Nagpur pitch has Sourav fuming
National meet kicks off feast of equestrianism
Bengal-Orissa opener
Samir Thapar to challenge Das Munshi, Mour with him
Vijay Kumar grabs lead
India revert to 5 bowlers
Bangalore Races/ Six Speed may avenge defeat
Bangalore races/ ‘Moment’ strikes
Six fillies for Sunday’s Guineas
Astronomer needed the outing

Nagpur, Nov. 24: 
Sourav Ganguly is livid. He is making no effort to hide his displeasure on not being given a turning wicket for the second Test beginning here tomorrow. This is one aspect he had dealt with during the Delhi Test itself.

“I had sent a message on the second day of the first Test. Nothing seems to have happened. I spoke to Jaywant Lele too. He said he would make my views available to the Mr Kasturirangam and others who are in charge of preparing the wicket.

“But here I find the staging association (Vidarbha Cricket Association) seems to have the final say. After all, it’s the players who take the rap, not the staging association,” the Indian skipper said.

“Once all this comes out in the newspapers everyone thinks I am trying to be too harsh. I will not say anything more since it will unnecessarily create a controversy,” Sourav added.

While backing his policy of playing with four bowlers in the first Test, Sourav also admitted “it was wrong not to have included the enterprising Zaheer Khan.”

“Whenever we go abroad, we play with four bowlers and six batsmen. Now we have four good fast bowlers. With Anil Kumble out, we’ve got to learn winning Tests with four bowlers.

“This is one area where we lack when we tour overseas. We have series abroad coming up against Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and South Africa. If we can learn winning with four bowlers at home, our task will become easier on foreign soil.

“We don’t have a Lance Klusener who can score runs at No. 6 and also regularly pick wickets. That’s why between Sachin (Tendulkar) and myself, we need to bowl around 15 to 20 overs a day, keep the runs in check and also pick up a wicket, if possible.

“That enables the frontline bowlers to get enough rest. I can’t make Srinath bowl 50 overs every match. That will be too unfortunate,” he remarked.    

Calcutta, Nov. 24: 
A feast of equestrian events will be laid out for Calcuttans when a clutch of national and international competitions get underway on the Pat Williamson ground at the Race Course tomorrow.

The national equestrian championship is coming back to the city after two decades, and the icing on the cake will be a couple of meets of the world body FEI. And, of course, there will be the Calcutta Horse Show — in its 50th edition to underline the long association of this city with equine sports.

Competition will be held in 40 events, covering the entire spectrum from novices to top riders of the land. Some 150 horses and 100 riders from all over the country will join the nine-day affair.

And, almost as soon as it’s over, on December 3, the polo season kicks off. Entries to all events are free.

For Fort William Riding Institute, which is hosting the show with a generous use of the infra-structure of the Eastern Command headquarters here, the meets have come as a huge organisational challenge. A camp to accommodate the horses and riders has been set up under Vidyasagar Setu with round-the-clock veterinary cover.

The FEI showjumping challenge, launched in 1985, is coming to the city for the second time after 1996. To avoid having riders and horses move great distances for one meet, this championship is held on identical courses (same heights for hurdles and same spreads between them etc.) at around 40-45 venues round the world, and results are compiled following standardised methods.

That the meets will serve as the basis for berths on the 2002 Asian Games squad for Pusan, South Korea, will be an added incentive. While that will be in the dressage and show jumping, the excitement that the tent pegging event, complete with war cries of riders (read ‘raiders’), brings is unique.

The polo season kicks off with the Carmichael Cup and culminates with an exhibition match on Christmas Day, a day after the final of the prestigious IPA Cup. Organisers Calcutta Polo Club are expecting a couple of high-handicap foreign players for the IPA Cup in addition to best the country has to offer.

La Martiniere shocked

St James’ School upset La Martiniere for Boys 2-0 in the semi-finals of the inter-school tennis tournament at the SAI Eastern Centre today. In the other semi-final, defending champions St Xavier’s got the better of Don Bosco (Park Circus) 2-0.

RESULTS: St James’ School bt La Martiniere for Boys 2-0 (Subhoditya Nath bt Avinash Rajgarhia 6-3, 2-6, 6-1; Vaibhav Bajpai bt Hiteshwar Singh 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8/6)); St avier’s bt Don Bosco (Park Circus) 2-0 (Samrat Ghosh bt Varun Oberoi 7-5, 6-4; Saurav Sukul bt Nirvick Mohinta 6-1, 6-1).

Stan Boucher dead

Stan Boucher, whose association with golf in the city, and with RCGC in particular, stretches back as long as one can remember, passed away on Monday after a prolonged illlness. He was 84.

Born an Englishman who went on to become a Calcuttan at heart, Stan came to India with the British Army in 1941. He joined the RCGC in 1954, and endeared himself to all with his amiable nature.    

Calcutta, Nov. 24: 
Bengal, wearing a youthful look, will take on Orissa in their opening match in the East Zone meet of the 60th national hockey championship at the Khuman Lampak hockey stadium in Imphal tomorrow.

The 18-member Bengal squad includes as many as 11 players eligibile to play in junior nationals. BHA secretary Gurbux Singh hopes the team, despite a crowd of young players, will perform well to qualify for the knockout stage.

“The team has 11 players eligible to play junior nationals also. It is a very young team and despite the presence of Indian Airlines, Orissa and Manipur as formidable opponents, we are confident of qualification,” Gurbux said today.

Two teams from each zone will qualify for the quarter-final stage starting in Jammu from December 8 to 16.

The Bengal team will be led by Rajat Minz.

Inter-university soccer

Four East Zone teams — Calcutta University, Rabindra Bharati University, Burdwan University and B.R. Ambedkar University (Bihar) — will take part in the all-India university football meet, to be held in Chandigarh from November 28.    

New Delhi, Nov. 24: 
The battle for control of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is on in full swing. The managing director of JCT Limited and president of the Punjab Football Association, Samir Thapar today announced that he will contest for the post of president of AIFF and oppose the current incumbent, Priya Ranjan Das Munshi.

Thapar’s panel includes the current AIFF secretary Kedar Nath Mour, making it officially clear that Mour and Das Munshi are in opposite camps now. Also seated on the dais was Ranjit Gupta of the Indian Football Association (IFA).

Thapar explained that the other contestants on his panel will be decided later. The primary contest will thus be between Das Munshi and Thapar for the post of president and between Mour and either P.P. Lakshmanan or Alberto Colaco for that of secretary. Thapar also reasoned for his contest that it would be his aim to create an ethos of professional management within the AIFF, revive the popularity of the National League.

He also expressed concern at the declining number of tournaments in India and the non-staging of the popular Federation Cup and Nehru Cup for some years. Recalling the success of the inaugural National League he said, “after that we all thought the game will take off in the country. The clubs pumped in money but without any return.”

He explained as due to all this, company-based teams like JCT, Mahindra United and Salgaocar were unable to convince their shareholders to spend extra money on the game.

The JCT managing director hinted that he had the blessings of Vijay Mallya for this contest. He was also confident that with the support of Mour and other like-minded individuals he would muster up ample support and resist the political pressures of Das Munshi.

IPFA tones down demands

Meanwhile the newly formed Indian Premier Football Association (IPFA) met yesterday at Mallya’s Delhi residence and toned down their demands. They are no longer insisting that they be recognised as an autonomous body but they want recognition as a collective body representing the clubs. The IPFA office-bearers said that their clubs are willing to play in the National League but only if some conditions are met.

The major conditions are that the National League should start after the AIFF elections on December 16 and that there should be 75 per cent representation of the IPFA clubs in the National League committee.

Mallya has also asked 80 per cent revenue sharing for the clubs and 20 per cent for the AIFF.

Other demands include clearance of payments due to the clubs before the start of this season’s league and transparent arrangements for live TV coverage of at least 75 per cent of the NFL matches. Live coverage, with repeat telecasts at prime time is seen as essential to ensure proper mileage to the sponsors.

Mallya said that the IPFA turned itself into a company so as to get additional sponsors and maximum TV coverage. The IPFA members met so as to sign the Articles of Association to become a registered company under the Indian Companies Act. Proposals for TV coverage have been received from Zee TV and Sony Max and are said to be in the range of Rs. 6.5 crores. The IPFA also wants a written memorandum of understanding with the AIFF on these matters.

However, Mallya went late last night to discuss these resolutions with Das Munshi, saying that all the demands are negotiable only after the Executive Committee and General Body meet at Delhi on November 26 and December 16 respectively. The failure of all this means a parallel professional league is on the cards, hinted IPFA.

Rebel clubs to shun Millennium Cup

A Staff Reporter in Calcutta adds: Mohun Bagan secretary Anjan Mitra, a vice-president of the IPFA, told a media conference on his return from New Delhi today that the clubs under the new body will not allow their players to participate in the Millennium Cup unless the issue with the AIFF was resolved by then.

Mitra added that if a player left a IPFA member club to play in a AIFF-conducted tournament, he would be suspended immediately and not allowed to turn out for any IPFA member club.

He said the clubs have decided to participate in the Rovers Cup if it was conducted by the Western India Football Association.    

Calcutta, Nov. 24: 
Vijay Kumar shot a four-under 68 to earn a two-stroke lead over second-placed Mukesh Kumar on the penultimate day of the Rs 7.5-lakh Surya Nepal Masters, being held in Kathmandu today, according to information received here.

Vijay, winner of the Order of Merit on the Wills Sport Golf Tour for last three seasons, tallied 10-under 206 after three days, while Mukesh, Player of the Year last season, jumped up with the day’s best card of six-under 66, thus matching the course record set by Vijay yesterday.

Nepal’s Deepak Acharya displayed consistency as he shot a level-par 72 to stay put at third place with a 54-hole aggregate of four-under 212.

Overnight leader Uttam Singh Mundy, however, fared miserably at the course with a shot a seven-over 79 to slip down to tied sixth place along with Delhi’s Pappan at one-under 215.    

Nagpur, Nov. 24: 
The misplaced satisfaction and sense of invincibility that Indian cricket followers appear to find in victory when a home series comes around is evident all too soon once again. The players moving around with bloated egos, the mad rush to catch a glimpse of the demigods, the sights seem all too familiar.

What else but a pleasant enigma. That is what Indian cricket is. Languishing in the dark alleys of uncertainty not too long ago, it is glowing now with two successive Test victories over Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

As India go into the second Test of the Pepsi series at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) ground tomorrow, the talking point remains of Sourav Ganguly’s bold declaration and how it enabled the hosts to take a 1-0 lead. Sourav, himself does not want to read much into it. “That is past and we have to move on from here,” he said.

Sourav is on the threshold of reaching yet another milestone: A hattrick of Test victories after making his debut as skipper.

One positive aspect of India’s Kotla win has been the creditable performance of the core group of Sourav, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Jawagal Srinath.

It was refreshing to find Dravid stroking the ball freely, having taken upon himself the mantle of anchoring the innings. He had, in the past, found some unlucky ways to get out, some worrying ways and some wasteful ways but, at last, he negotiated everything with character and composure.

Sachin, too, was back to his magical ways. The quiet confidence was backed by some elegant strokeplay that has set the tone for some bigger things to come. In a way, it has bolstered the solidity of the middle-order.

The biggest news has been the return to form of Srinath. Short of match practice, he struggled with his striking ability in Dhaka. The nine-wicket haul in Delhi has, though, reaffirmed his class and his match-winning abilities.

The Indians, however, are not repeating the mistake of going into this Test with four bowlers, an aspect of much debate despite the victory. Vangipuram Laxman is likely to make way for Zaheer Khan while Punjab off-spinner Sarandeep Singh will make his debut. Left-arm spinner Murali Karthik will also have to sit out from the side that played in the first Test.

The inclusion of Zaheer will lend the much-needed balance to the attack with the wicket likely to have some bounce on it. There was a tinge of grass on it but whether that prevails before the start tomorrow remains to be seen.

“Flat batting track which has bounce, and, may also turn from the third day,” was how both captains, Sourav and Heath Streak, read the wicket. “The turn will be unlike Delhi since the pitch will retain its bounce till the final day,” added Sourav.

The indifferent form of Karthik in Delhi has been cited as the reason for his exclusion. “Could have bowled better,” was how Sourav put it.

Paul Strang flying home

Zimbabwe will miss experienced leg-spinner Paul Strang, who is nursing an injury to his bowling arm. According to the team management, he will fly home tomorrow and his place will be taken by Dirk Viljoen.

The Zimbabweans couldn’t finalise their XI because of an ankle injury concern for Travis Friend. If the fast bowler is cleared by the team physio tomorrow, he will make his debut. Otherwise, Mluleki Nkala will be included.

“He (Friend) bowled encouragingly at nets today and the injury doesn’t seem too serious. We’ll have to see his condition before the start,” Carl Rackemann said.

Friend performed creditably on his debut one-day series in Sharjah last month. The medium-pacer could pose some problems for the Indians with his ability to extract bounce off the wicket.

The visitors’ main worry has been their batting. Grant Flower got a pair at the Kotla and the inconsistent performance of the openers has kept Rackemann worried. “It puts much pressure on the middle-order. The bowling too has been good only in sessions. There are a lot of areas that need improvement and let’s see how things turn out here,” explained Rackemann.

The visitors can only hope for some luck to smile on them.


INDIA: Sadagopan Ramesh, Shiv Sundar Das, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Vijay Dahiya, Sunil Joshi, Ajit Agarkar, Jawagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan, Sarandeep Singh.

ZIMBABWE: Heath Streak, Guy Whittall (vice-capt), Alistair Campbell, Stuart Carlisle, Andy Flower (wicketkeeper), Grant Flower, Dirk Viljoen, Travis Friend/Mluleki Nkala, Brian Murphy, , Henry Olonga, Gavin Rennie.

Umpires: Steve Dunne and A.V. Jayaprakash.

3rd umpire: Suhas Phadkar.

Match Referee: Barry Jarman.    

Bangalore, Nov. 24: 
The Bangalore 1000 Guineas, tomorrow’s feature, will see six fillies face the starter. But its a straight fight between stablemates — the summer Derby winner Allaire, and the runner-up in the race Six Speed. However, considering the mile trip, Six Speed, with Pesi Shroff in the saddle, is expected to avenge her Derby defeat.


2 pm: Amber Dancer 1. Lyrical Queen 2. Rasna 3.

2.30 pm: Mount Genius 1. Beverly Babe 2. Royal Satsuma 3.

3 pm: Winning Glory 1. Pas De Memories 2. Crystal Sky 3.

3.30 pm: Xar 1. Alassio 2. Clyde Barrow 3.

4 pm: Six Speed 1. Allaire 2. Adamile 3.

4.30 pm: Gypsie’s Wish 1. Soldier Of Fortune 2. Silvanus 3.

5 pm: Classic Belle 1. Time Of War 2. Coral Bird 3.

Day’s Best: Xar

Double: Amber Dancer & Mount Genius    

Bangalore, Nov. 24: 
Ridden by R. Marshall, D. Byramji’s Crystal Moment won the Kudre-mukh Cup in Bangalore on Friday.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Kalasa Plate 1,600m: (2-5-8) Treat (Marshall) 1; Young Lust 2; Selected Princess 3. Won by:2-1/4; 2-1/4; (1-44). Tote: Win Rs 90; Place: 26; 12; 27; Quinella: 124; Tanala: 1,975. Fav: Young Lust (5).

2. Shimoga Cup 1,400m: (4-8-6) Step In Time (Krishnan) 1; Crystal Goblet 2; Sinatra 3. Won by: 7; 4-1/4; (1-30.2). Tote: Win Rs 32; Place: 16; 36; 101; Quinella: 232; Tanala: 36,126. Fav: Step In Time (4).

3. Baba Khan Memorial Stakes 1,800m: (5-1-4) Argyle Gold (I. Chisty) 1; Surfside 2; Kingston Heath 3. Won by: 3/4; 3/4; (1-56.3). Tote: Win Rs 99; Place: 41; 14; Quinella: 100; Tanala: 1,630. Fav: Surfside (1).

4. Kudremukh Cup 1,400m: (1-6-3) Crystal Moment (Marshall) 1; Estocade 2; Cruden Bay 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 1/2; (1-29.3). Tote: Win Rs 65; Place: 14; 27; 61; Quinella: 384; Tanala: 8,823. Fav: Arrakis (5).

5. Everynsky Plate 1,200m:(10-15-3) Plain Truth (Babu R.) 1; Lance’s Pet 2; National Star 3. Won by: SH; SH; (1-18.8). Tote: Win Rs 1,782; Place: 237; 16; 24; Quinella: 2,405; Tanala: 25,710. Fav: Lance’s Pet (15). (Note: The winner survived objection lodged by the second placed horse).

6. Poottannah Memorial Plate 1,400m:(5-7-6) Renzino (Mrs Storai) 1; Saujas 2; Chanel 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 3-1/2; (1-29.1). Tote: Win Rs 80; Place: 24; 14; 29; Quin-ella: 117; Tanala: 2,027. Fav: Saujas (7).

Jackpot: Rs 1,33,100 (Carried over).

Treble: (i) Rs 1,766; (ii) Rs 61,260 (Carried over to December 2).    

Calcutta, Nov.24: 
Six fillies will face the starter in the Command Calcutta 1,000 Guineas — sponsored for the second year in the running by the Command Cell Phone Service. It was a good gesture on their part that the ‘Command’ has decided to honour commitment despite changes at the top. First race starts at 1.15 pm


1. Sun Lion Plate 1,100m (Terms, 2-y-o only) 1.15 pm: Astride 55; Automatic 55; Albright 53.5; Alvernia 53.5.

2. Beat The Distance Handicap 1,400m (Cl V, Rt. 00-28) 1.55 pm: Cool Quest 61; Airs Image 60; Amistad 59; Friendly Knight 57.5; Crest Star 54; Tsaynen Blue 51; Adeline 50.5.

3. Indian Gold Vase 1,200m (Cl I, Rt. 88 & over) 2.25 pm: Joe The Pro 60; Ministerian 57.5; Mystic Hill 57.5; Allosaki 56.5; Falconhead 54; No Surrender 53.5; Highland Flame 50.

4. Command Calcutta 1000 Guineas 1,600m (Terms, 3-y-o only) 2.55 pm: Alterezza 54.5; Altimara 54.5; Alvarada 54.5; Code Word 54.5; Set Aside 54.5; Silver Toy 54.5.

5. Sreepriya Cup 1,200m (Cl IV, Rt. 22-50) 3.35 pm: Special Sovereign 60; On The Bit 60; Ballet Master 59.5; Chivalrous 58.5; Regal Parade 55.5; Calculus 54; Silvery 54; Himalyan Prince 54; Neelanjana 54.

6. Cheviot Handicap 1,400m (Cl III, Rt. 44-72) 4.10 pm: Raaz 60; Sky Command 60; Little Too Much 57.5; Earl Grey 56; Gentle Priest 55; Lovely Prospect 54.5; Spanish Drum’s 54.5; Abolisher 54.5; Soldier’s Dream 52.5; Andestine 52; Crucible 52.

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

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

Calcutta, Nov. 24: 
The improved fields made the competition enjoyable on Wednesday. The day also witnessed a couple gambles but they were pulled off without breaking the racing norms.

The first big one was landed by Work Order, trained by Mujeeb-ur-Rehman, in the opener, the 1,100m Ethics Handicap for horses in the lowest class. The speedster, who had extended On The Bit in the upper class on the last day of the monsoon season found no public-support in spite of apprentice Surrender Singh claiming five-kg allowance. He won in his customary fashion — start-to-finish, while his stablemate, Run Ahead, carried the public-purse down the drain. The favourite trailed the field after a slow take off. It is rumoured that the Work was wagered in Delhi.

The next gamble was of a similar kind — in the Primrose Morn Cup over 1,400m. Appeaer was an even-money favourite in the race but it was the Bharath Singh’s Alkido, a 4-1 chance, who won the race. There was, however, no foul play in the race as Appeaer, known to be a lazy galloper, not only was baulked for a galloping room in a big field of 14 runners, the Vijay Singh trainee also found the short Calcutta home-straight to his disadvantage. Yes, had it been a small field, Cristopher Alford would definitely started working on the Green Forest-Silver Reflet three-year-old right after the gates opened. The filly was seen covering ground on the wide out when urged for effort.

Alkido scored but just about over Alborada while Supreme Desire was third and Appeaer fourth. Make a note of Supreme Desire.

Annatto upset the applecart of Astronomer in the 1,400m Darbhanga Cup. it was, perhaps, Astronomer’s near four-month lay off —since the Bangalore summer season — which had helped the Annatto cash in on his recent Mysore form. It may come as a surprise if on similar terms Astronomer gets beat again by the Vijay Singh-trainee.

Jockey B. Prakash may have won the hearts of the city punters but he did not have to do anything special to make Bird’s Empire win the Idolator Handicap. It was Alygator who ran below his known form. The 2-1 favourite gives the impression of being a plodder. He failed to accelerate when the heat was on. Diplomatic Gesture, too, was heavily supported but the Bath-trainee found the 1,200m trip a wee bit sharp to his liking.

Santillana celebrated the withdrawal of Aileron in the Scottish Law Handicap with a six-length impressive victory. The 25-100 piping hot-favourite is in line for an encore.

Trouncing a good field in the 1,100m fitzgrafton Handicap, the John Stephens-trained 2-1 joint-favourite Aznavour made known his his disliking for the monsoon track.    


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