Zaheer only bowler to be offered rest option
Hussain-Fletcher company grows on self-belief
Patience shown with coach, players refreshing
Boorish behaviour mars Bagan felicitation
Akash snatches lead
Sans sponsors India draw a blank
Rs 1.83 lakh for Monsoon Rally
In The City
Calcutta Racing/ Prince of Fashion set to score again
Mysore Racing/ Bank Balance fancied

London, July 30: 
Only Zaheer Khan, among the Indian bowlers, will be given the option of a break during the four-day game against Worcestershire beginning Wednesday (not Thursday) at New Road.

“The others need to bowl,” was captain Sourav Ganguly’s cryptic remark at the team hotel here Tuesday. Allowing England to recover from 78 for three to score as many as 487 in the first innings, after all, contributed significantly to the huge defeat at Lord’s.

The Indians, of course, will leave for their next destination late in the day. However, coach John Wright, who underwent dental surgery in the morning, could delay his departure. Given India’s 170-run loss in the first Test, the surgery must have been that much more painful.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Sourav added: “While we haven’t decided on the XI, Rahul Dravid and V.V.S.Laxman will probably have the option of resting. I’ll be playing and so, too, Sachin Tendulkar.”

The four-day match is India’s only game before the second Test, in Trent Bridge fromAugust 8.

Meanwhile, two players of Indian origin — Vikram Solanki and Anurag Singh — are set to take the field at New Road. While the Kanpur-born Anurag opens, Solanki (who has played ODIs for England) is a middle-order bat. The latter’s roots are in Udaipur.

Though placed in Division II of the County Championship, the Graeme Hick-led Worcestershire are currently ranked No.2. As three teams will be promoted, the County has an excellent chance of making it to the elite division.

Worcestershire, however, will be without their overseas pro. First-choice Andy Bichel, who has been called for national duty by the Australian selectors, left Monday. His replacement, compatriot Shane Lee, is only expected Friday. Incidentally, Tom Moody is the County’s coach.

The Indian XI is unclear, but Worcestershire’s line-up should be: Anurag, Philip Weston, Hick, Ben Smith, Solanki, Gareth Batty, David Leatherdale, Steven Rhodes, Alamgir Sheriyar, Matt Mason and Matt Rawnsley.


London, July 30: 
“I hate to feel we can’t win... Sport is all about self-belief and, so, we won’t be taking the field thinking we can’t beat India.” That was England coach Duncan Fletcher some 48 hours before the Lord’s Test.

Riding that self-belief, England did win by a crushing margin of 170 runs. In fact, the Test (first in a series of four) was effectively over inside three days. More credit, then, to captain Nasser Hussain and Fletcher.

Of course, injuries to top guns Marcus Trescothick, Darren Gough and Andrew Caddick prompted Fletcher to talk about self-belief. Yet, the Hussain-Fletcher partnership (forged after the 1999 World Cup) has grown on exactly that.

In the lead-up to Lord’s, for instance, the Indians were delighted Trescothick and Gough, in particular, wouldn’t be around. That it would be easy to wrest the initiative early enough. That it would actually be an Indian Summer.

As it turned out, just about every England player — including debutant Simon Jones —delivered.

Clearly, responsibility is also a key element in the present regime’s approach. As former captain Mike Gatting told The Telegraph just the other day, whatever comes off the drawing board is faithfully implemented. The driving force definitely is discipline.

Speaking of individuals, Matthew Hoggard continues to be an excellent example of happily accepting the lead role — he did so in India last winter, too — and even going beyond the script. The Goughs keep getting Media attention, but the Hoggards deserve their place in the sun.

At Monday’s post-match Media conference, Hussain drew attention to criticism about Hoggard’s so-called lack of form, in the build-up to the series, and suggested nothing could have been more misplaced.

“It’s easy captaining once the bowlers bowl to a plan, bowl to the field set,” is how Hussain put things in perspective, soon after the Lord’s win (and the MoM award). By his own admission, significantly, the plans aren’t “rigid.”

Again, as Gatting was quick to point out, Hussain has “alternatives” ready. That, truly, is the mark of an outstanding captain. “I only wish to keep things going in the right direction,” is what the modest Hussain himself has to say about it.

Sachin Tendulkar, predictably, is England’s No.1 target. While most assumed Ashley Giles would make life uncomfortable, the Andrew Flintoff-Jones plan was in operation at Lord’s. First, the maestro got no width. Secondly, with a packed leg-side field, he constantly had to protect his rib-cage.

No law was breached, but the tactic was a statement. Now, Sachin must produce a counter.

Ironically, it’s No.8 Ajit Agarkar who frustrated Hussain. Indeed, relief was the overriding emotion at last man Ashish Nehra’s dismissal, Monday. By the second Test (Trent Bridge, from August 8), though, Hussain and Fletcher will have worked overtime to neutralise Agarkar.

Incidentally, talking exclusively Tuesday morning, Agarkar emphasised he “always” puts his best foot forward. “Was I more determined simply because I hadn’t left an impression with the ball? No, I wouldn’t quite agree... I always give that hundred per cent. It’s another matter things may not work out.”

For now, that point is accepted.

Thorpe’s replacement

Meanwhile, there is speculation that Kent’s young Robert Key could take the berth vacated by the troubled Graham Thorpe, who has opted for yet another break. Warwickshire’s Ian Bell is also being spoken about.


July 30: 
Close on the heels of the World Cup and far away from public attention, the Indian junior football team has given us something to think about. The team’s progress into the final round of the Asian under-20 championship is not an achievement. Rather, it is an affirmation of a concept that is not prevalent in our football.

Here was a pool of players training under a coach for a reasonable amount of time. The coach picked his lot and again spent sufficient time with them. The result is smooth passage to the final round of 12 from which either three or four will make it to the under-21 World Cup.

At this stage, it seems that will be asking for too much. The matches will be played in Qatar, not Salt Lake, and the Indians are just not big enough to seriously challenge the ones they will meet there.

The real credit of our performance must go to the team’s Uzbek coach Islam Akhmedov and the emphasis he put on fitness. The team also showed early signs of tactical maturity.

The boys were right up to it and reasonably comfortable with the ball. Bhutan provided a soft opener, but the Tajik and Kyrgyz players were bigger than our boys. A factor that worked strongly in our favour was fitness. The Central Asian countries, off-shoots of the erstwhile USSR, are not the most affluent of nations and the state of their football suggests they are hard-pressed to keep the ball rolling.

Thus, against such an opposition, two wins and a draw is certainly far from flattering. Yet, what looked good in the whole exercise was the discipline and the administrative wisdom to let the unit work together over a substantial period. This focus and patience to wait for success after undertaking a project does not often come by in our football.

Now that a similar programme has been planned for the senior team as well, we must not expect instant success. It might happen in a handful of other sports, and even though a football match normally lasts only 90 minutes, there is nothing instant about it.

Again, a foreign coach has again been hired. This is commendable for a national federation not synonymous with efficiency. If the coffers permit, separate foreign professionals for the senior and junior teams should be engaged. Having done that, we must brief them well about what we want and then, let them work in liberty.

Media reports suggest the Asian Games have been marked as the final test, but having started barely a month ago, it’s imprudent to expect dramatic progress by end-September. The team will get a few friendly internationals well before the Asian Games and that is good news.

After being starved for a long time, we have had some international exposure in the last couple of years and this again, shows that some effort is being made from some corner of the administration.

India’s pre-World Cup campaign last year was encouraging, but things went quiet after that. To succeed at a higher level continuity is essential and this is one of the secrets to success we lack. We must not let this happen again.

A new coach has taken charge and after finalising the give-and-take details of his deal, he should be given a fair run. His job is difficult. The level of fitness needed to do well in our club football is several notches below even the Asian standard.

The coach should at least get two camps spanning over weeks each and some practice matches against superior teams in between to assess where we stand and what we must do.

What we must first realise is that success will not come overnight and here the role of the administration becomes important. The officials concerned must take stock of things from time to time and see how our players are responding to the new regimen.

If they are found in better shape and if they show signs that they are willing to maintain the rhythm, the results will follow. For now, even a repeat of the pre-Olympic performance will count as quite satisfactory.


Calcutta, July 30: 
The aura around the Mohun Bagan name fades by the day. It was dealt another blow on the second Mohun Bagan Day Tuesday when current coach Subrata Bhattacharya and centenary year captain Amit Bhadra engaged an ugly squabble at the club-tent.

With the club dressed up to celebrate the occasion Bhadra, an invitee of club-president Swapan Sadhan Bose, was asked to leave the premises by Bhattacharya. Bhadra had presumably made some adverse remarks in the media. It almost resulted in fisticuffs, when another former Sishir Ghosh intervened.

Later Bhadra said it was the “lack of somebody’s culture” that such an incident came to pass. Bhattacharya said: “He (Bhadra) has made unparliamentary remarks about a club with which I have been involved all my life. So, I’m perfectly justified in my act.”

Meanwhile, former Indian captain Samar ‘Badru’ Banerjee and Sahu Mewalal were interestingly reinstated as members. The duo had resigned after the club had “played a fixed match” in 1997-98. “It is the love for the club that has brought me back,” Banerjee said.

In bad taste

Another incident that really left a bad taste in the mouth was when the players of the National Football League winning team were felicitated. The poverty of the mind of the current official disposition came out starkly when they left out James Singh, R. P. Singh and Abdulateef Seriki from the honours, just because they had left the team. If this wasn’t childish, it was at least boorish.

The captain of the team Debjit Ghosh could not be present because he is away on national duty. He also could not receive the Jarnail Singh award for the best local footballer of the season. Jose Ramirez Barreto got the Dhiren Dey Award for the best footballer for the last season.

The football captain of India in the 1948 Olympics in 1948, T. Aao, was posthumously given the Mohun Bagan Ratna award. His daughter, N. Tally received the award on his behalf.


Jamshedpur, July 30: 
Local lad Akash Kusum of Motilal Nehru Public School scored two crucial points Tuesday to replace overnight leader Priya Ratnam of Saran Central School, Chhapra after the ninth round of the The Telegraph Schools’ Chess Championship’s city leg.

Kusum defeated Minki Sinha (Arya Kanya High School, Patna) in the game of Petroff Defence with black. Kusum just rolled down his king side pawns in the opposite side castled position and won a bishop and a knight for a rook and a pawn on the 20th move. He then kept up his attack to finally become a piece up and won after 68 moves.

Earlier Kusum defeated the overnight leader Ratnam in the long-awaited game of the tournament, which took place in the morning session round between the top two seeds. Kusum chose to play the little-played Stone Wall System with white, Ratnam replied with symmetrical structure. In the middle game she first exchanged one of the central pawns and posted the knight on e4.

Kusum cleverly exchanged the posted knight at appropriate moment and launched a ferocious attack on the king side through a break along the ‘f’ file with the help of his two strong knights and queen. Ratnam defended well but had to concede one pawn. Later in the game she could not capitalise on the chances given by Kusum and lost in a opposite coloured bishop ending with the winner having two extra pawns after 62 moves.

Ratnam recovered from the morning’s defeat and beat Himanshu Shekhar Sharma of Town High School, Munger in the game of Sicilian Alapin. Sharma failed to complete the stipulated 40 moves in 90 minutes, falling short by only two moves. With this win, Ratnam increased her tally to 8 points and is trailing by half a point to Kusum.

Manish Sharma of Carmel High School, Chakradharpur joined the second spot when he beat Hitesh Deva of Loyola without any difficulty though Manish escaped after making a gross opening mistak.


Calcutta, July 30: 
For the first time in nearly two decades, not a single ATP Challenger event will be hosted by India in a calendar year. It has as much to do with tennis’ sagging ratings as with cricket’s soaring graph.

Three Challengers had been scheduled on the original AITA calendar penned at the start of the year. They were due to be held in Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh in December. Paes En Sport was to have conducted two of them with AITA (Delhi and Mumbai) and the Chandigarh event with CLTA.

However, with tennis having no takers in the corporate world, the AITA has been forced to scrap the three events.

“When we went to the big companies, we realised that all of them have locked their budgets with next year’s World Cup cricket championship in mind,” informed Dr Vece Paes, the driving force behind Paes En Sport which has been conducting Challengers regularly for the past five years.

South Africa is to host the eighth edition of cricket’s World Cup in February-March 2003. Even though the stage is thousands of miles away, several Indian companies will be pumping in crores of rupees.

According to Dr Paes, it costs “anything between Rs 30-35 lakh” to organise one Challenger meet. “Holding the Chandigarh event wouldn’t have been a problem as Indian Oil were willing to be title sponsors, but there are no takers for Delhi and Mumbai.”

The ATP doesn’t usually sanction one isolated Challenger week in a country, it wants a series of two or three to be held back to back. “That’s why Chandigarh won’t happen even though we can run it,” explained Dr Paes.

The Challenger-drought will hurt the likes of Leander Paes, Rohan Bopanna and Sunil Kumar. The others, still swimming in lower tides, need not worry much as the lower-budget ITF Futures tournaments will continue on Indian soil. Three of them are due to be held in August-September and three more in October-November.

Paes-Hill wins

Fresh from a fortnight’s break and armed with a new partner, Leander Paes made a winning start to the American hardcourt season.

According to information received here, Paes and Michael Hill tamed Canadian wild card duo Michael Ciszek and Philip Gubenco 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the $2.9 million Toronto Masters Series meet Monday. Hill, an Australian, is Paes’ sixth partner in five months.

Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi, the third seeds, will open against Moroccan Younes Al Aynaoui and Spaniard Tommy Robredo.

At last week’s Mercedes Benz Cup in Los Angeles, teenagers Prakash and Stephen Amritraj bowed in the semis after making a sensational senior-level debut as a pair.

The Amritraj cousins toppled two fancied teams (top seeds George Bastl-Sandon Stolle and fourth seeds Kevin Ullyett-Neville Godwin) before losing to Michael Llodra and Justin Gimelstob.


Calcutta, July 30: 
The Monsoon Rally covering over 700 km in two legs—from Calcutta to Jamshedpur and Jamshedpur-Ranchi-Jamshedpur—will be held on August 16 and 17.

The rally, organised by the Bengal Motor Sports Club, carries a total prize of Rs 1.83 lakh — Rs 1.22 lakh for the four-wheeler category, and Rs 61,000 for the two-wheeler category. While the winner in the four-wheeler category takes home Rs 50,000, the two-wheeler category champion will get Rs 25,000.

The rally is a part of the national meet and will also constitute the fourth and fifth rounds of the East India Regional Rally championship. Three previous rounds — Calcutta-Baripada, Baripada-Bhubaneswar and Kaviguru Rally — are already complete.

This year’s Monsoon Rally assumes added significance, as its outcome will determine the eastern regional champion.

The two-legged rally designed on ‘time-speed-distance’ (TSD) format involves undisclosed routes, time controls and passage controls. The event will run on a non-cumulative format.



Mohun Bagan may discard Devang

Mohun Bagan are set to rope in East Bengal left-arm spinner Shib Sagar Singh for the coming season. They, however, are likely to discontinue with the services of former Bengal captain Devang Gandhi. Indications are that the former captain may join Tollygunge Agragami.

Meanwhile, talks are on that former India bowler Debashish Mohanty, may seek a fortune in Bengal this season. Tollygunge Agragami, in that case, may be the frontrunners in claiming the Orissa player.

Mohun Bagan will take opener Amitava Chakraborty from Shyambazar and off-spinner Pradipta Majumdar from Wari. They will also add upcoming stars Abhishek Jhunjhunwala (from Wari) and Aranyadeb Sarkar (NSI) to their armoury. Deep Dasgupta, Subhamoy Das and Laxmi Ratan Shukla are set to stay back while Siddhartha Mullick and Shib Shankar Paul have decided to leave the club.

Peerless win

There were four CFL first division group A matches on Tuesday’s card but the net result was no more than one goal and a red card. Peerless emerged the lone winners, Shyamal Barua’s strike helping the team bag full points from their duel against Eastern Coalfields. George Telegraph salvaged a draw against Mohammedan AC despite being reduced to 10 men in the second half. Subhankar Mitra was the one to be marched off by referee Gautam Sadhukhan for a second yellow-card offence.

Soccer meet

Madarhat Athletic Union edged out Chandannagar Central Club 1-0 to make the final of the 11th S.P. Roy Memorial football tournament. Deepak Das netted the winner in the 15th minute.


The West Bengal Kho-Kho Association Tuesday felicitated the state teams, which won different tournaments this year. The men and women won the senior East Zone titles in Srirampur, the women were best at the Wardha Open nationals, the boys and girls topped at the sub-junior nationals, the boys finished runner-up at the junior nationals in Pondicherry.

Today in Sport

FOOTBALL: Calcutta League, first division group A: Bata vs City (EB, 3.30 pm). 2nd div: Young Corner vs Taltala Inst. (High Court, 4 pm); Greer vs Janbazar (YMCA, 4 pm).    

Calcutta,July 30: 
Barring Prince of Fashion in the 1,800m Almanac Cup and Social Girl in the 1,400m Sprightly Handicap, winner spotting may prove to be a difficult task in Wednesday’s six-event race-card. Both horses had scored comfortably in recent weeks and they look set to repeat the performance. Read as: Horse nos, last four runs, horse name, trainer, jockey, weight & draw:

Ridicular Handicap 1,200m (Cl V; 3-y-o only Rt 00-28)

1st Race at 1.55 pm

1 0420 Musician [Bharath] Md Islam 60.0 3
2 0022 Mahika’s Pet [R. Alford] Rutherford 57.0 1
3 0000 Primaticcio [Rodrigues] Asghar 57.0 5
4 2000 Moon Quest [Rodrigues] Merchant 56.5 4
5 - - 00 Cupola [Stephens] Surjeet S. 55.5 2
1. Moon Quest (4) 2. Musician (1) 3. Mahika’s Pet (2)
Moon Quest: Ignore last run. On winter form, he may cash in on his pull at the weight. Musician: May go close to the winner. Mahika’s Pet: May place..

Sprightly Handicap 1,400m (Cl V; Rt. 00-28)

2nd Race at 2.30 pm

1 4431 Social Girl [Rodrigues] Merchant 61.0 2
2 0300 Adeline [Rodrigues] Engineer 58.5 6
3 2013 Darth Vader [R. Alford] Rutherford 58.5 4
4 3203 Bay Dragon [Rodrigues] B. Gurang 56.5 5
5 0000 Asprey [Rodrigues] Surjeet S. 53.0 1
6 0002 Scenic Song [Mujeeb] Jayaprakash 49.0 3
1. Social Girl (1) 2. Scenic Song (6) 3. Adeline (2)
Social Girl: A fluent winner. Set for a repeat win against poor company. Scenic Song: The light impost may see her in the fighting line. Adeline: May place.

Almanac Cup 1,800m (Cl IV; Cl V eligible Rt. 00-50) —Indian jockeys only

3rd Race at 3.00 pm

1 - - 01 Prince of Fashion [R. Alford] Rutherford 60.0 3
2 0000 Ace of Spades [Rodrigues] Merchant 56.0 1
3 0200 Giorgio [Rodrigues] Upadhya 56.0 5
4 0001 Black Mane [Karki] P. Kujur 55.0 8
5 1111 Blessed Spirit [Jaiswal] R. Koch 55.0 4
6 0000 Yukon [Rodrigues] A. P. Singh 53.5 6
7 0004 Midas Touch [Rodrigues] Md Yasin 49.5 2
8 0304 Impressive Prince [Rodrigues] Yacoob 47.5 7
1. Prince of Fashion (1) 2. Midas Touch (7) 3. Yukon (6)
Prince of Fashion: Beat a stiffer set. Likely to do the trick against an unproven lot. Midas Touch: Something big is brewing with him. Yukon: May place.

Audubon Cup 1,100m (Cl V; 5-y-o & over Rt. 00-28) — Indian jockeys only

4th Race at 3.30 pm

1 0300 Brave Venture [Rodrigues] Merchant 61.0 3
2 0000 Soviet Dance [Rodrigues] A. P. Singh 60.5 7
3 0040 Simply Dashing [Rodrigues] Upadhya 58.0 6
4 0044 Soliel [Karki] Amjad K. 56.5 5
5 4442 Castle Moon [Karki] P. Kujur 54.0 2
6 0003 Global Harmony [Mujeeb] Jayaprakash 50.5 1
7 2300 Heaven’s Blessing [Bath] S. Rabani 47.5 4
1. Brave Venture (1) 2. Heaven’s Blessing (7) 3. Castle Moon (5)
Brave Venture: Merits regard only on his good workouts. Heaven’s Blessing: Looking very fit. an each way advised. Castle Moon: May upset.

Vasto Handicap 1,200m (Cl III; 5-y-o & over Rt. 44-72)

5th Race at 4.00 pm

1 4300 Cup Of Life [Mujeeb] S. Shanker 60.5 2
2 0100 Revolution [Karki] P. Kujur 59.5 4
3 0404 Sky Comamnd [Mujeeb] Jayaprakash 58.0 5
4 0000 Arctic Fancy [Rodrigues] Merchant 56.5 3
5 0401 Sovereign Bullet [Rodrigues] Surjeet S. 53.0 1
6 4130 Tajik [R. Alford] Tamang 52.0 6
1. Cup Of Life (1) 2. Arctic Fancy (4) 3. Sky Comamnd (3)
Cup Of Life: On his good looks he stands cut above the rest. Arctic Fancy: Best at the weights, though not a very reliable customer. Sky Command: May upset.

Bachelor’s Wedding Handicap 1,000m (Cl IV; Rt. 22-50) — Indian jockeys only

6th Race at 4.30 pm

1 0440 Kargil Soldier [Stephens] P. Alford 61.0 1
2 3112 Lucifer [Rodrigues] Upadhya 60.5 8
3 1000 Declarationoflove [R. Alford] Brij S. 59.5 5
4 2424 Wakamba Warrior [Mujeeb] Jayaprakash 59.5 7
5 1040 Calabash [Mujeeb] S. Domingo 56.5 4
6 1040 Grecian Prince [Rodrigues] R. Ahmed 56.5 3
7 0044 Starina [R. Alford] M. Maseyk 54.5 2
8 0300 Simply Monarch [Rodrigues] Merchant 53.5 6
1. Wakamba Warrior (4) 2. Starina (7) 3. Lucifer (2)
Wakamba Warrior: A victory for him is long overdue . Has lost to good horses in winter. Starina: The apprentice allowance may do the trick. Lucifer: May place.
Day’s Best: Prince of Fashion
Double: Social Girl & Wakamba Warrior

Mysore, July 30: 
Bank Balance is fancied to win the 1,400m Whitefield Plate, Wednesday’s main event here.


1.45 pm: Daiimio 1. Predominate 2. Sargasso 3.

2.15 pm: Little Brave 1. Russian Art 2. Silver Touch 3.

2.45 pm: Atomic Fusion 1. Galleon De Espania 2. Storming Thru 3.

3.15 pm: Financer 1. Lost Horizon 2. Tabreez 3.

3.45 pm: Bank Balance 1. Tresorie 2. Ace Beret 3.

4.15 pm: Tulsa Time 1. On The Post 2. Cassini 3.

4.45 pm: Squeeze 1. Cyclades 2. Fereneze 3.

5.15 pm: Apricot 1. Up-N-About 2. Sunny Sharp 3.

Day’s Best: Bank Balance

Double: Little Brave & Atomic Fusion


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