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ICC Champions Trophy
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September 20, 2002
1245 IST

Pool A:
Aus | Ban | NZ

Pool B:
Ind | Eng | Zim

Pool C:
Ken | SA | WI

Pool D:
Ned | Pak | SL

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Champions Trophy teams forced to play a waiting game

The Champions Trophy, which began with a contract row and TV back-up for umpires as the talking points, is under focus midway through for its poor scheduling of matches.

The prestigious 12-team event has also suffered from sparse crowds when hosts Sri Lanka are not playing and has exposed a contrast between the game's "haves" and "have-nots."

The gap of several days between matches has left players idling away at the team hotel or shopping or socialising.

Australia's world champion side has opted for a break after reaching the semi-finals on Thursday, taking a short flight to the picturesque Indian Ocean island of Maldives to relax before returning to face Sri Lanka a week on Friday.

Some of the Indian players, like skipper Sourav Ganguly and leading batsman Sachin Tendulkar, popped back home after last Saturday's win over Zimbabwe.

Their next pool 2 game against England is on Sunday which also means a gap of over a week.


Before the tournament, India, like Australia, have been playing constantly and arrived in Colombo just three days after their test series in England ended.

Australia and Pakistan also had to fly around 19 hours to play in the event after taking part in a one-day series in Nairobi while England are still reeling under the tropical heat.

South African captain Shaun Pollock has criticised the long intervals between games, which has also resulted in a six-day gap between his team's two pool games.

If South Africa beat Kenya on Friday, they will have to wait another four days to play their semi-final against either England or India.

"There is a lot of waiting around, it is not an ideal situation," Pollock said on Thursday.

The only advantage for his side has been an opportunity to re-group after a long off-season.

Told about the Australian Maldives plans, he joked: "I am glad they can afford to. They have played really well and have got good bonuses in the last few years."


The tournament format has been changed from a pure knockout, but three-team pools have left little scope for comebacks with just one side progressing to the semis.

Pakistan lost their pool 4 game to Sri Lanka on September 12 and are out of the running, but have been on a long wait to play Saturday's meaningless match against the Netherlands.

West Indies will be out of reckoning if South Africa beat Kenya, but they have already turned their attention to their upcoming Indian test tour, as have Pakistan, who start their series against Australia after this event.

While players of elite squads may have welcomed some respite from their busy international schedule, long breaks from top-flight cricket are annoying upcoming sides like Kenya.


The Kenyan board has cancelled a proposed trip to India to play state sides, complaining that the Indian board has not confirmed the itinerary despite many reminders.

The African side, enjoying only one-day international status but rated higher than newest test entrants Bangladesh, are desperate to boost their World Cup build-up.

"Sides like ours are suffering. Any tour coming up is good for Kenyan cricket," said coach Sandeep Patil.

"We have been given school homework, then asked to appear for University exams," said Patil, referring to ICC support to training at home without constant tournament play.

Dutch captain Roland Lefebvre faces a different dilemma, full-time jobs making constant play impossible for his players.

"The Kenyans, Bangladeshis, they are professionals," he said. "We are only amateurs."

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