‘Windies will get back to where they were’
Operation Australia launched in earnest
Hair dropped from Lanka’s match vs Pak
Maneka softens stance
Mysore Races/ Activator for Gold Trophy
Royal Court wins

 
 
‘WINDIES WILL GET BACK TO WHERE THEY WERE’ 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Nairobi, Oct. 5: 
The interview was initially scheduled for Tuesday evening, but Jeff Dujon requested we meet 24 hours later. By then, as it unfolded, the West Indies were out of the ICC KnockOut Kenya 2000. Dujon, though, kept his appointment with The Telegraph.

But, then, Dujon has always been the perfect gentleman. A brilliant wicketkeeper who could also make the XI as a middle-order batsman, Dujon is now the West Indies’ assistant coach (Roger Harper is coach). His three-year contract began in March.

Slim as ever, the one change is that Dujon’s salt-and-pepper beard is now all salt. He was, as usual, soft-spoken while being interviewed at the Inter-Continental.

Following are excerpts

On agreeing to be assistant coach after initially expressing a desire to be the coach

(Smiles) I realised the designation wasn’t that important as long as one had a role in the development of West Indies cricket... I’m happy I can contribute from the level I’m operating. It’s a three-year contract, we’ll see after that.

On his background in coaching

The last few years saw me being involved with quite a number of U-23 and U-19 projects of the Board. That took up quite a bit of my time as did, incidentally, my being an U-19 and U-15 selector.

On whether he admires any one coach

(Smiles again) I didn’t have any heroes when I was a player. I guess it’s rather late in the day to have one now... A coach must have his own identity, his own style to make maximum use of the cricket knowledge he has.

On his contribution to strategy

Roger and I sit together, it’s a collective thing... Really, you wouldn’t like to be part of strategy you don’t believe in.

On whether Harper and he liaise with the junior coach, Gus Logie

As we are on the road so much, it’s not possible to regularly sit down. But, yes, we respect Gus’ opinion on the players coming through the colts’ ranks.

On whether it’s a problem interacting with Brian Lara

None at all.

On whether the West Indies’ poor run is putting him, too, under acute pressure

Well, it’s got to be accepted we are in the midst of a pressure situation. Traditionally, we are used to winning. However, that’s not been so for some years now. More than anything else, what this has shown up is that we didn’t focus on development at the time we should have — when right at the top. Today, then, we’ve got to aim at getting the grounding perfect, only then will our players be able to flourish in the big league... As for me, personally, I didn’t accept this assignment with eyes shut.

On the top reason for the West Indies’ dismal showing

Talent alone isn’t anything. I mean, even when we haven’t been doing well, talented players have still been coming through. But, as I’ve just said, that alone won’t suffice... You need other qualities and you need to have learned those at an early stage. Qualities such as temperament, the ability to come through a crisis period, being able to stay focussed... At the highest level, the margin for errors is not there.

On why, nowadays, there’s hardly any one stand-out wicketkeeper

(Grins) Because everybody is now looking for a No. 7 batsman who can keep wickets when, in fact, it should be the other way around. The emphasis is on batting... This is even more pronounced in the one-dayers. Teams should invest in young wicketkeepers and give them the confidence to develop their batting.

On India fielding a new face, with the big gloves, in just about every other series

It’s important to be consistent. As it is, wicketkeeping is difficult. It becomes even more so when a wicketkeeper believes his first mistake will see him out.

On Ridley Jacobs

Not flashy, but very efficient. Gets runs, too.

On what makes a good wicketkeeper

The general aspect of agility and reflexes apart, the qualities vary from attack-to-attack. For instance, a predominantly quick one will make a different demand on the wicketkeeper than, say, one where the emphasis is on spin. A wicketkeeper must be very sound technically if he is to keep to spinners competently... Good wicketkeepers are those who perfect the basics.

Finally, on having been part of a legendary West Indies team and, now, having to regularly watch defeats — that, too, from close quarters

(After a pause) Makes my job more of a challenge, doesn’t it? I’m not the negative sort, so I don’t focus only on what should have been... I’m convinced, eventually, we’ll get back to where we were. Today, I would only say there’s always a starting point and, invariably, there are growing pains.    


 
 
OPERATION AUSTRALIA LAUNCHED IN EARNEST 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Nairobi, Oct. 5: 
The Aga Khan Sports Centre nets may not have been ideal, but the cafeteria manager did his bit to keep the Indians interested: He played Hindi film cassettes during their workout this afternoon.

After an off day yesterday, the Indians got back to business —focusing entirely on Saturday’s ICC KnockOut Kenya 2000 quarter final against world champions Australia.

Afternoon nets was opted for as the players who had an overnight outing at the Lake Nakuru Game Park, some two hours from here, returned late this morning.

Besides the batting-bowling routine, physio-cum-trainer Andrew Leipus made the quicks, especially, undergo a series of awfully sweat-inducing exercises. Perhaps, it was his way of reminding them their task is already cut out.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, the thinktank may consider exercising the one option it has: Bringing in Sunil Joshi for Venkatesh Prasad. Of course, there has been no ‘serious’ thinking on this but, if the winning combination is changed, the switch will be just that.

While the formal strategy-finalising team meeting will only be tomorrow, the Indians meet this evening to watch cassettes of Australia’s last series, versus South Africa in mid-August. A VCP has already been organised by captain Sourav Ganguly.

Played indoors at the Colonial Stadium in Melbourne, that series ended 1-1 with one match tied.

Incidentally like coach John Buchanan, Australian captain Steve Waugh isn’t taking anything for granted. Speaking exclusively just after returning from the Masai Mara Game Park, arguably Kenya’s biggest money-spinner, he said: “We never go into any India game thinking it’s going to be easy...”

That, it appears, is also one way of keeping some of the pressure off his team. Today was the second consecutive day off (from organised practice) for the world champions.    


 
 
HAIR DROPPED FROM LANKA’S MATCH VS PAK 
 
 
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Nairobi, Oct. 5: 
The International Cricket Council (ICC) avoided a major controversy by taking Darryl Hair off the Sri Lanka-Pakistan KnockOut quarter final match on Sunday. He has been replaced by Dave Orchard. The unchanged umpire is Peter Willey.

While ICC chief executive David Richards didn’t talk of any Lankan protest, it is understood the Lankans did threaten not to take the field if the controversial Hair wasn’t withdrawn.

Hair has featured in multiple controversies, but none bigger than the one involving Muttiah Muralidharan, back in 1995-96.

For the record, the official announcement went as follows: “Darryl Hair will not umpire in the quarter final game between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The ICC has for some time chosen not to utilise Hair in matches in which Sri Lanka are participating, in the best interests of both parties. Unfortunately, an administrative error was made in our original list, and this has now been rectified.”

While Pakistan got a bye into the last-eight, Lanka qualified by ousting the West Indies yesterday.    


 
 
MANEKA SOFTENS STANCE 
 
 
BY STAR RACER
 
Calcutta, Oct. 5: 
The ice seems to be melting with regard to the use of the whip in horse racing. In Delhi today, the Turf Authority of India (TAI) representatives met Maneka Gandhi, the Union minister of state, social justice and empowerment, and presented their viewpoint again. They were given a patient hearing by the minister who had set today as the deadline to do away with the whalebone. The meeting, however, remained inconclusive and the two sides will meet again on October 16.

The offer made by Maneka, at her Bangalore meeting with TAI on September 12, to replace the conventional whip with the aircush (bulbous rubberised) stick had found no takers. Jockeys had rejected the idea outright.

Vineet Verma, CEO and secretary RCTC who is in Delhi with the TAI delegation said over telephone: “The meeting was held in a very cordial atmosphere. More importantly, the minister came out with very constructive suggestions.” The chairmen of all the turf clubs will meet in Pune on October 14 for further discussion on the subject before going back to the minister,” added Verma. Asked if the conventional whip is going to stay in the sport, Verma said: “It is too early to make a statement on the subject.”

However, the upbeat mood of the other TAI representatives indicates that the jockeys will be allowed to keep their tools. But the belting brigade may have to curb their urges. Excesses may lead to heavy fines and long suspensions.    


 
 
MYSORE RACES/ ACTIVATOR FOR GOLD TROPHY 
 
 
FROM WILLIAM TELL
 
Mysore, Oct. 5: 
Activator and Athabasca, the two wards of Darius Byramji sporting the Khaitan’s colours, look best in the field of four to battle it out for the 1,800m Hindu Gold Trophy tomorrow. However, with Aslam Kader to guide the Razeen-Hablitzia colt Activator may strike.

SELECTIONS

1.45 pm: Tina’s Turn 1. Venture Adventure 2. Simply Dashing 3. 2.15 pm: Gallant Chief 1. River Dale 2. Grand Cordon 3. 2.45 pm: Activator 1. Athabasca 2. 3.15 pm: Our Pedestal 1. Something Fishy 2. Eyewitness 3. 3.45 pm: Tajik 1. Silent Honour 2. Musselburgh 3. 4.15 pm: Frontier Hero 1. Red Angel 2. Red Red Wine 3. 4.45 pm: Alisa 1. Royal Crichton 2. Psychedelic 3. 5.15 pm: Ratn 1. Skipping Away 2. Brave Edge 3.
Day’s Best: Activator Double: Tajik & Ratn
,/b>    

 
 
ROYAL COURT WINS 
 
 
BY TITAN BOY
 
Mysore, Oct. 5: 
The Robert Foley-trained Royal Court landed an upset victory in the F. K. Irani Memorial Gold Cup in Mysore on Thursday. Warren Singh partnered the five-year-old mare to a shade over one length victory.

RESULTS

(With inter-state dividends)

1. Chamarajanagar Plate 2,000m: (10-1-7) My Goodness (Krishnan) 1; Touchin Heights 2; Corsair 3. Won by: Dist; 1/2; (2-14.5). Tote: Win Rs 60; Place: 19; 22; 116; Quinella: 178; Tanala: 12,192. Fav: Questionable (2).
2. Pattu Brothers Gold Cup, Div-II 1,400m: (4-5-2) Jersey Lightning (Krishnan) 1; Beauchamp King 2; Decorated Hero 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 3/4; (1-28.9). Tote: Win Rs 29; Place: 16; 23; 35; Quinella: 86; Tanala: 1,177. Fav: Jersey Lightning (4).
3. Periyapattana Plate 1,600m: (6-4-2) Donna Mia (Mrs Storai) 1; Walk In The Clouds 2; Burning Bright 3. Won by: 1; 3/4; (1-42.5). Tote: Win Rs 25; Place: 11; 31; 13; Quinella: 327; Tanala: 842. Fav: Donna Mia (6). (Note: The winner survived objection lodged by rider of the second horse).
4. Huntsey Gold Trophy 2,000m: (1-2-3) Chevalier (Shroff) 1; Mayfair 2; Royal Garter 3. Won by: 10; SH; (2-10.3). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 12; 19; 26; Quinella: 70; Tanala: 273. Fav: Chevalier (1).
5. Pattu Brothers Gold Cup, Div-I 1,400m: (6-4-9) King’s Common (Krishnan) 1; Astounding Bay 2; Key Witness 3. Won by: 2-3/4; Nk; (1-29.7). Tote: Win Rs 41; Place: 17; 18; 10; Quinella: 119; Tanala: 433. Fav: Key Witness (9).
6. F. K. Irani Memorial Gold Cup 1,200m: (1-4-3) Royal Court (Warren) 1; Blue Ridge 2; Barrier Ridge 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 5-1/4; (1-13.2). Tote: Win Rs 83; Place: 25; 18; 15; Quinella: 305; Tanala: 2,776. Fav: So Royal (2).
7. Gayatri Devi Memorial Gold Cup 1,200m: (9-5-6) Soviet Song (Shroff) 1; Pretty Boy Floyd 2; Ornate Crown 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 1-1/2; (1-13.9). Tote: Win Rs 29; Place: 16; 36; 116; Quinella: 230; Tanala: 30,535. Fav: Bountiful Gesture (3).
8. Delhi Plate 1,200m: (6-3-10) Height Of Elegance (Prakash) 1; Always Dancing 2; Gordon’s Pet 3. Won by: 6-1/2; 1-1/2; (1-15.4). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 11; 19; 35; Quinella: 50; Tanala: 427. Fav: Height Of Elegance (6).

Jackpot: Rs 2,859; (C) Rs 549.

Treble: (i) Rs 92; (ii) Rs 565.    

 

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