Sachin may skip Tests too
Pappan shines on opening day
Athletics ‘league’
Bengal to begin vs ONGC
Peerless player’s explanation sought by IFA
Zhang pulls out, compatriot tops
Calcutta Fillies Trial / Andrada has edge over Ascoril
Track Trials / Rheinheart impresses

Calcutta, Aug. 8: 
The speculation around master batsman Sachin Tendulkar’s availability for the Test series in Sri Lanka should be set at rest tomorrow — a day ahead of a fresh scan — when a senior Board official has a one-on-one with him in Mumbai.

Unofficially, though, the selectors at least have been told that Sachin, who is recovering from a fracture, indeed may not make it.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, this was conveyed to them during last week’s meeting in Mumbai. This, to a large extent, explains the naming of Jacob Martin as stand-by, without waiting for the latest scan report.

Intriguingly, neither captain Sourav Ganguly nor coach John Wright have been unofficially ‘briefed’ in the manner the selectors have been.

Contacted in Colombo tonight, Sourav said: “We have not heard anything at all... But, if you ask me, I feel Sachin will come for the Tests.”

Sachin himself wasn’t available for comment but, if the pain in the right big toe region hasn’t disappeared entirely, it will come as no surprise if the maestro misses Test cricket for the first time since his debut (Pakistan, November 1989).

Such a scenario can only mean very bad news for Sourav who already is without the services of Anil Kumble, V.V.S. Laxman and Ashish Nehra. The three-Test series begins in Galle Tuesday.

Zaheer leaves to rejoin squad

Zaheer Khan, whose scan report detected no fracture, left for Sri Lanka today to rejoin the squad, adds Reuters from New Delhi. The scan revealed Zaheer had a muscle injury and not fracture. National selector T.A. Sekar said Zaheer was certain to play in the first Test.


Calcutta, Aug. 8: 
New Delhi’s Pappan, a caddie turned professional, stole the show with a six-under 66 on the opening day of the Hindu Open golf tournament today.

According to information received here, Mukesh Kumar was tied for second place, two strokes behind the leader at 68, with veteran Bunty Randhawa.

Yusuf Ali and Ranjit Singh were tied for fourth place at three-under 69. Mohammed Islam was placed sixth at 70.

Mukesh’s main rival and defending champion Vijay Kumar, Rohtas Singh, Shiv Prakash, Rahul Ganapathy and rookie Sheeraz Kalra were in the pack of 11 tied for the 14th place at level par 72. Rahil Gangjee had 74.

Pappan was off to a dream start with birdies on the tenth and 12th, firing in a superb eagle on the 11th.

This placed him at four-under after three holes. Dropping his first shot of the day on the 13th, Pappan made up with birdies on the 14th and 15th.

Two more birdies on the second and sixth following his second bogey of the day on the 17th highlighted his day’s card.


Calcutta, Aug. 8: 

The final phase of the inter-coaching camp for athletics will be held at Salt Lake Stadium this Sunday.

About 64 selected athletes from 54 coaching camps in the state as well as another 200 young athletes will take part in the final leg.

Swapan Raha, Athletics Coaches Association of Bengal secretary, said that such meets, which he describes as ‘leagues’ are meant to both provide build-up programmes for the athletes and search for talents.


Calcutta, Aug. 8: 
Bengal will begin their Buchi Babu Trophy campaign in Chennai against ONGC. The three-day match starts on August 16.

The team for Bengal’s season-opener in domestic cricket will be selected on Saturday. The players will leave for Chennai Tuesday.

Coach Karsan Ghavri, in Mumbai attending to his ailing mother, is likely to join the team in Chennai, CAB joint-secretary Bablu Kolay said today.

In case he fails to make it to Chennai, the Bengal coach will be picked from among Barun Burman, Rajesh Dani and Dattatreya Mukherjee, Kolay said.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that Utpal Chatterjee and Rohan Gavaskar are the front-runners to lead the team in the Buchi Babu tournament.

Although CAB officials did not commit themselves, they revealed the duo’s chances are fifty-fifty.

Peerless player’s explanation sought by IFA.


Calcutta, Aug. 8: 
The Indian Football Association’s (IFA) League sub-committee today sought an explanation from Peerless’ Pradip Basu about his “illegal” participation in the match against Howrah Union in a Calcutta Football League Group A match.

Pradip, with Milan Bithee last year, has been accused of switching to Peerless without acquiring a ‘no objection’ certificate from his former club.

The sub-committee held today that if the player’s explanation was not satisfactory, Peerless would be penalised three points . Peerless won that match.

E. Rly win 1-0

Eastern Railway won 1-0 against Salkia Friends in a first division Group A tie at Mohun Bagan ground today.

Biswajit Muhuri scored the matchwinner in the 35th minute. In another Group A match, WB Police SC and Sonali Shibir were held goalless.

United Student Club, Barrackpore, thrashed Aikya Sammilani 3-0 in the lone first division group B clash.

Blood donation camp

IFA and the Association of Voluntary Blood Donors will jointly organise a blood donation camp on August 16 to mark the Football Lovers Day.

The camp will be held at Netaji Indoor Stadium from 9 am.


Calcutta, Aug. 8: 
Top seed Zhong Zhang has pulled out of the Asian chess championship for men which gets underway at the Alekhine Chess Club tomorrow. The Chinese contingent which arrive in the city today informed the organisers that Zhang — who has already qualified for the World Championship — is being replaced by IM Li Wenliang, who has a rating of 2495.

Zhang’s withdrawal pushes compatriot Xu Jun, with a rating of 2646, into the top spot.

The meet was inaugurated today by Fide honorary president Florencio Campomanes and Ashoke Bhattacharya, minister for municipal affairs and urban development, who made a few moves on the demonstration board.

Though the Chinese have a strong contingent, the city is going to witness a fierce battle for the top honours in the next few days.

“It’s going to be a fight amongst the players bunched at the top,” said Bangladesh’s Niaz Murshed, the first GM from the sub-continent.

Niaz, who had gone into hibernation for a few years, will be seen in action here after a long time. Champion of the second Goodricke Open in 1991, Niaz had reached the second round of the first Fide knockout championship in Groningen in 1997.

“Though the Chinese are good, I think they are over-rated. This championship is wide open. With the increase in prize money the competition has increased and is fierce. Another incentive for the players is a berth for the World Championship,” he added.

Filipino GM Buenaventura Villamayor said: “The Chinese have a strong line-up. Even without Zhang, Xu Jun and Xiaomin Peng will be formidable opponents. But with 10 slots open for qualification, I think the players will play safe. Only in the first few rounds the players will try to pick up points. In the middle and the last rounds, the emphasis will be on staying near the top with draws.”

India’s K. Sasikiran, with a rating of 2589 is a major contender, who will be aiming for the title. He sits pretty, having already qualified for the World Championship by winning the Zonal meet in Colombo in May.

Apart from Sasikiran, Dibyendu Barua and Abhijit Kunte are expected to do well here.

“Dibyendu is in good form and has played well in the recent past,” said his old friend and rival Murshed. “Barua is the only Indian who has played in all the Fide knockout World Championships.”

“I have prepared hard for this meet after failing to qualify from the Zonal. With the field fairly balanced we should witness some interesting struggles here,” said Dibyendu, who won the National A title in June in New Delhi.

Barua narrowly missed winning the Colombo Zonal, after leading throughout. For the other Indians, including Surya Sekhar Ganguly and Sandipan Chanda, the meet will provide a stepping stone to take a shot at the World Championship. Chanda should also be looking for his elusive third and final GM norm.

For the first time in the city the digital clock will be used for all the boards. The games will be played daily from 2.00 to 6.00 pm. On Saturday and Monday, however, two rounds each will be played — from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm and 4.00 pm to 8.00 pm.


Calcutta, Aug. 8: 
With just two fillies in the line-up for the 1,400m Calcutta Fillies Trial Stakes, trainer Vijay Singh is no danger of losing the first classic of the monsoon season, tomorrow, as both of them — Andrada and Ascoril — hail from his yard. But there is little to chose between the two. Adnrada may find the Trial trip a bit taxing, but the Gold Discovery-Rose of Sharon filly has the superior class by her side. It is the other way round for the Green Forest-Pretty Eyes daughter, Ascoril. However, Cristopher Alford on Andrada is expected to manoeuvre the pace to his advantage and take care of his stable-mate who will be ridden by apprentice Surender Singh.

Read as: Horse number, last four runs, horse name, trainer, jockey, weight & draw:

1st Race: (1.40 pm) Stolen Hours Handicap 1,200m (Cl IV—Rated 22-50)

1 3000 Solo Act [R. Alford] Rutherford A. 61.0 2

2 0041 Constantine [Karki] Amjad K. 60.5 3

3 0200 Alborada [Daniel] D. Locke 59.5 4

4 0030 Bird’s Empire [Daniel] N. Connorton 57.5 5

5 0024 Beau Bruno [Daniel] Saran S. 56.0 1

1. Bird’s Empire (4) 2. Solo Act (1) 3. Constantine (2)

Bird’s Empire: Met with a severe check in the stretch-run thus failed as a favourite. Solo Act: At a favourable mark. May extend the best. Constantine: May place.

2nd Race :(2.20 pm) Welfare Lady Handicap 1,400m (Cl V— Rt 00-28) — Indian jockeys only

1 0024 Ballard Lady [Daniel] B. Gurang 60.0 5

2 3003 Finders Keepers [Jaiswal] Asghar 59.5 6

3 0400 Pure Passion [R. Alford] Rutherford A. 59.0 3

4 0000 Lovely Duchess [R. Alford] P. Alford 56.5 2

5---- Abandoned [Jaiswal] M. Bhagwat 56.0 1

6 0322 Fencai [Javed] F. Khan 54.0 7

7 0000 Sunset Down [Bharath] S. Rabani 54.0 4

1. Pure Passion (3) 2. Finders Keepers (2) 3. Sunset Down (7)

Pure Passion: Looking and working well. May take all by surprise. Finders Keepers: Seems to have come right. May upset. Sunset Down: May place.

3rd Race :(2.50 pm) Star Flame Cup 1,000m (Cl II — Rt. 66-94) — Indian jockeys only

1 2000 Tsavo [Karki] Amjad K. 61.0 1

2 3301 Cup of Life [Mujeeb] C. Alford 53.5 3

30040 Mystic Hill [Mujeeb] Md Yasin 53.0 4

41010 Staffordshire [Javed] Md Islam 52.0 2

5 0000 Giorgio [Rodrigues] Dalpat S. 50.5 5

1. cup of life (2) 2. staffordshire (4) 3. tsavo (1)

Cup of Life: Won his last star the way he liked. May score an encore. Staffordshire: Something big is brewing with him. Keep an eye. Tsavo:May place.

4th Race : (3.20 pm) Calcutta Fillies Trial Stake 1,400m (Terms, fillies 3-y-o only)

1 1341 Andrada [Vijay] C. Alford 54.5 1

2 3301 Ascoril [Vijay] Surender S. 51.0 2

1. Andrada (1)

Andrada: Hails from a superior class that may help her tackle the Trial distance more comfortably than Ascoril who may relish the trip but belongs poor class.

5th Race :(3.55pm) Aztec Cup 1,100m (Cl III—Rt. 44-72)

1 0222 Carbon Copy [Mujeeb] N. Bird 60.0 8

2 0322 Winning Hand [Javed] R. Gowli 60.0 4

3 1232 Ispahan [Stephens] Rutherford A. 59.5 5

4 0044 Endless Surprise [Daniel] Surender S. 58.5 10v

5 0110 Peace Envoy [Daniel] Dalpat S. 56.5 3

6 0000 Addab [Mujeeb] Gajinder S. 55.5 11

7 2001 Scarlet Raider [Daniel] N. Connorton 55.0 6

8 0130 Spanish Drum’s [Daniel] Md Yasin 55.0 7

9 0421 Starina [R. Alford] P. Alford 55.0 2

10 0000 Classic Pursuit [Bharath] S. Rabani 53.5 9

11 0400 High Life [Jaiswal] Som S. 50.0 1

1. Winning Hand (2) 2. Endless Surprise (4) 3. Ispahan (3)

Winning Hand: Lost to Cup of Life — who may win in a higher set today. Endless Surprise: A big reduction in weight brings her in with a chance. Ispahan: May upset.

6th Race :(4.30 pm) Magyar Handicap 1,100m (Cl V, 5-y-o & over —Rt. 00-28) — Indian jockeys only

1 4213 Flying Power [Karki] Amjad K. 60.5 3

2 4320 Aliqa [Javed] Som S. 57.0 2

3 4220 Armila [R. Alford] Rutherford A. 57.0 7

4 - - - 0 Amistad [Bharath] Md Islam 56.0 1

5 0000 Googy Gangster [Rodrigues] G. Upadhya 55.5 5

6 0003 Heaven’s Blessing [Bath] R. Gowli 53.5 4

7 0000 Consul’s Secret [Jaiswal] M. Bhagwat 52.0 6

8 0020 Piece of Cake [Daniel] P. Kumar 50.5 8

1. Aliqa (2) 2. Amistad (4) 3. Armila (3)

Aliqa: Good at the weight and workouts too. May score. Amistad: Possesses the kind of speed that outsprint all. Looking fit. Armila: A consistent trier. Upset, if any.

Day’s Best: Bird’s Empire Double: Pure Passion & Cup of Life


Calcutta, Aug. 8: 
Rheinheart was impressive from among the following horses seen exercising today:

Outer sand track

1,600m: No Regrets (Gowli) in 1-59s; (400m) 28s. Easy.

1,000m: Cool Quest (Gowli) in 1-16s; (400m) 30s. Unextended

800m: Remember Me (Rb) in 1-1s; (400m) 29s. Grand Lodge (Bird) and Flamebird (Gowli) in 1-0s; (400m) 27s. They were level and they are fit.

600m: Tsavo (B. Gurang) 46s; (400m) 30s.

400m: Cavala (Asghar) in 30s.

Sand track

800m:Peace Envoy (Connorton) in 55s; (400m) 26s. Fit. Ashbury (Locke) in 57s; (400m) 27s. Easy. Rheinheart (G. Singh) in 53s; (400m) 24s. Moved nicely. Abandoned (Rutherford) in 56s; (400m) 26s. Easy. Added Asset (Connorton) in 55s; (400m) 26s. Very fit. As A Rule (Som S.) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Fit. Flying Scot (Som S.) 1-1s; (400m) 31s. Fencai (Upadhya) in 1-4s; (400m) 29s. Aliqa (Rb) in 57s; (400m) 27s.

Gate practice

From 2,000m to 1,000m: Adorer (Dalpat) and Lady Shirley (Som S.) in 1-12s. Both jumped out well and were level.


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