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ICC turns down Samuels request

Durban: The ICC has turned down a request by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to let batsman Marlon Samuels rejoin the country’s World Cup squad but West Indies were hopeful the matter could still be sorted out in their favour.

The West Indies were keen to include Samuels in the squad after being forced to withdraw him following an injury on his left knee. Samuels has been given the medical clearance to participate in the tournament but ICC is citing rules which state that an injured player, once withdrawn, cannot rejoin the squad. West Indies authorities were challenging the ICC decision claiming that the relevant rules come into operation only after the start of the tournament, media reports said Wednesday. WICB chief Wes Hall was said to be in touch with ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed on the issue.

Meanwhile, the latest medical report on Samuels said the 22-year-old batsman could participate in the tournament “by protecting his knee in training and doing only gentle exercises. (But) it must be clear that he may break down at any time,” the report said.

Cairns not to bowl initially

Johannesburg: Struggling all rounder Chris Cairns ruled out his chances of bowling in New Zealand’s opening World Cup matches on Wednesday. “I will be available to bat, but not bowl, from the start,” he said. “I contracted a rib injury, just on my comeback, four weeks ago. It’s been just trying to manage that and get it through.”

Cairns missed most of the 2002 season following two knee operations before making a cautious comeback as a specialist batsman in December.

Asked when he would be fit to bowl, he added: “I probably can’t give a specific date, just monitoring it day by day.”

But if Cairns can keep body and soul together, paying particular attention to his knees, then New Zealand should be able to start planning for at least a semi-final appearance.

Hooper’s tribute to Cronje

Johannesburg: West Indies skipper Carl Hooper has laid a wreath in memory of disgraced former South Africa captain Hansie Cronje, the Star newspaper reported on Wednesday. Cronje, who was banned for life in 2000 after admitting he helped influence matches in league with bookmakers, was killed in a plane crash last year at the age of 32.

Hooper was accompanied by his wife Constance and son Carl when he laid the flowers at the Wall of Remembrance for Fallen Heroes at Grey College in Bloemfontein, where Cronje went to school.

A wall plaque reads: “Hansie Cronje, September 23, 1969 — June 1, 2002. Die Here is my herder (The Lord is my shepherd).”

Anwar’s most painful blow

Johannesburg: Pakistan batsman Saeed Anwar thought his World Cup was over before it had even begun after being hit by a swinging delivery from Shoaib Akhtar.

Anwar, only just back into the team after a string of injuries, said on Wednesday: “I thought I was in real trouble — I thought the left elbow was broken. I was immediately sick and felt nauseous. “It was a swinging delivery in the nets and reared up a bit off the surface. A few deliveries had already gone over my head. It was the most painful blow I have ever had.”

Opening batsman Anwar, in his third —“and absolutely the last” — World Cup, is still hoping to be fit for Pakistan’s opening Group A match against Australia on February 11.

"I really want to play against the Aussies," he said. He was still icing the injury every two hours on Wednesday.

Kapil’s views

Nagpur: Former Indian cricket captain and coach, Kapil Dev is of the view that India's chances of winning the World Cup depended largely on its batting strength.

Speaking to reporters here on Tuesday, the Wisden Indian Cricketer of the Century said, since the team lacked quality strike bowlers and good all-rounders, it was for the batsmen to perform.

He also named Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif as batsmen to watch.

"They should take upon themselves the responsibility of winning matches by posting good scores. I hope they will play to the best of their ability," he added.

Rating the Sourav-led team as 1000 times better than the 1983 World Cup


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