Sporting Digest: Cricket

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The holders, Lancashire, and the county champions, Warwickshire, have been drawn in the same qualifying group for next season's Benson and Hedges Cup. Derbyshire, Durham, Leicestershire and the Minor Counties are also in Group A. Lancashire's opening match is against the Minor Counties on 2 April, while Warwickshire play host to Leicester on the same day.

Australia's international cricketers have been given a pay rise by the Australian Cricket Board, with fees going up to pounds 3,250 from pounds 2,500 for Test matches and pounds 1,500 from pounds 1,000 for one-day games.

BENSON AND HEDGES CUP First-round draw: Group A: Derbyshire, Durham, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Minor Counties, Warwickshire. Group B: Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Scotland, Worcestershire, Yorkshire. Group C: British Universities, Essex, Glamorgan, Kent, Middlesex, Somerset. Group D: Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Ireland, Surrey, Sussex.