Dada looks to Sachin for inspiration
(G. Krishnan in Hyderabad)
Sourav Ganguly is seeking inspiration from Sachin Tendulkar’s match-winning knocks in the tri-series finals against Australia in his craving to return to the national one-day team.
“I have never thought of quitting limited-overs to concentrate on Tests,” Ganguly said here on Sunday, the eve of the second round of Deodhar Trophy in which East Zone will take on West Zone.
“Looking at Sachin in the finals, there is room for (better) performance (by me). He has shown what it takes to win a series overseas. With lots of cricket coming up, the best way for me would be to take it series by series,” said Ganguly.
Tendulkar was the only Indian in the 30-plus age bracket in the ODI series in Australia and made 117 n.o. and 91 in the two finals that sealed India the title.
Ganguly said there could not be a better preparation than to play in the Deodhar Trophy before the Tests against South Africa.
“Playing in Deodhar Trophy is better than hitting the ball in the nets.”
The 35-year-old said he was not under any pressure with the number of youngsters bursting on to the international scene.
“It is good that Indian cricket has a number of players doing well. I got runs last year and from that point of view, I am under no pressure.”
The Kolkata player expected a good series against SA. “We have quality spinners and there is this home advantage.”
The smile on West Zone coach Surendra Bhave after looking at the pitch said it all.
The pitch was a typical one-day beauty with plenty of runs on it, unlike the one in Bangalore on Friday.
West, who folded up for 98 against Central and lost by six wickets, will be keen to set the record right and wipe off the deficit in their points table.
However, they are up against East, who started their campaign with a 23-run win over South at the same venue and would be looking to add more points to their tally.
West Zone: Wasim Jaffer (Capt.), Ajit Agarkar, Ajinkya Rahane, Parthiv Patel (wk), Venugopala Rao, Rohit Sharma, Yousuf Pathan, Abhishek Nayar, Mohnish Parmar, Iqbal Abdulla, Munaf Patel, Sandeep Maniar, Siddharth Trivedi, Kedar Jadhav and Pinal Shah.
East Zone: Laxmi Ratan Shukla (Capt.), Sourav Ganguly, Arindam Das, Anustup Majumdar, Haladhar Das, Sourav Tiwary, Manoj Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ishank Jaggi, Manish Bardhan, Ranadeb Bose, SS Paul, Dhiraj Goswami, Iresh Saxena, SS Rao, PR Sinha, Sarupam Purkayastha.
Battle of equals on the cards
(Varun Gupta in Bangalore)
THIS ONE is for the purists. Any contest which can offer a level playing field to the bat and the ball will always stimulate the senses and excite the mind, or perhaps even lend the game a certain aesthetic touch that sceptics yearn for in this age of stone-dead wickets and slapdash Twenty20 cricket.
Add North Zone’s surfeit of talent in batting and Central’s potent bowling attack to the equation and the Deodhar Trophy game between them at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Monday appears all the more seductive, particularly as both teams have a phalanx of brilliant individuals whose skills alone can decide the fate of any match.
For North — led by Virender Sehwag and comprising Gautam Gambhir, Aakash Chopra, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan in batting — it will be a case of proving that the sum is greater than otherwise dazzling parts. It will be criminal on part of Gambhir, Chopra, Kohli and Dhawan to not try and prolong this often-elusive purple patch they are enjoying at the moment.
It has rained runs from the willows of all four of them this summer — while the mandatory Australian baptism came at just the right time for Gambhir's blow-hot-blow-cold career, Chopra and Dhawan have plundered runs at will in the domestic circuit, especially Chopra whose gluttonous appetite for runs has seen him score the highest number of runs ever in an Indian domestic season.
The Central attack, led by the Praveen Kumar, RP Singh, Murali Kartik, Piyush Chawla and Pankaj Singh, has enough ammunition to smother any line up, as it demonstrated against the West Zone on Friday when they bundled them for 98.
North Zone: Virender Sehwag (capt.), Manpreet Gony, Rajat Bhatia, Vishal Bhatia, Aakash Chopra, Shikhar Dhawan, Paras Dogra, Gautam Gambhir, Uday Kaul (wk), Virat Kohli, Vikramjeet Malik, Amit Mishra, Pradeep Sangwan, Vikram Singh, Yashpal Singh.
Central Zone: Mohammad Kaif (capt.), Ravi Jangid, Faiz Fazal, Praveen Gupta, Rajesh Kanojia, Murali Kartik, Praveen Kumar, Naman Ojha (wk), Pankaj Singh, Piyush Chawla, Suresh Raina, Himalaya Sagar, Rohit Sharma, Rudra Pratap Singh, Sandeep Singh, Tanmay Srivastava, Deepak Kishanlal Yadav.