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farisss4 IF-Dazzler

Joined: 10 November 2006
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Posted: 09 September 2007 at 8:37pm | IP Logged
Fast bowler says he's apologised, vows quick comeback

'I'm human, I made a mistake' - Shoaib

Cricinfo staff

September 7, 2007

Shoaib Akthar said he made a mistake 'in the heat of the moment" when he hit Mohammad Asif and has apologised to him and his Pakistan teammates for the dressing-room scuffle that saw him being sent home from South Africa. He vowed to make a comeback and said he was hopeful of playing in next month's home series against South Africa.

"I'm human and made a mistake in the heat of the moment," Shoaib told NDTV, an Indian news channel. "Asif said something to me that made me lose my temper. I apologised to him, but I was very upset."

He asked the media not to paint him as a villain and said, "I'm feeling bad that two minutes of temper have ruined my comeback. Sometime you do things in a fit of temper. I will explain the situation to everyone and apologise. I will address a press conference and apologise for my actions. I will try and make it back for the series against South Africa next month."

He likened the incident to the headbutt by the French footballer, Zinedine Zidane, in the final of the World Cup in Germany last year and said what happened was not intentional

farisss4 IF-Dazzler

Joined: 10 November 2006
Posts: 2585

Posted: 09 September 2007 at 8:38pm | IP Logged
Apologises for the spat with Asif that has earned him indefinite ban

It should have stayed in the dressing room - Shoaib

Cricinfo staff

September 8, 2007

Shoaib is apologetic about his actions in South Africa AFP

Shoaib is apologetic about his actions in South Africa AFP

Shoaib Akhtar has blamed Pakistan allrounder Shahid Afridi for the spat that led to him hitting fast bowler Mohammad Asif with a bat during Pakistan's build-up to the ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa. On his return home today after being thrown out of the squad, Shoaib apologised for his actions and said the matter should have stayed in the dressing room.

Shoaib, who has been handed an indefinite ban for the scuffle two days ago, said he didn't mean to hit Asif, whom he described as a younger brother. "I apologised to Asif and he forgave me but another team-mate, Afridi, took the matter further and it forced the management to send me back," Akhtar said.

"The incident began with a verbal spat between me and Afridi, who used foul language," Akhtar said, "and Asif intervened and in anger I hit Asif with a bat."

"Afridi said things about my family which I could not tolerate. He made comments that cannot be called jokes. I am sorry for what happened and it should not have happened. I request the authorities not to ban me for a lengthy period. I want to play for my country and talk of a life ban or lengthy ban is worrying."

Afridi, however, denied that he had provoked Shoaib and was surprised at the accusations.

"I can't say much because I am bound by the central contract," Afridi told PTI. "But it is fact that Shoaib has been facing one problem or the other in the last two years and he is frustrated. I have had a good relationship with him so I don't know why he has targeted me. But he is lying and it would be better if everyone asked Asif what happened. I know Asif could have suffered more injuries if I had not stepped in."

Akhtar also criticised the media for blowing the incident out of proportion and making him a "villain". "The matter got blown up. The media has contributed to the whole controversy. There is a lobby which has always been trying to malign me by selling negative news about me. I request you all to stop doing that. Stop spreading false propaganda against me, stop selling my name in the name of news."

The main theme, though, was contrition. "If Pakistan lose [in the ICC World Twenty20] because of bowling, I will never be able to forgive myself." Shoaib also reiterated his commitment for the Pakistan team and said, "I have played with passion for Pakistan. It means something to me. I have turned down a lucrative contract with the ICL [Indian Cricket League]."

However, Pakistan board official Shafqat Naghmi said Akhtar would face a disciplinary committee hearing very soon. "Akhtar is suspended indefinitely until a disciplinary committee meeting. He is also issued a notice to explain his comments against a doping tribunal."

Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf, who is also the PCB's patron-in-chief, reportedly directed the board to take strict action against Akhtar. "President Musharraf directed PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf to take strict action against Akhtar as the quarrel between him and Asif gave a bad name to Pakistan," private channel Geo reported.

Pakistan have asked the ICC to approve the uncapped allrounder Sohail Tanveer as the replacement for Akhtar. Their first game of the ICC World Twenty20 is against Scotland on Wednesday.

farisss4 IF-Dazzler

Joined: 10 November 2006
Posts: 2585

Posted: 10 September 2007 at 7:56pm | IP Logged
Team composition the plus point - Dhoni

S Rajesh in Johannesburg

September 10, 2007

Mahendra Singh Dhoni: "Twelve of them can bowl and bat - we'll see the wicket and then decide, but we have lots of options, and if you have options there is a good chance of the team doing well." Getty Images

The jet-set world of international cricket today leaves the players hardly any time to catch their breath between series, but for Mahendra Singh Dhoni it went too far this afternoon: he didn't even have the time to change clothes, jumping straight off the airplane from London into a press conference on the eve of the ICC World Twenty20. He tackled questions about the new players and a team inexperienced at the format, the terrible fielding, and the lack of time to prepare with a fair amount of candour. He stressed on the need to be "open minded" and learning and adapting quickly.

Thanks to the seven-match ODI series, England and India are the only two teams not to have played practice games before the tournament. Most of England's players, of course, have plenty of experience in this format, but Dhoni stressed that the Indians would have to see and learn. "The schedule was such that sometimes you don't have any option. We've only played one international game, but what matters is how we adapt. We'll get quite a few matches before we play, the newer guys are quite good at adapting, so that'll definitely help."

The plus point, according to Dhoni, was the composition of the team. "I think 12 of them can bowl and bat - we'll see the wicket and then decide, but we have lots of options, and if you have options there is a good chance of the team doing well."

As batsman and wicketkeeper, Dhoni will already have plenty to do. Add captaincy to all that, and his cup of responsibility will be overflowing. "It's a form of game which changes every couple of overs, so you have to do your homework and have three of four plans ready," Dhoni said, suggesting there would be plenty of strategising in the dressing room over the next couple of days. "You need to make split-second decisions, stay open-minded and take the best alternative."

The hectic schedule and the poor fielding could both affect the team's performance, but Dhoni brushed aside those concerns. "If you are playing for India you are always busy - it's not about how fresh or tired you are. We had a long tour, and of course it is exhausting, but the tournament we're playing here is the World Cup, that itself brings the excitement and the freshness with it. Plus quite a few guys are fresh, so I don't really think that factor will impact our game much. I don't think it's a total batsman's game - the new Kookaburra ball does a bit, the batsman doesn't have time to settle and has to go for it right from the start, which gives the bowlers a chance to take wickets

"We dropped a few catches [in England], but our fielding wasn't that bad. We pushed the England batsmen when they were taking singles and twos as well. Of course England were better in the circle, the fielders in the circles are flashy, they dive and save the runs. But our Twenty20 side has a lot of youngsters, and have come through different camps, so you will definitely see a better fielding performance from this side."

And while the common perception might be that the bowlers are only there to be carved all over the park, Dhoni had a different take. "I don't think it's a total batsman's game - the new Kookaburra ball does a bit, the batsman doesn't have time to settle and has to go for it right from the start, which gives the bowlers a chance to take wickets. The bowlers need to bowl in the right areas, and try and guess what the batsman is planning to do."

If it's 2007 and if it's a cricket world cup, it's almost inevitable that there will be flashbacks to the West Indies, and to India's dismal performance there earlier this year. For Dhoni, though, it was just so much water under the bridge. "For me it's a fresh start. I'm not thinking about what went wrong in the West Indies. Ultimately it's a game and the players need to enjoy what they are doing. The problem that we cricketers face is that we don't always enjoy the game; we are too much into it. I just want the 14 players to enjoy the game."

And to prove that this isn't do-or-die for any of the team members, Dhoni indicated that his players had the license to fail in this format. "[Virender] Sehwag might get out going for his shots, or Harbhajan might go for runs if he bowls in the Powerplays. I don't think we can judge a bowler or a batsman from [his performance in] this form of the game."

India's opening match is against Scotland, at Durban, on Thursday.
farisss4 IF-Dazzler

Joined: 10 November 2006
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Posted: 10 September 2007 at 7:59pm | IP Logged
Viru relieved that Shoaib not at T20

MUMBAI, September 9: Virender Sehwag knows that the Twenty20 World Cup offers him a window of opportunity as far as his aspirations for making a comeback go.

Sehwag and four other players Irfan and Yousuf Pathan, Sree Santh and Joginder Sharma were to leave for South Africa later on Sunday night.

"I have practiced on cement wickets, with synthetic balls and the bowling machine. My focus has been to adjust myself to score runs off the yorkers, which could be deployed by the bowlers on a regular basis. I also practiced bowling yorkers myself, because they are the most difficult to hit," Sehwag said.

On Shoaib Akhtar's absence, the Najagarh dynamo said: "I'm the happiest. It is always advantageous to not have to face someone who bowls at more than 150kmh."

farisss4 IF-Dazzler

Joined: 10 November 2006
Posts: 2585

Posted: 14 September 2007 at 9:14am | IP Logged
Dravid resigns as India captain

Rahul Dravid has resigned as India captain with immediate effect. In a letter written to the Indian board, he has asked to be relieved of the captaincy before Australia's forthcoming tour of India, beginning later this month.

"I enjoyed the captaincy, I loved it, but it can get tough after a while and some of the enjoyment can go away," Dravid told BBC. "So I thought it was the right time to step aside.''

The board president, Sharad Pawar, said Dravid told him of his wish to step down, with immediate effect, when they met on Thursday. "He said, 'The selectors have placed faith in me to lead continuously for two years and I'm grateful for that'", Pawar said. "He said he would like to concentrate on his batting and the opportunity should be given to a new person to lead the side."

"He has discussed the issue with me twice. I think we need to respect his decision," Pawar said.

Dravid had opted out of the ICC World Twenty20 currently on in South Africa and the captaincy of that team was handed to Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Shah told Cricinfo the board would meet within the next two days to appoint the next captain. "We will take a decision very soon." Australia arrive in India on September 25 and the first of seven ODIs is in Bangalore four days later.

Dilip Vengsarkar, the chairman of selectors, said a decision would be taken on September 18, when the team for the Australia ODIs is to be picked.

Vengsarkar, who was in New Delhi watching the match between India A and South Africa A, appeared unaware of the news until told about it by journalists. Asked for his reaction, Vengsarkar said: "I can't even be shocked because [officially] I haven't heard anything."

Dravid, 33, has captained India in 20 Tests and 62 ODIs since taking over the captaincy from Sourav Ganguly two years ago, following India's tour of Zimbabwe.

Under his captaincy India won eight Tests, including series wins in West Indies, Bangladesh and England. However, his ODI record was patchy; he began on a winning streak, where India set a record for 16 consecutive successful chases. More recently, though, the team had a first-round exit from the World Cup in the Caribbean and lost the NatWest series to England 4-3.

As captain, he averaged 51 in Tests and 44 in ODIs but his Test form had dipped of late; he averaged 25 against England recently and 21 on the South Africa tour last year.

His decision comes as India is preparing for a busy season including a home series against Pakistan and a full tour of Australia.

WillSmith456 IF-Rockerz

Joined: 27 September 2006
Posts: 6442

Posted: 23 September 2007 at 4:13am | IP Logged
ICC World Twenty20
Lawson delighted to reach Twenty20 final

Dhoni and Yuvraj celebrate
Dhoni and Yuvraj celebrate a thrilling win over Australia
India's leading players admitted the magnitude of a World Twenty20 final against arch-rivals Pakistan after beating Australia in the semi-final.

"It's the biggest stage and the biggest match you can play," said captain Mahendra Dhoni.

"It's a match that needs to be played with intensity, and I think we are ready to do that."

Star batsman Yuvraj Singh added: "India v Pakistan is always a big game. It's a dream to get that match-up."

India defeated Australia by 15 runs in a thrilling floodlit semi-final, hours after Pakistan had overcome New Zealand by six wickets.

The Asian rivals have a single day off before going head to head in the final and Dhoni emphasised the importance not to be overcome by the size of the occasion.


"The pressure will be immense [but] I don't believe in taking pressure and none of my team do either," he said.

"Taking the pressure on board will not help you perform. It will bring down your confidence."

Australia's stand-in captain Adam Gilchrist expressed frustration at a rare defeat for the side in a major tournament.

"We'll go away and talk about it, we'll realise this format is probably going to have a big impact on world cricket.

"We need to analyse and put some thought into it. There's no-one up there in our dressing room who doesn't care about it," he said.

"It's annoying and frustrating if you go into a competition hoping to win it and you don't."
WillSmith456 IF-Rockerz

Joined: 27 September 2006
Posts: 6442

Posted: 23 September 2007 at 4:16am | IP Logged
ICC World Twenty20
Lawson delighted to reach Twenty20 final

WORLD TWENTY20 semi-final, Cape Town: Pakistan 147-4 (18.5 overs) beat New Zealand 143-8 (20 overs) by six wickets

By Pranav Soneji

Imran Nazir hits a massive six at Newlands
Imran Nazir hit five sixes in his innings of 59

A blistering innings from Imran Nazir helped Pakistan book their place in the World Twenty20 final after a six-wicket victory over New Zealand in Cape Town.

The opener smashed 59 from 41 balls, ably assisted by partner Mohammad Hafeez (32), chasing a target of 144.

A middle order collapse had cost New Zealand vital runs after a promising start, Ross Taylor top-scoring with 37.

Umar Gul (3-15) was the pick of the bowlers, with good support from Fawad Alam (2-24) and Shahid Afridi (1-24).

Captain Shoaib Malik fittingly hit the winning runs with seven balls remaining, sparking celebrations among the players and new coach Geoff Lawson.

The scenes were in total contrast from the Cricket World Cup, a campaign completely overshadowed by the death of former coach Bob Woolmer and early exit in the group stages.


New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori opted to bat first after winning the toss, hoping to set Pakistan an imposing target.

But a combination of poor batting and excellent bowling restricted New Zealand to 143-8 from their 20 overs.

The Black Caps made a solid start through openers Lou Vincent (28) and Brendon McCullum, despite a 15-minute interruption for rain.

But it was Alam, in the side for Salman Butt, who made the vital breakthrough in his first appearance of the tournament.

Ross Taylor hits out in New Zealands innings
Ross Taylor was involved in two run-outs for New Zealand

The left-arm spinner took a fine one-handed return catch to send Vincent back to the bus shelter.

And New Zealand's hopes of a counter-attack in the final 10 overs were thwarted when they lost five wickets for just 33 runs.

Late hitting from Taylor, who took 17 off Mohammad Asif's final over, helped the Black Caps to a defendable total.

But a blistering start from the Pakistan openers saw the pair register a partnership of 60 before Hafeez was adjudged lbw sweeping Scott Styris in the eighth over.

Nazir continued his onslaught, smashing five sixes in his innings, before he too was trapped in front by Jeetan Patel in the 13th over.

The Pakistan middle order had a slight wobble when Vettori dismissed Younus Khan (4) and Shane Bond accounted for Afridi (6).

But Misbah-ul-Haq (16 not out) and captain Malik (26 not out) settled the nerves, the latter hitting Patel for a massive six over mid-wicket to secure the win.

WillSmith456 IF-Rockerz

Joined: 27 September 2006
Posts: 6442

Posted: 23 September 2007 at 4:18am | IP Logged
Last Updated: Saturday, 22 September 2007, 16:32 GMT 17:32 UK
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Flintoff doubtful for Test place
Andrew Flintoff
Flintoff needs to be at peak fitness for Tests in Sri Lanka
Chairman of selectors David Graveney has expressed doubts about whether Andrew Flintoff will be fit to play Tests in Sri Lanka in December.

Flintoff will miss next month's one-dayers because of ankle trouble.

And looking ahead to the Tests, Graveney said: "We have to make sure whatever party we take is fully fit to do the job we want them to do.

"We have, on previous tours, taken people who weren't fully fit and that has proven to be not the correct way."

Flintoff has undergone three operations on his left ankle but experienced further discomfort during the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in South Africa.

He could now be given some carefully structured indoor bowling drills to try and speed up his rehabilitation. "We can do it in the nets, trying to recreate what we would believe would be a match situation," Graveney explained.

"You would have to ask him to bowl three five-over spells and come back the next day and do the same and see how that reacts.

"There have been comments in the past about limiting Freddie to 15 overs a day - I don't know how you can do that in a match situation.

"If you're trying to win the game and he's already bowled his 15 overs, do you not bowl him? We need to work out the number of overs he can bowl.

"We could get 500 against Sri Lanka and then spend two-and-a-half days in the field and we need to know if he can bowl on back-to-back days. We need to know the answer to that question before we can pencil him into a Test team."

Flintoff, meanwhile, has conceded that his ankle is still not right.

Talking to The Sun newspaper, he said: "I really hoped the third ankle operation I had earlier in the summer would solve the problem.

"I admit I'm a bit concerned, but I have to remain optimistic. I'll see my fitness trainer Dave Roberts and the England medics and we'll come up with a plan for the next few weeks.

"I know I need to bowl 10 overs in one-day cricket and then maybe 20 overs for two days running in Test cricket - but I don't know if it is going to be possible."

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