High-profile star, low-profile venue

SIDELIGHTS — Services vs Mumbai, Ranji Trophy Semifinal, Palam A Ground

Sachin Tendulkar (file photo)

WAR OF WORDS


Simplicity may have its upshot but not when it comes at the expense of basic convenience. Hosting its biggest match in memory, the Palam 'A' Ground left a lot to be desired so far as arrangements for mediapersons were concerned. For one, there were no chairs to sit. For another, there was no water. Leave alone internet access and five-star food, the press contingent was expected to cover a match as important as a Ranji Trophy semifinal without even primary facilities in place.

After numerous requests were unceremoniously ignored, a few journalists made their way to where they suspected the organisers were housed. Imagine their state of mind when they were summarily shunted out by an officious gentleman, and left to file reports on parched throats and shared a shared access to plug points.Things came to a head at the end of play, when a journalist was involved in a loud slanging match with an official. With four more days of play to go, watch this space for how this story within a story pans out.

SACHIN MAGIC

The name still spells magic and allegiance and loyalty go for a toss when Sachin Tendulkar is included in the equation. News of the master batting in the vicnity ensured a decent turn out on the first day. There were people fringing the ground, schoolboys on rooftops, and a gaggle of admirers around the boundary.

Each time Sachin so much as glanced in their direction, a loud cheer rippled through the gathered masses. His half-century left the fans in raptures, and most of these were friends and relatives of the home team Services. Tendulkar's dismissal had the expected affect. Within ten minutes of his exit, the ground wore a deserted look again, and only those remained whose jobs required them to be present on the spot.

SPLENDID SEAM

If you discount what happened over half-a-century ago, this has been an unprecedented season for Services. And a lot of it has been orchestrated by their motley collection of seamers. On Wednesday, medium pacers Suraj Yadav and Nishan Singh brought mammoth Mumbai to their knees. The visiting team were three wickets down for 23 on a misty morning, as Ajit Agarkar's decision to bat first backfired.

Yadav bowled with spirit and often rapped the batsmen on their pads, before finally getting the breakthrough. Nishan supported him ably, as the pitch continued to be of some assistance throughout the day. Just when Mumbai appeared to have righted their boat, Shadab Nazar fired out the stodgy Abhishek Nayar and Ankeet Chavan in the same over, allowing Services to accomplish the unthinkable - dominating three sessions against a side with a far superior pedigree.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Chennai vs Punjab

On Now: Chennai vs Punjab

McCullum and Smith fifties set Chennai up for a massive score at Abu Dhabi. More »

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Trott to take 'immediate break' from cricket

Trott to take 'immediate break' from cricket

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »