India win despite Trescothick brilliance
Nasser Hussain: Every captain has a shelf-life
Captain is the main man: David Lloyd
‘Toss not so important’
Minority card to boost cricket
Trevor to stay Bangla coach till at least June
Cricket can’t improve Indo-Pak ties in present scenario, feels Mahajan
Calcutta Racing/ ‘Terms’ favours Soviet Song
Bangalore Racing/ Royal Russian shocks
Mumbai Racing/ Snow Dew all set to win

Calcutta, Jan. 19: 
India 281/8 (50 OVS)
England 259 (44 ovs)
MoM: Trescothick

The big leap landed Sourav Ganguly in Sachin Tendulkar’s arms. The enthusiasm and emotion on the Indian skipper’s face, as he held on to Ashley Giles’ miscued hit, conveyed a strong message. Within seconds, the Eden lit up in flames to celebrate India’s moment of glory.

The Indian duo was on song today. A 78-run opening stand was followed by a combined effort on the field that had them planning strategy hand-in-hand to destroy England after they had threatened to lay the Indians low.

Ajit Agarkar proved a competent ally, the allrounder striking it rich in the overs of death. His final spell read 4-0-20-3.

The Englishmen are considered to be good at the shorter version of the game with the County experience working in their favour. The visitors hardly did justice to their reputation under lights. They had everything working in their favour till the 35th over but botched up all their good deeds towards the close. Their inexperience came through in the 22-run defeat.

Poor Michael Trescothick. All his four hundreds in international cricket — a couple each in Tests and ODIs — have come when England lost. Dropped by Vangipurappu Laxman in the second over of the innings, his 121 will be remembered for a long time. His second ODI century was a whirlwind effort, coming in only 80 balls.

Ironically, his dismissal was authored not by Jawagal Srinath but by one S.K. Sharma. The umpire adjudged him leg-before to a delivery that pitched outside leg stump. The verdict turned the match on its head as the last six wickets tumbled for just 35 runs. It’s time the ICC panel umpires started officiating in ODIs too.

The visitors sorely missed Graham Thorpe’s experience in the middle-order. The left-hander was sidelined with a stomach bug.

England’s chances stayed alive as long as the Somerset opener milked the Indian attack dry. The pacers faced his fury in the initial stages and when the spinners came on, the mayhem was unmatched.

The Indians fumbled under pressure as they found it hard to prevent the singles and odd boundary. The fielding was tardy and debutant Ajay Ratra was a bundle of nerves. Keeping against Anil Kumble proved to be a nightmare and even got hit on the chin as he failed to gather cleanly.

The dew made it difficult for the spinners to grip the ball, though it had very little effect on the wicket. The visitors were out with a plan and they never allowed the spinners to settle to a line.

Harbhajan Singh was carted for 26 runs in his first three-over spell and Kumble was not spared either. The absence of a fifth specialist bowler also made it difficult for the hosts as Trescothick and Michael Vaughan and then Paul Collingwood had things easy.

But Sourav did well to remove Collingwood, courtesy Sachin. There was something symbolic about the way they went about their task today. They stamped their class and dismissed doubts about who form the world’s top one-day opening pair.

It was always known that a good opening stand would put the team in good stead. As Sourav and Sachin faced no hassles against a mediocre attack, it was left to the middle-order to carry on the good work. It did live upto the challenge, but only after Dinesh Mongia showed immense maturity and application in planning his innings.

The openers, however, set the tone for the day. Nothing flamboyant, but sure and sensible batting was the secret of the 78-run partnership. The Indian skipper not only did justice to his decision to bat first, but also showed determination in playing according to the situation. Content with playing out the first few overs, he went for his shots only once he got his feet moving.

Did the dropping of Andy Caddick in any way help him gain the psychological edge? Sourav had no problems on a slow wicket, which hardly showed any signs of lateral movement. The bounce was nothing extraordinary to disturb him either.

It was not an innings he would treasure but one that will inspire him to find his lost touch in the series. A straight six off Collingwood and a flowing cover drive off Darren Gough did raise the expectations of a full house but Sourav (42) brought about his own demise.

His ‘love-hate affair’ with Flintoff was also renewed as the miscued pull landed at short mid-wicket. Flintoff had started swirling his arms in the air in jubilation even before Hussain had managed to get his hands onto it.

Sachin, at the other end, exploited the inexperience of Matthew Hoggard. The master blaster was not afraid to go over the top as Gough failed to make an impact. The strike was rotated with ease and the runs came fast.

Flintoff had come to the Englishmen’s rescue after 15 overs as he dismissed Sachin (36) and Sourav in a span of four overs. Sachin played across the line but by the time he left he had exposed the inadequacies of the visitors’ attack.

Laxman and Virender Sehwag, after a couple of early escapes, failed to deliver and it was left to Mongia to anchor the innings. Laxman and Mongia added 55 in a 62-ball stand but the Hyderabad batsman failed to live upto his reputation.

Mongia’s career-best 71 was a reward for his resolve and his ability to use the open spaces to good effect. The youngster, in only his fifth ODI, showed the talent and diligence to prosper into a solid middle-order bat.


Calcutta, Jan.19: 
It’s not that the jury is still out on just how good a captain Nasser Hussain is. In fact, judgement has been delivered, with Mike Brearley himself saluting Hussain as “brilliant”.

Going by what the Chennai-born Hussain has himself declared, he is his “own” captain. Indeed, that is how it should be. Within the dressing room, he is democratic; keeps eyes and ears wide open when outside.

Given Hussain’s stature, it’s perfectly understandable he continues to be probed about his recent remark that he didn’t see himself continuing beyond the (February-March) 2003 World Cup.

“Actually, that comment got blown out of proportion…” Hussain told The Telegraph in a rare one-on-one after breakfast the other day.

He added: “Given the amount of cricket being played, specifically England’s commitments over the next 12-14 months, I don’t see myself definitely continuing beyond that. Do captains have a shelf-life? Yes, they do.”

Can the shelf-life be extended?

“Not really… Whether you’re captain, coach or just an ordinary player, you do get that gut feeling which says you aren’t delivering as you should be or that you are beginning to let people down…”

Given the respect Hussain commands in the Establishment (and outside), what if the selectors want him to continue?

“I haven’t thought of such a possibility… Before I even think of that, I must survive the next 12-14 months… It’s a period in which things can change dramatically… Ask any sportsman and he will confirm that even a year is a very long time in sport… I honestly don’t know what my feelings will be 12-14 months hence… I’m not even sure whether I’ll continue as an ordinary player either…”

Given his policy of never speaking out of turn, Hussain declined to dwell on who is best suited to succeed him.

“The decision will be taken by the selectors and I really shouldn’t be saying anything… It could be Marcus Trescothick or Michael Vaughan… Mark Ramprakash has led his County and Andrew Flintoff is now vice-captain at Lancashire… And, of course, Graham Thorpe is there as well. Somebody else may come into the picture too…”

Talking specifically of Trescothick, the unofficial vice-captain, Hussain said: “Oh, he reminds me so much of Graham Gooch… His composure, not just out in the middle but in the dressing room as well… Marcus has so much character… Indeed, both he and Vaughan have commanded the respect of everybody (in the dressing room) from day-one itself…

“To speak of Marcus, in particular, the most important thing for him is to keep batting well and accumulating runs. I’m sure even he will tell you that… Yes, he does have a good cricket brain and should continue to be clear about priorities.”

Moving away from individuals, Hussain acknowledged having learnt quite a bit, as captain, during last month’s three-Test series.

“It’s essential to have a plan, in the sub-continent specially, or else the opposition could be 300 for two and your wheels will come off… I mean, you simply can’t ask the bowlers to bowl anywhere… Can’t, for example, bowl on both sides of the wicket when the batsmen are so talented…

“Also, if a plan isn’t in place, the noise-factor may encourage one to lose focus… It’s an extraordinary atmosphere even when a Sachin Tendulkar isn’t at the crease… The players, then, have to be reminded about the job at hand — in other words, not losing focus. As captain and player, the Test series was a significant learning experience.”

Having only just been conferred the OBE, how did he react to awards?

“Depends on which one and who is conferring it… If you want to know about the OBE, well, I felt great because the appreciation came from outside the (cricket) fraternity… Such recognition gets you to work doubly hard… It’s definitely very nice if a Duncan Fletcher has something positive to say, but that’s an internal appreciation. Anything from outside, therefore, is that much more special.”

Down the line, then, is knighthood a possibility?

“That could only come about if we beat Australia… And, the last time we played each other, England were overwhelmed 1-4. So…” Hussain replied, laughing.


Calcutta, Jan. 19: 
England captain Nasser Hussain sprang a surprise of sorts by picking Matthew Hoggard ahead of Andrew Caddick for today’s first one-dayers at Eden Gardens. Former England coach David Lloyd, however, defended the decision.

Taking a short break from the commentary box, Lloyd said the move was correct, considering the team composition and also the fact that Caddick has been out of cricket since November. “They wanted to play two spinners and also had to accommodate Andrew Flintoff.

“While Darren Gough is indispensable for his ability to bowl yorkers and slower balls, Hoggard was impressive in the Tests. Caddick didn’t have a chance thus,” said Lloyd.

But the England coach for the 1999 World Cup also said there was a positive side to it. “Any team which can afford to leave out Caddick has to be a good one. It’s a good sign for the England team.”

Asked to compare Hussain with Mike Brearley, Lloyd avoided a direct reply but added: “Brearley was a very studious, quiet sort of a man, while Hussain is explosive. There can’t be any comparison. Hussain, however, is perhaps a better batsman.”

Despite being part of the national team for quite some time, Lloyd refused to read too much into the role of a coach in today’s cricket.

“The coach is just a part of the back-up team, he has more of a supportive role. The captain is the main man. If you ask me about South Africa, I’ll say it’s Shaun Pollock’s team and I don’t know who the coach is. Same for Australia,” Lloyd said. However, he said Fletcher does get along well with Hussain.

Lloyd, however, showed enough encomiums on Hussain as a captain. “He (Hussain) is a very good captain, a visionary of sorts. Very professional and always five overs ahead of the game. You never find him chasing it.”

About this England team and it’s chances in the next World Cup, Lloyd said this is an “emerging team”. “The good thing is they are trying out a lot of young players. Ideally, it should be like that. A young player needs 10-12 matches to show how he is. The central cricket system in England was earlier reluctant to blood them but they are changing. They have recognised what the needs have been and are acting towards it.

“This team, for instance, has some good young players in Paul Collingwood, Flintoff, Marcus Trescothick, Owais Shah, James Foster and Ben Hollioake,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd felt England need to improve by 20 per cent to do well in the World Cup and this series against India would be very good platform for them to assess themselves. “India in India is a crack team, and it always helps to play against a good side.”


Calcutta, Jan. 19: 
The match almost went the distance, it was close to midnight and the day’s cricket was taxing. Quite naturally, Sourav Ganguly was in no mood to field too many questions from mediamen after the match. However, the India captain started by saying that it was good to start the series with a win.

“I thought England played pretty well and ran us close. But we don’t mind beginning with a win,” he said. The toss factor, which some felt was a good one to win, was played down by the skipper. “It was a good, flat wicket and the outfield was fast. So it didn’t really matter who batted first.”

England skipper Nasser Hussain also felt the toss wasn’t that crucial barring the fact that the pressure of chasing was on his team.

About Dinesh Mongia, who anchored the innings with a career-best 71, Sourav said irrespective of which opener got out first, the Punjab left-hander would have come in at No. 3. “He’s done well in domestic cricket at that position. There was no plan to maintain a left-right combination.”

About missing out on a big score despite getting off to a decent start, Sourav said his aim was to stay positive.

“That’s how one-day cricket is. One has to stay positive. It wasn’t perhaps a great shot but I had to try and play positively and look for runs.”

Sourav felt India should have ended in excess of 300 and blamed the inability to do so on losing quick wickets towards the end. “Also, some of us failed to carry on after getting a good start.”

The England skipper, however, was anything but amused by certain decisions that went against them. The verdict against Marcus Trescothick, whom he picked for special praise, was obviously the one he was referring to though he didn’t say as much.

“We are frustrated about a few things, which the ICC should pay attention to. Everyone saw what happened so I don’t want to say what went wrong exactly but it was not good for us. We don’t want to dwell on these things after the match. We have to pick ourselves up and thinking about these will only make things worse for us.”

Hussain said his team fielded “brilliantly”, bowled “well” and he was happy about “80 per cent” of the batting. “We needed one more partnership,” he said after being asked where exactly England lost the game.

For Trescothick it was a difficult evening. While he was happy at getting a hundred, the team’s defeat left a bitter taste. “Well, that’s what matters,” he said. Incidentally, England don’t win when he gets a century. The team lost both previous ODIs and the two Tests in which he got hundreds.

The England captain and the opener said the memory of playing at Eden would stay for a long time.

Among those present at the prize distribution function were former state chif minister Jyoti Basu and Union sports minister Uma Bharti.


Calcutta, Jan. 19: 
The England and Wales Cricket Board is feeling the pinch of football’s increasing popularity in their country. So says ECB chief executive Tim Lamb and according to him, the ECB is trying to regain some of the lost ground.

To achieve this, the England Board is trying to spread the game among the nation’s minorities and is also trying to increase its popularity among women. “There is a rich heritage of cricket among Asians in our country and we’ve always taken great pride in the fact that cricket in England has been a multi-racial sport. It’s very popular among Asians and we are trying to see how we can use that to our advantage,” Lamb said.

Some players, with varying degrees of Asian connections, who have represented England in the recent past, include Usman Afzaal, Vikram Solanki and Owais Shah, a member of the current tour party. And, of course, current skipper Nasser Hussain, whose father had emigrated from India.

Lamb said the ECB’s effort to make cricket popular among minorities has been duly recognised by a certificate from the England Sports Council.

Another aspect the ECB is trying to work on is to increase the game’s popularity among women. Unlike in India, the women’s cricket body in England has merged with its men’s counterpart and has come under the ECB’s wings. Vodafone, sponsors of the men’s team, also funds the women’s squad.

“With extensive coverage of football on TV, it’s come to acquire a different sex appeal, which has become difficult to beat. We know it’s difficult to dislodge football and make cricket in England like what it is in India but we are trying to get close,” Lamb said

Among the measures to increase the involvement of women is the ECB’s attempt to reach them through schools. “A majority of primary school teachers in England are women. If we can get them interested, it is bound to attract many more,” Lamb said. He added efforts are also on to involve more women in the upper echelons of the game’s administration. Curiously, the England women’s team, on a tour of India was not accompanied by a separate security officer, unlike their male counterparts.

With the World Cup coming up in South Africa next year and a one-day record not worth boasting about, Lamb said the ECB is trying to put things in order. The first step, according to him, has been the appointment of Duncan Fletcher as coach. “A lot of thought went behind this. But we picked Fletcher, keeping in mind his contribution to the Glamorgan team.”

According to Lamb, the former Zimbabwe captain has made certain recommendations, which the ECB is trying to follow. “We do have a fairly large-scale one-day tournament at the domestic level but the results have not always been good at the top level.

“The new coach suggested we needed to play more one-day Internationals. The intensity, pressure and all that an international match demands can never be supplanted with plenty of domestic one-dayers. Having realised this, we have decided to play more matches and also travel to venues like Sharjah more often,” said Lamb.

Fletcher’s contract, incidentally, lasts till the end of the World Cup.

Lamb refused to comment on England’s complaints about practice pitches at the CC&FC. “As far as we are concerned, the issue is closed and I am not going to reopen it.”He maintained that there were no differences between the English and Indian Boards.

Commenting on apprehensions that the tiff between the ICC and BCCI might sour relations between England and India, Lamb said: “We exchanged words on reciprocity of matches while touring and things look alright.”

According to him, England agreed to India’s demand of an additional match in the on-going one-day series in order to have four Tests in England when India tour there later this year. “We wanted to save the Oval Test. That is why we accepted the sixth match.”


Calcutta, Jan. 19: 
Despite Bangladesh’s continuing dismal show in Test cricket, Trevor Chappell will remain coach till at least June, when his contract comes up for renewal.

“Speculation over Trevor’s future persists, but he is definitely around till June,” declared Syed Ashraful Huq, a Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) director and chairman of its cricket committee.

Speaking to The Telegraph here this afternoon, Huq added: “While all of us are dejected with the team’s performance, I personally feel a coach must get a reasonable tenure to deliver…”

Chappell took charge around the middle of last year.

Huq, of course, didn’t agree with talk doing the rounds that Bangladesh’s Test status be reviewed. “We accept we haven’t been doing well, but give us some time. After all, our Test experience is limited to 14 months. Also, we definitely won’t take as long as New Zealand

(25 years) to win our first Test. And, yes, we have taken a big jump not a small step in graduating to the big league…,” he declared.

Huq informed that Andy Roberts, who has worked with quicks in Bangladesh, will coach the A side during it’s visit to the West Indies to participate in the Busta Cup. The team will be reaching the Windies tomorrow.

The Busta Cup is the West Indies’ premier tournament.

According to Huq, as in the past, ex-players — some of them very high profile — will continue to visit Bangladesh for clinics exclusively for batsmen, spinners, quicks and wicketkeepers.

Bishen Singh Bedi and Kiran More, among others, have already made a visit each.


Calcutta, Jan. 19: 
Pramod Mahajan, Union parliamentary affairs minister and BJP spokesman, today rejected the common belief that cricket could, one day, become an instrument to improve Indo-Pak ties. That, to him, was possibly a simplistic solution to a complex problem.

“Cricket cannot improve India-Pakistan ties in the present scenario,” said Mahajan, who was at the Eden today as an invitee of the CAB, along with three other Union ministers — Uma Bharti (sports), Shahnawaz Hussain (civil aviation) and Arun Jaitley (law).

Insisting that the game was no political vehicle, he said: “In the two countries the game is played as if it is war,” implying that no spokesman for peace could be found in a cricket team in the neighbourhood. He was answering to a question from The Telegraph on whether there was a possibility of the sport one day acting as a an ambassador of peace.

“When we have already suspended bus, train and air services between the two countries, one has to understand the gravity of the situation.

The December 13 attack on Parliament has significantly changed our point of view about Pakistan, and under such circumstances, the revival of cricketing ties will continue to remain a very distant possibility.

The BJP leader, however, reiterated the government’s no-objection to India’s participation in a multi-national meet, including the World Cup, along with Pakistan. “But we’re quite clear that any match between the two countries either here or in Pakistan or non-regular venues, can not be entertained”.

Hussain echoed Mahajan’s words, stressing that the sport and politics can not be separated, at least not now.

“Militants, sponsored by Pakistan, in the Kashmir valley cared little for cricketing ties. So, if we even revive relations with Pakistan through cricket, will they stop killing people?” Hussain wondered.


Calcutta, Jan. 19: 
Although the HSBC Cup field is only seven-horse strong, the competition may turn out to be very stiff. However, ‘terms’ of the classy sprint favour the Darius Byramji-ward Soviet Song and the Bold Russian-Palace Music may win in the hands of Robert Gowli.


12.05 pm: Odyssey 1. Archery 2. Calculus 3.

12.40 pm: Grecian Prince 1. Freedom Warrior 2. Rich Dominion 3.

1.10 pm: Accrete 1. Charlene 2. Discomatic 3.

1.50 pm: Alegria 1. On The Bit 2. Sadaf 3.

2.25 pm: Musician 1. Software Classic 2. Ardency 3.

2.55 pm: Soviet Song 1. Alcalde 2. Ancheta 3.

3.30 pm: Calamint 1. Lively Project 2. Kargil Soldier 3.

4.05 pm: Fly By Alibi 1. Zuhaak 2. Simply Monarch 3.

Day’s Best: Accrete

Double: Soviet Song & Calamint


Bangalore, Jan 19: 
Ridden by F. Norton, the A. Mangalorkar-trained Royal Russian posted a shocking win in the Rom-anov Bangalore Derby on Saturday.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. N. R. C. E. Cup, Div-II 1,100m: (2-3-5) Name And Fame (Prakash) 1; Aerographer 2; Florale 3. Won by: 4-3/4; 1; (1-8.3). Tote: Win Rs 12; Place: 10; 15; 22; Quinella: 32; Tan-ala: 155. Fav: Name And Fame (2).

2. Pancha Shila Trophy, Div-II 1,200m: (1-3-8) King’s Pride (Krishna) 1; Noble Minstrel 2; Auric 3. Not run: Sushmitha (5). Won by: 2-1/2; 4-3/4; (1-15.3). Tote: Win Rs 32; Place: 14; 12; 27; Quinella: 38; Tanala: 417. Fav: Noble Minstrel (3).

3. N. R. C. E. Cup, Div-I 1,100m: (1-6-5) Just Brave (Appu) 1; Bold Bird 2; Slim Twist 3. Won by: 3/4; 1-3/4; (1-8.3). Tote: Win Rs 41; Place: 14; 13; 13; Quinella: 64; Tanala: 230. Fav: Slim Twist (5).

4. Narasimharaja Cup 1,400m: (1-4-2) Priceless (Prakash) 1; L’Avenir 2; Assumer 3. Won by: 3-3/4; 2; (1-27.3). Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 13; 14; Quinella: 17; Tanala: 49. Fav: Priceless (1).

5. Pancha Shila Trophy, Div-I 1,200m: (4-7-5) Starstruck (Srinath) 1; I Am Beautiful 2; Crown Dancer 3. Won by: 5-1/4; 4-1/4; (1-15). Tote: Win Rs 18; Place: 12; 24; 13; Quinella: 114; Tanala: 304. Fav: Starstruck (4).

6. Romanov Bangalore Derby 2,400m: (1-8-2-5) Royal Russian (Norton) 1; Royal Gladiator (M. Narrredu) 2; If Looks Could Kill (Lemaire) 3; Tai-pan (McCullagh) 4. Won by: 1-1/4; 3-1/4; 1/2; (2-33.7). Tote: Win Rs 765; Place: 55; 31; 22; Quinella: 4,074; Tanala: 24,389. Fav: Nairn (10).

7. Vijayanagar Cup 1,600m: (7-10-1) Sunspangled (Lemaire) 1; Ampersand 2; Forest Rose 3. Won by: Nk; 4; (1-41). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 13; 19; 22; Quinella: 48; Tanala: 230. Fav: Sunspangled (7).

8. Mysore Race Club Trophy 1,400m: (2-4-5) Flying Scotsman (Srinath) 1; Crystal Moment 2; Pride Estates 3. Won by: 3; 3/4; (1-26.8). Tote: Win Rs 20; Place: 10; 22; 35; Quinella: 85; Tanala: 1,013. Fav: Flying Scotsman (2).

9. Bandipur Cup 1,600m: (4-2-3) Sinatra (Srinath) 1; Royal Movements 2; Mehvish 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 1/2; (1-42.9). Tote: Win Rs 38; Place: 17; 23; 48; Quinella: 119; Tanala: 2,106. Fav: London Bells (8).

10. Swarnamukhi Plate 1,400m: (3-5-8) Renzino (Ms Storai) 1; Chanel 2; Guernica 3. Won by: 1/2; 3/4; (1-28.8). Tote: Win Rs 45; Place: 17; 21; 34; Quinella: 102; Tanala: 844. Fav: Mumbai Dancer (2).

Jackpot: Rs 1,49,672; (C) Rs 13,015.

Treble: (i) Rs 251; (ii) Rs 3,672; (iii) Rs 420.


Mumbai, Jan 19: 
Snow Dew, the wonder filly trained by S. Ganapathy, looks all set to win yet another classic, the 2,400m Nanoli Stud Indian Oaks in Mumbai on Sunday. B. Prakash partners the Razeen-Snow daughter.


1 pm: Mega Honey 1. Majestic Crown 2. Kingstown 3.

1.30 pm: Cajun King 1. Aide de Memoire 2. Green Star 3.

2 pm: Sky Rocket 1. The Avenger 2. Supreme Chancellor 3.

2.30 pm: Palazzio 1. Senor Pele 2. Consortium 3.

3 pm: Rosmini 1. Portman Square 2. Divine Honey 3.

3.30 pm: Star Cutter 1. Discover 2. Prabhuti 3.

4 pm: Snow Dew 1. Centenary 2. Pleasure Hunt 3.

4.30 pm: Flymetothemoon 1. Star Power 2. Astor Place 3.

5 pm: Exhilarating 1. Ambition 2. The Complete Man 3.

5.30 pm: Lisianski 1. Jayashree 2. Skip Out Front 3.

Day’s Best: Snow Dew

Double: Sky Rocket & Palazzio


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