Laxman, Ramesh set for recall
Army XI upset by Youngmen
Salgaocar to miss Roberto
146 qualifiers to set ball rolling
Pune Races/ Upset win for Mount Rose

Calcutta, Oct. 29: 
V.V.S. Laxman and Sadagopan Ramesh, both of whom last played in the Test series Down Under last season, are set to make the Dhaka-bound India XIV.

The selection will be made in Mumbai tomorrow afternoon, at a hotel close to the Sahar airport and not either at the BCCI or MCA office in the city proper.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, while Ramesh will make the cut as opener, Laxman is likely to be slotted in the middle-order. For the record, Laxman cracked a brilliant 167 in his last Test innings (Sydney), but is more comfortable down the order.

The second opener’s slot, therefore, is pretty open — unless Laxman is persuaded to launch the innings. For this specialist position, then, in contention are Wasim Jaffer and rookie Shiv Sundar Das.

Das would have been frontrunner had he not registered a duck in innings No. 1 of the recent Irani Trophy.

Two other slots are open as well, quite in the manner of the second opener’s position: that of an off-spinner and wicketkeeper.

While Vijay Dahiya will surely have his backers, it shouldn’t surprise if captain Sourav Ganguly asks for Syed Saba Karim. Of course, it remains to be seen how much support such a move will garner.

Incidentally Ajay Ratra, who was fielded in the Irani Trophy, didn’t exactly set the Wankhede ablaze. Clearly, the youngster didn’t make the most of an excellent opportunity.

As for the off-spinner, the promising Sarandeep Singh is very much in the frame, though there may be a call to rehabilitate Harbhajan Singh via a recall.

Among the younger lot, Zaheer Khan’s maiden Test call-up is assured. Reasonably well-placed is Yuvraj Singh. It’s debatable, as of now, whether Mohammed Kaif will be accommodated. Indications are it will be a close call for India’s U-19 World Cup-winning captain.

With Jawagal Srinath apparently available and Zaheer and Ajit Agarkar certain to be slotted, there’s a question mark over Venkatesh Prasad. After all, it’s unlikely the selectors will pack the squad with four quicks for a one-off Test in the sub-continent.

The certainties not talked about thus far are — Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sunil Joshi (as Anil Kumble won’t be available), and Murali Karthik. The Test, Bangladesh’s first, begins November 10.    

New Delhi, Oct. 29: 
It was a day of mixed fortunes for Delhi teams in the Allwyn Durand Cup football tournament. Local league champions Indian Nationals were trounced 0-4 by State Bank of Travancore (SBT) in a group A pre-quarter final league match, but, in a major upset, Youngmen of Delhi upset Governor’s Gold Cup semi-finalists Army XI 2-1 in group B.

SBT with two wins, in their three-team group have qualified for the knockout phase — the pre-quarter finals. Both Indian Nationals and Bhutan XI have been eliminated and play an inconsequential match tomorrow.

Fancied Army XI were eliminated from group B with one point from two matches. This group is fascinatingly poised. Youngmen are the suprise leaders with three points, from one match. Tata Football Academy (TFA) have one point from one match. TFA need to beat Youngmen in their last match tomorrow to progress to the knockout round. The Delhi team, third in the local league this year, need just a draw to qualify.

Depleted Youngmen used a makeshift side today. In the first half they conceded space to their fancied opponents, somewhat overawed by Army XI’s reputation. Army XI forged ahead in the second minute, when attacking left medio Preetam Bahadur scored with a stinging right footer from within the 18-yard box.

The local team’s sagging confidence was revived in the second half and they started harassing the Army XI defence with quick counterattacks.

In the 64th minute Youngmen equalised. Parveen Arora sped down the right flank and sent a measured cross to Sanjeev Sharma who sneaked into an unmarked position to head into the net.

Army XI thrust more men into attack to snatch the winner, while Youngmen packed their midfield and defence and left a lone striker upfront.

Youngmen’s quick counterattacks got them the winning goal in the 88th minute. Latching onto a pass, Parveen moved down the middle and shot goalwards. Army goalkeeper Ajith Kumar stopped the shot, but it had enough force and the ball trickled over the line.

Meek surrender

Earlier, local league champions Indian Nationals surrendered meekly to SBT. It seemed the Delhi league champions, who are leaving for the Rovers Cup on October 31, did not have their heart in the match. SBT, ninth in the National Football League (NFL) last season, scored at will. Nippy Asif Saheer excelled with three goals but no hattrick. SBT are without injured winger Sylvester Ignatius, their top scorer in the NFL, last season with eight goals.

Saheer scored twice in the first half. In the 19th minute, he headed in C.V. Sunny’s cross from the left flank.

Then at the half hour, Abdul Hakeem, wide on the right, put Saheer through and the latter dribbled past Indian National defender Gurjinder singh to score with a crisp right footer.

SBT scored twice early in the second half. Veteran V.P. Shaji tapped in a Sunny cross in the 48th minute. Eight minutes later, Shaji crossed from the left and Saheer placed the ball in.    

New Delhi, Oct. 29: 
Salgaocar and India’s ace defender Roberto Fernandez may be out of action till the end of the year because of cartilege trouble in his knee. This was conveyed by the Salgaocar manager Leopold Fernandez. Salgaocar FC, the 1999 Durand champions and currently runners up in the Goa league arrived here today.

Leopold Fernandez said that Roberto developed knee trouble during the last match of the Goa league, which concluded a fortnight ago. He was rushed to Mumbai to consult specialist Dr Ananth Joshi. Roberto was advised complete rest for three weeks. He will go for a check-up again next week. If Dr Anant Joshi decides to operate then Roberto is likely to miss the start of the 2000-2001 National Football league and maybe even the Millenium Cup.

Roberto, who captained India in the Four Nation international tournament, at Maldives in May 2000, is ruled out of the Durand and forthcoming Rovers Cup. The lanky defender is the Salgaocar skipper this season. Franky Baretto now takes over as captain.

Their new coach Markus Pacheco says that in the absence of Roberto the team will have to be re-shaped. Francis Coelho will be used as a stopper back instead of a right wing back. Dependable left back Roque Pereira is also recovering from knee trouble and may also not be fit for their opening tie in Group 1 of the Durand quarter final league against Mahindra United on November 2.

Ex-international Savio Madeira is the assistant coach of Salgaocar FC this season. He stated that as the squad is plagued by injuries, they are trying to recruit two foreign players, 18 year old midfielder Christian Okoye from Nigeria and goalkeeper Abubacker who last played for F.C. Kochin. At present Salgaocar have justone foreign player Gbenga Lawal.

Savio also added that new recruits from Tata Football Academy (TFA) midfielders Alex Ambrose and V.K. Harish may be used in the Durand tournament. Bruno Coutinho and Climax Lawrence or Alvito D’Cunha are the strikers.

The current Goa league champions Zee-Churchill Brothers also reached Delhi today. Churchill Brothers commence their Durand campaign on November 1 against JCT. Their Rusian coach Grigory has not yet reached Delhi. At present they are being coached by ex-international Shivdass who represented India in the 1970 Bangkok Asian Games. Churchill Brothers have never reached the semi finals of the Durand tournament.

However, coach Shivdass is confident they can do well especially as their forwards Stephen Abarowei and Francis Silveira are in good nick.    

Calcutta, Oct. 29: 
The Eastern India table tennis championships get underway at the Khudiram Anushilan Kendra tomorrow with 146 qualifying matches to be played over two days of which 144 will be played tomorrow. Four players each in the boys’, sub-junior boys’ and cadet boys’ categories will qualify.

With the likes of Soumyadeep Sarkar, Chetan Baboor and S. Raman away on overseas training, it will be left to Shibaji Dutta, Subhojit Saha and Subham Chowdhury, winner of the recently-held state meet in Haldia, to challenge top seed Arup Basak for the men’s title.

Arup had won the title at the Western India meet in Rajkot early this year.

There will be keen contest in the women’s section as all top players of the country will be in fray. Former national women’s champion Poulami Ghatak will want to make up for disappointment at the Sydney Olympics. Top-seed and reigning national champion Mouma Das, N.R. Indu, Anindita Chakraborty, M.S. Mythili and Mantu Ghosh will also be around to turn the heat on.

In the boys’ and girls’ sections, top seeds Jayanto Chandra and Susmita Roy will carry Bengal hopes.

A total of about 350 paddlers will be taking part in this meet, which offers total prize money of Rs 1 lakh. The men’s section has 126 entries and the women’s 68.

The Bengal Table Tennis Association, organiser of the meet, has confirmed that former national player T. Chandrasekhar will be present during the meet. He will arrive in the city with his academy trainees tomorrow.

The meet is the last of the five zonal championships, and assumes importance ahead of the junior nationals which begins in bangalore from November 9.    

Pune, Oct. 29: 
Riding a forceful race, jockey S. Rajesh guided the Imtiaz Sait-trained lesser fancied runner Mount Rose to a ‘head’ victory over her stablemate, Top Mover, in the Herbertsons Bagpiper Gold RWITC Ltd. Invitational Trophy in Pune on Sunday, the last day of the season. The stable-favourite, Alchemy failed to place on the board.

Jockey C. Rajendra, who scored a double on the day, topped the championship table with 47 wins while Dallas Todywalla claimed the leading trainer honour with 35 winners.


(With inter-state dividends)
1. Romantic Dancer Plate 1,600m: (3-9-5) Source Of Light (Prakash) 1; Court Of Law 2; Begonia 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 3-1/4; (1-41.9). Tote: Win Rs 36; Place: 15; 23; 47; Quinella: 146; Tanala: 2,015. Fav: Soviet Ride (1). (Note: The winner survived objection lodged by the rider of second placed horse).
2. Columbia Plate 1,000m: (10-4-3) Fiercely Loyal (Rajendra) 1; Millenium Star 2; Forest Hunter 3. Won by: Hd; 6; (1-1.2). Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 12; 15; 35; Quinella: 22; Tan-ala: 343. Fav: Fiercely Loyal (10).
3. Master Fiddler Plate, Div-II 1,000m: (7-6-1) Golden Hill (Bhati) 1; Memories Of Gold 2; Lets Party 3. Won by: 3/4; 1-3/4; (1-2.2). Tote: Win Rs 59; Place: 19; 16; 14; Quinella: 96; Tanala: 433. Fav: Lets Party (1).
4. Scintillating Plate 1,400m: (13-3-10) Southern Star (M. Narredu) 1; Meringue 2; Essesspemess 3. Not run: Lady Elaine (11). Won by: 1; 8-1/2; (1-26.6). Tote: Win Rs 22; Place: 11; 13; 21; Quinella: 18; Tanala: 84. Fav: Southern Star (13).
5. Master Fiddler Plate, Div-I 1,000m: (6-5-2) Evening In Paris (Rajendra) 1; Wonder Wings 2; Balahak 3. Won by: 3-3/4; 1-3/4; (1-1.8). Tote: Win Rs 26; Place: 15; 20; 19; Quinella: 71; Tanala: 172. Fav: Evening In Paris (6).
6. Herbertsons Bagpiper Gold RWITC Ltd. Invitational Trophy 2,000m: (10-7-5-3) Mount Rose (Rajesh) 1; Top Mover (Rajendra) 2; Signal Tap (Kamlesh) 3; Star Fortune (Kharadi) 4. Not run: Track Charm (11). Won by: Hd; 2-3/4; 3/4; (2-4.7). Tote: Win Rs 228; Place: 43; 25; 32; Quinella: 680; Tanala: 41,056. Fav: Alchemy (1).
7. Para Brigade Plate 1,600m: (11-13-3) Express Lane (Ruzaan) 1; Partner Perfect 2; Capri Classic 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 3/4; (1-43.6). Tote: Win Rs 41; Place: 18; 78; 56; Quinella: 491; Tanala: 47,749. Fav: Golden Glitter (9).
8. Beauregard Plate 1,200m: (12-6-11) Blue Blood (Ruzaan) 1; Zeisha 2; Zee Green 3. Not run: Tonnerre (2). Won by: 2; 1-1/2; (1-12.8). Tote: Win Rs 35; Place: 16; 17; 67; Quinella: 71; Tanala: 2,538. Fav: Blue Blood (12).

Jackpot: Rs 18,119; (C) Rs 2,534.

Treble: (i) Rs 247; (ii) Rs 2,685.    

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