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Murali will not miss this chance
Jaideep Ghosh, PTI
February 11, 2003
First Published: 01:23 IST(11/2/2003)
Last Updated: 01:23 IST(11/2/2003)

Who says stars cannot have human emotions? Muttiah Muralitharan, one of the stars of the World Cup, spent the entire duration of the Opening Ceremony at Newlands on Saturday collecting autographs.

He went to each team and took the signatures of all the players, including minnows like Holland and Namibia.

Asked why was he going through the trouble, Murali had a very human, very emotional answer. "This could be my last World Cup and I did not want to take a chance. Four years is a long way to go. I have collected autographs from all players, of all the teams, all 15 of them in every side, and I'm very happy."

Celebrating dots

Ever count how many dot balls there were during a match? Well, a couple of gents have made quite a name for themselves out of it.

Roger Scholtz and Barry Bramley of Durban, bored out of their wits during a slow game between South Africa and Australia at Kingsmead on April 3, decided to paint a big black dot on a yellow placard, and every time a dot ball was bowled, they would stand up and show these placards to the spectators.

The crowd, with little else to do, soon caught on to the act and a roar went up in the stand any time a dot ball was bowled.

"They sold me the idea in two minutes flat," 2003 World Cup Execitve Director Ali Bacher says. "Such a simple thing, so familiar to all of us, and yet an important tactical weapon almost unexpected."

Air control

Among the various things of interest being thrown at the public here was a full-blown jet plane. The South African Airways' new Airbus A340-600, which, at over 75 metres, is the longest passenger airliner in the world, was flown over Newlands during the break in the match between South Africa and the West Indies on Sunday.

While all that was very well, all those watch had a sinking feeling as the giant aircraft flew in low - for some, too low.

As it passed over the ground, the aircraft seemed headed straight towards one of the tall light towers, and seemed to skim just past it.

Captain Johnny Woods at the controls was having a whale of a time, though, as he banked into a sharp left turn, brought the plane back and then went up in a steep climb. Very impressive.


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