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March 18, 2003 13:57 IST
Kenyan coach Sandeep Patil fired his first salvo ahead of the semi-final clash against India, saying his team will exploit the "negative" midset of the Indians to pull off another upset win and pave the way for winning the World Cup.
Patil, quietly relishing the spotlight ever since the underdogs made it to the Super Sixes, has a simple logic for his team laying its claim on cricket's most prestigious and coveted trophy.
"If we beat India and Sri Lanka beats Australia, we meet Sri Lanka in the final. We have beaten them before and we could do it again," Patil said.
Patil is asking his boys to do the basics right and create "enough pressure on the opposition to lure them into making mistakes". He also said he believes the Indians have a "negative mindest" which could be exploited to Kenya's advantage.
"I do not understand this seven bastmen logic. If Sachin (Tendulkar) and Sehwag, Sourav (Ganguly) and (Mohd) Kaif, (Rahul) Dravid and Yuvraj (Singh) are not going to win you the World Cup, Dinesh Mongia certainly is not the one to do it. To me, it betrays a defensive mindest," said the coach.
Even as he tries to shake off "one of the darkest days" of his cricketing career when irate fans vandalised his Allahabad home, Mohammad Kaif relishes his new position in the Indian batting order and the responsibility as the "fielding captain".
Kaif was visibly shaken after miscreants defaced his house following India's crushing loss to Australia at the start of their World Cup campaign but now seems to have overcome that phase to some extent.
"I just could not believe it and felt very sad. How would anyone feel if his house is vandalised in this manner?" Kaif asked in his simple, endearing tone.
"I find it very difficult to believe. We had just started our campaign and one loss surely should not have warranted it. Those were the darkest days of my cricketing life," said Kaif.
Kaif is one of the two fielding captains in the Indian team which also has two "batting captains" and two "bowling captains". These six "captains" convey to the rest what is expected of them in the next game as the players do their nets.
"Before a game, me and Yuvraj, the other fielding captain, discuss the ground size and other factors in a team meeting. We also mark our opponents well. If the ground is big, we ask others to be a little inside so as to prevent singles being converted into twos.
"If a hitter is as big as Chris Cairns -- who also because of his injury does not run too much and likes to get his run in boundaries -- we prefer to have fielders on the edge of the ropes," Kaif said.
Legendary all-rounder Imran Khan has joined the relentless blame-game in Pakistan cricket, saying PCB chief Tauqir Zia should quit to make way for someone who had "guts" and Wasim Akram should take over the reins of the skipper from Waqar Younis on short-term basis.
The former captain also hinted that he is not averse to taking up the job of Pakistan Cricket Board chief but stressed that any decision would not be easy.
"I have not given a thought to it (the job). It is not easy for me to take a decision -- to decide that I can just go and take over," Imran was quoted as saying in The News.
"As a matter of fact I am in the opposition and I do not see any offer forthcoming," Imran said, adding he does not want to take any "favour" from the government.
Imran, who turned politician and severed links with President Gen Pervez Musharraf's military regime ahead of last year's general elections, said the PCB needs an immediate overhaul, especially after the team's World Cup debacle.
"In my opinion the essential thing is, the PCB should be run by a person who either has guts to deal with the vested interests or have the understanding to bring about institutional changes. The present Board has neither the guts to take on the vested interests or the understanding of developing country's first-class cricket," he said.
South Africa's rookie fast bowler Monde Zondeki escaped a major road mishap with shoulder injuries, South African cricket's official web site reported.
Zondeki, who replaced South Africa's leading wicket taker Allan Donald in the World Cup, suffered injuries to his left shoulder when the car he was travelling in from East London to King William's Town overturned on FSunday.
X-rays have revealed a fracture to his shoulder bone but the doctors have ruled out surgery, the report said. Zondeki, who was sacked from the team to tour Sharjah and Bangladesh, would need a minimum of one month to recover from the injury.
In a unique gesture to meet the demands of cricket-lovers, Air India will send a special flight direct to South Africa in time for the World Cup final.
Air India's decision came in the wake of Civil Aviation minister Shahnawaz Hussain's directions following the heightened demand by cricket-lovers to go to South Africa.
Himself a cricket-fan, Hussain said he has also directed pilots and cabin crew of all Indian domestic and international carriers to announce the scores during the semi-finals and the final at regular intervals "so as to prevent a downturn in aviation business when these crucial matches are being played".
The Civil Aviation Ministry is also allowing private charter flights to take cricket fans to the World Cup. India's superb run in the mega event has made it a favourite for the final berth alongwith defending champions Australia.
Having faced the music for protesting against the political regime in his country, former Zimbabwe fast bowler Henry Olonga now plans to launch a singing career.
"At this stage I would say music is the more likely option for me," said Olonga, who retired from international cricket in dramatic circumstances on Saturday.
"I sing R&B (reggae and blues) and music for the stage. I even have some songs recorded but I don't know whether they are up to industry standard," Olonga, who is in hiding fearing threats to his life, said.
"But if I can find someone who likes what I do then maybe I can release a CD," the cricketer said.
The 26-year-old seamer does not have as much option as his team-mate Andy Flower, who also announced his retirement from the international game and will play county cricket.
But Olonga is hoping his talent as a singer may be the key to a successful future. Two years ago he recorded a single called 'Our Zimbabwe' which topped the charts in his country.
The CD had five versions of the song - English, dance, instrumental and Shona and Ndebele, ethnic groups within Zimbabwe - and British television viewers were treated to him singing a capella on the BBC show On Side three years ago.
The Australians may not have got their hands on the coveted World Cup yet but the country's cricket board has already firmed up plans for victory parades.
"Our ambition is to win the World Cup, bring the team back to Melbourne and have a public event as soon as possible," Australian Cricket Board public affairs general manager Peter Young was quoted as saying in The Australian.
"Our ambition, should everything fall into place, would be to have parades in Melbourne and Sydney," he said but added any public commitment could not be made on that yet.
When asked whether a parade would be held even if Australia make the final but lose the game, Young said he was not sure.