Cricket: DeFreitas boost

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The Independent Online
IT WAS easy to find your way through the Calcutta smog yesterday, as the entire city was lit up by flashing Indian smiles. Victory in the Test match, and now victory in pinching the World Cup away from England. The tourists, not surprisingly, have not felt inclined to join in the general euphoria, but there was at least a shred of good news in that Phillip DeFreitas is now fit enough to be considered for selection.

DeFreitas was originally thought to be in danger of missing the rest of this tour when he aggravated an old groin injury two weeks ago in Chandigarh, but after three sessions a day of manipulative treatment, the Lancashire seamer will definitely play against the Rest of India starting at Vishakhapatnam tomorrow.

The other five players who sat it out during the Calcutta Test, Philip Tufnell, John Emburey, Richard Blakey, Mike Atherton and Dermot Reeve, will also play, although England have not yet decided which members of their Test XI will be taking the match off.

There is, of course, a school of thought that some of their Test players have already had a match off, and as England ponder their options for the second Test in Madras, tomorrow's game assumes a much greater importance. For that reason, it was a bit of a triumph for the tour manager, Bob Bennett, to secure the necessary assurances that the team would be flying in and out of Vishakhapatnam, rather than catching a train, hiring a coach, or hitching a lift. No plane, no game, was Bennett's message, although after the Test, no game is the last thing England would have wanted.

Andrew Caddick, of Somerset, and Essex's Mark Ilott each took four wickets for England A as Australian Capital Territory were all out in their first innings for 65 in Canberra yesterday. Following on, the home side were 128 for 2, still 186 runs behind, with Lancashire's Nick Speak 44 not out. England A made 379 for 7 declared.