Playing both spinners a possibility: Sourav
Waughs’ return very difficult but cannot be ruled out: Moody
Central defence has EB coach worried
In The City
Horseracing weathers storm
Pune Racing/ Fitness points to Soviet Lake
Bangalore Races/ Ganapathy, Prakash champs
Track trials/ Kainat, Flinders shine

Worcester, Aug. 2: 
Having been reminded at Lord’s that cricket is such a huge leveller, Sourav Ganguly today isn’t thinking about the 136 in his last Test at Trent Bridge, back in the summer of 1996.

Rather, during a chat with The Telegraph over dinner (at the exclusively Thai Orchids) Thursday, the Indian captain admitted his sole thoughts centered around the composition of the XI for the second Test, at Trent Bridge, from next Thursday.

“We are working on options and, clearly, plans have been hit hard by the rain here,” Sourav remarked, without going into details. What he did say, however, is that the team’s morale hasn’t been shattered.

“That we lost by 170 runs at Lord’s is in black-and-white... England did outplay us, yet this series isn’t over... Looking back, I wish I had played both spinners (Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh)... I don’t know what the (Trent Bridge) wicket will be like but, at this point in time, playing both is a possibility.”

Only, if both Kumble and Harbhajan are fielded, one of the three seamers will have to be dropped. Zaheer Khan is a certainty and, if Ajit Agarkar’s hundred (in the first Test) works in his favour, Ashish Nehra must sit out.

It’s going to be a tricky call as the captain has much faith in Nehra. Indeed, if the 2-2 option is eventually exercised, Sanjay Bangar — but for failing to score Friday — would have had an outside chance of coming into the picture as Virender Sehwag’s opening mate. He would also have doubled-up as third seamer.

Now, that option is as good as closed.

One understands specialist wicketkeeper Ajay Ratra is pretty much under the scanner. He did get a hundred in the Antigua Test, on a flat wicket, but is out of sorts whenever the ball moves even a shade. Parthiv Patel’s inclusion in the XI against Worcestershire isn’t insignificant.

With the match effectively reduced to a one innings affair, young Patel will wear the big gloves. Had the game not been marred by the elements, Ratra too would have got his chance — in innings No.2.

The thinktank’s concern is understandable. Besides not contributing at Lord’s (1 and 1), Ratra failed in both lead-up matches: 15 and 8 versus West Indies A in Arundel and, then, 1 and 26 against Hampshire (Southampton). Nowadays, a wicketkeeper who doesn’t score is an absolute liability.

[Ratra flopped Friday as well, managing four. But, then, Patel hardly did better — scoring six.]

Briefly, it did seem Deep Dasgupta would be an acceptable solution for a big problem. As it turned out, his keeping got worse. “I personally think he was put under too much pressure and succumbed,” Sourav pointed out, the tone reflecting his disappointment.

Incidentally, Sourav accepted having himself played a “poor shot” in the first innings at Lord’s. To make it worse, Rudi Koertzen gave an outrageous decision in the second. From 131 in his only previous Test innings (on debut) to scores of 5 and 0 was quite a crash.

“Isn’t cricket a terrific leveller?” Sourav asked, grinning. He didn’t have to be reminded — that was done in the first Test itself — it truly is.

Postscript: As part of the Indian Summer series, Channel 4 will be screening Lagaan Saturday night. Sourav’s team, perhaps, can draw timely inspiration...


Worcester, Aug. 2: 
A member of the 1999 World Cup-winning Australian XI, allrounder Tom Moody (who retired in the 2000-2001 season) is now Worcestershire’s coach. He spoke to The Telegraph, at his New Road office, Friday morning.

Following are excerpts

On his links with Worcestershire

I played eight years for the County and have been coach for the past two. My contract, as director of coaching, is for three years. Basically, I’m in Worcester for ten months...

On coaching a team which is in Division-II

(Smiles) I wanted to work with a group of players all of whom had a common goal: Wanting to move up. For a coach, it’s more challenging to be associated with a side which is becoming competitive, rather than coaching an already established team. Of course, it’s a longer road, but a more exciting one.

On the presence of quite a few players of Asian origin in Worcestershire

We are very close to Birmingham and, so, that influence is there... But, while we do have a multi-racial and multi-cultural dressing room, there’s no problem. The atmosphere is just fine and, really, no barriers have to be broken.

On a coach’s role

It’s essential to use management and communication skills to get the best out of the players... The better the communication, more the chances of success.

On whether he learnt from the two Australian coaches he played under — Bobby Simpson and Geoff Marsh

Generally, one learns from every experience and I consider myself lucky that I got to watch both Simpson and Marsh from close... In any case, I’m the type to learn from experiences across the board. I’ve also learnt from some of the cricketers I’ve played with and against.

On Simpson and Marsh

Marsh wasn’t very different from Simpson, largely because he had himself been coached by him... Both had a high work ethic and believed in getting ‘results’ even at net sessions.

On being part of the 1999 World Cup winning XI

Most definitely the highpoint of my career... That certainly was the pinnacle. Given the situation we were in, during that tournament, our success wasn’t anything short of exceptional.

On having been branded a one-day cricketer

(Grins) Wasn’t happy with the label but, then, Australia has exclusive Test and one-day players... Thanks entirely to our depth... Yes, I did want to play more Tests than just eight, but the selection bit wasn’t in my hands. Also, beggars can’t ever be choosers...

On whether the Waughs, Steve and Mark, can make a one-day comeback

The present selection policy suggests it’s going to be very difficult... However, I wouldn’t rule it out entirely. Both are such determined and high-quality players that I honestly wouldn’t count them out.

On whether, had he been a selector, he would have dropped Steve

I’m not one and, therefore, wouldn’t like to comment... Was I surprised when Steve lost the (one-day) captaincy and his place? I was, yes... It must have been a tough decision for the selectors.

On Steve’s contribution

Oh, it’s been massive... He had a lot to do with our World Cup win, he’s had a lot to do with the way we’ve been playing Test cricket. Steve never gives up, he won’t lie down...That’s a feature of his game and he has instilled that in those who have played under him. Steve brought about a mentality change in Australian cricket.

Finally, on Australia’s chances of retaining the World Cup, in 2003

Very good... I do believe we can again win... (Adds laughing) I don’t have the money but, if I did have, I would put it on Australia... At the same time, South Africa will be exceedingly tough at home and I expect both India and Pakistan to be very competitive...Wouldn’t discount New Zealand either.


Calcutta, Aug. 2: 
East Bengal coach Subhas Bhowmick is a worried man before his team takes on Calcutta Port Trust in the League opener on Friday. The most important reason for his worry is his team’s central defence position.

“With the two best defenders, Dipak Mondal and Arun Malhotra away on national duty, it is becoming difficult for me to form a defensive co-ordination,” Bhowmick said.

Though the East Bengal coach was not ready to divulge the first XI, indications are that Anit Ghosh and M.Suresh will be the two main players in the defence.

What the coach did confirm was that East Bengal will go in with a 3-5-2 formation which will have Mike Okoro (who along with Falguni Dutta was signed on Friday) and Kulothungan upfront.

However, the coach was a little concerned how effective Okoro would be on the slushy turf. “He is new to the team and will take some time before he is able to adjust fully with the Calcutta grounds,” the coach admitted.

Bhowmick expressed the same concern about the other players as well. “My team is an amalgamation of new boys and the pressure of playing in Calcutta will definitely affect them.”

However, the coach is confident about the levels of physical fitness, which had been a major concern for the team in the last season.

A rigorous physical training regimen coupled with regular swimming has enabled East Bengal’s players to reach a satisfactory level of fitness this time around.

About the club’s volatile supporters, Bhowmick had this to say: “It is a new team and it’s always difficult to produce results straight away. So the fans should keep their cool.”

He, however, declined to comment on the opposition and merely said, “Though we beat the Port team in a practice match, they can run well. Moreover, any team playing in the Super Division is good.”

Meanwhile, the new East Bengal captain, Anit Ghosh, said he looked forward to the new season as a challenge. “This is the right platform for me to show that I was good enough for the Asian Games team,” Ghosh said.

The East Bengal skipper, however, did not want to attach too much importance to the result of the League. “This is a mere experimentation, our main aim is the Federation Cup and the National League,” Ghosh said.

New Brazilian recruit

In a move to shore up its defence, East Bengal has decided to bring in a Brazilian defender, Doughlas De Silva. De Silva was chosen after Bhowmick saw a videotaped recording of his performance.

It is believed that De Silva and Mohun Bagan star Jose Ramirez Barreto played together for a Brazilian club in the 1997-98 season.

According to information available, De Silva is mainly a left-footed footballer playing in the central defensive position. He will be East Bengal’s second foreign recruit for the league after Okoro.


Aug. 2: 

CAB XI take 19-run lead

CAB XI took a 19-run first innings lead against Hyderabad XI on the second day of their opening match in the KSCA tournament Friday. Chasing Bengal’s first innings total of 306 for nine (Sanjeeb Sanyal being the top scorer with 81), the Hyderabad team was bundled out for 287. Left-arm spinner Anirban Chatterjee took three for 66 while offie Sourashish Lahiri claimed three for 66. Medium-pacer Shibshankar Paul got two wickets while Shabbir Ali took another. However, the CAB team lost three quick wickets in their second innings. At stumps, Deep Dasgupta and Shubhradeep Ganguly were at the crease, after Arindam Das, Amitava Chakraborty and Aurijit Basu had gone to the pavilion.

Bangla invite CAB team

The CAB team will play an invitation meet in Bangladesh in mid-November where they will have a chance to face the likes of Heath Streak of Zimbabwe and Imran Nazir of Pakistan. Top clubs of Bangladesh will take part in the meet, organised by the Bangladesh Cricket Board. Incidentally, some international players from Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Sri Lanka feature in these clubs.

Rangers in schedule clash

The IFA Shield has been tentatively slated for September 15 to 30. But the schedule may put paid to Manning Rangers’ plan to take part in it.

The South African team will have three matches in the country’s Premier League between September 20 to 30. This clash of schedules, therefore, may force Rangers to think differently about the IFA Shield. Meanwhile, the IFA has moved the federation to release the players from the Asian Games squad for some time before or after the proposed English tour later this month so that they can play the big matches of the Calcutta League.

Md. Sp. protest

Mohammedan Sporting will lodge a protest with the IFA against the ‘ridiculous’ rule that will keep Dipendu Biswas out of the CFL match against SAIL Saturday, sais club secretary Sultan Ahmed. Dipendu has seen two yellow cards, but one in their cancelled match against Ever Ready.

Table tennis

Pritam Bose and Tapan Sikdar moved into the finals of the cadet boys of the Kalyan Jayant Memorial table tennis meet Friday. While Bose beat Susobhan Das 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-3, Sarkar beat Subhashish Kar 11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9.

Other results Semi-finals: Nursery Girls: Ankita Das bt Sramana Dutta 12-10, 11-8, Priya saha bt Medha Moitra 11-7, 11-9; Nursery Boys: Priyabrata Das bt Soumyajit Ghosh 11-7, 3-11, 11-8, Sourav Saha bt Aneek Karmakar 11-7, 13-11; Cadet Girls: Mita Basak bt Jayeeta Pushilal 11-9, 11-9, Barnali Jati bt Sreya Ghosh 9-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8.


Calcutta, Aug. 2 : 
What could have been a major setback to the Indian thoroughbred horseracing was averted at a meeting of the Turf Authorities of India (TAI) in Bangalore on Thursday. A nearly quarter century old arrangement between the five turf authorities in the country about sharing of royalty from the inter-venue betting was at the verge of breaking down, thus pushing the industry into a deep crisis.

It started with the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) accusing the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) for manipulating accounts, with BTC making a counter claim that it was the other way round.

The simmering heat between the two major turf clubs had reach a flash point as each of the two had threatened to scrap the inter-venue betting facilities and also severe relationship with rest of the turf centres in the country.

Recently, RWITC had demanded clarification from the garden city turf centre as to why there was a significant shortfall of royalty paid out to the club considering the huge daily collections made by BTC.

BTC had in the recent past, claimed that their totalisator collections was to the tune of Rs one crore in each race event. “We were being paid peanuts,” said an RWITC official.

Caught on the wrong foot, BTC retaliated by accusing RWITC for keeping collection figures from the Mumbai-Pune betting shops under wraps.

A series of TAI meeting in Bangalore over the past six weeks had yielded no results until all parties concerned were totally assured about transparency into the betting dealings.

Vineet Verma, ceo and secretary RCTC, when contacted, refused to get deep into the storm the TAI had been through, though he admitted there was a crisis. “There were some differences among the turf clubs but the matter has been settled amicably,” said Verma.


Pune, Aug. 2: 
Fresh from Bangalore summer season Soviet Lake from trainer Jaggy Dhariwal’s yard, may cash in on her fitness and calim the 1,400m Eminence Plate in Pune on Saturday. Pesi Shroff partners the five-year-old mare by Bold Russian out of Ace Venture


2.15 pm: Momnet Of Pleasure 1. Rain Cloud 2. Condor 3.
2.45 pm: Sea Legend 1. Dahana 2. Opener 3.
3.15 pm: Speed Of Light 1. Avaleur 2. Khim 3.
3.45 pm: Bahuratna 1. Yannis 2. Divyakiran 3.
4.15 pm: Soviet Lake 1. Idaho 2. Big Blaze 3.
4.45 pm: Noble Appeal 1. Star Dusk 2. Egalit’e 3.
5.15 pm: Colour Of Joy 1. Spirit Move 2. Rumaan 3.
5.45 pm: Come Prima 1. Speedster 2. Swift And Silent 3.

Day’s Best: Soviet Lake

Double: Moment Of Pleasure & Sea Legend

Bangalore, Aug. 2: 
Trainer S. Ganapathy and jockey B. Prakash emerged champions in their respective fields during the Bangalore summer season that concluded on Friday.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Leading Bookmaker Cup, Div-II 1,600m: (8-2-7) Princess Cut (M. Narredu) 1; Zaran 2; Chimango 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 3/4; (1-41.1). Tote: Win Rs 34; Place: 14; 14; 57; Quinella: 46; Shp: 43; Tanala: 703. Fav: Zaran (2).

2. Champion Trainer Cup, Div-II 1,200m: (3-4-6) All Rainbows (Shakti) 1; Braid Hills 2; Burt Lancaster 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 10; (1-14.9). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 12; 18; 30; Quinella: 66; Shp: 46; Tanala: 442. Fav: All Rainbows (3).

3. Champion Jockey Cup, Div-II 1,600m: (9-4-3) Argento (C. Alford) 1; Wovoka 2; Polar Charge 3. Won by: SH; 2-3/4; (1-41.8). Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 13; 43; 24; Quinella: 152; Shp: 113; Tanala: 710. Fav: Argento (9). (Note: Argento won following a successful objection aga-inst the original winner Wovoka).

4. Leading Tipster Cup 1,400m: (11-6-2) Franco Leone (Afsar) 1; Good Hope 2; Persian Delight 3. Won by: 1/2; 1/2; (1-29.8). Tote: Win Rs 179; Place: 26; 15; 16; Quinella: 161; Shp: 46; Tanala: 2,354. Fav: Franco Leone (11).

5. Leading Bookmaker Cup, Div-I 1,600m: (3-7-6) Dil Maangemore (R. Marshall) 1; Spark of Love 2; Aerographer 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 1/2; (1-41.3). Tote: Win Rs 21; Place: 12; 15; 17; Quinella: 41; Shp: 45; Tanala: 169. Fav: Dil Maangemore (3).

6. Champion Trainer Cup, Div-I 1,200m: (6-8-10) Dance Royale (Prakash) 1; Star Diamond 2; Tribal Dance 3. Won by: 2; 3-1/2; (1-15.5). Tote: Win Rs 44; Place: 24; 25; 10; Quinella: 126; Shp: 43; Tanala: 297. Fav: Tribal Dance (10).

7. Leading Owner Cup, Div-I 1,400m: (2-7-4) Star Cavalier (Prakash) 1; Pettalumma 2; Arcaro 3. Won by: 1/2; 1-1/4; (1-27.7). Tote: Win Rs 54; Place: 23; 18; 20; Quinella: 91; Shp: 36; Tanala: 403. Fav: Arcaro (4).

8. Governor’s Cup 2,400m: (4-1-7) Nairn (Appu) 1; Appeaser 2; Mr. Belvedere 3. Won by: 1/2; 9-1/2; (2-32.6). Tote: Win Rs 48; Place: 14; 13; 24; Quinella: 33; Shp: 47; Tanala: 603. Fav: Appeaser (1).

9. Champion Jockey Cup, Div-I 1,600m: (4-11-6) Saturn Star (Nagesh) 1; Odeon 2; Auchterarder 3. Won by: 1; SH; (1-42). Tote: Win Rs 356; Place: 56; 42; 38; Quinella: 2,159; Shp: 177; Tanala: 29,997. Fav: Glenfarclas Gal (5).

10. Leading Stud Cup 2,000m: (9-2-3) Firecrest (Appu) 1; Hello Brother 2; Ampersand 3. Won by: Hd; 4; (2-7.5). Tote: Win Rs 74; Place: 21; 33; 18; Quinella: 799; Shp: 100; Tanala: 17,517. Fav: Mythical Star (4).

11. Leading Owner Cup, Div-II 1,400m: (12-5-6) Southern Treasure (Rajinder) 1; Crystal Delight 2; Indigenous 3. Won by: 4-1/2; SH; (1-27.1). Tote: Win Rs 43; Place: 21; 19; 92; Quinella: 176; Shp: 55; Tanala: 12,883. Fav: Fugleman (9).

Jackpot: (i) Rs 2,745; (C) Rs 266; (ii) Rs 1,61,552; (C) Rs 10,770.

Treble: (i) Rs 703; (ii) Rs 1,156; (iii) Rs 15,279.

Calcutta, Aug. 2: 
Kainat and Flinders worked well today:

Outer sand track

800m: Kainat (Som S.) in 58s; (400m) 28s. Flinders (Koch) and Finders Keepers (P. Alford) in 58s; (400m) 28s. Former far better.

600m: Touch of Silver (R. Ahmed) in 46s; (400m) 30s. Keep The Faith (Koch) in 44s; (400m) in 28s. Easy. Accrete (Rb) in 50; (400m) 32s.

400m: Peace Envoy (Yacoob) in 30s.

Sand track

800m: Lawyer’s Love (Rb) in 1-3s; (400m) 29s.

400m: Odyssey (Tamang) in 28s. Leading Conquest (Brij S) in 29s.


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