India, South Africa may play opening match
Utpal leads Bagan to win
EB to go ahead with bigger budget
Samrat wins U-16 title
Big win for Jet Airways
GP in Russia
Ootacamund Races/ Fairy Winter for Derby
Mysore Raceas/ ‘Carnival’ wins

 
 
INDIA, SOUTH AFRICA MAY PLAY OPENING MATCH 
 
 
BY LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Calcutta, May 12: 
Should India be clubbed with hosts South Africa in cricket’s 2003 World Cup, it’s quite likely the day-night tournament-opener in Cape Town (February 7) will feature the two teams.

The World Cup’s eighth edition will be the biggest, involving a record 14 teams and 54 matches (42 in the league phase, nine in the Super-Six plus the semi-finals and the March 19 day-time final).

Incidentally, India figured in the opening matches of the first two World Cups —- 1975 (against England) and 1979 (versus the West Indies).

For those with a superstitious bent of mind, India lost both times with most of the damage being done by openers Dennis Amiss and Gordon Greenidge, respectively.

“South Africa will definitely feature in match No.1, it’s a question of who the opponents will be. Depending on the groupings, it’s India which may well figure in the tournament-opener,” informed Dr Ali Bacher, the 2003 World Cup executive director.

Dr Bacher, a former South African captain, stepped down as the United Cricket Board of South Africa’s first managing director (on December 31 last) to concentrate wholly on the Board’s most ambitious project.

That Dr Bacher is inclined towards a South Africa-India launch to cricket’s hottest show is understandable. Post-apartheid, after all, South Africa’s cricket links with India have always been high-profile and he himself has played a big role there.

The expats’ factor is there, too.

The teams (ten Test-playing nations, Kenya and the top three finishers at the ensuing ICC Trophy) will be divided into two pools, named after top legends Sir Don Bradman and Sir Gary Sobers.

For the first time, really, a fair method of ranking has been devised and the seedings will be determined by the teams’ performance from immediately after the last (1999) World Cup till end-September this year.

The No.1 team in this period will head the Bradman pool, while the next best will be at the top in the Sobers pool. Teams finishing on odd numbers will head for the Bradman pool, the others will be placed in the Sobers pool.

Speaking to The Telegraph from Johannesburg, Dr Bacher added: “All 14 teams will arrive between seven-ten days before the start and each will have a ‘home’ base where two warm-up matches will be played.”

Dr Bacher indicated India’s ‘home’ base will be Durban, which in any case has a huge expats’ presence.

A confirmation is expected by October, by when the pools will be finalised and the schedule released.

In another first, Dr Bacher announced team managers will be invited a month ahead of the World Cup for a “briefing session.” Clarifications, therefore, can be sought well in advance, eliminating chance of non-cricket related headaches during the tournament.

According to Dr Bacher, the 12 venues in South Africa have been finalised: Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Centurion Park and Bloemfontein will each host five matches, while three each will be staged by East London, Kimberly, Paarl, Benoni and Potchesstroom. Pietermaritzbug will host two matches.

There could be a change should Kenya not stage a single match and Zimbabwe gets to host five and not all six of its league fixtures.

[Zimbabwe and Kenya have been brought into the picture as a special gesture, the aim being to make cricket more popular in the region.]

If Zimbabwe and South Africa are bracketed together, their match will be in South Africa.

Meanwhile, plenty of emphasis is being placed on security — tickets, for instance, will be bar-coded —- and emergency (medical, specifically) services.

Though two organisations have been awarded the contract for centralised aid —- ambulances and 15 medical personnel will be stationed at all venues —- a review may still be undertaken after last month’s Ellis Park soccer tragedy (‘Black Easter’) in Johannesburg.

For South Africa, the countdown to cricket’s No.1 show has begun and in place almost is the full (60-strong) management team which will work exclusively under Dr Bacher.

Significantly, three of the top six posts will go to Blacks, with two (marketing manager and PR manager) of those three going to women. The third post is that of associate communications manager.

Three key appointments have already been made: Commercial director (Ian Smith), logistics director (Malcolm Tarbitt) and communications manager (Rodney Hartman).

Of course, there’s a lesson in all this for even Boards which may attract multiple sponsors without sweat, but still just aren’t professional enough.

   

 
 
UTPAL LEADS BAGAN TO WIN 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, May 12: 
Mohun Bagan rode Utpal Chatterjee’s brilliant unbeaten 89 to their second title of the season. At the Eden Gardens today, they beat East Bengal by six wickets to clinch the P. Sen Trophy.

Deciding to take first strike, East Bengal managed 236 in 49.1 overs, thanks largely to Ajay Verma’s 94. Bagan reached the target in 40 overs.

On a slow wicket which offered very little assistance to bowlers, the contest was always likely to be decided by the performance of the batsmen. East Bengal faltered with their batsmen were guilty of throwing away wickets. Mohun Bagan, in contrast, stuck to a plan and it paid dividends.

Arun Lal acknowledged later that 236 never posed much of a challenge to Bagan. He also seemed to rue the team’s decision to bat first. “It would have been easier chasing a target as it gives the opportunity to plan out the innings,” Lal added.

East Bengal lost two early wickets but Verma (94 off 127 balls, 8x4) and Lal (34 off 47 balls, 1x4) added 90 in a crucial third-wicket stand. Lal, playing with a fractured right little finger, provided excellent support as they worked the balls into the gaps with ease.

Srikant Kalyani and Goutam Shome failed to keep up the good work after Lal’s departure.

Mohun Bagan launched the reply in whirlwind fashion, scoring 88 in the first 15 overs. The absence of Devang Gandhi, who left for England to keep his League commitments, was bound to put an additional burden on Utpal. The left-arm spinner decided to come in at No. 3 and played his role to perfection.

“My primary aim was to stick around and knew the runs would automatically come,” said Utpal.

The match seemed to be evenly poised when Soumen Singh left after adding 67 runs for the third wicket. But Safi Ahmed (54 off 53 balls, 4x4, 1x6) came to Bagan’s rescue.

The right-hander, on lien from Kalighat, played the supporting role to perfection as the pair went about achieving their task. The singles were never missed as the East Bengal fielding showed signs of strain.

Utpal played with ease and confidence but missed out on a well-deserved century. None of the bowlers managed to make an impact as he hit them to all parts of the ground. His runs came off 105 balls and included six boundaries.

The free-stroking Safi has been among runs this season, hitting three hundreds and a double century. Both Utpal and he swept the spinners with disdain as they slowly took the match away from East Bengal. Once Safi holed out in the deep, Sanjeev Goel ensured victory with some big hitting. The winning runs came off him as he rounded it off with a huge six.

BRIEF SCORES: East Bengal 236 in 49.1 ovs (Ajay Verma 94, Arun Lal 34, Goutam Shome 30; Laxmi Ratan Shukla 2/29, Ajit Singh 2/40, Nazer Khan 2/34). Mohun Bagan 240/4 in 40 (Utpal Chatterjee 89 n.o., Safi Ahmed 54, Sanjeev Goel 20 n.o.). Mohun Bagan won by 6 wkts.

SEASON’S ROLL OF HONOUR

Senior Division League: Winner: East Bengal. Runner-up: Wari.Senior Knockout: Winner: Kalighat. Runner-up: Mohun Bagan. J. C. Mukherjee Trophy: Winner: Mohun Bagan. Runner-up: Kalighat. A. N. Ghosh Trophy: Winner: East Bengal. Runner-up: Kalighat. P. Sen Trophy: Winner: Bagan. Runner-up: East Bengal

   

 
 
EB TO GO AHEAD WITH BIGGER BUDGET 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, May 12: 
East Bengal have decided to match Mohun Bagan’s claimed hike in their football budget for next season.

Mohun Bagan’s claims of a Rs 1.85 crore budget, promised by the two clubs’ common sponsor UB Group, have taken East Bengal by surprise, who were told that the budget would stay at Rs 1.6 crore.

“I have asked my club to go ahead with a Rs 1.85 crore football budget in mind. In case the sponsors decide to stick to Rs 1.6 crore, we’ll make arrangements for the additional amount,” said club secretary Pranab Dasgupta today.

Chandu Md. Sp. Coach

Chandu Roy Chowdhury will coach Mohammedan Sporting during the forthcoming football season, according to club secretary Sulaiman Khurshid.

A former Tollygunge Agragami coach, Bengal won the Santosh Trophy under his guidance in 1999. He was instrumental in pushing Tollygunge tothe National League. Later the club decided to switch to the more tried and tested coach Amal Dutta.

Match tied

The Chandranath MCCC-Calcutta CCC match ended in a tie in the all-Bengal Shyamaprasad Mukherjee junior meet today. In reply to Chandranath MCCC’s 130 for eightin 30 overs, Calcutta CCC were bundled out for 130 in 29.5 overs.

SUMMARISED SCORES

Bournvita CA 187/9 in 30 (Arpan Hazra 68, Arka Sinha Roy 32; Avishek Shaw 3/26). Measurers 189/6 in 28.1 (Uday Das 63 n.o., Tuafiq Ali 42). Measurers won by 4 wkts.

Chandranath MCCC 130/8 in 30 (Avijit Bose 39). Cal CCC 130 in 29.5 (Debasish Dutta 40; Biswajit Das 4/18). Match tied.

   

 
 
SAMRAT WINS U-16 TITLE 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, May 12: 
Samrat Ghosh saved Bengal the blushes at the AITA junior zonal meet today. The Class X St Xavier’s boy captured the boys’ under-16 title to prevent an Assam sweep at the Shambazar Tennis Club.

Fourth seed Samrat wore down No. 5 Abhinav Bora 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in a little over two hours — the shortest of the four finals today. Jorhat boy Bora had earlier outlasted Guwahati lad Abhinav Sharma 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in the under-14 final.

The performer of the day was, however, Varsha Datta. The seventh standard student of St Mary’s (Guwahati) came through two gruelling three-setters against practice partner Kasturi Verma to bag both the under-14 and under-16 girls’ crowns.

Playing the under-14 final at 11 am, top seed Varsha survived a total loss of confidence in the second set before taming No. 2 Kasturi 6-4, 0-6, 6-2 in two hours and 20 minutes.

Back on court at 3 pm, Varsha and Kasturi slogged it out for a further two-and-a-half hours to separate the loser. The pattern was similar, with Varsha pocketing the first set 6-4. But Kasturi, a year older and the better strokemaker, hung on bravely only to crack in the decider.

Serving for the match at 5-3 after taking the second set 6-4, Kasturi slid down a path of errors to concede the next four games.

For little Varsha, who will be 12 in two weeks’ time, this has been a memorable season. She bagged a similar ‘double’ last week at the South Club event, besides winning the U-14 titles earlier in Guwahati and Bhubaneswar. Her real test will, of course, be the AITA Masters in July when top performers from all four zones will vie for the ultimate honour.

It was an encore for Samrat and Bora, too, both having emerged best in the under-14 and under-16 categories at South Club last Saturday.

Samrat, though, made heavy weather of a match he should have wrapped up comfortably. Significantly taller and stronger than his opponent from Assam, the local boy was caught napping in mobility. He was lucky Bora didn’t test him more often with drop shots.

Bora started off well, notching up two breaks to close out the first set quickly. Samrat warmed up to the task in the second set, hitting some powerful forehand winners to penetrate Bora’s defence.

The third set brought the worst out of both boys, errors flowing from their rackets in all directions. Games went against serve till the eighth game when Samrat held to take a 5-3 lead. Serving to stay in the match, a tired Bora mishit a simple forehand and put an overhead tamely into the net to bow out of contention.

FINAL RESULTS

U-16 boys: Samrat Ghosh (Ben) bt Abhinav Bora (Asm) 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

U-16 girls: Varsha Datta (Asm) bt Kasturi Verma (Asm) 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.

U-14 boys: A. Bora bt Abhinav Sharma (Asm) 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.

U-14 girls:Varsha bt Kasturi 6-4, 0-6, 6-2.

   

 
 
BIG WIN FOR JET AIRWAYS 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, May 12: 
Jet Airways thrashed McCann Erickson 7-0 in The Telegraph Merchants’ Cup five-a-side soccer meet at CC&FC this evening. In another match, J. Thomas routed Seagrams 9-1.

OTHER RESULTS

IISCO bt Spice Cell 4-0, Autoexide.com bt Tata NYK 2-0, Tata Steel A bt Duncans 4-0, HTA bt Sony India 4-0, Blue Star walkover ICICI ‘Yellow’, Madhya Bharat bt Bata 3-1, Goodricke drew Deutsche Bank 1-1, ITC ‘A’ drew Infar 0-0, The Telegraph bt Paes En Sports 3-1, BDA bt Indian Aluminium 5-1, Microwave Communications bt HSBC 2-0, TCG bt The Assam Co. 3-1, Williamson Magor bt ICICI ‘Blue’ 5-0, Aptech bt Bayview Technology 3-0, Norinco bt Skytech Solutions 2-0, Tata Tea bt ITC Infotech 2-0, TCT bt Selvel B 3-0, Bharat Raut bt ACCEL ICIM 3-0, Transways bt Tata Steel B 1-0, Usha Martin Telecom bt Smithkline Beecham 4-2, Taj Bengal bt Transworld 4-0, Carritt Moran bt Apeejay 2-0, India Foils bt McNally Bharat 2-0, Xerox Modi bt TIL 4-0, Selvel A bt The Park 2-0, Contfreight/Hanjin Shipping bt Bates India 5-0, PriceWaterhouse bt Berger Paints 3-1, ABN Amro bt ITC ‘B’ 2-0, HDFC Bank bt The Hindustan Times 1-0.

   

 
 
GP IN RUSSIA 
 
 
BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, May 12: 
The Michael Schumachers and Mika Hakkinens will soon be heading for Russia. Not for sight-seeing, of course, but to hit the chequered flag and add to their points, titles.

After all, according to information received here, Russia will be part of the glamorous Formula One Grand Prix (GP) circuit, possibly from 2003 itself.

It is learnt the racing track, which will be ringed by shopping malls and top-bracket eateries, will come up on what currently is wasteland just outside Moscow.

At the moment, the circuit comprises 17 races. This year the circuit began with the Australian GP, Melbourne (March 4) and ends with the Japanese GP, Suzuka (October 14).

   

 
 
OOTACAMUND RACES/ FAIRY WINTER FOR DERBY 
 
 
BY OUR TURF CORRESPONDENT
 
Ootacamund, May 12: 
The Robert Foley- trained three-year-old Fairy Winter may win the 1,600m South India Corporation Nilgiris Derby Stakes, the main event at the Ootacamund (Udhagamandalam) races on Sunday. A. Imran Khan partners the Foyer-Adament filly.

SELECTIONS

11 am: Supreme Glory 1; Beauchamp King 2. Gold Symbol 3.
11.30 am: Accelerating Star 1. Red Cordon 2. Code Word 3.
12 noon: Major Attraction 1. Bold Aristocrat 2. Sea Horse 3.
12.30 pm: Classic Society 1. Sterling Fantasy 2. Endless Quest 3.
1 pm: Fairy Winter 1. Western Classic 2. Hero’s Welcome 3.
1.30 pm: Cherokee Rose 1. Cloud Forest 2. Majestic Style 3.
2 pm: Crowning Ambition 1. Calypso Reef 2. Bold Bidder 3.
2.30 pm: Splendid View 1. Daring Destiny 2. Bold Enough 3.
Day’s Best: Cherokee Rose
Double: Fairy Winter & Crowning Ambition
   

 
 
MYSORE RACEAS/ ‘CARNIVAL’ WINS 
 
 
BY OUR TURF CORRESPONDENT
 
Mysore, May 12: 
Ridden by Prem, the B. Suresh-trained Star Carnival posted an upset victory in the Mysore Race Club Cup at the Udhagamandalam races held on Saturday.

RESULTS

(With inter-state dividends)
1. Bangalore Turf Club Trophy 1,200m: (1-5-3) Finishing Touch (Devaraj) 1; Falling Shadow 2; Impressive Prince 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 2; (1-17). Tote: Win Rs 86; Place: 21; 29; 40; Quinella: 259; Tanala: 3,118. Fav: City Of Stars (8).
2. Woodcote Plate 1,200m: (5-7-11) Noble Dancer (A. Imran) 1; Titan Star 2; Thread Of Gold 3. Won by: Nk; 1/2; (1-17). Tote: Win Rs 27; Place: 20; 26; 63; Quinella: 97; Tanala: 1,643. Fav: Pearl Of India (2).
3. Mysore Race Club Cup 1,200m: (5-1-2) Star Carnival (Prem) 1; Silent Fox 2; Own Legacy 3. Won by: 2-1/2; 1/2; (1-16.2). Tote: Win Rs 68; Place: 31; 63; Quinella: 286; Tanala: 1,769. Fav: Own Legacy (2).
4. Bedford Plate, Div-I 1,200m: (3-14-10) Amazing Crown (Raji) 1; Thundering Red 2; Swing Till Dawn 3. Won by: 4; 1-1/4; (1-15.9). Tote: Win Rs 70; Place: 30; 71; 65; Quinella: 2,202; Tanala: 27,850. Fav: Amazing Crown (3).
5. Madras Race Club Cup 1,200m: (2-7-3) Soviet Ride (Raji) 1; Royale Girl 2; Sea Farer 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 3/4; (1-16.8). Tote: Win Rs 143; Place: 30; 27; 12; Quinella: 719; Tanala: 6,621. Fav: Bold Connection (5).
6. Bedford Plate, Div-II 1,200m: (6-3-9) Power Point (Kariappa) 1; Common Spirit 2; Steamer 3. Won by: Hd; 2; (1-17.4). Tote: Win Rs 39; Place: 16; 32; 72; Quinella: 211; Tanala: 13,942. Fav: Diamond Treasure (7).
7. Nagarkoil Plate 1,400m: (7-4-1) Mr. Collector (Shahjahan) 1; Valuable Boy 2; Simply Unique 3. Won by: 1; 3/4; (1-29.4). Tote: Win Rs 107; Place: 25; 38; 13; Quinella: 463; Tanala: 3,427. Fav: On My Own (9).
Jackpot: Rs 1,01,179 (Carried over).
Treble: (i) Rs 1,711; (ii) Rs 8,597.
   
 

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