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Cricket Opinion

Sri Lanka have the rare opportunity to make their mark in West Indies

The test series between WI and SL began on Wednesday. This becomes only the fourth series between the two teams and the first with more than two matches. Unfortunately Broadcasters have acquired immense power because they are the major source of cricket’s overall revenue. They don’t think that telecasting a fixture between these two teams would be commercially sustainable given the low viewership and time difference.

This fixture had often been called off and postponed (and then never took) several times. You can stay tuned into this series and all the latest news surrounding cricket at BigCricket.

The teams are equally matched and have great potential. Despite WI’s home advantage they are underdogs amongst the bookmakers. That’s why it is very good opportunity to place bets if you want to win some serious cash. If you’re interested in banking upon this opportunity, you could use some reliable betting tips to maximize your returns.

The Context

It won’t be an overstatement to say that this could be the last time a test series is being played between these two teams on Caribbean soil. The fixtures have been few and far between. The last time these two played was in 2008 when Chaminda Vaas, the left-arm swing ace was still playing. SL, led by Mahela Jaywardene, marked their visit with their first victory in the West Indies.

Team News

The SL squad’s preparations received a massive blow due to unfortunate setbacks involving important players. The team will miss opening batsman Dimuth karunarante and pacers Nuwan Pradeep and Dushmantha Chameera through injury.

SL arrived with only Devendra Bishoo as the specialist spinner. Their squad includes two fresh faces. A WK-Batsmen Jahmar Hamilton, and opener Devon Smith both of whom may not get into the starting line-up. Rising batting sensation Dhanajaya de Silva did not travel with the squad due to his father being murdered towards the end of last month. Even though he has reached WI following his father’s funeral it might be too late for the first match.

Team Form

SL will be looking to extend their form in the previous seven matches where they have lost just once. Their last defeat in those matches was to the first-placed India. They registered a remarkable 2-0 victory over Pakistan in the UAE and also defeated Bangladesh at home by the same margin.

Captain Dinesh Chandimal will have to be at his best if SL are to prevail against the Indies. Over the course of his captaincy he has transformed his game to suit other talented players in the SL team. He sort of holds the fort by staying on the pitch for long durations, tries to exhaust opposition bowlers so that other batsmen could take advantage.

As far as WI cricket team is concerned the selectors have failed to give stability to this team as players continue to be taken in and out of the squad. They have ignored several promising stars playing in T20 leagues around the world. Their decisions have received fierce criticisms in the region.

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Three-Way Tie Among Favourites for ICC Cricket World Cup

The 2019 Cricket World Cup might seem a long way off at the moment, with most of the cricketing world more concerned with who has been tampering with balls than with wondering how the next World Cup will pan out. However, with Afghanistan and West Indies securing their place in the tournament this week to complete the final 10, it may be worth looking at the odds to get an indication of how the nations are shaping up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuWlef4vTt4

The betting markets show a very tight picture at the very top, with England, Australia and India often trading places as favourites among major bookmakers. On average, the general consensus has England as the favourites. They come in at odds of around 3/1, although they can be found as low as 5/2 (Betway) and as high as 4/1 (Marathon). Australia are priced lowest with Paddy Power at 3/1 and highest with Betfred at 9/2. India range goes from 7/2 (Ladbrokes) to 9/2 (Bet365).

Pressure will be on England to deliver in front of home fans

The first question, of course, is do England deserve to be regarded as favourites? They were awful in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, winning just two matches and exiting at the group stage. There has certainly been a lot of improvement since that time, despite a poor showing in the Ashes. The likes of Joe Root, Jimmy Anderson and Ben Stokes provide a decent backbone for the England side – but will home advantage be enough to finally take the three-time runners up across the finish line?

Of course, the great and the good of Australian cricket have a lot on their minds right now. The recent cheating scandal in the tour of South Africa has been described as “the darkest day in Australian cricket history”, with the Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft implicated in the incident. Even former captain Michael Clarke, who hinted at coming out of retirement, called it “pre-mediated, blatant cheating”. There is a lot of turmoil in the Australian camp then, but there is plenty of time to get back on track before the World Cup gets underway. Odds of 4/1 or so seem reasonably fair for Australia to defend their trophy.

India look like standout bet for third World Cup win

The true value may lie in backing India however. Odds of 9/2 seem quite generous for the top-ranked test playing side in the world, especially when you can use the latest free bet offers from Aussiefreebet.com.au to back India or anyone else to triumph. As ever, there is plenty of talent in the India test squad, it is just a question of whether they can prove their worth on English soil.

By no means are the trio of England, Australia and India the only serious candidates to win the ICC Cricket World Cup. South Africa, available at odds of around 5/1, also look like contenders, whereas New Zealand (7/1) and Pakistan (10/1) should certainly not be ruled out. Test cricket is often about momentum however, and you could see the odds fluctuating over the coming months. Still, a bit of value can be found in the early odds by punters looking to take a chance.

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Cricket Opinion

Who Does the Line Belong To?

It is often said that the line belongs to the umpire. That is in reference to decisions that are made in terms of giving a batsman out. The line in question is about the etiquette on the field. How much is enough when it comes to sledging? It may be easier to give a more accurate answer as to how long a piece of string is. Players will get away with as much as they can before they are called out. Cricketers have to adapt to the situation they are in. If an umpire is refusing to step in, then they have the option to fight fire with fire.

The Australians are renowned for sledging and getting in the faces of the opposition. It is the Australian way and makes them the team they are today. Their confrontational approach has contributed towards building some of the best rivalries around. Fans love to hate. Turning up the ante is what creates great sporting spectacles.

Where would international sport be without a bit of needle? A lot of the noise in between games is what stirs up everyone’s interest. It is that same interest that fuels the adrenaline that comes spilling out when your team is able to win.

Sledging also contributes towards some of the more unsavoury scenes in cricket. Who can forget the ugly spat between Glenn McGrath and Ramnaresh Sarwan? Curtly Ambrose and Steve Waugh almost came to blows at the Queen’s Park Oval. Few will forget Kieron Pollard throwing his bat at Mitchell Starc. Pollard had backed away before Starc bowled but the lanky left-arm quick didn’t stop, bowling the ball at a helpless Pollard.

There are times where lines are crossed. If the authorities are to police sledging, then what is acceptable and what isn’t? Sooner or later, someone is going to go ‘too far’. Can you complain when someone has gone too far after you have partaken in sledging?

David Warner did in the most recent incident involving an Australian player. It’s hard to think of a single player in world cricket who has said more to opposing players. The pot calling the kettle black comes to mind. Warner would do well to remember that he is fair game. Former South African captain Graeme Smith labeled Warner a fool after his complaints.

The South Africans are more fired up than ever after the recent incidents. The backlash the Baggy Greens are going to feel may hamper their chances of winning the series. Warner is 10/3 in cricket betting to be Australia’s leading run scorer this series. After the events at Kingsmead, how distracted is he? Warner will have to show immense character to rise above the problems he faces. The Australians will be expecting him to contribute.

It could not have been an easy week for the powerful opener. He has been the architect of his own current problems. It will be a concern for coach Darren Lehmann. David Warner is key to winning this series.

There are positive and negatives attached to sledging. The line is a fine one but for the most part, it is respected. The ICC may have a clearer view of this once this particular series ends. For now, the players will have to use their own discretion.

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Cricket Opinion

Would A Ben Stokes Call-Up Save The Ashes For England?

When the England Cricket Board suspended Ben Stokes ahead of the Ashes, hundreds of fans responded by backing Australia to enjoy another whitewash Down Under.

Flickr / Ben Sutherland / CC

It could have been written off as gallows’ humour, as the odds were an ambitious 9/1, but those England fans may now be laughing all the way to the bank. Joe Root’s men are already 2-0 down in the five-test series and have been well beaten in both tests so far. England need to do something drastic to turn their fortunes around, and could be tempted to reintroduce Stokes to the fold. Could he save the Ashes?

Reinstating him would be a huge decision as he is still being investigated by Avon and Somerset Police on suspicion of assaulting a fellow reveller outside a Bristol nightclub. He was ruled out of the tour of Australia as selectors felt it would send out the wrong message to young fans. To call him up while he is still under investigation might be an ethically questionable move. The tour has already descended into a shambles, with Johnny Bairstow embroiled in a headbutt scandal and Ben Duckett suspended for pouring a drink on James Anderson. The powers that be have to be very careful about how they handle the Stokes situation because it the team is already fast becoming a national embarrassment.

However, he is still yet to be charged for an incident that occurred months ago, suggesting it is not an open and shut case and he may well find that nothing more comes of it. With that in mind, Stokes has been called up to the England ODI squad for the tour of Australia along with Alex Hales, who was with him on the night out.

Stokes was very much a part of England’s future plans then, and it would therefore make a great deal of sense to bring him into the Ashes squad ahead of the third test. A 5-0 whitewash might be even more embarrassing than the off the field farce, so reinstating him could at least help them avoid that.

Stokes is the world’s best all rounder and he would improve any team. Earlier this year he was snapped up for an IPL record fee of £1.7 million and he fully justified it with some sensational performances for Rising Pune Supergiants. It is understandable that Eoin Morgan would be desperate to have him in the 50 overs team as he is equally dynamic in ODIs. But he can also do an excellent job in test cricket and could have a huge impact on the Ashes if parachuted in to save the day

His talent is undeniable. Just last year he put South Africa to the sword with a magnificent 258, breaking a long list of records, including the fastest test double hundred by an England player and the most sixes in an innings by an England player in history. England have struggled to deal with the Australian attack’s pace and aggression thus far during the current series and Stokes would certainly make their batting line-up look a lot more formidable. He is more than capable of the sort of individual brilliance that can win test matches, and he has proved it on multiple occasions. Without him the England tail looks elongated and Mitchell Starc has been slicing through it with glee.

Stokes would also relieve the pressure on Anderson and Stuart Broad, who are being asked to do too much in the bowling department at their ages. Stokes has posted a video of himself bowling into the nets at full tilt this winter, reminding selectors that he is a potent weapon that can be called upon.

In the sports spread betting markets England are underdogs in the remaining matches in the series and that is down to a lack of aggression from the bowlers and a lack of composure from the batsmen. Stokes could help in both departments.

Stokes alone may not be enough to save the series, but he certainly would improve England’s chances and his mere presence could spark greater confidence in his misfiring teammates. England fans must be praying he gets the green light and is called up, as then we could really have a series on our hands.

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The Ashes: Why Australia Will Win the First Test

We’re now less than two weeks away from the first Test match of the 2017-18 Ashes series and cricket fans across the world are expecting another tough, exciting battle between two of the most successful nations in the sport, England and Australia. This year, the Ashes will take place Down Under and it may prove prudent to side with the hosts in the opening Test match of the series at The Gabba later this month.

Brisbane has been a happy hunting ground for Australian cricket over the years and getting off to the perfect start will be Darren Lehmann’s number one priority. Australia’s last defeat in a Test match at this iconic arena of cricket came way back in 1988 – an incredible run of 28 games unbeaten. During that timeframe, Australia have hosted England seven times at The Gabba, winning five of those encounters.

Source: The Gabba via Facebook

So it would be fair to argue that history is certainly on Australia’s side for the opening clash of the series. Winning the Ashes is always difficult but on home soil, the Aussies have been rock solid for the most part if you look back through the years. England did manage to buck that trend Down Under back in 2010-11 but Australia have won six of the last seven in their own backyard and another successful series looks likely.

Many would argue that Australian cricket isn’t what it used to be but when you look at the Test rankings, Lehmann’s side are still up there as one of the elite cricketing nations. Steve Smith is clear on his own as the top-rated batsman in Test cricket and with good reason. In 56 Test matches, he has been at the crease 104 times and averages 59.66. You won’t find too many players who can match Smith statistically…

His form as of late has been hit and miss, though, and England will take confidence from his struggles. There is no good time to go up against Smith but this certainly isn’t a bad time if he fails to rebuild confidence in the warm-up fixtures. A century against New South Wales in Australia’s most recent encounter may have helped but an early loss of wicket in the first Test will shatter his momentum.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=aN6uAA48M2w

England have Joe Root ranked second in the world but Australia have a second batsman in the top five; David Warner. If both Aussies perform well with the bat, England could find themselves chasing and that is not ideal in the opening Test match of an Ashes series. At the time of writing, the hosts are 8/11 to win the Brisbane clash in bet365 cricket odds and their efforts with the bat could determine the outcome.

The first Test match can often set the tone for the rest of the series and winning in Brisbane would give the Aussies a huge boost ahead of the trip to Adelaide. Darren Lehmann will be quietly confident that his side have enough star quality to get the job done and the onus will be on Steve Smith and David Warner to shine with the bat. With a bit of luck, Australia may leave Brisbane with a dominant win under their belt.

 

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Five Reasons Australia Have The Edge Going Into The Ashes

The countdown is on to the most eagerly anticipated event of the cricketing calendar as the 2017/18 Ashes series begins in less than a month. Last time England visited Australia they were whitewashed and pessimism abounds among their fans right now. Australia are in a bullish mood going into the five-test series and will feel confident of regaining the Ashes as they will be spurred on by passionate home crowds. Here are five reasons why they can pull it off:

No Stokes, no Ashes

The tourists will be without talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes, who has been suspended by the England and Wales Cricket Board. He is on police bail on suspicion of assaulting a fellow reveller outside a nightclub and will not travel to Australia for the tour. It is a devastating blow for England as he has emerged as their best player in recent times. Steve Smith rates him as one of the world’s greatest players and it is easy to see why he went for a world record fee in the last IPL auction.

England’s batting order looks lightweight without him and his absence will put too much pressure on bowlers Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad. Steve Waugh has already said that England cannot win without him and that seems to be the prevailing mood among pundits.

England fans think they will lose

The English have been lumping on their team to be whitewashed in the wake of the news that Stokes will not be heading Down Under. Oddschecker reported that more than 90% of series correct score bets from punters in England have gone on a 5-0 win to Australia. That is a pretty damning trend and it will not exactly fill Joe Root’s team with confidence going into the series.

History is on Australia’s side

The home team has won the Ashes on seven of the last eight occasions. The one exception was England’s victory in Australia back in 2010/11, but the current crop is not at that level. Just four players remain from that famous tour, and the newcomers to the squad generally represent a downgrade on the former stars. England scraped a 3-2 win at home in 2015/16, when both teams were in poor form, and both go into this series with their own problems.

England blew hot and cold against South Africa this year and were unconvincing in their last series against the West Indies. Meanwhile, Australia have struggled against India and could only draw with Bangladesh in their last series, and they now find themselves two places below England in the ICC world rankings. There is not a great deal between them, so home advantage really could swing it in Australia’s favour.

As such, they are the $1.45 favourites to win the series in the latest cricket odds at Oddschecker, while England are $5.00 outsiders. The bookmakers are a pretty sharp bunch and they all overwhelmingly favour Australia.

England are inexperienced and Australia smell blood

England’s selection for the tour drew criticism across the board: veteran broadcaster Jim Maxwell called it one of their “worst ever batting line-ups” and said England would lose 5-0, Kevin Pietersen said it is horrendous and they may as well stay at home, and others accused Root of picking his mates. Some of those comments are a little harsh, but what is hard to overlook is the sheer inexperience of England’s batting line-up. Mark Stoneman, Dawid Malan and James Vince have just 15 caps between them and Smith said his bowlers will try to exploit their lack of familiarity with the fast and bouncy tracks Down Under.

Vice-captain David Warner – who infamously punched Root a couple of years ago – has ramped up the mind games with more fighting talk, saying the Ashes will be like a “war” and promising to build up the “hatred” with England. If they can channel that aggression into keeping Root and Alastair Cook quiet, they should regain the Ashes with ease.

Hosts can blunt Anderson

Anderson is England’s record wicket-taker and their most potent weapon, but he was kept largely quiet back in the whitewash of 2013/14. They had him bowling plenty of overs and he did not take many wickets as they scored a lot of runs, so they could well have his measure once again. Anderson is now 35, while Broad is 31, and they will struggle to play at their highest level for five tests. The absence of Stokes and the loss of Toby Roland-Jones to injury puts more impetus on them, but they cannot hope to do it all themselves and risk being burnt out – another trend Australia can exploit to their advantage.

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Australia Must Pass Spin Test in Bangladesh

Cricket Australia and the Australia players put their differences aside following a tumultuous dispute over contracts to ensure the Baggy Greens’ will compete for the Ashes later this year.

The two parties had been involved in a bitter battle of words, with barbs exchanged from both sides. However, the deal has been struck and now Steve Smith can begin preparing his side for the challenge of facing England on home soil in an attempt to win back the urn.

Australia first travel to take on Bangladesh in a two-match Test series; and the Tigers will pose questions of the Baggy Greens, with the team not being the pushovers they once were.

England were troubled by Bangladesh’s spinners in their series on tour last year and the Three Lions were unable to secure a series victory, drawing 1-1 with the home side. As a result, the Aussies will need to be at their best on turning tracks to deliver a confidence-boosting outcome.

Smith’s men are backed in the latest cricket betting odds at 2/5 to triumph, but their success is far from guaranteed given their recent performances in Asia.

Australia have lost on their last three trips to the sub-continent, beginning with their defeat to Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in 2014.  Few teams have success playing the Green Shirts in the UAE and the Baggy Greens were no different under the leadership of Michael Clarke, suffering two heavy defeats.

Their fortunes did not change under the tenure of Smith last year when the Baggy Greens travelled to Sri Lanka. Australia had won their first three series under the 28-year-old’s captaincy, but they were absolutely hammered by the Lions, failing to cope with the left-arm spin of Rangana Herath.

Herath took 28 wickets to confound the Aussie batsmen, with the smallest margin of defeat for the tourists a 106-run loss in Kandy in the opener, highlighting Sri Lanka’s dominance.

Source: FoxCricketLive via Twitter

The Baggy Greens had a point to prove in India and produced a brilliant performance in the first Test in Pune as Steve O’Keefe guided his side to a 333-run victory, taking 12-70 in the contest.

Nathan Lyon put Virat Kohli’s men well and truly on the back foot by taking 8-50 in the second Test, putting Australia in a match-winning position. However, a second-innings’ collapse caused by Ravichandran Ashwin allowed India to level the series.

From that point, the Baggy Greens were on the back foot but did show resolve to avoid defeat in the third Test. However, Smith’s men were eventually condemned to a series loss in the final Test, falling to an eight-wicket defeat in Dharamsala as Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja loomed large.

Bangladesh don’t quite have the same calibre of bowlers as India, although Mehedi Hasan had England rocking in the second Test in Mirpur, leading to the Tigers’ 108-run triumph. He took 12 wickets in the match for the cost of 159 runs, should Australia fail to adjust to his quality then they could be a world of trouble.

Their batting unit outside of Steve Smith and David Warner lacks experience, especially in turning conditions. Even Warner struggled against the spin in Sri Lanka and India, meaning that the fortunes of the Aussies could once again rest on the shoulders of their captain.

 

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Would India’s 1983 side beat its 2011 counterpart?

India’s 2011 world cup success was the second in the national side’s history. India are currently joint-second with the West Indies in terms of world titles – although the Windies have not won the World Cup since 1979.

While the Indian team of 2011 had no amateurish connotations, as they did when they triumphed in 1983, their second world cup victory was no less impressive, especially when one considers Australia’s dominance over the tournament in the past two decades. Thus, grounds exist for a fair comparison of the two Indian sides.

Naturally, the main difference between the two eras is the presence of a codified Indian Premier League, and the influence of Indian superstars such as Sachin Tendulkar. To gain a truly balanced view as to which title-winning Indian team would prevail, it is important to look at the backstories of each Indian side, from 1983 and 2011, and the challenges faced on their respective paths to glory.

In the first two editions of the World Cup, India failed to progress beyond the group stage. Psychologically, this could have given India a disadvantage in 1983, particularly when one considers that the tournament itself was held on hostile British ground. It was in India’s first game of the tournament, against champions West Indies at Old Trafford, which the world saw an early sign of events to come.

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‘Old Trafford, Lancashire Cricket Club’ – WeLiveCricket via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

For their part, the Windies had never lost a world cup match before their 1983 opening game. In Winston Davis, they also boasted a lethal bowler – who would later dismiss seven Australian batsmen at the cost of just 51 runs. Yashpal Sharma, however, proved his nemesis in the 1983 encounters that stunned the world.

By 2011, India had evolved into a formidable side which was always given short odds by bookmakers such as bet365 ahead of major tournaments. Yet, it was still a side with its doubters, given Australia’s vice-like hold over the game at that time.

In contrast to 1983, though, India’s opening match was a widely expected victory, against Bangladesh. Even with the advantage of home turf in their second match, against England, India endured a disappointing draw. On that occasion, they showed no shades of the 1983 side at all.

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‘Sachin Tendulkar’ – Coolgama via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Twenty-eight years later, the format would involve one extra knockout round to negotiate, meaning that there is argument in favour of the 2011 side in this unique – albeit hypothetical – battle. Yet, once the men in blue had disposed of champions Australia, the psychological gravity of the semi-final (vs Pakistan) and the final (vs Sri Lanka) was much reduced.

With those backstories taken into account, the 1983 Indian side arguably wins this battle. While the 2011 side – with a worldwide media presence and modernised fitness regime – would have an obvious advantage, it is worth remembering that the basic rules of the game have never changed.

As the 1983 tournament showed the world, it is ultimately team spirit and strong leadership that determine the winners and losers in cricket.

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English Players Look to Join Some of the Best in the IPL

After Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni ensured England tasted defeat in the series, some of the players will be looking towards the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction on 4th February and wondering if they’ve done enough to secure a lucrative deal. The IPL season will be the 10th version of money-spinning and well-liked India Twenty20 domestic competition and will commence after the T20 World Cup in India with the same eight teams from the 2016 season competing once again.

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Garden of Eden” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by partha.b

The English are Coming

With the England and Wales Cricket Board (EOB) seemingly giving its blessing for, England’s players are free to join the IPL, but with the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, a number of One Day Internationals (ODIs) in the Caribbean in March, a series against Ireland in May and three ODIs versus South Africa players might be asked to decrease their value by only making themselves partly available for league action. The EOB will be keen to ensure preparations are perfect as England are currently 7/2 with bet365 to win the ICC Champions Trophy and updates before the big event can be found at http://extra.bet365.com.au/news/en/Cricket.

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BEN STOKES” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by NAPARAZZI

Players such as Ben Stokes, Eoin Morgan and Jason Roy are all apparently keen and Jos Buttler and Sam Billings are already signed up. For the players, it’s a huge prospect to earn more than ever before and gain some valuable experience plying their trade in a cricket crazy country. Although a few players have performed admirably during the current series loss to India, it’s likely that IPL scouts would have already selected their auction targets based on performances over the past year or more. It’s an interesting time for England’s cricketers, whose form has been steady under coach Trevor Bayliss and the possibly departing captain Alastair Cook. A few players will attract interest and the experience of playing against these stars of the IPL should be beneficial to them and England.

Virat Kohli

The first player to reach the 4000-run milestone in the IPL Kohli is committed to ending his career with last years’ runners-up, the Royal Challengers. Often compared to the legendary Sachin Tendulkar he’s an aggressive batsman and can generate great power and shot variety. He’s the elite of the IPL and has a huge following to generate lucrative endorsements media interests.

David Warner

Ended the 2015 season as the highest scorer after he was signed by Sunrisers Hyderabad. The Australian went on to lead his team to their first ever championship last season and he’s a player that does well in all formats of the game. He has an aggressive and assertive left-handed batting technique, that combined with athletic fielding and both off-spin and leg-spin bowling style he’s become a stellar name in the IPL.

AB de Villiers

An influential player for the Delhi Daredevils’ the South African was bought by the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the IPL Player Auction in 2011 and has been crucial to their success ever since. A batsman that can change the course of a match very quickly, he’s had some truly memorable moments in the IPL by manufacturing some outstanding shots while also being good behind the sticks and an acrobatic fielder.

Shikhar Dhawan

A strong partnership with captain Warner saw Dhawan notch up 501 runs in 17 matches and become an IPL winner in 2016 with Sunrisers Hyderbad. His formidable left-handed batting style has made him an intimidating opening batsman and big match player, although he’s possibly best know for his moustache.