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Cup Extras: 'Axe skipper Ponting after World Cup'

Last updated on: March 18, 2011 14:55 IST

Oz Test legend Walters wants Ponting axed as skipper after WC



Australian Test legend Doug Walters wants Ricky Ponting to be axed as skipper after the World Cup after the latter lost his temper for the second time during the tournament in 23 days.

Ponting was under attack on Thursday, with fans and leading greats condemning him as petulant for hurling the ball in anger after colliding with Steve Smith during Australia's seven-wicket win over Canada.

The ICC also reprimanded Ponting three weeks ago for accidentally damaging a dressing room television set after being run out against Zimbabwe.

Ponting publicly apologised after the match for his reaction towards Smith, but Walters said the outburst is evidence that Australia's leading Test run scorer is not able to handle the demands of captaincy and his own form struggles, Fox Sports reports.

"There's only one solution to this -- it's time for Ricky to be dropped as captain. I hope Ricky lets someone else take over after the World Cup," Walters said.

"I don't think Ricky is a great captain, but he is a great batsman and I don't want to see him lost to cricket. He's got a lot to offer with the bat, he's got a lot more runs in him if the captaincy is taken off him and given to Michael Clarke," he said.

Image: Ricky Ponting
Photographs: Getty Images

Aaqib defends Pakistan's World Cup strategy

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Pakistan assistant coach Aaqib Javed has put up a stout defence of the team's strategy in the ongoing World Cup, questioned by greats Imran Khan and Wasim Akram.

Imran, Wasim and other former Test players believe that Pakistan could land into trouble against stronger opposition in the World Cup as they are playing one bowler short in the competition.

But Aaqib felt it was need of the hour to boost an inconsistent batting line-up.

"No team goes in with five specialist bowlers. What people are forgetting is we're not playing three specialist bowlers but we have four. Shahid Afridi, despite his all-rounder tag, is a specialist bowler and when we sit down and pick four bowlers, his name is the first we put on the list," he added.

"We then pick an all-rounder, a bowler who can bat and Razzaq comes under that category."

Aaqib a member of Pakistan's 1992 World Cup winning squad also pointed out that all rounder's role was always very difficult.

Former players have questioned the purpose and use of playing senior all-rounder Abdul Razzaq at the number eight position. They have also questioned Razzak and opener Muhammad Hafeez's use as the fifth and sixth bowlers.

Imran in particular has been vocal that Pakistan needs to play four specialist bowlers and having Razzaq at number eight was serving no purpose as if the top order couldn't score then one couldn't expect the lower order to get the big innings.

But Aaqib said, "An all-rounder's role is very difficult. You bat at number eight, you bowl four to five overs. Razzaq is a utility player and he's a type of batsman who can win you matches that you've lost by the time he comes in. It won't happen daily but you need such people in the team. It also adds depth to the bowling."

The seven-wicket win over Zimbabwe was Pakistan's first successful run-chase in World Cups since their win over New Zealand in the 1999 edition.

Considering the batsmen-heavy playing-eleven, the team's policy has been to bat first and pile up a big total. However, with dew playing an important role under lights, Aaqib confirmed that the spinners are being trained accordingly.

"The pitches are very good and you need these in limited-overs cricket. There's bounce, spin and seam right from the start. However, in the second innings, dew plays an important role and we'll be looking out for that.

"We're giving a wet ball to the spinners in the nets to train them and that's the least we can do while training."

Pakistan take on Australia on Saturday in a match that will determine the final standings of Group A.

Image: Pakistan cricket team
Photographs: Getty Images
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World Cup brings Pakistan's film industry to standstill

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The World Cup may spell joy for the cricket fans in Pakistan but the 43-day event has hit the country's film industry hard as theatres are going empty, leaving their owners with dwindling earnings.

The cricket extravaganza has forced the film distributors and exhibitors to suspend all the new releases and cinema owners have been pushed to run old films.

"No one is really interested in going out for movies during the World Cup because the match timings generally clash with our prime shows like the six or nine o'clock shows. So it is sensible business not to release new films," said Nadeem Mandviwalla, a cinema owner and distributor.

"People are more into the cricket matches and since the Pakistan team is doing well no one is coming to the theatres," Mandviwalla added while emphasising upon the Afridi-led team's good run in the tournament so far.

He also pointed out that the scene is no different in the neighbouring country. "Even in India no new big budget films are being released because of the World Cup."

A few theatre owners have, though, shown enterprise by entering into an agreement with the television network which has the exclusive broadcasting rights for the quadrennial event.

"We are planning to show the knockout matches in cinema halls some of them I believe will charge the customers," said one of the officials of the network.

"It gives us good business and allows us to tide through this period," revealed a cinema owner. As expected, private clubs, five star hotels, restaurants have also tried to exploit the World Cup hype by setting up big screens to show the matches and offering special deals for their customers.

The city government has also made arrangements in some of the major parks and amusement areas to show the live telecast of the World Cup matches.

Image: People queue up to enter a cinema hall in Karachi
Photographs: Reuters
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Memorial services for Woolmer on death anniversary

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To keep alive the memories of Bob Woolmer, who died tragically during the 2007 World Cup, many memorial services have been planned at different churches in Karachi on his fourth death anniversary on Friday.

Woolmer died on March 18, one day after the Pakistan team was knocked out of the 2007 World Cup by minnows Ireland in one of the biggest upsets in cricket history.

Although initial reports suspected that he was murdered, later Jamaican police confirmed he had died of natural causes at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica.

"Woolmer's death remains a sad chapter in Pakistan's cricket history. Four years have passed since that day in Kingston, all of us still have fond memories of him," former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq said.

Inzamam was the captain in that World Cup and considered to be very close to Woolmer, who served as Pakistan coach between 2004 and 2007, building up close relationships with a number of players.

Inzamam said the events that followed Woolmer's death still haunt many players because some of them were treated like criminals by the Jamaican police.

"No one was more sad or shocked than the Pakistani players at Woolmer's death. No one really understood that. It would be fitting if in this World Cup our team can win the title. It would be a great achievement after what happened in the last tournament," he said.

Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria said he still remembers the horrible moments when Woolmer was found unconscious in his hotel room.

"It was terrible and what happened was worse because we were out of the World Cup and we also had to deal with so many false rumors. But I have no doubt he was one of the best coaches I have worked with."

Kaneria said it was important to remember Woolmer's contribution to Pakistan cricket on his death anniversary and keep alive his memory.

A statement by the Bob Woolmer Cricket Club said that a match will be staged in memory of the late coach after ongoing Pentangular Cup.

Image: A Pakistani Christian peace activist places a rose in front of a picture of cricket coach Bob Woolmer during a memorial service in Islamabad in 2007
Photographs: Reuters
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