Give youngsters a decent run: Kartik
407-run win for East Bengal
Paes-Bhupathi sails into semis
Bhupathi opts out of singles
Weak defence lets JCT draw
TTFI ultimatum to juniors
E.Bengal wary of a repeat of history
Mumbai Racing/ Yewall wins in thrilling finish
Calcutta Racing/ 8 fillies for Saturday’s Ladies’ Derby

Calcutta, Dec. 14: 
The newcomers to the Indian team should get a decent run before being chopped off, feels four-Test ‘veteran’ and left-arm spinner Murali Kartik (not Karthik).

In the city to promote the Boost inter-school six-a-side meet, the Railways player said even senior players have the odd bad days and escape the axe.

“Players like Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly at least get a chance to stem the rot and make amends,” the Chennai-based tweaker argued and advocated that younger blokes should also get a decent run.

Kartik, who made 43 as nightwatchman in the Test against Bangladsesh in Dhaka, welcomed the trend of giving youngsters an early break but insisted they should be persisted with for a fair amount of time. “It (trying out the new ones) augurs well for us but we must get a decent run,” Kartik said.


Calcutta, Dec. 14: 
Port Trust suffered a mammoth 407-run defeat against East Bengal in the CAB senior division league today. East Bengal spinner Subir Dey took six wickets to set up the win.


East Bengal 467/8 (including 56 penalty runs). Port Trust 60. EB won by 407 runs.

Aikya Sammilani 357/9. Wari 358/8 (Saikat Mukherjee 130 n.o., Arindam Das 59, Meenaksha Mondal 56; Chandranath Sanyal 4/115). Wari won by 2 wkts.

YMCA College 267. Taltala Inst. 195 (Samrat sen 63; Mayank Roy 3/56, Arnab Majumdar 3/22). YMCA won by 72 runs.

Milan Samity 296. Eastern Railway 299/4 (Diptendu Mahata 105, Soumik Mukherjee 87). E. Rly won by 6 wkts.

BNR 268. Belgachia United 93 (Chiranjib Guha 5/16, Arindam Bhattacharya 3/28). BNR won by 175 runs.

Kalighat 357/8. Mohammedan Sporting 235/6 (Nitin Sibbal 71, Nazar Khan 52 n.o.). Match drawn.

Barisha 322. Aryan 250/6 (Hasmukh Patel 56 n.o.; Prabir Acharya 3/51). Match drawn.

Town Club 377/8. Excelsiors 261 (Arindam Ganguly 95, Narendra Nath Dutta 68, Fakruddin Sajjad 5/68). Town won by 116 runs.

Kumartuli 281/8. Ballygunge United 285/5 (Samrat sengupta 84, S. Yadav 66). Ballygunge Utd won by 5 wkts.

6-a-side cricket

The Boost inter-school Cricket Sixes tournament will be held at the St James’ ground over the weekend. Sixteen schoos will take part in the knock-out event. There will be individual awards for the Most Valuable Player, the fastest bowler and the one hitting maximum sixes. The organisers hope to launch a full-fledged inter-school meet next year.


Bangalore, Dec. 14: 
Some of the big boys at the World Doubles Championship are beginning to queue up at the exit door.

Top seeds Rick Leach and Ellis Ferreira went down 6-1, 5-7, 5-7 to Daniel Orsanic and Jaime Oncins to be on the verge of elimination from the Red group. Ditto with third seeds Alex O’Brien and Jared Palmer. They imperiled their semi-final chances from Gold group following a 7-5, 2-6, 4-6 defeat against second seeds Paul Haarhuis and Sandon Stolle.

Strange is an understatement in describing Leach and Ferreira’s form over the last couple of days.

Placed in the decidedly easier round-robin league group, the Australian Open champions and US Open runner-up got their lines muffed up so badly that they have ended up losing to two of the weakest teams in the field — world championship debutants Simon Aspelin-Johann Landsberg yesterday and Oncins-Orsanic today.

“I know we were expected to win both these matches but I tell you tennis is a cruel sport,” said the 35-year-old Leach whose dream of signing off on a winning note is as good as over. “Whoever be the opponents, you have to go out there and win the matches. We couldn’t do that. Period.”

It was a match which saw a 45-minute interruption when a generator supplying power to the floodlights tripped at 6.30 pm. It happened when Oncins and Orsanic had just levelled the set scores after being swept off their feet in the first set. The organizers utilised the time to arrange an on-court birthday party for a blushing Vijay Amritraj, while the South Americans regrouped in the comfort of the dressing-room.

“The break was good for us, it helped us gather our thoughts and get our breath back,” said Oncins, adding that he thought “another hiding was on the way after the first set.” The reference was to their only previous meeting, when Leach and Ferreira had whipped Oncins and Orsanic 6-0, 6-1 earlier this year in Miami.

The Brazilian-Argentine duo went a break up and Oncins was serving for the match at 5-3 when the occasion got to him. He lost serve at love. Luckily for them, Leach played a poor service game in the deciding 12th game.

Change in fortunes

Alex O’Brien came here as defending champion, having coasted to the world championship title in Hartford with Sebastien Lareau. Twelve months down the line, his partner has changed and so too has his fortunes. This afternoon’s tame defeat has put him and Palmer in an unenviable position. Their semi-final hopes now rest more on the others. Not only have they got to beat Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi in their final round-robin league match tomorrow, Donald Johnson and Piet Norval have to finish with an all-win record too. That will leave three teams with a win each and the highest percentage of sets will then determine the second qualifiers.

It didn’t look too gloomy for the third seeds in the beginning. O’Brien dropped serve in the sixth game alright, but Haarhuis’ follies brought the US duo right back in the match. The tall Dutchman, tentative at the net and rusty from the baseline as well, was broken in the seventh and 11th games, and after 55 minutes O’Brien and Palmer were one set to the good.

Even as Haarhuis hardly looked a man making his eighth world championship appearance in 11 years, the cool Stolle did his best to hold the team together.

Very mobile for a man as tall as six-foot-four, the 30-year-old Stolle conceded nothing at the net and worked out the angles well with his forehand returns.

O’Brien, clearly the weak link in the American firm, succumbed to the pressure exerted by Stolle’s controlled aggression and surrendered serve in the second game. The solid Palmer erred, too, making a mess of a routine volley to hand over the second set to Haarhuis-Stolle in the eighth game.

That was the tonic Haarhuis needed. He started getting his returns, the serves landed at the proper place and the trademark winners from the backcourt resurfaced. He and Stolle survived a couple of break-points before pressurizing the O’Brien serve in Game 10. The American saved one match-point but sent a high volley wide on the second. Haarhuis and Stolle, who lost in straight sets to Paes-Bhupathi last night, had thus resurrected their chances with a gritty two-hour fight.

RESULTS: Haarhuis & Stolle bt O’Brien & Palmer 5-7, 6-2, 6-4; Oncins & Orsanic bt Leach & Ferreira 1-6, 7-5, 7-5.


Bangalore, Dec. 14: 
Ramesh Krishnan will soon have to find a second singles player for the Davis Cup team. Next year onwards, he’s not going to have Mahesh Bhupathi’s services.

Quite devastating news that, as far as India’s hopes of regaining a berth in the elite 16-team World Group is concerned. But it’s a decision taken by the big Bangalorean after considerable thought, keeping in mind the shoulder injury which kept him out of tennis for five months at the beginning of the year. He will, however, continue to play doubles for India.

“It wasn’t a happy or easy decision, but I had to take it keeping in mind my health,” Bhupathi told The Telegraph this morning. “See, playing singles and doubles in a Davis Cup tie means three five-set matches in three days. And then you need two weeks to recover. My shoulder can’t afford that stress.”

But hasn’t he recovered well enough after his surgery last December? “Well, I am still working very hard to strengthen my shoulder and whole body. It’s an ongoing process. There is a metal chip attached to the bicep tendon of my right shoulder which I can feel from time to time. I’ve got to be very, very careful with my shoulder, can’t take any chances. That’s why I can’t ever serve as hard as I did in my pre-surgery days.”

What if it’s a 2-2 situation and the captain requests him to play the deciding rubber? “That’s something I have to think about. If my shoulder is in good shape that particular week, I may give it a shot,” Bhupathi remarked.

He may have shut Davis Cup out of his mind, but Bhupathi hasn’t still closed options of playing singles on the Tour. “My shoulder permitting, I would play singles on the Tour whenever I get the opportunity. For example right now I’m feeling perfectly okay, so I plan to play singles at the Gold Flake Open (Chennai), Australian Open qualifiers and the Mumbai Challenger next month,” Bhupathi said.

Well, Ramesh may have creased eyebrows but it’s good news for those who have been on the fringe for some time now. Syed Fazaluddin has had a fair run with mixed results, Prahlad Srinath is looking over the hill. This could be the time for the likes of Sunil Kumar, Harsh Mankad, Vishal Uppal, Vinod Sewa and Amandeep Singh to push their claims. Young blood is the need of the hour.


New Delhi, Dec. 14: 
Mohun Bagan 2

Lively in attack but suspect in defence, champions Mohun Bagan were held 2-2 by a tenacious JCT in an action-packed opening match of the fifth National Football League here today. After a goalless first half, four goals were scored in a span of 27 minutes. Bagan twice took the lead through Basudeb Mondal (46th minute) and Jose Ramirez Baretto (66). JCT equalised on both occasions, through striker Hardip Gill (54) and skipper Ram Pal (73).

Bagan dominated second half play, but JCT’s aerial passes and quick counters exposed the fragility of the Bagan defence. Coach Subrata Bhattacharya admitted his back four were vulnerable against the high balls. Bagan officials want to recall Igor Skhvirin when the league resumes after the Millenium Cup in January 2001. But on today’s evidence a big bodied defender, who is good in the air, is an immediate necessity.

Bagan’s finishing was woeful. In the second half, both R.C. Prakash and overlapping M. Suresh struck the post. In the 75th minute, Baretto put Prakash through and the latter scuffed his shot with only the goalkeeper to beat. In the closing minutes, substitute Renedy Singh’s left flank cross was headed on by Baretto to Santos whose crisp left footer was acrobatically saved by Arvind Kumar.

Bagan shot into the lead a minute after the breather. Following a scramble, Basudeb cleverly lobbed over the goalkeeper’s head from an acute angle. JCT equalised as Hardip Sangha’s free-kick from left was Gill headed in unchallenged past Kalyan Choubey.

In the 66th minute came the goal of the match. Lolendra forwarded to R.P. Singh whose precision through set Prakash free on the left. From the byline Prakash whipped in a low cross which Baretto blasted into the roof of the netting. The equaliser nine minutes later was again due to a slack Bagan defence. Harjinder Singh’s free kick took a deflection and Choubey palmed weakly to Rampal who scored from close.


Calcutta, Dec. 14: 
The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) has issued an ultimatum to the junior players who have sought a break from the training camp being conducted by a North Korean coach at the SAI, Eastern Centre, here.

TTFI vice-president Prabir Mitra today said the players will not be considered for national squads if they continue to disassociate themselves from the camp. Letters to this effect have already been sent, he added.

Mitra informed that Arup Basak, who was asked to show cause for allegations of misbehaviour, has submitted his reply and a decision on him will be taken early next week.

The official added that action may be taken against the Bengal Table Tennis Association for fielding overage players in the on-going national sub-junior and cadet meet in Chennai.


Calcutta, Dec. 14: 
East Bengal, like last season, kick-off against Tollygunge Agragami at Rabindra Sarobar Stadium tomorrow. And this time, they will pray that history doesn’t repeat itself.

For, their nightmarish campaign in the fourth National League started with a 0-1 setback against the same team at the same venue, and the title-aspirants didn’t quite recover from the early blow to finish seventh. Tollygunge, for the record, came eighth despite a string of gallant performances at home. Things have changed since, with Tollygunge losing most of their key players to the Big Two, and East Bengal have beaten them in all four encounters this season so far.

However, Tollygunge are now banking heavily on the re-appointment of coach Amal Dutta. The outspoken veteran, a major force behind Tollygunge’s impressive run last season, quit after the league, but has taken charge once more. His presence has lifted the morale of the team.

This time around, Dutta appears to have a set of compact players in defence and midfield, backed up by a safe pair of hands under the bar. Upfront, however, his resources look limited — a problem East Bengal can’t overlook either. “Our striking ability isn’t that bad and this is their time to prove their mettle,” was how East Bengal coach Syed Nayeemuddin put it. But, on the hindsight, even he can’t ignore the fact that his team has looked better equipped in other areas.

Nayeem has options in midfield and defence, some solid ones too, but his creative forces must click in order to break open what appears to be an extremely cautious defence. “Defence is an important part of the game and you can’t afford to sacrifice it just for the sake of flamboyant football,” said Dutta. Emeka Achilefu, will have to sit out the match as his clearance from Bangladesh arrived late.


EAST BENGAL: Sangram Mukherjee; Sur Kumar Singh, Jackson Egygpong, Deepak Mondal, Ratan Singh; Chandan Das, Suley Mussah, Carlton Chapman, Anit Ghosh; Bijen Singh, Dipendu Biswas.

<TOLLYGUNGE AGRAGAMI: Hemanta Dora/Amit Sinha Roy; Reazul Mustafa, Debasish Pal Chowdhury, Satish Bharti, Partha Sarathi Dey; Sasthi Duley, Abayomi Felix, Napolean Singh, Sandip Das; Abdulateef Seriki, Bhabani Mohanty/Samson Singh.

In tomorrow’s other matches MahindraUnited take on Air india in Mumbai and Salgaocar take on F.C. Kochin in Margao.


Mumbai, Dec. 14: 
The Sorab. Sunderji-trained horse Yewall won the Columbia Plate in close-finish involving Phrwaxshi at the Mumbai races on Thursday. C. Rajendra partnered the winner.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Happy Time Plate 1,400m: (2-3-4) Dou-ble Barrel (Deora) 1; Whispering Rock 2; Salsa Dancer 3. Won by: 3/4; 4; (1-30). Tote: Win Rs 57; Place: 21; 23; Quinella: 154; Tanala: 604. Fav: Salsa Dancer (4).

2. A. Hoyt Plate, Div-II 1,000m: (6-1-3) Desert Moon (Bhati) 1; High Voltage 2; Val Rouge 3. Won by: 3-1/2; 1-1/4; (1-2.2).Tote: Win Rs 30; Place: 17; 14; 17; Quin ella: 93; Tanala: 327. Fav: Desert Moon (6).

3. A. Hoyt Plate, Div-I 1,000m: (5-7-8) Scandalous (Ronald) 1; Mischievous Times 2; Skippy 3. Not run: Robber’s Cave (4) & Loveable Lips (9). Won by: 1; 2-1/4; (1-2.1). Tote: Win Rs 52; Place: 18; 14; 15; Quinella: 77; Tanala: 289. Fav: Mischievous Times (7).

4. Sun Rock Plate 1,200m: (9-5-6) Cotopaxi (Biramne) 1; Evening In Paris 2; Lightning Arrow 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 4; (1-14.9). Tote: Win Rs 90; Place: 26; 160; 15; Quinella: 3,669; Tanala: 23,969. Fav: Amber Wine (3).

5. D. W. Reid Plate 1,400m: (5-6-4) Momentous Mover (Bernard) 1; Waleshan 2; Pussy Cat 3. Won by: 3/4; 4-3/4; (1-28). Tote: Win Rs 38; Place: 17; 31; 19; Quinella: 193; Tanala: 1,471. Fav: Mo-mentous Mover (5).

6. Litteover Trophy 1,000m: (2-1-7) Calpurnia (McCullagh) 1; Abbeydoran 2; Rhythm Divine 3. Won by: 1/2; Dist; (1-0.2 – record). Tote: Win Rs 43; Place: 14; 11; 20; Quinella: 21; Tanala: 200. Fav: Abbeydoran (1).

7. Columbia Plate 1,000m: (4-2-11) Yewall (Rajendra) 1; Phrwaxshi 2; Catch Me If You Can 3. Won by: SH; 5-1/2; (59.9 – record). Tote: Win Rs 26; Place: 14; 24; 25; Quinella: 66; Tanala: 475. Fav: Yewall (4).

8. H. C. Clifton Plate 1,400m: (8-3-7) Among Men (Aaron) 1; Rebounding Ray 2; Declaration Of Love 3. Won by: 5; Hd; (1-26.6). Tote: Win Rs 47; Place: 19; 20; 188; Quinella: 140; Tanala: 21,939. Fav: Fabulous Fortune (6).

Jackpot: Rs 7,200; (C) Rs 579.

Treble: (i Rs 1,829; (ii) Rs 243.

Calcutta, Dec. 14: 
There are eight fillies in the line-up for the 2,400m Usha Stud Calcutta Oaks — the Ladies’ Derby — Saturday’s chief event. First race starts at 12.45 pm.


1. Irma la Douce Plate 1,100m (Terms, maiden 2-year-olds only) 12.45 pm: Automatic 55; Aventura 55; Alvernia 53.5; Calamint 53.5; Maid To Measure 53.5.

2. Lombard Handicap 1,600m (Cl V; Rt. 00-28) 1.15 pm: Acaress 60; The Stud 60; American 59.5; Consul’s Secret 56.5; Crest Star 54; Ballard Lady 50; Prizren 47.

3. Lightning Sketch Handicap 1,400m (Cl IV; Rt. 22-50) 1.55 pm: Black Mane 60; Rheinheart 55.5; Kargil Soldier 54; Magnifico 53; Persuasion 52.5; Rule With Honour 52; Airs Image 51; Sky Hawk 50; Global Harmony 50.

4. Goldfinder Handicap 1,200m (Cl V, 5-year-olds & over; Rt. 00-28) 2.25 pm: Floral Path 61; Heaven’s Blessing 60.5; Royal Ruler 57.5; Run Ahead 57; Breezealla 56.5; Nearco Prince 55; Magic Ring 55.5.

5. T. N. Banerjea Cup 1,200m (Cl III; Rt. 44-72) 3.05 pm: Bountiful Gesture 61; Princelene 59; Sky Command 59; Raaz 57; Ardon 52.5; Cavala 51.5; Added Asset 51; Bold Apparel 51; Storm Trooper 51; Arctic Fancy 50.

6. Usha Stud Calcutta Oaks 2,400m (Terms, 3-year-old fillies only) 3.35 pm: Alterezza 54.5; Alvarada 54.5; Anntari 54.5; Appeaer 54.5; Code Word 54.5; Razana 54.5; Surfside 54.5; Tsaynen Blue 54.5.

7. Easter Parade Handicap 1,100m (Cl IV; Rt. 22-50) 4.05 pm: Endless Surprise 60; Glass Slipper 59; Flying Scot 58.5; Red Trident 58; Bird’s Empire 56.5; Work Order 56.5; Flying Power 53.5; Cancun 51.

Jackpot: 3; 4; 5; 6 & 7.

Treble: (i) 2; 3 & 4; (ii) 5; 6 & 7.


Outer sand track

1,600m: Annatto (C. Alford) in 2-6s; (1,200m) 1- 34s; (400m) 34s. Easy.

1,400m: The Stud (Connorton) and Madame X (Upadhya) in 1-44s; (400m) 30s. Former far better. Abroach (C. Alford) and Airborne (A. P. Singh) in 1-43s; (400m) 32s. Both level. Freedom Dancer (A. P. Singh) and Anolini (C. Alford) in 1-42s; (400m) 30s. Former better. Wandering Warrior (Rb) in 1-47s; (400m) 35s. Allodium (C. Alford) and High Life (Rabani) in 1-40s; (400m) 32s. Former far better.

1,200m: All Game (Khalander) in 1-31s; (400m) 30s. Fit. Cancun (Khalander) and Acaress (C. Alford) in 1-32s; (400m) 30s. Former 4 ls better. Cool Quest (Khalander) in 1-27s; (400m) 30s. Good.

1,000m: Sky Command (G. Singh) in 1-13s; (400m) 28s. Easy. A 2yo Metal Precieux/Leprechaun Act (Engineer) in 1-16s; (400m) 30s. Surfside (Khalander) in 1-17s; (400m) 29s. Easy.

800m: Gentle Priest (Rabani) and Sebastian (Islam) in 1-0s; (400m) 33s. Former far better. Code Word (A. Imran) in 58s; (400m) 29s. Fit. Endless Surprise (Rb) in 57s; (400m) 28s. Good. Little Too Much (A. Imran) in 58s; (400m) 30s. Easy. Eau Savage ( Shanker) in 59s; (400m) 28s. Fit. Ardon (A. Imran) in 57s; (400m) 29s. Easy. Ballard Lady (A. Imran) and Arctic Fancy (Brij) in 57s; (400m) 29s. Former better. Stately Honour (Haroon) and Neelanjana (G. Singh) in 58s; (400m) 30s. Former better. Bountiful Gesture (C. Alford) in 54s; (400m) 27s. Good. Global Harmony (Yacoob) in 58s; (400m) 30s. Mystic Hill (Amil) in 55s; (400m) 28s. Handy. Airs Image (A. Imran) in 57s; (400m) 29s.

Sand track

800m: Mameena (Rb) and Joe The Pro (Connorton) in 51s; (400m) 24s. Former a length better. Added Asset (A. Imran) in 51s; (400m) 24s. Note.    

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