Dhoni urges fans to control emotions
The stone-pelting incident in Dhaka, where frustrated Bangladeshi fans attacked the West Indies team bus, didn't escape Mahendra Singh Dhoni's attention, prompting the India skipper to ask fans to control their emotions.
"I think they missed the Bangladesh bus (laughs)...that's what they were waiting for. It is unfortunate but that is how fans in the sub-continent react. You should remember that players are not living at home, their families don't have anything to do with cricket. You have to control your emotions," Dhoni told reporters in Bangalore ahead of India's World Cup match against Ireland.
Recalling the 2007 World Cup -- his house in Ranchi was attacked by angry fans after India crashed out of the tournament -- Dhoni said, "I don't go around beating my fans saying that you bashed my house in 2007."
Dhoni urged fans to back the team and its players in their moment of crisis.
"You have to back the players when they are not doing well. When you are winning, everybody is with you. The expectation, appreciation and everything is there.
"Fans should be with you when you are not doing well. The real fans will be with you when you are not doing well, when you are a bit low. Those are the real fans of cricket. Others just follow the wins of the team and whenever the teams are winning," India's skipper said.
The bus carrying the West Indies players was stoned after they thrashed Bangladesh by nine wickets in Mirpur, near Dhaka.
Angry fans vented their frustration by throwing pebbles that cracked a few windows of the bus.
ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat too condemned the attack, which raised question mark over security provided to teams in the sub-continent.
Image: Bangladesh cricket fans
Hussey in shortlist of three to join WC team
Doug Bollinger's replacement in the Australia squad will be announced in the next couple of days with Mike Hussey possibly in line for a World Cup reprieve, captain Ricky Ponting said on Saturday.
Australia fast bowler Bollinger was ruled out of the World Cup with a left ankle injury and subsequently returned home.
"They (selectors) have been saying all this week that they will wait till the end of this Sri Lankan game and make an announcement then," Ponting said after rain forced the abandonment of their Saturday showdown with the co-hosts.
"It's obviously to give Mike Hussey an opportunity to play a Sheffield Shield game back in Australia. The one-day final is now out of the way in which (Peter) Siddle and Dirk Nannes both played as well.
"They got a good look at those two plus a good look at Hussey this week. So I am pretty sure that the decision is going to be made in the next couple of days."
The injury to Bollinger has brightened the chances of the experienced Hussey being handed a dream comeback after he was omitted from the squad last month, with selectors fearful he would not recover in time from a hamstring surgery.
That decision caused a furore in Australia with Hussey intimating he would have been fit to play most of the event.
The 35-year-old Hussey was initially selected for the Feb 19-April 2 tournament on the sub-continent despite rupturing a hamstring but was later replaced in the 15-man squad by Callum Ferguson.
Ponting said he had no preference for a batsman or a fast bowler to fill Bollinger's slot.
"Whoever we bring I think will add a lot to our squad. Mike Hussey was someone who we always were going to miss," Ponting said.
"Having a left-hander in the middle order with so much experience he has will be a great benefit to our team.
"But at the same time our point of difference in the tournament so far has been our fast bowlers.
"If one of those happen to go down, then we haven't got a replacement. So they can take a look at it both ways. But whichever way they go, I will be pretty happy," he added with a smile on his face.
Hussey's career had been written off by many in the Australian media before the Ashes 3-1 defeat by England but he proved one of the few home success stories. He is the older brother of David Hussey, who is also in the World Cup squad.
An International Cricket Council spokesman told Reuters earlier on Saturday that there was nothing in the tournament regulations preventing Mike Hussey rejoining the Australian World Cup squad despite having been once replaced himself.
Image: Mike Hussey
'DRS will be more acceptable with grip of rules'
The mixed response it is generating at the World Cup notwithstanding, the International Cricket Council says the controversial Decision Review System is here to stay and would be more acceptable once players get a grip of the rules.
The DRS has been a much talked-about subject at the World Cup with Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni being one of its most vocal critics. The system has its followers as well, among them being Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi and Ricky Ponting.
ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat said it's all about understanding of rules and once the players become accustomed to that, the system would run smoothly.
"It is fair to say that the DRS is pioneering. It is a technology that we certainly support to aid umpires in making correct decisions. But it is one that is developing. I can say that all of us can get a grip better with the rules when it is totally in place," Lorgat told reporters.
Dhoni's criticism of the system was criticised by ICC General Manager Dave Richardson. Richardson's comments, in turn, prompted the BCCI to react angrily and the Indian Board shot off a letter to Lorgat saying that the South African's comments amounted to pressurising a player.
Lorgat said the entire episode was a misunderstanding created by a TV report.
"I was quite disappointed by the news channel that portrayed the report which was completely inaccurate. That was my response to the BCCI to point out that it was unfortunate that it was based on a channel report that was not factually correct. Richardson has not criticised in the manner it has been portrayed," Lorgat said.
Lorgat also refuted suggestions that the differences over the DRS are adversely affecting the ICC's ties with the BCCI.
"We share an excellent relationship with the BCCI. We have to accept that there will be difference of opinions from time to time but we are mature enough to work through this," he said.
Image: Technology support for umpires
'Spot-fixing claims created by Indian media'
George Bush and Osama bin Laden having dinner with Elvis Presley is a greater possibility than Australian cricketers being involved in spot-fixing, says pacer Stuart Clark, who feels the speculation was an attempt by the Indian media to sabotage their World Cup campaign.
"I do not believe for one minute that any Australian player is involved in spot-fixing -- there is more chance of George Bush and Osama bin Laden having dinner with Elvis at Gracelands. I do believe, however, that this is an unwanted distraction created by the Indian media to try and throw the Australians off their game," Clark wrote in a column for the Sydney Morning Herald.
There were reports that Australia's slow batting in the match against Zimbabwe was investigated by the ICC's anti-corruption unit. Clark said the ICC only fuelled the speculation by giving just a "no comments" response.
"Maybe this is the conspiracy theorist coming out in me, but, having toured that part of the world, I understand how much winning the World Cup means not only to the Indian team but to the nation," he said.
"It was pleasing to see Australia's team manager, Steve Bernard, come out and rubbish these claims but disappointing to hear the ICC provide an inadequate response by offering only a 'no comment'.
"Is it asking for too much for the ICC to offer a meaningful comment? Is it too much to ask that the game be presided over by a governing body that is capable of acting professionally?" he added.
Image: Michael Clarke
Waqar asks openers to start performing
Pakistan coach Waqar Younis has asked his out-of-form openers Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shahzad to shape up and start performing in the World
"We have to show real improvement in our batting, especially our openers who have not done well," Waqar said.
"Both openers know they have not fired yet, but I'm not worried because there is no problem with their techniques; they were in good form coming into the World Cup, so I am sure they will come good soon," he added.
Pakistan survived a scare against minnows Canada when they were bowled out for a paltry 184. But they hit back with the ball, snatching a 46-run win with skipper Shahid Afridi taking five wickets.
Pakistan have won all three of their matches so far but their openers Hafeez and Shahzad managed partnerships of just 11, 28 and 16.
Waqar was happy that despite being under pressure the middle-order has delivered so far but he hoped that after their batting failure against Canada, other batsmen will take more responsibility.
"I think since Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal and Younis Khan were making runs there was not much pressure but I am sure now after a poor batting show, others will also take responsibility. We need good starts," said Waqar ahead of their match against New Zealand on Tuesday.
"We have batted first in all our three matches, so it would be a great test of our batsmen when we chase a target because that adds to the pressure," he added.
Waqar has no problems with the Pakistan bowling attack but admitted that defending 185 against tougher oppositions would have been difficult.
"Our bowling is doing well and is supporting the batting, but we would have had a serious problem defending a 185-run target against stronger opposition," he said.
Afridi has been the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan, claiming 14 wickets in three matches, including two five-wicket hauls and a four-wicket haul, and Waqar said with the skipper in form, they can defend any total.
"When Canada were batting well, I was sure that if we got one or two wickets then the gates would open and the way Afridi bowls I'm sure we can defend any good target," said Waqar.
Meanwhile, left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman has also recovered from his leg muscle injury and would be available for selections for the next match, informed team manager Intikhab Alam.
Rehman had missed the Canada match because of a leg muscle injury.
Image: Pakistan coach Waqar Younis