Gavaskar’s ‘diplomatic’ response
EB regain league title with massive victory
NCA call for Deep, Arindam
126-run win for Central Model
Paes-Bhupathi easily in last 4
Mumbai Races/ Secret Blessing’s has slight edge
Mumbai Races/ Ocean Breeze triumphs
Calcutta Races/ Ooty inter-venue

Calcutta, April 28: 
Even as Uma Bharti continues to harden her stand on ties with Pakistan, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) recently extended a verbal invitation to Sunil Gavaskar, inviting him to interact with its Academy trainees as also some of the younger national players.

The path-breaking visit would have been timed to suit the “guest coach’s” convenience.

The PCB invitation was conveyed by former captain Rameez Raja, one of the four members of the all-powerful advisory council, during the Sharjah tri-series which ended April 20.

According to Rameez, who spoke to The Telegraph from his Lahore residence this afternoon, Gavaskar “merely smiled,” without actually committing himself either way. Indirectly, though, it was a “no.”

An official invitation would surely have followed had Gavaskar responded positively.

“I believe both past and present cricketers have a role to play in keeping Indo-Pak exchanges alive... Sunny is a huge name not just in the sub-continent, but the world of cricket, and our juniors could only benefit from his presence,” Rameez remarked.

[Gavaskar’s own reaction — a message has been left on the answering machine at his Mumbai residence — couldn’t be obtained till late this evening.]

Had Gavaskar played ball, he would have done a Geoffrey Boycott, who made a short trip to Pakistan in early-February. Only, Gavaskar would have made a much bigger splash.

While Gavaskar’s ‘diplomatic’ response (to the invitation from Rameez) would have largely been influenced by New Delhi’s present stand, it’s quite likely he also kept in mind the possibility of a hostile reaction from the Shiv Sena.

Generally, even the most high-profile Mumbaikars don’t wish to invite unnecessary attention from the Sena.

It’s significant that

Imran Khan, for one, still regards Gavaskar as having been India’s “best ambassador” to Pakistan. For the record, Gavaskar made three visits to Pakistan as a player: 1978-79, 1982-83 and 1984-85.

Of course, the rather cold New Delhi-Islamabad relationship is coming in the way, but the dividends following either a Gavaskar trip to Pakistan or an Imran visit to India would outstrip the biggest gains on any bourse.

Today, sadly, one has to live with all the shots being played by politicians...

“Inviting former stars to interact with the Academy trainees and our younger players is part of the PCB’s Fast Track policy... The long-term policy (of players coming through the ranks) is different,” Rameez informed.

Rameez indicated Gavaskar’s expenses would have been borne by McDonald’s, which is coming into cricket in a big way in Pakistan.

“The tab for Boycott’s trip was picked up by McDonald’s, which will soon establish U-12 nurseries in Lahore and Karachi. In time, these nurseries will have the PCB’s support,” Rameez said.

While non-cricket reasons have ensured Gavaskar won’t head for the Gaddafi in Lahore — the Academy there will be formally opened early next month — the PCB is banking on visits by Michael Holding and Barry Richards.

It’s a star-spangled Fast Track policy, aimed at giving the Akrams and Anwars in the making the opportunity of learning from icons.


Calcutta, April 28: 
Off-spinner Ajay Verma and left-arm spinner Subir Dey led East Bengal to the CAB senior division League title today.

In the championship play-off final at Eden Gardens, East Bengal bundled out Wari for 176, half-an-hour before tea on the second and final day. East Bengal had made 380 for six yesterday.

East Bengal thus regained the crown after a gap of one year.

Wari’s batting, which has been consistent in all the local tournaments this season, failed to live upto reputation at a crucial time.

Arindam Das, who will undergo a CAB-sponsored stint at the Australian Cricket Academy, and Aurijit Basu started the chase well, tackling the medium pacers with comfort. The spinners, too, failed to make any impact initially.

But an over before lunch, Aurijit (42) failed to respond to a call from Arindam and was run out by a Sourashish Lahiri throw. Arindam (42) fell two runs later, caught by Narendra Singh Negi off Dey.

None of the Wari batsmen, except for Saikat Mukherjee (57), seemed capable of arresting the slide after lunch. Both Dey and Verma stuck to their task, never allowing the batsmen the room to play shots.

Wari succumbed to the pressure as the East Bengal fielders also matched the efforts of their bowlers.

BRIEF SCORES: East Bengal 380/6 in 85 ovs. Wari 176 in 54.3 (Arindam Das 42, Aurijit Basu 42, Saikat Mukherjee 57; Ajay Verma 4/61, Subir Dey 3/45). East Bengal won by 204 runs.


Calcutta, April 28: 
Bengal’s Deep Das Gupta and Arindam Das have earned a call-up to the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. Both have been asked to report by Monday.

Deep came into national reckoning when he was named among 26 probables for the conditioning camp for the Zimbabwe tour. The camp starts May 14 in Bangalore. The CAB had earlier decided to sponsor Arindam for a stint at the Australian Cricket Academy.

N.C. Kolay tourney


(Winners enter semi-finals)

Agragami Sangha Siliguri 215/5 in 25 (Chanchal Sarkar 59, Sougata Dutta 48, Kaushik Guha 38, D.B. Chowdhury 31). BNR Morning 140 in 24.3 (Avik Kar 35, Prasun Chakraborty 3/26). Agragami Sangha won by 75 runs.

Calcutta CCC 206/4 in 25 (Sudipta Mondal 108, Avik Ghosh 50). Bulan CCC 199 in 24.3 (Ambarish Yadav 55, Md Akbar 41; Debasish Mondal 3/47). Calcutta CCC won by 7 runs.

P. Sen XI 193/4 in 20.3 (V. Majumder 56 n.o., S. Dutta 49, S. Mukherjee 33). Milan Samity 96 in 20.5 (S.S. Guha 4/16). P. Sen XI won by 97 runs.

Shute Banerjee CCC 207/9 in 25 (Dipankar Chatterjee 131, Dibyendu Das 40). S. Paul CCC 142/7 in 25 (Ankur Dutta 32, Dipanjan Sengupta 42). Shute Banerjee CCC won by 65 runs.

BHA league

East Bengal sailed to a 4-0 win over CLW Sports Association in a group A tie of the BHA League today. Ejaz Hussain (2), Sylvester Ekka and Gregory Minz scored.

Elsewhere, Calcutta Customs earned a hard fought 2-1 win over ERSA. Manjit Singh put Customs ahead, ERSA equalised through Nisar Ahmed. Rajinder Singh gave Customs full points from a penalty corner in the closing stages.

Behala SA emerged champions in second division. In the last set of championship round matches, Behala got a walkover against Shanti Sangha. Wari, who played a goalless tie with Vivid YHC, finished runners-up.

In first division group B action, Calcutta Rangers defeated Jagrihi 6-1, Shaun Rozario scoring four goals. The Sporting Union-Parsee tie ended goalless.

Inter-school basketball

Loreto House will meet Rashmoni Balika Vidyalaya in the girls final of the inter-school basketball meet. The boys final pits Baidyapara HS against Chetla Boys HS.

In the semi-finals today, Loreto overcame Balika Shiksha Sadan 25-13 while Rashmoni beat La Martiniere 27-24. In the boys semis, Baidyapara HS defeated Bratachari Vidyashram 43-17 while Chetla Boys ousted Don Bosco, Park Circus 31-21.

Don Bosco champions

Don Bosco, Park Circus beat AK Ghosh Memorial School 2-0 to emerge champions in the inter-school five-a-side football meet. Assembly of God Church won the Losers’ Plate final beat Ram Krishna Mission, Baranagar 3-2 via the tie-breaker.


Calcutta, April 28: 
Mohit Singh’s allround show steered Central Model to a 126-run win over Hartley’s HS in the CAB under-19 meet today. Mohit scored an unbeaten 109 and then claimed six wickets.


La Martiniere 237/7 in 39 ovs (Gourav Kapur 47, Akshat Bhuwalka 34, Varun Chabbra 52, Gautam Malhotra 43; Arindam Roy 4/43). Jadavpur High School 123 in 24.5 (Soumen Roy 25; Varun Chabbra 2/7, Gaurav Kapur 2/9). La Martiniere won by 114 runs.

St James 223 in 39.2 (Varun Gupta 79; Ravindra Bhandari 3/43, Ayush Gupta 3/37). Shreejain Vidyalaya 88 in 21 (Varun Gupta 4/18). St James won by 135 runs.

Central Model 233/7 in 40 (Mohit Singh 109 n.o., Jitesh dayal 38). Hartley’s HS 107 in 19.5 (Mohit Singh 6/23). Central Model won by 126 runs.

Under-16 schools’ meet


BD Memorial 130 (Sandip Debnath 27 n.o.; Atish Mitra 3/15). Cathedral Mission 131/1 (Atish Mitra 44). Cathedral Mission won by 9 wkts.

Nava Nalanda HS 155/7 (Abhishek Dutta 42). Naktala HS 157/3 (Soumya Ghosh 47). Naktala HS won by 7 wkts to enter semis.


Calcutta, April 28: 
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi advanced to their second semi-final in two weeks, courtesy a straight-set win at the $375,000 Atlanta Challenge meet yesterday. According to information received here, the fourth-seeded duo dismissed Thomas Shimada and Eric Taino 6-2, 6-4. They’ll meet Bob and Mike Bryan.    

Mumbai, April 28: 
Secret Blessing’s appears to enjoy weight advantage over Green Paradise and may win the 1,100m Rose de Bahama Trophy in Mumbai on Sunday, the concluding day of the season. C. Rajendra partners the S. N. Joshi-trained six-year-old by Hadaaf-Flower Busket.


2 pm: Multi Millionaire 1. Double Up 2. Flossy 3.
2.30 pm: Secret Blessing’s 1. Green Paradise 2. My Solitaire 3.
3 pm: Sun Charmer 1. Reprobate 2. Chrismatic 3.
3.30 pm: Divine Quest 1. Resist 2. Significant Speed 3.
4 pm: Soliel 1. Smart Hunter 2. Draculla 3.
4.30 pm: Fiercely Loyal 1. Bound By Honour 2. Amber Wine 3.
5 pm: Castle Grey 1. Northern Frontier 2. Park Lane 3.
5.30 pm: Tobler 1. Roll Of Dice 2. Dark Side Of The Moon 3.
6 pm: Natural Grace 1. Zeta Jones 2. Texas King 3.
Day’s Best: Sun Charmer
Double: Divine Quest & Castle Grey.

Mumbai, April 28: 
The Dallas Todywalla-trained Ocean Breeze claimed the 1,600m Commanche Trophy at the Mumbai races held on Saturday. B. Prakash partnered the five-year-old mare by Exhilaration out of Virginia Princess.


(With inter-state dividends)
1. Silver Reef Plate 1,100m: (9-11-4) Mein Kampf (Rajendra) 1; Boldwin 2; Aylesfield 3. Won by: 3-1/4; 2-1/4; (1-7.2). Tote: Win Rs 29; Place: 15; 20; 109; Quinella: 84; Tanala: 9,090. Fav: Mein Kampf (9).
2. Racing Journalists Trophy 1,400m: (9-11-10) Shubhangini (Kamlesh) 1; Potential Force 2; Berliet 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 1-3/4; (1-27.5). Tote: Win Rs 409; Place: 67; 11; 42; Quinella: 287; Tanala: 6,248. Fav: Potential Force (11).
3. Amber Flash Plate 1,100m: (9-4-1) Rage (Prakash) 1; Change The Attitude 2; Bold Decision 3. Won by: 3-3/4; 2-3/4; (1-8). Tote: Win Rs 20; Place: 12; 11; 29; Quinella: 15; Tanala: 99. Fav: Change The Attitude (4).
4. Fairy Gold Plate 1,100m: (13-8-4) Partner Perfect (Aaron) 1; Chocolate Chip 2; Hiccups 3. Won by: SH; 1-3/4; (1-8.5). Tote: Win Rs 97; Place: 26; 41; 27; Quinella: 1,097; Tanala: 12,973. Fav: War ‘N’ Peace (7).
5. Solitaire Plate 1,400m: (12-1-3) Destiny Calling (Prakash) 1; Anxious Moments 2; Idaho 3. Won by: 1/2; 4-1/2; (1-27). Tote: Win Rs 33; Place: 17; 12; 39; Quinella: 26; Tanala: 317. Fav: Anxious Moments (1).
6. Commanche Trophy 1,600m: (2-7-8) Ocean Breeze (Prakash) 1; L. A. Woman 2; Shirley Valentine 3. Won by: 3/4; 3-3/4; (1-38.8). Tote: Win Rs 42; Place: 16; 18; 113; Quinella: 130; Tanala: 5,810. Fav: Queenstown (4).
7. Racing Officials Trophy 2,000m: (11-5-3) Classic Rock (Biramne) 1; Reflecting 2; Count Dracula 3. Won by: 8-1/2; Nk; (2-5.9). Tote: Win Rs 1,018; Place: 106; 15; 34; Quinella: 1,446; Tanala: 32,470. Fav: Reflecting (5).
8. Alcmene Plate 1,400m: (7-10-15) Star Of Century (Belose) 1; Top’m All 2; Multi Millionaire 3. Won by: 3-1/2; 3/4; (1-27.7). Tote: Win Rs 157; Place: 69; 42; 19; Quinella: 1,614; Tanala: 12,734. Fav: Multi Millionaire (15).
Jackpot: Rs 1,33,126 (Carried over); (C) Rs 17,116.
Treble: (i) Rs 5,074; (ii) Rs 85,460 (Carried over to the third treble on Sunday).

Calcutta, April 28: 
Royal Calcutta Turf Club (RCTC) will conduct two extra days of inter-state betting on Udhagamandalam races, on May 2 and May 5, in addition to dates already advertised, according to a RCTC notification.    

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