Just six in top tier
Ratra likely replacement
Eastern Railway begin well
Bengal struggle to 199/8
Volleyball meet
Jeev down to joint ninth spot

East London, Nov. 8: 
Captain Shaun Pollock and five others are in the highest (A-1) category of players contracted to the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA).

The UCBSA has not gone public with either the categories into which the 19 players have been clubbed or, for that matter, the retainership of each individual.Well-placed sources of The Telegraph, though, have provided this break-up.

According to them, Gary Kirsten, Lance Klusener, Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher and Herschelle Gibbs are in the newly-introduced A-1 category . besides Pollock, that is. Allan Donald and Jonty Rhodes would have been similarly bracketed, but Donald�s availability on a regular basis has been under question and Jonty has opted to play ODIs only.

Category A (the second tier), it is learnt, has five players: Donald, Rhodes, Nicky Boje, Makhaya Ntini and the colourful Paul Adams. In category B are Neil McKenzie, Mornantau Hayward, Boeta Dippenaar and the very promising Mfuneko Ngam. Bringing up the .tail., so to say, are Andre Nel, Justin Kemp,Roger Telemachus and Justin Ontong.

Incidentally, unless Adams regains form, he is likely to be demoted next year.The contracts run from May 1 to April 30.

A prominent name missing from the contracted players. list is Daryll Cullinan�s. The star batsman wasn.t signed up as, initially, he wasn.t sure about international commitments after a full season with Kent. As it turned out, an injury forced Cullinan to leave Canterbury early and, then, he underwent knee surgery.

Now, of course, Cullinan is back on the domestic circuit and his South Africa A call-up indicates the selectors may eventually allow him a Test comeback.

Each of the contracted players is given a monthly retainership. While the ones in A-1 get Rands 41,000 (rounded-off to approximately $ 4,500), category A players get Rands 30,000 (about $ 3,300). Those in category B and C get Rands 25,000 (around $ 2,700) and Rands 15,000 (about $ 1,600), respectively.

It is understood the match fees (for both Tests and ODIs), too, are graded. The gradation, expectedly, depends on the category-placement. The bonuses, though, are equally shared.

While who should be slotted where is largely determined by the six selectors (chairman Rushdi Magiet, Graeme Pollock, Mike Procter, Morris Garda, Haroon Lorgat and Peter Bacela), the retainership is decided upon after the UCBSA top brass interacts with Dave Richardson, the players. representative.


East London, Nov. 8: 
With not all seniors currently touring South Africa in favour of Nayan Mongia coming in as replacement for the injured Samir Dighe, the national selectors back home have been requested to send a wicketkeeper .of their choice..

Initially, it was almost certain the team management (through manager Dr M.K. Bhargava) would specifically ask for the experienced Mongia but, this morning, no preference was specified. The team management�s .views.were conveyed by Dr Bhargava to Board secretary Niranjan Shah.

According to The Telegraph�s sources, the selectors . perhaps conscious of the discomfort Mongia�s presence could cause . are considering sending Ajay Ratra, a member of the under-19 World Cupwinning squad. Though no announcement was made till late this evening, chief selector Chandu Borde is understood to have .consulted. his colleagues on Ratra being the replacement.

Dighe,who arrived here with the team late in the afternoon, is expected to leave for Mumbai on Saturday.Whoever comes as in replacement, though, Deep Dasgupta�s berth in the second Test (Port Elizabeth, from November 16) is secure.With Dighe getting injured shortly before the toss, Deep made his Test debut in Bloemfontein last Saturday.

While there�s .uncertainty. over the replacement, the good news is that captain Sourav Ganguly is better. Late last evening, in Bloemfontein, Sourav was struggling to walk . the after-effect of a painful blow in the right knee region by Mornantau Hayward. Today, however, he is limping much less and the swelling, too,has subsided.The X-ray, though, had to be put off as .fluid. has accumulated in the area. .

I should still be able to play the four-dayer, from Saturday,. Sourav remarked, soon after checking into the Holiday Inn. Sourav, in fact, was confident yesterday morning as well but, during the day, the pain had increased and with it the swelling.

Provided the elements don.t interfere (the Indians were greeted with intermittent rain on landing in East London), the match against South Africa A should be very competitive. Seven of the 11 have played for South Africa (Tests/ODIs), while two others have turned out in the A series.

The Indians are set to rest Sachin Tendulkar . who arrived yesterday itself, coinciding with his family�s arrival . as also Jawagal Srinath and Anil Kumble. And, either Zaheer Khan or Ashish Nehra. Dighe, in any case, is out.

As for South Africa A, much of the interest will revolve around Daryll Cullinan�s call-up. Cullinan wasn.t in the original line-up, but has made it because of an injury to Justin Ontong. His selection suggests the selectors are considering him for a comeback during this India series. Handsome runs and Cullinan may replace Boeta Dippennar.

There will also be some interest in Paul Adams, who is going through a rough patch. Incidentally, South Africa A will be led by Dale Benkenstein as H.D. Ackerman is still on the injured list.

Meanwhile, manager Bhargava emphatically declared that the arrest of bookies in New Delhi (in connection with betting on the first Test) isn.t going to affect the on-going series. .It�s probably big news in South Africa, but bookies keep getting nabbed in India... I don.t see why our players should get affected..

Point well made. For the record, the bookies. arrest was the lead story in this morning�s Daily Dispatch, the leading English daily in these parts.


Calcutta, Nov. 8: 
Eastern Railway men and women started their defence of title with consummate ease, thrashing Indian Railways (Construction) and Central Railway by identical 3-0 margin in the all India railway table tennis meet, being played at SAI, Eastern Centre, today.

In men�s section, Subham Chowdhury beat Surinder Kumar, Souvik Basu Roy defeated Rajinder Singh and Prithwiraj Bose made light work of C.L. Sharma�s challenge.

In other team matches, South Eastern Railway men got the better of Northern Railway 3-1 while South Eastern Railway beat North Frontier Railway 3-1 in women�s section. The team championships are being held according to the new Swathling Cup system with best of five matches and no doubles.

Car rally

About 50 four-wheelers, including one ladies. team, will take part in a car rally to be held in the city Sunday. The rally, with a view to generate public awareness for eradicating polio, will run on a timespeed-distance format. Announcing this at a press conference today, Rotary Club of Calcutta Park Point officials,who are the organisers of the rally, said that each entrant (who has to be a Rotarian), will cover a distance of 75 kilometre in the city within four hours after flagging off at 9 am from Salt Lake.

Inter-regional tennis

Eastern and Southern regions have moved into semi-finals of the ONGC inter-regional tennis championships, held at DKS sports complex. In the group league matches today, East beat Mumbai and Central 3-0 and 2-0 respectively while South defeated Dehradun and West 2-1 and 3-0 respectively.

Local football

Salkia Friends and City AC played out a goalless draw in the group A action of the CFL at East Bengal ground today. Both teams got several scoring chances but poor finishing frustrated any result.


Calcutta, Nov. 8: 
Orissa�s tight disciplined bowling left Bengal struggling at 199 for eight at stumps on the opening day of their under-19 Cooch Behar Trophy tie, being played at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack today.

Put into bat, no Bengal batsmen, apart from Avishek Chaktaborty (56) and Sourav Shukla (46), who put up 55 runs for the fourth wicket, could stand up to the bowling of Rakesh Mohanty and Purna Maharana.

BRIEF SCORES: Bengal 199/8 (Avishek Chakraborty 56, Sourav Shukla 43; Anirban Chatterjee 22 batting; Rakesh Mohanty 4/39, Purna Maharana 3/58). Match to continue.

Bihar make 186

In Jamshedpur, Tripura�s leftarm spinner Tushar Saha (4/37) helped skittle out Bihar for 186.

BRIEF SCORES: Bihar 186 (Manish Vardhan 54, I. H. Khan 45;Tushar Saha 4/37).


Bardhaman, Nov. 8: 
Bengal women are closing in for a place in the quarters of the national subjunior volleyball meet. In the league stage,    

New Delhi, Nov. 8: 
India�s Jeev Milkha Singh moved down six spots to joint ninth after returning a one-over 73 for an aggregate of two-under 142 yesterday after the second round of the USPGA tour qualifying school meet.

Jeev had ended Day I tied for the third with two others with a three-under 69.

According to information received here today, American Pat Parez was leading the field with a six-under 138 in the second stage of the tournament. Hero Honda Masters champion Arjun Atwal was tied for 30th place at three-over 147.


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