I hope to return a better player: Shiv Sundar
Mukesh Kumar wins in style
Peerless edge past CFC 1-0
Musah return lifts East Bengal spirits
Don Bosco, La Martiniere champions
Pune Races/ The Proletarian may be hard to toss
Pune Races/ Torres wins Trophy in Pune
Race Review/ Alfords shared limelight
Calcutta Races/ Track trials

Calcutta, Sept. 8: 
Deep Dasgupta�s maiden India call-up, yesterday, made the biggest headlines but no less significant has been Shiv Sundar Das� selection.

[That the opener, a product of his own self-belief and not the system, was set for the cut (tri-series in South Africa) had, indeed, been reported in these columns Wednesday.]

Of course, this isn�t Shiv Sundar�s call-up No. 1. He was, it may be recalled, picked for the first three ODIs against Zimbabwe, at home last season. Shiv Sundar remained uncapped, though.

Clearly, the significance isn�t just that Shiv Sundar is going as the third opener (after captain Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar): His selection goes beyond the short-term and full marks to chief selector Chandu Borde and his colleagues.

Specifically, Shiv Sundar has the opportunity to get a good feel of undoubtedly testing conditions, ahead of the three Tests (immediately after the tri-series). The Test squad will be picked later, but he has a huge role to play.

In fact, with six fifties in his last 12 Test innings, Team India will be banking heavily on Shiv Sundar. And, so, even if he doesn�t get more than a game or two (in the tri-series), the nearly six weeks leading up to the Tests (starting November 3) will be part of his South Africa education.

�Absolutely� Actually, I�ve already started �studying�� Practising on a cement surface with wet tennis balls and spending hours with my personal coach (the reticent Kishore Mania), specially working on backfoot-play,� remarked Shiv Sundar.

Speaking to The Telegraph from his Bhubaneshwar residence this afternoon, Shiv Sundar added: �I�m also trying to perfect getting out of harm�s way of short-pitched bowling� I wasn�t very comfortable in the (recent) Galle Test, largely because I wasn�t watching the ball till that last fraction of a second.

�I did get things right after Galle but, really, the South Africans will always be getting at me and, so, longer hours (at nets) won�t do any harm. Success will hinge on competent backfoot-play and smart ducking. The slightest clumsiness will be fatal� I�ll continue working on both during the camp in Johannesburg, before the tour officially begins (October 1).�

That Shiv Sundar is determined to more than make a mark can be gauged from his South Africa-specific one-on-one with Barry Richards during the just-ended Sri Lanka trip.

Among other things, the legend advised the opener to �constantly� rotate the strike (thereby affecting the quicks� rhythm) and �never� be in two minds against the short-pitched stuff.

Incidentally, it was at Richards� suggestion that Shiv Sundar began standing outside the crease to Chaminda Vaas, in the second half of the Test series. �The tip worked,� Shiv Sundar recalled, in a tone of gratitude.

For the record, he signed off with 59 and 68 in the last Test, at the SSC.

Shiv Sundar has travelled a considerable distance from the time Sourav called him to his room at the Dhaka Sheraton, last November, and asked him to �mentally prepare� for his Test debut. That was a good two days before the first ball was bowled.

One century and seven fifties in 11 Tests does make for a respect-commanding start. Moreover, Shiv Sundar has it in him to be consistent.

�Big-league cricket is all about mental toughness and attitude� Making the most of opportunities, too� The South Africa tour will be a big test and, if all goes well, I�ll return a better player. I certainly hope to,� Shiv Sundar, who will turn 24 during the first Test (Bloemfontein), pointed out.

Having transformed into a stroke-maker towards the end of the Test series in Lanka, Shiv Sundar insisted he wouldn�t have to significantly change his game to suit the demands of ODIs.

The adjustment will be more in the mind. Shiv Sundar is ready.


Calcutta, Sept. 8: 
Mukesh Kumar became the fifth winner in as many tournaments on the 2001-02 season�s Hero Honda Golf Tour when he sailed to a seven-stroke win with a tally of 15-under 273 at the Rs 10 lakh TNGF Open played over the TNGF course.

Mukesh, aided by a final round score of four-under 68 took home the winner�s cheque of Rs 1,62,000, according to information received here from Chennai.

Sanjay Kumar of Lucknow had to settle for second spot at eight-under 280, while Calcutta�s Firoz Ali, despite launching a ferocious assault at the start, slipped gradually, ending the day with a triple bogey that handed him a tied-third finish along with Kanpur�s Shiv Prakash. The duo�s tally stood at six-under 282.

Meerut�s Digvijay Singh was placed fifth at five-under 283 while Gaurav Ghei (Delhi) and S.S.P. Chowrasia (Calcutta) were tied-sixth at four-under 284. Defending champion, Rohtas Singh (Delhi) finished tied at 17th spot (288) despite a final round 70. City-mate Zai Kipgen, winner of last week�s Hyundai-MGC Open was tied-21st at 290.

After a record-breaking opening round 63, there was no question of a player of Mukesh�s calibre letting go. Indeed, Firoz Ali was five under after as many holes and this is when Mukesh changed his strategy. This he did and with a birdie already under is belt on the second despite a bogey on the 8th, he was well set to consolidate his position on the back-nine. Three more birdies on the 10th, 15th and 16th and his second bogey of the day on the 14th were the highlights of his return journey card.

Sanjay Kumar �s bogeys came on the 3rd 5th, 9th, 14th and 17th with his only birdie of the day coming on the 7th. By the time he sank his second eagle on the 16th he was well out of the race.

Firoz was outstanding. Indeed he had the otherwise unflappable Mukesh breaking into a cold sweat with a birdie-eagle-birdie-par-birdie start to his round. So sudden was the loss of feel that the 1998 Indian Open winner could manage only one more birdie on the 11th, with bogeys on the 7th, 14th and 17th pushing him to what looked like a clear second place finish. But that was not the end of his woes. An out-of-bounds tee shot on the final hole, saw him drop three shots on the hole to relinquish the second place to Sanjay Kumar.


Calcutta, Sept. 8: 
Peerless beat CFC 1-0 in a first division group A match in the Calcutta Football League today. A.C. Debnath scored the goal.

Eastern Coalfield and Aryan were locked goalless, while Eastern Railway defeated Calcutta Customs 3-1. Swapan Das, Archisman Biswas and Kuntal Biswas scored for Eastern Railway. Gopal Ghosh pulled one back for Customs.

Tie falls through

The Salkia Friends-City AC match at Barrackpore fell through because one of the assistant referees, Jayanta Chakraborty, failed to turn up. Referee Udayan Halder and Subrata Sarkar, the other assistant referee, and the teams were present.

The Calcutta Referees� Association could not give satisfactory explanation.

In group B action, Victoria held Calcutta Police 1-1.

Chaitaly in 3rd division

Chaitaly Sangha earned a berth in next season�s third division after making it to the final of the fourth division championship play-off today. In the semi-final, they overcame Beleghata BB by a solitary goal.

CAB transfers

Munish Jolly withdrew in favour of Aryan and Soujan Biswas switched allegiance from White Border to Wari in the CAB inter-club transfers today. In all, 37 players sought transfers today and two withdrew.


Calcutta, Sept. 8: 
East Bengal hope to reverse fortunes with the return of Suley Musah as they take on Tollygunge Agragami in their last match of the Super Division first phase tomorrow.

Trailing arch-rivals and current leaders Mohun Bagan by seven points, the red and yellow brigade seems out of the championship race. But coach Manoranjan Bhattacharjee wants to wait and see whether the gap between the teams can be reduced.

Musah is likely to replace Falguni Dutta and the coach�s faith in two other foreign recruits � Jackson Egygpong and Omolaja Olalekan � means Isiaka Awoyemi would be out of the squad.

Bijen Singh, after a brief suspension, is also set to come back and join Dipendu Biswas in the attacking line-up. Manoranjan also hinted at using Omolaja as withdrawn forward.

Tollygunge Agragami coach Amal Dutta is a worried man for various reasons. He said he would not show up in the match at East Bengal ground for security reasons. �I�ve been abused and even heckled there on previous occasions and this time around, I�ve decided not go to the ground,� Dutta said.

Dutta is pretty concerned about he absence of Sashthi Duley who is injured. He�ll also miss Subhashish Roy Chowdhury owing to double bookings. Mehtab Hossain will be back after missing the previous match on the same ground.


Calcutta, Sept. 8: 
La Martiniere schools had mixed luck today when the girls� team came up trumps but the boys missed out in the N.S. Subaiya Memorial inter-school basketball tournament at YMCA (Wellington).

In the boys� final, Don Bosco (Park Circus) scored a 61-41 win over favourites La Martiniere.

The girls� final saw a neck-and-neck fight with La Martiniere edging out Assembly of God Church 58-48. Nidhi Bakshi (19 points), Sonia Poddar (17) and captain Aditi Dhar (10) were brilliant for the winners. Sanjukta Ghosh top-scored with 24 points for Assembly of God Church.

La Martiniere started the boys� final with a bang, taking a six-point lead within five minutes. Don Bosco regained composure, spearheaded by Steven Liu and Calvin Hung. They made up the deficit and went 10 points in the clear in the penultimate quarter. Steven finished with 22 points and Calvin 12.


Pune, Sept. 8: 
A good second in a seven-furlong race, the Imtiaz Sait-trained The Proletarian is strongly fancied to win Southern Command Gold Trophy over an extended trip of a mile in Pune on Sunday. Rajinder partners the Conquering Hero-Nica Libre four-year-old gelding.


1.15 pm: Natural Grace 1. Teaser 2. Quick Decision 3.

1.45 pm: Right Arrow 1. Asprilla 2. Top�m All 3.

2.15 pm: Act of Trust 1. Special Selection 2. Sleepy Head 3.

2.45 pm: Thunderlite 1. Castle Grey 2. Winnington 3.

3.15 pm: Fleurissimo 1. Maratha Princess 2. Inspire 3.

3.45 pm: The Proletarian 1. Adamile 2. Arrakis 3.

4.15 pm: Sakshi 1. Khim 2. Valencia 3.

4.45 pm: Aurelia 1. Marion Jones 2. Crown Dream 3.

Day�s Best: The Proletarian

Double: Right Arrow & Fleurissimo


Pune, Sept. 8: 
Ridden by Rajinder, the Imtiaz Sait-trained Torres lifted the Revelation Trophy in Pune on Saturday.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Sparkling Rock Plate 1,000m: (6-1-2) Heart Beat (Shelar) 1; Emma-nuel�s Pet 2; Declaration of Love 3. Not run: Tagamet (5). Won by: 2-1/4; Hd; (1-0.8). Tote: Win Rs 32; Place: 18; 29; Quinella: 95; Tanala: 778. Fav: Heart Beat (6).

2. Certainty Plate, Div-II 1,400m: (1-2-3) Star Power (Gallagher) 1; Firecrest 2; Chiliandrina 3. Won by: Hd; 2-3/4; (1-28.2). Tote: Win Rs 21; Place: 12; 13; 26; Quinella: 28; Tanala: 168. Fav: Star Power (1).

3. Spellbound Plate 1,400m: (1-3-6) Machrihanish (M. Narredu) 1; Cryptonite 2; Raring To go 3. Won by: 1; 2-3/4; (1-25.6). Tote: Win Rs 22; Place: 16; 27; Quinella: 71; Tanala: 360. Fav: Machrihanish (1).

4. Revelation Trophy 2,000m: (1-4-3) Torres (Rajinder) 1; Knighted 2; Final Authority 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 3/4; (2-5.4). Tote: Win Rs 22; Place: 15; 15; Quinella: 33; Tanala: 80. Fav: Torres (1).

5. Double Dan Plate 1,400m: (2-5-7) Aphaia (Bajrang) 1; Idaho 2; Senora Jade 3. Won by: 2-3/4; SH; (1-25.9). Tote: Win Rs 27; Place: 13; 20; 34; Quinella: 93; Tanala: 888. Fav: Star Magic (1).

6. Jaidev Plate 1,200m: (2-4-7) Soviet Fire (Merchant) 1; Fly By Alibi 2; Piece of Art 3. Not run: Uprising (12). Won by: 3-3/4; 1-3/4; (1-12.8). Tote: Win Rs 61; Place: 20; 15; 27; Quinella: 77; Tanala: 798. Fav: Fly By Alibi (4).

7. Neolight Trophy 1,400m: (3-11-12) Dahana (Rajesh) 1; Princess Gabriella 2; Royal Divine 3. Won by: 6-1/2; 1-3/4; (1-26.5). Tote: Win Rs 36; Place: 16; 95; 24; Quinella: 1,339; Tanala: 11,666. Fav: Track Emotions (13).

8. Fortune Hunter Plate 1,400m: (1-3-4) Let�s Have Fun (Rajendra) 1; Sunglow 2; Dhanadal 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 1-3/4; (1-26.2). Tote: Win Rs 29; Place: 13; 16; 18; Quinella: 60; Tanala: 237. Fav: Let�s Have Fun (1).

9. Certainty Plate, Div-I 1,400m: (1-4-3) Anjolie (S.N. Chavan) 1; Kissimmee 2; Tulsa Time 3. Not run: Khushnaseeb (8). Won by: 2-1/2; 3-1/4; (1-27.5). Tote: Win Rs 71; Place: 17; 14; 12; Quinella: 80; Tanala: 376. Fav: Kissimmee (4).

Jackpot: Rs 10,005; (C) Rs 340.

Treble: (i) Rs 76; (ii) Rs 327; (iii) Rs 575.


September 5 was Alfords� day at the Calcutta racecourse. The Alfords have always been a force on the Indian turf. Richard and Earnest ruled the 60s and early 80s, but the likes of Philips and Shauns failed to maintain that standard after showing early promise. However, the next generation led by Cristopher has regained the lost pride.

Cristopher is the son of late Fredie Alford who himself was no great rider. The other Alford emerging as a major force in city racing is Rutherford, son of Richard. The teenager has inherited all the qualities of his daredevil father, now a successful trainer. What stands out is his courage and a canny sense of judgement.

They best thing about him is his height and the lanky boy is utilising it to good affect. The Alfords have been known to have a good �seat� and Rutherford was quick to correct this after his unimpressive posture last year when he was taken as an apprentice. Richard always maintained the boy was going to take some time before mastering the tricks of the trade.

Coming back to the day�s racing, Cristopher set the ball rolling in the opener the Hovercraft Cup which he won on the 3-10 favourite Anolini from Vijay Singh�s yard. In a two-horse race, the one with late acceleration normally nullifies the handicap disadvantage. Cristopher banked upon this factor and allowed stable-mate Arendal to do all the running.

It was Rutherford�s turn to make it one-all in the following event, the Verge Handicap. The young lad handled the 5-2 favourite Stella Blue in most impressive manner and notched up a well-timed victory. Outpaced till the half way stage in the 1,200m race, Rutherford was quick to gauge the potential of the front-runners before pouncing on to the six leaders.

Another favourite, Aherlow, improved Cristopher�s score over Rutherford in the Kinkajou Handicap. However, luck played some role in the victory of the Vijay-trainee as the tiring yard-mate, Albright, rode by Mohamed Amil, squeezed Iron Warrior on to the rails when the horse was about to catch up with the 9-10 favourite.

It left Iron Warrior�s jockey, apprentice Rao Dalpat Singh, shaken as he was crammed for galloping room. So much so, the apprentice would have come a cropper had he not collected the horse quickly. A setwards� enquiry has been ordered into the riding of Amil. Nevertheless, jockey Yasin on Crest Star took the favourite to full length.

With no rides other than Countach to show his mettle, Rutherford had to wait till the end of the day, the Casbah Handicap, to level the score. It was another amazing demonstration of skill by the apprentice. With Software being hailed as a winner, in came the Tarak Nath Jaiswal-trainee to dash hopes of a well-backed John Stephen�s new possession.

Grand Lodge�s meritorious victory, in between the Cristopher-Rutherford show, lost some of it�s sheen. The horses claimed the feature event, the Douetil Memorial Cup, though Mark Reuben did not give the Javed Khan-trained five-year-old the best of run. In fourth till 600m, the Tecorno-Nyra son was unnecessarily taken eight-wide at the turn. More, the 5-4 favourite was allowed to shift inside the last furlong prompting apprentice Fateh Ali Khan, atop Harry The Horse, to lodge an objection, which was rightly thrown away.

Making a serious bid to re-habitat his truncated caree,after cooling his heels for nearly three years, because of unfair racing activities in Hyderabad, apprentice Mark Maseyk on Bharath Singh�s Alvernia lost narrowly to stable-mate Alvernia.


Calcutta, Sept. 8: 
Altiama and Alsheim were impressive when the following horses worked today:

Outer sand track

1,400m: Calculate (Amil) and Freedom Warrior (C. Alford) in 1-40s; (400m) 30s. Former fit.Magnifico (Rb) and Master Bold (C. Alford) 1-42s; (400m) 30s. Former better. Altiama (C. Alford) in 1-40s; (400m) 28s. Note.

1,200m: Acklins (Rb) and Actuate (C. Alford) in 1-25s; (400m) 27s. Former far better. Calamint (A. P. Singh) in 1-28s; (400m) 29s. Easy.

1,000m: Alyssum (Amil) and Annalee (C. Alford) in 1-8s; (400m) 27s. Former was half-a-lengh better.

800m: Ispahan (F. Khan) in 55s; (400m) 27s. Good. Staffordshire (Upadhya) in 58s; (400m) 28s. Remember Me (Rb) in 57s; (400m) 27s.

600m: Beau Bruno (K. Kumar) in 43s; (400m) 27s.

Monsoon track

1,200m: Alsheim (Amil) and Bountiful Gesture (C. Alford) in 1-23s; (400m) 26s. Former was 2 ls better.

800m: Cup of Life (Amil) in 54s; (400m) 26s. Fit. Azurica (Som S.) in 55s; (400m) 26s. Easy. Rare Gold (Amil) Calabash (Gajinder) in 53s; (400m) 25s. Former far better. Rheinheart (G. Singh) in 59s; (400m) 28s. Illustrious Reign (V. Jaiswal) in 56s; (400m) 26s. Flamebird (Upadhya) and Flying Scot (Som S.) in 51s; (400m) 24s. Former 4 ls better. Charlene (Islam) and Rescue Act (Rabani) in 54s; (400m) 25s. Level. Allaying (C. Alford) in 54s; (400m) 26s. Fit. Allosaki (A. P. Singh) in 55s; (400m) 28s. Easy. Finders Keepers (Rutherford) in 57s; (400m) 24s. Crimson King (Connorton) in 55s; (400m) 27s. Ace of Spades (Kujur) in 56s; (400m) 25s. Abandoned (Asghar) in 53s; (400m) 25s. Fit. Ballard Lady (V. Jaiswal) in 57s; 600m) 43s. (400m) 29s.

600m: Lovely Prospect (B. Gurang) and Secret Adversary (Connorton) in 40s; (400m) 25s. Level. Maltayar (Connorton) in 43s; (400m) 27s. Soviet Port (Rabani) in 41s; (400m) 25s. Good. Keep The Faith (Rutherford) in 40s; (400m) 25s. Fit. Break Fast At Tiffany (Rabani) in 45; (400m) 28s.

Sand track

1,200m: Fencai (Upadhya) in 1-27s; (400m) 26s. Fit.

800m: Aliqa (Rb) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Easy. Peppy Mistress (Upadhya) in 57s; (400m) 27s. The Stud (Upadhya) 54s; (400m) 25s. Highland Flame (Dalpat) in 58s; (400m) 27s. As A Rule (Som S.) in 53s; (400m) 25s. Fit. Added Asset (Connorton) in 54s; (400m) 27s. Aureate (B. Gurang) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Mr. Bombshell (R. Ahmed) in 53s; (400m) 26s. On The Bit (K. Kumar) in 53s; (400m) 25s. Good. Royal Ruler (Rutherford) in 53s; (400m) 25s.

600m: Tajik (Rutherford) in 37s; (400m) 23s.Good.


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