Pietersen and Morgan the ICC T20 stars: Richard Gibson

Two English batsmen are expected to feature prominently in the International Cricket Council’s newly-contrived Twenty20 rankings, which are launched ahead of reigning World Twenty20 winners England’s match against inaugural 20-over champions India next week.

Kevin Pietersen, man of the tournament in the 2010 global success in the Caribbean, is second only to New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum in the run-scoring charts – he trails by 234 runs, having played 10 matches fewer – while no player to have played 15 Twenty20 international innings or more has a higher average than Eoin Morgan’s 47.41.

Nottinghamshire duo Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann have good career returns among the bowlers – Broad’s economy rate will always look wonky given the 36 he conceded in one over to Yuvraj Singh during the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa – but Pakistan trio Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal, the only three men to claim in excess of 40 wickets, all go at below 6.5 runs an over.

Spin will undoubtedly dominate the bowling charts with New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori (the tightest by a distance at 5.36 runs per over) and Sri Lankan Ajantha Mendis (strike rate an incredible 11.6) also with top-end credentials.

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For those that enjoy Roses rivalry at its spikiest, a piquant tale to pass on from the ECB awards day, during which Lancashire’s players were presented with their winners’ medals and the club with its first outright County Championship pennant for 77 years.

Despite the grandeur of the occasion, Glen Chapple’s team, who had the honour of collecting their gongs from the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace, couldn’t resist greeting the announcement of the Yorkshire Post as regional newspaper of the year with vociferous booing.

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Cricket’s leading comedy double act Graeme Swann and James Anderson – nothing short of a You Tube sensation during Swanny’s Ashes Diaries last winter – are re-forming for BBC radio later this year.

The England pair have been drafted in by the Beeb for a review of the sporting year, to be aired at Christmas. Cricket-mad Radio 1 DJ Greg James will front the show, which is likely to be on Five Live.

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English counties’ hopes of signing the best overseas talent for their Twenty20 campaigns next summer, already affected by the inflated salaries on offer for the Indian Premier League, will face more direct competition if plans for a new USA tournament come to fruition.

New Zealand Cricket have teamed up with the United States of American Cricket Association to draw up plans for a four to six-team competition starting in July 2012. Local players will be complemented  by a raft of imports.

NZC have been exploring opportunities to increase their revenue streams over the past few years and outgoing chief executive Justin Vaughan has been integral to the joint operation.

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Monty Panesar failed to inspire his Sydney grade side Randwick Petersham to victory on debut as he claimed just a single wicket in an agonising draw against Fairfield-Liverpool.

Left-arm spinner Panesar, on a two-month jaunt in Australia in a bid to cement a place in England’s Test squad to face Pakistan after Christmas, finished with figures of 27-8-52-1 as the visitors held on with nine wickets down.

Meanwhile, another left-arm twirler, Murali Kartik, is reported to be interesting Surrey as they seek an overseas recruit for 2012. The inference when the Indian quit Somerset last month was that he had enough of playing all year round, and wanted to devote more time to his family.

*Follow me on Twitter @richardgibson74

 

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