Beleaguered English stars seek to go home before WC

Published: Friday, January 24, 2003, 22:44 [IST]
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Melbourne: England's weary One-day cricket team was still waiting on Friday to learn whether some of them could go home ahead of the World Cup Limited Overs contest starting next month, officials said. Captain Nasser Hussain has said he is in favour of a few days back in England before heading for the sport's four-yearly showpiece in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

He has insisted it is a non-issue, but sections of the English media have claimed there is "a bitter dispute" between players and team management. Former Australian Test batsman Dean Jones entered the controversy on Friday, saying on Foxtel he had heard some English players wanted to go home before Saturday's second One-day final against Australia. "I heard a whisper that three or four of them want to pay the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to go home," Jones said. "They want to go home now instead of waiting for the second final."

If England loses again on Saturday, after being thrashed by 10 wickets on Friday, the third final, scheduled for Adelaide on Monday, will not be played. Hussain declined to comment further on Friday when his team flew in from Sydney. On Friday he told reporters, "There are three or four days' break between the end of this tournament and the beginning of the World Cup. "Some of the boys have asked me, as captain, if they can pop home for three or four days to empty their suitcases after three or four months away, clear Australia out of their system, start afresh and get on a fresh flight to South Africa

. "I don't see why that's a major story. "Our Board is reviewing whether that's feasible or not, whether there's flights, the jet-lag problem ... there's no stand-off." England's first World Cup match is against Zimbabwe in Harare on February 13.

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