Bad day for Rahul Dravid
India's reliable batsman Rahul Dravid, who is playing for Scotland in the English league, had a particularly bad day on Tuesday -- both on and off the field.
On the field Dravid was out, leg before wicket, for just six runs as his side slid to 36 for five and was shot out for 143 in reply to Middlesex's score of 255 for nine in 45 overs.
A bigger shock awaited him when he learnt that the dressing room had been broken in and he had lost 200 pounds
and a gold bangle. The valuables of other players were also missing.
"I haven't spoken to Rahul but I am sure he is pretty cross - 200 pounds is 200 pounds," Chris Carruthers, the
president of Scottish Cricket Limited, said.
"But there was a large sign in the dressing-room saying that players should take responsibility for their own
valuables. We know when you play at club grounds these things are more likely to happen."
Scotland coach Tony Judd said, "It was disappointing there weren't some attendants watching the rooms."
He was disappointed with his team's performance too, although he said "we're taking it as a compliment that sides are preparing so thoroughly against us".
Azhar innocent: Counsel
Pleading innocence in the match-fixing scandal, former Indian cricket captain Mohammad Azharuddin on Wednesday contended before a city civil court that the Cricket Board (BCCI) and K Madhavan, who inquired into the scandal, had failed to prove his involvement in match-fixing.
"Except making allegations, they have not provide any tangible proof in support of the their claim," T Jagdish,
Azharuddin's counsel, submitted before the court.
He alleged that crucial documents showing appointment of Madhavan as investigating officer to inquire into the match-fixing scandal were not brought on record and this was done with a malafide intent.
The refusal to bring documents before the court is an attempt to deprive the court of an opportunity to know the exact position regarding involvement of Azharuddin, he said, adding that, for this reason the suit should be decreed in his favour.
Jagdish also cited several judgements of the High Court and Supreme Court to prove his point.
The arguments would continue on Friday.
Azad for cautious approach for resumption of cricket ties
Despite the recent peace initiatives by both India and Pakistan, former Indian cricketer and national selector Kirti Azad on Wednesday advocated a cautious approach towards resumption of cricketing ties between the arch-rivals.
"We all enjoy a six by (Virender) Sehwag, strokeplay of (Sachin) Tendulkar or the bowling of (Anil) Kumble, but how could we enjoy cricket ties with our neighbours when our soldiers are being killed at the border or when women and children are becoming widows and orphans everyday?" Azad said over phone from London.
Azad, who is also a Member of Parliament, sought to dismiss the notion that cricket could play a part in improving overall relations between the two countries.
"If it was so, the relations between the two countries would have improved after 1977 when India and Pakistan resumed cricketing ties after nearly 18 years.
"But as you and I know, it hasn't been the case," he said.
Azad, on the other hand, said sports could actually act as leverage for nations to press their point on key matters.
"We have the example of Western Bloc going for a collective boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics to press their
point. Even in the recent World Cup, England decided to boycott Zimbabwe on a political issue."
He however was quick to add that "my comments, at no stage, should be seen as an approval of what Western Bloc or England did at separate times. I'm only suggesting how we have instances of sports being used to press a political point."
Flintoff promises to repay England at No.5
Andrew Flintoff has promised to repay England with big scores after being offered the chance of a lifetime to bat at No. 5 in the new-look one-day team.
Flintoff, once regarded as the new Ian Botham of English cricket, has been gradually living up to his true potential as an allrounder.
The 25-year-old Lancashire star is one of a handful of experienced players in the England team that is rebuilding after another disastrous World Cup in South Africa in February.
According to the new one-day captain Michael Vaughan, Flintoff will be a key figure in England's blueprint for the 2007 tournament in the West Indies. Vaughan also wants Flintoff to prove himself as a specialist batsman, who now and then, can play explosive knocks.
A career punctuated by injuries, Flintoff top scored in his first innings for England this summer with 39 against Pakistan in the two-wicket loss at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
His dismissal in the 32nd over sparked England's middle- order collapse. Until then, the home side threatened to post a sizable total and take the game away from the tourists.
"We've given him the opportunity to work himself into that fifth extra batsman," said Vaughan. "He's definitely got the ability and the potential. He's going to be a key figure in our one-day plans for the next few years."
Flintoff believes his elevation to No. 5 was a timely recognition of his true potential.
He has batted in the top order only 14 times before Tuesday in his 52-match one-day career. His usual position has been either No 6 or 7 where he had been forced to score quickly in the closing overs.
"Yes, definitely. I bat five in one-day cricket for Lancashire. I am in decent form and it's nice to think he
(Vaughan) has faith in me.
"At No. 5 I get a chance to build the innings and make some proper scores.
"The attitude has changed quite a bit this season. My first-class form has been very good. It's a case of making decent scores consistently."
Flintoff followed up his efforts the bat with economical figures of 0-23 in his 10 overs and the Lancastrian thinks he is maturing in to a complete cricketer.
"I hope so," he said. "In the one-day game I have proved. I've worked very hard. I can work hard on my bowling as well as batting."
ECB want government help to combat crowd trouble
English cricket chiefs are to ask the British Goverment for new legislation to help them deal with pitch invasions after hundreds of Pakistan fans ran on to the field at at Old Trafford, Manchester on Tuesday night.
At the finish of the opening one-day international, a tense day/night match where Pakistan beat England by two
wickets with four balls to spare, players and officials were engulfed by jubilant Pakistan fans who overwhelmed the stewards appointed to keep them behind the boundary.
The scene was reminiscent of Pakistan's last one-day series in England, in 2001, when their fans staged pitch
invasions at Edgbaston and Headingley, where a steward was assaulted, while Australia captain Steve Waugh led his team off the field at Trent Bridge when a match was interrupted.
Back then the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) asked the Government for legislation to deal specifically with the problem of pitch invasions at cricket matches, saying loopholes in the existing law meant they could not tackle the problem effectively.
Following yesterday's incident they plan to renew their calls for Government action.
"We'll be looking at the legal situation with the Home Office in the very near future," said David Clarke, the ECB's corporate communications and events manager.
"Two years ago they told us to use the legislation which covered aggravated trespass, which they believed would do the job, but there is clearly confusion with every Police Authority we work with.
"There is also confusion among the Crown Prosecution Service as to whether that legislation is appropriate - it's clear from the experience we've had so far that it's not appropriate."
However, he added: "We've not had any problems for two years, we've successfully changed the culture and people have stayed in their seats and stayed off the outfield until last night.
"This was a real test for cricket to see how far it had come in two years and it's a huge disappointment that we haven't been successful here in enabling the game to finish in an orderly way with the players and match officials leaving the field in a safe and secure manner."
Cricketer dies after scoring 98
A talented batsman collapsed and died during a league cricket game, 18 years after his father suffered the same fate while bowling in a match.
The 29-year-old Richard Smith had just been dismissed for 98 for his West Yorkshire club when he was found dead in the pavilion after suffering a heart attack.
It was thought that he may have had a similar heart condition to his father, David who died in 1985 at the age of 47, after collapsing on the field while bowling for his team, Crossflats, in a match at Silsden.
Richard, who played for Queensbury Cricket Club, died on Saturday during a Trinity Insurance Halifax League match at Bridgeholme Cricket Club in Eastwood.
Smith, a hard-hitting left-handed batsman who had smashed eight sixes and nine fours in his innings, was found dead in the clubhouse.
The batsman, who worked as a chef for Yorkshire Water, had just telephoned his wife Victoria, 23, to tell her that he was feeling unwell.
Mrs Smith said, "He was gutted because he had just got out for 98 and he said he was having chest pains and his arm was aching.
"He had just been sick after having a fizzy drink and I thought it might just be exhaustion from the cricket. I told him he needed some water. That was the last time I spoke to him."
"What has happened is ironic because the same thing happened to his father, of whom he was very proud. Last season Richard won a trophy for batting which was named in his father's memory. It was the first time he had won it and now this has happened," she said.
Philip Sharples, the Queensbury captain, and James Elsworth, Smith's close friend, tried to resuscitate him, but he was declared dead on arrival at hospital. The match was abandoned.
Sharples said, "It's a horrible, horrible tragedy. He was a wonderful, kind and generous man, full of life, with a great sense of humour and a damn fine cricketer."