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Munaf Patel to play for Mumbai

Mumbai: Munaf Patel, one of the fastest bowlers in the country, will play for the Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai this season.

Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) Prof. Ratnakar Shetty said on Sunday that Patel met him at the MCA office on Saturday to submit the transfer certificate from Gujarat.

The 22-year-old paceman represented India A in the three-day match against New Zealand in Rajkot and picked up five wickets, including that of skipper Stephen Fleming and Nathan Astle, even before playing in the first class matches for Gujarat.

Indians shine in inter-varsity meet

Kuala Lumpur: Indian players put up impressive performances with five of the six players winning their opening encounters at the GACC world inter-varsity chess championship 2003 on Sunday.

In the men’s category, IM norm holder Vikramaditya Kamble of Nagpur University, A. Suresh Kumar and Shyam Krishnan of Madras University won their first round matches against Lee Boon-why, M. Hasrin Rahman (both Malaysia) and A. De Silva (Sri Lanka), respectively.

In the women’s category, Asian junior silver medallist J.E. Kavitha of Madras University and Amrutha Mokaj of Mumbai University started off their campaign with victories.

Russian tycoon guns for Arsenal

London: Three-and-a-half months after billionaire Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea, another Russian tycoon is planning to buy into London rivals Arsenal, a British newspaper reported on Sunday.

The Independent on Sunday said Vladimir Potanin, an oil and mining magnate, was considering investing up to £120 million ($203 million) on a new stadium for Arsenal in return for a share of the club.

Potanin, however, dismissed the report. “Vladimir Potanin has no plans to acquire any sports clubs whatsoever,” said a spokeswoman for his mining empire’s parent company Interros.

Fellow oligarch Abramovich bought Chelsea three months ago, winning the club the nickname “Chelski” in the British press, and stocked them up with top players. The newspaper said Potanin was an Arsenal fan and had flown to London to see the side play. The club are trying to raise £400 million for a new stadium.

Venus is top seed

Philadelphia: Venus Williams is set to make her return to the WTA tour here next week as the top seed in the $585,000 Advanta championships.

Williams, 23, is ranked sixth despite not having played since losing the Wimbledon final to her younger sister Serena. Venus suffered from pulled abdominal muscles. She will be a favourite at next month’s WTA Tour Championship in Los Angeles, especially in the absence of fourth-ranked Lindsay Davenport and third-ranked Serena Williams. With a first-round bye here, Venus will open with a match against either Australia’s Nicole Pratt or an undetermined qualifier.

Friendly at Luz

Lisbon: Benfica opened their new Luz Stadium, built to stage the final of the 2004 European Championship, on Saturday for a friendly which ended in a 2-1 home victory over Uruguay’s Nacional. Former Portugal favourite Eusebio kicked the game off in front of a capacity crowd of 65,000 at the Luz stadium, one of 10 venues built or rebuilt for Euro 2004.

Portugal striker Nuno Gomes opened the scoring for Benfica in the seventh minute but Nacional levelled five minutes later after an individual effort from midfielder Alejandro Mello.

Gomes bagged the winner two minutes after the break with a shot from inside the box after receiving a neat cross from Brazilian substitute Roger Flores.

Coelho confident

Seoul: South Korea coach Humberto Coelho brushed off talk on Sunday that his job was on the line after guiding his team to the 2004 Asian Cup finals.

The 2002 World Cup semi-finalists crushed Nepal 7-0 in their final qualifying match on Friday but defeats last week by Vietnam and Oman meant South Korea only finished runners-up behind Oman in Group E. Korean Football Association (KFA) general secretary Cho Chung-yun held Coelho responsible after his under-strength team were beaten 1-0 by Vietnam and 3-1 by Oman.

However, Coelho said he would lead South Korea at the 2004 Asian Cup in China.

Sport on Screen

Cricket, South Africa vs Pakistan — Second Test, Day IV, live from 10 am on TEN Sports
Cricket, Tri-series — India vs Australia, highlights from 9 pm on ESPN
Rugby, World Cup — Live from 2 pm on STAR Sports

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