Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Gatt is back

Nobok legend Mike Gatting turned back the clock yesterday when he led an MCC XI against Afghanistan in Mumbai.

The former England skipper was still sprightly in the field at mid-off despite the Afghans bludgeoning 350-odd off their 40 overs. It needed some stout resistance from Gatt, but when he edged to slip off a 22-year-old quickie and was out for a duck, the team quickly folded.

The Afghan team reportedly had the quickest bowler in Asia while much of the team was made up of former refugess who had crossed the border into Pakistan during the 80s.

India have seen their fair share of gold medals at the Commonwealth Games (19 to date) as most of the televised action here has been consigned to the shooting, weight-lifting, hockey and table tennis disciplines.

Now the Games would not be complete without a bit of controversy from the Indian camp. For that we go over to the weight-lifting and a story which bears similar tones to Rahul Dravid's toss last Saturday.

Two of India's female lifters had already broken the Games record in their category and were assured of gold and silver going into the last round. However, it was a botch decision from the coach of eventual silver medalist Andhra Pradesh which cost her top spot.

In her final attempt K Armanath gave her lifter a lesser weight for the silver medal (which she was already guaranteed) rather than go for glory. In the end lost out by 1kg.

***"Raise The Alarm" shouted the Mumbai Mirror; "We got to 100!" lamented Mid Day; "Bring Back Sourav, screams Mumbai" said the Times of India.

England's memorable day in Mumbai meant Black Wednesday for Indian cricket in many of the nationals here, while Freddie Flintoff made the front page and TV news for different reasons.

Four years ago, Flintoff memorably ripped his shirt off and swung it round his head in glory as England defeated India in a thrilling one-day encounter at the Wankhede.

But it was a "New Freddie" which saw a turn around on Wednesday when he told Kevin Pietersen to go back and change into his Test whites from his blue singlet before the presentations.

Rod Gilmour in Mumbai