Sunday, April 29, 2007

and it continues ...

Can the ICC not learn anything? the game was delayed and some stupid rule implementation by the umpires meant that the match ended after darkness set in ....

and now the ICC president gives a long winding speech ... some 8 mins in all and the crowd is booing quite heavily. also, mr. sonn - along with lara and mcgrath, Inzy also retired from cricket. you could have mentioned that.

why the medals to the match referee and the umpires - they don't deserve it for the bungles at the beginning and end of the match.

Nonsensical ...!

Good riddance World Cup 2007 ... that's what i am thinking as Sri Lanka is forced to play the last 3 overs (more on that later)

It started with the murder of Bob Woolmer and i lost complete interest in the game. The public apathy to a real life loss, exit of India and Pakistan, the high rates for tickets and the stupid rule that disallowed bringing music instruments into the stadium all contributed to terming this as the WORST worldcup ever.

and today was the worst of all ... fittingly for the finals.

(1) Because of rain, the match is reduced to 38 overs. 38 overs for a finals match! comeon - couldn't the WI board and ICC fund floodlights for the finals venue. remember, sydney 1992 and i am sad to see that the cricket administration has not learnt a darn thing. sad., very sad. today should have been a 50 over match or else the match postponed to tomorrow

(2) Not the ICC's fault but what was Set Max officials thinking when they put Mandira bedi in a saree knitted with flags of participating nation. Given the kind of backlash that Sachin Tendulkar had for cutting a cake in the shape of national flag, didn't someone in the production team figure that the saree was bound to create controversy - especially when India flag figured prominently below the knee of Mandira. It was sad to see Mandira come out during the break in a different saree and apologize. The production team needs to owe this 'wardrobe malfunction'.

(3) and the mother of all farcical situations., 3 overs from the end - SL was out of the contest and when the umpires offered light, everyone on Earth and elsewhere thought that the match was over. Except for the 2 people in funny clothes called UMPIRES. They were going to arm-twist everyone by insisting that we comeback tomorrow to play or play in complete darkness. Stupid., maybe the rule book should state that COMMON SENSE should be used by umpires and everyone involved in the game. They shoo-ed off construction workers trying to put together the podium and even when Jayawardane pleaded, they were struck in their bone-headed decision. In less than a year, we have 2 incidents where umpires occupied the wrong place in the match - centerstage. i guess the match referee could have sent a word to the umpires to put the nonsense to rest but he was equal in the task of acting like a ... (never mind)

Congrats Australia, you are deserving champions. Congrats Sri Lanka - there is no shame in losing to a team like the Aussies. Congrats to South Africa and New Zealand for their semi-finals appearance. Congrats to Bangladesh and Ireland for their upsets and unexpected entry into super-8.

Shame to the cricket administrators, team officials (i am looking squarely in your eyes, Greg Chappell) and umpires for lessening the repute of the game. the game would be better served with less interference and 'value-add' from you folks. for not seeing you folks, i am happy that the WC is over ....

BTW., ESPN (US Sports NW, not ESPN India) wrote an article on Bob's murder. Nice read as it gives a perspective of an outsider viewing the game. Click here

Friday, April 27, 2007

our politician's backward thinking!

Nothing represent India as a society that the current political action to restrict central govt funded institutes' admission to last year numbers. Check here and here.

Let me interpret the message the central government is sending:
  • To further their political cause, the government forced the institutes to increase capacity and thus ensured that the institutes added 10% capacity (12,000+ over 1.2 lac)
  • The government puts the interest of 1.2 lac candidates aside to address 'concerns' of 12,000
  • When the supreme court decided to strike down OBC reservation, the government has withdrawn these 12,000 seats
  • In case the May 8 judgement does not allow OBC reservations, i am 100% sure that the government is not going to use this to add more general quota or SC/ST quota students to these institutes.
  • If the supreme court clearance takes time, the government will ask the institutes to freeze any capacity expansion

Thus the bottomline is, the government will let capacity go un-utilized or wasted but will ensure that the general public does not benefit. That's why they are probably called politicians ...!

May 8 is likely to be one of the saddest days for India as a nation ....

With respect to reservation - can the government reveal the number of OBC candidates according to their records who have been selected in the general quota for these 1.2 lac seats. Can the government also give a breakup of the location from which these OBC candidates hail from - rural/urban (ain't that simple - look at their hometown and 'rural' can be town/villages less than 50,000 population). Also, can the government provide stats of the number of rural and urban candidates from NE India? These are the more relevant categories that needs upliftment., not their vote banks ....

Monday, April 23, 2007

lets celebrate 23rd April

and we should celebrate 23rd April for years to come, for 2 great events occured today that is likely to shape India's future.

India-launched PSLV put a Italian satellite in orbit today and that signals the start of space business for India. The opportunity for product development companies related to spacecraft launch will blossom and India and China are likely to be atleast 50% cheaper than either of US, Russia and EU to launch a satellite. Now we need to cross the next hurdle - GSLV. That will change the entire equation. I also thought it was regreshing that we had an Italian satellite launched thus proving 2 things - we are nearly done with pseudo-secularism atleast in the field of technology and launching a EU satellite is likely to trigger a few sleepless nights out there. it is unlikely we will remain a choice for cost reasons only

The sound that you heard at work today morning was the SC's rap on the Govt's knuckles. Loud and clear was the message of the SC. No reservation till policy is created based on demographic data. Is there any pro-reservation loyalist who can argue against what the court said today? Instead they will cry themselves hoarse on the powers of legislature (occupied by some 'emminent' people as in charge-sheeters etc) and how the SC was violating. There won't be a single person who will argue against the merits of the ruling itself.

I have just one query for pro-reservation guys: Aren't you encouraging communities to remain backward to avail of the benefits of reservation. Please show me one example of how backward-ness of communities was reduced and leading to hugher socio-economic index for communities. If we have examples like that, is there a benchmark that would satisfy the government that a community no longer remains backward and what would that benchmark be? Per se, i am not against reservations for SC and ST but i think none outside these deserve any reservation.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Dude., learn something .. BCCI will never change!

Man, the rant in this blog is going to hit the roof. BCCI selected teams for Bangladesh Tour. I am very sad that BCCI is such a backward looking organization that there is virtually no hope for Indian cricket sans a few brilliant player. The process, logic and methodology of player selection is so crude that it makes me wonder how at all, are we able to even etch a win outside India

After the World cup debacle, senior players were likely to be axed to assure the Indian fans. Why? Indian fans are the most obnoxious, lazy and illogical fan in cricket. Even when their team has no chance (say against Australia), they want their team to score 600 runs, bowl australia out for 25 runs.

Anywayz, BCCI president wanted 'youth' and what he and we got is nothing close to youth? Some critical examination of the 2 squads.

ODI squad: Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid (capt), Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Manoj Tiwary, Dinesh Mongia, Piyush Chawla, Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh.
  • What is Uthappa doing in the squad? His scores in ODI cricket are 86, 12, 0, 70, 28, DNB, 7, 52, 9, 3, 18. The ones underlined are the WI WC 2007 scores. The 5 scores before that happened in the 2007 home series against WI and SL. If you analyze, he made to the WC side on the back of the 70 and has done nothing (as in rested on his laurels). What is he doing in the squad?
  • Sehwag - Needed captain's reco for WC 2007 Squad. Needed one more to make it to the Ban tour. Now, let us say he scores 3 centuries in ODIs, what do you do? include him in the test squad? I think Sehwag is the right player on the wrong team. more later.
  • Gautam Gambhir - What is he doing in the squad. Do you know who he is? Lemme help. He is the guy who lost out to Uthappa on the WC ticket. He had nearly booked it till his form failed him in the home series in WI. He has never played ODI outside the sub-continent. Outside India, he averages 20.5 in 8 games with 1 fifty. If say he hits a century, are you going to take him to England?
  • Dinesh Mongia - So he is youth. got it! You want to know something. Between 2003 WC and 2007 WC, mongia played 12 games and he was recently tried and 'discarded' (as only BCCI can do!) after the SA tour. What is he going to do? You know how 'young' he is? 30 yrs.
  • RP Singh - Why was he not there in the squad to the WC? How come the selectors thought of him suddenly.
Correct Decisions - Dravid, Dinesh Karthik, Yuvraj Singh, Sreesanth, Munaf, Zaheer, Dhoni
Debuts: Piyush Chawla, Manoj Tiwary
Wrong Decisions: Sehwag, Gambhir, Mongia
Doubtful: RP Singh
'Replacements': Gambhir by Tendulkar/Ganguly. Sehwag & Mongia by 2 middle-order batsmen (What happened to Ambati Rayadu?)

Test squad: Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Karthik, Rahul Dravid (capt), VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Anil Kumble, Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan, VRV Singh, Ramesh Powar, Rajesh Pawar, Munaf Patel.

The test squad is even funnier:
  • Wassim Jaffer and Karthik as openers? What happened to Gambhir? What will happen to the England tour in July? If one of these openers hits a century, will you take them to England? Sehwag was the best opener we had on this side of 2000 and we dumped him for ODIs? Why? He had done consistenly well in test cricket (well .. atleast bradmansque in 1st innings!) and has lost form in ODI. So what do the selectors do? dump him for Test and take him for ODI. It happens only in India
  • What both Sourav and Yuvraj on the team? There is place only for one. You could have avoided sourav here. 'rested' for tests and picked for 'ODIs'
  • What is VRV singh doing in test squad? why the distribution of caps across tests and odis between the 2 singhs? what good is it going to do for either of them, except to sulk around the dressing room? Whichever of these can expliot seaming pitches will make it to England., right? But you dont get those wickets in Bangladesh, do you?
  • Ramesh Powar for test cricket. BCCI has sent a strong sign that they will take only kumble for england test tour. Powar, we enjoyed your stay in Bangladesh. thank you very much

Correct: Dravid, Karthik, Dhoni, VVS, Sachin, Yuvraj, Kumble, Sreesanth, Zaheer

Debut: Rajesh Pawar
Wrong Decisions: Gambhir, Ramesh Powar, Ganguly
Replacements: Sehwag for Gambhir, Piyush or powar stays or whosoever - it doesn't matter!, Ganguly - extra opener (gambhir himself) or bowler (piyush/powar) or Kaif/new middle order guy.

Thus we see that BCCI has given a grand total of 3 new caps, has 6 retreads and retained 19 of the previous squad for the tour. This after they promised 'youth'. Neither did they deliver on youth nor did they put together a good team to take to England come july and like every other time, the players have to catch up for the mistakes of the board...

Sunday, April 08, 2007

BCCI - The Star Wars Empire

Senator Amidala to Senator Bail Organa:"So this is how liberty dies - with thunderous applause"
- Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith
And this is how BCCI responds to crisis. With hypocratic self-serving short-sighted populist measures! Recap: Each player cannot endorse more than 3 products. No product can be endorsed by more than 2 players. So where does that leave the endorsement world? The shortest and the simplest answer is that it forces a lot of companies to enter into negotiations with the BCCI. So, we will see an official team TV, tape recorder, milk, cola, socks, shoes, trousers, shirt, t-shirt, car, bike, TV channel and the list is endless. The players will become puppets in the hands of their employers - BCCI and BCCI would reap huge rewards on the name of these players - spoils that will shared by the autocratic regional sarpanches. And since the player has to get the approval of the BCCI for their contract, the conclusion would be that we are in for a lot of court cases when the corrupt in BCCI block player endorsements that don't suit their interests. The rule of players not appearing for events upto 20 days prior to tournaments is equally beneficiary for BCCI - they would be available to promote BCCI sponsors.
I watched an interview of Ajay Jadeja in NDTV where he said that the players are the only people ever held accountable and no beauracrat has ever been held responsible in the history of cricket. I am not against a showcause notice sent against Sachin Tendulkar as long as the stupid VP was also issued one. But the shameless people who run BCCI have concluded that office-bearers should not give interviews. No show-cause notice. I am reasonably confident that the contributions of Sachin Tendulkar to Indian Cricket is much more than the beaurocrat VP. For all potential Indian cricketers, please take note - even Sachin Tendulkar comes second in priority to BCCI's office bearers. Times might have changed, but BCCI attitude does not. It always insults and backstabs its star performers - ask Sachin now, ask Kapil in 1984/85, ask Gundappa in 1970s.
I have no love for Greg Chappell and to see our BCCI fall at his feet is perplexing. The guy is the opposite of professionalism. If you notice, the only way he operates is through the media - silent leaks, SMS-es, e-mails. I am dumbfounded that BCCI did not censure Greg Chappell for the SMS or the NDTV leaks but sent a showcause notice to Sachin Tendulkar. Sorry to say this - 60 years after Independence, the color of the skin does continue to have an impact.
I have a doubt. Is BCCI still stuck in the age of the cold war era? Why is media exposure curtailed for all players? Maybe BCCI wants to continue the culture of media leaks as showcased by NDTV which leaked information from a source close to Chappell. Instead, please do the opposite - all cricketers are open to the media as long as it is non-exclusive and the player receives no money or benefits for talking to the media.
The world cup debacle was the right time for BCCI to interospect about its short-comings. For all those who make their money or spend time in criticizing the Indian players (including you - 'honorable' Greg Chappell) please remember that we went with the team because there were no other options. Chappell favorites like Suresh Raina or Mohammad Kaif don't have a strong case - atleast no stronger than Virender Sehwag. BCCI has taken no steps to address this issue.
At the very least, hats-off to BCCI for turning a bad situation into an opportunity for generating profits. None in the world can milk the cow as much as BCCI does. However, BCCI doesn't realize that the reason for their existence is to promote cricket, not gather cash. The game of cricket, in India is poorer for the autocratic decisions of the board.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Greg's foot in the mouth syndrome

"The pieces of the jigsaw puzzle have fallen into place in the last few weeks. There is a good balance, good experience and youth in the squad, and a good variety in bowling and batting. That will give us a wide range of options no matter what the condition and no matter what the opposition."

"Even in the last selection meeting, I fought for youth. The senior players fought against it and the chairman went with them out of fear of media, if youth did not perform,"

If these statements were made by the same person before and after the defeat. What does that mean? Greg Chappell is a very respected cricketer and captain and i have all the respect for him as India's coach.

However his now geurilla warfare by using parts of the media to quote him and the rest to speculate, throwing the team and BCCI into a dizzy is becoming a 'signature statement'. I am not going to call for his dismissal, thats for the wise men to decide. But i think Gregg Chappell should be censured and a fine should be levied for these irresponsible statements.

On a deeper note, why can't the BCCI give the Coach, Captain and the Chairman of Selectors complete freedom to air their views. Lack of transparency within BCCI is akin to dark ages in this era of information ...

dunno when BCCI is going to change.

I drafted a long blog on the performance, but after i visited my batchmate's blog - i recommend you read the article (Click here).