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Ponting gets CA backing
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Melbourne: Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has got high-level support to retain the captaincy beyond the World Cup amid speculation that he would be fired in the next fortnight on the ground of form slump and disciplinary issues. Australia’s build-up for the high-profile quarter final against India on Thursday was rocked by a report that Cricket Australia could terminate Ponting’s captaincy for a one-day tour of Bangladesh starting on April 4.

“We haven’t even discussed Ricky’s future as captain, so for us it’s business as usual,” a CA board member was quoted as saying by an Australian daily.

“ As a board we think Ricky has done a superb job. He’s done it tough at the World Cup, but I can assure you his future has not even been an agenda item,” the CA board member said. The newspaper said Ponting has the backing of at least six of the 14-member CA board.

Shoaib’s dream

New Delhi: Shoaib Akhtar wanted to take his career’s 250 th international wicket in the World Cup, but may not get a chance to do so.

“I wanted to make way for the juniors, so even if I don’t get my 250th wicket, it is fine. It will be a dream to reach that landmark, but if I don’t get picked, there is not much I can do. I still remain the fastest bowler in this World Cup.”

“Pakistan winning the World Cup is far more important than reaching personal goals. For me, my country comes first. That’s the way I have been. So I will accept any team decision,” Akhtar said.

Akhtar said, “I want to be born a cricketer again. I am a true Pakistani who is honest and has a clear conscience. Even if I have pain in my bones, I will love to bowl fast once again.”

PCB wants security

Karachi: The PCB has asked ICC to ensure foolproof security for its players if they qualify for the World Cup semi-finals and final slated to be held in India.

If Pakistan beat West Indies in the first quarter final on Wednesday, they play the winners of the last-eight match between India and Australia in the semi-final at Mohali while the World Cup final will be held in Mumbai.

“Given the threats made by the Shiv Sena party warning Pakistan about playing in Mumbai and also statements made by some other extremist elements, the board just wants to be sure everything is in place if the team has to play in India,” a source said.

Ticket sales

Colombo: Angry Sri Lankan fans criticised local organisers after tickets costing just $2.72 for a World Cup semi-final, that could feature Kumar Sangakkara’s men, sold out in just 90 minutes on Tuesday.

Around 25,000 fans had queued up from the early hours of Tuesday morning to get their hands on tickets for the March 29 semi-final. Sri Lanka’s World Cup director Suraj Dandeniya said it was impossible to meet the demands of the cricket-loving public. “We had to close the ticket counters within one and a half hours as all the tickets were sold out,” Dandeniya said.

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