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Last Updated:  Monday, 10 March, 2003, 16:35 GMT
Srinath goes extra mile
By Oliver Brett
BBC Sport in Johannesburg

Javagal Srinath celebrates
Srinath is the second Indian to pass 300 one-day wickets
The unkind word "warhorse" has been used in conjunction with Javagal Srinath for some time.

It may surprise many, then, that this so-called veteran is still several months short of his 34th birthday.

And he is also having a pretty good World Cup, with eight wickets in the first phase of the tournament.

He added two against Kenya and on Monday ripped out the Sri Lankan top order by taking four wickets with the new ball.

That nudged him one place ahead of the recently-retired Allan Donald in the all-time list of World Cup wicket-takers on 39 victims.

It was a good day for Srinath because he has bowled considerably better than this and been less effective.

In truth, Zaheer Khan, who found swing and seam movement all afternoon, perhaps deserved the four-for that Srinath attained.

But one can hardly begrudge this hard-working right-armer.

I would love to come back here and bowl in the final on March 23
Javagal Srinath
For many years, before the emergence of Zaheer and Ashish Nehra, he had to put in most of the hard yards himself with little support from any other regular seamer.

He may not be the most athletic fielder and his batting has never caused a stir but his bowling has usually been a model of consistency.

And once he had removed Marvan Atapattu, Jehan Mubarak and Aravinda de Silva in next to no time, the game was all but up.

Srinath's first spell lasted seven overs, by which time he had added the wicket of Sanath Jayasuriya.

And by then he was only three wickets short of Chaminda Vaas in the overall tournament standings.

Later, after Nehra and Zaheer had reduced Sri Lanka to 78 for nine, Sourav Ganguly again turned to his most experienced bowler to give him a chance to claim a rare five-wicket haul.

And Srinath then showed it is still possible to get over-excited, even at 33, by serving up a friendly helping of full tosses for the grateful Dilhara Fernando.

So there was no five-for for Srinath, but yet again he proved the substance of a recurring theme at this tournament - the value of experience.

Zaheer Khan
Zaheer's development has helped Srinath
He may not have had the chance to appear in a fourth World Cup had Nehra not been injured during the ICC Champions Trophy.

After announcing his retirement from Test cricket, he was left out of the one-day side as well for the tour of England, before grabbing his chance in Colombo.

Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar and Vasbert Drakes were all happy to stand up and be counted at this World Cup, and all are a long way past their 30th birthday.

After the match, a drained Srinath was initially in sombre mood, revealing that he would dedicate his man-of-the-match award to a friend who had died recently.

But he soon lightened up when asked by a female journalist if this was his last World Cup.

"This will be my last World Cup," he smiled. "It's not being pessimistic, it's reality."

He is clearly so much more at ease now he is getting genuine support in the seam-bowling department.

"The wickets have been helpful for the bowlers here," said Srinath.

"Ashish and Zaheer have really come good. This is the best combination we have had for a long period of time."




SEE ALSO
India destroy Sri Lanka
10 Mar 03 |  Photo Galleries


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