ACC wants to include cricket
in SAF Games for Indo-Pak peace
Karachi, August 10
The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Sunday suggested the inclusion of cricket
in the South Asian Federation (SAF) Games as part of a move to end a deadlock
between the two neighbours.
"ACC will officially request the South Asian Sports Federation (SASF)
to include cricket in the SAF Games which we think can be stepping stone
for the revival of cricket between India and Pakistan," ACC development
manager Zakir Hussain Syed told AFP.
India snapped bilateral cricket ties with arch rivals Pakistan over political
tension in 2000 but recent efforts to normalise relations between the
two neighbours have triggered hopes of ties being revived by next year.
"We are sure that cricket can increase the appeal of the Games to
a great extent and besides Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh -
the four Test playing nations - Nepal can also chip in," Syed said.
Pakistan last week announced it will stage the biennial SAF Games in January
2004 after withdrawing its right to host the game April this year, after
becoming frustrated by repeated postponements.
The Games, scheduled to be held in Islamabad in September 2001, were first
cancelled following security fears in the wake of the 9/11 terrorists
attacks on the United States and the ensuing war in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Later Pakistan was twice forced to cancel the Games, first in March 2002
and then in March this year, over Indian refusals to participate.
Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) last month said it received a great
boost to rescheduled the Games in Pakistan when their Indian counterparts
supported them to host the regional sporting festival.
Pakistan will now request the SASF to fix new dates for the Games in its
meeting likely to be held in October this year.
The SAF Games events include athletics, badminton, boxing, football, volleyball,
weightlifting, taekwondo, karate, table tennis, wrestling, shooting and
Hockey was included on expiremental basis in the Games held in India in
"Cricket can have more representation in the Games and even the fledgling
nation like Afghanistan can also participate in it," Syed said.
The Games were initiated in 1984 under the auspices of South Asian Association
for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and are participated by India, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal.
Afghanistan was also included in the SAF Games fold last year.
The last edition of the Games were held in Nepal in 1999.
Beware of under-rated
Bangalore, August 10
Ahead of the New Zealand tour of India, Coach John Wright on Sunday warned
that the Kiwis are a tough side to beat and Sourav Ganguly's boys would
have to strive hard to press home the advantages.
"New Zealanders peformed well on a recent tour to Sri Lanka. They
(the Kiwis) are always underrated and they make fight hard", Wright
"Perhaps, the other side (India) isnt different. Its up to us (India)
to perform better and keep the home record going".
Asked how eager the Indian team was to avenge its thrashing by New Zealand
on their last tour, Wright said the team is always eager to play good
cricket, against any side.
On Javagal Srinath, recuperating from a knee injury, being doubtful for
the home series, Wright said, adding that he would speak to the pace spearhead
soon and expressed hope that he would carry on.
"I havent had a chat with Sri for a month. But obviously we will
have a talk in the next week or so. Sri is big enough to take the decision.
Lets hope he wants to carry on. But that will be his decision".
Wright added: "But we seem to be getting more depth in the pace department
which is good".
Indias pace department has got a "little more depth", particulary
after a "little bit of over-competition" on the New Zealand
tour, followed by the World Cup campaign in South Africa where they were
perhaps "wayward" in the final, he said.
Wright said its a good move by the BCCI and the selectors for having picked
36 players for the conditioning camp, including the India "A"
team that toured England, and dismissed suggestions that it would be too
big a group to handle.
"It will be alright and fine. I think its a good move by the BCCI
and the selectors to get as many for selection".
There were some good performances in India "A"s recent tour
of England, he said, adding that it was an excellent tour and Coach Sandeep
Patil deserved congratulations.
"It (36 probables) will be a good base from the fitness point of
view. I will not find it difficult to handle as many. I am confident of
doing a good job", Wright said.
Asked if some of the India "A" players who did well on the tour
have a chance to get into the national squad, he said the selectors are
looking for them to consolidate their performances on the tour and be
consistent in domestic matches as well.
Wright said the conditioning camp begining on August 14 would focus on
Warne in yet another phone
Sydney, August 10
Controversy prone Australian spinner on Sunday found himself in the midst
of another telephone sex scandal with a South African woman accusing the
bowler of making lewd calls and sending dirty messages to her.
Cohen Alon, a 45-year-old divorcee and a mother of three, claimed Warne
called her up "40 times" saying he "wanted me" and
even sent text messages telling her he was lying in bed next to his wife
Simone, but thinking "naughty thoughts about me".
The allegations of Alon were reported by the Sunday Times, Johannesburg.
Warne, who was stripped of his vice captaincy after he admitted making
dirty calls to a British nurse in August 2000, refused to respond to the
charges made by Alon but his manager and brother Jason did issue a terse
statement denying the allegations.
Lankan cricket authorities want to modernize
Sinhalese Sports Club
Colombo, August 08
Sri Lanka's cricket authorities
are planning to modernize Sinhalese Sports Club ground, the headquarters
of cricket on the island, as a venue equal to world headquarters Lord's,
the cricket board said Friday.
Cricket board chief Thilanga Sumathipala has met club authorities and
discussed a plan to "develop SSC as a super grade venue equal to
Lord's of London," the cricket board said in a statement.
The development plan will include floodlights, a digital scoreboard, modern
dressing rooms, covered stands for spectators and a museum, the statement
The ground has hosted 22 test matches since 1984 - the most among the
seven Sri Lankan test venues. Also, 47 one-day internationals have been
played in the venue.
Shoaib to return to Durham
Karachi, August 08
The Pakistan cricket board (PCB) is allowing fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar
to re-join Durham after the first two tests against Bangladesh this month.
A board spokesman said Durham had released Akhtar for the tests but wanted
him back in the first week of September to complete his contract.
Durham's chances of promotion from the second division would be greatly
boosted by the return of Shoaib for the closing games.
Fellow paceman Mohammad Sami, who has been out with an injured ankle,
is expected to be fit from the third test onwards. Sami, 22, told Reuters:
"I will complete four weeks of rest this week and than start training."
Nimbus denies Ganguly
Kolkata, August 07
The speculation over who Sourav Ganguly’s new agents would be, once
his existing contract expires in end-September, is gaining steam.
World Sports Nimbus, the group reported to have offered an astronomical
guarantee money of Rs 60 crore, has strongly denied of “even contemplating”
to sign him.
However, the Indian captain’s departure for Australia earlier this
week on a personal visit has set the cricket circles abuzz.
Harish Thawani, co-chairman of WSN, told Times News Network from Mumbai:
“We have given no such proposal to Ganguly, nor are we contemplating
to. There is no resolution even in the company board of taking cricketers
on board for celebrity management.”
Kaif returns to form but
London, August 07
Mohammad Kaif rediscovered his batting form but Derbyshire faultered to
bow out of the C&G Trophy one-day cricket tournament in Bristol on
Kaif played a pivotal role with a well paced 72 to help Derbyshire post
a respectable 219 but it was not enough to stop Gloucestershire from squeezing
out a narrow one-wicket win in the semifinal match.
Pakistan's Shoaib Malik was key to Gloucestershire's victory, his 83-ball
74 that included 10 fours guiding the team into the final even as wickets
tumbled at the other end.
Derbyshire, electing to bat, were off to a creaky start as they lost three
wickets for 59 on the board.
But Kaif and D R Hewson (37) took the score to 134 before the latter was
That was the first of three run outs which derailed Derbyshire's hope
of putting past the former champions.
If not for some generous bowling by Mark Alleyne's men who conceded 23
extras, Derbyshire would have struggled to go past the 200 mark.
Gloucestershire were given a solid start by New Zealander Craig Spearman
and W P C Weston who put on 48 for the first wicket.
Then wickets began to fall at regular interval but A P R Gidman (41) and
Malik added a valuable 56 for the fifth wicket.
There was further drama when Wharton removed Alleyne (27) and wicketkeeper
batsman R C Russel in the space of three balls but Malik's innings ensured
victory for the Gloucs.