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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > News > Report

March 20, 2003 15:06 IST

Geoffrey BoycottEngland great Geoffrey Boycott believes India can win the World Cup and has advised India captain Sourav Ganguly how the triumph can come about.

"You can win the World Cup. Be patient and be cool. Just dream that you can," he wrote in a three-page fax sent to the India captain ahead of Thursday's semi-final against Kenya at Durban.

Boycott, the former England opening batsman, is a household name in cricket-crazy India where he became hugely popular for his outspoken comments on television.

He was forced to miss a commentary assignment at the World Cup after undergoing surgery for throat cancer, but has followed the tournament closely from his home in Yorkshire.

"Catches and run-outs win matches," Boycott wrote in the fax.

"It is an old saying but we often forget it. Place the right fielders in right places.

"Everyone in your team cannot be as agile as each other. It is your duty whom to place where and whom to hide. It is important.

"Try to be at your best while on the field. A captain's body language is important, so try to be positive all the time. Let everybody understand that this is the last opportunity and please do not lose your cool or argue with the umpire.

"There might be some decisions going against you but that should not force you to argue with the umpires. You will get scope to say those words to the umpire once the match ends."

The first set of celebrities from India arrived in South Africa on Tuesday night in a private jet of liquor baron Vijay Mallaya to cheer the Indian team in Thursday's World Cup semi-final against Kenya and an expected final against Australia on Sunday.

Bangalore-based Mallaya flew in a plane-load of high-profile personalities from India, who checked in at the same hotel where the Indian team is staying. But those looking for Bollywood glitterati were a bit disappointed. There were no mega Bollywood stars getting down the tarmac in Mallaya's "Cricket Express", as the chartered flight is named, but heads still turned at the sight of a few politicians and celebrities from the fashion world.

Joining Mallaya in his team of cheerleaders were politicians such as Sharad Pawar, Farooq Abdullah and Rajiv Shukla, fashion diva Ritu Beri and former film actress and now a social activist Nafisa Ali.

Another set of celebrities including big Bollywood stars, businessmen, dignitaries and parliamentarians arrived on Wednesday aboard special chartered flights brought by Mallaya and team sponsor Sahara.

Superstar Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Aishwarya Rai, Bipashu Basu, Manisha Koirala and Preity Zinta among others will be there to cheer the team in the upcoming battles though teen heart-throb Shahrukh Khan is said to have pulled out due to health reasons.

Acting on a newspaper report in England, the Pakistan Cricket Board has decided to probe whether four of its players had entertained female guests in their hotel rooms ahead of Pakistan's match against Australia in the World Cup.

PCB has asked for information in this regard from the International Cricket Council, its anti-corruption unit and the hotel management where the players stayed, local daily The News said.

The board has asked the authorities to provide it copies of log books kept on the team's floor at the hotel, it said.

"The cricket Board is handling the matter with the seriousness it deserves," a PCB official was quoted as saying.

"The Board would reserve the right to take action if the players were found guilty of violation of code of conduct."

Rashid LatifFormer Pakistan coach Richard Pybus says he believes veteran Rashid Latif would prove only to be a temporary captain and batsman Younis Khan would have been a better choice.

Pybus also paid tribute to former captain Waqar Younis, who was sacked and replaced by Latif following Pakistan's failure to make the Super Six stage of the World Cup.

Pybus, who stepped down from his post after the end of the World Cup campaign, laid the blame for their failure squarely at the feet of the players, whose splits climaxed when out of form batsman Inzamam-ul Haq clashed with Younis Khan in a football kickabout.

"In the circumstances, Waqar did an incredible job keeping the team together," Pybus said.

"There was a general lack of desire to go out and fight and I doubt if there is anything that Waqar could have done to change that," Pybus added.

Shane Warne, the former Australian vice-captain serving a 12-month ban for failing a drug test, will be allowed to play club cricket in England this year.

Warne, Australia's most successful bowler in international cricket, was offered a contract by Lashings, a club based in south-eastern England that employs high-profile players for exhibition matches. Lashings does not come under the jurisdiction of the England and Wales Cricket Board, which runs the professional sport in the U.K.

"Lashings is a private club so he is free to play," said Clare Fathers, a spokeswoman for the ECB. "If Lashings was affiliated to the ECB he would not have been able to."

Warne was scheduled to captain English county team Hampshire this year. Under ECB regulations, he was ineligible to play while banned.

Lashings is currently hammering out terms of the contract with Warne's manager, his brother Jason, chairman David Folb said.

The Pakistan Cricket Board scrapped a ban against fast bowler Ata-ur Rehman and spared him of perjury charges, an official of the board said.

Rahman, a national team member, was banned for life by a judicial commission from playing international cricket in 2000 following charges of match-fixing. He appealed against the commission's decision in the Lahore High Court. The court referred the case to the Pakistan Cricket Board, a spokesman for the board, Samiul Hassan, said in a telephone interview. An official of the board, Zakir Khan, conducted an inquiry into the case and cleared Rahman's name.

"He is allowed to resume international cricket. The International Cricket Council has been informed of the decision," Hassan said.

The decision to exonerate Rahman was announced by the Pakistan Cricket Board at its headquarters.

Rehman said he had received a letter from the PCB clearing him of all charges and he was very happy about it. "This is the greatest day of my life," he told reporters at his residence in Karachi.

Andy FlowerFormer Zimbabwe cricket captain Andy Flower has signed to play with South Australia state for the next three domestic seasons, cricket officials said.

The 34-year-old Flower, who announced his retirement from international cricket last week, is a veteran of 63 Tests and 213 one-day internationals for Zimbabwe.

During the World Cup in southern Africa, Flower and Zimbabwe teammate Henry Olonga created controversy by wearing black arm bands to signify "the death of democracy" in Zimbabwe.

The dashing left-handed batsman, who scored 4,794 Test runs at an average of 51.54, will arrive in Adelaide with his family in September, South Australia Cricket Association chief executive Michael Deare said.

Flower, who made 6,786 one-day international runs at an average of 35.34, will play for Essex in the English county championship during the Australian winter.

Ignoring demands for the ouster of Pakistan Cricket Board chief Lt Gen Tauqir Zia in the wake of the team's ignonimous first round exit from the World Cup, Pakistan president Gen Pervez Musharraf gave Zia an indefinite extension in the post.

While extending Zia's tenure, Musharraf, who is also the patron of PCB, has not fixed any specific term for him, the offical APP news agency quoted a PCB official as saying.

"There is no specific time-frame given to Gen Zia to continue. It is indefinite," the unidentified PCB official said.

Zia, a serving Corps Commander of the Pakistan Army and close confidant of Musharraf, has already refused to quit despite calls from several quarters including former captain Imran Khan.

Last year Zia had put in his papers after the team posted its lowest-ever total in the Test series against Australia in Sharjah but was convinced by Musharraf to continue.

This time Zia declined to own responsibility for the team's poor performance in the World Cup and instead put the blame on the senior cricketers including skipper Waqar Younis for their failure to live up to the expectations.

Adam Gilchrist may have set a tough precedent for himself by walking in the World Cup cricket semi-final against Sri Lanka, leading coach Steve Rixon has warned.

The Australian one-day vice-captain had made 22 when he tried to sweep Aravinda De Silva, the ball looped off his pad and was caught by wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara. The Sri Lankans appealed but South African umpire Rudi Koertzen turned them down, only for Gilchrist to head back to the dressing room to give himself out.

"There's no point walking for an incident if you're not going to walk for the next one," said Rixon, the coach of Sheffield Shield champions New South Wales.

"It's a fine sporting gesture and I have absolutely no  problem with him doing it, but he may have put himself in a position where he may have to do it again. There has to be consistency over it."

Australian captain Ricky Ponting said after the incident that he would not  encourage his players to walk.

Former Test bowler Paul Rieffel, now an umpire, said he didn't think Gilchrist's gesture would lead to a new trend.

"I know when I played, I never did (walked). I always liked the umpire to give me out. Every player has got to make his own decisions and Gilly made his, obviously."

Impressed with the performance of Kenya in the World Cup, a leading Indian company has come forward to sponsor the national cricket team besides involving in development of the game in the African nation.

"We are extremely grateful to an Indian company - Shaw Wallace - to not only agree to sponsor our national cricket team but also to get involved in the overall development of the game in Kenya through the national body," Sharad Ghai of Kenya Cricket Asociation said. He said that details of the deal are being worked out.

Ghai also chose the moment to appeal the Indian cricket board to help Kenya have more exposure at international level.

"We have starved in recent years for international competition. We look upon India to help us out with exposure."

"It is important for Kenya to have matches if it has to come up in standards," said Ghai.

"We appeal India to extend invitation for cricket matches to Kenyan cricket team."

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