Even as a pin being dropped could have been heard in the Indian dressing-room, there was mayhem with a difference in the Pakistani camp.
While some players kept screaming ďjeet gayeĒ, somebody opted to play the Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam cassette. That raised the decibel level even more.
It was against this backdrop that Sachin Tendulkar quietly made his way to the media conference, one floor above the dressing-rooms. He has presided over many defeats but, today, the captain looked shattered.
The 32-run loss in the Carlton and United Series, after all, has almost knocked India out of the tournament.
For starters, India must win their remaining four matches. And, even if they lose one, it shouldnít be to Pakistan. At the same time, Pakistan should lose all three of their remaining games.
If the cookie does crumble that way ó assuming Australia become the first to qualify for the best-of-three finals ó the net run rate will come into play. But all that is for later and, today, India are only technically in the competition.
ďItís not all over... Itís very stiff, but thereís some hope still... In the last World Cup, too, we had a situation where three matches had to be won, in succession, to make the Super Six. We did, so letís see...Ē remarked Sachin, sounding anything but convincing.
Wasim Akram, who took the field even though he was pretty unwell last night, chose not to go overboard. ďIíll talk of the finals only when weíve made it ... Thereís still work to do.Ē
It was a day when absolutely nothing, except the Sachin-Sourav Ganguly opening partnership, went right for India. If Saeed Anwar being dropped twice early on was a bad enough omen, even that 99-run Sachin-Sourav effort (at an excellent five-plus an over) went wasted.
Fielding first was justified though it can be argued that the option of batting first could have been exercised. The bowlersí profligacy, however, cannot be condoned. Worse, Sachin got his calculations wrong which resulted in the last two overs being bowled by the captain himself and Sourav. In any case, Pakistan smashed 91 runs in the last 10.
To cap it all, the Indians were docked two overs for going well beyond the stipulated 210 minutes in bowling 50 overs. Not only did fielders show little urgency, Sachinís penchant for such regular exchange of notes with the bowlers is awfully time-consuming.
Poor cricket, then, in the first session but Sachin and Sourav had wrested back much of the initiative. Most teams, pushed into a do-or-die situation, would have made capital of such a launch. But, with the Indians, itís different.
For the Indians, perhaps, itís become fashionable to be different. However, in a manner that will guarantee brickbats not bouquets.
The first to go was Sourav, taken off a leading edge from man-of-the-match Abdur Razzaq, who is set to challenge anybody for the numero uno allrounderís slot. Till then Sourav, who even ducked a beamer from a profusely apologetic Akram, had been in no trouble.
Souravís 43 came in 54 deliveries with five boundaries. Next out was V.V.S. Laxman, perishing to a rank bad shot. Rahul Dravid, the tourís biggest disappointment, drooled over a small contribution, before being adjudged leg-before.
The most telling blow was struck in the 36th over, when Razzaq got the most prized wicket in contemporary cricket. ďOnce we get Sachin, we know the game is ours,Ē pointed out Akram, smiling just a shade.
But with six wickets in hand, India could still have gone for it. Such hopes, though, went into a quick tailspin when Jacob Martin was run out and Robin Singh gave a return catch to Shoaib Akhtar (194 for six).
With the defeat becoming the talking point at Bellerive Oval, Sachinís gem (93 in 104 deliveries with ten boundaries) got pushed to footnote-status. But the 10,000-odd who saw him this afternoon, wonít forget the blitz of fours which marked the first half of his essay.
There were hits to all corners of the park and century No. 25 was taken for granted when Razzaq got Sachin with an outswinger pitched on the middle-stump ó the suggestion had come from the captain himself.
Sachin missed the line and, later said he ďcouldnítĒ sight the ball.
Razzaq, who beat India to pulp in the morning (70 in 50 deliveries with five boundaries and two sixes), returned the dayís best figures ó five for 48, with two wickets in the first spell and three in the second.
Most unassuming and terribly shy, Razzaq, by the way, collected the second MoM award of the tournament.
The other day Razzaq had spanked the master himself, Glenn McGrath, for five boundaries in as many deliveries. That was at No. 3. Today, he controlled the lower half of the innings, earning high praise from Akram. ďHeís so flexible in the mind, that my job (as captain) is easy. I can send him up. Equally, he can bat lower in the order ...Ē
It does appear that Razzaq-ed will now be the newest entry in a cricket-specific lexicon.
With such a fantastic attack at his disposal, Akram has few worries even when the going briefly is rough. Today, specifically, he wasnít flustered when Waqar Younis bowled five consecutive wides in over No. 1.
In the morning, Pakistanís supposedly brittle batting made merry. While Razzaq top-scored, very handsome contributions came from Ijaz Ahmed (67), Yousuf Youhana (45) and Anwar (43). There were three stands of at least 60 and that did prove decisive.
There was purpose in much of what Pakistan did and the batsmen Ďpickedí fielders to add both to their total and Sachinís all-too apparent discomfort.
Debashish Mohanty, playing his first big match of the tour (the team landed in the third week of November), had a smart first spell (6-0-29-1) and Sachin would have done well to give him all 10 overs at one go.
Opening spells of Venkatesh Prasad and Sourav, too, were effective. The Ďsurpriseí came in Anil Kumbleís form. On the verge of being dropped, Kumble showed he has it in him to deliver.
While Pakistan now face Australia in Melbourne on Sunday, the Indians travel to Adelaide where back-to-back games await them: versus Pakistan (January 25) and Australia.
The 16 handicap player hit 11 nett birdies. In second place were Ms June Baker, Pradeep Bajoria of McLeod & Co and C.V. Muralidhar of Chengmari Tea with 43 stableford points. There were flashes of celebrity on show today with ITC chairman YC. Deveshwar and Chris Baker-Jones, MD Indal, submitting two-under cards.
That gave them 38 stableford points each. Tomorrow is the final day of the meet, to be followed by a day of golf for celebrities.
Jeev at joint 26th spot
Jeev Milkha Singh made three birdies in the last four holes to finish at two-under 70 on the opening day of the Euro-992,000 Mercedes Benz South African Open.
A total of 152 golfers teed-off and there was another hole-in-one by A. Bakshi of Emirates Golf Club, Dubai, on the 13th, which even yesterday saw a hole-in-one.
East Bengal will ask for international transfer clearance from the Brazilian body tomorrow, on receipt of which Oseas will sign on. Oseas has played for five first division clubs in Rio de Janeiro and one more in Indonesia
Income Tax win big
Income Tax today hammered Bally Gramanchal 12-0 in their IFA womenís football league match. Chatali Kar missed her hattrick, but scored four, Sujata Kar and Pampa Kar three each and Alpana Sil two more.
In another match Nabadiganta beat Rampur MS 3-0, Mamoni Mondal striking twice and Bipasha Dhar the other.
State U-21 squad
Dipankar Chatterjee will lead the state team to the national under-21 soccer championships to be held in Dumka, Bihar, from January 25 to February 4. The IFA today released the names of the players.
Bengal play the opening match of the tournament, versus hosts Bihar on January 25.
One of Australiaís most outstanding batsmen, both in Tests and limited overs cricket (a total of 13,386 runs), Boon made his debut in the middle order, graduated to an opener and, then, finished at No. 3. Throughout, he was also an exceptional fielder.
Boon, stocky as ever and with his trademark walrus moustache intact, spoke to The Telegraph this morning.
Following are excerpts
On taking fresh guard, this time at the TCA
I joined them this season, after finishing off with Durham. Iím the marketing and special events coordinator... Itís a fresh innings and, this time, Iím on the administrative side.
On his three seasons with Durham
Besides being the captain, I was associated with the Countyís coaching and development programme... Durham have a bright future and two players to watch are opener Jimmy Daley and allrounder Paul Collingwood.
On having continued with purely first-class cricket despite calling it a day at the international level (1995-96)
(Laughs) You could say the waning process wasnít yet complete... Actually, I felt I had some cricket left... As for Durham, the offer was attractive and, even though Iíd quit the highest level, I finally got the chance to play County cricket. Iíd always been wanting to do that.
On why he quit international cricket when he still had something left to give to the game
Yes, I could have continued... However, Iíd promised myself I alone would dictate when I would leave. That the decision wouldnít be anybody elseís... Of course, I was getting enough runs to keep my place in the Test team but, then, I wasnít being picked in the one-dayers... The business of selecting different teams had begun to take root.
Fact also is you get slower as you get older. I went off on a high, though... I got a hundred at the MCG, in my penultimate Test and we won that series (versus Sri Lanka).
On Australiaís recent run, which is nothing short of phenomenal
Excellent, and whatís more pleasing is the back-up we have. There may not be enough depth in the (back-up) bowling, but gifted batsmen are very much around.
On what helps Australia regularly grow stronger
From 1984-85, when the rebuilding started to now, itís been a gradual climb... Allan Border and I would tell the guys we were better off winning rather than losing. More recently, Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh would have been saying the same thing.
Then, our guys have a strong bond among themselves... They trust each other and believe they can win from any situation. If you wish to confirm that, just go back to November when Australia snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in Hobart itself.
Yet another factor is that the Academy and state associations are nurturing juniors very well. The assembly-line is in competent hands.
On whether he fears over-confidence/a touch of complacency could drop anchor
It wonít happen to these guys... They have an enormous desire to win and, when the captain publicly declares the team is out to emerge victorious in all six home Tests, and it does, it shows just how high the standards have been set.
On Steve Waughís leadership
Well, heís an exceptionally strong character, who leads by example... Steve takes immense pride in wearing the baggy green cap and that fierce pride rubs off on others as well... Itís of help, too, that he has a strong team.
On the current Test openers, Michael Slater and Greg Blewett
They didnít do too well against India, but had a great series versus Pakistan. Both are very good with Slater, specially, being positive and aggressive. My advice would be for both to spend more time with each other, off the field, so that each understands the other perfectly.
On the rapport he shared with Geoff Marsh
So good that we knew each other inside out. For partnerships to prosper, thatís how it should be.
On Ricky Ponting replacing him as Tasmaniaís Ďfavourite soní
(Laughs again) Times change... Ponting is extremely talented and has a tremendous future. I do feel he is captaincy material.
On whether having featured in more than one controversy could, eventually, hurt Pontingís chances
I donít think so... Obviously, the selectors have sent a signal by naming him stand-in vice-captain... Itís a sign they respect his talent and are aware he has a cricket brain... Iím sure Ponting has learnt from the incidents. He is growing up and is definitely more mature.
On the Indian openersí failure in the recent Test series
They werenít bad... However, I couldnít understand why they played at so many balls which ought to have been left. I donít know whether thatís a legacy of too much one-day cricket or because theyíre used to wickets where the bounce is negligible...
It was only in the last innings that at least one opener, (V.V.S.) Laxman, played the way he should have been playing throughout. He struck the ball beautifully when, earlier, it seemed he was almost scared to go for shots.
Finally, on whether he agrees with the ACBís Team of the Century
(Pauses) Making such a selection is difficult... But, yes, itís disappointing that somebody who helped turn Australian cricket around in the mid-Eighties, played over 150 Tests and averaged in excess of 50.00, didnít find a place in the XI. Iím talking of Border.
A PTI report from New Delhi says Jadeja has not been included in the North Zone Deodhar Trophy team for their match versus East tomorrow. The report says the zonal selection committee convenor gave directions that Jadeja should not be included for further matches.
While that is good news for East (who will miss injured medium-pacer Sumit Panda), the report adds that Jadejaís presence in the team (versus West in Rajkot January 19) had created a controversy because the player reportedly does not represent any state or institutional unit affiliated to the BCCI, mandatory for any player to become eligible to play in a tournament sanctioned by the board.
However, The Telegraph had reported earlier that Jadejaís affiliation has now been confirmed with Jammu & Kashmir, which makes him eligible.
Jadejaís name had been included at the last minute in Rajkot, reportedly at the insistence of natinal selector Madanlal. This was clarified to PTI by Sunil Dev who quoted team manager Suresh Luthra regarding this.
ďI have written to Madanlal saying he has overstepped his authority and I have also directed Luthra that Jadeja should not be included for tomorrowís tie against East Zone to be held in Baroda,Ē Dev said. Dev said he has also written to the BCCI president and secretary on the issue as well as on Madanlalís interference in the selection.
BCCI secretary Jaywant Lele, when contacted in Baroda by PTI, confirmed the North Zone team list sent to the Baroda association did not contain Jadejaís name.
Meanwhile, organisers of a city coroprate and celebrity golf meet have touted the fact for long Jadeja will be seen on the course from tomorrow.
More certainties, simply adding to the confusion.
This is how the Media conference unfolded:
SACHIN TENDULKAR: Weíll keep trying till we know we canít make the finals. Yes, itís very difficult (being captain) when the team isnít doing well ... We didnít at all bowl well, specially in the slog overs ... The fielding? Well, itís better but do I need to tell the players that in Australia, where boundaries are deep, youíve got to stand ten yards inside? Thatís commonsense. I agree the middleorder hasnít been getting runs ... The allrounders, too, could chip in ... Better, too, could be the running between the wickets ... Yes, this is a decent side ... May be one or two players could have been there and I accept somebody like Ajay Jadeja would have made a difference. Itís not that the players arenít good enough. Itís just that they lack self-belief ... Theyíve got to start believing in themselves. Of course, we have to try harder as well.
WASIM AKRAM: Yes, we Razzaq-ed India ... Heís emerged such a wonderful matchwinner ... He has always been good, itís just that now, with top level exposure, he has grown in confidence. And, thatís getting reflected in his performance... Razzaq can swing the ball, get it to skid besides maintaining a superb line and length ... Actually, even weíd decided to field (as moisture was initially noticed) though, at the toss, I. wouldnít have changed the team decision (to field)... So, it was a good toss to lose ó we could post a big total and apply pressure ... Sachinís was the key wicket ... I think itís the first (one-day) match Iíve played where Sachin got big runs ... For India, only other in-form batsman is Sourav Ganguly.
ABDUR RAZZAQ: Iím thankful to God and my skipper.
But, bookmakers are hardly expected to be generous with odds, because of cricketersí presence, after their recent battering. And with Aslam Kader having a vice like grip in three of the six events, punters better look elsewhere for winners.
However, do not be surprised if merited performers take a back seat for gambling reasons. Allied Forces may, nevertheless, win the feature and the purse of about Rs 3.8 lakh.
Read as: Horse number, last four runs, horse name, trainer, jockey, weight & draw:
Scottish Law Handicap 1,600m (Cl IVóRt.22-50) ó Indian jockeys only
1 2300 Magic Fountain [Vijay] A. P. Singh 60.5 1
2 - 114 Assyrian [Vijay] C. Alford 55.0 2
3 3212 Persuasion [Bharath] Manohar S. 54.5 4
4 0000 Golden Express [R. Alford] S. Paswan 50.5 3
5 0034 Black Mane [D. David] S. Tamang 48.0 5
6 2432 Carabineer [Jaiswal] A. Razzak 47.0 6
1. Assyrian (2) 2. Black Mane (5) 3. Persuasion (3)
Assyrian: His last run is best ignored. May beat this lot without any hitch. Black Mane: Looking much improved and may make the finish interesting. Persuasion: May fight it out for the minor placings.
Galstaun Cup 1200m (Terms, 3-y-o only)
1 - - 10 Absolute Performer [R. Alford] R. Yadav 58.5 7
2 - 213 Rock Falcon [R. Alford] R. Gowli 58.5 8
3 - - - 0 Act Of Kindness [Stephens] N. Akhtar 55.0 6
4 - - - 0 Atta Son [S. Ahmed] P. Kujur 55.0 9
5 - - 32 Alterezza [Vijay] A. Kader 53.5 5
6 ---- Anntari [Bharath] C. Alford 53.5 2
7 ---- Golden Heart [Bath] Md Amil 53.5 3
8 - - - 0 Ingleside [Stephens] N. Connorton 53.5 4
9 - - - 4 Madame X [Rodrigues] S. Shanker 53.5 1
10 ---- Software [Bath] Yasin 53.5 10
1. Alterezza (5) 2. Madame x (9) 3. Rock falcon (2)
Alterezza: The 3-1/2 kg pull at the weights may help avenge defeat suffered at the hands of Rock Flacon. Madame X: Shaping like a winner in her recent workouts. Rock Flacon: Hung out and lost the last start. The change of bit may do the trick.
Pearson Surita Momerial Cup 2,000m (Cl IIóRt. 66-94)
1 0343 Astrajoy [Vijay] C. Alford 60.0 5
2 1130 Allosaki [D. Byramji] A. Kader 58.0 1
3 0020 Majestic Star [R. Alford] R. Gowli 56.0 4
4 0000 Classic Leader [R. Alford] B. Gurang 56.0 2
5 0302 Master Charlie [Rodrigues] Brij S. 47.5 3
1. Allosaki (2) 2. Astrajoy (1) 3. Aajestic star (3)
Allosaki: Returns to her classs after doing the donkey-work for her owermate in the Derby. May be hard to down. Astrajoy: May have some chance only if the favourite runs backwards. Majestic Star: May hope to place..
American Express Indian Champion Cup 2,000m (Terms,4-y-o& over)
1 0213 Allied Forces [D. Byramji] A. Kader 57.5 2
2 1102 Arendal [Vijay] Md Amil 57.5 3
3 3431 Kaizen [Bharath] N. Connorton 57.5 4
4 4313 Super Sunrise [Vijay] C. Alford 57.5 1
1. Allied forces (1) 2. Super sunrise (4) 3. Arendal (2)
Allied Forces: Sitting pretty by the terms of the race. Super Sunrise: Must stop the rest in the field. Arendal: May look for the third slot.
Glasgow Courser Trophy 1,400m (Cl IIIóRt. 44-72)
1 4030 Mountain Memory [R. Alford] R. Yadav 60.0 5
2 0144 Scimitar [S. Ahmed] Manohar S. 59.5 2
3 4104 Aquaria [Vijay] A. Kader 59.5 7
4 0404 American (KaizerSozay)[R.Alford] B. Gurang 57.0 6
5 0212 Super Smile [D. Byramji] Md Islam 55.5 4
6 0000 Classic Wonder [Javed] M. Reuben 54.5 3
7 0314 Precious Dreams [R. Alford] R. Gowli 53.0 1
1. Super smile (5) 2. Aquaria (3) 3. Classic wonder (6)
Super Smile: Thanks to Islamís allowance, the 9-kg pull from Aquaria may work to her advantage. Aquaria: May have to fight it out with Super Smile. Classic Wonder: Working well but not a sound galloper. Scimitar: May place.
Sreepriya Cup 1,200m (Cl IVóRt. 22-50) ó Indian jockeys only
1 4142 Amanda [R. Alford] Rutherford A. 60.0 7
2 0420 Ocean Sunset [Vijay] C. Alford 59.5 3
3 4210 Hurricane Star [S. Ahmed] Manohar S. 59.0 2
4 0313 Floral Path [Bath] Surender S. 57.5 5
5 3011 Kargil Soldier [S. Ahmed] N. Engineer 55.5 6
6 - - 01 Aileron [Bharath] S. Rabani 52.0 4
7 0000 Infierno [Stephens] Som S. 49 1
1. Kargil soldier (5) 2. Ocean Sunset (2) 3. Hurricane star (3)
Kargil Soldier: An unfancied but fluent winner in his previous start. With little luck, may strike again. Ocean Sunset: Working extremely well but the near five-month lay off may tell upon her. Hurricane Star: May place.
Dayís Best: Allosaki Double: Assyrian & Allied Forces
TODAYíS TRACK TRIALS
Outer sand track 1,200m: Ballot Master (Yadav) and Abstone Queen (Merchant) and Dominate (Gowli) in 1-26s; (400m) 27s. First two level. Alkanet (C. Alford) in 1-24s; (400m) 26s. Good. Anytime Better (Amil) and Sixteen Sixtyfour (C. Alford) in 1-25s; (400m) 29s. Former 2 ls better. 1,000m: Quickdraw McGraw (Gowli) and Head Hunter (Merchant) in 1-8s; (400m) 27s. Both level. Go With The Wind (Rutherford) and Desert Force (Gowli) in 1-11s; (400m) 30s. Both level. Volcano Top (Rb) and Flaming Ferrari (M. Reuben) in 1-20 2/5s; (400m) 31s. 800m: Relative Shade (Yadav) and Classic Leader (K. Kumar) in 1-1s; (400m) 26s. Both were level. 600m: The Stud (Shanker) and Little Boy Blue (Brij S.) in 42s; (400m) 28s. Former 4 ls ahead.
3 pm: Sun Gold 1. Thanks A Lot 2. Mumís The Word 3.
3.30 pm: Flying Scot 2. Galleon De Espania 2. Something Fishy 3.
4 pm: Fantastic Belle 1. Barassie 2.
4.30 pm: Turn My Luck 1. Liberty Hall 2. Royal Castle 3.
5 pm: Saujas 1. Royal Power 2. Cape Fear 3.
5.30 pm: Empire Royal 1. Dunhill Star 2. Formal Gold 3.
Dayís Best: Fantastic Belle Double: Sun Gold & Empire Royal
Fridayís Bangalore Results
Ridden by K. P. Appu, the D. Byramji-trained So Royal won the F. K. Irani Memorial Cup in Bangalore on Friday.
(With inter-state dividends)
1. Birur Plate 1,600m: (3-6-2) Sque-eze (Shafiq) 1; Zouk 2; Silk Petals 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 3/4; (1-43.6). Tote: Win Rs 72; Place: 21; 15; 16; Quinella: 86; Tanala: 725. Fav: Zouk (6).
2. Tumkur Plate 1,400m: (10-4-6) Astounding Bay (Warren) 1; Pride Estates 2; Canadian 3. Won by: Nk; Nk; (1-29.7). Tote: Win Rs 94; Place: 26; 23; 15; Quinella: 401; Tanala: 4,174. Fav: Canadian (6).
3. F. K. Irani Memorial Cup 1,200m: (7-6-9) So Royal (Appu) 1; Bounty Bay 2; All Above 3. Won by: 3-1/4; 1; (1-14.9). Tote: Win Rs 34; Place: 14; 16; 39; Quinella: 54; Tanala: 505. Fav: Sun Hawk (4).
4. Dandeli Cup 1,400m): (7-4-2) Class Conscious (Rajesh S.) 1; Starry Splendour 2; Persian Bay 3. Won by: 5; Hd; (1-31.3). Tote: Win Rs 433; Place: 79; 17; 42; Quinella: 710; Tanala: 48,984. Fav: Letham Grange (1).
5. Chitradurga Plate 1,200m: (2-9-5) Own Legacy (Patel) 1; Chity Bang 2; Careless Beauty 3. Won by: 7-1/2; 4; (1-16.3). Tote: Win Rs 26; Place: 16; 39; 33; Quinella: 311; Tanala: 1,252. Fav: Own Legacy (2).
6. Dr. M. R. Chengeri Memorial Plate 1,400m: (7-6-8) Seize The Day (Arun) 1; Sir Divine 2; Open Arms 3. Won by: Dist; 1; (1-29). Tote: Win Rs 23; Place: 12; 46; 27; Quinella: 339; Tanala: 2,071. Fav: Seize The Day (7).
Jackpot: Rs 1,08,220 (Carried over).
Treble: (i) Rs 889; (ii) Rs 3,218.