Shiv Sundar�s sparkling maiden ton in run feast
I�ll get conscious of averages only when I quit: Sachin
Pankaj Roy in hospital after heart attack
Das sets sights on bigger goals
�Great moment for Orissa�
Bandh cloud over third day
Don Bosco third
Mumbai Races/ Simply Noble for �Super Mile�
Bangalore racing
Calcutta Races/ Altimara stands tall

Nagpur, Nov. 25: 
INDIA 306/2

His arrival comes as fresh hope at a time when openers are a rarity in Indian cricket. There was very little in his approach that did not impress selectors and the Indian team�s thinktank today. Not without reason did Ian Chappell and Barry Jarman have a word with the youngster after the day�s play.

There was no real show of exhilaration from Shiv Sundar Das once he reached his maiden Test century at the Vidarbha Cricket Association ground. Rather, the expression was one of relief and satisfaction.

While Jarman�s was a congratulatory message, Chappell�s advice was simple: �Don�t change your game, keep going.�

The opening day of the second Test proved encouraging for India. Das� 110 (252 minutes, 175 balls) along with Rahul Dravid�s unbeaten 93 (204 balls, 13x4) may have confirmed Sourav Ganguly�s fear that the wicket would be a �flat, batting one�, but the Indian skipper was hardly complaining at the end of the day�s play.

�Not a bad Test wicket. Looks good... There�s bounce for the fast bowlers and the spinners should also get some turn later on,� said Sourav. He, though, hasn�t decided on his target score. �Let�s see how much we get by tea tomorrow and then we will think of a declaration.�

But he has already chalked out his course of action. �With three pacers in the side, I would always like them to do the job in the first innings and let the spinners take charge in the second,� the Indian skipper said, obviously hoping not to bat a second time.

The slowness of the wicket has made the bounce negligible but the way a couple of deliveries from Bryan Murphy and Dirk Viljoen turned in the final session did suggest hope for the spinners.

There was a refreshing approach to Das� innings. Playing his third Test and fifth innings, the Bhubaneswar boy showed the temperament and determination of a seasoned pro. He did so in a tremendous display of discretion in the choice of shots with great fluency once he picked the right opportunity. It was skill, poise and straight bat all the way.

Playing within the V initially, he looked composed while trying to come to terms with the wicket. �The ball was stopping and coming, so I had to be careful,� Das said.

Most of his 19 boundaries were earned through square drives and cuts and, at one point, Heath Streak was forced to employ as many as seven fielders on the off-side, including a back-up vigil in the cover region.

As Das cut loose in the second session, Dravid was made to play the role of the senior pro, guiding his junior partner while rotating the strike. The bulk of the scoring was done by Das during their 155-run second-wicket partnership, the Karnataka batsman contributing a meagre 64.

It was unfortunate that Das was the victim of a controversial decision by umpire A.V. Jayaprakash, the ball hitting the flap of his right pad before landing in the hands of first slip.

The first session belonged to Sadagopan Ramesh, whose customary half-century was denied by a brilliant Streak throw from mid-on. He was casual in grounding his bat, this cavalier approach often leading to his doom. In fact, the run could also have been avoided. The left-hander was his usual flamboyant self during his 65-ball stay, picking up the Zimbabwe skipper for special treatment.

The openers may have added 72 runs but, at times, were also guilty of showing undue respect to the Zimbabwe attack. The same applies to Dravid, who should have stepped on the accelerator to take maximum advantage of Sourav�s decision to bat first. If indications are anything to go by, the wicket will deteriorate.

Sachin Tendulkar, too, has hardly been inspiring. He struggled to get accustomed to the pace of the wicket. The gaps were hard to come by and he had to rely on the pull to get Murphy out of the way on a couple of occasions.

Streak did impress with his eagerness to make the batsman play the new ball but Henry Olonga and Mluleki Nkala were wayward. There was very little that stamped their international class. Now, it will be up to their spinners to restrict India.    

Sachin Tendulkar, recently voted (actually, reconfirmed) the world�s numero uno batsman � by Australia�s first-class cricketers no less � spoke to The Telegraph for close to an hour earlier this week, during the New Delhi Test.

Following are excerpts

Q : We�re in the home stretch of 2000. How has the year gone for you?

A : Okay, not great� To repeat what I�ve said earlier, that the team didn�t play to potential in Australia, early on, affected my own batting� It�s been a year marked by a whole lot of one-dayers (29) and only five Tests (before Nagpur).

Q : Because it�s only been an �okay� year, thus far, are you more determined than you probably would have been to end it with a bang?

A: I look to make the most of every opportunity. I�m always determined� I wish, though, we had more Test cricket.

Q : Obviously, then, you do regard Test cricket as the real cricket�

A : I wouldn�t compare any other form to Test cricket. The charm-factor apart, Test cricket is far more challenging. That�s the real test.

Q: Looking back on 2000, would you say this has been the most incredible year in your career � relinquishing the captaincy, mixed form, the surfacing of cricket�s biggest scandal?

A: Probably, yes� Something or the other kept happening throughout. Hopefully, now, things will settle down and fans will get what they deserve: Enjoyment.

Q : How much did the match-fixing scandal affect you?

A : Strictly personally, it was almost irrelevant� I knew it wouldn�t put me under pressure. In any case, I was convinced it would be a passing phase. Of course, I accept whatever happened hasn�t left a good taste. (Adds after a pause) Today, every player is making a bigger effort to ensure cricket gets back the standing it enjoyed before the scandal. The game is bigger than a clutch of individuals.

Q : Personally, is the enjoyment level higher now that you aren�t captain?

A : It�s not that I wasn�t enjoying the game (towards the end of his second innings as captain) at all, it�s just that I had stopped being myself...

Q : Stopped smiling, stopped laughing�

A : My mind was working all 24 hours� How would the team fare? How to reverse the string of defeats? How to... I ended up not having a minute to myself� To just unwind which, believe me, is essential� The mental relaxation went out the window.

Q: You are your own fiercest critic. Have you analysed why your form hasn�t, by your standards, been consistent in 2000?

A : Every batsman has had failures; every cricketer has had ups and downs� Sir Don was an exception, yes, but you can�t judge everybody by the same yardstick� I haven�t been a failure though, yes, I�ve had the highs and lows� However, whatever the scoresheets may reveal, my approach hasn�t ever changed. I�ve played the way I was brought up to play � which is not doing anything which didn�t come naturally. In essence, then, being normal.

Q : How conscious are you of averages (currently 55-plus in Tests and 41-plus in ODIs)?

A : Nobody wishes to fail, but I don�t look at the averages at the end of each series� I suppose I�ll get conscious when I quit. When my average is then flashed on the TV screen, I would like to feel satisfied. Would like to feel happy I gave off my best�

Q : You�ve just completed 11 years in the big league. Are you still affected by the odd flop innings or do you now take such failures in stride?

A : I don�t enjoy failure. At the same time, I don�t get affected to the extent that I may fail in the next innings as well.

Q: The Dhaka Test, earlier this month, was your first first-class match in almost seven months. Did you feel rusty?

A : Not really� Though we did play one-day matches, in between, this break was needed. Cricket, after all, isn�t everything and there are other things in life. For example, you�ve got to give time to the family.

Q: Do you set series-specific or season-specific goals?

A : (Grins) Very rarely�

Q : Have you set one this season?

A : No.

Q : When was the last time you made an exception? During Australia�s last visit to India (early 1998)?

A : (Grins again) I did have a target� [For the record, Sachin totalled 446 runs in three Tests, average of 111.50.] Actually, I set one during last season�s trip to Australia as well� It didn�t exactly work out� [Sachin posted 278 runs in three Tests and only 198 in the tri-series immediately thereafter.]

Q : Eleven years on, is your preparation for a series any different?

A: One still has the same destination but, with experience, one can take different routes. That, I reckon, is about the only change.

Q : Twenty-three Test hundreds, 26 in ODIs� What keeps you hungry?

A : At a basic level, the desire to do well for India� That I�ve had such a supportive family, has allowed me to stay focussed. I�m particularly indebted to brother Ajit. Good or bad times, he�s at hand with words of advice.

Q : Today, you�re the senior-most pro. What�s your advice to newcomers looking for guidance?

A : Enjoy every minute. What goes never returns. It�s said that time flies� Of course, it does� There are moments when it�s difficult to believe 11 years have passed.

Q : Yuvraj Singh idolises you. What did you tell him on debut, in Nairobi?

A : That he should build on the excellent start and make the most of opportunities till such time the opponents haven�t worked him out. After that, well, it could get tougher... I also reminded him it�s important to be consistent. Equally, one must stay level-headed. I quite like Yuvraj�s positive attitude. He�s hungry, which is a good sign.

Q : How do you rate Sourav Ganguly, the captain?

A : The real test of a captain, too, is Test cricket� He�s the positive sort and, having seen ups and downs from close quarters, knows how to respond to situations.

Q : The two of you often interact in the middle. Generally, what do you tell Sourav?

A : Offer options� Being in the thick of things, some options may escape the captain�s attention. It�s in such a situation, that he could do with being told of an option he didn�t think existed. Of course, it�s the captain�s prerogative whether or not he will exercise that.

Q : You responded in typically mature fashion to an apparent Sourav misquote, in Sharjah. The public reaction apart, were you upset?

A : I wasn�t, because Sourav didn�t tell me anything one-to-one� There are times when one may say something without specifically directing it at one person. It�s essential that the individuals concerned have a good understanding. Sourav and I have that.

Q : Any comments on the tour of Pakistan being scrapped?

A : (Indicates with both hands he doesn�t wish to say anything.)

Q : But on the plus-side, surely, is the fact that all the top guns can play domestic cricket, for two full months, till the home series against Australia�

A : On the face of it, yes, but little purpose will be served if the wickets aren�t good. I�ve said it before, I�m saying so again � good wickets produce good cricketers.

Q : Are you more motivated when playing Australia or South Africa as opposed to, say, Bangladesh?

A : Oh, I was keen to get a big score in Dhaka. A Test run is remembered as a Test run.

Q : The last question: Soon, you may even be considered a specialist spinner�

A : (Laughs) I don�t mind turning my arm over. If it�s handy for the team, I�m game.    

Calcutta, Nov. 25: 
Former India opener and present sheriff of the city, Pankaj Roy, has been admitted to hospital after suffering a massive heart attack today.

The 73-year- old Roy, holder of the Test world record for the highest first-wicket partnership of 413 with Vinoo Mankad, is in critical condition and will be under observation for at least 48 hours, hospital sources said. He is in the ICCU.

He reportedly suffered the attack this afternoon and was admitted to a Salt Lake hospital at around 4.15 pm.

His younger son Pronab, a former Test player who is an umpire now, is away on assignment and could not be contacted, family sources said. He is expected to arrive tomorrow or the day after.    

Nagpur, Nov. 25: 
Shiv Sundar Das is oozing confidence. Not one to remain satisfied with his maiden Test century, he has already set his sights on bigger goals.

�It obviously feels nice to get your first hundred but it�s just the start. I�m looking forward to achieving bigger goals,� the Bhubaneswar youngster said after the day�s play today.

As accolades poured in from almost everyone present at the ground, Sourav Ganguly was guarded. �It�s too early to say anything. I want him to get a hundred abroad,� the Indian skipper remarked.

The second player from Orissa to earn a Test cap is grateful to Debashish Mohanty for all the help and support he received. �Mohanty is the one who helped us gain the confidence that we too can make it big on the international stage.�

Das admits he was initially �a bit nervous� on making it to the national side, but things were gradually falling into place.

�I�m not feeling any pressure now,� he says. �There has, however, been no change in my lifestyle or manners.�

He feels that his stint at the National Cricket Academy played a huge part in his transformation. �I worked hard at the NCA on my fitness. The batting drills that I was made to work on during my tour of Australia also helped a lot,� he recalled.

He is not reading too much into his controversial dismissal today. �It�s part of cricket. I�ve got to take it sportingly,� he observed.

Signs of growing up.    

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 25: 
Saturday was not just another day for the Das family at 2569 Hatiasuni Lane of Tankapani Road in Old Bhubaneswar.

Since morning, the entire family sat glued to the TV, expecting a big score from its youngest member, Budha, better known as Shiv Sundar Das. Father Uttam didn�t want to miss this as he had Monday when Shiv Sundar got a half-century in the first Test. Nor did mother Kanchanbala, who was �too nervous� to watch her son bat against Zimbabwe in New Delhi.

Today, they applauded each run as Shiv Sundar went on to become Orissa�s first-ever Test centurion. Elated, the Orissa Cricket Association announced an award of Rs one lakh.

�I�m more than satisfied. During the Delhi match, I had told him I would be happy if he scored 50. Even today, I would have been satisfied had he made 50,� said the proud father.

Uttam, a retired teacher, had never seen his son score a century before this. �I get to know of his exploits from the newspapers as Ranji Trophy matches are not shown on TV. I only wish he becomes another Tendulkar,� he said.

The Das family was about to have lunch when their son moved into the 90s. �Nobody touched food till he cracked a four to reach his century,� said Shiv Sundar�s mother.

Shiv Sundar�s coach Kishore Mania was full of praise. �It�s a great moment for Orissa and me. He played very sensibly. He showed application and maturity. His temperament was remarkable,� said Mania, who coached Das at Bhubaneswar�s Pragati Sporting.    

Nagpur, Nov. 25: 
One could sense it in the morning. The city�s main thoroughfares leading to the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium (VCA) were distinctly forlorn.

The barricades which normally baulk traffic a kilometre ahead of the stadium gates were missing. Policemen on duty easily outnumbered spectators who made their way to the ground.

Hardly one-fourth of the 35,000-capacity stadium was full on the opening day of the India-Zimbabwe second Test. �Only eight per cent of the tickets have been sold so far,� informed a member of the organising committee. It has forced the VCA to sell daily tickets from Monday.

The bandh called by several political and non-political organisations on Monday, the opening day of the winter session of the state legislative assembly, could further jeopardise proceedings and normal life.

�There is a general lack of interest in Test cricket. During the last one-day International here versus South Africa, the VCA made a profit of approximately Rs 84 lakh. This time there are no takers even for complimentary passes,� the official added. The vacant reserved area for VIPs and players� guests confirmed this.

With cable operators not beaming Doordarshan Sports, live action has been reduced to only three-and-a-half hours each day. This has, in turn, affected the flow of advertisement revenues. �Several prime positions around the stadium are lying vacant with advertisers not too keen,� the VCA member added.

The organisers are also worried over the bandh in support of a separate Vidarbha state. Former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Nasikrao Tirpude fears �the bandh call has gained unprecedented momentum and can lead to any untoward incident, which can bring a bad name to the city and its people.�

Tirpude has also requested the VCA to postpone third day�s action. VCA president V.R. Manohar said they could do little in this respect since the BCCI had decided upon the itinerary well in advance.

Public transport is likely to remain off the roads and fans will find it difficult to make their way into the ground. Empty stands are very much a likelihood and one could find an encore of last year�s Eden Gardens incident during the India-Pakistan Test, though, for different reasons.    

Calcutta, Nov. 25: 
Don Bosco School, Park Circus, defeated La Martiniere for Boys 2-0 in a third-place-play-off match in the inter-school tennis meet today. The final comes off tomorrow.

RESULT: Don Bosco bt La Martiniere 2-0 (Varun Oberoi bt Hiteshwar Singh 6-1, 6-4; Nirvick Mohinta bt Sumeet Sinha 6-3, 6-2).

Inter-circle football

North Eastern (Guwahati) Circle earned a facile win over Patna Circle in the opening match of the all-India inter-circle football meet at SAI complex today.

Babul Phukan, Ranjit Kachari and Sandipan Chakraborty scored one each in the first half for the winners. Swapan Kumar Gupta, chief general manager, State Bank of India, inaugurated the meet.    

Mumbai, ov. 25: 
The Todywalla-trained Simply Noble may win the S. D. Prakash Memorial Super Mile Trophy in Mumbai on Sunday.


12.30 pm: Sea Minstrael 1. Osprey 2. Dream Lover 3.1 pm: Sunstreak 1. Dancing Gold 2. Wild Wind 3. 1.30 pm: Dendrobium 1. Sancti Spiritus 2. Yewall 3. 2 pm: Afilado 1. Meringue 2. Perception 3. 2.30 pm: Polonarooa 1. Princess Jo 2. Whirling Dervish 3. 3 pm: Communicator 1. Universal Star 2. Catch The Sun 3. 3.30 pm: Sound Of Whisper 1. Midnight Charm 2. Ocean Breeze 3. 4 pm: Simply Noble 1. Anagram 2. Flensburg 3. 4.30 pm: Salsa Dancer 1. Charging Bullet 2. Star Trader 3.5 pm: Master Honey 1. Awesome Foursome 2. Wolf Mountain 3.

Day�s Best: Afilado

Double: Dendrobium & Simply Noble.

The UB Group will be sponsoring the Kingfisher Calcutta Derby Stakes on January 7, 2001.    

Bangalore, Nov. 25: 

Saturday�s Results

(With inter-state dividends

1. Nursery Plate 1,200m: (6-9-5) Amber Dancer (Prakash) 1; Lyrical Queen 2; Forest Rose 3. Won by: 2; 2-3/4; (1-16.3). Tote: Win Rs 16; Place: 12; 14; 17; Quinella: 23; Tanala: 84. Fav: Amber Dancer (6).

2. Kalakshetra Plate 1,100m: (6-5-9) Hoyo Hoyo (Amit) 1; Gordon�s Pet 2; Roman Flame 3. Won by: Nk; SH; (1-11.2). Tote: Win Rs 167; Place: 44; 28; 54; Quinella: 600; Tanala: 59,116. Fav: Mount Genius (10).

3. Belgaum Plate 1,400m: (7-6-11) Comet Star (Appu) 1; King�s Common 2; Mayfair 3. Won by: 2-1/4; SH; (1-28.4). Tote: Win Rs 97; Place: 25; 22; 78; Quinella: 316; Tanala: 8,269. Fav: Pas De Memories (2).

4. Dr. S. K. Pillay Memorial Plate 1,200m: (2-7-9) Xar (Shakti) 1; Musselburgh 2; River Nile 3. Won by: 1/2; 1; (1-16.6). Tote: Win Rs 22; Place: 13; 22; 44; Quinella: 75; Tanala: 1,611. Fav: Xar (2).

5. Bangalore 1000 Guineas 1,600m: (3-2-1-4) Six Speed (Shroff) 1; Allaire (Kader) 2; Adamile (C. Alford) 3; Thanks A Lot (Appu) 4. Won by: 3/4; 4-1/4; 5-1/4; (1-38.5). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 12; 12; Quinella: 14; Tanala: 34. Fav: Six Speed (3).

6. Kailash Trophy 1,600m: (2-7-6) Gypsie�s Wish (Amit) 1; Bold Tycoon 2; Silvanus 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 3-1/4; (1-42.1). Tote: Win Rs 35; Place: 14; 36; 14; Quinella: 319; Tanala: 1,634. Fav: Silvanus (6).

7. Dupont Plate 1,200m: (7-3-8) Spark Of Life (Ramesh) 1; Classic Belle 2; Time Of War 3. Not run: Golden Estate (2). Won by: 3-3/4; 2; (1-16.4). Tote: Win Rs 107; Place: 26; 23; 19; Quinella: 243; Tanala: 2,731. Fav: Coral Bird (10).

Jackpot: Rs 14,232; (C) Rs 508.

Treble: (i) Rs 5,008; (ii) Rs 604.    

Calcutta, Nov. 25: 
The much neglected first classic of the season, the Command Calcutta 1,000 Guineas gets a boost, thanks to the Command cell phone service provider who will be sponsoring tomorrow�s classic again after their maiden try last year. The fillies� top event has attracted six aspirants but it may take an extra-ordinary horse-power to beat the Razeen-Treasure�s Nest daughter. Aslam Kader partners the Darius Byramji-trainee.

The Bangalore classics records speak loudly for the filly. In the summer Derby, she had finished within two lengths of Allaire, Six Speed and Hello Brother � the best so far in the country�s Circuit.    


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