Archive for March, 2006

How Could You?

Asks Sir Geoffrey of the English team after they meekly surrendered in the first ODI. They had no business losing, he says.

And as usual, he skims no words in blasting the English batting:

Also, cricket is as much about mental application as it is about talent. You can have all the talent in the world, but it will come to nothing if you don’t use your brains. Seems to me as though England’s batsmen are not as good as they think they are, and that is an important distinction.

Read the full thing here…

Twice lucky

India won another close call at Faridabad and managed to go up 2-0 in the ongoing 7-match ODI series against England. But despite the two wins, the signs are not too good and India needs to make some quick amendments to its thinking, strategising and execution to ensure that luck does not desert them.

This was the second time in as many ODIs that the lower order had to win the match and the third consecutive when when the batting failed (counting the last Test). One missing name in the line-up seems to have quite a negative impact on the entire team. Whatever is wrong with Sehwag is a mystery. He just seems to lack any motivation at the moment. And Gautam Gambhir, for all his talent, seems to get bored and throws his wicket away. Doesn’t he get it? This is his big chance in international cricket and if he cannot cement his place right now, he doesn’t deserve to be in the team.

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Look alike?

In slightly bad taste, this one, but it's good for a laugh. Once, mind you. 

Freddie like
Check out more here…

Being captain, main batsman and having to deal with being the first captain in almost 20 years to lose the Ashes cannot be easy. But Ricky Ponting is one guy who seems torevel in this. Except probably the Ashes part! Since taking over as captain, Punter has been in the form of his life. Forget Tendulkar, Lara and even Inzamam… it's Punter who's burning up the pitches and bowling attacks around the world. If you ask me, it all started with his dazzling innings in the 2003 World up final against India. And it's not stopped yet.

Sure he is leading an ageing side and his deputy Gilchrist has been in the worst form of his life for over a year now. But with experience on his team's side, he is making the most of it. That the job for his successor will be a doubly difficult one given this teams age is another story. To be honest, Ponting is leading a team where only one player is in the early 20s. Michael Clarke is the youngest at 24. Even debutante fast bowler Stuart Clark is 30! Warnie is 36, McGrath 36, Langer and Hayden in their mid-30s and Punter himself 34. Martyn is 35 as are most of the other stalwarts including Gilly (35). This is a team with an average of 31! And if you thought the newest sensation Michael Hussey was 25, here's a surprise: he is 30!

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Britney Spears, is who I am talking about. Art is about expression and only an artist could understand why another artist may have created something. One hopes, anyway! So what do you make of this sculpture of BS giving birth? (p.s.: BS=Britney Spears despite all other connotations!)

Often, seen written behind cabs and autos and trucks and even cars sporting the message "Keep safe distance". This raises two questions: Isn't distance safe anyways? If not, how much distance is safe distance? 

Being a student of Physics, I would like to argue that rather than distance, one would be better off writing "Keep safe velocity". Or some such. But then, not many would know the difference between velocity and speed and mistaking one for the other or vice-versa, could lead to trouble.

Coming back to this distance business, assuming I maintain what is perceived as safe distance, but my velocity is not well, safe, there are chances that it may make the erstwhile safe distance 'unsafe'. Let me illustrate:

I see a lovely lady across the road. Naturally, palpitation has increased as has concentration decreased. Thankfully, I have safe distance between us. But soon enough the palpitation takes over and is commanding the vehicle. In this case, me. So the palpitation, which can be likened to velocity is what is driving me at this moment making the distance extremely unsafe. Why? Because opposites attract.

So. coming back to cars, it is the safe distance and greater velocity from my end that will make the entire episode unsafe. The idea is to maintain that safe distance not just keep it for a moment or two. Since distance is (supposedly) stationary and velocity not so, they are opposites and will attract. Which also implies that the auto/truck/cab that is urging me to keep safe distance will not be safe the moment after the threshold has been crossed. Obviously, you say? Try it.

So what is the safe distance number? I would say 5 metres! 

Like monsoon follows summer,

like winter follows monsoon,

like a boy follows a girl,

like a dog follows its master,

like a politicial follows votes,

like the weatherman goes wrong,

like a politician lies,

like controversy follows salman khan,

like salman khan follows aishwarya rai,

like life goes on,like death follows life,

like I follow cricket…

the Indian team will have an inexplicible match

and it will lose.

But I will still follow cricket.

And India will still lose.

Again. And again. And again.

No, this is not a movie review, but more of how things change in 7 days. My last post was exactly 7 days ago and since then, I have seen a fair few many changes… India won the 2nd Test, Australia and South Africa slugged it out in the best ODI ever (debatable!) and I bought a new O2 Atom. It was on my wishlist, but I did not think I would get it so soon!
The first two are related, the third is not. It’s just to announce that I now own the little unbelievably powerful PDA phone (again, debatable, but not open for debate yet!). What made me go and spend all of Rs 38,000 on this is a mystery that even I cannot answer. But all I can say so far, is that it was worth it.
So changing lanes right along and jumping straight into a review of it, let me assure you that if e-mail, messaging and Internet are high on your daily requirements list, this is the phone for you. If making simple calls is your poison, look away.
The Atom is targetted towards a rather specific breed of business users (I don’t fit that description) and is a sleek black beauty. Instant access buttons for Windows and the media functions are also a good addition to the minimal design. There are four keys in concentric circles on the front that are customisable and should be lest you waste them. But once you get used to tapping and typing, everything else seems mundane.
Since I do have this phone now, I have already gone on and subscribed to a costlier GPRS package that allows me to browse the Internet and access my office e-mails. Sounds impressive, but it also means that I’m accessible 24×7 on mail, phone and soon, IM. Hm. So much for the gadget that ‘frees me’!
Running Windows Mobile 5.0, this device is an absolute must-have if you are interested in quality phones that are scalable. Only things missing yet are a MiniSD card and a pouch for the phone.
I would rate this a hefty 8/10 and recommend it to power users. (Note to self: Must try posting a blog entry using the stylus!).
Here’s a comprehensive review of it and the product site.

Reminiscing…

Inspired by this post by Anil and an older one of my own, I decided to list down things I miss about home (Pune)… the list is largely similar to the one in my earlier post (almost exactly a year ago), but there are now some additions:

  1. I miss the small lanes of Pune… Bhandarkar Road, Prabhat Road, Income Tax lane and all the bylanes around. Covered with trees round the year, nothing in Mumbai even comes remotely close. Well, maybe Mahim where I now live…
  2. I miss waking up to sunlight and shade of the trees simultaneously. Yes, it’s possible. No, I don’t live on the streets in Pune. No, it does not happen in Mumbai.
  3. I miss FC Road. Crowded as it may be now, it has always been the hub of activity for youngsters. I miss Vaishali restaurant… the dosa… I miss Savera opposite my college. Strangely, I don’t miss college as much as I did last year. Hmm.
  4. I miss Marz-O-Rin. The sandwiches, shakes and pastries. If you are someone who has never been there, well, go.
  5. I miss not being able to reach a hangout in 5 minutes. From anywhere! Except of course one is going from say, Hinjewadi to FC Road. Then, god save you!
  6. I miss the quaintness a small(er) town offers. I miss having the option of taking off to Sinhagad on a whim… especially on overcast days like today. Ah that drive outside the city… the crowd thinning away… Khadakvasla dam, Peacock bay and all the yachts…
  7. I miss those insane drivers who have no respect for traffic rules or anyone else driving behind/ahead/beside them. No wait, I actually have lots of them in Mumbai.
  8. I miss the University of Pune campus and the chai in the small canteen off the roads.
  9. I miss the bustle of the city. Trust me, it’s more than Mumbai in some cases.
  10. Most of all, I miss my street. The colony I grew up in. The small winding road with the ground and the trees all along the roads. Flowers falling in the rain and leaves littering the road.

I wanna go home.

I did not want to hold her hostage. It was not something I did out of choice. It was the animal inside me urging me on… I did not enjoy holding her hostage… why would I? I’m not a sadist neither am I a terrorist. I’m you regular guy. Watching TV, having coffee, talking nonsense and working hard day in and day out. Why would I be holding anyone hostage? Especially when she was being coopertive.

I asked her to hand over the pointer device. She said “No”. I asked again. Again she replied “No”. I had three conflicts to monitor. It’s not all that easy, you see. From the southern hemisphere to the Indian subcontinent, I have to keep an eye on everything. Especially on the subcontinent. That’s a volatile area, you see. My radar must span across these areas. And the pointer device was the only one that would allow me to keep an eye on the events as they would unfold… from three in the morning to midnight. I asked again, but she would not comply. “Not this time,” she said.

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Desicritic of the day

Desicritic of the day

Gee… I really don’t know what to say! Thanks!

Wrong Number?

I have changed cities twice in the last three years and as you’d imagine, it is quite a nightmare keeping in touch with friends, colleagues (ex and current) and at times even family. Thankfully, my moves were restricted to the small 200km Mumbai-Pune area. But still, the problem persists.

Part of the problem is that Mumbai, despite being the capital of Maharashtra is not part of the same cellular circle. So when you go from Pune to Mumbai, you are on ‘roaming’. Nagpur, or for that matter Goa, which is a good 800km+ away, is still a local call. While all that changed a few months ago, there are still problems with it. Receiving a call in Mumbai on a Maharashtra number costs nothing (unless you are on Airtel in the roaming circle) and vice-versa but making a call is about 2.5x the cost of a local call within your circle.

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Right from the time I caught this year’s Filmfare Awards (this is the last time the name is mentioned in the post; also, tacky site, open at own risk) on TV, I was wondering why they look so bad. Then came the Zee Cine Awards on Saturday and my mind was in further turmoil. And then this morning (Mar 6) happened the Academy Awards. Which seemed to be a class apart. Probably because they were.

So what was it that was so desperately lacking in the two Indian functions mentioned? Finesse, for one was non-existent. Look at the Oscars and you see some amount of grandeur. There is a ‘big ticket event’ feel to it. The stage is decorated well and lit very well. There’s no ‘shady’ feeling about it. I have attended one Filmfare function in person and can report that there is nothing to report about. It feels as bad (or as good, depending on which side you are on) as a college annual. The said event was at the MMRDA ground in Mumbai and the entrance to the, well, ground was marked with a black arch. Wow!

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Well, Blimey!

One day that I cannot watch the game, and it’s hell! What’ve you guys done?!? First, India’s inability to polish off the tail is back with a bang (it was showing signs of a resurgence since the Pak tour) as is the well… fear of opening, shall we say?

Sehwag has fallen disastrously to swing on two occasions already. And he does need to spend some time cleaning up his act a bit. I also hope that some experts tell him the same and not keep protecting him by saying “that’s the way he plays”. There are times when, as a senior player and vice-captain, Sehwag needs to put up his hand and take responsibility. This is not gully cricket where you will still open the batting in hopes of that one elusive super innings. The worst part of his second innings dismissal was that he took 13 balls for 0 and fell to a perfectly set field. No thinking happening there.

Also interesting is the step in the stride of all former English captains, players and  so-called tacticians of the game. Apparently, in their expert opinion, India was ‘guilty’ of letting the game drift around on the fourth day. “This is negative”, said Nasser Hussain. Yes. The same gentleman who decided to bowl negative to the entire Indian batting line-up just so he could pick up some wickets. But that time, it did not matter… with a mic in hand, it needs to be an ideal world.

What is really sad in this is the way Indian commentators line up with the goras. It’s not funny actually. Almost like a puppy in tow, Javagal Srinath and Laxman Sivaramakrisnan go yes, yes, yes… Where are the real commentators… the Gavaskars, Shastris, Bhogles and even the Manjrekars?
The Indian fielding was appaling. As was the bowling and the overall appearance on the field. They seemed like they would have rather been anywhere else.Sure England has outplayed India and are (still at 11 am, they are) on the verge of a win. But let’s not write off this much vaunted Indian batting line-up just yet.

They may just decide to turn up and score today. Who knows… cricket is a game of uncertainties!

Day 2: England?

ENG: 393 all out; IND: 136/1

It would be difficult to say which team has the advantage at this point. England battled very hard through Paul Collingwood and Steve Harmison (batting!) to post a more than respectable 393 in the first innings. While most pundits, fans and Indians would have hoped that India restrict the English to under 300, Collingwood had other ideas.

His assault on Pathan and Harbhajan were especially noteworthy. It just sends a message that he is not afraid of either spin or swing—the two real weapons in India’s armoury. Of course, he was aided by some listless bowling but full credit to the way he attacked and indeed guided the tail.

It means that the rest of the England team has something to crow about. And that they did. Pietersen seemed to be in his element when he caught Sehwag for just 2. India at that point was just 11 and England perhaps sensed a real chance. But enter the Wall. And he stood firm. He defended and defended and defended. And then defended some more. Contrary to belief (well at least mine anyway), the pitch was not at its best today. This can only be bad news for the remaining 3 days and further emphasises the fact that India should look to bat only once.

Dravid apart, Wasim Jaffer also impressed (finally!). With his maiden Test 50 out of the way, he should be looking to go on. That there is a long and distinguished batting line-up to follow would also put Indian minds at ease. But at 136-1, India would seem to have the slight upper hand. But then, it will take only 2 or 3 good balls.

At the moment, it looks to be fairly even. Tomorrow holds the key.

It would seem so, according to the new controversy in the ongoing saga between the current coach and former captain. Greg Chappell has been quoted as saying “…What I didn’t realise at that stage was how utterly important to his life and finances being captain was” in The Guardian.

So what happened to the multi-crore printing business his family had? And that fabled home in Behala? (read link at the end to know about it!). Sincerely, I doubt if Ganguly had any money problems since he is smart enough to have cashed in enough when he was sellable!

Unless he spent more than he should have on old flames (hint, hint!).

But why in the world is Mr Chappell still ranting on about the issue. Frankly, it’s getting a bit annoying. The British media are perhaps getting their first hit at either party since the controversy broke. But this will happen again with other countries. It just has to end soon. Hope the board takes action as it says it will.

Great interview of Ganguly

If the English supporters at the VCA ground in Nagpur are not the Barmy Army, where are they? In any case, they don’t seem to be too popular among the other English supporters. Wonder why!

Man I miss the calypso cricket! Where are the Brian Laras and Courtney Walsh’s and Curtly Ambroses? Heck, I’d even settle for the Carl Hoopers right now! By that, I don’t mean Hooper was any less a player than the gentlemen mentioned before, but just that he wasn’t exactly the flamboyant, outrageously talented and athletic West Indian you’d normally expect.

The current team is an apology of a team. They can’t bat (bar a couple of them), they can’t bowl (bar none) and they can’t field (bar maybe the gully team from Mahim West). So what happened? I suppose somewhere around the early nineties, when a new team needed to be formed, not much emphasis was laid on planning on the future. I remember a lanky Anderson Cummins who could bowl somewhat fast and accurate but he was one who never seemed like he could last a Test match.

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ENG: 246/7 (Cook 60, Collingwood 53*; Pathan 3/52, Sreesanth 2/56) 

A. Cook 

As expected, India pretty much controlled Day 1 of the first Test at Nagpur, but not without some stoic resistance from the England top and middle order. Unfortunately for the hosts, no one went on to make a big score, but they could have been worse off had debutante Alistair Cook not scored his 60.

Apart from Cook, there were the two Andrews (Flintoff and Strauss) who got starts, but could not go on to make an impact. Paul Collingwood is still there on 53 but he is extremely lucky to have got a nick on a Kumble special flipper!

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Most of the English supporters seem to be throwing into the towel even before the series is truly underway. But the batting performance of the team on the first morning has not been as bad as was being predicted. They held their own to reach a respectable 89-2 at lunch. Not too bad, I say.

One of the most surprising ‘give up’ notes was by Geoff Boycott. I was surprised to read Sir Geoffrey say, “…and given the current state of the England squad, I am afraid the conclusion to the series may be foregone…” referring to the result of the series in India’s favour.

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