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Monday, July 28, 2014

Rose Bowl - Southampton - Hampshire ... history - Jadeja fined .. Anderson ??

Indians found themselves in a different position when the 3rd Test started here....... in an alien land, where we generally fare badly in the first Test, we salvaged an honourable draw and managed to win the 2nd one handsomely.  Stuart Binny has been shabbily treated despite a good innings – and now a fix for something not broke made – much clamour is about Rohit Sharma who replaced him.... and some say, they could have done that with Ravichandran Ashwin, who to some, is a better batsman than Binny.  – let us see whether the aggressive  Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli fire here.  Cook won the toss and survived  a straightforward when Jadeja missed off debutant Pankaj Singh. Earlier, the first delivery of the match was perfect from Bhuvneshwar, pitched on good length, moved, found the edge but did not carry to 2nd slip.  By the end, England had made a very good start.  Cook made runs but was out at 95 .... good now ......... though at a later stage, if he were to fail –his critics can say, he has not made a hundred for ......... so many innings. 

How much Jadeja’s mess of Cook affects Pankaj Singh, a tall and strapping right-arm medium-fast bowler from Rajasthan remains to be seen as Rajasthan gets represented after close to 4 decades after Parthasarathi Sharma played for India in 1975-76 against touring West Indies led by Clive Lloyd.
 
The Rose Bowl, Hampshire's fourth home and its most state-of-the-art, was designed by award-winning architects Michael Hopkins & Partners and hosted its inaugural first-team match in 2001. The ground, shaped like a circular amphitheatre, and its highlight - the three-storey pavilion with canopied roof - is a splendid feat of architecture.  The ground's development - costing a whopping £24million - ran into financial difficulties in 2000. The Rose Bowl (also known as the Ageas Bowl for sponsorship reasons) is a cricket ground in West End,Hampshire, England, located between the M27 motorway

The Port of Southampton is a major passenger and cargo port located in the central part of the south coast of England. It benefits from a sheltered location, unique "double tides", close proximity to the motorway network and good rail links. It is the  busiest cruise terminal and second largest container port in the UK. The port is located ten miles (16 km) between the confluence of the rivers Test and Itchen and the head of the mile wide inlet  known as Southampton Water. It has a long history - It is stated citing archaeological findings that the area has been inhabited since the stone age. The Anglo-Saxons formed a new, larger, settlement across the area. Following the Norman Conquest in 1066, Southampton became the major port of transit between the then capital of England.  The city walls include God's House Tower, built in 1417, the first purpose-built artillery fortification in England. During the Middle Ages, shipbuilding became an important industry for the town. Henry V's famous warship HMS Grace Dieu was built in Southampton. The port had been used for military embarkation, including during 18th-century wars with the French.  In 1912, the ill-fated  RMS Titanic sailed from Southampton.  The Supermarine Spitfire was designed and developed in Southampton.  Heavy bombing of the factory in September 1940 destroyed it as well as homes in the vicinity, killing civilians and workers. World War II hit Southampton particularly hard because of its strategic importance as a major commercial port and industrial area.

Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, the former capital city of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force.  Hampshire has a long maritime history and two of England's largest ports, Portsmouth and Southampton, lie on its coast. The county is famed as home of such writers as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.  Gordon Greenidge, Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall, Chaminda Vaas, Michaele Clarke, Shane Bond, Wasim akram, Glenn Maxwell are some of the famous overseas players to have played for Hampshire.

In the Anderson incident - Ravindra Jadeja was found guilty of an offence lesser than the one he was charged with - Level 1 instead of Level 2 -  but Indians feel that their allrounder did no wrong and should not have been fined 50% of his match fee. ESPNcricinfo understands that at the hearing England witnesses, Ben Stokes and Matt Prior, suggested to match referee David Boon that Jadeja had turned threateningly towards James Anderson, and the England fast bowler had acted in self defence.  Dhoni questions that stating that when somebody speaks from behind, it is natural to turn and that Jadeja's bat had stayed tucked under his arm all through. India see a minor victory in Jadeja's hearing, in that England in effect agreed that Anderson did push Jadeja.  Dhoni insists that  Jadeja had not been aggressive in his conduct.  Dhoni was also unhappy about not being allowed an appeal because the first guilty verdict for a Level 1 offence does not have a provision for an appeal. India has pressed Level 3 charges against Anderson, who will have his hearing on August 1.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

28th July 2014.

Kick ... hit or miss in Box Office ? ..... and linking Modi to it ... !!

Tinseldom is glittering ~ and so much of hype surrounds making, production and release of movies that perhaps directs towards its success too.  Remember in Oct 2010, Rajni starrer, Enthiran opened in 3,000 screens worldwide,including 500 screens in Tamil Nadu, 300 screens in Andhra Pradesh.   The film raked crores of Rupees – an industry where there could be no direct proportion between what is invested, what is spent and what is gotten ..... also nothing is guaranteed too. Now there is so much talk and hype about Salman Khan starrer 'Kick' that reportedly making fast bucks in  box office.  Reports quoting Koimoi suggest that it  did a good business of Rs 26 crores on Day 1 and however the numbers that were predicted to go up on Saturday stopped at Rs 27.10 crores.

Kick is a 2014 Hindi action thriller comedy film, directed and produced by Sajid Nadiadwala under the Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment banner. The film features Salman Khan in the lead role, alongside Jacqueline Fernandez; while the screenplay was adapted by Nadiadwala and Chetan Bhagat, it is a remake of the Telugu film of the same name.  By some estimates, Kick is set to cross the big Rs 100 crore mark. So its debutant director Sajid Nadiadwala and rest of the crew must be basking in glory; again according to Koimoi, it is faring better than Ek Tha Tiger that made 47.50 crores on 2 days. 

This is no post on the cinema or how its stars are raking in moolah – but something else ........... in what must be the most absurd explanation of a film's opening collections falling short of industry expectations, Daily Mail chose to blame Narendra Modi for Salman Khan's Kick grossing lesser than some of his earlier films and some other blockbusters likeDhoom:3 and Chennai Express.  The report analyses that Kick is grossing far less than Dhoom 3 and Chennai Express.  Of the various reasons cited, the one that the article decided to emphasise was how Khan's 'proximity' to Narendra Modi could have been a reason why his film didn't do well. It is true that Salman Khan met Narendra Modi prior to the release of Jai Ho amid much fanfare and the Urdu version of the PM's website was launched by his father Salim Khan, there is very little evidence that Salman Khan and Modi communicate regularly. Khan was also seen at Modi's swearing-in, but then again, during a press conference after his meeting with Modi, Khan famously declared that he will vote for Congress MLA Baba Siddiqui, whereas the rest of the country can vote for Modi if they think he is a suitable PM candidate. Much to the amusement of politics watchers he said this in the presence of Modi himself.

The report on Daily Mail also suggests that the film might have done less business as it released during the Ramazan period and a couple of days before Eid, preventing a lot of his Muslim fans from watching it right away.  The tinge that is sought to be portrayed is that Salman Khan's fans are mostly Muslim youth; that it stems from the star being Muslim himself ~ and taking it further his assumed proximity to Narendra Modi, leads to the film not doing well. 

There are other sections of Press which are glorifying what otherwise could be a regular movie – that it has managed to surpass Salman's own record for day one. A tiff between Salman and Mumbai photographers, weeks before the release of the film, is being seen as an additional reason for the film Kick's poor opening day  +1 !!  Trade pundits are predicting that Kick will see a hike in its collection in the coming week.
Jayam Ravi Vadivelu in Thillalangadi

Kick, the  Telugu action comedy film, directed by Surender Reddy  was released in May 2009.  It starred Ravi Teja, Ileana, Shaam, Kota Srinivasa Rao, Brahmanandam, Venu Madhav, Sayaji Shinde, ...  In Tamil it was ‘Thillalangadi’ .... starring Jayam Ravi, Tamanna, Shaam, Vadivelu.... Finally, Cinema is nothing more than an entertainer and a film becoming a hit generally follows no rules – some movies which were acclaimed to be good technically, having good story value and starring famed actors / actresses have bombed in box-office, while some masala, which have nothing worthy have been run-away successes....

Recently, Salman Khan was in news for – the Apex Court has issued notice in the 1998 killing of two Chinkara deer and a black buck during a film shooting in Rajasthan.  The notice follows Rajasthan government's petition challenging a High Court order suspending the actor's conviction in the case.  The actor is accused of hunting and killing the endangered deer while shooting his film Hum Saath Saath Hain in Rajasthan in 1998. His co-stars - Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam - are charged with inciting the actor to hunt.


With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Kargil Vijay Diwas today ... remembering those great martyrs of our motherland

They'd promised their families they'd come back soon. They more than kept their word. Went as mere men. Came back as heroes in coffins ~ * they gave their Today for our Tomorrow*  26th July, today, is  a very important day for the Nation and all of us……. Today is the  ~Kargil Vijay Diwas, the day   of successful completion of Operation Vijay. On this day, 26 July 1999, India successfully took command of the high outposts which had been lost to Pakistani intruders. The Kargil war was fought for more than 60 days, ended on 26 July.  This did result in the loss of lives but not the honour of the Nation. 

Great People – Country must remember the Names -  :  Captain Anuj Nayyar, Captain Amol Kalia, Captain Manoj Pande, Captain P.V.Vikram, Captain Vikram Batra, Deputy Commander Sukhbir Singh Yadav, Driver-Soldier Gopinath Moharana,  Flight Engineer Raj Kishore Sahoo, Grenadiar Amardeep, Grenadiar Bajinder Singh Naik Surjeet Singh, Naik Subedar Lal Chand, Naik Vikram Singh, Naik Yoginder Singh, Rifleman Ansuya Prasad Dhayani, Rifleman Bachan Singh, Subedar Sumer Singh Rathore, Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, Squadron Leader Rajiv Pundir, Squadron Leader Lal Singh, Squadron Leader Ojha, Zrfn Man Singh,  Kaushal Yadav in the history books of the school curriculum.   The illustrious list includes all the  527 heroes who sacrificed their future for protecting the honour of the Nation….. yes these are some of the names of Indian jawans and officers who made the supreme sacrifice in the battle field of Kargil.

Kargil War was fought on the high glaciers of Himalayas between May and July 1999 – 15years ago.  During that time Pak soldiers infiltrated and after valiant fight, India recaptured the positions, in exhibiting the highest valour in high altitude warfare in mountainous terrains.  Tiger Hill or Point 5353, a mountain in the Drass-Kargil area of Jammu & Kashmir, India was the subject of the most famous battle.   

There have been years where I had posted with more than a tinge of sadness of Press not recapturing the day.  This year, it appears to be different - Reports state that yesterday Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh paid tribute to the martyrs of the 1999 Kargil War in Jammu and Kashmir's Ladakh region on the occasion of 15th Vijay Diwas. "I want to assure you as chief of the army staff that the Indian Army is deployed at the border and has the capability to protect India's sovereignty and integrity," General Singh told the media.

Today a search on Kargil yields so many commemorative results.  One such is the real-life story of Major DP Singh who bravely fought for India in the Kargil War and  has now  run 12 half-marathons. 

He was 25 when mortar fire from Pakistan ripped through his body. At first, he was declared dead at the field hospital where he was taken by other soldiers.  When he was revived, his right leg was amputated. 

A diagnosis that could have left a 20-something devastated was read with trademark enterprise as an opportunity.  "When the amputation news was shared with me, I thought perhaps this is God-gifted. I thought this is a new challenge to find out how people like me live. And perhaps someday I will become, I will do something which will be a motivation for my type of people." 

So the former officer became set on turning into India's Blade Runner. That indefatigable spirit prompted him into motivational speaking.


WAR is never to be craved for, it causes innumerable and irreparable losses to both the warring sides.  But no Nation can afford to forget the sacrifices of its warriors.   Kargil has lessons for both, India and Pakistan.   The peaks of Tololing and Tiger Hill once reverberated in Indian news etched in history.   Indiawould remain a peace loving Nation having good relationship with its neighbours but should remember that there are military adventurist army driven Nations who have the propensity to engage in conflicts notwithstanding any episodic peace rhetoric.  The Nation needs to remain prepared and strong militarily and in terms of civil defence measures but should not never get buoyed by war calls- and the following read in the Facebook page of Indian Army Fans is worthy of reading again and again.

If you can't be a Soldier, help a Soldier. If you can't fight at the borde, fight the chaos in your neighbourhood. If you can't nurse a soldier's wound, wipe the tears of his family members. If you can’t feed a soldier, pray he sleeps indoors tonight. If you can’t thank him personally, thank his parents. If you can’t help him get back, make sure his body gets home, with all due respect and much more. If you can’t be a soldier, thank them everyday. If you can’t be a soldier, encourage your child to be one. If you can't be a Soldier, learn to atleast respect one.

Today, is the time, we remember the martyrs of Kargil. Jai Jawan, Jai Hind………

Saluting the Warriors saving our Nation….

With Great respect to Soldiers – S. Sampathkumar.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Scottish Terriers lead the Nation in CWG Opening Parade - some titbits too....

In most events, the Opening show glitters and Glasgow was no exception – as Commonwealth Games got off to a glittering start.   There is oft repeated phrase ‘It's a dog's life’ –  meaning  life is hard and unpleasant.  There is another phrase associated with dog – ‘dog’s day’….which actually refers to the sultry days of summer.

The Scottish Terrier (also known as the Aberdeen Terrier), popularly Scottie, is a breed that originated in Scotland. They are an independent and rugged breed with a wiry outer coat and a soft dense undercoat.  They are a small breed of terrier with a distinctive shape and have had many roles in popular culture.  These sturdy dogs have short legs; the way it is groomed can make it look even shorter. The head is long in proportion to the rest of the dog. The almond-shaped eyes are small and set well apart. The erect, pointed ears are pricked and set well up on the head ~ and 41 of them were on duty at Commonwealth at Glasgow............ as  each of the 71 competing nations and territories was led into Celtic Park  by a Scottish Terrier wearing a tartan coat emblazoned with the country's name.

There were 41 dogs on duty, with most of them doing a double shift including a quick costume change. Some of the Scotties strode forward with purpose, others scurried from side to side and the shy ones had to be picked up and carried by their owners. The iconic dogs were the defining image of a ceremony that contained plenty of memorable moments. Thirty of the dogs walked around the stadium twice in order to lead out all 71 nations and territories taking part, resulting in a quick five-minute costume change mid-ceremony. The dogs wore a maroon check coat bearing the name of their designated nation, while their owners wore matching wool trousers and skirts. They had been recruited from dog groomers and Scottish Terrier groups, in secret, so as not to ruin the surprise for the global audience.

The 20th Commonwealth Games kicked off to a spectacular opening ceremony in front of 40,000 people at Celtic Park in Glasgow. 71 nations, who will compete across 17 sports over the next 11 days, witnessed an electrifying atmosphere when Glasgow put together a good show on Wednesday night.  Scottish singers Rod Stewart and Susan Boyle performed live at the ceremony, at the same time six-time Olympic champion Chris Hoy also made an appearance at the home of Celtic Football Club.

India, by the virtue of being the previous hosts were the first in the opening ceremony parade around Celtic Park.  The Indian contingent was led by Olympic silver medallist pistol shooter, Vijay Kumar; 221 athletes walked in the background of bollywood songs.  Bangladesh and Malaysia followed – next was the small contingent from Maldives. Australia has incredible record at Commonwealth games and they hae 400 athletes participating this time. Before Kiwiland, there were Nauru, Kiribati, Cook Island and Fiji....

In a break from tradition, the 71 competing nations entered the arena in continental groups, rather than in alphabetical order.  On a sombre note, the Malaysians wore black armbands in tribute to the 298 people who lost their lives when flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine last week.  The ceremony also had a UNICEF fundraising element, with champion Scottish cyclist Sir Chris Hoy and actor Ewan McGregor reminding the crowd - both in the arena and around the world - of the difference they could make to impoverished and ill children throughout the Commonwealth. Ewan introduced the batting maestro – little Master Sachin Tendulkar, who made an appeal on behalf of UNICEF in a short video.

Here are some titbits :
ü  With judo coming back into the Commonwealth Games fold after 12 years, Indian judokas looked a confident lot as they begin their campaign here tomorrow, aiming to produce the best-ever performance by the country in the quadrennial event. This is the third time that judo has been in Commonwealth Games after 1990 in Auckland and 2002 in Manchester and India had won two medals each in both the editions.
ü  Four members of Sri Lanka’s Commonwealth Games team sparked a police response after going for a bicycle ride down one of Scotland’s busiest stretches of motorway.  They were spotted cycling down the M74 before police intervened near the exit for Motherwell and Hamilton and informed them they were breaking the law.

ü  Katarina Johnson-Thompson withdrew after suffering a foot injury.  The 21-year-old is ranked No1 in the world and was the favourite to win gold for England in the heptathlon, but has withdrawn after suffering a 'stress reaction' in her take-off foot for the long jump.
ü  A participant, a gold medallist at that was ruled out of competing in Glasgow... because the defending champion lost her jacket. Nur Ayuni Farhana Abdul Halim  was left devastated after being forced to quit Commonwealth Games because her competition jacket was lost.  She had won gold in 10 metre air rifle pairs four years ago... the rules clearly state that a rifle shooter must wear a jacket; Team manager Musa Omar said he was left with no choice but to withdraw Ayuni from competition after the missing luggage, believed to be in London, failed to show in time for Monday’s registration ahead of Thursday’s start of competition.

ü  The jacket of a shooter is there to aid in holding the rifle, ensuring the best accuracy, and to protect.  There are strict rules in shooting when it comes to the proper equipment, as there would be in any major sport. There are rules regarding the jacket, trousers, and even 'undergarments'. Strange that a rule has kept a medallist out of reckoning.
ü  In a first of its kind, male boxers will not wear head guards at the games for first time in 32 years as experts say it is safer without them.  Male boxers have worn head guards since the 1982 Commonwealth Games and now experts say they actually increase the risk of injury, not decrease it. The men will also fight under a pro-style 10-point scoring system as part of rule changes by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) last year.  However, female boxers would still wear as women's boxing makes debut at Glasgow 2014

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

24th July 2014.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

heroic act of 85 year old women - nabs 2 thieves all alone

She is a 85 year old teacher – being felicitated – not for her service in teaching or social service but for her valour !!!!......

As one opens newspapers, one finds so many news on crime – crime on women, crime on old are seemingly on the rise. In the city, the aged people, especially those living alone are seemingly easy targets. In few instances, the culprit is their own kith and kin, accosting the old for gains – some have been strangled to death – in the pursuit of money. Sad to read...

A recent report suggests that Bangalore ranks first among the four major cities in south India in terms of the number of crimes against women, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data for 2013. It ranks third among the 53 mega cities in the country after Delhi and Mumbai. While Thiruvananthapuram had the least in terms of number – it is stated that  Thiruvananthapuram, however, has the highest rate of crime against women. The rate of crime against women means the number of crimes against women per one lakh population of women.

Often, unequal fights are extolled – have read Tamil texts that women of Sangam period were so brave that one chased a tiger with muram (grain pad)......... Read this story in Dinamalar and later saw Bhaskar (photo credits to Hindi Bhaskar.com) of this 85 year old ex-teacher who fought and caught two thieves and how they were made to do sit-up in police custody. 

Reports state that in Ratlam, Madhyapradesh, Police authorities honoured an 85-year-old woman, a former teacher in a government school, for her bravery after she helped them nab two thieves who were attempting to break into her house on Saturday night. The teacher Mrs Premalatha was staying alone in Bank colony in Ratlam – and her four sons are working in Mumbai . According to a report in Bhaskar, on Saturday night, she was sleeping in her house when two young boys tried to sneak in. While they were cutting the grill, the noise woke her up. She saw the duo and charged towards them, splashing a bucket of water. One of the culprits caught Premlata by her hand, however, she managed to hold a stick that was lying nearby and hit both the criminals with it, simultaneously raising an alarm.

Her repeated calls woke up neighbours who immediately informed station road police. Within ten minutes, they reached her house and caught the thieves.  She went to the Police Station identified the criminals and made the robbers to do sit-outs as punishment. 

Appreciating her act of bravery, Madhya Pradesh awarded her Rs.5000/-and a mobile phone.
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

23rd July 2014.

Clyde, the thistle (logo) - Commonwealth Games 2014 set to begin

FIFA concluded, Wimbledon is over, India won at Lords (and I have posted on why Dhoni stood 4 yards behind to Ravindra Jadeja) – now a  global TV audience of more than one billion people is expected to watch the event today.  More than 4,500 athletes from 71 Commonwealth nations and territories will parade during the curtain raiser. About 2,000 cast members will perform in a ceremony that organisers have promised "will surprise, delight and be uniquely Glaswegian and Scottish". The Games will feature 17 sports in 11 days of competition, which begins on Thursday. The closing ceremony takes place at Hampden Stadium, which has been transformed into an athletics venue, on 3 August 2014.

Thistle is the common name of a group of flowering plants characterised by leaves with sharp prickles on the margins, mostly in the family Asteraceae. Prickles often occur all over the plant – on surfaces such as those of the stem and flat parts of leaves. Thistle is the floral emblem of Scotland.

In 1884, while visiting Australia, Lord Rosebery described the changing British Empire, as some of its colonies became more independent, as a "Commonwealth of Nations”.  The Commonwealth developed from the Imperial Conferences. A specific proposal was presented by Jan Smuts in 1917 when he coined the term "the British Commonwealth of Nations"  - it is an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states that were mostly territories of the former British Empire. The Commonwealth dates back to the mid 20th century with the decolonisation of the British Empire through increased self-governance of its territories. It was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which established the member states as "free and equal". The Queen is also the monarch of 16 members of the Commonwealth, known as Commonwealth realms. The other members of the Commonwealth have different persons as head of state: 32 members are republics and five members are monarchies with a different monarch.

It is Commonwealth Games .... and as memory would haunt, the 2010 Commonwealth Games, were held in Delhi, in  October 2010. A total of 6,081 athletes from 71 Commonwealth nations and dependencies competed in 21 sports and 272 events, making it the largest Commonwealth Games to date.  The  official song of the Games was "Jiyo Utho Bado Jeeto".   India struck it rich, winning 101 medals in total, including 38 Gold medals, securing second position behind Australia. For the first time in the history of the Games India won over 100 medals in total.

Now it is -  2014 Commonwealth Games (officially the XX Commonwealth Games), held in Glasgow, Scotland, from 23 July to 3 August 2014. It will be the largest multi-sport event ever held in Scotland with around 4,560 competing athletes across 17 different sports. There will be 71 participating nations at the 2014 Commonwealth Games with approximately 4,500 competing athletes making it one of the largest commonwealth games staged to date. Gambia, which has withdrawn from the Commonwealth is also participating.  There are a total of 18 sports and 261 medal events that will be contested at Glascow.  Among sport disciplines removed from 2010 include the walking events in athletics, synchronised swimming and Greco-Roman wrestling, while mountain biking will be contested for the first time since 2006. Shooting medal events also dropped from 44 in 2010 to 19.

Clyde, a thistle named after the river which flows through the centre of Glasgow, is the official mascot of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The mascot was designed by Beth Gilmour, who won a competition run by Glasgow 2014 for children to design the Mascot. Clyde’s story is inspired by the past – a real ship called the SS Cameronia built on the Clyde in 1920 - but set in the present day.  Clyde is described as  a cheeky wee thistle who has been nurtured by seafaring Scot, Captain Bristle.  Clyde is also a significant departure from all previous Commonwealth Games mascots, the first time the official mascot has not been an animal, a trend that has continued ever since the first Commonwealth Games mascot for Edmonton in 1978 – a bear called Keyano.

The Queen's Baton Relay, similar to the Olympic Torch Relay, is a relay around the world held prior to the beginning of the Commonwealth Games. The Baton carries a message from the Head of the Commonwealth, currently Queen Elizabeth II. The Relay traditionally begins at Buckingham Palace in London as a part of the city's Commonwealth Day festivities. The Queen entrusts the baton to the first relay runner. At the Opening Ceremony of the Games, the final relay runner hands the baton back to the Queen or her representative, who reads the message aloud to officially open the Games. On this photo is Sudha Singh, the current Indian national record for 3000 m Steeplechase with a mark of 9:45.60, established while winning the Gold in the 63rd National Inter-State Athletic Championships.  At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Singh finished 13th in her steeplechase heat and did not qualify for the finals. Here she is seen holding the baton in front of Tajmahal.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

23rd July 2014.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dhoni stands back to Ravindra Jadeja ... leads to win at Lords

India won at Lords ……….. on the final day – Indian fans agonisingly looked forward to breaking the partnership of Joe Root and Mooen Ali – which came a ball prior to lunch………. Closer to lunch,  the optimistic fan had started recalling bad memories of Johannesburg and Wellington where in recent times India could not push victories when everything looked certain !   then when it seemed England were closing in on runs too (at that point of time it was 25 of each batsman required to eclipse the target)  MS Dhoni went to  Ishant Sharma. In England, success comes to those bowlers who bowl fullish length and allow the ball to swing ….. it was to the man, whom we had often asked, how he gets picked up despite being so ordinary………… the tall man, kept bouncing – and English batsmen kept (mis) hooking zeroing in on the deep fielders.

One end was bottled up by Ravindra Jadeja and something funny was happening… we have seen good wicket-keepers stand up (come nearer) to medium pacers to prevent batsmen charging out of crease……. Dhoni was standing a good 4 yards back …. Jadeja is no Bedi, Maninder, Doshi, or Pragyan Ojha……..

On gleaning about wicket-keepers,  read something Ramachandra Guha wrote on keepers from Madras & Tamilnadu.  In the 1930s there was Dr. S.V.T. Chari, a brave man who kept up to the wicket to Mohammed Nissar in his only "unofficial" Test, and then abandoned the cricket field for the operating table. In the 1940s there was M. O. Srinivasan, who also played once for India.  In the 1950s there was D. L. Chakravarti;  In the 1960s there were P.K. Belliappa and K.R. Rajagopal, each gifted with the bat and the big gloves, both of international class, yet denied the India cap by the presence of Budhi Kunderan and Faroukh Engineer. In the 1970s and 1980s there was Bharat Reddy, ….. to Girish, Reuben Paul, Dinesh Karthik ….. in a World enraptured by big hitting batsmen and great bowlers – the position of Wicketkeeper is often a tough one.  He has to remain crouched throughout the innings, setting the tone for energy levels and body language. Since he's closest to the batsman, his job is to convey the team's mood to the opponent, and of course to intimidate him. It is gruelling job and thankless one too.   

For  ages, the record for highest score by an Indian wicket keeper stood at 192 ~ those were the runs made by Budhisagar Krishnappa Kunderan way back in 1964 against England – in Feb 2013 at Chepauk against Australia  – Dhoni made epic 224.   On the day when he came to bat - Dhoni scored 206 of the 319 runs; of his ninth-wicket stand worth 109, his partner  Bhuvneshwar  scored only 16.

In an IPL match, Kedar Mahadav Jadhav, a batsman, who bowls off breaks and occasionally keeps wickets……… was seen having removed his right hand glove and keeping with only one glove on, a move that was to allow him throw faster, should batsmen try to run a single when ball comes to the keeper… such strange acts have occurred occasionally. 

In 2009, the first ODI between Kiwis and Aussies was won by Vettori’s men but   was marred by a controversy as Brad Haddin dislodged the bails off Neil Broom.  Haddin's gloves were in front of the stumps and knocked off the bails, with Michael Clarke's delivery also appearing to head over the stumps.  The  rules are categorically clear that  a no-ball should be called if the wicketkeeper does not stay behind the stumps until the ball touches the batsman, passes the stumps, or a run is attempted. 

Now here is something from Cricinfo on Dhoni standing back : In the 21st over of England's second innings at Lord's, MS Dhoni did something many commentators - former cricketers all - claimed they had never seen before. Two balls into Ravindra Jadeja's seventh over, Dhoni got rid of his helmet and stood further behind the stumps than usual. He kept doing so whenever Jadeja bowled to left-hand batsmen. For right-hand batsmen, he would return to the normal position of standing up to the stumps. As the unusual scene of Dhoni standing close for the medium-pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar and back for the spinner Jadeja played out, the experts began to guess what exactly he was trying to do.

Some thought Dhoni was being funky for the sake of it. A little too funky. Others said they had last seen this in an Under-11 match. Some felt an edge off Jadeja's pace and extra bounce would be easier to take if the keeper was standing back. The majority agreement, though, was that on an uneven pitch in a tense Test, Dhoni was a little too worried about conceding byes off Jadeja, who was firing the ball into the rough - an extremely cynical view to take, even for the sternest critics of Dhoni's captaincy. After India's 95-run win, Dhoni revealed why he had stood back. It did have a lot to do with the rough, the uneven bounce and Jadeja's pace, but the move was necessitated because of the laws of cricket. A catch had just lobbed wide of Virat Kohli at leg gully. Dhoni needed two leg gullies - or a leg slip and a leg gully - but that would mean sacrificing short fine leg to meet the rule of not having more than two fielders behind square on the leg side. No fine leg meant an easy getaway sweep shot. So Dhoni went for a home remedy. He asked Kohli to move squarer for the meatier edge, and he took a couple of steps back so he had the time to go for the fine edge down the leg side. The bigger danger of this plan, however, was of Dhoni missing a stumping or watching the batsmen use their feet comfortably.

So keepers stand back, stand up …….and this one just stood out … in Nov 2010,  Cricket was plunged into fresh turmoil as a leading Pakistan player fled his team's hotel in Dubai and flew to London, claiming he had received death threats after scoring the winning runs in a one-day international. Wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider posted a message on his Facebook page saying that he was "leaving Pakistan cricket" because he had received a "bad message from one man to lose the last game".  Haider arrived at Heathrow airport as his teammates played their deciding one-day match against South Africa back in Dubai, which Pakistan lost.

To conclude – I have seen this man in Temple and conducting bhajans for children at what is MOP School at Venkatrangam Street now.  He reportedly played Hockey  and was a good swimmer too.  A different wicketkeeper was played in each of the three `Tests' against the Australian Services side, which played in India on their return from England in 1945. And MO Srinivasan was the first of the three tried out, in the opening game of the series at Bombay. Going in at No 11, he made 0 and 4, being unbeaten on both occasions. That remained his only international experience. An efficient wicketkeeper and a useful tail end batsman, he played ten games for Madras in the Ranji Trophy in the forties.

Born in 1918, Mandayam  Srinivasan, a student of Hindu High School in Triplicane, was a prominent player on the city scene from 1941 to 1948. He  played for Rest of India and Indian XI against the Australian Services alongside Vijay Merchant, Lala Amarnath, Vijay Hazare and Rusi Modi. He also turned up for South Zone against the West Indies in 1948-49. He played for Triplicane Cricket Club in the city league along with the late M. J. Gopalan and C. R. Rangachari, and also for Sounder Cricket Club. Later his son  M.O. Parthasarathy  played for Tamil Nadu and Bihar in the Ranji Trophy and also represented the East Zone in Deodhar Trophy. Have seen him bowl leg spin with a slightly different action and bat in the middle order.

Standing back or close – Dhoni could lead Indians to an ecstatic victory at Lords
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

22nd July 2014.

Govt steps in to regulate Gold Scheme of Jewellers - who will benefit ??

There are various tests to find out resistance – just do a shopping in T Nagar area – resist not to get into any Jewellery shop – and try resisting not getting into any of their offers or schemes. In the olden days when you did not have so much of TV channels and spare time, magazines provided the best entertainment…… and the butt of many jokes was ‘borrowing’ – not of money but of jewels and apparels for attending functions……  perhaps those days are gone by  and people have stopped borrowing / lending or perhaps it is no longer one worthy of a joke. !!

Gold traditionally viewed as a safe-haven investment in times of economic uncertainty and geopolitical tension. It is also used as a hedge against rising inflation and depreciation in the value of paper currencies. Gold has been money for many reasons – it can be traded easily; it always has a high value to weight ratio; can be divided into smaller units without destroying; tougher to have counterfeits and the scarcity of gold has only been going up. 

More than all this, Gold has always been used as a symbol of  status and power.

It is another matter altogether that it is one item (is there anything else in the same bracket) – where one never gets full value of what one pays for ……. Think of any bulk commodity – you end up paying for the quantity received but here the hapless consumer ends up paying for that ‘wastage loss’ – the quantity reportedly lost during the process of manufacturing. Wastage charges are expressed as % of weight of gold ornament ~ and some are apprehensive that consumers end up paying more than the actual quality that they get.  

In all melee, the middle class mentality, is to buy Gold in small grams and keep augmenting their kitty for future – for marriage of their daughters and the like – over the years, every shop worth its name have evolved some schemes to entrap buyers – fabulous ‘gold saving schemes’ – which promise gold tomorrow at today’s rate.  In most schemes, the buyers are required to deposit fixed amount every month (monthly instalments)  - at the end of fixed tenure, the customer gets gold worth full value of the scheme which may have some bonus amount too.  There are some schemes where they convert the monthly instalments into grams of gold at prevalent rates ….. some offer gold at lowest rate of that month and so on.  That catch here is –you are offered only Gold jewellery (ornaments – bangles, chains and the like) and not Gold coins / bars …..

More than you gaining – the first obvious advantage for the seller is – you are committed to buying only from that jeweller and only gold ornaments at that ….  Some Financial analysts point out that the traders provide marginally a higher % of returns close to 18% as against the rate around 9% that you would get on a Fixed Deposit. 

While one may have to rethink on whether it is wiser investing and getting fixed to a particular trader for a marginally higher rate – here comes another missive from the Govt. …… The Jewellers will not be in a position to offer even what they have been offering – for the simple reason that these schemes have been brought under the definition of deposits under the Companies Act. So, the effective return cannot be more than 12 per cent and the total amount of deposits has to be within 25 per cent of the company's (other than banks and non-banking finance companies) net worth. That would mean a loss of say 6 – 7 % for the investors.  Earlier, money put in these schemes were seen as advances for future purchase. "The tenure for these schemes will have to be restricted to a year. Currently, the tenure ranges from one to three years." The new rule in the interest of investor protection, also prescribes that jewellers will be able to take only as many deposits as they can repay. Of course unrecognized, petty players would not come under the net. 

Some jewellers reportedly  are closing their schemes informing their customers that they can chose to buy jewellery of the savings done thus far or take back the value.  So far, there was no hedge against Jeweller defaulting payment, now reportedly the laws are harsher – that the person running the scheme can be  jailed. According to jewellers, the new Companies (Acceptance of Deposit) Rules, 2014, limits the interest rate that companies can offer depositors to 12.5 per cent, and caps the total deposits collected to within 25 per cent of their net worth.

Is it good for the customer or for the Jeweller or benefits none – time will tell.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

22nd July 2014.

Sinecure ... retirement jobs - interesting Qs in Kerala Staff Selection exam !!

Have never heard of this musical instrument – ‘Ukulele’ (not that I know many other insturements !) -  is a member of the guitar family of instruments; it generally employs four nylon or gut strings or four courses of strings. The ukulele originated in the 19th century as a Hawaiian interpretation of the machete.

Somewhere in the stream, life has changed – in my school days were people joining, working and retiring from small shops and Private companies – job hopping was not much – people might not have earned high – but retired and spent their lives peacefully .... compare to the modern times – people talk of retirement at a young age (burnouts !) – dream of leading a life of leisure – not many succeed in doing so – either because their savings are not enough; savings have vanished; not properly saved or needs not properly calculated. – and clearly even for those retirees, there is no succour from inflation and tax payment. Added to this is the hanging sword of ever increasing cost of medical treatment.  

A sinecure (from Latin sine = "without" and cura = "care") means an office that requires or involves little or no responsibility, labour, or active service. Sinecures have historically provided a potent tool for governments or monarchs to distribute patronage, while recipients are able to store up titles and easy salaries. A sinecure can also be given to an individual whose primary job is in another office, but requires a sinecure title to perform that job.  For some there is easy life (of getting salary and other perks in employment which may not require much of hard work)..........

Bureaucrats often get plum posts – post-retirement and perhaps they aren't the only ones to continue in government post-retirement. Of the 21 judges to have retired from the Supreme Court since January 2008, 18 got jobs in different government commissions and tribunals. A majority still continue in these positions. – wrote Indian Express way back in 2012…….  Today, there is shock and dismay … Justice Katju, who is currently chairman of the Press Council, has levelled allegations that cannot but show the higher judiciary in poor light. The only interpretation one can give to his claims is that the CJI of 2004 was willing to bow to political pressure to keep the UPA in power, even going to the extent of allowing an allegedly corrupt judge to remain in office and ultimately even promoting him.  Justice Katju's blog is likely to create a storm because it raises questions about the independence and/or integrity of at least three former Supreme Court chief justices - CJI RC Lahoti, who okayed the extension to the additional judge in Tamil Nadu, who was said to be favoured by a key UPA ally from Tamil Nadu. This ally can only be the DMK, for in 2004 the DMK was part of UPA-1 and critical to its survival. November 2004 was when Katju became Chief Justice of the Madras High Court.

Next time you fuming at how inefficient most government offices in India are and wonder some of its employees even landed those jobs, Kerala has an answer for you. According to an article on The Times of India, the Combined Graduate Level Exam conducted by the Staff Selection Commission thought it was appropriate for aspiring public servants to know who is the tallest among Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone, Huma Qureshi and Preity Zinta?

Given that these women are mostly spotted in stilettos, answering the question, you can say, needs sharp deduction skills. The writer, Sukanya Satyan wryly notes, "Well, I ruled out Preity right away but the remaining three posed a problem. Maybe the guys answering the test, with a keener eye for vital stats, had a better chance of answering the question but I, for one, was ruing the fact I didn't watch the bikini scenes — remember that paparazzi photo of Katrina and actor Ranbir Kapoor on a beach holiday — more closely. Bare feet, unlike stilettos, hardly lie."

However, that was not the only absurdity in the paper. There was also a question in the logical reasoning section which asked the following: "All women are cats. Second: All cats are rats. Therefore the two possible conclusions are: (a) All women are rats or (b) All rats are women." Interesting to say the least ….

Concluding with a news from California, that a 97-year-old man was evicted from his retirement center in Napa, California and he claims it's because he played the ukulele too much. An anonymous donor helped Jim Farrell, 97, find a new home after being thrown out by Redwood Retirement Center with no place to go but the homeless shelter.
With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

22nd July 2014.

Monday, July 21, 2014

India script history - win at Lords after 28 years...

Anderson floored and Indians celebrating ....That sums up it all………. 

Not  a great day for England ………………… England captain Steven Gerrard has ended his international career after his side's disappointing World Cup performance, to focus on keeping Liverpool in the Champions League. Gerrard, 34, won 114 caps for England, scoring 21 goals in the 14 years since his debut. The Liverpool midfielder captained his country to their first bottom of the group World Cup exit in Brazil this summer.  Gerrard, who is England's third most capped player ever, behind David Beckham and Peter Shilton, said: 'I have enjoyed every minute of representing my country and it is a sad day for me knowing that I won’t pull on the England shirt again.

Do you know or remember – Kiran More, the diminutive wicketkeeper who played 49 Tests and 94 ODIs for India…. He was part of the now defunct Indian Cricket League and was later granted amnesty by the BCCI.  He made his debut in that Lords Test which India won 28 years ago. 

Now at Lords, Cook won the toss and gained huge advantage, as England had the upper hand for most of the first day after electing to bowl on a green surface. However, after having the visitors on the mat at 145/7, Cook's bowlers allowed India to pile up 299 as Ajinkya Rahane struck a fine second hundred. It is long since we saw an Indian bowler bouncing hard and ending up with figures of 23-6-74-7………..  Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan had a bowl – but not Stuart Binny- Ravindra Jadeja turned his arms for 32.2 overs – after that 1st ball wicket …….all that will not be talked about as Dhoni led astutely to a remarkable win at Lords.

Ishant Sharma, bowling short and aggressively with the old ball, produced one of the most memorable spells in the history of Indian fast bowling to destroy England's resistance in the second Investec Test at Lord's. As India completed a 95-run victory 50 minutes before tea on the final day, it ended a run of more than three years without an overseas Test victory and left England befuddled and bereft as they contemplated a winless streak of 10 Tests and the continued failures of their senior players to contribute to a rapidly-changing landscape.

Ishant bowled so well at Perth downunder  in 2008 when he roughed up no lesser player of fast bowling than Ricky Ponting and encouraged India's hopes that they had a great fast bowler to reckon with. He never was the same bowler again was the sad part – today, India looked out of sorts as Mooen & Root existed till almost the lunch.  Moeen Ali got out the last ball before lunch and that opened the flood gate. Matt Prior, Ben Stokes and Joe Root to hook shots in a burst of 3 for 2 in eight balls as England descended into a self-destructive display. England's innings ended in the 89th over with the run out and the new ball was not to be taken.

Vividly remember that summer tour in June 1986 when Kapil Dev led us to a victory in the 1st Test at Lords.   It was India’s first  Test victory at Lord's and only their second in 33 Tests in England.

It started well for England – RT Robinson got out to Maninder making 35 with score at 66; Gooch made 114 and Pringle 63 as England were all out for 294. Chetan Sharma took 5/64; Roger Binny 55/3 – while Kapildev who bowled so well ended up 1/67. India replied strongly with Mohinder 69, Dilip Vengsarkar 126 – totalling 341. In the 2nd innings England were shot out for 180 – Kapil taking 4 and Maninder Singh 3. The target of 134 was achieved losing 5 wickets.  Kapil was the Man of the match – a good match for Chetan Sharma, who is otherwise remembered for that one delivery at Sharjah to Minadad. 

When India last won at Lord's, the  team won the series. The current side would hope to stage an encore and cruise to similar wins in the remaining three Tests - a fitting reply to critics who had blasted them for the whitewash here three years ago. A 1-0 lead can indeed be a perfect launchpad to propel further into cricketing folklore.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

21st  July 2014

a different Selfie .... and the sad end of Andres Escobar - FIFA

After a month-long fiesta of football, it is all over - Germany are the 2014 FIFA World Cup champions, lifting the Trophy for the fourth time in their history after overcoming Argentina 1-0 courtesy of an extra-time goal by Mario Gotze at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro. I have been posting about Selfies – the obsession of people to taking photo of Self and posting them on social media and the selfie that shook the world – of Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt holding her smart phone with US President Obama to her left and British PM David Cameron on her right – and taken at a service honoring Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg.

FIFA got off to not so rousing a start with the first goal .... the first one in the Year’s Cup put to spotlight (shame) Marcelo as fans turned silent.  Marcelo Veira,  known as simply “Marcelo,”  is a left back, has  played for Real Madrid,  and  hailed as one of the most athletic players on this year’s national team.  The host Nation started as a favourite for the Trophy and certainly for the opening match against Croatia – but on that afternoon, the team went down 0-1 early -- and by its own doing, when defender Marcelo kicked the ball past keeper Julio Caesar and into his own team’s net - a low cross hit off his foot and went into his own goal. The stadium went into stunned silence, except for the small faction of Croatia fans, who promptly lost their mind. Brazil had not lost an opening game at the World Cup since 1934. So, a different ‘selfie’ silenced and drowned Brazilians. 

Fans would remember that the 1994 FIFA World Cup, was held in nine cities across the United States from 17 June to 17 July 1994. Brazil became the first nation to win four World Cup titles when they beat Italy 3–2 in a penalty shootout after the game ended 0–0 after extra time, the first World Cup final to be decided on penalties.  The victorious Brazil team dedicated their win to triple Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna, who had died in an accident at that year's San Marino Grand Prix.  And that Cup was marred by a selfie – own goal.  An own-goal is usually accidental, and may result from an attempt at a defensive play that either failed or was unexpectedly intercepted by an opposing player. It is considered to be one of the more embarrassing blunders in all of sports. An own goal is counted as a regular goal.

Maria Ester Escobar was in Los Angeles on that fateful day, 2 July 1994, and will never forget the moment she found out the news. It was in the small hours of the morning, the sort of time when the telephone ringing is often synonymous with an emergency. She took a while to pick up and had a lump in her throat by the time she did so. On the other end of the line was Colombia's veteran midfielder Gabriel Barrabás Gomez and, his voice trembling, he confirmed her worst fears: "Maria, something terrible has happened. Andres… Andres has been killed."

Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga was a Colombian footballer who played as a defender.  His moment of infamy by that own goal occurred in a match against the United States on June 22, in the second match of Colombia at the 1994 World Cup. Stretching to cut out a pass from American midfielder John Harkes, he deflected the ball into his own net. The United States won the game 2–1. After the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Escobar decided to return to Colombia and on the evening of July 1, 1994, five days after the elimination of Colombia from the World Cup, Escobar  with his friends, went to a bar in the El Poblado neighborhood in Medellín.  At approximately 3 a.m. the next morning, Escobar was alone in the parking lot of "El Indio" bar, in his car, when three men appeared, who argued, and . Escobar was shot six times.

Wonder, what the first picture was about !! -  at Brazil after defender Marcelo scored on his own goal in the opening game of the World Cup, rabid Brazilian fans took to Twitter and railed against the soccer star. But it was a  London model who shares his name with Brazilian footballer Marcelo who bore the brunt.  Ignorant football fans rounded on innocent Marcello Ferri, 29, who tweets under the username @Marcello,  after his left-back namesake accidentally put the ball in his own net. Italian-born Ferri, who lives in west London, was not even watching the match when the barrage of abuse started.  

At some point of time he had to tweet : ‘To all those hurling abuse at me for scoring an own goal, please re-direct your anger to @12MarceloV. Thank you—  for  both that was not a moment to cherish


With regards – S. Sampathkumar