WC 2003 - Born-again Srinath dedicates haul to friend Hemanth

Published: Tuesday, March 11, 2003, 16:33 [IST]
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Johannesburg: Javagal Srinath had originally planned to hang up his boots and turn into a couch potato to watch the World Cup on television from his lavish home in Bangalore.Instead, the 33-year-old was told by captain Saurav Ganguly to drop the idea, pick up his kit and go out and do what he did best - take wickets for India with the new ball.It was another of Ganguly's gambles that worked as Srinath returned to the international fold to plot India's impressive World Cup campaign which has taken it to the semi-finals.His 4 for 35 against Sri Lanka at the Wanderers here on Monday, which secured a thumping 183-run victory for India, made him his team's most successful bowler in the tournament with 14 wickets.That is two more than young left-armer Ashish Nehra and only four behind the current leader Chaminda Vaas, of Sri Lanka, who has 18 wickets.Srinath had retired from international cricket after the tour of the West Indies last April, but Ganguly persuaded him to return for the Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka in September.He then took 18 wickets in a One-day series in New Zealand at the start of this year, which India lost 5-2, and was an automatic selection for the World Cup.He now has 313 One-day wickets, only the fifth bowler in history, and the second Indian after Anil Kumble, to cross the 300 mark."I want to dedicate this four-wicket haul to my friend Hemant who died a few days back in Mysore. He was only 38," Srinath said after being named the man-of-the-match."I am obviously very happy at what I have achieved so far and look forward to doing the same in the rest of the tournament."Srinath laughed off his return to the international stage, saying, "I can see that the captain is happy and is not regretting my comeback. So that's fine with me."This is my last World Cup so I want to achieve the best and help my team win."With Ashish (Nehra) and Zaheer (Khan) bowling so well this is the best time to be bowling fast for India."They are faster than me and that helps the attack."Srinath, however, gave the batsmen all the credit for scoring 292 for 6 against Sri Lanka, which was shot out for 109 in reply."Today the best part was done by our batsmen," he said. "They put the runs on the board which made it easier for us bowlers."Srinath wrecked the Sri Lankan reply even before the 15,000 fans had settled back after lunch.He had Marvan Atapattu caught in the covers with his third delivery and then removed Jehan Mubarak, who replaced the injured Hashan Tillekeratne, caught behind with his fifth.With his 10th delivery, Srinath trapped Aravinda de Silva plumb in front and then shut out Sri Lanka's hopes by removing captain Sanath Jayasuriya in his fourth over to a catch in the covers."Getting Atapattu in the first over was very good and Aravinda's was a good wicket too because he can turn the match around," Srinath said.Copyright AFP 2001

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