| Streak: ‘Not easy to find
replacements for veterans’
|Latif: ‘Not short on experience’
Sharjah: Surprise semi-finalists Kenya can show their World Cup run was no flash in the pan in the four-nation Sharjah Cup which gets underway on Thursday.
The Kenyans are still on a high after their stunning progress to the last four in southern Africa, but Pakistan and Zimbabwe will be hoping to block out recent criticism as they try to win the first post-Cup tournament with new-look sides.
The other team in the event is Sri Lanka.
“The tournament provides us with an ideal opportunity to find right combinations after the exit of senior players,” Zimbabwe skipper Heath Streak, whose side play Pakistan in the opening match, said.
“I know it’s not easy to find replacements overnight for players like Andy Flower, Guy Whittall and Henry Olonga, who have retired after the World Cup, but the young players will have some incentives to cement their places in the team.”
Media manager Lovemore Banda said: “Besides the youngsters in the team, the tournament offers Grant Flower a chance to come out and be the player that he is.”
Pakistan, in particular, have a point to prove.
World champions in 1992 and runner-up in 1999, the team was thrashed by their country’s press after they failed to progress beyond the first stage of this year’s event.
The dismal performance led to wholesale changes in the squad as eight leading players, including captain Waqar Younis and fast bowler Wasim Akram, were axed.
Wicketkeeper Rashid Latif, given the task of building a match-winning team, said: “Ours is a new-look side, but most of the players have played international cricket so we won’t be short on experience.”
Zimbabwe, a last-minute replacement for South Africa who pulled out because of the Iraqi conflict, were not unduly concerned about the security.
“We have played here before many times and know the place is pretty safe,” Streak said.
Although Kenya became the first non-test playing nation to reach the last four of the World Cup, the country also finds itself in a re-building process after coach Sandeep Patil decided to return home to India.
Abid Ali, who hails from the UAE, has taken temporary charge, admitting: “I hardly know any Kenyan player, but I hope the team continue playing with same rich vein of form they produced during the World Cup.”
New rule in place
Teams failing to complete their overs in the allotted time will no longer be docked overs when they bat second, the ICC said Wednesday.
The new ruling, under which players will be fined for slow over rates instead, will be implemented from Thursday’s game.
Teams will still have three-and-a-half hours plus allowances given by the Match Referee to bowl 50 overs, and each member of the bowling team will be fined five percent of his match fee per lost over.
Penalties will be doubled for the captain of the bowling side.
If the shortfall is more than two overs, the captain will also be charged for deliberate time-wasting.
This will result in a disciplinary hearing with a possible fine of between 50 and 100 per cent of his match fee or a possible ban for two one-day games.
The rules will also apply in Tests, with the increased penalties coming into effect after five rather than two overs.
The ICC also said Match Referees will now be allowed to suspend play due to safety and security concerns.