Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Friday, July 14, 2000

Front Page | National | Southern States | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Entertainment | Miscellaneous | Features | Classifieds | Employment | Index | Home

Sport | Previous | Next

Air India may find Tamil Nadu tough

By Our Hockey Correspondent

CHENNAI, JULY 13. Hazardous though predictions are in any walk of life, more so in the field of sport, the indulgence in such an exercise however has a fascination all its own. It is in this guiding spirit that an evaluation has to be made of the outcome in the next two days of the Madras Cricket Club-Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium.

A definite pointer may lie in the penultimate round matches which should provide an exhilarating fare on Friday afternoon if the line up is any indication. The focus should be on Air-India, which has probably projected the quality stuff till now. In terms of experience, enterprise and efficiency, Air India stands above the rest. Three veteran players, Edward Aranha, Darryl D'Souza and Gavin Ferreira, have contributed enormously to the success of the team although the role of Cornelius D'Costa and Anil Aldrin cannot be under-estimated. Air India has scored some lovely goals showing admirable ingenuity.

In the semifinals, Air India may find Tamil Nadu not an easy opponent. The home team has made the best of the conditions so far with an unbeaten record, albeit by narrow margins.

Prabhakaran, cynosure of all eyes

Tamil Nadu, undeniably, is a youthful combination with a lot of talent shaping well. But the cynosure of all eyes so far has been the main striker, L.Prabhakaran. A gold medallist of the last Asiad at Bangkok, Prabhakaran has been a delight to behold in this tournament, swerving and weaving through the defence. In a nutshell, he is at the peak of his career. It is unfortunate that this profifient attacker has not been part of the probables now training for the Olympics at Bangalore. He deserves another look in before the team is finalised.

The strike rate for Tamil Nadu has not been commensurate with the strength of the attack which is handled well by Karthik, and Cedric D'Cruz supported neatly by Radhakrishnan and Ramesh Babu in the mid-field. If there is a slight improvement in finish, then the chances of Tamil Nadu causing an upset cannot be dismissed as unrealistic.

The manner in which Punjab and Sind Bank came back to hit Karnataka in the second half on Wednesday gives this outfit the status of a champion. Initially, the team was unimpressive and forthright. But progressively it has improved its strike rate, thanks to the good show put up by Parminder Singh. The frontline still relies on wily Sanjiv Kumar who is the playmaker. Baljit Singh Chandi is the other dangerous attacker with the mid- field being manned well by Sandeep Ghuman.

Match after match, Mumbai has shown marked improvement and is competent enough match for Punjab and Sind Bank in the semifinals. Mukhtiar Singh is the trump card in attack. If left unmarked, he can create enormous problems for PSB defence.

The sponsors must be happy over the spectator response which has been good for important games. Of course, it must be acknowledged the prizes by the Murugappa Group for lukcy dip winners have also contributed to swelling the turn out each day.

An eventful day is on the cards.

Send this article to Friends by E-Mail


Section  : Sport
Previous : South Africa plans legal challenge
Next     : $1.7 million bid to play with Woods

Front Page | National | Southern States | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Entertainment | Miscellaneous | Features | Classifieds | Employment | Index | Home

Copyright © 2000 The Hindu

Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu