Flower demands England improve ahead of Ashes

England coach Andy Flower admits his players will need to show significant improvement from their drawn series against New Zealand if they are to retain the Ashes against Australia this year.

“We’ve got a big year of international cricket and we will need to be sharper, better and more skilful,” Flower told BBC Radio Five Live. “But it has been a wonderful winter and to win in India was a really special moment. The only series we have lost was the one-day series in India.” Flower refused to write off the Australians and preferred to focus on England’s forthcoming rematch against New Zealand on home soil, which serves as a warm-up for the Ashes.AFP

Banglore IPL matches during polls rescheduled

The Indian Premier League on Wednesday re-jigged the fixtures of the tournament, making changes in the dates and timings of some of the matches, including the ones to be held in Bangalore on May 4 and 6, which were rescheduled owing to the Assembly elections in Karnataka.

The match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab, earlier scheduled to be held in Bangalore on May 4, will now be played on May 14, while RCB’s home game against Sunrisers Hyderabad, which was slated for May 6, has been advanced to April 9.PTI

Lankan players in IPL an endorsement of rights abuse charges: Ranatunga

Former captain Arjuna Ranatunga on Wednesday slammed the decision of the cricket Board and government to allow Sri Lankan players to participate in the IPL as an endorsement of human rights abuse allegations against Sri Lanka.

“What most people seem to ignore is that Indian politicians are wanting to stop Sri Lankans playing in Tamil Nadu because they accuse Sri Lanka of human rights violations. So playing in other (Indian) states while skipping Tamil Nadu is an endorsement of human rights allegations against our country,” said Ranatunga.PTI

Chandy offers support to Kochi to host IPL

The Kerala government on Wednesday offered full support to the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) if the need arose to stage matches at Kochi for the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“The KCA had approached us that there could arise a probability wherein Kochi could stage a few matches of the IPL. We have offered our full support and complete security arrangements would be provided and other support systems also would be in place,” said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.IANS

Star India signs as official partner of IPL 6

Star India is the latest brand to come on board as an official partner of the sixth season of the Indian Premier League.

“We are happy to be associated with the IPL primarily to drive our flagship channel, Star Plus... The power of Star’s platform is unique and we are keen to leverage this to support BCCI’s efforts to increase the reach and popularity of IPL,” Star India CEO Uday Shankar said.PTI

Fawad in frame for Ashes selection

Australia’s chief selector John Inverarity says Pakistani asylum-seeker Fawad Ahmed will be in contention for a place in the Ashes squad to tour England if he is granted citizenship in time.

The 31-year-old leg-spinner was handed a permanent visa to remain in Australia in November after leaving his home in the border region near Afghanistan.

But to play for Australia in the Ashes from July he needs fast-tracked citizenship and an Australian passport. “Fawad Ahmed is a mature and very good leg-spinner,” Inverarity told the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ “I’ve seen quite a bit of him and all those who have played against him, and the coaching staff, rate him as a good bowler. He would certainly come under consideration… He will be treated no differently from anybody else…”AFP