Joined: 27 January 2005
|Stop waiting for Shoaib, Asif, Miandad tells Pakistan|
Karachi: Former captain Javed Miandad has told Pakistan to stop waiting for Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif and go into next month's World Cup without the two pace bowlers.
"With so much uncertainty over their availability, I think it is best Pakistan forgot about them and devised a new strategy with more spinners," Miandad told Reuters on Wednesday.
"Why waste time on something which is not available?".
Shoaib and Asif are receiving treatment in London for their knee and elbow injuries and will not be leaving for the Caribbean on Thursday with the rest of the squad.
The pair have also yet to take the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) official doping tests, said media manager Pervez Mir.
Shoaib and Asif tested positive last October for the banned substance nandrolone but a PCB appeals panel cleared them of a doping offence and set aside their bans in December.
Pakistan have also yet to receive permission from the World Cup technical committee to replace injured all-rounder Abdul Razzaq with Azhar Mahmood.
A veteran of six World Cups, Miandad said Pakistan would fare better in the competition with two specialist spinners.
"They have leg-spinner Danish Kaneria in the side and they should also include left-armer Abdul Rehman," he said.
"They can be threatening on slow West Indian pitches."
Rehman played recently in South Africa but has not been picked in the 15-man World Cup squad.
Pakistan will be in Group D with hosts West Indies, Zimbabwe and Ireland.
Joined: 15 August 2005
Joined: 15 August 2005
Ganguly likely to miss warm-up match
March 9, 2007
Sourav Ganguly is likely to miss India's warm-up match against West Indies after injuring his ankle at net practice the day before.
The team management may not wish to take a risk and play a half-fit Ganguly when India is scheduled to play its first match of World Cup - against Bangladesh in Trinidad - in less than ten days time.
India play West Indies in their second warm-up match today at the Trelawny Stadium in Jamaica.
Meanwhile India's other opener, Virender Sehwag, has said that the backing he received from Rahul Dravid to be included in the World Cup squad was a huge morale booster and he would like to repay the captain's faith in him by scoring plenty of runs in the tournament.
"I now want to justify the faith in me and live up to the expectations," Sehwag was reported as saying in AFP. "I was confident of staging a comeback and the time I spent away from international cricket helped me get my focus back."
Earlier Dilip Vengsarkar, the chairman of selectors, had said that Sehwag had been selected on Dravid's insistence. "When I was leading India, I never got the team I wanted and I didn't want Rahul to go through the same," Vengsarkar had said. "He insisted on having Sehwag and that made the difference."
Sehwag was included despite scoring just 273 runs in 15 one-day games, including an unimpressive 19 off 23 balls against Sri Lanka a day before the squad was picked on February 12.
However he appeared to regain form with an aggressive 46 in the final match against Sri Lanka five days later. "I'm quite happy with my form now. It's getting better and better with every session in the nets. I want to stay longer at the crease."
Joined: 27 September 2006
Swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag has promised to justify captain
Rahul Dravid's backing with a bucketful of runs for India at the ICC
Chairman of Indian selectors Dilip Vengsarkar said last week the struggling 28-year-old had been picked for the ICC CWC after Dravid insisted on his inclusion for the showpiece event.
A grateful Sehwag says he is determined to prove his worth when India open their campaign against Bangladesh in Trinidad on March 17.
"The backing I've received from Dravid has been a huge morale booster," Sehwag told reporters ahead of Friday's final warm-up match against the West Indies here.
"I now want to justify the faith in me and live up to the expectations."
Sehwag was included despite scoring just 273 runs in 15 one-dayers, including an unimpressive 19 off 23 balls against Sri Lanka a day before the squad was picked on February 12.
However he appeared to regain form with a typically aggressive 46 in the final match against the Sri Lankans five days later.
"I was confident of staging a comeback and the time I spent away from international cricket helped me get my focus back," he said.
"I did a lot of meditation.
"I'm quite happy with my form now. It's getting better and better with every session in the nets. I want to stay longer at the crease."
Sehwag, the only Indian to compile a triple century in Test cricket, has scored 4,833 runs from 167 one-dayers with seven centuries.
He is also a useful offspin bowler with 72 one-day wickets, giving Dravid an option of an additional spinner.
Sehwag said he was not concerned over being removed as vice-captain on the tour of South Africa in December-January because of his poor form.
"I was not expecting the vice-captaincy when it was given to me, nor was I disappointed when it was taken away," he said.
Senior pro Sachin Tendulkar, who voluntarily stepped down as India captain in 2000 to concentrate on his batting, was elevated as vice-captain to Dravid for the ICC CWC.
Joined: 27 September 2006
Joined: 06 August 2005
Joined: 27 January 2005
|India inflict nine-wicket hammering on West Indies|
Trelawny, Jamaica: India skittled West Indies for 85 runs in a warm-up tie before marching to a nine-wicket victory, plunging the hosts into a crisis four days before their first World Cup match.
The Caribbean batsmen were clueless against the sharp Patel, who grabbed four for 10, while left-armer Irfan Pathan received a timely boost to his bowling form after pitching in with three for 25.
The West Indies innings folded in 25.5 overs, skipper Brian Lara's 22 being the highest score with just three batsmen reaching double figures.
India, the 1983 champions, eased to 86 for one in reply off just 18.3 overs after youngsters Dinesh Karthik (38 not out), promoted to number three, and opener Robin Uthappa (35 not out) added 80 runs for the unbroken second wicket.
West Indies's misery was completed when Dwayne Bravo bowled a no ball with the scores level.
India's only concerns amidst the near-perfect build-up were their openers. The struggling Virender Sehwag (0) failed again and Sourav Ganguly did not open after going off the field in the 13th over in the morning due to an ankle problem.
Indian new-ball bowlers Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar removed openers Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Chris Gayle for six runs each in successive deliveries, making it 14-2 in the fifth over.
Lara, who elected to bat, showed ominous early touch until Pathan had him caught and bowled. The batsman was deceived by the slow pitch, failing to add a run after Yuvraj Singh dropped a stiff chance at point against Zaheer.
West Indies batsmen also fell to poor shots on a pitch which lost its early carry, leaving them in a daze before their opening Group D tie against Pakistan on Tuesday.
Indian seamers ensured a perfect final World Cup build-up after they thrashed Netherlands by 182 runs in their first warm-up game on Tuesday.
However, it was downhill for West Indies.
They chose to display inexplicable tactics by sending Marlon Samuels to bat at number eight despite the batsman scoring a hundred in Monday's warm-up game victory over Kenya.
Lara, who opted not to bat against Kenya, put on 39 runs with Ramnaresh Sarwan (13) and pulled and drove in style until Pathan removed him.
Patel brought on at the other end, struck two quick blows to make it 57 for five in the 17th over, removing Sarwan and all-rounder Bravo (0).
The lower-order batsmen caved in after that.
India left out Sachin Tendulkar due to what skipper Rahul Dravid said was a niggle. The team manager said it was nothing serious.
India play their first group B game against Bangladesh at Port-of-Spain, Trinidad on March 17.
Joined: 27 January 2005
|'The West Indies wickets should give us an edge'|
What was your experience of the 2003 World Cup like?
Harbhajan Singh: You need to play well to reach the World Cup final, and we did exactly that. That was clearly one of the biggest matches wherein I represented the country, if not the biggest. We will aim to repeat that achievement in 2007.
You did not start too well in 2003…
Harbhajan Singh: Yes, we were on the back foot after losing to Australia. But we couldn't believe the way people behaved back home. Our houses were stoned and our effigies burnt. We were criticised and abused. I pray that it shouldn't happen again. People should have faith in us. We always try our best to achieve the best for the team. But things can go wrong occasionally in sport. Anyway, that is the past, and I would like to focus on the future.
It took us some time to recover from the shock of losing the final…
Harbhajan Singh: Same here. We wanted it very badly. You do not play the World Cup final every Monday. Yes, it was a shock for all of us.
What went wrong?
Harbhajan Singh: Maybe we were too intense. The Australians played fantastic cricket. We could not check their run-riot. I suppose the match ended in the mid-innings break. The Australians were better than us on the given day. It took us several days to get over the shock.
Your mentality resembles that of the West Indians…
Harbhajan Singh: They are lively people, full of 'masti'. They live life to the fullest, always. They know how to enjoy themselves and I believe in doing the same. But we will not participate in these parties during the World Cup. Cricket will be the only thing on our minds. But I do like their attitude.
What about India's chances?
Harbhajan Singh: We have a very good side that is capable of doing well. We have to be positive, as you cannot achieve anything if you are not. We have been playing well and that should reflect in our performances.
Winning the last two one-day series would have boosted your confidence....
Harbhajan Singh: Definitely. You need results on the eve of a tournament like the World Cup. This will be my second World Cup, and I know how much pressure there will be when it starts. For me, cricket is a totally mental sport. You need to be in the right frame of mind to deliver your best performances. And I think we are in the right frame of mind at the moment.
Are you confident of putting up a good show?
Harbhajan Singh: I am, but, you cannot predict anything as far as the World Cup is concerned. The one-day game is all about firing on the given day. What you can be sure of is a hundred percent effort from every single player. The rest, we will leave to God.
You went to the West Indies just a year ago and won the Test series there.
Harbhajan Singh: We won the Test series but lost the one-day series. However, this is a new tournament and we expect the wickets to be similar to those in India. That should give us an edge.
Will the spinners play a major role in the 2007 World Cup?
Harbhajan Singh: The wickets on last year's tour of the Caribbean certainly suited the slower bowlers. Things may or may not be different this time. At the international level, you need to be able to adapt to the conditions as quickly as you can. If you can adapt well and manage to peak at the right time, then nothing and no one can stop you.
(An exclusive feature for Sify from PMG)
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