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Since 1st March, 1999
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A string of firsts on the cards

Harare: Namibia’s farmers, policemen and electricians are unlikely to break many records in their first World Cup but are set to serve up a string of firsts when they take the field against Zimbabwe on Monday.

Opening bowler Rudi van Vuuren — a doctor — will become the first man to play in both the rugby and cricket World Cups.

Van Vuuren played in the rugby World Cup in England in 1999. Their second record should come with a little help from their opponents at the Harare Sports Club.

Namibia are likely to field two sets of brothers — the Kotzes and the Burgers — while Zimbabwe will have the rather more famous Flowers. It would be the first time three pairs of brothers have played in a World Cup match.

Skipper Deon Kotze is a middle-order batsman while younger brother Bjorn opens the bowling. Louis and Sarel Burger are batsmen.

Jadeja’s money is on India

New Delhi: Expressing satisfaction about the team’s present configuration Ajay Jadeja on Saturday extended his best wishes to India’s World Cup team and hoped the team would emerge winner with the immense support of the cricket fans.

“The team should come back winner in the form it is at present,” Jadeja said after unveiling a giant eco-friendly card, which would take the best wishes of millions of people to the Indian team in South Africa.

In a relaxed mood, Jadeja said he will enjoy the World Cup by “talking about it” on TV channels and by “watching it” over television.

Excited about his yet-to-begin career on the silver screen, he said, “it’s getting along well”, with two films ready to be released soon. Actor-producer Sunny Deol has signed him for his next film, he disclosed.

Boost for England from unlikely quarter

Johannesburg: The embattled England team received an unlikely boost on Saturday when they were tipped to have a successful World Cup campaign by an eminent South African cricket columnist.

Under the headline “Barmy Army may have good reason to sing”, John Robbie of the Johannesburg-based Star newspaper argues that Nasser Hussain’s men can win the biggest prize in the sport.

Although it is still uncertain whether England will even play their controversial opening match in Zimbabwe, one of the few teams in Group A they would, on current form, have a chance of beating, Robbie believes they “looked very good indeed” at times on the recent tour of Australia.

Admittedly, Hussain’s side produced a terrific performance to win the final Test in Sydney and pushed Australia mighty close in the last match of the one-day triangular series.

Sarfraz back in ‘form’

Cape Town: Sarfraz Nawaz is at his game of Pakistan bashing again. “The team is too weak. Physically, they are not in good condition,” Nawaz said.

“Most of the players are unfit and those who are fit are out of form. The fielding is weak and five players are near to retiring from international cricket,” Nawaz said.

The scathing criticism from the former cricketer comes in the wake of Pakistan’s embarrassing 26-run defeat to provincial side Easterns in Benoni on Thursday.

Although Pakistan have some of the most talented players in the world, consistency has long been a problem for captain Waqar Younis and coach Richard Pybus.

Mandela greetings for South Africa

Johannesburg: Nelson Mandela is set to meet South Africa’s cricket team on Sunday morning, hours before they take on the West Indies in the opening World Cup match, a Johannesburg-based newspaper reported on Saturday. It would be another boost for the tournament hosts who were presented with the world Test championship mace on Friday after knocking Australia, the World Cup favourites, off the top of the standings for the first time.

The former South Africa President presented South Africa captain Francois Pienaar with the rugby World Cup trophy in Johannesburg in 1995 after watching the team beat New Zealand. Mandela wore a replica of Pienaar’s number seven shirt as he handed over the biggest prize in the sport.

n South Africa versus West

Indies World Cup opener from 4pm on SET MAX and 5.40pm on DD1

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