Archive for January, 2011

GREAT PERFORMANCES IN THE WORLD CUP:DAVID HOUGHTON-1987

Posted on January 31, 2011. Filed under: CRICKET, ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP 2011 | Tags: , , , , , |

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I did not watch the Prudential Cricket World Cup of 1983. My father watched the match live and he provided the report. Of course, there were the newspapers.

For me and my brothers, the Reliance World Cup of 1987 was truly the first one. It was only the World Cup that prompted my parents to accede to out demand for a colour tv at home. With the cable connection, it was time to sit back and enjoy.

While the World Cup was going on, I had to accompany my mother to Hyderabad to pay a visit to my grandmother. My uncle did not and still does not have a high opinion of cricket and also the followers of the game. But the day before the match featuring New Zealand and Zimbabwe at the Lal Bahadur Stadium, he wanted to know if I needed a ticket to watch the match live. With two teams that were not expected to put up a good show, I declined the offer and instead preferred to watch the match on the tv. Even after all these years, I still regret the decision for the match featured on the best innings ever played in the World Cup.

New Zealand batted first and put up a good score for in those days even an asking rate of 5 runs per over seemed to be a tough task provided the bowling attack was decent. Snedden made a half-century and Martin Crowe batted like only he could.

Zimbabwe was not expected to do much. My only interest was to follow the progress of Kevin Curran. He was one of the bowlers to wreak havoc on the Indians in the previous World Cup and Curran was rated one of the good allrounders in the English county circuit.

Zimbabwe lost wickets early with not many runs on the scoreboard. The match seemed to be going in one direction-New Zealand. But one man-David Houghton had a different idea. In the company of Iain Butchart, Houghton took his team very close to the target. The end for Houghton and his team came when Martin Crowe came up with the catch of the World Cup.

Houghton played every shot and it was really incredible stuff. The ball kept going to and over the boundary.

It was a truly remarkable innings and once again I regret having missed out on that.

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THE SHOE IS ON THE OTHER FOOT!

Posted on January 26, 2011. Filed under: POLITICS | Tags: , , , , , , |

In 2007, the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh addressed the leaders of Indian industry on the occasion of the Annual Session of the CII (Confederation of Indian Industry).

The speech of the PM caused quite a bit of stir then as it talked about many things that the Indian industry would need to do in order to build a more just and humane society.

One of the key points was in relation to the ‘soaring CEO compensations’. This led to a lengthy debate and the government had to clarify about having no intentions of taking any measures to curb the compensations.

It is true that in most of the cases, the remunerations received by the personnel at the top of the management ladder have touched stratospheric levels. There is one view that in an economy as inequitable as India is such compensations fuel conspicuous consumption and hence could be a trigger for a possible social unrest coming from the side of the most deprived of the population. At the same time, are these compensations not for the deserving? The people who are accused of taking home large remunerations have the right to enjoy their fruits of labour.

Now a few days a group consisting of some very famous names including one Mr.Azim Premji wrote an ‘open letter’ to the PM expressing their concern over things like ‘corruption’ and the ‘governance deficit’. Asked for further comments, Mr.Premji called the lack of governance a natural calamity.

The PM should answer the questions raised by the likes of Mr.Premji. If the ‘soaring compensations’ taken by the CEOs are a matter of national concern, then what about the thousands of crores looted by the politicians? The PM is a witness to the brazen misuse of power by those in power yet he remains indifferent while not being hesitant to sermonize. Some of his cabinet colleagues question the methodology used in the estimation of the loot.

If the CEO of a corporation does not deserve his compensation, then what or who gives the right to the politician to loot the country is something that the PM has to answer. The PM is the CEO of the country and so he has to take the lead and responsibility in doing the right thing. It is beyond the thinking of any reasonable person as to how this present UPA dispensation can do anything good for the common man or the AAM AADMI!

It is time that the shoe is on the other foot, PM and it surely pinches.

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iNFLATION:TIME TO REJOICE!

Posted on January 14, 2011. Filed under: POLITICS | Tags: , , , , |

Everyone except the Central government seems to be concerned about inflation. The Prime Minister held discussions with his Cabinet colleagues with no solution in sight. Some raids were carried out by the Income Tax people on onion merchants. The Union Minister for Agriculture is not known for his words and he has nothing to say also.

But I am very happy with inflation even as my meagre salary makes it difficult for me to make the proverbial ends meet. Also, I am in such a job where the chances of making some extra moolah by way of graft and/or commissions are zero. It is only that I need to pay speed money even to get my monthly salary and in these times even those rates have been hiked.

The hike in the price of petrol is justified since the commodity is meant only for the rich in India. Similar is the case with the impending hike in the price of the LPG. We are given lectures on the rationale behind the hikes. The people of this country are lucky to have the right teachers of Economics starting from the Prime Minister. Pranab Mukherjee in his typical accent reminds me of some of my most boring classes. So is the case with the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, M S Ahluwalia who is in his very propah accent justifies all the burden that the honest and the non-corrupt Indian has to shoulder.

I am coming to the reason why the inflation and the price hikes make me feel good. A section of the Union government argues that the rising food prices are caused by the greater demand resulting from the higher incomes, thanks to the policies of the UPA.

Suddenly, I have become rich and this is surely a feather in the already large crown worn by the leadership of the UPA.

The ordinary people or the AAM AADMI of India are really thankful to the UPA leadership. They have achieved their stated aim of taking better care of the AAM AADMI. Let us rejoice and give a damn to all the deals of corruption right from Bofors to the CWG and the 2G. Give credit where it is due.

Of course, history tells us that a relative of the French queen Marie Antoinette wanted the people of that country to eat pastries when they complained of bread shortages. This was one of the triggers of the French Revolution. But the leadership of the UPA has nothing to fear.

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KALLIS VS.SOBERS-DEBATE CONTINUES

Posted on January 13, 2011. Filed under: CRICKET | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Statistics are like bikinis.  What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.  ~Aaron Levenstein

Harsha Bhogle argues in Cricinfo that the South African all-rounder Kallis is the Garfield Sobers of the present generation. Harsha uses statistics to show us the great similarities as far as the numbers go.

But he misses out on one crucial factor that made Sobers a completely unique player, who according to many (Australians apart) is the greatest ever to step on to the cricket field. People loved to watch Sobers play while Kallis does not have that kind of an attraction. Kallis is truly a great player but equating him with Sobers is taking the things too far.

I have not seen Sobers play nor might have Harsha watched him in his pomp. But from what I have read and listened to, Sobers did everything with a lot of flair and panache. In contrast, Kallis is someone who is efficient to the point of being robotic. There have been times when Kallis seems to be overawed by the opposition as was the case against the likes of McGrath and Warne. Could anyone say the same for Sobers?

It is only in the current context where anyone who can bowl and bat a bit is called an ‘all-rounder’ that the record of Kallis is something of a very tall mountain to climb. Make no mistake, Kallis is a true all-rounder.

It would have been kind of refreshing to see Kallis compete against the likes of Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Ian Botham or Richard Hadlee leaving Sobers out of the equation. While Kallis keeps scoring runs, takes wickets and pouches catches, he does not qualify as a match-winner who can change the course of a match with the bat or the ball or even by holding a catch or affecting a run-out. Can Kallis do a Botham at Headingley or a Kapil a 175 not out while the team lost 5 wickets for a few runs on the board? Imran was very good with the both the ball and the bat against the top teams including the ones from the West Indies. Hadlee took wickets everywhere even when his team was not the best.

Kallis is a great player and Sobers was the greatest.

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IS WORLD CUP EVERYTHING?

Posted on January 1, 2011. Filed under: CRICKET, CRICKET WORLD CUP, SACHIN TENDULKAR | Tags: , , , , |

 

Zico of Brazil was an extraordinarily gifted footballer from Brazil. He won many trophies but could not ever become a World Cup winner.

Socrates a teammate of Zico for many years also failed to win at the biggest stage of world football like many other super talented footballers of his generation from Brazil.

Michel Platini of France was renowned for his skills as a midfield maestro who could not take his team to glory at the World Cup.

Ivan Lendl won many tennis matches and was ranked the best player in the world for a long while but he could not win the trophy that matters- at Wimbledon.

John McEnroe could not win the French Open even after taking a two set lead in the finals once.

All these players are considered great even when they have not won perhaps the ultimate prize in their respective areas.

The achievements of Sachin Tendulkar are well documented and there is only one word to describe him- ‘great’. But Dean Jones argues that Sachin is not the greatest since the Mumbai batsman has never been part of a World Cup winning team.

Jones like many Australians is not able to live with the fact that an Indian is being talked as being equal or even being better than Donald Bradman. Even while he acknowledges the achievements of Sachin, Jones does not hesitate to drop the World Cup or the lack of it to downplay the greatness of the Mumbai maestro.

Cricket is a team game and it takes all the players in the team to perform in order to win a tournament that is spread out over a period of time. Jones was part of one Cup winning team in 1987.Most of the same team took to the field in 1992 and it was booted out of the event even in home conditions.

Brian Lara another great cricketer of his generation is also someone who could never be a part of any World Cup winning squad but this never diminishes the achievements of the left-hander from the Caribbean.

Sachin has scored the maximum runs in the World Cup and he even was the ‘player of the tournament’ in 2003 even when Australia won beating India in the final.

What more Sachin has to prove?

It is more of a case of sour grapes for Mr. Dean Jones.

It is time our media stopped giving the space to such ‘professors’.

There is more to cricket in general and Sachin Tendulkar in particular than the World Cup medal. The CV of Sachin does not require one such medal.

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ONE SIMILARITY

Posted on January 1, 2011. Filed under: CRICKET, SACHIN TENDULKAR | Tags: , , , , |

After Sachin scored his 50th test hundred, there was a lot of talk about his greatness vis-a-vis Donald Bradman.Indians, me including feel that Sachin is the greatest but the Aussies don’t want any of that.

 

To use a cliche, comparisons are always odious, especially, when it involves players belonging to different periods.But to be fair, while Sachin has played and scored in every test playing country, the Don played in just two countries.Of course, the supporters of the Don would be ready to show the statistics to justify their claim.

 

Let me move away from cricket and bring in what for me is something that is common to Sachin and Donald Bradman.Cricket writers/historians covering the times of the Don tell about how his cricket had a soothing effect on the public ravaged by the Great Depression and the Second World War.

 

The exploits of Sachin this year where the public of India was exposed to different kinds of scams and wrongdoings came as a refreshing change.The television channels and the media were forced to change tracks from the Rajas and Co. to Sachin.

Hope 2011 will be better for Sachin and India.

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