Thursday, 16 February 2012

Magazine Journalism Profile Writing Practice 16/02/2012

The turnaround from boy to man is a lightly used term, but in a sporting context, the meteoric rise of Alistair Cook is certainly a fine example of the phrase.
His international debut in 2006, aged just 21 seemed like just another call-up, but Cook had big boots to fill in the shape of Marcus Trescothick, England's long serving opening batsman. His call up to the senior side was preceded by an ECB Academy trip to the West Indies, and his impact on the side was certainly historic. Cook scored 60 and 104* against a strong India side in Nagpur, and being plunged into the depths of the Test arena at such a young age, it seemed the perfect replacement for the troubled Trescothick had come to the field.

Cook's stats are certainly on a mouth-watering sight. The youngest Englishman to reach the 1500, 2000, 3000, 4000 and 5000 test runs mark, and the only Englishman to reach 1000 test runs before his 22nd birthday. The batsman also holds the world record time for batting in a five test series – batting for 36 hours, and scoring 766 runs, in the 2010-11 Ashes series against Australia.

Cook's ravishing career as one of England's best found talents has also seen him come in for much criticism regarding his style. It was considered too slow during the a two-year period, and was consequently omitted from the Twenty20 squad to play Australia and the 2007 World Cup.
Despite contributing good scores in the long form of the game, the pressure for him to rediscover his touch was ever present. Cook saw himself left out of the Twenty20 and ODI squads to play South Africa and India, and rediscovering his form was imperative with the 2009 Ashes series on the horizon.

Despite criticism across the board, and pressure on his place in the team, the 2010-11 Ashes series in Australia was crucial to Cook's long-term placement in the Test side. His 235* in the second innings to salavage a draw for England was vital to the series, as England turned the tables on the Australians. His average of 127 for the five test series and being awarded man of the series for his 766 runs, (The second Englishman to ever reach that total in a series) turned a broken, struggling Cook into a world beater as England retained the prestigious urn on Australian soil.

His form in the Test matches has seen not just his recall to the ODI side, but his appointment as captain. And, how the responsibility has brushed off on him. His first series in charge of the one day side saw England record a 3-2 series win over Sri Lanka, and just this last week, England lead the current series against Pakistan 2-0. Centuries in both games from a certain Alistair Cook.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Hat-trick Number 14 for Ronaldo too much for Levante

So another day's work it seems for the managerial maestro Jose Mourinho, but the Portuguese boss will have Osasuna and his fellow countryman Cristiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid's TEN point lead at the top of La Liga this weekend, after Barcelona slipped up and the Madrilenos took full advantage, La Liga could well be finally returning to the Spanish capital for the 2011-12 season.

And, it is not surprising. Mourinho has managed to create a balance this season of fresh blood across the field, but more importantly has given his side a strength in depth in defensive positions. The additions of Fabio Coentrao, Raphael Varane and Hamit Altintop have added the extra cover Madrid needed, and they needed it desperately. Too many times they were left short from the injures to Carvalho and the suspensions for the ill-disciplined Sergio Ramos and Pepe.

Nuri Sahin in the midfield has proven to be a fine acquisition, and the signature of Jose Callejon from Espanyol surprised many in the summer, but many more have been surprised by the step he has made into such an advanced and highly expectant club.

Ronaldo's contribution is the pinnacle of Madrid's success, and his FOURTEETH, yes, and in numbers that is 14th, hat-trick for Real Madrid is the reason why they are flying high in Spain. Madrid saw off a stubborn and gritty Levante side at the Santiago Bernabeu last night with a 4-2 victory. Ronaldo's hat-trick and the fourth from Karim Benzema seeing Madrid through, despite the scores being level at one apiece at the interval.
This result will come as an added boost after champions Barcelona suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Osasuna on Saturday night.

Goals from Alexis Sanchez and youngster Cristian Tello were not enough for a weakened Barcelona, with Osasuna scoring three in front of their home fans. A double from Lekic, and the third from on-loan Athletico Madrid midfielder Raul Garcia. Pep Guardiola left Fabregas, Xavi and Iniesta on the bench with one eye on midweek's Champions' League tie against Bayer Leverkusen on the horizon. But, his naivity in the league has been Barcelona's downfall this season. Guardiola has moreorless admitted defeat in the race to defend his La Liga crown, and claims the focus is on another Champions' League trophy. But Madrid attacker Ronaldo still feels Barca are strong enough to bite back with a late charge.

16 games to go, and it's safe to say that La Liga is well set! Plenty of time for Barcelona to fight for what is currently theirs, but that time is also wasting away, and Guardiola must act quickly if his side are to compete for their championship. Madrid on the other have been playing superbly all season, and in complete Mourinho fashion. "The Special One" will want to end his career at Madrid on a high with serious talks of him leaving the capital in the summer. Ronaldo has been unstoppable this season and his 34 goals in 33 appearances prove that, but Madrid will need him better than ever if they are to continue their road to that first La Liga title in four years.