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Scottish cricket gets a boost

London: The International Cricket Council and European Cricket Council have decided to contribute a grant of £50,000 to the Scottish Cricket Union to help fund its participation in the National Cricket League, Division II.

Scotland, one of the top ranked ICC Associate members, had only narrowly failed to qualify for the World Cup having played in the 1999 event in England.

The invitation to play in the domestic one-day league is an exceptional opportunity for an Associate member country to receive extensive exposure to top class cricket.

The grant now guarantees Scotland’s involvement in the National Cricket League this season and their campaign will begin with an away fixture against Durham at the Riverside on May 4.

Gazza set for Chinese fare

Beijing: Paul Gascoigne will reinvent himself as a Chinese B-league player on Saturday. The former England midfielder’s career that peaked with World Cup and European Championship semi-finals will open a new chapter for Gansu Tianma against the Qingdao-based Hailifeng.

Gascoigne had been earmarked to play last Saturday but the club decided to postpone his introduction so he could be introduced to the home supporters.

It has been a while since the 35-year-old has been either 100 percent fit or a key player in a lengthy CV of former teams which includes Newcastle, Spurs, Lazio, Rangers, Middlesbrough, Everton — and Burnley. A veritable medical handbook’s worth of injuries plus a well documented battle with alcohol took a considerable toll on Gascoigne’s skills which at their peak could be bracketed with the very cream of his country’s all-time greats.

Pak forced to drop Elahi

Karachi: Pakistan have been forced to drop batsman Saleem Elahi from the Sharjah tri-series after competition organisers refused to waive a player limit.

Elahi was included in the 16-member squad announced last week, but the organisers have told the Pakistan Cricket Board they would not bend the 15-player limit and Pakistan would have to pay the expenses of any additions.

“We are sad for Saleem Elahi because we sincerely wanted to retain him,” a spokesman for the selectors said. “But despite several requests the 16th player was not allowed because of inflexible rules.”

New HANS gets thumbs up

Barcelona: Brazilian Rubens Barrichello tried out Ferrari’s F2003-GA car and a new HANS safety device for the first time in testing on Thursday and said he was satisfied with both.

“The first Test with the new car went very well,” he said after 85 laps at the Circuit de Catalunya. “I also tried a new system to attach the HANS device to my chest, using a double safety harness arrangement. “I reckon we have made a major improvement and everything will be fine for Interlagos.”

n Golf, PGA Tour: The Players Championship, from 11.30 am on STAR Sports n Football, Spanish League: Highlights from 10.30 am on STAR Sports


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