Rain truncates Day IV
Sarandeep has edge
‘Test’ should’ve been a Test: Lloyd
‘India lack match-toughness’
India clubbed with Pak
State volleyball

Centurion, Nov. 26: 
INDIA 232 & 118/2
SOUTH AFRICA 566/8 dec.

The elements played a part in India coming through unscathed in Port Elizabeth, last week. That, of course, was a pucca Test. It appears India may be similarly rescued at SuperSport Park here. Only, this time, the game is without official sanction.

After the second interruption in the second session, the umpires advanced tea in the hope less time would be lost. As it turned out, the rain grew in intensity, forcing play to be abandoned. At that break, India were 118 for two, with stand-in captain Rahul Dravid on 11 to Sachin Tendulkar’s two.

It hadn’t stopped raining even some two-and-half hours after what would have been the scheduled close.

Earlier, Shaun Pollock declared at the overnight 566 for eight — South Africa enjoying a huge 334 runs lead. However, instead of being weighed down by that awesome deficit, openers Shiv Sundar Das and ‘debutant’ Connor Williams provided a confident, compact start. They were unseparated till 92. Eventually, both fell in the 40s.

Agencies add: Fighting with their backs to the wall, India survived the first session of the fourth morning, reaching 104 for one by lunch. Both Das and Williams batted confidently and were not bogged down by the huge task at their hand. Unlike in the first innings when they were too cautious, they scored freely before the Baroda left-hander snicked a Lance Klusener delivery for a regulation catch to Jacques Kallis at second slip. Williams made a solid 42.

Das and Williams posted India’s best opening wicket stand against South Africa, eclipsing the 91-run mark by Nayan Mongia and Vikram Rathore at Johannesburg in 1996.


Centurion, Nov. 26: 
Punjab off-spinner Sarandeep Singh and Railways allrounder Sanjay Bangar stand “more than a good chance” of making the Indian XIV for the first Test versus England, in Mohali from December 3.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, of the two, Sarandeep is “better placed.” It’s significant both did very well for Board President’s XI in Hyderabad. While the off-spinner had a five-wicket haul in the first innings, the mediumpacer picked up five for 32 in the second.

More important, on a placid wicket, Bangar is understood to have swung the ball both ways and made life miserable for the Englishmen. “Really, it was a stand-out performance,” is how one of the national selectors put it. Bangar, of course, has been on the fringe for a couple of seasons.

While who all will be dropped is still isn’t clear, it’s almost certain the XIV will include three spinners — Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh and Sarandeep.

What is also not clear, at the moment, is when the selectors will meet. As of now, only the captain will be named tomorrow or the day after, while Friday (when the team returns from South Africa) is probably when the selection will be made.

Assuming Sourav Ganguly is fit, he will continue as captain. Otherwise, the job will go to Rahul Dravid. Diagnosed as having “shoulder trouble,” Sourav’s availability should be known by the morning.

This evening, all Sourav said was: “I’m better...”

Late tonight, it was learnt that Jawagal Srinath will, indeed, miss the first Test. His availability for the second and third Tests, though, will only be known later. The Indian spearhead, who has suffered a fracture, consulted a specialist in Johannesburg today. Apparently, “bone manipulation” was done. According to manager Dr M.K. Bhargava, Srinath will revert to the Board on December 6.


Centurion, Nov. 26: 
Clive Lloyd, one of cricket’s all-time greats, is of the opinion the on-going ‘Test’ at SuperSport Park ought to have been an officially-sanctioned Test.

“Look, I’ve just come from the US and, so, am not quite sure of the entire background... However, I do feel the game here should have remained a Test, Mike Denness could have continued as Match Referee and the dispute resolved once the five days had gone,” Lloyd remarked during an informal chat with Mediamen.

Significantly, he added: “Going by the headlines I read this morning, I do feel the issue should have been better handled by the parties concerned. I mean, just think of the players, the sponsors, the paying public... People have put in money for a full-fledged Test, not an ordinary first-class match.”

Lloyd, who has himself been a Match Referee, agreed the ICC’s Code of Conduct needs to be reviewed — allowing, at least, for a right to appeal — but did make the point about captains being held “accountable” for excessive appealing by teammates.

“Where I’m concerned, players must only appeal once. If the umpire turns it down, that should be the end... But, yes, sitting 200 metres away, it’s difficult for a Match Referee to judge exactly how an appeal was made. So, the captain and umpires must take centrestage,” Lloyd maintained.

Asked how would he have handled the situation, Lloyd paused and answered: “Like I’ve said, I’m not conversant with all the details but, when I used to be Match Referee, I would clearly tell both captains I would only tolerate this much (motions with his fingers) and absolutely no more...”

Responding to a question specific to Sachin Tendulkar being booked for ball-tampering, Lloyd said: “In my book, ball-tampering occurs when a deliberate attempt has been made to lift the seam or change the shape. Removing grass or dirt, as I view it, isn’t tampering.”

Switching to other topics, Lloyd quipped he was following the West Indies’ current run “with tears.” Lloyd, it may be recalled, was captain when the West Indies dominated world cricket from the mid-Seventies till early Eighties.

Talking about his current involvement with the CBFS in Sharjah, Lloyd informed his committee had already submitted an interim report (on match-fixing in that Emirate). “We haven’t found anything,” he noted.

Lloyd signed off by insisting “administrators shouldn’t be penalised” if the players themselves have engaged in unethical conduct. “You shouldn’t hold an organisation guilty. Instead, act against those players...”

Twice this year, the Indian government has refused permission for the team to play in Sharjah.


Centurion, Nov. 26: 
Having worn both the Australian and South African caps, Kepler Wessels is a member of one of the most exclusive clubs anywhere. Now, of course, he is into many fields: Security, Media, Eastern Province’s high-performance consultant... If anything, Wessels is more busy today.

This morning, however, Wessels took around 25 minutes off to speak to The Telegraph. He preferred a “general” interview and so it was.

The following are excerpts

On South Africa having just completed ten years (innings No.2) of officially sanctioned cricket

One cannot but get emotional... We’ve done well, at times, very well. However, we need a match-winning spinner and, more important, need to win the next World Cup. In the very near future, though, we first need to win the mental battle against Australia. We go over for three Tests and, then, host Australia for as many games. The opportunity is there.

On the biggest disappointments in this period

All three World Cups... In 1999, specially, we should never have lost that semi-final to Australia. Our team was beautifully balanced... (Adds emotionally) Really, right through that edition, we were the team to beat...

On having got the captaincy within months of South Africa’s return to international cricket

Yes, did come as a surprise... I wasn’t, after all, even the vice-captain on that (comeback) trip to India. Yet, when probables for the (1992) World Cup were announced, Clive Rice and Jimmy Cook weren’t there... With both the captain and vice-captain excluded, the top job came to me. Actually, the selectors didn’t even discuss it with me — an announcement was made, that’s it.

On the effort he himself put in, as captain, to make the team competitive

Look, I realised we couldn’t compete on experience and, so, looked at the positives we had: An exceedingly high level of intensity, passion... I also realised we had to be supremely fit, that top-notch fielding would make a difference... It was all about building on our inherent strengths besides getting the batters to build innings and the bowlers to remain disciplined.

On who makes a good captain

Without sermonising, somebody who leads from the front and has that common sense approach in dealing with individuals. No two guys respond in similar fashion. Therefore, the captain must press the right buttons.

On the captain-coach relationship

The coach must appreciate that, on the field, the captain is boss... A coach’s job is to prepare guys to the level that they can compete in all conditions. If every player improves by 25 per cent, the coach has done his job.

On the South African coaches in the past decade

We began with Mike Procter and, in his own way, he was fantastic. That he had played some Test cricket (in the pre-isolation years) was obviously an advantage... Bob Woolmer, I thought, came at the right time (end of 1994)... He certainly took our one-day cricket to the next level... Improvisations, the use of technology, innovations... Towards the end of his tenure, though, Bob’s value had begun to decrease... As for Graham Ford, he’s a very hard worker, but it’s a fact he hasn’t played international cricket... The upcoming tour of Australia will be a big test for him. The one advantage is that he and Shaun Pollock get along exceedingly well. They complement each other.

[Incidentally, had he himself been keen, Kepler would have got the Pakistan coach’s job.]

On how Hansie Cronje should be remembered

Purely from a cricket point of view, Hansie did contribute significantly. His work-ethic was good, played a big role in taking our cricket forward... Except in some key one-day matches and against Australia, he had a very good record (as captain). Should he be allowed some role in cricket? Not at this point, not when match-fixing is still such an emotional issue... In the future, possibly.

On the similarity in the work-ethic between Australians and South Africans

Absolutely. The climate, the build of the people, their temperament... All this contributes... Then, there’s the intensity factor. It’s no surprise the two best teams are Australia and South Africa.

On the Indian teams which have toured South Africa

What’s disappointing is that the weaknesses continue... Overseas, India just isn’t competitive. That was the story on the 1992-93 and 1996-97 trips; it’s not been any different this time. It’s fairly predictable the Indians won’t score enough... Keep the pressure, and they will crack. Match-toughness, an important quality, isn’t there to the degree it should be.

On Sourav Ganguly as captain

To motivate his team, he must first himself lead from the front... Of course, he’s a wonderful player, very gifted... But, having said that, he should have been better prepared to handle the short balls...

On his favourite captain

(Smiles) Ian Chappell. He had such great players under himbut, if he said jump, they would all have gone over the cliff with eyes shut... That’s the respect he enjoyed... While batting, he would absorb all the pressure by getting the opposition to focus on him. It allowed batters at the other end to quietly build their own innings. More to the point, by boosting your self-belief, he made you believe you were a much better player than you actually were.

Finally, on his Australia-trip specific advice to Pollock

Like Hansie, don’t get overawed by Steve Waugh. One reason for us not doing well against Australia, in recent years, is that Hansie would be in awe of Steve... What made it worse is that Steve would outperform Hansie. I’m confident Shaun won’t suffer similarly as he can match Steve on the performance-scale, can have a real big impact on the series.


Calcutta, Nov. 26: 
Two-time defending champions India have been clubbed with Pakistan and Sri Lanka in group A of the SAFF soccer championship to be held in Bangladesh from January 26 to February 5, 2002.

According to information received from Kuala Lumpur, where the draw ceremony was held, group B consists of Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and debutants Bhutan.


Jan. 26: India vs Pakistan; Jan. 27: Maldives vs Bhutan; Bangladesh vs Nepal; Jan. 28: India vs Sri Lanka; Jan. 29: Nepal vs Bhutan; Bangladesh vs Maldives; Jan. 30: Pakistan vs Sri Lanka; Jan. 31: Nepal vs Maldives; Bangladesh vs Bhutan; Feb. 3: Semi-final; Feb. 5: Final.

Super Div. relegation

The relegation leg of the CFL Super Division championship is set to resume later this week after a gap of over two months. Two teams from the group of five — Mohammedan Sporting, George Telegraph, BNR, SAIL and FCI — will be demoted to first division group A next year.

Meanwhile, the championship leg of group A — featuring Peerless, Ever-Ready, Eastern Railway and West Bengal Police — will be held in the first week of December. The fixtures will be released tomorrow.

Mukesh Kumar in fray

A field of 100 professionals will be in the fray for the 11th leg of the Hero Honda Indian Golf Tour, beginning tomorrow at Tollygunge Club. The Rs 6 lakh meet will see the champion take home a purse of Rs 97,200.

The centre of attraction will be Mukesh Kumar. The Mhow golfer has been in great nick, having had nine top-five finishes — including two title wins — from 10 starts this season. The others in contention are Shiv Prakash, Vijay Kumar, Feroz Ali, Ali Sher and Rahil Gangjee.

The four-day meet will be followed by a star-studded pro-am Saturday.


Calcutta, Nov. 26: 
Naihati A.C., Milan Samity, Rajasthan Club, Eastern Railway S.A. and West Bengal Police moved into the quarter finals of the 50th state volleyball championship at the WBVA courts today.

RESULTS: Naihati A.C. bt Howrah Union 25-14, 16-25, 25-23, 25-16; Milan Samity bt 1923 Chhatra Samity 25-15, 25-13, 25-23; East Calcutta Volleyball Club 25-23, 28-26, 25-14; Police A.C. bt Southern Samity 25-17, 25-18, 25-15.


The 41st national body building championships will be held from March 22-24, 2002 in Howrah, according to a press release by the Howrah District Body Building and Yogasana Association.

More than 500 participants in various categories are expected to participate.


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