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May 29, 2003 15:30 IST

Sehwag shines for Leicestershire

Virender Sehwag set the Grace Road ablaze with a cracking half-century that put Leicestershire in the box seat against Nottinghamshire in the C and G Trophy one-day tournament on Wednesday.

Virender SehwagSehwag blasted 56 off 51 balls with 10 fours and a six as Leicestershire scored 258 for 9 in 50 overs.

In reply, Notts were bundled out for 159 in 40.2 overs.

Sehwag added 61 runs for the opening stand with John Maunders and another 27 with Darren Stevens for the second wicket.

Phil DeFreitas, who took 3 wickets for 20 runs in his 10 overs and also scored 22 quick runs for Leicestershire, was named the man of the match.

Leicestershire advanced to the quarter-finals of the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy, 2003.

At New Road, Yorkshire lost by 67 runs against Worcestershire.

Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh conceeded 27 runs in his six overs, while he just managed to score 27 runs with the bat as his team Yorkshire were bowled out for 177 runs chasing a target of 244 runs.

Imran Khan launches cricket clinic

Pakistan cricket legend Imran Khan announced on Thursday he will coach young blood to lift national cricket and urged the country to follow Australia's shining example.

"After Pakistan's disappointing performance in the World Cup, a lot of my friends asked me to help Pakistan cricket and despite my commitments in politics I have agreed to help with coaching," Khan said, speaking at a launch of regional cricket clinics.Imran Khan

"I want to pay back what this country has given me," said Khan, a Pakistani Member of Parliament, who leads the Movement for Justice party.

Pakistan, one of the pre-tournament favourites, failed to go beyond the first round in the World Cup in southern Africa in February-March this year, which was won by Australia.

In a massive overhaul, Pakistan dumped eight senior players -- including captain Waqar Younis, his long-time pace partner Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar and Inzamam-ul Haq.

"Pakistan has a lot of talent but we need to harness that talent like they do in Australia, which has enabled them to rule the cricket world," said Khan, whose 362 wickets in 88 Tests and 182 in 175 one-dayers made him a leading fast  bowler in the 1970s and 1980s.

"A player in Australia is ready for international cricket once he comes out of their academies and first class
competitions, which is not there in our part of the world," said the all-rounder who led Pakistan to their only World Cup  title in Australia in 1992.

The coaching clinics, conducted under the auspices of the Pakistan Cricket Board and soft drink giants Pepsi, will be held at more than a dozen venues.

"Cricket is so very much popular in Pakistan that every boy wants to don the green cap but you need to work hard," he said.

PCB chief executive Rameez Raja said a new first-class structure is among the many steps taken by the board to
improve Pakistani cricket.

"It is nice to have a person like Imran Khan's stature on board, and through these regional clinics and competitive first class competitions we will set a strong foundation," said Raja, himself a former captain.

Jadeja to start playing within two days, says lawyer

After getting the green signal from the Delhi high court to play domestic matches, cricketer Ajay Jadeja is likely to be back on the ground within a couple of days, nursing the larger aim of making it to the national side once again.

"Jadeja will start playing league matches from Thursday or latest by Friday. He is very keen to start playing again," said his lawyer Vineet Malhotra, who spoke to the player immediately after the court order.

Jadeja, serving a five-year ban imposed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India in the wake of the match-fixing controversy, got major relief on Wednesday when the high court allowed him to play all domestic cricket matches.

Malhotra said a "relieved" Jadeja is looking forward to "make a comeback to the national side" after missing some valuable playing years.

The 32-year old Jadeja was not available for comment.

A stylish middle-order batsman, Jadeja scored 5,359 runs with six centuries and 30 half-centuries in 196 one-dayers. He also played in 15 Test matches, notching up 576 runs.

Bowling gentle medium pace, he claimed 20 wickets in the shorter version of the game.

Pakistan seeks cricket series with India

Pakistan is seeking a home-and-away series against India as part of a drive to bring international cricket back to the country, officials said on Wednesday.

"We are getting the much-needed return of international cricket to Pakistan this season and if we are able to hold a home-and-away one-day series with India it will give a real boom to cricket," Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Rameez Raja said.

Pakistan will host Test minnows Bangladesh for three Tests and five one-day internationals in August-September and then South Africa for three Tests and one-dayers this year, Raja said.

Terrorism fears have seen Pakistan fans denied the chance to support their country's team on home soil.

Last year's visit by New Zealand was cut short after a bomb exploded outside the tourists hotel in Karachi.
Subsequent series against West Indies and Australia, were both played on neutral turf last year.

"It was unfortunate that we lost precious home cricket in the last two years but hosting Bangladesh, South Africa and possibly India and New Zealand will be a great compensation," said Raja, a former captain.

Since the thaw in India-Pakistan relations initiated with the surprise "hand of friendship" offer by Indian Premier Atal Behari Vajpayee last month, talks of a revival in cricket links between the two hostile nations have picked up.

BCCI also hopes to tour Pakistan for three Tests and as many one-dayers in February-March next year.

"We know the BCCI has sought permission for the one-day games and our foreign office has told us to expedite the revival of ties," Raja said.

India last toured Pakistan for a one-day series in 1997 but has declined to undertake a Test tour since 1989-90. Pakistan played three Tests and a tri-series in India in 1999.

Raja meanwhile said he hoped New Zealand will tour Pakistan for five one-day matches in November this year.

The terrorism threat kept foreign teams away from touring Pakistan causing the PCB losses of up to 25 million dollars.

BCCI waiting for detailed order on Jadeja

The BCCI will decide its future course of action with regard to the Ajay Jadeja case only after getting the detailed judgement.

"As you know it is an ex-parte order. We will decide our future course of action only after getting the detailed judgement," a senior lawyer attached with the board said.

Asked if the board would challenge the Delhi high court order, he said it all depends on the content of the order.

BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya, who was away in Lucknow and returned to Kolkata only on Thursday, refrained from saying anything on the issue.

The Delhi high court today allowed Jadeja to play all domestic cricket matches in an ex-parte interim order. The court also issued notice to the BCCI seeking reply to Jadeja's appeal by July 21, the next date of hearing.

Brett Lee suffers concussion after blow during practice

Brett LeeAustralian fast bowler Brett Lee was hit in the back of the neck with a ball during a training session and suffered a mild concussion on Wednesday, team officials said.

Batsman Jimmy Maher was having a practice hit, and a stray stroke sent the ball flying toward the New South Wales pacer.

Lee was stretching when he was hit, team officials said. They said he had a 'mild concussion' and had been given orders to rest for the remainder of the day.

The 26-year-old still could be available for selection for Friday's sixth one-day international against the West Indies at the Queen's Park stadium.

The Australians, who won the preceding Test rubber 3-1, lead the seven-match series 4-1. The seventh and final one-dayer is at the same venue on Sunday.

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