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US Senate empowers Clinton to lift all economic curbs for one year
Unilateral curbs are self-defeating, feel members (IE)
The legislation still needs to be passed by the US House of
Representatives. A day earlier, Bill Clinton had signed into law an
exemption for farm credits to India and Pakistan.
Visa restrictions will stay to discourage scientists visiting the US.
Women's quota bill fails to make headway (IE)
Parties are sticking to their known stands.
Delhi HC allows MTNL to enter cellular services; TRAI can only advise
Decks cleared for private sector players in Internet services
The court judgment considerably whittles down the powers of the
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and restores the powers
of DoT. TRAI had argued that DoT could not grant/alter any telecom
licences without TRAI's approval.
MTNL is likely to launch its services in Mumbai and Delhi by March
1999. It will be the third operator in both cities.
DMG asked to look for third investor in Birla-AT&T venture (ET)
The JV holds licences for cellular services for Maharashtra (excluding
Mumbai) and Gujarat. Its losses exceed its Rs 630 crore equity.
Reliance bucks market slump to raise Rs 3,000 crore in equity (ET)
This was done through its recent twin offerings: exercise of warrants
and conversion of triple option convertible debentures.
Kotak Mahindra gets Sebi registration to set up Mutual Funds
IDBI plans venture fund for IT sector
Corporate tax payments up 60 pc in Q1; income-tax up only 7 pc
S U N D E R R A J A N ' s C R I C K E T C O L U M N
TIME TO START PREPARING FOR THE WORLD CUP
Four out of five is eighty per cent. Excellent by any standards.
India's cricketers thus deserve all praise for adding one more trophy
this year. It augurs well for the future. There are three important
ones to go in the next four months, the Sahara series with Pakistan in
Toronto, the mini World Cup knock-out in Dhaka and the tournament in
Sharjah. India can enter these full of confidence.
Out of the four the latest triumph is perhaps the most significant
because India scored over Sri Lanka, the reigning world champions, in
two meetings out of three. It marks a tremendous improvement by a side
that had lost every meeting with the Arjuna Ranatunga & co in Sri
Lanka last year. Often by a convincing margin.
It will not be wide off the mark to say that the Lankans no longer
look invincible.. They have been playing with virtually the same squad
for the past three years and the lack of fresh blood shows. They are
still searching for bowlers who will bolster their attack. Anyway, it
is their problem.
On our part the big question whether we are building up our side along
the right lines for the World Cup in England next May-June. Time is
running out fast. Barely nine months remain. Skipper Azharuddin has
been frank and honest in his assessment of the team. ``Our depth is
surely batting," he has said. ``We have to improve our fielding and
Havent we heard that before? In fact, the same thing has been said
time and again over the last several years. The astonishing part is
that precious little has been done about it. And it looks as though
precious little will be done to iron out our drawbacks, the
appointment of Bob Simpson as consultant and Andrew Kokinos as
physical conditioning expert notwithstanding.
When is Simpson going to take charge? While on a tour of Europe last
April I happened to run into him in a restaurant on the highway in
Italy and Simpson disclosed that he was awaiting word from Raj Singh,
the Board president. Subsequently, the Board chief confirmed that he
had got in touch with Simmo. Yet, it is not clear when he will begin
guiding our players though Simpson had hoped to do so before our
players departed for Sri Lanka. Now there is talk of a camp in August.
The major problem is that our cricketers are playing in too many
tournaments and doing too little training. Before their departure to
Sri Lanka they spent just three days in Chennai, a ridiculously short
period for a camp. It was more of a get-together with the main task
being the completion of travel formalities like procuring a visa and
the signing of the tour contract.
We simply cannot carry on in this fashion. Possibly, Kokinos who
accompanied the team to Sri Lanka has been quietly working on the
players because one could notice a perceptible improvement in their
fitness. Notably Saurav Ganguly. Even though he was visibly tiring
when nearing his century it should be realised that Tendulkar and he
had scampered between the wickets at least 180 times in their record
252-run opening stand in the final.
That should give some idea of what it takes to perform in the one-day
game. Fitness is as important as skill. Hence it is that most teams
have raised their fitness and fielding to unprecedented levels. South
Africa have set a shining example and others are not far behind.
In fact, Ranatunga has said that even more than the foreign coaches
they have had the physical conditioning expert has played a key role
in Sri Lankas World Cup triumph. And proof of it is the way Ranatunga
and Aravinda de Silva, have been performing consistently and
remarkably though both are near-veterans.
Fitness, it should be realised, is not simply a way to enhance
qualities like speed, stamina and reflexes. Because of the
improvements in these areas it also works wonders on a players
confidence. And confidence is the key.
It is high time therefore that we hold camps of at least a fortnights
duration specifically to lift our players fitness and fielding from
their present abysmal levels. We should have at least three or four
such camps in the nine months that remain before the next World Cup.
The problem is that the players have a hectic schedule ahead, the
Sahara series in September, the Dhaka knock-out in October, the
Sharjah tournament in November, the tour of New Zealand in
December-January, an yet to be finalised series with Pakistan
thereafter and Sharjah again in April. And in between they will no
doubt be squeezing in their own ``commitments."
In the chase for more trophies we ought not to lose sight of the
biggest of them all. Nor can we afford to neglect the preparation it
calls for. Indeed, the main reason why we have not been able to repeat
our astounding 1983 performance is that we have not paid sufficient
attention to the teams preparations.
It told on us in 1987 as well as in 1995 when we played hosts and had
the big advantage of playing at home. On both occasions we got to the
semi-finals but could go no further. In England next year we will have
to reckon with alien conditions. It calls for an extra effort to cope
with the rain and cold besides the nature of the pitch and so on.
This is just one aspect. Another is the reliance on virtually the same
set of players. It was the same story in Sri Lanka where we fielded
the same eleven in match after match. True, three matches were washed
out but the fact that Debasish Mohanty, Gagan Khoda and Rahul Sanghvi
did not get a look-in is a sad reflection on the selectors, the tour
management and even the players themselves.
The point is that the players have not had the exposure they need.
Besides, they cannot be properly assessed since they have not been
tried out. Hence it will be argued that they cannot be dropped. Which
is also not quite fair because it blocks the path of others waiting in
the queue and hoping against hope. How do we nurture talent in such a
It is small consolation that some of them get an opportunity to play
for India A. Here again the selectors whims and fancies play a big
part. Who could have visualised Kanwaljeet Singh being given a chance?
The Hyderabad offspinner is pushing 40. Is this the way to build up
for the future?
The joke is that the chairman of the selection committee, Kishen
Rungta, has described the India A team for the tour of Holland as
``the third eleven". And he believes the ``third eleven" will put
pressure on the seniors! According to him, the selectors ``are
preparing a bank of about 60 players." The way they are going about
their job hiring and firing players they may well have a bank of 600.
The key question the selectors have to address though is how far the
players will be an asset to the national team and Indian cricket. They
will also have to bear in mind the damage being caused to the morale
of talented players left out. Amay Khurasias sparkling unbeaten
century against the Australians at Jamshedpur has strangely made no
impact on them.
The India A team due to play one three-day and two one-day matches
against Denmark and one three-day and two one-day matches against
Holland between July 18 and August 15: Vikram Rathore (captain),
Sairaj Bahutule (vice-captain), Jyoti Yadav, Nikhil Haldipur, Rajeev
Kumar, Rohan Gavaskar, Vanka Pratap, Sanjay Raul, Gyanendra Pandey,
M.S.K. Prasad (wicket-keeper), Rajesh Pawar, Kanwaljeet Singh, Robin
Singh junior, Ritender Singh Sodhi. Coach: K. Srikkanth. Manager:
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August 1998, Week 2
August 1998, Week 1
July 1998, Week 5
July 1998, Week 4
July 1998, Week 3
July 1998, Week 2
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April 1998, Week 5
April 1998, Week 4
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April 1998, Week 1
March 1998, Week 5
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March 1998, Week 3
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February 1998, Week 4
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February 1998, Week 2
February 1998, Week 1
January 1998, Week 5
January 1998, Week 4
January 1998, Week 3
January 1998, Week 2
January 1998, Week 1