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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > News > Report

February 19, 2003 13:52 IST

England coach Duncan Fletcher will attempt to convince Nasser Hussain to stay on as captain after the World Cup.

Hussain threatened on Saturday to stand down as skipper at the end of the tournament after becoming disillusioned with the sport's ruling bodies over the Zimbabwe fixture controversy.

"He has done a good job and I would like him to continue captaining England over the next summer," Fletcher said on Tuesday.

"I don't want to talk about the issue during the World Cup and it is something that should be sorted out when the tournament has finished. We are in the middle of a World Cup campaign and I want everybody focused on that."

The Indian team's disastrous performance at the World Cup is taking its toll on Indian companies. With more than Rs eight billion pledged by Indian companies as advertising towards the tournament, India Inc is thinking twice about airing some of the many campaigns it had made featuring Indian cricketers.

Bharti Cellular was the first in withdrawing campaigns featuring Sourav Ganguly, brand ambassador of Airtel-Magi. Originally signed up in November 1999 for Rs 2.5 million by the erstwhile Modi-Telstra as its cash card brand ambassador for a year, Bharti has decided not to renew the campaign after the teams bad performance in New Zealand and now South Africa.

Now it is Bharati Sanchar Nigam Limited, who has earmarked Rs 150 million as advertising for the World Cup.  With replay rights on Sony Max and one of the presenting sponsor on Doordarshan, BSNL is feeling the impact of India's bad performance. According to Anil Jain, deputy director general marketing BSNL, "if this disastrous performance continues some ads may have to be rescheduled".

The world's top anti-doping official warned Australia not to "go soft" on Shane Warne if the cricketer was found guilty of taking a banned drug.

World Anti-Doping Agency chairman Dick Pound said Australia needed to be seen to be tough on drugs after last year giving Australian Commonwealth Games shooter Phillip Adams a warning for using a banned diuretic.

"I think Australia in general has to be very careful in a case like Warne's," Canada's Pound said.

"There has been a long history of Australia accusing everyone, but your country doesn't have the same enthusiasm when your folks are involved," Pound said.

"Australia has to avoid that perception of going soft on its athletes while it attacks others like the Chinese."


In a new revelation in the Shane Warne saga, drug authorities said the Australian leg spinner must have taken more than one banned diuretic tablet, contradicting the player's statement that he had taken just one pill.

"Warne must have taken more than one tablet to get the effect he has registered," a source close to Warne's drug investigation was quoted as saying.

Warne is likely to face a two-year ban, but Simon Rofe, the Australian Olympic Committee's lawyer and a pioneer in the drafting of anti-doping documentation, said "if Warne can establish he had an honest and reasonable belief he was not taking a diuretic, he can get off scot-free."

Meanwhile, the Australian coach John Buchanan and the team wants the case to be settled soon so the defending champions can return to a 15-member squad.

Australian one-day captain Ricky Ponting believes and hopes Steve Waugh will ignore Mark Taylor's call to retire and lead the Test side to the West Indies in April.

Waugh was told yesterday by his predecessor Taylor via a web site to quit. Waugh is considering retiring aged 37 before the four-Test series in the Caribbean in April-May despite scoring a stirring century in his last appearance and running red-hot for New South Wales in the six weeks since.

"He's obviously playing well and if he's playing like that, he should keep playing," said Ponting, the Test captain in waiting. I think that's pretty much the way he will see it as well.

"He's always come out and said that if he wakes up every morning and thinks he can improve himself, then he'll keep going. I'm pretty sure he's still got that desire inside of him to keep improving every day."

Sri Lanka are gearing up to replace injured fast bowler Pulasthi Gunaratne in their World Cup squad even though he still has a 50-50 chance of recovery.

Team manager Ajith Jayasekera said on Tuesday that he had approached the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka to warn them a new player might be needed. The move would allow the selectors time to line up and prepare a suitable replacement.

The 29-year-old Gunaratne broke his right index finger while fielding in the team's opening Group B match against New Zealand at Bloemfontein on February 10.

He is expected to miss the matches against Canada on Wednesday and Kenya at the start of next week but hopes to be fit for the key game against West Indies on February 28.

Fast bowler Nuwan Zoysa, bowling well in domestic competitions, Chamila Gamage, Sujeewa de Silva and Thilina Thushara are possible replacements

Tournament debutants Namibia are yet to play England in Group A but have promised to help Nasser Hussain's team in their bid to qualify for the Super Six stage.

Namibia coach Dougie Brown will present his England counterpart Duncan Fletcher with a dossier on 1992 champions Pakistan, England's opponents in Cape Town on Saturday.

"I will be more than happy to knock on Duncan Fletcher's door and offer him any help I can," said Brown, who played nine one-day internationals for England between 1997 and 1998.

"There are one or two things we saw which England can work on. We put plans in place against their batters and one or two of them England can use to their advantage."

England meet Namibia in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday before leaving for Cape Town where their weekend clash with Pakistan will be a key factor in deciding which sides qualify for the Super Sixes.

"Wasim and Shoaib look fantastic but, if England can get into the game, who knows what could happen," added Brown. Shoaib ran in hard for his first four overs against us and bowled as quickly as any one I've ever seen. Wasim was also bowling at his fastest and had massive shape on the ball."

"In that form, they would have been formidable against any international side."

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