Herschelle Gibbs tames India again
Cricket isnŪt all about skill, feels Wessels
Bengal in driverís seat
Purulia school opens today
21 state boxers for National Games
City set to go Karting
City among 5 Futures venues
Fire alarm at team hotel

Port Elizabeth, Nov. 16: 

Two wickets in 19 deliveries with the second new ball, late on Day I, helped India break South Africaís hold on the second Test. Yet, the talking point was as much ona roll Herschelle Gibbs. unbeaten 155 . the highest against India . as Sourav Gangulyís decision to field just two quicks.

Indeed, when it came to the crunch, the Indian captain wasn.t guided so much by conditions as reputation. And, so, despite a rea sonably green surface and a blus tery ambience at St Georgeís Park, there was no place for Ashish Nehra. Itís reasonable to say the absence of a third quick was felt within the first hour itself.

Never before in his 20 months as (fulltime) captain did Sourav have to make as tough a decision as the one this morning and, it ap pears, he was influenced by coach John Wright into retaining senior pro Anil Kumble and dropping Nehra. A very tight call but, then, Sourav should have been guided by instinct and conditions.

More so, as it was obvious South Africa would be inserted if the toss was won by India. In the event, thatís what Sourav did. He called .tail. and the coin landed tailup, shrinking the smile on Shaun Pollockís face.

Having said that, itís not easy dropping somebody of Kumbleís class (280 wickets in 62 Tests), though many will continue to argue a horsesfor courses policy must be consis tently followed not selectively implemented. Bottomline, of course, is Sourav has made the debatesparking decision and can only hope for the best.

Though the going was far from good till tea (167 for three), a wick et apiece by Jawagal Srinath and Ajit Agarkar in the final session neutralised South Africaís head start. Gibbs was on a character filled 155 (363 minutes, 283 deliver ies, 21x4, 1x6), his second hundred in as many Tests, and Pollock yet to score.

Gibbs, whose body language conveys business, surpassed Daryll Cullinanís 153 not out (Eden Gardens, 199697) . the pre vious highest versus India. .For much of the year, I.ve been play ing positively, irrespective of the surface. Today, it wasn.t any dif ferent,. he remarked, soon after stumps.

Flourishing on a difficult day, itís been a classic openerís knock.

Srinath, mean and tight, fin ished the day with three for 51. Ac tually, at times, he was brilliant . hitting the right length and get ting the ball to swing. Gibbs him self paid tribute . .Don.t think he bowled a loose delivery.... In an era when compliments from the opposition are rare, thatís special.

The breakthrough, in the morning, had come early with Sri nath inducing top gun Gary Kirsten to drive away from the body. An alert V.V.S. Laxman held clean after Virender Sehwag was found wanting. Kirsten, by the way, couldn.t capitalise on a .let off . from umpire Russell Tiffin, who rejected a deadcertain ap peal for legbefore from Srinath. Sehwag, incidentally, had a bad day.

Kirstenís dismissal brought the dangerous Jacques Kallis to the crease and, not surprisingly, a firm partnership ensued. Both Gibbs and Kallis, however, had trouble reading Harbhajan Singhís awaygoing deliveries.

They added 70 before Srinath struck again, in his second spell (at the stroke of lunch), to evict Kallis. The batsman played a wee bit late and managed a thick in sideedge which disturbed the tim ber.

Lunch was taken at 91 for two, with Gibbs on 56 and Neil McKen zie on four. Sourav clearly felt the need of a third specialist quick and the move to bring himself on (first change) didn.t quite work. The captain was smacked for 21 in two overs.He didn.t return.

While Srinath was quick and controlled, the same couldn.t be said of Agarkar. He should have made the most of the juice in the wicket, not to speak of the swing assisting easterly from the sea. The wicket he got late in the day, dour (even boring) Boeta Dippe naarís, was via a perfectly pitched outswinger.

The second session found Gibbs accelerate, till he reached 90, but the period also saw McKen zieís dismissal to a beauty from Harbhajan. Beaten in the air, the otherwise gifted McKenzie was made to look an absolute novice.

That wicket apart, the one high point was Gibbs. hundred.He took 32 minutes and 23 balls to move from 90 to 100, but the significance of his effort can be gauged from the total when he got to that fifth hundred: 154 for three.

Gibbs has been having a great 2001 . five fifties and three hundreds in the last 15 innings. Gibbs was specially brutal whenever the Indians either pitched short or offered width. Some of his drives through cover, off the backfoot,were glorious.He swept with confidence, too. Off the field, this 27yearold is colour ful and controversial, on it he is dynamism personified.

Harbhajan, predictably, had bowled 23 overs without a break, till tea. He remained disciplined while attacking but, when ends were switched after the break, found himself being slogswept for six by Gibbs. The wicket, however, has nothing in it for spinners.

The first to depart in the final session was Dippenaar, while Sri nath sent back Lance Klusener . much to his teammates. relief . with one which forced the south paw into two minds. Eventually, he offered a regulation catch in the slips cordon. If anything, Klusener enjoys feasting on the Indian attack.

Knowing Sourav, he will be looking ahead not back but, still, having survived the first day South Africa can get real solid to morrow.

Deep to open

A member of the team man agement has confirmed wicket keeper Deep Dasgupta has been assigned the second openerís role. That this would be so was re ported by The Telegraph Wednesday. If thereís a change, it will only be if the South African innings continues well into the second day, thereby taking much out of Deep.

Meanwhile, Nehra and Zaheer Khan,who was particularly unim pressive in the Bloemfontein Test, made way for Harbhajan and Agarkar. The South Africans did n.t tinker with their winning XI.


Port Elizabeth, Nov.16: 
Over the years, Kepler Wes sels has worn many hats... Member of the Australian team, South African captain and selector... And, now, the Eastern Provinceís highperformance consultant.

Wessels, of course, could have became Pakistanís coach, too, but chose not to formally apply after being forwarded the Pakistan Cricket Boardís terms and conditions. The job has since gone to Mudassar Nazar. .

I did show some interest, initially, but the terms and conditions meant I would have had to largely base myself in Pakistan till the 2003 World Cup. At this stage in my life, that wasn.t acceptable,.Wessels, still supremely fit, told The Telegraph this morning.

Wessels added: .Twothree years from now, when my kids (son Riki and daughter Rebecca) are older, itís possible I.ll accept a similar offer.My wife (Sally), too, will then be comfortable with that. So, itís not that I.ve permanently closed the door on coaching a national team..

Smiling,Wessels acknowledged politicking with in Pakistan cricket also did influ ence his decision. .To a small ex tent, only... After all, the turnover of coaches there is exceedingly high. But, as I.ve said, the top rea son is I wasn.t willing to shift house (to Pakistan) till the next World Cup..

Asked what really is a coachís role at the highest level,Wessels answered: .To raise the performance of individuals by 25 per cent. At the top level, coaches aren.t expected to . nor should they . reinvent the wheel, so to say... Itís all about improving performance, helping the players prepare better....

Even as captain,Wessels did part of the coachís job. Today, then, many in South Africa still remain indebted to him.

An icon in these parts, Wessels has diversified into the security business . a money spinner in South Africa . and isn.t just involved with cricket. .I do quite a bit of commentary and write columns, besides hosting the weekly (Saturday mornings) Talk Sport on Radio Algoa... At the same time, I.m a security consultant, working in partnership with former rugby international Carl Wright,.Wessels explained.

In Wessels. opinion, just how well India can re cover in the current series will, to a large extent, be determined by the teamís mental strength. As he put it: .Cricket isn.t all about skill.... One can.t argue with that.

Incidentally, having himself been an outstanding opener, itís no surprise Wessels is opposed to makeshift combinations right at the very top. .I can understand the Indians. problem, but the makeshift guys stand a mere 25 per cent chance of coming good. Itís always a big gamble.


Calcutta, Nov. 16: 
Bengal were in a position of strength with Sik kim needing 47 more runs to avoid an innings defeat after the second day of their Cooch Behar Trophy tie at the Eden Gardens today.

Resuming this morning at 38 for two, Bengal went in for a tea time declaration. Their tally of 279 for eight gave Bengal a firstin nings lead of 95.

Bengal, after losing openers Avishek Chakraborty (10), Man abendra Yadav (9) last evening and Aranya Deb Sarkar (15) early today, hunkered down on a wicket where the ball was not coming on to the batsmen.

A 127run partnership between Subhojit Paul (78) and Sourav Shukla (75) for the fourth wicket steadied the Bengal innings. The lower order also chipped in with some useful contributions.

For Sikkim, mediumpacer Go urav Majumder and legspinner Amosh Rai . the skipper . claimed three wickets each.

In their second innings, Sikkim lost opener J.S. Raipur de spite a cautious start. Gourav Ma jumder (22) and Abhijeet Chatter jee (18) also departed before stumps, leaving Lobsong Sherpa and Ashutosh Pintoo on nought at the crease when play ended.

BRIEF SCORES: Sikkim 184 & 48/3 Bengal 279/8 dec.(Subhojit Paul 78, Sourav Shukla 75; Gourav Majumder 3/47, Amosh Rai 3/89). Match continues.

Bihar crash to 145/9

In Jamshedpur, Bihar crashed to 145 for nine versus Orissa. A 53 run fifth wicket partnership be tween I.H. Khan (40) and Ashad Iqbal (31) brought some respe ctability to the score. Bignesh Mo hanty, Rakesh Mohanty and Purna Maharana took two wick ets apiece.

BRIEF SCORES: Bihar 144 & 145/9 (I.H. Khan 40, Ashad Iqbal 31). Orissa 144 (S. Baliari Singh 39, Niranjan Behra 31; K.I. Rao 5/42).


New Delhi, Nov. 16: 
Holders Ran gadih HS, Purulia, start their title defence on the opening day of the Subroto Mukherjee Cup football meet tomorrow. In their opening m atch, they play Sanjay Public Sch ool, Chandigarh in a group 1 tie.

On Sunday, they take on Christ Collegiate Cuttack and clash with Mahatma Gandhi Inter College, Hal dwani, Uttaranchal,on Monday.The winner of the group qualifies for the knockout quarter final stage.

Among other Bengal teams, debutants Gayeshpur Netaji Vidy amandir High School, Nadia start their campaign in group V on No vember 23 against Noabari High School, Uadipur, South Tripura.


Calcutta, Nov. 16: 
The Bengal Amateur Boxing Federation has announced a 21member contin gent for the National Games to be held in Ludhiana from Monday.


MEN: Safdar Khan, Inamul Huda, Sultan Tabrez, Safiul Alam, Sheikh Hanif, Jamiul Alam (South Calcutta Physical Culture Association); Mujtaba Kamal, Sahid Akhtar (Kidderpore); Rajesh Upadhyay (Bhowanipur); Ramesh Basnet (Durgapur); Pranab Ghosh (Uttarpara); Prabir Paul (SOPC).WOMEN: Nupur Pradhan, Mimi Basnet (Durgapur); Anumita Bhattacharya (Howrah); Noor Afroz, Hambi Debi, Gita Debi, Thobi Chanu, SA Gurung (South Calcutta Physical Culture Association); Sushila (Coal India). Coach: Sujoy Guha

Sayandeb tennis coach

Sayandeb Chatterjee has been named coach of the state tennis team to take part in the National Games.The squad consists of four boys . Vinod Sewa, Dhrub Kumar, Harshit Sharma and C.P. Singh . and three girls . Ragini Vimal, Reedhina Parekh and Priyanka Parekh. The squad leaves city Friday. Tennis events get underway in Chandigarh No vember 25.

Volleyball squad

A 12member womenís volley ball squad will represent Bengal at the National Games.


Piyali Roy (captain), Chaitali Das, Sudipta Biswas, Tusi Sakhari, Aparna Sur, Sima Oraon, Thakurmoni Oraon, Sumita Porel, Mithu Paul, Tuli Das, Pampa Khaskel, Tulu Pramanick. Coach: Swapan Chatterjee; Manager: Prakash Roy.    

Calcutta, Nov. 16: 
The first of the training runs of the JK Tyre Na tional GoKarting championshipís city leg were run at Kartica this evening.

Most were novices, and there were a lot of instructions needed. Eighteen of each group were sh ortlisted to go into the trials tomor row from which the grid selection for Sundayís finals will be made.

The concrete track is now tak ing in rubber, and slowly the natu ral sheen gets covered. The tim ings are better with the curves being better handled, as Kunal Banerjee, clerk of the course, put it. .The youngsters are really the best of the lot,. he said. .That is where all the talent lies.. Those are the groups where kids, below 55kg, take on the 380m track.

The karts are lighter and to morrow it will be even better with all the turns responding better with better grip too.

The other groups are generally the casual interest groups.Howev er, much of the paying category exists here, and Bengal Motor Sports Club (the technical organ isers) president Rajat Majumdar said all were necessary to keep the enthusiasm alive.

The electronic sensors (across the finish line) were installed and tested today during the laps. The functioning has been satisfactory, said officials.


Calcutta, Nov. 16: 
The city, along with Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi, will host different legs of the Tata Futures tennis champi onships for the countryís top jun iors from Monday to Friday. The final leg, the Tata Futures Mas ters, will be held in Chennai from December 2628. Paes En Sport will be coordinating the wholeprogramme which is meant to tap and develop tennis talent in the country.    

Port Elizabeth, Nov. 16: 
There were anxious moments at the Holiday Inn (the team hotel) late last night, as the fire alarm went off on the fifth floor where most of the Indian cricketers . in cluding captain Sourav Ganguly and vicecaptain Rahul Dravid . are staying.

As it turned out, the alarm .probably. went off as .some body. on the floor may have lit a cigarette. The 12storeyed hotel has some exclusive nonsmoking floors, the fifth being one of them.

Most of the cricketers were ob viously fast asleep as only Ajit Agarkar and Connor Williams emerged from the rooms. The alarm was switched off after secu ritymen had a round of the floor.


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