|Wednesday, June 14, 2000,
Kallis, Richardson reveal Cronje
|England vow to bounce back
EINDHOVEN (Netherlands), June 13 England players vented their frustration at slumping to a 3-2 defeat against Portugal yesterday but insisted they could come back and beat both Germany and Romania to qualify from group A.
Portugal turn the tables on England
EINDHOVEN, June 13 Luis Figo lived up to his superstar status on Monday as he led Portugal to a 3-2 win over England, magnificently turning the tables on an early 2-0 deficit in Euro 2000 group A.
English fans praised for peaceful night
EINDHOVEN, June 13 The police and city authorities in Eindhoven were full of praise today for the behaviour of England fans before and after last nights 3-2 defeat to Portugal in the European Championship.
England gear up to face Windies
BIRMINGHAM, June 13 Englands cricket chief is confident that the right combination has been picked to maintain the teams winning streak at Edgbaston when the five-Test series against the West Indies starts on Thursday.
Gurbaaz placed joint third
CALCUTTA, June 13 Indias Gurbaaz Mann was tied at the third place, while defending champion Ashok Kumar finished a disappointing seventh in the opening round of the Singapore Junior Golf Tournament at Jurong Country Club today.
Cricket matches rescheduled
CHANDIGARH, June 13 Matches of the Punjab State Summer League Cricket Tournament (under-16 and seniors) have been rescheduled. The semifinal between winners of pool B and of pool D will be held on June 18 and 19 at the PCA Cricket Stadium, SAS Nagar, instead of at Amritsar.
Kallis, Richardson reveal Cronje offer
CAPE TOWN, June 13 (Reuters) Former South Africa wicketkeeper Dave Richardson told a government inquiry today that former captain Hansie Cronje had approached the team with an offer of $ 250,000 to throw a match.
Richardson told Judge Edwin King, who heads the inquiry, that Cronje had approached his team mates in 1996 before the final match of South Africas tour in India with the offer. It was rejected.
If you divide it among 15 its not a lot of money, Richardson said.
We shouldnt have taken this to a team meeting. (Team mate) Andrew Hudson said he wanted no part of it, he added.
But Richardson said although most of the team were opposed to the offer there was a feeling of excitement that they had been approached by the bookmakers they had only ever heard of.
There was a feeling of novelty, of excitement that we had also finally been approached, he said.
South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis told Judge King, Cronje had suggested the possibility of throwing the second Test against India in Bangalore in March this year.
A month later Cronje was stripped of his captaincy when he first denied and then admitted to taking up to $ 15,000 from a bookmaker.
Kalliss testimony backed up that of team mates Lance Kluesner and Marc Boucher who told the inquiry yesterday that Cronje had broached throwing the Test in Bangalore.
Kallis said his suspicions were also raised when Cronje decided to declare in a Test against England in South Africa in January.
Kallis said he and many of his team mates were upset by Cronjes decision.
The last thing I wanted to do was give England confidence ahead of the one-day series. We were upset. Test matches are hard enough to win at the best of times so you dont want to give it away, he said.
We didnt really want to make a game of it and we were quite shocked that Hansie set them such an easy target.
With more than three days lost to rain and the Test headed for a draw Cronje declared South Africas first innings and England forfeited their first innings, leaving the touring team with a target of 245 in 70 overs.
When Richardson and Kallis has completed their testimony the inquiry was adjourned until Thursday for lawyers for the commission to make further investigations.
NEW DELHI, June 13 (UNI) Wicket-keeper Nayan Mongia, a key figure in the match-fixing and betting scandal, was today questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for more than 90 minutes about his knowledge and alleged involvement in the malpractice.
CBI sources disclosed that the cricketer, who has been named by Manoj Prabhakar as a witness to the Rs 25-lakh bribe offer by Kapil Dev in 1994, appeared around noon before the investigating team headed by Joint Director R.N. Sawani in response to the summons issued by the agency.
Sources said the team recorded Mongias statements after completing his examination.
Though the bureau did not disclose what transpired during the examination, Mongia is understood to have been asked to divulge his knowledge about Kapils offer and also to answer queries regarding allegations of his involvement in the match-fixing and betting scandal.
He, alongwith Navjot Singh Sidhu and Prashant Vaidya, were cited by Prabhakar as witnesses to Kapils bribe offer for underperforming in a 1994 Singer Cup tournament match against Pakistan in Sri Lanka.
Mongia was also secretly interviewed by Prabhakar for the website Tehelka.com which came out with fallen heroes, a 50-odd-hour video recording containing statements and allegations of the countrys top cricketers and administrators past and present and various people linked to the game in India. Mongia had in the videotape admitted that he had knowledge of the bribe offer and had even gone to his room on hearing arguments between Prabhakar and Kapil.
Prabhakar had named Sidhu, Mongia and Vaidya as witnesses to Kapils offer and claimed that he had spoken about the incident to then manager Wadekar, captain Azhar, Shastri and Gavaskar within the next 24 hours and hence it was felt that their examination was necessary, the sources said.
Soon after the allegation against Kapil, all of them, barring Shastri, denied any knowledge of the episode. But the secretly-taped recording of Tehelka.com exposed them as almost all of them admitted to have been either witness to the incident or being informed about it by Prabhakar the same day. Azhar was the only person in question whom the portal could not interview.
Prominent among others who are likely to be issued summons are ICC President Jagmohan Dalmiya, BCCI President A.C. Muthiah, Board Secretary J.Y. Lele, former team physio Ali Irani, Mumbai Commissioner of Police (Railways) Rakesh Maria, Additional Income Tax Commissioner Vishwa Bandhu Gupta, Sports Authority of India Secretary Amrit Mathur, former cricketers Bishen Singh Bedi, Kiran More, Sandeep Patil, Mohinder Amarnath and Sanjay Manjrekar, commentator Narottam Puri, Congress leader Kamal Nath and film actress Anju Mahendru.
Meanwhile, the agency sources said Sidhu, who deposed before the agency for the second time yesterday, again denied being aware of any such offer.
Sidhu has told the agency officials that he was a witness to Kapil Dev coming into the room but denied being aware of any such offer having been made to Prabhakar, they said.
Pak umpire dismisses claim
KARACHI, June 13 (AFP) Former umpire Javed Akhtar today vowed to take legal action against South African cricket chief Ali Bacher and described his allegations about match-fixing as baseless.
I am sure he is biased against Pakistan and thats why he is making such baseless allegations, all are figments of his mind, Akhtar said.
The 49-year-old was reacting to Bachers sensational testimony to a match-fixing inquiry in South Africa yesterday.
Bacher told the Kings commission that Pakistan played two fixed games in the 1999 World Cup.
He also said an Indian bookmaker identified as Mr R had told him Akhtar was receiving money from other bookies when he made eight crucial decisions against South Africa in their decisive Test against England at Leeds in 1998.
Its insinuating. He must say who is Mr R and his statement shows he is himself friendly with bookies, said Akhtar, who officiated in 49 one-day matches and 17 Tests before retiring last year.
The fact of the matter is that they (South Africa) were beaten by England in that Leeds Test and thats hard to swallow for them.
Akhtar gave nine of 10 leg before wicket decisions awarded during the Leeds match, eight of them against South Africa, of which seven were dubious.
But he said the South Africans should have objected at that time if they were concerned.
The match referee, Justice Ahmed Ibrahim of Zimbabwe, should have been told if there were any dubious decisions. They are wailing over it now, Akhtar said.
He said Bacher had retracted similar allegations made in an interview with The Australian newspaper in April.
He said this before and retracted but now I would definitely talk to the Pakistan cricket board and then take legal action, he said.
Dubiously, Bacher never said anything in the International Cricket Council meeting on match-fixing.
Akhtar said he had never been approached by a bookie.
I curse such filthy money. No one dared to contact me with such intentions like match fixing or any other malpractice, he said, adding that had to live in a rented house.
CBI monitoring SA situation
NEW DELHI, June 13 (UNI) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is closely monitoring the fast-paced developments in South African cricket caused by sensational disclosures by players and officials before the Edwin King Commission of Inquiry, probing the match-fixing allegations against deposed skipper Hansie Cronje.
The CBI, which is inquiring into the match-fixing allegations in India, was monitoring the King Commissions proceedings with the hope of getting any possible lead to crack the racket in this country.
Since a similar case involving South African cricketers is also pending in India, the details and facts available with the commission could be relevant for us as well. We will like to have all possible input available with us, the sources told UNI.
Though the agency has confined its investigation to India so far, it may consider sending its team to various countries, including South Africa, if the inquiry so demanded, they said.
Ever since the commission started its proceedings last week, several cricketers, including Hershelle Gibbs, Pieter Strydom, Henry Williams, Lance Klusener and Mark Boucher and Managing Director of the United Cricket Board of South Africa Ali Bacher, have talked on the presence and involvement of match-fixing in cricket matches worldwide.
The government inquiry was constituted after Cronje admitted taking more than $ 8,000 from Indian bookie Sanjay Chawla for providing information regarding pitch and weather conditions during a tournament aboard. He, however, denied his involvement in fixing of the Pepsi one-day series played against India in March.
Information available with the commission, however, proved that Cronje had deposited more than $ 47000 in the South African bank, a fact which the ex-cricketer had concealed.
Delhi police had filed a case on April 7 against Cronje, opener Gibbs, medium-pacer Strydom, spinner Nicky Boje, Sanjay Chawla and another bookie Rajesh Kalra for fixing matches of the Pepsi Cup. Later, it also included music baron Kishen Kumar in the list of accused.
The submissions made by Gibbs, medium pacer Williams and Strydom falsified Cronjes claim as they told the King Commission that the ousted skipper did approach them to throw matches of the tournament. Gibbs and Williams accepted the offer for fixing one-day matches, while Strydom claimed that he turned down the offer to underperform in the first Test.
Cronje, Gibbs and Williams all expressed willingness to stand trial in an Indian court in the Delhi Police case. Cronje also admitted that one of the voices on the audio tape seized by the police was his. The other voice belonged to Chawla.
All-rounder Klusener and wicket-keeper Boucher yesterday joined the whos who of South African cricket claiming that they, together with all-rounder Jacques Kallis, were approached by Cronje before the start of the second Test with an offer to play below potential during the Indian tour.
Romania hold Germany
LIEGE (Belgium), June 12 (DPA) Underdogs Romania held a lacklustre Germany to a 1-1 draw on Monday in their opening group A match of the European Football Championships in Liege.
Striker Viorel Moldovan put Romania ahead in the fifth minute before the defending champions recovered their poise and equalised through Mehmet Scholl after 28 minutes.
The usually solid German defence had its work cut out to stop the tricky Romanian forwards, especially Moldovan, who missed two good chances in front of 30,000 spectators at Sclessin stadium.
The Germans were lucky to win a point after the Romanians had a valid claim for a penalty turned down late in the first half.
Moldovan stunned the fancied German squad with his spectacular goal in the opening minutes.
German defender Thomas Linke failed to control a long ball on the left side, allowing Valencias Adrian Ilie to break clear and feed the ball across the goalmouth to Moldovan.
The Fernebache striker made no mistake with a powerful shot from seven metres that left goalkeeper Oliver Kahn no chance.
The German defence was clearly rattled and Kahn had to come out of his penalty area twice in quick succession to clear the ball from the feet of advancing the Romanian strikers.
Germanys first chance came in the 24th minute when captain Oliver Bierhoff had a close-range header stopped on the line by Romanian goalkeeper Bogdan Stelea.
Four minutes later Germany levelled the scores. Mehmet Scholl latched on to a pass from Brazilian-born Paulo Rink and fired a left-foot shot from 30 metres into the top left-hand corner of the net.
Germany now came more into the game, but it was the Romanians who went closer to scoring when Moldovan found himself clear, only to be stopped by Linke, who forced the ball out of play for a corner.
Danish referee Kim Milton Nielson turned down Romanian claims for a penalty in the 41st minute when Ilie went down in the area after a tackle by German defender Jens Nowotny.
Television replays showed that the defender tripped Ilie, who was given a yellow card for protesting the referees decision, along with Romanian captain Gheorghe Hagi.
Moldovan had another chance to score immediately after the break, following a defensive error by substitute Marko Rehmer. But Kahn was able to parry the ball for a corner.
Romania should have regained the lead in the 68th minute when Ilie found himself in front of goal with Kahn well off his line. But his first shot was blocked by Matthaeus and he ballooned the rebound well wide of goal.
England vow to bounce back
EINDHOVEN (Netherlands), June 13 (AFP) England players vented their frustration at slumping to a 3-2 defeat against Portugal yesterday but insisted they could come back and beat both Germany and Romania to qualify from group A.
Having squandered a 2-0 lead, England now have a mountain to climb after their two other group rivals drew 1-1 in Liege. They face reigning European champions Germany on Saturday and Romania next Tuesday, both in the Belgian town of Charleroi.
Morale among Kevin Keegans men may have suffered a bodyblow but little more than an hour after the final whistle, several key players were already sounding the rallying cry.
It is all bitterly disappointing, said skipper Alan Shearer. It is hard to take going 2-0 up and then throwing it away even if they are an excellent side. They caused us lots of problems, but if any good has come out of it at least we know now what we have to do.
We have to win our next two games, anything else would be disastrous for us. We know we will have to defend better as a team against Germany, if we dont we know we are on our way back home. But we can bounce back and I believe we will.
Manchester United wingback Phil Neville said: When you go two goals up, you expect to go on and win the game. It was quite disappointing the way we let them back into the game and to let them win the game was very disappointing.
As for whether England could get the two wins they now need to stand a chance of reaching the last eight, Neville said: Of course we can.
World Cup hero Michael Owen, who was taken off by Keegan for Emile Heskey for the second half, admitted: We conceded three today and that really killed us after such a good start. But weve got two games now and its still in our own hands.
Portugal turn the tables on England
EINDHOVEN, June 13 (DPA) Luis Figo lived up to his superstar status on Monday as he led Portugal to a 3-2 win over England, magnificently turning the tables on an early 2-0 deficit in Euro 2000 group A.
The Barcelona midfielder himself, plus Joao Pinto and a clincher from Nuno Gomes on his first national team outing brought victory which gave the Portuguese a hugely-deserved lead in group A and England an ill-deserved bottom spot after the best match of the tournament so far.
Germany and Romania had earlier parted 1-1 for the middle positions in a humdrum affair which was starkly contrasted by a passionate, skilful and pacey display by both Portugal and England.
Paul Scholes and Steve McManaman hit Englands early goals, both off crosses from the right from David Beckham as England played their long-ball game against Portugals ultimately more effective closer passing.
While Portugal can go into next Saturdays match against Romania full of confidence, nothing but victory will do for England in their match against arch-rivals Germany in Charleroi.
The European Championships truly come alive with great football, great passion and great crowd participation and Luis Figo already left his stamp on the tournament with a magnificent goal as well as dominating midfield play alongside Fiorenza star Rui Costa.
A beaming Portuguese coach Humberto Coelho said: It was a great victory against a strong team, a very difficult one. We didnt start well so it was a very demanding game mentally.
There was no secret in this win we had to focus on our game. England were strong on the counter-attack, but we kept playing our game. We didnt think about our opponents just our own style.
England coach Kevin Keegan said: Any team anywhere in the world that comes back from a 2-0 deficit after 18 minutes you have to take your hat off to and give them the credit they deserve.
They left themselves a mountain to climb, and they climbed it. Their first goal was a wonderful strike. There may be better goals in this tournament but not many.
He added: Figo was man of the match, but Id like to mention David Beckham in the same breath. His performance was world class tonight.
It was England who ignited this firecracker of a match already in the third minute when Paul Scholes headed in fully unmarked off a Beckham cross, sending the already highly vocal English fans among the 33,000 Eindhoven crowd into early rapture.
Steve McManaman made it 2-0 in the 18th minute again off a Beckham cross from the right, hitting the ball high into the net from close range as the Portuguese defence was again caught napping.
By then Portugal had already shown danger of their own with Joao Pinto and Rui Costa testing English keeper David Seaman, whose reputation as being shaky on high crosses had clearly reached them.
In the 22nd minute Luis Figo struck a beautiful, crashing 20-metre drive that must have come out of the blue for Seaman, soaring through the legs of defender Tony Adams before it curled sublimely into the top corner.
If this match was to be the much-vaunted duel of Europes best number sevens Beckham and Luis Figo then the Barcelona midfielder had edged ahead on the strength of this, even though the Manchester United mans crosses were a constant menace.
Any thoughts England may have had of controlling the match were then blown to bits in the 37th minute when Joao Pinto struck for the 2-2 a wonderful diving header off a Rui Costa cross from the right.
It left the cauldron of the Eindhoven Stadium cooking from both fan blocks by the time Swedish referee Anders Frisk blew half time on a match hard to outdo for pace, passion and also fairness.
It was to continue where it left off this time with a fairy tale element as 23-year-old Benfica striker Nuno Gomes outwitted Adams and Seaman to hit the 3-2 winner in his first outing for his country.
By then England were without their potent strikers David Owen and Steve McManaman injured in clashes with Jorge Costa and Rui Costa respectively and substituted by Emile Heskey and Dennis Wise.
The English pressure increased, with repeated danger from Beckham crosses stretching the Portuguese defence marshalled by Lazio Rome defence Pivot Fernando Couto while Luis Figo and Nuno Gomes posed a repeated threat of their own as Portugal counter-attacked.
Nuno Gomes had English hearts in mouths when he headed in low off a Luis Figo cross from the right in the 73rd minute only to be judged just offside, with Seaman sprawling.
A couple of minutes later Scholes twice within seconds came heartbreakingly close to getting his second as the Portuguese defence scrambled clear two powerful cracks at goal.
At the other end Luis Figo again justified his man-of-the-match claim in the 80th minute by producing the most delicate of lobs under pressure which grazed Seamans post a last bit of genius which will make Germany and Romania do some hard thinking.
English fans praised for peaceful night
EINDHOVEN, June 13 (DPA) The police and city authorities in Eindhoven were full of praise today for the behaviour of England fans before and after last nights 3-2 defeat to Portugal in the European Championship.
There were no disturbances, and we hope the next game will be as friendly and that the fans behave as well as the England fans, said police spokesman Johann Beeson.
Tens of thousands of England supporters took over the centre of the Dutch city hours before the match, mingling freely with the large Portuguese fan contingent.
With most bars and restaurants closed in the central market square after the match, the despondent England fans trudged off quietly to their trains and hotels.
There were complaints from some Eindhoven bar owners that authorities had exaggerated the hooligan danger or the number of England fans who would arrive without tickets.
The citys Mayor had said before the game 17,000 English fans without tickets were expected.
Eindhoven has given us a wonderful welcome, said an English supporter from Preston.
Although security was high in the city, the police presence was discreet around the bars and restaurants doing a roaring trade in beer sales before the match.
The England fan praised the Dutch police.
The Dutch police is like the English police. They know how to react and can tell the difference between supporters enjoying themselves and those out to cause trouble, he said.
In Belgium, the police over-reacted and thats why there was trouble after the match there, he added.
Meanwhile, the English Football Association condemned a handful of drunken supporters in the Philips Stadium who subjected the England players to foul-mouthed abuse as they left the pitch following the defeat.
England gear up to face Windies
BIRMINGHAM, June 13 (AP) Englands cricket chief is confident that the right combination has been picked to maintain the teams winning streak at Edgbaston when the five-Test series against the West Indies starts on Thursday.
Englands 14-man squad assembled here yesterday and will practice today. The visitors will arrive here after their three-day preparation against Zimbabwe concludes at Arundel.
The last time the two teams met here in 1995, England were beaten soundly in a match that finished just 79 minutes into the third day.
West Indies first innings 300 runs was more than sufficient to beat the home side by an innings and 64 runs.
Since then, England have beaten India (1996), Australia (1997) and New Zealand (1999) while drawing against South Africa (1998) in the last four matches at Edgbaston England players favourite home venue.
England have strengthened their squad with allrounder Mark Ealham and off spinner Robert Croft, both being recalled after lengthy Test layoffs.
England have fulfilled the first goal of the summer, beating Zimbabwe 1-0 after escaping defeat in the rain-affected second Test at Trent Bridge. They won the first at Lords by an innings and 209 runs.
The home side has its eyes set on two more goals: beating the West Indies and winning the limited overs triangular series involving the two visiting teams.
Weve chosen 14 players for this Test because we want to consider all the options available to us, said David Graveney, chairman of selectors.
Robert Croft comes into the equation because we may need an offspinner against a side with six left-handed batsmen in their top eight and not just because of his performance against the West Indies in last weeks tour match, but also because he has bowled well for Glamorgan this summer.
Ealham, a useful swing bowler, hasnt played since facing South Africa at Lords in 1998. Croft played his last Test for England against Australia in Brisbane in November 1998.
But both players have been key members of Englands limited overs international lineup.
Mark Ealham can provide more variation to our bowling attack as a swing bowler, but our final choice of line-up will depend on our assessment of the pitch and the weather conditions, Graveney said.
Ive seen two games at Edgbaston this season and both wickets were pretty flat, but it did swing prodigiously there for two days in last years Test. Were taking all our options wrist spin finger spin and swing bowlers - to cover ourselves for whatever conditions we encounter.
West Indies have been buoyed by the return to form of master batsman Brian Lara, who put behind a lengthy break from the game and an indifferent form with the bat to hammer a fine 176 against Zimbabwe in the final first-class fixture before the first Test.
Gurbaaz placed joint third
CALCUTTA, June 13 (PTI) Indias Gurbaaz Mann was tied at the third place, while defending champion Ashok Kumar finished a disappointing seventh in the opening round of the Singapore Junior Golf Tournament at Jurong Country Club today.
Mann carded four over par 76, while Ashok Kumar had a lacklustre round of six over 78, according to information received from Indian Golf Union here.
Wee Jason of Malaysia and Chinese Taipeis Lilu Min-Yu finished joint leaders with score of one over par 73.
Amongh the other Indians, Mohd Wazir carded 77, Jaskirat Dullet 81, Ranjit Singh 85, Manav Jaini 88 and Balpreet Ghuman 94.
Cricket matches rescheduled
CHANDIGARH, June 13 Matches of the Punjab State Summer League Cricket Tournament (under-16 and seniors) have been rescheduled. The semifinal between winners of pool B and of pool D will be held on June 18 and 19 at the PCA Cricket Stadium, SAS Nagar, instead of at Amritsar. The match in pool B between Ferozepore and Ludhiana will be played on June 13 and 14 at Faridkot and Hoshiarpur have topped pool D.
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