BCCI willing, Harbhajan to play for Lancs
‘I hate to feel we can’t win’
Steve, into the Udyan of charity
Eveready rush to seven-stroke lead
In The City
Calcutta Races/ Bharath may call shots today
Track trials/ Adeline, Asprey impress
Mysore Races/ Crystal Moment for main event

London, July 23: 
Subject to the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI’s) approval, off-spinner Harbhajan Singh will turn out for Lancashire next summer. While the County has offered him a three-year contract, Harbhajan himself is keen on just one season.

“My mind is made up, but I’ll sign once the BCCI gives the green signal,” Harbhajan told The Telegraph in Southampton on Monday evening. The BCCI’s permission has already formally been sought.

Harbhajan, then, will be the second Indian (after captain Sourav Ganguly) in recent years to feature on the rolls of the Old Trafford-headquartered County. Of course, going back a few decades, Farokh Engineer was a regular with Lancashire.

According to Harbhajan, Essex and Kent were also interested, but he preferred being based in Manchester rather than Chelmsford or Canterbury. A representative of the County first approached Harbhajan in the West Indies, while the negotiations proper got underway during this on-going tour.

“Firstly, in recent times, quite a few Asians have played for Lancashire. So, obviously, Asians do feel comfortable... Then, unlike some of the other places in England, Manchester doesn’t get terribly cold... Aur, phir, wahan kafi Indians hain, to support ki kami nahin hogi,” Harbhajan explained.

Besides Sourav, Wasim Akram and Muttiah Muralidharan are the other Asians who have spent summers at Old Trafford.

From Harbhajan’s point of view, it’s significant that (as of now) no international commitments are scheduled between May and September next year. Provided the BCCI has no objections, Harbhajan could only miss a couple of County matches in April, when India are scheduled to host Pakistan/play a tri-series in Bangladesh.

“Look, everybody has told me that ek season County ka khelna chahiye... That it will be a tremendous learning experience... I’ll be happy if I can improve as a bowler and also become better with the bat,” Harbhajan remarked.

Lancashire’s current overseas pro is Australian Stuart Law. From next year, though, the Counties will revert to having two from overseas on their rolls.

Meanwhile, the Indians, who arrived from Southampton this morning, had a day off. However, they did have a very extensive workout in Southampton itself, on Monday, after thrashing Hampshire on a distinctly dubious wicket.


London, July 23: 
England coach Duncan Fletcher is presenting a bold front even though injuries to key players have forced him to constantly revise his India-specific plans for the Test series beginning Thursday.

“I hate to feel we can’t win... Sport is all about having self-belief and, so, we won’t be taking the field (at Lord’s) thinking we can’t beat India,” insisted Fletcher, during a tete-a-tete with select mediamen at the Finchley Cricket Club.

The latest injury, of course, concerns Darren Gough. Earlier, Andrew Caddick, Marcus Trescothick and Alex Tudor had become unavailable. Incidentally, Chris Silverwood has been put on “stand-by.”

“Injuries to some mean opportunities for others. Indeed, it’s up to the individuals to seize this opportunity,” Fletcher remarked.

“ Last winter, for example, we didn’t have Gough and Caddick for the Test series in India, yet, fought back splendidly after losing the first match. So...”

Asked whether it was essential for Gough to have played for Yorkshire over the weekend, when his right knee played up once again, Fletcher responded with a firm “yes.”

As he put it: “Gough did come through the NatWest series but, for him to be considered fit enough over five days, he simply had to play a first-class game...”

Fletcher, in fact, added: “Look, there’s no way that players can be ‘protected’. Surely, we can’t stop fielding drills because players run the risk of breaking a finger... Injuries are bound to happen and it’s a blessing that Gough didn’t break down on the first morning of the Test series.”

Just how soon Gough recovers should be known in a couple of days.

While speaking highly of the Indians’ batting, Fletcher also made the point about the bowling having been “disciplined” during the ODIs.

“Frankly, at the Test level, all teams are good... I know Jawagal Srinath isn’t around but, then, the present side is the best India could bring.”

Fletcher confirmed having seen the Lord’s wicket Monday and in his opinion it looked “flat.” He nodded when asked if Glamorgan’s Simon Jones would indeed make his debut.

Reward for Stewart

Meanwhile, according to The Telegraph’s sources, the ECB has decided to reward veteran Alec Stewart by offering him a contract for the rest of the season.

Till now, only 11 had been on what is termed the “central” contract system.

The timing is special. After all, come Thursday and Stewart will become England’s most capped Test cricketer — surpassing Graham Gooch’s 118 appearances.


Calcutta, July 23: 
From Udayan to Udyan (garden). Udyan will be the name of the new wing of Calcutta Foundation’s philanthropic venture for girls to which Steve Waugh will be attaching his star brand and status.

Udyan will be situated in districts near Calcutta.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, the name had been doing the rounds for some time within the organisation, but was finalised after getting the stamp of approval from the Australian Test captain.

The exact site for his new venture, a home for 200 girls with “depressed background” and whose parents have been leprosy victims, has not been finalised. However, Steve did visit a couple of possible institutions Tuesday.

The Philanthropic Society of the Orthodox Church in Nepalgunj (South 24 Parganas) and the Ramkrishna Vivekananda Mission at Rajgarhia House (South 24 Parganas) were on Steve’s appointment list for the day. Along with his event manager Robert Johsky, he looked into the viability and sustainability of the project, its infrastructure and future plans. They were accompanied by Ms Shamlu Dudeja, chairperson of the Calcutta Foundation.

Once the detailed project report is finalised, he is likely to approach various corporate houses — Steve is associated with MRF and is brand ambassador for AMP Sanmar — for sponsorship. But this will take a while to materialise.

The final stop-over for Steve before leaving for Chennai was Udayan. He mingled freely with the children and watched a cultural programme presented by the inmates.

Love and affection

A display of mutual love and affection has now become synonymous between Steve and the children of leprosy victims at this home at Barrackpore.

They waited since noon, in serpentine but disciplined queues, to welcome their cherished “Steve uncle” and when he did arrive around 2.30 pm, they greeted him with garlands and flower petals. He spent about two-and-a-half hours at Udayan, including a few ‘private’ moments with Lakhi Kumari, the daughter of a leprosy sufferer Steve is sponsoring.

“I have a daughter and always wanted the girls to enjoy the same opportunity as boys,” he said, explaining the reason behind his choice. “I’m lucky, everything fell into place because of which I’m here today. Sometimes in life you go in a direction, but don’t know why,” he said.

What, then, gives him more comfort — winning a Test or contributing to charity? “Winning a Test match in India is hard and that obviously gives you a bit of pleasure. There’s no easy answer but being involved in charity is a different satisfaction.

“Seeing the kids happy and grown up is a matter of enormous pleasure. People definitely are more important than the natural game,” he remarked.

He did not wish to comment on most Indian cricketers not getting involved in such philanthropic cause. “I can’t really say for others, but I always believe that people with a high profile should always help the ones who have been less fortunate,” Steve said.

There was a compliment for Sourav Ganguly and his men. “Sourav has been doing fine. He’s been enjoying the support of his teammates. The team has been playing better away from home and that is quite significant,” he said.

Steve emphasised his pledge before making his exit. “Since I’m committed to something like this, I’ll continue to offer support. In future, maybe when I’m not playing, I will be able to give more time.”


Calcutta, July 23: 
Eveready Industries roared into a seven-stroke first-day lead in the second The Telegraph Merchants’ Cup golf meet being held in association with Royal Sundaram.

Over the Royal Calcutta Golf Club course Tuesday, sunny despite rains the days before, the top pairing of Lakshman Singh and Sudip Chitlangia, along with single handicap golfer Vikram Singh teed off in the first group of the day.

With 75 teams from several corporate bodies taking part, this East India mercantile meet has gained in importance and strength and competition was tough. It is a meet where seasoned golfers vie with beginners, but enthusiasm is never at a premium.

Seven strokes adrift of Eveready are Madhya Bharat.

Lakshman Singh lived up to his top billing by returning an even par (71) round, while Sudip Chitlangia disappointed with a 78. Former national champion Alan Singh ballooned to a poor 82.

In division II top honours went to Bata India with Mayuk Roy returning a 79. Tata Tea – E, represented by Dr R. Sadique are in the lead in division III.

Challenge Cup

Young Varun Chabra set the course alight when he returned a round of four over nine, better than his handicap, to comfortably lead in The Telegraph Challenge Cup. Others who had good scores include S. Tantia of Salasar Services with P. S. Soni a late addition to the team of Bharti Mobitel and Angad Luthra of G. I. Security tied at third place at plus four. Out of 74 teams 69 play on the second day.    

July 23: 

Mohun Bagan confirm Bhaichung

Mohun Bagan on Tuesday confirmed Bhaichung Bhutia for the coming season. The Bagan authorities claimed that the India captain has already signed the necessary documents and formalities in regard to his donning the green-and-maroon jersey will be completed once he comes to the city.

He is expected to reach here on a two-day break from the Jamshedpur preparatory camp before the Indian squad leaves for the Vietnam tour.

However, Bhaichung himself could not be contacted in Jamshedpur. Bhaichung had started his career for East Bengal and moved to Bury FC in 1999. This will be his first stint with Bagan, though, he had played one exhibition match for the club last season. Meanwhile, Barreto, who will be his partner in Bagan, reportedly expressed happiness about Bhaichung’s inclusion.

Deep to lead

National team discard Deep Dasgupta will lead the CAB XI for the Karnataka State Cricket Association invitation tournament to be held from August 1 in Bangalore. State coach Woorkeri Raman will be the coach of this team. The 14-member team, which leaves station July 28,was announced by the state cricket body Tuesday..


Deep Dasgupta (capt), Aurijeet Bose, Amitabha Chakraborty, Subhradeep Ganguly, Arindam Das, Lakshmi Ratan Shukla, Sanjib Sanyal, Shabir Ali, Ranadev Bose, Shib Shankar Pal, Sourashish Lahiri, Anirban Chatterjee, Mayonko Chakraborty, Samrat Guha.

IFA League

BNR beat City AC 1-0 through a Suvrajit Mandi goal in their IFA League first division group A match at the Mohun Bagan ground Tuesday.

The day was dominated by drawn encounters. Bata SC and Peerless drew goalless at Rabindra Sarovar, West Bengal Police and Wari AC also ended scoreless at the East Bengal ground, while George Telegraph and Kalighat shared four goals. Jayanta Jana and Pratap Senapati scored for George, Subhasis Das and Kapil Ghosh scoring for their rivals.

Soccer meet

Holders Shantipur Sporting Club entered the quarter final of the S.P. Roy Trophy at the Shantipur Municipality Stadium Monday. In the pre-quarters, they beat South Dinajpur Club 2-0, according to delayed reports reaching here. Manik Debnath scored in the 14th and the 87th minutes.


Top clubs of Calcutta will take part in the South West Rotary waterpolo meet at the Kidderpore Swimming Club course from Wednesday to July 28.

The clubs in fray are Calcutta Sports Association, Paddapukur Young Men’s Association, Central Swimming Club, YMCA, Vidyasagar Swimming and Coaching Centre, Indian Life Saving Society, College Square Swimming Club and Kidderpore.

Taekwondo election

IPS S.I.S. Ahmed has been re-elected president of the Bengal Taekwondo Association here.

The following are the office-bearers: President: SIS Ahmed. Vice-presidents: Ms Renu Maheswari, Surajit Sanyal. Secretary: Gobind Jaiswal. Assistant secretaries: Prabin Ch. Pradhan, Binod Singh. Treasurer: C.R. Bhandari.


SOCCER: IFA League 1st div. Gr B — Aikya Sammelani vs Salkia Friends Association (Belghoria), Sporting Union vs Calcutta Police Club (EB), United Students’ Club vs Garalgacha (Howrah Stadium), Taltala DS vs Victoria SC (Md. Sp.), Behala Youth vs Monoharpukur Milan Samity (Tarun Sangha), Bally Protiva vs Muslim Institute (Bagan), Aryan vs Anushilani (SAP - I). Matches from 3:30 pm

GOLF: The Telegraph Merchants’ Cup: Day II tee-off at RCGC, 7:30 am.

WATERPOLO: South West Rotary meet over the Kidderpore Swimming Club course — ILSS vs KSC; PYMA vs CSC. First match from 3.30pm.


Calcutta, July 23: 
It may pay to follow trainer Bharath Singh in Wednesday’s race-card. The crafty trainer has a number of utility runners lined up in the six events framed for the afternoon. His best bets, however, appears to be Alamito in the Douetil Memorial Cup and Allaying in the day’s feature event, the Pa Bear Cup. The latter, a sparingly raced mare, had, during the winter season, displayed good turn of foot when she beat a good set of horses.

Read as: Horse nos, last four runs, horse name, trainer, jockey, weight & draw:

1st Race at 1.55 p.m.

Douetil Memorial Handicap 1,800m (Cl III;Cl IV; eligible Rt 22-72)
1 0040 Alkido [Bharath] S. Rabani 60.0 1
2 0013 Alamito [Bharath] C. Alford 59.5 2
3 ----0 Prince of Fashion [R. Alford] I. Chisty 49.0 3

1. Alamito (2) 2. Prince of Fashion (3)

Alamito: Fared well in classic company last winter. He is set to make his mark in handicap races, too. Prince of Fashion: May place.

2nd Race at 2.30 p.m.

Metallic Handicap 1,400m (Cl IV; 5-y-o & over Rt. 22-50) — Indian jockeys only
1 1121 Brave Show [Bharath] Md Islam 61.0 4
2 0000 Knoxville [Karki] Upadhya 58.0 2
3 2340 Mr Bombshell [Bharath] M. Maseyk 58.0 7
4 3120 Alborada [Rodrigues] Merchant 57.0 1
5 1240 My Opinion [Karki] R. Gowli 55.5 3
6 0000 Grand Lodge [Javed] Md Amil 53.5 6
7 2300 Flying Scot [Karki] G. Singh 53.0 8
8 0442 Rheinheart [Bath] S. Shanker 52.0 5
9 2424 Wandering Warrior [Jaiswal] I. Chisty 49.0 9

1. Brave Show (1) 2. Knoxville (2) 3. Mr. Bombshell (3)

Brave Show: A winner of three races from his last four starts. Has form on his side. Knoxville: Merits regard on his workouts. Mr. Bombshell: May upset.

3rd Race at 3.00 p.m.

Kingcraft Handicap 1,200m (Cl V, Rt. 00-28 — Indian jockeys only
1 2000 Black Mane [Karki] N. Bird 60.0 4
2 - - 00 Tohfa [Javed] Som S. 60.0 1
3 - 000 Adams Dream [Karki] Amjad K. 59.5 5
4 0201 Darth Vader [R. Alford] Rutherford 58.0 2
5 2310 Lady Shirley [Rodrigues] Surjeet S. 57.5 6
6 3330 Kyalami [R. Alford] I. Chisty 47.5 3

1. Darth Vader (4) 2. Kyalami (6) 3. Lady Shirley (5)

Darth Vader: Stable jockey’s choice. May beat the better handicapped Kyalami. Kyalami: Better at the weights. Do not ignore. Lady Shirley: May place.

4th Race at 3.30 p.m.

Cherry Handicap 1,100m (Cl IV; Rt. 22-50) — Indian jockeys only
1 0141 Software [Stephens] F. A. Khan 60.0 4
2 2000 Flamebird [Javed] Saran S. 59.0 6
3 0200 Lively Project [Rodrigues] Merchant 58.0 1
4 4423 Leading Conquest [Jaiswal] I. Chisty 57.5 7
5 0000 Montjeu Star [Rodrigues] Asghar 57.5 5
6 0004 Starina [R. Alford] Rutherford 56.5 2
7 0024 Storm Centre [Rodrigues] Surjeet S. 54.0 3

1.Lively Project (3) 2. Starina (6) 3. Storm Centre (7)

Lively Project: Enjoys handicap advantage and working well too. Starina: Speedy type. May upset rhythm of others. Storm Centre : May place.

5th Race at 4.00 p.m.

Pa Bear Cup 1,400m (Cl II; Rt.66-94)
1 0330 Lockers Park [Bharath] S. Rabani 60.0 6
2 0010 Gold Buck [Bath] S. Shanker 58.5 5
3 0400 Amber Dancer [Rodrigues] Merchant 57.0 4
4 - - 41 Allaying [Bharath] C. Alford 54.5 3
5 2043 Ispahan [Stephens] Rutherford 54.0 2
6 2320 Soviet Port [Rodrigues] Md Yacoob 53.0 7
7 1130 Discomatic [Rodrigues] Md Yasin 50.5 1

1. Allaying (4) 2. Ispahan (5) 3. Lockers Park (1)

Allaying: Sparingly raced. Working and looking well, too. Ispahan: May grab the opportunity if Allaying fails. Lockers Park: Horse for the course.

6th Race at 4.30 p.m.

Wheels Handicap 1,100m (Cl III; Rt. 44-72)
1 0000 Thunder Struck [Rodrigues] B. Gurang 60.5 1
2 2121 Zuhaak [Karki] Amjad K. 59.5 3
3 - - - 0 Ashbury [Bharath] S. Rabani 57.5 4
4 1004 Raaz [Karki] G. Singh 55.5 6
5 0241 Cool Quest [Jaiswal] I. Chisty 54.5 7
6 - - 01 Star Music [Javed] Som S. 51.5 5
7 0003 On The Bit [Stephens] F. A. Khan 49.5 2

1. Star Music (6) 2. Zuhaak (2) 3. Ashbury (3)

Star Music: Hails from Western India. May advertise her better class. Zuhaak: In-great heart, may produce her winter form. Ashbury: Upset, if any.

Day’s Best: Alamito

Double: Lively Project & Allaying

Calcutta, July 23: 
Adeline and Asprey worked well today morning.

Outer sand track

800m: Adeline (A. P. Singh) and Asprey (Upadhya) in 58s; (400m) 27s. They were level and they moved well.

600m: Castle Moon (Amjad) in 45s; (400m) 30s.

Sand track

800m: Mahika’s Pet (Brij S.) in 58s; (400m) 27s. Fit. Dancing Dreams (Brij S.) in 56s; (400m) 26s. Moved easy. Lawyer’s Love (Rb) in 1-2s; (400m) 29s. Crimson King (Rb) in 1-3s; (400m) 31s.

On Monday, outer sand track

600m: Storm Centre (Surjeet) in 45s; (400m) 29s. Easy.

400m: Raaz (Amjad) in 27s. Easy. Gold Buck (Shanker) in 31s.

Sand track

600m: Grand Lodge (Gowli) in 48s; (400m) 31s.

400m: Wandering Warrior (Koch) in 26s. A 3-y-o Forest Fair/ Gold Souk (Rb) in 25s.    

Mysore, July 23: 
Weapon Alpha and Crystal Moment may decide the outcome of the Republican Plate on Wednesday. However, Samar Singh’s ward Crystal Moment with Guruprasad in the saddle gets the nod.


2.15 pm: Selected Star 1. Daiimio 2. Sweeping Statement 3.
2.45 pm: Little Brave 1. Tulsa Time 2. Aghast 3.
3.15 pm: Brave Risk 1. Sunspirit 2. Brave Deed 3.
3.45 pm: Crystal Moment 1. Weapon Alpha 2. Grey Bull 3.
4.15 pm: Clipper 1. Terrific Dancer 2. Financer 3.
4.45 pm: Musselburgh 1. Auric 2. Good Win 3.
5.15 pm: Roman Flame 1. Beverly Babe 2. Vinu’s Gold 3.

Day’s Best: Little Brave

Double: Brave Risk & Clipper.

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