Paes-Bhupathi ‘second-set’ from Sept.
Win helps Saptarshi equal record tally
BCCI’s tactical move vs Dhindsa
P.K. Banerjee, Sukhwinder all praise for the back-
Poulami toils to beat Avanti
AAAWB elects technical panel
Arrakis wins main event
Only Five for tomorrow’s feature
Major events

 
 
PAES-BHUPATHI ‘SECOND-SET’ FROM SEPT. 
 
 
BY AMITAVA DAS GUPTA
 
Calcutta, July 30 
Their Grand Slam reunion will have to wait, but the good news is that Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have decided to resume their successful partnership on the ATP Tour. If things unfold according to the new script, the Indian Express should be back on track in Tashkent for the $ 525,000 President’s Cup beginning September 11.

Paes, still nursing a wrist injury but expected back on the Tour in two-three weeks’ time, had kept his doubles options open for the US Open as he and Bhupathi explored possibilities of ending their three-month ‘separation’.

Bhupathi, however, had already committed to Bahamanian Mark Knowles for the North American hardcourt circuit. The two will be playing five consecutive events beginning tomorrow — the $2,950,000 Masters Series meets in Toronto and Cincinnati, the $800,000 RCA Championships in Indianapolis, the $415,000 Hamlet Cup in Long Island and the US Open.

That leaves just a week before the Olympic tennis competition (beginning September 18). Rather than travel to Sydney early and practise there, our medal-hopefuls have chosen to sharpen their combination at the Tashkent hardcourt meet.

Whatever match-practice they can get would be handy for the Olympics. Remember, the red-hot pair of 1999 hasn’t shared a tennis court since end-November.

No schedule has been finalised beyond the Olympics yet. The two stars, it seems, will test out their new chemistry in Tashkent and Sydney before committing to each other for the rest of the year.

With both Paes and Bhupathi finally realising that they have to play with each other to sustain their high standards, it shouldn’t be a problem working out a long-term ‘agreement’.

The conciliatory mood is already evident in the senior partner’s approach. Having said in May that he couldn’t continue the partnership as long as Enrico Piperno remained Bhupathi’s coach, Paes is no longer as rigid in his stance. Piperno still is Bhupathi’s coach and will travel with him for the rest of the year.

Of course, Bhupathi has to be prepared for compromises as well, and Paes will have to be convinced about his partner’s seriousness and commitment.

The one annoying problem they are likely to face as they go out to recapture the world doubles throne is their individual doubles rankings. The injury lay-offs the two of them have had this year, along with their much-publicised break-up, have led to a dip in their rankings.

Paes, who finished ’99 as No. 1, has gone down to 44th. Bhupathi, world No. 2 at the end of the year, is currently 35th. The losing finalists at the US Open doubles event last year could slip many more places if they fail to defend those points in the next four-five weeks.

For Paes, the situation is a lot more grim as he’s unlikely to play any doubles before the US Open. According to an estimate, the Olympic bronze-medallist could fall to 130-140 if he loses early at the year’s last Grand Slam. And if that happens, there could be a problem for Paes and Bhupathi getting into tournaments directly.

Paes, though, is not losing sleep over this possible catastrophe. “I know I can lift my doubles ranking quickly and get back to where I was,” he told The Telegraph. “I just need to start playing, the results will come.” That confidence stems from self-belief. And it’s these qualities Paes and Bhupathi will again bank on as they prepare to play their second set.    


 
 
WIN HELPS SAPTARSHI EQUAL RECORD TALLY 
 
 
BY A CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, July 30: 
Defending champion Saptarshi Roy of Dum Dum Kishore Bharati had ensured his title at the Fide-rated The Telegraph schools’ chess championship yesterday. Today he went about giving it a sheen.

On the top-board contest of the final round, the top seed beat Mary Ann Gomes of Loreto Day School to take his tally of points to 10.5 and equal Suvrajit Saha’s record, set in 1991.

Saptarshi went all out against the 11-year-old. It had both players castling on opposite wings. An equally determined Mary Ann attacked with gusto, but a premature break on the Queenside proved fatal for her an she lost two pawns. Saptarshi wrapped up the game by pushing his passed pawn.

Saptarshi will receive The Telegraph Trophy as well as prize money of Rs 5,000.

“I was determined this year to retain my title. The coaching by GM Maxim Sorokin just before the tournament helped me a great deal,” a beaming Saptarshi told The Telegraph. “After the fifth round one of the coaches at the Goodricke National Chess Academy egged me on to go for the reord of 10.5 points and I decided to give it a try. I am determined to win it next year too for a hattrick.”

There was a two-way tie for the second place on 9 points, but Sayantan Dutta of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Fort William pipped Ayan Lahiri of Laban Hrad Vidyapith on progressive score.

Sayantan will receive the trophy and a cash prize of Rs 3,000.

Sayantan drew his game with Puneet Jaiswal of Keshav Academy. Ayan outplayed Pratik Sengupta of S-E Railway English Medium School in 30 moves in a French Defence.

Former Asian under-12 runner-up Sayantan said: “Though my performance was not up to expectations, I am satisfied with the result as The Telegraph schools’ chess meet holds a special significance and we all look forward to it.”

Somak Palit of Mitra Institution beat Dhruba Manna to take the fourth spot on 8.5. Ejaz Husian of Bangladesh and Punit Jaiswal, also on 8.5 each, finished on fifth and sixth, respectively.

Mary Ann impressed all with her excellent performance this year. She beat national sub-junior runner-up Yashpal Singh Sonwani and Bangladesh’s Gulam Mustafa Bhuiyan to end ninth on 8 points.

South Eastern Railway English Medium School, represented by Pratik Sengupta, Deep Sengupta and Arin Biswas, emerged the ‘best school’ with a total tally of 21.5 points. They edged out defending champions Laban Hrad Vidyapith of Salt Lake on progressive score.

Horlicks, the co-sponsors of the event, have declared a ‘best game’ ward. The winner will be declared on Tuesday, after the judges have scrutinised the games.

TOP BOARD RESULTS

Mary Ann Gomes (8) lost to Saptarshi Roy (9.5); Sayantan Dutta (9) drew Puneet Jaiswal (8.5); Ayan Lahiri (9) bt Pratik Sengupta (7.5); Dhruba Manna (7.5) lost to Somak Palit (8.5); Ejaz Husain (8.5) bt Suman Basu (7.5); Deep Sengupta (7.5) drew Abhishek Das (8); Joydeep Dutta (7) lost to Yashpal Singh Sonwani (8); Rohan V. Shandilya (8) bt Sk Shahid Ahmed (7); Sourav Bose (7.5) drew Gulam M. Bhuiyan (7.5); Samput Mallick (7.5) drew Mufidul Islam Khan (7.5); Rahul Sangma (8) bt Supriya Maji (7); Sourav Chakraborty (7) lost to Nazir Saleheen (8); Yambem Dhanbir Singh (7.5) bt Pritam Banerjee (7); Upadhyay Nilabh (7.5) bt Debaditya Sinha Biswas (6.5); Swagatam Sengupta (7.5) Shounak Mitra (6.5); Sashank Singh (7.5) bt Lairenjam Mahesh Singh (6.5); Syed Rownak Ehsan (6.5) lost to Nayeem Arefin (7.5); Soumya Thakurata (7.5) bt Arindam Das (6.5); Sourabh Das (6.5) lost to Gourabjyoti Baidya (7.5); Akash Kusum (6.5) lost to Tanmoy Pattanayak (7.5); Swapan Das (7.5) bt Santu Mandal (6.5); Shankar Majumder (7.5) bt Gurumayum Inao Sharma (6.5); Rajib Dhar (6.5) drew with Minhazuddin Ahmad (6.5); Koushik Ranjan Bose (6) lost to Sayantan De (7); Moirangthem Shanta (7) bt Subhabrata Das (6).    

 
 
BCCI’S TACTICAL MOVE VS DHINDSA 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
New Delhi, July 30: 
he Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to counter Union sports minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s hawk-like approach with a tactical move: The proposed Code of Conduct will not be presented to him Tuesday.

Dhindsa has himself called a meeting that day, with top BCCI officials.

“The draft of the Code is ready. However, it must first be circulated to our members who will, then, discuss it at the August 19 working committee meeting (in Bangalore),” informed BCCI president A.C. Muthiah.

Speaking this afternoon, Muthiah added: “On Tuesday, we will convey the proposed Code’s salient features to the minister. If the government has any suggestions, we will definitely look into them.”

Dhindsa may not be too amused by this development, but the BCCI will be on firm ground by insisting the Code can only be formally finalised after the all-powerful working committee has been taken into confidence.

According to well placed sources of The Telegraph, this “tactical” move from the BCCI became necessary for two reasons:

Submitting the Code to Dhindsa, for ‘approval’, would actually be seen as allowing the government to dilute its (the BCCI’s) autonomy.

If placed before Dhindsa, any suggestion from him would invariably have had to be incorporated. In other words, then, the final word would be the minister’s, not that of the BCCI’s.

Clearly, after initially giving the impression that it was buckling to pressure from the government, the BCCI has decided to take guard afresh. It won’t risk confrontation but, at the same time won’t be dictated to — even if that is done informally and not in writing.

Apparently, the BCCI has sought legal opinion on whether the government can supersede it. The legal eagles approached have unanimously said: “Breathe easy.”

As a source put it: “In the present scheme of things, the government can only withhold permission for tours... As the BCCI is not dependent on government funds, other penalties cannot be imposed.”

Another source scoffed at the sports minister’s junior, Shahnawaz Hussain’s claim yesterday that the government would have the “final say” on the Code. His argument being the government and not the BCCI was answerable to Parliament.

The source remarked: “All answers by the government (on cricket queries) are based on information provided by the BCCI. The questions come to us and we, in turn, send the replies to the government. In effect, then, what is said on the floor of Parliament is really what the BCCI says on the matter.”

Dhindsa, of course, could have something to say to that. Incidentally, the BCCI will oblige Dhindsa by presenting a Vision-Document and giving a run down of expenditure specific to the development of the game.

This by itself is unprecedented. But, these are extraordinary times.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the BCCI delegation will comprise Muthiah, secretary Jaywant Lele, joint-secretary Jyoti Bajpai, vice-president Kamal Morarka, former president Raj Singh Dungarpur and former secretary Jagmohan Dalmiya.

Treasurer Kishore Rungta was also to have been part of the delegation, but he will be leaving for home town Jaipur that very day. The rescheduling of the meeting, 4 pm from 10 am, being the reason.    


 
 
P.K. BANERJEE, SUKHWINDER ALL PRAISE FOR THE BACK- 
 
 
FROM NOVY KAPADIA
 
London, July 30: 
India ended their historic tour of Britain, their first since 1948, with a win, a draw and a loss.

Jo Paul Ancheri’s matchwinner against Bangladesh at Leicester yesterday was the only goal the visitors scored, but to their credit the Indians conceded just two goals in three matches. Both were scored by the former German World Cup striker, 34-year-old Karl Heinz Riedle for Fulham FC.

India lost that opening match but produced an improved display to hold West Bromwich Albion in front of a 12,000-strong crowd at the Hawthorns. The smallest and most disappointing turnout was in Leicester where India beat Bangladesh.

Analysing the results, both coach Sukhwinder Singh and technical director P.K. Banerjee praised India’s back-four of Prabhjot Singh, Roberto Fernandes, Mahesh Gawli and Daljit Singh for their consistency and determination in defending their citadel successfully in consecutive matches. ‘PK’ felt that defensive midfielder Jo Paul Ancheri was India’s best player in the three matches. The injury to Ancheri’s left knee in the closing stages of the tie versus Bangladesh was a cause for concern. Ancheri hopes it’s not a re-currence of the knee injury which plagued him earlier in his career.

Sukhwinder said the tour was a learning experience for his players. “The exposure helped the players understand the need for better physical conditioning, the ability to play under pressure and that professionalism is committment and not just money.”

Sukhwinder added playing against English clubs helped the Indians realise they had to be faster on the ball. He also felt that the Indian team requires more physical presence in midfield.

Questions were asked about the inclusion of 24-year-old JCT newcomer Hardip Saini in place of established international Jules Alberto. Sukhwinder justified the selection saying the gutsy Hardip was a better ball-snatcher. “Against professional English teams, Hardip was more effective with his sliding tackles and ball-winning ability.”

Five of the touring party — goalkeepers Sandip Nandy, Prasanta Dora, defender Hussein Mustafi, forwards Hardip Gill and Francis Silveira — didn’t get to play at all. Sukhwinder explained that since the tour was being used to develop the Indian team for the World Cup qualifiers, some players were overlooked.

Sukhwinder also defended the overall defensive approach of his side. He said that such tactics were essential to cope with the speed of British teams.

The coach was also glad the Indian team had got an identity among British Asians and had impressed British coaches with their technical skills.

Harpal Singh, who is in the reserve team of Premier League club Leeds United, attended one of India’s training sessions and greatly impressed PK.

The TD, in fact, strongly advocates the inclusion of non-resident Indians in the national squad. “The AIFF should tap these unknown sources of talent as it may hasten the development of Indian football.”

Skipper Bhaichung Bhutia was happy with the overall results, but felt that India could have played much better. “We lost the ball too often due to erratic passing,” he remarked.”

According to the Bury FC player, India’s best match was against West Bromwich Albion. “W