Much depends on what destiny has for you: Dilhara Fernando
Fracture puts Srinath out of remaining Tests
Asian champion rates Anand above Kramnik
WB Police win
US coaches for city cricket clinic
Bengal reach quarters
Bury lose 1-2
Pune Races/ Raziya may be hard to toss
Pune Races/ Ally Mcbeal wins thriller
Annalee, Adorer shine

Kandy, Aug. 18: 
Off the field, tall and muscular Dilhara Fernando is a devout Roman Catholic. On it, he is determined to knock the batsman’s head off. Meet Sri Lanka (and Asia’s) newest fast bowling sensation.

That Fernando, 22, would be more than a handful was evident during the recent tri-series itself. Yet, just how menacing he can be was actually felt when he tore into the Indian middle order with the second new ball, in innings No.1 of the first Test that ended in a shade over three days.

Fernando, somewhat shy, spoke to The Telegraph in Galle yesterday. Incidentally, his mobile didn’t stop ringing as family and friends continued to congratulate him for his role in Lanka’s thumping 10-wicket victory.

The following are excerpts

On his background

I’ve grown up in Kandana, a Colombo suburb, where my father (Gregory) is in business. We are a small family of five: two brothers and a sister besides my parents. My mother, Jayanti, is a housewife. Till the age of 16, I was totally smitten by basketball, a sport I was pretty good at...

On who encouraged him to switch to cricket

A friend, Lanka Chintana, who suggested I try my hand at bowling. I did, just for the heck of it, and all of a sudden I was into cricket with very little time for basketball.

On his idol

Not exactly idol, but I admire Allan Donald... He has such a terrific action... It was quite an experience playing against him, in South Africa last year, and I managed a few minutes with him. His advice was that I shouldn’t let my head fall away at the time of delivery. I’m also a Curtley Ambrose fan.

On his first big match

(Smiles) It was Board President’s XI against India, in July 1997. I remember getting Sachin Tendulkar in the second innings, caught by Russell Arnold (for five). My Test debut was versus Pakistan, at home (SSC, Colombo) last year, while my first one-day cap came in South Africa, last season.

On his Test debut

Frankly, I was nervous for the first couple of overs. But, then, my captain (Sanath Jayasuriya) asked me to take it easy and, gradually, I settled down.

On whether he strives hard to consistently clock 140-plus kmph, or that the pace comes naturally

It’s natural, it’s God-given.

On the wicket which has given him the most satisfaction

Jacques Kallis in the first innings of the Durban Test, when I induced him to hook straight down square-leg’s throat. [Incidentally, Fernando picked up five wickets in that innings.]

On being lucky to get Sourav Ganguly in the first innings of the Galle Test

It does appear the ball hit his left shoulder but, then, it went past his gloves and his hands were right next to the face. So, what is to say the ball didn’t brush the gloves first? In any case, I got him in the second innings, too, didn’t I?

On whether he got carried away on seeing the green top at the International Stadium

Well, we knew what the wicket would look like... No, I didn’t get very excited. As it turned out, the wicket didn’t quite have the pace it initially promised.

On the adjustment between Test and one-day cricket

But I bowl at the same speed... My mental make-up, at least, isn’t any different.

On handling the pressures of big-time cricket

I don’t put myself under pressure at all. After all, I know I can’t always be successful... What’s important is that I give my hundred per cent each time.

On whether it’s tough staying injury-free

Actually, much depends on what destiny has for you... But, yes, I religiously follow what our physio (Alex Kontouri) prescribes. At the moment, I’m heavily into weights. There’s an old saying, ‘early to bed and early to rise’. I’m particular about that as well.

On his heroes outside cricket

Just one — Shaquille O’Neill

On his hobbies

(Smiles again) Music, films... Whenever I can, I watch Hindi movies and am a fan of Shahrukh Khan and Rani Mukherjee.

On whether he is superstitious

No, but I’m God-fearing.

Finally, on his career best (five for 42) in the first innings at Galle

It’s special because it’s the first time I got five wickets in an innings in Sri Lanka. It’s very satisfying, too, as we won the Test. Having said that, this is just the beginning for me. I’ve got lots to do and, hopefully, lots of wickets will come my way.


Colombo, Aug. 18: 
There was one seat empty in the India cricketers’ bus, which left Colombo for here this morning. On the Galle-Colombo journey, yesterday, that seat had been occupied by Jawagal Srinath. Struck by Dilhara Fernando in the Galle Test, Srinath today returned home.

Though the first X-ray of Srinath’s left hand, in Galle Wednesday, had not revealed a fracture, a crack still was suspected in the region of his knuckles. This morning’s X-ray in Colombo showed a major fracture (fifth metacarpal) which will require at least three weeks to heal.

And, so, Srinath took the Indian Airlines’ regular afternoon flight to Chennai en route to hometown Bangalore. This is the second time in six months that Srinath has suffered a fracture. In end-February, it was Australia’s Jason Gillespie who knocked him out of the second and third Tests, after fracturing his right index finger in Mumbai.

This time, too, Srinath will miss the second and third Tests and, really, his injury couldn’t have come at a worse time. Incidentally, according to physio Andrew Leipus, extra protection had been provided on Srinath’s right glove. Yet, as luck would have it, he got hit on the left hand this time.

Leipus informed that Srinath will be consulting an orthopaedic surgeon in Bangalore.

Meanwhile, according to The Telegraph’s sources, the thinktank is contemplating asking for Ajit Agarkar as replacement. Yesterday, of course, the names of Debashish Mohanty and Virender Sehwag were doing the rounds but, now, Agarkar appears to be the choice. Agarkar was in the tri-series squad, but returned home (ahead of the Test series) without playing a single match.

It is understood, though, that a formal request will be made only after manager Anant Mate has checked with Board secretary Jaywant Lele whether, in fact, a replacement will be sent. After all, only the two Tests remain and the tour party, in any case, was 16-strong to begin with. Plus, Harvinder Singh is around.

Mate did call Lele in the evening, but the secretary wasn’t available. Another call will probably be made tonight itself.

The second Test, which should again be on a wicket suited for quicks, begins Wednesday.


Calcutta, Aug. 18: 
Winning the Asian championship for the second consecutive time has not made him overtly elated. Soft spoken and friendly, chess, for the 39-year-old Xu Jun is not just a passion, it is a medium of meeting people.

“I enjoy chess a lot but I feel it is essential to be a good human being and that is very important,” Xu said during an interview with The Telegraph immediately after his final round game at Gorky Sadan yesterday.

Xu had won the Asian crown in Udaipur last year. He was also a member of the Chinese contingent which won the Asian team title four times.

Xu feels Indian chess has benefited greatly by Anand’s success in the world championship. “He is not only a superb player but also an excellent ambassador for the game.”

Asked to compare Anand with Kasparov and Kramnik, he said: “I would rate Kasparov and Anand in super class but wouldn’t put Kramnik in the same category, though he is also strong.”

About young Indian sensation P. Harikrishna, Xu seemed to have his answer ready. “He has a natural feeling for the game. From what I have seen, his understanding of certain positions is excellent. I am sure in the days to come he will blossom into a world class player.”

Asked whether the 15-plus has the potential to annex the world crown, Xu said: “Well, to be frank, it’s too early to say. To be a world champion, being just a good player is not enough. You have to be the best.”

Talking about China’s domination in the continent, Xu said the game enjoys a lot of government support back home. “We get good support from the government and many school children in China have started learning chess. We are developing the game in the Russian way. Talented players are selected for special chess schools where the finer points are taught.

“For one half of the day, the trainees learn chess and the other focusses on teaching science, history, geography etc. Our government realises the role of chess behind the overall development of personality. I don’t know how to put it exactly but we think chess is an instrument for enhancing a child’s qualities.”

Xu feels the reduced time control is helping chess to get more popular but thinks the world championship finals should be played under the classical format. But will the introduction of chess in the Olympic Games help the game? “Definitely, but it has to be rapid games only. The longer version can’t be played there.”

About his prospects in the world championship he sports a grin. “I am not thinking much about it. It is a tough championship but I will think about it when it comes closer. Of course, I won’t mind winning a few matches.”

Xu avoided making a comment on Kasparov’s breaking away from the Fide fold and whether it has harmed the game. “I don’t want to comment on that, I leave it to the chess society to answer. But it would have been wonderful to have all the players together, to share each other’s ideas. I recall the Fide motto — ‘Gens Una Sumus’ — we are one family,” Xu signed off.


Calcutta, Aug. 18: 
Kalighat and Rajasthan were tied 1-1 at Kishore Bharati Stadium, while WB Police beat Wari AC 1-0 at the Mohun Bagan ground in their Calcutta Football League’s first division group A ties today.

In second division Arindam Das scored a hattrick in Gymkhana’s 4-1 win over Howrah Town at the Police ground. Manojit Karmakar added another goal for Gymkhana while D. Sarkar reduced the margin for the losers.

In the fourth division championship play-off matches, National SC edged past Sarat Samity 1-0 at BG Press and Nibedita Club beat Kalighat Milani 2-0 at YMCA.

Gooptu at BTTA helm

Former city Sheriff Amiya Gooptu has been named president of the Bengal Table Tennis Association (BTTA). He replaced Somnath Chatterjee, who had stepped down from the post in July. In a BTTA executive council meeting today, Gooptu, who had held the post earlier, was officially named to the post, a BTTA release said.

It has been learnt that Chatterjee was “dissatisfied” with the ongoing tussle between BTTA and Table Tennis Federation of India on number of issues. He was unanimously re-elected to the post for three years in the state body’s AGM in February.

State ranking meet

A number of national-ranked players will be seen in action in the state ranking table tennis championships, to be held from August 23 to 26 at Railpukur United Club at Baguihati.

Ankana best swimmer

Ankana Sil of Indian Life Saving Society was adjudged best swimmer, while Bally Swimming Centre and Canning Swimming Centre emerged team champions for men and women in the 42nd annual all Bengal aquatic championships at College Square today.

Shiv Prakash leads

Shiv Prakash vaulted himself into contention on the penultimate day of the Cotton City Open, the second leg of the Hero Honda Tour, opening a six-stroke lead over his closest pursuers.


Calcutta, Aug. 18: 
Three physical training coaches from the US are in town to help out trainees of the Bournvita Cricket Academy. They had a session with the academy pupils today and leave the city after another session tomorrow.

Academy chief coach Arun Lal said today the coaches have been associated with basketball and American football players in the US and will teach the academy boys latest methods in speed training and nutrition. These coaches have been brought to India by Athletes in Action, an American organisation which conducts similar programmes.

Craig Chinck of Ohio, one of the coaches, who visited the academy last year, informed training cricketers was not new to him. Having worked with cricketers in Delhi before coming here, Chinck said he found the game similar to baseball. “We first study the bio-mechanics of this game after which we try to help the players improve in certain areas including speed and strength. We also try and see how the speed of running between wickets can be increased and how a bowler can bowl faster.”

Chinck, who is here with Johnmark Jenkins and Tom Christian, said Indian athletes can improve their fitness and become physically stronger if they start early.


Calcutta, Aug. 18: 
Bengal reached the quarters of the Buchi Babu meet, beating ONGC by virtue of a big first innings lead of 204 runs.

Needing 245 for an outright win, Bengal made 172 for three as stumps were drawn before the mandatory overs began on the final day of the three-day tie in Chennai today.

According to information received here, Rohan Gavaskar made 77 and Amitabha Chakraborty remained unbeaten on 59 in Bengal’s second innings.

Earlier, ONGC declared their second innings at 448 for five. Sourashish Lahiri took three for 125 and Pradipto Majumdar two for 103 for Bengal. Bengal will take on Karnataka in the quarters.

BRIEF SCORES: ONGC 188 & 448/5 decl (Sourashish Lahiri 3/125). Bengal 392 & 172/3 (Rohan Gavaskar 77, Amitabha Chakraborty 59 n.o.).


Calcutta, Aug. 18: 
Bhaichung Bhutia’s Bury FC lost their second match in the English second division league today. Playing at home, Bury lost 1-2 to Queen’s Park Rangers. Michael Nelson put Bury ahead but goals from Andy Thomson and Paul Bruce tilted the match visitors’ way. Queen’s Park Rangers now jointly lead the table with six points. Bury have 3.    

Pune, Aug. 18: 
In a classic mould, the Cooji Katrak-trained three-year-old filly Raziya may be hard to toss in the ‘terms’ race, the 1,400m F. D. Wadia Trophy at the Pune races on Sunday. Malesh Narredu partners the Placerville-Star of The Stage daughter.


1.15 pm: Star Music 1. War ‘N’ Peace 2. Arabian Fighter 3.

1.45 pm: Blues Clues 1. Combative 2. Frequency 3.

2.15 pm: Cafe Au Lait 1. Femme Fatale 2. Consortium 3.

2.45 pm: Intensity 1. Moira 2. Pretty Bee 3.

3.15 pm: The Gladiator 1. Ever So Loyal 2. Crown Dream 3.

3.45 pm: Raziya 1. Star Alone 2. Love Me Forever 3.

4.15 pm: Triumphant 1. Emmanuel’s Pet 2. Bearer Bond 3.

4.45 pm: Snow Star 1. Cotopaxi 2. Meringue 3.

Day’s Best: Raziya

Double: Star Music & Cafe Au Lait


Pune, Aug. 18: 
In a close-finish the Imtiaz Sait-trainee Ally Mcbeal had the measure of Columbus in the Chakori Trophy, at the Pune races held on Saturday. Malesh Narredu partnered the Placerville-Ablaze daughter.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Flower Power Plate 1,600m: (2-3-5) Eminent Leader (Gallagher) 1; Natural Spark 2; Loretta 3. Won by: 3-3/4; 2; (1-41.1). Tote: Win Rs 25; Place: 20; 21; Quinella: 47; Tanala: 254. Fav: Eminent Leader (2).

2. Icelandic Plate 1,100m: (8-7-5) Change The Attitude (M. Narredu) 1; Wordsworth 2; Ruffles 3. Won by: 5-1/2; 5; (1-8.1). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 11; 18; 47; Quinella: 43; Tanala: 311. Fav: Change The Attitude (8).

3. Chakori Trophy 1,200m: (4-1-3) Ally Mcbeal (M. Narredu) 1; Columbus 2; Secret Blessing’s 3. Not run: Cymbidium (5). Won by: SH; 1-3/4; (1-12.3). Tote: Win Rs 22; Place: 10; 24; 24; Quinella: 165; Tanala: 1,470. Fav: Ally Mcbeal (4).

4. Don Juan Plate 1,400m: (8-14-7) Roll of Dice (M. Narredu) 1; Pleasure Hunt 2; Riboletta 3. Not run: King’s Crest (5). Won by: Dist; 5-1/2; (1-26.1). Tote: Win Rs 41; Place: 17; 13; 56; Quinella: 54; Tanala: 1,177. Fav: Auchinblae (2).

5. Grand Vedette Plate 1,600m: (9-6-5) Great Alliance (Kamlesh) 1; Sunglow 2; Dhanadal 3. Won by: 3-1/4; 4-1/4; (1-41.1). Tote: Win Rs 39; Place: 16; 129; 46; Quinella: 1,054; Tanala: 15,461. Fav: Flensburg (4).

6. Potential Champion Trophy 2,000m: (5-2-4) Sedona (Rajendra) 1; Classic Rock 2; Soviet Ace 3. Won by: 3/4; 1-1/4; (2-9.7). Tote: Win Rs 29; Place: 15; 15; 27; Quinella: 52; Tanala: 641. Fav: Sedona (5).

7. Sun King Plate 1,400m: (14-9-1) Philosopher (Kamlesh) 1; Sleepyhead 2; Lightning Arrow 3. Not run: My Opinion (6). Won by: 3-3/4; 3; (1-28.7). Tote: Win Rs 33; Place: 17; 59; 29; Quinella: 562; Tanala: 6,491. Fav: Philosopher (14).

8. Ruksh Plate 1,100m: (4-15-14) Inspire (Rajendra) 1; Dhama Dham 2; Betsy 3. Not run: Starry Dream (13). Won by: 9-1/2; SH; (1-9.1). Tote: Win Rs 21; Place: 13; 38; 26; Quinella: 168; Tanala: 693. Fav: Inspire (4). (Note: Originally second, Neptune’s Girl was disqualified following an inquiry).

Jackpot: Rs 3,167; (C) Rs 821.

Treble: (i) Rs 66; (ii) Rs 436; (iii) Rs 174.


Calcutta, Aug. 18: 
Annalee and Adorer were impressive form among the following horses worked today.

Outer sand track

1,000m: Annalee (C. Alford) in 1-9s; (400m) 27s. Handy. Annella (C. Alford) in 1-10s; (400m) 27s. Moved nicely. Adorer (C. Alford) and Silver Toy (Gowli) in 1-9s; (400m) 27s. Former was far superior.

800m: Wandering Warrior (C. Alford) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Fit. Remember Me (Rb) in 59s; (400m) .28s.

600m: Sky Command (Rutherford) and Carbon Copy (Bird) in 44s; (400m) 27s. Former a length better


Monsoon track

1,200m: Rescue Act (Rabani) Airberni (C. Alford) in 1-23s; (400m) 25s. They were level.

1,000m: Allaying (Rabani) and Queen’s Logic (Islam) in 1-8s; (400m) 26s. .Former 2 ls better.

800m: Rare Gold (Rutherford) and Stella Blue (Bird) in 53s; (400m) 25s. Former a length better. Victoria Rose (Rb) in 52s; (400m) 24s. Good. Kargil Soldier (Gowli) in 52s; (400m) 25s. Fit. Charlene (Rb) in 53s; (400m) 24s. Moved easyl. Royal Ruler (Rutherford) in 54s; (400m) 25s. Easy. Ace of Spades (Connorton) in 56s; (400m) 26s. Eau Savage (Shanker) in 54s; (400m) 25s. Fit. Crimson King (Connorton) in 53s; (400m) 26s. Fit. Lovely Duchess (Rutherford) and Armila (P. Alford) in 52s;.(400m) 25s. Former 3 ls better. On The Bit (F. Khan) in 54s; (400m) 26s. Moved well. Finders Keepers (Asghar) in 54s; (400m) 25s. Santillana (Connoton) in 56s; (400m) 25s. Fit. Soviet Port (Islam) 55s; (400m) 27s. Good. Software (Shanker) in 53s; (400m) 25s. Fit.. Global Harmony (Rutherford) in 54s; (400m) 26s..Fit. Abandoned (V. Jaiswal) in 55s; (400m) 26s. Winning Hand (Rb) and Gul (Upadhya) in 1-0s; (400m) 29s. Level. Heaven’s Blessing (Shanker) in 56s; (400m) 24s. Easy. Double Dancer (Gowli) in 58s.(400m) 28s.

600m: Lightning Speed (Som S.) and Tsaynen Blue (Gowli) in 41s; (400m) 26s. Level. Aventura (Rabani) and Break Fast At Tiffani (Islam) in 40s; (400m) 25s. They were level.

400m: Cavala (Asghar) in 24s. Easy.

Sand track

800m: Bul Bul (Rb) in 57s;.(400m) 25s. High Life (Bhagwat) in 55s; 400m) 27s. Scavcenger’s Son (Som S,) in 56s; (400m) 28s. As A Rule (Som S.) in 58s; (400m) 28s. Keep The Faith (Asghar) in 57s; (400m) 27s. Easy. Ballard Lady (P. Kumar) in 58s; (400m) 27s. Alborada (Dalpat S.) in 57s; (400m) 27s. Almond Rock (Yasin) and Added Asset (Connorton) in 54s; (400m) 23s. Level. Starina (Rutherford) in 53s; (400m) 26s. Fit. Ashbury (Dalpat S.) and Aberdan (B. Gurang) in 53s; (400m) 25s. Former a length better. Consul’s Secret (V. Jaiswal) in 1-0s; (400m) 28s.


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