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Monday, April 4, 2011

Waqar urges national selectors to look for a new keeper

Pakistan cricket team coach Waqar Younis has urged the national selection committee to look for a new wicketkeeper, who can replace Kamran Akmal, in the national team. "This debate over the wicketkeeper's performance is a difficult one but I think the Pakistan team now needs a younger wicketkeeper who can carry the load for the next few years," Waqar told the media in Lahore where he held a meeting with the Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Ijaz Butt.
Waqar's remarks about having a new wicketkeeper is a clear indication that the experienced Kamran Akmal may have played his last match for Pakistan in the World Cup as even the selectors are now said to be keen to induct a new keeper in the Test and One-day sides.
Adnan Akmal, the younger brother of Kamran, and Sarfaraz Ahmed are said to be the front runners for the position as both have played for Pakistan in the past.
Waqar, meanwhile, made it clear that he would complete his coaching contract with the Pakistan, despite their semi-final loss against arch-rivals India in the World Cup.
The former Test captain said he had one year remaining as Pakistan coach and would continue to do the job as he was satisfied with the performance of the team in the World Cup.
"Losing the semi-final to India was disappointing but the team did well to reach the last four stage even though we were considered under-dogs when the competition started.
"India played better than us and went on to win the World Cup," he noted.
Waqar also pointed out that 260 runs was an attainable score in the semi-final but the real difference between the two teams was the catches dropped by Pakistan.
"Those catches cost us heavily because you can't allow so much levy to a strong batting line up that India has."
Waqar said he wanted to be part of the process where new players were being inducted into the team, which was being given a new look.
"I am in support of making changes in the team but they should not be total changes and it should be a sensible and a gradual process to groom new players."
The Pakistan coach played down the controversy over the World Cup trophy after a furore in the Indian media about the Indian team being given a replica as the original one was confiscated by Indian custom authorities.
The issue raised so much storm that the International Cricket Council (ICC) had to issue a clarification that the trophy given to the Indian team was the original one and the replica was with the custom authorities.
"I don't think it really matters whether it was a replica trophy or the original one since the main thing is the feeling of becoming world champions once you win the final," he said.
"This is not an issue to me because the Indian team must now be feeling at the top of the world having won the final. They are the champions and for Indian cricket it is a big achievement," he added.

Top five World Cup moments

Top five World Cup moments
Here are a few unforgettable moments from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 that have left an indelible mark and will be talked about for a long time.
By Abhishek Dinman
Ireland tame roaring England

It was an achievement of mammoth proportions, an emotional odyssey for a team which consists of a mix of professionals and amateurs.

Considered to be the biggest upset in a World Cup so far, Ireland’s win over England in the League stage has already been etched in the annals of cricketing history.

Interestingly, there were a few driving factors to this feat: The Irish were peeved at ICC’s decision to dissociate the smaller nations from the 2015 World Cup. They were angry because their hard work over the years meant nothing to the governing body. They wanted to prove that they were worthy of their place amongst the best. They were angry and England came in their way. Secondly, they craved for their old enemy’s scalp. In short, Ireland were desperate to win.

At 111 for five in chase of 327, all seemed lost. The feel of an impending win was palpable in England’s dressing room. However, certain Kevin O’Brien had other ideas.

In an unbelievable assault, O’Brien smashed 113 off just 63 deliveries as the Irish won with an over to spare.

Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan come together

In a gesture that might go on to thaw the icy tension between the two countries, the Indian Prime Minister played host to his Pakistani counter-part for the semi-final game between India and Pakistan in Mohali.

It was a bold move. Tension between the neighbours has been high ever since the Mumbai shootout in 2008. Political exchanges to solve their differences yielded no result and continue to be a matter of grave concern for the two nations.
Under such circumstance, India were drawn to play Pakistan in the semis. The mercury was rising and all sorts of problems were anticipated. Flags on faces were described as war paint.

However, despite all apprehensions, the semi-final lived up to its billing. In fact, it was an occasion that was testimony to the fact that cricket could be the bridge powerful enough to bring the two nations closer.

The PMs were seen sitting comfortably next to each other in their private box and the whole world witnessed a truly historic moment. They shook hands and there was no palpable tension. Fans from the across the border were seen mingling with their Indian counterparts. There were no reports of any kind of violent outbursts or arrests.
India-England tie
It was a match that will go down in the history books as one of the most thrilling one-day encounters. There were so many fluctuations in the game that until the last over was bowled and the run that tied the score was completed, no one could tell which way the match would go.

India had scored 338 and England were hardly given any chance to chase it down. However, what they did manage to achieve was no less great an achievement.
The fans did not know whether to celebrate a near-win or curse their team which lacked in bowling. It was a match that went on to prove that the 50-ver game is alive and kicking!

It was that kind of a game which prompted a whole gamut of emotions, an unforgettable contest which will be talked about in the pubs of England and on the streets and homes in India for a very long time.

Ponting's World Cup swansong

Australia have produced many fighting cricketers over the years. From Alan Border to Mark Taylor to Steve Waugh to Ricky Ponting. But perhaps, no one faced as much pressure as Ponting did in his last lap as one of the best batsman of all time.

Until he cracked that telling hundred against India in the quarterfinals, Ponting had faced tremendous flak for his leadership skills and poor run of form. Australia were no longer the force that had dominated world cricket for more than a decade, and Ponting was being held responsible for the slide. No one paid heed to the fact that a captain is only as good as his team and asked for his blood.

It was under such unimaginable pressure that Ponting delivered, leading from the front in a game that India won, though. He could not have done anything more.

The pugilistic Punter has always fought back hard and this time was no different. He dug deep and produced an innings to shut up all critics, reinforced his greatness and confirmed that he is not done yet.
Lasith Malinga's hat-trick vs Kenya

Bowlers rarely get their fair share of attention but Sri Lanka's fastest bowler ever, Lasith Malinga, knows how to grab the headlines. There have been quite a few noticeable performances with the ball in this tournament, but none more exciting and inspiring than the one Malinga produced against a hapless Kenya side.

He rocked the African nation with a hat-trick that reinforced his status as one of the deadliest in the business. Admittedly, the opposition was not up to the standard but those three deliveries would have tested even the best in the business.

In-swinging yorkers bowled at toe-crushing speed while maintaining line and length is a difficult art to learn and Malinga is a master at delivering such balls.

With a ready smile and penchant for flashy hairstyles, "Slinga" is one of the most entertaining and devastating bowlers of the modern era.

Pak cricket team deserves credit for reaching World Cup semi-final: Amir

Islamabad, April 3(ANI): Pakistan pace bowler Mohammad Amir feels the national cricket team deserves credit for reaching the last four stage of the ICC World Cup 2011. 

"The boys did okay. They deserve credit for their performance. Reaching the semi finals is no joke and their efforts are commendable," quoted Amir, as saying.

Pakistan's World Cup campaign had ended in a 29-run defeat at the hands of India in the semi final clash at Mohali on March 30.

"Mistakes were made in the semi final, but that's what happens when pressure gets to you," said 

Amir, who has been banned for five years by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on spot-fixing charges, said it was unfair to criticise Shahid Afridi's captaincy in the tournament since he had given good performances throughout the tournament.

"The crucial aspect about captaincy is to perform well yourself and Afridi did that with the ball. I think it's unfair to criticise Afridi for his captaincy as he performed well throughout the World Cup," he said. 

"You can't ask for much more from the captain, he couldn't have gone out there and grabbed the bat off the top order and batted for them or grabbed the ball and bowled all 50 overs himself," he added.

Amir also lauded Afridi, who took 21 wickets in the tournament, and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal for their bowling attack in the mega event. 

"Shahid Afridi bowled well throughout and the number of wickets he took in the tournament proves that he was on top of his game with the ball," he said, adding, "Saeed Ajmal also bowled very well whenever he played."

Poor planning behind defeat against India: Aleem Dar

Seasoned Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar has said that our cricket team has the potential and ability to defeat any big team but poor planning and guidance led to the defeat in Mohali, semi-final of the cricket world cup.
Talking to media persons at Allama Iqbal International Airport here on Monday on return from India after supervising the World Cup Matches, Aleem Dar said that there was no question of match fixing or difference in Pakisan’s cricket team. It was lack of appropriate plan how to respond in ground in certain situation which cost the match against India.
Earlier upon his return Aleem Dar was accorded warm welcome by citizens and cricket board officials.
The most successful umpire of the World Cup commenting on Pakistan-India semi-final match said that Pakistan should have taken the batting power play around 35 overs and the situation would have been quite different if power play had been taken earlier.
He said that the Pakistani team played well in the mega event but players needed to work hard to overcome their deficiencies. He said that youngsters should be inducted in the squad.
Dar was immaculate during the World Cup as 57 reviews were taken against his decisions but none of them proved wrong by the technology.

‘World Cup semi-finalist’ Pak team richer by over a million dollars

Islamabad, Apr 4(ANI): Members of the 15-man Pakistan cricket team have become richer by over a million dollars due to their stupendous show in the World Cup, where they were knocked out in the semi-finals stage by eventual champions India. 

According to the Daily Times, the Pakistani team scooped up net prize money of 1.05 million dollars.

The prize money includes rewards for Pakistan's five wins in the group matches for each of which they won 60,000 dollars, and 750,000 dollars for reaching the semi-final of the tournament. 

The International Cricket Council will pay the prize money to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which will distribute it among the players and officials. 

The six-week tournament, which was held on the Indian sub-continent, also promises a financial boost for the PCB, which had lost the hosting rights in 2009, shortly after militants attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. 

The PCB will also be richer by around eight million dollars, which was assured to them for being the co-hosts. 

"The money from the World Cup will definitely improve our financial health as we have already lost out on a lot of estimated revenue due to India's refusal to tour Pakistan in early 2009 for a bilateral series. We have also been forced to play our last few "home" series abroad at neutral venues," a PCB official said.

Indians not as large-hearted as Pakistanis: Afridi

Days after winning the hearts of numerous Indian fans with his remarks after his team's loss in the World Cup semi-final, Pakistan cricket captain Shahid Afridi has said Indians are not as largehearted as Pakistanis.
Afridi also slammed the Indian media for its "very negative approach" and said the Pakistani media was a "hundred times better" than its Indian counterpart.
"In my opinion, if I have to tell the truth, they (Indians) will never have hearts like Muslims and Pakistanis. I don't think they have the large and clean hearts that Allah has given us," Afridi said during a talk show on Samaa news channel when he was asked about relations between the two countries.
"It is a very difficult thing for us to live with them (Indians) or to have long-term relationship with them. Nothing will come out of talks. See how many times in the past 60 years we have had friendship and then how many times things have gone bad," he said as the audience in the TV channel's studio applauded him repeatedly.

ICC to decide on 2015 World Cup format on Monday

Ireland's Kevin O'Brien
Ireland's Kevin O'Brien celebrates victory over England but his side could miss out altogether in 2015. Photograph: Philip Brown/Reuters
A decision on the number of teams that will take part in the next World Cup is set to be determined by the International Cricket Council following a meeting of its executive board in Mumbai on Monday.
The ICC has previously stated it would cut the number of competing teams from 14 to 10 for the 2015 tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
The format of the World Cup has been criticised for being too long, with India's success in the final on Saturday arriving six weeks after they opened the tournament against Bangladesh.
A reduction in the number of competing teams is likely to see the number of associate members reduced after teams such as Canada and Kenya suffered some heavy defeats.
"The length of 50 overs will find certain teams out but I think there are 10 teams that can seriously compete in that format," the ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat told Sky Sports News. "That's a debate we are still finalising; in fact the board meeting over the next two days will consider that and will determine which teams will play in the 2015 World Cup."
The ICC currently has 10 full member nations with Zimbabwe the only one of those not a Test-playing country.
There may, however, be scope for at least one of the associate nations to play in the tournament with the ICC still yet to reveal how qualification would take place.
While the associate nations struggled at the recent tournament Ireland proved their ability to compete with the full members, highlighted by their victory over England. The Irish also reached the Super Eight stage four years ago when they beat Pakistan.
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