Board adopts �factual� stance
Bengal begin well
State youth basketball from Saturday

Calcutta, April 25 
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has given a �factual� reply to a Lok Sabha query on the national team�s �bad performance� in Australia.

According to BCCI secretary Jaywant Lele, the query came via the Lok Sabha Secretariat � after it was raised by an MP � and not directly from Union sports minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, as was the impression created.

�The Secretariat informed it was a star (priority) question and, accordingly, we furnished brief scores of the three Tests and eight one-dayers played in Australia,� Lele told The Telegraph, from Vadodara.

India were beaten black-and-blue in the Test series (�predicted� by the BCCI secretary himself) and, when it came to ODIs, won only one of eight.

Lele who, this time appears to have presented an absolutely straight bat, added: �We haven�t passed judgement nor made any comments. In fact, we�ve gone strictly by the letter and spirit of the communique from the Secretariat. We, however, don�t know when and how our reply will be placed on record�.

The BCCI secretary insisted �no report� had been sought by Dhindsa, nor has a copy of the �brief scores� been forwarded to him. And, the question was strictly Australia-specific.

Obviously, what Lele is saying is at variance with Dhindsa�s remarks on April 13: �People talk about the recent bad performances. They have doubts in their minds... That match-fixing could be one of the reasons...�

Dhindsa, perhaps, will seek his �own� report when he meets BCCI president A.C. Muthiah and the secretary in New Delhi Thursday.

After Australia, India lost both (home) Tests against South Africa, though the South Africans were beaten 3-2 in the ODIs � the series being probed by Delhi police. Then, in the Sharjah triangular, India failed to make the final.

Though the Hansie Cronje scandal prompted Dhindsa to call the meeting, invitees have been asked to provide �invaluable inputs� and �help in the formulation of an action plan to raise the standard of the game (in India).�

It�s not surprising, then, some of the invitees are pretty confused about the whole exercise.

As reported in these columns Monday, captain Sourav Ganguly has been �excused� because of commitments with Lancashire.    

Calcutta, April 25 
Bengal opened their campaign in the Eveready fifth East Zone hockey championship today with an emphatic 4-1 win over Assam even as champions Bihar swept to two victories.

Samarjit Singh, who turns out for East Bengal in the local league, scored three of Bengal�s goals on his club turf while Junas Bara slipped in the other. Zela Lusai got Assam�s only goal.

At the CCFC ground in Ballygunge, Bihar went on a goal-scoring spree, making light of the fact that they had to play two different opponents on the same day. They first pumped in two goals to add to the two scored yesterday in an unfinished game against Mizoram, and then came back to register a 7-2 victory over Manipur.

Bengal spent almost the entire opening session in their opponents� half of the field and led 3-0 at the breather. Samarjit drew first blood in the 13th minute. Trapping a Sunil Soren hit, down the middle, he took the ball to his left and with a reverse-stick hit before the Assam defence could react.

Six minutes later, it was 2-0, Samarjit tapping the ball nicely past the charging Assam goalkeeper. The third goal came in the 28th minute when Junas Bara trapped a ball on top of the circle, eluded a defender and let go a reverse shot into the net.

Bengal wasted the three penalty corners (under the new rules, it almost sounds a misnomer) they earned in the opening half. Rather ironically, Assam forced a couple of penalty corners almost on the whistle for half-time.

There was, of course, this hint of aggression in the Assam game in the second-half but it was smothered again in the pressure that Bengal generated.

Bengal scored just once more in this half, Samarjit finding the net in the 43rd with a lovely scoop after a move down right, but squandered five penalty corners.

While poor marksmanship and, sometimes, came in the way for Bengal on these and several other occasions, some credit must also go to Assam �keeper Dipak Boro who replaced Sanjit Defusa after the fourth goal. Boro brought in the much-needed confidence under the bar and Assam were suddenly a little more free to function elsewhere.

Assam forced one penalty corner, but had to wait till the 64th minute for their consolation goal. A free-hit from the right had Subir Majumdar trapping the ball on top of the circle. Majumdar did well to get his shot past a maze of sticks and, even as the ball headed goalwards, Lusai got a stick in to deflect it past the hapless Bengal �keeper who could just watch the ball trickling in.

The Bihar binge

The match between Bihar and Mizoram was 47 minutes old when the nor�wester halted play yesterday. Bihar were leading through goals from Sunil Topno and Soson Topno. Today, the remaining 23 minutes of the match was played in which Topno and Satish Kumar slipped in a goal each.

When Bihar met Manipur later, Cyprian Karaketta and Sunil Topno did all the scoring with the former getting four goals and Topno the remaining three. Parameswaran and H. Ojit scored a goal each for Manipur.

Manipur, in fact, had done well to restrict Bihar�s lead to just 2-1 at half-time. The floodgates opened thereafter. Interestingly, all the 18 goals in the three matches came from field-play.

BHA league

In BHA league action, BSF South Bengal and Howrah Union finished 1-1 in only first division group A match of the day. Kaushik Dey put Howrah ahead in the first half, at the Mohun Bagan ground. John Bengra equalised after the breather.

In group B, Muslim Institute tamed Calcutta Parsees 2-1 while Punjab Sports and Chhotanagpur ended with a 2-2 stalemate.    

Calcutta, April 25: 
The 10th state youth basketball championships get underway on 1923 Chhatra Samity�s new floodlit concrete court at the Raja Subodh Mullick Square Saturday. Confirmations have come in from 12 teams for the boys� and 10 for the girls� events. Burdwan, who had lifted both titles last year, will be here to defend them at these under-17 championships. Rakhi Sangha had finished runners-up among boys while South 24 Parganas were No. 2 in the girls� event. Both have confirmed participation.

Chhatra Parishad will also be hosting the Nader Chand Auddy and Durga Charan Auddy memorial meet for men, an invitation tournament that will see nine top teams of the state in action. The nine-day affair begins tomorrow.

CAB under-19 meet

St Lawrence, St Xavier�s and Barisha HS romped to big wins in the Parle-G CAB under-19 schools tournament even as yesterday�s rain took its toll today.

The matches between St Joseph�s Collegiate School and Calcutta Anglo-Gujrati School, Government Sporsored School and St Paul�s School, and South Point High School and National High School fell through because of soggy grounds. They will all go down as �draws� and the points will be split.


St Lawrence HS 139/9 (Amit Chowdhury 17; Arindam Saha 3/31). Jadavpur HS 142/0 (Abhishek Guha 55 n.o., Soumen Roy 51 n.o.). Jadavpur won by 10 wkts

St Xavier�s Colle4giate School 194/9 (Ashar Hassan 55; Soumya Tapadar 3/45). N. K. Pal Adarsha Sikshayatan 119 (Sourav Majumder 28; Ankur Gulati 2/23, Kanishka Bagharia 2/28). St Xavier�s won by 75 runs.

Bhowanipore Education Society 140 (Gaurav Sarda 52, Bhavin Parmar 45; Asif Ali 3/16, Sandip Maity 3/41). Barisha HS 142/4 (Asif Ali 36). Barisha won by 6 wkts.

N.C. Kolay meet

Russa United and Bournvita Cricket Academy registered contrasting wins in the N.C. Kolay junior cricket tournament today.


At Rajasthan: Russa United Club 252 for 6 (25 overs) (Tanmoy Roy 57, Damru Paswan 55, Arun Das 54). Vijay Sports 129 for 9 (25 overs) (Saibal Gupta 39; Biswajit Dey 3/18). Russa United won by 123 runs.

At Kalighat: Bournvita CA 107 for 4 (15 overs) (S. Bhowmick 49, D. Mustafi 36). Officers� Choice CA 98 for 5 (15 overs). Bournvita CA won by 9 runs.

At Kalighat: Milan Samity 136 for 4 (20 overs) (Abhishek Sarkar 83 n.o.). C4 138b for 6 (19.4 overs) (Abhishek Dutta 35). C4 won by 4 wkts.    


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