Australia to start World Cup without Gilchrist

The Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist is set to miss the first three weeks of next month's World Cup due to the birth of his third child. Gilchrist, who opens the batting in one-day internationals, has scored 8,585 runs and 14 centuries in the limited-over game.

Gilchrist will not be available until Australia's final Group A match, against South Africa in St Kitts on 24 March. With the captain, Ricky Ponting, he has been rested from the forthcoming Chappell-Hadlee Trophy in New Zealand.

The Australia coach, John Buchanan, who is not a selector, said yesterday: "My leaning is to take a specialist second keeper, but he has to be a player who offers us more than just wicketkeeping. He has to be able to offer us batting potential as well as a top-seven-type technique." This suggests Brad Haddin will be Australia's wicketkeeper for the early matches.

India's selectors yes-terday picked Virender Sehwag and Irfan Pathan in their 15-man squad for the World Cup. Sehwag failed to perform with the bat in India's recent Test and one-day defeats in South Africa and Pathan has endured a slump in his bowling form since the tour of the West Indies in July.

Sri Lanka named the batsman Russel Arnold and fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara in their final squad. Arnold, a 33-year-old who has scored 3,744 runs in 167 one-day matches, was preferred to the teenager Chamara Kapugedera. Kulasekara, a handy lower-order batsman and sharp fielder, took the final bowling place ahead of Akalanka Ganegama, Nuwan Zoysa and Ruchira Perera.

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