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ICC grants official status
Fund-Raisers
- Abdul Razzaq to replace Shoaib Akhtar in Asia XI

Mumbai: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has broken with tradition by awarding ODI status to the two tsunami fund-raising matches between the ICC XI and an Asia XI.

Now, the profile of the games ' featuring players from across the globe ' jumps more than just a couple of notches.

However, as explained by ICC president Ehsan Mani, the decision ' taken by a vote within the Executive Board ' 'applies only to the two matches and does not change the status of other one-day games from the past or in the future.'

No precedent, therefore, is being set.

Significantly, The Telegraph had reported on Wednesday itself that official status was a strong possibility both for the first match, at the MCG on January 10 and the next, likely to be hosted by Calcutta in mid-February.

An ICC announcement also quoted Mani as saying the 'extraordinary circumstances' convinced the Executive Board to 'make an exception to the existing rules.'

A circular-motion set the ball rolling and, well before the Executive Board's deadline (Thursday evening) ended, seven of the ten Test-playing nations had given their consent. That, of course, was the minimum requirement.

Asian Cricket Council president Jagmohan Dalmiya, by the way, had all along been 'confident' ODI status would be given before the MCG game itself.

Meanwhile, allrounder Abdul Razzaq has replaced injured compatriot Shoaib Akhtar in the Asia squad (led by Sourav Ganguly) for fund-raiser No.1. He was unfit at the time of Monday's selection meeting in Dhaka.

The Asian selectors haven't named a vice-captain, but it's confirmed that Stephen Fleming will be Ricky Ponting's deputy in the ICC XI.

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