Looking for a tail that stings
Kaviguru Rally on Saturday
In the City
Paes loses early again

Jaipur, May 9: 
Specialist Wasim Jaffer’s inclusion as opener, in Bridgetown, reduced a major headache for the Indians. Now, the thinktank is losing sleep over fielding a lower order which can sting. It’s a perfectly understandable priority.

“Anil Kumble’s return, after two Tests, definitely has much to do with his experience as a leg-spinner. At the same time, the team will be banking on him to contribute with the bat. Essentially, then, Kumble will have a double-role in the fourth Test,” a well-placed source told The Telegraph Thursday.

The five-Test series against the West Indies is tied 1-1.

Speaking from the team hotel in Antigua, before the Indians left for their last workout ahead of the Test beginning Friday, the source added: “It’s this very lower order-factor which has brought Deep Dasgupta back into the frame in a big way, even though Ajay Ratra has been steady purely as a wicketkeeper.”

The thinktank’s concern is, after all, normal.

Excluding the first Test (Georgetown), where the only Indian innings remained incomplete, the last five collectively contributed as little as 23 and 8 in Port-of-Spain — it’s another matter that India still won that Test — and 18 and 65 in Bridgetown.

Incidentally, it was Zaheer Khan’s 46 which made that last effort look ‘handsome’. Delete those runs and…

Had circumstances been otherwise, Deep — dumped after the very first Test — wouldn’t have come into the picture. However, with Ratra scoring 0,2, 1 and 13 only, the thinktank is “toying” with the idea of reverting to the days-of-compromise and picking a batsman-wicketkeeper rather than a big-gloves’ specialist.

The decision, though, may be left as late as those final moments before the toss.

Kumble, of course, will be returning at Harbhajan Singh’s expense. Kumble and Sarandeep Singh played the first Test, but when Harbhajan became available and only one spinner was to be fielded in the second and third Tests, Kumble (and Sarandeep) lost out.

As it turned out, Harbhajan did nothing to justify his selection ahead specially of Kumble. By whatever yardstick, three wickets in each of the two Tests can’t be considered good enough. Additionally, with scores of 0, 0, 13 and 3, Harbhajan has been part of the lower order’s flop show.

Significantly, Kumble declined to comment on being just hours away from returning to big-time cricket. Speaking exclusively, he simply said: “I’m not the sort to speak on either being dropped or brought back… I only do my job…”

Given the passion with which Kumble (318 wickets in 69 Tests) plays, it shouldn’t surprise if he does the star-turn at the Recreation Ground.


Calcutta, May 9: 
A fleet of 21 cars and 20 motorcycles will be vying for top honours at the fifth Servo Kaviguru Rally on Saturday.

Sanjay Arya, Surjendu Ganguly, Prasanta Paul, Mitil Chakraborty will face each other in an interesting battle for the top positions, while Mukesh Thakkar will be pitted against Sutanu Roy, Rana Dey and others in the two-wheeler category. Leading lady competitors include Gulrukh Ganguly, Soma Sarkar and Saswati Nag Chowdhury.

The total prize money for the event is Rs 91,500 with the car getting the top spot assured of a purse of Rs 25, 000. The top motor-cyclist will bag Rs 12,500.

The rally, which will cover a total distance of 318 kilometres from the city to Santiniketan, will be flagged off by state sports minister Subhas Chakraborty. It will be run in time-speed-distance format and the drivers will have to negotiate some unsealed surfaces including forest tracks, boulder-strewn riverbeds and red-morram roads.

Indian Oil Corporation is the title sponsor in association with The Telegraph. The event, organised by Bengal Motor Sports Club, will be co-sponsored by West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation, while the National Insurance will be the official insurers.


May 9: 

Bagan’s woes

Mohun Bagan’s woes about forming their team for the forthcoming season continued to hit the hard rocks. The club secretary Anjan Mitra told reporters Thursday that the club authorities had met James Singh, Uday Konar, R.P. Singh and Ajoy Singh and asked them to play in a reduced budget.

However, the players made it clear that they will not accept a payment less than last year’s. Against the possibility of players’ exodus, the club secretary has called an executive committee meeting on Friday and has asked the players to be present in it.

Subhrajit best

Subhrajit Saha emerged the champion of HDCA Fide-rated chess meet held at the St Aloysius Orphanage and Day School in Howrah. Subhrajit garnered nine points from 11 games. The second and third positions were bagged by Sankar Roy and Laltu Chatterjee.

BCCI meeting

Keith McAulife, the head of the Turf Institute of New Zealand will be present in Saturday’s meeting of the BCCI pitch committee. BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya and secretary Niranjan Shah will also be present in the meeting.

Meanwhile, former CAB secretary Prabir Mukherjee has been included in the BCCI’s special pitch sub-committee that will look into the pitches of 10 Test playing centres of India. The team, led by Kasturirangan, will arrive on Friday to discuss the modalities of revamping the Eden pitch.

Women’s soccer

Rampur MS edged out Kasba Samannoy Samity by a solitary goal in the Howrah Stadium Thursday. The match between Youth Footballers and Bally Gramanchal ended goalless.

La Martiniere, St James’ win

La Martiniere for Boys beat Julien Day (Kalyani) 47-8 while St James’ downed Julien Day (Elgin) 60-34 in the N.S. Subaiya memorial basketball meet held at the YMCA Wellington branch Thursday. In the girls’ section, Ashoka Hall and Frank Anthony won their clashes.


CRICKET: P Sen Trophy final: East Bengal vs Eastern Railway (Eden Gardens, 10 am).

HOCKEY: BHA Group A: CESC vs Calcutta Customs (Mohun Bagan). Group B: WB Police SC vs Punjab SC (East Bengal), Jagrihi vs Behala SA (Md Sporting) Matches from 3:30 pm

SOCCER: East Bengal vs Income Tax (Howrah Stadium, 4 pm)

BOWLING: 23rd Merchants Cup final: LC Alloys vs Alloy Steel. Loser’s plate: Conrex Batteries vs Shah Brothers

WEIGHT LIFTING: State meet at Kalighat Byaya m Samity    

Calcutta, May 9: 
Leander Paes and John-Laffnie De Jager suffered their fourth first-round defeat in as many tournaments. According to information received here, the Indo-South African pair lost 4-6, 2-6 to fifth seeds Wayne Black and Kevin Ullyett at the Rome Masters Series event Wednesday evening.

Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi crossed the first hurdle, albeit after quite a struggle. They were taken to the super tie-break by South Africans Christian Barnard and Chris Haggard before coming through 6-4, 4-6 (10-6).

Bhupathi and Mirnyi will next come up against Argentines Lucas Arnold and Gaston Etlis.


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