February 16th, 2007

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Canada hoping to make waves at World Cup

Even though Canada are ranked outsiders for next month’s World Cup in the Caribbean, coach Andy Pick believes his side are capable of pulling off an upset or two.

“I’m happy that if we play our best game we will put a lot of pressure on (Group C rivals) England and New Zealand because we have some good players,” the former Nottinghamshire bowler said.

The other side in the group are Kenya. “We are not focusing a huge amount on England or New Zealand, or Kenya for that matter,” said Pick. “The only thing we can possibly do and have a certain amount of control over is how we play,” he explained.

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Batsmen form key for World Cup success: Bari

bariPakistan cricket team’s chief selector, Wasim Bari, on Thursday said that return to top form by skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq and other batsmen would be the key to Pakistan’s success in the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup starting next month.

“Inzamam must lead the team from the front and his batting form along with other experienced players will be crucial for team’s good showing in the West Indies,” he said in an interview here.

Inzamam managed just 74 runs with an average of 14.80 in the recently-concluded five-match One-day International (ODI) series against South Africa after having accumulated just 198 runs in the three-match Test series.

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Visa centre for Caribbean in Pakistan

The West Indies nations have agreed to open a temporary visa centre in Islamabad to facilitate Pakistani cricket spectators, wanting to go to the Caribbean to witness the cricket World Cup.

“Today (Thursday) we have received a letter from the West Indies in which they have agreed to Pakistan’s proposal regarding opening of a temporary visa centre in Islamabad to provide visas to those Pakistani cricket spectators who want to see the biggest cricket tournament starting in the West Indies from next month,” a foreign office official told PPI.

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World Cup squad too weak to perform well: Sarfraz

nawazPakistan’s cricket squad is not capable of showing good performance in the World Cup, former Test cricketer and star pacer Sarfraz Nawaz expressed these views on Thursday.

Expressing his dissatisfaction over the newly-formed national cricket team, he said the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should have adopted pragmatic approach in picking up the team for the World Cup.

“Conducting a nation-wide talent hunt programme would have been the only way to come up with a team strong enough to give tough time to the opponents in the World Cup,” he said. Sarfraz said the PCB should have arranged training camps across the country to find players of substance.

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Pakistan include Butt, Sami among World Cup reserves

Pakistan have included discarded opener Salman Butt among their five reserve players for next month’s World in the West Indies.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman announced on Thursday that Butt, fast bowlers Mohammad Sami and Shahid Nazir, all-rounder Azhar Mahmood and young wicket-keeper Zulqarnain Haider have been short-listed as reserve players.

The players have been selected as cover for a number of unfit men selected in Pakistan’s 15-member squad for the World Cup to be played from March 13 to April 28. Pakistan have named three injured fast bowlers - Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul and Mohammad Asif - in the touring party for the Caribbean assignment.

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Tendulkar out and Pathan doubtful for final ODI

sachinSachin Tendulkar will not take part in the final one-dayer against Sri Lanka at Vishakapatnam because of a stiff back, the Indian board has confirmed.

However, the injury to Tendulkar, who wasn’t part of the squad that arrived in Vishakhapatnam on Thursday, isn’t considered serious and he will rest in Mumbai so that he can recover in time for the World Cup.

India already have worries over Irfan Pathan and Ajit Agarkar and Pathan is all but ruled out of the clash as well. “It’s highly unlikely that we’ll play him,” a member of the team management told Cricinfo, “as it would be a risk to play him when he’s not 100% fit. There’s no point in risking him ahead of the World Cup.”

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New Australia setback with Lee injury

Bret LeeThe depleted Australian cricket side suffered a further setback on Thursday on the eve of the opening match against New Zealand with the likely loss of an injured Brett Lee. But the injury to the Australian bowling spearhead has done little to lift the hopes of a full-strength New Zealand side which has consistently authored its own downfall this year.

Lee was taken to hospital for scans on his left knee and ankle after catching his sprigs in the outfield during fielding practice. But the results are not due until after the first match in the Chappell-Hadlee series which begins of Friday (today), making it unlikely Lee will play.

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PCB to carry out dope tests by tomorrow

Pakistan will almost complete dope tests of their World Cup-bound players and reserves by tomorrow, a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official said on Thursday.

The dope tests would be carried out in two stages — here in Karachi and Lahore — and a total of 19 players would be tested for banned drugs. All-rounder Shahid Afridi will miss the testing procedure as he will be going abroad to play in a charity match, Ahsan Malik, PCB’s Director Communications, told this correspondent.

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South Africa humiliate Pakistan again to win ODI series 3-1

Shaun Pollock produced a masterly bowling performance as South Africa crushed Pakistan by nine wickets in the fifth One-day International (ODI) here at the Wanderers Stadium on Wednesday to take the series.

Pollock took five for 23 as Pakistan were bowled out for 153. AB de Villiers and Jacques Kallis hit half-centuries as South Africa cruised to victory with 21.4 overs to spare. South Africa won the series 3-1, with one match rained off.

Pollock bowled unchanged with the new ball and took the first five wickets with a superb exhibition of accurate seam and swing bowling. Pakistan hopes were raised briefly when South African captain Graeme Smith was caught behind off Mohammad Asif for nought.

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