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Monday, July 14, 2008

England cricketers threaten to boycott Champions Trophy

England cricketers threaten to boycott Champions Trophy

London/Karachi: After Australian cricketers expressed apprehensions over travelling to Pakistan for the Champions Trophy, English players have joined the chorus, threatening to boycott the biennial event.
The English players are planning to revolt against the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) if they are forced to play in Pakistan, according to a media report.
"The Aussies have already come out and expressed their concerns. I'm not a big fan of going to Pakistan. I hope it is not left with the players to make the decision in the end," a senior English player who spoke on condition of anonymity was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.
But England coach Peter Moores played down the situation and said: "We'll wait and see what is said (by the players) and if that's where we are going, we'll take advice from the ECB."
English Players' Association Chief Executive Sean Morris said: "We are working with the ECB on security reports which we will present to the players. Prior to that, there is bound to be a period of uncertainty.
"I met three of the England players and one of the main issues that came up was security arrangements for Champions Trophy. They asked me why the tournament is starting on September 11. It is difficult to answer that question, to be honest," Morris said.
The newspaper said that security expert Reg Dickason, whom Cricket Australia (CA) was planning to send to Pakistan to assess the security situation there, will also report his findings to ECB.
Even New Zealand cricketers have their reservations over touring Pakistan and New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) chief executive officer Justin Vaughan will revisit the issue.
Captain Daniel Vettori had witnessed a bomb blast outside his team hotel when New Zealand toured Pakistan in 2002. But the cricketer felt that it was safe to tour Pakistan if the level of security was the same as when his side toured Pakistan in 2003.
"I was there when the bomb went off outside our hotel (in 2002). I went back a year later on the tour and the security they put forward was immense, and almost overwhelming. I did feel safe throughout that time," Vettori said.
"So if they could promise that level of security it would appease a lot of guys."
Australian captain Ricky Ponting has already said that his teammates are afraid of touring Pakistan but International Cricket Council (ICC) maintained that it is satisfied with the security situation in Pakistan.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has also dismissed security concerns.
"We've been hearing though the media that there are concerns among some of the players about the Champions Trophy, but we are not taking any of it seriously unless there is an official confirmation from the boards of those countries," PCB's director of cricket operations Zakir Khan was quoted as saying by The News.
Source: IANS

Asif to pay legal bills if found guilty in PCB inquiry

Asif to pay legal bills if found guilty in PCB inquiry
Karachi: Mohammad Asif will have to pay up the money that the Pakistan Cricket Board spent on defending him in the drug possession case in Dubai if he is found guilty in the internal inquiry to be conducted by the PCB.
A three-member fact-finding committee has been instituted by the PCB which will submit its recommendations on the matter to the Board in two weeks' time, PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf said after a governing body meeting in Lahore on Saturday.
Ashraf said Asif would be ineligible to play until the committee completes its inquiry and submits its report. The PCB chief said strict action would be taken against the lanky pacer if he is found guilty, including being asked to reimburse the money spent on him by the Board.

"The governing body today unanimously decided that if Asif is found of having committed any wrong or used drugs in this case severe action would be taken against him and all such players. And all such expenses incurred on his case would be paid by Asif," Ashraf said.
Asif returned from Dubai yesterday after the public prosecutor and attorney general didn't press any charges against him.
He was detained at the Dubai airport on June 1 while returning from India to Pakistan for allegedly carrying contraband drugs.
Asif, later, denied that the substance recovered from him was any drug and claimed it was a medicine prescribed by a Hakeem one month ago in Pakistan.
The pacer also insisted that he never used drugs or banned substances in his life.

ICC wants to popularise Test cricket

Sydney: To preserve the sanctity and popularity of Test cricket in the face of growing success of Twenty20 format, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) board is considering some options, including a Test Championship or a league.
The options will be discussed at the board meeting in Dubai from June 29, ICC's acting chief executive Dave Richardson said.
"I am certainly in favour of looking at options to make sure that we provide a really good quality context for Test cricket to take place so that it can be preserved as the pinnacle of the game,” Richardson was quoted as saying in The Daily Telegraph here Friday.
"The ICC will be considering a number of options in the upcoming board meetings, one of which is to introduce a Test championship or league. There are so many ways this could be done, a league over one year, two years or four years, the details have yet to be worked out,” he added.
Richardson, a former South African wicket keeper-batsman, while admitting that Twenty20 is the most popular brand of the game these days, said that playing Tests still remains the ultimate dream for any cricketer.
"There is no doubt that domestic Twenty20 leagues, such as those held in India and other competitions like in South Africa, England and Pakistan have been a fantastic success, they have attracted new audience to the game.
"The ICC's policy has always been to encourage such popular formats but... if you ask any player around the world he would say that he likes to play Test cricket for his country,” he said.
Richardson also rubbished claims that the ICC is not doing enough to preserve the sanctity of Test cricket.
"The ICC always gives importance to, and is serious to make sure that a special place is maintained for, Test cricket in the calendar,” he said.
Source: Indo-Asian News Service

Kapil's Devils hope India wins 2011 World Cup

London: What they did 25-years back is what now Kapil's Devils want to witness at the next World Cup in 2011 -- watching an Indian captain holding the most coveted cricket World Cup Trophy.
The World Cup winning team members on Wednesday relived their glorious moments at the Lord's -- the mecca of cricket -- as they celebrated the silver jubilee of their historic win in 1983 when they defeated dreaded West Indies in the final.
The cricketers, led by Kapil Dev, visited the Lord's ground and spoke optimistically about India winning the next World Cup.
The winning captain Kapil Dev opened a champaign bottle as he did after the 1983 win and said the Indian team has it to emulate the feat.
"We can definitely win in 2011 and we were very close to winning more than once. Beating west Indies was a glorious moment," he said.
"Why not. Now we have started believing that we have that capacity." The legendary Sunil Gavaskar, for whom the greatest moment in his career was watching Kapil Dev lifting the Prudential Cup, echoed the same sentiments.
"Yes, we have very good chance. We have now plenty of options. In 2011 India will be able to win the trophy and break the jinx of countries not winning the World Cup as hosts," Gavaskar said.
On being asked how he got the idea of this celebration, Gavaskar said when he came across a table plan at the Lord's then he decided that they should have a silver jubilee celebration of the World Cup victory. 
BCCI President Sharad Pawar said the win recorded 25-years back was instrumental in changing the cricketing landscape in India. "The 1983 victory changed everything in India cricket. Kapil Dev really changed the game," he said adding "that cricket is now religion in India." Pawar, who is also Union Agriculture minister in the Congress led UPA government, said such is the influence of cricket in India that not only common man but the political circles take keen interest in the game.
"As on today, the silver jubilee celebrations is a major news in my country though there is a political crisis." The Cricket Board president reminded the audience of India's good performance in international cricket and insisted India are the team to watch in the next World Cup, which it will co-host along with continent neighbours.
"This year India won the under-19 world Cup and also Twenty20 World Cup and the women's team lifted the Asia Cup.
"We are quite confident that with the so much of hidden talent that has come up after the IPL tournament India are in a better position to give a good account of itself in the next World Cup," Pawar said

1983 World Cup triumph: A story of grit and determination

1983 World Cup winners at a felicitation ceremony in their honour

There have been many memorable moments in India's cricketing history over the last 25 years, but as great as some of these occasions may have been they haven't managed to displace Kapil Dev's Devils feat of winning the 1983 World Cup from being the country's greatest-ever cricketing feat.
Kapil's team were hardly considered to be a good one-day team going into the third Cricket World Cup, and it would have taken a strong soul to back this team of all-rounders to pull out the rug from under the world's strongest teams. Remember, this was a team in which the established batting stars were Sunil Gavaskar, Sandeep Patil, Mohinder Amarnath and Kapil, while the bowling attack was led by the captain with able support from a battery of medium-pacers including Roger Binny, Amarnath, Madan Lal and Balwinder Singh Sandhu.
But, this didn't deter Kapil and his band of merry men one bit as they caused a huge upset in the their first match of the tournament as they defeated two-time defending champions West Indies by 34 runs at Old Trafford to get their campaign off to a rousing start. The Indians eased to an expected win over Zimbabwe in their second match, but lost their next two matches to Australia and West Indies respectively to find themselves in a must-win match against Zimbabwe at Tunbridge Wells on June 18, 1983.
And, this was the match in which Kapil led from the front with an unbeaten 175 to help India score 266 for 8 in 60 overs after his team had been reduced to 17 for 5 early in the match with all the top-order batsmen back in the pavilion. Enough and more has been written about Kapil's magnificent innings and words really can't do full justice to what was a great knock played by one of the game's best-ever all-rounders. Kapil's innings not only helped India come back into the tournament as they beat Zimbabwe by 31 runs, but more importantly instilled the self-confidence and determination in the squad's members to do more than their best in the remainder of the tournament. India then went on to thrash Australia by 118 runs in its last league match to finish the round-robin stage with four wins in six matches to book a semi-finals date with England.
The Indians eased to a six-wickets victory over England to set up a title clash against West Indies on June 25, 1983, who would have been favoured to win their third consecutive World Cup after having bowled India out for 183 runs. Only three Indian batsmen -- Kris Srikkanth (38), Amarnath and Patil crossed the 20-runs mark as the rest of the batting collapsed against some hostile Windies bowling.
But, the Windies team and supporters didn't expect a spirited fightback by the Indians with their skipper Kapil again leading the way. Kapil ensured that his team members stayed focussed on the touch and excelled on the field, and if his efforts throughout the tournament weren't enough, he took a fantastic backward running catch to dismiss Viv Richards off Madan Lal's bowling to instill new life into his team as Amarnath and the other bowlers then ran through the West Indian batting line-up for 140 runs to give India its only 50-overs World Cup triumph till date.

Through the group stages itself, it could be felt that the selectors' decision to pack the 1983 World Cup squad with all-rounders was a good move as these were the players who more often than not helped India out of troubled waters, especially taking into account that the openers -- Gavaskar and Srikkanth didn't have the best of tournaments. Gavaskar's contribution was only 59 runs in six matches, while Srikkanth with the top-score of 38 runs in the finals boosted his runs tally to 156 from eight matches. India, though was lucky to have the batsmen like Amarnath and Patil in the top-order who were able to re-build the innings on more than one occasion with Yashpal Sharma too chipping in with valuable runs.
Yashpal with 241 runs was the second-highest scorer for India behind Kapil (304 runs) and these two were well-supported by Amarnath who scored 205 runs and took eight wickets and Patil, who made 216 runs in the tournament. It was the same story with the ball as well as Binny took 18 wickets to finish as the top-wicket taker in the 1983 World Cup, and he received good support from Madan Lal (17 wickets) and Kapil, who took 12 wickets to cap off a wonderful tournament on the individual as well as team front for him. Balwinder Singh Sandhu had only eight wickets to show for his effort, but bowled economically with the new ball to stifle the runs for the opposition.
In one of his interviews after the famous win, Kapil said of the final: "I think that belief was the only thing that was different between the Indian and the West Indies team; and that, somehow, somewhere, we start believing. How it comes into the team, I don't know... I mean, I can't really put a finger." And, this in essence was the key to the success for the 1983 World Cup -- self-confidence, team spirit, belief and the ability to take on challenges heads on and come out triumphant. Kapil's Devils -- thank you for these wonderful memories and here's hoping the team going to the 2011 World Cup can replicate your success to add another memorable chapter in the history of Indian cricket.

I have learnt a lesson from 'slapgate': Harbhajan

New Delhi: Harbhajan Singh has no hesitation in admitting that he erred in slapping India team-mate S Sreesanth but the off-spinner says that he has learnt his lesson from the entire episode.
Currently serving a five ODI suspension, Harbhajan said to err is human and he was no exception.
"There are lot of things that I would have done differently. But we are all human and make mistakes. And we learn from our mistakes too. But yes, curbing temper would solve most of my problems," the belligerent off-spinner said.
Harbhajan slapped Sreesanth in the April 25 match between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab, following which he was banned from playing in the IPL, which cost him Rs three crore.
BCCI subsequently appointed Sudhir Nanavati to separately probe into the issue and the spinner was handed down a five-ODI ban.
Harbhajan blamed the entire episode to his passion, while representing India.
"I don't plan to get into troubles. I'm very passionate because I love to play for my country. I just get too involved. I try to win each and every match and I want to be there for my team, for my nation to deliver when it is required the most. In that you are not aware of what you are actually doing. But nobody wants to get into trouble," Harbhajan said.
Wiser after the incident, the Punjab spinner now sees the episode as a lesson for him that would stand him in good stead in the future.
"Whatever happens, happens for good. Had this not happened, I would not have learnt all this thing. I guess it was God's way of teaching me a lesson," Harbhajan said on a philosophical note.