LONDON CRICKET SELL OFF

Almacantar SA, the real estate company run by Mike Hussey and Neil Jones, is in exclusive talks to build homes on part of Lord’s Cricket Ground in the wealthy London neighborhood of St. John’s Wood.

Marylebone Cricket Club selected Almacantar from among three bidders to potentially build the homes as part of the development of the Wellington Road side of the ground, according to a statement released late yesterday on Lord’s website. The talks may also involve improving conference and dining areas and an indoor training center for the sports ground.

The 220-year-old cricket club, which hosts matches and promotes the sport across Britain and overseas, plans to increase seating at the ground and improve facilities for members and spectators.

Almacantar was established last year by Hussey, former director in charge of Land Securities Group Plc’s London real estate, and Jones, the former head of continental Europe at Grosvenor Group Ltd., the property company controlled by family trusts of the Duke of Westminster. They received backing from Italy’s Agnelli family and other investors.

LONDON GIRLS TRIUMPH

Barnet girls’ cricket team are on their way to Lord’s after winning their group at the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games Indoor Cricket Cup qualifying round at Harrow Leisure Centre on Sunday.

It is the first time Barnet will have made it through to the last eight in the annual competition. The borough team saw off home side Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow to top Group 6 with a mighty 278 runs accrued over their three 10 over matches. They now join the other group winners: Bexley, Greenwich, Haringey, Hammersmith & Fulham, Bromley, Ealing and best runners-up Redbridge in the finals at Lord’s Indoor Cricket Ground on Sunday 6 March.

Gemma Thompson, Barnet Team Manager, said: “It’s the first time for Barnet to get to Lord’s, so it’s a fantastic achievement for the girls. They’re really excited. Half of the team had only had a couple of cricket sessions before, so they have done really well.

AFRIDI JOINS HAMPSHIRE

Big-hitting Pakistani cricket team captain Shahid Afridi will join English Twenty20 cricket champions club Hampshire for their 2011 season, local media reports said on Tuesday.

According to the Daily Times, the explosive all-rounder, captaining his side at the ongoing cricket World Cup, will arrive at the English club in May this year and will participate in the Friends Provident T20 cricket championship.

Afridi, 30, had been due to join the Hampshire Royals in 2010 but later on he refused due to his tight schedule with the national team of Pakistan.

“I was disappointed not to join Hampshire last season. It would have been fantastic to have been a part of the team that made history by winning the T20 trophy on home soil,” said Afridi.

Afridi, one of the most devastating batsmen in world cricket, made his one-day debut for Pakistan at the age of 16 and scored the world’s fastest one-day internationals (ODIs) hundred in his maiden innings, reaching 100 runs off only 37 balls.

NOTTINGHAM SIGN HUSSEY

Australian World Cup all-rounder David Hussey and compatriot Adam Voges have signed as overseas players for English county champions Nottinghamshire, according to the club.

Voges will be available from the opening day of the season, with Hussey set to feature for the first time when Notts Outlaws play in the national Twenty20 event on June 3, a statement on the club’s website said on Tuesday.

Both players will be available for the duration of the Twenty20 competition, with Hussey staying on to complete the season with Nottinghamshire, subject to international commitments.

“Adam and David made big contributions for us last season and the prospect of pairing them in T20 is something that we?re very excited about,” said Nottinghamshire director of cricket Mick Newell.

PIETERSEN TO QUIT AFTER CUP

Top England batsman Kevin Pietersen has decided to quit one-day cricket after the World Cup starting in the subcontinent next week to prolong his Test and Twenty20 career, a report said on Saturday.

Pietersen also wants to spend more time with his family and intends to step down from what he sees as the least important form of the game, a report in the ‘Daily Mail’ tabloid said.

If he gives up the 50-over game, Pietersen may lose his central England contract but will be able to play more often for his new county Surrey and in the Indian Premier League also, the newspaper said.

Pietersen’s appetite for 50-over cricket has been on the wane since he was sacked as England captain in 2009 and then suffered a serious achilles injury, as demonstrated by his dismal record in ODIs over the last two years.