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Monday, April 23, 2018

Paki disrespectful gesture at Wagah ~ stamp on Jhulan Goswami


At IPL, Prithvi Shaw the Indian U19 Captain sensation made his debut ~ there are so many of them – budding stars getting a chance in IPL – and a bunch is missing them most – the vociferous Pakis, rightfully kept out.   Last year, though it was told that they are eligible, the Franchisees did pick none.  Former captain Zaheer Abbas said the Pakistani players must realise that IPL is a private league. “The fact is the IPL is a private enterprise, and if their franchises are not willing to take our players, what can anyone do. But there is no doubt that our players and Pakistan cricket have been humiliated and insulted at such a big forum in a planned manner,” he stated.  Pakistan's interior minister has invited the England cricket team to tour the country for the first time since 2005, after a successful visit by the West Indies amid improved security boosted hopes of an international revival.

A visit by a major Test-playing nation such as England would be hugely significant, in terms of both cricket as well as Pakistan's wider security and the message it hopes to send about its crackdown on extremism and militancy ~ yet after International condemnation, their attitude does not appear to have changed in any manner.  In probably a first such occurrence, the sanctity of the daily ceremonial parade by Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistan Rangers at Attari (India) and Wagah (Pakistan) international border was violated by Pakistan cricketer Hasan Ali making belligerent gestures at the Wagah border, triggering a sharp protest from the BSF.

 The Wagah border closing 'lowering of the flags' ceremony  is a daily military practice that the security forces of India (Border Security Force) and Pakistan (Pakistan Rangers) have jointly followed since 1959.  The ceremony starts with a  parade by the soldiers from both the sides, and ends up in the perfectly coordinated lowering of the two nations' flags.
Pic credit : //thetravelintern.com/wagah-border-experience/

Lot happening in India - VVS Laxman, a thorough gentleman of the game and now a commentator, has a heart of gold which he has showcased time and again. The former Indian great took to Twitter to applaud the honesty of a ragpicker, who apparently returned a purse containing Rs 33,000 to the woman to which it belonged. The ragpicker, named Dipchand Gupta, spotted a purse while doing his daily work of picking rags from unclean places. He found the purse and on opening it, realised that it had a large sum of money. He immediately handed over the purse to the Thane stationmaster, who later handed it over to the woman who had lost it. There are good people and some bad too !!

Across the border, the Pakistan cricket team visited Wagah border to witness the flag-lowering ceremony on Saturday. The team visited the ceremony on request of Pakistan Rangers after concluding their training camp for the Test tour of Ireland and England.  The immature  bowler Hasan Ali entertained the crowd with his trademark celebrations without realising ever that this is a different field altogether and his gestures had no meaning.   Hasan Ali entered the drill and performed his signature wicket-taking gesture towards the Indian armed force. In a video that has gone viral, Ali could be seen performing his popular act during the ceremony. He could be seen patting his thigh, raising arms like Rangers and celebrating just as he usually does after taking a wicket in a cricket match.

There is nothing to admire – only to be admonished.  Taking wickets in a match is an achievement, not any performance in thin air.  Ali's antics, however, have not gone down well with India's Border Security Force (BSF). The armed force has decided to lodge a formal protest with the Pakistani Rangers.  "The act has hit the sanctity of the parade. We will lodge a protest with Pakistan Rangers. Anyone can make any aggressive gesture in the viewers gallery on both sides but no public person can interfere in the parade. Before or after the parade, the people are free to do such things, but not in the middle of the parade," BSF Inspector General (Punjab Frontier) MukulGoel was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

The pictures of Ali's antics were also tweeted by the official Twitter handle of the Pakistan Cricket Board, which again is in bad taste. Well, the Cricket-starved Nation can only end up doing all that – we are busy watching IPL matches, many of which boil down to last over. Yesterday, the  equation read 43 off 17 balls when an uncapped batsman walked in to play his fifth IPL innings. One of the best death bowlers in the world will take charge of the next over. His previous six balls produced two wickets and only one run. How do you think the game ends? 

With the batting team winning, of course. K Gowtham smashed an unbeaten 33 off 11 balls, helped swindle 18 runs off Jasprit Bumrah's final set alongside the other match-winner Jofra Archer, and capped it all off with the six that won the game. But the shot that grabbed the most attention was a perfectly executed slice over the heads of point and short third man off the second ball of the 20th over. The composure he showed in that moment, to merely react to what was coming and not blindly slog because the game was going down the wire, was impressive.  Earlier, Ambati Rayudu's masterclass was nearly outdone by one from Kane Williamson, but Chennai Super Kings survived that attack from Sunrisers' captain and then a Yusuf Pathan cameo to crawl to the top of the table. In a match where all the action happened at the back end of the two innings, the difference was only four runs.

Before concluding, Jhulan Goswami's illustrious career - which includes the distinction of being the leading wicket-taker in women's ODIs - has now found acknowledgment in the form of a commemorative stamp. Featuring Goswami's mugshot in India colours next to an image of Kolkata's iconic Victoria Memorial, it has been issued in honour of her claiming a record 200 wickets in women's ODIs. The unveiling of the stamp took place on Friday at the Calcutta Sports Journalists' Club, in the presence of former India men's captain Sourav Ganguly.

That is the tale of the two Nations in the game of Cricket and otherwise !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd Apr 2018.

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