|Monday, May 1, 2000,
ICC may offer amnesty
Hackett triathlon champion
LONDON, April 30 (PTI) The International Cricket Councils (ICC) two-day emergency meeting here from May 2 may consider a proposal to offer amnesty to disgraced former South African skipper Hansie Cronje and others for providing information to authorities about corruption in the game.
The meeting to be held at the Lords, however, is likely to reject any proposal that the number of one-day games be slashed in the wake of the betting and match-fixing scandal that has broken out with the Cronje episode, the Sunday Observer daily reported today.
Besides Cronje, three English players alleged by former all-rounder Chris Lewis to have been in the payroll of bookies and cricketers worldwide will be offered the scheme if it is pushed through, the paper said.
ICC Chief Executive David Richards has said such an extreme form of action may be necessary to garner information required to help solve the problem of match-fixing that has tarnished the image of the game worldwide.
Richards told the Sky Sports in an interview to be telecast tomorrow: What we must do is get together all the people who have the best interests of cricket at heart and bring forward the evidence, bring it into public domain. We might have to do that in a discreet fashion; we might have to give an amnesty for people to bring forward that information, he has been quoted as saying.
The EGM, called to discuss the raging match-fixing issue, will be the second such ICC meeting. The first, also hastily convened, was held in Christchurch in January last year after it was revealed that Aussie stars Shane Warne and Mark Waugh had received money from an Indian bookie for information on weather and forecasting.
The meeting is also likely to discuss reduction in the huge number of one-day games being played, but Richards felt the match-fixing row could not be solved by reducing them.
To put forward the view that by reducing the amount of one-day cricket youre going to solve the problem thats not a correct line of thought. I wouldnt support that at all, the ICC chief executive has said.
Richards said he was not personally against the amnesty scheme. We have one day to clean all this up, put it behind the sport and move into the rest of the century in a fine way, he has said.
The Sunday Observer said an amnesty offer was unlikely to encourage players to come out in big numbers with information, but such a scheme could be of great interest to Cronje, who has refused to provide any information despite admitting to being dishonest about betting allegations.
The match-fixing scandal broke out when Delhi police named Cronje and four teammates in a case early this month, alleging corrupt practices by them during South Africas one-day series in India.
The paper said if the amnesty scheme was implemented, the England three, whose names Lewis has passed on to the England Cricket Board, could also take advantage, though the ECB held last week that there was no case to answer.
Representatives from all Test-playing countries will attend the meeting, to be chaired by ICC President Jagmohan Dalmiya.
The Sunday Observer, in a separate article, said the amount of pre-meeting sparring hinted at a divide between Asian countries and the rest.
Both Dalmiya and Yawar Saeed, Director of Cricket Operations of the Pakistan Cricket Board, urged United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCB) Managing Director Ali Bacher, to retract his statement that he suspected two matches in last years World Cup in England were fixed.
Bacher was quoted in
Australian papers as mentioning the Pakistan defeat
against Bangladesh, but subsequently denied naming any
particular match and claimed it was
mischief by the three Australian
papers that carried his interview.
NEW YORK, April 30 (AFP) Britains Lennox Lewis left no doubt he is the undisputed king of heavyweight boxing, knocking out previously unbeaten American Michael Grant in two minutes and 53 seconds into the second round here last night, improving to 36-1 with one draw after his 28th knockout.
The champion slammed a devastating right uppercut to Grants chin that sent the challenger onto his back, sprawled in defeat, stumbling to reach his feet as referee Arthur Mercante Jr counted him out.
He has been boxing B-class fighters, Lewis said. Now he has moved up to the A-class. Michael Grant had never seen a boxer like me. I just come to conquer.
Grant, who fell to 31-1, had been flattened three times by Lewis in round one, twice hitting the canvas and being saved another time by a corner buckle.
Every time I hit him he went down. So I just kept hitting him, Lewis said. I dont get paid for overtime.
Grant attacked Lewis at the start but was sent sprawling by the first of many Lewis uppercuts only 98 seconds into the fight 37 seconds less time than it took the US national anthem to be sung.
It was only a matter of time, Lewis said. I was shocked and very surprised when he came at me. I had superior hand speed. Most of the time, I could see when he was winding up. I just held my position so I could get a good shot.
Lewis (34) made $ 10 million and left no doubt he is the undisputed ring king. Grant (27) took home $ 4 million and some hard-learned lessons.
Charging him was stupidity on my part, Grant said. I was just too anxious. People were looking to me to bring this thing home. I didnt execute the things my corner was telling me and what I needed to do.
Lewis sent Grant staggering again with a series of overhead right hands as Grant was trying to hang on and escape the first round. After that punishing pummeling, Grant was never the same.
Lewis used a left jab to set up a powerful right hand that knocked him to the canvas again at the end of the round. He barely rose as the bell ended the round and a non-sellout crowd of about 17,324 crowd at Madison Square Garden sensed the end was near.
That only left Lewis to deliver the finishing blow with the right uppercut that worked so well.
He actually put his head down so I put myself in position to get a good shot at him, Lewis said. Michael Grant was the perfect style to showcase my talent.
The triumph was a far cry from the 12-round tactical battle Lewis staged here 13 months ago with Evander Holyfield, a fight stunningly judged a draw when most who saw it thought Lewis had won.
I brought my own two judges this time, Lewis said, proudly displaying his gloved fists.
This was the heaviest heavyweight championship fight in boxing history, with Grant weighing in at 250 pounds and Lewis at 247. Grant, at 6-foot-7, missed his chance to become the tallest champion in heavyweight history.
Lewis will next fight South Africas Francois Botha in July at London Arena, his first fight in Europe in five years and first in London since suffering his lone defeat there in 1994 at the hands of Oliver McCall.
Hes all right as a fighter, Lewis said of Botha. He should give me an interesting fight.
Lewis will wait until November, a more lucrative timetable for promoters, to face New Zealands David Tua, the mandatory International Boxing Federation challenger.
Only the IBF and World Boxing Council titles were at stake. A court order forced Lewis to vacate the World Boxing Association crown because he chose to fight Grant rather than top-ranked WBA contender John Ruiz. Holyfield and Ruiz plan to fight for the vacant title on June 10, provided a Lewis appeal of the verdict fails.
NEW DELHI, April 30 (PTI) A Number of top stars are likely to miss the Thomas and Uber Cup team badminton championships finals to be held in Kuala Lumpur next month due to injury or lack of form with Indonesias teenage sensation Taufiq Hidayat probably being the biggest casualty.
Hidayat, who reached the finals of the All-England Championships last month, has been included by holders Indonesia in the team provided to International Badminton Federation for the tournament scheduled from May 11 to 21. But reports say the 18-year-old is suffering from an injury and in all probability will skip the premier event.
Hidayat, the world number five, had not recovered from the ankle injury he suffered during the All-England meet, according to information received from the IBF.
Indonesia might also miss Tony Gunawan, who forms the world number one doubles pair with Chandra Wijaya, due to injury.
India will miss three top players including Abhinn Shyam Gupta, who stole the hearts at the zonal qualifiers at New Delhi by winning a number of marathon matches, the shortest of which was of 98 minute duration. Gupta is still nursing an injury he suffered during practice last month.
India, who qualified after a gap of 12 years as the third placed team behind China and Korea at the New Delhi qualifiers will also miss India number five Ajit Wijetilek and doubles specialist Vincent Lobo, both of whom are not fully fit.
India, to be spearheaded by P. Gopichand, will miss Wijetilek, who is down with jaundice while Vincent Lobo is suffering from typhoid.
England has omitted world No 19 Peter Knowles, who played a steller role in his countrys silver medal finish in the European Championships last week.
The South Korea Uber Cup team will miss the services of doubles specialist Ra Kyung Min. Ra, who with Chung Jae Hee is the second ranked world womens doubles pair and whose big match temperament can prove crucial in the both singles and doubles, has been surprisingly omitted from the squad.
Ra twice saved South Korea from the clutches of defeat in the qualifiers here, winning the third singles and doubles with Chung Jae Hee in the semifinal, against Indonesia, and in the final against Japan.
Meanwhile, China look set to gain much from the decline in the rankings of world champion Sun Jun. Sun, who was forced into an injury-enforced hibernation, will play the third singles as he ranked world number 13, behind surprise All-England champion Xia Xuanze (7). The recent Japan Open winner Ji Xinpeng ranked a rung below Xuanze.
wants harsh punishment for match-fixing
LONDON, April 30 Indian captain Saurav Ganguly wants harsh punishment for any player found guilty of match-fixing but says he himself does not know anything about it.
Ganguly, currently playing for Lancashire in the county season in Britain, has been shying away from interviews, but he spoke to former England captain Mike Atherton. Gangulys views were published by Atherton in an article in The Sunday Telegraph.
I am thankful I am in England right now, Ganguly told Atherton. It would be madness at home, with everything that has been going on, and it is easier for me to be here and concentrating on my cricket.
Ganguly had been asked to return home during a match at Canterbury to attend a meeting called by Union Sports Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa to discuss match-fixing charges that have been made against some Indian players, but excused himself on the ground he would have to miss a couple of crucial championship games.
Ganguly is aware that at some time in the future he will be asked to give evidence, although Im not sure how much use it will be as I really dont know anything.
Ganguly said: Of course, I am aware of the rumours surrounding the Indian team, some players and the whole of cricket in Asia. All I can say is that if anyone is proven guilty, and it must be proven, they deserve a harsh punishment, because no individual is bigger than the game.
Ganguly said: Equally, in the five years I have been playing international cricket I have never been approached by, or spoken to a bookmaker about our matches. Therefore I have to believe people are innocent.
Ganguly said nothing struck him as suspicious in the course of the recent one-day series against South Africa. All the games, apart from one, were really close and tight matches, he said.
The cricket scandal erupted after Delhi Police charged South African Hansie Cronje with fixing matches in the one-day series against India.
Atherton asked Ganguly to comment on Cronjes decision to open with the spinner Derek Crookes in the final game of the series at Nagpur. To be honest, the wicket was turning and if I had been captain and bowling second I would have done exactly the same thing, the Indian skipper replied.
Atherton picked on the embarrassment caused to the quiet Ganguly in the course of the whole controversy. Atherton wrote: Imagine your team have lost five Test matches in a row, the captain resigns and you are offered the captaincy of your country. You accept and immediately lead your team to a 3-2 series triumph, scoring runs in the process and scarcely putting a foot wrong. Then, the oppositions captain is sensationally accused of match-fixing and your first series in charge becomes the centre of crickets biggest crisis since bodyline. How would you feel?
If Ganguly is feeling the strain, hes not showing it, Atherton said. The former England skipper wrote: The flecks of grey hair are of manageable proportions and he has slipped into Lancashires new fleeces and the county season almost unnoticed. It has not helped that his sightings at the crease so far have been as rare as a dry and sunny day in April. All that will change soon enough, however, for he has a wonderful record in international cricket and is already proven in English conditions, having scored two Test centuries here in 1996. For the moment he is happy away from the whirlwind of rumour and allegation that followed his teams one-day series victory over Hansie Cronjes South Africa.
Ganguly, Atherton said, is trying to avoid the trap captains often fall into that they feel they have to be responsible for everything. Ganguly told him: Clearly, as captain there is a responsibility for the image of the game in our country. In India more so than anywhere else, because cricket is more than a game and maybe that is why some of the problems have arisen. But I really feel it is for the administrators to sort out problems off the field, and I will captain on the field.
Ganguly, Atherton wrote, would like to see action from administrators over the scheduling of matches. At the moment we play too many one-day games that dont have enough meaning. My first game for Lancashire was my 50th one-day game of the year, he said.
I feel India ought to redress the balance between Tests and one-day internationals (he has played 146 one-day internationals and only 36 Tests). Equally, a world Test championship along with the World Cup would put a premium on every game.
Atherton acknowledged that in this Ganguly was right and that he was wrong. Atherton wrote: Some years ago I argued against a world championship at an international captains meeting. Now, like Ganguly, I think it is a must. It would help prevent the kind of crises we have seen in the last few weeks.
Offering his own views
on the controversy, Atherton said: Also I get
the feeling that in the modern world of sport it is not
enough any more to enjoy a game for its intrinsic value.
Sponsors, the media and the public more and more demand
each match has something on it. A world Test
championship, a World Cup and even a world club
championship, properly scheduled, would be enough to keep
everyone happy, the coffers filled and provide a context
for every match. IANS
KARACHI, April 30 (AFP) Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman General Tauqir Zia said today that the findings of a judicial commission on match-fixing would be made public soon and guilty players punished.
I have promised the International Cricket Council (ICC) to submit the report of the inquiry in June and I will live up to my words, Zia told AFP.
Any player found guilty of match-fixing would be punished, he said.
The report of the commission headed by the Lahore High Court Judge, Malik Mohammad Qayyum, has been awaiting action since November.
Press reports suggest the ICC demanded the PCB submit the findings at its May 2 emergency meeting in England.
Zia dismissed the reports as incorrect, saying a senior PCB official Yawar Saeed would take part in the meeting.
We will make the report public before presenting it to the ICC, he said.
He said the case of former South African captain Hansie Cronje was on the ICC agenda and participants will give suggestions on dealing with the problem of match-fixing.
Following the Cronje episode Pakistani cricket hero-turned politician, Imran Khan, demanded the government make the judicial commissions report public so that the players get relief or punishment.
Zia denied the report has gone missing.
He said the Sports Ministry by mistake sent it to military ruler General Pervez Musharrafs office. Thats why action has been delayed.
The report is now in the office of the President who is the patron of the cricket board, Zia said adding he would meet President Mohammad Rafiq Tarar on Friday and discuss the report.
He refuted speculation that Qayyums report had been tampered with. I am not like that. Qayyums recommendations will be implemented and facts will be published.
The judge has reportedly recommended a life ban on former captain Salim Malik and Mushtaq Ahmed and removal of Wasim Akram as captain and fines on several others.
To my knowledge there are also recommendations of punishing those who hid the facts during the testimony, Zia added.
MUMBAI, April 30 (PTI) The cricket board (BCCI) has appealed to everyone concerned with the game, including its own personnel, to actively co-operate in the CBI investigation into allegations of betting and match-fixing in cricket.
In an advertisement placed in newspapers today, BCCI Secretary Jaywant Lele has also appealed that people desist from spreading rumours and going to the media with unfounded allegations.
The BCCI appeals to all persons concerned with cricket including office-bearers, players, officials, coaches and managers of cricketing bodies and organisations, including all personnel of the BCCI, to actively co-operate with CBI in their investigation into the allegations of betting and match-fixing of cricket matches, the text of the ad reads.
Lele has also appealed
to people to actively co-operate with CBI to help
in ultimately arriving at some firm conclusions in the
matters now under investigation which have justifiably
aroused the concern of lovers of the game of cricket in
India and around the world.
LONDON, April 30 (PTI) With the International Cricket Councils (ICC) emergency meeting to discuss the raging match-fixing issue two days away, demands are being raised in many quarters to include administrators also in any inquiry into corruption in the game.
Lord Maclaurin, chairman of the England Cricket Board (ECB) has told the Sunday Telegraph that as part of the ICCs inquiry into corruption everybody should be investigated from the President downwards.
The British media today
mentioned allegations raised against ICC President
Jagmohan Dalmiya by a former Prasar Bharti expert in New
Delhi two days ago and hinted he himself could come under
pressure as he chairs the May 2 and 3 meeting at
NEW DELHI, April 30 (PTI) Amidst the betting and match-fixing controversy, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has said it would not sponsor or promote cricket in India on the lines of its commitment for Indian Olympics Association (IOA) and asked the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) to clean up its act.
The BCCI is rich and is able to make ends meet, the newly elected CII President Mr Arun Bharat Ram, told PTI yesterday when asked if the chamber would support and sponsor cricket just as it signed a promotional memorandum of understanding with the IOA earlier last week.
The CII will not consider signing any MoU with the BCCI. The board should come clean on the match-fixing issue and improves its functioning, he said.
Asked if the CII would advise its members to refrain from sponsorship to cricket, endorsements and promotional campaigns involving hundreds of crore of rupees, he said it was entirely left to the members to take their own decisions. The CII would not ask its members to refrain, he added.
PERTH, April 30 (AFP) Australias Nicole Hackett hung on bravely to fight off a challenge from Canadian veteran Carol Montgomery to snatch an upset win in the womens world triathlon championship here today.
Hackett, (21) ranked 20th in the world was among the leaders for most of the gruelling race, and finished seven seconds ahead of the long-striding 31-year-old Canadian No 19. Fellow Australian Michellie Jones was a further 36 seconds behind in third place.
Jones, the world No 1, won the Sydney World Cup race two weeks ago on the Olympic course. Hackett, a double world junior champion, recorded 1 hr 54 min 43.3 sec.
Hackett was first out of the water after the 1.5 km swim and at the end of the 40km cycle leg was in a group of three, including Americans Barb Lindquist and Sheila Taormina, who led by a massive 1 min 50 sec.
Montgomery quickly moved up into second position at the start of the 10 km leg, reducing Hacketts advantage to only 50 seconds with 5 km to go.
But the Australian had enough in reserve over the final 5 km to hold the Canadian at bay.
Everything went perfectly today, said Hackett, who automatically qualifies to represent Australia at the Olympic Games in September.
I got a dream start in the swim and it went brilliantly from there.
I didnt have too much left at the end. There are so many wonderful champions in Australia, to be one of them is so exciting.
Montgomerys effort was astonishing considering she is only just recovering from massive leg surgery last year for a troublesome artery.
LONDON, April 30 (AFP) Ryan Giggs refuses to ease up in Manchester Uniteds Premiership campaign as the English season draws to close.
Manchester United had the title in the bag and Watford were already relegated, but there were no holds barred at Vicarage Road as Jordi Cruyff grabbed the winner in a 3-2 thriller.
Both teams ended up with 10 men after Nicky Butt and Micah Hyde were sent off for violent conduct. With Roy Keane and Jaap Stam rested, Giggs was captain for the day and he confirmed Manchester Uniteds desire to win every game.
There can be a tendency to relax but I think we showed the lads want to win every game, said Giggs. We have the attitude that we are going to score more than the other team.
Heidar Helgusons header gave Watford a 1-0 lead at half-time but substitute Dwight Yorke was on target with a low drive to level the scores for Manchester United after 68 minutes his 20th league goal of the season.
Ryan Giggs lobbed keeper Alec Chamberlain to put the visitors ahead with 15 minutes to go only for Tommy Smith to drill home the equaliser for Watford three minutes later.
Cruyff ghosted in to secure the points for Manchester United after 86 minutes to give the Old Trafford club their ninth successive Premiership win.
Chelsea, who still hold slim hopes of securing a place in next seasons Champions League, beat Liverpool 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. Liverpool, harbouring European ambitions of their own, were two goals down within the first 15 minutes, Liberian international George Weah putting Chelsea in front before Roberto di Matteo added the second.
Chelsea boss Gianluca Vialli hailed the reaction of his side to their defeat by Manchester United last Monday by producing a resurgent display.
Chelsea can qualify for the UEFA Cup by either finishing in fourth spot above Leeds or by winning the FA Cup.
Vialli declared: There has been a great reaction. In the first half, our attacking was almost as good as the game we played at home against Barcelona in the Champions League.
Since we lost to Barcelona, we have not played as well but when we reach that level, we have the ability to win all our games.
We had something to make up for. Wed had three bad performances in our last three games and we all realised what we had to do.
But when the players are in the right frame of mind, are focused and have been rested for a week, we are a difficult team to beat.
Niall Quinn scored a close-range equaliser for Sunderland five minutes from time in the 1-1 draw with Aston Villa. Gareth Barry put the home side ahead after 60 minutes with a glancing header.Moroccan international Hassaon Kachloul gave Southampton the lead after just four minutes at the Dell but veteran striker Tony Cottee levelled for Leicester 18 minutes later. Turkish international Muzzy Izzet scored the winner for Martin ONeills side with half an hour to go and the Saints had defender Dean Richards sent off in the final minute.
Derbys German defender Stefan Schnoor was sent off after 39 minutes at Tottenham before Horacia Carbonari put the visitors ahead at White Hart Lane.
Stephen Clemence rescued a point for Spurs with the equaliser on the stroke of full-time.
Alan Shearer and Diego Gavilan were both on target in Newcastles 2-0 win over Coventry, still without an away victory all season.
A Brian Deane penalty gave Middlesbrough all three points in a 1-0 win over West Ham at Upton Park.
AP adds: Facing expulsion from the Kings Cup and playing in a driving rain, Spanish powerhouse FC Barcelona shut out Atletico de Madrid 3-0 in a first-division contest.
Barcelonas triumph could spell doom for Atletico who are in 19th place and struggling to avoid relegation to the second division next season.
Amid frequent slips on the soggy field, Athletic managed to dominate the ball throughout the game and allow few shots.
GLASGOW, April 30 (AFP) Peter Gade and Camilla Martin, badmintons famous love couple, won European gold medals on the same day for the second successive time when they defended their singles titles with very contrasting performances.
Martin, the world champion, had to struggle with herself and her mental and physical tiredness, as well as her Swedish opponent, Marina Andrievskaya, before becoming the first player to win the European womens singles three times.
Gade, the world number one, who was scheduled to play simultaneously and alongside his girl-friend, gave a far fresher performance than her, containing far too much speedy court coverage and too many sudden rapier attacks for the Olympic champion, Poul-Erik Hoyer.
Gades winning margin was 15-5, 15-11, and Hoyer, who had not competed for two months during which his wife had been seriously ill, clearly has some way to go before regaining full match fitness.
Martins scoreline was 13-10, 11-3, and it might have been closer still had not Andrievsakaya unaccountably let drop a high clear into court on her game point at 10-9. But for that the contest might have developed into a dangerously long drawn out affair.
Im glad its all over I had to yell at myself at times, said Martin, who also indulged in slapping, cursing and head-shaking to keep her tired body working.
By contrast Gade might well have won more easily had he not started to miss with a few acrobatic jump smashes, allowing his Danish compatriot to climb back from 4-11 to 9-12.
But he was generous to the colleague with whom he will be trying to help Denmark win the Thomas Cup world team title for the first time in Kuala Lumpur next month from May 11 to 21.
In the first game I played about as well as I can, Gade said. But it was my hardest match, because we know each other so well.
The success gave Denmark, which won the team event on Monday their fourth European title out of four, because in the days opening encounter Michael Sogaard and Rikke Olsen won the mixed doubles.
Later Denmark came within just a few points of winning all six titles something which has been achieved only once before in the 32-year history of the European championships.
BANGALORE, April 30 (PTI) The stage set for take-off of Indias first National Cricket Academy here tomorrow. The top-brass of the academy held intense discussions trying to give shape to the action plan to train the first batch of 24 trainees who would attend a camp scheduled to go on till August end.
The trainees would undergo medical check-ups and fitness tests at the Sports Authority of India and M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here this week, coordinator of the academy Brijesh Patel said.
The academys Director, Mr Hanumant Singh, said the second batch of the remaining 20 trainees would arrive here in mid-May. The trainees would take part in two tournaments in September as also the Challengers Trophy later.
Mr Hanumant Singh had already said the trainees were selected on merit and not region-wise and they were shortlisted after taking the opinion of senior and junior selection committee chairmen and coaches.
Former Australian wicket-keeper Rodney Marsh, the advisor to the Academy, who has already arrived here, is likely to be in the city till May 3.
The main object of the academy is to train fringe players to overcome their drawbacks, Chairman of the academy Raj Singh Dungarpur said.
Yoga camp concludes
yoga camp organised by Mr Brijinder Kumar, DIG
(Administration), Punjab Police, concluded at the
Bahadurgarh police camp here on Sunday. The camp,
organised for the benefit of police personal, was held by
Mr Munni Lal Kumra, a renowned yoga expert.
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