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March 25, 2003 17:21 IST
Despite the lacklustre performance of the Indian cricket team in the World Cup final, two of its players have been chosen by a local newspaper group for a World XI consisting of the best players of the tournament.
The Independent newspaper group, which publishes several leading newspapers such as the Mercury, Daily News and Post from Durban and Star from Johannesburg, named Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan in its World XI.
While Tendulkar was chosen for his superb batting performance throughout the tournament, the newspaper said it had chosen Khan because he and Australia's Brett Lee would still be around for the next World Cup in the West Indies in 2007.
The newspaper said one of the most startling aspects of the tournament was the remarkably poor showing by all-rounders. It singled out Tendulkar's 98 against Pakistan and Ricky Ponting's match-winning unbeaten 140 in the final for special praise.
However, despite Tendulkar's brilliant form, the newspaper named Adam Gilchrist and Herschelle Gibbs as openers pushing the Indian batting maestro to the middle order.
West Indian Ramnaresh Sarwan has also been chosen as a batsman and the Independent predicts that he could 'very well be one of the stars of the next World Cup'.
The full World Xl is: Adam Gilcrhist, Herschelle Gibbs, Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar, Andrew Symonds, Michael Bevan, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Brett Lee, Zaheer Khan, Andrew Bichel and Muttiah Muralitharan. 12th man - Lou Vincent.
If it ever comes to choosing the favourite theme song to be played when he walks to the batting crease, Yuvraj Singh would probably pick the mid-nineties hit single Arranged Marriage by Apache Indian.
Not that the dashing middle-order batsman has a particular liking for Indi-pop music, but his mother - and chaperon - Shabnum Singh would have gone all the way to make sure her son remained focussed on cricket.
For, while India's new found batting sensation was trying his best to extricate India from the jaws of defeat against Australia at Johannesburg on Sunday, Shabnum was warning South African girls to leave her son alone.
Shabnum Singh, who has been in South Africa following the Indian team for the past two weeks, said in an interview with a local newspaper that her son was 'too young' to think about anything else but his cricketing career.
Brightly coloured flowers were laid at a cross marking the spot where Australian-born English Test cricketer Ben Hollioake died just over a year ago.
The 24-year-old Hollioake was killed when his Porsche slammed into a brick wall after exiting from a freeway off-ramp in south Perth on March 23 last year.
His 22-year-old girlfriend Janaya Scholten is still undergoing rehabilitation for severe injuries.
The white cross at the crash site was covered with flowers, which had been placed around a small tribute written on cloth and held to the ground by rocks.
"Ben, you are a true hero, there aren't many like you. With such talent and promise, it is devastating that your life has been cut short. You are sadly missed by so many," the tribute read.
A public reception for the Australian cricket team will be held in Perth, Western Australia on Tuesday when it arrives from South Africa following its second consecutive World Cup triumph.
Ricky Ponting's Australians beat India by 125 runs in the World Cup final on Sunday at the Wanderers, Johannesburg.
It was Australia's 17th consecutive limited-overs victory and it extended the team's unbeaten stretch in World Cups to 18 matches.
The Australian Cricket Board said the players would return to their home cities from Perth following the reception.
Although the win was clinched after most Australian newspapers were published on Monday, several were able to foreshadow a big Australian win after the defending champions hit up 359 for two, including an unbeaten 140 by Ponting and 57 runs from 48 balls by opener Adam Gilchrist.
"Swashbuckling Gilchrist sets perfect pace," said Brisbane's Courier Mail.
The Australian newspaper questioned Indian captain Sourav Ganguly's decision to send Australia in to bat after winning the toss.
"India invites batting blitz," said The Australian.
Jeff Rees, the newly appointed ICC's anti-corruption unit chief, has said up to $500 million may have been illegally wagered in Mumbai alone during the World Cup final between India and Australia.
But Rees, who replaced Sir Paul Condon as the general manager of the ACU, emphatically noted that the World Cup 2003 had been free of 'corrupting influences'.
"We are quite confident this has been a clean tournament," Rees was quoted as saying in the Australian daily The Age.
"That's not to say we're relaxing. There was a lot of betting on the India-Pakistan game earlier in the World Cup. Just in Mumbai, India-Pakistan games attracted illegal betting in excess of 50 million pounds sterling," he said.
Rees said as cricket involves large amount of money, players could still be lured by unscrupulous elements.
"While there are such vast sums of money to be made in cricket, there will always be people trying to corrupt."
"Through our education programme, we are confident that this younger generation of cricketers coming through now will be less likely to be compromised. Players now realise just how dangerous the links to 'innocent' bookmakers and organised criminals are."
Strongly supporting the decision to drop some famous names from the side to make way for new faces, Pakistan's newly-appointed coach Javed Miandad has lashed out against 'some senior cricketers' for complaining and criticising the selection policy.
Speaking on a television channel during the World Cup final, Miandad expressed surprise at the complaints being made by senior players left out of Pakistan's squad for the tri-nation series in Sharjah in April.
"I don't understand it. Before the World Cup they wanted the people to support them and promised to play well. That didn't happen. Now the selectors are trying to start afresh and give new players a chance and they need the support of the seniors, which is not forthcoming," said Miandad who has been given charge of the team for the third time in a major overhaul of Pakistani cricket following a first-round exit from the World Cup.
"If you go by what some of the senior players have to say then it is like cricket should stop in Pakistan if others are given chances and they (seniors) are not selected," Miandad said. "It doesn't happen like that. You play for your country and every player has to make a beginning somewhere."
The cash-strapped Pakistan Cricket Board has entered into a lucrative deal with a television company which, it hopes, will partially off-set the losses from the refusal of India and some other nations to play in Pakistan.
The Board has given exclusive telecast rights of international matches played in Pakistan in the next five years to TEN Sports for $42.6million.
According to the deal, the Board would be assured of approximately $24million even if India continued its policy of not playing Pakistan in bilateral tournaments.
"This deal is financially a big boost for the Pakistani Board as it guarantees them a regular income in foreign exchange over the next five years," a PCB official was quoted as saying by the daily The News.
He said if during the next five years, India played in Pakistan or even at a neutral venue, the PCB would receive the full amount from the television company.
"However, if India continues to boycott cricket ties with Pakistan over the next five years, even then the PCB is guaranteed a net income of approximately $24million," he said.
TEN Sports was awarded the rights after the Board invited fresh bids from broadcasters following the expiry of its contract with Trans World International earlier this year.
World Champions Australia retained the ICC One-day Cricket Championship Shield while India jumped four spots after the latest official one-day team rankings were released in London on Monday.
Three-time champions Australia, who received the first shield in December last year, further widened the gap with their closest rival South Africa to 13 points.
The unprecedented run of 17 victories has now given the Australians 136 points as against South Africa's 123.
India, who entered their first World Cup final in 20 years on Sunday, moved past the West Indies, New Zealand and England to be placed fifth with 103 points.
Pakistan (110) and Sri Lanka (108) are ranked third and fourth respectively but their recent poor run means both the teams have dropped points and the gap among the three subcontinent teams has narrowed considerably.
The team of the tournament Kenya were the biggest gainers, increasing their rating by 10 points. Stunning victories against Test nations Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe has seen the east-African team open up a 24-point lead over Bangladesh.
The ICC ODI rankings: 1. Australia - (136 points), 2. South Africa - (123 points), 3. Pakistan - (110 points), 4. Sri Lanka - (108 points), 5. India - (103 points), 6. West Indies - (99 points), 7. New Zealand - (98 points), 8. England - (98 points), 9. Zimbabwe - (63 points), 10. Kenya - (30 points), 11. Bangladesh - (6 points).
A 32-year-old cricket crazy youth in Kendrapara district of Orissa allegedly committed suicide unable to bear India's crushing defeat in the World Cup finals.
Sankarsan Parida of Bandia village, under Patkura police station, who was recently married, hanged himself from a ceiling fan, about three hours after the match at Johannesburg, police said.
In a suicide note, Parida said he was taking the drastic step because of India's humiliating loss at the hands of Australia. The body was sent for postmortem.