Archive for December, 2006

Is Nokia losing it?

Over the last few months, I have progressively noticed that Nokia is getting staid in its designs and almost ‘following’ other manufacturers. Where is that robust originality Nokia was known for?

There are plenty of phones being launched by the Finnish manufacturer, but none that excite me anymore. I don’t think my tastes or choices are so strange because what I want is available from other manufacturers.

Nokia has tried their hand at PDA phones and other high-end stuff, but are perhaps finding it difficult to break away from their image of being a ‘junta’ phone. Sony Ericsson, on the other hand have managed to carve a niche for themselves and with their P990i, are actually getting into the PDA market that has some rather loyal followers of models like the Nokia Communicator and even some Palm and Windows Mobile phones.

Up until March this year, I was a die-hard Nokia user. Then I got bored and frustrated that they were not doing anything new. So I went on to O2. And then to Motorola and now I am using a Sony Ericsson. Very happy!

Wake up, Nokia!

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I no longer feel ashamed to say that my Hotmail account is still active! Especially after I finally joined the Windows Live Mail Beta. It was a pleasant surprise to finally see hotmail look usable. And the other small changes to it like change of themes and layout at a click (using options drop-down) is awesome.

Once it is publicly available, Gmail and Yahoo! had better watch out.

So that’s now the third Windows Live service I am using after Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Writer (used to post this too!). What’s next?

Bring it on!

 

India v South Africa (2nd Test, Durban): Scorecard

Far too much frustration has come around. India has suffered at the hands of tailenders on many occasions. But this particular effort by SA may just hurt badly.

The 10th wicket partnership between debutante Morne Morkel and Makhaya Ntini was worth 32 runs. Prince and Morkel put together 39 for the 9th wicket. So the last two wickets cost India all of 71 runs. When the opposition top 8 have fallen for 257, you expect to wrap up the innings for approx 275. Tsk!

Australia would have!

UPDATE: India has been bundled out for 240. Conceding a lead of 88 runs. As predicted above, the last two partnerships that yielded 71 for SA have proved costly for India. Else the lead would not have been more than say 30 or 40. How costly? Two and a half days to go to find that out!

The Daily News & Analysis reports that China is further censoring information leaving the country. After working their minds over in limiting Google and internet services, they have now proposed to make weather reports inaccesible to ‘foreigners’.

“Illegal meteorological surveys and data collection have infringed China’s sovereignty… and threatened the country’s security,” the paper quoted CMA Vice Minister Zheng Guogang as saying.

Yes Minister, indeed. So those of you travelling to China and looking for weather information, please plan well in advance. You wouldn’t want to land up with a pair of shorts when it’s starting to get chilly, would you? You too need to censor!

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Here we go!

No sooner than Microsoft Vista has hit the computers (pun!), have hackers and other experts hit back!

On Dec. 15, a Russian programmer posted a description of a flaw that makes it possible to increase a user’s privileges on all of the company’s recent operating systems, including Vista. And over the weekend a Silicon Valley computer security firm said it had notified Microsoft that it had also found that flaw, as well as five other vulnerabilities, including one serious error in the software code underlying the company’s new Internet Explorer 7 browser.

Right, so let’s get ready for the next round of MS bashing, shall we?

Ganguly throws?

So what exactly is he trying to say here?

A bit more clarity would be better, eh?

Foot in mouth day?

This is easier said than done. Now that it’s been said, what to do?

This is something he had to say. Again, now what to do?

And this is something he could have done well not to say. Again…

To do before launch

Scribbler on the Net will soon have a new home. And just so I don’t forget, here is a list of things to do before I make the new URL live…

1. Theme changes

  • a. Change top banner (immediately)
  • b. Create more top banners
  • c. Remove the blue stripes from the back
  • d. Can fonts (body text) be changed to Tahoma?

2. Ad code (?)

3. Move posts

4. Finalise list of Blogroll

5. Stylesheet finalisation

6. Copyright Notices

  • Copyscape
  • Creative Commons

Drunk driving helps?

There has often been research that defies logic and longstanding beliefs or theories. Drunk driving is one such theory. It is rightly assumed (supported with enough proof) that drunk driving is generally not the smartest thing to do. And while that theory still holds good, there is new research that suggests it may not be an entirely lost situation…

The University of Toronto team found head injury patients who had drunk low amounts were 24% less likely to die than those who had not had any alcohol.

This, from an article on the BBC.com site. Whatever the research may suggest, the text between the lines says that there is a 24% “less” chance of death. No “24% less deaths”… In any case, I would like to know how and why such half-ready research gets published. Half knowledge is a dangerous thing. And when one’s drunk, it’s even tougher to read between the proverbial lines, eh?

Have a safe Christmas and New Year’s!

Glenn McGrath First it was Martyn. Then went Warnie. Then it will be McGrath. That leaves the current Australian team with only a few seasoned campaigners, all of who are well into their 30s. Let’s face it, Ponting’s not exactly young at 32. Neither are Gilchrist, Hayden or even Hussey for that matter. Maybe Hussey has the most time left.

But 12 months down the line, the Australian line-up could well look dramatically different…

Australia Test XI in Perth (3rd Test, Ashes 2006)

  1. Matthew Hayden (35 yrs)
  2. Justin Langer (36 yrs)
  3. Ricky Ponting (32 yrs)
  4. Michael Hussey (31 yrs)
  5. Michael Clarke (25 yrs)
  6. Andrew Symonds (31 yrs)
  7. Adam Gilchrist (35 yrs)
  8. Shane Warne (37 yrs; retiring for sure)
  9. Brett Lee (30 yrs)
  10. Stuart Clark (31 yrs)
  11. Glenn McGrath (36 yrs; retiring for sure)

This would remain largely unchanged (perhaps with the exception of Andrew Symonds) till the final Ashes Test, but the next Test Australia will play after that would see a very different side indeed…

  1. Matthew Hayden Any takers?
  2. Justin Langer Any takers?
  3. Ricky Ponting
  4. Michael Hussey
  5. Michael Clarke
  6. Andrew Symonds He may HAVE to play!
  7. Adam Gilchrist (?) How long?
  8. Shane Warne Stuart MacGill?
  9. Brett Lee
  10. Stuart Clark
  11. Glenn McGrath Shane Watson?

This makes only 5 of the current 11 certain starters (subject to fitness, form and selection). Not a nice situation to be in. What’s worse, is that none of the new crop would get a chance to be groomed alongside the two great bowlers. And let’s face it… Brett Lee isn’t exactly mentoring material yet. He himself has a long way to go before he can be considered someone who can groom upcoming bowlers.

The average age of the current Australian side is 32 and a half years! And if they keep blooding players at 31, that will always remain the case. But so long as they are winning, what’s wrong with that?

The trouble is that at some point, they would run out of experienced quality players who can be called up from domestic cricket to face the vagaries of the international scene. Just take a look at the differences of the careers of Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke. Both bat in the middle order and both have had some good times. But after a rousing start, Clarke fell away and was on the sidelines for a short while. Which is when Hussey came in. To be honest, they are both captain material as well and Australia would do well by appointing the younger one as the next captain. Ponting should perhaps start the ‘grooming’ process immediately, if he already hasn’t.

One generation of Australian cricketers has perhaps already missed the boat. People like Hussey and Clark (Stuart) are lucky that they got a chance so late. Clark owes it to the burned out Gillespie while Hussey owes it in part to Steve Waugh, Andrew Symonds and maybe even Michael Clarke!

But to be fair, the future doesn’t look too promising and while the larder may not exactly be bare, it appears rather thinly populated at this point. For most names that are often discussed or recommended are in the ‘late bloomers’ category.

In some way, this is following the trend that the great West Indian side of the ’80s faced. The last two of that legacy, Walsh and Ambrose, had to struggle to keep it going. Australia may well be headed down the same path unless they take some risks in the short term and set things right for the long term. A crop of players like they have had over the last 20 years is rare and even by their standards, it will become rarer again.

One hopes that in the rarified air of high success, they don’t lose sight of the crowd at the bottom that is perhaps ready to be given a chance.

Waddle they think of next? Maybe a browser that can make me coffee and bring me someone elses money. Wait! They already have that. It’s called keylogging!

One drawback: I cannot upload a photo. Something that the Windows Live Writer allows me to do. Sad!

Sreesanth’s Tango

Just had to post this one. Sure it’s available all over, but this shows my support of his actions! So, enjoy the Sreesanth Tango!

Without making a religious statement, I would like to point readers to this article: Haj pilgrims can now buy animals through Internet.

The real killer in the implementation of being able to “buy animals for slaugher on the Internet”, is this:

The bank would send an email or SMS messages to pilgrims who have purchased coupons confirming that the slaughter of their animal has been carried out.

But there is a obviously a reason for this e-commerce model. And for the bank running this (the Islamic Development Bank): “This will enable the IDB to build up a central data base that will help in planning for the best utilisation of slaughterhouses,” bank President Dr Ahmed Mohammad Ali has said.

The Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) further reports:

Islamabad, Dec 18 (IANS) After Eid greetings and marriages through the Internet, Pakistanis can now turn to websites for Qurbani – the sacrifice of animals on Eid-ul-Azha.

Several websites have on offer traditional sacrificial animals – goat, sheep, camel and cow – and the billing is done through credit card. Customers can either donate the animal directly to the poor or take home the meat from the trust office, the Daily Times reported.

‘The online booking is for people who are busy and do not have enough time to visit offices or markets,’ said Shakeel Dehlawi, public relations director of the Karachi-based Alamgir Welfare Trust International.

‘We started the service two years ago but few people were aware of it. Now we have a good response from Internet users.’

Sahara, the life trust of singer Abrarul Haq, also sells animals online. US-based group Islamicity and Life for Relief and Development offer this service to Muslims around the world.

And the Ulema have approved of the practice.

‘I see no problem in it, even if the payment is through credit cards,’ said Mufti Sarfraz Naeemi, head of Jamia Naeemia.

‘But it is important the credit card user pay the qurbani amount instantly so he saves himself from interest,’ he added.

Interesting times we live in, surely!

The first Test between India and South Africa had its share of controversy even before the first ball was bowled. There was Graeme Smith (and coach Mickey Arthur) doing the mandatory lip service about how India would face the pace music and how he had plans for India’s batting with his pacers. Well, they worked to some extent. Then there was the delay on day 1 because of too much sweating due to an over-enthusiastic groundsman getting the pitch wetter than necessary. But then, the games began. And SA seemed to be on top!

S Sreesanth Until the SA bowling ran into a man making a comeback with much to prove. Sourav Ganguly was the only man to cross 50 in both first innings and remained unbeaten on 51 when the last Indian wicket fell for 249. Not the best score when you have won the toss and elected to bat, but given the pitch (and how it was doctored to suit pace), this looked competitive.

Little would the curator or either team or the fans have guessed that this score would be big enough to afford India a 165 run lead! Thanks partly to Allan Donald who put some sense into the Indian bowling advising them to stick to line and length! S Sreesanth who has always been hyperactive and shown great promise, made good this time and came up with figures of 5/40; his best ever. And as all commentators repeatedly said, it was the upright seam that made the difference.

India’s second innings tottered for a while until M/s Ganguly and Laxman steadied the ship. India already have a lead in excess of 311 but half the team is out and on this pitch which is easing up marginally, chasing 350 may still be possible. Having said that, the Indian bowling attack does have more variety than the SA team does and with Anil Kumble already having tasted blood, the odds are heavily in favour of India.

A special note about Andre Nel: I like the man for his energy but I find him extremely anal when it concerns his behaviour. He needs to grow up and quickly considering he is already 29! No matter how much you can outtalk the batsmen, it’s finally the wickets you can pick that will make the difference. And he doesn’t seem too smart either. All his short stuff was dealt with pretty easily by the Indian batters and the couple of wickets he did pick up were off good-length or just short of a good length deliveries. Line means nada to him and I am talking of the lines he would bowl with the ball not his mouth!

For once, India has a chance to go has gone 1-up after the first Test on an overseas tour and I would hazard the prediction that India would win. A caveat: India needs to ensure that SA are chasing more than 400 (ideally, more than 450). This means Laxman, Dhoni, Kumble and Zaheer (and now VRV Singh) need to ensure another 90-odd runs are scored among them. Not too tough one would think, but stranger things have happened in this Test. Remember, all 10 SA wickets have fallen for 84 in the first innings! (Told ya!)

Update: Well, my prediction came through (whew!). India did manage to set SA more than 400 (402, to be precise!) and are now 1-0 up in the series. Not a normal situation for India to be in. The interesting part here would be how they handle the pressure of being the favourites to win a series. For the South Africans will come back hard at them. The next Test is at Durban, not the most favourite of India’s venues, but they should hold on based on the performance in the first Test. The only missing link really now is the opening batsmen’s forms…

What was also really good to see was that Sreesanth delivered in the second innings too. This goes to prove that he is not flash in the pan and can become one of the strike bowlers if he can stay fit, focussed and add to his repertoire without losing what he already has: a natural flair for the game.

And, oh… the lips seem to have gone a little numb now:

“The wicket played quite slow on day one but it quickened up quite a lot on day two. But for us to get bowled out for what we did was obviously not good enough. Credit to them, they got the ball in the right areas and created chances consistently. They were a lot more precise than us the whole Test match. We did get the highest total of the game in the fourth innings but all credit to India. They have got their first win and congratulations to them.”

Yes, Graeme, the pitch was slowed down with extra water before the game and then quickened by drying on day 2. Way to go, Einstein.

Well, I definitely didn’t! And if you are telling me that you know what an Aglet is, then sir/madam, you are a more learned person than I. Not that you otherwise won’t be, but just! So here’s an interesting list.

And no, I have not done the research. This has come via Canongate and the link was from a good old friend Gautam D.

  • AGLET – The plain or ornamental covering on the end of a shoelace.
  • ARMSAYE – The armhole in clothing.
  • CHANKING – Spat-out food, such as rinds or pits.
  • COLUMELLA NASI – The bottom part of the nose between the nostrils.
  • DRAGÉES – Small beadlike pieces of candy, usually silver-coloured, used for decorating cookies, cakes and sundaes.
  • FEAT – A dangling curl of hair.
  • FERRULE – The metal band on a pencil that holds the eraser in place.
  • HARP – The small metal hoop that supports a lampshade.
  • HEMIDEMISEMIQUAVER – A 64th note. (A 32nd is a demisemiquaver, and a 16th note is a semiquaver.)
  • JARNS,
  • NITTLES,
  • GRAWLIX,
  • and QUIMP – Various squiggles used to denote cussing in comic books.
  • KEEPER – The loop on a belt that keeps the end in place after it has passed through the buckle.
  • KICK or PUNT – The indentation at the bottom of some wine bottles. It gives added strength to the bottle but lessens its holding capacity.
  • LIRIPIPE – The long tail on a graduate’s academic hood.
  • MINIMUS – The little finger or toe.
  • NEF – An ornamental stand in the shape of a ship.
  • OBDORMITION – The numbness caused by pressure on a nerve; when a limb is `asleep’.
  • OCTOTHORPE – The symbol `#’ on a telephone handset. Bell Labs’ engineer Don Macpherson created the word in the 1960s by combining octo-, as in eight, with the name of one of his favourite athletes, 1912 Olympic decathlon champion Jim Thorpe.
  • OPHRYON – The space between the eyebrows on a line with the top of the eye sockets.
  • PEEN – The end of a hammer head opposite the striking face.
  • PHOSPHENES – The lights you see when you close your eyes hard. Technically the luminous impressions are due to the excitation of the retina caused by pressure on the eyeball.
  • PURLICUE – The space between the thumb and extended forefinger.
  • RASCETA – Creases on the inside of the wrist.
  • ROWEL – The revolving star on the back of a cowboy’s spurs.
  • SADDLE – The rounded part on the top of a matchbook.
  • SCROOP – The rustle of silk.
  • SNORKEL BOX – A mailbox with a protruding receiver to allow people to deposit mail without leaving their cars.
  • SPRAINTS – Otter dung.
  • TANG – The projecting prong on a tool or instrument.
  • WAMBLE – Stomach rumbling.
  • ZARF – A holder for a handleless coffee cup.
  • My new car

    … is the Hyundai Verna Xi. First day report: I love it!

    Check it out on its site. More info as more driving happens!

    CWC 2011 Final in Mumbai

    So is it good news? Certainly! I am no longer a resident Mumbaikar, but I will start trying for those tickets right away. Never mind that there’s a World Cup to go before that!

    My previous experience at the Wankhede was quite unforgettable! India vs England in 2003, I think. And more recently at the Brabourne, it was even better sitting in the press box watching Sri Lanka hammer the West Indies in the ICC Champions Trophy 2006 qualifiers. Ah! What a view that was!

    The point here is I don’t care which stadium hosts the final, it’s an unforgettable experience. But I seriously hope it happens at the Wankhede. Knowing the ICC’s commercial requirements of a “clean stadium” (i.e. sans any advertising committments), it could well happen at the CCI (Brabourne). That was the reason the Champions Trophy matches for Mumbai were not played at Wankhede!

    Goliath and Goliath Jr.

    So this is the story of Goliath and Goliath Jr. No room for any Davids in this story. Not at least according to Steve Berkowitz, head of Microsoft’s online services group! He says:

    “…Yahoo! is likely to end up becoming a smaller player relying upon third party services.”

    And then he goes on to deliver the knock-out punch. Why MS and Google will rule the world:

    “You have to be able to invest at a level that only right now two companies in the world can invest at and that’s Google and Microsoft.”

    Hm. Maybe what he says is true. But so far, it’s only true on the money in the pockets part. Let’s see what Vista does. Then maybe Google’s online Office suite may change the dynamics!

    Indiatimes. At its best.

    Irresponsible? Or plain callous?

    Indiatimes.com homepage at approx 6pm (Dec 11, 2006)

    Indiatimes

    The above headline implies that the Sensex fell to below 500 points. While the fact is that it fell BY about 500 points. And the story is correct. This is some editor messing up on the prepositions. Or a brain!

    Story page image: [Link to story]

    indiatimes-f_story.jpg

    Morne Morkel Do you know a right-arm fast bowler by the name Morne Morkel? I did not. But now you will. For he has crushed the Indian top order in their tour game. As India tottered at 69/5 (Lunch, Day 1), Morkel was responsible for 4 of those wickets including those of Sehwag (0), Laxman (23), Tendulkar (10) and Dhoni (6). Was he bowling hand grenades?

    And these are the Big Guns of the Indian batting. God save India in the Tests! Incidentally, Ganguly (who has just flown in and has not had a chance to acclimatise, etc., etc.) was on 20* at last check. That’s twice as many as Tendulkar and well, more than 20 times as Sehwag! Go figure!

    Live Scorecard [Cricinfo]

    He’s a “peaceable” man, as Dileep Premchandran says on Cricinfo, but is VVS Laxman the next Indian captain? I doubt it. But he does have the unenviable task of leading India against the Rest of South Africa in the only tour match before the Tests begin. Of course, that’s because Virender Sehwag was releived of his responsibilites as vice-captain during the ODIs.

    VVS Laxman with Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag But the thing to remember here would be that Rahul Dravid [Captaincy Record] is still injured. And while everyone wants to believe that he will be back by the time the first Test begins, what if he doesn’t? VVS Laxman would have to lead India in the Test (s).

    He has been praised for his captaincy in domestic cricket, but this is a different ballgame altogether! The pressure of a Test, the world watching… not easy. To top it all, there are three former captains: Sourav Ganguly [Captaincy Record], Sachin Tendulkar [Captaincy Record] and Virender Sehwag [Captaincy Record]. This, of course, not counting Anil Kumble who has been vice-captain and stand-in captain on random occassions!

    So VVS won’t really have any problem in getting advise, but the true test of a captain is what he stands for. And that, I think, is where Rahul Dravid went wrong. But VVS has had a good time with the bat in SA averaging in the high 40s. So in terms of confidence, he must be ok…

    In effect, the tour game against a second string SA team has just become more important than it should have been. Thanks to some poor performances and injuries, India sees (once again) too many changes when on tour.

    My $0.02 worth: Don’t expect too much. Even if VVS can score 50+, that’ll be a bonus. A drawn game would be a huge fillip to confidence. (What have expectations come to!)

    Shane Warne ia back and he’s doing what he does best: terrorising English batsmen! The latest installment in this 12-year payment programme came at Adeleide.

    And some have likened his terror to that wreaked by hands running amok in an English castle. The story ‘The Beast With Five Fingers’ could well be Warne’s autobiography title except that it has already been taken by W F Harvey!

    Anyways, Warnie’s more of a myth to the Indian fan having not had to see their team suffer at his hands. That, of course, is speaking relatively. But it sounds better when said absolutely!

    Come on, Pommies! Stand up to him. At least once!

    [Via: The Telegraph]

    Not every day that I find two hot pages. And no, these are not ‘those’ type of pages.

    Ultrabrown has an awesome retrospective on Padma Lakshmi and then there’s the 2007 Kingfisher Calendar.

    Yenjoy!

    And please remember to pass on any more links of this kind. Most appreciated!

    Australia snatched victory from certain draw and have almost regained the Ashes. Heroic performances by Mike Hussey, Ricky Ponting and that wizard of spin Shane Warne saw Australia snatch an incredible 6-wicket win in the 2nd Test.

    Interestingly, in the last series too, it was the second Test that had provided a lot of nailbiting moments… just this time, the tide is flowing the other way!

    Here are some interesting reactions from around the world:

    Six & Out: And again please

    24×7 Cricket: Pommie bashing!

    24×7 Cricket: Nice record to have

    The Burnt Bail: Hussey guides the Aussies!

    Cricinfo: The greatest win, say Ponting and Warne

    Cricinfo: Flintoff shocked!

    In other developments, Shoaib Akhtar and Mohd. Asif find that they are now ban-less. Meaning, the doping ban on them has been lifted [News]. And how did this happen?

    An appeals tribunal appointed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has exonerated fast bowlers, Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif of doping offences and lifted their long-term bans.

    So what this tells me is that the entire exercise was a bit of a sham. The ban lasted all of 5 weeks. I smell a rat here and some fabulous planning. The PCB was rather proactive in banning the two players. This manouevering ensured that the ICC did not do any banning of their own.

    And once the issue seemed to have cooled off, the PCB goes and lifts the ban. Especially on a day when England lost the “unlosable Test”, who would notice? We’ll know soon! More importantly, though, why was the ban lifted?

    “The tribunal, after looking at every aspect of the case and hearing the arguments of the players, has decided to lift the bans and cancel the earlier decision of the drugs inquiry tribunal,” Hasib Ahsan, an appeals tribunal member, said on Tuesday.

    What about the proof based on which the ban was imposed? Or is that unnecessary?

    The recent drubbing of India in South Africa would qualify as the worst ever in recent memory. Normally, touring teams have managed at least one win. Although, the more recent ones under Sourav Ganguly had gotten the fans used to much more. Like winning. But that’s not the point. In true Indian sense, let me say “we competed”. Or did we?

    India battered and beaten I really think there’s no point in looking back at the matches and trying to figure out who’s fault it was that India lost. It’s pointless because it cannot change the result. What needs to be done is understand what India learned from this ignominous defeat. I think (actually, hope) there is a lot that the team learned.

    1. The team cannot change at a whim: Irfan Pathan had some success as a No. 3 batsman in ODIs and then, was shunted down suddenly. Any explanations? If loss of form was the reason,  shouldn’t he have been given more chances? All that this move achieved was a loss of confidence for Pathan. And then the bowling went downhill. Moral: Let players get used to a spot. And let them try to make it their own. I think it’s called solidity in a batting/bowling order.
    2. Who is the captain?: Is it the coach or the on-field appointed captain who will take the tough calls? For the first time in a long time, India looked like a team without a captain. Dravid was listless and Sehwag looked like he would prefer to be anywhere else. A strong captain like Ganguly brought much more to the table (or field) than batting capability. And Mark Taylor of Australia was another perfect example of a captain being an inspirational leader despite poor batting form.
    3. Flexibility needs to be introduced: This point may look like I contradict what I say in point 1, but let me explain: Point 1 would have to hold true when you have a winning streak or the team is in good form. In a slump like India is experiencing right now, the batting needs to be shuffled around. MS Dhoni looks like the only batsman who has any clue about what he’s doing. Maybe offering him more than 20 overs (he did get it, so no problem!) that he may at the end of the innings could be wiser. So when (not if) Sehwag and Sachin fail, having an in-form batsman come in early could help the team. It may also have a positive impact on other batters to follow. I mean, what was the point of sending in VVS Laxman at No. 3 when he had arrived in SA just 48 prior to the game? And then, the media takes off again!
    4. Bowlers need to know where to bowl: This is something that has long been the bane of Indian bowling. The spinners bowl too quick and the quicks are not quick enough. This may work out well on the dustbowls of the subcontinent, but on faster tracks like the ones in SA, length and line plays a bigger role than pace and our bowlers seemed totally lost on where to bowl. Except for Zaheer Khan, no one seemed to have any idea where to bowl.
    5. Fans need to be patient: It is a fan’s right to criticise the team. Or is it his privilege? As supporters of the team, Indian fans need to show some restraint. Writing this after a 0-4 drubbing may be the wrong time, but fan discomfort was visible right after India lost the 2nd ODI. Sure there were a string of bad performance prior to that which would have triggered this off, but still… And fans should not barge into dressing rooms at any cost.
    6. Media needs to know when to stop: Going after out-of-form players is a good way to fill pages and TV time. But the way the media has taken off against the current crop, it would appear that India were on the verge of annihilation and not in Cricket! Very little positive has come out and while it’s not all without reason, there could well be a reason to be a little more ‘circumspect’ on what’s written. Sure most would not agree with this point, but think of the impact it has on the team. For instance, VVS Laxman’s performance should not be an indicator of his capability. He has been there for just 48 hours and may not have even got out of jetlag, leave alone getting used to the conditions.

    I think we all agree and know that India performed below par. There did not seem to be any good reason for the team selected was good based on the capability. But a fact of life is that at least 12 of the 15 in this group will represent India in the upcoming World Cup.

    So will tearing them to shreds help? Or would being a little positive with the criticism be a better idea?

     I sure hope I do not jinx this for England, but they are looking good in the ongoing 2nd Ashes Test. Paul Collingwood is close to a hundred and one hopes he does get there this time around. Kevin Pietersen is also looking in good touch and might just make the Aussies pay with a big score. I sure hope so!

    But more than the English batting display, what interests me is how the English bowling would fare. On a pitch where the Australians are struggling on Day 1, there is a good chance that the Aussies may just pile up a massive total putting pressure on England. And then again, they have that wizard Shane Warne who can make the most of a Day 4/5 pitch if Australia does manage to get a massive total.

    Whatever the case, the series seems to be well and truly alive and England may just be able to get something out of it. Or have I spoken too soon?

    There is some great coverage of the Ashes to be found at Cricket 24×7, Six & Out and The Burnt Bail among others. Check it out. 

    [Scorecard via Cricinfo]