‘I’m carrying a great deal of bitterness’
JCT to face Mohun Bagan
Musah joins EB on the eve of semi-final
Hope for the best, prepare for worst
Stiff competition on the cards
Track trials

 
 
‘I’M CARRYING A GREAT DEAL OF BITTERNESS’ 
 
 
BY LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Calcutta, Sept.12: 
Kapil Dev, who today stepped down as national coach, actually drafted his resignation last night.

It was, of course, faxed to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president A.C.Muthiah this morning.

Late tonight, a copy of the resignation was made available to The Telegraph. It makes for compelling reading.

The full text is as follows:

Subject: Thank you and farewell Indian Cricket

Dear Sir,

Thank you very much for the kind fax sent to me by the board secretary. While I am honoured and deeply respect the fact that the board still wishes to retain me despite all that happened, I would like to resign on my own accord. There are several reasons to this decision.

Let me start by saying that I would have resigned at the very onset of the controversies. But I am certainly sure of what I have done, and more definitely, of what I have not done. I was waiting to be cleared by the investigating agencies before I gave in my resignation as I did not wish it to look like some kind of admission of any guilt to resign as soon as the scandal broke. Now, even though I know that the report will be submitted only later this month, I cannot wait till that happens as the camp for our boys begins in two days and I would not like to start a job I will not finish. It is in the interest of a game that I truly love, that I wish to opt out of the job at this stage.

But before I bid adieu to the game that gave me so much and then took a great deal of it away, on mere hearsay, I would like to for the last time give my views on a few issues that need to be highlighted, if the game I loved so dearly is to survive.

I stand by what I say and would only reiterate whatever I have said in the past, rather than trying to avoid the truth, and yes I do maintain that our board of control now needs a semblance of professionalism to take cricket to greater heights. There is no doubt about the fact that this same board has taken Indian cricket to great heights. We have come far ahead of where we started, but times are changing and fresh blood is injected in every field, so why not cricket? If we don’t do that we may plummet even lower. When I speak of professionalism I would like to give you an example close to home. It is sad that the board could not inform me first of my appointment as coach and then the extension. It is rather strange that I have to get my news through the media which always seems to be in the know of things before the concerned people themselves. Hence my effort to send you this letter directly, before speaking to the press!

I would strongly urge the board to look for dedicated people rather than ‘yes men’ which they seem to be in the habit of doing. These men may be doing what is good for official XY and Z, but will it help the game? The other thing which has always surprised me is — why was I ever appointed coach of the Indian team? I am no ‘yes man’, I have never been one and everyone is fully aware of it. There seems to be no faith in my ability. In fact I get the feeling that I was being put down on every occasion. I have taken what came to me but I would request the board to be kinder to the next coach and give him his due respect if they have the welfare of the game at heart. This is not a battle of flexing out muscles. The game which has been murdered has to slowly be brought back to life.

I feel especially sorry for the boys who have been shown the door without the investigating agencies’ reports coming out. Please do punish the guilty, but don’t slaughter someone before they have been proved guilty. You will never be able to bring the innocent back to life. They will have to live with the shame of this forever even if they are innocent.

Sir, I write this letter to you with all sincerity and honesty. I am carrying a great deal of bitterness and hurt within me which I pray will slowly decline with time. I loved cricket dearly and owe the game and the country everything. In fact, people would often accuse me of not returning enough to the game. I took this job because I felt that maybe some of my critics were right and I was being self-centred. Today, I walk away from all this with no more regrets and no sense of guilt. The game that gave me everything has now taken its pound of flesh from me. I go without looking back and will be happy if the board does not associate me in any way with it’s future plans or events connected with cricket.

By the grace of God, what I have done on the field is something that nobody can wipe out. I have that to live with and it is helped substantially by a clear conscience. I wish all my previous associates from the board and from the field all the best; I only hope that if per chance I ever meet them, time will have washed away some of the wounds within me. I would always like to greet them with a smile.

Farewell to Indian cricket.

With regards

sd/- Kapil Dev

11th September 2000

P.S My special regards and best wishes to the energetic Mr Lele. He will have to look for a new whipping boy now !    


 
 
JCT TO FACE MOHUN BAGAN 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Sept. 12 
JCT 2
PORT TRUST 0

JCT overcame a lethargic start and scored two second-half goals against Calcutta Port Trust to follow East Bengal in the 106th IFA Shield semi-finals from group A at Rabindra Sarobar Stadium today.

Needing just a draw to set up a clash against Mohun Bagan, JCT faced some unexpected resistance from CPT in the first half but produced glimpses of what was expected from a top-flight side in the second.

Substitute Jaswinder Singh booted in Jaswant Singh’s centre from the left in the 55th minute and Ram Pal found the mark with a smart, diagonal left-footer three minutes later, which took the steam out of the local side.

Needing to snatch an unlikely win to make it to the last-four stage, CPT almost conceded a goal in the opening minute following a communication error between the goalkeeper and left-back. But they came over the scare soon and even started dominating proceedings.

The JCT defenders looked uncomfortable whenever the local outfit kept the ball down and their wing-backs had a tough time against Sanjit Saha and Sandip Ghosh.

The two combined nicely in the 15th minute and the latter’s low cross from the right beat the defence and found Tarak Dutta who failed to make contact. Dutta got another chance 11 minutes later but his flick off Sujit Dey’s cross went straight to the goalkeeper.

JCT replaced Sukhjit Singh with Jaswinder in the second half and went all out for a goal. They got two in a span of three minutes, which ended the contest. Jaswant kept the left flank moving and Jaswinder kept the defenders guessing with some lively runs.

JCT could have scored more but a Jaswinder header off Jaswant was well saved by goalkeeper Sandip Guha and Hardip Gill failed to keep the ball on target from about ten yards after being put through by Hardip Saini.

TEAMS

JCT: Baljit Singh; Prabhjyot Singh, Kuldip Singh, Ranjit Singh, Daljit Singh; Jasbir Singh, Hardip Saini, Ram Pal, Jaswant Singh (Surjit Singh, 60); Sukhjit Singh (Jaswinder Singh, 45), Hardip Gill (Jaspreet Singh, 66).

PORT TRUST: Sandip Guha; Rabi Karmakar, Bijoy Pal, Simanta Das, Biswajit Pal; Proneet Dey, Rajib Mitra (Pradip Kumar Indu, 70), Sanjit Saha, Tarak Dutta (Arindam Dev, 70); Sujit Dey.

Referee: Nirmal Chetia (Assam).    


 
 
MUSAH JOINS EB ON THE EVE OF SEMI-FINAL 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Sept. 12: 
East Bengal and Tollygunge Agragami face each other in tomorrow’s IFA Shield semi-final and the former today strengthened their roster by signing up Sulley Musah.

That puts coach Syed Nayeemuddin in a fix as he will have to think a lot to find a place for the Ghanaian defender who can also be a force in midfield. It won’t be easy as his team has done well in these departments so far.

Tollygunge’s concern is different. For a team relying a lot on how much they spoil in midfield, an injury to Sandip Das is keeping them from finalising their ploy.

Acting coach Mantoo Ghosh heaped praise on Sandip after holding Mohun Bagan yesterday but said he would have to make some adjustments if the medio is unavailable tomorrow.

He is likely to retain the defensive line-up fielded against Mohun Bagan and keep Abdulateef Seriki as the lone man up front.

East Bengal would not mind that and Nayeem’s defenders will certainly enjoy the proposition of facing a one-man forward line. Musah, assuming he doesn’t replace Sur Kumar Singh as right-back, will perhaps be used in midfield.

Tolly meeting Friday

Tollygunge Agragami officials will meet Friday to take certain decisions regarding the football team. It was supposed to be held today but tomorrow’s semi-final forced a re-think. The club secretary said their members were not happy with the way things have gone this season and there may be changes. Though he didn’t say this in as many words, there are chances of the coach being removed.    


 
 
HOPE FOR THE BEST, PREPARE FOR WORST 
 
 
 
 
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. That’s going to be my mental make-up as I watch our athletes perform in Sydney. This is the biggest Indian athletic contingent ever to any Olympic Games, and there’s going to be a lot of so-called “experience” garnered.

I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but let’s accept this fact: our big event, even today, is the Asian Games. That is our high target. The Olympics are something way up there, in the stratosphere, and we don’t have those space suits yet.

I have grown up with the “can do” sensibility. That is the primary weapon for anybody who wants to beat the world in anything. The recent spate of results in the domestic circuit meets add credence to the fact that there is a degree of overconfidence creeping in.

It is a fact that few among us have been able to repeat our domestic and personal bests on the international arena. No aspersions there, but I guess you choose only the best for the biggest fare.

Look at the Jakarta Asian Track & Field Meet results. How many have repeated their personal bests, leave alone beating them? This is the ‘belief’ thing I was talking about. This is the “can do” attitude that I notice is missing.

I do not wish to comment on the selection procedure, but take a moment to add and see if four 53-second laps (that is what has been said to be the lap timings!) add up to whatever the national best has been said to be in the 1,600m relay for women. I remember we did the 1,600m heats in Atlanta in three minutes 32 seconds and we did not even qualify. Nobody will be running any slower in Sydney, I guess.

There are some in the Olympic crowd of 24 pushing through qualification barriers with less than established credentials, but I believe the only real chance India has, even in reaching the finals, is in the men’s throws. That actually leaves only Shakti Singh, and to an extent Bahadur Singh, in the fray. One has, of course, to remember that this is an event (the shot put) where you’ll have some of the world beaters in the fray.

Neelam J. Singh’s discus improvement has been prodigious, but I hope she can repeat her domestic results there. She has crossed the 63m barrier here, and though that is not going to get her any medal in the Olympics (you need to go over 70m to be anywhere near any colour of medal), she could do with some top class competition on her plate. She surely is starved of that back home.

I hope Paramjit (Singh) makes the best of this opportunity. He has not really measured up to the promise he showed after breaking ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh’s 400m record in Calcutta. Not that he is in the 400m line-up as a qualifier, but he has been through a bit of personal worries and preoccupations after marriage, and I hope he takes this chance to iron out all the kinks that remain in his quarter mile.

This time the general Indian strength in the middle distance is not there. The 800m and 1,500m will be missed, I guess. We have had decent athletes over these distances — Shriram Singh, Bahadur Prasad, Gulab Chand, me, Sunita Rani (who, unfortunately, is out through injury) and others. There seems to be a sudden gap in this distance. This is our, should we say, genetic load advantage. We should not neglect this area.

I’d rather not comment on the sprints. I am not exactly a sprinter — the 400m was my speed-making distance. I don’t think I am qualified. But the timings that we have seen in India don’t quite make for happy reading, do they? And these are the Olympics.

I remember those days when we had five-six athletes in the entire contingent. I guess you are supposed to sweat a bit, dig in a bit, show a race or two of really good results to deserve to be able to represent your country in the best arena of them all.

Also, looking back one can’t forget P.T. Usha’s agony of missing out on a medal by the slightest of margins. Had Usha won even bronze in Los Angeles that would have been pathbreaking for modern-day athletics in India.

As for me, it has been a depressing time. The injuries have failed to heal and it is sad that despite my repeated requests, I have not been provided the best treatment possible. This Achilles’ tendon injury — first it was the right leg, and I believe it was because I was taking too much load, and then the left. The left was actually a sympathetic effect, I guess.

What I feel sad about is that nobody cared about this injury of mine. After all, I have brought back laurels for the country and that should mean something. Treatment was at the SAI and our team doctor, Yuri Byko, administered rather painful injections that needed days of rest before and after. Eight injections in the right leg and five in the left, and a host of painful memories. The healing has been poor, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to be at the top again. I have been to doctors on my own, in Pune and Imphal. I guess the fight has gone out of me now.

Then there was this Belarus trip that we all went to. We landed at the local judo club ground and practised with our own coaches. It was pretty funny, going abroad to train with the same people and under the same coaches. Why spend that money?

It probably all boils down to ‘attitude’. All of it is in the mind. Accept you are the best and believe it. Whatever the talent, I hope there is a degree of faith floating in the Indian camp in Sydney.    


 
 
STIFF COMPETITION ON THE CARDS 
 
 
BY STAR RACER
 
Calcutta, Sept. 12: 
Fields in tomorrow’s race-card are small but competition in most of the events may turn out to be stiff. Auctioneer in the feature, the 1,100m Green Sari Cup, and Ashbury in the Pussy Galore Handicap may, however, give punters something to cheer about. But the remainder of card looks to be a teaser for those who know the difference between race selections and the results.

Tested in the company of Amarante and Adventure, the switch from a seven-furlong trip to the present scurry is unlikely to pose problems to Auctioneer against his main rival Optimum Choice — a speedster. Cristopher partners the Vijay Singh-trained four-year-old.

Read as: Horse number, last four runs, horse name, trainer, jockey, weight & draw:

1st Race Star Flame Cup (2.00 pm) 1,200m (Cl IV, 3-y-o only—Rated 00-50)

1 ---- Regal Parade [D. David] G. Upadhya 60.0 2
2 -320 Alsheim [Vijay] C. Alford 58.5 3
3 4301 Eau Savage [Bath] Md Islam 57.0 4
4 0314 Airs Image [R. Alford] R. Gowli 55.5 1
1. Eau Savage (3) 2. Alsheim (2) 3. Airs image (4)
Eau Savage: Cashed in on Astoria’s poor performance. Takes on a similar opposition. Alsheim: Has better track record compared to Astoria. Airs Image: May place.

2nd Race Noble Fairy Handicap(2.40 pm) 1,400m (Cl III, 5-y-o & over— 44-72)

1 -100 Sharp Sensation [D. David] C. Alford 60.5 7
2 0334 Storm Centre [Rodrigues] N. Engineer 60.5 2
3 2400 Remember The Day[R. Alford] P. Alford 59.5 6
4 0430 Sky Command [Mujeeb] Manohar S. 58.5 3
5 2024 Abstract [D. David] Md Amil 53.5 5
6 ---- Spanish Drum’s [D. David] R. Gowli 53.0 4
7 0431 Black Mane [Karki] Haroon K. 52.5 1
1. Sky command (4) 2. Sharp sensation (1) 3.Abstract (5)
Sky Command: Working very well. Has potential to lower colours of big names. Sharp Sensation: Coming up well yet may need this start. Abstract: May place.

3rd Race Green Sari Cup(3.10 pm) 1,100m (Cl II —Rt. 66-94)

1 0123 Kansai [Bharath] S. Rabani 60.0 5
2 3233 Optimum Choice [R. Alford] R. Gowli 57.0 4
3 0010 Defiance [R. Alford] K. Gurang 55.0 2
4 ---- Best In Show [D. David] K. Kumar 52.5 3
5 1011 Auctioneer [Vijay] C. Alford 52.5 1
1. Auctioneer (5) 2. Optimum choice (2) 3. Kansai (1)
Auctioneer: A winner over seven-furlong. May assert his class over the scurry too. Optimum Choice: Could use his speed to upset the favourite. Kansai: May place.

4th Race Pussy Galore Handicap(3.40 pm) 1,400m (Cl IV—Rt. 22-50) — Indian jockeys only

1 4003 American [R. Alford] Rutherford A. 60.0 3
2 3330 Constantine [Karki] Haroon K. 60.0 2
3 4222 Ashbury [D. David] C. Alford 58.0 6
4 0133 No Regrets [Javed] Manohar S. 57.0 4
5 0114 Alborada [R. Alford] R. Gowli 56.0 1
6 3023 Avionic [Bharath] A. P. Singh 54.5 5
1. Ashbury (3) 2. No regrets (4) 3. American (1)
Ashbury: Thrashed No Regrets in the ‘colts.’ May do so again despite the altered weights equation. No Regrets: Not a steady performer. American: May place.

5th Race Whiplash Cup (4.10 pm) 1,100m (Cl V—Rt. 00-28) — Indian jockeys only

1 -431 Endless Surprise [D. David] C. Alford 61.0 3
2 3320 Arizona Star [Mujeeb] Manohar S. 61.0 1
3 0000 Friendly Knight [Jaiswal] N. Bird 60.0 5
4 1030 Quizzical [Vijay] Md Islam 54.0 4
5 0000 Crest Star [Goenka] Md Yasin 53.5 2
6 3240 Armila [P. Locke] Surender S. 51.0 6
1. Endless surprise (1) 2. Friendly knight (3) 3. Quizzical (4)
Endless Surprise: Class-wise best but inadequately prepared. May just about win. Friendly Knight: At a striking mark. Quizzical: Being quietly fancied. Keep an eye.

6th Race Golden Beam Handicap(4.45 pm) 1,100m (Cl IV—Rt. 22-50) — Indian jockeys only

1 0300 Storm Trooper [Karki] Amjad K. 61.0 3
2 0000 Kargil Soldier [Stephens] Rutherford A. 60.5 6
3 1200 Prince Of War [R. Alford] R. Yadav 59.5 12
4 4040 Diplomatic Gesture [Bath] Haroon K. 57.5 7
5 4443 Silver Raising [Javed] N. Akhtar 57.5 8
6 0040 Go With The Wind [R. Alford] Salim K. 57.0 11
7 4202 Artifact [Vijay] C. Alford 56.0 2
8 2220 Floral Path [Bath] Md Islam 55.5 1
9 3440 Aflicker [Bharath] S. Rabani 53.5 9
10 3000 Rock Falcon [R. Alford] R. Gowli 52.5 4
112304 Gul [P. Locke] Md Yasin 52.5 10
12 1000 Go India Go [Jaiswal] Som S. 49.0 5
1. Storm trooper (1) 2. Artifact (7) 3. Silver raising (5)
Storm Trooper: Back to the trip she relishes most. Artifact: The scurry may work against his interest again. Silver Raising: May go close. Floral Path: May place.
Day’s Best: Ashbury Double: Eau Savage & Auctioneer
   

 
 
TRACK TRIALS 
 
 
CALCUTTA, SEPT. 12:
 
 
The following track work was noted today:

Outer sand track

1,200m: Allodium (Islam) and Kaizan (Rabani) in 1-32s; (800m) 59s; (400m) 27s. Former 2 ls better. Note.

1,000m: Atacada (Rabani) in 1-15s; (400m) 26s. Pushed.

800m:S Acquest (C. Alford) in 56s; (400m) 26s. Moved well. Athletico (C. Alford) and Annalee (A. P. Singh) in 1-1s; (400m) 29s. Former 2 ls better. Little Boy Blue (Brij S.) and Giorgio (Rb) in 1-4s; (400m) 28s. Former a length better. Sand track 800m: Double Cross (Sher S.) in 57s; (400m) 25s. Pushed. Sky Hawk (Sher S.) in 59s; (400m) 26s. Crest Star (Amjad K.) in 58s; (400m) 26s.

On Monday, outer sand track

1,600m: Aldebro (Amil) and Jeweller (C. Alford) in 1-58s; (800m) 58s; (400m) 26s. Former started 10 ls behind and was a length better. Note both.

800m: Ashbury (C. Alford) in 58s; (400m) 26s. Moved well. Auctioneer (C. Alford) in 56s; (400m) 25s. Note. Artifact (Amil) and Alsheim (C. Alford) in 55 3/5s; (400m) 26s. Both level and impressed. 600m: Go India Go (Som S.) in 43s; (400m) 27s.

Sand track

800m: Crest Star (Amjad) in 55s; (400m) 25. Easy.    
 

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