Archive for February, 2010

AN OPEN LETTER TO DIDI

Posted on February 28, 2010. Filed under: POLITICS | Tags: , |

Dear Didi,

As expected the Railway budget presented by you was populist in every sense of the term and also there seemed to be no purpose.The fares were not hiked and new trains and new projects were announced.I live in the ‘largest democracy’ and have no complaints with regards to the crass populism shown by our politicians.

But I am appalled by the lack of concern shown by the successive Ministers towards passenger amenities.As someone whose geographical location and fiscal constraints does not facilitate air travel, I can testify the travails that one has to face while travelling by trains.

I shall start with the online reservation system of the irctc.com.As in the case with the printed forms that can only accomodate 6 passengers, the online version also does the same.This justifies all logic. Recently, I got married and I decided to get the tickets online.My parents, my in-laws,my siblings and my friends and relatives were all scattered throughout the train. Arranging food and taking care of all the luggage was a logistics nightmare.

The online reservation system asks for the age of the passenger but even in case of the senior citizen, the berths are a case of lottery.My parents who are both senior citizens have never got the lower berths.I am nearly 6 feet tall and my weight exceeds the one hundred kilo mark.Just imagine my plight when I am given the side upper berth.

The employees of your department do make it a matter of habit to barge even into the airconditioned coaches and do not have the slightest of the sympathy for the ticket paying public.

The sanitary conditions are the worst across the different railway divisions.No efforts are made to provide better conditions for the people.Stations do not have the barest facility like clean drinking water.

Didi, it seemed that you would do better than your predecessor when you brought out the real picture regarding the finances of the railways.But the budget has showed your true colours. You are different only in terms of the shade and not in terms of kind.

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AN INTERESTING CHOICE

Posted on February 28, 2010. Filed under: CRICKET, SPORTS | Tags: , , |

Waqar Younis has accepted the offer to coach the cricket team of Pakistan.It is learnt that Younis shall be with the team till the 2011 World Cup.There was speculation in the past about this but now Younis has himself confirmed the offer from the PCB and the subsequent acceptance.

There is nothing new in a former player becoming the coach but things are extremely complicated in Pakistan. Things between Younis and his bowling partner, Wasim Akram were less than cordial and this can divide the team into two groups, each owing allegiance to a great fast bowler.Add to this is the fact that former players like Javed Miandad and Sarfraz Nawaz are always happy to give their take on Pakistan cricket.

Waqar was a great bowler but this does not guarantee his success as a coach. It is not rare to find great players not having a good time as coaches. The players might not be as talented as the coach and the coach finds it difficult to make the players lift their game.Besides, Waqar does not have any coaching experience.

Even as the contract runs through the forthcoming World Cup, Pakistan can still spring surprises and have a new coach in place of Waqar

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REDEMPTION

Posted on February 27, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

 It was always something that bothered me.

 The highest score of Sachin Tendulkar in test matches came against Bangladesh and the master does not have a triple hundred in his resume. It pained even more to remember that the highest score in one dayers belonged to Saeed Anwar who made 194 against India in the Independence Cup. So when Tendulkar became the first person to score 200 in one dayers in the ongoing series between India and South Africa, I like millions of Indian cricket fans felt redeemed. That it came against one of the stronger teams made this latest feat of Sachin even more special.

It is hard to imagine any other batsman going that far, but even when the feat is repeated or exceeded, the record books shall always show the name of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar as the first man to climb to this mark. Sometime back, Sachin made a 150 plus score against Australia and still India finished on the losing side. That innings, in my humble opinion should be rated as one of the best of the master. Probably, an Indian win would have kept that innings in our memories. Let us not forget the back to back hundreds made in Sharjah.

There is another innings that can match this latest knock of Sachin-the 175 not out of Kapil Dev in the Prudential World Cup of 1983. When half of the side was back in the pavilion and the days when 100s were not common in the one dayers, Kapil showed the way.Of course, there was no one to record that innings for posterity, unlike the 200 of Sachin that surely will be viewed many times even in future. Just as Sachin was being written off as a matchwinner, he managed to set a benchmark that may become one of the most long standing records in the history of cricket.

It is not happiness or relief but a case of redemption not for Sachin but for Indians as a whole.

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WHAT NEXT?

Posted on February 24, 2010. Filed under: POLITICS | Tags: , , |

It is really a sign of the times that a Government instead of doing what it is supposed to do goes after the introduction of a ‘decent’ dress code for bargirls in the state of Karnataka.The ruling party-the BJP in this case does not want to put any restriction on the people who like to take alcohol but wants them and the bargirls to stay within the Laxmanrekha.

This is where I believe that the Indian state is a soft state.The state is in the habit of going after things that do not deserve the precious time and the taxpayers’ money.For a full read go to http://in.news.yahoo.com/248/20100222/1582/tnl-a-decent-dress-code-soon-for-bar-gir.html.

Once the dress code is in place, the government of Karnataka may come up with another novel idea to preserve the sanctity of the bars and pubs in the state.Will that result in the bar girls being asked to wear chastity belts while serving drinks to the customers?

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A CAUSE FOR CONCERN

Posted on February 23, 2010. Filed under: CRICKET |

The Indian team just managed to win the first one dayer at Jaipur after having the Proteas down and out.The lack of bite in the Indian bowling allowed Steyn and Parnell to take their team alarmingly close to the target.

The second match of the series is going to be played at Gwalior and the curator is not ashamed to call his creation a ‘graveyard for the bowlers’.In this scenario, the lack of penetration in the Indian bowling is a cause for concern.It is not everyday that the rival batsmen fail to score.It is difficult to imagine Ravindra Jadeja becoming the saviour of his team in every match.With a big question mark on the fitness of Sehwag, there is a greater need for the bowlers of the home team to take the initiative.

Even in the one day situation where people mostly pay for the runs, there has to be some place for the bowlers.

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a lOSS TO TEST CRICKET

Posted on February 23, 2010. Filed under: CRICKET | Tags: , , |

The lure of the IPL riches has made test cricket poorer with the speculation of Brett Lee likely to announce his retirement from test cricket.It was only a few months ago that Andrew Flintoff, an all-rounder of the highest class did the same.It is true that both of these players were battling injuries and more so the case with Flintoff

The present Australian team does not really miss Lee with many promising fast bowlers ready to wear the baggy green although the same cannot be said of the English test team without Flintoff.

Lee brought more than fast bowling to the team from down under. It was not uncommon to find Lee showing genuine appreciation for the exploits of the rivals.Even when he was on the receiving end, there was a smile for all to see.

There were doubts over his action when Brett Lee was first unleashed on the Indians but over the years, he silenced the critics.He played cricket the hard way without rubbing rivals the wrong way.That made Lee special.

In the past also, fast bowlers suffered injuries that led to changes in the bowling actions and a cut in the pace but with the likes of IPL offering easy cash, Lee and others have found an easy way out.The world of test cricket is a loser because of the chaddi (T20) cricket.

There are many memories associated with Lee on the cricket field.My most loved one is the straight drive from the bat of Sachin Tendulkar during the last Commonwealth Bank Series that thundered past the bowler to the boundary even before Lee could complete his follow through. Unlike the typical reaction from a fast bowler, Lee could afford a smile!

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SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME

Posted on February 14, 2010. Filed under: CRICKET, INDIA, TEST CRICKET | Tags: , , , , |

When Ian Chappell expressed his doubts over the standing of India as the best test playing nation in the long run, there was widespread disbelief. Motives were attributed to Chappelli and the familiar white vs. black debate got started all over again especially among the followers of the game in India who are more addicted to the chaddi cricket(T20).

In his analysis, Chappell talks about the bowling and the batting talents that are required to sustain the No.1 ranking over a period of time.

The first test between India and South Africa exposed brutally the chinks that were visible to most real followers of Indian cricket.In the absence of Dravid and Laxman, the batting resembled a bunch of weekend cricketers against a professional outfit, barring the knocks of Sachin and Sehwag.Forget what Dhoni might had to say after the trashing on swing bowling-conventional or otherwise, the fact remains that the batsmen were just not equipped to deal with the likes of Steyn. It is true that most teams now look very ordinary when facing good bowling, particularly of the faster variety.The most successful batsmen of his generation, Ricky Ponting made to look ragged by Kiemar Roach.

Laxman talked about the lack of bench strength in the spin department.The Nagpur loss showed how true the concerns of Laxman were. The premier spinner in the team Harbhajan Singh just did not have a clue on spin while Amit Mishra spun a few balls in his first spell on the first day. That the Indian batsmen struggled to find their feet against Paul Harris is another story.

THe selection of the team made one pull out hair in dismay. Why was Saha in the team as a batsman when Manish Pandey and Virat Kohli had better credentials to offer?

It is often said that one needs to run faster to stay at the present position. The INdian team just could barely walk and going by the happenings in the second test, it is very difficult for the team to stay at the top.

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HUNGRY KYA?

Posted on February 1, 2010. Filed under: CRICKET | Tags: , , , , |

Was it arrogance or plain foolishness on part of Afridi?

During the course of the fifth match of the one day series between Pakistan and Australia, Afridi was caught on camera having the ball in his mouth on more than one occasion. The fact that there were 27 cameras on the ground did not help Afridi.

After the match, Afridi who was standing in as captain in place of Mohammad Yousuf appeared unrepentant. He claimed that all teams were tampering with the ball and he only did that to help his team.

Within 24 hours, Afridi changed his version and now claims he was just ‘smelling’ the ball.Wonder what the Kookaburra ball is made up of that attracted Afridi! Was some pheromone the cause of all the trouble?

It is a really preposterous claim since Afridi had the ball in his mouth.

The followers of Pakistan cricket promptly came up with the allegation-unfounded that Indian players including the likes of Sachin had also tampered with the ball.

The cricketing world was busy with the antics of Afridi.Some mention was made of the ‘dirt in the pocket’ episode relating to former England captain Mike Atherton. Atherton, the self appointed critic of all things connected with Indian cricket, did not find anything illegal by applying dirt to the ball during the course of a test match.

It is time people like Afridi should be taken to task and an example needs to be set.

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