Destiny’s call
Sulskis stretches lead
Ben Hollioake killed in Perth car crash
SA offer Mandela as mediator
Title for Saurav
Roy looking beyond Indian shores
Arya, Sharma provisional champions
Mumbai Racing/ Lucky Spell may come good
Bangalore Racing/ Ganapathy, Prakash champions
Calcutta Racing/ Anolini impresses

Calcutta, March 23: 
Thursday morning found the Mongias of Chandigarh bid farewell to the South Africa-bound India A captain Dinesh.

A few hours later, though, parents Bishambar Lal and Jeevan (as also sister Poonam) began preparing to welcome back Dinesh and celebrate his being picked instead for the West Indies.

“It’s destiny’s doing… Still, mujhe Veeru (Virender Sehwag) ke liye bahut kharab lag raha hai,” Dinesh, Man of the Series in the just-concluded ODIs against Zimbabwe, told The Telegraph, when contacted at home this afternoon.

[Dinesh was in New Delhi, en route to Mumbai and Johannesburg, when Board secretary Niranjan Shah called on his cell and conveyed the ‘promotion’.]

Sehwag was an absolute certainty for the West Indies and it’s his unavailability which dramatically altered southpaw Dinesh’s travel plans.

Whatever else happens, this change will help realise an eight-season old ambition: Wanting to tour the West Indies as an India player.

“I visited Trinidad&Tobago with the School Games’ Federation of India team (in 1994-95) and, seeing the atmosphere, said to myself I must one day return with the national side… Soon, that won’t remain a desire only…”

The squad departs April 1.

Obviously, Dinesh is hoping he will this time get opportunities, unlike the tour to Sri Lanka last year, when (despite Hemang Badani’s failures) he didn’t get a look-in.

“Frankly, it was a frustrating trip as I went from the hotel to the ground and, then, back to the hotel… I didn’t learn a thing, as one only learns by playing… Kuch na karne se aap kaise sikhiye ga? This time, I should get a chance to prove my worth (in Tests),” is how Dinesh, who turns 25 next month, put it.

Having been a success as an opener in the recent ODIs, there’s this possibility Dinesh could be asked to do the same job in Test cricket, too. He is ready.

“I’ll do whatever I’m asked to… I’m looking for opportunities, not a particular slot…”

Dinesh, who is “indebted” to state (Punjab) captain Vikram Rathore, and has “always” been an Imran Khan and Steve Waugh fan, pointed out that his cricket was built around “hard work and self-belief.”

He added: “Actually, I’m still new to international cricket, but the turning point remains my 71 in the first ODI, versus England, at the Eden… That one innings boosted my confidence enormously, made me believe even more in my abilities…”

Well, Dinesh did better in the next set of engagements — against Zimbabwe: A total of 263 at a 65-plus average, significantly improving on the 42-plus versus England.

Having become real ‘hot property’, there’s the fear Dinesh may get affected by distractions. Only, he himself isn’t worried.

Mere liye koi distractions nahin hain… In fact, I like being alone… Helps me both concentrate and relax… But, yes, I must listen to some music. Woh to zaroori hai…

Incidentally, keeping the West Indies’ bounce-factor in mind, Dinesh is training with “hard plastic balls.” That’s in addition to the regular gym work and nets.

As it was time to head for Mohali and another workout, Dinesh quickly signed off: “Many have talent, it’s the hard work which makes the distinction… Really, I would like to be remembered for always putting in that hundred per cent…”

Nobody doubts that.


Calcutta, March 23: 
Lithuanian Grandmaster Sarunas Sulskis extended his lead by a point at the end of the seventh round of the Goodricke International Open Chess tournament at the Gorky Sadan today.

Sulskis, playing with black, scored an emphatic victory over top seed GM Aleksei Aleksandrov of Belarus to remain the sole leader on six points. Trailing a point behind Sulskis are GMs Krishnan Sasikiran of India and Maxim Sorokin of Argentina.

On a day that saw most of the top board games end in draws, Sulskis, employing a Nimzo Indian defence, won the two central pawns and then cracked open Aleksandrov’s kingside by an offer of a rook. The Belarusian refused the bait but could not prevent Sulskis from penetrating his kingside and resigned.

Once again, Sasikiran demonstrated fighting spirit to snatch a draw, this time against GM Alexander Goloshchapov of Ukraine. In a Grunfeld defence, Sasikiran obtained a passed pawn in the centre, but Goloshchapov had two pawns looking menacing on the queenside. Sasikiran brought his king over to the queenside to block the pawns. However, Goloshchapov won the crucial central pawn in return for the two queenside pawns. A draw, then, was inevitable.

The other second-placed player, Sorokin, spurned Kazakh GM Pavel Kotsur’s offer of a draw in the 17th move of the open variation of the Ruy Lopez as he had weakened the latter’s kingside pawn formation. But Kotsur gradually exchanged the pieces to take the game into a rook ending after which both agreed to split the point.

India’s S. Satyapragyan held GM Alexey Kuzmin of Russia to a draw in 21 moves in a Nimzo Indian defence. Despite having two bishops, Kuzmin accepted Satyapragyan’s draw offer as the centre was blocked. The Indian now requires just a point from his next two games for his maiden IM norm.

Also in the running for her maiden WGM norm is city- based WIM Nisha Mohota who upset former national champion P. Konguvel in 31 moves in a Caro Kann defence.

Koneru Humpy’s GM norm hopes went up in smoke as she went down to GM Eshan Ghaem Maghami of Iran in the advance variation of the Caro Kann defence.

Sandipan Chanda had little difficulty in getting the better of Swati Ghate with the black pieces in a Sicilian defence. Swati lost a piece on the 26th move and resigned immediately.

GM Dibyendu Barua drew with GM Drazen Sermek of Slovenia in a rook and opposite coloured bishop ending which arose from a Sicilian Pelikan.

Another GM norm-aspirant, IM R B Ramesh agreed to a quick draw in just nine moves against IM Jeorg Blauert of Germany in a Petroff defence.

English GM Bogdan Lalic and Alexander Fominyh of Russia were content to take a draw in 30 moves in a Queen’s Indian defence. The Russian GMs Andrei Shariyazdanov and Evgeny Gleizerov also agreed to a quick draw in 17 moves to take their tally to 4.5 points.

Results (Seventh round)— A Aleksandrov (Blr) 4.5 lost to S Sulskis (Ltu) 6; K Sasikiran (Ind) 5 drew with A Goloshchapov (Ukr) 4.5; P Kotsur (Kaz) 4.5 drew with M Sorokin (Arg) 5; A Shariyazdanov (Rus) 4.5 drew with E Gleizerov (Rus) 4.5 ; A Kuzmin (Rus) 4.5 drew with S Satyapragyan (Ind) 4.5 ; A Yegiazarian (Arm) 4.5 drew with S Ovsejevitch (Ukr) 4.5; A Fominyh (Rus) 4.5 drew with B Lalic (Eng) 4; A Motylev (Rus) 4 drew with Abhijit Kunte (Ind) 4; D Barua (Ind) 4 drew with D Sermek (Slo) 4; R Sherbakov (Rus) 4.5 beat GB Prakash (Ind) 3.5; Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (Irn) 4.5 beat K Humpy (Ind) 3.5; RB Ramesh (Ind) 3.5 drew with J Blauert (Ger) 4 ; T Bakre (Ind) 3.5 drew with Rahul Shetty (Ind) 3.5; Swati Ghate (Ind) 3 lost to Sandipan Chanda (Ind) 4; TS Ravi (Ind) 3.5 drew with P Mahesh Chandran (Ind) 3.5; Wong Zi Jing (Mal) 4 beat Al-Syed Mohammad (Qat) 3; Yogesh Gore (Ind) 4 beat S Kidambi (Ind) 2.5; Sriram Jha (Ind) 3.5 beat DK Sharma (Ind) 2.5; P Konguvel (Ind) 2.5 lost to Nisha Mohota (Ind) 3.5; Lanka Ravi (Ind) 3 drew with Deep Sengupta (Ind) 3; V Saravanan (Ind) 3 drew with Abdulla al-Rakib (Ban) 2.5; Enamul Hossain (Ban) 3 beat Krishna Thapa (Nep) 2; Saheli Dhar-Barua (Ind) 2 lost to Suvrajit Saha (Ind) 3; S Palit (Ind) 2 Vikramjit S Singh (Ind) 2; K Visweswaran (Ind) 3 beat Ghader Pour Shayeste (Irn) 1.5; Aarthie Ramaswamy (Ind) 2 drew with Saptarishi Roy Chowdhury (Ind) 2; R Sangma (Ind) 1.5 beat PDS Girinath (Ind) 1.5.


Calcutta, March 23: 

Keen follower of Formula One

Speed must have been in his blood. After all, when The Telegraph spoke to Ben Hollioake, he had listed Formula One as one of his favourite disciplines. It’s ironic that the young England international had to die in a car crash near Perth this morning.

He was alone in a corner. Hollioake, on his comeback to the England team, was not on too many mediaperson’s first list that January 14 afternoon. The England team, on its tour of India, was into an informal chat session at the Taj Bengal.

Today one can’t help but recollect the day when the promising young cricketer turned his charm on whoever chose to speak to him. Those who didn’t, missed out on a happy-go-lucky, down-to-earth man and his thoughts on the game he loved the most —cricket.

On his first trip to the sub-continent, the Surrey cricketer, seemed exceptionally confident. He greeted people with a warm smile and a big ‘hallo’. Playing against India in their own backyard was a dream come true and what if England came up trumps… “Gosh, I wouldn’t be thinking so far,” he had quipped. “We do have all the bowlers and the batsmen, but they have Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly… that’s all I am saying. We have heard so much about Eden Gardens and the crowd that I just can’t wait to play,” he had added.

India did win the first one-dayer here and Hollioake, though in the team, did not leave a mark.

The 1997 English Young Player of the Year enjoyed a special relationship with his older brother Adam, a former England one-day captain. “I miss him. It would have been wonderful to have him here.” And about buddies in the team — “Andrew Flintoff and I almost grew up together. We have always shared something special… I agree he has gone far ahead of me at the moment. But mark my words Ben will be back,” he had promised. Not anymore. It’s tough to think a man so alive and brimming with promise is no more.

Being an allrounder is a special challenge, but Hollioake loved the fact that he was one. “I love both bowling and batting… and it’s a great challenge for me trying to do well on both counts,” he had said.

What did he like about India the most… “Certainly the cuisine. I have a lot of it back home as well, but it’s a lot creamier there. Here it burns your throat. That I have fallen in love with the dal makhani is a different matter altogether.” And he had given that smile again.

“Take life easy,” was how he signed off.


Calcutta, March 23: 
With cricketing relations between India and Pakistan having soured like never before, South Africa are willing to provide a solution.

According to BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya — who returned yesterday from an ICC meeting in Cape Town — South Africa are ready to offer the services of Nelson Mandela to break the impasse.

“The South African officials said that if needed, Nelson Mandela will try to mediate between the two countries so that cricket can be resumed,” Dalmiya said today.

However, this proposal is still at an early stage and a decision is yet to be taken.

Dalmiya said the ICC too wants to expedite the process of resumption of cricket between India and Pakistan and to do that top officials from the game’s world governing body are prepared to fly to India and speak to government officials.

However, that too has been put on hold and as things stand now, Dalmiya will discuss the possibility of cricket with Pakistan with government officials.

“Those in the ICC meeting were keen to discuss this issue. England, in fact, put pressure on us, asking why just our senior cricket team was prohibited from playing Pakistan while the ban doesn’t cover other games, even under-19 cricket?” Dalmiya said.

Among other decisions taken in Cape Town “the practice of suspended bans has been abolished”.

Asked about the decision in this year’s Budget to levy Income Tax on sports bodies—following which the BCCI may have to cough up a substantial sum— Dalmiya said the Board’s finance committee would discuss the matter.

“It may affect our development programmes,” said the BCCI chief.


Calcutta, March 23: 
Saurav Panja warmed up nicely for next week’s grasscourt nationals with the Central Excise Open title. The top seed fought back strongly to shut out No. 4 Vinod Sewa 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the final this morning.

Panja recorded another triumph over Sewa later in the day, in the mixed doubles final. Panja and Ragini Vimal dismissed Sewa and Reedhina Parekh 6-2, 6-3.

The men’s final saw the younger Sewa make an energetic start. But, just like the Ordnance Club meet final a few weeks ago, he faded out after the early promise. Playing some sharp serve-and-volley tennis, Panja turned the match on its head to win in a canter.

Paes-Gimelstob in second round

Leander Paes and Justin Gimelstob carved out a tough three-set victory in the opening round of the Miami Masters Series meet yesterday. According to information received here, Paes and his American partner saw off Spaniard Albert Costa and Russian Marat Safin 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3. They will next meet Bryan twins Bob and Mike, the eighth seeds.

Mahesh Bhupathi is playing with Brian MacPhie. The duo is seeded No. 7 and has a bye in the first round.


Calcutta, March 23: 
Men’s table tennis in India has witnessed periods dominated by individuals. After the era of Kamlesh Mehta it was the turn of Chetan Baboor, but now, one Soumyadeep Roy is calling the shots. Not many except for Mehta and Baboor have posted back-to-back victories in the nationals recently, and having accomplished this feat in the last nationals in Delhi (after his triumph in Cuttack last year), Roy has started looking beyond the shores of India.

It’s virtually impossible for Roy to improve his game beyond a point if he continues to play in India. Baboor was the first to realise this and Roy seems to feel no different. “It’s difficult to reach beyond a stage if I play here. The saturation point comes early. In order to cope with the speed and spin of better players it’s important to play abroad,” Roy said.

The only notable product of the PSCB Academy based in Ajmer, Roy had a brief stint in Sweden last year where he played for Solna in the second tier of the Swedish league. But this time, he is looking for a longer deal. “You get accommodation, food and also some money if you land a contract. The six-month season there starts in September and I hope to get a decent deal,” Roy said.

Roy, who joined the Academy in 1995 after representing Bengal in the cadet category, has got a scholarship from the centre which enables him to spend five months in Sweden. For now, he will spend just a month in Sweden and join the national camps for the Commonwealth and Asian Games. One such camp is likely to be held in Europe.

Apart from his stint in Sweden, Roy wants to play more ITTF world ranking tournaments, which would help him improve his world ranking.


Calcutta, March 23: 
Sanjay Arya and Yogesh Sharma, in their Maturi Esteem have been declared provisional champions of the second Kalinga Rally with 115 penalty points. Mitil Chakraborty and Bhavesh Dhabaria (Esteem) were second (332). Rana Dey and Joydeb Chowdhury were declared champions in the two-wheeler category (2094 penalty points).

The computation of the final tally took time, according to organisers Bengal Motor Sports Club, because of protests. The rally was held on March 15-16.

While all protests in the two-wheeler section were dealt with to all parties’ liking, protests by Bharat Parekh and Prasanta Paul in the four-wheeler section have been referred to arbitration court (IMSAC), the first for a “mobile phone law infringement” and the second on a “missed time control” issue, said BMSC secretary Kunal Banerjee.

Prizes will be distributed tomorrow at the Salt Lake Stadium, with the four-wheelers’ prize purse being held back till settlement of dispute.

Former Asian rally champion Hari Singh, who accompanied the rallyists for a first feel of a TSD event, logged a high 890 penalties, but did pick up “good tips” on this non-stage event.


Four-wheelers:1. Sanjay Arya/Yogesh Sharma (115, Esteem); 2. Mitil Chakraborty/Bhavesh Dhabaria (332, Esteem); 3. Yogendra Jaiswal/Basudeb Ghosh (446, Esteem); 4. Surjendu Ganguly/Animesh Roy (675, Esteem); 5. Anirban Majumder/Amit Saha (804, Maruti Gypsy).

Two-wheelers: 1. Rana Dey/Joydeb Chowdhury (2094, Suzuki Shogun); 2. Sutanu Roy/Debashis Ghosh (3072, Shogun); 3. Rajarshi Chakraborty/Balmiki Biswas (4052, Yamaha RX 135).


Mumbai, March 23: 
Although outclassed by Royal Honey in his last start over 1,000m scurry, the much improved Cooji Katrak-trainee Lucky Spell may relish the extended trip and lift the 1,400m Times of India Racing Media Gold Trophy in Mumbai on Sunday. Malesh Narredu partners the Triol-Misty-Silks son.


2.30 pm: Kraftwerk 1. Star Power 2. Miss Sunshine 3.

3 pm: Darksideofthemoon 1. Frontier Flame 2. Begonia 3.

3.30 pm: Las Mareas 1. Bon Apetit 2. Avaleur 3.

4 pm: Blue Butterfly 1. Fluency 2. Speed of Light 3.

4.30 pm: Lucky Spell 1. Proud ‘N’ True 2. The Avenger 3.

5 pm: La Reine 1. Oriental Ace 2. Island Pearl 3.

5.30 pm: Betsy 1. Heart of Courage 2. High Voltage 3.

6 pm: Applause 1. Loving You 2. Chance 3.

Day’s Best: Applause

Double: Darksideofthemoon & Lucky Spell


Bangalore, March 23: 
The 41-Day Bangalore winter season that concluded on Saturday saw trainer Ganapathy (40 wins) and jockey B. Prakash (37) emerging champions in their respective fields.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Champion Trainer Trophy, Div-II 1,200m: (2-4-7) Fabulous Star (Prakash) 1; It’s So Wonderful 2; La Bella Vita 3. Won by: 2; 4; (1-14.8). Tote: Win Rs 16; Place: 11; 15; 15; Quinella: 47; Tanala: 153. Fav: Fabulous Star (2).

2. Leading Tipster Trophy, Div-II 1,200m: (2-5-8) Solar Power (Srinath) 1; Beverly Babe 2; Bacardi Star 3. Not run: His Heirness (4). Won by: 9-1/4; Nk; (1-17.2). Tote: Win Rs 40; Place: 17; 21; 17; Quinella: 143; Tanala: 507. Fav: Solar Power (2).

3. Leading Owner Trophy, Div-II 1,400m: (3-7-8) King’s Pride (Shobhan) 1; National Star 2; Anchor 3. Won by: 2-3/4; 1/2; (1-28). Tote: Win Rs 23; Place: 15; 29; 15; Quinella: 208; Tanala: 1,099. Fav: King’s Pride (3).

4. Champion Trainer Trophy, Div-I 1,200m: (1-8-7) Royal Force (Gallagher) 1; Another Time 2; Snow Deer 3. Not run: Brave Persian (2). Won by: 1-1/4; 1-1/2; (1-15.7). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 10; 21; 85; Quinella: 68; Tanala: 1,313. Fav: Royal Force (1).

5. Leading Tipster Trophy, Div-I 1,200m: (1-5-4) Emerald Forest (M. Suresh) 1; Golden Finisher 2; Plain Truth 3. Won by: 4; Nk; (1-16.6). Tote: Win Rs 132; Place: 31; 15; 42; Quinella: 434; Tanala: 5,064. Fav: Diamond Harbour (7).

6. Champion Jockey Trophy, Div-I 1,200m: (3-11-4) Black Ocean (Mani) 1; Decision Maker 2; Cool Camp 3. Won by: SH; 1-1/2; (1-16.1). Tote: Win Rs 203; Place: 28; 31; 40; Quinella: 1,052; Tanala: 9,035. Fav: Scarlet Runner (8).

7. Nanoli Stud Bangalore Juvenile Million 1,400m: (6-5-1) Castle Park (Shroff) 1; Superior Force 2; Obligado 3. Won by: SH; 1/2; (1-27.9). Tote: Win Rs 26; Place: 18; 11; Quinella: 15; Tanala: 58. Fav: Superior Force (5). (Note: An objection by the rider of the third placed horse against the original winner Obligado was upheld and placings were revised as above).

8. Leading Stud Trophy 2,200m: (5-4-1) Tapatio (Appu) 1; Ma Baker 2; Hello Brother 3. Won by: 4-1/4; 1/2; (2-24.8). Tote: Win Rs 20; Place: 14; 35; Quinella: 71; Tanala: 319. Fav: Tapatio (5).

9. Leading Owner Trophy, Div-I 1,400m: (4-5-3) Brunswick (Srianth) 1; Sunny Spice 2; Star of Heaven 3. Not run: Memorable Occasion (2). Won by: 1-1/4; 4-1/2; (1-28.8). Tote: Win Rs 58; Place: 14; 11; 19; Quinella: 64; Tanala: 315. Fav: Sunny Spice (5).

10. Champion Jockey Trophy, Div-II 1,200m: (5-7-2) Kimera (F. Ismail) 1; Private Pursuit 2; Rythm ‘N’ Blues 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 2-1/2; (1-15.7). Tote: Win Rs 120; Place: 19; 13; 21; Quinella: 139; Tanala: 1,971. Fav: Private Pursuit (7).

Jackpot: Rs 1,69,726; (C) Rs 11,315.

Treble: (i) Rs 168; (ii) Rs 2,291; (iii) Rs 4,102.


Calcutta, March 23: 
Anolini was impressive when the following horses were put to trials today morning:

Outer sand track

1,400m: Rheinheart (Shanker) in1-48s; (400m) 30s. Easy. Dictate (Amil) in 1-43s; (400m) 29s. Fit. Magnifico (Domingo) in 1-52s; (400m) 31s.

1,200m: Castle Moon (Bird) in 1-31s; (400m) 32s.

1,000m: Anacott (C. Alford) and Amaryllis (Domingo) in 1-13s; (400m) 28s. Level. Declarationof-love (Rb) and Kyalami (Brij S.) in 1-11s; (400m) 30s. Former 8 ls better.

800m: Lucifer (Upadhya) in 56s;.(400m) 29s. Moved well. Earl Grey (Rutherford) in 55s; (400m) 27s. Fit. Software (Rutherford) in 54s; (400m) 27s. Note. Estocade (Rutherford) in 57s; (400m) 28s. Moved well. Tsaynen Blue (Engineer) and Flying Scot (Som S.) in 55s; (400m) 28s. Former 4 ls better.

600m: Leading Conquest (A. P. Singh) and Comedy of Errors (Brij S.) in 40s; (400m) 26s. Level.

400m: Blessed Spirit (Brij S.) in 29s.

Sand track

1,200m: Thunder Struck (Yasin) in 1-26s; (400m) 25s. Moved well.

800m: Jayaashva (Brij S.) in 1-2s; (400m) 31s. Aklovic (Gajender) in 51s; (400m) 24s. Has improved. Cup of Life (C. Alford) in 53s; (400m) 25s. Was easy. Calabash (Amil) in 51s; (400m) 25s. Was pushed. Giorgio (Rb) in 59s; (400m) 28s. Scarlet Raider (Yacoob) and Arctic Fancy (Upadhya) in 58s; (400m) 28s. Level. Storm Centre (Rb) in 55s; (400m) 27s. Easy. Bay Dragon (Yasin) in 57s; (400m) 29s. Sencai (Engineer) in 50s; (400m) 24s.Fit. Auctioneer (Gajender) in 49 (400m) 25s. Fit. Anolini (C. Alford) in 49s; (400m) 23s. Moved well.

600m: Floral Path (G. Singh) and Heaven’s Blessing (Shanker) in 37s; (400m) 24s. Level. Scenic Song (Yacoob) in 38s; (400m) 25s. Fit. Sky Command (Amil) in 47s; (400m) 31s.

400m: Global Harmony (Amil) in 27s.


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