Five-ball over stumps officials
Richards keen to be India’s batting coach
‘Don’t blame Greg alone’
Sachin should quit ODIs, says Rameez
Afridi game for leading Pak
Warne’s life inspires ‘Perfect’ musical
UK ’s David to train Punjab coaches
Hockey forward Prabhakaran dead
Massa sizzles in the heat
Georgetown, April 6
Bangladesh have been under-performing since stunning India in their opening group match in Trinidad last month, the win which eventually played a key role in knocking the former champions out of the tournament.
But it appeared to be a one-off big victory as Bangladesh crashed to three defeats against Test-playing nations, losing to Sri Lanka by 198 runs, to defending champions Australia by 10 wickets and to New Zealand by nine wickets.
Bangladesh now need to raise their performance to avoid another thrashing as South Africa are determined to gain two points to enhance their chances of qualifying for the semifinals.
Graeme Smith’s side have already earned four points by beating Sri Lanka and debutants Ireland, while Bangladesh are yet to open their account.
South Africa were keen to maintain their momentum, with middle-order batsman Ashwell Prince saying that it was important to get two points (against Bangladesh) to boost their chances of making it to the last four.
“Two points, that’s the most important thing. There’s a lot of rain, but we are hoping to get enough overs to complete a match and get two points,” said Prince.
The South African batsman said he still expected a tough game despite Bangladesh’s big defeats in the second round.
“The Bangladeshi batsmen looked very positive in the matches I have watched and I am sure they will try and put our bowlers under pressure. So, I don’t think it is going to be an easy game at all,” said Prince.
“They have beaten India, so they obviously have got something there. We are expecting a tough match and are expecting their batsmen to come at us.”
The Bangladeshi batsmen looked very impressive against India, with teenager Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Saqibul Hasan all making half-centuries to help their team surpass India’s total of 191 with five wickets to spare.
Their top-order batsmen could not repeat their performance after the India match, but South Africa have more or less solved their problems ahead of the big Super Eight matches.
South Africa’s top-order batsmen, especially Jacques Kallis, looked in good nick and fast bowler Shaun Pollock’s sharp two-wicket spell against Ireland came at the right time. The paceman had gone wicketless in the last two games.
“The fact that our top order is batting so well that the guys in the middle order haven’t had much time to bat — myself, Justin Kemp and Mark Boucher have had very little time in the middle,” said Prince.
Prince made the most of the opportunity in the last match against Ireland, scoring a solid 47 not out to guide his team to a seven-wicket victory along with man-of-the-match Kallis (66).
“Every time we had batted first, they (top-order batsmen) batted most of the overs up. So, that’s one of the reasons why I am glad I got the opportunity in the last match,” he said.
“Even though it was getting a little bit dark, I didn’t want to go off the field as I wanted some batting practice.”
Meanwhile, coach Dav Whatmore said Bangladesh were suffering heavy defeats as opponents were no longer underestimating them.
“People are now not taking us as lightly as they may have done in the past,” Whatmore told reporters at the team’s hotel.
“We talk about minnows and all that, (but) we’re no longer minnows and we need to up our performance a little bit more.”
Some fans in Bangladesh were so upset by the big defeats that they burnt effigies of captain Bashar.
While such incidents are nothing out of the ordinary in Pakistan and India, it was the first such occurrence in Bangladesh and it reflected how expectations have changed within a matter of weeks.
Whatmore, who guided Sri Lanka to the title in 1996, has been irritated by Bangladesh’s failure to apply themselves in the Super Eight stage.
“Personally I was a bit disappointed because we can do better than that,” he said. “Our objective is to push the opposition and that’s what we’re trying to do for the remainder of these games.
“We just need to score some more runs. We’ve lost the toss twice and have been asked to bat on both occasions,” he said. — AFP, Reuters
Five-ball over stumps officials
London, April 6 England lost the match by just two runs after needing three runs for victory on the last ball in a game where every ball counted. Interestingly, the match officials were unaware about the gaffe when Sanath Jayasuriya bowled a five-ball over, thus depriving Michael Vaughan’s men of the extra delivery which could have won the match, a report claimed. According to the Daily Mail, match referee Jeff Crowe later admitted that he had no knowledge of the ball that England were deprived of in a truncated 26th over that saw Ian Bell adjudged run out after protracted replays. “I did not know about that. I have asked third umpire Rudi Koertzen and he is not aware of it either,” said Crowe. When informed about the mistake, he said it was the first time he had heard of the collective mistake (by the match officials). “Usually in these circumstances the TV people tell us about it as they have their own scorers but that may not have happened.” There were five experienced officials on duty, including Crowe, on-field umpires Billy Bowden and Asad Rauf, plus third umpire Koertzen and a reserve umpire, yet none of them noticed the mistake.
London, April 6
England lost the match by just two runs after needing three runs for victory on the last ball in a game where every ball counted.
Interestingly, the match officials were unaware about the gaffe when Sanath Jayasuriya bowled a five-ball over, thus depriving Michael Vaughan’s men of the extra delivery which could have won the match, a report claimed.
According to the Daily Mail, match referee Jeff Crowe later admitted that he had no knowledge of the ball that England were deprived of in a truncated 26th over that saw Ian Bell adjudged run out after protracted replays.
“I did not know about that. I have asked third umpire Rudi Koertzen and he is not aware of it either,” said Crowe.
When informed about the mistake, he said it was the first time he had heard of the collective mistake (by the match officials). “Usually in these circumstances the TV people tell us about it as they have their own scorers but that may not have happened.”
There were five experienced officials on duty, including Crowe, on-field umpires Billy Bowden and Asad Rauf, plus third umpire Koertzen and a reserve umpire, yet none of them noticed the mistake. — UNI
St John’s, April 6
Australia are unbeaten in their five matches in the tournament and top the second-round standings as they bid for an unprecedented third straight World Cup title.
England, by contrast, have yet to beat a Test-playing nation after losing to New Zealand first time out and suffering an agonising two-run defeat against Sri Lanka here on Wednesday.
They had beaten the world champions 2-0 in Australia during the finals of the tri-series in February.
“We’re keen to make amends for that. But that’s past history. Now we’re in the West Indies and we’ve got a very important game for us,” said Buchanan.
“If we manage to come out on top of that well, we virtually eliminate another side out of the tournament and that’s pretty important for us.”
Buchanan said Australia’s win over England in a 13-a-side warm-up match in St Vincent had in part atoned for their shock reverse on home soil.
He added: “I still viewed St Vincent as a proper one-day game, although you could play a couple of extra players. I thought we played pretty well there. I think both teams have progressed since the Commonwealth Bank Series.”
And Buchanan, formerly coach at English county side Middlesex, said England’s desperation for victory could work in their favour.
“England at this stage are playing knockout cricket. Every game for them is a knockout game and that puts them on the razor’s edge.
“I think it will be an exceptional contest. Any side that’s playing for its life in the tournament, it understands fairly well what it has to do.”
Looking ahead to Sunday’s match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Buchanan said England had a long batting order and identified Ian Bell as a key figure.
“Bell has played a really pivotal role at No. 3. He plays well with (Kevin) Pietersen and they’ve put some good partnerships together.”
Australia must decide before Sunday’s match whether to play an extra batsman or bowler following a left calf injury sustained by all-rounder Shane Watson during last week’s 10-wicket win against Bangladesh.
Australia could also turn to the medium-pace of batsman Andrew Symonds. But Buchanan wasn’t sure if Symonds, who also bowls off-spin, would be fit enough to bowl his quicker deliveries following an arm injury.
“We’re still undecided,” said Buchanan of the choice between a batsman or a bowler.
“Both combinations present some strengths and some weaknesses. The upside of all of that is that it is making us re-think although the preference would be to have a fit Watson.”
And as for Symonds bowling medium pace, Buchanan said: “I think it’s probably a little bit early for him to do that at this stage.
“Once he takes the field, if he feels he needs to bowl medium pace, he’ll be talking strongly to the captain to say ‘give me the opportunity to do it’,” he added. — AFP
London, April 6
“I was aware Bob was planning to write an account of his time with Pakistan, but that was intended to be after he had finished coaching them,” Gill said.
“It is best if this book never appears now. If it is going to upset people, it is not worth publishing,” she was quoted as saying in The Times.
Gill said notwithstanding his occasional differences with Shoaib Akhtar and Inzamam-ul-Haq, Woolmer had a good time with the Pakistani cricketers.
“Bob had his differences with one or two players, but that would be the same in any dressing room. It annoyed him that Shoaib Akhtar was such a good cricketer and yet would always have a niggling injury. Bob made a comment at Port Elizabeth in January and Shoaib went off at him,” she revealed.
“The players treated him like a father, calling him Dad or Bubbly, which apparently means soft and cuddly in Urdu. Danish Kaneria, Younis Khan and Kamran Akmal all telephoned me when Bob died.”
Gill asserted that match-fixing never got any mention in her interaction with her husband, adding that Woolmer did not keep a World Cup diary either.
“They have looked at the e-mails he sent me and others, but there is not even a hint in them of his being scared, or of anything to do with match-fixing. It is only personal stuff, and there is no way on earth that I am going to let the public read this.”
“...he was not keeping a World Cup diary. He used to work away on his computer every day, but I did not even know he had started to update his autobiography,” she said.
The Daily Mirror also had a brief interview with Gill where she spoke of the occasional differences her late husband had with Inzamam.
“Bob got on with Inzamam, whom he did not dislike. But there could be moods. Inzamam would not speak to him for a few days but then would be OK again,” she was quoted as saying. — PTI
Richards keen to be India’s batting coach
St John’s, April 6 “I will also like to be involved in motivating the players, to help in regaining their self-belief,” he said, adding that he would not blame Greg Chappell for India’s failure in the World Cup because as a coach, “I think Greg did his best”. About the ongoing World Cup, the cricket legend said the organisers were to blame for the low crowds that had dogged the tournament in his native Antigua because they had placed too many restrictions on local fans. Supporters used to attending matches with musical instruments and banners have found that they can only bring such items to the new Sir Vivian Richards Stadium if they have prior written permission from officials.
St John’s, April 6
“I will also like to be involved in motivating the players, to help in regaining their self-belief,” he said, adding that he would not blame Greg Chappell for India’s failure in the World Cup because as a coach, “I think Greg did his best”.
About the ongoing World Cup, the cricket legend said the organisers were to blame for the low crowds that had dogged the tournament in his native Antigua because they had placed too many restrictions on local fans.
Supporters used to attending matches with musical instruments and banners have found that they can only bring such items to the new Sir Vivian Richards Stadium if they have prior written permission from officials. — Agencies
‘Don’t blame Greg alone’
Chandigarh, April 6
“Chappell should not be solely held responsible for the fiasco in the West Indies. There are a lot of other factors that have contributed to India’s early exit,” Ranbir said.
Asked how he rated Chappell’s performance, Mahendra replied, “not bad”. “The contenders for the job included Desmond Haynes and Tim Moody but under the circumstances, Chappell was found to be the right choice”, he said.
Ranbir said the committee that selected the coach included Jagmohan Dalmiya and former captains Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and S. Venkataraghavan as members. “It was decided that the selection committee would also act as a review committee to monitor the team’s and the coach’s performance. The committee was to give a report after every series played by the team. In case there were no international matches, then also the committee was supposed to give a report after every two months”, Ranbir said.
He said the new board did not persist with the system of reviewing the team’s performance on a regular basis. In the absence of such a mechanism, players and the coach were not answerable to anyone for their lapses. Consequently, the performance of the team suffered, he said.
Mahendra said the Indian team was supposed to tour Bangladesh before the World Cup. “It would have been a useful tour. I do not know why the tour was dropped. Had India visited Bangladesh as scheduled, it could have been a very different story in the World Cup,” Ranbir said.
The former BCCI chief, who is also a Haryana lawmaker, refused to attach much importance to the BCCI Working Committee meeting being held in Mumbai. “Nothing will change unless they go deep into the reasons for the debacle”, Ranbir said.
He said the team manager’s report on India’s World Cup campaign should not be studied in isolation. Reports given by the team manager on previous tours should also be taken into account to make an assessment of the coach and the team, Ranbir added.
Sachin should quit ODIs, says Rameez
New Delhi, April 6 Rameez said Tendulkar was past his prime as could be seen from the fact that he had not played many match-winning knocks in one-day cricket, and so he should focus more on Tests. “I would want to see him play regularly for India in Tests, maybe not so in one-day cricket. You need a little more firepower in one-dayers and the youngsters can provide that,” Rameez said. “Of late, his graph has been going down and though he is averaging around 50, he has not been winning matches for India for quite a few years.” Tendulkar, however, had the class in him to excel in Tests,” the cricketer-turned-commentator told CNN-IBN.
New Delhi, April 6
Rameez said Tendulkar was past his prime as could be seen from the fact that he had not played many match-winning knocks in one-day cricket, and so he should focus more on Tests.
“I would want to see him play regularly for India in Tests, maybe not so in one-day cricket. You need a little more firepower in one-dayers and the youngsters can provide that,” Rameez said.
“Of late, his graph has been going down and though he is averaging around 50, he has not been winning matches for India for quite a few years.”
Tendulkar, however, had the class in him to excel in Tests,” the cricketer-turned-commentator told CNN-IBN. — PTI
Karachi, April 6
The PCB last week said it would decide on the captain and the coach in a month’s time as Inzamam stepped down from the post following Pakistan inglorious first-round exit from the World Cup.
Afridi, who has never captained the senior team, said he had been leading his domestic team for quite some time and was still to hear any complaint about his leadership skills.
“I think I have it in me to become a good captain. This is a big responsibility but also the ultimate dream of every player,” Afridi told reporters here.
“That is why I would be willing to captain the senior team if the job is offered to me. It will be a big challenge for me and will make me a more mature player,” he said.
However, Younis Khan, the most likely candidate to become the captain, earlier this week met PCB Chief Naseem Ashraf and agreed to take over the responsibility, but on his own terms.
Earlier, Mohammad Yousuf had also expressed his desire to captain the team if offered by the Board.
Afridi, who missed Pakistan’s defeats to the West Indies and Ireland in the World Cup due to a four-match ban for
arguing with a spectator during the tour to South Africa, said he was very disappointed with the poor performance in the showpiece event.
“We can only apologise for letting the nation down. No doubt we played rubbish cricket in the tournament and the
people’s anger is justified. But I think it should be within a limit because what has happened in the last few weeks has given a very bad impression of the country abroad,” he said.
“After we lost to Ireland, the players felt like the world had collapsed around us. Losing to them was unacceptable because they are amateur players and only play when free from their other jobs,” he said.
Afridi also revealed that the team was yet to recover from coach Bob Woolmer’s shocking murder.
“He dedicated his life to cricket and his death really upset the team very much and we still have not gotten over it,” Afridi said. — PTI
London, April 6
The musical is being put together by comedian, actor and singer Eddie Perfect, who will play the role of Warne, and will have a score inspired by jazz, funk, soul and gospel. It will be first staged at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in June, the Daily Telegraph reported.
“The musical is about the big issues of success and failure, the pressure of public scrutiny, over-indulgence, being an Australian male and the heartbreak that comes with falling short of getting everything one wants,” he said.
Reluctant to confirm whether the legendary bowler had approved the musical, the makers say they have enough authentic material anyway to go ahead with the project.
“Let’s face it, there is no shortage of material. You could write a dozen musicals about Shane Warne based on his press clippings alone,” Perfect’s manager Michael Lynch said.
“Our intention is to bring the show to the UK — we certainly believe it’s good enough,” he added.
Warne, who bid adieu to his international career after the Ashes in January, made headlines both for his genius with the ball on the field and his involvement in various scandals off the field.
During his long career, the flamboyant leg-spinner was once fined for accepting money from bookies, banned for taking prohibited drugs during the last World Cup and was divorced by his wife Simone after a string of extra-marital affairs.
Warne had recently wooed back Simone and the couple have moved to England with their three children. — PTI
Jeev outshines Woods on Day 1
Augusta, April 6
On a day when the famed Augusta National Club bared its teeth, just 14 players shot par or under. Jeev, with four birdies and four bogeys, was three strokes behind the joint leaders, Justin Rose and Brett Wetterich, who shot 69 each.
Tiger Woods opened with a one-over 73. But then never has he bettered 70 on the Masters opening day in 10 years during which he has won four times.
The first Indian to qualify for the Major, Jeev settled the early butterflies, holing a six-ft par putt on the opening hole and then rolled his first birdie of the day at the fourth hole from 10 ft.
From then on, he rode on two other birdies to become the first Indian to find himself atop the leaderboard in a Major, albeit briefly.
The second half dashed his hopes of an even better finish, but Jeev said, “I will take this score any day. But I must say I was annoyed with the last bogey. Otherwise, during a round, you make some and you miss some. That’s the way it is in this game.”
Jeev played a bogey-free front nine in three-under 33 with birdies on the third, sixth and eighth. However, the course struck back and had its revenge on the back nine, as the greens, where he needed just 11 putts on the front half, took a toll on the back journey.
Jeev dropped a bogey on the 10th. On the 14th, his 10-ft par putt curled around the cup and left him with another bogey and that turned his card to even par.
A nice birdie following a brave second shot over the water and onto the green gave Jeev an outside chance of an eagle, which he missed but still got a tap-in birdie.
But on the last hole, he found the upper lip of a menacing bunker and after getting out of it, he missed an eight-footer for par.
Jeev’s brilliant showing came in front of a very appreciative audience at the Augusta and it included many from his family.
He produced an array of superb shots, including a chip-in for a birdie on the sixth and then holing a succession of lengthy putts over the next three holes for a birdie on the eighth and two huge saves on the seventh and ninth with 12 and 15-ft putts.
When asked about his performance and what it would mean for the sport back in India, Jeev said, “I is good for the game in India. The media is taking a lot of interest and hopefully more young golfers will come up.”
By the time Jeev ended the day, TV channels had shown enough interest in him and no sooner did he finish the round, Jeev was besieged by the world media in general and the American media in particular, who had seen little of him in Major championships despite making the cut in the US Open on both his previous appearances.
“I was excited with the way I played. I was nervous on the first tee but I played pretty good on the front nine, shooting three under where I holed a lot of putts.
“On the back nine, I didn’t make too many putts but that’s okay. I’m pretty happy with my first round at Augusta National,” Jeev said.
Among the other established names in the field, world number seven Vijay Singh shot a 73 to be tied with Woods at tied 15th. Defending champion Phil Mickelson, meanwhile, languished at the tied 40th position after carding a poor four-over 76. — PTI
UK ’s David to train Punjab coaches
Jalandhar, April 6
In its ongoing programme of inviting the foreign coaches in various disciplines, the Punjab Sports Department has roped in the services of British Athletics Federation Level 4 Coaching Awardee coach David Clement Johnson. David is here to train 70 coaches from the various departments including, government sports department, BSF, NIS and the Punjab police. The training would begin from tomorrow till April 11.
The press conference that was attended by Punjab Sports Minister Gulzar Singh Ranike, Director Sports, Punjab, Pargat Singh, besides the former Olympian Brig Labh Singh (retd) appeared to be far away from the purpose for which they were called in for.
It started with a slide-show presentation of the achievement and developments undertaken by the department in the past one year. The same, however, appeared to be more of a promotional campaign, as it was not only presented by a sports consultant Sunil Yash Kalra besides carrying a logo of “Score,” a Delhi-based sports development and promotion company. Interestingly, Kalra is one of the directors of the aforesaid company. Later, Pargat formally introduced the UK trainer.
Even though the Director Sports is making efforts to rope in foreign coaches for the training, the coaches in his department appear to be least interested in the same.
It became all the more clear when Pargat requested David to address the conference and the department coaches present there seated among the last rows started talking among themselves at top of their voice.
The situation became so worse that Pargat, who was sitting on dais, had to gesture twice his coaches to be quiet even while David was speaking.
Even Director Sports had to gesture the mike coordinator B.S. Randhawa to be quiet after the latter was continuously trying to stop the journalists to ask questions to the sports minister. The moment any journalist asked any counter question to the minister on his statement, all Randhawa kept on saying was “next question please.”
Meanwhile, David would be rendering theory as well as practical training to the coaches as well as some budding players at the sports school. David is the third foreign coach after NBA coach Robert Reid and boxing trainer Febrizio Petrino, who has been called in by the Punjab Sports Department.
Hockey forward Prabhakaran dead
Chennai, April 6 A speedy forward, Prabhakaran was part of the gold-winning Indian hockey team at the 1998 Asiad and represented the country in many international tournaments at junior and senior levels. In his condolence message, Indian Hockey Federation secretary K. Jothikumaran said, “It is a great loss for Tamil Nadu hockey. He was instrumental in the state finishing as finalists at the National Hockey Championship in 1997 and 1998.”
Chennai, April 6
A speedy forward, Prabhakaran was part of the gold-winning Indian hockey team at the 1998 Asiad and represented the country in many international tournaments at junior and senior levels.
In his condolence message, Indian Hockey Federation secretary K. Jothikumaran said, “It is a great loss for Tamil Nadu hockey. He was instrumental in the state finishing as finalists at the National Hockey Championship in 1997 and 1998.” — PTI
Sepang (Malaysia), April 6
Massa produced a best time of one minute 34.972 in the first session and was also quickest in the afternoon with a lap of 1:35.780 as track temperatures at Sepang reached 49°C.
“All things considered, we can say it’s been a good day,” said the Brazilian. “The weekend has got off to a positive start, I hope we can continue that way.”
His team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was second for much of the day’s final session before the Renaults of Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen dropped him to fourth in the final minutes.
Champions Renault, winners at Sepang for the past two seasons with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and Fisichella last year, played down their times, however.
“It is always nice to see our drivers at the correct end of the timesheets, but it is relatively obvious that we were running lower fuel and new tyres at the right time of the session,” said engineering director Pat Symonds.
“There are no miracles in racing and we will only be able to assess our true competitiveness after qualifying and the race.”
Raikkonen, championship leader after winning in Australia on his Ferrari debut last month, was also fourth in the morning.
McLaren’s double world champion Fernando Alonso and British rookie Lewis Hamilton had been second and third on the timesheets in the first session.
Alonso was 12th fastest for McLaren in the afternoon, three places below Hamilton.
“The team tested here last week when most of the set-up was done so we had a good basis for today’s practice,” said Alonso. — Reuters
Almaty, April 6
Bopanna, who skipped the Asia-Oceania Group 1 first-round tie in controversial circumstances, defeated Dmitry Makeyev 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 in the opening singles at the Baganashil Sports Complex.
“I did not give Makeyev any chance to get into the match and stayed on top throughout,” the 26-year-old Bangalorean said after the match.
Kazakhstan’s number one player Alexey Kedriouk then pulled one back for the hosts with a 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (2) win over Karan Rastogi.
“It was a very intense match and I didn’t play that well in the first two sets,” Rastogi gave an honest assessment.
The Mumbaikar stayed close to Kedriouk, No. 292 in ATP rankings, and raised his game in the third and fourth sets but a couple of loose points in the tiebreaker brought his downfall.
Captain Leander Paes said serving was the difference between Bopanna and Rastogi today.
“Rohan served well and his opponent was a bit inexperienced. Karan’s serving let him down a bit on big points while his opponent served big,” he said.
Bopanna was erratic at the start as he went down 15-40 at 2-2 but his big serves bailed him out.
The Coorgi lad then went up 4-2 only to face a triple-breakpoint situation in
The serves, however, kept getting better and better as the match progressed.
Rastogi’s game picked up in the third set. He broke Kedriouk, to whom he had lost in three sets in an ITF tournament late last year, in the eighth game to go 5-3 up and served out the set.
The 20-year-old, who made his debut against Uzbekistan, sustained the challenge in the fourth set until the tie-breaker where Kedriouk’s superior serving sealed the match.
Bopanna will pair up with Paes in the doubles match against Kedriouk and Makeyev tomorrow. The two reverse singles are scheduled for Sunday. — PTI