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Monday, November 19, 2018

Azaj Patel spins New Zealand to a dream victory over Pak

Ajaz's rise to international cricket was built on repeated success at domestic level. He was the highest wicket-taker in first-class cricket for three years running before he got the call from selector Gavin Larsen in July 2018.  Having emigrated with his family from Mumbai in 1996,  it is indeed a big climb to Patel

Back in Nov 2004 in Mumbai, in the 4th test, India 104 & 205 beat Australia 203 & 93 by 13 runs, which is the lowest margin for India.  Micheal Clarke had magical figures of 6.2-0-9-6 in Indian second innings – yet, the commentator Murali Kartik with 7 wickets in the match was the man of the match.  The lowest in the history of Test Cricket is that of 4th test at Adelaide in Jan 1993 when WI beat Aussies.  WI 252 & 146 beat Australia 213 & 184.  Curtly ambrose was the Man of the match.

Today at Abu dhabi, it was a miracle – dead and buried against Pakistan, New Zealand fought valiantly to summon one of the greatest comebacks in their test cricket history, turning the test on its head to claim a famous four-run triumph.
It was a game that they had absolutely no right to win. Chasing 176, Pakistan were cruising at 130-3, with Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali having added 82 to put their side on the cusp of victory. Even when Neil Wagner removed Shafiq just before lunch, it seemed a mere footnote in the plotline seemingly scripted for this tour – the Black Caps being good, but not quite good enough. The equation had been reduced to just 29 runs required with six wickets in hand, and with experienced batsmen at the crease, it looked like the question was not if, but when, Pakistan would take a 1-0 series lead.

In the pantheon of infamous Pakistan implosions, this must rank right around the top. Pakistan were cantering to a victory around lunchtime, courtesy Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali, and the wicket of Shafiq off the last ball before lunch seemed no more than an inconsequential irritant. But New Zealand, blindly, illogically, unreasonably, refused to write off this match as a lost cause, compelling Pakistan to believe the game was still on, the pressure all theirs to bear.  Kiwis had a four-run victory, their narrowest Test win in history, and surely one of their most gratifying ones.

The score card reads : New Zealand 153 (Williamson 63, Yasir 3-54) and 249 (Watling 59, Nicholls 55, Hasan 5-45, Yasir 5-110) beat Pakistan 227 (Babar 62, Boult 4-54) and 171 (Azhar 65, Patel 5-59) by four runs. Black Caps captain Kane Williamson hailed the performance as a superb fighting effort. "It's a great advertisement for test cricket. We knew the surface wasn't easy and it required a really scrappy performance. The attitude was outstanding – the guys stayed in the contest for long periods of time. "That fighting attitude that we showed throughout was something that we want to hold onto."

It was an attitude which led to the Black Caps conquering with the second-lowest fourth-innings target they have ever successfully defended. The lowest was 137 in the famous win over England in Wellington in 1978. The third-lowest is now the 241 defended in beating Australia in Hobart in 2011, another memorable victory.

The debutant Ajaz Patel hailing from India had figures of 5/59 -  the second best by a New Zealand spinner on Test debut. Alex Moir had taken 6 for 155 against England in Christchurch in 1951, which is the best. Ajaz was also named Man of the Match, which makes him fifth New Zealand player to win the award on Test debut.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th Nov.2018.

Cyclone 'Gaja' has caused devastation in parts of Tamil Nadu

In Dec 2015, there were unprecedented rains in Chennai ~ water ran over Saidapet, Adyar bridges, many houses were inundated – people suffered – the devastation was captured and shown  widespread in every media; social media highlighted more and there were so many groups including SYMA of Triplicane that were involved in relief work.

On Nov 5, 2018 -  a low pressure system formed over the Gulf of Thailand. The system crossed through Southern Thailand and the Malay Peninsula on Nov 8. The next day, it crossed into the Andaman Sea and lingered there, organizing further throughout the day and intensified into a depression over the Bay of Bengal on November 10. The next day, the system was designated by the IMD as BOB 09. Soon after, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) issued a Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert (TCFA). At 00:00 UTC on November 11, the deep depression strengthened into a cyclonic storm, and was named 'Gaja'. There was red-alert too .. .. it made a landfall later – there were not even heavy rains in Chennai and social media made memes making fun that ‘Gaja went jaga’ – it became a joke .. .. .. first regret for not realizing the devastation caused elsewhere in our own state of Tamil Nadu .. ..

Gaja made landfall along the coast of Tamil Nadu as a severe cyclonic storm between Vedaranyam and Velankanni shortly after midnight on 15.11- it reportedly was more than 120 kmph at the eye of the storm.   The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Gaja on Nov. 15 at 3:29 p.m. EDT (around 2 am IST) and analyzed the storm in infrared light. Infrared light provides temperature data and that’s important when trying to understand how strong storms can be. The higher the cloud tops, the colder and the stronger they are.  When Aqua passed over the Indian Ocean, Gaja’s center was making landfall along the coast of southeastern India. The AIRS instrument found coldest cloud top temperatures in thunderstorms around the center, where temperatures were as cold as minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius). Storms with cloud top temperatures that cold have the capability to produce heavy rainfall.

It appears that – we have not fully understood or realized the havoc caused by the cyclonic storm 'Gaja', which crossed Tamil Nadu's coast early on Friday, claiming more than 20 lives and thousands of cattle. The winds due to the cyclonic storm resulted in hundreds of trees and electricity poles being uprooted in places of :  Nagapattinam, Vedaranyam,  Pattukottai, Karaikal, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Pudukottai, Cuddalore, Pudukottai to name a few.

Thanjavur is the delta region, that produced quintals of paddy when Cauvery was in full flow.  Tanjore district encompasses the entire cauvery delta. For administrative reasons the erstwhile Thanjavur district was divided into three districts Viz. Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts. The sad news is -   Cyclone Gaja has left coconut farmers devastated, felling lakhs of trees in groves across the Cauvery delta and in neighbouring Pudukottai district. “The impact created by cyclone Gaja certainly is deeper than we could imagine. Livelihoods of thousands of villagers have been destroyed.

The coconut growing belt of Pattukottai and Peravurani in Thanjavur district have been the worst affected, farmers say. The Agriculture Department has launched a survey to enumerate the extent of damage and it is expected to be completed by November 25. Coconut is raised on about 40,000 hectares (ha), mostly in Pattukottai, Peravaruni and Orathanadu areas in Thanjavur district, the department officials said. According to initial estimates, over five lakh coconut trees in Pudukottai district have been uprooted by the cyclone, leaving coconut growers literally in tears. Authorities in Nagpattinam said that coconut trees on 3,000 hectares have been damaged. Farmers of Pattukottai and Peravurani areas said for most them coconut groves were the only source of livelihood.

Nearly two lakh farm labourers are also estimated to depend on the coconut farms for employment in Thanjavur district. Peravurani is a panchayat town which is a leading producer of coconut.  The town lying in new delta region is   irrigated by Kallanai Kalvai and its distributories. Peravurani means "big pond", deriving from the Tamil words periya meaning big and oorani meaning a pond or a tank.

The villages in and around Peravurani – some of which named as -  Thirupooranikadu, kalagam, kondraikadu, thenangudi, hiruchitrambalam  seruvaviduthi, uppuviduthi, Mudachikkadu, kalanikkottai, Kuruvikkrambai karambakkadu ,  Nadiyam,  Marungappallam, Nattanikottai, Kazhanivasal, Rettavayal, Ottangadu, Sethubavachathiram – and more have been devastated by the cyclone with coconut trees, plantain trees, maize and paddy have been badly damaged.  Electric poles have fallen – there has been no electricity and many people are suffering without food and basic amenities.

It is our duty to ensure that we participate in some relief measures and help our brethren in these areas – whatever listed out here is limited and practically, there could be hundreds of villages badly affected and thousands waiting for some assistance.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th Nov. 2018.
Pic credit : IMD, NASA, FB page of Peravurani (just to highlight and make us understand the impact of cyclone)

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Brigadier Kuldip Singh Chandpuri ~ hero of Battle of Longewala is no more

Pre-script 1:  The Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) is the second highest military decoration in India, after the Param Vir Chakra, and is awarded for acts of conspicuous gallantry in the presence of the enemy, whether on land, at sea or in the air. It replaced the British Distinguished Service Order (DSO). The medal may be awarded posthumously. 

2) Decades ago, this book titled ‘Pathinaalu Naatkal’ [14 days] impressed me most…. It was a story on Indo-bangla war … the hero is an  Indian pilot who gets captured and falls in the hands of a Paki general who hates India….. the air warfare was so wonderfully depicted with Sujatha touch of humanism….

                                Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert, is a large arid region in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent that covers an area of 200,000 km2 and forms a natural boundary between India and Pakistan.  About 75% of the Thar Desert is located within India, with the remaining 25% in Pakistan.  Longewala is a border town in the Thar Desert in the western part of Jaisalmer district, in the state of Rajasthan. It is very close to the border with Pakistan and is most notable as the location of the Battle of Longewala during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

The Battle of Longewala (4–7 December 1971) was one of the first major engagements in the western sector during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, fought between assaulting Pakistani forces and Indian defenders at the Indian border post of Longewala, in the Thar Desert.   "A" company (reinforced) of the Indian Army's 23rd battalion, Punjab Regiment, commanded by Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri, was left with the choice of either attempting to hold out until reinforced, or fleeing on foot from a mechanised infantry Pakistani force.  Choosing the former, Chandpuri ensured that all his assets were correctly deployed, and made the most use of his strong defensive position, and weaknesses created by errors in enemy tactics. He was also fortunate in that an Indian Air Forceforward air controller was able to secure and direct aircraft in support of the post's defence until reinforcements arrived six hours later.

During the night of the 4th, Lt. Veer's platoon conducting a patrol detected noises across the border that suggested a large number of armoured vehicles approaching. These were soon confirmed by reports — from the Army's Air Observation Post aircraft flown by Maj. Atma Singh — in the area of a 20 km long armoured column on the track leading to the post advancing in the general direction of the Longewala post.  Directing Lt Veer's patrol to trail the advancing armoured column, Chandpuri got in touch with the battalion headquarters requesting urgent reinforcements and armour and artillery support. Battalion HQ gave him the choice of staying put, and containing the attack as much as possible, or carrying out a tactical retreat of the company to Ramgarh, as reinforcements would not be available for at least six hours. Considering that Chandpuri's command had no transportation, and was facing a mobile enemy, he decided to maintain the defensive position of the post where his troops at least had the benefit of prepared defensive works, rather than conducting a withdrawal at night that was a far riskier option.

The battle of Longewala saw heavy Pakistani losses and low Indian casualties. Since the Indians were able to use the defenders' advantage, they managed to inflict heavy losses on the Pakistanis. Indian casualties in the battle were two soldiers along with one of their jeep mounted recoil-less rifles knocked out. Pakistani losses were 200 soldiers killed.  The Pakistanis suffered the loss of 34 tanks destroyed or abandoned, and lost 500 additional vehicles.  Invading Pakistan troops meanwhile, had underestimated the Longewala post's defensive capability due to the difficulty of approach over sand, conducting the attack at night and in full-moon light, against stiff resistance encountered there from a well prepared defensive position located on a dominant height.

Brigadier Kuldip Singh Chandpuri was awarded Maha Vir Chakra, India's second highest gallantry award.  Several other awards were earned by members of the defending company, and the battalion's commander. On the other hand, the Pakistani divisional commander was dismissed from service.  Sadly, Brigadier Kuldip Singh Chandpuri MVC, VSM (22 November 1940) a decorated Officer passed away yesterday.   He was a councillor in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation from 2006 to 2011.   The  hero of the Battle of Longewala during the 1971 Indo-Pak war, died at a hospital in Mohali on Saturday, his family said. He was 78. Brig Chandpuri was suffering from cancer. He is survived by his wife and three sons, his family said.

The 1997 Bollywood film, ‘Border’, in which actor Sunny Deol played the role of Brig Chandpuri, was made depicting the Longewala battle. The cremation will take place on Monday with full military honours. Brig Chandpuri passed out from the Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai, in 1963 and was commissioned into the 23rd Battalion of the Punjab Regiment. He took part in the 1965 war on the western sector and, thereafter, served in the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) for about a year. He also served twice as an instructor at the Infantry School, Mhow.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh condoled the passing away of Chandpuri, saying his exemplary and heroic leadership in the Battle of Longewala would inspire the young soldiers and officers of the defence services to discharge their duties with utmost devotion, commitment and sincerity.  The citation for his Mahavir Chakra Award reads: “Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri was commanding a company battalion of the Punjab Regiment occupying a defended locality in the Rajasthan Sector.” At the Battle of Longewala, Brig Chandpuri exhibited dynamic leadership, exceptional courage and determination in holding his command intact and steadfast. He inspired his men moving from bunker to bunker till the reinforcements arrived, the citation added.

Salute to the hero !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th Nov. 2018

Saturday, November 17, 2018

son of pacer who ran in fast and hurled deliveries !!!

Nothing big ~ he has played in 5 T20s – scored 38 runs with 21 as highest – watched him play a T10 today !!!

Carrara Stadium (known commercially as Metricon Stadium) is a sporting venue on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, located in the suburb of Carrara. The venue is primarily used for Australian rules football and is the home ground of the Gold Coast Suns, who compete in the Australian Football League.  The stadium has hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2018 Commonwealth Games as well as the athletics competitions.  Gold Coast is a coastal city in the Australian state of Queensland, approximately 66 kilometres (41 mi) south-southeast of the state capital Brisbane and immediately north of the border with New South Wales. It was the venue of T20 match between touring South Africans and Australia.

The Gold Coast region remained largely uninhabited by Europeans until 1823 when explorer John Oxley landed at Mermaid Beach. The area boomed in the 1980s as a leading tourist destination and in 1994, the City of Gold Coast local government area was expanded to encompass the majority of the Gold Coast's metropolitan area, becoming the second most populous local government area in Australia after the City of Brisbane. Today, the Gold Coast is a major tourist destination with its sunny subtropical climate and has become widely known for its surfing beaches, high-rise dominated skyline, theme parks, nightlife, and rainforest hinterland.

It was not the greatest of matches – in a rain-reduced 10 overs aside, the innings changed with du Plessis' dismissal. With 3.1 overs left South Africa had a score of 120 on offer. Du Plessis hammered Stanlake to deep midwicket. Very few fielders in the world could have saved six let alone completed the catch. Maxwell leapt high and took the catch at full stretch above his head while momentum carried him over the rope. He threw the ball up just before his left foot hit the ground over the rope, he balanced, got back inside the rope and made the end result look exceptionally simple despite the incredible degree of difficulty. Coulter-Nile and Andrew Tye then closed the innings brilliantly conceding just 24 runs from the last 18 balls and claiming three wickets with some well-executed slower balls.

Finch is the Captain, and the team reads : Chris Lynn, DJM Short, Glenn Maxwell, MP Stoinis,  BR McDermott,  AT Carey (WK),  Nathan Coulter-Nile, AJ Tye, JP Behrendorff, B Stanlake  ~ not exactly an inexperienced line-up or perhaps we are able to familiarize the team because of IPL .. ..

Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast had set itself for its first international cricket match, just seven months after hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games. But a deluge of rain pre-game, 18 millimetres in total, nearly ensured the match never started. Fortunately, the heavy rain cell passed due to strong winds. The game did start after a delay of nearly two hours, with the playing conditions changing to 10 overs per side, two overs maximum for each bowler, with a three over Powerplay.  South Africa inflicted Australia's third loss in four matches to leave the home side down right miserable. Australia have now lost their last four T20Is and five of the last six on top of losing a one-day and Test series in between times.

The squad did ring a bell – McDermott is a known name – it is Benjamin Reginald McDermott   who has not followed the family trend of bowling fast like his father Craig and brother Alister, but has instead made a name for himself as a batsman and some-time wicketkeeper. Craig McDermott made his Test debut aged 19 on the way to 291 wickets and his son Alister had a Queensland rookie contract before leaving high school in Southport. Alister, who was in year 12 when the deal was signed, carries the red hair and bowling action of his father and Queensland are hoping for similar results in the future.  Benjamin Mcdermott is playing as a batsman .. ..

Craig Mcdermott (photo at the start) bowled fast, and threw in accurately and flat. He played 71 tests taking 291 wickets at an average of 28.63 and in 138 ODIs he took 203 wickets.  Remember that he played in that famous Tied test at Chepauk but went wicketless.  He played in 2 matches at Chepauk further – Reliance WC 1987 – against India in the first match he took 4/56 and against Zimbabwe 1/13. Craig McDermott used to smear his face white with chapstick, run in fast  and hurl down quick deliveries — several years before Allan Donald had transformed the act into the realms of legend.  His career was plagued by injuries .. ..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
17th Nov. 2018