Eighth Column/ Steve is Anjum’s ideal captain
Bhaichung is back in town, with the Cup
Jeev fourth after Round II
CESC overcome SAI 3-1
Mumbai Racing/ ‘Passion’ may take measure of ‘Shadows’
Mumbai Racing/ Big Blaze win helps Sait’s cause

 
 
EIGHTH COLUMN/ STEVE IS ANJUM’S IDEAL CAPTAIN 
 
 
BY LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Calcutta, April 26: 
Shanta Rangaswamy and Diana Eduljee remain the biggest icons for women’s cricket in India. Yet, it was under pretty 24-year-old Anjum Chopra that the first-ever Test win overseas (in South Africa) was registered last month.

The maiden series victory too.

Anjum, who reveres Steve Waugh as the role model captain, has actually gone one-up on Mohammed Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly — all of whom returned empty-handed from South Africa. “It’s team work and excellent team spirit which helped create history in Paarl,” Anjum, a left-handed bat and right-arm mediumpacer, told The Telegraph Friday.

Recovering from a hamstring injury, Anjum is here with the Air India team which has made the final of the L.P.Ganguly Memorial Meet, widely regarded as the equivalent of the Buchi Babu or the Moin-ud-Dowlah.

Indeed, she has been having an excellent run as captain, beginning with that 5-0 (debut) win in the ODIs against England, earlier this year.

“Captaincy has much to do with communication skills… One-to-ones are important and, really, everybody must have a common goal… Taking the many factors into account, Steve stands out,” Anjum remarked, distinctly unhappy that the one-day portfolio has been taken away from her ideal captain.

Elaborating, she said: “While it’s possibly easy to lead a team packed with stars, each star may well respond and behave differently. Man-management, therefore, does come into play…

“Moreover, as has been well-documented, Steve leads from the front and his body-language gives little away… It’s astonishing that somebody can consistently stay so cool… In my own small way, I’ve tried to emulate him…”

Anjum, in fact, revealed she was also a one-time admirer of the now-disgraced Hansie Cronje. “He made a mediocre team look so good… Even without superstars, South Africa pulled off superb victories.”

As for Sourav, Anjum merely had this comment: “He’s good…” That’s being nicely ‘diplomatic’ on the captain’s home turf.

   

 
 
BHAICHUNG IS BACK IN TOWN, WITH THE CUP 
 
 
BY SUJIT BHAR
 
Calcutta, April 26: 
Bhaichung Bhutia returned to the city Friday, with the Fifa World Cup. Well, a replica really, but so be it. Canned drum-rolls, a whiff of stage smoke and the glittering trophy appeared on the podium at a city hotel, and the jostling media descended on the Cup. That’s probably the closest Indians will ever get to it in a long, long time, if ever, but as Bhaichung planted kisses, it was a photo-op as good as any.

Gillette, official sponsors of the Japan-Korea World Cup, are making a promotion tour of the country with the Cup replica, and Bhaichung is their official ambassador for the event here. “While the original remains in a Zurich (Fifa headquarters) vault, this replica has been chosen for the tour,” explained Gillette India managing director Zubair Ahmed.

So much for the World Cup.

This being Calcutta, queries swung to Bhaichung. Is he returning? Has any Calcutta club made any offer? What is the Bury FC story? As far as immediate assignments are concerned, and money, Bhaichung is okay. There is this World Cup caper (also to Kochi and then Mumbai), followed by a World Cup anchoring for the new television channel Ten Sports. But, yes, East Bengal are into negotiations (“I am open to all clubs”), and though he is returning to England for a while, “the Bury chapter is closed, for good.”

He is tossing a Singapore league option in his head, but in the absence of an agent (he has parted with his old agent) progress has been hampered. Then this injury problem — “it is sad. I started this season well with Bury, made the first team, but then I got injured. By the time I had regained fitness Bury FC were not only bankrupt, but had slipped to the third division.” Quite a pot-pourri of problems, and few definite possibilities.

The irony is that Calcutta can get its star back only off the rebound. If opportunities abroad have really dried up, that is. And Bhaichung will have no ego problem if asked to prove his fitness, he said. Is he fit now? “Well, I have been out of practice for a couple of weeks….”

Fine, so what happened in Bury? “It was an experience to keep, whatever the final outcome of the experience,” he said. “Look, you expect me to perform exactly the way I did perform here, the star… Well, that’s not really fair. Their standard is higher than here, and I believe I did my best. In the Northern League, a league for second stringers, I played four matches and scored six goals. Overall, I believe I am a more mature person today for this experience.”

So was it the wrong team from the start? “No. Look, where Bury is, if you look around you see clubs like Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers, so kids today want to identify with that much glamour and no less. What chance does Bury have?”

And what about the administrator now? There is this bankruptcy problem that it is trying to get out of, and being so Asian friendly is any of those famed Indian-origin billionaires being roped in. “Not so far, maybe nobody told them, maybe it is a possibility.”

A life of conjectures, really. And he has developed a few ideas on management as well. “I would have liked to see more people with soccer in their hearts — maybe two representatives from each participating National Football League club — on the pro league committee. Need the top people in the federation to be from the soccer fraternity…”

No, Bhaichung Bhutia is politically correct enough to not say AIFF boss Priya Ranjan Das Munshi is politicising the sport and probably there is scope for democracy, after all.

When he returns to the country from England (mid-July is the target), he will have had made a decision. “Okay, I would want to meet the Jose Ramirez Barretos, and why not, it will be a good test of strength.” That was a bold statement, a pragmatic too.

Meanwhile, the World Cup went over the Salt Lake Stadium where Bhaichung rode an elephant and showed off his new trophy.

   

 
 
JEEV FOURTH AFTER ROUND II 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, April 26: 
Jeev Milkha Singh was tied for the fourth place at the halfway stage of the Tsuruya Open, the third event of the Japanese PGA Tour.

According to information reaching here, Jeevshot a two-under 69 on the opening day to be tied for the fifth place. On Day II, the Chandigarh based pro added a three-under 68 to aggregate five-under 137 after two rounds.

Jeev was four strokes off the leader, Hiroyuki Fujita, who shot rounds of 67 and 66 to tally nine-under 133. Kazumasa Sakaitani was second at seven-under 135, while American Dean Wilson was third at six-under 136.

The 30-year-old Indian ace could have finished as joint leader after the first day but for an unfortunate double bogey on the par-4 14th hole, where he missed the green in regulation and then three-putted.

However, he made up for the mistake with an eagle on the very next hole, the par-5 15th.

On Friday, Jeev’s putting was much better and he completed the round with just 26 putts. He made birdies on the fourth, sixth and eighth holes in his front nine. On the back nine, a birdie on the 10th was negated by a bogey on the 11th.

Atwal disappoints

Arjun Atwal, the only Indian and the fourth Asian to win a European PGA Tour event, began the 1.7 million-Euro Canarias Open de Espana in a disastrous fashion when he dropped five strokes in the last three holes and finished the opening day at six-over 78. That put him in tied 144th place and in distinct danger of missing the cut.

Atwal was one-over after 15 holes, but made double bogies on the 16th and 17th and closed with a bogey. David Gilford of England and Soren Hansen of Denmark led the tournament.

   

 
 
CESC OVERCOME SAI 3-1 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, April 26: 
CESC took another step closer to retaining the BHA League title when they emerged convincing 3-1 winners over a fighting SAI in a group A clash at the CC&FC ground Friday.

Cristopher Thomas, Kishore Kujur and Anil Ekka scored for CESC while Atal Tirkey pulled one back for SAI. With four matches to go, the CESC team is currently the league leaders with 17 points. SAI, however, remained on 11 points.

In a fast-paced affair, CESC had the upperhand for most of the times and a goal against the SAI team, which resorted to a wait-and-watch policy, at least in the beginning, appeared to be a matter of formality. The defending champions went ahead in the 12th minute when Thomas’ powerful strike from inside the D went in.

Stung by the reverse, the SAI boys raised a number of moves which resulted in a couple of penalty corners. The equaliser resulted from one such penalty corner when Tirkey took a powerful shot that beat a diving CESC custodian. The teams were tied at a goal each till the first session.

CESC once again moved into the lead seven minutes after the breather. Kujur’s powerful shot off a penalty corner beat the SAI custodian Satish Minz all ends up. Then in a span of ten minutes, CESC created a number of openings, but could not make full use of them.

However, CESC clinched the issue five minutes from time when Bhar dribbled past a couple of defenders to set the ball up for Ekka who made no mistake to slot it in.

   

 
 
MUMBAI RACING/ ‘PASSION’ MAY TAKE MEASURE OF ‘SHADOWS’ 
 
 
BY HONKY DORY
 
Mumbai, April 26: 
It is going to be an interesting contest for supremacy between Grand Passion and Whispering Shadows in the 1,600m J. D. & Peggy Banatwalla Trophy, the main event in the penultimate meeting of the Mumbai season on Saturday. However, in a toss-up it is the Imtiaz Sait-trained Grand Passion who may get the measure of the Shadows in the hands of C. Rajendra.

SELECTIONS

2.30 pm: Flasher 1. Las Mareas 2. Fluency 3.

3 pm: Grand Passion 1. Whispering Shadows 2. Charlie Parker 3.

3.30 pm: Admiration 1. Tagamet 2. Sakshi 3..

4 pm: Flames 1. High Handed 2. Ixora 3.

4.30 pm: Zante 1. Ocean Stream 2. Goin ‘N’ Style 3.

5 pm: Flying Scotsman 1. Crowning Moment 2.

5.30 pm: Saytarra 1. The Complete Man 2. Menorca 3.

6 pm: Moment of Pleasure 1. Romantic Indian 2. Habit 3.

6.30 pm: Divine Thoughst 1. Sharpman 2. Nothing Better 3.

Day’s Best Flames

Double: Flasher & Moment of Pleasure.

   

 
 
MUMBAI RACING/ BIG BLAZE WIN HELPS SAIT’S CAUSE 
 
 
BY OUR TURF CORRESPONDENT
 
Mumbai, Aparil 26: 
Big Blaze had the comfortable measure of the field in the S. Mody Trophy, the main event at the Mumbai races held on Friday. The victory of the Dark Nile-City Queen’s son thus further consolidated trainer Imtiaz Sait’s position at the top of the table. K. P. Appu partnered the winner.

Sait, however, went on to strengthen his position further when C. Rajendra coasted home with Discman in the 1,400m Solitaire Plate, a baby event. With winters season set for closure on Sunday, Sait with 33 winners to his credit now enjoys a 6 points cushion over Cooji Katrak.

results

(With inter-state dividends)

1. Sonehro Plate 1,600m: (6-8-1) Highland Mist (Appu) 1; Saphire Princess 2; Sun Charmer 3. Won by: 1/2; 1-1/2; (1-40.1). Tote: Win Rs 51; Place: 17; 14; 30; Quinella: 52; Tanala: 822. Fav:Saphire Princess (8).

2. Dancing Legend Plate 1,000m: (5-9-4) Courageous (Habbu) 1; Multi Millionaire 2; Super Cop 3. Not run: Mandara (7). Won by: 3-1/4; 1-1/4; (1-0.7). Tote: Win Rs 46; Place: 19; 19; 19; Quinella: 75; Tanala: 549. Fav: Multi Millionaire (9).

3. S. Mody Trophy 1,400m: (3-12-8) Big Blaze (Appu) 1; Prabhuti 2; Femme Fatale 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 1; (1-25.5). Tote: Win Rs 39; Place: 16; 24; 32; Quinella: 91; Tanala: 1,335. Fav: Big Blaze (3).

4. Cornish Flame Plate 1,000m: (1-5-7) Original (S. Shinde) 1; Tio Pepe 2; Fast One 3. Won by: 3; SH; (0-59.9). Tote: Win Rs 21; Place: 14; 20; 22; Quinella: 59; Tanala: 374. Fav: Original (1).

5. Solitaire Plate 1,400m: (2-8-4) Discman (Rajendra) 1; Enduring Image 2; Palentino 3. Won by: 4-1/4; 4-1/4; (1-26.3). Tote: Win Rs 30; Place: 13; 20; 19; Quinella: 131; Tanala: 504. Fav: Erina (9).

6. Suave Plate 1,800m: (8-4-7) Smart Ale (Chinoy) 1; Full Reason 2; Steve Tyler 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 6; (1-54.8). Tote: Win Rs 230; Place: 53; 13; 78; Quinella: 275; Tanala: 61,168. Fav: Full Reason (4).

Jackpot: Rs 59,662; (C) Rs 245.

Treble: (i) Rs 610; (ii) 1,316.

   
 

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