No respite for Indians
Allrounders need aggro, says Tony Greig
Bengal make in three in-a-row
Corporate golf from Thursday
Chaitali strikes 5 in Income Tax victory
Lele denies boycott allegation
Cristopher paid for ambitious try

Sydney, Jan. 17 
It could well be the tale of three teams — Australia did pretty much what they wanted; Pakistan altered plans to suit themselves; the Indians met a dead-end, not once but twice.

The Indians have been here from last Thursday; Australia and Pakistan arrived from Melbourne this morning.

Clearly, it’s one Monday when absolutely nothing rolled India’s way. For starters, their departure for Hobart got deferred by 24 hours — thanks to the Ansett baggage handlers’ strike, sparked by retrenchment of 20 of them in Hobart. Then, no nets were available.

As Pakistan had booked the SCG for the afternoon, the Indians couldn’t be accommodated. As it turned out, however, Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam scrapped the day’s workout but this last-minute change apparently wasn’t conveyed to the Indians.

Morning nets weren’t possible as the practice pitches had been watered late last evening and rain, both overnight and this morning, ruled out any workout in the day’s first half.

And, so, the Indians had to be satisfied with an exhaustive session at the hotel (The Avillion) gym. It was hard stuff, with even the injured Ajit Agarkar sweating it out, but a gym is no substitute for outdoor nets.

While the Indians fretted and the Pakistanis opted to rest, the Australians — barring two of the Sydneysiders, Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee — spent the entire afternoon at one of the more quieter beaches here, the Coogee.

It wasn’t clear why Lee was exempted, but McGrath was excused as his wife is expecting their first baby. “Any day, any time,” informed manager Stephen Bernard.

An hour or so of swimming and surfing, was followed by a round or two of beer and 75 minutes of beach cricket, as part of Foster’s promotional effort towards a new beer, LightIce.

“It’s been an exciting first for us,” gushed a company spokesperson.

Actually, while Foster’s is the parent company, the afternoon was ‘hosted’ by the Carlton and United Breweries. Like Foster’s, Carlton and United don’t really need an introduction.

The Carlton and United Series, meanwhile, resumes Wednesday with Australia facing Pakistan at the SCG. India’s next match, versus Pakistan, is in Hobart Friday.    

Sydney, Jan. 17 
Today’s generation may largely remember Tony Greig as being a popular TV commentator and a close associate of Kerry Packer but, in his playing days (1972-77), Greig was an outstanding allrounder for England. He was captain, too.

It’s significant that he averaged 40-plus in 58 Tests (3599 runs with eight centuries) and picked up 141 wickets (six hauls of five or more wickets, two returns of ten or more). Plus, he was a wonderful character — indeed, with Greig around, dull moments were at a premium.

Having himself been an accomplished allrounder, Greig is eminently qualified to speak about that breed. As he has just become a father, Grieg’s schedule is more cramped than usual, but he took some time off to talk to The Telegraph.

Following are excerpts

On the qualities that go into the making of a top allrounder

The ability to both bat and bowl well consistently... But that, in any case, is understood. Quality No.1 for me, really, is aggression.

Kapil Dev was a classic example. Ian Botham and Mike Procter, too.

On the allrounder he admired

Gary Sobers. He was a freak and, specially with the ball, could do anything. Indeed, if he wished to, he could even let the ball fly.

Almost three decades ago, I saw Gary match Dennis Lillee’s pace — during that Australia versus Rest of World series.

I may be biased because Gary picked me for Rest, but yet one more reason for admiring him is that he remains a gem of a person. I haven’t met anybody quite like him.

On the top allrounders of the present times

Frankly, there aren’t very many. Look at Lance Klusener, his bowling has gone. As for somebody like Shaun Pollock, his batting has dipped a bit... Jacques Kallis is there. I would have loved to pick Wasim Akram, but his batting has never been in the same bracket as his bowling.

At this point in time, then, the big ones in both Test and limited overs cricket — the truly consistent performers — would really be:

Chris Cairns — He’s explosive and will make things happen, rather than wait for things to happen. He definitely has what, for me, is the No. 1 quality. Bat or ball, expect things when he’s around. For me, Cairns is the top gun.

Abdul Razzaq — Regularly takes wickets and bats aggressively. Actually, he can bat anywhere, No. 3 or even No. 9... Few can do that with aplomb. Razzaq probably hasn’t got the rating he deserves, but watch out for him.

Azhar Mehmood: Is a wickettaker and can get runs cleanly. Is an absolute asset. Like Razzaq, will serve Pakistan and the game well.    

Midnapore, Jan. 17 
Bengal won the Mir Iqbal Trophy for a record third time in a row at the Aurobindo Stadium today. The hosts blanked Orissa 2-0 in the final of the national sub-junior (under-16) football championship,

Bengal struck once in each half through forwards Supratik Ain and Syed Rahim Nabi.

The hosts could have won by a bigger margin had their forwards not squandered a number of gilt-edged opportunities.

The Orissa quartet of Sheikh Mukim, Ranjit Singh, Vijay Behara and Somesh Rao — who were instrumental in their win over Bihar in the semi-final — looked totally disjointed today. As a result, both goals came off defensive lapses.

Bengal opened their account in the 24th minute when unmarked Ain scored from a Rahim Nabi lob that left the Orissa defence stranded.

Bengal proved their supremacy displaying better football in all departments. The home defenders hardly allowed the Orissa forward create much impact in the rival penalty box.

Orissa, however, wasted a golden chance in the 15th minute of the second half when Niranjan Das failed to beat Bengal custodian Laxman Das from close.

Bengal increased the margin through Rahim Nabi, adjudged Man of the Match. Nabi’s feeble right footed grounder from a goalmouth melee was bang on target.    

Calcutta, Jan. 17 
For corporate bigwigs interested in golf there is good news. The Wills Tolly Cup will be held at the Tollygunge Club from Thursday.

The four-day feast will see about 600 golfers in action from 150 corporate teams. There will also be 100 special invitees from overseas.

Players from the Defence Services will also be around along with former cricketers Gundappa Viswanath, Syed Kirmani, Karsan Ghavri and Madanlal. The list of “important guests” include Ajay Jadeja, Dr Vece Paes, former Miss India Manpreet Brar, Chandan Basu, Sadhan Dutt, Raghu Mody, G.P. Goenka, R.P. Goenka, B.M. Khaitan, Dr Bharat Ram and Shashi Ruia.

The event will be inaugurated by the Governor of West Bengal.

Eminent lady golfers Sita Rawlley, Maureen Wallis and Vandana Agarwal will also be seen in action.

Addressing a press conference today, ITC chairman Y. C. Deveshwar, who is also the chairman of the organising committee, said the aim of the venture is not just to have fun but also to promote the game, which he described as the “game of the next millennium”.

Each team will have four players, two corporate players and two club nominees, and the meet will follow the stableford format.

The meet is being sponsored by Wills Sport, besides several co-sponsors.    

Calcutta, Jan. 17 
Chaitali Kar struck five goals, including three in a row, to power Income Tax to a 8-0 rout over Barrackpore Nabadiganta in their women’s football league clash today. Sujata Kar (2) and Rumpa Banerjee completed the tally.

In another match, Nabajanma Sangha overcame Bidyut Sporting 2-0 courtesy goals from Swapna Ghosh and Soma Mukherjee.

Saarc golf squad

A three-member Indian team, comprising local boy Rahil Gangjee and Delhi duo Ashok Kumar and Simarjeet Singh, leaves tomorrow for Dhaka to participate in the 2nd Saarc golf meet to be held at Kurmitola Golf Club from Thursday through Saturday.

India, who won the inaugural edition in Bangalore last year, will face challenge from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Junior state basketball

Seventeen boys’ teams, including six from the districts, and ten girls’ teams, including four from the districts, will take part in the 17th state basketball championships, to be hosted by Rakhi Sangha at their courts from January 22 to 26.

A total of 500 boys and girls will take part. Bardhaman district are the boys’ champions, while the girls’ champions are Blue Jays.

School athletics

About 220 students from 23 schools participated in the first zonal heats of the Druk Trackfest at St Thomas Boys’ School Saturday. The second and third zonal heats will be held at Cossipore on Thursday and Saturday.    

Calcutta, Jan. 17 
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has strongly dismissed an agency report from Karachi which said that India had “boycotted” a three-day ICC coaching programme, which began today, to train staff coaches for other Asian countries.

“India are in no way connected with any ICC development coaching programme. BCCI has no knowledge of any such scheme taking place in Karachi,” secretary Jaywant Lele told The Telegraph from Vadodara.    

With last Friday race-card represented by poor class horses, it hardly came as a surprise when rank outsiders popped up in a couple of events.

The afternoon itself started on a wrong note, thanks to ambitious Cristopher Alford trying to bring the hot-favourite Actress the shortest way home. The jockey, like many a time in the past, paid the price when Robert Gowli, atop Arctic Fancy, squeezed the galloping-room to force the favourite change her course of running and thus the loss. Arctic Fancy won from the start.

Crown Prince dealt the biggest blow in the following race, the Sea View Handicap, which also happened to be the first leg of the jackpot pool. Toiling with the back-benchers till the race took a serious turn, the Arun Goenka-trainee with Yasin in the saddle was helplessly caught by the turn of events. With the favourite Abstract, assigned 60-1/2 kg, finding it hard to stride out freely behind the tiring front-runner, Work Order and Legal Fiction going backwards at the half-way stage, it was left to some unfancied runner to come with a game run and strike. Yasin, albeit under duress, accomplished the task.

Attracting a good each-way support, As You Please was a close third ahead of Storm Centre who is showing signs of improvement since changing hands.

Iron Warrior won the Harvest Star Handicap but Gul, with a little more effort by Manohar Singh, could have done better than finishing third behind Friendly Knight.

Equally uncomplimentary efforts were of Salim Khan and Md Amil on their respective mounts Time Of Times and Vested Interest, respectively, in the Wandin Handicap which became an easy picking for Richard Alford’s favourite Gallant Heights. While Salim’s incompetence in the saddle could be passed off as a routine matter, Amil’s handling of the well-supported Mujeeb-trained runner left much to be desired.

Amil again came under fire from his backers in the Bright Law Cup on another of Mujeeb’s trainee. With 57 kg to carry, an unnecessary long lead from the start only helped his favourite Global Harmony to tire out in the last furlong. Travelling in the mid-division, a lesser fancied Rheinheart came with a smooth stretch run to overhaul the leader. Keep an eye on the third placed Angstrom in a sprint event.

Doing a Global Harmony, but with a light-impost of 47-kg, Gentle Priest, in the Cherry Handicap, succeeded in his pillar-to-post mission. Finishing behind the winner in the order named, High Life, Citadel and Attire could do better in their subsequent starts.    


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