Pak spy mission on hold
Paes, Bhupathi ‘fix’ US Open date
East Bengal, Mohun Bagan in another two-way race
EB-Md. Sp. tie tomorrow
City to host third Test against Australia
Behala SA champions
Mukherjee, Dey emerge best
I was desperate to achieve this one: Bula
Arezzo justifies top billing
Al Dente for Gold Cup

 
 
PAK SPY MISSION ON HOLD 
 
 
BY LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Calcutta, Aug.23 
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has put on hold the spying-operation on its own players.

Had the script remained unchanged, Pakistani players would have been monitored by an “undercover agent” during the on-going tri-series in Singapore.

The agent would have reported directly to the PCB chairman, Lt General Tauqir Zia. His top job being to watch out for dealings of any kind with dubious characters.

“While it’s true such a step was thought of, our chairman instead made the agreement with the players more stringent and, just as important, gave the team management more powers,” informed Yawar Saeed, the PCB director of operations.

The team management comprises captain Waqar Younis, coach Javed Miandad and Brig. (retd) Khwaja Mohammed Nasir, the no-nonsense manager.

A fresh agreement is drawn up before each series/tour.

Speaking to The Telegraph from Islamabad, Saeed added: “Of course, I can’t say with certainty no undercover agent will ever be assigned. That can only be answered in the future. Perhaps, before our next assignment, the mini-World Cup (Nairobi, October 3-15)...”

One understands the PCB had second thoughts, on deploying an agent, after news leaked (late last month) and, apparently, after some players expressed strong reservations.

Also, having an undercover agent around wouldn’t have sent off quite the right signals. In effect, the many Pakistan-baiters would have got some more ammunition.

Significantly, deploying an agent to ‘watch’ the players is a recommendation of Justice Malik Muhammad Qayyum, who conducted the government-instituted inquiry into allegations of match-fixing.

Justice Qayyum’s findings made the PCB ban Salim Malik and Ata-ur Rehman. The PCB also fined a host of players, including Wasim Akram.

Meanwhile, that Brig. Nasir has been retained manager suggests he has been let-off with a rap on the knuckles only.

Last month, after all, General Zia himself reacted strongly to the manager’s remarks in Colombo. Interacting with the media, Brig. Nasir had bluntly said: “India is the hub of match-fixing” and that “all bookies are Indians.”

The manager’s comments even drew a formal protest from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) but, obviously, the PCB has only been influenced by Brig. Nasir’s otherwise excellent track record.

In any case, as the PCB is cut-up with the BCCI over the Toronto cancellation, it wouldn’t exactly have gone out of its way to oblige India.    


 
 
PAES, BHUPATHI ‘FIX’ US OPEN DATE 
 
 
BY AMITAVA DAS GUPTA
 
Calcutta, Aug. 23 
The Leander Paes-Mahesh Bhupathi relationship seems to have been ‘fixed’ for good. Remaining Doubting Thomases, even after their ‘reunion’ this week at the Hamlet Cup in Long Island, can heave a sigh of relief at the news that the Indian Express will be back on Grand Slam track at next week’s US Open.

The year’s last Major was not originally on their agenda when plans were chalked out last month. Paes was free, but Bhupathi wasn’t as he had already committed to playing with Bahamanian Mark Knowles. And verbal commitment on the Tour is as good as a written agreement.

That Bhupathi went out of his way to speak to Knowles about his intention of playing with Paes at Flushing Meadow speaks volumes of the seriousness with which the former world No. 1 team is taking their ‘second set.’

“It was very nice of Knowles to have agreed to Mahesh’s request... Just goes to show that tennis is still a gentleman’s game,” Mahesh’s father C.G.K. Bhupathi told The Telegraph from Bangalore. “You know, in June after his split with Paes, Mahesh had fixed up to play with Todd Woodbridge the last three months of this year and the full of 2001. But after the patch-up with his ex-partner, even Woodbridge agreed to ‘break off’ the agreement straightaway,” Mr Bhupathi revealed.

It all augurs well for the hottest pair of ’99. All they have to do now is quickly rediscover the chemistry which singed so many hot teams in the past.    


 
 
EAST BENGAL, MOHUN BAGAN IN ANOTHER TWO-WAY RACE 
 
 
BY ATREYO MUKHOPADHYAY
 
 
Super Division championship round action gets underway Friday and as always, the title-clash has been reduced to a two-horse race. East Bengal (25 points) and Mohun Bagan (23) are well ahead of the other Super Five outfits and since the teams carry forward what they earned in the earlier stage, chances of the gap being bridged are small.

For the rest — Mohammedan Sporting (15), George Telegraph (14) and Tollygunge Agragami (13) — it’s a tussle for the third spot. The former will be able to fight for a berth in the apex tier of the National League if they finish third. In case they finish fourth, they have a chance to move up if Tollygunge are the third-placed team. The same applies for George Telegraph.

Mohammedan Sporting, thus, face a great deal of competition in this final phase. In the championship round, teams will play each other once and there will be a play-off final if the difference between the top two (read East Bengal and Mohun Bagan) is more than three points.

EAST BENGAL: The defending champions look solid in defence and midfield but lack a pair of safe hands under the bar. Their striking ability, too, is not satisfactory though they did top the scoring-chart in the first phase. They would do well to also count the number of opportunities missed.

Coach Syed Nayeemuddin, having started a ‘rating system’ this season, says his team has just about crossed 15 out of a possible 100. After the McDowell Cup triumph, 12 was all he would give. Charactersitically tight-lipped, Nayeem admitted scoring has been a concern. He had stressed the need to seek ‘foreign assistance’ earlier. Ukrainian recruit Andriy Malchevsky is still not fit, Nayeem informed. About goalkeeping, the Dronacharya said: “We are trying.”

STRENGTH: Compact team game.

WEAKNESS: Goalkeeping and scoring.

MOHUN BAGAN: A much-improved side after the return of Basudeb Mondal and R.P. Singh, the trump card of the National League champions is Jose Ramirez Barreto. Coach Subrata Bhattacharya doesn’t subscribe to the popular Maidan notion that Mohun Bagan are a lesser force without the crafty Brazilian.

“Mobility in midfield” and better distribution are the areas he thinks the team can improve in. But his immediate concern is the lack of thrust from the wings. “We have not been able to stretch the wings, the side-backs must quickly grasp the art of balancing between overlapping and falling back,” he said.

The McDowell final loss to East Bengal, he said, has affected the confidence of his team and felt that only a win against the arch-rivals can help restore that.

STRENGTH: Creative mid-field, presence of Barreto.

WEAKNESS: Lack of support for Barreto upfront and dependence on Samuel Omollo in deep defence.

MOHAMMEDAN SPORTING: Trying to capture the third spot after four years, the men in black and white have been badly affected by cash-crunch. Despite that and the sudden resignation of coach Mohammed Habib, Mohammedan Sporting have not done too badly. After losing 3-4 to Mohun Bagan in the McDowell semi-final (when Habib was around), they held their more-fancied rivals 1-1 in the League (without Habib).

With forwards Abdul Khalique, Nazim-ul Haq and Kasif Jamal combining well, Mohammedan Sporting are also an unpredictable lot, having lost 2-3 to FCI. Even then, medios Srikrishna Ghosh and Amjad Ansari have been impressive.

Coach Syed Firoze says his team needs a stopper-back, two side-backs and a gamemaker. Demanding a lot, one may think, but a Nigerian medio has been practising for two weeks and his clearence is awaited.

STRENGTH: A good forwardline.

WEAKNESS: Vulnerable defence.

GEORGE TELEGRAPH: One of the least expensive teams in this year’s Super Division League, George’s immediate aim is to take the third spot and qualify for the National League second division, a feat they could not achieve last year. Their general secretary, Subrata Dutta, gives all the credit to coach Raghu Nandi for producing good results with players rejected by bigger clubs.

STRENGTH: Mizo striker Lalbhulaiya who tops the scorers’ list along with Barreto.

WEAKNESS: Attitude, that forces them to withdraw into a shell against reputed opponents.

TOLLYGUNGE AGRAGAMI: Disappointing so far, the National League campaigners have struggled to assemble all their resources and have already lost four matches. Coach Shankar Moitra says the absence of key players has been a major problem and his team was at full strength in the last match only. Co-ordination is what he is trying to achieve and expects his midfield to be more compact.

STRENGTH: The presence of five TFA graduates who are still unknown entities.

WEAKNESS: The complete lack of co-ordination.    


 
 
EB-MD. SP. TIE TOMORROW 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Aug. 23 
Super Division action in the Calcutta Football League will resume on Friday, with two Super Five matches.

East Bengal will meet Mohammedan Sporting at Salt Lake Stadium. Second-placed Mohun Bagan face George Telegraph at home.

SUPER FIVE FIXTURES

Aug. 25: East Bengal vs Mohammedan Sporting (Salt Lake), Mohun Bagan vs George Telegraph (Mohun Bagan). Aug. 28: East Bengal vs George Telegraph (East Bengal), Mohun Bagan vs Tollygunge Agragami (Salt Lake), Aug. 30: East Bengal vs Tollygunge Agragami (Kishore Bharati), Mohun Bagan vs Mohammedan Sporting (Salt Lake). Sept. 1: Mohammedan Sporting vs George Telegraph (Salt Lake), Sept. 2: Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal (Salt Lake), Sept. 4: Mohammedan Sporting vs Tollygunge Agragami (Salt Lake). Sept. 6: Tollygunge Agragami vs George Telegraph (Kishore Bharati).

IFA Shield clusters

The IFA Shield cluster matches will begin Saturday, the finals coming off on September 1. Chandernagore SA will play Salkia Friends while Siliguri MKP take on BNR on the first day.

On Sunday, Howrah DSA face CPT, while Hooghly DSA meet SAIL. The two other teams in the fray are FCI and Eastern Railway.

Drawn matches

Draws abounded in first division group A action. Railway FC and City AC played out a 0-0 tie as did Mohammdean AC and Behala Youth.

The match between Sonali Sibir and CFC ended 1-1 as did the one between Peerless and Wari. In the second division championship play-off, Kalighat Milani Sangha defeated Young Corner 1-0.    


 
 
CITY TO HOST THIRD TEST AGAINST AUSTRALIA 
 
 
BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, Aug. 23 
The Board’s working committee, which met in Bangalore Sunday, discussed at some length the proposed itineraries of the two home series’ this season: Zimbabwe and Australia.

According to top Board sources, the itineraries will be approved at the AGM (Chennai, in end-September), by when “any confusion” over the rotation policy will be sorted out.

It is understood the two Tests against Zimbabwe will be staged by Delhi and Nagpur, while the three versus Australia will be hosted by Mumbai, Chennai and Calcutta.

Both Zimbabwe and Australia will feature in five ODIs as well.

Meanwhile, it is learnt Zimbabwe’s tour-opener (November 8-10) will be against the National Cricket Academy (NCA), in Indore.

It will, of course, be the NCA’s ‘big-league’ debut. Originally, Zimbabwe were to open versus the Board President’s XI.    


 
 
BEHALA SA CHAMPIONS 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Aug. 23 
Behala SA defeated Khalsa HS 3-2 via the tie-breaker in the BHA President’s Cup final today.

The teams were locked goalless at the end of scheduled time. In the tie-breaker, Amit Sen, Loknath Naskar and Santosh Rajbhar found the mark for the winners, while Dipankar Singh and Jagroop Singh scored for Khalsa.

Under-14 hockey

Presidency Coaching Centre rode a Mohammed Raju strike to beat Baranagar Hockey Coaching Centre in the second Dhyanchand memorial under-14 hockey tournament at SAI, Eastern Centre.

24 share lead

Twenty-four players jointly led the field in the all-India Fide-rated chess meet, organised by West Bengal Chess Association, at Khudiram Anushilan Kendra. At the end of the second round, all 24 of them had two points each.

RESULTS

Suvajit Saha (2) bt Biswajit Roychowdhury (1), Sankar Roy (2) bt Shaymol Dutta (1), Rahul Islam Bobby (Bangladesh, 2), bt Saifuddin Lablu (Bangladesh, 1), Laltu Chatterjee (2) bt Gouri Banerjee (1), Milind Gawade (2) bt Rahul Kabir Siplu (1).

ASRTU soccer

CTC (Tramways) defeated Uttar Pradesh 4-0 in the ASRTU all-India road transport soccer meet today. In other matches, SBSTC (South Bengal) defeated Bangalore 6-0, BEST (Bombay) bt Karnataka 2-0 and Andhra Pradesh bt Surface Transport (Bengal) 3-0.    


 
 
MUKHERJEE, DEY EMERGE BEST 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Aug. 23 
Amlan Kiran Mukherjee was chosen champion of champions in the 14th yogasana championship, while Pranatosh Dey took the honours in the third body building meet at the Bengal Cup tournament. Other winners Yoga: Sub-jr boys: Sayandip Chakraborty. Sub-jr girls: Oaiswari Saw; Jr boys: Soumo Das. Jr girls: Sharmili Das. Sr boys: Amlan Kiran Mullick. Sr girls: Nevadita Mukerjee. Body-building: Upto 60 kg: Aloke Chakraborty, above 60-65 kg: Sanjay Mondal. above 65-70 kg: Pranotosh Dey, above 70-75 kg Sudipta Sengupta, above 75 kg: Kuntal Das.    

 
 
I WAS DESPERATE TO ACHIEVE THIS ONE: BULA 
 
 
BY SUJIT BHAR
 
Calcutta, Aug. 23 
Bula Chowdhury has come a long way. A sprinter in her own right, national records and international medals et al, Bula has today become the best distance swimmer in the country. It is a transition made possible through the same determination that had seen this Hind Motor lass to the international stage from these backwaters.

On August 18 morning Bula took to the Strait of Gibraltar at Punta Tarifa Island in Spain, and when she had reached Punta Sainar in Morocco, she had crossed the Strait in a world record time of 3 hours 35 minutes. That beat the existing mark of Marialuisa Cabanero of Spain, who had crossed in 3 hours 58 minutes (touching up at Cires) on September 22, 1988.

This, seen in the backdrop of Indian Kaveri Thakur’s Asian mark (set on July 19 this year) of 4 hours 31 minutes, is remarkable. Add to this the facts that Bula is today over 30, and a mother of a boy (Sarbajit), and that the men’s world record, set by Jordi Canavera of Spain, on August 30, 1985 is only 21 minutes faster.

Today, Bula returned home to a tumultuous welcome in her hometown in the Hooghly district. It was almost as if she was returning from one more of her successful SAF Games or Asian Games assaults. The fact that she and husband-coach Sanjib Chakraborty had little sleep for a long time in their long trip back, did not show on their faces. The achievement surely was as extraordinary as an international medal.

“What was really exciting in the 25km swim was that I was able to cross a rather tough sea-current zone (approximately 12km) in just one and-a-half hours when I was supposed to do it in two and-a-half,” Bula said. That was what really made the difference, and what really took her through in record time.

“This was different from the Channel swim,” she said. “In the Channel swim you move in easily and then come into rough waters, whereas here you run into tough currents and rough winds (there was a westerly wind of force 3, though the sea was “slight”) right after take-off.

“I had been thinking about how to handle it, and had done extensive sprint workouts,” she added. “This is an unlikely thing to do in a sea crossing, the stress should be on endurance. But I had this urge that I must be out with a bang.”

She confessed that while preparing for the Strait (she practised in the Puri sea) the news of Kaveri’s Asian mark had dampened her spirit.

“It also made me more determined to do the best I ever can,” she said. “I sprinted the sea-current zone. I swam like my life depended on it. And thank god that I did. Soon after, I was getting cramps in my legs and arms. I swam through the last few kilometres in a daze.”

“She had actually not paid heed to her timing,” added Sanjib. “At the other end (She was escorted by Jose Maria Caballero in his boat Dos Mares III. There was also a Red Cross Zodiac) I saw her standing rather dejectedly. She did not quite believe it when we told her that it was a world record.”

“I was happy and relieved,” Bula said. “I was desperate to do this. When I did the Channel I was aware that Arati Saha had done it already and I would not in any way be the first from this state to do it. This Strait was to be mine, I promised myself.”

Interestingly, when Mihir Sen became the first Indian to cross the Strait in 1960, he did it in 8 hours and one minute. “But I have great respect for him, because he had achieved that under strange circumstances and with practice facilities that are far from what we get today,” she said.

It is also interesting that though many have swum the Strait in less time of late, they have done it in the new controversial bodysuits. “That time is not being considered,” said Bula.

Bula now wants to have a go at the World Cup long distance swimming (always held concurrently with the swimming World Cups). “I hope the Swimming Federation of India will agree to this and provide me the necessary facilities and funds.”    


 
 
AREZZO JUSTIFIES TOP BILLING 
 
 
BY STAR RACER
 
Calcutta, Aug. 23 
The 8-10 favo-urite, Arezzo found the local race-track much to his liking and stormed home with the 1,400m Calcutta Colts Trial Stakes. Cristopher who, partnered the Vijay Singh-trainee, displayed fine judgement and understanding with colt by Placerville out of Cabbage Patch.

Keeping the three-year-old off the pace for a major part of the journey, the jockey made his move in the stretch run and the big striding colt did the rest. Incidentally, the jockey and the trainer, once again, combined for a treble. Their other winners were Arendal in the Roubaix Cup and Alvarada in the Birthday Girl Handicap.

RESULTS

1. Roubaix Cup 2,000m: (1-3-2) Arendal (C. Alford) 1; Jeweller (Rav-inder) 2; Dominate (Rutherford) 3. Won by: 1-3/4; Dist; (2-10.1). Tote: Win Rs 12; Quinella: 13. Fav: Arendal (1). Winner trained by Vijay S.

2. Salisbury Cup 1,200m: (5-4-1-6) Orbital Star (Merchant) 1; The Stud (Shanker) 2; Royal Ruler (Yadav) 3; Armila (Yasin) 4. Won by: 1/2; 1-1/4; 2-1/2; (1-19.9). Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 10; 11; 56; Quinella: 14; Tanala: 234. Fav: Orbital Star (5). Winner trained by R. Alford.

3. Birthday Girl Handicap 2,000m: (3-2-1-4) Alvarada (C. Alford) 1; Deep Star (Ravinder) 2; Tejeni (Isl-am) 3; Alborada (Merchant) 4. Won by: Dist; 2-1/2; 5; (2-12.9). Tote: Win Rs 12; Place: 11; 15; Quinella: 18; Tanala: 37. Fav: Alvarada (3). Winner trained by Vijay S.

4. Calcutta Colts Trial Stakes 1,400m: (5-6-3-1) Arezzo (C. Alford) 1; Ashbury (Shanker) 2; No Regrets (Manohar) 3; Almond Rock (Merch-ant) 4. Won by: 2-3/4; 3-1/4; 1-3/4; (1-29). Tote: Win Rs 18; Place: 13; 18; 28; Quinella: 68; Tanala: 539. Fav: Arezzo (5). Winner trained by Vijay S.

5. Whispering Grass Handicap 1,400m: (3-4-2-5) Black Mane (M. Reuben) 1; Supreme Desire (C. Alford) 2; American (Merchant) 3; Master Charlie (Upadhya) 4. Won by: 2-3/4; 1-1/2; 6-1/4; (1-30.1). Tote: Win Rs 25; Place: 13; 15; Quinella: 20; Tanala: 58. Fav: Supreme Desire (4). Winner trained by D. Karki.

6. Pourboire Handicap 1,200m: (8-5-1-2) Ardon (Merchant) 1; Bul Bul (Engineer) 2; Chivalrous (A.P.Singh) 3; Actress (C. Alford) 4. Won by: 2-1/4; 1-1/4; Nk; (1-18.4). Tote: Win Rs 42; Place: 14; 19; 282; Quinella: 225; Tanala: 7,359. Fav: Actress (2). Winner trained by R. Alford.

Jackpot: Rs 509; (C) Rs 41.

Treble: (i) Rs 26; (ii) Rs 251.

Track trials

By Our Turf Correspondent

Calcutta, Aug. 23

Allaying, On The Bit and Rheinheart were impressive during the workouts today:

Outer sand track

1,400m: Little Boy Blue (Rb) in 1-56s; (400m) 28 2/5s. Easy. Allaying (C. Alford) and Alesund (Rabani) in 1-50s; (400m) 28s. Former 2 ls better. Latter died of cardiac arrest. Avionic (Rabani) and Alkido (C. Alford) in 1-53s; (400m) 26 3/5s. Both pushed to level.

1,000m: Sky Command (Manohar) and Scimitar (G. Singh) in 1-17 2/5s; (400m) 26s. Former far superior. Highland Flame (Islam) and Citadel (Rabani) in 1-16s; (400m) 30s. Former a length better. Both easy.

800m: Birds Empire (Rutherford), Abstone Queen (P. Alford) and Ballard Lady (Gowli) in 1-0s; (400m) 28s. Each separated by a head. Flying Power (Amjad K.) in 1-1s; (400m) 29s. On The Bit (Rutherford) in 56s; (400m) 26s. Moved well. Global Harmony (Manohar) and Sky Hawk (Som) in 59s; (400m) 28 3/5s. Former 4 ls better.

600m: Kargil Soldier (Rutherford) and Aznavour (Rb) in 44s; (400m) 25s. Both level.

Sand track

800m: Rheinheart (Rb) and Eau Savage (Shanker) in 51s; (400m) 23s. Former a length better. Floral Path (Rb) and Tequila Shot (Shanker) in 52s; (400m) 23s. Former 2 ls better. Quickdraw McGraw (Rutherford) in 53 3/5s; (400m) 24s. Handy. Airs Image (Yadav) in 57s; (400m) 24 2/5s. Easy. Relative Shade (Gowli) and Mountain Memory (P. Alford) in 56s; (400m) 26s. Former head better. Software (Shanker) in 57s; (400m) 26s. Just Kidding (P. Alford) in 58s; (400m) 25s. Exclusive Girl (Yadav) in 58 4/5s; (400m) 24s.    


 
 
AL DENTE FOR GOLD CUP 
 
 
FROM WILLIAM TELL
 
Mysore, Aug. 23 
Al Dente and La Unique, both from trainer Darius Byramji’s yard are the front-runners for the opening day’s feature, the H. H. Sri Narasimharaja Wadiyar Memorial Gold Cup. However, the former an easy winner in each of his two Bangalore starts,may again strike in the hands of Aslam Kader.

SELECTIONS

1 pm: Beverly Babe 1. All Cheers 2. Greenland 3.

1.25 pm: Commitment 1. Mum’s The Word 2. Opalette 3.

1.50 pm: Optical Illusion 1. Dream Come True 2. Plain Truth 3.

2.15 pm: Special Quest 1. Young Lust 2. Sand Lord 3.

2.45 pm: Red Angel 1. Queen Sceptre 2. Radiant Bride 3.

3.15 pm: Estocade 1. Prince Obolensky 2. Sun Reality 3.

3.45 pm: Ammeter 1. Acharya 2. Royal Emperor 3.

4.15 pm: Al Dente 1. La Unique 2. Summer Mood 3.

4.45 pm: Avocation 1. Volcano 2. Day’s Of Glory 3.

5.15 pm: Placid Ark 1. Fairy Prince 2. Fast Runner 3.

Day’s Best: Ammeter

Double: Al Dente & Avocation.    

 

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