I’ll accept whatever fate has in store: Deep
Seeds sail into third round
Matches on despite IFA staff strike
Afro-Asian Games officially off
Bijali barred from meet
34 pairs in Opens final

Calcutta, Sept.17: 
Vijay Dahiya, Syed Saba Karim, Dahiya once more, Nayan Mongia, Samir Dighe, Dahiya yet again, Dighe once more… And, now, 24-year-old Deep Dasgupta.

Deep, then, is the fifth India wicketkeeper in the past 12 months, but this heavy turnover hasn’t pushed him into the insecurity-mode.

“Whatever happens is for the good only. I’ve always believed in that and, so, I’ll accept whatever fate has in store,” Deep told The Telegraph over lunch, a few hours after returning from New Delhi.

[Having done his schooling and graduation from the capital, Deep incidentally is as much a Delhiwallah as he is a Calcuttan.]

Ten days on, the euphoria over his maiden India call-up (for the tri-series in South Africa) is over and Deep has begun focussing on the cherished assignment. The ‘shopping’ list included light bats.

An important component is having the gear in place and, towards that end, Deep spent some time at the Bidhan Sarani outlet of a prominent sports goods dealer.

“Frankly, I can’t be comfortable if the kit isn’t in order… I’m not superstitious (barring forever carrying Lord Ganesh’s pictures), but the gear has to be in perfect shape. You may term it a superstition.”

Having the gear in place, though, is step No.1. Thereafter, on-the-field, it’s all about concentration.

Indeed, even a momentary lapse is a ‘keeper’s biggest enemy, and Deep is conscious of that. In striving to not put a foot wrong, he has also spoken to non-cricketers — one being GM norm-holder Surya Sekhar Ganguly — about the art and science of staying focussed.

“Surya Sekhar’s reply was interesting: ‘No TV, no music… No distractions during a tournament’… Usually, we get a ‘warning’ from within that the concentration isn’t what it should be. It’s time, then, to run a check on the basics. To watch the ball closely, to get up with the ball…”

That he shouldn’t forget the basics is something Deep’s first coach, the remarkable Sunita Sharma, kept reminding him during his one-on-one with her in New Delhi the other day.

By chief selector Chandu Borde’s admission, Deep’s batting gave him the edge over Ajay Ratra. However, Deep sees himself as a wicketkeeper-batsman (as it should be) and not a batsman-wicketkeeper.

A former India colts ‘keeper, Deep hasn’t modelled himself on anybody, but admits to having idolised world record-holder Ian Healy.

“Healy, for many, remains the complete wicketkeeper. He kept superbly both to top-bracket quicks (Craig McDermott and Glenn McGrath, for instance) and a brilliant spinner like Shane Warne. Plus, he contributed with the bat…”

Healy was supremely fit, too.

Actually, thanks to elder brother Jeet’s influence, Deep has been fitness-conscious. Now based in London, Jeet would make headlines as a sprint champion.

“Once a week, for example, my brother would do sand-running. If he did four rounds I, at least, did one… I do enjoy training hard.”

Just as well, for coach John Wright gives the highest marks to the hardest workers. Deep and Wright ‘gauged’ each other during the pre-season conditioning camp in Bangalore.

Deep, of course, is mighty pleased the team leaves for South Africa a good ten days before the first competitive match. Getting used to Anil Kumble’s bounce will, understandably, take up much of that time.

“To be honest, I just can’t wait to board that (South African Airways) flight to Johannesburg… It’s one thing to mentally and physically prepare, quite another to actually be there and get familiar with the conditions,” Deep remarked.

He admitted it was “probably easier” to debut overseas. For one, there are fewer demands from fans and the Media, allowing for a more focussed approach.

When India first toured South Africa, in 1992-93, Deep was turning out for the U-16s up North. He remembers Pravin Amre’s character-packed 103 on Test debut (Durban) and just can’t forget Woorkeri Raman’s brilliant 114 in the one-dayer at Centurion.

Nine years later, on India’s third trip, destiny surely has something for Deep.


Calcutta, Sept. 17: 
The seeded players sailed smoothly to the third round on the second day of The Telgraph Schools’ Chess Championship at Alekhine Chess Club today. At the end of the second round, 51 players kept clean slate with 2 points apiece.

Top seed Saptarshi Roy of Kumar Ashutosh Institution (Main) had little difficulty against Kunal Somaiya of Elias Meyer in a Sicilian defence in 34 moves.

Second seed Somak Palit of Mitra Institution scored a facile win against Sumit Shaw of St Lawrence in the advance variation of the French defence, while third seed Ayan Lahiri of Laban Hrad Vidyapith got the better of Arijit Sinha of Salt Lake School in the Najdorf variation of the Sicilian defence.

Rohan Vijay Shandilya of DBMS Career Academy, Jamshedpur, exchanged off the dark coloured Bishop of Chandra Sekhar Mishra of Burnpur Boys HS School in the Samisch variation of the King’s Indian defence and then opened the h-file to launch a kingside attack. The attack netted him a pawn after which he exchanged off the queens to go into a winning rook and pawn ending.

Sharmin Sultana Shirin of Bibi Morium Girls’ High School had sixth seed, Samput Mallick of Holy Home to the ropes for most part of the game in a Queen’s Gambit Declined but she let him off the hook in the endgame by allowing Samput to pin her knight which proved fatal for her.

The seventh seed, Tanmoy Pattanayak of Mitra Institution, too survived a scare against Subhabrata Das of Don Bosco School in the Alapin variation of the Sicilian defence.

The students of Louis Braille Memorial School for the sightless once again excelled. Sudip Rajbansi beat Abhratanu Dutta of Salt Lake School, while Naresh Pramanik drew against Poulasta Kar of St Thomas’ School. Ganesh Kisku beat Soumadeep Ghosh of Vivekananda Mission.

Joydip Dutta of Kumar Ashutosh Institution (Branch) prevailed over Shamima Akter Liza of Bibi Moriam Girls’ High School, Dhaka in the Leningrad variation of the Dutch defence in 47 moves. In a closed position, Joydeep penetrated down the a-file with his two rooks which decided the fate of the game.

The winner of the Bhubaneswar leg, Nishikanta Mishra of BJ English Medium School, was stretched to 50 moves by Dipayan Ghosh of B.D. Memorial Institution in a Queen’s Gambit Declined.


Saptarshi Roy (2) bt Kunal Somaiya (1); Sumit Shaw (1) lost to Somak Palit (2); Ayan Lahiri (2) bt Arijit Sinha (1); Parag Hanni (1) lost to Abhishek Das (2); Rohan V Shandilya (2) bt Chandra S Mishra (1); Sharmin Sultana Shirin (1) lost to Samput Mallick (2); Tanmoy Pattanayak (2) bt Subhabrata Das (1); Shamima Akter Liza (1) lost to Joydeep Dutta (2); Soumya Thakurta (2) bt Souma Talukdar (1); Dipayan Ghosh (1) lost to Nishikanta Mishra (2); Debaditta S Biswas (2) bt Saurja Dasgupta (1); Arijit Ghosh (1) lost to Pritam Banerjee (2); Sankar Majumder (2) bt Tathagata Banerjee (1); Saheli Banerjee (1) lost to Mary Ann Gomes (2); Suman Basu (2) bt Sayantan Roy (1); Pallabi Roy (1) lost to Sayan Sarkar (2); N Sashank Singh (2) bt Souvik Banerjee (1); Arnab Chowdhury (1.5) drew with Abhisikta Pattnaik (1.5); Sourav Bose (2) bt Saurov Sett (1); Sourav Biswas (1) lost to Arpan Sarkar (Sr) (2); Prabuddha Ghosh (1) lost to Syed Wasim Akram (2); Ankit Jain (1) lost to Debayan Majumder (2); Abinash Das (2) bt Suman Ghosh (1); Shubham Chakravarty (1) lost to Minhazuddin A Sagar (2); Hasib R K Sagar (2) bt Sambhabi Patanaik (1); Supriya Maji (2) bt Abhey Bhaniramka (1); Dhaval Kejriwal (1) lost to Ritam Bhaumik (2); Sk. Shahid Ahmed (2) bt R Bhattacharya (1); Priya Ratnam (2) bt Sharad Nahata (1); Antarip Roy (2) bt Arjun Dhall (1).


Calcutta, Sept. 17: 
The IFA office-bearers braced up for a hectic time beginning tomorrow when all its 27 employees launch an indefinite strike demanding a hike in salary.

“We are in no position to meet their demands right now, so they are going on strike,” said joint-secretary Ranjit Gupta after an emergency meeting called to discuss the crisis despite it being a holiday. “But there will be no break in the association’s activities and all matches will go ahead on schedule.”

The championship leg of the Calcutta League resumes tomorrow with East Bengal taking on Bhratri Sangha at Salt Lake Stadium. Mohun Bagan meet Calcutta Port Trust (CPT) Wednesday, while the Big Two cross swords Friday.

The Super Division relegation leg, however, won’t get underway before October. Not a single match involving the bottom-placed five teams in the first phase — George Telegraph, Mohammedan Sporting, SAIL, FCI and BNR — has been held so far.

The launch of the IFA Shield has been put off by two days and will now begin next Monday. The final comes off October 7. The fixtures will be released Thursday.

Eastern Railway best

Eastern Railway bagged the swimming title in the 42nd all-India Railway aquatics championships which ended in Visakhapatnam September 12. South Eastern Railway took third place.

In waterpolo, Eastern and South Eastern were declared joint champions in waterpolo. In the semis, South Eastern had beaten Southern 8-3, while Eastern saw off Western 5-4.

Eleven teams from different zones and production units took part in the three-day meet.


New Delhi, Sept. 17: 
It’s official now. The inaugural Afro-Asian Games that was to be held in Delhi from November 3-11 is off. But whether it has been postponed or cancelled altogether still remains a question.

Minister of youth affairs and sports, Uma Bharti, said at a meeting organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) that the Afro-Asian Games has been cancelled due to “the great American tragedy and security threats” and not because the hosts’ were not prepared.

In a press conference held later, a sullen Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president, Suresh Kalmadi, said the Afro-Asian Games was postponed and not cancelled. He stressed that the Cabinet Committee on security had advised that the atmosphere was not appropriate to stage an international sports extravaganza.

Randhir Singh, secretary-general of the IOA, also put on a brave face and said the Games would possibly be rescheduled for January or March next year.

This, however, will clash with the hockey World Cup in Kuala Lumpur and the soccer World Cup in South Korea and Japan. (May31 to June 30). With three African nations — Cameroon, Nigeria and South Africa — having qualified and Iran being a probable qualifier from Asia, it is doubtful any of these nations will send teams.

As secretary-general of the Olympic Council of Asia, Randhir said he would consult his African counterpart Tom Sithole to finalise new dates. Sithole, the secretary-general of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCOA), and Randhir are looking for a block of dates after consultation with the eight respective regional federations.

The IOA claims it is awaiting official postponement of the SAF Games.


Calcutta, Sept. 17: 
Bengal player Bijali Dhar has been barred from the women’s under-19 national football meet now underway in Goa.

Bijali’s age certificate wasn’t from the proper authorities, according to an intimation from AIFF secretary Albert Colaco.

This setback didn’t affect Bengal’s performance today as they dismissed Mizoram 3-0 in a group D match. According to information received here, Shilpi Deb scored all three goals at the Tilak ground, Vasco. Shilpi opened the scoring in the third minute, scoring off a free-kick. Her second goal came just before half-time. She completed her hattrick in injury-time.


Calcutta, Sept. 17: 
Thirty four pairs qualified for the final as the first elimination for Opens Pair started on the third day of the state bridge championship at Khudiram Anusilan Kendra today.

One hundred pairs in four sections played over sixty six boards in three sessions.

Earlier Masters and Non-Masters pairs played the categorised pairs. The results are as follows:

The Open Pair final will be played tomorrow from 9:30 am at Calcutta Club Sports Complex.


Masters (match points): 1. A Hazra/ A Dey (183.5), 2. Ajit Mukherjee/Ashim Mukherjee (176.0), 3. K P Chatterjee/S R Dutta (175.0), 4. S Roy/R Choudhury (173.5), 5. D Saha/S Bhattacharya (171.5), 6. S Roy/R G Saha (167.5), 7. P Sarkar/S Banerjee (166.0), 8. P K Roy/R Sinharay (164.5), 9. A Chakraborty/K Mazumder (161.0), 10. B Bhattacharjee/S Ghosh.

Non-Masters (match points): 1.C N Mukherje/R Jain (454.0), 2. Mrs. Krishna Dalmia/Dr Dalmiya (453.5), 3. S Ghosh/S Mitra (451.0), 4. S Sen/P Ghosh (436.5), 5. S Chatterjee/B Dutta (435.0), 6. Sujit Sadhak/Sanjib Majumder (422.0), 7. Sounak Dutta Roy/Tusar Kanti Mitra (420.0), 8. Bidyut Gaswami/Sankar Das (417.0), 9. P Mukherjee/N Sett (416.0), 10.Aniruddha Ghosh/Partha Chakraborty (412.0).


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