Team that blinks less will win
Latest trip to see new script
Draw puts India in dumps
Seriki brace in Md. Sp. victory
Jeev tied for 30th place
Kapil to shoot on Sourav’s roots
In The City
Calcutta Racing/ Excessive heat, humidity force meet cancellation
Calcutta Racing/ Assertive Dancer impresses
Bangalor e Racing/ Blue Hare has the edge

 
 
TEAM THAT BLINKS LESS WILL WIN 
 
 
BY SUNIL GAVASKAR
 
July 12: 
India added more misery to the Sri Lankans’ tour of England by defeating them with runs to spare in the last league game. The victory was essential for India to go into the finals with greater confidence, especially after their defeat by England a couple of days earlier. As in the past, the architect of the victory was Sachin Tendulkar who tuned himself up nicely with a century that helped post India to a total that would have broken Sri Lankan hearts. Unless their captain Jayasuriya got off to one of his blazing starts it was going to be too much and that’s how it turned out after the early dismissal of the Sri Lankan captain.

India will be pleased to see Virender Sehwag also scoring some runs for if he can stay at the wicket for 25 overs then India will be off to a terrific start. However Sehwag has given the impression that he is looking only at ten overs or so and that is simply not good enough unless of course it’s the final ten overs. Sourav Ganguly’s failures are a worrying factor for he is a top player at this format but somehow one feels that he is not entirely comfortable with Sehwag opening with him, for there is not the same sense of security that Tendulkar provides when they open together. Tendulkar’s coming down the order is working just as Rahul Dravid keeping wickets and with Yuvraj Singh adding his flair at number 6 it is looking like a formidable batting line-up.

Kumble’s injury opened the door for Harbhajan and how well he grasped his choice by snaring four wickets to stop Sri Lanka. Zaheer Khan has been the pick of the new-ball bowlers with his sheer competitiveness though it is a bit disappointing to see him go over the top with the verbals. Even Yuvraj should learn that verbals actually take away the concentration because we are not used to it. Against England, Zaheer who was bowling well, got into an unnecessary altercation with Trescothick and lost his line and was punished. It nullified the earlier good work he had done, so while it is fine to be competitive and aggressive, if it leads to abuse it is sure to take away the player’s focus from the job at hand.

Sri Lanka almost went away empty-handed but for that victory over England at Manchester and they will have to look long and hard at where their cricket is heading. Without Murali they do not seem to have an idea how to get wickets and all the promise of Zoysa and Dilhara Fernando will come to nought if they do not learn quickly how to bowl at this level. Vaas too was a disappointment and it was expected that he would take over the burden in Murali’s absence but

it was too much for him.

Even in the batting the youngsters did not put their hands up and Jayawardene continues to flatter only to deceive. I cannot think of a better organized young batsman in the world today than Jayawardene, but he throws his wicket away far too often. Perhaps it’s the impetuosity of youth but it is at this age when there is more strength and energy that tall scores are made. Sangakkara was impressive and he may well overtake Jayawardene, for his sheer competitiveness makes him that much harder to dislodge than the current vice-captain. Russell Arnold is another, whose temperament does not match his talent and Sri Lanka’s coach has a hard job ahead of him.

Defeat is not an easy pill to swallow in the sub-continent and either the captain or the coach gets the marching order after that, and Dav Whatmore better be prepared for that unless he has been smart enough to have a long-term contract. India go into the finals with a bit of worry about Sachin Tendulkar. Though the team management has said he is fit, Thursday’s strained hamstring may hamper the little champion in his energetic running between the wickets, but then he has the strokes to make up for that.

The side that blinks the least will be the one that will lift the Natwest Trophy.

   

 
 
LATEST TRIP TO SEE NEW SCRIPT 
 
 
BY LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Calcutta, July 12: 
Steve Waugh, who enjoys the status of a messiah among children of the leprosy-afflicted in these parts, is expected to make his third charity-related trip on July 22.

This latest visit, though, is set to be the shortest: Just a shade beyond 24 hours.

Steve’s first trip was in July 1998 and the next in April 2000. Incidentally, his first visit was as Australia’s one-day captain. Today, Steve is his country’s Test captain only.

According to Ms Shamlu Dudeja, who took the initiative in getting Steve involved with the children (specially daughters) of leprosy victims, the up-coming trip will not feature a fund-raiser.

On both previous visits, Steve had been a huge draw at the glittering fund-raisers hosted by Taj Bengal. The beneficiary, of course, was the Barrackpore-located Udayan.

“Frankly, nothing is absolutely confirmed… All I can really say is that no fund-raiser is planned and that Steve will possibly visit a few institutions engaged in charitable work,” Ms Dudeja told The Telegraph.

As was reported in these columns last Sunday, Steve’s next project — for daughters of the leprosy-afflicted — won’t be at Udayan. Owing to “space constraints,” then, Steve’s associates have been looking beyond that Barrackpore facility.

As of now, two “excellent” institutions have been informally shortlisted: The Philanthropic Society of the Orthodox Church in Nepalgunj (South 24 Parganas) and the Ramakrishna Vivekananda Mission at Rajgarhia House (North 24 Parganas).

It’s not clear whether Steve will himself visit both the Society and the Mission, or simply meet their representatives at a ‘neutral’ venue. What’s certain is that Steve and the eventual sponsors will have the final say on where the charitable venture should come up.

It’s going to be a tough call.

Unless there’s a rethink, the project will involve both a primary school and a residential wing for 200 girls whose parents are victims of leprosy.

It’s possible that this latest Steve venture will be christened Udyan (not Udayan) for Girls.

   

 
 
DRAW PUTS INDIA IN DUMPS 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, July 12: 
In a crunch match, the route to success is determined as much by how you perform within as by how you prepare without.

India first behaved like a bunch of drop-out students in comprehending such finer aspects of their most important battle against Tajikistan at Salt Lake Stadium Friday, then wasted chances like a profligate and in the end, meekly settled for a goalless truce— a verdict which is bound to have a heavy bearing on their fate in the AFC under-20 qualifiers.

In the day’s other match, Bhutan surprised Kyrgyzstan by holding them goalless.

The match may have been lost before the Indian colts took the field. As coach Islam Akhmedov put in a post-match meeting: “The boys looked afraid to play their natural game, as if they were too aware to let anything negative happen”.

“I told them to play along the ground. Instead they banked on long ball passes for success,” Akhmedov added.

Such lack of communication between the coach and his wards is certain to induce a sceptical outlook on any significant headway towards the objectives, even if it means that India have too much of a steep mountain to climb.

Despite appointment of a full-time coach for two years. Despite home advantages. Well, nobody is denying the fact that blame game is the other side of any miscarried adventure in Indian football.

Both India and Tajikistan are now on four points from two matches. India lead the points table by virtue of a better goal difference, but Tajikistan have the advantage of playing minnows Bhutan on their last match Sunday. India face Kyrgyzstan thereafter.

Only the champions of the group will make it to the final round to be played in Qatar in October.

It was rather individual brilliance than any teamwork which helped India come close to the target. Ashim Biswas’ exploration of the midfield with Malswamatluanga and Subhas Chakraborty manning the wings — produced a number of chances and the woodwork twice came to Tajikistan’s rescue.

But poor finishing coupled with an unscrupulous know-it-all attitude among the players spoiled the broth before it was served.

Tajikistan, on the other hand, got what they had wanted — a point. They hardly were adventurous and made a departure from their commitment to the goal. Akhmedov later described it as “a disappointing result”.

“No doubt, our task has become very difficult. But I’ll hope till the end,” he said. “We had many chances. Even our defence also played better today. But it seemed luck was not with us,” he lamented.

The coach also had a dig at the Turkmenistan referee Mamedov Mamed. “I won’t blame the referee, but I feel we didn t get the better deal on most occasions.

Teams

India: V.P. Satish Kumar; Amandeep Singh, Prasanna Jaggi, Manas Das, Bhuvan Joshi (Pradeep N.P., 53); Malswamatluanga, Bungo Singh, Subhas Chakraborty, Ashim Biswas (Birjab Machahary, 52), Palash Karmakar; Rahim Nabi.

Tajikistan: Khodjimurodov Umedjon; Toukhtassounov Daler, Nuridinov Iskandar, Sadikov Makhmadali (Borotov Murodali, 90), Djabarov Sharif, Sultanov Doamshed, Borotov Pakhmonali, Nosirov Naim, Ismoilov Jamshed, Khuseinov Shuhratdjon, Nasikhov Eradzh (Abdulloev Faridun, 76).

Referee: Mamedov Mamed (Turkmenistan).

   

 
 
SERIKI BRACE IN MD. SP. VICTORY 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, July 12: 
The brass band was there, black and white balloons dotted the stands and thousands gathered to see Mohammedan Sporting launch a revival mission. The result pleased about 4,000 in the gallery and nearly half that number that had gathered outside, but talking of gains, that was about it.

Abdulateef Seriki scored before and after FCI’s Pushpinder Dhoundial had struck in the 41st minute and the Nigerian could have added a couple more to his personal tally. FCI also came close on a couple of occasions in the second half.

Mohammed Habeeb’s team was weak in midfield and very few of their chances followed moves originating from that part of the black-and-white arsenal. Mohammedan Sporting managed so many chances mainly because FCI were far from frightening. They were far too insipid, to be fair.

Habeeb started with three forwards and as many midfielders and FCI tried to confront it by packing the midfield with five, doing away with a second striker. But so feeble was their challenge that Mohammedan Sporting kept reaching the danger zone without looking too threatening in the midfield build-ups.

The first goal came in the 32nd minute, from a glancing header by Seriki, following Khemtang Paite’s curling flag-kick from the right. The same combination should have yielded the goal much earlier, in the tenth minute, when all Seriki had to do was to put his boot to the ball with an open goal dangling in front.

FCI jerked into life when Dhoundial breached the off-side trap to Subhashish Bhowmick’s low through and sent a cool left-footer past goalkeeper Prasanta Dora, who was a trifle late in charging out. But FCI’s joy lasted just two minutes as Seriki caught hold of Paite’s low and clever through before beating the ‘keeper with a right-footer.

Habeeb said after that match that his team was perhaps a little unnerved by the pressure of performing amid such hoopla. He admitted that things didn’t look too good in midfield.

TEAMS

Mohammedan Sporting:Prasanta Dora; Reaz-ul Mustafa, Hussain Mustafi, Habeeb Adenkule, Biswanath Mondal; Khemtang Paite, Arunava Sarkar, Akbar Singh (Shakil Ahmed, 29, Amjad Ansari, 75); Abdulateef Seriki, Dipendu Biswas, Nazim-ul Haq (Insan Ali, 46).

FCI: Abhra Mondal; Dipendu Roy, Ashim Ganguly, Amit Dutta (Dipak Mahato, 46), Tapan Das; Satyajit Bose, Sheikh Hidayatullah, Ranvijay Singh, Subhashish Bhowmick (Sanjay Majhi, 60), Sanjib Pal (Ujjal Majhi, 65); Pushpinder Dhoundial.

Referee: Chittaranjan Das Majumdar.

Tolly win 1-0

Super Division debutant Kabijit Khotel struck in the 19th minute to help Tollygunge Agragami beat SAIL 1-0.

TEAMS

Tollygunge Agragami: Gopal Das; Kabijit Khotel, Sujit Neogi, Isiaka Awoyemi, Dipayan Majumdar; Mehtab Hussain, Sandip Das, Sujoy Dutta; Srikanta Dutta (Niladri Chakraborty, Soumen Mondal), Akim Abolanle.

SAIL: Sudip Sarkar; Kutubuddin Sepai, Amulya Mondal, Binod Mal, Rashmohan Mallick; Dipak Das, Chanchal Bhattacharya (Sandip Saha), Niladri Chakraborty, Mridul Haldar (Bijesh Kumar); Lawrence Enyilord, Dulal Patra (Mostakim Molla).

Referee: Goutam Sadhukhan.

   

 
 
JEEV TIED FOR 30TH PLACE 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, July 12: 
Jeev Milkha Singh returned a one-under 70 under trying conditions to tie for the 30th position after the opening round of The Barclays Scottish Open, a premier event on the European PGA Tour, which started at Loch Lomond, Friday.

A top-30 finish at this tournament exempts golfers from the final qualifying stages for the British Open.

   

 
 
KAPIL TO SHOOT ON SOURAV’S ROOTS 
 
 
BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, July 12: 
India’s only World Cup winning captain, Kapil Dev, arrived in the city late Friday for a Sony Max assignment.

Kapil, who is promoting the channel in the lead-up to next year’s World Cup in South Africa, is expected to feature in a shoot on current captain Sourav Ganguly’s “roots.”

“Frankly, I’m yet to be briefed on what exactly I will be doing… That will, of course, be done first thing in the morning,” Kapil told The Telegraph soon after checking into his hotel suite.

   

 
 
IN THE CITY 
 
 
 
 

Barreto for SA tour

The IFA has decided to put on hold Super Division action from July 24 to 31. The reason is that an IFA XI, comprising of players from the apex tier of the local league, will take part in two invitational exhibition matches in South Africa on July 26 and 28. Jose Ramirez Barreto is among the four foreigners named in the probables’ list of 30 named Friday. Mohammed Habeeb is the coach. Both matches will be played in Durban, against Managing Rangers. According to a senior IFA official, the club boasts a few South African World Cuppers. The IFA squad of 16 will be finalised on July 18, but the players will hardly be able to train together before and after that. Worse still, the Super Division, which normally spills beyond schedule, will be affected because of two matches with little bearing on the improvement of Indian football. THE PROBABLES Goalkeepers: Bivash Ghosh, Sandip Nandy, Sudip Sarkar, Tapan Karmakar. Defenders: Dulal Biswas, Kabijit Khotel, Lolendra Singh, Manas Das, Hussain Mustafi, Reaz-ul Mustafa, Rabi Karmakar, Subhashish Roy Chowdhury, Satish Bharti, Habib Adenkunle. Midfielders: Alvito D’Cunha, Sandip Das, Anit Ghosh, Mehtab Hussain, Sujoy Dutta, Malswamatluanga, Subhas Chakraborty, Saikat Mondal, Ranvijay Singh. Strikers: Akeem Abolanle, Syed Rahim Nabi, Abdulateef Seriki, Ashim Biswas, Sandip Ghosh, Jose Ramirez Barreto. Coach: Mohammed Habeeb.

Wari win 2-0

Eastern Coalfields were held 1-1 by CFC in a first division group A match of the Calcutta Football League Friday. Subhashish Banerjee scored for Coalfields and Lalan Puia for CFC. In another group A match, Wari beat City AC 2-0. The Howrah Union and Kalighat match ended goalless.

Gallery problem

Mohammedan Sporting have criticised the PWD for not carrying out repair works on time at the club gallery.

“They were supposed to get it ready before the start of Super Division. They didn’t, and almost half of the stands can’t be opened to the public,” said the club secretary after Friday’s Super Division match against FCI.

Women’s meet

Eight teams — East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Income Tax, Nabajanma, Bidyut Sporting, Barasat Jubak Sangha, Youth Footballers, Bally Gramanchal — will take part in the Rajiv Gandhi Memorial women’s football meet from Saturday.

Shamik best

Shamik Acharya will be named CAB’s best under-15 player of the year. It was also learnt that 12 of the 52 players appearing in the age-verification tests for the Bengal under-19 team have been disqualified.

Meanwhile, shortage of funds has forced East Bengal to slash their annual cricket budget by 20 per cent.

Bengal draw

Bengal held Bharat Petroleum 1-1 in the 80th All India Murugappa Gold Cup hockey meet in Chennai Friday. According to information received here, Anil Ekka scored for Bengal.

TODAY IN SPORT

FOOTBALL: Calcutta League — 1st div. group A: Kidderpore vs Customs (Bagan); Rajasthan vs Milan Bithee (Tarun Sangha); Bata vs Railways FC (Md. Sp). Group B: Aikya Sammilani vs Barisha (Rabindra Sarobar); Sporting Union vs Behala Youth (SAP-1); United Student vs Aryan Club (EB); Taltala DS vs Bally Protiva (Belghoria AC). Matches from 3.30 pm.    

 
 
CALCUTTA RACING/ EXCESSIVE HEAT, HUMIDITY FORCE MEET CANCELLATION 
 
 
BY STAR RACER
 
Calcutta, July 12: 
The monsoon season opener, on Friday, was cancelled by RCTC following request from a section of horse trainers. Unprecedented though, the cancellation, on the grounds of excessive heat and humidity, was welcomed by most of the city racing circles. A deputation led by trainers Bharath Singh, John Stephens and Farley Rodrigues, made a plea to Rajan Mehrotra, general manager (racing) in the early hours of the race-day morning and the club’s stewards put their stamp of approval. The original start of the season on July 5, it may be recalled, had met with a similar fate, though on different grounds.— the five-day syces’ stir on account of unpaid dearness allowance.

“It was a unanimous decision,” said trainer John Stephens. “Horses are being literally pushed to trot during the morning work outs. They are hardly keen on canters or fast work. One has to be kind towards animals not inhuman,” continued John. The concluding remark of the trainer would certainly win the heart of Maneka Gandhi, the animal activist,.but some in the profession refused to buy John’s argument.

“I wasn’t consulted on the issue. All of us know that the monsoon racing is all about heat, humidity and rains. In my leaving memory I haven’t heard of cancellation of a race meet on such grounds. Are they going to demand the cancellation of July 17 fixture if it does not rain until next Tuesday ?” asked the veteran trainer Richard Alford.

Trainer Javed Khan, on the other hand, was thankful to his counterparts for doing the needful. “It is a good decision. It is almost 10 days that we have had rains and the unbearable humid conditions are making horses go backwards. Nearly half of my horses are off their feed. The situation is alarmingly bad. I would welcome another cancellation if weather does not improve to our satisfaction,” said Javed.

Trainer Bharath Singh was equally logical in his answer. “Who doesn’t want money? Most of us have been without earnings for nearly four months. Mind it, I had a couple of winners lined-up in the day’s card,” said Bharath. “The heat and humidity is taking its toll. Five of my horses are running high temperature. I don’t want to kill them for money,” added Bharath.

Unhappy with the cancellation, some lesser trainers felt that their big brothers have literally arm-twisted club’s officials to submission. Threats of mass withdrawals from race-events had made the situation tricky for the club. However, RCTC was appreciative of trainers’ point of view. “Majority of trainers did not want to risk their wards because of the present weather conditions,” said Vineet Verma, ceo and secretary RCTC, who is presently in Bangalore to attend a Turf Authorities of India meeting.

   

 
 
CALCUTTA RACING/ ASSERTIVE DANCER IMPRESSES 
 
 
BY OUR TURF CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, July 12: 
Assertive Dancer and Pearl Dragon were impressive when the following horses were exercised on Friday morning:

Outer sand track

1,400m: Cupola (F. Khan) in 1-57s; (400m) 33s.

1,200m: Social Girl (Upadhya) and Star of Ring (R. Ahmed) in 1-39s; (400m) 31s. Former was a length better. Pehlvan (Rabani) and Adducer (C. Alford) in 1-39s; (400m) 33s. Former 2 ls better.

1,000m: Assertive Dancer (Yasin) and Pearl Dragon (B. Gurang) in 1-17s; (400m) 29s. Level. Allaying (C. Alford) in 1-18s; (400m) 30s. Handy.

800m: Alborada (Asghar) and Ballet Master (B. Gurang) in 57s; (400m) 29s. Former a length better. Arrayal (Rabani) and Musician (C. Alford) in 1-2s; (400m) 31s. Former far better. Schumacher (Asghar) and Bay Dragon (Gurang) in 1-2s; (400m) 29s. Former 6 ls better.

Sand track

1,000m: Tohfa (Som S.) in 1-20s; (400m) 30s.

600m: Sergeant Slipper (Yasin) in 43s; (400m) 28s.

   

 
 
BANGALOR E RACING/ BLUE HARE HAS THE EDGE 
 
 
FROM WILLIAM TELL
 
Bangalore, July 12: 
Bold Chieftan, Adamile, Blue Hare, Star Chieftan and Whatmore, all have credentials to land the 1,400m B. T. C. Anniversary Cup, Saturday’s main attraction. However, as the M. Mangalorekar-ward Blue Hare badly needed his last run, he may gallop to victory in the hands of Y. Srinath.

SELECTIONS

2 pm: Amazing Career 1. Inquisitive 2. Burt Lancaster 3.

2.30 pm: Royal Tarlair 1. Scarlet Runner 2. Dream Coat 3.

3 pm: Southern Goddess 1. Fast Trick 2. Raptures 3.

3.30 pm: Set Aside 1. Zidane 2. Pristine Beauty 3.

4 pm: Blue Hare 1. Adamile 2. Whatmore 3.

4.30 pm: Star Successor 1. Limitations 2. Mount Titlis 3.

5 pm: Name And Fame 1. Obligado 2. Sea Legend 3.

5.30 pm: Nautilus 1. Star Cavalier 2. Amazon Gold 3.

Day’s Best: Set Aside

Double: Star Successor & Name And Fame

   
 

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