Sachin cool to hype heat
If it?s pouring, it must be 2+2=5
Jaya cases back on fast track
City fathers in illegitimate home
Expelled Tohra mulls new party
Calcutta Weather

Brighton, May 14 
If India go the distance, we?re looking at ten World Cup games. And to get us there we?re largely looking at the young icon who makes all the difference: Sachin Tendulkar.

But then, he?s the cynosure everywhere. It?s England that?s hosting the World Cup and it?s Darren Gough who is hot property No.1 in Alec Stewart?s team. Yet, even the Englishmen are Sachin-focused.

Can?t blame them, can we?

Typically, though, Sachin is unaffected by the hype.

?I suppose it?s going to be there. But I?ve got a job to do and am pretty relaxed. In any case, my preparation isn?t affected by what people say and write,? Sachin told The Telegraph on the eve of India?s Cup-opener versus favourites South Africa.

The match will be played in neighbouring, and equally picturesque, Hove. Ranji, Duleep, Tiger Pataudi.... Sussex? HQ has seen them all. It now awaits the modern-era Prince. Surely, then, there must be some expectation-induced pressure?

Sachin chose to respond slightly differently: ?I?ll play my normal game.... Everybody should remember each one of us is going to give this World Cup our best shot.?

For the record, the bookies have already tipped Sachin to do a repeat of 1996: Emerge highest scorer. In the last edition, Sachin totalled 523 runs.

Tomorrow, of course, will see Sachin make his first India appearance in an international since the Asian Test Championship game in Colombo (end-February).

It?s significant that in Sachin?s absence ? brought about by back spasms ? India lost both tournaments in the run-in to this mega event.

Sachin?s return gives the team?s body language a lift.

Mohammed Azharuddin, especially, has already upped the ante. This morning, the captain insisted South Africa aren?t invincible.

Certainly a healthy sign and is as good an indication as any that the Indians aren?t overawed.

South Africa have been the side to watch (and beat) since the last World Cup. That?s reflected in the figures ? an incredible success rate of 76.97 per cent, well ahead of the No. 2 team, Sri Lanka (55.56). In this case, the statistics don?t conceal anything at all.

Often accused of ?choking? on big occasions, the South Africans silenced critics by handsomely winning last October-November?s mini World Cup in Dhaka. Now they?re aiming higher and the first hurdle is India.

The favourites? tag, however, invites much pressure. No wonder former captain and current South African Board supremo Dr Ali Bacher whispered: ?No... No... No... We?re actually better off without any tag. Please....?

Owing to unimaginative scheduling, the Indians haven?t played South Africa for over two years (since February 1997). But with worldwide live telecasts and freely-available videos, they are familiar with the coldly professional approach of Hansie Cronje?s side.

?In a way, it?s good we?re meeting such a top team in the very first match. After all, Hove onwards it can only get easier. And better,? said coach Aunshuman Gaekwad.

Well, millions of fingers will be kept crossed.    

Calcutta, May 14 
After the Lahore school of bowling?s reverse swing, this is cricket?s most zealously-guarded secret.

As rain splattered down at Lord?s with 11 balls left in the Sri Lankan innings and the umpires called lunch, millions in drawing rooms as far as apart as Calcutta and Canterbury went: ?Oh no, not again. What now??

Inside the space capsule media centre at Lord?s, commentator John Dykes said much the same. ?Will Duckworth and Lewis come into play again??

He, like the millions of viewers watching the match, hadn?t the foggiest notion what would happen if they did. Don?t believe what the newspapers have been telling you ? that they have solved the D/L formula which is being used in the World Cup to set targets in rain-truncated matches. No one has a clue, except Messrs Duckworth and Lewis.

South Africans Frank Duckworth, editor of the Royal Statistical Society?s magazine, and Tony Lewis, lecturer in the faculty of computer studies and mathematics at the University of the West of England, Bristol, aren?t telling.

For public consumption, they have supplied only an extract from a table that will be used to fix a revised target. ?The full tables are subject to copyright and not available for publication,? Lewis told The Telegraph.

The system is based on values of resources available to the teams. The values have been pre-calculated. Every team has two resources ? the number of overs and the number of wickets.

?Using a detailed analysis of hundreds of one-day matches around the world we produced an equation which related the average runs scored from the number of overs left. This was used to calculate the resource percentage,? Lewis says.

It is as complex as it sounds and Lewis admits it is highly theoretical. ?It doesn?t make more than a few runs? difference to the target....? Trouble is, often those ?few runs? decide a match.

Assume India is playing Pakistan in the final. Batting first, Pakistan gets 131 for 2 in 32 overs when rain interrupts play. After resumption, Pakistan scores 203 for 2 in 43.4 overs when there is another interruption and the innings is closed. In 43 overs, India gets 223 for 6. That is, in four balls less they score 20 runs more.

Still, India lose.

That is because the D/L system sets India a revised target of 236 in 43 overs. The scores aren?t conjured up. They are from the Bangladesh-Middlesex warm-up tie in which Bangladesh batted first and won, scoring fewer runs.

Isn?t that unfair? Lewis doesn?t think so, but he admits it is not perfect. But ?it is the best around,? he says.

For the World Cup, only five men have the authority to monitor the system. But the full table of resource percentages, that gives an over-by-over estimate based on which revised targets will be set, will be distributed among the teams during the match.

Of the five, three are from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), the organisers of World Cup ?99. Lewis himself will be present for nine matches and Duckworth for eight.

John Carr, cricket operations director, ECB, will be there for the India-South Africa game at Hove tomorrow.

Lewis said their five-year research of almost atom-splitting complexity has been condensed into a piece of arithmetic which can be done ?in two minutes, with a pocket calculator, on the back of an envelope?. Provided you have the full table.

Among the system?s prominent critics are Geoffrey Boycott and former England player and columnist Jonathan Agnew who say it is too fuzzy.

Lewis said though the formula is copyrighted, he and Duckworth have not formed a company yet. Their fees for lending the system for the Cup are also yet to be worked out with the International Cricket Council.    

New Delhi, May 14 
The Supreme Court today dealt a blow to ADMK leader Jayalalitha, upholding the establishment of special courts to try the 46 corruption cases against her on a priority basis.

The division bench of Justice G.T. Nanavati and Justice S.P. Kurdukar, which delivered the 34-page judgment, also quashed the Central notification issued by the BJP-led government transferring the cases from special courts to regular courts.

In a censure, the court said: ?The Central government has failed to establish the necessity of issuing the notification and the same is held to be not in accordance with the law.?

?It was uncalled for and, therefore, it has to be regarded as bad,? the judges added.

The special courts had been set up by the Tamil Nadu government headed by Jayalalitha?s arch rival M. Karunanidhi. Jayalalitha petitioned the apex court against the move, terming it ?political vendetta?. The BJP-led government, supported at that stage by the ADMK, then issued the notification transferring the cases to three city courts, two of which had no judges to preside over.

Today, however, the BJP said it accepted the court?s verdict in ?all humility? and denied that the ruling had caused any embarrassment to it. ?The government acted on legal advice, the Supreme Court has taken a contrary view and the court?s view is final,? BJP spokesman Venkaiah Naidu said.

Karunanidhi welcomed the judgment and told the Assembly that the ruling ?brings cheer to the people all over the state?.

The Congress, which is in the process of tying up with the ADMK, tried to underplay the Supreme Court ruling. AICC spokesman Ajit Jogi parried questions on whether the party would be forced to reconsider a deal with the southern leader and only said: ?Let the law take its course.?

The special courts had been set up under Section 3 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, and the Centre had transferred the cases under Section 4 of the same Act. The Supreme Court said Section 3 ?empowers? both state and Centre to establish special courts but Section 4, which enabled the Centre to overrule the state, could be invoked only when ?it becomes necessary?.

The apex court dismissed all the petitions related to the matter, including Jayalalitha?s and the Tamil Nadu government?s, but allowed a public interest litigation by the social organisation VOICE, implying that a PIL could be entertained when the case pertained to the larger interest of society.

The judges said the Prevention of Corruption Act was enacted to provide for speedy trial of offences, especially by those holding public office, as the people had become ?aware of rampant corruption amongst public servants?.    

Calcutta, May 14 
The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) is violating its own laws in its backyard: not only was the third floor of its headquarters on S.N. Banerjee Road built without a sanctioned plan, but it has also flouted heritage norms which state that the character of a heritage building cannot be altered by adding structures.

Even as the CMC went about identifying heritage buildings which have been expanded, it kept mum on its own disregard for the law.

John A. Raw, a British expert on conservation of heritage structures who visited the CMC office last week, was aghast to see how the original style of the building had been destroyed by the additional floor.

A shame-faced CMC is now discussing how to demolish the illegal structure quickly.

According to heritage laws, the owner of a heritage building cannot construct on the original structure; nor can he demolish any portion as this would alter the building?s character.

The CMC headquarters were built in 1872 at a cost of Rs 2.2 lakh. It covers an area of six bighas and 16 cottahs and was designed by British architect Osmond of Mackintosh Burn.

Since the late fifties, the corporation has been expanding the roof, building small structures.

In a few years, a floor was built, violating all norms. Deputy municipal commissioner (estate) Sadhan Thakurata said: ?It was a three-storeyed building till 1958. The fourth storey was added in phases between 1958 and 1965.??

The survey and building departments are now housed on the new floor. Several small rooms serve as offices.

There was no sanctioned plan for the new floor which is mandatory for any expansion. Moreover, the constructions went against aesthetic values, as they did not conform to the original style.

Heritage laws, which became effective in 1995, state that no construction should block a heritage building. Hence, the civic body removed hoardings.

Municipal commissioner Asim Barman admitted that the new constructions were an eyesore. ?The third floor was added illegally. Moreover, it has ruined the architecture,?? he said.

Had the civic authorities been a little more conscious of heritage laws, the additions could have been built to match the original, he added.

Mayor Prasanta Chatterjee recently discussed the matter with the heritage committee and expressed his displeasure with the third floor.

The nine-member heritage panel stressed that if the CMC flouted its own laws, it would not be able to enforce them. ?We should lead by example. The third floor should go,? said a member.

Barman said the CMC was contemplating whether the floor should be demolished.

Municipal architect and town planner Anindya Karforma, who looks after the 75 heritage structures in the city, said: ?It has not been decided whether the third floor will be demolished or rebuilt to match the original.?

It will cost Rs 25 lakh to remodel the floor.    

New Delhi, May 14 
The Akali Dal headed for a split today with the expulsion of former Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee president G.S. Tohra for six years for ?anti-party activities?. Tohra and his followers are likely to launch a new party after May 20.

Tohra told PTI this evening that the expulsion by ?Badal private limited company? has no meaning for him.

The ?unanimous? decision to expel Tohra was taken by the Akali Dal?s 13-member political affairs committee in Chandigarh. This followed Tohra?s statement here earlier in the day that if Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal did not appear before the Akal Takht on May 20 as decreed by ousted jathedar Ranjit Singh, he would float a new party.

Tohra had also come down heavily on the chief minister for violating Sikh tenets and using the police against his opponents.

Before Tohra was expelled, home minister L.K. Advani made a vain bid to bring the warring factions together. The home minister held talks with the dissident leader in a bid to avert a split in the party, even as the latter threatened to float a separate outfit.

Before his expulsion, Tohra rubbished reports that he was conspiring to split the party. He also denied charges that his faction had a secret understanding with the Congress.

?I would not do anything to destabilise the Badal government or split the party,? Tohra said, adding that the BJP-Akali Dal alliance in Punjab would continue. He demanded the chief minister accept Ranjit Singh as the Akal Takht jathedar and apologise.

Tohra said: ?If Badal wants to avert a split, he should appear before the Akal Takht and atone for his lapses.?    

Today?s forecast: Partly cloudy sky. Possibility of development of thunderclouds towards afternoon or evening. Not much change in day temperature.
Temperature: Maximum 36.7 (1?C above normal)
Minimum 28?C (2?C above normal)
Relative humidity: Maximum 89% Minimum 52%
Rainfall: Nil
Sunset: 6.06 pm Sunrise: 4.59 am    

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