Mumbai wear Ranji crown yet again
Vengsarkar lauds Zaheer’s bowling
Sreesanth keen to hit back
Vaughan to play in crucial clash
Ponting sweeps Aussie awards
Nielsen to be next Aussie coach
Colts held by Kiwis
Feed sharing: Govt to penalise defaulters
Irina blossoms on Asian circuit
Jeev moves up
BD Arya, HMV in quarters
Mumbai, February 5
The result, which saw Mumbai win the national championship for a record 37th time, was all the more creditable considering the ordinary start they had made to their campaign.
This was the second successive time that Bengal had lost in the Ranji final. Last year, they had lost to Uttar Pradesh. Bengal have clinched the title only twice in the 10 finals they have played.
One rung below Mumbai’s 37 Ranji titles are Karnataka and Delhi, but they have won it on just six occasions each since 1934-35, when the competition was launched.
Chasing an improbable target of 472 runs, Bengal came up with a determined response in the earlier part of the day before folding up for 339 in their second innings after tea.
Making his debut for Mumbai, left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan backed his first innings five-wicket haul with another fine effort as he claimed four in the second to trigger the Bengal collapse.
The loss of the last six wickets for just five runs put paid to the hopes of Bengal, who at one stage looked extremely good during the run chase with half-centuries from Deep Dasgupta, Manoj Tiwary and Sourav Ganguly.
Resuming at 98 for 2, Bengal went about their task in an efficient manner, reaching 226 for 3 at lunch.
However, just when the partnership was assuming threatening proportions, Tiwary (94), who put on 117 runs for the fourth wicket with Ganguly (90), unnecessarily played an uppish shot to hole out at point off Abhishek Nair’s bowling. This proved to be the turning point of the match.
Dishing out a positive approach, Ganguly, who was extremely fluent and looked focused from the outset, not only unleashed an array of strokes but also was equally adept in rotating the strike.
However, the new ball, which was taken in the 85th over, saw Mumbai making the most of it. Agarkar claimed the crucial wicket of southpaw Rohan Gavaskar (46) to shatter the visitors’ hopes of delaying the inevitable.
With the wickets falling regularly at the other end, Sourav, with little option left, finally got out, 10 runs short of a well-deserved century, in his attempt to step up the scoring rate.
Fifteen minutes after tea, the Bengal resistance was over as Mumbai claimed the prestigious trophy after a gap of two seasons. Thus they made amends for the last year’s disappointment of losing in the semis to Uttar Pradesh.
Sharad Pawar, BCCI President, handed over the trophy to the Mumbai team, who were awarded by the Mumbai Cricket Association a bonus of Rs 1 lakh for the entire 19-member squad.
Mumbai’s opening batsman Wasim Jaffer was presented a memento by Sachin Tendulkar for completing 10,000 runs in first-class cricket.
Mumbai (1st innings) 320
Bengal (1st innings) 143
Mumbai (2nd innings) 294
Bengal (2nd innings)
Dasgupta c Samant b Mota 57
Extras (b-2, lb-4, w-1, nb-12) 19
Total (all out, 92.2 overs) 339
Fall of wickets: 1-39, 2-65, 3-153, 4-270, 5-334, 6-335, 7-335, 8-338, 9-338.
Bowling: Agarkar 17.2-6-56-2, Zaheer 24-4-119-4, Mota 13-6-34-2, Nair 12-2-29-1, Powar 23-4-85-1, Tendulkar 3-0-10-0. — PTI, UNI
Mumbai, February 5
Speaking to reporters after the match, Vengsarkar said although the credit for this win went to all Mumbai players, it was Zaheer who changed the course of the match.
Vengsarkar praised Sourav Ganguly, whose gritty 90 kept Bengal in the hunt for some time. “For a moment I thought he would play an innings like I had played against Haryana in the 1991 final.”
The former India captain also praised the senior players of both sides for the commitment they showed while playing domestic cricket. “After a tough one-day series against the West Indies, and another one coming up against Sri Lanka, it showed a lot of commitment from seniors like Sachin Tendulkar, Ajit Agarkar, Zaheer Khan and Sourav Ganguly to come out and play a Ranji Trophy final. It is extremely commendable and we got to see cricket of the highest quality,” he added.
When asked about making the “stars” play more often in domestic matches, Vengsarkar blamed the ICC tour programme. “The ICC already has a four-year programme which leaves little room for the Indian players to play domestic matches. It is sad, but this is the way it is,” he added. — UNI
Sreesanth keen to hit back
Kochi, February 5
Sreesanth admits that his form left much to be desired in the home series against the West Indies and sees his selection for the first two matches against Sri Lanka as a great opportunity to prove his worth and secure a place in the World Cup line-up.
“It was a learning experience for me. I had bowled quite a few wides and I will not commit such mistakes. I will stop the runs. I will put in my very best against the Sri Lankans in the coming matches,” Sreesanth told PTI in an interview here.
Sreesanth played in only two matches against the West Indies and had figures of 1-79 at Nagpur and 1-67 at Chennai.
But with the Indian World Cup squad to be announced on February 12, the speedster will get just two matches to stake his claim for a place in the 15-member team.
“It is a great opportunity for me that I have been selected for the first two matches against Sri Lanka. I would work hard and will see that I do not give many runs this time. I am still a learner. I will not take things for granted,” he said.
The one-day series against the Sri Lankans will begin at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on February 8 and the second match will be played in Rajkot on February 11. Margao (Feb 14) and Visakhapatnam (Feb 17) will host the two other matches but the World Cup squad would be known by then.
The 23-year-old paceman, only the second cricketer from Kerala to don the India colours after Tinu Yohannan, was not unduly worried over the dip in his performances, saying it could happen to any cricketer and it was just a matter of keeping focussed.
“I am not giving any excuse for my performance. I did not lose my rhythm. I gave too many wides. It was an experience. It can happen to any cricketer,” he said.
Adverse comments did not bother him and he was thinking how he could repeat his performances in South Africa, where he emerged as the leading wicket-taker in the three-Test series with 18 scalps.
“I am not worried about criticism. I am focusing on my game and will put in my best for the team.” Sreesanth, who has claimed 37 wickets in eight Tests and 31 in 24 ODIs, has realised that it was important to focus on only the next match rather than look too far ahead.
“At the moment, I am just mentally preparing for the next match. I know that I bowled too many wides. I will not repeat the same mistakes”.
A keen learner, Sreesanth spoke to West Indies captain Brian Lara whom he rates as the “toughest batsman he had found to dismiss”. He also took the opportunity to have a word with the hard-hitting Chris Gayle.
“Talking to these great batsmen really helped”, he said.
On India’s chances in the World Cup, he said the team had picked up its performance in recent matches and would give a creditable account of itself in the mega event.
“We are confident of putting up a good performance in the forthcoming World Cup. At the moment, India is doing very well. As a unit, we are performing well and we will put in our best in the West Indies,” he added.
The paceman also acknowledged the role played by his senior team-mates like captain Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar in shaping his career. — PTI
Brisbane, February 5
The winner of the match will play Australia in the three-match final and Vaughan’s availability is another boost to an England side rejuvenated by Friday’s shock win over the host nation.
Vaughan, on the comeback trail after a long layoff following a knee surgery, has missed England’s past five matches after straining his hamstring earlier in the series.
New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming said there was no doubt the England team was a more confident unit after their latest win, but said his side were ready for the challenge.
“They’ll be buoyant after that and up for Tuesday,” Fleming said in Melbourne yesterday.
“We’re pretty confident playing against them as well. It’s a scenario where one slipup you’re on your way home, which we don’t want to do.”
Fleming dismissed suggestions that the confidence of his side would have been dented by a third successive narrow loss to the Australians yesterday.
He said they simply had to keep doing the things that were working well against Australia. — AFP
Ponting sweeps Aussie awards
Sydney, February 5 Ponting won the country’s top individual award for the third time in the past four years to cap a memorable season in which he led Australia to a 5-0 Ashes series whitewash over England and victory in the Champions Trophy. The 32-year-old was also named as Australia’s best Test and one-day player, completing a unique sweep of the major prizes after being recognised as the ICC’s Player of the Year for 2006. Mike Hussey finished second in this year’s poll, with Shane Warne third in his final year before retirement.
Sydney, February 5
Ponting won the country’s top individual award for the third time in the past four years to cap a memorable season in which he led Australia to a 5-0 Ashes series whitewash over England and victory in the Champions Trophy.
The 32-year-old was also named as Australia’s best Test and one-day player, completing a unique sweep of the major prizes after being recognised as the ICC’s Player of the Year for 2006.
Mike Hussey finished second in this year’s poll, with Shane Warne third in his final year before retirement. — Reuters
Nielsen to be next Aussie coach
Melbourne, February 5 Nielsen, a former South Australia wicketkeeper-batsman and head coach of Australian cricket’s Centre of Excellence, has been an assistant to Buchanan for three years from 2002. He will take over the reins after the World Cup in the Caribbean in March-April. “I am incredibly proud, honoured and excited to have been offered this opportunity,” 38-year-old Nielsen said. “This job represents a great opportunity to work with a fine group of players who are an excellent cricket team.” The appointment of Nielsen came after former Test player and current Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody withdrew from the race for the job last week.
Melbourne, February 5
Nielsen, a former South Australia wicketkeeper-batsman and head coach of Australian cricket’s Centre of Excellence, has been an assistant to Buchanan for three years from 2002.
He will take over the reins after the World Cup in the Caribbean in March-April.
“I am incredibly proud, honoured and excited to have been offered this opportunity,” 38-year-old Nielsen said.
“This job represents a great opportunity to work with a fine group of players who are an excellent cricket team.”
The appointment of Nielsen came after former Test player and current Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody withdrew from the race for the job last week. — PTI
Colts held by Kiwis
Christchurch, February 5 Resuming at 531 for five on the fourth and final day, the Indian colts added 35 runs for the loss of two wickets before declaring at 566 for seven at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval. Set to score 391 for an unlikely win, hosts’ opener Jeet Raval compiled a solid 89 to frustrate the Indian bowlers. Though New Zealand wickets fell at regular intervals and the visitors threatened to run through the middle order, the hosts held out for a draw, scoring 231 for six in 96 overs. Earlier, the Indian top order found their touch after being shot out for a paltry 124 in the first innings and each of them contributed in the second essay, even though Srivastava and Rahane’s centuries
swelled the total. The two teams will now play a three-match ODI series, beginning at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval on Wednesday.
Christchurch, February 5
Resuming at 531 for five on the fourth and final day, the Indian colts added 35 runs for the loss of two wickets before declaring at 566 for seven at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval.
Set to score 391 for an unlikely win, hosts’ opener Jeet Raval compiled a solid 89 to frustrate the Indian bowlers.
Though New Zealand wickets fell at regular intervals and the visitors threatened to run through the middle order, the hosts held out for a draw, scoring 231 for six in 96 overs.
Earlier, the Indian top order found their touch after being shot out for a paltry 124 in the first innings and each of them contributed in the second essay, even though Srivastava and Rahane’s centuries swelled the total.
The two teams will now play a three-match ODI series, beginning at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval on Wednesday. — UNI
Guwahati, February 5
The boycott is being lifted on appeals made by eminent sportspersons and sports lovers of Assam, the group’s chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa said in a statement e-mailed to the media.
“Assam’s prides (Arjuna awardees) Bhogeswar Barua, Monalisa Barua, Taibun Nissa, Babul Barua, Gilbertson Sangma along with countless sports lovers had appealed us to lift our boycott call,” he said.
“As these sports persons are unblemished and not connected with any occupational forces or involved in colonial domination activities in Assam, we have respected their appeal,” he said.
Rajkhowa, however, warned that after the games no events organised by the government would be allowed to be held till the decades-long conflict is resolved politically.
The announcement by the outfit led to jubilation in the state with everyone welcoming ULFA’s latest decision.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi also welcomed the withdrawal. He had said yesterday that the intelligence had inputs of possible ULFA strikes during the games. “I have reports as of today that the ULFA will try to disrupt the games,” he had said.
The withdrawal announcement would bring some degree of respite to the security agencies as they had been kept on their toes by the ULFA threat.
Repeated blasts in the city, including yesterday’s car bomb, and recovery of explosives near the games’ main venue had put extra pressure on the security personnel.
However, despite the withdrawal announcement, security is not likely to be relaxed as the games would see the convergence of 10,000 players and officials, besides spectators.
Uncertainty had loomed large over the smooth and safe conduct of the 10-day event after the ULFA had threatened to disrupt the sporting festival. They had warned the players to keep out of the games for their own safety.
However, the ULFA later softened its stand to some extent by demanding the release of five of their top jailed leaders or renaming of the games as ‘Assam Sports Festival’ after a public outcry against the boycott.
Now that the militant threat has been withdrawn, the weather gods are keeping the organisers on their toes. Unseasonal heavy rain for the past three days along with icy winds have created havoc in the preparation of the games even as the athletes are trickling in from throughout the country.
The National Games officials are keeping their finger crossed but the Met office is predicting more rain in the next three days.
There are reports of water logging from almost all the venues with maximum damage to the boxing ring, besides damage to temporary gates, which have been erected to welcome the athletes. The Met office is predicting a clear weather only on the opening day, which is four days from now.
Meanwhile, the organisers are running against time to complete the preparation amidst reports of chaos and confusion from almost all sporting complexes.
The athletes are temporarily lodged in the Guwahati circuit house as some problem has cropped up in the Games Village. Punjab and Karnataka teams have arrived and most of the athletes will be reaching by tomorrow.
The rehearsals for the opening ceremony has been disturbed by the weather while complete confusion prevails amongst the school children who are supposed to take part in the opening ceremony. — PTI, UNI
New Delhi, February 5
The Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Ordinance 2007, notified by the government, also provides for a penalty of Rs 1 crore for denying live feed to the public broadcaster.
“No content rights owner or holder and no television or radio broadcasting service provider shall carry a live television broadcast, or any cable, or direct-to-home network, or radio commentary broadcast in India unless it simultaneously shares the live broadcasting signal, without advertisement, with Prasar Bharati,” the Ordinance read.
On the revenue-sharing part between the private broadcaster and Prasar Bharati, the new law lays down the ratio of 75:25 in case of television coverage and 50:50 in case of radio broadcast.
The government will also decide what portion of the revenue received by the Prasar Bharati in this manner will be “utilised for broadcasting other sports events,” it said.
Specifying penalties for failing to adhere to the new law, the Ordinance said the government “may specify penalties to be imposed, including suspension or revocation of licence, permission or registration, for violation of various terms and conditions.”
The amount of “pecuniary penalty shall not exceed Rs 1 crore,” the Ordinance said, adding that the service provider would have “a reasonable opportunity” to defend its case. — PTI
Irina blossoms on Asian circuit
Chandigarh, February 5
The $1 lakh prize money tournament attracted over 60 leading players. Considering it was her first exposure on the Asian circuit, the Chandigarh golfer finished a decent tied 18th to pick up a tidy share of the prize money. The only other Indian in the tournament, Smriti Mehra-Gufffin, finished a poor 47th.
Irina says no caddies were allowed in the club spread over a series of mountains with difficult water features. It was a two-over 74 in the first round followed by a bad nine-over 81. But she found her touch on the third day, returning a par card of 72. This got her the tied 18th spot.
“The Hong Kong tour was a great learning experience. It was a lot of fun also,” said Irina at her Sector 21
That Irina has arrived on the pro scene was evident during her performance on the WGAI pro golf tour. Turning pro soon after being dropped from the Asian Games team, Irina struck a bright patch winning the third and fifth legs of the pro tour. She finished second in the fourth leg. With the sixth leg still to go, it is now a straight fight between the experienced Smriti and Irina.
An MA Part II (psychology) student of DAV College, Sector 10, Irina is determined to top in her exams. She finished fourth in the university in the MA Part I exams. “I don’t have time for studies. But give me a month and I can do it,” she says with confidence.
But at the moment she is all set for the sixth leg of the pro golf to be played at the DLF Golf and Country Club.
She said the sixth leg would be a warm-up for the Indian Open (Rs 50 lakh prize money) which would be played on the same greens from March 14 to 16.
But before that it would be the Thailand Ladies’ Masters (Rs 50 lakh prize money) from March 7 to 9.
But her sights will be on the Bin Hai Ladies Open to be played in Shanghai from March 21 to 23. The $2,30,000 (about Rs 1.15 crore) prize money tournament will be her last major event before she gets down to her studies for her masters degree in psychology.
Irina is very clear about her training in the summers. In her words: “I am planning to work really hard over the summer. I have to really refine my swing and technique. It will be over to my coach Jesse Grewal, who has refined my play over the years.”
She wants to increase her driver from 240 to 260 yards. And for this she is prepared to do her entire summer training under Jesse at the Chandigarh Golf Range.
New Delhi, February 5
Jyoti Randhawa, who finished an impressive tied seventh in the Dubai event yesterday, jumped five spots to be at 86 in the rankings.
Among other Indians, Shiv Kapur fell two spots to be placed 182. — PTI
BD Arya, HMV in quarters
Jalandhar, February 5
BD Arya College A beat Khalsa College Ludhiana C 14-0. For the winners, Baljinder Kaur scored four goals. Parminder Kaur (3), Kirandeep Kaur (2), Simranjit Kaur (2), Ramandeep, Kulwinder and Gurjit Kaur (one each) were the other scorers.
In another match, HMV College, Jalandhar, beat Gurdaspur B 14-0. Harinder Kaur (4), Amandeep (3), Vandana (2), Jiwan Jyoti (2), Baljit Kaur (2) and Sukhmanjit Kaur sounded the board for the winners.
BBK DAV College, Amritsar, beat Khalsa College, Ludhiana B, in a well-contested match 2-1. For BBK, Sania Sharma scored both goals. Gurpreet Kaur was the lone scorer for Ludhiana team.
Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar A, beat S.D. Phularwan School 12-1. For winners, Monika scored seven goals. Rajni (4) and Harjit Kaur (1) were the other scorers for Jalandhar college.
In other matches of the day, Khalsa College, Ludhiana A, beat Patiala B 25-0, Government College, Ludhiana B, beat Patiala C 11-0, Sports Wing, Kairon, beat Nehru Garden, Jalandhar, 4-2, H.M.V College, Jalandhar, beat Alfa Nehru Garden, Jalandhar, 20-0.
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