Chandigarh, India,


April 18, 2004

Tumultuous welcome to cricket team
New Delhi, April 17
The victorious Indian cricket team returned here tonight to a tumultuous welcome at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. As soon as the team members walked out of the terminal, fans and well-wishers, waiting patiently for hours, garlanded the stars and danced in joy to the drum beats.

Indians party late into night
The jubilant Indian cricketers celebrated their historic Test series triumph over arch-rivals Pakistan till late into Friday night at a dinner party as well as the discotheque.

Sweet victory
Giving credit for the first-ever series victory on Pakistani soil to the fighting spirit in the Indian side, veteran leg-spinner Anil Kumble on Saturday said it was “very satisfying” to beat the arch-rivals in their own den.

Beginning of a new era in Indian cricket
he Indian cricket team attained new heights in Rawalpindi on Friday. In my opinion, this is the best-ever team in the last three decades. India has produced some good cricketers in the past, but this current side has some great players. Similarly, our team had played good cricket earlier but this time it has been playing some great cricket. Sense of commitment and alignment are the two main characteristics behind this extraordinary achievement.

Shaharyar rules out drastic changes
Islamabad, April 17
Reeling under the impact of being beaten by India, the Pakistani cricket establishment is contemplating “some changes” which could involve coach Javed Miandad and PCB CEO Rameez Raja.

Shoaib flying to India for ad campaign
Islamabad, April 17
Undaunted by the continuing sniping over his performance and conduct during the Indian cricket team’s tour, Shoaib Akhtar is flying to India for an advertising campaign which will also feature Sachin Tendulkar and a few Bollywood stars.

Pak media spews venom
Islamabad, April 17
The blackest day, calamity, last rites of Pakistan cricket performed at Pindi — fumed the Pakistani media and commentators today at the defeat of its team at the hands of arch-rivals India in the series-decider.

Pak tour
Encouraged by the huge success of the Indian cricket team’s Pakistan tour, the BCCI is now working on a return tour of Pakistani team to India towards the end of this year or early next year.


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3rd Test,

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

2nd Test, Lahore 

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

Day 4

1st Test, Multan 

Day 1
Day 2

Day 3

Day 4
Day 5


April 17, 2004

We have done it
Indians create Test history on Pak soil
Rawalpindi, April 16
India added another glorious chapter to their cricketing history when they trounced Pakistan by an innings and 131 runs for their first-ever Test series triumph in this country.

‘It is a great feeling’
Rawalpindi, April 16
Calling it a “great feeling” on beating Pakistan in a Test series on their soil, Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly today said his side’s triumph was the result of “team work” and that hard work of the players was beginning to bear fruits.

India’s biggest win abroad
Rawalpindi, April 16
The win over Pakistan today was only the sixth away-series victory for India since 1932 when it joined the ranks of Test playing nations. It had taken 50 years for the Indians to record their first series win on Pakistani soil since their first visit in 1954-55 under the captaincy of Vinoo Mankad.

Kalam, Advani hail win
New Delhi, April 16
The President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani and Congress President Sonia Gandhi joined the entire nation in hailing the Indian cricket team's historic Test series victory at Rawalpindi today.

Pak have plenty of rethinking to do
akistan lost the decisive Rawalpindi Test the moment they got shot out for a little over 200. From then on, the hosts’ only hope was a fiery spell from either the local boy Shoaib Akhtar or from Mohammed Sami, on the second morning. However, that did not happen, and from as early as lunch on the second day, it was clear that India would win.

Rs 50 lakh bonus for team
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Friday announced a bonus of Rs 50 lakh for the Indian team for crafting a historic 2-1 win in Pakistan against the hosts.

What makes Balaji popular?
Rawalpindi, April 16
He is enjoying unprecedented popularity in Pakistan but a clueless Indian seamer Laxmipathy Balaji is still wondering what has made him click in this land of Pathans. The medium-pacer, who helped shape India’s historic Test series triumph today, has been greeted with chants of “Balaji, Balaji” and has emerged as a hero of sorts.

Notes from Pakistan
Indian fans hosted by Pak cricket club

t was the turn of the Indian fans to be feted as a local cricket club hosted a lunch for those who travelled from across the border to watch the ongoing third Test match between India and Pakistan.

April 16, 2004

India set to clinch series
Dravid hits career-best 270; Pak lose 2 wickets
Rawalpindi, April 15
Pressing on relentlessly in their pursuit of a first-ever series triumph in Pakistan, India had the home side on the mat after Rahul Dravid reached another batting landmark by scoring 270 on the third day of the series-deciding Test here today

Up to the bowlers to finish the job: Wright
Rawalpindi, April 15
With India sitting pretty on a huge 376-run lead, coach John Wright feels it is now up to the bowlers to finish the job and give their team a historic Test series triumph on Pakistan soil.

Dravid best, says Amarnath

Pak media blames umpires, biased commentators
Rawalpindi, April 15
Directing its ire against “poor” umpiring and “biased” TV commentators, Pakistani media today grudgingly acknowledged the prowess of Indian batsmen in seizing the initiative in the series-deciding third cricket Test.

From commentary to politics
fter his stint as a television commentator in the ongoing Test series in Pakistan, former India opening batsman Navjot Singh Sidhu may contest Lok Sabha elections on the BJP ticket. There are indications that Sidhu may be asked to contest from Amritsar , though the final word is yet to reach Sidhu.

April 15, 2004

Dravid, Laxman, Patel frustrate Pak
Rawalpindi, April 14
India were shining today at the end of the second day’s play in the series-deciding third cricket Test against Pakistan, which ran into Rahul Dravid ‘The Wall’, who hit a gritty unbeaten century to put his team in command.

Century special only if India win: Dravid
Rawalpindi, April 14
Indian vice-captain Rahul Dravid today said his maiden century against Pakistan would become “special” only if his team won the series-decider against Pakistan and this would be possible only if they carried on their good show on the remaining days of the Test.

Injuries to Shoaib, Kamal add to Pak’s woes
Rawalpindi, April 14
Pakistan’s injury worries mounted today with pace spearhead Shoaib Akhtar and batsman Asim Kamal forced to leave the field with injury scares on day two of the series-deciding cricket Test against India here.

No letter from India: ICC
London, April 14
The International Cricket Council today dismissed media reports indicating that it had received a letter from the Indian cricket board asking it to review the action of Pakistan bowler Shoaib Akhtar.

No funds: PCB
The Pakistan’s Cricket Board says it does not have the funds to introduce central contracts for its players. Pakistan vice-captain Yousuf Youhana had urged the board on Tuesday to introduce a contract system to stem a surge in injuries among top players.

Notes from Pakistan
Sikhs visit Panja Saheb shrine
A large number of Sikhs from Punjab, here to watch the ongoing third and final Test match of the India-Pakistan cricket series, visited the famous Panja Saheb shrine in Hasan Abdel, a few hours’ drive from here.


April 14, 2004

Indian seamers have Pak on the mat
Rawalpindi, April 13
India had Pakistan on the mat before allowing them to reach a fighting 224 and then lost Virender Sehwag to the first ball of the innings which left honours even on the opening day of the series-deciding third cricket Test here today.

Shoaib under scrutiny again
Rawalpindi, April 13
The controversy regarding express bowler Shoaib Akhtar’s bowling action refuses to die down with the ICC now indicating that he might have to travel to Australia to get his action scrutinised at the department of human movement sciences in the University of Western Australia.

Notes from Pakistan
Tips for Balaji at Waqar’s farewell

t the farewell dinner of fast bowler Waqar Younis here, there was one cricketer who hardly had time to eat, drink and be merry. Even as the party was in full swing, Indian seamer Lakshmipathy Balaji was spotted in a corner, engaged in an animated conversation with Waqar, who announced his retirement from international cricket on Monday evening.

Players join hands to fight AIDS
Indian and Pakistani players wore symbolic red ribbons on the opening day of the series-deciding third cricket Test here on Tuesday, reiterating the international cricket’s commitment to raise awarenss about AIDS.

Lensman assaulted
Rawalpindi: An Indian photographer, covering the Indo-Pak Test here, was assaulted on Tuesday by a constable, who was suspended pending an inquiry following strong protests from both Indian and local journalists.

April 13, 2004

Nerve-wracking test of character, temperament
Rawalpindi, April 12
The Indian team’s character and temperament will be tested to the hilt when they take on arch rivals Pakistan in the series-deciding third cricket Test starting here tomorrow, with their “good” problem of who will open the batting still dogging them and some of the top batsmen struggling for form.

Chopra axed; Ganguly may open
Rawalpindi, April 12
India today expectedly axed opener Aakash Chopra for tomorrow’s crucial series-deciding Test against Pakistan with skipper Sourav Ganguly indicating that he may open the innings with Virender Sehwag.

Injuries to Sami, Gul could hurt Pak 
This has been an amazing series so far. Just when one side gains the psychological advantage and threatens to overwhelm the other, the opposite happens. During the one-day series, once Pakistan went 2-1 up ahead of the Lahore double-header, everybody thought India were down for the count. However, the visitors came back strongly to claim the series. 

Pak look to exploit bowling conditions
Rawalpindi, April 12
High on confidence after the victory in Lahore, Pakistan will look to exploit the chink in the Indian batting by putting the visitors in on a seamer-friendly track in the series-deciding third Test starting at the Pindi Stadium here tomorrow.

BCCI should have sports medicine centre
In every series, be it a home or an overseas one, some cricketers get injured. And invariably, the fast bowlers are mostly the first to join the list of casualties. India’s Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra or Ajit Agarkar are no exceptions. The same is the case with Pakistan’s Umar Gul and Sami, who looked a doubtful starter for the Rawalpindi Test till Sunday morning.

Differences in  Pak team
Pakistan’s injury worries have been aggravated due to differences between skipper Inzamam-ul Haq and trainer-cum-doctor Tauseef Razzaq, a local daily reported on Monday.

Notes from Pakistan
Nigam enthrals Karachi

ollywood singer Sonu Nigam enthralled audience in Karachi on Sunday night, sharing the stage with some Pakistani stars. The show, titled "Sur Se Sur Milao", started at 11 pm and went on well into the early hours, during which the artists sent out a message of peace to the people of India and Pakistan.

April 12, 2004

India grappling with opening problem
Rawalpindi, April 11
India were today grappling with a “good” problem of who would open the batting in the series-deciding third cricket Test starting here on Tuesday, with coach John Wright ruling out nothing, including retaining Aakash Chopra.

Ex-cricketers want Ganguly to open
London, April 11
Sourav Ganguly should open the Indian innings with Virender Sehwag in the third and final Test against Pakistan, but Aakash Chopra too should not be made a scapegoat, two former cricketers have said.

Lively, grassy track awaits Indians
Lahore, April 11
Another lively and grassy track awaits the Indian cricket team in the third Test against Pakistan, with the home team hoping to give their battery of fast bowlers the right conditions for a series-clinching triumph.

Pak considering four-pronged pace attack
Rawalpindi, April 11
Pakistan are considering the option of fielding a four-pronged pace attack against India on a grassy track in the decisive third Test starting here on Tuesday. With Mohammad Sami being declared fit for the decider, Pakistan is considering the option of giving Test debut to all-rounder Rana Naveed-ul Hasan and recalling pacer Fazle Akbar after the two impressed during the nets this morning.

Notes from Pakistan
Azhar, myself were made scapegoats: Malik
ormer Pakistan skipper Saleem Malik believes that he and former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin were made scapegoats in the match-fixing allegations that destroyed their respective cricketing careers, and to a large extent their lives as well.

April 11, 2004

Wright hints at Yuvraj opening the innings
Islamabad, April 10
With the opening puzzle still unsolved, Indian cricket team coach John Wright today hinted that Yuvraj Singh could be accommodated in the team in place of Aakash Chopra for the third and series-deciding Test at Rawalpindi. “I have always favoured specialists. But this is a (matter of) one Test match and it will be the captain’s call.

Sami gives Pak another fitness scare
Rawalpindi, April 10
Pakistan’s chances of winning the historic Test series against India have been dented with the news that fast bowler Mohammad Sami is struggling with back pain. Shoaib Akhtar is now the only fully fit front-line pace bowler available for the hosts, who won the second Test by nine wickets in Lahore earlier this week, as they head into the series-deciding third Test in Rawalpindi starting on Tuesday.

Young umpires needed at highest level
In the Multan and Lahore Test matches, the standard of umpiring has come under lot of criticism. In international cricket, the two men at the centre have a tough job in hand. They are assigned to go through the game pedantically for all five days of a Test match without missing a single event. The decisions they make not only make or break the future of the cricketers sometimes, but also have a huge bearing on the result of the match.

PTV trying to stifle truth: Qadir
Lahore, April 10
Former leg-spinner Abdul Qadir, in the eye of a storm over his controversial remarks on Pakistan bowlers, has charged the state-run PTV with trying to stifle the “truth”. The legendary bowler has reportedly been axed by PTV on the instructions of the federal information ministry for attributing the success of Pakistan’s fast bowlers to “making” the ball. Qadir, however, claimed that he had not received any information regarding his sacking, but if he did, he would not hesitate to take the matter to the court.

Sehwag to tie knot on April 22
New Delhi:
India’s triple centurion Virender Sehwag will be opening a new innings in his life when he ties the knot with the Delhi girl Arti Singh on April 22, four days after the return of the Indian cricket team from Pakistan, at the official bungalow allotted to Law Minister Arun Jaitley.

Notes from Pakistan
Perception of ‘fixed series’ keeping crowds away?

he Pakistan cricket authorities are skeptical over whether enough crowds would turn up to watch the third and final Test at Rawalpindi beginning April 13. They feel that it would be a great achievement if even half of the seats would be occupied. “If the poor response from fans in the first two Tests at Multan and Lahore is any indication, I fear Rawalpindi will be no different. I will be surprised if half the seats are taken,” The News quoted PCB spokesman Sami-ul Hasan as saying here Friday. One of the reasons being touted behind the poor response for Tests, was the growing perception among the masses that this is a “friendship tour” in more senses than one.

PCB to hire PR firm
Beset with controversies over the past two years, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is planning to hire a public relations firm to boost its sagging image.

April 10, 2004

Yuvraj may open at Rawalpindi
Lahore, April 9
The Indian team management was still undecided about its opening combination in the crucial third Test against Pakistan but it appears that Aakash Chopra may get the axe in order to accommodate Yuvraj Singh who cannot be kept out because of his excellent performances with the bat while substituting for captain Sourav Ganguly in the first two Tests.

Neither side looked good under pressure
he win at Lahore was a victory for positive thinking and playing to one’s strength. The hosts got conditions that favoured their strength, their pace bowling, in the form of a green wicket and this infused their bowlers and the rest of the team with the belief that they could win.

Pak benefitted from Dravid’s largesse
ahul Dravid gave Pakistan a gift in the mouth by electing to bat first on a greenish Lahore wicket. India were sitting on a 1-0 lead in the series and the next thing you notice is that Indians have allowed Pakistan to literally lift themselves up from the floor.

Miandad finds admirer in Dravid
Lahore, April 9
Javed Miandad’s technique and innovation with the willow had won him admirers all over the cricketing world. In his avtar as the coach, he still manages to generate awe and his latest admirer is India’s stand-in captain Rahul Dravid.

Nehra rues frequent injuries
New Delhi, April 9
Left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra considers himself “unfortunate” since his short international career has too often been plagued by injuries, but he knows that such things are part and parcel of a pacer’s life.

Sachin reminds me of Hanif, says Fazal
Lahore, April 9
After his famous meeting with the Don six years ago, batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar had another tryst with a cricketing legend here yesterday. And this must have been an even more humbling experience for the world’s best batsman since the legend himself came knocking at his door.

PCB chief lauds team’s win
Showering praise on the home side for its “special” win against India in the second Test here, Pakistan Cricket Board chief Shaharyar Khan has urged the players to give their best in the decider and emerge victorious in the three-match series.

PCB condemned
The Pakistan Cricket Board has come in for severe criticism after the disappointing crowd turnout during the first two Test matches against India at Multan and Lahore.

Moin, Razzaq ruled out
Pakistan wicketkeeper Moin Khan and all-rounder Abdul Razzaq have been ruled out of next week’s third and final Test against India due to injury. Moin is suffering from a groin problem and Razzaq from a back strain. The pair also missed the second Test, which Pakistan won by nine wickets today to level the series 1-1.

Steve Bucknor
Experienced West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor is eyeing a century of Test matches before he retires in 2007. “I have set a target of 2007 for myself and with the speed of Test matches I am doing I hope to complete the century before retiring,” Bucknor said. — AFP

Notes from Pakistan
Bucknor happy with showing
e has been Indian cricket team’s bugbear for quite some time now, but Steve Bucknor says that he is “pretty happy” with his performance. The 57-year-old West Indian member of the so-called panel of Elite Umpires appears to be chasing the Indians wherever they go — South Africa, Australia and now Pakistan where he contributed to India’s misery in the second Test.

April 9, 2004

Patel helps India avert innings loss
Lahore, April 8
In the end there were no heroics and faint hopes of a fightback vanished with the early dismissal of Virender Sehwag as India capitulated to give Pakistan a series-levelling nine-wicket win in the second cricket Test here today. Odds were heavily stacked against the visitors when they resumed their second innings on the fourth morning at 149 for five but optimists were hoping of a miracle from the Multan Test triple-centurion Sehwag, overnight on 86.

Toss not only reason for defeat: Dravid
Lahore, April 8
In a flip-flop on his controversial decision to bat first in the second cricket Test here, stand-in captain Rahul Dravid today said that toss was one of the many aspects to be looked into while analysing India’s performance but it was not the reason for the heavy loss.

Gul grabs stumps before time
Lahore, April 8
Umar Gul, Pakistan’s trump-card in the second cricket Test against India here, may have jumped the gun by reaching out for the stumps before a win had been achieved, but his timing in the first innings devastation of India was just perfect.

Complacency factor at play in Lahore
habits die hard. The adage seems true when it about the Indian cricket team. A team that looked invincible only last week, has shown such inconsistency this time that people are now forced to believe that this bunch of players are as vulnerable as any other team. But it’s nothing new.

Stop criticism or I’ll quit: Inzamam
Lahore, April 8
Shortly after the series-levelling win against India here today, Pakistan cricket captain Inzamam-ul Haq dropped a bombshell by threatening to relinquish the captaincy if the “negative criticism” directed at his team did not stop. Inzamam said he was not opposed to criticism but some of the negative remarks by former Pakistan cricketers in the last few days had been extremely “demoralising” for the team and “had crossed all limits”.

Lahore Test party falls prey to cynicism
ld enemies who are now thick pals in the midst of cricket’s biggest diplomatic exercise should be very happy with the state of the series. One-all and a decider to go. That will, of course, set the tongues of the conspiracy theorists wagging again.

I am no angel, says Shoaib
Lahore: After bowling one of his fiery spells to bowl Pakistan to a stunning nine-wicket victory over India in the second cricket Test here on Thursday, express fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar said he was ‘not an angel’ and ‘still learning day by day.’

Imtiaz’s appeal
Former Pakistan captain Imtiaz Ahmed on Thursday made a fervent appeal for more cricketing ties with India saying ‘’not only the game but the people of the subcontinent will benefit” from it.

Notes from Pakistan
Miandad turns gracious host
nce a formidable opponent, legendary Pakistani batsman Javed Miandad turned a gracious host as he feted his former rivals at a dinner. Former Indian captain Gundappa Viswanath, accompanied by Dilip Vengsarkar, Syed Kirmani and Kiran More, all former India Test players who have played against Miandad, found their Pakistani host to be a simple human being.

April 8, 2004

Inept batting display by India
Lahore, April 7
India were staring at defeat in the second cricket Test against Pakistan here today after yet another inept batting display by its top order with the exception of Virender Sehwag who was unbeaten on a defiant 86.

Ganguly leaves for Pakistan
India’s regular cricket captain Sourav Ganguly on Wednesday left for Delhi en route to Pakistan after recuperating from his lower back injury which had sidelined him during the first two Tests.

Bucknor right man for friendship series?
he Indian cricket team and Steve Bucknor do not share a good chemistry. The Jamaican from the elite panel of international umpires has so often been unkind to them in his decision-making that it comes as no surprise that Indian cricketers perceive a certain bias in his work.

Irfan moves to top spot
Mumbai, April 7
India’s teenage bowling sensation Irfan Pathan has moved to the top spot in One-Day International bowling ranking, while India moved to the second spot in the Samsung cricket ratings. Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar continued to hold the top slot In ODI batting list while Pathan’s fine showing in Australia and Pakistan, with a tally of 24 wickets from 13 matches, has earned him 157 points to top the bowling list, a press note said here today.

Notes from Pakistan
Food Street lures Indian officials
Having heard so much about Lahore’s famous Food Street from the players, with its array of mouth-watering dishes, Indian cricket board officials and selectors could not but find time to go there.

Hospitals respond to cricketers’ appeal
Lahore, April 7
The appeal by Indian cricketers to save the life of a cancer-affected Pakistani girl has been heard with three leading hospitals in India offering to treat the 10-year-old.

April 7, 2004

Inzaman, Farhat put Pak on top
Lahore, April 6
Pakistan rode on centuries from Imran Farhat and skipper Inzamam-ul Haq to set the stage for a huge first innings lead over India in the second cricket Test which was marred by some controversial umpiring decisions on the second day here today.

Inzamam looks to bat India out of Test
Lahore, April 6
Describing his first Test century against India here today as one of his best knocks, Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul Haq indicated he was looking to bat the visitors out of the second cricket Test.

Parthiv Patel reported for excessive appealing
Lahore, April 6
India’s wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel was today summoned by ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle for a hearing after he was reported for excessive appealing during the second day’s play of the second cricket Test against Pakistan.

BCCI to decide on Ganguly
Kolkata, April 6
A decision to send Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly back to Pakistan for the third Test in Rawalpindi would be taken only after a confirmation of his match-fitness by cricket board’s chief medical consultant.

Pak players miffed by criticism
Lahore, April 6
Doubts are being raised about the “sincerity” of Pakistan bowlers after speculation mounted over the omission of Shabbir Ahmed and Abdul Razzaq as well as the reported offer of Shoaib Akhtar to pull out of the second cricket Test against India.

Moin faces uncertain future
Lahore, April 6
The ghost of Sachin Tendulkar’s ‘wrong-un’ continues to haunt wicketkeeper Moin Khan who faces an uncertain future with selectors “adamant” to drop him for the third Test against India.

Pakistan fans keeping away
Even the prospect of Pakistani batsmen making merry against India and avenging the humiliating defeat at Multan in the second cricket Test could not lure locals to the Gaddafi Stadium today.

Notes from Pakistan
Sidhu too busy to write memoirs
ricketer-turned-commentator Navjot Singh Sidhu says he has a wealth of cricket tales to tell but can’t find time now to write a book. “I have so much to write that it will make a very interesting book written in just 20 days flat,” says the man known for his rib-tickling one-liners, or “Sidhuisms” as they are called. “I can write a book on India’s 1996 tour of England alone.”

April 6, 2004

Chandigarh boy Yuvraj hits first Test century
Lahore, April 5
India gambled in batting on a lively wicket and nearly collapsed before a fighting maiden century by one-day specialist Yuvraj Singh took it to a respectable 287 on the opening day of the second cricket Test against Pakistan here today.

This century means lot to me, says Yuvraj
Lahore, April 5
After scoring his maiden Test century which saved India some blushes on the opening day of the first Test against Pakistan, Yuvraj Singh said he was “not worried” over the impending return of skipper Sourav Ganguly.

Yuvraj puts selectors in dilemma
Lahore, April 5
Skipper Sourav Ganguly in place of who? — that will be the big question for Indian cricket selectors now. The fighting century hit by Yuvraj Singh in the second Test against Pakistan here today is certain to put the selectors in a dilemma on how to accommodate the skipper when he returns to the team for the third Test starting in Rawalpindi on April 13.

Defining moment of Yuvraj’s career
ndian cricket’s continued success at the international level in recent times is certainly an indication of the historic changes it has gone through. Its over-dependence on a few individuals in the past did not help much and only encouraged developing a strange culture in the side.

Batting treat for parents
Parents of young seamer Irfan Pathan were treated to a roller-coaster ride on their first ever outing to a cricket ground to watch a Test match where they saw their son perform this time with the bat in the midst of a batting collapse.

Squash’s loss, cricket’s gain
Lahore, April 5
It is a miracle that Pakistan’s Umar Gul, who wrecked the cream of India’s batting in the second Test here today, is playing cricket at all. He had enough inspiration around him as a toddler to take to squash.

Atkinson ‘shaves off’ moustache, blames Inzy
Lahore, April 5
English curator Andy Atkinson has found a novel way of taking a dig at his detractors who still blame him for ‘shaving’ the grass at Multan — he has shaved off his moustache and is blaming it on Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq!

Saving Huba
The Indian cricket team today appealed to cancer specialists back home to help save a 10-year-old Lahore girl’s life. Huba Shahid has been diagnosed as having rabdomy sacrcoma (facial cancer). Her father Shahid Siddique Chhina, a local journalist, has been told that the recommended treatment was a gamma knife surgery and is available only in India.

Notes from Pakistan
Sonu in Jagjit Singh’s footsteps
opular Indian ghazal singer Jagjit Singh performed in Lahore last week and young and popular Sonu Nigam is set now to perform at a live concert in Pakistan, titled “Sur Se Sur Milao”. Nigam will have the company of popular Pakistani singers Amjad Sabri and Farih Pervaiz.

April 5, 2004

India eye maiden Test series win in Pakistan
Lahore, April 4
Humiliated as never before, Pakistan will be out for revenge when they meet India in the second Test match beginning here tomorrow but the resurgent visitors will be pressing for their first-ever series win in the land of their arch-rivals riding on the confidence gained by their massive victory in the Multan Test and the one-day series before that.

Rahul Dravid unfazed by lively track
Lahore, April 4
Indian captain Rahul Dravid was not worried by the lively track designed to suit the Pakistan pace attack in the second cricket Test, saying his bowlers were also capable of capitalising on the conditions and giving the team a historic Test series triumph.

We are under pressure, says Inzamam
Lahore, April 4
Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul Haq today admitted his team was under tremendous pressure to draw series and said, “We have to perform really well to come back in the series.

Jolt for Pak: Moin out
Lahore, April 4
Pakistan’s bid to level the series against India received a big blow with veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Moin Khan being ruled out of the crucial second Test starting here tomorrow.

Shoaib was unwilling to play Lahore Test
Lahore, April 4
Dejected with his performance in the Multan Test, Pakistan’s pace spearhead Shoaib Akhtar came close to pulling out of the second match against India “in the larger interest of the team”.

Pak pacers need to recover from scars
ll reports coming out of the Gaddafi Stadium testify that this time round, the pitch on which the Test will be played is green. The hosts had no choice but to prepare such a pitch, especially after they got it so terribly wrong in Multan. Now that the Pakistan pace bowlers have got a wicket that suits them, they will need to recover from the scars of Multan quickly if they want to square the series.

Fans finally make it to Lahore
Wagah, April 4
After strong protests by enthusiastic cricket fans who could not travel to Lahore by road yesterday, the government finally relented today afternoon and allowed them to cross over by road.

PCB cuts ticket prices
Alarmed at the poor turn-out during the Multan Test, Pakistan Cricket Board has slashed the prices of tickets substantially for the second Test between India and Pakistan, starting here tomorrow.

Ganguly better
Team India skipper Sourav Ganguly has set a target of Wednesday for his return to Pakistan after making significant progress in the treatment of his injured lower back in the last three odd days.

Notes from Pakistan
For traders business never stopped

ension or no tension, businessmen from India and Pakistan trading in carved wooden artifacts have maintained a stable partnership over the years. A shop owner in the famous Anarkali market said articles like table coasters and other miniature showcase objects that he and others sell in Pakistan are actually made in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

April 4, 2004

Lahore wicket being kept under wraps
Lahore, April 3
With the dust raised in Multan still to settle down, an overtly cautious Pakistan Cricket Board is trying to keep information about the Lahore wicket under wraps.

Mystery of missing grass: curator blames Inzamam
Lahore, April 3
Under-attack chief curator Andy Atkinson has finally come out with his version of the mystery of the missing grass at Multan. Atkinson, who has come under a lot of flak for preparing a placid turf for the Multan Test, held captain Inzamam-ul Haq and manager Haroon Rashid responsible for the removal of grass from the track on which India posted a huge total to win by an innings and 52 runs.

Miandad lashes out at detractors
Lahore, April 3
Cornered Pakistan coach Javed Miandad has hit back at his detractors for putting pressure on him and the players by their stringent criticism and said his team could still stage a comeback in the series.

Shoaib Akhtar looks tired mentally
t is a make-or-break Test for Pakistan in Lahore. They would like to maximize the potential of their pace battery which is the engine which drives them on a cricket field. But I am not sure if Shoaib Akhtar is up to the task.

Pathan’s parents to watch Lahore Test
Lahore, April 3
After his exploits in the Multan encounter, Irfan Pathan will hope to rework his magic in the second Test as well because he will have “special” guests watching him in action from the stands.

Cricket fever creeps into Harappa
Far away from the madding crowd, even the sylvan surroundings of Harappa, the earliest discovered site of the Indus civilisation, is not untouched by the cricket fever that has gripped the subcontinent. The cricketing fortunes of India and Pakistan, who have been battling for honours in a path-breaking series, is being keenly followed here as much as the other major cities.

Cricket fans stranded at Wagah
Wagah, April 3
Nearly hundred Cricket fans were disappointed today when they were not permitted by the immigration authorities at the Wagah international border to cross over to Pakistan by foot.

April 3, 2004

Indians master art of winning matches, hearts
Multan, April 2
Winning high pressure matches and winning the hearts of cricket-crazy Pakistani fans may be two altogether different propositions, but the Indian cricket team has been doing both without much ado in the three weeks they have spent so far in this country.

Bowling proved the weakest link: Miandad
Lahore, April 2
Admitting that he was “under pressure” after the heavy defeat to arch-rivals India, Pakistan coach Javed Miandad on Friday said the bowling attack turned out to be his team’s “weakest link” during the Multan Test.

Miandad defensive, negative
The defeated Pakistan team’s coach Javed Miandad has been as defensive and negative as he was as a captain during his salad days.

Nehra joins team in Lahore
Lahore, April 2
Left arm pacer Ashish Nehra who was sent back home midway through the one-day series, returned here from Delhi to join the Indian team two days before the start of the second cricket Test against Pakistan.

Kumble - a silent assassin
It was 16 years ago when I first met a bespectacled young lad called Anil Kumble.

Notes from Pakistan
Sachin & his permanent companion
Sachin Tendulkar, arguably the world’s best batsman and a well-known music buff, listens to his favourite songs these days on iPod, a digital CD player that has virtually become his permanent companion.

Best-ever Indian team, says Pak media
Lahore, April 2
The Indian cricket team was today hailed as the “best ever” by the Pakistani media which attacked the home side for its “shameful defeat” in the Multan Test.

Indian team visits Wagah
Lahore, April 2
Fresh from a historic win on Pakistani soil, the Indian cricket team today took a day off and visited the Wagah border to witness the spectacular flag-lowering ceremony. 

April 2, 2004

Team India create history in Pak
Multan, April 1

After a 50-year wait, India finally humbled Pakistan on its home turf for the first time to record its biggest-ever win abroad, marking yet another high for the resurgent team that recently triumphed in the one-day series against the arch-rivals.
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It’s magic, says an ecstatic Wright
Multan, April 1
Coach John Wright said India’s first Test victory on Pakistan soil in Multan today would rank among the top achievements of his cricketing career.

Inzamam puts bowlers on notice
Multan, April 1
Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq today put his fast bowlers on notice, saying they must perform or face being dropped from the side for the remaining two Tests against India.

Saqlain axed, Imran Nazir in
Multan, April 1
The Pakistani selectors today made one change in the
16-member squad as they dropped veteran spinner Saqlain Mushtaq and brought in young batsman Imran Nazir for the second Test to be played at Lahore from April 5.

Pak panicked on eve of Multan Test
he great Iqbal once said: “The price of cowardice is death”— Pakistan panicked on the eve of the Multan Test, and perished by an innings in a little over four days. The hosts were psyched by the bowling of Irfan Pathan in the one-dayers, and they thought that if they played on a grassy wicket, their batsmen would not be able to handle the talented Indian left-arm bowler.

Entire nation erupts in joy
New Delhi, April 1
The nation erupted into joy today after India registered its first ever cricket Test win on Pakistan soil with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee leading the country in hailing the splendid win.

Cricket fans perplexed
Amritsar, April 1
Hundreds of cricket lovers, who have got visa to see the second Test match between India and Pakistan scheduled to be played in Lahore on April 5, are perplexed as the special cricket train arranged to carry them to Pakistan will steam off on April 5.

Notes from Pakistan
Kapil, Vengsarkar for Lahore Test
Multan, April 1
An array of former India Test players and officials, including Kapil Dev, Dilip Vengsarkar and the national selectors, will be at Lahore to watch the second Test match between against Pakistan at Gaddafi Stadium from Monday.

April 1, 2004

Anil Kumble casts spell
India on verge of historic victory in Pak
Multan, March 31
India were tantalisingly close to their first-ever Test win in Pakistan which was forced to follow on and left staring at defeat after Anil Kumble took seven wickets on the penultimate day of the Multan Test here today.

Batsmen deserve a lot of credit: Kumble
Multan, March 31
With India on the threshold of a historic victory, ace leg-spinner Anil Kumble today said his performance in Pakistan’s second innings was largely possible because of his batsmen who made his job easier by posting a huge first innings total.

Enforcing follow-on was the right decision
t has been an eventful Test match so far. While the Indian domination continued like in the one-dayers, Sehwag’s historical feat made it a more memorable one.

Umpire Taufel target of Pak media
Multan, March 31
Directing its ire against umpire Simon Taufel, the Pakistani media today said his “dubious and questionable decisions” against Inzamam-ul Haq and Yousuf Youhana were “unpardonable” in this era of technology. “Dubious umpiring diminishes Pakistan hopes in first Test,” screamed a headline in local daily ‘The Nation’ in its lead story on the ongoing Test match.

Pak players almost boycotted series after fixing charges
Multan, March 31
Three senior members of the Pakistan cricket team, including skipper Inzamam-ul Haq, had threatened to boycott the Test series against India in protest against allegations that the fourth one-dayer at Lahore could have been fixed, according to a report in the local media here today.

Notes from Pakistan
Security staff taking no chances
akistani security staff is taking no chances with the security of the Indian players here with intelligence and police personnel guarding round the clock the road leading to the hotel and its every nook and corner.

March 31, 2004

Advantage India at Multan
Pak struggle to avoid follow-on
Multan, March 30
 Sachin Tendulkar bowled Moin Khan through his legs off the day’s last ball to strengthen India’s grip over the first Test leaving Pakistan six wickets down for 364 and requiring 112 runs to avoid a follow on.

Inzamam relying on lower order
Multan, March 30
Pakistan may have found themselves in a difficult position in the first cricket Test against India but captain Inzamam-ul Haq today said his lower order batsmen were quite capable of pulling the team to safety “if they play to their potential”.

Peeved with Taufel, PCB lodges complaint
Multan, March 30
Peeved over questionable umpiring that decided the fate of Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq and his deputy Yousuf Youhana at crucial stages on the third day of the first Test against India, the PCB today lodged an official complaint against umpire Simon Taufel with ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle.

Triple ton yet to sink in, says Sehwag
Multan, March 30
Purists frown on his unorthodox batting style, he is often criticised for throwing away his wicket after getting the starts, his lack of footwork is seen as a weakness — yet it has no bearing on Virender Sehwag who goes about playing his usual game — attacking cricket.

Youhana in pitch controversy
Multan, March 30
As if his poor show with the bat was not enough, Pakistan vice-captain Yousuf Youhana’s bad time now extends even off the field. With the Multan pitch turning out to be a belter and the Indian batsmen, led by the triple-ton maker Virender Sehwag, making merry on a placid track, it’s now suggested that Youhana was instrumental in having the grass shaved off the track here.

Curator told to make ‘responsive’ track
Multan, March 30
After drawing flak for the “dead” Multan turf, the Pakistan Cricket Board is rushing its curator to Lahore for preparing a green top to suit its fast bowlers in the second Test. The PCB has instructed English curator Andy Atkinson to prepare a “responsive” track for the April 5 to 9 Test after cricket commentators and Pakistani players denounced the ground staff for preparing a grassless pitch for the ongoing first Test here against India.

Appoint Sarfaraz bowling coach, says Miandad
Multan, March 30
Pakistan coach Javed Miandad today dropped a bombshell by suggesting that the controversial Sarfaraz Nawaz be made the bowling coach of the team. Miandad’s suggestion came amidst reports that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is planning to appoint a bowling coach after the series against India with Pakistan playing in the Asia Cup, the ICC Trophy in England and then hosting Zimbabwe immediately after.

Imran’s tips to Pak bowlers
Resigned to the fact that the Multan turf has very little to offer to seamers, legendary all-rounder Imran Khan has urged the “demoralised” Pakistani paceman to make most of the conditions in the ongoing first cricket Test against India.

Notes from Pakistan
Sehwag ‘six bats’ into history
ats are an integral and important part of a batsman’s baggage and Virender Sehwag has brought six of them for the 39-day tour of Pakistan, one of which he used to hammer the attack to notch up a historic 309.

Latif brothers
Half-brothers Rashid and Shahid Latif have been separated for decades by hostility between India and Pakistan but cricket has brought them together — as it also seems to be between their countries.

March 30, 2004

Congrats Sehwag, you’ve done it
Becomes first Indian to hit triple century in Test cricket
Multan, March 29
Virender Sehwag created history by becoming the first Indian to crack a triple century and Sachin Tendulkar struck an unbeaten century as India posted their third highest Test score ever to take a firm grip on the opening Test against arch-rivals Pakistan here today.

Sehwag rues missing Hayden’s record
Multan, March 29
With a record triple century under his belt, Virender Sehwag today said his delight at achieving the feat was tinted with disappointment as he could have attempted to overtake Matthew Hayden’s world record.

Declaration surprises Tendulkar
Multan, March 29
A visibly disappointed Sachin Tendulkar today said he was “taken by surprise” by the timing of the Indian cricket team’s declaration which deprived him of what could have been his fourth double century of his career.

Tendulkar closer to century record
The Multan Test here is turning out to be a statistician’s delight as batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar inched closer towards the highest Test century record, presently held by another Indian great Sunil Gavaskar.

Pak media blasts pitch curator
Multan, March 29
As India appeared in full control of the first cricket Test, Pakistani media today blasted English curator Andy Atkinson for preparing a “dead” wicket for the series opener at the Multan Cricket Stadium.

Pathan, Balaji good for Indian cricket: Zaheer
Multan, March 29
Pace spearhead Zaheer Khan believes the emergence of young seamers Irfan Pathan and L Balaji is a “good sign for Indian cricket” but the duo needs to work hard to keep improving.

Imran still a popular figure

Multan, March 29
Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan, who is one of the star cricket commentators, is still a much sought after figure in his country as was evident at Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and now in Multan.

Notes from Pakistan
One-day series defeat hurts: Umar
akistan’s young players have yet not come to terms with the defeat they suffered at the hands of India in the one-day series as Taufiq Umar says, “it still rankels in the mind, it hurts.”

Ticket prices
Concerned over the poor crowd turnout for the first Test in 15 years between the arch-rivals, the Pakistan Cricket Board has reduced the price of tickets by half to lure fans to the ground.

March 29, 2004

Sehwag puts Pak attack to sword
Hits career-best unbeaten 228
Multan, March 28
Virender Sehwag smashed a career-best unbeaten 228 as India piled up a commanding 356 for two to set the stage for a huge first innings score on the opening day of their first cricket Test on Pakistan soil in 15 years. The 24-year-old Sehwag also became the highest Indian scorer against Pakistan ever.

I will try to get triple hundred, says Sehwag
Multan, March 28
Describing his career-best unbeaten 228 against Pakistan in the first cricket Test as a “turning point in his career”, Virender Sehwag today said he will try to reach the 300-run mark which no Indian has been able to achieve so far.

Imran criticises turf
Multan, March 28
After the Indians feasted on a docile Pakistan bowling attack to amass 356 for two, legendary all-rounder Imran Khan came down heavily on the authorities for overlooking the strength of the home team and preparing a track which is assisting spinners more than the fast bowlers.

Akram not averse to coaching Pak bowlers
New Delhi, March 28
Clearly upset by an indisciplined bowling attack struggling against India in the just concluded Samsung Cup, former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram said he was not averse to play the bowling coach’s role if it came his way.

Notes from Pakistan
Magic words — I’m from India
he goodwill generated by the cricket series has spread so much that even Pakistanis are getting their work done by saying the magic words: “I’m from India!” Be it hiring a rickshaw or booking hotel rooms or getting money from banks, the mere mention of “India” makes most Pakistanis go out of their way to accommodate requests from the thousands of Indians in their country because of cricket.

Pak for one-day series in India
Multan: India will host Pakistan for three one-dayers in a six-match series later this year, with the remaining three to be played in the neighbouring country, the PCB announced here on Sunday.

March 28, 2004

Injured Ganguly out of first Test
Multan, March 27
The Indian cricket team’s bid to re-write history yet again by winning their first-ever Test on Pakistani soil suffered a jolt with inspirational skipper Saurav Ganguly being ruled out of the opening match here tomorrow.

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Important to start series well: Dravid
Multan, March 27
India’s stand-in skipper Rahul Dravid today gave equal chance to Pakistan to win the first Test while dismissing suggestions that Indians had gained a winning momentum by clinching the one-dayers.

India should go with 5 bowlers
ut together, four Indian batsmen — Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman — have hammered 25,000 runs in more than 300 Test matches they have played so far. Their overall batting average is more than 50 and the average age is 31.

Agarkar happy to be back
Mumbai pacer Ajit Agarkar is very happy and excited to be back in the team and is ready to shoulder the responsibility. “It is nice to be back in the side. There is a lot more responsibility,” the seamer told mediapersons during the interaction here on Friday.

Younis Khan’s omission a big mistake
t the start of the tour, I had said that India would win the one-day series, while Pakistan would do well in the Tests. However, I will have to add a proviso after the way the Pakistanis went down in the last two one-dayers. For the hosts to win the Test series, Inzamam will have to succeed on two fronts.

Pray for team: Inzamam
Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul Haq today urged the people of this holy city to pray for him and for the team’s victory over India in the Test series starting here from on Sunday.

Notes from Pakistan
Pak team to have special prayers
he Pakistan cricket team will have “special prayers” before they take field against India in the first Test here on Sunday which marks the country’s 300th Test. Incidentally, Pakistan played its first Test against India at New Delhi in 1952-53.

March 27, 2004

Chopra, Ajit back at nets with team
Multan, March 26
Medium pacer Ajit Agarkar and leg spinner Anil Kumble, who were not considered for the one-dayers due to injuries are back in the national side and are bound to add more strength to the team.

Ganguly uncertain for first Test
Multan, March 26
Uncertainty prevailed today over the availability of Sourav Ganguly for the first Test against Pakistan beginning here on Sunday although a medical scan showed there was no serious injury save for some muscular pain.

Sachin hungry for big scores, says Saqlain
Lahore, March 26
Off spinner Saqlain Mushtaq, whose duel with Sachin Tendulkar was one of the highlights of the 1999 series, believes the Indian batting maestro has still not lost his hunger for runs and is destined to break many more batting records in coming years.

Kumble ready for ‘challenge’
Multan, March 26
India’s bowling trumpcard Anil Kumble, returning to the squad after an injury lay-off, is looking to carry the “positive factors” from his successful Australian tour into the Test series against Pakistan. “It is good to be in Pakistan, it is my first trip here and I will try to take the positive factors from the Australian series going into the Test matches,” the seasoned leg-spinner told reporters here today.

Time for luck to favour Pakistan, says Inzamam
Multan, March 26
Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq today said he believed that his home town (Multan) would bring luck to him and his team against India in the Test series. “I think we need a bit of luck,” he said, adding that “it was a case of too close yet so far in the one-day series and I hope now we will fight back in the larger version of the game.”

Tepid response to 1st Test
Multan, March 26
This ancient city, a citadel with a 4000-year-old history, is oblivious of the fact that the first cricket Test between India and Pakistan is slated to be played here from Sunday.

Tests will be thrilling: Rashid
Multan, March 26
Pakistan manager Haroon Rashid today promised a better and positive showing by his team in the three Test series, beginning Sunday, against India. “The Test series is going to be as thrilling and exciting as the one-day series but insha allah the results will be in our favour,” he said.

Notes from Pakistan
Saqlain ribbed over ‘teesra’
ormer Pakistan cricket chief Arif Ali Khan Abbasi has lost none of his wit as was evident when he hugged off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq at Lahore airport and then greeted him with: “I have heard you have come up with the “teesra” (the third one).”

March 26, 2004

India have edge in Tests: Inzamam
Lahore, March 25
The one-day series having ended in triumph, India will now battle for honours in the three-Test series with Pakistan whose captain Inzamam-ul Haq today conceded that the visitors now had an edge.

Kalam says it with flowers
New Delhi, March 25
The first citizen of the country wants to celebrate the first series victory of the Indian cricket team in Pakistan with the flowers from the famous Mughal Gardens.

Irfan displayed tremendous character
he men in blue have made the country proud. This victory will go a long way in helping Indian cricket grow at all levels. Every win, be it Test matches or one-dayers, throw up a few individuals, who perform like champions.

Poor planning cost Pakistan the Samsung Cup
oor planning and an unprofessional approach cost Pakistan the Samsung Cup. At the start of the series, I had said that India were the favourites.

Saurav Ganguly undergoes tests
LAHORE: Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly on Thursday underwent medical tests to ascertain the extent of the injury he sustained while fielding in the series deciding fifth one-day cricket match against Pakistan here.

Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi dropped
Lahore, March 25
Opener Shahid Afridi and middle-order batsman Younis Khan were today dropped while leg-spinner Danish Kaneria was included for the historic three-Test series against India starting in Multan on Sunday.

Notes from Pakistan
Treat for Indian fans on Navratras
akistanis have earned a reputation for being warm and considerate hosts to visiting Indians, and the hotels here are no exception. Hotel Mel Rose served halwa-puri at breakfast on Thursday in keeping with the religious requirements of many visiting Hindus, who are observing a nine-day period of fasting these days in observance of Navratra.

March 25, 2004

India clinch series in Pak
Pathan grabs 3 wickets; Laxman hits century
Lahore, March 24
Shrugging off the tag of “chokers”, India rewrote history by winning their first-ever series in Pakistan after beating back a late charge by the home side in the decisive fifth one-dayer here tonight to the joy of their delirious supporters who set off fireworks.

Indo-Pak series good for game, says Fazal
Lahore, March 24
Former Pakistan captain Fazal Mehmood has said that the revival of the cricketing ties with India was good for the game in the sub-continent. “Cricket generates passion and excitement and is a good way to unite the people,” the legendary fast bowler of yesteryears said.

Notes from Pakistan
Cricket crucial to promote friendship, says Sinha
Bollywood star and Union Minister of Shipping Shatrughan Sinha has said that cricket has played a vital role in bringing India and Pakistan closer. Speaking at a dinner hosted by Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi for Pakistani and Indian cricket teams, Mr Sinha said that the peace journey had begun, although the goal was yet to be achieved, a report in ‘Daily Times’ said.

Saqlain developing a ‘teesra’
Lahore, March 24
Saqlain Mushtaq, who introduced the off-spinners’ googly or the “doosra” (the other one) to international cricket, is developing a “teesra” (the third one) in a bid to win back a place in the Pakistan team.

Pakistan earn dubious record
Pakistan, who have been dogged by the large number of extras conceded during the ongoing one-day cricket series against India, have earned the dubious record of conceding more than 11,000 extra runs, the highest in the history of one-day internationals.

Parthiv has bright future, says Healy
Lahore, March 24
Former Australian stumper Ian Healy has praised young wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel, with whom he has been working with in recent months, and said the Indian teenager has a bright future.

March 24, 2004

India keen to break jinx today
Lahore, March 23
A confident India and a wounded Pakistan will battle for honours in the one-day series here tomorrow, the visitors wanting to shake off the tag of “chokers” and the home side wanting to salvage the pride of its formidable bowling line-up.

Positive Indians hope to keep trend going, says Dravid
Lahore, March 23
Looking for their first cricket series win against Pakistan on their turf, India today said they were approaching tomorrow’s decider with a “positive frame of mind”, recalling that they have always had the better of the home side in crunch situations such as those in various World Cups.

Pakistan short on momentum
f India was the team that was up against it on the eve of the fourth one-dayer, it’s Pakistan that is seriously short on momentum on the eve of the series decider.

Shoaib’s ‘illness’ bothering Pak
Lahore, March 23
Speedster Shoaib Akhtar’s bout of “illness” during the crucial fourth one-dayer against India is “disturbing” the Pakistan team management which desperately needs the bowler to be in top form for the deciding one-dayer against India here tomorrow.

Miandad takes fixing whispers in stride
Lahore, March 23
Pakistan coach Javed Miandad says he is not surprised by the “whispering campaign” about the fourth one-day match against India being fixed as it was common for such rumours to float every time his team lost a match.

Notes from Pakistan
Ganguly dines at famous Food Street
ndian captain Saurav Ganguly, who loves good food, and Information and Broadcasting Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had a late dinner together at the famous Food Street here in the early hours of Monday.

March 23, 2004

Yuvraj, Kumble  in Test squad
New Delhi, March 22
Yuvraj Singh, the debonair batting star from Punjab, has been rewarded for his consistent display in the longer version of domestic cricket, particularly his two hundreds for North Zone in the Duleep Trophy final against East Zone at Mohali recently, as he has been included in the 15-member Indian squad for the three-Test series against Pakistan, beginning after the five-match one-day international series.
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ACU’s gives clean chit to Indo-Pak series
Lahore, March 22
Refuting all the wild allegations and rumours about the outcome of yesterday’s match, the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) of the ICC today gave a clean chit to the ongoing India-Pakistan cricket series.

Perfect ‘goodwill’ script for a grand finale at Lahore
hoever is writing the script for the Goodwill series is doing a darned good job. The poet and the general and their peoples in the great Indian subcontinent could not have asked for more from cricket than to take the emotion-stirring series right down to the wire in a grand finale.

It’s 50-50 in decider, says Miandad
Lahore, March 22
Smarting under a shock defeat in the fourth one-dayer, Pakistan coach Javed Miandad now believes both India and Pakistan will have a 50-50 chance in the deciding fifth and final one-day cricket match here on Wednesday.

Indians succeeded in Aussie style
t has been often seen that a team dishes out its best performance when under great pressure. Unfavourable results not only activate the drives in the minds of the players, but also ignite their self-respect, sense of duty and accountability. I have regularly witnessed embarrassed players spending sleepless nights after a few dismal shows.

Notes from Pakistan
Lahoris think tie was fixed
e knew the result beforehand,’’ is the refrain here regarding last night’s India-Pakistan one-day cricket match. ‘’Friendship and commercial interests took precedence over the game,’’ said many people whom this reporter asked for their views on the match.

Sami’s joy short-lived
The joy of having broken the 100 mph speed barrier proved short-lived for Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Sami after he learnt that the speed guns had not given an accurate reading in the third one-day international against India in Peshawar on Friday.

Appoint bowling coach, says Imran
Lahore, March 22
The inept show of the Pakistan bowlers in the ongoing one-day series with India has triggered off a debate with legendary cricketer Imran Khan calling for appointing a bowling coach, a suggestion rejected by his contemporary and national coach Javed Miandad.

March 22, 2004

Dravid, Kaif conquer Lahore
Lahore, March 21
Rahul Dravid ‘The Wall’ stood among the ruins of India’s innings along with master craftsman Mohammad Kaif to take their team to an incredible win and square the series against Pakistan 2-2 before thousands of delirious Indian supporters here tonight.

Imran impressed by Irfan, Kaif
Rookie pacer Irfan Pathan continued his good form with the new ball and have his latest admirer in the form of former Pakistan captain and legendary allrounder Imran Khan.

Indian team lacks quality bowlers, says Sohail
Lahore, March 21
Former Pakistan captain and selector Amir Sohail has said that the touring Indian cricket team lacks quality bowlers and that is one reason why they lost at Rawalpindi and Peshawar.

Make Aquib bowling coach, Imran tells PCB
Lahore, March 21
Pakistan’s World Cup winning skipper Imran Khan today suggested to the PCB to appoint former speedster Aquib Javed as the team’s bowling coach, especially for the coming three-match Test series against India.

Lahore never had it so good
Lahore, March 21
This historical city once known as “Paris of Asia’’ is in the grip of cricket mania and tourist boom with hotels full to capacity and for once the famed Lahori hospitality shown the window in the interest of business and economy.

Notes from Pakistan
Cricket invades Lahore kitchens
ull Toss Salad or Off Swinger — take your pick from the menu in top hotels of Lahore where cricket mania has found its way into kitchens. At the Holiday Inn, which appears to have been taken over by cricket-crazy Indians who have poured into this historic city for the two Indo-Pak one-dayers this week, the menu is all cricket parlance.

‘Chacha’ cheers for friendship
Lahore, March 21
He is often described as Pakistan’s favourite ‘chacha’ (uncle). His face, marked by a flowing white beard, is familiar to television viewers wherever cricket is played. For 36 years ‘chacha’ Abdul Jaleel has followed the Pakistan cricket team at home and abroad dressed in Pakistan national colours and carrying a big Pakistan flag.

March 21, 2004

India under pressure to level series
Lahore, March 20
The Indians will be under pressure to level the series when they take on Pakistan here tomorrow, their bowling worries still dogging them and some of their famed batsmen struggling, a fact the team is reluctant to admit.

Risky to play with four bowlers
he composition of a team is heavily dependent on four regular bowlers while a few non-regular bowlers mostly take the slot of the fifth bowler. It is always a big risk if one or two of the regular bowlers concede a few extra runs.

Odds stacked heavily against Indians
s India approaches the Lahore double-header, it is obvious that the odds are stacked heavily against them. They have lost two straight games which means that Pakistan have got a bit of momentum going for them. Add to that the fact that their bowling is really lacking in penetration, and the scenario becomes a little more grim for captain Saurav Ganguly.

Bowling worries plague both captains
Lahore, March 20
Pakistan are worried by the extras conceded by their famed bowling line-up while the Indians are missing their three top bowlers, injured Ashish Nehra, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh as the two teams prepare for another high-voltage duel here tomorrow, a match the visitors will have to win to level the series.

Notes from Pakistan
Indian fans invade Lahore

Lahore, March 20
It is an Indian invasion of this historic city of Pakistan. They are coming by planes, trains and bus loads — the Indians in their thousands to back their national cricket team when they take on Pakistanis at the Gadhaffi Stadium here tomorrow and again on Wednesday.

Fake tickets flood market
Lahore: The Indian team, desperate to draw parity in the series, will be cheered by country’s top industrialist —Ambanis, Wadias and Munjals, as they take on Pakistan in the fourth one-day cricket match here tomorrow.

Mistaken identity
Indian vice-captain Rahul Dravid must not have thought in his wildest dreams that his failure to recognise Yasir Hameed at Rawalpindi would serve as a “wake-up call” for the young opener who emerged as the hero in Pakistan’s back-to-back wins in the ongoing one-day series.

March 20, 2004

Down, but not out
Peshawar, March 19
Yasir Hameed blunted an inspired Indian bowling attack with a fine 98-run knock before crisis man Abdur Razzaq sailed Pakistan through to a four wicket victory with 16 balls to spare in another thrilling contest between the arch-rivals here today.

Razzaq hopes to seal series on Sunday
Peshawar, March 19
All-rounder Abdul Razzaq, whose unbeaten 72-run partnership with Moin Khan took Pakistan to a four-wicket win over India in the third one-dayer today, said he hoped the team would win the next match at Lahore on Sunday and clinch the series.

Ganguly cautioned
Peshawar, March 19
Match referee Ranjan Madugalle has asked Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly to refrain from making “contentious comments” during the series in Pakistan.

Notes from Pakistan
Musharraf pays to watch match

Peshawar, March 18
An avid cricket fan, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf might have watched the second one-day international match between India and Pakistan in Rawalpindi for a brief period, but he did not hesitate to shell out Rs 4500 for the ticket. 

Cricket fans get visas
Amritsar, March 19
Chaos and confusion prevailed today as thousands of cricket fans queued up at the two-day special visa camp set up here by the Pakistan High Commission to issue travel documents for the India-Pakistan cricket one-dayers at Lahore on March 21 and 24.

March 19, 2004

Ganguly pins hopes on Pathan, Zaheer
Peshawar, March 18
Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly is banking on youngster Irfan Pathan to deliver the goods in the absence of the in-form Ashish Nehra while hoping that strike bowler Zaheer Khan will return to form soon to help the side turn the tables on Pakistan in the third one-dayer tomorrow.

Batsmen hold the key in Peshawar one-dayer
Peshawar, March 18
With the five-match one-day series interestingly poised at 1-1, India’s fate in the third match here tomorrow against traditional rivals Pakistan will hinge on the performance of their famed batting line-up that failed in Rawalpindi.

Medium pacers cannon fodder for batsmen
he fact that the two matches so far have been dominated by the batsmen will not please bowlers from both sides, but it has certainly provided the viewers with a great spectacle. The pitches are so flat that medium-pace bowlers are cannon fodder for the batsmen.

Ganguly ‘behind whispering campaign’
Islamabad, March 18
Indian captain Saurav Ganguly is being charged with running a “whispering campaign” aimed at unsettling Pakistan match-winning speedster Shoaib Akhtar by attempting to question his action.

Rashid stepbrother India’s fan
Kolkata, March 18
While former Pakistan skipper Rashid Latif has earned plaudits for dazzling displays for his country, his stepbrother here is set to flourish the Tricolour when he sets foot on Pakistan soil to watch the current cricket clashes.

Notes from Pakistan
A lot of friendship between two teams: Youhana

Peshawar, March 18
Notwithstanding the high-voltage action on and off the field, Pakistan vice-captain Yousuf Youhana said on Thursday the one-day cricket series was being played in “true spirit” of friendship.

Tickets for Lahore tie sold out
Tickets for the final two one-day games between Pakistan and India at Lahore on March 21 and 24 have been picked up in no time, according to the Pakistan Cricket Board. 

Opinions page: Cricket talk in Supreme Court
J&K PAGE: Cricket fever grips Hurriyat

Now, a motorbike ride to promote peace and India-Pakistan cricket.
(28k, 56k)

March 18, 2004

DD to show all matches; to deposit Rs 50 crore
New Delhi, March 17
The uncertainty over the telecast of the India-Pakistan cricket series on Doordarshan was over today with the Supreme Court directing international sports channel Ten Sports to share its exclusive live signals of the remaining matches with the national network. 
In video: (28k, 56k)

Musharraf praises Sachin, Balaji
Islamabad, March 17
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today complimented Sachin Tendulkar for his superb batting in the second one-dayer and praised L. Balaji for his valiant efforts towards the end of the match, which India lost by 12 runs.

Ganguly not convinced with Akhtar’s action
Rawalpindi, March 17
Pakistan’s tearaway fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar may have put in a fiery performance in front of his home crowd in his 100th One-Day International yesterday, but Indian captain Sourav Ganguly’s comments on his bowling action may leave him fuming.

Tendulkar relishes return to Pak
Rawalpindi, March 17
He started his international cricket career in Pakistan as a bubbling 16-year-old prodigy facing up to great fast bowlers like Imran Khan and Wasim Akram.

Focus on building the team
he Indians were found wanting at Rawalpindi. It is now quite obvious that this series is all about sustaining the pressure.

Bhandari to replace Nehra
New Delhi:
Delhi seamer Amit Bhandari will replace left-arm paceman Ashish Nehra in the Indian cricket team for the rest of the series in Pakistan, the Indian Cricket Board said today.

Make-or-break series for me, says Bhandari
New Delhi, March 17
Delhi seamer Amit Bhandari, who replaced injured Ashish Nehra for the India-Pakistan one-day series, is elated to be chosen for the job and says it would be a make-or-break series for him. 

Umer included
Pakistan today included prolific left-handed opener Taufiq Umer in the squad for the third one-day cricket international against India to be played in Peshawar on Friday. 

Inzamam fined for slow over-rate
Islamabad, March 17
Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq was today fined 80 per cent of his match fees for his team's slow over-rate in the second One-Day International against India in Rawalpindi. 

Notes from Pakistan
India accused of playing mind games

Islamabad, March 17
Jubilant over the home team’s series levelling victory in the second One-Day International at Rawalpindi, the Pakistan media today turned the heat on the Indian team by accusing them of playing “mind games” over the fitness of strike bowler Ashish Nehra, to spring a last minute surprise.

Visa seekers a harassed lot
Amritsar, March 17
Hundreds of visa seekers who arrived here today from all over the state as well as outside it felt harassed as they did not have any prior information about the change of date for issuing visas. 

March 17, 2004

Despite Sachin’s 141, Pakistan force a win
Rawalpindi, March 16
India and Pakistan played another sensational thriller here tonight before the visitors lost the second one-day international by 12 runs despite Sachin Tendulkar's return to pristine form which enabled him to hit his 37th one-day century and cross a record 13,000 runs.
Fans throng Rawalpindi stadium for the second India-Pakistan ODI.
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Akhtar promises a hat-trick next time
Rawalpindi, March 16
“Rawalpindi Express” Shoaib Akhtar celebrated his 100th One-Day International with a thrilling 12-run win against India here tonight and promised to snare a hat-trick “next time around”.

News about Nehra’s fitness leaked to a 'privileged' few
Rawalpindi, March 16
Despite claims of transparency, the Indian team management is back to its old ways of leaking the information to a ‘privileged’ few and keeping others in the dark, putting a question mark on the role of the high profile media manager.

No proposal for Indian PM’s visit: Pakistan
Islamabad, March 16
Pakistan today said there was no proposal for the Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to visit the country to watch a One-Day International cricket match between the two sides at Lahore.

Afghan refugees barred from Peshawar ODI
Peshawar, March 16
Pakistani authorities have barred Afghan refugees from the Arbab Niaz Stadium in the border town of Peshawar as part of security measures for India’s third one-day cricket match against Pakistan, officials said today.

Notes from Pakistan
Musharraf eggs on Pak team
akistan President Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday egged on his team, aiming to square the series against India in the second one-dayer at the Pindi cricket stadium here.  

Visa camp from March 18
Amritsar, March 16
The Pakistan High Commission will now open a special cricket visa camp for two ODIs to be played at Lahore on March 18 here.

Unique way of wishing team good luck
Amritsar, March 16
Rashpal Singh (30), a die-hard fan of Indian cricket team, wished good luck to the team in a unique way. 

March 16, 2004

Nehra to miss Rawalpindi tie; Saurav doubtful
Rawalpindi, March 15
The Indian cricket team received a big jolt ahead of their second match of the one-day series against Pakistan with Ashish Nehra being ruled out due to injury and captain Saurav Ganguly a doubtful starter for the day-night tie.

Pakistan to add firepower to bowling
Rawalpindi, March 15
Smarting under a narrow defeat in the Karachi one-dayer, Pakistan coach Javed Miandad today indicated that a “sixth bowler” might be picked for tomorrow’s day-night clash against India in a bid to add more firepower to their bowling.

Dravid defends his bowlers
Rawalpindi, March 15
Indian vice-captain Rahul Dravid was sympathetic of his “inexperienced” bowling attack, that nearly cost India the Karachi one-dayer, but admitted it was an area of concern on which they were working.

Security beefed up following bomb scare
Security has been beefed up in and around the Pindi cricket stadium, the venue for tomorrow’s second one-day match between India and Pakistan, in view of the bomb scare in Karachi.

Inzamam’s innings might have positive effect on Pak
verybody was worried that the team losing at Karachi would not be able to overcome the psychological setback of being one down.

Waqar predicts a ‘close’ series
New Delhi, March 15
Former Pakistan captain Waqar Younis today said the ongoing Indo-Pak series will be “close” as both the teams are in good nick but the home bowlers should tighten up their line and length to show better results.

Notes from Pakistan
Shoaib keen to make 100th ODI memorable
hen local hero Shoaib Akhtar marks his run-up at the Pindi Cricket Stadium for his 100th one-day international appearance on Tuesday, he would be hoping to make the day memorable for himself by grounding the high flying Indian batsmen and gifting his team a series-levelling win.

Karachi tie hits business hard
Rawalpindi, March 15
It was not only the Pakistan team but the industry in Karachi that suffered a huge loss during the first one-dayer against India on March 13. 

March 15, 2004

Musharraf to have tea with Indian team
Islamabad, March 14
The Indian cricket team, which has been showered with great deal of affection ever since it arrived in Pakistan, will enjoy the stately hospitality of the President, Gen Pervez Musharraf, when they attend a get-together over tea with him on Wednesday.
In video (28k, 56k)

Middle overs an area of concern: Wright
Rawalpindi, March 14
A day after India struggled to defend a mammoth total, Indian cricket team coach John Wright called upon his bowlers to keep the focus in the middle overs which he admitted was becoming a problem area for the team.

President Kalam lauds Indian win
President APJ Abdul Kalam on Sunday congratulated the Indian cricket team on its memorable victory in the Karachi one-day international against Pakistan, on Saturday.

Pak performance fantastic: manager
akistan cricket team manager Haroon Rashid on Sunday described his team's performance in the first one-dayer against India as ''fantastic and incredible.''

Cricket too batsman friendly
ndians held their nerves together in the final hour to make it a great victory in the first one-dayer against Pakistan in Karachi. 

Laxman expected to play second ODI
Rawalpindi, March 14
The Indian team management is expecting the in-form VVS Laxman, who had to sit out of the first one-day cricket match against Pakistan due to a stiff left knee, to be fit for the second game to be held on Tuesday.

March 14, 2004

India clinch Karachi thriller
Karachi, March 13
India scored a sensational five-run win in the first one-day international of their historic cricket tour of Pakistan here today in a thriller that was decided on the last ball of the tie in which a world record of 693 runs were made on a day of scintillating batting by the two sides.
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Wave of joy sweeps the nation
New Delhi, March 13
A euphoric nation erupted into celebration as India scored a sensational last-ball win over subcontinent rivals Pakistan in the opening one-day encounter of the historic cricket series, against the hush that descended on the National Stadium in Karachi.

Laxman likely for next match
India’s ‘Very Very Special’ batsman, Laxman has not sustained a serious injury and is expected to be fit for the second one-dayer at Rawalpindi, the team management said on Saturday.