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Sri Lanka offered $1mln bonus to win T20 Moores, Newell in contention for England post

COLOMBO, April 4, (AFP): The Sri Lankan team will be handed a million dollar bonus if they can shake off their reputation as chokers in the final of the World Twenty20 this weekend, the country’s cricket board announced Friday. The day after the players won a rain-affected semi-final against the West Indies, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said it would treble the money it had previously promised if they return home from Bangladesh with the trophy. “The Executive Committee of SLC which met at an emergency meeting this morning decided to offer $ 1.5 million (including the original fee of $500,000) to the national team players in the event that they win the final,” the board said in a statement.

Sri Lanka — who will meet either South Africa or India in Sunday’s final in Dhaka — were the beaten finalists last time round when they lost to the West Indies even though they were the tournament hosts. They have also been beaten in the final of the last two 50 over World Cups, meaning they have not won a major trophy since their victory in the 1996 World Cup under skipper Arjuna Ranatunga. Lancashire coach Peter Moores has emerged as a leading contender to become the new England cricket coach, although Nottinghamshire’s Mick Newell has also made clear his interest. The duo are on a four-man shortlist along with current England limited-overs coach Ashley Giles and Trevor Bayliss, as the race to succeed Andy Flower hots up.

Moores previously served as England coach from May 2007 until January 2009, when the breakdown of his relationship with then captain Kevin Pietersen forced the England and Wales Cricket Board to act. He is back in the frame now though, and said on Friday: “I’m a passionate Englishman and the thought of coaching your country is something I’m interested in. “I’m in the process so I suppose it depends what happens — I’m very conscious that I’m in a job now that I’ve loved and I still love. “There’s an excitement to have another go at it, and a frustration at the last time because in some ways you always have a vision when you’re doing any job of where you want to go.”

Meanwhile, Newell told Sky Sports News: “I want to bring an atmosphere of relaxed professionalism into the dressing room. “I think that is what I have done here for the past 12 years. I’m used to building and rebuilding teams. That’s what I’ve had to do over the past 12 years — changing players and changing staff and I’ve got an awful lot of experience to bring.” If Moores were to get the nod, it would come as a major blow to a county whom he led to an improbable County Championship triumph in 2011. Giles had widely been considered the favourite to take charge of England in the wake of Flower’s departure but his link with England’s disastrous Twenty20 campaign in Bangladesh has seen Moores’ name increasingly move to the fore.

Former England star Kevin Pietersen was on Friday confirmed for the Lord’s bicentenary celebration match between the MCC and the Rest of the World at the famous London ground on July 5. The announcement comes after he was drafted by the St Lucia Zouks to take part in this year’s Caribbean Premier League, and the 33-year-old will turn out for the Rest of the World XI alongside captain Shane Warne and Sri Lanka spin star Muttiah Muralitharan. Australian fast bowler Brett Lee will play for the MCC, who will be led by India legend Sachin Tendulkar and will also call upon Rahul Dravid and Paul Collingwood. Pietersen said: “I was very pleased to be asked to be involved in this game and the chance to share the Lord’s pitch with some of the best players in the world is one I was delighted to accept.

“Playing at Lord’s is always very special and I’m looking forward to celebrating the 200th anniversary of what is a fantastic ground.” Pietersen, who scored 1,520 runs in 26 international matches at Lord’s, was sensationally axed by England in the aftermath of their 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia. But England’s record run scorer will play county cricket for Surrey this season and has already agreed to captain the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League. And on Thursday he was chosen by the St Lucia Zouks for this year’s Caribbean Premier League at the draft in Kingston, Jamaica.

Pietersen will be joined in the T20 competition by the likes of Adam Voges of Australia and Imran Nazir of Pakistan. “I’m delighted to have signed for St Lucia Zouks and I’m excited to play in the CPL,” said Pietersen, whose team will be coached by another ex-England batsman in Matthew Maynard and captained by Darren Sammy of the West Indies. “The Caribbean is one of my favourite places to play because it’s a very entertaining, relaxing, enjoyable environment and that’s the kind of environment I think I perform best in.” In the inaugural CPL last year, played over July and August between six teams, Chris Gayle’s Jamaica Tallawahs were crowned champions.

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