|Monday, February 7, 2000,
spearheads Indian win
Ashu Dani hits 82 for Delhi
Wild card for Paes
millmen beat ITI
Paes spearheads Indian win
LUCKNOW, Feb 6 (PTI) A Brilliant Leander Paes spearheaded India to a well-deserved 3-2 win over Lebanon as the hosts made amends for their two-year-long shaky Davis Cup campaign and stormed into the second round of Asia-Oceania Zone Group I for a clash with South Korea.
Doubles specialist Paes, playing his best singles tennis, shattered the Lebanese hopes of keeping the tie alive by outplaying top ranked tourist Hicham Zaatini 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in the first reverse singles to clinch the tie in Indias favour.
Syed Fazaluddin, who yesterday botched-up Indias hopes of taking an invincible 3-0 lead with a pathetic show in the doubles, then lost the dead last match to make it 3-2.
Fazaluddin started with a bang winning the first set but then committed several unforced errors and lost to Lebanese No 2 Ali Hamdeh 6-2, 5-7, 1-6 in one hour and 40 minutes.
India won both the opening singles on the first day on Friday, with Paes downing Hamadeh in straight sets and Fazaluddin scoring an impressive win over Zaatini.
India will take on South Korea in the second round in April at Delhi. Korea beat Japan 3-2 in Kashima to the shock of home favourites.
A win over the Koreans will give India a place in the World Group qualifying round where the former three-time finalists, who were out of the elite group after losing to Italy, will face one of the first round losers of the 16-team World Group being played simultaneously across the globe.
South Koreas win over Japan has given India an ideal chance to avenge their 2-3 defeat last year in the first round rubber in the away tie at the Cjeki Islands in the Korean peninsula.
Lebanon now meets first round losers Japan in Japan in April to stay in the Group I.
Paes executed every possible shots at the net and used lobs perfectly to frustrate Zaatini many a time in his 85 minute win which gave India an unassailable 3-1 lead.
The worlds best doubles player, who has been concentrating on his singles play ever since his regular partner Mahesh Bhupathi underwent shoulder surgery, was at his best in demolishing the lanky Lebanese.
After suffering a setback in the doubles tie yesterday, Paes was fired up and easily quelled the spirited challenge put up by his Lebanese rival as he came out firing on all cylinders right from the start to deny any Zaatini any chance.
Fazaluddin on the other hand again faltered with his game despite winning the first set comfortably at 6-2. Fazaluddin broke Hamadeh in the first and fifth games and looked all charged up to make amends for his yesterdays lacklustre show.
Hamadeh, however, had different ideas as he came up firing in the second set and returned well to put pressure on Fazaluddin. The Lebanese broke Fazaluddin in the 11th game and then held his serve to level the sets 1-1.
The decider was an absolute one-sided affair as Hamadeh proved his countrys worth by winning it 6-1. Lebanon has managed to stay in the Group I of Asia-Oceania Zone since 1998 a remarkable performance by their standards.
Paes, ranked a modest 125 on the ATP computers in singles after a simplified ranking system was introduced at the start of the new millennium, gave no openings to Zaatini, who looked determined after doing well in the doubles yesterday.
Zaatinis strategy to match Paes shot-for-shot and wear him down paid no results as the Indian executed excellent volleys and sliced shots at the net.
After both the players held serves till the fifth game in the first set, Paes upped the gear as he lobbed and then hit a blistering fore hand return to break Zaatini for 4-2 lead.
Paes blasted four aces, one an amazing down the middle on a second serve, as he took the set 6-3 in 25 minutes.
Zaatini was all at sea in the second set as Paes raced to a 4-0 lead employing drop shots to perfection using the dampness on the court to his advantage.
Heavy thundershowers yesterday made poodles on the right side of the court but bright sunshine since the morning helped organisers to make the court playable. Play started half an hour late than the schedule time after match referee Hiro Yahata of Japan made first inspection early on.
Both Paes and Zaatini served an ace each but two double faults by the Lebanese cost him dear as the Indian broke him for the third time in the set, which he won 6-1 in 25 minutes.
There was a slight scare
for Paes in third set when he was broken for the first
time in the match when the Indian netted a backhand slice
to give the Lebanese some hope. But Paes returned with
newer zeal in the eighth game and broke back to level at
4-4 and then won the next two games with ease.
Doubles area of concern
LUCKNOW, Feb 6 (PTI) Despite having the worlds top ranked player Leander Paes in their ranks, Indias Davis Cup non-playing captain Ramesh Krishnan today declared doubles was an area of concern ahead of a tough clash with South Korea.
Doubles is an area of concern with Mahesh (Bhupathi) out of action for the next tie also, Krishnan said after India scored a hard-fought but well-deserving 3-2 win against Lebanon in the Asia-Oceania Zone Group I tie here today. India face a strong Korea in Delhi from April 7 to 9.
We have to look into it (doubles), said Krishnan obviously referring to Indias loss in doubles here yesterday.
Paes, world number one doubles player, and Syed Fazaluddin were beaten by the Lebanese pair of Hicham zaatini and Ali Hamadeh in a five-set thriller to keep the interest alive in the five-match rubber.
Krishnan said India should understand that more and more countries (in Asia) have come up and challenging the might of tennis powerhouses like India.
Lebanon was not a walkover and many such countries have come up, and competition will get more tougher in future, Krishnan said.
About Indias prospect against Korea, Krishnan said though the tie would be to Indias advantage being at home, Korea would not be an easy opponent.
Korea is a country we should not take that lightly. They have troubled us in the past and they have players capable of causing an upset, Krishnan said.
Korea today defeated Japan at home in Kashima 3-2.
India is to host korea on grass at the R.K. Khanna Tennis Stadium and Krishnan said he would like to work towards the tie as soon as possible.
Dream debut by Gagandeep
SAS NAGAR, Feb 6 Debutant medium-fast bowler Gagandeep Singh bowled a dream spell, scalping a five-wicket haul to put Punjab in command against Hyderabad on the second day of the four-day Ranji Trophy Super League match at the PCA Stadium here today.
In fact, Gagandeep would not have hoped for a better debut. Blooded into the senior squad after a string of impressive performances for the state under-19 team in the recent Cooch Behar Trophy, Gagandeep admirably exploited conditions helpful to his kind of bowling.
Bowling from the pavilion end he displayed good temperament. The promising Ludhiana lad maintained just the right line and length. Making the ball move either way he induced errors from the rival batsmen, hurtling the visitors into a hole from where they will find it extremely difficult to extricate themselves. Gagandeep was supported very well by other medium fast bowler, Sandeep Sharma, who claimed three wickets, including the key scalp of opener VVS Laxman.
As if rubbing salt on their rivals wounds under-19 World Cup hero Ravneet Ricky and dependable middle order batsman Pankaj Dharmani batted with a great deal of determination and application to enable the hosts overhaul Hyderabads first innings total of 117. When stumps were drawn for the day the hosts were comfortably placed at 127 for two, already 10 runs in the lead.
Ricky showed good defence and his running between the wickets was brisk. He was unbeaten on a well-compiled 50, his highest score in the championship, while Dharmani was batting on a compact 33.
The Hyderabad batsmen, found the conditions too difficult to handle. Their batsmen miserably failed to stay at the wicket and graft runs. Wickets kept on tumbling at regular intervals. The highest partnership of the innings was for the eighth wicket between left-arm spinner Venkatapathi Raju and allrounder Venka Pratap worth just 24 runs with the result that the team was bowled out inside the 50 overs.
Compounding their problems was the unfortunate run out of skipper and star batsman Mohd Azharuddin. Azhar failed to regain his crease on being sent back by Vijay Kumar on the other end after Azhar played to point where an alert Dinesh Mongia picked up and threw the ball to wicketkeep Harminder Jugnu who whipped off the bails in a flash.
Resuming from their overnight score of 16 without loss, the visitors suffered an early jolt when Nand Kishore edged a Gagandeep delivery behind the wickets. Laxman then played on to a Sandeep delivery. Azhars run out left the visitors tottering at 43 for three.
Vijay Kumar fell next after the adding just two runs to the total, snicking a Gagandeep delivery to Jugnu behind the stumps. M V Shridhar and Parth Satwalkar soon followed him to the pavilion and six wickets were down with 54 on the scoreboard. The tail also could not wag as Hyderabad were bundled out for 117.
HYDERABAD (Ist innings):
Laxman b Sandeep 19; Nand Kishore c Rathore b Gagandeep 10; Viney Kumar c Jugnu b Gagandeep 6; Azharuddin run out 1; MV Sridhar lbw Gagandeep 4; Vanka Pratap c Navdeep b Sandeep 31; P. Satwalkar b Gagandeep 0; Youraj lbw Gagandeep 9; Raju c Ranveet b Sodhi 8; N.P. Singh b Sandeep 8; Kanwaljit not out 2; Extras 19; Total (all out) 117.
Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-33, 3-43, 4-45, 5-54,6-54, 7-75, 8-99, 9-114.
Bowling: Sandeep Sharma 14.3-4-36-3, Gagandeep Singh 19-6-49-5, Reetinder Sodhi 14- 6- 24-1, Harbhajan Singh 2-1-2-0.
Punjab (Ist innings):
Rathore b NP Singh 15; Ravneet not out 50; Reetinder lbw 21; Dharmani not out 33; Extras (lb-3, byes-5) 8; Total 127 for two.
Fall of wickets: 1-20, 2-56.
Top nations trail in Davis Cup
PARIS, Feb 6 (AFP) There were some major shocks as some of the sports top nations faced early first round exits from the Davis Cup Tennis Tournament last evening.
France, beaten finalists in the last years Davis Cup, were eliminated from this years tournament as Brazil grabbed an unbeatable 3-0 lead in their tie in Florianapolis.
The United States and defending champions Australia both trail 1-2 going into the deciding reverse singles.
In yesterdays crucial doubles match Brazilian duo Gustavo Kuerten and Jaime Oncins took 2 hr 04 min to defeat French number one Cedric Piolie and Nicolas Escude in straight sets 6-4 6-4 6-4.
Fernando Meligeni had given Brazil a flying start when he beat Pioline 7-5, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in Fridays singles, followed by local hero Kuerten who made it a double defeating Jerome Golmard 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-2 in front of an enthusiastic home crowd. It was sweet revenge for the Brazilians who were eliminated 3-2 in last years quarter-finals by France.
In Harare, the Americans went behind against Zimbabwe after Wayne Black and Kevin Ullyett came through a five-set thriller against Rick Leach and Alex OBrien.
Leach served a double fault on match-point in the fifth set to hand the hosts a 7-6 (7/4) 5-7, 0-6, 7-5, 7-5 victory and the chance of securing victory on home soil.
All now depends on the reverse singles in which Byron Black will take on world number one Andre Agassi and brother Wayne is due to play Davis Cup debutant Chris Woodruff who lost his first singles on Friday.
Switzerland hold a shock 2-1 lead over defending champions Australia, courtesy of a doubles victory by Roger Federer and Lorenzo Manta. Manta and Federer, who beat Mark Philippoussis in the opening singles on Friday, fought back to win 3-6 6-3 6-4 7-6 against Wayne Arthurs and Sandon Stolle.
Australian hopes are now pinned on Lleyton hewitt, who tackles Federer in the first reverse singles. Philippoussis, who guided Australia to victory over France in last years final, plays in the final singles.
Germany lead Holland 2-1 thanks to David Prinosil and Marc-Kevin Gollner who beat Dutch pair Paul Haarhuis and Jan Siemerink 4-6 6-3 7-6 6-3 in Leipzig.
Tommy Haas can clinch victory for Germany and a quarter-final berth against Switzerland or Australia if he overcomes Sjeng Schalken in the first reverse singles. If Haas loses, the final singles between Rainer Schuettler and John Van Lottum will decide the tie.
Czech Republic lead Britain 2-1 in Ostrava after jiri Novak and David Riki beat Tim Henman and Neil Broad 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 6-2 after Fridays singles finished 1-1.
Three ties, however, are settled with Spain. Slovakia and Russia already into the quarter-finals.
Karol Kucera and Dominik Hrbaty beat Austrias Julian Knowle and Alexander Peya 6-4, 6-3 6-4 in Bratislava to give Slovakia a winning 3-0 lead.
At Murica, Spains
Alex Corretja and Joan Balcells beat Andrea Gaudenzi and
Diego Nargiso 6-4 6-3 6-1 for a similar lead over Italy,
and Russias Marat Safin and Andrei Cherkasov beat
Christophe Rochus and Olivier Rochus of Belgium 4-6 7-6
(7/2) 1-6 6-1, 6-3 to earn a last eight berth.
Phagwara millmen beat ITI
LUDHIANA, Feb 6 JCT Phagwara notched up a morale-boosting solitary-goal win over Indian Telephone Industries, Bangalore, to snatch three valuable points in the second and decisive phase of the National Football League at Guru Nanak Stadium here today.
Displaying complete domination, the Phagwara millmen outplayed their rivals in the first half with medio Ram Pal netting the match winner in the 31st minute with a brilliant solo effort on the left flank.
ITI, who were mostly at the receiving end, did put up an improved show late in the second half but the equaliser eluded them. With todays victory, JCT now have 21 points from five victories and five draws. ITIs position, however, remains unchanged at 11 points. The Bangalore outfit, with a couple of foreigners in their ranks were lucky to get away with a 1-0 defeat as JCT missed chances galore in the first session.
In the absence of star midfielder Hardip Sangha, JCT relied on Hardip Gill and Jaswinder upfront while Hardip Saini and Rampal along with Harjinder controlled the midfield effectively. Right from the kick-off JCT held complete sway over the proceedings and tested ITI custodian N. Balaji at frequent intervals.
In the 17th minute, Striker Hardip Gill, who has just recovered from a hamstring injury, managed to cut through but defender Sunil Kumar thwarted the move at the cost of a flag kick.
Three minutes later, JCT had a golden chance when the laborious Jaswinder relayed a through pass for Hardip Saini. With the entire defence beaten, Saini only managed to shoot over the bar in haste. Midway through the first half, JCT missed another sitter.
Striker Hardip Gill, who had covered substantial ground with a quick run on the left flank, relayed the ball for the onrushing Jaswinder with three ITI defenders caught on the wrong foot but Jaswinder, after racing into the box, lost control and the ball went over the goal-line. Soon after, following Hardip Sainis flag kick, medio Harjinder attempted a powerful volley but the ball sailed over the bar.
However, JCTs sustained efforts ultimately bore fruit in the 31st minute. Promising medio Ram Pal latched on to the ball on the left flank off a counter attack and raced down alone, outpacing the rivals through sheer speed. With full confidence, he placed the ball in the net, giving ITI custodian N. Balaji absolutely no chance.
Thereafter, JCT got a couple of more chances to consolidate the lead which however, went waste. First Hardip Gills through pass for Jaswinder saw the latter in a one-to-one situation with the goalkeeper but Jaswinder only managed to shoot straight into Balajis hands.
Shortly before the breather, a flag kick by Hardip Saini saw a rival making a faulty clearance and Hardip Gill, who was quick to react, only managed to shoot wide.
ITI, too, had a good chance when following a corner, the ball came to Gabriel Emechete but in the Melee, Gabriel was off the mark with an open goal in front of him.
In the second half, Gabriel missed another chance when he again shot wide.
JCT almost scored another goal at the beginning of the second session when Jaswinder despatched an angular shot for Hardip Gill but unluckily Gills header struck the pole.
Midway through the second half, Jaswinder again tested the rival goalie with a powerful long-ranger. N. Balaji failed to get his hands on to the ball properly but eventually succeeded in picking it up in his second attempt.
Jaswinder again dodged
past a defender before despatching a lob into the box,
but Hardip Gills header was slightly off the mark.
Ram Pal also aimed a powerful half-volley in the dying
minutes which sailed over, and the millmen ultimately had
to remain content with the one-nil victory, which
nevertheless improved their position in the 12-team
league, which is already past the half-way stage.
Ashu Dani hits 82 for Delhi
NEW DELHI, Feb 6 (UNI) Delhis formidable top order batting line up clicked as the hosts piled up 279 for 5 in their first innings against Rajasthan on the second day of the Ranji Trophy Super League match here today. The first days play, yesterday, was called off due to soggy ground conditions.
Delhi skipper Ajay Sharma won the toss and elected to bat. The hosts lost a wicket when the score was 32. Opener Akash Chopra tried to smash Sanjeev Sharma but failed to connect the ball properly and wicketkeeper Jhalani took a fine catch. Chopra made 11 runs.
Other opener Ashu Dani along with debutant Gautam Ghambir added 60 runs for the second wicket before left-hander Ghambir was caught by Jhalani off P. Krishna Kumar. He made 33 runs off 73 balls and was at the crease for 93 minutes. His knock included four hits to the fence. Ghambir was lucky to have survived a chance when he was on five. He was dropped by skipper Gagan Khoda in the second slip and bowler to suffer was Krishna Kumar.
Delhi (Ist innings): Akash Chopra c Rohit Jhalani b Sanjeev Sharma 11; Ashu Dani c Rohit Jhalani b Mohd Aslam 82; Gautam Ghambir c Rohit Jhalani b P. Krishna Kumar 33; Ajay Sharma run out 52; Virender Sehwag c Ajay Mehra b Shamsher Singh 64; Mithun Minhas batting 16; Vijay Dahiya batting 02; Extras (nb 4,b 2,w 2,lb 11) 19; Total: in 90 overs 279 for 5.
Fall of wickets: 1-32,2-92,3-155,4-230,5-264.
Anand retains title
CHENNAI, Feb 6 (PTI) Trailing by a point after two days, Indias grandmaster Viswanathan Anand rallied back superbly to defend his title in grand style on the final day of the Wydra Rapid Chess Tournament at Haifa, Israel.
Anand, known for his end games in rapid chess, pressed the paddle at the right time to glean 9.5 points from 14 games to claim the title and a cash prize of $ 5,000, according to a release by Shimrov Ziv, Organising Secretary of the tournament which concluded at the International Convention Centre, Haifa, last night.
Israels Boris Gelfand and Peter Svidler of Russia finished second and third, respectively, on progressive score after the two tied at nine points each, followed by Lev Psakhis of Isreal at the fourth spot with 7.5 points.
Despite a one point deficit at the end of nine rounds, Anands capabilities to play at lightning speed put his rivals in a quandary. His forthright approach not to yield any room in middle games when playing with white also helped him in a big way as he took 3.5 points from the last five games.
The world number two Indian beat Boris Avrukh in 32 moves of a Sicilian game in 10th round, was held to a draw by Psakhis in 16 moves of another Sicilian and by Alon Greenfeld in 54 moves of Ruy Lopez in the next two rounds. He then won his 13th round against Alexander Huzman of Israel.
Punjab secure 2nd place
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Feb 6 (PTI) Kerala maintained their superiority in athletics by claiming the overall title with 160 points in a hat-trick performance in the 45th National School Games, which concluded here today.
Punjab were runners-up, with 120 points. Kerala also won the title in girls badminton and volleyball. Karnataka claimed the football title, Uttar Pradesh won the boys volleyball title and Tamil Nadu got boys badminton championship.
Kerala had won the overall championship in the 1997 games at Bangalore and in 1998 at Gandhi Nagar in Gujarat. The games were not held in 1999.
Results: boys: 5 km cross country race: 1. Rajesh Kumar Patel (UP) 14:37.6; 2. P. Sammaiah (AP) 14:39.4; 3. Partem Bind (UP) 14:55.0.
5 km cross country team event: Kerala 39pts; 2. Maharashtra 40 points; 3. Punjab 58 points
U-19: long jump: Satish Kumar (Del) 7.30 m; 2. Anish George (Ker) 6.98 m; 3. Hargobind Singh (Pun) 6.96 m.
400 m: Aboobacker (Ker) 49.00s; 2. P. Shanker (AP) 49.01s; 3. Ajith R (Guj).
4x400 m relay: 1. Kerala 3:20.36; 2. Andhra 3:20.63; 3. Gujarat 3:21.12.
Boys (U-17: 400 m): Sameer Kispotta (MP) 49,84 s; 2. R. Srikant (AP) 50.60 s; 3. Ratwa Pratap Singh (Guj) 50.66.
Boys (U-14 400 m): 1. Appa Rao (AP) 51.92 s; 2. Gyan Prakash (Bih) 52.22s; 3. Harminder Singh (Pun) 53.35 s.
Girls: 3 km cross country: l. Manjula (Kar) 10:0.78, 2. Londhe Rutunja Basavaraj (Mah) 10.11.3; 3. Naginder Kaur (Pun) 10.18.5.
3 km team events: Kerala 34 pts; 2. Maharashtra 34 pts; 3. Punjab 57 pts.
Girls (U-19 400 m): Sapinder Kaur (Pun) 56.03 s; 2. Renjini Raveendran (Ker) 56.71s, 3. Manjeet Kaur (Pun) 56.7 s
4 x 400 m relay: 1. Karnataka 3:51.96, 2. Punjab 3:54.80; 3. Kerala 3:55.72 s.
U-17: javelin throw: Kalyani Chetha (Assam) 36.13 m; 2. Mamatha G. (Kar) 31.23 m; 3. Anjergur Preet Kaur (Pun) 31.20 m.
400 m: H.M. Jyothi (Kar) 58.45s; 2. Sumayya A. Salam (Ker) 58.71 m; 3. Meera Singh (Del) 1:00.18 s.
Thrilling feats enthral fans
KILA RAIPUR, Feb 6 If it was heavy rain and drizzle yesterday, it was dense fog and a thick cloud cover today which delayed, by more than five hours, the start of the Kila Raipur Sports Festival at the Grewal Sports Stadium here.
The effort made by the villagers and the organisers ensured that at least half of the playing arena was cleared of slush, but the other end, where bullock cart races, the star attractions of the meet, finish still remained muddy. The second round heats of bullock cart and other events like tent pegging are yet to begin.
A foggy February morning was offset by dazzling turbans, even as one could see since early morning thousands and thousands of die-hard spectators making their way to the main stadium.
Many waited outside to be let in to watch the Rural Olympics.
In an incredible feat, Kulbir Singh (32) pulled, with his hair, a tractor on which six persons were sitting over a distance of about 10 yards. Kulbir Singh came from Ferozepur to perform the feat and the spectators applauded his effort in ample measure.
Young Rajpreet Singh kept the spectators on the edge of their seats, as the youngster kept his right palm on the ground and with his body placed parallel about a feet above the ground, he made his body swivell in a circle, and when he finished exactly 75 seconds later, the crowd went into raptures and Rajpreet savoured every moment of the 10-minute standing ovation he got from the crowd.
Minutes later, the TV channels turned the spotlight on four-year old Deepa of Khandhoor village, who strung together 10 bricks and held them aloft with his teeth. Hardly had the applause died down when Shamsher Sandhu (74) , a regular at the Rural Olympics for the last 15 years, kept the spectators on the edge of their seats swayed, all around his body, a pair of munglis for about 15 minutes.
Metres away one could see bets big and small being placed as a pair of cocks, brought by Mohamad Qamar of Malerkotla, were fighting it out.
Gurpreet Singh (23) of Haibowal village did 1650 sit-ups in 20 minutes and immediately threw a challenge to anyone from the packed stadium to equal his record and bag Rs 2500. Nobody came forward.
Then Samralas Ramesh Rishi, in a mindboggling scene, could be seen flying 300 kites simultaneously. Again the crowd erupted wildly. Despite badly injuring his left shoulder, Sarup Singh (62) swayed a mungli for about 20 minutes continuously.
Some of the sport disciplines were held under fading light and on slippery ground. In hockey, Punjab Police beat BEG, Roorkie, 4-0 to reach the semifinals of the Bhagwant Memorial Gold Cup. The other team to reach the semifinals was Jagraon Police, who downed PSB Academy, 2-0.
The other results are:
Shot put (men): Amarjit Singh (PP) 1, Bhupinder Singh (Kapurthala) 2, Rajesh Kumar (Air Force) 3.
Hammer throw: Baljit Singh (PP) 1, Harinder Singh (PP) 2, Chander Bhan (PP) 3.
Javelin throw: Manhora Singh (PP) 1, Bhagwati Prasad (PP) 2, Ranjit Singh (PP) 3.
Discus throw: Rajesh Kumar (Air Force) 1, Narinder Singh (PAP) 2, Gurmeet Singh (PP) 3.
Long jump: Ajit Singh (PAP) 1, Mansher Singh (PAP) 2, Anni Kumar (Haryana) 3.
Bagan get past Salgaocar
CALCUTTA, Feb 6 (PTI) Riding on Jose Ramirez Barretos samba magic, Mohun Bagan took a giant leap forward, getting past title holders Salgaocar 2-0 in an exciting National Football League encounter here today.
Brazilian Barreto, who had struck the winner in Bagans 1-0 win over Salgaocar in the first leg at Margao, scored once in each half in todays game to consolidate his teams position at the top of the table with 28 points from 13 matches.
distinctly unlucky as they controlled the game, played at
the Salt Lake Stadium, for the greater part of 90 minutes
but failed to beat Bagan custodian Sandip Nandy, who
raised his game to great heights, repeatedly foiling the
Goan outfits moves.
Wild card for Paes
DUBAI, Feb 6 (PTI) Indias ace tennis player Leander Paes has received a wild card for the $ 1 million Dubai Duty Free Open ATP Tournament beginning here tomorrow.
He will take on Fernando Vicente of Spain in the first round of the 8th edition of the tournament which will see Andrew Ilie of Australia, Younes El Aynaoui of Morocco and Nicolas Kiefer of Germany among the 32 men in the field.
Paes will, however, miss
his regular partner Mahesh Bhupathi, who is recuperating
from shoulder surgery, in his hunt for the doubles title
and is teaming up with Zimbabwean Wayne Black this time.
However, the new partnership is expected to be one of the
most formidable pairs in the tournament.
PCA sore at BCCI working
CHANDIGARH, Feb 6 The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) is unhappy with the functioning of the selection committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and is of the opinion that the power politics in the board is affecting the career of many a promising cricketer.
Speaking to newsmen at the PCA Stadium at S.A.S.Nagar here this afternoon, Mr Inderjit Singh Bindra, President of the Punjab Cricket Association, said the functioning of the selection committee left much to be desired. Players are being openly told that if he belongs to a particular association he will never get an opportunity to play either for the zone or for India.
He also said that players were being told by the powers who ran the BCCI that they would have to shift out of Punjab if they hoped to play for the country. Such an attitude could cause irreparable harm to Indian cricket, he warned.
It may be mentioned here that Punjab is opposed to the current dispensation now running the BCCI. For the past couple of years Mr Bindra has been leading the opposition in the BCCI.
A former President of the BCCI, Mr Bindra, said that during his tenure he sent clear instructions to the national selectors that the selection of the national squad should be purely on merit and no other consideration should be taken into account.
Mr Bindra who was joined by Mr M.P. Pandove, secretary of the Punjab Cricket Association, who has also remained a national selector, said players from Punjab, in particular, were getting step-motherly treatment from the selectors, both zonal and national, in the matter of team selection. Although he was speaking only on behalf of Punjab he said players from other associations opposed to the ruling group were also facing the ire of the selectors.
Mr Bindra and Mr Pandove, in particular, referred to the selection of three squads India, India A and India B for the Challenger Trophy to be played at Ahmedabad later this week. A player like Harbhajan Singh, who was included in the India team which played a three-match Test series in Australia, has not found a place in any of the three teams selected for the Challenger Trophy, they remarked.
Mr Pandove, who himself has been a Ranji Trophy player of his time, said what was most disturbing was the fact that the BCCI did not come to Harbhajans aid when he was suspended from the game for chucking. Look at the way the Pakistan board came to the rescue of Shoaib Akhtar, Mr Bindra pointed out.
Mr Pandove said Punjabs Pankaj Dharmani has been among the runs this reasons with as many as three centuries in the North Zone Ranji Trophy with an average of 51.60. Also, in the Deodhar Trophy he had an average of 61.50. Yet this Punjab player has not found a place in the teams for the Challenger Series and players of lesser calibre but with close affiliation with the powers currently running Indian cricket have been picked up for the Ahmedabad tournament.
Similar was the case with Vikram Rathore, who was in prolific form with the bat, having an average of 53 in the North Zone Ranji Trophy league. But even he was not considered for the Challenger in spite of the fact that the Indian batting failed miserably in Australia. Another Punjab player, Dinesh Mongia had an average of 78 with two hundreds in this years zonal Ranji Trophy but has not been considered.
Mr Pandove said of the four players from Punjab who were members of the victorious under-19 Indian team which won the World Cup in Sri Lanka recently only two players Yuvraj Singh and Reetinder Sodhi had been picked for the Challenger Series while Ravneet Singh (adjudged as the best batsman in the Sri Lanka tournament) and Manish Sharma were still cooling their heels in the wings.
If the board is serious to promote young talent now is the time to make the youngsters prove their mettle, Mr Pandove said. He warned that in case the players were not given their due Indian cricket would be the loser.
In an effort to prove their point, the Punjab Cricket Association officials pointed to the case of Aashish Kapoor who had been selected for the Challenger series now that he was playing for Tamil Nadu. During his tenure with Punjab he was not considered but now that he is playing for Tamil Nadu he was among the 36 players selected for the Challenger series.
During the interaction
with the media , Mr Bindra alleged that sponsors were
interfering in BCCI affairs, specially in team
selection. Admitting that he had played a role in
the marketing of cricket during his tenure as the BCCI
President, he demanded that the selection committee
should be insulated against the politicking which goes on
in the board.
Commission: players used pain killers
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Feb 6 (PTI) The one-man commission, appointed by the union sports ministry to investigate allegations of drug abuse at the ongoing 45th National School Games here, has found that athletes were only using a pain killer pyroxicam, for muscular pain.
Phoor Singh, joint secretary of School Games Federation of India (SGFI), consulted the medical expert of the stadium, before submitting his report.
One of Keralas coaches had alleged in an interview to a private television channel two days ago that all states, except Kerala, were using performance enhancing drugs and that he had caught students injecting the drugs.
Some local newspapers had also published photographs of discarded syringes and injection vials at the games site.
The commission was appointed soon after the allegations were made.
Meanwhile, the SGFI president, C.L. Negi, today denied allegations of drug abuse. Mr Negi told newsmen here it was the first time in the history of the school games when such an allegation had surfaced.
The federation had instructed participants and coaches not to carry any pain killers or medicines inside the venue from next year onwards, he said.
The allegations would affect the morale and performance of the athletes, Mr Negi said, and added that if necessary, the organisers were ready to collect blood and urine samples of suspected athletes to be sent to the drug testing laboratory in Patiala, if needed.
He said performance-enhancing drugs used by athletes were not easily available in the country and school participants could not afford them.
Ropar Hawks claim second
ROPAR, Feb 6 The under-14 young lads of Ropar Hawks secured second position in the just-concluded 11th K.D. Singh Babu All-India Sub-Junior Invitation Hockey Tournament at Lucknow.
Giving this information here yesterday Mr S.S. Saini, secretary of the Ropar Hawks Academy, said in the final the Ropar Hawks lost to UP, 5-6 via tie-breaker. Both the teams were locked in a 3-3 (draw) at regulation time. When sudden death extra time failed to produce result the tie-breaker was applied.
Earlier on their way to the final Ropar Hawks trounced Andhra Pradesh 17-0, Nagaland 6-0, Hyderabad 17-0 and Rajasthan 9-1 in the semi-final match. Hawks Gursimran Singh and Sumeet Singh scored double hattricks in the tournament. Pardeep Singh was declared Best Player of the Tournament.
Ganguly may miss Challenger series
MUMBAI, Feb 6 (PTI) Saurav Ganguly is a doubtful starter for the Challenger Trophy day/night tournament to be held at Ahmedabad as he has reportedly not recovered from the knee injury he suffered at the fag end of the tri-series in Australia.
The elegant Bengal left-hander has been named to lead India A in the three-team tournament commencing on February 10, but is expected to pull out, leaving the stage for former India skipper Mohammed Azharuddin to don the mantle.
Joginder, Sunita adjudged best
HISAR, Feb 6 (FOC)
Joginder Singh and Sunita were declared the best
athletes among boys and girls, respectively, in the 50th
annual athletic meet of the Government College, Hansi,
about 25 km from here. Mr Ramesh Verma, Sub Divisional
Officer (civil) Hansi gave away the prizes.
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