Surprises unlikely in XV
Board project on fast track
Jet Airways thrash Blue Star 8-1
Calcutta Racing/ I’m up against a quality opposition: Rutherford
Udhagamandalam Racing/ My King may be hard to toss
Udhagamandalam Racing/ Great Occasion strikes

 
 
SURPRISES UNLIKELY IN XV 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Jaipur, May 11: 
No surprises are expected when the national selectors meet in Mumbai Wednesday to pick the 15-strong squad for the five ODIs in the West Indies. Originally, the selection was slated for Tuesday, the scheduled last day of the on-going Antigua Test.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, Virender Sehwag, Ajit Agarkar, Mohammed Kaif and one-day stalwart Yuvraj Singh “are certain” to head for the West Indies. As of now, Shiv Sundar Das, Wasim Jaffer, Sarandeep Singh, Deep Dasgupta and Tinu Yohannan “appear set” to leave for home right after the five-Test series ends on May 22.

The sixth player to return could be Sanjay Bangar unless, of course, Jawagal Srinath prefers to skip the ODIs in order to remain fresh for the very demanding tour of England (mid-June till September 10).

The one-day series begins in Kingston on May 25 and will end on June 2 (Port-of-Spain).

With Sarandeep being rushed as a ‘cover’ for Harbhajan Singh, who got injured on the eve of the first Test (Georgetown), the Test-squad is 17 strong. So, if four are sent for the ODIs, six must return to ensure the one-day squad doesn’t exceed 15.

Though there could be a rethink between now and Wednesday, the squad should have eight batsmen (captain Sourav Ganguly, vice-captain Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sehwag, Dinesh Mongia, V.V.S. Laxman, Yuvraj and Kaif), one wicketkeeper in Ajay Ratra, two spinners (Anil Kumble, Harbhajan) and four quicks (Agarkar, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra and Srinath — if available).

One understands coach John Wright will himself “run a check” on the veteran quick’s availability. Srinath, it may be recalled, chose to return home after last year’s Test series in Zimbabwe — thereby missing the tri-series. Also, he wasn’t available during the recent home (one-day) series against Zimbabwe.

Of the four “certain” to head for the West Indies, it will be a comeback only for top gun Sehwag, who didn’t feature in the last series (at home, versus Zimbabwe) owing to injury. The others — Agarkar, Kaif and Yuvraj — all had a role in India’s 3-2 victory.

Meanwhile, according to Board secretary Niranjan Shah, either a tele-conference between the captain and coach and the selectors (Chandu Borde, Madanlal, Shivlal Yadav, Ashok Malhotra and Sanjay Jagdale) will be arranged, or Sourav and Wright will fax their preference to the Board office.

Taking the time difference into account — the selectors’ meeting is scheduled for the afternoon — it’s quite likely that the fax-option will be exercised.

   

 
 
BOARD PROJECT ON FAST TRACK 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, May 11: 
The traditional weakness of Indian batsmen against short-pitched deliveries has made the BCCI sit up and think of measures to resolve this problem.

The BCCI president today announced the pitches at ten grounds across the country will be re-laid and the new strips will encourage pace and bounce. Apart from the main wicket, practice pitches and outfield at these venues will also be suitably upgraded, Jagmohan Dalmiya said.

Two venues from each of the five zones have been shortlisted and these centres are Delhi, Mohali (north), Chennai, Bangalore (south), Calcutta, Cuttack (east), Mumbai, Ahmedabad (west), Kanpur and Nagpur (central).

“We are determined to start work by the third week of May. We will try to make wickets with even bounce which help batsmen develop the ability to play strokes and enable bowlers extract life out of the tracks,” Dalmiya added. The Board wants to complete the project by October.

Dalmiya had a long meeting with members of the BCCI grounds committee, director of the New Zealand Sports Turf Institute Keith McAuliffe and heads of the ten state associations from where the venues have been chosen.

Talking about Eden Gardens, Dalmiya said all eight wickets at the ground and the outfield will be worked on. Work at the Eden is expected to start on May 27. “Once through with these ten centres, we will shift attention to other places.” He informed that requests have come from Visakhapattanam and Saurashtra and their cases will be considered.

Dalmiya added the BCCI will start a curatorship course at two levels with expertise from New Zealand. The first one will be for zonal co-ordinators and the other will deal with the groundsmen.

   

 
 
JET AIRWAYS THRASH BLUE STAR 8-1 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, May 11: 
Jet Airways trounced Blue Star 8-1 in the Telegraph Merchants’ Cup soccer tournament being held at the CCFC ground. In another match, PriceWaterhouse Coopers drubbed Indian Aluminnium 5-1.

Results

Selvel A 2 Tisco B 0, Bayview Technologies 1 Tata Tea 1; J Thomas 2 Apeejay Surrendra Group 2; Margos 2 Digital Think B 0; Usha Martin 3 Citi Corp 0; Confreight Shipping 2 KQ School Advantage 1; Madhya Bharat Papers 5 HTA 1; PriceWaterhouse Coopers 5 Indian Aluminium 1; Jet Airways 8 Blue Star 1; The Taj 0 Norinco 0; Bharat Petroleum 2 Bata India Limited 1; Tisco A 0 Transways 0, India Foils 6 ITC B 0; O&M 0 Selvel B 0; Transworld 6 Telegraph Sports 0; Airtel 0 ITC A 1; Assam CO 5 ICRA 1 ABN Amro 5 Seagrams 1; BDA 4 ICICI 0; Hyatt Regency 0 The Park 0; Volga (IFB Agro) 0 Britannia 0; Skytech Solutions 2 Ever Ready Industries 0; Sanjeevani Projects 3 Berger Paints 0; Sony India 0 McNally Bharat 0; Tata Consultancy Services 3 VGP Portfolos 1; HongKong Bank 2 Carrit Moran 2; IISCO 4 AcceliCim 1; HDFC 3 Telegraph Metro 2; Magma Leasing 5 Tata Power 0; Digital Think A 4 CA TCG Software 1.

   

 
 
CALCUTTA RACING/ I’M UP AGAINST A QUALITY OPPOSITION: RUTHERFORD 
 
 
BY STAR RACER
 
Calcutta, May 11: 
His young age apart, the city apprentice jockey Rutherford Alford also enjoys a significant strike-rate advantage over most of his 13 overseas counterparts invited by the Macau Jockey Club for the Apprentice Jockeys Invitation Cup and Bowl championship races on Sunday.

It is the Mauritius apprentice, of Indian origin, Sunil Bussunt who has the best strike rate of 26.2. The 20-year-old is a winner of 11 races from 42 career mounts against Rutherford’s record of 38 winners from 220 rides (17.3). Sunil’s enviable record has not, however, dampened spirits of Rutherford. “My rides are okay and I hope to do well,” said the champion city apprentice to The Telegraph on Saturday evening.

On strike rate, Rutherford is, however, far too ahead of the rest who matters. Takajuki Kato (20 years old), the ace apprentice from Japan has 39 winners to his credit from 748 rides, while Nathan Danster (19) of South Africa has an equally dismal record of 37 wins from 790 rides. The Australian champ Craig Newitt (17) is, however, good with 95 wins from 600 rides. He had won 45 races in his first season. Sit Shun-Keung Vincent (24) of Hong Kong is equally ordinary, but it is Michael Walker (18) who has earned respect of Rutherford. The champion from New Zealand is already winner of two apprentices titles in the year 2000. “He is far too experienced for his age,” said Rutherford. The Thailand apprentice Phatipham Namjoom (17) is the other one — 220 wins from 705 rides — who finds mention in Rutherford’s esteem. All said and done, he feels, the two events are going to be very open affair.He signed off saying: “Make no mistake, all apprentices are good. I’m up against a quality opposition and the contests are going to be close.”

Incidentally, other sources in Macau informed that Rutherford’s mount Deep Green in the Macau Apprentice Jockeys Invitation Bowl has been backed down from 10’s to 2-1 in the ‘grey market.’

   

 
 
UDHAGAMANDALAM RACING/ MY KING MAY BE HARD TO TOSS 
 
 
BY TITAN BOY
 
Udhagamandalam, May 11: 
A runaway winner of the Nilgiris Colts Stakes, My King may be hard to toss in the 1,600m South India Corporation Nilgiris Derby Stakes in Udhagamandalam on Sunday. Jacob Abraham partners the Always A Rainbow-Oriental Dancer colt from Robert Foley’s yard.

SELECTIONS

11 am: Fairy Gold 1. Perfect Parade 2. Tiger Groom 3.

11.30 am: Bold Aristocrat 1. Brave Charlie 2. Superuby 3.

12 noon: Minstrel Star 1. Rainbow Crest 2. Fairy Winter 3.

12.30 pm: Signal Tap 1. Supreme Glory 2. Super Value 3.

1 pm: My King 1. Northern Fleet 2. Noble Impulse 3.

1.40 pm: Imperial Scholar 1. Knighted 2. Stately Girl 3.

2.10 pm: Alminstar 1. Great Eastern 2. Bold Secret 3.

2.40 pm: Atlantis Prince 1. Capitulate 2. Great Pasha 3.

3.10 pm: Arctic Charmer 1. Holland Park 2. Direct Hit 3.

Day’s Best: My King

Double: Fairy Gold & Signal Tap

   

 
 
UDHAGAMANDALAM RACING/ GREAT OCCASION STRIKES 
 
 
BY OUR TURF CORRESPONDENT
 
Udhagamandalam, May 11: 
Robert Foley’s Great Occasion won the Madras Race Club Cup in Udhagamandalam on Saturday.

RESULTS

(With inter-state dividends)

1. Avalance Plate 1,200m: (2-3-4) De Quest (Abraham) 1; El Cid 2; Silent Fox 3. Won by: 4; 4; (1-20.2). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 15; 24; Quinella: 41; Tanala: 71. Fav: Resplendent Star (1).

2. Bedford Plate, Div-I 1,200m: (4-7-8) Octogonal (Abraham) 1; Glittering 2; Regal Charmer 3. Won by: 3-1/2; 2; (1-18.1). Tote: Win Rs 12; Place: 13; 25; 21; Quinella: 79; Tanala: 372. Fav: Octogonal (4).

3. Bedford Plate, Div-II 1,200m: (6-10-9) Supreme Challenger (Milan) 1; Runic Symbol 2; Casino Ace 3. Won by: 2; 2-1/2; (1-18). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 13; 22; 51; Quinella: 60; Tanala: 405. Fav: Bold Tycoon (7).

4. Madras Race Club Cup 1,200m: (7-6-9) Great Occasion (Murugan) 1; Royale Girl 2; Pearl of India 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 1-3/4; (1-18.3). Tote: Win Rs 13; Place: 11; 31; 21; Quinella: 109; Tanala: 321. Fav: Great Occasion (7).

5. Woodcote Plate 1,200m: (12-9-1) Majestic Style (Hesnain) 1; Sea Horse 2; Dicty Dancer 3. Won by: 1-1/4; Hd; (1-18). Tote: Win Rs 147; Place: 43; 35; 205; Quinella: 677; Tanala: 8,339. Fav: Star Pride (8).

6. Bannari Plate 1,200m: (5-11-3) Trojan Desert (Abraham) 1; Prophecy 2; Bourbon Dynasty 3. Won by: 4-1/4; 2-3/4; (1-19.9). Tote: Win Rs 12; Place: 14; 18; 98; Quinella: 63; Tan-ala: 1,445. Fav: Trojan Desert (5).

7. Nagarkoil Plate 1,400m: (10-3-8) The Royals (Ross) 1; Mountain Me-mory 2; Star Prosession 3. Won by: 2-1/2; 2-3/4; (1-30). Tote: Win Rs 13; Place: 12; 21; 78; Quinella: 53; Tanala: 1,460. Fav: The Royals (10).

8. Bedford Plate, Div-III 1,200m: (13-6-4) Regal Crest (Prem) 1; Balma 2; Dakshin Red 3. Won by: 5-1/2; 3-1/2; (1-17.4). Tote: Win Rs 13; Place: 10; 45; 28; Quinella: 230; Tan-ala: 1,007. Fav: Regal Crest (13).

9. Bedford Plate, Div-IV 1,200m: (9-6-8) Pretty Pebbles (Venkatesan) 1; Bruce Wilis 2; Global Affair 3. Not run: Royal Looks (12). Won by: 2; 1/2; (1-19.7). Tote: Win Rs 227; Place: 36; 22; 24; Quinella: 450; Tan-ala: 3,159. Fav: Amazing Crown (5).

Jackpot: Rs 14,500 (Carried over on May 16).

Treble: (i) Rs 133; (ii) Rs 1,812; (iii) Rs 3,575.

Footnote: From May 18 , RCTC has decided to start betting on Second Horse pool on all inter-venue and Calcutta races.

   
 

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