Tag Archives: series

Michael Owen wanted by Strictly Come Dancing and I"m a Celebrity

Race to sign Owen hots up – but it's Strictly and I'm a Celebrity doing battle!

By
Paul Collins

PUBLISHED:

12:27 GMT, 3 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:12 GMT, 3 April 2013

Michael Owen may have failed his screen test to head BT Sport’s new analysis team — but the BBC and ITV are still in a fight to sign him up.

It has been reported that the Stoke striker, who has recently announced he will retire at the end of the season, is at the centre of TV battle between the makers of Strictly Come Dancing and I’m a Celebrity.

Both networks are apparently trying to sign for the autumn series of both shows.

Dancefloor or jungle How Owen might look on Strictly (left) and I'm a Celebrity

Dancefloor or jungle How Owen might look on Strictly (left) and I'm a Celebrity

In demand: The clamour to sign up Owen is in full swing

In demand: The clamour to sign up Owen is in full swing

Retiring: The former England striker, now at Stoke, will call it a day next month

Retiring: The former England striker, now at Stoke, will call it a day next month

Owen is to become a BBC television and radio pundit in his retirement, having made occasional appearances on Match of the Day already this season.

BT Sport, who need a marquee signing from the dressing room to head the analysts team for their Premier League coverage next season, could have been expected to jump at the chance to sign such an illustrious footballer as Owen, whose services have been strongly touted to them.

But the word inside BT headquarters in the Olympic Park is that Owen’s ‘monotone’ displays on the BBC have been considered ‘poor’, although it will help Owen’s Beeb future that their lead presenter Gary Lineker has been supportive.

The first confirmed pundit appointment
for Owen is at Royal Ascot. Racehorse owner and breeder Owen is on a
panel of experts who will be giving tips to the 570-a-head patrons of
the prime Bessborough Restaurant on the Thursday of the Royal meeting in
June.

Owen is also planning to launch a player agency business when he retires from professional football at the end of this season.

Frozen out: Owen has had limited first-team opportunities at Stoke

Frozen out: Owen has had limited first-team opportunities at Stoke

Stoke City centre forward Owen, who has previously starred for Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United, will hang up his boots at the end of his season, bringing the curtain down on a difficult few years in which he has sustained several serious injuries that have chronically limited his game-time.

In a blog on his website former England man Owen explained: ‘On July 1, I propose to set up Michael Owen Management Ltd. focusing on guiding young players through their careers and offering them advice at every juncture of what can be a career full of pitfalls.’

Cesar Azpilicueta says Chelsea team-mates call him Dave

Alright, Dave Azpilicueta says Chelsea team-mates have given up trying to pronounce his name… just like Rodney and Trigger in Only Fools And Horses

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

10:52 GMT, 30 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:49 GMT, 30 March 2013

Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta says his team-mates have dropped their attempts to pronounce his name – and instead simply call the Spaniard ‘Dave’.

The former Marseille full back moved to the Premier League last summer, but his colleagues at Chelsea have struggled to say his surname correctly ever since.

'Cesar’s not even that hard,’ he was quoted in the Daily Telegraph saying. ‘But I suppose Azpilicueta is. Some said my name was too difficult to pronounce and could they call me Dave. It’s stuck. It’s also done affectionately.'

Cesar Azpilicueta

Nicholas Lyndhurst

All right, Dave: Cesar Azpilicueta (left) says his team-mates have given up using his name and have decided to call him 'Dave' like Rodney Trotter (right, centre) was in Only Fools And Horses by the character Trigger

Adapting: Azpilicueta (right) believes he is getting used to the speed of the Premier League

Adapting: Azpilicueta (right) believes he is getting used to the speed of the Premier League

Although Azpilicueta may not know it, his nickname might have been borrowed from one of Britain’s best-loved sitcoms: Only Fools And Horses.

Rodney Trotter struggled throughout the hit TV series, as Trigger failed to use his name because – despite knowing Nicholas Lyndhurst's character well through his brother Derek 'Del Boy' Trotter – he earnestly believed his name was Dave.

Meanwhile, Azpilicueta believes he is adapting to the English style of play, and is beginning to get used to the lifestyle in London with the help of countryman and team-mate Juan Mata.

Azpilicueta told the Guardian: ‘He (Mata) is like a London tour guide,' Azpilicueta told The Guardian. “I say ‘Juan, I want to go out and eat’ and he knows just the place.’

Good friends: Azpilicueta says countryman Juan Mata (right) has helped him settle in London

Good friends: Azpilicueta says countryman Juan Mata (right) has helped him settle in London

Azpilicueta chose to sing Spanish song La Raja de Tu Falda by Estopa as his initiation into the squad. Although his team-mates enjoyed his rendition of the song about a driver who careers off the road because he was staring at an attractive woman, most of it was lost in translation.

He added: 'Some of them danced. But they had no idea what the song was about and they didn’t understand a word.'

VIDEO: Watch one of Rodney and Trigger's finest ever scenes

'My name is Rodney!' Classic Only Fools and Horses

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England are Ashes favourites for good reason, admits Jason Gillespie

England deserve to be Ashes favourites, admits Aussie great Gillespie

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

10:30 GMT, 2 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:45 GMT, 2 February 2013

Yorkshire coach and former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie believes England will deservedly start as favourites for their defence of the Ashes later this year.

England retained the famous urn with an emphatic 3-1 win in the five-match Test series on Australian soil in 2010/11, and have been tipped to dictate terms again when the famous rivalry resumes in July.

Gillespie, having been installed as Yorkshire's first-team coach in 2011, has been able to assess the hosts' preparations first hand, and believes English optimism is well-placed.

Jason Gillespie thinks England's Ashes victories give them the advantage

Odds on: Jason Gillespie thinks England's will be full of confidence

Gillespie took 65 wickets in 18 matches against England

Pedigree: Gillespie took 65 wickets in 18 matches against England

'They are incredibly confident over here but they deserve to start favourites, England, no doubt about it,' Gillespie told The Australian newspaper.

'I think potentially they could underestimate our bowling. I've been speaking about it quite regularly over here and saying, ''Don't underestimate the strength of Australia's pace bowling attack''.

'But England won't underestimate Australia. They're too clever for that and I know the England management has already been doing a lot of research.

'They've been planning and researching for a long time. I've got no doubt they'll be wary.'

Gillespie took 7/37 at Headingley on his first Ashes tour to England

Lethal: Gillespie took 7/37 at Headingley on his first Ashes tour

Gillespie, who claimed 259 wickets in 71 Tests for Australia between 1996 and 2006, expects England's well-established bowling attack to trouble a relatively inexperienced Australian batting line-up.

'England's bowling is very good at the moment,' he said.

'Coming up against the Australian batting order, they will rightly feel they're in the game. They feel they can put Australia under pressure and can have Michael Clarke coming in consistently very early, at two or three down for not very many.

James Anderson could prove to be the difference

Match-winner: James Anderson could prove to be the difference

'James Anderson is one of the best going around. He'll lead the attack, (Steven) Finn is a very good bowler, (Tim) Bresnan is a very good bowler, (Stuart) Broad has had a bit of an up-and-down time but he's also a very good bowler.

'Graeme Swann is one of the best spin bowlers in the world, if not the number one. Their batting is strong and they've got the best wicketkeeper-batsman in the world (Matt Prior) so they're in a good place.'

WHO ARE THE LIKELY BOWLERS IN THE MIX

England: James Anderson, Steven Finn, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, Monty Panesar, Graeme Onions

Australia: Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Xavier Doherty, Jackson Bird, Steven Smith

Alessandro Del Piero and Patrick Dempsey form motor racing team

Italy legend Del Piero forms motor racing team with Hollywood actor Dempsey

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

01:04 GMT, 22 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:04 GMT, 22 January 2013

Former Juventus striker Alessandro Del Piero has formed his own motor racing team together with American actor Patrick Dempsey.

The World Cup winner said Dempsey/Del Piero Racing has submitted an entry for the Le Mans 24 hour race in June and would run two cars in the American Le Mans Series from March.

Branching out: Del Piero's team will enter the Le Mans 24-hour race

Branching out: Del Piero's team will enter the Le Mans 24-hour race

The US-based team will have three riders in the 24-hour race – Dempsey and American veterans Joe Foster and Michael Avenatti. Drivers for the ALMS series have not been announced but Del Piero is not expected to have a driving role.

Del Piero, who now plays for Sydney FC in the Australian league, said he expects the team to be competitive and 'our central focus will be on winning world championships.' Dempsey is best known for his role on 'Grey's Anatomy' but is a racing enthusiast and has previously competed in Le Mans.

Joe Hart – The Footballers" Football Column: I"d have Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney in my all-Premier League team

JOE HART: We go into every game thinking a draw is not a good enough result for us… And I'd have both RVP and Rooney up front in my all-Premier League team

PUBLISHED:

10:54 GMT, 14 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:06 GMT, 14 January 2013

Joe Hart

The latest columnist in MailOnline's exclusive Footballers' Football Column series is Joe Hart, arguably the finest goalkeeper in the Barclays Premier League, England's No 1 and a champion last season with Manchester City. Fresh from yesterday's 2-0 triumph at the Emirates – City's first league win at Arsenal for 37 years – Hart lifts the lid on life on the Carrington training ground, his goalkeeping rivals and Lionel Messi's dress sense.

Hart, an ambassador for head&shoulders, at 25 has made almost 250 senior appearances, 146 of them at City. Watch the video, then enjoy his column…

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With Roberto Mancini we all know where we stand and that's how we work. He sets the team and it's up to us. He's played me so I can't ask for anything more from a manager so I try to repay that faith by playing as well as possible and training hard.

He's got his methods and we do our best to adapt to them but it's up to us, basically, when we go on the field.

It's different for me in training because I disappear and for 80 per cent of the training I'm nowhere near him. But he's got his ways, we try to adapt to them and hopefully that works.

Thanks for coming: Joe Hart (centre) joins team-mates Matija Nastasic (left) and Joleon Lescott applauding City fans, who paid 62 each, for travelling down from Manchester

Thanks for coming: Joe Hart (centre) joins team-mates Matija Nastasic (left) and Joleon Lescott applauding City fans, who paid 62 each, for travelling to London yesterday

Training aid: Hart uses a crash mat to cushion his dives last week. As a goalkeeper he trains away from the rest of the squad for 80 per cent of the time

Training aid: Hart uses a crash mat to cushion his dives last week. As a goalkeeper he trains away from the rest of the squad for 80 per cent of the time

We know where we stand with Roberto: Man City boss Mancini gives James Milner and Co specific instructions during training last Friday

We know where we stand with Roberto: Man City boss Mancini gives James Milner and Co specific instructions during training last Friday

We go into every game thinking that a draw is not a good result for us. That's our mindset, that's how we feel and that's how we line up, player to player.

We don't go into any match fearing anyone. I can't see us losing to anyone but we will lose and we will draw, that's football but our attitude is not like that.

Roberto has brought in players with that mindset already instilled into them and I think every single player has got that attitude in our place – that it's win or die. It's the only way you're going to win things.

Manchester United have that refusal to accept to defeat and have been great about it over the years and it's certainly something everybody wants. But I feel we have that at our place, we feel strong and I do feel like we're not going to lose. Sometimes you do, of course, but we come back late sometimes and sometimes we wrap it up early.

The Champions League has been tough for us but we're playing against champions. We've just not been great. It sounds horrible to say it and some of the games we've done all right but our below par performances have unfortunately been in the Champions League.

Against some teams in the domestic league you might get away with it but in that competition you don't.

The first result is key for us. We had a bad one in Madrid and drew 1-1 the year before at home but it depends how your group goes. You could qualify with seven points or you might not and it's difficult.

Top of the stops: Real Madrid's goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas in action against Celta Vigo last week

Top of the stops: Real Madrid's goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas in action against Celta Vigo last week

Joe Hart

Joe Hart is an ambassador for head&shoulders

Well, the World XI It is what it is. I
think everyone's got their opinion and if the captains all voted for
those players then it's probably deserved. I didn't look at the team too
closely but most of the names on there speak for themselves. I never
thought I'd be involved in something like that but to come close to
getting in there is great for myself. But I think Iker
Casillas deserves it. He's been amazing for so many years so there are no
questions about that one.

But there are a lot of players I'd like
to see on there. Some that I'm friends with, some that I see a lot and
some that I play with, but it's only opinions so as long as you're
playing well for your team then you're happy.

For my Premier League XI, I purposely won't pick any City players
because it's not fair to pick them because their my team-mates. Keeper
wise, on this year alone, it would be either Petr Cech, Simon Mignolet
or Asmir Begovic.

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United

Robin van Persie of Manchester United

Prize picks: Hart, who excluded all City players from his thinking, would have United duo Wayne Rooney (in training last week, left) and Robin van Persie in his Premier League All-stars team

Simon Mignolet

Asmir Begovic

No 1s: Sunderland's Simon Mignolet (left) and Stoke's Asmir Begovic (right) are both highly rated by Hart

HART'S PREMIER LEAGUE XI

(4-4-2)* Cech, Mignolet or Begovic; Johnson, Jagielka, Shawcross, Cole; Lennon, Cazorla, Mata, Bale; Rooney, Van Persie.

* Hart excluded his Man City team-mates from his considerations due to fairness

In defence I'd have Phil Jagielka and
Ryan Shawcross in the middle and Ashley Cole at left back with Leighton
Baines a very close second. And at right back I'd have Glen Johnson.

In the middle I'd have Santi Cazorla
and, I know he doesn't really play there, but I'd have Juan Mata. On the
wings I think Aaron Lennon has done really well this year and then
obviously Gareth Bale would be on the other side.

Up front it'd have to be Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.

Save of the century: Sportsmail's simulation shows Hart keeping out a penalty from Lionel Messi

Save of the century: Sportsmail's simulation shows Hart keeping out a penalty from Lionel Messi

I said your Football Manager simulation would throw up a 5-0 win for the Premier League XI,
so it's sad to see us lose 2-0. But if I saved a penalty against Messi
then it must be real! But if I did have to face him for a penalty, I'd
definitely dive the way the ball went.

I missed the Ballon d'Or awards but because it doesn't have much to do with the Premier League it's hard to take an interest.
I just waited to see the news. I did hear about Messi's jacket but he
can do whatever he wants and nobody could say anything to him. He could
turn up naked if he wanted.

I've had a few fashion faux pas though. We
had a fancy dress do for our Christmas party and I was quite dotty. I
think I had an orange outfit with blue dots all over it, it was a good
look.

Silver fox: City boss Mancini (in the hat) says goodbye after enjoying lunch with his friend Robbie Savage (right) in Alderley Edge, Cheshire earlier this month

Silver fox: City boss Mancini (in the hat) says goodbye after enjoying lunch with his friend Robbie Savage (right) in Alderley Edge, Cheshire earlier this month. The pair became close when playing at Leicester City together

 Lionel Messi

MANCHESTER CITY FOOTBALLER JOE HART IN FANCY DRESS

Spot of bother: Hart reckons that if anyone can pull off the polka-dot look, it's the world's finest footballer Lionel Messi (left), but Joe's own dotty effort left a little more to be desired

In our changing room Pablo Zabaleta
is a pretty bad dresser, mainly because everything he has is free. He
will turn up in anything that anyone will give him. Anything with two
arms and two legs will do him.

Mancini's got quite a bit of style about him too for the older guy I suppose. He likes to think he's a bit of a silver fox.

With Casillas at Real Madrid, I don't know what's going on and I wouldn't even want to get involved. It seems like it's got a few twists and turns that I wouldn't have a clue about. But he's an amazing keeper and I've played against him a few times now and of course I look up to him. There's a few keepers I look up to and he's definitely one of them.

In the Premier League, too, we've got a lot of brilliant goalkeepers. There's not a team in the league where I think they've got a weak point in goalkeeping.

There's so many good young goalkeepers and I think some of them get overlooked because of the ones that stand out, your Buffons, your Casillases, your Neuers. They deserve the praise they get and I think they're awesome goalkeepers. I've played against each of them and they seem like really good people as well, which is even more interesting for me personally because you always want to meet your heroes.

There's the likes of Mignolet coming through and Asmir Begovic is the same age as me so I hope he's still classed as a young talent. There's Tim Krul, there's the Chelsea keeper Thibaud Courtois on loan at Atletico Madrid, there's Fraser Forster, there's Jack Butland, John Ruddy, I could go on and on.

Hart stopper: the Manchester City and England No 1 at a dark Etihad Stadium

Hart stopper: the Manchester City and England No 1 at a dark Etihad Stadium

More from The Footballers' Column…

The Footballers' Football Column – Kevin Nolan: Sometimes I wish I was Ryan Giggs… But if I scored with my elbow to knock United out of the cup, there's no way I'd tell the referee
11/01/13

FRANK McPARLAND: What does it take to be a Liverpool player Personality… We had one German lad who said: 'I've had a look at my wage slip and I want to opt out of this tax thing!'
08/01/13

CAROLYN RADFORD: Suarez a cheat I'd like to think one of my players would own up but football's not like that… And the secret to a swinging Mansfield party: Elvis and Bob Marley (of course)
07/01/13

THE FOOTBALLERS' FOOTBALL COLUMN – KEVIN BETSY: Why my boss Hill is the non-league Harry Redknapp… And these lads are hot – the best lower league talent available this transfer window
04/01/13

THE FOOTBALLERS' FOOTBALL COLUMN – MARTIN ALLEN: I can't believe people pay 70 for Premier League football, it's like watching chess… Diving I did it all the time, 'course I did
21/12/12

THE FOOTBALLERS' FOOTBALL COLUMN – EDGAR DAVIDS: Players are predators that's why Benitez may struggle at Chelsea… And sometimes the best players are not the most talented – just look at Roy Keane
20/12/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Going out on loan really helped me develop as a player but I wouldn't like to tell people what to do because you look at people like Steven Gerrard who have spent their life at one club.

It works for some people and it's what i needed to do because i wasn't going to play where I was so I had to go on loan otherwise I would have just been sat around so it was good for me.

I think there's still plenty of life left in the cups. The League Cup has really kicked on another level and I think it's really good. It's a good way to get some silverware for your club and teams have started to play stronger sides more and more – it's really good to watch.

I missed Luis Suarez's handball last week. We've had a couple of days off and I've been away from everything so I haven't seen it but i heard about it, though it didn't sound too great. But the refs are there to do a job. It's their job to see things like that so you play to the whistle, you're always told that.

You go to any Sunday league side and at the age of eight they're told to play to the whistle and I don't think that changes in the Premier League.

Crazy stuff happens in football. You look at when Paolo Di Canio caught the ball but I don't think anyone would have gone mad if he'd smashed it in the goal because at the end of the day it's a business and you need to win.

I'm not into any of the social network sites. I've got a phone and that's it. It's a big part of the world at the minute and it's interesting to read about but some of the stuff is pathetic and ridiculous.

I think everyone appreciates that. It makes the news and everyone reads it but nobody actually really cares. There's obviously some more serious issues but if it's officially you on one of those sites then you've got to be responsible for your actions.

Joe Hart head&shoulders

Joe Hart is the
ambassador for new head&shoulders Itchy Scalp Care shampoo, giving you an
instant save from an itchy scalp and leaving your leave hair 100% flake free

Tom Daley goes to Mahiki nightclub in week TV programme Splash! is criticised

Daley lets off steam at London nightclub after week in which sofa critics and swimming chiefs slate his new TV show

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

11:12 GMT, 13 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:12 GMT, 13 January 2013

Following a week in which his new TV programme was universally panned and his mum had to step in to defend him from critical British swimming chiefs, Tom Daley might be excused a few drinks.

The Olympic bronze medallist diver, 18, was snapped looking a little worse for wear leaving the Mahiki Club by the back door in central London last night.

He had arrived earlier in the evening looking smart in a light grey blazer, black jeans and t-shirt featuring Big Ben and a London phone box.

Night on the tiles: Tom Daley slips out the back door of the Mahiki club in the small hours

Night on the tiles: Tom Daley slips out the back door of the Mahiki club in the small hours

Tom Daley arrives at Mahiki nightclub

Tom Daley pictured leaving the Mahiki nightclub

Smart: Daley leaves the club in central London after his night out

Daley was clearly letting off some steam after a difficult week in which his new ITV programme Splash!, in which he teaches celebrities how to dive, was slated by TV critics.

And on Monday, British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes expressed concerns that such commercial commitments were taking time away from his training schedule.

Sparkes said: 'Tom is an incredibly talented young man, but he's yet to acheive his full potential and it's only going to get harder to achieve that Olympic gold medal as he gets older.

'You can rest assured the next Chinese diving superstar will not have such distractions from training.

Chief executive of British swimming David Sparkes poses for a photograph after he was awarded an OBE by the Queen during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace

Tom Daley celebrates after winning bronze at the Olympics

Criticism: David Sparkes, the Chief Executive of British Swimming (left), said Daley, seen winning Olympic bronze (right) had got his priorities wrong in presenting the ITV Saturday night show, Splash! (below)

Tom Daley presenting the ITV series Splash!

Tom Daley presenting the ITV series Splash!

'He should look at the example of skaters Torvill and Dean who waited until the end of their competitive careers before doing such programmes.

'I'm concerned Tom is putting the cart before the horse and I've expressed those concerns to his agent.'

It led to a stinging rebuke, published in Sportsmail, from Daley's mum, Debbie, who pointed out that her son had probably kept Mr Sparkes in his job following a poor Olympics overall for British swimmers.

She also argued strongly that Daley had sacrificed a great deal in his preparations for the Olympics, including 18th birthday and A-Level celebrations.

Defence: Tom's mum, Debbie, hit back at the criticism by Sparkes, saying her son probably kept him in a job

Defence: Tom's mum, Debbie, hit back at the criticism by Sparkes, saying her son probably kept him in a job

The model Caprice on the diviing block during the ITV show Splash!

Charlotte Jackson on the driving board during the Splash! show

Making a splash: The ITV Saturday night programme has featured celebrities including Caprice (left) and Charlotte Jackson (right)

Joey Essex prepares to dive from the 10m platform board

Joey Essex dives from the 10m platform

Plunge! Joey Essex dives from the 10 metre platform during the Splash! show

Kevin Pietersen rested from England"s limited overs tour of New Zealand

Pietersen rested from England's limited overs tour of New Zealand but Anderson, Trott and Swann all return

|

UPDATED:

10:18 GMT, 23 December 2012

Kevin Pietersen has been rested for England's one-day and Twenty20 squads for February's tour of New Zealand.

The batsman was included in the 50-over party for the five-match series in India next month after his successful 'reintegration' into the national set-up, but will not head to New Zealand as selectors look to manage the workload of key players.

James Anderson, Jonathan Trott and Graeme Swann have returned to the 14-man one-day squad after being rested for the India series.

Taking a rest: Kevin Pietersen will not play in the limited overs form of the game

Taking a rest: Kevin Pietersen will not play in the limited overs form of the game

The 14-man T20 squad features two changes from the party selected for the recent series against India with Stuart Broad returning from a heel injury to captain the side and quick Steven Finn also back in the fold.

National selector Geoff Miller said: 'Following on from the ODI tour to India the tour to New Zealand will require players to adapt to different conditions and will prove a real challenge for the squad as we look to continue the progress we have made in limited overs cricket recently.

'There are a number of players who we have decided not to select for parts of the competitive programme this winter as we look to manage their workloads effectively while ensuring we remain competitive across all formats.

Back in the attack: James Anderson will be in the attack after missing the India series

Back in the attack: James Anderson will be in the attack after missing the India series

'We feel this is the best way of keeping players as physically and mentally fresh as possible during a demanding 2013 and beyond.

'Kevin Pietersen will miss the limited overs tour of New Zealand with Graeme Swann missing the T20 leg of the tour.

'This approach also provides an opportunity for talented young players to gain more international experience which will be important for their development and the development of England sides in the future.'

England's three-match ODI series begins on February 17 in Hamilton.

The England and Wales Cricket Board also announced a 15-man England Lions squad for the limited overs tour of Australia in February which will be captained by Joe Root, who made his Test debut earlier this month against India.

Leading the Lions: Joe Root will captain the England Lions in Australia

Leading the Lions: Joe Root will captain the England Lions in Australia

Miller added: 'The tour of Australia will provide a tough test for this Lions squad and it will present an opportunity for the players to show us that they are capable of representing England at ODI level in the future.

'The vast majority of these players were on the England Performance Programme in India during the end of this year, so we are looking forward to seeing the skills they have developed put into practice during the tour in February 2013.

'Australia is the venue for the 2015 ICC World Cup, along with New Zealand, so we hope this will help us identify potential players that could go on to be a part of the 2015 World Cup squad.'

Essex teenager Reece Topley is in the party, alongside Gary Ballance, Varun Chopra, Ben Foakes, Toby Roland-Jones and Chris Wright, who are also uncapped at Lions level.

England T20 and ODI squads for the tour of New Zealand and the England Lions squad for the ODI series in Australia

England T20 squad: Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire, capt), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Danny Briggs (Hampshire), Jos Buttler (Somerset), Jade Dernbach (Surrey), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Michael Lumb (Nottinghamshire), Stuart Meaker (Surrey), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Samit Patel (Nottinghamshire), James Tredwell (Kent), Luke Wright (Sussex).

England ODI squad: Alastair Cook (Essex, capt), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Jos Buttler (Somerset), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Craig Kieswetter (Somerset), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Samit Patel (Nottinghamshire), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), James Tredwell (Kent), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire).

England Lions squad: Joe Root (Yorkshire, capt), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Scott Borthwick (Durham), Danny Briggs (Hampshire), Varun Chopra (Warwickshire), Matthew Coles (Kent), Ben Foakes (Essex), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), James Harris (Middlesex), Simon Kerrigan (Lancashire), Toby Roland-Jones (Middlesex), Ben Stokes (Durham), James Taylor (Nottinghamshire), Reece Topley (Essex), Chris Wright (Warwickshire).

India beat England in first Twenty20 International at Pune

Yuvraj sinks England despite Hales half-century as India triumph in first T20 at Pune

PUBLISHED:

16:40 GMT, 20 December 2012

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UPDATED:

16:57 GMT, 20 December 2012

England faltered against Yuvraj Singh's spin, after a blistering half-century from Alex Hales, and then had no answer themselves to India's strokemakers in a five-wicket Twenty20 defeat.

Yuvraj, the last of seven bowlers used by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, took three wickets for 19 runs to rudely interrupt England's fun at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium after opener Hales (56) and Luke Wright had put them in an encouraging mid-innings position.

Eoin Morgan's team lost their last five wickets for 68 runs in 10 overs to finish on 157 for six on a good batting surface.

Yuvraj himself then did some of the early steering as India coasted home with more than two overs to spare, to gain the most minor revenge in this first of two Twenty20s for England's historic Test series victory here.

It did not help the tourists' cause when new-ball pair Jade Dernbach and Tim Bresnan both started with wides, the first of 10 England would bowl.

Dernbach was guilty of three, in fact, in his first over – before Ajinkya Rahane hoisted both him and Bresnan over long-on for sixes.

After a 42-run stand, Bresnan hit back with the wickets of both openers in the same over – his first successes in international cricket on this near two-month tour.

Back in form: Yuvraj Singh took three wickets and was India's top scorer

Back in form: Yuvraj Singh took three wickets and was India's top scorer

Gautam Gambhir pulled him high and hard but picked out Hales, the tallest man on the pitch, who held on to the catch above his head at deep square-leg.

Bresnan should then have had two in two, Rahane badly dropped at short fine-leg by Stuart Meaker. But the missed chance cost only one run, because Rahane mistimed his next ball to be well-caught at mid-on by Samit Patel.

Yuvraj dominated a partnership of 49 for the third wicket, hitting Danny Briggs for six, four, six high over the leg-side in the young spinner's only over.

But Meaker then kept his cool under another high one off Wright at deep square-leg when the left-hander fell just short of another six and had to go.

India were already on course for victory by then.

Virat Kohli was bowled off an under-edge, however, trying to pull the slippery pace of Meaker – and Morgan missed one more golden chance to pull his team back into the match.

Finished the job: India captain MS Dhoni

Finished the job: India captain MS Dhoni

When Dhoni fell over and was stranded mid-pitch, having set off for a single, his opposite number produced another wild aim on England's night of wides as the run-out opportunity went begging with more than 40 runs still needed. Hales had been almost single-handedly responsible for getting England's innings off to such a promising start.

He dispatched Ashok Dinda for successive pulled fours in the first over – and after Michael Lumb was then unable to stop Ravichandran Ashwin beginning with a maiden, Hales took a heavy toll of first-change debutant Parvinder Awana and then Ravindra Jadeja.

He hit Jadeja for six over long-on, and repeated the dose off Ashwin too to take the score to 51 for one after the six-over powerplay.

Hales raced to his 50 from just 26 balls, with seven fours and those two sixes – and he and Wright took the score to 89 for one at the 10-over mark, in a stand of 68.

But Wright got underneath an attempted big hit at Yuvraj and holed out at long-off, a dismissal which kick-started the loss of three wickets for 11 runs in 16 balls – all to the slow left-armer.

Yuvraj had Morgan dropped by wicketkeeper Dhoni on four, but bowled Hales who missed a drive at the very next ball – and then got the England captain for good measure in the same over, via another mistimed shot high to long-on.

Piyush Chawla's first over had cost 15 runs, but Dhoni took his chance to recall the leg-spinner – who bowled his next two for nine as Patel and Jos Buttler tried to rebuild.

They progressed exclusively in ones, between the dots, for the next 16 balls – until Buttler clubbed the returning Ashwin over midwicket for six.

Patel's attempt at a maximum, however, resulted only in a third catch in the deep for Rahane off Dinda.

England had lost telling momentum – and despite the best efforts of the innovative Buttler in a career-best 33 not out, including successive sixes in Awana's 20th over, they could not redress the balance.

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LIVE: India v England – Twenty20 international in Pune

LIVE: India v England – follow the score from the first Twenty20 international in Pune

PUBLISHED:

13:02 GMT, 20 December 2012

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UPDATED:

13:45 GMT, 20 December 2012

England take on India in the first of a two-match Twenty20 international series in Pune on Thursday afternoon.

Captain Morgan: The England batsman leads the side in Stuart Broad's absence

Captain Morgan: The England batsman leads the side in Stuart Broad's absence

Although
both sides will make changes from the recent Test series, England will
be looking to take momentum from the historic 3-1 win into the shortest
form of the game.

Eoin Morgan captains the tourists with regular skipper Stuart Broad back at home with a heel injury.

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.’