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Cup Extras: Of Match-fixing and Irish pluck

Last updated on: March 3, 2011 16:51 IST

Gilchrist calls for life ban on 'fixers'



Former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist wants the ICC to show stronger leadership in dealing with match-fixing. He feels cricket will be finished if the menace "spirals out of control".

Match-fixing speculation is doing the rounds in the ongoing World Cup as well but the ICC has been quick to deny it. Gilchrist said acting tough is the way to deal with the scourge of corruption.

- World Cup coverage

"It's time for someone at the ICC to take more leadership on this issue," Gilchrist was quoted as saying by The Herald Sun.

"This (match and spot-fixing) is the biggest issue in the game, it really is. Scheduling is another but that won't be an issue if there's no cricket and if match-fixing spirals out of control there won't be any cricket.

"People won't want to become stakeholders in our sport if match-fixing is allowed to flourish. The ICC has taken some action recently but I personally think the penalties need to be the harshest possible," he explained.

Gilchrist said he wants life bans on any players found guilty of wrongdoing.

"I would like to see a life ban for anyone who enters into ill-dealings in the sport."

Image: Adam Gilchrist
Photographs: Getty Images

PCB to discuss Warne's tie tweet

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Shane Warne's accurate prediction of the India-England World Cup match ending in a tie has raised eyebrows in the Pakistan Cricket Board which is planning to discuss the Australian's "strange" forecast in the next ICC board meeting.

"Doesn't it sound strange that he should predict it would be a tie. At the next meeting of the International Cricket Council board we would certainly like this issue to be discussed," PCB chairman Ijaz Butt told reporters in Lahore.

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Butt said the recent spate of controversies involving spot-fixing in international cricket meant that the tweet, made hours before the match, had to be discussed in detail.

Three of Pakistan's top players -- Salman Butt, Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Aamir -- were banned by the ICC last month for their involvement in spot-fixing on the tour to England last year.

Spot-fixing has been a hot topic in the ongoing World Cup as well with the Pakistan and Sri Lanka match and the Australia and Zimbabwe encounter being spoken about in this regard.

Pakistan's former Test pacer Sarfaraz Nawaz said he had no doubt spot-fixing was taking place in the World Cup.

"I have no doubt that spot-fixing remains an issue in this tournament and the bookmakers are trying to rope in some players," Nawaz said.

He said it was wrong to assume that only Pakistani players could be linked to bookmakers.

"I think India is the hub of betting and fixing in cricket and the Indian bookmakers are again active in this World Cup," he said.

Nawaz said the ICC anti-corruption unit officials need to be very vigilant during the tournament.

"It is better if the ICC anti-corruption officials start being open about which matches they are investigating so that this can discourage those involved in this menace," he stated.

Image: Shane Warne

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Strauss rues dropped catches

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A disappointed England captain Andrew Strauss blamed poor bowling and fielding for his side's three-wicket loss at the hands of Ireland in Bangalore and said they will have to quickly address the chinks if they want to go the distance in the cricket World Cup.

"Generally we bounce back and in the past too. We have done that in Test and one-day cricket. We can be challenging and realise where we could prove. We need to galvanise and we cannot afford any slip up in our remaining matches," Strauss said at the post-match press conference.

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"We dropped Kevin (O'Brien) and three other catches in the game. Our bowlers could have been better during power play. We were taken by surprise there. You cannot afford to give away so many chances. If you drop a batsman before, it is hard to get his wicket. It is asking for trouble," he said.

Strauss gave full credit to the Ireland team for their victory but said another 10-15 runs more (than 327) would have made the difference.

"It is definitely a disappointing day. Another 10 or 15 runs in the last overs could have helped us. You got to give credit to Kevin (O'Brien) and (Alex) Cusack the way they chased the total down. They got a pretty experienced side. hey have done it before in World Cups. They get on to their attitude that they have nothing to lose.

"On the two matches that we have played not one bowler but all bowlers suffered in the wickets. But, you got to get more runs quickly than your opposition teams," said the England captain.

Image: A dejected England team after losing to Ireland

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Ireland looking to consolidate

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Ireland captain William Porterfield says beating England is the "biggest in our country's cricket".

"We have won against Pakistan and Bangladesh in 2007 and lost to England by 48 runs. Going by these, this is the best ever win for us so far on international cricket," he said.

"Kevin's was an unbelievable knock. I admire him for the manner in which he scored runs. Bangladesh loss is gone; we now have to do our best in the remaining matches. We had our strategy and plans and things fell in places," he added.

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Kevin O'Brien, who entered his name into record books by hitting the fastest World Cup hundred in just 50 balls, said any sporting success over England was big in his country.

"It is a fantastic day for us not to say only for our cricket. Any time Ireland beat England whether it is football or rugby it is massive. We are enjoying every moment. We are now going to consolidate this win to our advantage in the remaining matches in the World Cup," he said.

"England were the favourites to win this match. You cannot just write us off in one-day cricket. Strange things can happen any day. It happens on some occasions we took our chances. As Porterfield had said that we took the powerplay in 31 overs. At that stage we took a chance and came off working our favour," he added.

Image: The O'Brien brothers Kevin and Nial

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Bangladesh take inspiration from Irish pluck

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Bangladesh are in familiar territory, but skipper Shakib Al Hasan is taking nothing for granted ahead of their Group B World Cup match against the West Indies in Mirpur on Friday.

The two-time winners, who last toured the country way back in 2002, suffered a 0-3 whitewash against the same team at home in 2009, when the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) fielded a second-string team following a financial spat with leading players.

But according to Shakib, that's history.

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"The West Indies did not have their main players in that series, but they are back now which makes them a very good side," he said.

"We will have to be at our best to beat them. I am confident we can win, but for that to happen we must play good cricket."

Bangladesh fought back after losing the tournament opener to India by 87 runs to beat Ireland by 27 runs despite being bowled out for a modest 205.

The West Indies too bounced back in style thrashing the Netherlands by a massive 215 runs in New Delhi on Monday, after the seven-wicket defeat to South Africa in their first game.

Shakib said Ireland's sensational win over England in Bangalore on Wednesday night has thrown open the race for quarter-final berths.

"It definitely makes it wide open," Shakib said. "No team can afford to lose from here."

Image: Mohammad Ashraful (L) and Shakib Al Hasan

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Wright demands consistency from Kiwis

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New Zealand coach John Wright has demanded more consistency from the players as he feels the team cannot progress much riding on just one or two members' performance in the crucial Group A clash against Zimbabwe in the World Cup in Ahmedabad on Friday.

Wright, who coached India for five years in the early part of the millennium, also wants the team to put up scores in excess of 300, New Zealand's vice-captain Ross Taylor told mediapersons on the eve of the match at the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium in Motera.

"John talked to the whole team about what to do. Not necessarily just the batters, we need to be more consistent and clinical about the way we approach. One person standing up is just not good enough," Taylor told reporters.

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"(According to Wright) as a batting unit we need to step up and score about 300-330 which is the par score in this tournament," said the top-order batsman.

Both Zimbabwe and New Zealand have a win and a loss going into the clash and Taylor said his team's batsmen are a talented lot who need to go out and perform to their potential.

"We are all very talented. We are getting out there in the middle and just getting ourselves out. It's frustrating but we know we are not far away. In our performance, hopefully we will show that," said the 26-year-old.

"We are just getting out... I think our whole batting order has struggled over the last 12 months or so. We need a couple of players to stand up and perform for us to be competitive," he added.

Taylor, who has played 101 ODIs since making his debut in March, 2006, was confident of rectifying the poor record, especially on slow wickets that are the vogue in the sub continent.

"Obviously three hundreds is disappointing, hopefully I can rectify it in the next 12 months," said the Kiwi vice-captain.

Image: John Wright

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