Brainstorming sessions with a psychologist

G. VISWANATH

Jim and Sally Donaldson of Bristol, who made their international debut as scorers.-N. SRIDHARAN

JULY 10: England captain Nasser Hussain was interviewed on SkySports. Regarding the England captaincy, he said: "I feel I am contributing to the side and the side is better with me leading them." On the coming Ashes series he had this to say: "This winter will be the acid test. Although we have progressed, the Australians are very much on top of the tree. We face them in the Ashes and then in the World Cup." When the subject of contracts came up, Nasser said, "I think the England and Wales Cricket Board have done the right thing regarding contracts. They have started the procedure and we are looking to start off on one-year contracts."

July 11: Cricket can be an abiding passion for many as this couple from Bristol exemplify. The husband and wife team of Jim and Sally Donaldson have been scorers for many years, but July 11 was a special day. It was the first time that they were appointed to score in an international match by Gloucestershire. The couple conduct a league cricket for schools in a village close to Bristol. "Scoring is a partnership and I know who will be the boss. Sally has taught me most of what I know. I am sure we will go fine. You need to have a rapport with the other scorer," said Jim. The education department of the Gloucestershire Club employs Sally. "I had nightmares about the big day, but it's all fine now," she said on the morning of the day and night match between India and Sri Lanka.

Indian coach John Wright with the Australian sports psychologist, Dr. Sandy Gordon.-N. SRIDHARAN

July 12: The International Cricket Council (ICC) announces a partnership with Emirates Airline for flying its elite panel of umpires and match referees. "It is a difficult market for sponsorship and media rights. But this partnership represents excellent value to the game and demonstrates the enduring appeal of international cricket to the corporate world," said the ICC CEO, Malcolm Speed. The contract between Emirates and ICC entails the appearance of the Airlines' Fly Emirates logo on the front and back of the umpires' jackets and shirts on the right side. It was announced that umpires David Shepherd and Steve Bucknor would display the logos on their dress during the NatWest Trophy final.The umpires for the first Test between India and England, South Africa's Rudi Koertzen and Zimbabwe's Russel Tiffin and Match Referee Clive Lloyd, will be the first team to display the Fly Emirates logo in a Test match.

July 13: It turns out to be a great day for Indian cricket, as the team contests and wins a final against England at Lord's. Another Indian who is delighted is Suresh Saraiya, commentator for All India Radio for over three decades. Suresh, the former Central Bank of India PRO from Mumbai, has shared the mike with the likes of Vijay Merchant, Devraj Puri, Anand Rao, Balu Alaganan and many others after them.

Prakash, son of Vijay Amritraj, spotted in front of the Crowne Plaza hotel.-N. SRIDHARAN

He has also commentated from the West Indies, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Sharjah. But it is the first time in almost four decades that he has got an opportunity to report ball-by-ball from England. He realised his dream of commentating from the Lord's press enclosure. He was in the West Indies in 1971 when India won a Test series there for the first time, and more than 30 years later, he was on the air from Lord's to relay one of India's famous wins in limited-over internationals.

Sourav Ganguly (middle, last row) at the ICC meeting for international captains.-N. SRIDHARAN

July 14: The victory celebrations are kept short and sweet. After a good night's sleep the cricketers assemble for a meeting with Dr. Sandy Gordon, the reputed Australian Sports psychologist, whose business is to make the players mentally strong. Dr. Gordon has worked with the Australian cricket team. Australia's present captain for one-day internationals, Ricky Ponting, has claimed that brainstorming sessions with Dr. Gordon was the reason for his success three years ago. The Doctor had a group discussion as well as individual sessions with the players. Dr. Gordon's job became a little easy since he met the Indian cricketers the day after they had beaten England in a one-day championship final and their morale was high.

July 15: It seems the Taj Resorts property in London, Crowne Plaza, which is just five minutes' walk from the Buckingham Palace, is the favourite hotel for many Indians, from politicians to sportspersons. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President, Suresh Kalmadi spent three days at the Crowne Plaza on his way to attend an IAAF meeting in Paris. Today, another Indian, who is yet to attain the celebrity status of his father was seen. This was Prakash Amritraj. "I played the Challenger at Manchester and Bristol. Now I am on my way to Los Angeles to play an event there. I will be in Mumbai for the Futures and the Challenger in August at the end of the year," said Prakash, the elder son of Vijay Amritraj. The Indian cricketers are ready to leave for Arundel, but manager Ranga Reddy, President, Hyderabad Cricket Association, said that Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dravid would stay put in London and rest before the match against Hampshire at Southampton starting on July 20. Indian captain Ganguly makes a dash to the ICC office at Lord's for the international captains' meeting. The captains make a big noise about excessive cricket. The ICC tells them: "Play the game, it's all manageable."

The picturesque ground in Arundel.-N. SRIDHARAN

July 16: The tourist brochure informs that the original castle in Arundel was first occupied on Christmas Day in 1067 by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel, one of William the Conqueror's most loyal barons. He was awarded a third of Sussex with the stipulation that a new castle be built near the mouth of the river Aron to protect the approaches to Sussex from attack. It is under the shadow of this castle that a cricket match is played. The Arundel Cricket Castle Club is part of West Sussex, which comes under the Sussex County Cricket Club. But the matches are held directly under the control of the Castle Club. Hove, where India played South Africa in the 1999 World Cup, is the county's home ground. Brighton is also a part of Sussex, its beach attracting thousands of tourists every year. Present at the beautiful venue in Arundel on the first day of the India-West Indies 'A' match are Raman Subba Row, the former Surrey and England batsman and an International Cricket Council Match Referee for many years, Raj Singh Dungarpur, former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President and at present the President of the Cricket Club of India (CCI) and R. Renjen, CEO of CCI, who is in England to finalise a reciprocal membership arrangement with the Marylebone Cricket Club, London. There are many autograph hunters, too. The Indians are giving 'over the counter' signatures, with people queuing up in an orderly manner. Big Bird Joel Garner, the former West Indies fast bowler, at present the manager of the West Indies 'A' team is another popular man near the dressing room.