Bedi among five to coach Bangladesh
Rohan, Pratik share lead
Match-up of contrasts/Euro view
EB decision today
Red Red Wine holds the edge
Alesund shines

Calcutta, June 27 
For Bangladesh, being awarded Test status didn’t come with much sweat. Proving it’s been well-earned will be a different ball-game altogether.

The good thing, though, is that not everybody is only emotional about the status-bit. This lot includes some Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) officials, too.

Incidentally, while the BCB is yet to decide on the dates of the inaugural Test and the opponent, it is into overdrive on other fronts.

According to BCB general secretary Ashraf-ul Huq, three former captains will be visiting Bangladesh over the next eight-ten weeks to impart specific coaching.

The timing, as they say, couldn’t have been better.

Speaking from London, Huq told The Telegraph: “In keeping with the arrangement worked out with the International Cricket Council (ICC), before we got Test status, five coaches will work with our boys before the 2000-2001 season begins in earnest.”

For Bangladesh, that means the October 3-15 mini World Cup in Kenya.

Of the five coaches, three are former captains: Bishen Bedi (spin bowling), Mushtaq Mohammed (batting) and Roshan Mahanama (fielding). The others are Mike Procter (pace bowling) and Kiran More (wicketkeeping).

Procter, in fact, has already had one stint (before the recent Asia Cup) this year.

All coaches will spend a fortnight each in Bangladesh, interacting both with the national side and the BCB-selected colts. Perhaps, even the A team.

Now, of course, 50 per cent of the expenses won’t be underwritten by the ICC Development Fund, but sponsorship shouldn’t at all be a worry for the BCB — president Saber Hossain Chowdhury, whose own stock in the Sheikh Hasina government will soar, has taken firm initiatives.

For the BCB, there is excellent news on another front as well: Eddie Barlow, the director of coaching, has been released from a Cape Town hospital.

Barlow suffered a stroke weeks before the Asia Cup but, today, has begun walking and his speech is far from slurred.

“We’re hopeful Eddie will be with us in mid-August or thereabouts. We’ll only begin thinking of an alternative if his return (to Bangladesh) gets delayed in a big way,” informed Huq.

Much of the interest will now be on the inaugural Test dates (“unlikely to be before November,” Huq pointed out) and Bangladesh’s opponents.

Pakistan and India have “shown interest” but, in order not to offend one by ‘choosing’ the other, the BCB may eventually opt for a side outside the sub-continent.

What is certain is that the Test will be in Dhaka.    

Jamshedpur, June 27 
Rohan Vijay Shandilya and Pratik Sengupta shared the lead with seven points each after the seventh round of The Telegraph Schools Chess Championship at the J.R.D. Tata Sports Complex today.

Top seed Shandilya had no problem beating Pranjal in 27 moves after the latter committed a mistake in the ninth move.

Abhisek Das was no match for Pratik Sengupta. Pratik played the bishop’s opening and systematically outplayed Abhisek in 26 moves. Swagatam Sengupta beat Nitesh Kejriwal in four-knights game.

Six-and-a-half-year-old Anirban Pati had a clear winning position against Sourav Chakraborty. Anirban immediately after getting two pieces for a rook blundered away a piece which was easily converted to a win by Sourav.


7 points: Rohan Vijay Shandilya, Pratik Sengupta. 6 points: Sudipto Dasgupta, Akash Kusum, Ved Prakash, Pranjal, Swagatam, Souvik and Suman Basu. 5.5 points: Rashmi Kanchan, Himanshu, Varun, Sourav Chakraborty.    

The best, deservedly, remain in contention as Euro 2000 zooms into the semi-final stage. A look at the comparative strengths of the teams that made the final-four cut confirms this view. Technically speaking, it’s so far been the elimination of the poorer powers and this edition of the most superior continental championship has also dispelled a notion valued and treasured in these parts that European football is all about muscles and patience.

These, mind you, are indispensable traits if you are to compete at the highest level but there has to be more which has been explicitly exhibited by the teams which made it to the semi-finals in confident, albeit contrasting manner.

While the Portuguese — obviously the talk of the town for dishing out a delightful brand of flamboyant soccer — reached the last four stage with an all-win record and a virtual annihilation of the Turks in the quarter finals, France did so more professionally. The world champions have stood out for their disciplined and methodical approach and this very factor could help them achieve higher goals.

The Netherlands, who painted the Yugoslavs orange all over with an audacious display of allround football, appear to be the most balanced side although they will have to win a tactical battle against the Italians to make it to the title-round.

The ‘Azzuri’, a touch pale in the earlier round, produced their own exclusive brand of patient and calculative soccer to outsmart the Romanians in the quarter final. Though they will confront a much tougher opposition for a place in the final, they do have the acumen to make a match of it.

The Portuguese, for the first time in Euro 2000, will be up against a team which will not allow them the vast open space they ploughed so elegantly in the earlier matches. Luis Figo and Rui Costa will really have to work hard to open up the French fortress and they will not be able to create as many openings as they did against the inexperienced Turks, the below-par Germans and the inconsistent Englishmen.

Their impressive control over the ball will not be enough to open up the French defence manned by Marcel Desailly and Laurent Blanc and all the angles leading to the goal will be minimised. The world champions will do well to field Patrick Vieira in the midfield whose towering presence can weather the waltz Figo and friends produce. The French goal-mouth will be sealed and Portugal should not count on the kind of luxury Nuno Gomez was offered when he scored the first goal against Turkey.

Apart from their fascinating defensive organisation, the French will also exert tremendous pressure on the Portuguese defence which has not been tested as yet. The best part of the French arsenal is the number of scorers they have. Midfield maestro Zinedine Zidane, captain Didier Deschamps, the versatile Youri Djorkaeff can all trouble Vitor Baia apart from the regular striking pair of Nicklas Anelka and Thierry Henry. France can also use the wings very effectively with side-backs Bixente Lizarazu and Lilian Thuram adding thrust to the attack.

Weighing the odds, it will be the kind of opposition the Portuguese are yet to come across and also, the kind of resistance they will have to overcome to prove that all the hullabaloo about the ‘Latin invasion’ in European soccer is justified. Portugal have traditionally provided the touch of flair to the relatively non-adventurous school of European football but their flamboyance never really matured into serious success.

The wizardry displayed by the men from the land of Vasco da Gamma, thus, faces the kind of challenge it has yet to crush. The world champions thus start 55-45 favourites.

The other semi-final will certainly be more of a tactical tussle. It may look drab and boring at times but one has to accept that when two superpowers clash in a semi-final encounter. Italy, still relying on their enviable defensive organisation, will allow the Dutch to advance up to a certain point and depend on sudden breakaways.

The Netherlands do appear stronger on paper but this is one match where they will have to score as early as possible because the Italians defend with greater resilience as the match progresses. Coaches Dino Zoff and Frank Rijkaard will have to do a lot of homework though the subject of brain-storming will be different. While Zoff will think about how to keep Ms Bergkamp and Overmars at bay, Rijkaard will search for ways of breaking the resistance of Maldini and Nesta.

If Italy can avoid conceding a goal in the first half, they will make things tougher for the hosts who should be mentally prepared for a tie-breaker. Though the three-time world champions ended their last three World Cup campaigns losing out on penalties, they may not dislike the option this time.

The two semi-finals, hence, are likely to experience contrasting contests between teams who have reached this stage displaying their own distinctive style. France and the Netherlands, in this pack, look better for the kind of team game they play and a final between the two will not be unfair.

P. K Banerjee, who writes a monthly column for us, will be contributing two more Euro 2000-specific articles over the next few days    

Calcutta, June 27 
The curtain raiser of the local football season, McDowell Cup, has already witnessed quite a bit of drama and there may just be a little more.

A central character in this tale of confusion and mis-management, East Bengal, are finding it difficult to field a team and are even thinking of staging a walk-out.

Six East Bengal players have been asked to attend the national senior camp in Patiala while five others are away in Bangalore for the India under-19 camp. Club officials said yesterday that they can’t release more than two seniors.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF), through a faxed message to the IFA this afternoon, has asked those picked to reach Patiala immediately.

East Bengal officials, yet to receive a copy of the letter formally, said they will have to decide on pulling out of the McDowell Cup but cited the practical problems of fielding a team without top players.

“Two of our side-backs, Ratan Singh and Falguni Dutta have been asked to go to Patiala and two others, Amandeep Singh and Akshay Das, are in Bangalore. Stopper back Deepak Mondal is also wanted in Patiala. How can we field a team without seven defenders,” argued a senior club official.

According to him, a final decision on whether they will take part in the McDowell Cup will be taken tomorrow. East Bengal are scheduled to open their campaign against FCI on Sunday.

New rules

The new rules introduced by Fifa, already being implemented in Euro 2000, will be followed in the McDowell Cup, beginning Saturday. The teams have been informed and the Super Division League will also be played under the new set of rules.

Registration problems

The IFA registration committee will meet Thursday to decide on the fate of two Peerless players who were not recruited as per IFA norms. The first division group A outfit roped in Masood Ali and Subhranshu Majumdar from Bhratri Sangha without abiding by the rules and informed the parent body after realising the mistake.

The players have not been fielded in the league so far though they did take part in the McDowell Cup qualifiers.

Player expelled

Beleghata AC’s Babu Chakraborty was shown the red card for abusing the referee in a third division match against Greer SC. The match ended 1-1.    

Mysore, June 27 
The F. B. Sharma Memorial Gold Cup, tomorrow, looks to be a very open affair. Russian Art, Red Red Wine, Radical, Spy Court and Greek Lady, all the five three-year-olds, in this terms race, are capable winning. However, their previous clashes points to the chances Red Red Wine — a Darashah-ward with Appu in the saddle.


2.15 pm: Morroccan Prince 1. Gregarious Grey 2. Ericsson 3.

2.45 pm: Swiss Knife 1. Cosmic Creation 2. Selected Princess 3.

3.15 pm: Estocade 1. Kilmarnock 2. Bullet 3.

3.45 pm: Dealers Ace 1. All Jade 2. Octane 3.

4.15 pm: Red Red Wine 1. Radical 2. Spy Court 3.

4.45 pm: Imperial Weapon 1. Baaja Bajaav 2. Royal Impression 3.

5.15 pm: Starry Splendour 1. Divisional 2. Bon Honour 3.

Day’s Best: Estocade Double: Morroccan Prince & Imperial Weapon.    

Calcutta, June 27 
Alesund, Alocina and Super Smile were impressive from among the following horses exercised here today morning:

Outer sand track

800m: Alesund (C. Alford) and Lockers Park (M. Reuben) in 57s; (400m) 26s. Former 2 ls better. Allodium (C. Alford) and High Life (Rabani) in 56s; (400m) 26s. Both were level. Alocina (Rabani) and Queen’s Logic (C. Alford) in 58s; (400m) 26s. Former 4 ls better. Avionic (Rabani) and Aeolian (Islam) in 57 2/5s; (400m) 27 15s. Former was easily 4 ls better. Aflicker (M. Reuben) in 58s; (400m) 27s. Easy. On The Bit (Upadhya) in 57 2/5s; (400m) 27 2/5s. Moved well. Super Smile (Islam) in 56s; (400m) 26s. Handy. Persuasion (Manohar) 56s; (400m) 25 3/5s. Impressed. Tribal Warlord (Brij S.) and Tsaynen Blue (Upadhya) in 1-0 2/5s; (400m) 28 3/5s. Former much superior. Atacada (C. Alford) and Private Lives (M. Reuben) in 58s; (400m) 26s. Former was a length better. Armed Alarm (Rabani) in 59 3/5s; (400m) 27 2/5s. Easy. Master Charlie (Brij S.) and As You Please (Upadhya) in 1-0 1/5s; (400m) 28 2/5s. Former was well ahead.

600m: Gentle Priest (Rabani) in 43s; (400m) 28s. Easy. Kansai (Manohar) and Citadel (Rabani) in 41s; (400m) 26s. Former better.

Sand track

1,000m: Floral Path (Shanker) in 1-17 3/5s; (400m) 26 2/5s. Easy.

800m: Mameena (M. Reuben) in 54s; (400m) 24s. Fit. American (Rutherford) in 1-2s; (400m) 26.

600m: Giltedge (R. Yadav) in 46s; (400m) 27 2/5s. Whitney (Brij S.) in 41s; (400m) 26s. Moved well.

400m: Exclusive Girl (R. Ahmed) in 28s. Eau Savage (Shanker) 27s. Head Hunter (R. Yadav) in 30s. Relative Shade (R. Yadav) in 28s. Magic Ring (Akhtar) in 30.    


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