Rs 75 lakh proposed for A-1 category players
Talking Tactics/Italy plan upset by Korean belief
Ramit making waves in squash circles
In The City
Bangalore Racing/ Prince Zorro may strike

Calcutta, June 18: 
In what will be a first for Indian cricketers, 20 of them (placed in four categories), are set to be offered annual contracts by the BCCI.

Off the field, at least, absolute professionalism isn�t many weeks away.

According to The Telegraph�s sources, the BCCI�s working committee, which meets here Wednesday and Thursday, is expected to approve this move. While former president Dr A.C.Muthiah got the ball rolling in May 2001, current chief Jagmohan Dalmiya took the process more than a step forward.

However, for the system to become operational straight after the England tour, an endorsement will be required at a special general meeting, ahead of the AGM, traditionally held in the second half of September.

[Should a special general meeting actually be scheduled, granting full membership to Jharkhand and affiliate status to Chattisgarh and Uttaranchal will also then be on the agenda. The Bihar situation, by the way, is unclear.]

The chosen 20, one understands, will be slotted in the A-1, A, B and C categories and the �retainership� will necessarily be graded � as is the practice in countries where the system is already in place.

The arrangement for non-contracted players, who make either the squad or the first XI, will clearly be different.

While the A-1 players � expected to be captain Sourav Ganguly, vice-captain Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble � will each be paid Rs 75 lakh, the other �slabs� are worth Rs 60 lakh, Rs 30 lakh and Rs 15 lakh, respectively.

Of course, the basic match fee (in both Tests and ODIs) will be an add-on. As also a share from the proposed win-bonus. As of now, the basic fee for every Test is Rs 40,000. For the ODIs, it�s Rs 25,000.

Significantly, who is to be placed where will be decided by a five-man committee comprising the BCCI president, secretary, national coach, chief selector and an eminent ex-player, to be nominated by the chief.

The annual review, too, will be conducted by the same committee. That exercise should see �promotions� and �demotions� and will surely dominate headlines.

While the category-placements are being seen as a �give� from the BCCI, the �take� will be in the shape of the contracts each of the 20 players will have to sign.

A �draft� of the dos and don�ts has been forwarded to Kumble, who has been representing the players in dealings with the BCCI, for a �feedback� from seniors.

Kumble, then, will probably be discussing the dos and don�ts with the Souravs over the next couple of days. And, in much cooler climes at that.

Meanwhile, as many as 34 items have been listed on the working committee�s agenda. The contract system and graded payments is at No.13, while the affiliation issue is at No.14.

Among the other items listed is the structure of domestic cricket from the up-coming season, accepting an invitation (for 2003) from the Bangladesh Cricket Board and instituting awards (for colts) in the memory of Madhavrao Scindia.


June 18: 
A banner in the stands reads: Welcome To Azzurri�s Tomb. The Italians thought it was premature posturing, the South Koreans thought otherwise. In the end, this difference in attitude made the difference between the teams in yet another titanic fall in a World Cup replete with the fall of giants. A few more factors worked behind South Korea�s historic entry into the quarter finals, but the Asians advanced primarily because they believed they could.

It would be imprudent to say Italy�s ouster was an upset, like their exit after losing to North Korea in 1966 was. Past favoured Italy but the Koreans were dealing in the present and felt a victory would mean a lot for the future. They knew they were up against the formidable but didn�t let that act as a psychological deterrent. Not even after missing the penalty and conceding the lead. They found how difficult the Italian defence was, even without two regulars, but kept poking at it before going through the gaps the constant probing caused.

Italy�s defeat � and they will rightly point to some supervision errors � can�t be blamed on any tactical miscalculation. Their strategy was perfect almost till the end of regulation time and they came tantalisingly close to claim the winner. There was just a small error in calculation and that was their failure to foresee the Koreans fight back. They started believing the battle had been won after adroitly protecting their lead for so long and this caused a lapse in concentration. They never imagined what the price would be.

Things were going according to the Italian plan after they negated the early penalty and took the lead. The focus shifted to defence where the void left by Nesta and Cannavaro was expertly filled in by Maldini and mates. Unlike in the previous games, where they paid for allowing pressure on their backline by reducing resistance in midfield, they had a second line of protection ahead of the defence that was doing the job. The Koreans, in the first half, were struggling to release the ball inside the Italian half, where they rarely found a free man. They pushed more men forward, inviting the risk of the odd breakaway, and the Italians must curse themselves for wasting two such chances, which would have killed the contest.

Italy were aware of the dangers of sitting on a 1-0 lead and opened up after the breather to allow South Korea the small look-in they had been waiting for. The Koreans pounded the first line of resistance from every corner and after tireless trying, found room down the flanks, which took them closer to the striking zone. After proceeding this far, all they needed was the error that sustained pressure forces and to their credit, the Koreans didn�t err, unlike Vieri, Tommasi or Gattuso.

The Italians should also feel unfortunate and the off-side call against Gattuso during extra time looked unfair. Even the expulsion of Totti at a crucial time appeared harsh but when they sit back and think, the Italians should not hold these responsible. They lost because their faith in their defence proved hollow and for minutes, they thought the match was over before the final whistle. South Korea�s success proved the Italian defence is no more impregnable and in football, the price of complacency is capital punishment.

Earlier, it was shocking to see Japan dish out an insipid display under a steady drizzle. The combination and fluency in weaving moves, that characterised their performance in the earlier games, went haywire against the often vigorous Turkish resistance. Not that Turkey didn�t have a plan to upset Japan�s rhythm, yet their failure to put the Turks under pressure was unexpected.

The rain made Japan�s task difficult. The surprise element of their game was moving up in numbers in unison while playing fast, crisp passes mostly along the ground. The slippery turf made it difficult to anticipate the pace of passes and it also forced them to hold the ball more. Though far from excellent, Turkey were determined to prevent Japan from settling down and their ploy was to disturb the link between their medios and attackers. Though Turkey followed their plan to perfection, Japan�s exit without a fight remains a mystery.


Calcutta, June 18: 
After Saurav Ghoshal, the city has unearthed another squash prodigy � nine-year old Ramit Tandon. The Class IV student of La Martiniere recently emerged victorious in the Malaysian Open (under-11 boys category) and Singapore Wilson Junior Open.

In the Singapore final, Ramit brushed aside Aditya Jagtap 9-0, 9-0, 9-2. The Kuala Lumpur triumph was much harder earned. Having worked his way through the 64-strong field, the city kid showed tremendous fighting spirit to overcome local boy Ahmad Khairul 9-4, 7-9, 7-9, 9-5, 9-4 in the title round.

Ramit, who has been inspired by Saurav, owes his success to Dilip Tripathy, his coach at the Calcutta Racket Club.

Buoyed by his recent success, Ramit is keen to enter the European circuit. Lack of finance, though, is coming in the way. His parents realise that he needs to take part in international meets regularly to sharpen his talent. That�s why they are looking forward to some support from sponsors.


June 18: 

Barreto stays with Bagan

Setting at rest speculation that Indian football had seen the last of Jose Ramirez Barreto�s wizardry, the ace Brazilian forward is expected to arrive in the city next week to renew his association with Mohun Bagan.

The National Football League champions, who owe their success in no small measure to Barreto, Tuesday said the Brazilian had decided to continue with them, albeit for an astronomical amount of money. Meanwhile, the Calcutta Football League 2002-03 first division kicks off Wednesday.

CAB move

The CAB has decided to send two batsmen, Subhrodeep Ganguly and Arindam Das to the MRF Pace Academy in Chennai. A few more may join them later on.

The CAB is also mulling with the idea of sending a few spinners, beginning with Sourashish Lahiri, to the Robin Singh-run spinners� academy where they will be under the tutelage of Erapalli Prasanna.

Table tennis

Priyabrata Das and Anirban Sinha Roy entered the nursery boys� final of the CLT table tennis meet today.

In the semi-finals, Das beat Sandipan Dey 11-5, 11-3 and Sinha Roy beat Pranoy Maitra 12-10, 4-11, 11-8.


Bangalore, June 18: 
Prince Zorro and Kass are the frontline contenders for the 1,400m Mysore Plate here on Wednesday. However, the former from R. Shinde�s yard may cash in on his forward condition and win in the hands of Harish.


2.45 pm: Brave Risk 1. Dilmerub 2. Fly Past 3.

3.15 pm: Atomic Fusion 1. Brahma Bull 2. On The Post 3.

3.45 pm: Prince Zorro 1. Kass 2. One So Wonderful 3.

4.15 pm: Spanish Armada 1. Tattoo 2. Three To Count 3.

4.45 pm: Vahini Varsh 1. Apricot 2. King Athlete 3.

5.15 pm: Theondrice 1. Sargasso 2. Dreamofashwamedha 3.

Day�s Best Prince Zorro

Double: Brave Risk & Atomic Fusion.

Our Calcutta Correspondent reports: With variable dearness allowance issue yet to be sorted out, syces refused to resume their normal duties. Syces had gone on strike last Saturday. They have, however, agreed to feed and roll horses from Wed-nesday but unwilling to take them out for morning track work.


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