Thursday, July 2, 2009

England Cricket Special Edition ODI Shirt

Special Edition

ECB Official 2009 adidas England Cricket Ashes ODI Shirt - Collegiate Red/Dark Navy

Anderson lauds all-round effort

James Anderson promo

Ecb Logo Gutter Icon 135x160

Anderson lauds all-round effort

England’s day two star James Anderson heaped praise on fellow wicket-takers Andrew Flintoff and Monty Panesar as he reflected on an encouraging team performance at a sun-drenched Edgbaston.

India, West Indies fight for pole position

Yuvraj Singh pulls off his hip, West Indies v India, 2nd ODI, Kingston, June 28, 2009
India will have to look beyond Yuvraj Singh to counter the West Indies pace attack © Associated Press

It's been a year of contrasting fortunes for the two teams in the ODI format, and they have much to make up for in tomorrow's contest in St Lucia. India have had a successful 2009 in the 50-over game, with series wins in New Zealand and Sri Lanka. An unassailable lead with a win in St Lucia will boost their chances of wrapping another series away from home, making amends for their debacle in the World Twenty20 and ending their hectic few weeks ahead of a two-month break on a high. West Indies have been disappointing this year, winning four ODIs and losing eight, but have the momentum going into a crunch game with a comprehensive win in Kingston to level the series. However, they are under as much pressure to perform at home. A 2-1 lead, and more so a series win, will do a lot towards easing that burden and leaving them a confident outfit as they take on Bangladesh in their next series.

The home team's performance in the second ODI marked a major improvement, particularly in its bowling. West Indies found a gem in Ravi Rampaul, who swung the ball both ways, inducing the batsmen to make mistakes, while Jerome Taylor was the pick of the West Indies bowlers. He claimed the wickets of Dinesh Karthik, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni, each of whom had a role to play in smashing 339 in the series opener. Though they didn't have a big score to chase, the West Indies batsmen ensured their team outclassed India in every field, with Chris Gayle and Runako Morton deciding the game even before a wicket fell with a century opening stand.

India's bowlers were indisciplined in the first game, bowling 19 wides and two front-foot no-balls, and the trait seemed to have rubbed off on their batsmen. Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj, each got out chasing wide deliveries, while the tail, with the exception of RP Singh, who added 101 with Dhoni to save India's blushes, was hapless. Dhoni, at the end of the game, pointed out that over-reliance on Yuvraj, who has scores of 131 and 35 in the series, was not going to win India the series. And with an important game coming up, India's top order will have to step up, with greater preparedness to counter the short ball.

ODI form guide

(last five matches, most recent first)

India - LWLWW
West Indies - WLLLN

Watch out for ...

Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma: With an average of 25.33 in 39 ODIs, there is plenty of room for improvement for Rohit in the ODI format. Another failure at No.3 tomorrow is something he can ill afford after scores of 4 and 0 in the series so far. Gambhir has had a satisfactory year, averaging 38.80, but his weakness against the short ball was exposed in the ICC World Twenty20, and in the first game by Jerome Taylor. The pair will do well to deliver when it matters tomorrow to boost India's chances of a series win.

West Indies' pace attack: Each of West Indies' pace bowlers bagged wickets in the eight-wicket rout in Kingston, using swing and variations to unsettle the Indian batsmen. Taylor was the best among them, Rampaul was the surprise package and Bravo bowled a scorcher to get rid of Yusuf Pathan. They made the best use of favourable conditions while India were batting, and if they are offered anything similar at the Beausejour Cricket Ground, India's batsmen are up for another serious challenge.

Team news

Ravindra Jadeja had an impressive ODI debut, making an unbeaten 60 against Sri Lanka but has failed in this series, getting dismissed in an identical manner on both occasions. He was out first ball in the first game, playing away from his body and edging to the keeper, and managed just 7 in the second with his team in trouble. He could be left out of the next game for allrounder Abhishek Nayar to make his international debut.

India (probable): 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Dinesh Karthik, 3 Rohit Sharma, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 6 Yusuf Pathan, 7 Ravindra Jadeja/ Abhishek Nayar, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Ishant Sharma, 10 RP Singh, 11 Ashish Nehra.

West Indies retained their squad for the final two one-dayers and Gayle said the allrounder Darren Sammy will return to the line-up. He rubbished rumours of an off-field rift with Sammy and said he had great confidence in him.

West Indies (probable): 1 Chris Gayle (capt), 2 Runako Morton, 3 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 4 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Darren Bravo, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Jerome Taylor, 9 Darren Sammy, 10 Suleiman Benn, 11 Ravi Rampaul.

Pitch and conditions

Gayle expects the pitch to be full of runs as the venue has traditionally helped the batsmen.

Stats and trivia

  • West Indies have played nine games at the Beausejour Cricket Ground, winning five and losing four. India are yet to play a game at this venue.

  • West Indies' eight-wicket victory in Kingston was their biggest against India in terms of balls remaining after winning. They won with 95 balls to spare, bettering their effort in Port of Spain 20 years earlier, where they had won with 68 balls left.

  • MS Dhoni and RP Singh's stand of 101 is the fourth-highest for the ninth wicket in ODIs, and the third-highest for India.

  • The average score while batting first in St Lucia is 243. The side batting first has won on seven occasions and lost nine. The highest score at the venue is 363, by New Zealand against Canada in the 2007 World Cup. The lowest is 146, by West Indies against England earlier this year.


"It is a case of two good teams playing against each other, and we expect two very competitive matches."
Denesh Ramdin

"Yuvraj, on any given day, can destroy any bowling attack. When he is in that sort of mood (as he was in the first ODI) he is very difficult to bowl to. We have to try and contain him as much as possible but at the same time he's experienced and has a lot of power and he is definitely the main batter in this Indian team."
Chris Gayle

"We have good communication out there which is very good and we can assess the conditions as quickly as possible and make the necessary adjustments. I want him to play his game and I will support him at the other end."

Lee takes five but rest struggle

England Lions 302 for 6 (Moore 120, Denly 66, Davies 53, Lee 5-53) trail Australians 358 (Hussey 150, Katich 95, Harmison 4-80) by 56 runs

Brett Lee in full flow, England Lions v Australians, New Road, 2nd day, July 2, 2009
Brett Lee consistently bowled at over 90mph and got the ball to reverse swing © PA Photos

Brett Lee guaranteed his immediate Test future with a maiden five-wicket haul in an English first-class game that came in a stunning spell of reverse-swing against the hosts' 2nd XI. While his fast-bowling team-mates went wicket-less in Worcester, Lee delivered in a nine-over effort either side of tea to seal his spot for Cardiff next Wednesday and hold the England Lions to 302 for 6.

At the start of the day Lee, who is returning from ankle surgery, was fighting for his place and with England dismissing Warwickshire for 102 in their practice game at Edgbaston, Australia needed a spark and he provided it to finish with 5 for 53 from 20 overs. Stephen Moore and Joe Denly were already enjoying a century stand and the visitors were soon distracted in their defence of 358. Lee was fooling around with the crowd when he was called to refocus by Ponting with an impromptu spell.

Play stopped while he stretched at the end of his mark and he struck with his third ball, a reverse-swinging offering which broke Denly's stumps on 66. It was not a fluke. Next delivery Ian Bell showed the resolve the Australians would expect from him when he was hit on the pads with a searing, late-moving yorker. Vikram Solanki somehow managed an inside edge to avoid the hat-trick from another toe-crusher that scooted to the fine-leg boundary. The ball was 45 overs old and when Lee held it, it curled like the wispy clouds above the ground.

Lee's speed remained above 90mph throughout another warm day and the reverse-swing gave Australia hope of matching England's quicks during the Ashes. The late movement from the hosts was responsible for the tourists' 2005 defeat and since then the bowlers have been searching for the answer under the coach Troy Cooley.

Another curving full ball from Lee removed Solanki, who was bowled off his pad on 8, and Moore's attractive 120 ended when he top edged a hook, Brad Haddin collecting a running catch towards fine-leg. More clever thought was shown when Lee managed an inswinger to trap the left-hander Eoin Morgan lbw on 4. His five breakthroughs had come in 40 deliveries with the ball darting both ways.

He was accurate in the morning, giving up only seven runs in five overs, and missed an lbw in his first before bruising Denly's shoulder. The only Lee-related problem was he didn't pick up an early wicket and Denly and the local Moore put on 172 until the fast bowler returned slightly disgruntled from his Ponting directive.

Playing his first game of the tour, Mitchell Johnson lacked fluency but will not be concerned as long as he receives another long spell in the second innings. However, Stuart Clark has some doubts, especially if slow and low pitches like this one are on offer around the country over the next two months. Like Johnson, he was unable to break through and tried not to grow frustrated at his lack of penetration, bounce or seam movement. Ponting loaded his fielders straight and until Lee started steaming the slip cordon was heavily trimmed.

Clark may still win a reprieve for Cardiff after Nathan Hauritz was targeted successfully. The one time he was able to justify a long appeal he was jeered by the crowd. Next ball Denly thumped him to long-on, in front of the hecklers, and in the following over Moore cleared the boundary straight down the ground. Fifteen runs came from his opening three overs and by the end of the day he had 0 for 80 off 18, seemingly making four fast bowlers the only option for next week. Strangely, Marcus North, who is expected to contribute with his offspin in Cardiff, was not used until late in the day, when Steve Davies cut an edge to Michael Clarke via Haddin's glove on 53.

When Clarke was used for four overs in the second session Denly and Moore were dominating and the Australians must have been thinking about how they would cope with England's best batsmen next week. Moore brought up his half-century with a hooked six off Johnson and the crowd stood for their boy when he cover-drove Lee for four during his vicious spell. His innings lasted 178 balls in a strong audition for back-up duties over the rest of the season. Denly also performed strongly until he was responsible for igniting Lee's burst.

It has been a good match for spearheads attempting to regain their Test status, with Steve Harmison helping to finish off Australia's innings by removing Michael Hussey's off stump in the morning. Hussey added seven to walk off with 150 and Harmison led his side with 4 for 80

Hussey ton holds Australians together

Michael Hussey remained unbeaten on 143 © PA Photos
Related Links
Player/Officials: Michael Hussey Simon Katich
Matches: England Lions v Australians at Worcester
Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of England and Scotland
Teams: Australia England
All the discussion over Australia's team for Cardiff surrounds the make-up of the bowling, but the batsmen are trying hard to gain some attention despite Michael Hussey and Simon Katich covering for their rusty team-mates in Worcester. While nothing looks wrong with the tourists' 337 for 8 on the first day against the England Lions, five of the top seven combined for 20 runs, leaving Hussey's 143 not out and Katich's 95 to stand as tall as the nearby Cathedral spires.
Hussey's 221-ball stay was a relief for the squad, proving his return to form against a well-qualified pace attack, and Katich also cruised before a lapse to the uncomfortable Steve Harmison. There was little steel from the rest of the specialists, with Phillip Hughes (7), Ricky Ponting (1), Michael Clarke (4) and Marcus North (1) failing on a surface offering some low bounce.
Following their first-innings slip to 114 for 5 in Hove last week, the Australians wanted to shine against England's 2nd XI, but after being surprised to lose two early wickets, they wasted the 141-run recovery of Hussey and Katich to be 197 for 6 before tea. Although Hussey and the free-swinging Mitchell Johnson, who launched the legspinner Adil Rashid out of the ground at midwicket during a breezy 47, pushed their side to end-of-day comfort, the rest of the batsmen have one innings to polish ahead of the first Test on Wednesday.
After Ponting won the toss in cloudy conditions, Hughes was unconvincing in dealing with some sharp short balls from Harmison. With Hughes and Katich entrenched in the Test team, Harmison was trying to unseat them to remind England's decision makers that he still has enough energy to be an international force.
In his first spell there was plenty of spice, starting with a bouncer which a fidgety Hughes failed to duck under, and the ball rebounded from his helmet to third slip. Hughes has so many movements that it was hard to tell whether he was shaken, but he was unable to cope with a similar delivery on 7. Fending and turning his head, he felt the ball lob from his glove to Joe Denly at third slip. Following the early-season surge at Middlesex, when he flooded three Championship hundreds, he has suddenly given England something to aim at.
Like most of the Australians, Ponting was uncertain early, hitting his first ball while trying to leave, and after pulling Harmison to get off the mark his feet stayed set when he tried to drive Graham Onions off the back foot. The edge was taken by Vikram Solanki at first slip and Australia were stuttering at 24 for 2 in the 11th over. Whispers of an England Ashes success started to float across the ground.
The Hussey and Katich combination stopped them, but further frailty was shown in the second session. Harmison, who gave away only six runs in his opening six overs, bowled another eight straight after lunch, displaying his lethal and lethargic faces. He returned to bowl Brett Lee with the second new ball, finishing with 3 for 67 off 22 overs, while Onions (2 for 66) and Tim Bresnan (3 for 46) also created problems.
After Katich collected two boundaries in one Harmison over, including a fierce cover drive, he pulled a long hop to Onions at fine leg. Both the batsman and bowler looked a touch embarrassed and, once Clarke had driven Bresnan loosely to gully, it was North wishing he was somewhere else.
North, the incumbent No. 6, has experienced hot and cold flushes throughout his career and was left feeling the most uncomfortable in the steamy conditions. His single came from a squeezed French cut and he was bowled by Onions, playing back and playing on, from his next delivery.
North now has 12 runs in three innings on tour and if Shane Watson's thigh injury hadn't restricted the allrounder to more laps of the oval on Wednesday, the left-hander's spot could have been in serious trouble. Andrew McDonald is another option, although he hasn't been picked in the opening tour matches and is not yet considered a top-grade batsman.
Haddin was unhappy to fall lbw trying to whip Bresnan in front of square - the ball was heading towards the leg side - and it was left to Hussey to engineer a second fightback. He did it and showed himself as the batsman from 2006 and 2007, instead of the cluttered operator of the past year.
Hussey started slowly and gained confidence with each clip and off drive, bringing up his half-century after lunch before flexing with two fours through cover in an Onions over. A back-foot force off Rashid earned his hundred, his first for Australia since the opening Test of the India tour 10 months ago, and he began to pull strongly after the milestone. It was only a tour game, and the England Lions could not sustain their intensity throughout the day, but it was a satisfying performance from a man who may need to hold Australia's middle order together in more important engagements over the next two months.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Playing as a batsman a bigger challenge - Jayawardene

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara prepare on the eve of the second Test, Lahore, February 28, 2009
Mahela Jayawardene on Kumar Sangakkara: "It is my duty to try and help him out in any way that I can to make his job easier." © AFP
Related Links
Series/Tournaments: Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka
Teams: Sri Lanka

Mahela Jayawardene has said Sri Lanka's home series against Pakistan from Saturday will be a bigger challenge for him after giving up the team's captaincy early this year because he now wants to push himself "to the limit" as a batsman. Jayawardene has discussed his new role with Kumar Sangakkara, his successor, and will focus on holding Sri Lanka's batting together and improve its disappointing home record against Pakistan.

The former Sri Lanka captain admitted that leading a subcontinent team, with all the passion involved, was not an easy job and hoped to emulate the manner in which Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid have managed the transition after giving up the captain's role to contribute better as batsmen for India.

"I always knew that everything [captaincy] was going to be over some day," Jayawardene told Cricinfo. "For me, cricket is all about enjoyment and trying to do my best. I am sure I still have that hunger to do well and be a better cricketer than I am right now. In that perspective, it is a much bigger challenge for me, to push myself to the limit."

Jayawardene's last Test as captain was also against Pakistan in March but that series was cut short by the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore. This time, he said, he was confident of easing into his new role for the home series, which starts on July 4. "When I captained the side, I made sure I had two different roles, as a captain and as a batsman. Now the captaincy has gone to somebody else but the batting role is going to be the same. My focus, my concentration, everything will be on that. So that's not going to change because I am not the captain any more."

Jayawardene, who captained Sri Lanka from 2006, said Sangakkara, a close friend, understands and agrees with his views on how he should be contributing to the team. "Sanga just asked me to be the batsman that I am and probably be better than what I am right now. That's what I want to be as well, and Sanga understands that. I enjoyed working with him when he was my deputy and now it is my duty to try and help him out in any way that I can to make his job easier.

"We have already had lots of discussions about combinations, compositions and different things like tactics. I just give him different inputs and then it's easier for him to play around with those. As for my role in the team, it is important for me to be the middle order batsman who will hold things together, and I just want to continue to do that."

Jayawardene has notched up four centuries, including a double against Pakistan in Karachi in February, in nine Tests over the last 12 months, scoring 773 runs at 70.27. His one-day batting dipped, however, during the same period and he scored just four fifties in 24 matches at 21.72, including three consecutive ducks against Zimbabwe and another against Bangladesh.

On reflection, he said, he empathises with Tendulkar and Dravid who had also decided that captaincy was getting in the way of their batting. "It's not an easy job, especially when you are captaining a sub-continent team. There are a lot of responsibilities, a lot of hope and joy because everyone is cricket-crazy. That's something you get into when you get to be the captain. So you try and do your best and then leave it and go back and concentrate on your own performance and try and help the team in a different way. I have seen the way Sachin and Rahul have gone about things and it has been amazing. Hopefully, like them, I can do the job."

It's not an easy job, especially when you are captaining a sub-continent team. There are a lot of responsibilities, a lot of hope and joy because everyone is cricket-crazy Jayawardene on captaincy

Jayawardene also revealed that he had a "light discussion" with Dravid on the issue when they met during the IPL in South Africa. "Rahul called me 'skip' and I said I am no longer that. We had a quiet joke about it during the IPL, [talking] about the captaincy and how much of a difference it makes when you leave it and come back into the team as a batsman. It's all about prioritising your responsibilities; then the job becomes much easier."

It also helped, he said, that Sangakkara had emerged as a "capable" leader. "I knew I was leaving it to somebody capable of handling that pressure and of becoming a great captain for our country. I had no doubt in my mind about that."

The next step, Jayawardene said, was to work with Sangakkara and rectify their home record against the current visitors. Pakistan possess an overwhelming record in Sri Lanka, having lost just one Test to the hosts in 12 meetings since 1986. In fact, Pakistan have claimed three series wins out of five in Sri Lanka, including a 1-0 win in their previous meeting in 2006. This time, they are scheduled to play three Tests, five ODIs and a Twenty20 international.

"We have always been very competitive, Pakistan and Sri Lanka," Jayawardene said. "But our record against Pakistan is not that great. That's something we need to improve on and that is added motivation for us. We need to make sure that we get it right because not many teams have beaten us at home but Pakistan have done that quite a bit. So that's something we want to rectify."

Muthiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis will play a key role in the series, Jayawardene felt, and they will be helped by Lasith Maliga and a clutch of new fast bowlers. But he admitted that his own role will be under the scanner, too. "For me, from the first day that I played for my country, there has been pressure to do well. That's always going to be there."

ICC chief suggests four-day Tests

Graeme Swann kicks the turf in disgust, West Indies v England, Barbados, 4th Test, March 1, 2009
Will we see the end of the 'dull draw' in a year's time? © Getty Images

David Morgan, the ICC president, has hinted that Test cricket may be reduced to four days to protect and enrich the game's oldest format in the face of lucrative Twenty20 leagues like the IPL. The suggestion comes in the wake of a few other changes that are being mooted, including a two-tier format and day-night Tests to attract more crowds.

"Another thought that many people have, that we are examining is whether Test match cricket can be played over four days rather than five," Morgan told the India Today magazine. "I would be very surprised if within a year you haven't seen some significant changes in Test match cricket."

Morgan felt it wouldn't be too difficult for players to make a mental shift from five days to four. He added that Test cricket needed many more adjustments, and that special cricket balls would have to be made to facilitate night Tests in white clothing.

"We need better over-rates, better pitches that give a good balance between bat and ball and we need to consider day-night Test cricket," Morgan said. "There is great support for it, the issue is the colour of the ball and the quality of the ball. It would be a pity if Test match cricket - day-night - had to be played with a white ball and therefore coloured clothing.

"We are looking very closely at ball manufacturing design that replicates a red ball, maybe an orange ball, a ball that could still allow us to play in white clothing and still at night."

The two-tier structure was recently mooted by Dave Richardson, the ICC general manager for cricket, to divide the stronger and weaker teams and make the format more competitive. The ICC has also given the go ahead for the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) from October following trials in specific series over the last year. Umpires will have greater scope to decide on bad-light interruptions and the penalities for slow over-rates have also been increased.

With so much emphasis on Twenty20 and the enrichment of Test cricket, Morgan was very confident of the survival of the 50-over game in its current form, now with batting Powerplays and free-hits added to spice it up. He also defended the presence of the Champions Trophy in an already crowded calendar, despite calls for it to be scrapped.

The Champions Trophy, in South Africa in September, now features only the top eight teams and is a shorter tournament compared to previous editions.

"It will be played over a shorter period and we are certain it will rejuvenate the Champions Trophy brand," he said. "The brand needed polishing, rejuvenating, it needed remodeling and this event will be a very, very exciting and successful event I'm sure. It will be the event that will give fifty overs cricket its profile back, give it a boost without a doubt."

Vaughan confirms immediate retirement

Michael Vaughan addresses the media on announcing his retirement, Edgbaston, June 30, 2009
'I want to be remembered as a nice player on the eye to watch, and as someone who gave my all. I leave with no regrets' © AFP

Michael Vaughan has confirmed at a press conference in Edgbaston that he is to retire from all forms of professional cricket with immediate effect. He departs the international scene as England's most successful Test captain of all time - with 26 wins from his 51 matches in charge.

His achievements also include leading England to their first Ashes victory against Australia for 18 years in 2005; a first Test series win in South Africa for forty years - also in 2005 - and presiding over eight consecutive Test wins in 2004.

As a batsman, he scored 18 Test hundreds for England following his debut in 1999 and was ranked the number one batsman in the world following the 2002-03 Ashes in Australia in which he made 633 runs including three centuries.

Vaughan said: "After a great deal of consideration, I've decided that now is the right time to retire from cricket. It has been an enormous privilege to have played for and captained my country and this is one of the hardest decisions I have had to make."

Vaughan added that he reached his decision two weeks ago during Yorkshire's County Championship fixture against Worcestershire at New Road, when he realised that he was starting to hold back the younger players in the Yorkshire dressing-room. "Senior players have to be enthusiastic and I wasn't that passing on," he said. "I want to give them the chance to play first-class cricket and go on to play for their country."

Top Curve
Vaughan's timeline

  • December 1999 - Makes England debut in Johannesburg, and impresses with an unflappable 33, despite a scoreline of 2 for 4
    January 2000 - Named Man of the Match after scoring 69 to seal a consolation win for England at Centurion, in a match later discredited after Hansie Cronje revelations
    May 2001 - First Test century, 120 against Pakistan at Old Trafford
    Aug-Sept 2002 - Makes a Test-best 197 against India at Trent Bridge, closely followed by 195 at The Oval, in a remarkable tally of 615 runs in four Tests
    January 2003 - Climbs to the top of the world rankings after his third century in five Tests against Australia, a brilliant 183 that secures a consolation win in Sydney
    July 2003 - Named England captain for the second Test against South Africa at Lord's after Nasser Hussain steps down
    August 2003 - Secures first Test win as captain, by 70 runs at Trent Bridge
    August 2003 - England level the series against South Africa with a nine-wicket win at The Oval
    March 2004 - Leads England to their first series win in West Indies since 1967-68
    May-August 2004 - England win all seven Tests in the summer against New Zealand and West Indies
    January 2005 - A draw at Centurion Park gives England a series victory in South Africa for the first time since 1965
    September 2005 - England regain the Ashes after 16 years with a draw at The Oval
    February 2006 - Breaks down with a knee injury at the start of tour of India. Doesn't play again for nearly a year
    May 2007 - Makes Test comeback with a century at Headingley against West Indies
    June 2007 - Resigns one-day captaincy
    August 2007 - Loses his first home series as captain, going down 1-0 to India
    August 2008 - Resigns as Test captain following five-wicket loss against South Africa at Edgbaston
    September 2008 - Retains central contract, but is omitted from winter tours to India and West Indies
    June 2009 - Overlooked for 16-man preliminary squad for Ashes series
    June 2009 - Confirms retirement from all forms of professional cricket
Bottom Curve

"Playing cricket has been my life for 16-17 years, so to hand it over without a chance to play again is hard," he said. "I've given it my best shot, I wanted to give it one last hard effort to get into the Ashes squad, but I haven't been playing well enough and my body hasn't been holding up. But this is where my life starts, so it's an exciting time for me."

"I'd like to record my sincere thanks to the England fans and the ECB and the members and supporters of Yorkshire County Cricket Club for their unstinting backing throughout my career as well as my wife Nicola and the rest of my family who have been equally supportive."

"I'm also extremely grateful to all of the players, managers, coaches, media and administrators I've worked with, who have all contributed to making my career so enjoyable and fulfilling.

"I'd also like to wish Andrew Strauss and the current England team success in this Ashes series. I know they have the drive, ambition and abilities to repeat the success from 2005. Winning that series was most definitely the highpoint of my career, because we not only won the series, but captured the nation, which cricket hasn't done for a long, long time."

"I want to be remembered as a nice player on the eye to watch, and as someone who gave my all. I leave with no regrets. I captained with an instinctive nature and I was fortunate to lead a determined team that played with an aggressive style."

Commenting on his decision, ECB chief executive David Collier said: "Everyone associated with cricket in England and Wales will be forever grateful to Michael Vaughan for his immense contribution to the England team's success. His achievement in leading England to victory against the number one ranked team in the world, Australia in 2005, was arguably the finest by any England captain in the modern era."

Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, said: "As an international captain Michael ranks among the very best and the way in which he and Duncan Fletcher forged a team capable of winning six consecutive Test series stands as testament to his ability to inspire and motivate those around him.

"He was also a marvellous ambassador for England cricket off-the-field as well as on it and someone who genuinely appreciated the generous support he received from the thousands of England supporters who follow the team at home and abroad. No-one who saw his magnificent hundreds in Australia in 2002-03 will forget the contribution he made to the team as a batsman either - he will be rightly remembered as a player of the highest class."

England's captain, Andrew Strauss said: "I count Michael as a good friend as well as a team-mate and I know what a tough decision this will have been for him as he took so much pleasure and pride in representing his country.

"I learned a great deal from watching him captain the side for five years at close hand and his ability to identify a new strategy for outwitting the opposition or bring the best out of his own players was a priceless asset.

"But more than anything we as players will miss the enormous sense of fun and enjoyment that Michael brought to the dressing room. He will be missed by everyone connected with the team and we wish him every success in his future career."

Yorkshire's chief executive, Stewart Regan, said: "Michael Vaughan is a class act and will be remembered by Yorkshire members and supporters around the world for his beautiful stroke play and of course his success in leading England to Ashes glory in 2005.

Fit Flintoff desperate for the Ashes

Andrew Flintoff steams in against Derbyshire, Derbyshire v Lancashire, Twenty20 Cup, Derby, June 25, 2009
Andrew Flintoff's form in the recent county games for Lancashire has been heartening © Getty Images
Related Links

Andrew Flintoff's last Ashes experience was the lowest point of his career, but he insists memories of those dark days in Australia have long since been banished as he prepares for another crack at the urn. The pain of the 5-0 whitewash during 2006-07 was in stark contrast to the heady highs of victory in 2005, but as the 2009 campaign draws closer Flintoff wants to start afresh.

He is desperate to make the most of the next two months of Ashes action after winning his latest fitness battle following knee surgery. For a while it looked as though it would be a close race to be fit, but he has had three weeks with Lancashire and is now looking forward to facing Australia again, eager to grab every opportunity that comes his way.

"The last Ashes was the low point of my career. Probably the last series emotionally was the stronger of the two," he said. "But all that is behind us. We have got a very new team and, rather than dining out on 2005 or dwelling on 2006-2007, it is all about what happens over the next six weeks. It is the biggest thing for an Englishman to play in. I don't need any extra incentive. I just want to perform."

"As for any mental scars, I wouldn't say there are a great deal there. There are a lot of things that have happened in my life since then. I am just looking forward to playing. The one thing for me is when you play, have confidence, but more importantly enjoying it. Going into this series, I am going to enjoy playing."

The timing of Flintoff's injury early in the IPL caused plenty of controversy with an Ashes summer looming, but the allrounder is grateful it happened when it did. "It was a degenerative problem. It was untimely that it came up in the IPL, but I'm glad it did otherwise I'd have been struggling for this series."

It's the motivation of getting back to the peak of his powers as he showed in 2005 that has helped Flintoff through his seemingly endless rehabilitation programmes. Often it has been his ankle - which has required four operations - but the latest injury to his knee was a new one to add to the catalogue. And each time Flintoff has been laid low it has reminded him of what he was missing.

"From my point of view, through all the injuries I had, if I didn't think I could come back and play the cricket I played in the past or be better, I don't think I would have done it. I've worked hard to get here.

"You miss England more as you get older. When you have missed as much cricket as me of course you do," he added. "It's been taken away from me at various points in my career and it's about making the most of it every chance you get. I'm not far away from that now but, as you get older, you don't want to miss much cricket because you don't know how much you've got in you."

Flintoff's form in his comeback games for Lancashire has been promising as wickets were followed by some welcome runs. His bowling always takes care of itself, so it was the time in the middle - with a half-century in the Championship and a blistering 93 off 41 balls at Derby in the Twenty20 Cup - which will be most heartening.

The 93 was Flintoff's highest innings in an official match since his 102 at Trent Bridge during the 2005 Ashes and he has decided to go back to a method of batting that works for him. "The way I've played over the last few weeks I'm confident of scoring runs," he said. "A few years ago I tried to get better as a batsman which I thought meant technically better and playing perfect shots which I'll never do. Instead I've gone back to the method I trust and playing aggressively."

Still, he is still facing a demotion in the order with No. 7 his likely spot when the series starts. It's where he began his Test career and where he has always looked best suited despite his golden 18-month period from 2004 to 2005 when he contributed the runs of a specialist batsman.

"I've had success at No. 6, but Matt Prior has come in averaging 40 so I'm probably looking at No. 7. It would have bothered me a few years ago but now I'm just glad to be playing, whatever spot I get."

Buchanan meets with Flower

John Buchanan shows his delight at Australia winning back the Ashes, Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, December 18, 2006
Buchanan with the urn that Australia regained in the last Ashes. Will he commit to England this summer? © Getty Images
Related Links

John Buchanan has arrived in England and held discussions with national coach Andy Flower as part of a week-long fact-finding mission he hopes will result in a broader role within the ECB. Buchanan, who led Australia to a 5-0 series victory in the last Ashes series, met with Flower in Birmingham on Monday to share his thoughts on Ricky Ponting's current squad and England's recent visit to the battlefields of Flanders, a trip similar to Australia's tour of the Somme prior to the 2005 Ashes series.

The former Australia coach will travel across England over the next week, meeting with coaches from England's elite programmes, as well as county mentors Chris Adams (Surrey), Peter Moores (Lancashire) and Mick Newell (Nottinghamshire). He will also spend time with England Lions before their tour match against Australia at Worcester, before presenting a proposal to David Parsons, director of England's National Performance centre in Loughborough, regarding a future role within the England set-up.

As wide-ranging as Buchanan's brief in England is this week, most attention will focus on his dealings with the national team barely a week out from the first Test in Cardiff. The very notion of Buchanan passing on insights into Ricky Ponting's team has raised the ire of many in Australia, and prompted curt responses from the touring players.

"I provided [Flower] with some of my thoughts," Buchanan told Cricinfo. "I've been keeping a bit of a gaze on the Ashes build-up from afar, and passed on a few things I've picked up as an observer now removed from the team.

"We also talked about England's trip to Belgium, which was something I took a fair bit of interest in. It was good to catch up with him briefly, and was just one of quite a few things I am looking to accomplish on this trip."

Buchanan has taken a keen interest in Australia's preparations for this summer's Ashes series, and believes selectors will lean towards fielding an all-pace attack in Cardiff. Nathan Hauritz's figures of 1 for 158 in last week's tour match against Sussex did not inspire confidence, leaving Buchanan to predict that part-timers Marcus North, Simon Katich and Michael Clarke will share Australia's spin-bowling duties for the majority of the Ashes series.

"I guess the salient point here is what strategy do the Australians want to take?" Buchanan said. "Do they want to utilise their fast men as the main thrust to their attack, and use (Marcus) North, (Simon) Katich and (Michael) Clarke for their spin, or do they want to take a less hostile approach and take a spinner that would allow them to adapt to more than one kind of strategy or surface?

"I suspect they will be leaning towards the former. They will have to be confident in North, not only as a spinning option but also his batting. From what I have been reading, North struggled a bit with the bat in Hove, but he has a lot of experience in English conditions. If Watson returns from injury that could give the selectors a little more to think about, but unless [North] has a woeful game against the Lions, I think he would be pretty close."

Buchanan is hopeful his week in England will pave the way for a more regular role with the ECB. "I will speak to David Parsons before I leave but I am not sure yet as to what specifically a role would entail," he said. "It could mean checking in every now and then with Andy Flower and the national team to exchange ideas, working with the high performance centre in Loughborough or spending time with touring teams.

We misread the pitch - Dhoni

MS Dhoni clips one fine, West Indies v India, 2nd ODI, Kingston, June 28, 2009
MS Dhoni's fighting 95 was in vain © AFP

India's poor batting display in their eight-wicket defeat in the second ODI in Kingston owed to a misjudgment on the part of their batsmen about the pitch, MS Dhoni has said. Dhoni played a captain's innings of 95, which rescued his team from a hopeless situation at 82 for 8, but proved woefully inadequate in the face of an attacking opening stand of 101 led by West Indies captain Chris Gayle.

"We should have paid a little more respect to the bowlers," Dhoni said after the game. "The wicket was a bit difficult, it was swinging around a bit. We didn't judge the wicket well and just went around playing our strokes which really brought our downfall."

Dhoni was involved in a 101-run stand for the ninth wicket with RP Singh, who chipped in with a valuable 23. It was the fifth instance of a ninth-wicket pair putting on a century-partnership, and it saved India's blushes after they were in danger of being bowled out for under three figures. "Once you lose too many wickets then the only thing that you are doing is catching up. RP and me had a partnership otherwise it would have been quite embarrassing," he said.

India's top and middle orders were blown away by some disciplined bowling from the West Indian seamers, led by Ravi Rampaul, who finished with a career-best 4 for 37. India were in trouble as early as the second over, when Rampaul dismissed Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma in a space of three deliveries, and West Indies retained the advantage for the remainder of the game.

India's failure at the top, Dhoni believed, was decisive in their inability to post a challenging score, as the pitch had eased out by the time West Indies began their chase. "Later on, the wicket became better for batting," he said. "When you are batting first, initially you expect the wicket to do a bit and it is the first half an hour and after that you can capitalise if you get up a good start."

While Yuvraj Singh was at the crease India were in a position to fight back hard, but Dhoni added that reliance on just one individual - Yuvraj made a century in the series opener - was not going to win them matches. "Yuvraj is the man in form, he is getting the run for us but we can't expect one individual to score in one and every game.

"You can't expect to bowl the opponent out within 180, especially on a wicket like this. We just wanted to make it difficult. As long as we can stay on the wicket and make it difficult for them to score runs, that was the motivation."

His opposing captain Chris Gayle was full of praise for the fast-bowling duo of Rampaul and Jerome Taylor, who set the stage for the series-levelling win.

"It is nice to square the series. There were some good performances from the guys," he said. "Rampaul and Taylor set the game for us and from now we will look to go strength to strength. There was moisture in the wicket and Taylor and Ravi utilised it well, and the catching was also good, so we just need to keep working on our game."

The West Indies selectors have retained the current squad for the remaining two matches. The teams get a four-day break before the third ODI at Gros Islet on Friday.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Vaughan expected to announce retirement

Michael Vaughan, the man who led England to more Test victories than any other captain, is expected to announce his retirement from all cricket this week. A press conference has been scheduled for 11.30am at Edgbaston on Tuesday, at which it is widely anticipated that he will call time on his 16-year first-class career.

Vaughan has struggled with injuries to his right knee which kept him out of cricket for over a year between November 2005 and May 2007. In January, he withdrew from the IPL auction to concentrate on getting back into the Test side in time for the Ashes, but still lost out on a place in the 16-man pre-Ashes squad.

Top Curve
Vaughan's timeline

  • December 1999 - Makes England debut in Johannesburg, and impresses with an unflappable 33, despite a scoreline of 2 for 4
    January 2000 - Named Man of the Match after scoring 69 to seal a consolation win for England at Centurion, in a match later discredited after Hansie Cronje revelations
    May 2001 - First Test century, 120 against Pakistan at Old Trafford
    Aug-Sept 2002 - Makes a Test-best 197 against India at Trent Bridge, closely followed by 195 at The Oval, in a remarkable tally of 615 runs in four Tests
    January 2003 - Climbs to the top of the world rankings after his third century in five Tests against Australia, a brilliant 183 that secures a consolation win in Sydney
    July 2003 - Named England captain for the second Test against South Africa at Lord's after Nasser Hussain steps down
    August 2003 - Secures first Test win as captain, by 70 runs at Trent Bridge
    August 2003 - England level the series against South Africa with a nine-wicket win at The Oval
    March 2004 - Leads England to their first series win in West Indies since 1967-68
    May-August 2004 - England win all seven Tests in the summer against New Zealand and West Indies
    January 2005 - A draw at Centurion Park gives England a series victory in South Africa for the first time since 1965
    September 2005 - England regain the Ashes after 16 years with a draw at The Oval
    February 2006 - Breaks down with a knee injury at the start of tour of India. Doesn't play again for nearly a year
    May 2007 - Makes Test comeback with a century at Headingley against West Indies
    June 2007 - Resigns one-day captaincy
    August 2007 - Loses his first home series as captain, going down 1-0 to India
    August 2008 - Resigns as Test captain following five-wicket loss against South Africa at Edgbaston
    September 2008 - Retains central contract, but is omitted from winter tours to India and West Indies
    June 2009 - Overlooked for 16-man preliminary squad for Ashes series
Bottom Curve

It had been speculated that Vaughan's final appearance for Yorkshire would take place in Sunday's Twenty20 Cup fixture against Derbyshire at Headingley, but he was omitted from the starting line-up for that match. According to Stewart Regan, Yorkshire's chief executive, any official announcement is on hold until Vaughan has met with the ECB, to whom he is still centrally contracted.

"There is a meeting between Michael and the ECB scheduled for tomorrow, and after that it will be up to the ECB to make any formal announcement," Regan told Cricinfo. "Michael has obviously not been selected in the squad today, his place has been taken by Anthony McGrath, and we are very much concentrating on what is a very important game for Yorkshire."

Vaughan, 34, captained England in 51 of his 82 Tests, and won a record 26 of these, including most famously the two matches that enabled England to regain the Ashes in 2005. But he hasn't played international cricket since stepping down from the captaincy during the home series against South Africa last year, and this season he has made only 159 runs at 19.88 for Yorkshire. The last time he scored a century in a competitive match was for Yorkshire in a 50-over game against Surrey in Abu Dhabi this March.

Aside from the growing acceptance that he will never play international cricket again, not least since Ravi Bopara burst onto the scene at the beginning of the season to nail down the No. 3 slot, Vaughan is believed to be wary of hampering the opportunities of young talent at Yorkshire - among them Jonathan Bairstow, the 19-year-old son of the former England wicketkeeper, David, who made his debut this season.

"If Vaughan really is packing it in I can understand his decision, though it's a sad day for all of us who played in 2005," Steve Harmison told The Mail on Sunday. "He was a great leader on the field. He knew how to get the best out of me, by telling me I was the best bowler in the world. Maybe he was lying, maybe it was kidology but he knew how to press the buttons and we all wanted to play for him."

Vaughan scored three centuries out of a tally of 633 runs in the 2002-03 Ashes that preceded his 2005 triumph, and was one of the few English cricketers whom Australia hold in the highest regard. "I was slightly shocked about Vaughan not getting the inclusion [in the current Ashes squad]," said Brett Lee last week, "more so from what he's done against us in the past, he's got the utmost respect from all our players."

If, as expected, he does call it quits this week, the timing of Vaughan's retirement will serve to spare the current Ashes team endless speculation about his chances of a recall, should early results against Australia go against them. One of his finest achievements as captain was to shield the side against panic in 2005, after a heavy defeat in the first Test at Lord's. The same side was retained for each of the first four matches of the series.

Vaughan is highly likely to remain close to the action this summer, however, as he is sure to be welcomed straight into the Sky commentary box, alongside his former team-mates and fellow England captains, Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain, and his most formidable Ashes foe, Shane Warne.

England to host Pakistan Tests against Australia

Pakistan fans ride a bus through the streets celebrating their win, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, ICC World Twenty20 final, Lord's, June 21, 2009
Pakistani fans ride a decorative bus around the streets of St John's Wood after their victory in the World Twenty20 final at Lord's © Getty Images
Related Links

Pakistan and Australia will play two Tests and two Twenty20 internationals in England next July, after the England & Wales Cricket Board reached a staging agreement with their Pakistan counterparts.

"We've reached a contractual agreement with the PCB, although the nature of those details remains confidential at the moment for obvious reasons," an ECB spokesman told Cricinfo. "We haven't agreed on the venues yet, that will have to be determined by the Major Match Group, but clearly we will want to do that as soon as practically possible so that we can market the games."

The decision follows hot on the heels of Pakistan's superb showing in the World Twenty20, in which they beat Sri Lanka in the final at Lord's, having been supported throughout the tournament by arguably the most vociferous and passionate fans in the country. With virtually no prospect of cricket returning to Pakistan in the near future after the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus at Lahore in March, England promises to provide the exiled team with the perfect home from home.

"The Pakistan team performed outstandingly well in the World T20 tournament in England and were worthy world champions," said the ECB chairman, Giles Clarke. "The passion of the support for their team in England demonstrated why this country is an ideal venue for these matches against Australia."

"The warm relations between our two Boards has developed further under the leadership of the current PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt, with whom I enjoy an excellent working relationship, and ECB is delighted to support Pakistan in staging these matches."

For the final of the World Twenty20 at Lord's, the vast majority of the fans in the stadium were Pakistani, and according to Keith Bradshaw, MCC's chief executive, the atmosphere they created was "electric". He was very hopeful that the experience of that match would persuade the Major Match Group that Lord's is the logical venue to stage such a game.

"I think we've said all along we're right behind the concept of neutral Tests," said Bradshaw. "We are the home of cricket and so our doors are open. We are very keen to stage the match and we'll be bidding hard to stage a Test.

"When Pakistan were here for the final the atmosphere was electric, as it was the week before when India were here. I know that Tests in London are still very strong in terms of attendance, both here and at The Oval, and to keep Test cricket as the pinnacle of the game it would be a logical place to stage such a match."

Another venue with strong claims to hosting a Test is Headingley, given the size of the Pakistani population in and around Leeds and Bradford. "We feel that of all of the venues, given our demographic and track record in staging matches, we'd be very well placed and would make Pakistan feel at home," Stewart Regan, Yorkshire's chief executive, told Cricinfo.

"Nothing has changed since the previous discussions in the media several weeks ago. We have put our hat in the ring and said we would be very interested in talking to the ECB and PCB about staging one of the Test matches."

Regardless of the enthusiastic response to the news, there remain several hurdles to be overcome before the series can be set in stone, not least the thorny issue of TV rights. In November 2008, the PCB agreed a US$140.5 million five-year television contract with Taj Entertainment Network (Ten Sports), with a clause that enabled series to take place at neutral venues in the event of an adverse security situation. It remains to be seen whether BSkyB, who hold the rights to England home series, will contest the staging of such a contest on their turf.

The ECB and PCB also confirmed that England will host Pakistan for four Tests, five ODIs and two T20Is in August and September of next year.

Clarke, meanwhile, has accepted the role of chairman of the ICC Pakistan Task Team, a body set up by the ICC to provide strategies and solutions to assist the PCB in protecting its position in international cricket.

"The Pakistan Cricket Board is faced with a very challenging situation at present and ECB in its role as a member of the global cricket community is keen to offer PCB all possible assistance at such a difficult time," said Clarke. "I am delighted to take on this role and will be liaising closely with my colleagues at PCB in the coming weeks and months."

West Indies seamers seal comprehensive win

West Indies 192 for 2 (Morton 85*, Gayle 64) beat India 188 (Dhoni 95, Rampaul 4-37, Taylor 3-35, Bravo 3-26) by eight wickets

Jerome Taylor is airborne after getting rid of Dinesh Karthik, West Indies v India, 2nd ODI, Kingston, June 28, 2009
The joke was on the Indian batsmen as the fast bowlers had them in all sorts of troubles © AFP

The West Indies fast bowlers - even without Fidel Edwards - embarrassed the Indian batting line-up for the second time in three weeks, setting the foundation for a series-levelling win. They bowled aggressively and smartly, reducing India to 82 for 8 before a 101-run ninth-wicket stand between MS Dhoni and RP Singh kept the match alive. Chris Gayle and Runako Morton replied with a 101-run partnership of their own, ensuring there was no late drama in a game that was mostly dominated by West Indies.

Two days ago 658 runs were scored on the same Sabina Park pitch by the same set of batsmen, but the early swing exposed some technical flaws with the Indian line-up. There were personal milestones for Ravi Rampaul and Denesh Ramdin along the way, Rampaul taking career-best figures of 4 for 37 and Ramdin five catches.

Gayle's captaincy stood out early on. He employed two slips as soon as he saw some swing. Jerome Taylor didn't need any of the slips in the first over, when he bowled the perfect outswinger to Dinesh Karthik, shaping in, pitching off, moving away, making the batsman play, and getting the edge through to the keeper.

If Karthik had no option but to play at Taylor, Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma played unnecessary shots to Rampaul in the next over. Bowling to Rohit, Rampaul wanted the second slip out, but Gayle persisted. And how it worked. Rohit chased a wide outswinger, Ramdin went too hard at the catch, but the second slip took the rebound. Seven for 3 in 1.4 overs, and there was still a long queue outside the Sabina Park.

By the time the crowd finally settled, Yuvraj Singh was promising another treat. By the end of 12 overs India seemed to have weathered the storm, only momentarily. Yuvraj had reached 35 off 32, quite a contrast to Dhoni's 11 off 31. It was all fine until then, because the partnership read 47 off 62.

But neither Gayle nor Taylor was done yet. Taylor was asked to bowl his seventh over on the trot, and he got Yuvraj with the first ball. Gayle was not going to wait for mistakes now. Back came Rampaul, in came a leg gully and a slip, and out came the open secret: the bouncers. After an edgy nine-ball stay, Yusuf Pathan edged an accurate bouncer from Dwayne Bravo. Ravindra Jadeja repeated his dismissal from the first match, pushing at a delivery away from his body. After the second slump of the innings, India stood at 70 for 6, and Dhoni looking for some support from the other end.

Harbhajan Singh and Praveen Kumar didn't show any appreciation of the fact that there were close to 30 overs still to go, getting out to flashy shots, and soon India were 82 for 8. But Rampaul's fourth wicket came in his tenth over, a maiden, and Taylor and Bravo were nearing the completion of their quotas as well.

Dhoni took the batting Powerplay in the 23rd over, and farmed strike, even refusing singles to RP. Gayle got through the Powerplay overs without much damage, but had to opt against an all-out attack because Bravo and Taylor had only two overs each to go. He also seemed to have sensed that the pitch had eased out, and was happy to contain. Dhoni and RP, meanwhile, batted sensibly.

Dhoni wasn't in the cleanest of touches, but took charge of the rescue work. RP hung around him, and between them they brought up only the fifth 100-run stand for the ninth wicket in ODI history. RP's 23 was his personal best, and Dhoni looked set for what would have been a fifth century. But Bravo and Taylor came back well, making sure India didn't play their full quota. Dhoni was the last to go, for a responsible 95, to a perfect slower ball from Taylor in the 49th over.

If India thought they were carrying some momentum into the defence, they had another think coming. The maiden bowled at the top of the innings, by Praveen Kumar to Gayle, was a false start too. When Morton stood tall and slapped the first ball he faced for four, it confirmed that the pitch held no horrors, at least not after the first few overs in the morning.

That being the case, Gayle took a liking to the medium-pace of Ashish Nehra, RP and Praveen. In the over after that maiden, Praveen's quick reflexes saved his life: the straight pull from Gayle reached the boundary even before one could say "thank god". Gayle immediately put his hand up to apologise.

There was no sense of apology in the way he took the left-arm medium-pacers for 37 runs in their first five overs, killing the contest right there. When Gayle finally fell for a 46-ball 62, Morton had scored just 30. Morton stayed solid after his captain's fall, getting to his tenth fifty and taking West Indies home with 15.5 overs to spare.

ICC Cricket Updates