons, it may be an inevitable end result.

James Anderson: I"ll turn down IPL millions to stay fresh for the Ashes

Anderson: I'll turn down IPL millions to stay fresh for the Ashes

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UPDATED:

22:27 GMT, 22 December 2012

James Anderson will turn his back on Indian Premier League riches in a bid to add significantly to his record haul of international wickets for England – and other leading players could follow suit.

IPL commissioner Rajiv Shukla suggested last week that England's 2-1 Test series victory on the subcontinent must have caught the imagination of franchise owners, with Anderson lined up for a massive payday.

Shaping up: Playing for England is now James Anderson's priority

Shaping up: Playing for England
is now James Anderson's priority

India captain MS Dhoni added another nought or two to Anderson's worth by nominating the 30-year-old as the difference between the teams in the Test series.

However, the Lancashire fast bowler, who could probably have earned more than 500,000 for two months' work, has placed a premium on international appearances in 2013. It is a year that starts with him being rested from the one-day series in India and concludes with back-to-back Ashes campaigns.

'I won't be putting my name forward,' said Anderson, who equalled Sir Ian Botham's record 528 victims in an England shirt during his man-of-the-match performance in the draw in Nagpur last week.

'We've got a huge 12 months ahead of us and, as appealing as the IPL is, I don't think this year is an appropriate time to go.'

The appeal of the IPL is based on the eye-watering sums the teams are prepared to fork out for premier performers. Kevin Pietersen earned 750,000 in a month with the Delhi Daredevils this year while Stuart Broad was valued at 250,000 by King's XI Punjab.

Dale Steyn netted just under 1million – proving that top-class pacemen are worth their weight in gold in a competiton dominated by big-hitters and all-rounders.

But Anderson will not be budged. He entered the auction 12 months ago with an asking price of 250,000, and even though there were no buyers then, his stock has risen during England's successful tour of India.

James Anderson of England celebrates the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar

He said: 'People have said our profiles have never been bigger and this might be our chance, but I just don't feel it is the right thing to do. England is my priority and I want to be in the best shape I possibly can for the series ahead. I would rather concentrate on keeping fresh and fit for the challenges that lie ahead for us as an international team.

'We've got Test and one-day series in New Zealand and it would mean going straight from there to the IPL, then straight back into another home series against New Zealand. Then there is the Champions Trophy leading into the Ashes, so there isn't much respite. During this big 12 months I want to be involved as much as I possibly can be.

'Hopefully, in the future, that IPL opportunity will still be there because I would relish the chance to take part at a later date.'

Next year's IPL is scheduled to begin on April 3 – a week after England finish their tour of New Zealand – and runs until May 26. Centrally contracted players are permitted to feature for a three-week block, but only Pietersen and Eoin Morgan are on existing deals – with Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders respectively.

Those wanting their names to go forward for the January auction must notify their intentions within the next week, but Graeme Swann is thought to be among those who will put recuperation before rupees.

In Anderson's case, the chance to showcase himself as a limited-overs bowler in Asia has been removed once more. Last winter, he was 'rested' from the 5-0 one-day whitewashing by India. He will now not return in any capacity after Christmas, having originally been scheduled to play three of five matches.

'I do want to play one-day cricket and I don't like missing any games for England, but with how my body feels, a rest is probably the right decision,' said Anderson.

'After eight weeks on the subcontinent, getting through the volume of work that is required in a Test series over there, there is going to be some wear and tear on the body.

'There is nothing majorly wrong with me; I am just physically tired after a tour like that. One of the reasons I enjoyed it so much is that I feel I proved to a few people, and to myself – which is the most important thing – that I can bowl out there.

'I knew taking wickets was going to be difficult, especially after the first two matches, when I only had two to my name, so it was pleasing to reach the levels I did. I have standards that I want to keep no matter where I am playing or who I am playing against.'

Anderson's contribution to his 13th series win of the 26 he has appeared in as a Test cricketer was a dozen wickets at 30 apiece, and upping that number of victory celebrations will be at the forefront of his mind this Christmas. 'We know exactly what we want to achieve: to win back-to-back Ashes in Australia would be incredible for an England team. Having experienced it last time, it is definitely something I have an appetite for,' said the seam bowler.

'Personal landmarks are really nice, but the things I will definitely remember for ever are the moments I shared with my mates in the dressing room.

'After our win in Mumbai recently, we stayed for about four hours, chatting and listening to music. It felt euphoric having a beer after that game, as it did having a beer on the outfield at Sydney.

'Those times outweigh any of our own personal achievements.'

India v England T20: Eoin Morgan relishing the mayhem ahead of Pune and Mumbai

I will relish the 'mayhem', says stand-in skipper Morgan as England prepare for India's T20 assault

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 19 December 2012

A bigger crowd than any that watched the Test series here will see an England side stripped of many of their leading players and without either of their head coaches embark on one last challenge of an overcrowded year.

This two-match Twenty20 series, bizarrely shoe-horned into the calendar now rather than before the 50-over matches next month, has the feel of two games too many for England, with team director Andy Flower joining the exodus of players who made a rapid departure from India once their Test business was complete in Nagpur on Monday.

Ashley Giles, the new limited-overs coach, will not begin until the one-day series in January so Richard Halsall, Flower’s assistant, takes charge here and in Mumbai on Saturday of a side without four of their leading short-form players in captain Stuart Broad, Kevin Pietersen, Graeme Swann and Steven Finn.

Up against it: A depleted England, led by Eoin Morgan, will take India on at the own game

Up against it: A depleted England, led by Eoin Morgan, will take India on at the own game

What’s left of England will face an India team who thrashed them in the last World Twenty20 by 90 runs, in front of an expected 50,000 at a new stadium which bears an uncanny resemblance to Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl, only bigger.

It is then a stiff task for England but one that stand-in captain Eoin Morgan, starved of any meaningful action on this tour, is relishing.

It is indeed a sign of the hectic times that a man who could not get a game in the Test series now finds himself catapulted into the short-form captaincy.

Watching brief

India (probable): Gambhir, Rahane, Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Raina, Yuvraj, Jadeja, Dhoni (capt and wkt), Ashwin, Dinda, Awana.

England (probable): Hales, Wright, Bairstow, Morgan (capt), Patel, Buttler (wkt), Bresnan, Tredwell, Meaker, Dernbach, Briggs.

Umpires: C Shansuddin, S Asnani (Ind).

TV umpire: V Kulkarni (Ind).

Match referee: Jeff Crowe (NZ).

TV: LIVE on Sky Sports 1 from 1pm;
match starts at 1.30pm.

‘It’s a great opportunity for me against one of the best sides in the world in their backyard,’ said Morgan. ‘It’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.

‘It’s going to be mayhem here and in Mumbai and performing under pressure is what the selectors want.’

Morgan, one of England’s most accomplished Twenty20 players, is one of the few in this squad with experience of the Indian Premier League even though he has not played at a stadium which will be staging its first international.

His advice to team-mates who will never have seen anything like this, not even at the Ageas Bowl, will be to keep it simple.

‘I think the biggest tip I got before I played in front of such big crowds was, “Just back yourself”,’ said Morgan. ‘The ball remains the same size, the field’s the same and they still have 11 players.’

One player who knows all about big Twenty20 crowds is Luke Wright, who forced himself back in the England team with his success in the IPL and, most particularly, Australia’s Big Bash. He has been playing for the Melbourne Stars in the last couple of weeks and will return there after Christmas.

Big hitter: Luke Wright flies into India from the Big Bash

Big hitter: Luke Wright flies into India from the Big Bash

‘I haven’t spoken to Wrighty yet but I will because his experience of domestic cricket around the world will be invaluable,’ said Morgan. ‘We’ve seen in the Big Bash that he’s performing just as he was in the World Twenty20.’

That World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka saw England make a meek and disappointing defence of their trophy but this can hardly be seen as the first steps towards the next one in Bangladesh in 2014 because so many are missing.

The Indian board wanted England to stay for Christmas to move into the limited-overs leg without a break, but when the tourists refused, this compromise was made. The 50-over team will come back in early January for five matches.

It is far from satisfactory but such are the modern demands on players that it is understandable and at least these games provide more invaluable experience for exciting young talents like Somerset batsman Jos Buttler, Hampshire spinner Danny Briggs and, if he gets a chance, Middlesex seamer James Harris, who was added to the squad when Broad had to pull out.

Big hitter: Job Buttler will be handed the chance to shine on the subcontinent

Big hitter: Job Buttler will be handed the chance to shine on the subcontinent

As well as having an opportunity to impress the selectors, England’s young guns are also in the IPL window. So far only Morgan and Pietersen among England players have lucrative contracts for the next cash-fest but the problem, as Indian captain MS Dhoni said yesterday, is one of availability.
Any centrally contracted England player can only play for a month at most in the IPL before they have to report back for the early summer Test series.

‘If the England players could be here for 45-50 days I could see a lot of them coming to the IPL,’ said Dhoni. ‘You have to be a special player, like Kevin Pietersen, for a franchise to say, “Let’s bank on this player”, even if he is only available for a few games.’

Jonny Bairstow kept wicket when England last played a Twenty20 match in Sri Lanka, but even in the absence of Craig Kieswetter, he may be forced to share the keeping responsibilities here with Buttler. Both took the gloves during practice under the Pune lights.

Kevin Pietersen to get tattoo to mark England"s win over India

KP is tat it again: Pietersen to get ANOTHER tattoo to mark historic India win

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UPDATED:

17:51 GMT, 19 December 2012

Inked up: Kevin Pietersen is considering adding to his body art

Inked up: Kevin Pietersen is considering adding to his body art

Kevin Pietersen is considering getting another tattoo on his right arm to mark England’s historic Test series win in India.

England won a series in India for the first time in nearly 28 years this winter despite their rocky start and Pietersen returned from his exile to be key to that success.

Pietersen is no stranger to body art, having already marked his three Ashes victories and one World Twenty20 success on his right bicep, as well as having a number of tattoos elsewhere on his body.

He tweeted to his near one million
followers: ‘Does 2012 deserve a spot on my arm Ashes 05, 09, 10/11
& World T20 on already.. Winning in India surely does guys’

Meanwhile,
Pietersen’s successful ‘reintegration’ into the England team will be
officially acknowledged with the award of his full central contract at
the end of this historic tour of India.

One of the most acrimonious episodes in modern English cricket, which began when Sportsmail
revealed that Pietersen had sent ‘provocative’ texts to South African
opponents about Andrew Strauss last summer, will come to an official end
when the four-month trial contract he was handed ahead of this trip is
extended to a full year.

Get in there! Pietersen returned to the England team after a troubled summer and had a memorable series against India

Get in there! Pietersen returned to the England team after a troubled summer and had a memorable series against India

Look at tat: Pietersen is a tattoo fan

Look at tat: Pietersen is a tattoo fan

The 32-year-old batsman has been a model
professional throughout England’s 2-1 series win, their first in India
for 28 years, vindicating the decision to add him to the squad both with
his behaviour and the superlative century in Mumbai which transformed
the series.

And Andy Flower, who was badly hurt
by the wearying saga last summer, confirmed that Pietersen has mended
all the bridges during one of the most successful tours in modern
English memory.

‘The contract won’t be a problem,’ said Flower in the aftermath of the drawn final Test in Nagpur.

‘Kevin
has been excellent in every way. We don’t all always get on with people
all of the time, any of us in any walk of life, and everyone has made
an effort to make it work. It’s been really good fun and he should be
very proud of the way he’s operated out here both as an individual and
as a player.’

Feelings ran high last summer and
there was no guarantee that a fragile peace-pact would hold in the
demanding environment of India but from the word go here it has been as
though Pietersen never uttered the words: ‘It’s not easy being me.’

Flower
added: ‘We did move on from it as soon as we had our meetings and
everyone made a commitment to do so. I want to continue that moving
forward. We want to learn from the past but we don’t want to keep on
revisiting it. He’ll have a little break over Christmas, like a lot of
the guys, and he’ll be back for the one-day series.’