Sunday, February 23, 2020

Mignon du Preez's unique 100

Sure, one may not immediately  identify this good looking person……. She is a Cricketer – a right handed bats(wo)man and occasional wicket keeper, who made her debut in Jan 2007, when aged 17……..  she is Mignon du Preez and was  in news as Cricket South Africa has offered contract to her alongwith few others for the first time in its history.  Today she has reached a big important personal landmark.  She has played 1 test; 130 ODIs and today her 100th T20( - has made 3239 ODI runs and 1666 runs in T2o.

Downunder, Perth may be one of the most isolated cities in the world but it is about to become a key player in the international space race, thanks to a new robotics centre developed in partnership with NASA. World-class technology will be adapted for remote operations on the moon and Mars at the national space robotics centre based in Perth. Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth (AROSE) is a key figure in the Australian-NASA partnership, developing technologies to assist in the international space race.

The battle to host a Test against India next summer has intensified, with Perth's Optus Stadium outlining why it believes the $1.6 billion venue has a "compelling" case to be approved. Melbourne and Sydney are locked in to host two of the four Tests of the heavyweight - and financially lucrative - series, leaving Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane to fight for the remaining two matches, ahead of a decision state associations expect Cricket Australia to make on March 20. The Indian cricket team return to Australian shores next summer for a four-match Test series, but speculation remains over where the fixtures will be played.

The final Test remains an arm-wrestle between the Gabba and Perth Stadium. Both grounds have recorded disappointing crowd numbers over the past couple of seasons. An aggregate of 45,991 attended this season’s Test against Pakistan at the Gabba, while the 60,000-capacity Perth Stadium has never achieved a crowd greater than 21,000.  “Perth are arguing they have a brand spanking new $1.4 billion stadium, whereas the Gabba is the least of the stadiums on the mainland and needs a lot of money injected into it.  Australia have not lost a Test at the Gabba since 1988, undefeated in their last 31 matches, so far us, it is better to play in Perth perhaps.

Today, Perth is hosting the T20WC match between England and South Africa.  SA won the toss and chose to field.  Yesterday NZ beat Srilanka by seven wickets. The score card reads : New Zealand 131 for 3 (Devine 75*) beat Sri Lanka 127 for 7 (Atapattu 41, Jensen 3-16) by seven wickets.  NZ skipper Sophie Devine led by example - she was unbeaten to marshal her team to a victory that stretched them for stages. In the end, though, the margin was comfortable with 14 balls to spare as Sri Lanka's lack of power with the bat beyond Chamari Atapattu again hurt them. However, it was Sri Lanka who made the early running and they were 51 without loss after the powerplay with New Zealand a little untidy and getting a touch nervous that the target could be troublesome. Amelia Kerr made the first breakthrough, then it was Hayley Jensen who played the key role by equalling her career-best, the pair taking 5 for 37 in eight overs as Sri Lanka's second 10 overs brought just 52 runs. Devine, who is in the form of her life, was dropped on 18 but while she anchored the innings - shelving the full-on aggression seen recently - it was Maddy Green who seized the moment to put New Zealand ahead of the rate with a perfectly paced middle-order innings.

Today, Mignon du Preez has  become the first South African woman to play 100 T20 Internationals  - just to add – today’s match referee is an Indian from Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh.  She is GS Lakshmi, aged 51.   Lakshmi, was a right-hand batsman and right-arm outswing bowler. She played from 1986 to 2004, representing a variety of teams, including South Central Railways, Andhra, Bihar, East Zone, and South Zone.She first officiated as a match referee in domestic women's cricket in 2008-09 and has overseen three women's ODIs and three women's T20Is.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Darren Sammy to receive honorary citizenship and Nishan-e-Pakistan

What connects Fidel Castro, Shah of Iran, Queen Elizabeth II, Joseph Tito, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, King Birendra, Aga Khan, Morarji Desai, Nelson Mandela ?

.. .. this not so much heralded Cricketer was  Vice-captain in an under-strength side that became Bangladesh's first away series victims in Tests, and then was appointed captain after the contract dispute that led to that losing, under-strength side taking the field wasn't resolved. Perhaps their Board thought him to be a perfect ‘yes-man’! – this West Indian however rose up and the  Beausejour Cricket Ground in St Lucia was renamed after him as __________ National Cricket Stadium, following West Indies' dramatic World Twenty20 title win in India.

No prize for guessing .. it is Darren Sammy.  Darren Julius Garvey Sammy was born in St Lucia in the year WI lost the WC for the first time, having won it in the inaugural year 1975 and repeating it in 1979.  He made his debut against England at Manchester in 2007 and played his last test at Hamilton in Dec 2013.  His ODI debut was earlier in 2004 and his last match was a couple of years later at 2015. In between he was an IPL star too and excelled in T20 format having lifted their team to win World title.  He made his T20I debut in 2007 and played till 2017.

The euphoria that swept through the cricketing Caribbean following men's team's victory snatched from the jaws of defeat in the World T20 final in Kolkata was spoilt  by the heated, long-running debate over the future of the West Indies board. The two were simultaneously linked at the presentation formalities by captain Darren Sammy's impassioned denunciation of the WICB as he received the trophy for the second time in three tournaments. Dwayne Bravo's subsequent descriptions of the WICB as "the most unprofessional board in the world" and of board president Dave Cameron as "immature", "small-minded" and "arrogant" added fuel to the fire.  

Board VP Nanthan termed Sammy's reproach "irrelevant, demeaning, insulting and unfortunate". A few days later, perhaps mindful of Sammy's widespread popularity, he claimed he wasn't really criticising him as they always had a father-and-son relationship. As Cameron was making his unsolicited apology and dispatching his tweet, the St Lucia government was preparing for the return of their two nationals from the champion team, Sammy and opener Johnson Charles. The culmination was the renaming of the Beausejour Stadium, venue for international cricket, the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium. The size of celebrating crowds left no doubt over Sammy's status in his native island.

So it mostly was throughout the 11 territories, from Guyana in the south to Jamaica in the north, whose common passion for over 100 years has been the game that unites them and for which they have been universally recognised for excellence and the exciting brand of their play. Some of the West Indies legends during the glorious period between 1976 and 1995, Sir Viv Richards and Sir Andy Roberts the most prominent, sided with Sammy.

Then came his downfall.  Darren Sammy  announced his retirement from Test cricket after losing the captaincy. His decision came just hours after the WICB announced that wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin was replacing Sammy as captain of the Test side for the upcoming three-Test series against New Zealand. Sammy was the first player from St Lucia to represent the West Indies Test side, making his debut as a 23-year-old in 2007 against England at Old Trafford. He took 7 for 66 in the second innings of a 60-run loss to the home side, the best bowling figures at Old Trafford since Malcolm Marshall claimed 7 for 22 in 1988. After having played only eight Tests, he was made captain of the Test side taking over from Chris Gayle in Oct 2010 after Gayle turned down a WICB central contract. Sammy fought off plenty of criticism throughout his reign during which West Indies won eight, lost 12 and drew 10 of the Tests he captained.

His leaving Test cricket was  at a time when his Twenty20 career was near its peak. After leading West Indies to the World T20 title in 2012, he led them to the semifinals in 2014 on the back of some impressive finishing displays, none more than against Australia when he scored 34 not out off 13 balls in a final-over six-wicket win… .. now he is in news.

The names that you read at the start were some of the recipients of ‘Nishan-e-Pakistan’, the highest of civil awards and decorations given by the Government of Pakistan for the highest degree of service to the country and nation of Pakistan. The award was established in  1957. It is stated that the  Nishan-e-Pakistan, is a highly restricted and most prestigious award and is only conferred for the merit and distinguished services to the country, international community, and foreign relations.

Darren Sammy has played a major role in the return of top-flight cricket to Pakistan, and the country has decided to express its gratitude in style, by extending an honorary citizenship to the former West Indies captain. Arif Alvi, the Pakistan president, has signed off on the same, and Sammy will also receive the Nishan-e-Pakistan, the country's top civilian award, on March 23 in Islamabad. The idea of the honorary citizenship was initiated by Javed Afridi, the owner of Peshawar Zalmi, the team Sammy has represented since the start of the PSL in 2016. The PCB followed up on it with the federal government in light of Sammy's "invaluable contribution to cricket in Pakistan".

St Lucian Sammy, 36, has been Zalmi's premier marquee player from the beginning of the PSL. Ahead of the second edition, Shahid Afridi, who led the team in the first season, stepped down and handed the reins to Sammy, and he has led them since - they won the title in 2017 and were the losing finalists in 2018 and 2019.  More than that, though, it's Sammy's support to the Pakistan cause that has endeared him to people in the country. He was the first to agree to tour Pakistan when the PCB wanted to bring the PSL final to the country. Then, when an ICC World XI was lined up tour Pakistan for three T20Is in September 2017, Sammy - a part of that squad - spoke to the other tourists as part of a security briefing.

Darren Sammy perhaps has been honoured more by Pakistan than by his own country.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd Feb 2020.

some news on chemical element with symbol Cu and atomic no. 29

Newmont and Teck Resources are injecting new life into their NuevaUniĆ³n 50-50 joint venture in Chile by investing $152 million into the project, located in the northern Atacama region. In an evaluation request filed with Chile’s environmental evaluation service SEA this week, the companies said they plan to conduct two drilling campaigns this year at the La Fortuna copper-gold deposit, to reduce geological uncertainty.

Shiny, reddish copper was the first metal manipulated by humans, and it remains an important metal in industry today. The oldest metal object found in the Middle East consists of copper; it was a tiny awl dating back as far as 5100 B.C. And the U.S. penny was originally made of pure copper (although, nowadays, it is 97.5 percent zinc with a thin copper skin). Copper ranks as the third-most-consumed industrial metal in the world, after iron and aluminum, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). About three-quarters of that copper goes to make electrical wires, telecommunication cables and electronics.

Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu (from Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a pinkish-orange color. Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, and constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement.

Globally, Copper prices slipped on Thursday, weakened by fears that the coronavirus outbreak in China could spread globally and further dampen economic growth and metals demand. Scores of new coronavirus cases and a first death in South Korea fanned fears of global pandemic as research suggested it could be more contagious than previously thought. Copper was given an early fillip from an interest rate cut in top metals consumer China but later fell back into negative territory for a third session running, also weighed down by a stronger dollar. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) fell 0.8% to $5,727 a tonne in final open-outcry trading after rising as much as 0.8% to $5,814.

            According to Peter van der Krogt, a Dutch historian, the word "copper" has several roots, many of which come from the Latin word cuprum that was derived from the phrase Cyprium aes, which means "a metal from Cyprus," as much of the copper used at the time was mined in Cyprus. If all of the copper wiring in an average car were laid out, it would stretch 0.9 miles (1.5 km), according to the USGS.

Copper is one of the few metals that can occur in nature in a directly usable metallic form (native metals). This led to very early human use in several regions. In the Roman era, copper was principally mined on Cyprus. Commonly encountered compounds are copper(II) salts, which often impart blue or green colors to such minerals as azurite, malachite, and turquoise, and have been used widely and historically as pigments. Copper is essential to all living organisms as a trace dietary mineral because it is a key constituent of the respiratory enzyme complex cytochrome c oxidase.

Back home, Copper has caused a major stir in the lives of people of Tamil Nadu.  In 2018, during the protests against the Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi, police opened fire and many protesters were killed in the incident. The shootout left many injured, and politicians and several film stars had also visited Thoothukudi and met the injured and the families of the deceased. When film actor  Rajnikant went to a hospital to look at the victims, a person named Santhosh  trolled the actor  questioning ‘Who he was?’ and the social media highlighted it to be a courageous response of an youth involved in the protests ideologically.  Rajni was trolled with people asking why he had not supported the movement.  Now comes the news that the person who tried to get focus by asking that Q has been arrested following a theft involvement.  A person named Samkumar had parked his bike before his house in Muthukrishnapuram, and it went missing. Based on his complaint, police investigated and found that three youngsters Santhosh (the one who was in news earlier), Mani and Saravanan had stolen the bike, and the bike has been recovered from them.  Now there is lot of troll on social media !

More importantly,  India’s refined copper imports more than doubled in 2018-19 to 92,290 tonnes ($605.20 million) from 44,245 tonnes ($294.95 million) in 2017-18. Export of refined copper, on the other hand, has substantially dropped to 47,971 tonnes ($302.27 million) in 2018-19 from 378,555 tonnes ($2,435.57 million) in 2017-18. So much so, the country has now become a net importer of refined copper. Today, we are a net importer at 44,373 tonnes ($302.93 million) in 2018-19. This is a far cry from the situation in 2017-18 when India was a net exporter of refined copper.  These are the numbers submitted to the Rajya Sabha by the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, while fielding an unstarred question on February 7. “The domestic production and exports have declined largely due to the closure, since May 2018, of the copper smelter plant of Vedanta Ltd. at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, which has an annual production capacity of four lakh tonnes,” the minister admitted.

The numbers indeed give a status report on the bleak copper situation. From a net exporter, India has quickly slipped to become a net importer.  It is not simply a balance of trade, but a big blow to the Nation’s attempt in becoming   self-sufficient.  Some Economists state that the  trade disadvantage situation is plainly the handiwork of a thoughtless political leadership and governance across the spectrum in Tamil Nadu.  Some elements created stir against the decades old Sterilite plant – the agitations were fuelled to become big.  In the end, sadly some human lives were lost and the factory was grounded to a screeching halt.  The factory had gained official approval and later those who were in power earlier supported the agitation. The agitation took an ugly turn becoming a riot, looting and Police resorted to shooting. 

Last month (Jan 2020) Justices T.S. Sivagnanam and V. Bhavani Subbaroyan of the Madras High Court  reserved their verdict on a batch of cases filed by Vedanta Limited to reopen its Thoothukudi Sterlite copper smelting plant. The plant remains shut since April 9, 2018 after Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) refused to grant consent to operate (CTO) the plant due to environmental concerns.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd Feb 2020.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Poonam Yadav's star turn and India struggles at Basin Reserve

The puny woman standing at harbour bridge is not any simple tourist !

Watched with interest the inaugural match of the Women T20 World Cup between defending Champion Australia and India.  Shafali Varma impressed with that glitzy innings.  Smriti Mandhana failed; Jemima Rodrigues played a cameo.  Capt Harmanpreet Kaur too failed. DB Sharma took India out of woods making a well compiled 49* - the total appeared not challenging.  After Smriti was out lbw, Rodrigues was given out lbw to Perry as she tried to whip the ball square and was hit on the front pad on the shin.  She immediately reviewed and got it right. 

Perry to Rodrigues, no run, Given lbw! Rodrigues reviews. This was a fuller length, sliding in through the air, she tried to whip square and was hit on the front pad on the shin, no bat involved. Ball tracking had it missing leg! Not out. The decision is overturned. They ran a leg bye but because the decision was made before it it doesn't count – the Umpire had to reverse her decision .. yes, it was  Jacqueline Monique Williams, from Ashton, Jamaica.  In the recent Ireland’s tour to West Indies – on Jan 15, 2020, in the 1st T20I she was the 3rd Umpire and today she was field Umpire. 

On paper, India 4 for 132 (Sharma 49*, Jonassen 2-24) beat Australia 115 (Healy 51, Yadav 4-19, Pandey 3-14) by 17 runs – but it did appear as if Aussies would run away with victory before that bewitching spell of wrist-spin bowling from Poonam Yadav sank Australia. In front of a crowd of 13,432 - the best for a standalone women's cricket match in Australia - the Indians began with familiar bombast at the top of the order before the loss of three wickets for six runs lowered their expectations. Deepti Sharma was not daunted, reverting to plan B of running as many singles as possible and guiding India to a competitive 132.

While Alyssa Healy made a much-needed return to runs and confidence at the top of the Australian order, the rest struggled for timing on a slow, dry surface that proved to be ideally suited to Yadav's art. A legbreak and three wrong'uns delivered her the wondrous figures of 4 for 19, and with the strong support of Shikha Pandey, Australia were confounded. Having entered 2020 as the world's undisputed T20 dominators, the hosts would have to struggle to reach the semi-finals, though not impossible.

At Wellington, the story was scripted by a 6 feet 8 inches tall who could well be playing basketball -  Kyle Jamieson could have gotten pretty far playing that sport - though he says his "jump height is not the greatest".  Jamieson was more of a batsman growing up - his father Michael says batting outweighed bowling 60-40 in those days – as he frustrated India in that unbroken 76 with Ross Taylor for the ninth wicket, on his ODI debut.  Now at close of play on day 1 – India is 122/5 with Ajinkya Rahana 38* and Rishab Pant at the crease.  Mayank Agarwal survived the first session, did play well for his 34. 

Kyle Jamieson would likely have not played this match if Neil Wagner - away on paternity leave - had been available. On his first - rain-curtailed - day of Test cricket, though, the 6'8" fast bowler might have left an indelible mark on the Test and the series with the wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Hanuma Vihari. No play was possible post the tea break thanks to rain.

People can well remember that 1st Test at Wellington way back in Feb 1981.  NZ won by 62 runs.  .. .. and if one can recall good memory, there were 4 debutants – Yograj Singh touted to be faster than Kapil Dev, played that solitary test in his career; Kirti Azad who was part of Kapil Devils 1983 WC triumph, played 7; Martin Snedden played 25 and .. the lanky Ravi Shastri, who had flown all the way as replacement of Dilip Doshi went on to play 80 tests.

Wellington (for that matter New Zealand itself) is no happy hunting ground for Indians.  India has played a total of 23 matches in New Zealand and have managed to emerge as the winning team only on five occasions. They have lost eight matches while a total of 10 Test matches ended in a draw. If these numbers were not enough to show India’s poor record in New Zealand, in  7 Test matches played at Wellington, India has won just a solitary Test match which was in 1968.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
21st Feb 2020.