Singapore. India, pakistan and Sri lanka are expected to field
their best available teams for the Singapore tournament, from
April 1 to April 7, when the pressure will be on Arjuna
Ranatunga`s side to prove their World Cup final win over
Australia was no fluke.
Their rivals are certainly out to restore some pride.
"This will not be a fun competition,`` Pakistan bowling
spearhead Waqar Younis warned as he prepared for the event.
"The whole of Pakistan was disappointed with our performance in
the World Cup. As the holder, we wanted badly to win the trophy
again and play the final in front of our own crowd in Lahore.
"Now we have the chance with this tournament here of gaining
some revenge, `` said Waqar, who will be here without his
injured pace partner, Wasim Akram.
Defending champions Pakistan were knocked out by arch-rivals
India in the World Cup quarterfinal.
India`s were then beaten in the semi-final by Sri Lanka, who
later trounced Australia.
"There are scores to settle after the World Cup,`` Indian
skipper Mohammed Azharuddin told The Straits Times. "We know that
this tournament in Singapore is the real thing and we want to
Before their famous Lahore victory, Sri Lanka were seen to be
making up the numbers in the triangular competition here to pave
the way for a tense final between India and Pakistan.
Now Ranatunga and his free-scoring batsmen -- Aravinda de
Silva, Sanath Jayasuriya and Asanka Gurusinha -- are a
premier drawcard for the tournament, which organisers are billing
as "the clash of the titans.``
"There were doubts whether the full sides would be coming
immediately after the World Cup,`` said Anil Kalaver, chairman
of the organising committee. "That worry is gone.``
"Fan response has been tremendous,`` said the Indian-born
Kalaver, who hopes the tournament will one day be a permanent
fixture on the international cricket calendar on the lines of
the Sharjah Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
The tournament, to be played on the Padang grounds in
Singapore where cricket was first played in 1837, will be
beamed live by satellite to an estimated television audience of
500 million people.
But many fans have flown in for the new event -- one of two
this years intended to extend cricket`s popularity.
India and Pakistan are also to play an annual series of one-
day internationals in Canada starting this year.
The inaugural Friendship Cup tournament between the two rivals
will comprise of five one-day matches and take place in
September, at a venue still to be announced.
The tournament is expected to be recognised by the
International Cricket Council and is being held in conjunction
with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the
Pakistan Cricket Board. (AFP)
Source:: Daily News (http://www.lanka.net)