Waugh’s city visit next month
Accolades for gentleman Walsh
I’ll be mentally tougher next time I walk out for
Bagan post 344 for 8
CESC win 8-7
Millennium fancied

 
 
WAUGH’S CITY VISIT NEXT MONTH 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Sharjah, March 28 
Twentyone months after laying the foundation stone of Nivedita House, the girls’ wing at Udayan, centre for children of leprosy sufferers on the outskirts of Calcutta, Steve Waugh will be back to formally inaugurate it.

Actually, the wing opened on August 15 last year, but a formal inauguration was put on hold till Steve made himself available, as promised. Now, that will be done on April 20, according to the Calcutta-based Ms Shamlu Dudeja, who is again coordinating Steve’s visit.

Steve was Australia’s one-day captain on his July 1998 visit but, this time, he will return not only as Australia’s full-fledged skipper, but with many more feathers in his cap. The most prominent, of course, being last summer’s World Cup win.

According to the programme made available to The Telegraph, Steve will arrive April 19 from Johannesburg, straight after the three-match one-day series against South Africa, and leave for Sydney April 21.

Steve will, therefore, miss the customary Good Friday lunch with wife Lynette and kids. It’s a significant gesture from somebody who spends every minute, outside cricket, with his family.

Incidentally, the highlight of Steve’s first day in Calcutta will be a fund-raiser for Udayan-Nivedita House. The one on his last trip, an absolute mega-hit, was hosted by Taj Bengal.

In yet another excellent gesture, Steve will fly economy (not business class) and the handsome difference in fare will go towards the Steve Waugh-Udayan Children’s Welfare Fund.

Meanwhile, an effort is underway to organise a six-a-side game on the morning of April 21, the day of Steve’s departure. If that comes off, the CCFC will play host.    


 
 
ACCOLADES FOR GENTLEMAN WALSH 
 
 
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Sharjah, March 28 
Sunil Gavaskar, whose own world record was bettered by Allan Border, tonight paid an emotional tribute to Kapil Dev even as he lauded Courtney Walsh.

Gavaskar spoke thus: “I would like to add my congratulations to Courtney Walsh... It is an achievement that speaks volumes of his dedication, determination and discipline... More importantly, he has shown a bowler doesn’t have to sledge and show disrespect to get wickets. Courtney is a rare cricketer, a sportsman to the core and the record now belongs to one of the nicest persons in the game.

“As an Indian, I am sad that Kapil’s record has been broken. I have seen first-hand the back-breaking effort Kapil put in and, with no disrespect to all those who bowled with him, Kapil often ploughed a lone furrow and that too on Indian pitches... His mark may have been overtaken but, to me, Kapil is second to none and is still India’s greatest cricketer. Its pride and joy as well.”    


 
 
I’LL BE MENTALLY TOUGHER NEXT TIME I WALK OUT FOR 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Sharjah, March 28 
Australia and the South Africans. Even New Zealand. And, of course, Courtney ‘Gentleman’ Walsh. It’s been a season of records for just about everybody, save the Indians.

After a superb 3-2 home-win over South Africa, the Indians even slipped in this Emirate. The season, then, has ended on anything but a high. In Australia, we had an incompetent team; here, it was incompetent cricket.

Actually, India’s campaign in the Coca-Cola Cup 2000 can be quickly summed up: One win, three losses. A top score of 174 for nine, in an unsuccessful chase. Conceding 93 runs in the last ten overs of a key match and two self-engineered run outs in a game which had to be won.

The debit-list is long. On the other side is one embarrassing blank.

“Yes, there’s nothing at all to show from this trip... I do realise, however, one can’t have the same drive everyday. Hopefully, everybody will be hungry for success in our next tournament (Asia Cup, Dhaka, from end-May),” remarked captain Sourav Ganguly, adding it wouldn’t help allowing the acute disappointment to linger.

Yet, talking to The Telegraph this afternoon, Sourav acknowledged he was “upset” not so much by the defeats per se, but the way India lost. “We were thoroughly outplayed in two matches (the opener against South Africa and the return-game with Pakistan)... Last night, though, it could have been different had we got another wicket at 50 for three...”

Sourav, who should soon be retained captain till September (when the present selection committee’s term ends), hasn’t begun a detailed post-mortem, but the lack of application was too obvious to miss. It certainly didn’t escape Sourav’s attention.

What is also clear is that a specialist batsman, in the middle, is required.

That the captain himself flopped — “Don’t think I’ve ever failed in an entire one-day series (a total of just 65)...” — didn’t help. That Sachin Tendulkar, too, was a big failure (only 65 in four matches) made it worse.

Sachin looked jaded and the two-month break from international cricket should do him, specially, a world of good. Of course, Sachin himself didn’t exactly say he was looking forward to it. He just shrugged shoulders, while waiting to leave for Dubai with Ajit Agarkar.

Sourav who, too, had plans of going to Dubai (with Syed Saba Karim) belatedly did acknowledge India’s ouster hurt real bad.

“I won the first two series’ (as captain) and lost here... Defeats are inevitable but, as long as I win more and lose less, I’ll be reasonably happy... I’ll judge myself over a period of time and would like others, too, to judge me similarly.”

But had defeat taught him something? “One never ever stops learning... I suppose I’ll be (mentally) tougher the next time I walk out for the toss.” For now, Sourav is switching focus to Manchester and Lancashire: He leaves April 12 for his debut season at Old Trafford.

Meanwhile barring Mohammed Kaif and S. Sriram, who left for home today so as to meet Ranji commitments for UP and Tamil Nadu, respectively, the rest of the team will depart tomorrow night after the CBFS dinner (in Dubai).

Robin Singh, also of Tamil Nadu, wasn’t accorded permission as technically India still had a slim chance of making Friday’s final.

For that to happen, though, South Africa would have had to knock off 169 in only nine balls!

Coach Kapil Dev and physio-cum-physical trainer Andrew Leipus have suggested to the Board a conditioning camp be organised before the May 27-June 5 Asia Cup.    


 
 
BAGAN POST 344 FOR 8 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, March 28 
Mohun Bagan rode a big opening stand to present East Bengal with a challenging target in the championship play-off final of the CAB league at the Eden Gardens. Deep Dasgupta and Amitava Banerjee put on 136 for the first wicket to help Mohun Bagan finish on 344 for eight in the allotted 85 overs.

While the partnership may have provided the right platform, East Bengal did well to keep the run-rate in check and it was the urgency shown by the lower-order batsmen — Laxmi Ratan Shukla got 34 off 28 balls, Utpal Chatterjee 11 off 11, Vishal Yadav an unbeaten 20 off 19 and Arindam Sarkar 11 off 10 — that saw Mohun Bagan post a decent total.

After both openers were run out trying to force the pace, and Devang Gandhi managing 25, Munish Aurora (46 off 64) and Sanjib Goel (46 off 55) added 79 for the fourth wicket.

Left-arm spinner Shib Sagar Singh claimed three wickets and Pronob Nandy two.    


 
 
CESC WIN 8-7 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, March 28 
CESC Sports Club tamed a resurgent South Eastern Railway SA 8-7 in the five-a-side Daljit Singh memorial hocket tournament this afternoon at the Calcutta Customs Club. The match went into extra-time after the teams were left locked 7-7. Kishor Kujur scored the ‘golden goal’. In other matches, Customs A and Customs B registered comfortable wins.    

 
 
MILLENNIUM FANCIED 
 
 
BY OUR TURF CORRESPONDENT
 
 
Merry Millennium is taken to win the 1,200m Birthday Girl Plate, the main attraction in Mumbai on Wednesday. C. Rajendra partners the I. Fernandes trained four-year-old filly.

Selections

2.30 pm: Howard House 1. Monday’s Pride 2. Ruff’ Affair 3.

3 pm: La Primavera 1. Run For Glory 2. Solid Truth 3.

3.30 pm: Merry Millennium 1. Shanillo 2. Win A Million 3.

4 pm: Favorite Trick 1. Pass The Buck 1. Mount Rose 3.

4.30 pm: La Tour D’argent 1. Picasso 2. Silver Rock 3.

5 pm: Impartial 1. History 2. Countach 3.

5.30 pm: Mischievous Times 1. Free Gold 2. Neelanjana 3.

Day’s Best: La Primavera Double: Howard House & Favorite Trick    

 

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