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Wed Apr 23 2003
Issue No: 175

Rain forces TVS Cup to be shared

The rain in Dhaka, unlike that in Spain, does not restrict its sphere of operations to just the plains. Indeed, it is fairly liberal with its offerings, drenching the entire country irrespective of whether a cricket tournament final is on or not. Monday - already the reserve day for the rained-out final on Sunday - saw a torrential downpour partially subside for a while, but it soon started up again, and India subsequently had to share their second trophy in their last three multi-nation tournaments. At 46 for three, with Makhaya Ntini breathing fire, they probably didn't mind. Ntini had scalped Gautam Gambhir (11) and Mohammad Kaif (5), getting disconcerting bounce off a good length. At 17.1 overs, admittedly, the game had some way to go, especially with Sourav Ganguly still at the crease. But perhaps this was an apt end to a tournament that saw two teams so comprehensively dominate the third that they were almost comrades-in-arms.

Salvi looks very promising: Wright

India may have not come off too well in their last two games in the TVS Cup in Dhaka, but coach John Wright expressed satisfaction with the team's performance in the tri-series. India shared the trophy with South Africa after both the final and the reserve day were rained out. "On the whole, the tournament went on well, excepting the last two games, where things could have improved," Wright told the press after the team's return to India.

Wright remarked that a young Indian side boded well for the future, and in particular talked about Avishkar Salvi. "He is a very good prospect. He has got a bit of pace and it is encouraging to see a young bowler with such a good height and action," Wright said. On whether Salvi was a good replacement for veteran paceman Javagal Srinath, Wright said, "It is a bit early to pass such a judgement, but he indeed looks very promising."

Sourav Ganguly's captaincy and batting in the series also came in for praise from Wright. The coach averred that the side in Bangladesh was a judicious mix of youth and experience. "It had some newcomers, who had done well for the 'A' side. But it also included eight or nine players who played in the recent World Cup." Wright mentioned that frequent India 'A' tours abroad helped build experience for players on the bench.

Asked about his scheduled meeting with Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Jagmohan Dalmiya, Wright declined to comment on it, saying he was not "empowered to speak" about it. When questioned further, Wright said, "My contract was over on March 24. But I enjoy good relations with India and the Board. Let's see, where it leads to."

A time to share

What is it with India and Cup-sharing? At the ICC Champions trophy towards the end of 2003, India had secured the upper hand on the day of the final as well as reserve day - only to see partial domestic rain gods do their stuff and save Sri Lanka's neck. The TVS Cup final, completely abandoned on Sunday, was only 17 overs old when it too was abandoned, although India were in a much dicier position than at Colombo. And even in the final of the only trophy that really matters - the World Cup - rain threatened to spike Australian hopes before subsiding meekly. Sourav Ganguly must be cursing his luck that while the rain deprived him potentially of two full trophies, it did not get him even half of the one that counts!

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Opener Navjot Singh Sidu made 98, as India, chasing 310 for victory, made 177/3 in the fourth innings to draw the only Test of a one-off Test series against New Zealand in Hamilton in 1994. Debutant Stephen Fleming, who made 92, though, pipped Sidhu to the Man of the Match award.

Half a trophy may be better than none, but it is still worse than a whole one. Sourav Ganguly may regret it, but he does have one thing to look forward to - a deliciously bare international calendar, during which he and his cricketers can rest their weary bones and prepare for the really gruelling tour ahead to Australia.

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"Except in the cases of direct hits inducing a close run-out or similar incidents which as an umpire, I cannot determine, I will not like to refer to the third umpire," Srinivas Venkataraghavan

"I cannot imagine life without cricket. Cricket is my first love and once on the ground, it is a different world altogether," Sachin Tendulkar

"John Wright is definitely the best coach India has had in recent times. I hope he continues to serve Indian cricket for many years to come," Madhav B

South Africa's Neil McKenzie, who made 186 runs in four innings at 93.00, was the highest run-getter in the TVS Cup.

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