• News round-up

    Kevin Pietersen started his comeback mission to the England team in the most perfect way when he scored 170 for Surrey in a three-day match against MCC University Oxford over the weekend.

    The controversial batsman’s hundred helped Surrey to 420-7 at The Parks on the opening day of the match. It was his first hundred in any form of cricket since the Old Trafford Ashes Test of 2013.

    It was a timely knock, albeit the match wasn’t first-class, with his hundred coming just a day before the start of England’s three-Test series against the West Indies in Antigua.

    Incoming ECB chairman Colin Graves, who takes charge next month, has, in contrast to the previous regime, suggested Pietersen could force his way back into the England set-up through sheer weight of county runs.

    ‘I’ve been given a lifeline,’ Pietersen said. ‘I really, really like the way that the new bosses are talking, from stuff that you read and stuff that you hear.

    ‘English cricket needs to change… They’ve started to make some changes.’ – AFP


    Former Ashes-winning captain Andrew Strauss has expressed his interest in the newly-created director of English cricket role for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

    Led by chief executive Tom Harrison and endorsed by incoming chairman Colin Graves, the new leadership position is focused on team performance in the wake of the the disappointing performance at the recent World Cup.

    ‘To anyone who is passionate about cricket, the allure of such a job is undeniable,’ Strauss wrote in the Sunday Times.

    ‘I am certainly interested in any role that might help English cricket move forward.’

    Two other former England captains, Michael Vaughan and Alec Stewart, are also being considered for the role as the ECB begins its restructure following the departure of managing director Paul Downton after the terrible World Cup campaign. – Reuters


    The family of cricket icon Richie Benaud has declined the offer of a state funeral, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott has confirmed.

    Abbott said the offer was a mark of respect for a man who meant so much to millions of people in Australia and around the world.

    But he said the former Test captain and renowned commentator, who died aged 84 on Friday after fighting skin cancer, wanted a quiet and private funeral.

    ‘My understanding is that Richie’s own wishes was for something very, very quiet and very, very private,’ Abbott told reporters.

    Benaud’s widow, Daphne, phoned the Prime Minister’s office on Saturday to kindly decline the offer of a state funeral, he said.

    Benaud instead will be remembered this week with a private gathering attended only by his immediate family.

    Overall, Benaud played in or commentated on approximately 500 Test matches and has been lauded as the most influential Australian cricketer and broadcaster of his era. – AFP