Monthly Archives: December 2010

Ponting down, but not out

Ricky Ponting will not play in the Syndey test.

Bad news for Ponting. However, what is heartening is the way his men have rallied behind him despite the Ashes loss.

Critics, pundits and Englishmen alike wrote Australia’s most successful test captain off after he earned the infamous distinction of being only the second Aussie captain to lose the Ashes thrice in his career.

This for any proud Australian is criminal.

Despite that the hour of adversity shows the real strength of Ponting – his teams support.

From his deputy Michel Clarke, to coach Tim Nielsen to the once on field rival former England Captain Micheal Vaughan everyone has a word or two of praise for punter.

Clarke, who will be the stand in captain in Sydney has refused to lead Ponting, Nielsen says in a post match conference that the bloke has a lot left in him and Vaughan told BBC that he would like to see Ponting bat for a few more years.

This shows a lot of character for OZ as a team and shows they stand united in the worst hour of their cricketing history.

With no test match after Sydney in sight till August  will give Ponting and Australia a lot of time to regroup as a match winning squad.

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Is Ashes defeat the end of Ponting era?

England has retained the Ashes defeating Australia in Melbourne.

After 24 long years Andrew Strauss will return back from down under holding the priceless urn.

As Strauss makes history for England, his Australian counterpart Ricky Pointing is all set to become history for being only the second Australian captain to lose the urn thrice.

For a cricketer extraordinaire aiming for the fourth consecutive world cup victory in 2011, this humiliation is beyond repair.

In a matter of minutes world wide web will be full of punter bashing stories, signalling at the end of his career, but this would be a little too harsh on captain courageous.

Walking in at the fall of Shane Watson on Day one, OZ supporters rooted their captain who walked in to bat nursing a broken finger.

Expectation were sky-high and a blistering knock taking the steam out of the English attack if not the 40th test ton was anticipated by many fans in the packed MCG.

What did Punter in was the double-digit collapse on Boxing Day, when the OZ fell like a pack of cards on the bouncing MCG track.

It could have been tagged as one of the bad collapse had the opponents not been England and the series not Ashes.

The rivalry brings the best out of both the teams, but this time around the statistics were not favouring the Aussies. They can still draw the series, but urn will belong to the Englishmen.

Taking no credit from England, who played their hearts out, it’s been an entertaining series, with no clear favourites till the Boxing Day collapse.

Will it be the end of the road for a captain who holds the distinction of winning the most test matches for Australia and losing the Ashes thrice ?

Isn’t sport a great leveler.

Whatever Cricket Australia decides to do with Ponting, he’ll always be remembered as the captain who wore his heart on his sleeve and led from the front.

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Coalition loses people’s support,MP’s packs punches

Politics and People of UK are yet to come in terms with the coalition government.

Seven months into the Tories and Lib Dem governance and verbal volleys, difference duets, sting stung comments are flying all over the place as people’s perception of coalition plummets.

Despite both the prime minister and deputy prime minister making earnest efforts to put up a united front, the split is evident.

Managing to see the tuition fee vote through with a reduced margin, the coalition was stung with Cablegate of its own kind. Business secretary Vince Cable opened floodgate of emotions against coalition and media czar Rupert Murdoch to undercover reporters from The Daily Telegraph and survived his cabinet berth to the surprise of many Tories.

Barely did Clegg covered up the Cablegate fiasco, there was more embarrassment for Lib Dems as four more MP’s showed their displeasure in coalition and voiced  lack of faith in David Cameron, only to reassure it hours after it was aired.

These supposed to be private surgery talks with constituents did a post-mortem of the seven month coalition.

It not only brought forth the Lib Dem’s dislike for the Tories, the few Tories on boxing day packed few punches as former Conservative Cabinet minister, John Redwood, accused Lib Dems of taking credit of the nice  things the government did.

Well aren’t both partners in coalition supposed to work in tandem?

To make matters worse an opinion poll by the guardian showed that people’s faith in coalition has fallen by 16%. From 59% in May 2010 it has come down to 43%.

This is not a healthy sign, by any yardstick.

With VAT rising to 20% in January 2011 and CUTS biting in from 2012, it’s going to be a tough ride for the Cameron, Clegg and Co.

Will the coalition complete a full tenure? Will this lead Britain back to dual party politics? Will Cameron and Clegg fight next elections united against Labour?

Interesting political times for Britain as it witnesses its first coalition in 70 years.

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CBI acts on Raja, Kalmadi: too little,too late

CBI moves!

Suresh Kalmadi’s house and offices in New Delhi and Pune were raided and former telecom minister A. Raja was questioned for almost nine hours by the premier investigating agency of the country.

No mean feat. They questioned at last.

It seems the premier investigating agency woke up (presumably after enjoying its festivities) on the eve of festive season.

Not too long back, they questioned Niira Radia after a sizable pause.

With these developments, at least for the sake of argument they did act.

But is that enough? Is their pace of action justified? Are they alone to be blamed for this? Or have the law brokers outnumbered the watchdogs?

A report by DNA in April 2010 said CBI has 9000 cases pending in various courts across country.

Another report few days back in The Hindu pointed that despite CBI’s plea to remove Kalmadi and his lieutenant Lalit Bhanot be removed for they obstructed the probe, but the government claiming to fight corruption said Kalmadi can’t be removed as CNN-IBN reported.

Raja buys time, Kalmadi can’t be removed how bad can be too bad for law enforcing agencies.

Giving those under scanner a lifetime to apparently put things in place and then fighting against the lack of political will shows why there are no results in corruption cases.

At times one wonders when the last time CBI was brought the culprits to justice.  It was in January 2010 when it brought culprits in techie Ansu Kuruvilla to justice after four years.

This speeding act of CBI seems to be too little too late, in fact going by the dismal record of the investigation these move don’t hint at looking at improving the score.

Along with catching those culprits, it should also learn to safeguard its site, which was hacked earlier this month.

Jokes apart.

Wish CBI improves its strike rate. High time some examples are set to install some fear of law in the mind of culprits.

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Tendulkar V/S Bradman:the unfair debate

A half century of centuries is no mean achievement. An average of 99.9 runs in Test matches is equally unparalleled.

With Sachin Tendulkar slamming his 50th ton the decade long debate of who among Tendulkar and Don Bradman is the greatest batsmen in the game of cricket is again alive.

Television, print, online all media platforms across India and some in Australia are abuzz with the debate, which for me does not exist.

Game’s evolved

What the debtors forget is the fact that both are geniuses in their own rights and over the decades the gentleman’s game has evolved but it seems that those debating the topic haven’t.

Google ‘Sachin Tendulkar Don Bradman’ and staggering 81, 900 results pop up and the debate can be traced back to 2001. When BBC did a debate and compared the maestros almost a decade back, Don on their scale outnumbered master blaster by two points.

Cut to 2010, without doubt Tendulkar has made up for those two points, but in no way would have surpassed Bradman.

Numbers

Watching the Debate on who is the best on CNN-IBN, what struck me was former test player Sanjay Manjrekar’s comment was that in Bradmans era the second best average was at the max 60, whereas today there are many near Sachin’s average.

Post War the game changed, while Don Bradman could only play 52 test matches, he managed to hit 29 centuries. Tendulkar on the other hand has played 175 test matches.  While Don hit a century every 1.8 test Tendulkar managed triple digit runs every 3.5 test.

However if you taken into count the first class centuries scored into consideration Bradman shows his class; Don has 146 of them collectively compared to Tendulkar’s 127. (Source of stats for both: wikipedia)

Having said that its difficult to find those who accept the supremacies each of these greatest batsmen hold in their eras.

Emotions

The debate generates extreme sentiments. In a report in The Sydney Morning Herald Sourav Ganguly when asked his opinion said Tendulkar, while former Australian cricketer Greg Chappel picked Don.

It’s not merely cricketers, even bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan couldn’t hold back his emotions when he blogged and tweeted saying that Sachin is the best and that is all.

Once more

The debate will continue, but let’s salute the greats.

Sachin has raised the bar indeed and see who dares to overtake him. A century of tons collectively in ODI and Test too is not far away.

You bet the debate will come alive again.

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Let people filter the Wikileaks

Is information knowledge? Does more data mean greater understanding, even minus context and editorial filters?

This was a tweet from Barkha Dutt for her show We the People debating Will Wikileaks change Diplomacy forever?

The last bit of the question set me thinking. Does Wilkileaks require an editorial filter?

NO. Was my initial and intuitive response.

After a pause I thought, how different will editorial filter make Wikileaks look like? What will form the basis of filtering the information? Finally in the era of information sharing will it be possible to curtail the raw information going out to people?

In my opinion, which could be challenged, it’s alright at times to let the information flow out in raw form and let people make a judgement. For there is no guarantee that people will agree and toe the line editors dish out.

What Julian Assange has done is going to change the way people in power communicate, though it might not have an impact in the way diplomacy is conducted.

Validate

As Mukul Kesavan on the NDTV show pointed out that the New York Times went ahead and took the cables to the US government and after a check published them shows where not to go for reading the cables.

I agree, for the fact that one can’t be sure reading NYT in that case if that is the complete information.

Beyond Assange

A blog in the economist suggested WikiLeaks needs an ethical review board? It further observes WikiLeaks is an important organisation that’s doing something the world needs. But like other human-rights and humanitarian organisations, it needs to lay down some clear, public ethical guidelines about how and why it does what it does.

I trust the way they handle it, in part because I know who they are. Who’s WikiLeaks? Besides Mr Assange, I don’t know, and they’re not really telling. Do you know? If so, start a wiki about it.

Wonder how different this would have made the situation, agreed that nobody except Assange is known to the world, but what if that is the organisation policy?

Right now one persons motives are being doubted, if there were more than one then sceptics or critics would have questioned more motives.

This would also have given governments irked by leaks more people to make targets and drift the focus away from the actual issues at hand.

As of now there are five reputed media outlets apart from Wikileaks to make a choice from, it for the readers to pick their choice. There is raw data as well as filtered one available, make your choice and take a call.

In fact the readership of Wikileaks and others post disclosures will give an indication what people want.

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Australia rises from the Ashes, India faces stiff Porteas challenge

Cricket is in.

With Australia rising from the Ashes to make a strong comeback at Perth in the game’s biggest rivalry to Jacques Kallis slamming his maiden test double ton to challenge India’s no.1 spot in Test Cricket and the likes of Rahul Dravid and Irfan Pathan failing to make it to the probable’s for Indian squad for 2011 World Cup, there is a lot for a cricket crazy fan to be glued on to the internet.

Internet for watching any of these events live is a distant dream for me right now, but nevertheless the World Wide Web keeps fans like me posted in a football crazy nation like England.

Unpredictable game

Barely 48 hours back had the Britsh media ‘almost’ declared that their team was going to reclaim the urn.  As the OZ put up yet another lacklustre performance the bait was enough for the British scribes to paint the town red.

However, the age-old cliché the game is far from over till the last delivery held good. True to its nature the game turned on its head with out of form Mitchell Jhonson coming to the party, invaluable 62 runs and six Englishmen to his name, the Queensland pacer brought the five-day format back to life.

It’s the sheer unpredictability that stumps players and fans alike; you never know what can happen in a test match. I remember listening to a spirited NDTV journalist stating “England is all set to win the Perth test.”

Stick to basics and never jump the gun, sports is such a great leveler.

No.1 challenged

While OZ has brought life back to Ashes, in South Africa the Porteas yet again showed why they are one of the most challenging sides in world cricket. Riding on a high of victories Indian team got a wakeup call.

Kallis, with his maiden double ton once again showed his class, though I wonder why he remains the unsung hero at world stage.

Even after this performance if he is not counted amongst the league of extraordinary batsmen like Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, there is something wrong with the pundits of the game.

All eyes now on the formidable Indian batting line up to prove their mettle, batting on two days will be a test of their Test skills and testimony that they are worth the no.1 slot.

Wall sidelined

After all that seeing the likes of Munaf patel ahead of Irfan Pathan in the World Cup hopefuls makes one wonder the acumen of Selectors. As for the wall despite being an ardent fan I think it’s time he hangs his boots as far as the ODI’s are concerned, tough I’ll miss the  ever reliable sheet anchor at no.3.

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