Life wonít change: Sachin
East Bengal ground Air India
SAI, Customs, CESC move up
Cricket to soccerís rescue
Iím not bothered by what Steve says: Sourav
Mumbai Races/ Narrow win for Iceberg in ĎMillioní
Calcutta Races/ Another field day for bookies

 
 
LIFE WONíT CHANGE: SACHIN 
 
 
BY LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Calcutta, April 1: 
At the best of times, Sachin Tendulkar hardly needed an introduction. Now, having become the first to scale the 10,000 summit in ODIs, he needs one even less.

Though tired, Sachin spoke to The Telegraph ó his first one-on-one with the Media after the record-creating 139 in Indore yesterday ó from Vizagís Taj Residency this afternoon.

Following are excerpts

On the day after authoring history

(Laughs) More than anything else, Iím tired... Not because of the innings yesterday, but the constant travelling... We left for Mumbai straight after the match and, after an overnight halt there, took an early morning flight for Vizag. So...

On whether he had a family outing, in Mumbai, last night

Actually, my wife (Anjali) and kids (Sara and Arjun) are on vacation in Goa... Of course, I spoke to them ó in fact, there are days (on tour) when I call them up three times ó as also my mother and the others.

On there being no team celebration last night itself

Again, because of the travelling... However, something is planned for tonight.

[Manager Chetan Chauhan, for instance, is arranging the champagne.]

On having shown little emotion on getting the 34th run (a single off Shane Warne), which took him to the 10,000-mark

Because I didnít want to get too excited and, in the process, possibly lose concentration. I knew the 10,000th run would come, that it was only a matter of time... That destiny would play a part... Therefore, getting to that mark wasnít a pleasant surprise or whatever.

If I may add, batting as early as then itself wasnít easy and the thought uppermost was where and how best to find gaps and keep the scoreboard moving. Indeed, I consciously didnít allow that 34th run to overwhelm me. But, yes, being the first to achieve something is special and my feelings are the same as that of the other achievers.

On, again, making it a point to look heavenwards

But, thatís where God is, isnít it? Itís a ritual Iíve followed ever since I was a kid... I keep thanking him for being generous.

On his first thoughts after getting that 10,000th run

Frankly, nothing. As Iíve said, I didnít want to risk getting distracted. My job, after all, wasnít over with that record-setting run... Itís only later that I began remembering those who helped me reach where I am... My coach (Dronacharya Ramakant Achrekar), the family, specially my late father (Ramesh)... The millions who have always backed me. Often prayed for me, too...

On whether he wishes to specially dedicate the 10,000th run to somebody

(After a pause) My father... He would, perhaps, have been most happy with what I achieved yesterday. I missed him.

On whether, having begun this series with 9,899 runs, he was conscious of being just a few runs away from launching an exclusive club

I didnít want to be, but the fans and the Media kept reminding me. So, even though I didnít want to, I did become conscious.

On whether Sunil Gavaskar, who launched the 10,000 club in Test cricket, personally congratulated him

Not till now (around 1.30 in the afternoon)... But, then, weíve been travelling...

On whether he will be under more pressure now

No, it shouldnít be that way. Life wonít change either.

On his first run in ODIs

(Laughs again)... Difficult... Difficult... Probably a single (in Wellington, March 1990)... Off either Sir Richard Hadlee or Shane Thomson. Of course, Iím not hundred per cent sure.

On, looking back, whether that unbeaten 140 against Kenya in the last World Cup (Bristol) will remain the most special of his 28 centuries

Because of the circumstances (within hours of his rejoining the team after his fatherís last rites), yes... My mental preparation, obviously, wasnít there and we just had to win big to be in contention for a Super Six berth. I was, then, under pressure of a very different kind.

[That century was Sachinís 22nd and he had dedicated it to his father.]

On his blistering unbeaten 53 in Peshawar (December 1989), in a game which, had the elements not forced a huge curtailment, would have been his first ODI

I remember everything... I think the asking rate was around 15-18 an over when I took guard (at No. 5)... My teammates, perhaps, had just seen my guts (Sialkot Test) and, so, my batting may have been a revelation to them and the others. As for me, I walked out vowing to play my natural game, play the shots...

I took 16 off the first over (Mushtaq Ahmed) and, then, hit Abdul Qadir for 26 (3x6, 2x4) in the next... We fell only four short of the 157 target (in 20 overs). That match isnít recorded as official, but I did grow in confidence during that innings.

On whether his approach in ODIs is very different from that in Tests

Depends, really... At times, going by the situation, my approach in a one-dayer (at the start) is the same as it would be in a Test match. Much depends on the factors at play on that given day.

On the (one-day specific) cricketers he admires most

Look, I have nothing but respect for the cricketers Iíve specially played with and against... But, if Iíve got to pick a couple, generally, I would go for Sir Viv Richards among batsmen and Wasim Akram among bowlers. The aggressive types have always caught my imagination.

Finally, on whether he would like to be remembered as a top-bracket Test or one-day cricketer

(Laughs yet again) Just a good crick- eter.

   

 
 
EAST BENGAL GROUND AIR INDIA 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, April 1: 
East Bengal 3
Air India 1

The effect of a long, gruelling National Football League has already started taking its toll on the leading teams in its final stage but East Bengal look a solid exception in their bid to claim the maiden title.

With just five rounds to go, East Bengal made light of their pressure of being front-runners in the League by beating Air India 3-1 in their Round 17 clash at the Salt Lake Stadium today.

Falguni Dutta drew the first blood for the local outfit in the 36th minute with a 30-yard piledriver which gave Air India custodian and captain Mohammed Yousuf Ansari little chance to move.

Falguniís strike was preceded by a couple of feeble shots and a missed header by Dipendu Biswas. That the visitors took as long as 26 minutes to take their first shot at the East Bengal goal lent enough credence to the red-and-yellow brigadeís supremacy in the match.

However, it was the visitors who should have grabbed the early lead, eight minutes before the Falguni goal. When a ball came back to the middle from the East Bengal defence off an Air India corner, Godfrey Pereira re-directed it into the rival box.

The East Bengal guards went up to create an offside trap. The attempt backfired as both the referee and his assistant allowed Air India stopper Anthony Fernandes to move up without challenge. His header from close quarters, however, went off the mark.

Air India looked more penetrative and meaningful in the attacking third after change of sides. Their efforts paid a deserving dividend in the 12th minute of the second session. An apparently innocuous cross from the right flank across the box had a couple of East Bengal defenders beaten in the air before it landed in front of Ratan Singh. He made no mistake in equalising the scoreline as his rasping lob went over Sangram Mukherjee, who was standing near the post, in the far end of the net.

The waves of attack by the league frontrunners had their toll on Ansari in the 66th minute. The Air India captain had to move backwards to thwart the danger of a trecherous Dipankar Roy cross and in the process, had his head hit on the post.

Ansari had to undergo impromptu treatment and returned under the bar with four stiches on his head. Play was held up for eight minutes.

As action resumed, Sreekanta Dutta substituted his captain and immediately stole the show. Off a Falguni flag-kick into the crowded Air India box, Dipankarís attempt was recocheted of Ansari and a wily Sreekanta successfully tapped the ball in.

Ten minutes later in the 42nd minute, Carlton Chapman, another substitute, matched Sreekantaís feat. Fed on a Suley Musah through on the right end, Chapman bulged the net beating a couple of Air India defenders on the way. He closed the gap between him and the last man of defence before unleashing a powerful drive. Even Ansariís desperate attempt could not change the ballís direction.

The city giants, however, came alive with their best move just before the end of the match. A combination of touches among Omolaja, Chapman, Dipankar and Sreekanta shattered the entire Air India defence before the latter eventually missed an open net.

East Bengal are now on 38 points from 17 matches. Air India hover over relegation with 14 points from as many outings.

TEAMS

EAST BENGAL: Sangram Mukherjee; Suley Musah, Ranjan Dey, Jackkson Agaypong, Falguni Dutta; Hamza Zaheer Abbas (Chandan Das, 58), Isiaka Awoyemi, Omolaja Olalekan, Dipankar Roy; Dipendu Biswas (Carlton Chapman, 79), Bijen Singh (Cap) (Sreekanta Dutta, 74).

AIR INDIA: Md. Yousuf Ansari (cap); Anthony Fernandes (P.J. Jose, 90), Bungo Singh, Raju Singh, Osborn DíSouza, Arun Malhotra, T. Khambiton Singh, Ratan Singh, Henry Picardo (Narendra Meetei, 76), Dennis George, Godfrey Pereira (Herbert Philips, 83).

Referee: M. Pasha

   

 
 
SAI, CUSTOMS, CESC MOVE UP 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, April 1: 
Three city teams ó SAI Training Centre, Calcutta Customs and CESC ó won their respective matches in the 106th Beighton Cup hockey championship today.

Calcutta Customs edged out Tata Steel 3-2, CESC managed a 2-1 win over Bombay Customs 2-1 and SAI prevailed 4-2 over Corps of Signals.

Calcutta Customs opened the scoring in the 27th minute through Satwinder Singh at the Mohun Bagan ground. Ayaz Ahmed made it 2-0 on an excellent solo run four minutes into the second session.

S. Dang reduced the margin three minutes later. Rajinder Singh restored Customsí two-goal cushion through a penalty corner.

Down 1-3, Tata Steel didnít give up and narrowed the margin through T. Barla.

The visitors pressed for the equaliser but Customs managed to hang on to the thin lead till the final hooter.

Earlier at the same venue, Albert Tete put CESC ahead in the 15th minute. Savio Nayak equalised soon after for Bombay Customs. Anil Maity pulled off the matchwinner in the 46th minute.

At the CC&FC, Manoj Kujur hit a brace for SAI, Atal Tirke and Edmund Karketta completed the tally. D.N. Khusawaha and N.S. Salaria hit the target for Corps of Signals.

   

 
 
CRICKET TO SOCCERíS RESCUE 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, April 1: 
Cricket did a rescue act of sorts for football in the city yesterday.

Thanks to Sachin Tendulkarís brilliant century and Indiaís thumping win over Australia in the third one-dayer in Indore, a major crowd violence was avoided at Salt Lake Stadium during the NFL match between Mohun Bagan and JCT yesterday.

The local side were trailing 0-2 at halftime and there was no dearth of agitation among the die-hard fans of the club present at the stadium.

ďSome portions of the crowd (though a handful of 10,000 spectators were present in the stadium) got really agitated over their teamís performance and appeared to cause trouble. So in a bid to divert their attention, we decided to keep flashing latest updates of the India-Australia match on the scoreboard. Fortunately, the strategy worked,Ē Soumitra Roy, security-in-charge of the stadium said.

Last month, some supporters attacked Mohun Bagan players after the teamís dismal showing in a NFL match at the same stadium.

   

 
 
IíM NOT BOTHERED BY WHAT STEVE SAYS: SOURAV 
 
 
BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, April 1: 
Australian captain Steve Waughís suggestion to his compatriots in the Media that Sourav Ganguly tried to Ďcheatí at the toss in Indore, was slammed for a six by the Indian captain this evening.

ďI gave my version (on the toss) last evening itself. After that, I couldnít be bothered about what Waugh says or the Aussie Media writes. I am within my rights to seek a clarification from the Match Referee. Thatís what I did yesterday,Ē Sourav told The Telegraph, when contacted in Vizag.

For good measure, the Indian captain added: ďIf all this talk is meant to distract me, well, I wonít be distracted. Cricket is all about coming off better on the field. Weíre ahead (2-1) and intend staying there.Ē

PTI adds from Sydney: Australiaís 118-run loss to India in the third one-day International yesterday was due to poor batting, lack of inspiration and weariness at the end of a long and demanding tour, according to local Media here which came down heavily on the Indian captainís theatrics.

While there were kudos for Sachin Tendulkar and his record-making feat, the media here has not been happy with Sourav throughout this tour terming him as Indiaís increasingly rude captain.

Sourav has done very little with the bat in both the Test and one-day series this season, but he has done his best to have an impact in other areas.

   

 
 
MUMBAI RACES/ NARROW WIN FOR ICEBERG IN ĎMILLIONí 
 
 
BY HONKY DORY
 
Mumbai, April 1: 
In a thrilling-finish, jockey N. McCullagh partnered the Bezan Chenoy-trained Iceberg to a short-head victory over Raziya to win the 1,200m Gool S. Poonawalla Million at the Mumbai races held on Sunday.

RESULTS

(With inter-state dividends)
1. Choreography Plate 1,600m: (1-4-5) Momentous Mover (Chauhan) 1; Courtesan 2; Northern Frontier 3. Won by: 1; SH; (1-40.9). Tote: Win Rs 91; Place: 41; 21; Quinella: 168; Tanala: 1,769. Fav: Mille Fiori (2).
2. Goldilocks Plate 1,200m: (4-5-9) Code Red (Deora) 1; Smart Hunter 2; Blushing Brave 3. Won by: 3-3/4; 3/4; (1-14.9). Tote: Win Rs 103; Place: 25; 52; 31; Quinella: 826; Tanala: 57,712. Fav: Multi Millionaire (7).
3. Jeanne DíArc Trophy 2,400m: (4-3-2) Sangtrash (Chauhan) 1; Saytarra 2; Sanaga 3. Won by: 4-3/4; 2; (2-37.1). Tote: Win Rs 339; Place: 73; 26; Quinella: 464; Tanala: 4,997. Fav: Sanaga (2).
4. Satinello Trophy 1,600m: (6-5-1) Hi Fidelity (Prakash) 1; Crepusculaire 2; Dazzling Gold 3. Won by: 2-3/4; 2-1/2; (1-39.4). Tote: Win Rs 32; Place: 18; 28; Quinella: 66; Tanala: 190. Fav: Dazzling Gold (1).
5. Revelation Trophy 1,400m: (12-3-11) Maltese Falcon (Kamlesh) 1; Daring Don 2; Venus 3. Not run: Tout De Suite (10). Won by: 7; 3/4; (1-25.3). Tote: Win Rs 208; Place: 44; 16; 36; Quinella: 300; Tanala: 12,352. Fav: Daring Don (3).
6. Gool S. Poonawalla Million 1,200m: (2-10-9-4) Iceberg (McCullagh) 1; Raziya (Kader) 2; Aprilia (Ruzaan) 3; Scarlet Lake (Gallagher) 4. Not run: Aphaia (8). Won by: SH; 3-1/2; 1/2; (1-12.8). Tote: Win Rs 26; Place: 14; 23; 64; Quinella: 97; Tanala: 3,368. Fav: Scarlet Lake (4).
7. Rosamund Plate 1,100m: (4-8-1) Majestic Hills (Prakash) 1; Rajput Prince 2; Desert Fighter 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 2; (1-7.6). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 11; 26; 61; Quinella: 52; Tanala: 1,064. Fav: Majestic Hills (4).
8. Western India Race Horse Ownersí Trophy 1,200m: (8-11-10) Strength To Strength (McCullagh) 1; Green Paradise 2; Yewall 3. Won by: 2-3/4; 1; (1-12.2). Tote: Win Rs 22; Place: 11; 61; 29; Quinella: 162; Tanala: 1,383. Fav: Strength To Strength (8).
9. Rising Brave Plate 2,000m: (7-8-4) Diplomat Rose (Chauhan) 1; Wagga Wagga 2; Supreme Authority 3. Won by: 3/4; 3/4; (2-10.5). Tote: Win Rs 104; Place: 28; 15; 57; Quinella: 184; Tanala: 15,068. Fav: Au Revoir (1).
Jackpot: Rs 56,828; (C) Rs 828.
Treble: (i) Rs 24,906; (ii) Rs 948; (iii) Rs 544.
   

 
 
CALCUTTA RACES/ ANOTHER FIELD DAY FOR BOOKIES 
 
 
BY STAR RACER
 
Calcutta, April 1: 
Last Wednesday was yet another occasion when punters were pushed against the wall while bookmakers had a field day. Just half-a-favourite scored in the six-event card as the 3-1 public-choice Princelene had to share the winnerís enclosure with rank-outsider Sovereign Bullet in the Zara Shah Cup.

This was after the likes of Anolinis and Kenilworths had delivered hard blows earlier in the day to send the mid-week race-crowd looking for cover.

To add to puntersí woes, trainer Daniel David remains an enigma. He has been running his wards mindlessly on the pretext of earning stakes to foot the stable bills. His attitude may have earned sympathy from official quarters, but a feeling of discontent is developing among racegoers about his modus operandi.

His favourites normally donít win. But he had two heavily-backed winners that day, Bold Apparel and Spanish Drumís. That makes one wonder who is doing all the wagering for a stable supposedly living on the stakes.

Nevertheless, had it not been for Princelene, each of the three trophy events would have been credited to 20-1 upset winners. The new Mumbai-import Kenilworth, in the Cavalry Cup, was of course making his debut on the local track and so the victory of trainer Bharath Singhís ward couldnít be questioned.

Outstation jockey R. Chauhan, also inexperienced on the city race-track, however, made no mistake on the four-year-old colt. He, in fact, cashed in on fellow-rider Yacoobís over-confidence. Yacoob had taken a long lead from the start but dropped hands, instead of riding out his charge, when the Mujeeb-trainee begun shortening his strides.

Anoliniís victory in the 1,400m RWITC Cup surprised all. The Vijay Singh-trainee won from the start though his last run in the 1,200m Metropolitan was most disappointing. But in the light of his past runs over trips beyond six furlongs, the winning effort of the Placerville-Above five-year-old, could not be faulted.

The promoted Gold Buck failed to touch the frame, though the verdict between the winner and the 5-4 favourite from trainer H.S. Bath, who ended up sixth, was less than two lengths. Nevertheless, Vijayís three wards in the race occupied the top three slots.

The most fancied stable-runner, Alyssum, was also edged out to third place by stable-mate Freedom Dancer, though the second-favourite was ridden differentlyó off the pace ó by Cristopher Alford.

Ancheta, another of Vijayís wards, made an impressive winning debut in the Leprechaun Handicap, for maiden horses. Although jockey Rabani, on the Bharath Singh-trained Rescue Act, brought the favourite abreast of the Tecorno-Goldilocks filly right from the start, primarily to unsettle the debutant, it was the Procida-Irresistible gelding who failed to produce the vital extra in the final furlong.

   
 

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