I�ve emerged stronger from Australia series: Sourav
Our aim is to bat once and big: Wright
4 more records on penultimate day
Nayeem praised at EB party
Narrow win for Bhadrakali
Aind to lead Bengal
HSBC win 3-1
Bangalore Races/ Access All Areas may come good
Bangalore Races/ Almost Heaven strikes

Bangalore, May 19: 
A misplaced designer watch, a scramble to catch the last flight out to Mumbai (for a commercial shoot)... The hassles for Indian captain Sourav Ganguly, last evening, were many. However, he spoke to The Telegraph on the drive from the Taj West End to the airport.

Following are excerpts

Q The tour to Zimbabwe will be your first full one (featuring both Tests and ODIs) overseas as captain. Is there a bit of excitement within you?

A More than the excitement, there�s this desire of wanting to do well. I think we�ve got the combination which will click.

Q But Zimbabwe aren�t exactly in the top bracket. Therefore, even a Test series victory won�t be treated in the way as...

A (Interrupting) But it still will be Test cricket... It�s not our problem where Zimbabwe stand internationally. All I do know is that, at home, they will be competitive. We�re prepared for that. In any case, I don�t expect an easy series.

Q It�s winter there and just two first-class matches before the Test series to acclimatise. Is that adequate?

A I suppose it should be... Should be good enough for us to settle down.

Q You were a member of the playing XI which lost the one-off Harare Test in 1998. What are your recollections?

A Topmost is that we should have won that Test (India lost in under four days). Obviously, there are lessons from every defeat. For that matter, there can also be things to learn from victories.

Q Are the playing conditions in Zimbabwe any different from the other countries?

A No. But, this time, we�re going in their winter unlike the last trip which was in their summer. The ball will seam around and we can expect greentops.

Q Is there, then, a possibility of fielding four quicks and Harbhajan Singh?

A (Smiles) Can�t say for sure... We�ll have to fine-tune strategy on reaching there.

Q The physical preparation, specially at the conditioning camp, was obvious. How have you gone about the mental preparation?

A Having only recently faced the Zimbabwe bowlers, I know what to expect... I accept I had a tough time in the last series (against Australia), but everybody goes through a lean run. As I see it, that�s now past and is history. For me, personally, that series won�t return. There�s no way I can ever add to the 100-odd only I scored in the three Tests. Why, then, think about it? (Adds after a pause) It�s best to keep things simple and I�ve done so these past few weeks. I�ve emerged stronger from the Australia series.

Q Will you elaborate on keeping things �simple�?

A Cricket is a difficult game and the more complicated you allow it to become, the more trouble you�re inviting... The bowlers must keep to a disciplined line and length, while the batsmen must watch the ball till that last fraction of a second. In other words, be consistent with the basics.

Q You spent some time with the bowling machine, at the Academy. How useful are such machines?

A Well, the bowling machines aren�t great because you know what�s coming. I mean, that surprise element isn�t there. Still, it�s a handy aid for practice.

Q The tour is just days away... How does the thought process of a captain work?

A So many things keep the mind engaged... Strategy which, in any case, can�t ever be rigid... After all, there can be a big difference between planning and how things actually unfold in the middle... Then, one thinks of the team�s performance, collectively, as also one�s own. Whether one is captain or not, one has to perform.

Q But you largely remain a captain who leads by instinct?

A Largely, yes.

Q What�s going to be your message to the players this time?

A Besides speaking to them one-on-one, I intend giving each a small note, listing what is expected of each one of them. There will be a note for myself as well.

Q You haven�t done this before, have you?

A I haven�t, but there�s no harm in putting on paper each one�s responsibility � basically, what is expected of each member of the squad. I�m not a big writer, so the notes will be short.

Q The last question: What will you be telling yourself?

A (Smiles again) Play my normal game.


Bangalore, May 19: 
For Indian cricket�s first overseas coach, John Wright, the tour to Zimbabwe will be his first overseas assignment with the team. Wright began his stint with the home series against Zimbabwe, last November.

�Bat once and bat big is what we should be aiming for. If there�s a formula for success, well, that�s it,� the genial Wright told The Telegraph over lunch at the Taj West End today.

Except the Bangalore-based players (and NCA lad Deep Dasgupta), the rest have dispersed after the conditioning camp ended yesterday, but Wright has stayed back to make a short trip to Chennai tomorrow.

The trip has a purpose: Wright intends requesting Board president Dr A.C. Muthiah to allow a computer analyst (the gentleman who worked during the Australia series) to accompany the team. In contemporary cricket, such back-up support is essential.

Looking to the series, Wright (who, as it turns out, hasn�t ever visited Africa before) remarked both he and the boys �would miss the passion generated by home crowds� but, at the same time, the tour would provide an opportunity to bring the team closer together than ever before.

�That�s largely only possible on trips overseas,� Wright pointed out, reiterating Zimbabwe would, at home, be very competitive.

According to him, Zimbabwe are quite like how New Zealand used to be in his playing days � exponents of tough, hard cricket (at home). Capable, really, of making the most of even a small opening.

A pre-tour concern of coaches (and captains) is just how quickly the batsmen and bowlers will strike rhythm and it�s no different with Wright. �We have two (first class) warm-up games before the Tests and, as that seems to be the norm nowadays, we�ll have to make the most of both...�

In other words, get into rhythm quickly and then maintain the tempo.

Wright added: �I suppose some juggling will have to be done for everybody to get both a knock and a bowl. As we have only two specialist openers (Sadagopan Ramesh and Shiv Sundar Das), it�s important that they specially find their feet quickly. For the bat-once-and-bat-big bit to click, the start has to be solid.�

No conversation with Wright is ever complete till he has touched his favourite subject � fielding � and it was no different this afternoon. �We�ve (again) worked hard and I�m hoping our fielding will actually take a step forward.�

Wright, meanwhile, clarified �at no time� did he even suggest (as was reported at the start of the camp) that Anil Kumble would have to �fight� his way back into the team. �What I said was that Kumble has to fight his way back to fitness. There�s a difference there, isn�t it? Indeed, as coach, I just can�t wait to have him in the XI.�

For good measure, Wright added: �If you ask me, Kumble will stay in the XI till he himself decides to quit.� Currently recovering from shoulder surgery, Kumble has been out of action from the second-half of last October.

Significantly Wright, a former New Zealand captain, has ignored feelers from New Zealand Cricket (NZC) to succeed David Trist as coach. In fact, NZC�s director of operations, John Reid (not to be confused with the Match Referee), himself spoke to Wright recently.

Wright�s contract with our Board is for one-year, but it will be surprising if it isn�t extended. Perhaps, till the 2003 World Cup.


Calcutta, May 19: 
Records continued to tumble at the 51st state athletics championships being staged at the Salt Lake Stadium and the SAI Eastern Centre. With four marks being rewritten today, the penultimate day of the four-day meet, and organisers updating yesterday�s record-breakers� list with the name of Abdul Rezzak Mollah of Pioneer SA, who had pushed up the boys� under-20 high jump mark, ten new marks have now been created in two days after a barren opening day.

Olympian Soma Biswas, shocked by Kalpana Das in the long jump yesterday, came back with vengeance to smash Debi Bose�s 100 m hurdles mark. Soma stopped the clock at 14.3, bettering Debi�s 1994 time of 14.4.

Two other records fell in the women�s category, to Manisha Mondal in javelin and Manisha Dey in triple jump. While Manisha Mondal improved upon her own mark, Manisha Dey broke Kalpana Das� mark.

The other mark to fall today was in the boys� under-20 where Asesh Mullick set a new distance for the javelin throw. Ranjita Roy of Hooghly equalled the 100 m record in girls� under-18.

Mukti Saha of Eastern Railway was in the limelight too, after she became the �fastest woman of the meet�, and in the bargain grabbed the sprint double as well. She had won the 200 m in record time yesterday and added the 100 gold with a comfortable win today. Mukti, who had started as a hurdler, was, however, unhappy that she fell well short of the 100 record, ruing the lack of competitors who could push her to a better timing.

There were two golds for Tucy Deshmukh as well. The City AC athlete first cornered the 100 hurdles in girls� under-20, before winning the triple jump.

Five events fell through because of lack of participants, while the lone entrant in boys� under-20 pole vault failed to clear the qualifying height.

Satpati Paul won the men�s pole vault for the 13th time.


Men�s 20 km walk: Ranjan Dutta (East Bengal) 1::57:23.00 secs. Javelin: Dipak Mallick (Mohun Bagan) 63.97 m. Pole vault: Satpati Paul (Central Excise) 4.10 m. 4x400 m relay: North 24 Parganas 3:23.1 secs. 10,000 m: Ashoke Bakshi (Mohun Bagan) 33:16.3 secs. Boys� under-20 4x400 m relay: Siliguri. Javelin: Asesh Mullick (Aryan) 62.66 m. New meet record (Old 60.33m by Sunil Mondal of Malda in 1999). Boys� under-18 10 km walk: Diptangshu Bhattacharya (North 24 Parganas) 58:26.00 secs. Boys� under-16 2000 m: Goutam Roy (North Dinajpur) 6:13.5 secs. 100 m hurdles: Jayanta Hazra (Chandannagore) 15.6 secs. 5 km walk: Sanjoy Pradhan (South 24 Parganas) 34:09.00 secs.

Women�s 100 m hurdles: Soma Biswas (Eastern Railway) 14.3 seconds. New meet record (Old 14.4 secs by Debi Bose of E. Rly in 1994). 800 m: Shefali Mondal (Malda) 2:17.9 secs. Javelin: Manisha Mondal (South Eastern Railway) 49.24 secs. New meet record (Old 45.73 m by Manisha in 1999). 100 m: Mukti Saha (Eastern Railway) 12.1 secs. Triple jump: Manisha Dey (Eastern Railway) 12.60 m. New meet record (Old 12.35 by Kalpana Das, Sr of E. Rly in 1999). Girls� under-20 100 m hurdles: Tucy Deshmukh (City AC) 15.3 secs. 800 m: Ruma Biswas (BPJKOSS 2:22.0 secs. Javelin: Bhanumati Roy (Jalpaiguri) 31.05 m. 100 m: Sarathi Burman (Aryan Club) 13.00 secs. Triple jump: Tucy Deshmukh 11.96 m. 4x400 m relay: North 24 Parganas 4:46.6 secs. Girls� under-18 3000 m: Babli Halder (Behala ASA) 11:12.7 secs. 100 m hurdles: Sampa Bera (City AC) 18.3 secs. 800 m: Sujata Samanta (Serampore) 2:23.7 secs. Javelin: Sikha Patra (Serampore) 32.66 m. 100 m: Ranjita Roy (Hooghly) 12.6 secs. Triple jump: Kalpana Das, Jr (North 24 Parganas) 11.01 m. Girls� under-16 2000 m: Pratima Tudu (Serampore SDSA) 6:57.6 secs. Girls� under-16 javelin: Anima Roy (Jalpaiguri) 27.78 secs. 100 m hurdles: Tuli Deshmukh (Serampore) 17.9 secs. 800 m: Krishna Das jr (Nadia) 2:27.2 secs. 100 m: Rekha Halder (BPJKOSS) 13.00 secs.


Calcutta, May 19: 
The felicitation of National League champions East Bengal at the club ground this afternoon had it all � unbridled joy and passion, constellation of stalwarts of the past and present from different walks of life, a decent gathering and a flashy display of red and gold.

There was also some personal touch, some �moments of awakening�, throwback to past glories and the state government�s announcement of Rs 5 lakh to the new champions. Above everything else, underlay a note of regret, touching upon the man who dreamed of all this but never realised it in mortal life.

Always a man behind the wings, former club secretary Dipak (Paltu) Das returned to the centrestage today as those sitting on the dais, named after him, and the League winners said their joy remained incomplete in his absence.

�How can we enjoy this win without him,� said coach Manoranjan Bhattacharya. Had he been alive, he would have been the happiest man, quipped both Sailen Manna and P.K. Banerjee.

All members of the winning squad barring Dipak Mondal, Sur Kumar Singh, Ratan Singh and Sheikh Sanjib, were present to receive a memento and a watch with the club insignia on it.

Manoranjan gave full credit for the team�s maiden National League triumph to the players. He also expressed his gratitude to his predecessor in the job, Syed Nayeemuddin. �Nayeemda had formed the team and I just worked on it. He should also share the success with us,� Manoranjan said.

He also requested supporters and team officials to stand by the team always.


Calcutta, May 19: 
Bhadrakali Kotrang Sangha edged Deshbandhu Park CC by two runs in the Pepsi Ambar Roy sub-junior meet at Eden Gardens today.

Indrajit Saha (55) helped Kotrang reach 137 for six in their 25 overs. In reply, Deshbandhu were all out with two balls remaining.


Bhadrakali Kotrang Yuba Sangha 137/6 in 25 ovs (Indrajit Saha 55). Deshbandhu Park CC 135 in 24.4 ovs (Agniswar Chakraborty 39; Sanjoy Dutta 3/26, Imtiaz Rabam 3/32). Bhadrakali won by 2 runs.

Biswanath CC (Palta) 165/5 in 25 ovs. Sreerampur Kalyan Samity 155 in 24.1 ovs (Sagnick Dutta Roy 75). Biswanath CC won by 10 runs.

Barasat Association 84/8 in 25 ovs (Avishek Nag Chowdhury 4/16). Shute Banerjee CC 85/3 in 13.2 ovs. Shute Banerjee CC won by 7 wkts.

Khadim Ashok Malhotra CC 167 in 25 ovs (Mohan Koyal 56; Titas Das 3/34). F.D. Block CC 94 in 21.4 ovs (A. Thakur 3/14). Ashok Malhotra CC won by 73 runs.

Belgachia Players� Corner 125/6 in 25 ovs. Subhas Institute 119/9 in 25 ovs (Sudip Chatterjee 42; Aninda Sarkar 3/16). Belgachia won by 6 runs.

Sonarpur Sporting Union 200/5 in 25 ovs (Surajit Jadav 58, Sourav Ghosh 50; Avik Dutta 3/40). CCC (Lilua) 114/9 in 25 ovs (Apurba Bhat 39; Sameer Mullick 4/18). Sonarpur SU won by 86 runs.


Calcutta, May 19: 
The 25-member Bengal team will leave the city tomorrow for the B.C. Roy Trophy (under-19 national football meet) in Thiruvananthapuram. Supratik Aind will lead the team.

Bengal will take on hosts Kerala on May 25 in their first match.


Subhas Ghosh, Kallol Ghosal, Swapan Bera, Samir Garai, Santanu Bich, Sankar Das, Palas Karmakar, Laxman Singh, Subhanu Majumdar, Baban Kar, Saikat Mandol, Mehta Hossain, Masood Ali, Chandan Debnath, Ujjal Majhi, Supratik Aind (capt), Anwar Ali, Tariq Ahmed, Debjit Bhowmick, Swaraj Das, Saikat Pal. Coach: Mihir Basu.

UP move ahead

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh beat Karnataka 1-0 today to reach the quarter final league. In other matches, Orissa overcame Punjab by a solitary goal while Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan drew goalless.


Calcutta, May 19: 
HSBC beat ICICI Blue 3-1 in the The Telegraph Merchants� Cup five-a-side soccer meet at CC&FC today.


HSBC bt ICICI Blue 3-1; ITC B bt Auto Exide 1-0; Williamson Magors bt TCG Software 2-0; Selvel B bt Xerox Modi 1-0; PriceWaterhouseCoopers bt Infar India 1-0; Aptech bt Paes en Sport 1-0; HDFC bt HTA 2-1; Assam Co. bt ITC Infotech 2-0; Transways bt Taj Bengal 2-0; Bata bt Confreight 1-0; B.S. Raut bt McNally Bharat 4-3; Exhibition match: CC&FC bt Ex-internationals 3-2.    

Bangalore, May 19: 
The Padmanabhan-trained Access All Areas appears to have a slight edge over Symphony Of Fire and may claim the 1,400m Jayachamaraja Wadiyar Cup here tomorrow. Aslam Kader partners the Razeen-Alix filly.


2 pm: Marcus Aurelius 1. St.Lucinda 2. Dream Supreme 3.
2.30 pm: Water Baby 1. Scenic Song 2. Cat Catcher 3.
3 pm: Arroganto 1. Rush 2. Rythm �N� Blues 3.
3. 30 pm: Barassie 1. Royal Glare 2. Win Ameen 3.
4 pm: Access All Areas 1. Symphony Of Fire 2. Tempt Me Not 3.
4.30 pm: Spark Of Life 1. Forest Pegasus 2. Grisogono 3.
5 pm: Go Honey Go 1. Crystal Ocean 2. Private Emotions 3.
5.30 pm: Spirito 1. Machrie Bay 2. Always Dancing 3.
6 pm: Whatmore 1. Anchor 2. Maurya 3.
Day�s Best: Go Honey Go
Double: Spirito & Whatmore

Bangalore, May 19: 
The Darashah- trained four-year-old Almost Heaven won the Chettinad Stud Plate the main event at the Bangalore races held on Saturday the opening day of the season. K. P. Appu partnered the Placerville-L�ile Mysterieuse son to victory.


(With inter-state dividends)
1. Welcome Plate, Div-II 1,100m: (7-8-2) Angie (Appu) 1; National Crown 2; Luca Brassi 3. Won by: 4; 1/2; (1-10.6). Tote: Win Rs 18; Place: 11; 73; 13; Quinella: 291; Tanala: 1,423. Fav: Angie (7).
2. Sha Tin Plate, Div-II 1,200m: (2-10-3) Soldier Of Fortune (Srinath) 1; Omni Presence 2; Coral Bird 3. Won by: 8-1/2; 2-1/2; (1-16.9).Tote: Win Rs 21; Place: 14; 20; 14; Quinella: 102; Tanala: 325. Fav: Soldier Of Fortune (2).
3. Welcome Plate, Div-I 1,100m: (11-7-3) Fiesba (Rajesh) 1; Parisien Belle 2; Bin Tin Tin 3. Won by: 2-1/2; 1/2; (1-10.3). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 11; 14; 232; Quinella: 38; Tanala: 3,027. Fav: Fiesba (11).
4. Sha Tin Plate, Div-I 1,200m: (5-8-4) Kilkemny (Patil) 1; Hayate 2; Another Crown 3. Won by: 1/2; 3/4; (1-18).Tote: Win Rs 68; Place: 26; 13; 14; Quinella: 129; Tanala: 974. Fav: Another Crown (4).
5. Mayor�s Cup, Div-I 1,400m: (6-3-5) Royal Liberator (Srinath) 1; Amber Dancer 2; Imperial Legend 3. Not run: Refresher (1). Won by: 8-1/4; 1-1/4; (1-27.9). Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 12; 66; 14; Quinella: 336; Tanala: 1,239. Fav: Royal Liberator (6).
6. Chettinad Stud Plate 1,400m: (6-9-7) Almost Heaven (Appu) 1; Red Quartz 2; What A Pleasure 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 3/4; (1-28). Tote: Win Rs 34; Place: 15; 21; 22; Quinella: 115; Tanala: 650. Fav: Desert Gold (2).
7. Royal Command Plate 1,200m: (4-8-1) Superbe Asset (Prakash) 1; Crystal Delight 2; Kirkcaldy 3. Not run: Ride With Pride (2). Won by: 2; 1-1/4; (1-16.4). Tote: Win Rs 25; Place: 14; 46; 12; Quinella: 225; Tanala: 901. Fav: Kirkcaldy (1).
8. Littleover Plate 1,400m: (11-4-9) Ma Baker (Marshall) 1; Golden Collection 2; Anzac 3. Won by: 3; 3-1/4; (1-29). Tote: Win Rs 64; Place: 22; 14; 21; Quinella: 118; Tanala: 1,015. Fav: Golden Collection (4).
9. Mayor�s Cup, Div-II 1,400m: (5-3-6) Star Beauty (Prakash) 1; Atomic Fusion 2; Step In Time 3. Won by: 2-1/2; 1-1/4; (1-28.9). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 12; 69; 37; Quinella: 182; Tanala: 1,891. Fav: Star Beauty (5).
Jackpot: Rs 355; (C) Rs 89.
Treble: (i) Rs 191; (ii) Rs 139.

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