SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

Crash course
Batting fiasco spells India’s doom

Durban, December 30
A furious spell of fast bowling by Makhaya Ntini, ably supported by Andre Nel, spearheaded South Africa to victory over India by 174 runs in the second Test today.
Makhaya Ntini and Graeme Smith celebrate South Africa’s victory over India in the second Test at Durban on Saturday
Makhaya Ntini (left) and Graeme Smith celebrate South Africa’s victory over India in the second Test at Durban on Saturday. Ntini was named the man of the match. — AFP photo

Shot selection was terrible
Sunil Gavaskar India’s batsmen once again showed that when it comes to batting for time and saving a game, they couldn’t be relied upon to do so. That a team with a batting order with over 36,000 runs is not able to bat for 60 overs is an indication of the lack of application and the attitude that is needed to bat to save the game.

PCB questions WADA’s jurisdiction
Karachi, December 30
The Pakistan Cricket Board has questioned the “jurisdiction” of the World Anti-Doping Agency in challenging the exoneration of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, saying it was an internal matter of the board.

Chennai Open
Indians pitted against formidable rivals

Chennai, December 30
The Indian challenge in the singles draw of the ATP Tour Chennai Open 2007 has been pitted against formidable opponents when the men’s singles main draw matches begin here on the New Year Day.

Tatiana Golovin of France acknowledges the crowd after winning her match against Ashley Harkleroad of the USA during the Hopman Cup in Perth on Saturday
Tatiana Golovin of France acknowledges the crowd after winning her match against Ashley Harkleroad of the USA during the Hopman Cup in Perth on Saturday. Golovin won 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

India in a tight spot
December 30
, 2006
SA dominate in gloom
December 29
, 2006
Sachin arrests Indian wobble
December 28
, 2006
Prince denies India full honours
December 27, 2006
Confident India ready to wrest series
December 26
, 2006
Shers have the last roar
December 25
, 2006
Flight of the Pigeon
December 24
, 2006
Gambhir props up India
December 23
, 2006
‘My time, my terms’
December 22
, 2006
End of an era: Warne, McGrath set to retire
December 21
, 2006



In memoriam
These sporting greats breathed their last in 2006

Polly Umrigar
Polly Umrigar (India), masterly cricketer

Fred Trueman
Fred Trueman (England), fearsome pace bowler

Clyde Walcott
Clyde Walcott (West Indies), one of the greatest Caribbean batsmen of all time

Ferenc Puskas
Ferenc Puskas (Hungary), legendary footballer

Rastogi bags Futures title
New Delhi, December 30
Karan Rastogi defeated Hyun-Woo Nam of Korea 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 14 minutes to capture the $15,000 Futures Men’s Indian Open (second leg) Tennis Championship title at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association deco turf court here today. The fourth-seeded Karan played steady, no-frills tennis to bag his second Futures title this year. He had triumphed here in May when he defeated Nick Monru of the USA.

Delhi to host world junior archery championship
New Delhi, December 30
The 10th Junior and 4th Cadet World Archery Championship will be held in the Capital from October 9 to 20 next year at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here. More than 80 countries will participate in the championship. Archery Association of India (AAI) President Prof Vijay Kumar Malhotra said here today that the association had imported equipment worth Rs 1 crore under a 75-25 scheme of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in which the Union Ministry bore the 75 per cent cost to make available the best of equipment for the archers.

Federation Cup
Bagan emerge champions

Kolkata, December 30
Goalkeeper Sangram Mukherjee emerged the hero bringing off two fine penalty saves as Mohun Bagan claimed the 28th Peerless Federation Cup with a 3-1 tie-break victory over Sporting Clube de Goa in a riveting final here today. The match rolled into the penalty shootout as the two sides remained locked 1-1 after the regulation 90 minutes and even half an hour of extra time could not break the deadlock. Sporting had a nightmarish time in the tie-breaker as Jose Carvallo’s first shot crashed into the post, and Sangram showed fine anticipation to save the next attempt from Earnest Jeremiah by diving to his right.

Liberals Hockey
Friends Club to fight it out with cops

Nabha, December 30
Friends Club, Jagraon, pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the tournament when they downed a fancied outfit like PSB Academy to enter the final of the 31st All-India Liberals hockey tournament played at the Government Ripudaman College ground here today. Buoyant after having produced a shock win against CISF yesterday, the Jagraon squad scored an impressive 2-1 win against their rivals who, at least on paper, held the edge as pre-match favourites.

Shuttler to face dope test
New Delhi, December 30
The Andhra Pradesh Badminton Association (APBA) has decided to conduct a dope test on Guru Saidutt on January 3 here to verify the doping allegations levelled against him by fellow shuttler J.B.S Vidyadhar. “Both the players are from the state and we have advised Guru Saidutt to appear for a dope test at the Sports Authority of India laboratory in Delhi. We have informed Badminton Association of India about the decision,” APBA secretary Punnaiah Choudhary told PTI. “We do not want the name of state federation to be tarnished and the matter to hang fire further so we want to have the dope test immediately. But because of New Year holidays, Saidutt will take the tests on Januray 3. We have spoken to the SAI on the matter and they will arrange for the test,” he said.

 

 


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Crash course
Batting fiasco spells India’s doom
Ashish Shukla

Durban, December 30 
A furious spell of fast bowling by Makhaya Ntini, ably supported by Andre Nel, spearheaded South Africa to victory over India by 174 runs in the second Test today. Ntini captured five for 48 and, thereby, the man-of-the-match award. The series is now level at 1-1, with the decider to commence at Cape Town on Tuesday.

The writing was on the wall for India overnight, with the score 38 for two. The elements permitting, the South Africans were odds-on favourites to restore parity. In the event, the weather held — indeed it was bright sunshine midway through the afternoon — but more importantly, South Africa, particularly Ntini, capitalised on conditions highly conducive to pace bowling on an overcast morning. 

The visibility was challenging, the ball wobbled in the air; and when play started 55 minutes after schedule, with the aid of floodlights, both unbeaten batsmen lost their wickets in the 4.3 overs of action that occurred before a stoppage. 

In the very first over, with no addition to the score, Sachin Tendulkar was lbw to a sharp in-cutter. But as VVS Laxman joined Wasim Jaffer, the latter looked in excellent touch, driving firmly and flicking fluently off the legs at the expense of the generally unerring Shaun Pollock. But facing Ntini for the first time, he veritably gifted his wicket.

He attempted a casual hook against a steeply rising delivery outside the off-stump to be easily caught at mid-on. It was a high-risk shot on a fast and bouncy track and against an express merchant, and certainly unwarranted in the circumstances. The fast bowler, operating at his most devastating in the series, had gobbled up the entire spoils in the Indian second innings and boasted facile figures of four for 15 in 7.2 overs.

When play resumed, he made it a fiver as Sourav Ganguly, after a noticeably uncomfortable stay, when he was peppered with short-pitched deliveries, was consumed at gully. Graeme Smith had crowded the former captain with five close catchers, plus a short thirdman on the off-side. It paid off, after Ganguly had been rather fortunate in obtaining three streaky boundaries off the same bowler.

Nel then chipped in. He had been greeted by Laxman with a trademark flick to long-leg. But the muscular paceman gained revenge with a well-pitched ball which clipped the off-bail. The Hyderabad right-hander was stuck in the crease and then playing across the line. India tottered at 85 for six.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni was like a fish out of water. To his credit, he desisted from his aggressive instincts, indeed, permitted Anil Kumble to outscore him. But after the latter left, caught at forward short leg off a throat ball from Andrew Hall — his first of the innings — Dhoni could resist no more.

As the clouds lifted, he made hay while the sun shone. The ball had lost its shine, the danger men — Ntini and Nel — were off the firing line. Dhoni cover drove and on-drove Pollock, then tucked Morne Morkel away off his toes to square leg, before helping himself to 13 in an over from Hall. But continuing in this vein, he flashed at Nel to be caught behind. The match ended with S. Sreesanth storming off the field after being adjudged caught behind by umpire Asad Rauf. The TV replay confirmed the ball had deflected off the shoulder, but the volatility could again draw censure from the Code of Conduct. At the same time, Rauf’s dual errors against Rahul Dravid may have cost India dear. Dravid blames  top order  PTI adds: Indian captain Rahul Dravid blamed his team’s top order for the defeat in the second Test, saying that they let the team down in the crucial outing. “We are a little disappointed. We could have batted a lot better,” Dravid said. The Karnataka batsman said the bowlers did their part of the job admirably. 

Scoreboard

South Africa (1st innings) 328

India (1st innings) 240

South Africa (2nd innings) 265

India (2nd innings)

Jaffer c Nel b Ntini 28

Sehwag c Smith b Ntini 8

Dravid c Boucher b Ntini 5

Tendulkar lbw Ntini 0

Laxman b Nel 15

Ganguly c Gibbs b Ntini 26

Dhoni c Boucher b Nel 47

Kumble c Amla b Hall 11

Zaheer c Hall b Nel 21

Sreesanth c Boucher b Hall 10

VRV Singh not out 0

Extras (b-2, lb-1, w-1, nb-4) 8 Total (all out, 55.1 overs) 179

Fall of wickets:1-14, 2-34, 3-38, 4-45, 5-83, 6-85, 7-101, 8-160, 9-179.

Bowling: Nel 16-4-57-3, Ntini 19-6-48-5, Pollock 9-5-20-0, Morkel 6-0-25-0, Hall 5.1-1-26-2. 

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Shot selection was terrible
Sunil Gavaskar

India’s batsmen once again showed that when it comes to batting for time and saving a game, they couldn’t be relied upon to do so. That a team with a batting order with over 36,000 runs is not able to bat for 60 overs is an indication of the lack of application and the attitude that is needed to bat to save the game.

It’s not the first time it has happened this year, and for the year to end as it did for India is sad indeed. No praise can be too high for the Indian bowlers who have not only bowled their hearts out in tough conditions, but also showed tremendous application to try and delay the end. If only the more accomplished batsmen had shown the same attitude, India could well have gone into the New Year Test with the chance of not losing the Test series. Yes, they can still do it, but it will need a superhuman effort to pull them up from the low that such a defeat can bring about mentally.

The Indians may have suffered from a few umpiring errors, and that too at crucial times, but that’s part of the game and needs to be taken in one’s stride. Some of the shots that were attempted defied belief in the context of the situation of the match.

Wasim Jaffer’s attempt to hook a short ball as if India were doing the chasing rather than looking at saving the game does bring into question his temperament. Sehwag is quite clearly out of sorts with his game, and his body language is not encouraging either, and India will have to look at a change at the top of the order.

Jaffer looked solid while he was at the crease, but his shot selection in both innings here was not Test-class. The skipper got tough decisions in both innings and so cannot be blamed at all. Tendulkar played across the line, as did Laxman, to lose their wickets, and Ganguly in the time he was at the crease was like a cat on a hot tin roof, so jumpy he was at the prospect of playing the climbing ball.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni played some fine shots and looked very good while he was at the crease, but his expansive shot just a couple of minutes before tea was not necessary at that stage of the innings. What was heartening was the efforts of Anil Kumble and Zaheer Khan who gritted their way, taking blows on the body and their bowling hand. They hung around and had to be prised out. That was the kind of attitude that was required from the main batsmen, but it was sadly missing, and that’s what landed India in the sorry state of losing the Test.

Makhaya Ntini bowled splendidly as he got the ball to lift. He created angles that made life tough for the batsmen. At the other end, Andre Nel also bowled with sustained hostility that was simply too much for the Indian batsmen. And though Pollock did not take wickets, he was relentlessly at the batsmen, not giving them any easy runs.

Andrew Hall picked up wickets at vital times, and though he may have to make way for Kallis if the latter is fit for the last Test, he too played an important part in the win. South Africa may also look to go back to Dale Steyn if he is fully fit, because he has the pace and the ability to swing the ball away from the right-hander. Morkel did nothing wrong on his Test debut, but he still has a lot to learn, and he will definitely be a player for South Africa in the future.

India will also need to rethink its XI for the last Test; for starters, the openers and the third paceman. VRV Singh, like Morkel, did little wrong, but Munaf Patel is clearly the better bowler, and so has to play if India want to chip away at the fragile top order of the home team.

It’s a do-or-die situation for both teams, and with the Cape Town pitch noted for being batting-friendly, there could well be lots of runs for the batsmen of both teams after some lean times in the first two Tests.

India have a chance to win a series for the first time in South Africa, but the home team will be fired up after their series-levelling win in Durban. It promises to be a Test to watch, and an ideal way in which to begin the New Year. — PMG

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PCB questions WADA’s jurisdiction

Karachi, December 30
The Pakistan Cricket Board has questioned the “jurisdiction” of the World Anti-Doping Agency in challenging the exoneration of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, saying it was an internal matter of the board.

While confirming receiving a letter from Court of Arbitration of Sports (CAS) on the appeal filed by WADA against the lifting of bans on the fast bowlers, a PCB official maintained the board had done no wrong in clearing the duo.

“We have already sent back our replies to WADA. We have questioned their jurisdiction and right to take up a case which is purely an internal matter of the PCB,” the official said.

The CAS, he said, had asked the board to send all documents, reports and findings related to the doping case so that it could take action on the WADA appeal.

“Our stand is still very clear, we are not direct signatories to the WADA anti-doping regulations and the two players were tried and exonerated under our own anti-doping laws,” he said.

Interestingly, the Pakistan Government is a signatory to the WADA Copenhagen Declaration on anti-doping signed in 2003 and this itself makes it binding on the PCB to follow WADA anti-doping regulations.

“I don’t know what they (PCB) are thinking but if our government is a signatory to the declaration which 186 countries have signed, then the PCB also comes under this code,” an official with the Pakistan Sports Trust said.

Incidentally, the PCB is not affiliated with the Pakistan Olympic Association but has to get clearance from the federal sports controlling body on number of issues.

Sources said the PCB had already consulted its legal advisors. — PTI

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Chennai Open
Indians pitted against formidable rivals

Chennai, December 30
The Indian challenge in the singles draw of the ATP Tour Chennai Open 2007 has been pitted against formidable opponents when the men’s singles main draw matches begin here on the New Year Day.

While Prakash Amritraj, who would be carrying the Indian challenge, was drawn to play against 97th ranked Croatian Ivo Karlovic, another wildcard entrant Karan Rastogi will meet young Brazilian Thiago Alves, ranked 106. Prakash is ranked 393 and Karan at 497.

“It will be a contest between David and Goliath. I hope David will win”, former Indian Davis Cupper Vijay Amritraj, who anchored the draw ceremony, said about his son Prakash’s match.

“It would be a tough match”, Vijay said recalling Karlovic’s epic win against defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in the first round of the Wimbledon in 2003. For the first time in the modern Grand Slam history a defending champion was ousted in the very first round that year.

On Karan Rastogi’s match against the Brazillian, Vijay said the Indian had a remarkable week in the ITF futures at Delhi. “He (Karan) had a remarkable week. When he comes here he will be in full form and hopefully do well against Thiago”, who Vijay described as a “very fine youngster”.

Four ousted in qualifiers

The Indian challenge in the qualifying matches of the Chennai Open ATP World Tennis tour ended without a whimper as all the four in fray crashed out in the first round itself here this evening.

N Sriram Balaji went down to Phillip Petzschner of Germany 6-7, 3-6 after offering some fight in the first set, while wild card Ashutosh Singh proved to be no match for big serving Friedl Leos of the Czech Republic, who won 6-0, 6-2.

The other wild card, Vishal Punna put up a brave fight before going down to Ivanov Pavel of Russia 4-6, 4-6. Meanwhile, P. Ravishankar was beaten 3-6, 2-6 by Simone Bolelli of Italy. — UNI

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Rastogi bags Futures title
M.S.Unnikrishnan

New Delhi, December 30
Karan Rastogi defeated Hyun-Woo Nam of Korea 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 14 minutes to capture the $15,000 Futures Men’s Indian Open (second leg) Tennis Championship title at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association deco turf court here today.

The fourth-seeded Karan played steady, no-frills tennis to bag his second Futures title this year. He had triumphed here in May when he defeated Nick Monru of the USA.

Karan, who is a member of the Indian Davis Cup squad, played almost flawless tennis with his trademark double-handed backhand and forehand winners to outwit the fighting Nam.

The Korean, a finalist in the first leg of the championship here last week, thus finished second best again. Though Nam erred often to contribute points to Karan’s victory, the dashing Indian youngster was in his element. He played tennis of a high level, which will strengthen his claim for a Davis Cup debut in India’s tie against Uzbekistan in February, 2007, likely to be played on clay.

Karan, who excels on clay and hardcourt, brought out his best to overwhelm Nam when he broke him in the very first game of the first set, third and sixth games of the second set to win the crown without much fuss.

The Futures title will boost Karan’s confidence when he plays in the ATP event in Chennai starting tomorrow, where he has been given a wild-card entry.

“It was a good match. Nam played well. Hopefully, I can continue in the same form in Chennai,” said Karan after pocketing his winner’s purse of 10 per cent of the total prize money and a bagful of points. Karan had lost to Rohan Bopanna in the semifinal of the first leg here last week, which was a kind of exacting revenge for Bopanna for his defeat at the hands of the young man in the ABN Amro event at DLTA grasscourt some time ago.

In a move to provide the world’s young talent an avenue to display their skills in international competitions, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) introduced circuits in 1998 with the points gained included on the computer rankings. The ITF Men’s Circuit incorporated two types of tournaments — Futures and Satellite — with a minimum prize money of $15,000 and $25,000, respectively.

For Karan, it is a remarkable achievement to win two Futures titles in eight months. His coach Sanjay Poddar said Karan had the talent to scale greater heights, but he needed to firm up physically and mentally a lot more to get the better of stronger opponents.

Meanwhile, Asian Tennis Federation president Anil Khanna called for a restructuring of the ATP events to give openings to players in the ranking bracket of 100-200.

He said presently, only the top 100 players could gain entry into ATP events which was blocking the path of other talented players, particularly from Asia.

“Unless we have a godfather, the lesser players, who regularly play on the circuit, will not get a chance to play in ATP events. It was time the ATP events were restructured to give more opportunities to players ranked above 100,” added Khanna, who is also the executive president of the All-India Tennis Association.

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Delhi to host world junior archery championship
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, December 30
The 10th Junior and 4th Cadet World Archery Championship will be held in the Capital from October 9 to 20 next year at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here.
More than 80 countries will participate in the championship. Archery Association of India (AAI) President Prof Vijay Kumar Malhotra said here today that the association had imported equipment worth Rs 1 crore under a 75-25 scheme of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in which the Union Ministry bore the 75 per cent cost to make available the best of equipment for the archers.

Lauding the efforts of the Sports Authority of India in opening new archery training centres throughout the country, Prof Malhotra said the SAI centres at Aurangabad and Patiala had included archery as one of their disciplines. He said India would field a strong team for the next World Championship and the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing as archery was getting support from all quarters.

Prof Malhotra equated the bronze medal bagged by the Indian men’s team in the 15th Asian Games at Doha to that of an Olympic medal as the archery standard at the Asian level was the strongest with China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan boasting of almost all world and Olympic champions.

Prof Malhotra, who is also the senior vice-president of the Indian Olympic Association, expressed his apprehension about India’s medal prospects in the Beijing Olympics and the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi due to the slack manner in which sportspersons were being prepared for these events.

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Federation Cup
Bagan emerge champions

Kolkata, December 30
Goalkeeper Sangram Mukherjee emerged the hero bringing off two fine penalty saves as Mohun Bagan claimed the 28th Peerless Federation Cup with a 3-1 tie-break victory over Sporting Clube de Goa in a riveting final here today.

The match rolled into the penalty shootout as the two sides remained locked 1-1 after the regulation 90 minutes and even half an hour of extra time could not break the deadlock. Sporting had a nightmarish time in the tie-breaker as Jose Carvallo’s first shot crashed into the post, and Sangram showed fine anticipation to save the next attempt from Earnest Jeremiah by diving to his right.

Though Nicolas Borges scored from the third, Bagan raced to their 12th title in the premier knockout tournament as Sangram blocked Jagdish Papai’s fourth penalty, triggering celebrations in the Salt Lake stadium where more than 70,000 Bagan fans assembled to see the nail-biting match.

Bagan, on the other hand, netted each of their three penalties with Jose Barreto, Dipendu Biswas and Favio Vidal coming up successful.

Earlier, both teams scored in the first half, with Harmanjot Khabra putting the Goans ahead, before Fabio got the equaliser for Bagan, the most succesful team in the history of the tournament.

Earlier, defending champions Mahindra United had to be content with the third place with a 4-2 tie-break triumph over Dempo Sports Club, Goa, in the 28th Federation Cup here yesterday.

The match rolled into the penalty shootout after the rivals finished goal-less in regulation time and failed to make any dent in the scoreline even during the half-hour extra time.

In the tie-break, Yusif Yakubu, Steven Dias, S Venkatesh and Abdul Rauf Khan found the target for the jeepmen.

Dempo, on the other hand, scored through Roberto Silva and Ishfaq Ahmed, while Climax Lawrence and Melvyn Rodrigues muffed the set-pieces. — PTI 

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Liberals Hockey
Friends Club to fight it out with cops
Ravi Dhaliwal

Nabha, December 30
Friends Club, Jagraon, pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the tournament when they downed a fancied outfit like PSB Academy to enter the final of the 31st All-India Liberals hockey tournament played at the Government Ripudaman College ground here today. Buoyant after having produced a shock win against CISF yesterday, the Jagraon squad scored an impressive 2-1 win against their rivals who, at least on paper, held the edge as pre-match favourites.

The Jagraon team has now set up the summit clash with Punjab Police who, in the other semifinal, downed Namdhari XI 8-7 after being twice in arrears during regulation time.

Jubilation was writ large on the faces of the ecstatic Jagraon Club players the moment the final hooter was sounded. The crowd here, always known to back the underdogs in any match, backed the Jagraon team to the hilt and were unanimous in their applause when the final whistle ended the agony of the PSB Academy players.

For the Jalandhar academy lads, the usually ebullient striker and junior international Daler Singh was unconvincing making the PSB attack look all the more pronounced in its ineptitude. And the manner, in which forwards Daler Singh and Dharmabir Singh frittered away many an opening, was simply appalling.

For Friends Club the cynosure in the intermediate line was Gurmeet Singh and not once did he put a stick wrong.

PSB shot into the lead early on in the first half when Sarwan Singh sounded the board of a penalty corner. However, this effort was neutralised in the second half when Jagraon midfielder Karamjit Singh’s whiplash of a shot taken from the far end of the striking circle brooked no resistance from the academy goalkeeper Rupinder Singh.

PSB had a chance to go a goal up when an aerial ball from midfielder Mandeep Singh caught the defence napping. Daler managed to trap the ball just outside the circle, juggled it and then passed it to an unmarked Onkar Singh who eventually missed the target by the proverbial whisker.

Jagraon went ahead midway in the second half when Manpreet Singh sounded the board with a loud thud that sent the crowd in a frenzy. Thereafter, Friends Club were content to hold the one goal advantage much to the discomfort of the academy boys.

The moment the final whistle was blown, the Jagraon boys threw their sticks in the air to celebrate their maiden appearance in the final of the tourney.

In the second semifinal, which turned out to be keenly contested affair, Punjab Police trailed twice before holding Namdhari XI to a 2-2 draw. The match was decided in favour of the cops in the sudden death.

Meanwhile, Doordarshan’s Outdoor Broadcasting (OB) van rolled into the venue late in the afternoon to provide live coverage to tomorrow’s final. 

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Shuttler to face dope test

New Delhi, December 30
The Andhra Pradesh Badminton Association (APBA) has decided to conduct a dope test on Guru Saidutt on January 3 here to verify the doping allegations levelled against him by fellow shuttler J.B.S Vidyadhar.

“Both the players are from the state and we have advised Guru Saidutt to appear for a dope test at the Sports Authority of India laboratory in Delhi. We have informed Badminton Association of India about the decision,” APBA secretary Punnaiah Choudhary told PTI. “We do not want the name of state federation to be tarnished and the matter to hang fire further so we want to have the dope test immediately. But because of New Year holidays, Saidutt will take the tests on Januray 3. We have spoken to the SAI on the matter and they will arrange for the test,” he said.

Vidyadhar, who lost to 16-year-old Saidutt in the quarterfinals of the All-India Major Ranking Badminton Tournament in Indore, accused his team-mate of doping and filed a complaint with the chief referee after his loss.

The APBA has called a meeting on Januray 8 to discuss on the reports of the test and take appropriate action.

The BAI, however did not appear to be in favour of going for a dope test.

“They (APBA) are getting emotional. There is no reason to hurry and push for the tests. As per the guidelines of the Indian Olympic Association, we will have the tests of the players carried out after the nationals in January,” president of Badminton Association of India B.K. Verma said. — PTI

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