India wrap up series in style
Interest now on Kapil Dev’s move
Jarman verdict on Sourav today
Skipper lauds Agarkar effort
Muthiah’s reply to Kamal Morarka
Different Strokes/ Youngsters provide reason for cheer
Titles for Port , E. Railway
Easy for Vignesh

 
 
INDIA WRAP UP SERIES IN STYLE 
 
 
FROM ARUP CHATTERJEE
 
Kanpur, Dec. 11: 
ZIMBABWE 165 (45.4 ovs)
INDIA 166/1 (25 ovs)
MoM: Sourav Ganguly

Inconsistency, the bane of the Zimbabwe side, resurfaced at the Green Park today to claim them yet another time. The joys of Jodhpur evaporated into the clear winter sky of Kanpur. Hype gave way to humiliation.

For an entire day, Heath Streak and Company hardly looked the team that had so gallantly chased a 50-over target of 284 the other day to bounce back into the series. With the Indians lifting their game a notch or two, it was always going to be a mismatch. The Zimbabweans looked lost even before the contest had quite begun.

Winning a good toss, the visitors managed a pathetic 165 on a wicket which, despite the occasional low bounce, was loaded firmly in favour of the batsman. It was going to be a cakewalk for the Indians from there, and it was. Only half the quota of overs were used as India romped to a nine-wicket victory and, in the process, wrapped up the series at 3-1.

The final match, at Rajkot on Thursday, has now been reduced to one of academic interest.

Sourav Ganguly, who had finished with his second five-wicket haul in ODIs earlier in the day, came back to hit an unbeaten 71 off 68 deliveries and left no one in doubt as to who should pick up the Man of the Match award.

The Indian skipper, who hit 12 boundaries and a six, marred his day somewhat by openly displaying his displeasure over umpiring decisions that has earned him Match Referee Barry Jarman’s wrath.

Sourav and Sachin Tendulkar put on 157, the 12th occasion when the duo had a century stand for the opening wicket. Only Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes of the West Indies have more (16).

Sachin, who had scored a century in Jodhpur, got an 86-ball 62 before he fell to a stroke he should have been careful about on this wicket. Trying to pull Travis Friend, the Little Master was done in by one that didn’t bounce as much as he had bargained for. But, by then, he had reached his 50th fifty in this variety of the game.

The battle, of course, was won and lost in the morning, when some very ordinary batting by the visitors handed the reigns to India.

The start of the match was delayed by half-an-hour because of heavy dew that had to be painstakingly mopped up, and Alistair Campbell began by announcing his intentions with a couple of boundaries off Venkatesh Prasad.

The first four overs produced 21 runs, and Zimbabwe looked to be on their way. They were, however, pulled back by some tight bowling from both Prasad and Zaheer Khan — and an inexplicable reluctance on part of the batsmen to respond to the needs of the hour.

Trevor Madondo, playing his first match of the series, was solid but slow — chipping away at Campbell’s good work at the other end. His reluctance to come on to the front foot hardly ever put him in a position to punch through the infield and make the best of the fielding restriction in the first 15 overs. Only 57 came off them.

When Campbell left, surprised by one that came back as he shaped to force into the outside, the pressure mounted further. Madondo tried to move into a higher gear, and Agarkar was hoisted over mid-wicket for a four before he was unlucky to be adjudged leg-before by umpire C.K. Sathe, ball clearly going down leg-side.

Stuart Carlisle did the same damage as Madondo did by failing to keep the scoreboard moving. Andy Flower fell to the pressure as he swept Sourav from outside his off-stump, only to find Ajit Agarkar at deep mid-wicket. It was huge blow to Zimbabwe, and they simply crumbled from there.

Grant Flower was bowled through the gate by Sourav with one that came back. Carlisle went next, in identical fashion, his 20 coming off 54 balls.

The Indian skipper returned to claim his Zimbabwean counterpart in his next over, Heath Streak getting an inside edge into the wicketkeeper’s gloves as he drove off the backfoot. It was 141 for six in the 37th over. A run later, in the next over, Guy Whittall left, failing to beat wicketkeeper Vijay Dahiya’s throw from close as he scurried through for a tight single.

By now, Ajit Agarkar was getting his reverse swing going nicely, and Mluleki Nkala knew nothing about the one that dipped back to smash into his stumps as he gave Agarkar the charge.

Friend was gone the next over, leg-before to Sourav but the ball again looked to be going down leg. Umpire Sathe, who had been the subject of the aggressive Indian appealing, looked to have cracked under pressure.

Sourav had got his five wickets, and it was perhaps in the fitness of things that Agarkar wrapped it up for he really has been a consistent performer in this series. The Mumbai medium-pacer showed fine reflexes as he latched onto a firm drive from Henry Olonga on second attempt to bring the Zimbabwe innings to a close.

When the Indian reply began, Sachin survived a few anxious moments, against both Friend and Brian Strang but Sourav took Friend out of the attack by dispatching him for four boundaries in his fourth over.

Streak, who replaced him, was then hit for three fours by Sachin. It was a cruise from there, though Sachin should have been taken at short cover by Guy Whittall off Strang when on 35.

Tendulkar reached his fifty first, off 64 balls with eight fours. It included eight fours and a huge six over wide long-off off Olonga.

By then, everyone was looking forward to the end of this hopelessly one-sided contest.

   

 
 
INTEREST NOW ON KAPIL DEV’S MOVE 
 
 
BY LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Calcutta, Dec. 11: 
The Board’s commissioner, K. Madhavan, will be “free” to summon either all or some of the India players who did duty in last season’s drawn Ahmedabad Test versus New Zealand.

“It’s going to be his discretion... First, of course, Madhavan will meet the-then coach Kapil Dev and, later, decide his next course of action,” a well-placed Board source told The Telegraph this evening.

The Ahmedabad Test, where India did not enforce the follow-on despite a 275-run lead, is part of Madhavan’s latest brief and much of the focus will be on the former national coach.

Contacted in New Delhi, Kapil though declined comment on this Board-Madhavan move, the roots of which can be traced to the Board’s special general body meeting, in the city late last month.

While the CBI and Madhavan reports were being discussed, some members had called for a Board (Madhavan) probe into Kapil, Ajit Wadekar and Nikhil Chopra.

The Ahmedabad Test was specifically mentioned when Kapil’s name cropped up.

In assigning Madhavan fresh work, Board president A.C.Muthiah has obliged those who insisted the Board’s own inquiry shouldn’t be limited to only those who stood condemned in the CBI report.

In other words, the probe should go beyond a clutch of players, the Kotla groundsman and former physio Ali Irani.

Besides the Ahmedabad Test, Madhavan will also “look” into Wadekar’s “weird” remark about Kapil during his desposition before the CBI.

And, so, Wadekar too will be summoned by Madhavan. Their interaction, however, won’t occur in the next fortnight or so.

Ditto for the proposed Kapil-Madhavan meeting.

Actually, it remains to be seen whether Kapil will respond to a Madhavan call. Having been cleared by the CBI and having closed the cricket chapter of his life, Kapil may ignore the summons.

It’s interesting that Jadeja, who played that Test (only his 14th in nine years of international cricket), received 62 and 50 calls on his mobile from Chennai-based bookie Uttam Chand on days I and III, respectively.

This has been documented by the CBI in its sensational report, made public nearly six weeks ago.

Besides Jadeja, the XI comprised captain Sachin Tendulkar, Sadagopan Ramesh, Devang Gandhi, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, M.S.K.Prasad, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Jawagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad.

   

 
 
JARMAN VERDICT ON SOURAV TODAY 
 
 
FROM ARUP CHATTERJEE
 
Kanpur, Dec. 11: 
Skipper Sourav Ganguly should have been out celebrating India’s triumph over Zimbabwe in the one-day series, as well as his own exceptional all-round performance that brought it all about at the Green Park today. Instead, he’ll spend uneasy night.

For tomorrow, Barry Jarman will spell out his punishment.

Sourav and wicketkeeper Vijay Dahiya have earned the wrath of the Match Referee for carrying too far their appealing during the fourth one-day International today.

It led to exchange of words on the filed between the Indian skipper and the umpires, and even dragged a couple of Zimbabwe players into the controversy.

Jarman, who summoned Sourav and Dahiya to a hearing after the match, along with India’s coach John Wright, handed letters to the two players.

“They’ve breached clauses C-2, C-3 and C-4 of the Code,” Jarman said later.

He was not forthcoming on what was in store for the two Indian players, saying only: “I’ll let them sweat over it tonight.”

Clause C-2 warns players and team officials against “conduct unbecoming to their status” which in turn brings “them or the game into disrepute”.

C-3 deals with accepting the umpire’s decision at all times, while C-3 says they “shall not verbally abuse, assault, intimidate or attempt to intimidate any umpire/supporters/Match Referee/player or team official”.

It is within the Match Referee’s power to impose monetary fine, or even suspend the players for one or more matches. Sourav was suspended for a match during the Australian visit of 1997-98 by Match Referee Peter van der Merwe for showing dissent during the Bagalore Test.

It all came to a head in Sourav’s seventh over, when umpire C. K. Sathe turned down four consecutive leg-before appeals against Mluleki Nkala.

Both Sourav and Dahiya certainly went ‘out of bounds’ with the manner of their appeals, though Sathe surely didn’t have a very distinguished day as far as his decisions were concerned — but, then, both teams benefitted.

To make matters worse, Guy Whittall got into an argument with the Indian skipper and the umpires had to step in to defuse the situation.

The Strang reply

The repercussions of the incident spilled into the afternoon session, with Bryan Strang giving Sourav a piece of his mind after the Indian skipper had ‘lemon-cut’ him past the stumps. Strang then went on to mimic Sourav’s appeal, stirring memories of the Miandad-Kiran More encounter.

Sourav refused to speak on the incident though, when asked about the umpire’s decisions, he said: “You have to draw your own conclusions. You saw on TV what happened.”

Streak reminder

Zimbabwe skipper Heath Streak reminded players of their responsibilities.

“As international cricketers we must remember we’re role models for youngsters. What we do out there will be taken as par by them. I think this is something we all have to remember, even in the heat of competition.”

When asked what happened, he said: “Apparently, a few decisions of the umpires did not appeal to some players.” He, however, refused to elaborate, saying “we were batting then, and I was in the pavilion.”

As the teams left for Lucknow, from where they fly out enroute to Rajkot, Barry Jarman has kept everyone guessing.

   

 
 
SKIPPER LAUDS AGARKAR EFFORT 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Kanpur, Dec. 11: 
“We messed it up at Jodhpur, so it was about time we made amends,” skipper Sourav Ganguly said soon after India had crushed Zimbabwe in the fourth one-day International at the Green Park here to clinch the series at 3-1.

Saying that he hadn’t expected such an easy victory, he was quick to point out that the bowlers did “an exceptional job” and “we were much more positive on the field”. “The reverse swing was working well for us, and what’s important is that the bowlers got it in the right place,” he said.

The skipper had a special word of praise for Ajit Agarkar. “His performance has been top-class. He’s been my mainstay,” said Sourav. He also commended Aashish Kapoor for a good comeback.

He refused to agree that the last tie of the five-match series, at Rajkot on Thursday, has been reduced to a meaningless joust. “It’s still a one-day International, so well obviously go all out there to win that one,” he said.

Asked why Yuvraj Singh was dropped when he himself had said yesterday that “he was too talented to be dropped”, Sourav said he would not like to comment on that. The skipper, it is believed, is annoyed after the selectors (chief selector Chandu Borde and Mandan Lal were here) forced the change upon him.

Coach John Wright believes the team is showing the right signs. “They’re aggressiveness and adjusting quickly to new situations. That’s a sign of intelligence,” he said.

Heath Streak was a shattered man. “We batted poorly. Though the odd ball kept low, there were plenty of runs in the wicket, as Ganguly and Tendulkar showed later,” he said, before going on to add that the bowling and even the fielding fell below standard.

Coach Carl Rackemann pointed out that the team was looking to establish a new opening pair after the departure of Neil Johnson. “Alistair (Campbell) is doing well, but we need a partner for him, he said.

   

 
 
MUTHIAH’S REPLY TO KAMAL MORARKA 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Dec. 11: 
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president, Dr A. C. Muthiah, has reiterated that the punishment meted out to the tainted cricketers was “fair”.

This is in response to vice-president and disciplinary committee member Kamal Morarka’s “protest” over Dr Muthiah’s decision not to postpone the meeting because of his unavailablity.

A statement released by Muthiah from Chennai reads: “After having convened the meeting and announcing to everyone that the decision will be taken, I could not postpone the meeting any further. In my opinion, I have followed the procedures thoroughly.

“Both myself and Mr Ram Prasad have assessed from every angle and arrived at a fair judgement.”

   

 
 
DIFFERENT STROKES/ YOUNGSTERS PROVIDE REASON FOR CHEER 
 
 
BY SUNIL GAVASKAR
 
Mumbai, Dec. 11: 
There seems to be a general approval of the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s decision on the punishment imposed on the players indicted by not only the CBI but also the Board’s own commissioner K. Madhavan. There will always be some who will never be satisfied and grumble for that is their nature and soon enough, they will find something else to complain about.

What the inquiries have proved is — like in South Africa there are just a couple of players who have shown a weakness while the others are strong and have resisted the temptation. As the president of the Board put it, it was indeed a sad day for Indian cricket.

There is, however, cheer on the cricket field as the Indian youngsters are more than contributing their bit in the series against Zimbabwe. The manner in which young Hemang Badani kept his cool and produced a match-winning knock in Cuttack was a pleasure to see.

In his earlier efforts, he had tried to smash almost every ball and had thus been found wanting, but here in a tense situation he batted sensibly and kept his wits about him and ensured a victory for India along with that unsung hero Vijay Dahiya.

Thankfully, nobody is calling Badani a sensation as yet, so he will be able to play in his own way rather than trying to live upto the reputation of being a sensation.

The other success story was Shiv Sundar Das, the well organised opening batsman. In the two Tests he played against the tourists, he has shown good temperament and what has been impressive is the way he keeps still till the ball is delivered. Not for him the shuffle and such movements which can take the head out of the line of the off stump.

Still its early days, for the real test will come against McGrath and company. Luckily, he too has been spared the sobriquet ‘sensation’ and which again gives hope that his career will be able to progress without the burden of that word.

On our pitches the Zimbabwe attack looks pretty pedestrian and Streak has shown his inexperience as a captain by allowing the Indian batsmen the chances to get out of tight situations. Not that the Indian bowling, with the notable exception of Jawagal Srinath, has given the quakes to the Zimbabwe batsmen.

Andy Flower must be cursing that it was only a two Test series for in the kind of form he was in he may have become the first player to get 1000 runs in a Test series if it had been a five-match one. Even Sir Don Bradman did not get 1000 runs in a Test series though he came pretty close by getting 974 runs. He is the only player in the world to have scored over 800 runs in a Test series twice, apart from the 974 and yes he did not bat ten innings in either series.

Though India is winning the one-day series being two up at the time of writing, Zimbabwe haven’t been outclassed like the West Indies have been in Australia. The former world champions have simply not looked in the same league as the current world champions.

There have been various reasons advocated by various people about the current state of West Indian cricket, chief among them being the invasion of Cable TV which has brought in other sports to the Caribbean public and so the interest in cricket has been waning.

Put that argument to some of the past West Indian greats and they scoff at it saying the attraction of basketball in America has always been there so the satellite TV invasion of their skies doesn’t really mean anything but is just an excuse for the Board’s head in the sand position. They feel that not enough was done to improve the infrastructure in the islands and with the quality of pitches deteriorating the quality of batsmanship has gone down.

It is not just the technique which is appalling but the temperament that has been found wanting. The current West Indian batsmen believe that they blast their way out of trouble like the greats of the past forgetting that all those like Greenidge, Haynes, Kallicharan, Lloyd and the incomparable Viv Richards had the good technique and were thus able to keep out the good deliveries and pounce on the bad ones.

They were also prepared to play the waiting game when the bowlers were on top before counter attacking as the bowler tired or the pitch started to lose its sting. Can one forget Richards’ match-winning century in the first Test of the 1987 series where he played cautiously for a long time before playing in that immitable way of his to take his team to a victory? The major problem for the current West Indies team is the absence of a good opening pair.

Campbell is so fidgety that by the time the ball is bowled he is not too sure where his off stump is. Darren Ganga is reasonably correct but after doing the hard work he throws it all away with a rush of blood shot. It really is sad to see the great Lara struggle the way he has been. McGrath seems to have the mental edge and all this publicity about his companion will not help. So Lara will have to make a superhuman effort to get out of the slump. If he does that then the West Indies have a semblance of a chance to come back in the series for if they have to put up a match-winning total they need a major contribution from Lara. The pitch at Adelaide is good for batting at most times and it is the best opportunity for the West Indies to try and stop the rot.

World cricket depends on the West Indies being a good competitive outfit for their brand of cricket is such an exciting one and the West Indies have always been a favourite team of many countries. It would therefore be a real pity if they are unable to come out of the losing cycle quickly.

   

 
 
TITLES FOR PORT , E. RAILWAY 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Dec. 11: 
The Eastern Railway women’s team won their 18th title at the 20th state senior basketball championship at the WBBA courts todsay. In an one-sided match they demolished Rakhi Sangha 82-12. In the men’s section, Calcutta Port Trust beat BBYS 66-52.

The Eastern Railway women set the trend very early in the match and finished the first half with the score at 48-4. Rumi Barua scored 20 points and Rekha Chowdhury 15 for the victorious team. The defeat was even more pronounced for Rakhi Sangha as their opponents did not even field their first XI.

Sujata Haldar and Priyanka Kumari scored four each Rakhi Sangha.

For the men, Robin Mondal scored 19 points for CPT of which he got six three-pointers. Bikash Agarwal got 22 points for the losing side. This was the third title for CPT.

Women’s football

The Mohun Bagan women’s football team conducted their first practice session for the forthcoming league. The team has not yet been registered with the Indian Football Association due to the federation elections.

The team, coached by Kuntala Ghosh Dastidar, comprises 24 women of which 14 are from Calcutta. The rest are expected to be from other parts of the country, mainly from Assam and Manipur.

Among the 14 local footballers, ten came to the first day of practice. Among them were Ranjita Khan, Rinku Ghosh, Mousaba Alam, Barnali Singh, Bipasha Mondal and a few others.

   

 
 
EASY FOR VIGNESH 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Dec. 11: 
Top-seeded V. Vignesh of Andhra Pradesh beat Nirvick Mohinta 6-0, 6-1 in the boys’ under-16 at the first Adhip Mukherjee Memorial AITA junior tennis tournament at the Jaidip Mukerjea Tennis Academy today.

Ramesh Krishnan’s daughter Gayatri Krishnan, in the under-14 category, beat Madhurima Chaudhuri of Bengal 6-1, 6-1.

   
 

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