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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

Dalmia in dock over misuse of funds
Jagmohan Dalmiya New Delhi, February 21
The wranglings in the cricket board took a serious turn today with the new regime headed by Sharad Pawar accusing former BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya of misappropriating funds.

Yuvraj to miss first Test
Yuvraj SinghNew Delhi, February 21
Yuvraj Singh, who was adjudged the man of the series in the just concluded one-day international series against Pakistan, will be missing the first Test against England, to be played in Kanpur, as he is nursing a shoulder strain suffered during the fifth and final ODI at Karachi.

BBC secures radio deal in India
London, February 21
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) today secured exclusive radio rights for all international cricket matches in India for the next four years. The BBC clinched the rights from Nimbus International Communications Ltd, which last week bagged all the rights for next four years from the Indian Cricket Board for a whopping sum of $ 612 million (Rs 2755 crore approx).






EARLIER STORIES
Pak subdue India yet again
February 21, 2006
Yuvraj, Dhoni star in India’s win
February 20, 2006
Butt powers Pak to 3-1 win
February 19, 2006
India go down fighting
February 18, 2006
India clinch series
February 17, 2006
Dravid for focus on natural game
February 16, 2006
Aussies clinch tri-series
February 15, 2006
Dhoni’s blitz sinks Pak
February 14, 2006
India upbeat, Pak promise fightback
February 13, 2006
Indians roar at Pindi
February 12, 2006
 

Andrew Flintoff: the ‘complete’ player
Andrew Flintoff Mumbai, February 21
Andrew Flintoff says being an all-rounder in modern cricket is not easy, and that it would be even tougher to perform with both bat and ball in subcontinental conditions. Nevertheless, he loves the challenge of excelling in whatever he does and hopes to replicate his Ashes heroics on the Indian soil in the next few weeks. “Sometimes it is tough, you bowl a lot and then you pad up at number six but I think I enjoy doing that, to be honest.

Inzamam-ul HaqDhoni is murderous: Inzy
Lahore, February 21
Having suffered from his blade in the just-concluded series, Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq today described Mahendra Singh Dhoni as “murderous” and a player to be watched in the 2007 World Cup.

Aussies confident of trouble-free SA tour
Johannesburg, February 21
Australia coach John Buchanan is confident that his side’s six-week South Africa tour will pass without any contentious issues both on or off the field. “We will take every possible precaution against any disciplinary incidents but we hope to leave South Africa unscathed,” Buchanan today told a news conference at the team’s hotel in Johannesburg.

Hockey teams reach Pak
Wagah, February 21

It was a scene of bonhomie between the hockey players of India and Pakistan as they crossed over to Pakistan, to play the remaining three matches of the ongoing Indo-Pak hockey test series, here today. The first match of the Pakistan leg will be played tomorrow at Lahore.
Forfeiting the home advantage, the Indian team lost all the three matches yet captain Ignace Tirkey struck a positive note for the three matches ahead. He said they had identified their mistakes in these matches and would put in all efforts to overcome them.

Members of the Pakistan hockey team wave to supporters as they cross the India-Pakistan border at Wagah on their return to Pakistan on Tuesday. — AFP photo
Members of the Pakistan hockey team wave to supporters as they cross the India-Pakistan border at Wagah on their return to Pakistan

Rajinder ‘unhappy’ with team selection
Jalandhar, February 21
Going by the outbursts of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) secretary Jyotikumar and Indian hockey team coach Rajinder Singh Junior late last night at a social gathering after the Indo-Pak match, the two are once again pitted against each other.

Myskina in second round
Dubai, February 21
Former French Open champion Anastasia Myskina overcame a spirited fight from China’s Zheng Jie 6-3, 6-7 (7/9), 6-1 in the first round of the Dubai Women’s Open. Sixth-seeded Myskina committed nine double faults in a searching 2-hour, 17-minute exam by Zheng, who was still seeking her first win of the season. Myskina appeared after reaching the indoor semifinals at Tokyo and a two-week rest.


Anastasia Myskina of Russia reacts after missing a point against Jie Zheng of China during their Dubai Open match on Monday. — AFP
photo
Anastasia Myskina of Russia reacts after missing a point against Jie Zheng of China during their Dubai Open match

Advani eyes second world snooker title
New Delhi, February 21
Former world snooker champion Pankaj Advani has been working quietly to sharpen his skills in order to clinch back the title at the IBSF World Snooker Grand Prix beginning at Pontin’s, England, tomorrow.

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Dalmia in dock over misuse of funds
Our Sports Reporter/PTI

New Delhi, February 21
The wranglings in the cricket board took a serious turn today with the new regime headed by Sharad Pawar accusing former BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya of misappropriating funds.

BCCI treasurer N. Srinivasan said former BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmia has been given a show-cause notice for misappropriation of the PILCOM funds. He said though Dalmia has been given a week's time to reply to the BCCI notice, a decision on what action should be taken against him, has been left to the discretion of board president Sharad Pawar.

He said PILCOM (Pakistan-India-Lanka Committee), which was created to host the 1996 World Cup cricket, jointly hosted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, has not yet given the statement of accounts to the BCCI though Dalmia was the convenor-secretary of PILCOM. Mr Srinivasan said when the new set of BCCI office-bearers took charge, they were handed over only the accounts of the past 12 months, and nothing regarding the PILCOM account, in which a lot of discrepancies have been detected.

Though Srinivasan was restrained in his reaction to Dalmia's involvement in the financial irregularities of PILCOM, which he termed as official, BCCI vice-president Modi said a big financial "fraud" has been committed by the former BCCI chief though the quantum of amount was not clear. But Modi unofficially put the amount as Rs 40 lakh. Interestingly, Niran Shah, who was the secretary when Dalmia was the BCCI president, noted that he was unware of whether the PILCOM account issue was ever raised in the BCCI meetings during his previous tenure.

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Yuvraj to miss first Test
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, February 21
Yuvraj Singh, who was adjudged the man of the series in the just concluded one-day international series against Pakistan, will be missing the first Test against England, to be played in Kanpur, as he is nursing a shoulder strain suffered during the fifth and final ODI at Karachi.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Nirajan Shah said after the Working Committee here today that Yuvraj would not play in the first Test against England, but spinner Harbhajan Singh was fit. Mr Shah said dashing opener Virender Sehwag has been given an injection by the team physio and his fitness will be known tomorrow.

The team for the first Test against England will be picked at Baroda on February 23.

Meanwhile, BCCI treasurer N. Srinivasan said India and Pakistan will play two one-day matches in Dubai on April 18 and 19 to raise funds for the earth-quake victims of Pakistan and Kashmir. He said 75 per cent of the proceeds of the first ODI will go to Pakistan and 25 per cent to Kashmir while the proceeds of the second ODI will be split by the cricket Boards of India and Pakistan.

The Working Committee also approved the award of television rights to Nimbus and the production rights to Nimbus Sports, and complimented the marketing committee of the board for its “excellent work” in marketing the game.

Mr Srinivasan said the BCCI was in the process of working out the modalities of organising the Champions Trophy later this year in India with the International Cricket Council.

The bone of contention between the BCCI and the ICC was about the choice of venues for hosting the match as the former wanted the Champions Trophy to be spread out to more cities than the three suggested by ICC—Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai.

The Board treasuer said the cost factor was holding the ICC back in conducting the matches in more than three venues.

The Working Committee has also decided to enhance the pension of retired players, who quit cricket prior to 1975, from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000. Substantial hike has also been affected in the match fees of Test and domestic umpires.

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BBC secures radio deal in India

London, February 21
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) today secured exclusive radio rights for all international cricket matches in India for the next four years.
The BBC clinched the rights from Nimbus International Communications Ltd, which last week bagged all the rights for next four years from the Indian Cricket Board for a whopping sum of $ 612 million (Rs 2755 crore approx).

“We believe it’s vital for cricket that there should be live free-to-air broadcasting, so we’re delighted that the BBC’s radio services, including the Asian Network, will be offering live coverage from India,” Roger Mosey, BBC’s Director of Sport said.

The BBC’s flagship cricket programme, Test Match Special, will broadcast England’s tour of India with Jonathan Agnew, Christopher Martin-Jenkins and Simon Mann providing live commentary.

Analysis will be provided by Geoffrey Boycott and Sunil Gavaskar. — PTI

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Andrew Flintoff: the ‘complete’ player

Mumbai, February 21
Andrew Flintoff says being an all-rounder in modern cricket is not easy, and that it would be even tougher to perform with both bat and ball in subcontinental conditions.

Nevertheless, he loves the challenge of excelling in whatever he does and hopes to replicate his Ashes heroics on the Indian soil in the next few weeks. “Sometimes it is tough, you bowl a lot and then you pad up at number six but I think I enjoy doing that, to be honest. If I don’t do that I would be bored on the field,” says the 28-year-old.

“It does have an impact but it is something I have done for three years, quite successfully. It is difficult to find the balance and get both going at the same time. It happened for six weeks last year, I hope I have a window to do that here but we have to wait and see.” The Lanchashire player was the star performer for England which regained the Ashes from Australia last summer.

Flintoff smashed 402 runs at 40.20 and grabbed 24 wickets at 27.29 in the five Tests against the arch-rivals to lead his team to a 2-1 series win, England's first against the Aussies in 18 years.

Flintoff says the visitors, slated to play three Tests and seven ODIs from March 1 to April 15, would have to show character to consolidate their status as challengers to the Test crown, particularly after the loss to Pakistan late last year.

“Yes, we have had a good run with the exception of Pakistan. It (India) is a tough place. It is a massive challenge, not just for myself but for the group of individuals. We have got to prove ourselves here. It is going to be a tricky series in these conditions.” Flintoff believes he has come of age since his last visit to India in 2002.

“I have got a better knowledge of my game. I have got a basic technique and method of playing which I trust. I am slightly more patient, and my shot selection is better than it used to be, I feel I approach an innings or even practice a lot better.” Before that tour, he was criticised for his slack attitude to the game. Touted as successor to Ian Botham when he made his debut, Flintoff was labelled as over-weight and ridiculed for his eating habits.

But the wheel has come full circle and he is now considered among the leading all-rounders of the game.

Flintoff attributes the transformation to his marriage.

“Your focus changes. I am still enjoying my cricket but you play for your family and play to provide as well.

“You put things in context. Good days and bad days (on the field), when you come through the door, your family treats you the same. You realise cricket is just a game, there are far more important things in life, I certainly found so. I am enjoying being a family man, enjoying the responsibility.” So, won’t there be any chest-baring and shirt-waving this time, just as he did four years ago? “I think I had a 10-second of madness. I won’t be doing it again — I was young and daft then but I’m a bit older and wiser now.” — PTI

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Dhoni is murderous: Inzy

Lahore, February 21
Having suffered from his blade in the just-concluded series, Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq today described Mahendra Singh Dhoni as “murderous” and a player to be watched in the 2007 World Cup.

The Indian wicket-keeper, who blasted away 219 runs in the four innings of the five-match series at a stupendous strike rate of 137, “is safe behind the wickets and can be compared with Adam Gilchrist though the Australian has proved himself as the best after years in commission”, Inzamam told PTI in an interview here.

On a high following his team’s brilliant performances in the past one year, Inzamam finds himself to be the target of criticism after losing the ODI series by a comprehensive 4-1 to India. Suddenly his tactics and everything else he did during the series are being faulted.

But the burly Pakistani is unruffled as he always is at the crease. His team lost to a much superior foe, he admits.

Is he angry? “I control my anger. If someone drops a catch and I get angry, will that catch come back to us? It won’t. Therefore it is better to be cool because that helps in better performance”, he said.

Despite the ODI series loss to India, Inzamam believes that the Pakistani team has become much better in the past two years. “When India came here in 2004, our boys were young and inexperienced. They have since played a lot of cricket in other countries that has given them experience and confidence”, he said.

Analysing the Indian team, Inzamam said that undoubtedly batting was India’s strength as the line-up was very experienced. The bowlers are inexperienced but they are young and talented.

He rates Tendulkar as one of the five best batsmen in the world along with Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and Brian Lara.

Here is Inzamam’s take on the new talent in the Indian team:

Yuvraj Singh: He is an exciting young talent who has now learnt how to finish off games. He has the power to play big shots and is equally clever in finding the gaps to nudge and push the balls for ones and twos. His footwork has improved tremendously ever since I saw him last year. The only time he looks uncomfortable is when he receives short pitched deliveries which we could not bowl as much as we would have liked because of the nature of Test pitches.

M S Dhoni: I can easily pick him as one of the players to be watched in the 2007 World Cup. He is unorthodox but very effective and at times murderous. He is difficult to bowl to because he has this ability to even hit the good balls with a jab shot. He is equally good in horizontal and vertical bat shots. He is safe behind the wickets and can be compared to Adam Gilchrist though the Australian has proved himself as the best after years in commission.

Suresh Raina: I did not get a chance to see him because the Indian top order did not let the pressure come on to Raina and the later order batsmen. But I always believe that only the best players are picked to represent their countries and therefore Raina must be a good cricketer who will improve with every game. But consistency is the key and it applies to both — Raina as well as the selectors.

Irfan Pathan: He is blossoming into an all-rounder India so desperately needed to strike the right balance in one-day cricket. He was always a good bowler who bowled to a teasing line and length but his batting has improved after Greg Chappell threw him in the deep pan and made him realise that he has the ability to graft the innings and at the same time play big shots.

R.P. Singh: A young and committed bowler who bowls with a lot of heart and determination. He is young and will surely gain speed and at the same time will maintain top grade fitness.

With a total of 8,172 Test and 11,251 one-day runs with 25 and 10 centuries, respectively, Inzamam is well on his way to become Pakistan’s greatest batsman.

How would he like to be remembered when he hangs his bat? “If people remember me as one who contributed to Pakistan’s cricket, I will feel good. If people say good things, it makes me feel happy,” he responds shyly. — PTI

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Aussies confident of trouble-free SA tour

Johannesburg, February 21
Australia coach John Buchanan is confident that his side’s six-week South Africa tour will pass without any contentious issues both on or off the field.
“We will take every possible precaution against any disciplinary incidents but we hope to leave South Africa unscathed,” Buchanan today told a news conference at the team’s hotel in Johannesburg.

“Our recent record has been pretty well exemplary, with just the odd incident, and the management will reiterate the same approach, but we won’t be doing anything more than normal.”

The tourists have encountered trouble with crowds in South Africa before and claims that several of the Proteas side were racially abused during the recently completed Australia tour have only added to the tension.

“Nasty things have been said. I have lost respect for one or two of their players.” South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher was quoted as saying in The Wisden Cricket magazine this week.

“I hope our public give them a bit of stick, because we’ve taken a serious amount.

“In the past our crowds haven’t been too great with them, but trust me, we’re not going to sit back and say ‘shame, poor things’...

Australian captain Ricky Ponting offered a different perspective.

“There is no dislike between the two teams and the cricket this (southern hemisphere) summer has been played in very good spirits and I’m sure it will continue in that manner,” he said.

Wicketkeeper and vice-captain Adam Gilchrist said his team were delighted to be in South Africa and were not expecting excessive abuse or provocation.

“Obviously a lot has been said about the incident in Australia, but I don’t think that’s going to lead to anything more drastic here,” Gilchrist told Reuters.

“You expect to take flak anywhere in the world and abuse will be there, but I don’t think it will be 
untoward.

“There’s a lot more spoken about that happens on the field than what actually happens on the field.— Reuters

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Hockey teams reach Pak
Neeraj Bagga

Wagah, February 21
It was a scene of bonhomie between the hockey players of India and Pakistan as they crossed over to Pakistan, to play the remaining three matches of the ongoing Indo-Pak hockey test series, here today. The first match of the Pakistan leg will be played tomorrow at Lahore.

Forfeiting the home advantage, the Indian team lost all the three matches yet captain Ignace Tirkey struck a positive note for the three matches ahead. He said they had identified their mistakes in these matches and would put in all efforts to overcome them.

He said the players missed several opportunities to score. Moreover there were several new faces who needed more time to adjust. He hoped that they would up their performance against Pakistan and refused to accept the belief that they would be under more pressure.

Mohammad Saqlain, skipper of Pakistan team, credited team planning for winning all the matches. Moreover, he said India played on predictable lines. When asked about Indian team, he remarked that the Indian players displayed good hockey.

Saqlain said their experiment with newcomers, including Mohammad Zubair, Shabir Junior and Shahjad Ahmad, had paid off and added that they would be offered greater role in the next matches to help them flourish.

Sayeed Khan, Manager of the Pakistan team, said it was a good opportunity for his players to prepare themselves for the next World Cup to be held in Germany in September.

Indian coach Rajinder Singh Junior said settling of combination of players was needed for winning matches. However, he said the Indian players could not get together for adequate time before the start of the series and added that it was proving to be a drawback in the series. But expressing optimism, he said the Indian team would gain confidence in the remaining matches.

Apart from players and officials, five former Indian Olympians, including Harmik Singh, Balbir Singh, Gurbaksh Singh, V. Bhaskaran and Balwinder Singh Shammi went to Pakistan on the invitation of Pakistan Hockey Association.

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Rajinder ‘unhappy’ with team selection
Anuradha Shukla
Tribune New Service

Jalandhar, February 21
Going by the outbursts of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) secretary Jyotikumar and Indian hockey team coach Rajinder Singh Junior late last night at a social gathering after the Indo-Pak match, the two are once again pitted against each other. The war of words between the two could well lead to the ouster of the hockey coach as the axe might just fall on him, according to sources.

The IHF secretary Jyotikumar said Rajinder was responsible for the three straight defeats against Pakistan. He also said the coach was not using the forwards conducively. On the other hand, Rajinder stated that given a chance of selecting players he could chose a highly competent team.

These outbursts took place at a party hosted for the two teams last evening. The coach said for preparing a good team some time is required. He said the reason why the team performed poorly during the last three ties was that he was given team just two days before the start of the first match of the current series. Expressing satisfaction over the performance of the team goalkeeper and the defence line, he said the reason for the poor performance 
of the team was that the forwards did not convert the chances they got.

Meanwhile, the list of 20 players selected for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games is likely to see changes as the team could see two out of the 20 players dropped from the squad.

The name of Gagan Ajit Singh is making rounds in the hockey circles as among the probable to be included in the team, sources added.

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Myskina in second round

Dubai, February 21
Former French Open champion Anastasia Myskina overcame a spirited fight from China’s Zheng Jie 6-3, 6-7 (7/9), 6-1 in the first round of the Dubai Women’s Open.
Sixth-seeded Myskina committed nine double faults in a searching 2-hour, 17-minute exam by Zheng, who was still seeking her first win of the season. Myskina appeared after reaching the indoor semifinals at Tokyo and a two-week rest.

“She is a fine player, and I am really happy to get a tough opening match in the tournament,” Myskina said yesterday. “I needed time to adjust to the change playing indoors in freezing conditions in Tokyo to outdoors here.

“I figured out her game and the third set went according to my plans.” The Russian has got as far as the quarterfinals in all four previous appearances in Dubai, but she’ll face a tough second-round match against either wild card and 2001 champ Martina Hingis or Indian star Sania Mirza.

Myskina advanced with two other Russians, Elena Likhovtseva and Vera Dushevina, and eighth-seeded Daniela Hantuchova.

Likhovtseva defeated 2005 runner-up Jelena Jankovic of Serbia-Montenegro 7-5 7-5.

She will play defending champion and second-seeded Lindsay Davenport, who will be playing her second event of the year after a quarterfinal run at the Australian Open.

Dushevina was a comfortable 6-3, 6-1 winner over Marion Bartoli of France for a fifth straight time, and moves on to meet third-seeded compatriot Maria Sharapova.

Hantuchova, a quarterfinalist last year, scraped through an error-strewn win over China’s Li Na 3-6 6-4 7-6 (4). — AP

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Advani eyes second world snooker title

New Delhi, February 21
Former world snooker champion Pankaj Advani has been working quietly to sharpen his skills in order to clinch back the title at the IBSF World Snooker Grand Prix beginning at Pontin’s, England, tomorrow.

Advani, who became the youngest world champion at 18 years in 2003, will lead the Indian challenge, also comprising youngster Aditya Mehta and former Asian Champion veteran Alok Kumar, in the event which concludes on March 3.

The championship, slated to be held in Karachi last year, was scrapped in the wake of the massive earthquake in Pakistan.

As many as 80 players from 35 countries, divided into eight groups, will vie for honours at the event with IBSF member countries allowed to send two players each and nominate a reserve.

The winner will earn a Main Tour Ticket for the 2006-07 season.

The 20-year-old Advani said he had acquired new attitude towards the game and learnt to handle pressure during the matches besides a change in his style of playing.

“I have made some minor changes in my technique and increased my range of shots. I have also worked on my mental aspect and am doing some breathing exercises as well,” Advani told PTI before leaving for Pontin’s.

“I have also improved in terms of handling pressure and remaining calm during matches. It is important to take everything in your stride and I am doing that better than when I was a beginner,” said the reigning world billiards champion.

The Bangalorean, who has been placed in Group F, said he would focus on each match as it comes.

Besides Advani, Steve Mifsud of Australia will be among the high quality field. England have sent their Amateur Champion David Grace from Leeds, while Welsh Champion Andrew Pagett and their precocious 14-year-old talent Michael White will represent the host country.

Mongolia have entered a 15-year-old as one of their players, another clear sign of the exciting emergence of new talent across Asia.

In addition to the UK countries and Ireland, a strong European Challenge will come from France, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Iceland.

Iceland have entered Kristjan Helgason, who narrowly missed out on a Main Tour place for 2005-6, losing the European final to Alex Borg.

Aditya Mehta is in Group B in company of Anthony Brabin of Cyprus, Risto Varymen of Finland, Daniel Ward of England, Andrew Pagett of Wales and Sean Boxall.

Alok Kumar has been placed in Group F with David Grace of England, Davy Morris of Republic of Ireland. — PTI

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 BRIEFLY

Selection trials
PATIALA:
Trials to select players for the Centre of Excellence, a Sports Authority of India (SAI) scheme being run at the NIS here, in the discipline of hockey will be held at the institute’s astroturf from February 24.
According to Mr L.S Ranawat, Regional Director of the NIS, trials to select players for the centre in the disciplines of athletics, cycling and judo have also been finalised. For athletes, trials will be held on March 6 and 7, for cyclists from April 3 to 6 while in the discipline of judo, trials will be held from March 3 to 5. — OSR

Randhawa slips
NEW DELHI:
Jyoti Randhawa has slipped four places to 104 in the latest official world golf rankings issued on Tuesday ending his week-long stay in the top 100. Randhawa, tied 37th in the Malaysian Open, has 1.31 average points and continues to be the highest ranked Indian in the list.
US-based Arjun Atwal is the next to follow at 136 with 1.09 average points. — UNI

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