Thumping win for EB
BCCI asks Goa to show cause
Looking ahead with optimism, despite drawbacks
EB crush Kalighat hopes
Bridge too far yet for EB
Customs tame Port 2-1
Mumbai Racing/ Easy victory for Top Gun

Calcutta, April 24: 

What was to have been a major hurdle, in the end, turned out to be too easy. FC Kochin, a contestant for top spots in the fifth National Football League in the not too distant past, virtually offered no resistance to leaders East Bengal and went down 0-3 at the Salt Lake Stadium.

Falguni Dutta opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, Dipendu Biswas, ignoring a bleeding forehead, made it 2-0 in the 29th minute, and Suley Musah rounded off the tally in the 62nd minute.

Aiding the East Bengal attacks was FC Kochin goalkeeper Dinesh Nair and his utterly obtuse and childish antics that defied soccer grammar at any level. This is a goalkeeper who is not suitable for the IFA�s nursery league, if, of course, what he was doing on the ground was in all his naive seriousness.

The win gave East Bengal a four-point lead over Mohun Bagan. East Bengal started on an atacking note, hoping for that quick goal. Had it not come, the heat would surely have sapped enough energy from the home team to reduce onfield activity to inaction. Musah, as usual was his overlapping self, and Falguni provided strong support down the flanks.

That was rather stark in the face of little show of enthusiasm from the usually agile Liberian Sunday Seah of Kochin, who is now a full-time striker (up from his part-goalkeeper�s stance). This allowed space and time for the East Bengal forwards to get enough feed. However, the fact that no goal was scored earlier, was because of the fact that there seemed little forward-line understanding at the goalmouth. Dipendu volleyed one out in the tenth minute from where it is difficult to. And, a minute later, off one of those rather rare counterattacks, Aaron Cole�s volley was somehow thwarted by Sangram Mukherjee.

The real push came in the 21st minute when Musah volleyed homewards a loose collection. Dinesh was out of his charge, for no apparent reason, and he was lucky that the ball came off the far upright. Musah tried his head with the rebound but it was off-target. Dinesh�s propensity to charge out to anything that he thought looked like a ball, had been well observed, and Falguni let go a strong 25-yard diagonal grounder. The shot should have been collected easily � at least this would have been the case in the fifth division, say � but Dinesh dived short and face down! The ball bounced ahead of the goalline and went in.

The second goal, of course, was a beauty. Falguni took a flag kick from the left, lifting it to the goalmouth. Dipendu rose and sent home a rather smart header that had Dinesh hands down.

That took off Dipendu�s bandage from his head. He had hurt himself in a header attempt early in the match and the first aid had stopped the bleeding. The goal had the blood flowing again and referee S. Suresh of Tamil Nadu ordered him out.

Dipendu could have easily been substituted (with the team leading 2-0), but the striker was adamant about getting back into action. There was some minor drama at the sidelines as officials and the medics stitched up his head. Falguni set up the third goal. Moving up the left he lifted a prompt right to the goalmouth, and Musah made amends for earlier misses by heading in quickly. Dinesh, by that time, was posted as left back.


EAST BENGAL: Sangram Mukherjee, Suley Musah, Jackson Egygopong, Ranjan Dey, Falguni Dutta, Awoyemi Isiaka, Anit Ghosh (Tushar Rakshit, 82), Chandan Das, Dipankar Roy (Amandeep Singh, 85), Dipendu Biswas (Srikanta Dutta, 46).

FC KOCHIN: Dinesh V. Nair/Shibu Shanmugam, Eugene Gray, Patrick Nuku, L. Suresh, C.K. Jithesh, P. B. Babu (MA Rajesh Kumar 80), M.K. Sunil, C.V. Hemananthan, K. Harshanand (Shibu Shanmugam, 46), Aaron Cole, Sunday Seah.

Referee: S. Suresh (Tamil Nadu).


New Delhi, April 24: 
A show cause notice to the Goa Cricket Association (GCA), age-group academies, affiliation of new states, examining the bids of sponsors and media managers and discussion on the union sports ministry�s verdict not to send teams to non-regular venues were the issues discussed at a prolonged working committee meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Final decisions on the sponsors and media manager will be taken by the working committee in Mumbai Friday.

The working committee took umbrage at the GCA statement, that extra complimentary tickets were printed for the benefit of BCCI officials. It is learnt that the Goa police wants the Board, particularly the observer, to account for about 600 complimentary tickets which he received from the GCA. Incensed at the GCA�s remark, the BCCI has issued a show cause notice, asking them to explain their statement. The BCCI president, A.C. Muthiah clarifed that �we want to take action as responsible regulators.�

Muthiah informed India�s chances of hosting the ICC Knockout tournament next year were slim. �The government has to take a decision on matters of tax exemptions, sought by the ICC, by April 30. ICC has told us clearly to get the tax exemptions by that date or else the tournament will be allotted to some other country.�

Former BCCI chief Raj Singh Dungarpur�s proposal that the Cricket Club of India (CCI) in Mumbai will set up under-16 and under-14 academies was discussed. The working committee stated that the BCCI has decided not to set up zonal academies for juniors. Muthiah added that state associations can set up such academies but they will get no subsidies from the BCCI. He added that the five zonal cricket academies will start functioning from May 1.

The working committee discussed the claims for affilaition of news states Chattisgarh, Uttranchal Pradesh and union territories of Chandigarh and Pondicherry. The BCCI secretary said inspection of these units had taken place but a final decision will be taken by the general body later this year.

The BCCI is up in arms against the Government of India on the taxation issue also. For the assessment year, 1997-98, the BCCI has been directed by the Income Tax Department to pay a sum of Rs. 10 crores. The BCCI has written a letter of protest on this issue.

Sponsorship bids were also examined the BCCI working committee today. A replacement sponsor was sought for the Wills Trophy. The minimum sponsorship amount is Rs. 50 lakh. Sponsorship for team clothing has ben fixed at Rs. 35 lakh per Test match and Rs. 30 lakh per one day International. The BCCI is also in search of a sponsor for the non-leading arm, for whichthe fees are Rs. 3 lakh per Test and Rs. 2 lakh per one day International. Efforts are being made to seek sponsors for a period of three years.

However so far, there have been only four applicants, which includes just one corporate house. The four applicants whose cases were examined today are: 21st Century Media, Gayathri Arts (from Mumbai), Hero Honda and Sporting Frontiers. In stadia advertising rights for the recent India vs Australia series was held by Sporting Frontiers.

Mutthiah added that if none of the bids was found sataisfactory, the BCCI would recall fresh bids. Five applicants for the post of media manager were also interviewed by the BCCI.


Calcutta, April 24: 
The absence of any communication between SAI Eastern Centre and the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) till this evening, a decentralised set up and internal politicking within the state association over selection of assistant coaches � the prelude to the launching of the BCCI�s East Zone Academy has not been encouraging. But chief coach Arun Lal is optimistic of imparting the right direction to the trainees.

�I think they want to just start, and till you actually do so, you cannot understand the problems you will encounter. To that extent, I believe it�s a good thing. If you want everything in place and then start, it will not happen that way. Even the Australian Academy has taken its present shape after 10-14 years,� Lal told The Telegraph last evening.

The Academy, to be inaugurated Tuesday next, has been planned to be located at the SAI Eastern Complex, Salt Lake. But dearth of all the desired facilities there has forced to give it a decentralised look.

The complex has six cricket pitches � three cement and three turf wickets � where SAI runs its own daily coaching schemes. The absence of any indoor coaching facilities will prompt the boys to avail of them at the Pankaj Gupta Indoor Centre at Eden Gardens during the monsoons.

The CAB has already initiatted efforts to renovate the Centre with the purchase of an uniturf on the lines of the Australian Academy. �The uniturf is equipped with a shock pad which will enable the batsmen to tackle swinging or turning deliveries, according to the needs, as experienced on turf wickets,� said a senior CAB official.

The gymnasium at SAI will come in handy but the lack of a swimming pool will require trainees to use the facilities at Subhas Sarovar.

But Lal is not worried at this decentralisation. �No problem. I don�t think even the academy in Australia has everything at one place. Ideally, of course, I would love to have it so. Let�s start, maybe they will develop along the way.�

The communication gap has led to SAI still remaining oblivious of the needs. �I�ve got a letter of sanction from my Delhi office but the CAB hasn�t sorted out matters with me,� said S. Harmilapi, regional director in charge at SAI.

A senior CAB official declined comment on the issue, saying it did not fall under his jurisdiction.

The SAI, though, is not sitting idle and has already made arrangements for the accomodation of the trainees and coaches.

Then there is the imbroglio over the assistant coaches. Only Barun Burman has got his letter of appointment.

According to sources, Gautam Shome (junior) and Pronab Nandy had initially been chosen along with Burman. But factions within the CAB raised objections to their appointment, citing Lal�s proximity to the duo.

They demanded zonal representation among the coaches as well and a fresh list was sent which included Jimut Mohanty of Orissa and Randhir Singh of Bihar along with Burman.

Lal, though, wants to focus on the job at hand.

�The boys in the region will definitely get the best facilities to practice. They will get to know the latest techniques, physical conditioning schedules and diet. The focus will be on skill, motivation, orientation and match practice,� he says.

�Initially the training will be for two/three months. Basically, it�s for the under-18s who are in schools and colleges. So the summer holidays are the best time. Otherwise, they would fall behind in their academic career. Studies first. You can�t ask them to cut out on school and come for practice,� he feels.

What happens after the first phase ends? �It all depends on what the Board wishes to do. We might have a two week stint during the winter holidays,� the chief coach informs.

Will he prefer the semester to be of longer duration? �Personally I�m not in favour of that too. I would prefer the trainees to stay at the Academy for two months now and for some more time later. The rest of the year can be utilised playing for their state and club teams.�

Lal feels staying with their parents in their own environment (instead of spending several months at the Academy) will help the boys �get the emotional and mental support of the family.�

To him, match practice is of utmost importance. �We can even have matches between the zonal academies. People who perform well there can be accomodated at the National Cricket Academy,� Lal explained.

To start with, one bowling machine and video camera facilities are essential.

How would he evaluate himself after the experience at Bournvita Academy? �I�m much wiser now than I was a few years ago when I started coaching. Everyday is a learning process, a fresh understanding of why things are not happening the way you want them.

�The two-year stint with Bengal has also helped enormously. I�ve matured a lot. If I face a problem player, I don�t hold it against him. Earlier I�d say he�s no good. But now I�m a little wary of saying something like that because everybody�s problems along with their circumstances are different,� he remarked.


Calcutta, March 24: 
East Bengal crushed Kalighat Club�s hopes of cornering the A.N. Ghosh cricket title with a 100-run win at the Eden Gardens today.

Rohan Gavaskar and Alokendu Lahiri helped East Bengal to 278 for seven, and the total was further boosted by penalties from the one over that Kalighat failed to bowl in stipulated time. Some tight bowling from spinners then choked the Kalighat chase.

The title will now be decided when East Bengal meet Mohun Bagan on Sunday.

BRIEF SCORES: East Bengal 290/7 (45 ovs) (Rohan Gavaskar 103, Alokendu Lahiri 90, Ajay Verma 30; Murtaza Lodhgar 4/36). Kalighat Club 190/7 (45 ovs) (Sanjib Sanyal 53 n.o., Humza Firozie 34, Safi Ahmed 33). East Bengal won by 100 runs.

U-19 inter-school meet

Mritesh Rudani picked up six wickets as St Augustine�s stopped Don Bosco 54 runs short of their total in a group-league match of the CAB under-19 inter-school meet today.


At Sodepur Club: Taki Govt Sponsored Multipurpose 209/9 (40 ovs) (Arnab Mitra 41, Avik Ghosh 37, Sneb Das 35; Samik Hazra 3/40). Hariyana Vidyamandir 153 (24.2 ovs) (Angel Nandy 3/25). Taki Govt won by 56 runs.

At Deshbandhu Park: Assembly of God Church 220/7 (40 ovs) (Sagnik Chourasia 57 n.o., Rakesh Saha 45, Arpan Dutta 35, Sutirtho Ghosh 34). Mansur Habibullah Memorial 222/9 (31.4 ovs) (Gaurav Majumdar 41, Nilanjan Naha 33 n.o., Souvik Bhattacharya 31; Gaurav Khaitan 3/27). Mansur Habibullah won by 1 wkts.

At East Calcutta DSC: St Augustine�s 192 (37.2 ovs) (Saswata Sanyal 38, Irfan Hussain 30 n.o.; Vishal Agarwal 3/28, Sourav Drolic 3/63). Don Bosco 138 (33.5 ovs) (Gaurav Das 29; Mritesh Rudani 6/24, Saswata 3/24). St Augustine�s won by 54 runs.

At University: Naktala HS 185/7 (40 ovs) (Subhajit Chakraborty 58, Subhabrata Chakraborty 34; Robin Sharma 3/28). Khalsa HS 190/4 (35.4 ovs) (Jitender Singh 75 n.o., Sujay Pathak 54). Khalsa HS won by 6 wkts.

At Northern Park: Kalidhan Inst. 83 (12.4 ovs) (Sandipan Saha 22, Amalraj Sengupta 3/0). Bhowanipore Education Society 89/0 (13.5 ovs) (Sourabh Modi 35 n.o., Sandip Bihani 30 n.o.). Bhowanipore won by 10 wkts.

At Vivekananda Park (north): National HS 313/7 (40 ovs) (Subhojit Paul 134, Subhojit Dutta 49). Central Model HS 146 (31.5 ovs). National HS won by 167 runs.

At Vivekananda Park (south): Nripendranath Inst. 155 (39 ovs) (Subhabrta Roy 39). South Point 156/8 (31 ovs) (Dipanjan Mustafi 36, Riki Malik 31; Sumit Das 5/30). South Point won by 2 wkts.

N.C. Kolay meet

Samik Mukherjee hit an unbeaten 100 at the Rajasthan ground to help P. Sen Cricket Coaching Centre to a whopping 97-run win over Ashok Malhotra CCC in the N.C. Kolay memorial junior cricket tournament.


At Rajasthan: Russa United CCC 211/4 (25 ovs) (Som Sekhar Banerjee 94, Jeet Majumdar 38). Rajasthan CCC 136/7 (25 ovs) (Mainak Roy 36; Mukesh Sharma 4/27). Russa United won by 75 runs.

At Rajasthan: P. Sen CCC 209 (25 ovs) (Samik Mukherjee 100 n.o.; Kishore Mukherjee 3/30). Ashok Malhotra CCC 112 (21.3 ovs) (Maikal Behera 34; V.K. Majumdar 3/24, S. Biswas 3/12). P. Sen CCC won by 97 runs.

At Kalighat: Milan Samity 82 (22.4 ovs) (Avisek Sarkar 31; Taufiq Ali 3/12). Shute Banerjee CCC 84/8 (17.5 ovs) (Dipankar Chatterjee 48 n.o.). Shute Banerjee CCC won by 9 wkts.

At Kalighat: BNR (Morning) 193/4 (25 overs) (Dibyendu Das 79, Amit Ramani 46). Kartik Bose CCC 145/8 (25 overs) (Subham Kar Gupta 54; Anand Sahani 3/17). BNR won by 48 runs.


Calcutta, April 24: 
East Bengal, with today�s 3-0 win over FC Kochin, are a clear four points ahead (43, off 21 matches) of Mohun Bagan.

Mohun Bagan are, however, left with two away matches before they reach the finish line, and much can happen. Hence it will still not be possible for East Bengal coach Manoranjan Bhattacharya to sleep well.

When Bagan take on Vasco in Goa on Thursday, they will be clear in the mind about a victory, because anything other than two consecutive victories (their next match is versus ITI in Bangalore on April 30) in will throw them right out of the fray.

East Bengal take on State Bank of Travancore on April 30, the last day of the league, in Thiruvananthapuram. If East Bengal win, the issue is settled. But if East Bengal draw, Bagan take the trophy with two wins.

If, however, Bagan draw on Thursday, East Bengal will need just a draw with SBT.

If East Bengal lose with Bagan having drawn, a last match win for Bagan will leave the reigning champions still with a chance of a push at the title via the goal difference route.

As it stands now, East Bengal are just one ahead in goal differential (19, against 18), and that is not a big hurdle.


Calcutta, April 24: 
Calcutta Customs tamed Calcutta Port Trust 2-1 in a first division match of the BHA league today. Satinder Singh and Manjit Singh struck for Customs, while the Port goal came from Sunil Soren. BSF, South Bengal didn�t turn up for their match against FCI.

In group B, Punjab Sports Club rode Amandeep Singh�s goal to get past Calcutta Rangers 1-0.

Inter-school basketball

Chetla Boys sailed past Assembly of God Church at the inter-school basketball tournament at the WBBA courts today.

RESULTS, boys: Chetla Boys HS bt Assembly of God Church 40-23; Baiyapara HS bt Don Bosco, Park Circus 53-35. Girls: Balika Siksha Sadan bt La Martiniere 39-29.


Mumbai, April 24: 
Justifying his short odds, the Sorab Sunderji-trained Top Gun galloped to an easy victory in the Noor-E-Shiraz Trophy at the Mumbai races held on Tuesday. C. Rajendra partnered the three-year-old gelding to victory.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Sweeter Than Honey Plate 1,000m: (1-2-4) Champagne Gold (C. Rajendra) 1; Absolute Hit 2; Blue Blood 3. Won by: 2-1/2; Nk; (1-0.5) Tote: Win Rs 24; Place: 16; 16; Quinella: 42; Tanala: 103. Fav: Champagne Gold (1).

2. Ghazab Plate 1,100m: (2-3-1) Champion Reef (Shobhan B.) 1; Heart Beat 2; Silver Line 3. Won by: SH; 1-3/4; (1-8.2). Tote: Win Rs 30; Place: 14; 43; Quinella: 140; Tanala: 411. Fav: Money Madness (2).

3. Bouldnor Plate 1,200m: (1-3-6) Mambo King (P. Belose) 1; Smart Hunter 2; Skip Out Front 3. Won by: 4-3/4; 1-1/2; (1-14.9). Tote: Win Rs 30; Place: 12; 18; 52; Quinella: 91; Tanala: 2,028. Fav: Sariano (2).

4. Desert Sunshine Plate 1,200m: (4-2-5) Cats Concert (Adesh) 1; Zeta Jones 2; Fame Fatale 3. Won by: Hd; Hd; (1-13.9). Tote: Win Rs 45; Place: 14; 14; 12; Quinella: 53; Tanala: 238. Fav: Femme Fatale (5). (Note: The winner survived objection lodged by rider of the second placed horse).

5. Cornish Flame Plate 1,200m: (7-2-3) Scandalise (B. Prakash) 1; Knoxville 2; Laktara 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 1-3/4; (1-14.5). Tote: Win Rs 18; Place: 12; 41; 13; Quinella: 169; Tanala: 916. Fav: Scandalise (7).

6. Noor-E-Shiraz Trophy 1,000m: (2-3-7) Top Gun (C. Rajendra) 1; Danger Zone 2; Pure Cream 3. Won by: Dist; 3/4; (1-0.7). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 10; 28; 19; Quinella: 42; Tanala: 130. Fav: Top Gun (2).

7. Let Me Fly Plate 1,000m:(2-12-1) Arctic Girl (B. Prakash) 1; Whi-rling Dervish 2; Mariazella 3. Won by:2-1/2; 1/2; (1-1.6). Tote: Win Rs 27; Place: 13; 22; 24; Quinella: 65; Tanala: 492. Fav: Arctic Girl (2).

8. Sonehro Plate 1,800m: (2-6-4) Wagga Wagga (Daniel B.) 1; Spea-keasy 2; Jodhpur Lad 3. Won by: 1/2; 6-1/2; (1-56.2). Tote: Win Rs 76; Place: 29; 46; 85; Quinella: 975; Tanala: 12,351. Fav: Boundless Thrill (11).

Jackpot: Rs 2,116; (C) Rs 89.

Treble: (i) Rs 185; (ii) Rs 375; (iii) Rs 268.

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