Spotlight on the youngsters
Das keen to make a mark in ODIs
Salim keeps lead
Bagan in new deal
EB have it easy
Citibank win
BNR triumph
Governor�s Cup/ Comedy of Errors upsets
Mumbai Racing/ Weight favours Realism

New Delhi, March 6: 
The dilapidated stands of the Nahar Singh Stadium in Faridabad are in sharp contrast to the outfield � now a lush green after undergoing a complete transformation. There was no mad rush for tickets today, no hangers-on outside the Club House, but as happens in ODIs in this part of the world, the stands will probably be full to the brim before the start tomorrow.

A survey would probably reveal low ratings for an India-Zimbabwe series, yet, there can be no better opportunity to try and experiment with the balance and depth of the side ahead of the World Cup.

The quadrennial showpiece can no longer be considered a distant happening. While other teams have already chalked out a clear-cut plan, the Indians seem to have started working at a strategic proposal only recently.

The BCCI�s plan to select a pool of 20 players to kick off its rotation policy from this series may not materialise in the strict sense. However, even though the pool might remain a non-starter, the unavailability of Sachin Tendulkar, Jawagal Srinath and Virender Sehwag will ensure de facto rotation of players. More precisely, the youngsters will remain in focus in the five-match series.

Sourav Ganguly has been stressing on the need to win consistently. The way the Indians paved the way for the Englishmen to come from behind and level the series in the last two one-dayers speaks volumes about their inability to come through in close situations.

Their whitewash of Zimbabwe in the Test series has put the hosts in good stead but the absence of three key players from the Indian ranks will ensure the two sides start on an even keel ahead of the opener.

The home advantage will, no doubt, work in India�s favour but the Zimbabweans are too hardened a bunch of pros to let it affect their confidence. For the record, India have a 28-6 head-to-head advantage.

�It�s a new ball game and it all depends on how we play on that particular day,� was how Sourav put it after nets at the Kotla.

The Indians did not travel to Faridabad today, preferring to have a look at the wicket only tomorrow morning. The visitors, unhappy at having to take a one-and-a-half hour drive to the venue, did travel all the way for nets.

As has been borne out by history, the wicket will offer runs in plenty though there might be a certain amount of lateral movement early on. The bounce, which should be even, will aid strokemaking.

Poor planning as much as inexperience saw the Indians do justice to their tag of chokers against England here and in Mumbai. Sourav has insisted on a change in the batting order so that in trying circumstances an experienced batsman is always at hand to take the side through.

According to The Telegraph�s sources, Shiv Sundar Das may be rested for tomorrow�s game. That will mean Sourav opening the innings with Dinesh Mongia.

Mongia, who had a 40-plus average in six games versus England, has opened in the Challenger Trophy. There was also talk of promoting Sanjay Bangar but the team thinktank wants to utilise his good temperament in the lower-order.

India�s search for an all-rounder could end with Bangar, who is being seen as an ideal No. 6. His bowling has been satisfactory and his batting gives that much more depth to a side whose late-order has often failed to come good.

The Indian captain remarked on the need �to have a flexible batting order when chasing�. Vangipurappu Laxman is certain to come in at No. 3 while Rahul Dravid is likely to follow him. However, in case of a chase, Dravid might drop to No. 5 and Mohammed Kaif will take his place.

Ajay Ratra may get to prove his worth once more but the brains-trust is sure to use Dravid�s services behind the wickets during the series to try out various combinations. Keeping Das company will be Tinu Yohannan and Sarandeep Singh.

A captain also needs the team to perform and not just a couple of individuals. Over-reliance on a Sachin, a Sourav or a Sehwag has proved suicidal and it is now that the others need to come out of the shadows of the stars and perform as a unit.

No less important will be the optimum utilisation of the slog overs, improving running between the wickets and fielding. Inability to rotate the strike has been earmarked as the bane of our recent spate of ODI losses and it is important to note that the stars, too, cannot escape the blame.

The absence of Raymond Price, one of the four players to go back after the Tests, should be one factor that will make things easier for the hosts. Both captains, however, seemed to disagree.

�He bowled well in the Tests but it would have been different here,� said Sourav. �He is slow in the air and wouldn�t have got much assistance from the pitches in the ODIs,� felt Stuart Carlisle.

The Zimbabweans have decided to keep out Douglas Hondo and Charles Coventry, two of the four new additions, out of the XII.

Carlisle also rued the lack of �time for preparation� between the Tests and the one-dayers. But that can hardly be seen a handicap in today�s competitive and professional cricket.


INDIA (likely): Sourav Ganguly, Dinesh Mongia, V.V.S. Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Mohammed Kaif, Sanjay Bangar, Ajay Ratra, Anil Kumble, Ajit Agarkar, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan.

ZIMBABWE (from): Stuart Carlisle, Heath Streak, Gary Brent, Alistair Campbell, Dion Ebrahim, Andrew Flower, Grant Flower, Travis Friend, Douglas Marillier, Mpumelelo Mbangwa, Tatenda Taibu, Craig Wishart.

Umpires: Subrata Porel and I. Shivaram.


New Delhi, March 6: 
Shiv Sundar Das is uncertain for tomorrow�s first one-day International versus Zimbabwe but the Orissa op1ener is looking ahead to the five-game series with a positive frame of mind. More specifically, he is aiming to make a handsome contribution and cement his place in the shorter version of the game.

�It�s a sort of a challenge for me. The selectors have given me one more chance and I hope to make good use of it,� Das told The Telegraph this afternoon.

Das failed to perform in the three one-dayers he played in the last tri-series in South Africa. Coming in at No. 7 in the first game, he made five. In the next two matches, he batted at No. 3 and managed just three and two, respectively. He was overlooked for the one-dayers versus England.

The rotation policy is set to be in place from this series and so even if Dinesh Mongia opens the innings with Sourav Ganguly tomorrow, Das� chance is sure to come. And the diminutive Orissa opener is keeping his fingers crossed.

He is not dwelling on past performances and is ready to forget the South Africa episode as a bad dream. Not batting in his usual position did pose some problems for him. He is now richer by that experience and not willing to repeat the same mistakes.

�The Test series has turned out to be good for me. I�m in fine nick and high on confidence. Hopefully, I�ll do well in the one-dayers as well,� he explained.

�Initially I was not considered for the squad. It was only after Sachin (Tendulkar) and (Virender) Sehwag were ruled out through injuries that I got a call-up. It�s a different ball game in the one-dayers and the first 15 overs will be crucial. It will be more of rotating the strike and ensuring maintenance of the run flow,� he added.

This series will push several youngsters to the centrestage and skipper Sourav admits that.

�It�s a pretty young, but a good one-day outfit. The boys are energetic and should field well. It augurs well for Indian cricket that so many youngsters are around,� he said.


Calcutta, March 6: 
Local man Mohammed Salim maintained his two-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the Rs 6-lakh DHL Open, being played at the par-70 Bombay Presidency Golf Club (BPGC), today.

According to information received here, Jumman of Lucknow was second at level-par 140 after submitting his second successive card of level-par 70. Two more city men Akbar Ali, Rezwan Ali and amateur-turn-pro Ashok Kumar shot one-under 69 each to join Mukesh Kumar of Mhow, the No. 1 player on the Hero Honda Indian Golf Tour, in tied third place at two-over 142.

Ladies golf

Sunita Goenka leads the field with a nett score of 135 after Day II of the 22nd Taj Trophy golf meet at the Tollygunge Club. She is followed by S. Ratia with a nett score of 138. Anu Bindra and Anjali Chopra are in joint third position with 139. Anjali is leading in the gross prize.


Calcutta, March 6: 
Selvel-Vantage Group and Mcdowell today formalised their media barter with Mohun Bagan Club.

In exchange of 60 hoardings across India, Mohun Bagan players will now sport the name of Selvel, added to that of McDowell on the arm of their jerseys. Selvel have signed a one-year contract and will begin their hoarding campaign with eastern and north-eastern states.

Announcing this at a press conference today, Noomi Mehta, managing director of Selvel Vantage Group, also presented the players with their new jerseys.

Derby ticket sales

Ticket sales for Monday�s NFL derby match between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan will begin tomorrow. Apart from the two clubs and the IFA office, tickets will also be available at 10 additional counters. 54,600 priced tickets are expected to be issued.

Women�s kabaddi

S.B. Kabaddi Club upset Japan Kabaddi Association 9-8 in the golden jubilee invitation women�s meet today. S.B. Kabaddi beat Habra 28-17, Manasa Samity beat WBKA 46-25.


Calcutta, March 6: 
East Bengal thrashed Young Bengal by 10 wickets in a CAB league second round play-off match today.


Young Bengal 289/9 dec. East Bengal 293/0 (Ajoy Verma 138 not out, Alokendu Lahiri 129 not out). East Bengal won by 10 wkts.

Tapan Memorial 345. George Telegraph 322 (Krishnendu Paul 72, Amitava Das 59, Fakruddin Sajjad 45 not out; Jayanta Ghose Dastidar 4/62). Tapan Memorial won by 23 runs.

Town Club 247/8 (Ujjal Roy 57, Avijoy Roy 48, Pretam Ghosh 38; Kanchan Maity 3/53). Eastern Railway 7/0.

Relegation play-off, semi-final: Rangers 446/9 (Pradip Dey 101 n.o., Kenneth Sinha 85, Parikhit Nanda 74, Kaushik Mukherjee 61, Sabir Hossain 38; Sanjoy Das 3/63) vs Milan Samity.

School cricket

National High School moved into the semi-finals of the CAB Pepsi U-19 schools� meet today.

Brief scores: Jadavpur Vidyapith 103 (Avik Bhakta 48; Soumya Roy 3/16). National High 107/3 (Nitin Chaurasia 34, Abhishek Dutta 32). National High won by 7 wkts.


Calcutta, March 6: 
Hindustan Times beat Assam Co. 2-0 (15-11, 15-0 and 11-15, 15-11, 15-4) in The Telegraph Merchants� Cup badminton meet at Saturday Club.

M.N. Dastur made short work of Berger Paints, beating them 15-8, 15-4 and 15-12, 15-6.

J. Thomas registered a 2-0 win over Ogilvy & Mather � triumphing 15-13, 15-12 and 15-3, 15-0.

Citibank overcame The Telegraph 2-1. They won the first tie 15-0, 15-2 before losing the second 3-15, 2-15. Citibank won the decider 15-6, 15-10.


Calcutta, March 6: 
BNR overcame SAI Training Centre 1-0 in a BHA first division group A league match at the Mohun Bagan ground today. Rajat Minz got the crucial goal.

BSF (South Bengal) failed to show up at the East Bengal ground for their match against Chittaranjan Locomotive Works.

In group B, West bengal Police thrashed Wari AC 4-1. Abhijit Dey scored twice for the winners, Mohitosh Dey and Gurupada Gope completed the tally. M. Kaseef Reza got one back for Wari.


Calcutta, March 6: 
Riding a well-judged race on a 7-1 chance Comedy of Errors, the visiting Bangalore jockey Imran Chisty had the measure of the course-favourite Harry The Horse in the Governor�s Cup, today. T. N. Jaiswal, had recently acquired the five-year-old horse from fellow-trainer Darius Byramji. Chisty was again in the winners� enclosure when he guided the Richard Alford trainee Tajik to a fine victory in the Phoenecian Handicap.


1. Prince Royal Handicap 1,400m: (1-2-3-4) Automatic (C. Alford) 1; Rescue Act (Rabani) 2; Regal Rocket (Upadhya) 3; Leading Conquest (I. Chisty) 4. Won by: 1-3/4; 6; 2-3/4; (1-26.8). Tote: Win Rs 31; Place: 14; 12; Quinella: 20; Tanala: 177. Fav: Rescue Act (2). Winner trained by Vijay S.

2. Daramul Handicap 1,200m: (8-6-4-1) Peppy Mistress (Gowli) 1; Constantine (E. Smith) 2; Tequila Shot (Shanker) 3; Software (M. Reuben) 4. Won by: 2-3/4; SH; 1-3/4; (1-13.7). Tote: Win Rs 16; Place: 12; 18; 29; Quinella: 45; Tanala: 235. Fav: Peppy Mistress (8). Winner trained by Javed K.

3. Play Boy Handicap 1,400m: (2-5-3-1) Adorer (C. Alford) 1; Don Vittorio (Shanker) 2; Touch of Elegance (Brij S.) 3; Crest Star (Yasin) 4. Won by: 5; 1-3/4; 1-3/4; (1-29.9). Tote: Win Rs 22; Place: 14; 19; Quinella: 29; Tanala: 82. Fav: Adorer (2). Winner trained by Bharath S.

4. Bergamo Cup 1,600m: (3-6-1-8) Lucifer (Upadhya) 1; Brave Show (Rabani) 2; Scavenger�s Son (Shanker) 3; Rheinheart (G. Singh) 4. Not run: Crowned Prince (9). Won by: Nk; 3/4; 9; (1-40.1). Tote: Win Rs 49; Place: 19; 17; 20; Quinella: 58; Tanala: 410. Fav: Brave Show (6). Winner trained by Rodrigues.

5. Governor�s Cup 1,600m: (6-4-7-1) Comedy of Errors (I. Chisty) 1; Harry The Horse (Rutherford) 2; Estocade (Brij S.) 3; Anolini (Domingo) 4. Won by: 3/4; 1-1/4; Hd; (1-38.5). Tote: Win Rs 96; Place: 19; 13; 25; Quinella: 103; Tanala: 2,085. Fav: Harry The Horse (4). Winner trained by Jaiswal.

6. Phoenecian Handicap 1,200m: (14-2-9-8) Tajik (I. Chi-sty) 1; Super Smile (Islam) 2; Bird�s Empire (Connorton) 3; Kargil Soldier (M. Reuben) 4. Won by: 1-1/2; SH; 3/4; (1-13.3). Tote: Win Rs 129; Place: 34; 47; 19; Quinella: 1,396; Tanala: 18,117. Fav: Midnight Esca-pe (12). Winner trained by R. Alford.

Jackpot: Rs 53,502; (C) Rs 1,244.

Treble: (i) Rs 121; (ii) Rs 45,387.

Mumbai, March 6: 
Trained by Hormuz Antia and ridden by K. P. Appu, Realism is expected to carry his light impost to victory in the Mysore Race Club Trophy at the Mumbai races on Thursday.


3 pm: Deep Finesse 1. Picasso 2. Sugar Daddy 3..
3.30 pm: Verzzano 1. Viking Victor 2. Calais 3.
4 pm: Astor Place 1. Idaho 2. Tap On Power 3.
4.30 pm: Realism 1. Crowning Moment 2. Southern Star 3.
5 pm: Twist Afleet 1. Quick Decision 2. Momentous Mover 3.
5.30 pm: Latest News 1. Track Emotions 2. Scamster 3.
6 pm: Betsy 1. High Voltage 2. Briar Rose 3.

Day�s Best: Verzzano

Double: Astor Place & Twist Afleet.

Wednesday�s Mumbai results

1. Nebulous Plate 1,000m: (3-6-8) Knight Moves (J. Chinoy) 1; Golden Hill 2; Multi Millionaire 3. Won by: 3/4; 1-3/4; (1-1.6). Tote: Win Rs 9; Place: 5, 40, 20; Forecast: 458; Quinella: 555; Tanala: 4,530 & 3,606. Fav: Knight Moves (3).

2. Winged Beauty Plate 1,400m: (7-2-5) Whispering Shadows (M. Narr-edu) 1; Proud �N� True 2; City Pride 3. Won by: 3-1/4; Dist; (1-25.5). Tote: Win Rs 8; Place: 6; 9; Forecast: 37; Quinella: 27; Tanala: 373 & 256. Fav: Whispering Shadows (7).

3. V. P. Koregaonkar Plate 1,400m: (9-6-10) Rashomon (Rajendra) 1; C�Est Egal 2; Proud Moment 3. Won by: 1-1/4; Hd; (1-26.7). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 9; 8; 30; Forecast: 92; Quinella: 46; Tanala: 909 & 625. Fav: Highland Mist (5).

4. Red Flannel Plate 1,100m: (9-4-6) Dancing Gold (Z. Sayyed) 1; Star Status 2; Accademia 3. Won by: 1-3/4; SH; (1-6.5). Tote: Win Rs 39; Place: 10; 9; 7; Forecast: 331; Quinella: 178; Tanala: 557 & 183. Fav: Accademia (6).

5. Supervite Trophy 1,400m: (5-6-10) Star Wish (Rajendra) 1; Bryce Canyon 2; Silver Blue 3. Won by: 3/4; 1/2; (1-25.2). Tote: Win Rs 10; Place: 7; 8; 11; Forecast: 50; Quinella: 33; Tanala: 198 & 120. Fav: Star Wish (5).

6. Blush Plate 1,000m: (7-5-4) Gold Berg (Appu) 1; Fluency 2; Blue Butterfly 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 1/2; (59.6). Tote: Win Rs 12; Place: 6; 7; 19; Forecast: 50; Quinella: 26; Tanala: 273 & 174. Fav: Gold Berg (7).

7. Cordon Rouge Plate 1,400m: (11-3-4) Opener (Chauhan) 1; Smart Warrior 2; Celtic Son 3. Won by: 3/4; 1-1/4; (1-26.9). Tote: Win Rs 13; Place: 7; 9; 14; 100; Forecast: 92; Quinella: 62; Tanala: 913 & 453. Fav: Opener (11). (Note: The winner survived an objection lodged by the rider of second placed horse.).

Jackpot: Rs 3,029; (C) Rs 416.

Treble: Rs 148.

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