An Opportunity for South Africa to Salvage Some Pride

An Opportunity for South Africa to Salvage Some Pride

Post by Vishwa Prasad Gaddamanug » Tue, 30 Apr 1996 04:00:00

Cricket: An opportunity for South Africa to salvage some pride

By Rakesh Rao

NEW DELHI, April 25.

In  terms of competitive interest, the third and final  one-dayer
between India and South Africa under-19 teams to be played at the
Karnail Singh Stadium here on Friday, offers little.

After  South  Africa failed to keep the series  alive,  following
losses at Gwalior and Indore, the tour-ending encounter will only
be  of  academic  interest. On the eve of the  match,  the  teams
preferred  not  to have `nets` and instead, went  shopping  after
arriving  from Indore this afternoon. That itself,  reflects  the
mood of the teams.

On  arrival,  the teams had to wait for over three hours  at  the
lobby   of  Jukaso  Inn  after  being  told  that  there was   no
accommodation available for the teams. The South Africans,  after
a  word with their Board, moved to a five-star hotel  while  most
members of the Indian team were accommodated at the Inn itself. A
couple of others had to move to a nearby hotel.

Madan  Lal, the Indian manager, was understandably  bitter  about
the   inconvenience  caused  to the boys.  `It  was perhaps  some
communication  gap  that led to all the confusion.  But  for  Mr.
Rajeev Khanna of Jukaso Inn, who went out of his way to help  us,
we would have been in a very embarrassing situation.` said  Madan
Lal,  who moved to his residence to ease the problem of  shortage
of rooms.

Munnuswamy likely to play

Looking  at Friday`s match, Madan Lal said he  was  contemplating
playing  off-spinner P. Munnuswamy, but would take a look at  the
pitch  before  finalising the playing eleven.  Though  India  has
clinched the series, there appears no room for any experiment.

For the South Africans, the match offers one last opportunity  to
salvage some pride and deprive India the heady feeling of a clean
sweep.  And  looking at the grassy pitch, the visiting team   has
reasons to be optimistic.

So far in the series, the Indian spinners have called the  shots.
However,   Friday might well be different. The Indian batting  is
likely  to  be tested to the hilt by the South African   pacemen.
Therefore, the toss assumes greater importance.

If South Africa has to do better in this match, its batting needs
to come good. In the first two Test matches, the team showed that
it  was not all that susceptible against the turning  deliveries.
However,  in  the last Test at Kanpur, the vulnerability  of  the
South  Africans  was fully exploited by the  new  combination  of
left-arm  spinner  M. Karthik and leg-spinner W. D.  Balaji  Rao.
Thereafter, the duo has continued to torment the visiting team.

The  Indian batting, in comparison, has done well. The  top-order
has got the hang of the blistering pace of Mornantau Hayward  and
Makhaya  Ntini.  Almost all the batsmen, with  the exception   of
skipper Sanjay Raul, have been among the runs. In fact, Raul  has
justified his place in the side more as an off-spinner than as  a
batsman.

Marked improvement in fielding

Apparently, Madan Lal`s relentless effort to make the members  of
the   team  understand the importance of fielding  seems  to paid
dividends  in  the  one-day  series.  There  has  been  a  marked
improvement   in fielding and a few catches, too, were above  the
ordinary.  For instance, Amit Pagnis and Wasim Jafer at   Gwalior
and Hemang Badani at Indore brought off splendid tumbling catches
that  injected that extra bit of zest among their  colleagues  on
the field.

Ironically,  the South Africans appear to be struggling  to  keep
aloft  the high and exacting standards in fielding they have  set
on  this  tour. In the Test series, even a misfield was  a   rare
sight let alone a dropped catch from the South Africans. However,
once the Indian batsmen succeeded in mounting pressure, like they
did at Indore, the fielding and catching did not remain all  that
good.

The  members of the visiting team, after a five-week grind,  were
eagerly looking forward to going back home on Saturday, but  were
keen to make it with a consolation victory.

The teams (from):

India:  Sanjay Raul (captain), Amit Pagnis, Wasim  Jafer,  Dinesh
Mongia, Santosh Yadav, Hemang Badani, Robin Morris, Tilak  Naidu,
W.  D.  Balaji Rao, Murali Karthik, Harvinder Singh  and   Sanjay
Pandey, P. Munnuswamy and Jyoti Yadav.

South  Africa:  Douglas Gain (captain),  Mark  Benfield,  Ashwell
Prince,   Darren  Cowley,  Mark Boucher,  Anthony Botha,  Hendrik
Dippenaar,  Justin  Kemp,  Pierre  Joubert, Mornantau    Hayward,
Makhaya Ntini, Tulani Ngxoweni, Eugene Moleon, Wade Wingfield and
Maghield Van Olts.

Umpires:  Messrs  M.  S.  S.  Ranawat   (Udaipur)   and   R.   T.
Ramachandran (Bhilai).

Source :: The Hindu