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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Kiwis rethink on Sri Lanka tour

Kiwis rethink on Sri Lanka tour

April 09, 2003 15:13 IST

New Zealand's national cricket team is monitoring the deadly pneumonia outbreak in Asia before deciding whether to tour Sri Lanka later this month, said team captain Stephen Fleming.

The squad is scheduled to fly to Sri Lanka via Singapore in less than a fortnight for the start of their tour but have some concerns about the rapidly spreading Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which has killed nearly 100 people.

"We're going to have to watch it," Fleming said.

"If it progresses as expected we might have a problem getting there. When you take into account insurance complications and the already tight security measures... it's definitely something to watch."

Ian Botham has accepted a new role with Somerset, the club he spent 15 years with as a player and left amid acrimony in 1985.

The former England all-rounder and current television commentator was back at Taunton on Monday after being appointed advisor to new Somerset chairman Giles Clarke.

"I still have a great feeling for the club, the ground and the supporters so I'm delighted to be doing my bit to try and put Somerset back at the top level of English cricket," said Botham.

"I watch more cricket in a year than most do in a lifetime and I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open on the club's behalf, hopefully finding a player or two to recommend who might strengthen the team.

Adam Hollioake should be made captain of England's one-day side, according to Surrey team-mate Mark Butcher.

England Test batsman Butcher gave his Surrey skipper a full vote of confidence for the captaincy position made vacant when Nasser Hussain resigned after the World Cup.

And Hollioake is one of the leading candidates, despite not having played for England for almost four years.

"I think Adam would make an excellent one-day captain for England," Butcher told the BBC Sport web site.

Butcher reckons Hollioake is the right option.

"One of his biggest strengths is the ability to empower the people that are playing with him and make them play well as a team," he explains.

"He's fantastic at making people believe in themselves.

"That's the kind of captain he is at Surrey and I know he'd do the same if he was given a chance with England."

India vice-captain Rahul Dravid is expected to sign a contract with Scotland to play in the majority of their league games in the English county season, BBC Sport revealed.

His presence would undoubtedly boost gates for both home and away matches as Scotland make their debut in the 50-over-a-side league.

The stumbling block, however, could be the financing of such a move, with Scottish Cricket still seeking a major sponsor for their inaugural season in the league.

Scotland captain Craig Wright told BBC Sport: "We hope we are able to sign Rahul Dravid.

"Talks are at a fairly advanced stage. Basically, they are just trying to make an offer to him but he is certainly very interested as far as I'm aware to come over.

"I think he's looking at coming over at the end of May, I believe, so he would perhaps miss the first few games.

Batsman John Crawley has been named Hampshire's captain for the 2003 season.

The Rose Bowl side has been searching for a skipper since Australian Shane Warne was handed a 12-month ban for taking a prescribed substance prior to the World Cup.

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram was named last week to take Warne's place in the squad, but was apparently unwilling to lead the side.