Tendulkar, KP star attractions
‘Pruning squad was horrible job’
Colts lose final tie, win
Chennai gets go-ahead
Tendulkar, KP star attractions
Cape Town, April 17
It will be a double delight at the Newlands Stadium tomorrow with back-to-back matches featuring some of the best contemporary cricketers in this slam-bang version of the game.
Under the iconic Sachin Tendulkar, Mumbai Indians will lock horns with last year's runners-up Chennai Super Kings, led by the charismatic Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
And before the crowd actually catch some breath, maverick England batsman Kevin Pietersen will lead Bangalore Royal Challengers onto the field, hoping to shed last year's laggard's tag.
The task would be easier said than done because Rajasthan Royals, under the wily Shane Warne, would be hoping for an encore and the defending champions would definitely love to start their campaign on a winning note tomorrow.
More than any team, it, however, would be a triumph of the indomitable spirit of the organisers when the 59-match razzmatazz finally rolls off the block tomorrow.
Considering how the league's fate hung in balance after its dates clashed with India's general election and the Home Ministry back home cited its inability to provide security for the tournament, IPL authorities have moved mountains to make the entire thing possible.
IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi and his team burnt
the midnight oil first to find a base
South Africa, set to host 2010 soccer World Cup, sensed an opportunity to host a world class event and both the government and the cricket board went out of the way to facilitate all arrangements.
The only apparent blemish is the absence of Pakistani players who were barred by their government from playing in India due to the strained relationship between the neighbours in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.
Even though IPL was eventually shifted to South Africa, the Pakistani players had their contracts either terminated or suspended.
Some of the Australian players, including captain Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey will skip the event, opting for some rest, while injuries will keep the likes of Brett Lee out of the event.
However, their absence has been compensated to a large extent by the inclusion of a host of Englishmen, including Pietersen and talismanic teammate Andrew Flintoff.
Besides, this year's IPL would blood a host of exciting youngsters, including South African sensation JP Duminy (Mumbai Indians), explosive Australian youngster David Warner (Delhi Daredevils) and unheralded paceman Kamran Khan (Rajasthan Royals).
Warne scripted a rags-to-riches story last year by leading the Royals, cheapest IPL squad, to title glory but things would be tougher this year.
The team would sorely miss last year's best bowler Sohail Tanvir and most valuable player Watson, which considerably weakens the squad.
In contract, Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings loom determined to go one better this time and the inclusion of Flintoff would lend a formidable look to their batting line-up which also includes Matthew Hayden.
Under their swashbuckling captain Virender Sehwag, Delhi Daredevils would fancy their chances this time, especially after adding buccaneering Warner and bringing Ashish Nehra from Mumbai Indians which lends much balance to the side. — PTI
London, April 17
Royals relieved Kaif, who was bought for $ 650,000 last season, and eight others from team duty a couple of days ago and Warne said it was not easy to convey the news to the left-out players.
"One of the most difficult tasks has been to prune our squad from 27 to 18 players. That really was a horrible job and some of the guys were pretty emotional when I broke the bad news. You have to be straight and I told those who didn't make the cut that they could still have good careers," Warne wrote in his column for 'The Times'. "Their reactions reminded me of how big the IPL has become in little over a year," he added.
Apart from this, Warne said the other major challenge has been to make his side's young Indian players, who have never travelled abroad, comfortable in South Africa which has been nothing short of a "cultural shock" for them.
"The younger Indian guys in our squad are finding South Africa a bit of a culture shock. They've certainly been dragged out of their comfort zones. Some of them hadn't stepped out of their own country before, let alone played overseas."
"Even the language can be a problem and at the moment they perhaps feel a bit out of place. They aren't always sure how to fill the time. The danger is that they sit in their rooms and just think cricket, cricket, cricket," Warne revealed.
The Australian spin legend said with last year's star performers Sohail Tanveer and Shane Watson missing in action, Royals face an uphill battle to retain the title.
"We face a big challenge to try to retain the title. But why not? We're missing Sohail Tanvir and Shane Watson, who were really good players for us last time. As was the case last year, the input from the Indian guys will be crucial. There are one or two reputations waiting to be made," he said.
Warne also revealed that the sensational teen pacer Kamran Khan he spoke about last week was actually 20.
"I spoke to some of the press last week about a kid I think can be a real bolter for us, an '18-year-old' called Kamran Khan. He is left-arm, pretty raw, but seriously quick. After watching him again in practice this week, I had to ask whether he was sure he was only 18. He looked at me sheepishly, and said: 'No, sir, I'm 20.' Apart from telling him not to call me sir, I didn't know what to say," he said. — PTI
Dubai, April 17
The International Cricket Council Executive Committee which met today took the decision to withdraw the hosting rights from the strife-torn country.
"It is a regrettable decision (but) our number one priority is to create certainty and deliver a safe, secure and successful event," ICC President David Morgan said in a statement at the end of the first day of the two-day Executive Committee meeting.
The Board resolved that, given the current uncertainty surrounding the security situation within Pakistan, the country should not host matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.
This means the event will now be hosted in three countries - Bangladesh, India
Estimates of the loss for Pakistan Cricket administration were put at about $ 10 mn which were reportedly to be compensated by the ICC, however, there was no mention about it in the statement today.
The tournament secretariat will move from Pakistan to a location to be determined by the tournament's Central Organising Committee.
In an unprecedented attack on cricketers anywhere in the world, six Sri Lankan players and an assisting coach were injured and several policemen were killed in Lahore last month by suspected LeT militant outfit.
"It is extremely regrettable that the Board has had to take this decision given the passion the people of Pakistan have for the game of cricket and for the ICC Cricket World Cup," Morgan said.
"(But) It is highly unlikely that we will have the security clearance between now and the start date in 2011."
The ICC, which also shifted the Champions Trophy out of Pakistan after twice postponing it, owing to continuing unrest in that country, said it could not have let the uncertainty prevail this time around.
"That was something we saw all too clearly with the delay over the decision of whether or not Pakistan could host the ICC Champions Trophy last year.
"The event ended up being postponed and we cannot afford a repeat of that uncertainty or any form of postponement for this event.
"By making this decision now we hope we can put a great deal of any uncertainty to one side and press on with our preparations which, given this is cricket's biggest and most high profile event within our range of tournaments, are substantial," he said.
The Board agreed that it would not be appropriate for international cricket to take place in Pakistan in the immediate future.
However, it was agreed that Pakistan should maintain a full programme of
The Board received a report on the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team and match officials that took place in Lahore on March 3, the scheduled third day of the second Test between Pakistan and the visiting side.
It also heard from Emirates Elite Panel ICC match referee Chris Broad, who was on duty for the match, as well as Sri Lanka's Mahela Jaywardena via telephone hook-up from South Africa. Pakistan captain Younis Khan was unable to attend. — PTI
Perth, April 17
Opting to bat, Australians accumulated 276 for seven in 50 overs, thanks to Jason Floros' 59-ball 70 and Joel Garrett's 52 off 47 balls, before skittling out the Indians for 261 in 47.3 overs at WACA ground.
India had already secured a 2-0 lead by winning first two encounters and thus today's victory will help the Aussies end the series 2-1.
Chasing a target of 277, Indians suffered an early jolt in the form of opener Mukul Dagar (11), but soon recovered as Mayank Agarwal and Mandeep Singh (30) produced 48-run second wicket partnership.
Mayank, India's most consistent batsman on the tour, continued his splendid run as the visitors cruised at 82 for one, before losing three quick wickets for just 40 runs.
Mayank, who wielded his willow at will over the opponent bowlers, struck the ball out of the ground on 11 occasions, including for four huge sixes before paceman Sean Abbott dismissed him on eleventh over.
But other Indian batsmen following him failed to deliver at the time of need, except Sufiyan Shaikh who made a defiant 57-ball 61 and Harpreet Singh (33), as the Ashok Maneria-led side were restricted from achieving the target.
Earlier, skipper Tim Armstrong joined hands with his opening partner Mitchell Marsh to give Australian team a solid 69-run partnership, before Maneria's direct throw found him short off the crease on 39.
Australians suffered a mid-innings slump but Garrett and Floros drafted a timely recovery with 118-run partnership to help their team post a fighting target of 277.
Floros hit seven fours, including twice through the aerial route before Mandeep Singh pouched him off Harshal Patel's delivery. The Australian also found an able ally in Garrett, who adorned his innings with four fours and a six.
The Indian bowling department was clearly suffering from lack of consistency and failed to make much impact on the opposition batting, except when they scalped four wickets for just 11 runs but only to lose the sheen soon.
Patel and spinner Kundan Singh bagged two wickets each, while left-arm bowler Gagandeep Singh managed one. — PTI
Chennai gets go-ahead from ITF
New Delhi, April 17 The ITF Davis Cup Committee met in London to decide on the venue as Australian players were apprehensive about coming to India because of security concerns. "The ITF has confirmed that the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group I second round tie between India and Australia will take place at the SDAT Tennis Stadium in Chennai on 8-10 May," said the ITF website. "The location and venue was approved by the Davis Cup Committee following a positive report from the ITF's security consultants," it added. Australian players like former world number one Lleyton Hewitt were reluctant to come to India after the Lahore terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers. Tennis Australia, taking note of the players' concerns, had requested the ITF to shift the tie out of India, a proposal that was vehemently opposed by AITA.
New Delhi, April 17
The ITF Davis Cup Committee met in London to decide on the venue as Australian players were apprehensive about coming to India because of security concerns.
"The ITF has confirmed that the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group I second round tie between India and Australia will take place at the SDAT Tennis Stadium in Chennai on 8-10 May," said the ITF website.
"The location and venue was approved by the Davis Cup Committee following a positive report from the ITF's security consultants," it added.
Australian players like former world number one Lleyton Hewitt were reluctant to come to India after the Lahore terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers.
Tennis Australia, taking note of the players' concerns, had requested the ITF to shift the tie out of India, a proposal that was vehemently opposed by AITA. — PTI
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