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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > News > Report

February 26, 2003 18:20 IST

The Netherlands' captain Roland Lefebvre feels neither England, India nor Pakistan will win the World Cup. Instead, he reckons reigning champions Australia, hosts South Africa and New Zealand are way ahead of the rest of the pack to reach the March 23 final at Johannesburg.

Lefebvre, leading the Dutch in only their second World Cup, was clearly unimpressed with England, India and Pakistan even though his team was routed by all three teams in the preliminary league.

"I don't think they have got what it takes. All three of them lack a bit of confidence," the Dutch captain said.

"England played solidly at Newlands against Pakistan. They probably are the best bet of the three teams to qualify for the Super Sixes."

Lefebvre's remarks came after his team succumbed to a 97-run defeat to Pakistan on Tuesday, their fourth successive defeat in a row.

"It is a big plus that we could take 19 wickets in the big matches against India and Pakistan. The lack of pace bowling in the league back home and the high quality of spin in this World Cup have found us wanting a bit."

Shane Warne has been criticised for giving "vague, unsatisfactory and inconsistent" evidence to the Australian Cricket Board's anti-doping tribunal.

The official findings of the three-man panel, published on Wednesday, describe Warne's decision to take a fluid tablet as "a reckless act totally disregarding the possible consequences".

The panel outlined that they dismissed Warne's 'exceptional circumstances' defence because of their "grave concerns" over the integrity of his evidence.

The findings also outlined how the panel felt Warne had not been "entirely truthful" when questioned about his knowledge of the ACB anti-doping policy.

Warne denied ever having read the ACB literature, learning from the official team sessions or previous cases such as that of Victoria team-mate Graeme Rummans.

The findings concluded: "Much of Warne's evidence on these issues was unsatisfactory and the committee does not accept he was entirely truthful in his responses to questions about his knowledge of the ACB anti-doping policy.

"Coupled with that is his vague, unsatisfactory and inconsistent evidence about the extent of using a Moduretic.

"The committee is of the view that the evidence does not establish a reasonable belief such as would found a defence of exceptional circumstances."

Australia's vice-captain Adam Gilchrist believes that Shane Warne's delay in revealing he had taken more than one tablet containing diuretics could further harm his public image.

"There is no doubt people don't like being deceived," Gilchrist said on Tuesday after Warne announced he had taken another diuretic in early December, in addition to the one he tested positive for in January.

"I am not saying for one moment Warney was intentionally doing that and I don't know all the fine details but there could easily be a perception that information had been withheld.

"When that finally does come out people can be put off and that can cloud certain people's judgement."

Gilchrist added: "As far as I am concerned, what was said to us as a group (of players) wasn't intentionally trying to hide anything.

"Only one guy knows what the truth is and he has got to live with that."

Andy Flower was set to be axed for Zimbabwe's World Cup match against Australia on Monday but was reinstated after a player revolt, a source close to the team said on Tuesday.

The left-hander, one of the top batsmen in world cricket, was to be dropped for disciplinary reasons following his public denunciation of alleged human rights abuses in the strife-torn country, the source added.

But three of his team mates warned Zimbabwe coach Geoff Marsh that they would refuse to play against the world champions if Flower was omitted.

Former Australia Test batsman Marsh, who is not a member of Zimbabwe's six-man selection panel, passed on the threat to the selectors who quickly backed down.

The selectors, according to the source, had been instructed by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union executive board to drop Flower.

A member of Zimbabwe's selection panel, however, denied that Flower had been dropped.

South Africa's leading allrounder Jacques Kallis scoffed at suggestions on Tuesday that he was carrying an injury though the cricket World Cup.

Kallis has been singularly unimpressive as the country's back up seamer this tournament, prompting speculation that he had not fully recovered from a toe injury sustained in the nets last month. Kallis drove the ball directly onto his toe in Cape Town as South Africa prepared for the World Cup.

Although X rays revealed that he had escaped a fracture, the toe was nonetheless severely swollen and bruised.

"I'm fully fit," said Kallis on Tuesday after the South African squad regathered in East London after a two day break. "I'm very happy with the way things are going. It's just a matter of having some luck and things going my way now, but I'm not at all concerned about it."

Kallis has bowled at least 10 kilometres an hour slower than is his want, but he insists that this is not at all unusual. "In One Day cricket I like to keep it at 130 or 135 km/h. It gives you more control." There was also a suggestion that Kallis was simply bearing too much of a burden, acting as both a main seam bowler as well as a top order batsman.

"There has been a lot of cricket this season and at times it has been difficult. But I wouldn't want it any other way."

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming wants the International Cricket Council to consider introducing reserve days at the next World Cup for matches affected by rain.

There are no reserve days at this World Cup, with teams sharing the points when games are abandoned as happened in last week's Group B clash between West Indies and Bangladesh.

"I would like to have seen, in hindsight, reserve days because that could have a huge bearing on the World Cup and I'm sure the organisers don't want that," Fleming said.

"The logistics of that, I'm not sure about because I'm speaking in general terms, but it can have an effect which I think is unfair."

Fleming said West Indies' abandoned game against Bangladesh was a classic example of why reserve days are needed. West Indies were seemingly cruising to a comfortable victory against a side who have not won a match for four years, when the heavens opened.

Fleming said he supported the ICC's decision to increase the number of developing nations at the World Cup to help spread the game, but was worried they were inadvertently having too big an influence on the tournament.

"Yesterday's performance by Kenya (beating Sri Lanka) will silence a few critics in showing that on any given day there is a chance for any side to beat any side," Fleming said.

Saeed Anwar and Saleem Elahi became the first two Pakistanis to undergo a random dope test here under the new regimen introduced by the ICC.

The urine samples of the two Pakistani batsmen were taken immediately after the side won its fixture against Holland by the ICC panel of doctors. The result of the tests are likely to come within a week.

The entire Pakistan team was tested for banned substances by the PCB's panel of doctors, and each of the players was found negative after examination by an IOC-approved clinic at Penang (Malaysia).

The Pakistan team management was told on the morning of the match that random tests would be conducted after the match.

Speaking on the issue, the team spokesman said: "We have nothing to be concerned about. We believe that our boys are clean, but we have to follow the ICC regimen".

The International Cricket Council will consider launching a major push to have a United States team in the next World Cup.

The next cup will be played in the West Indies in four years and will include matches in Florida.

The success of minor host nations has been a feature of the World Cup with Kenya, against all expectations, pressing for Super Sixes inclusion in the current tournament, Sri Lanka winning the Cup after co-hosting it in 1996 and New Zealand making the semi-finals after sharing the tournament with Australia in 1992.

There are more than 15,000 registered cricketers in the United States, most of whom are expatriates from Asian nations, but the game has little profile there and American sports fans have traditionally considered the game too quirky and long for their interest.

"There is a chance the United States could be playing next time," an ICC spokesman said.

"Particularly with games in Florida it is worth considering. There are several ways they can be fast tracked. One is they could be given much more assistance than they warrant on their current ranking."

Zimbabwean batsman Andy Flower has reportedly signed a three year deal with the South Australian Cricket Association.

It was reported, that on Tuesday Flower had signed a three-year contract to play for SA but would continue his tenure with Essex during the Northern Summer.

Flower, 34, was approached by SACA prior to the 2002/03 season but international commitments prevented him from taking up the offer.

SACA corporate communications manager Jane Elliott dismissed reports that Flower would play for SA as speculation, adding that it was inappropriate to discuss contracts at this time of the season.

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