The Week That Was ... February 6-12, 2006 February 12, 2006

A champion returns, and the issue of fair play

Dileep Premachandran looks back at the week ending February 12, 2006

Sachin Tendulkar: back to his fluent best © AFP

The end of "Endulkar" talk?: After India's biggest newspaper asked the question: Endulkar?, the pressure on Sachin Tendulkar to deliver in the one-day series was more than immense. He responded with a bloody-minded century at Peshawar, a match that India lost on the Duckworth-Lewis method, and an entertaining cameo of 42 in a thumping win at Rawalpindi. His accomplice in the stunning turnaround was Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, who bowled him off a no-ball when Tendulkar was on 20 at Peshawar. An errant foot may just have given the one of the most illustrious careers a new lease of life.

Sporting spirit: Inzamam-ul-Haq's whinge about his Obstructing-the-field dismissal at Peshawar divided opinion across the world. Some panned him for his lack of awareness of the game's rules, while others - including several former Indian cricketers - supported his contention that the Indian appeal had been less than sporting. But while Inzamam deserved some sympathy in the wake of what had happened to him against England at Faisalabad, Moin Khan - his former team-mate - stepped in to win the hypocrisy stakes. The man who once caught Sourav Ganguly on the second bounce in a Test match not only questioned Rahul Dravid's integrity, but went on to suggest that Ganguly would have behaved different. About as rich as the Australians imploring players from other nations to "walk" when out.

Too much of a bad thing?: Bennett King takes potshots at the international cricket itinerary as West Indies prepare for a series in New Zealand. We're sure that his little rant had nothing to do with West Indies' deplorable away record over the last decade, a period in which a once-great team have been reduced to whipping boys.

John Buchanan: plenty at stake after the shock defeat in the first final of the VB Series © AFP

Advance Australia Fair? After the hiccups induced by too much rotation and a flaying at Sanath Jayasuriya's hands in Sydney, Australia had appeared to be back on course for another routine VB Series victory. Adam Gilchrist was back among the runs, Brett Lee was steaming in, and the pesky South Africans had been sent back home with tails between legs. All was well in John Buchanan's world ... until his boys ran into trouble, literally, in the first final at Adelaide. After a shambolic display encompassing five run-outs and a stumping, the man who loves nothing better than to quote Sun Tzu said: "There would be some fallout if Australia lost the series 2-0, no doubt about that at all." Hmmm.

Abandon hope all ye enter here: Five Otago cricketers who moved into a five-bedroom townhouse in Dunedin haven't had the best of times since. The residence, formerly a hospice for the terminally ill, has been bestowed haunted status after Greg Todd, Aaron Redmond, James McMillan, Neil Broom and Jonathan Trott, a South African, all got crocked at the same time. Redmond dislocated his knee, Todd did the same and also broke his leg, while the other three suffered serious muscle pulls over the course of the same fortnight. Something tells us that there won't be a huge waiting list when the house goes up on the market.

Hot to trot: Fans who entered the Adelaide Oval to watch the first VB Series final were treated to the sight of six gorgeous girls in strapless dresses and jockey caps, holding whips. And while Australia's cricketers stumbled to defeat, the girls did their bit - to promote the Adelaide Cup horse-racing carnival.

Quote-hanger: "It was supposed to be a two-horse race. Now the third horse has won the first final". - Marvan Atapattu could afford to be slightly smug after the first VB Series final.

Dileep Premachandran is features editor of Cricinfo