Sourav going by instinct
Bagan earn 25th crown
Livid East Bengal take IFA to task
Raman stresses teamwork
Top seed toppled
Dalmiya calls for more accountability
TFA whip Assam Police
EB in semis
Calcutta Racing/ Vijay holds edge on last day
Mysore Racing/ Alisa fancied

Calcutta, Oct. 11: 
Not too long ago, Sunil Gavaskar handed Sourav Ganguly what many interpreted to be a left-handed compliment: That the Indian captain need not worry about (keeping) his job as “no other leader was in sight.”

Gavaskar’s comments were made in his syndicated column and came just days after Sourav’s own captaincy-related observations in The Telegraph. Basically, Sourav had indicated he was peeved with the series-by-series appointment.

Well, last night, Gavaskar actually paid a handsome compliment (on the TV). Specifically, Gavaskar felt Sourav’s captaincy in the tri-series game at Centurion was “outstanding.”

It would be an understatement to talk about Gavaskar having been spot on. Indeed, Sourav’s leadership was flawless. That, too, went defending a total (233) which was at best reasonably competitive.

Obviously, being party to Man of the Match Harbhajan Singh’s inclusion and, then, introducing him relatively early were sensible moves. Yet, one which perhaps went unnoticed, was continuing with Virender Sehwag even though his first six overs produced no wickets.

As it turned out, Sehwag struck in over No. 7 — dismissing Mark Boucher to end the threatening eighth-wicket partnership between him and Lance Klusener. The duo added as many as 77 runs and, till the pair was around, South Africa did have a chance to pocket full points.

Sourav has always been clear on being guided by “instinct.” Keeping faith in Sehwag will surely be remembered as one largely instinctive move which saw golden dividends.

Of course, Sourav himself laughed when asked for his reaction. Contacted in Blomfontein this evening, shortly after the team’s arrival from Johannesburg, the captain (speaking exclusively) stated: “The instinct bit apart, Sehwag was bowling very well… I was confident he would get the breakthrough.”

Later, Sehwag added Makhaya Ntini’s wicket. The quick admittedly played a poor shot, but that wasn’t Sehwag or India’s problem.

Not that Sourav is himself partial in backing first XI players, but it’s worth noting the younger brigade hardly ever lets him down. At different times, Yuvraj Singh and the Sehwags have made the captain smile broadly. Harbhajan as well.

Had it not been for Sourav, Harbhajan would probably still have been in Jalandhar, looking to only make the most of the up-coming domestic season. It was at the captain’s insistence that the selectors recalled Harbhajan in February. The rest is history.

For his part, Sourav is happy to give the youngsters all the credit. “Each one of them is highly talented; each one of them has the potential to serve India for long. As their captain, I am just plain pleased,” he declared, preparing to leave for the Springbok Park.


Calcutta, Oct. 11: 

East Bengal today realised what it means to finish on the receiving end of a 1-1 scoreline — which helped Mohun Bagan retrieve Super Division honour.

The Salt Lake Stadium stalemate left Mohun Bagan with 34 points from 13 matches at the end of their campaign — enough to ensure their arch-rivals stayed at least three points adrift. East Bengal have 27 from 12 and a win against Tollygunge Agragami in their last match will not reduce arrears to the required extent.

It was revenge of sorts for Mohun Bagan, who forced an identical score in last year’s second-leg tie under similar circumstances, only to be denied a play-off final, following the same principle. This was their 25th triumph in the local league.

Early indications were different though, with East Bengal pressing hard for a win and stay in the hunt of a fourth successive title. They struck in the 15th minute through Omolaja Olalekan, but capsized soon as Mohun Bagan came back in waves.

Capping an excellent day with a goal seconds into the final session, Rennedy Singh emerged an unlikely hero and East Bengal were distinctly lucky to escape a spanking. East Bengal never managed another clear look at goal and must thank their stars for Mohun Bagan turning blind when they did so.

There was tension in the air, and the referee flashed yellow cards to three from each team. There was the odd blemish as well and Mohun Bagan’s Debjit Ghosh escaped punishment despite an act which could have spread trouble in the stands. He charged up at the referee for what he thought should have been a red card on Suley Musah for a foul on Rennedy.

Contrary to their coach’s match-eve apprehension that the venue was a “den of terror favouring East Bengal,” Mohun Bagan discovered terror lies actually at the heart of their defence. Right-back Dulal Biswas was easily beaten to Falguni Dutta’s through for Dipankar Roy down the right.

The medio sent in a backpass which caught the goalkeeper in a corridor of uncertainty. Before deciding whether to advance or stay put, the goalkeeper had walked out a few steps, but was still far from Omolaja who sent home a low first-time right-footer despite being hemmed in by the stoppers. It placed the Nigerian on top of the goal-scorers’ list with eight.

East Bengal tried to press home the advantage by introducing I.M. Vijayan in the 24th minute, but the striker looked woefully out of condition before making a tame exit 52 minutes later.

The goal stirred Mohun Bagan back in action and Rennedy cut loose down the left which made up for an off-colour Jose Ramirez Barreto. Rennedy’s incisive throughs and centres were not taken advantage of, but rattled the rival camp and kept Suley Musah busy at his job as right-back. The absence of this Ghanaian’s powerful bursts down right definitely handicapped East Bengal.

Their resistance broke after the changeover, when Abdulateef Seriki’s pass found Bungo Singh just outside the box on the right. Bungo picked out James Singh whose pass reached Rennedy at the goalmouth. The medio trapped the ball, negotiated a tricky bounce and jabbed it low past an advancing ‘keeper.

More chances came their way and it should have been 2-1 in favour of Mohun Bagan in the 85th inute but Barreto failed to find an empty net from the six-yard mark. Goalkeeper Sangram Mukherjee was lying helpless after thwarting Bungo from Rennedy’s cross, but Barreto failed to bend properly and ballooned a right-footer over the bar.


EAST BENGAL: Sangram Mukherjee; Suley Musah, Jackson Egygopong, Dipak Mondal, Falguni Dutta; Amit Das (I.M. Vijayan, 24, Dipendu Biswas, 76), Tushar Rakshit (Chandan Das, 40), Dipankar Roy; Omolaja Olalekan, Bijen Singh.

MOHUN BAGAN: Rajat Ghosh Dastidar; Dulal Biswas, Amouri da Silva, Hussain Mustafi, Rishi Kapoor; Debjit Ghosh, James Singh, R.P. Singh (Bungo Singh, 35), Rennedy Singh; Abdulateef Seriki, Jose Ramirez Barreto.

Referee: Supriyo Bhattacharya.


Calcutta, Oct. 11: 
The East Bengal camp was fuming over the IFA’s decision to keep today’s Super Division Derby on schedule and they also rued losing four points in the first three matches.

“The IFA is out to destroy football, why else should they force us into three crunch games in six days,” said coach Manoranjan Bhattacharya.

He argued that had the match been deferred for a few days, his players would have been in far better shape with more time to recover from the rigours of playing the IFA Shield final and semi-final on successive days last weekend.

“We did them a favour by agreeing to play the Shield final Sunday but it wasn’t returned. We’ll see whether to co-operate with them in future,” was the common refrain in the dressing room.

The coach refuted suggestions that a flat refusal would have been the fitting reply. “Club members may not have accepted a pull-out and why should we let somebody else claim the title without a fight?”

He didn’t blame his players for surrendering the early lead but said they couldn’t deliver because they were not in ideal condition.

Amid cheers in the Mohun Bagan camp, coach Subrata Bhattacharya said his team should have finished on a winning note, and his man of the moment — Rennedy Singh — spoke the same language.

“We got at least three chances but Rennedy, Barreto missed sitters. No regrets, it’s a title, doesn’t matter how it comes,” said Subrata — who became the first coach to win all major Indian titles.

But he was playing it down. “As a landmark, it doesn’t mean much, the best thing is the players can now forget the recent dip in form and take heart from this success.” He also dismissed East Bengal’s claim that they were overworked. “We’ve played at least four matches more than what they have had this season. Who is more fatigued? These excuses don’t count.”

Rennedy looked a relieved man for finally living up to expectations and delivering in a crunch game. “The goal is special as I don’t score too often, but we should have won,” he said.

Bagan’s saviour on most occasions, Jose Ramirez Barreto was also relieved for winning his first big title in the city. He had won the Airlines Cup last year but that was a much low-key affair. “It’s always good to win before the home fans.” Barreto agreed with the coach that how the title was won mattered little. “We’ve won the League, that’s all, who’s bothered about how?”

Subrata success story

Subrata Bhattacharya became the first Indian coach Thursday to win all the major titles on offer in the country. He got his first major assignment in Mohun Bagan in July, 1995. He was sacked five months later but returned at the helm of affairs at the same club in November 1999. Under Subrata’s stewardship Mohun Bagan won the IFA Shield and National League in 1999-2000. They won the Durand Cup and Rovers Cup in 2000-01 and clinched the Federation Cup and Calcutta Super Division this season. (

Compiled by Hariprasad Chattopadhyay


Calcutta, Oct. 11: 
Woorkeri Raman got down to business as Bengal coach at the nets adjoining Pankaj Gupta memorial indoor coaching centre today. The Bengal probables were there at almost full strength along with a couple of senior CAB officials.

At the end of his first session as Bengal coach, there were no big promises, only a pledge to give off his best at all times.

“My first job is to see these guys individually and guide them. Having retired only two years back, I have played with most of them in the domestic circuit. It will take about a week’s time to know the one’s who are new.”

The former India opener did not make “any hasty assessment” of his players. “Give me some time to settle down,” he said.

More than individual brilliance, Raman is focussing on “collective performance”. “The most important thing is to play as a unit. The players have to be collectively focussed to reap the maximum benefits. I will be trying to improve the intensity level of the players and make them more involved,” Raman explained.

Talk, then, naturally drifted to India’s win over South Africa at Centurion Park yesterday and his 113 against the same opposition and at the same place during the 1992 tour.

Raman seemed optimistic about India’s chances there this time around. “These guys have been playing together for quite sometime now and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t succeed. The important factor will be to see how quickly they acclimatise themselves to the conditions. Once that is done, success should be no big problem.”

Chopra’s wish

Nikhil Chopra wants to turn out for Bengal. Having obtained a no-objection certificate from the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA), he sent a letter to the CAB a few days ago expressing his desire. The CAB is waiting for a formal clearance from the BCCI after which the former India off spinner can register himself with the association.    

Calcutta, Oct. 11: 
Junior boys’ top seed Soumyajit Sarkar lost in the quarter final of the 67th state and inter-district table tennis championships today. Avijit Paul of North Calcutta stunned Soumyajit 11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8.

In men’s singles pre-quarters, Sourav Chakraborty of North Calcutta was upset by Souvik Basu Ray of Central Calcutta 9-11, 10-12, 13-11, 11-6, 13-11, 12-14, 8-11.

OTHER RESULTS: Men’s singles pre-quarters: Shibaji Dutta (SC) bt Prasenjit Sarkar (N 24 Pgs) 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 12-10. Prithwiraj Bose (Siliguri) bt Shubham Chowdhury (NC) 11-8, 11-5, 13-11, 11-13, 11-5. Amit Das (NC) bt Pinaki Das (SC) 11-4, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7. Arup Basak (NC) bt Soumik De Sarkar (CC) 11-8, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6. Arjun Dutta (SC) bt Amit Mukherjee (N 24 Pgs) 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 7-11, 5-11, 11-4, 11-8. Anirban Nandy (Howrah) bt Dipankar Adhikari (NC) 11-6, 8-11, 9-11, 12-14, 11-4, 12-10, 11-6. Ranabir Das (NC) bt Koushik De Sarkar (Uttarpara) 7-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7, 11-4.

Women’s singles pre-quarters: Mouma Das (NC) bt Mithu Pal (Siliguri) 8-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-5, 11-7. Sumana Bose (Siliguri) bt Anusree Saha (CC) 11-4, 11-3, 11-3, 11-3. Sushmita Roy (SC) bt Kanchan Basak (NC) 7-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-5, 11-3. Nandita Saha (Siliguri) bt Rajasree Saha (Hooghly) 11-9, 11-6, 11-3, 11-6. Kasturi Chakraboryt (Siliguri) bt Samapika Paul (Chandannagore) 11-8, 11-6, 11-5, 13-11. Anindita Chakraborty (Hooghly) bt Munni Laha (Siliguri) 11-3, 11-7, 11-5, 12-10. Poulami Ghatak (SC) bt Avanti Sinha (CC) 11-9, 11-8, 11-3, 11-8.

School badminton

Hosts Mahadevi Birla Girls’ High School reached the finals in all sections in the inter-school badminton meet today.

RESULTS: Junior gp: Mahadevi Birla bt Ashok; Queen of the Missions bt M. B. Shishu Vihar; Middle gp: Queen of the Missions bt M.B. Shishu Vihar; Mahadevi Birla bt G.D. Birla. Senior group: G.D . Birla bt Kamala Girls; Mahadevi Birla bt Birla High.


New Delhi, Oct. 11: 
After a prolonged meeting with the members of the senior and junior selection committees, BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya today harped on the need for greater acountability from officials, coaches and players.

He expressed concern at the dipping graph in the performance of the national team and stressed that in all matters regarding selection of the Indian team, the selectors’ view will reign supreme.

The BCCI president said that after extensive discussions with the selectors several suggestions were made but the main concern was the lack of co-ordination between the coach, physio and the selection committee.

The newly elected junior selection committee have been asked to select 25 probables for the junior World Cup in January. The probables, for a three week camp, will be chosen on the basis of their performance in the Cooch-Behar and C.K. Nayudu trophies, to be completed by December 10.


Guwahati, Oct. 11: 
Defending champions Tata Football Academy (TFA) today simply blew away Assam Police 8-1 in their first Bordoloi Trophy quarter final league match here today.

The highpoint of the match was the hattrick by TFA striker Syed Rahim Nabi. Nabi struck in the 81st, 85th and 90th minutes for his feat. In all, Nabi scored five goals, his other two strikes finding the net in the 35th and 77th minutes.


Calcutta, Oct. 11: 
East Bengal beat Salgaocar 1-0 to maintain their all-win record and entered the semi-finals of the inaugural edition of the under-19 national football league today. Salgacoar lost all matches.

India Under-19 beat Vasco 1-0 to move into the last four as the second team from group A.

In group B, India Under-16 whipped Churchill Brothers 7-0 to book a berth in the semi-finals with JCT.


Calcutta, Oct. 11: 
Tied at 24 winners apiece, trainers Vijay Singh and Daniel David take their championship battle to the concluding day of the season, tomorrow. However, Vijay’s wards Angeles, Calamint and Alyssum — in the chief event, the Roubaix Cup — give him a solid edge.


1 pm: Angeles 1. Lively Project 2. Calabash 3.
1.30 pm: Alyssum 1. Lockers Park 2..
2.10 pm: Ballard Lady 1. Rare Gold 2. Maltayar 3.
2.40 pm: Storm Centre 1. Bul Bul 2. Super Smile 3.
3.15 pm: Abashed 1. Tajik 2. Ardon 3.
3.50 pm: Calamint 1. Global Harmony 2. Adeline 3.
4.25 pm: Aberdan 1. Actuate 2. Aureate 3.

Day’s Best: Calamint.

Double: Angeles &.Alyssum.

Mysore, Oct. 11: 
Alisa is fancied to win the Royal Calcutta Turf Club Cup here tomorrow.


1.45 pm: Premier Amour 1. Imperial Heritage 2. Make No Mistake 3.
2.15 pm: New Fortune 1. Passionate Nights 2. Lali 3.
2.45 pm: Royal Philosopher 1. Free World 2. Dynamic Gamble 3.
3.15 pm: Barassie 1. Great Eastern 2. Mehvish 3.
3.45 pm: Alisa 1. Ornate Crown 2. Peace Desire 3.
4.15 pm: Forest Whisper 1. Forest Rose 2. Pride Valley 3.
4.45 pm: Abridge 1. Aesthete 2. National Crown 3.
5.15 pm: Hello Baby 1. Atalantis 2. Thrill of Success 3.

Day’s Best: Abridge

Double: Premier Amour & New Fortune.

Thursday’s Mysore results

(With inter-state dividends)

1st race: Predominate 1; Cotton Mary 2; Sirrgaa 3. Win Rs 99; (P) 20; 19; 50; (Q) 219; (T) 36,402. Fav: Comrade In Arms.

2nd race: Gordon’s Pet 1; Laplander 2; Storm On The Run 3. Win Rs 14; (P) 10; 15; 23; (Q) 23; (T) 142. Fav: Gordon’s Pet.

3rd race: Suhasini 1; Indian Wine 2; Worldly Pick 3. Win Rs 23; (P) 14; 15; 16; (Q) 52; (T) 226. Fav: Suhasini.

4th race: Dad’s Joy 1; Semoran 2; Niveditha 3. Win Rs 62; (P) 18; 15; 10; (Q) 70; (T) 359. Fav: Niveditha.

5th race: Royal Satin 1; Fighting Brave 2; Estocade 3. Win Rs 618; (P) 49; 12; 20; (Q) 232; (T) 5,411. Fav: Fighting Brave.

6th race: Gullane 1; Compliance 2; Augill Castle 3. Win Rs 92; (P) 27; 15; 25; (Q) 133; (T) 1,696. Fav: Compliance.

7th race: Parisien Belle 1; Radical 2; Another Crown 3. Not run: Arco Europa. Win Rs 42; (P) 16; 25; 20; (Q) 159; (T) 1,333. Fav: Secret Melody..

8th race: Royal Debut 1; Soviet Park 2; Arduous 3. Not run: Indian Rocket. Win Rs 112; (P) 23; 12; 18; (Q) 113; (T) 921. Fav: Soviet Park .

Jackpot: Rs 1,62,960 (Carried over).

Treble: (i) Rs 234; (ii) Rs 12,012.

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