Pak�s Ehsan Mani ICC chief from 2003
250 for Steel City leg
India gear up for Merdeka Cup
CAB help for distressed player
Cadet crown for Shabana
Diwakar to lead
Mysore Racing/ Cruden Bay triumphs

Calcutta, June 20: 
Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Ehsan Mani was a promising left-arm quick. He played for the elite Government College in Lahore and almost made it to the Rawalpindi Divisional side.

As it turned out, the �Pindi-born Mani had to then leave for England for higher studies and, with more time being spent at the libraries, the cricketer in him had to permanently take the back seat.

That�s past. Now, in exactly two years, Mani will occupy cricket�s highest seat � that of the International Cricket Council (ICC) president.

As was indicated by The Telegraph last week, the ICC yesterday unanimously decided that Australian Malcolm Gray�s successor (in 2003) would be from Pakistan.

Almost immediately, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, Lt General Tauqir Zia, told the annual conference at Lord�s that the London-based Mani was his country�s nominee.

Mani will be the second Asian (after Jagmohan Dalmiya) to head the ICC. Dalmiya�s three-year term ended last year.

Speaking exclusively, the 56-year-old president-elect emotionally said: �I�m honoured by the ICC�s confidence and have accepted the nomination with all humility...�

Incidentally, going by what the ICC�s anti-corruption unit chief Sir Paul Condon feels, Mani will assume charge at a time when cricket will be �corruption-free.�

Commenting specifically on this, Mani remarked: �I�m not sure whether the game will be totally corruption-free but, even if a 90 per cent target is achieved, the ICC would have done well.

�It�s disappointing that, till the lead largely taken by Gray, nothing much was really done to stamp out corruption in cricket... This present drive must continue.�

Asked how he celebrated being named the president-elect, Mani laughed: �Nothing special... Went home and the family (wife Frances and four daughters) just chatted. In any case, the ICC meeting got over rather late.�

Mani, who is on the board of the United Trust Bank, continues as head of the ICC�s finance and marketing committee for another year � at least.

Meanwhile, though our very own Sunil Gavaskar has been re-elected chairman of the ICC�s Cricket Committee (Playing), this committee will now report to the Cricket Committee (Management) instead of being directly answerable to the ICC�s Executive Board.

Contacted in London, Gavaskar confirmed the change and didn�t duck when asked if he was disappointed.

�I don�t know why this has been done and, yes, I am disappointed. We will now have to take the via-via route to get to the Executive Board,� Gavaskar responded, again speaking exclusively.

In effect, the Cricket Committee (Playing), which only has former cricketers as members, will actually be subservient to the Cricket Committee (Management), which comprises administrators and is headed by the ICC�s chief executive.

Apparently, the change has been influenced by the recommendations of an internal review panel. However, it�s intriguing. If the ICC won�t give the Gavaskars a free hand, then why have a committee packed with former cricketers?

This hardly sends the right signals and disappointed, too, must be Gavaskar�s colleagues on the committee. Allan Border, for example.

Zaheer Abbas (Pakistan), Krishnamachari Srikkanth (India), Sidath Wettimuny (Sri Lanka) and Roquibul Hassan (Bangladesh) are on the Cricket Committee (Playing) as nominees of the four Test-playing nations from Asia.


Jamshedpur, June 20: 
Thirteen years into its existence as the premier school-level tournament in the country, The Telegraph Schools� Chess Championship is still growing.

For proof, one needs to look no further than the volume of entries for the second edition of the Jamshedpur leg � a record in itself.

As many as 250 boys and girls from 35 schools across six districts of Jharkhand and Bihar have entered the meet which gets underway at the J.R.D. Tata Sports Complex here tomorrow. Announcing this at a media conference this afternoon, Captain Dhananjay Mishra, head, Tata Steel Sports Division, said this represented a whopping 25 per cent increase over last year�s entries.

Even late this afternoon, parents of aspiring Viswanathan Anands were seen queuing up at the venue to push their wards� entries. For logistical reasons, Tata Steel, organising the meet in co-operation with Alekhine Chess Club, had to refuse such late comers.

The substantial growth in entries here follows the meet�s successful �debut� in Bhubaneswar earlier this month. It now remains to be seen whether the second edition of the Guwahati leg, to be held from July 1-7, maintains the same healthy trend.

The 11-round competition, of four-hour sessions, will kick off shortly after the 3 pm inauguration tomorrow. Day One will feature one round. The next four days will see the kids playing two games each � one from 8 am and the second from 3 pm. The format will revert to a round each on the last two days when the battle will hot up on either end of the scale.

The youngest participant, lower KG student Aparajita Bhaduria from Sacred Heart Convent School, is all of four years and five months. The youngest boy to throw his hat into the ring is five-years-and-six-months old Anirban Kundu from Loyola School.

The top three seeds for the event are 1999 state champion Pratik Sengupta, current state No. 3 Rohan Shandilya (younger brother of last year�s champion Rahul) and Abhishek Das. All three have Fide ratings � Pratik topping the list with 2118, followed by Rohan (2090) and Abhishek (2068).

Two other names expected to give the top three a run for their money are Akash Kusum and Rashmi Kanchan.

The top 10 finishers stand to earn cash prizes, with the champion pocketing Rs 3,000 along with a trophy. The runner-up will receive Rs 2,250 and a trophy. There will be 10 special prizes, too, besides, of course, the best school trophy.

The top five of this leg � along with the top five from the Bhubaneswar and Guwahati editions � will earn berths in the grand finals in Calcutta.

The co-sponsors of the meet are Smithkline Beecham Consumer Healthcare Ltd., the makers of Horlicks. This is the second successive time Horlicks has been associated with The Telegraph Schools� Chess Championship.


Calcutta, June 20: 
Off from a fine showing in their World Cup qualifiers, the Indians are gearing up for their first Merdeka match in 15 years. They meet the Malaysian under-23 team Friday.

In 1986 India reached the semi-final, losing to Czechoslovakia 0-1. India were runners-up in 1959 (India�s first entry) and in 1964. India were mostly not on the invitees� list after 1986. Also in India�s group are Uzbekistan and Thailand. Uzbekistan have come in place of the UAE who have cried off. The meet proper, however, begins tomorrow, with the Bosnia Herzegovina team meeting Slovakia and Malaysia taking on Bahrain.

Interestingtly, the Indians have already seen most of the Bosnia and Bahrain teams, having played them in the Millennium Cup that was a soccer success, though a major financial fiasco.

THE SCHEDULE: June 21: Slovakia vs Bosnia-Herzegovina and Malaysia vs Bahrain. June 22: Thailand vs Uzbekistan and Malaysia U-23 vs India. June 23: Bosnia Herzegovina vs Bahrain and Malaysia vs Slovakia. June 24: Malaysia U-23 vs Uzbekistan and India vs Thailand. June 25: Bahrain vs Slovakia and Malaysia vs Bosnia-Herzegovina. June 26: Uzbekistan vs India and Malaysia U-23 vs Thailand. June 28: Semi-finals � winners of Gr. A vs runners-up of Gr. B; winners of Gr. B vs runners-up of Gr. A. June 30: FINAL.


Calcutta, June 20: 
The CAB has woken up late and decided to financially help Pulin Mitra � a former Ranji Trophy player � who is struggling to make ends meet these days.

Mitra, who played club cricket for Mohun Bagan, had written a letter to the CAB, asking for help, way back in April.

Asked about the CAB�s late reaction, Debdas Banerjee, the joint-secretary, admitted to having received Mitra�s letter earlier. �One of our vice-presidents received his letter on April 8 but we did not have his address. Now that we have got that, we�ve decided to help him.

�CAB will soon get in touch with him and he�ll be asked to apply formally to us. On getting his application, we�ll help him financially,� Banerjee said today.

In a letter to The Telegraph, Mitra described his plight. �My condition is precarious and I am moving around the streets without shelter and food. My wife is seriously ill and bed-ridden in paralytic condition after a cerebral attack.�

Mitra, an opening batsman, was at his best in the 40s.

Youngsters on UK tour

Safron Cricket Club will leave the city Saturday for a 23-day tour of UK with 14 young players. They will play 15 matches, including two against under-19 sides of Middlesex and Surrey. This is the club�s third consecutive overseas tour, sponsored by Duta and Northern Agencies.    

Calcutta, June 20: 
Shabana Parveen of Howrah had mixed fortunes on the final day of the BTTA-organised CLT summer camp meet, at Khudiram Anushilan Kendra today. Shabana won the cadet girls� title, beating North Calcutta Zone�s Jaita Pushilal 24-22, 21-13, but went down fighting to Sweta Modak (North 24 Parganas) 16-21, 19-21 in the sub-junior girls� final.

THE WINNERS: Sub-jr boys: Soumyajit Sarkar (HG); Sub-jr girls: Sweta Modak (N 24 Pgs); Cadet boys: Shiladitya Nag (NCZ); Cadet girls: Shabana Parveen (HW); Nursery boys: Souvik Kar (NCZ); Nursery girls: Shreya Ghosh (NCZ).

Rohan year�s best

Rohan Gavaskar has been named CAB�s best cricketer of the year. Wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta has been picked for the �gentleman cricketer of the year� award.

According to CAB sources, veteran Utpal Chatterjee gave Rohan a hard fight for the award, but the CAB senior selection committee tilted in the latter�s favour because of his consistent performance in the 2000-2001 season.

Deep Dasgupta got the inaugural Pankaj Roy Memorial Trophy as the Gentleman Cricketer of the Year.


Calcutta, June 20: 
Promising medium-pacer and Bihar Ranji Trophy player Mihir Diwakar will lead the East Zone Academy team in the inter-zonal meet starting in Bangalore on June 28.

Orissa�s Niranjan Behera has been named vice-captain and Ritesh Jaiswal of Bengal is the wicketkeeper. Diwakar, who can also contribute with the bat, was a member of the under-19 World Cup-winning Indian squad.


Mihir Diwakar (captain, Bihar), Niranjan Behera (vice-captain, Orissa), Ritesh Jaiswal, Ajay Gorai, Abhishek Chakraborty, Avik Choudhury, Gourav Sharma, Sourav Sarkar (all from Bengal), Subid Biswal, Rakesh Mohanty, Vignesh Mohanty (all from Orissa), Rajesh Banik, Tushar Saha (all from Tripura).

SCHEDULE: June 28: East vs South, North vs West; June 29: East vs Combined Academy, West vs Central; June 30: South vs Combined Academy, North vs Central; July 2: final. July 3: NCA XI vs Zonal Academy XI.


Mysore, June 20: 
The Z. Darashah-trained six-year-old Cruden Bay claimed the Mysore Plate in Mysore on Wednesday. K. P. Appu partnered the Steinbeck-Barocco Girl son to victory.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Red Satin Stakes, Div-II 1,600m: (5-3-2) Young Gentleman (Bhati) 1; Lucky Chand 2; Sizzling Stamper 3. Won by: 1-3/4; Nk; (1-44.7). Tote: Win Rs 24; Place: 15; 29; 18; Quinella: 164; Tanala: 938. Fav: Young Gentleman (5).

2. Red Satin Stakes, Div-I 1,600m: (5-6-7) Deion (P. Krishna) 1; Amazing Force 2; Emmenbruck 3. Won by: 1-3/4; Hd; (1-44.8). Tote: Win Rs 73; Place: 18; 14; 21; Quinella: 129; Tanala: 1,019. Fav: Dynamic Gamble (3).

3. Malavalli Stakes, Div-II 1,400m: (4-2-5) Super Ace (Ramesh) 1; Grey Bull 2; Fly To The Stars 3. Won by: 4; 5; (1-30.1). Tote: Win Rs 74; Place: 16; 14; 13; Quinella: 94; Tan-ala: 482. Fav: Fly To The Stars (5).

4. J. K. Van Ingen Memorial Gold Cup 1,600m: (7-5-6) Love And Honor (Harish) 1; Greek Lady 2; Black Flower 3. Won by: Nk; 3-1/4; (1-42). Tote: Win Rs 123; Place: 26; 15; 21; Quinella: 279; Tanala: 3,264. Fav: Sinister Minister (2).

5. Mysore Plate 1,400m: (1-9-2) Cruden Bay (Appu) 1; Carbon Copy 2; Sun Reality 3. Won by: Nk; 1/2; (1-28.3). Tote: Win Rs 20; Place: 12; 21; 40; Quinella: 74; Tanala: 1,393. Fav: Cruden Bay (1).

6. Malavalli Stakes, Div-I 1,400m: (4-5-8) Royal Incarnate (P. Krishna) 1; Blushing Memories 2; Waves of Emotion 3. Won by: 4; SH; (1-29.4). Tote: Win Rs 32; Place: 14; 25; 36; Quinella: 124; Tanala: 1,794. Fav: Anjaam (2).

Jackpot: Rs 39,870; (C) Rs 11,961.

Treble: (i) Rs 1,769; (ii) Rs 821.

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