Tag Archives: strauss

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

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

PUBLISHED:

23:21 GMT, 30 December 2012

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UPDATED:

23:21 GMT, 30 December 2012

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

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

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

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

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

England batsman Kevin Pietersen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.’

England Twenty20 captain Eoin Morgan backs Andrew Strauss for mentoring role

England Twenty20 captain Morgan backs Strauss for mentoring role

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UPDATED:

14:19 GMT, 19 December 2012

Eoin Morgan gave his unqualified
support to the prospect of former England captain Andrew Strauss taking
up a mentoring role with the national team.

Morgan, who will lead England himself
in Thursday's International Twenty20 against India in Pune, knows
Strauss especially well thanks to their shared connections for club and
country.

Leading men: Andrew Strauss and England captain Alastair Cook (right)

Leading men: Andrew Strauss and England captain Alastair Cook (right)

The Irishman is a Middlesex player, as was Strauss until his retirement last summer. Morgan also began his England career under Strauss' captaincy, and believes he owes much of his development as a cricketer to the help and friendship he received from him.

Reports have suggested Strauss, whose successful tenure as Test captain ended four months ago, may be considered for a consultancy role by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

'It sounds like a great idea,' said Morgan.

Backing: England Twenty20 captain Eoin Morgan

Backing: England Twenty20 captain Eoin Morgan

'When I first came into the team, Straussy was captain – and the amount I've learned from him both on and off the field, things about life in general, he certainly took me under his wing.'

Morgan, taking charge of the Twenty20 team here in the absence of injured regular captain Stuart Broad, is confident Strauss could help others prosper too.

'I used him [his advice] to maximum effect.

'The things I learned, if he can pass them on to younger guys coming through or the next guys in line, it will be a massive benefit for English cricket.'

Ashes 2013: England are red-hot favourites to beat Australia, says Nasser Hussain

Red-hot Ashes favourites: England have talent to burn as battle for urn hots up

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UPDATED:

22:32 GMT, 18 December 2012

England have beaten India, and Ashes
fever is starting to hot up. Surrey announced that they have already
sold out all five days for next summer’s final Test, the first time an
English Test has ever been entirely sold out before Christmas.

With the
oldest enemies in cricket meeting in back-to-back series next year, Sportsmail columnist
Nasser Hussain, a veteran of many an Ashes battle as England batsman
and captain, ran the rule over both teams with the countdown to the big
battle now under way…

Three's a charm: England aim to win their third consecutive Ashes series next summer... and travel to Australia in winter

Three's a charm: England aim to win their third consecutive Ashes series next summer… and travel to Australia in winter

The captains

We have two phenomenal players here
who seem to have been inspired to new heights by the captaincy and
increased their potency since rising to high office. I think Alastair
Cook is much more likely to score runs in Australia than Michael Clarke
is in England, with the English seamers fancying their chances of him
nicking the ball to wicketkeeper or slips over here next summer. But
that is not to underestimate Clarke, who has had a Bradmanesque year.

Face-off: Alastair Cook (left) and Michael Clarke will do battle over 10 Tests in seven months

Face-off: Michael Clarke

Write caption here

As
a leader, Clarke, a disciple of Shane Warne, is more proactive and more
inclined to do unusual things, like getting keeper Matthew Wade to have
a bowl in Hobart when he was struggling for wickets. Cook will sit in
more and is like Andrew Strauss in style but we saw in India that he is
not afraid to quickly change things if they are not going right, like
replacing Joe Root at silly point with Ian Bell in the final Test to
immediate productive effect. He has made big changes to personnel
already too, even though he is a new captain, like leaving out Stuart
Broad after Mumbai.

The bowlers

On paper Australia have an excellent attack full of potential but the challenge for them will be keeping their bowlers fit because they have had one injury after another. A seam attack featuring the likes of Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Ben Hilfenhaus and Pat Cummins could cause problems for England but there are too many question marks for Australia’s liking. And their spinner, Nathan Lyon, is OK and nothing more. England certainly won’t be kept up at night looking at DVDs of Lyon like we had to watch videos of Warne.

No sleepless nights: England's batsmen need not have nightmares about Nathan Lyon

No sleepless nights: England's batsmen need not have nightmares about Nathan Lyon

England, in contrast, have strength in depth and are raring to go. They have been able to rest and look after their bowlers — they sensibly left Jimmy Anderson out of the Indian one-day series — and Graham Onions, who is a fantastic bowler who could get into almost any other Test team in the world, hasn’t even had a game yet this winter for England. And England have two world-class spinners in Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar. They have the bowling edge, no question.

The batsmen

Again I fancy England in batting too. Any side who cannot get Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow in the team at the moment must have depth while another two Test batsmen have emerged against India in Nick Compton and Root. England’s batters just seem more ready for Test cricket these days than Australia’s when they are introduced. Clarke and Mike Hussey are outstanding but there are question marks at the top of the order and around them.

Mr Cricket: Mike Hussey remains a middle order menace for England

Mr Cricket: Mike Hussey remains a middle order menace for England

Shane Watson has been decent without going on to big scores and David Warner could be very good but I am not sure yet, while the absence of Ricky Ponting could be a problem for them because they will miss his experience. No Australian line-up will be ordinary but they have no-one like Kevin Pietersen, and all England’s batsmen know how to perform in their own conditions.

The keepers

Matt Prior really is the finished product while Wade is another one still in the promising category. Warne has been saying for some time that Wade was the man to watch out for but I actually think Australia could miss Brad Haddin. He is a feisty character who England don’t really like and a good attacking batsman. I cannot speak highly enough of Prior, the best No 7 in world cricket and a much improved keeper. I would keep him as vice-captain, too. He impressed in that role after Broad was left out in India.

In the box seat: Matt Prior (right) and Pietersen celebrate an Ashes victory Down Under

In the box seat: Matt Prior (right) and Pietersen celebrate an Ashes victory Down Under

The verdict

I think next year’s two Ashes series are coming at exactly the right time for England whereas for Australia they may be a year to 18 months too early. For them to defeat England they will need to get everybody fit for sustained periods and rely on the galvanising abilities of Clarke. England will not leave anything to chance and have great bench strength. OK, they had had a bad year before they pulled things around in India but I believe they are very much back on track now. If I were a betting man I’d have money on England to win, as both teams stand now, both home and away.

Kevin Pietersen to get full England central contract after performances in India

Happy landing: Textgate is history as England reward model pro Pietersen with full central contract

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UPDATED:

22:33 GMT, 18 December 2012

Kevin 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.

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.

No more baggage: Kevin Pietersen after touching down at Heathrow

No more baggage: Kevin Pietersen after touching down at Heathrow

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.’

Triumphant: Monty Panesar and Alastair Cook

Back home: KP

Triumphant: Monty Panesar (left) and Alastair Cook were at Heathrow along with Kevin Pietersen (right)

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.’

Flower had a big smile on his face as
he contemplated the scale of the achievement in becoming only the
fourth England side to win a Test series in India and the first from
anywhere since Australia seven years ago.

He had asked, in the aftermath of the
nine-wicket first Test defeat, for his side to be judged at the end of
the series but even he could not have believed that England could win so
gloriously in Mumbai and Kolkata. It is like, as former England batsman
Mark Butcher aptly put it, a football team winning 5-0 in the Nou Camp
against Barcelona and then 4-0 in the Bernabeu against Real Madrid.

Good show: Cook and Panesar were greeted warmly at Terminal 3 at Heathrow

Good show: Cook and Panesar were greeted warmly at Terminal 3 at Heathrow

All smiles: Cook was accompanied by his wife Alice as he pushed his trolley through the terminal

All smiles: Cook was accompanied by his wife Alice as he pushed his trolley through the terminal

‘I work closely with these guys and I
see them in training every day,’ said Flower. ‘I did mean what I said
because I did believe they had improved themselves as players of spin. I
knew some of the work they were doing and we knew the quality of our
spin bowlers — even though we didn’t play one of them in the first Test!
— so I did feel we could win out here.

‘We all know to come back from one
down in these conditions to win a series is a hell of an achievement. I
am very proud of all those guys and I know they will always be able to
look back on this series and be proud of themselves, which is a really
nice position to be in.’

Flower then left for home with the
bulk of the England side who have not stayed here for the two Twenty20
internationals that conclude this leg of the tour. It is another example
of England recognising that they cannot expect their players, and now
coaches, to constantly slog around the world performing in all cricket
in all formats.

Reconciled: Pietersen and Andy Flower chew the fat in Ahmedabad in England's second warm-up game

Reconciled: Pietersen and Andy Flower chew the fat in Ahmedabad in England's second warm-up game

Rotation, strength and conditioning —
call it what you will — is here to stay and if any spectator is unhappy
about it they must blame the administrators who put money before the
product by flooding the calendar.

England took another step towards
protecting their prized assets when they decided to leave Jimmy
Anderson, superb in this series, and Jonathan Trott out of the
five-match one-day series back in India next month. Their places will be
taken by Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler.

Joe Root was also added to the squad for the two Twenty20 internationals that begin here in Pune on Thursday.

Say cheese: The pair smiled for the cameras after touching down in the capital

Say cheese: The pair smiled for the cameras after touching down in the capital

Spinning to victory: This picture of Graeme Swann (right) and Monty Panesar (left) was tweeted by fellow bowler James Anderson

Spinning to victory: This picture of Graeme Swann (right) and Monty Panesar (left) was tweeted by fellow bowler James Anderson

‘I don’t like it being called rest
and I don’t like the word rotation,’ said Flower. ‘The purpose of taking
anyone out of international competition is to maximise their
performance when they do play. If you look at the next couple of years
we must look after certain players, and Jimmy is one of them, otherwise
they will snap. It is our duty to look after them and hopefully that
will mean they will play more cricket for England and help us win more
matches.’

Flower has now changed his job to avoid snapping and will hand over all limited-overs coaching to Ashley Giles in the new year.

Showcasing his talent: Joe Root has another chance to shine on the subcontinent in the T20 series

Showcasing his talent: Joe Root has another chance to shine on the subcontinent in the T20 series

Would he have walked away from
England if his load had not been lightened ‘It never got to that
stage,’ he insisted. ‘Luckily I was communicating with Hugh Morris,
who’s a good man, and we came up with this solution. We don’t know if
this will work but we will try to make sure it does.’

It is certainly a better bet than
risk English cricket losing Flower. The man who has masterminded two
Ashes wins, a World Twenty20 triumph and now, perhaps the best of the
lot, victory over India in the ‘final frontier’ is too important to let
go just yet.

Andrew Strauss set for ECB role – Charles Sale

Strauss touted for ECB's top job after Test series victory

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UPDATED:

23:34 GMT, 18 December 2012

England cricket, fresh from the momentous series win in India, are planning for the long term with former captain Andrew Strauss set to take a consultancy role with the national team.

Strauss, who stepped down as Test skipper last summer, still has to make up his mind about his future and has a number of options. But he wants to stay involved in the game and the ECB are keen for him to do so.

So much so that Strauss will spend time over the next year working with England managing director Hugh Morris — at Morris’s instigation — to gain more understanding of his role.

Join us: Andrew Strauss is set to take an ECB consultancy role

Join us: Andrew Strauss is set to take an ECB consultancy role

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And there is hope at the ECB that Strauss will enjoy the experience enough to want to eventually succeed Morris. That would ensure, in time, as seamless a transition off the pitch as Strauss handing over to Alastair Cook has proved on it.

Strauss, with Morris and team director Andy Flower – limited-overs coach Ashley Giles is in line to be his future replacement — were responsible for taking England’s Test side to No 1 in the world. An ECB spokesperson said: ‘We do not want to lose Andrew from cricket.’

Draper's not around to talk about funding cut

Roger Draper, 640,000-a-year Lawn Tennis Association chief executive, wasn’t even available to take a call from Sport England explaining why most of his dysfunctional organisation’s grass-roots funding had been frozen. Draper, who this year added 15 staff to an extraordinary 300-plus workforce, was in Miami at a tennis training camp. But Draper and his LTA are ‘in the shop window like never before’ according to Minister for Sport Hugh Robertson, who described the cut as ‘pretty humiliating’ for tennis.

Robertson backs Sir Keith

Meanwhile, Robertson is getting behind Sir Keith Mills’s attempts to establish a British Sports Marketing Bureau to attract sports sponsorships. Robertson has written to the major professional sports resistant to the project. But he said: ‘Who do you want negotiating your sponsorships — an in-house team or Sir Keith’

Backed: Hugh Robertson is behind Sir Keith Mills's attempts to gain sponsors

Backed: Hugh Robertson is behind Sir Keith Mills's attempts to gain sponsors

British Basketball up in arms

British Basketball, whose men’s team won just one of their five group games at London 2012 and whose women won none, are understood to have been more surprised than UK Sport believe they should have been to find out they had lost their 8.5million of elite funding due to having little chance of qualifying for Rio 2016, let alone any medal prospects.

FFP common ground

The Premier League clubs have found enough in common over financial fair play for them to at least agree yesterday to further discuss UEFA’s break-even model and a short-term wage cap. Manchester City, Fulham and Aston Villa and West Bromwich remain opposed to any restrictions, but there was the necessary support of 14 clubs to take FFP forward to the next PL summit, in February.

Scotland and Wales complaining again

Scotland and Wales, who caused the most fuss over the Team GB football team, are predictably the home countries who have the most objections to a British Amateur Boxing Association board being the lead body in charge of the sport’s 44 per cent increase in UK Sport funding — now 13.8million — for the next Olympic cycle. Only one year of the monies will be given until the governance issue is resolved.

Differing opinions: Ken Bates is confident the Leeds deal will go ahead

Differing opinions: Ken Bates is confident the Leeds deal will go ahead

Leeds situation still in doubt

Leeds owner Ken Bates says ‘hopefully everything is on course’ for Gulf Finance House’s takeover to be completed on Friday as scheduled, despite a recent missed payment. But there are some, with varying knowledge of the deal, who doubt it will happen — even at this stage. The Football League’s talks with Leeds over the fit-and-proper-persons test for the new owners and directors are ongoing.

Terry and Ferdinand families unite

The Ferdinand and Terry families, so opposed during John Terry’s racism case, came together to pay their respects to Mitchell Cole, brother-in-law of Liverpool’s Joe Cole. Anton Ferdinand and Terry’s brother Paul were at Harwood Park Crematorium in Knebworth for the funeral of Mitchell, 27, a former Southend and Stevenage midfielder who died of a heart condition.

India v England: Kevin Pietersen pictured arriving at Heathrow

Flower sees India triumph as turning point for England as KP arrives back at Heathrow

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UPDATED:

11:17 GMT, 18 December 2012

Welcome back: Kevin Pietersen is pictured arriving at Heathrow Airport this morning

Welcome back: Kevin Pietersen is pictured arriving at Heathrow Airport this morning

Andy Flower senses England’s Test team may have reached a turning point with their historic series victory in India.

A proud Kevin Pietersen was pictured returning to England after his country's momentous triumph.

The batsman, who successfully reintegrated into the squad this series after being selected by Flower, was snapped as he pushed his trolley through Heathrow Airport.

Alastair Cook’s tourists defied the pessimistic expectations of many by recovering from a nine-wicket drubbing in the first Test in Ahmedabad to win successive matches in Mumbai and Kolkata and then clinch the series with yesterday’s draw in Nagpur.

In doing so, they finished a tough year on a significant high.

Under Cook’s predecessor Andrew Strauss, a dual Ashes-winning captain, England fell from grace in 2012 with series defeats against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last winter and then at home to South Africa.

Their hard-earned world No 1 Test status was a thing of the past by the time Strauss retired four months ago – and even after their 2-1 victory here, a first in India for almost 28 years, they have lost seven of 15 matches this year.

Coach Flower believes, however, there is no reason why the future cannot be a bright one for Cook’s team.

Asked if the fightback in India – completed thanks to centuries by Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell yesterday – could be a turning point, he said: 'I think it is.

'We had a tough time in the UAE against Pakistan at the start of the year, and one of the most satisfying things at the minute – certainly for me, and I’m sure for the players – is that they’ve shown they can score runs.

'Even some of the older guys, that have been around and have excellent Test career achievements, have still adapted their game and shown their game can improve.

'They’ve done that in conditions where English teams don’t historically do very well.

'I think everyone is very proud of that.'

Spinning to victory: This picture of Graeme Swann (right) and Monty Panesar (left) was tweeted by fellow bowler James Anderson

Spinning to victory: This picture of Graeme Swann (right) and Monty Panesar (left) was tweeted by fellow bowler James Anderson

Generations of England batsmen, in particular, have been found wanting in India since David Gower’s 1984-85 tourists also prevailed by a 2-1 margin.

'It’s very satisfying for that group of 30 blokes to have come out here and adapted to these conditions and overcome the opposition,' added Flower.

'It’s taken a lot of hard work, a lot of thought and a lot of skill out there in the middle – and they should be very proud of themselves.'

Flower paid tribute to his players’ character after they adapted brilliantly to the conditions.

He told Radio 5 Live: 'After the losses in the UAE we put some training regimes in place to help the players with their knowledge of how to play spin and score runs in these conditions.

Captain fantastic: Alastair Cook ensured that the tourists ended 2012 on a high

Captain fantastic: Alastair Cook ensured that the tourists ended 2012 on a high

'The players have put hours and hours of work into improving themselves. Their improvement against spin is great testament to their character.

'I think it has been a great year for English cricket. To win here for the first time in (almost) 28 years is an historic achievement. There is plenty for us to be proud of us in this last year.'

Flower also had words of praise for Kevin Pietersen, who finished a turbulent year personally on a high, the highlight a magnificent 186 in Mumbai.

He said: 'That innings in Mumbai was outstanding. He showed incredible skill and for him to turn the game around for us in partnership with Alastair Cook was a pivotal moment in the series.'

England win Test series in India for first time in 28 years

England end 28-year wait for series victory in India as Trott bats hosts into submission

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UPDATED:

12:05 GMT, 17 December 2012

England scored a famous 2-1 Test series victory over India after centurions Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell shut the hosts out to confirm the stalemate they needed in Nagpur.

Trott (143) and Bell (116no) barely had a moment's anxiety in a stand of 208 before England declared on 352 for four in the final session, with a lead of 356 which rendered an India second innings unnecessary.

It is almost 28 years since England last won a Test series here, under David Gower and when current captain Alastair Cook was a babe in arms only weeks old.

Party time: Prior celebrates victory with England back room staff

Party time: Prior celebrates victory with England back room staff

Cook has been one of the foundations
of this success, with centuries in his first three Tests after replacing
Andrew Strauss as permanent captain.

But it was Trott and Bell who today
ensured an achievement all the more notable after England's crushing
nine-wicket defeat in the first Test in Ahmedabad.

There was much reason for personal
satisfaction too – in Trott's second hundred of 2012 while Warwickshire
team-mate Bell registered his first since making 235 against these same
opponents at The Oval in 2010, and in a country where he had previously
passed 50 just once in three tours.

Cook, Kevin Pietersen and spinners
Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann had begun England's comeback in Mumbai;
then the captain was at it again in Kolkata last week, when Steven Finn
and in particular James Anderson's mastery of reverse-swing completed
England's skills set.

It was heartening that Trott and Bell
should be involved in the home straight, though, after their relative
troubles in a year which has seen England lose seven of 15 Tests as well
as their position at the top of the International Cricket Council
rankings.

After Trott's ducks in Ahmedabad and
Mumbai, he contributed significantly at Eden Gardens and here –
completing the process with a typically cussed near five-hour hundred
and also passing 1,000 runs after all in the past 12 months.

England's number three reached three
figures with a trademark boundary wide of mid-on off leg-spinner Piyush
Chawla, and celebrated with feeling.

All around him India, minus veteran
master batsman Sachin Tendulkar who was off the field with a sore neck,
wore glum faces resigned to a first home series defeat in eight years.

Bell did nothing to lighten their mood
either and, having had just one escape on 75 when a fierce cut at
Piyush Chawla was edged and put down by Virender Sehwag at slip, reached
his painstaking six-hour hundred from 293 balls.

Getting shirty: KP enjoys a beer in his shirt signed by all the players

Getting shirty: KP enjoys a beer in his shirt signed by all the players

Along the way, there had been 13 fours and a six over long-off from the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja.

Soon after that blow to bring up the
200 stand, Trott was finally gone – India's only success of the day when
he was caught at leg-slip off Ravichandran Ashwin from the 310th
delivery he faced.

He and Bell had joined forces at a
wobbly 94 for three when Pietersen was bowled shouldering arms at Jadeja
last night, and Trott's only alarm came on 106 when he missed a Chawla
top-spinner but survived the lbw appeal.

England arrived here needing only a
draw, but Cook was at pains beforehand to spell out the danger of
settling for limited ambition with stakes so high.

In the event, conditions dictated that
the stalemate would have to do on a mesmerisingly slow surface which
precluded a scoring rate much in excess of two an over throughout.

Despite its crazy-paving cracks from the outset, the VCA Stadium strip never deteriorated either.

Unwatered and unrolled for almost
three weeks before the match, the intention seemed to be to provide a
'result' pitch in the hope India's four spinners could outbowl England's
two.

If those were the expectations, it was soon abundantly clear the hosts were barking up the wrong tree.

Solitary seamer Ishant Sharma was by
far the pick of their attack in the first innings, when low bounce from
his high trajectory posed the biggest threat to England.

But after the tourists recovered from
16 for two to top 300, it was hard to see India getting far enough in
front quickly enough to apply the pressure.

So it proved as, even after a near
double-century fifth-wicket stand between Virat Kohli and captain
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, they ended up declaring with a marginal deficit.

England knew then they merely needed
to bat long in increasingly benign conditions to claim the prize of a
historic series victory.

Thanks to their relentless fourth-wicket pair, it was never in doubt.

Unstoppable: Trott's 143 laid the foundations for England's decisive draw with India

Unstoppable: Trott's 143 laid the foundations for England's decisive draw with India

Picture dispute

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

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

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

Sport villains of the year – featuring Roman Abramovich, Joey Barton and Lance Armstrong

Forget Sports Personality of the Year… here's the 12 contenders for Villain of 2012! Barton, Abramovich and Armstrong all feature on our alternative shortlist

|

UPDATED:

15:59 GMT, 16 December 2012

TODAY'S POLL

Who is the sporting villain of 2012

VOTE

Roman Abramovich

POLL RESULTS

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After a golden year of British sport,
it's understandable that tonight's Sports Personality of the Year is
creating so much excitement.

But
it's worth casting our minds back to some of the less impressive
sporting moments of the year, where our sporting heroes have offered
moments of hilarity, humiliation and in some cases downright disgrace.

Cast your vote to crown the villain of the year 2012. The contenders are…

Kevin Pietersen

KP faced a whole lot of controversy after he admitted to sending ‘provocative’ texts to the South African squad about his captain and team-mate Andrew Strauss.

A South African by birth, Pietersen came under fire for an apparent lack of loyalty to the national squad, and further unsettled team-mates with his fascination with the Indian Premier League.

But after much apologising he began his re-integration into the squad during their series in India.

John Terry

The saga began after a clash between Chelsea and QPR in October 2011, where Terry was accused of using racist language to abuse Anton Ferdinand.

This year, the Chelsea captain, who was stripped of the England captaincy, was cleared of a racially aggravated public order offence by a court.

However, the FA went on to find him guilty of misconduct, and proceeded to fine him 220,000 on top of a four-match ban.

‘Improbable, implausible and contrived’ was how the FA’s disciplinary panel described Terry’s defence, and many felt that the punishment had been far too lenient.

John Terry is accused of a racial slur against Anton Ferdinand

John Terry has been handed a four-match ban in 2012 for using abusive language relating to race against Anton Ferdinand

Roman Abramovich

The Russian has sent Chelsea into turmoil this season, sacking Roberto di Matteo after a string of disappointing results.

They were unceremoniously dumped out of the Champions League only six months after winning the trophy under Di Matteo.

Replacement Rafa Benitez has hardly had the warmest welcome and is likely to be on his way as well if Pep Guardiola agrees to take over next season.

So, it is fair to say there is little long-term vision, with Abramovich favouring an expensive and quick-fix solution over anything that requires a long-term investment.

But after saving them from near bankruptcy and using a billion pounds from his own pocket to finance the club, he can run the club how he likes – success or no success.

Roman Abramovich celebrates winning the Premiership with Chelsea

The Chelsea boss has gone through nine managers since taking on Chelsea, and recently sacked Roberto di Matteo

Trenton Oldfield

The
boat race may often be ridiculed by those without a double-barreled surname, but there was little sympathy for Oldfield, who sabotaged the race by swimming across the path of the oncoming boats in a protest
against elitism.

If
the act itself wasn’t enough to anger both the crews and supporters, the
smug grin plastered on the Australian’s face as he was led away by
police certainly did the trick.

Cambridge
went on to win the race, but after an Oxford oar was snapped following a
re-start and the Dark Blues bow Alexander Woods collapsed in the boat
at the finish line, there was a distinctly subdued air over the win.

The presentation ceremony was cancelled and there was little celebration from any of the crews. Oldfield was jailed for six months in October.

Michel Platini speaks at a conference at the National Stadium in Warsaw

Michel Platini has proposed that Euro 2020 be held at stadiums all over the continent

Michel Platini

The Frenchman is nothing if not ambitious. His proposal of a ‘Euros for Europe,’ with matches being played across the continent in different cities, is certainly novel.

But it has been criticised by fans who feel that it shows a complete disregard for their enjoyment, and an unfortunate focus on money and TV revenue.

The shambles that was the bidding process for Euro 2020, in which Platini expressed a preference for Turkey before their bid was deemed unviable, led to a lack of options for the UEFA president.

Host countries were thin on the
ground, with few being able to afford the new financial burden.

Cynical
observers have suggested that this cross-continent proposal might be
down to Platini’s hopes for the FIFA presidency in 2015.

It is another blow after his decision to extend the Euros from 16 to 24 teams from 2016 – diluting the standard of what is a brilliant tournament.

Frankie Dettori

The Italian was handed a six-month ban by French racing authorities this year after failing a drugs test.

The drug was taken during what Dettori called a ‘night of madness’ with his friends when the jockey’s career was at a low ebb.

He will return to the saddle in May, hoping to redeem himself on the racecourse, but the 42-year-old has expressed concern that his reputation will never recover.

Frankie Dettori was banned for six months by French authorities after taking drugs

The Italian jockey received a six-month ban for taking a drug, suspected to be cocaine, during a 'night of madness.'

Lance Armstrong

Has ever a hero fallen so hard as Lance Armstrong It is hard to recall anyone who has made such a leap from being respected to disgraced.

The cancer-surviving cyclist had all seven of his Tour de France titles stripped this year after the US Anti-Doping Agency accused him of running ‘the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen.’

Armstrong, while maintaining his innocence, chose not to fight the report produced by the USADA.

But while the strides he made on the bike have now been called into question, the efforts he made to aid cancer research will remain perhaps his greatest achievement.

Although he has now stepped down as the head of Livestrong, the $500million that he helped raise remains.

David Haye and Dereck Chisora

A bit of trash talk is to be expected surrounding bouts in professional boxing, but David Haye and Dereck Chisora took it a step too far in a press conference back in February.

The conference was actually being held after a clash between Chisora and Vitali Klitschko in Munich.

But Haye managed to steal attention by goading the heavyweight from the back of the room, prompting Chisora to square up to the Brit.

Punches were thrown and although the pair should have known better than to enter into a brawl with the world’s press watching, the conference soon descended into chaos.

Haye did manage to redeem himself slightly when the two fought a grudge match in July and Chisora was resoundingly beaten.

Warning: This video contains strong language

Voula Papachristou

The Greek athlete is another to have learned the dangers of Twitter the hard way.

The
triple-jumper was ejected from the national team and sent home from the
Olympics after making a joke that many deemed offensive.

Her tweet read: ‘With so many Africans in Greece, at least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home made food!’

Despite
apologising for the tasteless comment, which followed a number of
tweets expressing far-right political views, the Greek Olympic Committee
said her statements had been ‘contrary to the values and ideas of the
Olympic movement,’ and she was sent home.

Greek athlete Voula Papachristou during the women's triple jump in Athens

Greek athlete Voula Papachristou was expelled from the Greek national team at this year's Olympics after tweeting offensive comments

David Nalbandian

There have been few tennis players able to rival John McEnroe’s infamous on-court tantrums.

David Nalbandian did manage to surpass the American in terms of actual damage caused this year however.

In a moment of anger during his final match against Marin Cilic at Queens this summer, the Argentine lashed out at some advertising boards around the chair of a line judge.

Nalbandian underestimated his own strength unfortunately, and ended up being disqualified after the boards went flying into the linesman’s legs, leaving him with a deep cut.

The 30-year-old was fined 6,400 by the ATP for unsportsmanlike conduct, as well as losing his 36,500 prize money.

He offered a sincere apology following the incident, saying: ‘It is a mistake and I have to pay for that.’

Joey Barton

Perhaps not a villain, but more of a village idiot, Barton amused us once again in 2012 with some bizarre press conference antics.

It’s usually his Twitter account that gets people talking. Or violent conduct on the pitch. Or drunken brawls.

Anyway, this year hilarity was caused when Barton appeared in a press conference for Olympic Marseille, and curiously mimicked a French accent.

Earlier in the year there was less amusement when Barton received his second red card of the season for QPR and proceeded to attack Manchester City players, kneeing Sergio Aguero and attempting to head-butt Vincent Kompany.

Barton was typically contrite on Twitter afterwards, tweeting: ‘Still not my proudest moment but who gives a f***, we are safe……….and that is all that matters.’

Joey Barton attacked Manchester City players after receiving his second red card of the season

Joey Barton caused trouble as well as amusement in 2012, attacking Manchester City players after receiving a red card

Eight Olympic badminton players

This was a combined effort at bad behaviour during the Summer Games.

In an attempt to avoid facing harder opponents, four duos tried to make sure they didn’t finish top of their group by losing their last game in the group stage.

A Chinese pair, four players from South Korea and a duo from Indonesia were all dropped from the competition after their poor display of sportsmanship and suffered a severe reaction from a disappointed crowd.

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

|

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