Prabhakar shooting in the dark
Jaywant Lele thinks Manoj is ‘mad’
Gopichand enters top 20
Bagan want government to pay
Selvel A, Allied clash in final
Silent Force may strike

Calcutta, May 26 
Besides Kapil Dev himself, Manoj Prabhakar has ‘involved’ seven others in that infamous Rs 25-lakh inducement-offer allegation.

Ravi Shastri, one of the seven, has confirmed having been informed of the bribe-offer. Prashant Vaidya, on the other hand, denies knowledge while Navjyot Sidhu’s stance is that of “no comments.”

Sunil Gavaskar, who was to leave London for Dhaka later today hasn’t reacted — apparently, he wanted to, but decided against doing so — while Ajit Wadekar, Mohammed Azharuddin and Nayan Mongia haven’t said much either.

Barring Shastri, Sidhu and Vaidya, the other four deposed before Justice Y.V. Chandrachud, who inquired into match-fixing allegations in 1997.

In fact, it’s Prabhakar’s allegation which prompted the Board to institute the Chandrachud inquiry.

A perusal of Justice Chandrachud’s report, a copy of which is with The Telegraph, debunks Prabhakar’s claim that he “informed,” among others, Wadekar and Gavaskar.

While Azhar and Mongia didn’t talk about that inducement-offer, Gavaskar and Wadekar made their views known pretty clearly.

Excerpts (bribe-offer allegation specific) from their deposition (alphabetically):

AZHARUDDIN: Made no reference to Prabhakar’s allegation.

GAVASKAR: “Some people are firing shots in a dark room to hit someone. But, there is no one in the room. So, the shots only damage the room. That room is Indian cricket. “Today, it is a dark room because we are not on a winning streak. When we win, there are lights here, lights there and lights everywhere. Allegations of betting and match-fixing are being made today because we are not good enough to win at the present moment — for whatever reason.

“Anyway, if Prabhakar had a story up his sleeve, he could have approached his captain, vice-captain, coach or team manager. He never did. I do not believe his story.”

MONGIA: Made no reference to Prabhakar’s allegation.

WADEKAR: “The episode of the offer of Rs 25-lakh, narrated by Prabhakar, has no foundation. I was the (cricket) manager of the team, at that time, but he did not tell me a word about it. Besides, it was raining for three days before the (India versus Pakistan) match and, that match was never played. Even the re-play was washed-out.” Now, for Kapil’s complete deposition:

KAPIL: “In my entire career as a player, I was never approached by anyone for match-fixing. I guess there is large-scale betting on cricket, but the evil of betting can only be dealt with by the police.

“Today, there is so much cricket, that there is so much betting also. Those who lose bets are the first to blame players for playing badly deliberately.

“Fixing a match does not mean fixing all the players in the team. It is possible to approach a couple of star players and fix a match. A player can be approached only for playing badly, because not even a Don Bradman or a Sunil Gavaskar can claim that he will score a century.

“A player can only promise that he will get out cheaply. But, in my experience, no match was fixed.

“Many people try to get friendly with players to increase their own importance. They are the ones who circulate all kinds of stories. But it cannot be denied they offer gifts to players. They also try to get information on the basis of which, I guess, they may be laying bets.

“If they win, they would go back to the player and offer a gift, saying that have won a bet because of the information given to them.

“I am of the opinion the Board should set up a private agency to find out the assets of players. That will give some clue whether players lay bets or agree to fix matches.”

Justice Chandrachud’s conclusions — he gave our cricketers a clean chit — have come in for much criticism, but the depositions are there for posterity.    

Calcutta, May 26 
Describing Manoj Prabhakar as “mad,” Board secretary Jaywant Lele clarified his position vis-a-vis yet another sensational claim from Prabhakar.

Yesterday, Prabhakar alleged Lele had told him “two others,” besides Kapil Dev, were involved in match-fixing.

Speaking to The Telegraph from Vadodara, Lele said: “During his recent trip (to Vadodara), Prabhakar came to invite me for a function and, during his stay, insisted on talking about match-fixing. I very clearly told him he should go to the CBI.

“However, Prabhakar persisted and mentioned Kapil’s name (I.S.Bindra had, by then, already gone public). I then asked him whether he had any evidence. Prabhakar’s answer was “no.”

“It’s then that I remarked even I could take a couple of names —- after all, I wouldn’t have to be bothered about evidence... I’m amazed Prabhakar has twisted that so terribly out of context. Indeed, he’s mad.”    

New Delhi, May 26 
Riding on a fighting display in the recent Thomas Cup finals, national champion Pullella Gopichand has leapfrogged 16 places to break into the top 20 in the men’s singles world rankings.

Among the other Indians, Sidharth Jain also continued his climb up the rankings ladder, moving 13 places to 54th after a good display in the same tournament while Nikhil Kanetkar climbed three places to 53rd.

National women’s champion Aparna Popat, serving a three months ban for a doping offence, was placed 52nd among women.

The 27-year-old Gopichand jumped to 19th position from 36th at the start of the premier team event at Kuala Lumpur, making his maiden entry among the badminton elite dominated by Asian players, according to the latest rankings released by the International Badminton Federation.

Gopichand, who defeated Shon Sheung Mo in the last league match against South Korea and also took a game off Malaysia’s Woong Choong Hann, has gleaned 937.20 points from eight individual competitions and 667.20 from two team events, making it a total of 160.44.

Rankings are calculated by adding points earned in both individual and team events, divided by the total number of tournaments participated.

This is the highest ranking achieved by an Indian after Prakash Padukone.

Denmark’s world No. 1 Peter Gade Christensen and his close rival Hendrawan of Indonesia continued to occupy first and second positions on the list.    

Calcutta, May 26 
Mohun Bagan will send a letter to Chief Minister Jyoti Basu urging the state government to pay the $ 3,000 fine that has been imposed on the club by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Mohun Bagan’s Asian Club home match versus Japan’s Jubilo Iwata, scheduled for October 16 in the city, could not take place as the state police maintained the scheduled date — October 16 — being the first day of the Pujas, enough police personnel won’t be available for the match.

Today, after an executive council meeting of the club, secretary Anjan Mitra said that it has been decided that the club would ask the state government to pay the fine. And if the government refuses to do so, legal steps will be taken.

“It was not our fault the match could not take place. The government has to take responsibility. We have asked the AIFF to appoint and inquiry committee to find out what exactly went wrong and who should be blamed,” said Mitra.

Club elections

And after a long gap, the club could also see elections. Swapan Sadhan Bose, president, announced today that the elections will be held on September 3. Lawyer Gitanath Ganguly will be the observer.

Satyajit’s future For old war-horse Satyajit Chatterjee, the future seems bleak at the club which he has served for years.

With coach Subrata Bhattacharya unhappy with his recent performance, the club officials are clearly divided on what treatment he should get. While Bose sounded sympathetic, Mitra was undecided.

Though Satyajit may be registered with the club again, if the coach doesn’t want him he will not play, Bose said. He added that keeping in mind the veteran midfielder’s contributions to the club over the years, the season’s first game at the club ground, will be declared as his ‘benefit match’. A farewell gift? There was no direct answer. Meanwhile, despite all these big talk about elections and the like, the club has yet to formalise a task as simple as registration of its players, despite the McDowell Cup being just round the corner.

Gallery renovations

Mohun Bagan have plans of renovating the part of the gallery reserved for military personnel, Mitra added. A covered area, with a sitting capacity of 200 has been planned. About 25 to 30 seats will be reserved for high-ranked military personnel. The rest will be reserved for special card holders. Priced at Rs 10,000, they will enable the card-holder to watch matches from there for life.

With the state government’s ‘aloofness’ regarding the state of the general stands in the enclosed grounds at the Maidan, this kind of steps may be necessary to spruce up soccer in the city.    

Calcutta, May 26 
Selvel A defeated Paes en Sport 2-1 in the main plate semi-final of the The Telegraph Merchants football meet at the CC&FC today. In the other semi-final, Allied Domecq beat Blue Star 5-4.

Other results. Losers plate (semis): Britannia bt Pepsico 2-1, Bata bt TCT A 2-0. Bowls plate: HTA bt J. Thomas 3-2, Modi Xerox bt Pricewater House 3-0.    

Bangalore, May 26 
It is hard to look beyond the L. D’Silva-ward Silent Force to lift the 1,400m Speaker’s Cup, tomorrow’s main attraction here. A winner of all his four starts in Hyderabad, the Twist And Turn- Mizcarolyn the three-year-old youngster, who maintains his forward condition, looks unstoppable against his seven rivals.

Sea Classic and Starry Scene appear to be the best in the opposition to try and make it an issue.

But in the trusted and strong hands of the champion jockey K. P. Appu Silent Force is expected to ward off any challenge and continue to his winning ways.

In the Sir Charles Todhunter Memorial Cup the Michael Eshwer- trainee Desert Pride late Desert Lord is the other one who may deliver the goods in the hands of Appu.


2.30 pm: Complimentary 1. Melodeon 2. Harry The Horse 3.

3 pm: Chippo 1. Decision Maker 2. Breaking Thru 3.

3.30 pm: Desert Pride 1. Placid Ark 2. Elusive Emperor 3. 4 pm: Silent Force 1. Sea Classic 2. Starry Scene 3.

4.30 pm: Dior 1. Walk In The Clouds 2. Cliff Side 3.

5 pm: Almost Heaven 1. Allaire 2. Il Diablo 3.

5.30 pm: Tierrce 1. Obsession 2. West Over 3.

Day’s Best: Silent Force Double: Desert Pride & Almost Heaven.    


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