Dhoni fever grips Jamshedpur
Drop Sehwag, Kaif: Kapil
Aussie bowlers hit back after Gilchrist ton
Australia reinforce squad
Abu Dhabi ODIs on
Bindra eyes Olympic berth
We need more international competitions: Manjit
Jamshedpur, April 11
Having pocketed the seven-match one-day series with a decisive 4-0 lead, the game will give yet another chance to stand-in captain Virender Sehwag and Mohammad Kaif to get their acts together and be among runs at the Keenan stadium where the hosts have won just two of the eight matches so far.
For England, it would be a question of salvaging some pride and regaining confidence in view of several crucial series coming up in the near future.
Coach Duncan Fletcher will rest captain Andrew Flintoff to save him for the hectic schedule ahead as the remaining two matches hold only academic interest.
Continuing with Indian coach Greg Chappell’s rotational policy, India are likely to try out some of their young talents against the tourists. Both Robin Uthappa and Venugopala Rao are in with a chance to make the playing eleven, but going by the current practice of the Indian team, one has to wait till tomorrow to know the final combination.
“Everybody will be given equal opportunity. Venugupala has been with the team before Uthappa was included. So, he may get a chance first,” Sehwag said.
But it is in the pace department that the Indians are really spoilt for choice.
With the arrival of R. P. Singh, V. R. V. Singh, Munaf Patel and S. Sreesanth, there is lot of variety in the department to supplement the efforts of the seasoned Irfan Pathan and Ajit Agarkar and it will be interesting to see the bowlers who make the final cut.
All eyes would also be on Sehwag and Kaif as they labour to come out of the run glut from their blades.
“It is a matter of one big innings. I got good starts in Faridabad and Delhi. And I only need to convert good starts into big scores to regain confidence,” Sehwag said.
Kaif, with a pathetic nine runs in his kitty in the series so far, would also be desperate to give a befitting reply to his critics who have been clamouring for his ouster from the side.
From the rains at Guwahati to the scorching sun here, it has been a journey from one extreme to the other for the two teams, who need to show tremendous application to come out on top in the gruelling heat, with the mecury hovering above 40 degree Celsius in the afternoon.
In fact, yesterday was the season’s hottest day, with the maximum temperature soaring to 44.1 degree celsius.
In order to keep the motivation going after having bagged the series, the Indians also decided in Guwahati to treat the last three outings of the seven-match contest as a fresh series.
“We need to win two to emerge winners in the fresh series,” stand-in skipper Sehwag, doing duty after Rahul Dravid was rested for two matches, said.
India are now aiming to break their record of eight one-day wins on the trot, a feat they equalled by decimating the visitors in Kochi.
The hosts would also have to break a jinx as Keenan has traditionally favoured visiting sides. The hosts have lost six of the eight matches that they played on the ground, the only success coming in 2000 when the Sourav Ganguly-led side prevailed over Hansie Cronje's South Africa.
On the other hand, Andrew Flintoff’s men, having taken a battering in the series, can take heart from the past. The only India-England match here saw the visitors triumphing in a rain-curtailed tie in 1993.
The ground has traditionally been a batsman’s paradise, and the look of the grassless pitch indicates that it may not be any different this time. — PTI
Jamshedpur, April 11
This part of the country is now better known as Dhoni-land after the new-style icon of the Indian cricket Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who received more than 100 invitations for felicitation on arrival.
He went to the state association felicitation and was thronged by youngsters, most of them girls, trying to catch a glimpse of their state boy. Flaunting his newly cut locks Dhoni smiled at one and all and obliged autograph hunters.
Asked if he felt the pressure from the home crowd, Dhoni said, “There is pressure when one plays at home and I am no exception. I will be trying to give my best and not disappoint the people.”
Dhoni, who scored 24 against Pakistan here, said he would “love to better that.”
Virender Sehwag has already announced that the wicketkeeper might be given a chance to bat up the order.
“We want to see him bat up the order. In the last few games he did not get a chance to bat,” Sehwag said.
Meanwhile, people lay siege of the team hotel trying to catch a glimpse of the local boy. Posters reading “Dhoni Dhoni” and “Our hero, our pride Dhoni” were held up by young and old as the team bus skirted through the city roads to the stadium. — UNI
Allahabad, April 11
“Whether its Mohammad Kaif or Virender Sehwag or any other player if they were not in form should be asked to leave the team,” Kapil said talking newsmen here last night.
“Cricketers whose performance is not satisfactory should be advised to leave the team and asked to play in domestic matches and when they improve their performance be taken back in the Indian team,” he added.
Kapil said players, who were doing well, should be given a place in the team as retaining poor performing players in the team would affect the balance of the team.
Praising former captain Sourav Ganguly, Kapil said he should be taken back in the team if he continues to perform well in the domestic matches.
He hoped that Sachin Tendulkar would be able to perform well after undergoing a shoulder surgery in London but suspected that age might come in his way. — UNI
Jamshedpur, April 11
Pietersen was critical of the performance of his team in the seven-match series but said it would nevertheless serve as a “great learning experience” for the youngsters.
“I am not convinced with the way we played. We have not been consistent. We need to change it in the last two games. And hopefully, we will do it,” Pietersen told reporters on the eve of the sixth and penultimate one-dayer.
Pietersen, who has been the mainstay of the England batting on the tour, was also critical of his own form despite being the highest run-getter for his side.
“I am not too happy with my form. I got four 50s during the tour, but could not convert them,” said the right-hander who completed 1,000 ODI runs during the ongoing series.
Asked whether skipper Andrew Flintoff, who did not come for the press conference, would play, he said, “I can’t say now. We will have the team meeting in the evening. But because of the conditions here, we will wait till tomorrow before making public the final XI.”
The 25-year-old cricketer, who now has 1,082 runs from 28 ODIs, said the tour had been challenging.
“I knew it would be difficult. It was a learning experience. We have been improving against the spinners.” On the sweltering heat conditions, the Hampshire batsman said, “We have been in India for quite some time and we are used to the heat now.”
Pietersen did not think that it was a case of missed opportunities for the younger members of the side. “It has been a great learning curve for them.”
The South-African born said his side had set certain goals for the tour. “Some of them we have not achieved. We hope to reach them in the next two matches.” He said the facilities in the smaller centers in India posed difficulties for the team. “But we are professionals. We have to deal with all every type of conditions”. — PTI
Fatullah, April 11
The home side, who hit 427 in their first innings, dismissed Australia for 269 after Adam Gilchrist hit his 16th Test century (144).
Bangladesh, 41-0 at tea, now have a lead of 282 runs over the world champions who will have a good chance of avoiding an embarrassing defeat if their bowlers strike early tomorrow.
Bangladesh have won only one of their 42 Test matches since 2000, that victory coming over a depleted Zimbabwe side. They lost their two previous tests against Australia in 2003 by an innings.
Australia avoided the follow-on thanks to Gilchrist who batted superbly with the tail-enders to take his side from 93-6 to within 160 runs of Bangladesh’s total. The left-hander hit six sixes and 14 fours.
Resuming at 145 for six, Australia lost Brett Lee in the morning session lbw to Mashrafe Mortaza for 15 before fast bowler Jason Gillespie gave Gilchrist good support.
Rafique eventually had Gilchrist caught by Shahadat Hossain at deep square leg. The spinner captured the three wickets to fall after lunch, removing Gillespie (26) and Stuart Clark (0) for his seventh Test five-wicket haul (5-62).
When Bangladesh batted, first innings centurion Shahriar Nafees was bowled by Brett Lee on 33 with the score on 48. Fellow opener Javed Omar (18) was quickly caught behind by Gilchrist off Gillespie to start a mini-collapse.
Skipper Habibul Bashar was run out for seven by a direct throw from Michael Clarke and Mohammad Ashraful (4) was the next to go when he was trapped lbw by Stuart Clark. Aftab Ahmed was trapped lbw by Stuart MacGill on 21. Rajin Saleh (29) and Khaled Mashud (0) were not out at the close.
Bangladesh (1st innings) 427
Australia (1st innings)
Hayden lbw Mortaza 6
Hussey b Rafique 23
Ponting lbw Hossain 21
Martyn b Rafique 4
Clarke b Haque jnr 19
Gilchrist c Hossain b Rafique 144
Warne c Mashud b Haque jnr 6
Lee lbw Mortaza1 5
Gillespie b Rafique 26
S. Clark lbw Rafique 0
MacGill not out 0
Extras (lb-4, nb-1) 5
Total (all out, 95.2 overs) 269
Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-43, 3-50, 4-61, 5-79, 6-93, 7-156, 8-229, 9-268, 10-269.
Bowling: Mortaza 22-3-56-2, Hossain 14-2-48-1, Rafique 32.2-9-62-5, Haque jnr 25-4-83-2, Ashraful 1-0-11-0, Saleh 1-0-5-0.
Bangladesh (2nd innings)
Omar c Gilchrist b Gilespie 18
Nafees b Lee 33
Bashar run out 7
Saleh not out 29
Ashraful lbw Clark 4
Ahmed lbw MacGill 17
Mashud not out 0
Extras (lb-6, b-6, nb-4) 16
Total ( for 5 wkts, 41 ovs) 124
Fall of wickets: 1-48, 2-58,
Bowling: Lee 8-0-47-1, Gillespie 7-1-15-1, MacGill 13-4-30-1, S. Clark 4-2-8-1, Shane Warne 8-2-11-0, M. Clarke 1-1-0-0. — Reuters
Sydney, April 11
Cricket Australia announced that left-arm paceman Bracken and uncapped spinner Cullen would join the team ahead of the second Test on concerns that injuries would force changes in the present team.
The Australian media have blamed the side’s poor showing in Bangladesh on a tired bowling line-up and a lack of adequate preparation for the different conditions in the subcontinent after a seven-week tour of South Africa.
“Pathetic” was the one-word headline in Sydney’s ‘Daily Telegraph’ after Bangladesh hobbled the Australian batting order to hold them at 6-145 at stumps on day two of the first Test in Dhaka after the home side scored 427 in their first innings.
Of particular concern to Australia was the fitness of leg-spinner Shane Warne, who retired from late on day one after injuring his shoulder while throwing from the outfield.
“Our advice from team management in Bangladesh tells us there is one or two contingencies around player fitness that we may need to consider ahead of the second Test,” newly appointed chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said. — AFP
New Delhi, April 11
Zee Sports and Prasar Bharati have agreed to jointly market the matches. The private broadcaster will keep 75 per cent of the revenue share while the rest will go to Doordarshan.
For the next five years, Zee Sports has acquired the global media rights television, radio and internet rights — for all matches that India will play on neutral grounds (in non-ICC member countries). As part of the deal, 25 matches will be played over a period of five years. — PTI
Bindra eyes Olympic berth
New Delhi, April 11
At a media interaction during a felicitation function here, in which tennis players Rohan Bopanna and Ankita Bhambri were also present, air rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra said he was pleased with his performance at Melbourne.
Bindra, who is the first Indian to shoot a perfect score of 600/600, said shooting sport was on the upswing in the country and he expected at least 11 Indians to qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.
Bindra said the Indian shooters would do well in the air pistol and rifle events in the coming Asian Games at Doha. “We have the talent to bring home a bagful of medals from Doha,” he noted.
Rohan Bopanna, who is yet to recover from his shockingly poor display in the Davis Cup tie against Pakistan in Mumbai last weekend, said lack of match practice on grass did him in. Leander Paes had to step in to take Bopanna’s place in the reverse singles to guide India to a close 3-2 victory over Pakistan after Bopanna lost his opening singles rubber.
Bopanna said young players like himself, Harsh Mankad and Prakash Amritraj struggle to make their mark on grass due to lack of match practice. “We hardly play on grass, as out of the 30 odd tournaments I play every year, just three or four are on grass,” Bopanna explained.
Ankita Bhambri, who is shaping up well as a singles player to follow in the footsteps of Sania Mirza, opined that more women players could make their mark on the big stage if they were given the kind of state patronage extended to Sania Mirza.
Ankita said Sania Mirza was lucky to get full support from the Andhra Pradesh Government very early in her career, even before she achieved anything tangible on the tennis court, which enabled the player to fully focus on her game, and do well. “When you get so much support, the results are bound to come,” Ankita noted.
We need more international competitions: Manjit
Jalandhar, April 11
Participating in more international events would not only help them improve but also ease out the mistakes that creep in. “We only get to compete in Asian meets whereas more world level competitions can improve our performances and build confidence for the big events,” Manjit said.
The ace athlete rued the fact that sportspersons like Sania Mirza have got both the Arjuna and Padamshree awards while athletes like her, despite winning international medals, are ignored.
Manjit ranked in top seven at the Olympics said, “Our relay team is ranked seventh but has not got any recognition. Lack of job security and other concerns add to the tension taking the athlete away from concentrating on the game.”
She informed that the cash prize promised to her after winning two gold medals in the Asian championship in September last year was Rs 6 lakh, which has not been given to her so far.
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