Asif leaves for India to receive dues from Delhi Daredevils

KARACHI: Fast bowler Mohammad Asif has left for India to receive his dues from Delhi Daredevils.

Before his departure here at the Quaid-i-Azam International Airport on Saturday, Asif said that his meeting with the officials of Delhi Daredevils is scheduled for today in which issues arising in the last seven months would be discussed and future planning would also be considered.

Mohammad Asif said that the management of Delhi Daredevils has ensured him complete security during his stay in India.

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Strauss made England captain for entire West Indies tour

LONDON: Andrew Strauss will captain England for their entire tour of the West Indies, including one-day internationals and the lone Twenty20, it was announced here Friday.

Strauss, who has not played any one-day international since the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean and was not originally in the one-day squad for this tour, was confirmed Thursday by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as England’s new Test captain in a year when they face Australia for the Ashes.

He replaced Kevin Pietersen, who had been captain in all forms of cricket, after the star batsman’s fall-out with coach Peter Moores led to both men losing their posts.

However, Strauss’s position as one-day captain will be reviewed at the end of the Caribbean tour.

But England will not be appointing a new head coach for the West Indies tour, which features four Tests and five ODIs.

Instead current assistant coach Andy Flower, the former Zimbabwe batsman, and Phil Neale, England’s team operations manager, will lead the existing backroom staff when the squad departs on January 21.

England squads for the tour of the West Indies:

Test squad:
Andrew Strauss (captain), Tim Ambrose (wk), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Stuart
Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Andrew Flintoff, Stephen Harmison, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior (wk), Adil Rashid, Owais Shah, Ryan
Sidebottom, Graeme Swann

ODI squad:
Strauss (captain), Anderson, Bell, Ravi Bopara, Broad, Collingwood, Steven Davies (wk), Flintoff, Harmison, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Samit Patel, Pietersen, Prior, Shah, Sidebottom, Swann.

England tour of West Indies schedule:

Jan 25-27: St Kitts XI v England XI, Basseterre, St Kitts
Jan 29-31: West Indies A v England XI, Basseterre, St Kitts
Feb 04-08: WEST INDIES v ENGLAND, 1ST TEST, Kingston, Jamaica
Feb 13-17: WEST INDIES v ENGLAND, 2ND TEST, North Sound, Antigua
Feb 21-22: BCA President’s XI v England XI, venue tbc
Feb26-Mar02:WEST INDIES v ENGLAND, 3RD TEST, Bridgetown, Barbados
Mar 06-10: WEST INDIES v ENGLAND, 4TH TEST, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad
Mar 14: WICB President’s XI v England XI, venue tbc
Mar 15: WEST INDIES v ENGLAND, ONLY T20, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad
Mar 20: WEST INDIES v ENGLAND, 1ST 0DI, Providence, Guyana
Mar 22: WEST INDIES v ENGLAND, 2ND ODI, Providence, Guyana
Mar 27: WEST INDIES v ENGLAND, 3RD 0DI, Bridgetown, Barbados
Mar 29: WEST INDIES v ENGLAND, 4TH 0DI, Bridgetown, Barbados
Apr 03: WEST INDIES v ENGLAND, 5TH ODI, Gros Islet, St Lucia.

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How dropped from New Zealand squad for final 2 ODIs

WELLINGTON: Opening batsman Jamie How has paid the price for an extended run of poor form and been dropped from the New Zealand cricket squad for the last two one-day internationals against the West Indies.

He has been replaced by international newcomer Martin Guptill, a 22-year-old right-hand batsman who has been in strong form for his first class team Auckland.

Also missing from the squad is allrounder Jacob Oram, whose run of injuries was added to Wednesday when he limped from the field with an Achilles tendon injury after bowling just two overs in the seven wicket thrashing of the West Indies in Wellington.

Head of the New Zealand selection panel Glenn Turner said Thursday that How would return to domestic cricket to try to play himself back into form.

Turner said Guptill has been in consistent high-scoring form, averaging 41 in the domestic first class one-day competition this season.

“Martin really impressed on the tours to Australia and India last year with the Emerging Players and New Zealand A,” said Turner, adding the batsman had continued his strong form this season.

The one-day series between New Zealand and the West Indies is locked at one each with two matches left to play in Auckland on Saturday and in Napier on Tuesday.

New Zealand squad
Daniel Vettori (captain), Neil Broom, Grant Elliott, Daniel Flynn, Mark Gillespie, Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum, Kyle Mills, Jeetan Patel, Jesse Ryder, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.

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Australia stay top of ICC Test rankings

DUBAI: The 103-run victory against South Africa at Sydney has ensured Australia stay top of the ICC Test rankings.

However, South Africa by clinching the series 2-1 went close to Australia just five rating points away.

It was the first time that South Africa, who went into the series placed second, won a Test series in Australia, though only a 3-0 whitewash would have ensured a change at the top.

India are already on the third position in the ascendancy as well after back-to-back series wins against Australia and England at home.

Sri Lanka also consolidated the fourth place with a 2-0 series win in Bangladesh.

Pakistan, three points behind, are on the sixth position followed by the West Indies and New Zealand.

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Miandad barred from talking on main PCB matters

LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is being criticized for ignoring many talented players while announcing the central contracts.

Meanwhile, chairman PCB Ijaz Butt has stopped many officials to issue unnecessary statements.

Merit of some of the 26 players, awarded the central contract, is being questioned and the PCB is also facing severe criticism for ignoring some talented players.

For not including right-arm fast bowler Abdul Rauf, emerging fast bowlers Mohammad Talha and Anwar Ali, coach Intikhab Alam said that these bowlers are talented but he is silent on not giving them the central contract.

On the other hand, chairman PCB Ijaz Butt has stopped director-general Javed Miandad for issuing statements on important matters, according to the PCB sources.

Meanwhile, former cricketers posted on many key positions in the board are considering to resign keeping in view the tension found in the Pakistan Cricket Board.

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Sri Lanka outlaws rebel group

COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan government officially outlawed the Tamil Tiger rebel group Wednesday, a formality that ruled out the possibility of restarting peace talks any time soon to end a brutal quarter-century of civil war.

The Cabinet unanimously agreed to ban the group after the guerrillas ignored an ultimatum to allow hundreds of thousands of civilians living in rebel-held areas to leave, Cabinet minister Maithripala Sirisena said.

The government, as well as international rights groups, have accused the Tamil Tigers of holding civilians as human shields to protect them against the military offensive into rebel-held territory. The rebels deny the accusation.

While the ban had little concrete impact, government officials had already vowed to destroy the rebel group it was seen as a symbolic rejection of any possible rapprochement between the two sides.

The decision came less than a week after government forces drove the rebels from their administrative capital of Kilinochchi and forced them into a shrinking pocket of territory in the north east roughly the size of Los Angeles.

Fighting continued throughout the area on Wednesday, with the military conducting air strikes on Tamil Tiger targets and ground troops north of the rebel-held area pushing further southward, the military said.

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New Zealand beat West Indies to level series

WELLINGTON: Skipper Daniel Vettori took four cheap scalps as New Zealand crushed the West Indies by seven wickets to level the one-day series 1-1 on Wednesday.

Vettori finished with 4-20 from 10 overs in the third of the five-match series after the hosts skittled the West Indies for 128 in 41.4 overs at Westpac Stadium.

He was well supported by Kyle Mills (2-31) and Tim Southee (2-36).

New Zealand initially stuttered in the run-chase, losing the wickets of Brendon McCullum, Jesse Ryder and Jamie How in the space of six runs to be 40 for three after 7.2 overs.

But Ross Taylor made an unbeaten 51 off 50 balls including five fours and three sixes, supported by Daniel Flynn’s 23 not out in an 89-run partnership that propelled New Zealand to 129 in just 20.3 overs.

In the West Indies innings, only batting star Shivnarine Chanderpaul showed any serious resistance with 45 as at one stage the visitors looked unlikely even to break 100 when they collapsed to 74 for eight but number 10 Nikita Miller, unbeaten on 25, combined with Chanderpaul and Fidel Edwards to avoid total humiliation.

Vettori won the toss and chose to bowl first in overcast conditions, and his decision was vindicated by the speedy departure of the top of the West Indies order.

Opener Xavier Marshall departed for a duck in the first over, edging Mills to Jamie How at second slip. He was soon followed back to the dressing room by Ramnaresh Sarwan, who edged Southee to How for five.

Chanderpaul and captain Chris Gayle looked to be the best hope of getting the tourists back on track but Gayle became Mills’s second victim, edging a slower ball onto the stumps on 18 to leave his team struggling at 35 for three.

Vettori claimed two wickets in his first two overs, although the second, an lbw decision against Kieron Pollard, appeared lucky with replays showing the batsman nicked the ball onto his pads.

An angry Pollard broke a window pane and dented a door in the players’ tunnel with his bat as he returned to the dressing room, but escaped any punishment from match officials.

Jerome Taylor and Daren Powell also fell quickly to Vettori, who dismissively pointed to his head after Powell was bowled taking a wild swing at a ball which kept low and straight.

Powell later made some amends with the ball, taking all three New Zealand wickets to finish with three for 25 off his seven overs.

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Ashraful, Rahim fined for breaching codes of conduct

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s Mohammad Ashraful and Mushfiqur Rahim have been fined for breaching codes of conduct during the second Test against Sri Lanka, the International Cricket Council said Wednesday.

Skipper Ashraful was fined 15 percent of his match fee for “excessive appealing” and wicket-keeper Rahim 50 percent for “charging or advancing towards the umpire in an aggressive manner when appealing.”

The penalties were handed down by New Zealand match referee Jeff Crowe following hearings held in Chittagong after Tuesday’s Test.

Sri Lanka won the match by 465 runs to clinch the series 2-0.

The ICC said in a statement the breaches occurred after the first ball of the 78th over when Rahim’s appeal for a caught-behind decision against Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan off Mehrab Hossain was turned down.

The Bangladesh captain was fined after the match referee had spoken to him following similar actions in the opening Test here.

“Ashraful is captain of the team and needs to lead with responsibility and patience when an umpire is making a decision,” Crowe was quoted as saying in an ICC media release.

“Having spoken to him earlier in the series about a similar reaction, he was fully aware of what was acceptable and therefore, pleaded guilty to the charge.”

Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will now play in a triangular one-day series, also involving Zimbabwe. The hosts take on Zimbabwe in the opening match here Saturday.

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Australia beat South Africa to avert 3-0 sweep

SYDNEY: Australia pulled off a last-minute victory on the final day of the third and the final Test despite a courageous and painful batting effort from South Africa’s injured captain Graeme Smith on Tuesday here at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Chasing a ground-record 376 to win, South Africa were dismissed for 272 with 10 balls left on the final day when Mitchell Johnson removed South Africa captain Graeme Smith, who came in at No. 11 with a broken hand and survived for 29 minutes with Makhaya Ntini as he aimed to salvage a draw.

Australia beat South Africa by 103 runs to avert a 3-0 sweep and keep their number one spot in the rankingsThey avoided their first sweep of defeats in a home series of three or more Tests.
However, Australia’s consolation win left the series at 2-1 in favour of South Africa, who for the first time defeated Australia in Australia by winning at Perth and Melbourne.

South Africa were seeking to replace the Australians atop the International Cricket Council’s Test rankings by completing a 3-0 sweep.

Peter Siddle led the bowlers by taking 3-54, while Doug Bollinger, Andrew McDonald and Johnson claimed two wickets each.
Man of the match Siddle’s three strikes turned Australia’s position from good to powerful. He was lucky to have Mark Boucher lbw to a ball that would have missed leg stump but earned the wickets of de Villiers, who was bowled for 56, and Paul Harris, with fast and straight bowling. It was the same method Johnson used to remove Smith and, earlier in the day, JP Duminy, who was lbw for 16.
Duminy and de Villiers, the heroes in Perth, had steadied with a 56-run stand after Australia struck three times before lunch. The loss of the well set Amla in the fifties for the third time in the series was a big blow. Amla had played well for 59, his best score of the three Tests, only to squeeze a Hauritz offbreak onto his pad and to short leg.
It compounded South Africa’s problems after the early departures of Neil McKenzie, who chased a wide one from Bollinger, and Jacques Kallis, who came to the crease needing 16 to reach 10,000 Test runs and will fly home still 12 runs short.

Kallis tried to work McDonald to leg and his leading edge popped up towards the middle of the pitch, where McDonald hurled himself to his right to grab a brilliant one-hander that after inconclusive replays was adjudged to have not included a touch of the ball on the ground.

They lost the match and failed to claim the No. 1 ranking but as they sprayed champagne with the series trophy in hand after the loss, it was a timely reminder that their job was done before this match even began.

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Controversial Akhtar wins back Pakistan contract

LAHORE: Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar won back his central contract on Tuesday, returning to the international fold a year after a bitter row threatened to end his uneasy career.

Akhtar, 33, who played just three Twenty20 internationals last year, was among 26 players awarded annual contracts and will receive 250,000 rupees (3,500 dollars) a month plus match fees.

The move hands another chance to the controversial “Rawalpindi Express,” who was slapped with a five-year ban — later reduced and then suspended — after he lashed out at officials for failing to give him a contract last January.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief operating officer Salim Altaf said seniority was the main criterion in deciding the contracts.

“The central contracts were devised by coach Intikhab Alam, manager Yawar Saeed and chief selector Abdul Qadir and the main criteria was seniority of the players,” Altaf told reporters.

Akhtar was named in the top ‘A’ category with captain Shoaib Malik, vice-captain Misbahul Haq, Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul, Kamran Akmal, Salman Butt and Danish Kaneria.

He missed out on a central contract last year following Pakistan’s Test and one-day series defeats in India in 2007, when he was often absent through illness and injury.

Akhtar also showed interest in acting in Bollywood movies, irritating cricket authorities.

Angered by his exclusion, Akhtar publicly criticised the PCB and was handed the ban before its reduction on appeal.

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