South Africa go 184 runs ahead
Players no longer employees: Richardson
Sourav gets Boardís nod to visit daughter
Bengal Ranji squad today
WB Police beat Milan Bithee

 
 
SOUTH AFRICA GO 184 RUNS AHEAD 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Bloemfontein, Nov. 5: 
Perhaps under a wrong impression that Shiv Sundar Das turned 24 today, the South Africans gave the diminutive opener a handsome .present.: A let-off (Mark Boucher off Shaun Pollock) on the very first legitimate ball he faced.

Certainly not one to look a gift horse in the mouth . though his birthday is July 1 . Shiv Sundar authored an outstanding unbeaten 54 (108 minutes, 89 deliveries, 11x4) to throw .open. the first Test at Goodyear Park. Incidentally, even an announcement was made (at the Park), congratulating the .birthday boy.!

Of course, India are behind on the first innings by 88, but Shiv Sundarís response will inspire. In any case, he will himself take guard afresh on the fourth morning. The Sachin Tendulkars and Sourav Gangulys don.t have to dig deep for inspiration, yet this one innings is bound to change the Indians. body-language.

Knocking 96 runs off the huge 184 deficit, that too emphatically, isn.t a regular occurrence.

Keeping Shiv Sundar company is V. V. S. Laxman, who replaced Rahul Dravid. Uncharacteristically playing away from the body, Dravid was smartly taken by Gary Kirsten in gully. But while the makeshift opener failed for the second time in this Test, statemate Jawagal Srinath returned a fivewicket haul.

Srinath who, in the process, joined the 200-club, remarked getting this far was a .reward. for all the hard work. And, talking of his performance here, acknowledged the wickets .didnít come easy..

Speaking to The Telegraph at the team hotel, Shiv Sundar, for his part, said: .I played my natural game, thatís it... I had only decided if something loose came my way, I wouldn.t let go the opportunity... Letís hope we can force a lead of around 200..

Earlier, South Africaís USP . depth in batting . became Indiaís nightmare. If two century partnerships yesterday weren.t bad enough, Lance Klusener and Mark Boucher added a record 121 for the seventh-wicket.

If anything, that one partnership helped consolidate South Africaís hold. Specifically, it played a big hand in South Africa getting past their highest versus India . 529 for seven in Cape Town (1996-97).

The Klusener-Boucher association ended before tea, taken at 530 for eight, when the wicketkeeper fell for 47 (110 minutes, 84 balls, 5x4, 1x6), but the innings continued till 28 minutes after the interval. That was time enough for the dynamic Klusener to post his fourth hundred (second against India).

He didn.t quite smash a six, like Herschelle Gibbs, to get there, but reached three-figures via the next best option: A pulled four off Anil Kumble. Klusener, for the record, had a mere 110 in his last 11 Test innings and, so, itís been a commendable return to form for somebody who invariably raises his game versus India.

Klusener did hit a six, though, off Kumble before falling to the seasoned leg-spinner for 108 (196 minutes, 124 deliveries, 18x4, 1x6). Offering a return catch was actually out of sync with his powerpacked approach right through the innings.

Obviously inspired by Klusener, Makhaya Ntini then unleashed a cameo (23 off 23 balls) before becoming Srinathís fifth victim. The India spearhead finished with five for 140, his ninth five-wicket haul (second in succession) in 54 Test appearances.

Indeed, if Klusener largely did the star-turn for South Africa, Srinath and Ashish Nehra did have their moments . as also Shiv Sundar, late in the day. Srinath, in fact, was on a hattrick before lunch, when the second new ball was pretty new.

Srinath bowled Boeta Dippenaar (who was run-less for the first 25 deliveries) with a beauty and, then, induced a surprised Pollock to land an inside-edge into Shiv Sundarís safe hands.The captainís wicket will remain special as he became victim No. 200.

Itís taken Srinath exactly a decade to reach the landmark (fifth Indian to do so), but the achievement is creditable. More so, as just under five years ago, his career was threatened by a shoulder problem. Srinath even missed almost 10 months of international cricket in 1997.

In the second session, Srinath evicted Boucher as well, to take to tea with four for 117. More than the other quicks, Srinath is a rhythm bowler, but even if he isn.t consistent, there were still be probing deliveries.

Nehra sent back the dangerous Jacques Kallis before lunch and added Nicky Bojeís wicket before tea. He generally bowled a disciplined line and got the ball to swing. A measure of Nehraís improvement is that he didn.t overstep even once today:Yesterday, he did so 11 times.

Significantly, Kallis. dismissal was his first in Tests since Kingston, in April. He remained unbeaten for a record 20 hours and 41 minutes, spanning three Tests and two series. Kallis left after edging Nehra to second-slip, where Laxman held well.

Resuming at 327 for three, South Africa made steady progress till Sourav Ganguly claimed the second new ball (353 for three, 95th over). By then, 41 minutes had passed and while some will always be critical, Sourav had a good reason to hold back taking it: He wanted Kumble to have a go.

The move paid immediate dividends, in the period before lunch (419 for six), but Klusener had already become a sticky customer. After lunch, he opened his shoulders and raced to fifty in 41 deliveries (11x4). Boucher had two singles in the first 50 minutes after the break.

Klusener continued with his piling-on-the-runs act, but Boucher exited when it looked he would do what his senior mate was doing. As it turned out, Boucher and Boje fell in quick succession, the latter giving Deep Dasgupta his maiden catch.

To be fair Deep had just halfan-hour to prepare for this Test but, thus far, hasn.t really grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Perhaps, he should have a fullfledged session with Dave Richardson, instead of chatting with him for a few minutes.

Dighe issue

Meanwhile, Samir Dighe will again be assessed by a local specialist on Wednesday. He continues to have Ďspasms. and ligaments on both sides of his back have got Ďstretched.. This was intimated by manager Dr M. K. Bhargava. Harbhajan Singh, expectedly, is .fully fit..

   

 
 
PLAYERS NO LONGER EMPLOYEES: RICHARDSON 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Bloemfontein, Nov. 5: 
Itís widely believed that a players. association does exist in South Africa. Actually, there is no formal body, but the international cricketers are represented by former wicketkeeper Dave Richardson, and the company he himself represents . Octagon.

Based in Cape Town, Richardson is also into .part-time. TV commentary, something which has brought him here. Last evening, he spoke to The Telegraph exclusively on interacting with the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) as a representative of all contracted players.

Following are excerpts

On how he became the players. representative

(Laughs) As I was almost the grandfather of the team (32 on debut in 1991), I got pushed into doing the negotiating role with the UCBSA. That I was a lawyer, probably helped as well... In those days, I would go to Dr Ali Bacher (then the chief executive) and he would say .no. we can.t afford this right now, but this is what... It would be a thumb-sucker figure... Nowadays, itís handled a bit differently, particularly after I quit playing in early 1998.

On the manner in which itís handled today

Octagon, an international sports marketing firm, of which I.m the business director, formally represents the South African team. Actually, we represent the South African Team Trust, that is all players who get contracted each season. At the moment the number is 19 and, now, there are four categories instead of three (A,B,C). The additional category is A-1.

On the creation of the A-1 category

When only three categories existed, the difference in retainership between a top (A category) player and somebody in C wasn.t significant. Now, it is . as it ought to be (difference between somebody in A-1 and category C).

On the representation usually made to the UCBSA

We have studied the Australian structure and believe the players should get 25 per cent of the entire revenue, as is the case there. However, right now, I would say the players. share in South Africa is around 20 per cent. Eventually, we will get to that 25 per cent mark. After all, the players must get a fair percentage of the revenue accruing to the Boards. Indeed, itís largely because of them that money is earned.

On when exactly does he make the representation

The contracts run from May 1 to April 30 and, so, itís around February-March that I begin interacting with the UCBSA. At times, itís all agreed to in one or two meetings. On other occasions, a series of meetings could be required. While it is the selectors. prerogative to make the category-specific placements,we suggest the amount each category player should be getting.

On the impression that cricketers are already being highly paid

(Grins) I.ve been talking of 25 per cent of the revenue.Well, in the US, I think the figure is closer to 50 per cent in the National Basketball League. Probably in baseball, too. So... If I may add, cricketers ought not to be compared with lawyers or chartered accountants as their career span is so much less.

On the ideal player-Board relationship

Look, the Boards must consult players more often, bounce ideas off them... Keep them informed... Tap them for advice... Today, players should be seen as partners in a business venture. The days of players being treated as an employee are over.

On why there is no players. association in South Africa

An honest attempt was made, specially as rumblings were heard among some cricketers who only play domestic first-class cricket, but that didn.t work out. I mean, when it came to putting their money where their mouth was, hardly anybody could be counted. Generally, first-class players are well looked after in South Africa. However, I personally believe two things: That some players don.t deserve to be part of a pro set-up and, secondly, that getting together 11 provincial teams (on one platform) is a huge ask.

On the move to introduce contracts and graded payments in India

Must definitely come about. As I.ve already told you, the players should be seen as partners.

Finally, on the international players. body . Federation of International Cricketers. Association (Fica)

It should grow and must have representation from the sub-continent, where the money obviously is. I don.t think any purpose will be served if only Englishmen and Australians are on board. As I see it, the ICC is preparing to tighten control. In this scenario, itís essential the cricketers, too, have a strong body. Really, they should all be under one umbrella. Bottomline is they must be organised on their side of the fence. RICHARDSON: Scripting a fully professional outlook ĎAs I was almost the grandfather of the team (32 on debut in 1991), I got pushed into doing the negotiating role with the UCBSA.That I was a lawyer,probably helped as well...í ĎIíve been talking of 25 per cent of the revenue (as payment for players).Well, in the US, I think the figure is closer to 50 per cent in the National Basketball League. Probably in baseball, tooí Security fears hit Sourav gets

   

 
 
SOURAV GETS BOARDíS NOD TO VISIT DAUGHTER 
 
 
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Bloemfontein, Nov. 5: 
Captain Sourav Ganguly has got the Boardís permission to make a short trip home and see his first child, born last Saturday. However, he is undecided on whether to actually go to Calcutta.

I.ll decide by tomorrow evening,. Sourav told The Telegraph tonight.

If Sourav does go, it will be straight after the first Test, which ends Wednesday. Though he will miss the four-day game in East London, he will be back well before the second Test, in Port Elizabeth from November 16.

   

 
 
BENGAL RANJI SQUAD TODAY 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Nov. 5: 
Following a prolonged pre-season conditioning camp Bengal selectors meet tomorrow to shortlist those they consider fit to represent Bengal in the upcoming Ranji Trophy campaign.

Though Bengal begin versus Assam at home on November 30, those picked tomorrow may not ultimately form the first-match squad. .

With the game drawing closer, we want to bring down the number of probables and initially pick those who are expected to form the core of the team,. said one of the two CAB joint-secretaries today. .To that end,we may initially shortlist 14 or even 16 players,. he added.

Itís unlikely to be a hassle-free selection meeting and apart from deciding the captain, the selectors may also have a tough time picking the wicketkeeper. Among the probables, Utpal Chatterjee and Devang Gandhi have already led Bengal, but odds this time also favour Rohan Gavaskar and his chances can.t be ruled out.

With Syed Saba Krim having hanged his gloves and Deep Dasgupta on national duty, those in contention for the wicketkeeperís slot are Ritesh Jaiswal, Manoj Shaw, Humza Firozie and Pulak Das.

Though itís unclear who will get the nod, sources close to the team think none in the reckoning are .dependable..

Speculations apart, players think the two-month pre-season stint has done wonders to their fitness. Talking about that, Nikhil Haldipur said he has recovered from a back trouble, which needed treatment in England.

The enigmatic left-hander, who skipped the Moinud-Dowlah and Buchi Babu meets, said he feels fine and wants to check what itís like in match-situations.

BENGALíS ZONAL MATCHES: Nov. 30-Dec. 3: vs Assam. Dec. 21-24: vs Tripura. Dec. 29-Jan. 1: vs Bihar. Jan. 5-8: vs Orissa. (Barring the first one, rest are away matches).

   

 
 
WB POLICE BEAT MILAN BITHEE 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Nov. 5: 
First division, group A action in the local football league resumed today with West Bengal Police scoring a solitarygoal win over Milan Bithee.

Arabinda Sarkar scored the all-important goal at the Mohammedan Sporting ground.

The match between Howrah Union and Bata SC ended goalless at Mohun Bagan, as did the one featuring Wari and Railway FC at Howrah Stadium.

Resumption of action on the pitch wasn.t devoid of minor trouble off it, and today, it was caused by the absence of enough match officials at the East Bengal ground. The Salkia Friends-City AC match fell through because of this and it led to some club officials seeking explanation from the IFA.

With most senior office-bearers of the state body not available, what the clubs got was an assurance that the issue will be taken up by the league sub-committee.

State age-group chess

Four players were sharing the lead with 3.5 points each in under13 section of the state age-group chess championship.

In Round 4 at Khudiram Anushilan Kendra today, Debanjan Majumdar drew with Souparno Ghosh and Joydeep Dutta shared the point with Sheikh Shahid Ahmed. All had three points before this round.

Soumya Thakurta and Prabuddha Ghosh were leading the under-11 section with four points, and Debanjan Das was leading the under-9 category, also with four points. Samrat Garai was the leader in the under-7 section.

   
 

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