|S P O R T||
Saturday, June 19, 1999
Aussies face last battle
didnt hear call: Donald
faded out early
key for captain: Jadeja
Will Pak keep Cup in Asia?
LONDON June 18 (PTI) An effervescent Pakistan and a combative Australia, who square up in what promises to be an explosive World Cup final at the Lords on Sunday, look certain to add another chapter to the memorable past summit clashes.
Whether 1987 champions Australia or the 1992 winners Pakistan triumph, they will ensure that the West Indies will not be the only country to win the mega event twice.
With South Africa cast by the wayside once again, after an emotionally draining tied semifinal against Australia at Edgbaston, two of the best teams of the Cup will clash.
Pakistan will look to hold the Asian hegemony, after India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka brought three of the last four edition trophies to the subcontinent.
Australia, having pulled themselves from the verge of elimination, won six matches in a row and after back to back triumphs over the formidable Proteas, are in tremendous form and will be sky-high on confidence with skipper Steve Waugh at the forefront.
Pakistans inspirational Wasim Akram has also galvanised his forces brilliantly, a superlative bowling attack in particular, to promise a riveting affair.
But the final is also expected to prove a war of attrition after Pakistan pulled off a 10-run win in the group stage. The teams have had a stormy relationship in the past and both will have a point to prove in the fourth World Cup final to come off at the Lords.
World Cup finals have always contained rich drama since the West Indies beat Australia in the 1975 edition.
1975: The West Indies scored a 17-run victory in a thrilling final, also considered the longest one-day tie which started at 11 am and ended at 8.40 pm.
The match is etched in memory for skipper Clive Lloyds majestic 102 off only 85 balls that lifted the Caribbeans to 291 for eight in 60 overs on being put in to bat by Australian captain Ian Chappell.
The West Indies were struggling at 50 for three, before Lloyd produced a sensational counter-attack in the company of veteran Rohan Kanhai, who made a crucial 55.
In reply, Australia were dismissed for 274 in 58.4 overs, Vivian Richards effecting three sensational run outs and Keith Boyce capturing four for 50. Australian pace duo of Jeff Thomson and Dennis Lillee added 41 runs for the last wicket in a final act of defiance before Thomson was run out to end the fight.
The West Indies, once again under Clive Lloyd, retained the title with a far more comprehensive 92-run victory over hosts England.
The match will ever be remembered for master blaster Viv Richardss unbeaten 138 and a whirlwind 86 off 66 balls by Collis King, which enabled the Caribbeans post 286 for nine in 60 overs.
England were shot out for 194 in 51 overs, with "big bird" Joel Garner capturing five for 38 in a grand display of fast bowling with Colin Croft providing admirable support to claim three for 42.
1983: India, under the inspirational leadership of Kapil Dev, registered one of the biggest upsets in cricket history with an incredible title win, scuttling the seemingly invincible West Indies and their skipper Clive Lloyd from registering a hat trick of victories.
In a low-scoring final, India were dismissed for 183 in 54.4 overs, with opener Krishnamachari Srikkanths lively 38 the highest, as the wonted West Indian pace battery of Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding set up what was expected to end up as an easy win for the Caribbeans.
But June 25, 1983 will remain a red letter day in the annals of Indian cricket as they carved out a 43-run victory by bowling out an arrogant West Indies for 140 in 52 overs.
The high drama was a banana inswinger from medium-pacer Balwinder Sandhu that clipped opener Gordon Greenidges bails and Kapil Devs outstanding running catch to remove the dangerous Viv Richards.
1987: The first World Cup outside England and a final removed from the hallowed precincts of the Lords saw rank outsiders Australia and England clash at the equally historic venue of Calcuttas Eden Gardens.
Australian cricket rose from the ashes of the Kerry Packer era as Allan Border led his talented but unfancied men to a thrilling seven-run title win over England in an event held as the preserve of co-hosts India and Pakistan.
Australia scored 253 for five in 50 overs and restricted England to 246 for eight in 50 overs.
The match will be remembered for the harakiri England skipper Mike Gatting committed to send a perfect chase nosediving. Border came on to bowl his left-arm slow stuff in search of a breakthrough, and lo and behold, Gatting obliged him with a reverse sweep that took the edge and ended in a tame catch to turn the match on its head.
1992: Pakistan, who bounced back from the verge of elimination, claimed the trophy with England ending up losing finalists for the third time at the Melbourne Cricket Club ground.
Electing to bat first, Pakistan made 249 for six in 50 overs with stirring fifties by inspirational skipper Imran Khan and his wily deputy Javed Miandad. Graham Goochs England were then bowled out for 227 with four balls to spare as Pakistan completed a fine 22-run victory.
In a crucial league match, Pakistan were skittled out for 74 runs against England. But rain forced abandonment of the tie with England 24 for one in eight overs and Pakistan, who had a lucky escape, returned to haunt the same rivals.
1996: Underdogs Sri Lanka used brilliant pinch-hitting and skipper Arjuna Rantungas confidence in chasing under lights as they blazed their way to the title at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, beating Australia led by astute Mark Taylor by seven wickets.
Australia made 241 for seven in 50 overs after Ranatunga defied studied opinion to put in the rivals.
Aussies ecstatic over win
SYDNEY, June 18 (AFP) A tired but exultant Prime Minister John Howard suggested employers should understand if workers arrive late on Monday after watching Australia in the World Cup cricket final against Pakistan.
"I dont think everybody will be at work first thing on Monday morning and I think everybody will understand that," Mr Howard, a passionate cricket fan, told Sydney Radio today.
He said he felt exhausted after staying up until 4 a.m. to watch the match between South Africa and Australia overnight which ended in a tie, but putting the Aussies in the final thanks to its previous narrow win against Proteas.
"This has been an extraordinary series and for sheer excitement you couldnt beat last night," he said.
"And you couldnt but feel an enormous admiration for our team because they were being written off and only a couple of weeks ago people were talking about them being out of the final six and definitely not in the semifinals."
He nominated captain Steve Waugh as the key to Australias triumph. "I think the real turning point for the team and the thing that made last night possible in the first instance and really sets us up to win on Sunday was Steve Waughs century in the encounter last weekend," he said, referring to Waughs match-winning 120 not out.
Opposition leader Kim Beazley joined Mr Howard in congratulating the team. "Congratulations to Steve Waugh and the boys, a fantastic outcome. An unbelievable game, Ive not seen one like it."
Meanwhile, Australians today celebrated their cricket teams march into the World Cup final after an extraordinary semifinal against South Africa.
"Amazing Cup tie," the tabloid Daily Telegraph newspaper blared in a front page headline accompanying a photograph of captain Steve Waugh celebrating with his players.
"Australia made an amazing entry to the World Cup final after securing a tie in one of the most dramatic one-day games in history," the Telegraph said of the win, which kept television viewers on the edge of their seats well into in the early hours.
Melbournes Herald-Sun newspaper toasted the win with the front page headline: "Were in".
A backpage headline simply said: "Unbelievable".
"Australia went to sleep with its cricket World Cup hopes in tatters and woke up to find the unbelievable had happened," the Herald-Sun said.
The success featured heavily on morning news reports and on talkback radio programmes, with several young mothers calling in to say that they sat transfixed after rising to feed their babies while their husbands slept.
Pinch-hitters faded out early
NEW DELHI, June 18 (PTI) Pinch-hitters, move on, the run-pinchers are here.
The 1999 World Cup that has reached the summit has seen the demise of the pinch-hitter, A role unintentionally played by Indias Krishnamachari Srikkanth, polished by South Africa and used stunningly by Sri Lanka on the way to their 1996 win.
In the more bowler-friendly ambience of England, the early tonkers are long gone, with teams that pine hopes on conventional batsmen reaping far better results.
Sri Lankas Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana, Adam Gilchrist of Australia and Pakistans Shahid Afridi faded out as early aggressors and South Africa pulled out Mark Boucher from number three which lent more solidity.
Indias Sachin Tendulkar, considered the worlds best, found greater success as number four and had to curb his all-out attack to survive even when he returned as opener.
Converted West Indian opener, Ridley Jacobs, showed more orthodoxy, 205 runs from four innings were the reward.
But, the run-pinchers, or rather the plunderers at the final stages, have had a roaring time.
South African Lance Klusener, Australias Tom Moody, Moin Khan of Pakistan and Indias Ajay Jadeja have emerged prime examples of those who provide tremendous acceleration, setting a target or chasing, to convert slog overs bashing into an art.
With free-hitting a luxury in the early overs on seaming tracks, teams have left it to late chargers to do the job, shifting first 15 overs during field restrictions to the final 10 overs.
But the run-pinchers have their own style of rattling up the runs at the death.
Klusener, who smashed 281 runs from eight innings and was dismissed only twice to return a stupendous average of 140.5, believes in power-hitting through the line of the ball.
No target is beyond him, as Pakistan in their Super Six loss, and Australia who almost fell to Kluseners fury before pulling off a tie to enter the final in the semifinal found out.
One Klusener hit off paceman Glenn McGrath was so hard and struck flat that Paul Reiffel at the long-on boundary could only guide the ball over the ropes for a six.
Moin Khan and Ajay Jadeja thrive on innovations while Moody, averaging 117 after being dismissed only once in five innings is more conventional in his methods.
The Pakistan wicketkeeper has so far aggregated 235 runs from eight innings and his anticipation has ruined the figures of the best bowlers in the tournament.
Jadeja has been forced to be cautious as an unending Indian tail invariably follows him, but went all-out as he did making 39 off just 30 balls against England in the vital group tie coming in the late stages. His swashbuckling 45 in Indias 1996 quarterfinal win over Pakistan is still fondly remembered.
Pinch-hitting is a term borrowed from baseball, but the end over heroes not only give the ball a whack, but also play the mind game beautifully with the bowlers.
Klusener, Moin Khan or Jadeja have shown steely nerves while innovating, gently helping the ball over the in field or making room to smash it, but always out-guessing the bowler to keep the scoreboard moving.
Besides, their breed has bigger value as they invariably are recognised all-rounders or in the case of Moin Khan, a top class wicketkeeper and the teams motivator.
The pinch-hitter has remained ideal in sub-continent conditions, where bowlers cant expect easy rewards. Srikkanth, in the early 80s lofted the ball over during the fielding restrictions while Pat Symcox was a key pinch-hitter used by South Africa to complement the batting of Gary Kirsten and co.
Jayasuriyas stunning deeds gave Arjuna Ranatunga the confidence to chase any target thrown at him in 1996 and Gilchrist replaced Ian Healy for his explosive batting.
But captains have been quick to re-assess their strategy here. Pakistans Wasim Akram has kept Afridi to attack as a lower order bat and opening with the technically correct Wajahatullah Wasti to advantage.
Klusener not invincible after all
MUMBAI June 18 Lance Klusener played like God throughout the tournament until the last ball, which proved he was human after all.
Now, please do not take your daggers out for the South African allrounder. What he did, when he went for that non-existent single, was human, only human.
Its quite easy sitting in the commentary boxes, stands or the living room and pass judgements on players after the game.
But I can assure you, when you have a close game like this and that too in the World Cup semifinal, it just goes beyond all common sense and in the end the team that was supposed to win wins it.
Many will no doubt, especially after the result, start singing praises of Australia as to how they were the stronger team mentally and how well they held their nerves in the match.
But lets face it, at the outset, the game was a tie. Nobody won it. Australia went through on technicality.
Paul Reiffel dropped two catches in the closing stages. Only one reason for it nerves. Why even that last run out was actually a miss by Mark Waugh in the first instance and isnt Mark Waugh supposed to have the best hands in the team?
So, there you see at the end, everybody out in the middle was a bundle of nerves. Great one-day game but with a tragic end for the South Africans.
It was a great one-day game but with a tragic end for the South Africans.
Australia had to depend heavily on the services of their two great cricketers to pile some early pressure on the formidable South African outfit Steve Waugh with the bat and Shane Warne with the ball.
I often wonder why many are shy to use the adjective "great" before Steve Waughs name. I think he has done enough by now to be acknowledged as the very best one who is right up there with the Laras and the Tendulkars.
As Ian Chappel rightly said Waugh looks and also believes himself to be invincible against the South Africans. The Aussie skipper has an excellent record against the Proteas which reaffirms his greatness.
It used to be the West Indies earlier, now it is the South Africans who are the real Test at the international level.
As for Shane Warne, he struck in the semis and Australia qualified for the 1996 World Cup final. He again struck in the semis, and Australia qualified for the 1999 World Cup final.
Great cricketers pick the big games to make a mark. Warne has done just that.
There is no doubt that he is not the same bowler he was three years back. But even when not at his best, Warne was good enough for the South Africans, who really arent spinner-friendly batsmen.
It was his exemplary spell of leg spin bowling that saw the Aussies coming back into the game after not scoring enough.
Coming to the closing stages of the game, one saw two giants of world cricket trying to match each other and there was very little to choose between the two.
South Africa had a slight edge and it was Lance Klusener. This guy has been quite amazing. His power-hitting in this World Cup has clearly shown how quickly the game is changing. You are getting to see shots being played these days (more from Lance Klusener than anyone else) which were never seen earlier.
A man having an incredible run with the bat had to come out yet again in a crisis and expected to bail his team out.
What would you expect? Come on, its impossible for someone to do it everytime. The famous law of averages has to catch up with him, isnt it?
No, he repeats his blitz. This time though falling short. Kluseners exploits with the bat will be an everlasting memory from this World Cup.
Two very evenly matched teams threw out the right result a tie. Australia had a player and captain like Steve Waugh in their side as opposed to their rivals.
In the end that was the difference that saw Australia go to the Lords. If not for that phenomenal unbeaten innings of 120 at Headingley by the Australian captain, one would have easily seen a South Africa-Pakistan final. No one would have disputed the worthiness of those finalists either.
South Africa can now take solace from the fact that yes, they did not win the Cup but they did win a lot of hearts.
Final may be hit by rain
LONDON, June 18 (AFP) Weathermen fear rain could delay the start of Sundays cricket World Cup final between Pakistan and Australia at the Lords.
A spell of rain is forecast for the morning of the match, due to be played in front of a packed house of 30,000, but should clear away by around noon.
The afternoon, however, is expected to be sunny, with temperatures reaching 20C.
Organisers have set aside Monday and Tuesday as reserve days for the final. Should the game not finish by then, the trophy would be shared.
How epic semifinal reached its climax
BIRMINGHAM, June 18 (Reuters) The epic World Cup semifinal between Australia and South Africa yesterday was one of the all-time great examples of the roller-coaster nature of one-day cricket.
But after 98 overs of unrelenting drama, the last 12 balls still managed to surpass anything that had gone before.
South Africa 196-7. Eighteen needed from 12 balls. Glenn McGrath bowling.
Twelve balls to go, 18 runs needed. Mark Boucher swings wildly at McGrath, misses and is comprehensively bowled for five (196-8).
Eleven balls to go, 18 needed. New batsman Steve Elworthy scrambles for a single.
Ten balls to go, 17 needed. Lance Klusener hits to mid-off and Paul Reiffel, fresh from dropping Jacques Kallis, fields and fires in at the non-strikers end. McGrath touches the ball on to the stumps and the Australians celebrate.
Umpire David Shepherd calls for a third umpire judgement, fearing McGrath may have dislodged the bails with his hand. Elworthy stands his ground and, along with 20,000 fans, watches the big screen. After several replays the red light appears, Elworthy is out (198-9).
Nine balls to go, 16 needed. Dot ball.
Eight balls to go, 16 needed. Klusener blasts towards long-off where Reiffel reaches above his head for the match-winning catch, only to let it slip straight through his fingers and across the boundary for six.
Seven balls to go, 10 needed. Klusener scrambles single to retain strike.
Final over, bowled by Damien Fleming.
Six balls to go, nine needed. Klusener cracks Fleming square on the off side for four.
Five balls to go, five needed. Klusener drives another boundary through mid-off to take his tally to 31 from 15 balls.
Four balls to go, the scores are tied but South Africa need one more run because Australia hold the advantage after finishing higher in the Super Six round. Entire Australian team crowd the bat, two slips and a silly mid-off make for unusual last over field placing.
Klusener tries to dig out a yorker, it goes straight to a fielder and non-striker Allan Donald, out of his ground, narrowly escapes being run-out. Donald looks to the skies and smiles ruefully.
Three balls to go, one needed. Fleming repeats the yorker. Klusener repeats the shot and sets off on a charge. Donald holds his ground as Mark Waugh dives to make the stop, expertly flicking the ball to Fleming before he even hits the ground.
Klusener charges past Donald and on towards the changing rooms. Donald belatedly sets off but Fleming has already tossed the ball to Adam Gilchrist who whips off the bails.
End situation. Donald run out for nought without facing a ball, Klusener not out 31. Each side dismissed for the same score of 213. Australia qualify thanks to their higher Super Six position.
Hanse cronje: "I felt in control right until the last run out. The way things have been going for Lance we all felt we would get there."
Aggression key for captain: Jadeja
NEW DELHI, June 18 (PTI) Indian vice-captain Ajay Jadeja favours an aggressive approach to captaincy as he feels that has been the reason for his success in international cricket.
"As captain, I think I would be more aggressive. That has been my strength in life, otherwise I wouldnt have come this far. Ive seen so many players who were much better than me, but they didnt make it.
"I probably had more aggression than them," Jadeja told Outlook news magazine at London in an interview to be published in its forthcoming issue.
Jadeja has been recommended by a number of former India cricketers and experts to replace Mohd Azharuddin at the helm after the Indian captains dour and unimaginative leadership was held as a major reason for Indias failure to reach the World Cup semi-finals.
India were eliminated after finishing last in the super six table, their fate virtually sealed once they lost to Australia in their opening Super Six tie.
Jadeja, who inspired India, as stand-in skipper for an injured Azharuddin, to three fine victories in the Sharjah three-nation tournament just before the World Cup, struck a valiant 100 not out against the Aussies.
Jadeja blamed lack of consistency for the Indian teams dismal show in England, where they won four matches but lost as many.
"We looked good in patches but lacked consistency," a release issued by the magazine today quoted the ace cricketer as saying.
Jadeja said the team needed to play as a single unit.
Admitting India had recently been losing close games, Jadeja said the league defeat against Zimbabwe was weighing heavily on the players mind for the rest of their campaign.
Skipper Mohd Azharuddin had come out with a curious statement after the inexplicable three-run defeat saying "critics should remember that we lost from winning positions".
Asked about Sachin Tendulkars relative failure in the World Cup, Jadeja said the Ace batsman was going through a bad phase.
Jadeja praised the "extraordinary commitment" of Tendulkar, who returned to England barely 24 hours after attending his fathers funeral at Mumbai and helped put the tottering Indian campaign back on the rails.
Jadeja was all praise for elegant batsman Rahul Dravid, who cracked two centuries and was an epitome of consistency.
Never-say-die Aussies face last battle
LONDON, June 18 (AFP) Australias scintillating "victory" over South Africa in the cricket World Cup semifinals has confirmed their reputation as the ultimate "never-say-die" side.
But Steve Waugh and his entourage, still emotionally exhausted after yesterdays extraordinary tied match at Edgbaston, face the massive task here today of goading their players into one last supreme effort.
They take on Pakistan at Lords on Sunday in the final after two of the most mentally-draining one-day games ever seen during the World Cups 24-year history.
While Australia were put through the mincer, Wasim Akrams side cruised to two easy wins over Zimbabwe and New Zealand in their last two matches before the final.
Pakistan also benefited from an extra day to prepare for Sundays showpiece.
For Australia, the last week has been traumatic.
Last Sunday, needing to win to remain in the tournament, they had beaten the South Africans with just two balls to spare, thanks to a brilliant unbeaten 120 off 110 balls from Steve Waugh.
In the semifinal rematch at Edgbaston, the sides tied on 213 runs each, with Australia scraping through to the final because of their better record in the second round. They took the last South African wicket with two balls to spare.
South Africa needed a single off the last four balls before Allan Donald was run out in a disastrous mix-up with Lance Klusener.
Waugh said: "We really fought and scrapped and hung in there. Three or four times we were down and out.
"I guess it was whoever held their nerve right down to the wire it was us."
Then, typically, he said his side could toughen up still further. "We have had opportunities where we cracked under pressure as well so there are ways to improve."
The record books confirm that Australia are a side that never accept defeat.
Their "tied victory" yesterday the first tie in the 1999 World Cup games since 1975 should be ranked as the smallest margin of victory ever seen in the competition.
The next smallest victory margin, by one run, also saw Australia winning as they defeated India in Chennai in 1987. The next closest match was again won by the Australians, as they beat New Zealand by three runs in India in 1987.
The New Zealanders have also won a World Cup game against Zimbabwe by that margin.
And the closest final ever seen, inevitably, went to Australia. They beat England in the 1987 showpiece by seven runs. It was during that tournament that a young Steve Waugh had earned the nickname of "The Iceman" for his coolness under fire.
It will take perhaps their greatest performance of all time, however, to beat Akrams rejuvenated Pakistan team.
I didnt hear call: Donald
BIRMINGHAM, June 18 (Reuters) South African paceman Allan Donald today said he never heard the call for a run that cost South Africa a place in the World Cup final.
Last man Donald was run out off the fourth ball of the final over in yesterdays tied semifinal with Australia at Edgbaston when the South Africans needed only one run to win.
"I just didnt hear Lances call. Its as simple as that," said Donald, who will be returning to Edgbaston next week to complete his 10th season as Warwickshires overseas player.
Donald added: "When Lance played the shot I was initially afraid that Michael Bevan might flick it back to the stumps so I stood my ground.
"I caught a glimpse of Lance out of the corner of my eye but I thought he was just advancing down the wicket to see whether there might be a run.
"But the next moment he was standing next to me and then it was absolute chaos.
"I dropped my bat and by the time Id picked it up I was only half way down the pitch and there was no way of making my ground," Donald said.
He said: "Wed had a chat earlier in the over and I had said to Lance that if he got his chance he should pick his spot and hit the ball out of the ground.
"If anyone can do that in that sort of situation hes the man. There was no reason to be taking silly runs at that point.
"But I dont blame Lance at all. It was just one of those things that happens in a few seconds of madness.
"The whole World Cup and months of careful preparation went out of the window in a blink of an eye."
Akrams assurance to countrymen
LONDON, June 18 (UNI) Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram today assured his countrymen that he will try "his best to fulfil their prayers by leading the country to World Cup glory."
"I know millions of cricket fans back home are praying and I can assure them that we are determined to regain the Cup" he said.
Wasim for whom this is the fourth World Cup and second appearance in the final said: We dont have to think the opposition is tough but think that we are better than them.
"The boys want to win because we know how many people in Pakistan are praying for us. We want to answer those prayers and deliver the goods" he said.
Wasim said his confidence of regaining the Cup stems from the fact that the present team has "spirit and harmony the qualities lacking in the previous Pakistan teams and that is going to be the key factor."
Wasim, who has motivated the players and turned the team into cohesive unit with his quality leadership, said: "I think we are in right frame of mind, very focused and determined".
Team manager Zafar Altaf said: "All players except Yousuf Youhana are fit and waiting for final" and added "we are confident".
Top players working on tennis, slanging
LONDON, June 18 (AFP) Miaow! the claws will be out this year at Wimbledon as Jana, Martina, Anna and co sharpen their tongues for what is becoming the traditional Grand Slam side-show the womens slanging match.
Vying for the top seeds berth this year are reigning Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic and Swiss Miss Martina Hingis.
The pre-championship warm-up has gone particularly well for 30-year-old Novotna, who was stung into life by Hingis reported claim that she had become "too old and too slow" to play doubles with anymore.
Hingis, (18) has instead decided to team up with Russian Anna Kournikova, who is the same age and with Hollywood looks to boot.
Novotna retaliated with a swipe at the Russian world No18, who has yet to reach a Grand Slam final despite enjoying one of the highest profiles on tour.
"Perhaps Martina feels Anna wont be around in the later stages of major championships and shell be young and fresh for the doubles," she said.
And in a pre-tournament interview with the Radio Times, the Czech adds: "she (Kournikova) is struggling because shes being promoted as a good-looking woman but she has yet to prove her tennis skills."
"I dont think shes strong enough to make it but maybe Im completely wrong."
Kournikova, competing at the Eastbourne warm-up event this week, hit back. "I cannot help the way I look," she said. "It would be hard to change my looks. I would have to be reborn."
"I am surprised Jana has criticised other women players. I thought she was a friend. She talks to me and I am surprised she is saying this."
Novotna is scathing about the new muscularity of some the games younger players, such as Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo, compatriot Mary Pierce and the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena.
"When the Williams sisters play in sleeveless dresses you can see absolutely everything. And Amelie Mauresmo has very broad shoulders. Were not all like that and you shouldnt judge the game by two or three women."
Hingis, of course, lost legions of admirers with her tantrum during the French Open final defeat by Steffi Graf last month, when she was fined for unsporting behaviour and had to persuaded by her mother to return to the court for the presentation.
She has already labelled Mauresmo as "half a man" a bizarre comment from someone named after the legendary Martina Navratilova, who wasnt exactly known for her slender physique.
Thankfully, perhaps, the French teenager wont be at Wimbledon due to injury.
Novotnas assessment of Hingiss comment is typically blunt. "That was a stupid thing to say and shows how being the number one tennis player in the world doesnt mean youre necessarily intelligent," she said.
Novotna apart, the elder stateswomen at the top of the womens game, seven-time Wimbledon champion Graf and American Monica Seles have by and large managed to remain above the fray for now.
Of course the purists will be hoping Wimbledons hallowed turf and reputation for flawless etiquette will engender a spirit of harmony and mutual respect among the players this coming fortnight.
But with Novotna and her experienced Belarussian partner Natasha Zvereva top-seeded and scheduled to meet Hingis and Kournikova at the other end of the draw as second seeds, dont rule out the doubles final resembling something more akin to the Jerry Springer show.
Pete Sampras under pressure to win
LONDON, June 18 (Reuters) He is world number one and the defending champion but Pete Sampras needs to win Wimbledon for a record sixth time to prove he is still the king of tennis.
Sampras has played just 22 matches in the first six months of 1999 because of injury and his decision to miss the Australian Open because of exhaustion.
He showed touches of his best form when winning the Queens Grasscourt Tournament on Sunday but this was his first title since October and Sampras, better than anyone, knows the only titles that matter are the four Grand Slams.
Two years ago, when Sampras won his 10th Grand Slam at the All-England Club with a ferocious display of power against Frenchman Cedric Pioline, it appeared only a matter of time before Roy Emersons record of 12 Grand Slam titles was surpassed.
In the last 18 months, however, Sampras has been associated as much with injury and whining as glorious tennis and there are signs the game is moving into the post-Sampras era.
He won only four titles last year, including Wimbledon where he beat Goran Ivanisevic in five service-battering sets, and handed over the number one spot to Marcelo Rios before winning it back at the year-end for a record sixth successive year.
The effort required to stay at the top for so long clearly took its toll on the 27-year-old, both physically and mentally.
not to play Davis Cup for the USA made him few friends
and tennis seemed to give him little enjoyment in 1998 as
he constantly complained about the drudgery of the tour.
"Not going to Australia was perhaps not the best decision as far as tennis is concerned but it was the best decision of my life. I was exhausted, both physically and mentally, and I needed to take some time off."
"After all those years I felt like a robot," he said.
He factored in the possibility of losing the number one spot and it has been like a slippery bar stool in the past few months, with Yevgeny Kafelnikov, winner of the Australian Open and Spains Carlos Moya, jumping on and US Open champion Pat Rafter standing by to take over.
But for the bookmakers there is only one person who can win Wimbledon Sampras, named 11-8 favourite with 1996 champion Richard Krajicek a distant second-favourite at 8-1.
Partly these odds reflect recent history Sampras has won five of the last six Wimbledons and needs just one more to move ahead of Bjorn Borgs record in the modern era of five.
Queens showed that Samprass game is approaching its best and more importantly his head seems in good order he now realises he became almost an obsessive recluse last year. Hes agreed to play Davis Cup, and he is smiling once again.
With the draw favouring Sampras in his run to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, the odds also reflect the lack of bona fide challengers to his crown.
Krajicek, phlegmatic with a huge serve, proved in London in February when he won the London Indoor title that he is close to untouchable when his service is operating at full bore.
But the fifth seed is not a consistent winner of titles and is drawn to come up against Andre Agassi, another former champion, in the quarterfinals.
Agassis win in the French Open final was one of sports great fairytales but the American is struggling to recover from injury. Only Borg and Rod Laver have won at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year and Agassi will have to find his touch immediately to stay afloat.
Rafter and Kafelnikov have been less than convincing in recent months despite having the weapons to perform well on grass as do the two Britons, Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski, who will also be buoyed by the fanatical home supporters.
But Sampras knows that he remains the man to beat. "I feel confident at Wimbledon, I always do. The Grand Slams are what it is all about for me. They are what get me excited and what motivates me," he said.
Punjab crush Rajasthan
BANGALORE, June 18 (PTI) Punjab trounced Rajasthan 11-0 in a group A match to enter the quarter-finals of the 30th Junior National Hockey Championship here today.
For the winners, Tajbir Singh netted four goals (16th min, 26th, 30th, 32nd), Jugraj Singh struck thrice (19th, 29th and 47th), Charanjit Singh twice (36th and 37th) and Tejnir Singh (13th) and Gurwinder Singh (66th) scored one goal each.
Punjab could have won by an even bigger margin, but failed to convert 12 of the 14 penalty corners it forced. With this win, they are now leading the pool.
In other matches in pool C, Chandigarh thrashed Madhya Pradesh 6-0.
Chandigarh displayed brilliant ball control and good finishing while Madhya Pradesh lacked coordination and looked a tired lot, though they were playing their first game here.
Jaswinder Singh (16th), Gurpreeet Singh (17th), Manmohan Singh (27th), Inderjit Singh (30th), Vikram Saini (36th) and Gabbar Singh (40th) scored a goal each for Chandigarh.
The Nagaland-Kerala match ended in a goalless draw. Kerala had only themselves to blame for not converting as many as 11 penalty corners.
Chandigarh score 404
PATIALA, June 18 (FOSR) Aided by superb centuries by Southpaw Yuvraj Singh (132) and Nagesh Gupta (100) Chandigarh amassed 404 in the stipulated 90 overs in the Katoch Shield inter district league match played at the Dhruv Pandove Stadium here today.
Chandigarh 404 all out in 90 overs (Yuvraj Singh 132, Nagesh Gupta 100, Harminder Kakoo 51 n.o., Dinesh Mongia 20, Gautam Mandora 2 for 98, Amit Kakria 2 for 120, Sanjay 1 for 40, Ranjeev Sharma 1 for 35).
Ramesh outplays Ashok
CHANDIGARH, June 18 (BOSR) The 11th Seniors and 2nd Sub Junior North Zone Boxing Championship began here this evening at the Yavanika Vatika, Sector 5, Panchkula. In the three initial bouts decided for up to 48 kg weight category, in the light fly weight event, Pramod Sharma of Delhi, Ramesh Singh of Chandigarh and Sanjiv Kshatriya of Uttar Pradesh won their respective bouts.
Earlier the tournament was inaugurated by Mr Alok Mittal, president of the district boxing association, Panchkula, the organisers of the four day meet.
In this tournament, the boxers from Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, J & K, Delhi and UP are taking part. The sub junior section is being held for the second time and the participants range from the age group 12 to 17.
Results: Light fly weight: upto 48 Kg: Pramod Sharma (Delhi) b Jai Bhagwan (Haryana-A) RSC (Knockout/IIIrd round), Ramesh Singh (Chandigarh) b Ashok Kukri (Rajasthan) RSC (injury Ist round), Sanjiv Kshatriya (UP) b Vikram Singh (Haryana-B) RSC (IInd round).
Ludhiana score 284 against Jalandhar
LUDHIANA, June 18 (FOSR) Two fruitful partnerships between Ankur Kakkar and Manav Dhuppar for the second wicket (80 runs) and between Rjan Singh and Bharti Vij for the sixth wicket (59 runs) helped hosts Ludhiana reach a total of 284 runs in their first innings against Jalandhar in the two-day match of the Punjab State Inter-District (summer league) Cricket Tournament at the S.D. Government College ground here today.
Brief scores: Ludhiana
284 all out in 88.1. overs (Ankur Kakkar 94. Devinder 22,
Manav Dhuppar 24, Rajan Singh 54, Bharti Vij 67; Rajeev
Jolly 3 for 55, Lalit Kapoor 1 for 42, Harbhajan Singh 1
for 51, Vivek Mahajan 3 for 24).
| Punjab | Haryana | Himachal Pradesh | Jammu & Kashmir |
| Chandigarh | Editorial | Business |
| Mailbag | Spotlight | World | 50 years of Independence | Weather |
| Search | Subscribe | Archive | Suggestion | Home | E-mail |