Wisden opens debate by ignoring Tendulkar
Laxman prefers knee surgery in Australia
Md. Sp. promise a fight
Bhutia may play last game
Official late, tie falls through
Bangalore Races/ Al Dente set to score
Pune Races/ Easy win for Star hine

Calcutta, July 27: 
Sachin Tendulkar�s unbeaten 148 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, in January 1992, not only made him the youngest Test centurion in Australia (relegating Neil Harvey to No.2), he also permanently caught Sir Don Bradman�s attention.

To a large extent, it�s that one brilliant innings �- Sachin was just 18 �- which influenced the numero uno cricketer of all time to observe, some four years later: �He plays much the same way as I played. I can�t explain what it is in detail... It�s just his compactness, his stroke-production and his technique.�

Not that Sir Don (who passed away this February) required an endorsement from Wisden but, yesterday, the publication confirmed his position of pre-eminence by ranking his 270 against England (Melbourne, 1936-37) as the top Test innings of all time.

However, Wisden�s 100 doesn�t feature a single Sachin innings. Neither that Sydney knock, nor the incredible 155 not out versus Australia, at the Chepauk in March 1998. Not even the epic 136 against Pakistan, again at the Chepauk, in January 1999.

Unbelievably, no Sachin innings has been found worthy of a place even in India�s top-10. Of course, Wisden has devised a set of parameters (12 for batsmen and 8 for bowlers), but to ignore all three Sachin innings shortlisted by The Telegraph is, to say the least, controversial.

For batsmen, weightage-indices have been: Batting base points (the number of runs), pitch, bowling quality, percentage of score, point of entry, after point of entry (whether a partnership developed immediately or wickets fell quickly), wickets falling while at the crease, support, shepherding of tailenders, highest score (whether top scorer), match status and result contribution.

It may appear Wisden has only ranked innings where the contribution helped the team win, but, that�s not always been so. For example, Sunil Gavaskar�s 221 at The Oval (1979) was in a drawn Test as was his 236 at the Chepauk, versus the West Indies (1983-84). Then, Kapil Dev�s superb 129 in Port Elizabeth couldn�t stop South Africa from registering a handsome victory.

In India�s top-10, Gavaskar�s efforts have been ranked No.4 and 8, while Kapil has been placed at No.5.

To talk of the three Sachin innings (chronologically):

The unbeaten 148 in Sydney, in the first innings, was one of the few highpoints of an otherwise disastrous tour. Sachin got the runs �- his second Test century �� at No.6. The attack included Craig McDermott, Bruce Reid, Merv Hughes and debutant Shane Warne. The Test was drawn.

The 155 not out at the Chepauk (15th century), in the second innings with India 71 in arrears, was a masterly lesson specially in handling spinners of the quality of Warne. It helped India win the Test and set the tone for the series, besides tearing the Warne-reputation to shreds. The most-hyped one-on-one in recent times actually turned out to be a cakewalk for Sachin. The effects of that one innings could even be seen in Warne�s bowling, three years on, earlier this year.

The 136 (18th century), again at the Chepauk, almost helped India pull off what would have been an epic victory over Pakistan. As it turned out, a dehydrated Sachin injured his back and his departure (at 254 for seven) allowed Pakistan to squeeze a 12-run win. Pakistan�s attack included the two Ws �- Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis �- and Saqlain Mushtaq.

So, if the result contribution index is specifically taken into account, Sachin�s scoresheet will read: One draw, one win, one loss.

It seems no one quite thought of the unbeaten 148 and the impression it left not just on laymen, but the greatest cricketer-ever. Then, where the two Chepauk knocks are concerned, Sachin apparently lost points because of a weak Australian attack and, then, the Pakistan victory.

Well, why should Sachin be penalised for Australia�s inability to field only one top-drawer bowler in Warne? As for what turned out to be a futile 136, it�s worth recalling that Pakistan�s sensational win notwithstanding, the Man-of-the-Match was Sachin.

The next time, Wisden should also give weightage to age besides evaluating the pressure-factor on the batsman in question.


Calcutta, July 27: 
Twenty-four hours after his epic 281 at the Eden Gardens found a place in Wisden�s top-10 greatest Test innings, V.V.S.Laxman has learnt he needs to undergo �minor surgery� on his right knee.

�It�s a miniscule cartilage tear, but the surgery will put Laxman out for four weeks,� team physio Andrew Leipus told The Telegraph, when contacted at the Taj Samudra in Colombo this evening.

Laxman, who returns home right after tomorrow�s tri-series game, will probably head for Australia �- his preferred choice for the surgery. What it also means is that he will miss the three-Test series, in Sri Lanka.

Sachin Tendulkar is already injured, and it�s debatable whether he will be fit from the first Test (August 14 onwards) itself. Out for long has been Anil Kumble. Meanwhile, there�s also a bit of a problem with quick Zaheer Khan.

�It�s not serious but, purely as a precaution, I�ve advised him to go to Chennai for a day (again, immediately after the match tomorrow) and undergo a scan on the right shin,� Leipus informed. The overworked physio added: �Should something show up in the scan, Zaheer will require a few days rest. That�s all.�

It shouldn�t surprise if captain Sourav Ganguly has already turned more grey.


Calcutta, July 27: 
The tag of �giants� is a thing of the past. In fact, it is rather their battle for survival which grabs the headlines and therefore, generates pity and not promise in recent times.

Mohammedan Sporting again will find their survival at stake when they take on frontrunners Mohun Bagan in the Super Division at Salt Lake Stadium tomorrow.

Having started their campaign on a winning note and then losing three matches in a row, the black and white brigade�s morale has hit a low.

A young outfit, a new and gritty coach but no consistency in performance. Add to this growingly impatient supporters and officials. For Mohammedan Sporting, their cup of woes brimmeth over, literally.

Their rivals, on the other hand, have won all their ties thus far and look confident to continue the winning streak tomorrow as well.

On the basis of performance drawing a comparison between the two is a fool�s job. But Mohun Bagan coach Subrata Bhattacharya sounds confident though circumspect. �We are confident of beating them,� he said, adding that they were not complacent.

�We�ll not take Mohammedan Sporting lightly tomorrow and will treat them as a big team. They may be losing but we must not forget that in a league, somebody may start badly but end up on better note and vice versa.

�I also hold Mohammedan Sporting coach, Chandu Roy Chowdhury in high esteem. As a Tollygunge coach, he guided them to the National League. So one should always be watchful about his plans and strategies.�

Barreto booked out

Jose Ramirez Barreto, having been booked for two consecutive matches, will miss tomorrow�s tie. But Subrata refused to read too much into the Brazilian striker�s absence. �There are a number of players in my ranks who can compensate Barreto�s absence,� he maintained.

Roy Chowdhury, knows his limitations but puts up a brave face amidst the odds. �We regard Mohun Bagan but don�t fear them as a team.�

For Roy Chowdhury, the past reflects the future. �As Tollygunge Agragami coach, we lost four matches on the trot in 1996 but then bounced back beating Mohammedan Sporting 2-0 and finally finished fourth in the Super Division.

�This time also, we are determined to bounce back,� he added.

However, the absence of a few players may upset Roy Chowdhury�s plans tomorrow. Lusku Murmu is down with jaundice while injured Aslam Pervez and Oidul Islam are out of the city. Besides, availability of goalkeeper Imran Khan is also uncertain as he is part of the camp at SAI for the national under-19 meet.


Calcutta, July 27: 
India will miss Bhaichung Bhutia�s services in tomorrow�s match against Nottingham Forest and also Tuesday�s clash against Leyton Orient FC.

The Indian captain may return for Friday�s last game with Walsall FC. In a message to The Telegraph, Bury FC chairman Terry Robinson indicated the decision to keep Bhaichung away from these games was taken after consulting the player.

�To enable Bhaichung to have the opportunity to ensure a first-team place, the management and he himself decided that in his interest it would be better if he misses the fixtures on July 28 and 31, and then make a decision regarding the game on August 3 later,� a communiqu� quoted Robinson as saying.

Bury FC want to keep Bhaichung away from these games so that he can continue with their pre-season training. �This training is a very important part of our preparation for the coming season and with him playing on the 24th for India against Brentford, he has already missed one of our fixtures,� read the message from Bury FC.

�It is unfortunate that Bhaicung has to choose between the England tour (by India) and his playing future at the club. Whilst we are very supportive of everything the Indian federation does, we think his career development will be better served by allowing others to represent India.�

The club is to play Manchester United soon. �It would be important for Bhaichung�s future he was available,� said the message.


Calcutta, July 27: 
The First Division Group B match between Calcutta Police Club and Milan Samity at Kishore Bharati could not be held because an assistant referee failed to turn up on time.

The match was due to start at 3.30 pm with both teams and two other referees present at the ground. But assistant referee Naba Das arrived well past 4 pm, forcing the match to be cancelled.

Meanwhile, in the lone First Division Group A match, Kalighat Club beat Bata SC through Sandip Karmakar�s goal at Howrah Stadium. Victoria SC edged past United Students Club 1-0 in another Group B tie. Chandi Charan Das scored the all important goal in the 22nd minute at the East Bengal ground.

Amal Dutta unhappy

With the IFA not allowing Tollygunge Agragami to play at home ground Rabindra Sarobar Stadium for the time being, coach Amal Dutta rued that there has been a �concerted attempt� to rob his team of home advantage.

Tomorrow�s match between Tollygunge Agraami and Food Corporation of India will be held at Kishore Bharati.

Soumitra repentant

East Bengal�s Soumitra Chakraborty was asked to show cause for kicking a Bhratri Sangha player in their Super Division clash on Wednesday. Chakraborty confirmed that he had received the notice last night and would talk to club officials tomorrow in this respect. �I�m repentant,� he said.

Chakraborty practised today but he has been warned by coach Manoranjan Bhattacharjee.


Bangalore, July 27: 
On his third behind Proletarian and Anagram in the Justice Cup, the Darius Byramji-trained Al Dente looks best of the 10 runners to win the 1,600m J. B. Mallaradhya Memorial Cup tomorrow. Aslam Kader partners the five-year-old mare by Razeen -Ideas And Trends .


2 pm: Indian Native 1. King�s Pride 2. Odysseus 3.
2.30 pm: Royal Russian 1. Altosax 2. Thrill of Success 3.
3 pm: Blushing Star 1. I Me And Mine 2. The Ghost 3.
3.30 pm: Black Ocean 1. Fugleman 2. Swinging Conquest 3.
4 pm: Al Dente 1. Altenburg 2. Artwork 3.
4.30 pm: Touch of Silver 1. Star of The Crop 2. Whatmore 3.
5 pm: Arduous 1. Mayfair 2. Allocate 3.
5.30 pm: Tal 1. Diamond Rock 2. Fly Past 3.
6 pm: Star Cavalier 1. Anchor 2. Abroach 3.
Day�s Best: Black Ocean
Double: Touch of Silver & Star Cavalier

Pun, July 27: 
The Narendra Lagad-trained filly Star Shine had an easy measure of Final Authority in the Fair Wood Trophy at the Pune races on Friday. C. Rajendra partnered the Portroe-Worthwhile four-year-old daughter


(With inter-state dividends)
1. Cupid Plate 1,400m: (5-1-4) Knoxville (Gallagher) 1; Desert Fighter 2; Survee�s Pet 3. Won by: 1; 2-3/4; (1-28.1). Tote: Win Rs 38; Place: 13; 10; 30; Quinella: 29; Tanala: 431. Fav: Desert Fighter (1).
2. Sunny Boy Plate 1,600m: (8-1-2) Round Trip (Deepesh) 1; Loretta 2; Quick Decision 3. Won by: 3/4; Hd; (1-42.7). Tote: Win Rs 362; Place: 61; 18; 17; Quinella: 1,198; Tanala: 21,343. Fav: Discover (5).
3. Prince of Ramgarh Trophy 1,600m: (6-5-4) Destiny Calling (Gallagher) 1; Beau Wonder 2; Suratha 3. Won by: 2-3/4; 2; (1-40.8). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 10; 21; 37; Quinella: 42; Tanala: 260. Fav: Destiny Calling (6).
4. Ajaya Plate 1,400m: (2-11-8) Natural Spark (Sandeep) 1; My Opinion 2; Whispering Rock 3. Won by: 1/2; 3-1/4; (1-28). Tote: Win Rs 78; Place: 18; 40; 64; Quinella: 686; Tanala: 87,680 (C.o). Fav: Potential Force (3).
5. Fair Wood Trophy 1,600m: (1-5-6) Star Shine (Rajendra) 1; Final Authority 2; Realism 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 3/4; (1-38.8). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 10; 39; Quinella: 78; Tanala: 199. Fav: Star Shine (1).
6. So Smitten Plate 1,000m: (10-8-13) Maratha Princess (Rupesh) 1; Inspire 2; Silver Sand 3. Not run: Alpine Star (2). Won by: 1-1/2; 3; (1-1.2). Tote: Win Rs 267; Place: 47; 10; 75; Quinella: 162; Tanala: 17,195. Fav: Inspire (8).
7. Sui-Generis Plate 1,200m: (3-7-12) Majestic Hills (Prakash) 1; Voice of Freedom 2; Right Moment 3. Won by: Hd; 2-3/4; (1-12.4).Tote: Win Rs 78; Place: 30; 58; 20; Quinella: 787; Tanala: 16,187. Fav: Dancing Dreams (5).
Jackpot: Rs 72,478 (Carried over); (C) Rs 2,662.
Treble: (i) Rs 3,580; (ii) Rs 2,976.

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