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
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
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
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
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.
Source :: The Hindu