SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

We won’t experiment too much: Dravid
Karachi, February 3
Having learnt the lesson the hard way in the Karachi Test, India have decided to limit their experimentations in the one-day cricket series against Pakistan starting next week.
Rahul Dravid and Younis Khan hold the trophy of the upcoming five-match one-day series during a ceremony in Karachi on Friday. The first one-dayer will be played in Peshawar on Monday Rahul Dravid and Younis Khan hold the trophy of the upcoming five-match one-day series during a ceremony in Karachi on Friday. The first one-dayer will be played in Peshawar on Monday. — AFP photo

Younis Khan Indian bat behind Younis’ success
Karachi, February 3
Younis Khan, one of the heroes of Pakistan’s victory in the Test series against India, seems to believe in hitting the enemy with their own weapon. Revealing the secret of his stellar performance, Younis said he was using the cricket bat of an Indian company, BDM, based in Meerut, and would like to renew their contract for a longer term.

Sourav confident of comeback
New Delhi, February 3
Having no further role to play in the Indo-Pak series, Sourav Ganguly arrived here today from Karachi along with his wife and daughter. The Bengal batsman is among the four players who returned from Pakistan after being dropped from the one-day squad.

We handled pressure better
Even after defeating India, I still have the highest respect for them as opponents. They played tough cricket and tried as hard as they could but the fact of the matter is that they could not handle the pressure as well as we did.


Maria Sharapova of Russia gestures during her quarterfinal against Samantha Stosur of Australia in the Pan Pacific Open Tennis Tournament in Tokyo on Friday
Maria Sharapova of Russia gestures during her quarterfinal against Samantha Stosur of Australia in the Pan Pacific Open Tennis Tournament in Tokyo on Friday. Sharapova won 6-1, 6-4. — AFP

EARLIER STORIES
  Cash rewards for Pak players
Lahore: With the series against India sealed, Pakistan players are now busy reaping the rewards and the first of these have been announced by the National Bank of Pakistan, which will give Rs 1 lakh each to pacer Mohammad Asif, wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and opener Salman Butt.
In video: Pakistan announces squad for ODIs. (28k, 56k)

Aussies rout South Africa
Sydney, February 3
Brett Lee ripped through the fragile South African batting, while Andrew Symonds and Mike Hussey piled on the runs to help Australia to an 80-run victory in a one-day match today. Symonds (65) and Hussey (62) plundered 109 runs off 79 balls to help Australia reach a daunting total of 281 for seven, before Lee captured four wickets to restrict the Proteas to 201-9 at Melbourne’s Docklands Stadium.

Australia’s Brett Lee celebrates the dismissal of South Africa’s Johan Botha during a one-dayer in Melbourne on Friday. — Reuters
photo
Australia’s Brett Lee celebrates the dismissal of South Africa’s Johan Botha during a one-dayer in Melbourne on Friday

Murali to get reprimand for obscene gesture
Sydney, February 3
Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan will be given an unofficial reprimand for gesturing at a spectator, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said today. Muralitharan was photographed making a one-fingered gesture at a spectator who heckled him during a one-day match against South Africa in Perth on Tuesday.

Colts lose warm-up tie
Colombo, February 3
Tournament favourites India were shocked by England, who pulled off a thrilling 28-run win in a low-scoring game on the second day of the warm-up matches ahead of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup here.

Ganguly loses to Akopian
Gibraltar, February 3
Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly missed out on his chance to be among the prize winners by a whisker by going down to second seeded GM Vladimir Akopian of Armenia in the 10th and final round of Gibtele.com Masters chess tournament at Caleta hotel here.

Dempo register first victory
Kolkata, February 3
Defending champions Dempo Sports Club signalled a return to form, riding past Mohammedan Sporting 2-0 to register their maiden victory in the ONGC Cup 10th National Football League here today.

Atwal tied 26th
Scottsdale, February 3
Arjun Atwal’s love for eagles again came to the fore when the Kolkata pro hit one on the 15th hole to surge to a tied 26th position with two-under 69 on day one of the $ 5.2-million FBR Open Golf Tournament here.

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We won’t experiment too much: Dravid
S. S. Ramaswamy

Karachi, February 3
Having learnt the lesson the hard way in the Karachi Test, India have decided to limit their experimentations in the one-day cricket series against Pakistan starting next week.

“Shuffling of batting order will depend on strategy and other conditions but the postmortem of the Test series shows that we will have to play the key players in the positions suited to them,” Indian skipper Rahul Dravid said today.

The Indian team management has come under flak from various quarters for going too far with their experiments in batting order in the wake of their huge 341-run defeat to the hosts in the series-deciding third Test in Karachi.

Dravid also dismissed the notion of the team being low on morale and motivation following the Karachi drubbing. “We do not need any extra motivation for the ODIs. That we are playing Pakistan is motivation in itself for the team,” he said after unveiling the Hutch Cup for the five-match ODI series alongwith Pakistan vice-captain Younis Khan.

Dravid said the one-dayers were an altogether different affair from the Tests and India would not make many changes to their regular one-day team.

“It would be an altogether different ball game from the Tests. We have a young team and we will not make many changes in it,” he said while stating that it would be the trusted combination of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag who would mostly open the innings.

“We would mostly be opening with Sehwag and Tendulkar. We also have Gautam Gambhir,” he said.

Dravid did not agree with the suggestion that the one-day side lacked flexibility. “After World Cup in 2003, we were not being flexible enough. Then we got good results against South Africa and Sri Lanka.” He conceded that it would be a challenge to beat Pakistan who were in good nick.

“Pakistan are playing at home and we know that we are up against a good side. They’ve done well so far. It will be a nice challenge,” the Bangalore batsman said.

Asked to comment on Sunil Gavaskar’s criticism in his syndicated column, Dravid said: “We didn’t do well with the new ball and we’ve to learn to play well under pressure. We also need to have a bowler who can take 20 wickets in Test.” Younis Khan, who donned the skipper’s cap for the third Test, said Pakistan were not complacent after their win.

“Everyone in the team is doing well, especially (Kamran) Akmal and Abdul Razzaq,” he added. Asked if he was ready to take over as captain, he said “Inzamam is fit. He is a legend.” — PTI

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Indian bat behind Younis’ success

Karachi, February 3
Younis Khan, one of the heroes of Pakistan’s victory in the Test series against India, seems to believe in hitting the enemy with their own weapon.
Revealing the secret of his stellar performance, Younis said he was using the cricket bat of an Indian company, BDM, based in Meerut, and would like to renew their contract for a longer term.

“You can say it’s a lucky bat for me because I feel very comfortable batting with it and I’ve scored a lot of runs with it. Players generally are very superstitious about their cricket equipment and it is the same with me,” Younis was quoted as saying by the The News.

Younis, who led Pakistan to victory in the third Test, has been using their bat since last year when he entered into a contract with BD Mahajan and Sons during the tour to India.

In the past six Tests against the Indians, Younis has scored over 1,000 runs with four big hundreds, including scores of 267, 199 and 194. In the just concluded three-Test series, he was the highest run getter on either side with 553 runs.

“Their cricket equipment is of good standard and I’ve been comfortable using their stuff,” said the player, who has three months left in the contract with the Indian company.

Another Pakistani batsman Asim Kamal, who is not in the team these days, is also signed on by BDM. — PTI 

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Sourav confident of comeback

New Delhi, February 3
Having no further role to play in the Indo-Pak series, Sourav Ganguly arrived here today from Karachi along with his wife and daughter.
The Bengal batsman is among the four players who returned from Pakistan after being dropped from the one-day squad.

KARACHI: “I am definitely keen to get back to coloured clothing. With all the runs behind me in one-day cricket, I’m looking forward to playing the World Cup as well,” said Ganguly, hours before taking the return flight to India.

Ganguly said his handling of Shoaib Akhtar during the Karachi Test against Pakistan should dispel the “myth” that he was susceptible to genuine pace and it should stand him in good stead for India’s future matches.

The former captain, dropped from the one-day squad, said it had been quite disappointing to lose the Karachi Test and not being able to convert his start into a big score.

“It is disappointing. We were in a great position on day one. Before lunch, they were 39 for 6 and to lose a Test match from there, obviously it is very disappointing,” he told CNN-IBN channel.

“I played well in both the innings. But a big score was required at that stage, which did not happen. It is a disappointment. But at least you know you are playing well.” — PTI

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We handled pressure better
Inzamam-ul-Haq

Even after defeating India, I still have the highest respect for them as opponents. They played tough cricket and tried as hard as they could but the fact of the matter is that they could not handle the pressure as well as we did.

However, I would certainly say here that Rahul Dravid's decision to open the innings in the series did help our cause.

Dravid is an excellent one-down batsman, probably the best in the world. But there is always a difference between an opener and a one-down batsman no matter even if the No. 3 batsman has to be at the crease on the second ball of the innings.

The mindset and the approach of an opener and No. 3 batsman is absolutely different and I can say this with conviction because I have batted on both the positions, at least in one-dayers if not the Tests.

Dravid managed to give his best in Lahore and Faisalabad probably because the conditions were comparatively easier. But when the conditions and match situation changed in Karachi, he struggled and in both the innings and became the first batsman to be dismissed.

When a batsman of the calibre and quality of Dravid becomes the first casualty, the opponents see a window of opportunity and if the opponents are as opportunists and shrewd as Pakistan, then they would hardly provide India a comeback chance, which we didn’t give.

It would not be an exaggeration if I say I am the most satisfied man on the planet at the moment. It is a dream of any Pakistan captain to win a series against India and doing it so convincingly, makes me even more happier.

I am particularly pleased with the improvement we have made since we lost to India at home in 2004. Then, we were an inexperienced team and captaincy was also new to me. But now, we are a more experienced side and know how to handle the pressure.

To me, handling the pressure and performing in pressure situations has been the decisive factor in the series that was decided in Karachi after two high scoring draws at Lahore and Faisalabad.

In 2004, we were in a rebuilding phase after the disastrous 2003 World Cup campaign and the batsmen, in particular, did not know where they would bat or what was their role. For example, in the one-dayers we were playing Shahid Afridi on top of the order but we didn’t consider him for the Tests. But now, Shahid is an integral component of our side in both the forms of the game and he knows he has to bat in the middle, what is expected of him and how he would live up to those expectations.

Moreover, even after playing on batsmen-friendly pitches at Lahore and Faisalabad, our batsmen were quick to adjust to the seamer-friendly wicket at Karachi when we posted 599 after being skittled out for 245 in the first innings and that too after we had slumped to 0-3 and then 39-6.

Cricket is all about learning quick and fast, and we have proved to be better learners.

Furthermore, we can no more be branded as a one-man team — a tag that is against most of the teams. We won the Bangalore Test without Shoaib Akhtar, Lahore Test (against England) without Younis Khan and Karachi Test without me. It’s all out self-belief and self-confidence, and at the moment we are rich in that. Of course, winning and that too against top teams has helped us a lot.

I can say it for certain that when we arrived in Karachi for the third Test, there was tremendous pressure on us for two simple reasons — firstly, the first two Tests had ended in draws and we did not know what would happen in the third, and secondly, we were being accused of adopting negative tactics by preparing batting tracks.

I want to put the record straight here. We always wanted hard and bouncy wickets because we had the confidence that our bowling attack was more penetrative and aggressive compared to India. That is besides the point that weather did not allow the groundsmen to come up with the wickets we were hoping for.

To me, the find of the series has undoubtedly been Mohammad Asif. The lanky bowler kept coming up with something new and the Indian batsmen had no clue what to expect next. I don’t believe that the techniques of the Indian batsmen was faulty.

The simple fact is that Asif comprehensively beat them with his swing and pace. Needless to say that the combination of controlled swing and pace is always difficult to handle for any batsman, no matter how great he may be. I think Indian batting capitulated against some very aggressive and hostile bowling for which credit must be given to Asif instead of blaming and questioning the abilities and techniques of the batsmen.

Looking back at the series, I am disappointed that the first two Tests did not produce results. But at the end of the day, the better team that played better cricket on that given day won. — PTI

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Cash rewards for Pak players

Lahore: With the series against India sealed, Pakistan players are now busy reaping the rewards and the first of these have been announced by the National Bank of Pakistan, which will give Rs 1 lakh each to pacer Mohammad Asif, wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and opener Salman Butt.

The trio played an important role in Pakistan’s victory in the third Test here, which eventually sealed the series in favour of the hosts. — UNI

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Aussies rout South Africa

Sydney, February 3
Brett Lee ripped through the fragile South African batting, while Andrew Symonds and Mike Hussey piled on the runs to help Australia to an 80-run victory in a one-day match today.

Symonds (65) and Hussey (62) plundered 109 runs off 79 balls to help Australia reach a daunting total of 281 for seven, before Lee captured four wickets to restrict the Proteas to 201-9 at Melbourne’s Docklands Stadium.

Lee was called into the Australian team on the morning of the match when Glenn McGrath withdrew after learning that his wife had been diagnosed with cancer for the third time.

Australia are already assured of a place in the best-of-three finals, while South Africa need to win one of their remaining two matches to claim the other spot ahead of Sri Lanka. They play Australia in Sydney on Sunday, then take on Sri Lanka in Hobart on Tuesday.

Scoreboard

Australia

Gilchrist b Hall 33

Katich c Pollock b Van der Wath 25

Ponting c Van der Wath b Botha 53

Martyn c Botha b Smith 34

Symonds run out 65

Clarke run out 1

Hussey b Van der Wath 62

Lee not out 0

Extras (b-1, lb-1, nb-2, w-4) 8

Total (7 wickets, 50 overs) 281

Fall of wickets: 1-45, 2-71, 3-145, 4-163, 5-167, 6-276, 7-281.

Bowling: Pollock 10-2-20-0, Langeveldt 6-0-50-0, Hall 10-0-56-1, Van der Wath 10-0-82-2, Smith 10-0-59-1, Botha 4-0-12-1.

South Africa

Smith lbw Lee 0

Dippenaar c Gilchrist b Clark 9

Rudolph run out 19

Gibbs b Hopes 33

Botha c Gilchrist b Lee 46

Prince run out 24

Kemp c Hopes b Lee 20

Boucher c Ponting b Lee 0

Pollock c Martyn b Symonds 16

Hall not out 19

Van der Wath not out 8

Extras (nb-1, w-6) 7

Total (9 wickets, 50 overs) 201

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-13, 3-48, 4-69, 5-117, 6-155, 7-156, 8-156, 9-183.

Bowling: Lee 10-2-30-4, S. Clark 8-1-34-1, Dorey 10-0-48-0, Hopes 6-1-16-1, Hogg 7-0-32-0, Symonds 9-0-41-1. — Reuters

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Murali to get reprimand for obscene gesture

Sydney, February 3
Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan will be given an unofficial reprimand for gesturing at a spectator, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said today.
Muralitharan was photographed making a one-fingered gesture at a spectator who heckled him during a one-day match against South Africa in Perth on Tuesday.

Match referee Jeff Crowe said while he accepted that Muralitharan had been provoked, the Sri Lankan was still bound by rules governing player behaviour.

“While it is understood that there was substantial provocation from a section of the Perth crowd, there is a standard required and a player needs to keep his emotions under some control,” Crowe said in a statement.

Muralitharan has been subjected to chants of “no ball” whenever he bowls in Australia in reference to his unusual bowling action.

He was called for throwing during a Test in Australia over a decade ago but was allowed to keep playing after scientific tests cleared him of having an illegal action.

Sri Lankan team manager Michael Tissera told reporters today his team-mates were annoyed by the ongoing criticism of Muralitharan by spectators. — Reuters

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Colts lose warm-up tie

Colombo, February 3
Tournament favourites India were shocked by England, who pulled off a thrilling 28-run win in a low-scoring game on the second day of the warm-up matches ahead of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup here.

India looked to have a firm grip on the match when they bowled out England for 186 with 6.2 overs remaining. Saurabh Bandekar was the most successful of Indian bowlers with figures of three for 36.

However, Mark Nelson, who earlier helped England to their final score with an aggressive 34, became the star with the ball as India were skittled for just 158. Nelson removed opener Gaurav Dhiman with the first ball of the innings and finished with 3-37.

Only Rohit Sharma, with an aggressive 34 from just 22 balls, put up some resistance.

Further warm-up matches will be played today ahead of the official opening of the tournament tomorrow and the first group matches on Sunday. — UNI

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Ganguly loses to Akopian

Gibraltar, February 3
Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly missed out on his chance to be among the prize winners by a whisker by going down to second seeded GM Vladimir Akopian of Armenia in the 10th and final round of Gibtele.com Masters chess tournament at Caleta hotel here.

Other Indians ended on a mixed note in the tournament which was deservedly won by former world junior champion Kiril Georgiev of Bulgaria, who took an easy draw with GM Emil Sutovsky of Israel in the final round.

Georgiev scored 8.5 points out of a possible 10 and won the winner’s purse of £ 6000 (Rs 4.5 lakh approx) for his effort.

Britain’s GM Nigel Short and Sutovsky, who both scored an identical 7.5 points, shared the second place to go home richer by £ 3500 each. Short lived up to expectations as he defeated GM Mohammad Al-Modaihki of Qatar.

Sandipan Chanda emerged as the best Indian performer in the event after beating Nicolas Speck of Australia who earlier made his International Master norm in the event.

Winning a fine middle game with white pieces out of a King’s Indian defence game, Chanda ended up with 6.5 points and stands to gain 11 ELO rating points from the event.

Also ending on 6.5 points was International Master and GM norm holder S Kidambi who picked up in the event after an indifferent start. However, since his opposition was not good enough, Kidambi will lose a few rating points. In the last round game, Kidambi defeated Van Den Bresselaar of Holland.

GM Tejas Bakre was comprehensively beaten by Swiss GM Yannick Pelletier.

Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury drew with compatriot Kruttika Nadig and Abhijit Kunte met a similar fate against Viktorija Cmilyte of Lithuania. Swati Ghate held GM Peter Wells of England in a creditable fashion.

Nisha Mohota, Mary Ann Gomes and Anupama Gokhale coasted to final round victories while Bhagyashree Thipsay and Nimmy George were on the receiving end. — PTI

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Dempo register first victory

Kolkata, February 3
Defending champions Dempo Sports Club signalled a return to form, riding past Mohammedan Sporting 2-0 to register their maiden victory in the ONGC Cup 10th National Football League here today.

Ranty Martins struck a first half brace in the sedate Salt Lake stadium exchange to boost Dempo’s points tally to six from as many matches and Sporting their second defeat in the ongoing league. The local outfit, who have surprised pundits with their spirited display so far, remained on ten points from six outings.

The Goans, languishing at the second last spot before the match, made the scoreline 1-0 in the 24th minute, capitalising on a Sporting defensive lapse.

Dempo’s Jules Alberto essayed a centre from the right into the rival box, and Sporting’s Zimbabwean defender David Mkandawire chest trapped the ball, but then got entangled in a misunderstanding with Wajid Ali.

As the two rearguards looked at each other, Martins seized the opportunity, and in a flash put the ball home with a snap volley, giving no chance to Sporting goalkeeper Gopal Das.

Dempo consolidated their position in the 44th minute, following a fast counter.

Martins latched on to a long through from the midfield and from outside the box and slammed in between the two defenders of the Kolkata outfit. Das, the Sporting custodian, tried to narrow the angle, but Martins guided the ball to the left of the goal.

Fransa fail to turn up for match

Margao: The Fransa Pax-Air-India match in the National Football League could not be held on Friday with the former not turning up as their request for rescheduling their matches was turned down by the All-India Football Federation (AIFF).

Fransa Pax have been peeved over referee Bikramjit’s decision to award the controversial penalty kick to Mahindra United, Mumbai, resulting in their 1-2 loss in the match on January 30.

Fransa president Mickey Pacheo said his club had lodged an official protest along with a fee of Rs 1,000, demanding that the match with Mahindra United either be replayed or both teams be awarded a point each. — PTI, UNI

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Atwal tied 26th

Scottsdale, February 3
Arjun Atwal’s love for eagles again came to the fore when the Kolkata pro hit one on the 15th hole to surge to a tied 26th position with two-under 69 on day one of the $ 5.2-million FBR Open Golf Tournament here.

In the Buick Invitational last week, the Orlando-based Indian sliced his way to history when he hit three eagles in a round to equal the USPGA record.

American Steve Lowery and Czech Alex Cejka share the lead with six-under 65 after the opening round. Defending champion Phil Mickelson shares tied 26th spot with, among others, Atwal.

The 32-year-old Indian had a good start and gained strokes early on the third and fifth holes. However, things went back to square one after two back-to-back bogeys on the eighth and ninth holes.

After some par putts in the back nine, Atwal came up with an eagle on the 15 hole and then went on to maintain his two-stroke advantage.

Meanwhile, Daniel Chopra struggled with his putting touch and ended up at tied-104th position with two over 73. — UNI

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 BRIEFLY

Gymnastics meet
AMRITSAR:
Uttar Pradesh (248.30) won the men’s team championship on the second day of the four-day 46th Senior National Gymnastics Championship being held at gymnastics hall in Gurdaspur on Friday.
Punjab finished fourth, securing 237.35 points. Railways were second with 246.55 points while Services got the third place with 239 points. — OSR

Delhi squad
NEW DELHI:
Mithun Manhas will lead the 15-member Delhi cricket team for the Ranji Trophy One-Day Tournament to be played from February 10.
The team: Mithun Manhas (capt), Aakash Chopra, Shikhar Dhawan, Rajat Bhatia, Gaurav Chhabra, Virat Kohli, Abhinav Bali, Punit Bisht, I Sharma, Amit Bhandari, Kunnal Lal, N.S. Negi, Sohail Sharma, Yogesh Sachdeva and Chatainya Nanda. Coach: Madan Lal, Assistant coach: M.S. Jaggi, Manager: Ashok Vaswani. — OSR

Soccer tourney
NEW DELHI:
Defending champions Zakir Hussain defeated inter-college champions Moti Lal Nehru College 2-0 in the 19th Zakir Husain Memorial Football Tournament at the Ambedkar Stadium here on Friday. Gaingmlung Kamei opened the account in the 27th minute when he converted a penalty kick. On resumption, Zakir Hussain played with absolute domination to add three more goals through Kamei, Ankur Bisht and Angom Saran Singh.
Last year’s runners-up Jamia Millia Islamia trounced Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education and Sports Sciences 4-1, with Obed Kameki and Soreihor Rungh striking a brace each. Uttam Negi reduced the margin for the losers. — OSR

Football camp
NEW DELHI:
The All-India Football Federation (AIFF) has included three boys from Delhi among the 43 probables for the India under-14 coaching camp to be held in Chandigarh from February 15 to March 23. The three players are: Sumit Rawat, Aditya Avasti and Vivian Singh Sahi.
Delhi Soccer Association secretary N K Bhatia said DSA league champions Simla Youngs had been selected by the AIFF for the Second Division National Football League to be held at Bangalore and Jamshedpur from February 22. The AIFF has also selected two Delhi girls, goalkeeper Manuti Passi and medio Neha Kapoor, for the women’s under-19 coaching camp starting on February 12 at Gurgaon in preparation for the AFC Women’s Championship qualification round to be held in the Capital from March 5 to 9. — OSR

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