South Africa handed 2009 Champions Trophy

DUBAI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday officially named South Africa as the new hosts of the biennial Champions Trophy this year.


Champions Trophy 2009 handed over to South Africa

DUBAI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday officially named South Africa as the new hosts of the biennial Champions Trophy this year.

The ICC Board had met via teleconference to discuss a recommendation made by the ICC Chief Executives’ Committee to discuss the venue of the Champions Trophy.

The decision was made after concerns were expressed over weather conditions in Colombo during the dates set aside for the tournament, 24 September to 5 October.

With the need to minimise risk and create certainty around the event, the meeting agreed to recommend that Cricket South Africa (CSA) be sought as the alternative host, with Wanderers and Centurion as the venues, provided agreement on the financial arrangements can be reached. Originally planned for Pakistan, the venue for the event had to be shifted due to security concerns.

ICC President David Morgan said: “I think the Board has made a sensible decision that will give the event every chance of success. We now have clarity on the subject and we can make firm plans for what is going to be a great spectacle of ODI cricket.

“With Wanderers and Centurion, Cricket South Africa can provide two world-class venues in what is effectively one location and as we know from the ICC World Twenty20 2007, weather conditions in the area around Johannesburg in September and October are stable and ideal for cricket.

“I would like to thank Sri Lanka Cricket for its commitment to offer an alternative to Pakistan. And also, I want to acknowledge its willingness to step aside in this matter. I’d also like to thank CSA for putting its hand up and offering to host this event.”

The Board also considered expressions of interest from other potential venues. However, in order to attain immediate certainty and clarity, South Africa was identified as the preferred location on this occasion.

The teleconference also unanimously agreed that the dates for next year’s ICC World Twenty20 in the West Indies would be between 30 April and 16 May.

The tournament will take place in St Lucia, Guyana, Barbados and St Kitts with the latter island staging matches in the women’s tournament that will take place at the same time.

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Fit-again Smith ready to take Australia in home series

CAPE TOWN: South Africa captain Graeme Smith will lead his team in the three-Test home series against Australia.

He said that his team would not be proved an easy prey for Australia in the Test series, too.

After recovering from his left hand fracture, Graeme Smith is ready to lead his team once again as he could not play the matches due to injury in the One-day International series on the tour of Australia.

Graeme Smith said that after defeating Australia in Australia, his team would also outclass the world champions in the home series

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Germany OKs Atlantic global warming experiment

BERLIN (AFP) – Germany dropped its opposition Monday to a controversial experiment to dump iron sulphate in the South Atlantic to see if it can absorb greenhouse gases and possibly help to halt global warming.

“After a study of expert reports, I am convinced there are no scientific or legal objections against the … ocean research experiment LOHAFEX,” Research Minister Annette Schavan said in a statement.

“I have therefore decided … to begin the experiment,” she added.

Berlin had previously been cool to the expedition which set sail from Cape Town in South Africa on January 7 and is poised to drop six tonnes of the dissolved iron over 300 square kilometres (115 square miles) of ocean.

Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel reportedly told Schavan in a letter that the experiment “destroys Germany’s credibility and its vanguard role in protecting biodiversity.”

Scientists on board the Polarstern research vessel hope the release of iron will cause an exponential growth in phytoplankton, which will then absorb more carbon dioxide — the main greenhouse gas — through photosynthesis.

But opponents of the plan fear the consequences could be catastrophic. They are concerned it could cause the sea to become more acidic or trigger algal blooms that would strip swathes of the ocean of oxygen.

Once written off as irresponsible or madcap, geo-engineering schemes such as LOHAFEX are getting a closer hearing in the absence of political progress to roll back the greenhouse gas problem.

Other, far less advanced, projects include sowing sulphur particles in the stratosphere to reflect solar radiation and erecting mirrors in orbit that would deflect sunrays and thus slightly cool the planet.

Green groups worry that such projects could cause more problems than they resolve. They also say these schemes’ financial cost is unknown — and possibly cost far more than reducing emissions in the first place.

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Afghanistan promoted to play ICC World Cricket League

BUENOS AIRES: Afghanistan’s cricketers, who just five years ago were using crashed military helicopters as dressing rooms, hope to edge closer to the international elite here this week.

After two successive promotions, Afghanistan take part in the six-nation ICC World Cricket League Division Three tournament in Argentina from Saturday with a place in the top two ensuring a spot in April’s 2011 World Cup qualifier.

The Asian Cricket Council (ACC), having helped guide the team’s development from a rag-tag outfit who learnt the game as refugees living in Pakistan, are confident that there is no reason why the Afghans can’t continue their rise.

“For the ACC, it has been a tremendous journey of taking a very talented team from the clutches of war and destruction to new heights of playing international cricket,” said ACC development officer Mohammad Iqbal Sikander.

Sikander outlined the problems that Afghanistan, who will tackle Argentina, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Uganda and the Cayman Islands here, have faced.

“In 2003-04, the facilities in Afghanistan were non-existent, they were playing on open areas by the side of the hills without even the basic cricket requirement – that is, the pitch,” he said.

On one of the grounds they had a damaged helicopter and a plane that were being used as two dressing rooms.”

There is plenty at stake here from January 24-31. The top two sides will play in the 12-nation World Cup Qualifier in April in South Africa.

The top four sides there will qualify for the 2011 showpiece, while the top six teams will receive ODI status for the next four years.

Afghanistan fast bowler Hamid Hassan believes his team can complete what once looked distinctly like an impossible dream.

“Two or three years before I started playing for the national team I didn’t even play cricket,” said Hamid.

“I want to play international cricket so people can see the Afghan team. I’d like to play against England at Lord’s and against Australia in Melbourne.”

Uganda and Argentina are expected to be among the main contenders over the next week here.

Uganda are coached by South African-born Ebrahim Mohamed while Hamish Barton, a former first-class cricketer in New Zealand, has an important player-coach role for Argentina.

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SA miners stuck underground

JOHANNESBURG: South African media said on Monday that rescuers were trying to bring 167 gold mine workers trapped underground for nearly 24 hours to the surface.

The workers were trapped when lightning struck an electrical substation and caused a complete power blackout.

Mine spokesman James Duncan said the miners have access to water and medical assistance.

Duncan said electricity supplies were re-established and the company was trying to connect the power to the underground winders and lifts.

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Proteas chasing 250 runs in 2nd one-day match

HOBART: Australia has given South Africa a target of 250 runs to win in the second one-day match being played in the Oval ground here.

South Africa having won the toss invited Australia to bat first, which saw Australia scoring 249 for 9 in 50 overs. Shaun Marsh and Captain Ricky Ponting scoring 64 runs remained prominent among the batsmen, while any other batman of the Kangaroos couldn’t face confidently the Proteas. South Africa’s Macaya Martini took 3 wickets, while Stein and Callis 2 each. It may be recalled that Australia had to face defeat in the first one-day match against South Africa.

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SA, China to step up all-around cooperation

PRETORIA: South Africa attaches high priority to developing all-around cooperation and exchanges with China and intends to make coordinated efforts with the Chinese side to solve international and regional issues, South African President Kgalema Motlanthe said late Friday.

Motlanthe said this while meeting with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in Pretoria. He promised to further push forward the strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries and called for joint action in dealing with the global financial crisis.

For his part, Yang said China and South Africa have witnessed rapid development of their strategic cooperative partnership in recent years. Furthering their relationship is in line with the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples, he added.

The foreign minister said China is willing to step up exchanges and coordination with South Africa on international and regional issues, and promote mutually beneficial economic and trade cooperation.

He also called on the two countries to make joint efforts in dealing with the financial crisis and contribute to global economic stability.

South Africa is the last leg of Yang’s four-nation African tour, which has also taken him to Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi.

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Vaughan targets Ashes return

LONDON: Former England captain Michael Vaughan has refused to write off his international career and believes he will have a role to play in the eagerly-anticipated 2009 Ashes.

The 34-year-old, who was left out of the 16-man Test squad for the tour of the West Indies later this month, led England to their famous win over the Australians in 2005.

But while his teammates head for the Caribbean, he will be resuming county duty at Yorkshire.

“I am 34 and I feel as though I’ve got a few more years left in me,” Vaughan told the BBC. “You have to have that excitement and buzz, and really want to go out there and perform, and I certainly have those feelings.”

Andrew Strauss will lead England in the West Indies following the turbulent departure of Kevin Pietersen and the sacking of coach Peter Moores.

“I still think he (Pietersen) could do a really good job,” said Vaughan. “As England captain he was very forward thinking, very committed, obviously ruffled a few feathers.

“But I don’t mind that – Nasser Hussain did that as captain and did a fantastic job. Graeme Smith has done that for South Africa.

“Everyone has got to be themselves, and Kevin Pietersen tried to do it his way and he said last week in his (newspaper) column that he feels his captaincy days aren’t finished yet.”

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Australia takes T20 series against South Africa

BRISBANE: Australia won the second successive Twenty20 match by six wickets to secure the series 2-0 against South Africa here on Tuesday.

Batting first, South Africa made 157 runs for the loss of five wickets in 20 overs.

JP Duminy top-scored with 69.

Australia chased the target in 18.5 overs for the loss of four wickets.

Their main scorers were Mike Hussey (53), Craig White (40 not out) and Ricky Ponting (38).
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