Cup Extras: Hip Tendulkar dyes hair brown
Master batsman Sachin Tendulkar was seen sporting a new look at India's practice session in Motera on Tuesday. Taking a cue from some of his teammates, the master batsmen has dyed his curly locks brown.
This would be the first time that the 37-year-old has coloured his hair brown and joined the likes of Zaheer Khan, who has been spotted with blonde-strippd hair.
Another player know for his colourful curly locks is Lasith Malinga from Sri Lanka.
Tendulkar was seen in the new look during the practice session in Motera ahead of India's quarter-final against defending champions Australia.
The highest run scorer is on the verge of another feat of his career -- Tendulkar is one century short of completing 100 tons in international cricket (both Tests and ODIs).
The Motera stadium was the venue where two greats of Indian cricket achieved their biggest milestones.
On March 7 1987, Sunil Gavaskar became the first batsman to reach 10,000 runs in Test cricket when he late cut Pakistan leggy Ijaz Fakih for a three at the Sardar Patel Gujarat stadium in Motera.
Seven years later, Kapil Dev broke Sir Richard Hadlee's record to become the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket at the same venue when he had Hashan Tillakaratne caught at forward short-leg by Sanjay Manjrekar.
Tendulkar who missed the feat during team's concluding group B match against West Indies Saturday last at Chennai would be looking at attaining that record on Thursday against world champions Australia.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar has a laugh during a practice session in Ahmedabad on Tuesday
Elaborate security blanket over knockout matches
Unprecedented security arrangements have been put in place for Thursday's sellout World Cup quarter-final between India and Australia in Ahmedabad although organisers say there has been no specific threat.
Security has been high on the World Cup agenda with co-hosts India also due to stage the March 30 semi-final in Mohali and the April 2 final in Mumbai.
"Security for the quarter-final will be much more robust than the two earlier matches," city police commissioner Amitabh Pathak told local media.
"We get inputs regarding terror threats from time to time. We are in touch with intelligence bureau officials but there is no specific threat for this match."
The joint secretary of the Punjab Cricket Association G S Walia told Reuters everything was place for the Mohali semi-final, which could feature India against Pakistan.
"Everything is under control and all plans are in place. We are ready to host an India-Pakistan match in case it turns out to be so," Walia said.
"Everything is being taken care of by the government so we have nothing to worry about."
The 2009 armed attack on the Sri Lanka team in Lahore shattered any illusion that athletes enjoyed any kind of immunity in a volatile region and since that incident Pakistan has not hosted an international match on home soil.
The feelgood in the tournament was soured when police baton-charged fans seeking tickets in Bangalore, Nagpur and, on Monday, in Ahmedabad.
A shortage of tickets incited irate fans to vandalism and organisers have now abandoned plans to sell some tickets for the final through box offices.
"I cannot share the number but, yes, all the tickets for the final match is being sold only through ballot and none through box offices," KyaZoonga chief executive Neetu Bhatia told Reuters.
"Ballot is the most democratic way of doing the job, it's fair and square. When the gap between demand and supply is too high, ballot is one of the better ways to deal with the situation."
Also, according to local media reports, an image-conscious Mumbai Police plan to deploy only fit and good-looking officers for the final match.
The reports said the police commissioner had asked his department to make sure that overweight and tobacco-chewing officers were not put on duty for the match.
Image: Australia's Michael Clarke walks past policemen during a nets session at Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad on Tuesday
Photographs: Getty Images
PCB demand foolproof security for Pakistan team
Pakistan Cricket Board has asked International Cricket Council to ensure foolproof security for its players if they qualify for the World Cup semi-finals and final slated to be held in India.
If Pakistan beat West Indies in the first quarter-final on Wednesday, they play the winners of the last eight match between India and Australia in the semi-final at Mohali while the World Cup final will be held in Mumbai.
"Given the threats made by the Shiv Sena, warning Pakistan about playing in Mumbai and also statements made by some other extremist elements, the PCB just wants to be sure everything is in place if the team has to play in India," one reliable source told PTI.
He said the PCB had contacted the ICC and asked the world body to ensure that Pakistan faced no problems playing in India.
India have not played Pakistan in any bilateral series since the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008. Pakistani cricketers have also not played in Indian Premier League after 2008.
"Pakistani players have not played in India since the first edition of the IPL in early 2008, so obviously the PCB wants to be sure the players are not uncomfortable going to India," the source said.
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi had initially said that his team would prefer to play its quarter-final or semi-final out of India because of the pressure involved in playing in front of Indian crowd.
Afridi later retracted his statement saying that Pakistan were willing to play at any venue including India as their main emphasis was on cricket and doing well on the field.
Sources said that Pakistan foreign and interior ministries had already been in touch with their Indian counterparts to ensure proper security for the Pakistani players if they have to play in India.
"The Indians have also issued visas to around 3000 Pakistanis wishing to travel to India for the World Cup semi-final and final and obviously their security is also a concern for the Pakistan government," the source said.
Pakistan's hockey team played twice in New Delhi last year -- in the World Cup and Commonwealth Games -- and faced no untoward incident although some players on returning home complained of some sections of the crowd exerting lot of pressure on the players.
Image: Shahid Afridi
Collingwood to undergo knee surgery after World Cup
To prolong his international career, Paul Collingwood will undergo knee surgery immediately after England's World Cup campaign ends.
The all-rounder, who has already announced his retirement from Test cricket at the end of the Ashes series, has struggled for form and fitness in this World Cup.
Collingwood has not ruled out battling through the pain barrier if England needs him in the knockout stages, and added that he cannot go on much longer without going under the knife.
The knee injury, which has seen him limited to just four matches during England's campaign and saw him dropped for the games against South Africa and West Indies, has compromised his mobility when bowling and fielding, the Daily Express reports.
Collingwood, who signed with the IPL team Rajasthan Royals in a three-year deal for 150,000 pounds in January this year, was set to join up for their first match on April 9.
However, surgery could delay his availability for his franchise.
Image: Paul Collingwood
Photographs: Getty Images