Deep likely to retain berth
Mahindra favourites
No financial cuts at TFA
Panja-Kumar clinch title
3 Indians in semi-finals
Calcutta Racing/ Calorescence seeks to avenge Derby defeat
Bangalore Racing/ Superior Force set to strike
Bangalore Raciang/ Tapatio scores upset win

Calcutta, Feb. 15: 
As of late this evening, wicketkeeper-batsman Deep Dasgupta is more than well-placed to retain his berth in the Test XIV.

Following a change in schedule, the national selectors meet in New Delhi tomorrow to name the squad for the first Test against Zimbabwe — in Nagpur, from February 21.

[The second and final Test will be in Delhi, from February 28.]

Understandably, the general feeling is that the Deep-Ajay Ratra debate will dominate, but the former appears to have a distinct headstart.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, Deep “won’t have any problem” if the selectors and the Sourav Ganguly-John Wright twosome wish to utilise him as both wicketkeeper and opener.

Keeping the team’s balance in mind, indications are Deep will actually (again) be assigned a double role.

However, it could get difficult if Sanjay Bangar is marked out to open with Shiv Sundar Das. Ratra, who replaced Deep in the recent ODIs against England, may then benefit.

As of now, that seems remote.

Having served India very well in three of the four Tests he has opened, Deep is bound to have considerable support. In any case, the concern has been specific to his ‘keeping, not the batting.

Yet, the balance-factor is significant and never quite far from the captain and coach’s thoughts.

Deep opened for the first time in Port Elizabeth, after the seniors declined to confront the Shaun Pollocks head-on, and scored 13 and 63. The latter innings helped India save that Test.

Then, at home versus England, Deep had scores of 100 and 0 not out (Mohali), 17 and 60 in Ahmedabad and 0 (Bangalore). Tardy ‘keeping in Ahmedabad, specially, found Deep being dropped for the ODIs.

Deep’s exclusion (at the selectors’ meeting in Bangalore), of course, wasn’t without drama One understands Ashok Malhotra, East’s man on the committee, was enraged and pretty peeved was Sourav himself.

Ratra, officially younger than Deep, wasn’t exceptional in the ODIs but, as sources put it, “looked a smarter ‘keeper.” Ratra does make a show of things, Deep doesn’t.

It’s unlikely, though, that the smartness-bit alone is going to influence Chandu Borde and Co.

Returning to the XIV will surely be Zaheer Khan, whose ten-wicket haul in the Ranji semis hastened Punjab’s humiliation in Vadodara. Zaheer was dropped after the first Test in South Africa and even ignored against England.

Expected to stage a comeback, too, is the in-form Railways allrounder — Bangar. While he figured in the Mohali XI, a hamstring injury kept him out of the last two Tests.

If it comes to that, Bangar could open the bowling with veteran Jawagal Srinath, in addition to being considered Shiv Sundar’s partner.

Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, V.V.S.Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Sarandeep Singh and Tinu Yohannan pick themselves.

Laxman was axed for the last three ODIs but, clearly, he has to figure in the Test line-up.

Gautam Gambhir, who authored a double-hundred in Vijayawada today, will be expecting a call-up but, the way things stand, he will have to wait.

Given the current mood, the powers-that-be will have to ‘compromise’ if the talented Gambhir is to be accommodated.

Out of the running are Connor Williams and Iqbal Siddiqui, both of whom were in the Test squad versus England.


(As of late Friday evening)

Batsmen: Shiv Sundar Das, V.V.S.Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag.

Allrounder: Sanjay Bangar.

Wicketkeeper: Deep Dasgupta.

Spinners: Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Sarandeep Singh.

Mediumpacers: Jawagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan and Tinu Yohannan.

’Dark-horse’: Gautam Gambhir.


New Delhi, Feb. 15: 
Churchill, keen to shrug off their reputation as chokers, received a major boost on the eve of the 114th Allwyn Durand final against Mahindra United when their international defender Mahesh Gawli, who has recovered from an ankle injury, joined the team this evening. International midfielder Noel Wilson is also available after missing (due to two yellow cards) the semi final triumph over East Bengal.

If Gawli features in the playing XI, then Francis Coelho will be shifted to right back and Denzil Ferrao confined to the reserves. Unlike Mahindra United who change their playing formation in each match, Churchill will revert to their traditional 4-4-2 system.

Mahindra United’s coach Harish Rao confirmed that winning the Durand Cup will provide the requisite impetus to win their first-ever NFL title. Both coaches agreed that the Durand tournament, held during the middle of the NFL, was not a distraction but an opportunity to give fringe players practise and forge new combinations.

The expertise of the foreign attackers of both sides will be vital. Churchill rely on the goal scoring prowess of the 27-year-old Iranian Mousavi Syed Amin and Ghanaian Yusif Yakubu.

Mahindra United rely heavily on Nigerians Austin Okolo and Bala Usman for goals. However, with midfielders Jules Alberto and S. Venkatesh in sparkling form, Mahindra’s greater thrust and variety in attack and midfield could give them the edge in the final. Jules and Amin are vying for the Man of the Tournament award.

Churchill also hope to lift their first major domestic trophy. This family club from Goa has twice been runners-up in the NFL (1996-97 and 1999-2000) and thrice Rovers Cup runners-up (1997, 1999 and 2000). If Mahindra win it will be their second triumph in four appearances in the Durand final.

This season both teams have met each other twice — Mahindra United won the quarter final clash in the Federation Cup in Chennai 1-0, while Churchill emerged 2-1 winners in their home match of the NFL.

For the first time since 1976, no Calcutta team figures in the Durand final. Twice during this period, in 1981 and 1996 Mohun Bagan and East Bengal did not participate. Except for these two occasions, since 1977 either Bagan or East Bengal have played in the Durand final, except in 1992, when Mohammedan Sporting lost 0-1 to JCT.


Calcutta, Feb. 15: 
If there has been a change in attitude towards the Tata Football Academy (TFA) by the Tisco super bosses, it is not evident by anybody at the Jamshedpur-based academy. Chief Arun Ghosh, serving his last year at the academy, today said that “there has not been a paise of budget cut, and there is not possibility of there being one in the near future.” It was in the rumour mills that the country’s premier soccer academy could face a cash crunch and hence a cut in activity.

“Tisco managing director B. Muthuraman believes that this is a prestige section of the company and is all for the smooth running of the academy. So is Tata Steel Sports Foundation chairman and former managing director J.J. Irani,” said Ghosh. “Actually, whatever the condition of Tisco, the academy is unlikely to face any problems because the TFA activities are funded by the TSSF trust.”

The fourth convocation of the academy will be on February 27, and many among the 18 trainees to receive their diplomas have already established themselves on the national soccer scenario. Ghosh feels there has been no slip in the academy’s standard over the last few years.

Players like medio Malsunga Tulunga, a Mizo, Chennai’s goalkeeper Satish Kumar, medio Subhas Chakraborty of Calcutta and Krishna Tudu of Bankura, have shown colours blue in the last IFA Shield and are sure to be picked up by Calcutta teams. The rest will, too, fare pretty well as far as a career goes, hence the 20 new recruits (in the 14-16 years age-group), to be inducted during a February 19-24 trials will indeed be in good hands for the next four years, feels Ghosh.

There has indeed been a slowdown of activity from those early days when a Brazil trip or a European trip would be a natural decision. This year, from August 24 to 26, many TFA trainees (under-18) will be in Bonn, playing a “few matches, probably a tournament, with local teams,” said Ghosh, and “this will be organised by local Indians.” The TFA is also trying to tag on an English trip, to again play a few matches with junior side of teams like Arsenal.

The only slip could be in the kids’ schooling. Earlier, they would be enrolled into local schools, but now four resident teachers teach them the basics, while “they go back to their states to write their exams”. Not an ideal situation.

Ghosh revealed that Tisco finally pulled out of its Supersoccer commitments “because the AIFF was wanting an extra Rs 25 lakh for this.” The Tatas, naturally, found no reason to give into this greed.


Calcutta, Feb. 15: 
Saurav Panja and veteran Ram Kumar today clinched the men’s doubles title at the Ordnance Club tennis tournament, beating the pair of Vinod and Manoj K. Sewa 6-4, 6-4.

Saurav Panja and Vinod sewa will meet in the men’s open singles final tomorrow. Panja today beat Dhrub Kumar 6-1, 6-1, while Sewa beat Abhisekh Jagnani 6-2, 6-3.

In the women’s singles semi-final Oindrila Mazumdar beat Urbashi Surana 6-3, 6-2.

CAB schools’ meet

Don Bosco Park Circus, Central Model School and Shyambazar AV won their respective matches in the CAB inter-school under-19 meet today.

While Don Bosco beat Albany Public School by six wickets in Rajdanga, CentralModel beat Naba Nalanda by seven wickets at Vivekananda Park, and Shyambazar AV beat Md Jan High School by six wickets at Cossipore.


Albany Public School 251 in 38.1 ovs (Ziauddin Sikander 48; Ayush Drolia 3/42). Don Bosco 254/4 in 27.5 ovs (Ananyo Sen 122, Vaibhav Lohia 42 n.o.). Don Bosco won by six wickets.

Naba Nalanda 189/9 in 40 ovs. Central Model School 191/3 in 24.4 ovs (Abhra Guha Thakurta 117 n.o.). Central won by 7 wkts.

Md Jan School 139 in 31.3 ovs. Shyambazar AV 143/4 in 27.3 ovs (Sujay Das 42 n.o.). Shyambazar Av on by 6 wkts.


Calcutta, Feb. 15: 
Three Indians — Manav Das, Jasjeet Singh and Saurav Bahuguna — and C. Schwartzel of South Africa made it to the semi-finals of the Eveready amateur golf championship at the RCGC today.

Das, of Ambala, beat Girish Virk 5 and 4 at the 15th, Bahuguna of Delhi beat Rakesh Kumar of IAF 1 up, Singh of Noida beat Mike McDermott of Ireland 7 and 6 on the 11th and Schwartzel beat Tim Rice of Ireland 5 and 4 at the 15th.

Bank soccer

Punjab National Bank today beat Canara Bank 2-1 in their 12th inter-bank football meet at the Nehru Stadium in Durgapur. In another match Allahabad Bank and Union Bank failed to score.

Sukantanagar win

Last year’s champions and runners-up, Sukantanagar and Shyambazar AV School, respectively, today beat Sharadaprasad Institution 3-0 and Kankurgachi Vivekananda 1-0. Joydeep Debnath scored a hattrick for Sukantanagar.

The schools move into the third round of the Ananda Bazar Cup soccer meet. In another match Paikpara RV thrashed Scottish Church CS 10-0. Mahesh Sahu scored six, including a hattrick. In another match Loyola HS beat Jadavpur BJHS 5-l.


Calcutta. Feb. 15: 
With terms of the race against Touch of Silver, it may be left to Calorescence to win the 2,800m Queen Elizabeth II Cup, the star attraction in tomorrow’s race-card. Leading all the way the Vijay Singh-ward had lost the 2,400m Derby in a close-finish. She may avenge the defeat suffered at the hands of Touch of Silver and Arterial as Cristopher Alford is likely to opt for waiting tactics on the day. The day also promises rich bonanza for punters by way of prizes and the brought forward jackpot pool that will be added to the day’s collections.

Race card and Selections

1. Brown Wolf Handicap 1,200m (Cl V, Rt. 00-28) 12.55 pm: Flying Power 60 E. Smith 1; Albright 59 C. Alford 4; Iron Warrior 59 Upadhya 3; Darth Vader 57.5 Aadesh 5; Gul 50 Som S. 2.

1. Albright (2) 2. Iron Warrior (3)

2. Relevance Cup 1,200m (Cl IV; Cl V, eligible, 3-y-o only Rt. 00-50) 1.25 pm: Moon Mission 60 Abraham 1; Actable 47.5 Rabani 4; Phunney Phellow 47 Brij S.3; Altigraph 47 Amil 6; Cupid’s Arrow 47; Tamang 5; River Melody 47 Yasin 2; Star of Ring 47 Kujur 7.

1. Star of Ring (7) 2. Actable (2) 3. River Melody (6)

3. Azhar Cup 1,200m (Cl III, Rt. 44-72) 2.05 pm: Pearl Dragon 60 B. Gurang 3; On The Bit 58.5 K. Kumar 6; Kargil Soldier 56.5 Rutherford 10; Queen’s Logic 55.5 Islam 14; Russian Czar 55.5 Aadesh 5; Ardon 54.5 R. Ahmed 11; Bird’s Empire 54.5 Asghar 2; Excellent Striker 53.5 Abraham 1; Winning Hand 53.5 Gowli 13; Acklins 52.5 Amil 7; Auctioneer 52.5 Gajender 8; Common Spirit 52.5 A. P. Singh 4; New Fortune 48 S. Salam 12; Soviet Dance 47.5 Yasin 9.

1. Common Spirit (12) 2. Excellent Striker (8) 3. Kargil Soldier (3)

4. Rising Star Cup 1,100m (Cl II, Rt. 66-94) 2.40 pm: Tsavo 60 E. Smith 7; Dancing Dreams 57 Rutherford 5; Alicyclic 54.5 C. Alford 8; Anokato 54.5 Abraham 1; Sky Command 54 Shanker 3; Lawyer’s Love 51.5 Aadesh 2; Gra-Lemor 49.5 Yasin 4; Super Smile 47.5 Rabani 6.

1. Alicyclic (3) 2. Anokato (4) 3. Sky Command (5)

5. Queen Elizabeth II Cup 2,800m (Terms, 4-y-o & over) 3.10 pm: Colonial 60 Gowli 2; Touch of Silver 56.5 Abraham 5; Anagram 55.5 Shanker 3; Allodium 55 Rabani 1; Alamito 50 Amil 7; Arterial 50 Gallagher 4; Calorescence 48.5 C. Alford 6.

1. Calorescence (7) 2. Arterial (6) 3. Touch of Silver (2)

6. Ardiles Cup 1,400m (Cl II, Rt. 66-94) 3.45 pm: Comedy of Errors 60 Aadesh 7; Estocade 58 K. Kumar 10; Silver Patriarch 57 B. Gurang 1; Ispahan 55 Rutherford 6; Reine Beau 53 Asghar 8; Soviet Port 52.5 Gallagher 12; Silver Toy 52 Gowli 5; Argolis 51.5 R. Ahmed 13; Raaz 51 Som S. 14; Calamint 50.5 C. Alford 2; Immaculate 50 Abraham 9; Peace Envoy 48.5 Yasin 3; Regal Rocket 48.5 S. Salam 11; Aflicker 48 Rabani 4.

1. Soviet Port (6) 2. Immaculate (11) 3. Silver Toy (7)

7. Gridiron Handicap 2,000m (Cl IV; Cl V eligible Rt. 00-50) 4.15 pm: Leading Conquest 60 Gallagher 1; Crowned Prince 57.5 Abraham 3; Actuate 57 C. Alford 2; Black Mane 56.5 E. Smith 8; Odyssey 56.5 Aadesh 7; Abandoned 53 Dalpat S. 4; Scavenger’s Son 53 Shanker 6; Royal Ruler 51.5 Brij S. 5.

1. Actuate (3) 2. Crowned Prince (2) 3. Leading Conquest (1)

Day’s Best: Actuate

Double: Alicyclic & Calorescence.


Bangalore, Feb. 15: 
Trained by S. Ganapathy and with B. Prakash to partner, Superior Force may be hard to down in the terms race for the juveniles, the 1,200m A. V. Thomas Million, tomorrow’s main attraction.


2.30 pm: Brunswick 1. Memorable Occasion 2. Misty Charms 3.

3 pm: Supermax 1. Kyosoba 2. Rising Wings 3.

3.30 pm: Saturn Star 1. Annodomini 2. Stormsky 3.

4 pm: Superior Force 1. Portman Square 2. Just Brave 3.

4.30 pm: Arzillo 1. Common Wealth 2. Native Red 3.

5 pm: Queenstown 1. Crystal Moment 2. Silvertre 3.

5.30 pm: Tal 1. Tribal Dance 2. Crown Ice 3.

Day’s Best: Superior Force

Double: Saturn Star & Arzillo


Bangalore, Feb. 15: 
Ridden by G. Dickie and trained by K Annaiah, Tapatio scored an upset victory in the Shravanabelagoda Cup in Bangalore on Friday.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Ramnagar Stakes 1,600m: (4-1-7) Rusticana (Rajesh S.) 1; Power Extreme 2; Omni Presence 3. Won by: Dist; Nk; (1-44.2). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 11; 16; 31; Quinella: 35; Tanala: 329. Fav: Rusticana (4).

2. Vibrant Plate 1,200m: (1-3-2) Kilkemny (Shukla) 1; Soldier of Fortune 2; Zoracia 3. Won by: 1/2; 2-1/4; (1-18.2). Tote: Win Rs 34; Place: 17; 19; 23; Quinella: 74; Tanala: 556. Fav: Kilkemny (1).

3. Shravanabelagola Cup 1,800m: (5-6-8) Tapatio (Dickie) 1; Rio Tinto 2; Caressing 3. Won by: Hd; 2-1/4; (1-56.5). Tote: Win Rs 179; Place: 29; 14; 11; Quinella: 381; Tanala: 1,428. Fav: Caressing (8).

4. Indus Plate 1,400m: (7-5-9) Pretty Move (Rajesh) 1; Polar Charge 2; Royal Hunter 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 6-3/4; (1-31.8). Tote: Win Rs 22; Place: 10; 17; 29; Quinella: 37; Tanala: 384. Fav: Pretty Move (7).

5. Glass House Cup 1,100m: (12-9-8) Allespagne (Rajesh) 1; Astigmatic 2; Dance Royale 3. Won by: 1-1/4; Nk; (1-10.3). Tote: Win Rs 63; Place: 18; 35; 13; Quinella: 821; Tanala: 3,377. Fav: Slim Twist (6).

6. Manipal Plate 1,200m: (1-10-2) Chippo (Srinath) 1; Tassha 2; Golden Finisher 3. Won by: 5; 3/4; (1-18.3). Tote: Win Rs 43; Place: 20; 12; 33; Quinella: 41; Tanala: 459. Fav: Tassha (10).

Jackpot: Rs 1,27,520 (Carried over).

Treble: (i) Rs 2,990; (ii) Rs 725.


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