Hick aims at making Cup squad
Time for India to look up, not down: Viv
Bengal drag feet on Debashish Mohanty
SA offer too late for De Cunha
Habeeb happy with showing
In The City
Calcutta Races/ Rutherford suspended for dangerous riding
Track trials/ Beneficent impresses
Bangalore Races/ Noble Executive may strike
Mysore Races/ Bank Balance romps home

Worcester, July 31: 
Back in the early Nineties, Graeme Hick was talked about as the next Bradman. Today, he himself isn�t hopeful of a Test comeback.

�Obviously, I�ll be delighted if I get a call-up but, realistically, I don�t see that happening. I�ll be surprised,� Hick, the Worcestershire captain, remarked Wednesday morning. Hick, by the way, has been with the County from as far back as 1984.

The second youngest (after Wally Hammond) to author 100 first class hundreds, in 1998, Hick�s last England appearance was around 18 months ago. But while he has given up on a Test recall, he is optimistic of again making it to the one-day team.

Incidentally, as a teenager, the Harare-born Hick was a member of Zimbabwe�s 1983 World Cup squad. �I�m looking at an outside chance of being in England�s 2003 World Cup shortlist... I�m working towards having my name in that hat. Of course, the selectors will decide whether to pull it out or...� Hick, 36, said.

Asked by The Telegraph whether always being in the spotlight, in the lead-up to his England debut (1991), put him under pressure of the most intense kind, Hick grinned: �My introduction as an England player was certainly different... After all, I�d already scored around 60 first class hundreds... The pressure, therefore, was bound to be there.�

Assessing his England career (65 Tests and 120 ODIs), Hick candidly accepted that while he was �proud� about some phases, he didn�t have the same feeling about �other stages� in his career.

Reflecting on his Zimbabwe connection, Hick informed his family hadn�t severed links and, that, he did follow cricket there. �Zimbabwe hadn�t achieved Test status when I left that country... International cricket wasn�t available for me... I then had to qualify for England...�

Hick added: �While I do want England to always do well, nothing stops me from wishing other sides well, too.� Incidentally, Hick had this to say about Sachin Tendulkar, who has �usurped� the next Bradman label: �Actually, I don�t have much to add except that his sheer presence generates excitement... I know the guys in our dressing room are excited he�s going to play. In fact, one of the reasons why I�m here is that I can watch him from close (first slip).�

Sachin is accustomed to compliments, but should still remember this.

Day I washed out

Meanwhile, monsoon-like showers washed out Day-I of the India versus Worcestershire match at lovely New Road. Though it was clear there would be no play from the morning itself, umpires George Sharp and Richard Kettleborough waited till after lunch to call it off.

The Indians have chosen to rest three first XI players � Anil Kumble, V.V.S.Laxman and Zaheer Khan. Their berths have gone to Harbhajan Singh, Sanjay Bangar and Parthiv Patel.


Worcester, July 31: 
More than a decade has passed since Sir Issac Vivian Alexander Richards last played for the West Indies, but he continues to be a top draw. He only has to make an appearance, anywhere, for the heads to turn towards him.

In England on a Channel 4 assignment, a special project actually, Sir Issac spoke to The Telegraph specifically on the just-concluded Lord�s Test. The interview, which had to be brief on account of his exceedingly tight schedule, was held late Tuesday in London. Incidentally, Sir Issac now heads the West Indies� selection committee.

The following are excerpts

On England�s 170-run victory in Test No.1

Well, whether you like it or not, that�s the result... The records will show exactly that as having been the difference between India and England. Of course, I must add England were allowed to get away from a tricky situation. Having reduced them to 78 for three, India should have driven home the advantage.

On his assessment of what went wrong

The bowlers didn�t bowl to the field set by the captain. Then, the fielders themselves appeared to give up... They seemed flat, if you get what I mean. Frankly, I didn�t quite like the Indians� body language when England kept building their first innings. As the Indians weren�t lively enough, I wasn�t surprised England got close to 500 (487, in fact).

On Sachin Tendulkar choking

My advice is he should stop thinking about the others and stay focussed on the job he himself has to do... Really, Sachin shouldn�t panic, because even the greatest of cricketers can � and do � have a bad game... As I see it, Sachin is great enough to bounce back. When he does, England will be hit hard.

On Nasser Hussain�s captaincy

He had a plan for the Indian batsmen, the No. 1 component being not allowing them to score. Like many in the West Indies, the Indians like going for shots and, once frustrated, are bound to be rash. Indeed, some of the shots weren�t worthy of the first innings in a Test series. Hussain did his homework well.

On Sourav Ganguly�s captaincy

Clearly, he must sharpen his act, more so, as he himself didn�t contribute (5, 0). Poor decisions are part of the game but, then, Sourav didn�t score in that important first innings either.

On this Indian team

Clearly, batting remains its strength. But, then, the quality batters must learn to be consistent. I personally feel Ajit Agarkar�s unbeaten hundred (109 not out in the second innings) should give much hope.

On whether both spinners (Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh) should figure in the XI

Look, conditions alone must influence the final XI. As they say, horses for courses... I don�t know what the Trent Bridge wicket will be like but, if it will turn, picking both spinners should be a seriously thought of option.

On whether the Indians have a mental block over not converting a good position overseas into a winning one

(Laughs) Can�t talk about that mental block bit... At the same time, it often does require a special effort to win outside your territory. You do need that extra edge, you need to be more alert... Yet, this series isn�t over...

Finally, his message to the Indians

It�s a four-Test series, which is ample opportunity to stage a comeback. Today, then, it�s time to look up not down. Cricket is a mental game and, so, the confidence must not be allowed to plunge.


Calcutta, July 31: 
For the second consecutive year the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) has not been able to name anybody for the best pace bowler category. That�s because the association could not find anybody matching that target. Yet, when India discard seamer Debashish Mohanty expresses his desire to play for Bengal, officials play hard to get and behave as if there isn�t really a dire need for them.

The Ranji Trophy is becoming much more competitive from this season, with the best 15 teams in battle. Bengal�s lack of fire-power is rather disparaging. As a senior selector put it: �Bengal really needs a quality pace attack. Otherwise, we might just see them fighting relegation in the later stages.�

Tollygunge Agragami is carrying on talks with Mohanty in their bid to build a strong team. And according to the officials of the club the Orissa quickie himself is keen enough to play.

But the top bosses of Bengal cricket have made it clear that Mohanty has to perform at the club level before he can stake a claim for a place in the state side. Tollygunge officials are not ready to back-track, though. �I hope that the CAB officials does not stop him from playing for Bengal even if he performs at the club-level,� a senior Tollygunge official said.

They feel that if Mohanty is not allowed to play in the opening game for Bengal, the quickie is good enough to perform in the league matches played in November-December and walk into the state side.

The CAB officials, on the other hand, said that it is a matter of policy not to allow out-station players to walk into the state side. �It�s not a matter of performance for a couple of matches. They need to give something back to the state,� a senior CAB official said. �And finally it is upto the selection committee to choose him.�

When asked how much of a difference Mohanty can make to the Bengal side, a selector said, �Without a shade of doubt, Mohanty is a class-act. But I don�t want to make comments before he really starts playing.�


Calcutta, July 31: 
East Bengal mid-fielder Alvito de Cunha is a despondent man. In spite of getting a fabulous offer (rand 300,000) from top South African club Manning Rangers for the forthcoming season, he has to continue with East Bengal.

�The Rangers officials were so impressed with my performance in the two matches I played for IFA XI in Pietermaritzburg and Durban, that they extended an offer straight away,� De Cunha said. �They also got in touch with the East Bengal officials, but I don�t think they are ready to release me.� However, as senior East Bengal official said that they have not been contacted by the South African club.

However, what is worrying the player is that he will have to go through the rigours of trials in the coming season. �I will ask the East Bengal officials to release me, but if they don�t, so be it,� De Cunha told The Telegraph.

He also informed, that he has been roped in by management company CMG, and they have become his official agents. �Their representative has stayed back in South Africa and negotiating on my behalf,� the soft-spoken player informed.

Rangers officials have also shown interest in Tollygunge Agragami goalkeeper Sandip Nandy. If things go rightly, the top South African club will feature in the IFA Shield this season.


Calcutta, July 31: 
Two matches played, two lost. The first one 0-4, then 3-5. Hardly flattering scorelines those. But the coach is anything but displeased.

�The boys played terrific soccer� they created several chances and fought till the end in both matches but unfortunately we ended on the losing side,� was how Mohammed Habeeb summed up IFA XI�s tour of South Africa after returning Wednesday afternoon.

�Most of the goals we conceded were the result of defenders� or goalie�s mistakes,� said Habeeb. �We could have actually won the second match in which we dominated the second half completely. Even in the first match, we had enough chances while trailing 0-1 before letting in three goals in the last few minutes.�

The coach pointed out that there were three South African World Cuppers in the first team (Kwa-Zulu Natal XI) and two in the second (Manning Rangers).

�We were inferior only in physique, not skill,� Habeeb added, refusing to take anyone�s name for special mention. �The whole team fought well. I hope these boys get such exposure more frequently.�


July 31: 

Mohammedan Sporting return to action

The CFL Super Division gets back on track Thursday after a 10-day break with Mohammedan Sporting taking on Ever Ready in a replay of their July 16 match. When play was controversially called off after 62 minutes that afternoon, Mohammedan Sporting were trailing 1-2.

�There were mistakes made in the defence that day, something we�ll try and cut out tomorrow,� said assistant coach Nasir Ahmed who supervised training in Mohammed Habeeb�s absence.

Habeeb, who was in charge of the IFA XI team which returned from its tour of South Africa Tuesday morning after a 13-hour flight, was hardly amused to learn his club�s match had been scheduled Thursday.

�We were earlier told our match will be on Friday, which would have given my boys (Dipendu Biswas, Hussain Mustafi and Syed Rahim Nabi who toured South Africa) enough time to recover from jet-lag. They will be very tired but we have no option but to play them,� Habeeb said this evening. Most eyes will be on the teenaged Nabi who salvaged some pride for IFA XI with a hattrick in the second game. IFA XI lost the two matches 0-4 and 3-5, respectively.

Bata win a thriller

Bata beat City in a five-goal thriller in their CFL first division group A match at the East Bengal ground Wednesday. Locked 2-2 at half-time, Bata snatched victory with an Ashim Biswas strike.

However, the second division clash between Greer and Janbazar at YMCA fell through because of waterlogged ground.

Non-Olympic body formed

The Bengal Non-Olympic Association (BNOA) has come into being, it was announced at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. As the name itself suggests, the idea is to bring all the disciplines which are not part of the Olympic family under one umbrella and promote them.

The Indian Non-Olympic Association, formed two years ago, has 51 affiliates. The state body already has half that number under its wing and wants other federations, if any, to join them.

�It doesn�t matter if some of the disciplines who are with this association today get Olympic recognition in the near future. We�ll continue to promote and work with the other disciplines,� said chairperson Romola Chakraborti.

Among the long-term programmes of the BNOA is organising a non-Olympic State Games. �We definitely have that in mind but it may not happen in the near future,� said Ms Chakraborti.

State sports minister Subhas Chakraborti, who was present at the press conference, assured the BNOA of all co-operation from the state government�s side.

Bagan confident about Mondal

Mohun Bagan are confident of fielding Basudeb Mondal in their Super Division match clearance papers are with AIFF. If needed, we�ll furnish copies of the necessary document,� said Mohun Bagan secretary Anjan Mitra.

The IFA Tuesday issued a letter to Mohun Bagan instructing them not to field Mondal till his clearance is in order. This follows Bhratri Sangha�s protest that Mondal played the match against them without completing the registration formalities.

Tolly gains

Tollygunge Agragami confirmed the services of Devang Gandhi and Srikant Kalyani for the forthcoming season. While Devang Gandhi switches over from Mohun Bagan, Kalyani will come from East Bengal.

A senior Tollygunge official said Wednesday that East Bengal pace bowler Dharmendra Singh has also decided to shift to Tollygunge.


FOOTBALL: Calcutta League Super Division: Mohammedan Sporting vs Ever-Ready (Md. Sporting). 1st division, group B: Aikya Sammilani vs Bally Protiva (SAI); Sporting Union vs Aryan (Mohun Bagan); United Student vs Anushilani (Rabindra Sarobar); Taltala DS vs Muslim Inst. (Tarun Sangha); Behala Youth vs Garalgacha (East Bengal); Barisha vs Calcutta Police. Matches from 3.30 pm.    

Calcutta, July 31: 
Apprentice jockey Rutherford Alford completed his apprenticeship, on Wednesday, when he booted home three winners in-a-row. However, the RCTC stewards handed the crafty jockey with a four-day suspension in stead of presenting a bouquet.

Stewards accused Rutherford, atop Darth Vader in the Sprightly Handicap, for designing the fall of Adeline and his veteran jockey Naresh Engineer who was, however, learnt to have confided in his fellow riders that he himself was not quite sure about the apprentice�s role in the mishap. Rutherford will be out of action between August 10 and September 4.


1. Ridicular Handicap 1,200m: (2-3-4-1) Mahika�s Pet (Rutherford) 1; Primaticcio (Asghar) 2; Moon Quest (Merchant) 3; Musician (Islam) 4. Won by: Nk; 3/4; 3-1/2; (1-21.8). Tote: Win Rs 18; Place: 13; 154; Quinella: 490; Shp: 421; Tanala: 1,036. Fav: Mahika�s Pet (2). Winner trained by R. Alford.

2. Sprightly Handicap 1,400m: (3-1-4-5) Darth Vader (Rutherford) 1; Social Girl (Merchant) 2; Bay Dragon (Gurang) 3; Asprey (Surjeet) 4. Won by: 3-1/4; 5-3/4; 2-1/4; (1-32.8). Tote: Win Rs 39; Place: 21; 19; Quinella: 45; Shp: 50; Tanala: 517. Fav: Social Girl (1). Winner trained by R. Alford. (Note: The winner survived an objection lodged by the rider of second placed horse).

3. Almanac Cup 1,800m: (1-4-6-7) Prince of Fashion (Rutherford) 1; Black Mane (Kujur) 2; Yukon (A. P. Singh) 3; Midas Touch (Yasin) 4. Won by: 1-3/4; 4-1/4; 3/4; (2-0.2). Tote: Win Rs 18; Place: 12; 17; 22; Quinella: 63; Shp: 52; Tanala: 239. Fav: Prince of Fashion (1). Winner trained by R. Alford.

4. Audubon Cup 1,100m: (1-7-5-4) Brave Venture (Merchant) 1; Heaven�s Blessing (Rabani) 2; Castle Moon (Kujur) 3; Soliel (Amjad K.) 4. Won by: 2-3/4; 2-1/4; 7-1/2; (1-13.3). Tote: Win Rs 32; Place: 15; 22; 11; Quinella: 133; Shp: 62; Tanala: 592. Fav: Brave Venture (1). Winner trained by Rodrigues.

5. Vasto Handicap 1,200m: (1-3-4-6) Cup of Life (Shanker) 1; Sky Command (Jayaprakash) 2; Arctic Fancy (Merchant) 3; Tajik (Tamang) 4. Won by: 1-3/4; 3-1/4; 3-3/4; (1-18.7). Tote: Win Rs 43; Place: 22; 26; Quinella: 123; Shp: 46; Tanala: 383. Fav: Arctic Fancy (4). Winner trained by Mujeeb R.

6. Bachelor�s Wedding Handicap 1,000m: (1-2-7-3) Kargil Soldier (P. Alford) 1; Lucifer (Upadhya) 2; Starina (Maseyk) 3; Declarationoflove (Brij S.) 4. Won by: SH; 4-3/4; SH; (1-5.9). Tote: Win Rs 81; Place: 21; 17; 16; Quinella: 242; Shp: 56; Tan-ala: 1,045. Fav: Wakamba Warrior (4). Winner trained by J. Stephens.

Jackpot: Rs 12,199; (C) Rs 265.

Treble: (i) Rs 182; (ii) Rs 1,197.

Calcutta, July 31: 
Beneficent worked well today morning.

Outer sand track

1,400m: Arrayal (Rabani) in 1-52s; (400m) 32s. Flamebird (Smith) in 1-47s; (600m) 46s; (400m) 30s. Fit. Tohfa (Smith) 1-54s; (400m) 32s.

1,000m:Tiger Talk (Smith) in 1-21s; (400m) 31s. Easy. No Regrets (Rb) and Laurels (Som S.) in 1-20s; (400m) 31s. Level. Grand Lodge (Rb) in 1-22s; (400m) 31s. Easy. Beneficent (Merchant) and Secret Blessing�s (A. P. Singh) in 1-16s; (400m) 28s. Former 6 ls better.

800m: Argolis (Gurang) and Smart Ruler (Merchant) in 57s; (400m) 28s. Former a length better.River Melody (A. P. Singh) and Star Selection (Merchant) in 58s; (400m) 27s. Former 4 ls better. Royal City (Merchant) and Peace Envoy (Asghar) in 1-0s; (400m) 29s. Former 3 ls better. Flossy (Smith) in 59s; (400m) 28s. Easy.

400m: Abandoned (Koch) and Keep The Faith (P. Alford) in 29s. Former 6 ls better. Finders Keepers (Koch) and Flinders (P. Alford) in 31s. Level.

Sand track

1,200m: Ballet Master (Asghar) and Touch of Silver (Merchant) in 1-29s; (400m) 29s. Former a length better. Schumacher (Yasin) in 1-37s; (400m) 32s.

1,000m: Regency Times (Yasin) and Amber Dancer (Merchant) in 1-13s; (400m) 25s. Former was half-a-length better. Both were handy.

800m: Dancing Dreams (Tamang) in 57s; (400m) 28s. Easy. Common Spirit (Rb) in 1-0s; (400m) 30s. New Fortune (Rb) in 1-0s; (400m) 30s. Kyalami (Brij S.) and Red Trident (Tamang) in 57s; (400m) 27s. Former 4 ls better. April Ace (Yasin) in 1-2s; (400m) 30s.

600m: Soviet Port (Rb) in 18; 46s; (400m) 28s. Gallant Romeo (Rb) (From 1,200m to 600m ) in 46s. Anokato (Rb) in 46s; (400m) 30s.

400m: Soviet Ride (Gurang) in 28s.

On Tuesday, outer sand track

800m: Iron Warrior (Dalpat) and Almond Rock (Upadhya) 59s; (400m) 29s. Former was far better. Mack The Knife (Rutherford) and Estocade (F. Khan) in 57s; (400m) 27s. Level. Royal City (Asghar) and Argolis (Gurang) in 1-1s; (400m) 27s. Level. Earl Grey (Rutherford) in 1-2s; (400m) 29s. Easy. Harry The Horse (Rutherford) in 59s; (400m) 27s. Handy. Allodium (Rabani) and Endless Surprise (Islam) in 1-0s; (400m) 29s. Former far better.

600m: Calculus (F. Khan) in 44s; (400m) 26s. The Archer (Rutherford) in 44s; (400m) 27s. Fit. Smart Ruler (Asghar) and Touch of Silver (Yasin) in 46s; (400m) 29s. Former 4 ls better.

Sand track

800m: Scarlet Raider (Rb) in 1-2s; (400m) 31s. Impressive Prince (A. P. Singh) in 1-2s; (400m) 29s.    

Bangalore, July 31: 
Maintaining his Juvenile Sprinters Million form, Noble Executive is expected to make it an encore when he takes on 10 rivals in the 1,400m; K. N. Chennabasappa Memorial Cup on Thursday, the main attraction in the penultimate meet of the summer season.


12.30 pm: Bay of Angels 1. Acquire 2. Katina 3.
1 pm: Generic Emperor 1. Attorney 2. Sahasra 3.
1.30 pm: Nuraaz 1. Suhasini 2. Tina�s Turn 3.
2 pm: Ideal Cut 1. Beat It Dude 2. Red Zeppelin 3.
2.30 pm: Pelf 1. San Antonio 2. Cherry Blue 3.
3 pm: Go Honey Go 1. Swinging Conquest 2. Angeles 3.
3.30 pm: Royal Contender 1. Caape City 2. Kyosoba 3.
4 pm: Noble Executive 1. Antequera 2. Affined 3.
4.30 pm:Rose Garden 1. Baffert 2. Saladin 3.
5 pm: Kimera 1. Brora 2. Hero Worship 3.

Day�s Best: Noble Executive

Double: Ideal Cut & Go Honey Go

Mysore, July 31: 
Trained by A. Abbas and ridden by Sunny Chenoy, Bank Balance romped home with the Whitefield Plate at the races held here on Wednesday.


1. Mudigere Plate 1,800: (10-3-4) Sargasso (I. Chisty) 1; Ben Brown 2; Guide 3. Won by: Dist; 1-1/2; (1-58.1). Win Rs 123; (P) 29; 88; 86; (F) 6,180; (Q) 950; (T) 25,049 & 10,735. Fav: Daiimio (1).

2. S. V. Subramaniam Memorial Gold Cup, Div-III 1,400m: (6-2-5) Silver Touch (I. Chisty) 1; Emerald Forest 2; Beautiful Dreams 3. Not run: Busy Girl (1) & Upstart (3). Won by: Hd; 4-1/4; (1-30). Win Rs 39; (P) 15; 17; 12; (F) 112; (Q) 93; (T) 412 & 147. Fav: Silver Touch (6).

3. S. V. Subramaniam Memorial Gold Cup, Div-II 1,400m: (8-4-6) Galleon De Espania (I. Chisty) 1; Plain Truth 2; Make No Mistake 3. Not run: Goebbels (5). Won by: 3/4; 9 (1-28.4). Win Rs 55; (P) 19; 16; 46; (F) 105; (Q) 63; (T) 929 & 606. Fav: Atomic Fusion (1).

4. Shivajinagar Plate 1,200m: (7-6-10) Decision Maker (I. Chisty) 1; Good Win 2; Chanel 3. Won by: 2; SH; (1-14.5). Win Rs 235; (P) 50; 50; 54; (F) 1,633; (Q) 497; (T) 25,885 & 11,093. Fav: Financer (1).

5. Whitefield Plate 1,400m: (4-10-3) Bank Balance (S. Chinoy) 1; Tresorie 2; Renzino 3. Won by: 3-1/4; 3; (1-28.7). Win Rs 20; (P) 13; 27; (F) 89; (Q) 36; (T) 804 & 320. Fav: Bank Balance (4).

6. S. V. Subramaniam Memorial Gold Cup, Div-I 1,400m: (3-2-10) Amazing Choice (Sharat) 1; Tulsa Time 2; Cormac 3. Won by: 1/2; Nk; (1-29.7). Win Rs 151; (P) 36; 12; (F) 654; (Q) 241; (T) 5,316 & 2,278. Fav: Tulsa Time (2).

7. Bugle Rock Plate 1,800m: (3-2-5) London Bells (I. Chisty) 1; Squeeze 2; Cyclades 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 1-1/2; (1-57.6). Win Rs 80; (P) 13; 19; (F) 303; (Q) 117; (T) 846 & 573. Fav: Fereneze (8).

8. Koramangala Plate 1,200m: (12-8-7) Up-N-About (R. Marshall) 1; Princely Living 2; Sunny Sharp 3. Not run: Bundle of Joy (9). Won by: 3-1/2; 1/2; (1-17.2). Win Rs 40; (P) 15; 68; (F) 706; (Q) 568; (T) 1,006 & 267. Fav: Sunny Sharp (7).

Jackpot: Rs 2,97,846 (Carried over). Mini jackpot: Rs 8,664.

Treble: (i) Rs 2,010; (ii) Rs 5,946.

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