May 8th, 2006

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Giles targets Pakistan return

Ashley_Giles England’s leading spin bowler is confident that he can recover from a hernia problem in time to face Pakistan in the four-Test home series beginning in July. The 33-year-old Warwickshire left-armer will miss the May/June series against Sri Lanka after undergoing surgery and is one of several key England players to have suffered injury since the team’s Ashes success over Australia last year. “It has measurably improved over the last three days and I’m already back on the exercise bike at home,” Giles, who has also been bothered by a hip problem, told. “They told me I could be back running within a fortnight and I can see that happening. I’m not setting targets, but six weeks to be back playing again in some form feels like it’s realistic,” added spinner, who had surgery last week following a lengthy diagnosis period. “With hindsight, I probably should have had the hip done before I went to Pakistan. Looking at footage of my bowling action towards the end of last summer, it’s obvious that I wasn’t putting any weight through my front leg,” he said. After a long apprenticeship, Giles has developed into a useful spinner for England and is now rated as something of an all-rounder having chalked up an average of almost 25 in his last 20 Tests. As a key member of the Ashes-winning team, he is obviously keen to return to the side in time to defend the urn in Australia at the end of the year.Source:The News

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Majid to make last-ditch effort

Former Test captain Majid Khan left on Thursday for Dubai to attend the meeting of the Cricket Committee of the International Cricket Council (ICC) armed with documents to plead for another review of the bowling action of pacer Shabbir Ahmed.

Shabbir was banned last December by the ICC for a 12-month period for having an illegal bowling action. The ban came after he was reported twice for his action in 2005.

The PCB filed an appeal on his behalf against the ban in January this year but the Bowling Action Review Group (BRG), formed by the ICC, rejected it and upheld the ban.

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Lara building winning side for 2007 World Cup

Brain_LaraHaving risen a third time to the post of West Indies captain, batting superstar Brian Lara has been building a side that can be very competitive at the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

This is why Lara, who turned 37 last Tuesday, was looking forward to the third One-day International against Zimbabwe on Saturday at Bourda Oval which was abandoned on the eve of the match.

He believes that his side must grasp any and every opportunity that is placed before it to play cricket and feels that the abandonment is a setback to moving forward.

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Jones out for six weeks with injury

Simon JonesEngland suffered yet another injury setback ahead of next week’s first Test against Sri Lanka when fast bowler Simon Jones was ruled out on Friday for six weeks with a knee problem.

The reverse-swing specialist suffered a twinge in his left knee during Glamorgan’s C and G Trophy match against Ireland on Monday and saw a specialist on Thursday to get further information on the problem, which forced him home from the tour to India.

Now Jones has been advised to rest for six weeks, which rules him out of the Test and one-day series against Sri Lanka, and he could face further surgery at the end of it.

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Pakistan hires Jonty Rhodes as fielding coach

Jonty_RhodesPakistan has hired former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes to boost its squad’s fielding skills ahead of an important tour of England, officials said on Friday.

“We have finalised the hiring of Rhodes as fielding coach for two weeks and he will be arriving in early June,” Director Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Abbas Zaidi said.

Rhodes, 37, played 52 Tests and 245 One-day Internationals (ODIs) and was regarded as one of the world’s best fielders during his career, which ended after the 2003 World Cup.

Cricket fans here still remember the image of a leaping Rhodes in the 1992 World Cup in Australia running out Inzamam-ul-Haq — who is now Pakistan’s captain.

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Tendulkar signs 40-million-dollar contract

Tendulkar International advertising major Saatchi and Saatchi has secured the marketing rights for Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar for 40 million dollars. Iconix, the newly-formed marketing branch of Saatchi, signed Tendulkar, one of the sport’s leading batsmen, after his 10-year contract with the US-based WorldTel expired last year. “It’s great to have a legend like Sachin as the first client of Iconix,” said V. Shantakumar, the chief executive officer and managing director of Saatchi’s Indian operations. “Sachin is more than just a cricket player. He’s a role model for young and old India,” Shanthakumar said. “He’s still the nation’s youth icon and he’s still considered by cricket pundits as the world’s best batsman. The value he commands comes from the respect and love people feel for him,” he added. Shanthakumar declined to confirm media speculation that the three-year deal was worth 1.8 billion rupees (40 million dollars). “The amount mentioned is a nice sum, but I am not going to say more,” he said. The 33-year-old, whose fitness will be assessed next week, may be available for the four Test matches against the West Indies starting on June 2. The Mumbai star was delighted to be associated with his new agents.

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PCB appoints Mudassar Nazar as director NCA

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday appointed former Test opener Mudassar Nazar as the director of the National Cricket Academy (NCA).

Chairman PCB Shaharyar M Khan, after a meeting of the PCB Ad-hoc Committee, announced this at a news conference, here on Friday. Abbas Zaidi, Director Media was also present at the occasion. The PCB chief said names of Intikhab Alam, Mushtaq Muhammad and Jalal-ud-din were considered for the director’s appointment at the NCA, adding that the Ad-hoc Committee gave its nod in favour of Mudassar.

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PCB invites Zimbabwe to play three ODIs, A-team matches

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has invited the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) to play two four-day games against its A team and three One-day Internationals (ODIs) against the national side before the ICC Champions Trophy in India this year.

Chairman PCB Shaharyar Khan told ‘The News’ that two proposals had been sent to the Zimbabwe board to resolve the problem that has been created as a result of the ZCU interim committee suspending the Test status of its national team till February 2007.

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LBW decisions set to be judged by technology

In a revolutionary proposal by International Cricket Council (ICC), players dissatisfied with umpires’ decisions could ask for technology help for all 10 modes of dismissals, including the controversial leg before wicket (LBW), by October.

Batsmen, after being given out, could ask the on-field umpires to refer their decision to the TV/third umpire, who could overrule the decision. Similarly, the fielding side could also appeal against a decision that had not gone in their favour.

If the ICC Cricket Committee, headed by India’s Sunil Gavaskar, approves its management’s proposal in toto over the weekend here, the changes could be implemented in the 10-nation Champions Trophy to be held in India in October-November.

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Mbangwa calls on Zimbabwean cricket chiefs to stop the rot

Former Zimbabwe medium-fast bowler Mpumelelo ‘Pommie’ Mbangwa has bemoaned the state of the game in his homeland and called on officials to act swiftly to save its future.

Mbangwa, who played 15 Tests and 29 limited-overs internationals for Zimbabwe between 1996 and 2002, is very sad that things have reached such a state in his country that a young, inexperienced side has been sent to the Caribbean for a series of seven limited-overs internationals.

“There have been problems in Zimbabwe cricket for a long time and they have been out there for everybody to see,” remarked Mbangwa, who is here commentating on the series in the Caribbean.

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