Lillee calls for seperate test and one-day teams

Lillee calls for seperate test and one-day teams

Post by Tin T » Tue, 12 Nov 1996 04:00:00

Lillee calls for separate test and one-day teams

PERTH, Nov 8 AAP - Australia should have separate selection
panels and teams to keep Test cricket distinct from one-day games,
according to fast bowling legend Dennis Lillee.
Lillee is Australia's all time leading Test bowler with 355
wickets and was part of Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket
revolution that made the limited overs game a *** force.
Writing in his weekly column in the West Australian newspaper,
Lillee has urged the Australian Cricket Board to revolutionise its
approach to the one-day game or get lost in the stampede.
"Horses for courses must be the policy, with meticulous
attention paid to the strengths and weaknesses of every member of
the batting order," Lillee said.
"And not one member of a one-day attack should be named without
evaulating who he will be bowling against -- and where."
Lillee advocated new coach Geoff Marsh be in charge of both
On his return from India on Wednesday Marsh said Australia
should vary selections to ensure the most potent combination for
whatever brand of cricket it is playing.
Lillee said this would also help extend careers by giving
players spells at certain stages for what should be minimal
financial loss, if any.

                   Atherton comes under attack

                   LONDON, Nov 9 (AFP) - The former
                   Warwickshire and England all-rounder
                   Dermot Reeve launched a blistering
                   verbal *** on England captain
                   Michael Atherton on Saturday.

                   Somerset's new coach Reeve
                   rubbished Atherton's captaincy during
                   the World Cup saying he "lacked drive,
                   purpose and flair."

                   He added: "Add to that his passive
                   body language and you're struggling
                   when the team is up against it".

                   Reeve, the most successful county
                   captain of the 1990s, was equally
                   critical of the then-chairman of
                   selectors, Ray Illingworth.

                   He said: "I don't dislike Ray
                   Illingworth as a person but, when I
                   played for England in South Africa and
                   the World Cup last winter, I was
                   surprised and disappointed by his
                   approach to management.

                   "I believe in getting the best out of
                   players by encouraging them rather
                   than attempting to motivate by
                   intimidation as Illy did."

                   Reeve, writing in his autobiography
                   Dermot Reeve's Winning Ways which is
                   due to be serialised in the Daily Mail
                   next week, said he was never given the
                   chance to discuss tactics during team

                   "Atherton, who should have taken the
                   lead, seemed to want to get the
                   meetings over as quickly as possible.
                   So the team went out badly prepared,"
                   he continued.

                   Reeve's criticisms of big-name cricket
                   figures included West Indian Brian
                   Lara who joined him at Warwickshire in
                   1995 after his record-breaking
                   exploits against England the previous

                   But the two failed to hit it off and
                   Reeve admitted: "From the start, the
                   chemistry wasn't right between us. It
                   soon got back to me that he was making
                   sniping comments about me on the

Dawn (Pakistan)

Windies beat W. Australia

By Ihithisham Kamardeen

PERTH, Nov 10: West Indies strike bowler Curtly Ambrose may go into the
first cricket Test cold after suffering a groin strain in the three-day
against Western Australia.

Ambrose did not take the field on Sunday as his team-mates stole an unlikely
win in the last session, and is likely to be rested from the match against
an Australian XI in Hobart starting on Friday.

West Indies would struggle to beat Australia in Brisbane without the giant
Antiguan, one of the several players who arrived in Australia 10 days ago
carrying niggling injuries from the recent domestic one-day competition.
"Once they get accustomed to the harder pitches and outfields I think
they'll be fine by the time the Test match comes around," manager Clive
Lloyd said of his walking wounded. "Ambrose has still got a bit of a problem
but at least he has two weeks. It will depend on how he responds to

The normally taciturn Ambrose told reporters, "It's cool, mon."

The injury toll means they may be down to the bare 11 for Tuesday's one-day
game in Alice Springs against a Northern Territory invitation side. Reserve
wicketkeeper Junior Murray was absent after lunch today due to a hamstring

Western Australia then crashed from 55 for one to 90 for four before first
innings century maker Adam Gilchrist and former Test batsman Damien Martyn
put on a fifth wicket stand of 63 in better than even time. But after they
went on 153 the home side lost six for 17 in seven overs to be all out for
170. Spinner Carl Hooper took four for 59, Walsh two for 47 and fellow quick
Kenneth Benjamin two for 23. Chase of 23 for victory got off to bad start
when Robert Samuels fell for a second ball duck thanks to a screaming catch
by Langer at short midwicket.

Fellow opener Adrian Griffith and Roland Holder, whose 68 earlier today did
his Test chances no harm, carried them to 26 for one with 11.3 overs to
spare in the last hour. Benjamin atoned for a bad day on Friday by
dismissing both Western Australia openers while Hooper's match haul of seven
for 123 was a timely reminder of his nuisance value when the quicks are

     Sydney Morning Herald

     November 9, 1996

     With fire in his heart and leadership on his mind


     THERE is something familiar about the West Indies' two new opening
     batsmen, Robert Samuels and Adrian Griffith.

     Slight of build, both left-handers address the bowler with
     balanced, full-faced stances. Their first movements at the ball
     are almost identical: a flex of the knees, the bat twitching high
     in a backlift suggesting attack is the first instinct, defence a
     necessary evil.

     When the next man arrives at the crease, you realise where you've
     seen the style. Just as Vivian Richards inspired a crop of
     imitators in the 1970s and '80s - most notably Richie Richardson -
     it is now Brian Lara whose manner and attitude set the mould for a
     new generation of West Indian batsmen.

     It makes sense that Lara, the best Caribbean batsman since
     Richards, should have such influence. But it is only on this tour
     that Lara's leadership has been recognised and formalised, with
     his appointment as West Indian vice-captain.

     After leading his team for the first time on Australian soil
     against Western Australia on Wednesday, the 27-year-old Lara
     reflected on his role as linkman between the junior and senior
     members of the squad.

     "Most of the younger guys I've captained before, because they're
     around my age and a bit younger," he said.

     "We've played West Indies B team or under-23 or some sort of
     cricket where I've led them before.

     "I seem to have a very good rapport with them. It's necessary as I
     start in management to have that respect from the guys, and it
     seems to be going well so far.

     "It's also a good opportunity to work with Clive Lloyd, Malcolm
     Marshall and Courtney Walsh.

     "Being a part of the tour management as vice-captain gives me a
     lot of responsibility on and off the field, and that will
     certainly help my whole demeanour while I'm in Australia."

     The subtext for his comments is always his burning ambition, his
     assumption that he is captain-in-waiting. Associates say that
     Lara's aim since his early ***s has been not simply to play for
     the West Indies, or to be their best batsman, but to be their

     Yet this is the same man who, a year ago, stayed in Trinidad while
     his teammates toured Australia under Richardson.

     Lara, claiming to be "sick of cricket", had built a wall between
     himself and the team. He was one of four players - Curtly Ambrose,
     Kenny Benjamin and Carl Hooper were the others - who had been
     fined for indiscipline on the 1995 tour of England.

     In Lara's case, it was for leaving the team to stay with friends
     in Birmingham. Lara had been given permission to do so by the then
     president of the West Indian Cricket Board, Peter Short. But Short
     had not told the team management, and the fine stood. Lara was not
     to rejoin the team until the World Cup in February.

     What rankled with Lara - and still does - was that the competitive
     fires burn more brightly in him than in most of his teammates. His
     closest companion in the touring group is Shivnarine Chanderpaul,
     whom he sees as a fellow trier.

     Lara resented having come into a declining West Indian team. He
     felt that some of the senior players who had played in the
     *** team of Viv Richards and Malcolm Marshall were no longer
     putting in the effort to sustain that greatness during his,
     Lara's, time. Richie Richardson, perhaps insecure about his own
     authority, failed to give Lara the confidence the younger man
     thought he deserved.

     Marshall, now coach, believes Richardson's retirement has given
     Lara a fillip.

     "Brian captained Trinidad when he was very young," Marshall says.

     "Some players are more ambitious than others. Some individuals
     want to make suggestions, and eventually want to take over. Then
     when you have a leader who's not willing to listen, it comes over
     very badly."

     Richardson's successor, Courtney Walsh, is happier to include Lara
     in what is, with Marshall and manager Clive Lloyd, a sort of
     captaincy by committee.

     "It's perfect," Marshall says, "in that you have an experienced
     captain and the premier batsman in the world who obviously at some
     stage in his career will take over the captaincy. He captained
     Trinidad in the domestic competition and did a fantastic job.

     "There was nothing staid, always something different about his
     captaincy, imaginative, so he's got the ingredients of being a
     good leader ...

     "He's very knowledgeable about cricket. He reads the game very
     well, which is obviously an advantage as a captain.

     "He's always willing to try new things. He gets everyone involved
     in planning strategy."

     In Lara's first match as captain, on Wednesday night, he did the
     unthinkable for a West Indian leader and threw spinner Carl Hooper
     the new ball. Lara's explanation was that the outfield was wet and
     Hooper might have trouble gripping the ball later.

     It was thoughtful cricket, and a daring challenge to the
     philosophy of a side that has come here without a specialist

     Yet Lara stresses he is not captain yet, and likes to douse
     expectations that he is the key man.

     If anyone smells like team spirit now, it is Lara. While he has
     predicted a personal run feast this summer, he rejects Allan
     Border's contention that he is the pivotal player in the coming

     "Sometimes I play well and sometimes the other guys play well," he
     says, "but it hasn't been a team effort.

     "Jimmy Adams gets runs, or Hooper gets runs, or Chanderpaul gets
     runs, but we don't seem to get them at the same time. I don't
     think it depends on any one person. It depends on a team effort.
     We're trying to get the guys as consistent as possible, and make
     it a team effort, all of us making big scores."

     Lara said, on arrival in Perth, that he wanted to score three or
     four centuries in the five-Test series. Take note. The last time
     he publicly expressed such a hunger for runs was in early 1994,
     just before the English arrived in the West Indies. In that
     series, Lara scored 798 runs at the Bradmanesque average of 99.75,
     including his world record 375 in Antigua.

     Lara's batting has always responded well to motivation. If his
     relish for the responsibilities of leadership is any guide,
     Australia's bowlers are in for a toilsome summer.

     For fans not blinded by parochialism, it will be one of the great
     sights in sport.

     Sydney Morning Herald  

     November 9, 1996

     Trigger finger concern puts it all on the line for Shane  

     Back at the bowling crease ... Shane Warne in action
     against Victoria. Photo by TIM CLAYTON.


     THE future should be full of unlimited riches for Shane Warne. A
     bottomless pit of endor***ts, the Australian captaincy, the
     highest wicket-taker in the history of cricket - all should be his
     in time.

     However, the fragility of it all has been raised by the delicacy
     of one little knuckle on the ring finger of his right hand.

     With that finger the source of his annual income of more than $1
     million and rising, some, such as former Test legspinner Kerry
     O'Keeffe, have questioned the sanity of Warne letting a surgeon's
     knife near it. He argued the use of painkillers for the remainder
     of his playing days - that could be around another decade - was
     the only safe option. There would be plenty of time for surgeons
     when the playing days were over.

     Already by 27, Warne has suffered a serious shoulder injury,
     aggravated when he bowled several dozen wrong 'uns in succession
     at practice, and now has has had surgery on his most valuable
     tool, the spinning trigger finger.

     Warne's problem, as it is with so many contemporary international
     cricketers, is will the body last the distance?

     Given his phenomenal rate of taking wickets - 207 in 44 Tests, or
     almost five wickets a Test - he should overtake all-time
     wicket-taker Kapil Dev (434) by the time he has played 90 Tests,
     which at the current rate of scheduling of more than a Test a
     month, should be in about four years, when he is still only 31 -
     prime time for leg spin, whose tradesmen traditionally mature

     When Warne was appointed Victorian captain earlier this year,
     taking over from Dean Jones, there was talk Warne was being
     groomed for the future national leadership.

     Victoria's cricket manager and former Test captain Bill Lawry was
     one who believed Warne was future Test captain material. Another
     to lend support to the belief that Warne is the man most likely to
     succeed Mark Taylor as Australian captain was vice-captain Ian
     Healy, who during the Warne-less tour of Sri Lanka, labelled the
     leg-spinner the leadership standout among the younger generation.

     Then there is already a mounting list of endor***ts, from a
     seven-figure deal with Nike, a contract with Channel 9 and even
     his own cricket ball.

     At the time of his operation last May, the Australian Cricket
     Board said the finger had been giving Warne trouble for about 12
     months, with the expectation that he would be able to return to
     full fitness well before the tours of Sri Lanka and India.

     But he did not bowl a leg spinner for the next three months, and
     despite a few encouraging 10-over spells in limited overs
     competition for Victoria, will not really know whether the
     operation has been a success until he has bowled 70 overs in five
     days of a Test and then has to back up for another spell a few
     days later.

     Warne has not played for Australia since the World Cup final
     against Sri Lanka in March. He has subsequently missed tours to
     Sri Lanka and India, which included nine one-day internationals
     and a Test.

     Without him the side managed just two limited overs victories, and
     suffered defeats in seven others and the one-off Test against

     That led colleague Peter Roebuck to rightly query whether the
     dismal performances on the sub-continent had exposed a dangerous
     overconfidence hidden for too long by the genius of Shane Warne.

     Over the next 17 months, Australia will play 20 Tests and up to 32
     one-day internationals against the West Indies, South Africa,
     England and New Zealand. On top of that are tour matches,
     Sheffield Shield, Mercantile Mutual Cup, eight-a-side,
     invitational tournaments ... all of which will be desperately
     seeking Warne's contribution.

     Apart from being good friends, Warne and Brian Lara have much in
     common. They are standouts, and, along with India's Sachin
     Tendulkar, are Test cricket's most highly remunerated players.

     Each has the ability to single-handedly win matches, and even if
     they do not perform, their presence lifts teammates and
     intimidates the opposition alike.

     With the dual abilities of being able to both take wickets and
     stem runs - a rare feat for a leg-spinner - Warne is his captain's
     most prized weapon.

     When he has the ball, his bowling partner benefits enormously as
     batsmen are constantly under threat from Warne, to the detriment
     of their confidence, concentration and footwork. His genius fuels
     the confidence of his teammates, makes good Test bowlers better
     ones and makes captaincy a much easier vocation.

     For if you can always turn to Warne, you always have a
     match-turning option.

     While the publicists sprout that Lara versus Warne will be the
     battle of the summer, a more important fight for both Australian
     cricket and its star player of the present and future will be the
     one between Warne and his trigger finger.

     Warne seems to have responded to the reality of the situation,
     heeding counsel on the need for physical preservation.

     "The problem with me is that I want to play every game," Warne
     said. "I always want to be available for every game.

     "But, maybe, they will have to lasso me and some other players
     with the heavy program ahead."

     Sydney Morning Herald

     November 11, 1996

     Bevan's 150 puts selectors to the test                  

     Four more ... Micheal Beavan continues on after getting
     his century at the SCG yesterday. Photo by ADAM PRETTY


     NSW, 264 and 8(dec)-353, took first innings points. Victoria (161
     and 5-100) need another 357 runs to win outright with today left
     for play.

     The Australian cricketers took a pot-holed highway around India,
     but Michael Bevan has returned to the Sydney Cricket Ground via
     the Silk Route.

     If the pitch was under-prepared and ***ly on Friday and placid
     yesterday, Bevan was serenely indifferent to its vagaries as he
     remorselessly buried Victoria with an unbeaten 150 after his first
     innings 79.

     Last night, Bevan quietly and candidly confronted the reality that
     reservations persist about him facing fast bowlers, stemming from
     his omission during the Ashes series two summers ago.

     Bevan should be an automatic choice for the Brisbane Test on
     Friday week. Beforehand, however, he will play for an Australian
     XI against the West Indies in Hobart on Friday.

     "I had a tough time against England and unfortunately I have not
     come out of that yet," he said.

     "But every game against the West Indies gives me a chance to shrug
     it off. If I come away with runs against them, the monkey's off my

     "In another three or four weeks, we'll find out."

     Picked for the Delhi Test against India, Bevan believed "it was my
     spot until I did not score any runs again, but it's not for me to
     decide who's got it or who hasn't.

     "Unfortunately, I have been labelled. I can live with that. I
     probably played the short ball worse than I ever played it after
     being labelled but scored more runs.

     "It's a matter of coming to terms with my game.

     "I think I'm a Test player and I think I can become a good Test

     The moisture in the square made Bevan's performance on Friday
     decisively more demanding, an innings worth a century in any

     Yesterday, his professionalism was satisfied with his 30th first
     class century, by virtue of almost six and a half hours of pure
     concentration, 16 boundaries and the most destructive cut shot
     this side of the Murray.

     Having claimed first innings points through the fast bowling
     excavations of Anthony Stuart (5-63 and 0-12) and Phil Alley (2-31
     and 2-24) - before tea on the second day - NSW saw only bright
     daylight through the rain showers.

     Undismayed by the loss of Mark Taylor (one) and Steve Waugh (one),
     Michael Slater (69) cover drove the new ball off Paul Reiffel
     (2-58) and Damien Fleming (0-41) into submission with nine

     Slater and Bevan***ed 75 in just 56 minutes before Brad Williams
     (4-63), enjoying the harder, quicker strip as it dried, made a
     delivery kick from the shoulder of Slater's bat to slip.

     Shane Lee (40) emerged for another gem, driving Williams through
     cover for two boundaries in three balls and short-arm jolting
     Fleming forward of square leg for six.

     Phil Emery (34) relishes these battles. All grit and gristle, he
     and Bevan muscled a 67-run stand in an hour as NSW moved into a
     400-run lead.

     Stuart celebrated his Australian XI selection, crunching away two
     boundaries before Williams, the speedster he deprived of the
     Hobart game, deflected a ball high towards fine leg for Darren
     Berry to race 20 metres for a splendid catch.

     The Healy-Gilchrist-Seccombe arguments continue, but Berry's
     keeping was excepional against NSW.

     Victoria's near-international attack was without inspiration,
     labouring to contain Bevan. Shane Warne (0-75) spun the ball
     without threatening to tear its hide off.

     But Alley had Warren Ayres (five) caught on the leg side, and
     Victoria began taking on water through every port hole.

     Leg-spinner Stuart MacGill (2-37 and 2-20) again found his niche
     immediately, pitching one ball well outside leg stump for Mark
     Taylor to hold the catch from Ian Harvey at slip.

     Shane would have been happy with it.

     Sydney Morning Herald

     Healy safe for Windies series


     Insomnia has never troubled wicketkeeper Ian Healy and he should
     not start losing sleep now, for his Australian position is secure
     for the Frank Worrell Trophy Test series.

     Despite an avalanche of advance death notices over the weekend,
     Healy will appear in his 81st Test on Friday week, and as

     Adam Gilchrist's reward for his impressive batting and improving
     wicketkeeping will be a flight to Hobart for the Australian XI's
     four-day game against the West Indies at Bellerive starting on

     Likewise, Ricky Ponting's exclusion from the Australian XI can be
     interpreted as a trip to Perth for Tasmania's Sheffield Shield
     match, then back across the continent to Brisbane for the Test.

     Since Healy's promotion through the shield ranks to the Test berth
     against Pakistan in 1988, he has guarded his Australian position

     Healy is 32. He wants to undertake next year's Ashes tour of
     England, perhaps as his swansong.

     Generously, Healy conceded no man was indispensable, nor did any
     have a divine right to national selection.

     At least for the present, the selectors disagree with him.

     One Australian official said of Healy: "He's a champion player and
     should be treated as such. The only thing that will stop him is a
     broken leg."

     Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns and his panel of four - Jim
     Higgs, Steve Bernard, Peter Taylor and Andrew Hilditch - gather in
     Sydney today for their usual early-season policy meeting.

     The vice-captaincy will be touched on, with a view ahead to the
     tours of South Africa and England, but no dramatic announcement is
     anticipated about the team's executive positions.

     Shane Warne may well captain Australia one day, but like
     Gilchrist, he knows patience is a virtue.

     Gilchrist is one of the more exciting young players in the game.
     At the back of the selectors' minds is his performance behind the
     stumps at the Gabba only last December when he captained the
     Australian XI against the West Indies. His glovework was not
     without blemish, and they remember it.

     Gilchrist went back to Perth and by the end of the season was
     making breathtaking leg-side stumpings. His day will come.

     As ever, the Hobart XI reflects the selectors' thoughts on the
     Test team and players on the verge of national representation.

     NSW fast bowler Anthony Stuart, 26, and Queenslander Andrew
     Bichel, 26, are worthy new-ball selections, both strong candidates
     for higher honours.

     In the light of Michael Bevan's successes against Victoria,
     however, it is perplexing to see him facing the West Indies before
     Friday week.

     Perhaps the selectors wish to compare Bevan with Stuart Law.
     Perhaps, more logically, they wish to balance up the situation
     with NSW meeting Queensland in a Sheffield Shield match at
     Bankstown Oval from next Friday.

     The selectors might well have chosen a batsman such as Justin
     Langer or Damien Martyn instead of Bevan.

     Regardless, the batting combination they have chosen is one off
     the top shelf. Matthew Elliott will surely show Bellerive and the
     citizens of Hobart that next weekend.

     The Australian XI for the match in Hobart is:

     Matthew Elliott, Andrew Hayden, Greg Blewett, Michael Bevan,
     Stuart Law (c), Darren Lehmann, Adam Gilchrist, Bradley Hogg,
     Andrew Bichel, Anthony Stuart, Jason Gillespie (12th man to be
     named from Tasmania).

         The Age (Australia)

         Bevan vows to bounce the pace bogy


         Michael Bevan, the only incumbent Test player picked for the
         Australian XI trial match against the West Indies later this week,
         said yesterday he was looking forward to banishing the idea that
         he could not handle raw pace bowling.

         Bevan was clearly, but diplomatically, disappointed to be forced
         into a position where he must avoid failing to ensure he makes the
         first Test. He had just completed a faultless 150 not out for his

         He admitted he had been dubbed suspicious against pure speed
         bowling and said without question that he had his detractors at
         the top of the Australian Cricket Board ladder, but was willing to
         prove them wrong, beginning Friday.

         "I've been labelled . . . I guess I had a bit of a tough time
         against England and unfortunately I haven't come out of that yet,
         but I think these West Indies games will be good.

         "If I don't play the Test, too bad, but every game against the
         West Indies will be a chance to shrug that off," he said.

         "I've really got nothing to lose. If I come away with runs against
         them, the monkey's off my back. So over the next three or four
         weeks we are going to find out."

         Bevan said he thought his position in the Test team was safe until
         he stopped making runs (he had a postive tour of India, where he
         made 23 and 33 in the Test and scored runs freely in the one-day
         series), but conceded he was naive to think so.

         He admitted he had also put his hand up to bat in the No. 3 hole
         left by David Boon, citing his versatility to bat in any number of
         positions for NSW, Australia, and for South Australia during a
         brief stint at the Cricket Academy.

         "I know for a fact I still have to prove something. I'm
         comfortable - I think I'm a Test player and I think I can become a
         good Test player, but I know for a fact there are people that are
         for and against me.

         "That's just the way it is, and you can't please everyone. I guess
         I'm not a natural *** or puller, but I guess runs are the
         bottom line.

         "I guess it plays on my mind a little bit, but I have played quick
         bowlers before. I've played Devon Malcolm a couple of times and
         (Allan) Donald, and I can't really remember them getting me out.

         "I've probably played the West Indies a couple of times, too, and
         scored all right runs against them, too, when I was a little bit

         While Bevan was forced to face the music of no-confidence after
         what should have been a fine day following his handsome knock for
         NSW, Victorian opener Matthew Elliott was preparing for Friday by
         grafting out 63 by stumps and grinning at the prospect of playing
         for Australia.

         Elliott will take one small career step at Bellerive Oval on
         Friday and hopes to make the giant leap to Test level the
         following week.

         He said he was delighted to make the Australian XI, but there was
         an edge of anxiety to his words that signalled nothing short of
         Test debut would satisfy.

         "There have been a lot of little steps - I want a big one. But it
         is good; another opportunity and hopefully I can get some runs and
         do it in front of the right people," Elliott said.

         The Age (Australia)

         Healy to keep on keeping on

         By PHIL WILKINS

         Insomnia has never troubled wicketkeeper Ian Healy and he should
         not start losing sleep now, for his Australian position is secure
         for the Frank Worrell Trophy Test series.

         Despite several advance death notices over the weekend, Healy will
         appear in his 81st Test on Friday week, and as vice-captain. Adam
         Gilchrist's reward for his impressive batting and improving
         'keeping is a place in the Australian XI's four-day game against
         the West Indies in Hobart on Friday.

         Likewise, Ricky Ponting's exclusion from the Australian XI in
         Hobart suggests a trip to Perth for Tasmania's Sheffield Shield
         match and then back across the continent to Brisbane for the Test
         against the West Indies.

         Since Ian Healy's promotion to the Test team against Pakistan in
         1988, he has guarded his Australian position jealously. Healy is
         32 and wants to undertake next year's Ashes tour of England,
         perhaps as his swansong. He acknowledged no man was indispensable,
         nor any with a divine right to national selection. At least for
         the present, the selectors disagree.

         One Australian official said of Healy: "He's a champion player,
         and should be treated as such. The only thing that will stop him
         is a broken leg."

         The Australian selectors meet in Sydney today for their usual
         early-season policy meeting. Vice-captaincy will be touched on,
         with a view ahead to the tours of South Africa and England, but no
         dramatic anouncement is anticipated about the team's executive
         positions. Shane Warne, tipped by some as a candidate for the
         vice-captaincy, may well captain Australia one day, but knows
         patience is a virtue.

         When asked about the issue during the Sheffield Shield match
         against New South Wales, he said: "That's the first I've heard
         about it - I've got no idea. I think Heals has done a great job as
         vice-captain and I don't think it's for me to say whether I should
         be vice-captain or not. I'm just worrying about getting back and
         playing for Australia."

         Likewise Gilchrist, one of the more exciting young players in the
         game, will not edge out Healy yet. At the back of the selectors'
         minds is his performance behind the stumps at the Gabba last
         December when he captained the Australian XI against the West
         Indies. His glovework was not without blemish, and they remember
         it. Gilchrist went back to Perth and by the end of the season was
         making breath-taking leg-side stumpings. His day will come.

         As ever, the Hobart XI reflects the selectors' thoughts on the
         Test team and players on the verge of national representation. NSW
         fast bowler Anthony Stuart, 26, and Queenslander Andrew Bichel,
         26, are worthy new-ball selections, both strong candidates for
         higher honors.

         In the light of Michael Bevan's successes against Victoria,
         however, it is perplexing to see him in the batting line-up.
         Perhaps the selectors wish to compare Bevan with Stuart Law.
         Perhaps, more logically, they wish to balance up the situation
         with NSW meeting Queensland in a Sheffield Shield match at
         Bankstown Oval from next Friday.

         The Australian XI for Hobart is: Matthew Elliott, Matthew Hayden,
         Greg Blewett, Michael Bevan, Stuart Law (c), Darren Lehmann, Adam
         Gilchrist, Bradley Hogg, Andrew Bichel, Anthony Stuart, Jason
         Gillespie (12th man, from Tasmania, to be named).

                Rediff (India)

                Crowd control the main agenda at convention of cricket referees

                The two-day National Grid match referee's meeting in
                Bombay, on November 8 and 9, will consider various
                methods of investing crowd control power to its
                members in view of the serious problems it has
                created in recent times in international cricket.

                International Cricket Conference chairman Sir Clyde
                Walcott, under whose aegis the conference will be
                held, said in Bombay today that recent instances of
                stone throwing and invasion of the playing field by
                crowds have undermined the spirit of the game, and
                the referees' meeting will try to find some solutions
                to the problem.

                Citing the instance of Calcutta, where match referee
                Clive Lloyd had to concede the World Cup semifinal to
                Sri Lanka against India due to crowd ***, and an
                instance in Bangalore during the just concluded Titan
                Cup, he said there was a move to blacklist guilty
                centres from holding international matches.

                Other items on the agenda, Walcott said, would be to
                make the code of conduct for players stricter, and to
                usher in uniformity in penalties.

                Eigh*** match referees, two each from the nine Test
                playing nations, are participating in this first such

                Reviewing the workings of match referees since their
                introduction in 1991, Walcott said he was satisfied
                with the result. The meeting, he said, would take
                note of the achievements and look at further
                empowering the match referees. "I find scope for
                further improvement in refereeing," Walcott said

                ICC secretary Dave Richards said that though the
                referee's powers would be enhanced, it could not
                solve the problem of commercialistion of cricket
                gear. For instance, he pointed out, there are certain
                firms that at least on paper describe themselves as
                manufacturers of cricketing gear and thus entitled to
                have their logos on players' kits, and it was
                impossible to prove otherwise. South Africa, Richards
                said, was the only country which protested against
                non-sports logos on cricket bats.

                Referring to the growing protests against tobacco
                companies sponsoring cricket tournaments, Richards
                said it would be difficult to curb that at this
                present point in time as tobacco accounted for fifty
                per cent of all cricket sponsorship. "We will need to
                find alternative sources of sponsorship before taking
                any steps in this direction," Richards said.

                The ICC secretary admitted that various international
                captains had complained about sentences and fines
                imposed by match referees varying from game to game,
                even for similar offences. "We are working at
                evolving a common system, and bringing consistency to
                the penalties they impose," Richards said.

                Referring to the modern practise of putting up huge
                television screens in stadia whereby the crowd got to
                see closeups of controversial umpiring decisions or
                player behaviour that could be incendiary, Richards
                said there was no solution to that problem. "It is
                part of cricket entertainment, and should stay,"
                Walcott added.

                Rediff (India)

                Locomoting with foot firmly in mouth

                Prem Panicker


                For a day and a half after the Titan
                Cup final at the ***hede, all I
                wanted to do - all I did, in fact - was sit and watch
                the semifinal (okay, the virtual semifinal, the game
                at Mohali between India and Australia which decided
                who would go into the final to face South Africa) and
                final of the tournament, on video.

                And if that sounds like *** of the highest
                order, then think again. The problem with doing a
                commentary through the entire course of a match can
                best be summed up by that old cliche, that you don't
                get to see the wood for the trees. In other words,
                you are focussing so intently on each successive
                ball, that you somehow miss out on the enjoyment of
                just kicking back and watching a match.

                And then, coming back to work today after that little
                layoff, I was going through the transcript of my live
                commentary for the final - and laughing helplessly to
                myself. I mean, this is the first I realised how
                silly a commentator sounds as he tries his hand at
                predicting the course of the game, then hastily
                backtracking when the game in question goes an
                altogether different course. Sort of like Richie
                Benaud said once: "The only possible result is a
                draw. The alternative, of course, is a win for

                I mean, did I actually say, when analysing the wicket
                at the start of play, that "It is hard enough to
                assist the fast bowlers, and soft enough to give the
                spinners something to smile about."? And did those
                hundreds of people who logged in to get the
                commentary live actually take that sort of piffle
                without rioting?

                There's no excuse for that kind of bilge, really -
                but there is an explanation. You see, commentators
                are human blokes. And asking said commentator to look
                at the TV screen, keep in mind disparate elements
                like the state of the weather, the number of overs
                bowled and still to go, the batsman's abilities and
                lack of them, the placing of the field, the direction
                of turn the bowler's getting, the difference between
                a deep backward square leg and a fine leg inside the
                circle... and still make sense while talking (or, in
                this case, typing) up proceedings on the run.

                Sort of like putting a man up there on a tightrope,
                without a net below him, and telling him to walk
                across to the other end while trying to finish off a
                bowl of noodles with a pair of chopsticks.

                And predictably enough, the results can be hilarious.

                I don't plan to recount my own follies - enough
                people have bust a gut laughing over them during the
                course of the Toronto and Titan Cup tournaments.

                But since it is the holiday season,    
                and you guys out there have had your
                fill of cricket theory, here's some fun and games to
                keep you going. In the form of blunders, bloopers and
                other wonders pulled off by cricket experts over

                Remember that time when South Africa, after being six
                down for almost nothing, staged a miraculous recovery
                through Dave Richardson and Pat Symcox? What could
                have described such a situation better than this gem
                from journalist Christopher Martin-Jenkins,
                describing a similar situation? "It is now possible
                for them to get the impossible score they had first
                thought possible."

                Of course, the six for next to nothing situation
                itself can be best capsuled by this quote, the source
                of which I am not too sure of - "The West Indies will
                need to dig deep to get out of the hole they now find
                themselves in".

                The presence of slow motion cameras brings with it a
                rather peculiar problem - how do you describe real
                time action when it is being replayed at the speed of
                molasses? The great Richie Benaud once tried, and
                came up with this gem: "The slow motion doesn't show
                you how fast the ball was travelling". And Ian
                Chappell topped that when he once said, "Fast bowlers
                are quick... Just watch this. Admittedly, this is in
                slow motion."

                When a captain is also a bowler - and both Sachin
                Tendulkar and Hansie Cronje belong in that category -
                then the pitfalls for the commentator multiply. Brian
                Johnston, one of the wittiest of
                commentators/journalists, once provided unintentional
                humour when, commenting on a match where Raymond
                Illingworth, leading his side, was bowling himself in
                short spells, said in the heat of the moment: "You
                have joined us at a very appropriate time: Ray
                Illingworth has just relieved himself at the pavilion

                My favourite commentator - both because he tends to
                liven up a session in his own inimitable fashion, and
                also because you pay close attention because if you
                don't, you just might miss a classic quote - is Henry
                Blofeld, he of the ear-ring ***. Here are a few
                reasons why I like Blowers:

                "The lights are shining quite darkly" - and I'll let
                you figure out for yourself what that meant.

                "It's a catch he would have held 99 times out of
                1,000" - which, to this day, I am not sure whether it
                was meant as compliment, or insult.

                "The small dimunitive figure of Shoaib Mohammad, who
                can't be much shorter than he is" - which indicate
                why Blowers is such a favourite, simply because he
                tends to rattle on at a pace quite out of sync with
                his own thoughts.

                But of course, my all time favourite Blowers quote
                came when he found himself opening a telecast in
                Calcutta, and telling his audience why there was a
                packed crowd because it was a national holiday. Over
                to Blofeld: "Calcutta is celebrating the
                assassination of Mahatma Gandhi."

                One of the major problems of commentating lies in the
                fact that silence can be daunting - the commentator
                who is stuck during one of those periodic lulls in
                action rushes to fill the space with words, while his
                brain is lulled by the very lack of activity he is
                seeking to compensate for. And it is to this
                phenomenon, of talking when there is little to say,
                that we owe the following gems:

                "An interesting morning, full of interest" - Jim Laker

                "The black cloud is coming from the direction the
                wind is blowing. And now the wind is coming from
                where the black cloud is" - Ray Illingworth

                "The rain has now stopped. Only a heavy drizzle now"
                - Benaud

                "The first time you face a googly, you are going to
                be in trouble if you have never faced one before" -
                Trevor Bailey

                "Unless something happens that we can't predict, I
                don't think a lot will happen" - Fred Trueman

                "It makes you realise that he is probably a better
                batsman than you realise" - Ian Botham

                "This was a tremendous six. The ball was still in the
                air as it went over the boundary" -Fred Trueman

                "He will certainly want to start by getting off the
                mark" - Don Mosey.

                Another problem commentators face is that your mind
                tells you something, but somehow, when you vocalise
                that thought, it comes out all wrong.

                As witness Ravi Shastri, who recently said "His feet
                were a long way away from his body" - which could as
                easily have described a dismembered corpse as a
                batsman who was playing a bad cricketing shot.

                Or England coach David Lloyd, who described a part
                time bowler in the Jimmy Amarnath/Steve Waugh mould
                in these words: "He is a dangerous bowler. Innocuous,
                if you like."

                Hey, like I said, I didn't include myself in this
                list because you've been busting a gut over my
                follies anyways.

                But if you have a favourite cricketing blooper, write
                in and share it with us - we'll take your entries and
                put them together into another compilation...

                Meanwhile, have a great festive weekend, wherever you

                Rediff (India)

                Hitting out in a pinch

                V Gangadhar

                During the 1992 World Cup in Australia, Imran Khan's
                Pakistanis who were on the verge of being knocked out
                of the preliminary rounds, adopted a new strategy in
                some of their crucial league matches. The batsmen
                were told not to worry over the run rate. The aim was
                to lose as few wickets as possible and then unleash
                an attack from over number 35 onwards. An early
                collapse was to be prevented at all costs.

                Gifted strokeplayers like Saeed Anwar,
                Aamir Sohail were told to graft.
                Skipper Imran promoted himself to the strategic
                number three position and batted solidly. This policy
                was successful in the crucial last league tie against
                Australia, the semi-final against New Zealand and the
                final against England. Pakistan lost only two or
                three wickets by the 35th over and the final ***
                was brilliantly carried out by the genius, Javed
                Miandad and the rookie star, Inzamam-ul-Haq.

                But cricket strategy,            
                particularly in one-day cricket,
                is constantly changing. Soon after the World Cup and
                the retirement of Imran Khan, Pakistan went back,
                quite successfully to the old slam-bang tactics.
                Saeed Anwar and Aamir Sohail played their strokes
                from ball one and runs gushed forth during the first
                15 overs. And today, Pakistan is fortunate to have
                discovered yet another genius, the 16-year old Shahid
                Afridi, who recently broke Sri Lankan Sanath
                Jayasuriya's records for the fastest 50 and 100 in
                limited-overs cricket. Afridi is now all set to take
                over the opener's slot from Aamir Sohail, and the
                Anwar-Afridi combination may turn out to be more
                devastating than the explosive Lankan duo, Jayasuriya
                and Kaluwitharana.

                The pinch-hitting approach of the
                Sri Lankans, which they formulated
                while touring Australia in 1995, had revolutionised
                batting in one-day cricket. Prior to that, most
                nations preferred to let their openers and middle
                order batsmen settle down and then go full steam
                ahead during the final ten slog overs. But with Sri
                Lanka treating the first 15 overs as the slog overs,
                the other nations were tempted to follow suit. India
                did it briefly, with Sachin Tendulkar promoted to
                open the innings against New Zealand and going full
                blast. But unlike the Sri Lankans, India did not have
                the consistent batting strength down the order. If
                Tendulkar got out cheaply, the rest of the team
                collapsed. Today, despite occasionally promoting
                Srinath to the number three slot, the Indian approach
                had been normalised with Tendulkar forced to adopt
                the sheet anchor role. What the Indians appear to be
                missing is someone like Krish Srikkanth, who was a
                one-man demolition squad against even the very best
                attacks in the world! Today, we do not have a settled
                opening pair, let alone a pinch hitter.

                Even the greatest opening pair in      
                international cricket, West Indians
                Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes, did not go in
                for pinch hitting. I do not remember them scoring at
                the same hectic pace as the Sri Lankan openers. But
                Haynes and Greenidge were no slouches and, with a
                judicious mixture of big hits and singles and twos,
                they managed a rate of four or five an over. This was
                quite enough considering the fact that the batsmen to
                follow included strokemakers like Viv Richards and
                Clive Lloyd. Today, the West Indians have no settled
                opening pair and have tried out even wicketkeeper
                Courtney Browne as an opening pinch hitter, a move
                which did not click. Of course, with Brian Lara
                batting at number three, the Windies can accelerate
                at will when Lara is in full flow. But they have
                really not mastered the pinch hitting technique.

                The Australians and the South Africans do not go
                berserk as the Sri Lankans. Their approach is
                smoother and better planned. For Australia, skipper
                Mark Taylor can never slog but Mark Waugh, without
                much effort, can lift the scoring rate to
                astronomical heights without resorting to the ugly
                cross-batted heaves of Kaluwitharana. But whenever
                Mark Waugh fails, the Australians get stuck and I
                wonder if Tayor has thought of pushing himself down
                and promoting Stuart Law to open with Waugh. Law,
                like Waugh, is a classy player, who can really tear
                apart any attack.

                The South Africans revealed for the
                first time during the 1996 World Cup
                that their low-profile openers, Gary Kirstein and
                Andrew Hudson, were no slouches. In fact, they caned
                the famed Pakistani attack consisting of Wasim Akram,
                Waqar Younis and Aaqib Javed so furiously that the
                home team simply gave in. Since then, the South
                Africans, despite losing to the West Indies in the
                World Cup quarter-final and to India in the Titan Cup
                final, have gone from success to success. Kirstein
                and Hudson had proved themselves capable of scoring
                at a hectic pace. The South African skipper, Hanse
                Cronje, seemed to follow the system of pinch hitters
                because he often promoted big hitter Pat Symcox to
                the number three spot. Of late, the South Africans
                have the best record in one-day cricket, but I would
                love to see them chase a target of around 270-odd
                against the Australians, Sri Lankans or the

                Since the decline of Mark Greatbatch and the
                premature retirement of Martin Crowe, New Zealand had
                reached the nadir of their cricketing fortunes. Of
                course, it was Crowe who promoted the beefy
                Greatbatch to open the innings and ordered him to go
                for the bowling. England is too inconsistent in its
                approach to focus on pinch hitting techniques and
                flopped miserably in the 1996 World Cup.

                Of course, there can be no consistent approach to
                such batting techniques and each side has to
                formulate its own strategy. If a side did not have
                the players of the caliber of Jayasurya, Saeed Anwar
                or Mark Waugh, the best strategy is to go along at
                the rate of around 4.5 runs an over and then lash out
                during the last ten overs. But no batting side can
                dawdle early on, hoping that things could be
                rectified during the slog overs. Wickets may tumble
                and the entire strategy of reserving everything
                towards the end may boomerang. It is the duty of the
                openers and the middle order batsmen to avoid falling
                into such a trap which puts great pressure on the
                batsmen to follow. Pakistan lost out to an inferior
                Australian team in the 1987 semi-final at Lahore
                because the earlier batsmen were too slow. Miadad and
                Imran were left with the job of scoring eight an over
                a long stretch of overs and when Imran was given out,
                the team had no chance.

                 Rediff (India)

                 War and fees - the story of modern cricket : Part One

                 Arjun Appadurai

                 Corporate patronage of cricket is a fascinating
                 factor in the sociology of Indian sport, and its
                 essential are these: many prestigious companies
                 hired ( and still do) outstanding cricket players
                 early in their careers, gave them considerable
                 freedom to maintain the rigorous practice schedules
                 to assure their staying in form, and, most
                 important, assured them secure employment as regular
                 members of their staffs after their cricket careers
                 ended. Such employment of cricketers was seen,
                 originally in Bombay in the 1950s, as a beneficial
                 form of social advertising, accruing goodwill to the
                 company by its support of an increasingly popular
                 sport, of some 'stars' and of the health of the
                 national image in international competition.

                 Corporate employment of cricketers has      
                 meant support of talent not just in the big
                 cities; the State Bank of India ( a huge
                 public-sector operation) recruited and hired
                 excellent cricketers in its branches throughout
                 India, so that this patron was single-handedly
                 responsible for the nurturance of cricket far from
                 its urban homes. Thus corporate patronage of cricket
                 is not only responsible for providing a
                 quasi-professional means of security for a sport
                 whose deepest ideals are 'amateur', it also provides
                 a steady initiative for drawing in aspiring young
                 men from the poorer classes and from semirural parts
                 of India.

                 In turn, corporate support has meant
                 that the state has been able to make
                 a relatively low investment in cricket, yet reap a
                 large profit in terms of national sentiment. While
                 the patronage of cricket since World War II has been
                 largely a commercial investment on the part of major
                 corporations (as part of their public relations and
                 advertising budgets), the state in India has been
                 generous with its extension of media support to the
                 game. This alliance between state-controlled
                 investments - through media and the provision of law
                 and order, through private commercial interests in
                 providing career security to players, and through a
                 complex public (though not governmental) body called
                 the Board of Control for Cricket in India - provided
                 the infrastructure for the transformation of cricket
                 into a major national passion in the four decades
                 since Indian independence in 1947.

                 The television phase in the history of Indian
                 cricket, of course, is part of the intense recent
                 commercialisation of cricket and the associated
                 commodification of its stars. Like other sports
                 figures in the capitalist world, the best known
                 Indian cricket stars are now metacommodities, on
                 sale themselves while they fuel the ciruculation of
                 other commodities. The sport itself is increasingly
                 in the hands of advertisers, promoters, and
                 entrepreneurs, with television, radio, and print
                 media feeding the national passion for the sport and
                 its stars. Such commodification of public spectacles
                 appears at first glance to be simply the Indian
                 expression of a worldwide process, and thus to
                 represent neither decolonization nor indigenization
                 but recolonization by the forces of international
                 capital. But what it mostly represents is the
                 aggressive mood of Indian capitalists in seizing the
                 potential of cricket for commercial purposes.

                 Transformed into a national passion by the processes
                 of spectacle, cricket in the past two decades has
                 become a matter of mass entertainment and mobility
                 for some, and thereby has become wrapped up with
                 winning. Indian crowds have become steadily more
                 greedy for India victories in Test matches and
                 steadily more vituperative about losses, both at
                 home and abroad. Thus players, coaches, and managers
                 walk a tigheter rope than ever before. While they
                 reap the benefits of stardom and commercialisation,
                 they came to be increasingly solicitous of critics
                 and the crowd, which does not not tolerate even
                 temporary setbacks. This has meant a steady growth
                 in the pressure for technical excellence.


                War and fees - the story of modern cricket: Part Two

                Arjun Appadurai

                After a serious slump from the mid-fifties
                to the late sixties, Indian cricketers won
                some extraordinary victories in 1971 over the West
                Indies and over England, both on the home grounds of
                their opponents. Though the 1971 national team was
                hailed by crowds and critics alike, there were
                suggestions that the victories owed much to luck and
                the poor form of the opposing teams. Nevertheless,
                1971 marked a turning point for Indian cricket, under
                the leadership of Ajit Wadekar. Though there were
                some real setbacks after that, Indian cricketers had
                shown that they could beat their opponents in
                convincing fashion. The 1971 victories thus marked
                the psychological inauguration of a new boldness in
                India cricket.

                The seventies were a period in which every test team
                was humbled by the West Indies, who seemed too
                powerful to touch, with their brilliant batsmen,
                their extraordinary (and scary) fast bowlers, and
                their speed in the field. Cricket had become the
                Caribbean sport; everyone else was struggling to stay
                in the picture. In this context, the sweetest moment
                for India cricket was the victory over a strong West
                Indies team in 1983. with that victory India
                established itself as a world force in international
                cricket whose real competition was the West Indies
                and Pakistan rather than England and Australia. South
                Africa, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka remained largely
                our-side the top rank in Test cricket. By 1983
                England appeared to be a spent force in test cricket
                (in spite of occasional stars like Ian Botham) and
                India a major one.

                But it is important not only that the black and
                brown ex-colonies now dominate world cricket. It is
                significant that their triumph coincides with a
                period in which the impact of media,
                commercialisation, and national passion have almost
                completely eroded the old Victorial civilities
                associated with cricket. Cricket is now aggressive,
                spectaclar, and frequently unsporting: audiences
                thirst for antional victory, and player and promoters
                are out for the money. It is hard to escape the
                conclusion that the decolonization of cricket would
                not have occurred without detaching the sport from
                its Victorian m***integument: Nor is this process
                restricted to the colonies: it has been noticed that
                Thatcherism in England has done much to erode the
                ideology of 'fair play' that once dominated cricket
                in its home country.

                Cricket now belongs to a different m***and
                aesthetic world, far from the one imagined by Thomas
                Arnold of Rugby. Nothing marks this change in ethos
                as much as the arrival of the professionlised,
                striclty commercial phenomenon of World Series
                Cricket, a global, media-centered cricket package
                created by an Australian named Kerry Packer. Packe's
                WSC was the first major threat both to the colonial
                ecumene of amateur sportsmanship and to the
                post-World War II ethic of cricket nationalism,
                centered as it was on the major innovation in the
                sport since World War II -- one-day cricket, in which
                a single day's play (as opposed to five or more days)
                settles the outcome. One-day cricket encourages risk
                taking, aggressiveness, and bravado while suiting
                perfectly the intense attention appropriate to
                high-powered television advertising and a higher
                turnover of events and settings. Packer's WSC
                bypassed national loyalty in the name of media
                entertainment and fast economic benefits for players.
                West Indian, English, Australian, and Pakistani
                cricketers were quick to see its appeals. But in
                India, players were slower to respond, since the
                structure of patronage gave them much more security
                than their counterparts enjoyed elsewhere. Still,
                Packer's bold enterprise was the signal that cricket
                had moved into yet another, postnationalist, phase in
                which entertainment value, media coverage, and the
                commercialisation of players would transcend the
                national loyalty of the early post-Independence
                period and the Victorian amateur ethic of the
                colonial period.

                Today, Indian cricket represents a complex
                configuration of each of these historical
                transformations. The rule structure of the game and
                the codes of behaviour on the field are still
                nominally regulated by the classic Victorian values
                of restraint, sportsmanship, and amateurism. At the
                same time, national loyalty is a powerful
                counterpoint to these ideals, and victory at any cost
                is the demand fo crowds and television audiences.
                From the point of view of players and promoters, both
                the Victorian code and nationalist concerns are
                subordinated to the transnational flow of talent,
                celebrity, and money.


                 War and fees - the story of modern cricket - Part three

                 Arjun Appadurai

                 The new ethos is best captured in the recently created
                 Australsia Cup, hosted by the tiny Persian Gulf
                 emirate of Sharjah, which has a considerable
                 population of Indian and Pakistani migrants. This
                 cup brings out both the commercial and the
                 nationalist logic of contemporary cricket. In an
                 extremely exciting final sequence in the decisive
                 match in 1986, watched by a television audience of
                 15 million, Pakistan needed four runs to win and
                 achieved them in one stroke against the last ball of
                 the match. The live audience for the game included
                 film stars and other celebrities from India and
                 Pakistan as well as South Asian migrants making
                 their living on Gulf money.

                 The Sharjah cup is a long way from the playing field
                 of Eton. The patronage of oil money, the
                 semiproletarian audience of Indian and Pakistani
                 migrant workers in the Persian Gulf, film stars from
                 the subcontinent, all sitting on a sports field
                 created by Islamic oil wealth, an enormous
                 television audience in the subcontinent, prize money
                 and ad revenue in abundance, ***-thirsty cricket.:
                 here, finally, is the last blow to Victorian
                 upper-class cricket codes, and here is a different
                 global ecumene. After Sharjah, all cricket is
                 Trobriand cricket, not because of the dramatic rule
                 changes associated with that famous form of cricket,
                 but because of the successful hijacking of a ritual
                 from its orginal English practical hegemony and its
                 Victorian m***integument. From the perspective of
                 Sharjah, it is the Etonians who seem like
                 Trobrianders today.

                 Part of the deconlonization of cricket is the
                 corrosion of the myth of the Commonwealth, the
                 loose fraternity of nations united by their previous
                 status as parts of the British Empire. The
                 Commonwealth has largely become a community of sport
                 (like the Ivy League in the eastern United States).
                 Politics, and diplomacy has become a farce: Fijians
                 drive Indian immigrants (while Sinhala cricket teams
                 tour India); Pakistan and India teeter continuously
                 on the edge of war; the new nations of Africa fight
                 a variety of internecine battles; South Africa is a
                 site of new *** anxieties; and England is
                 embarrassed by Bradford Muslims and Salman Rushdie.

                 Yet the Commonwealth Games are a serious and
                 successful international enterprise, and global
                 crcket is still on the face of it an affair of the
                 Commonwealth. But the Commonwealth that is
                 constituted by cricket today is not an orderly
                 community of former colonies held together by common
                 adherence to a Victorian and colonial code. it is an
                 agonistic reality in which a variety of postcolonial
                 patholigies ( and dreams) are played out on the
                 landscape of common colonial heritage. No longer an
                 instrument for socialising black and brown men into
                 the public etiquette of empire, it is now an
                 instrument for mobilising national sentiment in the
                 service of trans-national spectacles and

                 The peculiar tension between nationalism and
                 decolonization is best seen in the cricket diplomacy
                 between India and Pakistan, which involves multiple
                 levels of competition and cooperation. Perhaps the
                 best example of cooperation in the spirit of
                 decolonization is the very complex process through
                 which politicans and bureacrats at the highest leves
                 of the two antagonistic nations cooperated in the
                 mid-1980s to shift the venue of the prestigious
                 World Cup from England to the subcontinent in 1987,
                 with the financial backing of the Reliance Group of
                 Industries (one of the biggest, most aggressive
                 business houses in contemporary India) and the
                 encouragement of the leaders of the two countries.

                 Yet in Sharjah, as well as in every venue in
                 India, in Pakistan, and elsewhere since
                 Partition, cricket matches between India and
                 Pakistan are thinly disguised national wars. Cricket
                 is not so much a release valve for popular hostility
                 between the two populations as a complex arena for
                 reenacting the curious mixture of animosity and
                 fraternity that characterises the relations between
                 these two previously united nation-states. England,
                 in any case, is no longer part of the equation,
                 whether in the tense politics of Kashmir or on the
                 cricket grounds of Sharjah.

                 Recent journalistic coverage of the Australasia Cup
                 matches in Sharjah suggested that the Gulf States
                 have moved into increasing prominence as venues for
                 international cricket, and the national rivalry
                 between India and Pakistan has been deliberately
                 both highlighted and contained in order to create a
                 simulacrum of their current tension over Kashmir.
                 While the armies face each other across the borders
                 of Kashmir, the cricket teams privide a star-studded
                 simulacrum of warfare on the cricket field.


                 Excerpted from Consuming Modernity: Public Culture
                 in Contemporary India, by Carol A Breckenridge,
                 Oxford University Press, 1996, with the publishers'

                 Please note: Readers in the US may secure a copy of
                 the book from Oxford University Press Inc USA, 198,
                 Madison Avenue, New York, New York, 10016, USA. Tel:
                 212-726-6000. Fax: 212-726-6440.

               THE HINDU

               Performance, not age, must be criterion for selection -

               By G. Viswanath

               MUMBAI, Nov. 8.

               After winning the Titan Cup, India's captain Sachin
               Tendulkar spoke his mind out on a specific issue. ``Age
               ought not to be the factor in judging players for
               selection. It should be performance. A cricketer is good
               as long as there is performance to back him,'' said the
               24-year-old Tendulkar with seven years of international
               experience at the post final press conference on

               But a few hours before India's win against South Africa,
               the National selection committee chaired by Mr. Ramakant
               Desai, and consisting of Messrs Kishen Rungta, M. P.
               Pandove, Sambaran Banerjee and Shivlal Yadav ignored
               years of performance by a few bowlers when they chose
               the Board President's XI team for the three-day match
               against South Africa to be played at Baroda from
               November 15 to 17.

               The selectors have been blissfully ignorant of a few
               bowlers' consistent performance over the years. What is
               shocking is their not giving more opportunities to
               bowlers who were tried against Australia and included on
               tours to Sri Lanka and Canada. This raises the question
               that on what basis do the selectors pick the teams?

               The Board President's team has three medium pacers.
               Mumbai's Salil Ankola, Bengal's Arindham Sarkar and
               Rajasthan's P. Krishnakumar. The two specialist spinners
               are Narendra Hirwani and Venkatapathy Raju. In the last
               seven years Ankola has been in and out of the national
               team. Tendulkar's predecessor Mohammad Azharuddin did
               not have confidence in Ankola. The situation has not
               changed a bit under the leadership of Tendulkar.

               Ankola was seen as `Borde's boy' when he went to
               Pakistan with the Srikkanth-led Indian team. The right
               arm medium pacer, who had a slinging action, shortened
               his run up after being advised by coach Frank Tyson and
               has been effective. Till date he has 162 wickets from 46
               first class matches (upto 1995-96 season). Will he be on
               trial against South Africa at Baroda if he is picked in
               the XI?

               The second medium pacer in the team is Bengal's
               23-year-old Arindham Sarkar. He has played 11 first
               class matches and taken 26 wickets. Last season he took
               12 wickets from seven first class matches at an average
               of 37.91. Sarkar may be a talented medium pacer, but
               does his performance merit selection in an important
               team like the Board President's XI and against an
               international team.

               Weighty displays

               Sarkar's 26 wickets in two seasons pales into
               insignificance when one views the weighty performances
               by Mumbai's Abey Kuruvilla and Tamil Nadu's Diwakar
               Vasu. Kuruvilla has taken 159 wickets from 43 first
               class matches with an impressive economy rate. Last
               season 28-year-old Kuruvilla took 28 wickets from eight
               first class matches at 23.71.

               Left handed allrounder Diwakar Vasu has been another
               cricketer whom the selection committee has chosen to
               ignore. Vasu will soon turn 28 and ought to have been
               developed as a fine allrounder. Vasu's cricketing
               credentials can be deemed only excellent. He has played
               56 first class matches, scored 2413 runs (average 34
               plus) with two centuries and 17 fifties, taken 189
               wickets. Last season Vasu claimed 35 wickets at 25.51,
               besides taking 51 catches.

               The third medium pacer in the side is 22-year-old
               left-handed all rounder Krishnakumar. He has taken 77
               wickets from 24 first class matches and scored 1047
               runs. Another bowler, who has been included in the team,
               is Saurashtra's Hitesh Parsana. The right arm off break
               bowler has taken 45 wickets and scored 600 runs in 21
               first class matches.

               Karnataka's David Johnson was selected for the tours to
               Sri Lanka and Canada. He was not played in both the
               tournaments. The right arm medium pacer was picked on
               the strength of his 76 wickets from 21 first class
               matches. After playing him in one Test against
               Australia, the selectors have ignored him.

               Doddanarasiah Ganesh's tally at the end of the 1995-96
               season was 18 wickets from 18 first class matches. But
               he made a big impact in the Irani Cup and then impressed
               against Australia at Patiala.

               The selection committee chairman Mr. Ramakant Desai
               feels, Johnson and Ganesh will get one chance against
               South Africa at Kochi. This argument is difficult to
               understand. How do the selectors evaluate players like
               Johnson and Ganesh who are said to be India material?
               Are the selectors going to sit in judgment on one match
               performance or on performances over a number of matches?
               If Johnson and Ganesh are what they are said to be then
               they ought to have been in the Board President's team,

               Robin Singh's record

               Tamil Nadu allrounder Robin Singh must consider himself
               lucky to have got a recall after seven years. Robin
               Singh is 33 and got a chance only because opening
               batsman W. V. Raman had pulled out of the Tamil Nadu-Goa
               match owing to injury. It will be interesting to note
               Robin Singh's first class career statistics. The left-
               hander had played 95 first class matches at the end of
               the 1995- 96 season, scored 5304 runs with 19 centuries
               and 20 fifties, captured 121 wickets and held 77
               catches. His 18 catches last season was only five short
               of Sunil Gavaskar's 23 catches which is the best by an
               Indian in a first class season.

               The performing medium pacers _ apart from Javagal
               Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad _ in the recent past have been
               Ankola, Kuruvilla, Vasu, Robin Singh, Paras Mambhrey and
               Johnson. Yet the National Selection committee has
               preferred Arindham Sarkar and Krishnakumar _ whose
               performances have not been all that great to merit
               attention _ to others who have being doing well. Those
               who have showed consistency must get recognition while
               those who are on the fringe must get more than one
               chance for proper assessment. At least in the case of
               medium pacers the selectors do not seem to have done
               justice. In the case of the spinners, however, they have
               gone on performances _ Hirwani who has taken 413 wickets
               and Raju 328 wickets _ are in the Board President's

               THE HINDU

               Missing the wood for the trees

               Date: 09-11-1996

               The best umpires of our country are not assigned to do
               duty in the one-dayers as the cricket Board hands out
               assignments like favours to please various people,
               writes R. Mohan.

               IT was somewhat amusing to read the other day that
               Sachin Tendulkar had no comment to make on the umpiring.
               The reference was to the one-day international between
               South Africa and India at Rajkot in which dubious
               decisions against Sachin and Azharuddin had been handed
               down by an umpire standing in his first international

               Now, bad umpiring cuts both ways. There are occasions on
               which home teams profit from umpiring errors as India so
               obviously did in Bangalore where S. K. Bansal had a
               terrible match and so simply stopped giving anyone out.
               There are, of course, other times in which even the home
               team will have complaints against the umpiring.

               To go into the details of good and bad umpiring
               decisions would be to miss the wood for the trees. Quite
               honestly, what is happening in our country is the best
               umpires do not do duty in the one-day internationals.
               This is the crux of the matter. The Board of Control for
               Cricket in India hands out umpiring assignments like
               favours to please various people and accommodate diverse
               pulls and pressures.

               The general idea within the limitations imposed by the
               need to pick balanced teams would be to pick the best
               possible players for international cricket. If that
               premise is accepted, is it not logical then that the
               best umpires should be doing duty? What then was the
               Board trying to achieve in posting 20 umpires for 10
               matches in the just concluded Titan Cup? This is a kind
               of cruel joke we impose on ourselves.

               While most of the time visiting teams may leave cribbing
               about the umpiring, sometimes they go away smiling but
               almost always go away laughing at the joke being imposed
               by such practices.

               It is not always amusing to see how the quota system is
               ruining the image of cricket in the country. Not for a
               minute is it being suggested that bad umpiring exists
               only in our country. Far from it. The quality of
               officiating worldwide has come down considerably in the
               '90s even as umpires are facing more and more pressures
               from all-seeing cameras which are getting better by the

               A peculiar problem has been created by the policy of
               appea***t by which the Board tries to please as many
               regions as possible. What happens as a result of such a
               foolish appointment policy is quality is terribly
               compromised. Umpires who are not qualified to stand in a
               one-day international are getting in and ruining the
               tempo of play between professional cricketers who aspire
               to play to very high standards.

               Arguments like `the umpire is always right' do not cut
               ice anymore. The camera is the unforgiving master in the
               electronic age. It is exposing umpires virtually every
               minute. The super slow motion should be ruining the
               appetite of many an umpire as it must have done that of
               Peter Willey in the one-off Test in which he gave Ricky
               Ponting in when the Indians claimed the catch behind the
               wicket off his glove.

               Human error? Yes. But errors like these are becoming
               unacceptable in an era in which there is such a premium
               on excellence and in which sportsmen strive not only for
               success but also battle for huge payoffs. Imagine the
               plight of someone like Azharuddin who would not have
               been too keen about any examination of his form until he
               came good in the Mohali match.

               Azhar is batting in a most relaxed way but such a free
               approach must merely be hiding his anxieties. And to be
               given out at least once in a series when `in' must be a
               bit thick for anyone, more so for the former captain who
               was desperately keen to scotch any idea that he is not
               trying hard enough for his side. But he too is just one
               victim of the kind of comical errors committed in the
               series. What makes the whole issue stranger is despite
               years of having posted umpires to one-day series on the
               quota basis, the Board is yet to impose some kind of
               quality standards. It was clear from the Titan Cup
               series that the former players fared better than those
               who have not played the game at a high or intense level.

               Subroto Porel had such a good match in Bangalore despite
               the tensions and the ruckus caused by Bansal's decision
               and Azhar's peevish reaction. Vijay Chopra proved his
               competence even as his colleague was picking up the
               dubious reputation of dismissing two Indian captains in
               half a day. Jayaprakash has built up an impressive

               It would make a lot more sense to short list the
               competent and create a national panel from which umpires
               can be promoted to ICC's international panel as and when
               vacancies arise. To give more matches in a one-day
               series to the competent would be the best route not only
               to finding and rewarding the better umpires but also to
               raising the image of the game in the country.

               The last thing players want is tight, competitive
               cricket matches to be spoiled by poor umpiring. Such
               errors may cut both ways but what cannot be recovered is
               the loss of tempo of the game or of an innings disrupted
               by a dubious decision. Is it humanly possible to compute
               what may have happened to the result of a match in which
               the leading batsmen of both sides were wrongly given

               The world's best umpires, too, can have bad days as we
               saw in the case of David Shepherd in the Sahara Cup in
               Toronto, Canada. But as Wasim Akram kept saying ``It's
               fine so long as they are consistent.'' What he may have
               meant is if both sides are affected by bad umpiring
               decisions, as they were in that tournament, there should
               really be less room for complaints.

               The point is the system of appointments in our country
               is too diffuse to allow quality to come through. Also,
               there is some suspicion that merit was not the real
               factor in the replacement of V. K. Ramaswamy by S. K.
               Bansal in the ICC panel which only the BCCI could have
               brought about because the federation does not choose
               between officials. The nomination of umpires to the
               panel is the responsibility of the individual Boards.

               Even a young and competent umpire who is a former player
               and who is found acceptable by the touring team as well
               as the home side would have difficulty in maintaining
               his motivation and his efficiency level if all he can
               expect in a season is a single one-day international.
               Since Test appointments even for the home umpire are
               generally made only from the core group of umpires who
               are already on the ICC panel, very little opportunity
               exists for others.

               Also, the habit of posting two debutants in a one-day
               international must be given up. There must always be one
               senior umpire in a match so that, when and if things go
               wrong, there will be at least one umpire who can take
               tough decisions as in, say, times of crowd trouble or
               any extraordinary incidents. The sooner the Board sees
               the merit of the argument the better it will be for
               cricket in India. For too long we have lived out a joke.
               But it is never too late to change.

               A compact national panel in enlisting for which merit is
               the sole criterion should be the priority. This may not
               be popular with the cricket board because words like
               compromise and consensus are far more important in its
               affairs. But the damage being done to the image of the
               game can be arrested only if the Board's umpiring
               committee wakes up. Let's hope the Titan Cup would have
               served to open some eyes.

               THE HINDU                        

               Playing ducks and drakes with the fortunes of players

               Date: 09-11-1996

               GEOFF BOYCOTT got to the gut of the matter when he noted
               on TV: ``The Indian team is always a few runs short,
               whether Tendulkar and his men are batting first or
               chasing!'' But the day (October 29) when this percipient
               reader of the game made the above observation, it had to
               be acknowledged even by Boycott that, against South
               Africa. India came to total a not-so-Titan 185 only
               because Tendulkar and his band were done in by the rank
               ineptitude of fresher umpire Suryaprakash Rao.

               Late in that Indian innings against Cronje and his men,
               when Suryaprakash Rao failed to call as such a blatant
               wide on the legside, bowler Allan Donald was viewed to
               pat this umpire on the shoulder. That act of
               thanksgiving by Donald was not just for Suryaprakash
               Rao's having been `wide of the mark' just that one time.
               Donald, via that gesture, was also communicating South
               Africa's deeply felt sense of gratitude to Suryaprakash
               Rao for having, earlier in the same innings, given short
               shrift to Sachin Tendulkar (28) and Mohammed Azharuddin

               Two dicey decisions against India's two best batsmen,
               attested to as such verdicts by Boycott on TV, fatally
               disturbed the rhythm and momentum of that vital Indian
               innings, after Tendulkar had elected to bat upon winning
               the toss. India could conceivably have reached 225-230,
               but for those two verdicts going against it. Tendulkar's
               being adjudged lbw was visibly a case of the Donald ball
               missing leg-stump.

               As for the fall of Azhar, there had been no appeal at
               all for a catch at the wicket against him! As Boycott
               pointed out, that Nicky Boje ball spun across the face
               of Azhar's bat, so that Dave Richardson, in reality, was
               appealing for a stumping, not a catch. But the umpire
               standing straight. Suryaprakash Rao, promptly put his
               finger up. That left Azhar with no option but to walk _
               in the wake of `Bangalore and Bansal' having already put
               him in the third eye of the storm. From the moment,
               Azhar was thus confronted with Hobson's choice, that
               crucial October 29 India-South Africa game stood ruined
               as a contest. Is that what we want to see in an
               international competition staged in this country?

               But we live in a country in which, no matter what be the
               cost, the accent is on compulsively giving every umpire
               an international exposure. On the lines of the maxim
               once laid down by the Madras station of All India Radio
               by which every budding cricket commentator had to be
               given the mike. No matter if that led to three wildly
               varying sets of commentators performing on the three
               days of the Ranji Trophy match.

               But the Titan Cup is not the Ranji Trophy, being a
               triangular trial of international strength. A trial of
               strength in which there could rationally be no scope to
               pitchfork, into the middle, umpires still to be tested
               in the cauldron of pressure-cooker situation. Or was it
               the controversial Rao tradition in our cricket being
               kept up here? From Sathyaji Rao to Hanumantha Rao to
               Suryaprakash Rao, they have now all covered themselves
               with dubious glory.

               It is no laughing matter really. If we are indeed living
               in a more open cricketing society under the control of
               Raj Singh Dungarpur, we have the right to know how S. K.
               Bansal came to stand merely in the October 29
               India-South Africa league encounter, when, as the new
               umpire in the ICC panel, he had been originally named
               (with S. Venkatraghavan) to officiate, logically, in the
               Titan Cup final. The issue of how Bansal came to win
               this belated ICC promotion, at the expense of V. K.
               Ramaswamy, is something that abides as a matter worth
               further debating. Indeed, it is a mystery how Bansal so
               came to supersede Ramaswamy, remembering how sadly this
               umpire had sent Martin Crowe packing during a Test match
               in which that world-class batsman was attempting a
               comeback, after a long lay-off from the New Zealand

               What precisely is it that umpire Ramaswamy did wrong to
               lose his coveted slot in the ICC panel, all of a sudden?
               Surely, after Bansal's having been appointed for the
               Titan Cup final by the Cricket Board, Ramaswamy's
               ultimately taking his place, in that decider, was
               nothing if not a tacit admission by our cricketing
               authority that Venkatraghavan and Ramaswamy continued to
               be the two best umpires in India.

               Early this year, Ramaswamy might have erred in
               `third-eyeing' Robin Smith as run out _ instead of
               giving him the fringe benefit of the doubt _ as that
               Wills World Cup league game got underway in Pakistan.
               May be there have been other errors of judgment by
               Ramaswamy in the international games in which he stood

               If that be the case, the viewing public has a right to
               be kept informed in the matter. A sudden laconic
               announcement _ to the `after-effects' that S. K. Bansal
               had replaced V. K. Ramaswamy in the ICC panel _ only
               left cricket buffs in India totally mystified. After
               such an announcement, how could Ramaswamy possibly
               replace Bansal in the Titan Cup final? If our two ICC
               panel umpires now are S. Venkatraghavan and S. K.
               Bansal, surely these two alone should have officiated in
               the Titan final? But then our Cricket Board got its
               priorities all wrong in the Titan Cup matches. It was a
               tournament that cried out for two new white balls in
               each match. Instead, we got two new white coats in each

               Bansal is a good umpire. But is

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