Benefit series on cards
Baboor storms into semis
Crunch tie for Bagan
E. Bengal held by Customs, SAI win
2 from Bengal in squad
Mumbai Racing/ Realism wins main event

Calcutta, April 19: 
The Union government�s �no� to India�s participation in the Sharjah tournament, which concludes tomorrow, deprived many of quite a few things.

Enhanced gate receipts and a higher sponsorship fee to the Cricketers Benefit Fund Series (CBFS); the chance for the Sachin Tendulkars and Sourav Gangulys to add to ODI runs and wickets; the opportunity for Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Farokh Engineer and Chetan Sharma to collect a handsome (beneficiary) purse.

Of course, Pataudi and Engineer didn�t react at the loss of $35,000, but a very disappointed Sharma did � a response which didn�t surprise as, among other things, the $35,000 purse would have helped him have better memories of Sharjah.

Sharma, after all, continues to be haunted by that last-ball full toss to Javed Miandad in the 1986 Austral-Asia Cup final.

According to The Telegraph�s sources, though, there could soon be comforting news for not only the three beneficiaries who just missed the CBFS purse, but others in the queue as well.

[The beneficiaries� selection, ever since the Board directly got into the picture, has been via a transparent policy, with the criteria in black-and-white.]

It is understood the Board�s brass has, informally, already discussed the possibility of staging an annual tri-series � aimed in part at making good the loss of all in the beneficiaries� queue.

Actually, the Board has a moral obligation and it won�t shirk responsibility.

The first tournament, when it does come about (most probably in 2002), is bound to have Pataudi, Engineer and Sharma as beneficiaries.

The government, it may be recalled, has slapped a three-year ban on the Indian team�s visit to Sharjah. So, it�s really not just Pataudi, Engineer and Sharma who get affected.

The possibility of an annual tri-series, it is learnt, will figure at the Board�s April 24 working committee meeting in New Delhi. An announcement may not be made immediately but, as well-placed sources insisted, the option �will be discussed.�

But one announcement which will be made concerns the supremely disorganised Goa Cricket Association (GCA). It is understood the Board plans to blacklist Margao as an international centre besides taking action against the GCA as a unit.

All this is a fallout of the GCA�s scandalous conduct of the fifth (and final) India versus Australia ODI, in Margao, on April 6.

The GCA treasurer, Rama Shankardas, is already behind bars and the can of worms still isn�t shut. The treasurer�s arrest, in particular, has caused the Board acute embarrassment.

As the GCA is an affiliate, irrespective of what the Goa government�s inquiry reveals, the Board must itself straightaway take appropriate action.

Meanwhile, within the Board, there apparently are �rumblings� over actions emanating from the National Cricket Academy (NCA).

So much so that a senior Board official went to the extent of saying this evening there is talk of the NCA �functioning as a parallel Board.�

That seems too strong, but though NCA boss Raj Singh Dungarpur does have Board president A.C. Muthiah�s ears, he could still have a tough time on April 24.

It would, however, be a shame if an otherwise excellent project becomes a centre for politicking.


New Delhi, April 19: 
Chetan Baboor and S. Raman�s hattrick dreams were vanquished by the unknown English duo of Terry Young and Alex Perry. The fancied Indian pair, winners of the Commonwealth Games men�s doubles titles at both the 1997 and 2000 meets, choked at crucial points tonight to go down 21-10, 22-24, 18-21. The Indians thus failed in their bid to become the first pair ever to win the Commonwealth title thrice in a row.

The Englishmen�s service returns made the difference. In the second game, the Indian duo lost the initiative as Young and Perry won the extended game 24-22. Baboor, playing his sixth game of the day, could not get his forehand top-spin drives working and the English pair won the third and final game 21-18.

In women�s doubles, top seeds Jing Jung Hong and Li Jia Wei of Singapore annexed the title beating compatriots Zhang Xue Ling and Ta Paey Fern 22-20, 24-22.

Baboor salvaged India�s pride on the penultimate day of the individual events. Seeded second, Baboor entered the men�s singles semi-finals. In women�s singles, only two Indians advanced to the last-16 stage. Poulami Ghatak and Mouma Das, were eliminated in straight games in the pre-quarter finals.

Using the block and forehand top-spin drive effectively, Baboor shut out his former clubmate Alex Perry of England in a one-sided quarter final. The Indian trailed 1-6 as his blocks and service returns went wide. He rallied to level at 10-10 before leading 13-12 for the first time.

Baboor trailed 4-6 in the second game but then reeled off ten points in a row. He won the game 21-9 in eight minutes. In the final game, Perry was resigned to defeat and lost 7-21, in just seven minutes.

The other men�s quarter finals were also decided in straight games. Top seed Mathew Syed of England demolished Raman 21-7, 21-6, 21-8 in just 17 minutes. Third seed Teriola Segun, who relishes an all-out attack, trounced poker-faced Zhang Tai Yong of Singapore. Unseeded Englishman Gareth Herbert, the dark horse, was rarely used in the team events. In the individual events, he scalped fourth seed Duan Yong Jun of Singapore in four games in the pre-quarter finals and then accounted for Kiwi Li Aaron 26-24, 21-18, 21-12.

Soumyadeep Roy faltered against Li Aaron of New Zealand in the fourth round. The national champion went down in straight games.

In women�s singles, the top four seeds progressed to the semi-finals. Poulami was demolished by top seed Li Jia Wei of Singapore in straight games. Mouma succumbed to fourth seed Yao Ling Jing, also in three games.

In the men�s doubles semis, there was a major upset when unseeded Englishmen Terry Young and Alex Perry upset top seeds D. Yong Jun and Z. Tai Yong of Singapore 21-17, 21-17. They meet Baboor and Raman in the final.


Men�s singles quarter finals: Mathew Syed (GBR) bt S. Raman 21-7, 21-6, 21-8; Gareth Herbert (GBR) bt Li Aaron (NZ) 26-24, 21-18, 21-12; Toriola Segun (Nig) bt Zhang Tai Yong (Sin) 21-11, 21-17, 21-12; Chetan Baboor bt Alex Perry (GBR) 21-18, 21-9, 21-7.

Women�s singles quarter finals: Li Jia Wei (Sin) btLi Karen (NZ) 21-9, 21-18, 21-17; Yao Lingjing (Mal) bt Nicola Deaton (GBR) 21-10, 21-18, 21-17; Zhang Xue Ling (Sin) bt Miao Miao (Aus) 21-15, 22-20, 21-16; Li Chun Li (NZ) bt Tan Paey Fern (Sin) 21-16, 21-9, 21-15.


Women�s singles pre-quarter finals: Li Jia Wei (Sin) bt Poulami Ghatak 21-14, 21-14, 21-10; Yao Ling Jing (Mal) bt Mouma Das 21-10, 21-11, 21-12.

Women�s doubles quarter finals : Jing Jun Hong & Li Jia Wei (Sin) bt Poulami and Mouma 21-12, 21-10; Zhang Xue Ling & T. Tan Paey Fern (Sin) bt Anindita Chakraborty and Mantu Ghosh 9-21, 21-11, 21-10.

Men�s doubles semi-finals: Chetan Baboor & S. Raman bt Cai Xiao Li & Sen Yew Fai (Sin) 21-6, 21-15; Terry Young & Alex Perry (GBR) bt D. Yong Jun & Z. Tai Yong (Sin) 21-17, 21-17.

Indian team for Osaka

The Indian men�s and women�s team for the forthcoming 46th world table tennis championships at Osaka, Japan from April 23�May 5, contained no major surprises.

The squad � Men: Chetan Baboor, S. Raman, Soumyadeep Roy, Subhajit Saha and Shibaji Dutta.

Women: N.R. Indu, Poulami Ghatak, M.S. Mythili, Mantu Ghosh and Mouma Das.

Coaches: Manjit Dua and Sunil Babras.


Calcutta, April 19: 
Mohun Bagan are probably looking for a respectable finish to the fifth National Football League. Tomorrow, versus Salgaocar of Goa, they will have to guard against the laggards � and not too few of them in the team � and concentrate on some good, attacking soccer, for a change. Something that Mohun Bagan did against FC Kochin, and earned great dividends.

Some in Mohun Bagan�s regular line-up are still busy with the Indian pre-World Cup campaign, hence there will remain that gap. Coach Subrata Bhattacharya has been harping about a �big-bodied� forward. What he has been given instead is Abdul Khalique, on lien from Mohammedan Sporting (for the last three matches of the league).

Brazilian Jose Ramirez Barreto has remained the key figure in the forward line, but in the last match, versus East Bengal, the attacking duo of Barreto and Alfaz Ahmed (of Bangladesh) was starving for feed, because Basudeb Mondal was not around. That problem will not be there tomorrow, and the half line is expected to be working better, but Barreto is coming out of a leg injury and Bhattacharya could have reservations about fielding him full time or at all tomorrow.

It is to be seen if Khalique starts the day, with Alfaz. Alfaz has shown enough resilience and attacking verve, but he has also failed to develop any understanding with Barreto. That resulted in too much individualistic play upfront. Not that Khalique has any ready-made understanding with the Brazilian, but he could get more tips from the rest of the team. Then, of course, remains the problem of whether Khalique and Alfaz could develop a combination.

Khalique, who was taken on lien early this week, has been practising with the team regularly, and the Bangladeshis (including Md Nakib, who has not been fielded at all) are dying to get back home for their local league. Bhattacharya refused to show his cards, but he will probably be keeping Barreto on hold, to get going if the need arises. Most important, though is the attack line-half line understanding.

That is essential survival strategy for the Calcutta team, keeping it mind the presence of stalwarts like Bruno Coutinho and Alvito D�Cunha in the Salgaocar team. And keeping in mind that this season Mohun Bagan have not been able to beat Salgaocar (including in the Rovers Cup).

Holders Bagan have a tenuous chance of catching up with East Bengal (despite East Bengal losing a point and being just two points ahead now), but the second position should be encouragement enough.

Salgaocar are coming out of a late season slump. They were beaten by statemates Churchill Brothers, despite having earned a creditable draw versus East Bengal not too many days before that.

The afternoon tomorrow should be tense.


SALGAOCAR: Juje Siddi, Covan Lawrence, Roberto Fernandes, Franky Barreto, Venancio Gonsalves, Jules Alberto, Climax Lawrence, Dharamjit Singh/Denis Cabral, Christian Okoye, Bruno Coutinho/Tijani Ahmed, Alvito D�Cunha/Roque Pereira.

MOHUN BAGAN: Bivash Ghosh, Dulal Biswas, Amouri, Hussein Mustafi, Lolendra Singh, James Singh, Basudeb Mondal, Debjit Ghosh, M. Suresh/ Naushad Pari, Alfaz Ahmed/Abdul Khalique, Jose Ramirez Barreto.


Calcutta, April 19: 
The BHA first division group A league match between East Bengal and Calcutta Customs ended in a 1-1 draw to-day.

Khusmit Singh scored for East Bengal in the 55th minute but Kumar Bharat restored parity five minutes later.

In another match, SAI Training Centre beat FCI 2-1. Atal Tirkey put the defending champions ahead in the 10th minute before Ranjan Lakra equalised ten minutes later. Sanjay Tirkey hit the winner in the 45th.

Customs dominated proceedings against East Bengal in the first half and forced four penalty corners before the breather. However, some sharp saves by East Bengal goalkeeper C. Debnath kept Customs from scoring.

East Bengal relied mostly on counterattacks but they were rare in the opening half. They forced just two chances in this period and Gregory Minz missed both.

The changeover didn�t alter the course of events and Customs kept pressing but East Bengal got the lead against the run of play. Gregory did all the work, getting past three defenders and releasing Khusmit inside the �D�.

The forward failed to time his shot to perfection but the ball rolled past an advancing �keeper. Their joy was shortlived as Bharat found the target off a melee following a long corner.

Customs got two more penalty corners in the second half and East Bengal forced one, but none were taken advantage of. The draw left both teams on ten points after six matches.

In group B action, Sporting Union beat Chotanagpur RC 4-1. Jagannath Dey (2), Sudip Singh and Ashoke Singh struck for the winners. A. Bora got one for Chotanagpur.

Schools� meet

The CAB inter-school under-19 cricket tournament begins Monday. Forty-four schools, including champions South Point and runners-up St James will take part.

Jr meet from Sunday

The N.C. Kolay junior cricket tournament, organised by Kalighat Club, will be played from Sunday to May 2. Sixteen teams will take part and matches will be played at the Kalighat and Rajasthan grounds.

TT qualifiers

Arindam Dutta, Niloy Roy Chowdhury, Abhishek Kolay and Arghya Bose qualified for the main round in sub-junior boys singles of the Kalyan Jayant Memorial table tennis tournament which got underway at Khudiram Anushilan Kendra today.

Ankita Bhattacharya, Mita Basak, Barnali Jati and Sayanta Pal made the cut in the sub-junior girls section.


Calcutta, April 19: 
Bengal�s Shampa Guha (super heavyweight) and Ruma Pal (heavyweight) have been included in the national squad for the Asian powerlifting championship to be held in Delhi from May 2-6. Maloy Ranjan Mondal has been named in the team of coaches.

CSJC awards

Niral Bhengra (hockey) and Arghya Ranjan Biswas (kabaddi) were named sportsmen of the year in their disiplines by the Calcutta Sports Journalists� Club. Awardees in other events were named earlier. They will be felicitated at a function on April 28 which was scheduled for April 25.    

The Antia-trained six-year-old Realism claimed the 1,400m Cursetjee Dhunjishaw Trophy at the Mumbai races held on Thursday. C. Rajendra partnered the Riyahi-Supernova son to victory.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Lauretta Plate 1,100m: (1-6-2) Moira (Rajendra) 1; Lovingly 2; Arabella 3. Won by: SH; 1-3/4; (1-9.1). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 10; 30; Quinella: 40; Tanala: 239. Fav: Moira (1).

2. Vibrant Plate 1,200m: (1-4-6) Louis Cyphre (Gallagher) 1; Malozza 2; Track Emotions 3. Won by: 8-1/2; 3-1/4; (1-14). Tote: Win Rs 21; Place: 14; 18; Quinella: 22; Tanala: 56. Fav: Louis Cyphre (1).

3. Fermony Plate 1,000m: (7-2-5) Silver Line (Sandeep) 1; Persian Lord 2; Coronado 3. Not run: Osprey (3). Won by: 3-1/4; 5-1/2; (1-1.3). Tote: Win Rs 90; Place: 32; 22; Quinella: 151; Tanala: 2,181. Fav: Cloud Nine (1).

4. Kolar Gold Plate 1,400m: (3-4-2) Berliet (Bhati) 1; Mambo King 2; Act Of Trust 3. Won by: SH; 3/4; (1-28.2). Tote: Win Rs 55; Place: 22; 25; 22; Quinella: 212; Tanala: 2,764. Fav: That�s Momentum (7). (Note: The winner survived an objection lodged by the rider of second placed horse).

5. Cursetjee Dhunjishaw Trophy 1,400m: (2-6-3) Realism (Rajendra) 1; Sunglow 2; Speculative 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 3-1/4; (1-25.8). Tote: Win Rs 35; Place: 15; 57; Quinella: 135; Tanala: 556. Fav: Speculative (3).

6. Decoration Plate 1,000m: (2-10-3) Blue Butterfly (Prakash) 1; Spring Time 2; Crisscross 3. Won by: 2; 1-1/4; (1-1.9). Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 12; 14; 21; Quinella: 27; Tanala: 107. Fav: Blue Butterfly (2).

7. Mount Everest Plate 1,600m: (3-5-2) Mille Fiori (Rajendra) 1; Alustar 2; Forest Hunter 3. Won by: 2-3/4; 1; (1-40.3). Tote: Win Rs 31; Place: 12; 14; 24; Quinella: 35; Tanala: 267. Fav: Mille Fiori (3).

8. S. Mody Stakes 1,800m: (5-2-3) Balancita (Sunny) 1; Fine Arrow 2; Momentous Mover 3. Won by: 1-1/4; Nk; (1-56.4). Tote: Win Rs 66; Place: 27; 30; Quinella: 181; Tanala: 1,671. Fav: Tap On Power (1).

Jackpot: Rs 7,146; (C) Rs 294.

Treble: (i) Rs 291; (ii) Rs 6,629; (iii) Rs 503.

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