Pak ready to host India twice in 2001
Anwar, Saqlain out
Kumble relives the Kotla magic
Borde both surprised and disappointed
CESC whip BNR 3-0
Bagan bag league title to complete �double�
Big Bertha fancied
Track trials

Sharjah, March 29 
Pakistan is ready to host India not once, but twice next year.

�We hope India will tour Pakistan in January, and also participate in the April 15-30 Asia Cup. From our side, there�s no problem at all,� declared Lt General Tauqir Zia, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman.

Lt General Zia, significantly, is extremely close to General Parvez Musharraf, who seized power last October. In fact, he is the Mangla-based corps commander, considered a real �hot� seat.

Understandably, the articulate and straight-talking Lt General Zia wouldn�t be drawn into a comment on current Indo-Pak relations, but repeated more than once that Pakistan would welcome Indian cricketers.

The ball, then, is in India�s court � specifically, the government, which at the moment isn�t even in favour of strictly one-to-one contact on neutral territory. Therefore, it remains to be seen whether Pakistan will actually get to welcome the Indians.

While Pakistan toured India last year, the last full-fledged tour by India was ways back in November-December 1989. In between, of course, the Indians spent a week in late 1997, for a three-match series.

Incidentally, the Asia Cup will be a day-night affair as, by then, Karachi and Rawalpindi will also have floodlights � besides Lahore�s Gaddafi, that is.

The Asia Cup should be held biennially, but we will see additions in successive years because the one being held in May-June ought to have been staged in 1999.

Meanwhile, the PCB is moving at breakneck speed to have an enviable system in place.

Towards that end, academies will soon come into being and former England captain Tony Greig has been appointed coordinator. He will, it appears, liaise between the PCB and former overseas stars who will be approached to help out.

Lt General Zia informed both Ian Chappell and Barry Richards have, in principle, agreed to make short visits. However, that won�t be in the very near future.

Such arrangements are excellent, on paper at least, but the Chappells and Richards will be hoping the PCB doesn�t undergo yet another change by the time they begin packing bags for Lahore/Karachi. Chappell has already �suffered� once.

According to Lt General Zia, there�s every likelihood of South Africa touring Pakistan in early September, for three one-day games. �That will be our way of preparing for the Sahara Cup, scheduled for mid-September,� he quipped.

The question is: Will it come off, or be scrapped like last year?    

Sharjah, March 29 
Saeed Anwar and Saqlain Mushtaq have not been picked for the first-leg of the West Indies tour, featuring the tri-series. And, Azhar Mehmood will miss even the Tests, after that.

Clearly, a major communication gap is at the centre of the Mehmood affair as, just a few days back, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) sources revealed both he and Saqlain had recovered from injuries.

Saqlain has, but PCB chairman Lt General Tauqir Zia has asked him (and Anwar) to �confirm� fitness in domestic cricket. Both will head for the Tests, after playing at home.

Anwar, who has undergone knee surgery, will miss the Asia XI vs Rest of World match in Dhaka, on April 8, and has been replaced (as was expected) by Indian captain Sourav Ganguly.

Pakistan have announced a 17-member squad: Fourteen of the 15 currently here � only Shoaib Malik has missed out, plus Mushtaq Ahmed, Mohammed Waseem and second-wicketkeeper Atiq-uz-Zaman.

Atiq�s selection almost signals the end of Rashid Latif�s career.    

Sharjah, March 29 
Almost 14 months after doing a Jim Laker, Anil Kumble still can�t believe he bagged all 10 wickets in a Test innings.

Speaking at the launch of �The Perfect 10�, a 55-minute video cassette documenting his immortal effort at the Kotla in February 1999, Kumble said: �Getting ten wickets was more than just realising a dream... Actually, I still can�t believe it... I began looking for one wicket and finished with all ten�

Dressed in the India blazer, and a trifle emotional, Kumble added: �I need to again say a big thank-you to teammates... To so many others, specially my (elder) brother Dinesh. It�s because of him I switched from medium-pace to leg-spin... Perhaps, I still bowl medium-pace but, whatever, I�ve always believed it�s the last (wickets) column that counts.�

The cassette, put together by footage from TWI, was released by Abdul Rehman Bukhatir. Present were members of the Indian team, quite a few from Pakistan and some South Africans.

It was an afternoon of nostalgia and gestures.

Kumble made the first by inviting one of his victims, current Pakistan captain Moin Khan, to join the head-table. Then, seated there by virtue of having been captain at the Kotla, Mohammed Azharuddin warmly complimented Sachin Tendulkar in his speech.

Specifically, Azhar spoke about Sachin�s brilliant unbeaten 155 against Australia, in the Chennai Test, two years ago.

�It�s a privilege I was in the team when three outstanding records were set: Sunil Gavaskar�s 10,000th run (Ahmedabad, February 1987), Kapil Dev�s (then) world-record creating 432nd wicket (Ahmedabad, February 1994) and Kumble�s ten-wicket haul. I also consider it a privilege having watched Sachin�s innings, at the Chepauk. That remains one of the greatest I�ve seen.�

As Ajay Jadeja, who was seated next to Sachin, began speaking to the present-era Little Master just as Azhar himself began talking, it�s possible Sachin didn�t hear a word of what Azhar said. Somebody will probably have to point out that nice gesture.

Azhar also �thanked� Kumble for improving his close-in fielding. �Because he doesn�t have the conventional speed of spinners, it�s a challenge standing at silly-point... My own (close-in) fielding improved and the catches I took off his bowling helped me get past the 100-mark.�

Moin, like Azhar, was brief and invited a round of applause when he remarked: �Having been one of Kumble�s victims, that afternoon, I can confirm he was unplayable. I wish him all the best.�

Bukhatir, who needs absolutely no introduction, made a significant point that while Laker got all ten wickets (44 years ago) when pitches weren�t covered � and, so, more responsive to bowlers � Kumble got his in the covered-wickets era.

Incidentally, there was a minor �debate� on who plays the bigger role � batsmen or bowlers. Almost everybody present, though, agreed with Azhar�s thoughts: �No matter how many runs you put on board, to win, you�ve still got to get 10 wickets.�

While the video cassette has been priced at Dirhams 45 (around Rs 500) in these parts, nothing has been finalised about its launch in India: Kumble hasn�t been able to get a distributor.

Obviously, on one level, this is a business venture. At the same time, it�s much more than that. Heroes like Kumble shouldn�t have to run around from pillar-to-post.    

Sharjah, March 29 
�I just can�t say what happened... The same batsmen who got hundreds in the last series (against South Africa), couldn�t get going here. I�m both surprised and disappointed,� remarked chief selector Chandu Borde, this afternoon.

Borde, one of the three Indian beneficiaries in the Coca-Cola Cup 2000 (others being Bapu Nadkarni and Maninder Singh), added: �Success here would, for me, have been the icing on the cake... Only, that won�t be so.�

Friday�s final features South Africa and Pakistan.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Borde indicated the Asia Cup squad could be named next month itself, after the Ranji finals. For, after that, the selectors won�t be in a position to �judge� anybody.

The tournament, in Dhaka, is from May 28-June 5.

It is understood that Gary Kirsten, who suffered back spasms yesterday, will miss the final.

Dalmiya to head Asia Foundation

Mr Jagmohan Dalmiya, the International Cricket Council (ICC) president, will head the Asia Foundation, to be set up by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), reports our special correspondent from Sharjah. This was decided today, during a special general meeting of the ACC.

The other members of the Foundation are: ACC president Lt General Tauqir Zia, Abdul Rehman Bukhatir, Asif Iqbal and Syed Ashraful Haq. Just how the Foundation will function, within the ACC, will be decided by mid-June.    

Calcutta, March 29 
CESC crushed BNR 3-0 in a first division (group A) match of the BHA league at the East Bengal ground this afternoon. Raju Raj Bhar, and A.S. Tete scored in the first half and S. Sored pumped in another after the breather. BNR could have brought some respectability to the scoreline had Rajat Minz not missed a penalty stroke in the second half.

In group B action, Aryan Club drubbed Calcutta Parsee Club 4-0. Aryan led 2-0 at half-time.

Bagan matches

The league sub-committee of the BHA today decided to schedule Mohun Bagan�s matches from April 10. The club will be asked by the BHA for a written confirmation of their participation in the league by April 5.

Mohun Bagan had asked for postponement of their matches till April 15. Problems arose after a section of the club officials, led by secretary Anjan Mitra, pressed for the club�s pullout from the league.

Daljit Singh meet

FCI rallied to tame Rangers Club 5-4 in a group-league match of the Daljit Singh Memorial five-a-side hockey meet at the Customs Maidan lawns today. Cyril Lindsay scored all goals for Rangers.

Later in the day, FCI crushed Customs B 6-2. In the other match of the day, Customs A drubbed East Bengal 7-3.    

Calcutta, March 29 
Mohun Bagan completed the �double� in local cricket today when they added the CAB league title to the senior knockout crown.

Having scored 344 for eight in the allotted 85 overs yesterday, Mohun Bagan stopped their arch-rivals 96 runs short at the Eden Gardens today. But for a sixth-wicket stand of 65 and one of 55 for the ninth, East Bengal didn�t manage to put the big partnerships together and never looked like they would win.

They were finally all out for 248 in the 78th over, opener Alokendu Lahiri top-scoring with 64 and No. 8 Dharmendra Singh getting a belligerent 40.

Laxmi Ratan Shukla picked up three for 56. His figures would have looked far better had he not bowled 12 wides. Utpal Chatterjee and Devang Gandhi bagged a couple of wickets each, while Abdul Munayem, Ajoy Das and Sanjeev Goel picked up one each.    

Trained by S. Sunderji and ridden by Paul Eddery, Big Bertha is fancied to win the 1,600m J. D. And Peggy Banatwalla Trophy, in Mumbai on Thursday.


3 pm: Touch Of Elegance 1. Seville Star 2. Blushing Brave 3.

3.30 pm: Lunar Mist 1.

4 pm: Immaculate 1. Silver Nova 2. Sweet Cindy 3.

4.30 pm: Big Bertha 1. Among Men 2. Great Escape 3.

5 pm: Evening In Paris 1. Doctor No 2. Winslet 3.

5.30 pm: Green Paradise 1. Future Arrives 2. Loaded Dice 3.

5.55 pm: Teaser 1. Speculative 2. Majesty Of Law 3.

Day�s Best: Big Bertha

Double: Immaculate & Teaser


(With inter-state dividends)

1. K. H. Irani Plate 1,400m: (4-7-3) Howard House (Rajendra) 1; Tajjub 2; Forest Beauty 3. Won by: 2-3/4; 4-3/4; (1-30.8). Tote: Win Rs 21; Place: 13; 16; 34; Quinella: 46; Tanala: 655. Fav: Howard House (4).

2. Kingsley Plate 1,000m: (6-1-2) Secret Blessing�s (Chauhan) 1; Run For Glory 2; Special Recruit 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 2-3/4; (1-1.2). Tote: Win Rs 147; Place: 25; 15; 14; Quinella: 335; Tanala: 3,633. Fav: La Primavera (7).

3. Birthday Girl Plate 1,200m: (7-1-5) Merry Millennium (Rajendra) 1; Awesome Foursome 2; Bon Apetit 3. Won by: SH; 5-1/2; (1-16.8). Tote: Win Rs 45; Place: 14; 12; 18; Quinella: 26; Tanala: 367. Fav: Awesome Foursome (1).

4. Indian Navy Trophy 1,800m: (3-2-4) Mount Rose (Kader) 1; Favorite Trick 2; Sunny Sez 3. Won by: 1/2; 7-1/2; (1-53.8). Tote: Win Rs 28; Place: 17; 15; Quinella: 38; Tanala: 154. Fav: Mount Rose (3).

5. Gold Street Trophy 1,800m: (9-7-1) Right Arrow (Mahesh) 1; Prime Of Life 2; Fortune�s Wheel 3. Won by: 3-3/4; 1/2; (1-56.2). Tote: Win Rs 157; Place: 38; 37; 14; Quinella: 1,675; Tanala: 64,793. Fav: La Tour D�argent (6).

6. Dr. A. H. Sayed Plate 1,000m: (6-4-8) Supercool (R. Pandey) 1; Impartial 2; Winawin 3. Won by: Hd; 1/2; (1-2.8). Tote: Win Rs 54; Place: 22; 15; 46; Quinella: 93; Tanala: 2,243. Fav: Musical Melody (1).

7. Rezab Plate 1,000m: (2-10-5) Temple Quest (Daniel) 1; Real Gem 2; Smash For Cash 3. Won by: 2; 3/4; (1-3.2). Tote: Win Rs 52; Place: 17; 40; 38; Quinella: 872; Tanala: 9,023. Fav: Free Gold (4).

Jackpot: Rs 1,13,253 (Carried over); (C) Rs 14,561.

Treble: (i) Rs 4,665; (ii) Rs 6,243.    

Calcutta, March 29 
Sterling Prospect and Single Dawn were impressive when the following horses were exercised today:

Outer sand track

1,200m: Single Dawn (Rutherford) and Alborada (P. Alford) in 1-25s; (400m) 27s. Both moved well. Hot (Amil) and Crucible (C. Alford) in 1-27s; (400m) 29s. Former too good. Classy Twist (C. Alford) in 1-33 1/5s; (400m) 31 2/5s. Easy. Sterling Prospect (C. Alford) and All Heart (Amil) in 1-24 2/5s; (400m) 27 2/5s. Former a length better. Annalee (C. Alford) in 1-34s; (400m) 30s. Easy.

800m: Hurricane Star (Manohar) in 57s; (400m) 27 1/5s. Moved well.

400m: Global Harmony (Yacoob) in 29 3/5s. Fit. Tribal Warlord (Rb) in 31s. Swingtime (Rb) in 30s.

Sand track

800m: No Surrender (M. Reuben) in 55 3/5s; (400m) 26 3/5s.    


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