Barabati pitches for India
India face 5 per cent fine
Different Stroke/ The Challenger theory stays valid
Ranji team leaves
Asif hits 103
Arup Baidya wins �double�
Calcutta Racing/ 8 for tomorrow�s �Champion� Cup
Calcutta Racing/ Track trials

Cuttack, Jan. 21: 
The mad clamour for tickets, a near-packed stands waiting to see the Indians practise at one end of the ground, over-zealous and �dutiful� policemen struggling to keep spectators away from making their way into the ground and the Orissa Cricket Association (OCA) bosses conspicuous by their absence � big time cricket is back at the Barabati.

An early victory always sets the tone and the Calcutta match is sure to help the Indians in their endeavour for a series victory. Despite Marcus Trescothick threatening to take the game away, the manner in which they fought back has added that extra bit of confidence in their ranks.

The positives may be varied but the performance once more brought to the fore the shortcomings in fielding, an aspect that has kept John Wright worried for sometime now. Catches were dropped and the ground fielding, too, needs improvement.

The Indian coach devoted quite a long time while working on it today. Sourav Ganguly, however, tried to downplay it. �We fielded well. V.V.S. Laxman is one of the safest of slip catchers, though he dropped a couple of chances.�

For the Englishmen, it has been a learning experience. Going into the second game of the six-match series, they are determined to put things in place. �We are a young side. If we reach a similar situation here as in Calcutta, we will go about it differently and ensure we can win,� Andrew Flintoff said.

The allrounder was also of the opinion that �282 was a gettable target�. But as Sourav stressed all that is �history� and it will be a new beginning tomorrow.

The early morning dew here is certainly going to work to the advantage of the bowling side. It will aid lateral movement in the early stages and that should be one reason for the visitors to consider including Andrew Caddick for Matthew Hoggard.

Every bit of grass on the pitch has been trimmed down to suit the needs of the hosts. The ball will not swing alarmingly making life easy for the batsmen but they will have to contend with the swinging ball. The fog is likely to clear out by the start but the dampness on the pitch and its surroundings will be crucial.

Match Referee Dennis Lindsay said that there was no chance the match could begin before 9 am. A further delay will prompt him to cut short the lunch break in an effort to stick to the 50-over per side quota.

The first session will be crucial but as the conditions dry out batting will become easier. Runs will flow gradually and the spinners will enjoy an advantage as the wear and tear takes it toll on the pitch.

The Englishmen are unlikely to change their two-pronged spin attack. Ashley Giles was unimpressive in Calcutta going for 41 in his six overs but he might just survive the axe. Jeremy Snape will get another game to prove his worth.

Graham Thorpe �is available for selection� after a stomach bug forced him to sit out in Calcutta at the last minute. Michael Vaughan will then have to make way. The availability of Thorpe will add experience to their batting which has shown signs of vulnerability in times of pressure.

The Indians are likely to make no changes to their winning combination but it is the choice between Harbhajan Singh and Sarandeep Singh that is being debated upon. Harbhajan enjoys the captain�s backing but the selectors are once more pressing for Sarandeep. The Delhi off-spinner has performed creditably of late and it would not be unwise to test his capabilities in keeping with the rotation policy.

Sourav felt the bowling was fine. �The conditions were not easy to bowl in the opening ODI. It was really, really wet out there. Inspite of that we won the game.�

The way Ajit Agarkar bowled in the closing stages was commendable but the others cannot escape the blame. The dew had made it difficult to grip the ball but that can hardly be any consolation for the way Trescothick went about his demolition act.

Jawagal Srinath will be playing his 200th ODI tomorrow and the milestone should inspire him to make the occasion memorable.

The �keeping of Ajay Ratra will once more come under the selectors� scanner. He did show lot of enthusiasm in his debut match but came a cropper against Kumble. The leggie�s pace and variation proved too alien for the youngster. But the experience should help the wicketkeeper on way to keeping himself in running for the slot.


INDIA (likely): Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Dinesh Mongia, V.V.S. Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Hemang Badani, Ajit Agarkar, Ajay Ratra, Harbhajan Singh/Sarandeep Singh, Anil Kumble, Jawagal Srinath.

ENGLAND (likely): Nick Knight, Marcus Trescothick, Nasser Hussain, Graham Thorpe, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Jeremy Snape, Ashley Giles, James Foster, Darren Gough, Matthew Hoggard/Andrew Caddick.

Umpires: V.K. Ramaswamy and K. Parthasarathi.


Cuttack, Jan. 21: 
After the Mike Denness affair in South Africa, Sourav Ganguly�s men are facing the wrath of the Match Referee again � this time for slow over-rate.

The Indian team is set to be fined five percent of its match fee for slow over-rate during the opening one-dayer in Calcutta Saturday. Dennis Lindsay said the decision will be made known tomorrow after his meeting with India and England team management late this evening.

The visitors had finished their quota of 50 overs almost 15 minutes late and were penalised one over during the game while the hosts took another 25 minutes extra to bundle out England in 44 overs.

�The norm is five percent of the match fee for every over bowled short. Don�t try and pre-empt anything. But the Indians will be fined for something between three to four overs,� Lindsay said today.

According to the International Cricket Council (ICC) rules, the team is fined five percent of its match fee for every over short upto five overs. When the slow over rate comes to over five overs, the penalty is ten percent.

The Match Referee informed that he will take into account a lot factors, including dew, before arriving at a final decision. The Indians have promised Lindsay that they will get �their over-rate fine� hereafter.

Lindsay said he had �chatted� with the captain and coach of both teams during and after the match. �I�ve chatted with them and this is something I have to do to ensure that the players play according to the rules and the spectators get their money�s worth. We are professionals and we have conduct ourselves professionally,� he explained.

Sourav Ganguly felt the Match Referee was acting according to the rules. �We got a few overs short. The ball was getting wet and there was a lot of mud sticking to it. That did take a lot of time but we�ve got to get things right,� the Indian captain said.

Lindsay admitted to receiving a letter from the English team management on the quality of umpiring during the game. This was after umpire S. K. Sharma�s poor decision had accounted for Michael Trescothick at a crucial stage of the game. It led to a collapse with the visitors losing their last six wickets for 35 runs.

�The England management voiced their concern about the standard of umpiring in the match. The contents of the letter was conveyed to Jagmohan Dalmiya and Niranjan Shah then itself,� Lindsay said.

The Match Referee�s confidential report, which is normally sent within a couple of days after every match, will be faxed to the ICC shortly. Lindsay said there was very little the ICC could do in the umpiring issue.


The Challenger Trophy was first mooted ten years ago because it was believed the country had good players denied opportunities and thus India were capable of fielding an equally strong second team. Hence a competition between the India regulars and those waiting for a chance. Just to make sure that no deserving player was left out because of the combination, it was decided to also have a third team.

In the initial years it was a tournament between the India team, India A and India B, but over the years the India team became India Seniors, which actually makes it sound like a veterans� team. This year, when India A beat Seniors, it vindicated the very idea behind the thought, even though the Seniors did not show their full compliment.

If international schedules are lessmindless than now, maybe such domestic meets will show all the top players and provide for great competition. Commitments made years back have left the India team with very little time to recharge batteries, hence top players give domestic tournaments the miss. At the time of writing, India are due to play no less than 11 Tests over the next eight months and twice that number of one-dayers. Then, consider the heavy season last year �touring Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and South Africa and playing a Test series against England at home.

BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya is currently trying to persuade the West Indies Cricket Board to reduce the Tests and one-day matches India are due to play there from April. The way that tour and the tour of England were fixed does call for a review of the BCCI�s process of accepting invitations without discussing with the players. Players are not machines�

It was exactly the same last year and it was only when some of the seniors put their foot down that the one-day indoor event in Australia was cancelled. Invitations are accepted without looking at the reciprocity factor and commitments made without taking into account the commercial values that India bring to international cricket.

Normally, countries like Australia pride themselves on having a programme decided well in advance. India became hot property after they defeated Australia and the ACB wanted to cash in on this and so the invitation to play the indoor series. Even before the invitation reached India, some of our people were jumping to accept it.

Never mind if it meant the Indian team coming from Zimbabwe would have only a week off before flying to Sri Lanka and from there to Pakistan for the Asian Test Championship (which was subsequently cancelled). They would then have to fly from there to Melbourne and from Melbourne to South Africa. Thankfully, the practical people in the BCCI took stock of the situation and asked for reciprocity from the Australians.

The constant grind of cricket did result in Sachin Tendulkar having a rare injury that caused him to miss a Test match (in fact, a full series) for the first time in his career. That may be a blessing in disguise if Dalmiya succeeds in persuading the WICB to have only four Tests instead of five when India tour there because it would mean that the little champion�s 100th Test would then be in India.

The Oval has a wonderful atmosphere, the best in England, but can it ever compare to the atmosphere at Wankhede Stadium which, being the home ground, should logically be given the honour of holding the 100th Test of the little champion.

Just think of the festivities that will take place for weeks ahead of the 100th Test, the anticipation, the excitement, the uncontrolled joy of his millions of fans. It is simply mind-boggling.

If Dalmiya fails to persuade the WICB, then let us pray that one Test somewhere gets totally rained off, may be Guyana where it has happened before, or Lord�s or Leeds. Sachin is our little champion and he simply has to play his 100th Test match in India. Are you listening Mr.Dalmiya and God ? (In that order too !! )

This column was written before the WICB announced the itinerary, wherein India will be playing five Test matches


Calcutta, Jan 21: 
The Bengal cricketers left city today for Jaipur where they play their Ranji Trophy pre-quarter final. The Rohan Gavaskar-led squad, which took a flight to the Pink City, clash with Rajasthan in the five-day match beginning Wednesday.

Inter-club meet

It was the Bengal Rowing Club (BRC) that won the badminton event of the inter-club championships which concluded yesterday. In cricket, BRC and Hindustan Club were declared joint winners, and not as published in these columns of Monday�s edition.


Calcutta, Jan. 21: 
Asif Murttaza�s 103 (Eastern Railway) was the highlight in the CAB League today, while East Bengal and Mohun Bagan put up competitive scores.


East Bengal 262/8 (D. Singh 75, A. Ganguly 43, N. Akhtar 40, A. Verma 30; E. Ahmed 3/66) vs Sporting Union.

Mohun Bagan 318 (A. Banerjee 79, G. Chakrabarty 72, M. Sengupta 43; P. Shetty 6/112). Milan Samity 11/0.

Ananda Bazar Patrika Sports Club 292 (U. Das 78, S. Ganguly 69, Kumar Dey 32; S. Bhattacharya 8/109) vs Calcutta Port Trust.

Barisha SC 325/3 (S. Basu 132, S. Dixit 117 not out) vs Shibpur Institute.

BNR 252 (P. Sinha Roy 60, A. Dey 54, K. Roy 52; G. Sharma 4/35). Rajasthan 39/1.

Eastern Railway 448/8 (A. Murtaza 103, O.P. Tiwari 79, K. Maity 74, S. Mukherjee 48) vs DKS.

Rangers 357/8 (K. Sinha 92, P.Dey 72, P. Nanda 65, C. Sarkar 40; U. Chatterjee 4/98) vs Aikya Sammilani.

Tollygunge Agragami 316/9 (K. Ganguly 81, A. Sheikh 53 not out, K.Burman 44) vs George Telegraph.

Aryan 381/8 (G. Shome 133 not out, S. Chakraborty 56; S. Roy 3/123) vs City AC.


Calcutta, Jan. 21: 
Arup Baidya claimed a double in the Lalit Mitra Memorial state ranking badminton meet last night. Baidya beat Amandeep Sekri in the singles final and then teamed up with him to tame Hirak Kanti Sengupta and Sanjay Roy in the doubles final.

RESULTS (All finals) � MEN�S SINGLES: Arup Baidya bt Amandeep Sekri 7-2, 7-3, 8-6. MEN�S DOUBLES: Baidya & Sekri bt Hirak Kanti Sengupta & Sanjay Roy 7-4, 7-2, 7-3. WOMEN�S SINGLES: Amrita Bhattacharjee bt Sujaya Mukherjee 7-1, 7-3, 7-1. JUNIOR BOYS: Gaurav Das bt Sarbojit Bhowmick 8-6, 8-7, 7-2. JUNIOR GIRLS: Muktabindu Basu bt Soumi Datta 7-0, 8-6, 7-0. SUB-JUNIOR BOYS: Jishnu Sanyal bt Sandipan Banerjee 7-1, 7-3, 7-0. SUB-JUNIOR GIRLS: Muktabindu bt Aditi Das 6-8, 7-4, 7-2, 7-0. MINI BOYS: Diptiman Choudhury bt Ashutosh Tewari 7-2, 8-7, 7-3. MINI GIRLS: Moharmala Mukherjee bt Aditi Dey 7-5, 7-5, 7-0. U-11 BOYS & GIRLS: Moharmala bt Saurav Chatterjee 8-6, 7-5, 3-7, 4-7, 7-4.


Calcutta, Jan. 21: 
The eight-horse strong Eveready Indian Champion Cup field takes the centre-stage in Wednesday�s seven-event card. First race starts at 12.35 pm.


1. Rising Bell Handicap, 1,100m (Cl III; Rt. 44-72) 12.35 pm: Pretty Boy Floyd 60; Mystic Hill 59; Own Legacy 57.5; Law-yer�s Love 55; Grand Lodge 54.5; Revolution 54.5; Schumacher 53.5; Andrada 53; Starina 52.5; Sergeant Slipper 47.

2. Nautical Pride Handicap, 1,600m (Cl IV, Cl V eligible; Rt. 00-50) 1.10 pm: Azurica 60.5; As A Rule 58; Midnight Escape 58; Impressive Prince 54.5; Royal Ruler 54; Leading Conquest 53; Red Cordon 53; Abando-ned 52.5; Lucifer 52; Scavenger�s Son 50; Bay Dragon 48.5.

3. Republic Cup, 1,200m (Cl I; Rt 88 & over) 1.50 pm: Alyssum 63.5; Acute 58; Clarice Cliff 54; Soviet Ride 54; Amusing 53.5; Bountiful Gesture 53.5; Secret Blessing�s 51; Tsavo 50.

4. Indian Champagne Stakes, 1,400m (Terms, 3-y-o only) 2.20 pm: Sagittarian 57; Altigraph 53.5; Network 53.5; Royal City 53.5; Smart Ruler 53.5; Assertive Dancer 52; Silver Victress 52.

5. Revelation Cup 1,400m (Cl II; Rt. 66-94) 2.55 pm: Thunder Struck 60; Gold Buck 58; Reine Beau 57.5; Silver Patriarch 57; Ballet Master 56.5; Comedy of Errors 54.5; Sky Command 54.5; Accelerating Star 53.5; Alkido 52; Regal Rocket 52; Aherlow 51.5; No Regrets 51.5; Gra-Lemor 50.5; Winning Glory 49.5; Aflicker 48; Argolis 48.

6. Eveready Indian Champion Cup, 2,000m (Terms, 4-y-o & over) 3.30 pm: Allodium 57.5; Altenburg 57.5; Alternator 57.5; Colonial 57.5; Access All Areas 56; Anagram 56; Fame Star 56; Arterial 53.5.

7. Kempion Handicap, 1,200m (Cl V; Rt. 00-28) 4.05 pm: Tiger Talk 60.6; Albright 60; Darth Vader 60; Software 60; The Stud 60; Finders Keepers 58; Castle Moon 57.5; Orchestra 57.5; Just Kidding 57; Heaven�s Blessing 56.5; Scenic Song 56; Wild is The Wind 52.5; Jey pore 52.

Jackpot: 3; 4; 5; 6 & 7.

Treble: (i) 2; 3 & 4; (ii) 5; 6 & 7.


Calcutta, Jan. 21: 
Arterial was impressive in today�s work outs.

Outer sand track

1,000m: Silver Toy (Gowli) in 1-11s; (400m) 28s. Arterial (Gowli) in 1-11s; (400m) 26s. Note.

800m: Comedy of Errors (Gowli) in 57s; (400m) 27s. Handy. Silver Victress (Gowli) in 57s; (400m) 27s.

Sand track

1,600m: Sagittarian (Rutherford) in 1-54s; (1,000m) 1-15s; (400m) 30s. Eased up in last part.

1,400m: Tsavo (Amjad) in 1-45s; (400m) 30s.

On Sunday, outer sand track

1,200m: Alborada (B. Gurang) and Impressive Prince (Asghar) in 1-32s; (400m) 30s. Former a length better.

1,000m: Smart Ruler (Asghar) and Royal City (B. Gurang) in 1-10s; (400m) 26s. Former 6ls better. Amusing (Asghar) and Secret Blessing�s (B. Gurang) in 1-9s; (400m) 28s. Former 2 ls better. Assertive Dancer (A. P. Singh) and Star Selection (Yasin) in 1-10s; (400m) 24s. Both pushed to level. Cup of Life (C. Alford) and Scaveng-er�s Son (Gajender) in 1-8s; (400m) 26s. Former far better.

800m: Alyss-um (Domingo) and Bountiful Gesture (C. Alford) in 54s; (400m) 26s. Soviet Ride (A. P. Singh) in 53s; (400m) 26s. Moved well. Aherlow (C. Alford) and Midnight Escape (Domingo) in 55s; (400m) 27s. Level. Network (R. Alford) and Altigraph (Domingo) in 57s; (400m) 27s. Former 2 ls better.

600m: Sergeant Slipper (A. P. Singh) in 40s; (400m) 26s. Anagram (Dom-ingo) and Romantic Notes (C. Alford) in 56s; (400m) 28s. A length better.

Sand track

800m: Ballet Master (Yasin) in 49s; (400m) 22s, Moved well.


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