Deep again set for double role
Kanitkar puts West on top
Indian favourites move ahead
Big victory for Port Trust

 
 
DEEP AGAIN SET FOR DOUBLE ROLE 
 
 
BY LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Calcutta, April 9: 
Deep Dasgupta hardly scored (6 and 19) in the tour-opener, versus Guyana, but he was blemishless behind the wickets and will feature in the XI for the opening Test.

The first of five Tests versus the West Indies gets underway at the Bourda Oval in Georgetown Thursday.

“Deep didn’t miss anything and was good behind the stumps… Now, he only has to sustain that level of performance. In any case, Deep has always been a hard worker,” remarked coach John Wright.

Contacted by The Telegraph in Georgetown this evening, Wright himself indirectly confirmed Deep will play his eighth Test on-the-trot.

Specifically, the coach said: “Had Deep not come off , we would probably have had to redraw plans. Now, we don’t have to… Makes it easier.”

Again enacting a double role, Deep will open with Shiv Sundar Das. In fact, the two have launched the Indian innings in each of the last six Tests.

Unless Harbhajan Singh is unfit, the XI which figured in the tour-opener will be retained. If a change is forced, Sarandeep Singh will replace Harbhajan.

According to Wright, Harbhajan (who hurt his right shoulder on Sunday) hasn’t suffered any “structural damage,” but does have an inflammation.

“That there’s no damage is excellent news but, really, we’ve got to wait and watch… (Physio) Andrew Leipus, specially, will have to keep working overtime,” Wright observed.

Assuming that Harbhajan — who had to undergo the MRI scan in Trinidad — actually is fit, the XI will comprise: Shiv Sundar, Deep, Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, V.V.S. Laxman, Sanjay Bangar, Anil Kumble, Jawagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan and the off-spinner himself.

The thinktank, one understands, is “very happy” with the balance.

[While confirming he will again bat at No. 3, an agency report has quoted Sourav as saying: “I just feel too tired waiting for my turn at No. 5…”]

Meanwhile, though there is speculation about the Bourda wicket having a reasonable amount of grass, Wright hardly saw any on his last trip there — three days ago. Incidentally, the tour-opener was played at one of the clubs.

“Of course, exactly how different the wicket is, will be known later today, when some of us again have a look,” Wright informed.

The Indians, by the way, had an off-day and will have their last pre-Test workout tomorrow.

   

 
 
KANITKAR PUTS WEST ON TOP 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, April 9: 
WEST ZONE 274/1

He has not been in the national reckoning since a disastrous tour of Australia in 1999-2000. Not one to lose heart, Hrishikesh Kanitkar has got down to prove his worth in the domestic scene.

This season has been one of immense success for the West Zone captain. A century against Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy was followed by two more tons in the one-day games.

The Duleep Trophy has also been productive. A 192 versus South in their previous game signalled his undiminished appetite for runs.

Today at the Eden Gardens, on a wicket not ideally suited to batting, he showed immense concentration and application in his unbeaten 154. The yet unbroken 241-run partnership he shared for the second wicket with Nilesh Modi put the visitors in good stead on the opening day.

“It is a dry wicket where there is spin and bounce. You need to concentrate every ball,” said Kanitkar later.

The innings did throw light on his temperament. At times, the bounce, turn and variation of Utpal Chatterjee did prove disturbing but Kanitkar survived through his bold approach.

He survived on a couple of occasions — once Mark Ingty dropped a sharp caught and bowled chance and then, when on 97, Parag Das at mid-wicket dropped a sitter off Utpal. But these didn’t dent his confidence.

The stifling heat and humidity failed to have any effect on his dour attitude. He opened up only after getting used to the slow pace of the wicket.

The 232-ball knock included 16 boundaries and two sixes — one each of Utpal and Sanjay Raul.

The early dismissal of Niranjan Godbole led to an extra cautious approach from Modi and Kanitkar. The run rate suffered as boundaries were rare and singles were the main source of survival.

Modi (88 batting off 285 balls, 8x4) was also not taking any undue risks. He knew survival would guarantee runs and that’s what the opener aimed for.

Utpal bowled a superb spell after lunch and was well supported by Sourashish Lahiri. The off-spinner also used the conditions to his advantage, deceiving the batsmen with his line. Both Kanitkar and Modi survived a few close calls during this period.

Laxmi Ratan Shukla was also impressive but Raul did not persist with him in spinner friendly conditions. But it defied logic not to use Utpal in longer spells.

It was, however, the slack fielding of East that led to their sordid show today. If letting off Kanitkar was not enough, Rashmi Ranjan Parida at forward short-leg dropped Modi off Sourashish.

West are not thinking of batting a second time in the match and it will prove an uphill task for East to restrict them below 450. For the hosts, batting will be even tougher as the pitch will keep deteriorating. With just three points required from this game to seal the title, West have made the right start.

   

 
 
INDIAN FAVOURITES MOVE AHEAD 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, April 9: 
Top Indian contenders have moved into the pre-quarter finals of the fourth Asian under-21 snooker championships, but the high point of the day was some brilliant play from China’s 15-year-old national champion Junhui Ding.

Ding, who has qualified from group G, set the green baize afire with a merciless demolition of United Arab Emirates’ Amin Md Amin Fikree. Ding won 88-7 68-24, 130-0, 118-0, with a highest break of 103 in the fourth frame. That was only part of a streak of breaks — 88 in the first, 49 in the second and 92 in the third — by the Chinese prodigy who is sure to turn pro soon, despite his early round exit from the Chinese Open. He had got a wild card for that pro meet.

After his classy show the youngster, who is the seventh seed and the top in his group ahead of Fikree, got a standing ovation from the spectators.

Meanwhile, top seed Manan Chandra and third seed Pankaj Advani, both of India, moved into the pre-quarter finals. Today Chandra overwhelmed Md Nasdrul K. Zakaria of Brunei 4-0, though with no notable breaks to show. The 16-year-old Advani, on the other hand, had to struggle to overcome Ali Md Ali J. Bufaroosha of the UAE 4-2 with no notable breaks and the best show being in the fourth frame which he clinched 73-12.

However India’s Sourav Kothari moved out of the fray despite a keen last-game fight. The 17-year-old Calcutta lad, son of former billiards world champion Manoj Kothari, today lost 0-4 to second seed Ruttanon Kematat of Thailand in his first match of the group and needed to notch up no less than a 4-1 win to retain a ticket to the pre-quarter finals.

Late evening, playing Habib Sabah Humood of Bahrain, Sourav wiped out a first frame loss (in which Humood had a break of 53), clinching the next three frames easily. In the fifth, though, Humood had a break of 47, and despite Sourav taking a 14-point lead at one point, the Indian bungled, putting the match out of his reach, losing 3-4.

In another interesting match, Pengfei Tian of China upset fifth seed Tommy Boon Chin Ang of Singapore 4-1. Tian had breaks of 42 in the first frame and 51 in the third frame. Two from each group will make the 16 in the pre-quarter finals, with the players being re-seeded according to their performance percentages. The knockouts start thereafter.

RESULTS: Gr. A: Manan Chandra (Ind) bt Md Nasdrul K. Zakaria (Bru) 81-1, 77-26, 63-1, 64-14;

Gr. B: Ruttanon Kematat (Tha) bt Sourav Kothari (Ind) 72-65, 52-43, 64-43, 64-21; Habib Sabah Humood (Bah) bt Sourav 72-23, 24-67, 32-93, 34-76, 72-41, 79-30, 64-9;

Gr. C: Pankaj Advani (Ind) bt Ali Md Ali J. Bufaroosha (UAE) 54-40, 46-49, 49-44, 73-12, 45-70, 59-48;

Gr. D: Sean Z.A. Ang (Sing) bt Keen ho Moh (Mal) 51-40, 48-16, 83-13, 58-51;

Gr. E: Pengfei Tian (Chn) bt Tommy Boon Chin Ang (Sing) 62-16, 28-64, 66-5, 47-39, 64-40;

Gr. F: Pramual Janthat (Tha) bt Abdul Aziz Othman (Bru) 82-13, 6022, 63-29, 65-18;

Gr. G: Junhui Ding (Chn) bt Amin Md Amin Fikree (UAE) 88-7 68-24, 130-0, 118-0;

Gr. H: Mun Kit Thean (Mal) bt Mubarak Al-Owais (Kuw) 50-56, 57-49, 78-30, 54-27, 67-52.

   

 
 
BIG VICTORY FOR PORT TRUST 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, April 9: 
Calcutta Port Trust today whipped Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) 8-0, while Eastern Railway overcame Food Corporation of India (FCI) 2-1 in their BHA league first division group A league matches here.

For Port the scorers were Mrinal Chakraborty (2), Yusuf Bengra, Junas Bara, Surajit Patra, Raja Robi Das, Mukti Prasad Toppo and Nelson Herenz. CLW could muster only nine players for the match, giving Port all the leeway.

P. Ekka and P. Soy were the scorers for Eastern Railway in the other match, while J. Kiro scored for FCI.

In group B West Bengal Police beat Muslim Institute 2-1, Gurupada Gope and Bijoy Subba scoring for the winners, while Anand Minz scored for Muslim Institute. In another match Punjab Sports Club beat Belgachia United 1-0, Pawan Paswan scoring.

   
 

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