ICC bans tainted pak trio
Fitness only concern for India, says Kumble
Tendulkar sledged McGrath, it worked
Hayden is chicken-hearted, says Harbhajan
Ryder slams ton in Kiwi victory
Strauss wants tour schedules changed
Mandeep up for the challenge
South beat North by 7 wkts
I’m not a traitor:Torres
ICC bans tainted pak trio
Doha, February 5 In its verdict, the ICC imposed 10 years ban on Butt with five years of suspended sentence, Asif a seven-year sanction with two years suspended, while Amir was banned for five years. "The tribunal heard the charges as Aamer agreed to bowl no-balls, and did bowl no-balls and Butt was party to the bowling of those deliberate balls, and the tribunal impose the following sanctions," a statement read out at the tribunal said. "On Butt's ten years ineligibility, five years of which are suspended on the condition that he doesn't commit further breaches of the code, and that he participates under the auspices of the Pakistan Cricket Board in a programme of anti-corruption education," the statement said. "On Asif, a sanction of seven years of ineligibility, two years of which are suspended on the condition that he commits no further breach of the code and also participates in an anti-corruption programme. "On Aamer a sanction of five years ineligibility. No further sanctions are imposed on any player," it added. The verdict was announced after a lengthy nine-hour hearing in front of ICC's three-man tribunal -- comprising Michael Beloff QC, Sharad Rao and Justice Albie Sachs -- and the players and their legal teams at the Qatar Financial Center here. There was lot of drama and argument in the hearing as the players' lawyers requested the ICC to adjourn the verdict as it could have an impact on the criminal case filed by UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) against the players in London yesterday.
Doha, February 5
In its verdict, the ICC imposed 10 years ban on Butt with five years of suspended sentence, Asif a seven-year sanction with two years suspended, while Amir was banned for five years.
"The tribunal heard the charges as Aamer agreed to bowl no-balls, and did bowl no-balls and Butt was party to the bowling of those deliberate balls, and the tribunal impose the following sanctions," a statement read out at the tribunal said.
"On Butt's ten years ineligibility, five years of which are suspended on the condition that he doesn't commit further breaches of the code, and that he participates under the auspices of the Pakistan Cricket Board in a programme of anti-corruption education," the statement said. "On Asif, a sanction of seven years of ineligibility, two years of which are suspended on the condition that he commits no further breach of the code and also participates in an anti-corruption programme.
"On Aamer a sanction of five years ineligibility. No further sanctions are imposed on any player," it added. The verdict was announced after a lengthy nine-hour hearing in front of ICC's three-man tribunal -- comprising Michael Beloff QC, Sharad Rao and Justice Albie Sachs -- and the players and their legal teams at the Qatar Financial Center here. There was lot of drama and argument in the hearing as the players' lawyers requested the ICC to adjourn the verdict as it could have an impact on the criminal case filed by UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) against the players in London yesterday. — PTI
Bangalore, February 5
"My only concern is the fitness of the guys. If they can last the entire tournament without injuries, we could certainly regain the Cup," Kumble told PTI in an interview ahead of the February 19 to March 2 mega-event to be held in the sub-continent.
Kumble said along with India, defending champions Australia, South Africa, and Sri Lanka are the other favourites for the coveted trophy.
"We have a very bright chance, probably it is our best opportunity to win the Cup," said Kumble.
Kumble weighed the advantages that India had to win back the title, last won by Kapil's Devils in 1983.
"We have lot of advantages going into the tournament. The form of the players is encourgaing. The quality of players is good. There are some all-rounders as well who can chip in with both bat and ball," emphasised Kumble, who was part of the Indian World Cup campaigns in 1996 (at home), 1999 (England), 2003 (South Africa) and 2007 (West Indies).
India's most successful bowler feels the sub-continental dustbowls would be of great advantage to India.
"Besides the form and quality of players, the pitches would suit our game. We know our conditions too well. We know what we can expect," said Kumble, who as president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association, has dedicated his time for the conduct of the World Cup matches in the City. — PTI
New Delhi, February 5
"I have never sledged per se merely for the sake of sledging. I did that only once as a part of team strategy. This was at the Kenya Champions Trophy. We were playing Australia." Tendulkar recollects in a book 'SACH' penned by Gautam Bhattacharya.
Tendulkar describes how he irked McGrath with a cheeky line.
"The match was played under overcast conditions. The wicket was also very damp. I had told Sourav before that I would do something to upset McGrath's rhythm. So, in the very first over, I stepped out to him. The first thing I said to him was: 'Today I will hit you out of the ground.' He got really angry and started spraying the ball around. This was exactly what we wanted. As on that surface, he may have been very dangerous.
"We did win that match ultimately and I felt very happy. My sledging did work for the team. My own experience of sledging came very early on my first tour to Australia. I remember having blocked a delivery and the ball landed near my foot. I tried picking it up when Allan Border shouted from gully. 'Don't touch the ball.' So I stopped immediately." — IANS
New Delhi, February 5
"I don't know what these Australian cricketers are up to? Even Ricky Ponting wrote a lot of crap to sell his book and now this guy Hayden is doing so," Harbhajan fumed while giving his reaction to PTI.
The former Australian opener in his autobiography "Standing My Ground" had said that erstwhile Indian captain Sourav Ganguly and Harbhajan chickened out after having a look at the bouncy Nagpur strip during Australia's tour of 2004. He had even expressed his surprise in the manner in which Harbhajan had "food poisoning" on the eve of that Test which Australia won convincingly.
"Who is Mathew Hayden to judge Harbhajan Singh's calibre.
I don't know what he is smoking these days. Probably he was in some kind of trip when he wrote all that rubbish. Should I now give Hayden some money to keep quiet?" If that wasn't enough, Harbhajan said that he is still willing to bowl if Hayden has the heart enough to face him.
"This is an open challenge. Whenever and wherever Hayden wants me to bowl at him, I am ready. Does he have the courage to face me. Because, whenever I have seen him bat against me, he always had a petrified look. Just check the record books in case you want to know how many times I have got him out." Referring to Hayden's term of "Greentrackitis", Harbhajan said, "I have scored half century even in Australian soil. May be Hayden has this habit of conviniently forgetting the achievements of Indian cricketers. At the end of the day, he doesn't have the qualification to judge the calibre of Indian cricketers." — PTI
Auckland, February 5
Pakistan won the series 3-2 - the second match was washed out - but New Zealand gained valuable confidence ahead of this month's World Cup with only it's second win in its past 16 completed one-dayers.
New Zealand made 311-7 batting first, helped by Ryder's second century in one-day internationals and a blazing 120-run stand between half century-makers Scott Styris and Nathan McCullum.
Pakistan lost early wickets in its run chase and was all out for 254 in 44.1 overs with Kamran Akmal top-scoring with 89. Ryder, batting No. 3 after Brendon McCullum was promoted to open, reached his century from 82 balls, holding together the New Zealand innings after Pakistan had won the toss and bowled. New Zealand's innings briefly flagged after Ryder was out in the 36th over, producing only 50 runs in the next 10 overs.
"It was good to get a few out of the middle of the bat today," Ryder said. "I was dropped down to three (in the batting order) but it was a good position to get runs and it turned out to be a good day for me." Styris and McCullum regained the lost momentum in an outstanding partnership for the sixth wicket which ended when McCullum was out to the second-to-last ball of the innings.
McCullum made 65 from 50 balls with seven fours and three sixes and Styris was left 58 not out from 44 balls after running out Kyle Mills from the final ball.
New Zealand was 240-5 when the powerplay began, looking unlikely to reach 300, but McCullum and Styris transformed the innings, battering 11 runs from the first powerplay over, 13 from the second, 19 from the third and 14 from the fourth and fifth. — AP
Perth, February 5
Speaking on the eve of his weary team's final match of a marathon Ashes tour that has lasted over three months, Strauss said the seven-game one-day series had taken a heavy toll on his side, which has to regroup for the World Cup later this month.
The English trail 5-1 in the ODI series, with the final match to be played at the WACA Ground in Perth tomorrow.
They go into the game with six players, including five members of their 15-man World Cup squad, unavailable due to injury.
Strauss, who also believes the seven-match ODI series is too long, said he believed using one-dayers as preparation for Test cricket was better for both players and fans.
"Wherever possible I think that's a better way of doing it," he said. "I've been involved in a lot of tours where the one-dayers at the end have been hard work.
"Not just for us but the other teams as well. In some ways it's quite a good way to whet the appetite for the five-day matches coming up.
"That's something the administrators can look at and I think it makes for better cricket personally." Paul Collingwood (back), spinner Graeme Swann (back) and seamers Tim Bresnan (calf) and Ajmal Shahzad (hamstring) are all selected for the World Cup but already back in England, while Stuart Broad is with the squad but not ready to play after suffering a stomach strain during the Ashes.
Despite their injury woes and fatigue, Strauss believes his side can still use the final ODI to build momentum for the tournament. — AFP
Mandeep up for the challenge
Amritsar, February 5
Mandeep was in the city to participate in the felicitation function held by the Pritam Sports Academy Kohali. Chief guest MP Navjot Singh Sidhu handed over the key of a Swift car to her.
Talking to The Tribune she said she was ready for the challenge. The Punjab government awarded her Rs 43.5 lakh in a state level function held at Mohali on Saturday.
Known for her fast burst in the last leg in 4x400 relay, she was part of the gold medal winning 2010 Asian Games held at Guangzhou in China. She clocked 53.19. She had also clocked 52.88 in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
She says her life-time best is 51.11 which she achieved in a domestic race.
According to her, if she can reduce her time to a little over 50 she will have a great chance in London.
Presently posted at Dehradun, she is an employee of the ONGC.
“Training in the USA with a reputed coach will be very helpful and I will be trying to undergo a stint before the London Olympics”, she quipped.
She was grateful to the Pritam Sports Academy for helping her realise her childhood dream of donning the national colours.
Visakhapatnam, Februray 5
Abhimanyu Mithun (3/42), Pragyan Ojha (3/94) and Srinath Aravind (3/76) scalped three wickets each to dismiss North Zone for 317 in their second innings to set themselves a target of 178 runs.
Mukund (63 not out) and Uthappa (71) then raised a whirlwind with a plethora of strokes to pile up a 100-run opening partnership in just 13.5 overs to set the foundation of a well-deserving win.
Uthappa blasted eight fours and three sixes in his 45-ball innings before he was caught by Surul Kanwar in the deep off Sumit Narwal's bowling when he tried to go for another big hit.
After Uthappa's departure, new batsman Amit Verma was sent back quickly after being caught and bowled by Yashpal Singh.
But Mukund and Manish Pandey (37) ensured that their chase is not derailed and added 66 runs for the third wicket before the latter was dismissed by Yashpal in the 23rd over.
However, Mukund stood there as a pillar and saw his team through as they reached the victory target of 178 losing just three wickets in 23.4 overs, with a day to spare at the Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium.
Earlier resuming at 50/1, North Zone's overnight batsman Nitin Saini went on to complete his half-century. But his partner Mandeep Singh was dismissed at 22 by Srinath Aravind in the 34th over.
However, Saini added 58 runs with Mithun Manhas (79) before becoming Ojha's second wicket. Manhas and Paras Dogra (44) then shared a 85-run partnership before the former was sent packing by Aravind, triggering a collapse.
Dogra followed suit being dismissed by Ojha, while Uday Kaul (3) was removed by Aravind, his third victim of the day.
Narwal could stay for just four balls and was dismissed by Mukund and it took Yashpal (42 not out) and skipper Amit Mishra (30) to provide some respectibility to their second innings score.
Brief Score: North Zone: 337 & 317 all out in 88.5 overs (M manhas 79; A Mithun 3/42) South Zone: 477 & 178/3 in 23.4 overs (R Uthappa 71, A Mukund 64; Yashpal SIngh 2/40). — PTI
London, February 5
Torres was well below his best for much of this season and handed in a transfer request in an attempt to force through the move once he became aware of Chelsea's interest, prompting some fans and former players to claim the Spain forward had been sulking for months.
But Torres is adamant he was always completely dedicated to the Liverpool cause and he slammed those who criticised the way he left Anfield. "I think it is not fair. It makes no sense. I played three very good seasons there and scored lots of goals," Torres said.
"I understand it was a difficult situation, especially in the transfer window, but I have to think about my career. "Everyone will see it is a step forward. I know the plans Chelsea have for the future, the ambition they have and what they want to achieve.
"They want to build a great team and keep competing with Man Utd and Man City to be the best club in England and to fight for the Champions League.
"When I will be 45 I would like to look back and say I am really lucky to have this picture of me as a champion. "I explained my feelings and was honest with everyone. Everything was straight, the main thing was to be honest and fair. "Obviously they didn't want me to leave, they tried to persuade me to stay but I told them I had made my decision.
"I don't know how the fans will be but it would be a surprise for me if I get a really bad reception."
During his three-and-a-half years at Liverpool, Torres had appeared totally devoted to the Reds and he even claimed he would never play for another English club.
That pledge was swiftly consigned to history once Liverpool began to struggle and Chelsea came calling, but Torres insists he has never been the badge-kissing type who takes the plaudits then walks out when the going gets tough. — AFP
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