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Wed, September 29, 2004

Compiled by SDNP

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Rain hampers training
Sports Reporter

The Daily Star

Inclement weather continued to frustrate Bangladesh's preparation for the home series against New Zealand for a second successive day at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.

Coach Dav Whatmore's 21 probables were forced to train in two groups as heavy morning rain meant only brief nets could take place in the afternoon. And those who missed out Monday's batting session took part while another ten cricketers led by former national captain Khaled Mahmud were involved in fielding practice at the nearby Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium.

There was however good news for fans of Mashrafee-bin-Mortuza as the Narail quick bowled without any trouble. Out of action for the better part of a year after sustaining a career-threatening knee injury, the right-arm paceman however started off cautiously.

He was not running at full pace but all the signs indicated that he was nearing full fitness since breaking down during last winter's home series against England.

Alok Kapali recalled to the side after being excluded from the ICC Champions Trophy also had a good workout with the bat under the watchful eyes of his coach.

The talented right-hander has been going through a lean spell after his famous hattrick at Multan against Pakistan last year. But the real problem was his inconsistency with the bat despite his sound technique. He however said that he was seriously trying to overcome those flaws.

"I think being dropped from the team has given me a chance to think where I'm going wrong. The problem I think is that I want to play too many shots before getting set. Now I'm concentrating hard to stop playing rash strokes," said the player after training.

Kapali will be one of three players hoping to make a comeback when Whatmore tries to bring sanity to his fragile batting ahead of the two Tests and three one-dayers against the Kiwis who arrive on October 8.

The first Test starts on October 19 and the Bangladesh coach will desperately want his captain Habibul Bashar fit to bat.

Bashar is still unable to hold a bat since returning from Australia where he underwent surgery on his right thumb.

The country's leading run scorer in Tests was present during training but only did some light exercises. But the right-hander said that he was confident of resuming full training from October 4.

However there is little chance for Bashar to play in the only practice match, a three-day game, against the tourists that starts on October 14.

Provided there is good weather then the camp will start at 8.30 this morning.

BKSP boys' champs
Sunbeams shine

BSS, Dhaka

The Daily Star

Sunbeams emerged champions in the girls' final of the AKTEL School Basketball Championship when they scored a thrilling 20-19 victory over a spirited Maple Leaf at the Dhanmondi Wooden-floor Basketball Gymnasium yesterday.

The game went into the final minute with the score at 17-19 but Sunbeams erupted into ecstasy when Ashreen scored three points. Ashreen was also the top-scorer with 8 points while her teammate Raya slammed 7 and Zeenat added 5.

Earlier, BKSP won the boys crown when they defeated St Gregory's by 83-74 points. The boys of country's lone sports institute led the reputed old town school 37-32 at the breather. Setu led the BKSP charges with highest 27 points followed by Sumon and Shaon, who scored 15 points each.

St Gregory's Pankaj caged 27 and Mowla added 23.

But the girls' final was an absorbing affair with fortunes fluctuating from one end to the other.

At the start both teams began nervously but it was Sunbeams who somehow managed to settle before taking an important 10-6 point lead in the first half.

Maple Leaf started without their key cager Mehjereen, who had a high fever, and could not take part in the first half. However, she made an appearance in the second half, which produced plenty of excitement even though her contribution was little. Before the final, where she failed to score a single point, Mehjereen had been a prolific scorer with an average of 18 points per game.

Sunbeams relied on collective effort to withstand a second half Maple Leaf pressure in a rather low scoring final.

Rumpa and Farin with 6 points each were the leading scorers for Maple Leaf.

The only solace for Maple Leaf was that Mehjereen was declared player of the tournament despite her final disappointment. Raja of Green Herald was named the best player in the boys' event.

Minister for Science and Information and Communication Technology Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan witnessed the final as the chief guest and later gave away the prizes among the winners.

Chairman of TM International (Bangladesh) A M Zaheer Uddin Khan was present on the occasion as special guest. The AKTEL supremo announced that they have decided to sponsor the tournament for the next five years after being encouraged by its success.

ICC Champions Trophy. Englad 2004
A day for the heroes
Barbados Nation/BBC, undated

The Daily Star

Hugs, high-fives and kisses were directed at every turn, and work at the Grantley Adams International Airport crawled to snail's pace as the men with the courage under fire returned to a memorable heroes' welcome on Sunday afternoon.

Airport personnel, cricket officials, family, friends and most of all Caribbean people of all walks of life, seemed to line almost every vantage point from as early as 2:30 p.m. just to get a glimpse of the British Airways flight bringing in the triumphant West Indies team from England.

The International Cricket Council Champions Trophy is the second biggest prize in world limited-overs cricket and, as expected, there was an outpouring of emotion when St Lucian Darren Sammy made his way down the steps at 3:16 p.m. with the coveted golden award clutched in his hand.

Cricket legend Sir Garfield Sobers, Minister of Sport Reginald Farley and West Indies Cricket Board president Teddy Griffith, all snazzily attired and beaming, spearheaded a delegation waiting on the tarmac to greet captain Brian Lara and his cricket warriors.

Sammy, the first St Lucian to play international cricket, was followed by team manager Tony Howard, coach Gus Logie, Lara, Ryan Hinds and Merv Dillon.

Each was cheered loudly, but the biggest applause was reserved for Barbadians Ian David Russell Bradshaw and Courtney Oswald Browne, who turned the final against England on its head for the last time with their match-winning ninth-wicket stand of 71 that sealed the deal for the West Indies.

Browne, who has seemingly revived his international career with some tidy glovework and the batting heroics in the final, got his first greeting, a kiss from his girlfriend, Tricia, shook a few hands, and then had a hug from his mum, Erla, and 12-year-old son, Alex.

When Lara finally got hold of the trophy, he fittingly gave both Sir Garfield, a former West Indies captain, and ex-West Indies vice-captain Desmond Haynes, a touch of it.

Many airport staff sought autographs from Lara, Browne, Bradshaw, and new find 20-year-old Dwayne Bravo, while one man, sports fan Charles "Disco" Ifill brought a stormy poster that let everyone knew how he felt.

"Like Ivan you have blown England away and stunned the cricketing world. Alas, you have silenced the critics. Welcome Home, Champs!" the poster proclaimed.

At a Press conference called in honour of the conquering heroes, Teddy Griffith hailed the captain and his supporting cast for "a splendid victory" while Minister Farley thanked Lara and his men "for breathing a new breath of life into Caribbean people".

"If people were walking Friday, they are running today. If people were sitting Friday, they are jumping today," Farley added.

Team manager Tony Howard said he never gave up.

"At 147 for eight, we were just toying with England. I always knew we would do it," he said.

Howard revealed how a woman from Grenada, where 37 people died as Ivan tore across the island, had telephoned him on the eve of the final.

"She said 'my house has been blown down but if you guys win for me tomorrow, it really doesn't matter. I'd be the happiest woman in the world'.

"I expressed that to the team and with one voice they indicated it would not be a problem," said Howard.

The championship could secure Lara's position as skipper, which had been in doubt.

"I want to leave a legacy. I want to leave a team that's going to take us where we belong," he said.

"We all lay in our beds very comfortably while our people in the Caribbean were fighting for their lives.

"It was the catalyst for this very young team, for what they achieved in England over the past three weeks," said Lara.

He also spoke in glowing terms about the contribution of the two who featured in a record 71-run ninth-cket partnership to seal victory over England in Saturday's final.

"Ian Bradshaw is someone who has brought so much to this team. He has brought energy, experience, together with knowledge of cricket," Lara said. "His performance since his arrival in West Indies cricket is tremendous."

Of his longtime friend Browne, Lara noted he had a 100 per cent record of being ready to train every morning at seven.

"When he walked out to bat, it was divine intervention. I said this guy can't train every possible day and something can't happen for him," said Lara.

Another player, whom Lara said possessed the right attributes and had "a bright future" was dynamic 20-year-old all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.

Looking at Bravo he said: "Your work ethic is one that everybody should follow. You play the game the way in which it is supposed to be played and I hope you continue."

No Sachin relief for the Aussies
AFP, Mumbai

The Daily Star

Australia will not encounter Sachin Tendulkar on the field when they open their Indian tour with a three-day match here from Thursday, but there will be no respite from the master batsman off it.

Tendulkar, sidelined from active cricket for almost two months with a tennis elbow, has agreed to speak to his Mumbai teammates on Wednesday to pep them up for the clash with the world champions at the Brabourne Stadium.

"Sachin has agreed to my request to have a word with the boys and he has promised to meet them on Wednesday," said former Test wicketkeeper Chandrakant Pandit, who coaches the national champion state team.

"He is the right man to plan our strategy against the best team in the world."

Tendulkar, one of the most prolific batsmen in world cricket with 33 Test and a record 37 one-day centuries, has closely followed the fortunes of his home team even when away on international duty.

When Mark Taylor's Australians played Mumbai at the start of the 1998 tour, Tendulkar hit his maiden first-class double century to power his team to a stunning 10-wicket victory by tea on the third day.

Three years later, Steve Waugh's tourists again played Mumbai before the Test series and even though Tendulkar was unavailable, the hosts dominated the three-day game before it ended in a draw.

On both occasions, India went on to win the Test series 2-1 and current Mumbai captain Sairaj Bahutule was looking for an encore.

"We have twice undermined the Australians which has helped the national team do well when the Tests come," the leg-spinner said.

"We want to continue the same good work in this game too. It will benefit India if Mumbai does well."

Tendulkar, who was forced to miss three successive limited-overs tournaments over the last two months due to the injury, is almost certain to be ruled out of the first Test which begins in Bangalore on October 6.

Cricket board doctor Anant Joshi declined to confirm if Tendulkar will be available for the remaining three Tests.

"All I can say for now is that he is recovering well," Joshi said. "We are monitoring him closely but I would not want to put a time frame on his return."

The Mumbai team includes Tendulkar's childhood friend Vinod Kambli, a former Test batsman, and current international Ajit Agarkar.

Australia, meanwhile, are expected to field their likely Test eleven in the tour opener, the only warm-up match before the Bangalore Test.

The remaining Tests will be played at Madras (October 14-18), Nagpur (October 26-31) and Mumbai (November 3-7).

Coach Qamar stresses on fitness
Under-21 squad go down to national team

SPORTS REPORTER, The Independent

Bangladesh Under-21 team which are preparing to play in the Under-21 Challenge Cup Hockey Tournament went down fighting 1-2 to Bangladesh national team in a warm-up match on Tuesday at Maulana Bhashani Hockey Stadium.

The five nation tournament involving Oman, Afghanistan, Myanmar, India and Bangladesh will begin from tomorrow. The first match between Oman and Afghanistan will take place at BKSP ground at 9 am. Bangladesh will face Myanmar in the second match at 3.30 pm at Maulana Bhashani Hockey Stadium after the formal inauguration.

Rafiqul Islam Kamal and Sohel scored one goal each for the national side, while Turja brought the lone goal for Under-21 squad.

The match was organised to see the real strength of the squad after camping for 23 days under Pakistani coach Qamar Ibrahim.

Coach Qamar talking to the journalists after the match said he is trying to impart something new to Bangladesh Under-19 team in a bid to increase their fitness level.

"If the players could improve their fitness level then I think they could easily come up to a certain standard.

I had seen Bangladesh matches in the Asian Junior Cup in Karachi and I think due to poor physical fitness they could not continue the full match at the same rhythm." Qamar after coming here mainly emphasized on fitness of the players so that they could improve their running without the ball. and that was the reason why had changed the team's total structure.

"I don't want to see the players play at a fix position and that was the reason why I had made total change in the team structure," said Qamar, former Olympian of Pakistan team.

Coach Qamar, however, added, "It is not possible to change a team radically in such a short period, but I can tell you the boys will play for win."

Replying to a query, Qamar said the boys fared bad in all departments. But during the practice sessions at BKSP they gave a lot of good performance.

Replying to another question said, it was not possible for any team to give a good hockey on such a "horrible turf". He said the present condition of the astro turf at the Bhashani Hockey Stadium was totally unfit to play at any level of hockey and said the condition of BKSP turf is much better.

The warm-up match was played in three sessions (20 minutes each session).

In the last session the Under-21 team faced a 13-member national team in a bid to learn to play under pressure.

Two US basketball coaches to train Bangladesh cagers

SPORTS REPORTER, The Independent

Two basketball instructors Omari Faulker and Courtland Freeman from the United States were due to arrive in Dhaka on Tuesday night to train Bangladesh basketball players.

The coach duo will conduct training sessions at Bangladesh Basketball Federation Gymnasium at Dhanmondi in the city and Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan, Savar, during their three stay in Dhaka.

They are here as part of the US State Department initiative to build and strengthen relationship among diverse world cultures, specially for youth.

Nat'l Swimming from Oct 5

BSS, DHAKA, The Independent

The 20th National Swimming Championship, organised by Bangladesh Swimming Federation (BSF), will be held from October 5 to 8 at the Army Swimming Pool. This year's competition is being sponsored by Keya Cosmetics (pvt) Limited.

BSF General Secretary Shahabuddin Ahmed told the news agency that he is expecting that 50 teams would take part in this year's meet. Twenty events for males and 20 events for females will be at stake for the swimmers. Male waterpolo and diving events have also been included.

When asked why BSF is not holding the national championship at the Mirpur National Swimming Pool, he said that most of the electronic timing devices of the lanes of the pool are not working.

It is for the first time that the electronic timing will be used in the national meet, he said.

Shahabuddin said, "It is now very important for our swimmers to have the advantage of competing with the help of electronic timing. It will help them know the exact position and precise timing."

He added that previously in 1993 SAF Games, electronic timing was used and again in the 1995 in the 2nd South Asian Swimming Championship in Dhaka.

Stamford storm into final

UNB, DHAKA, The Independent

Stamford University advanced to the final of the Stamford Inter-Private University Football Tournament with a 5-0 win over Northern University in the first semifinal at the Army Stadium in Banani on Tuesday.

Tournament's title sponsor Stamford University will play the final on Saturday with the winners of North South University and Asian University of Bangladesh who meet in the second semifinal today.

After a barren first half, Ruhul and Hasan scored two goals each, while Russell netted the other goal for Stamford University.

Ruhul of the winning team was adjudged man of the match.

Meanwhile, the tournament committee in a press release on Tuesday denied the allegation of bias and wrongdoing against IBAIS University.

On Monday, IBAIS University alleged that the tournament committee was involved in a conspiracy to bring North South University in the semifinal and violated tournament rules to deny IBAIS's progress.

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