BCCI plans recce trip to England
Das Gupta set to be manager
Sulskis a point from title
Top seeds have it easy in Round I
Bhupathi, MacPhie up
Army teams register wins
EB leave city
Race Review/ Prakash was in total command

Calcutta, March 25: 
In the lead-up to the Nasser Hussain-led England side’s arrival for the three-Test series, mid-November last, the ECB made a big fuss over arrangements at different venues.

Specifically, a two-member team (John Carr and Tim O’Gorman) was deputed to assess not just the facilities for players and visiting Media, but security arrangements as well.

The BCCI’s word alone wasn’t good enough and Hussain’s side departed only after Carr and O’Gorman gave what amounted to being the all-clear. Understandably, that exercise didn’t quite please the BCCI.

Now, in what could be viewed by many as a tit-for-tat move, the BCCI intends sending a facilities-evaluating mission to England, ahead of the team’s departure (June 18) for a 12-week tour.

While even the New Zealanders are into sending recce missions, it’s going to be an absolute first for the BCCI.

On tour, the Indians will feature in a tri-series (with Sri Lanka being the third country) and, then, play four Tests between July 25-September 9.

Confirming that a move was on, BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya told The Telegraph: “I wouldn’t talk in terms of tit-for-tat. Rather, we are definitely concerned about crowd invasions, besides wishing to reassure ourselves about non-security arrangements.”

Speaking here this afternoon, Dalmiya indicated a “security expert” may be part of the recce team, which could have two or three members. The cost factor, it is learnt, will be kept in mind.

One understands that Jyoti Bajpai, the BCCI’s joint-secretary, may head the proposed team.

As was done by the ECB — which kept the British High Commission in New Delhi involved — the BCCI will liaise with our High Commission in London.

Asked whether the recce trip will be a one-off affair or precedent-setting, Dalmiya didn’t exactly commit himself: “It will depend… At this point in time, that’s all I can say.”

It’s no secret, of course, that the ECB’s approach towards the BCCI continues to be rather inimical. Moreover, ECB chief Lord Ian MacLaurin and Dalmiya aren’t the best of buddies either.

Subtly, then, Dalmiya is about to make a point.


Calcutta, March 25: 
The city-based Goutam Das Gupta, a confidant of BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya, is set to be appointed manager for the up-coming West Indies tour.

Das Gupta set to be managerAccording to The Telegraph’s sources, a formal ann-ouncement is expected tomorrow.

Das Gupta set to be managerA one-time senior functi-onary at the CAB, Das Gupta has been manager on two tours involving colts: The U-19 trip to En-gland in 1994 and the U-19 World Cup in 1997-98 (South Africa).


Calcutta, March 25: 
GM Krishnan Sasikiran of India cut runaway leader Sarunas Sulskis’ advantage to one point after the ninth round of the Goodricke International Open chess tournament at Gorky Sadan today.

The Lithuanian GM was held by GM Sergei Ovsejevitsch of the Ukraine, while the Indian beat GM Arsen Yegiazarian of Armenia. Sulskis moved to 7.5 points and one more point from the remaining two rounds will earn him the title.

Sasikiran is sole occupant of the second spot with 6.5 points. S. Ovsejevitsch of the Ukraine, Iran’s Ehsan Ghaem Maghami and D. Sermek of Slovenia are on six points each.

City IM Sandipan Chanda surprised GM Evgeny Gleizerov of Russia after employing the Benoni Defence — something he had never played before.

However, Chanda erred in opening which gave Gleizerov a break in the centre. But Gleizerov could not keep up the pressure and allowed Chanda a strong counterattack. Finally’ Chanda’s passed pawn on the c file proved fatal for the Russian GM.

The win kept alive Chanda’s final GM norm prospects. But he has to do well against higher rated opponents to achieve that.

City GM Dibyendu Barua obtained a clearly superior position against Alexander Goloshchapov of Ukraine in a Sicilian Defence, but allowed his opponent to escape with a draw.

Sulskis managed to draw from an inferior position again Ovsejevitsch. Sulskis, playing with black pieces, was in dire straits against the Ukrainian in the Exchange variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined. Sulskis had lost the exchange, but with the closed nature of the position, his opponent offered a draw, which was promptly accepted.

Sasikiran’s resilience paid off once again as he beat Yegiazarian in a Nimzo Indian Defence. Though Sasikiran had a passed pawn on the d file, the game was equal in a queen and bishop ending.

But Yegiazarian allowed Sasikiran’s queen to penetrate his kingside after which he lost his f6 and g6 pawns. Sasikiran thus tasted success after four consecutive draws.

Wong Zi Jing of Malaysia, a 20-year-old engineering student, confirmed his first IM norm with a draw against GM Abhijit Kunte of India in a Sicilian Defence. WIM Nisha Mohota, requiring a win for her first WGM norm, disappointed and succumbed to junior national boys’ champion S. Kidambi in a Queen’s Gambit Declined in 31 moves.

P. Mahesh Chandran of India held GM Bogdan Lalic of England in 23 moves in the Tarrasch variation of the French Defence. Mahesh needs to win his next game for his third and final IM norm.

Koneru Humpy was held to a draw by Suvrajit Saha in 31 moves in a Slav defence.

GMs Alexander Fominyh of Russia drew in 27 moves against compatriot and GM Andrey Shariyazdanov in a Queen’s Indian Defence.


S. Ovsejevitsch (Ukr, 6) drew S. Sulskis (Ltu, 7.5); K. Sasikiran (Ind, 6.5) bt A. Yegiazarian (Arm, 5.5); M. Sorokin (Arg, 5.5) drew Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (Irn, 6); S. Satyapragyan (Ind, 5) lost to D. Sermek (Slo, 6); P. Kostur (Kaz, 5.5); drew A. Kuzmin (Rus, 5.5); D. Barua (Ind, 5.5) drew A. Goloshchapov (Ukr, 5.5); A. Fominyh (Rus, 5.5) drew A. Shariyazdanov (Rus, 5.5); T. Bakre (Ind, 4.5) lost to A. Aleksandrov (Blr, 5.5); A. Motylev (Rus, 5.5) bt Rahul Shetty (Ind, 4.5); E. Gleizerov (Rus, 4.5) lost to Sandipan Chanda (Ind, 5.5); R. Sherbakov (Rus, 5.5) bt T.S. Ravi (Ind, 4.5); P. Mahesh Chandran (Ind, 5) drew B. Lalic (Eng, 5); Wong Zi Jing (Mal, 5) drew Abhijit Kunte (Ind, 5); Lanka Ravi (Ind, 4.5) drew G.B. Prakash (Ind, 4.5); Yogesh Gore (Ind, 4.5) drew Al Sayed Mohamad (Qat, 4.5); Sriram Jha (Ind, 4.5) drew J. Blauert (Ger, 4.5); K. Humpy (Ind, 4) drew Suvrajit Saha (Ind, 4); R.B. Ramesh (Ind, 4.5) bt Vikramjit S. Singh (Ind, 3.5); S. Kidambi (Ind, 4.5) bt Nisha Mohota (Ind) 3.5; V. Saravanan (Ind, 4) drew Deep Sengupta (Ind, 4); K. Visweswaran (Ind, 4) bt Abdulla Al-Rakib (Ban, 3); Enamul Hossain (Ban, 4) bt Swati Ghate (Ind, 3); P. Konguvel (Ind, 3.5) drew Saptarishi Roy Chowdhury (Ind, 3.5); D.K. Sharma (Ind, 4) bt P.D.S. Girinath (Ind, 2.5); Krishna Thapa (Nep, 2) lost to Somak Palit (Ind, 3.5); Aarthie Ramaswamy (Ind, 3) bt Ghader Pour Shayeste (Irn, 2); Rahul Sangma (Ind, 2.5) drew Saheli Dhar Barua (Ind, 2.5).


Calcutta, March 25: 
Rohan Bopanna and Radhika Tulpule, respective top seeds in men and women’s singles, started their campaigns in the senior national grasscourt tennis championships at South Club today with easy victories.

Bopanna, a current Davis Cup member, took a little less than an hour to wrap up the match against Nipun Gupta 6-0, 7-5. Tulpule, on the other hand, blanked out Bengal’s Pooja Mitra 6-0, 6-0.

Vinod Sewa failed to take revenge of his Central Excise Open title loss to Saurav Panja, going down again to the same opponent 4-6, 6-4, 2-6. Qualifier and promising Rupesh Roy also lost to Mohammed Yassar Arafat of Andhra Pradesh 6-3, 2-6, 4-6. Tenth seed Vasudev Reddy accounted for another local lad Dhrub Kumar 6-1, 7-5.

Bopanna raced to win the first set in little over 20 minutes as Gupta had no clue to his powerplay. However, the Delhi boy did come back strongly in the second set, returning some passing shots to catch the top seed off guard. However, Bopanna kept his cool in the last two games to win the set and the match.

Local girl Ragini Vimal put up a spirited fight against second seed Sonal D. Phadke before going down 3-6, 6-7 (5-7). Phadke will meet another Bengal rival, Soma Banerjee, a 6-1, 6-1 victor over Suniti Damani, in the next round.

Third seed Sai Jayalakshmi, meanwhile, whipped Uttar Pradesh’s Saima Khan 6-0, 6-0 while Tanya Ahuja got past Rupsa Roy 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 in a battle of two Bengal girls.

The day marked no upset and all main seeds in both categories moved into the next round.

RESULTS (Round I): Men’s singles — Rohan Bopanna bt Nipun Gupta 6-0, 7-5; Sunil K Sipaeya bt Amod Wakalkar 6-4, 6-0; Saurav Panja bt Vinod Kumar Sewa 6-4, 4-6, 6-2; Rohan Gajjar bt Kamala Kannan 6-4, 6-4; Vinod Sridhar bt Satirth Patnaik 6-1, 6-1; Rupesh Roy lost to Md. Yassar Arafat 6-3, 2-6, 4-6; Vishal Uppal bt Ajay Singh 6-4, 7-6(7-5); C.D. Ajay lost to Rishi Sridhar 4-6, 4-6; Manoj Mahadevan bt Ritesh Chitlangiya 6-3, 6-0; V. Uday Kumar Reddy bt Siddharth Verma 7-6 (7-5), 7-5; Abhishek Jagnani bt Ashutosh Singh 7-6 (7-5), 6-3; Shivang Mishra lost to Vijay Kannan 4-6, 2-6; Punna Vishal bt Vijayendra Laad 6-3, 6-4; Anant Sitaram bt Anand Radhakrishnan 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6); Vasudev Reddy bt Dhrub Kumar 6-1, 7-5; Nitin Kirtane bt Kedar Tembe 6-1, 6-2.

Women’s singles — Radhika Tulpule bt Pooja Mitra 6-0, 6-0; Priyanka Parekh bt Devanshi Rajgharia 6-1, 6-0; S. Punam Reddy lost to Ankita Bhambri 2-6, 1-6; S.K. Tara lost to Shruti Dhawan 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 6-7 (2-7); Sheetal Gautam bt Rohini Das 6-0, 6-0; Jahnavi Sunderajan bt Anandita Seksaria 6-0, 6-0; Rupsa Roy lost Tanya Ahuja 6-7 (3-7), 2-6; Liza Pereira bt Vandana Murali 6-1, 6-0; Radhika Mandke bt Swathika Kandaswamy 6-0, 6-0; Hina Valecha lost to Oindrila Majumdar 1-6, 2-6; Sharmistha Chaudhuri lost to Preethi Rao 2-6, 1-6; Sai Jayalakshmy bt Saima Khan 6-0, 6-0; Archana Venkatraman bt Reedhina Parekh 6-1, 6-2; Alpha Maleswari lost to Alice Joy 0-6, 1-6; Soma Banerjee zbt Suniti Damani 6-1, 6-1; Ragini Vimal lost to Sonal D. Phadke 3-6, 6-7 (5-7).


Calcutta, March 25: 
Mahesh Bhupathi and American Brian MacPhie had to work hard to win their first match in the Miami Masters Series event in Key Biscayne yesterday.

According to information received here, the seventh seeds saw off David Adams and Stephen Huss 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the Round II. The duo had got a bye in the first round.


Calcutta, March 25: 
Army XI of Delhi and Army Supply Corp (South) carved out contrasting wins in the Beighton Cup today.

While Army XI routed Calcutta Customs 5-1 at CC&FC, ASC laboured to a 1-0 win over SAI Training Centre at Mohun Bagan ground.

Army XI got off to a good start and Avtar Singh opened the floodgates in the 12th minute when he converted a penalty corner. Jasminder Singh made it 2-0 in the 22nd and Vengra made it 3-0 five minutes later.

The Army attacks continued even after the break and K. Horo scored two minutes into the second half and Avtar made it 5-0 in 61 minutes. G.P. Srivastava earned a consolation goal for the local team in the 64th.

In the other match, ASC rode Ajay Lakra’s 67-minute strike to beat the SAI team. Both teams got several chances, but failed to translate them into success.


Calcutta, March 25: 
East Bengal left today for Mumbai to play their National League ‘home’ match against HAL. Police had expressed their inability to provide security for Wednesday’s match scheduled here.


Calcutta, March 25: 
Every time Prakash Bhonsle visits the city, he walks away with more than his share of winners. The champion Bangalore jockey also makes sure that he punishes his mounts less to get the best out of them. It further helps save horses from undue handicapper’s penalties and stipendiary stewards’ wrath for excessive whipping, leave alone other hazards during the course of running. Each of his four winners, from the five March 20 rides, could have multiplied its margin of victory but Prakash always appeared to be in full control. He was seen using his hands and heels effectively for the desired results.

Alborada, Prakash’s only losing ride in the card, could not have done any better when he went down by three parts of a length to Braver Show who finished full of running in the last 150m of the race to win the Colorado Claro Handicap, the curtain-raiser. Defending a slender lead built up past the distance-post always looked to be a difficult task for the Daniel David-trainee as Prakash was hardly getting any response from the five-year-old from pushed and occasional tapping of the stick. The visiting jockey was, however, unstoppable after the defeat.

Prakash’s next ride, Argolis in the 2,000m Zara Shah Cup, could not have demonstrated his mettle in a better way than handing a humiliating defeat to Alamito. Heavily fancied after finishing a neck behind Touch of Silver, the winner of all local classics but the 2,000 Guineas, Alamito’s start-to-finish attempt was foiled by Prakash inside the last furlong. Cristopher Alford, who guided the favourite, had no reason to go full throttle thus tire the Bharath Singh-trainee. With Argolis in a vehement chase at a safe distance of three lengths, a breather nearing 600m could have done the favourite some good. More importantly because it was Amalito’s quick run since his brilliant Leger show, the previous week. He shortened strides so alarmingly that No Regrets had no difficulty getting past him in the final 150m.

The Grand Annual Handicap for juveniles was a mere formality for Prakash and his hot-favourite Assertive Dancer. A close second to stable-mate Smart Ruler in the ‘Million’ the Razeen-Roccobarocco daughter was rightly available at prohibited odds thus offering very little by way of wagering. Equally facile were Prakash’s next two winners — Crimson King and Soviet Ride. Each of the two winners just needed a gentle tap or two of the whalebone in the final 200m to return comfortable winners of their respective events. What was most interesting was that odds offered on all Prakash rides, barring the Grand Annual winner, started expanding to go beyond 2’s and even 3’s.


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