Caution tempers Indian hunger for glory
Five in fray for best allrounder slot: Woolmer
different strokes/Appointment of foreign coach may be embarrassing for BCCI now
2 marks in farcical start
Pooja to take on Moni in under-14 final
Prakash leads
Calcutta Races/ Turf clubs honour Maneka wish
Pune Races/ Access All Areas best
Pune Races/ Signal Tap wins

Nairobi, Oct. 14: 
The Kenyan capital is bracing for a possible terrorist strike but the biggest explosion, of a different kind, has already been triggered by India.

It has shaken not just ICC KnockOut Kenya 2000, but the world of cricket. And, for a change, India take to a mega event final as favourites. Only the 1996 and 1999 World Cups have had a stronger representation — 12 teams vis-a-vis the 11 here.

New Zealand aren’t to be underestimated but, if India can knock off world champions Australia and South Africa with ease, only the very courageous will look to New Zealand recording their finest one-day hour ever, at the Nairobi Gymkhana tomorrow.

So commanding has been India’s form that, frankly, only they can beat themselves. India’s most memorable moment, after the 1983 World Cup success, is at hand — thanks to a performance whether neither pride nor passion have been at a premium.

Still, captain Sourav Ganguly is being cautious: “They’re a good side and I honestly believe none of us is complacent. Rather, I can see it in the eyes of my players — nobody has figured in a final as big as this and the hunger to win is pretty evident.”

Asked just how confident was he of making the title-round, before the tournament began, Sourav answered with a smile: “One keeps hoping... If you don’t, how do you live?”

Pakistan, of course, have learnt complacency doesn’t pay.

From captain Moin Khan to senior pro Wasim Akram, they were looking to the KnockOut final even before the semi-final against New Zealand. No wonder, they’ll be watching all the action from either Lahore or Karachi instead of themselves being on the field.

The morrow will mark Sourav’s biggest moment, too. “Actually, yes... We’ve got to keep the momentum going and we’ve got to play our normal game,” he told The Telegraph, after another session of stretching exercises at the Inter-Continental pool.

India’s “normal game” here has been pretty ‘abnormal’, going by standards set in recent times. But, no one’s complaining. The infusion of fresh blood, in the form of Chandigarh da puttar Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan, from an obscure Shrirampur (in Maharashtra), has made a huge difference.

Sourav’s captaincy has been a factor as well. He has not only led from the front, in the manner of captains who are remembered, he has handled the team exceptionally. No suprise, then, the boys have responded handsomely. Getting Zaheer to open in all three matches and promoting Yuvraj yesterday, being top examples.

“There’s no natak about Sourav. He talks straight and has remained level-headed. That’s why he’s a good captain,” opined Ravi Shastri, respected as being a most shrewd reader of both men and the game itself.

With Robin Singh appearing fit to play (though coach Aunshuman Gaekwad talked of waiting till the morning), the Indians have no worries. New Zealand, however, are still concerned over Chris Cairns’ fitness.

There’s a possibility of Cairns being fielded as batsman only. Otherwise, he’ll probably head for the TV commentators’ box.

“Chris underwent a fitness test today, but we’ll assess him tomorrow as well. He’s a key player and it’s a big match, that’s why we’re being so careful,” informed coach David Trist, who seems to have aged over the Cairns-issue.

The Indians, though, aren’t paying much attention to Cairns. “We know what he’s capable of, but we’ll be prepared for whatever combination New Zealand may field. In any case, I don’t prefer focussing on individuals only,” remarked Sourav.

Stephen Fleming, the New Zealand captain, preferred not to dwell at length on Cairns. “We’ll decide in the morning... I’m afraid I can’t say anything more... Yes, it’s going to be a pressure game and the team which handles it better will succeed,” he said.

Indeed, New Zealand’s USP is the absence of real big names. In other words, they have much less to lose than most other teams. It also allows the Roger Twoses, for example, to play without pressure.

The pressure, however, never quite gets away from the Sachin Tendulkars. Sachin was brilliant in taking on Glenn McGrath, in the quarters, but with scores of 25, 39 and 39, he has left admirers disappointed.

Significantly, Sachin is a mere 15 shy of emerging the most prolific one-day batsman — Mohammed Azharuddin is currently No.1, with a total of 9,379.

“I hope he’s kept the runs for the final,” quipped Sourav, when somebody drew his attention to Sachin getting out after being set. Sachin has himself been cool and New Zealand couldn’t have forgotten that murderous unbeaten 186, in Hyderabad last year.

That Sachin innings, and his partnership of 331 with Rahul Dravid (153), powered India to one-day cricket’s second-highest total: 376 for two. Yet, that series (the last between India and New Zealand) was close — 3-2, with India winning the decider at the Kotla.

There’s a difference, though, between then and now: The Indian fielding, finally, is almost at par with the best in the business. New Zealand, therefore, won’t enjoy that specific advantage.

With the wicket, incidentally the one used for the tournament-opener, promising runs in plenty all those who flock to the Gymkhana should get their Kenyan Shillings worth. And, the captain winning the toss, is expected to set a target instead of chasing one.

Barring a late-night or early morning ‘mishap’, India will keep faith in the same XI. Of course, the permutation could even change if Robin’s left little finger plays up... As for New Zealand, if Cairns is to be accommodated, Craig Spearman may get the axe.


INDIA: Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Vinod Kambli, Yuvraj Singh, Robin Singh, Vijay Dahiya, Ajit Agarkar, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan and Venkatesh Prasad.

NEW ZEALAND(from): Nathan Astle, Craig Spearman, Stephen Fleming, Roger Twose, Chris Cairns, Craig McMillan, Adam Parore, Chris Harris, Scott Styris, Paul Wiseman, Geoff Allott and Shayne O’Conner.

Umpires: David Shepherd and Steve Bucknor.

Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle.    

Nairobi, Oct. 14: 
Bob Woolmer made the biggest headlines as South Africa’s coach. Yet, in the mid-Seventies he made the England team as an allrounder. He didn’t exactly cause ripples then but, in more recent times, has come to be saluted as an outstanding thinker.

The Kanpur-born Woolmer quickly obliged when The Telegraph requested he talk about allrounders and pick his favourites.

Following are excerpts

On what makes a quality allrounder

In the most simple terms, someone who bats, bowls and fields well... (Smiles) I’m reminded of a story told to me by John Shepherd of the West Indies. He was playing for Barbados when he scored duck, got nought for 90 and, then, dropped a catch. It prompted someone from the crowd to yell: “Hey Shepherd, you’re a real allrounder — can’t bowl, can’t bat and can’t field, too!” A quality allrounder, for me, is someone who will average more with the bat than ball. Someone who will average 35-38 with the bat and concede between 22-25 runs for each wicket taken... Fitness and enthusiasm count as well.

The classic allrounders are the ones who bowl quick and bat but, then, you also have spin bowler-allrounders.

On the allrounder(s) who influenced him

Sir Gary Sobers... Probably remains the greatest allrounder of all time. Then, Trevor Bailey — he may not have been flamboyant yet, in his time, was such an integral part of the England team. Bailey could take vital wickets, had the ability to hold the innings together... I remember religiously reading his book, cover-to-cover... It certainly pre-determined the shape my career would take.

On the allrounders of his era whom he admired

Ian Botham came along when I was finishing... But Botham and Mike Procter would be two batsmen-allrounders. Among bowler-allrounders, I would pick Kapil Dev and Imran Khan.

On the top present-day allrounders

Thanks to one-day cricket, we are blessed with a number of them. In fact, teams short on allrounders are the ones which end up struggling... I would classify Jonty Rhodes as an allrounder as also Alec Stewart and Mark Boucher, for instance... I think we do need to get away from the conventional classification... Who are today’s top allrounders? Well, I’ll pick the following:

JACQUES KALLIS: A wonderful batsman and a more than useful bowler. The type to crack a hundred and get you five wickets as well.

CHRIS CAIRNS: Top-class... Like Kallis, can get a hundred and five wickets. But for fitness worries, would have achieved a lot more.

SHAUN POLLOCK: A superb bowler who could get the team a more than useful 70-80.

LANCE KLUSENER: A batsman to be counted upon, can be devastating, though his bowling isn’t quite in the same league.

ABDUL RAZZAQ: An exceptional cricketer... Can bowl at 80-90 mph and, then, score useful runs. That, too, in any position. Clearly, a utility player.

I hope I’ve not been biased... In fact, I’m sure most critics would agree with my selection... All five, by the way, have an excellent temperament. Wasim Akram? I haven’t included him as he’s at the end of his career. I would have picked him had this exercise been done in 1998 or before and not 2000.

Finally, on his advice to allrounders

(Grins) With so much cricket, stay as fit and supple as you can. Also, when the off days come about, make the most of the break. Or else, cricket may break you.    

By the time you read this you will know whether India has progressed to the finals of the ICC KnockOut tournament in Nairobi. It would be tremendous for Indian cricket if the team does so, and better still if it goes on to win the tournament. Of course South Africa aren’t going to be easy to beat and it will boil own to who is the more determined.

The South Africans know that the best way for their public to start believing in them again is winning everything and to that end they will give their utmost on the field. If the Indians play even upto 90% of the intensity and aggressiveness they showed against Australia then the flair that they have for the game should win over South African grit. But the Indian team has shown a lack of consistency and theirs can be an up and down performance at the best of times.

If India go on to win the tournament and do well in Sharjah under coach Aunshuman Gaekwad then it will be embrrassing for the Board to appoint an overseas coach. Gaekwad, as coach, has done a commendable job and does have the respect of his team and in taking over at a difficult time has shown that his heart beats for Indian cricket. How many others would have accepted the job from which they were removed just a year back?

It is because of this large-heartedness that the Indian Board must ensure that it does not humiliate Gaekwad again having done so once earlier.

A foreign coach is what the Indian Board seems to have set its heart on and though many will not agree, it may be worth giving the idea a chance to show whether it is workable or not. Perhaps this the myth of a foreign coach may be exploded once and for all, or maybe show us that all these years it was the absence of a foreign coach that had stopped Indian cricket’s progress.

The reason why I feel a foreign coach is better for the juniors is because they are not only keen to learn but are also at an age where they can be moulded. The same cannot be said of the seniors who, because of the tensions and the pressures of the modern era, tend to get so wrapped up in themselves that any outside influence just seems to bounce off without making an impression.

Sure they will nod politely and listen but so far gone are they with their game that they cannot make the adjustments that the coach or their well-wishers want them to and not always because they don’t want to.

The fee factor

It will also be interesting to know how the Board is going to explain the fee that the foreign coach will get, when Gaekwad and other Indian coaches got what the rest of the players were getting. Even if it can be explained that the overseas coach has to get more because of the difference in the value of the currencies of the two countries, if an Indian is to be appointed as his assistant or to take over from him, the difference is going to be far too much to be easily explained.

Still, its an experiment worth performing if only to show once and for all whether any coach, Indian or overseas, can make a difference to the team. Finance is not an issue, with the Indian Board being one of the richest in the world and for once they are in a mood to spend on the development of the game rather than just putting it in a bank.

This can be seen by the seriousness with which the Academy has started and if it can curb unnecessary expense then still more money can be spent at the grassroots level. For starters some committees could be combined.

That would save duplication of work and while there committees are recommendatory in nature and the working committee and AGM takes the crucial decisions there are certain issues where the committees’ decisions must be mandatory and not recommendatory.

However, with the Indian Board also like the government where every faction has to be kept happy, the more the committees the more the affiliates can be accommodated. Dr A. C. Muthiah, who is an industrialist knows how important it is to trim the flab and run a tight ship but whether he will be able to get it done is the question.

Already the AGM is over with all the committees in place, so it will be difficult to do anything now. Look at the problem they have been having trying to get a three-man selection committee.

However, since they are in a mood to spend, it might be a very good idea for the Board to invite physical trainers to train coaches in India so that every state has coaches who can start training the youngsters at an early age to prepare for the gruelling international calendar.

It is in the area of physical fitness that Indian teams have lagged behind and to have trainers come in to keep up with that would definitely benefit Indian cricket.

The other aspect which has made a difference to the performance of the Indian team overseas are the pitches and it will be in Indian cricket’s interests to have expert groundsmen like the one who has made the Nairobi pitches, come to India have a look at the grounds, the soil and then report what is needed to make pitches which are hard and bouncy.

To say that India cannot produce hard, bouncy pitches is nonsense, because two of the fastest pitches I’ve ever played on were at Chennai in 1978 against the West Indies and the following year against Pakistan.

The Kotla pitch against Pakistan in 1979 also was a hard bouncy one and the one at the Brabourne Stadium has invariably helped new ball bowlers on the first two or three days.

Making such wickets will not only help our players to get used to them for the sterner contests abroad but also make the performances at the domestic level a bit more realistic than otherwise.

Our first-class cricket does not always give the selectors the right information about the skills and the temperament of a player and so a player who looks good at the domestic level comes a cropper at the international level because the gap is just too much.

Bring a foreign coach by all means, but also do something about the fitness and the playing conditions at the domestic level.    

Calcutta, Oct. 14: 
Two meet records saved organisers’ face in the 12th East Zone athletics meet which began at the Salt Lake Stadium and SAI Eastern Centre today.

The meet started amid sheer lack of participation and purpose. A number of events had tobe cancelled due to inadequate number of competitors and the 4x400m relay for under-20 girls was run by a single team, a sort of time-trial!

This meet will serve as a platform for qualification for next month’s inter-zonal in Hissar, Haryana.

Seikh Nissar Alam jumped a new high of 1.94m in the under-16 boys’ category and Mong Safru Mag Choudhury emerged the fastest man in the boys’ under-18 category, clocking another meet record time of 10.70 seconds.

At least nine athletes, including hammer throw winner (boys’ U-18) Sheel Bhusan Yadav of Bihar- ‘R’, were stripped of their medals on ground of submitting false certificates in proof of their age.

RESULTS (winners only)

BoyS’ U-20 — 400m: Srikant Padha (Man), 49.00s; High Jump: Ravi Ranjan Singh (Bih-A), 1.90m; 110m hurdles: Brameswar (Bih-A), 14.7s; Triple Jump: Pranab Sarkar (Ben), 13.03m; Long jump: L. Dharmendra Singh (Man), 10.8s; Discus: Rajesh Kumar Pathak (Bih-R), 38.64m.

Boys’ U-18 —100m: Mong Safru Mag Choudhury (Ass), 10.7s (NMR); 400m: Dharmendra Hansda (Bih-A), 49.30s; 1500m: A. Robinson (Man), 4:09.3; 110m hurdles: Soumen Jana (Ben), 15.3; Hammer throw: Piyush Kumar Singh (Bih-A); Triple jump: K Pramananda Singh (Man), 13.57m; High jump: Nikhijit Yadav (Bih-R), 1.90m.

Boys’ U-16 — 100m: Subrata Das (Ben), 11.20; 400m: Subrata Das (Ben), 51.20; 2000m: Biningstar Ayamgkhoi (Meg), 5:51.6; 5km walk: Babloo Kumar (Bih-A), 25:42.8; 100m hurdles: Moon Changmai (Ass), 13.9; Hammer throw: Prosanta Kumar (Bih-R), 44.18m.

Girls’ U-20 — 100m: Mamoto Prajapati (Ori) 12.5; 400m: Sumana Mondal (Ben), 57.3; 1500m: Tuylsi Gope (Bih-A), 5:00.1s; 100m hurdles: Amita Kumari Sethi (Ori), 15.4; Hammer throw: Y. Brojeswari Devi (Ben), 46.54m.

Girls’ U-18 — 100m: Nabonita Ghosh (Ben), 12.3; 400m: Ipsita Sahu (Ori), 57.2; 1500m: Abha Rani (Bih-A), 4:50.9; 3000m: Abha Rani (Bih-A), 10:48.3. Girls’ U-16 — 100m: Ranjana Roy (Ben), 12.5; 400m: Esnatara Khatoon (Ben), 59.9; 2000m: Rupsikha Das (Ben), 7.11.9; 100m hurdles: Lilima Pradhan (Ori), 17.3; 3km walk: M. Mukhubi Devi (Man), 17:34.9.    

Calcutta, Oct. 14: 
On a day of upsets, Pooja Mitra emerged the lone survivor among top seeds, to make it to the girls’ under-14 singles final of ITA junior Open meet being played at the SAI Eastern Centre. She will take on unseeded Moni Sewa, a surprise 6-0, 6-0 victor of Rohini Das.

Both the boys’ under-12 top seed Biplab Das and under-14 No. 2 Akshay Bajoria lost their respective matches, to Ranjan Prasad and Bapi Haldar.


(all semi-finals)

Boys’ U-12: Ranjan Prasad bt Biplab Das 7-5, 7-6 (7/3); Akshay Bajoria bt Srey Deb 6-2, 6-4. Boys’ U-14: Bapi Haldar bt Akshay Bajoria 6-1, 6-1; Manish Shaw bt Biplab Das 7-5, 3-6, 7-5. Girls’ U-14: Pooja Mitra bt Aryani Banerjee 6-4, 0-6, 6-2; Moni Sewa bt Rohini Das 6-0, 6-0.

Port Blair meet

At least seven teams, including those from the three city-based glamour outfits, will take part in the Jayanti Biswas memorial football tournament, starting at Port Blair on October 17.

The six-day long under-19 tournament is named after a promising canoeist and trainee of the SAI camp there who died in a train accident early this year.

It is being held under the aegis of the SAI Eastern Centre and the youth affairs & sports department of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.    

Calcutta, Oct. 14: 
Kanpur’s Shiv Prakash broke the course record at Faridabad’s Aravalli Golf Club with a nine-under 63 to soar to the lead on the third day of the Tiger Sports Marketing Open today. According to information reaching here, a blitz of 11 birdies ensured a three-round tally of 19-under 197, which gave him a three-stroke lead over overnight leader Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia. The Calcuttan shot a four-under 68 for 200 after 54 holes. Calcuttans Rafiq and Basad Ali were fifth (208).    

Calcutta, Oct. 14: 
At their lengthy meeting held in Pune today, the chairmen of the five major turf authorities in the country decided to ban the conventional whip thus respecting the wishes of Maneka Gandhi, the Union minister for social justice and empowerment. The minister had fixed October 15 as deadline for the ban. The ban is likely to come into effect from November 1, thus ending the six-month tussle between the firebrand animal activist and the turf authorities.

“The heads of the turf clubs have decided to ban whalebone. It will be replaced by ‘shock absorbing whips,’” said Vineet Verma, CEO and Secretary RCTC, now camping in Pune. The turf clubs have also decided to import a single brand of such whips in-bulk quantity and distribute them among the jockeys. It is not mandatory for them to import ‘Aircush’ whips which also comes under the safe category of the sticks approved by the Jockey Club of England and the other major turf institutions the world over. Verma said; “Henceforth, the turf clubs will insist on a uniform brand of whips all over the country with a specific length and diameter.”

Maneka was not available for comment, but ministry sources said the animal lover will be very delighted by the turf clubs’ decision.    

Pune, Oct. 15: 
Access All Areas has the best credentials to land the 2,000m Nanoli Stud Pune Derby at the Pune racecourse on Sunday. The comfortable winner of the recent S. A Poonawalla Million over 1,600m, may easily stay the extended trip. Aslam Kader partners the Pdmanabhan-trained Razeen-Alix filly.


12.45 pm: Princess Gabriella 1. Mountain Rose 2.
1.15 pm: Fine Arrow 1. Prime Of Life 2. Amber Brown 3.
1.45 pm: San Marino Star 1. Balancita 2. Berlino 3.
2.15 pm: Flamebird 1. Bolt Of Lightning 2. Colonel’s Dream 3.
2.45 pm: Radiant 1. Table Dancing 2. Intel 3.
3.15 pm: The Proletarian 1. Soviet Run 2. True Thriller 3.
3.45 pm: Access All Areas 1. Princess Xena 2. Flensburg 3.
4.15 pm: Wild Heart 1. Midnight Charm 2. Helianthus 3.
5 pm: Rising Fire 1. Scandalous 2. Color Me Good 3.
Day’s Best: Fine Arrow Double: San Marino Star & Access All Areas

Pune, Oct. 15: 
Ridden by B. Prakash, Todywalla-trained Signal Tap won the Squanderer Trophy in Pune on Saturday.


(With inter-state dividends)
1. Zealot Plate 2,000m: (6-4-2) Flaming Torch (Kamlesh) 1; Foolish Pursuit 2; Shahpari 3. Not run: Tim Tom (5). Won by: 3; 2; (2-13.2). Tote: Win Rs 24; Place: 20; 100; Quinella: 280; Tanala: 1,300. Fav: Flaming Torch (6).
2. Nijinsky Trophy 1,200m: (4-2-1) Lady Moura (Prakash) 1; Soviet Ride 2; Different Crown 3. Won by: 4-3/4; 1/2; (1-13.7). Tote: Win Rs 29; Place: 16; 22; Quinella: 52; Tanala: 317. Fav: Deep Blue (3).
3. Squanderer Trophy 1,600m: (1-5-2) Signal Tap (Prakash) 1; Barrier Reef 2; Final Authority 3. Won by: 2-3/4; 1-3/4; (1-41.7). Tote: Win Rs 37; Place: 19; 23; Quinella: 100; Tanala: 840. Fav: El Cid (3).
4. Gallant Knight Plate, Div-II 1,200m: (6-2-9) Mach Two (Bernard) 1; Henki 2; Double My Bet 3. Won by: 1/2; 5-1/2; (1-15.5). Tote: Win Rs 33; Place: 15; 21; 35; Quinella: 82; Tanala: 1,020. Fav: Mach Two (6).
5. Divine Light Plate 1,000m: (2-5-1) Anna Pavlova (M. Narredu) 1; Tonnerre 2; Immaculate 3. Not run: Musical Melody (8). Won by: Hd; 3-1/4; (1-1.8). Tote: Win Rs 20; Place: 12; 20; 25; Quinella: 80; Tanala: 454. Fav: Anna Pavlova (2).
6. Gallant Knight Plate, Div-I 1,200m: (8-1-6) Piece Of Art (Prakash) 1; Rajput Prince 2; Kangan 3, Not run: Victory Flag (5). Won by: 1/2; 4-1/4; (1-15.6). Tote: Win Rs 57; Place: 19; 15; 16; Quinella: 117; Tanala: 657. Fav: Rajput Prince (1).
7. Piarehind Plate 1,100m: (8-13-2) Afilado (Gallagher) 1; Southern Star 2; Millenium Star 3. Not run: Sparkling Spirit (4). Won by: 3-1/2; 4; (1-7.9). Tote: Win Rs 32; Place: 14; 13; 32; Quinella: 28; Tanala: 354. Fav: Southern Star (13).
8. Prince Paddy Plate1,100m: (4-14-1) Streaking Senorita (M. Narredu) 1; Nuclear Power 2; Dream Lover 3. Won by: 5-1/2; 2-1/4; (1-9.1). Tote: Win Rs 34; Place: 17; 55; 15; Quinella: 594; Tanala: 1,744. Fav: Dream Lover (1).

Jackpot: Rs 3,213; (C) Rs 323.

Treble: (i) Rs 266; (ii) Rs 286; (iii) Rs 609.

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