Calcutta: Captain Stephen Fleming couldn’t make it to the MCC XI nets at Lord’s on Monday morning, but manager Mike Gatting was around to ensure the Sourav Gangulys trained with at least a degree of seriousness.
Tuesday’s limited overs match against an International XI is charity-driven (and doesn’t have official status), but Gatting has always had the reputation of a taskmaster.
It was, by the way, under his captaincy that England last won the Ashes, in 1986-87.
“Stephen had a game for Nottinghamshire yesterday and, so, will be reaching London later in the day. In fact, even Shoaib (Akhtar) couldn’t make it for nets as he, too, played on Sunday,” Gatting told The Telegraph.
He added: “Quite a few of the players in both teams had County commitments yesterday or on Saturday and, so, didn’t come for nets' What’s important is that they’ve made themselves available for a wonderful cause.”
Yes, but irrespective of the status, nobody would like to fail in a match of such high billing.
Gatting informed Sourav is either going to open with Chris Gayle or bat at No. 3 if Fleming decides to himself take on Makhaya Ntini and his tribe straightaway.
“I can understand jockeying for certain positions, but it’s Stephen’s prerogative to decide the batting order,” Gatting pointed out.
| • Leonard Cheshire Foundation,
headquartered in the UK
• British Red Cross
• Foundation of Goodness (supported, among others, by Shane Warne and
• Sarvodaya, a leading NGO in Sri Lanka
• Cricket-Aid Sri Lanka
The regular Team India captain has come in for Ramnaresh Sarwan, who had problems travelling from the West Indies.
That the MCC wanted Sourav, who is on a short-term contract with Glamorgan, was first reported in these columns last Saturday.
Significantly, the number of Indians who will be on view in the MCC-organised fund-raiser has increased to six with Harbhajan Singh (doing duty for Surrey) being named Muttiah Muralidharan’s replacement.
An injury made Murali pull out ' unfortunate given that the earnings have been earmarked for five organisations either exclusively/closely connected with tsunami relief operations in Sri Lanka.
Incidentally, according to MCC spokesperson Laura Garland, Rahul Dravid is going to ‘keep for the International XI.
She couldn’t put a figure on the amount expected to be raised, but said only 3,000 tickets remained to be sold till late on Monday.
The 50 overs per team game will be telecast live on Sky.
MCC XI: Stephen Fleming (capt.), Chris Gayle, Sourav Ganguly, V.V.S.Laxman, Jacques Kallis, Andy Flower, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Shaun Pollock, Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble, Shoaib Akhtar. Manager: Mike Gatting.
International XI: Brian Lara (capt.), Virender Sehwag, Sanath Jayasuriya, Rahul Dravid (wk), Graeme Smith, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Chris Cairns, Shane Warne, Chaminda Vaas, Mohammed Sami, Makhaya Ntini. Manager: Rodney Marsh.
Match starts: 3.15 pm (IST).