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News Letter
Mon Feb 18 2002
Issue No: 32

Gambhir and Andy Flower shine in drawn tour opener

A three-dayer on a batting paradise was the perfect recipe for a draw. So it came as no surprise when Zimbabwe and Indian Board President's XI trooped off after sharing honours at the end of the final day of the lung opener in Vijayawada.

Gautam Gambhir took full advantage of the friendly pitch and the even friendlier Zimbabwe attack after his captain Rahul Dravid opted to bat. The Delhi opener, who has been in cracking form, made 218 off 284 balls with as many as 39 boundaries. Dravid too had a satisfactory outing, making a patient 50. The Board President’s XI declared after reaching 361 for three at the end of the opening day. When Zimbabwe batted, it was that man Andy Flower who again led their response. The elder Flower made 94 as the visitors replied with 340. Haryana leg-spinner Amit Mishra, who claimed 6 for 95 in the Zimbabwe first innings, proved a revelation. If the young man continues to bowl in the same vein an India cap might not be long in the coming. Before play was called off, Abhijit Kale found time to shatter the confidence of Zimbabwe’s left-arm spinner Raymond Price on his way to 90 in the Board President’s XI second innings.

Zaheer recalled to the Indian squad

The Indian selectors on Saturday named the squad that will take on Zimbabwe in the two-Test series beginning on February 21 at Nagpur. Despite recalling stumper MSK Prasad for the Board President's XI game, the national selectors thought it best to stick with Deep Dasgupta.

"Dasgupta has been performing well as an opener and that turned the scales in his favor," chief selector Chandu Borde told reporters.

Also back in the team are speedster Tinu Yohannan, overlooked for the one-dayers against England, and middle-order bat Rahul Dravid, who was out due to injury. There is though no place for Delhi southpaw Gautham Gambhir despite his spirited 218 against Zimbabwe in the tour opener at Vijayawada.

VVS Laxman, who was dropped from the squad that played the one-dayers against England in favour of Mohammad Kaif, makes his way back into the squad. His place in the Test side was never in doubt inspite of rumours that Kaif had done enough to replace him.

Zaheer Khan, who has done wonders for state side Baroda since being relieved of national duties, also earned a recall. The Baroda left-arm seamer was lethal in domestic cricket, taking his state side to the final of the domestic competition with a 10-wicket performance that impressed more than one selector.

The squad: Saurav Ganguly (c), Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, SS Das, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Sarandeep Singh, Deep Dasgupta, Sanjay Bangar and Tinu Yohanan.

Paul Strang bids adieu

Paul Strang was once in the vanguard of the leg-spin movement led by Shane Warne. But after a rather short and often patchy career which did not see him live up to his potential, the 32-year-old has decided to call it a day. "It's a positive life decision for myself. I have had a couple of chronic injuries over the past two years, making every day a challenge," he said, while explaining his decision. In a career that spanned 24 Tests, the leg-spinner claimed 70 wickets with an innings haul of 8 for 109 being his best. He claimed five wickets in an innings on three other occasions and 10 wickets in a match on one occasion. An useful batsman, he scored 837 Test runs, including one hundred and two fifties. He also claimed 95 wickets in 96 one-dayers. Strang will now be touring India as a commentator after which he would move on to play club cricket for the Liverpool Cricket Premier Division in England.

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Sachin Tendulkar crafted a consummate 127* off 138 balls as India thrashed Kenya in the sixth match of the 1996 World Cup. It, incidentally, was also Kenya’s first one-day international. Batting first, Kenya guided by a 65 from star batsman Steve Tikolo made 199 for six in their 50 overs. With Tendulkar leading from start to finish, India cantered to a seven-wicket win.

The last India-Zimabwe series in India had seen Andy Flower score enough runs to pack a warehouse. The tour opener at Vijayawada proved that the elder Flower is back to his run-accumulating best. Will Andy thwart India this time around? Follow the action as it happens on CricInfo.Com.

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Gautam Gambhir
Strokeful innings
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Who is the only batsman to be dismissed for both handling the ball and obstructing the field in one-day internationals?

Previous Question

Which batsman made the most runs in the recently concluded India-England one-dayers?

Answer:Marcus Trescothick

From former the man who runs a sweet shop near my house, everyone has a view on the game. But you need that, the game needs that passion. Rahul Dravid

I may be opening in India, and I'm quite happy to do it, if that's the case. I still prefer number three, but if it's better for the team or it means a better balance for me to go up front, then so be it. Zimbabwe captain Stuart Carlisle

Andy Flower has firm claims to being the best batsman in the world. Sachin Tendulkar can learn the art of carrying a team on his shoulders from the Zimbabwean stalwart. – John Berry.

Gautam Gambhir’s 218 against Zimbabwe was his second successive double ton in first class cricket. The Delhi opener had earlier made 214 in the Ranji pre-quarterfinal against Bengal.

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