New work culture under Wright
Psychologist’s role undecided
Villamayor beats Barua, in lead
Alokendu (147) takes EB home
Pankaj Roy remembered
Sunil, Sania emerge champions at ITF junior meet
Geeta Chanu in final
Calcutta Races/ RCTC makes charity show a success
Mumbai Races/ Simply Noble for Sprinters’ Trophy
Bangalore Races/ Sathish Narredu joins 1000 club

Chennai, Feb. 10: 
Two sessions a day would be the exception not the norm in conditioning camps till 2000. However, things are different in coach John Wright’s first camp: Two sessions is the norm; one the exception.

This latest conditioning camp, ahead of the record-busting Australians’ visit, got underway Wednesday and will conclude tomorrow. Unless, of course, a clutch of top guns are asked by the Board (at Wright’s suggestion) to stay back on conclusion of the February 12-15 Hero Honda Challenger.

Incidentally, the first Test gets underway February 27 in Mumbai and, as of now, the shortlisted XIV will assemble there on February 20-21.

“Basically, we need to work more,” Wright told The Telegraph in matter of fact manner. Indeed, Indian cricket’s first overseas coach is delivering on his promise to have a “focussed” camp and, in the process, has exposed the dramatis personae to a vastly different work culture.

There have been days when both sessions have been held at the lovely IIT-Chemplast ground, deep inside the sprawling IIT campus, while on other days session No.2 has been at the MRF Pace Academy. The emphasis in the afternoon sessions has always been on fielding, a priority for Wright.

In between the sessions is the mandatory half-hour “cooling down” at the Taj Connemara swimming pool and the day ends with around 60-75 minutes of “cricket talk” late in the evening. It’s a packed 12 hours beginning with the 7.30 am team breakfast.

In yet another departure from tradition, Wright had a set of batsmen tackling a set of bowlers in simulated match conditions this morning. The Australians do this quite often.

“Yes, it’s different from the other camps... Better thought of and executed. Frankly, there’s no free moment,” remarked captain Sourav Ganguly, speaking exclusively.

Echoing much the same thoughts, national selector Ashok Malhotra added: “The beauty is that everybody is kept involved... While a match of sorts is being played, all the attention isn’t just there — one set of batsmen and bowlers are also busy at the traditional nets.”

Wright has also been utilising the services of Anil Kumble — obviously, not as bowler, but as unofficial nets in-charge — who is recuperating from surgery on his right shoulder. That Kumble would be at the conditioning camp, for physiotherapy under Andrew Leipus’ guidance, was first reported in these columns last month.

Significantly, Wright doesn’t differentiate between the top guns and rookies. As the workload is uniform, newcomers get encouraged to put in that extra bit. Wright, for instance, is particularly pleased with the “attitude” of Jammu & Kashmir quick Surinder Singh and Tamil Nadu spinner Balaji Rao — rookies both.

Making an “excellent impression,” by the way, has been Delhi’s left-arm new-ball bowler Ashish Nehra. Just about everybody is talking about him and it seems Nehra (first picked two years ago) is going to run Zaheer Khan very close when the selectors meet on February 19.

In any case, Zaheer appears to be having a fitness problem.

That, however, doesn’t seem to be a real big worry. The top worry still revolves around spin bowling. Actually there’s disappointment that none of the seven specialist spinners (including veteran Venkatapathi ‘Muscles’ Raju), in the probables’ pool of 25, has quite promised to run through the Australians.

Wright and Sourav hope to feel better after the India A versus Australia match in Nagpur (February 17-19), where three spinners — Harbhajan Singh, Rahul Sanghvi and Balaji — are set to be fielded.

Robin to lead India B

Meanwhile, the selectors today appointed local hero Robin Singh the India B captain for the Challenger. Robin replaces Sachin Tendulkar, who asked the quintet to allow him play as an ordinary member of India B only.

Sourav will lead India Senior, while Rahul Dravid is the India A captain.


Chennai, Feb. 10: 
Coach John Wright had a surprise visitor at the IIT-Chemplast ground this afternoon: Balasubramanium Ganesh Kumar, a local psychologist who briefly worked with the Indian team last year.

As it was then (specifically during the Bangalore Test against South Africa), Kumar has been “advised” by Board president A.C. Muthiah to make himself available.

However, it remains to be seen whether Kumar will either have sessions on a regular basis or even travel with the squad. Quite a few teams have taken the psychologist-route, but Wright doesn’t appear quite convinced that only a professional can motivate individuals better.

“On a personal level, players are free to consult who they wish, but... In any case, I’m not really in favour of the support-team (the coach himself, manager Chetan Chauhan and physio Andrew Leipus) getting too big... Really, I’ll leave it to the boys,” Wright told The Telegraph.

In fact, Wright’s approach is quite like that of England coach Duncan Fletcher who, too, doesn’t like many ‘outsiders’ in and around the dressing room.

Wright, of course, has asked Kumar to come tomorrow afternoon — in the circumstances, the politically correct thing to do. But, just how much of a role he will play, is open to question.

Kumar, 33, was a leg-spinner in school and, more recently, once “interacted” with Viswanathan Anand, when the present world chess champion came to one of the clinics Kumar is associated with.

Irrespective of who is impressed and who isn’t, Kumar’s mantra is simple: Wear a positive attitude. And, yes, “rule over your emotions, don’t be ruled by them.”


Calcutta, Feb. 10: 
Buenavent Villamayor of The Philippines emerged sole leader with a win over GM Dibyendu Barua in the fifth round of the Goodricke International Open chess meet on a day of upsets at Gorky Sadan today.

Nassir Wajih and P.D.S. Girinath — both Railways — derailed GM Dmitri Komarov of the Ukraine and GM Normund Miezis of Latvia, respectively,

Wajih spurned Komarov’s truce offer in the irregular variation of the Sicilian defence. He won two pawns in the centre and had a kingside attack as well, in a queen and rook versus queen and rook ending. Unable to avoid the inevitable, Komarov resigned without any further resistance.

Girinath beat Miezis in a Dutch defence in 30 moves with the black pieces.

In other upsets, IM Dinesh Kr Sharma held fourth seed GM Tomasz Markowski of Poland to a draw in 27 moves of a Reti Opening, while unrated Lungu Malupande of Zambia outplayed IM Alexei Khamatgaleev of Russia in a four knights defence.

On the top board Barua, playing black against Villamayor, obtained a superior position in a Catalan Opening by sacrificing a pawn on c5. He lost two pawns after an incorrect continuation in the middle game. Thereafter Barua had a trying time as he desperately tried to salvage a draw. Villamayor frustrated all his efforts and won the game in 53 moves.

On the second board, GM Maxim Sorokin went down to Joseph G. Gallagher of Switzerland in a four knights defence. Sorokin lost a pawn in the middle game after which his position became inferior. He resigned on after 43 moves when faced with the loss of a piece.

All eyes today, however, were on the game between a mentor and his pupil — Evegeny Vladimirov and P. Harikrishna.

Vladimirov, who has coached the Indian youngster, won a rook for a bishop in the middle game, but Harikrishna had a passed pawn on the a file which tied down Vladimirov’s king and rook.

All Vladimirov’s efforts to further improve his position proved futile as Harikrishna defended well, forcing the peace treaty to be signed. Harikrishna faces Ziaur Rahaman of Bangladesh in an all important game tomorrow — both have two GM norms to their credit and are vying for a third in this meet.

National champion GM Abhijit Kunte rejected the draw offer of GM Victor Mikhalevski and then went on to lose the game on time.

“I was so engrossed in the game that I forgot that there was a thing called a chess clock,” Kunte said afterwards.

IM Lanka Ravi drew against IM Eshan Ghaem Maghami of Iran, while double GM norm holder G.B. Prakash outplayed IM elect Vishal Sareen in a Dutch defence in 30 moves.


Buenavent Villamayor 4.5 bt Dibyendu Barua 3.5; Joseph G. Gallagher 4 drew with Maxim Sorokin 3.5; Evegeny Vladimirov 3.5 drew with P Harikrishna 3.5; Victor Mikhalevski 4 bt Abhijit Kunte 3; Eshan Ghaem Maghami 3.5 drew with Lanka Ravi 3.5; Nassir Wajih 4 bt Dmitri Komarov 2.5; Andrei Kharlov 3.5 bt Jayant Gokhale 2.5; Abdulla Al-Rakib 2.5 lost to Igor Rausis 3.5; Alexei Barsov 3.5 drew with N Sanjay 2.5; R.B. Ramesh 3.5 bt Koneru Humpy 2.5.


Ziaur Rahaman 3.5 bt Arghyadip Das 2.5; Gurpreetpal Singh 2.5 lost to Sandipan Chanda 3.5; Neelotpal Das 2.5 drew with Saheli Dhar Barua 2.5; Surya Sekhar Ganguly 1.5 lost to Rahul Shetty 2.5; Shankar Roy 1.5 lost to S. Vijayalakshmi 2.5; Saptarshi Roy 1.5 lost to K Murugan 2.5; Saheli Nath 0.5 lost to Amon Simutowe 1.5.


Calcutta, Feb. 10: 
Alokendu Lahiri blasted 147, his fourth century of the season, as East Bengal beat Wari AC by seven wickets in a CAB League match today.

East Bengal, who didn’t turn up at the Burnpur ground to play the hosts a few days ago, will play them at the same venue next Wednesday-Thursday.


Wari AC 260 in 82.1 ovs. East Bengal 263/3 in 73.3 ovs (Alokendu Lahiri 147, Avijit Chatterjee 32, Ajoy Verma 30). East Bengal won by 7 wkts.

Rajasthan Club 246 (Afzal Siddique 126; Rajib Dutta 6/82). Tapan Memorial 120/4 (Samrad Akhtar 2/29).

Netaji Subhas Institute 330 (Biswanath Bose 122, Kaushik Banerjee 64; Prasenjit Pramanick 4/104, Kalyan Guha 3/5). Calcutta Rangers 1/0.

Ballygunge United 210 in 70.3 ovs (Nirban Goswami 44, Shibnath Samanta 41; Vijay Talreja 4/28, Sanjay Das 2/35, Arghya Maitra 2/40, Tapan Mallick 2/33). Manohar Milan Samity 39/0 in 13 ovs.

CAB knockout meet

Calcutta Customs beat Calcutta Port Trust by three wickets in a CAB knockout tie today.

BRIEF SCORES: Port Trust 210 (Soumen Singh 48, Indra Chakraborty 44). Calcutta Customs 197 (Prasenjit Ganguly 63). CPT won by 3 wkts.


Calcutta, Feb. 10: 
Pankaj Roy may have left for his heavenly abode last Sunday but his legacy remains. Speakers at the condolence meeting, organised by the CAB today, expressed just that.

Roy was remembered through various incidents and memories narrated by those who knew him personally or otherwise.

Premangshu Chatterjee, who has played under him for 12 years in the Ranji Trophy said, “He was a wonderful capatin and it’s a different matter that he never got the recognition he deserved. I remember he would notice weaknesses of batsmen and point it out to his bowlers, always trying to help.”

CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya pointed out that statistics never show the cricketer’s right potential. “Pankajda’s average at the end of his career was 32.56, but we all know that he was a greater player than that. In fact he would have scored a double century during his record stand with Vinoo Mankad against New Zealand, only that he had received a chit from the dressing room asking him to hit out,” he said.

Former Bengal captain Raju Mukherjee mentioned an instance when four top West Indian bowlers had named Roy as the best Indian batsman they had played against.

Roy Gilchrist, Lester King, Chester Watson and Charlie Stayors, had come to the country to give fast bowling practice to the Indians. They were thereafter requested to stay back and represent four different zones with King playing for Bengal.

Among others to attend the meeting were Biswanath Dutta, Chandi Ganguly, Sambaran Banerjee, Gurbux Singh, Prakash Poddar, Palash Nandy, Barun Barman and Devang Gandhi.


Calcutta, Feb. 10: 
Top seeds Sunil Kumar and Sania Mirza emerged champions in the ITF junior tennis meet at DKS today. At the receiving end were two city-based players, Vinod Sewa and Reedhina Parekh.

Kumar was inconsistent in the match against Sewa but salvaged a 6-3, 7-5 win in 78 minutes. Sania’s victory was more convincing and she once again played some whipping groundstrokes to complete a 6-1, 6-4 win in 50 minutes.

The winners collected 40 ranking points each with the runners-ups picking up 30.

Kumar and Sewa teamed up later to beat qualifiers Manoj Sewa and Dhruv Kumar 6-4, 6-4 in the doubles final.

The boys’ and girls’ finals were contrasting affairs as Kumar and Sewa both committed a number of errors but there was no element of doubt about who the boss was in the girls’ final.

Shaky to begin with, Sania double-faulted twice in the first game to drop serve but sailed through the next six games in less than 15 minutes. The 14-year-old played some whipping forehand winners from the baseline and passed Reedhina comfortably whenever she ventured upwards.

Relaxing a little after an easy opening set, Sania dropped serve in the second game after breaking Reedhina in the first and the local girl put up some resistance after that. Keeping more balls on court, Reedhina also hit the odd winner but her rival was never under pressure. She tried to keep Sania’s backhand busy but was heavily punished whenever Sania got the chance to free her forehand.

The break came in the ninth game but Sania could seal her fourth ITF title only after wasting four match points. “I hurt my ankle in the final game,” she explained, considering this meet to be easier than at least two of her earlier title triumphs.

In a match where both players committed several errors, Sewa broke Kumar in the first game only to see the left-hander hit back in the next.

Kumar survived three double faults and a break point in the third to hold serve and got the crucial break in the ninth game. Kumar did slip in the odd forehand winner but rarely moved up despite forcing suitable situations on several occasions.

“I was wary of his strong passing shots,” revealed Kumar after winning his fourth ITF crown which came a year after he had bagged three in a row.

Sewa got his chance to fight back and broke Kumar in the second game of the second set on way to a 3-1 lead before dropping serve in the fifth. Kumar broke him again in the 11th game but faced a stern test of character in the next.

Jumar wasted three match-points and survived five break-points before finally winning , as Sewa failed to return an angular forehand shot.


Calcutta, Feb. 10: 
Bengal’s Geeta Chanu has reached the 45kg final in the first national women’s boxing championship in Chennai. According to information received here, Sanjukta Ghosh (57kg) and Malati Ghosh (81kg) has secured bronze medals.

In the boys’ sub-junior championship, Bengal’s Santosh Dom and Raj Bhujal won gold medals. Adesh Singh, Bishnu Chhetri, Papu Rajak and Biswanath Debnath have picked up bronze medals.

Baidya for meet

Bengal’s top player Arup Baidya will take part in the Lalit Mitra Memorial state ranking badminton meet which started today at Anusilan Samity. Baidya’s inclusion displaces Amandeep Sekhri as top seed.

In today’s action, Arijit Saha beat Arup Das 15-5, 15-0 in the under-11 boys section. Prosenjit Ghose blanked J. Roy 15-0, 15-0 and Dipanjan Saha defeated Trinankur Nath 15-3, 15-6 in the same division.

BHA league

Calcutta Rangers overcame Calcutta Parsee Club 4-0 in a BHA first division B league match today. Shaun D’Rezoria scored two with Bradley William and Brandon Chen one each for Calcutta Rangers.

In another match, Sporting Union beat Police AC 3-1. Subir Pan scored two goals and Shakti Singh one for the winners. Hardip Singh got one back for Police AC.

Postal football

Karnataka thrashed Maharashtra 5-2 in the 14th all-India postal football meet at the SAI today. In the other match, Rajasthan got past Haryana 1-0.


Calcutta, Feb. 10: 
Thanks to efforts put in by RCTC, its ‘members,’ bookmakers, professionals, racegoers and cine stars, the funds collected for the Gujarat earthquake victims, at today’s races, made it a sizeable packet. The likes of Munmun Sen, her daughter Raima, and choreographer Tanushree Shanker were seen mingling with the race crowd seeking their contributions. In excess of Rs 5 lakh is expected to go for the noble cause, according to the RCTC sources.

The fund raising drive started soon after the second race when the Vijay Singh-trained hot-favourite, Aloritz, walked away with the H. H. Maharaja Jagaddipendra Narayan Bhup Bahadur of Cooch Behar Memorial Cup which was presented by young Raima. Cristopher Alford, who partnered Aloritz, also booted home three more winners — Adeline and Crucible — for Vijay and Queen’s Logic for H. S. Bath.

Note: Following failure of confirmatory drug test of his ward Ansbach, winner of the Indian Produce Stakes on January 1, trainer Vijay Singh has been suspended for 15 days. The stewards, RCTC, further fined him Rs 25,000 and disqualified Ansbach.


1. Stand Off Handicap 1,100m: (4-3-1-5) Adeline (C. Alford) 1; Armila (Yasin) 2; Go With The Wind (Rutherford) 3; Three Good (M. Reuben) 4. Won by: 3-3/4; Nk; 2-1/4; (1-6.4). Tote: Win Rs 42; Place: 21; 17; Quinella: 70; Tanala: 196. Fav: Go With The Wind (1). Winner trained by Daniel D.

2. H. H. Maharaja Of Cooch Behar Memorial Cup 1,600m: (3-1-4-2) Aloritz (C. Alford) 1; Freedom Dancer (A. P. Singh) 2; Anolini (Amil) 3; Illustrious Reign (A. Imran) 4. Won by: 1-3/4; Nk; 8-1/4; (1-38.4). Tote: Win Rs 11; Place: 10; 34; Quinella: 37; Tanala: 59. Fav: Aloritz (3). Winner trained by Vijay S.

3. Fair Haven Hadnicap 1,200m: (6-3-1-8) Regency Times (A. Imran) 1; Alicyclic (C. Alford) 2; Blue Gardenia (Connorton) 3; Lamborghini (Engineer) 4. Won by: 3/4; 1-3/4; 5-1/4; (1-14.7). Tote: Win Rs 355; Place: 33; 13; 11; Quinella: 434; Tanala: 2,482. Fav: Blue Gardenia (1). Winner trained by Daniel D. (Note: The winner survived an objection lodged by the rider of second horse).

4. Ardiles Cup1,100m: (7-5-3-1) Staffordshire (Gowli) 1; Mameena (Connorton) 2; Quickdraw McGraw (Kujur) 3; No Surrender (M. Reuben) 4. Won by: 1-3/4; SH; 2-1/4; (1-5.1). Tote: Win Rs 49; Place: 16; 19; 24; Quinella: 191; Tanala: 1,886. Fav: Annella (2). Winner trained by Javed K.

5. Port Desire Handicap 1,200m: (4-7-2-3) Queen’s Logic (C. Alford) 1; Red Trident (Yadav) 2; Constantine (Kujur) 3; Nash Tiger (Gurang) 4. Won by: 3-1/4; 3/4; 1-1/4; (1-13.5). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 13; 13; 18; Quinella: 29; Tanala: 164. Fav: Queen’s Logic (4). Winner trained by Bath.

6. Mysore Race Club Cup 1,600m: (10-7-5-8) Crucible (C. Alford) 1; Gambino (A. Imran) 2; Silver Toy (M. Reuben) 3; High Life (Smith) 4. Won by: Nk; SH; 1/2; (1-39.3). Tote: Win Rs 40; Place: 16; 16; 12; Quinella: 77; Tanala: 332. Fav: Silver Toy (5). Winner trained by Vijay S. (Note: The winner survived objection lodged by the third placed horse).

7. Turf Hawk Handicap 1,400m: (1-4-3-9) Cool Quest (M. Reuben) 1; Spanish Drum’s (A. Imran) 2; Super Smile (Islam) 3; Stella Blue (Amil) 4. Not run: Persuasion (6). Won by: Nk; 1-1/4; 4; (1-27). Tote: Win Rs 57; Place: 16; 14; 25; Quinella: 113; Tanala: 1,156. Fav: Melodeon (2). Winner trained by D. Byramji.

Jackpot: Rs 3,01,061; (C) Rs 9,608.

Treble: (i) Rs 1,917; (ii) Rs 533.


Mumbai, Feb. 10: 
Simply Noble for Sprinters’ Trophy Well rested since his Indian 2,000 Guineas victory over Allaire, the Dallas Todywalla-trained Simply Noble is expected to bag the 1,200m Dr. S. C. Jain Sprinters’ Trophy in Mumbai on Sunday. Richard Hughes partners the Placerville-Lap Of Luxury four-year-old gelding.


2 pm: Rustling Leaves 1. Golden Peak 2. Amorous Warrior 3.

2.30 pm: Inimitable 1. Yukon 2. Great Pasha 3.

3 pm: Judge Jules 1. Astor Place 2. Sunstreak 3.

3.30 pm: Aerodynamic 1. Gagan Glory 2. Top’m All 3.

4 pm: Pleasures 1. Signal Tap 2. Cymbidium 3.

4.30 pm: Simply Noble 1. Strength To Strength 2. Razalin 3.

5 pm: Amazing Dream 1. Balancita 2. Venus 3.

5.30 pm: Bound By Honour 1. Bearer Bond 2. Midnight Escape 3.

6 pm: Anthology 1. Ever So Loyal 2. Razana 3.

Day’s Best: Pleasures

Double: Inimitable & Judge Jules


Bangalore, Feb. 10: 
Jockeys Sathish Narredu booted home two winners, today, to join the select band of jockeys who have scored 1,000 winners. Other Indian jockeys to have achive the landmark were Pesuji Shanker, Pandu Khade, Shambhu Chavan, M. Jagdish, Vasant Shinde, Robin Corner, Aslam Kader, Pesi Shroff and Malesh Narredu.


1. Sriharikota Plate, Div-II 1,200m: (1-3-7) Brora (Appu) 1; Autobahn 2; Red Rosie 3. Won by: 3-1/2; 1/2; (1-16). Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 11; 16; 197; Forecast: 36; Quinella: 35; Tanala: 884 & 652. Fav: Brora (1).

2. Sriharikota Plate, Div-I 1,200m: (1-3-2) Old Meldrum (Appu) 1; Star Splendour 2; Whatmore 3. Not run: King Vijay (4). Won by: 2-1/4; Nk; (1-16.5). Tote: Win Rs 32; Place: 18; 15; Forecast: 37; Quinella: 18; Tanala: 261 & 154. Fav: Star Splendour (3).

3. Chickmagalur Plate 1,600m: (3-2-6) Poise (S. Narredu) 1; Soul Of Gold 2; Squeeze 3. Won by: 4-1/4; 3/4; (1-42.8). Tote: Win Rs 50; Place: 22; 75; 25; Forecast: 684; Quinella: 449; Tanala: 2,296 & 875. Fav: Fast Vision (10).

4. Chief Minister’s Trophy 2,400m: (7-5-3) Il Diablo (Gallagher) 1; Pas De Memories 2; Sun Reality 3. Won by: 5-1/4; Nk; (2-33.7). Tote: Win Rs 37; Place: 17; 30; Forecast: 129; Quinella: 70; Tanala: 1,029 & 667. Fav: Alameda (1).

5. Lt. Col. A. R. Bijli Memorial Plate 1,200m: (5-8-3) Musselburgh (Appu) 1; Tina’s Tune 2; Silver Hope 3. Won by: 2-1/2; 1-1/4; (1-15.5). Tote: Win Rs 106; Place: 27; 17; 13; Forecast: 279; Quinella: 156; Tanala: 440 & 138. Fav: Silver Hope (3).

6. Agumbe Cup 1,200m: (11-5-10) River Bed (Shafiq) 1; Gordon’s Pet 2; Formal Gold 3. Not run: Al Bashir (2). Won by: Hd; 3-3/4; (1-17.7). Tote: Win Rs 84; Place: 26; 16 81; Forecast: 197; Quinella: 82; Tanala: 2,857 & 2,041. Fav: Gordon’s Pet (5).

7. Native Chieftan Plate 1,400m: (10-3-13) In A Flash (S. Narredu) 1; Odeon 2; Cashflo 3. Won by: 5; 8; (1-29.1). Tote: Win Rs 23; Place: 13; 18; 97; Forecast: 75; Quinella: 51; Tanala: 642 & 536. Fav: In A Flash (10).

Jackpot: Rs 19,787; (C) Rs 4,240.

Mini jackpot: Rs 3,068.

Treble: Rs 544.


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