Raj Singh resigns, Gavaskar chairman
Politics sees Borde through
Bagan take on upbeat Tolly today
Rising XI win rain-hit game
Pune Racing/ Wild Eagle romps home
Calcutta acceptors

Chennai, Sept. 30: 
Having vehemently opposed Jagmohan Dalmiya’s bid for the Board presidency, Raj Singh Dungarpur today took the honourable route by resigning as chairman of the Bangalore-based National Cricket Academy (NCA). Not surprisingly, his resignation was promptly accepted, on the second and last day of the AGM, and Sunil Gavaskar appointed his successor.

It’s obvious that Gavaskar, who was already on the NCA committee, has been hand-picked by Dalmiya. Incidentally, less than a year ago, Gavaskar and Raj Singh had engaged in a war of words over the NCA. It was some months before relations between the two improved.

Gavaskar, in any case, heads the Board’s technical committee. He is also No. 1 on the ICC’s Cricket Committee (Playing).

While Raj Singh has quit, vice-chairman Dhyaneshwar Chand Agashe (who, too, was in the anti-Dalmiya camp) hasn’t put in his papers. It is to be seen how long he will actually continue. As expected, the dynamic Brijesh Patel has been retained NCA director.

The bitterness over yesterday’s elections isn’t going to quickly evaporate. And, more than Dalmiya’s comfortable win over incumbent A.C. Muthiah, the talking point remains Muthiah’s casting vote which sealed serving-secretary Jaywant Lele’s fate. He lost 15-16 to one-time joint-secretary Niranjan Shah.

Besides the question of ethics, many haven’t yet reconciled to Muthiah’s public show of no-confidence in a gentleman who occupied such a key post in his own team for two years.

But, then, such is Board politics.

Dalmiya, of course, went into overdrive even before formally taking over. Specifically, he took the lead in getting two Muthiah rulings — one pertaining to Goa and the other concerning the questionable official status to the Laloo Prasad Yadav-headed Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) — reversed.

The belatedly-served showcause notice to the Goa Cricket Association, for mismanagement of the Margao one-dayer in April, stands, but its suspension has been revoked. “It’s been done to ensure the Goa players don’t suffer,” Dalmiya told The Telegraph.

As for cricket in Bihar (and Jharkhand), a Dalmiya-appointed committee will oversee all Board tournaments. However, there will be a review by February 28 next, when the Board will take up the granting of affiliation to not just the post-bifurcation bodies in Bihar, but Chattisgarh and Uttaranchal as well.

While the ‘new’ Bihar has just one set-up, the CAB, there are two factions in Jharkhand. Amitabh Choudhury, the Jamshedpur SP, heads the one headquartered in the Steel City, while Debal Sahay is the top gun in Ranchi. Ideally, the two should merge — the sooner the better.

From Dalmiya’s point of view, getting the Bihar ruling reversed is of much significance. Having openly supported Muthiah, Laloo will now have to mend fences with the new Board president.

Dalmiya isn’t a pro politician, but can still teach even the seasoned ones a thing or two.

Meanwhile, subject to the government’s approval, India will participate in the triangular being organised by Bangladesh in January (the third team is Pakistan). Assuming the trip is okayed, the manager will be Services’ Col A.D. Sharma.

Coach, physio issue

Though the AGM didn’t extend John Wright and Andrew Leipus’ contract till a specific date, both are going to continue. When the issue was raised, everybody merely said “to continue.” One learns, however, that Dalmiya will soon have a one-on-one with Wright. The 2003 World Cup is “priority No.1” for the new president.


Chennai, Sept. 30: 
If only those associated with the Board devote as much time to cricket proper as they spend on manipulating at all levels, Indian cricket would actually be healthy with a capital H.

A case in point is the distasteful wheeling-dealing which deprived Dilip Vengsarkar, one of India’s all-time greats, the chance to join the (senior) selection committee.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, till just a few days before the Board’s AGM (yesterday and today), Vengsarkar was favoured to replace Chandu Borde, the committee chairman. Then, with Vengsarkar’s home association (Mumbai) working overtime for A.C. Muthiah, the Jagmohan Dalmiya group decided not to support him.

Specifically, the group would leave it to the zonal bosses — Dalmiya, as it turned out, got only one vote from West — to determine who would be their representative.

At the intra-zonal level, Mumbai took the lead in proposing Vengsarkar’s candidature. However, just as quickly, Maharashtra’s Dhyaneswar Chand Agashe began lobbying with Mumbai supremo Sharad Pawar to allow Borde one more year. Borde is from Maharashtra.

For reasons best known to him, Pawar agreed and, with Mumbai ‘withdrawing’ Vengsarkar’s name, the path for Borde to remain became clear.

Briefly, there was a move late last night to get Gujarat’s Dhiraj Parsana to replace Borde. It was initiated by the Dalmiya group but, being a minority in the zone, that move crashed as fast as it had taken off.

The only change in the committee, then, has been T.A. Sekar’s removal and the return of Shivlal Yadav. Sekar has paid the price for belonging to Muthiah’s home association (Tamil Nadu). Indeed, had Muthiah retained the presidency, East’s Ashok Malhotra would have exited.

It’s significant that Shivlal is Hyderabad’s man in the Board. And, Hyderabad is a Dalmiya ally.

Sekar will have reasons to be upset — only, he isn’t the first victim of the prevailing system and, for all one knows, won’t be the last either.

Besides Malhotra, Madanlal (North) and Central’s Sanjay Jagdale get one more year.

There was a Haryana-inspired bid to replace Madan with Rajinder Goel, but Ranbir Singh received no support. Thankfully, one may add.

The unfortunate bottomline, as reported in these columns Saturday, is that the (senior) selection committee’s formation isn’t at all a priority for the powers-that-be.


Calcutta, Sept. 30: 
The 107th IFA Shield enters the knockout phase with Mohun Bagan taking on Tollygunge Agragami in the first quarter final tomorrow.

Rumblings apart, there have been no serious complaints of a hectic schedule and going by pre-tournament seedings, there has been just one premature ouster — of Bhratri Sangha, the second seed in group D after Palmeiras, with TFA being the surprise pack.

Tomorrow’s clash, however, finds the teams relatively fresh — with both coming off reasonably long breaks. Mohun Bagan played last on Thursday with Tollygunge having rested a day more.

The rest may have made Mohun Bagan impatient, for they have a score to settle — having lost to Amal Dutta’s boys in the Super Division recently. Their last outing against FC Kochin was without the kind of flurry seen this season. It may be a blessing in disguise as they will be hungry when they get on to the field tomorrow.

With the likes of James Singh or R.P. Singh lending support to the combination of Barreto-Seriki-Basudeb, Mohun Bagan possess one of the most potent forward forces in the country at the moment. Their record of 16 wins with a draw and loss apiece speaks of their ability to strike and the job has been shared well.

Tollygunge are aware of that and showed they know how to deal with it during their smart 2-0 Super Division win at the Salt Lake Stadium where they meet again tomorrow. Tollygunge are yet to emerge as a long-term threat to the top guns. But with the veteran coach at the helm, they have proved they are quite capable of the odd upset and Mohun Bagan should take notice of it.

Tollygunge officials indicated they have learnt not to care for reputations. “We have turned it on them in the past and will play to win tomorrow. They are a better team though,” said a senior official. He informed that Sashthi Duley and Akim Abolanle are not fully fit. That is not good news as the former is very much the dynamo of the team. Abolanle, though new, has already found the mark on a few occasions.

Apart from these two, they have a disciplined bunch of players being used with a seasoned understanding of their limitations. Tomorrow will be no different, as there are no other worries in the Tollygunge camp.

The Mohun Bagan coach is well aware of this and seems to have his answer ready: To attack straightaway with Barreto and others going for goals. The sooner he scores the better for his team.

Semi-final onwards, all matches will be played under lights and start at 4.30 pm.


Guwahati, Sept 30: 
Rising XI beat Rajasthani Yubak Sangha (RYS) 5-2 today in the rain-hit second match of the 50th Bharat Ratna Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi trophy tournament being played at the Nehru stadium here.

Rising pumped in two goals in the first half and three in the second. RYS made an impressive start but Rising, playing on their home turf, kept the pressure on them.

Champa Brahma opened the scoring for Rising with Munindra Brahma scoring the second goal through a penalty kick. Indra Basumatary, C Momin and G Rabha were the other scorers. Nantu Devnath was the sole scorer for the losers.

FCI Sports Club had won yesterday’s inaugural match, upsetting City Police 3-2.


Pune, Sept. 30: 
The Arti Doctor-trained three-year-old gelding Wild Eagle romped home with the 1,400m Jimmy Umrigar Trophy in the Pune seven-event card on Sunday that was ruled by lesser fancied winners. Malesh Narredu partnered the Don’t Forget Me-Tsar Maiden son to victory.

The fact that favourites failed to deliver the goods in all the five legs of the jackpot legs, 70 per cent of the city total pool amounting to Rs 1,68,385 remained unsolved and was carried forward to a later date. The second treble pool of the afternoon, too, found no takers and was carried over as well.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Blue Pencil Plate, Div-II 1,100m: (3-8-1) Silver Sand (M. Narredu) 1; Formentera 2; Speedster 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 1/2; (1-8.8). Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 11; 295; 33; Quinella: 1,252; Tanala: 27,718. Fav: Silver Sand (3).

2. Jimmy Umrigar Trophy 1,400m: (3-5-8) Wild Eagle (M. Narredu) 1; Iceberg 2; Bon Apetit 3.Won by: 3-1/4; 8; (1-25.9). Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 12; 11; 23; Quinella: 16; Tanala: 97. Fav: Wild Eagle (3).

3. Stingo Plate 1,600m: (5-6-2) Blues Clues (Rajendra) 1; Iron Mask 2; Sanquirico 3. Won by: 3/4; Hd; (1-43.1). Tote: Win Rs 65; Place: 21; 19; 29; Quinella: 230; Tanala: 2,372. Fav: Fidillo (4).

4. Divine Light Plate 2,000m: (6-1-3) Bookie’s Delight (Prakash) 1; Final Verdict 2; Laurels 3. Won by: 2-1/2; 4; (2-8.6). Tote: Win Rs 81; Place: 20; 15; 37; Quinella: 72; Tanala: 2,025. Fav: Final Verdict (1).

5. Riding High Trophy 1,400m: (1-3-9) Big Bertha (Kharadi) 1; Duke of Albany 2; Philosopher 3. Won by: 3-1/4; 1-1/2; (1-27.3). Tote: Win Rs 64; Place: 30; 17; 26; Quinella: 111; Tanala: 1,663. Fav: Duke of Albany (3).

6. Almagest Plate 1,000m: (6-8-14) No Mischief (J. K. Irani) 1; Recognition 2; Silent Deal 3. Not run: Megha Rani (12). Won by: 3-1/2; 2-1/4; (1-3.6). Tote: Win Rs 2,091; Place: 212; 42; 26; Quinella: 9,165; Tanala: 1,12,660 (C.o). Fav: Alpine Star (2).

7. Blue Pencil Plate, Div-I 1,100m: (11-3-7) Intensity (A. Sayyed) 1; Thunder Clap 2; Scamster 3. Won by: 3/4; 2-1/4; (1-8.7). Tote: Win Rs 472; Place: 50; 14; 21; Quinella: 311; Tanala: 13,394. Fav: Thunder Clap (3).

Jackpot: Rs 1,68,385 (Carried over); (C) Rs 43,299.

Treble: (i) Rs 935; (ii) Rs 83,740 (Carried over).


Calcutta, Sept. 30: 
The following are the Wednesday’s acceptances:


1. Fathom Five Handicap 1,400m (Cl V, Rt. 00-28) 1.25 pm: Glass Slipper 61; Impressive Prince 61; Grecian Prince 59.5; Calamint 57.5; Stella Blue 57.5.

2. Good Hope Handicap 2,000m (Cl IV, Rt. 22-50) 2.05 pm: Double Bull 61; Iron Warrior 56.5; Freedom Warrior 55.5; Black Mane 54; Blessed Spirit 53.5; Royal Ruler 51.5; Ballard Lady 48.5.

3. Shahi Bag Handicap 1,000m (Cl V, Rt. 00-28) 2.35 pm: Finders Keepers 60; Heaven’s Blessing 59.5; Armila 55; Alumnus 53.5; Piece of Cake 53.5; Magic Ring 50.

4. Kelso Handicap 1,200m (Cl IV, Rt. 22-50) 3.10 pm: Spanish Drum’s 60.5; Bird’s Empire 59.5; Abashed 59; Smokey Bear 58.5; Floral Path 56; Flying Power 55.5; Crest Star 55; Storm Centre 54.5.

5. Green Sari Cup 1,400m (Cl II, Rt. 66-94) 3.45 pm: Desert Force 60; Ispahan 60; Accelerating Star 59; Gallant Romeo 58; Ballet Master 56.5; Added Asset 56; Ashbury 56; Fairy Prince 54.5; Grand Lodge 54; Staff-ordshire 53.5; Excellent Striker 53.

6. Goldliner Handicap 1,200m (Cl III, Rt. 44-72) 4.20 pm: Crimson King 60.5; Addab 60; Scarlet Raider 60; Simply Monarch 56; At My Command 55.5; Discomatic 54.5; Crowned Prince 53; Queen’s Logic 50.5.

Jackpot: 2; 3; 4; 5 & 6.

Treble: (i) 1; 2 & 3; (ii) 4; 5 & 6.


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