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July 31, 2003 16:42 IST

Miandad gets thumbs up from Gavaskar

Legendary batsmen Sunil Gavaskar has praised his contemporary Pakistani cricketer Javed Miandad for possessing a rare skill of unsettling the opposition by just "talking" and not having to resort to sledging.

Miandad had a "sharp" sense of humour and was one of those rare species of batsmen who "talked" to the bowlers, Gavaskar said while delivering the Colin Cowdrey lecture at the the Lord's, London on Tuesday.

Sunil GavaskarThe former India skipper said Miandad would do anything to get under the skin of the bowlers and work it to his advantage but it was restricted to good-humoured banter. 

Gavaskar related an incident involving Miandad and Indian bowler Dilip Doshi which amuses him till date.

"In a Test match at Bangalore, Javed was batting against Dilip Doshi who was one of the hardest bowlers to hit. Javed had tried everything -- the drive, the cut, the sweep and even going down the pitch to the crafty left-arm spinner -- but he simply wasn't able to get him away.

"Suddenly in the middle of a fresh over, Javed started asking Dilip his room number," recalled Gavaskar.

"This went on every other ball and even when he was at the non-striker's end. After some time, Dilip, who was making  a comeback to the side, and so was concentrating hard on his bowling, couldn't take it anymore and exasperatedly asked him why he wanted his room number - to which Javed replied 'because I want to hit you for a six in your room'.

"Now those who have been to Bangalore - and know how far the hotel is from the ground - know what an impossibility it was. Yet it worked. Dilip, anticipating Javed to give him the rush down the wicket, bowled it short, and Javed gleefully pulled it to the boundary and added for good measure that he was bowling from the wrong end, else he would make good on his promise."

It appears Miandad and Gavaskar belong to a mutual admiration club as the former Pakistan skipper has also praised Gavaskar effusively in his autobiography 'The Cutting Edge.'

Hailing Gavaskar as a perfect gentleman, he rated Gavaskar as the best ever Indian batsman in his book.

Kiwis will have tough time in India: Ganguly

India's captain Sourav Ganguly on Wednesday virtually threw a challenge at New Zealand saying the visitors would face a tough time during their upcoming tour of India.

"We are a tough opposition on home soil. They'll face a tough time," Ganguly told newspersons on the sidelines of a felicitation at Kolkata.

New Zealand, who will be arriving in India in September, are scheduled to play two Test matches against the home side besides taking part in a tri-series, also involving Australia.

Describing the coming series as 'very important', Ganguly recalled that his side had defeated the Kiwis in the Super Six stage of the World Cup in South Africa earlier this year. Sourav Ganguly

Asked whether India will go for turning tracks to respond in kind to the unplayable fast pitches prepared by New Zealand during the last Indian tour, Ganguly said, "For the last two years we aren't making any pitch with significant turn. We have more pace friendly wickets.

"Generally, the ball starts turning on the fourth and fifth days in India. Let's see what happens this time," he said.

He, however, added that the visitors would be in for trying times as the conditions in India are markedly dissimilar from those in New Zealand.

He said his squad, brimming with the confidence of young players, is on the upswing and has its eyes set on the 2007 World Cup.

"Indian cricket is on the upswing. We have a number of new players. We will try and improve the team further so that we lift the 2007 World Cup," Ganguly said.

McGrath out of one-day series against Bangladesh

Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath, who will launch a book on Friday on Australia's World Cup cricket victory, has been forced out of the Bangladesh one-day series with an ankle injury, team officials said.

Glenn McGrathMcGrath flew to Sydney from Cairns on Thursday to consult a specialist after injuring his ankle during Australia's recent Test series victory over Bangladesh.

No replacement has been announced. The matches are on Saturday and Sunday in Cairns before the final one-dayer next Wednesday in Darwin.

McGrath's World Cup diary, which goes on sale tomorrow, chronicles the Australian team's successful defence of its World Cup crown in South Africa and Zimbabwe in February and March.

Team physiotherapist Errol Alcott said the injury was caused by a loose fragment of bone near the back of the ankle joint.

He said an operation would keep McGrath out of action for about five weeks.

With only 10 weeks before the start of the series against Zimbabwe in October, it was decided it was an opportune time to assess the damage.

McGrath will miss the one-dayers scheduled for Cairns on Saturday and Sunday and Darwin on August 6.

It is the third disruption McGrath has had this year after he missed the fifth Ashes Test against England with a back injury and two Tests against the West Indies when he flew home from the Caribbean to be with his wife, Jane, after she was diagnosed with cancer.

McGrath acknowledged the injury breaks could have contributed to his current state of fitness.

"I've always said that if I keep playing the body gets used to it and I'm fine but getting back into it can sometimes be a worry," McGrath said.

"The back injury during the Ashes was a bit strange but we've got on top of that now and then with what Jane and I went through at start of the West Indies you can't plan for that and then this now ..."

Govt has to take decision on Indo-Pak ties, says Kapil

Legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev on Wednesday said it was nice to have good relations with one's neighbours, but the decision to revive India-Pakistan cricket ties is a matter that will have to be taken by the government.

In a brief chat with reporters at Kochi, Kapil also hailed the current Indian team saying the players fine showing was reflected in the World Cup in South Africa where the side finished second behind Australia.

Earlier, at the prize distribution function of the 'One Alliance Challenger Football Series' held at the Maharaja's College grounds, he said the football lovers in the country should be more happy because of the way football is played in Kolkata and the title-winning performance of East Bengal in ASEAN club championship in Jakarta.

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