Team�s healthy atmosphere should not be vitiated, says Sachin Tendulkar
East Bengal get past FCI
Tollygunge edge past George
Bagan honour for Manna
BMFC not to use Charles� jersey No. 14
Race Review/ Favourites found their rhythm
Calcutta Races/ Arendal, Ascoril impress

Calcutta, July 16: 
The insensitive � even irresponsible � suggestion in some quarters that there is more to Sachin Tendulkar�s non-availability than meets the eye, has been firmly dumped into the Palk Strait by captain Sourav Ganguly and Sachin himself.

Apparently, one or two in the Media have indicated that differences between the captain and Sachin influenced the latter�s decision to take a break.

Speaking in Chennai this morning, before the team�s departure for Sri Lanka, Sourav emphatically denied Sachin was missing the first five tri-series matches (July 20-August 1) for reasons which go beyond cricket.

Then, in the evening, talking to The Telegraph from his Mumbai residence, Sachin had this to say: �I have no first-hand knowledge of what some people have either said or written, but I�ve been told about it and it�s most unfortunate.

�This team is playing well as a unit and, within it, the players don�t have differences. Indeed, we get along so nicely and this healthy atmosphere shouldn�t be vitiated. Doing so won�t, in any way, help Indian cricket... Perhaps, some people need to learn what to write or say.�

For the benefit, specially, of those suspicious of Sachin�s injury, the maestro has daily ultrasound sessions (at home) and, as it turned out, took our call after today�s 45-minute treatment.

Sachin is recovering from a badly bruised sesamoid bone on the right foot. Though the injury aggravated during the July 8 tri-series final in Harare, he had been in pain in the run-in to the game.

�The swelling is much less, but the pain is still very much there... How soon will I start nets? Well, I�m keeping fingers crossed,� Sachin answered, candidly.

Going by the Board�s announcement last week, Sachin will be available from the August 2 tri-series match onwards, but if he is �keeping fingers crossed,� the Lanka-departure could be delayed even more.

With so much cricket in the next 12 months, in particular, Sachin will himself not take chances. He is, after all, the quintessential pro in every sense.

A number of explanations have been provided for Sachin�s injury, but contemporary cricket�s hottest star just said: �Given the amount of cricket we play, there�s bound to be some wear and tear. In this case, because it�s a painful bruise, I�ve got to rest.

�It�s certainly not a nice thought that I�ll be missing some games, but there�s no option to resting... I�ve been spending most of the time at home, with Anjali and the kids (Sara and Arjun)... No, I haven�t yet thought of going for custom-made shoes. Sportspersons will, at some point or the other, get injured. One has to accept it.�

A back problem in 1999, it may be recalled, kept Sachin out of a number of ODIs � both before and after the World Cup.

The Mumbai-based Dr Anant Joshi, though, feels one needn�t worry too much this time. �Sachin is recovering well and, for now, rest is the best treatment. I�ve already seen him once and will do so again before he takes to nets,� Dr Joshi informed, speaking exclusively.

He added: �Really, it�s Sachin alone who will decide when to step out of the house with gloves, bat and pads... And, so, there�s no time-frame as such to his assessing fitness on the ground.�

According to Dr Joshi, who is held in high regard by India�s cricket fraternity, inflammation of the sesamoid bone �isn�t unknown� in sports circles. He opined: �Two-three weeks rest is essential as the affected area is a weight-bearing one and running, specially, can aggravate the injury.�

Not just Sachin, millions will be keeping fingers crossed.


Calcutta, July 16: 
East Bengal 2

With their home ground quite unsuitable for good soccer, champions East Bengal survived intense pressure to beat FCI through a second-half Dipendu Biswas brace in the Super Division today.

A 30-minute heavy shower just after the kick-off converted the ground into a pool of mud. Players struggled to find their foothold, any constructive activity was out of question.

Already under pressure following a 1-1 draw against Port Trust in their opener, East Bengal made no headway in the first 45 minutes. The raingod relented after the sides changed ends, bringing about a change in East Bengal�s fortunes as well.

Dipendu struck twice, much to the relief of teammates and a decent crowd which had braved the elements.

Coach Manoranjan Bhattacharjee made a couple of changes in the second half � Koustav Ghosh and Jiten Rai replaced Srikanta Dutta and Chandan Das, respectively.

There was also a distinct change in strategy as East Bengal players started exploring the relatively dry wings. This, in fact, brought East Bengal their first goal.

In the 55th minute, Amit Das crossed from the middle-third to Koustav, who scrambled past a defender, ran down the right flank and avoided another FCI challenger before making a low cross to the far end. Dipendu, who had hitherto looked lethargic in the striking zone, followed the ball�s trajectory and put it in rather awkwardly with his knees.

FCI got their best opportunity after 74 minutes when an overconfident Falguni Dutta, lone man in the East Bengal rearline at that time, tried to dribble past Rajat Chanda but fell. As the ball got stuck in the slush inside the East Bengal penalty box, an agile Hemanta Dora came out in time to avert danger.

Eight minutes from the final whistle, Dipendu provided the �insurance� for his team.

Amit, receiving a ball from the half-line, forged ahead along the right wing and sent in a cross from the edge of the box. Dipendu, again lurking at the unmanned far end, scored with a clean header.

In a match where the mud and slush took centrestage rather than soccer, the home team came close to scoring as early as in the third minute. Chandan Das, dragging the ball out of the slush, found only FCI custodian Arindam Ghosh in front of him. Defender Bimal Sarkar came in from nowhere to dispossess Chandan.

In the 39th minute, Falguni�s powerful low free-kick from about 30 yards deflected off Arindam�s hands and as it was rolling into the goal, he recovered quickly to grab it on second attempt.

On the cusp of the first half, an FCI �goal� was ruled illegal by referee Sajal Bose. Santu Kolay managed to squeeze the ball into the goal from a melee, but was pulled up for a foul.


EAST BENGAL: Hemanta Dora, Surya Chakraborty, Dipak Mondal, Ranjan Dey, Falguni Dutta, Anit Ghosh (Jackson, 38), Amit Das, Tushar Rakshit, Chandan Das (Jiten Rai, 45), Srikanta Dutta (Koustav Ghosh, 45), Dipendu Biswas.

FCI: Arindam Ghosh, Kutubuddin Sepai, Shantanu Bit, Debabrata Das, Bimal Sarkar (Tapan Giri, 50), Santu Kolay, Sujoy Dutta, Brajo Dulal Jana, Saikat Mondal (Debraj Chatterjee 29), Abdul Rauf Khan, Rajat Chanda.

Referee: Sajal Bose.


Calcutta, July 16: 
Tollygunge 1
George 0

Riding a 32nd minute goal by Shasthi Duley, Tollygunge Agragami edged past George Telegraph 1-0 in their Super Division clash at Kishore Bharati today.

Taking advantage of George Telegraph right back Ashish Das� fumble, Amitava Chanda found a lot of space down the flank. Goalkeeper Shankar Dey found Chanda�s neatly-placed cross too high to hold as it went over to an approaching Duley, who headed home from close range.

Raja Guha Thakurata of George Telegraph was given the marching order in the 26th minute of the second half for having received two yellow cards � crudely challenging Duley on both occasions.

Before the match-winner, Tollygunge also had a couple of good chances. In the 15th minute, Moses Owira got a ball inside the box and with only the �keeper to beat. But he shot straight to Shankar.

Eight minutes later, a shaky Das again failed to properly clear a ball, allowing Chanda an open space. But the Tollygunge player shot wide in a hurry.

Archisman�s brace

Eastern Railway beat Howrah Union 2-0 at Rabindra Sarobar stadium in a IFA first division group A match. Archisman Biswas scored both goals for the winners.

The other group A match between Salkia Friends and WB Police at Mohammedan Sporting ground was postponed.

In the lone group B match, Bally Protiva and Police AC played out a goalless draw.


Calcutta, July 16: 
Sailen Manna will be presented the newly-instituted Mohun Bagan Ratna award on July 29, the 90th anniversary of the club�s historic IFA Shield triumph.

There will also be two exhibition matches that day � one involving under-13 teams and the other featuring veterans to have donned Mohun Bagan colours from 1960 to 1980.

The club will also honour Chuni Goswami, Subrata Bhattacharya and Satyajit Chatterjee for their loyal association with the green-and-maroon brigade throughout their playing career.


Calcutta, July 16: 
Bengal Mumbai Football Club (BMFC) will forever discard jersey No. 14 as a mark of respect for Charles Esheku who died Saturday after collapsing on the field during a Harwood League match against Income Tax at the Cooperage. The Nigerian insisted on wearing the No. 14 shirt while playing for BMFC.

This was decided at a meeting of BMFC�s board of directors in Mumbai today. They have also requested the organisers not to schedule any game for the team for 13 days to cover the mourning period.


When Annalee stormed home to lift the Commuter Cup on July 12, she also proved a point that, given space and time, a young and in-form horse could improve by leaps and bounds.

The four month rest since winter has done wonders to the Gold Discovery-Precocity daughter who, notched up her eighth successive victory in as many career starts. The Vijay Singh-trained filly was rated virtually at par with stablemate, Alyssum, who also made the three-horse line-up. But Annalee�s cruising, near four-length victory made the Steinbeck-Ghanayem gelding look a mere passenger when she came abreast of him and went past in a trice. Cristopher Alford, could not have had more luxurious ride in last few months.

Favourites had the larger say in the six-event card. If Annalee was quoted at prohibitive odds which denied small punters to make a fortune out of her, Andrada, Automatic and Flying Scot presented ample opportunities to salvage losses suffered on the opening day of the season.

From among the popular winners, Vijay�s Andrada and Automatic had been flexing muscles in their morning workouts thus inviting support, while Flying Scot�s opening day trial run had shaped him much fitter to counter any challenge.

Andrada set the ball rolling in the curtain-raiser, the Whimbrel Handicap which the three-year-old filly by Gold Discovery out of Rose of Sharon won without much ado after taking control of the six-horse field from the start.

Automatic, too, was expected to follow the suit in a similar manner. But an inspiring performance by Daniel David�s Beau Bruno made it a hard earned victory for the three-year-old by Sizzling Melody out of Sanzeenee. The seven-year-old put him under severe pressure in the last furlong of the 1,400m Balchand Handicap.

Fitness was the key-factor in the Fire Flash Cup for horses in Class III. Looked to be the best tuned horse from among the nine horses in contention, Mujeeb-ur-Rehman�s six-year-old Sky Command cashed in on his fitness, wrapping up the event from the start to finish. Rutherford Alford who made no mistake on the winner, also displayed gritty determination to stay ahead.

The one who could have downed Sky Command was Ashbury. The Daniel-trainee went all over the course and still managed to finish second despite galloping on the far-side of the track. The four-year-old shows promise for the coming winner.

Both Santillana, the stablemate of Ashbury, and Queen�s Logic, the joint favourite in the �ring�, looked a shade jaded. Santillana lost her chance at the gate after a slow jump-out, while the Logic failed to produce her old sparkling run.

Flying Power�s victory in the Blacktoi Handicap could not have come at a better time for trainer Deepak Karki. A very lean winter season had put the stable in the red. Nevertheless, it was Appyness, the even-money favourite, who raised hopes of a victory inside the last furlong, before Flying Power, Nearco Prince, Stately Honour and Double Dancer came swooping in on to the weakening favourite.


Calcutta, July 16: 
Arendal and Ascoril worked well today morning:

Outer sand track

1,400m: Arendal (Surender), Treasure (A. P. Singh) and Anolini (C. Alford) in 1-36s; (400m) 28s. They were seapated by 6 ls and 4 ls.
800m: Auctioneer (C. Alford) in 53s; (400m) 26s. Good. Melodeon (Rb) in 55s; (400m) 30s. Easy. Ascoril (Sur-ender) and Albright (C. Alford) in 56s; (400m) 26s. Former was too good.

Sand track

1,200m: Spanish Drum�s (B. Gurang) in 1-34s; (400m) 27s. Was handy.
800m: Ballard lady (Tamang) in 56s; (400m) 25s. Fit. Added Asset (B. Gurang) in 1-0s; (400m) 30s. Sovereign Bullet (B. Gurang) in 54s; (400m) 24s. Easy. Ardon (P. Kumar) in 59s; (400m) 28s. Reactor (Shanker) 59s; (400m) 27s. Fit. Best In Show (Tamang) in 1-0s; (400m) 30s.
600m: Stella Blue (Rutherford) in 43s; (400m) 27s. Stately Honour (Rutherford) in 40s; (400m) 24s. Fit.
400m: Arctic Fancy (B. Gurang) in 29s. Special Sovereign (P. Kumar) in 29s. Secret Adersary (B. Gurang) in 32s. Adeline (Rb) 33s.

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