India practice hard sans Viru
India’s spin department looks healthy, says Kumble
Nazir’s onslaught propels Pakistan into Super Eight
Sanga hopes Asian fans would flock to Tests
Water not the cause of players’ illness: ICC
Eves to strut out their stuff too, India begin tomorrow
Oz pacers’ load to be cut down
British teenager is youngest female referee
Geeta to lead India in world championship
India practice hard sans Viru
Colombo, September 25
India advanced into the Super Eight after thrashing reigning Twenty20 World Champions England in their last group match.
During the training session, the Indian team gave extra attention to their physical fitness doing rounds of jogging and a prolonged stretching session. Senior opener Virender Sehwag's finger injury along with a suitable bowling combination are two major concerns for India ahead of their opening Super Eight game against Australia on Friday.
The swashbuckling opener, who was hit on the knuckles while batting in the nets prior to England game, didn't bat during the three-hour net session on Tuesday.
Although the extent of the injury is not known but Irfan Pathan padding up before everyone does raise doubts about Sehwag's availability.
According to sources in the team, the senior batsman is fine and was only rested so that it doesn't aggravate his injury before the Australia game. The other worrying factor is the bowling combination that will be deployed against the mighty Aussies.
The five-bowler theory worked wonders for India during their 90-run victory over England, but Dhoni, with his fetish for playing seven batsmen, might as well revert back to his tried, tested and much-debated formula. Harbhajan Singh's brilliant performance against England has helped him seal his spot in the playing XI for India's opening Super Eight fixture against Australia on September 28. The offspinner's presence has always intimidated Australians and it is unlikely that he will be left out against a batting line-up that has top quality left-handers like David Warner and Mike Hussey. Harbhajan though didn't bowl at the nets on Tuesday, but is likely to bowl during the next two days.
While Ravichandran Ashwin is certain to make a comeback in the playing XI in place of Ashok Dinda, the main question remains about the fate of an out-of-form pacer Zaheer Khan.
Having been rested for the England game, the veteran seamer is completely looking out of place in the Twenty20 set-up. Although he bowled for an hour at the nets, Zaheer di not look comfortable.
His batting has deteriorated considerably and he has been a liability in the field of late. If Zaheer plays, then for the cushion, Dhoni might decide to play five bowlers.
In case Zaheer Khan finds a place in the four-bowler set-up, then Lakshmipathy Balaji might find himself out of the playing eleven as Irfan Pathan is a certainty in the side for his all-round abilities and ongoing good form. — Agencies
New Delhi, September 25
India found new spin heroes in R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha in the absence of Harbhajan, who was not considered for national duty for a long time before making a comeback.
Kumble said Harbhajan was exceptional and Ashwin's main attribute was a calm head which is crucial to perform under pressure. The former captain also said that leg-spinners such as Amit Mishra, Rahul Sharma and Piyush Chawla should be given a good number of opportunities.
Talking about leading spinners of the country, Kumble said in Ashwin, Harbhajan and Ojha India have a very potent spin attack. "You'll never know the real calibre of a spinner if you don't give him enough opportunities. Right now the spin cupboard is pretty healthy because there are two spinners (Ashwin and Ojha) who are performing on the field," Kumble said.
“There's Harbhajan who has the experience of picking 400 Test wickets and who's a highly fierce competitor and exceptionally skilled. When he comes back to being his best, you'll have three quality spinners in the side plus the three leg-spinners waiting in the wings," Kumble said. Talking about Harbhajan, Kumble said he still has a lot to offer to the national team. “He's been exceptional. He lost a little bit of confidence and the only way to regain it is to be part of the team and play more and more matches. He's done that before and I see no reason why he cannot perform again. I certainly feel that Bhajji is still one of the best spinners that we have in India and it's just a matter of time before he comes back to bowling at his best," he said.
“I don't think he's done badly at Test level. It's just that he's played a lot of matches outside of India. Not always is a spinner an attacking option when you go outside of India. His role changes, especially in the first innings. Yes, he's had mixed performances in the one-day game. He hasn't lived up to the high standards he's set for himself and hence people think that he's underperforming,” he added. — PTI
Pallekele, September 25
Needing a win to advance to the next round, Pakistan rode on Nazir's 36-ball 72-run blistering knock and his record 124-run opening stand with skipper Mohammad Hafeez to chase the challenging 176-run target with eight balls to spare, in their final group league encounter.
Nazir reached his fifty in just 25 deliveries, one quicker than Chris Gayle's 26-ball effort against Australia.
In the crucial encounter, Bangladesh needed to win by a margin of at least 36 runs, but their bowlers came a cropper in the face of Nazir's sustained onslaught. During his belligerent knock, Nazir struck three sixes and nine fours that left the Bangladeshis shell-shocked, as they had given themselves a chance by posting a competitive total. Nazir was ably supported by Hafeez (45 off 47 balls) as they produced the tournament's highest partnership for any wicket. The Pakistan show meant that Shakib Al Hasan's brilliant 54-ball 84 went in vain.
Electing to bat, Bangladesh rode on Shakib's heroics and some fine contributions from opener Tamim Iqbal (24) and skipper Mushfiqur Rahim (25) to post their highest score against Pakistan in T20 internationals.
But their joy was short-lived as Pakistan's chase got off to a flying start with Nazir and Hafeez clobbering the Bangladesh bowlers all around the park. Nazir, who was dropped by Abul Hassan at mid-on off medium-pacer Shafiul Islam, made Bangladesh pay a heavy price as he picked Islam and Mashrafe Mortaza for a six each to keep the asking run-rate well under control. — PTI
Iqbal run out (Hafeez) 24
Ashraful b Sohail Tanvir 14
Hasan c Umar b Arafat 84
Rahim c Nazir b Arafat 25
Mahmudullah c Umar b Afridi 0
Hossain b Arafat 16
Rahman not out 1
Extras: (lb 2, w 8, nb 1) 11
Total: (6 wkts; 20 ovrs) 175
Fall of wickets: 1-34,2-61, 3-129,4-133,5-170,6-175
Bowling: Hafeez 3-0-28-0, Tanvir 3-0-25-1, Gul3-0-43-0, Afridi 4-0-20-1,Ajmal 4-0-32-0, Arafat 3-0-25-3
Hafeez c Rahim b Hasan 45
Nazir c sub (Reza) b Hasan 72
Jamshed not out 29
Akmal not out 22
Extras: (b1, lb2, w7) 10
Total: (2 wkts; 18.4 overs) 178
Fall of wickets: 1-124, 2-126
Bowling: Mortaza 3-0-30-0, Islam 2.4-0-3-0, Razzak 4-0-30-0, Al Hasan 4-0-23-0, Hasan 3-0-33-2, Mahmudullah 2-0-24-0
Sanga hopes Asian fans would flock to Tests
Colombo, September 25
Had he been playing for India, he would have been marketed for millions of dollars in the Dravid-Yuvraj way, if not the Sachin Tendulkar way. But in Sri Lanka, Sangakkara keeps a low profile, and loves it. It’s got a lot to do with the sports culture of Sri Lanka, which is a sports loving nation and not necessarily a star-loving nation.
The former Sri Lankan captain is on a high after being named the ICC Cricketer and Test Cricketer of the year.
He’s a man in absolute sync with the modern demands of cricket, aware that a lot of people fear for the future of Test cricket in an era where T20 leagues are mushrooming all over the world. But that does not bother him too much.
“Test cricket is fine. Everyone loves this format. Guys like Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, Sachin and Virat Kohli from India are making headlines for their performances,” he says. “Graeme Swann and Daly Steyn have made Test cricket very interesting. Recently, the series between England and South Africa was fantastic. So, to be recognized as the best cricketer of the year is a privilege.”
Arguably the greatest ever batsman from Sri Lanka, Sangakkara spoke very passionately about the future of Test cricket in his MCC Spirit of Cricket lecture in England last year. Dravid did the same at the Don Bradman oration in Australia. Many great cricketers have urged that the time has come for the administrators to take these concerns seriously and balance the various formats of the game.
“The administrators are trying their hardest to get the balance right but it’s not easy because T20 brings in a lot of money and administrators need that money to sustain the game. They need to be given a bit of time,” the articulate opener says in the defence of the administrators. However, in the same breath, he cautions that this concern needs to be addressed soon. “Sooner or later, I am sure we will get the balance right. Indeed, balance is very important for the longevity of the game. It is important to understand that fans should not get tired of too much cricket,” he adds.
In Sri Lanka, the enthusiasm for the T20 World Cup hasn’t been great, especially in Colombo where the home team is yet to play.
The locals, though, are more worried about the slow death of the traditional format of the game in the entire subcontinent. Sangakkara is both pragmatic and philosophical on this.
“I think subcontinent fans support the game but unfortunately life is such that now nobody has much time,” says the 34-year-old. “Also, we need to upgrade the facilities in the stadiums so that families and kids can come and enjoy. We have a lot of work to do. It’s not for the lack of love that the fans don’t turn up in huge numbers. It’s just a sign of the times.”
The IPL has caused an improvement in the infrastructure in the stadiums in major Indian cities. The inaugural SLPL may never be able to rival the success of its Indian counterpart, but it may help improve the facilities in the grounds. That will not only please Sangakkara but every Lankan.
The writer is a journalist with CNN-IBN-7
Colombo, September 25
But after the players were struck by illness the brand has been changed.
“Although there is no evidence to suggest that water was the cause of any illness, all products supplied for use in the tournament have been replaced," an ICC spokesman was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, the local firm LAUGFS Aqua System, which was providing water to the teams, has dismissed the allegations against it. Among those, who were down with illness were Australian bowlers Mitchell Starc and Brad Hogg. They were struck down with flu-like symptoms, gastro and headaches but they got fit for the game against the West Indies at Premadasa Stadium, Saturday. The New Zealand and South African teams were also affected. New Zealand fast bowler paceman Tim Southee was hospitalised and treated for dehydration.
“We have done our own tests and confirmed that there is nothing wrong with our water," LAUGFS general manager Chaminda Wijesinghe said. “We asked the ICC to give us water samples but we have got no response yet.”A Sri Lankan source connected with the tournament said public health inspectors had checked the food and found nothing untoward. — Agencies
Colombo, September 25
Australia hammered Ireland by seven wickets, and then produced an excellent batting performance to overpower West Indies in a rain-shortened match at Colombo's Premadasa Stadium on Saturday night.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Australian coach has already sent some members of the squad for a sightseeing trip to the southern city of Galle. Sri Lanka offers some the best beaches in the world. — ANI
Galle, September 25
The tournament will kick off with hosts Sri Lanka taking on South Africa in the opening match at Galle International Cricket Stadium.
This Group B fixture will be followed by what is expected to be a cracker of a match between the previous event's losing finalist New Zealand and pre-tournament favourite the West Indies. The first match starts at 0930 while the second match begins at 1330 (local time). Eight women's teams will be competing in the tournament and they have been split into two groups. Group A includes defending champion Australia, 2009 winner England, and traditional rivals India and Pakistan, who go head to head a day after the equivalent men's Super Eight stage fixture on 1 October at 9.30 am.
Group B comprises home team Sri Lanka as well as two-time runner-up New Zealand, South Africa, and the West Indies, the team that won the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier 2011 in Dhaka last year. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals, which will be played on the same day and at the same venue as the men's semi-finals in Colombo on October 4 and 5 with the final to be played ahead of the men's final at R Premadasa Stadium on October 7. The semi-finalists from this event will qualify for the ICC Women's World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014. These four sides will be joined by the winners of the two play-off matches between the bottom four teams, which will be played at NCC and Moors Cricket Ground, respectively, in Colombo on Wednesday 3 October. With Bangladesh also qualifying for the 2014 event as the host country, the final place in the eight-team event will be decided in qualifying tournament to be played next year.
The entry to women's matches in Galle is free of charge. "We're definitely looking forward to the home support. It's exciting to have a world event like the ICC World Twenty20 in your home country. We expect that people will come out and support us like they have backed the men's team," Lanka captain Shashikala Siriwardene said.
South Africa captain Mignon du Preez believed that facing the host side in the opening match will be tricky. "It will definitely be challenging, but for them it's in their home ground so they're under a lot more pressure because they have to perform in front of their home audience. But coming here, we are the underdogs, so we don't have anything to lose and we can go out there and have some fun," she said. — Agencies
Mumbai, September 25
The name of the arbitrator will be decided on Tuesday when petition is taken up for further hearing. The Bombay High Court on Monday had suggested to the Cricket Board and Deccan Chronicles Holdings Ltd to settle their dispute over termination of IPL franchise by referring the matter to a mutually acceptable arbitrator. However, counsel for both the sides had said they would seek instructions from their respective clients over the names of arbitrator or arbitrators which would then be placed before the Court for approval.
Accordingly, Justice SJ Kathawala deferred till tomorrow, the hearing of petition filed by Deccan Chronicles challenging BCCI's decision at its emergency IPL Governing Council meeting in Chennai last week to terminate the contract of the cash-strapped Deccan Chargers. The Court had earlier granted status quo regarding the termination of the Deccan Chargers' IPL franchise by BCCI.
The cricket board had filed an affidavit listing a series of breaches committed by Deccan Chargers. It argued that the players had not been paid and said that around 20 banks are creditors of Deccan Chargers with dues to the tune of Rs4000 crore pending against the group. Counsel for Deccan Chronicles Holdings Ltd, Zal Andhyarajunam, admitted that the company had to pay substantial debts but assured that it would meet its obligations. Even the banks have assured. “All that we need is an elbow or breathing space to face our problems", he said.
“We are under financial constraints but are making bonafide attempts to resolve them. We (Deccan Chargers) have been running the franchise since last 3-4 years and we will continue to do so.” BCCI, he said, had not given them a chance to make a representation and terminated their franchise abruptly". This, he argued, was very unfair despite assurance by banks, mainly ICICI, that the company would meet its obligations.
As of now, there is no debt which is payable or due immediately. The instalments are due in October, November and December, Deccan Chronicles Counsel told the Court. BCCI, on the other hand, argued that Deccan Chronicle had to pay the players, the Cricket Board and had to run the franchise.
In order to run a franchise, one needs at least Rs150 crores, BCCI counsel Rafiq Dada submitted.
BCCI said the contract of players will come up for renewal on October 31. “How will Deccan Chargers renew their contract or even hire new players unless the existing ones are paid,” the Cricket board's counsel asked. "If for every bit of money, they (DC) are going to ask the banks then how can they run the franchise,” he asked. — PTI
Melbourne, September 25
Pattinson was laid low for a couple of months due to a foot injury that resulted from the heavy workload he shouldered. CA was warned by sports scientists that he would break down during the second Test against India last year if not preserved but the body did not pay heed.— PTI