7-wicket win for Bagan
It�s a shame Duleep Trophy is treated so shabbily
League games for quake relief
Kabaddi squads
Toughest conditions I�ve ever faced: Paes
Manoj Kujur to lead at jr natls
Chess fraternity loses a friend
Iran teeanager tames top seed
Calcutta Racing / Alicyclic, Aloritz catch attenti

Calcutta, Feb. 7: 
Three-wicket hauls by Utpal Chatterjee and Tapan Roy helped Mohun Bagan notch up a seven-wicket win over Paikpara Sporting on the opening day of the CAB senior division league today.


Barisha SC 385/7 decl. (Subhradeep Ganguly 100, Dibyendu Chakraborty 114 n.o., Shome Kapoor 85; Chiranjit Guha 4/84). BNR 0/1.

Tollygunge Agragami 405/6 (Avijit Sikdar 122, A. Mohanty 86, Avakash Khatua 82, Mainak Sengupta 59; Khagen Patra 3/145) vs George Telegraph.

Paikpara Sporting 139 (Anindya Das 47; Utpal Chatterjee 3/37, Tapan Roy 3/39). Mohun Bagan 144/3 (Sanjeev Goel 38 n.o.; Subhabrata Bhattacharjee 3/61). Mohun Bagan won by 7 wkts.

Calcutta Customs 284 (Sandeep Mitra 57, Rudra Mukherjee 57, Anustab Roy 51; Moloy Sarkhel 5/60, Souvik Banerjee 3/41). Excelsiors 6/0.

Kumartuli 308/9 (Kamal Hassan Mondal 73, Avishek Ghosh 62, Anupam Pal 4/47; Samad Akhtar 3/56) vs Rajasthan.

Suburban 375/8 (Sandeep Ganguly 160, Pradipto Neogi 71, Snehasish Pal 63; Dharmendra Mishra 3/81) vs DKS.


Calcutta, Feb. 7: 
One Duleep Trophy game produces over 700 runs in an innings, in another both teams struggle to put bat to ball while in a third a bowler captures all 10 wickets. These not only go to show the glorious uncertainties of the game but also give the selectors plenty of material to choose from.

The question is whether it is realistic data or whether, when confronted with international competition, all the domestic wonders will come a cropper again.

The most important thing in a game of cricket is the pitch. It has to be such that there is no domination of either bat or ball. But, till date, nobody has found the perfect balance. So, in India at least, the pitches either favour the batsmen to such an extent that the bowlers may just as well stay at home or is so loaded in favour of the bowlers that a batsman has to think whether it is worth getting killed trying to stay there.

There is a Pitches Committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), but whether it will get a report of the kind of pitches on which the Duleep matches were played is another matter. And even if they do, what will they do about it? In England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, the umpires can report a pitch which is sub-standard and especially dangerous to the batsmen and the home team can get fined not only points but also financially. That is a huge deterrent for teams trying the cheap way to win matches and get points.

The problem in India is that with the way the BCCI functions, no umpire or even the match observer is going to upset the powers that be by trying to report a venue. After all, they may never again get a game to officiate. So Indian cricket can go down the drain, for sub-standard pitches will produce sub-standard players who will be exposed when confronted with tougher opposition.

It is a pity that the Duleep Trophy, which is the level below the Test and international level, is treated as shabbily as it is by everybody apart from the players who are hoping to impress the selectors. Not just the pitches and ground conditions, but also the hotels the players are put up are not up to the mark.

If a team is coming with star players then, yes, the hotel gets better but if it is a team sans stars, then they have to make do with rooms that do not have water, clean sheets or clean toilets. The least the players should get is rooms with clean sheets and heaters, especially when the matches are being played in winter.

Mind you, no association can today give the excuse that they do not have funds, for the BCCI shares its revenues with every affiliated unit and it is a fairly large slice of pie that each association gets. But, typically, instead of spending it on the cricketers, the associations prefer to let the money lie in some bank or wherever it stays as an impressive figure to produce for the Annual General Meeting to get votes and get re-elected.

You can get all your consultants with their modern technology, but the thought-pattern of most Indian officials continue of remain in the last century. Thus spending money to create a better infrastructure will be taboo to them. Unless that changes, Indian sport � and not just cricket � will continue to throw up the odd world beater rather than produce a regular line of them.

The naming of the 25 probables for the conditioning camp has raised more than a few eyebrows. The Mumbai lobby has got itself in a lather for their players not being included in the teams for the Challenger Trophy. The reason given was that since Mumbai was playing the Australians, they will get the opportunity which others won�t. It obviously means that none of the players from the three teams will be in either the India �A� team or the Board Presidents�s �XI� that play the Australians, if you apply the same logic. Question is whether a good performance against each other will be of more value to the selectors than a slightly lesser but still courageous one against the Australians? Well, we will soon know the answers.

Logic, as we know it, is not meant to be followed in the selection rooms. But then, what�s new about that in Indian cricket? It has managed to get along because it is a fabulously wealthy board and nobody wants to do anything to rock the boat. Decisions are taken on an ad-hoc basis and then the usual carrot and stick approach used to ratify them later. The tried and tested method has worked in keeping the flock together for so long and it will continue. If India do well against the Australians, it will be said that inspite of all this we are beating the world champions. And yes, if we lose to the Australians, then after all they are the world champions, so what could have been done?

Thus Indian cricket will continue with its old, old ways. Even in the new millennium.


Calcutta, Feb. 7: 
The entire proceeds from four upcoming National League matches will go to the Gujarat Earthquake Relief Fund. This was decided at AIFF�s executive committee meeting in Margao today.

Acording to information received here, besides the February 17 Mohun Bagan-East Bengal clash, the other matches earmarked were Air India versus Mahindra, FC Kochin versus SBT and Churchill versus Mahindra. The UB Group will provide an extra Rs 50 lakh for the earthquake fund.

It was also decided to appoint Sukhwinder Singh as India coach for the pre-World Cup meet, provided he is available. It may be recalled that he had turned down AIFF�s Sahara Cup offer as JCT didn�t agree to release him.


Calcutta, Feb. 7: 
The state men�s and women�s teams will take part in the 48th senior national kabaddi championship in Mandi, Karnataka. The meet begins tomorrow.


MEN: Subhas Bora, Mohun Mondal, Swapan Ali, Harda Das, Pradip Senapati, Arko Biswas, Sk Faruk, Arjun Naskar, Tapan Koley, Tapan Ghosh, Athuddin Mollah, Sanjoy Dutta. Coach: Biswajit Ghoshal.

0 Namita Dey, Anita Das, Rekha Das, Banani Saha, Sagata Chakraborty, Purabi Das, Kekaya Bagh, Jharna Karmakar, Bandana Das, Mamoni Pal, Jantai Rai, Sumitra Roy Chowdhury. Coach: Kishor Patra.

Ranking badminton

Around 125 players are expected to participate in the Lalit Mitra memorial state ranking badminton championships from Saturday. Organised by Anusilan Samity, the seven-day meet will be held at the Samity�s indoor courts.    

Calcutta, Feb. 7: 
If Doordarshan keeps its promise of showing the India versus China Davis Cup tie live on its sports channel, be sure to tune in. And don�t be surprised to see Leander Paes look like a tennis player from Mars.

Come Friday, and the Indian No. 1 will be wrapped up in special heatpants, headgear and long-sleeved-round-neck vests (on top of three more �protectors�) for his match against the Chinese No. 2 at the East University Campus in Lang Fang City, 70 km south of Beijing.

�It�s minus one degree celsius inside the stadium as the heating system has broken down, while outside the temperature is minus nine,� Paes told The Telegraph shortly after driving back from Beijing, where the team attended a dinner at the Indian ambassador�s residence this evening.

�We�ve been practising for the past four days and it�s no fun. The hands go completely numb every two-three minutes and we have requested the ambassador to send heaters which we can use during changeovers on match days,� Paes said.

�It�s the toughest conditions I�ve ever faced,� the Davis Cup maestro observed, adding that Sogwipo in South Korea (during the tie two years ago) was a close second.

The miserable weather notwithstanding, Paes signed off on an optimistic note. �It�s terrible out here, but I think we�ll still put it across China.�

With Mahesh Bhupathi not playing singles, Syed Fazaluddin is more or less certain to be the No. 2 player. Tomorrow morning�s draw will decide who plays the first rubber � Paes or Fazal.


Calcutta, Feb. 7: 
Manoj Kujur will lead a 16-member Bengal squad in the 31st junior national hockey championship from Friday. While the group league ties will be held in Hyderabad, matches from the quarter final stage will take place in Chennai. The squad includes 11 players from SAI.


Sushil Minz, Manoj Kujur (captain), Ashok Toppo, Joseph Ekka, Tomba Singh, Praful Dung Dung, Edmond Karketta, Stephen Kujur, Atal Tirkey, Renel Singh, Paulus Soy (all SAI), Vikratn Tete, Ranjan Lakra (both FCI) Manjit Singh, Kumar Bharat (both Cal Customs), Manmit Singh (Aryan). Coach: P.S. Rawat.

Punjab SC held

Jagrihi held Punjab SC 2-2 in a BHA league first division group B tie today. J. Singh Rao and A. Singh scored for Punjab SC while Kishen Bairgai struck a brace for Jagrihi. Belgachia United got a walkover against Real sports in the day�s other tie.

Sub-jr natl boxing

Bengal�s A.K. Singh and Pappu Rajak made a comfortable start in the 16th sub junior and first women�s national boxing championship, which commenced in Chennia today, according to informatuion reaching here. Pugilists from Services ruled the opening day.    

Calcutta, Feb. 7: 
Mohan Saha, an international chess arbiter, passed away in the city early this morning. An active follower of the game, he is suvived by his wife and son Suvrajit, who is playing in the Goodricke international tournament here. Players observed two minutes silence as a mark of respect.

Mr Saha was an arbiter in the Goodricke meet since 1991. He was recently awarded the title of International Arbiter by Fide.


Calcutta, Feb. 7: 
Iranian teenager Eshan Ghaem Maghami caused the biggest upset on Day II of the 12th Goodricke International Open Chess Tournament at Gorky Sadan today, beating Russian top seed GM Andrei Kharlov.

Trying hard to force a win from a drawn end game against the Iranian IM, Kharlov went for a tricky manoeuvre but overlooked a knight check and had to pay a heavy price for it.

Maghami now leads the field with two points along with five others. Koneru Humpy, Nassir Wajih and Lanka Ravi of India, Buenavent Villamayor of Philippines and Argentina�s Maxim Sorokin are the others on two points.

Indian IM G.B. Prakash, seeking his third and final GM norm, continued his impressive run with a draw against GM Dimitri Reinderman of Netherlands. He had beaten GM Tomasz Markowski of Poland yesterday.

Playing with white pieces, Prakash once again obtained a superior position after the opening in a Queen�s Gambit accepted variation. �When I accepted the draw offer on the 26th move, I was already in a better position. But I was apprehensive about the future of my Bishop on c7 and agreed to split the point,� Prakash said after the match.

The champion of Philippines, GM Villamayor, made short work of GM Alexie Barsov of Uzbekistan in a Slav defence. The Filipino won a rook for bishop on the 36th move after which Barshov�s had little chance.

Asian junior girls� champion IWM Humpy had little difficulty in overcoming B. T. Muralikrishnan in a bishop vs knight ending. Humpy had an extra pawn which she nursed to perfection and finished smoothly.

Subbaraman Meenakshi, however, went down to Wajih in 37 moves in a Ruy Lopez opening.

National champion, GM Abhijit Kunte of Indian Oil, tought his younger teammate IM Surya Sekhar Ganguly a lesson in 29 moves of a Ruy Lopez opening.

Kunte, playing white, broke open Ganguly�s king side and forced the king into the open after which it was curtains for the Bengal youngster.

Asian junior boys� champion, IM Tejas Bakre of India, drew against GM Dimitri Komarov (2540) of Ukraine in the highly analysed Botvinnik System of the Slav defence in 28 moves. Bakre had drawn against Latvian GM Igor Raussis yesterday.

GM Dibyendu Barua obtained an advantage in the opening against IM Nelson Mariano of Philippines but allowed his opponent to equalise in the middle game. He gambled by making a dubious sacrifice on f5. Mariano refused an offer to draw at this stage but it turned out to be fatal as he surrendered soon after.

Young Indian IM Pentyala Harikrishna stayed on course for his third and final GM norm with a win over compatriot T.S. Ravi. Harikrishna now has 1.5 points to his credit.


IM Ghaem Maghami Eshan (2) bt GM Andrei Kharlov (1); GM Alexie Barsov (1) lost to GM Buenavent Villamayor (2); IM G.B. Prakash (1.5) drew GM Dimitri Reinderman (1.5); GM Maxim Sorokin (2) bt GM Victor Mikhalevski (1); Suvrajit Saha (1) w/o vs IM Lanka Ravi (2); WIM Koneru Humpy (2) bt B.T. Muralikrishnan (1); Nassir Wajih (2) bt S. Meenakshi (1); Rahul Shetty (1.5) drew Lungu Malupande (1.5); Saheli Dhar Barua (1.5) drew C.S. Gokhale (1.5); GM Evegeny Vladimirov (1.5) bt IM Ziaur Rahaman (0.5); GM Abhijit Kunte (1.5) bt IM Surya Sekhar Ganguly (0.5); GM Dimitri Komarov (1) drew IM Tejas Bakre (1); Chito Garma (0.5) lost to GM Normunds Miezis (1.5); GM Igor Raussis (1.5) bt IM Neelotpal Das (0.5); IM P. Konguvel (0.5) lost to GM Joseph Gallagher (1.5); IM P. Harkrishna (1.5) bt T.S. Ravi (0.5); GM Dibyendu Barua (1.5) bt IM Nelson Mariano (0.5).


Saheli Dhar Barua (1.5) drew C.S. Gokhale (1.5); Sandipan Chanda (1) bt S. Satyapragyan (0); Jayant Gokhale (1.5) bt Saptarshi Roy (0.5); Arghyadip Das (1) bt Anoori Shah (0); Saheli Nath (0) lost to Oleg Boricsev (1).


Calcutta, Feb. 7: 
Alicyclic, and Aloritz were impressive in today�s work outs:

Outer sand track

1,200m: Illustrious Reign (Upadhya) in 1-29s; (400m) 28s. Fit. Set Aside (Khalander) in 1-27s; (400m) 28s. Moved well. Acaress (Rb) in 1-35s; (400m) 29s. Easy.

1,000m: Alicyclic (C. Alford) and Andrada (Surender) in 1-13s; (400m) 27s. Former was far better. Melo-deon (C. Alford) in 1-7s; (400m) 27s. Impressed. Blue Gardenia (Co-nnorton) and Mameena (Yadav) in 1-11s; (400m) 28s. They were level.

800m: Winning Hand (Rb) and Raaz (M. Reuben) in 56s; (400m) 28s. They were level. Gold Buck (Shanker) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Fit. Double Dancer (Rb) and Remember Me (M. Reuben) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Both were level. Annella (C. Alford) in 54s; (400m) 27s. Good. Ace Of Spades (Tamang) in 54s; (400m) 28s. Moved well. Tsavo (Khalander) in 58s; (400m) 27s. Handy. Freedom Dancer (A. P. Singh) and Alterezza (Amil) in 54s; (400m) 26s Former better. Starina (Rutherford) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Easy. Supreme Desire (Rb) and Swash Buckler (Upadhya) in 57s; (400m) 28s. Both were level. Jeypore (Shanker) and Pistol Star (G. Singh) in 59s; (400m) 30s. Former was far superior. Aloritz (C. Alford) in 53s; (400m) 27s. Note.

600m: Victoria Rose (Islam) and Alvernia (Rabani) in 40s; (400m) 27s. They were level.

Sand track

1,400m: Flying Scot (Haroon) in 1-40s; (400m) 29s. Easy.

1,200m: Privy Council (M. Reuben) in 1-24s; (400m) 26s. Fit. Rule With Honour (Rb) in 1-24s; (400m) 29s. Easying up. Solo Act (Rutherford) in 1-22s; (400m) 24. Was urged. Spanish Drum�s (Upadhya) in 1-24s; (400m) 27s. Fit.

800m: Red Trident (Rutherford) in 51s; (400m) 24s. Moved well. Pure Energy (K. Gurang) in 53s; (400m) 26s. Highland Flame (Som S.) in 57s; (400m) 29s. Endless Surprise (Rb) in 55s; (400m) 25s. Fencai (M. Reuben) in 53s; (400m) 26s. No Surrender (M. Reuben) in 50s; (400m) 24. Impressed. Russian Czar (Rutherford) in 51s; (400m) 24s. Fit. Pure Passion (P. Alford) in 54s; (400m) 26s. Easy. Go With The Wind (K. Gurang) in 53s; (400m) 26s


On Tuesday, outer sand track

1,400m: Key Witness (Amil) and Amarante (A. P. Singh) in 1-39s; (400m) 30s. Former was far better.

1,200m: Alvarada (A. P. Singh) in 1-28s; (400m) 32s.

1,000m: Citadel (Rabani) in 1-15s; (400m) 29s.

600m: Queen�s Logic (Islam) in 41s; (400m) 27s. Good. Alkido (Rabani) in 41s; (400m) 27s. Fit. Super Smile (Rabani) and Kansai) in 39s; (400m) 26s. They were level. Chicarica (Smith) in 42s; (400m) 27s. Fit. Regency Times (Upadhya) and Maid To Measure (Rb) in 43s; (400m) 30s. Both were level.

Sand track

1,200m: On The Bit (Yadav) in 1-32s; (400m) 32s.Crimson King (Brij) in 1-31s; (400m) 31s.

800m: Princelene (Khalander) in 51s; (400m) 25s. Moved well.


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