Monday, January 31, 2011

India Are the Favourite To Win the World Cup

"We have an extremely well-balanced team and the best part is everyone seems to be in form," Kirmani told PTI.

"We are playing in the sub-continent and in our own environment so it would not be too difficult to bring in a replacement wicket-keeper immediately in case of a casualty. So, probably taking this fact into consideration, the selection committee did not go in for a second wicket-keeper," he said.

Stating that the current Indian squad is one of the favourites to lift the ICC Cricket World Cup, the 61-year-old said he has been hoping and praying for the last 28 years for the country to bring back the glory.

"We have a very good chance this time as our side is a very competent one. They are equally competent, if not more, than some of the other teams. We have been hoping and praying for the last 28 years for India to lift the Cup again and it seems that this team has it in them to fulfil the wish," said the former India Test cricketer.

Kirmani admitted that the four-time World champions Australia will be a weaker side compared to India, South Africa and England in the upcoming mega-event but cautioned that the Kangaroos can never be taken for granted.

"You never know, Australia can come back any time. You can never count them out. Obviously, the experienced players, who won the Cup thrice for the country are not there anymore but Aussies are in a process of re-establishing themselves.

"The youngsters will certainly take some time to reach that level. So, as a team they definitely look a little weaker at the moment as compared to some of the stronger sides like India, South Africa, England," he opined.

"But again if you look at the ongoing ODI series between England and Australia, the latter are doing well and the English, who thought it would be a cake-walk for them after their 3-1 Ashes victory, are finding it tough," added Kirmani.

Kirmani, who played 88 Tests, predicted that India, South Africa, England and Sri Lanka would make it to the semi-finals of the mega-event, starting February 19 in Dhaka but warned that there could be a few surprises as well.

"The New Zealanders, Pakistanis and Australians could never be underestimated. Just like Australia, Pakistan also has some talented young players who can spring up surprises," Kirmani said.

Asked to compare the current Indian side with that of the 1983 World Cup winning team, he said, "Unlike ours, which was a weaker unit and were given a tag of the underdogs, this team is very strong."

"We never thought we would lift the Cup. We were the most inexperienced team in the competition. We just aimed at qualifying for the knockout stage. That was the only thing on our minds. In fact, no body even expected us to reach the knock-out round also," recollected Kirmani, who was awarded the best wicket-keeper in the 1983 World Cup.

"But we gained confidence when we won our opening match against then reigning world champions West Indies by 34 runs. After that game, we thought if we could beat the Windies in the very first encounter, why should we look back?"

Attributing Indian team's success in the 1983 Cricket World Cup to their positive approach, consistency and complacency of other teams, he said, "Whosoever we played they thought that we were a very weak side and took us lightly. But they were under a wrong impression. They failed to realise that on a particular day we were the better players."

Looking back at his own most memorable contribution to the team's success in the 83' World Cup, Kirmani said the match where captain Kapil Dev scored unbeaten 175 against Zimbabwe to turn the tide in India's favour, had him as a silent contributor at the other end.

"One of our most important matches of the tournament was against Zimbabwe when India found itself reeling at 17 for five with Kapil Dev trying to pull us out of trouble single-handedly. At 140 for eight, I joined Kapil who was playing at some 50 plus score with another 30-35 overs more to go in a 60-over match.

"I walked in very boldly, as usual, without losing my concentration and before I took the stance I just went to Kapil and told him 'don't worry, you just play your natural game and I will be at my best at the other end, giving you the maximum support and maximum strike. I will just take a single and leave the deliveries for you to face'," narrated Kirmani.

"From there on it was one of the most fabulous knocks of Kapil that I have seen -- perhaps the most devastating one -- and I gave him the strength and we remained not out till 60 overs. He scored 175 and I scored somewhere between 23 to 30."

Kirmani, who remained not out on 24 till the end of 60 overs, shared a crucial unbeaten 126-run stand for the ninth wicket -- a record in itself -- with Kapil, to help India reach 266 for eight and set Zimbabwe a competitive target.

Zimbabwe, in their chase, faltered and were all out for 235 in 57 overs to hand over India a 31-run victory.

"This victory put us in the semi-finals where we beat England comprehensively and then went on to create history by defeating West Indies in the final, which is needless to say, is one of the most memorable moments of my career and life," concluded Kirmani.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

We will go beyond 2003 World Cup- Harbajan

Senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh believes that the team's impressive performance in South Africa will be of little consequence at the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup.
"From my personal experience, I can tell you that our good show in South Africa may give us a bit of confidence but that's about it. Doing well in bouncy pitches in South Africa and playing in the Cricket World Cup is a different ball game altogether," Harbhajan told PTI in an exclusive interview.

To elaborate his view he gave example of India's tour to New Zealand in 2002 before the 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa.

"If you remember, we had a disastrous tour of New Zealand where we lost in both Test and ODI series. But when we played in the Cricket World Cup, it was a different story. In fact, we completely dominated while we beat New Zealand and played in the finals. That's why I feel that a bilateral series can never be an indicator to a team's performance in a big event," the feisty off-spinner said.

Talking about Cricket World Cups and Harbhajan, who will be playing in his third, still fondly recollects the memories of the 2003 edition when the team reached the finals under Sourav Ganguly's captaincy.

"I sincerely hope that we can emulate our 2003 feat and even do one better by winning the Cricket World Cup. It will be a great gift for millions of fans. On our part, we can assure our supporters that we will give more than 100 percent when we get out there," he said.

When asked what was special about that 'Class of 2003', who looked unstoppable till Ricky Ponting singlehandedly took the final away from them, he said, "Have a look at the squad of 2003, you will find guys like myself, Zak (Zaheer Khan), Ashish (Nehra) and Viru (Sehwag) were all young having only played couple of seasons in international cricket.

"We were fearless and never believed that we would cow down under any sort of pressure. If you enjoy playing in pressure situations, you tend to give your best. That's what happened. Also we had seniors like Sachin (Tendulkar), Sourav (Ganguly) guiding us."

A veteran of 93 Tests and 217 ODIs, Harbhajan, who is now second in the list of seniormost cricketers after Sachin Tendulkar, feels like 2003, this time also India's Cricket World Cup campaign will depend a lot on how the likes of Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Yusuf Pathan handle pressure situations.

"As a senior player, I have loads of expectations from guys like Virat, Yusuf and Raina. Just like we (Sehwag, Nehra, Zaheer, Kaif) were the youngest lot in 2003. These youngsters will be eager to show how well they can manage to hold their nerves on big stage.

"They have had enough exposure in international cricket and I am really hopeful that they would come up trumps."

On personal front, Harbhajan, nicknamed 'Turbunator', is happy that he is in a good frame of mind going into the big event.

"If you are an Indian cricketer, then you become adept at handling pressure. I have played long enough to not let pressure affect my game in crunch situations. It has come with years of experience at the international level," said the spinner from Jalandhar, who has 393 Test and 246 ODI wickets to his name.

His batting has been a revelation of late and one gets a feeling that his perspective towards batting has changed.

"My mantra is simple. If the ball is in my area, I will hit it. Earlier, the approach used to be a slam bang one and I would try to hit any delivery out of sight. Now I try to get my eye in first and then go for attack. Also, if I am batting with the batsman, I try to rotate and give the specialist as much strike as possible," Harbhajan said.

On various captains that he has played under in international cricket, Harbhajan terms Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ganguly as the two who always back their bowlers.

"Both Sourav and Dhoni have been able to get the best of out of me. The reason being both are good bowlers' captain. It is essential for a captain and his bowlers to strike a good rapport. In case of Sourav, he exactly knew what to expect from a Javagal Srinath, a Zaheer Khan or a Harbhajan Singh.

The same is for Dhoni.

"Another aspect is their faith in bowlers to let them set their own field. Both Sourav and Dhoni would allow me to set my own field which means the skipper has faith on my thought process," he added.

Asked whether figured out any difference between the two, Harbhajan said, "Yes, Dhoni can remain very calm in the most trying circumstances but Sourav was more expressive in his body language."

When the topic of Eden Gardens was broached, he became a touch sad.

"It is sad that we won't be playing in front of a packed Eden Gardens crowd which always behind you. It's one of my favourite grounds but there are things which are not under my control. What I can control is that, whenever I play at the Eden next, I would like to ensure the crowd that they will have smile on their faces," he concluded.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Australia must have descent pace attack to win

Allan Border advised the selectors to pick an "out and out" pace attack if Australia are to win the ICC Cricket World Cup.
Border does not subscribe to the view that a team will have to rely on spin in the subcontinent and gave the example of the lethal pace attack of the West Indies who did well in the 80's.

"We can win the World Cup, especially if our quick bowling stocks hit their straps. That's what it is about, two, three or four guys peaking at the right time. Everybody says, 'It's India, you need spin', but that's not necessarily the case," Border said.

"I know the West Indies did well in India during the 80's. If you've got good quality fast bowling, you're the side to beat. If you start getting reverse swing and out and out pace, there are not a lot of people who enjoy facing that sort of bowling," he was quoted as saying by 'Sunday Telegraph'.

Border said Australia can triumph in the 50-over tournament if pace spearhead Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson can fire on all cylinders.

"Brett Lee is bowling with good pace and getting back into some good rhythm, and he has the experience alone. I want to see Mitch and Taity, if they're anywhere near their best, that's a formidable attack. Throw in some part-timers and spinners, and that's a good side."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sehwag and Sangakkara Join Together

Virender Sehwag and Kumar Sangakkara have joined together to star in a new Think Wise campaign for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.
The players feature in a public service announcement, encouraging young people to ‘get the facts, protect yourself’, as part of the ICC’s Think Wise partnership with UNAIDS and UNICEF promoting HIV prevention.

The campaign will encourage young people to be informed, take appropriate action to prevent HIV infection and stand together against the stigma and discrimination often facing people living with HIV. Although UNAIDS announced that new HIV infections had fallen by 20 per cent between 2001 and 2009, more than 7,000 people were infected each day in 2009 and one out of every three of these was a young person aged between 15 and 24 years.
“The ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 provides an opportunity to use our profile as cricketers to deliver important social messages to the hundreds of millions of supporters who will be watching the tournament across the world,” said Virender Sehwag.

He added: “I hope this public service announcement can encourage young people to get the facts and protect themselves from HIV. While my main focus for this tournament is on helping India win the World Cup, I hope that a legacy of the event will be that more young people feel comfortable talking about their relationships and understand how to protect themselves against HIV.”

The colourful promos, that are 30 and 45 seconds in duration, are set to a lively theme tune of “let’s talk” and aim to encourage young people across the globe to discuss HIV prevention. As part of the script, Sangakkara encourages fans to “wait, stick to one partner, or use a condom”, before Sehwag calls on young adults to “get the facts, protect yourself against HIV”.

Sehwag and Sangakkara, who are both Think Wise champions, have been active supporters of the partnership since it was formed in 2003, visiting projects at ICC events and promoting global HIV prevention and stigma reduction messages. Other active supporters in the partnership include Graeme Smith (South Africa), Shakib-Al-Hasan (Bangladesh) and Ramnaresh Sarwan (West Indies).

“As a Think Wise champion and cricketer, I want to help educate young people on how to protect themselves from HIV. It is important that young people around the world have access to the right information to help them make informed decisions and break down stigma and discrimination. Through this public service announcement, I want to help stop the spread of HIV and encourage young people to get the facts, talk openly, and protect themselves from HIV,” said Sangakkara.

A number of other Think Wise activities are planned during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. Players will have a series of interactions with local community groups supported by UNAIDS and UNICEF throughout the three host countries, teams will wear red ribbons on their shirts in key matches during the competition and HIV prevention messages will be promoted at venues on all match days, including during the national anthem ceremonies.
Young adults taking part in the ICC CWC schools programme in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka have already received HIV education sessions as part of the Think Wise programme.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

India Are Favorites To Win the World Cup : Smith

South Africa captain Graeme Smith believes India are the team to beat at the forthcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India are co-hosting the event alongside counterparts from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni's star-studded squad are already the bookmakers' pick for the trophy.
Smith guided the Proteas to a 3-2 ODI series win over India in their recent series in South Africa but he accepts that India will be an even tougher proposition on their own turf.
"I think the home teams will be right up there when it comes to the World Cup," Smith told the ICC Cricket World Radio Show.
"I think in the sub-continental conditions they'll be very crafty, knowing how to read conditions while other teams need to find ways to be successful there.
"I think for us we need to be versatile and I think India will come in as favourites."
Despite picking India as the best-placed team prior to the event, which begins on February 19, Smith sees plenty of potential victors.
"Personally I think there are five or six teams that could win this World Cup which is probably going to make it a very exciting one," he added.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Martin Guptill Ready to play at Any Position

New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill has said that he is ready to bat at any position in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.
Guptill has successfully opened the innings for the Kiwis in all formats of the game..

"It's what I'm comfortable with, so at the moment I'm happy with where I'm batting, but I would also be happy to bat at No 3. I don't find there's too much difference. I'll bat anywhere for New Zealand," Guptill said.

He was not picked for the tour of Bangladesh, where his team was whitewashed in the limited overs series. However, he was included in the team for the Indian tour, where he participated in the second Test match, scoring 85 on his return.

However, his record against Pakistan in the just-concluded Test series is impressive. He amassed 163 runs at an impressive average of 40.

In the first one-dayer against Pakistan, Guptill opened the innings, scoring an unbeaten 40 in the chase of a paltry 125-run total, steering his team to victory by nine wickets.

Currently, the home side is leading the six-match series by 1-0 with four more games to play. Only four overs were possible in the second encounter, as rain washed out the whole day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

West Indies Will reach Semi-Finals Of the WC: Predicts Coach

West Indies coach Ottis Gibson believes his team can defy the odds and reach the ICC Cricket World Cup semi-finals stage.
The West Indies tackle Sri Lanka in three ODIs from Monday, a crucial opportunity for the Caribbean side to get used to the South Asia conditions ahead of the ICC CWC which takes place from February 19 to April 2.

"I think we have a team that can win the trophy. We'll go there with the expectation of doing very well and putting ourselves in a position that we can reach the semi-finals, which is a very realistic possibility," said Gibson.

"We would love to win and we will try to win. The aim is to reach the semi finals and put ourselves in a position to capitalise from there."

"This is one of the biggest stages in international sport and we want to make sure we feature during the tournament. We are not listed among the favourites and that could work in our favour."

The West Indies haven't reached the semi-finals since 1996 when they lost to Australia by just five runs in an agonising loss.

Gibson was speaking before the squad left for Sri Lanka where the West Indies played to a 0-0 draw in the three-match Test series in December.

The ODI series was to be played in December but was rescheduled due to bad weather.

"It is a good opportunity to put some of the plans in place that we are going to take into the mega event," said the coach.

"When we went for the Test series we did really well as a team and we made progress. We also had a chance to get used to the conditions. Now we are heading back to Sri Lanka for these three ODIs and we will be looking to put in place the plans that we will be taking into the sub-continent for the event.

"The players are fresh out of the Caribbean Twenty20 and all the players are ready for what we have coming up."

The West Indies have been drawn in Group B alongside South Africa, Netherlands, India, Bangladesh, England and Ireland.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Akram Feels it is tough to replace Kristen

Wasim Akram says the former South Africa batsman has been one of the best coaches in the world.

India have enjoyed great success under coach Gary Kirsten, but it’s time to bid him goodbye. Wasim Akram feels it will be “a big loss” for Indian cricket. Speaking to Mobile ESPN from Karachi on Tuesday, Akram said: "Gary has done wonders for Team India. He is one of the best coaches that I have seen in international cricket. He has a quiet personality and does his job without much fuss.”

Akram added: “He (Kirsten) plays a good part behind the scenes. He has always been a much organised cricketer and we saw that aspect in his coaching as well."

Kirsten’s two-year contract with BCCI expires at the end of the World Cup. During his tenure, Team India won the Border-Gavaskar series 2-0. The former South Africa batsman also coached India to their first ODI series victory in New Zealand after 40 years.

"His qualities as a player and as a person rubbed on Team India as they performed well. MS Dhoni and his men will surely miss him in the dressing room. The management will also have a tough time in trying to find his replacement. But I feel India should concentrate on the World Cup rather than Kirsten. As they say, all good things must come to an end," said Akram.

While India go ga-ga over Yusuf Pathan’s 105 off 70 deliveries in the fifth and final ODI versus South Africa in Centurion on Sunday, Akram had a few words of caution.

"I hope that India do not start relying too much on Yusuf as it can be suicidal. He certainly has stood out with his fantastic showing in the last game. He is a clean hitter and has the temperament of a big-match player," said Akram.

Akram pointed out that apart from Yusuf, Virat Kohli was also a consistent performer in South Africa. Yusuf, who scored 166 in three matches, was definitely a standout, according to the former Pakistan star.

"Yusuf was the only consistent performer. The team surely missed the services of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar but Pathan tried hard to propel India despite their absence. The key was to stay on the wicket in South Africa and Yusuf did just that," said Akram.

Even though India lost the ODI series 2-3, Akram feels it will not have any impact on the World Cup. "I think India will do well once the seniors are back. And it’s always a different feeling to play in your home ground with home fans shouting for you. It definitely gives you a high," concluded Akram.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Yusuf Pathan : Feels India Is under Pressure

Yusuf Pathan said that India would be under pressure in the ICC Cricket World Cup but they will need to avoid thinking about it.
"You don't go into a tournament thinking about the pressure involved with it. We will be playing the ICC CWC at home and it's natural that people will expect us to do well", he said.

"We have prepared well and played some good cricket in the past few months and we are hopeful of carrying the good form in the event (starting February 19)," Pathan told PTI in an interview from Vadodara.

The 28-year-old player has been in red-hot form and has clobbered the best in the business with minimum fuss.

"I am happy that I have been able to contribute to the team's cause. I have been assigned a specific role and I try to perform that to the best of my abilities," he answered.

Talk about outgoing coach Gary Kirsten and Yusuf's voice is filled with admiration for the former South African opener - perhaps the most popular among the three foreigners (John Wright, Greg Chappell being the other two) who have coached India.

"I have been fortunate to have received guidance from someone like Kirsten. He is a coach who will always have time for having one-on-one sessions after regular training. Even after my regular net session, Kirsten would be ready to give me extra practice.

"His (Kirsten) process of coaching and the manner in which he is able to iron out the flaws is amazing. I have improved a lot as a player due to him," he said.

Asked if he will miss Kirsten as he won't be coaching India after World Cup, Yusuf replied, "He is with us right now. That is important. Don't want to think about what will happen later."

He may surprise one and all with his ability to play risky shots like reverse sweeping a spinner for six but off it he wouldn't like to get into comparisons about his on-field efforts.

Asked which one of his two centuries (123 not out (96 balls) against New Zealand or 105 (70 balls) against South Africa at Centurion) is a better effort according to him, Yusuf said he would not pick between knocks which proved important for his team in different circumstances.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sreesanth is Confident to make it up to Next World Cup

Left out of the current edition, India's Sreesanth is confident of playing in the next two ICC Cricket World Cup tournaments.
"I'm only 27 and have ten good years ahead of me. I have a good chance of playing in the next two ICC CWC and I will come back," the Kerala bowler said at a promotional event on Friday.
Sreesanth said he was happy about the backing he received from former Test skipper Sourav Ganguly after he was left out of the Cup squad.
"I respect Dada's praise for me. I am still at the learning curve and there is a lot to learn," he said.
He added that the best thing for him now was to leave the past behind and move ahead by performing well.

"I will be playing soon in April (in IPL for Kochi) and am looking forward to the next two editions." he added

Friday, January 21, 2011

Yusuf Pathan Rocked The Final ODI Match

South Africa clinched a thrilling 33-run win against India at the Centurion to win the five-match series 3-2.

Yusuf Pathan bludgeoned a whirlwind century for India but it was not enough as they slumped to a 33-run Duckworth/Lewis defeat and a 3-2 one-day series loss to South Africa in Pretoria.
The big-hitting all-rounder smashed 105 from 70 balls after his side had slumped to 119 for eight in pursuit of a revised 268 victory target.
They looked out of the game when he walked to the crease thanks to some ruthless bowling from Morne Morkel, who picked up four wickets for 52, and Dale Steyn (two for 32) aided by some poor shot-making from the tourists.
But a century stand with Zaheer Khan (24) raised hope, before the wicket of Pathan killed off the tourists.
Earlier, Hashim Amla carried his bat in an unbeaten 116 to see the hosts reach 250 for nine in 46 overs.
With rain still in the air when India's chase got under way, the openers came out in attacking mode, but were jolted when Lonwabo Tsotsobe bowled Rohit Sharma (five) via an inside edge onto the stumps.
Virat Kohli (two), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (five), Parthiv Patel (38), Yuvraj Singh (eight) and Suresh Raina (11) all fell quickly, leaving India on 74 for six inside 14 overs.
Harbhajan Singh (13) stopped the freefall by lasting more than five overs before he fell to Johan Botha.
But Pathan then found some good support in Zaheer, who could have been out when he had just come in and his partner was still on 41 after Morkel had him caught off a no-ball.
They came together at 119 for eight, and after Pathan reached 50 in 47 balls, it took him only 21 more deliveries to reach his ton.
His innings, which included eight fours and eight sixes, was eventually ended with a top-edge off Morkel that was caught by Faf du Plessis inside the circle.
Fifty runs were still required from 64 balls, but by then too many wickets had fallen and Zaheer was last man out, handing the hosts the series.
At the start, India decided to go into the game with an extra spinner - Piyush Chawla included ahead of Ashish Nehra - while the South Africans were unchanged.
The tourists made a bold move after winning the toss with Dhoni electing to field under the cloud cover hovering around Centurion.
His decision looked a good one first up with Zaheer sending Graeme Smith (seven) on his way in the third over when the left-hander hung his bat out and edged behind to Pathan at first slip.
But Morne van Wyk, one of the form players from the domestic season, and Amla got together and shared in a 97-run partnership to put their side back on top.
The former passed his 50 from 53 balls along the way, but was then excellently caught one-handed by Yuvraj (two for 45) off his own bowling with the score on 113.
The part-timer accounted for AB de Villiers (11) four overs later - the wicketkeeper stumped for a second successive game - before Amla was handed a lifeline on 70 after substitute Ravichandran Ashwin, fielding at square leg, seemed to spot a pull shot late and fluffed a chance off Sharma.
Amla reached his century from 113 balls, but rain then halted play for more than an hour with South Africa in the ascendancy after 42 overs played.
With the revised playing conditions in effect after the resumption, JP Duminy (35), who shared a 101-run stand with Amla, fell quickly.
Munaf Patel grabbed three for 50 in a late-order collapse when just 24 were added for the loss of six wickets as the home sided ended on 250 for nine

Thursday, January 20, 2011

England Players Disappointed About The Change In Venue

England players said they are unhappy that their ICC Cricket World Cup match against India has been moved from Eden Gardens.
The ICC announced on Thursday that the iconic 100,000-capacity stadium would not be ready to host the Group B match, due to be played on February 27, because of concerns over "cricket operations, media, broadcast and sponsorship facilities".
England's match against India had set to be the flagship match at the ground during the group stage, with the new venue yet to be confirmed.
Fast bowler Stuart Broad admitted his disappointment on his Twitter page on Friday, writing: "Shame Eden Gardens not ready for the game, our game vs India there would have been special with 100,000-plus crowd".
Fellow quick Chris Tremlett said the venue switch was not an ideal situation, and while he did not expect it would unduly affect the team's preparations he felt sympathy for those fans who have already paid to fly out and attend the match.
"Obviously it's not ideal," said Tremlett, who is not part of England's squad.
"I think in a few big tournaments there seems to be things that are left to the last minute.
"I'm sure that they'll find ways around it, but it is a shame because I'm sure a lot of people have booked plane tickets and supporters have paid a lot of money to go out there.
"I hope they can sort it out and hopefully it won't affect the team as well.
"Hopefully they can sort that out."
England are currently preparing for Sunday's fifth one-day international against Australia in Brisbane, a match that itself was under threat due to the floods that decimated south Queensland two weeks ago.
A change of venue had been mooted then and Tremlett said with a month to go until the India fixture he expected England would be able to rearrange their plans without disturbing preparations.
"If you expected to be in certain places then possibly it could distract you in some way, but unexpected things happen. Look at the floods that have happened here - this game might not have happened," he added.
"As an international player, surprises come along and you just have to deal with it. There are certain distractions but it is just one of those things.
"Whatever is thrown at us we'll take it and wherever we play we'll be there."
Whether the 29-year-old makes the trip to the sub-continent relies most likely on Bresnan's fitness after the Yorkshire all-rounder returned home this week due to a calf complaint.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

BCCI Pleads ICC to reconsider its Decision

BCCI have asked the ICC to reconsider their decision to strip the Eden Gardens of their match between India and England.
"We have written a letter to the ICC to reconsider its decision. Now it is up to the ICC to decide, but we are confident that the stadium can host the crucial India-England match," Ratnakar Shetty, tournament director and chief administrative officer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said.

Former ICC boss and Cricket Association of Bengal President, Jagmohan Dalmiya, had appealed to the BCCI to ask the ICC to reconsider their decision.

Dalimiya had based his argument on Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium and three other venues getting an extension of 14 days- the former BCCI president suggested CAB will be able to get the Eden Gardens ready in the next 10 days and hand over a finished ground on February 7.

An ICC inspection team determined the Eden Gardens, which had hosted an ICC Cricket World Cup final and semi-final would not be ready to host the fixture on February 27.

The Group B match - England's second of the tournament - against the co-hosts in the 100,000-capacity stadium in Kolkata was set to be one of the highlights of the campaign for Andy Flower's side, who must now wait to hear where the February 27 fixture will be moved to.

Besides the India-England encounter, Eden Gardens is scheduled to host three other games -- South Africa vs Ireland (March 15), the Netherlands vs Ireland (March 18), and Zimbabwe vs Kenya (March 20).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Eden Garden Dropped From World Cup Venue

ICC's decision to drop Eden Gardens as the venue for the India-England game has been greeted with utter dismay in India.
Eden Gardens could not deliver on time, failing to meet the deadlines for renovations to the stadium. It hardly went down well with the ICC inspectors, who declared a venue change for the February 27 match between India and England.

"We were all looking forward to this match. We were dying to see a renovated Eden Gardens which was already looking so beautiful," former India batsman Arun Lal, now a commentator, said.

"Every cricket fan, every Kolkatan will be devastated by this."

Nearly 100,000 people screaming at the top of their voices make Eden Gardens one of the most atmospheric cricket grounds in the world.

"Is there no chance of this decision being reversed? I am just hoping that they can reconcile," Lal said.

Former India opening batsman Chetan Chauhan shared the view.

"I would suggest to the ICC and the Indian board that the Eden Gardens should be given another opportunity," Chauhan said.

"They should be given about 7-10 days. The game is on Feb 27 and there is still a lot of time.

"If they don't give them one more chance, I think they will deny a great centre and cricket-loving people the opportunity of watching a high-profile ICC Cricket World Cup match."

Eden Gardens, which hosted the 1987 World Cup final, will stage three other matches on March 15, 18 and 20, none of which feature the home side.

A furious Madan Lal, a member of India's 1983 World Cup-winning team, said the organisers should be taken to task.

"One question is why was the stadium not ready?," he said.

"Once a deadline was given, they should have completed the work before that deadline.

"It's not about the venue but about the people who have lost everything now."

Former ICC chief Jagmohan Dalmiya heads the Cricket Association of Bengal, which is based at Eden Gardens.