Balancing act by Borde & Co.
Goud ton not enough
Deep: I was expecting call
Sasikiran lucky to avoid defeat
3-in-a-row by Rajinder
6-wicket win for Tapan Memorial
Bangalore Racing/ Tresorie may score encore
Mumbai Racing/ Self Styled wins
Track trials

Calcutta, March 21: 
During an off-the-record chat over the phone last evening, chief selector Chandu Borde talked about constantly having to do the �balancing act�.

�It�s not an easy job, you know,� the Pune-based former India captain told The Telegraph, somewhat wearily.

Clearly, Borde was �worried� about this morning�s West Indies-specific selection meeting in Mumbai. Well, any criticism of today�s balancing act can only be muted.

[Though coach John Wright was present, a stomach upset prevented captain Sourav Ganguly from being there. He was to have taken a morning flight. Instead, Sourav faxed his options to Board secretary Niranjan Shah, listing the pros and cons of certain players.]

In fact, Borde and his colleagues � Madanlal, Shivlal Yadav, Ashok Malhotra and Sanjay Jagdale � exercised their prerogative over not recalling Nayan Mongia, yet accepted the Sourav-Wright viewpoint on two specialist spinners for the five-Test series.

Nayan �was definitely strongly discussed�, a source confirmed, but the selectors eventually decided against a �backward step�. Indeed, at one stage, the veteran had �almost made it��

Obviously, that keeping Nayan out was preferable to recalling him � thereby avoiding �antagonising� some seniors � became the consensus.

As was being spoken about, Deep Dasgupta�s ability with the bat helped him make the XVI � Borde himself said as much in Mumbai. Where wicketkeeping is concerned, Deep is the No. 2 � behind young Ajay Ratra, who has looked the best Indian �keeper for quite some time.

This change in status is a vote of no-confidence against one who kept wickets in each of the last seven Tests. In any case, as somebody present at the meeting put it, �a bit of this and a bit of that� swung it for Deep.

Only, now that Deep will be on the long-haul flight, he has the chance to make the most of opportunities. Also, circumstances could be such he may make the XI purely as Shiv Sundar Das� partner.

Few, by the way, have forgotten the extraordinary manner of Deep�s Test debut, in Bloemfontein last November: First-choice �keeper Samir Dighe pulled a back muscle, minutes before the toss, and the rest is�

While all decisions are collective, it still won�t be out of place to talk of Malhotra�s role. Had he not continued to �lobby�, it�s unlikely Deep would have been chosen.

With the in-form Dinesh Mongia set to be picked in place of the unfit Virender Sehwag, the only other debate-initiating slot (besides the second wicketkeeper, that is) would have accommodated either a third spinner or a second specialist opener.

Sensibly, Borde and Co. chose an opener � Wasim Jaffer. He was a bundle of nerves on debut, at home versus South Africa exactly two years ago, but has been in prolific form of late. Today, that got recognised.

Connor Williams missed out and, if anything, will learn that a week is a real long time in cricket. Had the selection not been deferred in Kochi, last Wednesday, Williams would have got the call-up.

As it turned out, Jaffer maintained his accumulating-act while Williams kept failing. And, with the Mumbai Cricket Association repeatedly screaming about alleged �discrimination,� the selectors simply couldn�t have ignored Jaffer.

Incidentally, the selectors agreed on two spinners after Shah �spoke� to Anil Kumble, who didn�t play the last three ODIs against Zimbabwe owing to a �sore� (bowling) shoulder.

Kumble �insisted� he didn�t have a problem.


Calcutta, March 21: 
EAST ZONE 365 & 102/2

Yere Goud seems to have developed a penchant for reaching hundreds in Duleep Trophy matches with only the last man to keep him company.

Last season he added 39 runs with the No. 11 batsman to reach his maiden hundred versus North Zone. Today at the Eden, the 30-year-old Railways player was batting on 72 when Narendra Hirwani joined him in the middle. Central were tottering at 219 for nine and all hope seemed lost.

Hirwani is not known to be the most dependable with the bat and even admitted to not making any concerted effort to improve his skills on the eve of the match.

But what followed was in sharp contrast to common belief. Hirwani grew in confidence as he picked the gaps with ease and hit the boundaries elegantly. Luck also favoured him on quite a few occasions as his mis-hits landed in no-man�s land.

It took a while for Goud to realise that they could now harbour hopes of overhauling East�s first innings total. Ninety-five runs were added in 22.4 overs for the last wicket before Hirwani failed to neutralise Mark Ingty�s yorker. His 38 came off 54 balls and included seven boundaries.

The Bangalore-born Goud �the highest run-getter in the Ranji Trophy last season with 901 � who plays for Railways in the domestic circuit, was a pillar of concentration during his 461 minute stay at the wicket. His unbeaten 125 had 20 boundaries.

The mechanical engineer, who works as a senior section engineer with Wheel and Axle Plant, Bangalore, tore into the East attack as the bowlers failed to make a mark. Perhaps a bit of complacency had crept into their rank and Goud and Hirwani made full use of it.

Ajay Barik suffered the most and even Utpal Chatterjee was not spared. The left-arm spinner has looked a pale shadow of his usual self, often straying in line during his spells today.

East, who managed a lead of 51, are ahead by 153 at close on the penultimate day. Their batsmen, however, hardly seemed convincing in their approach in their second essay.

Former India medium pacer Harvinder Singh bowled a superb eight-over spell getting the ball to move both ways. Shiv Sundar Das and Deep Dasgupta were all at sea and even Sanjay Raul survived a strong caught-behind appeal.

Das was bowled through the gate and Deep, after spending 50 agonising minutes at the crease, was adjudged leg-before.

The umpiring hasn�t been of the highest standards in this match, but the manner in which the Central fielders sought the umpires clarification once Raul was declared not out was unruly. A word or two was exchanged with the batsmen too.

The Match Referee, it is learnt, will speak to the Central players tomorrow.


Calcutta, March 21: 
Both Deep Dasgupta and Shiv Sundar Das today earned their maiden Caribbean trip. Das was a certainty while Deep had been �expecting the call�.

The wicketkeeper-batsman is hoping to make good use of the opportunity. Das, on the other hand, plans to talk to Sunil Gavaskar for a few tips on the eve of the team�s departure.

Das was the first to congratulate Deep during the ongoing Duleep Trophy match at the Eden Gardens today. The message was conveyed to the middle from the dressing-room.

�I�m not saying I�m perfect. I know I�ve got to improve. But you can�t stop people from talking,� Deep said about his �keeping. �The pitches in the West Indies are slower than what it used to be in the Seventies. Still the ball will carry and wobble, making things difficult for the wicketkeeper.�

Das will not play East�s next Duleep tie versus North in Delhi from March 26. Deep hasn�t made up his mind yet. The Indian team is to leave on April 1. The Orissa opener plans to practise at his native Pragati Sporting Club ground in Bhubaneshwar under the watchful eyes of coach Kishore Mania. �The Kookabura balls will be used in Windies which will bounce more than usual. Practice with synthetic balls will help in getting used to the bounce,� Das felt.

Das is still looking for his first hundred overseas and said the recent hundred against Zimbabwe in Nagpur has been �a major boost� to his confidence. �I was failing to convert the 50s and the 60s. I worked on that aspect and have overcome the problems of concentration,� he explained.

He, though, is not setting any personal targets. �I always have the team perspective in mind. Giving the team a good start is what matters most.�


Calcutta, March 21: 
Dame luck smiled on Krishnan Sasikiran in the fifth round of the Goodricke International Open Chess tournament at Gorky Sadan today. The Indian GM, playing with White, was hard put to save a difficult position against GM Sarunas Sulskis of Lithuania. But, fortune, as they say, favours the brave. Sasikiran, once again opted for a sharp continuation today, but his 18th move proved to be a costly error and seriously compromised his position.

Sasikiran could, then, have lost the game but his opponent failed to grab the opportunity and the game petered out into a draw.

Immediately after the game Sasikiran told The Telegraph: �I was fortunate to draw my game today as I managed to bungle my position. My ninth move g4 was ambitious and later I messed up with b4 after which I should have lost. Had he played bc5 on the 20th move it would probably have been a win for him.�

Four players, including Sasikiran, now jointly share the lead with four points apiece.

On the second board, GM Evgeny Gleizerov of Russia won a pawn early in the game against GM Arsen Yegiazarian of Armenia in a Catalan Opening but could make no headway and the game was drawn in 46 moves. Second seed, Alexander Motylev of Russia, scored an emphatic victory over the English GM Lalic Bogdan in the Pelikan variation of the Sicilian defence. Motylev came up with a novelty on the 22nd move and later won a rook for bishop, which was sufficient to give him the full point.

Top seed, GM Alexie Aleksandrov got the better of FM Wong Zi Jing of Malaysia in a two knight�s defence in 32 moves. Dibyendu Barua, once again, survived a scare, this time by IM V. Saravanan, and drew in a game of swinging fortunes, which arose from the classical variation of the French defence.

India�s S. Satyapragyan caused an upset of sorts when he held GM Sergei Ovsejevitsch of Ukraine in 17 moves in a Pirc defence. Satyapragyan, playing White, went on an exchanging spree and after the exchange of queens a sterile position was reached after which the players agreed to a draw.

Norm aspirant, Tejas Bakre, too drew his game against GM Pavel Kotsur, while another GM norm-aspirant, Sandipan Chanda kept his chances alive with a fortunate win against K.Visweswaran. World junior girls champion, WGM Koneru Humpy was held by IM Sriram Jha in 20 moves in a Queen�s Indian defence.

WIM Saheli Dhar Barua went down to GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami of Iran in the Winawer variation of the French defence in 28 moves. Andrey Shariyazdanov of Russia and Alexander Goloshchapov of Ukraine agreed to a short draw in 10 moves in the Panov-Botvinnik variation of the Caro Kann defence.

RESULTS � K.Sasikiran (4) drew with Sarunas Sulskis (4); Evgeny Gleizervov (3.5) drew with Arsen Yegiazarian (4); Aleksei Aleksandrov (4) bt Wong Zi Jing (3); Alexander Motylev (3.5) bt Bogdan Lalic (2.5); Pavel Kotsur (3) drew with Tejas Bakre (3); Alexey Kuzmin (3.5) bt G.B. Prakash (2.5); Maxim Sorokin (3.5) bt Mohamad al-Sayed (2.5); Ruslan Sherbakov (3) drew with Joerg Blauert (3); Alexander Fominyh (3.5) bt Swati Ghate (2.5); S. Satyapragyan (3) drew with Sergei Ovsejevitsch (3); Drazen Sermek (3) bt S.Kidambi (2); Sriram Jha (2.5) drew with Koneru Humpy (2.5); V.Saravanan (2.5) drew with Dibyendu Barua (2.5); R.B. Ramesh (3) bt Nisha Mohota (2); Abhijit Kunte (3) bt Yogesh Gore (2); Sandipan Chanda (3) bt K.Visweswaran (2); Lanka Ravi (2) drew with T.S. Ravi (2.5); P.Mahesh Chandra (2.5) bt Enamul Hossain (1.5); P. Konguvel (2.5) bt Abdulla al-Rakib (1.5); Rahul Shetty (2) bt Vikramjit Singh (1.5); Somak Palit (1.5) drew with Dinesh Kumar Sharma (1.5); Deep Sengupta (2) bt P.D.S Girinath (1); Krishna Thapa (2) bt Aarthie Ramaswamy (0.5); Suvrajit Saha (1.5) bt Rahul Sangma (0.5); Shayestah Gader Pour (1) got a bye.


Calcutta, March 21: 
Riding a Rajinder Singh hattrick, Calcutta Customs got off to a roaring start in the Beighton Cup, thrashing West Bengal Police 5-1 in the preliminary knock-out stage.

Kaushik Dey and Manjinder Singh added another two to the Customs tally while Jaideb Mukherjee pulled one back for the policemen.

Customs took the lead in the fifth minute at the Mohun Bagan ground when Rajinder converted a penalty corner. His other goals � in the 18th and 30th minutes, respectively � also came off penalty corners.

Despite sitting pretty on a 3-0 cushion, Customs showed no complacency as the sides were changed.

Three minutes into the second half, Kaushik sounded the board from the edge of the �D� when the ball was deflected to him off the Police goalkeeper�s pads.

Manjinder then rounded off the tally after Jaideb scored the consolation goal for the policemen.

Calcutta Police win 4-1

In another match, at the East Bengal ground, Calcutta Police routed Students Hockey Academy 4-1. Binoy Santra opened the account for Calcutta Police before Raja Das (2) and S. Lodh added to their tally.

Craig McDermott reduced the margin close to half time for Students HA Meanwhile, at a BHA second division league match, Calcutta Adibasis Club whipped Hockey Training centre 13-0 at Customs ground.

Dhrub in semis

Dhrub Kumar scored an upset 6-2, 6-2 win over second seed Abhishek Jagnani to move into the semi-finals of the Central Excise Open tennis championships at the High Court complex.

Top seed Saurav Panja also made it to the last four with a similar victory over Arka Mondal.

In the women�s semi-finals, Reedhina Parekh made short work of Karina Ahuja to win 6-2 and 6-1 and reach the final


Men�s singles (quarter finals) � Dhrub Kumar bt Abhishek Jagnani 6-2, 6-2; Saurav Panja bt Arka Mondal 6-2, 6-2; Harshit Sharma bt Indradeep Mitra 6-1, 6-2; Vinod Kumar Sewa bt Rupesh Roy 6-2, 6-2.

Women�s singles (semi-finals) � Reedhina Parekh bt Karina Ahuja 6-2, 6-1.


Calcutta, March 21: 
Tapan Memorial scripted a six-wicket win over Eastern Railway in an A.N. Ghosh league match today.

Batting first, Eastern Railway made 236 for eight in 45 overs with Souvik Mukherjee being the top-scorer. Tapan Memorial reached the target in 36.1 overs.

BRIEF SCORES: E. Rly 236/8 (Souvik Mukherjee 54, Kanchan Maity 48; George Paul 2/38). Tapan Memorial 237/4 (Ranabir Nath 62 n.o., Som Kapoor 45). Tapan Memorial won by 6 wkts.


Bangalore, March 21: 
Padmanabhan�s Tresorie, already a winner, may make it an encore when he meets his eleven rivals in the Chatrapathi Cup, tomorrow. The Cruachan-Diamante gelding will be ridden by Y. Srinath.


1 pm: Talented Lady 1. Matchless Princess 2. Almonar 3.
1.30 pm: Enterprisor 1. Trap A Spy 2. St. Lucinda 3.
2 pm: Daiimio 1. Salona 2. Power Extreme 3.
2.30 pm: It�s A Steal 1. Star Eagle 2. Smart Romeo 3.
3 pm: Soldier of Fortune 1. Brave Russian 2. Auric 3.
3.30 pm: Potential Force 1. Burning Bright 2. London Bells 3.
4 pm: Tresorie 1. Alasio 2. Weapon Alpha 3.
4.30 pm: Arduous 1. Astrid 2. Pretty Move 3.
5 pm: Southern Treasure 1. Rio 2. Dancing Phantom 3.
5.30 pm: Dee Emm 1. Patriotic 2. Time of War 3.

Day�s Best: Dee Emm

Double: Enterprisor & Southern Treasure

Mumbai, March 21: 
Pesi Shroff guided Self Styled to an exciting win over Altazano in the Radha Sigtia Trophy at the Mumbai races on Thursday.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Ahmed Khairaz Plate 1,800m: (4-2-5) Menorca (Walkar) 1; Rewarding King 2; Miss Sunshine 3. Won by: Nk; 4-1/4; (1-55.3). Tote: Win Rs 160; Place: 74; 15; Quinella: 122; Tanala: 708. Fav: Rewarding King (2).

2. Queen�s Counsel Plate 1,000m: (2-4-5) Reap The Bounty (Aadesh) 1; Tagamet 2; Thunder Clap 3. Won by: Nk; Nk; (1-0.7). Tote: Win Rs 36; Place: 15; 17; 15; Quinella: 79; Tanala: 282. Fav: Thunder Clap (5).

3. Radha Sigtia Trophy 2,400m: (1-4-5) Self Styled (Shroff) 1; Altazano 2; Suratha 3. Won by: SH; 6-1/2; (2-33.5). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 12; 35; Quinella: 41; Tanala: 227. Fav: Self Styled (1).

4. L. M. Motee Plate 1,400m: (4-7-1) Goblet of Fire (Rajendra) 1; Golden Tiger 2; Cotopaxi 3. Won by: 2-1/2; 1-3/4; (1-26.5). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 11; 41; 24; Quinella: 174; Tanala: 1,077. Fav: Goblet of Fire (4).

5. Amber Flash Plate 1,000m: (11-4-7) Verzzano (Gallagher) 1; Montana 2; Cat Ballou 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 1; (1-1.2). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 12; 19; 40; Quinella: 59; Tanala: 487. Fav: Verzzano (11).

6. Serenade Plate 1,400m: (10-9-1) Colour of Joy (Chauhan) 1; Prima Ballerina 2; Seville Star 3.Not run: Epic Queen (8). Won by: 1-1/4; 1-3/4; (1-27.8). Tote: Win Rs 23; Place: 11; 23; 26; Quinella: 88; Tanala: 562. Fav: Colour of Joy (10).

Jackpot: Rs 222; (C) Rs 29.

Treble: (i) Rs 1,618; (ii) Rs 65.

Calcutta, March 21: 
The following track work was noted today:

Outer sand track

1,200m: Declarationoflove (Rb) and Kyalami (Brij S.) in 1-30s; (400m) 31. Former was a distance better.

1,000m: Lucifer (Upadhya) in 1-15s; (400m) 31s. Easy. Celestial Guest (Upadhya) in 1-16s; (400m) 31s. Easy. Wandering Warrior (Upadhya) in 1-9s; (400m) 27s. Was urged.

800m: Brave Venture (Upadhya) and Schumacher (Asghar) in 1-2s; (400m) 31s. level. Immaculate (B. Gurang) in 1-0s; (400m) 30s. Star Selection (Yasin) in 59s; (400m) 29s. Easy. Moon Mission (Salam), Social Girl (A. P. Singh) and River Melody (B. Gurang) in 1-1s; (400m) 29s. Level.

Sand track

800m: Cupid�s Arrow (Rutherford) in 1-2s; (400m) 31s.    


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