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June 20, 2003 17:56 IST

Bat manufacturer slams ICC

The International Cricket Council has been criticised by a leading sports goods manufacturer for practising double standards with regard to the use of bats by cricketers.

The ICC had announced it would strike off manufacturers whose bats are in variance to the specifications.

"What about their indifference to their own policy of allowing bats by non-regular manufacturers? asked Rakesh Mahajan, chief of BDM, a bat manufacturing company.

Mahajan was referring to the ICC ignoring its own rule on bat manufacturers, wherein non-bat producing companies like Hero Honda, Britannia and MRF openly use their stickers on the bats of international cricket stars even though they are not regular bat producers.

ICC announced last week that cricketers should stick to approved bat specifications of 4.25 inches in width and 26-27 inches in length for a regular bat and any flouting of the rules would lead to the bat manufacturer being scrapped from its approved list.

"Someone like MRF is giving Sachin Tendulkar Rs 5 crore [50 million] for using their sticker but their bat-manufacturing is just an eyewash. After all, their bat operations cannot be worth Rs 5 crores," said Mahajan.

Mahajan said big sponsoring companies of the ICC are able to circumvent the rules because of their financial clout even when everyone knows such companies are not strictly into the business of bat manufacturing.

Mahajan said it is sad that cricketers are using the bats made by regular bat manufacturers and all the publicity is being enjoyed by big companies because of their stickers.

"It is only in India where recognized companies are being by-passed in this manner. Nowhere else in the world are cricket boards permitting such a thing to happen," said Mahajan.

On the question of bats being oversize, Mahajan said even this matter could be linked to ICC's double standards.

"The sticker-companies do not lose anything if something is found amiss. They can't be struck off the list of ICC because they are not on the list of ICC in the first place. Such a situation allows them to flout the rules openly," he said.

On the incident when few Indian cricketers were found to be using bats exceeding the specifications during an India-Zimbabwe match at Harare, Mahajan said he felt cricketers could not be blamed for it as sometimes even stciking of a tape across the bat could increase the size.

Sahara proposal premature, says BCCI official

A top official of the Board of Control for Cricket in India has dismissed as "premature" a proposal by Sahara India for a joint India-Pakistan cricket team to play against a Rest of World outfit.

"As things stand today, the idea in all likelihood will be shot down in the Working Committee meeting," said a top official on condition of anonymity.

Sahara India is planning an India-Pakistan joint cricket team to play against the Rest of World in the United Kingdom on August 15 to promote harmony between the two nations.

"We have put forward the proposal to the cricket Board for consideration. It is a novel thought mooted by our chairman," Abhijit Sarkar, senior manager-Corporate Communications, Sahara, said.

The match, billed as Peace Cup, aims at fostering "global peace through cricket".

The joint Indo-Pak team will have six current Indian players -- Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sewhag, Mohammad Kaif, Zaheer Khan and Parthiv Patel. The Pakistan team could include Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Moin Khan and Saqlain Mushtaq.

The sponsors and event managers of Sahara, Percept D'mark, are waiting for a no-objection certificate from the BCCI for the six shortlisted Indian players but it is unlikely they will get the nod.

Hopes of resumption of Indo-Pak cricketing ties have been rekindled in recent weeks following peace overtures by the Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

McCaw to meet BCCI next week

Allistair McCaw, who is one of the contenders for the Indian cricket team trainer's post, will hold a formal discussion with the top echelons of the BCCI in Kolkata next week.

The South African will arrive in Kolkata on June 26 for a meeting with the Board president Jagmohan Dalmiya, a top board official said.

India coach John Wright and physio Andrew Leipus, who have recommended McCaw, will be present at the meeting.

The Indian team's trainer post went vacant following South African Adrian Le Roux's sudden pull-out earlier this month.

McCaw has impressive credentials, having worked with the Netherlands' cricket team during the 2003 World Cup, besides being associated with leading PGA golfers and ATP professionals.

McCaw also shaped the fitness of world class athletes in triathlon, such as Rorie Mackie and international rugby squads like Kempton Wolves.

If BCCI comes to an arrangement with McCaw, the proposal will be put for approval in front of the Working Committee meeting in New Delhi on July 2 and 3.

Both Leipus and Wright are also likely to be offered an extended contract of two years after the unexpected parting of Le Roux who had enjoyed excellent rapport with the players.

Sehwag fails with the bat again

Virender SehwagVirender Sehwag again disappointed with the bat but redeemed some pride with three wickets as Leicestershire beat Durham by 46 runs in a Twenty20 match at the Riverside on Thursday.

Sehwag, who had made nought in his previous outing against Yorkshire, could manage only 14 in his team's score168 for nine in 20 overs, with Brad Hodge saving the day for the Foxes with a quickfire 64 at the Riverside.

Opening the innings, Sehwag faced 11 balls and hit three boundaries before falling to N Killeen, caught by N Peng.

He shared 11 for the first wicket with D Stevens (5) and 27 with Hodge for the second wicket before being dismissed with the score reading 38 for two.

Hodge blasted a 44-ball 64 with seven fours to help the side post a healthy total.

Chasing 166 for a win, Durham lost wickets at regular intervals and could manage only 122 in 20 overs, with Sehwag emerging the most successful bowler, with three for 14 from three overs.

I Hunter, with an unbeaten 25, was the top scorer for the losers.

The win put Leicestershire on top of the North Division in the Twenty20 Cup.

Lanka can climb to third spot with win in West Indies

If Sri Lanka win the two-Test series against the West Indies, starting in St. Lucia on Friday, they could climb to third place in the International Cricket Council's Test championship table.

A 2-0 victory for Sri Lanka will boost their rating to 103, equal on points with New Zealand but ahead by virtue of more matches played, the sport's governing body said.

However, Sri Lanka have never won a Test match on Caribbean soil. Their two previous Tests in the West Indies in June 1997 resulted in a defeat and a draw.

As West Indies have a significantly lower rating than Sri Lanka going into this series, a 1-0 victory for the home side would lift its rating by three points from 79 to 82 while a 2-0 victory would see it climb to 83 - closing the gap on India and Pakistan in sixth and seventh places on 91 points.

The Sri Lanka-West Indies is the second Test series to count toward the relaunched ICC's Test championship. The first was England's 2-0 series victory against Zimbabwe which boosted England's rating from 97 to 98.

The new ICC Test championship takes into account the result of every individual match with a bonus awarded for winning a series. It also recognises the strength of the opposition in calculating the points awarded.

Sri Lanka are ranked fourth. Australia top the list with 129 points, followed by South Africa on 115 points and New Zealand on 115 points.

New sports policy for MP

A new sports policy for Madhya Pradesh, aimed at wide-ranging promotion of sports, is awaiting approval of the state cabinet, according to Shravan Patel, state Public Works Department Minister and president of the MP Cricket Association.

"A five-member panel has been set up to formulate guidelines for the policy which will be announced soon after cabinet's approval, Patel said after inaugurating a modern gymnasium on Thursday.

The new policy will stress on special efforts for promotion of sports, maintenance of sports grounds, enhanced role of NGO's, insurance for players and institution of a special welfare fund for sportsmen, Patel said.

Members of MP's National champion Under-25 cricket team were honoured on the occasion and a purse of Rs 5,000 each was presented to team members on the occasion.

Patel said the team's win "is a major achievement for him personally and for the state".

The new gymnasium houses latest equipment worth over a million and also has a trainer and physiotherapist.

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