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Shastri to make Proteas media savvy

June 08, 2003 17:37 IST
Shastri to make Proteas media savvy

In a bid to make their national players media savvy, the South African cricket team is hiring the services of former India captain Ravi Shastri ahead of the series against England.

Shastri, who now works as a television commentator, will arrive in South Africa next week to help teach young captain Graeme Smith's wards the finer points of press relation.

Smith, for whom the England tour will be the first major assignment since taking over the reigns of captaincy from Shaun Pollock soon after the World Cup, knows very well what awaits them during
the series.

"That's why we won't leave a stone unturned to ensure we're properly prepared for what awaits us. Ravi (Shastri) can tell us what to expect from the point of view of a player and the media,"
Smith was quoted as saying by a South African web site.

Smith made it clear he would like his team's relationship with the South African cricket media to improve.

During the World Cup, the relation between the local media and the South Africans had strained a lot following the hosts' first round exit.

Smith also admitted that he is a bit nervous about the future series.

"We are a little afraid of what lies in store for us in England. We know we're not going there as favourites. It's not a coincidence that we haven't been able to win a series there since we were readmitted."

"As captain it's a great incentive to try to lead the team to victory," said Smith.



Bangladesh retain Mahmud as captain for Australia tour

Bangladesh's cricket selectors have retained all-rounder Khaled Mahmud as captain of the national team for the upcoming Test tour of Australia, an official said on Saturday.

Bangladesh will play two Tests and three one-day international matches against world champions Australia from July 6 to August 7.

A 15-member team, led by Mahmud will travel to Australia on June 22 to play in practice matches ahead of the Test series, Bangladesh Cricket Board official Ali Asghar said.

The Australian tour will be the first assignment for new Bangladesh coach, Dav Whatmore, who took over on June 1.

Mahmud, 32, was made captain of the national team in April for the home series against South Africa.

Bangladesh has lost 18 of its 19 Test matches since becoming a full member of the International Cricket Council in 2000. Only one Test, against Zimbabwe, was rain drawn.

The team last won a limited-overs match in 1999 -- against Pakistan in the World Cup in England.



Nights out, politics caused Bangladesh's WC debacle

Nights out, complacency and politics landed Bangladesh in a shameful situation in this year's cricket World Cup, a committee of inquiry said in its findings, to be released in Dhaka on Saturday.

"The truth remains that there was noticeable inadequacy and complacency on the part of both the (present and past Bangladesh cricket) Boards," the committee said in its report after nearly an
unprecedented inquiry lasting nearly three months.

It said this had "been adequately reflected in the quality of our team's performance".

"The sooner things are put right, the sooner cricket will improve," said the committee, comprising a retired bureaucrat and an army officer.

The BCB set up the inquiry in March. The report was leaked by the Daily Star newspaper and confirmed by BCB sources.

Bangladeshis had hoped for a win over Kenya and minnows Canada in the World Cup in South Africa, but failed to show any fight.

Bangladesh have lost 18 of 19 Tests since being admitted to the international fold in 2000, their only draw coming in a rain-hit tie against Zimbabwe two seasons ago. The team has also not won a one-day international in four years.

The committee outlined the faults found with those steering the team at the World Cup.

It said skipper Khaled Masud, also known as "Pilot", who was dropped from the team after the World Cup, "fought with the manager on the issue of tickets, and there were instances where he
spent nights out of the hotel.

"In particular, the night before the Kenya match, Pilot was seen outside the hotel at well past midnight, and this obviously contributed to the deterioration of his ability as a player and it
is no wonder that he dropped three regulation catches against Kenya the following day."

There was also no consultation among the captain, physio and trainer over the team line-up, the report said.

"It appears that 'Pilot's' conduct and captaincy do raise questions about his motive," the report said.

The committee, following interviews with Kamal and assistant World Cup coach Ali Zia concluded that "neither of them was really competent, dedicated, sincere or committed enough to perform their duties".

"The fact is, they were being paid well and were quite  happy," it said.

Team manager A.S.M. Faruque also did not perform his duties, the report said.



Scots give Pakistan a fright in tour opener

Pakistan were given an almighty fright by the minnows of Scotland in their tour opener at Glasgow on Saturday.

Rashid Latif's side, set 169 to win the one-day match, scraped home with just one wicket to spare and the Pakistan skipper paid tribute to the way Scotland had tested his side.

"Kenya and Bangladesh have been given one-day status and I think there should be a place for Scotland in international cricket as well," said the skipper.

"They made it very tough for us but that was no surprise. We know how well they have been doing this season."

Pakistan were without pace bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami but Latif insisted the tourists had taken Scotland seriously.

"I'm not worried about our bowling and know what Shoaib and Sami can do but it is our batting that is a concern. The conditions probably helped Scotland but they deserve credit for using
them."

Scotland skipper Craig Wright was bitterly disappointed not to have claimed Pakistan's scalp.

"We showed as we have done a few times this season that we can be competitive against quality opposition and I hope people are sitting up and taking notice."

"It's been a bit of a recurring theme that we've been about 20 or 30 runs short in some games but even 10 more might have been enough today."

Pakistan, who arrived in Britain on Thursday, play Essex at Chelmsford on Monday in another one-day match as part of their preparations before a three-match one-day series against England, starting June 17 at Old Trafford, Manchester.



Taxi driver detained in Aussies' theft case

Police detained a taxi driver on Saturday for questioning in the theft of thousands of dollars in equipment from touring Australian cricketers, police said.

Acting on a tip-off, police in eastern St. Joseph's searched the suspect's car yesterday and found some of the 35 stolen items, including bats, pads, shoes, sun glasses and other personal
items.

The Australian Cricket Board had filed a US$10,000 claim with Trinidad-based BWIA airline for items discovered missing after the team flew May 26 to Grenada for its last two internationals
against the West Indies, airline spokesman Clint Williams said.

Airport authorities and BWIA both denied the bags could have been tampered with at Trinidad's international airport. It was unclear what would happen with the claim.

"This confirms what our internal investigations uncovered earlier, that the theft could not have taken place at the airport," he said.

The suspect, Williams said, was working for a taxi service that transported the players to the airport the morning they left.

Police are still investigating, and said they could detain more people for questioning. No one has yet been charged with a crime.