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Afro-Asia Cup to start sans top stars

cricket Updated: Jun 04, 2007 10:48 IST

IANS
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The second edition of the Afro-Asia Cup beginning in Bangalore on Tuesday has lost much of its sheen after crowd pullers like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid opted out, apparently to take some rest between the national team's hectic international commitments.

The tournament will start with two Twenty20 matches between the men's and the women's teams of both the continents at the MA Chinnaswamy Stadium. It is also for the first time that any international Twenty20 match is being played in India.

The first one-day match between Asia and Africa will also be played in Banglaore on Wednesday and then the focus will shift to Chennai, where the last two matches will be held on June 9 and 10. The first Afro-Asia Cup was held in South Africa in August 2005.

Even though the presence of star performers like Sourav Ganguly, Mohammed Yusuf, Shaun Pollock and Virender Sehwag is expected to draw some crowd but the absence of other star cricketers - Dravid, Tendulkar and Anil Kumble from India, Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas from Sri Lanka, Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar and South Africa captain Graeme Smith - has stripped the tournament of its glamour.

Akhtar was also initially selected for the Asian squad but was later dropped on the grounds of fitness.

Nimbus, who had the initial telecast rights for the tournament pulled out on Thursday. The last minute change, forced the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) to give the broadcast rights to ESPN-Star Sports.

However, the tournament is still going to be an interesting one and the much of the spotlight will be on dope tainted Pakistani fast bowler Mohammed Asif. Both Asif and Shoaib Akhtar were found guilty of doping just before the Champions Trophy last year. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) banned the duo, but then a tribunal cleared them of the charges.

It will also be a big event for Sehwag, going through a slump in form, to seize the opportunity and strengthen his case, as the Indian team for the Ireland series will be announced June 12.

The total prize-money on offer is $100,000. The winning team of each match will receive $25,000, the Man of the Match $5,000 and the Man of the Tournament $10,000. All participating players will be paid $5,000 for each match.

Men's squads:

Asia for ODIs: Mahela Jayawardene (captain, Sri Lanka), Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka), Virender Sehwag (India), Upul Tharanga (Sri Lanka), Sourav Ganguly (India), Mohammad Yousuf (Pakistan), Yuvraj Singh (India), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicketkeeper, India), Harbhajan Singh (India), Zaheer Khan (India), Dilhara Fernando (Sri Lanka), Mashrafe Mortaza (Bangladesh), Mohammad Rafique (Bangladesh) and Mohammad Asif (Pakistan)

Africa for ODIs: Mark Boucher (captain-wicket-keeper, South Africa), Steve Tikolo (vice-captain, Kenya), Loots Bosman (South Africa), Johan Botha (South Africa), Elton Chigumbura (Zimbabwe), AB De Villiers (South Africa), Justin Kemp (South Africa), Albi Morkel (South Africa), Boeta Dipenaar (South Africa), Thomas Odoyo (Kenya), Peter Ongondo (Kenya), Shaun Pollock (South Africa), Vusi Sibanda (Zimbabwe), Morn'e Morkel (South Africa)

Asian for Twenty20: Shoaib Malik (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Imran Nazir, Mohammad Ashraful, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal (wicketkeeper), Farveez Maharoof, Abdur Razzak, Mashrafe Mortaza and Sreesanth

Africa for Twenty20: Tanmay Mishra (captain, Kenya), Goolam Bodi (vice-captain, South Africa), Alex Obanda (Kenya), Morris Ouma (Kenya), Nehemiah Odhiambo (Kenya), Thandi Tshabalala (South Africa), Albie Morkel (South Africa), Mornâ Morkel (South Africa), Loots Bosman (South Africa), Keith Dabengwa (Zimbabwe), Tawanda Mupariwa (Zimbabwe), Friday Kasteni (Zimbabwe) and Hiren Varaiya (Kenya)

Women's teams:

Asia: Mithali Raj (captain, India), HASD Siriwardene (vice-captain, Sri Lanka), Sulakshana Naik (wicket-keeper, India), LDVV Silva (Sri Lanka), Jaya Sharma (India), PRCS Kumarihami (Sri Lanka), Bismah Mahroof (Pakistan), Jhulan Goswami (India), Rumeli Dhar (India), Pride Dimri (India), Urooj Mumtaz Khan (Pakistan) and LE Kaushalya (Sri Lanka)

Africa: Margaret Banja (Kenya), Yvonne Mashedi (Kenya), Ashlyn Kilowan (South Africa), Cri-Zelda Brits (South Africa), Alicia Smith (South Africa), Saida Ramadhani (Tanzania), Mwanaiddi Shakim (Tanzania), Trisha Chetty (South Africa), Frankline Najjumba (Uganda), Christine Aryemo (Uganda), Julie Chibhabha (Zimbabwe) and Thandolwenkosi Milo (Zimbabwe)