Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 9th 2015 Contents A68
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, February 9, 2015
ADELAIDE---Mahendra Singh Dhoni knows
his tired team will have to break its drought
in Australia very quickly if India is to have
any chance of retaining the World Cup title.
The India squad has been in Australia for
two months but hasn t yet won a competitive
match, losing the four-test series 2-0 and
losing every game it played in the limited-
overs tri-series against Australia and Eng-
The question for India going into the World
Cup is whether the team is jaded by a long
summer Down Under or whether it has served
as a good preparation for the upcoming event.
"There s cooked and overcooked, and espe-
cially if you do barbecues you d understand
that," Dhoni told a news conference Saturday
in Adelaide, where India will play a warm-
up match against Australia and then begin
its World Cup campaign with a Feb. 15 opener
"When we went and played the Champions
Trophy we were in a similar situation to this---
the guys stepped up and that s important in
the ICC tournaments."
India didn t qualify for the tri-series final
in Perth last week, giving the squad some
time to rest ahead of the World Cup.
"This break would have definitely helped
them to recharge their batteries ... only time
will tell," Dhoni said.
On top of the lack of wins, injuries to opener
Rohit Sharma, allrounder Ravindra Jadeja and
pace bowler Ishant Sharma have had an unset-
tling impact on the squad. Dhoni declined to
give a status update on the injuries, saying
it wasn t the proper forum.
Pakistan won the World Cup in 1992, the
last time the tournament was staged in Aus-
tralia and New Zealand. The most recent
meeting between the neighbors was in the
semifinals in 2011. India won that match and
went on to beat Sri Lanka in the final at Mum-
bai, with Dhoni as captain.
The intense rivalry between the countries
and the scarcity of recent clashes---Pakistan
cannot host international cricket for security
reasons---adds to the drama ahead of the Ade-
laide match, but Dhoni tried to play down its
"A lot of people have a lot of views about
it. How I personally take it, is that it s similar
to playing Australia, Sri Lanka or any other
test playing nation," Dhoni said. "The moment
you start thinking about a traditional rivalry
and all of that you are just adding pressure
"Also what we have successfully done in
the last three to four years, we have mellowed
down the things that apart from cricket hap-
pen on the field ... we have minimized the
verbal things that often happen between the
"You want to play hard, but you still have
to maintain the spirit of the game. That is
one thing that both the sides have done really
The 33-year-old Dhoni missed the birth of
his daughter last week, unable to return to
India so close to the World Cup.
"I have been blessed with a baby daughter.
Mum and daughter are both good," he said.
"But right now I m on national duty so every-
thing else can wait. The World Cup is a very
important campaign ... everything else can
wait as of now.
ICC WORLD CUP
Is India over-cooked on or just right?
SYDNEY---The head of cricket s anti-cor-
ruption unit has likened match fixers to
pedophiles in the way they groom their vic-
Speaking to reporters about match fixers
on Friday, ahead of next week s start of the
cricket World Cup, Ronnie Flanagan said:
"They ll trick them, coerce them, try and
attract them, they re almost like pedophiles
in how they attempt to groom people."
Flanagan said he is confident the Interna-
tional Cricket Council, with assistance from
local law enforcement agencies, can ensure
a World Cup free of corruption.
He said the ICC has handed a watch list
of 100 known match-fixers or "corrupters"
who are banned from entering World Cup
venues to the New Zealand and Australian
Players from the 14 competing nations will
be reminded of their obligation to report sus-
All players will watch a video containing
messages from Flanagan, other international
players and disgraced Pakistan fast-bowler
Mohammed Amir who was banned for five
years for his involvement in spot fixing and
warns players not to make the same mistake.
Flanagan warns players of criminals who
will "do all in their power to get at players"
and to lure then "into ultimately doing what
suits their nefarious intentions in terms of
illegal betting and other elements of crim-
"I m certain the players, match officials
and support staff will be working very carefully
in support of what we do and we ll work in
partnership to ensure (match-fixers) never
get their way in this tournament," he said.
SYDNEY---England captain Eoin Morgan
opposes International Cricket Council plans
to regulate bat size after the World Cup.
Morgan challenged comments from ICC
chief executive David Richardson that last
month s 31-ball century by South Africa cap-
tain A.B. de Villiers indicated the balance
between batsman and bowlers "may have
shifted a bit too much."
He said any suggestions cricket s rules
favored batsmen were "ridiculous, absolutely
ridiculous. The fact that you can concentrate
on the bat size where the rule changes have
been made so that you bowl with two new
balls. The ball is never any older than 25 overs
and you have an extra man in the circle. That s
a point in itself. I ve not come across a bat
yet where I ve said this is ridiculous ."
MELBOURNE---Mahela Jayawardene and
Kumar Sangakkara are having one last
shot at winning a World Cup for Sri Lanka,
desperate to go one better than they did
at the last two editions.
Both players have had chances to match
the 1996 Sri Lankan team which won the
World Cup, but twice fell one win short by
losing the 2007 final to Australia in Barbados
and the 2011 decider to India in Mumbai.
Jayawardene, who scored a century in
the 2011 final, is the most experienced player
in the 2015 tournament with 33 World Cup
matches to his credit, while Sangakkara has
played 30 matches at the marquee ODI
Sri Lanka was drawn into Pool A with
co-hosts New Zealand and Australia, Eng-
land, Scotland, Bangladesh and Afghanistan
and is a firm favorite to be one of the four
quarterfinalists from the group.
Sangakkara needs only 11 runs to surpass
Ricky Ponting s 13,704 runs in ODI cricket
and move into second place on the all-time
list behind Sachin Tendulkar (18,426).
Jayawardene is one of the only three bats-
men to have played over 400 ODIs---he has
12,525 runs from 441 matches.
The rich experience of these two batsmen
gives young Sri Lanka captain Angelo Math-
ews enough batting power to challenge any
bowling lineup. Despite losing last month s
seven-match ODI series 4-2 to New
Zealand, both Sangakkara and Jayawardene
crafted centuries for Sri Lanka and got used
to the conditions.
Chairman of selectors and former opener
Sanath Jayasuriya said he wasn t too upset
with the result in the New Zealand series
and considers it merely preparation for the
He said the bowling group and the lower
middle-order were areas that needed the
"I hope that when the World Cup starts
everything will be in place," Jayasuriya said.
Sri Lanka has taken a gamble with its
experienced fast bowler Lasith Malinga,
who hasn t played since surgery on his trou-
bled left ankle in September. He missed Sri
Lanka s series against India and England
and the team management didn t take a
chance with its premier fast bowler in the
series against New Zealand.
"A player like Malinga, we have to take
a gamble because he is a match-winner,"
Jayasuriya said as he announced the World
Cup squad last month.
Fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara also forced
his way back into the team with some strong
form in domestic cricket after being ignored
for the home series against England.
The selectors have also included offspin-
ner Sachithra Senanayake, who has passed
tests on his bowling action, and left-arm
spinner Rangana Herath as the only spe-
cialist spinners, expecting that the wickets
will favor the seamers in New Zealand and
Allrounders Tillakaratne Dilshan, Math-
ews and Thisara Perera will play important
roles, with Sri Lanka hoping they can be
as effective with their bowling as regular
Morgan hits out at bat restrictions
Players warned of match fixing menace
FILE- In this file photo, India
captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni
gestures to give a teammate
batting in the nets feedback
during a training session at
Lord's cricket ground in
London. The Feb. 14-March 29,
2015 Cricket World Cup will be
staged in New Zealand and
Australia for the first time
since 1992. India will have to
quickly re-discover the art of
winning if it wants to retain
the World Cup. Dhoni, who
announced his retirement
from test cricket after
surrendering the series to
Australia in December, was
confident his squad was
capable of coming back
strongly. AP PHOTO
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