Kapil Dev wishes to leave with head high
Error-prone EB strike once
George Telegraph hold SBT 1-1
Bobby, Gulab, Sunita
US, Italy look set for semis berths
League format needs to be altered
Alyssum may make it five-in-a-row
Track trials

Calcutta, Sept.5: 
It�s been more than a fortnight since Kapil Dev left it to the Board to �decide� whether he should continue as national coach.

The Board, for its part, has used this period to send multiple signals Kapil�s way. Basically, that he should quit.

It�s been humiliating.

The question, then, is: Why isn�t Kapil quitting? Why is he allowing his image to suffer further dents?

Of course, any Kapil-specific balance sheet (as coach) won�t make for very pleasant reading, but the issue today unfortunately isn�t just about performance.

If anything, Kapil�s recent troubles have given some within the Board an opportunity to �settle� scores.

Not many, after all, are genuinely comfortable interacting with somebody high-profile in a top slot. Somebody actually seen as a potential threat.

Even the slightest misfortune, therefore, is greeted with glee. It�s been no different in the dealings of some, within the Board, with Kapil.

Kapil himself isn�t willing to speak �- �Not at this stage... I have no comments to offer,� he told The Telegraph this evening �- but a couple of confidants have been pretty forthcoming.

Apparently, Kapil has made up his mind to leave, but won�t himself make an announcement till there�s a clean chit, for instance, from the Income Tax.

As for the Board, president A.C.Muthiah is expected to �act� later this week. Perhaps, the day he returns from Dubai after the Asian Cricket Council/Asian Cricket Foundation meeting.

�To quit now, more so after the developments of the past few days, would seem like an admission of guilt. Kapil doesn�t wish to go out tainted; he actually wants to leave with head held high,� explained a confidant, who wished to be anonymous.

But what if the clean-chit, which Kapil is banking on, gets delayed and doesn�t leave him the option of quitting?

The confidant insisted Kapil isn�t losing sleep over that possibility.

�He has gone through hell... Manoj Prabhakar�s bizarre allegation, the raids in July and, then, feelers from the Board that he step down... Kapil believes nothing worse can happen.

�Kapil has reached a stage where he couldn�t be too bothered. If the Board doesn�t wish to wait (for a report from government agencies), it�s okay with him. At this point of time, Kapil probably feels it won�t make any difference whether he quits or not. Yes, he is quiet now, but may not be so forever...

�I�m certain, for example, Kapil has strong views on the Board officials who�ve been raided... His own conscience isn�t pricking him and Kapil is hopeful of being cleared by the investigative bodies. Of being able to re-claim much of the izzat lost...�

Another confidant who, too, didn�t want to be identified dismissed as �rubbish� that Kapil would make an issue of his having been appointed for two years �- till September 2001, that is.

�Kapil is unlikely to even broach that point if there�s another meeting between him and Muthiah. That�s no issue. What Kapil will surely talk about is the manner in which he has been treated. There are a million ways of effecting changes gracefully.

�If it comes to that, Kapil won�t be the first coach to be sacked. He won�t be the last either. In any case, today Kapil is far tougher in the mind than most people believe he is.

�For five years after retiring (1994), Kapil focussed entirely on his business. I think he�s now prepared to take guard afresh there, after a year of priorities elsewhere.�

Meanwhile, Board sources maintain former New Zealand captain John Wright (currently coaching Kent) is favoured to succeed Kapil.

A stop-gap arrangement, though, could see the return of Aunshuman Gaekwad, Kapil�s predecessor.    

Calcutta, Sept. 5: 

Bijen Singh�s 75th-minute strike may have ensured a happy ending to East Bengal�s story of missed chances this afternoon, but a 1-0 win over BNR is hardly the IFA Shield launch their fans were looking for after the �high� of clinching the Super Division crown.

On a treacherous turf at the Salt Lake Stadium, the red-and-gold brigade must have come away with some sort of a record for the number of gilt-edged opportunities they squandered.

On seven occasions an East Bengal player had come into a one-on-one situation with the BNR goalkeeper, and on three of these the player was actually in the six-yard box. Then there were at least four occasions when players shot out from inside the penalty box after a clear look at goal.

The BNR goalkeepers, and substitute Pradip Louha in particular, did butt in with some fine saves, but it was still one incredible tale of inefficiency in front of the goal. Dipendu Biswas, East Bengal�s top striker, could only watch as he sat out with an ankle injury.

BNR must, of course, be given some credit for some timely tackles and it was ironical that when they did fall it was because of some horrible defending.

Dipankar Roy�s curling cross from the right looked innocuous enough, till communications broke between goalkeeper Louha and right-back Partha Saha and Bijen slipped through to nod in unhindered.

Louha, who otherwise had a great game, should have come out for the cross for it was in the air for a long, long time. Louha is not a very tall man, and that probably had something to do with his decision to stay rooted to the goalline. Saha could have made it a little a more difficult for Bijen had he kept an eye on him.

It was such a one-sided game that BNR came upon just one real chance �� that too when, 24 minutes into the second session, Jackson slipped and substitute Subhashis Chakraborty found himself running towards goal. He took so much time over it that, when he took the shot, Jackson had run back to block it.

Another measure of East Bengal�s domination were the ten corners they forced. BNR got none.

Both teams started without some of their regulars, BNR to �try out something new� and East Bengal to rest them. Coach Nayeem complained about �too much football� after the match.


EAST BENGAL: Sangram Mukherjee; Sur Kumar Singh, Dipak Mondal, Jackson Agyepong, Amandeep Singh; Carlton Chapman (Tushar Rakshit 35th), Isiaka Aowemy (Anit Ghosh 58th), Chandan Das, Dipankar Roy; Bijen Singh, Sheik Sanjib (Trijit Das 50th).

BNR: Arijit Mondal (Pradip Luha 46th); Partha Saha, Robin Chowdhury, Sandipan Das, Raja Guha Thakurta; Partha Mitra, Sudip Mondal, Bappa Naskar, Kamal Ghosh; Tulsi Rao (Mohammad Sahabuddin 68th), Swapan Das (Subhashis Chakraborty 56th).

Referee: Supriya Bhattacharya.    

Calcutta, Sept. 5: 
George Telegraph played their hearts out in their IFA Shield engagement today, but missed too many chances to finally give State Bank of Travancore a 1-1 deadlock.

It was the bank team that moved ahead, in the 27th minute, when an Ashif Shahir chip from the right went to the goalmouth and V. P. Saji volleyed home past �keeper Hasan Sahabuddin Mollah.

It came after a series of George attacks had been wasted within the first 15 minutes. Gourav Dutta failed to capitalise on a Kutubuddin Sepai centre and Jiju Jacob cleared quickly.

Misses followed off Swarup Chatterjee and Dipankar Chatterjee, both volleying into goalkeeper Feroz Sheriff from close.

These were the basic moves in the first half, with the visitors not being able to settle down.

The second half, too, was dominated by George. This did bring in the equaliser, but did not add further muscle to the local outfit�s outing.

In the 47th minute Dipankar lobbed from the left and the goalkeeper and Jacob both rushed out. The Swarup Chatterjee volley floated over the heads of both for the equaliser.

SBT coach Rajeev said problems were there because this was their first match of the season and that the team is yet to settle down into a unit. He also blamed the none-too-impressive ground condition at the Rabindra Sarovar Stadium.


SBT: Feroz Sheriff, Jiju Jacob, Martin C. Mathew, A. Sunil Kumar, Dipu Krishnan, Suresh Babu, L. M. Thomas, M. Nahas (Abdul Naushad), VP Saji, Shif Shahir, S Ignatious (Abdul Hakim).

GEORGE TELEGRAPH: Hasan Sahabuddin Mollah, Sukumar Mullick, Rajesh Passi, Sujit Neogi, Kutubuddin Sepai, Gourav Dutta, Snehangshu Rudra, Swarup Chatterjee, Arunava Sarkar, Dipankar Chatterjee (Ashis Das), Pratap Senapati (Lal Bhulaiya).

Referee: Gautam Sadhukhan.    

New Delhi, Sept. 5: 
Talented long distance runners Gulab Chand and Sunita Rani and high jumper Bobby Aloysius, a gold medallist at the recent Asian Track and Field Meet in Jakarta are some of the notable omissions from India�s squad of 24 athletes for the forthcoming Sydney Olympics.

The list was released today by the secretary of the Amateur Athletic Federation of India (AAFI) Lalit Bhanot. The provisional list of 33 sent to the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) has now been pruned, with 14 women and 10 men. Still, it is India�s largest ever contingent to any Olympic Games.

Lanky Anil Kumar in discus throw and the men�s 4x100 m relay squad get yet another chance to qualify for the Sydney Olympics. They will be on trial at the Nike Salwan international meet in Delhi on September 9.

Anil Kumar got a gold in discus at the ATF meet with a heave of 58.47 m, which was well below the qualifying standard of 62 m set by the AAFI. Anil�s personal best is 61.30 m. Chances of a good performance are bleak, because quality foreign competition in the Salwan meet is limited.

In the Jakrta meet the men�s 4x100 m relay squad came fourth as anchor sprinter Anil Kumar of Services could not run due to a muscle pull during the individual sprint. That gives this quartet another chance to qualify.

Bobby, who despite a long lay-off claimed gold in Jakarta with a leap of 1.83 m, is plain unlucky to be dropped.

Bhanot said she did not cross the qualifying standard (1.88m). Unlike others, Bobby has not been given another chance in the Salwan meet. The same is the fate of Gulab Chand, silver medallist in the 10,000 m in Jakarta.

The country�s long distance hope Sunita Rani has been omitted because of a stress fracture which, it is now felt, is unlikely to heal before the Olympics.

Bhanot justified the inclusion of Paramjit Singh in the 400 m indiviudal event (he finished fifth with a timing 45.82 in Jakarta) on the basis of past performance. He said Paramjit was a member of the Sydney-bound 4x400 m relay quartet, and so was being given a chance to show his mettle in the individual event also.

Anil Kumar in the 100 m, has a personal best of 10.21 which is below the qualifying norm of 10.16 seconds set by the AAFI. However, as he is India�s most consistent sprinter and has crossed the IAAF�s qualifying mark of 10.27, he is being sent to Sydney.

THE 24

MEN � 100m Anil Kumar (Services). 400m: Paramjit Singh (CRPF). Shot put: Shakti Singh (Rlys) and Bahadur Singh (Police) Javelin: Jagdish Kumar Bishnoi (Police). Long Jump: Sanjay Kumar Rai (Rlys). 4x400m relay: Paramjit SIngh, P. Ramachandran (Customs), Lijo David Thottan (Rlys), K.J. Manoj Lal (Rlys), K. Jata Shankar (Police).

WOMEN � 100m: Rachita Mistry (Rlys). 400m: K.M. Beenamol (Rlys) Discus: Neelam J. Singh (Rlys). Javelin: Gurmeet Kaur (LIC). Heptathlon: Soma Biswas (Rlys) and G.G. Pramila (Rlys). 4x100m relay: Rachita, Saraswati Dey (Rlys), Anuradha Biswal (Nelco), Vinita Tripathi (LIC), V. Jayalakshmi (Vijaya Bank). 4x400m relay: Beenamol, Paramjit Kaur (Income Tax), Manjima Kuriakose (CRPF), Jincy Philips (CRPF), Rosa Kutty (Rlys), Soma Biswas (Rlys).

OFFICIALS � Chief coach: Bahadur Singh. Coach 4x400m relay: Harbans Singh; Coach shot put & discus: Andrey Shurepov; Coach sprints & relays: Yuriy Ogordnik; Doctors: Yuri Boyko and Rakesh Kaushal; Masseur: Inna Zveryeva; Managers: A.K. Banerjee & M.L. Jadam.    

The US, Italy, England and Poland, look all set to reach the semi-finals of the Open series in the 11th World teams bridge Olympiad in Maastricht. At the end of Monday�s play �four sessions of the five-set quarter finals are over � the US took a seemingly-impregnable 62-imp lead over Austria, 176-114, winning all four sets of the day in what looks like a re-run of the 1988 Olympiad final. In the penultimate set of that final, the US had gained despite missing a cold grand as the Austrian declarer misplayed to go down in the grand.

In the penultimate set of Monday�s match, the Americans missed a cold slam but still recorded a gain as the Austrians climbed all the way to a grand, going down on a board where each pair in the other seven matches played in game or little slam.

In the most important match of the day, Italy also won all four sets to build a 59-imp lead, 177-118, over Brazil. In the third match, Poland won the first session against Iceland 68 imps to 4, but had the lead slashed to 33 imps, 153-120, when play ended around midnight. In the other quarter final, England look en route to pulling off an upset as they have taken a 42-imp lead, 158-116, over Norway. The latter lost the fourth set by 22 imps, by missing the slam on the board mentioned earlier and on another board where they went down in five clubs rather than playing in the cold no-trump or heart game.

In the women�s series, Germany dominated their match against China and are practically in the semis, having established an insurmountable lead of 111 imps, 202-91. Defending champion US, the other qualifying group-topper, is healthily placed against hosts Netherlands, ahead by 31 imps, 126 tso 95. The match was more-or-less even till the third set but then the Americans surged ahead with a 27-imp session, mainly by virtue of the same two gains that England recorded in their match against Norway in the Open.

Replicating these swings, Canada, down by 20 to South Africa after the first set, recovered to retire for the night with a 22-imp advantage, 136 to 114. The fourth match is much closer, with Chinese Taipei enjoying a slender 11-imp margin over Norway, having led by 35 after two sets.

Quarter final scores in brief (imps after 64 boards of 80-board matches): OPEN: Italy led Brazil 177-118; England led Norway 158-116; Poland led Iceland 153-120; US led Austria 176-114.

WOMEN�S: Germany led China 202-91; US led Netherlands 126-95; Canada led South Africa 136-114; Chinese Taipei led Norway 173-162.    

Another edition of the Super Division League got over without too much to toast. It left behind the usual set of winners and losers but there was no real gain. There was once again a two-way tussle for the title as Mohammedan Sporting failed to utilise the services of Mohammed Habib and Tollygunge Agragami showed they are yet to pose a serious threat to the Big Two.

It was suggested in 1996 that National League players should not take part in local Leagues, though, it was relaxed later and players put under a six-game limit. It allowed them to play 40 to 50 per cent of the local League matches but like many other promises, this one concerning the durability of a player, proved to be of no consequence.

For East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, the Calcutta League is as big a challenge as all-India tournaments and they can�t even think of treating it as a preparatory event. This, however, should have been the case following the birth of the National League. Unlike the ones in Goa and Punjab, the Calcutta League takes a lot out of the top players of the Big Two as they have to sweat it out day-in and day-out.

East Bengal�s National League disaster last season had a lot to do with this as some of their key players got seriously injured playing in the local League and in other lesser tournaments. It took the steam out of their players, while Mohun Bagan won the title with the aid of some foreign professionals who didn�t go through the rigours of the local League.

Since the Calcutta League can�t be staged without arch-rivals East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, the amount of matches can be reduced by cutting down the number of teams in the Super Division.

The Super Five format introduced two years back lacks the charm of a proper double-leg League where winners are identified only after the teams have played each other twice and there is no need to force a play-off final. So, not only are we exerting pressure on players, we are also missing a real, competitive League.

The whatever little I have seen and read of the teams suggest that Mohun Bagan immediately need to consolidate their defence. The side-backs are yet to strike the right balance between defending and overlapping and, though, they are sending in the crosses, most of them are far from being threatening.

There are gaping holes in their deep defence which lacks a sure and clean tackler. The choice of goalkeeper is also not wise and Sandip Nandy can do a better job than Rajat Ghosh Dastidar.

In midfield, they are strong on paper but yet to strike the right combination. I think they are undermining Jose Ramirez Barreto�s potential by using him as a conventional striker.

This Brazilian is more of a gamemaker and the team is not gaining by reducing his area of operation. In attack, they lack a genuine header and foreign reinforcements in deep defence and in the striking zone is not a bad idea.

Coach Subrata Bhattacharya, thus, should not be blamed for all that is not well in the Mohun Bagan camp.

East Bengal do look a more organised unit with a solid defence. There is variety in midfield and the return of Sulley Musah will only make them more compact. What they need now is a striker who can create panic in the rival defence along with Dipendu Biswas/Bijen Singh.

There is room for improvement in wing-play too. It, however, remains to be seen how Syed Nayeemuddin prepares his boys for the National League after taking them through such a taxing schedule.    

Calcutta, Sept. 5: 
Tomorrow�s six-event card appears to be very tricky and picking up winner even in small fields does not seem to be an easy task. Alyssum, in the feature, the 1,200m Pa Bear Cup, gets the first call but the Steinbeck-Ghanayem four-year-old may be troubled by Tsavo, Clarice Cliff and Head Hunter � all closely handicapped. However, the four-in-a-row winner from trainer \

Read as: Horse number, last four runs, horse name, trainer, jockey, weight & draw:

1st Race Diesel Handicap(2.05 pm) 1,000m (Cl III�Rated 44-72)

1 4113 Sterling Prospect [Vijay] Surender S. 61.0 5
2 - 320 Double Crown [Javed] N. Akhtar 55.5 4
3 2121 Crucible [Vijay] C. Alford 55.5 1
4 0402 Rule With Honour [Javed] M. Reuben 50.0 3
5 1241 Ardon [R. Alford] A. Merchant 48.5 2
1.Ardon (5) 2.Rule with honour (4) 3. Crucible (3)
Ardon: Good over the trip but tight at the weights against Crucible. Rule With Honour: Fit to make it a winning start. Crucible: Sharp scurry is against his interest.

2nd Race Pa Bear Cup (2.45 pm)1,200m (Cl I� Rt. 88 & over)

1 - - 02 Tsavo [D. David] G. Upadhya 60.0 7
2 - - 12 Treasurer [Vijay] Md Amil 60.0 3
3 0300 No Surrender [Javed] M. Reuben 57.0 2
4 2430 Adventure [Vijay] S. Shanker 56.5 6
5 2221 Clarice Cliff [Bharath] N. Connorton 54.0 1
6 0023 Head Hunter [R. Alford] A. Merchant 53.5 5
7 1111 Alyssum [Vijay] C. Alford 49.0 4
1. Alyssum (7) 2.Tsavo (1) 3.Head hunter (6)
Alyssum: On the up. Looks good for his fifth straight win. Tsavo:Lost to Clarice Cliff in a close battle despite his long lay off. Head Hunter: May contest the issue.

3rd Race Casbah Handicap (3.15 pm)1,400m (Cl IV � Rt. 22-50) � Indian jockeys only

1 3100 Garden Of Heaven [Jaiswal] E. Smith 60.0 5
2 2031 Queen�s Logic [Bharath] C. Alford 59.0 2
3 2000 As You Please [Rodrigues] G. Upadhya 56.5 3
4 4130 Ballet Master [R. Alford] A. Merchant 53.5 4
5 4004 Jayaashva [Jaiswal] Som S. 52.0 1
1. Queen�s Logic (2) 2. Ballet Master (4) 3. Garden of heaven (1)
Queen�s Logic: An easy winner. May carry her heavy-impost to another win. Ballet Master: Good at the weights. Will contest the issue. Garden Of Heaven: May place.

4th Race Tug Of War Handicap(3.45 pm) 1,000m (Cl IV, 3 -y-o only �Rt. 00-50)Indian jockeys only

1 1313 Arctic Fancy [R. Alford] Rutherford A. 60.0 3
2 2124 Almond Rock [R. Alford] A. Merchant 59.5 2
3 0124 On The Bit [Stephens] N.Connorton 56.0 5
4 - - -1 Alygator [Vijay] C. Alford 55.0 1
5 0013 Software [Bath] S. Shanker 50.0 4
1. On the bit (3) 2. Alygator (4) 3. Software (5)
On The Bit: Returns to the scurry which is her strength. Alygator: Easy winner on debut but may find the scurry his undoing. Software: May go close.

5th Race Aunty Pip Cup(4.15 pm) 1,200m (Cl V�Rt. 00-28) � Indian jockeys only

1 0304 Aristotemus [Mujeeb] Md Yacoob 60.0 4
2 - - -0 Classic Knight [Bharath] S. Rabani 59.0 1
3 - - -0 Hot [Vijay] A. P. Singh 57.5 2
4 0000 Bird�s Empire [R. Alford] B. Gurang 54.0 3
5 0000 Sapphire And Silk [R. Alford] S. Tamang 50.0 6
6 0000 Aeolian [Bharath] Md Amil 50.0 5
1. Hot (3) 2. Appahire and silk (5) 3. Aristotemus (1)
Hot: Although poorly performed but her recent workouts are impressive. Sapphire And Silk: Something big is brewing with her. Keep an eye. Aristotemus:May place.

6th Race Look Round Handicap (4.35 pm)1,000m (Cl V�Rt. 00-28) � Indian jockeys only

1 0414 Alocina [Bharath] Md Islam 60.0 5
2 0021 Orbital Star [R. Alford] A. Merchant 59.5 1
3 4133 Dizzy Diver [P. Locke] Surender S. 58.5 6
4 4103 Quizzical [Vijay] Md Amil 55.5 2
5 0000 Magic Ring[Karki] M. Reuben 54.0 4
6 0004 Whitney [Rodrigues Brij S. 48.5 3
1. Orbital star (2) 2. Alocina (1) 3. Magic ring (5)
Orbital Star: An easy winner. May repeat against the present lot. Alocina: A speedy customer. Capable of outsprinting all. Magic Ring: Upset, if any.
Day�s Best: Orbital Star Double:Alyssum & Queen�s Logic

The following track work was noted today:

Outer sand track

1,400m: Artifact (Amil) and Alsheim (C. Alford) in 1-47s; (800m) 1-0s; (400m) 28s. Both level.

1,200m: Auctioneer (C. Alford) and Amarante (Amil) in 1-26s; (400m) 26s. Former was well ahead.

800m: Little Boy Blue (Brij) in 1-1 2/5s; (400m) 28s. Easy.

Sand track

1,400m: Cup Of Life (Tamang) in 1-53s; (400m) 32s.

800m: Royal Ruler (Rutherford) and Golden Express (Gurang) in 56s; (400m) 24s. Former 2 ls better. Mountain Memory (P. Alford) and Go With The Wind (Salim) in 59s; (400m) 28s. Former a head better.

600m: Ring Dancer (K. Gurang) in 40s; (400m) 25s.

On Monday, outer sand track

800m: Crucible (C. Alford) and Sterling Prospect (Amil) in 55s; (400m) 25 2/5s. Both level. Treasurer (Amil) and Alygator (C. Alford) in 58s; (400m) 25 3/5s. Both level. Anolini (Amil) and Alyssum (C. Alford) in 55s; (400m) 25s. Former a head better. Tsavo (Upa-dhya) in 56s; (400m) 23 3/5s. Moved well. Adventure (C. Alford) 58s; (400m) 26s. Easy. Quizzical (Amil) in 58s; (400m) 26s. Good.

400m: Garden Of Heaven (Smith) in 29 2/5s.

Sand track

800m: Software (Shanker) in 1-0 2/5s; (400m) 26 4/5s.    


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