Dec 19

Can You Match Record-Breaker Haseeb?

Hammad said he was delighted to be making his debut in Gujarat, where his parents were born before emigrating to Lancashire. It’s the same state his brother was married in last week, but Hammad couldn’t attend as he was training in Mumbai.

So what makes a great batsman? And how can you hope to emulate the likes of Compton and Hammad?

Survival Instinct

First, you need a killer survival instinct and great technique. You’ll need to go out there and face the bowling attack at its freshest, and it takes guts to survive. As a great opening batsman, you need to relish the challenge.

Don’t Let the Bowlers Settle

If you can take any runs going, then you can keep rotating strike – there’s no more effective tactic for unsettling the opposition’s strike force. Good communication is key – in fact, it should become so automatic that words become unnecessary.

Don’t Throw Your Wicket Away

Once you’ve done all the hard work of bedding in, you can afford to get a little more expansive with your stroke play. But don’t give the bowlers an opportunity for a cheap wicket – technique is key to striking a good balance between run rate and survival.

Be Patient

You’ll need all your wits and bravery about you to be an effective opening batsman. Pace yourself and build a solid innings – the pressure is on, so you need to be able to handle it.

Practise, Practise, Practise

Put yourself under match conditions by getting in the nets first and facing the freshest bowlers with their hardest, fastest and trickiest deliveries. Work on your straight shots first, and train yourself to know when to play and when to leave. The most effective way to practise this is to get in the nets with your strike partner and do bowling machine drills.

Look the Part

You’re the first at the crease, so you need to look the part. There’s no point carrying your kit in that battered old bag – find cricket bags for sale and smarten up your look and your attitude.

Dec 12

The 4th Girls U-18 Asia Cup

History of the Girls U-18 Asia Cup

The first tournament of the Girls U-18 Asia Cup was held in Hong Kong, China, in 2001. India took the gold medal. The second tournament in 2009 saw the girls compete in Shanghai, China, with Korea winning the cup. The third and latest U-18 Asia Cup was held in 2011. The girls competed in Bangkok, Thailand, where Japan claimed victory.

The 4th U-18 Asia Cup

The next Girls U-18 Asia Cup will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 15 to 22 December 2016. There are eight participating teams divided into two pools. The matches will be as follows:

  • China vs Korea
  • India vs Japan
  • Malaysia vs Thailand
  • Chinese Taipei vs Singapore

The Japanese team is the current title holder, and the girls will have to play to the best of their ability to retain the title in December.


Hockey is a game of skill and precision. In order for young players to perform well on the field, they require the best hockey kit available. One of the most important pieces of hockey gear, besides the stick, is a good pair of hockey shoes. It is essential that these are comfortable and offer high levels of support and cushioning. By searching for hockey shoes online, you will discover all the brands available.

A young player will go through several pairs of hockey shoes as they grow, and trying out different brands and styles allows players to determine which shoes are best suited for them on the field. Most international players choose well-known brands such as Adidas, Puma, Asics, Kookaburra and Gryphon, to name just a few of the most popular hockey shoes online. These brands use game-specific technologies in their sports shoes, producing highly functional and stylish footwear that particularly appeals to the younger youth squad members.

The 4th Girls U-18 Asia Cup will showcase some of the best players in Asia, along with some of the best sticks and hockey footwear available. Be sure to follow the forthcoming tournament for insight into the latest gear for young hockey players.

Dec 05

Brazil Are Set to Play Portugal in a Pre-Christmas Friendly

The Portuguese calendar includes the game against Brazil on December 3 and will be only the second time in the game’s history that the two teams have met. The match looks set to be played in Coimbra.

European Mini-Tour

Brazil are using this winter tour of Europe as preparation for the Americas Rugby Championship next year in 2017. The mini-tour will also include two matches in Germany in November, in Heidlberg on Saturday 19, and then the following week in Leipzig, before heading south to Portugal for the one-off match against Portugal in Coimbra. Last year, Germany were the guests in Brazil with the tourists playing a two-match tour, in Blumenau and São Paulo, which saw the European visitors come out on top in both matches, so Brazil will be looking to avenge that result in 2016.

Portugal have only played Brazil once before. The previous encounter took place in São Paulo, so this match will be Portugal’s first home game against the South American opponents. Back in 2003 in São Paulo, at the Arena Barueri, the western European team came away as 68-0 winners.

Brazilian Progress

The Brazilian squad has made significant progress in the last thirteen years, though, most recently claiming a historic win over neighbouring USA earlier on in 2016. Their results have also seen them close the gap on neighbouring Chile – and also in terms of the number of people playing the game. The campaign continues to turn Brazil into a Tier Two rugby nation. It’s in a boom period currently in Brazil as increasing numbers of people are starting to play rugby. The popularity of rugby in Brazil means that the number of players is more than double that of Uruguay. The key will be to improve some of these players and hone their talent to give the game a real boost.

Portugal, on the other hand, seem to be on somewhat of a downward turn. They’re not quite at the point of putting rugby boots for sale, but they have been relegated this year from the European Nations Cup. Germany and Spain remain in the tournament. This is a significant turnaround in form for Portugal, who were 2007 World Cup qualifiers.

Nov 28

Keep your head during 2016 England versus India Test Series

Health and safety

As always in international cricket, the health and safety of the players will be at the forefront of the organisers’ minds, as both teams prepare to meet at Rajkot for the first of five matches taking place throughout November and December 2016. Every world class cricket player, as well as those aspiring Alastair Cooks and Ben Ducketts who play locally every Sunday, or in the back garden with their granddads, needs the appropriate kit, to provide important protection and also comfort and durability whilst playing.

To be protected from a speeding cricket ball or a high flying bat can be a matter of life of death – a scenario made all too real by the high-profile deaths of cricketers since the introduction of the game in the 18th century. The cricketers kit generally includes cricket boxes, thigh guards, arm guards and body protectors, but without a doubt, the most important piece of equipment is the helmet.

Protection, design and durability

Cricket helmets online are competitively priced and are available in various materials, including titanium, steel, carbon fibre and fibreglass. They cover masterclass, elite, test-opener and icon styles. Available in mini, junior and senior sizes in blue, black or dark grey, it’s important to select the correct size so the helmet fits snugly. Measuring the head will provide accurate sizing requirements and a helmet with a strong, adjustable chin strap can make sure that whether the helmet is for a small boy, a youth or a large man, it will provide the necessary padding and security.

Ergonomically designed to provide comfort and withstand shock, modern cricket helmets can offer excellent ventilation and they also feature removable inserts, so you can tailor the helmet specifically to your needs. So, as you and your loved ones settle down to watch the England and India cricket teams lock horns to see who can perform the best on the international stage, you can be safe in the knowledge that the cricket helmet you purchased online can only add to your enjoyment of the sport.

Nov 21

South Africa in Australia for 3 Test Cricket Series, Including One Pink Ball Test Match

1st & 2nd Test

The 1st Test was held from the 3-7 November at the WACA Ground, Perth. South Africa won the Test by 177 runs. The 2nd Test will be held 12-16 November at the Bellerive Oval, Hobart.

3rd Test – 24-28 November 2016

The original suggestion of this 3rd Test at the Adelaide Oval being a day/night fixture was met with some reticence by the South African team, due to the match being played under lights using the pink ball. The Proteas’ inexperience with using a pink cricket ball led to this uncertainty and their initial reluctance.

The South African squad opened their Australia tour with a two-day practice match played under lights and will also play a second two-day match under lights between the 2nd and 3rd Tests, giving them maximum possible preparation and practice time using the pink balls.

The Australians have had significantly more experience playing under lights as they have trialled the pink Kookaburra in the Sheffield Shield for several years now. They also played the first ever day/night Test against New Zealand last summer.

The South Africa vs Australia day/night Test match will add something exciting for the fans, with different tactics coming into play. The pink balls are designed to be seen as the sun goes down and the stadium lights come on.

Adjustments have recently been made to the balls and they now incorporate a black seam which is hopefully easier to see, making this a great form of cricket to watch and play. You can purchase pink cricket balls online, allowing you to try out this day/night version of the game no matter what level you play the game at.

The fully hand sewn pink balls with a black seam are revolutionising the game of cricket and enabling matches to continue into the evenings, allowing for greater numbers of fans to watch the matches live. The 3rd Test match between South Africa and Australia should be an exciting climax to the 3 Test Series.

Nov 16

Pakistan Position Themselves as Firm Favourites Against New Zealand in Their Upcoming Test Series

The Pakistan Team

Following detailed consultations with the Test Captain and Head Coach, the Pakistan test team has recently been confirmed by the Chief Selector, alongside the National Selection Committee.

The team selection was made following the close consideration of the unique conditions that New Zealand has to offer, as well as each individual’s personal performance during previous Tests against the West Indies and England. The selectors have been pleased with the dynamics of the team during recent games and believe that their considered combination of youth and experience will be a success.

History is also on their side, as the Pakistan team haven’t lost a Test series in New Zealand for over 30 years. The team are confident in their ability to carry through their recent successes, and look ready to take on everything the New Zealand team have to throw at them.

Setbacks for New Zealand

Unfortunately for Mitchell Santner, the talented spinner from New Zealand, a fractured wrist means that he won’t be fit to play in the opening test. He picked up the injury during a training exercise and it doesn’t look like he will have recovered in time to take part in the second Test either. This is undoubtedly a blow for the New Zealand team, as Santner took the highest number of wickets during a recent tour of India.

Conversely, however, Tim Southee, who was out with an ankle injury during the Test series against India, is back on form and took seven wickets,propelling his Northern Districts team to victory over Canterbury. He will therefore be one to watch during this upcoming Test.

If you can’t resist getting involved in the run up to what is looking to be an exciting Test series, our cricket batting pads sale will ensure that you remain injury free during your cricket matches and batting practice.

The first Test will begin at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on November 17th 2016, with the second test scheduled to take place at Seddon Park in Hamilton on November 25th 2016.

Nov 14

How you can benefit from Team GB’s hockey gold medal success

In August 2016, Team GB’s Women’s Hockey team came back from the Rio Olympics with a gold medal, which was a first Olympic gold medal for British hockey. The team are now trying to encourage and inspire people of all ages to take up the sport so they can share the benefits of the team’s success. Here we look at what might have helped the team to succeed along with what to do if you are interested in taking up the sport for yourself.

How the medal was won

The gold medal at the Rio Olympics was the climax of four years of hard work for a British team who managed a bronze medal at London 2012 and arrived in Rio determined to do better. Their final match against the Netherlands ended in a draw, which had to be followed by a penalty shootout. Having used a sports psychologist prior to the Olympics to ensure they were mentally prepared, the team’s physical preparations were also important, especially for the possibility of a penalty shootout. This would have included a lot of practice for the penalty takers as well as for Maddie Hinch, the Great Britain goalkeeper.

How you can get involved

If Great Britain’s women’s hockey team have made you want to give hockey a go or take up the sport again if you haven’t played since school days, there are many local clubs that offer tryouts and are trying to make the sport accessible to people who just want to “have a go”. It may be that you have been inspired by Maddie Hinch’s goalkeeping heroics and fancy trying it for yourself.

Goalkeepers require the same basic kit as everyone else, but they also need additional items such as face masks and special pads. The best way to purchase these is to look for a hockey goalkeeping kit sale where you may be able to purchase the items you need at a lower price.

The GB hockey team would like to try to encourage participation in hockey from children of primary school age and upwards as it is never too early to start playing. They will also be hoping that Great Britain hosting the Hockey World Cup in 2018 will once again grab the public’s imagination and encourage more people to take up the sport.

Nov 07

England Pick Up Injuries at Controversial Training Camp

As the game of rugby becomes ever more competitive, it is no surprise to see teams pushed to their limit in training in a bid to ensure that they are sharper than any upcoming opponents.

The right amount of training is vital. Too little and performance drops; too much and there’s a risk of burn-out or injury, which is exactly what happened when England rugby coach Eddie Jones, who is well known for getting the most out of his players, took the national squad on a three-day training camp in Brighton for Judo sessions.

Former Olympian Kate Howey was tasked with teaching the England squad the art of Judo, with the aim of helping them with grappling in the tackle.

Trouble in Camp

The decision to involve Judo quickly backfired, as Sam Jones from Wasps broke his leg while grappling with Maro Itoje. Another injury saw Bath winger Anthony Watson fracture his jaw after a clash of heads.

Both Jones and Watson are out of the four tests with Australia, South Africa, Argentina and Fiji this autumn, and the injuries have caused fury among the players’ home clubs.

Bad Timing

Premiership Rugby, who are the body representing the top flight clubs in England, have criticised Eddie Jones for holding such a training camp between Premiership matches, though the training is in line with the £225m agreement made between the Rugby Football Union and the Premiership clubs, which allows England players to be released for the camps.

Despite the criticism, it would appear as though the use of Judo in training is here to stay, and given the abysmal 2015 World Cup performance, most fans of the game are happy to allow Jones, who has transformed England since he took over in November last year, to continue to use whatever methods he deems necessary.

The next camp is due in October, followed by a further one in January, though again these have caused dismay given their timing ahead of important domestic and European matches.

Given the daunting run of fixtures that awaits England over the next few months, it will be interesting to see if the results of Jones’ methods are seen on the pitch. If England can carry on their resurgence with positive results, it won’t be long before the hype returns and fans all over England buy rugby shirts ready to cheer their country to glory.

Oct 31

Which Cricket Shoes?

Buying cricket shoes should be an easy task, but with so many choices on the market these days, even at specialist shops, it can appear quite confusing. Read on for a quick guide to choosing the right cricket shoes.

Boots v Trainers

Boots, usually bowling boots, finish higher on the ankle than cricket shoes. Choosing between boots and shoes is a personal choice. Some love the ankle support that a mid or high topper provides, but others prefer the lightness and freedom of a trainer. Only experience will tell you which is best for you, although general purpose cricket shoes are a good start for beginners. Many go for a mid-top style however, which offers the best of both worlds.

Bowling Boots

Traditionally called bowling boots, there are also now shoes for bowling on the market and of course, these are aimed specifically at bowlers. Such options are designed to help reduce the load for bowlers, minimising the chance of injury. Bowling boots may also feature a reinforced toe for added support.


When you start shopping for shoes, you’ll notice you have a choice between half, full or multi spike shoes. The bottom line is that the more spikes there are, the more grip you’ll have. Those playing on artificial wickets do not need the same grip as those playing on real grass and those playing purely in summer will not need the same grip as those who play all year round.


Like anything you buy, the more you spend, the higher quality you can get. Finding good shoes on sale can save you money. Professional cricket players or even those playing at high standard of amateur cricket will need quality shoes and it’s worth investing in these. Top brands include Asics, Adidas, Gray Nicolls, Gunn and Moore and Kookaburra, although provided that you buy cricket shoes online from a trusted retailer, you know you’ll be getting a quality pair of shoes.

Added Features

Look out for added built-in features such as gel cushioning, internal straps, bevelled heels and midsole support. These advanced features will improve the comfort and support of the shoes and can also improve your game and reduce the chance of injury.

If you’re still not sure about which cricket shoes to buy, contact the customer support at your online retailer for more information and advice.

Oct 24

England Training Camp Sees Unprecedented Intensity

It’s the dream of every player from the moment they start playing their chosen sport to pull on their national jersey and represent their country. To get the call to join a national training squad is exhilarating and exciting, although it can cause difficulties for the club left behind.

England Training

Several Premiership coaches have been publicly critical of the current intensity of the England training camp following some high-profile injuries to key players. Bath’s Anthony Watson broke his jaw training with the national squad recently, and Wasps’ Sam Jones will be out for even longer with a broken leg and damaged ankle.

Controversial Tactics

There has been no need to buy rugby ball equipment for these players as the focus has been on learning judo, which many believe is the reason for the number of lengthy injuries of late.

Those in favour of the unusual training point out that with a Test against the Springboks coming up, the players must be used to the big hits that some of the southern hemisphere teams put in time after time. The sustainability is key, although that will likely result in some heavy casualties.

High Intensity

Proponents of the high-intensity tactics claim that it’s the only way to get ready for the bigger matches and that inevitably will cause some injury, although injuries are not uncommon at any training camp.

The element of Eddie Jones’s camp raising eyebrows is that the players are learning judo as part of their “basic skills training”, not least from the Premiership coaches. A rift is developing with resistance from the club sides.

In fact, judo is not a new addition to the a rugby training regime, and training with an external group can help players from different clubs come together and bond as a functioning unit.

A Step Up

Rugby is a contact sport, and injuries are always a risk. Damage can be minimised by warming up and cooling down properly and through maintaining a healthy squad.

There is a step up from club level to playing for your national side, so training should reflect that. Trends in exercise these days suggest that shorter periods of high-intensity training are often more effective than several hours of exercise at 70 per cent intensity.

To beat the best teams in the world, the England rugby team will need to be ready both physically and mentally, and persistent injuries will hinder that.

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