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Coach Pandit gives boys a wake-up call

If India's players had any doubts about how hard a taskmaster coach Chandrakant Pandit is, they were given the sternest possible wake-up call on Tuesday.

cricket Updated: Jan 19, 2010 23:52 IST
Anand Vasu

If India's players had any doubts about how hard a taskmaster coach Chandrakant Pandit is, they were given the sternest possible wake-up call on Tuesday. Halfway through a fielding session, where the coach was dishing out high catches, forcing the players to run forward or back and stretch themselves, something snapped.

The coach, unhappy with the players for not throwing themselves around and attacking the ball, aborted the fielding session and walked away from the ground. The players, who have been riding high with two wins from as many matches, were momentarily in shock, unsure of whether to follow the coach or try and continue the session themselves.

The captain, vice-captain and some other players approached the coach, but he had made up his mind, and the session ended there.

The problem during the session was that many players were holding back a touch, fielding the ball on the bounce rather than throwing themselves around and attempting to hold onto the half chances. In match situations also this has occasionally been the case, but then it appeared as though they were taking a calculated decision, ensuring that the ball did not go to the boundary at least.

The jolt comes to the team at a time when they will be forced to pick up the pace on the field.

Afghanistan and Hong Kong proved to be no match for India, but their next game is against England, followed by the knockouts. The margin for error will be greatly reduced in these matches, and a half chance not grabbed could prove very costly.

Some cheer for Afghanistan

agencies add: A day after the terror attacks back home, Afghanistan came up with a clinical performance to defeat Hong Kong by eight wickets for their first victory in the ICC U-19 World Cup.

Chasing 138, openers Javed Ahmadi (90) and Ayan Aminzai (21) set a solid platform with a partnership of 86. Ahmadi was on fire and his 98-ball innings included nine fours and three sixes.

Captain Noor-ul-Haq was pleased with his opener's innings. “He is confident of his ability to hit over the top and is invaluable to the side,” he said.

Earlier, Zakiullah Zaki returned figures of 7.1-1-34-5 to bowl out Hong Kong for 137 in 35.1 overs after Afghanistan had won the toss in the Group A encounter.

Opener Ashish Gadhia (46) and Nizakat Khan (27) put on 60 for the fourth wicket.