December 3, 2000

Indian news round-up

Ganguly's pat for youngsters: The youngsters played a notable part in India's victory over Zimbabwe in the first one day international of the current series at Cuttak on Saturday and predictably enough, they received a pat on the back from skipper Sourav Ganguly.

The captain praised the youngsters for shaping a victory from a seemingly hopeless situation. "At 144 for five, I thought the game was going away, but Vijay Dahiya, Hemang Badani and Ajit Agarkar turned the tide in India's favour," he said. "They played well under pressure." But Ganguly also came down hard on the side's fielding. "The team dropped several catches and yielded about 20 to 30 extra runs and there is no excuse for this," he said.

Man of the match Badani said he was never under pressure while batting. "I kept my cool and told Dahiya to go for ones and twos and not get distracted by the target," he said. The left hander from Chennai said Agarkar asked him not to lose his wicket and play his normal game. The crowd was also very supportive, he added.

Confusing scenario on punishment issue continues

Will the cricketers accused of match fixing be punished? If so, what sort of punishment will be meted out to them? Will they go scotfree with the BCCI apprehensive that the cricketers to whom any punishment is handed out may appeal against it in court? Or will the `strictest possible punishment' as board president AC Muthiah has been quoted to have said, be clamped upon them?

The situation on this front is currently about as clear as a street covered by early morning fog. And even as confusion reigns, a leading board official made the picture even more hazy by asserting on Saturday that "political pressures" would not dilute any action by the BCCI.

"A ban on the players will be slapped according to the degree of misdeeds committed by the cricketers who have been indicted by the CBI," the official told PTI on condition of anonymity. "We will not be cowed down by political pressures, applied directly and through some of the Board officials," he said. The official's clarification comes in the wake of reports that some of the indicted cricketers were attempting to use their political clout to ward off any action against them.