Badani leads late-order surge
Board should not ignore players� sentiments
CAB manages to start all games
I can do the job more often: Badani
Dropping six catches was pathetic: Sourav
Srivastav hits 161 for CPT
Bengal open vs Assam today
CBI report on TV deals welcome: BCCI
Mumbai Racing/ Al Dente for Ardeshir Trophy
Bangalore Racing/ Tempt Me Not wins sprint trial

Cuttack, Dec. 2: 
Zimbabwe 253/7 (50 OVS)
India 255/7 (47.2 OVS)
MOM: Badani

What appeared to be a moderate task got messed up in the middle before some rare late-order resilience, highlighted by a classy effort from Hemang Badani and Vijay Dahiya�s pugnacious innings, helped India win the Pepsi series-opener against Zimbabwe today.

Chasing 253 on a Barabati Stadium track offering everything to the batsmen, India appeared to be cruising till the 20th over before a familiar middle-order slump, and had to fall back upon the relatively lesser forces to snatch a dramatic three-wicket win.

Ajit Agarkar, coming in at No. 9, following yet another expensive outing with the ball, chipped in with some quick and handy runs after the hosts were penalised an over for slow bowling.

The visitors, who opted for first strike, were off to a steady start but failed to cash in on a second-wicket partnership to finish about 20 short of what they were expected to get. India looked all set to coast home, reaching 98 without loss after 20 overs, before some extremely injudicious batting resulted in the loss of five wickets for the addition of 46 runs in 12 overs.

Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly were in complete command against the new ball and were treating the spinners with disdain before both perished to the ordinary left-arm spin of Dirk Viljoen. The openers looked to be in silken touch and faced little difficulty against seamer Travis Friend who could have tested the Indians more had he pitched it up a little more frequently.

But both paid the price for not being able to reach the ball after stepping out, though they were attempting contrasting shots.Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh then fell trying out what was not quite the need of the hour. While Dravid fell going for a non-existent single to the left of Grant Flower at mid-wicket, Yuvraj chose to go across the line on the seventh ball he faced.

He, after striking a couple of elegant fours, was perhaps a bit unlucky in being adjudged leg-before as his front foot was a long way forward.

Debutant Reetiner Singh Sodhi, after a sensible tryst with the ball, looked nervous with the bat and was tentative in his feet movement. He ended his agonising stay in the middle while going for a leg-bye which was never quite there.

A 250-plus score looked a far cry at this stage but wicketkeeper Dahiya showed he is no rabbit with the bat and played the leading role in a decisive 60-run stand with Badani which came off just under ten overs.

Badani, who got going with a fluent cover-drive off leg-spinner Brian Murphy, displayed the kind of lazy elegance normally associated with left-handers and also showed a fine temperament.

His unbeaten 58 (67 balls, 3x4, 1x6) was cleverly paced and did not panic despite being in a tight situation. There was no rush of blood even when Dahiya took the battle to the rival camp and barring the six off Murphy, everything else was played along the ground.

Dahiya, who opens for Delhi sometimes, did not quite suggest that he could be an expert against the shining ball but played some adventurous shots which helped India keep the asking-rate within manageable limits. His run-a-ball 35 included three fours and a six and his two boundaries off Friend in the 35th over ignited the Indian fightback.

Earlier, Heath Streak opted for first strike, hoping for some turn in the afternoon and openers Alistair Campbell and Douglas Marillier were never really in trouble against Zaheer Khan and Venkatesh Prasad.

Zaheer struggled to find the right line but Prasad bowled an impressive spell, curbing the urge to bowl fuller while bowling with a strong breeze. The Karnataka veteran maintained a length just short of the driving one and returned well-deserved figures of 10-0-29-2.

Both Zimbabwe openers were prepared to have a go at the bowling and Marillier fell while attempting an ambitious shot against Zaheer.

This paved the way for a commanding 114-run stand between Campbell and Stuart Carlisle. The batsmen faced little problem on a pitch offering nothing to the seamers and their job was made easier by Agarkar�s inability to find the right line and length.

Runs flowed freely between the tenth and 20th over as 62 were added and the left-right combination put on 50 more before Campbell fell for 68 (92 balls, 7x4, 1x6) in the 30th over.

The visitors gained significantly from some ordinary fielding and Carlisle, who stayed unbeaten on 91 (125 balls, 6x4) survived two easy chances apart from a valliant caught-and-bowled attempt by Sodhi.

The Punjab debutant showed great temperament with the ball and did not try too many things on the benign track.

Sodhi, who did not generate much pace while bowling from wide of the crease, stuck to a line and his accuracy helped India stem the flow of runs at a crucial stage.

Zimbabwe failed to reach what could have been an imposing total despite having the right base and Andy Flower�s dismissal off Tendulkar cost them dear. Brother Grant fell to carry on after a quick start as did Guy Whittall as the last 20 overs produced a modest 110 runs.

Sourav rotated his limited resources well and Agarkar, Zaheer and Prasad were all used in three spells each. Prasad used the slower ball frequently in his later spells and Zaheer managed to keep things tight though his yorkers did not quite land on the right spot.

India did manage to pull things back during the closing stages of the Zimbabwe innings and the capacity crowd was eagerly waiting to see some fireworks from the world�s most consistent opening pair who got off to a comfortable start. What they enjoyed more was the drama in the end.    

Calcutta, Dec. 2: 
Board president A.C. Muthiah has gone on record that �around 30 per cent weightage� may be given to the achievements/contributions of Mohammed Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja when the quantum of their punishment is decided.

Obviously, it�s the pressure from within and without which made Muthiah say that, the other afternoon.

However, how much weightage will the Board, specifically its three-member disciplinary committee, accord to the sentiments of the clean cricketers in the national team?

The Board did well to consult a handful of seniors prior to John Wright�s appointment as coach � the initiative for that dialogue was taken by Muthiah and former president Raj Singh Dungarpur � but, apparently, there�s been no interaction on the match-fixing scandal.

Odd, but then, it�s easier for the Board to be inconsistent as there is no players� association �- two �experiments� have failed.

The Board could have had a formal dialogue with a body such as that and one which, in turn, may have insisted on a one-to-one (with the Board).

Still, somebody needs to remind the Board that (a) its move to get commissioner K. Madhavan to conduct his own inquiry, on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) report, was seen as a delaying tactic by more than one senior (reported by The Telegraph from Dhaka last month) and (b) deferring punishment till next week wouldn�t exactly have enthused them either.

It�s significant, perhaps, that not one teammate has come to the defence of either Azhar or Jadeja or even Nayan Mongia. The isolation of Azhar and Jadeja, specially, is quite like Salim Malik�s. Complete.

The contrast with Hansie Cronje, for example, is more than stark.

For starters, Shaun Pollock dedicated the first series-win (2-1 at home, over Australia) after Cronjegate to the former captain. Then, the likes of Jonty Rhodes have been pretty open about not severing ties with him.

And, more recently, despite the life ban on the former captain, Allan Donald�s �first thoughts� on getting 300 Test wickets revolved around Cronje.

�As it happened, my mind went out straight to Hansie. I felt that it would have been great for him to be there at mid-off...� was Donald�s emotional tribute to Cronje at a time the world was saluting him on joining an exclusive club.

It would be unwise for the Board to discount the teammates� total silence where Azhar and Jadeja are concerned.

A dressing-room with an undercurrent of suspicion can only have disastrous consequences.

As a life ban awaits Azhar, the �attention� must necessarily be on Jadeja, more so as moves are afoot to ensure he is let off lightly.

Should the Code of Conduct be strictly followed, Jadeja�s minimum punishment will be five years. That, in effect, will end his career � he turns 30 on February 1.

Which is why the lobbying for a �light sentence.�

Which is why the Board�s general body � realising that Muthiah, in particular, was under acute pressure � has left it to the disciplinary committee (headed by Muthiah) to decide on the punishment.

Like Azhar, Manoj Prabhakar (who quit in 1996) and Ajay Sharma (last India appearance in 1993), too, face a life ban. As for Mongia, though he has been cleared by Madhavan, a year-long punishment is likely.

Not only because Azhar named him as a fellow match-fixer, before the CBI, but because the Board has finally realised it should have dealt with the 1994 Kanpur fiasco (also featuring Prabhakar) more severely.

On the face of it, there�s little sense in banning someone (Prabhakar) who has himself quit, but the Board will do that to ensure Prabhakar doesn�t contemplate dramatically announcing a comeback!

With Prabhakar, the Board doesn�t wish to take any chances.    

Calcutta, Dec. 2: 
The boycott by the Umpires of CAB (UCAB) cast its shadow on the opening day of the local league, even as a determined CAB delved deep into its resources to ensure that all 19 matches got a start.

With the majority of the umpires keeping away, pending settlement of several demands of the UCAB, the CAB pressed into service all it could gather. Those on probation joined seniors, including some on the BCCI panel, to help the league take off.

But it still left several matches with just one CAB umpire, the leg-umpire being provided by the batting side. �We�ll have two umpires at all grounds tomorrow,� CAB joint-secretary Debdas Banerjee said this evening.

While the CAB has made its point, local cricket could be thrown into complete disarray if a way around the imbroglio isn�t found quickly. It�s one thing to have one set of matches completed through determination and crisis management, quite another to sustain efforts through a season.

With Banerjee making it clear that there was no question of even recognising the umpires� association, there�s little hope of a breakthrough for the moment.    

Cuttack, Dec. 2: 
Sourav Ganguly seems to have a lot of faith in the youngsters in the team and at least one of them, Hemang Badani, repaid the skipper with a classy unbeaten 58. It helped India snatch victory against Zimbabwe today.

The runs were invaluable, considering the situation in which they were scored, but what stood out most was the Tamil Nadu left-hander�s attitude and approach.

The 24-year-old, playing his fourth one-day International, said he was not under pressure even as wickets kept tumbling at the other end. �I knew singles and twos would do the job as long as we kept wickets intact. Seven an over in the last ten would be gettable,� he said after his maiden Man-of-the-Match award.

Sourav spoke highly of Badani. �A bold player, showed a lot of class.�

Badani said his advice for Ajit Agarkar was to keep taking the singles. �I knew I would be able to do it, so I told him to stay there. There was no pressure on me.�

�I always believed I could do the job if given a chance. Now that I have done it once I think I can do it more often,� he said after his first innings on Indian soil. �I knew it was my best chance to prove myself a match-winner. There couldn�t have been a better opportunity.�

Of course, there could not have been one and he grabbed this chance with both hands. Badani feels he can also do a decent job with his left-arm spin which should help him become a more important member of the team.    

Cuttack, Dec. 2: 
The Pepsi series-opener did end in a victory for India after a few hiccups, but even skipper Sourav Ganguly conceded he had abandoned hope at one sstage.

�It did not look good after we lost those quick wickets, the run-outs in particular,� he said after the match. �I thought it was a 50-50 match after they made 253 as the pitch was hard and the outfield quick. But things changed after those dismissals.�

The captain felt his team�s fielding today was �pathetic�.

�We dropped six catches and I sometimes wonder how we managed to win after letting go so many,� Sourav said.

It has not been well received by coach John Wright, who had mentioned yesterday that the team needs to improve in this department.

�We have to come to the ground tomorrow for fielding practice, the coach wants us to,� Sourav said.

Heath Streak, after failing yet again to seal victory despite having the opponent in a spot, said ordinary bowling towards the end was the reason. He defended keeping Travis Friend off the attack in the late overs, saying he was not in rhythm.

�(Henry) Olonga has done the job for us in the past, that�s why he was preferred ahead of Friend,� Streak explained.

Sourav, perhaps by a slip of tongue, said he was hopeful of Nikhil Chopra�s availability for the next few matches. �He may be cleared by Monday,� he said absent-mindedly, but refused to elaborate after realising what he had said.

Sourav did not see anything unusual in a foreign team using three spinners in a one-dayer in India while the home team fielded just one specialist in that department.

�We have to play on hard wickets with three seamers to succeed in overseas conditions. That is my aim and that is how we can come out as a better team,� he said.

Sourav stood by Ajit Agarkar after yet another dismal performance, saying a few catches were dropped off the Mumbai seamer�s bowling. He also praised his batting.

The skipper said he was being troubled by a back pain which comes up at �odd times� but added it was not serious. �I need rest which I shall get at the end of this series.�    

Calcutta, Dec. 2: 
The bat ruled the day as the CAB league got underway at various grounds today. There were a few centuries, but Calcutta Port Trust�s Uday Srivastav came out on top with a 161 against Shibpur Institute.


Aryan Club 333 for 9 decl. (72.6 overs) (Sovon Mitra 83, Hansmukh Patel 75, Dipak Singh 55, Munish Jolly 49; Pradip Neogi 3/75, Samit Ghosh 3/104). Suburban Club 18 for 1 (7.5 overs).

Customs 380 for 9 (Amit Tewari 129, Prosenjit Ganguly 100, Sankar Pal 37; Avijit Ganguly 3/66) vs Tollygunge Agragami.

YMCA (College) 169 (58.2 overs) (Joy Shankar 65; Pronab Prasad 3/43). Eastern Railway 115 for 1 (Diptendu Mahato 48 n.o.).

Calcutta Port Trust 313 for 8 (77 overs) (Uday Srivastav 161, Soumen Singh 62; Md Mishbauddin 3/49, P. Majumdar 3/82) vs Shibpur Institute.

DKS 279 (Pitambar Dutta 86, Jayanta Dey 55 n.o., Kalyan Dhal 35; Moloy Sarkhel 5/70, souvik Basu 3/51). Excelsiors 11 for 1

City AC 351 for 7 (85 overs) (Tapas Das 103, Gyano Shaw 62, Sampath Patnaik 60, Himadri Das Gupta 42 n.o.) vs Kalighat.

Mohammedan Sporting 378 (79 overs) (Md Arif 133, Nitin Sibbal 82, Sandeep rawat 59; Arijit Jana 4/66). Mohunlal 4 for 2 (4 overs).

Kumartuli Institute 311 for 9 (85 overs) (Kamalhasan Mondal 65, Biswajit Singh 62, Abhiskek Ghosh 61; Arghya Mitra 3/89) vs Monoharpukur Milan Samity.

Calcutta Rangers 400 (85 overs) (Rajib Ranjan Dutta 137, Feroz Ahmed Khan 75, Shabbir Hossain 56; S. N. Mishra 3/106) vs Taltala Institute.

George Telegraph 232 (Amitava Roy 84, Amitava Das 59; Rupak Banerjee 4/35, Santram 3/48). Town Club 32 for 1.

Rajasthan Club 212 (Rohit Chaturvedi 54; Vedraj Pal 6/57, Biswadeep Lahiri 3/54). Ballygunge United 25 for 1.

Bihar take lead

Bihar took a slender first innings lead on Day II of the East Zone U-14 match at the East Calcutta Sports Development Council ground today when they shot out Bengal for just 144 in the 66th over. Assad Iqbal did most of the damage by picking up five for 30.

Bihar, who had scored 157 in the first innings, were 104 for five in their second knock.

BRIEF SCORES: Bihar 157 & 104 for 5 (A. Kumar Singh 64, D. Singh 31; S. Biswas 3/5). Bengal 144 (A. Chowdhury 34; A. Iqbal 5/30). Match to continue.    

Calcutta, Dec. 2: 
The fight for the lone berth may well boil down to a fight between Bengal and Orissa, but the hosts will be aware they have a tricky opener when the East Zone qualifying tournament for the Wills Trophy gets underway in the city tomorrow.

Assam, brushed aside by Bengal last year, come back a team strengthed � the bowling attack looking good in particular. Javed Zaman and Goutam Dutta still form a potent new-ball attack, but it�s the spin department that has been strengthened by �imports� Sunil Subramaniam (left-arm orthodox) and Ganesh Kumar (off-spin) from Tamil Nadu.

�We are reasonably optimistic,� Assam skipper Zakaria Zuffri said this evening, confident no doubt after Assam�s decent outing against Bengal in the recent Ranji tie at Maligaon, near Guwahati.

Bengal will, of course, still be hot favourites to win the 50 overs-a-side affair at the CCFC. They have decided on 10 (Devang Gandhi, Arijit Bose, Nikhil Haldipur, Rohan Gavaskar, Deep Dasgupta, Srikant Kalyani, Utpal Chatterjee, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Shib Shankar Pal and Wrichik Majumdar) but will name the final XI tomorrow.

Pradipta Majumdar has been ruled out after he split a webbing on his hand. Shib Sagar Singh has replaced him in the 14.

Orissa take on Tripura in another match at Eden Gardens.    

Calcutta, Dec. 2: 
The BCCI has said it will welcome any separate CBI report on TV rights deals.

A top functionary of the BCCI was reacting to statements on television by a CBI official that such a report was on its way.

Meanwhile, the BCCI has called upon the CBI to �clear� its former president, N.K.P. Salve, from the agency�s report on match-fixing. Salve has already written to the CBI that he had never spoken about match-fixing to anyone.

This was obviously in reference to the CBI quoting another former president, I.S. Bindra, who had dragged Salve into the picture during his deposition.    

Mumbai, Dec. 2: 
Al Dente, who had a mixed-luck during the Pune season, is expected to come out stronger and bag the 1,600m A. C. Ardeshir Trophy in Mumbai on Sunday. The Darius Byramji-trainee had lost the Fillies� And Mares Stakes to Sonalika after winning the Southrn Command Cup. Aslam Kader partners the Razeen-Ideas And Trends four-year-old daughter.


1.30 pm: Waltzing Matilda 1. Armando 2. Silver Nova 3.

2 pm: Kazakh 1. Narrator 2. Star Wish 3.

2.30 pm: Gold Dust 1. Cristina 2. Immaculate 3.

3 pm: Fire Girl 1. Forever Sparky 2. Winawin 3.

3.30 pm: Mustakeen 1. Chittor 2. Honest Lady 3.

4 pm: Al Dente 1. Top Mover 2. Mount Rose 3.

4.30 pm: Princess Xena 1. Inquisition 2. Knighted 3.

5 pm: Way Beyond 1.Queen Of Romance 2. Suddenly 3.

Day�s Best: Waltzing Matilda

Double: Gold Dust & Princess Xena    

Bangalore, Dec. 2: 
Ridden by S. Rajesh, the Ponnappa-trained Tempt Me Not posted an upset victory in the Sprinters Trial Stakes in Bangalore on Saturday.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Dharwar Plate 1,200m: (2-3-5) Smokin� Joe (S. Narredu) 1; Star Of Gaiety 2; Different Ballgame 3. Won by: 2-1/2; 1/2; (1-17.5). Tote: Win Rs 78; Place: 16; 11; 19; Quinella: 30; Tanala: 497. Fav: Star Of Gaiety (3).

2. D. McPherson Memorial Plate 1,600m: (3-4-9) Donna Mia (Mrs Storai) 1; Rumpelstiltskin 2; What A Pleasure 3. Won by: Nk; 2-1/4; (1-42.6). Tote: Win Rs 87; Place: 22; 18; 18; Quinella: 118; Tanala: 1,656. Fav: Mr. Belvedere (1).

3. K. M. Eswarsa Memorial Plate 1,400m: (3-1-8) Celestial Gold (Prakash) 1; Almost Heaven 2; Always Dancing 3. Won by: 3/4; 1-1/2; (1-29.8). Tote: Win Rs 24; Place: 13; 17; 19; Quinella: 57; Tanala: 200. Fav: Celestial Gold (3).

4. Sprinters Trial Stakes 1,200m: (5-2-1) Tempt Me Not (Rajesh) 1; Barrier Ridge 2; Averoff 3. Won by: 3; 1-1/4; (1-15). Tote: Win Rs 81; Place: 18; 38; 16; Quinella: 755; Tanala: 3,362. Fav: Symphony Of Fire (4).

5. Lively Emprey Stakes 1,600m: (3-5-9) Royal Debut (Srinath) 1; Believe 2; Cat Catcher 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 4-1/4; (1-44.6). Tote: Win Rs 37; Place: 14; 19; 33; Quinella: 76; Tanala: 958. Fav: Royal Debut (3).

6. Banavasi Plate 1,800m: (1-5-3) Daiimio (Srinath) 1; Selected Princess 2; Carpediem 3. Won by: 7; Nk; (1-57.9). Tote: Win Rs 40; Place: 21; 21; Quinella: 65; Tanala: 785. Fav: Water Baby (2).

Jackpot: Rs 27,151; (C) Rs 1,381.

Treble: (i) Rs 898; (ii) Rs 738.    


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