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May 05, 2003 11:11 IST

Udayan celebrates Steve Waugh's feat

Thousands of miles from the Caribbean, where Australia skipper Steve Waugh scored his 30th Test ton to surpass the great Don Bradman, overjoyed tiny tots at Udayan in Kolkata broke into spontaneous celebration, saluting their favourite Steveda's achievements.Steve Waugh

"It was a spontaneous outpouring of joy. The children broke into applause as soon we announced to them that Waugh had scored his 30th hundred," the founder of Udayan, a home for children of leprosy patients, Father James Stevens, said.

The children, who could not catch Friday's action at the Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, live, as the Barrackpore home does not have a cable connection, came to know of Waugh's exploits on Saturday at the prayer hall.

"As soon as the prayer was over there was a mad scramble for the morning papers which carried the news," Stevens said.

Apart from e-mailing a congratulatory note to Waugh, the children immediately started a tournament named after him and put up a life size poster of the Aussie skipper in the premises. A bat signed by Waugh and presented to Udayan was also displayed prominently.

Udayan, about 35 kilometers from the city of Kolkata, has been showered with love and affection by the Aussie skipper, who funded the establishment of the girls' wing, Nivedita Bhavan.

Waugh has also adopted Laxmi, an inmate.

"We want Steveda to go on and on," said one of the inmates, who had the rare honour of playing cricket with his hero.

But Laxmi clearly seemed to be missing Waugh. "Hope he returns here soon," said the eight-year-old.

Sarwan has to be reminded he's in charge

West Indies vice-captain Ramnaresh Sarwan, who briefly took charge of the team when Brian Lara fell ill on Saturday, said that his team-mates had to remind him to set the field.

"My only experience was captaining the Guyana under-19 team," said Sarwan on Sunday after making an unbeaten 58 to keep the West Indies alive in the fourth series.

"(Team mate) Chris Gayle said to me, 'there are a few gaps in the field'. Then I realised that I am the one who is supposed to actually set the field."

"It was strange because I was looking for my team mates to help me," he said. "I'm used to somebody else setting the field and being told where I have to go."

Asked if he had been groomed for the role by fellow-Guyanese and former captain Carl Hooper, Sarwan replied: "Actually, I haven't spoken to Carl for a long time and I don't even know where he is."

Pakistan sets off for bigger test in Sri Lanka

Pakistan's young cricketers set off for Sri Lanka on Sunday to compete in a tri-nation one-day tournament that could make or break pacer Shoaib Akhtar.

Shoaib AkhtarDubbed the 'Rawalpindi Express', Shoaib's career derailed after Pakistan's first-round exit from the World Cup in March.

To add to the humiliation, the Pakistan cricket chief warned that the Sri Lanka tour could be Shoaib's last if he didn't pull up his socks.

"The Sri Lanka tour could be a turning point in Shoaib's career. He is a match winner but it is up to him to show how much importance he lays on his role as a key figure," captain Rashid Latif said.

The 27-year-old pacer, who twice achieved the honour of breaking the 100mph barrier with his deliveries, was dogged by bowling controversies, vulnerability to injury and discipline problems.

"Shoaib is his own worst enemy and this is his last chance to revive his career," Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Lieutenant General Tauqir Zia warned last week.

A perennial newsmaker, Shoaib's bowling action was questioned on three occasions and he was twice suspended on disciplinary grounds.

With 88 wickets in 25 Tests and 133 in 81 one-day internationals, Shoaib is Pakistan's frontline bowler but will be forbidden from making statements and will have to let his performance do the talking.

"This tour is the first stage of Shoaib's comeback and we would like him to keep a low profile and save his energy for the England tour next month," Latif said.

Hosts Sri Lanka and New Zealand also feature in the May 10-23 one-day tournament.

Pakistan has two uncapped players in 25-year-old middle order batsman Yasir Hameed, who can also bowl leg-spin, and 28-year-old opener Faisal Athar.

The Squad: Rashid Latif (captain), Yousuf Youhana (vice captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Taufiq Umer, Faisal Iqbal, Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik, Yasir Hameed, Faisal Athar, Abdul Razzaq, Shabbir Ahmed, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami, Umer Gul and Danish Kaneria.

Coach: Javed Miandad. Manager: Haroon Rasheed.

Olonga urges Britain to end crisis in Zimbabwe

Former Zimbabwe cricketer Henry Olonga has urged Britain to end the crisis in Zimbabwe through a regime change, if need be through military intervention.

"I am sure Zimbabwe might not threaten world security and we might not also have that much oil, but I think there is a strong case for intervention to happen in a similar way," 26-year-old Olonga said in a statement in London.

"Whether the war in Iraq was justified, it happened. Now that war is tailing off, may be now would be the time when they would actually intervene in Zimbabwe," said the fast bowler who was ostracised in Zimbabwe after protesting during the World Cup against Robert Mugabe's regime.

Olonga's black armband protest against Mugabe during the World Cup spelt the end of his Zimbabwean cricket career. He is now in England on a work permit, preparing to play for the Kent-based side Lashings.

Olonga is to stage another high-profile black armband protest against Robert Mugabe's regime during Zimbabwe's controversial Test series against England this summer.

The strip of ribbon that symbolised the public show of defiance by Olonga and Zimbabwe team-mate Andy Flower at the cricket World Cup will be pulled on again when Olonga launches his new career as a television broadcaster at the first Test later this month.

Pakistan hopeful of participating in Asia Cup

Pakistan expressed the hope that by the time the Asia Cup is held next year, its cricket relations with India would have improved sufficiently enough to allow it to participate in the tournament.

Pakistan, which had pulled out of the Asia Cup, originally scheduled in August this year, protesting against India's refusal to play bilateral series with it, said "things would change in the next 12 months".

"The way things are moving on the diplomatic front, I am sure the situation would be very different then from what it is now," Pakistan Cricket Board spokesman Samiul Hassan told PTI over phone from Lahore.

The recent thaw in strained Indo-Pak political relations has raised the hope that the three-year deadlock in bilateral cricket ties will also be broken soon.

Board of Control for Cricket in India president Jagmohan Dalmiya discussed the issue with his Pakistani counterpart Lt Gen Tauqir Zia in Dubai on Saturday on the sidelines of an Asian Cricket Foundation meeting which decided to put off the Asia Cup till next year.

"We had decided not to participate in the Asia Cup in August this year. But now that it has been postponed till next year there is plenty of time. We will take the right decision when the time comes," Hassan said.

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