|Friday, June 16, 2000,
Azhar insists he is innocent
Anwar leads Pak reply
Azhar insists he is innocent
NEW DELHI, June 15 (UNI) Former Indian skipper Mohammad Azharuddin today swore innocence and denied having introduced a bookmaker to disgraced South African captain Hansie Cronje who made a statement to this effect while deposing before the King Commission of Inquiry in Cape Town earlier in the day.
Talking to UNI in Hyderabad, Azharuddin described Cronjes allegation as a retaliation and counter-attack and pre-planned by the South African cricket authorities after careful thought. I am innocent and ready to face any inquiry in the matter, he said. He (Cronje) contradicts himself every day, Azharuddin said.
Cronje, who has been granted immunity from prosecution for coming out with full disclosures, said he had been introduced to a person called MK or Sunilby Azharuddin during the tour to India in 1996. Cronje said Sunil had paid him $ 30,000 to speak to his team-mates to tank a match.
Azharuddin is expected to be in the capital tomorrow to appear before the CBI which is currently inquiring to allegations of match-fixing in Indian cricket.
In Chennai, BCCI President A C Muthiah said the board would not hesitate to take severe action against any player or official found guilty. He hoped the CBI would get to the bottom of the matter in the course of its investigations.
Board secretary J Y Lele said we do not know what it is ...Let him (Cronje) say finally what he wants to. Only after that we can look into it. Mr Lele said he would discuss the issue with the board President.
Former India all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar, who opened the Pandoras box in India three years back with allegations of match-fixing, said he possibly knew the person named by Cronje in his testimony. Talking to a website, Prabhakar said he might know the person whom Cronje identified as MK alias Mukesh Gupta as these people have a habit of changing names.
He said it was high time that the BCCI took cognisance of the fact that corruption exists in Indian cricket. I do not know for how long the BCCI will keep its eyes closed to what is going on, he said.
Last month, Prabhakar had released videotapes secretly produced by a website in which he himself caught off-guard players and officials to come out with startling revelations on match-fixing.
No action without evidence: Dalmiya
International Cricket Council president Jagmohan Dalmiya today ruled out action against any cricketer unless there is concrete proof of involvement in match-fixing while Indian cricket board chief A.C. Muthiah said he would not hesitate to take severe action if the charges were proved.
They were reacting to the testimony given by sacked South African skipper Hansie Cronje to King Commission inquiry into corruption in cricket in which he named former Indian captain Mohd Azharuddin as a person who introduced him to a bookmaker known as MK during South Africas tour of India in 1996.
It is a very difficult proposition, Dalmiya said when asked if any player mentioned in Cronjes deposition should be suspended from playing.
Just on somebodys allegation, if we stop somebody it would be unjustified as far as that player is concerned if it is ultimately proved that there was no basis, Dalmiya told Star News in an interview.
It would also be a very difficult and embarrassing situation for the ICC after taking hasty action against an innocent person. So that (suspension) may not be possible.
The ICC President said he was in touch with Lord Griffiths, chairman ICCs code of conduct commission and every development is being recorded before the games governing body takes any decision.
India can sue Bacher
NEW DELHI, June 15 (PTI) India can sue South African cricket board chief Ali Bacher for damaging its reputation by alleging that its victory over arch-rivals Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup match was fixed, says the lawyer of match-fixing scam accused Kishan Kumar.
Indian Government as a juristic person can initiate legal action against Dr Bacher unless the allegations are substantiated, the advocate, r k Anand, said.
Why only the government, anybody from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) or any player, who is really affected by such a statement, can file a suit for damages or defamation inviting penal action under section 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Mr Anand told PTI.
Dr Bacher while giving
his testimony before the Edwin King Commission probing
corruption in cricket in South Africa had on June 12
quoted a former senior Pakistani cricket official Majid
Khan as telling him that two matches of the 1999 World
Cup India-Pakistan and Pakistan-Bangladesh
Totti, Fiore help Italy defeat Belgium
BRUSSELS, June 15 (AFP) Italy staked their claim to a place in the Euro 2000 quarterfinals here as goals from Francesco Totti and Stefano Fiore earned them a 2-0 win over Belgium in group B.
Belgium dominated the match in terms of possession, but the hosts were locked out by Paolo Maldinis defence and then suckered by two goals of world-class quality from Totti in the sixth minute and Fiore in the 66th minute yesterday.
The win leaves Italy top of group B with six points, after their 2-1 victory over Turkey, with only Sweden left to face. Mathematically, they are not yet qualified for the last eight.
Now re-named in honour of King Baudouin, Italy were playing their first match at the former Heysel stadium since 39 mainly Italian fans died after being charged by Liverpool supporters before the 1985 European Cup final against Juventus.
In a simple ceremony before the match, Italy team captain Paolo Maldini laid white roses before a plaque here which bears witness to the tragedy.
Italy coach Dino Zoff told TV reporters: Players realised the significance of playing here with the memories of Heysel.
As for the game, Zoff told a news conference: It was a hard fought match.
There were periods when we suffered because of their aggression and their physical strength. But we defended well and we got off to a good start - taking the lead and then getting a second goal.
Totti, who picked up the man of the match award, said: Today we had a really good game. The whole team wanted this result and we got it. Were very happy.
Belgian coach Robert Waseige was sporting in defeat, saying: I can very easily accept, and overcome, a defeat to an opponent who has something that we dont. In a devastating start, Italy had three clear chances before scoring their goal, with Antonio Conte heading a Gianluca Zambrotta cross narrowly wide. Then Belgian goalkeeper Filip De Wilde made a brilliant double save in the fifth minute.
First he parried a Maldini effort and then scrambled back to foil Filippo Inzaghis shot on the rebound.
The Red Devils breathed again but the breakthrough for Zoffs men came almost immediately.
Demetrio Albertini powered over a free-kick from the right and Totti stooped for a bullet header which left De Wilde no chance.
Belgium hit back immediately and were unlucky not to equalise when Bart Goor crashed a shot against the top of the post and Emile Mpenza, who scored Saturdays winner in the 2-1 victory over Sweden, drove in a menacing low drive.
The hosts kept up the pressure as Mpenza fired a shot against Fabio Cannavaros legs and playmaker Marc Wilmots twice gave Italy goalkeeper Francesco Toldo a fright - rising to meet Goors 18th minute corner with a powerful header and then colliding with Toldo as he raced onto a through ball.
Yves Vanderhaeghe was the next to try his luck. But the midfielder saw his shot cannon off the Italian defence, while Gert Verheyen should have done better on the break in the 32nd minute than his weak low shot.
Goor cracked a free-kick round the Italian wall three minutes later but Toldo had it well covered. Toldo was also in the right place in the 43rd minute when Mpenza neatly laid the ball back for Wilmots and the midfielders rasping first-time shot flew straight into the arms of the Fiorentina keeper.
Belgium picked up the
second half where they left off the first, with veteran
defender Lorenzo Staelens prodding in a loose ball from
15 metres which the partially unsighted Toldo saw at the
last minute and tipped round the post at full stretch.
Anwar leads Pak reply
COLOMBO, June 15 (Reuters) Opener Saeed Anwar hit a patient half-century to help Pakistan to 130 for three in reply to Sri Lankas first innings of 273 all out at the close on the second day of the first Test today.
Anwar, dropped by Marvan Atapattu when he was on 22, hit eight boundaries to score his 24th Test half-century and was on 56 not out when play ended.
Captain Moin Khan (31), who promoted himself in the batting order ahead of Inzamam-ul-Haq, was the other unbeaten batsman.
Earlier, off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan snapped up two wickets in successive overs after debutant Dilhara Fernando had Mohammad Wasim caught at second slip for only eight.
Younis Khan then helped Anwar steady the Pakistani innings with a second wicket partnership of 51 before he mistimed a drive and was caught for 23 off Muralitharan.
Soon afterwards, the spinner claimed Yousuf Youhana for two.
Pakistan fast bowler Waqar Younis had taken the spotlight in the second session by dismissing tailender Muralitharan to claim his 300th Test wicket in his 65th match.
Sri Lanka (1st innings):
Atapattu c Wasim b Arshad 73
Jayasuriya c Younis b Waqar 26
Arnold b Waqar 4
A de Silva c Akram b Arshad 30
Jayewardene c Moin b Akram 77
Ranatunga run out 6
Kaluwitharana c Wasim b Arshad 4
Vaas b Mushtaq 3
Zoysa st Moin b Arshad 17
Muralitharan c Akram b Waqar 18
Fernando not out 5
Extras (b-5, lb-1, nb-4) 10
Total (all out, 97.2 overs, 273 418 mins)
Fall of wickets: 1-52, 2-56, 3-109, 4-176, 5-187, 6-193, 7-206, 8-245, 9-257.
Bowling: Akram 20-6-55-1, Waqar 14.2-0-50-3, Razzaq 18-1-58-0, Mushtaq 14-1-42-1, Arshad 31-8-62-4.
Pakistan (1st innings):
Anwar not out 56
Wasim c Arnold b Fernando 8
Younis Khan c Fernando
b Muralitharan 23
Youhana c Jayewardene
b Muralitharan 2
Moin Khan not out 31
Extras (lb-1, w-2, nb-7) 10
Total (3 wkts, 47 overs, 199 mins) 130
Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-67, 3-75.
Ramaswamy, Mankad enter semis
BANGALORE, June 15 (PTI) Qualifier Ajay Ramaswamy and fourth seed Harsh Mankad, made it to the mens singles semifinals in the second leg of the ITF Satellite tennis tournament here today.
Rank outsider Ajay Ramaswamy continued his dream run when he upset third-seeded compatriot Vishal Uppal 6-3,6-3 in the quarterfinal.
A qualifier, 20-year-old Ramaswamy, who is studying in the USA, had upset fifth seed Bary Fulcher of Germany in two tough sets 7-5,7-6 (7/3) yesterday.
Harsh Mankad made it to the last four when he beat Russian Alex Gavrilov 7-6 (7/4),6-4.
The other semifinal slots have been filled in by top seed Daniel Udomchoke (Thailand), and second seed Per Thorandtsson (Sweden). Despite suffering from cramps, Udomchoke managed to defeat seventh seed Vinod Sridhar 6-3,6-7 (7-4),7-6 (7-4) while Thorandtsson beat Leysek 1-6 6-3 6-2.
Ramaswamy, who failed to qualify in the first leg at Mumbai, played a controlled and attacking game. In the first set, he was four games up in no time but lost the momentum and allowed his opponent to move to 3-5.
The crucial ninth game saw exciting tennis. The winner was down 15-40 but pulled up with good first serves and kept his rival on the base line. He survived two set points and snatched the set 6-3.
Uppal started off well in the decider and led 3-1 but Ramaswamy won five games in a row to clinch the set and match. Harsh Mankad, who suffered an from asthma attack yesterday, looked better today in his match against Alex Gavrilov.
Mankad lost his serve in
the third game of the first set but broke back in the
eighth and held the next to lead 5-4. Both the players
played extremely well sending the match into the
tie-break in which Mankad prevailed.
elections within a month
Chandigarh, June 15 Elections to the Punjab Olympic Association (POA) will be held within one month. This was disclosed here today by Mr Arvind Khanna, Secretary-General of the POA.
Speaking to TNS, Mr Khanna said that elections to the POA became due in March last after the present team, elected on March 15, 1997, had completed its three-year term in March last. Demand to hold elections to the POA were made yesterday at an emergency meeting of the Executive Committee of the POA held here.
But then the members who made a demand to hold fresh elections to the POA seemed to have forgotten the proceedings of the meeting of all the presidents of the various sports federations/associations who had advocated in April last that the present team should continue till the completion of the National Games, scheduled to be held in Punjab from November 18 next.
As per the constitution of the POA it is the Secretary-General who can convene the annual general body meeting of the association where elections are also conducted. Also, the POA constitution does not provide for nominations for any post. Instead, the issue is handled at the annual general body meeting by the President who chairs the meeting. The constitution also provides for the grant of 15 days clear notice for convening of the general body meeting.
When pointed out that any change now might jeopardise the holding of the National Games as per schedule, Mr Khanna was of the opinion that it was up to the general house to decide whether the present team should continue or a new set of office-bearers should be elected. But in no case should the democratic process be disturbed, was his clear view. The exact date of the elections, to be held here, will be announced later, Mr Khanna added.
Speaking on the demand made at yesterdays Executive Committee meeting that changes should be made in the various sub-committees constituted for the games, Mr Khanna was of the view that no changes should be made in the functional committees of the games. A lot of thought has been given in the formations of the various committees. Not only has the President (Union Sports Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa) of the POA involved in the process but even the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has been consulted before the committees were set up. The committees have a number of political persons and their inclusion was cleared by the Chief Minister himself. Only after everything was finalised did the Secretary-General of the Organising Committee for the games, Mr Inderjit Singh Bindra, write to them. It would be churlish to change the persons named in the various committees now.
It seems that the members of the Executive Committee who raised the issue yesterday were not properly briefed about the whole thing, Mr Khanna added.
The POA Secretary-General disclosed that a meeting would he held tomorrow between Mr Bindra and senior functionaries of the Chandigarh Administration to discuss about the facilities to be provided by the administration for conducting competitions in four events of the National Games shooting, tennis, rowing and golf. While very good facilities already exist for rowing, tennis and golf in the city it is the shooting facilities which need upgradation.
While the POA is of the view that it is the Chandigarh Administration which should spend money to upgrade the facilities at the Patiali Rao ranges, the administration is of the view that the money for the upgradation should be given by the POA since the National Games have been allotted to Punjab. Hopefully, tomorrows meeting might break the impasse on this issue. In any case the Punjab Shooting Association is keen that the shooting events be conducted in Chandigarh.
Mr Khanna disclosed that
he had asked Mr T.K. Balu, Director, Technical, for the
National Games, who had submitted his resignation
yesterday, to continue. He disclosed that he had also
requested Mr Dhindsa not to accept Mr Balus
Srinath turns down Notts offer
BANGALORE, June 15 (PTI) Indias speedster Javagal Srinath has declined an offer to play for English county Nottinghamshire citing his preoccupation in preparation for the forthcoming Toronto series.
I may not be able to do justice to the club. I am getting ready for the selection to the forthcoming Toronto series, Srinath told PTI here today.
They want in writing and full commitment which is not possible, he said.
New ball problem for goalkeepers
SPA, (Belgium) June 15 (Reuters) The ball being used at Euro 2000 moves more quickly through the air and travels further than other balls and has an exaggerated response to deflections, according to England assistant coach Les Reed.
The ball has a liquid gel cushion under the surface which the makers say allows it to snap it back into shape more quickly and behave in a truer fashion.
However, games so far suggest it is causing problems for goalkeepers with its movement and speed off the foot.
Reed said yesterday that Luis Figos spectacular long-range goal for Portugal on Monday took only the slightest of deflections off the foot of England defender Tony Adams but flew off at an acute angle, leaving goalkeeper David Seaman helplessly wrongfooted.
Seaman was also left flailing air in the second half when he failed to cut out a corner but coach Kevin Keegan defended him, saying the ball moved all over the place.
Reed, who has a special responsibility for analysing Englands opponents, said the properties of the new ball were changing the way teams play.
It moves so quickly and seems to dip suddenly, so teams are now working on inswinging corners and free kicks, he said.
Teams know that if someone can just get a touch it will fly in and thats very hard to defend.
Gurbaaz lifts title
CHANDIGARH, June 15 Gurbaaz Mann of India with an aggregate score of 221 (76-70-75) won title Singapore Junior Golf Championship final at the Jurong Country Club, Singapore today.
His compatriot and last years winner Ashok Kumar was runner-up with 225 (78-72-75). Three strokes behind Ashok Kumar was Khor Kheng Hwai of Malaysia.
India won the Singapore junior Golf Championship for the Lee Kim Yew Challenge Trophy for two suggestive years.
The scrores of other Indian players were: Ranjit Singh 236 (83-79-74), Jaskiraj Dullet 244 (81-82-81), Mohd Wazir 244 (77 -81-86), Manav Jain 249 (88-78-83), Balpreet Ghuman 278 (94-89-95).
Duleep ties duration reduced
MUMBAI, June 15 (PTI) The cricket board has not only changed the Duleep Trophy into a round-robin tournament but has also reduced the matches duration from the present five to four days.
Another significant change in the tournament format from the next season is that instead of the event being held in one zone, by rotation, matches will be held in different zones.
In short, if team A plays host to team B this season, then next season team A will be hosted by team B. The event, to be held from January 4 to February 6, 2001, has also been made compulsory for all cricketers by the board.
The dates have been arranged for the championship by the Programmes and Fixtures Committee of the board, which met here yesterday, when there is no international commitment for India.
The domestic season will, as usual, commence with the Irani Cup clash between last years Ranji Trophy winners Mumbai and the Rest of India. The tie would be held in Mumbai from October 13 to 17.
South Zone have been allotted the N K P Salve Challenger Trophy limited overs tournament featuring India seniors, India A and B teams from October 19 to 22 while the Wills Trophy would be held in West Zone centres from December 25 to 31.
The Ranji Super League has been done away with and instead the 15 qualifiers (three from each zone) would move into the knock-out stage after the zonal league stage.
The knock-out rounds are to be held from March 8 to April 29, 2001, and will comprise seven pre-quarter-finals, four quarter-finals, two semifinals and the final.
The Deodhar Trophy, played over a league basis till last season, has been made into a knock-out event from the next season and will be held at one centre. The zonal one-day league will be played at one centre from the next season onwards instead of the matches preceding the four-day ranji ties.
The schedule summary is:
October 13-17: Irani cup at Mumbai
October 19-22: N K P Salve Challenger Trophy in South Zone
October 26-Jan 10: Ranji Trophy zonal league
December 1-10: Zonal one-day leagues (at one venue)
December 15-21: Deodhar Trophy (knock-out at one centre in Central Zone)
December 25-31: Wills Trophy (knock-out) in West Zone
January 4-February 6: Duleep Trophy league
March 8-April 29: Ranji Trophy knock-out stage.
For under 22: Nov 24-Dec 27: Zonal league tournament
For under 19: Sep 15-Nov 20: Cooch Behar 19 Trophy (league level) Dec 1-20: Cooch Behar Trophy (knock-out) in West Zone Dec 25-Jan 9: Col. C.K.Nayudu Inter-Zonal Trophy knock-out three-day matches in East Zone
Jan 11-13: Vinoo Mankad Trophy in East Zone
Jan 17-20: M A Chidambaram Trophy
For under 16: Nov 24-Dec 27: Vijay Merchant Trophy (league level)
Jan 1-16: Vijay Merchant (knock-out) in East Zone
Jan 25-Feb 9: Vijay Hazare inter-zonal knock-out 3-day matches in South Zone
Feb 12-14: Polly Umrigar Trophy in South Zone
Feb 18-20: Madhavrao Scindia Trophy
For under 14: Oct 20-Nov 22: Zonal league tournament.
Notices issued to ICC, BCCI
MUMBAI, June 15 (PTI) A sessions court has ordered issue of notices to International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Indian cricket board (BCCI) in a suit filed against them praying for an ad-interim direction to restrain the former from inviting fresh bids for the telecast of 2003 and 2007 World Cup tournaments.
Additional District Judge R. P. Sondur-Baldota issued the notices on a suit filed by a cricket enthusiast, Amit Dholakia.
Dholakia said the ICC had invited bids for telecast of the next two editions of World Cup which even included mini World Cup tourneys. Zee Telefilms Ltd, he claimed, had put up the highest bid of $ 600 million, the third biggest contract in sports history after the Olympic games and World Cup soccer.
The plaintiff claimed that the other two bidders were Transworld International and World Soccer group.
The plaint, quoting
media reports, said the ICC would meet shortly to decide
on reinviting bids for telecast of these World Cup. ICC
was reported to have taken such a decision following
allegations that its President Jagmohan Dalmiya had nexus
with Zee Telefilms Ltd, it said.
CHANDIGARH, June 15 Gaganinder Garry fashioned Patialas fine 79-run victory over Minor District Cricket XI at the Punjab Senior Summer League Cricket Tournament at Dhruve Pandove Stadium, Patiala here.
Electing to bat first, Patiala XI piled up a total of 304 runs before being all out. Gaganinder made a heroic knock of 83 runs followed by Pankaj Dharmani who scored 41 runs. Roshan and Kailash of the MDC team claimed four wickets each.
In reply, the MDC were bundled out for 225 runs. Kailash scored 40 runs while Gautam and Rajiv Sirhindi bagged three and two wickets, respectively, for the winners.
Anand to play in Frankfurt Classic
CHENNAI, June 15 (PTI) Fresh from his victory in the Leon chess tournament, Indian grandmaster Viswanathan Anand will play in the Frankfurt Chess Classic 2000 tournament to be held in Frankfurt from June 17 to 25.
Anand, twice winner of
the championship in 1997 and 1998 and second placed last
year, would play against the worlds strongest
players including world No 1 Gary Kasparov. The
tournament, split into two events, would feature an
exhibition match against a computer and rapid events
among the top six players in the world.
Sports Minister flays import of
PATIALA June 15 Mr S.S. Dhindsa, Sports Minister derided the policies of national sports federations for inviting foreign coaches to impart training to Indian sportspersons, adding that Indian coaches are as good as their foreign counterparts. Mr Dhindsa was speaking at the graduation ceremony of the NIS here today, where he awarded diplomas to 228 coaches who had successfully completed their diploma in sports coaching.
He said the union
government was actively considering granting the status
of deemed university to the NIS, although he
did not state any time frame for the same and requested
the Director-General of the Sports Authority of India
(SAI), Mr D.K. Mittal, to formulate a time bound plan to
look into the requirements of the NIS, which he added,
was a premier sports institution. Mr Dhindsa awarded
diplomas to the 37th batch of coaches who had completed
their diplomas in 16 sports disciplines.
Patiala beat Minor Districts
Patiala June 15 (FOSR) Patiala beat Minor Districts eleven by virtue of their 87-run first innings lead in the Punjab State Inter District Katoch Shield League Match, which concluded at the Dhruv Pandove stadium here today.
In their first innings,
Patiala had compiled 304 due to a belligerent 82 by
Gaganinder Garry and a sedate 40 from Sanjeev Kapuria.
All-rounder Rajeev Sirhindi picked up an impressive haul
of five wickets to put brakes on the Minor districts
reply, who were all out for 217 runs.Brief scores:
Patiala:Ist innings-304 all out. Minor Districts eleven:
Ist Innings-217 all out (H.Kali 47, Kuldeep 28, Manpreet
23, Deepak 20 n.o, R. Sirhindi 5 for 83, Gautam Mandora 2
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