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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Can’t run SLPL without BCCI’s support: SLC

New Delhi: The Sri Lankan cricket board has admitted that their decision to postpone the Sri Lankan Premier League (SLP) has everything to do with BCCI’s decision to withdraw its players from the league.
"Honestly, we are finding it difficult to have the Premier League without India`s support. We can`t get into more debt." SLC spokesman Brian Thomas told a cricket website.
Earlier on Friday, it was reported that the inaugural edition of the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) had been postponed to August 2012.
Sri Lanka will have the domestic Twenty20 league in its place featuring five teams, but that will not involve any foreign players.
The decision to postpone the league, which was scheduled to start on July 19, was taken on Thursday at a meeting between the Cricket Sri Lanka`s new committee and the league`s organizers, Somerset Entertainment Ventures.
A four-week window in August next year has been identified as the best time to host the event.

Afridi ‘disappointed’ by Butt criticism

KARACHI: Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi said Saturday he was disappointed by criticism of his captaincy from the country’s cricket chief Ijaz Butt, who accused him of causing the team to lose matches against West Indies in May.
“I am disappointed because such petty things coming from the head of the board were unwarranted,” Afridi told AFP by telephone from London.
“He himself made me captain, and everyone, from experts to fans, praised my leadership and the unity in the team,” he said, adding that there was a “campaign” to damage his reputation.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Butt lashed out at former one-day captain Afridi in a television interview aired Thursday, saying he would not lead the team again.
“In my opinion, perhaps considered wrong by some people, he made us lose the fourth and fifth one-dayers (against the West Indies in May this year),”Butt said.
“As far as I am concerned he is not captaincy material for the PCB any more.”
Butt dumped Afridi after Pakistan won the one-day series against the West Indies 3-2, during which the former captain developed differences with coach Waqar Younis.
Afridi subsequently breached his contract by announcing his retirement from international cricket and criticising the PCB for mistreating senior players.
The PCB suspended his contract, revoked his permission to play abroad and directed him to appear before a disciplinary committee.
Afridi took the PCB to court but finally agreed on an out-of-court settlement that saw him fined 4.5 million rupees (52,000 dollars) but granted him permission to play for Hampshire in the Twenty20 league in England.
Afridi said he was a victim of character assassination. “I can say a lot of things in reply but I don’t want to involve myself in that,” said Afridi, who took 21 wickets in this year’s World Cup —joint highest with India’s paceman Zaheer Khan.
“There is a campaign against me and I can say a lot of things against my accusers, but I am advised not to say anything. I reserve my rights, and will speak if they don’t stop.”
Afridi said that the team had showed unity under his captaincy following the spot-fixing scandal in England last year.
“The unity in the team was praised by coach (Waqar) and manager (Intikhab Alam) on a number of occasions during the World Cup, and it was only because of that we were able to beat Australia in a World Cup match after 12 years,” he said.
Afridi said he will also play league cricket in Australia later this year.

India hold key to Pakistan's future -ESPN PAKISTAN

Pakistan's future as an international cricket team could hinge on the willingness of India to resume bilateral relations, according to a source close to the ICC Pakistan Task Team, which recently published a 38-page report into the future of the game in the country.
The PTT, which was headed up by the ECB chairman Giles Clarke and drew on the experience of three former Test captains in Ramiz Raja, Mike Brearley and Greg Chappell, presented its findings at the ICC's annual conference in Hong Kong last week. The report addressed a number of wide-ranging issues, from the quality of ball used in domestic cricket to the structure of the Pakistan Cricket Board itself.
The report has been criticised for being whimsical in tone, because it failed to address the most fundamental problem facing Pakistan at present - the deteriorating security situation which led, in March 2009, to a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore. However, in the opinion of the men who compiled the report, the most pertinent issue is one of finances, because unlike terrorism, that remains something that the international cricket community is capable of addressing.
"The ICC has a security task force, but it can only talk about security when you are dealing with a country where it can be provided," the source told ESPNcricinfo. "It's not for cricketers to lecture governments about that.
"Pakistan cricket is right on the edge financially. The report makes it bluntly clear what's necessary, which is that the Pakistan government and ICC must work together, and that India should play Pakistan if they are going to survive economically.
That recommendation is spelt out in bold type on the sixth page of the PTT report, and does not couch its words in chiding India for a failure to assist a fellow Test nation. The two teams have not faced one another in a bilateral Test series since November 2007, with the following year's terror attacks in Mumbai putting an instant freeze on diplomatic relations. Nevertheless, in that time, Pakistan have played overseas series against every other Test nation bar Bangladesh - with two of those, against Australia and South Africa in 2010, taking place at neutral venues.
"Several other boards [are] going out of their way to ensure touring commitments could be honoured and new opportunities conceived," the report states. "There is one notable exception, however, which must be highlighted in the strongest possible terms.
"The absence of the traditional bilateral series between Pakistan and India from the international cricket calendar is denying millions of cricket loving fans across the world from enjoying an iconic series. It is also hurting the sport, particularly in Pakistan and the PTT sees no reason why this great sporting rivalry should not be restored as soon as possible, even if on neutral soil.
"The PTT fully appreciates the historical issues, but urges the ICC Executive Board and all related parties including both Governments to seek a swift resolution to enable this great iconic series to resume to the benefit of all stakeholders in both countries and the rest of the world."
Reaction to the report has been muted in both India and Pakistan. The PCB has set out a ten-day timeframe in which to respond to the PTT's 63 recommendations, but is reportedly unhappy with some aspects, particularly those concerning selection and contracts. India's government, meanwhile, remains to be convinced of the merits of a resumption of cricket ties.
From a strictly sporting point of view, however, the PTT believes that the Indo-Pak rivalry is the cornerstone of the modern international game, as demonstrated by the massive interest in the recent World Cup semi-final in Mohali. "India needs iconic series too," said the source. "The ratings speak for themselves.
"If you had a Pakistan v India series every two years, even at a neutral venue, how much money would that put into both India and Pakistan cricket? One only needs to look to the Ashes to see what a truly iconic series is worth."
The report, which has been drawn largely from conversations with Pakistani players and administrators living in Dubai, Pakistan and England, has been described as a blueprint for helping Pakistan cricket drive itself forward. But in the short term at least, the country needs assistance from its nearest and largest neighbour to find its feet in the international game once again.

Something for the weekend? Top three classic sports cars for under £10,000

When it finally stops raining, the English summer can be glorious. The desire to take off down some of our twisting, narrow B-roads and explore the beautiful English countryside can be almost overwhelming. Whether it be a weekend break to a B&B in some quaint village, a lunch in a country pub, or just sharing a stunning view and a well-stocked hamper with your partner, whatever you decide to do, you’ll need a car – and if you want to do it with even a modicum of panache, it needs to be something sporty, convertible and preferably vintage.
Whilst we will always advocate the prodigal lifestyle, buying a classic sports car needn’t break the bank, and if you’re looking for that second car for the weekend, why not follow our advice and pick up one of these beauties for under £10,000?
Alfa Romeo Spider
We found this stunning 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider Kamm Tail on for just £8,500
First up is this beautiful Italian number from Alfa. This has all the grace and liquid lines of a truly classic 60s Italian sports car. Penned by the mighty Pininfarina, this car is a real thing of beauty. You won’t be able to afford Dustin’s 1966 Alfa Romeo Spider 1600 from The Graduate on our suggested ten grand budget, but you can afford something very similar.
Fiat 124 Sport Spider
This rare, right hand drive Fiat 124 Spider from 1980 is listed at just £7,995. Que Bella
Another beautiful Italian sports car, the Fiat 124 Sport Spider also boasts gorgeous Pininfarina styling and build quality. Fiat produced this car until the mid 80s with very minor body changes and a progressively more powerful engine. If you can get your hands on the later turbocharged version, or find the limited edition supercharged Volumex, then grab them, as the engines for these were designed by the one time Ferrari chief engineer, Aurelio Lampredi. As you can see, when brought up to concours standard, the Fiat 124 can look utterly stunning.
MGB Roadster
This 1971 MGB Roadster is listed at £9,995
The MGB Roadster is an absolutely classic British sports car that never seems to date and to this day still manages to turn heads. Certainly, there seems to be a few of them about, but this should encourage you rather than deter you. Whilst you might not be driving the most unique of cars, with many garages specialising in MG repairs and with an abundance of spares available, this will make your purchase less of a nightmare to fix than the notoriously temperamental Alfas. Prices can be as low as a couple of grand, but it is probably worth paying that little extra for a truly great example.
Thanks to Classic Cars For Sale and Car And Classic for the photos.
For two more classic sports cars under £10,000 - including one driven by James Bond - read our full article over on The Prodigal Guide.

The cricket corral: news round-up

A weekly cricket round-up.
By Salik Aziz
Sri Lankan Premier League pushed to 2012
Sri Lankan Premier League has been pushed to August 2012 despite a strong stand being taken by SLC sending a message that league will be organized with or without BCCI's support. However, the Sri Lankan Cricket officials now admit that it was India’s boycott that made it unviable for them to organize the league as they are not financially stable. The league will now be replaced by a six-team local t20 tournament.
NOTW to face closure this Sunday
The tabloid that unfolded the spot-fixing controversy will now get folded itself after its last edition on July 10. The closure is the after effect of the phone hacking scandal involving over 4000 people being the victim. The news was not received patiently by the staff and fury among the members was reported.

Afridi, not the captaincy material-Ijaz Butt
Ijazz Butt has finally realized that Afridi does not have what it takes to be a leader. He also eliminated the chance of Afridi being the captain once again during his tenure. However, the option of playing as a team member was not refused by the chairman with the same bluntness. Butt also revealed the political influences he sustained during the whole NOC episode and more in a recently given interview to a local sports channel.
Speaking of the captain, the current test and ODI captain, Misbah ul Haq, regarded the recent waveof controversies floating over Pakistan cricket as a torture.
Sangakara delivers a memorable MCC speech
Former Sri Lankan captain and senior player, Kumar Sangakara, gave his MCC speech to earn a standing ovation by the audience. Contrary to that, the same speech was not received well back at home by the sports minister. Sangakara, in his speech, chose to narrate the history of Sri Lankan cricket and talk about mismanagement and corruption of the administration over the hot topics like UDRS.
Meanwhile, the ODI series between Sri Lanka and England comes down to the final and decisive match as England squared the series in fourth ODI.

Government steps into Gayle-WICB dispute
After a long dispute between Chris Gayle and WICB, followed by an equally long and emotional public statement by Gayle, the heads of Caribbean Community has decided to step in. WICB and Gayle had strained relations since the World Cup exit and time only made it worse until Gayle publicly appealed the government to intervene.

Indian Squad announced for the English tour
The 17 men squad for the upcoming English tour was announced by the BCCI on July 2. Tendulkar, gambhir , Sehwag and Yuvraj returns to the team. However, Sehwag will at least miss the first test as he is still recovering. Moreover, Zaheer Khan also returns to the team while Sreesanth has also been announced for the tour. The tour begins from July 27; Dhoni will lead while Gambhir will be his deputy.
Currently, India is playing in West Indies and look strong as they dominate on day 3.
PCB dragged to court by Kaneria
It seems that Afridi inspired Kaneria to drag PCB in the court once again. Kaneria filed the legal petition against his continued exclusion from the team without any apparent reason. The petition was accepted and PCB is called by the court to submit their answer on July 26.

Logart rejects the “Indian influence” on FTP
Haroon Logart, ICC’s CEO, rejected the conjecture that BCCI influenced the FTP to create a window for IPL. Logart also rejects that there is no window for IPL in the FTP, however, the document states a two-week official window for IPL. Furthermore, Logart rejected the perception of India being the dominating force in other cricket affairs.

Javier Mascherano: Argentina's failings should not be blamed on Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi

Country's captain says his club and international colleague is not to blame for the hosts' poor start at the Copa America, which has seen them draw their opening two matches


Argentina captain Javier Mascherano says the nation's below-par performances at the Copa America thus far should not be blamed on Lionel Messi.

The Barcelona forward had a scintillating 2010-11 with the Catalan club, leading them to Champions League and La Liga glory, but he has failed to reproduce the same form whilst on international duty and Argentina have opened their Copa campaign with disappointing draws against Bolivia and Colombia.

Messi has come in for criticism following two unimpressive displays, but speaking at a press conference, Mascherano said: "Argentina are not playing poorly because of Leo Messi.

"The reality is that the individual level for all of us [has] not been the best. That affects the collective."

The tournament favourites will now look for an improved performance and result when they take on Costa Rica on Monday.