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May 30, 2003 17:35 IST
Aussies robbed at Trinidad
Australian cricket officials have demanded police intervention after some of their playing equipment, worth around $10,000, was stolen at Trinidad's Piarco Airport earlier this week.
According to The Daily Telegraph, 42 items, including six bats, a CD burner, clothing, shoes and sunglasses, were taken from the bags of players and officials as Australia made its way from Trinidad to Grenada for the tour's concluding one-day matches.
The Australians had lost gear at Piarco Airport four years ago and earlier on the current tour after the second Test.
India and South Africa also had belongings stolen on recent visits.
Australian team manager Steve Bernard said he had been given assurances from the West Indian Cricket Board and British West Indian Airways that the bags, which weren't locked, would be safe this time.
Bernard said the 39 bags that came with the team were fine, but many of the 41 bags that arrived later had been opened.
Two players particularly devastated by the thieving were Michael Bevan, who had a new bat stolen, and Andy Bichel, who had the bat he used during his two match-winning innings in the World Cup taken.
New Zealand to tour Pakistan in November
The New Zealand cricket team will tour Pakistan in November this year to play five one-day internationals in lieu of the Karachi Test match in May last year which was cancelled following a bomb blast.
The series will be played in November and will be against the cancelled Test at Karachi in May 2002, the Pakistan Cricket Board said in a statement on Thursday.
New Zealand Cricket has accepted the offer and conveyed its consent to visit Pakistan in a letter by its cricket Chief Executive Martin Snedden.
"NZC agrees that the New Zealand team will visit Pakistan immediately after the conclusion of our tour of India to participate in a five-match ODI series," the letter said.
New Zealand's two-match Test series last year was cut short by a bomb explosion outside the team hotel in Karachi. It triggered off a long isolation for Pakistan, continuing till date, during which international teams refused to visit the country on security concerns.
"We are delighted with the news because it would open doors for international teams to resume tours to Pakistan more regularly. We are already hosting Bangladesh and South Africa between August and October but the tour by the Black Caps will be significant as they were the last team to come to Pakistan before their tour was curtailed because of reasons beyond PCB's control," PCB Chief Executive Rameez Raja said.
About the likely criticism that the New Zealand tour would take place during Muslim holy month, Ramadan, Raja said the PCB realised this and respected the sentiments of the masses.
"But to regain our credibility as an international venue and because of tight international commitments, we have to accommodate NZC's request," he said
Raja said now that NZC had officially confirmed their availability, the PCB will sit down to finalise the tour
With the confirmation New Zealand's tour, Pakistan would get to host six Tests and 13 one-day internationals between August and November this year.
Injured Flintoff out of second Test
Andrew Flintoff has been ruled out of England's second Test against Zimbabwe in Durham next week, it was confirmed at London on Thursday
England all-rounder Flintoff missed the opening Test at Lord's last week due to a shoulder injury he picked up in the nets at Lancashire when he was struck by a beamer.
Flintoff had looked to be en route to a speedy recovery when he turned out for Lancashire's win in the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy over Durham at the Riverside.
However, the 25-year-old is still not able to bowl and said, "I won't play in the next Test and instead will stay with Lancashire for the next fortnight, then see how I feel."
Young talent has to be groomed: former spin greats
Legendary spinners Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and Erapalli Prasanna on Thursday expressed hope that the BCCI's spinners conference would be able to prepare a blueprint for unearthing fresh talent.
"I don't beleive that the golden period of spin bowling in the country has come to an end. But it's a fact that lesser number of spinners are coming up. We have to groom young talents well to revive the art," leg spin wizard Chandrasekhar told newspersons in Kolkata.
Blaming one-day cricket for the general decay in the art, Chandrasekhar said: "In our times we used to bowl with a ring of close-in fielders including slip, leg slip and short leg. But now, in the limited-overs game, the spinners don't get such supportive fielding."
He said the basic target of any bowler in the shorter version is containment, rather than attack.
"Spinners do not dare to tease batsmen to get their wickets now," said Chandrasekhar, who fashioned many an Indian victory with his deadly googlies.
Celebrated off-spinner Prasanna hoped that BCCI's spinners conference on Friday would be able to draw up a concrete action plan to improve the standards of slow bowling.
"But more than pacers or spinners, what we need most is wicket takers," the Karnataka-based bowler said.
Asked what made good spinners, he said, "They have to be creative. The more creative a spinner, the better he is."
Chandrasekhar said he consideres Sri Lanka's Muthiah Muralitharan the best spinner in recent times. However, asked to name the best spinner of all time, he replied, "I'm not very sure of that."
Queried if he has received any invitation to join the Indian Cricket Players' Association, he answered in the negative.
"I do not know anything about it. The ICPA bosses have not spoken to me. My information about the organisation is based on media reports," he said.
On whether he would join the ICPA if the offer came, Chandrasekhar said: "I have not thought about it. Let them
He praised the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly, but refused to draw any comparision between the present Indian skipper and Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi.
"One cannot make such comparisons. But Pataudi was undoubtedly the best captain I played under," he added.
Arun Lal lambasts BCCI for "arbitrary" coach appointments
Indian Cricket Players' Association vice-president and former Test player Arun Lal on Thursday lambasted the BCCI for its "arbitrary nature" of appointing officials for overseas tours of the senior and India 'A' teams.
Alleging that the post of manager for the senior team was decided keeping in mind the capability of the person to garner votes, Lal said that often greenhorns, who had little rapport with the players, are given such plum assignments.
In an apparent reference to Ashok Malhotra, Lal said the former batsman was made the coach of the India 'A' team and soon after named India's coach during the Bangladesh tour in April.
"Surely, he must have excelled as India 'A' coach in Bangladesh. But only a month later he was dumped and Sandeep Patil was selected coach of the 'A' side for the coming England tour," Lal said.
Questioning the motive behind such appointments, he said, "It is wrong to appoint and sack individuals in such an arbitrary manner; it will not help in maintaining the image of the BCCI or the coaches. It also adversely affects the long-term prospects of the 'A' team exercise."
BCCI invites Meghalaya for meeting on affiliation issue
The Board of Control for Cricket in India has invited Meghalaya to a meeting on Monday to discuss the formalities of granting affiliation to the state unit following its appeal for the same.
"The BCCI has asked us to fulfil certain criteria like laying of a cricket pitch, providing infrastructure and arranging suitable accommodation for coaches, experts and technical instructors. We are meeting the requirements and gearing up for it," Meghalaya Sports and Youth Affairs minister Paul Lyngdoh told reporters in Shillong on Friday.
The meeting, which will also be attended by Andaman and Nicobar, and Pondicherry, will discuss the affiliation issue with the states' cricket associations, he said.
"We are hopeful of getting BCCI affiliation, which will give an opportunity to the promising cricketers of Meghalaya to make their mark," the minister said.
Admitting that the sports scene in the state is "not upto the mark", Lyngdoh said the state does not have adequate infrastructure like a proper stadium in the state capital, not to talk about districts.
Gough happy to be old man in the party
Darren Gough hoped his recall to England's one-day squad would lend experience to an otherwise fledgling party.
The Yorkshire fast bowler missed most of England's international programme including the World Cup, apart from a handful of home one-dayers in 2002, during the past 18 months because of injuries.
At 32, he is the oldest man in a coltish-looking squad where only Ashley Giles has also passed thirty.
"I thought I had a chance but until you get the call you never know, although I knew my experience at some stage would come into it," Gough told Sky Sports ahead of the three-match one-day series against Pakistan and the triangular tournament with Zimbabwe and South Africa.
"At the back of your mind I will always be thinking 'if I do well I'll get my recall'," he added.
"When you are out of the game and need something special.. well I still believe can do that for England," insisted Gough.
"It's still a great challenge for me - but I just hope we don't have to do a sprint test to see who's the quickest. I think I've got three or four years left in me at this level. Hopefully,I fan stay fit for a long period of time and make up for lost time."
Gough's remarks came following comments earlier by chairman of selectors David Graveney that England's failure to take wickets between the 15th and 35th over of a one-day innings had been a major problem at the World Cup.
Gough has been sidelined recently by a hamstring injury but, in typically oprimistic style, the paceman insisted he would be ready for the opening match against Pakistan at Old Trafford on June 17.
"I've worked hard and been bowling for three months. I got a little hamstring strain but it was not serious - I was only out for three weeks and with the injuries I've had that is nothing.
"I think in one-day cricket you've got to have a bowler who can take wickets. Australia have Brett Lee who can do it and I consider myself still able to do it. Hopefully,I'll be able to do it for England this summer."