SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI







THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

Testing time for India
Kuala Lumpur, September 13
India will miss the services of one-day specialist Yuvraj Singh as they launch their campaign in the DLF Cup cricket tri-series against the West Indies here tomorrow, eager to prove that the innovative training camps back home have sharpened their skills.


Sachin Tendulkar shares a light moment with Harbhajan Singh as Greg Chappell looks on during a training session at Kinrara Oval Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Sachin Tendulkar shares a light moment with Harbhajan Singh as Greg Chappell looks on during a training session at Kinrara Oval Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Wednesday.
— AFP photo

Ponting regrets his action
Kuala Lumpur, September 13
Ricky Ponting, who was fined his entire match fee for breaching the ICC code of conduct, has apologised to umpire Asad Rauf for showing dissent over a decision during the DLF Cup tri-series match against the West Indies.

Zimbabwe eye Test return next year
Durban, September 13
Zimbabwe will return to Test cricket in November, 2007, when it will take on the West Indies in a home series, coach Kevin Curran has said. “We will be playing the West Indies at home in November next year.

More goes into denial mode
Vadodara, September 13
A day after stirring up a controversy by his remarks, outgoing Selection Committee Chairman Kiran More today denied having said that the selection system was biased. More said he had only referred to an incident when three of the selectors had come to the meeting with an agenda.



Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus returns a shot to German Denis Gremelmayr in a first round match of the China Open in Beijing
Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus returns a shot to German Denis Gremelmayr in a first round match of the China Open in Beijing on Tuesday. Baghdatis won 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(5). — AFP

EARLIER STORIES

Spain storm into semifinals
Germany, Korea also make it; Netherlands out
Monchengladbach, September 13
Spain joined Australia in the semifinals of the 11th FIH men's hockey World Cup with a hard-fought but unimpressive 4-2 win against Japan in their concluding pool A match here today.

Spanish players (from right) Pol Amat, Santiago Freixa and Victor Sojo celebrate after scoring against Japan during their hockey World Cup match in Monchengladbach on Wednesday.
— AFP photo
Spanish players (from right) Pol Amat, Santiago Freixa and Victor Sojo celebrate after scoring against Japan during their hockey World Cup match in Monchengladbach

Defence let us down: Baskaran
Monchengladbach, September 13
Indian coach Vasudevan Baskaran said the deep defence, which conceded 10 penalty corners, let the team down in the last league match against the Netherlands in the hockey World Cup here.

No woman in women hockey body’s executive
Amritsar, September 13
The newly constituted District Women Hockey Association amazingly does not have any woman in decision-making body of the association. According to a spokesperson of DWHA, the association has 50 women players but all of them are members.

Veronica Soberon of Argentina vies for the ball with Janeth Arcain of Brazil, during the FIBA World Championship for Women in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Veronica Soberon (left) of Argentina vies for the ball with Janeth Arcain of Brazil, during the FIBA World Championship for Women in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Tuesday. Brazil won 71-69. — AFP

HPCA (Zar) flays Thakur
Kangra September 13
The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (Zar faction) today criticised Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association president Anurag Thakur for ignoring the talent of the state and encouraging the cricketers from outside, which according to them was evident from the selection of the new team, which has only three players from Himachal Pradesh.

India joint 5th in qualifier
Kuala Lumpur, September 13
The Indian duo of Gaurav Ghei and Shiv Kapur could not begin with a bang and finished joint fifth after returning a card of three-under 68 in the first round of the World Cup qualifier here today.

Bhupathi-Ancic win
Beijing, September 13
Tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi teamed up with Mario Ancic of Croatia to tame the Hyung-Taik Lee-Yeu-Tzou Wang pair in straight sets to storm into the second round of the $ 475,000 China Open here.



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Testing time for India
Jaishree Balasubramaniam

Kuala Lumpur, September 13
India will miss the services of one-day specialist Yuvraj Singh as they launch their campaign in the DLF Cup cricket tri-series against the West Indies here tomorrow, eager to prove that the innovative training camps back home have sharpened their skills.

The Indians have of late resorted to unconventional training methods to prepare for upcoming tournaments and the tri-series here will give Rahul Dravid and his men an opportunity to test themselves against two strong opponents.

The absence of Yuvraj, who is down with fever, could give all-rounder Dinesh Mongia the chance to prove his worth after staging a comeback to the national team.

The team management has already made it clear that it would continue to experiment with some of the batting slots and it could mean that players like Irfan Pathan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni may come up and down the order as per the team requirement.

The recent 1-4 series defeat at the hands of the West Indies will also be rankling the Indians who will be hoping to settle old scores with the Caribbean team at the Kinrara Oval. West Indies, since that victory, had been projecting themselves as a vastly improving one-day side.

But the tag of unpredictability refused to leave Brian Lara’s men when they suffered a dramatic collapse yesterday to world champions Australia in the opening match of this day-night tournament.

The buzz would be around the much-anticipated return of Sachin Tendulkar to the international arena. The star batsman was expected to make a comeback from a shoulder injury last month in Sri Lanka but the jinxed trip meant it had to be delayed till this competition.

And the opposition camp cannot afford to take Tendulkar lightly though he has not been a heavy scorer of late. “We know Sachin can bat well. It all depends on how well we can carry our game plan,” West Indies star batsman Shivnarain Chanderpaul said.

Tendulkar looked in fine nick in the two practice games that the teams played towards the fag end of their training camp in Chennai but it remains to be seen how he uses this opportunity to prepare himself for the high profile Champions Trophy next month.

The Mumbai batsman had come to bat in his usual opening position in the brief four overs of play that was possible in Sri Lanka but with a different partner in skipper Rahul Dravid.

Whether it was a one-off experiment or a sign of things to come would only be known when the players walk out in the middle at the Kinara Oval tomorrow.

The wicket at the Oval played true to the prediction made by curator Lee Burdett. It was a haven for strokemakers but also had something in it for the bowlers, a more or less ideal strip for which Burdett can take some credit.

Squads (from): India: Rahul Dravid (capt), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, M.S. Dhoni, Mohd Kaif, Dinesh Mongia, Irfan Pathan, Ramesh Powar, Suresh Raina, Ajit Agarkar, Harbhajan Singh, R.P. Singh, S. Sreesanth and Munaf Patel.

West Indies: Brian Lara (capt), Ramnaresh Sarwan, Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Wavell Hinds, Runako Morton, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Carlton Baugh, Ian Bradshaw, Jerome Taylor, Fidel Edwards and Corey Collymore. — PTI

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Ponting regrets his action

Kuala Lumpur, September 13
Ricky Ponting, who was fined his entire match fee for breaching the ICC code of conduct, has apologised to umpire Asad Rauf for showing dissent over a decision during the DLF Cup tri-series match against the West Indies.

“Having had the opportunity to sleep on the incident I know I made a serious error of judgment. I regret the approach I made to umpire Asad Rauf and realise I should not have behaved in the way I did,” Ponting said in a statement released by Cricket Australia.

In a hearing after the match yesterday, match referee Chris Broad, found Ponting guilty of having breached level 1.3 of the ICC Code of Conduct for ‘showing dissent at an umpire’s decision by action or verbal abuse’.

“International cricket matches are passionate affairs but as the captain of the Australian cricket team, I understand it’s my responsibility to uphold the spirit of the game and I know that through my actions last night I let myself and my team down,” he said.

Ponting queried Rauf’s call of a wide ball given in the 33rd over off Shane Watson. Since it was the second such incident in the past 12 months that Ponting was involved in — the other happened during the Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong in April — the punishment was raised to the level-2 offence.

“The ‘Spirit of Cricket’ is very important to the Australian cricket team...and I am disappointed that I fell short of the standards I expect of myself and my team-mates last night,” Ponting said.

“I’ll be personally apologising to umpire Rauf at the first opportunity and this morning I called a team meeting to apologise to the players and to discuss our ongoing support for the ‘Spirit of Cricket’,” he said.

“I’ve also spoken to Cricket Australia’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Michael Brown, and apologised to him and through him to the Cricket Australia Board of Directors and Australian cricket fans for my behaviour. — PTI

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Zimbabwe eye Test return next year

Durban, September 13
Zimbabwe will return to Test cricket in November, 2007, when it will take on the West Indies in a home series, coach Kevin Curran has said.

“We will be playing the West Indies at home in November next year. We think that will give us time to develop our very young team, and we also believe that the West Indies would be at the right level of play for our return to Test cricket,” Curran said on his arrival in South Africa for a three-match one-day series against the hosts.

Zimbabwe had announced its withdrawal from all Tests in 2006 until it was competitive and Curran said it was important for the team to get as much international exposure as possible.

“It’s a very young team, the average age is about 21, so we need to play lots of competitive cricket. We are also planning a number of four-day matches against teams like South Africa ‘A’ and other ‘A’ sides. As these players gain international experience, they will improve and become more competitive.

Losing about 20 senior players made a huge dent in Zimbabwe cricket, he said, adding “when you look at the kind of experience there is in the South African team, with players like Jacques Kallis, Makhaya Ntini and Shaun Pollock, it’s going to be a huge challenge for our guys to play against a team we consider one of the best in the world.” — PTI

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More goes into denial mode

Vadodara, September 13
A day after stirring up a controversy by his remarks, outgoing Selection Committee Chairman Kiran More today denied having said that the selection system was biased.

More said he had only referred to an incident when three of the selectors had come to the meeting with an agenda.

“I never used the word ‘biased’ in the interview. I only mentioned about that incident. I did not take any names,” More said.

“In fact, the selection process is good. There may be differences (of opinion) but in the broader perspective of the game, we need to take certain decisions,” More told PTI.

However, ‘Times Now’, the channel that carried the interview, had said in a press release that when asked if John Wright's observation that the selectors were biased was true, More had replied “absolutely”.

More had also said in the interview that he did not believe in the voting system of picking players.

“I don’t believe in the voting system. This happened in Madras (Chennai) when three selectors walked into the meeting and said this is what they want. (Coach Greg) Chappell and (Rahul) Dravid were also present,” he said.

“We requested the selectors but once three people have decided there is little you can do. Then there is the secretary who plays an important role. But voting is not good at all,” the release had quoted him as saying. — PTI

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Spain storm into semifinals
Germany, Korea also make it; Netherlands out
Anand Philar

Monchengladbach, September 13
Spain joined Australia in the semifinals of the 11th FIH men's hockey World Cup with a hard-fought but unimpressive 4-2 win against Japan in their concluding pool A match here today.

Played in searing mid-afternoon heat, Spain struggled to find their rhythm and fluency and enjoyed a few close shaves before coming through on goals by Santiago Freixa (44th, 57th, 66th) and Pol Amat (22nd) with Kenichi Katayama (15th, 48th) replying for Japan.

The victory took Spain to 11 points, two more than Australia who had ensured their qualification yesterday. Japan finished at the bottom of the pool with three points from their lone win against Argentina.

Japan were distinctly unlucky to lose, for they had their chances and repeatedly troubled the Spanish defence with nippy moves, quite a few of which led to penalty corners. But the absence of a specialist drag-flicker weighed down Japan who could not convert any.

At the other end, Spain played well in patches and it was left to their hard-working forwards to do most of the work with Amat and Freixta teaming up for a deadly combination.

However, for much of the time, Spain seemed to be playing at half-pace and at times, the tempers ran on short fuse, especially when in the second-half the Japanese were first awarded a goal but referred to the video umpire after a strong protest from the Spanish bench with coach Maurits Hendricks running on the pitch.

Katayama’s goal was subsequently upheld even as Hendricks was escorted off the pitch.

The tournament takes a day's break tomorrow with the classification matches to be played over the weekend.

Germany, Korea play out farcical draw

World champions Germany and Korea played out a goalless draw and shut the doors on the Netherlands while advancing to the semifinals of the 11th FIH men’s hockey World Cup from pool B here today.

Germany and Korea both finished with 11 points apiece and the draw, that was greeted by boos and whistles, left the Dutch on 10 points and in third place in the pool.

With the Dutch team watching the farcical proceedings helplessly from the stands, Germany and Korea made no pretense of a competition much to the disgust of the huge crowd at the Warsteiner Hockey Park here. — PTI

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Defence let us down: Baskaran

Monchengladbach, September 13
Indian coach Vasudevan Baskaran said the deep defence, which conceded 10 penalty corners, let the team down in the last league match against the Netherlands in the hockey World Cup here.

Baskaran said apart from goof-ups by defenders, which allowed a lot of penalty corners to the Dutch side, the Indians failed to hold on to the ball.

“In fact, the big difference between the teams was the penalty corner conversion. But otherwise, I thought our boys played extremely well today. Our big mistake was that we did not try to slow down the game and I felt that the forwards should have kept the ball for longer time rather than go on all out attack.

“Consequently, we left ourselves open to counter-attacks and the Dutch were quite quick in turn-arounds. Overall, it was rather disappointing that we conceded penalty corners so easily and this is something that we need to work on,” he said.

When asked about the two yellow cards, to Kanwalpreet Singh and Viren Rasquinha, Baskaran said: “Our players should be aware of the rules of the game. After all, this is the World Cup and not a domestic tournament. They should have been more careful.” He conceded that the defence of the penalty corners was also not up to the mark and goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza was a bit late in reacting during the first two penalty corners.

Baskaran’s counterpart Roelant Oltmans said he was relieved that his team finally got going with penalty corner conversions.

“What we didn’t do earlier in the tournament, we did today. I think, we are ready to take on any team. We played well today and controlled the match,” he said.

Man-of-the-match Taeke Taekema, who scored five of the six Dutch goals from penalty corners, said he was happy at his success.

“It took some time for me to get used to the pitch here that was on the softer side and I was pushing too hard. But today, it all fell into place and it’s great to score five in one match,” he said. — PTI

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No woman in women hockey body’s executive
Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, September 13
The newly constituted District Women Hockey Association (DWHA) amazingly does not have any woman in decision-making body of the association.

According to a spokesperson of DWHA, the association has 50 women players but all of them are members. Senior woman hockey players are disgruntled that none of them have been given a place in the executive body of the association.

Meanwhile, the holy city has the distinction of producing a number of women hockey players who represented the country namely Parminder Sekhon, Darshan Bajwa, Rajbir Kaur, Rajwinder Kaur, Kuldeep Kaur, Paramjit Kaur, Amandeep Kaur, Manjinder Kaur, Rajwinder Kaur, Pushpinder and Pritpal Kaur.

Office bearers of the association are: Darshan Singh Mann, DSP (Chief Patron), Sukhdev Singh Chahal (Chairman), Baljit Singh Randhawa (President), Balwinder Singh Shammi (Senior Vice-Preident), Gurinder Singh Mann (General Secretary), Rajbir Singh Sarkaria (Secretary).

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HPCA (Zar) flays Thakur

Kangra September 13
The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (Zar faction) today criticised Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association president Anurag Thakur for ignoring the talent of the state and encouraging the cricketers from outside, which according to them was evident from the selection of the new team, which has only three players from Himachal Pradesh.

In a joint press conference here today Rajeev Nayar, Anil Kumar Minto and Jaswant Rai, veteran cricketers of the state, said there were eight members in the team from outside which included Sharandeep Singh who represented Punjab and Delhi, Sandeep Sharma (Jalandhar) and Mohinder Bisla (Haryana) as professionals.

Mr Rajeev Nayar, general secretary, Una district Cricket Association, said he has scored 7200 runs with 20 centuries, 35 fifties in 97 matches with an average of 48.80 runs but has been ignored despite being a Himachali. He alleged that those who were included in the team as professionals were discarded by their own states.

He said they had no objection if the outsider professionals were included in the team but those should be efficient cricketers like Sachin and others. He said that other outsiders were Kuldeep Kumar, Delhi, Vikramjeet Malik Haryana, Ankur Bassi , Manu Sharma and Amit, all from Amritsar. — OC

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India joint 5th in qualifier

Kuala Lumpur, September 13
The Indian duo of Gaurav Ghei and Shiv Kapur could not begin with a bang and finished joint fifth after returning a card of three-under 68 in the first round of the World Cup qualifier here today.

The top two teams, after four rounds, will qualify for the World Golf Championships-World Cup in Barbados in December.

Hong Kong’s David Freeman and James Stewart combined effectively to shoot eight-under 63 for the first round lead. They recovered from a rather sluggish start in the fourball better ball format at Seri Selangor Golf Club, sinking nine birdies against a lone bogey in their last 12 holes.

They lead by a stroke from the Philippines, while Malaysia’s Iain Steel and Danny Chia and Singaporean duo of Lam Chih Bing and Mardan Mamat sharing third place on 65. — UNI

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Bhupathi-Ancic win

Beijing, September 13
Tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi teamed up with Mario Ancic of Croatia to tame the Hyung-Taik Lee-Yeu-Tzou Wang pair in straight sets to storm into the second round of the $ 475,000 China Open here.

The Bhupathi-Ancic pair never faced any problem against their unheralded opponents from Korea and Chinese Taipei and cantered to a 6-3, 6-3 win in the first round match.

In the second round, they take on third seeded American pair of Eric Butorac and Travis Parrot, who beat Thai duo of Sanchai Ratiwatana and Sonchat Ratiwatana 6-2, 6-3. — UNI

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 BRIEFLY

Srinath to play in Dubai cricket fest
Mumbai:
Former India pacer Javagal Srinath is to make an appearance along with four other well-known former cricketers from other countries in a celebrity Twenty20 tournament in Dubai later this year. Srinath, Kim Hughes (Australia), Mike Gatting (England), Waqar Younis (Pakistan) and the ‘Big Bird’ Joel Garner of the West Indies have been roped in for the three-day Emirates Airline Festival of Cricket from November 9, a media release said on Tuesday. — PTI

Uberoi bows out
Bali:
Shikha Uberoi squandered initial advantage and lost to lowly ranked Andreja Klepac of Slovenia 6-7, 6-1, 6-3 in the first round to crash out of $225,000 Wismilak International Women’s tennis tournament here. The 23-year-old US-based Indian started off well and won a hard-fought first set in tiebreak. But, the world number 194 Indian was out of sorts in the next two sets and surrendered tamely to the Slovenian, ranked 264 in the world. — UNI

India slip
New Delhi:
Two successive defeats against Asian powerhouse Saudi Arabia has hit Indian football hard as it fell eight spots to joint 136th in the latest FIFA world rankings. India is ranked 25th in the Asian Football Confederation family, which is led by Australia in 38th place. — PTI

Shooting meet
Hisar:
The 7th Haryana state rifle shooting championship will he held at the shooting range of Haryana Agricultural University (HAU) here from September 27 to 30. President of the Haryana State Rifle Association said the competition would be conducted in senior, junior and sub-junior categories and about 200 participants would take part in this four-day championship. Last date of sending entries for the competition is September 20. — PTI

District games
AMRITSAR:
The District Sports Department would hold two-day local competitions of men and women tournaments from September 18. Guru Nanak Stadium will witness action in athletics, hockey and volleyball while gymnastics will be hosted at Wrestling Stadium, Gol Bagh, swimming at Khalsa College, badminton at Badminton Hall, Gol Bagh, and basketball at Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Shivala Bagh Bhayian. — OSR

TT tourney
AMRITSAR:
About 300 players from across the state would participate in the three-day Punjab State Ranking Table Tennis Championship at Table Tennis Hall, Gol Bagh, from September 15. The Amritsar Table Tennis Association would conduct the tournament. — OSR
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