SA look to Pollock, Richards
�Guts needed to excel�
Enough motivation for EB, Salgaocar
East Bengal pile up 302/6
Mahesh, Max lose in semis
Mumbai Racing/ Kazakh wins main event

Sharjah, April 14: 
When in trouble, fall back on the best.

Thus far, that hasn�t been the South Africans� philosophy, but the mauling at the hands of Australia � both in Tests and ODIs � has led the United Cricket Board to review just about everything. Specifically, icons Graeme Pollock and Barry Richards have been approached to work with the Gary Kirstens.

�We�ve spoken to Graeme and Barry. Being South Africa-based, Graeme shouldn�t have problems pertaining to logistics and time. As for Barry (who resides in Australia), he will revert to us next month, during a trip to South Africa,� informed UCBSA chief executive Gerald Majola.

Graeme, incidentally, is a national selector.

Though South Africa won the tri-series in Australia, they were thrashed 0-3 in the Tests. Then, at home, they lost the Tests 1-2 and got whipped 1-5 (one Tied game) in the ODIs. More than anything else, the batting was found wanting.

Speaking to The Telegraph this evening, Majola added: �While no formal decision has been taken, we would like Graeme and Barry to conduct clinics at the start of the season and, if required, during it as well... Basically, this amounts to improving the support-system for coach Graham Ford.�

Significantly, Majola, who is here as an invitee of the CBFS, dismissed reports which suggested Ford�s sacking was imminent. �We�ve only had two bad series� (both against Australia)... At this moment, we wish to better the support-system... After that, well, we will have to see.�

Ford�s contract is till the February-March 2003 World Cup.

Majola, by the way, confirmed that Ford will be present during the April 23 �stocktaking� in Johannesburg. �Besides the management team, we�ve invited the selectors and a host of former Internationals. Let�s await their assessment of our performance in the season just ended. The idea is to improve the support -system already in place.�

Interestingly, Majola didn�t rule out the possibility of a (travelling) batting coach � like Corrie van Zyl, who concentrates on the quicks � being assigned to help Ford. �That�s a possibility, yes... Equally, it�s possible we could appoint a (full-time) high-performance consultant with a batting background.�

Former captain and selector Kepler Wessels was approached for the consultant�s job, but he didn�t wish to come on board �till wholesale changes� were effected.

Right now, of course, the UCBSA isn�t prepared to do so.

South Africa�s next engagement will only be in mid-August, in Tangiers (Morocco). The �debut� series there will either feature three teams or just South Africa and Pakistan. Infrastructure-wise, though, the venue is yet to be approved by the ICC. That should come about next month.


Sharjah, April 14: 
Whatever the occasion, the late Lala Amarnath was always happy to talk. The second of his three sons, Mohinder, though has always been the quiet sort. Yet, when he does make a comment, it�s quite like a direct hit.

That got reinforced in Mumbai last night.

Mohinder was waiting to board the Cathay Pacific flight (for Dubai) at Sahar when he learnt the Indians had quickly lost wicket No.1 in Guyana � that of Deep Dasgupta. Minutes later, a fellow-passenger informed captain Sourav Ganguly too had departed. The gentleman then wanted Mohinder�s reaction.

Typically, Mohinder (who is now associated with the CBFS� Morocco venture) paused and answered: �Two wickets gone so early... Yeh to roz ki baat ho gayi hai...� Everybody present agreed.

Later, speaking to The Telegraph aboard the state-of-art Boeing 777-300, Mohinder made the point about �always playing to your strengths.� As he put it: �Never ever underestimate what you yourself can achieve, never approach a game in a manner whereby you forget what your own strong points are.�

Clearly, Mohinder knows what he is talking about. Back on that 1982-83 tour of the West Indies, he totalled as many as 598 runs (nine Test innings) at a handsome 66-plus average. And, in the series just before that, in Pakistan, his tally read 584 runs (ten Test innings) at a phenomenal average of 73.00.

�Every series calls for its own preparation... Also, the fact that you�ve got runs in one doesn�t mean you are assured of rich pickings in the next as well. Yes, that series in Pakistan did boost my confidence, but it was very different being in the West Indies,� Mohinder pointed out.

How did he himself approach that series in the West Indies?

�I decided on always being positive, not getting intimidated by the quicks... Basically, I prepared to meet fire with fire... If I may add, that West Indies team only had big names. Cricket, then, was definitely tougher,� Mohinder responded.

Disagreeing with the India-favouring assessment of most pundits, in the lead-up to the on going series, he remarked: �The pressure is all on India. After all, the West Indies have hardly won anywhere in the last couple of years and, so, expectations are limited. In other words, they have everything to gain. India, on the other hand, have much to lose...�

Mohinder, however, isn�t despondent. �It�s a five-Test series, which means there will be opportunities to try and bounce back. I�m sure the Indians will, as they say, settle down. In fact, because the wickets have slowed considerably, it�s an excellent opportunity for our team. Only, because the matches have been pretty tightly scheduled, one has to watch out for injuries... The recovery-time is limited.�

Predictably, Mohinder was critical about persisting with Deep as wicketkeeper-cum-opener. �You need specialists to open and shouldn�t encourage makeshift combinations...� In much the same breath, he added: �Even the wicketkeeper must be somebody who is a specialist.�

Left to Mohinder, he would surely pick Wasim Jaffer and Ajay Ratra in the XI.

Incidentally, Mohinder didn�t wish to speak at length about whether Sourav is following the suggestions made by him on the eve of last December�s Ahmedabad Test against England.

�Look, it was a private affair... Sourav wanted to have a word and I obliged... There�s this mistaken belief that things can be �taught� in one or two sessions. Well, that�s absolutely wrong... But, yes, some purpose can be served if the person offering suggestions is able to explain and demonstrate well. That�s how I learnt from my father,� he said.

Is it difficult to overcome shortcomings?

Pat came Mohinder�s answer: �No... You�ve got to keep working at it only after you�ve

yourself identified the problem. How did I overcome initial difficulties with the short-pitched stuff? By playing the right line and, generally, being very gutsy. At the highest level, you do need guts to prosper.�

Spot on, yet again.


Calcutta, April 14: 
Neither is in the title hunt, yet tomorrow�s East Bengal versus Salgaocar National League clash at the Salt Lake Stadium promises to be a humdinger.

The city giants, who have had a roller-coaster ride through the league, will look to avenge their 0-4 humiliation in the first phase. Salgaocar, on the other hand, will do their best to win and ensure a runner-up spot.

Salgaocar go into tomorrow�s game with 38 points, while East Bengal have 35.

�We have been the best team in the second phase of the league winning seven matches, so we will do our best to end on a winning note,� East Bengal coach Subhas Bhowmick said after this morning�s practice session.

Bhowmick had taken charge when the side was down in the dumps. �Now the team is playing as a cohesive unit. The physical fitness level has also gone up and they can run 90 minutes,� the coach observed.

He acknowledged the Goans would be no pushovers, especially after a brilliant 4-3 victory against Mohun Bagan. �They are one of the toughest teams of the league with an outstanding midfield. We will have our task cut out.�

Bhowmick also felt it will be quite a job for him to keep the foreigner players focussed for the last match which doesn�t have much significance for the team. �They are all set to go back home after the match, and it�s tough to make them concentrate,� Bhowmick said.

Salgaocar are aware East Bengal will come hard at them on home territory. Coach Savio Madeira is also a trifle worried about complacency creeping into his players after the come-from-behind triumph over Mohun Bagan. �We will have to ensure we do not take things for granted,� Madeira said.

One of Salgaocar�s motivation for tomorrow�s duel is consecutive victories over the city giants. �That will be a real achievement for us.�


Calcutta, April 14: 
A 104-run opening partnership between Nikhil Haldipur (51) and Ajay Verma (48) helped East Bengal pile up 302 for six on the opening day of the CAB league championship play-off semi-final today.

Alokendu Lahiri capitalised on the good start, hitting an unbeaten 93.

BRIEF SCORES: East Bengal 302/6 in 80 ovs (Alokendu Lahiri 93 n.o., Nikhil Haldipur 51, Ajay Verma 48; Laxmi Ratan Shukla 3/54, Nazar Khan 3/74).

Saurav, Ragini best

Saurav Panja and Ragini Vimal emerged champions in the Cossipore Club Hardcourt tennis meet today.

RESULTS (All finals)

Men�s: Saurav Panja bt Harshit Sharma 7-5,7-5,6-2. Women�s: Ragini Vimal bt Soma Bannerjee 6-2,6-1. Men�s doubles: Abhishek Jagnani and Rupesh Roy bt Dhruv Kumar and Vinod Sewa 6-4,7-6,7-4. Boy�s U-18: Rupesh Roy bt Manoj Sewa 6-1,6-3.


Calcutta, April 14: 
Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi squandered a great start to go down in the semi-finals of the $625,000 Estoril Open.

According to information received here, the top seeds lost 6-1, 6-7 (5-7), (8-10) to unseeded Karsten Braasch (Germany) and Andrei Olhovskiy (Russia) yesterday.

Bhupathi and Mirnyi, playing their first tournament together, had edged out Harel Levy (Israel) and Fernando Meligeni (Brazil) 2-6, 6-1, (10-8) in Round I before ousting Portuguese wild cards Emmanuel Couto and Bernardo Mota 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in the quarter finals.


Mumbai, April 14: 
Ridden by Aslam Kader, Kazakh won the Maharaja Sir Harisinghji Trophy, the main event at the Mumbai races on Sunday. Vinayak trained the four-year-old gelding by Razeen out of London Cries.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Forward Thrust Plate 1,100m (1-5-6) High Voltage (S. Nayak) 1; Multi Millionaire 2; Going For Glory 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 1-1/2; (1-7) Tote: Win Rs 35; Place: 19; 23; Quinella: 62; Tanala: 475. Fav: High voltage (1).

2. Track Star Plate 1,200m: (6-3-1) Star Cutter (C. Rajendra) 1; Romanza 2; Venire 3. Won by: 1/2; 1-1/4; (1-13.7). Tote: Win Rs 16; Place: 10; 17; Quinella: 19; Tanala: 55. Fav: Star Cutter (6).

3. Indian Navy Trophy 1,800m: (3-1-2) Chiliandrina (Chinoy) 1; Danger Zone 2; Kraftwerk 3. Not run: Star Power (5). Won by: 2-1/4; Nk; (1-52.9). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 11; 19; Quinella: 31; Tanala: 80. Fav: Chiliandrina (3).

4. Girl From Ipanema Plate 1,800m: (3-2-1) Wild Storm (C. Rajendra) 1; Bahudhana 2; Absolute Dominance 3. Won by: 3/4; 1-1/4; (1-54.7). Tote: Win Rs 36; Place: 11; 30; 14; Quinella: 375; Tanala: 854. Fav: Absolute Dominance (1).

5. Beat The Clock Plate 2,000m: (2-1-3) Louis Cyphre (Gallagher) 1; Menorca 2; Power Surge 3. Won by: 4; 1-1/4; (2-7.4). Tote: Win Rs 21; Place: 16; 42; Quinella: 80; Tanala: 391. Fav: Louis Cyphre (2).

6. Maharaja Sir Harisinghji Trophy 1,600m: (6-7-5) Kazakh (Kader) 1; Top Mover 2; Flying Scotsman 3. Won by: 3-1/4; 1/2; (1-37). Tote: Win Rs 28; Place: 14; 45; 44; Quinella: 275; Tanala: 6,478. Fav: Kazakh (6).

7. A. F. S. Talyarkhan Trophy 1,200m: (10-8-9) Marmalade (M. Narredu) 1; Tagged For Terror 2; Tatty Tad 3. Not run: Opal Moon (11). Won by: 5; 2; (1-13.1). Tote: Win Rs 13; Place: 12; 57; 111; Quinella: 221; Tanala: 4,160. Fav: Marmalade (10).

8. Cursetjee Dhunjishaw Trophy 1,400m: (7-8-2) Silver Blue (Kamlesh) 1; Bud Royale 2; Al Humair 3. Won by: 1/2; 1-1/4; (1-24.3). Tote: Win Rs 97; Place: 27; 17; 18; Quinella: 271; Tanala: 2,622. Fav: Astor Place (6).

9. Rainbow Trout Plate 1,400m: (10-7-5) Kilmore Quay (Rupesh) 1; Infinite 2; Smooth Operator 3. Won by: Hd; 3-1/2; (1-27.4). Tote: Win Rs 183; Place: 37; 16; 52; Quinella: 138; Tanala: 9,686. Fav: Infinite (7).

Jackpot: Rs 33,151; (C) Rs 503.

Treble: (i) Rs 109; (ii) Rs 147; (iii) Rs 2,127.

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