Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 13th 2015 Contents A43
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SYDNEY---Richie Benaud's widow
Daphne has turned down an offer for a
state funeral for her husband and a
private service will be held instead in
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who
made the offer shortly after renowned
cricket commentator Benaud, 84, died
on Friday from skin cancer
complications, said yesterday "my
understanding is that Richie's own
wishes was for something very, very
quiet and very, very private."
The service, to be held this coming
week, was expected to be attended by
only immediate family and close
Benaud was considered one of the
most influential cricket identities of the
past century. The former Australia
captain played 63 tests for Australia
but was more well-known for his days
in the commentating box.
Benaud's widow declines offer of state funeral
crowd after scoring a
century in the warm up
match against St Kitts
and Nevis last week.
T&T hurdler RUE-
recorded a personal
best in 110mH (over
42 ) clocking 13.82 sec-
onds for Central Ari-
zona College, yester-
"We (QPCC mem-
bers) take our tradi-
tion for granted. I
think we should all be
proud of the club s
role from almost
President of Queen s
Park Cricket Club,
addressing the mem-
bership at the Parkites
(Ext: 2213, 2711,
English cricket may be involved in a variety
of sub-plots and dramas at present, but for
captain Alastair Cook the only business that
matters takes place in Antigua from today.
Since England arrived in the Caribbean, the
England and Wales Cricket Board has sacked
managing director Paul Downton and created
a new position attracting interest from a slew
of former captains including Michael Vaughan,
Andrew Strauss and Alec Stewart.
To add to the distractions, Kevin Pietersen
made an eye-catching statement on his return
to domestic cricket---smashing 170 in 149 balls
in Surrey s match against Oxford MCCU.
If Cook hoped the 34-year-old s bid for a
recall would get off to a low-key start, he will
have been frustrated by the fireworks on show
at The Parks.
Should Pietersen continue in that vein dur-
ing the County Championship season, the
clamour for his comeback could become deaf-
But Cook insists the 11 men who take on
the West Indies at the Sir Vivian Richards
Stadium cannot take their eye off the match
"As you can see there are big decisions
going on behind the scenes at the ECB, but
that can t affect us and we re not letting it,"
said Cook on the eve of the three-match series.
"That s the way it should be. The day before
a Test match a captain should be worried
about what s important to him, which is mak-
ing sure we re ready for trying to win a series
out here in the West Indies."
Cook was informed of Pietersen s head-
line-grabbing knock before taking part in
training, but his stance on the exiled batsman
"As I said at the airport it s still the same
thing...it s for other people to make that deci-
sion. As players we get on with it," he added.
"As players and staff out here we have to
concetrate on what is important to us, which
is the next three weeks."
There were words of commiseration for
Downton, who placed huge faith in Cook s
captaincy at the start of his troubled tenure,
but no thoughts on who should step into the
power vacuum at Lord s.
"It s sad when anyone gets fired. Anyone
knows it s not a nice feeling in any walk of
life," said Cook.
"I enjoyed working with Paul and I thought
he was a good man. I have absolutely no idea
(who should come in). I m reading less about
it than anyone."
The Antigua match is a significant one in
several respects. It marks the start of a nine-
month period where England will play 17
Tests, a gruelling run that could make or break
It also sees Cook s return to England colours
after his axeing as one-day captain in Decem-
ber, just a month away from the World Cup.
And for two of England s senior men, it
represents a milestone.
James Anderson will make his 100th appear-
ance, and could celebrate by taking the four
wickets needed to replace Sir Ian Botham as
the nation s leading Test wicket-taker.
Jonathan Trott, meanwhile, is set to earn
his 50th more than 18 months since leaving
the 2013/14 Ashes with a case of situational
Cook paid tribute to both men.
"For anyone to play 100 Tests is an incredible
achievement, for an opening bowler like Jimmy
it s just remarkable, the number of miles he s
put in his body," said Cook.
"He s put his body on the line for England.
He s probably the most skilful bowler I ve
played against or with. As a friend of mine
to share the moment with him will make it
a special five days.
"Trotty has come back from a pretty dark
place in Brisbane to being back in the England
"That itself is a fantastic achievement. Trot-
ty s answered pretty much every question
that s been thrown at him since then.
"For Warwickshire, for the Lions and hope-
fully now for England."
The ECB s incoming chairman Colin Graves
heaped pressure on Cook and company before
the tour even began by declaring West Indies
a "mediocre" opponent and promising an
inquiry should the tourists fail to win the
But Cook revealed that his side had also
been dealt a warning by some local digni-
"Every time you put on the England shirt
you are expected to win. That is the English
nature, but the West Indies are going to make
it very hard for us," he said.
"We had a do with the governor general,
Sir Rodney Williams, and they were saying
they wanted to beat us 3--0. They re here to
fight and we ve got to expect, as I kept calling
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