Oz squad thrilled to have Symonds back despite poor form

Australia might tour Pakistan twice in 2008Dubai, Apr. 22 : Australian cricketers have welcomed Andrew Symonds back into their fold despite his poor form, both on and off the field.

Australia''s acting skipper Michael Clarke said the way Symonds played in his comeback series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates would be vital to his future prospects.

And Clarke said it was up to the all-rounder to decide whether he also needed to prove anything off the field, after several recent disciplinary lapses resulted in him being removed from the team to undergo counselling.

Strauss will be an outstanding England skipper: Vaughan

Strauss will be an outstanding England skipper: VaughanLondon, Apr. 22 : Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan is convinced that current incumbent Andrew Strauss will become an outstanding England captain, but has warned him not to read too much into or about Ashes fever.

"Andrew Strauss will be a great captain, with stability, consistency and maturity," The Sun quoted Vaughan, as saying.

He also said that people should not expect England to beat the Australians this summer as they did under him in 2005.

Pressure will be immense on Flintoff to play in IPL final

London, Apr. 22 : Having ensured a victory for the Chennai Super Kings against Bangalore''s Royal Challengers in the second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), England all rounder Andrew Flintoff is likely to face pressure to return for the final should his franchise make it on May 24.

The pressure would be immense for a player of the stature of Flintoff or Pietersen to be given special dispensation to take part knowing that the final one-dayer against the West Indies is taking place on the same day, reports the Daily Express.

According to the tabloid, it is quite feasible, amid the intricate and delicate politics of global cricket, that the ECB would agree to send Flintoff back to the Chennai dressing room in preference to the England one.

Proteas spinner Botha says not playing IPL because of faulty bowling action

Proteas spinner Botha says not playing IPL because of faulty bowling actionCape Town (S. Africa), Apr. 22: South African off-spinner Johan Botha has said that he is not playing in the second edition of the Indian Premier League here because of his faulty bowling action.

"There were two or three teams interested in my services, but they could not offer me a contract because of this issue," Sports 24 quoted Botha, as saying.

Kolkata Knight Riders beat Kings XI Punjab by 11 runs

Kolkata Knight Riders beat Kings XI Punjab by 11 runsDurban, Apr 21: Kolkata Knight Riders thrashed Kings XI Punjab by 11 runs in a rain truncated Indian Premier League match here on Tuesday.

Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Brendon McCullum won the toss and elected to field first.

Kings XI, which had earlier lost its opening match to Delhi Daredevils, got a poor start when both opener Karan Goel lost his wickets early.

Irfan Pathan, who was promoted up in the order, hit some beautiful shots. He scored 32 runs off 17 balls.

Clarke to use Pak ODI series to bring Oz batting back to its consistent best

Michael ClarkeMelbourne, Apr 20 : Australia’s captain for the Dubai series, Michael Clarke, has said that his team’s main focus will be on improving their batting during the one-day international series against Pakistan.

Clarke leads a squad without regular captain Ricky Ponting, strike bowler Mitchell Johnson and middle order batsman Mike Hussey, all being rested ahead of the Twenty20 world championship and Ashes campaign.

The Australian squad assembled in Dubai ahead of the tour-opener on Wednesday with Clarke predicting that Pakistan will prove a difficult opponent in their first ODI clashes in more than four years.