Sourav eyes another kill
Lal may be in charge of zone
Bagan edge past Air India 1-0
BNR trounce DSA 8-0
Bengal eves win
Lentu’da passes away
Kunjurani, Malleswari among best in century
Safi slams 104-ball 210 n.o.
Mumbai Races/ Queenstown wins main event
Calcutta Races/ Track trials

 
 
SOURAV EYES ANOTHER KILL 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Pune, March 26: 
Manager Chetan Chauhan hadn’t even begun unpacking when the phone in his classy Le Meridien room rang. The caller, Sourav Ganguly, had one query: How soon could a quick trip to the Nehru Stadium be made?

Just as enthusiastic, cricketer-turned-politician-turned-official Chauhan answered “15 minutes.” And, so, within minutes of arriving around 3 pm, the captain and manager were off to the venue of the second ODI, to be played Wednesday.

[Coach (and music buff) John Wright would also have been on the inspection-party, but he took a well-deserved hour’s break (immediately after landing) to visit a unit manufacturing the most hi-tech speakers. The unit is owned by “good friends” of Sachin Tendulkar].

Seeing much grass, though of the ‘dead’ variety, Sourav had a quiet word with the groundstaff and, then, indulged in shadow-batting. Clearly, Sourav is looking to psyche himself for his first big score of the series and, for all the attention he gets as India captain, he did look lonely those few minutes.

A mere 106 in the three-Test series was followed by six in the first ODI, in Bangalore yesterday. “No, it’s not that I’m weighing myself down with the thought I must get a decent score. I’m as positive as I always have been. It’s just that,” Sourav told The Telegraph as he prepared to leave for the hotel.

The personal failures notwithstanding, Sourav looked more relaxed — buoyed no doubt by the emphatic 60-run win last evening — than he ever has in the past few weeks. “Well, we had to keep the (Test series) momentum going and the boys, again, did a fabulous job. How does it feel convincingly beating the world champions? “Tremendous...”

If it was the unheralded Samir Dighe who played the innings of his life that final afternoon at the Chepauk, ensuring V. V. S. Laxman’s 503 runs and Harbhajan Singh’s 32 wickets didn’t actually turn out to be personal achievements only, the less-fancied Delhi duo of Virender Sehwag and Vijay Dahiya grabbed much of the honours at the Chinnaswamy.

“Of course, they need to be consistent and do it more than once. But, then, one must have faith and back the players. That done, they will deliver. Or, even if they can’t, will at least not be found wanting effort-wise,” Sourav explained.

Sourav the captain is certainly changing.

Yesterday, for instance, he even grinned after an overthrow. Till the other day, such a slip-up would have seen him berate the fielder. Smiling, Sourav said: “But, then, one keeps learning as captain. One keeps learning in life, too.”

Learning to possibly rearrange priorities as well.

For example, Sourav conceded he didn’t really expect Matthew Hayden, who accumulated a phenomenal 549 in the Tests, to carry on the good work in the ODIs, too — the burly Queenslander scored 99 last evening. Hayden has given Sourav (and Wright) much to think about.

“I suppose, yes, we’ll have to target Hayden more than, say a Steve Waugh. The biggest influencing factor, though, will be the situation,” Sourav pointed out, as our conversation got interrupted by Sulakshan Kulkarni, who is working overtime for his benefit, scheduled for end-April in Mumbai.

As thing stand, Sourav has no plans to change the winning combination — something that was done in the Test series. “I reckon we’ll need the three seamers (Jawagal Srinath, Ajit Agarkar and Zaheer Khan) to force the pressure back, should the Australians tuck into our spinners.”

Incidentally, both teams (who arrived from Bangalore via Goa) had an off today. Shane Lee, Jason Gillespie’s replacement, has arrived.

   

 
 
LAL MAY BE IN CHARGE OF ZONE 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Pune, March 26: 
Former India opener Arun Lal, who runs the much-in-demand Bournvita Academy in Calcutta, is favoured to be “overall in-charge” of the zonal Academy, an affiliate of the National Cricket Academy (NCA), to be established there.

In fact, all five zones will each have an Academy: Mohali in North, Chennai in South, Mumbai in West and either Kanpur or Nagpur in Central. Calcutta, of course, will be the venue in East. Lal’s appointment, as also of the others, should be announced after the NCA’s council meeting here tomorrow afternoon. Each zonal Academy will also have a head coach, on the lines of the Bangalore-located NCA, which is set to offer that post to former India new-ball bowler and ex-Mumbai coach Balwinder Singh Sandhu.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, the NCA will “do away” with the director’s post (vacant since Hanumant Singh’s resignation). Its functioning, then, will be overseen by NCA chairman Raj Singh Dungarpur and vice-chairman Dhyaneswar Chand Agashe. Brijesh Patel, being Bangalore-based, is expected to continue as NCA coordinator.

Significantly, though Sunil Gavaskar won’t attend the meeting (owing to a family wedding), he did have a NCA-specific session with Raj Singh and Polly Umrigar, a fellow committee member, in Mumbai recently. It would appear, then, that Gavaskar and Raj Singh have patched-up.

According to sources, the meeting was held at the Gymkhana, after one of Gavaskar’s regular rounds of badminton. “The fact that Gavaskar participated in discussions does mean he will continue as a committee member of the NCA,” pointed out one of the sources.

   

 
 
BAGAN EDGE PAST AIR INDIA 1-0 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, March 26: 
There were missed chances, mispasses, ugly tackles, controversial refereeing. All culminating into an ugly football game where Mohun Bagan scraped past 1-0 against Air India in the National League at the Salt Lake Stadium today.

Substitute Amar Ganguly scored the decisive goal in the 67th minute to provide Mohun Bagan supporters with the sole occasion for applause.

Mohun Bagan now have 31 points from 16 games as Air India have accumulated 14 from the same number of outings.

The Calcutta giants began with their two Brazilian recruits upfront, Jose Ramirez Barreto and Flavio Lopez. While the former has never done injustice to his abilities with the ball, the latter’s skills have not yet been on display.

The few chances that Mohun Bagan created in the first half were very bravely squandered by the tall Lopez.

The first chance came to Lopez as early as in the eighth minute when Amitava Chanda’s pass fell his way right in front of goal with only the goalkeeper to beat. Lopez, somehow, took a wild shot that sailed miles above the bar.

The Brazilian was then substituted in the 25th minute as the eventual goalscorer Ganguly stepped onto the field.

Basudeb Mondal’s long pass from midfield to Barreto in the left, was immaculately collected by the Brazilian. His next move was a perfect cross to the unmarked Ganguly right in front of goal. The marksman had no other option but to score and he did just that with an accurate header, which landed at the left corner in the net.

The second half was more of a contest where the two teams showed some intent, resulting in some good moves.

In one such move, Tomba Singh charged towards the Mohun Bagan citadel with an amazing solo effort. But the finish, as in most of the Air India attacks, just wasn’t there. He shot outside, and the referee, P.K. Bose, made one of his many wrong decisions of the day. He gave a corner and the Mohun Bagan players put up a loud protest.

Tomba had to be substituted a few minutes later for a nasty foul from Debjit Ghosh, which left the Air India player heavily injured at the knee. The referee failed to react on the occasion.

Among the many fouls on the day, the referee flashed the yellow card quite a few times. Barreto saw his second successive yellow in the league and will miss the next encounter with JCT on Saturday.

Hussain Mustafi was then booked for incessant protesting.

The situation was made worse by Debjit, who apart from arguing with the referee made gestures at the sparse crowd, who reacted accordingly. The referee may have made blemishes but the reaction from the players was totally uncalled for.

TEAMS

MOHUN BAGAN: Rajat Ghosh Dastidar; Dulal Biswas, Hussain Mustafi, Amauri da Silva, Amitava Chanda (Jayanta Sen, 46th, Naushad Pari, 65th); James Singh, Basudeb Mondal, Debjit Ghosh, Lolendra Singh; Flavio Lopez (Amar Ganguly, 26th), Jose Ramirez Barreto

AIR INDIA: Israt Kamal; Khambiton Singh, Arun Malhotra, Osborn D’Souza, Raju Singh; Tomba Singh (Henry Picardo, 82), Dennis George (Godfrey Pereira, 71), Bungo Singh, Ratan Singh (Narendra Meetei, 75); Anthony Fernandez

Referee: P.K. Bose

   

 
 
BNR TROUNCE DSA 8-0 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, March 26: 
The Servo 106th Beighton Cup hockey tournament got underway today with a goal-rush at the Mohun Bagan ground, where BNR crushed Dhanbad outfit Divisional Sports Association, Eastern Railway 8-0.

In other first-round matches of the qualifying stage, BSF North Bengal sailed past Students Academy 3-0 at the East Bengal ground and CCFC tamed Rangers Club 1-0 at home.

Skipper Rajat Minz and Basil Kullu scored a brace each for BNR. The other goals came from Dilip Ekka, Pradip Kiro, P. Lugun and B. Barla.

BNR, who were 5-0 up at half-time, could have scored at least half-a-dozen more goals had they not squandered opportunities.

It was a hopelessly one-sided game where DSA managed to come close to the rival circle only on a few occasions.

They had a disastrous start, conceding a penalty stroke that Minz converted in the fourth minute, and being 0-3 down within eight minutes of the match.

In the next round, BNR take on BSF, who found their goals today through Sarafinus Karketta (29th minute), Ajit Dung, Jr (50th) and Luanus Lakra (55th).

Shamsher Singh scored the all-important goal in the 62nd minute in the CCFC-Rangers clash. CCFC meet the winners of tomorrow’s clash between Eastern Railway and West Bengal Police.

BHA league

Kaushik Dey scored a hattrick as Vivid YHC drubbed Aikya Sammilani 6-0 in a second division match of the BHA league. Veteran Manta Das slipped in two goals, while Arun Das scored the other.

IFA falls short on aid

The IFA today announced, after it’s governing body meeting, that the target of Rs 8 lakh for the Gujarat earthquake relief fund could not be accomplished. Instead it is now contributing Rs 6,43,480.

In the meeting, the budget for this year was decided upon as Rs 1 crore 58 lakh. The budget last year was 1 crore 61 lakh, of which only 1 crore 44 lakh have been spent. It has also accrued 16 lakh from the League matches played last season.

The IFA has also decided on launching a website, the initial steps to it are expected to be taken within a week.

   

 
 
BENGAL EVES WIN 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, March 26: 
Bengal women today trounced the visiting Malaysian football team 3-0 in Siliguri today.

Sujata Kar opened scoring in the 25th minute, followed by Shanta Dhara’s headed effort 15 minutes after halftime. At the dying minutes, Alpana Seal completed the tally with a spectacular goal.

Speaking from Siliguri, Bengal coach Kuntala Ghosh Dastidar, expressed satisfaction at the performance from her girls. She felt, although, that the Malaysian girls are a little apprehensive and will surely improve in the latter games.

She also complained of insufficient light in the Kanchenjunga Stadium, but said that they had no plans of making an issue of it because of the friendly status of the game.

Malaysia, under pressure in alien conditions, did make a few attempts at goal. One such move, which had the Bengal goalkeeper beaten, was foiled by Sayanti Nandy who made a terrific goalline save.

   

 
 
LENTU’DA PASSES AWAY 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, March 26: 
Former Railways footballer Pashupati ‘Lentu’ Bhattacharya died at a city nursing home early this morning. He was 68, and leaves behind his wife and a daughter.

A left-winger for Sporting Union (when Pankaj Roy played as a striker), Bhattacharya switched to goalkeeping after a serious knee injury and began turning out for BNR, where he was to become the secretary.

He represented the Railways in the Santosh Trophy, and took up coaching after ending his playing career. Coaching the Manipur and Assam teams were among his many assignments.

Armed with coaching diplomas from Germany, he founded the North Calcutta Football Academy.

   

 
 
KUNJURANI, MALLESWARI AMONG BEST IN CENTURY 
 
 
FROM A CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, March 26: 
N. Kunjurani Devi and Karnam Malleswari figure in the list of the greatest lifters of the century, compiled annually by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).

The list was released by the IWF president Gottfried Schodel and forwarded to the Weightlifting Federation of India. Kunjurani is ranked fifth and 2000 Sydney Olympics bronze medallist Malleswari is ranked 13th.

Despite missing the Sydney Olympics, Kunjurani has creditably retained the 5th spot, thanks to her stupendous performance in the Visakhapatnam nationals recently. At the nationals, Kunjurani lifted 185 kgs, equalling the gold medal winning lift in under 48-kg category in the Sydney Olympics.

Besides, Kunjurani’s position also had a lot to do with her 21 medals in world championships and 52 medals in world, Asian and Commonwealth meets — feats without parallel in the annals of Indian sports.

Kunjurani’s points tally is 70, thirty eight less than the top-ranked woman lifter Maria Takacs of Hunagry.

Malleswari has, however, catapulted herself from last year’s 23rd position to 13th this time, mainly because of her bronze-winning performance in the Olympic Games. Annexing the Olympic bronze medal enabled Malleswari gain 12 points.

Twice world champion in 1994 and 1995, Malleswari has overall won 11 medals in previous world championships. She has also won silver medals in the 1994 Hiroshima and 1998 Bangkok Asian Games.

Takacs occupies the top spot with 108 points. The 2nd ranked woman lifter is Maria Isabela Urrutia of Columbia, who won a gold medal in the Sydney Olympics in the 75 kg category.

Kunjurani is still ahead of numerous world champions, like Robin Goad of USA, Tang Weifang and Li Hongyun of China, and Isbela Dragna of Bulgaria. No other Indian, male or female, is among the top 50 lifters of the century.

   

 
 
SAFI SLAMS 104-BALL 210 N.O. 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, March 26: 
Propelled by Safi Ahmed’s 104-ball unbeaten 210, Kalighat Club thrashed Paikpara Sporting by 465 runs in their A.N. Ghosh Trophy encounter at the Deshbandhu Park today.

Batting first, Kalighat made 446 for two and got another 137 runs as penalties for slow over-rate by Paikpara. Safi, who hit 23 fours and 10 sixes, added 270 for an unfinished third-wicket stand with Charanjit Singh (111 from 58 balls).

Later, Sanjib Sanyal (four for 22) and Arun Agarwal (two for 11) helped skittle out Paikpara for 118.

BRIEF SCORES: Kalighat 583/2 (446+penalty 137) (Safi Ahmed 210 n.o., Charanjit Singh 111 n.o., Humza Firozie 67). Paikpara 118 (Sanjib Sanyal 4/22, Arun Agarwal 2/11).

Kalighat won by 465 runs.

EB well placed

East Bengal has BNR on the ropes in their two-day CAB league championship play-off. Having dismissed BNR for 191 in the 63rd over, East Bengal were 85 without loss at stumps on the opening day.

BRIEF SCORES: BNR 191 (62.4 overs) (Sumanta Chatterjee 40, Sanjay Choubey 32; Subir Dey 4/53, Wrichik Majumdar 3/43). East Bengal 85 for 0 (Ajay Verma 46 n.o., Alokendu Lahiri 28 n.o.)

Karthikeyan 6th

Narain Karthikeyan finished at an overall sixth position after the opening round of the Formula Nippon 2001 at the Suzuka circuit yesterday.

According to information reaching here, Karthikeyan making a debut on his Reynard/Mugen MF 308, recorded the best lap time of two minutes one second. He completed the race, a total of 35 lap rounds in 1:17.1 seconds.

Karthikeyan’s teammate Satoshi Motoyama, under very wet circumstances, could not finish the race and retired after seven laps. Naoki Hattori finished first as Juichi Wakisaka and Seiji Ara followed him in the second and third positions.

The next round of the Formula Nippon will be held at Twin regi Motegi on April 21-22.

UBI win title

United Bank of India have won the XIIth East Zone inter-bank cricket tournament. According to information reaching here from Puri, UBI beating Union Bank of India in the final.    

 
 
MUMBAI RACES/ QUEENSTOWN WINS MAIN EVENT 
 
 
BY HONKY DORY
 
Mumbai, March 26: 
The Cooji Katrak-trained five-year-old Queenstown claimed the Fair Wood Trophy, the main event at the Mumbai races held on Monday. B. Prakash partnered the Batzushka-Treat Request daughter to victory.

RESULTS

(With inter-state dividends)
1. Scarlet O’Hara Plate 1,400m: (2-4-5) Shubhangini (Prakash) 1; Maestro 2; Beautiful Stranger 3. Won by: 2-1/4; Nk; (1-29.6). Tote: Win Rs 23; Place: 12; 15; 21; Quinella: 42; Tanala: 281. Fav: Shubhangini (2).
2. Sea Jade Plate 1,000m: (4-2-3) Little Champ (Gallagher) 1; My Solitaire 2; Pretty Boy Floyd 3. Won by: Nk; Hd; (1-1.2). Tote: Win Rs 31; Place: 22; 27; Quinella: 94; Tanala: 1,607. Fav: Blue Blood (5).
3. Prince Of Hearts Plate 1,000m: (3-5-1) Prince Honey (McCullagh) 1; Bon Apetit 2; Texas King 3. Not run: Northern Supreme (2). Won by: 4-1/4; SH; (1-1.6). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 12; 22; 13; Quinella: 94; Tanala: 322. Fav: Prince Honey (3).
4. Aziz Mahmoud Plate 1,000m: (3-5-4) Champion Reef (Shelar) 1; Sherdil 2; Phrawah 3. Not run: Double My Bet (8). Won by: 2; 1-1/4; (1-2.3). Tote: Win Rs 51; Place: 17; 25; 12; Quinella: 188; Tanala: 1,093. Fav: Phrawah (4).
5. Buland Plate 1,000m: (7-6-10) Triumphant (M. Narredu) 1; Top Gun 2; Silent Deal 3. Won by: 1/2; 1-3/4; (1-3.1). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 11; 13; 31; Quinella: 16; Tanala: 108. Fav: Triumpant (7).
6. Fair Wood Trophy 1,600m: (8-4-9) Queenstown (Prakash) 1; Running Royal 2; Romano 3. Won by: 5; Nk; (1-40). Tote: Win Rs 45; Place: 17; 52; 25; Quinella: 582; Tanala: 6,365. Fav: Southern Star (3).
7. Narayandas J. Dave Plate 1,400m: (12-8-4) I’m Honoured (Jethu) 1; Classic Rock 2; Millennium King 3. Won by: 1-1/2; Nk; (1-28.2). Tote: Win Rs 123; Place: 47; 18; 17; Quinella: 317; Tanala: 2,266. Fav: Millennium King(4).
Jackpot: Rs 3,846; (C) Rs 107.
Treble: (i) Rs 254; (ii) Rs 745.
   

 
 
CALCUTTA RACES/ TRACK TRIALS 
 
 
BY OUR TURF CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, March 26: 
Calcutta, Mrch 26: Raaz and Flamebird were impressive in work outs today.

Outer sand track

800m: Raaz (Manohar) and Flamebird (M. Reuben) in 51 4/5s; (400m) 27s. Former a head better. Chivalrous (Rb) in 1-4s; (400m) 33s. Easy. Cancun (Rb) in 1-2s; (400m) 32s. Cup Of Life (C. Alford) and Highland Flame (Amil) in 55s; (400m) 26s. Former a head better. Russian Czar (Rutherford) in 53s; (400m) 26s. Fit. Starina (Yadav) in 55s; (400m) 28s. Easy. Endless Surprise (C. Alford) in 54s; (400m) 27s. Adeline (C. Alford) in 1-5s; (400m) 33s.

Sand track

800m: Added Asset (B. Gurang) in 54s; (400m) 28s. Santillana (P. Kumar) in 56s; (400m) 27s. Blessed Spirit (A. Imran) in 56s; (400m) 25s. Moved well. Illustrious Reign (P. Kumar) in 51s; (400m) 25s. Fit. Lovely Project (B. Gurang) and Maid To Measure (Saran) in 1-1s; (400m) 29s. Former a head better. Agargove (A. Imran) in 12s; (400m) 31s. Rich Dominion (Tamang) and Secret Adversary (Som S.) in 1-3s; (400m) 32s. Both level.
   
 

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