Vishy to pad up for NCA trainees
Back on Cloud Nine
Nishikant Mishra lifts crown
Nayeem to coach U-23 team
Gade meets Hendrawan
Sergeants win
Mukesh in lead
Young Star emerge champions
Bangalore Races/ Six Speed has best credentials
Bangalore Races/ Anagram romps home

 
 
VISHY TO PAD UP FOR NCA TRAINEES 
 
 
BY LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Calcutta, June 9: 
Eighteen years after his last India appearance, Gundappa Vishwanath will again pad up — this time to impart practical lessons to our next generation of cricketers.

The Bangalore-based Vishy, a former India captain and chief selector, has acceded to a request from National Cricket Academy (NCA) director Brijesh Patel to give more than a pep talk to the Academy trainees.

Though the NCA, too, is in Bangalore, Vishy’s role thus far was limited to his having inaugurated it on May Day 2000. Now, there’s a good chance he will make regular appearances at the Academy, which is located within the Chinnaswamy Stadium complex.

“The trainees will soon have a ten-day break (from June 16) and, so, I’ll either have the first session before they go home or after they return... Pep talks are fine, but I think actually taking to nets in person will have a bigger impact,” Vishy told The Telegraph last evening.

A Test centurion on debut, Vishy’s peak coincided with that of brother-in-law Sunil Gavaskar, but he remained as big a draw as Gavaskar. In fact, Indian cricket hasn’t seen a more elegant batsman.

Vishy, whose last Test was in Karachi (early 1983), made 91 appearances and totalled 6,080 runs to average 40-plus with 14 centuries. Few anywhere have better credentials.

Patel has also “spoken” to Gavaskar about sparing time for the NCA trainees. Gavaskar, an Academy committee member by the way, has responded “positively.”

Gavaskar did have a tête-à-tête with the NCA’s first batch (Shiv Sundar Das included) last year but, thereafter, there has been no formal interaction.

It would be great if Gavaskar, too, took to the nets to impart practical lessons. Gavaskar remains Test cricket’s second-highest scorer: 10,122 runs (34 centuries, average 50-plus).

Speaking exclusively, Patel indicated he is looking to Gavaskar and Vishy to serve as the Academy’s unofficial batting coaches. Under the existing formal arrangement, coach Kenia Jayantilal is doing this job full-time.

As Patel put it: “The bowling is being taken care of by the head coach (Balwinder Singh Sandhu) and one of the two coaches (Erapalli Prasanna), while consultant Rodney Marsh is there for wicketkeeping. For the up-coming batsmen, there can be no better teachers than Vishy and Gavaskar...”

Meanwhile, Patel informed he has suggested to the Board that (the basic) Level I and II courses be held for coaches in all five zonal academies. More than anything else, this will ensure “continuity” in the thought process of coaches associated with the NCA.

Specifically, this will help the Academy trainees once they graduate: The state coaches will, as Patel remarked, be speaking in the “same language” as Sandhu and Co.

No purpose will be served if this is not so.

   

 
 
BACK ON CLOUD NINE 
 
 
BY AMITAVA DAS GUPTA
 
Calcutta, June 9: 
Holding aloft a Grand Slam winner’s trophy is no new experience for Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. They had created that magic not once but twice — within a space of four weeks two years ago. Yet, today’s triumph at Roland Garros was so much different, so very significant.

The back-to-back titles at French Open and Wimbledon in 1999 helped the Dynamic Duo establish themselves as a potent force in the world of men’s doubles. It also transformed the image of Indian tennis players from that of genial fighters to aggressive world-beaters.

But Grand Slam No. 3 was far more important for two individuals striving to convince themselves and their detractors that they could still be the best despite going through hell during an acrimonious break-up a year ago.

Having patched up after a three-month separation, Paes and Bhupathi seemed to have lost their old magic as they struggled for consistency. An odd title, a few good wins materialised from time to time, but the champions’ trait of converting losing situations into winning ones was distinctly missing.

The erstwhile darlings of a sports-crazy nation hit rock-bottom in the popularity charts. Fans and the media blamed them for pressing the self-destructive button, convinced they would never be the same force again. They were even accused of betraying the nation.

All those comments must have hurt Paes and Bhupathi. But they chose to be silent and stuck to their task manfully — aware that the only way to turn the tide was by returning to winning ways in the big events.

“We knew all along we could do it, that’s why we had got back together,” said Paes. “There was a time when our rankings dropped so much that we were contemplating playing lower-level tournaments. But never did the thought cross our mind that we’d made a mistake by rejoining forces.”

His junior partner echoed similar thoughts. “The only way to explain this is to refer to that word belief,” Bhupathi said. “We knew we could make it once more, nothing else mattered. It hurt when people wrote us off but we concentrated on our goal and worked hard to achieve it.”

Yes, they had luck running their way with top seeds Todd Woodbridge and Jonas Bjorkman tripping well before their expected clash with the Indians in the last four. Even the No. 2 seeds, Daniel Nestor and Sandon Stolle, fell early. But, for a pair which went into the tournament unseeded, the least Paes-Bhupathi deserved was some such good fortune.

They still had to beat three seeded teams — including talented Czechs Jiri Novak and David Rikl, the world No. 3.

All of them pushed Paes and Bhupathi to the corner at some stage or the other. But like true champions, the Indian Express got back on track by stepping on the gas at just the right moments.

Paes and Bhupathi are once again winning matches from losing situations. That’s confirmation enough of their reincarnation.

   

 
 
NISHIKANT MISHRA LIFTS CROWN 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Bhubaneswar, June 9: 
Nishikant Mishra of the local Buxi Jagabandhu English Medium School has emerged the champion of the first leg of The Telegraph Schools’ Chess Championship held in association with Horlicks at the gymnasium-cum-indoor hall of Sahidnagar.

After the ninth and final round today, Nishikant drew with Abhisikta Pattnaik of Acharya Harihara School. Nishikant scored 8 points and tied with schoolmate Piyush Roy and Byomkesh Nayak of Children Centre of Integral Education, but went on to claim the title on a better progressive score.

On top board, Nishikant played the Caro-Kann defence against Abhisikta’s Pannov-Bottvinnik. In the seventh move, he offered a draw, which was declined by his opponent. However, she offered a draw in the 17th move when she was going to lose a pawn. Piyush on the third board beat Brahmajyoti Mohanty but with a lesser progressive score of 42.5 points, he had to be content with the second spot. Byomkesh defeated Radharani Ray, and but his progressive score was only 42 and he was placed third.

Abinash Das of the city-based DAV School in Unit-8 finished 4th with 7.5 points and a progressive score of 41 points. Abhisikta followed him in the final tally with 7.5 points and a progressive score of 38.5 points. All these five players travel to Calcutta for the grand finals in late July.

The tournament was organised by the Orissa State Chess Association in co-operation with the Alekhine Chess Club, Calcutta.

Malhotra chief guest

Nishikant received his prize from former Test cricketer and current national selector Ashok Malhotra at the Utkal University auditorium this evening. Incidentally, the venue was packed to its 400-odd capacity.

In his short speech, which was well received, Malhotra hoped that The Telegraph’s effort would help make chess even more popular in Orissa. He also hoped that, sooner rather than later, Bhubaneswar would produce a Grandmaster.

Besides giving away the top prize, Malhotra presented a silver salver (on behalf of The Telegraph) to Jyotirindra Mohan Joardar, the father of chess in the state. Visibly moved Joardar remarked he hadn’t “come prepared” to be felicitated thus.

Present at the function were, among others, president of the Orissa State Chess Association, S. Srinivasan and Amitabha Datta, vice-president of The Telegraph.

   

 
 
NAYEEM TO COACH U-23 TEAM 
 
 
FROM A CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, June 9: 
Former national coach Syed Nayeemuddin has been resurrected as coach of the Indian under-23 team, which will participate in the eighth South Asian Federation (SAF) Games in Islamabad.

The AIFF president Priya Ranjan Das Munshi announced this after its executive committee meeting and released the domestic and international schedules.

The Federation Cup, revived after 1998, will feature 20 teams, including four from Bengal — holders Mohun Bagan, runners-up East Bengal, Tollygunge Agragami and Mohammedan Sporting.

Sukhwinder Singh has been retained as the national coach till the 2002 Pusan Asian Games. Due to a packed international schedule, decisions about invitations from Oman, Myanmar, Pakistan and Singapore were deferred.

The AIFF secretary, Alberto Colaco said that India will play four matches in England, Brentford (14th in Div. II) on July 24, Nottingham Forest (11th in Div. I) on July 28, Leyton Orient (4th in Div. III) on July 31 and Walsall (promoted to Div. I) on August 3.

There will be an under-19. tournament for National League teams, starting from September or October this year. The meet will be held in memory of late Pradyut Dutta and Paltu Das, in Bengal.

Meanwhile, I.M. Vijayan’s plea for exemption from the fine of Rs. 50,000 has been rejected. A showcause has been served to F.C. Kochin and until they reply, their prize money from NFL would be witheld.

International schedules: 1. Merdeka tournament at Kuala Lumpur, June 20 — 30; 2. Tour to England, July 20 to August 3; 3. SAF Games, Islamabad, Oct. 4 —14, U-23 yrs. team to play; 4. 1st Afro-Asian Games, New Delhi, Nov. 2—11; 5. Asian Women’s tournament; 6. SAFF Chps, Dhaka, 26 Jan. 2002 onwards; 7. Mini international series, 25 April to 5 May, 2002. Domestic schedules: 1. Federation Cup—Pondicherry or Kerala, from Aug. 15—31; 2. Inaugural junior girls (U-19 yrs) meet, Sept. 1—10, venue undecided; 3. U-19 yrs. tournament for NFL teams, Sept/Oct. 2001 in memory of late Pradyut Dutta and Paltu Das, in Bengal; 4. Santosh Trophy, Nagpur, Nov. 6—26; 5. National Football League, 1st and 2nd Div.—Dec. 1—Jan. 15; 6. NFL, 1st and 2nd Div. resumes on Feb. 15., concludes April 15; 7. junior nationals, Dec. 20 to Jan. 6, 2001; 8. Women’s nationals and sub-junior nationals, Jan. 6 to 20, 2001.

   

 
 
GADE MEETS HENDRAWAN 
 
 
FROM SANJAY SHARMA
 
Seville, June 9: 
An unfortunate groin injury forced 21-year-old Taufique Hidayat to concede his men’s singles semi-final tie from a winning position in the third and deciding game to fellow Indonesian Hendrawan after leading 7-1 in the decider. Taufique had won the first game 15-11 and lost the second 5-15.

This means that Hendrawan will take on Peter Gade Christensen of Denmark, a 17-14, 15-2 victor of China’s Chen Hong in the other semi-final, in the summit clash tomorrow.

Hidayat fell as he went to take a steep net shot on his forehand and slipped causing the injury on his groin. Till that time he looked very comfortable and set to win.

Second seeded Gade sailed past the fourth seeded to make his maiden entry into the final of the world championships.

Peter, the 24-year-old, who became the youngest world number one at the age of 20, four years ago, had defeated Hong in the Denmark-China tie in Sudirman Cup a few days ago.

After Hong drubbed Indian ace Pullela Gopichand, many had thought that for the Dane the Chinese would be too hot to handle.

But Gade conquered Hong here at the San Pablo Stadium with one of the finest examples of speed badminton, coupled with his fluent courtcraft and awesome movement — traits so reminiscent of the former world No. 1 Morten Frost.

The plan was simple, serve low and attack as much as you can. Though it was Chen Hong who took a lead in the first game, it was Peter who turned the tables with some deft placings.

Meanwhile, the Chinese snatched their first title when they won the mixed doubles final. Zhang Jun and Gao Li scored a memorable 15-10, 12-15, 17-16 win in 75 minutes over Koreans Kim Dong Moon and Ra Kyung Min.

In the first ladies singles semi-final, Gong Ruina ruined the chances of fellow Chinese Gong Zhi Chao to enter the final. The reigning All England champion was thrashed 13-10, 11-4 in 35 minutes. Ruina will meet fellow countrymate Zhou Mi in the final.

   

 
 
SERGEANTS WIN 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, June 9: 
CCFC beat Young Rugby Club 47-0 in the Calcutta 10-a-side Championship match at home today. In other matches, Sergeants Institute overcame CCFC Gremlins 36-0, LMOB got past Future Hope 10-7 and LMOB ‘B’ downed Police 17-5.

This was the second set of matches in this season-opening tournament. As is the tradition, all matches are being played on Saturdays.

Eight teams have been divided into groups of four each. The top two will qualify for the June 23 final.

The two-day Inter-City championship will be the next on the calendar, likely to be held at the end of this month. Originally scheduled in September, the meet has been advanced by a couple of months.

The outstation teams to have confirmed for the Inter-City meet so far are Delhi, Chennai and Orissa. Teams from Manipur and Mumbai are expected to send their entries. The 15-a-side Calcutta Cup starts July 7, the final being slated for September 1.

   

 
 
MUKESH IN LEAD 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, June 9: 
Mukesh Kumar, with his four-under 64 today, got a three-stroke cushion over Vijay Kumar in the race for the Mahindra Champion Golfer of the Year award.

Information received here from Bangalore says, Mukesh currently leads the Leela Palace–BGC Open with a three-day aggregate of six-under 198. Vijay Kumar is placed second at three-under 201 while two strokes behind Vijay at tied-third spot are the Calcutta’s Firoz Ali and Vinod Kumar.

   

 
 
YOUNG STAR EMERGE CHAMPIONS 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, June 9: 
Young Star Hockey Training Centre won the women’s state title at SAI today.

In the final game of the championship, played on a super league format, Young Star beat Bratachari Vidyashram 3-0. Karuna Patra scored a brace and Jaba Mondal the third.

Pinki Lakra of Young Star was adjudged best player of the championship, Bratachari’s Madhuri Ghosh the most promising player.

   

 
 
BANGALORE RACES/ SIX SPEED HAS BEST CREDENTIALS 
 
 
FROM WILLIAM TELL
 
Bangalore, June 9: 
It is hard to look beyond last year’s Fillies winner Six Speed in the 1,200m Chief Minister’s Cup, a terms event for four-year-olds and over which is tomorrow’s main attraction. Well rested since her Indian Derby third, the Darius Byramji-trainee is all set to score in the hands of Pesi Shroff.

4SELECTIONS

2.30 pm: Plain Truth 1. Kool Kruiser 2. Krugar Park 3.
3 pm: Luca Brassi 1. Ankole 2. Top The Star 3.
3.30 pm: Crystal Delight 1. Alminstar 2. Just Do It 3.
4 pm: Six Speed 1. Symphony of Fire 2. Bold Chieftan 3.
4.30 pm: Endorsement 1. Red Quartz 2. Way To The Stars 3.
5 pm: Star Splendour 1. Triple King 2. Dee Emm 3.
5.30 pm: Royal Mission 1. Great Occasion 2. Timeline 3.
Day’s Best: Six Speed
Double: Endorsement & Star Splendour
   

 
 
BANGALORE RACES/ ANAGRAM ROMPS HOME 
 
 
BY TITAN BOY
 
Bangalore, June 9: 
The Imtiaz Sait-trained and ridden by Aslam Kader Anagram easily claimed the Stewards Cup at the Bangalore races held on Saturday.

RESULTS

(With inter-state dividends)
1. Buck Passer Plate, Div-II 1,100m: (3-1-9) Ampersand (Shafiq) 1; Stamford 2; Little Genny 3. Won by: Hd; 3; (1-10.1). Tote: Win Rs 25; Place: 16; 21; 17; Quinella: 97; Tanala: 410. Fav: Ampersand (3).
2. Guindy Plate, Div-II 1,400m: (10-3-1) Royal Hunter (I. Chisty) 1; Lake Baikal 2; Treat 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 2-3/4; (1-31.4). Tote: Win Rs 20; Place: 12; 21; 24; Quinella: 72; Tanala: 355. Fav: Royal Hunter (10).
3. Buck Passer Plate, Div-I 1,100m: (1-6-7) Quorum (Srinath) 1; Actuate 2; Star Pride 3. Won by: 4-1/2; 1/2; (1-10). Tote: Win Rs 142; Place: 28; 44; 12; Quinella: 1,224; Tanala: 12,742. Fav: Star Pride (7).
4. Sardar Khan Memorial Plate 1,200m: (3-5-2) Winelight (Prithviraj) 1; Classic Belle 2; Carnival Craze 3. Won by: 6; 2; (1-15.3). Tote: Win Rs 85; Place: 27; 18; 30; Quinella: 292; Tanala: 4,545. Fav: Breaking News (8).
5. Stewards Cup 1,800m: (6-2-1) Anagram (Kader) 1; Aerobee 2; Alameda 3. Won by: 5; Nk; (1-53.5). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 18; 19; Quinella: 48; Tanala: 308. Fav: Anagram (6).
6. Galilee Plate 1,400m: (3-7-1) Minstrel Star (Prakash) 1; Blue Gardenia 2; Lucifer 3. Won by: 1; 5-1/2; (1-30). Tote: Win Rs 29; Place: 16; 16; 40; Quinella: 69; Tanala: 1,058. Fav: Minstrel Star (3).
7.Cauvery Silver Vase 2,000m: (5-3-1) Our Ambition (Prakash) 1; Ma Baker 2; Marcus Aurelius 3. Won by: Nk; 4-1/2; (2-10.3). Tote: Win Rs 50; Place: 17; 19; 27; Quinella: 102; Tanala: 545. Fav: Tapatio (6).
8. Guindy Plate, Div-I 1,400m: (4-5-6) Golden Fellowship (Shakti) 1; Anandini 2; Masti 3. Won by: 3/4; 3-1/4; (1-30.8). Tote: Win Rs 20; Place: 14; 18; 51; Quinella: 51; Tanala: 573. Fav: Golden Fellowship (4).
Jackpot: Rs 2,243; (C) Rs 370.
Treble: (i) Rs 14,041; (ii) Rs 221.
   
 

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