Hussain’s men arrive, hope in tow
EB lose to Vasco too
Manoranjan rues silly errors in defence
Title for Maharashtra
Tickets for public in doubt
Calcutta Racing/ Acceptor for main event
Bangalore Racing/ Milan likely to win Trophy

Calcutta, Jan. 11: 
His astute leadership and ability to motivate teammates has been compared to Mike Brearley. But Nasser Hussain is not resting on past laurels.

A fortnight after making India struggle to keep their 1-0 advatange in the Test series in Ahmedabad and Bangalore, Hussain’s boys are back in India with a new mission — to win the six-game one-day series versus the hosts.

The English captain minced no words about his ambition this evening, after arriving in the morning by a British Airways flight, being fully aware of the home side’s vulnerability in crunch situations. “India are a formidable side at home and have a lot of quality players. But they have gone to the finals and lost quite a few times.

“Of course there is no such thing as a final in this series. But the Indians have seemed to collapse in close situations. One-day cricket is all about handling pressure and we have to work hard to keep them under pressure. When it comes to that, like any other side they can succumb,” Hussain said.

The England captain said that despite the “fanatical support” the Indians are sure to receive, his inexperienced side is ready to face the challenge.

“Carrying memories of 5-0 one-day series win over Zimbabwe, we are confident of keeping the good work going. We are looking to learn to adapt to these conditions and learn quickly,” Hussain said. “In Zimbabwe we played good cricket, but against India it will be a much more difficult task. We have to up our game by more than 20 per cent and see how things work out.

“One-day cricket is all about teamwork and every player has a role in building camaraderie and the right attitude that counts,” he explained.

Despite the presence of Darren Gough and Andy Caddick on the side, the England captain felt there was “a lot of inexperience in the side,” though, he maintained that these were the players which will form the “nucleus” of the World Cup side in 2003.

“While winning is most important, we need to get the team in order first. We can’t mess around with this young side. We can start experimenting only when we have got the basics right,” he emphasised.

Reacting to Sunil Gavaskar’s observation after the Test series that England were one of the most boring of teams to have toured India, Hussain said: “I have no real reaction. Gavaskar is a legend as a player. We have to listen to what he has to say. But I’m proud the way we performed in Tests. Even the Indian public and media praised our efforts for some enjoyable cricket

“Gavaskar has his own opinion. We have ours. We always look to play attractive cricket.”

The England captain was also diplomatic on Sourav Ganguly’s reported statement that Hussain was a better captain than Steve Waugh. “It’s not a question of who is better. I know Sourav has had tensions with Steve, but there surely was no ulterior motive behind the Indian captain’s comments.

“The most important thing is which team wins and who prepares better for the World Cup. In the two-and-a-half years of captaincy I have had my ups and downs. Sometimes people say I am a good captain, sometimes they say I am not. In cricket, things can change very quickly. It’s best to take everything in your stride and not take yourself too seriously.”

Hussain was non-committal on his reported decision to quit captaincy after the World Cup. “All I have said is that the English cricket team in the next 14-15 months is playing 15 Tests and at least 30 one-dayers and I can’t look beyond that. If I last that long, that’s all I want to concentrate.

“All my energy will be devoted to the England cricket team during that period. Then I’ll see.For now I’ll worry about the next six games.”

He felt that the opening game at the Eden Gardens on January 19 will be a “real eye opener for the young guys” and himself. “Playing under lights in a full stadium will be an experience of a lifetime,” the England captain hoped.


Calcutta, Jan. 11: 
Vasco 1
East Bengal 0

East Bengal are trying their best to make visitors feel at home. And succeeding too. After gifting National League minnows ITI three points Saturday, today it was their turn to play the good hosts to Vasco.

The Goans didn’t mind and notched up a 1-0 win, thanks to Peter Rodrigues’ 11th-minute strike. Grateful guests they turned out to be, surrendering at least four more good chances to goalkeeper Hemanta Dora.

East Bengal, on the other hand, dishedout thoughtless soccer, managing just one proper look at the goal which was brilliantly guarded by ‘keeper Rogerio Ramos.

The anti-climax at Salt Lake Stadium left the city giants with a dwarfish tally of ten points from seven matches and lifted Vasco to 12 after as many games.

The marathon grind still has 15 rounds left for each, but going by early signs East Bengal will have to produce something extraordinary to nurture any hope of retaining their pride of place.

Today’s match never rose above the script with Vasco defending stoutly while wasting no chance to have a peek at the rival goal. East Bengal always enjoyed superiority in ball possession but learnt at a high price that it means little unless you score.

What should bother them more is the fact that there is nobody in their ranks to translate threatening moves into positive chances. A basic demand of the game, so desperately sought by East Bengal these days.

The most glaring mistake in recent days led to the goal. Fortune didn’t smile by replacing Sangram Mukherjee with Dora under the bar, as deep defenders stared at each other when they had to clear a routine cross from the right by Satish Minz.

Vasco’s Brazilian striker Rui Wanderley tried to control the awkward bounce ball but it bobbed away, also from a clutch of East Bengal defenders, to an unmarked Rodrigues who wasted no time in pounding a strong right-footer high past the right of Dora.

East Bengal didn’t quite come back with vengeance and it was Vasco who got more looks at the goal. Veteran Dora produced his vintage best to thwart three one-on-one attempts in the closing minutes and also showed electric reflexes while keeping away a header by Seby Dias, which gave him minimum time to react.


Vasco: Rogerio Ramos; Seby Dias, Sanjay Parte, Denzil Coutinho, Angelo Colaco; Satish Minz, Marcos Pereira, Koshimov Awazbek, C.V. Hemanathan (Abhay Kumar, 77); Rui Wanderley, Peter Rodrigues (Bhola Dey, 86).

East Bengal: Hemanta Dora; Surya Bikash Chakraborty, Suley Musah, Jackson Egygpong, Falguni Dutta; Anit Ghosh, Isiaka Awoyemi, Jiten Rai, I.M. Vijayan (Tushar Rakshit, 71); Omolaja Olalekan (Chandan Das, 31), Bijen Singh (Dipendu Biswas, 46).

Referee: Krishna Avtaar (Delhi).


Calcutta, Jan. 11: 
Amid a pall of gloom in the East Bengal dressing room, coach Manoranjan Bhattacharya admitted his defenders have been committing silly errors. “These are silly mistakes which you can’t address to during practice. Can’t correct them by putting in extra hours since they result from carelessness,” he said.

He also felt the injury to stopper back Dipak Mondal is turning out to be fatal. “He gives me more options by covering a large area in the heart of defence, which allows me to set Suley Musah free down the right. Instead, I have to field Musah in deep defence.”

His Vasco counterpart Derick Pereira confessed he didn’t expect this. “A draw is what I was looking for.” Having snatched four points from the Big Two of Indian soccer this week, the Vasco coach is now hoping to improve on their last-season record when they finished fifth.

Mohun Bagan take on JCT today

Having dropped precious points in recent matches, Mohun Bagan are hoping to collect three when they meet JCT tomorrow. Mohun Bagan have nine points from six games, while JCT have just two.


Calcutta, Jan. 11: 
Maharashtra emerged best in the inter-state squash championship today. In the final today at Calcutta Racket Club, the firm favourites blanked Services 3-0, rendering the remaining two games useless.

Bikram Oberoi started the rout with a 9-1, 9-4, 9-2 win over Rohit Teotia before Mahesh Verma made it 2-0 by beating Milan Khanna 9-5, 9-4, 5-9, 3-9, 9-4. Manish Chottrani completed the onslaught with a 9-7, 9-3, 6-9, 9-7 victory over Navnit Naraine.

Irina reigns supreme

Irina Brar won the gold division title in the East India Ladies’ amateur golf championship with a tally of 300 after the final round at the RCGC today. Parnita Grewal was second at 302 and Anjali Chopra third with 304.

OTHER RESULTS: KANUNGOE TROPHY: 1st: T. Halwasiya, 2nd: R. Sen. West Bengal Challenge Cup: 1st: S. Sen, 2nd: C. Das. Burdwan Cup: 1st: T. Barua, 2nd: M. Ghose. Stableford Gold division: 1st: M. Talwar, 2nd: S. Singh. Juniors: Gross — M. Talwar. Nett — S. Singh.

Firoze in lead

In Pune, Firoze Ali opened up a three-stroke lead after the penultimate round of the Hero Honda Open. According to information received here, Firoze had a third round of level-par 72 for a tally of five-under 208. S.S.P. Chowrasia was placed second three-strokes behind the leader.

BRC inter-club meet

The Bengal Rowing Club inter-club championship will be held at the club from tomorrow to January 20. Over 1000 participants from 18 clubs are expected to compete in 13 events.    

Calcutta, Jan. 11: 
There is uncertainty over tickets for the public for the first India-England one-day International to be played here on Saturday.

With the CAB set to start distributing tickets to clubs, affiliated units and schools and colleges tomorrow, officials said they were not sure exactly how many would be sold to the public. According to a CAB official, a clear picture will emerge only after the initial lot of tickets is collected by the clubs etc. The rest, if any, will be sold to the public. Details will be known Monday.


Calcutta, Jan. 11: 
An easy winner in his last start, the Darius Byramji-trained Acceptor is expected to lift the 1,400m Police Commissioner’s Cup tomorrow. Cristopher Alford partners the Razeen-Amidst son.


12.05 pm: Don Vittorio 1. Lady Shirley 2. Blushing Brave 3.

12.40 pm: Abridge 1. Best In Show 2. Anokato 3.

1.10 pm: Calabash 1. Simply Monarch 2. April Ace 3.

1.50 pm: Allaying 1. Soviet Port 2. Si Senora 3.

2.25 pm: Kargil Soldier 1. Aracruz 2. Mr. Bombshell 3.

2.55 pm: Acceptor 1. Soviet Ride 2. Earl Grey 3.

3.30 pm: Pearl Dragon 1. Annella 2. Alsheim 3.

4.05 pm: Revolution 1. Super Smile 2. Lawyer’s Love 3.

Day’s Best: Abridge

Double: Calabash & Acceptor


Bangalore, Jan. 11: 
Improved since his debut run when he placed second to Prevalence, the Z. Darashah-trained colt Milan is fancied to win the 1,200m Karnataka Racehorse Owners’ Association Trophy, tomorrow. K. P. Appu partners the three-year-old by Tiajuana out of Michaela Mia.


2 pm: Caesarr 1. Scenic 2. Golden Fellowship 3.

2.30 pm: Selena 1. Nice And Noble 2. Win Ameen 3.

3 pm: Brave Russian 1. Inxss 2. Sensational Lover 3.

3.30 pm: Our Ambition 1. Silvano 2. Carnival Craze 3.

4 pm: Milan 1. Slovania 2. Strombolix 3.

4.30 pm: Arroganto 1. Street Smart 2. Brunswick 3.

5 pm: Al Habib 1. Ronson 2. Winelight 3.

5.30 pm: Arduous 1. Atomic Fusion 2. Saffron Finch 3.

Day’s Best: Our Ambition

Double: Brave Russian & Arroganto

Friday’s Bangalore results

(With inter-state dividends)

1. Novice Plate 1,100m: (11-9-1) Astrocharm (Prakash) 1; Kingley 2; Summer Storm 3. Won by: 6; 3; (1-9.3). Tote: Win Rs 30; Place: 13; 10; 136; Quinella: 18; Tanala: 1,283. Fav: Kingley (9).

2. Native Chieftan Plate 1,200m: (5-1-8) Fantasy Bay (Rajesh S.) 1; Blushing Star 2; Niveditha 3. Won by: 8; 1-1/4; (1-15.8). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 13; 33; 42; Quinella: 115; Tanala: 912. Fav: Fantasy Bay (5).

3. Agumbe Cup 1,100m: (4-3-1) Silver Feathers (Prakash) 1; Be My Star 2; Worldly Pick 3. Won by: Nk; 1-1/4; (1-11.6). Tote: Win Rs 25; Place: 14; 13; 23; Quinella: 37; Tanala: 226. Fav: Be My Star (3).

4. Tumkur Plate, Div-I 1,400m: (5-1-3) Queenstown (Srinath) 1; Spark of Life 2; Butter Sponge 3. Won by: 1-3/4; Nk; (1-27.4). Tote: Win Rs 33; Place: 15; 19; 27; Quinella: 71; Tanala: 710. Fav: Queenstown (5).

5. Stayers Trial Stakes 2,000m: (1-4-8) Chevalier (Shroff) 1; Golden Goal 2; Elusive Emperor 3. Won by: SH; 3-1/2; (2-6.5). Tote: Win Rs 138; Place: 32; 125; 15; Quinella: 3,326; Tanala: 16,626. Fav: Alameda (3).

6. W. J. Sibbritt Memorial Plate, Div-I 1,200m: (5-2-1) Triple King (Ms Storai) 1; Native Red 2; Common Wealth 3. Won by: SH; 3/4; (1-15.6). Tote: Win Rs 173; Place: 30; 14; 22; Quinella: 163; Tanala: 2,292. Fav: Native Red (2).

7. Tumkur Plate, Div-II 1,400m: (6-4-8) Indian Rocket (A. Imran) 1; Saujas 2; Psychedelic 3. Won by: 1-3/4; SH; (1-29.2). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 12; 20; 27; Quinella: 84; Tanala: 580. Fav: Indian Rocket (6).

8. W. J. Sibbritt Memorial Plate, Div-II 1,200m: (1-8-5) Sunchaser (Ramesh) 1; Private Emotions 2; Rumpelstiltskin 3. Won by: 3/4; 1-1/4; (1-16.2). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 12; 16; 42; Quinella: 49; Tanala: 809. Fav: Sunchaser (1).

Jackpot: Rs 23,272; (C) Rs 4,760.

Treble: (i) Rs 117; (ii) Rs 661.


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