Sourav to Lara: I’m enjoying captaincy
Heat drives junior final under lights
In The City

Calcutta, May 20: 
Having denied the Mervyn Dillons another breakthrough in the (extended) final session on Day-II, Sourav Ganguly was quick to take the first steps towards the pavilion as soon as the portly David Shepherd signalled stumps.

The Indian captain had just begun walking when Brian Lara, who remains the presiding deity in the West Indies, joined him and affectionately put his left arm around the shoulders.

Simultaneously, Lara appeared to lob a query and a smiling Sourav was seen promptly responding.

As such bonhomie is hardly on view nowadays, those moments provided an excellent photo-op. In fact, the TV camera didn’t pan elsewhere till Sourav and Lara went beyond the boundary.

Later, when back at the team hotel early Monday (IST), Sourav laughed and told The Telegraph: “Lara’s a good friend… We were only catching up on a few things…”

Pressed, Sourav revealed Lara, himself a former captain, had asked whether he was “enjoying” the responsibility.

“I said, yes, I’m liking the job… I’m enjoying the captaincy… Having said that, I asked Lara whether he had enjoyed his stint. Perhaps anticipating that, Lara’s reply was electric-fast and he confessed he didn’t quite enjoy himself as captain. Thereafter, we spoke generally,” Sourav informed.

Sourav, of course, is in his 26th month as full-time captain and has taken to the on-going Test with a handsome 10-6 record (six draws). Lara, incidentally, was full-time captain from 1997-98 till 1999-2000 and won only six of his 18 Tests (10 losses, two draws).

[In the ODIs, Sourav has a 31-31 record, while the West Indies won 20 of the 44 matches (23 defeats, one abandonment) under Lara.]

While Sourav has always been candid in acknowledging he continues to learn, in the hot seat, he remarked “it’s for others to judge” just how much more mature he has become (as captain) during the on-going series.

“With a fortnight still to go for the tour to end, it’s difficult for me to say something specific… At this point in time, it’s for the others to judge…” Sourav maintained.

Except the very first West Indies innings of the series, in Georgetown, Sourav has looked in absolute control. Typically, he has been very passionate about the captaincy.

The batsman in Sourav, though, has certainly matured. He flopped in the only Indian innings in Georgetown but, since then, has often been in sublime touch. He hasn’t been wary of pulling and, more important, has rarely flirted with the out-of-reach deliveries.

“Have I been putting in longer hours at nets? Well, I’ve definitely been working hard… Yes, at times, I’ve even consciously played percentage cricket. While you don’t allow the situation to get the better of you, it’s important not to lose sight of the conditions,” Sourav pointed out.

As it was time for the customary pool-session at the hotel itself, Sourav signed off with: “It’s surely a long haul for us (at Sabina Park), but much cricket remains to be played…”


Calcutta, May 20: 
For the first time, the final of the Pepsi CAB Ambar Roy sub-junior tournament is set to be played under lights.

It was learnt on Monday that the CAB authorities want the match, on May 26, to be played in the evening to give the players some respite from the gruelling heat gripping the city.

Meanwhile, from Monday, the matches slated for the afternoon session have been rescheduled. Instead of 12:15, the authorities have decided on a 2.30 start. Further, it was assured that if needed, the lights would be put on even for the league matches.


Owing to an error on our part, it was reported in these columns Monday that one player in the Ambar Roy sub-junior tournament had to be put on a drip, while what he actually got was saline water. The error is regretted.


May 20: 

New twist to Debjit drama

The drama surrounding Debjit Ghosh’s transfer took another turn on Monday when he asked the Indian Football Association to cancel his inter-state signature for Mahindra United.

It has been learnt that the midfielder has written to the IFA saying his signature in favour of Mahindra United on the inter-state transfer form is illegal, because at the time of signing, he was playing for a Bangladeshi club. Therefore, to sign for any Indian club, even to stay on in Mohun Bagan, he first has to bring an International Transfer Certificate from Bangladesh.

In Debjit’s letter to the IFA, he has said that complications may arise as a result of these technicalities.

Meanwhile, Tollygunge Agragami goalkeeper Amit Singha Roy has handed over his token to Mohun Bagan while Bagan’s goalkeeper Prasanta Dora signed for Mohammedan Sporting on Monday.

Arjan Ali of Mohammedan Sporting has decided to stay on at the club.

EB interested in Ancheri

East Bengal have once again shown interest in Jo Paul Ancheri. It has been learnt that the Kerala footballer, who has not yet signed for any club, is ready to play in Calcutta if East Bengal’s terms and conditions suit him. Moreover, coach Subhas Bhowmick has given the go-ahead to signing Ancheri clearing apprehensions that he might not be amenable to the idea, especially after Ancheri’s disastrous performance last season when he was mostly unavailable for fitness reasons. However, what is certain is that Ancheri has made the mental preparations to break his partnership with Vijayan, his long time partner on and off the field on the way to making his first club level appearance sans Vijayan.

Age-group tennis

Prem Singh won the Britannia junior age-group tennis tournament when he beat Azan Piperno 6-4, 6-1. The boy’s under-14 title went to Karan Dhillon who beat Ranjan Prasad 6-0, 6-3 while Ragini Vimal whipped Sharmistha Chowdhury in the under-18 girl’s final 6-0, 6-1.

Sayanti scores again

Sayanti Nandy of Income Tax carried on with his goal-scoring spree when he netted five and led her team to a 7-0 win against Yubak Sangha.In another match, Naba Janma beat Bidyut Sporting Club 4-0 while Bally Gramanchal trounced Itika Memorial 3-0.

Paddlers’ tour

A senior and a junior table tennis team will tour China and Hungary in June. Both the teams will consist of six boys and six girls. The preparatory camps for the trips are on at Bangalore and Ajmer.

In the junior camp at Ajmer, there are four participants from Bengal. They are Niloy Basak, Susobhan Das, Salonkara Mahalanobish and Pallavi Kundu.

Meanwhile, the STAG-BTTA summer-coaching camp got off at the Khudiram Anushilan Kendra Monday. 120 boys and girls divided into 12 groups will be trained under the watchful eyes of 12 coaches.


SOCCER: Women’s League — Mohun Bagan vs Rampur MS (Mohun Bagan, 4 pm)

SOCCER: Five-a-side meet — Mohun Bagan vs Tollygunge Agragami (4 pm), East Bengal vs Md Sporting (5 pm), Customs vs Port Trust (6 pm), FCI vs Coal India (7 pm)

CRICKET: Pepsi CAB Ambar Roy sub-junior tournament. Matches at various grounds from 8 am.


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