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Strauss gets ICC backing in cramp row

WORLD governing body the ICC has backed England captain Andrew Strauss in the row over cramp that erupted during Sunday&rsquo;s Champions Trophy defeat of South Africa.<br /><br />Proteas skipper Graeme Smith asked for a runner when he started cramping as the hosts vainly chased their target of 324. <br /><br />But Strauss, backed by the umpires, turned down the request, arguing that it was not strictly an injury and more an issue of conditioning.<br /><br />The decision infuriated Smith, who said Strauss would regret his stance when he eventually faced the same situation. <br /><br />But the ICC yesterday threw its weight behind the England skipper, insisting his interpretation would be applied throughout the tournament.<br /><br />&ldquo;He asked for a runner and the umpires took the view that cramp is a symptom of fatigue,&rdquo; said an ICC spokesman.<br /><br />&ldquo;Being tired does not qualify batsmen for a runner under the laws of the game. That is the way it will be interpreted by the umpires for the rest of the tournament.&rdquo;<br /><br />England&rsquo;s superb 22-run victory dumped hosts South Africa out of the tournament and ensured their own progress to the semi-finals. They can afford to lose today&rsquo;s clash against New Zealand but Owais Shah, whose 98 made him man of the match against the Proteas, insists maintaining their 100 per cent record is vital to their new-found belief that they can win the tournament.<br /><br />&ldquo;The team is confident right now,&rdquo; said Shah. &ldquo;You always enter a competition to win it and the way we&rsquo;re playing at the moment I don&rsquo;t see why we can&rsquo;t go all the way. <br /><br />&ldquo;We have to make sure we beat New Zealand tomorrow and keep that momentum going.&rdquo;