Sourav firepower fetches six for 46
Orissa, beating the odds to the top
Sweeping changes in world chess championship format
Bengal gymnasts bag 55 golds
Wari, DKS easy victors
Ferrero pulls out
Bangalore Racing/ Al Habib best on Mysore form
Mumbai Racing/ �Whisper� wins
Calcutta Track Trials/ Quickdraw McGraw shines

Calcutta, Dec. 28: 
It was Sourav Ganguly�s day. He came, he saw, he conquered. The Orissa batsmen were left clueless by some quality swing bowling at Eden Gardens today.

The India skipper�s career-best six for 46 took Orissa apart even as their fourth wicket produced 126 runs. The India captain almost single-handedly thwarted Orissa�s effort at wresting the initiative on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy tie. At close, the visitors, who won the toss, were 251 for eight.

Late this evening, there was talk in the Orissa camp that one of the senior Bengal players had �doctored� the ball in the afternoon. According to coach Jimut Mohanty, whether or not a complaint will be lodged with Match Referee Raj Kumar Sharma �will be decided in the morning.�

On a slow wicket where the odd ball is keeping low, Sourav relied on the right line and length to reap the maximum benefits. He was moving the ball away from the batsmen while bringing one back occasionally to unsettle him. He was also getting the old ball to reverse swing and making their task increasingly difficult.

The only brief resistance came from Sanjay Raul and Rashmi Ranjan Parida (71). It was this pair�s 126 runs that pulled Orissa out of the dumps after they were reduced to 17 for three in the first hour.

Raul�s 118 (231 balls, 16x4) � his eighth Ranji hundred � was built around some solid concentration and determination. He was unnerved by the circumstances and relied on playing the anchor role as Parida stepped up the scoring after the initial groundwork.

Parida was not afraid to use his feet against the spinners � he hit a huge six off Sourashish Lahiri � and at the same time dared to pull the short pitched deliveries to the fence.

But once Utpal Chatterjee got rid of him after lunch, Sourav took charge. Bowling in five spells from both ends, he appeared to manage all the possible tricks with the ball. The difference in class was all too apparent.

�Having played more cricket than most of the other boys, I used my experience and maturity to good effect,� Sourav, who will be unavailable against Bihar in the next game, said later.

He, however, again stressed the need for quality wickets. �I have always believed that more helpful tracks should be prepared. I don�t know when they will materialise, but it�s really tough on the pacers.�

The Sourav-initiated slide started in the the fourth over of the day when Pradeep Das snicked one to the wicketkeeper. Sourav then removed Shiv Sundar Das with a well-planned delivery.

He got two balls to move away from the righthander and then brought one back that rose and caught the batsman by surprise. The resultant edge was grabbed at second slip. P. Jayachandra and Gautam Gopal fell in quick succession, the latter never appearing too pleased with the umpire�s leg-before verdict.

Sourav struck again twice with the second new ball in his final spell. Deep Dasgupta got into the act on both occasions holding onto the snicks smartly.

The rest of the bowlers, except for Utpal, were hardly impressive. Shib Shankar Pal looked good only in his opening spell.


Calcutta, Dec. 28: 
They are a new force to reckon with on the domestic circuit. Languishing in the dark alleys of uncertainty with imported players till even a couple of decades back, Orissa cricket is now glowing with new hope.

That impediments can always be overcome by sheer willpower has been established with their attaining new heights. Having dislodged Bengal from the zonal peak in the senior and junior levels, they have been regularly churning out players to the various national teams as well.

Shiv Sundar Das has carried the baton successfully passed on by Debashish Mohanty and Sanjay Raul. In fact, it is Mohanty�s success that has effectively rubbed off on them.

�It all started with Mohanty and we�re just carrying on the legacy,� says Das.

The Deodhar Trophy squad this time had seven players from the state. Ashok Malhotra said after the selection committee meeting that if performance was the only key, the entire team could have been formed with players from Orissa.

Sourav Ganguly sees this transformation as a positive aspect. �It�s just that they�ve improved while we�ve remained the same,� the India skipper told The Telegraph.

The national selector, though, finds this hard to explain. �I don�t know... Maybe they are tougher in the mind,� said Malhotra.

Former junior national selector and current coach of the side Jimut Mohanty confirms that it is the attitude factor that has helped in the change. �The dedication and application has been of utmost importance in the ascendancy.

�The limited infrastructure has never come as an obstacle. It is the desire to excel in trying circumstances that has put the boys in good stead,� he explained.

In fact, apart from the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack there is no other proper turf wicket to practice on. The fact that most of the state cricketers hail from Bhubaneshwar makes it even more difficult for them.

�It is on matting wickets that we have to learn the tricks of the trade,� reveals Das. �But the spirit is never lacking. The motivation to go up the ladder is palpable. The successes of Mohanty and Das has served as huge inspiration,� adds coach Mohanty.

�It�s not that infrastructurewise Bengal are way ahead. There�s no point playing cricket on wickets which are sub-standard. The fact is the Orissa youngsters have matured faster,� feels Sourav.

The presence of Eknath Solkar as coach at the junior level had also helped a long way in grooming these youngsters. He instilled a sense of confidence and self belief in the boys.

Quality coaches at the club level also came in handy. Debashish Mohanty, Rashmi Ranjan Parida and P. Jayachandra�s Sahid Sporting and Pragati Sporting (Das and Sanjay Satpathy are the products of this club) are the two premier clubs that have been regularly producing quality players.

It has also to be kept in mind that there is no proper league structure in the state. �The Cuttack league has stopped for years now. The only competition where the players get to prove their mettle is the inter-district Kalahandi Cup,� informs Jimut Mohanty.

The coach is pinning hopes on Parida, Pravanjan Mallick and Satpathy. �India need an off-spinner, and in a couple of years Satpathy could make the big league,� the coach felt.

It is this optimism that is carrying them into the new millennium.


Calcutta, Dec. 28: 
In a bid to take the game to the masses the Fide has made sweeping changes in the format of the world chess championships from next year. The new regulations will not only bring in more financial rewards for the top players, it will also allow unrated player to have a shot at the world chess title through the Internet.

Every year, on January 1, Fide will announce its list of 32 best players in the world. In the first year this list will be on the basis of Elo ratings. This group will be called the Championship League. This group will include the newly crowned world champion Viswanathan Anand.

In the subsequent years this group will be selected on the basis of performances in the World Championship.

This group will play a series of Grand Prix Tournaments, to be organized every month. Traditional organizers will be invited to classify their tournaments as Grand Prix if the organizers agree to meet the Fide conditions. The Fide will also organize some tournaments on its own. The players who get leading positions in these tournaments will be awarded special points for determining their rankings.

The top 14 from these Grand Prix will be invited to play a Grand Prix Final along with two nominees of the Fide president. The champion of this tournament will be awarded the Golden Chess Board.

In another revolutionary change the Fide will start an Internet chess competition on it�s official website, Even unrated players can play on this site and they will be given an initial rating of 1600 to begin with. Chess is already popular on the Internet, and thousands of players throughout the world are expected to take part in this tournament.

A total of 128 players will be selected from the Net and they will play in knockout Internet championship to determine the best eight. These players will then be invited to join the World Chess Championship along with 117 others and three nominees of the Fide president.

The world chess championship will begin every year from November 25. It will be a knockout meet involving 128 players.

The total prize fund will be $ 3,000,000. No player will be seed to the second round and all players including the world champion will play from the first round.

The shorter time control system is to make the game more attractive to sponsors. This will require the Fischer clock for all tournaments. In India, organizers have mechanical clocks, which do not have facilities for time increment after each move.


Calcutta, Dec. 28: 
Bengal gymnasts made mincemeat of the challenge from other states in the 46th National School Games meet, which concluded at the Garia Srirampur Kalyan Samity ground here today.

Bengal�s haul was an impressive 55 gold, 21 silver and 14 bronze medals. Uttar Pradesh came second in the medal tally with 26 gold, 13 silver and six bronze. They were followed by Haryana with six medals, including two gold.

Bengal easily topped the team championship, garnering 65 points. Maharashtra finished runners-up (40) while Gujarat came third (38).

Semi-finalists spotted

Defending champions Milan Samity beat Chhatra Samity in straight sets to enter the men�s semi-finals of the state volleyball meet for clubs, being played at WBVA courts. Last year�s runners-up Port Trust, victors over Eastern Railway, also moved into the last four stage.


(quarter finals)

Milan Samity bt Chhatra Samity 25-18, 25-21, 25-14; CPT bt Eastern Railways Sports Association 25-16, 25-20, 25-17; Naihati Athletic Club bt WB Police 25-21, 25-21, 25-23; Rajasthan Club bt Tollygunge Subhas Sangha 25-20, 25-17, 25-17.


Calcutta, Dec. 28: 
Wari AC rode joint centuries by Probal Dutta (128 n.o.) and Amit Sharma (107) to a nine-wicket victory over Young Bengal Sports Association in a CAB league tie today.


Young Bengal 299 (Sougata Mitra 124). Wari 303/1 (Probal Dutta 128 n.o., Amit Sharma 107, Avishek Jhunjhunwala 53 n.o.). Wari won by 9 wkts.

Rajasthan Club 207. E. Railway 212/5 (Anand Kumar 50 n.o., Souvik Mukherjee 48, Arun Chatterjee 48). E. Rly won by 5 wkts.

Town Club 251. DKS 255/2 (Utkarsh Gautam 145, Kaustav Roy 53). DKS won by 8 wkts.

Ballygunge Utd 150. Calcutta Rangers Club 153/8 (Rajib Ranjan Dutta 55). Calcutta Rangers won by 2 wkts.

Tapan Memorial 99 (Rathin Dutta 5/24, Amit Mitra 4/38). Netaji Subhas Inst. 100/4 (Biswanath Bose 51). NSI won by 6 wkts.

St James win

Propelled by Sarbo Sengupta�s unbeaten knock of 87, St James beat Tirthapati Institution by two wickets to move into the quarter finals of Pepsi (under-16) youth cricket meet today.


Tirthapati Inst. 223/6 in 40 ovs (Tushar Basak 41, Sourav Banerjee 47 n.o., Saumik Banik 47 n.o.). St James� 224/8 in 37.2 ovs (Sarbo Sengupta 87 n.o.; S. Banik 3/29, S. Singha Roy 3/46). St James� won by 2 wkts.

Don Bosco (Park Circus) 287/5 in 40 ovs (Sayatya Mallick 78, Soumyadeep Burman 40). National High School 227 all out in 36.2 ovs (Rohit Chakraborty 57, Kushal Bengani 3/25, Rahul Biswas 3/44). Don Bosco won by 60 runs.

BGES crush Julien Dey

Bhowanipore Gujarati Education Society (BGES) lost to Cathedral Mission in category-A, but their team crushed Julien Day in category-B in the inter-school meet played at St Lawrence ground today.


Category A � BGES 96 all out (Tapan Sardar 3/12). Cathedral Mission 97/4 (Kuntal Ghosh 35). Cathedral Mission won by 6 wkts.

Category B � BGES 199 all out (Vikram Seth 58, Chandan Pradhan 38). Julien Day 96 (Chandan Pradhan 4/15). BGES won by 103 runs.

Xaverian meet

St Xavier�s Collegiate School (A) beat Patha Bhavan by 29 runs while St Xavier�s (B) lost to Loyola School by one wicket in the Xaverian cricket meet, played at St James� School ground today.    

Calcutta, Dec. 28: 
Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain has withdrawn from the ensuing ATP Tour Gold Flake Open, starting from New Year�s Day in Chennai.

According to information received here, the Spanish player has said that he was �extremely fatigued� and needed rest.

�The end of the season was especially tiring, with two tough matches against Australia in the Davis Cup final. After a year like that, I really need the extra rest,� Ferrero told the organisers.

Rain interrupts final

The final of the Indianoil-Servo meet between Syed Fazaluddin and Harsh Mankad was cut short by rain with the latter leading 3-6, 6-4, 4-2. It will be completed tomorrow, adds PTI from Chennai.    

Bangalore, Dec. 28: 
Austria and Al Habib are the two horses expected to be involved at the finish for the 1,200m Ardent Knight Cup, tomorrow�s main event. However, going by his Mysore stint, the Md Khan-trainee Al Habib is likely to strike in the hands of Md Shafiq.


2 pm: Regal Society 1. Go Honey Go 2. Dust On The Bottle 3.
2.30 pm: Royal Glare 1. Solo spirit 2. My Goodness 3.
3 pm: Altenburg 1. Silvanus 2. Belief 3.
3.30 pm: What A Pleasure 1. Renzino 2. Winning Glory 3.
4 pm: Al Habib 1. Austria 2. Devonlock 3.
4.30 pm: Forest Emperor 1. Cassini 2. Amazing Choice 3.
5 pm: Eyes Of Truth 1. Time Of War 2. Tina�s Turn 3.
5.30 pm: Assertive Allies 1. Il Diablo 2. Augill Castle 3.

Day�s Best: Eyes Of Truth

Double: Regal Society & Forest Emperor

Mumbai, Dec. 28: 
Trained by N. Lagad and ridden by Mark Gallagher, the strongly fancied four-year-old horse Sound Of Whisper ran away with the Maharaja Sir Pratapsingh Gaekwad Trophy in Mumbai on Thursday.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Symbol Of Love Plate 1,200m: (8-2-5) Hispaniola (S. N. Chavan) 1; Thundering Grey 2; Classic Rock 3. Won by: 3/4; 1; (1-15.9). Tote: Win Rs 100; Place: 29; 14; 37; Quinella: 97; Tanala: 1,771. Fav: Damroo�s Gift (1).

2. Ahmed I. Rahimtoola Trophy 1,000m: (2-3-4) Cosmic Jazz (Rajendra) 1; Magic Arrow 2; Purple Patch 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 6; (1-2.4). Tote: Win Rs 22; Place: 12; 14; Quinella: 16; Tanala: 85. Fav: Magic Arrow (3).

3. Imperial Heritage Plate 1,000m: (9-1-3) Tasha Beat (T. Jodha) 1; Gulmohor 2; Emmanuel�s Pet 3. Won by: 2; 1-3/4; (1-1.1). Tote: Win Rs 31; Place: 15; 38; 38; Quinella: 273; Tanala: 3,360. Fav: Tasha Beat (9).

4. P. B. Avasia Plate 1,200m: (1-4-5) Noblest Motive (Chauhan) 1; Fantasy 2; Declaration Of Love 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 1/2; (1-14.1�record). Tote: Win Rs 138; Place: 28; 14; 16; Quinella: 167; Tanala: 1,833. Fav: Fantasy (4).

5. Maharaja Sir Pratapsingh Gaekwad Trophy 1,400m: (5-8-3) Sound Of Whisper (Gallagher) 1; Rebounding Ray 2; My Solitaire 3. Won by: 4-3/4; 3/4; (1-26.3 � record). Tote: Win Rs 38; Place: 17; 16; 29; Quinella: 57; Tanala: 808. Fav: Mariella (4).

6. Valmoss Plate 1,200m: (1-4-11) Combined Venture (Aadesh) 1; Piaget 2; Total Commitment 3. Won by: 6; 6; (1-13.4 � record). Tote: Win Rs 60; Place: 19; 13; 62; Quinella: 63; Tanala: 1,911. Fav: Piaget (4).

7. Fair Victory Plate 1,000m: (8-11-1) Tamure (Aadesh) 1; Earth Song 2; Scandalous 3. Won by: 7-1/2; 2-1/4; (1-0.8). Tote: Win Rs 34; Place: 18; 33; 16; Quinella: 211; Tanala: 1,464. Fav: Tamure (8).

Jackpot: Rs 33,167; (C) Rs 4,592.

Treble: (i) Rs 5,832; (ii) Rs 582.

Calcutta, Dec. 28: 
Quickdraw Mcgraw, Almond Rock, Black Mane and Tanganyika were impressive from among the following horses seen exercising today morning..

Outer sand track

2,000m: Earl Grey (Connorton) in 2-44s; (400m) 31s..

1,600m: Black Mane (Kujur) and American (Sher S.) in 2-1s; (1,200m) 1-29s; (400m) 30s. Former far better. Madame X (Upadhya) and The Stud (Connorton) in 2-3s; (1,200m) 1-32s; (400m) 29s. Former too good.

1,400m: Scavenger�s Son (Gowli) and Bold Apparel (Saran) in 1-55s; (800m) 1-4s; (400m) 33s. Both level.

1,200m: Glass Slipper (Yadav) in 1-33s; (800m) 58s; (400m) 29s. Easy. Tanganyika (Kujur) in 1-25s; (400m) 29s. Impressed.

1,000m: Quickdraw McGraw (Kujur) in 1-9s; (800m) 53s; (400m) 28s. Good.

Sand track

1,200m: Almond Rock (Som S.) in 1-17s; (800m) 53s; (400m) 28s. Fit and well. Bird�s Empire (Gowli) in 1-27s; (400m) 26s. Easy.

800m: On The Bit (Connorton) in 52s; (400m) 25s. Moved well. Crimson King (Upadhya) in 55s; (400m) 26s. Easy. Red Trident (Rutherford) in 1-0s; (400m) 30s. Ballet Master (Brij) in 57s; (400m) 29s.    


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