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February 14, 2003 22:03 IST

Sri Lankan seam bowler Pulashti Gunaratne will miss at least three games after cracking a bone in his right index finger.

He made an encouraging start to the World Cup by taking two for 24 in the win over New Zealand after being entrusted with the new ball.

The 29-year-old dismissed Stephen Fleming and Craig McMillan but suffered the injury while fielding.

Team manager Ajith Jayasekera confirmed, however, that Gunaratne would be staying with the squad, with a view to making his comeback later in the tournament.


India cricket chief Jagmohan Dalmiya has said England should be docked World Cup points for refusing to play in Zimbabwe.

The English players, backed by the England and Wales Cricket Board, refused to travel to the country because of security concerns.

The game was subsequently postponed pending an inquiry by the International Cricket Council.

The ICC now have to decide whether to abandon the match on safety grounds and split the points between the countries, relocate the game or hand the points to Zimbabwe.

"The ICC should come to a firm and final decision whether Zimbabwe is a safe country or not for playing World Cup matches," expressed Dalmiya in a letter to ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed.

"If Zimbabwe is not a safe country, then shift all the matches from there. But if it is safe, award full points to Zimbabwe for the England match and levy a penalty of four minus points on England," he added.


All-rounder Craig White is to stay with England's World Cup squad despite his left side strain problem.

The injury, which had put his participation for the tournament in doubt, initially flared up during the Melbourne Ashes Test in late last December.

But England, the only team yet to play a match in the World Cup after cancelling their fixture in Harare, have taken a gamble on him regaining his fitness.

White had seemed to have got over the strain by featuring in England's two warm-up matches in South Africa.

But it came to light again in the nets on Tuesday.


Jimmy Maher and Andrew Bichel certain to lose their places in the Australian team for tomorrow's World Cup match against India.

Darren Lehmann was due to return from suspension and Michael Bevan from injury for the game at SuperSport Park, Centurion, meaning two players from Australia's comprehensive 82-run win over Pakistan during the week would be unlucky omissions.

Bichel and reserve batsmen Maher were most likely to go.

Their only reprieve could be if Bevan's torn groin muscle had not mended properly, but all indications were he would play.

"The way we played the first game was fantastic so I've just got to hope I get selected," said Lehmann.

"It's good to be back and available for selection.

"I hope I play and play well.

"Michael trained today and got through okay so I'm presuming he'll be okay as well."


New Zealand captain Fleming was a happy man after his team's baseball-style relay throwing tactic snared a crucial victim in their World Cup victory over West Indies on Thursday.

Defending a relatively modest total of 241, New Zealand took control of the match when they ran out West Indies dangerman Brian Lara using the method.

Lou Vincent fielded a ball hit by Lara inside the boundary rope but rather than hurl it back to the wicket, he flicked it low and hard to Chris Cairns, who threw down the stumps to catch the world record-breaking left-hander short of his ground.

"That's our first fish with the relay throw and it's a pretty big fish to fry," Fleming said.

"We've done a lot of work on it, we know when to use it and how to use it and today it won us the match.

"Guys can obviously throw the ball from the boundary but we believe it's quicker and more accurate and today was an example of what it can create. It can create confusion and it narrows down how far a guy has to shy at the stumps."


Defiant spin king Shane Warne yesterday assembled a team of Australia's best legal minds in a bid to save his stricken international career.
Warne faces the fight of his life when he appears before an Australian Cricket Board anti-doping committee at the end of next week.

If convicted the champion leg spinner could be outed from all cricket for up to two years - a ban that would almost certainly end his playing days.

The Warne family will spare no expense for the all-or-nothing battle, engaging the services of two prominent Melbourne QCs, two support lawyers and a public relations firm.

The shattered spinner spent most of yesterday planning his defence with family and lawyers at his Brighton home.

Sources close to the family said the 33-year-old has vowed to dedicate every waking hour to clearing his name at next week's hearing.

Warne is also considering flying to Sydney to be present during the crucial analysis of his B sample at the Australian Sports Drug Agency.

Shane Warne's mother might make a public statement in an effort to clear her son of his positive drugs test.

Warne's manager and brother, Jason, said the family was discussing whether Brigitte should give her side of the story.

The leg-spinner said his mum gave him a diuretic tablet to help with his appearance and this led to his positive test on January 22.

"That's something we're discussing at the moment, once we've worked that out, if she is going to, we'll release that through the Australian Cricket Board," Jason said.

Warne is awaiting the result of a B test and is likely to front an ACB anti-doping committee late next week.

His mother might also appear at the hearing as a witness.


Indian maestro Sachin Tendulkar will be confronted with the full force of Australia's pace attack when he opens the batting in the World Cup cricket match at SuperSport Park on Saturday.

"We haven't played against him for a while but every time we have played against him he's done extremely well, he's played brilliantly," said Australian captain Ricky Ponting.

"We've had lots of plans and different things we've tried against him and none of them have really worked."

In his last series, he scored just two runs in three innings against New Zealand. For him, this is a slump of astronomical proportions.

"That's probably a bad thing, actually," said Ponting.

"I would have rather him score a lot of runs coming into the game against us.

"He seems to save his best for us. He's done well against us in the past but he's sort of batted different positions the last few tournaments and I don't think they're really settled with where they want him to bat."


The United Cricket Board's general council is to discuss reports that its president, Percy Sonn, was drunk and abusive at a Cricket World Cup match between India and Holland at Boland Park in Paarl on Wednesday.

UCB chief executive Gerald Majola said: "We are aware of the reports. I have spoken to Percy and he will get the opportunity to discuss the matter with the UCB general council in the next few days. It would be inappropriate for the board to make any further comment."

Sonn said: "I am a person who likes my liquor. I was not confronted (at the match) and I don't know what I was supposed to have done. If I used foul language, it was most probably suitable to the circumstances."

One of the reported witnesses, veteran racing driver Sarel van der Merwe, was reported as having said Sonn "literally fell out of his pants" and had staggered about among the private suites.

"One could see that the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, who was there as his guest, was most embarrassed," Van der Merwe said.

Other witnesses reportedly said Sonn had verbally abused members of the public.

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