Monthly Archives: July 2013

It’snowheaven – What Katie Did Next – By Jess Softley

With a dry slope right on her doorstep and Jamie Nicholls for a cousin, Katie Ormerod was destined to be an insanely talented snowboarder.

Katie was first thrown into the world of winter sports when on a family holiday in Austria at the age of four, hitting the slopes with the tiniest of skis.

Shortly after Katie was given her first snowboard, a Burton Chopper 101 where she then competed in her first competition in 2005, the Kids women slopestyle in the Aim Series Bracknell, placing 2nd.

Whilst Katie was growing up, Halifax ski slope had a pretty hard core snowboard scene with the likes of Jamie Nicholls, Wayne Taylor and Sam Turnbull, creating a perfect breeding ground for any budding snowboard enthusiast.

With such positive role models, Katie had the best of chances to make it as a pro and reach the dizzy heights of the Winter Olympics.

Her crazy skills were quickly picked up by her local indoor slope, Castleford’s Sno!Zone who offered her a sponsorship deal which still stands to this day.

Over the years, Katie has made quite a name for herself taking several gold medals in various competitions all over the world, including this year’s British Championships in Tignes, taking gold in the women’s halfpipe event.

After gaining sponsorship from Roxy last year, joining Aimee Fuller and Jenny Jones, Katie has progressed massively as she and the rest of the Roxy team headed to the back country to ride the mountains.

As a result of this emerging talent she then joined the official GB Team to take on the rest of the world in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. After taking part in the British Championships, she joined the rest of the GB Freestyle team in Mayrhofen, Austria, Katie said “It was a really productive week as I landed my first ever double backflip! I was so stoked!”

For years Katie has lived under the shadow of her famous cousin Jamie Nicholls, but now she casts her own shadow and has gained the respect in her own right.

Tagged , , , ,

Pit Stop – Moto GP halfway report- By Lewis Brearley

We’re now at the half-way point of what has been a gripping MotoGP season. It’s been the full package: thrilling races, unpredictable events and captivating rivalries and there’s another nine races still to go.

Pre-season most commentators were predicting a Jorge Lorenzo versus Dani Pedrosa duel with super-rookie Marc Marquez quick enough to race the pair sporadically, but too crash-prone to challenge through the season.

However, at the half-way mark, Marquez leads Lorenzo and Pedrosa and remains the only one of the three without major injuries.

This fact is despite Marquez’s trademark lunges into each and every corner he rides into. Time after time he hurtles into corners at speeds and angles which even Lorenzo and Pedrosa can’t, and only once has he ended up in the gravel during a race.

It was a style he used on his journey up the lower ranks of the sport and through into Moto2. But on 1000cc beasts such as his Honda RC213V, this style is spectacularly difficult to master.

Yet his mistake at the very end of the Italian Grand Prix is also the only reason why Marquez doesn’t have a 100% podium record, an astonishing achievement.

Lorenzo and Pedrosa are desperately unlucky to have succumbed to bad shoulder injuries as their form prior to their incidents was very impressive.

Lorenzo has three wins and Pedrosa has two yet staying on the bike is an important facet of the two wheeled form of racing.

The Spanish duo’s injuries have opened up the podium battles for the past two races though, and Cal Crutchlow, Valentino Rossi and Stefan Bradl have stepped into the limelight.

Rossi keeps promising that his old form is just masked by inadequacies of his Yamaha’s set up and his Assen win was a glorious reminder of what can happen when he gets it right. However, the other eight races have clearly shown that Rossi is just a little step back from the youngsters he’s racing.

As uncomfortable as it may be to talk about the inimitable Italian like that, he is the only top rider in his thirties and age eventually shows its mark even on the very best.

Fifth in the championship is Britain’s promising Cal Crutchlow. In his third season and on a satellite Yamaha, therefore a less developed bike than Rossi’s, Crutchlow often has strong races. He needs to just put a few more parts of the jigsaw together, the biggest piece being better early race pace, and he could become a regular winner.

The only rider outside of this top five to get a podium is Stefan Bradl, who went from an impressive pole position to finish runner-up at Laguna Seca.

After a worrying start to the season, after which Honda began to lose faith in the German leading to the team not signing a contract extension, Bradl’s form has improved drastically in the past two races. This performance jump seems strongly correlated with a decision to change brake pads and it would be unwise now for Honda to abandon this exciting prospect.

However, Honda have another exciting prospect who they believe can lead them to a full era of glory: Marc Marquez.

The hype around Marquez can appear overblown to some; many correctly argue that he is indeed on what seems to be the best bike on the grid. But to those who deny Marquez some respect need to have a little glance at the history books. Valentino Rossi, seven times the champion, began his career in 2000 on one of the best bikes. He took two victories, something Marquez has already surpassed, and finished second in the championship.

Whether it’s a last corner barge at Jerez or a motocross style overtake at the Corkscrew, Laguna Seca, Marquez appears able to do whatever Rossi could.

One thing Rossi didn’t achieve however was a rookie-year championship, something Marquez is currently hurtling towards.

Tagged , , , , ,

It’snowheaven – The Energy Debate – By Jess Softley

With the increased popularity and publicity of snowboarding, riders now have the added pressure of being a good role model for the keen snowboarding followers who look up to them.

For professional snowboarders, it is essential that they gain sponsorship in order to compete at the highest level and progress as athletes.

Recently, sponsorship has been dominated by energy drink brands such as Monster, Red Bull and Relentless, promoting their products through brand visibility and heightened awareness, aligning themselves with adrenaline sports.

For some riders, this kind of sponsorship didn’t sit well with them. This disagreement then lead to the formation of Drink Water, as Bryan Fox and Austin Smith decided to take a moral stand against the promotion of these, arguably unhealthy, substitute drinks.

They first began their movement by writing Drink Water on their snowboards to try and encourage others to do the same. From then, they brought out their own range of jumpers, Tshirts and other merchandise to spread the word of the benefits of drinking pure water.

In order to bring their movement to a wider audience, they set up an annual competition (Rat Race) to increase their publicity and allow riders to compete in an informal laid back environment.

As part of their movement to push the advantages of drinking water, they vouch to pledge 10% of their profits to the charity water.org, to give as much as they can to ensure that fresh water is brought to those living without it.

Don’t take it for granted!

Tagged , , , ,

Bowled Over – England destroy Australia for 2-0 lead – By Luqman Liaqat

England hammered Australia by 347 runs at Lord’s to take a 2-0 lead and tighten their grip on the Ashes urn.

Australia were skittled out for 235 late on day four, having to chase 583 to win after England declared on 349-7 when Joe Root was dismissed for an incredible 180.

After winning the toss and batting first England fell to 28-3, Alistair Cook was brought across his stumps and trapped leg before by Shane Watson. In the next over, Root fell lbw to the recalled Ryan Harris (5-72) and Kevin Pietersen edged him behind to the keeper leaving England in trouble during Her Majesty the Queen’s presence.

As the Australian bowling attack looked a little lack lustre after the lunch interval, England hit eight boundaries in seven overs. Jonathon Trott was fluent, bringing up his fifty in 77 balls, his attacking commitment turned out to be his demise when he flicked Harris off his hips straight to Usman Khawaja at deep square leg.

Peter Siddle bowled out Jonny Bairstow earlier in his innings however it was judged a no-ball by the umpire. The pair then put another 46 runs in a fifth-wicket partnership of 144 with Ian Bell which looked to have put England in control.

Bell brought up his hard worked century of 200 balls to take England within the close of play, only for Michael Clarke to gamble throwing the ball to Steve Smith (3-18) as he removed Bell (109), Bairstrow (67) and Matt Prior as the hosts slipped from 271-4 to 289-7 at stumps.

On day two, Tim Bresnan hit six boundaries to reach 30 runs before being dismissed by Watson. A last wicket partnership of 48 between Stuart Broad (33) and Graeme Swann (22) helped England reach a fighting first innings total of 361.

Before lunch in Australia’s reply Watson was sent back to the pavilion by Bresnan for 30 as the tourists reached 42-1.

After the interval, Chris Rogers fell for 15 when he attempted to lash a high Swann full toss which struck him on the box. Roger’s didn’t ask for DRS (Decision Review System) but replays showed the ball was missing the stumps.

Phil Hughes (1) took a wild swipe at Bresnan and was taken by Prior and Khawaja spooned Swann straight to Pietersen. Smith was Swann’s third victim and Stuart Broad had the prize wicket of the Aussie skipper Clarke (28) with a full delivery that hit him in front of the leg stump as Australia slumped to 96-7 at tea.

In the final session, the tourists didn’t last long as Haddin edged the Nottinghamshire spin wizard Swann to slip and James Anderson dismissed Siddle. Australia’s last wicket added 28 before Swann (5-44) had another to complete his five-wicket haul as a horrendous innings came to an end on 128-all out.

England began the second innings already a huge 233 runs ahead, however the Aussies came out hitting the pitch hard especially Siddle (3-65) as Cook (8) and Trott (0) played successive deliveries back onto their stumps. Pietersen also fell before the close for five when he smashed a wide delivery to point closing day two on 31-3 with a lead of 264.

Day three was all about one man, the Yorkshire youngster Root who scored an unbeaten masterclass of 178 to put England in control of the Second test.
Root and Bresnan took on the morning session rather calmly as the pair scored 81 runs in the 30 overs.

It was mainly about occupying the crease and increasing the lead as much as they could, moving the score to 114-3.

The fourth-wicket partnership was worth 99, before Bresnan (38) fell quickly after lunch to James Pattinson when he pulled a short ball to Rogers in front of square.

Bell appeared to have been caught out early in his innings when he fended off a short-ball from Harris to the gully fielder Smith after checking replays the third umpire Tony Hill gave the batsman the benefit of the doubt.

Early in the evening session Root competed his century from 125 balls, Bell and Root scored 109 run in 17 overs either side of tea as England gained advantage of some poor Aussie bowling display with a stand of 153.

After reaching his 36th Test century, Bell looked to up the scoring, hitting another quick 24 runs as he cut, drove and swept before hammering Smith to mid-wicket.

Root played only 64 balls to get from 100 to 150, and at one point he launched Smith out of the ground twice off three balls. Bairstrow joined Root in the middle as the Yorkshire duo saw out the day to 344-5 with a massive lead of 566 runs.

Root was out for 180, he tried dinking Siddle over the wicket-keeper’s head which meant Cook and England declared immediately on 349-7, setting the tourists an improbable victory target of 583.

The chase began disastrously for Australia, in the seventh over Anderson struck removing Watson for 20 on the back of three fours from successive balls.

Swann’s variations completely fooled Rogers as the opener left a straight delivery which turned and clipped his off stump. Two-down soon became three for Australia as Hughes was given lbw and his decision to review fell in vain as tourists were in trouble on 36-3 at lunch.

Only Clarke (51) and Khawaja (54) showed some resist putting on a stand of 98 together, but before tea they were both on their way as first Clarke glanced Root (2-9) to leg slip and then Khawaja thick edged him to Anderson at second slip. In this game the Yorkshire man just couldn’t be kept out of the action with bat and then with the ball.

When Bresnan removed Smith and Ashton Agar the Aussies were all but dead and buried as an obvious conclusion drew ever so closer.

Swann (78-4) had an eighth victim of the match, when Haddin was given lbw for padding up with no Australian reviews remaining the wicket-keeper was powerless to have the decision overturned which looked to be missing the stumps.

Anderson (2-54) ripped through Siddle to break a partnership of 30 with Pattinson, as the score read a terrible 192-9. Seven more overs came and went, with plenty of close calls before Swann got one to fizz past Pattinson ending the last-wicket resistance of 43 from the tourist as they were finally bowled out for 235.

It gave England a massive 347 runs win and a 2-0 lead in the five-match Ashes series. After a 10-day break the two oldest foes go head-to-head on 1st August at the Emirates Old Trafford in a game without Pietersen after he took no part on day four with an injured calf and is ruled out for the third test.

Tagged , , ,

Pit Stop – Sauber Roubles – By Lewis Brearley

This week saw the good news that the Sauber team had secured their future for the long-term.

The Swiss team had been in worrying financial difficulties, which during the past month became so serious that lead driver Nico Hulkenberg went unpaid and promptly announced he would be leaving for safer shores at the end of the season.

Major investment will come from a troika of Russian companies and involves partnerships in which Sauber will help promote Formula One in Russia and develop high-technology engineering solutions.

While deeper information is as of now unavailable, the deal is believed to be so substantial that several other F1 teams were known to be chasing it.

Not only will Sauber benefit from a large injection of funds, but also from the advanced knowledge of top scientists and engineers at the National Institute of Aviation Technologies.

As part of the deal, Sauber is expected to be contracted to give Sergey Sirotkin – a talented Russian driver – an F1 seat next year.

Currently running fifth in the championship standings of the Formula Renault 3.5 World Series, Sirotkin is Russia’s most exciting prospect in the sport. However at the tender age of 17 and with this being only his second year in a respected development series, worries are that he is being rushed into F1 ahead of time.

The Russian’s are eager to build up awareness of the first ever Russian Grand Prix in 2014, and believe that a competitive home driver is an integral part of a country’s interest.

However Sirotkin isn’t even contending for the FR3.5 title and it would be much more sensible for him to remain in the development series for a couple more years. This would allow him to step up to F1 as a more complete driver when he ready.

From this approach the Russians appear to be prioritising the financial success of their Grand Prix over the career of a huge talent. For 2014 the viewing figures may be higher, but for a country who doesn’t have much of an F1 fanbase – even casual ones – a talented driver would bring greater long-term advantages.

The growth of F1 in Spain is a perfect example of the success of this approach. Before Fernando Alonso arrived Spain had minimal interest in F1 and MotoGP dominated the motor-racing news. Alonso was managed carefully and nurtured through the lower levels, before being given a plum seat when he was ready for it at the Renault team with which he would win his two world championships.

F1 now has a huge following in Spain and Alonso is a sporting icon in his homeland on the same level as the top La Liga footballers and Rafa Nadal.

The most important thing that the Russians should learn from the Alonso-effect is that business in sport should always be symbiotic with a long-term, patient vision.

Tagged , , , , , ,

It’snowheaven – Rat Race – By Jess Softley

For most people, the winter season in the northern hemisphere ended weeks ago. But try telling this to the guys from Drink Water, an organisation set up to promote the benefits of drinking pure water over energy drinks.

Any money raised by the organisation is donated to a charity dedicated to bringing clean and fresh water to those living without.

With winter sports now being dominated by energy drink sponsorship, Drink Water is a movement to help remind people of the importance and positive effects water has on the body.

The second annual edition of the Rat Race, a banked slalom snowboard event hosted by High Cascade, took place last week at Mount Hood, Oregon.

With invite only restrictions, the rider list resembled old school vs. new school with the big shot Terje Haakonsen, snowboarding’s giant and new comer Temple Cummins out to put their stamp on the event.

This informal, laidback approach promoted the ethical and true ethos of snowboarding as each rider battled it out with a total of two runs, with the quickest lap taking home 1st prize.

However, this course was designed to test agility and technical competence as the guys from Drink Water had thrown in all kinds of crazy things to mix up the conventional set up.

And the course take its toll on the riders as several teeth were chipped and one rider even broke his wrist.

However, no course could better the raw talent of Terje, who took 1st place as expected, showing off a smooth and technically inspiring run.

2nd place was taken by Temple Cummins, Kingston’s Curtis Ciszek took 3rd, 4th place going to Blake Paul and Zak Hale just making the extended podium at 5th.

After generating such great success we can’t wait to see what they’ve got in stock for us next year.

To find out more information on Drink Water, watch out for next week’s piece on The Sporting Week.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Bowled Over- England take 1-0 Lead in Ashes – By Luqman Liaqat

England clinched victory in the opening Ashes Test by only 14 runs on an unendurably intense final day at Trent Bridge.

Brad Haddin best efforts couldn’t take the tourist over the winning line as James Anderson claimed figures of 5-73 in the Australian second innings and equalled his match tally to ten wickets, setting the tourists a target of 311 which was mostly down to Broad and Bell’s stand of 138 on day four.

After electing to bat first on the first day, Alaistair Cook and Joe Root began the innings well after playing the opening nine overs calmly without any rash shots. James Pattinson bowled a wayward bouncer which was rightly given wide by the umpire to get the series off and running, however he was soon back in the action when Cook edged him behind to wicket-keeper Haddin.

Jonathon Trott came out taking the fight to the Australian bowlers, hitting Peter Siddle and debutant Ashton Agar for consecutive boundaries. Root also looked assured as the pair scored a 51-run partnership before Siddle bowled him out with a swinging yorker for 30, England reached 98-2 at lunch on day one.

Trott (48) played a reckless drive to deflect the ball back onto his stumps and Siddle had Kevin Pietersen caught at second slip for 14. Ian Bell and Jonny Bairstow revived the England innings with a counter-attacking stand of 54, Bell fell caught at first slip and Siddle (5-50) claimed his fifth wicket when Matt Prior slapped the ball to point leaving England in trouble on 180-6.

After tea, England lost their final three wickets for two runs as they collapsed from 213-7 to 215-all out. James Anderson survived a hat-trick ball from Mitchell Starc (2-54) and Graeme Swann tamely chipped the ball to cover at the close of the innings.

In reply, Steve Finn had Shane Watson caught at slip and Ed Cowan in successive deliveries. Anderson also picked up two wickets Chris Rodgers first judged lbw and clean bowled Michael Clarke with an inswinging delivery leaving the Aussies 75-4 at the close of the opening day.

On day two it was all about one man, the Aussies Agar, who posted the highest score by a number 11 in test history. Earlier in the morning, Australia added 33 quick runs taking the score to 108 and Steve Smith reached 50 off 72 balls.

Anderson struck with the first dismissal of the day as Smith nicked behind which ignited a collapse. Swann bowled out Haddin, Siddle and Starc were both caught behind giving Anderson (5-85) two more wickets and after Pattinson’s fall the Aussies were 117-9 from 113-6 leaving them still 98 runs behind with only the last wicket remaining.

The fearless youngster Agar scored a brilliant 98 from 101 balls, facing a scare on six didn’t affect him as he struck two straight maximums off Swann and he pulled the ball really well.

His last-wicket stand with Phil Hughes (81 not out) was worth 163 the highest in test history and Australia reached 280 giving them a lead of 65.

Starc removed Root and Trott early in England’s second innings putting the Aussies in control at tea with England 11-2. Trott’s wicket provided a real taking point as umpire Marais Erasmus overturned Aleem Dar’s on field call and replays on HotSpot showed a clear edge off the bat.

Cook and Pietersen batted out the day with care through the evening session steering the hosts to 80-2 and a lead of just 15.

Pieterson started day three aggressively, driving an overpitched delivery by Starc to the boundary to reach his fifty and it was his fourth boundary in the opening half an hour. Once Pietersen and Cook’s partnership reached the hundred mark Pietersen (64) was bowled when he diverted the ball onto his own stumps off Pattinson.

Cook followed Pietersen soon after as Agar’s brilliant debut continued making Cook his first Test victim a turning ball caught the edge of the England skipper’s bat which Clarke took with a fine diving catch.

At lunch England finished 137-4, after the break Agar had Bairstow caught behind for 15 leaving England 174-5 with a lead of just 109.

Just as England were gaining control Siddle dismissed Prior, however Bell took the sting out of the Aussie bowling line-up and with Broad riding his luck a strong stand developed in the middle.

By stumps, Broad closed onto his 13th half-century and the stand of 126 helped the hosts to 326-6.

Bell on 95 overnight, reached his 18th Test hundred in the opening minutes of day four. Starc’s wayward delivery went for five no-balls and a mis-field saw Bell get to his second ton against Australia.

After reaching his 50, Broad fell to Pattinson and Bell’s (109) long innings finally came to an end when he edged Starc behind to Haddin.

Siddle dismissed Anderson and Swann to close the England innings on 375 and in reply Australia reached 28-0 at lunch.

The Aussies opening stand reached 84 before Broad had Watson (46) leg before and Ed Cowan, for just 13, gave Root his maiden Test wicket.

Rodgers fell to Anderson for 52 which left England in command at 124-3, but a 40-run partnership from Clarke and Smith looked to put the tourists in a good chasing position.

Broad struck to send the big man Clarke back to the pavilion after Prior held a catch behind which Dar gave out but Clarke reviewed the decision but it wasn’t to be his saviour.

Swann put Australia in a spin before the close as Smith and Hughes were both sent packing leaving them on 174-6.

Agar (14) the hero of the first innings put on 43 with Haddin, before Anderson already into his eighth over of the day had him caught at slip by captain Cook.

In the next over Anderson had Starc for 1 and after Cook dropped Siddle he then held onto a stunner as Cook and Anderson combined for the third time on the final morning leaving the score 231-9.

Haddin opened up his shoulders just before the lunch break smashing Swann for a boundary and he hit Finn for 15 runs in one over and Pattinson joined in the fun hitting Swann over the top.

Haddin reached his 11th fifty and a 70 run stand on the final wicket assured the crowd at Nottingham was in for a thrilling finale as Australia needed another 20 runs with one wicket remaining.

After lunch the Aussies could only manage five runs as Anderson had Haddin (71) caught behind which was then reviewed and given out by the third umpire and this meant England squeezed over the line by just 14 runs.

The much-anticipated first Ashes Test reached the heights of the intensity that is expected when these two huge rivals meet on the cricket field.

This heated contest continues rapidly as England and Australia play the Second Test on Thursday at Lord’s.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Pit Stop – Kimi in Demand – By Lewis Brearley

This week Kimi Raikkonen’s management are having a series of meeting with the Lotus team owners, ostensibly to discuss Kimi’s contract extension, but in reality in order to hear persuasions for Kimi to stay.

The timing of the meeting is fine for Lotus, having just powered Kimi to second place in the German grand prix, finishing less than a second behind Sebastian Vettel driving for Kimi’s other prospective employers, Red Bull.

Kimi, as is the case for probably all the drivers on the grid, is enamoured by the promise of driving a Newey-machine; the title-winning Red Bull team having openly sounded out the Finn as a replacement for Mark Webber.

That combined with the challenge of going head to head with a triple world champion is sure to entice one of the best competitors in the history of modern F1.

However, the plusses of being a Lotus driver mean the decision isn’t so straightforward. Less media and corporate days than not just Red Bull, but all of the big teams, give the laconic Finn plenty of space and it’s a relationship he highly enjoys.

Add in the obvious pace of the Lotus E21, as demonstrated on Sunday, and it means plenty of sleepless nights for Kimi.

Kimi’s main doubt about staying with Lotus is that he isn’t convinced that the team can remain as title contenders on a consistent basis.

Indeed it is true that Lotus have a smaller budget than other title contending teams Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes and that they have rarely shown Red Bull rivalling pace this season, with one win to Red Bull’s four.

Lotus though will be eager to point out that they have performed well enough for Kimi to take one win and that he currently lies third in the championship, above Mark Webber – a Red Bull driver – and both Mercedes drivers. This, in addition to the fact that they developed well enough last season that they were the same delta behind Red Bull at the final race in Brazil as they were at the start of the season.

But this is why Kimi’s pure racing instinct leaves him still a distance away from putting pen to paper. “Behind Red Bull.” Not level. Not at the very front where he wants to be.

Events on Sunday perhaps made Kimi’s decision even more difficult. For the first time since Australia Lotus showed pace which was probably just a tad quicker than Red Bull, but still a Red Bull won. Sebastian Vettel’s classy victory, in which he defended impeccably from both Lotus cars and aced the fast laps when needed, takes him to 30 wins, one behind Nigel Mansell who took ten years to achieve such a number.

And perhaps more ominously for his championship rivals, 157 points, 47 more than he had at the same point last year; and 41 ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.

Tagged , , , ,

Bowled Over – Ashes Key Men – By Luqman Liaqat

England’s key players
Alistair Cook (Captain) Left-hand batsmen Age: 28
Tests: 92 Runs: 7, 524 Batting Average: 49.17

Cook will be leading England out in the Ashes for the very first time after taking over the captaincy from Andrew Strauss in August, 2012. After scoring two hundreds against Bangladesh as stand-in-skipper, Cook has not looked back as he has become the first batsmen in history to score five centuries in his first five matches as captain.

Cook recorded 766 runs during the three Lion’s triumphant Ashes series in Australia during the 2010-11 season. Blessed with incredible mental strength and effective style, he is already England’s leading test century scorer with 25 and he is also the youngest man to score 7, 000 runs putting him on course to become the most prolific England batsmen ever.

Kevin Pietersen Right-hand batsmen Age: 33
Tests: 94 Runs: 7, 499 Batting Average: 49.01

The audacious public character of Pieterson alienates him from most fans in England and he has faced problems with team mates and management since leaving his native South Africa to chase fame and fortune back in 1997.
Pietersen’s ability with the bat was in no doubt when he announced his arrival in the 2005 Ashes series scoring a strong 158 in the final test giving England a draw and sealing their first Ashes win in 16 years.

His brilliant 149 versus South Africa last year at Headingley showed he can make some of the best bowlers in the world helpless at times and he was dropped for the second test for allegedly sending texts to the opposition containing remarks about his colleagues.

After being reinstated to the England ranks, he scored a superb knock of 186 in Mumbai which was described as the best innings by an Englishmen in the sub-continent.

In his best form, Pietersen remains one of the few batsmen in world cricket who can turn the match around in course of a session.

James Anderson Right-Arm pace bowler Age: 30
Tests: 82 Bowling: 307 wickets @ 30.14

The tall Lancashire man is capable of swinging the new ball both ways and showed maturity and skill in India during the winter where he took 12 wickets at 30.25 in conditions which had no help whatsoever for pace bowlers.

One more wicket puts Anderson ahead of Fred Trueman as England’s all-time top wicket taker and alongside Dale Steyn is now the best swing bowler in the world and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the first man to take 300 wickets.

Australia’s key players
Michael Clarke (Captain) Right-hand batsmen Age: 32
Tests: 92 Runs: 7, 275 Batting Average: 52.33

Clarke has arguably established himself as the best batsmen in the world on the back of some outstanding run of form in 2012. He is the only member of the squad who has played in an Ashes-winning team, after being almost rejected by the Australian public as a successor for Ricky Ponting. Clarke has finally won over the doubts with his sheer class with the bat going to new levels.

He has also gained a new level of respect, he is getting close to batsmen such as Steve Waugh, Ponting and Mathew Hayden who had unbelievable batting statistics in the Test arena.

Shane Watson All Rounder (Right-hand batsmen and Right-arm fast medium bowler) Age: 32
Tests: 41 Runs: 2, 2580 Batting Average: 35.34
Bowling: 62 @ 30.06

Technically strong and correct and plays beautifully through the off-side also scores at a brisk rate when on his best form. The influential Aussie all-rounder has a better average against England more than any other team at 48.21.

Despite injuries playing a key-part throughout his career, Watson’s commitment has also been highly questionable at times and his nagging medium pace is a very useful tool.
Probably Australia’s key-man this summer as they need him to score runs and take wickets just like Andrew Flintoff did in the 2005 Ashes.

Peter Siddle Right-arm fast medium Age: 28
Tests: 41 Bowling: 150 wickets @ 28.84

Capable of swinging the ball at pace and with aggression, he can be relied on bowling very long spells through the five-test match series of the 2013 Ashes. Siddle is Australia’s most experienced bowler, most memorably claiming a hat-trick in the opening Ashes Test of the 2010-11 series.

A strong workhorse who can bowl all-day for the skipper, the bowling attack leader and the likes of youngsters James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc will be looking up to him for help and advice.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Worlds most dangerous waves!!!

Sykose Extreme Sports News

 

Big-wave surfer Mark Healey on a huge wave at Jaws, off the island of Maui, during the October 2012 swell; Photograph by Zak Noyle/A-Frame

Big-wave surfer Mark Healey on a huge wave at Jaws during the October 2012 swell; Photograph by Zak Noyle/A-Frame

For all of human history, waves have been a byword for “danger.” They drown swimmers, sink ships, and swamp entire towns with an inexorability and indifference that mocks the frailty of man in the intermittent roar and murmur of moving water.

While many old maritime fears have died out in our modern age of monolithic cruise ships, detailed weather algorithms, and satellite navigation, the wave remains uniquely menacing to all but a very select few. Ironically, surfers have changed the way we look at waves, not through any technological advancement, but by dedicated themselves to a Pre-Columbian diversion in which they challenge the sea with little more accouterment than and a glorified buoy with fins on one side.

Big-wave surfing as we know it today is a relatively new pursuit…

View original post 2,072 more words