Murali to raise funds for war-ravaged countrymen
Sri Lankan bowling legend Muttiah Muralitharan plans to travel the world and raise funds to build a sports complex for war-ravaged civilians in his country.
Muralitharan, who holds the world record with 800 Test and 538 one-day wickets, wants to build the centre in northern Sri Lanka to build a new life for thousands of children in the former war zone.
"Financially we are not a wealthy country. But we have to help these people to rebuild their lives. I plan to travel abroad and talk to people, to raise money to build the facility," he said.
The million dollar project will be the second for Muralitharan's charity -- the Foundation of Goodness -- after having set up a similar project in a tsunami-hit southern coastal village of Seenigama.
The two-year project in Mankulam, 300 kilometres (187 miles) north of Colombo, aims to build a sports centre, a school, English and IT training centres and an Elders' Home.
The bowler said he is reaching out to cricketers overseas to contribute.
"Cricket unites communities, and we can use the game to reach out and help those who are less privileged than us, to make their lives a little bit easier," the 38-year-old said.
Image: Muttiah Muralitharan
Angry protestors clash with police in Mohali
Angry protestors hurled stones and clashed with police outside the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium on Monday in the runup to Wednesday's India-Pakistan Cricket World Cup semi-final.
Baton-wielding police and security forces on horseback tried to push back the crowds as a protest outside the stadium turned ugly and a Reuters witness said seven people were arrested and taken away in a police van.
Injured men were seen lying on the grounds as they tried to escape the police action. It was not clear what had sparked the protest.
A heavy security presence has surrounded the 30,000 seat stadium ever since the two neighbouring countries set up the hotly anticipated showdown last week.
Local police told Reuters the protest was unconnected to the shortage of tickets that has angered fans in several Indian cities over the past five weeks.
Last month's violence in Bangalore erupted after tens of thousands of fans who had camped overnight outside the 38,400-seat M Chinnaswamy Stadium were told all 7,000 tickets allocated for public sale for the Feb. 27 India v England game had been sold.
Police also used batons to control the angry fans on that occasion and similar scenes were witnessed in Nagpur on March 8 in the lead up to India's group match with South Africa.
Ticket sales for the Feb. 19-April 2 tournament have proven to be a major headache for Indian organisers, who are unable to meet demand for the high-profile matches, especially those featuring the home team as well as the April 2 final in Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium.
Image: An injured man lies on a road as police mounted on horseback charge at protesters in Mohali
Lawson predicts Pakistan-New Zealand will play WC final
Former Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson has backed Shahid Afridi's men to emerge winners in the much-anticipated World Cup semi-final against India.
"Pakistan have played some good cricket, their guys look really good... and it could be a Pakistan-New Zealand final," the Daily Times quoted Lawson, as saying.
Pakistan are set to take on India in a high-voltage clash in Mohali on Wednesday.
Pakistan had thrashed West Indies in the first quarter-final in Dhaka, while India had defeated Australia by five-wickets in the second quarterfinal in Ahmedabad.
Image: Geoff Lawson
Langer backs Ponting to lead Oz cricket back to its former glory
Former Australian batsman Justin Langer believes that captain Ricky Ponting is the right man to lead Australian cricket back to its former glory despite the national team's World Cup quarter-final elimination by India.
"Ricky Ponting's century under immense pressure was outstanding. Anyone who believes he is not in the best 11 players in Australia at the moment must be seeing something different from what I witnessed on Saturday," Langer wrote in a column for the BBC.
"More importantly, you would only have to spend five minutes behind the closed doors of the Australian cricket team to recognize the inspirational impact he has across the board."
"Like Sachin, he has an incredible appetite for the game of cricket. He lives, eats, breathes and bleeds Australian cricket," he added.
Ponting scored 206 runs from seven World Cup games at an average of 34.33.
His 104 from 118 balls against India in the quarterfinal was his first international century in 13 months.
The 36-year-old has played in five World Cup tournaments, including Australia's loss to Sri Lanka in the 1996 final and the three titles which followed in 1999, 2003 and 2007, the last two under his captaincy.
Image: Australian captain Ricky Ponting and batting coach Justin Langer
New Zealand PM John Key to miss WCup semis
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has declined an invitation to witness his country play Sri Lanka in the first semi-final of the ongoing cricket World Cup in Colombo on Tuesday citing logistical problems.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had extended an invitation to Key on Sunday to witness the two teams battle it out for a place in the final, said the PM was eager to visit, but there was very limited scope of him being able to make it to the venue on a short notice as he had just returned to the capital.
"He has said that he was delighted with the invitation, but he is unable to make it in time due to logistical problems," the president apprised the media.
Sri Lanka will take on Kiwis looking to make it to the second successive World Cup final after the islanders failed to lift the trophy during the previous edition against Australia.
The Black Caps on other hand are charged up after their win over title favourites South Africa and will look to make the Cup finals after being a part of the semis for five times.
Sri Lanka will take heart from their previous show against New Zealand when the islanders romped home with a 112 run victory during their Group A match in Mumbai on March 18.
The winner of Tuesday's semi-final will meet the winners of Wednesday's clash between arch rivals India and Pakistan.
Image: New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key