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New hope for injured Samuels

St John’s: Stricken batsman Marlon Samuels, who just two weeks ago faced the prospect of missing out on the World Cup through injury, may be handed a reprieve.

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) said on Thursday that they had been informed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) that it will hear the case to allow the reinstatement of Samuels for the World Cup.

The ICC contacted WICB president Wes Hall in South Africa and notified him of the meeting, after a written application by Roger Brathwaite, acting chief executive officer of the WICB, and a telephone call between hall and Malcolm Speed, chief executive of the ICC.

“The president has stated that we will do all in our power to have Marlon play in the World Cup and the resolution of this matter now rests with the ICC,” said Michael Hall, the chief cricket operations officer of the WICB.

Samuels had originally been ruled out because of a knee injury and replaced by allrounder Ryan Hinds and last week sought treatment in the US in a last-ditch effort to get fit.

Cairns may yet bowl, says Fleming

Soweto: New Zealand’s Chris Cairns may yet bowl in the World Cup, despite an injury that the allrounder said this week would prevent him turning his arm over.

“Chris is getting there,” New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming told reporters on Thursday. “He is bowling more in the nets... It is a day by day process. The further we continue in this process, the greater the chance of him bowling.”

Fleming was talking after his side cruised to a 115-run victory over Gauteng in their final warm-up match.

Cairns, who made a cautious comeback as a specialist batsman in December after two knee operations, struck a quick fire 70 from 59 balls.

Procter keeps faith in India

Johannesburg: Former South African bowler, and now a Match Referee, Mike Procter believes India are one of the major title contenders at the World Cup.

“I have seen a lot of them recently and, if they can get their confidence back after playing on the poor New Zealand pitches, they will be dangerous,” Procter said.

“They can chase down huge targets, their bowling is better than most think and their fielding has improved,” Procter was quoted as saying in the Natal Witness on Thursday.

But he placed South Africa alongside Australia as the top favourites to win the title. “I think the South Africans have prepared and selected well, given the guidelines,” Procter said. “Australia are a much stronger Test team than a one-day outfit. They can get away with their four specialist bowlers in the Tests but not in the one-dayers — and we have more depth to our batting.”

The no-beer factor in Lee’s career

Johannesburg: Australia speed king Brett Lee believes his international career has been prolonged because he stopped drinking beer.

The fast bowler called time on his drinking after his form slumped two years ago when he suffered from an ankle injury and a sore back which threatened his career.

“According to studies being done, athletes who drink alcohol are 15 times more likely to get injured,” Lee told the Business Day here. “It does not matter whether you are having one beer or 15 beers. I was told to try and stop drinking for a month.

“One thing led to another and I did not have a single drink for 12 months. It was not hard work, it was one of those things where it was a good challenge. I felt very fit, probably the fittest I have ever been. I went through the last two seasons, touch wood, not having been injured,” Lee said.

All that glitters is also gold

Johannesburg: South Africa’s gold industry has just added more glitter to the World Cup.

In a striking show of generosity, the country’s main gold producing companies have donated 54 one-ounce 24-carat gold coins for the toss at each of the matches.

In addition, they have also sponsored 54 solid gold watches for the Man-of-the-Match award and a 1.5kg 24-carat gold trophy for the Man-of-the-Series.

The total cost of the donations is estimated to be worth about Rs 57 lakh. Each watch is believed to cost about Rs 57,000. The coins, watches and the Man-of-the-Series trophy were unveiled on Wednesday.


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