Chandigarh, Tuesday, February 9, 1999
Hat-tricks in history of Test
Sidelined Dingko sparkles
Leander, Bhupathi fail at last
IN the absence of top stars, 24-year-old Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia and Swiss teenager Martina Hingis won the mens and womens singles titles, respectively, in the Australian Open which concluded in Melbourne last week. For the coveted mens singles titles, Kafelnikov took the better of Swedens Thomas Enquist in four sets.
As is often the case, the Australian Open this year again was shorn of glamour. Unlike the other Grand Slams like the French Open in May, the Wimbledon in June and the US Open in August, where tennis stars eagerly wait to participate, the Australian Open, the years first Grand Slam event, always sees some stars skipping the event. So it was this time too.
Worlds top player, Pete Sampras of the USA, said he could not cope with the heat of Melbourne around this time of the year and hence was opting out. Next world No. 2 Marcelo Rios of Chile pulled out because of back problems. The next two third ranked Alex Corretja of Spain lost to Norways Christian Ruud in the second round. Similarly, fourth seed, Carlos Moya, the French Open champion, lost to Nicholas Keifer of Germany. In fact as the event progressed, seeds fell one after the other. On the way only the 10th seed Kafelnikov survived who ultimately prevailed over unseeded Enqvist to win the title.
From the Indian point of view, it was a case of too near, yet too far. In the past two years, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi had been giving wonderful performances. Their success story had begun in the 1997 US Open in which the two Indians reached the semifinals where they lost to Kafelnikov and Daniel Vacek. They continued the wining streak in 1998 throughout. In the Australian Open semifinals, they lost to Jonas Bjorkman and Jacco Eltingh in five sets. In the French Open, they again bowed out in the semifinals to Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor in four sets. And in the last Grand Slam event of 1998, the US Open, the title again eluded them when they once again lost to Sandon Stolle and Cyril Suk in the semifinals.
Ranked 92nd on the ATP list, the Australian Open did not greet him well Leander lost in the first round in the singles to Davide Sanguinetti of Italy 4-6, 4-6, 1-6. After the defeat, Leander admitted he was not in the best of form for the event because plagued by injuries he could not prepare properly for the event. One may remember here that Leanders career had taken the upswing in 1996 when he won the first ATP title the Hall of Fame in Newport and then provided the icing on the cake by toppling Pete Sampras of the USA in Super Nine Tournament at New Haven in the USA. As a result Leander rocked to the 75th position on the ATP ladder. Though he could not improve his ranking still further, yet he remained in the top 100, now ranked 92nd.
Further, Leander in partnership with Cartina Adams of the USA lost in the first round in the mixed doubles too.
On the mens doubles front, the Leander-Bhupathi pair was top ranked this time. Though not much was expected of the pair because the key player Leander was not in good form, yet full marks to the Indian pair, who gamely stuck in the middle, removing one opposition after the other. In the first round, the two beat Edwin Kempes and Peter Wessels 6-4, 6-2, next they defeated Daug Flach and Mark Merklein, losing the first set. In the quarterfinals, the two outclassed Richey Reneberg and Janathan Start. Before this in the pre-quarters, Leander and Bhupathi had beaten David Adams and J. De Jager. The semifinals had been jinxed for the pair so far. But they overcome this mental block this time too and beat Ellis Ferreira and Rick Leach in three sets to reach the final for the first time.
But this was as far as the two could go as the Grand Slam title once again eluded Leander, since Mahesh had won a Grand Slam doubles event a mixed doubles title in partnership with a Japanese girl, in the past. The top seed Indian pair lost to Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden and Pat Rafter of Australia in five sets. The two matched the superior pair set for set, stroke for stroke, but in the end found themselves wanting in endurance and staying power. By that time they had displayed the full range of strokes and nothing was left in their armoury to unsettle the Bjorkman-Rafter combination. So far now Leander and Bhupathi have to wait for Mays French Open when they can try their luck. Till then it is nothing short of licking wounds since they had virtually grasped the title this time.
As for the Australian
Open, one finds that the event frequently throws up new
stars on the tennis horizon. It may be sometimes because
of the absence of top stars. Last year, Petr Korda of the
Czeche Republic surprised everyone to win the mens
singles title. This time it was the turn of Kafelnikov,
who stood firmly amidst the ruins of seeds, to ultimately
carry the crown the Australian Open.
Hat-tricks in history of Test
PACEMAN Darren Gough marked the final Ashes Test of the century with the first hat-trick for England against Australia in this century at Sydney cricket ground. Gough first dismissed Ian Healy, caught by Hegg, and then clean bowled Stuart MacGill and Colin Miller to become the ninth Englishman to get a hat-trick in the history of Test cricket. It was the 23rd hat-trick at this level of cricket.
The first bowler to perform the hat-trick in Test cricket was Australian, F.R. Spofforth who dismissed three in a row in his six for 48 against England at Melbourne in 1878-79. Spofforths victims in the hat-trick were V. Royle, F. Mackinnon and T. Emmett.
Englands W. Bates was the second bowler to perform this feat. He achieved this feat against Australia at Melbourne in 1882-83 by dismissing P.S. McDonnell, G. Giffen and G.J. Bonnor in the first innings.
In the 1891-92 series against Australia, Englands J. Briggs performed the third hat-trick in Test cricket. He ended Australias second innings with this hat-trick, dismissing W.F. Giffen, S.T. Callaway and J.M. Blackham.
G.A. Lohman of England recorded the fourth hat-trick in Test cricket against South Africa at Port Elizabeth in 1895-96. He ended the match on the second day with a hat-trick. F.J. Cook, J. Middleton and J.T. Willoughby were his victims.
The fifth bowler to perform a hat-trick in Test cricket was Englands J.H. Hearne. Hearne did the hat-trick in Australias second innings at Leeds in 1899 when he dismissed C. Hill, S.E. Gregory and M.A. Noble.
Australian Hugh Trumble was the first bowler in the 20th century to record the hat-trick in Test cricket. Trumble performed this feat against England at Melbourne in 1901-02 series by dismissing A.O. Jones, J.R. Gunn and S.F. Barnes. On his final appearance against England at Melbourne in 1903-04, Trumble performed his second hat-trick, dismissing B. Bosanquet, P. Warner and A. Lilley in Englands second innings.
At Old Trafford, Manchester, in 1912 T.J. Matthews created a unique Test record by taking a hat-trick in each innings, both instances being on the second day of the match. T. Ward bagged a king pair being the third victim of both hat-tricks. Matthews other victims in the hat-trick were S.J. Pegler and R. Beaumont in the first innings and R.O. Smith and H.W. Taylor in the second. Matthews took all six wickets without assistance from fielders.
The eighth bowler to perform a hat-trick in Test cricket was Englands Maurice Allom. Playing in his first Test match against New Zealand at Christchurch in the 1929-30 series, he took four wickets in five balls including a hat-trick in his eighth over on his first day of Test cricket. Alloms hat-trick victims were T.C. Lowry, K.C. James and F.T. Badcock.
Englishman T.W.J. Goddard was the ninth bowler to perform a hat-trick. He achieved this feat by dismissing A. Nourse, N. Gordon and W. Wade in South Africas first innings at Johannesburg in the 1938-39 series. It was the 11th hat-trick in the history of Test cricket.
In the 1957 series against West Indies at Leeds, Peter Loader dismissed J.D.C. Goddard, S. Ramadin and R. Gilchrist in the first innings to complete the first hat-trick for England in a home Test since 1899.
Slow left arm unorthodox Lindsay Kline of Australia was the 11th bowler to enter this elite club. He did the hat-trick, dismissing E. Fuller, H. Tayfield and N. Adcock, in South Africas second innings at Cape Town in 1957-58.
The first West Indian to take a hat-trick in Test cricket was Wesley Hall. Hall dismissed Mushtaq Mohammed, Fazal Mehmood and Nasim-ul-Ghani in Pakistans first innings at Bagh-i-Jinnah, Lahore in 1958-59.
In the 1960 series against England at Lords, G.M. Griffin became the only bowler to take a hat-trick for South Africa when he dismissed M.J.K. Smith with the last ball of one over and P.M. Walker and F.S. Trueman with the first two balls of his next. It was also the first hat-trick in a Test match at Lords. It was Griffins final Test match of his career.
Lance Gibbs was the second West Indian to achieve a hat-trick in a Test match. Gibbs dismissed R.D. Mackay, A.T.W. Grout and F.M. Mission in Australias first innings at Adelaide in 1960-61 to perform the 16th hat-trick in Test cricket.
The second bowler to record a hat-trick on his debut was New Zealands off-spinner P.J. Petherick. Petherick dismissed debutant Javed Miandad, Wasim Raja and Intikhab Alam in successive balls in Pakistans first innings at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, in the 1976-77 series.
Courtney Walsh achieved the 18th hat-trick in Test cricket at Brisbane in 1988-89 when he had Australian A.I.C. Dodemaide caught off his last ball in the first innings and dismissed M. Veletta and G. Wood with his first two balls in the second. It was first hat-trick to involve both innings.
In the next Test of the series at Perth, Australian Merv Hughes achieved a hat-trick, having ended the first innings by dismissing Curtly Ambrose with the last ball of his 36th over and Patrick Patterson with his first ball of the 37th over, he had Gorden Greenidge leg before with the first ball of the second innings.
The third player to take a hat-trick on debut was Australian Damien Flemming. Flemming achieved this feat by dismissing Aamer Malik, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Salim Malik in Pakistans second innings at Rawalpindi in the 1994-95 series.
Shane Warne was the 19th bowler to perform a hat-trick in Test cricket. Warne achieved this by dismissing Darren Gough, Philip Defreitas and Devon Malcolm in Englands second innings at Melbourne in 1994-95 Ashes series.
The last man to take a
hat-trick before Darren Gough was Englands Dominic
Cork. Bowling from the Stretford End at Manchester, Cork
picked up Richie Richardson, Junior Murray and Carl
Hooper to become only the eighth England bowler to do the
hat-trick, the first since Peter Loader surprised West
Indies at Headingley in 1952.
Sidelined Dingko sparkles
DINGKO SINGH'S gold at the Bangkok Asian Games was not only worth its weight in gold. It was also an injection of his faith. That his ability was not a myth, as many blind-folded officials wanted us to believe. The pugilists plucky effort also comes as a kick in the teeth of Indian sports officialdom. For Dingko to mock the system, he never had to slug it out against opponents of other countries. He had enough in his own backyard.
We say success in sport is roping in sponsorship deals, flaunting Rolex watches and inaugurating functions. No. Success in sport is NG Dingko Singh, learning the harsh realities of life in an Imphal orphanage, where he was put up because his mother was unable to feed six mouths. Success is Dingko Singh, sidelined, yet brilliantly managing to recapture the intensity of countless hours of training, of enduring pain.
For months, as if consumed by madness, Dingko trained like a man possessed, driving himself relentlessly, sights firmly focussed on the ultimate a medal. Then, one fine morning the young boxer came to know that suddenly Bangkok was one distant dream, an illusion. His legs turned jelly, his world crumbled. Unbelievable it was. Minutes after he came to know of his omission, Dingko told this correspondent, It cannot be me. The newspaper is lying. Indeed it was him. For the tormented soul, it was a moment when he was caught engrossed in observing the petty machinations of a group of men, also known as sports administrators. More importantly, that one moment also captured the marginalisation of a magnificent athlete, that Dingko Singh is. One thing is sure. That young Dingko Singh does not belong to that category of sportsmen who bend down to touch the feet of petty officials, fearful of disfavour. Perhaps, reason enough why he was cold shouldered by men hot in word and deed.
It will be a complete travesty of truth to state that neither IOA nor the teams wing of SAI were a party to the decision of dropping Dingko from the Asian Games squad. And a goof up it was not. Everything was deliberate. So well timed was it that somebody seemed to be desperate in killing the boxer in Dingko. Otherwise, how can it be explained that they let him go through the torturous grind for months before hitting him below the belt. A foul it was. But who cared? With one decision the boxers psyche was shredded to ribbons. But then from somewhere, from those places where sportsmen like Dingko store their heroism, the boxer found self belief and came back from the precipice.
One thing that rankles the mind is this so-called attitude problem of Dingko which reportedly irked chief coach G.S. Sandhu. This attitude problem became a handy tool by which the authorities played havoc with the pugilist. The case of the highly talented Birju Shah is too fresh to be forgotten. It may be recalled that due to an attitude problem, Birju Shah left the Commonwealth Games camp mid-way. And by some remarkable coincidence it was again G.S. Sandhu who was the chief coach when Shah walked out of the camp.
As for now, everything
seems to have been buried under the sheer weight of
Dingkos medal. But then question is, how many more
golds might have been buried under the IOA files, marked
medal hopes? True, the sweat and pain of
Dingko must be appreciated. And also must be appreciated
is the solid punch Dingko landed on officials in the
sports ministry, IOA and SAI. Everything is wrapped in
some errie silence. It will continue to be so. Till, some
other fine day, some other Indian sportsman will do a
Dingko to yank our sports officials out of
their slumber. The bottomline of Dingkos stupendous
success is that he, for one, has proved, and this time
beyond reasonable doubt, that when it comes to selecting
Indian teams, our sports officials, barring a few, have
the collective wisdom of a sparrow.
India gifted match to Pakistan
THE Indian team is not consistent in fielding, batting and bowling. However, it is consistent in not delivering the winning punch. I have been following the Indian cricket since my school days. I remember when Indian toured Pakistan in 1979 under the captaincy of B.S Bedi, India gifted the match to Pakistan. When India lost to Pakistan at Chennai I was very disappointed not because we lost but because of the fact that our team gifted the match to Pakistan on a platter. When Mongia and Tendulkar had done the hard work and brought India very close to victory, what was the motive of that blind shot which Mongia played? He didnt play that type of shot in a one-day match a few years ago when it was required of him. As he said later, he got instructions from the dressing room to stay at the crease. In a Test match our players try and play like they should be playing in a one-day match and in a one-day match they play as if they are playing a Test match. A player who is selected in the national team should have the brains to decide about his shots according to the situation and sentiments of millions of countrymen who spend a lot of time and energy to watch the matches. Fans only get entertainment but players are paid money. If the players cant entertain the fans they should be thrown out of the team. At least there should be sincere and intelligent effort by the players. I congratulate Tendulkar for his brilliant century and effort.
India once again collapsed after Tendulkars departure. This team does not seem to learn from previous mistakes. A positive approach and determination to win can only be seen on the faces of Tendulkar, Mongia and Ganguly. No doubt, it was a close match but there is a difference in the captaincy of Azhar and Akram. Hats off to Akram and his men who kept their cool and turned the tide in their favour.
The Indian team depends heavily on Sachin Tendulkar to win matches. This was once again evident during the first Test at Chennai against Pakistan which India lost by a mere 12 runs. As long as Sachin was there at the crease the chances of an Indian victory looked good. But as soon as he was out the other batsmen got out and surrendered the match to the Pakistan. This is a cause for concern for the Indians.
Sachin Tendulkar played a marvellous knock of 136 runs in the Chennai Test against Pakistan. Though at the end of the play, he failed to save India from a shameful defeat his knock was a delight to watch. This test has proved again that the Indian team is one-man army! The wonder-kid carries the hopes of one billion people on his shoulders.
I was shocked to learn that Mark Taylor, the captain of the Australian cricket team, has announced his retirement from first class cricket. He played 104 Test matches and led the nation in 50 tests. He scored 7525 runs and cracked 19 centuries, including a triple century. He has taken 157 catches, which is a world record. He also equalled the record of Sir Don Bradman of 334 runs, the highest by an Australian. He was in a position to cross Dons record and even surpass Brian Laras record of 375 runs but he preferred not to do so. Such qualities in a player are rare.
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