No follow-on was team decision, says Sachin
Early Dipendu goal takes EB to final
Four lead after Round 6
AAAWB felicitates athletes
Artwork may come good

Calcutta, July 7 
Manoj Prabhakar�s �open� letter to Sachin Tendulkar could find greater acceptance than his Kapil Dev-specific allegation, but Sachin isn�t game on shouldering the (additional) responsibility Prabhakar wishes to saddle him with.

As part of his free-Indian-cricket-from-match-fixing drive, Prabhakar has called upon Sachin to come clean over not enforcing the follow-on � admittedly, a highly debatable decision -� in the Ahmedabad Test (versus New Zealand) late last year.

This morning, however, Sachin insisted it was a �team decision,� knocking for a six Prabhakar�s claim that his (Sachin�s) intended move � that of enforcing the follow-on, with the luxury of a 275-run lead � had been reversed.

Prabhakar�s source is �Board secretary Jaywant Lele� but, then, Lele can be relied upon to issue one more denial.

Of course, in making his point, Prabhakar appears to be hinting at a Kapil-hand, but the national coach dismissed that contemptuously.

Contacted by The Telegraph in New Delhi, in the afternoon, Kapil acidly asked: �Who is this Prabhakar? I don�t know him and, therefore, don�t wish to talk about him.�

Just as bitingly, Kapil continued: �You�re talking of an �open� letter... Well, I�m not into reading them. In any case, as I�ve said, yeh Prabhakar kaun hai?�

Speaking exclusively from Mumbai, Sachin said: �Not enforcing the follow-on wasn�t decided by one or two people. It was, as I�ve said, a team decision...�

Sachin initially wasn�t willing to react (�Look, Manoj hasn�t spoken to me personally...�), but went on to say: �If you remember, two of our players were indisposed (Ajay Jadeja and Devang Gandhi). Then, having already bowled over 140 overs in the first innings, the bowlers were dead tired. On that wicket and in those conditions, to have again asked them to...�

Sachin added: �Also, as we were one-up in the three-Test series (by winning in Kanpur), we wanted to make sure New Zealand didn�t even have a sniffing chance to draw level in what was the last Test.

�As it turned out, New Zealand lost only two wickets (second innings) in the 95 overs we ended up bowling... As I was the captain then, I�m only clarifying the position. I don�t wish to either start or fan a controversy.�

[Incidentally, at the post-match Media conference, Sachin had observed: �It was a wicket to practice on, not play a Test. I don�t think even the next five days would have produced a (decisive) result.�]

But even if Sachin�s response may disappoint Prabhakar, he could himself have presented the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) with one more �angle� to explore.

Having seemingly reached a dead-end on the Rs 25-lakh inducement probe, the CBI may try and unearth something from this latest Prabhakar twist.

Though Sachin has steered clear of the biggest scandal to hit cricket, he did remark: �Yes, as a cricketer I�ll be happy if, at the end of it all, the game is allowed to move on.�

While Sachin is pleased with the current break, rare as it is, the past few weeks have still been very demanding.

�My mother-in-law (Annabel Mehta) suffered a brain haemorrhage and had to be hospitalised... She has just been discharged... Then, the kids (Sara and Arjun) haven�t been keeping too well, either. One has, therefore, been running around...�

Sachin has been off actual cricket for over a month, but he hasn�t been skipping workouts in the gym. �I�ll start training once the weather clears � generally, it�s been pouring buckets in Mumbai,� Sachin pointed out.

The former captain�s break will end July 29, when he leads the Asia XI in a John Major-organised fund-raiser at The Oval in London.    

Calcutta, July 7 
The champions walked out of the McDowell Cup today, beaten 0-1 by East Bengal. For East Bengal it was a lazy win, moving into the final via an 11th minute Dipendu Biswas strike.

That apart, it was a day of lethargic soccer, despite Tollygunge Agragami today actually coming out of their defensive shelter, deciding to do some attacking instead. East Bengal missed many opportunities, so did Tollygunge, with the crosspiece coming in the way more than once.

Last year, in the final, East Bengal had lost via the tie-breaker to Tollygunge Agragami. Today�s was a different team. Wishfully adventurous in spirit, but woefully lazy in flesh. Virtually ditto for East Bengal, except that there was this sudden presence of Jackson Egygopong (who arrived only yesterday), and that made the goal.

It was in the 11th minute that Jackson grabbed a pass from Isiaka Awoemy and sent a centre to the goalmouth. Dipendu had just to tap it in, with even goalkeeper Hemanta Dora out of charge. Dipendu did.

The crowd was about a mere 3,000, with just a few vocal chords overstraining. Not that they had much to cheer about, but it could have been interesting, with Anit Ghosh pushed up to midfield. Yet, Andriy Malchevsky�s sorry performance made the frontline a disaster. That stood out stark, too, with Tollygunge often leaving wide gaps in defence.

Malchevsky did take a pot shot, from 30 yards in the 27th minute, but it went straight to the �keeper.

Down by a goal Tollygunge threw a lot of stick back, and Shasthi Duley�s shot from close came off the cross piece in the 15th minute.

Dipendu shot wide from close, before Sur Kumar Singh�s 40-yard volley came off the crosspiece, and then, off a collision with Satyabrata Bhowmick, Malchevsky hurt his knee and went out. He could be out for some time.

Shasthi was at it again, in the 36th minute, but his tip, and Bhabani Mohanty�s tap was tipped over by goalkeeper Shanti Mazumdar.

No new gameplan evolved with the change of ends. Each sort of stood around waiting for the other to err. The pace slowed further and soccer was dreary. Tollygunge were already forming into defensive groups, happy with what they did achieve.

In the 52nd minute a Seikh Sanjib header off an Isiaka pass came off the crosspiece. Then Felix sent a header off target, with Shanti out of charge.

The whimper at the end was palpable.

Form favours Bagan

Mohammedan Sporting, craving for a comeback to the spotlight, take on Mohun Bagan in the second semi-final of the McDowell Cup tomorrow.

All form books will point to a Mohun Bagan victory, but the recent run by the National League champions has left much to be desired, and coach Subrata Bhattacharya has been anything but pleased with that.

Mohammedan Sporting, on the other hand, have everything to gain, especially a trophy on the horizon too. Understandably, it could be a tough tussle, and it is to be seen how Bagan�s two Brazilian forwards shape up to the Abdul Khaliques and the Kasif Jamals.    

Guwahati, July 7 
Overnight leaders Yambem Dhanavir Singh of De Regina English High School, Imphal, and Lairengjam Mahesh Singh of Adimjati Little English School, Imphal, drew their high-voltage duel in the sixth round of The Telegraph Schools Chess Championship at the ABITA Centenary Indoor Hall here today.

Yambem and Lairengjam thus shared the lead along with Moirangthem Shanta Singh and Rajib Dhar with five-and-a-half points each.

Half-a-point behind them were Khumukchum Bhubon Singh, Gurumayum Inao Sharma, Irengem Sanajaoba Singh and Rustom Roktim Dutta. All won their matches today.

The Yambem-Lairengjam top board game petered out to a tame draw in just 23 moves of the Ruy Lopez opening.

Moirangthem of Chingdompok High School, Imphal relegated Raju Loukrakpam of Thambaljao High School, Imphal in the early-pawn-advance variation of the French defence (1.e4-e6 2.d4-d5 3.e5�c5 4.c3-Nc6-Nf6).

Playing white, Raju lost the tempo in the opening when he played his bishop from d3 to c2 on the seventh move. Seizing the initiative, Moirangthem trained his rook on the queen bishop file which was to open up after the exchange of pawn in the centre.

As white castled on the eighth move, black made a calculated retreat of the queen from b6 to c7 to further build up pressure on the queen bishop file. White developed his other bishop 9.Be3...and black triggered off the pawn exchange in the centre 9...c5xd4 10.c3xd4 Nxe5 winning a central pawn as the move uncorked the attack on white�s bishop on c2.

Black pawns had got control of the central squares by the 35th move, but Moirangthem left his king on a vulnerable square of the shattered fort. Raju delivered his rival�s king a check with queen 39.Qe6+ after which black lost a pawn on e4.

Though black had a opening on the queen file, Raju could not manoeuvre his queen skillfully to blockade the advancing pawn.

On table No.3, Rajib Dhar of Netaji Vidyapeeth Railway Higher Secondary School, Maligaon outplayed Sashanka Singh of Nichol�s High School, Guwahati in a rook and pawn ending resulting from the Phildor�s defence. Rajib deviated from the book moves in the opening and allowed his opponent an edge, but Sashanka did not have clue about how to exploit the space advantage.

In the later stage of the game, Rajib played like a computer to set up a dour defence.

Rajib�s wait-and-watch tactics wore down Sashanka as he could not resist giving black�s king a check with his queen from a7 in order to pick up a pawn on a6 with the support of his rook.

On table No.4, the match between Sibananda Singh of Ranipur High School, Silchar and Chirnojit Saha of Umakanta Academy, Agartala was drawn in 51 moves of the popular Guico Piano opening.    

Calcutta, July 7 
The Amateur Athletic Association, West Bengal today toasted the outstanding performance of the state�s squads at athletic meeting last season.

Also felicitated at the simple function, on the lawns of the kabaddi association tent were AAFI vice-president Arun Banerjee and treasurer Bibek Lahiri and Debashis Banerjee, who has been elected as joint-secretary of the Bengal Olympic Association.

Kenneth Naow Bosen, the latest Dronacharya award winner in athletics, is being presented with a purse of Rs 50,000. Bosen is now at the India camp in Patiala.

The AAAWB will soon have its own tent on the Maidan on the southern fringes of the University ground.


National under-22 meet (Imphal, Dec 2 & 3, 1999): Overall champions, women�s champions Men: Arup Chatterjee, Sk Shamsher, Rafiqul Islam, Arabinda Das, Krishnendu Mondal, Sujoy Paul, Shankar Biswas. Women: Sumana Mondal, Dipa Das, Sabita Biswas, Sutapa Das, Sarbani Roy, Dipa Roy, Poly Paul, Lucy Deshmukh, Pampa Chanda, Ratna Naskar, Kalpana Das, Sabita Mondal, Sulochana Barik, Rinku Sadhukhan, Bandita Pandey, Anju Kumari Sharma, Mukti Saha. Coach: Arjun Sarkar. Managers: Amal Kabiraj, Abha Biswas. Assistant manager: Madan Barik.

Federation Cup cross-country (Ooty. Feb 27, 2000): Women�s champions in 8 km The team: Rina Das, Kankana Nath, Shipra Sen, Rupali Chanda, Jaba Dam, Radhamoni. Coach: Purabi Das. Manager: Asish Sengupta.

6th Federation Cup (Lucknow. March 2000) Women�s champions: The athletes: Saraswati Dey, K. Jibeshwari Debi, Debi Bose, Soma Biswas, Manisha Dey, Manisha Mondal, Banani Biswas. Coach: Sushanta Sinha. Manager: Anuva Roychowdhury.

Cricket �webcast�

Web surfers will for the first time be able to watch live cricket action when the ongoing tri-series in Sri Lanka is �webcast� on The live commantary can be heard on South Africa, Pakistan and hosts Sri Lanka are participating in the tournament.

According to a media release of Homeland Network, the company has struck a deal with the Lankan cricket board and Sony Entertainment Television.    

Bangalore, July 7 
Artwork starts her summer campaign tomorrow. Judiciously prepared by Darius Byramji since her well erned rest following the Mysore and the Calcutta 1000 Guineas triumph, the four-year-old filly with Cristopher Alford in the saddle looks good to begin the season on a winning note in the 1,200m H. B. Gundappa Gowda Memorial Cup, the main attraction in the card.

The Razeen-Regal Grace daughter will, however, come up against stiff opposition from Barrier Ridge, Minoan, Devonlock and Golden Fisher all noted sprinters. But going by her form as evidenced by his blazing gallops, she should kick home.


2 pm: Daiimio 1. Pleasantville 2. Paris Lights 3.

2.30 pm: King�s Common 1. Royal Crichton 2. Cliff Side 3.

3 pm: Altenburg 1. Wandering Warrior 2. Shearwalk 3.

3.30 pm: Northern Frontier 1. Sinister Minister 2. Carpediem 3.

4 pm: Artwork 1. Minoan 2. Devonlock 3.

4.30 pm: Daggers Drawn 1. Kingston Heath 2. Atomic Fusion 3.

5 pm: Good Win 1. Narvar 2. Royal Castle 3.

5.30 pm: Melodeon 1. Great Eastern 2. Way To The Stars 3.

Day�s Best: King�s Common Double: Northern Frontier & Daggers Drawn.    


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