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Pollock job may be up for grabs

Johannesburg: South African cricket chiefs Thursday left skipper Shaun Pollock wondering whether he still has a future at the helm of the national team after the World Cup flop.

Although publicly backing Pollock, chief selector Omar Henry admitted the search for a long-term successor was underway with Neil McKenzie and Graeme Smith tipped as front-runners.

It is understood that one of them may be given the chance as early as April, when South Africa play in Sharjah in a tri-series meet.

“Shaun is fully aware that we are looking to groom captains for the future,” Henry said. “He realises that the process has begun and he has given us his views and input.”

Henry also added that allrounder Jacques Kallis’ days as a frontline one-day bowler may be over. He said: “People get out of form... Jacques remains a class act. If his workload is reduced, his batting in all likelihood will improve even more.”

He, however, stressed: “Test cricket is totally different. There, Jacques will remain part of our attacking strategy.”

Bacher defends Super Six format

Johannesburg: World Cup organising committee chief Ali Bacher has defended the Super Six format, saying it is fairer than a straight knockout. During the 1996 World Cup in Asia, South Africa won all their group matches only to lose their quarter final against the West Indies — the first and, so far, only occasion in which a last-eight stage has been included in the tournament.

And Bacher said that experience had prompted South Africa to press for a change in the rules.

“In 1996 our South African team won all their initial matches, they were the outstanding team, but, come the quarter final, one bad game, out. We said, and I was a party to that proposal, there must be something in the pool stages that if you do well, you can carry it forward. It was all to make sure that every pool game had meaning.”

Fans arrested at Pak match

Harare: Twenty-six fans were arrested for carrying banners and political messages during the World Cup match between Zimbabwe and Pakistan, lawyers and police said on Wednesday. The group was arrested during Tuesday’s match at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo. A police spokesman confirmed the arrests, but was unable to give the numbers of the people picked.

The arrests bring to 68 the numbers arrested at World Cup matches in this city in less than a week. Some 42 anti-government protestors were arrested at the game between Zimbabwe and Holland on Friday for displaying a banner reading “Mugabe equals Hitler”.

Shoaib for Hants

Johannesburg: Shoaib Akhtar confirmed Thursday he had been approached by Hampshire to play county cricket next season in place of Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne. “They offered me a contract a few days ago through my agent and I was happy to accept it,” the 27-year-old said. “The deal is yet to be signed but I will probably go there next week for a fitness test.

Two other Pakistanis, Azhar Mahmood and Saqlain Mushtaq, will play for Surrey next season. Shahid Afridi is reportedly in talks with Derbyshire.

n Australia vs Sri Lanka, live from 1.30 pm on Sony n India vs Kenya, live from 6.00 pm on SET Max and 5.30 pm on DD1


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