India hand Kiwis their first major crown
India to tour SA next October-November
David Richards to quit ICC
Jarnail was a man of substance: Chuni
Bengal retain team title
Pune Derby/ Piccolina posts surprise win

 
 
INDIA HAND KIWIS THEIR FIRST MAJOR CROWN 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Nairobi, Oct. 15: 
INDIA 264/6 (50 ovs)
NEW ZEALAND 265/6 (46.4 ovs)
MoM: CAIRNS

So close and yet so far. Well, the umpteenth such story for Indian cricket. But today, at least, there was a difference: The shoulders didn’t droop; the spirit never quite dipped.

What counts, though, is that New Zealand won the ICC KnockOut Kenya 2000 — their No. 1 major title. And, if captain Stephen Fleming is to be believed, the timing couldn’t be better. “We didn’t do well in the Olympics, we haven’t been doing too well in rugby... Hopefully, this will be a significant moment for all of New Zealand.”

As a final, it was gripping, with the fight for dot-balls so fierce that everybody at the packed Nairobi Gymkhana had their Kenyan Shillings’ worth.

Of course, Sourav Ganguly, the Indian captain, was left ruing what could and should have been. It didn’t help that India, after being inserted, failed to get 20-odd runs more. Didn’t help either that spearhead Zaheer Khan had a miserable day, going for as many as 30 in his first spell (three overs) itself.

Zaheer out of rhythm

Constantly over-stepping, Zaheer never found his rhythm and the pressure to defend a total which wasn’t exactly match-winning — certainly not on a belter — straightaway grew manifold. One Chris Cairns added to that even more.

Cairns, in fact, authored an innings (third hundred) which every captain hopes for in a tight situation. Father Lance was recognised as a top-bracket fighter. This evening, the younger Cairns confirmed the tradition continues.

His comrade-in-arms was Chris Harris, for long regarded a bits-and-pieces player. Yet, such cricketers can prove invaluable. Harris (46 in 72 balls) and Cairns (102 not out off 113 deliveries, 9x4, 2x6) took New Zealand to the doorstep of victory, putting on 122 for the sixth-wicket in about 25 overs.

That partnership shut India out and, at the fag end, New Zealand required 13 from the last two and only three from the last over. With Ajit Agarkar bowling, nobody expected a last-ball finish. He didn’t disappoint.

India could still have pulled through had Sourav and Yuvraj Singh been professional in seeking to run out Harris while the pressure still was more on New Zealand. Then, in the 47th over, Anil Kumble went for 15 as Cairns smashed him for six and swept fine for a boundary.

A failed gamble

Bringing back Kumble then was a gamble and it didn’t pay — that one over, of course, sent his economy rate for a six. Sourav tried different combinations — even having quicks from both ends when the light deteriorated — but it wasn’t to be his and India’s day. Obviously, it was pre-ordained the honours would all go to Cairns, bothered by a troublesome left knee, and to New Zealand.

At the top of the order, Nathan Astle and Roger Twose also contributed, while Craig McMillan looked dangerous as long as he was around. He was claimed by Sachin Tendulkar, going for the mother of all cuts. There were moments when Sachin looked the best bowler on view.

Indian innings

In the morning, it appeared the final was over within four overs itself, by when Sourav and Sachin had put on 37. The first and last deliveries of the very first over, from Geoff Allott, set the agenda for the morning: The first ball was fired through the off-side for four, by the captain, while Sachin on-drove the last. Four again.

Sanity of sorts was restored in the fifth over, when the half-fit Cairns bowled a maiden. Bowling from a shorter run-up, Cairns completed his quota of ten overs at one go and helped stem the torrent of runs from the openers. He did a far better job than the hundred per cent fit bowlers.

“Don’t think I could have come back for a second spell. In the circumstances, it was best to finish on-the-trot,” Man of the Match Cairns explained.

Cairns had tried to unsettle Sourav by needling him, initially, but Sourav is no rookie to get flustered. And, to prove a point perhaps, the Indian captain reserved some of his best shots for Cairns. For example, a pulled four, another which was smacked square and the six over long-off.

Sourav respects Cairns, but that’s only off-the-field. Once he has taken guard, respect and reputation take the back seat.

Much of the early fizz and sparkle was provided by Sachin, who was close to his best. He drove through covers, flicked, square cut with a vengeance and pulled with devastating effect. For variety, Sachin paddle-swept as well. It was an imperious performance.

During his innings, Sachin overtook Mohammed Azharuddin as one-day cricket’s most prolific rungetter. It was just a question of when, and to the Gymkhana went the privilege of hosting a much-envied landmark.

Sachin was set for century No. 26, when an error in judgement largely on Sourav’s part led to his run out. Sourav, the striker, set out for a single but changed his mind. By then, Sachin was committed to completing the run and, turning back, had no chance to beat Scott Styris’ throw.

The former captain’s 69 came in 83 deliveries (10x4, 1x6) and the partnership was worth 141 — the tenth 100-plus collaboration between Sachin and Sourav. Sachin’s exit, though, affected the run-rate. In fact, the first ten overs remained the most productive (67 runs).

Sourav, who continued from where he had left off against South Africa, played the lead role in Rahul Dravid’s run out. Again, the same “yes-yes-no-no” bit caused disaster. And it did take some of the sheen off Sourav’s outstanding 117 (130 balls, 9x4, 4x6).

Back-to-back hundreds are rare; even more in the final stages of such a high-profile tournament. In four outings, Sourav totalled a handsome 348.

Exclude Sourav’s hand in the run outs and he had the packed turnout eating out of his palms. And very well received were his twin gestures on completing his 15th century: Kissing the India crest, on his helmet, and his bat.

The timing, as always, was ethereal and Sourav’s use of feet was natty. Cairns, Harris, Astle... All were thumped for big overboundaries.

It’s Sourav’s dismissal, deceived by the change in pace from Astle, which helped New Zealand regain poise. Indeed, they clawed back to concede only 57 in the last ten overs.

The slog overs’ crisis which hit India, claimed Yuvraj (who appeared to be following the captain’s instructions), Vinod Kambli (subjected to repeated “hai-hais”) and Robin Singh, who did attempt to bat as if his life depended on this one innings. Agarkar didn’t make the most of a let-off from Harris.

Overall, it was a strong comeback by New Zealand, individually (Geoff Allott, for instance) and collectively. In a down-to-the-wire finish, this was the difference between winning and losing.    


 
 
INDIA TO TOUR SA NEXT OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Nairobi, Oct. 15: 
India’s preparations for the 2003 cricket World Cup will actually begin next October-November itself when the team will tour South Africa for a ten-game tri-series and three Tests.

Speaking to The Telegraph this morning, Dr Ali Bacher, the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) managing director, said the tri-series is likely to be held first — with Kenya being the third team.

“The dates are being finalised, but India should reach South Africa in early-October and leave in end-November,” Dr Bacher, who steps down as MD in January to assume charge as chief executive of World Cup 2003, remarked.

The Tests are likely to be in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth, while the tri-series will obviously be staged at venues which will host the World Cup.

According to Dr Bacher, 12 centres have tentatively been shortlisted for the February-March 2003 mega event: Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Bloemfontein, Centurion, Benoni, Paarl, Kimberley, Pietermaritzburg, and Pothefstroom — a new venue, some 80 km from Johannesburg.

In fact, Pothefstroom will be hosting its first match during the ensuing series against New Zealand.

Dr Bacher indicated 47 World Cup games will be staged in South Africa, while Zimbabwe and Kenya could together hold seven. The 2003 World Cup will be the biggest-ever: 14 teams, two more than the field in both the 1996 and 1999 World Cups.

Besides the ten Test-playing nations and Kenya, the top three finishers of the 2001 ICC Trophy (in Canada) will compete in the tournament.

One-match ban

South African quick Roger Telemachus, who was involved in an ungentlemanly incident with Rahul Dravid during the India-South Africa semi-final Friday, has been banned for one game by Match Referee Cammie Smith.

Telemachus, then, will miss the first one-dayer against New Zealand.    


 
 
DAVID RICHARDS TO QUIT ICC 
 
 
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Nairobi, Oct. 15: 
The long-serving International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive, David Richards, has decided to quit. His decision, which has certainly come as a surprise, was made public this morning.

Richards has given the ICC 12 month’s notice, as was mandatory in his contract, but may leave earlier if his “successor is ready to move in before October 2001.” The ICC’s Executive Board, which meets here tomorrow and on Tuesday, will straightaway set the successor-ball rolling.

“Actually, I would have announced my decision three months ago, but didn’t do so because of the match-fixing scandal and the ICC’s desire to have something in place to make sure the guilty were suitably punished. That’s done now and I can return back to Australia,” Richards told The Telegraph.

Richards, who had to shift base to London, added that “family considerations” influenced his decision in a big way. “In any case, the ICC has grown to where it today is and it’s not possible for me to make a long-term commitment, which the ICC’s next phase of growth requires.” Richards assumed office in 1993.

While it’s a fact that the ICC today is much different from when Richards took charge, he wasn’t always very popular with administrators from Asia. That, of course, is now history.

Meanwhile, ICC president Malcolm Gray praised Richards by saying: “David has led the ICC tremendously since his appointment... During his term the ICC has evolved as an effective international sporting organisation...”    


 
 
JARNAIL WAS A MAN OF SUBSTANCE: CHUNI 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Oct. 15: 
“A man of strength, substance and sheer competitiveness — qualities which remain so elusive for present-day footballers in the country. He was the strongest player I ever played with.” This was how Chuni Goswami, a legend in Indian football, described his contemporary and another soccer great, Jarnail Singh, who died of a heart attack in Vancouver (Canada) on Friday.

“I am lucky and India was lucky to have got such a strong man in the team. We used to get inspired by his very presence in the defence,” Goswami reminisced. “Jarnail was not a skilful player, so to speak. But he made up this deficiency with strength, temperament, keen competitiveness and endurance. While most players tended to start gasping after 60-70 minutes, he was the type who never looked tiring matches after matches,” he added.

The 64-year-old widower had gone to visit his son Harshmohan in Vancouver four months back.

Inarguably the country’s best defender, Jarnail played a key role in India’s gold medal winning performance at the Jakarta Asian Games in 1962 and led the national side in the Asian Games in Bangkok four years later.

He also donned the national colours in the Rome Olympics in 1960, the last time that India made it to the main stage of the greatest show on earth. He is till date the lone Indian to have led an Asian XI, a distinction he earned in 1966.

He was also the second player besides Chuni Goswami to have represented India in its golden age of soccer, which saw the national team winning Asian Games gold and being runners-up in Asian Cup and Merdeka Cup championships.

Having learnt his basics in Phagwara in the Punjab, Jarnail’s talents surfaced during the all-India university tournament in Bareily in 1957. He moved to Calcutta to play for Rajasthan.

Two years later, he joined Mohun Bagan and his decade-long stint with the green-maroon outfit helped it win the IFA League four times and the Durand Cup thrice.

Indian Footballer of the Millennium and star defender Sailen Manna said Jarnail Singh “was technically very sound as was evident in his clean tackles. He was tough but not rough”.

Former India international and celebrated coach Amal Dutta said Jarnail had all the qualities which make a top class defender. “He was the best defender I have seen. He also pioneered power football in the country,” the Tollygunge Agragami coach said.

While Union sports minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa mourned the death of “a great player”, for chief national coach Sukhwinder Singh it was the loss of a man “who was like my guru”.

Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh Badal said the legendary footballer would be given a state funeral as and when his body is brought back to his home state.

For the past few months, Jarnail was suffering from depression after having lost his wife and son. “Yes, he was feeling lonely. I’ve heard about this. But had he come back to Calcutta, he would have found company of a good number of his friends here and his premature end might not have come that way,” Goswami regretted.    


 
 
BENGAL RETAIN TEAM TITLE 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Oct. 15: 
Chhabi Ghosh and Birangana Thakur of Bengal and Orissa’s Ranjib Rana created meet records as the 12th East Zone junior athletics meet ended at the Salt Lake Stadium and SAI Eastern Centre today. The host state retained the overall championship with 5076 points.

RESULTS (winners only) — Boys’ U-20 — 10km walk: I. Singh (Man), 53:36.9; Shot put: B.K. Singh (Bih-A), 13.63; 800m: M. Kumar (Bih-A), 2:03.7; 3000m steeple: S. Mahato (Bih-A), 10:03.2; 4x100m: Bihar-R 44.1s; Javelin: D. Singh (Bih-A), 60.56m; 5000m: Babloo Ghosh (Ben), 15:49.9; Long jump: L.D. Singh (Man), 7.05m; 400m hurdles: P. Pahi (Bih-A), 53.5; 200m: C. Mahato (Bih-A), 22.3. Boys’ U-18 — 10km walk: R. Singh (Man), 53:36.7; 800m: B. Singh (Ori), 2.00.2; Shot put: D. Gogoi (Asm), 12.94m; Javelin: V.K. Singh (Bih-R), 55.34m; Long jump: Soumen Mondal (Ben), 6.69m; 2000m steeple: NG. Inac Singh (Man), 6:08.0; 200m: R.K. Rana (Ori), 21.9 (NMR); 4x100m: Orissa, 43.8s; 5000m: D. Baruah (Asm), 16:37.4; Heptathlon: Ajit (Bih-R), 3760 pts. Boys’ U-16 — 800m run: P. Singh (Man), 1:59.9; Shot put: H. Bora (Asm), 13.19m; Javelin: S.B. Matari (Asm), 54.61m; Long jump: M.R. Soren (Ori) 6.80m; 4x100m: Bengal, 51.2. Girls’ U-20 — 5km walk: Anju Sharma (Ben), 27:47.9s; 10,000m: L. Chaobachanu (Man), 43:12.5; 800m: Sutapa Das (Ben), 2:23.5. 200m: Sumona Mandol (Ben), 25.8; Javelin: Tina Chatterjee (Ben), 35.68m; Long jump: Kalpana Das (Ben), 5.76m; Shot put: A. Kumari (Bih-A), 10.25m. Girls’ U-18 — 800m: A. Rani (Bih-A), 2:16.7; 200m: I. Basu (Ori), 25:8; Javelin: Kalyani Shetia (Asm), 36.07m. Girls’ U-16 — 800m: Gurubari Soy (Bih-A), 2:28.2; Shot put: Chhabi Ghosh (Ben), 10.25m (NMR); Long jump: Anjali Shee (Ben), 5.07m; 4x100m: Bengal, 52.6. Girls’ U-14 — Pentathlon: Birangana Thakur (Ben), 3370 pts (NMR).    


 
 
PUNE DERBY/ PICCOLINA POSTS SURPRISE WIN 
 
 
BY HONKY DORY
 
Pune, Oct. 15: 
The Subhag Singh-trained filly Piccolina recorded an upset win in the 2,000m Nanoli Stud Pune Derby in Pune on Sunday. Bajrang Singh guided the No Louder-Al Zahyla daughter to victory. Trailing the field till the final turn, Bajrang zig-zagged his way up and led the field 100m from home for a shade under four-length victory over Yukon, another rank-outsider.

RESULTS

(With inter-state dividends)
1. Indiscretion Trophy 1,000m: (1-2-3) Mountain Rose (Rajendra) 1; Lightning Star 2; Princess Gabriella 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 2-3/4; (1-3.2). Tote: Win Rs 44; Quinella: 98. Fav: Princess Gabriella (3).
2. Mysore Race Club Trophy 2,400m: (1-2-4) Fine Arrow (M. Narredu) 1; Prime Of Life 2; Ride The Lightning 3. Won by: Dist; 1-1/4; (2-35). Tote: Win Rs 35; Place: 19; 36; Quinella: 105; Tanala: 480. Fav: Amber Brown (3).
3. Sir Sultan Chinoy Trophy 2,000m: (6-3-2) Berlino (Kamlesh) 1; San Marino Star 2; Sound Of Whisper 3. Won by: Nk; 6; (2-7.3). Tote: Win Rs 24; Place: 19; 15; Quinella: 33; Tanala: 158. Fav: San Marino Star (3).
4. Grey Magic Plate 1,600m: (5-3-1) Equity (Prakash) 1; Flamebird 2; Boundless Thrill 3. Not run: Abish (8). Won by: 1/2; 4; (1-43.1). Tote: Win Rs 40; Place: 15; 14; 18; Quinella: 66; Tanala: 664. Fav: Colonel’s Dream (4).
5. Pune City Sprint Trophy 1,200m: (10-1-9) Strength To Strength (Ruzaan) 1; Radiant 2; Specialist 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 2; (1-10.7). Tote: Win Rs 111; Place: 29; 14; 41; Quinella: 152; Tanala: 2,736. Fav: Radiant (1).
6. Prudential Champ Stakes 1,400m: (7-6-3) The Proletarian (M. Narredu) 1; Soviet Run 2; Flying High 3. Not run: Charismatic (9). Won by: 4-1/2; Dist; (1-25.6). Fav: The Proletarian (7).
7. Nanoli Stud Pune Derby 2,000m: (11-8-5-9) Piccolina (Bajrang) 1; Yukon (Prakash) 2; Storm Again (Shroff) 3; Access All Areas (Kader) 4. Not run: Moment Of Truth (3). Won by: 3-3/4; 3-1/4; SH; (2-7.8). Fav: Access All Areas (9).

(Note: Owing to failure of the computerised betting system the totalisator remained defunct seventh race onwards.)

8. Desert Warrior Trophy 1,400m: (12-4-2) Wild Heart (Gallagher) 1; Twist Afleet 2; Midnight Charm 3. Won by: 2; 1/2; (1-26.3). Fav: Sea Farer (11).
9. Knight Earnest Plate 1,000m: (7-8-4) Mein Kampf (Rajendra) 1; Osprey 2; Rising Fire 3. Won by: 3/4; 3/4; (1-1.9). Fav: Rising Fire (4).

Treble: (i) Rs 1,288.

Dividends of the jackpot, second treble and the sixth race wiil be paid on October 20.

   
 

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