One more chance for Sourav
Mahindra favoured vs ITI today
Assam hit bull�s-eye on Day I
Sahay stuns top seed
Kirti Azad to meet Dalmiya
Calcutta Racing/ Rescue Act may be hard to toss
Mumbai Racing/ Queen Helen may strike

Jaipur, Feb. 12: 
It�s the national cricket captaincy renewal time and, till late this evening, everything pointed towards Sourav Ganguly keeping the top job.

The announcement will be made in Mumbai tomorrow evening.

That Sourav is set to keep the captaincy was reported in these columns exactly a week ago but, now, it�s confirmed � to the extent that things can be in Indian cricket � that he is being retained.

Sourav, however, will be reappointed only for the upcoming Zimbabwe series (two Tests and five ODIs) and not for the tour of the West Indies as well.

According to well-placed sources of The Telegraph, the selectors (Chandu Borde, Madanlal, Shivlal Yadav, Ashok Malhotra and Sanjay Jagdale) aren�t at all happy over Sourav�s �failure to lead from the front� in almost throughout 2001 in Test matches � in fact, the captain posted just one 50-plus score. At the same time, the selectors feel Sourav should get �one more chance� to come good with the bat.

[Incidentally, Sourav is less than a month away from completing two years as full-time captain.]

That Sourav has a reasonably good captaincy record also hasn�t been lost on the selectors.

One understands the captaincy-bit was �discussed� when the selectors met to pick the Board President�s XI late last week. While no selector spoke of effecting a change, there definitely was �concern� over Sourav�s recent form in Test cricket.

So, while Sourav will stay captain, he is going to be very closely watched.

It�s possible, of course, that chief selector Borde may informally have a word with Board president Jagmohan Dalmiya before he and his colleagues get down to naming the captain. If he does, Dalmiya could strictly unofficially �suggest� that status-quo be maintained. For now, at least.


New Delhi, Feb. 12: 
Players from both Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) and Mahindra United went in search of boots with long studs today. The Delhi ground is slippery and slushy and coaches Harish Rao (Mahindra United) and Krishnaji Rao (ITI) admitted that the pitch would be the crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the Allwyn Durand semi-final tomorrow.

With ITI having in their ranks defender Syed Hussain, midfielders Shamsi Reza and Andrew Louis and striker Manjit Singh who switched over from Mahindra United, one would expect the first semi-final to be a grudge match. However, Louis and Manjit are unavailable due to injury, but the other Mahindra discards Shamsi and Hussain seem determined to prove a point to their former management.

Injury problems

Both Mahindra and ITI are plagued by injury problems. The Mumbai league champions will miss, key strikers Mohd Najeeb and Abbas Ali Rizvi and defenders Sur Kumar Singh and Farookh Hyder.

Absent from the ITI roster will be international defender K.V. Dhanesh, midfielder Louis and striker Sheikh Sanjeeb.

Krishanaji Rao is happy that left midfielder Shamsi, who missed the match against Mohun Bagan due to an ankle injury, is fit and will be back for the semi-final. Playing on the left side of midfield Shamsi�s ability to stop the marauding Jules Alberto and Bala Usman will be the key factor in the match.

Mahindra United champions in 1998 and runners-up in 1990 and 2000 have the best built and most compact team in the country. With their three Nigerian recruits, stopper Eroje Isa Musa, midfielder Austin Okolo and striker Bala Usman blending well with the local players, Mahindra United have a distinct edge due to the sheer speed and relentless power of their approach play.

ITI, in contrast, rely on quick counter-attacks and rely heavily on foreign recruits George Ekeh, Mike Okoro and attacking midfielder Mohhammed Salisu for goals. They have a well organised defence and would use two man-markers and a sweeper back to curb Mahindras� attack.

East Bengal practise

East Bengal underwent extensive practise today. Coach Subash Bhowmick is satisfied with the attitude of his players and the gradual return to form of I. M. Vijayan, Dipendu Biswas and Bijen Singh has been heartening.

However, Bhowmick feels that Vijayan is not yet match fit and will be used as a substitute. Bhowmick intends to use speed and mobility in midfield as his surprise weapon. He is likely to play in a 4-5-1 formation, with Chandan Das and Bijen linking up with the lone striker either to be the Brazilian Jose Carlos da Silva or Dipendu Biswas.


Calcutta, Feb. 12: 
Anima Basumatari of Assam dominated the individual championship (Indian Round) of the SAI-organised national women�s archery meet today.

Basumatari topped both the 50m and 30m events, tallying scores of 286 and 307, respectively, for an overall best of 593. Ranjumoni Barua, also of Assam came second overall with 537. Bengal�s Kalyani Das was third with 524.

Assam easily topped the team championship, with an aggregate of 1623. Bengal were way behind with 1476.

Age-group athletics

The 10th age-group athletics meet will be held at Rabindra Sarobar Stadium on February 23 and 24 as part of Saibal Gupta centenary celebrations, it was announced at a press conference this evening. Gupta was the architect of the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium which was built in 1960 with facilities ahead of its times.

Competition will be held in 96 events in nine different age categories for boys and girls. There will be 10 special events for mentally handicapped participants. All competitors below 10 will be given special prizes.

The athletics meet apart, the centenary celebrations will feature Sports Fair 2002 in November and some other programmes.

Naktala HS beaten

Bawali Pally Mongal HS beat last year�s runners-up Naktala HS 5-4 via the tie-breaker to reach the second round of the Britannia-Anandabazar Cup football meet today.

In other first-round matches, Tollygunge Ashoknagar Vidyapith thrashed Kalidhan Institution 5-0 while Park Circus Boys� School ran over Central Model School 8-1.

Ordnance Club meet

Second seed Ragini Vimal saw off Kanupriya Kajeria losing just one game in a ladies� singles match of the Ordnance Club tennis tournament today. Third seed Soma Banerjee won by a similar 6-0, 6-1 margin over Saba Ali. In men�s singles, Rijit Chatterjee beat Rakesh Ghorai 6-2, 6-3.

Vinod and Manoj Sewa, top seeds in men�s doubles, blanked Debashish Hait and Somnath Manna love and love. Also winning were Mohammed Younis-Tapan Haldar and Dilip Kumar-Sukanta Roy.

National basketball

The West Bengal Basketball Association has been allotted the 53rd senior nationals in December.

The Netaji Indoor Stadium will host the championships from December 20-27. Thirty men�s and 26 women�s teams � including new states Chhattisgarh, Uttaranchal and Jharkhand � are expected to take part.


Calcutta, Feb. 12: 
Local boy Varun Sahay stunned top seed Rohana of Sri Lanka in the matchplay competition of the Eveready all-India amateur golf championship at the RCGC today. Sahay pipped Rohana, last year�s runner-up, on the 18th hole.

Sudeep Chitlangia, another local golfer, recovered from being two down at the 13th to be all square at the 18th only to go down to Delhi�s Saurav Bahuguna on the 19th.

In the most exciting match of the day, Ireland�s Michael McDermoth edged out former Asian Games gold-medallist Lakshman Singh. The Indian was one up before McDermoth chipped into the hole from off the green for a birdie on the 18th. The match stretched into the 19th and the Irishman holed out his shot from 60 yards for an eagle to win,

South African Charl Schwartzel had a dramatic 2 & 1 victory over R. Selvadurai, while Sanjeev Mehra had a comfortable 4 & 3 win over Navjot Mann. Gurbaaz Mann and Rakesh Kumar achieved victories on the hole, at the expense of Aditya Kanitkar and Gagan Verma.


Calcutta, Feb. 12 : 
Cricketer-turned politician Kirti Azad, who recently floated a new cricket organisation in Bihar, will meet BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya here tomorrow.

The BJP MP launched the Association of Bihar Cricket in Patna on February 8, but ruled out its being parallel to the existing Laloo Prasad Yadav-headed Bihar Cricket Association.


Calcutta, Feb. 12: 
Knocking at the door, the Bharath Singh-trained four-year-old gelding Rescue Act may be hard to toss by any of his nine rivals in the 1,400m Esquire Cup, the main attraction in tomorrow�s six-event race-card. S. Rabani partners the Procida-Irresistible son.

1st Race at 1.15 p.m.

Vibrant Handicap 1,200m (Cl V�Rated 00-28)� Indian jockeys only
1 0144 Castle Moon [Karki] A. P. Singh 60.0 3
2 0000 Scenic Song Mujeeb] Gajender S. 56.5 1
3 4020 Kyalami [R. Alford] P. Alford 55.0 2
4 0034 Wild Is The Wind [Mujeeb] C. Alford 55.0 4
5 0000 Blessed Spirit [Jaiswal] Dalpat S. 51.5 5

1. Kyalami (3) 2. Castle Moon (1) 3. Wild Is The Wind (4)

Kyalami: Ignore his last run. Has performed creditably in his previous run. Castle Moon: Speedy but best over 1,100m. Wild Is The Wind: Coming up. Upset, if any.

2nd Race at 1.55 p.m.

Port Desire Handicap 1,100m (Cl IV,Rt. 22-50) � Indian jockeys only
1 2223 Lively Project [Daniel] Asghar 61.0 7
2 - - 40 Wakamba Warrior [Mujeeb] S. Shanker 61.0 3
3 0000 Secret Adversary [Daniel] B. Gurang 59.5 6
4 0220 Simply Monarch [Daniel] A. P. Singh 59.5 4
5 0002 Zuhaak [Karki] K. Kumar 58.5 1
6 0103 Fly By Alibi [R. Alford] P. Alford 55.5 2
7 4400 Rheinheart [Bath] G. Singh 55.0 5
8 0000 Sencai [Javed] Som S. 53.5 9
9 0000 April Ace [Daniel] S. Salam 51.5 8

1. Simply Monarch (4) 2. Wakamba Warrior (2) 3. Lively Project (1)

Simply Monarch: Running over the right trip. May strike. Wakamba Warrior: A speedy customer. May go close to the winner. Lively Project: Capable of upsetting.

3rd Race at 2.25 p.m.

Gurkirpal Cup 1,200m (Cl IV Rt. 22-50) � Indian jockesy only
1 0030 Brave Venture [Daniel] B. Gurang 60.0 1
2 0020 Magnifico [Vijay] C. Alford 58.5 3
W ---- Software [Stephens] (Withdrawn) 57.0 --
4 0002 Constantine [Karki] Md Amil 52.0 2

1. Magnifico (2) 2. Constantine (4)

Magnifico: Did not relish the underfoot condition in his last run. A better class horse and capable of doing better. Constantine: Long in the tooth, yet in-form.

4th Race at 3.00 p.m.

Right Ahead Handicap 1,100m (Cl III, 5-y-o & over; Rt. 44-72)
1 - 310 Altiama [Vijay] S. Domingo 61.0 4
2 - 400 Mystic Hill [Mujeeb] Md Yasin 57.5 3
3 - - -3 Affliction [Vijay] C. Alford 53.5 8
4 4000 Best In Show [Bharath] S. Rabani 52.5 5
5 0000 Sovereign Bullet [Rodrigues] Dalpat S. 52.5 1
6 - 000 Schumacher [Daniel] P. Kujur 51.5 7
7 0000 Carbon Copy [Mujeeb] Md Amil 49.5 6
8 0000 At My Command [Daniel] S. Salam 48.5 2

1. Affliction (3) 2. Sovereign Bullet (5) 3. Best In Show (4)

Affliction: An eye-catching third. May beat the present lot. Sovereign Bullet: May fight it out for minor placings. Best In Show: Coming up. May place.

5th Race at 3.35 p.m.

Esquire Cup 1,400m (Cl IIII; Rt. 44-72)
1 0340 Winning Glory [Darius] A. P. Singh 61.0 3
2 4134 Aflicker [Bharath] M. Maseyk 59.0 7
3 0000 Raring To Go [Daniel] N. Connorton 54.0 8
4 0042 Charlene [Bharath] Md Islam 53.5 2
5 0000 Grand Lodge [Javed] E. Smith 53.5 4
6 4404 Tajik [R. Alford] Saran S. 53.5 6
7 - 000 Cool Quest [Asfand] R. Gowli 53.0 10
8 1101 Calabash [Mujeeb] Md Amil 51.5 9
9 2310 Calculate [Vijay] Surender S. 50.5 1
10 3232 Rescue Act [Bharath] S. Rabani 50.5 5

1. Rescue Act (10) 2. Calculate (9) 3. Cool Quest (7)

Rescue Act: Knocking at the door. May do the trick now. Calculate: Failed to do well on a wet track. Deserves another chance. Cool Quest: Upset, if any.

6th Race at 4.10 p.m.

Fair Haven Handicap 1,100m (Cl V, 3-y-o only; Rt.00-28)
1 - - - 3 Assailer [Vijay] C. Alford 60.0 1
2 - - - 0 Annotate [Bharath] S. Rabani 59.5 5
3 - - 00 Arian [R. Alford] P. Alford 58.5 4
4 ---- Amerelle [ Bharath] Md Islam 58.0 7
5 ---- Dancing Rhythm [Bath] S. Shanker 58.0 3
6 - - 00 Primaticcio [Daniel] R. Ahmed 58.0 9
7 ---- River Melody [Daniel] Asghar 58.0 10
8 0044 Social Girl [Daniel] N. Connorton 57.5 6
9 - - 00 Gryffindor [Bharath] M. Maseyk 56.5 12
10 4000 Moon Quest [Daniel] Md Yasin 56.5 8
11 - - 00 Software Classic [Stephens] R. Gowli 56.5 11
12 - 000 Mahika�s Pet [R. Alford] Brij S. 55.5 2

1.Assailer (1) 2. Social Girl (8) 3. Gryffindor (9)

Assailer: Working well and seems to have come right after his training setback. Social Girl: Has been running forward races. Gryffindor: May place.

Day�s Best: Magnifico

Double: Affliction & Rescue Act

Mumbai, Feb. 12: 
Working well, the Always A Rainbow-Pelargonia filly Queen Helen, from Dallas Todywalla�s yard and in the hands of B. Prakash, may make a winning debut in the Everynsky Trophy at the Mumbai races on Wednesday.


3 pm: Allianz 1. Chiliandrina 2. Winnington 3.
3.30 pm: Affability 1. Abbeydoran 2. Killarney 3.
4 pm: My Blue Moon 1. Romantic Indian 2. Moira 3.
4.30 pm: Queen Helen 1. Twin Star 2. Star Dusk 3.
5 pm: Heroic 1. Persian Lord 2. Prince Honey 3.
5.30 pm: Mountain Rose 1. Beau Wonder 2. Berliet 3.
6 pm: Terrificco 1. Angelic Warrior 2. Princess Jo 3.

Day�s Best: Allianz

Double: & Terrifico

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