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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

Ganguly: India no longer chokers
Colombo, July 30
Indian captain Sourav Ganguly believes his side has done enough in the past few years to dispel the notion that they crumble under pressure in the finals. “We won in the West Indies when we were 1-1 all.

Sourav Ganguly bats during a practice session in Colombo Yuvraj Singh bats during a practice session in Colombo
Sourav Ganguly (left) and Yuvraj Singh (right) bat during a practice session in Colombo on Friday. — AP/PTI photos

Pathan focused on final
Irfan PathanColombo, July 30
Irfan Pathan already has skipper Sourav Ganguly drooling in praise but the young left-arm seamer is determined to keep his focus and put up an even better show in the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka on Sunday.

V.V.S LaxmanLaxman bats after a week
Colombo, July 30
Indian star batsman V.V.S Laxman, who was injured in the nets a week ago, today practised batting after a gap of one week at the nets at the Singalese Sports Club here.

Windies recover after Flintoff’s 167
London, July 30
A Test best 167 from Andrew Flintoff steered England to 566 for nine declared while the West Indies lost two early wickets in reply before recovering in the second Test at Edgbaston on Friday.


England and Real Madrid soccer star David Beckham waves to cheering fans during a training session in Tokyo on Friday
England and Real Madrid soccer star David Beckham waves to cheering fans during a training session in Tokyo on Friday. Real Madrid will play a pre-season friendly match against J-League's Tokyo Verdy on Sunday. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES
 
Sri Lankan cricketers run during a practice session in Colombo on Friday Sri Lankan cricketers run during a practice session in Colombo on Friday. Sri Lanka will play India in the Asia Cup final on Sunday. — AP/PTI 

Miandad bowled over by Thackeray
Mumbai, July 30
He is the guy from Pakistan who hit a six off the last ball in an Indo-Pak one-dayer and walked into the history books. In the bargain, he ended the opposition bowler’s career and earned the curses of millions of Indian cricketing fans. The other is the tough-talking leader of a “Hindutava” political party in India who has minced no words while talking of his opposition to any cricketing ties between the two nations when a “proxy war” continues on the border.


Javed Miandad with Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray in Mumbai on Friday. — PTI
photo
Javed Miandad with Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray in Mumbai

Indian firm to manage Murali
New Delhi, July 30
Indian sports management company Showdiff Worldwide, in which former Indian player Ravi Shastri is a key player, has signed a deal with the world’s joint leading wicket-taker in Test matches, Muthiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka, to manage his commercial interests in India.

Special course for golf teaching professionals
Chandigarh, July 30
The first classification course for golf teaching professionals of the Indian National Golf Academy was held at The Eagleton Golf Resort, Bangalore, from July 6 to 11. The Indian National Golf Academy has been formed jointly by the Indian Golf Union and The PGA of India with financial support from Royal & Ancient of Saint Andrews and technical support of the PGA of Europe.

Bhupathi-Paes duo makes winning start
New Delhi, July 30
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi were off to a winning start, thrashing the Argentine pair of Gaston Etlis and Martin Rodriques in the second round of the $ 2.5 mln ATP Masters Series in Toronto, Canada.

Wrestlers win 3 gold at Asian meet
New Delhi, July 30
Three Indian cadet freestyle wrestlers bagged gold in the third Children of Asia Games that concluded at Yakutsk, Russia today. While Balraj Sahni won the gold in the 50 kg category, compatriots Dheeraj Pal Singh and Joginder triumphed in the 76 kg and 85 kg plus categories, respectively in the eight-day event that drew participants from 22 Asian countries.

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Ganguly: India no longer chokers

Virender Sehwag stretches during a practice session in Colombo on Friday
Virender Sehwag stretches during a practice session in Colombo on Friday.  — AP/PTI photo

Colombo, July 30
Indian captain Sourav Ganguly believes his side has done enough in the past few years to dispel the notion that they crumble under pressure in the finals.
“We won in the West Indies when we were 1-1 all. We then beat Pakistan when we were 2-2 all. These were as good as finals. Then of course there was the NatWest title,” said the elegant left-hander ahead of Sunday’s Asia Cup cricket final against Sri Lanka.

India have contested 12 finals under Ganguly’s leadership, lost nine, shared two and won just one, but most of the recent losses have come against world champions Australia.

“We have lost to them because they are such a good side. They lift themselves in the big match and we must try to do so on Sunday.”

Ganguly conceded Sri Lanka were a tough side in home conditions and would be strengthened further with the return of Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan.

“They would be boosted by Vaas and Murali but it isn’t as if we would be playing them for the first time, we know how to tackle them,” he said.

“They are good in their own conditions but we have beaten them in the past and can do it again,” said the Indian skipper.

Ganguly has been in good form with the bat in this competition, presently lying third with 240 runs behind Shoaib Malik (318) and Sanath Jayasuriya (278).

“It’s good to be among the runs but it’s the all-important game on Sunday which counts.”

Ganguly was also in splendid control as captain against Sri Lanka in the last Super League game when the hosts seemed to be running away with the match.

“It was a close game and I tried to do my best. I can’t say whether my captaincy has spark or not but then it’s also about how lucky you are. Sometimes you click and sometimes you don’t. I generally try to give off my best.”

Ganguly expressed a little concern about the wicket at the Premadasa stadium, the venue for the final, saying that it was “very slow” in the last game.

The Indian captain once again said the authorities should permit squads of more than 14 players in a one-day tournament of this nature.

“When you are playing one match after the other, the team gets affected if one player is injured. That is why there should be more than 14 players in a squad... but the good news is VVS Laxman should be fit for the finals.” — PTI

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Pathan focused on final

Colombo, July 30
Irfan Pathan already has skipper Sourav Ganguly drooling in praise but the young left-arm seamer is determined to keep his focus and put up an even better show in the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka on Sunday.

Pathan, who has emerged as the highest wicket-taker in this one-day competition so far with 12 wickets from five matches, bowled a tight penultimate over in the crucial match against Sri Lanka which proved instrumental in India’s progress to the final.

“To bowl the second-last over and put your team in a good position was a fine performance. But I want to do better in the final,” said the fastest-rising star of Indian cricket.

“The final is a big game. You want to put in your best, put that extra effort. At the same time you shouldn’t try much — you need to be relaxed as well.”

Pathan took 3 for 34 from his nine overs in that Super League game against Sri Lanka. He bowled the penultimate over, when the hosts needed just 15 runs, and conceded only four runs.

The 20-year-old Baroda paceman has put men like Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami, Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan in the shade. He feels this has been because he knows his limitations.

“One should experiment less in one-day cricket. If you do it, you are in trouble. Sometimes you don’t have the control. Even when you are confident, you do it only once it a while. There is very little margin. Any slip-up and you are penalised with a wide or a four.”

“You don’t get slips and forward short legs in one-day cricket. The best of bowlers don’t get it, so who am I?” Pathan said.

No batsman is too big or too small for the youngster. He treats all of them with respect and senses a challenge from each one of them.

“Sanath Jayasuriya is a good batsman. But then in one-day cricket, no batsman is easy. I could have bowled more bouncers to Jayasuriya but you are also aware you don’t have to concede too many runs and take wickets as well.”

It is rare to see such realism from a quick bowler, a player who is not at all trying to compete with the lightening quick Shoaib Akhtars and Brett Lees of cricket world.

“I also want to bowl fast. But I should know my limitations. I should know whether it is helping me and my team. At some stage, I will also need pace besides my swing. But Inshallah, it would come by itself once I become stronger. After all, I am only 19-20.” Such logical approach to his career is also evident when he says he does not approach all wickets in the subcontinent as essentially similar in nature.

“All wickets are not the same in the subcontinent. You get flat, good and turning wickets. At present, I am learning how to bowl the subcontinental line.

“Most of the time, I rely on what seniors tell me about a wicket. Then when I bowl, it take two or three balls to know how it is going to behave.”

Pathan has that rare mix of talent and intellect which allows him never to take anything for granted on a cricket field.

“Sometimes you know what length to bowl on a wicket but are unable to do it. When the time is good, everything falls in place. When the time is bad, even good balls don’t get you wickets. I firmly believe a bowler is never bad — sometimes his time is bad.”

As his stock rises, Pathan is learning to come to terms with fame and is grateful his fellow fast bowlers are helpful and not jealous of his growing reputation.

“You feel happy about fame. But you can’t afford to be swollen-headed. It all comes with a responsibility. You can’t let your focus go away. People like Sachin Tendulkar and other seniors have handled it so well. It depends on how you handle fame.”

Among other aspects of Pathan’s cricket, a standout feature is his fearlessness. It was evident when Shoaib Akhtar greeted his arrival with a quick short delivery which had him ducking and hit him nastily on the gloves. — PTI

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Laxman bats after a week

Colombo, July 30
Indian star batsman V.V.S Laxman, who was injured in the nets a week ago, today practised batting after a gap of one week at the nets at the Singalese Sports Club here.

With the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka just two days away, the right-hander from Hyderabad played with some extra protection on his injured left knee. To begin with, he was tentative in his shuffling even as coach John Wright kept a close watch on his batting.

Later, he appeared to be more comfortable and even jumped out to hit Virender Sehwag, who was bowling his slow turners.

Indian vice-captain Rahul Dravid said Laxman should be fit for the final and full squad would be available for the match.

Laxman, who has played just two matches on tour because of injury, appears a certainty for Sunday’s title clash.

Yesterday, Laxman took part in the stretch-outs as the Indians had taken a day off on Wednesday after their thrilling four-run win over Sri Lanka the previous day.

Interestingly, the team management had announced that they would be seeking a replacement for the injured Laxman after their 59-run loss to Pakistan. However, they changed their mind on realising that they would not get a batsman from the next best 14 as India A were in Zimbabwe and a couple of other batsmen were in England. — UNI

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Windies recover after Flintoff’s 167

England's Andrew Flintoff celebrates his century on the second day of the second Test against the West Indies
England's Andrew Flintoff celebrates his century on the second day of the second Test against the West Indies in Birmingham on Friday. — Reuters photo

London, July 30
A Test best 167 from Andrew Flintoff steered England to 566 for nine declared while the West Indies lost two early wickets in reply before recovering in the second Test at Edgbaston on Friday.

Ramnaresh Sarwan and Brian Lara led the tourists to 184 for two at stumps on the second day after Ashley Giles caught Devon Smith one-handed in the gully and Matthew Hoggard grabbed his second wicket when Chris Gayle was bowled around his legs.

Lara (74 not out) came to the crease on 12 for two and looked in ominous form hitting some flashing cover drives while Sarwan (87 not out) was well set for a century after failing in the first Test at Lord's.

Flintoff had earlier played with precision and power as he put England into a commanding position.

He guided the ball around the ground with care for his fifty before accelerating to a fourth Test hundred, punishing the West Indies pace attack with effortless strokes.

In all he hit seven sixes, including three off one Omari Banks over. The first went down the ground to bring up Flintoff's 150, next ball he clubbed another over deep mid wicket and then repeated the feat two balls later.

The tall all-rounder was finally undone when Dwayne Bravo trapped him lbw with an excellent slower ball. The 20-year-old Trinidadian ended with four for 76 from 24 overs.

Flintoff had some luck, a loose shot on 67 flying just wide of Lara at first slip while Jermaine Lawson spilled a sharp caught-and-bowled chance.

Wicketkeeper Geraint Jones also impressed with 74, giving him an average above 50 from eight Test innings. He fell when Corey Collymore found a hint of away movement with a good length ball and induced a nick behind.

England's last six batsmen put on 304, more than the top order, with final pair Hoggard and Steve Harmison (31 not out) sharing a 41-run stand.

The hosts lead the four-match series 1-0 after a 210-run victory in the first Test at Lord's.

Scoreboard

England (1st innings): (overnight 313-5)

Trescothick c Lara b Bravo 105

Strauss c Jacobs b Lawson 24

Key c Lara b Collins 29

Vaughan c and b Bravo 12

Thorpe c Jacobs b Collymore 61

Flintoff lbw b Bravo 167

Jones c Jacobs b Colleymore 74

Giles c Chanderpaul b Bravo 24

Hoggard not out 15

Anderson b Banks 2

Harmison not out 31

Extras (lb-6, w-1, nb-15) 22

Total (566-9 decl, 134 overs) 566

Fall of wickets: 1-77, 2-125, 3-150, 4-210, 5-262, 6-432, 7-478, 8-522, 9-525

Bowling: Collins 18-1-90-1, Collymore 30-6-126-2, Lawson 23-4-111-1, Bravo 24-6-76-4, Banks 27-3-108-1, Sarwan 12-0-49-0

West Indies (1st innings):

Gayle b Hoggard 7

Smith c Giles b Hoggard 4

Sarwan not out 87

Lara not out 74

Extras (b-9 lb-2 nb-1) 12

Total (2 wkts, 40 overs) 184

Fall of wickets: 1-5 2-12

Bowling: Hoggard 8-0-48-2, Harmison 8-0-41-0, Anderson 4-1-18-0, Giles 14-2-45-0, Flintoff 6-0-21-0. — Reuters

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Miandad bowled over by Thackeray

Mumbai, July 30
He is the guy from Pakistan who hit a six off the last ball in an Indo-Pak one-dayer and walked into the history books. In the bargain, he ended the opposition bowler’s career and earned the curses of millions of Indian cricketing fans.

The other is the tough-talking leader of a “Hindutava” political party in India who has minced no words while talking of his opposition to any cricketing ties between the two nations when a “proxy war” continues on the border.

Today they came face to face in Mumbai. The cricketer whom Indians loved to hate the most for a long time, Javed Miandad, did what was till today thought to be almost unthinkable. He walked into the tiger’s lair, “Matoshree”, Mr Bal Thackeray’s residence in suburban Bandra for a “friendly encounter.”

At the end, the scoreboard of both may have reflected two different innings, yet, the one meeting point was, “It was really a cordial meet.”

Mr Thackeray opened the innings by saying that he was still opposed to the holding of India-Pakistan cricket matches in Mumbai. But he next bowled a “Senaman” (not to be confused with the Chinaman bowled by a left-arm orthodox spinner) when he added that he would reconsider his stand depending on the prevailing situation at any given point of time.

The Sena chief told reporters here after his 20-minute ‘match’ with Pakistan’s batting legend that he was not averse to continuing the peace initiatives with the neighbouring country and that the sport would certainly play a role in it. “There is no need for one-way traffic always”, said Mr Thackeray.

For some time now, say observers, the Sena supremo has toned down his criticism on this front, especially in the wake of the success of the “friendship series” between the two cricketing rivals in April this year.

The former Pakistani captain was accompanied to the venue by former rival captain Dilip Vengsarkar. Miandad seemed completely bowled over by Mr Thackeray. “He is quite a down-to-earth guy”, he told reporters here. — UNI

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Indian firm to manage Murali
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, July 30
Indian sports management company Showdiff Worldwide, in which former Indian player Ravi Shastri is a key player, has signed a deal with the world’s joint leading wicket-taker in Test matches, Muthiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka, to manage his commercial interests in India.

Muralitharan is currently the joint world record holder for the maximum number of wickets (527) in Test matches, along with Australian spinner Shane Warne. Several international cricketers, including Steve Waugh, Brett Lee and Ricky Ponting (Australia), Stephen (New Zealand) and Shoaib Akhtar (Pakistan) have underlined the drawing power of world class cricketers for corporate India.

Murali is currently associated with the UN team, which is dedicated to eradicating hunger from the under-developed nations.

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Special course for golf teaching professionals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
The first classification course for golf teaching professionals of the Indian National Golf Academy was held at The Eagleton Golf Resort, Bangalore, from July 6 to 11.
The Indian National Golf Academy has been formed jointly by the Indian Golf Union and The PGA of India with financial support from Royal & Ancient of Saint Andrews and technical support of the PGA of Europe. The main purpose of this programme is to improve the standard of the golf teaching professionals in India.

To implement this, a coaching committee has been set up headed by Dr Donato Di Ponziano, Deputy Chairman, PGA of Europe, with two members of the IGU, Mr Dilip Thomas and Mr Satish Aparajit, two from the PGA of India, Mr Arvind Khanna and Mr S. Mathur, and two teaching professionals, Mr Jesse Grewal and Mrs Nonita Lal Qureshi.

The programme has been initiated this year and in the first year all existing teaching professionals will be classified into three categories — B, C or Apprentice. In the first year there will be no A category professionals.

The first course was held in Bangalore in which 48 teaching professionals, including four from Sri Lanka, participated in the programme. Seven were classified as B class teaching professionals, 35 C class and six as Apprentices.

Mr Jesse Grewal, Director, Hero Honda CGA Golf Academy, and golf professional at the Chandigarh Golf Club (Class B) and Mr Mahesh Kumar (Class C) of the CGA attended the course. Mr Jesse Grewal was also selected as part of the teaching staff of the Indian National Golf Academy.

The Course was also attended by Nonita Lal Qureshi, Karan Bindra, Romit Bose and Vijay Divecha.

Mr JS Cheema, Chairman, CGA Hero Honda Golf Academy, stated that both teaching professionals at the academy were classified by the Indian National Golf Academy. Thus this is the first range with fully trained teaching staff.

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Bhupathi-Paes duo makes winning start

New Delhi, July 30
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi were off to a winning start, thrashing the Argentine pair of Gaston Etlis and Martin Rodriques in the second round of the $ 2.5 mln ATP Masters Series in Toronto, Canada.

The eighth-seeded Indian pair, playing on the same side of the net for the first time in a tour event in more than two years, registered a convincing 6-3, 6-2 victory in the match played last night, according to information received here.

The pair, popularly known as ‘The Indian Express’, would now take on the winner of the tie between top seeded Amerian brothers Bob and Mike Bryan and Jared Palmer (USA)/Pavel Vizner (Czech Republic).

Paes and Bhupathi, the former world No 1 pair, who won the French Open and Wimbledon title while reaching all the four Grand Slam finals in 1999, have reunited for the third time as part of their preparations for the Athens Olympic Games beginning on August 13. — PTI

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Wrestlers win 3 gold at Asian meet

New Delhi, July 30
Three Indian cadet freestyle wrestlers bagged gold in the third Children of Asia Games that concluded at Yakutsk, Russia today.
While Balraj Sahni won the gold in the 50 kg category, compatriots Dheeraj Pal Singh and Joginder triumphed in the 76 kg and 85 kg plus categories, respectively in the eight-day event that drew participants from 22 Asian countries.

The Wrestling Federation of India(WFI) will felicitate the grapplers on their return tomorrow, according to a WFI press note issued here today. The WFI President, Dr M.S. Malik, has complemented the wrestlers for bringing laurels to the country. — UNI 

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 BRIEFLY

Australia dump cycling champion
SYDNEY:
Australian cyclist Jobie Dajka was dumped from the Olympic team for Athens on Friday after he admitted lying to investigators during an inquiry into doping.
The president of Australia’s Olympic Committee (AOC), John Coates, said Dajka, world keirin champion in 2002, had been expelled for bringing the team into disrepute. “He has brought himself, the sport of cycling, the team and the AOC into disrepute and censure,” Coates said in a statement. “As a result I have terminated his selection to, and membership of, the 2004 Australian Olympic Team.” — Reuters

Ball sold on Net
MELBOURNE:
The ball used by cricketer Shane Warne to equal the world Test wicket record sold for $ 29,890 on a website auction, officials said.
The ball was purchased by an unknown bidder using the name Arim44. Proceeds from the auction will go to Warne’s charity, the Shane Warne Foundation, which was launched last month and helps seriously ill and underprivileged children. Warne took a share of the world record earlier this month when he claimed his 527th wicket against Sri Lanka in a drawn test at Cairns. Warne shares the record with Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. — AP

SAARC meet
New Delhi:
One hundred and fifty participants from six SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation) countries will participate in the eighth SAARC carrom championship to be held at Tivoli Garden here from July 31 to August 4.
The championship will include team events, singles and mixed doubles. Each country will be represented by three male and as many female players. Pakistan will be taking part in the event for the first time.The last SAARC carrom championship was held in Bangladesh. — OSR

Kalpana wins
New Delhi:
National junior champion Kalpana Devi won the silver in the below-52kg weight category and Meenakshi Garg of Rajasthan bagged the bronze in the third Asian Children’s Judo Championship held at Yakutsk, Russia.
Kalpana is a product of the Sports Authority of India centre at Imphal. India fielded four girls and three boys in the competition. G. S. Gogi and Banee Brata Das accompanied the team as coaches. — OSR

GND varsity
AMRITSAR:
Guru Nanak Dev University has sent a proposal to the Ministry for Youth Affairs and Sports for laying of a synthetic athletics Track on the university campus.
Dr S. P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, said this was decided in view of the excellent performance of the university in athletics. University athletes have done well in inter-university, national and international competitions. The men’s athletics team won the all-India inter-university athletics championship 10 times, remained runners-up seven times and was third three times. The women’s athletics team won the championship in 1997-98 and stood runners-up five times. It attained the third position six times. — OSR

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