ICL: Indian Cricket League

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Best new-ball pair in the world’ needs support - Srinath

Former India fast bowler Javagal Srinath has said that India need a capable third fast bowler if they are to maintain their recent consistency. Srinath rated Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma as “the best new-ball pair in the world” but said they would not remain effective if India’s selectors persisted with a “musical chairs” policy.

“The third pacer has to be a walk-in choice in the team. It just can’t be like the musical chairs as it is now,” Srinath said at Bangalore’s National Cricket Academy. “The longevity and form of Zaheer and Ishant will depend on what quality they get from the third seamer. Otherwise it will be case of what happened to [Venkatesh] Prasad and me where you bowl long spells, you get tired, and you lose your sting.”

Lorgat urges World Cup organisers to monitor Pakistan

The ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat has asked the 2011 World Cup organising committee to consider shifting venues if the political climate in Pakistan worsens. Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are to co-host the World Cup in February-March 2011 but Lorgat said security concerns in Pakistan need to be monitored.

“It [alternate venues] is a consideration we have to give attention to,” Lorgat said at a meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday to discuss preparations for the tournament. “This is not something we discussed today, except to ask the organisers to consider alternate host city venues within the country as well as alternate country venues in the event something is not favourable in one of the particular host countries.”

Suspended IPL players seek compensation

The four Pakistan players whose contracts have been “suspended” by the IPL have appealed to the President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, to compensate them for the loss in earnings brought about by the government’s decision to not allow them to travel to India to take part.

Though the sports ministry of Pakistan had allowed the players to travel across the border for the tournament, the foreign ministry barred them from doing so, reportedly over concerns about the players’ security in India. The cooling of relations between the Indian and Pakistan governments after the Mumbai attacks last year has had sporting implications too: India cancelled their January tour to Pakistan, hockey teams from both sides have scrapped visits and the latest was Pakistan not letting ICL and IPL players cross the border.

Kirsten backs balanced team to adapt

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the India captain, and coach Gary Kirsten believe the team’s balance will ensure it remains competitive on the tour of New Zealand, regardless of the conditions. India’s batsmen failed to adapt to the wet, seamer-friendly conditions on the last tour in 2002-03 and lost the Tests 2-0 and the ODIs 5-2 - the biggest blip on their overseas record since the turn of the century.

Pressure hangs on Smith’s favourites

Ricky Ponting is making the most of the unfamiliar role of underdog, insisting that the pressure of favouritism and the pursuit of the No. 1 Test ranking could overwhelm Graeme Smith’s men throughout the three-Test series in South Africa. Ponting was in a bullish mood at a pre-departure press conference in Sydney on Monday, confident that a victory in South Africa would go far to establishing a new, competitive identity for a team eroded by injuries and retirements in recent seasons.

No more turbulence for McGain

The Australian team has moved on from Bryce McGain’s missed flight to South Africa without revealing whether the uncapped legspinner has been punished. McGain, the 36-year-old legspinner, arrived a day later than the squad after not getting his connection from Melbourne to Sydney and met with the side’s management about his tardiness.

“It has all been dealt with internally,” the coach Tim Nielsen told AAP. “We have had a good chat with Bryce over the last 24 hours. We understand the situation and we’ve looked after it. So as far as we’re concerned it is put to bed.”

New Zealand seek clarification on Zimbabwe

New Zealand’s tour of Zimbabwe in July is in doubt after John Key, the country’s prime minister, made clear that his government would not be approving the trip.

“I’d be deeply sceptical about whether they would be going,” said Key at his weekly news conference. “We don’t support that regime. We don’t support what’s happening in that country, and we don’t want to give a signal that we do.”

His comments came after Justin Vaughan, New Zealand Cricket’s chief executive, sought clarification of his country’s stance on touring Zimbabwe. Vaughan will meet with Murray McCully, the minister of foreign affairs, sports and recreation, later this month for further discussions.

Defiant Clarke faces calls to resign

Giles Clarke has found himself at the receiving end of much criticism in the light of the news about Allen Stanford, raising questions about his current position as ECB chairman.

Although he was only last week re-elected unopposed for a second two-year term, his close relationship to Stanford has already caused a raft of negative media comment in the UK. And his critics in the cricket world have wasted no time in taking swipes at him.

Shoaib aims to return for Bangladesh tour

Shoaib Akhtar has targeted the Bangladesh tour next month for his return to the Pakistan side after a knee injury ruled him out the two-Test series against Sri Lanka starting next week.

Shoaib said he will not require surgery on the knee, as was earlier suspected. “Doctors have advised me that the blood and pieces of bones in my knee could be removed through injections and there won’t be any need for an operation,” Shoaib told AFP. “I sent the MRI reports to Australia and England, and the advice was not to have an operation, so I hope to be back in action by next month.”

Benaud to retire from commentary next year

Richie Benaud has said he will retire from television commentary next year, ending a second career spanning almost 50 years. “I’ll be doing Australian cricket next year, 2010, but I don’t do any television at all anywhere else now and when I finish next year, I’ll be doing other things,” he told Macquarie Radio.

Benaud moved into television commentary soon after retiring from international cricket in 1964 and joined the Channel Nine team in 1977. He soon became an icon of sports broadcasting for his crisp style and dry humour - and sharp dress sense. In 2005 English fans mourned the end of 42 years of Benaud’s commentary in the country after the free-to-air Channel 4’s contract ended with the ECB. The same year Benaud was voted Australia’s most popular commentator in a poll conducted by the Wisden Cricketer and Cricinfo.

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