Sourav sees red in green
Persistence the key, says Sourav
Mumbai press for victory
Uday, Bader in last four
Kirtane in quarters
RCTC gears up for resumption
Inquisition set for winning debut

Faridabad, March 14 
A grassy pitch at the Nahar Singh Stadium, in this industrial town, has evoked contrasting reactions from skippers Sourav Ganguly and Hansie Cronje on the eve of the third one-day International.

Saurav expressed concern at the “clots of grass” on the pitch. A beaming Cronje called it an “interesting pitch which is likely to be two-paced” and added that his fast bowlers are smiling.

The Indians, hoping to take an unbeatable 3-0 lead tomorrow, stayed in Delhi and had a two-hour session at the Harbaksh Singh Stadium. The nets, used for equestrianism at the 1982 Asian Games, were hastily arranged.

The nets at the National Stadium, where the Indians were originally scheduled to work out, were a little damp and coach Kapil Dev didn’t want his players to practise there.

Kapil and Sourav, who didn’t bat at nets, later came to Faridabad to inspect the match-pitch.

Sourav stressed he was not against a grassy wicket. The clots of grass, he pointed out, would make the behaviour of the pitch unpredictable. The Indian skipper felt some balls would skid through and others bounce high.

The Indian thinktank has asked for the grass to be shorn. Curator Sarkar Talwar, a former Ranji player, maintained that it was a “good wicket.”

Though the playing XI hasn’t been made official, Sourav felt “there was no need to change a winning combination.” He even stated that Sunil Joshi will continue to be used as pinch-hitter, despite scores of 13 (Kochi) and nought (Jamshedpur).

Joshi, Sourav feels, is a hard-hitter who can be effective at No. 3 or 4. He was against Robin Singh or Ajit Agarkar doing the pinch-hitter’s job. “Robin is a crisis man who is useful at No. 7, while Agarkar can bat better lower down the order,” he explained.

If the grass remains on the pitch, Sourav and Robin will share the quota of ten overs of the fifth bowler. With Sachin bowling well, he would be used as the third spinner, if required.

Sourav hinted at greater experimentation in the last two matches if India manage to wrap up the series tomorrow. The squad for the Vadodara (Friday) and Nagpur (Sunday), as well as the Sharjah triangular party will be announced tomorrow.

The South Africans, who had a strenuous three-hour session in Faridabad, seemed to enjoy the pleasant conditions brought about by overnight rain. It must have been especially nice for Cronje’s men after the sultry heat of Kochi and Jamshedpur.

Cronje, though, is hampered by injuries. Fast bowler Mornantau Hayward (damaged stomach muscle) and medium-pacer Henry Williams (shoulder trouble) are straightaway ruled out of tomorrow’s match. And Lance Klusener (ankle injury) will continue to play only as a batsman.

Cronje added that if Hayward and Williams don’t show signs of recovery, replacements will be sought for the Sharjah meet.

The balance of the team, Cronje felt, will be affected by the absence of three speedsters if there is grass on the pitch. The South African skipper visualised a bigger bowling role for himself.

Concerned at the dramatic collapse in Jamshedpur, where five wickets fell for 27, the visitors may opt to bolster the batting. Dale Benkenstein may come in for off-spinner Derek Crookes.    

Calcutta, March 14 
Sourav Ganguly isn’t a new convert to the merits of persistence. Now, he is ‘converting’ teammates.

“One can’t become the No.1 batsman in six weeks, nor can one emerge the best bowler in three months. The name of the game is persistence,” Sourav told The Telegraph, shortly before leaving the city for tomorrow’s one-dayer in Faridabad.

Sourav himself wishes to carry forward the persistence bit: Specifically, he won’t be a party to dumping players “without a fair trial.”

In fact, that was the line Sourav took to calm Samir Dighe after a terrible outing in Kochi, Sourav’s first match as full-fledged captain, last Thursday.

“That evening, I spoke to Dighe before speaking to anybody else, and reminded him that even the best can have a real bad day. I also said he shouldn’t worry about losing his place.

“I’m sure that made him feel comfortable, for Dighe was a changed ’keeper in Jamshedpur,” Sourav remarked.

[To keep his berth for Sharjah, though, Dighe must be tidy tomorrow. Or else, Syed Saba Karim could stage a comeback.]

In keeping with his clear-cut approach, where the middle-path doesn’t exist, Sourav has been reminding teammates about the importance of “doing the right thing at the right time.”

Elaborating, he said: ‘For the batsmen, that translates to not allowing the asking-rate go beyond six. Where bowlers are concerned, it means not bowling a length-ball during the slog overs... Perhaps, the operative word here is discipline.”

Of course, Sourav quickly pointed out he didn’t have a lengthy list of dos and don’ts.

“Like I’ve said, the right thing at the right time, coupled with total enjoyment, will take care of hurdles... In the immediate context, even though we are 2-0 up, I realise South Africa can hit back...”

‘Practical’, therefore, could well be Sourav’s middle-name. Incidentally, Sourav himself is most comfortable leading from the front —- be it in Toronto or Jamshedpur.

“Look, I bat the only way I know —- if there’s a ball asking to be hit, I will go for it. After all, you can’t score by defending. In any case, one should be positive,” Sourav maintained.

The flying start notwithstanding, Sourav is still settling into the ‘hot seat’.

“It’s too early so say what I’ve learnt, but I’m learning... The learning won’t ever stop,” was Sourav’s signing-off line.

A refreshing observation from one who, significantly, hasn’t been short on courage in going for gambles.    

Calcutta, March 14 
MUMBAI 182, 102/1-BENGAL 117

The inadequacies of Bengal cricket came to the fore yet again at the Eden Gardens today. They surrendered the advantage of having skittled out Mumbai for 182 yesterday by conceding a 65-run first innings lead. As if that was not enough, the bowlers lacked variation and penetration as Mumbai took a firm grip, opening up a 167-run lead by close on the second day.

Wasim Jaffer looked in fine nick during his unbeaten 64, which included 12 hits to the fence, and his cool and confident approach has made the task of the other batsmen easier.

“We were aiming for a first innings lead of around 40. The other 25 came as a bonus,” said Amol Muzumdar.

Utpal Chatterjee was hoping against hope that Bengal manage three points from this game while Karnataka also remain satisfied with three. That will mean Bengal moving ahead.

But that is asking for too much from the current side. Utpal may have been an exception, battling for 81 minutes for his team’s best of 27, but the more established batsmen lacked the application and temperament to stay put.

On a turning track, the Mumbai bowlers were consistent with their line and length but surely did not command the authority to dictate terms. The home batsmen hastened their own doom through some reckless choice of shots.

It was Abey Kuruvilla who gave the visitors the breakthrough with a quick double strike in the morning. Having forced Devang Gandhi on the front foot with a couple of outgoing deliveries, he had him leg before with one that cut back sharply. Nightwatchman Vishal Yadav’s attempted hook landed into the hands of Rajesh Pawar at backward square leg.

Srikant Kalyani, the most successful of the home batsmen this season, also fell victim to such indiscretion. He failed to cut Pawar thrice and the fourth attempt took the outer edge to Amol Rane’s gloves.

Syed Saba Karim also did not last long and Rohan Gavaskar and Utpal tried to put up a fight in a brief seventh-wicket association. While not being attacking, they concentrated on moving the scoreboard with pushes and nudges. Rohan’s 120-minute vigil ended when he was foxed by the turn.

Laxmi Ratan Shukla joined Utpal. Instead of playing his natural aggressive role, Shukla was overtly defensive. He even failed to take advantage of the attacking field and this cautious approach led to his dismissal. The pad-bat snick landed at silly point’s hands.

Having run out of partners, Utpal finally decided to give the bowlers the charge. He hit Pawar — the young left-arm spinner who did impress during his unchanged 19-over spell — for a couple of boundaries before departing to Kulkarni. It virtually signalled the end of the innings though the last-wicket pair stuck around for 42 minutes.

Mumbai batsmen showed no intentions of committing the harakiri that had led to their downfall in the first essay. With the wicket having slowed down, it lacked the bite that had made the bowler’s job easier on the opening day.    

Calcutta, March 14 
Uday Roy and R. Bader moved into the quarter finals of the Pot Black (one-frame) handicap snooker meet with comfortable wins at The Muslim Institute today.

Roy beat R. Ranjan 97-62 while Bader got past Islam Hussain 113-90. Other who won their matches were Md Haseeb, G. Pradhan and Shakil Ahmed.    

Calcutta, March 14 
Top seed Nitin Kirtane easily disposed off A. Jagnani 6-2, 6-2 to move into the quarter finals of the Central Revenue Masters’ tennis meet today.

Others who moved into the last-eight stage were Vasudeva Reddy, S.K. Shivshankar and Rajesh Vohra.    

Calcutta, March 14 
With all disputes amicably settled and agreement signed between the Royal Calcutta Turf Club (RCTC) and the four trade unions in the presence of labour commissioner, hurdles have been cleared for the resumption of local Racing.

The RCTC stewards will be meeting tomorrow to decide the next course of action and to how soon the city racing could be resumed. On February 23, labour trouble had prompted the club authorities to cancel the Turf Invitation weekend programme scheduled for February 26 and February 27. Further the club had suspended the entire season on February 27.


Auctioneer, Annalee, Mameena, Aznavour were impressive.

Outer sand track

1,400m: Dizzy Diver (Rb) in 1-42s; (1,000m) 1-12 4/5s; (400m) 29 1/5s. Easy. Auctioneer (C. Alford) and Acadameus (Rb) in 1-40 1/5s; (1,000m) 1-8 2/5s; (400m) 26 4/5s. Former distance better. Amarante (C. Alford) in 1-42s; (1,000m) 1-13 1/5s; (400m) 29s. Easy. Milano (C. Alford) in 1-42 2/5s; (1,000m) 1-13s; (400m) 26 1/5s. Handy. Alvarada (Rb) in 1-45 2/5s; (400m) 26 2/5s. Moved well. Alyssum (C. Alford) in 1-50s; (1,000m) 1-18s; (400m) 31 3/5s. Alsadena (M. Reuben) in 1-59 1/5s; (400m) 32s.

1,200m: Acquest (C. Alford) in 1-23 2/5s; (400m) 28 4/5s. Moved well. Annalee (A. P. Singh) and All Heart (C. Alford) in 1-24s; (400m) 28 1/5s. Former a length better. A Million Memories (Rb) in 1-28s; (400m) 28s. Easy.

1,000m: Assyrian (Rb) and Armila (A. P. Singh) in 1-9 2/5s; (400m) 28s. Former a distance better. Treasurer (C. Alford) in 1-10s; (400m) 27s. Handy.

800m: Adventure (C. Alford) in 54s; (400m) 25 3/5s. Good. Mystic Hill (A. P. Singh) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Queen’s Logic (Islam) and Atacada (Rabani) in 58 1/5s; (400m) 28 3/5s. Former head better. Sheerness (A. P. Singh) in 58s; (400m) 30s. Falconhead (Rb) in 57s; (400m) 28 2/5s. Garden Of Heaven (Amjad K.) in 58 2/5s; (400m) 29 3/5s.

600m: Cup Of Life (Rb) and Ashbury (M. Reuben) in 46s; (400m) 31s.

Sand track

1,200m: Giorgio (Rb) in 1-33s; (400m) 30s.

1,000m: Mameena (Connorton) and Aznavour (Afzal K.) in 1-2 3/5s; (400m) 23 3/5s. Former neck better. Eau Savage (Shanker) and Ingleside (Connorton) in 1-8s; (400m) 23 2/5s. Former was handy and 2 ls better.

800m: Zingari (Connorton) and Tequila Shot (Shanker) in 50 3/5s; (400m) 22 2/5s. Former head better. On The Bit (Connorton) in 50s; (400m) 23 3/5s. Moved well. Minelta (Afzal K.) in 59s; (400m) 28 4/5s. Royal Ruler (P. Alford) and Rising Chorus (Merchant) in 1-1s; (400m) 29 2/5s.

600m: Infierno (Afzal K.) in 37 3/5s; (400m) 24s. Easy.    

Prepared in a businesslike manner, the Vinayak-trained filly, Inquisition may make a winning debut in the 1,400m Aga Khan’s Trophy at the Mumbai races on Wednesday. B. Prakash partners the Affirmed-General Charge filly.


3 pm: Skippy 1. Lethal Striker 2. Loveable Lips 3.

3.30 pm: Viking 1. Favourite Trick 2. Mount Rose 3.

4 pm: Court of Appeal 1. Yewall 2. Supreme Ark 3.

4.30 pm: Inquisition 1. Wild Heart 2. Alice Charms 3.

5 pm: Hearts In Motion 1. Rich Babe 2. Heaven’s Feel 3.

5.30 pm: Aylesfield 1. Kisunugntly 2. Beautiful Stranger 3.

6 pm: Sea Sprite 1. Millennium King 2. Act Of Trust 3.

Day’s Best: Court Of Appeal Double: Viking & Inquisition    


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