The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Official verdict: Shoaib is fastest

Johannesburg: Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar may want to forget the World Cup in a hurry — especially after the thrashing he received at the hands of Sachin Tendulkar. But he can draw some solace from the fact that he has now been officially recognised as the world’s fastest bowler, edging out Brett Lee of Australia.

Shoaib’s fastest delivery in the World Cup zipped through at 161.3 kmph, 0.6 kmph more than Lee, according to speed gun statistics released by TV broadcaster Octagon CSI. Shoaib and Lee are the only two bowlers to have broken the 160 mark. New Zealand’s Shane Bond was a distant third with a top speed of 153.4.

Only 0.2 kmph slower is West Indian youngster Jermaine Lawson, an ICC release said.

For India, Ashish Nehra emerged fastest, notching up a speed of 149.7 while Zaheer Khan clocked 147.4 and veteran Jawagal Srinath 143.

Million-dollar Aussies

Centurion: Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist will become the first Aussie cricketers to earn million-dollar pay cheques if Australia retain the World Cup.

McGrath is the top-ranked ranked player on ACB’s contract list and is guaranteed a base payment of $ 440,000 a year. Gilchrist and Ponting receive between $ 360,000 and $ 420,000.

Under a deal struck with the ACB, the players get to keep the World Cup prize money, which equates to about 300,000 dollars per player if they win the final.

And tallying extra tour fees, including the upcoming West Indies tour, McGrath, Gilchrist and Ponting will cross the magical $ 1 m this financial year.

‘Sanath has to bear the pain’

East London: Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya will have to put up with pain from his broken thumb for the rest of the World Cup, according to team physiotherapist Alex Kountouri.

“Sanath’s forearm is not a problem but the left thumb is broken right at the tip and he will only fully recover after the World Cup,” he said.

“He is taking mild pain killers but can manage the pain for the time being.”

Jayasuriya, however, may have to hide himself in a backwater while fielding. Kountouri said: “The only problem for Sanath would be if he was struck hard on it while fielding.”

Batsman Hashan Tillakaratne, meanwhile, is recovering from a hamstring strain after missing the Super Six defeat against India. “It is not serious and he will be fit for Saturday’s game (against Zimbabwe),” Kountouri said.

Sri Lanka are fifth in the Super Six table and must win their final game against Zimbabwe to have any chance of reaching the semi-finals.

n Zimbabwe vs Kenya, highlights on Max from 8 am n Kenya vs New Zealand, Highlights on Max from 9.30 am n Sri Lanka vs India, highlights on Max from 7 pm

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