Kumble, Zaheer back in one-day squad
Batting, bowling need more class
HP on brink of defeat
ICC plans cricket academy in Dubai
Thailand beat UAE
China down Aussies
Durand Cup set for revamp
Avandeep, Harmanjit win race
Kumble, Zaheer back in one-day squad
Chandigarh, October 30
BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah, accompanied by Chief Selector Dilip Vengsarkar, announced the team, to be led by Rahul Dravid, here today.
The players who have been shown the door are bowlers R. P. Singh and spinner Romesh Powar while Wasim Jaffer, who will make his one-day debut, is a surprise entrant in the squad.
After playing on the Pakistan tour in January-February this year, Zaheer made his comeback after eight months while Kumble will don the national colours again after a one-and-half-year break. Kumble was part of the team in a triangular series held in Sri Lanka in July-August 2005.
On the other hand, Ajit Agarkar and Yuvraj Singh — both nursing injuries — will be replaced by VRV Singh and Dinesh Kaarthick, respectively, if they do not pass a fitness test, to be conducted on November 10.
Addressing mediapersons, Vengsarkar said the members had detailed discussion before finalising the final 16. He said the players have been picked after assessing their performance in domestic cricket.
Vengsarkar, who chaired his first meeting since taking over the mantle from Kiran More in late September, said Jaffer was preferred over some other contenders like Gambhir and Uthappa considering the hard and bouncy tracks in South Africa.
“Jaffer has the right technique to succeed on such tracks and that is why we thought that he should be in the team,” the former Indian captain said.
Vengsarkar said wholesale changes were not required in the squad though the selectors were concerned by the sliding fortunes of the team.
“I don’t think we need to make wholesale changes in the team. Some players have been performing while there are others who have not done too well. We think this is a balanced team and should be able to do well in South Africa,” he said.
In an attempt to justify the places of some of the players who have been going through a prolonged form slump, Vengsarkar said they did not have “exceptional” talent in reserves.
“Let me be honest with you. There is not much talent in the country. Some of the first class cricketers are still not ready for international cricket. There is no exceptional talent,” he said.
Commenting on the team’s dismal performance of late, Vengsarkar said, “the team needs to improve in many areas. The batsmen have to play till the end in one-dayers, then only we can win. The bowlers have to improve also.”
On Laxman’ omission from the team, he said the selectors felt that he was not fully fit to play at the international stage.
“We have seen him in Duleep Trophy matches and we felt he was still not fit.” Vengsarkar also categorically stated that there was no question of reviewing Rahul Dravid’s position as captain, saying he was named captain till the World Cup and there would be no change.
On Kumble’s inclusion, Vengsarkar said, “He is a fantastic bowler and his record speaks for itself. He is an integral part of the one-day team.”
Zaheer was expected to stage a comeback by virtue of his performances in domestic matches. The poor form of some of the regular pacemen like Irfan Pathan and R. P. Singh also made it easier for him to squeeze back into the side.
Asked whether Ganguly’s name was considered, Vengsarkar said, “we did not discuss his name”.
The team will leave for South Africa from Mumbai on November 13. The first match is scheduled to be held on November 19 at Centurion. The one-day series will be followed by three Tests, the squad for which would be named later.
Squad: Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Wasim Jaffer, Mohd. Kaif, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Mongia, Munaf Patel, S .Sreesanth, Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, M. S. Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble, Ajit Agarkar/VRV Singh, Yuvraj Singh/Dinesh Kaarthick.
Yuvraj’s injury to be re-evaluated after two weeks
Mumbai, October 30 Yuvraj, who was provisionally included in the Indian one-day squad announced today for the South Africa tour, has been advised to follow some exercises and use crutches to take the load off the injured part of his body. “According to Dr Joshi, there is a tear in the interior cruciate ligament with some amount of bruising of the bone in the left knee and there is a swelling of the knee,” a BCCI statement said here. “The doctor has recommended some exercises and Yuvraj Singh has been advised to use crutches to take the load off the knee,” it said.
Mumbai, October 30
Yuvraj, who was provisionally included in the Indian one-day squad announced today for the South Africa tour, has been advised to follow some exercises and use crutches to take the load off the injured part of his body.
“According to Dr Joshi, there is a tear in the interior cruciate ligament with some amount of bruising of the bone in the left knee and there is a swelling of the knee,” a BCCI statement said here. “The doctor has recommended some exercises and Yuvraj Singh has been advised to use crutches to take the load off the knee,” it said. — PTI
Batting, bowling need more class
India faced an opponent in Mohali who, even in the best of days, are not easy to overcome. The odds become longer if you are out of sorts. Then nothing is much of help, not the best pitch of the competition nor a few sparks of revival visible.
Hence, it wouldn’t serve much purpose to pick on India’s follies which, as we all know, look graver in moments of defeat. One could debate endlessly if it was the better option to bat first in Mohali or if the eleven was right or whether Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and not Dinesh Mongia, should have been at number three.
Many would have an issue with our scoring rate; some would insist the outrageous option of throwing spinners at Ricky Ponting in the Power Play was the way to go. Excuse me if I am missing out on a few of your very own favourite notions. All this would serve little.
All said and done India for me did most things right. The decision to bat first was the right one as was the composition of the team. Only one thought Dhoni ahead of Kaif was the better option especially with Dravid playing as well as he was. That could have made a difference to the end score which I thought was competitive when you consider it being a knockout contest.
The disappointing aspect though was the body language in the field once a couple of boundaries were hit. India needed to be more at Australia early on thinking wickets at all times.
The bowling with the new ball was ordinary and missed the zing. This allowed the Australia to get away. Still, I liked what I saw of Sreesanth and I do believe he should never have been out of the team in the first place.
I am now worried about what lies ahead. Do India continue with its experiments or now fall back upon its proven if ageing warriors. Is it time to return to seniors and some experience or should the investment in youth continue given they need their own space and time to grow.
How do you handle the impatience of the nation and media given the proximity of the World Cup with your own beliefs and theory which you have held on to so dearly. These are some central issues to India’s woes.
The judgment against VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble in one-dayers has only been about their fielding. Nobody doubts their quality in their respective fields. They are still central to India’s Test plans.
I feel India would have to be a little spacious about this argument as it needs a temporary fix. Both its batting and bowling could do with a little bit of class. Both are enormously respected by opponents all around the world.
I also feel Wasim Jaffer and Gautam Ghambir are the men who are needed since sorting out a good top order is more important when you go on a tour than packing the lower middle order.
In moments such as these, the authority of men in command is usually eroded. Rahul Dravid would survive such a pitfall because he is unquestionably a champion, one of India’s truly greats. Greg Chappell too is old enough to understand if a corrective is required in his approach. It is foolhardy to push on with your mistakes when accepting them perhaps is the way forward. — PTI
Namdharis ground Indian Airlines
Jalandhar, October 30
The Indian Airlines team had Olympians, including Dhanraj Pillay and Sameer Dad and at least five others who have played international matches, but they all failed to deliver in the crucial match. Airlines got five penalty corners but they failed to convert even one.
Namdharis questioned the referees’ decisions on more than a couple of occasions. Jatinder Pal Singh of Namdharis was shown a yellow card in the 56th minute. Three green cards were also handed over to the Namdharis. The Namdharis bench was also warned by the officials for interfering in the play.
After a passive first half, Indian Airlines’ Birender Singh gave a classic display of ball control in the early second half, when he single handedly dribbled from his territory right into the enemy’s goalmouth, but failed in hitting the board.
In another match, Services beat Chandigarh 2-0. Chandigarh stood nowhere near their opponents in the field. Chandigarh, like Punjab, is out of the tournament having lost both its super league matches.
Services controlled the play right from the word go and missed two closes chances when the ball hit the goal post. Rajesh Lakra scored the first goal in the 14th minute through a penalty corner while Elazer Lakra scored the second goal in the 28th minute escaping a tight guard of the full backs and dribbling right into the goal post. Sajit Lakra for Services and Rupinder Pal Singh for Chandigarh were shown the green cards for rash behaviour.
Mumbai is finally out of reckoning in the championship as the team went 4-5 down to Delhi. The match saw an electrified atmosphere as is evident from two yellow cards and three penalty strokes, all of which were converted. The game saw 14 penalty corners out of which three were converted.
Damandeep Singh scored two goals for Delhi in the 40th and the 47th minutes. The first goal came off the stick of Anil Sawant for Mumbai in the second minute of the match, which was replied back to by Bikash Toppo, captain of Delhi, in the 12th minute. Jasdev Singh of the Mumbai team was especially brilliant in the last-minute effort of the Mumbai to tie the score, but to no avail.
Mumbai once again lurched ahead with a penalty corner conversion in the 30th minute by Vikas Pillai. The remaining goals were scored for Delhi by Ajitesh Rai, Damandeep and Jitender Sharda . Nilesh Mane scored the final goal for Mumbai in the 65th minute.
Tomorrow’s Pool-A match between Punjab and Indian Airlines is inconsequential because both the teams are out of contention for the trophy. Other teams who have made it to the semifinals are Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Punjab and Sind Bank. The fourth semifinalist will be decided in the match between Delhi and Air-India tomorrow
Cuttack, October 30
Set to score 466 runs to win, the West Zone batsmen fell to the guile of Upul Chandana and were bowled out for 271. Chandana returned with the figures of 5 for 65.
The West Zone batting revolved around Wasim Jaffer and Amol Mazumdar while the rest fell to make any impression. Jaffer and Mazumdar put on a 131 partnership before the latter fell to Upul Chandana for 61 runs.
Jaffer went on to score a century before he was bowled by Upul Chandana for 129 which included 15 hits to the fence and two sixes.
Resuming at their overnight score of 125 for two, the West Zone innings fell apart after the dismissal of Amol Mazumdar and Wasim Jaffer. Rangana Hearth and A Ganegama claimed two wickets each conceding 57 and 79 runs, respectively.
North bag 2 points in drawn match
Jamshedpur: Riding on a fine 84 by Gautam Gambhir, North Zone clinched two points by virtue of a first innings lead of 155 runs over Central Zone in the Duleep Trophy cricket match here today. A valiant knock of 46 by skipper J.P. Yadav on the fourth and final day went in vain as Central Zone finished on 102 for four off 38 overs in their second innings while chasing a target of 375 runs. At close, Amit Pagnis remained not out on 27 and Abbas Ali on two. Earlier, resuming at the overnight score of 72 for one, North Zone rode on Gambhir’s run making to score 219 for nine declared in their second innings. Central Zone scored 288 in their first innings in reply to North’s 443, conceding a 155-run lead.
— PTI, UNI
Jamshedpur: Riding on a fine 84 by Gautam Gambhir, North Zone clinched two points by virtue of a first innings lead of 155 runs over Central Zone in the Duleep Trophy cricket match here today.
A valiant knock of 46 by skipper J.P. Yadav on the fourth and final day went in vain as Central Zone finished on 102 for four off 38 overs in their second innings while chasing a target of 375 runs. At close, Amit Pagnis remained not out on 27 and Abbas Ali on two.
Earlier, resuming at the overnight score of 72 for one, North Zone rode on Gambhir’s run making to score 219 for nine declared in their second innings.
Central Zone scored 288 in their first innings in reply to North’s 443, conceding a 155-run lead. — PTI, UNI
Patiala, October 30
Resuming their innings today, Punjab, who were 157 for two yesterday, piled up a huge total of 362 for 6 when their skipper declared the innings.
Sarabjit scored a fine century and was unbeaten on 100, hitting 15 fours. Gurkirat scored 69, which included six fours.
In their second innings, Himachal Pradesh floundered once again and were 60 for six when the play was called off due to bad light. — UNI
ICC plans cricket academy in Dubai
Chandigarh, October 30
Revealing their plans at a local hotel here today, former Australia wicketkeeper Rodney Marsh, director of coaching at the academy, said, “Various types of pitches, which will be replicas of the pitches of different countries, will be developed at the academy so that players can have first-hand knowledge about the pitches of the visiting country by holding training camps here.”
The academy will import soil from the United Kingdom, Asia and Australia to prepare various types of pitches here, he added.
The academy, part of the Dubai Sports City development, will cater to every cricketing need and will specialise in training not only the cricketers but umpires, curators and administrators as well.
Giving details of the project, ICC Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed said the facilities would include two international standard grounds, 48 outdoor net pitches, six indoor pitches and state-of-the art video analyses and medical facilities.
Terming the selection of Dubai an ideal location for the academy, Mr U. Balasubramaniam, CEO of Dubai Sports City, said, “Geographically, Dubai is a perfect stopping-off point for sides ahead of the majority of tours. Besides cricket, Dubai Sports City will also feature a host of other sports including football, rugby, golf, hockey and tennis. There will be the opportunity for all participants to learn world’s best practice from each other”, added Mr Balasubramaniam.
Sotogrande (Spain), October 30
The Asian Tour stalwart, who upstaged Europe’s big guns like Ryder Cup stars Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald, fired a final round of one-over 72 for a four-day total of two-under 282 to join Chinese Taipei’s Lu Liang-huan and Korea’s Choi Kyung-ju who are the other two Asians to lift a title on European soil.
“It’s my biggest victory of my career so far. I think this is going to stay with me for the rest of my life I think. It’s a special one, and it means a lot to me,” said a beaming Jeev.
“I think, also, I should play all of the Volvo tournaments because they are lucky for me. I always play well and win,” said the Indian who had triumphed in the Volvo China Open in April to end a seven-year title drought.
Leading by one shot after the third round, Jeev, the leader of the Asian Tour’s UBS Order of Merit, played superbly to shoot two birdies against three bogeys but the pivotal moment came at the treacherous par-five 17th hole which he birdied to open up a two-shot advantage.
After crunching his drive down the middle, the Indian nailed a six iron to 12 feet of the flag and two putted for birdie. With Garcia bogeying his final hole which gave Jeev a two-shot cushion, the Indian bogeyed for a one-shot triumph, winning $840,000 — by far his biggest cheque ever.
“I hit a good drive, must be one of my best drives of the week,” said Jeev of his 17th hole birdie.
“I hit a six iron into 17. I had like 205 yards to the hole and I hit it to like 12 feet left of the hole. The whole day I didn’t look at the leaderboard or scoreboard on any other hole except when I got on to the green on 18.
“I thought I needed that putt to win, you know, but when I saw the leaderboard, I had a two-shot cushion. I thought, just lag it up and if it goes in, well, good, that’s fine, and that’s what happened for me,” he recalled.
Jeev ended the European season in 16th place on the Order of Merit, with winnings of 1.17 million euros. — UNI
Kolkata, October 30
In an evenly poised encounter, Thailand striker T. Dangda scored the first goal of the match in the 47th minute while UAE restored partity in the 89th minute. Thailand scored the winner in the fourth minute of the injury time.
The break seemed to have worked wonders for Thailand as within two minutes after the breather, they scored from a lightning attack.
Thai medio A Jujeen snatched the ball from UAE defender T Hamad and passed it his right to striker Dangda who kept his cool and placed the ball into the goal giving no chance to an advancing UAE custodian A Khaseif.
UAE kept up the pressure after conceding the goal despite sudden counter attacks by Thaliand’s forward. The middle east team got the reward and scored the equaliser in the 89th minute. Substitute Abdulla relayed a lofted centre by Bloushi to an unmarked Imbrahim who headed home.
But Thailand had the last laugh when P Donchui headed in a free kick by Kaew Prom in the injury time.
Meanwhile, China defeated Australia 1-0 in a bore-to-death Group-B tie here today. The only goal of the match came in the 65th minute. — PTI, UNI
Kolkata, October 30
The only goal of the match came in the 65th minute. Junmin Hao collected the ball just outside the Australian box and set up Deen Xu with a fine flick. Xu accelerated taking an Aussie defender in his stride before flicking the ball over an advancing rival goalie Tandon Velaphi (1-0).
However, it never looked like that the two top teams from Asia were engaged in a tussle. Neither was there an urgency for scoring nor was there any intention. They played out the time, scrambling about in the midfield.
Both the teams had either come very ill prepared or were finding it difficult to acclimatize with the conditions. The fact that Australia did not play their best striker Bruce Djite in such a crucial tie, raised a few eyebrows.
Two attacks worth mention in the first half came from the Chinese team. twentynine minutes into the match Yongpo Wang sent a through pass to Hai Yu whose grounder missed the target by a whisker.
The texture of the match hardly changed after the lemon break. China went up through Junmin Hao, whose measured centre saw Xu Yang unleash a header that kissed the crossbar before going out.
Saudi Arabia hold Iraq
BANGALORE: Five-time champions Iraq were held to a 2-2 draw by Saudi Arabia in an exciting Group D league tie in the AFC Asian Youth Championship played in Sree Kanteerava Stadium here today. The two teams were locked 1-1 at the breather.
BANGALORE: Five-time champions Iraq were held to a 2-2 draw by Saudi Arabia in an exciting Group D league tie in the AFC Asian Youth Championship played in Sree Kanteerava Stadium here today.
The two teams were locked 1-1 at the breather. — UNI
Durand Cup set for revamp
New Delhi, October 30
The Durand Cup had been tottering on a financial brink for the past few years, and last year, the cash crunch came to such a pass that the Organising Committee had to draw money from a long-held fixed deposit to conduct the tournament.
But this year, the Services, which conducts the tournament, has roped in a sponsor who will bear the entire expenditure of the tournament without charging gate money. For the first time in recent memory, the tournament will be gate-free in a bid to attract as many spectators as possible.
The idea is to create a football wave in the Capital and consolidate the Durand Cup brand name so that reputed club teams from abroad could be invited to enhance the reputation of the tournament in future editions. With the DCM Tournament shutting shop, soccer fans in Delhi have been denied a chance to watch quality foreign teams in action, but the Durand Cup is set to change all that, if its experiment this years lives up to expectation.
Avandeep, Harmanjit win race
Fatehgarh Sahib, October 30
Mr R.S. Bajwa, Principal, flagged off the race. In sub-junior group (boys), Avandeep Singh got the first position, Ravinder Singh second and Simranjit Singh got the third position. Whereas In sub-junior (girls), Harmanjit Kaur bagged the first position, Gurpreet Kaur second and Gursimran Kaur third.
In the junior group (boys), Harjot Singh stood first, Namgal Singh second and Tejinder Singh finished third. Among girls of the junior group, Manjinder Kaur bagged the first position, Baljit Kaur second and Simranjit Kaur got the third position.
In the senior group (boys), Sanjay Singh secured the first position, Amandeep Singh second and Gurleen Singh third.
In the senior group (girls), Jatinder Kaur got first, Inderpreet Kaur second and Jaskiran Kaur got the third position. In sport wing (girls), Ramandeep Kaur got as first and Gurloveen Kaur got second position.
Sport wing (boys), Dalbir Singh, Gagandeep Singh and Mandeep Singh got the first, second and third positions.
Principal R.S. Bajwa highlighted the importance of sports and motive behind the organisation of the cross-country race. Bajwa congratulated the winners of the event and gave away the prizes.
Sania Mirza steady at 67th