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Pak picks up Id gift at Eden

Calcutta, Nov. 13: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) can continue celebrating its Platinum Jubilee, but the glittering cup has gone to Pakistan.

Team India slipped on the Eden dew and Inzamam-ul Haq was able to keep his promise: taking the Platinum Jubilee Cup home as an Id gift. Pakistan reached 293 for four with exactly one over remaining.

Pakistan has now won all four ODIs this season, with much of the credit going to innovative coach Bob Woolmer.

On the field, yet again, Inzamam played a significant hand (75 off 75 deliveries) after a solid start from young Salman Butt. The opener posted his maiden hundred ' an unbeaten 108 from 130 balls ' and thanked 'God' for an incredible 'gift'.

The bottomline, of course, may have been different had Yuvraj Singh not dropped Butt on 29 off Irfan Pathan. Earlier, Yuvraj's sparkling 78 (from 62 deliveries) had taken India to what seemed a winning 292 for six.

Butt did go off temporarily (on 68), owing to fasting-induced cramps, but taking guard afresh posed no problems. Few have had such a memorable first match against India and, once the target was reached, the Man of the Match kissed the turf.

'I hope the selectors persist with Butt.... He has both technique and temperament,' lauded iconic former captain Imran Khan. The youngster has the strokes as well.

While dew can't be predicted, it's still safer to bat first at the Eden. Sourav Ganguly, therefore, can't be faulted for opting to set a target. Nature, though, chose to be unkind as dew descended like confetti after George W. Bush's victory over John Kerry.

Dew does slow the outfield, affecting batsmen, but hurts bowlers more as gripping becomes the most challenging task after climbing Everest.

However, dew alone can't be blamed and the bowlers simply weren't up to it with as many as 23 wides conceded. Clearly, it wasn't Sourav's day (though he did get 48) and employing eight bowlers reflected his frustration.

Distraught, Sourav didn't attend the post-match media conference.

Inzamam, incidentally, remarked the target was 'tough' but added that his players showed 'character'. Also, he made the point that the seasoned Anil Kumble could have made 'things difficult'.

It's not the first time that Kumble got dropped, but the think tank must review this business of fielding just one specialist spinner at home.

'We need an honest brainstorming session,' is what somebody close to the establishment told The Telegraph soon after this loss.

Well, that should be done quickly.

Footnote: The BCCI chose to felicitate Clive Lloyd, the match referee, along with other former (and current) captains, but forgot that coach John Wright, too, is an ex-captain.

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