I’ll draw inspiration from Srinath and Warne: Kumble
Sourav, Wright rue missing Kumble
Crunch ties on cards
Reduced ticket rates till final
Calcutta CCC enter final
Amateur golf from Saturday
Fazal knocks out 4th seed; Srinath in 2nd round too
Tanya in semis
Track Trials/ Tequila Shot, Reactor shine
Race Review/ Favourites continue to dominate

Calcutta, Jan.16: 
Anil Kumble, currently in Johannesburg, had plans to watch tomorrow’s South Africa-Sri Lanka ODI there in person.

Instead, the top-bracket leg spinner will be admitted to the Rosebank Clinic, which houses the Centre for Sports Medicine, for surgery on the right shoulder which may keep him off cricket for four more months.

Out of action since end-October, Kumble’s return could only be on the proposed tour of Sri Lanka (end-July onwards). He is certain to miss the home series versus Australia and the tri-series in Sharjah. In all probability, the tour to Zimbabwe as well.

For Indian cricket in general and the Sourav Ganguly-John Wright combine in particular, it’s a body-blow.

The surgeon’s cap tomorrow morning will be worn by Dr Mark Fergusson, South Africa’s leading orthopaedic specialist, who gave the scalpel-treatment to Jawagal Srinath too, back in 1997.

“There’s no option... To move ahead in my career, I’ve got to undergo this surgery...” Kumble told The Telegraph this afternoon, when contacted on his lost-and-found cell phone.

Speaking from a friend’s residence (incidentally, he has been staying with the Indian team’s physio-cum-physical trainer Andrew Leipus), Kumble added: “At the moment, I’m feeling pretty okay... Will I be nervous or anxious as the surgery draws near? Well, I hope not.”

Certainly calm for now, Kumble remarked he had been “mentally prepared” for surgery from his arrival in Jo’Burg itself, last Monday.

“That it would be so was decided upon by Dr Fergusson yesterday... I’ve accepted it. For sportsmen, surgery is an occupational hazard, quite like injuries.”

According to Kumble, 30, the surgery will take “around an hour” and he will have to spend a day at the Clinic.

“I’m looking at this episode in life positively... I can, after all, return stronger. In any case, I’ll draw inspiration from Sri (Srinath) and Shane Warne, in particular. Both didn’t allow shoulder surgery to hamper their career. In fact, I intend speaking to Sri tonight.”

Kumble added: “I’m not, however, going to make a hurried comeback... I know I’ll have to religiously follow the rehab programme, in the months immediately after surgery and, yes, life won’t really be the same again.”

There will, of course, be a million and more prayers to help Kumble return the same bowler who has already taken 550 wickets (276 in Tests, 274 in ODIs) in cricket’s premier division.

While the debate over whether his five-month stint with Leicestershire, last summer, caused most of the damage will continue, Kumble himself said: “Bowling continuously for a decade is bound to cause wear and tear.”

Kumble’s maiden India appearance was in April, 1990.

But if the pain had been surfacing on-and-off, for some time, why didn’t he take a break much before end-October (during the last tri-series in Sharjah)?

“That’s because it was only a niggle... Even in Sharjah, I thought a couple of days rest and some gym work would see it disappear. Yet, there’s pain even today.”

Kumble informed his brother (and his most passionate backer) Dinesh will be joining him “in a couple of days,” but there are no plans for his wife or parents to jet across.

At least, not now.

“I intend returning home in a fortnight, once I can use the right arm... (After a pause) I’m deeply disappointed I won’t be part of the team against Australia, specially, but there’s nothing I can do... Is this all destiny? To an extent, perhaps... It’s more an occupational hazard, though.”

Just this once, Kumble did betray some emotion. But, then, even though he has bagged all ten wickets in a Test innings (like Jim Laker), he still is human.


Calcutta, Jan.16: 
For the past couple of months, Sourav Ganguly had a one-point agenda specific to Anil Kumble: That he would be rested till the Australia series.

Today, it’s been confirmed Kumble will miss not only that high-profile series, but other engagements as well.

“We’ll have to make do with whoever is at hand... Anil would have been a big factor, but what to do?” was the India captain’s response, when contacted by The Telegraph on his return from Chennai late this evening.

Sourav, however, added he wasn’t too surprised with the news that Kumble would have to undergo surgery.

“Anil’s injury didn’t look good and, so, it’s not a bolt from the blue...” the India captain remarked.


Calcutta, Jan. 16: 
A good part of the Sahara Cup will be decided tomorrow here when Chile meet Uzbekistan and Japan take on Bahrain in their group IV ties at the Salt Lake Stadium.

The champions of group IV go on to meet the runners-up of group II, Iceland, while the runners-up of group IV meet Jordan, who emerged group III winners today with an all-win record (they beat Hong Kong 2-0 today).

Going by the form book, and expecting no great surprise in tomorrow’s matches, Chile are expected to top the city group while the kids from Japan are most likely to follow them in the group table.

Bahrain are as good as lost, and Uzbekistan still have an outside chance, but are certainly not the fancied team.

To be theoretically correct, neither team has moved out of contention yet, but the margins with which they need to win if they have to move ahead from where they are now makes all such equations improbable.

Chile are professionals to the boot. They practised in the morning on their hotel lawn, and one expects them to keep at it as they have been, on earlier occasions.

However, then coach Nelson Acosta Lopez decided on some further workouts, so about three hours after lunch the team landed at the SAI Eastern Centre for more.

Acosta had yesterday expressed his disappointment over his forward line after the match versus Bahrain where Chile could win only 2-0.

“I am not happy with the left, right or any side of the attack line,” he had said. He insisted that he will not be taking the match versus Uzbekistan lightly. When asked whether he was thinking on the lines of a watered down team for tomorrow’s match, Acosta had emphasised: “No, the first team, and the full team.”

His only problem would be a few players who are on single bookings. Having the quarter final Iceland match in mind, he would want to protect a few of them from further damage.

Tapia has spread his name far and wide. That makes for a few problems in a competitive setup. Any team worth its salt would be heavily marking this attacker.

Fernando Martel has come up as an alternative gateway for goals for the South American nation, and one could see more of Martel tomorrow.

Moises Villarroel, who came in only in the second half yesterday, is likely to be on the pitch tomorrow, his injury not having further aggravated. That should pep up the half line further and those lull periods that one noticed during the match versus Japan would not be around.

Coming back from their demoralising 0-2 loss to Japan, the Uzbeks thrashed a hapless Bahrain 5-0, with Bahadir Annamatov and Oybek Usmankhodjaev scoring twice each. These are the two who remain the players to watch for Chile, apart from Aleksey Zhadanov.

The Uzbeks practised at the hotel this morning before going on a little sightseeing tour. There seems to be a slight slack in attitude, but they are also a set of pros and it would be only wise for the Chileans to keep home as tight as possible.

Japan, as their chief coach Toshiro Taki said, “are a trifle tired, but steady enough for the job at hand tomorrow. The injury problems are none too serious and should not come in the way of our performance tomorrow.”

He discounted the fact that there was a possibility of taking Bahrain lightly and that there would be a pared down side taking them on.

“This match is as important as any,” he said. Probably he has accepted the fact that his team is destined to finish second in the group.

Japan practised for nearly one and-a-half hours at the SAI this afternoon and the thrust of it all was set-piece moves. They went over and over this, probably trying to make amends for the several misses that have come their way in tardy shootings and off attack-line man shortages.

Chile take the field tomorrow in the first match, Japan and Bahrain come in next.


Calcutta, Jan. 16: 
The reduction in rates of tickets — Rs 15 for the Rs 50 and Rs 30 for the Rs 75 — announced for tomorrow’s Sahara Cup double-header at the Salt Lake Stadium, has now been extended to cover all match days till the semi-finals.

Rates of tickets for the final has also been reduced — to Rs 20 and Rs 40.

All tickets will be available from tomorrow at the AIFF office in the Netaji Indoor Stadium complex, at counters at Gate No. 1 and 4 of the Salt Lake Stadium and at SBI branches at Howrah, Ultadanga, Elgin Road, Baghbazar, Ballygunge, Jadavpur University, Narkeldanga, Behala and Park Street.


Calcutta, Jan. 16: 
Calcutta CCC and Murshidabad District Sports Development Association set up a clash for the CAB junior (115 points) title. Calcutta CCC swept past Sonarpur Sporting Union by three wickets, while the Murshidabad outfit crushed Bournvita Cricket Academy by nine wickets in semi-final clashes today.


Sonarpur Sporting Union 265 for 9 (40 overs) (Dip Chatterjee 83, Soumik Shome 55 n.o., Avijit Karmakar 46; Samudranil Sarkar 3/52). Calcutta Cricket Coaching Centre, Rabindra Sarobar 267 for 7 (38.3 overs) (Debraj Roy 130, Soumen Roy 60; Soumik 3/60). Calcutta CCC won by 3 wkts.

Bournvita Cricket Academy 254 for 8 (40 overs) (Arka Sinha Roy 70, Dipanjan Mustafi 52, Iftikar Rahman 35; Sahan Ghosh 3/45). Mushidabad District Sports Development Association 257 for 1 (38.3 overs) (Subhrajyoti Bhaduri 84 n.o., Soumya Gupta 76 n.o., Sahan 71). MDSDA won by 9 wkts.

Tie in CAB knockout

George Telegraph and Calcutta Port Trust finished tied on 248 in a CAB senior knockout game today.

With both teams losing eight wickets, the CAB will now have to delve deep into their rule books to decide the fate of the match. It’ll be sad if it comes down to the toss of the coin.

Wari AC had no such problems as young opener Arindam Das hammered an unbeaten 107 that helped his team crush Rangers in a third-round match.

Also making it to the fourth round were Mohammedan Sporting and Shibpur Institute. Dakshin Kalikata Sansad won a second-round match against Mohunlal.

In a CAB senior league match, Aryan Club completed a fluent win over Belgachia United at the Tala Park.

Belgachia had been shot out for 179 yesterday with wicketkeeper Pulak Das taking seven catches.


(senior division league)

Belgachia United 179. Aryan Club (overnight 67 for 1) 180 for 2 (Hansmukh Patel 75 n.o., Dipak Singh 64). Aryan won by 8 wkts.

(Senior knockout)

Mohunlal Club 222 for 9 (45 ovs) (Avdesh Srivastav 51; Mohit Kaushal 3/40). Dakshin Kalikata Sansad 223 for 4 (Kalyan Dhal 84, Pitambar Dutta 49 n.o.). DKS won by 6 wkts.

Excelsiors 212 for 9 (45 ovs) (Moloy Sarkhel 61 n.o.). Shibpur Institute 213 for 4 (Kinshuk Das 56, Kaushik Bhattacharya 53). Shibpur won by 6 wkts.

Mohammedan Sporting 309 for 6 (45 ovs) (Sandeep Rawat 69, Mohammed Ariz 55, Zeeshan Jafri 55, Khursheed Ahmed Khan 49). Eastern Railway 212 for 8 (45 overs) (Shahid Ali Khan 66 n.o., Krishnendu Dey 31; Prakash Shukla 4/48) . Md. Sp. won by 97 runs.

George Telegraph 248 for 8 (Amitava Roy 55, B.K. Mazumdar 41, Subhranil Shome 36; Soumen Singh 5/44). Calcutta Port Trust 248 for 8 (Uday Srivastav 58 n.o.; Khagen Patra 3/35). Match tied.

Calcutta Rangers Club 206 (44.1 ovs) (Ram Kripal Singh 52 n.o.; Kamlesh Singh Rajput 3/36). Wari AC 210 for 2 (33.3 overs) (Arindam Das 107 n.o., Prabal Dutta 50 n.o., Aurijit Basu 32). Wari won by 8 wkts.


Calcutta, Jan. 16: 
Edition No. 6 of the Royal Challenge Invitation Golf Cup, at the Royal, will be held from Saturday through January 27.

Sponsored by Shaw Wallace and Company Ltd, brand owner of the Royal Challenge Premium Whisky, the meet is open to amateurs with the handicap varying from 1-24 for men and 1 to 36 for women.

Around 150 four-member teams (including one from Bhutan) have already entered. The cut-off for entries, according to Royal captain Lakshman Singh, is 180 teams.

It’s possible the tournament may have a more appreciable international flavour.

The meet has been a big hit over the years and the up-coming edition should be no different. The golfers apart, it has kept the sponsors happy.

As A.K.M.A. Shamsuddin, of Shaw Wallace, put it: “It’s a matter of pride for us to be holding a tournament of this size and stature.”


Calcutta, Jan. 16: 
Syed Fazaluddin caused the lone upset in first-round action of the $10,000 ITF Futures tournament today. The wild-card entrant, ranked 677, conquered fourth seed Suwandi Suwandi (No. 420) 7-5, 6-3 in front of home fans at the South Club.

It was a good win for Fazal, who has had more success in doubles of late. He next takes on Briton Luke Milligan who beat Slovak Viktor Bruthans 6-2, 6-2.

Prahlad Srinath, the only Indian to get a direct entry, notched up a 7-5, 6-2 win over Briton Oliver Freelove. Plagued by injuries and poor form in the last few months, the Mysore man couldn’t have hoped for a better start to the new year.

The four other Indians — local boy Saurav Panja, Vishal Uppal, Mustafa Ghouse and Vijay Kannan — all bowed out in straight sets.

Tomashevic fined

Second seed Dmitri Tomashevic (No. 367) advanced to the round of 16 but not before throwing a tantrum and earning a code violation warning as well as a fine.

The Uzbek player, displeased with a line call in the tie-break of the deciding set, argued with the chair umpire, pulled out a net-stick and threw it away after failing to get the call reversed in his favour.

Russian Artem Derepasko, who was to have been the top seed here, failed to show up. His place — at the top of the draw — went to lucky loser Fred Hemmes.

The Dutchman celebrated his unexpected ‘promotion’ with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Russian qualifier Dmitri Sitak.

In doubles, tops seeds Fazal and Tomashevic squeezed out a 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 win over Slovakia duo Tomas Janci and Michal Varsanyi last night. The Indo-Uzbek duo won the crown in Jorhat last week.


SINGLES, 1st round: Fred Hemmes (Ned) bt Dmitri Sitak (Rus) 2-6, 6-4, 6-2; Iker Bilbao (Spa) bt Saurav Panja (Ind) 6-2, 6-4; Michal Navratil (Cze) bt Mustafa Ghouse (Ind) 6-4, 6-4; Juraj Hasko (Svk) bt Denis Gremelmayr (Ger) 6-3, 6-4; Martin Spottl (Aut) bt Vijay Kannan (Ind) 6-4, 6-1; Fabio Maggi (Ita) bt Sergei Krotiouk (Rus) 6-3, 6-1; Jaroslav Levinsky (Cze) bt Susilo Hendri (Ina) 6-4, 6-3; Vincente Allegre (Fra) bt Vishal Uppal (Ind) 6-4, 6-4; Luke Milligan (GBR) bt Viktor Bruthans (Svk) 6-2, 6-2; Syed Fazaluddin (Ind) bt Suwandi Suwandi (Ina) 7-5, 6-3; Prahlad Srinath (Ind) bt Oliver Freelove (GBR) 7-5, 6-2; Andreas Fasching (Aut) bt James Nelson (GBR) 6-1, 6-1; Dmitri Tomashevic (Uzb) bt Marwan Zewar (Egy) 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4).    

Calcutta, Jan. 16: 
Tanya Ahuja, top seed in girls’ under-16, crushed A. Sakseria 7-0 to move into the semi-finals of the Runglee Rungliot age-group tennis tournament at the Ordnance Club today,. She was joined by Devanshi Rajgharia with a 7-2 win over Arpita Das. Shukla Burman defeated Kanupriya Rajgharia 7-5, while Puja Paul upset second seed Rupsa Roy 7-6 (7/2).

In the boys’ under-16 Sabyasachi Bose beat Akshay Bajoria 8-3. In boys’ under-14, Farid Alam tamed A. Bandopadhyay 9-4, while Biplab Das swept past T. Alam Khan 8-3 to book quarters berths.


Calcutta, Jan 16: 
Tequila Shot and Reactor were impressive when the following horses worked today:

Outer sand track

1,400m: Russian Czar (Rutherford) in 1-51s; (400m) 31s. Earl Grey (Engineer) in 1-51s; (400m) 32s.

1,200m: Prince Obolensky (Connorton) in 1-31s; (400m) 32s. Auctioneer (C. Alford) in 1-26s; (400m) 31s. Fit. Freeatlast (Upadhya) in 1-29s; (400m) 30s.

800m: Starry Flag (Rabani) in 55s; (400m) 27s. Was pushed. Tequila Shot (G. Singh) and Reactor (Shanker) in 57s; (400m) 30s. They were level and were impressive.

Sand track

1,400m: Pure Energy (Rutherford) in 1-38s; (400m) 29s. Moved well.

1,000m: Red Trident (Rutherford) in 1-15s; (400m) 30s.

800m: Pure Passion (P. Alford) 55s; (400m) 27s. Adeline (Brij S.) and Supreme Desire (Saran) in 59s; (400m) 26s. They were level. Santillana (Gowli) in 1-0s; (400m) 31.    

Calcutta, Jan 16: 
The pattern of racing since New Year’s Day continues to favour punters. And last Saturday was no exception when four of the six heavily backed horses made it to the wire. It is a different matter that bookmakers rued the victory of one such favourite, Actress in the opener, the Baqlava Cup, which could have gone to Ammeter had her jockey, Md. Amil, been a little more enterprising in the saddle.

Actress dictated terms from the start until Ammeter came abreast of the even-money favourite 300m from home. It was only a half-hearted effort thereafter as Amil pushed his ride all right but refused take out the stick, while Cristopher used the whalebone freely. The two horses were engaged in a neck-to-neck duel up the entire stretch. A crack or two in the final stages could have done some justice to Ammeter’s followers.

Nevertheless, racing on the whole was quite enjoyable and Cristopher’s handling of his three other winners — Magnifico in the Theogundy Handicap, Ashbury in the Sheridan Handicap and Annatto in the chief event of the afternoon, the Police Commis-sioner’s Cup was immaculate.

An alert Cristopher made An-natto shoot out of the pack in the final 300 metres. The jockey’s timing was so perfect that the late challenge from Stately Don and Alyssum was countered effectively. Cristopher was still enjoying a little over two-length leeway when his main rivals started gaining ground on the wide out. The Vijay Singh-trainee posted a length-plus victory — his third on the local track.

Magnifico, a 4-1 shot, was ridden in check for a purposeful result. Ridden virtually into the ground and failing as a favourite in last his start, Magnifico made up good ground from mid-bunch when presented with a wide opening along the rails. The four-year-old was quick to grab opportunity as shot into the lead nearing the distance-post. Diplomatic Gesture finished full of running only to sensationalise the issue as he failed by a decisive half-a-length verdict.

The one, however, to impress most in defeat was the Daniel David-ward Orbital Star. The four-year-old filly, after a slow start, finished a bottled-up sixth to serve a notice of her coming victory.

Ashbury just completed the formality of winning. The Gold Discovery-Rose Of Sharon four-year-old was the hottest favourite in the card and rightly so after his good second to Alvarada in the monsoon Derby. In fact, Daniel’s ward had remained luckless during the wet season as he came across one better in each of her four outing. She ought to be in a higher class and winning, as well.

Cristopher was, however, at a receiving end on Automatic in the the juvenile race, the Galstaun Cup which was won by Aiberni, a debutante. Carrying penalty for his last win, Automatic just about failed to collar the H. S. Bath-trainee who won from the start.

A good second in her last outing and yet unfancied, because of the raw apprentice Dalpat Singh in the saddle, Aflicker claimed the Birthday Book Handicap. The young jockey demonstrated strong nerves as he notched up his maiden victory. Also because he kept the Bath-trainee pushing when Consul’s Secret came abreast with a threatening run to take the issue to the photo-judges. Nevertheless, Consul’s Secret has now come to hand and may do something meaningful when suitably placed.


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