Mushtaq ready for UAE challenge
Beighton Cup starts tomorrow
Hansie’s wicket was the turning point: Moin
Bonus for Pak cricketers
Andy Flower in for Lara
‘Chieftan’ may bag top honour
Professionals’ opinions
Allied Forces avenges defeat

 
 
MUSHTAQ READY FOR UAE CHALLENGE 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Sharjah, April 1 
Mushtaq Mohammed accepts it’s “a step backwards,” but being a pro, he had to be employed somewhere. That he is working in the midst of very heavy odds hasn’t, however, put him off. And, Mushtaq remains grateful to Abdul Rehman Bukhatir.

“Yes, from coaching Pakistan to being national coach of the UAE is a step backwards, not forward, but the challenge remains significant,” Mushtaq told The Telegraph this morning.

Mushtaq, though, quickly added: “At least, the job security isn’t missing and I do have my peace of mind... In Pakistan, you aren’t sure whether you’ll wake up as coach or be replaced by somebody.”

A former captain — and an outstanding one at that — Mushtaq was coach from late 1996 to mid-1997, when Pakistan did exceptionally. Then, he had a brief second innings in the last World Cup, agreeing to a “request” from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) that he stand-in for Javed Miandad, who quit abruptly on the eve of that showpiece.

“I quit in 1997 because the PCB wanted to continue paying me by Pakistani standards, whereas I kept insisting my remuneration should match standards in the UK where my family resides (Birmingham)... After all, I had to look after my family which was in the UK, not Pakistan,” Mushtaq pointed out.

Despite that bitter first-experience, few perhaps are aware Mushtaq came to the PCB’s rescue, last year, without even signing a contract. Though Pakistan made the final, nobody bothered to credit him with anything. As for the PCB, it probably didn’t even send a ‘thank-you’ note.

Yet, Mushtaq isn’t bitter and, today, is happy Pakistan have re-appointed Miandad. “He has age on his side, reads the game very well and, really, is best equipped for the job. I wish him well.”

Talking about his present assignment — the Emirates Cricket Board will review his appointment at month-end, Mushtaq said: “I’m handicapped on two counts: The ICC ruling whereby only those born in the UAE or those who have acquired nationality can play, and, the very strict immigration laws in force...”

Mushtaq took charge in 1997-98 but, in the summer months, returns to the UK where the England and Wales Cricket Board assignments, specific to juniors, keep him busy.

“I wish I wasn’t handicapped on two fronts... Talented boys, from the sub-continent, have had to leave on turning 18... They could only have stayed on had they enrolled in university, a highly expensive proposition, or taken up a job. It will take some years for what we call sons of the soil to take to cricket in a big way.”

Mushtaq felt a lack of exposure, too, was hindering the UAE’s advance.

Incidentally, back in 1994, the UAE won the ICC Trophy (under Madanlal’s guidance) to qualify for the 1996 World Cup. Of course, the eligibility-rules were then different and the team was almost entirely drawn from expats.

Significantly, the next 12 months should see the UAE side pretty busy. First is the ACC Trophy, in the UAE itself in November and, next year, the ICC Trophy (for the 2003 World Cup) in Canada.

In time to come, Mushtaq will focus on the two tournaments. For now, however, he has something else to think about as well: The ICC’s ambassadorship. “It should be exciting, but I wish a week was set aside for assignments (coaching juniors, specially) instead of just three days on each trip...”

Mushtaq, as is well known, isn’t satisfied by anything less than a thorough job.    


 
 
BEIGHTON CUP STARTS TOMORROW 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, April 1 
The 105th All-India Servo Beighton Cup, the oldest hockey tournament in the world, will start on Monday.

The final in slated for April 17 at Mohun Bagan ground. Apart from title sponsors Indian Oil, the co-sponsors are Selvel Advertsing, Allahabad Bank, Officers’ Choice Aqua Pura and Birla VXL.

The winners will get Rs 1 lakh, while the runners-up will be richer by Rs 50,000. The best player of the final will get Rs 10,000.

Fifteen outstation teams, including defending champions Punjab and Sind Bank, will take part in the meet. The local challenge will be from Customs, CESC, BNR and ERSA. Significantly, both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal are not takign part in the meet.

Bengal Hockey Association secretary, Gurbax Singh, expressed hope that by next year the proposed astroturf at Rangers ground will be ready for use and the next Beighton Cup can be played on that surface.

He also said that the present astroturf in the city, at the SAI complex, was badly damaged, and moreover, the sprinklers used there for watering were recently stolen.

BHA league

Entally AC thrashed Calcutta Rangers Club 4-0 in a first division group B BHA League match at East Bengal ground today.

Md. Usman Khan (2), Sultan Uddin and Md. Imran Khan were the scorers.

In the other match at the same vernue, Punjab AC drew goalless with Khalsa Blues.

Daljit meet

ERSA will take on CESC in the final of the Daljit Singh hockey meet tomorrow.

In the semi-finals today, ERSA defeated Customs A 4-1, while CESC thrashed FCI 5-1.

P. Ekka scored all four goals for ERSA, with S. S. Bisht pulling one back for Customs.

In the other semi-final, Kishor Kujur, Sunil Soren (2), Gurjit Singh, Christopher Thomas scored for the winners, while Sudhir Minz redued the margin for FCI.    


 
 
HANSIE’S WICKET WAS THE TURNING POINT: MOIN 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Sharjah, April 1 
No Saeed Anwar, Saqlain Mushtaq and Azhar Mehmood. In the Coca-Cola Cup 2000 final, no Shoaib Akhtar either. Yet, last night, it’s the Pakistan dressing room which resounded to shouts of “Jeet gaye, mubarak ho... Mubarak ho...

Indeed, Pakistan’s 16-run win over South Africa, in one of the most bitterly fought finals anywhere, will be treasured as more than just special. On the verge of being knocked out, losing the first two games, Pakistan bounced back as only they can.

After find of the tournament young Imran Nazir, Shahid Afridi and Inzamam-ul-Haq set the foundations for a spectacular victory, veteran Waqar Younis — for whom this Emirate was home years ago — settled the issue with a superb second spell. He was adjudged both Man of the Match and Series.

It was, actually, a terrific final.

Besides the tidy cheques, the recently-married Waqar drove away an Opel Corsa. “I stuck to the job... Kept my head down. Hopefully, I’m getting back to bowling at my best,” he remarked. That, by the way, will mean more vicious reverse-swing.

For that, though, we will have to wait till Pakistan arrive in the West Indies. As for now, do read on for comments of the two captains and coaches:

MOIN KHAN: The turning point for us was getting Hansie’s wicket (135 for three)... After all, he was batting superbly... Around that time, because of the dew, it had become difficult to grip the ball and, so, that wicket couldn’t have come at a better time... Yes, Waqar’s bowling made a big difference... No, I didn’t panic when Razzaq dropped Boucher, because some runs still remained and South Africa didn’t have the advantage of wickets. Luckily, right through the tournament, we didn’t have to chase... Frankly, when it began, I wasn’t sure how our inexperienced lineup would handle the pressure of a target. As it turned out, I kept winning the toss and opting to bat. Now, of course, I have much more faith in the batsmen... Imran, I think, has a great future.

JAVED MIANDAD: It’s important to learn from mistakes and, learn we did... We didn’t get enough runs in the first two matches and, so, I asked the batsmen to just play straight not across... The difference has been seen by all... Nobody should write off Pakistan.

[Asked what would be his formula to improve India’s performance, Miandad quipped: “Let me first exchange places with Kapil Dev!”]

HANSIE CRONJE: It’s not that we peaked early, this peaking early business is crap... We conceded more runs than we should have in the first 15 overs and, then, lost three wickets (Neil McKenzie, Nicky Boje and Lance Klusener) for just one run in a most crucial phase... I accept I got out when in command but I can’t hope to be positive, always, and also expect not to get out... McKenzie was under instructions to play till at least the 45th over and did a good job, though he took time to settle... Overall, we played good cricket on tour (India and Sharjah) but, because fans live in the present, they may remember the 2-3 series loss in India and tonight’s defeat more than our 2-0 Test series win.

GRAHAM FORD: The losses here and in India have made us realise there are areas where we need to improve... A 10-15 per cent improvement will do... Our next assignment is at home (against Australia) and we will quickly have to adjust to conditions which will be very different from here.    


 
 
BONUS FOR PAK CRICKETERS 
 
 
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Sharjah, April 1 
Lt General Tauqir Zia, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, has announced a Rs 250,000 bonus for all 15 members of the Coca-Cola Cup 2000 winning squad.

“It’s good to return to winning ways and that ought to be rewarded,” a PCB spokesman told The Telegraph this morning.

Meanwhile offspinner Shoaib Malik, who has been dropped for the West Indies tour, will still accompany the side and stay on till Saqlain Mushtaq joins the tour-party.

Though injured, Shoaib Akhtar too, will leave with the rest of the squad tomorrow. He will “rest” in the West Indies.    


 
 
ANDY FLOWER IN FOR LARA 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, April 1 
Andy Flower will replace Brian Lara in the Rest of World XI team which will play Asia XI for the Cricketnext.com Cup to be played in Dhaka on April 8 as part of the ICC Cricket Week, Jagmohan Dalmiya, ICC president said today.

Other notable changes find Courtney Walsh replacing Curtley Ambrose and Mornantau Hayward coming in for Allan Donald. Phil Tufnell too finds a place in the side in place of Daniel Vettori.

In the Asia XI team, Chaminda Vaas finds a place as Shoiab Akhtar is injured. Sourav Ganguly initially omitted, was included later in the place of the injured Saeed Anwar.

Four players from Bangladesh — Javed Omar, Bikash Ranjan Das, Rajin Sale and Nahidul Islam — have been named substitute fielders, Dalmiya added.

The winners will be richer by $ 30,000, while the best batsmen, best bowler, best fielder and the Man of the Match will get $2,500 each.

There is a provision for rescheduling the day-and-night match the next day if needed, and if no match is still possible, teams will be declared joint winners.    


 
 
‘CHIEFTAN’ MAY BAG TOP HONOUR 
 
 
FROM PRAVESH GUPTA
 
Bangalore, April 1 
The Wills Indian Turf Invitation Cup is only hours away and you can almost feel the excitement building up in the Garden City. The ‘nationals’ for Indian thoroughbreds has, in the past, produced some winners who are still remembered as super horses. Further, the Invitation Cup is not only the ultimate test of speed, stamina and power, it could take the winner to the doorsteps of the Hall of Fame. The style of victory, the timing recorded over the 2,400m trip and the margin of verdict are factors which help the winner earn the champion of champions’ tag. The Rs 30 lakh winner’s purse and a trophy valued at Rs 85,000 are mere bonus. Who knows, another champion is going to emerge from among the eight well-bred horses in tomorrow’s line-up. Smart Chieftan is one horse in the field who possesses all the qualities of a champion. The amazing acceleration displayed by the Placerville-Stunning four-year-old in the Indian Derby, Mumbai, is still fresh in memory. Baulked for an opening when the heat was on, his jockey Richard Hughes, had managed to extract the best out of the Karan Singh-trainee to win the prized Derby.

The Chieftan’s association with the jockeys continues, but he will now be trained by a seasoned Jim Foley. More importanly, the MAM Ramaswamy-property will be taking on a much smaller field compared to a crowded Indian Derby.

Among the Chieftan’s challenger, the Calcutta entries — Alternator and Legal Steps — are no pushovers, but trainer Padmanabhan feels his filly Congratulations may run close to the champion. The rest after the Indian Derby is supposed to have done the Razeen-Wayward Lady daughter wonders. All said and done, the Chieftan is the obivious choice for the Invitation Cup, while Congratulations, Alternator and Legal Steps may fight it out for the minor slots.

Although the mile-circuit could be a wee bit long for Priceless Asset, she still gets the first call in the Super Mile Cup on her fitness. The Placerville-Baroque Pearl mare may find Acrobat and Splendid Pride to be serious rivals.

SELECTIONS

1.15 pm: Soviet Dance 1. Tudor King 2. The Music Man 3.

1.45 pm: Pen Lop 1. Young Gentleman 2. Belezian 3.

2.15 pm: Affliction 1. Actress 2.

2.45 pm: Winelight 1. Red Quartz 2. Complimentary 3.

3.25 pm: Native Tactics 1. Obsession 2. Cyclades 3.

4 pm: Smart Chieftan 1. Congratulations 2. Legal Steps 3.

4.40 pm: Pretty Boy Floyd 1. Haynes Park 2. Whirl Wind 3.

5.20 pm: Priceless Asset 1. Acrobat 2. Bountiful Treasure 3.

6 pm: Starry Splendour 1. Galleon de Espania 2. Self Esteem 3.

Day’s Best: Smart Chieftan Double: Native Tactics & Affliction.    


 
 
PROFESSIONALS’ OPINIONS 
 
 
FROM TITAN BOY
 
Bangalore, April 1 
The following are the opinions expressed by professionals about the winning chances of their wards:

K. P. G. Appu: There is no threat to Smart Chieftan. He will win.

Richard Hughes (Smart Chieftan): Barring hard luck story, there is no way I would lose the race.

Aslam Kader (Alternator): I think, it will be difficult to beat Smart Chieftan.

Pesi Shroff: Bonzer could be carrying the injury he suffered recently in Chennai. If he take the injury in his strides, he will run a good race.

Cristopher Alford: Kader’s pick is best of the bosses’ trio. However, everyone will have to beat Smart Chieftan.

Darius Byramji (Trainer, Alameda): There is no way Smart Chieftan can get beat.

Jim Foley: Smart Chieftan has travelled well and what is important, he is maintaining his winning form. He will win.

Vijay Singh: Legal Steps is a much improved horse. He won the Calcutta Derby in smart timing. He has held himself well since. I expect him to do me good.

Dhariwal: Bonzer has got over all his problems and hopefully he will win.    


 
 
ALLIED FORCES AVENGES DEFEAT 
 
 
FROM TITAN BOY
 
Bangalore, April 1 
The script of the star events in today’s race-card was written on expected lines. The Wills Sprinters’ Trophy and the Stayers’ Trophy turned out to be easy picking for Polar Falcon and Allied Forces respectively. While Allied Forces brought pride and honour to Calcutta, Polar Falcon was elevated in esteem as the Ajaad-Himafushi colt leaves the country for greener pasture. It was informed after his brilliant victory that the MAM Ramaswamy-property would would make his home in Malayasia. The saddest part of the ‘Invitation’ story was the last minute hitch which prompted cancellation of the digitally live telecast to other turf centres. The reason being short fall in the frequency transmitionr (refered as RFT). The additional RFT is being hunted for to update the frequency. Therefore, tomorrow’s telecast, too, should not be taken for granted.

Coming back to Allied Forces and Polar Flacon; the former cashed in on the unfitness of the favourite Saddle Up. The Queen’s Cup winner had suffered a bout of fever while travelling from Calcutta. But there was no hard-luck story related to So Royal’s defeat. So Royal led from the start only to be overtaken by Falcon who was positioned right behind the leader until 300m from home. Urged to come abreast of the leader it was plain sailing for the Falcon and his jockey Richard Hughes.

Allied Forces, on the other hand, allowed Super Sunrise to call the shots till the home turn and took over not only to win but also to avenge his Queen’s Cup defeat suffered at the hands of Saddle Up. RESULTS

(With inter-state dividends)

1. Delhi Trophy, Div-II 1,400m: (1-9-7) Nobody’s Angel (Appu) 1; Lance’s Pet 2; Pleasant Ville 3. Won by: 1/2; 1-1/4; (1-30.9). Tote: Win Rs 55; Place: 19; 21; 19; Quinella: 89; Tanala: 613. Fav: Lance’s Pet (9).

2. Moonee Valley Racing Club Trophy 1,200m: (6-3-2) Adamile (Marshall) 1; Al Habib 2; At My Command 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 1-1/4 (1-15.5). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 12; 27; 18; Quinella: 88; Tanala: 488. Fav: Adamile (6).

3. Singapore Cup 1,400m: (2-4-5) Axe (Appu) 1; Concur 2; Great Eastern 3. Won by: 2-1/4; SH; (1-28.3). Tote: Win Rs 20; Place: 12; 29; 16; Quinella: 109; Tanala: 429. Fav: Axe (2).

4. Wills Stayers’ Trophy 3,000m: (1-2-3-4) Allied Forces (Kader) 1; Saddle Up (Shroff) 2; Super Sunrise (C. Alford) 3; Nicodamus (Appu) 4. Won by: 5-1/4; 6-3/4; Dist; (3-24.3). Tote: Win Rs 22; Place: 11; 10; Quinella: 12; Tanala: 81. Fav: Saddle Up (2).

5. Turf Authorities Of India Trophy 1,600m: (13-1-5) Splendid Crown (Appu) 1; Ace Academy 2; Crystal Moment 3. Won by: 1-1/4; Hd; (1-40.2). Tote: Win Rs 29; Place: 14; 50; 20; Quinella: 213; Tanala: 1,255. Fav: Splendid Crown (13).

6. Wills Sprinters’ Trophy 1,200m: (7-6-3-4) Polar Falcon (Hughes) 1; So Royal (Appu) 2; Bountiful Treasure (Kader) 3; Khaalis (Shroff) 4. Won by: 3-1/2; 3-1/4; 4; (1-13.1). Tote: Win Rs 20; Place: 11; 14; 17; Quinella: 25; Tanala: 93. Fav: Polar Falcon (7).

7. New Millennium Trophy 1,600m: (7-2-10) Antwerp (Kader) 1; Badge Of Fame 2; Comet Star 3. Not run: Star Festival (6). Won by: 2; 4-1/4; (1-40.3). Tote: Win Rs 28; Place: 12; 12; 19; Quinella: 24; Tanala: 119. Fav: Badge Of Fame (2).

8. Mysore Trophy 1,200m: (3-2-1) Celtic Bleu (Hughes) 1; Tricon 2; Imperial Weapon 3. Not run: Activated (8). Won by: 4; 3/4; (1-16.2). Tote: Win Rs 71; Place: 23; 14; 71; Quinella: 50; Tanala: 1,648. Fav: Tricon (2).

9. Delhi Trophy, Div-I 1,400m: (8-2-11) Al Dente (Kader) 1; Fereneze 2; Prime Target 3. Won by: 9-1/2; 2-1/2; (1-28.1). Tote: Win Rs 18; Place: 12; 22; 25; Quinella: 60; Tanala: 394. Fav: Al Dente (8). Jackpot: Rs 1,012; (C) Rs 249.

Treble: (i) Rs 86; (ii) Rs 228; (iii) Rs 185.    

 

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