Board delays response on Manoj tapes
Batting first will ease pressure: Sourav
6-3 win for CSA
Reaz-ul joins Tollygunge
Pak record biggest ever ODI victory

Dhaka, June 2 
The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI’s) formal response to Manoj Prabhakar’s clandestine video-recording of a number of people associated with cricket, including secretary Jaywant Lele, is on hold till president A.C.Muthiah returns from overseas Monday.

In fact, it may be delayed till Thursday as Muthiah is likely to be busy with family commitments till then, informed Lele who arrived this afternoon. Treasurer Kishore Rungta is also here, representing the BCCI.

“Legal opinion has been sought but, the course of action will only be clear once the president returns,” Lele told The Telegraph. He suggested that Jagmohan Dalmiya’s absence — expected back in Calcutta tonight — contributed to matters being put on hold.

Though Dalmiya isn’t a BCCI officebearer, his influence is enormous.

Lele insisted, again, that the tapes (transcript released by were “doctored.”

“I didn’t implicate either Kapil Dev, Mohammed Azharuddin or Ajay Jadeja (in match-fixing)... The names were taken by Prabhakar himself. I only said I, too, could take names if I wasn’t bothered about producing evidence.

“Actually, Prabhakar asked a direct question: Why wasn’t the BCCI removing Kapil as coach? I gave a straightforward answer: How can somebody be removed on the basis of mere allegations?

“Though Prabhakar came with Nayan Mongia, he even bracketed him with the ‘match-fixers’... A senior Vadodara journalist was also present and he has already written the authentic version of our meeting... The stated purpose of Prabhakar’s visit was to have his Benevolent Fund money (around Rs eight lakhs) released.”

But, why did he entertain Prabhakar at home?

“I didn’t invite him but, when somebody comes to your house, what do you do?” Lele countered.

Meanwhile, Prabhakar video-recorded Rungta, too, at the Taj Palace in New Delhi. “I probably don’t figure in the transcripts because I repeatedly asked him to tell the truth only, when interacting with the CBI.

“Not that I would have been indiscreet, or that I have something to hide, but I immediately went on guard when Prabhakar’s first question revolved around what should be his stand vis-a-vis the CBI,” Rungta said.

According to Rungta, Prabhakar’s state-of-art video camera must have been concealed in the briefcase he carried.    

Dhaka, June 2 
It is a sign of the times. A section of the people yesterday moved around with a sort of ‘I told you so’ look after India’s middle-order collapse against Sri Lanka.

In the days when allegations of match-fixing and betting are flying around thick and fast, none of the actions are above suspicion in the minds of the common man. It may be unfortunate but that has turned out to be the norm.

Every catch dropped, every run missed, every mode of dismissal is being viewed with a sense of cynicism. Even the players cannot dismiss anything as just being unlucky.

Both India and Pakistan find themselves on common ground, in this context, back home. As things turn complex by the day, cricket is becoming more of a battle of nerves. Given the recent record in Australia and Sharjah there can be little doubt which side is more capable of getting its adrenalin flowing when it comes to a crunch game.

The needle-edge atmosphere, a feature of matches involving the two, will be felt tomorrow and the significant meeting is sure to pile up the pressure on everyone. In fact, the tension is just beginning to build up. This morning, Sourav Ganguly seemed yet to recover from last evening’s traumatic loss. Relaxing in his hotel room, he tried to find reasons behind the meek surrender.

“This is one of the best one-day wickets I’ve played on. If we boast of a strong line-up and can’t chase 276 then we’ve got to work things out differently,” Sourav told The Telegraph.

But for the Indian skipper this should be no surprise. A review of the tournaments in the last couple of years suggests that the middle-order has hardly played a significant role in any of the victories. It’s either been courtesy Sourav or Sachin Tendulkar.

The story here has been no different in the first two matches, the second of which India lost. Sourav’s century took India to victory over Bangladesh and yesterday Sachin enabled them to go past the 200-mark. There seems to be no option, and what the openers do will once again have a huge bearing on the match tomorrow.

Sourav is hoping luck will smile his way with the toss this time. “Batting first will ease a lot of pressure,” he said.

The Indians, with the exception of Mongia, Amit Bhandari and Hemang Badani, took a day off after three consecutive match days. At this evening’s two-and-a-half hour team meeting, video clippings of yesterday’s match was closely scrutinised. Sourav did speak at length with Kapil Dev and Sachin chipped in.

The thinktank has decided to utilise Nayan Mongia’s services behind the wickets. They are not eager to put additional burden on Rahul Dravid in the energy-sapping heat and humidity.

Sourav’s sore throat is not a matter of concern but Sunil Joshi, who was on drips following dehydration yesterday, will be rested. They are also toying with the idea of playing Hemang Badani in place of Robin Singh.

If Pakistan’s batting against Bangladesh today is any indication, the Indian bowlers are sure to feel the heat. The return of Saeed Anwar will lift Pakistan’s morale in the key game, considering the lefthander’s awesome record against India.

Teenager Imran Nazir and Yousuf Youhana have also been in fine nick but Inzamam-ul Haq could prove to be an insurmountable hurdle. Haq’s consistency since the Sharjah meet has been an important aspect with the Pakistan batting revolving around him. “His will be the one big wicket and the way he paces the innings is exemplary,” said Sourav.

One major problem for Pakistan will be exhaustion. They are here after a tough tour of the West Indies and will have to play on consecutive days in the sweltering heat. “It will be very strenuous,” felt Sourav.

Moin Khan, though, dismissed any such suggestion. “We don’t want to think about it and cite excuses in advance. We are ready for the action and carry on the good form,” the Pakistan skipper said.

That for Pakistan will be the key to success.


Calcutta, June 2 
Central Swimming Club (CSC) today beat Indian Life Saving Society (ILSS) 6-3 in their super league match of the K. K.Dutt Memorial waterpolo tournament over the Calcutta Sports Association course.

The highest scorer was Prahlad Shaw of CSC, with four goals. Other CSC scorers were Gautam Pal and Partha Chowdhury. Sashi Mondal, Amal Jha and Amitav Patodia scored for ILSS

Kaivan final on Monday

The Kaivan Cup final will be played on the SAI astroturf Monday. The match between BSF, North Bengal and Sporting Union fell through twice, rain and a broken goalpost being the reasons.

Sub-junior cricket

Ashok Malhotra Khadims CA and Biswanath Cricket Coaching Centre recorded victories in the Shyamnagar Sabuj Sangha orhanised Bidyut Ganguly Memorial sub-junior meet today.    

Calcutta, June 2 
Wing-back Reaz-ul Mustafa today left Mohun Bagan and joined Tollygunge Agragami. Two more transfers were recorded today, both in favour of Eastern Railway.

Tournament meeting

The Indian Football Association (IFA) joint-secretary Ranjit Gupta will meet police authorities next week to solve the problem surrounding McDowell Cup.

The local season-opener was scheduled to begin tomorrow but had to be postponed because of the unavailability of police forces.

Gupta, who was injured in a car accident on May 19, rejoined today. He said the meet will certainly be held but could not specify dates.

CFL 1st division

First division group A action of the Calcutta Football League will begin Monday.

Opening day’s fixtures pit Rajasthan against Railway FC, Mohammedan AC against Sonali Shibir while Howrah Union will meet CRSCL Bhratri Sangha.

First division group B action begins Tuesday.

Hattrick in 2nd div.

Samir Mondal’s hattrick lifted YMSA to a 4-1 win against IBAC in a second division match today. Sukumar Naskar scored the other goal.    

Dhaka, June 2 
PAKISTAN 320/3 (50 ovs) BANGLADESH 87 (34.2) MoM: Imran Nazir

This was slated to be a revenge match for Pakistan. Their loss to the minnows in the World Cup remains one of the lowest points in their cricketing history. And as has become the norm these days, it gave rise to a lot of match-fixing related speculation.

The World Cup runners-up today laid Bangladesh to dust at the Bangabandhu National Stadium. The hosts cut a sorry figure as they never managed to put any semblance of a fight. It seemed that the hosts were psyched out even before the start by the presence of their more fancied opponents. A whopping 233-run win will put Pakistan in the right frame of mind prior to their titan-clash with India tomorrow.

“That World Cup defeat was always on the back of our minds and it really egged us on,” conceded Moin Khan after the match.

The margin of victory is the biggest-ever in a one-day International. It eclipsed Australia’s 232-run win against Sri Lanka in Adelaide, 1985.

Bangladesh’s total of 87 was also their lowest.

The Pakistanis’ desperation to win the Asia Cup, as was stressed by Moin yesterday, was in full view. Showing no signs of stress or fatigue, the Pakistanis made mincemeat of the Bangla attack and then dismissed their top and middle-order in no time to reduce the match to a no-contest.

It showed the difference in class and temperament between the two sides and the hosts’ meek surrender in the tournament is sure to come as a big jolt prior to their attaining Test status at the ICC meeting in London later this month.

The tone was set by Saeed Anwar and Imran Nazir (80 off 76 balls, 7x4, 3x6) who got into the act of plundering runs early in the innings. Yousuf Youhana (80 off 104 balls, 5x4, 1x6) and Inzamam-ul Haq (75 not out off 61 balls, 9x4, 1x6) too carried on the good work in their own indomitable style.

The run feast was assisted by some horrible ground fielding and dropped catches by the hosts.

Bangla were shaken in the face of some hostile pace attack from Wasim Akram and Mohammed Akram at the start. Abdul Razzaq (three for 5) was quick to exploit on the batsman’s weakness against quality fast bowling. The end was inevitable once their top-order collapsed.    


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