I’m glad I’m not playing in the present era: Patau
Dalmiya drags Agarwal to court
Gurdhyan strike gives Bengal title
Good show by Bengal pugilists
Somdev upsets Dhruv for title
Bagan to meet EB in final
Sonalika may come good
Strength To Strength strikes

He stopped playing 25 years ago, but even today, when former captain Mansur Ali Khan ‘Tiger’ Pataudi speaks, everybody listens. Pataudi, one of the invitees to sports minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s meeting Thursday, spoke to The Telegraph at his New Delhi residence last evening.

Following are excerpts

Q You’ve consistently maintained cricket has never been a gentleman’s game. Surely, cricket has seen some gentlemen?

A (Laughs) Of course, yes. As in other fields, you will find some gentlemen. Equally, there will be absolute duds and... What I’ve been suggesting is that gambling and cricket have existed side by side for, possibly, two centuries and those who gamble obviously seek to shorten the odds in their favour.

People keep saying, justifiably, that the game has changed and so on, but human nature hasn’t. It’s significant, isn’t it?

Q Were you ever approached by bookies/fixers?

A No. That’s because there wasn’t so much hysteria and betting in my time. Had it been like today, it’s quite possible I would have been approached.

Q What would you have done?

A (Laughs again) Would have been terribly scared, that’s for sure. In fact, I’m glad I’m not playing in the present era. Instead of taking other people’s names, I’m sure my name would have been bandied about.

Fortunately, my innings got over 25 years ago. Thank-you.

Q Do you have a Nawabi prescription?

A Well, a few suggestions, yes.

Firstly, the (CBI) probe in India and the one to take shape in South Africa should leave no stone unturned.

Then, absolutely no Board should do a repeat of the Australian Cricket Board. The guilty must be punished — a life ban should certainly be imposed — and an example set.

Basically, the ‘attack’ should be from both flanks: The Boards in question and the government agencies must convey they mean business.

Q Is it fair to slam cricketers for having such a commercial outlook to just about everything?

A Look, there’s a general feeling in sport itself, not just cricket, that the career span won’t be very long and, after that, no one will look after you. So, make the most while you still can.

However, I do believe there’s a limit to everything. Once it is crossed, a stop must be enforced.

Q But, today, there are so many legitimate ways for cricketers to make money...

A It’s difficult to quantify one’s needs. Hansie Cronje, for instance, wasn’t short on money. Then, why did he fall for that $10,000-15,000 rubbish? One can go on debating about what’s enough for X or Y...

Q Till the scandal erupted, what were your impressions of Cronje?

A Average cricketer, but a good captain... Greed, you know, recognises no borders. Doesn’t recognise the colour of your skin, either. And, as it has emerged, your background too... Obviously, some people fall and stumble, some turn out to be naive. Also, some may not actually be as intelligent as they look.

Q As match-fixing itself has taken wings with the blossoming of the one-day game, should the powers-that-be at least now restict ODIs?

A In any case, with so many matches being played, does everybody remember the result of the last game? At times, it’s meaningless... Frankly, I don’t even remember all the venues where the series under investigation (India versus South Africa) was played.

When not everybody is too bothered, it’s easy for greed to take over. This definitely isn’t so where Test matches are concerned and, that’s why, it must be difficult to ‘fix’ a Test.

Even in ODIs, I think two-three players are being fixed. Once that’s done, the bookies succeed in shortening the odds in their favour. This is how casinos operate.

After all, when you enter a casino, the odds are always against you. A couple of individuals may pull it off but, eventually, the biggest winner is the casino.

All said and done, if fans still keep turnstiles busy and the players aren’t unhappy about criss-crossing the world, I wouldn’t really call for a cut in ODIs. What’s needed is firm regulation by the authorities.

Q Kapil Dev suggested India stop playing till this whole mess is sorted out. Do you endorse that?

A Not at all... Unless, the players are terribly innocent, they must be having some idea of what’s going on. So, they’ll just have to learn to play with the added pressure (of doubts over integrity).

Q The Board is introducing a Code of Conduct. But, really, shouldn’t it have been in place years ago?

A I agree. However, till not very long ago, cricket in these parts was run in a feudal manner: If somebody created a problem, you simply dropped him. (Adds laughing) Nowadays, things are a little more democratic...

So, while you didn’t need a Code then, you do require it now. Specifically, because players are aware of their rights. Indeed, as it’s done in Australia, we should have a Players’ Association to negotiate with the Board.

I would even say the Board re-christen itself as the Indian Cricket Board, dropping the ‘Control’ bit. The mind-set may still be the same, but ‘Control’ went out of fashion years ago.

The Board, do note, is a self-perpetuating body.

Q Did you, at Thursday’s closed-door meeting, advocate betting in cricket be legalised?

A Of course not, I’ve been misquoted. In India, people don’t gamble for fun but do so out of passion. They have hopes of overnight turning into millionaires and, in the process, many reduce the entire family to penury. Faced with this socio-economic reality, how can I call for betting to be given legal sanction?

Q The final question: How convinced are you about the involvement of Indian players (in match-fixing)?

A I’ll be disappointed, but not surprised, if the (CBI) probe actually links one or two of our players to unethical dealings.    

Calcutta, April 29 
International Cricket Council (ICC) president Jagmohan Dalamiya today moved court against Arun Agarwal and news agency UNI here. The petition submitted by his lawyers before Mr S.K. Maity, the chief metropolitan magistrate, says that all allegations made against him by Agarwal were “false and defamatory” and were “made by hatching a conspiracy with other motivated persons to malign him”.

On Thursday, Agarwal, a former financial expert for Prasar Bharati, had alleged that Dalmiya had entered into “dubious” financial dealings for telecast rights of the 1998 ICC tournament in Dhaka that had Doordarshan paying an extra $4 million. Dalmiya denied the allegations, saying: “There cannot be a bigger lie than this.”

Prasar Bharati, too, clarified that Agarwal was no longer with them and that his association with them ended on April 23, 1999.

Dalmiya will be leaving for London tomorrow afternoon to attend the ICC’s special meeting of the executive board next week.    

Calcutta, April 29 
A lone strike by Gurdhyan Singh and Bengal was home. That one goal was good enough for the hosts to wrest the fifth Eveready East Zone hockey title from Bihar, the defending champions. And, naturally, victory was sweeter as last year Bengal had to be content with the runners-up title.

At the lush green CC&FC ground, the teams had to contend with a stiff breeze but though dark clouds hovered, fortunately rain stayed away and the match could be completed in time.

In the third-place playoff match, played in the morning at the same venue, Mizoram defeated Manipur 2-0. Lalthakima (10th) and Lalbiaknia (69th) were the scorers.

In the final, the matchwinner came in the 54th minute, when Nirmal Bhengra’s hard hit from the right found the alert Gurdhyan. The ball was almost waist high, and Gurdhyan wasted no time in tapping it in.

But both sides wasted opportunities to score and failed to convert the few penalty corners that came their way.

In fact, in the first half itself, Poulas Soy, Gurdhayan and Junas Bara were the culprits for Bengal, while Bihar’s Arun Minz and Ishak Aind wasted opportunites that came their way.

Bengal were able to force four penalty corners, but failed to convert even one. Bihar, too, could not convert any one of the three that came their way.

Samarjit Singh, who played a stellar role for Bengal in the meet, was rather subdued today. But occasional flashes shown was proof enough of his brilliance. Junas Bara, too, impressed the rather distinguished gathering — including former Olympians — at the ground.

And, in the end, a jubilant Bengal team, led by Sudarshan Majhi, went home with the trophy, and a cheque of Rs 40,000. Bihar were richer by Rs 25,000, while third placed Mizoram got Rs 10,000. Bengal’s Junas Bara was adjudged best player of the meet.

And in a novel match, the BHA Presidents’ XI, comprising former Olympians Keshav Dutt, Leslie Claudius, Vece Paes, Gurbux Singh and Vir Bahadur Chhetri, defeated Calcutta Sports Journalists XI 1-0, Paes scoring the all-important goal.


Calcutta, April 29 
Bengal returned with two gold, one silver and three bronze from the second Kanchenjunga all-India invitational boxing championship held at the Palzor Stadium in Gangtok from April 22 to 25.

Rajesh Basnet in fly weight and Sheikh Jamiul Alam in super-heavy weight won the two gold medals for Bengal.

Basnet beat Suren Tamang of Sikkim in the final on points while Jamiul Alam, in spite of an injured hand, managed to defeat P.V.L. Narihmum of Vishakhapatnam.

Mohammad Tariq lost in the light weight final to N.K. Subba of Assam Rifles and kept the silver. The three bronze winners were Santosh Thakur (light fly), Sheikh Safiul Aam (light welter) and Sanjay Prasad (Bantem).

Ten teams including Nepal had participated in the meet which saw Bengal finish runners-up to Assam Rifles.    

Calcutta, April 29 
On a rain affected final day of the Bharat Petroleum Bengal state mini and sub-junior tennis meet at South Club today, Somdev K. Dev Varman and Priyanka Parekh won the under-16 boys’ and girls’ singles titles.

Somdev, the third seed from Tamil Nadu, upset top seed local lad Dhruv Kumar 6-2, 6-1 in the rain-marred under-16 boys’ final. In the girls’ final, an all-Bengal affair, top seed Priyanka Parekh defeated second seed Ragini Vimal 7-6 (7/5), 5-4.

In the under-14 finals, Fathima Baig and R. Vasudevan, both from Tamil Nadu,won the girls’ and boys’ titles.

Top seed Vasudevan defeated Somdeep Appineni of Andhra Pradesh 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, while Fathima, also the top seed, got the better of Oormila Ram of Andhra Pradesh 6-3, 6-4.    

Calcutta, April 29 
East Bengal will meet archrivals Mohun Bagan in the P. Sen Memorial cricket tournament on Monday.

In the semi-final against Tollygunge Agragami today, East Bengal recorded a four wicket victory to claim a berth in the title clash.    

A good second to Josh King in her previous start, Sonalika is taken to win the Revelation Trophy, the main event of the penultimate day of the Mumbai racing season on Sunday. Trained by Nirad Karanjawalla, the four-year-old filly by No Louder out of Pot Of Gold will be ridden by apprentice Daniel Bast.


3.30 pm: Dreadnought 1. Rise And Shine 2. Teaser 3.

4 pm: Waltzing Matilda 1. Armando 2. Uprising 3.

4.30 pm: Stone Ridge 1. Yukon 2. Knoxville 3.

5 pm: Sonalika 1. Lunar Mist 2. Mariella 3.

5.30 pm: Arctic Girl 1. Thunder Clap 2. Mister Money 3.

5.55 pm: Flying Home 1. Fantasy Royal 2. Dance With Me 3.

6.35 pm: Royal Standard 1. Soliel 2. Tasha Beat 3.

Day’s Best: Sonalika Double: Waltzing Matilda & Stone Ridge    

Displaying his brilliance over the scurry, the five-year-old gelding Strength To Strength complimented his schooler Rehanullah Khan when apprentice Daniel Bast drove him to a comfortable start-to-finish victory in the Elusive Pimpernel Trophy in Mumbai on Saturday. It was Strength To Strength’s fourth win from five starts this season.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Flight Of Fancy Plate 1,000m: (9-7-3) Chocolate Chip (Shelar) 1; Winning Times 2; Airkraft 3. Won by: 3/4; Nk; (1-2.6). Tote: Win Rs 101; Place: 35; 18; 14; Quinella: 259; Tanala: 1,816. Fav: Airkraft (3).

2. Racing Journalists’ Trophy 1,800m: (2-1-3) Power Surge (Kharadi) 1; Forest Fire 2; Tall Boy 3. Won by: 2-1/2; 3/4; (1-54.9). Tote: Win Rs 34; Place: 14; 14; 11; Quinella: 51; Tanala: 145. Fav: Power Surge (2).

3. Elusive Pimpernel Trophy 1,000m: (1-6-3) Strength To Strength (Daniel) 1; Secret Blessing’s 2; Table Dancing 3. Won by: 4-1/4; 3/4; (59.4). Tote: Win Rs 28; Place: 13; 36; Quinella: 97; Tanala: 617. Fav: Strength To Strength (1).

4. Chief Ruler Plate 1,800m: (1-7-4) Colonel Saab (Dilip S.) 1; Enharmonic 2; Eisenhower 3. Won by: 3-1/4; 1/2; (1-58.4). Tote: Win Rs 32; Place: 14; 20; 19; Quinella: 84; Tanala: 466. Fav: Colonel Saab (1).

5. First Royalty Plate 1,000m: (5-7-9) Amber Music (Appu) 1; Ever So Loyal 2; Way Beyond 3. Won by: Nk; 5-1/2; (1-1.5). Tote: Win Rs 28; Place: 12; 12; 20; Quinella: 22; Tanala: 108. Fav: Ever So Loyal (7).

6. Racing Officials’ Trophy 1,600m: (2-10-4) Top Mover (Kader) 1; Right Arrow 2; Dressed For Dinner 3. Not run: Picasso (7). Won by: 2-3/4; Hd; (1-39.7). Tote: Win Rs 23; Place: 12; 16; 28; Quinella: 34; Tanala: 339. Fav: Top Mover (2).

7. Midsummer Star Plate 1,100m: (1-8-6) Hearts In Motion (Appu) 1; Shubhangini 2; Arvana 3. Won by: 1-1/4; SH; (1-8.2). Tote: Win Rs 72; Place: 26; 17; 53; Quinella: 267; Tanala: 10,478. Fav: Meadow Royale (4). (Note: The second placed horse survived objection lodged by the rider of the third placed horse).

Jackpot: Rs 3,061; (C) Rs 118.

Treble: (i) Rs 473; (ii) Rs 431.    


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