Friday, September 19, 2008

Tendulkar says Australia rivalry bigger than Pakistan

Speaking out .... India's Sachin Tendulkar, seen here celebrating his century against Australia at the Adelaide Oval in January 2008.

Star Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar says India's cricketing rivalry with Australia is now bigger than that with arch-enemy Pakistan, the latter a rivalry so intense that fans have reportedly taken their own lives over it.

Speaking in Mumbai ahead of the Australian team's visit to India next month, Tendulkar reflected on the last volatile match-up of the two sides - in Australia last summer - when allegations of racism and bad sportsmanship rocked the series.

Because of recent history, India now held its rivalry with Australia higher than its battles with Pakistan, Tendulkar said.

"I think it [India v Australia] has become bigger largely because of the competitiveness. All the series, from 2001 onwards, have been keenly fought and have been very close ones," he said.

"We have gone to Australia and beaten them. We have been able to surprise them and that's what the Australian public likes: competition and high standards of play.

"They love to see challenges and competitiveness."

However, Tendulkar was confident the racism row that marred India's last tour would not cast a shadow over next month's series.

"I don't think there is any friction between us," he said.

Cricket matches between India and Pakistan have been shadowed by the history of the neighbouring nations, who have been to war four times in the last 50 years.

In 2005, the Asia Times wrote: "After India lost the Kolkata match against Pakistan on November 13, a cricket fan, Rabindranath Adhikari, committed suicide, setting himself on fire at his house in Batikar village of Birbhum district in West Bengal. Such fits of insanity are not rare."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cricket Australia to review security situation in India

Australia were due to depart Sep 21 for a four-Test series in India. The first Test is in Bangalore Oct 9 while Delhi will host the third Test starting Oct 29.

The Australian team's security expert Reg Dickason has been asked to compile the report in conjunction with CA and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA).

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Dickason will work with ACA and CA General Manager of Cricket Michael Brown, who will speak to the Indian cricket board, the Australian high commission in New Delhi and security agencies to gain information.

"The fundamental principle that always comes first is the safety of the team and the team officials," CA spokesman Peter Young said. "We will seek advice from the Australian government.

"Based on this report and other inputs, we will take a decision on the tour next week or so," he said.

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) remains hopeful that the tour will continue.

"The blasts are a concern, but I don't think it will have an impact on the Australian tour," BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said.

Young said that so far there was no danger for the tour to be called off.

"Well, so far the tour is on unless we get any reports, we are progressing with our plans to go ahead. There's a standard process for every tour. Such is the way of the world these days that this process is completed before we go anywhere."

Australia expressed safety fears ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy tournament due to be held in Pakistan this month.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sachin Tendulkar fit to play again

In what would be good news for Indian cricket fans, Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, who missed the ODI series against Sri Lanka due to an elbow injury, has declared himself fit and will take part in Irani Cup, just ahead of the all important Indo-Australia sereis.

Sachin had injured his elbow in the 3rd Test match against Sri Lanka in August 2008 and was forced to miss the following ODI series that India won 3-2. The Little Master had a poor run of form in the Test series and failed to topple Brian Lara as the top run scorer in this form of the game.

But now fit-again Sachin can finally achieve that milestone at home in the 4 Test series against World Champions Aussies. He will also feature for the rest-of-India squad which takes on Ranji Champions Delhi in the Irani trophy that takes place from September 24 to 28th at Vadodara.

"I will be participating in the Irani Trophy. Just now I'm fine," declared the master batsman at a promotional event for Aviva Insurance of which he is a brand ambassador.

BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah has already informed that the squad, to be selected by the senior national selection panel led by Dilip Vengsarkar, would be a virtual Test side barring those who would be representing Delhi like Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma.