Focus should shift to Prabhakar, Kanpur
It is Rungta’s turn to gun for Bindra
Denmark stun Indonesia
8-wkt win for Gavaskar Foundation
SAI remain in title hunt
Jamshedpur to host South Asian meet
Envoy may be hard to toss
Narrow win for Endless Quest

 
 
FOCUS SHOULD SHIFT TO PRABHAKAR, KANPUR 
 
 
BY LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Calcutta, May 13 
Manoj Prabhakar and Inderjit Singh Bindra have ‘revived’ interest in the Singer Cup of September, 1994, but neither has talked about the infamous West Indies game (Wills World Series), in Kanpur, six weeks after the Colombo tournament.

Earlier this week, former national selector and team physio-cum-doctor Ravinder Chadha did call on Prabhakar to “clear his position” vis-a-vis that Kanpur match (October 30, 1994), but it didn’t make the headlines it ought to have.

This evening, however, Bindra told The Telegraph he will mention “everything he knows, from 1979 onwards” in his report to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

“It will include Kanpur,” he added. But, will that be good enough? Bindra, significantly, was then Board president.

A re-cap, perhaps, won’t be out of place today:

Prabhakar, who even shouldered-arms during the slog overs, and Nayan Mongia batted as if they were saving a Test instead of trying to win a one-day game.

Thanks to their ‘effort’, India finished on 211 for five to lose by 46 runs. Prabhakar and Mongia added as many as 16 in the last 43 deliveries.

Prabhakar, who remained unbeaten on 102, claimed there were “no instructions” from the team management to speed things up!

So incensed was the Green Park crowd, no one applauded Prabhakar’s century.

The temperature in the dressing room, too, reached boiling-point. Prabhakar made things worse by unleashing a volley of invectives. The target: Mohammed Azharuddin, the then captain.

The-then national selectors Gundappa Vishwanath and Chadha witness the tamasha in person. Mongia, most agree, was a “bit-player” only.

Cricket manager Ajit Wadekar and Azhar ask Bindra and the-then Board secretary, Jagmohan Dalmiya, to have Prabhakar (and Mongia) dropped. Vishy and Chadha, too, echo similar sentiments.

The next day, Prabhakar and Mongia are excluded for the remaining two matches. The Board’s top brass suspects match-fixing but that isn’t put on record. Rahul Dravid and Vijay Yadav named replacements.

Four days later, Match Referee Raman Subba Row deducts two points from India’s tally. It’s an act without precedent. The reason: “India had not played competently in the best interests of the game.”

There is talk of extending Prabhakar and Mongia’s suspension. That a “more firm” message needs to be conveyed to everybody.

Inexplicably, their suspension isn’t extended. Instead, both Prabhakar and Mongia return for the one-dayers against the West Indies, immediately after the WWS final in Calcutta.

Both sign a letter of apology. Prabhakar’s letter, drafted by Dalmiya, more strongly worded.

Intriguingly, Prabhakar turned up in Calcutta (during the India-West Indies final), even though the Board hadn’t asked him to. Apparently, the unofficial ‘invitation’ went from a senior Board official.

Clearly, the Board allowed an excellent opportunity to simply slip away. An inquiry then itself could have ended the unethical dealings which some Indian cricketers today stand accused of.

Incidentally, the Kanpur fiasco occured well before the Salim Malik scandal — which recast the way people look at cricket.

Despite adopting a hardline approach, initially, Dalmiya was one of those who relented. The question is: Why did he acquiesce to their recall, specially Prabhakar’s?

This afternoon, Dalmiya, now the International Cricket Council (ICC) president, gave his version.

“The-then Board president (Bindra) intervened... I recall having refused to speak to Prabhakar (when he turned up in Calcutta), but did so only after Mr Bindra spoke to me. I agree I was, initially, firm on setting an example.”

While acknowledging he did ask Dalmiya to “speak” to Prabhakar, Bindra insisted it was “only to conduct a preliminary inquiry.”

Speaking from Chandigarh, Bindra added: “No report (to the Board) suggested match-fixing and, that’s why, no formal inquiry was initiated. I remember speaking to Vishy who, too, didn’t talk on those (match-fixing) lines.”

To ‘clear’ his position, Bindra pointed out the decision to recall Prabhakar (and Mongia) was “entirely taken by the selectors.”

Fact, however, remains no team is announced without the explicit consent of the Board president. Bindra, therefore, should have begun the ‘cleansing’-act back in late 1994 instead of mid-2000.

Significantly four months after Kanpur, N.Venkata Rao, manager to the Centenary Quadrangular in New Zealand, called for Prabhakar’s ouster from the team.

He didn’t put down match-fixing in black-and-white, but this one observation (in his report to Bindra) is telling: “... I feel it is better if we do away with him (Prabhakar) in the larger interest of the team.”

For the record, Bindra didn’t act on that report. Certainly, there is no evidence to suggest he did — Prabhakar quit on his own, in a huff, after the 1996 World Cup.

Meanwhile, it’s now confirmed a special general body meeting of the Board will be held, in New Delhi on May 20, a day after the working committee meets there. It will be surprising if Rao’s report and the Kanpur issue aren’t discussed.    


 
 
IT IS RUNGTA’S TURN TO GUN FOR BINDRA 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, May 13 
A further twist to the allegation lemon, and much is coming out sour. This time it is the turn of former BCCI president and former chairman of its finance committee, P M. Rungta.

In a message to the press, released from Mumbai today, Rungta has listed a “few” of the “financial irregularities” committed by Bindra during his reign as board chief.

Allegation No. One:

“A few days before laying down the president’s office, Bindra tried desperately to get a counter-signature on a Rs 30 crore sponsorship contract which could have resulted in a loss of Rs 12 to 15 crore for the board.” The deal did not go through because Rungta said he refused to sign as finance committee chief when the then secretary (Jagmohan Dalmiya) had initially refused to so do as well.

Rungta said the deal would have had the sponsors pay nothing if telecast did not reach 70 lakh homes in India.

Allegation No. Two:

“The Punjab Cricket Association’s June 1999 benefit match was entrusted to Aushim Khetrapal, a person who is being interrogated even by Scotland Yard in a match-fixing scandal.” This association itself, makes the match probe-worthy, Rungta says.

Allegation No. Three:

“The board had approved the expenditure of £ 36,576.40 (approximately Rs 25 lakh) on various accounts towards India’s contesting of the ICC presidency. While accounts for these are available, no accounts have been furnished by Bindra for £ 7,500 (approximately Rs 5 lakh) spent on meetings (purportedly) for same purpose during the same period (July 1996).”

Allegation No. Four:

“Bindra is talking about an India-New Zealand match in Sharjah being fixed. That certainly needs in-depth inquiry. But who paid Bindra’s airfare, board and lodging there, even when he went not as board chief? Was he a guest of the Sharjah authorities and, were those people guests of his when matches were held in Mohali? What is the nexus?”

Allegation No. Five:

“Bindra was so obsessed with Sharjah that he not only attended the tournaments in the desert regularly, but also gave special mementoes worth Rs 81,000 on the board’s account to the Sharjah authorities on the occasion of the 100th one-day International there in April 1996. It is necessary to enquire how deep-rooted is Bindra’s relationship with the Sharjah authorities”

Allegation No. Six:

Referring to a news in the media, quoting Bindra that the accounts of the Rajasthan Cricket Association (of which Rungta is president) for the last 40 years be reviewed: “Bindra is welcome to inspect the accounts. It could be an interesting subject for the public, as far as what Bindra’s role as convenor of the 1987 World Cup was. Even though the convenor of the World Cup was a honorary post, why did Bindra charge fees from the board?”    


 
 
DENMARK STUN INDONESIA 
 
 
FROM SANJAY SHARMA
 
Kuala Lumpur, May 13 
With Indonesia and China playing weak opponents in the Thomas Cup, the focus of the day shifted to the much-awaited Uber Cup tie between Denmark and Indonesia.

Denmark created history when they defeated Indonesia for the first time in Uber Cup. Thrice champions Indonesia are, however, no longer the same team without the services of Susi Susanti, who almost single-handedly won them the title in 1994 and 1996.

Susanti, married to fellow Barcelona gold medal winner Alan Budi Kusuma, is in Jakarta, expecting her second child.

There was enough glamour, oncourt, though, with Denmark’s Camilia Martin taking on archrival Lidya Djaelawidjaya in the first singles.

The two had played five times earlier, with Camilia losing only the first, back in December 1996. Today Camilia — now 26 and engaged to Peter Gade Christensen, the world number one from Denmark — took just 16 minutes to win 11-3, 11-2.

“This is the best I am playing at the moment,” she said. “We have worked hard for this. This stadium also is one of the best I have seen in Asia. The air-conditioning is a real help. I hope that my form continues throughout these championships.”

Even in ladies doubles, Indonesia lost, though they had players like Imelda and Indrawati in their ranks. In the first doubles the world No. 5 pair of Helen Kirkegaard and Rikke Olsen won 12-15, 15-10, 15-6.

With the tie at 2-0 in the Danes’ favour, it was left to Mette Sorenson to clinch the match. Mette played superbly at the net and smashed on both flanks of Ellen Angelina to win 11-4, 11-9. In the second game, Mette was once down 6-9, but recovered to make some unbelievable stretches to reach the feather.

“I knew that badminton history would be created if I won my match. I had to go all out because I had never played Ellen before,” Mette said. Denmark, with two easy victories under their belt, will play fancied Japan in their last group match Monday.

Easy victories

In Thomas Cup both, defending champions Indonesia and China, cruised to easy victories. China, led by All-England champion Xia Xuenze, smashed their way to a 5-0 whitewash of Sweden. On the other hand, Indonesia took an unbeatable 3-0 lead over England.

The English pair of Simon Archer and Nathan Robertson had stunned the top-ranked Chinese pair two days ago. But today, they were crushed by world No. 1 Tony Gunawan and Chandra Wijaya 15-12, 15-5.

World No. 2 singles player Hendrawan gave Indonesia the first win when he thrashed Colin Haughton 15-8, 15-12. Hendrawan was down 6-11 in the second game but some brilliant long rallies destroyed Haughton, struggling for breath. Haughton simply gave up as Hendrawan caught up at 11-11. Hendrawan said: “I have had two good wins already. But the tough matches are yet to come. I lost to Xia Xuenze in the All-England semi-finals and I am looking forward to playing him Monday.” Taufique Hidayat gave Indonesia their third win, defeating Mark Constables 15-6, 15-5.

India play hosts Malaysia tomorrow, with Pulella Gopichand taking on Wong Choon Han, whom he had defeated two years back.    


 
 
8-WKT WIN FOR GAVASKAR FOUNDATION 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, May 13 
The boys of Sunil Gavaskar Foundation eked out a convincing eight-wicket win over Dukhiram Memorial CC in an Ambar Roy sub-junior meet match today. Chasing 162, Gavaskar Foundation reached the target with 13 balls to spare.

In a close finish, Belgharia Players’ Corner managed 126 for eight in reply to Bhadrakali Kotrung Juba Sangha’s 128 for four.

Sourav Datta was the day’s highest scorer, his 90 helping Barasat’s Pioneer Cooperative CC beat Putu Chowdhury CCC by 53 runs.    


 
 
SAI REMAIN IN TITLE HUNT 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, May 13 
SAI Training Centre stayed in the hunt for the BHA senior division group A league title following a 2-0 win over CC&FC this afternoon.

Poulus Soy struck once in each half to ensure full points for SAI who dominated the match.

SAI, a point adrift of leaders East Bengal but having played a game less, meet FCI and relegation-threatened West Bengal Police in their final two outings.

West Bengal Police suffered a crucial defeat today to move closer to relegation. In a ‘shootout’ between the two bottom-ranked teams, the policemen went down 1-3 to BSF South Bengal. Mansukh Tete, P. Dahanga and Ramiz Aind scored for the winners, Gurupada Gop for the armymen.

West Bengal Police remained on one point from 11 matches. The BSF tally, after the deduction of six points for conceding two walkovers, will be two.

FCI got the better of BNR courtesy a sweet Ranjan Lakra strike 12 minutes into the second session. An S. Minz free hit was expertly deflected into the goal by a well-placed Lakra.

Calcutta Port Trust (CPT) overcame Howrah Union 3-1 in the day’s fourth group A tie. Raja Rabi Das, N. Sangha and N. Toppo scored for CPT, while Kaushik Dey reduced the margin.

In group B action, championship-contenders CLW SA whipped Belgachia 4-2. Anil Topno netted the first three and P. Toppo completed the scoring. Both of Belgachia’s goals came through Biswanath Deb Roy.

Karnataka best

Karnataka thrashed Bihar 5-0 in the final of the all-India telecom hockey meet today.

Orissa edged out MTNL Delhi 1-0 to take the third spot.    


 
 
JAMSHEDPUR TO HOST SOUTH ASIAN MEET 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, May 13 
The South Asian under-16 youth football championship will be held in Jamshedpur from June 20 to 30. The meet will be held at the J.R.D. Tata Sports Complex.

The All-India Football Federation (AIFF) was granted the meet by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Jamshedpur was chosen as the venue, Arun Ghosh, chief of Tata Football Academy (TFA) said.

India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are the participating teams. The Indian team will have a training camp from June 6 at the J.R.D. Tata Sports Complex and the TFA ground.    


 
 
ENVOY MAY BE HARD TO TOSS 
 
 
BY TITAN BOY
 
 
There is no looking beyond Peace Envoy in the 1,600m South India Corporation Nilgiris Derby Stakes, the chief attraction in the Ootacamund (Udhagamandalam) race-card on Sunday. A handsome winner of two races from his three starts this season, including the Nilgiris Colts Stakes, the Batzushka-Awareness three-year-old has no peers in the field of 13. Amyn Merchant partners the Robert Foley-trainee.

Snow Empress, who with ‘blinkers on’ Snow is catching the attention of the morning birds, may place second to the prized stablemate.

SELECTIONS

11.00 am: Noble Lord 1. Bruce Lee 2. Passionate Queen 3.

11.30 am: Porkodi 1. Fairy Prince 2. Splendid Star 3.

12 noon: Illustrious Reign 1. Imperial Scholar 2.

12.30 pm: Best In Show 1. King’s Academy 2. Regal Patriarch 3.

1 pm: Peace Envoy 1. Snow Empress 2. Arabian Princess 3.

1.30 pm: Classy Girl 1. San Marino 2. Double Bull 3.

2 pm: Casino Ace 1. Bruce Wilis 2. Simply Monarch 3.

2.30 pm: Shining Prospect 1. Awesome Mover 2. Attarinippa 3.

Day’s Best: Peace Envoy Double: Noble Lord & Illustrious Reign.    


 
 
NARROW WIN FOR ENDLESS QUEST 
 
 
BY OUR TURF CORRESPONDENT
 
 
Backed down to prohibitive odds, the Robert Foley-trained four-year-old filly Endless Quest scored a narrow victory over her stablemate, Classic Society, in the 2,000m Hill Stamina Cup at the Udhagamandalam races on Saturday. J. Abraham partnered the winner.

RESULTS

(With inter-state dividends)

1. Town View Plate 1,400m: (1-2-3) Beau Bruno (A. Imran K.) 1; Come True 2; Alriffa 3. Won by: Dist; 1-1/4; (1-37.8). Tote: Win Rs 10; Place: 11; 14; Quinella: 14; Tanala: 36. Fav: Beau Bruno (1).

2. Hill Stamina Cup 2,000m: (4-3-2) Endless Quest (J. Abraham) 1; Classic Society 2; Great Momento 3. Won by: 3/4; 4; (2-17.4). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 12; 12; Quinella: 15; Tanala: 44. Fav: Endless Quest (4).

3. Upidi Plate 1,600m: (2-4-3) Lovely Prospect (Merchant) 1; Arctic Charmer 2; Silent Boy 3. Won by: 2-1/2; 7; (1-49). Tote: Win Rs 26; Place: 15; 17; Quinella: 34; Tan-ala: 257. Fav: Lovely Prospect (2).

4. Trichur Plate 1,600m: (15-10-17) Red Jacket (K. Subbiah) 1; Hannah Mae 2; Top Of The Wind 3. Won by: 2-1/2; 1/2; (1-48.3). Tote: Win Rs 773; Place: 149; 155; 75; Quinella: 22,157; Tanala: 33,670 (Carried over to the fifth race on Sunday). Fav: Athos (4).

5. Shoranur Plate, Div-II 1,200m: (7-9-1) Prismatic (J. Abraham) 1; Connexions 2; Forest Light 3. Won by: 6; 2-1/2; (1-20). Tote: Win Rs 13; Place: 10; 66; 22; Quinella: 396; Tanala: 2,657. Fav: Prismatic (7).

6. Havelock Plate 1,200m: (10-6-4) Bourbon Boy (M. Selvaraj) 1; Transom 2; Owner’s Pride 3. Won by: SH; 1-1/2; (1-21.1). Tote: Win Rs 283; Place: 66; 11; 19; Quinella: 242; Tanala: 4,706. Fav: Transom (6).

7. Shoranur Plate, Div-I 1,200m: (2-5-7) Swiss Coast (Merchant) 1; Make A Million 2; Legend Maker 3. Won by: 2; 1-3/4; (1-20.1). Tote: Win 137; Place: 49; 14; 30; Quinella: 184; Tanala: 1,547. Fav: Kasmira (3).

Jackpot: Rs 31,070 (Carried over to Sunday).

Treble: (i) Rs 2,346; (ii) Rs 4,042.    

 

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