Lankan Sports minister may quit

Published: Monday, March 27, 2000, 23:53 [IST]
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The cricket scene in Sri Lanka is hotting up again. Sri Lanka Sports minister S B Dissanayake has threatened to quit if President Chandrika Kumaratunga interfered in the affairs of the Lankan Cricket Board.

He added that people thought he was in conflict with the President over running of the affairs of the Board. "The President does not know about cricket and she has no interest in it at all. But the day she interferes, I will resign," he said. The President, on the other hand, addressing foreign correspondents, said she had never interfered with the running of the Board and did not intend to do so in future.

Foot in the mouth

Why can't someone coach Kapil Dev how to handle media questions? At times, he tends to put his foot in his mouth. Just before the team left for Sharjah, he was asked about Srinath not being able to strike form and also that he was proving very expensive. To that, Kapil's sad response was, "Can one tell an old hand to change? " Whatever did he mean by that?

And when asked why his statements had become so few in the past couple of weeks, Kapil said, "Saurav is capable of speaking to the media. In Sachin's time, he was speaking less so I had to step in." Some logic that!

No crowds at Sharjah

Indian captain Saurav Ganguly blamed the low scoring in the one-dayers played so far in the Coca - Cola series matches to the poor pitches. "They have to give wickets where there are runs. The outfield is slow which adds to the anguish. The wicket is slow, the ball does not travel and 200 becomes a winning total," he said.

Due to this, one saw the lack of crowds at Sharjah. "You see empty stands here. I have never seen an India-Pakistan match played here in front of empty stands," he added.

Ganguly said the other problem batsmen faced in Sharjah was that the white ball was hard to spot on the white pitch after it gets discoloured.

According to him, the first 15 overs cannot be the criteria for quick scoring on this pitch. "You have to punch the ball on to the ground. You cannot take the aerial route. The ball skids and hits the bottom of the bat. You can't hit too many fours even if it clears the infield," he concluded.

Call of duty

Pakistan all-rounder Abdur Razzaq lost his father on Sunday and hence could not reach Sharjah along with the rest of the team for the Coca-Cola Cup. Razzaq joined the team on Wednesday.

Razzaq's excellent performance in the tri-nations tournament had won him the man-of-the-series award in Australia and he is considered a key member of the side.

Award for Borde

Current chairman of the selection committee and former Indian captain Chandrakant (Chandu) Borde has been chosen for the Punyabhushan Puraskar for the year 2000.

The award comprising a cash prize of Rs 25,000 and a silver statuette of Shivaji, is being given for the last 11 years by an organisation called Tridal to outstanding citizens of Pune.

The award will be presented to Borde at a ceremony in May this year by one of cricket's all time greats - Sir Garfield Sobers of the West Indies.

Azharuddin was confident of coming back

Mohammed Azharuddin says that he never thought of quitting after he was dropped from the side after a not so successful World Cup. "I kept myself fit by playing without a break. I played in all the Ranji trophy matches and got some runs too. The fan support really inspired me to go on, " he said.

Azhar said that the pressures of cricket did not affect him anymore. In fact, his comeback century was at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, which he considers his least favourite ground for he has never scored heavily there.

The standing ovation he received on one of the Ranji matches he played in Kerala, immediately after the World Cup, will be remembered by him for a long time, he said.

A lesson on positive thinking to be learnt from that.

Bacher says Indian tour most successful

The just-concluded South African tour of India was the most successful ever undertaken by the team, according to managing director Ali Bacher.

South Africa blanked India 2-0 in the Tests and lost the one-dayers 2-3.

"The tour to India has undoubtedly been the most successful tour undertaken by a South African team ever, " Bacher said, full of praise for his side. "A tour of the sub-continent is known in world cricket as the most daunting task any team can face and the South African national squad turned the challenge into a great success," he added. Prior to this Test series, India had never been beaten on home soil for 13 years!

The Marine Sports

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