Bagan surrender in Dipendu case
Test status not an end in itself: BCB chief
Chiranjit, Sarabi best
Inter-school regatta begins Saturday
Bridge meet
Barrier Ridge for CM�s Cup
Antwerp strikes

Calcutta, June 10 
Mohun Bagan have thrown up their hands and surrendered in the scandalous case of Dipendu Biswas that had left the star attacker in vitrtual limbo. In a letter to their �sponsors�, the UB Group, Mohun Bagan have said that they are washing their hands off the player and even waiving the Rs 10 lakh transfer fee that was part of the clamour in the issue.

In a clear case of pressure from the UB Group, which justifiably was perturbed at such a petty issue being blown out of proportion, club secretary Anjan Mitra has written to Vijay Mallya, chairman of the UB Group and chairman of United Mohun Bagan Football Team Pvt. Ltd, saying: � is agonising to note that you are being drawn into the affair where the monetary involvement is substantially less.�

The letter goes on to say that the secretary does not wish the chairman�s image �unnecessarily maligned.� The letter says: �I, therefore, wish to let you know that our club has decided to abide by any decision of the East Bengal Club which it may take in this matter. We are also ready to waive Dibyendu�s (sic) transfer fee if it helps to improve the situation.�

Dipendu�s token, that East Bengal had taken and then returned, wil have some value on the market, after all.

Soccer transfers

East Bengal gained the most today in the IFA inter-club transfers for this season. Bijen Singh, Carlton Chapman and Isiaka signed for East Bengal.Gautam Ghosh of Tollygunge Agragami signed on to Mohun Bagan in the cream of the transfers.

IFA league

Ever-Ready today beat Bowbazar YMU 2-0, with S.P. Rout and S. Majumder scoring in their IFA league first division group B engagement. Aikya Sammelani and Victoria SC shared two goals, Fyaz Alam scoring for the former and Ashok Das for the latter. Sporting Union beat Milan samity 2-0, Surendra Das scoring both, while Muslim Institute and Taltala Institute shared four goals.    

Two Saber Hossain Chowdhury qualities stand out: The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president is articulate and never short on enthusiasm. Chowdhury, a minister in the Shiekh Hasina government, is nowadays even more into overdrive. Obviously, he is excited about Bangladesh probably being just days away from Test status. Incidentally, Chowdhury is himself an ICC director � he sits on the Executive Board. He spoke to The Telegraph Thursday in Dhaka.

Following are excerpts

On the BCB�s plans should Test status be granted later this month (at the ICC�s AGM)

Focus on the grassroots � getting Test status won�t be an end in itself. Rather, it will be a means to an end: Emerging a top-ranking cricket nation by 2010. For that, obviously, we�ll have to pay special attention to the grassroots. We�ve drawn up plans.

In a nutshell, we won�t stay the No. 10 nation any longer than circumstances demand. Also, as we wish to host the 2011 World Cup � assuming Asia gets it � everything has to be in place by 2010. It�s going to be tough, but we won�t be found wanting.

On the grassroots-specific plans

Having six regional bodies, with the BCB at the apex, has been part of this exercise. Cricket, in Bangladesh, won�t any longer just be centered around the BCB in Dhaka. We�ve already appointed development officers for each of the six regions (Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi and Sylhet).

Specifically, we�ll be looking at three age-groups: 6-11 (Cub Cricket); 12-15 (Tiger Cricket) and 16-19 � the most promising in the latter category will graduate to our Academy at the BKSP (some 30 kms from the heart of Dhaka). Sponsors for Cub and Tiger cricket have been lined up.

As we see it, focussing on the 6-11 age-group will ensure maximum participation. The next age-group is basically to �retain� those who have already got interested. The process of graduating will begin from there.

On whether the plans are totally indigenous

(Smiles) We�ve looked at the South African model. We�ve also looked at the structure in Australia... Eddie Barlow, our director of development, has had a big role... He�s currently not with us (recovering from a stroke) but, hopefully, he�ll be back in two months.

Actually, the BCB will also be focussing on the development of coaches and umpires. Infrastructure and administration, too... We�re working towards an agreement with South Africa, while one with Australia is almost in place. The interaction with both, quite clearly, will cover all fronts.

On the role TV, specially, could play

I�ll be happy if there�s an exclusive channel for cricket... I know that�s not impossible. We have the Bangladesh Cricket Development Fund, which is a trust, in place. The Fund itself may get involved.

The BCB, incidentally, will soon have its website � in English and Bengali. There will be a coaching segment.

On plans for the present national side

We intend offering contracts to 18-20 players. That�s going to be a first. Again, for the first time, the players will undergo off-season training under the supervision of our South African physio (Gavin Benjifield)... A debate is on whether we should pull those 18-20 players out of the Dhaka (club-level) league... They will, then, be exclusive to the BCB.

The BCB intends imparting specialised coaching and, keeping that in mind, we�ve been negotiating with top-bracket former players. For reasons of continuity and more, we won�t be looking at 10-15 day camps only. Also, the sooner Barlow rejoins the better. That he is progressing well is terrific news.

On Bangladesh�s plans after the mini-World Cup (Kenya, early October)

Things are on hold till the ICC takes a decision... If we get Test status, then we�ll be focussing on our inaugural Test. You�ll agree that will be a momentous occasion. Except England, the other eight Test-playing nations are committed to supporting us...

Nowadays, the ICC�s criteria for awarding Test status is there in black-and-white... Significantly, the ICC�s inspection committee came twice and returned satisfied.

On speculation that either India or Pakistan could feature in that inaugural Test

(Laughs) We�ll think of it after the ICC decision. The BCB, though, is flattered with the feelers...

[Indications are the BCB may turn diplomatic and opt for a team outside the sub-continent.]

On sponsorship

Thus far, our national team has had ad-hoc sponsors (a TV channel during the Asia Cup) but, really, sponsorship isn�t going to be a problem.

Finally, on the huge emotional build-up to possibly being days away from Test status

As it was with independence, something like this comes just once in the life of a nation. Winning the ICC Trophy (1997) was a big event, so too defeating Pakistan in the last World Cup... But, really, Test status will be...

(Emotionally) In time, I�m sure people will ask what were you doing the day Bangladesh got Test status? Three decades ago, people had the same question � the occasion, of course, being different.

Floods, droughts, natural calamities... Bangladesh keeps making negative headlines. With Test status, things should be different; Bangladesh will be seen differently. Sadly, we don�t excel in any sphere. We intend doing so in cricket.    

Calcutta, June 10 
Chiranjit Chowdhury and Sarabi Mondal today won the sub-junior boys� and sub-junior girls� titles at the CLT table tennis meet.

In the finals, Chiranjit beat Soumya Nandy 21-17, 21-13, while Sarabi got the better of Riya Das Gupta 21-23, 21-13, 21-19. In the cadet boys� category Kankajit Mondal beat Anirban Roy Chowdhury 21-15, 21-19.    

Calcutta, June 10 
The Servo 27th inter-school regatta gets underway at The Lake Club course in Rabindra Sarobar on June 17. Forty eight schools comprising 60 crews are in fray this year, and organisers say it�s the biggest event of its kind in Asia.

They will be competing for four titles � senior and junior boys�, and senior and junior girls � while their are the two Fair Play trophies up for grabs as well. The finals come off on June 24.

The meet, launched in 1973 to �catch them young� has now earned a niche of its own in the country�s rowing calendar. It has also produced several junior internationals in addition to the many who have gone on to don state colours.

Aquatics camp

A coaching camp is being organised by the Bengal Amateur Swimming Association to select squads for the junior and sub-junior national aquatic meets to be held in Berilly (UP) from June 23-17 and from June 18-21, respectively.

The swimming coach is Anil Das Gupta for sub-juniors and Biswajit Dey Chowdhury for juniors.

The diving coach is Tarak Nath Hait. The men�s waterpolo coach is Benoy Das, while Tapan Malakar will coach the women�s waterpolo team.    

Calcutta, June 10 
The Shree Cement Open bridge championship will be organised by the south Calcutta unit of the West Bengal Bridge Association from Saturday.

The championship, carrying prize-money worth Rs 55,000, opens with the Pairs qualifying Saturday and the Teams qualifying the day after � both at Bhowanipore Education Society Hall.    

Bangalore, June 10 
The 1,200m Chief Minister�s Cup, a terms affair for four-year-olds and upwards, may provide an interesting finish as most of the nine runners in the field seem to have an equal chance of winning. The current form, however, points to the chances of Barrier Ridge. Brahm Prakash partners the Jim Foley-trainee.


2 pm: The Ghost 1. Cormac 2. Al Bashir 3.

2.30 pm: Sinister Minister 1. Obsession 2. Kingston Heath 3.

3 pm: Chilling 1. Wandering Warrior 2. Spark 3.

3.30 pm: Psychedelic 1. Resist The Force 2. Contour 3.

4 pm: Barrier Ridge 1. Tempt Me Not 2. Holy Heights 3.

4.30 pm: Almaz 1. Oser 2. Placid Ark 3.

5 pm: Interface 1. Boss Tweed 2. Catch Word 3.

5.30 pm: Allocate 1. Star Blitz 2. Acharya 3.

Day�s Best: Sinister Minister Double: Chilling & Allocate.    

Aslam Kader guided Antwerp to a start-to-finish victory in the Stewards Cup in Bangalore on Saturday.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Buck Passer Plate, Div-II 1,100m: (1-7-3) Adjure Syndic (Bhati) 1; Soap Opera 2; Dancer�s Dream 3. Not run: Impala (6). Won by: 1-1/4; 2-1/4; (1-10.7). Tote: Win Rs 21; Place: 14; 11; 25; Quinella: 24; Tanala: 249. Fav: Soap Opera (7). (Note: The winner survived objection lodged by the rider of second placed horse).

2. Guindy Plate, Div-II 1,400m: (9-1-5) Predominate (Woods) 1; Chippo 2; Clinton�s Pet 3. Won by: 5; 3/4; (1-31.3). Tote: Win Rs 119; Place: 29; 35; 28; Quinella: 768; Tanala: 7,699. Fav: Make No Mistake (10).

3. Buck Passer Plate, Div-I 1,100m: (4-6-9) Al Habib (Shafiq) 1; Code Word 2; Lock Wood 3. Not run: Sine Mora (1). Won by: 3-3/4; 5-1/2; (1-8.8). Tote: Win Rs 18; Place: 12; 12; 13; Quinella: 24; Tanala: 52. Fav: Al Habib (4).

4. Pratap Stud Plate 1,200m: (5-1-6) King�s Star (Rakesh) 1; Own Legacy 2; Bank Of Promise 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 2; (1-15.8). Tote: Win Rs 66; Place: 19; 13; 57; Quinella: 92; Tanala: 2,616. Fav: Own Legacy (1).

5. Stewards Cup 1,800m: (7-4-5) Antwerp (Kader) 1; Mount Rose 2; Astronautics 3. Won by: 4; 4-1/2; (1-52.8). Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 12; 18; 18; Quinella: 33; Tanala: 132. Fav: Antwerp (7).

6. Sir M. Visvesvaraya Memorial Cup 1,200m: (8-13-15) Royal Power (A. Imran K.) 1; Princelene 2; Hot Property 3. Won by: 3/4; 1-3/4; (1-16.1). Tote: Win Rs 44; Place: 18; 29; 126; Quinella; 130; Tanala: 4,913. Fav: Tricon (2).

7. Galilee Plate 1,400m: (2-9-4) Altazano (Kader) 1; Desert Gold 2; Melodeon 3. Won by: 1/2; 1-1/2; (1-29.6). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 13; 15; 25; Quinella: 40; Tanala: 160. Fav: Altazano (2).

8. Guindy Plate, Div-I 1,400m: (4-8-7) Sinatra (Samad) 1; Silk Petals 2; Recapitulation 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 2-1/2; (1-31.3). Tote: Win Rs 45; Place: 18; 18; 17; Quinella: 134; Tanala: 556. Fav: Sinatra (4).

Jackpot: Rs 5,230; (C) Rs 202.

Treble: (i) Rs 1,777; (ii) Rs 258.    


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