Result contradicts transcript
Mumbai cricket fraternity surprised
Koreans keep hopes alive
Back among friends, Bangla delicacies
Overall title for BSF I
Uppal likely to get berth
Customs eliminated
Mille Fiori for Martell Mile

 
 
RESULT CONTRADICTS TRANSCRIPT 
 
 
FROM NOVY KAPADIA
 
New Delhi, April 7 
The Delhi Police today released the transcript of a tape seized by them which is purportedly the conversation between Hansie Cronje and London-based businessman Sanjay Chawla on the eve of the third one-dayer between India and South Africa at Faridabad on March 14.

Cronje was staying in room No. 346 of Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi. However what transpired in the match is contrary to what is being claimed in the transcript.

South Africa for instance, won the match by two wickets. Skipper Cronje, the main accused, was chosen as Man of the Match. He and Gary Kirsten were involved in a match-winning partnership of 113 runs for the fourth wicket.

Cronje strode in when South Africa were in trouble at 91 for three after 18 overs. Jaques Kallis, Nicky Boje and Herschelle Gibbs had been dismissed. Cronje hit a six and seven fours in his match-winning innings. He was sixth out for 217 after 41.5 overs. In the second one-dayer at Jamshedpur which South Africa lost by six wickets, Cronje was again top scorer with 71 runs. In the first one-dayer at Kochi, Cronje was not out on 18.

According to the transcript, Cronje has stated that he has only got four players, to help him “fix the match.” One of the named players, medium pacer Henry Williams, was ruled out of the match with a shoulder injury.

On the eve of the match, Cronje had said that Henry Williams and Mornantau Hayward were almost ruled out for the five match one-day series, because of injuries. So it is surprising that Henry Williams was named in the report.

Williams only played the first one-dayer at Kochi and returned figures of 9-1-40-0. Considering that India successfully chased a score of over 300 and finished with 302 for 7 wickets, Williams could hardly be accused of throwing away the match.

Another of the accused, Pieter Strydom, is a minor player who could hardly influence a match. In Jamshedpur, Strydom batted at No. 10 and was out for one and bowled 10 overs to concede 57 runs. At Faridabad, Strydom partnered Mark Boucher and guided South Africa to victory by two wickets.

South Africa lost their eighth wicket at 244 in 47.2 overs. They needed five more runs to win and if Strydom was involved in fixing, he could have put his team in a spot of bother by getting out. The last man in would have been Steve Elworthy, not a great bat.

But some points in the transcript do ring true. According to the transcript, Sanjay said that: “Just in case India bat first and if they get out for less than 250 and when you come to bat in second innings, is it possible that you would ask Gibbs to throw away his wicket?” Well Gibbs did throw his wicket.    


 
 
MUMBAI CRICKET FRATERNITY SURPRISED 
 
 
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Mumbai, April 7 
The cricketing fraternity in Mumbai reacted with “shock and surprise” at the latest betting scandal involving the South African captain. Though most members of the BCCI are away in Dhaka for the match between Asia XI and the Rest of the World XI, some cricketers present here said that the “lid was off a can of worms”.

Former Indian captain Dilip Vengsarkar said: “It is startling. It also exposes the fact that players from outside the sub-continent are also involved in a major betting racket. He said that all this while, ever since the controversy over the involvement of players in the betting racket erupted, only players from Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka were targeted. “Today’s developments have at least set this theory to rest.”

Chandu Borde said:“I am shell shocked. But also relieved that no Indian player was involved. This incident should force cricket establishments all over the world to deal with these issues far more seriously.”    


 
 
KOREANS KEEP HOPES ALIVE 
 
 
FROM AMITAVA DAS GUPTA
 
New Delhi, April 7 
Chapter One of India’s latest Davis Cup venture was devoid of any drama or twist.

After Leander Paes warmed the hearts of a thousand-odd audience with a pleasing 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 demolition of ‘bogey man’ Yong Ill Yoon, Syed Fazaluddin disappointed in a tame 4-6, 5-7, 2-6 loss to Hyung Taik Lee. As they had foreseen, the South Koreans have every chance of turning the tables on the hosts if they can pull off a doubles coup tomorrow.

To begin with the sunnier side of a hot Friday, it was the same old warrior ploughing a lone furrow at the R.K. Khanna Stadium. Into his 11th year in Davis Cup, the 26-year-old Leander has lost none of the passion he first showed as a bubbling 16-year-old against Japan in Chandigarh.

Add doses of maturity and fine-tuning that have come with years of experience, and you have a seasoned Davis Cupper too good to waste favourable conditions. Exploiting his established skills to the hilt and out-thinking his Korean rival, Leander took an hour and 35 minutes to win a match which could have been a tricky one had he not played his cards right.

For three-fourths of the opening set, Leander played second fiddle to Asian Games champion Yoon. He served hard to rattle up a few aces, but threw up as many double-faults also. With the athletic Korean returning well and retrieving everything, the 26-year-old Indian had trouble holding.

The tide turned in the eighth game, as Leander started reading Yoon’s serves better. Running around his forehand to apply the pressure, the Indian No. 1 went for the kill with Yoon serving to stay in the first set at 4-5.

A super-charged forehand return brought up set-point for Leander. And he converted it with an audacious inside-out forehand service return which zoomed down the line for a clean winner way beyond a flummoxed Yoon’s reach. From a relatively comfortable position, the Korean saw two amazing shots snatch the first set from his grasp.

Realising the importance of maintaining the tempo, Leander picked up an early break in the second set with another cheeky shot which few will attempt. On break-point in Game II, Leander chased a lob all the way back, turned quickly and slammed a down-the-line winner. A zero-percentage shot, no doubt, but a spectacular one nonetheless.

Yoon’s solid game was fast degenerating as the Indian slowed down the pace and applied calculated pressure. A Yoon double-fault on set-point meant that Leander had pocketed the second set with considerable ease.

An early break in the decider eluded Leander as Yoon gritted his teeth for a last-ditch effort to turn the match. He even had a chance to capture the Indian’s serve in the fifth game, only to choose the wrong shot on break-point.

The memory of Sogwipo ’99, where he surrendered the match to Yoon after being match-point up in the third set, spurred Leander on to a final assault before it was too late. Again, it came at just the right time — the eighth game.

Once more, Leander’s lethal forehand made the initial inroads before a clean-as-a-whistle backhand service return fetched him the desired break. At 5-3, he just had to serve out the match. And that he did in style, firing his 10th ace on match-point No. 1.

Fazal disappoints

Fazal went into his match with nothing to lose. Few expected him to topple the Korean No. 1, but at least he could have gone down guns blazing. In the event, Dronacharya Nayeemuddin watched his son lose without doing any justice to his ‘national grasscourt champion’ status.

It seemed Fazal was trying too hard. That made him stiff on the volleys and he missed some he would normally get blindfolded. To worsen matters, even his serves — easily his best weapon — didn’t function.

Lee, a gifted stroke-maker from the backcourt, wasn’t in good form either. He was erratic to start with, blossoming only in the second half of the match. More than once, the well-built Lee mishit volleys and returns, besides putting in the odd double-fault at inopportune moments.

Fazal, though, was in no state to exploit Lee’s follies. He adopted the chip-and-charge tactic, a la Leander, but couldn’t quite finish the points at the net.

Two breaks down in the first set, Fazal was down for the count quite early in the match. The second set was closer, mainly because Lee matched Fazal error for error. Psyching himself up from time to time, the Indian pulled back two service-breaks. Just when he looked like forcing a tie-breaker, Fazal cracked yet again as Lee stepped up a gear.

There was no hint of a turnaround in the third set as Lee rattled off winners at will. Fazal looked mentally drained and surrendered serve twice more (he was broken seven times in the match) to close out his agony in an hour and 42 minutes.    


 
 
BACK AMONG FRIENDS, BANGLA DELICACIES 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Dhaka, April 7 
Whether in-form or not, Sachin Tendulkar generates hysteria. There is Wasim Akram, too, whose fan support in these parts is amazing. Yet, that very special (“amader”) feeling is reserved for Sourav Ganguly.

The Ganguly family’s roots are wholly in West Bengal, but folks in what was East Bengal keep insisting he is one of their own. That was evident during the Independence Cup in January 1998, as also the mini-World Cup later that year. It’s in evidence now as well.

“Yes, I’ve always felt comfortable in Dhaka... Perhaps, the people here are even more hospitable than back in Calcutta, where the level of affection in any case is touching,” Sourav told The Telegraph, soon after arriving at the Sheraton.

In fact, Sourav had to struggle to make it to his fourth-floor room as he was repeatedly mobbed. This, after all, is his first visit as India captain. Actually, Sourav’s Dhaka-relationship goes back quite a few years when he turned out for Mohammedan Sporting.

Sourav didn’t recall the runs he scored then, but was quick to remind about that superb MoM-award winning 124 in the Independence Cup final (versus Pakistan) and the handsome 83 in the mini-World Cup semi-final against the West Indies.

“It’s a happy coincidence I’ve almost always done well... I’m keyed-up for tomorrow, too (Asia XI versus Rest of World match for the CricketNext.Com Cup),” Sourav remarked.

But did he, for a moment, have second thoughts when called up for the Asia XI only as Saeed Anwar’s replacement?

“No... I was very disappointed at not being picked when the selection was made, but that’s past... It’s a prestigious game, it’s a platform to leave one more mark... We all know it’s not an official match, but it still will be fiercely competitive. It shouldn’t be any different from the Diana Memorial game,” Sourav added.

Of course, the pressure-element won’t be there and, so, Sourav’s parents have mustered ‘courage’ to watch him ‘live’. It’s a first for them.

However, they aren’t too concerned with the debate in cricket circles: Will Sourav open with Sachin, or will it be Sachin and Sanath Jayasuriya? Sourav himself isn’t much concerned either. “I can bat anywhere,” the India captain maintained, a response very much in keeping with the spirit of the Cricket Week.

Incidentally Sourav, who yesterday signed a three-year endorsement contract with textile giant S. Kumar’s, has no engagements besides the day-night match at the National Stadium. But, yes, he intends making a return-trip to an eatery which served the most delectable prawns on his last visit.    


 
 
OVERALL TITLE FOR BSF I 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, April 7 
BSF I won the overall title in the Four Square Challenge river rafting meet at Hrishikesh today.

According to information received here, final day’s action started at Shipuri with the 200m raft sprint, followed by the 200m kayak sprint which were won by BSF I and Mercury, respectively.

The 2000m rafting and kayaking events were held at Shibpuri on Wednesday in which BSF II and BSF I, respectively, emerged winners. The slaloms were held in Brahamapuri Extension yesterday. In rafting slalom, BSF beat ITBP and 6 Arty. Brigade, who were second and third.

Pawan Gurung of Mercury took top honours on the second day with a breath-taking performance in the kayak slalom, clocking 3:13 seconds, beating Mercury’s Bhuvanesh (3:21) and More Singh of the Indian Rafting Club (3:25). The Four Square Challenge was categorised under three sections.    


 
 
UPPAL LIKELY TO GET BERTH 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, April 7 
Syed Fazaluddin’s uninspiring performance in today’s second singles has literally forced the Indian thinktank to revise plans for Saturday’s key doubles rubber against South Korea.

Captain Ramesh Krishnan and senior pro Leander Paes sported worried looks when quizzed about a possible change in tomorrow’s pairing, though both stated a final decision will only be taken in the morning. The Telegraph, though, has learnt that local boy and debutant Vishal Uppal will replace Fazal as Leander’s partner.

Fazal, who partnered Leander in the losing effort against Lebanon two months ago in Lucknow, was nominated for the doubles rubber at yesterday’s draw. But as per tournament rules, the pairing can be changed till an hour before the start of the doubles.

“It’s a very crucial match tomorrow and I’m aware of my responsibilities,” Leander said at the end of a day which saw the two teams sharing the opening singles. “I think we have to try and dominate the match a little more than we did against Lebanon.”

Can he inspire his (nominated) partner Fazaluddin to a better performance than today’s? “I can say what I’ll do, I can’t talk on my partner’s behalf,” said an evasive Leander, dropping as big a hint as he could about the probable change.

Ramesh felt for a big server like Fazal, he was tight on his volleying in the match against Hyung Taik Lee. “I am banking on Leander’s great experience in doubles... I think he can pull something special out of the hat tomorrow,” Ramesh said, adding that they’ll sleep over the doubles pairing tonight and take a final decision tomorrow morning.

Former captain Naresh Kumar, a hugely respected figure in Indian tennis, felt that a change is imperative. “It’ll be a tough decision for Ramesh, but he has to be bold. I don’t think Fazaluddin can recover from the mental trough he hit in today’s match.”

Leander paid Ramesh a rich compliment, saying that the captain advised him to cut down the pace on his serve after the first few games. “I was trying to hit the serve very hard in the early stages of the match. Ramesh told me to slow down the pace and try the kick serve. It worked well as Yong (Ill Yoon) didn’t like it. That’s the advantage of having someone like Ramesh on the (captain’s) chair,” Leander said.

The Indian ace was happy with his showing, specially as he had managed to finish it off in three quick sets. “I conserved a bit of energy for tomorrow’s doubles and also ensured some extra rest,” Leander remarked.

Ramesh said the 1-1 scoreline was as per expectations, but the one big plus-point was that Leander hadn’t dropped serve even once today.

One felt bad for Fazal, who looked forlorn and lost at the post-match conference. “It was a bad serving day for me, I just lost rhythm. Had I served normally like I have been doing for the past few weeks, things wouldn’t have been as bad as this,” he observed.

Well, all is not lost yet. The friendly Calcuttan may still redeem his reputation with an improved performance in Sunday’s reverse singles against Hyung Taik Lee. Only, he’ll be hoping that the scoreline isn’t 2-2 at that juncture.    


 
 
CUSTOMS ELIMINATED 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, April 7 
Calcutta Customs went down by a solitary goal to Sikh Regimental Centre in the beighton Cup today. The decider was struck in the 60th minute through Suman Kumar.

In another match, CLW overcame Hyderabad XI 2-0. After a goalless first session, Sushil Minz opened the scoreline in the 41st minute. Four minutes later, Mario Toppo increased the margin.

CC&FC went down by a golden goal to ITBP. Parveen struck in the seventh minute of extra time.

Double-wicket meet

Sourav Ganguly will pair brother Snehasish in the double-wicket tournament to be played in Siliguri on Monday. According to Sambaran Banerjee, one of the organisers, the first leg will be consist of three overs, the semis will be of four and the final will be a five-over affair.    


 
 
MILLE FIORI FOR MARTELL MILE 
 
 
BY HONKY DORY
 
 
A good third in her debut run over 1,400m, the Imtiaz Sait-trained three-year-old filly, Mille Fiori, is expected to poroduce an improved performance and win the 1,600m Martell Mile, the main event at the Mumbai races on Saturday. C. Rajendra partners the well-bred filly by Placerville out of Loveyouy Millions.

SELECTIONS

1.30 pm: Shooting Mercury 1. Saranyu 2. Miracle 3.

2 pm: Gay Minstrel 1. Fortune Cookie 2. Elusive Charm 3.

2.30 pm: Short N Sweet 1. Sicalade 2. Twist Afleet 3.

3 pm: Run For Glory 1. Amusing 2. Intel 3.

3.45 pm: Mariella 1. Nothern Angel 2. Balancita 3.

4.15 pm: Mille Fioro 1. L. A. Woman 2. Crowning Moment 3.

4.45 pm: Grand Lodge 1. Loveable Lips 2. Heart Beat 3.

5.15 pm: Queen Of Romance 1. Gasconade 2. My Blue Moon 3.

5.45 pm: Money Madness 1. Gagan Glory 2. Rumaan 3.

Day’s Best: Gay Minstrel Double: Shooting Mercury & Run For Glory

Races postponed

Calcutta, April 7

The stewards Royal Calcutta Turf Club (RCTC) have decided to postpone the Calcutta races scheduled to be held on April 13 to April 15, according to the turf club sources    

 

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