A spot of bother for rivals
‘At times, I wish I was the Sourav of 1996’
Gough ruled out of 2nd Test too
Eveready lead up 11 strokes
Santosh Trophy in Manipur
In The City
Calcutta Racing/ Allaying walks away with Pa Bear Cup
Mysore Racing/ Weapon Alpha wins in Mysore
Pune Racing/ Abbeydoran may strike

 
 
A SPOT OF BOTHER FOR RIVALS 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
London, July 24: 
Both Sourav Ganguly and Nasser Hussain engaged in something extraordinary during the last India-England face-off, at Lord’s. While Hussain aggressively pointed to the No. 3 on his shirt, after his maiden one-day hundred in the NatWest final, the passionate Sourav took off his after Mohammed Kaif and Zaheer Khan held nerve in that stunning finish.

Now, for the four-Test series (beginning Thursday) to be remembered as immortal, both captains will have to plot something out-of-the-ordinary. Only, this time, they should be looking to score strictly cricket and not personal points.

The absence of three, if not four, first XI players through injury does put England at quite a disadvantage. However, both Hussain and coach Duncan Fletcher have been speaking about character and, in recent years, England have actually shown plenty.

Indeed, despite being thrashed in the first Test (Mohali) last winter, England rallied to force India on the backfoot in Ahmedabad and Bangalore. Then, too, Hussain didn’t have the services of Andrew Caddick and Darren Gough. On the other hand, this time, the in-form Marcus Trescothick isn’t around — at least, he won’t be at Lord’s.

[Quick Alex Tudor is the fourth player on the list of injured.]

Yet, having frittered opportunities in both Zimbabwe and the West Indies, within 11 months, Sourav is keeping fingers crossed. “I don’t like predicting and, frankly, don’t like talking about chances,” he remarked Wednesday afternoon.

The captain added: “In any case, I believe names don’t matter. What counts is the individual’s form and how he responds to situations... As for my team, I hope the boys are now mentally tougher (after the West Indies). We’ve already done well in one part (ODIs) of this tour. Now, we’ve got to keep it up Thursday onwards.”

This Indian team definitely has the potential to emulate the 1971 (Ajit Wadekar) and 1986 (Kapil Dev) achievements. But, for that, the batsmen must consistently fire and the bowlers will have to rise above the script.

Hussain, of course, is aware of the damage the Indian batsmen can inflict. He acknowledged as much by conceding “Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, V.V.S. Laxman and the captain himself” can bat England out of any game. It will, by the way, be interesting to see Hussain and Ashley Giles’ tactics against Sachin.

While India’s USP remains its middle-order strength, Anil Kumble has been bowling beautifully and everybody in these parts has been more than impressed with left-armers Zaheer and Ashish Nehra. Should both quicks stay injury-free, Sourav’s job will become easy.

To speak of the XIs, India will open with the latest makeshift pair — Wasim Jaffer and Virender Sehwag. With there being no debate over the middle-order and Ajay Ratra, the only speculation is around the bowling. Kumble, Zaheer and Nehra are certainties and that one remaining slot could (given Wednesday’s conditions) go to Ajit Agarkar.

As of now, it appears Harbhajan Singh will miss the cut. Though Sanjay Bangar has been named in the XIII, The Telegraph understands this has “wholly” been done to “confuse” Hussain and Fletcher. A ‘tactical’ inclusion.

England, too, are undecided over one berth — whether to play Dominic Cork or Craig White. Cork is certainly the better bowler, while White is miles ahead as a bowler-batsman. Eventually, the balance-factor will determine who plays.

What is confirmed is that the exciting Simon Jones will get his maiden cap. The 23-year-old from Glamorgan (son of one-time England quick Jeff) has the reputation of being a tearaway, but as Hussain agreed, sheer pace alone doesn’t exactly do the trick nowadays.

Thursday won’t be memorable for Jones only. After all, senior pro Alec Stewart, in his 40th year, will become England’s most capped player. Stewart’s 119th appearance will push Graham Gooch to the No. 2 spot.

The first Test will be special for Sourav as well. It was at Lord’s he made his debut, back in 1996, and hasn’t quite looked back since. Extra sessions at nets and the gym is a pointer to the effort the captain is himself making. If anything, the NatWest success has whetted his appetite.

Well, nobody should be complaining.

Meanwhile, during a brief chat, curator Michael Hunt felt the captain winning the toss should “straightaway” bat. However, it may not be an easy decision should it be as overcast as Wednesday.

TEAMS

India: Wasim Jaffer, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, V.V.S. Laxman, Ajay Ratra, Anil Kumble, Ajit Agarkar/Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra.

England: Mark Butcher, Michael Vaughan, Nasser Hussain, Graham Thorpe, John Crawley, Alec Stewart, Andrew Flintoff, Dominic Cork/Craig White, Ashley Giles, Simon Jones and Matthew Hoggard.

Umpires: Dave Orchard, Russell Tiffin.

Match Referee: Mike Procter (standing-in for Clive Lloyd).

Hours of play (IST): 3.30-5.30 pm; 6.10-8.10 pm; 8.30-10.30 pm.

Harbhajan issue

The BCCI hasn’t yet taken a decision on Harbhajan’s request to play for Lancashire next summer. According to BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah, “nothing” will be decided till the contracts are worked out.

   

 
 
‘AT TIMES, I WISH I WAS THE SOURAV OF 1996’ 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
London, July 24: 
India’s last Test at Lord’s, in 1996, saw Sourav Ganguly author an excellent hundred on debut. This time, he is the India captain. On the eve of the latest

India-England Test, at Lord’s, Sourav spoke to The Telegraph exclusively about that 1996 tour.

Following are excerpts

On having returned to Lord’s, this time as the India captain

It did feel good (during the NatWest)... The atmosphere is quite different and, really, that special feeling should be there when I go for the toss Thursday.

On not having been a certainty for India’s last series in England

Well, I was expecting a recall. At the same time, I wouldn’t have been surprised had the selectors overlooked me.

On his thoughts after getting picked then, five years after his first call-up

I knew it would be a make-or-break trip... For me to have continued with cricket, I just had to do well on that England trip.

On whether he had lost hope, of making a comeback, after being dumped in 1991-92

I didn’t, because I had the benefit of age. After all, please remember I was only 19 when picked for that tour of Australia. I did have much to look forward to. In any case, I had the self-belief that I was good enough to make capital of the next opportunity.

On the years of simply playing Ranji Trophy and the other domestic tournaments

It was fine because I was still so young... I could continue to dream — and work towards — becoming a Test cricketer. Things would have been different, perhaps, had I not been 19 when both picked for the first time and dumped.

On the pressure factor on that 1996 tour

(Smiles) At this level, the pressure just doesn’t leave you... In fact, as the years go by, the pressure varies. First, is the pressure of getting a break and, then, of consolidating and meeting expectations.

On the Sourav of 1996

Yes, I was different then... I knew I would be dropped if I didn’t make the most of opportunities but, at the same time, because I didn’t know what international cricket was really all about, I could play freely. Even though I did get that one (WSC) game in Australia, in 1991-92, I was raw... The pressures, the benefits... Just didn’t think of them, just played freely.

On the lead-up to that Test debut

I remember getting 46 at No.3 in the third ODI (Old Trafford) and averaging 85 in the very next match (versus Essex)... I didn’t play the first Test, but top-scored with 64 in the second innings of the game against Derby, days before the Lord’s Test...That, for me, was a big innings on a difficult wicket. Every outing I got runs obviously helped my confidence. Of course, at the start of that tour, I knew even opportunities at the County-level would be a big thing for me.

On whether it helped that Navjyot Sidhu chose to return home and Sanjay Manjrekar got injured

Manjrekar’s injury opened the doors for Rahul (Dravid)... But, yes, Sidhu’s return probably did help. My own performances, too.

On who first told him he would be playing at Lord’s

The then cricket manager, Sandeep Patil.

On the night before his debut

Don’t remember doing anything special... Indeed, it took me a couple of Tests to realise what Test cricket is all about.

On whether he was ‘nervous’ at having to bat at No.3

No... I’ve always accepted responsibility. Saw that both as a challenge and a huge opportunity to learn.

On his thoughts as he took guard

(A trifle emotionally) I didn’t set a goal... Didn’t think of getting a fifty or a hundred... Today, it’s different... Now, I do tell myself I must get a hundred or whatever. Today, the pressures on the eve of a Test are different...Honestly, at times, I wish I can return to that 1996 mind-set... Just play freely instead of being weighed down by so many thoughts. Only, as things stand, that’s not possible... Six years on, I can’t return to being the Sourav of 1996.

On how long it took to settle down in innings No.1

Actually, it helped that England batted first... One full day in the field helped calm whatever nerves may have been there...

On whether he was conscious of approaching that landmark-hundred

Not really, but... Was I nervous (in the 90s)? I wasn’t then; nowadays, I am — only because of the expectations, mind you.

On his first thoughts on getting that hundred on debut

The happiness apart, I realised I was good enough to play Test cricket. That thought came instantly.

On how he looks back on that 131

That one innings alone probably gave me everything... Increased my confidence, convinced me I was good enough to be a Test cricketer.

On getting another hundred, in the very next Test (136, Trent Bridge)

I batted even more freely... Went for my shots...

On what he gained most from that 1996 tour

Confidence. Had I not done well, doubts would have surfaced... My own self-belief would surely have taken a beating.

On his advice to first-time ‘tourists’ in his team

Make the most of opportunities... An England tour, especially, can make a youngster’s career. But, yes, one must both bat and bowl tighter. The margin for error in these parts is that much less and, in any case, the importance of each situation must be appreciated.

Finally, on winning the NatWest final (at Lord’s) and taking off his shirt

(Smiles again) That victory proved a lot of things, didn’t it? As for that shirt-episode, well, things do happen in the heat and emotion of the moment... Sometimes I’m calm, at times I do get carried away.

   

 
 
GOUGH RULED OUT OF 2ND TEST TOO 
 
 
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
London, July 24: 
England’s No. 1 pace bowler Darren Gough has been ruled out of the second Test, too.

Gough, who aggravated his troubled right knee during a County game at the weekend, became unavailable for Test No. 1 (Lord’s) against India on Monday itself.

According to the ECB, Gough consulted a specialist in Sheffield Tuesday and has been advised “rest for a further two weeks.” The second Test, at Trent Bridge, is from August 8.

Gough, in fact, underwent a scan and the good thing, for him, is that the knee hasn’t suffered serious damage. In medical terms, he only has an inflammation. The specialist, though, will make a “re-assessment” in a fortnight.

The third Test, incidentally, begins August 22 — at Headingley.

   

 
 
EVEREADY LEAD UP 11 STROKES 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, July 24: 
J. Gohain of Eveready returned a consistent round of 78, which was to his handicap, in the second round of The Telegraph Merchants’ Cup held in association with Royal Sunderam at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club Wednesday.

Pre-event favourites Madhya Bharat’s Jaideep Chitlangia had another mediocre round of 87. This ensured an 11-stroke advantage for Eveready with two rounds to play. That also resulted in Madhya Bharat slipping to third spot from their overnight second. Eveready had moved into a comfortable lead in the first day itself. The second round proved to be a good consolidation round for the team.

The best gross score of the day came from Gaurav Ghosh of J. Thomas who carded a 74 and propelled his team into second place — five strokes ahead of the Madhya Bharat.

In Division II overnight leaders Bata, represented by Tino Dendana, had a 95, with Carritt Moran, Tinplate B and George Williamson B and C giving chase. The best two net scores of 65 and 66 came from A. Pal and G.P. Mahanta of the B and C teams of George Williamson Assam.

Division III, where scoring centuries is traditionally the order of the day, lived up to its reputation with Tata Tea F leading with a two-round total of 202. Tata Tea E are a stroke behind. Merino Exports took charge of The Telegraph Challenge Cup with Dipu Pal Chowdhry and Sheraz Ali both returning scores of plus-six.

This team tournament has three scores out of four counting for the team total. Others in contention include G.S. Atwal and Co., UMC, followed by Eagle Eye Security and Farinni Exports.

   

 
 
SANTOSH TROPHY IN MANIPUR 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, July 24: 
The Santosh Trophy for this season will be played in Manipur from October 17 to November 23. The AIFF has sent the dates to the IFA, though the groupings are yet to be made.

The previous edition of the meet was held in Mumbai, where Bengal fielded a weak team with the glamour clubs not releasing players because of the National League.

Meanwhile, the nursery league will finally start on August 17, the IFA authorities informed. Mohun Bagan will take part in the tournament under the coaching of Bidesh Basu and Shyamal Banerjee. However, East Bengal will not field a team for the tournament.

   

 
 
IN THE CITY 
 
 
 
 

Md. Sp. plan match involving Kaif

Mohammed Kaif will lead a Mohammedan Sporting team in an exhibition match in middle of October. The Mohammedan Sporting authorities will ask the CAB to give permission for the match in October. They want to play this match against a CAB XI, if the state association is co-operative enough.

The Mohammedan Sporting authorities have decided to felicitate the player after the ICC Champions Trophy in October. His father, Mohammed Tariq, had played for the club and Mohammean Sporting secretary Sultan Ahmed has requested him to bring Kaif in October for the felicitation as well as the match.

The club also will extend an offer to Mohammed Arif, the brother of Kaif, to play for Mohammedan Sporting in the coming season.

Bally Protiva player injured

Somenath Chakraborty of Bally Protiva was seriously injured after a collision with a Muslim Institute player at the Mohun Bagan ground Wednesday. There were no medical facilities at the ground and the officials called up at the Calcutta Referees Association. An ambulance was sent and then Chakraborty was taken to the hospital for treatment. The match ended goalless.

In another Group B match of the day, Manoharpukur Milan Samity beat Behala Youth 2-0, Arnab Sinha and Somenath Aich scoring for the winners.

In another match, Sporting Union edged out Calcutta Police by a solitary goal, Chiranjib Mukherjee scoring the winner. Taltola DS and Victoria were locked 1-1 , Soubhik Nath scoring for Taltola and Ratan Das equalising. Aryan and Anushilani also drew 1-1, Latifuddin scoring for Aryan and Sanjeeb Mondal for Anushilani.

ILSS win big

ILSS walloped KSC 11-1 on the first day of the South West Rotary waterpolo championship being held at the Kidderpore Swimming Club Wednesday. Pronob Das scored three while Babu Miya and Bablu Mondal netted one each. Chiranjit Bose scored the lone goal for KSC.

In another match, PYMA edged out CSC 6-5, P. Chowdhury scored three goals for the winners.

Santipur in last 4

Santipur Sporting Union of Nadia moved into the semi-finals of the 11th S.P. Roy memorial football tournament Wednesday. In the quarter-final, they overcame Prantick Club of Malda 2-0, Kuntal Biswas and Bikram sarkar being the scorers.    

 
 
CALCUTTA RACING/ ALLAYING WALKS AWAY WITH PA BEAR CUP 
 
 
BY STAR RACER
 
Calcutta, July 24: 
Displaying vast improvement, the Bharath Singh-trained mare Allaying walked away with the 1,400m Pa Bear Cup, the main attraction in Wednesday’s race-card. The Excalibur’s Lake-Amalita daughter was in full command of the field right from the word ‘go’ as jockey Cristopher Alford went about his task up-front to frustrate his six rivals. During the race, Cristopher had no occasion to use the aircush whip which, with effect from the day, was made mandatory for the city jockeys by the Turf Authorities of India. However, Bharath’s other favourite, Alamito in the Douetil Memorial Cup, went down meekly to Richard Alford’s Prince of Fashion as it was his first run after castration.

RESULTS

1. Douetil Memorial Cup 1,800m: (3-2-1) Prince of Fashion (I. Chisty) 1; Alamito (C. Alford) 2; Alkido (Rabani) 3. Won by: 1-1/4; Dist; (1-59.1). Tote: Win Rs 31; Quinella: 11; Shp: 56. Fav: Alamito (2). Winner trained by R. Alford.

2. Metallic Handicap 1,400m: (9-6-5-8) Wandering Warrior (I. Chisty) 1; Grand Lodge (Amil) 2; My Opinion (Gowli) 3; Rheinheart (Shanker) 4. Won by: Nk; 1-1/2; 3-3/4; (1-31.6). Tote: Win Rs 68; Place: 18; 24; 23; Quinella: 360; Shp: 33; Tanala: 2,826. Fav: My Opinion (5). Winner trained by Jaiswal.

3. Kingcraft Handicap 1,200m: (1-6-4-5) Black Mane (Bird) 1; Kyalami (I. Chisty) 2; Darth Vader (Rutherford) 3; Lady Shirley (Surjeet) 4. Won by: 3-1/2; 3/4; 1-3/4; (1-21.6). Tote: Win Rs 131; Place: 39; 20; Quinella: 136; Shp: 40; Tanala: 853. Fav: Darth Vader (4). Winner trained by D. Karki.

4. Cherry Handicap 1,100m: (1-3-7-6) Software (F. Khan) 1; Lively Project (Merchant) 2; Storm Centre (Surjeet) 3; Starina (Rutherford) 4. Won by: 2-3/4; 1/2; SH; (1-12.5). Tote: Win Rs 22; Place: 11; 15; 21; Quinella: 39; Shp: 49; Tanala: 218. Fav: Software (1). Winner trained by J. Stephens.

5. Pa Bear Cup 1,400m: (4-2-5-1) Allaying (C. Alford) 1; Gold Buck (Shanker) 2; Ispahan (Rutherford) 3; Lockers Park (Rabani) 4. Won by: 4-3/4; Hd; 1-1/4; (1-32.1). Tote: Win Rs 20; Place: 12; 24; 14; Quinella: 105; Shp: 44; Tanala: 246. Fav: Allaying (4). Winner trained by Bharath S.

6. Wheels Handicap 1,100m: (7-3-5-6) On The Bit (F. Khan) 1; Ashbury (Rabani) 2; Cool Quest (I. Chisty) 3; Star Music (Som S.) 4. Not run: Raaz (4). Won by: 4-3/4; Nk; 2-3/4; (1-12.6). Tote: Win Rs 33; Place: 18; 22; Quinella: 51; Shp: 36; Tanala: 307. Fav: On The Bit (7). Winner trained by J. Stephens.

Jackpot: Rs 72,270; (C) Rs 3,285.

Treble: (i) Rs 3,194; (ii) Rs 156.

   

 
 
MYSORE RACING/ WEAPON ALPHA WINS IN MYSORE 
 
 
FROM WILLIAM TELL
 
Mysore, July 24: 
Trained by Sardar Singh, Weapon Alpha won the Republican Plate on Wednesday here.

RESULTS

1. Loyal Prince Plate 1,600m: (4-2-6) Omni Presence (J. Paswan) 1; Daiimio 2; Zulia’s 3. Not run: Johnny Handsome (5). Won by: 1/2; 1/2; (1-46.1). Tote: Win Rs 177; Place: 47; 13; Forecast: 129; Quinella: 52; Tanala: 461 & 296. Fav: Daiimio (2).

2. Talakaveri Plate, Div-II 1,200m: (1-3-11) Tulsa Time (Imran K.) 1; Guide 2; Bracelete Queen 3. Won by: Dist; 2-3/4; (1-14.9). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 13; 42; 38; Forecast: 214; Quinella: 182; Tanala: 865 & 275. Fav: Tulsa Time (1).

3. Gundlupet Plate 1,600m: (7-9-6) Sirrgaa (Imran K.) 1; Galleon De Espania 2; Brave Risk 3. Won by: 1; 2; (1-45.1). Tote: Win Rs 217; Place 38; 79; 29; Forecast: 5,916; Quinella: 752; Tanala: 17,734 & 5,067. Fav: Brave Deed (2).

4. Republican Plate 1,600m: (1-6-7) Weapon Alpha (Shafiq) 1; Ace Beret 2; Grey Bull 3. Won by: 2; 3-1/4; (1-42.6). Tote: Win Rs 37; Place: 15; 27; 15; Forecast: 280; Quinella: 116; Tanala: 310 & 125. Fav: Weapon Alpha (1).

5. M. Ct. M. Chidambaram Chettyar Memorial Trophy 1,200m: (9-10-5) Clipper (Appu) 1; Fly Past 2; Financer 3. Won by: SH; 1/2; (1-16.1). Tote: Win Rs 62; Place: 20; 36; 17; Forecast: 399; Quinella: 189; Tanala: 966 & 259. Fav: Terrific Dancer (1).

6. Red Rufus Plate 1,100m: (6-4-1) Good Win (Mani) 1; Lost Horizon 2; Atomic Fusion 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 1-3/4; (1-9.8). Tote: Win Rs 42; Place: 16; 27; 71; Forecast: 154; Quinella: 116; Tanala: 4,118 & 1,986. Fav: Good Win (6).

7. Talakaveri Plate, Div-I 1,200m: (4-8-7) Niveditha (Michael) 1; Worldly Pick 2; Roman Flame 3. Not run: Beverly Babe (11). Won by: 4; 3-1/4; (1-17.3). Tote: Win Rs 72; Place: 24; 17; 15; Forecast: 362; Quinella: 87; Tanala: 387 & 94. Fav: Roman Flame (7).

Jackpot: Rs 68,100; (C) Rs 3,980.

Mini jackpot: Rs 3,352.

Treble: Rs 388.

   

 
 
PUNE RACING/ ABBEYDORAN MAY STRIKE 
 
 
BY HONKY DORY
 
Pune, July 24: 
Ridden by B. Prakash, Abbeydoran—a speedy customer —is fancied to win the 1,200m P. Hadow Trophy in Pune on Thursday. SELECTIONS

1.15 pm: Berliet 1. I’m Honoured 2. Smooth Operator 3.

1.45 pm: Forest Angel 1. Crotun 2. Bahuratna 3.

2.15 pm: Rapacious 1. Oriental Ace 2. Storming Home 3.

2.45 pm: Femme Fatale 1. Alustar 2. Josh King 3.

3.15 pm: Bruno 1. She’s A Star 2. Rainy Stream 3.

3.45 pm: X-Pac 1. Draculla 2. Kilmore Quay 3.

4.15 pm: Abbeydoran 1. Killarney 2. Bud Royale 3.

4.45 pm: Duke of Albany 1. Amazing Dream 2. Ice Touch 3.

5.15 pm: Habit 1. Anacita 2. Winning Melody 3.

5.45 pm: Heart Of Danger 1. Over The Ocean 2. Emblaze 3.

Day’s best: Forest Angel

Double: Rapacious & Bruno.

Wednesday’s track trials

Outer sand track

1,000m: Sencai (Saran) and Tiger Talk (Som S.) in 1-15s; (400m) 30s. Level. Kainat (Som S.) in 1-15s; (400m) 29s. Giorgio (Upadhya) in 1-18s; (400m) 30s.

800m: Khublei (Dalpat) in 1-0s; (400m) 28s. Bul Bul (Engineer) in 1-4s; (400m) 30s. Castle Moon (Bird) in 1-2s; (400m) 29s. Moon Quest (Yasin) and Simply Dashing (Gurang) in 59s; (400m) 29s. Former better.

400m: Harry The Horse (Rutherford) in 31s. Heaven’s Blessing (Shanker) in 31s. Actuate (Domingo) in 31s. Secret Blessing’s (Asghar) in 31s. Sariano (G. Singh) in 31s.

Sand track

800m: Declarationoflove (Rb) and Mahika’s Pet (Tamang) in 55s; (400m) 25s. Level. Silver Patriarch (Upadhya) in 58s; (400m) 28s. Red Trident (Tamang) in 1-1s; (400m) 29s.

600m: Midas Touch (R. Ahmed) and Primaticcio (Asghar) in 42s; (400m) 25s. Level. Brave Venture (Yasin) and Grecian Prince (Rb) in 42s; (400m) 25s. Level.

400m: April Ace (Yasin) in 29s. Moon Mission (Upadhya) in 30s. Lawyer’s Love (Tamang) in 29s.

   
 

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