Tag Archives: selection

Australia announce Ashes squad: Brad Haddin recalled as Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus miss out

Veteran Haddin recalled as Australia announce 16-man squad heading to England in bid to win back the Ashes

PUBLISHED:

02:22 GMT, 24 April 2013

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UPDATED:

02:30 GMT, 24 April 2013

Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has been named as Australia vice-captain for the upcoming Ashes series in England.

The 35-year-old replaces Shane Watson, who stepped down as Michael Clarke's deputy after the troubled tour on India but remains part of the 16-man squad.

National selector John Inverarity said: 'We feel it's important to have a senior, seasoned player support Michael at this time.

Return the Urn: Michael Clarke (centre), Steve Waugh (left) and Mark Taylor before today's squad unveiling

Return the Urn: Michael Clarke (centre), Steve Waugh (left) and Mark Taylor before today's squad unveiling

Key dates

June 26-29: v Somerset

July 2-5: v Worcs

July 10-14: 1st Test, Trent Bridge

July 18-22: 2nd Test, Lord's

July 26-28: v Sussex

August 1-5: 3rd Test, Old Trafford

August 9-13: 4th Test, Durham

August 16-17: v Northants

August 21-25: 5th Test, The Oval

'When Shane Watson advised of his
decision to stand down, the NSP (national selection panel) viewed Brad
as the exceptional candidate to step into this leadership void.'

Matthew Wade, who has been Australia's first-choice wicketkeeper of late, will also travel to England.

'Matthew Wade is a very good cricketer and remains central to our plans for the future,' Inverarity added.

Left-arm seamer James Faulkner is the only uncapped player to be named, with Mitchell Johnson missing out.

Chris Rogers, the 35-year-old batsman
who has just one Test cap to his name, also makes the squad and seamer
Ryan Harris returns.

'Chris Rogers is a hardened
first-class cricketer and has been given a deserved opportunity on the
back of sustained run-scoring in both Australia and England over many
seasons,' said Inverarity.

Eyes on the prize: Brad Haddin has been recalled to the Australia squad to tour England this summer

Eyes on the prize: Brad Haddin has been recalled to the Australia squad to tour England this summer

'James Faulkner has also been given
an opportunity after impressing in recent months as an all-rounder. His
performance in last month's Bupa Sheffield Shield final was compelling
and he has now produced three consistently good seasons with the ball at
Shield level for Tasmania.

'He is a player who is seldom out of the game for long. He takes wickets, forms partnerships and makes valuable runs.

'Ryan Harris has regained fitness and
it is great to have such a very highly regarded and well-performed pace
bowler back in the mix.'

Fawad Ahmed, the Pakistan-born
leg-spinner who has not yet received his Australian passport, has not
been included, leaving Nathan Lyon as the only spinner in the 16.

Ahmed also misses out on the 14-man
Australia A squad to tour the British Isles ahead of the Ashes, which
contains a number of players from the senior squad including Haddin, who
will captain the side, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Harris, Jackson
Bird and Nathan Lyon.

Steven Smith, who misses out on a
place in the Ashes squad despite some creditable performances in India,
is vice-captain of the A side.

Smith is one of five men to drop out
from the India squad – along with Johnson, Moises Henriques, Xavier
Doherty and Glenn Maxwell – which slipped to a 4-0 series defeat amid
high-profile problems with discipline.

Revenge: England were convincing 3-1 series winners in the 2010-11 series

Revenge: England were convincing 3-1 series winners in the 2010-11 series

Inverarity added: 'The tour to India was very demanding and a learning experience for all.

'The result was unacceptable and the
players, coaches, support staff and NSP are smarting from those
performances and are galvanised to ensure that we play tough,
competitive cricket throughout the Ashes.'

The first Ashes Test begins at Trent
Bridge on July 10, with two tour matches before that, while Australia A
will take on Scotland, Ireland and Gloucestershire, with the first match
getting under way in Edinburgh on June 7.

Lawrence Booth, Sportsmail cricket writer and editor of Wisden, gives a run down on the Australian squad heading to England for the Ashes series this summer

Michael Clarke

MICHAEL CLARKE (c)
AGE: 32
CAPS: 92
VERDICT: World cricket's in-form batsman in 2012, the captain will need to score three hundreds to give Australia a chance.

Brad Haddin

BRAD HADDIN (vc)
AGE: 35
CAPS: 44
VERDICT: Ousted by Wade behind the stumps, he's a spiky character who England would rather not have to deal with.

JACKSON BIRD

JACKSON BIRD
AGE: 26
CAPS: 2
VERDICT: Seam bowler who is not particularly fast but his ability to swing the ball both ways has proven very successful in domestic cricket.

Ed Cowan

ED COWAN
AGE: 30
CAPS: 17
VERDICT: Steady, cerebral left-handed opener, but unlikely to frighten the England attack.

Phillip Hughes

PHILLIP HUGHES
AGE: 24
CAPS: 24
VERDICT: England have exploited his vulnerability outside off stump in the past – expect more of the same, plus a peppering of short stuff.

David Warner

DAVID WARNER
AGE: 26
CAPS: 19
VERDICT: Another left-handed opener, he has the potential to destroy the opposition, but inconsistent at Test level. Jimmy Anderson will fancy swinging the ball into him.

Urn the victory: Former England captain Andrew Strauss led Eng;and to victory in the last series

Urn the victory: Former England captain Andrew Strauss led Eng;and to victory in the last series

James Faulkner

JAMES FAULKNER
AGE: 22
CAPS: 0
VERDICT: A left-arm seamer and hard-hitting batsman, the 22-year-old Faulkner is an outsider for a Test spot – but look out for him in the shorter stuff.

USMAN

USMAN KHAWAJA
AGE: 26
CAPS: 6
VERDICT: Left-handed top order batsman who was one of the four players dropped ahead of the third Test in India following a breach of discipline.

Shane Watson

SHANE WATSON
AGE: 31
CAPS: 41
VERDICT: Averaging only 25 since the start of 2011, he needs a big series to prove he was right to quit the vice-captaincy. Could do with bowling too.

Matthew Wade

MATTHEW WADE
AGE: 25
CAPS: 12
VERDICT: His batting can be punchy, but his glovework is shaky. And he's a place too high at No 6.

Nathan Lyon

NATHAN LYON
AGE: 25
CAPS: 22
VERDICT: Australia's first-choice spinner is tidy but unthreatening, and his confidence was knocked recently when he was dropped in India.

Ryan Harris

RYAN HARRIS
AGE: 33
CAPS: 12
VERDICT: Fast and hostile, as he showed when England lost at Perth in 2010-11. Only trouble is, he's rarely fit.

Home of cricket: The first Test in the five match series will take place at Lord's in north London

Home of cricket: The first Test in the five match series will take place at Lord's in north London

cHRIS rOGERS

CHRIS ROGERS
AGE: 35
CAPS: 1
VERDICT: Another left handed top order batsman whose one and only cap came against India in 2008. Played country cricket so is used to English conditions.

James Pattinson

JAMES PATTINSON
AGE: 22
CAPS: 10
VERDICT: Young, hungry, angry and highly talented. He will be the bowler England's batsmen fear most.

Rain on their parade: The Aussies will be hoping they have their own reasons to celebrate on English soil

Rain on their parade: The Aussies will be hoping they have their own Sprinkler Dance on English soil

Peter Siddle

PETER SIDDLE
AGE: 28
CAPS: 41
VERDICT: The workhorse of Australia's seam attack, he has improved hugely over the last year. But will he be bowled into the ground

Mitchell Starc

MITCHELL STARC
AGE: 23
CAPS: 9
VERDICT: Tall left-arm seamer who could be Australia's best chance of keeping Alastair Cook quiet. Can bat a bit too.

Arsenal financial figures show 123m in the bank after 17m six-month profit

Arsenal fans up in arms about unspent 123m cashpot while rivals leave them in the dust

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Protests: Arsenal fans have grown frustrated with a lack of spending compared with high ticket prices

Protests: Arsenal fans have grown frustrated with a lack of spending compared with high ticket prices

The Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST) said
the figures highlighted the need for the club to spend more money on
team strengthening.

An AST spokesman said: 'These figures
contain few surprises. They show that Arsenal yet again made a profit
from the sale of their best players and that the club has large cash
reserves.

'Arsenal fans have contributed to this financial health through paying some of the highest ticket prices in world football. A further improvement in the club's financial strength is expected when new TV monies and commercial deals come on stream in 2013 and 2014. AST members want to see this money used for more, and better, investment in the team'

'The results also show the club does spend considerable money on wages, approximately 150m per annum. But the football decisions made on player investment, player selection and player wage levels are not delivering a more competitive team.

'The AST believes the club are financially well set to improve on the decline of the last few seasons. The remaining question is whether it has the boardroom leadership and football decision making expertise to make the money count.'

Six Nations 2013: England name team to play Ireland

Twelvetrees, Barritt, Haskell and Youngs all start for England in Ireland… (as Sportsmail predicted)

By
Rob Wildman

PUBLISHED:

10:15 GMT, 8 February 2013

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UPDATED:

10:19 GMT, 8 February 2013

We called it first…

Sportsmail's Chris Foy once again predicted England's line up correctly earlier this week

England confirmed this morning James Haskell will make his first in the Six Nations for two years when Stuart Lancaster’s team face Ireland, on Sunday, in Dublin.

The 27-year-old, who took himself off to play in Japan and New Zealand following England’s disastrous 2011 Rugby World Cup, starts at blindside flanker following the injury to Ben Morgan in last Saturday’s win over Scotland.

Tom Wood moves across to cover for Morgan at No 8 in a starting team which is otherwise unchanged from the one which beat Scotland 38-18.

Starting role: Haskell is given the nod at blindside with Wood moving to No 8

Starting role: Haskell is given the nod at blindside with Wood moving to No 8

ENGLAND (v Ireland, Dublin, Sunday, kick off 3pm):

Goode (Saracens);
Ashton (Saracens), Barritt (Saracens), Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Brown
(Harlequins); Farrell (Saracens), Ben Youngs (Leicester); Marler
(Harlequins), Tom Youngs (Leicester), Cole (Leicester), Launchbury
(Wasps), Parling (Leicester), Haskell (Wasps), Robshaw (Harlequins,
capt), Wood (Northampton).

Subs: Hartley (Northampton), Wilson (Bath), M Vunipola (Saracens), Lawes
(Northampton); Waldrom (Leicester), Care (Harlequins), Flood
(Leicester), Tuilagi (Leicester).

Haskell’s place on the bench from last week goes to Leicester’s Thomas Waldrom. Another new face among the reserves is centre Manu Tuilagi who takes over from David Strettle.

For head coach Lancaster, the biggest selection decision this week was whether to opt for fit-again Tuilagi over Billy Twelvetrees who had an impressive debut against Scotland.

But as predicted in Sportsmail this week he has opted to stay with the Gloucester player and Saracens’ Brad Barritt, leaving Tuilagi as an impact man to come off the bench. Lancaster has also decided to keep Tom Youngs at hooker ahead of Dylan Hartley.

For Haskell, who will be winning his 47th cap, it is vindication for his decision to return to England last spring and to rejoin his old club of Wasps.

Centre of attention: Barritt retains his place alongside Twelvetrees

Centre of attention: Barritt retains his place alongside Twelvetrees

His last start for England in the Six Nations came two years ago in the same game when Martin Johnson's team went to Dublin in search of a Grand Slam and lost.

Haskell, however, believes his world trip has made him a more ‘enriched person’ and spoke this week about a new mood in the England camp.

He said: ‘Running out to play for England is just as exciting as it ever was. I’ll keep playing for as long as they want me.’

Come in No 2: Tom Youngs starts ahead of Dylan Hartley at hooker

Come in No 2: Tom Youngs starts ahead of Dylan Hartley at hooker

Lancaster said he had made some difficult decisions. He explained: ‘With Manu coming back into the equation it gave us some selection decisions. But with the centres playing well last week and Manu still returning to match fitness, having not played for the last four weeks, he and others will give us great options from the bench in what I am sure will be a physical encounter.'

England also announced that they would be taking 24 players to Ireland for Sunday’s match as Sale’s uncapped prop Henry Thomas will act as travelling reserve.

Stoke City defence among best in Europe

Europe's meanest defences: Bayern, Juventus, PSG, Malaga and… Stoke

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 23 December 2012

It was not the prettiest way to earn a point, but Stoke City will not care about that. The goalless draw for Tony Pulis’s side at Tottenham was their eighth consecutive match unbeaten – their best run since returning to the top flight in 2008.

‘You have to respect them,’ said Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas. ‘I admire other types of football, but you have to respect Stoke.’

The foundation of their form has been defence: the best in the Barclays Premier League in terms of goals conceded (just 13 in 18 games) and clean sheets (nine). Here is a closer look at what Villas-Boas calls one of the ‘best defences in Europe’.

Cornered: Kyle Walker of Spurs faces a wall of Stoke defiance

Cornered: Kyle Walker of Spurs faces a wall of Stoke defiance

HARD WORK

Stoke’s work-rate is frightening. They chase and hurry their opponents, closing them down within seconds, and get back into position quickly. They tired a little during the second half against Tottenham, but you could not help but applaud and admire Stoke’s work ethic and intensity at White Hart Lane.

‘We do work very, very hard,’ said Pulis. ‘There’s a great spirit among the lads. They’ve had a Christmas party by themselves – everybody turned up and had a great night and they took the wives out and had a great night with their wives.’

CONSISTENT SELECTION

Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth have started every Premier League game in central defence for Stoke this season. Compare that to Steven Caulker of Spurs, who has partnered Michael Dawson, William Gallas and Jan Vertonghen.

Leading by example: Captain Ryan Shawcross marshals the back four

Leading by example: Captain Ryan Shawcross marshals the back four

Stoke’s success is based on each player knowing their role in the system, while the manager offers constant reminders as he barks instructions from the touchline.

‘We spend a lot of time on our system,’ said Pulis. ‘And if the players don’t, they don’t play.’ Simple.

DEFENDING DEEP

Stoke’s back four seem to squeeze the final third of the pitch, leaving no space behind for their opponents to exploit. It took Tottenham at least 20 minutes to realise Jermain Defoe was not going to be effective playing as the most advanced striker because there was no opportunity to sprint on to a through ball – or anything delivered over the top.

Emmanuel Adebayor was sent up to do aerial battle with Shawcross and Huth, but there was no chance for Defoe to pounce on the second ball.

WHO’S GEOFF CAMERON

Stoke’s right back on Saturday used to play for Rhode Island Stingrays. The USA international has been quietly impressive since his move from Houston Dynamo last summer. Not many players frustrate Gareth Bale so much that he moves to the right wing.

The gaffer: Pulis gives his instructions from the touchline

The gaffer: Pulis gives his instructions from the touchline

64 keeping it clean.jpg

HEIGHT

Aaron Lennon had no chance on Saturday, did he Stoke’s back four lines up like a rugby second row: Cameron (6ft 3in), Huth (6ft 3in), Shawcross (6ft 3in) and Wilkinson (5ft 11in). They seize advantage at corners and set-pieces and force opponents to play the ball to feet.

PLAYING ON THE COUNTER

Stoke counter-attack with pace, power and discipline, something Kenwyne Jones and Jon Walters did particularly well on Saturday. But Stoke average less than a goal a game this season as the joint lowest scorers in the top flight along with QPR and Aston Villa. They have scored only 15 goals.

NO-ONE LIKES US, WE DON’T CARE

Stoke revel in their reputation as the so-called enemies of football. It can work against them sometimes when it comes to refereeing decisions, but Tottenham knew exactly what to expect on Saturday and yet still could not break them down.

Villas-Boas said: ‘If it was easy, then Stoke wouldn’t have one of the best defences in Europe. They’ve proved that. There’s no space behind, they’re well organised, they do well on the counter and through crosses they are taller than you.

‘When you play through passes, they outnumber you.’

Bradley Wiggins: I"ll follow Team Sky orders and help Chris Froome to Tour de France victory

Wiggins: I'll follow Team Sky orders and help Froome to Le Tour victory

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UPDATED:

22:53 GMT, 18 December 2012

Bradley Wiggins is prepared to play second fiddle to Chris Froome at next year’s Tour de France if ordered to do so by Team Sky.

It has been widely thought that Wiggins, this year’s Tour champion, would be the back-up man in 2013 as the mountainous route appeared to play more to Froome’s strengths.

However, Wiggins has suggested in recent days that he would quite like to mount a proper defence of his title but added: ‘The last four years, all the focus has been on the Tour de France for me, trying to win that race.

Crowning glory: Bradley Wiggins won Sports Personality of the Year last week

Crowning glory: Bradley Wiggins won Sports Personality of the Year last week

'Fortunately I did it this year, then it’s deciding what to do next, (maybe) going back as defending champion next year to try to win a second Tour de France.

‘We’re very fortunate that we have two people that can win the Tour de France. It could be Chris Froome on the day, it could be me, but once we get on that line we all have a professional obligation. We saw this year what Chris did for me, it could be that I’ll be doing that for him next year for the team to win.’

Wiggins, 32, expects Team Sky to go into the Tour with a clear idea of their leader, saying: ‘You go out there with a plan. That plan may change during the race but you certainly start out with a game plan and follow that game plan as much as possible.

‘If that’s Chris Froome then the whole eight riders will commit to Chris.’

World class: Wiggins' Great Britain and Sky team-mate Chris Froome

World class: Wiggins' Great Britain and Sky team-mate Chris Froome

Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford has shown in the past that he is prepared to make big selection decisions and Froome revealed: ‘The team are saying they are going to back me with the Tour this year. That’s directly from Dave Brailsford. He said, “You’re our man for the Tour. Focus on it”.’

However, Brailsford seems to have wavered slightly but Wiggins believes having two potential winners is a good thing.

He said: ‘It always helps to have strength in numbers, it’s a nice problem to have.

‘So much is made of the negative aspects of having two leaders who could potentially win, but very little has been said about the positive side. We finished one and two this year, so it’s always a nice problem to have.’

Meanwhile, Team Sky have confirmed the signing of British rider Josh Edmondson, 20, on a two-year contract.

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: Revealed – Anderson swings both ways and young Root is no monumental blocker

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: Revealed – Anderson swings both ways and Nasser is the ice man

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UPDATED:

18:26 GMT, 14 December 2012

JIMMY HAPPY TO BE STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH KP

Jimmy Anderson was awesome. He is an exceptional performer, an artist with the ball. He bowls natural swing, then reverse swing, he's accurate, he's got pace. He also hit the middle stumps of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag. When he celebrated that Sehwag dismissal, it was obvious there was a lot of lurve between Anderson and Kevin Pietersen – they had come up with a plan to bowl an early inswinger at Sehwag and it worked. So it's official, Anderson swings both ways!

James Anderson

James Anderson

King of the swingers: James Anderson took phenomenal figures of three for 24 in Nagpur today

ROOT'S NO CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCKER

Joe Root has made a memorable start to his Test career. He looked so assured, but don't think for a minute that he's just a monumental blocker. He's an attractive player in county cricket. He simply played the situation here, and the way he opened his hands and played spin reminded me of Geoffrey Boycott. The fact he's playing so well in India at just 21 is down to natural talent plus the great people round him in England's camp. They wanted him in the team and it's a terrific selection.

Howzat: England No 6 Joe Root posted a picture of his early batting career yesterday. He was no dummy...

Howzat: England No 6 Joe Root posted a picture of his early batting career yesterday. He was no dummy…

SHAME CHAMPION SACHIN ISN'T GOING OUT ON A HIGH

Sachin Tendulkar is an icon, a complete champion. The whole of India wanted him to succeed and he was simply trying to stay in on what is not an easy pitch but he got a perfect delivery from Anderson. When he was in his pomp, England had no idea where to bowl at Sachin – now they know they can get at him. It's sad because you want to see a champion go out on a real high.

CAPTAIN COOK IS FIVE OVERS AHEAD OF THE GAME

We all thought Alastair Cook would be a clone of Andrew Strauss as captain, be fairly cautious and wait for things to happen but he is showing real signs of being his own man and coming up with innovative plans. He looks as though he is five overs ahead of the game and that is an invaluable asset as skipper.

I GOT HIT ON THE BONCE A LOT… WHICH EXPLAINS A LOT

Cook started off with young Joe Root stationed at short leg. It's always the same, the young pro gets thrust in there and it's not right. It's a specialist position and you need someone with a feel for standing there – like Ian Bell. So Cook replaced Root with Bell who then took a stunning reflex catch. You've got to be a bit daft to stand at short leg – I fielded there for 19 years! I didn't wear any protective equipment either but I never got hit in the crown jewels…although I did got hit lots on the bonce, which may explain a bit.

Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain

Grin and bear it: Bumble's Sportsmail colleague Nasser Hussain and family have been wrapping up warm…

ICE-COOL NASSER… AND MRS NASSER

With all this inclement weather in
England, the boiler has packed up at Hussain Towers! There was lots of
Twitter advice saying his condenser pipe had frozen and it needed a
kettle of hot water poured on to release the ice and kick-start the
boiler. All well and good, but when the 100 call-out fee was mentioned,
Nasser turned white as a sheet. He then said he'll leave it for now and
has advised Mrs Hussain to put on another jacket or go for a brisk
walk.

More from David Lloyd…

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: On your bikes, lads… Get on with the flipping game, India… You're 2-1 down!I was expecting someone to bring you tea and sarnies
13/12/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: A billion reasons why India must improve… (and leave Samit alone)
09/12/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: It's a case of 'after you Claude' for captain Cook but England can rely on their attack
07/12/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: Cook and Compo are good neighbours (they have the perfect blend)… but Che Pujara won't revolutionise fielding
06/12/12

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: How I nodded off and woke up dreaming of Monty and Bruno (but Beefy's wrong, it had nothing to do with Timothy Taylor)
05/12/12

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: Rolling Stones fan Bumble says – It's only an England Test victory in India… but I like it, like it, yes I do!
26/11/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: Atherton is right, KP is a genius… but Monty and Co proved England can beat India at their own game
25/11/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: Why Monty bowling on this pitch is 'Satisfaction' guaranteed… but unlike that old rocker Beefy, 'Wild Horses' can't drag me away from the cricket

23/11/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Kevin Pietersen says Nagpur pitch was his toughest challenge yet after England"s slow start

Nagpur pitch was my toughest challenge yet, says Pietersen after hitting a watchful 73

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UPDATED:

21:32 GMT, 13 December 2012

Kevin Pietersen described the Nagpur pitch as the ‘toughest’ he had encountered in his 92-Test career as England crawled to 199 for five on the crucial first day of the fourth Test against India.

England’s No 4 faced 188 balls for his 73 — one of the slowest innings of his career — and described the task ahead for Alastair Cook’s team as ‘an incredible challenge’ as they seek a first series win in this country for nearly 28 years.

Tough test: Pietersen hit an obdurate 72 before falling to Ravindra Jadeja

Tough test: Pietersen hit an obdurate 73 before falling to Ravindra Jadeja (FILE IMAGE)

‘It is the toughest wicket I have played Test cricket on in terms of trying to play strokes,’ he said. ‘The Indians think this is the kind of wicket they can produce to pull the series back.’

Pietersen suggested the day’s play,
which saw a run-rate of 2.05 an over, must have proved a turn-off for
TV audiences, with only 21 fours struck in 97 overs.

‘The
viewers have got no interest in what I’ve got to say because they
switched off four or five hours ago,’ he said. ‘It’s an incredible
challenge for the lads to see what we can get out of this over the next
four days.’

Pietersen
did, however, suggest England’s selection of two seam bowlers (Jimmy
Anderson and Tim Bresnan) to India’s one (Ishant Sharma) could yet help
the tourists in their hunt for an historic 3-1 series win. ‘We are in a
position of strength by having two seamers,’ he said. ‘I found Ishant
incredibly difficult to play.’

But Indian debutant Ravindra Jadeja, who removed both Pietersen and Jonathan Trott, defended India’s selection policy, saying: ‘It was a good decision to play four spinners because it will help us in the second innings, when there will be more footmarks.’

How have England turned it around so successfully after opening Test defeat in Ahmedabad?

How have England turned it around so successfully after opening Test defeat in Ahmedabad

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UPDATED:

22:37 GMT, 8 December 2012

Outplayed in the opening Test, England will be dreaming of a first series win in India for 27 years if they can finish things off in Kolkata today. Here’s how they have made it happen…

Key omission: Monty Panesar (FILE PHOTO)

Key omission: Monty Panesar (FILE PHOTO)

Picking the right team

The decision to play just one frontline spinner — Graeme Swann — in the first Test in Ahmedabad proved costly. The recall of Monty Panesar might be the single biggest factor in England turning around the series. He took 11 wickets in Mumbai and has five so far in Kolkata.

Preying on ageing stars

A team full of ageing greats such as Sachin Tendulkar (right) unravelled in the second Test. That more focus was lavished on the pitch than England ahead of Mumbai laid bare India’s lack of faith in their own abilities, which the tourists ruthlessly exploited.

Bowling well

Poor team selection in the first Test was compounded by the performance of England’s seamers. Tim Bresnan was axed immediately and Stuart Broad after Mumbai. James Anderson, poor in Ahmedabad, has been superb, while Steven Finn totally eclipsed Broad.

Finally getting big runs

Alastair Cook’s 176 in Ahmedabad, the first of three centuries, kick-started a phenomenal run from the captain and showed his team-mates big runs could be scored. Kevin Pietersen followed in Mumbai as England found the knack of amassing large totals.

Working out the spinners

The figures of Ravi Ashwin in England’s second innings in the first Test told their own story as he leaked 111 runs in 43 overs for the solitary wicket of Swann. He was quickly worked out and has since had more impact with the bat. Pragyan Ojha has been India’s best spinner, but he is no Saeed Ajmal.

BBC Sports Personality of the Year shortlist revealed

Five women in race for BBC Sports Personality of the Year award as Olympic and Paralympic stars dominate shortlist

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UPDATED:

19:55 GMT, 26 November 2012

Names in the frame…

Nicola Adams (boxing)
Ben Ainslie (sailing)
Jessica Ennis (athletics)
Mo Farah (athletics)
Katherine Grainger (rowing)
Sir Chris Hoy (cycling)
Rory McIlroy (golf)
Andy Murray (tennis)
Ellie Simmonds (swimming)
Sarah Storey (cycling)
David Weir (athletics)
Bradley Wiggins (cycling)

*The winner will be announced on Sunday, December 16

Five women are among the 12 contenders for this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year award after a gold-coated 2012 for Great Britain.

In an Olympic and Paralympic-dominated list, Games poster-girl Jessica Ennis will be up against double-gold winner Mo Farah, as well as rower Katherine Grainger.

After last year’s outcry at the lack of women on the list, the BBC is sure to attract less criticism with this more balanced selection.

In 2011 both Keri-Anne Payne and
Rebecca Adlington won gold medals in the World Championships, and yet
neither featured on the shortlist. Though some women have tended to be
included as a rule, in both 2009 and 2010 there were only two female
athletes on the list.

There have also been only 13 female
winners in the history of the award, and only three since the turn of
the century. The last to win was Zara Phillips, who took home the trophy
in 2006 after winning gold in the World Equestrian Games.

This year Ellie Simmonds, Nicola
Adams and Sarah Storey will make an appearance alongside Ennis and
Grainger, while on the male side three of last year’s finalists will
also return.

Andy Murray, Mo Farah and Rory
McIlroy have all made the list for the second year running, and they are
joined by Bradley Wiggins, David Weir, Sir Chris Hoy and Ben Ainslie.

Going for gold: Bradley Wiggins won the time trial at the Olympics

On top of the world: Wiggins celebrates his Tour de France victory

On top of the world: Bradley Wiggins rode time-trial glory (left) at the Olympics after his Tour de France win

Storming home: Mo Farah celebrates winning the 5000m final at the Olympics

Storming home: Mo Farah celebrates winning the 5000m final at the Olympics before doing the Mobot (below)

Storming home: Mo Farah celebrates winning the 5000m final at the Olympics

Reach for the stars: Jessica Ennis landed the Olympic heptathlon in the summer

Reach for the stars: Jessica Ennis landed the Olympic heptathlon in the summer

Reach for the stars: Jessica Ennis landed the Olympic heptathlon in the summer

TODAY'S POLL

Who should win Sports Personality of the Year

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Bradley Wiggins

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Daily Mail Head of Sport Lee Clayton was among the judges who selected the shortlist.

Adams may be a newcomer as far as
Olympic sport is concerned, but she has made quite an impact during her
short time in the public eye. The 30-year-old flyweight from Leeds
became the first ever female Olympic boxing champion this year,
overcoming Ren Cancan of China in the historic final.

Ainslie on the other hand is anything
but a newcomer. He carried the flag at the Olympic closing ceremony
after becoming the first sailor
to win medals in five different Olympics after taking his fourth gold
in the Finn class.

Packing a punch: Nicola Adams won an army of fans during her Olympic triumph in the ring

Packing a punch: Nicola Adams won an army of fans during her Olympic triumph in the ring

Packing a punch: Nicola Adams won an army of fans during her Olympic triumph in the ring

King of the waves: Ben Ainslie enjoyed another superb Olympics

King of the waves: Ben Ainslie enjoyed another superb Olympics

King of the waves: Ben Ainslie enjoyed another superb Olympics
Last 10 SPOTY winners…

2011: Mark Cavendish (cycling)
2010: Tony McCoy (horse racing)
2009: Ryan Giggs (football)
2008: Chris Hoy (cycling)
2007: Joe Calzaghe (boxing)
2006: Zara Phillips (show jumping)
2005: Andrew Flintoff (cricket)
2004: Kelly Holmes (athletics)
2003: Johnny Wilkinson (rugby)
2002: Paula Radcliffe (marathon)

Hoy is another veteran. He has
already won Sports Personality of the Year once, after bringing three
gold medals home from Beijing in 2008. This year he surpassed Sir Steve
Redgrave to become the most successful British Olympian ever. He added
two more gold medals to his record in the team sprint and the keirin,
giving him six gold and one silver overall in the Games.

It’s the third time Ennis has made an
appearance on the shortlist, and having taken third place twice, it may
be third time lucky for Britain’s golden girl. The heptathlete narrowly
missed out on being named Female Athlete of the Year earlier in
November.

Ennis not only won gold in the
Olympics, but did so in spectacular fashion. Her time in the 100m
hurdles would have been enough to win her gold in the individual hurdles
in Beijing four years ago, and was also a new British record. She then
went on to achieve personal bests in both the 200m and the javelin,
which was previously considered her weak spot.

Grainger is another familiar name.
The Scot took silver in the double sculls in three consecutive Olympic
Games, but after teaming up with Anna Watkins in 2010, the duo became
unbeatable, taking the last two world titles. They won their 2012
Olympic heat in a time that was nearly five seconds below the previous
Olympic record. They went on to win gold, with Grainger becoming the
most successful female British rower of all time.

The facial expression of Mo Farah as
he crossed the line in the 5,000m has become an iconic image of the
summer Games. 2012 was the most successful year of the Somalia-born
runner’s career and he is now one of only seven men to have won both the
5,000 and 10,000m at the Olympic Games. Sebastian Coe described Farah
as arguably being the best British runner of all time, and a poll of
2,000 people named his gold medal double win the most inspiring moment
of the Games.

Double delight: Katherine Grainger (left) won the double sculls with Anna Watkins

Double delight: Katherine Grainger (left) won the double sculls with Anna Watkins

Double delight: Katherine Grainger (left) won the double sculls with Anna Watkins

Speed demon: Sir Chris Hoy won two more golds at the London Games

Speed demon: Sir Chris Hoy won two more golds at the London Games

Speed demon: Sir Chris Hoy won two more golds at the London Games

McIlroy is another man who had his finest year in 2012. The Northern-Irish golfer became the world
No 1 for the first time, and had 15 top 10 finishes. He took his fifth
title of the year in Dubai, after having put in a winning performance
for Europe in the Ryder Cup. He looks set to be named as the
Player of the Year by the US PGA Tour, after he became the youngest
multiple major champion since Seve Ballesteros in 1980 by winning the PGA Championship.

Reaction from the shortlised stars

Rory McIlroy: 'It is a real honour to be nominated two years in a row. With it being an Olympic year, and with so many outstanding achievements in British sport in 2012, the voting is sure to go right down to the wire.'

Nicola Adams: 'I didn't expect to be nominated, let along make the short list. There are so many big names on the list, and so many others who didn't make it, that I am just happy to be part of it.

'I have watched Sports Personality of the Year for years and I never once thought I would be part of it. I would have been happy enough with my gold medal. Everything that is happening now is just a bonus.'

It has been a long wait for Murray,
and there were many who claimed he would never manage it. But the Scot
proved all his doubters wrong in 2012 with a stellar year of success. He
may have missed out on the Wimbledon title, but having made the final
at all was a huge leap for Murray.

After a crushing defeat at the hands
of Roger Federer, he took his revenge only weeks later in the Olympic
final where he overcame the Swiss with a straight sets victory. He also
found time to team up with Laura Robson for a silver medal performance
in the doubles, and went on to claim the first Grand Slam title of his
career at Flushing Meadows.

Simmonds was another athlete who
returned home from the summer Games with a double gold. The 18-year-old
Paralympian set a world record time during her victory in both the 200m
individual medley and the 400m S6 freestyle. She had to settle for
silver in the 100m S6 freestyle, despite having set a Paralympic record
in the qualifying rounds, as well as bagging a bronze in the 50m
freestyle.

Storey now has 22 Paralympic medals
to her name, after winning gold in all four of her events this summer.
The former swimmer, now cyclist, won her 11th gold in the C4-5 road
race, finishing minutes before her competitors. This final victory made
her the most successful British Paralympian of the modern era.

Unstoppable: Cyclist Sarah Storey was one of the stars of the Paralympics

Unstoppable: Cyclist Sarah Storey was one of the stars of the Paralympics

Unstoppable: Cyclist Sarah Storey was one of the stars of the Paralympics

Loud and proud: David Weir was astonishing at the Paralympics

Loud and proud: David Weir was astonishing at the Paralympics

Loud and proud: David Weir was astonishing at the Paralympics

Making a splash: Ellie Simmonds lit up the Paralympic pool

Making a splash: Ellie Simmonds lit up the Paralympic pool

Weir also emerged from London with
four gold medals around his neck, triumphing in the 800m, 1,500m, and
5,000m, as well as the marathon. The 33-year-old wheelchair racer became
the greatest of all time with his marathon victory, after a sprint
finish that wowed the crowds.

This year was perhaps the best in
British history for cycling, thanks to Wiggins. The 32-year-old became
the first Briton to win the Tour de France, and followed it immediately
with an Olympic gold in the time trial, his seventh Olympic medal
overall. He is also the only rider in history to win Paris-Nice, the
Tour of Romandy and Criterium du Dauphine in one season.

It is unfortunate for some of those on the list that this was such a stunning year for British sport.

Had Murray taken his first Slam in
any other year, he could have been assured of a good shot at the trophy,
much like Wiggins and his triumph in the Tour de France. Instead, they
will be in contention with the superstars of the London Games, though
the shortlist has been increased from 10 to 12 in recognition of the
talent that has been on show in 2012.

Director of BBC Sport Barbara Slater
said that the selection process had been particularly hard this year,
with the panel having to leave off athletes such as Ian Poulter, Carl
Froch and Richard Hughes, who would have been front-runners in any other
year.

Double glory: Andy Murray triumphed at the Olympics - followed by becoming the first British man to win a Slam in 76 years at the US Open

Double glory: Andy Murray triumphed at the Olympics – followed by becoming the first British man to win a Slam in 76 years at the US Open

Double glory: Andy Murray triumphed at the Olympics - followed by becoming the first British man to win a Slam in 76 years at the US Open

Poulter was the Ryder Cup hero in
2012, after leading a comeback that saw Europe overcome their American
rivals. Richard Hughes also achieved something quite remarkable this
year, in the space of only a few hours. The Irishman rode to seven
victories in one afternoon, equalling a record set by Frankie Dettori in
1996.

Last year’s winner Mark
Cavendish also failed to make the shortlist, as did a few other notable
athletes such as Jonnie Peacock, the Paralympic who stormed to victory
in the T44 100m. Charlotte Dujardin, Laura Trott and Jade Jones are also
absent, despite all taking gold at the Games.

Other gold medals who missed out on a
spot include long-jumper Greg Rutherford, triathlon star Alistair
Brownlee, Paralympic equestrian Sophie Christiansen, wheelchair racer
Hannah Cockcroft and cyclist Jason Kenny.

'We had already extended the
shortlist for the main award this year from 10 to 12, but at times we
all wished it was nearer 15 or 20,' said Slater. 'If we ever needed
reminding just how special a sporting year it has been, then the list of
those sportspeople who did not make the final 12 is testament to that.'

Silver special: Rory McIlroy lifts the US PGA trophy at Kiawah Island

Silver special: Rory McIlroy lifts the US PGA trophy at Kiawah Island

Team effort: McIlroy (left) was also part of the European side that won the Ryder Cup

Team effort: McIlroy (left) was also part of the European side that won the Ryder Cup

I"m a Celebrity: Eric Bristow"s arrows at Helen Flanagan put darts legend in line for the chop – Edge of the Box

Bristow's arrows at Helen and co put darts legend in line for the chop

|

UPDATED:

16:35 GMT, 23 November 2012

Is it me, or has it all got just a little bit genteel in the jungle since it hasn’t been 'The Helen Show' Suddenly, I find myself hankering for the drama and the histrionics surrounding her and the bushtucker trials.

Instead, we have the plucky and straightforward Pussy Cat Doll Ashley nailing her task and winning the camp a Thanksgiving feast, no fuss, no bother.

Mind you, even though she wasn’t the main attraction, Helen still managed to get herself involved and generate a thin lather of soap opera by nicking Ashley’s clean towel when the poor girl returned to the camp coated in goo.

Game for a laugh: Eric Bristow shares a joke with former Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts in the jungle

Game for a laugh: Eric Bristow shares a joke with former Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts in the jungle

So as she nipped off for a well earned shower, Helen was left to complete a task she’d never done before, which was to clean a towel – a task she told the gathered throng, she normally outsources. Which caused David Haye to cry in consternation ‘who sends a towel to the dry cleaners!’.

Of course the whole point of the jungle is to bring together a whole bunch of opposites and see what fits, and what rubs up against each other.

If you want that kind of contrast, look no further than Eric and Hugo walking off into the trees together to listen to records. With treats at stake, the pair had to find numbers hidden in songs they played on a wind up gramophone.

Eye-opener: David Haye was flabbergasted by some of Helen Flanagan's behaviour

Eye-opener: David Haye was flabbergasted by some of Helen Flanagan's behaviour

The music selection totally dumbfounded the young Old Harrovian, but Eric new them all! ‘This was No 1’, he told his posh (Mister Bristow’s word) partner as he sang along to ‘Shaddup You Face’. ‘It was late eighties…loads of c**p records were No 1 then’, before going on to explain the subtle intricacies of ‘The Birdie Song’ .

If Danny Baker ever needs a break from his forthcoming BBC 4 music programme, we’ve got his replacement right here.

Eric was actually in a chirpier mood than he had appeared to be in the last couple of days. He’d recently had a pop at Helen, and last night it was Rosemary’s turn. Yet he remains defiant. ‘I keep taking the mickey’, he told us from the diary room, ‘but if you’re easily upset, you shouldn’t be here’.

Face it Helen, it's not going to get any easier: Bristow has vowed to keep taking the mickey out of Flanagan

Face it Helen, it's not going to get any easier: Bristow has vowed to keep taking the mickey out of Flanagan

Of our trio of sports-connected celebs, I think that ‘take no prisoners’ approach could see Eric the first to take the long walk off a short rope bridge.

But for now, he’s still very much there as it was Limahl – who only turned up, like, two days ago! – proving that, in fact, not all stories are never-ending.

Which means at least Ant, Dec or me don’t get to pun on either of his two hits anymore.