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Teams arrive for warm up matches

Teams arrive for warm up matches

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It has whittled down to a matter of hours before the last of the four teams arrive here for official warm up matches ahead of the 2007 Cricket World Cup (CWC).

Australia, Zimbabwe and Bermuda were expected yesterday Thursday, while England are set to arrive later today.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines will host the teams, officials, media and spectators for the four countries in four matches from Monday March 5 to Friday March 9.{{more}}

The expansive refurbishment of the venue sees England playing Bermuda in the opening encounter. Next Tuesday Zimbabwe face Australia. On Thursday Zimbabwe and Bermuda play each other and old rivalry is renewed on Friday when Australia play England.

Vincentians are afforded a public holiday to view Friday’s match which is considered the most competitive in the warm up phase.

Australia, the world champion, a seemingly invincible unit were derailed last month by England in the final of the Commonwealth Cup, making the match up more exciting.

They also suffered a ten-wicket defeat at the hands of New Zealand earlier this month.

But the Australians will be without three of its more accomplished players.

Their wicket keeper and one of the game’s most explosive batsmen, Adam Gilchrist will not be here as he remained in Australia for the birth of his third child.

He will join his teammates in the group stage. Also missing will be the lightning speed of fast bowler Brett Lee, who has been ruled out of the tournament because of injury, while Andrew Symmonds arrives in the Caribbean at a later date hopeful of making his input in the group stage.

Despite this, the Australians still boast a formidable armoury with captain Ricky Ponting, the miserly Glenn Mc Grath, Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke expected to ignite the Vincentian leg of their tour.

Their archrival, England’s burden will lie on the shoulders of all rounder Andrew Flintoff, middle order batsmen Kevin Pietersen, as well as Andrew Strauss, Paul Collingwood and captain Michael Vaughan.

James Anderson will lead their bowling department in the absence of the mercurial Steve Harmison who recently announced his retirement from the one -day format.

Providing the English and the Australians with the practice and acclimatisation to the West Indian conditions are Bermuda and Zimbabwe.



Considered minnows, the two are no match but will use the world cup to establish themselves.

Zimbabwe’s cricket for the past three years has been dogged by turmoil involving players and administrators that has led to several seasoned players resigning.

Sporting some young turks, Zimbabwe’s little hope rests on their 21 year old captain and off spinner Prosper Utseya,(left) the aggressive Elton Chigumbura, wicket keeper Brendan Taylor and Justice Chibhabha.

Bermuda’s biggest draw card is Dwayne Leverock,(below) moreso for his imposing figure than his prowess as a spin bowler. He was a big hit during the inaugural Stanford 20/20 last July in Antigua.



Apart from him, Bermuda’s key players are in their mid 30’s. David Hemp, Clay Smith, Irvine Romaine and Janeiro Tucker are the more seasoned players.

The 2007 CWC opens officially March 11, in Jamaica, with group action starting two days later.

This is the eighth edition of the sport’s most prestigious competition and will be the largest in the history of the competition that dates back to 1975.

Sixteen teams are participating in this the world’s third largest sporting event following the Olympic games and football world cup.

The final of CWC is set for the Kensington Oval Barbados, April 28.

ICC world cup teams

Australia

Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Glen Mc Grath, Andrew Symmonds, Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke, Brad Hogg, Michael Hussey, Shane Watson, Natan Bracken, Stuart Clarke, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Brad Hodge, Stuat Tait

Bermuda

Irvine Romaine, Janeiro Tucker, Saleem Mukuddem, Dwyane Leverock, Dean Minors, David Hemp, Kevin Hurdle, Lionel Cann, Kwame Tucker, Clay Smith, Steve Outerbridge, Malachi Jones, Stefan Kelly, Delyone Border , Oliver Pitcher.

England

Michael Vaughan, Andrew Flintoff, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Strauss, James Anderson, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Jamie Dalrymple, Liam Plunkett ,Sajid Mahmood, Edmund Joyce, Johnathan Lewis, Paul Nixon, Monty Panesar, Ravinder Boperra.

Zimbabwe

Prosper Utseya, Brendan Taylor, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Gary Brent, Elton Chigumbura, Vusemusi Sibanta, Anthony Ireland, Edward Rainsford, Terrence Duffin, Justice Chibhabna, Tawanda Mupariwa, Chris Mpofu, Sean Williams, Keith Dabengwa, Friday Kasteri.

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