Englishmen out on an Indian afternoon
BCCI gets boost from Imran
Saurav in semi-finals
NFL to resume tomorrow
Chennai Racing / Minstrel Star wins Derby

Calcutta, Jan. 14: 

�Sachin-Sourav not the best�

Having opted out of the Test tour due to reasons not related to cricket, Andrew Caddick is keen to get on the with game now. Having added to the strength of the England pace attack, the 33-year-old Christchurch-born seamer thinks his team stands a fair chance in the upcoming ODIs. The Newcastle United supporter packs quite a punch in what he says and doesn�t consider the Sachin-Sourav pair to be the best in the world.

On his return to the sub-continent

I�ve been in these parts before, though not in India, and looking forward to enjoying myself this time. Conditions here are not exactly conducive to my kind of bowling, but I am ready for the challenge. I am waiting to give it my best and hope to come out on the winning side.

On his role in this England team

Well, I wasn�t a regular in the one-day side in the past but this team has a role for me and that is to be economical, more of a �control� bowler. That is my primary aim, but I am looking forward to have a go at the Indian batsmen.

On this England team

It�s a good allround side. The record wasn�t very good but we did well in Zimbabwe and it�s going to be an even contest. This team doesn�t have too much of experience in international one-day cricket but they have played a lot of one-dayers at home. For that, there are people like myself and Darren Gough to help with our experience. This England team is not great, but it�s good. The most important thing is their performance shows they are learning.

On bowling against perhaps the best opening pair in one-day cricket

It�s difficult to say Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly form the best opening pair, definitely not at the moment. We know Sachin can be very dangerous and he likes to attack but I�m not worried about it. I think it�ll be enjoyable to bowl at him. It depends on who comes out on top on that particular day. About Sourav, I�m not bothered at all.

On his decision to pull out of the Test party

One reason is I was worried about the political tension and second, I have a baby at home who was two weeks old at that time. Looking back, I do feel my presence could have made some difference in the second and third Tests where England went close, but, then, that is life. I have to live by it. Considering the time, I think I made the right decision.

On Matthew Hoggard

Hoggard has done very well. He came into the frame against the West Indies and had a taste of it. He�s seen what is required and gone ahead and worked on it. At the end of the day, if it�s Darren (Gough) No. 1 on the board, I�m No.2 and he�s No. 3, and he wants to be there at No. 2 he�s got to beat me to that spot. I will make sure he doesn�t do that. That�s good competition.

�Not thinking about captaincy�

Having landed in India with the reputation of being consistent, Marcus Trescothick did his image no harm with some solid batting including a 99 in the Ahmedabad Test. The Somerset left-hander also has an average of around 35 in the shorter version of the game and can�t wait to enter the hallowed turf of Eden.

On his performance on tour so far

Very satisfied. It was one tour I was looking forward to and it�s been good so far. I knew it would be a long battle against spinners but the pitches were good. They didn�t really spin and turned only into the third-fourth days. But they held good for five days.

On being dismissed on 99

It was bad in the sense I missed out on a hundred and good considering I had 99 against my name. It�s a Catch 22 situation, really. I got a bit nervous after tea since I waited for three overs on 99 before the break. I didn�t have my cup of tea during the break, only water.

On being touted as future England captain

Not bothered about it and not thinking about it. Nasser Hussain is doing a great job and is perhaps one of the best captains at the moment. I keep learning form him.

On the upcoming ODI series

On the personal front, I�m really looking forward to playing at Eden Gardens before 100,000 people. It�s going to be an amazing experience. I have played in front of 30,000 or even 40,000 but this is going to be totally different. About our chances, I think we have done well in the past and have proved that we are changing ourselves according to the situation pretty fast. But it�s going to be very tough. We know how good India are on their home turf.

On the secret of him playing well in the sub-continent

The pitches here are very good for batting. Most of the best players in the world come from this part of the world, the very obvious one being Sachin Tendulkar. Everybody should come and play here as it�s the best place to learn batting. I enjoy it here and maybe that�s my secret.

On the adjustments one needs to make for the one-day game

There�s a lot of difference between batting in a one-dayer and a Test. You need to make certain adjustments just in order to make the game more crowd friendly. There�s always a bigger crowd in a one-dayer and you have to make it exciting and adjust your batting accordingly. You do need to make certain compromises.

On his nickname �Banger�

That�s for my love for sausages. My teammates at Somerset always tease me about it and have named him that.

�Comparison with Botham unfair�

One of the highly-rated youngsters in the team, Andrew Flintoff is a man of few words. A world class allrounder who could also have been in the army if he wasn�t playing cricket, Flintoff made his first senior tour to South Africa and Zimbabwe in 1999-2000. The 24-year-old has been struggling with the bat recently but hopes get it right this time. A good friend of Indian captain Sourav Ganguly � from his days at Lancashire � the otherwise shy man can be very aggressive on the field.

On the one-day series

We did pretty well in the Test series and if we can improve on our bowling and batting we can do well in this series too. It�s going to be very tough, though, because it�s always difficult playing in the sub-continent with the pitches being different from back home. Hopefully we�ll have a series win.

On bowling to Sachin and Sourav in the ODIs

They have been a great opening combination. It will obviously be tough competition out there, especially in Indian conditions. Hopefully we can get them out but it�s going to be a big test for our guys.

On being surprised after getting MoM in the Bangalore Test

Yeah, after Sachin (Tendulkar) got 90, I expected him to get the MoM.

On his stint at the National Academy

The Academy probably helped me to improve my fitness. It came in very handy for a bowler, but skill-wise I didn�t do much. The fitness training did help in Indian conditions. I was there only for a month before I was called for this tour. But the one month I spent was very very tough. We had to get up early in the morning, everyday at around six � that was the most difficult part.

On being compared to Ian Botham

Every allrounder has to go through this at some point of his career and at one stage it was my turn. This one comparison was something I was not aware of. Ian Botham is a great cricketer. I don�t think you should compare anyone to him. You can�t expect another Ian Botham.

On his tiff with Sourav Ganguly during the Test series

Playing against somebody you know (the English allrounder was Sourav�s teammate at Lancashire) does always raise that extra bit of competition. But Sourav is a fine player and there was no malice involved. It was all in good spirit. In fact we had dinner together in Bangalore. It was just being competitive.

On his role model(s)

Botham, Viv Richards, Sachin Tendulkar

On England struggling to find an allrounder

You can�t substitute an Ian Botham. Some others who did start encouragingly have had injuries. I don�t know. I always try my best.

On Sourav�s stint with Lancashire

He didn�t have a bad season in one-day games. It was a great effort. He struggled in the four-day games. That I thought was because of the conditions. Coming from India and playing in such cool climes was difficult. Had he come back for a second year he would have been more successful. He was quite liked in the dressing room.

On the difference the Asians have made to Lancashire

Lancashire has had a growing Asian population. So the interest around the County when you get such players is a lot bigger. You can learn a lot of things from players like Wasim Akram, Muttiah Muralidharan � the tricks of reverse swing, how to play spin, etc. The same applies to Sourav. You can learn how to play under different conditions in the sub-continent from Sourav.

On whether seeing someone like Sourav from close quarters at Lancashire does help in international cricket

It does give you an idea of his shortcomings. It does make a difference seeing him on TV and at nets.

On working with Bob Woolmer and Duncan Fletcher

Both have been great in their own ways. I have worked with Bob at Lancashire for three years. Technically a very good batting and fielding coach. Duncan has also been of great help and I have worked on a couple of things with him. I have always liked their different ideas on the game. Both very good coaches.

On his own form

I guess I am quite satisfied with my bowling, it�s my batting that has to improve and I am putting in a lot of effort and hopefully in this series I�ll get the runs.

On the changes he has made to his bowling action

It�s a minor change and all because of the fact that my back was hurting and I had to get the stress off.

�The Indians are a terrific side�

Filling in for Alec Stewart, James Foster played a significant role in England�s fightback in the recent Test series. His stubborn resistance at the lower order frustrated the home side. The 21-year-old, the first undergraduate to be selected for England since Cambridge Blue Derek Pringle in 1982, made his one-day debut in Zimbabwe this autumn.

On how different it is to keep wickets in the sub-continent

The experience is totally different, specially keeping wickets against spin bowling. Back home the ball does turn but not as much here, so it�s not so difficult. Here you need to be on the alert all the time.

On the Indian side

It is phenomenal. Any side which has Sachin Tendulkar in it has to be phenomenal. We are looking forward to the series.

On how quickly he has become a part of the national side

Yes it was surprising isn�t it? When I got picked, I was delighted. I was thrilled to be part of it. I made my County debut in 2000, and all this has come to me very soon indeed.

On his leaving studies for the game

I was studying before being selected for Zimbabwe tour. I know I�ve to go back to finish my studies. Cricket can�t be life. You can play at most till 40, something needs to be done after that.

On his first Test experience

Wasn�t very good in Mohali. I felt a bit lost. I spoke to Ramprakash about playing spin and he gave me advice that helped.

On lessons from that series

The most significant thing is to handle pressure. To try and get used to it as soon as possible.

�We have to play more on turners�

Ashley Giles was in doubt for the Test series after having gone through an Achilles tendon surgery. But he burst onto the scene with a five-wicket haul in his comeback game in Ahmedabad. A central figure in Nasser Hussain�s successful plan of putting the brakes on Indians in the Test series, Ashley Giles is now looking forward to the ODI series.

On his transformation into a spin bowler

I was a seamer to begin with and took to spin bowling at 19 after being troubled by a back injury. I don�t regret it and don�t think I would have been here had I not switched over to spin.

On his experience on the sub-continent

It�s an entirely different game when compared to England. Over here, it�s a game of patience, time and good technique. In Sri Lanka the wickets were breaking up quicker than they did here.

On his performance in the Tests

Very happy with it. After all, I got Sachin stumped for the first time. People did talk about negative strategy and all that. A look at the scores will show England took the lead in last two Tests and the third one would have been close had weather been better.

On producing spinners in England

It is generally hard for England to produce spinners. We have got to play more on turning wickets if we have got to learn how to play in the sub continent. Some of our pitches have to be produced to take spin so that our bowlers can bowl on such tracks and our batters can be of sound technique in such conditions.


Calcutta, Jan.14: 
The Board of Control for Cricket in India�s (BCCI�s) �campaign� against the International Cricket Council (ICC) has received a boost from former Pakistan captain Imran Khan.

Imran and Richie Benaud, ex-Australia captain, were among the BCCI�s nominees for the Referees� Commission constituted by the ICC. Shockingly, both got ignored.

Many believe that Imran, who is now into politics, would straightaway have said �no� to the Commission. In fact, even without approaching Imran, the ICC announced he wasn�t available!

However, in a brief chat with The Telegraph last evening, Imran categorically said he would �surely have given a thought� to taking a seat on the (three-man) Comm- ission.

Speaking from Islamabad, on an associate�s cellphone, Imran maintained: �I would have studied what the appointment entailed and, clearly, would surely have given a thought to actually being on the Commission�

�Indeed, if just the odd sitting would have sufficed, I could even have accepted an invitation. Bottomline is nobody from the ICC approached me. And, so��

[That the ICC had misled the fraternity on the Imran-issue was first reported in these columns last Saturday.]

The ICC, of course, has appointed South Africa�s Justice Albie Sachs to head the Commission with Majid Khan of Pakistan and Australia�s Andrew Hilditch being its members.

Incidentally, the ICC�s own admission that Benaud would have come on board had the dates of its functioning (first meeting in February) not clashed with prior commitments, has already given the BCCI some ammunition.

The perfectly reasonable argument being: Why couldn�t the ICC have adjusted dates to suit somebody as respected as Benaud?

Now, after what Imran has said, the BCCI may adopt an even more aggressive stance. With good reason, too.

For the time being, the BCCI (via Jagmohan Dalmiya�s letter to Malcolm Gray) has asked the ICC to reconstitute the Commission. If the governing body doesn�t � as is likely � the BCCI will convey an unambiguous message to Lord�s: India won�t cooperate with the Commission.


Calcutta, Jan. 14: 
Saurav Ghoshal reached the East India Open squash championship semi-finals at the Calcutta Racket Club today. The local favourite overcame Tamil Nadu�s Balamurugan 3-9, 9-7, 9-2, 9-2.

Those completing the semis line-up are Dhiraj Singh (Rajasthan), G. Rathore (Tamil Nadu) and Bikram Uberoi (Maharashtra), all of whom beat city players.


Saurav Ghoshal (Cal) bt Balamurugan (TN) 3-9, 9-7, 9-2, 9-2; Dhiraj Singh (Raj) bt Rahul Suri (Cal) 9-2, 9-1, 9-4; G. Rathore (TN) bt Dilip Tripathi (Cal) 10-9, 9-2, 9-4; Bikram Uberoi (Mah) bt Dipak Agarwal (Cal) 9-0, 9-3, 9-5.

Ranking badminton

Diptiman Chowdhury beat Suva Chakraborty 7-0, 7-1, 7-1 in the sub-junior boys� section of the Lalit Mitra Memorial state ranking badminton meet at Anusilan Samity. Dipika Haldar defeated Soumi Dutta 7-2, 3-7, 7-3, 7-5 in the sub-junior girls� section.


MINI BOYS: Pusan Roy bt Sagarnil Dhar 5-7, 7-1, 7-1, 7-4. MINI GIRLS: Moharmala Mukherjee bt Sayantika Dutta 7-2, 7-1, 7-1; Sinjini saha bt Oindrila Bose 7-1, 7-1, 7-0.

State volleyball

The 50th state senior volleyball championship will be held in Naihati from Thursday to Sunday. The West Bengal Volleyball Association-conducted meet will be staged at the Naihati Indoor Sports Complex.

Atwal ties for 26th spot

Calcutta�s Arjun Atwal, playing his first season on the European PGA Tour as a regular, finished tied for the 26th place in the South African Open, the season-opening tournament on the Tour, according to information reaching here.


Calcutta, Jan. 14: 
The National Football League (NFL) will resume on Wednesday with former champions Mohun Bagan taking on Punjab Police in the city, IFA joint secretary Ranjit Gupta said today.

The League was stopped in anticipation of the SAFF meet in Bangladesh. But since the January 16-February 5 meet was deferred indefinitely following Fifa�s ban of the Bangladesh Football Federation, the AIFF decided to restart the League.

However, the League will be stopped again after the 10th round on January 30 on account of the Durand Cup, scheduled from Februrary 2 to 17, AIFF secretary, Alberto Colaco, said in a press release in Margao today.

In between the city will host four more NFL ties apart from the one between Mohun Bagan and Punjab Police � Tollygunge Agragami versus Churchill Brothers on January 20, Mohun Bagan versus Churchill Brothers on January 24, Tollygunge Agragami versus FC Kochi on January 25 and East Bengal versus FC Kochin on January 28.

The eleventh round of the NFL will then resume from February 20 after a break of 20 days.


Round VIII � Mohun Bagan vs Punjab Police (Calcutta, Jan. 16); Vasco vs Salgaocar (Goa, Jan. 17); F.C. Kochin vs Mahindra United (Kochin, Jan. 19), ITI vs JCT (Bangalore, Jan. 19); Tollugunge Agragami vs Churchill Brothers (Calcutta, Jan. 20), HAL vs East Bengal (Bangalore, Jan. 20).

Round IX �HAL vs Mahindra United (Bangalore, Jan. 23), Vasco vs JCT (Goa, Jan. 23); Mohun Bagan vs Churchill Brothers (Calcutta, Jan. 24), Salgaocar vs East Bengal (Goa, Jan. 24), ITI vs Punjab Police (Bangalore, Jan. 24); Tollygunge Agragami vs FC Kochi (Calcutta, Jan. 25).

Round X �ITI vs Vasco (Bangalore, Jan. 27); Churchill Brothers vs HAL (Goa, Jan. 28), East Bengal vs FC Kochin (Calcutta, Jan. 28), Mahindra United vs Punjab Police (Mumbai, Jan. 28); Tollygunge Agragami vs JCT (Calcutta, Jan. 29); Mohun Bagan vs Salgaocar (Calcutta, Jan. 30).


Chennai, Jan 14: 
The Robert Foley-trained four-year-old Minstrel Star scored an easy victory in the Chettinad Cement South India Derby Stakes at the Chennai races on Monday. J. Abraham partnered the Dr Devious-Leopard Flower colt.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Dr. M. A. Chidambaram Gold Cup 1,400m: (3-4-2) Scenic Star (Abraham) 1; Master Weaver 2; Sterling Fantasy 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 7; (1-30.6). Tote: Win Rs 10; Place: 10; 60; Quinella: 63; Tanala: 170. Fav: Scenic Star (3).

2. Kumararajah M. A. M. Muthiah Gold Cup 1,400m: (1-6-2) Premium Gallo (Abraham) 1; Rainbow Ways 2; Trojan Desert 3. Won by: 3-1/2; 1/2; (1-33.3). Tote: Win Rs 11; Place: 12; 31; Quinella: 45; Tanala: 130. Fav: Premium Gallo (1).

3. Kashmir Gold Cup 1,000m: (4-1-5) Bold Connection (C. Murugan) 1; Queen�s Ransom 2; Family Fortune 3. Won by: Nk; 1-1/2; (1-1.9). Tote: Win Rs 44; Place: 21; 18; Quinella: 85; Tanala: 248. Fav: Family Fortune (5).

4. Tamil Nadu Commemoration Gold Cup 1,800m: (4-5-7) Supreme Glory (Milan) 1; Crimson Waves 2; Great Pasha 3. Won by: 1-3/4; Hd; (2-1.2). Tote: Win Rs 33; Place: 18; 18; 16; Quinella: 173; Tanala: 855. Fav: Great Pasha (7).

5. Chettinad Cement South India Derby Stakes 2,400m: (1-3-2-5) Minstrel Star (Abraham) 1; Crowned (Mohan) 2; Bountiful Star (Rajendra S.) 3; Star Pride (Prem) 4. Won by: Dist; 1-1/2; 7; (2-41.6). Tote: Win Rs 11; Place: 10; 26; 13; Quinella: 67; Tanala: 131. Fav: Minstrel Star (1).

6. Turf Authority Cup 1,200m: (10-3-6) King�s Academy (M.Carim) 1; Unaproachable 2; Pearl of India 3. Won by: 7-1/2; 1/2; (1-16.3). Tote: Win Rs 27; Place: 15; 34; 22; Quinella: 149; Tanala: 723. Fav: King�s Academy (10).

7. Pune Plate, Div-I 1,400m: (7-8-2) Connected Boy (C. Murugan) 1; Sea Horse 2; Majestic Star 3. Won by: SH; SH; (1-31.6). Tote: Win Rs 182; Place: 50; 14; 16; Quinella: 231; Tanala: 2,062. Fav: Sea Horse (8).

8. Pune Plate, Div-II 1,400m: (11-9-3) Flirting Quest (Hesnain) 1; Diamond Treasure 2; Bold Aristocrat 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 3/4; (1-31.5). Tote: Win Rs 26; Place: 14; 22; 31; Quinella: 70; Tanala: 1,108. Fav: Flirting Quest (11).

Jackpot: Rs 16,546; (C) Rs 460.

Treble: (i) Rs 62; (ii) Rs 172; (iii) Rs 5,219.

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