Pakistan captain Rashid Latif urged the country's cricket Board, selectors and the general public not to expect instant results from his largely inexperienced team, saying it should be allowed sufficient time to settle down.
Latif said it would not be easy to fill in the gap created by the absence of a number of senior cricketers who have been left out of the team following the disastrous World Cup campaign.
"It is never easy when you lose players of the stature of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Saeed Anwar, Inzamam-ul Haq, Shoaib Akhtar, Saqlain Mushtaq, Azhar Mahmood and Shahid Afridi," Latif said in an interview to The News before the team's departure to Sharjah for a one-day tournament with Sri Lanka, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
All the 15 members of the Indian World Cup cricket team became proud owners of 7-star deluxe suite apartments, gifted to them by the Sahara India Pariwar at a glittering ceremony on Tuesday.
For the 'baby' of the team, Parthiv Patel, who just attained adulthood, it seemed to be the "best gift one could get"
Sahara India managing worker and chairman Subrata Roy Sahara said though the Indian team had lost tamely to Australia in the final on March 23 in Johannesburg, "our team won other matches convincingly and our players put up some of the most fabulous performances". The team sponsors handed over ownership certificates to all the 15 members of the World Cup squad.
Coach John Wright, trainer Adrian Le Roux and physiotherapist Andrew Leipus were also alotted apartments.
Though all the cricketers were present, many of them with their families, coach Wright could not make it, having flown back to New Zealand to attend to his ailing father.
The Sahara chief said the apartments -- which would be named 'World Cup Enclave' and would cost over Rs 23 crore -- would be completed by the year-end. He added the players would be given the keys to their flats on January 26 next year.
''This gift is just a token of our appreciation for them. We are sure our team will perform even better in the future,'' he said.
Grenada has begun preparations for the 2007 cricket World Cup in the West Indies, including inspecting facilities and addressing the issue of accommodations, officials said.
Four years is not a long time for planning a large event, said Roy O'Neal, chairman of Grenada's national organising committee for the World Cup.
"Some people may hold the view that four years is far away, but in order to have a successful World Cup, three years would be necessary for planning the events alone," O'Neal said on Saturday. "The fourth year would be used for implementation."
Grenada hopes to host semi-final matches or the final of the World Cup, which is overseen by the International Cricket Council. O'Neal recently visited South Africa, site of this year's World Cup, with a delegation from the Caribbean.
O'Neal said as officials seek to address the issue of accommodation, they are examining a recommendation made by the South Africans that they use "floating hotels", or the use of residents' homes as temporary lodging.
In an attempt to cash in on the cricket craze, a new book offers aspiring young cricketers simple guidelines, aided by photographs, on how to stroke a like Sachin Tendulkar or bend it like one of those fearsome fast bowlers.
The 'Cricket Coaching Handbook', written in a simple and easy-to-follow style by former first class cricketer Venkat Sundaram aims to "inspire" youngsters into becoming "class cricketers".
Though the author has set out to achieve a very difficult objective, for cricket cannot be learnt by browsing pages, the attempt is sincere as can be gauged by the pains taken to explain the nuances of the game.
The book, which has a foreword by former captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, starts with a chapter on 'How to play cricket', a vast topic which is dealt summarily in hardly 200 words.
The Confederation of Indian Industry will felicitate India's World Cup cricketers Ashish Nehra and Virender Sehwag in Delhi on April 4.
India put up a spectacular performance, reaching the World Cup final in South Africa, where they lost to Australia.
Nehra was the find of the tour as he formed a successful three-pronged pace attack with the experienced Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan.
The trio posed a potent threat to every opposition, the highlight being Nehra's 6-23 against England which is a top-five bowling analysis at World Cups.
Sehwag, after failing to convert good starts into big scores in the early part of the tournament, came into his own in the final, hitting a belligerent 82 as India chased a mammoth 360 for victory.
English cricket has been forced to cut costs by £4m in the wake of the national team's boycott of their World Cup match in Zimbabwe.
The budget cuts will be made across the sport, from the grassroots to the allocation of central contracts for the England team, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced.
Australian Bennett King has accused West Indies cricket authorities of jumping the gun by announcing his appointment as coach.
King, currently in charge of the Australian Academy, told the BBC Sport website he had yet to make up his mind whether to accept the job.
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) said on Monday that King had been appointed to the post "subject to completion of contractual negotiations".
A New Zealand cricket fan is spearheading a campaign to enable Zimbabwe fast bowler Henry Olonga to continue his career.
Olonga has indicated an interest in pursuing a musical career in England but, at only 26 years old, he still has plenty of years of cricket left in him.
Earl Stevens from Napier has approached Central Districts coach Mark Greatbatch about the prospect of Olonga playing in New Zealand.
And he has also been offered verbal encouragement by local MP Russell Fairbrother.