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]

Google- Relevant! Not a bad idea, this… filtering out the unwanted Google results to see only some of the more relevant ones. Not sure how well it would work. But it sure sounds useful. Give it a go!

 Oh, it’s called Give Me Back My Google!

[Via: Dumb Little Man]

It’s not easy to really make money, is it? But some people seem to have an easier time of it than others. But Rs 1.5 lakh per minute? That seems a bit much for even the highest paid execs, eh?

 Not for our own Bollywood siren, though. Through some deft negotiations and timely under-handedness, Mallika Sherawat has (according to “sources”) ensured that this is indeed a rich New Years eve for her reports the Mid-Day.

And the result will be that she would draw Rs 1.5 lakh for every minute she performs at any hotel.

These shows usually last half-an-hour; so on December 31, Mallika will make Rs 1.5 lakh for each minute of work, said a reliable Bollywood source.

Which also implies that she would be performing at more than one hotel. Or is it?

MiD DAY has now learned that she is going to perform for the highest bidder — the JW Marriott at Juhu for a sum of Rs 50 lakh.

Mallika Sherawat What this means is that patrons at the JW Marriott (in Mumbai) would be treated to about 33.33 minutes of Mallika.

Wonder if this includes changes and time lost between dance numbers… And I also wonder how much the entry to the JW would cost on 31st!

Crowd behaviour is also on top of the Hotel’s list as they keep an eye out for how many people get to attend. They sure have learned from their experience, it would seem:

Last year, when Malaika Arora Khan was the star attraction there, the tickets were priced at Rs 5,950. Nuell said ticket prices were raised because the hotel wants a smaller crowd.

“Last year, controlling the crowd was a major issue.

This time, we want less people and more spice at the event. So, we have fixed on a higher price.”

So there… now you know what you need to earn Rs 1.5 lakh per minute. A body like Mallika’s, a total lack of professionalism and a hotel that’s, well, stupid enough to pay this kind of money.

But… can you dance?

I see cricketers!

And why wouldn’t you? They are all around you… much like the dead people in The Sixth Sense. What am I talking about? Check out this phenomenal post by Jayesh on Indian cricketers and its Ashes parallel on Cricket 24×7.

Sooper stuff!

From bad to worse

When things are going wrong for you, they just go wrong all the way. The Indian team at this point must be wondering who in the world is conspiring against them that they are facing a new problem everyday of this tour.

First it was the injury to Virender Sehwag, then Munaf Patel and now Rahul Dravid. The first two may just get back in time to make some difference to the tour, but Dravid’s return in time seems difficult. Initial reports suggest that he’s out for about 3 weeks and that rules him out of the first Test. Not a good sign considering he was the only one showing any signs of coming to terms with the conditions.

And if that wasn’t enough, the replacement who is flying in is none other than VVS Laxman. The man not good enough to be in the first 15. To top it off, there is now also talk of Sourav Ganguly making it back to the team. Which just means more controversy and less content on the field. The tour just got murkier, no?

First time usage

I’d been using Zoundry Blog Writer all along. Then it would give me trouble uploading images. So I tried w.bloggar. That would not configure my WordPress.com blog. I thought about Qumana, but it was too heavy. Performancing is ok, but demands Firefox.

So here I am back with good old Windows (and MS) with the new Windows Live Writer. And so far, it’s surprisingly good. One post old!

And whadd’ya know… it wraps around the photo too! Hallelujah!

This is one tool you simply MUST try out for a while. It’s killer. (Am I seriously talking about a Microsoft product? Wow!)

There are shirts and then there are shirts. I am rather class-less when it comes to the matter of dressing. Give me my pair of Jeans and a shirt or T-shirt and I’m good to go. I normally have about 2 (two) formal shirts ready and waiting for that occasional meeting, function, interview (less occasional than the earlier two events!) and other such necessities. These are complimented by a pair of formal trousers. Also normally on wait.

As Gabbar Singh would say, Ek trouser aur shirt do… bahut na-insaafi hai! (heh!), the reasoning is simple. Both shirts belong to the light shade category and the trouser is of a darker hue. Hence either combination is possible. It also makes life easier when “dressing up”! Brown trouser + White shirt or Brown trouser + Beige shirt. Simple.

Obviously, not everyone would approve of this method. For the discerning, there are places like Savile Row and such. I recently chanced upon one such place… not that I was in London or anything, just through blogs! English Cut is a fine tailoring setup and if they really do create (make is a small word for their process) shirts the way they claim to on their blog, then I feel ashamed. Little did I know that so much craftsmanship was possible in a shirt. The buttons, collars and even cuffs.

Perhaps when I do make it to London, I should get myself a couple of these, eh? Until then, maybe, Indigo Nation could do well to send a couple of their tailors down there!

[Via: Gaping Void.]

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TV is dead?

And nobody told me? Did you know this?


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The heat is on

Greg Chappell finds himself in the middle of another storm. It really is interesting and commendable to note the tenacity of the man. He has gone through some really turbulent times and emerged on top. Till now, that is. But if the Indian team’s performance does not improve soon, there may be trouble. Although the BCCI President Sharad Pawar has backed Chappell, it won’t take time for him to lose this backing for the matter is making news in the Parliament now!

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Another day, another dismal performance. And this time, they even looked like they could have won it. But to allow South Africa to reach 274 after having them at 76/6 is not just shocking, but shameful. Rahul Dravid, for once, would have to take a lot of the blame.

There did not seem to be any planning in the bowling and once Kemp was given his second life, he played as if he knew that nothing could stop him. I don’t even want to get into any more analysis of this. As I may have mentioned before, I would be very surprised if India manages to win even one match on this tour. Theoretically, they still have a chance to make it 2-2, but seriously, how many of us believe they can? Not me.


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 Right. So India is on another tour of South Africa, a country where their record, for all practical purposes, is non-existent. And they lost one of the tour practice games before capitulating in the second ODI at Durban. Since that loss, the Indian media has worked overtime to impress the fact that this is bunch of underperforming, overpaid cricketers who need to be pulled up.

Sachin Tendulkar is bowled by Andre Nel in the 2nd ODI

Not just the media, even politicians have jumped into the fray. Anyting for a minute of fame, I think!

[Photo courtesy: Cricinfo]

Should all the Kaavya Viswanathan‘s of the world watch out? Big Brother Google is at it again and claims its Book Search project may well spell the end of plagiarism by making book passages and all searchable. Interesting. More about this on SearchEngineWatch.

As the Slate.com reports:

Conveniently enough, a few literary greats have already had their mug shots taken. It’s long been known that Poe plagiarized his first book, a hack project titled The Conchologist’s First Book, and that Herman Melville swiped many technical passages of Moby Dick whole from maritime authors like Henry Cheever. Even more inventively, Lawrence Sterne’s immortal diatribe against plagiarism in Tristram Shandy was itself … plagiarized from Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy. There have always been a dizzying array of ways that authors can rip each other off, even in reverse: Literary critic Terry Eagleton has written entertainingly of “anti-plagiarism,” a 19th-century literary wheeze favored by Irish critics, who pounced on poets or novelists for plagiarizing or surreptitiously translating some little-known domestic or foreign work and presenting it under their name. The trick was that the “original” work presented by the prosecuting critic was itself a forgery, written after a new work’s publication to frame an enemy.


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Not really fair, is it?

A bit unfair, no to write off the England team after just one day, no? Especially if we were to remember how the last series panned out… And day 2 has not been exactly one-sided now, has it?

And if music is your thing, here’s a song about Brett Lee killing Freddie Flintoff. Sing it to the tune of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

Brett Lee just killed a man

Bowled a ball around his head,

hit his temple, now he’s dead.

Freddie, your time has come

Your Ashes urn was here but now it’s blown away


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Deja vu?

India finally got their tour of South Africa off the ground. And I am sure they must be wishing they had not! For their performance last night was a hark back to the 1996 tour I remember vividly. The bowlers (M/s Prasad and Srinath) got the team on top with a fiery spell of bowling in the first Test only to have the batsmen bungle up royally. And how badly they bungled up last night at Durban… Incidentally, the venue for this debacle is the same as the match referred to in 1996.

The bowlers looked and perhaps played their part but the batsmen never got their bearings about them. A look at the scorecard would reveal that three of the top four batsmen were clean bowled (Jaffer’s wasn’t as clean, but he was bowled nonetheless) and this only shows a lack of application. The technique is there, but fear has been struck in the hearts of the mighty Indian batsmen.

Going by last night’s performance, India would be very lucky to come away with even one victory in the remaining three ODIs. Wonder what Mr Chappell had to say after the match…

Update: Some others in the blogosphere lament India’s performance here. It’s real good! By the Greatbong!


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Backward compatibility?

Thesre are two of the biggest Internet giants and both are keen on a big (read: huge) pie of online advertising. I know that Yahoo! aims to be ‘the’ biggest in display advertising online in years to come. And obviously, so does Google. But the way Google’s built its advertising business so far, they have a massive (read: humongous) chunk of the online classifieds (AdWords) pie. And now Yahoo! wants to make it big in that.

If the Peanut Butter Manifesto was anything to go by, Yahoo! is still not learning from what Brad Garlinghouse thinks are its mistakes. Without securing the display ad space, they are embarking on the classifieds space. Taking Google head-on again. In a domain Google practically owns. We all know what happened the last time things came to a, well, head! The result of that is known as Google Search. Heh!


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There was a financial advisor who advised his clients to sell Google and buy Yahoo stocks. Not very smart. And he admits it! Honest!

Good man!


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Miss GB is Indian

It seems there may have been some controversy about the Miss Great Britain pageant. Indiatimes.com Hindustan Times informs us that Preeti Desai of Indian roots has been chosen to replace Danielle Lloyd who was fired as Miss Great Britain. Interestingly, the official site of the pageant is also asking for information and news items relating to the incident. Hm. Back to Ms Desai, though, who goes on (in true pageant style; pardon the cynicism here) to thank so-and-so for bringing the smile back and the whole nine yards. It is impressive, though, to note the vast ‘talent’ she was chosen from. Oh, and in case you do find more info about the aforementioned Ms Lloyd, do let us know too. We are very interested. Update: From Preeti Desai’s site:

Danielle, 22, was sacked for reportedly dating judge Teddy Sheringham before he voted for her, and for agreeing to pose in Playboy.

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The P990i and I

After many delays, Sony Ericsson finally launched the P990i and those who did buy it at the obnoxiously high initial prices (almost like IPOs), would vouch it was worth the wait (and money). I got mine for about 29K (INR, that is!) and think it was a fair price considering i paid some Rs 38K for my O2 Atom.

Back to the P990i… I was originally rather sceptical as to whether I should give up my Atom for a phone that is bigger, looks a little less cool (yes, accept it) and does not have Windows Mobile 5. But it had the one thing I desperately wanted: a keypad. And the more I used it, the better it seemed. It still tends to crash a little (I’ve had it for almost a month now) but it’s nothing that the Atom wouldn’t do either!

The only thing I find missing in this one is the sleekness of the Atom. And of course, the stylus sucks. But then again, I rarely use it! I wanted the keypad and I got it.

More later!


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The Windies are back?

It’s not often that Brian Lara takes on a bowling attack the way he has in the second Test against Pakistan. It’s great to see and heartwarming when one thinks that the WI will host the next World Cup. The WI team has been in a mini-resurgent phase for a while now and perhaps this is the time they make good of whatever promise they hold. They do seem to have (cliche alert) the perfect blend of youth and experience in Lara, Chanderpaul, Sarwan, Gayle, Morton (yes, he has promise) and Bravo.

The bowling, though, seems to be a little one-dimensional with Taylor and Collymore the only two capable of making any inroads. On the whole, though, this is a side that has potential (as they amply displayed in the Champions Trophy by almost defending it). Go Windies!

2nd Test Scorecard


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Good audio stuff

Tony Greig talks on Cricinfo. Good stuff. Wish they could colour it up a bit. But there is a nice old-world feel to it like listening to the radio. Give it a go.

Regift (v.)

Wish I’d seen this at Diwali. Sigh.


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Perverse security?

Perverse? Secure? It’s a fine line. And I doubt if multiple layers of clothing would help, either!


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Boy am I glad I moved out of Mumbai! Not that I could have afforded any of these places, anyways! Still.

Note to self: Start saving to buy property in Mumbai. At the current rate of interest, the amount I may be able to save and inflation, I should be ready to buy my own shanty in Dahisar by 2030, i.e., when I hit 50. Good plan, mate, good plan!


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Diarist wonders…

Interesting column in the Mid-Day by their ‘diarist’:

THE DIARIST IS WONDERING

Whether Mumbai will sprout a new worker – the street dentist who works on filling the craters on our roads.

Whether we will soon see cars suspended on chains from buildings as vertical parking spaces get more ingenious.

Whether Kiran Desai has spent any amount of the prize money she won from the Booker this year.

If Brangelina, Tom Kat, Bennifer and other terms will be added to the next edition of the Oxford dictionary.

What Gandhi would have to say to the controversy over the remix of his favourite Bhajan.

Whether Anant Gupta will grow up to make a film about his three-day ordeal with his kidnappers.

Whether Non-Governmental Organisations should advocate a Keep Mumbai Green day where every citizen must wear a green haired wig on the day.

Whether Mumbai’s roadside bhajia and wada pav wallahs will one day fry the bhajias and wadas in olive oil given the increasing health consciousness of customers.

Whether Mumbai’s male actors who wear hair bands nowadays might start sporting those baby hairpins that women use currently.

Why are you reading this tripe, anyway?

So what do you think about the Anant Gupta question? I think he will!


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Rahul the destroyer

So Rahul Mahajan is having a bad year. Maybe that’s an understatement. As Mid-Day informs us, he has now taken to physically abusing his wife. After his father’s death, his drug problem (alleged, mind you) and a score of other problems that have seen his perfect world fall apart, one would have thought, he would take time and recover. But obviously not. And it does not sound like frustration either. There’s a “manic edge” as his wife Shweta puts it:

Apparently, Rahul was full of remorse later, but even this had a manic edge. He told Shweta to ”take a hammer and finish him off”. Terrified, Shweta asked him to stay away from her. Shweta’s mother intervened, and Rahul left for Mumbai, sources said.


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IT’s Bangalore

Or is it? Some have started referring to it as Bengalooru. Variants of that spelling too! But name notwithstanding, the city is the same. Lovely weather, great places to eat, good place to work and a rotten place if you don’t know the language. Why?

As anyone who has moved to a city that primarily speaks a language you cannot will vouch, life does become tough. So much so, that you walk up to Auto rickshaws gingerly and ask if they will go in the direction you are headed in. In Bangalore, though, auto drivers have a rulebook entirely their own and they will travel only if there is no traffic on the road. Or so they have me believe right now. I’m open to being convinced against that one!

Auto drivers, who I have always believed are equally bad no matter what city you are in, are a grade worse in Bangalore. I have lived in Pune for 20 years, Mumbai for 6 and been here for about a month. I have also been to Delhi umpteem times and to Chennai, Ahmedabad, and Kolkata recently. Nowhere are they as bad or conniving. Ask the locals and they would mumble their agreement.

There are plenty of adventures and episodes to be narrated here. More as one finds more time.

Cheerio.


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It’s Ashes time and while the ‘mind-games’ have been on for a while, the biggest piece of news has been Marcus Trescothick pulling out (rather suspicously, if you ask me) and Steve Harmison declaring himself fit. I mean, isn’t someone else, like a doctor, supposed to do that?

The other good thing to have happened of late is that cricket season is well and truly underway. West Indies struggle against Pakistan, India wait for the clouds to clear so they can take on South Africa and the Ashes is just around the corner…

Fun shall be had!


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Perhaps that is me

Wonder why this artwork appeals so much to me… Those who know me, any suggestions?

theresaword220.jpg (+) Click to enlarge

(c) Hugh Macleod


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Testing new tool

Got another upload tool for the WP blog. And yes, this means that I shall write more frequently now.

Cheerio for now.

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