We should keep up this momentum: Sourav
Bank team scratched
IFA calls for fresh report
Stars drop out of Kaviguru Rally
Calcutta Races/ ‘Obolensky’ outsmarts Arendal
Calcutta Races/ Alegria catches eye
Pune Races/ Crepusculaire may strike

Calcutta, Aug.4: 
Three superb league-phase victories have taken India to the tri-series final, in Colombo, but a bit of a dampener is that India haven’t won the title in their last 12 tournaments (featuring a minimum of three teams).

The last win, in fact, was way back in November 1998, in Sharjah.

Discomforting, too, is that India choked in the title-round of each of their last three tournaments: The ICC KnockOut in Nairobi, last October’s tri-series in Sharjah and the tri-series in Zimbabwe, less than a month ago.

Yet, Indian captain Sourav Ganguly isn’t perturbed by the statistics. Rather, as he conveyed to The Telegraph during a one-on-one (over the phone) this morning, he is quietly optimistic.

“I’m not making any prediction... Perhaps the one thing I’ve learnt quickest, in one-day cricket, is not to predict... At the same time, we’ve made the final via very handsome victories and, really, should keep this momentum going,” remarked Sourav, speaking from the Taj Samudra.

He added: “While our record in the last three tournament finals is there in black-and-white, please don’t forget that each of our last three matches (in Colombo) were crunch games and the team definitely didn’t choke...”

According to the captain, it wasn’t a terribly demanding ask for the coach (John Wright) and him to lift the players’ morale after the first three league matches were lost.

“Both John and I basically made one point — that we couldn’t be in a worse position and would only move up. Therefore, everyone should play their normal game as that, to a large extent, would help us out from the backs-to-the-wall situation.”

But while the team’s entry into a second tri-series final in under a month has brought much joy, Sourav remains disturbed on two fronts — the punishment handed out by Match Referee Cammie Smith on two occasions and by whispers that the selectors wish to get even with him for his ‘patronage’ of Yuvraj Singh.

[According to well-placed sources, the selectors (barring East’s Ashok Malhotra) devoted as much as 45 minutes to Sourav-bashing during Thursday’s meeting in Mumbai. That Yuvraj was Man-of-the-Match the previous evening, didn’t change the selectors’ informal agenda.]

For good reasons, Sourav can’t go public with his thoughts on Smith — who, by the way, has been exceedingly generous towards Sanath Jayasuriya and Craig McMillan — but he did say a few things about Yuvraj.

“I’ve always backed players with ability. Why should I even be influenced by anything else? Actually, as I told you before leaving for Sri Lanka, Yuvraj was the selectors’ choice when he was first picked (ICC KnockOut)... Of course, I’m happy he won us that match (versus Sri Lanka) on Wednesday...”

Incidentally, Sourav has also been a firm Virender Sehwag backer and if Yuvraj did the starturn against Sri Lanka, Sehwag was the cynosure 24 hours later — in the ‘semi-final’ versus New Zealand.

“Well, both have tremendous ability. Their ability-level is much higher than many others. That’s why they could deliver in two of our most difficult games in recent times. More important, both Yuvraj and Sehwag performed under intense pressure. Just how well the pressure is handled, at this level, determines how far a player will go.”

Asked whether it was frustrating for a compulsive strokemaker like him to remain a spectator when Sehwag blazed to his maiden century, Sourav replied: “No, because the gameplan was to stay put for as many overs as possible... In any case, I was being dictated to by the situation of the match.”

[The makeshift Sourav-Sehwag opening combination contributed all of 143 that day.]

Sourav himself hasn’t got a century for ages, the last (his 16th) was back in December in Ahmedabad, against Zimbabwe. Since then, he has played 17 ODIs and got past the fifty-mark six times — twice in the tri-series which ends tomorrow.

The captain may not acknowledge it, but this delay in getting century No. 17 must surely be a distraction. More so, as Sourav is most comfortable when leading from the front.

Yet another piece of statistics, then, will be at the back of Sourav’s mind as he takes guard in India’s last ODI for quite a while — the next will be in South Africa (versus the hosts, in Johannesburg, on October 5).

The pre-final team meeting is slated for the morning and Sourav will be emphasising two points: That the margin of error will be even less and, so, the least mistakes must be made with the basics. Also, that playing to potential will carry the day.

Holding one’s nerves, too, on a wicket which may not encourage tall scores.


Calcutta, Aug. 4: 
The controversial scratching of the Bank Sports Control Board (BSCB) women’s team was the highlight of Day 2 at the inter-institution table tennis championships today.

It all began when the Defence Accounts Sports Control Board (DASCB) lodged a protest against Sheri Crawford of the bank team, saying she was a scholarship holder and not a full-fledged employee.

Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) vice-president Probir Mitra had to intervene and confirmed late in the evening the protest had been upheld. DASCB, thus, went through to the semis.

BSCB officials argued Susmita Roy, who now plays for Railways, was on Dena Bank scholarship last year but still allowed to represent the bank team in the Indore edition of the meet.

Mitra accepted this but offered a strange argument that Susmita was allowed last year as there was no protest.

The bank team officials said the issue was not raised in the pre-tournament jury meeting Thursday and they felt Sheri’s inclusion was legal since the TTFI didn’t object when her name was enetered for the tournament on July 16.

Sheri, incidentally, is also a Dena Bank scholarship-holder and the chief referee of the tournament found nothing unusual about her participation.

The Mumbai-based 16-year-old girl’s father Rusi Crawford, a former TTFI vice-president, vowed to move court. “If her entry is illegal, why didn’t the TTFI say so when her name was registered? And why were the registration fees accepted?”

He protested vehemently, amazed to find the federation changing stance after setting a precedent last year. Crawford also said the TTFI rule book doesn’t specify the individual’s eligibility criteria for this tournament.

Mitra hinted that chief referee Sisir Sengupta may be pulled up for allowing Sheri to play.

DASCB, who will now meet Railways in tomorrow’s semi-finals, had lost to the bank team 0-3 in the group league match. They were walloped by the strong Petroleum Sports Control Board (PSCB) team yesterday.

PSCB juggernaut rolls

Away from the controversy, the PSCB teams were merciless as both their teams reached the semi-finals. The Railways teams also made the last-four stage.

PSCB men, the defending champions, crushed the challenge, rather the lack of it, from Electricity Board in the quarter finals and lost just one game in the process. Their women counterparts conceded three games in their two wins in group league.

Railways, runners-up in the men’s section last year, had to work harder in comparison but reached the semis with a 3-0 win over Major Ports Sports Board.

Arjun Dutta started PSCB’s cruise through the quarters with a 11-2, 11-3, 11-6 win over Vikram Aditya. Rather strangely, Chetan Baoor then lost the first game to P. Ramesh 9-11 but came back with to win the next three 11-4, 11-2, 11-3. Soumyadeep Roy completed the rout, beating B. Nilesh 11-6, 11-6, 11-8.

The Railways team’s path to the semi-final was a little more troublesome though Ranabir Das started with a 11-5, 10-12, 11-6, 11-1 win over Souvik Dey Sarkar.

Shubham Chowdhury then overcame a 1-2 game deficit to prevail over Amit Mukherjee 11-8, 4-11, 11-13, 11-7, 11-6. Bhushan Thakur ensured there was no more hiccups, beating Anindya Lal Chowdhury 11-6, 11-7, 11-7.

LIC men beat FCI 3-0 and BSCB ousted Central Revenue by the same margin in other quarter finals.


Men’s quarters: PSCB bt Electricity Board 3-0 (Arjun Dutta bt Vikram Aditya 11-2, 11-3, 11-6; Chetan Baoor bt P. Ramesh 9-11, 11-4, 11-2, 11-3; Soumyadeep Roy bt B. Nilesh 11-6, 11-6, 11-8). Railways bt Major Ports 3-0 (Ranabir Das bt Souvik Dey Sarkar 11-5, 10-12, 11-6, 11-1; Shubham Chowdhury bt Amit Mukherjee 11-8, 4-11, 11-13, 11-7, 11-6; Bhushan Thakur bt Anindya Lal Chowdhury 11-6, 11-7, 11-7). LIC bt FCI 3-0 (R. Rajesh bt Ajay Jha 11-9, 11-4, 11-2; M. Thakkar bt Harsh Chopra 11-4, 11-9, 11-5; V. Vaiswade bt Subrata Roy 11-8, 11-9, 11-9). Bank Sports Board bt Central Revenue 3-0 (Vineet Chopra bt Dipankar Adhikari 11-6, 11-9, 14-16, 11-9; Jignesh Jaiswal bt Kishalay Basak 11-9, 11-8, 11-9; Deepak Thukral bt N. Ravichandran 7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-13, 13-11).


Men: PSCB vs Bank Sports Board; Railways vs LIC.

Women: Railways vs DASCB


Calcutta, Aug. 4: 
The Indian Football Association (IFA) has asked referee Udayan Haldar for another report on the July 25 Super Division match between East Bengal and Bhratri Sangha.

During the match, a Bhratri Sangha player got injured and fell near the touchline when a couple of East Bengal players tried to lift him out of the ground.

The IFA has recently received a letter from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), through the AIFF, which wants to know what the local body plans to do about the incident.

IFA joint-secretary Ranjit Gupta said today Haldar’s earlier match report mentioned nothing about it and he has been asked to report what he thinks of the incident.

Iraqis sign up

Iraqi imports Safaa A.H. Hamid and Ahmed Hussan Dikash today signed in favour of Bhratri Sangha.

The former is a midfielder from Iraq’s second division team Air Force Club which finished third in the league last year.

Dikash is a defender from Al Talaba which came second in second division. Both are likely to play in Monday’s Super division match against Mohammedan Sporting. Bhratri Sangha have 15 points from seven matches.

Tanzanian arrives for EB

Tanzanian striker Alemao today arrived to play for East Bengal. If he impresses in practice he will be registered for the Federation Cup and his contract will be extended if he does well there.

Beleghata best in 5th div.

Beleghata Friends Union beat Measurers Club 1-0 in the fifth division championship play-off final. Both qualify for next season’s fourth division league.

In first division group B, Bowbazar YMU beat Garalgacha SC 2-1. The match between Behala Youth and Milan Samity ended 2-2.


Calcutta, Aug. 4: 
Nineteen cars and 18 motorcycles completed the Servo-Indian Oil Kaviguru Rally, in association with The Telegraph, which touched the finishing line here after being flagged off from Shantiniketan this morning.

Total entries in four-wheeler section was 26 and there were also 22 motorcycles. Many of the stars couldn’t finish, the list including Mitil Chakraborty, Prasanta Paul and champion Jogendra Jaiswal.

Among two outstation entries was Centhil Balasubramanian from Coimbatore — a paraplegic navigator from Coimbatore — who partnered Reggie Kurien on a motorcycle.

Joydeep Das, a biker, met with an accident while trying to avoid a cyclist. He was taken to hospital and brought back by train. He was better late in the evening. Results will be declared tomorrw.


Calcutta, Aug. 4: 
Although three favourites obliged in today’s race-card, the competition in most of the afternoon’s seven-events was quite tough. However, the biggest disappointment was brought about by Arendal in the 1,800m the Portofino Cup. The 3-10 hot-favourite was outsmarted by John Stephens-trainee Prince Obolensky ridden from the front by apprentice Fateh Ali Khan. The victory of Bold Apparel in the Whiplash Cup prompted the stewards to open an inquiry into the improved performance of the Daniel David-trainee.


1. Maltese Prince Handicap 1,400m: (3-2-5-1) Rescue Act (Rabani) 1; Calculate (A. P. Singh) 2; Maltayar (Gowli) 3; Alvernia (C. Alford) 4. Won by: 1; 2; 5-1/2; (1-32.2). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 15; 57; Quinella: 89; Tanala: 254. Fav: Rescue Act (3). Winner trained by Bharath S.
2. Portofino Cup 1,800m: (4-2-13) Prince Obolensky (F. Khan) 1; Arendal (C. Alford) 2; Treasurer (A. P. Singh) 3; Illustrious Reign (Dalpat S.) 4. Won by: 4; 5-1/2; 5-1/2; (1-58.7). Tote: Win Rs 56; Place: 20; 12; Quinella: 21; Tanala: 150. Fav: Arendal (2). Winner trained by J. Stephens.
3. Clamp Handicap 1,400m: (1-7-3-2) Iron Warrior (Dalpat) 1; Stella Blue (C. Alford) 2; Glass Slipper (Gowli) 3; Nearco Prince (Islam) 4. Won by: Hd; 1-1/2; 1-3/4; (1-34.5). Tote: Win Rs 100; Place: 24; 18; 17; Quinella: 174; Tanala: 1,766. Fav: Nearco Prince (2). Winner trained by Rodrigues.
4. Diesel Handicap 1,200m: (2-1-6-5) Crest Star (Yasin) 1; Tsaynen Blue (Gowli) 2; Alumnus (C. Alford) 3; Keep The Faith (Som S.) 4. Won by: 7-1/4; 1-1/4; 5-1/2; (1-20.7). Tote: Win Rs 29; Place: 13; 15; 14; Quinella: 82; Tanala: 282. Fav: Crest Star (2). Winner trained by Mujeeb R.
5. Not Much Handicap 1,200m: (4-8-7-3) Tajik (Rutherford) 1; Floral Path (Islam) 2; Stately Honour (Gajinder) 3; Raaz (Gowli) 4. Not run: Storm Centrre (5). Won by: 6-1/2; 7; SH; (1-19.3). Tote: Win Rs 16; Place: 12; 17; 25; Quinella: 45; Tanala: 285. Fav: Tajik (4). Winner trained by R. Alford.
6. Whiplash Cup 1,000m:(2-4-6-1) Bold Apparel (Saran S.) 1; Wandering Warrior (C. Alford) 2; Regency Times (Yasin) 3; Ardon (B. Gurang) 4. Won by: 1-1/4; 3/4; Nk; (1-5.7). Tote: Win Rs 475; Place: 56; 13; 21; Quinella: 469; Tanala: 9,097. Fav: Secret Adversary (7). Winner trained by Daniel D.
7. Aureole Time Handicap 1,200m: (6-7-4-9) Aflicker (Rabani) 1; Kargil Soldier (F. Khan) 2; Sky Command (Rutherford) 3; Double Bull (Yasin) 4. Not run: Splendid Star (2). Won by: Nk; 3/4; 7-1/4; (1-19.7). Tote: Win Rs 33; Place: 14; 19; 15; Quinella: 71; Tanala: 211. Fav: Sky Command (4). Winner trained by Bharath S.
Jackpot: Rs 1,48,481; (C) Rs 44,544.
Treble: (i) Rs 2,107; (ii) 4,992.

Calcutta, Aug. 4: 
Alegria was impressive during today’s workouts.

Outer sand track

1,400m: Alegria (C. Alford) in 1-39s; (400m) 28s. Good. Melodeon (Rb) in 1-39s; (400m) 29s. Impressed. Automatic (C. Alford) in 1-47s; (400m) 32s.
1,200m: Adorer (C. Alford) and Lady Shirley (Som S.) in 1-26s; (400m) (400m) 28s. Former far better.
1,000m: Merano (Rb) and Cool Quest (Som S.) in 1-11s; (400m) 29s. Former was 4 ls better.
800m: Tsavo (Amjad) in 57s; (400m) 29s. Pushed. Annallee (C. Alford) in 59s; (400m) 29s. Easy. Ascoril (Rb) and Albright (Surender) in 1-3s; (400m) 31s. Former a length better. Grand Lodge (Bird) and No Regrets (Upadhya) in 55s; (400m) 26s. Former a length better. Flamebird (Som S.) in 56s; (400m) 27s. Fit. Friendly Knight (Jaiswal) and Finders Keepers (Asghar) in 56s; (400m) 27s. Former was a length better. Flying Scot (Upadhya) in 58s; (400m) 28s. Easy. Alamito (Rabani) and Alcalde (C. Alford) in 57s; (400m) 29s. Level. Charlene (Rb) and Soviet Port (Islam) ion 57s; (400m) 28s. They were level. Sand track
1,000m: Ballet Master (Connrton) and Added Asset (B. Gurang) in 1-10s; (400m) 28s. Former a length better. Lovely Duchess (P. Alford) in 1-11s; (400m) 27s. Fit.
800m: Rheinheart (G. Singh) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Chivalrous (Rb) in 57s; (400m) 27s. Heaven’s Blessing (Haroon) and Eau Savage (G. Singh) in 52s; (400m) 28s. Former a length better. Highland Flame (Yasin) in 56s; (400m) 271s. Bird’s Empire (P. Kumar) in 1-0s; (400m) 27s. Alborada (Connorton) in 57s; (400m) 26s.Ashbury (Som S.) in 56s; (400m) 25s. Fit. Sadaf (Rb) in 1-1s; (400m) 29s. Anokato (Connorton) in 1-1s; (400m) 27s. Spanish Drum’s (Saran S.) and Peace Envoy (Yasin) in 56s; (400m) 26s. Former 6 ls better. Armila (Engineer) and Starina (Rutherford) in 52s; (400m) 25s. Former 3 ls better. Almond Rock (Connorton) and Aberdan (Yasin) in 57s; (400m) 27s. Former a length better. Just Kidding (P. Alford) in 56s; (400m) 26s. Handy. Pure Passion (Rutherford) in 56s; (400m) 27s.
600m: Harry The Horse (F. Khan) in 47s; (400m) 28s. Blessed Spirit (Rb) 46s; (400m) 28s.

Barrier trial after the last race

1,100m: Aliqa (Som S.), Lightning Speed (Gowli) and Cavala (P. Kumar) in 1-16s; (400m) 27s. They were separarted by 8 ls and a distance.

Pune, Aug. 4: 
Crepusculaire is fancied to win the 1,400m August Handicap at the Pune races on Sunday. Well-tuned for the event, the Subhag Singh-trained filly by Broto out of Claire de Lune will be ridden by Pesi Shroff


12.45 pm: Adam’s Touch 1. Moira 2. Draculla 3.
1.15 pm: Prince Honey 1. Fire Girl 2. Shirley Valentine 3.
1.45 pm: Ragazza 1. Crisscross 2. Terrificco 3.
2.15 pm: Frequency 1. Name of Love 2. Coronado 3.
2.45 pm: Blazing Flame 1. Midnight Escape 2. Big Bertha 3.
3.15 pm: Khim 1. Wild Love 2. Magic Arrow 3.
3.45 pm: Gironde 1. Strength To Strength 2. Pleasures 3.
4.15 pm: Crepusculaire 1. Mountain Rose 2. Rage 3.
4.45 pm: Charging Bullet 1. Mischiefmaker 2. Stay With Me 3.
Day’s Best: Blazing Flame
Double: Frequency & Khim

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