Indians are third favourites
Johannesburg: Bookmakers have rated India as third favourites to win the World Cup behind Australia and hosts South Africa.
At 7:1, India have been rated ahead of Pakistan (8:1), New Zealand (10:1) and England and Sri Lanka (both 14:1) by the British bookmakers Ladbrokes. Australia have been given a 6:4 chance to win the trophy for a record third time while the odds for South Africa are 5:2. Sri Lanka and England have each been rated at 14:1, followed by West Indies (16:1) and Zimbabwe (100:1).
The bookmakers also predicted that the most likely finalists were Australia and South Africa (4:1) followed by Australia and India (8:1).
Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag are placed at 16:1 each for emerging as the top runscorer, behind Australia’s Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting, who have been given the maximum chance at 12:1 each. South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs, is also on the list with odds of 14:1.
Australia’s dominance spreads to the bowling department also with express speedster Brett Lee rated 10:1 to take maximum wickets in the tournament, marginally ahead of teammates Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne and South African captain Shaun Pollock (12:1 each).
Rhodes’ farewell hopes
Johannesburg: South African batsman Jonty Rhodes said he wants to end his cricketing career with a bang in his team’s title triumph during the coming World Cup.
“I’d definitely like to end my career on a high. It’s been an amazing life and hopefully I can get out with a bang,” said Rhodes, playing his third consecutive and last World Cup. While this World Cup will be the pinnacle of his career, it is also tinged with sadness as it will signal the end of his career. “It’s bittersweet, but I can’t wait for it to start. I am sad in a way, as it’s the end of a wonderful association with the green and gold.
“One can’t get too emotional, though. It’s going to be a pressure-cooker situation. I’ve not focussed much on retiring. You never know what stage of the competition will be your last game. Hopefully it will be the World Cup final at the Wanderers on March 23.”
Having said so, he also visualised the ideal scenario in the final. “(Herschelle) Gibbs and (Jacques) Kallis scoring the winning runs and me not having to bat. Or Glenn McGrath caught Rhodes and bowled Donald.”
Paes wishes for Sourav & Co.
New Delhi: Davis Cup star Leander Paes Friday conveyed his best wishes to the Indian cricketers in their campaign for glory in the World Cup.
“I wish India good luck in their campaign in South Africa. I hope they will be able to repeat the 1983 triumph,” Paes said after pulling off a superb win over Japanese Takao Suzuki to put India on even terms. Non-playing captain Ramesh Krishnan too conveyed his wishes to the Indian team which begins its campaign on Wednesday against Holland.
No smoking stadia
Cape Town: World Cup authorities have added smoking to the long list of no-nos. Those unable to resist the urge may light up in open areas behind the stands, said a joint statement by World Cup executive director Ali Bacher and the National Council Against Smoking chief Peter Ucko.
“Smoking will not be permitted in any pavilion, boxes, stands or embankments from which play can be watched. We want spectators to enjoy all the matches in the most comfortable circumstances possible,” the statement said.
Cape Town: Allrounder An drew Symonds has been told to back his instincts as he struggles to come out of a form slump that threatens his international future.
“I think it is about him backing his own instincts,” Buchanan said. “Everybody tries to do the right thing by him and him by himself.
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