Press Report 1998
notch a thriller
By Raju Chainani
PRINCETON, August 18 INDIA
won a thrilling encounter against South Africa to finish in 17th place at
the 10th World Junior Squash Championships. Their 2-1 scoreline spanned
three hours and 40 minutes and was only outdone by the final between
England and Egypt. It took four and a half hours to separate these two
with England's Lee Jemmett beating Kareem Darwish 10-8 in the fifth game
of the deciding rubber to help his side retain the trophy.
Gaurav Juneja played his
heart in his match against Michael Marcos. He was defensive at the start
but had a much better second game which he might well have won. At that
point, things looked grim for the Otters Club junior. Juneja started
rallying in the third and it made life uncomfortable for the Springbok.
When the Indian won the
fourth and then led 2-0 in the decider, there were worried looks in the
South African bench. Sadly, Juneja had an attack of cramps and it gave
Marcos the chance to inch home 9-5, 1-08, 6-9, 5-9, 9-2 after 82 minutes.
Ritwik Bhattacharya found
himself 1-7 down to John Argyle in the first game. He was hitting far too
many loose balls but as the match progressed, the national champion got
into a groove.
He was volleying well and
kept the ball tight. In 45 minutes, he had beaten Aryle 4-9. 9-2, 9-0 and
it all now hinged on Gaurav Juneja's match with Lloyd Barcza.
Like his colleagues had done
earlier, Gaurav found himself a game down, mainly due to his mistakes. He leveled, lost the third game and then began on a recovery mission. It was
4-4 in the fourth before he pulled away and when he led 6-2 in the
decider, it looked all over. Three unforced errors in a row had the
Indians worried but Gaurav put away a forehand volley and then
wrong-footed Bareza with a superb backhand to end this 69 minute match.
It was a tremendous
performance by the Indians. The Juneja twins had played despite leg
injuries. "They all gave a hundred per cent. Today was something
special. It was a great way to end the event," said coach Yogendra
The main final saw Wael Hatem,
El-Hendry put Egypt ahead with a convincing 9-2, 9-3, 9-6 victory in 57
minutes against Adrian Grant. Then Mohammed Abbas choked when 2-1 up
against Nick Matthew and the Englishman prevailed in a 92 minute battle.
Matthew won 10-8, 1-9, 4-9, 9-4, 9-3.
Kareem Darwish was also 2-1
ahead in the deciding rubber against Lee Jemmett.
The England captain took the
fourth game 9-1 and then, on his sixth match-point, had a forehand volley
which was too good for Darwish. It was 7-9, 9-2, 3-9, 9-1, 10-8 to Jemmett
after 85 minutes and England had retained the trophy.
3rd place: Pakistan beat
5th place: Spain beat Canada
7th place: Malaysia beat
9th place: Germany beat
11th place: Australia beat
Hong Kong 2-1
13th place: Argentina beat
15th place: N Z beat
17th place: India beat Sooth
19th place: Scotland beat USA
21st place: Finland beat
23rd place: Brazil beat
25th place: Kuwait beat
27th place: Bermuda beat
29th place: Kenya beat El
By Raju Chainani
SACHIN TENDULKAR and Peter
Nicol. One a master blaster, the other a racket magi-an.
Tendulkar sparkled in India's win over Australia at sharjah. Just a
few days earlier, it had been the southpaw's crowning moment and he gave
himself the perfect birthday present when he beat the redoubtable Jansher
Khan in the British Open final.
It was back in 1973, three
months before Nicol Peter as born that Jonah Barrington won the British
Open. It was his sixth success in the event and the following year, his
attempt to equal the legendary Hashim Khan's record was stopped by M Yasin
who later was to coach Jansher. For the last 16 years the British Open has
been dominated by the two . Jahangir won 10 in a row and then it was
Jansher's turn to take over.
Nicol has broken that
sequence. Since February he has taken over as world number one and his
latest victory has seen him extend his lead over the mercurial Pakistani
With Jansher presently on the repair list it is anybody's guess whether he
can make a comeback.
Nicol's rise to the top is an
example for many a youngster. Six years ago he won his first major title,
the Singapore Open.
Since then the progress chart has shown a steady upward trend. He
is supremely fit, a fact which Jansher
In Neil Harvey,
the former England number one, Nicol has found a coach who he can relate
to well. It's almost akin to the bond between Ramakant Achrekar and the
In the cricket world,
comparisons are being made between Tendulkar and Bradman. For Peter Nicol,
there still is some way to go before he can be talked of in the same
breath as Jahangir, Jansher or even Jonah. During the last 12 months he
has shown his prowess, beating Jansher four times in major tournaments.
Barrington is an Peter Nicol fan. He came up the hard way and the fitness
factor played the dominant role, much as it does with Nicol. In Tendulkar
and Nicol the sporting world has two extraordinary athletes. They are at
the top of their respective professions. Was it sheer coincidence that on
their 25th birthday they both had reserved something special for their
Adrian has it in him
By Raju Chainani
Indian Express 2-9-1988
ADRIAN, Adrian", they
chanted, almost in harmony. The glass-back court at the CCI had never seen
anything like it as the pony-tails and buck teeth chorus made their
presence felt. On stage was the boy wonder, just sweet sixteen. He had
reached the finals of the juniors and men's events at the Western India
Squash championships. It was a feat last achieved by the great Anil Nayar
in 1965, some twenty-two years ago. Nayar did the historic double and it
wasn't beyond Adrian Ezra to emulate the feat.
A sixty-five minute encounter
with his close rival, Farokh Pan-dole, took its toll. Adrian won in five
games but was a mere shadow of himself against Meherwan Daruvala in the
To talk of him in the same
breath as Anil Nayar is a mere fallacy. Adrian has had the benefit of
coaching in England under Abbas Kaoud, a former top ten world ranker, But
it is in India that he doesn't have professional advice. Nayar was under
the eagle eye of Yusuf. For someone at Adrian's age where immaturity and
lack of finesse could make the difference between becoming a champion and
remaining very promising, the requirement of a coach or professional
manager is absolutely essential.
I put this question to Anil
Nayar when he visited Bombay a few days ago. "We don't have a Yusuf
in our ranks. So let's make do with the best available. I mean someone
like Fali Madon or Ananth Nayak. Both have intimate knowledge of the game
and what's more important, they know the opposition. They should be
approached to act as professional managers". words of wisdom from
India's greatest squash player.
Let's take this a step
further. Champions train, analyse the competition and listen to their
coaches. To beat Meherwsin Adrian needs to do just that. He's got the
talent, the physique and the will to win. He new needs to be led to the
LAST year, Adrian showed the
progress he had made by beating Farokh Pandole in three finals. He then
caused a sensation as he upset the explosive Nirjit Singh. Further
victories over the Services' champion Ravinder Malik ensured him a place
among the probables for the Asian championships. To don India's silks at
sixteen is a tremendous achievement.
Perhaps Adrian's best squash
lesson came in his encounters with Raj Manchanda, The fox, as he is known,
tamed the lamb, with a delightful display of ball control, If ever there
was a video recording of this, Adrian would learn a lot. He was made to
run around whilst the veteran waited for the loose ball.
That was almost a year ago.
Adrian has no business to lose to Manchanda this year. With Meherwan, the
gap appears to be closing. The National champion is a superb athlete. He
is fit fast and gusty. He knows how to return pressure with
pressure, the hallmark of a great champion. Five All-India titles speak
for themselves. Some time ago, it was Manchanda who had given Meherwan
sleepless nights. On occasions the delightful tough and power play of
Narjit have upset the applecart, Today, Meherwan's greatest rival appears
to be Adrian. I don't think he's quite caught up yet.
As the curtain rises for
another squash season, the boy wonder from Electric House has begun on a
winning note. His West Zone Inter-Schools victory was a mere warm-up for
him as he sliced through the opposition. There are bigger hurdles ahead.
With the boisterous support
of his fan club and the backing of his spotting parents, the stage is set
for an Ezra invasion. Add to this a professional manager like Ananth Nayak
and you could have a winning combination.
the West was won
By Raju Chainani
Indian Express 25-11-1988
INDIAN man, you speak with
forked ton-Ague. You say man hit against wall and you watch through glass.
Go back to your snake charmers."
Big White Chief probably hadn'
t even heard of a glass-back court which heralded the era of see - through
squash. From a handful of spectators who craned their necks on the
contemporary courts, a few hundred could now watch the proceedings. For
Indian squash 1986 was the dawn of a new era.
It was fitting that Bombay,
the Mecca of Indian squash, be the venue for the country's first
glass-back. To be associated with the Cricket Club of India, which was the
best complex in the country, was indeed an honour. The Western India
Championships, now in their forty-fifth year, have a special aroma.
Winning in Bombay has always been a tough proposition. Till the
Maharashtra State originated in 1976 there was only one Bombay Tournament.
Today both attract the cream of Indian squash.
Looking back over the years,
there have been a number of players who have etched their names in the
Western India history books. Raj Kumar Narpat Singh, Madhav Apte, Din-shaw
Pandole, Maj. K.S. Jain, Anil Nayar, Fali Mandon, Sanjit Roy, Raj
Manchanda and Meherwan Daruvala are a few for whom winning on the CCI
courts meant a great deal. Three were leading ladies too like Nandini
Kumari and Bhuvaneshwari, professionals like Yusuf and Shyamlal and many
others who left behind golden memories. Today, there remain but a few who
can relate to the days of Abdul Ban, the only Indian to attain a world
ranking in the early fifties.
In 1965, a nineteen-year-old
made history. Anil Nayar won the men's and junior crowns with an
unforgettable display of power and finesse. The cat-like agility and
razzle-dazzle of Nayar has remained unparalled. He brought to an end the
reign of Maj .K.S. Jain who had made this title a monopoly. Nayar's
sparring partner was Fali Madon, another superb stylist. Such was the
dominance of these two that they often left the chasing pack a distance
behind. Both were trained by Yusuf Khan.
THERE was a time in 1966 when
Sanjit Roy became a serious contender. He beat Fali but Yusuf made sure
there was no repeat performance the following year. Thus two great
friends, on and off court, took the Indian scene by storm. They were part
of the team to the World Championships in Australia among with Sanjit Roy
and Dinshaw Pandole.
"Bunker" Sanjit Roy
has always been a great character. His ball control and technique were
delight to the eye. The famous side-wall left many an opponent standing.
Sadly for Indian squash, Sanjit gave it all up to devote his time to rural
development. Today, he is a member of the Planning Commission. I met him a
few weeks ago, khadi clothes et al at Delhi airport. Still the same lean,
elegant gentleman of squash.
The left-handed Dinshaw
Pandole was another with the Yusuf Khan stamp. A graceful player with a
deft touch that was passed on to his sons, Darius, Farokh and Jahangir.
Darius is just back from Harvard after a splendid record. The explosive
Farokh rocketed into the top bracket last year. He was arguably the
hardest hitter of the ball since Anil Nayar. Plumpud-ding Jahangir, no
relation to the Pathan, is also making his mark amongst the juniors.
Twenty-two years after Anil
Nayar did the double. A sixteen-year-old stood on the threshold of
equaling this unique record. A five-game junior final with Farokh Pandole
sapped his energy. But for Adrian Ezra, this was a marvelous achievement.
He lost to Meherwan but there was enough to suggest that a new star had
Meherwan Daruvala, the five
times National champion has never lost at the CCI glass-back court. He won
the inaugural Masters (November 1, 1986), Western India and Nationals
(January 1987). Last year too, he walked away with the Masters and the
Western India. But the challengers are making their presence felt. Apart
from the artistic Narjit Singh, there is Ravinder Malik who has beaten him
in two of their three encounters this season. Darius Pandole is very much
in the fray. Along with Adrian Ezra he had played quite regularly with
The champ does not look his
real self at all. He's stumbling and is not like the Daruvala we've known
over the past decade. His rivalry with Darius goes to 1981 when he lost
the senior final at Jaipur. Today, the battle royale continues, albeit at
a much higher level.
BHUVANESHWARI Kumari has made
the ladies event a one-horse race. Unbeaten for over a decade, the
soft-spoken Princess of Alwar, is a remarkable athlete. She enters the
Open events and has caused a few ripples. She is the first Indian lady to
win a tournament overseas. Her victory in the Kenya Open, a fortnight ago,
was a thunderbolt to some of the game's dirty officials who refused to
give her a clearance She now takes on friendly, opposition in Bombay and
is set to enhance her trophy collection.
As the curtain rises on this
Blue Riband Tournament, there's an air of expectancy. Grindlays Bank have
stepped up their sponsorship. The glass-back court, despite its problems,
is the centre stage. The Old Fox, Raj Manchanda, has arrived to teach the
younger Brigade a lesson or two. Meherwan "the Boxer" is ready
to defend his crown. The vultures, Adrian, Narjit, Malik and Darius are
hovering dangerously close. Keeping a close watch on the proceedings are
two of the game's characters, the stud and mickey mouse.
Big White Chief had by now
understood a little on how the West was won. "But, Indian Man, please
explain. I see Daruvala, Sodawalla and Ice-walla, but you say champion is
Bombaywalla. You talk like newspaperwala."
Bikram Uberoi sacked for indiscipline
By Raju Chainani
PRINCETON, August 6 BIKRAM
Uberoi has been axed from the Indian team at the 10th World Junior Squash
Following a team meeting
yesterday coach Yogendra Singh said: "On Tuesday, Uberoi claimed he
was unwell He was very reluctant to see the Tournament Doctor and minted
to visit his relatives in Baltimore. He has refused to listen when
specifically told to take rest
few days he has caused unnecessary tension and did not involve
himself with any team activity. We tried to reason with him but his mind
was set on going away for a couple of days.
"We are here as a team
and it is most important that
together and give a hundred percent. Unfortunately, this was not the case
with Uberoi. In the circumstances we asked him to leave. He shall not be
taking further part in the event The matter has been reported to the
Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI)."Never before has an Indian
squash player been dropped at an international event because of
Uberoi was skating on this
ice here. Coach Yogendra Singh's decision is a bold one and needs to be
lauded It remains to be seen what further action the SRFI takes.