No Cammie Smith in South Africa
Sudden Zaheer, Badani pull-out
Vijay Mallya threatens with purse strings
Musah brace in EB victory
Saptarshi held by Shahid
Derby tie runs into rough weather
State meet from Sept. 28
Open pairs title for Das-Dutta
Calcutta Races/Magnifico may take all by surprise
Mysore Racing/ Weapon Alpha fancied

Calcutta, Sept.18: 
It is to be seen to what extent the Indians deliver in South Africa, but captain Sourav Ganguly won�t have Cammie Smith sitting in �judgement�.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has appointed two Match Referees, one for each half of the tour, and Smith isn�t one of them.

More than anything else, this should take some of the off-field pressure off the captain.

According to The Telegraph�s sources, Zimbabwe�s Justice Ahmed Ebrahim will officiate during the October 5-26 tri-series, while former England captain Mike Denness will be the ICC�s man-on-the-spot in the Test series (November 3-27).

Both Denness and Justice Ebrahim are very senior Match Referees and, more important, respected for being consistent. The same can hardly be said of the West Indies� Smith.

Sourav and Smith, it may be recalled, didn�t exactly share good vibes during the Australians� India visit this year and the bad blood generated then reached a flashpoint during the recent series in Sri Lanka.

While one isn�t condoning Sourav�s actions � he did deserve a reprimand � Smith was at his inconsistent best when he suspended Sourav for one tri-series game and, on a separate occasion, fined him.

With good reasons, many � including the captain himself � felt Smith had been too harsh. The Match Referee, for his part, never once sought to make �amends�.

Indeed, the Sourav-Smith relationship deteriorated to the extent that the two would avoid each other in the hotel lobby and restaurants.

[Whether it was Colombo, Galle or Kandy, the teams and the Match Referee (also umpires) were booked at the same hotel.]

Such a scenario can never be healthy and, predictably, added to the captain�s problems.

But while Sourav will be relieved Smith won�t be around in South Africa, he must still ensure he doesn�t go overboard.

As captain, controlled aggression is fine; questioning an umpire�s verdict, while batting, futile. Not to speak of the bad example it sets.


Calcutta, Sept. 18: 
If it was V.V.S. Laxman yesterday, Zaheer Khan and � ironically � Laxman�s replacement Hemang Badani today pulled out of the October 5-26 tri-series in South Africa.

Harvinder Singh, the only new-ball bowler among the stand-byes, should replace Zaheer, while Jacob Martin, the only remaining specialist batsman (after Badani) among the stand-byes, is expected to fill the slot occupied for a day only by Badani.

However, it�s debatable as to what should make the bigger headline: The two pullouts today or the complete lack of communication between the powers-that-be in the Board.

Contacted by The Telegraph in New Delhi (on his cell phone) late in the evening, Board secretary Jaywant Lele insisted he wasn�t aware of the developments. �I should be better placed with the details when I return to Vadodara tomorrow morning,� he stated.

It is understood that while chief selector Chandu Borde may have spoken to Board president A.C. Muthiah, he had not contacted his colleagues till 10 pm. Obviously, not even Lele.

Meanwhile, Ashish Nehra�s fate will be known on Saturday, after he undergoes one last fitness test in Mumbai. The Indian team leaves for South Africa in the early hours of September 24.

Agencies add: Sources in the BCCI said Zaheer had not fully recovered from his injury and sports medicine expert Dr Anant Joshi informed Muthiah that he would be unable to make the tour. Zaheer, though, was expected to be fully fit for the Test series.

Dr Joshi said in Chennai that Zaheer had injured the instep of his right foot while Nehra was still suffering from the groin strain which forced him to miss last month�s Test series in Sri Lanka.

He added that legspinner Anil Kumble appeared to have recovered fully from the shoulder injury that has sidelined him for almost a year.

Dr Joshi has been asked by the BCCI to conduct fitness tests in Mumbai over the weekend on all 15 players chosen for the one-day series, which also involves Kenya.

Dr Joshi was in Chennai to observe Kumble, Zaheer and Nehra train under former Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee at the MRF Pace Foundation.

�We watched them train and bowl over the last two days, with neutral observer Lillee also looking at their bowling,� he said.

�While Anil is okay bowling and throwing and should be able to go, we are concerned about Zaheer and Nehra.�

Zaheer, 22, said he felt some discomfort while bowling and Dr Joshi added he was expected to undergo a bone scan.

�Zaheer is now almost certain he may not be able to go on tour for the one-dayers, but we will be trying to see what to do and after a scan if it is just an inflammation, I will give him an injection and see how it goes at the weekend,� Dr Joshi said.

On Nehra, Dr Joshi said: �The inner side of his left thigh has been hurting and that has hampered him from stretching in his delivery stride. He is still guarding it a little. We will have to see if he frees up fully by Saturday when we will make him bowl at full pace.�

Dr Joshi said Sachin Tendulkar had told him he had started batting at the nets after recovering from a hairline fracture that had sidelined him for two months.

�The passage of time has helped him recover from the injury and the new shoes should help protect his foot from further injury. I will be examining him again on Thursday.�

Dr Joshi said Indian captain Sourav Ganguly had also informed him that he had recovered from a groin strain.

Meanwhile, Tendulkar has taken a short break from rigorous training after marked improvement in his injured right toe. Tendulkar, who has been doing lot of running, bowling and batting at nets for the past one week at the MIG Club, today took a short break, says a report from Mumbai.

The break could be for a day or two. Tendulkar, who has been training for a week, has been feeling comfortable and there is no pain in the toe even when he runs hard.


Calcutta, Sept. 18: 
Indian football could suddenly be watching an exodus of corporate sponsorship if All India Football federation (AIFF) head-honchos remain as uninterested in its affairs as they are, and if television coverage is not improved. Sounding this warning today, UB group chairman Vijay Mallya said here that he and the Indian Premier Football Association (IPFA) � of which he is president � were watching developments, especially in the National Football League (NFL).

If Mallya�s fears of inadequate TV coverage are substantiated, the sixth edition of the NFL could suddenly find itself out of money. Corporate sponsors pool in about Rs 20 crore in football (including sponsorships of various clubs) in India each year. �Unless the sport is promoted in a bigger the corporate sponsors of football will have to take drastic measures. We are accountable to our shareholders at the end of the day, and cannot continue wasting our money,� Mallya, who is also a vice-president of the AIFF, said.

The AIFF is amateurishly managed at the moment, with AIFF president Priya Ranjan Das Munshi too engrossed in his political career to pay any heed to the improvement of soccer in the country. That was when many leading clubs of the country got together under the IPFA umbrella to protest. �The AIFF has already decided to appoint three professional managers to run its affairs,� Mallya said.

Mallya also stressed on the �proper� timing of the matches for TV viewership. �Nobody wants to watch matches in the afternoon, they should be rescheduled to evenings, on prime time,� he said. He also said picking up club players for national duty needs to be streamlined. �We appreciate that the interest of the clubs and their sponsors is subservient to national needs, but we can avoid conflict of interests by managing the schedules better. For that we need planning and professional management, which is what we are demanding,� Mallya said.

On the NFL sponsorship he said there were three offers, but none looked good so far.

Commenting on his plans with the two Calcutta clubs, Mallya said, we are actively pursuing our plans of launching branded sports gear leveraging the McDowell Mohun Bagan brand, which according to him has a national appeal.

He regretted that even top teams in the country lacked physios and nutritionists. He said the IPFA wants to set up two football academies, one in the southern and the other in the eastern part of the country.


Calcutta, Sept. 18: 
Suley Musah�s appetite for goals was too much for Bhratri Sangha to digest. The big Ghanaian scored one in each half to help East Bengal fetch full points from their Super Division championship leg match on a damp afternoon at Salt Lake Stadium today.

The National League champions thus hung on to the thin lifeline provided by Tollygunge Agragami following their upset win over Mohun Bagan Thursday. As things stand now, East Bengal (26 points from 11 games) can still force a championship play-off with their arch-rivals provided they win both their remaining matches � against leaders Mohun Bagan (30 points from 11 matches) and Tollygunge.

Bhratri, eyeing a fourth-place finish among the Super Five, are stuck on 19 points with just the game against Calcutta Port Trust to go.

Musah, playing as central defender to fill in for India camper Dipak Mondal, fired a couple of minutes before half-time. Fed by Amit Das outside the penalty box with a clutch of defenders in front, the Ghanaian stretched out his long right foot to curl the ball past a bewildered Abhijit Mondal. The scorer was as surprised by the end-result as the �keeper.

The second goal was a more methodical one. Right-back Surya Bikash Chakrabarty�s corner floated beyond the Bhratri defenders and into Musah�s path. The unmarked Ghanaian coolly headed home for his third goal in three matches since joining East Bengal late this season.

If Musah�s attacking instincts hurt Bhratri, so did Amit and Surya�s speed on the right, and Jo Paul Ancheri�s enterprise on the left.

Amit, back in full fitness after being ravaged by injuries for a season and a half, played the principal playmaker�s role to perfection. Besides setting up Musah�s first goal and half-a-dozen other openings, Amit fired a swerving 25-yard left-footer which came to grief on the crossbar.

Ancheri, who too has been sidelined for long periods, relished his role up front. Eager to score after netting a brace in the last game, Ancheri came close thrice only to be thwarted by the custodian. What caught the eye most was his cent per cent effort even in the second half, which was played under heavy underfoot conditions following a half-hour blinding shower.

Such was the intensity of rain that referee Kalidas Mukherjee had to wait a full 15 minutes beyond the scheduled half-time break to restart proceedings. Conditions were still far from perfect but the good drainage system dried out the surface just enough to let soccer continue.

Bhratri, well served by Iraqi Safaa Hamid and hard-working Nigerian Ifeyani, were badly let down by striking duo Abdul Khalique and Christian Okolonko. The sight of two huge stoppers (Musah and Jackson Egygpong) seemed to have taken the sting out of their forward movements.

Their best chance fell to substitute Mohammad Kaiser whose smart shot was palmed away by Hemanta Dora.


EAST BENGAL: Hemanta Dora (Shibram Dey, 85), Surya Bikash Chakrabarty, Suley Musah, Jackson Egygpong, Falguni Datta, Amit Das (Soumitra Chakrabarty, 66), Tushar Rakshit, Dipankar Roy, Anit Ghosh, Jo Paul Ancheri, Omolaja Olalekan (Srikanta Datta, 79).

BHRATRI SANGHA: Abhijit Mondal, Babun Kar, Nilanjan Guha, Soumen Sarkar, Arun Malhotra, Palash Karmakar, Dipankar Biswas (Bastab Roy, 16), Ifeyani, Safaa Hamid, Christian Okolonko (Nripendra Das, 73), Abdul Khalique (Md Kaiser, 62).

Referee: Kalidas Mukherjee.


Calcutta, Sept. 18: 
Eleven-year old Sk. Shahid Ahmed of Modern School shattered top seed and tournament favourite Saptarshi Roy�s dream of scoring a cent percent score in The Telegraph Schools� Chess Championship at Alekhine Chess Club today.

Shahid put up a sterling performance to hold Saptarshi Roy of Kumar Ashutosh Institution (Main) in a tense game.

In a Dutch defence, Shahid, playing White, obtained a clear advantage early in the game by planting his Knight firmly on e5. Shahid later allowed the top seed to equalise in the endgame, after which Saptarshi escaped with a draw in a King and pawn endgame.

At the end of the round, 23 players share the lead with 3 points apiece.

Second seed, Somak Palit of Mitra Institution made short work of Priya Ratnam of Brij Kishore Kindergarten School, Chhapra, in a Ruy Lopez opening in 36 moves.

Third seed, Ayan Lahiri of Laban Hrad Vidyapith hardly had to exert himself as his opponent Antarip Roy of St. Paul�s Mission School lost a piece on the ninth move after which Ayan wrapped up the game in 25 moves.

Rohan Vijay Shandilya of DBMS Career Academy, Jamshedpur, outplayed Swagatam Sengupta of Jodhpur Park Boy�s School in the advanced variation of the French defence.

Joydeep Dutta of Kumar Ashutosh Institution (Branch) won a pawn against Najir Arifin of Rajarbagh Police Lines School, Dhaka, in a Queen�s Gambit Declined and went on to win the game in 28 moves.

Nishikanta Mishra of BJ English Medium School, Bhubaneswar, got the better of Jibanand Ghosh of MD English Medium School in 38 moves in a Benoni defence.

Former Asian girls U-10 champion Mary Ann Gomes of Loreto Day School (Sealdah) adopted the reversed Leningrad variation against Sanjay Banerjee of Konnagar High school and won after sacrificing her Rook for Bishop.

Sudip Rajbanshi of Louis Braille Memorial School for the sightless, Uttarpara, obtained an advantage against Abhisikta Pattanaik of Acharya Harihar School, Bhubaneswar, but squandered it and lost in a Rook and pawn endgame.


Sk. Shahid Ahmed (2.5) drew with Saptarshi Roy (2.5); Somak Palit (3) bt Priya Ratnam (2); Antarip Roy (2) lost to Ayan Lahiri (3); Abhishek Das (3) bt Souvik Chakraborty (2); Swagatam Sengupta (2) lost to Rohan V Shandilya (3); Samput Mallick (3) bt Vikash Kumar Tiwary (2); Nandan Buragohain (2) lost to Tanmoy Pattanayak (3); Joydeep Dutta (3) bt Najir Arifin (2); Chiranjit Saha (2) lost to Soumya Thakurta (3); Nishikanta Mishra (3) bt Jibanand Singh(2); Suman Mallick (2) lost to Debaditta S Biswas (3); Pritam Banerjee (3) bt Souparna Ghosh (2); Suddhasattwa Das (2.5) drew with Sankar Majumder (2.5); Mary Ann Gomes (3) bt Sanjoy Banerjee (2); Abhijit Kar (2) lost to Suman Basu (3); Sayan Sarkar (3) bt Sriya Bhattacharya (2); Bharat B Mohanty (2) lost to N Sashank Singh (3); Samantak Bhadra (2) lost to Sourav Bose (3); Arpan Sarkar (Sr) (2) lost to Anirudha Menon (3); Debayan Majumder (3) bt Sandipan Chatterjee (2); Karamtej Singh (3) bt Abinash Das (2); Minhazuddin A Sagar (3) bt Payel Guha (2); Amritesh Ray (2.5) drew with Hasib R K Sagar (2.5); Syed Wasim Akram (2) lost to Supriya Maji (3); Ritam Bhaumik (3) bt Rishav Khemka (2); Abhisikta Pattnaik (2.5) bt Sudip Rajbanshi (2); Arnab Chowdhury (1.5) lost to K Chakraborty (2.5); Bipradeep Baidya (2) drew with Varun Jain (2); Debanjan Das (1.5) lost to Priyanka Das (2.5); Ajay Das (1) lost to Prabuddha Ghosh (2).    

Calcutta, Sept. 18: 
Friday�s Super Division championship leg Derby has run into heavy weather. The police authorities today said it won�t be possible for them to provide enough personnel for the Mohun Bagan versus East Bengal match at Salt Lake Stadium as well as a concert for an international pop group later that evening in the same complex.

The soccer clash will get over by 5 pm, while the Vengaboys� concert is scheduled to begin at 7 pm. The police, however, fear that thousands will have already arrived at the stadium complex for the concert before the final whistle of the Mohun Bagan versus East Bengal duel.

Fair enough, but why did it dawn on them so late in the day when both events had been scheduled (and cleared by them) well in advance? �Tickets have been printed and we were prepared for the big match, and now this. We�ll meet top officials in Lalbazar tomorrow to see if the game can be salvaged,� said IFA joint secretary Ranjit Gupta.

If the Derby does fall through, it can be rescheduled only after the IFA Shield which ends October 7.

Maidan ties abandoned

All three first division group A matches and the third division championship play-off final on schedule at Maidan today had to be abandoned before half-time because of a torrential downpour.

The Kishore Bharati Stadium was in good enough shape to host Rajasthan and Eastern Coalfield, who played a goalless tie.

Raid on CRA issue

IFA�s disciplinary committee postponed taking a decision regarding George Telegraph coach Raghu Nandy and official Bachchu Gupta�s raid of the Calcutta Referees� Association (CRA) tent last month.

Since Subir Guha Thakurta, the assistant referee, manhandled inside the CRA tent that evening, wasn�t present at the meeting today, the committee � headed by Shibaji Banerjee � decided to give him one more chance to present his version.

If he fails to make an appearance on Friday also, the committee won�t wait any more and will announce their decision that day.


Calcutta, Sept. 18: 
The 52nd state gymnastics championships will be held at Chittaranjan from September 28 to October 1.

Tumpa Debnath and Chanchala Chakraborty will be the chief attractions among the 500-odd who will vie for honours at the four-day meet. Competition will be held for artistic, rhythmic and aerobic gymnastics at sub-junior, junior and senior levels.


Calcutta, Sept. 18: 
Kalipada Das and Debashis Dutta (633.5 MP) won the Open pairs final in the state bridge championships today.

Thirtyfour qualified pairs played over 3 sessions in Mitchell and Howell format.

Pritish Kushari and Sumit Mukherjee with 627MP came second. J. Chakraborty and Bimal Sikdar (615MP) was placed third.

Tomorrow the semi-final of the team event will start at 9:30 am.


Calcutta, Sept. 18: 
Although running after a long lay off and drawn badly in a big field of 14 runners, still the Vijay Singh-trained Magnifico gets the first call in the Prince Regent Cup tomorrow. The Treasure Leaf-Alilisa colt is well in at the weights and working well too.

Acklins, another of Vijay�s ward in the Almanac Cup over 1,400m, may win in the hands of jockey Md. Amil. Taking the home-turn wide and coing with a late surge, the Twist And Turn-Running Wild three-year-old had impressed in his last Wednesday�s victory over an 1,100 metre sharp sprint.

Race card and Selections

1.Pompano Handicap 1,400m (Cl V, Rt. 00-28) 1.30 pm: Freedom Warrior 60 C. Alford 3; Fencai 59 F. Khan 6; Royal Ruler 58.5 P. Alford 4; Stella Blue 58 Rutherford 2; Ballard Lady 57 Asghar 5; Alumnus 52 Shanker 1; Break Fast At Tiffany 49 Rabani 7.

1. Freedom Warrior (1) 2. Ballard Lady (5) 3. Stella Blue (4)

2. Astounde Handicap 1,400m (Cl III, 5-y-o & over Rt. 44-72) 2.10 pm: Carbon Copy 60 Gajender 7; Aflicker 58.5 Rabani 5; Altiama 58.5 C. Alford 4; Kargil Soldier 58 F. Khan 6; Mr. Bombshell 55.5 Kujur 3; Solo Act 54.5 Rutherford 2; Double Bull 53.5 Upadhya 1.

1. Solo Act (6) 2. Altiama (3) 3. .Mr. Bombshell (5)

3. Almanac Cup 1,400m (Cl IV, Rt. 22-50) 2.40 pm: Rheinheart 60 Shanker 6; Alborada 59.5 F. Khan 2; Sergeant Slipper 56 R. Ahmed 1; Bay Dragon 54.5 Gurang 4; Black Mane 54.5 Kujur 5; Iron Warrior 54.5 Dalpat 7; Acklins 49.5 Amil 3.

1. Acklins (7) 2. Rheinheart (1) 3. Alborada (2)

4. Golden Beam Handicap 1,100m (Cl IV, Rt. 22-50) 3.15 pm: Constantine 60 A. P. Singh 1; Santa Monica 60 Dalpat 5; Bird�s Empire 58 F. Khan 6; Common Spirit 55.5 Gurang 4; Flying Power 55.5 Amjad 2; Crest Star 55 Rutherford 10; Just Kidding 55 Asghar 3; Western Classic 54.5 Kujur 11; Aliqa 53 Som S. 8; Foral Path 52.5 Shanker 9; Reactor 50 Islam 7.

1. Bird�s Empire (3) 2. Crest Star (6) 3. Aliqa (9)

5. Prince Regent Cup 1,100m (Cl III, Rt. 44-72) 3.50 pm: Excellent Striker 60 Locke 2; Scarlet Raider 60 Daplat 8; Addab 58 Amjad 5; Sadaf 56 Connorton 13; At My Command 55.5 Gurang 7; Montjeu Star 55 Asghar 10; Discomatic 54.5 R. Ahmed 6; Tajik 54.5 Rutherford 1; Ardon 54 F. Khan 9; Crowned Prince 53 Gajender 4; Soviet Dance 52 Kujur 14; On The Bit 51.5 Som S. 11; Ammeter 51 Islam 3; Magnifico 50.5 C. Alford 12.

1. Magnifico (14) 2. Ardon (9) 3. Tajik (8)

6. Sprightly Handicap 1,200m (Cl V, Rt. 00-28) 4.25 pm: Glass Slipper 60 K. Kumar 6; Global Harmony 60 Bird 5; Finders Keepers 57.5 Smith 3; Lovely Duchess 57.5 Rutherford 12; Amistad 57 Islam 7; Heaven�s Blessing 57 Shanker 2; Eau Savage 56.5 (withdrawn); Jeypore 56.5 G. Singh 1; Lady Shirley 55 Som S. 9; Armila 54.5 Engineer 4; Grecian Prince 54 Connorton 8; Maid To Measure 48.5 Tamang 11; Magic Ring 47.5 Kujur 10.

1. Grecian Prince (11) 2. Lovely Duchess (4). 3. Armila (10)

Day�s Best: Freedom Warrior

Dauble: Solo Act & Magnifico


Mysore, Sept. 18: 
On his last fighting second to Donna Mia, the Sardar Singh-trained Weapon Alpha may win the Bakshi Arepur Basappaji Urs Memorial Gold Cup, tomorrow. S. Rakesh partners the Twist And Turn-Kentucky Missy gelding.


2 pm: Artic Minstrel 1. Predominate 2. Waves of Emotion 3.

2.30 pm: Guest Performer 1. Biintang 2. High Zoom 3.

3 pm: Attune 1. My Treasure 2. Mack The Knife 3.

3.30 pm: Indian Rocket 1. Mehvish 2. Rizer 3.

4 pm: Air Strike 1. Abroach 2. Indian Native 3.

4.30 pm: Weapon Alpha 1. Cruising Away 2. Whattagirl 3.

5 pm: Fighting Brave 1. Extreme Contact 2. Calorescence 3.

5.30 pm: Gypsie�s Wish 1. Royal Triumph 2. Carnival Craze 3.

Day�s Best: Artic Minstrel

Double: Weapon Alpha & Fighting Brave


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