ICC to decide fate of 'minnows'

NORMAN DA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:10 AM ET

TORONTO - Canada and the rest of the associate countries will have their eyes firmly focused on Hong Kong this week. Today, in this exotic city that teems with multimillionaires, casinos and some of the world’s greatest tourist attractions, the International Cricket Council meets to decide on — among other things — the lineup for the 2015 World Cup.

The ICC announced in April that the next global tournament in Australia and New Zealand would be restricted to the 10 Test playing nations and there was no place for the associate countries. The backlash from the minnows such as Canada and from the majority of the Test nations was deafening, resulting in the ICC forced to revisit its decision. Expect Canada and the rest to know their fate in the next couple of days.

Ireland has led the charge for the inclusion of the associates and rightly so as in the past two tournaments it humbled Test nations Pakistan and England.

“It would take a brave group to completely ignore the views of their most important stakeholders: the players, the fans, their own committees and members,” Warren Deutrom, the Cricket Ireland chief executive, told ESPNcricinfo.

“All the anecdotal evidence points towards a degree of hope, but then again nothing has really changed since the original decision.”

Let us hope the ICC settles on a qualification tournament for the minnows, but if it decides to freeze them out, one can expect legal action to be taken against the governing body.

The other major item on the agenda will be the implementation of the Decision Review System, or Hawk Eye. India is the only one of the 10 Test nations fiercely opposed to using this technology that reviews decisions taken by on-field umpires. India, the most powerful nation on and off the cricket field, is not convinced Hawk Eye is reliable, especially when it comes to leg-before-wicket decisions.

India will not budge on its stand. This even after captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and some senior Indian players blasted the umpiring in the first Test against the West Indies that it won by 63 runs a couple of days ago.

Dhoni came out firing with both barrels. He did not name names, but his criticism was obviously directed at Australian Daryl Harper’s below-par performance. This outburst was totally uncharacteristic for the captain and any other pro sport would have him on the carpet.

“If correct decisions were made, the game would have ended much earlier and we would have been in the hotel by now,” Dhoni said at the post-match press conference. Dhoni was furious that Harper gave three controversial decisions against India and three in favour of the West Indies. The Aussie is pencilled in to stand in the third Test that starts July 6, but India wants him out.

“We don’t want him — you can quote it as the reaction of the entire Indian team,” a senior member of the team told the Mumbai Mirror.

Interestingly, the newspaper adds: “Half the team thinks Daryl Harper’s mistakes were down to pure incompetence; the other half, including some senior players, is even more uncharitable and sees a larger conspiracy aimed at making India change its mind on the Decision Review System.”

New home for Ferrari

Sachin Tendulkar’s mantelpiece is bursting at the seams with the trophies that come his way every year. But he has parted ways with the one he cherished the most after that World Cup medal earlier this year. Yes, the Indian batting icon has sold his 360 Modeno Ferrari to businessman Jayesh Desai. Tendulkar wanted to dispose of the car before he moved to his new five-storey bungalow in Bandra, a suburb of Mumbai. The new house has two floors below ground level for the 40 cars he owns. They include two BMWs, a Porsche Boxster and a Mercedes C-36.

Desai wouldn’t reveal how much he paid for the luxury toy that was presented to Tendulkar by Formula One ace Michael Schumacher in 2003 after the batting legend equalled Australian Don Bradman’s total of 29 Test centuries. The gift was from Fiat, a company that has ties with Ferrari and is endorsed by Tendulkar. This particular car made headlines at the time when Tendulkar requested Indian customs to waive the duty on it as it was a gift and not a prize won in a tournament. Fiat eventually paid the import duty of some $162,600 US.

Home away from home

Pakistan’s next home games won’t be played in Karachi or Lahore. Instead, they will take place thousands of miles away in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. But the players will feel like home as there is a huge Pakistani workforce in the United Arab Republic. The reason for the switch is because no Test nation is willing to play in Pakistan following that deadly attack on Sri Lanka’s national team in Lahore in 2009.

Eight were killed and a couple of Sri Lanka’s top players were injured. Pakistan will take on Sri Lanka in October and November and England in January and February. The schedule calls for three Tests each against both Sri Lanka and England, five one-day matches and one Twenty20. Pakistan, it appears, will continue to be shunned by the cricketing world until the attacks on civilians by militant groups stop. . . . After that long, drawn-out battle with the Pakistan board, Shahid Afridi made his debut for English County club Hampshire on Friday, but he was unable to stop Essex pulling off a 26-run win in the Twenty20 Cup. Afridi had a superb spell of one for 23 off his four overs but managed just two runs.

Quick wickets

Ross Taylor, who did such an excellent job in guiding New Zealand in the absence of the injured Daniel Vettori during the 2011 World Cup, will captain the Black Caps. . . . The 36-year-old Scott Styris is quitting the game to spend more time with his family. Styris was New Zealand’s sixth-highest run-getter in ODIs with 4,483 runs ... John Waite, who kept wickets for South Africa from 1948 to 1966, passed away in Johannesburg last week. He was the first South African to gain 50 Test caps. . . . Former England Twenty20 captain Paul Collingwood, who retired from Test cricket recently, received quite a jolt when the selectors axed him from the one-day squad. Also out is wicketkeeper Matt Prior, replaced by hard-hitting Craig Kieswetter ... Sri Lanka crushed England by 136 runs in the Twenty20 match at Bristol yesterday. England was restricted to 136 for nine and Mahela Jayawardene (72) and Kumar Sangakkara (43) saw the tourists sail to 137 for one.


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