Monday, October 1, 2001, Chandigarh, India





S P O R T S

Sachin, Kumble, Srinath certain to play in opener
Johannesburg, September 30
Almost sure of a victory, the visiting Indian cricketers would nevertheless be wary of drawing too many conclusions from their tour opening match against Nicky Oppenheimer XI set at mining families’ private ground at Randjesfontein tomorrow.

Ganguly seeks redemption
Johannesburg, September 30
If steadfastness to one’s tested method is any indication to an individual’s state of mind, Indian captain Saurav Ganguly is extremely collected and focussed on this challenging tour of South Africa.

S. Africa complete 3-0 win
Harare, September 30
South Africa juggled their batting order to give fringe players a chance but still cruised to a six-wicket win in the third and final one-day international against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club today.



Japan’s Olympic champion Naoko Takahashi crosses the finish line of the 28th Berlin marathon on Sunday. Takahashi won the marathon with the slogan ‘‘running for peace’’ in 2 hrs 19 mins 45 sec and set a new women’s world record.
 — Reuters

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
South African bowler Claude Hendersen (L) celebrates taking the wicket of Zimbabwe batsman Andy Flower with captain Shaun Pollock (R) as Zimbabwe scored 184 runs in their innings in the third one day international at the Harare Sports Club on Sunday. South African bowler Claude Hendersen (L) celebrates taking the wicket of Zimbabwe batsman Andy Flower with captain Shaun Pollock (R) as Zimbabwe scored 184 runs in their innings in the third one day international at the Harare Sports Club on Sunday. 
— Reuters

‘U-19 players will get more exposure’
Chennai, September 30
Mr Jagmohan Dalmiya, the newly elected President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today said the priority of the new administration would be to get at the “root of the slump in India’s performance’’ and ratings to number eight out of 10 and restore Indian cricket’s standing in the international arena.

Gavaskar replaces Dungarpur
Chennai, September 30
Newly elected president of cricket board Jagmohan Dalmiya’s first administrative decision rolled the head of one of his predecessors Raj Singh Dungarpur who was today replaced as Director of National Cricket Academy by Sunil Gavaskar.

 

EARLIER STORIES

 
A sportsperson at heart
New Delhi, September 30
Madhav Rao Scindia, who died in a plane crash today, was better known as a politician, but was also a sportsperson at heart. Despite hectic schedules he had to keep as a politician, he always had time for sports and welfare of sportspersons.

Youngsters ready to stake claim
Rohtak, September 30
The young brigade of Haryana crackers is ready to stake its claim for a place in the state squad when selectors meet at Bhiwani tomorrow to choose probables for Ranji Trophy championship for the coming season. In fact the commendable performance of junior cricketers hailing from Haryana in the national as well international matches last year poses a direct threat to some of the cricketers who represented Haryana in the Ranji Trophy last year.

Real Madrid’s Brazilian player Roberto Carlos (left) tries an overhead kick while Valladolid’s Chema looks on during a Spanish league soccer match at Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium, Spain, on Saturday.
Real Madrid’s Brazilian player Roberto Carlos (left) tries an overhead kick while Valladolid’s Chema looks on during a Spanish league soccer match at Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium, Spain, on Saturday. — AP/PTI

R.R. Parida, Kambli in fine nick
Chandigarh, September 30
Riding on the fine performance by Rashmi Ranjan Parida (86 n.o.) and Vineet Jain (3 for 34) Bishnoi Cricket Club scored four wicket victory over Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited in the VIIIth J.P. Atray Memorial Cricket Tournament at the Sector 16 Cricket Stadium here today.

Kiwis to play at Sharjah
Dubai, September 30
With India having ruled out its participation at a ‘non-regular venue’, the organisers of cricket tournaments in Sharjah have once again invited New Zealand for their next edition of the one-day series even as they welcomed the election of Mr Jagmohan Dalmiya as the chief of Indian cricket board.

“No reprieve for those banned”
Chennai, September 30
The new cricket board President Mr Jagmohan Dalmiya today asserted that there was no question of a reprieve for players banned due to their involvement in matchfixing .

Gopi wants to be world No 1
New Delhi, September 30
All-England champion and ace shuttler Pullela Gopichand yesterday said his ambition was to become world number one.

Setback for Indian eves in hockey
Abbeville, September 30
India suffered a setback in their quest for a berth in the next year’s women’s hockey World Cup when they lost 1-2 to Scotland in the qualifying tournament here last night.

RCF, Corps of Signals to clash for title
Chandigarh, September 30
Winners of the 1996 edition Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, and 1993 runners-up Corps of Signals, Jalandhar, will clash for the title in the 31st SN Vohra’s All-India Gurmit Memorial Hockey Tournament to be played at the Sector 18 hockey stadium here tomorrow.

RCF Kapurthala's Jagmohan Singh (extreme right) tries to catch up with two CRPF players in the second semifinal of the 31st SN Vohra's All-India Gurmit Memorial Hockey Tournament in Chandigarh on Sunday. — Tribune photo

RCF Kapurthala's Jagmohan Singh (extreme right) tries to catch up with two CRPF players in the second semifinal of the 31st SN Vohra's All-India Gurmit Memorial Hockey Tournament in Chandigarh on Sunday.

Games preparations “on schedule”
Ludhiana, September 30
Preparations for the forthcoming National Games to be held in November at six different cities of the state are going on as per the scheduled programme and will be conducted on the fixed dates.


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Sachin, Kumble, Srinath certain to play in opener

Johannesburg, September 30
Almost sure of a victory, the visiting Indian cricketers would nevertheless be wary of drawing too many conclusions from their tour opening match against Nicky Oppenheimer XI set at mining families’ private ground at Randjesfontein tomorrow.

This traditional opening fixture of the South African season is more of a social rather than a cricketing occasion, old-world charm, where a handful of select invitees are treated to a private show of skills by the visiting team.

It is easy to see how this fixture of unfurling the cricket season has become a tradition in South Africa. Much of it is inspired by practice in England and Australia, who stage their own versions of such games in Norfolk XI and Prime Minister’s XI respectively, and who along with South Africa are three oldest Test playing nations.

The choice for India in this match is to either try out their possible eleven ahead of the sterner battles or to give the fringe players a chance to get into the swing of things.

There should be little doubt about India’s chances to win the game even with reserves, though the desire to check out on the form and fitness of the main stars would be too tempting for skipper Saurav Ganguly to ignore.

Ganguly, understandably, was unwilling to commit himself on the possible eleven. “We haven’t really got down to selecting the eleven”, said the Indian captain as he prepared to leave with his mates to watch the first live rugby match of their lives - a top game of the Bankfin Currie, the domestic rugby competition between Pumas and Lions at Ellis Park.

However, tomorrow's match is assured of the participation of Sachin Tendulkar, Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble, three seniormost members of the side who are returning to the fold after recovering from injuries.

Since Kumble and Harbhajan Singh operating in tandem is perceived as one of the strong cards of visitors against the hosts in the coming battles, the Punjab off-spinner too is almost certain to be played tomorrow.

The team’s think-tank would also be keen to try out Ajit Agarkar and check on his fitness. Agarkar was found fit and included in the team as injured Ashish Nehra’s replacement at the last minute though his visa problems ensured that he could join the squad here only on Thursday.

Reetinder Singh Sodhi, Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag are likely to be given an opportunity to sort themselves out since they start as certainties in coming matches and would do well to utilise whatever time they get to spend in the middle.

The host XI is largely an unknown mix of coloured and white cricketers though there is at least one player who would be keen to press his claims. Mornantu Hayward, who made such an impression on the tour to India last year, is eager to show he had recovered completely from his injuries and has learned to control his swings of mood which has earned him more foes than friends. PTI

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Ganguly seeks redemption

Johannesburg, September 30
If steadfastness to one’s tested method is any indication to an individual’s state of mind, Indian captain Saurav Ganguly is extremely collected and focussed on this challenging tour of South Africa.

The elegant left-hander is on the verge of completing his 3,000 runs in Test cricket. His critics believe he is also on the precipice of losing his captaincy and would have to dig deep into his reserves to continue as a Test batsman.

Bowlers are believed to have worked inside out on the batting technique of Ganguly. Match-referees have a case for keeping him out of the playing area. Former captains find him too arrogant with his men and absolutely disrespectful of the left-arm spinners.

The news from the South African camp indicates the hosts have decided to concentrate on bowling right into the middle of the left-hander’s stumps. Even though Ganguly gets most of his runs on the off-side, they perceive he is not that bad on the deliveries pitched on the leg-stump either. It is only on deliveries pitched in line with the middle stump that Ganguly seems to have difficulties.

There were also reports in view of the extra bounce on the South African pitches, the Indian captain has redesigned his bats in a manner in which the ‘meat’ or ‘sweet spot’ of his willow are a bit higher than usual. His deputy Rahul Dravid has been quoted for having gone for this option after he noticed the Australian bats during the tour to India earlier this year.

Dravid noticed the meat of Australian’s bat was a bit higher and he felt it might have accentuated their problems on slow and low India pitches. Consequently, Dravid is said to have restructured his bat and the same is said to have been done by Ganguly, a suggestion now refuted by the Indian captain.

“Somebody might have done so but not me,” said Ganguly. “I have come out on this tour with more or less the same batting sticks.”

Exuding a calm which belied the storm building around him, Ganguly is intent on looking at his men and their collective chances on this tour rather than dwell on his own personal issues. As far as he is concerned, he would rather let his performance do the talking.

“It is not the first time that I have faced criticism,” said Ganguly. “Nor would it be the last — I can only back my instincts in these moments.”

For the present, he is happy the way Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble have eased back into the team after lay-offs due to injury. “Anil is really looking good at the nets,” commented Ganguly. “Initially he looked rusty, but that is what you would expect a cricketer to be after such a long break.”

Ganguly is also happy with what he has seen of Javagal Srinath in the past week or so on this tour. “Srinath has looked sharp and good in the nets,” said Ganguly, adding there did not seem to be any worry with the fitness and agility of the senior paceman from Karnataka. PTI

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S. Africa complete 3-0 win

Harare, September 30
South Africa juggled their batting order to give fringe players a chance but still cruised to a six-wicket win in the third and final one-day international against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club today.

It completed a crushing 3-0 series win for South Africa. But stand-in Zimbabwe captain Guy Whittall said he believed his side could lift their game in a five-match series against England which starts at the same venue Wednesday.

“We’ve had a very hard month (against South Africa) but sometimes after playing a very good side you come out better when you play against a weaker side, as in England,” said Whittall.

Neil McKenzie played an anchor innings of 69 not out as South Africa overhauled a modest Zimbabwe total of 184 for six with nine overs to spare.

“They bowled very well and backed it up with superb fielding,” said Whittall as he acknowledged that Zimbabwe’s chances plummeted in the first hour of the match, when they could score only 35 runs in the first 15 overs, while the ball was still hard and fielding restrictions were in place. South Africa’s attack shackled Zimbabwe so effectively on a difficult pitch that they managed only 184 for six from their 50 overs.

Captain Shaun Pollock led the way by conceding just 29 runs in his 10 overs while fellow paceman Justin Kemp took one for 30 off nine overs and left-arm spinner Claude Henderson captured two for 34 in his 10.

South Africa, who already have a 2-0 winning lead in the series, struck first in the fourth over after Zimbabwe won the toss and batted on a dry and cracked pitch.

Zimbabwe

Campbell b Henderson 40

Masakadza lbw b Kemp 5 Carlisle c Klusener b Ontong 51

A. Flower c Gibbs b Henderson 4

Ebrahim run out (Dippenaar) 41

G. Flower c Dippenaar b Klusener 28

Whittall not out 5

Extras: (lb-5 nb-2 w-3) 10

Total: (for six wickets, 50 overs) 184

Fall of wickets: 1/7, 2/74, 3/92, 4/118, 5/172, 6/184.

Bowling: Pollock 10-2-29-0 (nb-2), Kemp 9-2-30-1, Kallis 4-0-18-0 (w-1), Klusener 9-0-35-1 (w-1), Henderson 10-1-34-2, Ontong 8-1-33-1 (w-1).

South Africa:

Dippenaar lbw b Brent 22

Gibbs lbw b Nkala 39

Kemp lbw b Nkala 1

McKenzie not out 69

Ontong c and b G. Flower 32

Boucher not out 15

Extras: (lb-3, w-7) 10

Total: (4 wkts, 41 overs) 188

Fall of wickets: 1-64, 2-67, 3-67, 4-131.

Bowling: Friend 6-1-38-0, Brent 10-4-22-1, Nkala 9-1-46-2, Whittall 6-1-27-0, Strang 6-0-35-0, G. Flower 4-0-17-1. Reuters

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‘U-19 players will get more exposure’

Chennai, September 30
Mr Jagmohan Dalmiya, the newly elected President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today said the priority of the new administration would be to get at the “root of the slump in India’s performance’’ and ratings to number eight out of 10 and restore Indian cricket’s standing in the international arena.

“If we succeed, I will be happy. The damage control will be given top priority,’’ he said, addressing his first press conference after the conclusion of the two-day Annual General Body Meeting (AGM) of the cricket board here.

Mr Dalmiya, who announced that former Kiwi skipper John Wright and physio Andrew Leipus, who were appointed during the tenure of the former BCCI President A.C. Muthiah, would continue.

“We have not decided on their terms as yet. But there will be plenty of time between the conclusion of the South Africa tour and the beginning of the home series against England to decide on this,’’ he said.

Mr Dalmiya, who expressed concern at the spate of injuries being suffered by players including key players like medium pacer J. Srinath observed that the slump could be arrested only by raising the performance.

“We have to go to the root and correct it. Injuries are occuring despite the best facilities like physio and modern sports medicine being made available to the players,’’ he averred.

“We have to find out what is going wrong,’’ he added.

Mr Dalmiya also announced that the proposed gradation payment to the players was accepted at the AGM. Specific details would be reviewed by the working committee and placed before a special general meeting for approval by February 28, 2002.

Top priority would be accorded to giving more exposure to under-19 players by having as many tours both away and home to build up a supply line of players for elevation to senior level.

He also announced that a proper procedure of inquiry on the ticket sale scam in the Goa Cricket Association (GCA) would be done.

As domestic cricket had suffered because of a ruling given by the chairman at the BCCI annual general body meeting yesterday, the AGM today had unanimously withdrawn the suspension of the GCA so that cricketing activity could continue in that state.

The show cause notice served on the GCA by the cricket board earlier, has not been withdrawn, he announced.

Dalmia also announced that the cricket board had decided to recognise and affiliate the three newly formed states of Jharkhand, Uttaranchal and Chattisgarh by February 28, 2002, but only commensurate with the standard of cricket there.

A sub-committee formed by the board would submit a report to be studied by the working committee and placed before a special general meeting for approval before February 28, 2002.

The AGM had also decided that BCCI President would form a committee to run domestic cricket in Bihar and Jharkhand in the 2001-2002 season. UNI

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Gavaskar replaces Dungarpur

Chennai, September 30
Newly elected president of cricket board Jagmohan Dalmiya’s first administrative decision rolled the head of one of his predecessors Raj Singh Dungarpur who was today replaced as Director of National Cricket Academy by Sunil Gavaskar.

Dalmiya, who upstaged incumbent A.C. Muthiah’s plans of winning a third term in office in yesterday’s presidential election, announced the appointment of Gavaskar on the second day of the two-day Annual General Meeting of the BCCI here.

Interestingly, Gavaskar, who was earlier associated with NCA as an advisor, had quit that post after a tiff with Dungarpur last year.

Meanwhile, after high drama and intense battles that preceded the elections of President and Secretary yesterday, the cricket board today got down to settling things more amicably and decided to persist with four of the five national selectors for another term.

The only exception was South Zone selector T.A. Sekar, a strong loyalist of Muthiah, who was replaced by former Test off-spinner Shivlal Yadav of Hyderabad.

The selectors who retain their offices are: chairman Chandu Borde (West), Madan Lal (North), Ashok Malhotra (East) and Sanjay Jagdale (Central). PTI

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A sportsperson at heart

New Delhi, September 30
Madhav Rao Scindia, who died in a plane crash today, was better known as a politician, but was also a sportsperson at heart.

Despite hectic schedules he had to keep as a politician, he always had time for sports and welfare of sportspersons.

An active weekend cricketer and a keen amateur golfer, Scindia brought all his administrative and diplomatic acumen he was famous for, in the running of sports in the country both as an administrator and as a minister.

Scindia was the President of cricket board from 1990 to 1993, a stormy period during which allegations of malpractices in cricket first surfaced at Sharjah and India pulled out of competition in the desert outpost. PTI

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Youngsters ready to stake claim
Our Sports Reporter

Rohtak, September 30
The young brigade of Haryana crackers is ready to stake its claim for a place in the state squad when selectors meet at Bhiwani tomorrow to choose probables for Ranji Trophy championship for the coming season. In fact the commendable performance of junior cricketers hailing from Haryana in the national as well international matches last year poses a direct threat to some of the cricketers who represented Haryana in the Ranji Trophy last year.

Haryana had failed to qualify for the knockout stage of national championship last year and the performance of several cricketers was not up to the mark. On the other hand the juniors succeeded in converting it into a memorable season by virtue of their maiden title triumph in Cooch Behar Trophy — a symbol of supremacy in junior cricket in the country. This success was followed by Haryana’s victory over Rest of India in the Chidambram Trophy.

The individual performance of several youngsters was par excellence. Amit Mishra, Nitin Aggarwal, and Joginder Sharma bagged 36, 32 and 28 wickets, respectively, in the Cooch Behar Trophy last year.

In batting Manvinder Bisla amassed 927 runs to emerge the highest run getter in the country in junior cricket. Ishan Ganda (584 runs), Bhuvnesh (386 runs), Deepak Joon (346 runs) and Ajay Ratra (293) gave impressive performance in batting.

If the Haryana selectors acknowledge their feats and treat it as a yardstick for selection to the state team, some of the junior cricketers may find promotion in the state squad. No doubt playing Ranji cricket is more competitive when compared to the junior cricket. But Haryana’s past experience favours the youth. Amit Mishra, Nitin Aggarwal, Ishan Ganda and Ajay Ratra were rewarded with the selection in the Ranji team and all of them grabbed opportunities. Last year Amit Mishra bagged 22 Ranji wickets whereas Ishan Ganda scored 287 runs. Ratra’s performance with the bat and gloves was equally satisfactory.

The skipper of Indian colts scored 140 runs besides holding 11 catches and executing two stumpings in Ranji Trophy. It is also reliably learnt that Tamil Nadu leg spinner S. Vidhut has also intended to play for Haryana. He had the unique distinction of scoring century in Ranji Trophy last year while playing at number 11 in the batting order. He also captured 31 wickets while representing Tamil Nadu in Cooch Behar Trophy last year.

Thus, there is a plethora of young talent knocking at the doors to seek entry into state squad. But how many can succeed in their bid, remains to be seen.
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R.R. Parida, Kambli in fine nick
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Riding on the fine performance by Rashmi Ranjan Parida (86 n.o.) and Vineet Jain (3 for 34) Bishnoi Cricket Club scored four wicket victory over Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited in the VIIIth J.P. Atray Memorial Cricket Tournament at the Sector 16 Cricket Stadium here today.

Parida started from where he left yesterday. Even though wickets fell at other end he kept his cool and played confidentaly on either side of the wicket. Though J. Arun Kumar (33) and Nikhil Chopra (34) supported him well it was Parida who stole the limelight. Earlier speedster Vineet Jain broke the backbone of the BPCL with a haul of three wickets to bundle the team out for 211 runs. S. Sawant (52), Sanjay Raul (48) and Robind Moris (33) consolidated the innings but in the end the total proved inadequate.

Brief Scores: BPCL — 211 for 9 in 50 overs (S. Sawant 52, Sanjay Raul 48, Robin Mooris 33, Vineet Jain 3 for 34, Madan Lal 2 for 35, Saurav Vermani 2 for 42). Bishnoi XI: 212 for 6 in 48.2 overs (R.R. Parida 86 n.o., Nikhil Chopra 34, J. Arun Kumar 33, Sairaj Bahutule 2 for 24).

At Mohali, India discard Vinod Kambli and Abhijit Shettye combined well as Mumbai XI turned the tables on ONGC. The ONGC team, put into bat, were in trouble straightaway as they lost six wickets for 113 runs. Ravi Sehgal (40) and Mohd Saif (37) helped the team post 192 runs in 50 overs.

For Mumbai Kambli who smashed 41 runs off 31, and Wasim Jaffer (37 of 38 balls) posted 82 runs in just nine overs after the loss of Vinayak Manels wicket. Spinners Sarandeep Singh and Rahul Sanghvi bowled well in tandem. Mumbai team were in for a scare when they lost three wickets at the score of 187. However, Abhijit Shettye (49 off 96 balls) completed the victory formalities with 9 overs to spare.

Brief scores: ONGC — 192 for 8 in 50 overs. (Ravi Sehgal 40 n.o., Mohd Kaif 37, Mithur Minhas 27, Mohd Saif 25, Avishkar Sabir 2 for 31, Amit Dani 2 for 32). Mumbai XI: 196 for 7 in 3 in 41 overs. (Abhijit Shettye 49, Vinod Kambli 41, Wasim Jaffer 37, Rahul Sanghvi 3 for 22, Sarandeep 2 for 27).

Tomorrow is a rest day. The remaining league matches will be played on October 2, 3 and 4.

PATIALA: A belligerent 69 by southpaw Neeraj Patel and a quickfire 58 by former Test cricketer Parveen Amre enabled fancied Indian Airlines beat Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) colts by 23 runs in pool ‘B’ league match played at the Dhruv Pandove Stadium at Patiala.

The PCA colts, after convincingly beating Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association yesterday, today failed to found their feet and came a cropper against some penetrative bowling by the rivals medium pacers, particularly Harvinder Singh Sodhi who made the ball swing and bounce to claim 4 for 52. Chasing a formidable 242, PCA colts who at one stage were precariously placed at 124 for 6, were well served by Ankur Sondhi who scored a sedate unbeaten 58 and Kailash Sanwal who came up with a run a ball 40. Neeraj Patel was declared the Man of the Match.

Brief scores: Indian Airlines: 242 all out (Neeraj Patel 69, Parveen Amre 58, A. Nayyar 22, Amit Uniyal 4 for 33, Navdeep Singh 2 for 30, Amit Kakria 3 for 53). PCA Colts: 219 all out (Ankur Sondhi 58 n.o, Rakesh Raini 31, Kailash Sanwal 40, Amit Uniyal 23, Harvinder Singh Sodhi 4 for 52, Pritam Gandhe 3 for 49, Uday Kerkera 2 for 40). OSR
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“No reprieve for those banned”

Chennai, September 30
The new cricket board President Mr Jagmohan Dalmiya today asserted that there was no question of a reprieve for players banned due to their involvement in matchfixing.

“It is a heinous crime” and action was taken based on the investigation by the CBI and the report submitted by it, he said at his first press conference after the conclusion of the BCCI’s AGM here.

However, Mr Dalmiya said he was of the opinion that the BCCI and the CBI must cooperate and work together while handling such matters, referring to the challenging in the court of the BCCI decision to ban them, by former India captain Md Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja

“We will support the CBI if it comes up with evidence,” he observed. UNI

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Kiwis to play at Sharjah

Dubai, September 30
With India having ruled out its participation at a ‘non-regular venue’, the organisers of cricket tournaments in Sharjah have once again invited New Zealand for their next edition of the one-day series even as they welcomed the election of Mr Jagmohan Dalmiya as the chief of Indian cricket board.

New Zealand, last minute replacement for India in the tournament’s previous edition in April this year, will once again figure along with Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The organisers were also planning to invite a fourth team to make the event more ‘interesting and exciting’, the Khaleej Times reported today. PTI
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Gopi wants to be world No 1

New Delhi, September 30
All-England champion and ace shuttler Pullela Gopichand yesterday said his ambition was to become world number one.

After receiving the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award last evening, the highest sporting honour of the country, Gopichand said the old point system suited him better. “I am trying to adapt to the new system. My goal is to become the world number one some day,’’ Gopichand told UNI.

“The award is a great achievement and will give badminton a boost,’’ said Gopichand who is to participate in the Danish Open in the next 10 days. “Next year is crucial with Commonwealth and Asian Games.’’

Asked whether he is looking for a foreign coach, the ace shuttler, who has recently recovered from an ankle injury, said, “I am looking out for a few things, but nothing has been finalised yet.”

World junior shooting record holder Abhinav Bindra, who turned 19 yesterday, said his main focus now was to do well in the qualifying rounds for the next Olympics. “I have to strike hard at the right time,’’ said the youngest awardee this year. Bindra said he had tied up with a German coach.

Shooter Anjali Ved Pathak, who reached the final in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, said she was happy to get the award “at the right time”, but added the infrastructure in the country needed a lot of improvement.

“We do not have electronic targets which are a must to do well at international events. Also there is the problem of substandard ammunition,’’ she said. “There is a communication gap between the Sports Ministry, Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the sports federations.”

The CISF Inspector also pointed out lack of coaching in shooting. The Hungarian coach, Lazlo Szucsak, under whom the national shooting squad did well at international events, has since joined the Japanese team.

Kusum Jadhav, who received the award for his late husband K.D. Jadhav, said, “The award has come a bit too late.” Jadhav won the bronze in bantamweight wrestling in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. “the awards were instituted in 1961, but he was never considered,’’ Kusum said. Jadhav was killed in a road accident in 1984.

Recalling her husband’s return with an Olympic bronze, Kusum said, “he was presented a headgear by people near Dadar railway station in Mumbai and later 101 people took out a procession in our native village.”

Former hockey player Balkishan Singh said he should have got the award at least two decades earlier. “There was a time when the world knew India for Gandhi, Nehru and hockey,” he said talking about the importance the game once enjoyed. He was a member of the gold-winning Indian hockey team in 1956 Melbourne Olympics. UNI

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Setback for Indian eves in hockey

Abbeville, September 30
India suffered a setback in their quest for a berth in the next year’s women’s hockey World Cup when they lost 1-2 to Scotland in the qualifying tournament here last night.

In a play-off for the 5-8 places, India took the lead in the fifth minute but couldn’t hold on. Scotland equalised in the 27th minute and the score remained tied at regulation time and the extra-time.

India must win their last match, against either Lithuania or Ireland, to take the seventh place and become the last team to qualify for the World Cup to be held in Perth in November next year. India started off well and took the lead in the fifth minute through inside-left Mamata Kharab who scored a brilliant field goal.

The equaliser came in the 27th minute through Valentine and after that it was a case of missed opportunities for both teams. After regulation time and extra-time failed to break the deadlock, the golden goal rule was applied where Simpson fired home the winner. PTI

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RCF, Corps of Signals to clash for title
Amardeep Bhattal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Winners of the 1996 edition Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, and 1993 runners-up Corps of Signals, Jalandhar, will clash for the title in the 31st SN Vohra’s All-India Gurmit Memorial Hockey Tournament to be played at the Sector 18 hockey stadium here tomorrow.

In action-packed semifinals today, RCF edged out a fighting Central Reserve Police Force 3-2 while Signals overcame stubborn resistance from Indian Hockey Federation XI before emerging victorious by a 2-1 margin.

Much was expected of the two outfits after their shocking victories over Punjab Police and Punjab and Sind Bank in the quarter-finals yesterday and both did not disappoint. Nevertheless, the good Sunday crowd will cherish the marvellous fightback of CRPF and IHF Junior XI who mesmerised the spectators in the edge-of-the-seat contests.

The RCF-CRPF match was easily the best in the current edition. Having taken an early lead in the third minute when Toper Kujur shot home after Mukesh Kumar’s hit struck the upright, CRPF seemed well set to chalk another victory, but the cool and composed RCF, after a couple of unsuccessful bids, found the equaliser in the 21st minute when Jagmohan scored off a penalty corner (1-1).

In the 28th minute CRPF forced a penalty corner but as luck would have it, SK Vishisht’s hit struck the upright and what followed was a fast counter-attack by RCF. It culiminated in the award of a penalty stroke as umpire Satinder Sharma penalised CRPF after Prabhat Saini stopped the ball with his body. SK Barla made no mistake in taking the stroke and RCF were ahead 2-1.Shortly before the interval, CRPF had a gilt-edged chance when Jollen Topno’s pass parallel to the goal line went abegging since Toper Kujur failed to tap the ball into the goal.

The second half witnessed a strong CRPF resurgence and in the last quarter, almost the entire team barring one defender advanced into the rival territory. CRPF forced penalty corners in the 39th, 42nd and 46th minutes which proved abortive. But against run of play, the Kapurthala outfit further consolidated the lead when off a free hit by Jageshwar Ekka just outside the ‘D’, M. Ekka deflected the ball into the goalmouth leaving the security men gasping for breath (3-1).

With time running out, CRPF went all out to come back into the game and their efforts were partially rewarded as Tanveer Jamal reduced the margin off a penalty corner making it 2-3 in the 54th minute. In the dying minutes, CRPF forced at least three penalty corners but the RCF defence as also their custodian Bipin withstood the test with fortitude to eventually carry the day in a dramatic turn of events.

Earlier, playing total and attacking hockey, Corps of Signals, Jalandhar, got the better of IHF Junior XI after being in arrears early on. The match was off to a rough start as umpire Rajinder Gandhi had to flash the yellow card for IHF XI’s A. Partap. Similarly, Tarsem Singh of Signals was given marching orders for a foul against Somesh of IHF XI.

IHF Junior XI took the lead in the 26th minute when a hard hit by Vivek Gupta was deflected into the goal mouth by Jeevan (1-0). Signals hit back two minutes later, forcing a penalty corner and left full back Nabin Lakra’s hit was bang on target (1-1).

In the second half, IHF Junior XI had a good opportunity when Somesh had a clear view of the goal but his well-directed hit was padded away by Signals’ custodian Imran Khan. Signals suffered a setback when the promising Pawan Kumar had to be carried away after he suffered a knee injury.

The match winner for Signals came five minutes from close when Signals were awarded a penalty corner. Nabin Lakra was again bang on target making it 2-1. Incidentally, Nabin Lakra was in the national camp in 1993 in preparation for the Indira Gandhi Gold Cup. Earlier the teams were introduced to the Director, Sports, Punjab, Col Raminder Singh, who himself played for Signals many years back.

The final, which will be telecast live by Doordarshan, will be played at 3 p.m. tomorrow.

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Games preparations “on schedule”
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, September 30
Preparations for the forthcoming National Games to be held in November at six different cities of the state are going on as per the scheduled programme and will be conducted on the fixed dates.

This was stated by Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers and working chairman of the National Games Organising Committee (NGOC) here today. He was in the city to preside over a function ‘ Sankat Mochan Bima Yojna’ for the farmers. Mr Dhindsa later attended a meeting of secretaries of different sports associations at Guru Nanak Stadium, venue of opening and closing ceremonies to review the preparations going on for the National Games.

After the meeting, Mr Dhindsa informed that the import of equipment for the mega event would be completed well in time. The equipment procured for 1989 National Games including two synthetic surfaces for the volleyball complex which had been lying here was in good position and would be used.

Mr Dhindsa further said that a meeting of all the 27 directors of competition involved in the conduct of these games would hold a meeting at Mohali on October 15 to analyse the preparations made so far. These directors would also make an inspection of different games sites on October 14 to recommend if anything was required, he said.

Today’s meeting was attended by Mr S K Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, Mr S R Kaler, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Raminder Singh, Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, Mayor, Mr Prithipal Singh Virk, Director, Finance, NGOC, Dr D K Tandon, Director, Technical Committee, Mr Raj Kumar, General Secretary, Volleyball Federation of India, Mr Teja Singh Dhaliwal, General Secretary, Punjab Basketball Association and Mr S L Lottey, District Sports Officer.

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 SPORTS BRIEFS

MAN UNITED'S GREAT ESCAPE
LONDON:
Manchester United produced an amazing second-half fightaback to beat Spurs 5-3 and take joint top spot in the English Premiership here on Saturday. United were reeling at 3-0 down after a superb first-half performance from Spurs but came out all guns blazing after the interval to pull off a remarkable victory. David Beckham sealed a brilliant display from Alex Ferguson’s men, scoring the fifth and final goal after Argentine record-signing Juan Sebastian Veron had put United 4-3 ahead. United’s other goals from Andy Cole, Laurent Blanc and Ruud van Nistelrooy had taken the reigning champions level. AFP

ROWERS IMPRESS
NEW DELHI:
India put up an impressive performance clinching two silver and four bronze medals in the seventh Asian Rowing Championship held at Shanxxi in China. The 23-member Indian team had participated in 11 events in senior and junior rowing events for men and women and qualified for 10 finals which concluded on Thursday, a press note from the Sports Authority of India said here on Saturday. Gurpreet Kaur and Jincymol Vergheese won silver and bronze in the junior and senior women singles sculls category respectively. Roshan Lal and M Rehman bagged bronze in the men’s light weight coxiess pair event and later they teamed with Pappi Singh and Kasam Khan to capture silver in light weight men’s coxless fours. PTI

WHITE'S SURGERY
LONDON:
England allrounder Craig White will undergo keyhole surgery in a bid to overcome the knee trouble that has forced him to miss his country’s one-day international series in Zimbabwe. The 31-year-old Australia-educated Yorkshire player sustained the knee injury after slipping in the bathroom. He will go under the surgeon’s knife on Monday to try to cure the problem and give himself time to recover before England go on their Test tour to India on November 13. AFP

LOPEZ WINS TITLE
NEW YORK:
Ricardo Lopez of Mexico retained his International Boxing Federation light flyweight title when he knocked out South African Zolani Petelo in the eighth round at Madison Square Garden. Petelo was knocked to the canvas midway through the eighth and remained on one knee as veteran referee Arthur Mercante counted him out. He has now had 17 wins, three defeats and two draws. Reuters

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