Wright to sit with selectors
It was an ugly knock: Andy
Yashpal’s urge
Advantage Bengal
Two-way lead after qualifiers
Andy frustrates Indian attack
County stint alone did not cause injury: Kumble
Mumbai Races/ Lady Moura bags Morvi Trophy
Calcutta Races/ Six for Wednesday’s feature
Calcutta Races/ Saturday’ track trials

 
 
WRIGHT TO SIT WITH SELECTORS 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
New Delhi, Nov. 19: 
For Indian cricket, these are days of transition and though John Wright’s innings as coach hasn’t got off to a smile-inducing start, a top wish of his should be fulfilled Tuesday, the penultimate day of the first Test.

The wish, of course, is having a one-to-one with the national selectors and should materialise either before or after the squad for the second Test, in Nagpur from next Saturday, is picked. The selection, as of now, is slated for Tuesday.

That meeting will be Wright’s first, in the Indian environment, and while he may not say much at the session itself, the one-to-one with Messrs Chandu Borde, Madanlal, Ashok Malhotra, T.A. Sekar and Sanjay Jagdale could find him doing most of the talking.

“I’m looking forward to that as it’s important for the coach to have the perfect understanding with the selectors — besides, obviously, with the captain... It’s essential that I ‘read’ their minds and also the selectors get to know me,” Wright told The Telegraph.

Incidentally, Wright — a former New Zealand captain and Kent coach — has already had an informal chat with Malhotra, whom he played against during the 1985-86 WSC in Australia, and Madanlal.

Besides getting to know the selectors, Wright does need to understand the system. For instance, the captain and coach are only co-opted members of the selection committee and have no formal vote.

Not wanting to risk a misunderstanding, Wright steered clear of offering any comment on the issue, but did remark: “In Kent, certainly, the coach and captain got the team they wanted...”

According to Malhotra, he and his colleagues too are “keen” to have a one-to-one with Wright. “He came through as a nice guy, during our brief interaction, and he was curious whether a quality allrounder was around,” Malhotra pointed out.

It is understood Wright specifically asked about Reetinder Singh Sodhi and, in time to come, the selectors may themselves draw the coach’s attention to Baroda’s Rakesh Patel, an allrounder at the National Cricket Academy, who has quickly caught the eye of many.

Malhotra, meanwhile, has welcomed the idea of Wright watching domestic cricket (a thought made public in an interview published in these columns Saturday) during the break in international commitments.

As the tour of Pakistan is off, Wright will go home to New Zealand for about three weeks, soon after the Zimbabwe series ends (December 14), and then return to plan for the engagements against Australia.

That’s the period (mid-January to mid-February) when Wright will be able to travel around and do some talent-spotting of his own.

“It’s a positive move (wanting to watch domestic cricket) and Wright needs to be complimented... It will be nice if the coach forms an opinion, about a player, after watching him over three days or so instead of just one session at nets,” Malhotra said.

It’s refreshing that the selectors — going by Malhotra’s sentiments — are enthusiastic about forging a relationship with the country’s first overseas coach. Augurs very well.

However, no matter how smooth things are off the field, everything will eventually be judged on how Sourav Ganguly’s team fares out in the middle.    


 
 
IT WAS AN UGLY KNOCK: ANDY 
 
 
FROM A CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, Nov. 19: 
Andy Flower who likes to unwind by reading fiction, thrillers are his favourite, has a special liking for the Kotla wicket. On his first visit here, in March 1993, he notched up 115 and 62 not out. Today, he finished with a mammoth 183 not out.

Andy does not rate his eighth and highest Test century as his best. “I think the 156 I scored against Pakistan in Harare in 1994-95 was a better and more pleasing knock. Today I played a patchy innings,” he said.

Down to earth and phlegmatic, Andy admitted, “I was quite lucky at times and often played across the line and got away with some ugly shots. It was nice to get a big innings but is was an ugly innings.”

Andy said that it was a batting wicket but praised India’s new ball attack. Srinath once struck him on the back of his head early in the morning. Andy said it did not disturb his concentration but was “like a wake up call and made me realise I was playing the short ball badly.”

Asked if the total was a winning one he replied, “we are now in a position to apply pressure and can take wickets if we bowl to a plan.” Andy admitted that it would have been nice to get to 200 but the team management’s decision to declare was justified.

About his mammoth last wicket stand of 97 runs with Henry Olonga, he said: “I had no instructions for him but just told him to play straight. He has a good eye and applied himself well.”    


 
 
YASHPAL’S URGE 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Nov. 19: 
Former Test player and member of India’s 1983 World Cup winning team, Yashpal Sharma, has urged the BCCI to give more exposure to domestic-level umpires.

Sharma, officiating in the Ranji Trophy match between Bengal and Tripura here, rued that umpires at the domestic level hardly get more than one Ranji Trophy match per season.

According to him, a host of former cricketers, Maninder Singh, Lalchand Rajput, Pronob Roy, Sadanand Viswanath and Partha Sarathi Sharma, despite having qualified for umpiring at national level, had been left waiting in the wings since 1995.    


 
 
ADVANTAGE BENGAL 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Nov. 19: 
TRIPURA 170
BENGAL 45/0

Bengal wrested the opening day initiative, wrapping up Tripura’s first innings for just 170 in the East Zone Ranji Trophy tie at Eden today. With bad light forcing an early close, the hosts were 45 for no loss.

Bengal bowlers dominated from the outset, never allowing the Tripura batsmen to develop any substantial partnership.

Apart from Mridul Gupta’s 49, Tripura hardly instilled any sense of worry in the home side as the second highest contribution (31) on the visitors’ score-board was recorded in the form of extras.

Skipper Devang Gandhi sent the visitors in on a wicket which proved lively for the first couple of hours. Bengal fielded three debutants — opener Arijit Bose, medium pacers Shib Shankar Pal and Sujoy Parui — as well as Syed Saba Karim.

Laxmi Ratan Shukla struck early when Pranob Debnath edged a rising one to Saba. Sharing the new ball, Shib Shankar showed Rajib Deb Barman the way to pavilion in similar fashion.

With less moisture on the wicket as the day wore on, the spinners took command. The post-lunch session, however, saw Mridul Gupta putting up a brief resistance with Gourprada Banik and Subol Chowdhury. But it never advanced to the stage of a defiance once Shib Shankar shattered Mridul’s defence.

Wrichik Mazumder, who took two for 55, however, will better remember the day for pulling off a spectacular catch in the covers which ended Subol’s innings.    


 
 
TWO-WAY LEAD AFTER QUALIFIERS 
 
 
BY A CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, Nov. 19: 
At the end of the two-day qualifying Swiss in the Open teams event of the 32nd state bridge meet, overnight leaders Dr Chowdhury’s IV held on to finish in joint top spot with 218 VPs out of a maximum possible 300 from 12 sessions.

Shaleen’s, who were not in the reckoning when the day began, won several matches to tie for top spot. In the last session, both recorded 18-12 wins, over Suparna-Sumona and B Todi’s IV, respectively, who finished in joint third spot on 213 VP.

The story of the day, however, was the last-round drama concerning Trambak Rubber and Teloijan Tea. The teams seemed out of the race with one match to go, but last-round blitz brought hopes to both. Trambak qualified in sixth place with 208, Teloijan tied with Calcutta Bridge Club and Alok Daga’s IV on 207 with two of the three to qualify. Teloijan bowed out in the tie-break.

Scores in brief (VP out of 300 from 12 matches): 1/2. Dr Chowdhury’s IV, Shaleen’s (both 218); 3/4. Suparna-Sumona, B Todi’s IV (both 213); 5. ERSA (210); 6. Trambak Rubber (208); 7/8. Calcutta Bridge Club, Alok Daga’s IV (both 207); 9. Teloijan Tea (207); 10/11. Haldibari, Chandannagore Bridge Club (both 203); 12/13.AR Das ‘A’, A K Mukherjee (both 202).    


 
 
ANDY FRUSTRATES INDIAN ATTACK 
 
 
FROM NOVY KAPADIA
 
New Delhi, Nov. 19: 
ZIMBABWE 422/9 DEC.
INDIA 9/0

History has an uncanny knack of repeating itself. Just over a week ago, Bangladesh on 239 for six at close on the first day, fought back to 400 with Amin-ul Islam scoring a century. Today, the second day of the Test here, Zimbabwe rallied from 232 for six to reach an imposing 422 for nine before declaring their innings closed.

The limitations of the Indian attack, especially the lack of variety in spin and Sourav Ganguly’s choice of just four bowlers were brutally exposed.

It was a day of records and glory for Andy Flower. Andy became the first Zimbabwean to score two centuries against India. On the placid Kotla wicket, he notched up an unbeaten 183, his eighth Test century and highest ever score. His marathon last-wicket stand of 97 with Henry Olonga, yet another Zimbabwean record, took the initiative away from India.

It was also only the second time in the 45 Tests they have played so far that Zimbabwe had the luxury of a large total to declare their innings closed. The previous occasion was 544 for four declared in Harare 1994-95 against Pakistan when Grant Flower scored 201 not out and Andy Flower 156.

When stumps were drawn three overs early due to fading light, Indians were at nine for no loss, without undue alarm.

Skipper Sourav admitted that India’s first task now is to be at the wicket and bat for long.

In the afternoon, when Brian Strang was trapped lbw by Ajit Agarkar, Zimbabwe were 325 for nine and the end seemed near. At that stage, Andy was just 103 not out.

Then came 158 minutes of frustration for the Indian attack. Olonga and Flower displayed admirable temperament: Olonga faced 90 balls and remained unbeaten on 11.

Initially, Andy cleverly shielded the tailender with late over singles, but gradually Olonga’s confidence grew and he was able to tackle the likes of Jawagal Srinath and Sunil Joshi. Sourav used his bowlers in short bursts but in vain.

Andy used the reverse sweep effectively against both spinners and some elegant cover drives and pulls helped him pile up the runs. He played and missed some deliveries, was hit on the head early in the morning by a menacing Srinath, but nothing disturbed his equanimity.

Former star batsman and now TV commentator Sanjay Manjrekar said: “Andy’s knock is one of the better Test innings I have seen for a long time.”

On 96 he survived a confident bat-pad appeal off Joshi but that was the closest shave for Andy. He reached his century with a firm pull off Srinath.

The contrast

It was so different for India in the morning. With the new ball Srinath exploited the misty conditions effectively. Skipper Heath Streak was dismissed, caught at short leg off the first ball of the day. Srinath with his pace and movement troubled both batsmen and at one stage no run was scored for three successive overs.

Paul Strang batted patiently, but just before lunch was caught at slip by Sourav, top edging a delivery. But, as often in the past, Indian bowling just could not wrap up the tail quickly.

As ten minutes were lost today because of poor light, the third day’s play has been advanced by ten minutes to 9.20am. This was announced by Match Referee Barry Jarman.    


 
 
COUNTY STINT ALONE DID NOT CAUSE INJURY: KUMBLE 
 
 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI

New Delhi, Nov. 19:

It’s official: top-notch leg-spinner Anil Kumble will miss the entire Zimbabwe series. He has been advised rest for three weeks, beginning the day-before, by Dr Mark Fergusson.

“It’s extremely frustrating sitting out but, then, it can’t be helped. Injuries go with the game... An occupational hazard, perhaps,” Kumble told The Telegraph, his body-language suggesting he is attempting to make the best of an unhappy bargain.

Kumble (276 wickets in 61 Tests and 274 victims from 208 one-dayers) has already been off cricket for almost a month, this break being necessitated because of unbearable pain in his bowling (right) shoulder.

About the only comforting thought is that Kumble doesn’t have to undergo surgery — at least, not now.

“I have an inflammation, not a rotator-cuff tear, and so hopefully the surgeon won’t have to get into the act,” Kumble, speaking this evening at the Taj Palace, pointed out.

Kumble met the Johannesburg-based Dr Fergusson, who has in the past treated Jawagal Srinath and Ajay Jadeja, in Chennai last Wednesday.

“I’ve come here to meet the team’s physio (Andrew Leipus) and go over the rehab programme suggested by Dr Fergusson... I’ll probably be around for a couple of days till I’m clear about exactly how I should be doing the exercises,” Kumble said.

The 30-year-old Kumble, however, didn’t agree that five months of County cricket (with Leicestershire) this summer, after eight months of international commitments, perhaps aggravated what was just a niggle.

“Look, I’ve really been bowling without a break from 1992 (debut in 1990) and, so, don’t think the five-month stint in England alone caused the damage... I did have a niggle but, then, every cricketer will confess to carrying one,” Kumble maintained.

Now that he has to stay off the field, will this break give him time for interests outside cricket which have remained neglected?

Kumble smiled and answered: “But where will I have the time? As I see it, at least three hours will be taken up by the rehab programme alone... I’ll have to stay mentally tough, that’s it.”

And, what did he make of the on-going Test?

“We let Zimbabwe (155 for five, at one stage) off the hook, didn’t we? Still, it’s a good batting track and I don’t see why fans should get disheartened,” opined Kumble, MoM in the last Kotla Test, versus Pakistan in February 1999.

From all ten wickets then to watching from the sidelines... Destiny’s handiwork.    


 
 
MUMBAI RACES/ LADY MOURA BAGS MORVI TROPHY 
 
 
BY OUR TURF CORRESPONDENT
 
Mumbai, Nov. 19: 
Ridden by McCullagh, the C. Katrak- trained Lady Moura lifted the 1,400m Maharaja Of Morvi Trophy in Mumbai on Sunday. Note: Owing to labour trouble, the first race had to be cancelled and the programme started at 2.30 pm.

RESULTS

(With inter state dividends)

1. Starling Plate, Div-II 1,200m: Was cancelled due to labour problem)

2. Starling Plate, Div-I 1,200m: (7-1-2) Bon Apetit (Gharat) 1; Boundless Thrill 2; Betsy 3. Won by: 8; 1/2; (1-16).Tote: Win Rs 25; Place: 16; 14; 15; Quinella: 39; Tanala: 124. Fav: Bon Apetit (7).

3. Maharaja Of Morvi Trophy 1,400m: (4-2-3) Lady Moura (McCullagh) 1; Endorsement 2; Fabulous Fortune 3. Won by: Nk; 6-1/2; (1-25.7). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 13; 15; Quinella: 16; Tanala: 105. Fav: Lady Moura (4).

4. Simonella Plate 1,400m: (9-5-4) The Proletarian (M. Narredu) 1; Sunny Sez 2; Sicalade 3. Not run: Portentous (3). Won by: 6; 3-1/4; (1-26).Tote: Win Rs 12; Place: 11; 15; 18; Quinella: 33; Tanala: 91. Fav: The Proletarian (9).

5. Vijay Chaubal Stakes 1,400m: (7-4-2) Silver Blue (Kharadi) 1; Royal Engagement 2; Luni Junction 3. Won by: 6-1/2; Nk; (1-27.1). Tote: Win Rs 30; Place: 13; 13; 42; Quinella: 23; Tanala: 684. Fav: Silver Blue (7).

6. Mathradas Goculdas Trophy 1,400m: (8-9-3) Stavros (Prakash) 1; Cymbidium 2; Khaalis 3. Not run: Secret Blessing’s (5). Won by: 1-1/4; 8; (1-25.3). Tote: Win Rs 12; Place: 12; 17; 42; Quinella: 31; Tanala: 351. Fav: Stavros (8).

7. Military Plate 1,600m: (3-6-5) Colonel’s Dream (Belose) 1; Golden Glitter 2; Silverita 3. Won by: Hd; 3-1/4; (1-42.9). Tote: Win Rs 44; Place: 14; 48; 17; Quinella: 584; Tanala: 4,301. Fav: Silverita (5).

8. Alpha Plate 1,000m: (3-5-2) Zaka (Prakash) 1; Winawin 2; Shirley Valentine 3.Not run: Kilmore Quay (10). Won by: 3/4; Hd; (1-1.6). Tote: Win Rs 54; Place: 18; 26; 14; Quinella: 245; Tanala: 2,050. Fav: Shirley Valentine (2).

Jackpot: Rs 793; (C) Rs 53.

Treble: (i) Cancelled; (ii) Rs 105; (iii) Rs 200.    


 
 
CALCUTTA RACES/ SIX FOR WEDNESDAY’S FEATURE 
 
 
BY OUR TURF CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, Nov. 19: 
There are six runners vying for the 1,400m Darbhanga Cup, Wednesday feature. First race starts at 1.10 pm

ACCEPTANCES

1. Ethics Handicap 1,100m (Cl V, 5-y-o & over Rt. 00-28) 1.10 pm: Work Order 60.5; Heaven’s Blessing 60; Run Ahead 58.5; Magic Ring 55; Arizona Star 52.

2. Scottish Law Handicap 1,200m (Cl IV, Rt. 22-50) 1.50 pm: Storm Trooper 61; Rheinheart 57.5; Aileron 55; Mountain Memory 53.5; Double Dancer 53.5; Santillana 51.5; Global Harmony 50.

3. Idolator Handicap 1,200m (Cl V, Rt. 00-28) 2.20 pm: Alygator 60; Friendly Knight 59.5; Bird’s Empire 58.5; Diplomatic Gesture 57.5; Double Cross 57.5; Privy Council 55.5; Armila 55.5.

4. Darbhanga Cup 1,400m (Cl II, Rt. 66-94) 2.50 pm: Quickdraw McGraw 60; Kansai 55.5; Premier League 53.5; Astron-omer 51.5; Amarante 50.5; Annatto 49.5.

5. Primrose Morn Cup 1,600m (Cl IV; & V, Rt. 00-50) 3.25 pm: Bul Bul 60; Appeaer 59.5; Hurricane Star 59; Flying Scot 58.5; Falconaire 55.5; Alborada 52; Blessed Spirit 52; Supreme Desire 52; American 52; Acaress 51; Alkido 51; Nearco Prince 49.5; Consul’s Secret 49; Avionic 48.5.

6. Fitzgrafton Handicap 1,100m (Cl III, 5-y-o & over Rt. 44-72) 4 pm: Sky Command 60; Defiance 56.5; Aznavour 56; Gambino 55; Abstract 55; High Life 54.5; Winning Hand 51; Sovereign Bullet 50.5.

Jackpot: 2; 3; 4; 5; & 6.

Treble: (i) 1; 2 & 3; (ii) 4; 5 & 6.    


 
 
CALCUTTA RACES/ SATURDAY’ TRACK TRIALS 
 
 
BY OUR TURF CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, Nov. 19: 

Outer sand track

1,400m: Beau Bruno (Som S.) and Code Word (A. Imran) in 1-52s; (400m) 29s. Former better.

1,200m: Treasurer (C. Alford) and Falconhead (A. P. Singh) in 1-24s; (400m) 29s. Former far better. Tajik (Khalander) in 1-33; (400m) 28s. Premier League (Upadhya) in 1-36s; (400m) 31s.

800m: Swash Buckler (Brij) and Bhuthnath (Upadhya) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Both level. Defiance (Yacoob) in 57s; (400m) 29s. Quickdraw McGraw (Amjad) in 55s; (400m) 28s. Good. Tsaynen Blue (Upadhya) in 56s; (400m) 29s. Fit. American (Amjad) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Alkido (C. Alford) 57s; (400m) 27s. Moved well. Winning Hand (M. Reuben) and Flying Scot (Rb) in 57s; (400m) 30s. Magnifico (C. Alford) and Special Sovereign (Amil) in 55s; (400m) 28s. Former far better. Alterezza (C. Alford) and Sixteensixtyfour (Amil) in 54s; (400m) 28s. Former far superior.

Sand track

1,000m: Ruler With Honour (M. Reu-ben) in 1-12s; (400m) 25s. Easy.

800m: No Surrender (M. Reuben) in 52s; (400m) 25. Fit. Heaven’s Blessing (Shanker) and Golden Heart (Haroon) in 52s; (400m) 25s. Former far better. Sky Command (G. Singh) and Addab (Harron) in 52s; (400m) 25s. Fit. Altruism (Rb) and Double Corss (Haroon) in 51s; (400m) 26s. Both level. Diplomatic Gesture (G. Singh) and Eau Savage (Shanker) in 52s; (400m) 25s. Former far better.    

 

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