Sachin pulls out of Lanka Tests
City giants brace up for Super Division Derby
Kaif set to bat at No. 3
Filipino IM on giant-killing run
Second win for Md. Sporting
Ghavri to join squad in Chennai
Pune Races/ ‘Moments’ for Mayor’s Trophy

Colombo, Aug. 10: 
Sachin Tendulkar’s world record-creating uninterrupted run of 84 Tests, debut onwards, will now see a forced break. After missing the tri-series here, contemporary cricket’s hottest batsman is now also not available for the three-Test series beginning Tuesday.

In fact, Sachin may even undergo surgery on his right foot (in the big toe region), something which could rule him out for quite some time. Sachin faxed his non-availability to Board secretary Jaywant Lele, in Vadodara, this afternoon. Predictably, this has come as a huge disappointment to captain Sourav Ganguly and coach John Wright.

Indeed, Sachin’s continued absence couldn’t have come at a worse time. The Indians, after all, are already without Anil Kumble, V.V.S. Laxman and Ashish Nehra. And, had play continued at the atrocious P. Sara Stadium wicket today, one or two others may have been added.

Actually, the Sachin pull-out has left Sourav disturbed and he personally called up his predecessor. “We spoke for a few minutes... He was unhappy about not being able to make it and all I could say was that he should quickly get fit,” Sourav told The Telegraph on returning to the Taj Samudra after a day of frustration at the Stadium.

Wright, though, candidly remarked he wasn’t “very surprised” at the turn of events because, in any case, “only something serious” had been keeping Sachin away.

“Well, we had to do without Anil even in the high-profile Australia series and, apart from the others, we’ve now got to accept Sachin not being around. To miss a great player is always a big blow. At the same time, Sachin’s absence means an opportunity for some of the others to stake a claim,” Wright said, talking exclusively.

The disappointment-factor apart, this afternoon’s development raises questions about the diagnosis and treatment of Sachin’s injury. At the fag end of the Zimbabwe tour (early last month), the maestro’s problem was diagnosed as a bruise. Then, on July 17, a bone scan revealed a hairline fracture on the sesamoid bone bordering the big toe. Scans, both yesterday and today, showed the improvement was nil.

Sachin failed to keep Lele posted last night, as he had promised, but called him up around 8.30 this morning. He was clearly disturbed, specially by the report of the scan quietly done yesterday: It revealed the fracture could have occurred just 24 hours ago and not some weeks back. The scan also suggested there may actually be an unexplained growth in the affected region.

In the next few hours, Sachin is understood to have met two specialists before deciding to fax his non-availability and move towards consulting a specialist overseas.

“From what Sachin has indicated, he will be seeking the opinion of a foot-specialist in the

US. Only after that can anything be said with some degree of certainty,” Lele informed, when contacted at his Vadodara residence.

What is certain, however, is that Jacob Martin (standby for Sachin) will arrive here Sunday.

Barring a back problem in 1999, both before and after the World Cup, Sachin’s nearly 12-year international career (Test debut in Karachi, November 1989) had been free of worrying injuries till now.

Incidentally, Kapil Dev was the world record-holder for the most number of uninterrupted Tests (debut onwards) till Sachin overtook him. Kapil’s tally stood at 66. In his case, too, it was a forced break — being dropped for the Calcutta Test against David Gower’s Englishmen in 1984-85 — which ended a handsome innings.


Calcutta, Aug. 10: 
Mohun Bagan and East Bengal meet to settle quite a few disputes at the Salt Lake Stadium tomorrow.. Of them the main issue is the leadership in the current Calcutta Football League’s Super Division.

Mohun Bagan are ahead, (18 points from six matches, a rather perfect record) and East Bengal are four points in arrears (same number of matches). Tomorrow could decide this or bring the two rather uncomfortably close again.

The expected buoyancy that should have been in East Bengal, with their stars back from their tepid English sojourn, was not reflected in what coach Manoranjan Bhattacharya had to say after practice this morning. “Mohun Bagan are ahead,” he said, “and with a better team so far they are in right position.”

He also, almost conceded that a four-point lead in this league is probably a tad too much. “It is not going to be easy catching up in this session,” he said. “Maybe the Federation Cup is getting to be more important now.”

He also laments that he has had only two days with the entire team. “That is hardly enough.”

East Bengal’s biggest boost from the return of the national team players is attacker I.M. Vijayan. That should make a great deal of difference to the East Bengal arsenal, and Mohun Bagan coach Subrata Bhattacharya does not discount that.

However, Manoranjan also has the problem of Omolaja Olalekan. His viral fever has subsided, but even if the doctor has given his okay, the coach is not sure Omolaja has got all his strength back.

Jo Paul Ancheri’s injury too, is healed, but whether he is match fit is yet to be decided. Plus there is this problem of fitting all of them into one team.

Tanzanian recruit Ali Mayay, who is used to a position just in front of the medios, looks good to play, but then Manoranjan has to consider the three-foreigners-in-team law.

That problem stems from the fact that it becomes rather imperative for Manoranjan to field Jackson Egygpong. The defence would be too weak otherwise.

Awoyemi Isiaka’s position, therefore looks a trifle shaky if the substitution situation is taken into account. IFA joint secretary Ranjit Gupta said clearly that this rule will be followed strictly.

The Bagan coach has kept his cards close to his chest. Surely his ace is Jose Ramirez Barreto, and R.C. Prakash and Abdulateef Seriki, but then with Vijayan in the rival ranks, Subrata’s main worry is his back four. That has been Mohun Bagan’s weakest link and Manoranjan is, probably, taking a long, hard look at that.

There was not enough enthusiasm at Mohun Bagan’s practice today, and there is possibly this idea gaining currency that Seriki could be used as more of the strike force because Barreto will surely be marked.

Prakash will be the other man to watch, and though Subrata rather coolly said it will be “another match”, he surely feels the heat of the lack of consistency that his defenders have shown. Prakash, too, was somewhat unsure of what his team’s defence would do in a crunch situation.

This is one time coach Subrata did not promise any “surprise”. He did keep quiet on his prospects, but by the look of it, it would be more than a victory for Subrata if his team can come off unscathed, with an honourable draw.

That would be a safe strategy, because tomorrow there would be plenty at the Salt Lake Stadium to vent anger. The attendance tomorrow is expected to be high, going by what the IFA joint secretary had to say. “I expect a one lakh attendance,” Gupta said. “Already 54,000 tickets have gone out. Add to that the sales that take place tomorrow and the free ones (33,000). I expect this Derby match to witness near-full attendance after a long time.”


Colombo, Aug.10: 
Mohammed Kaif, whose only Test appearance was against South Africa in Bangalore 17 months ago, is set to bat at No.3 in the first Test versus Sri Lanka, in Galle from Tuesday.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, Sachin Tendulkar’s absence has put paid to whatever plans there may have been of fielding five specialist bowlers. Clearly, now there is one more reason and a real big one at that to not compromise with the batting. That, too, at the start of what will be a demanding series.

In the circumstances, the specialist batsmen will (as of now) be: Shiv Sundar Das, Sadagopan Ramesh, Kaif, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Hemang Badani. They will be followed by Samir Dighe (who narrowly escaped injury this morning), Jawagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and either Venkatesh Prasad or Harvinder Singh.

While Prasad is a veteran of 30 Tests, Harvinder has played only two, the last being way back in March 1998.

The Indians, meanwhile, leave for Galle tomorrow morning.


Calcutta, Aug. 10: 
GM Praveen Thipsay continued his impressive run and outwitted his long-time rival and National A champion Dibyendu Barua in the second round of the third Asian men’s chess championship at Gorky Sadan today.

On a day of upsets, 17-year-old IM Mark Paragua of The Philippines made short work of the highly-rated IM Liang Chong (2556) of China. Paragua, who finished third in the world U-16 boys’ championship, had upset seventh seed GM Murtas Kazhzaleyev of Kazakhstan yesterday.

The biggest setback for India was Krishnan Sasikiran’s unexpected loss to untitled Jamshed Isaev of Tajikistan. Sandipan Chanda also lost, after turning down an offer for draw from GM Leonid Yurtaev.

D.V. Prasad, fresh from his exploits in Dortmund, played a brilliant game to beat GM Utut Adianto in a thriller. Abhijit Kunte beat Hoang Thanh Trang of Vietnam — the only woman participant who had held Sasikiran yesterday. Surya Sekhar Ganguly beat the lowly-rated Ronald Dabelo of The Philippines.

Orazly Annageldyev of Turkmenistan lost to top seed Xu Jun on the top board, while Uzbekistan’s Vakhidov Tahir drew with Evgeny Vladimirov on the second board.

Thipsay was involved in yet another unusual Sicilian — this time with back pieces. Barua opted for a less energetic continuation which hardly posed any problems to Thipsay. To compound matters, Barua lost two pawns in a queen-and-bishop versus queen-and-knight ending after which his position was defenceless.

Paragua opted for a closed set against the Caro Kann defence of Chong who went astray by pushing his pawn to b5 which allowed Paragua to break open Chong’s kingside. Paragua then effectively exploited the weakened kingside structure of Chong.

Sasikiran’s loss to Isaev was unfortunate. In a Grunfeld defence Sasikiran gave up the exchange for two pawns but lost a piece in mutual time pressure after which his game fell apart.

Veteran IM Prasad outplayed GM Adianto of Indonesia in a Scandinavian defence. Prasad gained an advantage from the opening in a well-prepared line. He then played the middlegame precisely to take his tally to two points. Prasad has two GM norms and is looking good for his third.

Chanda spurned the draw offer from GM Yurtaev in the Marshall Attack of Ruy Lopez. Chanda reached a dream position with two bishops and an extra pawn from the opening. But he mishandled the middlegame after which Yurtaev’s rook and knight and king pushed him to a corner.

TOP BOARD RESULTS: Orazly Annageldyev 1 lost to Xu Jun (2); Tahir Vakhidov (1.5) drew Evgeny Vladimirov (1.5); Mark Paragua (2) bt Liang Chong (1); Enamul Hossain (1.5) drew Anh Dung Nguyen (1.5); Yu Shaoteng (1.5) drew Ziaur Rahman (1.5); Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (2) bt Wang Yue (1); Dibyendu Barua (1) lost to Praveen Thipsay (2); Alexei Barsov (1.5); drew Reefat Bin Sattar (1.5); Li Wenliang (2) bt Imad Hakki (1); Morteza Mahjoob (1.5) drew Mohammad Al-Modiahki (1.5).

OTHER INDIANS: D.V. Prasad (1.5) bt Utut Adianto (0.5); K. Sasikiran (0.5) lost to Jamshed Isaev (1.5); Abhijit Kunte (1.5) bt Hoang Thanh Trang (0.5); Sandipan Chanda (0.5) lost to Leonid Yurtave (1.5); Chito Garma (1) drew P. Harikrishna (1); P. Konguvel (0.5) lost to Petr Kostenko (1.5); Sergey Zagrebelny (1) drew Sriram Jha (1); Dao Thien Hai (1) bt Lanka Ravi (0); Neeraj Mishra (Ind) 0.5 drew Saidali Iuldachev (0.5); S.S. Ganguly (1) bt Ronald Dableo (0).


Calcutta, Aug. 10: 
Mohammedan Sporting, playing their first match at home in this Calcutta Football League’s Super Division, carved out a 3-1 victory over a lowly Food Corporation of India (FCI) today. That gave the black-white jerseys their second win in eight outings, still keeping them in the relegation zone.

Lawrence scored two (35th and 89th minutes) for the home team, with Amit Dutta opened the scoreline (seventh minute), while Brajadulal Jana converted a penalty for FCI (31st minute). The penalty was awarded when Mohammedan Sporting custodian Imran Khan foul-tackled FCI’s Surajit Chowdhury.

In another Super Division match George Telegraph beat SAIL 1-0 via a Biman Mondal goal at the East Bengal ground. In a first division group B match Aikya Sammilani beat Milan Samity 1-0.


Calcutta, Aug. 10: 
Kar-san Ghavri will join the Bengal squad in Chennai in three-four days.

Utpal Chatterjee was named the skipper today of the Bengal team.

The new Bengal coach is in Mumbai to be with his ailing mother. He said today his mother is recovering and likely to be discharged from hospital soon.

“I’ll join the team either on Tuesday evening or the following morning,” Ghavri said over telephone today.

Bengal begin their Buchi Babu tournament campaign against ONGC Thursday. The team leaves station Monday.

TEAM: Utpal Chatterjee, Rohan Gavaskar, Ritesh Jaiswal, Saikat Mukherjee, Subhomoy Das, Souvik Mukhopadhyay, Subhradip Gangopadhyay, Sanjib Sanyal, Sourasish Lahiri, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Shiv Sundar Pal, Shabbir Ali, Pradipta Mazumdar.

Blood donation

Olympian footballer Nikhil Nandy will sign the certificates this year to blood donors at the Fotball Lovers’ Day camp on August 16 at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.

Organisers, the Indian Football Association and the Association of Voluntary Blood Donors, West Bengal today said at a press meet that this year eight district camps will also be mobilised in the act. There will be camps in Siliguri, Bardhaman, Bankura, Purulia, Midnapore and Hooghly.

The blood donation will be from 9am to 7pm.

Pappan in lead

The Hindu Open golf is poised for a close finish. According to information received here from Chennai today, Pappan was leading with eight-under 208. A stroke behind was Yusuf Ali, followed by Vijay Kumar on 212 and Mohdammed Islam at 213. The trio of Shiv Prakash, Rohtas Singh and Mukesh Kumar was on 214.

Overnight leader Ranjit Singh carded 11-over to slip to the joint-20th spot.

6 meets in India

The All India Chess Federation (AICF) will organise six Grandmaster-level meets in India next year.

Disclosing this, AICF secretary P.T. Ummer Koya said one of these meets will be in the city and a preparation camp will start in early March for the Chess Olympiad to be held in Slovenia next year.

Keeping in mind the new time control and to be prepared in case of a further reduction, the AICF will organise a few age-group rapid tournaments, Koya said.

He informed the top ten in National A will take part in the Asian women’s meet to be held in Chennai next month.

Bula’s feat

Ace long distance swimmer Bula Chowdhury, added another feathwwer in her cap by successfully crossing Tyrrhenian Sea in Italy with a record breaking timing today.

According to information received here, Bula completed the 28 km stretch between Zanone and Sanselice Cerceo in 7 hours 32 minutes, considered to be the best by an Asian.

EB Sports Day

The 62nd birth anniversary of the late Dipak (Paltu) Das, former East Bengal club secretary, on Monday, will be observed as the Sports Day of the Club. Athlete Mukti Saha will be felicitated on that day.

Announcing the club’s plan to honour Das, current club secretary Dipak Chakraborty said a number of people associated with sport will be present.


Pune, Aug. 10: 
The Zadmal Singh-trained colt Anxious Moments is fancied to win the 1,800m Mayor’s Trophy, the main event at the Pune races on Saturday. Malesh Narredu partners the three-year-old by Dark Nile out of Swika.


2.15 pm: Dark Side of The Moon 1. Tulsa Time 2. Speedster 3.
2.45 pm: Battle Star 1. Dhanasri 2. Track Emotions 3.
3.15 pm: Fiercely Loyal 1. Act of Trust 2. Exhilarating 3.
3.45 pm: Miss Sunshine 1. Thunderlite 2. Mille Fiori 3.
4.15 pm: Star Music 1. Catch Me If You Can 2. Yukazon 3.
4.45 pm: Anxious Moments 1. Valencia 2. Resist 3.
5.15 pm: Queenstown 1. Cryptonite 2. Fabulous Fortune 3.
5.45 pm: Anjolie 1. Proud Moment 2. Speak Easy 3.
Day’s Best: Battle Star
Double: Fiercely Loyal & Anxious Moments

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