More to Steve’s ouster
Mahindra champions
Panja makes it a double
World Cup in city in March
Tollygunge pile up 408/7
Criticism doesn’t affect me: Deep
Das, Schwartzel in title round
Calcutta Racing/ Arterial finds going easy
Mumbai Racing/ Mumbai tips

 
 
MORE TO STEVE’S OUSTER 
 
 
BY LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Calcutta, Feb. 16: 
Chief selector Trevor Hohns’ logic behind Steve Waugh’s removal as Australia’s one-day captain (and from the team, too) hasn’t convinced anybody and, instead, certain ‘theories’ are doing the rounds.

Given the circumstances, it’s hardly surprising.

After all, while Steve did perform below par in the just-ended tri-series, he averaged exactly 100.00 in Australia’s last one-day tournament (NatWest Trophy) before the most recent set of engagements.

So…

As for the World Cup-winning Steve’s (immediate) captaincy record, Australia won 11 of the last 16 ODIs. The overall bottomline remains beyond comparison: Success percentage of 65-plus in 106 matches.

Specifically, The Telegraph’s sources have been hinting at the Establishment possibly putting Steve, who wasn’t just another captain, in his place by letting him know who ran the mega-million show in Australia.

That even if Steve himself never encouraged being painted with larger-than-the-game colours, he still needed to be ‘checkmated’.

In this context, it’s significant that Steve’s removal was unanimously endorsed by the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) directors. It’s unthinkable that nobody objected — to the decision itself and its most unprofessional timing.

Apparently, not everybody is thrilled that in Australia today, Steve enjoys a status second only to Sir Don Bradman.

Indeed, it’s pretty obvious Steve’s differences with the Establishment influenced the (outrageous) recent announcement that he wouldn’t any longer serve as an ex-officio selector on tours.

Frankly, nobody has done Steve a favour by not touching the Test-captaincy.

Another ‘theory’ is that Steve didn’t do anybody any good by his less-than-acceptable behaviour right after the February 3 Media conference in Perth. And this, too, played a part in his removal.

That Steve more than lost his cool in the presence of ACB officials is what, reportedly, queered the pitch. Still, fo r an otherwise perfect ambassador, one indiscretion couldn’t have proved so costly.

Therefore, the Establishment-Strikes-Back ‘theory’ is the one, which could be given much more weightage. The truth, though, may never be revealed.

Incidentally, among all captains in recent memory, only Imran Khan always had the Establishment doing his biding. But, then, some may argue Imran was himself the Establishment!

In any case, Hohns and Co. (as also the ACB directors) have taken another shocking decision — appointing one-time enfant terrible Ricky ‘Punter’ Ponting as Steve’s successor.

Right through the late 1990s, Ponting made the wrong headlines — Calcuttans may recall the fracas at a city nightclub during the 1997-98 series — and no matter how reformed he is, the past won’t ever quite leave him.

Really, if the conduct-bit was to come into play in a big way, Ponting wouldn’t even have been in the frame.

Whatever the story behind Steve’s ouster, his band of admirers has swelled with just one remark: “I haven’t lost the desire (to figure in the 2003 World Cup)… I regard this as a setback and a challenge… I’ll do everything in my power to make a comeback. My campaign starts now…”

Only the very brave will bet against Steve not adding to his 325 ODI caps.

   

 
 
MAHINDRA CHAMPIONS 
 
 
FROM NOVY KAPADIA
 
New Delhi, Feb. 16: 
It was a case of truth is stranger than fiction in the final of the Allwyn 114th Durand Cup final today, with Mahindra United of Mumbai overwhelming Churchill Brothers of Goa 5-0.

Such a one-sided Durand final was last witnessed over a century ago, in 1896, when Somerset Light Infantry had beaten Black Watch 6-1. Mahindra coach Harish Rao admitted that even in the wildest of dreams, he never imagined such a scoreline.

As a spectacle, the match lasted just ten minutes. Churchill’s mainstay in defence — Ghanaian Osumanu Hussaini — handled Jules Alberto’s goal-bound shot and referee Rizwan-ul Haq promptly pointed to the spot and also flashed the red card.

Jules converted the penalty kick and instead of regrouping, Churchill simply caved in. Midfielder Noel Wilson was forced to drop back and the ten-man Goa champions lost it in the midfield.

Khalid Siddiqui’s left-footer took an awkward bounce and entered the net at the stroke of half time, which made it 2-0, and it was one-way traffic in the second half.

Jules’ sizzling 25-yard drive made it 3-0 in the 71st minute before Nigerian striker Austin Okolo tapped in a rebound in the 76th. Bala Usman completed the rout five minutes from time when he knocked the ball in after it was parried back by goalkeeper Edward Ansah following a shot by S. Venkatesh.

Mahindra’s Bernard Operanozie set a unique record by becoming the first player to win the Durand Cup with four different clubs — with Mohun Bagan in 1994, JCT in 1996, FC Kochin in 1997 and now with Mahindra United.

Peter Thangaraj, Shyam Thapa, I.M. Vijayan, Jo Paul Ancheri and Carlton Chapman have won the tournament with three different teams.

Early in the second half, Churchill got two chances but midfielders Aqueel Ansari and skipper Roque Barreto squandered both. A reducer at this stage could have made the match more competitive.

The Mahindra forays were menacing and they attacked in waves, which left the Churchill defence in tatters. In contrast, the Mahindra defenders (they played in the 5-3-2 formation) bottled up dangerous strikers Mousavi Sayed Amin and Yusuf Yakubu. For them, Bernard, Tapan Ghosh and the tall Nigerian Isa Musa Eroje excelled as markers.

East Bengal’s promising midfielder Chandan Das was chosen among the five most promising players. Others selected were Sunil Chettri (City Club, Delhi), Subhash Chowdhury (AIFF under-19), Tapan Ghosh (Mahindra) and L. Angan Shangai (Army XI).

The Kelvinator Man of the Tournament award went to Jules Alberto of Mahindra, who finished as joint top scorer with Jose Ramirez Barreto of Mohun Bagan. Both scored four goals.

TEAMS

MAHINDRA UNITED: Virender Singh; Anthony Pereira (Jeevan Moraes, 86), Tapan Ghosh, Isa Musa Eroje, Bernard Operanozie, M. Suresh; S. Venkatesh, Jules Alberto, Khalid Siddique; Austin Okolo, Bala Usman.

CHURCHILL BROTHERS: Edward Ansah; Franics Coelho (Inacio Afonso, 80), Osumanu Hussaini, Mahesh Gawli, Rajesh Meetei; Roque Barreto, Aqueel Ansari ((Tejinder Kumar, 62), Ratan Singh (Somatai Shaiza, 53), Noel Wilson; Mousavi Sayed Amin, Yusuf Yakubu.

Referee: Rizwan-ul Haq

   

 
 
PANJA MAKES IT A DOUBLE 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Feb. 16: 
Saurav Panja fired when it mattered most to outwit Vinod Sewa 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the final of the Ordnance Club tournament today. That made it a pair of titles for Panja who had won the men’s doubles yesterday with Ram Kumar.

The ladies’ final was a cakewalk for Ragini Vimal. She won all nine games against Oindrila Majumdar before a sprained ankle forced the latter out.

The men’s final, lasting two-and-a-quarter hours, produced some breathtaking rallies. Sewa looked the stronger player in the first two sets, whipping backhand winners and retrieving everything Panja threw at him.

If Sewa showed a weakness, it was his choice of shot from time to time. Often he would set up a point only to give it away by going the wrong side. After breaking Panja in the second game, Sewa dropped serve twice. He made amends straightaway, pressurising Panja to get back on serve.

In the 10th game, Sewa got to set-point after forcing an error from Panja with a perfect lob. Panja then sliced a backhand return into the net, putting Sewa a set up.

Sewa got an early break in the second set too to go 3-1 up, but lapsed into errors once too often. Again, the service breaks came thick and fast before Panja evened set scores with an ace in the 12th game. Sewa was convinced it was a fault but failed to persuade the chair umpire.

The decider brought the best out of Panja. The forehand started obeying his command and the volleys got the right angle. An error-prone Sewa dropped serve thrice as Panja cruised through the final set.

Bank football

Central Bank drew 0-0 with Union Bank today in the inter-bank football meet being held at Durgapur’s Nehru Stadium, according to information received here.

   

 
 
WORLD CUP IN CITY IN MARCH 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Feb. 16: 
A month from now, the city will have the unique privilege of ‘welcoming’ the Fifa World Cup winners’ trophy to their own backyard.

Announcing this at a press conference this afternoon, officials of Gillette — sponsors of the 2002 World Cup — said that the trophy will be in town “sometime between March 15 and 17.” The details of the programme are still to be worked out, but the idea is to “involve as many people as possible.”

Though Calcutta will be the country’s only city to view the coveted trophy ‘live’, consumers all over India will get a chance to win Rs 5 crore and a ticket to the World Cup final by entering a contest being organised by Gillette.

Haltu HS in last eight

Haltu HS beat Loyola HS on a penalty shootout to enter the quarter finals of the Britannia Anandabazar Cup school football meet today. Tollygunge Ashokenagar HS also made the last eight, knocking out Bawali Pallimangal 4-2 via the tie-breaker.

OTHER RESULTS: Kalinagar HS bt Baranagar Ramkrishna Mission 5-0; Narkeldanga HS bt Beleghata Deshbandhu; St Paul’s bt Vivekananda Pally Kishore Bharati 4-3.

   

 
 
TOLLYGUNGE PILE UP 408/7 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Feb. 16: 
Mohammed Ariz smashed 146 while Adil Sheikh struck an unbeaten 102 to help Tollygunge Agragami amass 408 for seven in their CAB league match against Sporting Union today.

Rajasthan tallied 362 against George Telegraph, thanks to centuries from Nilashish Ghosh (120) and Sayan Dey (100). The day’s other centurions were Ballygunge United’s Sourav Bhalla (110) and High Court’s Abbas Asgari (120).

SUMMARISED SCORES

Calcutta Customs 281 (Anustup Majumdar 70, Rudra Mukherjee 45, Prasenjit Ganguly 38, Avik Chowdhury 38; Kanchan Maity 3/42, Shahid Ali Khan 3/79) vs Eastern Railway.

Ballygunge United 370/7 (Sourav Bhalla 110, Khurshid Alam Khan 94; Rathindra Nath Dutta 5/63) vs Netaji Subhas Institute.

Rajasthan 362 (Nilashish Ghosh 120, Sayan Dey 100, Gaurav Haralalka 72) vs George Telegraph.

Mohanlal 230 (Swapan Das 57; Virender Pratap Singh 4/87, Debashish Mondal 3/56). Dakshin Kalikata Sansad.

Tollygunge Agragami 408/7 (Mohammed Ariz 146, Adil Sheikh 102 not out, Rakesh Joshi 55, Abakash Khatua 45) vs Sporting Union.

High Court 280 (Abbas Asgari 120, Akhilesh Khusur 41 not out; Arindam Bhattacharya 5/110, Chiranjib Guha 3/90) vs BNR.

   

 
 
CRITICISM DOESN’T AFFECT ME: DEEP 
 
 
BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, Feb. 16: 
“Yes, it’s a nice feeling… Will there now be more pressure? No, I wouldn’t say so,” is how Deep Dasgupta reacted this evening.

Contacted by The Telegraph at the Bengal Ranji team’s hotel in New Delhi, soon after the national selectors retained him in the Test squad, Deep added: “I do know what is expected of me… Criticism? Well, to be frank, I haven’t allowed it to affect me…”

Deep, of course, was dropped during the recent ODIs against England and his replacement then, Ajay Ratra, was seen as a contender for the upcoming Tests versus Zimbabwe.

As it turned out, Deep’s batting gave him higher marks.

   

 
 
DAS, SCHWARTZEL IN TITLE ROUND 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Feb. 16: 
Ambala’s Manav Das earned the right to challenge South African Charl Schwartzel in the matchplay final of the Eveready East India amateur golf championship.

In the semi-finals at RCGC today, Das prevailed over Jasjeet Singh on the 20th hole. Despite being three down on the 12th hole, Das kept his cool to get back on even terms and force a play-off. Schwartzel beat Bahuguna 2-1.

   

 
 
CALCUTTA RACING/ ARTERIAL FINDS GOING EASY 
 
 
BY STAR RACER
 
Calcutta, Feb. 16: 
The Arjun Mangalorkar-trained gelding Arterial stayed the mile and the three-quarter gruelling trip more comfortably than the filly Calorescence to win the blue riband of the Indian turf, the 2,800m Queen Elizabeth II Cup today. Mark Gallagher partnered the Green Forest-Fiddlin Fanny four-year-old.

The filly was but a trifle unlucky following a tardy start as she sat on her haunches soon after the gates opened. However, Cristopher was quick to catch up with the field that was on a virtual crawl. The superiority of the winner was, however, never in doubt as he took over the running from the mile marker and won by a shade over a length.

RESULTS

1. Brown Wolf Handicap 1,200m: (2-4-3-5) Albright (C. Alford) 1; Darth Vader (Aadesh) 2; Iron Warrior (Upadhya) 3; Gul (Som S.) 4. Won by: 1-1/4; 3; SH; (1-14.7). Tote: Win Rs 22; Place: 15; 42; Quinella: 67; Tanala: 151. Fav: Albright (2). Winner trained by Vijay S.

2. Relevance Cup 1,200m: (3-1-4-6) Phunney Phellow (Brij S.) 1; Moon Mission (Abraham) 2; Altigraph (Amil) 3; River Melody (Yasin) 4. Not run: Star of Ring (7). Won by: 1-1/4; 1-3/4; 4-1/2; (1-13.9). Tote: Win Rs 142; Place: 29; 17; Quinella: 69; Tanala: 861. Fav: Moon Mission (1). Winner trained by J. Stephens.

3. Azhar Cup 1,200m: (8-9-4-7) Excellent Striker (Abraham) 1; Winning Hand (Gowli) 2; Queen’s Logic (Islam) 3; Bird’s Empire (Asghar) 4. Won by: 2-1/2; 2-1/2; 2-3/4; (1-13.5). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 13; 25; 36; Quinella: 113; Tanala: 961. Fav: Excellent Striker (8). Winner trained by Daniel D.

4. Rising Star Cup 1,100m: (2-8-4-5) Dancing Dreams (Rutherford) 1; Super Smile (Rabani) 2; Akokato (Abraham) 3; Sky Command (Shanker) 4. Won by: 2-1/4; 3/4; 1-3/4; (1-5.6). Tote: Win Rs 82; Place: 18; 21; 16; Quinella: 366; Tanala: 2,618. Fav: Alicyclic (3). Winner trained by R. Alford.

5. Queen Elizabeth II Cup 2,800m: (6-7-4-3) Arterial (Gallagher) 1; Calorescence (C. Alfrod) 2; Allodium (Rabani) 3; Anagram (Shanker) 4. Won by: 1-1/4; SH; 1-1/4; (3-7.5). Tote: Win Rs 22; Place: 11; 13; 33; Quinella: 26; Tanala: 321. Fav: Arterial (6). Winner trained by A. Mangalorkar.

6. Ardiles Cup 1,400m: (11-6-7-4) Immaculate (Abraham) 1; Soviet Port (Gallagher) 2; Silver Toy (Gowli) 3; Ispahan (Rutherford) 4. Won by: 2-1/2; 1/2; 1/2; (1-25.9). Tote: Win Rs 48; Place: 18; 15; 29; Quinella: 63; Tanala: 679. Fav: Soviet Port (6). Winner trained by Daniel D.

7. Gridiron Handicap 2,000m: (7-4-5-1) Scavenger’s Son (Shanker) 1; Black Mane (E. Smith) 2; Odyssey (Aadesh) 3; Leading Conquest (Gallagher) 4. Won by: 7-3/4; 1-3/4; 5-1/4; (2-6.6). Tote: Win Rs 72; Place: 18; 42; 17; Quinella: 1,250; Tanala: 5,871. Fav: Actuate (3). Winner trained by Mujeeb R.

Jackpot: Rs 16,220; (C) Rs 814.

Treble: (i) Rs 5,127; (ii) Rs 1,179.

   

 
 
MUMBAI RACING/ MUMBAI TIPS 
 
 
BY HONKY DORY
 
Mumbai, Feb. 16: 
Wild Eagle, the failed-favourite in the Derby, is fancied to win Sunday’s main event in Mumbai, the 2,000m Eclipse Stakes of India, before leaving for Singapore.

SELECTIONS

2 pm: Menorca 1. Bliss-Leavitt 2. Great Escape 3.

2.30 pm: Ciraja 1. Shadow Dancing 2. Discman 3.

3 pm: Sky Bound 1. California Gold 2. Amaranza 3.

3.30 pm: Vivienne 1. Foreign Connection 2. Ruffles 3.

4 pm: Iceberg 1. Flymetothemoon 2. Angara 3.

5 pm: Wild Eagle 1. Victory March 2. Appeaser 3.

5.30 pm: Monte Carlo Magic 1. Phrawah 2. Silver Line 3.

6 pm: Resist 1. Green Star 2. Weathering 3.

Day’s Best: Wild Eagle.

Double: Ciraja & Iceberg.

Bangalore’s Saturday results

1st race: Memorable Occasion (Prakash) 1; Brunswick 2; Aesthete 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 2-1/4; (1-15.9). Win Rs 14; (P) 12; 16; 20; (F) 32; (Q) 24; (T) 84 & 54.

2nd race: Caape City (Shafiq) 1; Supermax 2; Kyosoba 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 1-1/4; (1-57.4). Win Rs 90; (P) 19; 12; 16; (F) 130; (Q) 50; (T) 263 & 163.

3rd race: Royal Movements (Faisal) 1; Barassie 2; Annodomini 3. Won by: 1-1/4; SH; (1-30.1). Win Rs 126; (P) 30; 28; 14; (F) 569; (Q) 376; (T) 1,793 & 792.

4th race: Superior Force (Prakash) 1; Portman Square 2; Fast Trick 3. Won by: 1-1/4; SH; (1-15.4). Win Rs 14; (P) 12; 15; 58; (F) 24; (Q) 25; (T) 222 & 168.

5th race: Sunchaser (Surjeet) 1; Hello Baby 2; Native Red 3. Won by: Hd; 1/2; (1-16.7). Win Rs 115; (P) 30; 16; 17; (F) 462; (Q) 155; (T) 1,059 & 358.

6th race: Mayfair (A. Imran) 1; Silvertre 2; Weapon Alpha 3. Won by: 1/2; 1-1/4; (1-42.1). Win Rs 116; (P) 47; 16; (F) 201; (Q) 76; (T) 794 & 511.

7th race: Proflare (D. Patel) 1; Rive Nile 2; Crown Ice 3. Not run: Tal. Won by: Dist; 3/4; (1-16.1). Win Rs 32; (P) 15; 47; 17; (F) 331; (Q) 333; (T) 1,212 & 258.

Jackpot: Rs 49,289; (C) Rs 3,278.

Mini jackpot: Rs 11,277.

Treble: Rs 518.

   
 

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