Count on our support, BCCI conveys to Kapil
Paes, Siemerink to stick together for entire year
Dipendu Biswas left without a club
Inter-college meet from today, 12 teams in fray
Aussie coach for city clinic

Calcutta, May 9 
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has unofficially �conveyed� to Kapil Dev that he shun thoughts of stepping down as national coach.

Even if it is for just the May 28-June 8 Asia Cup, in Dhaka, India�s first engagement after the most damaging scandal to have hit cricket.

�It�s not necessary that we make an announcement, though something could be said after the working committee meeting in New Delhi (May 19)... In any case, Kapil has already been told not to �run away�, that he should count on our support,� a top BCCI official told The Telegraph this evening.

While Kapil hasn�t specifically said he will be unavailable (for Dhaka), he himself triggered speculation by remarking: �As of now, I�m looking to the Cup probables� camp (in Pune from May 15-24)... I would like to talk to all the boys first, before saying anything else. For me, the boys have always come first. That won�t ever change.�

That was last Saturday and, significantly, Kapil hasn�t commented since.

In the interregnum, though, Kapil is understood to have spoken to two very influential BCCI members/officials and boteverh let it be known he isn�t isolated.

Indian cricket, however, will be better served if the BCCI formally declares support for Kapil � who, at the moment, is only at the centre of a sensational allegation � instead of merely �lifting morale,� as described by a source.

Unusually, few have jumped to Kapil�s defense. That they are sick of this Manoj Prabhakar business could be a factor, but this silence hasn�t gone unnoticed.

Among the big guns, only Bishan Bedi has spoken up for Kapil. Typically, very strongly �- but, then, Bedi�s always been a players� man.

In a signed article the other day, Bedi wrote: �Kapil will now live with this guilt until proved innnocent, which is an enormous tragedy really... As a former International, I would like to assure Kapil of all moral backing of cricketers, who must come on a common platform and rid the game of non-cricketing entities.�

To return to Kapil, it�s possible he may himself make a more definite announcement, before the Pune camp.

After all, his breaking down during the recording of BBC�s Hardtalk India interview (to be telecast tomorrow night) hasn�t been well received. Pulling out of the Asia Cup could send off even more �wrong� signals.

Incidentally, Inderjit Singh Bindra�s �Prabhakar-gave-me-Kapil�s-name� should dominate the May 19 meeting.

Fireworks, of course, may not be at a premium: Bindra is expected to be present in person, representing the Punjab Cricket Association, of which he is president-for-life.    

Calcutta, May 9 
There are eight more months and three Grand Slams to go in the year. But, unless there is a dramatic change in the thought-process of two-time Grand Slam champions Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, the two superstars are unlikely to play together on Tour in the year 2000.

Despite Bhupathi rejoining the Tour after five months, he and Paes played at the same tournament last week (Orlando) with different partners. The Calcuttan joined forces with Dutch Jan Siemerink and went on to win his maiden Tour title of the year. The Bangalore boy, pairing with Aussie Wayne Arthurs, lost a close match in the second round.

While Paes has been forced to skip the Italian Open and next week�s Jerusalem Challenger due to a minor knee problem, Bhupathi has already lined up different partners till the French Open. He�ll play with Mark Knowles in Rome and Hamburg, while Mark Kratzmann and David Prinosil will be his partners in St Poelten and the French Open.

Bhupathi�s Wimbledon options are still open, but it doesn�t seem as if he and Paes will have a shot at retaining tennis� most coveted title.

Though Dr Vece Paes said the two will decide �in a day or two� whether to resume their association this year, The Telegraph has learnt that Leander has made up his mind on continuing with his successful partnership with Siemerink for the rest of 2000.

Paes will, however, continue teaming up with Bhupathi in the Davis Cup and Olympics.

The optimist will still be hopeful, but this could well be the end of the road for two of Indian sport�s most successful stars. What had been simmering for the past 15 months now seems to have taken the most dreaded turn.

Even as the disgraceful match-fixing episode threatens to ruin cricket, Indian tennis has been hit hard by the �unfixing� of a fairytale which started four years ago.    

Calcutta, May 9 
India striker Dipendu Biswas is �looking for a club� for the forthcoming football season. The United Breweries (UB) Group embargo on transfer of players between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, subject to a payment of transfer fee Rs 10 lakh per player, has put Dipendu in a spot.

In a faxed message to UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya today, Dipendu has appealed to bail him out of the impasse over his inter-club transfer.

Dipendu, with Mohun Bagan till last season, had intended to switch over to East Bengal this year and reached an agreement with the club. But the subsequent decisions over player transfer following the clubs� meetings with UB group has left him in the lurch.

East Bengal have returned his token and are showing no further interest in him. �They�re obviously not interested in paying the transfer fee and then again make a further payment to the player,� he said. Mohun Bagan have also turned a deaf ear to his requests.

�It may please be noted that at this juncture no club is showing any interest in me, though I had prepared myself mentally to play for East Bengal. Therefore, I shall have no alternative but to try my luck outside the country if East Bengal do not take me. But I am not keen on leaving my country,� the letter to Mallya said.

�Under the circumstances, without finding any other way, I appeal to your gracious self to kindly accord your necessary permission and allow me to play for East Bengal this year, considering my future and for my mental peace,� he concluded.    

Calcutta, May 9 
Twelve teams will participate in the all-India inter-college tennis meet at High Court Club courts. The five-day meet begins tomorrow.

The tournament, which will be played on a two doubles and a singles format, will have a total prize money of Rs 25,000, with the winner bagging Rs 10,000.

The teams will be divided into two groups of six each. The top two will qualify for the semi-finals. Osmania University is the only outstation team.

Women�s soccer

Bengal V beat IFA President�s V 3-1 in a women�s soccer exhibition match on the occasion of Khelar Mela at Rabindra Sarobar. In another tie, Paradip Carbon defeated WB State Council of sports 5-1.    

Calcutta, May 9 
For 10 top-ranked Indian tennis players, intensive world-class training will be available in the city, albeit for a short period.

Chrish Kachel, the head tennis coach of Australian Institute of Sports, will conduct an eight-day camp at the Jaidip Mukerjea Tennis Academy in Salt Lake beginning May 28. The camp is being jointly organised by the Academy and All India Tennis Association.

Kachel will help players like Prahlad Srinath, Syed Fazaluddin and Sourav Panja hone their skills. He is currently in charge of the Australian Junior Development Programme and has coached players like Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt. Kachel will be assisted by Chiradip Mukerjea, a former Davis Cupper who now coaches in Australia.

Also joining the camp will be Vishal Uppal, Vijay Kannan, Mustafa Ghouse, Rohan Boppanna, Vinod Sridhar, Manoj Mahadevan and Vinod Sewa.

The Bengal Tennis Association has been asked to send a few players to the camp, the main objective of which is to prepare players for the Indian satellite circuit beginning end of this month..    


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