Magiet: Credit to Shaun in post-Cronje era
Laxman or Deep may be opening options
Climb steeper after terrorist strikes: Narain
100 in fray for city leg
E. Railway rout Rajasthan 4-0

East London, Nov. 12: 
It’s reasonable to say behind every successful team is a consistent selection policy. It’s been so in Australia. In South Africa, too.

However, in the South African context, convenor (chairman) of selectors Rushdi Magiet refuses to take credit. .Oh, we were consistent during the days of my predecessor (Peter Pollock) as well... I.m only continuing that policy,. the 58-year-old Magiet told The Telegraphthis morning.

Magiet, the senior-most selector (he was on the committee even during pre-unification days), added: .While consistency is a factor,we look to pick the best team. And, within that, form and experience come into play. Fitness, too. Today, for instance, we are faced with the Allan Donald and Daryll Cullinan issues. Donald is getting fit; Cullinan already is....

A former first-class cricketer (allrounder with Western Province), Magiet has held the No.1 job for over two years now. It’s been a period which saw South African cricket hit by the biggest scandal-ever: Hansie Cronje’s involvement with match-fixing. .

Well, yes, nobody was prepared for that... I think much of the credit, for the continuing smooth state of affairs, must go to captain Shaun Pollock.Though he was Cronje’s deputy, there was no guarantee he would actually get the top job. Yet, he has been outstanding from the very day he got the captaincy (mid-April, 2000),.Magiet remarked.

Speaking generally,Magiet pointed out that while the selectors are consistent, there has also been a .conscious effort. to .progressively. infuse fresh blood. done so with care, but have done it all the same. Mornantau Hayward, Boeta Dippenaar, Neil McKenzie... Obviously, the core group of eight/nine remains the same....

Incidentally, while the captain and coach are invited to selection meetings, they are kept out of the picture should there be a .dispute.. As Magiet put it: .The decision, finally, is that of the selectors. After all, it’s our job to pick the team. Moreover, we are accountable to our Board’s Council..

Magiet enjoys a casting vote but, smiling, insisted it had never been used. .Even if there’s a disagreement, we aim for consensus. Of course, there can be arguments and it’s not unhealthy to have a difference of opinion... Eventually, however,we pick a team acceptable to all on the selection panel..

The selection committee is six-strong and while there’s a similarity with India, for instance, the selectors must be elected annually, there’s a significant difference: The committee’s composition isn.t on provincial lines in that one province can have more than one selector. Also, all provinces don.t get representation.

In the present committee, Magiet and Haron Lorgat are from Western Province, Graeme Pollock and Morris Garda from Gauteng (formerly Transvaal), Mike Procter from Natal and Peter Bacela from Border.

Interestingly, one selector (at least) is always on tour and, before the playing XI is decided, he .consults. the convenor. It’s a different scenario should the convenor himself be with the team. The forthcoming tour of Australia, for example, will see Pollock there for the first two Tests,Magiet himself in the second and third Tests and Procter during the oneday series.

Who goes where is decided by the convenor. Back home, Chandu Borde will surely be delighted if he and his colleagues are extended the same facility.


East London, Nov. 12: 
Umpires Ian Howell and Craig Schoof made the best .move. this morning: Forty-five minutes before what would have been the scheduled start to Day III of the four-day match between India and South Africa A, they abandoned the game altogether.

Taking the lead from Howell and Schoof,the Indians themselves made the sensible move of leaving for Port Elizabeth (360 kms away) this afternoon itself, instead of driving over on Wednesday morning. The team reached Port Elizabeth,which hosts the second Test from Friday, late this evening.

Not a ball was bowled on the first two days and, then, heavy rain overnight ensured no cricket would be possible today, either. Instead of waiting for tomorrow . it would have become a farcical match, even if play was possible . the umpires chose to end everybody’s agony.

With both pre-Test games washed out, hard hit have been the Indians. The three-dayer in Chatsworth, ahead of the first Test, had also remained a first-class fixture on paper only. .Just doesn.t help... We needed to look at the quicks and also assess who really should open with Shiv Sundar Das.... remarked a disappointed John Wright, the Indian coach.

[It’s possible that V.V’s. Laxman may open with Shiv Sundar, instead of vice-captain Rahul Dravid. The other option is getting wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta to do the job. Things should be clear by tomorrow. On the other front, if the wicket has a green look, only one specialist spinner (Harbhajan Singh) will be fielded.]

Captain Sourav Ganguly, who chose to cancel a short trip home (to see his baby daughter) in order to play the four-dayer, was just as disappointed. However, he endorsed the umpires. decision: .Given the situation,they made the right move.Of course, it would have been different had a super-sopper been around. There would surely have been play on the first two days,. Sourav told The Telegraph.

Speaking exclusively, South Africa A coach Hylton Ackerman said: .Obviously, it’s more disappointing for the Indians, whose Test preparations have been affected. At the same time, this washout has deprived many of my boys an opportunity to strengthen their claim for either a comeback or a first-time call-up....

Ackerman,though,agreed with Sourav that Howell and Schoof took the right decision. .Even if some play was possible tomorrow, nobody would have thrown themselves in the field. Moreover, in their runup, the bowlers would have been absolutely tentative..

Meanwhile, sources in Port Elizabeth stated conditions have been overcast from the morning, but that the Test ‘shouldn.t. be threatened by inclement weather. At the moment, however, it’s the build-up that the Indians are worried about. Can.t blame them.


Calcutta, Nov. 12: 
The smile is almost impish, and an abundance of humility barely becomes his stature. Narain Karthikeyan (.it is Narayan, really,. he says, but then.), at 24, the first Indian to have test-driven Formula One cars and definitely one to be in that elite world cadre of Formula One drivers soon, says he is nearabouts of that strata these days with his Formula Nippon forays. The countenance does little justice to the steely confidence that emanates from within, and there is this hunger for the best place that one cannot avoid noticing. In the city for a promo for the JK Tyre National Go-Karting championship’s city leg, Karthikeyan today said he remembers the day he sat at the wheels of a Jaguar car and looked at the Silverstone circuit. .The steering wheels have ten-point controls (the gear, the communication, and the what-not), and the staff really pros,. he says. Those wonder-filled eyes do tell of that hunger. .

Post September 11 (the terrorist attacks in the US) things are different, with the sponsors running scared,. he said. .It makes things that much more difficult for us aspiring drivers, but then that is the climb and the challenge all about in this professional world.. His aspirations have barely seen the downsides of the likes of the Dow Jones.

And with good reason, too. The Formula Asia champion and Formula III star has been called up twice by the Jordan team for tests. The first, at Silverstone, run in driving rain, and then, on the fast track of Monza in Italy. .I must say I did a decent job, in the Jaguar. It was a 1999 car and there were these stalwarts . Jean Alesi and Mika Hakkinen . in 2000 cars,. Karthikeyan says. .And I did well, and that makes me feel happy.. The Jordan cars were 2000 cars. .It’s a different ball game, Formula One, the engine (V10, spewing 800 horsepower, acceleration from zero to 140kmph in six seconds), the electricals, the onboard computers, the steering, the tyres, the fuel (.unleaded, high octane, environment friendly, blah, blah..), it’s something..

So what was extraordinary? The money that Jaguar and Jordan spent on him was. A day of tests per driver can set one back by £ 80,000.Well, Jordan paid such amounts and more twice. A shade less, maybe for Jaguar (because it was a 1999 car). No professional F1 team has money to throw.

Currently, Karthikeyan is in Tokyo attending to his Formula Nippon (.the closest today to F1, you can call it F2,. says the racer). The only problem is that .Japan is costly, real, costly..Thankfully JK Tyre and a consortium of sponsors are taking care of his (and his 12-member entourage’s) expenses. .I am not earning yet, money comes in at the F1 stage..

Till then, there is this pregnant wait.


Calcutta, Nov. 12: 
About 100 competitors are expected to take part in the city leg of the JK Tyre National Go-Karting championship to be held Saturday and Sunday at the Kartica circuit near Rajarhat.

Races will be run in six categories, of which the under 55kg and the 55-65kg categories generally present serious competition. This is the second year of the national championships, and the first in which eight cities come into three months of activity.

Sanjay Sharma, head of motorsport at JK Tyres, said it has been decided to do away with the proposed two wild cards for the final in New Delhi on December 23. .Instead, we have decided to have even the third place finishers of each leg (it was the first two initially), also travel to Delhi and race in a qualifier for those two slots.. That would provide an extra chance to them.

There will also be a celebrity class race, which will see top company CEOs and the like ride the track which, being a .dewatered. concrete track, is supposed to be the fastest in the country. .That probably means we.ll have a little more edgy driving, and maybe we.ll even have to use less type pressure,. said Rajat Majumdar, the head honcho of Bengal Motor Sports Club, the technical people behind this leg. Film actress Rupa Ganguly will be among the celebrities.

Apart from JY Tyre, the other sponsors are Caltex, Ford India, Data Access (India) Ltd, Sega and a couple more. The prize for the national champion will be a Ford Ikon, announced Sandip Dhond of Ford India at the press conference.


Calcutta, Nov. 12: 
Eastern Railway defeated Rajasthan 4-0 today to confirm a top-four berth in the CFL first division group A.Kuntal Biswas and Benoy Saha scored a brace each.

In another tie, Eastern Coalfield and Sonali Shibir were locked goalless. The Milan BitheeRailway FC tie could not be held as the referee did not turn up at the East Bengal ground.

Title for Somak

Somak Palit of GNCA annexed the sub-junior national boys. chess title at Raipur yesterday.

According to information received here, Somak drew his last game against Akshayraj Kore of Maharashtra. Both Somak and Saptarshi Roy were tied at 7.5 points, but Somak edged ahead on better progressive scores.

Amruta Mokal of Maharashtra sealed the girls title when she pipped teammate Esha Karvade on tiebreak. Both scored eight out of a possible nine points.

Supriya Majhi (7.5) took the third spot in this section while Mary Ann Gomes (7) held eventual winner Mokal to a draw in the last round to take the fifth spot.

Wrestling meet

International Kripa Shankar will take part in the annual allIndia wrestling competition organised by Burrabazar Byam Samity at the crossing of Mirbahar Ghat Street and Maharshi Debendra Road on Saturday and Sunday.

Nandita, Sharath best

Eastern Railway’s Nandita Saha and Sharath Kamal of Southern Railway emerged individual champions in the interrailways table tennis meet today. In the finals, Nandita beat Sushmita Roy 11-5, 11-7, 13-15, 4-11, 3-11, 11-4, 11-8 while Sharath overcame Subham Chowdhury 11-6, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6.

Peaks scaled

Visually handicapped Seema Karmakar along with Baby Das and Shyamali Banerjee (both handicapped) recently scaled the 20,680 ft high Chow Chow Kang Nelda peak of the Garhwal Himalayas. Another handicapped Bapi Pramanik scaled the 20,000 ft high Serif peak, according to a press note.


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