Kane Williamson and Adam Milne donate match-fee to Peshawar victims

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New Zealand captain Kane Williamson (L) has donated his five ODI match fees to the affected families in Peshawar.

New Zealand won the one-day series against Pakistan 3-2 recently in the United Arab Emirates and now have won the hearts of Pakistani's by donating their match-fee to the affected families of the deadly Peshawar attack on an Army school.

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As many as 142 people, mostly children, lost their lives in the attack. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) wanted to postpone the fourth One-Day International (ODI) but had to play it due to the broadcaster’s commitment and advised from New Zealand team management.

The donations by the Kiwis were handed over to Pakistan’s premier batsman and former captain Younis Khan, who revealed that even the Black Caps were really sad about the incident.

“New Zealand players and officials have handed over some donations and kit bags to me which will be delivered when I’ll go to Peshawar,” Younis revealed.

“Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson has given all five ODIs match-fee while fast-bowler Adam Milne gave away his income of one match. Similarly their team manager has also donated for the families which have been affected in the attack. I’ll hand over those things personally and through Pakistan Army soon on my visit.”

Both Younis and stand-in skipper Shahid Afridi admitted that it became really difficult for Pakistani players to focus on the matches after the massive tragedy. 

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Sachin Tendulkar named as World Cup 2015 Ambassador

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Another milestone: Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has been named the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Ambassador.

Cricket’s great Sachin Tendulkar has added another golden feather in his cap as the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday announced him as the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Ambassador.

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It will be the second successive time that the Indian maestro will be the Ambassador of ICC’s pinnacle tournament, after he fulfilled the role in the previous event, which was co-hosted by Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka in 2011.

In his role as ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Ambassador, Tendulkar will promote and support a variety of ICC initiatives to enhance the profile of the tournament, which is the third biggest sporting event in the world and will take place in Australia and New Zealand from 14 February to 29 March.

“I am delighted and honoured to be appointed ICC Cricket World Cup Ambassador for the second successive time,” Tendulkar commented.

“After playing in the last six editions, the upcoming World Cup will be a different experience as I will follow it from the sidelines. It could probably be comparable to the ICC Cricket World Cup 1987 where I was a ball boy, enthusiastically cheering every ball.”

The man known as ‘Little Master’ retired from international cricket last year after playing in 200 Tests, 463 One-Day Internationals and one Twenty20 International for India.

In an illustrious career spanning 24 years, the 41-year-old scored a total of 34,357 international runs and 100 centuries.

Tendulkar added the missing World Cup title to his long list of achievements in his sixth attempt in 2011. He is the all-time leading run-getter in World Cup history with 2,278 runs in 45 matches at an average of 56.95. For his 673 runs in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003, he was awarded player of the tournament as India finished runner-up to Australia.

Meanwhile, ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: “The ICC is delighted to once again have Sachin as an Ambassador for its biggest and most prestigious tournament. Sachin is not only an inspiration to cricketers but to all sportspeople for his endurance, perseverance, talent, personality and commitment to the game.”

The 11th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup kicks off in Christchurch on February 14, when co-host New Zealand take on former champion Sri Lanka.

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#360debate: Should Kevin Pietersen be brought back into the England set-up?

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In focus: Kevin Pietersen was omitted from England's limited overs squad.

Controversial batsman Kevin Pietersen is in the limelight again after being overlooked for the World Cup next year in Australia and New Zealand. He is arguably a fantastic talent, but after the “Textgate” scandal in 2012 when he betrayed his captain, Andrew Strauss, many people believe he should not represent England again. What's your view?

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Our #360debate today is: Should Kevin Pietersen be brought back into the England set-up?

Ajit Vijaykumar, Sub Editor, thinks YES

It’s difficult to change perceptions, especially if they are well established and held by those who matter.

England batsman Kevin Pietersen must be feeling helpless after being overlooked for England’s one-day side at the tri-series in Australia and the subsequent World Cup.

It’s a helplessness that comes from knowing that no matter how badly your national team needs you, you will not be called upon. It’s unfortunate that England selectors, including coach Peter Moores, are not a big fan of Pietersen. His cavalier attitude and insistence on doing things his way is regarded as arrogance, and it’s probably the correct assessment. He has rubbed so many people the wrong way, the senior members of the establishment feel it’s better to lose without him. 


But we need to ask ourselves a question – does every member of the playing XI have to be a ‘team player’? What’s wrong in having a larger-than-life figure in the dressing room who is rough around the edges but is brilliant at what he does?

No matter what the critics say, Pietersen is by far the best limited overs batsman England have ever produced and the most successful batsman in his country’s history.

England has tasted success at the world stage in limited overs cricket only once – at the 2010 World T20 and guess who was the star performer… KP, the player of the tournament. Sure, England might not need him in Test attire, as they have a good crop of players who can excel in the longer format of the game.

But if the Englishmen are serious about resurrecting their ODI fortunes, they simply have to bring Pietersen back into the fold. With captain Alastair Cook shown the door after a string of poor scores, England should have given Pietersen a chance to prove himself in the tri-series against Australia and India. Having a proven performer in your team can’t be so repulsive an idea.

It’s still not too late, if the England management can relent, to have KP back and get the most out of the three or four years left in him. It would be such a waste to see a great talent like him simply fade away.

Steve McKenlay, Editor, thinks NO

The fact that Kevin Pietersen is an extraordinary talent has never been the issue here. I actually agree with Matthew Hayden. It is ludicrous that a player of his calibre isn’t playing for England, particularly in the short form of the game where he excels, but that doesn’t mean he should be reinstated because he only has himself to blame for being cast out by the ECB.

KP is a walking ego timebomb, as are so many elite sportsmen, and he became a maverick in the England camp, a situation that was always going to end in tears. Perhaps the ECB failed to handle him properly because undoubtedly it is sometimes best to make a special case for players who can make the difference on the field of play, as he clearly can.

But that is a high risk strategy that if allowed to go too far can be divisive in the dressing room where allowing some individuals to get away with behaviour deemed unacceptable to most others leads to resentment.

But, for me, the reason KP should never be allowed to play for England again boils down to the “Textgate” scandal in 2012 when, in my opinion, he betrayed his captain, Andrew Strauss and that is unforgiveable. To turn on your skipper and effectively the rest of your team-mates with derogatory texts to the opposition, in this case South Africa, was totally unacceptable.

Suggestions that he passed on tactical information about Strauss’s batting vulnerability were subsequently denied by KP but the suspicion lingers, like a bad smell.

On top of that he then wrote the inevitable book which put an entirely negative spin on a glorious episode in English cricket when Strauss led the team to Ashes glory, both home and away and to top spot in the World Test rankings. In the words of Strauss it “dispelled the magic” and feeling of proud achievement that surrounded that chapter.

There are arguments for letting bygones be bygones and Strauss himself says that one day perhaps all can be forgiven but for now there is no way Kevin Pietersen should be allowed to represent England again and for me, there should never be a way back. End of story.

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