Muthiah directive likely
Bagan bank on midfield
Narrow victory for Md. Sp.
BNR qualify for IFA Shield
Das Munshi files affidavit
Two state marks sink
India at fourth spot
Indian men stay afloat
‘Force’ set for an encore
‘Pasha’ strikes

Calcutta, Sept. 1: 
That the national selectors will meet in Chennai tomorrow morning, to pick the probables for next month’s mini-World Cup, is well-known.

What has not been announced is that Board president A.C. Muthiah is likely to have a one-to-one with Jaywant Lele, the secretary, before the latter convenes the selection meeting.

Given the present scenario, where there has been a call from many quarters to omit tainted cricketers, it may not be just another president-secretary interaction: It could result in a ‘directive’ from the president to the selectors.

The vehicle for such a communication will be the secretary. Equally, the president may himself have a closed-door meeting with chief selector Chandu Borde before the selectors exchange notes.

According to well-placed sources of The Telegraph, Muthiah could even issue “general guidelines” which may specifically affect Mohammed Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja and Nikhil Chopra.

The trio has been in the news in recent weeks for all the wrong reasons.

Late realisation

Rather belatedly, however, that merit alone (which in any case should always be the criteria), could see the exclusion of the three cricketers has begun to dawn on many with influence within the Board.

A ‘directive’ may therefore not be necessary.

At the same time, if it comes to issuing one, not everybody in the Board wants the top brass to directly get involved. It’s not much different from a Catch-22 situation.

“If sought, my advice will be to drop this inclusion-exclusion business like a hot potato,” remarked somebody whose opinion is valued by the powers-that-be.

Only, that will be leaving the selectors with too much to do. Moreover, it would be akin to ducking on what surely will be remembered as a ‘big’ day in Indian cricket.

Incidentally, the ODI-specific performances of the cricketers in question, in 2000, are: Azhar (one fifty in 11 matches), Jadeja (two fifties in the same number of games), Chopra (three wickets in four matches).

Thus far, the Board has been diffident. But, as a source explained, “that’s because the raids (by Income Tax and the Central Bureau of Investigation) didn’t exclude officials...”

He added: “Much as all of us would like to separate the issues of performance and the raids, links will still be established. That some officials, too, got raided has definitely queered the pitch for the Board.”

Kapil decision today

Also, though not directly related, Kapil Dev’s future is tied to what happens tomorrow.

If the selectors are ‘influenced’ into leaving out the three cricketers, the Board will have to treat the national coach similarly.

Even Kapil is under a cloud.

What is troubling the Board is that the cricketers, or the coach himself, could call for the same treatment to be meted out to the Board officials/members subjected to multiple raids.

That’s not all: There’s the Union sports minister, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who has adopted a hawk-like stance from Day I. It has, of course, been reflective of public opinion.

Returning a call from Imphal this afternoon, where he has gone for a brief visit, Dhindsa said: “My views are well known... Ideally, those under a cloud should themselves opt out. Otherwise, the Board must..”

But what if the tainted cricketers still figure among the probables?

Dhindsa broke into his trademark laugh, and replied: “Phir dekhenge... Abhi aur kya bolen?

It probably won’t be prudent for the Board to overlook the Dhindsa-factor.    

Calcutta, Sept. 1: 
They have a common goal, but the path is slightly different. A draw with their traditional rivals will help East Bengal seal the Super Division league title tomorrow itself, while Mohun Bagan must win to reduce the points-difference to two and force a championship play-off.

Since its inception in 1990, the Super Division has been won by these two teams only with East Bengal clinching it on six occasions. This time, Mohun Bagan will not only try and inch closer to that mark, they will also strive to prevent the red-and-gold brigade from posting a hattrick of triumphs.

Mohun Bagan will also be looking to win their first title of the season, having failed in the Millennium Cup and lost the McDowell Cup final to East Bengal.

Mohun Bagan coach Subrata Bhattacharya said the obvious, that a win is the only way out, but added that better strategy and clever gameplan have rarely been the determining factors in a clash involving these two. The urge to win, the determination to overwhelm the opponents, he said, are the key factors.

Bhattacharya must be drawing confidence from the new-found mobility in his midfield and also the scoring prowess of Jose Ramirez Barreto and R.C. Prakash — the top two goal-getters in the league so far.

The Brazilian and the former ITI marksman have scored 15 of the team’s 24 goals, and with a creative midfield to support them, they can get more. The induction of Rennedy Singh has helped —he has already shown that he can be a dangerous proposition in the innovative company of Basudeb Mondal, R.P. Singh and veteran Satyajit Chatterjee. James Singh is out with fever, but the versatility demonstrated by this quartet against Mohammedan Sporting should worry any rival coach and Syed Nayeemuddin is no exception.

Not known as one to disclose strategy, the combination the East Bengal coach tried out during match-eve practice suggests that his defensive midfielders will have extra responsibility thrust on them. And it could be at the expense of the more aesthetic elements of the game.

To combat the flair in Mohun Bagan’s attack, the East Bengal coach may start with two spoilers in midfield — Isiaka Ayoyemi and Anit Ghosh — along with Chandan Das and Carlton Chapman. This means that Dipankar Roy and Tushar Rakshit will start on the bench and it will be interesting to see how the coach uses their services later. Amit Das is unwell and did not practice today.

East Bengal’s defence, regarded as the best in the country, will face its toughest test of the season. Dipak Mondal and Jackson Egygpong will be up against an opponent which has nothing to lose. The crafty Barreto and an agile Prakash can prove more than a handful provided they are fed well.

Defence may be East Bengal’s strength, but for Mohun Bagan it is a department which hardly inspires confidence. While East Bengal could feel the absence of Bijen Singh (out with two yellow cards), Subrata will surely be missing the towering presence of Samuel Omollo who has returned to Kenya on national duty.

East Bengal will be eager to exploit the gaps left by Omollo. They don’t have a striker of Barreto’s class, but they do have quite a few people who can score. Their 24 goals have come from ten different players, Dipendu Biswas topping the list with six.    

Calcutta, Sept. 1: 

Mohammedan Sporting notched up their first Super Five win today, when they edged past George Telegraph by a lone goal at Salt Lake Stadium.

An Abdul Khaleque strike helped them garner three points, taking the kitty to 18 from 12 outings. George on the other hand have collected 14 from 12.

Mohammedan Sporting thus pipped George Telegraph to a National League qualifying championship berth. With 18 points and a match to go, even a defeat against Tollygunge Agragami will put them within the top four.

The goal came in the 65th minute, when Amjad Ansari took a shot at goal from left, but the ball deflected off the goalkeeper. An alert Khaleque wasted no time in slotting it in. The match was a rather dull affair, with neither of the teams able to really make an impression. With intermittent rain making conditions heavy, it was all the more difficult for the players to put up a cohesive display.

What was noticeable was the fact that the stadium was nearly empty. But the few that came were very vocal and were constantly shouting slogans against newly-elected secretary Suleiman Khurshid and other Mohammedan Sporting officials. And going by their mood, things might have taken an ugly turn had Mohammedan Sporting failed to win today.

Both teams got a few chances, which went abegging. In the 28th minute, Pratap Senapati got a good chance to take George Telegraph ahead. Covering a lot of ground, he ran down the middle, but with only the goalkeeper to beat, shot out. Minutes later, he attempted a header which was saved.    

Calcutta, Sept. 1: 
BNR edged out Port Trust 6-5 in a penalty shootout today to qualify for the IFA Shield proper.

Trailing the cluster final at Kishore Bharati Stadium by a Pradip Indu goal at half-time, BNR equalised through M. Sahabuddin. After extra-time failed to break the deadlock, the tie-breaker was resorted to.

BNR will take on East Bengal in a group A tie Tuesday. Mohammedan Sporting and JCT are the other teams in the group.

Customs make Group A

Ever Ready and Customs have qualified for next year’s first division group A league. In today’s group B championship play-off semis, Ever Ready beat Sporting Union 2-1 and Customs edged Police AC 5-4 on tie-breaker.

While Tushar Das and Bapi Mitra struck for Ever Ready, D. Sinha scored for Sporting Union.

The other match was tied at 2-2 after extra-time. Sanjay Kundu and Gopal Ghosh were on target for Customs, the policemen replied through Joydeb Ghosh and Barun Kumar Dam, who was sent off.

Match postponed

The Super Division championship leg match between Tollygunge Agragami and George Telegraph, scheduled for Wednesday, has had to be deferred as it would have meant the latter playing on three successive days.

George are slated to open their IFA Shield campaign against SBT Tuesday, while their next game is Thursday (versus Tollygunge).

The George-Tollygunge Super Division match will be rescheduled after the Shield semi-finalists are identified.

Bagan election deferred

The general election of the Mohun Bagan club, scheduled to be held Sunday, has been postponed indefinitely. According to a senior club official, it will be held by the end of this year.    

Calcutta, Sept. 1: 
The All-India Football Federation (AIFF) president, Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, today filed an affidavit before the Calcutta High Court, demanding that the case filed by the Indian Football Association (IFA) against the AIFF be dismissed.

IFA joint secretary Ranjit Gupta had filed a case against the AIFF alleging misappropriation of funds.

Das Munshi’s counsel Hirak Mitra contended that the IFA had no jurisdiction over the internal matters of the AIFF. He also said that the Calcutta High Court cannot hear the case as AIFF secretary Kedarnath Mour is not a resident of West Bengal.    

Calcutta, Sept. 1 
Two state records were created on the opening day of the state Open aquatics meet at Subhas Sarobar today.

Ashim Mondal (South 24 Parganas) erased Kalidas Bairagi’s mark in the men’s 200 butterfly final, while Sudip Chatterjee (Hooghly) sunk Amit Mondal’s 50 butterfly record in the heats.

Mondal clocked 2:20.65 to better the earlier mark of 2:21.30 and Chatterjee travelled the distance in 00.27.50 to improve on the ealier record of 00.28.12. Calcutta’s Divya Chadha came first in women’s 200 backstroke and 50 backstroke.

RESULTS (Only winners

MEN: 200 backstroke: Subrata Bhattacharya (Howrah, 02:29.25). 200 butterfly: Ashim Mondal (S 24 Pgs, 2:20.65). 200 individual medley: Amit Mondal (Burdwan, 02:25.33).

WOMEN: 200 freestyle: Debjani Bhaduri (Cal, 02:32.84). 200 breaststroke: Putul Nandy N 24 Pgs, 03:03.11). 200 backstroke: Divya Chadha (Cal, 02:43.88). 200 butterfly: Santana Patra (S 24 Pgs, 02:40.53). 50 backstroke: Divya Chadha (Cal, 00.35.10). 50 butterfly: Chaitali Ghosh (Hooghly, 05:57.19).

Rugby from Sept. 9

The Famous Grouse All India South Asia rugby championship will be held at CCFC from September 9 to 16. The British India 7-a-side meet will take place at the same venue on September 15.

Twelve teams, from Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Orissa and Calcutta will take part.

CAB transfers

East Bengal recruited Srikant Kalyani (from Tollygunge Agragami), Sourasish Lahiri (Shyambazar), Sumitra Majumdar and Satyen Bhattacharya (both Aryan) on the opening day of CAB inter-club transfers. They also retained Alokendu Lahiri, Shiv Sagar Singh, Ajoy Verma and Abhijit Chatterjee.

Aryan roped in Ajoy Das and Pulak Das along with veteran Pronab Nandy.    

Calcutta, Sept. 1 
India were in fourth place after first-round action at the 22nd world amateur golf team championship for the Eisenhower Trophy in Berlin.

According to information received here, the Indian team totalled 212 with Rahil Gangjee returning 69, Sheeraz Kalra 71, Ashok Kumar 72 and Shiv Kumar 80. The sum of the three lowest scores brought up the team score.

The US and Canada jointly lead the field with 207 followed by South Africa (211).

Firoz still ahead

Firoz Ali held on to his lead in the Rs 5 lakh Ford-MGC Open golf meet at Chennai’s Guindy course. According to information received here, Firoz’s poor one-over 71 was good enough for him to be atop stamdings with a total of 204. Firoz’s fellow-Calcuttan Rafiq Ali, who carded a par 70 today, moved up to second with 206. Veteran Rothas Singh posted the day’s best of three-under 67, but he is in sixth spot with Vishal Singh (217 each).

Atwal falters

Arjun Atwal faltered with his putts to go two-over-par 74 at the $300,000 Mercuries Masters meet in Taiwan today. Atwal, who held the top spot jointly with US’ Andrew Pitts and Filipino Felix Casas, ended the day on 142 and to be in joint sixth position according to information received here. Jyoti Randhawa (145) is in 14th spot. Gaurav Ghei (146) is the other Indian to make the cut.    

The Indian Open team recouped some slender hopes of qualifying with two creditable wins on Thursday, the fifth day of the World Teams Bridge Olympiad in Maastricht.

They defeated France 18-12 (65 to 52) and then went one better against Sweden, winning 19-11 (42 to 23). To qualify, India need to continue with this form against Venezuela, Malta and Germany late on Friday and Mexico and England on Saturday, the point of cut-off.

Against France, there were six two-digit swings, three to each side, and it was only some medium-sized swings which gave India a sweet victory over the defending champions. The match with Sweden was settled largely on two boards — one on which Kiran Nadar-Satyanarain found a good five-heart save over a diamond game, so good in fact that it made. The other was when Fallenius-Nilsland stopped in five spades while Tiwari-Gupta was one of the few pairs to bid the cold grand slam, making.

Meanwhile, Poland and England have recaptured the lead in their respective groups while Italy has further increased their lead. For the first time, fancied USA have taken the place of honour in group B, ousting Australia from the pedestal. In some other important matches, Germany blitzed Sweden, Indonesia beat Israel 18-12, Italy won 19-11 with China, Israel blitzed Japan and Argentina overpowered China 23-7.

In the women’s section, India had a better day, scoring 42 in three matches, 12-18 with Argentina, 14-16 with Germany and 16-14 against Australia. In group B, the top positions are still in the grip of the same six teams with occasional changes of positions.

In the other group, while Norway and Austria have been at the top for quite some time, the next two berths have been changing hands frequently — right now, USA and England have been pushed out of the top-four but this is not of much concern for them as before the start of the event, the rules had been changed to qualify 16 teams, eight from each group, for the women’s event also.

THE STANDINGS (in brief)

OPEN (max. 300 VP from 12 matches, 5 to go): MEN: Group A: 1. Poland 232; 2. Belgium 226; 3. Brazil 225; 4. Denmark 224.5; 5. Austria 223.5; 6. Ireland 208.5. Group B: 1. USA 245; 2. Netherlands 228; 3. Australia 221; 4. Hungary 216; 5. Russia 212; 6. Greece 194. Group C: 1. England 253; 2. Indonesia 238.5; 3. France 237; 4. Sweden 227; 5. Israel 209; 6. Japan 200; 7.India 199. Group D: 1. Italy 258; 2. Argentina 228; 3. Norway 225; 4. Iceland 216; New Zealand 212; 6. South Africa 211.

WOMEN (max. 350 VP from 14 matches, 5 to go): Group A: 1. Norway 276; 2. Austria 257; 3. Finland 248; 4. Chinese Taipei 246.25; 5. USA 241.6; 6. England 235. Group B: 1. France 282; 2. Germany 263; 3. Canada 250; 4. Netherlands 248; 5. China 240; 6. Poland 232.

SENIORS (max. 475 from 19 matches, 4 to go): 1. USA 352.25; 2. England 347; 3. France 341; 4. Scotland 337.

UNIVERSITY (max. 375 from 15 matches, 6 to go): 1. Austria 308; 2. Italy 306; 3. Denmark 269; 4. Czech Republic 268.    

A runaway winner in his last start, the Dallas Todywalla-trained Dominant Force appears to have a slight advantage over Mount Rose and Star Fortune in the 2,000m Eve Champion Trophy in Pune on Saturday. Brahm Prakash partners the four-year-old gelding.


1.45 pm: Amazing Dream 1. Storm Again 2. Souce Of Light 3.

2.15 pm: Amber Brown 1. Machrihanish 2. Russian Czar 3.

2.45 pm: Free Gold 1.Pure Energy 2. Twinkling Star 3.

3.15 pm: Declaration Of Love 1. Time To Gamble 2. Silver Nova 3.

3.45 pm: Catch Me If You Can 1. Gold Buck 2. Voice Of Freedom 3.

4.15 pm: Dancing Dreams 1. Show The Class 2. Rich Babe 3.

4.45 pm: Dominant Force 1. Mount Rose 2. Star Fortune 3.

5.15 pm: Queensland 1. Mulan 2. Desert Fighter 3.

5.45 pm: Val Rouge 1. Express Lane 2. Running Power 3.

Day’s Best: Val Rouge

Double: Amazing Dream & Amber Brown.    

The J. Dhariwal-trained Great Pasha claimed the Baraloy Plate at the Pune races on Friday. Choksery Ruzaan partnered the four-year-old by Ilheus out of O’Rossana.


(With inter-state dividends) 1. Baraloy Plate 2,400m: (4-2-5) Great Pasha (Ruzaan) 1; Hope 2; Fine Arrow 3. Won by: 5; 1-3/4; (2-40.2). Tote: Win Rs 23; Place: 14; 18; Quinella: 32; Tanala: 72. Fav: Fine Arrow (5).

2. Clyde Star Plate 1,600m: (1-4-5) Sound Of Whisper (Rathod) 1; Fiery Angel 2; Pussy Cat 3. Won by: 4-1/2; SH; (1-42.7). Tote: Win Rs 28; Place: 15; 21; 30; Quinella: 166; Tanala: 994. Fav: Smooth Operator (2).

3. Janice Plate 1,200m: (7-1-6) National Velvet (Gallagher) 1; Different Crown 2; Mustakeem 3. Not run: Ever So Loyal (4). Won by: 1/2; Dist; (1-13.7). Tote: Win Rs 13; Place: 10; 13; 21; Quinella: 28; Tanala: 96. Fav: National Velvet (7).

4. Ruksh Plate 1,800m: (3-5-4) Monogram (S. Chavan) 1; Boundless Thrill 2; Blades Of Fury 3. Won by: 3/4; 2; (1-59.2). Tote: Win Rs 711; Place: 91; 33; 13; Quinella: 2,466; Tanala: 66,740 (Carried over to September 2). Fav: Blades Of Fury (4).

5. Certainty Plate 1,400m: (2-1-10) Running Royal (R. Pandey) 1; Natural Spark 2; Swift And Silent 3. Not run: Winning Melody (7). Won by: 1/2; 3/4; (1-30.7). Tote: Win Rs 68; Place: 18; 12; 154; Quinella: 34; Tanala: 3,958. Fav: Natural Spark (1).

6. D. N. Zodge Plate 1,400m: (7-4-2) Queenstown (M. Narredu) 1; Phenom 2; Azurica 3. Won by: 6-1/2; 1-1/4; (1-27.5). Tote: Win Rs 54; Place: 15; 13; 23; Quinella: 32; Tanala: 351. Fav: Phenom (4).

7. Jaidev Plate 1,400m: (13-8-15)Red Trident (M. Narredu) 1; Inimitable 2; Curio’s Baby 3. Not run: Fashion Delight(7). Won by: 4-1/2; Nk; (1-30). Tote: Win Rs 68; Place: 23; 14; 12; Quinella: 73; Tanala: 4,123. Fav: Inimitable (8).

Jackpot:Rs 1,08,913 (Carried over to September 10); (C) Rs 28,006.

Treble:(i) Rs 2,367; (ii) Rs 1,718.    


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