Elements deprive England
Captains should allow sportsmanship: Gower
Alec Stewart available for one-dayers
Wright, Leipus to stay
Bengal battle for lead
Bengal tighten noose around Tripura
Army, BSF riders dominate
Calcutta Racing/ Touch of Silver romps home
Mumbai Racing/ Ansbach best on form
Bangalore Racing/ Elusive Emperor wins

Bangalore, Dec.22: 
If Nasser Hussain�s team was frustrated yesterday over only 186 minutes play, the Englishmen had enough reason to tear their hair out today: Day-IV in the third and final Test saw just 76 minutes of cricket.

While it�s now confirmed that India will win the three-match Hero Honda series 1-0, the Test at the Chinnaswamy will largely be remembered for the time lost to rain and insufficient light � ironically, despite constant use of floodlights. Till this evening, over ten hours (602 minutes to be precise) had been unutilised.

�It�s very frustrating... we�ve dominated this game, yet, the elements have upstaged us,� remarked a visibly disappointed (and terse) Duncan Fletcher, the England coach. He added: �Our performance, though, has proved we didn�t produce a fly-by-night show in the second Test (Motera)... the players needed to learn after Mohali and, well, they quickly did.�

Fletcher (a former Zimbabwe captain), who usually doesn�t interact with the Media, attributed England�s inside-four-days defeat in the first Test to his players �being overawed�.

Irritated somewhat by questions on England�s rather negative tactics in the only Indian innings so far, Fletcher almost snapped: �For only the first time in his career, Sachin Tendulkar got stumped (off Ashley Giles) and, then, we took a lead of 98. Moreover, right now, we are ahead by 131... So, what was wrong with the strategy? Why find fault?�

Apparently, what upset Fletcher was that the strategy-questions came from the rather strong contingent of scribes from England itself.

To talk of the third day, �action� commenced at 2.15 pm instead of 9.30 am. Then, once the Indian innings folded in 38 minutes and the re-scheduled tea was taken early, the England openers were around for just 38 minutes when rain forced yet another interruption. As it turned out, the players didn�t return.

Rain and light permitting, play will begin tomorrow at 9.30 am.

Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, the overnighters, fell to Andrew Flintoff and Matthew Hoggard, respectively, while Sarandeep Singh was run out by an athletic Michael Vaughan who hit the bull�s eye beautifully. Both Kumble and Harbhajan had a let-off each.

For the record, England finished with a first innings surplus in successive Tests and Flintoff and Hoggard, both of whom had four wickets apiece, were given the honour of leading the team off. Hoggard, in fact, returned career-best figures of four for 80.

In England�s second innings, it was obvious Mark Butcher and Marcus Trescothick had a clear agenda: Quickly build on the 98-run lead. Butcher, specially, was a man in a hurry. Only, the rain was quicker.

Additional expense

Meanwhile, a single day�s use of floodlights is reducing the Karnataka State Cricket Association�s profits by �around Rs one-lakh�. This was revealed by KSCA secretary Brijesh Patel, during a chat with The Telegraph.

It�s a tidy sum, but the KSCA isn�t grumbling. In future, though, match-specific budgets will have to make provision for expenses (diesel, general maintenance, replacing bulbs) revolving around floodlights.

Perhaps, the Board should reduce the guarantee money (Rs 25-lakh for a Test) sought from the host associations � certainly the ones which have floodlights.


Bangalore, Dec. 22: 
David Ivon Gower�s on-field achievements (over 8,000 Test runs, for example) have been well documented. However, it�s not often that the flamboyant former England captain�s views are sought outside batting.

Last evening, though, The Telegraph requested Gower to talk of the changes seen in cricket, the Mike Denness affair and more. Gower, who has a most delightful way of making a point, eventually spoke for around 45 minutes.

The following are excerpts:

On what did he make of cricket when he took to the sport

The idea was to enjoy the game, absorb the pleasure... Later, when I began playing for England, I realised I had to learn from the seniors. My first captain was Mike Brearley... Basically, one did what one was told.

On the changes cricket has seen, from his England debut (1978) till now

The basics have remained the same though, yes, the number of one-day games now is just unbelievable. It�s common to come across so many cricketers who have, at least, played 200... It�s reached a stage where I doubt if the players can recall the matches they have played. The market for the sport, too, has changed. If I may add, the next World Cup (February-March 2003) won�t be a cricket tournament, it will be more like a marathon: Endless. If you look at the travel involved, cricket today is a more demanding occupation.

On today�s cricketers

They are fitter, that�s for sure. Biomechanics and many more long words have come to stay... At the same time, there has been a change in the attitude of players, specially towards fitness. As a team, Australia have clearly set a different pace. Actually, expectations have changed. In the days past, each time a Sunil Gavaskar took guard, people were prepared to see him accumulate runs. Now, when a Sachin Tendulkar walks out, the expectation is of shots to all corners of the park.

On whether, technically, today�s generation is at par with cricketers of the earlier eras

It�s a good question and, equally, it�s tough to answer... In the present times, after all, we�ve got Sachin, Brian Lara, the Waughs... They would surely compare with the best of any generation.

On whether cricket has ever truly been a gentleman�s game

(Laughs) The gentleman have always been there only, at times, they haven�t entirely gone through with their role... We�ve often seen a cunning disguise. Personally, I would like captains to allow sportsmanship to play a part.

On how would he have reacted to a handling-the-ball incident

You mean, what would I have done on the Michael Vaughan issue? To be honest, I can�t give a definite answer... One has to actually be in that position to... Going by the letter of law, though, he was out.

On whether, as a universally recognised perfect gentleman, he ever felt out of place

At times, I did feel like an amateur in a professional set-up... For instance, in Australia on the 1990-91 tour, when Graham Gooch was trying to build a team on the framework of sheer hard work. I, on the other hand, didn�t necessarily build my own game on that... I preferred going about it my own way, getting the runs my style � and I did get quite a few at the start of that series. As it emerged, Graham and I fell out... It�s long since gone, but that was a regrettable part of my career. (Adds smiling) Recently, Graham did say he could have done things differently. I replied in much the same vein. But, then, it�s all too many years down the road... Looking back, there should have been more �give� from both of us.

On whether, as captain, he encouraged sledging

I�m not the sort to stop people from expressing themselves but, if there was the danger of something getting out of hand, my message to the concerned player was: Let�s all move on with the game. I remember escorting Ian Botham back to his mark, more than once, to prevent him from blowing his top... The scenes we get to see, nowadays, makes for unpleasant viewing. I do believe captains have a huge role and I don�t like umpires being put under pressure. It�s understandable that the ICC is firm about standards of behaviour being met. (Adds after a pause) A good umpire adopts a commonsense approach and doesn�t get heavy-handed. I think Steve Bucknor handled the Sourav Ganguly-Andrew Flintoff incident (Mohali) exceedingly well. Umpires must never intervene either too early or too late. If they do, they lose respect.

On the ICC�s Code of Conduct, which has been in operation for exactly a decade

The problem has been with interpretation... Consistency has been lacking... Also, those responsible for enforcing it must appreciate what makes a sportsman react in the way he does. Yes, the Code probably needs to be reviewed and there should not be that �them-and-us� relationship between players and administrators. There are ways of achieving an understanding.

On the Denness affair

The situation can look different from 20 yards as opposed to 120 yards and, so, there should be more interaction between the Match Referee and the umpires... The next step (disciplining) must be taken only if the umpires and the Match Referee agree there is a problem. My understanding is Denness took a pretty unilateral decision... Moreover, it can be seen as autocratic if you hand punishments to six players from one team. Justice, as they say, must be seen to be done, isn�t it? In any case, you can�t have a feudal lord-subject relationship. At the same time, let me add I�ve known Denness to be an honest and fair man... Overall, well, the issue just wasn�t properly handled.

On players from the sub-continent, specially, being at the receiving end of Match Referees

(Grins) Depends on who has compiled the statistics... You do need an independent auditor... Either players have, indeed, been unlucky or they have been guilty. Either way, there�s a problem... The case that can be made out, generally, is that people get away with sledging but not over-appealing. It�s the degree which matters � that�s the bottomline. (Adds smiling) I remember when I played in the sub-continent, I heard things in quite a few languages... And, if I had a grave doubt, the odd English word (thrown in) would clear it entirely!

On whether shouldn�t umpires themselves be more firm

Absolutely. The Match Referee is only there for support and umpires must not forget their responsibilities. I reckon the relationship/understanding between the umpire and the teams could be a factor...

On whether the ICC is keeping pace with today�s world

When we talk of the ICC, it�s important, first, for the member-nations to have an understanding. Unless that�s there, the ICC can never move forward. Should former cricketers be more involved? Well, yes, but the initiative has to come from the member-nations.

Finally, on whether the ICC could split

(Again, after a pause) Don�t think so... Of course, there can be moments when relations within may get stretched but, frankly, I don�t think breaking point will be reached. It�s going to be a limited world if members start breaking away. The world of cricket is trying to grow and that ought to be continuously supported.


Bangalore, Dec. 22: 
Former England captain Alec Stewart, who has made himself available for the ODIs in India early next year, is likely to get a call-up more so as there�s absolute uncertainty over when the troubled Graham Thorpe will return to international cricket.

Coach Duncan Fletcher, however, declined to make a direct comment on this Stewart-specific development. �If at all, a reaction should first come from the chairman of the selection committee (David Graveney),� he maintained this evening.

Reuters adds from London: Stewart, who earlier ruled himself out of the tour of India, has said he is available for the one-day series in January and February.

Asked by Sky Sports Television yesterday if he would like to be considered for the one-day series should Thorpe make himself unavailable, Stewart said: �As I sit here now, I would go back on my word originally. Yes, I would be available for the Indian one-day Internationals to do whatever is now needed for the rest of the tour.�

Stewart�s Surrey and England teammate Thorpe flew back from India just before the start of the second Test earlier this month, citing personal reasons.

In Stewart�s absence, Essex youngster James Foster has been the wicketkeeper for England in the Test series.


Bangalore, Dec.22: 

John Wright and Andrew Leipus will continue to be associated with the Indian cricket team as coach and physio, respectively. Board president Jagmohan Dalmiya will formally announce this tomorrow afternoon.

Though nobody was willing to go on record, The Telegraph�s sources confirmed that both overseas pros will stay on. Apparently, Dalmiya is �satisfied� with what Wright and Leipus had to offer during the �review-process�. Moreover, and this is significant, both had the team�s backing.

It is understood Dalmiya first met the five seniors � captain Sourav Ganguly, vice-captain Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble and Jawagal Srinath � at the Windsor Manor Sheraton & Towers this evening, before having a session with Wright and Leipus. It seems there was a joint �meeting� as well.

While Wright�s one-year contract had technically ended on November 15 (while in South Africa), Leipus has been around for 26 months.


Calcutta, Dec. 22: 
The Vijay Merchant Trophy (under-16) match between Bengal and Orissa is delicately placed with a day to go.

After dismissing Orissa for 240 at Eden Gardens today, Bengal struggled to 234 for seven at close on the second day.

With a direct result unlikely, the teams are now aiming for a first innings lead. All eyes will, therefore, be on two unbeaten Bengal batsmen � Manoj Tewari (28) and Debabrata Pal (4) � to see whether they can manage to add seven more runs tomorrow.

BRIEF SCORES: Orissa 240 (Haladhar Das 118; Sourav Dutta 4/51, Hirak Sengupta 3/35). Bengal 234/7 (Hirak Sengupta 46, Samik Mukherjee 36; Gautam Shaw 2/51, Pritamjit Das 2/55).

Devang returns with 114

Devang Gandhi returned after a long injury-induced lay-off with a fine 114, helping Mohun Bagan declare at 384 for six against City AC in their CAB senior league match today.


Mohun Bagan 384/6 decl. (Goutam Chakraborty 123, Devang Gandhi 114). City AC 20/1.

DKS 202 (Kalyan Dhal 64, Probal Dutta 56; Sudipta Mukherjee 7/57). Sporting Union 47/1.

Calcutta Port Trust 289 (Indranil Chakraborty 62, Sanjib Pandey 53; Sudip Palit 3/56). Belgachhia United 6/0.

Aryan 269 (Dipak Singh 80, Goutam Som 74 n.o.; Subash Mohanty 5/103). Ananda Bazar Patrika 44/1.

Tollygunge Agragami 450/7 (Adil Sheikh 134 n.o., Md. Ariz 135; Amit Jaiswal 3/100) vs Rajasthan Club.

Md Sporting 296 (Upendra Dutta 76, Amrinder Singh 58; Ram Kripal Shaw 5/123). Calcutta Rangers 35/0.

George 384/9 (Avishek Guha 134, Krishnendu Paul 70) vs Ballygunge United.

BNR 148 (Arindam Bhattacharya 47; Anup Das 4/23). Calcutta Customs 3/58).

Barisha 256/2 (Abhishek Chowdhury 115, Subhajit Banerjee 97) vs Town Club. All matches to continue.


Calcutta, Dec. 22: 
Bengal tightened the noose around Tripura, declaring their first innings at 457 for eight in their four-day Ranji Trophy match against Tripura at Agartala today. According to information received here, the hosts started disastrously to be 27 for two at stumps.

Resuming at 273 for three, Bengal accelerated with captain Rohan Gavaskar leading the way. Rohan, who was unbeaten on 103 yesterday, piled up 166. Laxmi Ratan Shukla smashed 54 off 52 balls while Subhamoy Das chipped in with 57.

Bengal declared their innings about an hour after tea. Spinners Utpal Chatterjee and Sourashish Lahiri then quickly got into the act and took a wicket apiece.

Orissa make merry

In Baripada, Orissa batsmen made merry against Bihar, amassing 572 for six wickets at close on the second day, adds PTI. Prabhanjan Mallick remained unbeaten with165 while opener B.B.C.C Mohapatra (114) and P. Jayachandra (116) also hit hundreds. Orissa, who had dismissed the visitors for 169 in their first innings, have already taken a 403-run lead with two days of play remaining. For Bihar, medium pacer Mihir Diwakar finished with four for 114.


In Agartala: Bengal 457/8 dec. (Rohan Gavaskar 166, Subhamoy Das 57, Laxmi Ratan Shukla 54; Timir Chanda 2/57). Tripura 27/2.

In Baripada: Bihar 169. Orissa 572/6 (Prabhanjan Mallick 165 batting, B.B.C.C. Mohapatra 114, P. Jaychandra 116, Rashmi Ranjan Parida 82, Sanjay Raul 73; Mihir Diwakar 4/114).


Calcutta, Dec. 22: 
The penultimate day of the junior national equestrian championship at the Tollygunge Club was packed with events involving both youngsters and senior riders.

While events like Jumping Top Score (Novice) and Tent Pegging tested the seniors� skills, the children impressed in the light weight hacks and the pony events.

The Army and Border Security Force riders swept the tough Jumping event for novices in which the degree of difficulty increases with the points on offer.

City-girl Devika Mukherjee of Tolly Club was among the winners once again topping the lightweight hacks.

Both categories of the Child�s Pony event would have been a clean sweep for the youngsters from Tolly had Arjun Bhowmick of Fort William Riding Institute on Kush not finished joint third in the Advance �A� category.

WINNERS: Jumping top score (novice) � Maj. P. P. S. Grewal (astride Teesta; RTSD Saharanpur); Tent Pegging (individual) � Const. Jaswinder Singh (astride Bijit; BSF); Hacks (light weight) � Devika Mukherjee (astride Pathfinder; Tolly); Hacks (heavy weight) � Dr. Darius Anklesaria (astride Supreme Choice; Tolly); Child�s Pony (Advance �A�) � Mrinalika Bhanjdeo (astride Walnut; Tolly); Child�s Pony (Advance �B�) � Devankit Sahoo (astride Ginger; Tolly).


Calcutta, Dec. 22: 
Touch of Silver, with the 1,000 Guineas already under her belt, repeated the winning performance in the 2,400m Usha Stud Calcutta Oaks today. Prakash Bhonsle who partnered the Serious Spender-Corviglia daughter to victory, helped trainer notch up five winners, including the Eveready Calcutta Gold Cup through a lesser fancied Bold Chieftan.

Starting off on a wrong foot when Imperial Prince failed him by a whisker, Prakash�s juggernaut rolled on from the third race onwards, the Commanch Cup. Ballet Master, Peace Envoy and Pearl Dragon were the other winners for the jockey-trainer combinations.


1. Lombard Handicap 1,600m: (6-3-9-5) Fencai (A. P. Singh) 1; Impressive Prince (Prakash) 2; Calculus (Harish) 3; Finders Keepers (Dalpat S.) 4. Won by: SH; 3/4; 1-1/4; (1-44.8). Tote: Win Rs 317; Place: 30; 13; 22; Quinella: 441; Tanala: 8,437. Fav: Archery (2). Winner trained by P. Locke.

2. Irma La Douce Plate 1,100m: (8-7-1-2) Sagittarian (Rutherford) 1; Royal City (Connorton) 2; Actable (Shanker) 3; Altigraph (C. Alford) 4. Won by: 3-3/4; 4-3/4; 2-3/4; (1-8). Tote: Win Rs 45; Place: 13; 14; 22; Quinella: 58; Tanala: 487. Fav: Altigraph ( 2). Winner trained by J. Stephens.

3. Commanche Cup 1,400m: (5-3-7-4) Ballet Master (Prakash) 1; Ispahan (Rutherford) 2; Winning Glory (Harish) 3; Allaying (C. Alford) 4. Won by: 1/2; 3/4; 1-1/4; (1-28.4). Tote: Win Rs 27; Place: 13; 15; 21; Quinella: 70; Tanala: 627. Fav: Allaying (4). Winner trained by Daniel D.

4. Phakos Handicap 1,200m: (1-2-4-6) Peace Envoy (Prakash) 1; Mr. Bombshell (Rabani) 2; As A Rule (Gowli) 3; Storm Centre (Dalpat S.) 4. Won by: 1-1/4; 1/2; 1/2; (1-14.8). Tote: Win Rs 26; Place: 14; 30; 14; Quinella: 228; Tanala: 972. Fav: Calabash (3). Winner trained by Daniel D.

5. Bengal Area Cup, Div-I 1,200m: (11-1-6-5) Pearl Dragon (Prakash) 1; Soviet Port (Rabani) 2; Kargil Soldier (Appu) 3; Tajik (Rutherford) 4. Won by: 1/2; 2-1/4; SH; (1-14.7). Tote: Win Rs 23; Place: 14; 18; 25; Quinella: 79; Tanala: 606. Fav: Pearl Dragon (11). Winner trained by Daniel D.

6. Usha Stud Calcutta Oaks 2,400m: (6-4-3-1) Touch of Silver (Prakash) 1; Calorescence (C. Alford) 2; Blue Gardenia (Appu) 3; Amber Dancer (Connorton) 4. Won by: 1-1/2; 1-1/2; Hd; (2.43.8). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 15; 16; Quinella: 26; Tanala: 247. Fav: Touch of Silver (6). Winner trained by Daniel D.

7. Eveready Calcutta Gold Cup 1,600m: (8-9-5-1) Bold Chieftan (Prakash) 1; The Archer (Appu) 2; Allodium (Rabani) 3; Alternator (Connorton) 4. Won by: 1-1/4; 3-3/4; 3; (1-37.8). Tote: Win Rs 139; Place: 25; 13; 38; Quinella: 102; Tanala: 4,431. Fav: The Archer (9). Winner trained by Daniel D.

8. Bengal Area Cup, Div-II 1,200m: (3-10-6-5) Comedy of Errors (Harish) 1; Starina (Tamang) 2; Venus ( Som S.) 3; Queen�s Logic (Islam) 4. Won by: 2-1/2; 3/4; 3/4; (1-14.8). Tote: Win Rs 28; Place: 16; 74; 23; Quinella: 440; Tanala: 9,677. Fav: Comedy of Errors (3). Winner trained by D. Byramji.

Jackpot: Rs 2,602; (C) Rs 395.

Treble: (i) Rs 264; (ii) Rs 474.


Mumbai, Dec. 22: 
The Vijay Singh-trained Ansbach, the winner of major classics in Mysore, including the Derby, and more recently, the Bangalore 2,000 Guineas, appears to be the best form horse to win the McDowell Indian 2,000 Guineas in Mumbai on Sunday. Aslam Kader partners the Alnasr Alwasheek-colt.


12 Noon: Majestic Crown 1. Mick�s Mystique 2. Dras 3.

12.30 pm: Centenary 1. Altazano 2. Reflecting 3.

1 pm: Divine Elegance 1. Sky Rocket 2. Our Dynasty 3.

1.30 pm: Speedster 1. Winning Warrior 2. X-Pac 3.

2 pm: Celtic Son 1. Foolish Pursuit 2. Venire 3.

2.30 pm: Over the Ocean 1. Kraftwerk 2. Lucky Strike 3.

3 pm: Anacita 1. Alice Charms 2. History 3.

3.30 pm: My Blue Moon 1. Reconquista 2. Shahandeh 3.

4 pm: Ansbach 1. Tobler 2. Oath Fulfilled 3.

4.30 pm: Super Sword 1. Flossy 2. Line of Control 3.

5 pm: Chance 1. Bongoni 2. Radical Force 3.

Day�s Best: Speedster

Double: Centenary & Over The Ocean


Bangalore, Dec. 22: 
Elusive Emperor won the Delhi Race Club cup here today. h3>RESULTS

1. Kentucky Plate 1,100m: (6-8-7) Secret Silver (Marshall) 1; Kingley 2; Slovania 3. Won by: SH; 3; (1-10.5). Tote: Win Rs 84; Place: 24; 36; 14; Forecast: 1,139; Quinella: 477; Tanala: 1,411 & 275. Fav: Slovania (7).

2. Bangarpet Plate, Div-II 1,400m: (1-3-2) Lake Baikal (Shafiq) 1; I Me And Mine 2; Royal Satsuma 3. Not run: Clinton�s Pet (8). Won by: 3/4; 1/2; (1-38.4). Tote: Win Rs 135; Place: 37; 22; Forecast: 660; Quinella: 298; Tanala: 6,125 & 1,750. Fav: Tassha (6).

3. Nelamangala Plate 1,400m: (9-4-2) Royal Moments (Shakti) 1; Stormsky 2; Brave Russian 3. Won by: SH; 5-1/2; (1-30.3). Tote: Win Rs 30; Place: 15; 15; 23; Forecast: 60; Quinella: 29; Tanala: 179 & 115. Fav: Stormsky (4).

4. Delhi Race Club Cup 2,000m: (4-7-2) Elusive Emperor (Norton) 1; Air Strike 2; Aerobee 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 2-3/4; (2-10.9). Tote: Win Rs 72; Place: 27; 22; Forecast: 188 Quienlla: 92; Tanala: 1,402 & 849. Fav: Spirited Effort (5).

5. H. C. Patel Memorial Plate 1,400m: (5-7-12) Rio Tinto (Marshall) 1; Arroganto 2; Anchor 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 2-1/4; (1-29.9). Tote: Win Rs 16; Place: 11; 29; 18; Forecast: 62; Quinella: 53; Tanala: 132 & 63. Fav: Rio Tinto (5).

6. Krishnarajapuram Plate 1,200m: (3-7-6) Figaro (S. Narredu) 1; Tribal Dance 2; Tina�s Turn 3. Won by: 5; 2-1/4; (1-16.7). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 12; 72; 24; Forecast: 249; Quinella: 327; Tanala: 1,169 & 402. Fav: Figaro (3).

7. Bangarpet Plate, Div-I 1,400m: (1-2-8) Dark Felt (Md Shafiq) 1; Beautiful Bird 2; Rusticana 3. Not run: Plain Truth (7). Won by: Nk: 1-1/4; (1-32.4). Tote: Win Rs 53; Place: 24; 95; Forecast: 547 Quinella: 340; Tanala: 2,061 & 613. Fav: Solar Power (6).

Jackpot: Rs 4,518 (C) Rs 234.

Mini jackpot Rs 14,812.

Treble: Rs 548.


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