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Martyn plays the waiting game

Johannesburg: Damien Martyn insisted on Sunday that he will still have a major role to play as Australia continue their march to a second successive World Cup crown.

With his team having dismissed the feeble challenges of Pakistan and India in their first two games here, the middle-order batsman has been limited to a minor role having been dismissed for nought by Wasim Akram and then failing to get to the crease at all against India as Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and skipper Ricky Ponting knocked off the required runs.

“When we come in after the first 15 overs, the boundaries aren’t as easy to come by,” said Martyn. “Our top order consistently do a great job with the result that most of the time I’m sitting around waiting to bat. At times like that, you want to get out there,” he said.

“We are lucky that Gilchrist and Hayden have played so well. Hopefully, they will keep that form and I will still sit around and wait for a while.”

Azhar for allround show

Hyderabad: In a guarded comment on the Indian cricket team’s performance in their World Cup match against Australia, former Indian skipper Mohammad Azharuddin on Sunday said the team needed to work on all departments of the game.

“India has always been weak in bowling and fielding but after yesterday’s match I feel that we need to work on our batting as well,” said Azharuddin, currently fighting a life-ban imposed by the cricket board on match-fixing allegations. However, the stylish right-hander evaded further questions on India’s show saying: “I did not watch the game.”

He made the comments after unveiling “world’s largest cricket bat” at a private club here last night.

Warney owes it to Brett Lee

Sydney: High-profile Australian cricketer Shane Warne has yet to say why he took a diuretic pill but he has revealed that it was a challenge from teammate Brett Lee that sparked his physical transformation.

Warne has revealed in an interview with Inside Sport magazine conducted before his test result became public that it was encouragement from Lee that started his fitness kick.

Australian coach John Buchanan was thought to have initiated it when he publicly criticised Warne’s fitness after the second Test loss to India in Calcutta in 2001.

“It’s to do with physical fitness— it’s no secret that Warney’s probably not one of the fittest characters running around in world cricket,” Buchanan said at the time.

But Warne said it was Lee’s insistence in the SCG dressing rooms last summer that Warne joining him for extra fitness sessions that sparked his weight loss.

“It felt strange,” Warne said before the World Cup started. “I thought: Geez, I’m the only one left, I’m the oldest bloke here so I’m probably next. If I wanted to ensure that I kept playing I had to do the right things.”

Warne and his family have faced enormous scrutiny in the past week, but that is nothing new for the troubled superstar. “My life has sort of been a soap opera,” he said.

“There’s always been a twist. My life’s evolved in front of the public. It’s been on show for everyone, the mistakes I’ve made, the good things I’ve done — they’ve been there for all to see.

n South Africa vs New Zealand repeat telecast from 9.30am on DD2 n Follow Through from 7am on ESPN


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