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England indulge in soul searching

Cape Town: Nasser Hussain’s England World Cup squad delayed a training session on Thursday, choosing instead to spend almost three hours with the team psychologist.

“The morning session has been about drawing a line under the difficult circumstances of the last week and refocussing on the cricket and the World Cup,” psychologist Steve Bull said.

England had been scheduled to play their tournament opener against Zimbabwe in Harare on Thursday but, after almost five days of discussions, the team refused to travel because of concerns over security and the social and political unrest in the country.

“The players have spend many hours in difficult meetings over the last week and yet they were fully prepared to engage in these discussions for two and three quarter hours to ensure that they achieve some positive outcomes,” Bull added.

Bull said the Zimbabwe issue had not been mentioned on Thursday.

England left-arm spinner Ashley Giles conceded that not all the players had been convinced of the value of the session, which was also attended by the team management.

What’ve you done Warnie, Jones asks

Melbourne: Former Australia batsman Dean Jones says Shane Warne has “tarnished a great career” by failing a drugs test.

“Warnie, what have you done, mate'” Jones wrote in a column in The Herald Sun on Thursday. “Shane has always had a lot of pride in his appearance, his clothes, his cars and his home,” Jones said of his former teammate. “But now he has gone too far by taking a diuretic tablet to improve weight loss and in doing so has tarnished a great career. He has simply gone over the top a bit trying to look good and lose more weight.”

Warne has shed 13 kg (29 pounds) in the last 18 months.

Jones said: “Many people believe this is as big as the Hansie Cronje (match-fixing) scandal of a few years ago. Hopefully Warnie will get through this but he has disappointed many people who have helped him get back after that ugly shoulder dislocation.”

Woolmer prediction

Johannesburg: Leading coach Bob Woolmer on Thursday predicted another World Cup giant-killing to follow Canada’s shock victory against Bangladesh.

The former South Africa coach, who has been overseeing preparations by the minor teams for cricket’s showpiece event, said: “I think that some of the minnows are going to win more games. I don’t think we have scratched the surface, in terms of what we can achieve with amateur cricketers.”

Canada’s 60-run win over Test nation Bangladesh in Durban on Tuesday was a major surprise, with the Canadians regarded as the weakest of all 14 sides in the tournament.

Woolmer, the ICC’s high-performance director, added: “The important thing is that they (the minor teams) are competing and not just being totally run over. Canada bowled and fielded very well in their first game. We are trying to put structures in place to give the smaller countries a better chance and get them to practise hard.”

Zulu delivers warning

Johannesburg: Lance Klusener, Man of the Tournament at the last World Cup in 1999, said on Thursday that he was ready once again to set the cricket world alight.

After a disappointing run of form which had left many people questioning his place in the side, the 31-year-old answered critics in devastating style by smashing 57 which almost won the opening game against the West Indies at Newlands. Klusener then took four for 16 to help his side to a 10-wicket win over Kenya in Potchefstroom.

“There’s been pressure on me to perform, but it’s just nice to be batting and bowling well again,” he said. “It’s just a matter of going out there and believing in yourself.

“It goes through your mind what the problem is, but at the end of the day there’s no change and there’s no reason I can’t get back to where I have been before with my game.”


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