Zimbabwe face tough test as
Reid excuses himself from Indian team
Brian Lara leads the way in
India looking for win against Spain
Confident India planning for Athens
Anand settles for draw with
Tollygunge; climb to second spot
Bagan issue show-cause notice to Barreto
Winter karate camp concludes
Hobart, January 15
The last two outings for the African side have seen the necessity of a rescue act by skipper Heath Streak to give their score a cloak of respectability, but all that could change tomorrow if Lee, recovering from a lean patch, pitches the ball in the right place.
Australia crushed Zimbabwe in their first match by 99 runs.
Another bowler making his comeback into the Australian team for tomorrow’s match is leg spinner Brad Hogg.
“I think he (Lee) was a bit tired, which was hindering the way he could bowl and the way he could perform, so we’ve given him a bit of time to recover and I am sure you’ll see him perform better over the next couple of weeks,” Australian skipper Ricky Ponting told reporters here.
Twenty-seven-year-old Lee missed the first two matches of the drawn Test series against India because of an ankle injury. He also appeared to lack in rhythm and his length was often too short or too full, which drew heavy media criticism.
Jason Gillespie and Ian Harvey have been rested for the match. “Jason’s been up for a while, played a fair bit of cricket and is bowling well at the moment and with the tournament the way it is at the moment, it just presented itself to give him a bit of rest,” Ponting added.
For Zimbabwe, the key will lie in getting their act together in batting and had it not been for the heroic 59 by Heath Streak and a fiery 33-ball 48 by Sean Ervine, they would not have even crossed the 160-run mark against India yesterday.
Zimbabwe have, in fact, almost lost their entire top order to the compulsions of individuals moving to greener and safer pastures.
Neil Johnson left Zimbabwe four years ago. Andy Flower had to leave after his black and white armband protest in the World Cup. Alistair Campbell does not figure in national team plans anymore. Guy Whittal is not around and Guy Wishart is injured. Without Andy’s fraternal guiding presence, his sibling Grant seems lost.
Henry Olonga had to flee and that has weakened the bowling.
It will require a rare exhibition of character by Zimbabwe if they are to get points against their name in this series, else it could just be another forgetful outing for them. — UNI
Brisbane, January 15
Reid had some pressing family and professional commitments which forced him to head back home in Perth after India’s opening one-day encounter against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last week.
But the gangling former Australian left-arm bowler told PTI that he would rejoin the team for the last two league matches of the one-day series and if India qualify, stay on for the best-of-three finals.
Reid said his written commitment with the Indian team extended only till the Test series but thereafter it had only been a verbal understanding.
“Basically, my contract with the Indian team extended only till the Test series,” said Reid.
“But we had a verbal understanding of continuing the association in the one-day series as well.”
India will miss Reid for the better part of the series — for five of the eight games — before he returns.
India’s final two league engagements of the series are in Perth on February 1 against Australia and on February 3 against Zimbabwe.
Reid, however, made it clear that he would not be available for India’s tour of Pakistan in March because of prior engagements.
Reid said he was yet to get any long-term offer from the Indian cricket board but doubts whether he would be able to juggle with his commitments to squeeze in an Indian association.
“I would certainly not go to Pakistan. No such proposal from the board (BCCI) has come my way. Anyway, it would not be possible for me to tear myself away from my family at that juncture.
“I would have to look at things since I am already committed for a year to coach Hampshire in English county cricket next summer,” he said.
Indian team manager Shivlal Yadav lauded the contribution of Reid in the drawn Test series and quite a few members of the side praised his work with the bowlers as well as in field placements which stifled the free-scoring Australian batsmen.
Meanwhile, the Indians have arrived in Brisbane and were promptly greeted with thunderous showers — nothing different from when they had left the city after the first Test was rain-ruined last month.
The Indians appeared tired and jaded after two long flights which took them from Hobart to Melbourne and then to Brisbane.
Worse appears to be the case with seamer Amit Bhandari who joined the team last night in Hobart and was back at the airport today for two further flights in his travelling log.
Bhandari recounted his travelling schedule with a certain weariness. “It was first to Hong Kong, then to Adelaide, then Melbourne and finally Hobart.” — PTI
London, January 15
Mailey, a gifted if often profligate leg spin and googly bowler for Australia during the 1920s, would have winced in sympathy as 1,747 runs were accumulated in the recent fourth test between Australia and India.
Five batsmen in the all-time top 20 by average were present in Sydney for Steve Waugh’s final Test. They included Australia’s Matthew Hayden (58.28), Ricky Ponting (55.97) and Adam Gilchrist (55.59). India fielded Rahul Dravid (57.42), in 11th place one spot ahead of Sachin Tendulkar (57.19).
Waugh retired with an average of 51.06 and more than 10,000 runs.
At the same time West Indies captain Brian Lara (52.69) was plundering runs off a South African team led by Graeme Smith (18th overall with 55.45).
Ruling out Smith, who has played only 20 Tests, six contemporary batsmen can present convincing cases for the title of world number one.
Statistics are one guide. Australian Don Bradman, who averaged 99.94 from 52 Tests, is a unanimous choice as the best batsman in the history of the game.
Context is another. Jamaican George Headley is one of a trio grouped behind Bradman with a test average of over 60. Unlike Bradman, Headley batted in a struggling side, and on poor pitches his record was superior to the Australian’s.
Then there is style. Steve Waugh started as a dasher, before ruthlessly refining his technique to eliminate error.
His reward was a test average over 50, yet many supporters preferred to watch his twin brother Mark.
On a scale of one to 10, Hayden would not score highly for style. As a brutal slayer of opposing attacks he has no superior, displaying his strength and stamina to full effect in his world record 380 against Zimbabwe last year.
Ponting, Waugh’s successor as Australia captain, is lightning fast on his feet and scored three double centuries in 2003 on the way to a calendar year average of more than 100.
Get past those two and the hapless bowlers encounter Adam Gilchrist, a gloriously clean striker of the ball.
Bradman famously thought Tendulkar was the batsman who most resembled him in style. After a lean run, the Indian eschewed the hook shot to compile his highest Test score of 241 not out in the fourth Test against Australia.
While Tendulkar struggled, the under-rated Dravid flourished. He set up India’s upset second test win with 233 then 72 not out followed by an unbeaten 91 for a series average of 123.80.
Statistics, context, style. Dravid qualifies as a great on all three counts.
By the same criteria, though, a conclusive case can be made for Lara, who currently tops the PriceWaterhouseCoopers world batting ratings.
Lara lost his world record to Hayden but in a struggling side his recent form has been breathtaking.
He struck a double century, century and two fifties against South Africa and took a world record 28 runs off one over from left- arm spinner Robin Peterson.
For style, the diminutive left-hander remains the most attractive of modern batsmen, striking the ball with sumptuous timing after an extravagant backlift.
This year he has the chance to embellish his record with eight Tests against England. Lara averages 65.26 against the English, the opponents he struck to all parts of the field when scoring his world record 375 in 1994.
Lara has survived a mid-career crisis during which he questioned his commitment to sport. At the start of a new year he is deservedly world number one in a golden era for batsmen. — Reuters
Kuala Lumpur, January 15
Australia, now on eight points, need to beat Germany tomorrow to book their berth in the title round. A draw will suffice for Germany .
The Aussies had their goals from Liam de Young (13th) and Michael Boyce (56th) while Pakistan replied through Sohail Abbas (37th) and Saleem Khalid (51st). In a game that either team could have won, the forwards bungled repeatedly, and for Pakistan Sohail Abbas could convert just one from eight attempts. — PTI
Kuala Lumpur, January 15
With a victory still eluding them, the mood in the Indian camp was rather sombre but coach Harendra Singh did not appear too perturbed.
“We have done our best so far and overall, I am not unhappy with the performance as the matches we lost were all closely fought. Against Spain tomorrow, we will hopefully up our performance level,” Harendra Singh told PTI today.
A drawn match with hosts Malaysia has been the only saving grace for the under-strength Indians who have come here to try out new combinations ahead of the Olympic qualifiers in March.
Having watched Spain through the tournament, Harendra said his team was only too well aware of their strengths and weaknesses. The indications were that the Indian defence would keep a particularly sharp eye on the Spanish forward, Santiago Freixa who has scored seven goals so far.
“It has been a good experience for our younger players. As I have been saying all along, we tend to commit mistakes in the defence leading to penalty corners. This is something we have to constantly work on to rectify,” the coach said.
In the five matches so far, the Indians have conceded 28 penalty corners of which 10 were converted. As against this, India forced 13 penalty corners, three of which were brought to account. In essence, India conceded just five goals from open play and themselves scored six.
These statistics support Harendra’s views that Indian are still to learn to successfully defend penalty corners.
Harendra conceded that the inexperience in the deep defence has been the primary reason for the goals against India. Making matters worse, his team will yet again be without the two most experienced players, skipper Dhanraj Pillay and Baljeet Singh Dhillon.
Dhillon is out of reckoning with a fractured nose while Pillay is still nursing an injured knee that might take a while to heal.
“Against Spain, I will not risk playing Dhanraj who has been advised bed rest,” said Harendra.
The Indians do not expect any favours from the Spaniards who are still to get over their draw with Germany yesterday when they threw away a 4-1 lead and conceded three goals in the last 18 minutes.
The afternoon start tomorrow is expected to favour the Indians much more than the Spaniards who, like the Germans, find the hot and humid conditions rather uncomfortable.
The on-pitch temperatures have been soaring to 39°C, something that the Asian players are more accustomed to. In the event, the Indians plan to take the initiative at the start with early goals, like they did against Australia, and this time around, protect the advantage to the final whistle. — PTI
Pakistan hockey team arrives by Samjhauta Attari, January 15 Besides, Tariq Imran, the team has two more Olympians, Akquil Hussain and Atiq Mohammed. The club team will participate in the six-day Raja Sarvesh Vardhan Memorial Hockey Tournament starting from January 18 in Chhattisgarh. Full back Tariq Imran said the team had got a 15-day visa and would avail the opportunity by also visiting historical places. Atiq Mohammed said he wanted to play in Amritsar and had heard that the city also had an Astro-turf. He opined that more hockey matches should be played between the two countries at various levels. He said two Punjabs should take initiative in promoting hockey, as quality hockey was played in these states of India and Pakistan.
Attari, January 15
Besides, Tariq Imran, the team has two more Olympians, Akquil Hussain and Atiq Mohammed. The club team will participate in the six-day Raja Sarvesh Vardhan Memorial Hockey Tournament starting from January 18 in Chhattisgarh.
Full back Tariq Imran said the team had got a 15-day visa and would avail the opportunity by also visiting historical places.
Atiq Mohammed said he wanted to play in Amritsar and had heard that the city also had an Astro-turf.
He opined that more hockey matches should be played between the two countries at various levels. He said two Punjabs should take initiative in promoting hockey, as quality hockey was played in these states of India and Pakistan.
Kuala Lumpur, January 15
Indian Hockey Federation secretary K Jothikumaran said today he was “very confident” that India would be among the six teams that would make it to the Olympics in August this year and a packed calendar of international outings has been planned on that presumption.
“We had a good season in 2003, winning the Asia Cup and the Afro-Asian Games. I think we can put together a strong team for the Madrid (Olympic qualifying) tournament and I am very confident that we will make it to Athens,” he told PTI here.
“We want to be careful in not exposing our players to too much hockey so that they will be fresh for Athens,” he said.
“We will try and rotate the players so that all of them will get sufficient rest during the year.”
Jothikumaran, who is attending the ongoing Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament as a technical officer, said the team’s Olympic preparations would commence with a three-Test series against the Netherlands at home in February.
The three Tests are to be held at Hyderabad on February 5, 7 and 8.
“We plan to finalise a list of 24 players for the series and all would be given a chance to play in the Test matches,” said Jothikumaran.
India will then proceed to Madrid for the qualifying tournament. The team is likely to play an official Test match against Spain prior to the qualifying competition. “We are in the process of finalising the date,” Jothikumaran said.
On the team’s return to India from Madrid, the players will take part in the senior national championship at Bangalore (March 16 to 30).
India have also been invited to a four-nation tournament in Amsterdam in the last week of June. The other countries taking part, beside hosts Holland, are Pakistan and Australia.
“We are also planning to organise either a Test series or a four-nation tournament in India in May or July, depending on the commitments of other teams,” he said. Incidentally, India and Pakistan appear to be the common teams in most of the major tournaments scheduled for this year and the significance is not lost on the IHF.
“It is obvious that hockey fans the world over would love to watch India and Pakistan as we both have players with lot of skill and who play exciting hockey,” he observed.
In fact, upto the Olympics, India and Pakistan will play each other five times (including once that they played in the Azlan Shah Cup here).
India will be taking part in two four-nation tournaments in Australia (Sydney and Melbourne) from April 12 to 25 along with hosts Australia, Pakistan and Argentina. “We won the second-leg of the tournament last year,” Jothikumaran sought to remind.
On India’s performance in the Azlan Shah Cup tournament here, he said “we are very happy with our team’s showing here.
“Before the tournament, the critics said that we will lose all our matches heavily since the team contained many young players. But as you can see from the results, all our matches have been closely fought.”
He, however, agreed in hindsight that the presence of a couple of more senior players would have made a difference to the team.
“But then, we wanted to give our youngsters more exposure. Our target for the youngsters is the 2005 junior World Cup which we want to win. As many as eight players from the Azlan Shah squad would be eligible to play in the World Cup next year,” he pointed out.
India had won the 2001 junior World Cup under Gagan Ajit Singh who has since progressed to the senior ranks along with a handful of players from that side. — PTI
Wijk aan Zee, January 15
Despite the none-too-impressive performance, world rapid champion Anand continued to be the joint leader in the prestigious tournament with 2.5 points.
Grandmaster Michael Adams of England and top seeded Vladimir Kramnik of Russia joined Anand, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Peter Leko of Hungary in the lead on 2.5 points apiece after the conclusion of the fourth round yesterday.
Despite playing with white, Anand could not make the most of the advantage against Bologan, who opened with Petroff defence against the Indian’s king pawn opening.
The game was fought on an even keel for the major part though the Russian had a little trouble in getting a level position.
Anand had a possible chance of forcing a result around the 18th move, but he overlooked it and in the end settled for the draw, which was agreed to after a mere 26 moves.
“I just did not see it. We both missed and once that happened there was little in the game,” Anand said after his board.
After a listless third round, most of the players played aggressively yesterday and besides Anand’s board, the only other draw was the Leko vs Ivan Sokolov game that lasted 55 moves in a queens Indians, Petrosyan.
The day saw results in as many as five games out of a possible seven.
Getting the maximum benefit was Kramnik who got the better of compatriot national champ Peter Svidelr to join the leaders. After a disastrous first round loss to Akopian, this was Kramnik’s second win on the trot.
Adams beat Zhang Zhong of China in another decisive game from a Sicilian Najdorf, while Russian Evegeny Bareev, the winner of the Corus 2002, shook off his third round loss to Svidler by defeating Alexei Shirov of Spain in 54 moves from a game that was in the Catalan.
Loek Van Wely was the only player to score with the black pieces against fellow Dutchman Jan Timman and the game which lasted 40 moves was English symmetrical. In the fifth round, Anand has black pieces against Svidler. — PTI
Kolkata, January 15
The mill men, who got the better of Mohun Bagan in their last match, scored through Jo Paul Ancheri and I.M. Vijayan to garner three points and climb up to the second spot in the high-profile league.
After 10 outings, JCT now have 18 points, while Tollygunge remained on a dismal seven points. Leaders Dempo Sports Club are on 20 points after nine games. The Salt Lake Stadium clash saw the millmen go into the lead as early as the 13th minute of the opening session. — PTI
Kolkata, January 15
“As per the order of the high court appointed special officers, a show cause notice was served on Barreto last night,” Mohun Bagan assistant general secretary, Balaram Chowdhury said.
The notice asked Barreto to explain why punitive action would not be taken against him for keeping away from the club’s National Football League matches and practice sessions for a week, Mr Chowdhury said. “He has to reply within 48 hours,” Mr Chowdhury said.— PTI
Winter karate camp concludes Sundernagar, January 15 In the 10-day camp students were taught traditional aspects of karate. According to the organising secretary of federation Yog Raj this camp is a regular feature of the federation and is being held for the past 19 years. In the camp 120 students were upgraded to junior grades while 20 students were upgraded to black belts. Among these six students, Shyam Sunder, Mohar Singh, Devi Dutt (Kullu), Rajinder (Shimla), Randir and Vijay (Chamba) were awarded third degree black belts, second degree black belts were awarded to Rajan (Kangra) and Mohinder Singh (Shimla) while 12 more students were awarded first degree black belts. One girl, Usha, Mandi was also among them.
Sundernagar, January 15
In the 10-day camp students were taught traditional aspects of karate. According to the organising secretary of federation Yog Raj this camp is a regular feature of the federation and is being held for the past 19 years.
In the camp 120 students were upgraded to junior grades while 20 students were upgraded to black belts. Among these six students, Shyam Sunder, Mohar Singh, Devi Dutt (Kullu), Rajinder (Shimla), Randir and Vijay (Chamba) were awarded third degree black belts, second degree black belts were awarded to Rajan (Kangra) and Mohinder Singh (Shimla) while 12 more students were awarded first degree black belts. One girl, Usha, Mandi was also among them.
Mahilpur academy in semifinals Chandigarh, January 15 In the first quarterfinal, Football Academy, Mahilpur, beat last year’s runners-up SN College, Banga, in the tie-breaker after the two teams were level 1-1 in regular time. Mahilpur academy struck in second minute through Sakatar Singh who scored from an acute angle following a pass from Harmanjot. Mahilpur boys were in full control but in the second half SN College earned a penalty which was converted by Jatinder Singh. Thereafter Mahilpur academy mounted pressure but could not score. In the tie-breaker, the Mahilpur goalkeeper saved three spot kicks while his team converted four to enter the semifinals. In the second match, SGGS Khalsa College, Mahilpur, beat GNNB College, Narur Panchhat, 3-0. Mahilpur college were in full control and Ranbir scored the first goal in the seventh minute. In the 30th minute Sunil Thakur scored the second goal for Mahilpur while the third goal was scored by Amarjit.
Chandigarh, January 15
In the first quarterfinal, Football Academy, Mahilpur, beat last year’s runners-up SN College, Banga, in the tie-breaker after the two teams were level 1-1 in regular time. Mahilpur academy struck in second minute through Sakatar Singh who scored from an acute angle following a pass from Harmanjot.
Mahilpur boys were in full control but in the second half SN College earned a penalty which was converted by Jatinder Singh. Thereafter Mahilpur academy mounted pressure but could not score. In the tie-breaker, the Mahilpur goalkeeper saved three spot kicks while his team converted four to enter the semifinals.
In the second match, SGGS Khalsa College, Mahilpur, beat GNNB College, Narur Panchhat, 3-0. Mahilpur college were in full control and Ranbir scored the first goal in the seventh minute. In the 30th minute Sunil Thakur scored the second goal for Mahilpur while the third goal was scored by Amarjit.
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