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<b>The Greatest ODI Ever <br>
</b><br>

South Africa hit a world record 438-9 in <a href=full.asp?fodname=20060312&fname=Aus%2DSA+ODI&sid=1 target=_blank> the highest-scoring ODI</a> in history to beat Australia by one wicket, with one ball to spare. The hosts total topped Australia's record 434 for four earlier in the day. Australian captain Ricky Ponting (164) and South African Herschelle Gibbs (175) led the run spree and a total of 872 runs were scored. The previous aggregate record was 693 when India beat Pakistan by five runs in Karachi in March 2004 while the highest innings record was the 398 for five Sri Lanka scored against Kenya in Kandy in 1995-96. Adding more to world records, Australian medium-pacer Mick Lewis was hammered for 113 runs off ten overs, becoming the first man to concede 100 runs in a one-day international. <b>Goodbye To All That</b><P>

On Dec 26,  89,155 people at the MCG witnessed the historic moment as Warne hit the middle stump of England opener Andrew Strauss on the opening day of the Boxing Day Test to become the first player in the history of cricket to reach 700 Test wickets. A few days before that,
he had announced that he would <a href=full.asp?fodname=20061221&fname=Warne&sid=1 target=_blank> retire from the international stage</a> in January, bringing the curtains down on a glittering 15-year career which began against India. <br>
<br>

A day prior to that, world's most successful fast bowler, with 555 Test wickets in 122 matches,
<a href=full.asp?fodname=20061223&fname=McGrath&sid=1 target=_blank> Glenn
McGrath</a>,  had also announced his retirement from the longer version of the game at the end of the Ashes series in January, but would continue to play in one-dayers till the World Cup next year. <B>
<P>Lara's Theme</P>
</B> 
<P><b>  Nov 21:</b> Brian Lara rewrote 
record books with a 100 from 77 balls before the lunch break on the third day of 
the second Test against Pakistan in Multan. Lara became the fifth batsman in 
Test history to score a hundred before lunch. Sir Vivian Richards holds the 
record of fastest century in Test cricket which came in just 56 balls against 
England at St Antigua in 1985. Lara joined three Australians -- V.T. Trumper 
(1902), C.G. Macartney (1926) and Sir Don Bradman (1930) -- along with 
Pakistan's Majid Khan (1976) as the only other batsmen who scored centuries 
before lunch in Test history. Lara also joined Sunil Gavaskar in second spot in 
the list of most Test centuries scored and is just one behind Sachin Tendulkar, 
who heads the list with 35 hundreds.</P> <b>
<p>Raining Runs</p>
<p>Nov 30:</b> Pakistan's Mohammad Yousuf joined the ranks of cricketing greats
by setting several records in the third test against the West Indies in Karachi.
He broke West Indian batting great Vivian Richards' record of 1,710 runs in 11
matches, set in 1976, by reaching 1,788. Yousuf, who scored nine hundreds in
2006 in 11 Tests, also established a record of most hundreds in a year. The
record was held jointly by Richards and Sri Lankan Aravinda de Silva, who scored
seven hundreds each. During the course of his second innings, Yousuf also
established a new mark for the highest aggregate in a three-match series with
665 runs, surpassing the previous best of 583, held by compatriot Zaheer Abbas
in a home series against India in 1978.</p>
<b>
<p>The Best Pair Ever</p>
<p>July 29:</b> Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene and Kumara Sangakkara
compiled a world-record partnership of 624 runs during the third day of the
first Test match against South Africa in Colombo. The pair crossed the record
576 run also held by Sri Lankans Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama.
Jayawardene missed out on overtaking Brian Lara's record for the highest runs
ever as he was finally out for 374, just behind Lara's 375, Matthew Hayden's
380, and Lara's 400.</p>
<P><B>As Simple As 123</P></B>
<P>Dismissed as pushovers after their one-day thrashing, India staged a dramatic 
turnaround by recording their first ever Test win on South African soil with a 
123-run triumph in the first Test at Johannesburg. The wonders at Wanderers were 
possible largely because of <a href=full.asp?fodname=20070101&fname=Cricket+%28F%29&sid=1 target=_blank>Sreesanth</a> <B>
</B>who gave 
glimpses of a feisty young India with his stares, glares and giving it back 
better than he got as India romped off to a historic win.</P>
<P>Otherwise, India's tale in one-dayers was all about <a href=full.asp?fodname=20061009&fname=ACover+Rajaraman+%28F%29&sid=1 target=_blank>experiments</a> <B> </B>which failed to work and had the pundits baying for coach Greg 
Chappell's blood. The team played 30 one-dayers in all, winning 13, losing 15 
and two ending in no results. One of their biggest success stories was scripted 
against Pakistan (Jan-Feb) whom they thrashed 4-1 to make some amends for the 
defeat in the Test series. India also melted England 5-1 in the April heat at 
home but the dream run was cut short in the West Indies where they lost the 
series 4-1. India played a short two-match series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, 
drawing it 1-1. Another ODI series played at Kuala Lumpur also brought little 
cheer with the team failing to make it to the final which Australia won 
defeating West Indies. The tour of Sri Lanka for a tri-series, also involving 
South Africa, was lost to a bomb blast and rain as the players returned without 
playing even a single match. The team's poor form returned to haunt in the <a href=full.asp?fodname=20061113&fname=Cricket+%28F%29&sid=1 target=_blank>Champions Trophy</a><B> 
</B>which turned out to be a party 
without the hosts as India were ousted in the league stage itself.</P> <B>
<P>Calypso Times</P></B>
<P>Earlier in the year, India scripted a new chapter in their cricketing history 
by securing their<a href=full.asp?fodname=20060717&fname=Cricket+%28F%29&sid=1 target=_blank> first
series win</a><B>  </B>in the Caribbean 
in 35 years with a 49-run victory in the fourth Test at the Sabina Park in 
Kingston, Jamaica. The visitors snubbed a late fightback by the hosts who, 
chasing a target of 269, recovered from a top order collapse and took the attack 
to the rival camp before being all out for 219 on the third day. Anil Kumble 
took six wickets for 78 and single handedly hustled the West Indian lower order 
into submission to give India a memorable victory with two full days to spare. 
India's last series win in the West Indies came in 1971 under Ajit Wadekar and 
the 1-0 triumph is also the team's first outside the subcontinent in two decades 
- with the exception of the victory in Zimbabwe last year - since the 2-0 win 
over England in 1986. Skipper <a href=full.asp?fodname=20060828&fname=Dravid+%28F%29&sid=1 target=_blank>Rahul Dravid <B>
</B></a>, who scored 
81 and 68 in the two innings respectively, was awarded the man-of-the-match and 
man-of-the-series award. He also joined the select 9000+ Test runs club, with 
the highest average among them all, and has now the distinction of figuring in 
all the Indian victories abroad in recent years.</P> <P><B>In The Footsteps Of Her Idol </P></B>
<P>Indian cricket, famed for its spin magicians, can now boast of having the 
fastest bowler in the world, albeit in the women's version of the game. <a href=full.asp?fodname=20060905&fname=Jhulan&sid=1 target=_blank>Jhulan Goswami</a>, who bowled India to its maiden Test series 
victory on England soil at Taunton in the second Test, can work up a pace which 
can go up to a maximum 120 km per hour. Towering 5'11'', Jhulan's intent is now 
to compliment her speed, which can go up to a maximum 120 km per hour, by fine 
tuning line and length like her idol Glenn McGrath.</P> <p><b>Indian Kids On Top Of The World</p>
<p>Nov 15:</b> B Manoj Kumar and Mohamed Shaibaaz Tumbi stunned the cricket
fraternity by smashing the Sachin Tendulkar-Vinod Kambli record for the highest
partnership by putting on 721 runs in a Hyderabad school match. The young
cricketers wiped out the long-standing record of 664 runs registered by
Tendulkar and Kambli in 1987-88 for their school Sharadashram Vidyamandir in
Bombay. Manoj cracked 320 off 127 balls studded with 46 fours while Shaibaaz hit
324 laced with 67 hits to the fence for St Peter's High School at the Gymkhana
Ground against St Phillip's High School. It is the first instance of two triple
centuries being scored in the same innings in limited-overs cricket. Their
totally demoralised opponents folded up for 21 in 7 overs.</p><P>This was not all. For soon, on Dec 20, Mumbai schoolboy Shardul Thakur slammed six sixes in a single over for Swami Vivekanand school against S Radhakrishnan School in the Plate Division Harris Shield. Thakur carted spinner Vishal Dhruv over the mid-wicket region six times on his way to a score of 160 in 73 balls, which included 10 sixes and 20 fours, on the second day of the match. Former West Indies skipper Garfield Sobers hit medium pacer Malcolm Nash for six sixes in an over in English county cricket in the late 1960s, while Ravi Shastri slammed Baroda's Tilak Raj in similar fashion in a Ranji Trophy league match at the Wankhede stadium in the 1980s.


<b>
<p>Thumbs Up!</p>
<p>March 11:</b> Anil Kumble celebrates his 500th Test wicket during the third
day of the second Test against England at the PCA Stadium, Mohali. The 35-year
old Karnataka leg spinner became the first Indian and only the fifth bowler in
the world to reach the landmark of 500 Test wickets when he trapped Stephen
Harmison leg before as he grabbed the last three England wickets off only four
balls. 'Jumbo' reached the milestone with the least number of matches, 105,
after Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan (600) who achieved the feat in 87
matches.</p>

<p><b>The Comeback King?</p>
</b>
<p>Desperate times, desperate measures? Or was it plain political pressure? The
national selectors, reportedly under strong pressure from the West Bengal
contingent in Parliament -- where expert cricket commentators such as Brinda
Karat had pleaded his cause -- finally confirmed the recall of <a href=full.asp?fodname=20061211&fname=Cricket+%28F%29&sid=1 target=_blank>Sourav
Ganguly</a><b> </b>ostensibly to beef up the tottering Indian line up for the
Test series against South Africa. The Bengal southpaw who had earlier taken to
appearing in mawkish TV ads announcing his plans to grabbed the chance with both
hands, playing an important role in India's victory at the Wanderers with
crucial knocks of 51 not out and 25.</p>
<b>
<p>Drug Rehab</p>
</b>
<p>In what turned out to be a farcical exercise, Just 34 days after <a href=full.asp?fodname=20061205&fname=Shoaib&sid=1 target=_blank>Shoaib
Akhtar</a><b> </b>and Mohd Asif were banned for doping by the PCB amidst great
fanfare, a new appellate tribunal overturned the ruling of the earlier dope
tribunal, saying it said was 'too harsh'. In the latest development, the World
Anti Doping Agency (WADA) has challenged the exoneration in the Court of
Arbitration for Sports, in Lausanne, Switzerland.</p>
<B>
<P>A Police Interrogation</P>
<P>Oct 12: </B>Avoiding the Delhi Police ever since the<a href=dossiersind.asp?id=11 target=_blank>
match-fixing</a><B>  </B>scandal broke out in 2000, South African cricketer Hershelle Gibbs 
appeared before it and said he was part of the conspiracy and confessed to 
receiving offers twice to underperform in one-day internationals. During the 
150-minute questioning session, the 32-year-old star batsman accepted that he 
was doing only what his late captain Hansie Cronje wanted him to do. He named 
off-spinner Derek Crookes and a few others South African players as being part 
of the conspiracy, but did not know whether any Indian player was involved. A 
day after he arrived in the country, which he had skipped twice in the past, 
Gibbs accompanied by his lawyer Peter Whelan drove to the Police Headquarters 
for a questioning session with the Crime Branch team headed by Joint 
Commissioner Ranjit Narayan. Addressing a press conference later, Narayan said 
Gibbs has admitted that he had twice received offers from Cronje to 
underperform in a one-day international in 1996 and 2000.</P> <b>
<p>A Hair Cut </p>
</b>
<p>Bringing an abrupt end to the career of cricket's most controversial official
who had triggered a major row by charging Pakistan with <a href=full.asp?fodname=20060904&fname=Cricket+%28F%29&sid=1 target=_blank>ball
tampering</a><b>  </b>at the Oval in August, Australian umpire Darrell Hair
was sacked from the ICC's Elite Panel by a 7-3 vote against him at the two-day
meeting of the ICC Executive Board in Mumbai. The row erupted when the Pakistan
team refused to take the field on the fourth day of the Oval Test after Hair and
fellow umpire Billy Doctrove penalised the Pakistanis five runs and changed the
ball. The match was later deemed forfeited by Pakistan, the first in Test
history. An ICC inquiry later cleared Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq of
ball-tampering charges although it banned him for four one-day internationals
for bringing the game into disrepute.</p>
<B>
<P>Caught On Mike </P>
<P>Aug 8:</B> Australian cricket commentator Dean Jones was sacked by his TV 
employers - Ten Sports - and sent home after he was heard saying on air the 
terrorist has got another wicket when South African Muslim player Hashim Amla 
took a catch to to dismiss Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara during the fourth 
day's play, in the second Test against Sri Lanka at Colombo. Amla later said he 
was deeply hurt by the Australian but had forgiven him because as a Muslim he 
had been taught to forgive and forget. However, the Indian-origin player 
became the target of another racist attack, after an electronics goods company 
displayed a advertisement on a huge board in Johannesburg reading: Thank 
goodness Amla didn't face a coolie kreeper. The word coolie was used by 
whites and other racist elements in South Africa to describe the Indian 
community but has now been banned along with other racist terms. Like Dean 
Jones, the company has also apologized to Amla and the general public.</P> <b>
<p>From Hero To Zero? Not Quite</p>
</b>
<p><b>Dec 25:</b> Irfan Pathan's turbulent career received a further setback when it
was decided that the young Baroda paceman would be sent back home from the tour
of South Africa  to rediscover his forgotten craft. We, the team
management, chairman of selectors and Irfan himself have decided that it is in
his best interest that he goes to India and plays the next two Ranji Trophy
matches on January 2 and 10, skipper Rahul Dravid said while insisting
that the youngster was important to India's plans in the near and long-term
future. Pathan has picked 91 Test wickets from 25 matches at an average of 30.79
and is only the second Indian bowler to pick up a hat-trick but his recent slide
in bowling has been too dramatic to be ignored any longer. He was not picked for
the first Test at the Wanderers, missed three Tests in the West Indies and even
in the preceding one-day series on the present tour, he was not picked in all
the games. Pathan's problems became apparent when he was slammed for 74 runs in
his 11 overs by an average local side, Kwazulu-Natal XI, though his batting
performance had been far more consistent than that of most other stalwarts
before the Test series began.</p>
<B>
<P>At Last</P></B>
<P>The end of an era? Former BCCI and ICC chief <a href=full.asp?fodname=20061216&fname=Dalmiya&sid=1 target=_blank> Jagmohan Dalmiya</a> 
was expelled from the Board under Sharad Pawar's 
leadership for life (a witchhunt?) and was removed from all posts on charges of 
financial irregularities in the PILCOM (Pakistan-India-Lanka Committee) account 
during the 1996 World Cup. Last heard, Dalmiya had resigned as chief of the 
Cricket Association of Bengala and looks set to challenge the life ban in 
court.</P> <b>Pawar Power </b>
<p><b>

Nov 5:</b> The victorious Australian team nudged BCCI chief Sharad Pawar off the dais so that they could pose with the Champions Trophy. There was widespread condemnation of the act with Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar and later Pawar blasting them for
'uncivilised behaviour'. The uproar led to Cricket Australia and Ricky Ponting tendering an apology.</p>
Dec 27, 2006
The Greatest ODI Ever 

South Africa hit a world record 438-9 in the highest-scoring ODI in history to beat Australia by one wicket, with one ball to spare. The hosts total topped Australia's record 434 for four earlier in the day. Australian captain Ricky Ponting (164) and South African Herschelle Gibbs (175) led the run spree and a total of 872 runs were scored. The previous aggregate record was 693 when India beat Pakistan by five runs in Karachi in March 2004 while the highest innings record was the 398 for five Sri Lanka scored against Kenya in Kandy in 1995-96. Adding more to world records, Australian medium-pacer Mick Lewis was hammered for 113 runs off ten overs, becoming the first man to concede 100 runs in a one-day international.

-
Dec 27, 2006
Goodbye To All That

On Dec 26, 89,155 people at the MCG witnessed the historic moment as Warne hit the middle stump of England opener Andrew Strauss on the opening day of the Boxing Day Test to become the first player in the history of cricket to reach 700 Test wickets. A few days before that, he had announced that he would retire from the international stage in January, bringing the curtains down on a glittering 15-year career which began against India.

A day prior to that, world's most successful fast bowler, with 555 Test wickets in 122 matches, Glenn McGrath, had also announced his retirement from the longer version of the game at the end of the Ashes series in January, but would continue to play in one-dayers till the World Cup next year.

-

Dec 27, 2006

Lara's Theme

Nov 21: Brian Lara rewrote record books with a 100 from 77 balls before the lunch break on the third day of the second Test against Pakistan in Multan. Lara became the fifth batsman in Test history to score a hundred before lunch. Sir Vivian Richards holds the record of fastest century in Test cricket which came in just 56 balls against England at St Antigua in 1985. Lara joined three Australians -- V.T. Trumper (1902), C.G. Macartney (1926) and Sir Don Bradman (1930) -- along with Pakistan's Majid Khan (1976) as the only other batsmen who scored centuries before lunch in Test history. Lara also joined Sunil Gavaskar in second spot in the list of most Test centuries scored and is just one behind Sachin Tendulkar, who heads the list with 35 hundreds.



-
Dec 27, 2006

Raining Runs

Nov 30: Pakistan's Mohammad Yousuf joined the ranks of cricketing greats by setting several records in the third test against the West Indies in Karachi. He broke West Indian batting great Vivian Richards' record of 1,710 runs in 11 matches, set in 1976, by reaching 1,788. Yousuf, who scored nine hundreds in 2006 in 11 Tests, also established a record of most hundreds in a year. The record was held jointly by Richards and Sri Lankan Aravinda de Silva, who scored seven hundreds each. During the course of his second innings, Yousuf also established a new mark for the highest aggregate in a three-match series with 665 runs, surpassing the previous best of 583, held by compatriot Zaheer Abbas in a home series against India in 1978.



-
Dec 27, 2006

The Best Pair Ever

July 29: Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene and Kumara Sangakkara compiled a world-record partnership of 624 runs during the third day of the first Test match against South Africa in Colombo. The pair crossed the record 576 run also held by Sri Lankans Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama. Jayawardene missed out on overtaking Brian Lara's record for the highest runs ever as he was finally out for 374, just behind Lara's 375, Matthew Hayden's 380, and Lara's 400.



-
Dec 27, 2006

As Simple As 123

Dismissed as pushovers after their one-day thrashing, India staged a dramatic turnaround by recording their first ever Test win on South African soil with a 123-run triumph in the first Test at Johannesburg. The wonders at Wanderers were possible largely because of Sreesanth who gave glimpses of a feisty young India with his stares, glares and giving it back better than he got as India romped off to a historic win.

Otherwise, India's tale in one-dayers was all about experiments which failed to work and had the pundits baying for coach Greg Chappell's blood. The team played 30 one-dayers in all, winning 13, losing 15 and two ending in no results. One of their biggest success stories was scripted against Pakistan (Jan-Feb) whom they thrashed 4-1 to make some amends for the defeat in the Test series. India also melted England 5-1 in the April heat at home but the dream run was cut short in the West Indies where they lost the series 4-1. India played a short two-match series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, drawing it 1-1. Another ODI series played at Kuala Lumpur also brought little cheer with the team failing to make it to the final which Australia won defeating West Indies. The tour of Sri Lanka for a tri-series, also involving South Africa, was lost to a bomb blast and rain as the players returned without playing even a single match. The team's poor form returned to haunt in the Champions Trophy  which turned out to be a party without the hosts as India were ousted in the league stage itself.



-
Dec 27, 2006

Calypso Times

Earlier in the year, India scripted a new chapter in their cricketing history by securing their first series win  in the Caribbean in 35 years with a 49-run victory in the fourth Test at the Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica. The visitors snubbed a late fightback by the hosts who, chasing a target of 269, recovered from a top order collapse and took the attack to the rival camp before being all out for 219 on the third day. Anil Kumble took six wickets for 78 and single handedly hustled the West Indian lower order into submission to give India a memorable victory with two full days to spare. India's last series win in the West Indies came in 1971 under Ajit Wadekar and the 1-0 triumph is also the team's first outside the subcontinent in two decades - with the exception of the victory in Zimbabwe last year - since the 2-0 win over England in 1986. Skipper Rahul Dravid , who scored 81 and 68 in the two innings respectively, was awarded the man-of-the-match and man-of-the-series award. He also joined the select 9000+ Test runs club, with the highest average among them all, and has now the distinction of figuring in all the Indian victories abroad in recent years.



-
Dec 27, 2006

In The Footsteps Of Her Idol

Indian cricket, famed for its spin magicians, can now boast of having the fastest bowler in the world, albeit in the women's version of the game. Jhulan Goswami, who bowled India to its maiden Test series victory on England soil at Taunton in the second Test, can work up a pace which can go up to a maximum 120 km per hour. Towering 5'11'', Jhulan's intent is now to compliment her speed, which can go up to a maximum 120 km per hour, by fine tuning line and length like her idol Glenn McGrath.



-
Dec 27, 2006

Indian Kids On Top Of The World

Nov 15: B Manoj Kumar and Mohamed Shaibaaz Tumbi stunned the cricket fraternity by smashing the Sachin Tendulkar-Vinod Kambli record for the highest partnership by putting on 721 runs in a Hyderabad school match. The young cricketers wiped out the long-standing record of 664 runs registered by Tendulkar and Kambli in 1987-88 for their school Sharadashram Vidyamandir in Bombay. Manoj cracked 320 off 127 balls studded with 46 fours while Shaibaaz hit 324 laced with 67 hits to the fence for St Peter's High School at the Gymkhana Ground against St Phillip's High School. It is the first instance of two triple centuries being scored in the same innings in limited-overs cricket. Their totally demoralised opponents folded up for 21 in 7 overs.

This was not all. For soon, on Dec 20, Mumbai schoolboy Shardul Thakur slammed six sixes in a single over for Swami Vivekanand school against S Radhakrishnan School in the Plate Division Harris Shield. Thakur carted spinner Vishal Dhruv over the mid-wicket region six times on his way to a score of 160 in 73 balls, which included 10 sixes and 20 fours, on the second day of the match. Former West Indies skipper Garfield Sobers hit medium pacer Malcolm Nash for six sixes in an over in English county cricket in the late 1960s, while Ravi Shastri slammed Baroda's Tilak Raj in similar fashion in a Ranji Trophy league match at the Wankhede stadium in the 1980s.

-

Dec 27, 2006

Thumbs Up!

March 11: Anil Kumble celebrates his 500th Test wicket during the third day of the second Test against England at the PCA Stadium, Mohali. The 35-year old Karnataka leg spinner became the first Indian and only the fifth bowler in the world to reach the landmark of 500 Test wickets when he trapped Stephen Harmison leg before as he grabbed the last three England wickets off only four balls. 'Jumbo' reached the milestone with the least number of matches, 105, after Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan (600) who achieved the feat in 87 matches.



-
Dec 27, 2006

The Comeback King?

Desperate times, desperate measures? Or was it plain political pressure? The national selectors, reportedly under strong pressure from the West Bengal contingent in Parliament -- where expert cricket commentators such as Brinda Karat had pleaded his cause -- finally confirmed the recall of Sourav Ganguly ostensibly to beef up the tottering Indian line up for the Test series against South Africa. The Bengal southpaw who had earlier taken to appearing in mawkish TV ads announcing his plans to grabbed the chance with both hands, playing an important role in India's victory at the Wanderers with crucial knocks of 51 not out and 25.



-
Dec 27, 2006

Drug Rehab

In what turned out to be a farcical exercise, Just 34 days after Shoaib Akhtar and Mohd Asif were banned for doping by the PCB amidst great fanfare, a new appellate tribunal overturned the ruling of the earlier dope tribunal, saying it said was 'too harsh'. In the latest development, the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) has challenged the exoneration in the Court of Arbitration for Sports, in Lausanne, Switzerland.



-
Dec 27, 2006

A Police Interrogation

Oct 12: Avoiding the Delhi Police ever since the match-fixing  scandal broke out in 2000, South African cricketer Hershelle Gibbs appeared before it and said he was part of the conspiracy and confessed to receiving offers twice to underperform in one-day internationals. During the 150-minute questioning session, the 32-year-old star batsman accepted that he was doing only what his late captain Hansie Cronje wanted him to do. He named off-spinner Derek Crookes and a few others South African players as being part of the conspiracy, but did not know whether any Indian player was involved. A day after he arrived in the country, which he had skipped twice in the past, Gibbs accompanied by his lawyer Peter Whelan drove to the Police Headquarters for a questioning session with the Crime Branch team headed by Joint Commissioner Ranjit Narayan. Addressing a press conference later, Narayan said Gibbs has admitted that he had twice received offers from Cronje to "underperform" in a one-day international in 1996 and 2000.



-
Dec 27, 2006

A Hair Cut 

Bringing an abrupt end to the career of cricket's most controversial official who had triggered a major row by charging Pakistan with ball tampering  at the Oval in August, Australian umpire Darrell Hair was sacked from the ICC's Elite Panel by a 7-3 vote against him at the two-day meeting of the ICC Executive Board in Mumbai. The row erupted when the Pakistan team refused to take the field on the fourth day of the Oval Test after Hair and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove penalised the Pakistanis five runs and changed the ball. The match was later deemed forfeited by Pakistan, the first in Test history. An ICC inquiry later cleared Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq of ball-tampering charges although it banned him for four one-day internationals for bringing the game into disrepute.



-
Dec 27, 2006

Caught On Mike 

Aug 8: Australian cricket commentator Dean Jones was sacked by his TV employers - Ten Sports - and sent home after he was heard saying on air "the terrorist has got another wicket" when South African Muslim player Hashim Amla took a catch to to dismiss Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara during the fourth day's play, in the second Test against Sri Lanka at Colombo. Amla later said he was deeply hurt by the Australian but had forgiven him because as a Muslim he had been taught to "forgive and forget." However, the Indian-origin player became the target of another racist attack, after an electronics goods company displayed a advertisement on a huge board in Johannesburg reading: "Thank goodness Amla didn't face a coolie kreeper". The word "coolie" was used by whites and other racist elements in South Africa to describe the Indian community but has now been banned along with other racist terms. Like Dean Jones, the company has also apologized to Amla and the general public.



-
Dec 27, 2006

From Hero To Zero? Not Quite

Dec 25: Irfan Pathan's turbulent career received a further setback when it was decided that the young Baroda paceman would be sent back home from the tour of South Africa  to rediscover his forgotten craft. "We, the team management, chairman of selectors and Irfan himself have decided that it is in his best interest that he goes to India and plays the next two Ranji Trophy matches on January 2 and 10," skipper Rahul Dravid said while insisting that the youngster was important to India's plans in the near and long-term future. Pathan has picked 91 Test wickets from 25 matches at an average of 30.79 and is only the second Indian bowler to pick up a hat-trick but his recent slide in bowling has been too dramatic to be ignored any longer. He was not picked for the first Test at the Wanderers, missed three Tests in the West Indies and even in the preceding one-day series on the present tour, he was not picked in all the games. Pathan's problems became apparent when he was slammed for 74 runs in his 11 overs by an average local side, Kwazulu-Natal XI, though his batting performance had been far more consistent than that of most other stalwarts before the Test series began.



-
Dec 27, 2006

At Last

The end of an era? Former BCCI and ICC chief Jagmohan Dalmiya  was expelled from the Board under Sharad Pawar's leadership for life (a witchhunt?) and was removed from all posts on charges of financial irregularities in the PILCOM (Pakistan-India-Lanka Committee) account during the 1996 World Cup. Last heard, Dalmiya had resigned as chief of the Cricket Association of Bengala and looks set to challenge the life ban in court.



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Dec 27, 2006
Pawar Power 

Nov 5: The victorious Australian team nudged BCCI chief Sharad Pawar off the dais so that they could pose with the Champions Trophy. There was widespread condemnation of the act with Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar and later Pawar blasting them for 'uncivilised behaviour'. The uproar led to Cricket Australia and Ricky Ponting tendering an apology.



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2006: Cricket
Dec 27, 2006
The Greatest ODI Ever 

South Africa hit a world record 438-9 in the highest-scoring ODI in history to beat Australia by one wicket, with one ball to spare. The hosts total topped Australia's record 434 for four earlier in the day. Australian captain Ricky Ponting (164) and South African Herschelle Gibbs (175) led the run spree and a total of 872 runs were scored. The previous aggregate record was 693 when India beat Pakistan by five runs in Karachi in March 2004 while the highest innings record was the 398 for five Sri Lanka scored against Kenya in Kandy in 1995-96. Adding more to world records, Australian medium-pacer Mick Lewis was hammered for 113 runs off ten overs, becoming the first man to concede 100 runs in a one-day international.

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