India

Indian media: Cricket World Cup countdown begins

Mahendra Singh Dhoni Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mahendra Singh Dhoni will lead India in the World Cup

Indian papers say the world of cricket is set to go "colourful" with 30 days to go before the World Cup starts in Australia.

Most papers feel the Test, which is played in all whites, is set to take a backseat as players get ready for the one-day international tournament.

India, Australia and England are set to play a tri-series from 16 January before the World Cup.

"The Test whites have given way to a burst of colours on cricket fields across the globe. It's slam-bang season," says The Indian Express.

The Hindustan Times kicks off its coverage with this compilation of the 10 best World Cup matches.

Papers also expect India to successfully retain its 2011 World Cup title in Australia.

"There'll be a lot at stake this time around as [captain MS] Dhoni & Co try to get their young team, over the next two weeks, on the right track hoping that it eventually becomes a path to ultimate glory for the second time running," the paper adds.

The Times of India remembers that India failed to win the cup in Australia in 1992. The team played the 1992 edition after a long tour of the host country.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption India hosted and won the 2011 World Cup

The paper adds that India once again are set to play the tournament in Australia after an arduous tour of the country.

"During a long tour, fatigue and injuries are big factors, especially when the going gets tough," it says.

"These are issues the Indian side will have to battle on the remaining part of their tour of Australia as they plunge into the tri-series next week, after being involved in a taxing four-match Test series, and thereafter the World Cup," the paper adds.

Religious intolerance?

In what some papers say appears to be a case of religious intolerance, two men vandalised a Catholic church in the Vikaspuri area of Delhi on Wednesday, reports say.

"Around 6:30 am (local time) when the priest arrived at the church, he found the glass cabinet mounted on the outside wall broken and the statue of Mother Mary lying on the ground," The Hindu reports.

A CCTV camera installed inside the church has captured the footage of the two suspects breaking the glass, the paper says.

"It was definitely planned and orchestrated. There is a clear pattern in all these attacks. We expect the police to stand with us during our time of crisis," said Savirimuthu Sankar, spokesperson of Delhi Catholic Archdiocese. 0

Despite the footage, the police are yet to identify the suspects, the Hindustan Times adds.

The attack is "the fourth such attack in a period of one month" in the capital, the paper says.

And finally, the government has reassured the Supreme Court that it would clean the river Ganges by 2018.

A bench headed by Justice T S Thakur asked the government if it would be able to clean the river in its current term, The Times of India says.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, representing the government, told the court that "the project would be completed by 2018 and it won't go to 2019 when term of the government ends".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had pledged to clean the river in his poll campaign last year.

Locally called the Ganga, the Ganges is revered by Hindus. It is India's longest river and supports a third of the country's 1.2 billion people living on its floodplains.

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