Paes, Bhupathi �reunion� put off
Further damage to cricket has to stop: Dhindsa
Bengal, Mizoram strike it rich
2 more seeds fall
East Bengal in semi-finals
Security touches new high
Gulmohor wins main event

Calcutta, April 26 
The Leander Paes-Mahesh Bhupathi reunion is not happening. Not for the time being, at least.

Five agonising months after having his injured shoulder �repaired� in New York, Bhupathi is set to return to the ATP Tour at next week�s claycourt meet in Orlando. Paes is also due to play there, but the two of them won�t be on the same side of the court.

Paes, who lost 6-4, 3-6, 2-6 to Sebastien Lareau in the first round of the $100,000 Bermuda Challenger yesterday, is playing doubles with left-handed Jan Siemerink this week. The Indo-Dutch pair will be in business next week, too, in Orlando.

Bhupathi, who will be travelling to Orlando from New York with coach Enrico Piperno tomorrow, hasn�t got a partner yet. �We thought Mahesh would be playing with Leander at Orlando, but now that it�s not happening he�ll see who he can play with,� said Mahesh�s father C.G.K. Bhupathi from Bangalore.

Not just a fortnight, one understands Paes is �booked� for two more weeks after that as well. Wayne Arthurs, an Aussie southpaw with whom he captured the Hall of Fame title last year, is likely to partner Paes at the Italian Open and the French Open.

Clearly, Paes is in no hurry to renew his partnership with Bhupathi. As he had hinted earlier, he would prefer to wait and watch whether Bhupathi has regained form and fitness after the long rehab programme.

That practically rules out the Indians trying to defend their French Open crown. It remains to be seen whether Paes and Bhupathi will be in a position to have a shot at retaining the bigger one � Wimbledon.    

New Delhi, April 26 
One isn�t sure whether his colleagues have begun to envy him, but Union sports minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa has been making more headlines than some of the truly high-profile Atal Behari Vajpayee-appointees.

But that, as Dhindsa reminds you, is because of the circumstances.

And, it�s because of the circumstances, that he has called tomorrow�s (unprecedented) meeting. Invited are past and present cricketers and coaches, as also current and one-time Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials.

�I would first like to hear what everybody has to say on the current crisis. After that, I�ll come out with my thoughts,� the extremely courteous Dhindsa (he insisted on personally adding milk to our coffee) told The Telegraph this afternoon.

With Parliament in session and a string of meetings throughout the day, Dhindsa could spare just 15 minutes. Perhaps, he would have spoken a bit longer but the Tamluk MP, Lakshman Seth (with Bula Choudhury in tow), too wanted a few minutes.

Specifically, Seth came armed with a recommendation for the Arjuna Award.

Dhindsa, incidentally, is the Cycling Federation of India president and has been the Punjab Olympic Association boss for over two decades. In a different field, then, Dhindsa has done a Jyoti Basu.

Following are excerpts

On the message he will be conveying at tomorrow�s meeting

Basically, I�ll be reminding everybody the entire country has lost faith in the most popular game and that�s something which needs to be quickly addressed. I�ll be seeking everybody�s views and, should something else crop up, that too will be discussed. I would also like to know why, overall, the team hasn�t been doing well in recent times.

On the stand he will be taking

(Grins) Agar main aap ko bata doon, to phir theek nahin lagega... All the invitees will ask if I�ve already made up my mind, why have an interactive session? Let�s see how the meeting goes... As it is with national federations of other disciplines, the BCCI does have certain responsibilities.

On what prompted him to call the meeting

A sense of hurt... Disappointment, pain... The past few weeks, after all, have hurt India too... Allegations are flying around, there�s an Indian connection to the Hansie Cronje scandal... The damage, both to the game and India, can�t be undone but at least further damage can be stopped. Is meeting ka aur koyi maqsad nahin hai.

On talk about putting the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the job

The government will do whatever is necessary. At the moment, however, when nothing has been alleged in writing, it�s difficult bringing the CBI into the picture. I personally feel it�s unfair to book somebody purely on the basis of allegations in the print Media. Woh theek nahin hoga.

On the inquiry commission option

No comments.

On the move to have one court handle cases relating to match-fixing

Frankly, it�s for the legal experts to give an opinion.

On whether he is satisfied with the BCCI�s response

The BCCI has said it will cooperate with the Delhi police... That�s a happy development. What else is on the cards may be made known tomorrow. In any case, everybody should be assured the government doesn�t wish to impinge upon the BCCI�s autonomy.

On whether players who keep being referred to in just about every allegation should be barred till either the Delhi police investigation or an inquiry by any other body is completed

That�s for the BCCI to think over. There has to be some internal discipline and, really, it�s for the BCCI to decide what form and manner that should take.

On coach Kapil Dev�s suggestion that India stop playing for six months

(Grins again) It�s a sensitive issue...

On his call (similar to a proposal from BCCI joint secretary Jyoti Bajpai) for cricketers to declare assets

I�ve been informed the BCCI will soon draw up a Code of Conduct. The assets-bit should be part of the Code. I�ve only suggested, the initiative proper must come from the BCCI.

Finally, on being labelled an �interventionist� minister

(Laughs) I�m hardly one... I�ve taken this initiative (for tomorrow�s meeting) because, as an Indian, I felt hurt. Also, the country�s most popular sport must regain the special place it enjoys with millions... In any case, as I�ve told you, neither the government nor I wish to impinge upon the BCCI�s autonomy... Indeed, come Friday, and I�ll be meeting heads of all federations affiliated to the IOA.    

Calcutta, April 26 
Bengal had an easy match against Manipur, winning 5-1 in the Eveready East Zone hockey championship today. In another match, Mizoram thrashed Assam 10-1.

Both matches were thoroughly one-sided with Bengal pumping in all five goals before Manipur could reply.

However, in the other match, Assam started off with a ninth-minute goal before conceding ten.

Gurdhyan Singh opened scoring for Bengal in the 16th minute, running through the Manipur defence. Samarjit Singh made it 2-0 just five minutes later. Once again, the Manipur defence lay scattered as Samarjit, grabbing the ball close to the D, charged in to sound the board.

As Bengal were scoring their goals, penalty corners went abegging at both ends. In fact, Bengal earned nine of them in the entire game while Manipur forced six. But improper tapping and poor hitting negated the advantage.

Stephen Kujur then got into the act, scoring for Bengal in the 26th minute. Two minutes later, Junas Bara added the fourth to stamp Bengal�s authority on the match. Gurdhyan rounded off the tally with his second strike of the match, getting past the Manipur goalkeeper in the 48th minute.

Manipur had the consolation of a vertical scratch on their half of the scoreboard after they were awarded a penalty stroke in the 60th minute which was confidently converted by O.K. Tolen.

In the other match of the day, J Doodhara gave Assam the early lead when he surprised the Mizoram goalkeeper with a sudden push in the ninth minute. That must have hit Mizoram hard as they came back with vengeance to leave the Assam citadel thoroughly savaged.

Lalghawilina and Lalbiakinia scored twice each, while Lalremurata, Tlanzona, Mangra, Lalrama, Zohmingliana and Lalbiakmawia had one each to their names.

The Mizoram blitz was between the 52nd and the 61st minutes. They got six goals in this period and for the Assam defence, it was a state of utter confusion. The fast Mizoram players slipped past the Assam defence with ease and did not even wait to celebrate a strike.    

Calcutta, April 26 
The pre-quarter finals of the Bharat Petroleum all-India ranking Bengal state mini and sub-junior tennis meet saw two more seeds fall by the wayside in the boys� under-14 event.

Sixth seed Nirvick Mohinta went down rather tamely to Assam qualifier Hrishikesh Deka, 3-6, 0-6. Fifth seed Bharat K. Mohan of Tamil Nadu also succumbed to a qualifier, Manas Mohanta, 1-6, 1-6. Mohanta, also from Assam, later beat Nirvick Mohinta in the under-16 boys� category.

Abhinav Sarma, another Assam youngster, lost to fourth seed Sabyasachi Bose in the under-14 event. Sarma won the first two games, but lost the next six to lose the first set. He lost the second by an identical margin.    

Calcutta, April 26 
East Bengal defeated Kalighat by five wickets to enter the semi-finals of the P. Sen Trophy at the Eden today.

Batting first, Kalighat were all out for 145 in 45.1 overs. East Bengal overhauled the target in just 39.5 overs.

Veteran Arun Lal grabbed four Kalighat wickets. In fact, his four for 23 was instrumental in bowling out Kalighat cheaply. Pranab Nandy took two for 21 and Subir Dey captured two for 23.

Alokendu Lahiri led the East Bengal chase with an unbeaten 69. Ajay Verma chipped in with 27, while Souvik Mukherjee remained unbeaten on 20.


New Delhi, April 26 
Though the day-night affair at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium today was only a benefit game � with Yashpal Sharma the beneficiary � security was truly extraordinary.

While that had something to do with the presence of Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammed Azharuddin, Delhi being the �hub� of the on-going international controversy, was an even bigger reason.

�Anybody can cause mischief,� explained a senior police officer, when The Telegraph pointed out it was unusual for policewomen (in the pavilion) to move around with semi-automatic rifles.

Incidentally, among the players was Manoj Prabhakar who set the India-specific controversy rolling in mid 1997.

In the minutes leading up to the match, Manoj sat quietly in the dressing room, with his son by his side.    

The Narendra Joshi-trained three-year-old gelding Gulmohor claimed the Bay Of Treasure Trophy, the main event at the Mumbai races on Wednesday. P. S. Chauhan partnered the Thaumaturge-Gifted Lady son to victory.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Tudor Moss Plate 1,200m: (5-6-4) Honest Lady (Bernard) 1; Blushing Brave 2; Budapest 3. Won by: 3/4; 1-1/4; (1-17.6). Tote: Win Rs 37; Place: 27; 32; Quinella: 84; Tanala: 307. Fav: Budapest (4).

2. Danielle Plate 1,200m: (6-1-4) Navroze Supreme (Janardhan) 1; Lumiere 2; Perfect Strides 3. Won by: 3-1/4; Nk; (1-56). Tote: Win Rs 23; Place: 16; 25; Quinella: 30; Tanala: 159. Fav: Navroze Supreme (6).

3. Air Dash Plate 1,400m: (3-5-2) Rebounding Ray (Ajay) 1; Falconaire 2; Sacred Fire 3. Won by: 7-1/2; Nk; (1-27.4). Tote: Win Rs 106; Place: 42; 38; Quinella: 399; Tanala: 6,212. Fav: Asprilla (1).

4. M. Dhalla Plate 1,200m: (1-7-2) Infuriate (Shelar) 1; Winning Times 2; Zaka 3. Won by: 5-1/2; 1-3/4; (1-15.8). Tote: Win Rs 39; Place: 14; 16; 13; Quinella: 67; Tanala: 238. Fav: Winning Times (7).

5. Bay Of Treasure Trophy 1,200m: (2-4-6) Gulmohor (Chauhan) 1; Majestic Hills 2; Cozumel 3. Won by: 5; Hd; (1-15). Tote: Win Rs 39; Place: 13; 11; 12; Quinella: 23; Tanala: 114. Fav: Majestic Hills (4).

6. Air Wolf Plate 1,600m: (2-5-1) Waleshan (Kamlesh) 1; Tim Tom 2; Mujahedin 3. Won by: 3-1/2; Nk; (1-43.4). Tote: Win Rs 54; Place: 27; 16; Quinella: 91; Tanala: 869. Fav: Tim Tom (5).

7. S. Mody Stakes 1,800m: (5-1-2) Viking (Prakash) 1; Backburn Rocket 2; Dominant Force 3. Won by: 2; 3-3/4; (1-55 � Record). Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 12; 23; Quinella: 34; Tanala: 78. Fav: Viking (5).

Jackpot: Rs 15,797; (C) Rs 1,866.

Treble: (i) Rs 1,527; (ii) Rs 256.    


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