Muthiah picks Shivlal Yadav
Bagan fire four past Bhratri
Raman may take over
Sandipan 2nd
Fazal qualifies for main draw

Calcutta, Sept. 10: 
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president, Dr A.C. Muthiah, has made the ‘political’ move of offering the managership for South Africa to Shivlal Yadav.

Yadav, a former India off-spinner and national selector, is the Hyderabad Cricket Association secretary and represents that body at BCCI meetings — including the AGM which, this time, will be in Chennai on September 29.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, Yadav is understood to have “assured” the Jagmohan Dalmiya camp that he remains with them but, clearly, there is some uneasiness there.

After all, there’s a chance that Yadav may not leave with the squad on September 24, but join Sourav Ganguly and the boys after the AGM. And, at the AGM, Yadav could ‘thank’ Dr Muthiah for a plum assignment by voting for him — assuming, of course, that a Muthiah-Dalmiya contest does take place.

The picture should become clear in the next few days.

As per convention, unless the working committee has decided on the manager for a specific tour, the choice is always left to the president. The Dalmiya camp overlooked this at the last working committee meeting (Mumbai, last month) and, so, Dr Muthiah has got the chance to hand out a favour.

It’s not Dr Muthiah’s fault that the BCCI hasn’t evolved a policy on managers. In this age and time, the need is for a full-time appointee — an attempt was made with the Chetan Chauhan experiment earlier this year — but having one (like, say, Australia) will end the global darshan of the BCCI members. More important, the powers-that-be won’t be able to dangle carrots.

Like it or not, the BCCI feels it has done enough once it gets sponsors who offer handsome cheques. Even Dr Muthiah, who began his innings well, has eventually proved to be no different.

While the rapport Yadav will share with coach John Wright in particular remains to be seen, the appointment of a former player (as manager) will definitely take some of the pressure off Wright. At nets, for instance, the coach can focus on individuals instead of being burdened by the ‘your-turn-to-bat-next’ routine.

The present Sports Authority if India secretary, Amrit Mathur, was manager on India’s first tour of South Africa (1992-93), while Delhi’s Sunil Dev got the assignment on our last visit (1996-97).


Calcutta, Sept. 10: 
Jose Ramirez Barreto’s absence was palpable in the Super Division championship leg opener at the rain-soaked floodlit Salt Lake Stadium today. There was neither any imagination nor finesse in Mohun Bagan’s forays into the Bhratri Sangha territory. But it hardly made any difference. Mohun Bagan still won, and won handsomely.

The 4-0 triumph, which could so easily have been 8-0, took Subrata Bhattacharya’s team a step closer to the crown which has eluded them since 1997. Two wins in their remaining three matches (versus Tollygunge Agragami, Calcutta Port Trust and East Bengal) will clinch it for the Federation Cup champions who have won all their 14 matches this season so far.

Mohun Bagan were anything but impressive in the first session. Ironically, they scored thrice in those 45 minutes — through Abdulateef Seriki (2) and Debjit Ghosh. Lolendra Singh completed the George rout in the 80th minute.

After Seriki blasted a right-footer well over the destination from a comfortable distance four minutes into the match, Dipankar Biswas did an encore at the other end after being set up nicely by Mohammad Kaiser.

Midway through the first half, with Mohun Bagan looking disjointed and rudderless, Debjit Ghosh scored a freakish goal. A gentle push from 20 yards out took a deflection from a defender and rolled in ever so slowly into the net. Strangely, goalkeeper Abhijit Mondal stood rooted at his spot.

Mohun Bagan doubled their lead six minutes later, once again with a little help from the Bhratri defence. Rennedy Singh’s centre from the left had Seriki stretching to control. The big Nigerian still had time to stab the ball past the ’keeper as stoppers Nilanjan Guha and Arun Malhotra failed to react.

Basudeb Mondal, who had a forgettable match, had his best moment in the 39th minute. A measured chip from the little medio found Seriki who nodded home from close range.

This was Seriki’s seventh goal of the league, taking him past Abdul Khaleque and Omolaja Olalekan and putting him atop the scorers’ list.

The second half — played under a steady drizzle — saw Mohun Bagan create openings galore, spearheaded by the enterprising James Singh-Rennedy Singh duo. Seriki, who got a brace last Thursday as well (against Tollygunge Agragami), twice threw away chances to complete his hattrick.

Lolendra struck with a crisp left-footer in the 80th minute, capping a fine move initiated by James and Seriki.


MOHUN BAGAN: Rajat Ghosh Dastidar, Dulal Biswas, Amauri da Silva, Palash Ghosh (Kajal Bhattacharya, 63), Lolendra Singh, James Singh, Basudeb Mondal (R.P. Singh, 70), Debjit Ghosh, Rennedy Singh, Abdulateef Seriki, R.C. Prakash (Amar Ganguly, 56).

BHRATRI SANGHA: Abhijit Mondal, Babun Kar, Nilanjan Guha, Arun Malhotra, Soumen Sarkar, Momocha Singh, Dipankar Biswas (Bastab Roy, 78), Safaa Hamid, Ifeanyi Ozeugo, Palash Karmakar (Laltu Sarkar, 58), Mohammad Kaiser (Arup Sarkar, 71).

Referee: Gautam Sadhukhan.


Calcutta, Sept. 10: 
Woorkeri Raman may take over from Karsan Ghavri as Bengal coach for the forthcoming Ranji Trophy season. Ghavri decided to discontinue his services owing to his mother’s illness.

Raman’s name had been under consideration once the CAB decided to hire an outstation coach. But the powers-that-be had then preferred Ghavri.

Bengal lose again

Bengal lost their final group league match in the Moin-ud-Dowla Gold Cup to Chemplast by five wickets today, PTI reports from Hyderabad.

Bengal had earlier lost to Mumbai and ONGC, while the match against New Zealand A was abandoned due to a wet outfield.


Bengal 165 in 46 ovs (Safi Ahmed 40). Chemplast 160/5 in 31.1 ovs (Ajay Kudua 41 n.o.). Chemplast won by 5 wkts.

Combined Districts XI 144 in 44.4 ovs (Rohit Sabharwal 71, Sanjay Satpathy 3/40). Indian Railways 147/3 in 16.3 ovs (Sudhir Wankhede 41, Amit Pagnis 37). Railways won by 7 wkts.

MRF 228 in 49.5 ovs (S. Sriram 47, Anant Katti 3/34). Karnataka 150 in 39.2 ovs (Aashish Kapoor 3/27, Hemang Badani 2/23). MRF won by 78 runs.


Calcutta, Sept. 10: 
Sandipan Chanda finished second in the Leinfelden Open in Germany, according to information received today.

He tallied 6.5 points in nine rounds and remained unbeaten. GM Schmaltz Roland came first with seven points.

Sandipan faced five GMs in the meet but the final GM norm still eluded him. The 18-year-old has two GM norms and needs one more to seal the title. Sandipan won 1500 DMs and leaves for Solingen tomorrow.

Janbazar promoted

Janbazar AC beat Mouri SC 1-0 to reach the Calcutta Football League third division championship play-off final. They will play in the second division next season as both finalists get promoted.

In first division group A action, Peerless and Bata SC drew 1-1. In group B, Mohammedan AC beat Garalgacha 3-0.


Calcutta, Sept. 10: 
Syed Fazaluddin has made it to the main draw of the $50,000 Tarzana Challenger, near Los Angeles.

According to information received here, Fazal eked out a fighting three-set win over Leigh Holland yesterday in the final round of the qualifiers. It took the Indian Davis Cupper two-and-a-half hours to beat his Aussie rival 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4). Earlier, Fazal had overcome Australian Grant Doyle 6-3, 6-4.

Fazal will come up against a third Aussie rival, James Sekulov, in the first round of the main draw tomorrow. Fazal and French partner Cedric Kauffmann are the fourth seeds in the doubles event.

Another familiar name to figure in the singles main draw will be Prakash Amritraj, who has been granted a wild card. His father Vijay, incidentally, is the tournament director. Prakash and cousin Stephen (Anand’s son) will be teaming up in doubles.


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