|HOME | WORLD CUP 99 | INDIA | OPINION | SANJAY MANJREKAR|
|May 18, 1999||
India lost a golden opportunitySanjay Manjrekar
Jacques Kallis is the emerging star of the South
African side. After that
maiden Test hundred against the Australians, the young
batsman from Cape Town has made steady and sure progress at the
international level. Today he
looks a potentially great batsman. Kallis happened to be playing for South Afica here at
Hove, so his was the team that emerged victorious from this big opener for
both teams, in the
World Cup '99.
The moral of the whole exercise today to me was India played extremely well. The South Africans did not play to their potential, but still won comfortably in the end. That just goes to show the relative strengths of the two teams.
Everybody who watched the South Africans play at Sussex's lovely ground got to see the reason why this team is looked at as the favourites for this tournament. They saw a team playing way below their best but still getting the better of a competent side like India. South Africa are bound to improve from here and get better. I leave it to your imagination what they will achieve when that happens.
India ended up on the losing side having lost a golden opportunity to upset a rusty South African outfit, but I am sure the Indian coach won't have too many harsh words to say to his team. His team played well in a nerve-racking first game of a mega contest. He would look at the positive outcome of the match - the success of his opening pair Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly.
Any uncertainty about their batting positions would have vanished. Both had good starts. Ganguly managed to go a distance but failed to see what would have been his most deserved hundred because of the brilliance of Jonty Rhodes.
The bowling unfortunately was not equal to the task. The Indians were searching for the fifth bowler in Robin Singh, Ganguly and Tendulkar. They could not find him today and that ultimately proved fatal.
In all, it was a tacky performance by both sides playing their first game. Both teams were good in patches, but to beat a team that kept throwing in dangerous batsman one after the other was always going to be a tall order for the Indians.
Finally, the gain from this match is when the Indians play any other opponent in the tournament, they all know now it is not going to be as tall an order.
The 'ear piece' issue unfolded quite dramatically. It
was quite prominent,
moreso since the television cameras are so good and don't miss
anything these days. It appeared something like plaster that cricketers
carry on their faces and
you tend to ignore such things. But once the suspicion
was raised, and later
confirmed, everyone was taken aback including me.
Since their entry into international arena, the South Africans have been experimenting and introducing innovations. Now this is only the latest measure to have been introduced by them.
Now, coming to our next game against Zimbabwe at
Leicester on Wednesday, India start as favourites, especially given the way
they performed against South Africa. They did not make many mistakes
at Hove and must
take heart from that performance.
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