Zahid to replace injured Cairns: Cricket

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The Independent Online
Nottinghamshire are lining up the Pakistan paceman Mohammad Zahid as their new overseas player after failing to sign the South African all- rounder Lance Klusener.

Zahid, who took 11 wickets in his first Test against New Zealand in the winter, is their prime target after Klusener rejected an offer to replace the injured New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns.

Klusener has decided to take a rest from the game to prepare himself for South Africa's hectic international schedule next winter.

So Nottinghamshire have now opened negotiations with Zahid in the hope they can secure a deal before leaving for a pre-season tour of South Africa on Monday.

Cairns has decided to postpone an operation on an ankle injury until after the Independence Cup one-day tournament in India in May.

With the county reluctant to use him as a specialist batsman they have been left with little choice other than to find a replacement.

Cairns did play against Sri Lanka in the Test and one-day series purely as a batsman after chipping a bone in his ankle shortly before the second Test against England in Wellington in early February. But he has been unable to bowl and will not be in a position to resume his bowling duties until he recuperates, which is expected to take up to six weeks.

The New Zealand coach, Steve Rixon, said: "Cairns won't be having an operation before we go to India. He will be in India with us and will have the operation when he gets back."

In Kuala Lumpur, the Netherlands' Peter Cantrell took four wickets for 10 runs and captain Tim de Leede scored a near half-century to help rout Fiji by six wickets in a Group C match yesterday of the ICC Trophy.

In other matches, Bermuda recorded their first victory in the 22-nation tournament and other teams that won were Hong Kong, hosts Malaysia, Singapore and Namibia.

Fiji won the toss, batted first and were all out for 96 in 41.2 overs, demolished by Cantrell and Roland Lefebvre, who also took four wickets for 16 runs. The Dutch opener, De Leede, paved the way for a victory by hitting 48 runs in 39 balls as his team finished at 100 for 4 in 20.5 overs. Cantrell was declared man of the match.

The top three teams in the 21-day tournament of non-Test playing nations will win places in the 1999 World Cup in England.

n Ranjan Madugalle, the former Sri Lankan captain, and Cammie Smith, the former West Indian Test player, have been appointed match referees for the Ashes and one-day series in the summer.