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Benayoun to make first start for Chelsea against Zilina

Benayoun to make first start for Chelsea against Zilina

Yossi Benayoun will make his first start for Chelsea on Wednesday against Slovakia’s MSK Zilina in their Champions League Group F clash.

The former Liverpool midfielder was one of three players handed their first starts of the season by coach Carlo Ancelotti who unusually named his side 24 hours early.

Yury Zhirkov will play alongside skipper John Terry in central defence while Daniel Sturridge will join Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda in an attacking line-up.

Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole have not travelled

“We score a lot of goals, we started well this season but you have to pay attention to every game,” Ancelotti told Chelsea’s website on Tuesday.

Chelsea has scored 17 goals in four Premier League games this season and will be expected to add to their tally against Zilina who are making their debut in the group stages.

However, Ancelotti warned against complacency.

“We are here to win obviously because we want to start this season well. Our aim is to win this group but it will not be easy,” the Italian said.

The newly-laid track at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo

The newly-laid track at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo

Pakistan are 277 for seven

Sri Lanka were strong with their bowling at the death and made it tough for Pakistan to get away with easy runs despite Shahid Afridi trying to get things moving. Mishah anchored the innings while Younis accelerated at will in the middle stages to leave Pakistan with a platform to build on in the third powerplay.

Rangana Herath was the pick of the bowlers with 2/46 from his 10 overs while Muttiah Muralitharan was as miserly as ever- conceding just 35 off his 10 overs for the wicket of Umar Akmal.

Kamran Akmal contributed 39 and looked set for a big score before being done in by Herath. Afridi fell to Angelo Mathews, trying to get as many as possible, with just about an over left.

This is a challenging total- match on from now. Pakistan will rely on their spinners to check a strong Lankan middle-order though the crowd would be behind their local heroes.

Three pakistani cricketers charged for bribes

Three pakistani cricketers charged for bribes

LONDON  British prosecutors on Friday charged three Pakistan cricketers with taking bribes to fix incidents in an international match in England last year.

Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir are accused of fixing certain incidents, such as the bowling of no-balls at pre-agreed times, during the fourth test at Lord’s last August.

Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service said the trio, along with a fourth man, sporting agent Mazhar Majeed, had been charged with conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments and with conspiracy to cheat.

“These charges relate to allegations that Mr Majeed accepted money from a third party to arrange for the players to bowl `no balls’, during Pakistan’s Fourth Test at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London,” said Simon Clements, head of the CPS Special Crime Division.

He said Majeed had been ordered to appear at London’s City of Westminster Magistrates Court on March 17.

“Summonses for the same court date have been issued for the three players and they have been asked to return to this country voluntarily, as they agreed to do in September last year,” Clements said.

“Their extradition will be sought should they fail to return,” he added.

“Pakistan must learn from Tendulkar”: Miandad

“Pakistan must learn from Tendulkar”: Miandad

Javed Miandad has urged Pakistani cricketers to learn from the achievements of India’s Sachin Tendulkar. Rather than letting their on-field performance speak for them, Miandad, former captain and director-general of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) feels the players are happy bragging about their performance in the media. “We keep on reading and hearing about some of the players making claims about how they will deliver, but on the field that is not happening and it is a big let down for the nation.”

“I would advise them to just focus on their game and go for improvement and take every match seriously. The players need to realise cricket is played on the field.

“They should learn from Sachin who has had a wonderful career and scored century after century but one never hear him making tall claims about his performances or achievements.

He is a proper professional and someone our players can learn from,” the veteran of 124 Tests insisted.

Miandad also called on captain, Shahid Afridi to take more responsibility as a player and lift the team by example and said that the all-rounder has got enough amount of talent and he should channelise it properly.

“He shouldn’t be playing the way he is. Imran Khan is a great example of how a captain should perform.

“Imran lifted the team in the 1992 World Cup. Afridi needs to start doing that himself. He did it during the World T20 Championship so he is perfectly capable of delivering,” Miandad said.

He emphasized, “He (Afridi) has an immense talent which he does not utilise properly at times.”

Urging the players to take the current one-day series against New Zealand seriously Miandad said,”Unfortunately what I noticed was that the players didn’t appear serious about their business in the first match in Wellington they took things lightly. In international cricket, this is not acceptable.”

Pakistan who are currently engaged in an ODI series against Kiwis failed to replicate their performance in Tests against the hosts and lost the series opener by nine wickets after being bowled out for just 124 runs in 37.4 overs.

Adding greater significance to ongoing series in view of the upcoming World Cup, Miandad reiterated that losing it could have a big impact on their performances in the mega event.

“It is important for the players to realise that once they get into a losing streak it will be difficult for them to come out of it in a high-pressure event like the World Cup,” the former batsman cautioned.

“The players must realise they are fortunate to get such a series just before the World Cup,” Miandad said while expressing his surprise at the relaxed attitude of the players in the first match.

“They need to realise the significance of the World Cup when every Pakistani is praying for their success. The tournament comes once in four years and everyone expects the team to fire in the World Cup.”

“No excuses can be accepted and the players must also realise that if they perform well in the World Cup how much of a boost it would be for Pakistan cricket which is facing so many problems,” he added.

“The players just need to get more serious about their performances. I believe they have the capability of winning the series in New Zealand and also doing well in the World Cup but for that they need to focus on their shortcomings and strengths and use them properly,” Miandad said while pinning hope on the present ODI outfit.