Srinath pays a visit


AUGUST 28: The Northern County, Derbyshire, could not field its best team against the touring Indians not only because it had important engagements coming up, but also because quite a few of its players were injured. This is how Derbyshire's injury list was presented by its physiotherapist Craig Ranson: "Several players have minor injuries that make them unavailable for selection to play India this week. Michael Di Venuto has a thigh strain. Andrew Gatt has a hamstring strain. Karl Krikken has influenza. Dominic Cork has a broken little finger and Luke Sutton has had an injection into a painful thumb. Tom Lungley broke his thumb fielding against Middlesex." Well, Physiotherapists - most of them with the County teams are from Australia - can only suggest ways to the players to avoid injuries. They can't really prevent injuries.

August 29: Many county clubs have opened memberships to increase their revenue. Derbyshire made an offer to its current members that they would be charged only 60 pounds should they renew their membership before August 31. Its new members will have to pay an annual fee of 75 pounds. As the notice says: "By renewing before 31st August you can still get the current price, so a visit to the membership office is well worth your while." The Club also announced that it would charge �27.50 for the end of the season award evening in which comedy duo Lean & Lard would entertain the members. On September 27, Derbyshire will announce its awards for the year.

Javagal Srinath with John Wright. The former Indian paceman, who is playing a few matches for Leicestershire, visited the Indian dressing room in Derby.-N. SRIDHARAN

August 30: One of the visitors to the Indian dressing room was former India fast bowler Javagal Srinath. He was accompanied by Karnataka teammate Dodda Ganesh. Recently, Srinath signed a contract with Leicestershire to play a few matches in the remaining part of the season. Srinath turns out to be a big draw. The Indian supporters crowd outside the dressing room to greet him and the other players. The supporters ask for autographs as the players go to the dining hall for lunch.

Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar prefer to watch the match sitting on a concrete fence in front of the manually operated scoreboard erected almost in line with the stumps. Members view the match from a row of seats in front of the car park.

August 31: India's under-19 team spend two to three hours at London's Oxford Street before assembling at Hyde Park. Led by Ambati Rayudu's brilliant batting in the three-match one-day international series, India thrash England. The visitors take in their stride even formidable targets. Coach Robin Singh lavishes praise on the team for its extraordinary fielding. He said that batsmen such as Rayudu, Deepak Chougule and Suresh Raina have the potential to make it big and also said that Timil Patel and Abhishek Sharma are promising. The manager of the senior Indian team, Ranga Reddy (President, Hyderabad Cricket Association), travels to Hyde Park to greet the junior players and congratulate them on their wonderful performances in the one-day internationals.

September 1: Chairman of selectors David Graveney names the England squad for the fourth and final Test against India. Opening batsman Marcus Trescothick and allrounder Ronnie Irani are included in the team; the Somerset opener, Trescothick, is a likely replacement for Kent's Robert Key and Irani for Andrew Flintoff. Meanwhile, Flintoff has his hernia operated. He gets sufficient time now to recuperate and travel to Australia for the Ashes series.

Trescothick's return to the side is welcomed. He has been such a good batsman in both the Tests and one-day internationals. But he broke his thumb before the first Test at Lord's and he has spent the last two months treating it. He played two Norwich Union League one-day matches, scored some runs and promptly Graveney named him in the team for the crucial Test at the Oval.

September 2: There is further good news for England. This time it comes from Graham Thorpe. He calls up England coach Duncan Fletcher and tells him that he is available for selection for the tour of Australia. "It's important for me to demonstrate that my commitment is real," said Thorpe, who decided to take a break from competitive cricket hours after England trounced India by 170 runs in the Lord's Test. Thorpe has been asked to report to the Chairman of selectors, David Graveney, for further talks. England's cricketing fraternity believes that a mentally fit Thorpe would do a world of good to its campaign in the Ashes series.

September 3: Sachin Tendulkar addresses a press conference two days before his 100th appearance in Test cricket at the Oval. He said one should not compare batsmen who have scored thousands of runs in Test cricket. "One should only appreciate their performances and not talk about negatives." He also poured out his heart for the other sportspersons in India who do not get their due. "Gopi Chand won the All-England badminton championship, but I don't think he got enough attention. We have good hockey players, badminton players. But you ask anyone what the top sports in the country is. The answer you will get is cricket, cricket, cricket."