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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report

World Cup returns after Black Sunday

Simon Evans | March 19, 2007 11:57 IST

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World Cup cricketers attempt to get back to competitive business on Monday, 24 hours after the tournament was rocked by the death of the Pakistan coach and an England drinking scandal.

India are aiming to bounce back from their surprise defeat to Bangladesh while hosts West Indies could book their place in the next stage of the competition in Monday's World Cup action.

The matches almost seem a distraction after Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer's untimely death aged 58 less than a day after their World Cup exit at the hands of Ireland.

That news followed the sacking of England's mercurial all-rounder Andrew Flintoff as World Cup vice-captain after a Friday night drinking session.

West Indies captain Brian Lara has some off-field issues of his own to contend with as his players have yet to receive their World Cup contracts but the record-breaking batsman is sure that his team will be fully focussed on Zimbabwe.

"I think it is important the authorities do get the problem solved but I am sure the people of the Caribbean and the players want to see us to do well," he told a news conference.

"We cannot be concerned with such matters at this very crucial stage of the tournament," added Lara, who suggested he is likely to have an unchanged side against the Africans. 

A win for West Indies would secure them a place in the Super Eights stage of the competition with one game, against surprise package Ireland, remaining.

Zimbabwe coach Kevin Curran is hoping his side have recovered from the shock of being held to a tie against Ireland but accepts their chances depend on an off-day from the hosts.

"They have got world class players but there are times when they aren't at their best and hopefully we can catch them on one of those days," he said.

One surprise defeat will surely be enough for India who after suffering a reverse against an exciting, young Bangladesh team are expected to overcome the weakest of the non-test playing nations, debutants Bermuda.

Opener Virender Sehwag could be axed after scoring two runs against Bangladesh, the latest disappointment in his prolonged slump in form.

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