Tag Archives: tony

Stoke fans refuse to back Tony Pulis

'Staying up' but Stoke fans still not potty about Pulis despite QPR win

By
Simon Cass

PUBLISHED:

22:00 GMT, 21 April 2013

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UPDATED:

07:01 GMT, 22 April 2013

The chants of ‘We are staying up’ rang out from Stoke City’s fans after the club was rescued from the drop at QPR’s expense.

But there were no songs of support for manager Tony Pulis, despite Stoke almost certainly assuring Barclays Premier League football for a sixth season.

Pulis’s relationship with Stoke fans is suffering because his side scores under a goal a game.

Taken for granted Tony Pulis has established Stoke in the Premier League

Taken for granted Tony Pulis has established Stoke in the Premier League

So something has to give, whether that be a change of manager or a change in their manager’s approach if next season is not to be a carbon copy of this one.

QPR chairman Tony Fernandes slams Liverpool performance but still hopeful of staying up

It's not over yet! QPR chairman Fernandes slams woeful Liverpool performance but still hopeful of staying up

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UPDATED:

10:54 GMT, 31 December 2012

QPR chairman Tony Fernandes insists it is 'not over yet' for the bottom-placed side despite a 'woeful' performance' against Liverpool yesterday.

The Reds ran Rangers ragged at Loftus Road, with Luis Suarez's brace and a Daniel Agger header earning the visitors a deserved 3-0 win.

The defeat means QPR end 2012 bottom of the Premier League and eight points adrift of safety after a miserable first half of the season.

Few could have predicted such a dire season for the west Londoners after a summer of high-profile acquisitions and, while thoroughly disappointed, chairman Fernandes believes survival is still possible.

'No excuse,' he said via his Twitter account, @tonyfernandes. 'Lost for words. Back to the drawing board. Woeful performance.

'When we signed all those players. Everyone was full of praise. No one thought we would be in such a mess.not over yet though.'

fernandes tweets

Those comments echoed the sentiments of manager Harry Redknapp, who still believes QPR can stay up.

'I think we'll stay up still,' the Hoops boss said. 'You'll think we're mad, but I think we will stay up.

'I only want positive people around me, I said that in the dressing room.

'Those that are moping around, the subs that are not playing, are not playing because they're no good.

'If they had been any good, I'd be picking them. I don't need miserable faces, I don't need them around me.

'I need people who are upbeat. The next two games are unbelievable, Chelsea away and Tottenham at home – two of the best teams in the country.

'They are difficult games, but we've got to keep going and I still think we'll do it.'

Easy: Suarez put Liverpool ahead in the 10th minute

Easy: Suarez put Liverpool ahead in the 10th minute

As poor as QPR were yesterday, Liverpool deserve credit for a fine performance, particularly in the first half.

The comprehensive win was made all the more impressive by the fact that manager Brendan Rodgers missed the game through illness.

'They were fantastic, absolutely awesome today,' said assistant manager Colin Pascoe, who led the side with coach Mike Marsh in Rodgers' absence.

'The way they played, the way they conducted themselves, the way they controlled the game. It was brilliant.

'The back four were great and you could go through the whole team. It was just a fantastic performance today, with Luis creating chances and scoring.'

Stroll: Agger rose to head home Liverpool's third goal

Stroll: Agger rose to head home Liverpool's third goal

The only negative from the win in west London was an injury to Jose Enrique.

The left-back limped off in the second half, leaving the club to sweat on the severity of his hamstring injury.

'Unfortunately, it looks as if he's got a little tear in his hamstring,' Pascoe added.

'He was terrific today, absolutely superb, and he's been a joy to watch in the last few months, so hopefully he's not out for too long.'

Steven Nzonzi free to face City on New Year"s Day after appealing Southampton red card

Nzonzi free to face City on New Year's Day after appealing Saints red card

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UPDATED:

11:56 GMT, 31 December 2012

Stoke midfielder Steven Nzonzi will be free to face Manchester City on New Year's Day after appealing against his sending-off on Saturday.

Nzonzi was shown the red card for an alleged stamp on Southampton's Jack Cork during a thrilling 3-3 Barclays Premier League draw at the Britannia Stadium.

Potters manager Tony Pulis was angered by the decision, arguing Nzonzi did not make contact with Cork, and the Football Association have confirmed an appeal has now been lodged.

Seeing red: Nzonzi was sent-off after fouling Jack Cork

Seeing red: Nzonzi was sent-off after fouling Jack Cork

Tony Greig tribute by Paul Newman

Tony Greig: A rebel with a cause. He was a pioneer who shocked the world… and saved cricket

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UPDATED:

20:26 GMT, 30 December 2012

Tony Greig rocked the establishment in walking away from high office as England captain to play a key role in setting up Kerry Packer’s breakaway ‘circus’ in 1977.

Sportsmail pays tribute to one of the most significant cricketers in the history of the game by recalling how the late, great Ian Wooldridge broke the seismic news of the Packer revolution exclusively on the front page of the Daily Mail.

And how Greig, who died in Sydney on Saturday at the age of 66, was finally welcomed back into the home of the game when he was invited to deliver the Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey lecture by MCC at Lord’s last summer.

Scroll down for video

66 and out: Former England captain and popular television commentator Tony Greig has died in Sydney at the age of 66

66 and out: Former England captain and popular television commentator Tony Greig has died in Sydney at the age of 66

Job well done: Greig, then captain of England, relaxes with a pint after a Test match at Old Trafford in 1972

Job well done: Greig, then captain of England, relaxes with a pint after a Test match at Old Trafford in 1972

On May 9, 1977, under the headline
‘World’s top cricketers turn “pirate” ’, Ian Wooldridge wrote: ‘In a
player revolution unprecedented in sport the world’s top 34 Test
cricketers have secretly signed contracts to become freelance
mercenaries. Disenchanted by low pay and what they regarded as doormat
treatment by cricketing authorities throughout the world they are to
play exhibition “Tests” for television and ten times the money.

Ragout

‘The new Dogs of Cricket include
England captain Tony Greig and 13 of the Australian touring party (in
England at the time). The possibility must be faced that Greig’s
involvement will be seen at Lord’s as defection and that he will be
removed from the captaincy this summer. Overnight. the whole balance of
world cricket has shifted.’

Last June, 35 years after being
ostracised from the established game, Greig, whose career of 58 Tests,
14 of them as England captain, was ended by his shocking switch, stood
tall at the home of cricket and explained, at the behest of MCC, why he
made the move that changed the game for ever.

Greig said: ‘I must explain my
reasons for sacrificing the most coveted role in world cricket, the
England captaincy, to become involved with an Australian television
tycoon. A quote from the transcript of my meeting with Kerry Packer,
five days after the Centenary Test on March 22, 1977, gives the best
insight of how I felt at the time: “Kerry, money is not my major
concern. I’m nearly 31 years old. I’m probably two or three failures
from being dropped from the England team. Ian Botham is going to be a
great player and there won’t be room in the England side for both of us.

All-rounder: Greig scored 3,599 Test runs at an average of 40.43 and was also more than handy with the ball, claiming 141 wickets at an average of 32.20

All-rounder: Greig scored 3,599 Test runs at an average of 40.43 and was also more than handy with the ball, claiming 141 wickets at an average of 32.20

Mentor: Greig offers some words of advice for players of the future during a match for Brighton and Hove CC at Basingstoke in 1978

Mentor: Greig offers some words of advice for players of the future during a match for Brighton and Hove CC at Basingstoke in 1978

Leaders: Deposed England cricket captain Tony Greig (right) and his successor, Mike Brearley, during practice prior to the 1st ODI against Australia at Old Trafford in Manchester on 22nd June 1977

Leaders: Deposed England cricket captain Tony Greig (right) and his successor, Mike Brearley, during practice prior to the 1st ODI against Australia at Old Trafford in Manchester on 22nd June 1977

“England captains such as Tony Lewis,
Brian Close, Colin Cowdrey, Ray Illingworth and Mike Denness all lost
the captaincy long before they expected. I won’t be any different. I
don’t want to finish up in a mundane job when they drop me. I’m not
trained to do anything. I am at the stage of my life when my family’s
future is more important than anything else. If you guarantee me a job
for life within your organisation, I will sign”.

Greig worked as a commentator for Packer’s Channel Nine in Australia until his death from a heart attack, after being diagnosed with lung cancer in October.

He continued at Lord’s: ‘Obviously
there were also key issues with the England administrators that
disturbed me which I felt would never be resolved. I couldn’t understand
why we were only paid 210 a Test when we were playing in front of
packed houses. The psyche of the administrators was that the honour of
playing for England was enough — money shouldn’t be a consideration.

‘Consequently I couldn’t see an end
to the game under-selling itself and there appeared to be no hope of
expanding the revenue base for Test and county players alike unless
there was a revolution, or at least a big upheaval. I have never had any
doubt that I did the right thing by my family and by cricket. I have
worked for Kerry Packer’s organisation for 35 years and my family’s
future has been secured.

Meeting of minds: Greig chats with Pakistan cricketer of the sixties Saeed Ahmed in the United Arab Emirates in 1997

Meeting of minds: Greig chats with Pakistan cricketer of the sixties Saeed Ahmed in the United Arab Emirates in 1997

Controversial times: Greig as captain of the World Series Cricket World XI in the 1979 Supertest Grand Final match with Australia in Sydney

Controversial times: Greig as captain of the World Series Cricket World XI in the 1979 Supertest Grand Final match with Australia in Sydney

‘After the initial nastiness and internal feuding, cricket and cricketers also did quite well out of World Series Cricket.

‘WSC ensured cricket reinvented itself to survive the changing world.

‘WSC was the jolt the administrators
needed and it flagged the message that they were substantially
under-selling the sport to TV.

‘Players immediately received
substantially more money at both Test and first-class level, which
increased the longevity of their careers.

‘Companies saw the value in using
cricket as a marketing tool. TV coverage improved significantly, which
increased interest in the sport. Night cricket created a new audience,
both in terms of television and at the ground, and generated
significantly more income.

‘Cricket’s success inspired other sports to imitate cricket with things such as TV coverage and sponsorships.’

Memorabilia: Greig studies the ball used by Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh when he became the first Indian to take a hat-trick in Test cricket at an auction in Bangalore in 2003

Memorabilia: Greig studies the ball used by Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh when he became the first Indian to take a hat-trick in Test cricket at an auction in Bangalore in 2003

Greig concluded: ‘Cricket as we know
and love it still has plenty of problems. Most can be solved if the
International Cricket Council members put the game’s interests before
their own; if India accepts the survival of Test cricket as
non-negotiable; if India accepts its responsibility as leader of the
cricket world; if it embraces Nelson Mandela’s philosophy of not
seeking retribution; and if it embraces the Spirit of Cricket and
governs in the best interests of world cricket, not just for India and
its business partners.

‘What we have is a game with its
roots deep in the 19th century but, like a magnificent English oak,
continues to spread its luxuriant branches in the 21st century.

‘If we want our children’s children
to be able to climb on that tree, we must do everything in our power to
ensure that the tree can live.

‘To do that, no matter where we come
from in the world, we must be guided by the paramount and enlightening
thing that Colin Cowdrey, a man so courteous he called Jeff Thomson “Mr
Thomson” out in the middle, knew and cherished so well. The Spirit of
Cricket.’

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WORLD OF CRICKET UNITES TO PAY TRIBUTE TO GREIG

England wicketkeeper, Matt Prior: 'Can't believe one of my heroes Tony Greig has passed away. One of the greatest voices in cricket and will be sorely missed. #RIPGreigy.'

England batsman Jonny Bairstow: 'Today we lost a fabulous man, a family friend and someone who was respected by all not only as a cricketer but a true gentleman RIPTonyGreig'

England opener, Nick Compton:
'Sad day – RIP Tony Greig a fantastic player and a good man, loved his
commentary was one of the best! Cricket world will miss u.'

Legendary Aussie fast bowler, Brett Lee: 'OMG Poor Tony Greig. I feel so sad and shocked right now. Can't believe it.'

England all-rounder, Luke Wright: 'Gutted to hear that Tony Greig has passed away. A legend on and off the field. Our thoughts are with his family and friends #RIPGreigy.'

Australia captain Michael Clarke on www.cricket.com.au: 'I was only speaking with Tony a couple of days ago so news of his passing is absolutely devastating.

'Tony has a long and decorated history with international cricket both as a player and commentator and cricket will be much poorer for his loss.

'Personally, he has also been a great mentor for me, providing great advice through the good times and the bad.'

Former Australian paceman Glen McGrath: My thoughts are with Tony Greig's family today. RIP Tony Greig'

Long-serving Nine Network cricket commentator and former Australia captain Richie Benaud recalled Greig's 'fearless' reaction to the English public following his decision to join the Packer team in 1977.
'There was an enormous amount of pressure on him,' Benaud told the Sydney Morning Herald.

'He was captain of England at the time and played against Australia at Lord's. The English people turned against him.

'He wasn't just a fearless cricketer but a fearless thinker as well. He would not just jump in boots first, but it wouldn't matter how much pressure it put on him, he would stick with it.'

Former Australia fast bowler Dennis Lillee told the same publication: 'Tony was a tough opponent who took on all opposition with aggression and a determination to win.

'We will not forget the way he stirred the viewers in a similar vein to the way he did to opposition teams.'

ICC chief executive David Richardson: 'This is extremely sad news for cricket and the ICC send their condolences to Tony's family and in particular his wife Vivian.

'Tony played a significant part in shaping modern cricket as a player in the 1970s and then provided millions of cricket lovers with a unique insight as a thoughtful and knowledgeable commentator – primarily for the Nine Network in Australia.

'I met with him on several occasions during the recent ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka where he was a senior commentator for our broadcast partner ESS.

'He was also a regular visitor to the ICC offices in Dubai when commentating for Ten Sports.

'I am sure that I will not be alone in saying that he and his wise words will be missed by cricketers, administrators and spectators around the world.

'His figures in Test matches show that he was one of the leading all-rounders of his generation with a batting average of above 40 and a bowling average around 32.'

Ryan Shawcross could leave Stoke City

City consider Shawcross bid as Stoke skipper stalls on signing new deal

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UPDATED:

23:48 GMT, 29 December 2012

Stalling: Shawcross has been offered a six-year deal

Stalling: Shawcross has been offered a six-year deal

England defender Ryan Shawcross may be a shock departure from Stoke in the transfer window if he doesn’t sign a six-year deal offered recently.

The club are unhappy at the prospect of the 25-year-old running down the last 18 months of his deal. Manchester City like him, and could be tempted to make a move for the former Manchester United man.

Shawcross, who made his England debut in November, has earned rave reviews this season as Tony Pulis' side have gatecrashed the top half of the Premier League.

Tony Greig dies: Former England cricket captain passes away after of heart attack

Former England cricket captain and TV commentator Tony Greig dies of a heart attack at 66

PUBLISHED:

08:33 GMT, 29 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

09:33 GMT, 29 December 2012

Former England captain and television commentator Tony Greig has died of a heart attack at the age of 66 after being diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year.

South Africa-born Greig, who played 58 Tests for England, was initially diagnosed with bronchitis seven months ago, with further tests showing a lesion at the base of his right lung.

He became synonymous with world cricket as a commentator for Australian television network Channel Nine following his retirement.

66 and out: Former England captain and popular television commentator Tony Greig has died in Sydney at the age of 66

66 and out: Former England captain and popular television commentator Tony Greig has died in Sydney at the age of 66

Job well done: Greig, then captain of England, relaxes with a pint after a Test match at Old Trafford in 1972

Job well done: Greig, then captain of England, relaxes with a pint after a Test match at Old Trafford in 1972

'Beloved Tony Greig, former England cricket captain, has passed away today at the age of 66,' a Channel Nine statement read.

'Initially diagnosed with bronchitis in May, the condition lingered and testing revealed he had lung cancer.'

Greig scored 3,599 Test runs at an average of 40.43 and was also more than handy with the ball, claiming 141 wickets at an average of 32.20.

He finished playing for England at the age of 30 to take up a position in Kerry Packer's breakaway World Series Cricket competition, where he was one of the star recruits.

All-rounder: Greig scored 3,599 Test runs at an average of 40.43 and was also more than handy with the ball, claiming 141 wickets at an average of 32.20

All-rounder: Greig scored 3,599 Test runs at an average of 40.43 and was also more than handy with the ball, claiming 141 wickets at an average of 32.20

Mentor: Greig offers some words of advice for players of the future during a match for Brighton and Hove CC at Basingstoke in 1978

Mentor: Greig offers some words of advice for players of the future during a match for Brighton and Hove CC at Basingstoke in 1978

Leaders: Deposed England cricket captain Tony Greig (right) and his successor, Mike Brearley, during practice prior to the 1st ODI against Australia at Old Trafford in Manchester on 22nd June 1977

Leaders: Deposed England cricket captain Tony Greig (right) and his successor, Mike Brearley, during practice prior to the 1st ODI against Australia at Old Trafford in Manchester on 22nd June 1977

The Channel Nine statement continued: 'Tony Greig is a name synonymous with Australian cricket – from his playing days as the English captain we loved to hate, to his senior role in the revolution of World Series Cricket, his infamous car keys in the pitch reports and more than three decades of colourful and expert commentary.

'To his family and friends we pass on our best wishes.'

Meeting of minds: Greig chats with Pakistan cricketer of the sixties Saeed Ahmed in the United Arab Emirates in 1997

Meeting of minds: Greig chats with Pakistan cricketer of the sixties Saeed Ahmed in the United Arab Emirates in 1997

Controversial times: Greig as captain of the World Series Cricket World XI in the 1979 Supertest Grand Final match with Australia in Sydney

Controversial times: Greig as captain of the World Series Cricket World XI in the 1979 Supertest Grand Final match with Australia in Sydney

Greig, a right-handed middle-order batsman and medium-fast seamer, made his Test debut for England against Australia in 1972, and captained the national team from 1975-1977 after succeeding Mike Denness as skipper.

He lived in Sydney from the late 1970s and commentated on cricket for Channel Nine for 33 years.

Memorabilia: Greig studies the ball used by Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh when he became the first Indian to take a hat-trick in Test cricket at an auction in Bangalore in 2003

Memorabilia: Greig studies the ball used by Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh when he became the first Indian to take a hat-trick in Test cricket at an auction in Bangalore in 2003

Reports in Australia today indicated Greig suffered a heart attack at his home in Sydney and died around 1345 AEDT (0245 GMT).

'He was rushed into St Vincent's hospital. The staff of the emergency department worked on Mr Greig to no avail,' St Vincent's spokesman David Faktor was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

WORLD OF CRICKET UNITES TO PAY TRIBUTE TO GREIG

England opener, Nick Compton: 'Sad day – RIP Tony Greig a fantastic player and a good man, loved his commentary was one of the best! Cricket world will miss u.'

Legendary Aussie fast bowler, Brett Lee: 'OMG Poor Tony Greig. I feel so sad and shocked right now. Can't believe it.'

England wicketkeeper, Matt Prior: 'Can't believe one of my heroes Tony Greig has passed away. One of the greatest voices in cricket and will be sorely missed. #RIPGreigy.'

England all-rounder, Luke Wright: 'Gutted to hear that Tony Greig has passed away. A legend on and off the field. Our thoughts are with his family and friends #RIPGreigy.'

Australia captain Michael Clarke on www.cricket.com.au: 'I was only speaking with Tony a couple of days ago so news of his passing is absolutely devastating.

“Tony has a long and decorated history with international cricket both as a player and commentator and cricket will be much poorer for his loss.

“Personally, he has also been a great mentor for me, providing great advice through the good times and the bad.'

Former Australian paceman Glen McGrath: My thoughts are with Tony Greig's family today. RIP Tony Greig'

Long-serving Nine Network cricket commentator and former Australia captain Richie Benaud recalled Greig's 'fearless' reaction to the English public following his decision to join the Packer team in 1977.
'There was an enormous amount of pressure on him,' Benaud told the Sydney Morning Herald.

'He was captain of England at the time and played against Australia at Lord's. The English people turned against him.

'He wasn't just a fearless cricketer but a fearless thinker as well. He would not just jump in boots first, but it wouldn't matter how much pressure it put on him, he would stick with it.'

Former Australia fast bowler Dennis Lillee told the same publication: 'Tony was a tough opponent who took on all opposition with aggression and a determination to win.

'We will not forget the way he stirred the viewers in a similar vein to the way he did to opposition teams.'

ICC chief executive David Richardson: 'This is extremely sad news for cricket and the ICC send their condolences to Tony's family and in particular his wife Vivian.

'Tony played a significant part in shaping modern cricket as a player in the 1970s and then provided millions of cricket lovers with a unique insight as a thoughtful and knowledgeable commentator – primarily for the Nine Network in Australia.

'I met with him on several occasions during the recent ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka where he was a senior commentator for our broadcast partner ESS.

'He was also a regular visitor to the ICC offices in Dubai when commentating for Ten Sports.

'I am sure that I will not be alone in saying that he and his wise words will be missed by cricketers, administrators and spectators around the world.

'His figures in Test matches show that he was one of the leading all-rounders of his generation with a batting average of above 40 and a bowling average around 32.'

Stoke manager Tony Pulis choosing gradual development over spending spree

Stoke proud of their project as Pulis claims he won't be splashing the cash in Janaury

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 25 December 2012

Tony Pulis insists Stoke City will not be ‘caught with their pants down’ by spending lots of money in January.

Stoke are sitting pretty in ninth place in the Barclays Premier League, level on points with Boxing Day's opponents Liverpool, but their manager said the club will continue their policy of ‘gradual redevelopment’.

Qualities: Tony Pulis is happy with the gradual progress being made by Stoke

Qualities: Tony Pulis is happy with the gradual progress being made by Stoke

Qualities: Tony Pulis is happy with the gradual progress being made by Stoke

In November, Stoke invested a further 6million in their Clayton Wood training ground to improve the facilities for Academy teams, having spent just 5.5m on bringing Geoff Cameron and Michael Kightly to the club last summer.

Pulis said: ‘We have a plan, and it’s gradual and gradual. It’s not one we’re going to throw loads and loads of money at and then get caught with our pants down.

‘We’ve spent on and off the pitch and we’re continuing at the moment. We’ve got a new build at the training ground and it’s going to cost us a lot of money.

‘The structure of the team is very organised. We work very, very hard on the training ground and we’ve got gradually better over the years we’ve been in the Premier League, but we are a football club that came into the Premier League after 23 years out, so we’ve had to spend a lot of money not just on the team, but on the structure.

‘The training ground, putting the stadium back into place after no investment, car parks, the lot.’

England v India: How Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Monty Panesar and co rated – Top Spin

From the brilliance of Cook to Broad's Tour nightmare… how England's heroes rated in India

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UPDATED:

14:11 GMT, 18 December 2012

What better way to celebrate England's first series win in India since 1984-85 than by lavishing on Alastair Cook's heroes some marks out of 10 Here's the Top Spin's man-by-man guide to a famous few weeks…

Alastair Cook 9

Thank goodness there was no DRS: had Cook been given out lbw for 41 during his second-innings 176 at Ahmedabad, the knock which allowed the players to go to bed – Cook's own phrase – believing they could play India's spinners would not have materialised. Instead, England's new captain kept ramming home the point, with 122 at Mumbai and 190 at Kolkata.

/12/18/article-2249975-1690D5BF000005DC-242_468x328.jpg” width=”468″ height=”328″ alt=”Welcome back: England heroes Cook and Panesar arrive in London on Tuesday” class=”blkBorder” />

Welcome back: England heroes Cook and Panesar arrive in London on Tuesday

Top Spin

And he is now one of only four England captains – Douglas Jardine, Tony Greig and David Gower are the others – to have won a Test series in India.

Runs: 562, High Score: 190, Average: 80.28

Nick Compton 6

Amid the immediate post-match celebrations at Nagpur, Compton cut a slightly dejected figure, quietly reasoning that he had not contributed in the manner of some of his team-mates.

And yet four successive opening stands with Cook of 50-plus were a vital part of the team's ecosystem, and the partnership of 166 at Kolkata laid the base for series-clinching lead.

There was merit as well in the way Compton overcame a poor start to the warm-up matches, when the dual pressures of having a famous grandfather – feted in these parts – and keeping out Joe Root might have taken their toll. Only in his failure to pass 57 after making several starts counted against him.

Runs: 208, High Score: 57, Average: 34.66

Steady: Compton didn't contribute in the manner of some of his team-mates

Steady: Compton didn't contribute in the manner of some of his team-mates

Jonathan Trott 7

It was all OK in the end, because Trott was able to revel in his natural game both in Kolkata and Nagpur, and he was no longer playing down the wrong line to the spinners. But two ducks in his first three innings suggested he might embody England's 2012 struggles against Asian spin.

The things changed. His hands became softer, and the work of the opening batsmen and the bowlers – who didn't allow India past 327 after Ahmedabad – meant he didn't walk out under quite the same pressure again.

And while Trott was drawing what little sting remained from India's bowlers in the last day and a half at Nagpur, it's quite possible England felt they could not have chosen a better man for the job.

Runs: 294, High Score: 143, Average: 42.00

On form: KP was one of England's star performers in India

On form: KP was one of England's star performers in India

Kevin Pietersen 8

Pietersen's ascent from the ridiculous of Ahmedabad to the sublime of Mumbai was one of many beguiling tales offered by this tour.

In a series characterised by careful batting, that 186 at the Wankhede was challenged only by Virender Sehwag's curtain-raising ton.

Of course, we may be back into the realms of Steve Archibald and his now-hackneyed take on team spirit, but Pietersen's reintegration seemed genuine enough – not least when Jimmy Anderson ran all the way to point to leap into his arms after bowling Sehwag for a first-over duck in the fourth Test.

Just as revealing were two selfless fifties: in Kolkata, he immediately changed the mood of a turgid third day by hitting the first three balls after tea to the fence; in Nagpur, he ground out 73 when every fibre of his being must have urged him to be reckless.

Can people say England managed him badly now

Runs: 338, High Score: 186, Average: 48.28

Ian Bell 6

If he redeemed himself – and his mediocre career record in India – with a series-confirming hundred on the last day of the series, then it was not entirely clear whether Bell quite appreciated the trouble he could have been in.

His first-baller at Ahmedabad could have haunted him to the end of his career had Jonny Bairstow made runs in Mumbai, when Bell was back home with his new baby. But Bell returned immediately for Eden Gardens, where he made sure 8 for 3 on the final morning did not become a calamity, and then brushed aside a lame first-innings chip off Piyush Chawla at Nagpur to steer England stylishly to safety.

Runs: 172, High Score: 116*, Average: 43.00

Centurion: Bell saved his Tour with a series-confirming ton

Centurion: Bell saved his Tour with a series-confirming ton

And the good news for him is that England's 15 Tests in 2013 are all against either New Zealand or Australia, with their emphasis on seam bowling.

Samit Patel 6

He didn't do a lot wrong – the recipient of two poor decisions at Ahmedabad, he put together important cameos in the first innings at Mumbai and Kolkata, where Sehwag might easily have dropped the slip catch which cost Patel his wicket.

But the decisive contribution was lacking, and when it became clear that Monty Panesar's left-arm spin needed no back-up, Patel's early-tour status as one of England's most assured players of spin no longer counted for much. It seems harsh, but there is a good chance he will never play a Test match for England again.

Runs: 69, High Score: 33, Average: 17.25

End of the road: Will Samit Patel play for England again

End of the road: Will Samit Patel play for England again

Matt Prior 8

Prior's role in the life-affirming follow-on at Ahmedabad was easy to overlook while Cook was rewriting the record books, but the contrast throughout the series of his punchy counterattacks and the generally insipid offerings of MS Dhoni gave England heart and belief.

And his 57 at Nagpur, after England had slipped to 139 for 5, was a series-rescuer. If there remain some doubts about his glovework up to the stumps, his keeping standing back and his all-round selflessness were a reminder that there is no more valuable No 7 in Test cricket.

Runs: 258, High Score: 91, Average: 51.60
Catches: 6 Stumps: 1

Matt finish: Prior proved invaluable again for England

Matt finish: Prior proved invaluable again for England

Graeme Swann 8

So much for a steady decline. From the first day of the series, when Swann alone took the fight to India's rampaging top order, via Mumbai (where he was a canny foil to Panesar) and Kolkata (where he altered the mood of the fourth day by bowling Sehwag with the first ball after lunch) – from there all the way to Nagpur, where he took his series tally to 20, surpassed by no one, England's off-spinner was one their four most valuable players.

The extent to which he outbowled Ravi Ashwin – more tweak, more oomph, more accuracy – gradually eroded India's credibility. And he finally decided he fancied a bat as well: at Nagpur he made his first Test fifty for three years, and took England to 330, which was a basis for negotiation. One plea, though: please bin the reverse-swipe.

Runs: 98, High Score: 58, Average: 32.66
Wickets: 20, Average: 24.75

Spin kings: Swann and Panesar helped guide England to an impressive series win

Spin kings: Swann and Panesar helped guide England to an impressive series win

James Anderson 8

His improvement as the series went on was a joy to behold, and Dhoni would single Anderson out as the difference between the sides.

At Ahmedabad, his and England's failure
to find reverse-swing compared badly with India's success. At Mumbai,
the ball barely swung conventionally either, but Anderson exploited the
one that did, trapping Gautam Gambhir with the second delivery of the
match. And when he did find reverse, at Kolkata, he was sublime.

Beer we go: Anderson celebrates

Beer we go: Anderson celebrates

But no session exemplified his fitness, skill and stamina better than the third evening at Nagpur. Virat Kohli and Dhoni had batted all day, and India were thinking in terms of a handy lead. But Anderson roared in for the final hour to energise England. Four wickets fell, and India could never push on. It was world-class.

Runs: 17, High Score: 9, Average: 4.25
Wickets: 12, Average: 30.25

Monty Panesar 8

If English groundsmen could produce tracks like the Wankhede at the click of Panesar's weirdly long spinning fingers, he would end up with one of the great all-time Test records.

Instead, the shame is that we may need to enjoy him while conditions last. Because at Mumbai he was magnificent, driving the Indians onto the back foot with his pace, and thus opening up lbw against the right-handers.

When Pragyan Ojha protested that not every spinner could match the mphs achieved by Monty, he did so with a telling air of resignation. But he could defend as well, and Cook rightly called him a 'captain's dream' after he got through 52 uncomplaining overs for 81 in the final Test. He seems to be setting his own fields with conviction too. But when will we see him again

Runs: 5, High Score: 4, Average: 2.50
Wickets: 17, Average: 26.82

Stuart Broad 3

It was a tour to forget for England's vice-captain, who bruised a heel, scuffled with Ian Botham on Twitter, and failed to claim a wicket in 36 expensive overs. He was scolded publicly during a press conference with the normally phlegmatic bowling coach David Saker. He'll be back. But he won't be able to put this tour behind him quickly enough.

Runs: 34, High Score: 25, Average: 11.33
Wickets: 0, Ave: –

Road to recovery: Broad won't remember this Tour with much fondness

Road to recovery: Broad won't remember this Tour with much fondness

Tim Bresnan 4

Once England's talisman, Bresnan played only in the defeat at Ahmedabad and the draw at Nagpur, where he bowled his heart out but lacked Anderson's class. If Steven Finn can stay fit in the years ahead, Bresnan may revert to the place on the bench which some – perhaps rather too readily at times – always regarded as his destiny.

Runs: 39, High Score: 20, Average: 13.00
Wickets: 0

One-test wonders
Steven Finn 8

Who knows whether Finn might have flogged some life out of the Nagpur pitch, but his spell on the fourth afternoon at Eden Gardens fulfilled all the hopes and dreams the management had invested in him before he tweaked a thigh muscle on the opening day of the tour.

Runs: 4, High Score 4*
Wickets: 0

Joe Root 9

His remarkable debut blockathon spelled bad news for India's bowlers and possibly for Compton. And he had the nerve to unveil the reverse-sweep on the last day at Nagpur as well.

Runs: 93, High Score: 73, Average: 93.00

Michael Owen return delayed by Stoke boss Tony Pulis

Hold your horses, Michael! Pulis tells fit-again Owen he needs more time off before return

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UPDATED:

11:14 GMT, 13 December 2012

Michael Owen's hopes of receiving a welcome birthday present from Stoke manager Tony Pulis have been put on hold.

Owen declared himself 'raring to go' after coming through 70 minutes of a behind-closed-doors friendly on Tuesday in a bid to step up his fitness after struggling with groin and hamstring niggles.

Practice makes perfect: Michael Owen needs more training before his returns, according to Pulis

Practice makes perfect: Michael Owen needs more training before his returns, according to Pulis

Ahead of Saturday’s visit of Everton to
the Britannia Stadium, there was the prospect of Owen making his first
appearance for Stoke since October 27, the last of his four substitute
outings since joining the club at the start of September.

But ahead of the former England striker’s 33rd birthday on Friday, Pulis says Owen still needs at least another week of fitness work and another reserve outing before he can be thrown into the first team.

Pulis said: 'Michael did smashing on Tuesday, came through 70 minutes, but he needs more work on the training ground, a bit more strength

'He needs another couple of weeks of full training, another game or two first before we chuck him back in.

'That’s because every time we’ve tried to get him in there he has broken

Raring to go: Owen is desperate to play again for Stoke

Raring to go: Owen is desperate to play again for Stoke

Tony Fernandes describes Queens Park Rangers" start to season as disaster

Fernandes slams QPR's start as 'nothing short of disaster' after record 16-game winless streak

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UPDATED:

21:12 GMT, 11 December 2012

QPR chairman Tony Fernandes has slammed his club's start to the Barclays Premier League season, describing the campaign so far as 'nothing short of a disaster'.

The Malaysian entrepreneur took to Twitter after watching the club go a record 16 games without victory with their 2-2 draw at Wigan on Saturday.

Despite replacing Mark Hughes with former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp last month after Rangers' dismal start, Fernandes said he 'won't leave any stone unturned' in his bid to save his club from the drop.

Disaster: QPR chairman Tony Fernandes has slated his club's start to the campaign

Disaster: QPR chairman Tony Fernandes has slated his club's start to the campaign

Fernandes will be at Loftus Road on Saturday for the visit of west London rivals Fulham, and urged fans of rock bottom Rangers to keep their spirits up.

He tweeted: 'Holiday today in malaysia. Went early xmas shopping. But all I want is 3 points. Hehehehe.

'Its been nothing short of a disaster. Its not where we are. But boy we put so much effort into this. Good honest effort.

'Keep your spirits up. Laughing smiling and being positive helps. Won't leave any stone unturned to try fix this. tough as it is. Hopefully santa gives us some early presents.'

Both Redknapp and Fernandes are desperate to break QPR's duck at the weekend, but a win will still leave them at least five points from safety.

QPR escaped relegation by a point last season, when Manchester City clinched the Premier League title with a last-gasp victory over them in the final match after midfielder Joey Barton had been sent off for lashing out at Carlos Tevez.

Mire: Rangers have gone a record 16 games without a win at the start of the season

Mire: Rangers have gone a record 16 games without a win at the start of the season

Saviour: Harry Redknapp (right) is hoping to turn the west London club's season around

Saviour: Harry Redknapp (right) is hoping to turn the west London club's season around