Tag Archives: slate

James Anderson: Kevin Pietersen return a big bonus

Pietersen back will be big bonus for England, says Anderson



20:39 GMT, 27 October 2012

Kevin Pietersen will be welcomed back into the England Test squad in the small hours of Monday without a backward glance, according to James Anderson, one of those accused by some of conspiring to destroy the maverick batsman's career.

Pietersen, dropped by England for the final Test of the summer series against South Africa after sending provocative texts about captain Andrew Strauss to opposing players, was originally omitted from the squad to tour India.

Together again: Captain Cook (left) and Pietersen

Together again: Captain Cook (left) and Pietersen

But he has completed a 'reintegration process' in a series of face-to-face meetings with senior players, including Anderson.

Now he is set to fly from London to
Mumbai after playing in the Champions League in South Africa, touching
down at 2.30am, half-an-hour before England fly in from their camp in

Only hours later the four- Test
series will officially be launched by new skipper Alastair Cook, who led
efforts to smooth the passage back for Pietersen, and coach Andy
Flower, who many believe may not have worked so hard had the decision
been entirely his.

Captain and coach are bound to be
bombarded by questions about their latest arrival but Pietersen is
expected to walk straight back into the team for the first match,
against India A at the Brabourne Stadium, starting on Tuesday.

When he does, Anderson believes he
will do so not only with the slate wiped clean but also with the events
that might have brought an end to his England career consigned to

Anderson who, along with Stuart Broad
and Graeme Swann, was accused of upsetting Pietersen by contributing to
the parody Twitter account KP Genius, said: 'The reason for
having the meetings with him in England was to make sure that, when we
did meet up in India, we could just concentrate on the cricket with the
matter closed.

'I won't go into details about what
was said but the intention was to clear the air, for people to get
issues off their chest if they wanted to and for Kevin to get issues off
his chest if he had any with the players.

'We've done that, a line has been
drawn and we move on. This is a tough tour and victory here would be an
achievement on a par with our Ashes win in Australia in 10-11.

'No England team has won a series
here since 1984-85 and India have lost only two series at home in 30
years. The conditions are foreign and there are going to be big

'So having Kevin back is a big
bonus. We need our best players on the field. Kevin is one of our best
players. I'm delighted everything has been sorted out so he can join us
and contribute to regaining the No 1 Test status.'

Anderson's view is more optimistic than that expressed this week by Strauss, who warned the reconciliation will be tough.

Strauss said: 'If, behind the scenes,
things are difficult and resentment is harboured and if KP is not fully
committed to England, there are going to be problems.

'Everyone has to want it to happen
desperately, let bygones be bygones and not have any grudges or
bitterness. Everyone has to move forward for all the right reasons.
That's the question-mark.'

Carl Frampton wants win over Steve Molitor

I can cut it at the top! Frampton wants win over Molitor to earn chance at world title shot



21:59 GMT, 20 September 2012

Carl Frampton believes victory over Canadian Steve Molitor on Saturday will put him in line for a world title shot.

The 25-year-old returns to Belfast to face the former two-time world champion in what both men have billed as a make-or-break fight.

And Frampton, who defends his Commonwealth and IBF Inter-Continental super bantamweight titles, plans to make a statement of intent.

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Ready to step up: Carl Frampton is hoping to earn a world title shot

Ready to step up: Carl Frampton is hoping to earn a world title shot

'He’s been where I want to get to but he’s had his time at the top, now it’s my turn,' he said. 'Beating a world class fighter like Steve Molitor puts me high in the rankings and in the running for a world title shot.

'This is a massive fight for me, I know that I am leaping up the levels to face Molitor but I believe I have more than enough to cope with him and this is the right time for me to prove I can cut it at the top.

'You want big names on your slate and he is definitely a big name. It’s going to be a lot better beating a guy like him than it was beating Prosper Ankrah.

Fighting fit: Frampton believes he is ready to step up a level

Fighting fit: Frampton believes he is ready to step up a level

Fighting fit: Frampton believes he is ready to step up a level

'It’s going to make people stand up and take notice. This is a 50-50 fight. People forget I’ve only had 15 fights.'

Meanwhile, Molitor, 32, admitted he will consider hanging up his gloves if he tastes defeat for a third time in his career.

'If I want to be a three-time world champion then I have to beat this kid,' he said. 'I have been out of the ring enjoying my life for ten months or so and on Saturday night you will see a new hungry Steve Molitor.

'If I cannot beat Carl then I will have to think about hanging them up as I will be saying that I cannot compete at world level now and as a two-time world champ I am used to that.'

Nice motto: Frampton his hoping is strict training regime will carry him through his fight on Saturday

Nice motto: Frampton his hoping is strict training regime will carry him through his fight on Saturday

VIDEO: Carl Frampton – Betfair's Judgment Day

Jonny Wilkinson still has Lions chance, says Gatland

Wilkinson still has Lions chance to tour, says Gatland



20:22 GMT, 8 September 2012

Jonny Wilkinson's England days may be over but the 33-year-old World Cup-winning star could make a shock return to the international stage on the Lions tour to Australia next summer.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland, the man given the task of trying to mastermind the Lions' first series triumph since 1997, has left the door open for Wilkinson to go on a third tour by revealing that he will consider picking players who are not playing for their countries.

Wilkinson ended his England career after last year's World Cup in New Zealand, having amassed 1,179 points from 91 caps.

Best of British: Jonny Wilkinson on Lions duty

Best of British: Jonny Wilkinson on Lions duty

But he has continued to thrive in the south of France, where he will be trying to inspire Toulon to domestic and European glory this season.

Gatland was weighing up whether to knock on Wilkinson's door as well as many of his France-based Wales stars when he made a special trip across the Channel shortly after his Lions appointment.

Asked whether he would consider calling on Wilkinson as a possible kicking coach in Australia, Gatland replied: 'I might well think about it but he may also be available as a player. He's still a fine player and only 33. That's not old.

'For me, everyone is in contention. The slate is clean for every player who wants to be considered. No one is ruled out or pencilled in. It's as simple as that. If you are playing consistently well for your side and good reports are coming back, then you will have a chance to be selected.

'Whether it's Jonny Wilkinson or whoever, it's all about how players are performing for their clubs or countries.

'We've selected players who have been playing well just for their club sides and have done well for the Lions. They don't have to be playing for their countries.

Age no barrier: Wilkinson can still play, says Gatland (right)

Age no barrier: Wilkinson can still play, says Gatland (right)

Age no barrier: Wilkinson can still play, says Gatland (right)

'What is important is that they are playing well for a club doing well at the top level – a side challenging to win the Heineken Cup. You need that comparison to how close a player is to international form.'

Consecutive defeats in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa have left the Lions under pressure to turn their fortunes around.

And Gatland is confident he can put a plan in place to end that losing sequence.

Part of it will be to pick a heavyweight pack capable of out-muscling the Aussies.

He said: 'The scrum is an area where Australia rugby has been vulnerable in the past, certainly in the front five.

'It's where they have been weakest and it's something we will look at exploiting.

'In Wales's recent tour there, we had a big dominance up front but the Wallabies were very smart in how they got away with it.

'They were happy to keep going early and giving away free-kicks. The referee allowed them to get away with it in all three Tests.'

Steve Kean is staying at Blackburn – Shebby Singh

Singh risks fans' fury as new Rovers chief insists under-fire Kean is staying put



18:48 GMT, 20 June 2012

Blackburn's new football chief Shebby Singh has indicated that manager Steve Kean will keep his job at Ewood Park – little more than a month after publicly calling for him to be axed.

Singh took up his new role this week and will help to oversee Blackburn’s transfer policy and scouting network as well as acting as global advisor to the club’s owners Venky’s.

Kean’s position has been under threat since he returned from a series of meetings in India with his future undecided following Blackburn’s relegation from the Premier League last season.

Under fire: Kean has failed to win the Blackburn fans over (below)

Under fire: Kean has failed to win the Blackburn fans over (below)

Under fire: Kean has failed to win the Blackburn fans over

But Singh said: ‘Everyone starts with a clean slate. We’ve still got to look at the other qualities Steve has got.

‘At this moment it is going to be
difficult for the fans to think nothing has changed but we would like to
regroup and try to take this team forward.’

However, Singh’s assurances appeared
to contradict comments the Asian TV pundit made in his column for a
Singapore newspaper on May 9 under the headline ‘Kean must go’.

Singh wrote: ‘Steve Kean is obviously not the man to lead Blackburn Rovers back to the Premiership.

‘They were tactically naive with a
lightweight team that were too easily brushed aside at times. Then,
there were a number of players who were past their prime.

‘But there’s no use wallowing in self-pity and the club need to move on quickly.’