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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dastardly attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team shocks Indian board

MUMBAI: The Indian cricket board Tuesday expressed its shock over the dastardly attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in

"The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) expresses its sorrow and anguish over the dastardly attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team at Lahore. We pray for the speedy recovery of the injured cricketers, and sympathise with their families and compatriots. The BCCI stands alongside Sri Lanka Cricket in this hour of crisis," said BCCI secretary N. Srinivasan.

At least six Sri Lankan cricketers including captain Mahela Jayawaredene, his deputy Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera, Tharanga Paranavitana and Chaminda Vaas were injured Tuesday when the team bus came under attack from gunmen enroute to the Gaddafi Stadium for the ongoing Test match.

Five escorting policemen were killed in the attack that took place near the Liberty Market crossing.

The Sri Lankan team filled in for a one-day and Test series after India pulled out following the Mumbai terror attack in November last year.

Indian Premier League asked to avoid clash with general elections

NEW DELHI — Indian politician Palaniappan Chidambaram has asked the organizers of the twenty20 Indian Premier League to avoid a clash of dates with the country's general elections.

Chidambaram, the federal home minister who is charge of policing, said Tuesday that he wanted the IPL organizers to postpone the event as he did not want to "juggle security between elections and cricket matches."

"We're concerned about the security arrangements. We'll talk to the IPL organizers," Chidambaram told Indian television. "Cricket is safe in India. If the IPL clashes with elections, I don't want my forces to be stretched."

The IPL is scheduled to be held from April 10 to May 24, while the elections for the Indian Parliament's lower house will be staged across the country in five different phases between April 16 and May 13.

Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman and a vice-president of the Indian cricket board, said the IPL dates were set but the matches would be scheduled in a manner so they don't clash with elections in a particular state or city on the polling dates there.

"I agree that the IPL matches should be structured around the elections, we've taken that into account from Day 1," Modi said from Macau. "We're not going to compromise with security, but will work with government and go ahead with tournament."

IPL director Dhiraj Malhotra said there was no possibility of starting the tournament after the elections had concluded on May 13.

"Unfortunately, there's no window to shift the IPL," Malhotra said, adding that the IPL organizers would "prepare a new schedule and share it with the government."

"We can work around the dates of the voting as long as we can convince the government."

India can rise to 2nd in ICC rankings

DUBAI: The Indian cricket team has the chance to rise up a notch and replace Australia as the second-placed team in the ICC one-day rankings if
it manages to whitewash New Zealand 5-0 in the series starting tomorrow.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team is currently third, four ratings points behind second-placed Australia and five behind top team South Africa.

A clean sweep will put India ahead of Ricky Ponting's men by a fraction of a point but it would remain just behind the Proteas in what would be an extraordinarily tightly packed leader-board with one ratings point separating the top three ODI teams in world cricket.

For its part, New Zealand can move up to third ahead of India if it wins the series 4-1 or better but it will drop as low as sixth if it suffers a 5-0 defeat.

The series is also an opportunity for some of the top players to make further gains in the rankings.

Dhoni is currently enjoying the top spot in the rankings for batsmen but team-mate Yuvraj Singh is hot on his heels in third position.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Azharuddin, the new political batsman

More than eight years after former Indian cricket team captain Mohammed Azharuddin was banned from cricket for his alleged involvement in the match-fixing scandal, he now takes guard as a political batsman.

"The controversy took place long time back, I have nothing to say to that. In fact I have lodged a case against the BCCI. Now I want to keep moving forward," said Azharuddin.

Azhar, in his playing days, was a role model for all cricketers because of his fitness. His obsession with keeping himself fit would serve him well in the energy-sapping cesspool of Indian politics.

"When I was playing, my managers always told me that I should speak up. That training I have, and it will help me address the people well," said Azhar.

His admirers would like Azhar to contest from any of the three Lok Sabha constituencies in Hyderabad. The former skipper who has played 99 tests would need all his batting skills to negotiate all the political bouncers and googlies.

People who don't promote cricket are running the game: Kapil

Bangalore: Miffed by BCCI's rigid stance against the Indian Cricket League, former India captain and ICL Board Chairman today alleged the Cricket Board is just not interested in promoting the game.

“It's a very simple thing. People who do not want to promote the game are running the game,” Kapil said.

Earlier this week, a tripartite talk in Johannesburg on ICL's application seeking ICC approval failed to end the deadlock. ICC President David Morgan, chief executive Haroon Lorgat, BCCI secretary N Srinivasan, chief of the Essel Group, which is bankrolling ICL, Subhas Chandra and its business head Himanshu Mody attended the three-hour meeting.

Kapil said the basic idea was to promote the game and ICL had no reasons to feel bad about it.

“Aren't we promoting the game?. That's the bottom line. If we are promoting the game in India, then one should not feel bad. Rather one should feel proud and we are happy about that,” Kapil said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a mascot launch programme of International Wheelchair & Amputee Sports (IWAS) World Games which would be held here from November 24 to December one.