Security brief at Lord�s
Two-tier Ranji league ratified
In The City
Syces resume duty but Day I meet doubtful
Bangalore Races/ Pugnacity fancied

Calcutta, June 19: 
Respecting India�s �concern� over security, specially as a militant outfit has shown �interest� in captain Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) organised a security briefing for the tourists early Wednesday.

The �around half-an-hour� session, unprecedented for a tour in the First World, was held at Lord�s on the Indians� second morning in England. Sourav and Co. will be there till September 10.

According to The Telegraph�s sources, an officer of the London Metropolitan Police conducted the briefing in the presence of an ECB representative.

Incidentally, the officer was himself probably �given inputs� by Scotland Yard.

The session, one learns, was largely to �reassure� the 15 players and the Support Unit, including the Board of Control for Cricket in India�s (BCCI�s) Amrit Mathur, who is expected to be with the squad till the tri-series (June 27-June 13).

In the words of one of those present, the message was: �Don�t get worried, as everything is being monitored. In any case, as hosts, we do know how to make you comfortable��

Much to the Indians� relief, the officer answered �no� when somebody wished to know whether �going out unescorted� would be strictly discouraged. For good measure, though, the officer did add: �But, you must be careful��

The BCCI, it may be recalled, had deputed a two-member team (joint-secretary Jyoti Bajpai and Mathur), in end-April, to undertake a recce mission � in itself a first for India.

As the purpose was also to convey India�s �security concerns,� both not only interacted with the ECB brass, but Scotland Yard as well.

More than the BCCI�s own concern, the Union home ministry is understood to have raised �some questions� when the government�s approval was sought for the tour.

The �questions,� apparently, had much to do with the post-September 11 scenario. Specifically, fears of terrorist strikes as a means of getting �even� with those backing the US.

Significantly, as our High Commission in London has been in the act, so to say, it�s reasonable to assume there has already been interaction (on increased security) between the governments.

Meanwhile, India�s first match on tour will be a limited-overs one against Sussex at Hove. The day-night game � part of preparations for the tri-series � is slated for Saturday.


Calcutta, June 19: 
The BCCI working committee (meeting here) today made it official that the Ranji Trophy from this season will be a two-tier affair, with three top teams from each of the five zones in league A and their poor cousins in league B. This was announced by BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya here Wednesday.

Division B league winners will be the Ranji Plate champions.

Meanwhile, as reported in The Telegraph, the working committee has decided to implement the contract and gradation of payments system with 20 Indian cricketers. If any player outside the contract has played three Tests and 10 ODIs during a year, he will also be offered a contract on a pro-rata basis.

Dalmiya reiterated the players� four categories � A1, A, B and C. The A, B and C category players will get Rs 60 lakh, 30 lakh and 15 lakh each per annum, respectively, to be over and above the match fees and logo money. �However, any player who performs outstandingly, will be included in the A1 category and will get a purse of Rs 75 lakh.�

It was also decided that the players will get a 100 per cent bonus for defeating a higher ranked team in Tests, while a 50 per cent would be paid for beating a lower ranked team. However, in case of a defeat, the match fee will be docked by 50 per cent.

Meanwhile, a decision on granting affiliation to the new units � Jharkhand included � has been put on hold till certain technicalities have been sorted out by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

One understands the BCCI�s constitution will have to be amended and only then will the new units be accommodated. This is likely to be done at a Special General Meeting, which could be called sometime in July.

The Working Committee also decided to institute the Madhav Rao Scindia award of excellence for the best cricketers at the senior level, under-19 level, under-17 and under-15 levels. The M. A. Chidambaram Trophy would be a full-fledged one-day tournament at the under-19 level, while the Vinoo Mankad Trophy will now be an inter-zonal knock-out tournament.

Meanwhile, Dalmiya informed that Delhi has backed out as one of the ten centres to be renovated, because of major infrastructure work in progress there. Saurashtra has been included instead.


June 19: 

Kidderpore begin with win

The Calcutta League�s first division kicked off Wednesday with Police AC trouncing Kidderpore 4-0 in a group A match. Barun Dana scored twice while Bijoy Ghosh and Raju Das netted one each.

ECLSA beat Rajasthan 3-0, while Milan Bithee edged past Railway SC 1-0. Bata SC drew 1-1 with Greer.

Table tennis

Subham Kundu and Sumit Kundu moved into the sub-junior boys� final of the CLT table tennis championships at Khudiram Anushilan Kendra Friday. Subham edged out Soumya Nandy 12-10, 11-9 while Sumit outclassed Rohit Chakroborty 11-4, 11-7.


SOCCER: CFC vs Customs (Mohun Bagan); WB Police vs Sonali Shibir (EB); Wari AC vs Howrah Union (Md. Sp). Matches from 3.30 pm.

TABLE TENNIS: CLT meet: Finals at Khudiram Anushilan Kendra from 3 pm.


Calcutta, June 19: 
Syces, who had gone on strike last Saturday, returned to work on Wednesday thus bringing relief in the Royal Calcutta Turf Club (RCTC) official circles. However, the scheduled start of the monsoon racing season, from July 5, is yet to get green signal from the club�s authorities. Stewards are expected to meet in a day or two to take a final decision on the matter.

Syces demanding settlement of variable dearness allowance (VDA) had stopped attending horses since Saturday morning. �Trainers have been sleeping over the issue despite our regular reminders since January. We had no option but to act tough,� said a syces� representative. They had, however, agreed to feed, water and roll horses from Wednesday morning after series of meetings with trainers the previous night.

The matter was sorted out only after RCTC stepped in. �Thanks to all out efforts of the RCTC ceo Mr. Vineet Verma that all problems have been sorted out, said Javed Khan, an RCTC trainer. �Financial assistance from the club had helped blow off the crisis,� added Javed.

According to the final settlement, syces will be paid half of their total dues (in excess of Rs 8 lakh) by Thursday. The balance half would be cleared within the next three weeks, according to RCTC sources.


Bangalore, June 19: 
Ridden by Sharat Kumar, the V. Chawla-trained Pugnacity is fancied to win the Bol Publication Trophy here tomorrow.


2.45 pm: Royal Satsuma 1. Skipping Away 2. Medwin 3.
3.15 pm: Commissioner 1. Brave Dream 2. Guernica 3.
3.45 pm: Crystal Moment 1. Joe The Pro 2. Pride Estate 3.
4.15 pm: Pugnacity 1. Sizzling Beauty 2. Up-N-About 3.
4.45 pm: Royal Incarnate 1. Fereneze 2. Jersey Lightning 3.
4.45 pm: Surf Rider 1. Roman Flame 2. Ben Brown 3.

Day�s Best: Commissioner

Double: Pugnacity & Surf Rider

Wednesday�s Mysore results

(With inter-state dividends)

1. Malavalli Plate, Div-II 1,400m: (6-4-1) Fly Past (Jayaprakash) 1; Silk Petals 2; Brave Risk 3. Won by: 4-3/4; 1-3/4; (1-32.5). Tote: Win Rs 150; Place: 35; 12; 17; Quinella: 153; Shp: 46; Tanala: 1,688. Fav: Silk Petals (4).

2. Malavalli Plate, Div-I 1,400m: (3-7-6) National Star (I. Chisty) 1; Wave of Emotions 2; Smokester 3. Won by: 2-3/4; Nk; (1-32.8). Tote: Win Rs 34; Place: 16; 17; 57; Quinella: 132; Shp: 62; Tanala: 4,241. Fav: National Star (3).

3. Mysore Plate 1,400m: (6-1-4) Kass (Sharat K.) 1; One So wonderful 2; Prince Zorro 3. Won by: 3; SH; (1-29.8). Tote: Win Rs 80; Place: 33; 13; Quinella: 53; Shp: 67; Tanala: 495. Fav: One So Wionderful (1).

4. J. K. Van Ingen Memorial Gold Cup 1,600m: (4-9-8) Three To Count (Appu) 1; Squeeze 2; Ace Beret 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 1-3/4; (1-45.1). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 10; 20; 23; Quinella: 60; Shp: 52; Tanala: 213. Fav: Three To Count (4).

5. Beloved Prince Plate 1,200m (5-7-4) King Athlete (Harish) 1; Apricot 2; Storming Thru 3. Won by: 2-3/4; 2-3/4; (1-18.2). Tote: Win Rs 20; Place: 10; 11; 18; Quinella: 22; Shp: 28; Tanala: 64. Fav: King Athlete (5).

6. Red Satin Plate 1,600m (8-7-11) Dreamsofashwamedha (Md Shafiq) 1; Emmenbrucke 2; Sweeping Statement 3. Won by: 3/4; 2-1/4; (1-46.9). Tote: Win Rs 63; Place: 19; 18; 62; Quinella: 206; Shp: 39; Tanala: 11,308. Fav: Sargasso (9).

Jackpot: Rs 4,241; (C) Rs 530.

Treble: (i) 8,606; (ii) Rs 139.

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