Australia stick to winning formula
The Aussie selectors have retained the same limited-overs squad, which thrashed New Zealand 4-1 for its coming South African tour. The 13-member squad extended Australia's winning lead to a world record of 14 successive matches, before losing the last game at Eden Park. Australia will take on hosts South Africa in three ODIs starting in Durban on 12 April.
The team: Steve Waugh (captain), Shane Warne, Michael Bevan, Damien Fleming, Adam Gilchrist, Ian Harvey, Mathew Hayden, Brett Lee, Shane Lee, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath, Andrew Symonds and Mark Waugh.
Jadeja - naughty and mischievous
The heartthrob of many cricket fans all over the world, Ajay Jadeja, seems to enjoy the attention of all his fans and loves living up to his image of playboy. The following incident between him and an airhostess of the Jaguar Airways, which was flying the Indian team to Jamshedpur, as described by the hostess, just endorses that.
Sonia Mehta was warned by coach Kapil Dev, during the 50-minute flight from Calcutta to Jamshedpur not to go near Jadeja. Kapil said that he knew what Jadeja was capable of doing. Sonia said that Jadeja was the most naughty and mischievous passenger she had had to deal with, in her four years' working experience. "He would ask for coffee, then ask me to take it back; order juice, have a sip and yet take it back from my hands. He's the most demanding, he just won't let you sit," she said.
Despite the so-called ordeal, Sonia was not resentful and felt that all the Indian cricketers were sporting and down-to-earth.
Warne and Vettori achieve milestones
Shane Warne joined Dennis Lillee as his country's most successful bowler in Test history, as he took his 355th wicket, when he bowled out Nathan Astle for 35. But he was unable to take another wicket, in the final six overs of the third day in the first Test between Australia and New Zealand.
Earlier on, it was Daniel Vettori's moment of glory. He took 7 for 87, as Australia folded up their second innings for 229. Vettori finished with match figures reading 12-149. With that, he became the youngest spinner to reach 100 wickets in Test cricket at 21 years and 46 days. Along with that, he also claimed the second-best match figures in New Zealand Test cricketing history and became the country's most successful spin bowler. His figures were also the best recorded by any bowler in a Test at Eden Park.
Adam Gilchrist, Australian wicket-keeper, described Vettori's performance, saying, "to be the youngest spinner to 100 wickets, he has beaten a few big names, so he is obviously very, very talented."
Letter of appreciation
The West Bengal legislative assembly plans to send a letter of appreciation to the new Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly for bringing India back on the victory trail. "We will send a letter, after consultation with the Speaker, for Ganguly's success as captain and wish him more successes in the future," deputy speaker Anil Mukherjee told the house in Calcutta.
A Congress legislator, Tapas Ray demanded that Ganguly be given a civic reception at the Netaji Indoor Stadium. No decision was passed on that account.
Did vaastu help India break the jinx?
Whether it was luck or vaastu, the Indians managed to break the Keenan jinx and emerged triumphant in their second One-Dayer against South Africa. The Keenan jinx, is so called, because the Indians have never won a match on their six earlier encounters at the stadium.
This time the Bihar Cricket Association's (BCA) officials claim that they applied a few rules of vaastu and hence swapped the dressing rooms of the visitors with that of the hosts and the results are for all to see.
"Now we are sure to retain the same pavilion for the home team, whenever we get an opportunity to stage a match in future," said an elated BCA official. This is the seventh ODI at the Keenan Stadium and the sixth for India. India has lost five of its matches here and one match between Australia and India was abandoned due to rain.
Recently appointed Indian captain, Saurav Ganguly, in a freewheeling interview with one of the television channels, has said that all the stories about his attitude in his debut with the squad in Australia in 1991-92 were fabricated by the then team manager. "Being part of the team was an honour. Even being twelfth man carrying drinks to the field," he recalled when he was about 17.
Ganguly said that all the stories about him, circulated by the team manager, was because he had a tiff with the Bengal Cricket Association. The team manager in question is the present Haryana Cricket Association secretary Ranbir Singh.
Football is still his first love and he did not pursue soccer as he was injury prone and missed many days in school. He played cricket because of his parents' insistence and to keep himself busy after his tenth standard exams. Football's loss, cricket's gain!
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