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Monday, February 28, 2011

11th match Group B - India Vs England - Tie brought by inept bowling, loose fielding and a poor UDRS

The match was a real humdinger and went down till the last ball – whether you would celebrate or mourn it, depends on which side you were with.  This is not the first time in history but has occurred 24 times before in One dayers.

In my post after Sachin’s century, I had felt that nothing is a safe score now a days – 676 runs – 18 wickets – a great tie – everyone who saw the match will remember every bit of bit.  Added will be the poor bowling performance displayed by the Indians in not being able to defend 338. Indian ground fielding was very poor – slow movers, bad throwing arms and not able to prevent singles even when the shot was hit direct to them.  It should be a grim alarm for no team no ineptitude in bowling and butter in fielding have won a WC before.

After that fine century of Sachin, things were never easy – Pieterson and Strauss plundered at will and then Bell was stroking very freely.  England were never away from the target.  At end of over 42 – they were 280 for 2 with 59 requiring of 48 balls.  With 8 wickets in hand, an asking rate of 7.37 that too for 8 overs was very much English way.

Over no. 43 was different – England took the batting powerplay.  The fourth ball saw a tired and cramp suffering Bell mistiming a hit and Kohli taking an easy catch. The next ball the hero Strauss was trapped in front by  a Khan elivery making 158 off 145 balls – a quality innings.

For the only moment when an Indian victory seemed most probable was after the end of 48 overs – England were 310/7 – tail enders Bresnan and Swann at the crease and 29 required off 12 balls.  It was Piyush Chawla – a dot ball and then second was swept by Swann for a huge six.  The fifth ball Bresnan hoisted him over midwicket for another six.  15 conceded and in the last they required 14 off 6 with 2 wickets in hand.

Ajmal Shahzad has so far scored 38 runs at an average of  7.60.  The final over read thus : 2, 1 (now 11 off 4)  - 3rd was hit down straight for a SIX, 4th a bye, 5th Swann gets an inside edge and runs two.  Last ball two required – Swann hit straight to mid off and ran one and the result was there for everybody.

Indians bowled poorly, fielded worser and Munaf did not even complete a run when he was on as a batsman.  It was not without controversies – everyone saw the match knew that Bell was out but he survived thanks to technology.

25th over Yuvi struck Bell who had pitched his leg well forward for a paddle – Billy Bowden turned down the appeal.  Dhoni went in for review.  The TV replays showed that it was not a no ball, was in line of the stumps and would have struck the middle of the stumps.  Crowd roared and Bell started trudging back.  He was only 17.  When everyone believed out, the third umpire after watching things on a slow motion ruled Bell not out.  Cricinfo writes of rule 2.5m

More than all that was revealed there is the criteria of 2.5 meters assuming that it is from that point onward the precision of ball tracking technology begins to reduce.  So too far down the pitch would mean not out even if it otherwise looks certain.  Strange and curious are the ways of rule makers.  Bell went on to make another half century and spoil Indian’s party.

UDRS was touted to be a technology but if Hawkeye is not to be believed at some measure, why have it at all ?  there have been times earlier, when batsmen have been given out even when they had danced down to play the delivery, Sachin was once given LBW when he ducked and had it on his shoulder.  ICC playing conditions under Process of Consultation No. 3.3 (i). It states that if a 'not out' decision is being reviewed and the distance from impact to the stumps is greater than 2.5m then the third umpire passes this information to the on-field official along with: the distance from the wickets of the point of impact with the batsman, the approximate distance from the point of pitching to the point of impact, and whether the ball is predicted to the hit the stumps the  on-field umpire shall have regard to the normal cricketing principles concerning the level of certainty in making his decision as to whether to change his decision.  Good use of technology…………………………………..

Of the 24 times it has occurred in ODI history,  India has been involved four times – Once against WI at Perth in Dec 91, twice against Zimbabwe – one at Indore in Nov 93 and at Paarl in Jan 97 and once now.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A comic performance at Bangalore Chinnaswamy Stadium – India vs England

[posted at 1845 hrs on Sunday - 27th Feb 2011]

A perfect setting – WC on a Sunday – venue Bangalore – large crowd in the stadium and almost the Nation sitting at home expecting India to score well. Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat.  The pitch supposedly had something for the pacer, did swing and there was some spin too.
Wickets fell in a heap and in fact Indians could not bat through their full quota and were all out.  Wickets fell in a heap.  Two wickets fell in successive balls – one to Yardy and one to Bresnan and on the 49th Bresnan was on a hat-trick, could not get one still got another of the next ball – 3 wickets in 4 balls.  In the last over there were two run outs.  [49th of Bresnan : W W 0 W].  Munaf looks lazy – touted to be a big burly pacer but bowls around 135 – today he was in, on the penultimate ball – did us no good – Zaheer hit the ball towards long on  and got himself ran out – Munaf did not complete the first run itself, leg umpire declared it one short and thus there was no run, though Zaheer was run out at the batting end trying to complete the second !!

A bleak state of affairs to be in one would imagine.  In the 1980s a score of 250 + even in 55 overs was considered to be an imposing total and not many teams would have the mind to chase…… things are far different now – in some ways no total is beyond chase, as they say.

England started with Anderson and Shahzad – the ball was flying around – the first ball went streakily past the slip for a four, then was a leading edge, Sehwag smacked one closer over the bowler.  Edgy .. but that is Sehwag for you and in a few overs Indians were cruising – Sehwag went at 46 having scored 35 off 26. 
What a match it has turned out to be !  Indians now a days expect their batsmen to deliver and put up tall scores all the time.  Now in two matches – we have three hundreds – despite getting dismissed under 50.

It was a display of serenity of monk and poise and elegance of the Master – none can challenge that.  Sachin continues to play dream innings – he already has more than 17750 runs and 46 tons in one dayers.  This day saw him add one more.   To some it looked placid as there were not many of boundaries in the initial stages and the stand of Sachin and Gambhir progressed steadily at best.  It was another gem from the little Master, a greatly composed innings.  He was determined to play a big innings and the tempo was lull initially.  At one point he had scored 28 off 47 – in the 18th over came the first big stroke for a six off Collingwood.  At the end of 19, he was 42 off 58.  Yardy bowled a tight spell. 

The 26th over was a revelation.  Greame Swann is recently hailed as the best spinner in Tests – his first ball disappeared a good 95 yards over the long on – Sachin at this age has now banished the leather the second longest in the WC thus far.  The next ball was slog swept for another six.  Now we started  dreaming of a big ton from him and off the first ball of 33 he was at 94 – a stroke away.  The crowd was turning delirious everytime he was on strike and came the expected 47th century (the 5th in WC – highest by any batsmen) at 34.1 – a four off the hips off Tim Bresnan.  Ganguly, Ponting and Mark Waugh have 4 and now only Ponting has a realistic chance of equalling the feat provided Sachin does not add some more before he does.

Sachin was eventually out at 38.2 caught off a leading edge off Anderson after scoring 120 in 115 balls – 10 fours and 5 sixers – strike rate of 104.34.
England now need a improbable 339 off 50.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

the unorthodox Virender Sehwag - not only his upper cut but also his dismissals

Virender Sehwag is one of the best things that occurred to Indian  cricket.  The cult of his followers is ever growing with Srilankan Tilakaratne Dilshan also joining saying that Viru’s upper cut is a game changing shot.  Incidentally, Pepsico is on Ad campaign for the ICC WC celebrating the occasion with a series of ad films.  Dhoni’s helicopter shot, Bhaji’s doosra, Pietersen’s palti alongside Najafgarh ka Nawab’s upper cut designated by them as ‘upar cut’. In the Advt Ranbir is shown teaching Sehwag a bollywood dance routine, where Viru fails but picks it rightly on a raising delivery to send it soaring over the fence over point.  

Touted as one unorthodox, Viru has had greater success in Tests having more than 7600 runs with two three hundreds to his credit.  In the inaugural match of the present version, it was Sehwag all way as he galloped to 175 and getting his 22nd Man of the Match.  His is the highest against Bangladesh and is the highest individual innings in the inaugural game of a WC.  Glenn Turner the Newzealand Captain made 171 against East Africa on the opening day of the inaugural WC in 1975.

The Nawab of Najafgarh is known to be a calm face and is an effective right arm off spin bowler.  He was honoured as Wisden Leading Cricketer of the World in 2008 and retained the award in 2009.  Holds the record of the fastest triple century – 300 off only 278 balls.  

In some ways, the fortune of winning the cup hinges on him as he when he gets going, nothing else matter and batting looks simple and easy.  He can also get out in innovative ways and here is an article shared by me on 17th Feb 2007 which makes an interesting reading even now.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

  When the result is an Indian Victory – Nothing else is seen “

In the 4th ODI against Sri Lanka at Visakhapatnam on 17th Feb 2007,  Indians won by 7 wickets with 36 balls remaining which naturally brought cheer to the die hard Indian Fan.

Despite the win, there was something appalling for the ardent cricket admirer.  Something bizarre – A run out.   In the 1980s during an One dayer down under, the young Kapil Dev was appreciated for the manner he charged between the wickets, the bat rhythmically  changing from right to left hand while nearing the bowler’s crease and for the remarkable ease with which he turned back for completing the second run.  Kapil was one who was purely instinctive and was not a coaching camp product.

Now a days, the  cricketers go through the grind, in pre match practices and conditioning camps, assisted by various technical experts.  We have a Great Coach, a thinking genius who imparts various nuances of the game.  In today's modern game, effective running between the wickets is of utmost importance. Scoring rates have risen linearly over the last few decades. This doesn't only have to do with the mentality of hitting more big shots, but also running at the smallest opportunity presented. The batsman running to the danger end should be the one to be entirely sure of making it to be able to go forward with the run. Grounding the bat, when reaching the crease is simply the  very basic.

On Saturday,  something fundamentally went wrong……………..  Quite often, we have seen batsmen getting run out.  The Law states :
(a)        Either batsman is out Run out,  if at any time while the ball is in play
(i) he is out of his ground  and (ii) his wicket is fairly put down by the opposing side.

 Viru is a great player with excellent record.
St. rate

At Vizag, Score card would read : Sehwag run out (Bandara / Sangakkara) for 46:  the man back in the team but still struggling to ensure his place.,  was making most of the width offered, he juddered a few boundaries square of the wicket. He seemingly had rediscovered his silken touch  in a 43 ball 46 when the imponderable happened.  The way Sehwag  ran could perhaps be described as . Sleepwalking to his own demise.  The ardent fan was most disappointed with the senseless dismissal.

The slinger Lasith Malinga  bowled short and outside off stump, Sehwag freed his arm and ball flew to thirdman.  Sehwag ambled  across – when a good throw from third man thuddered  into the gloves of Sangakkara.  Sehwag was already near the crease, walking yet , totally unfazed  to the scene of action, not caring to reach the safety of the crease at all – though standing very close to it.  The agile Sangakkara spotted an opportunity, removed his glove – with batsmen sort of covering the stumps, lobbed a throw (almost a gentle leg spin).  Sehwag was almost standing on the crease but still not yet in safety.  The ball flew past crashing on the timber.  A n d    h e   I s    O…U…T

A very bizarre dismissal indeed !  But Are lessons being learnt ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Die hard fan
S Sampathkumar.
PS:  Read the caption again - no paper had this piece

Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna's speech at UN Security Council Newyork

Are you a supporter of Ronaldo and would follow his team’s fortunes madly ? 

Recently, I had circulated my happiness   on India getting a place in UN Security Council as non-permanent member – a two year term. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and maintains  international peace and security. It is the body which oversees peacekeeping operations, establishes international sanctions and authorizes military action. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action The General Assembly had  elected Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa to serve as non-permanent members of the Security Council for two-year terms starting on 1 January 2011. The newly elected countries have replaced Austria, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Uganda.   The Security Council had its first session on 17th Jan 1946 at London and now has its hq at Newyork city.

Portugal is a country in Southwestern Europe on the Iberian peninsula bordering Atlantic Ocean and Spain.  It is a land which has influence of Roman empire.  In 1989 film ‘Chanakyan’  directed by TK Rajeevkumar, Kamal using an Outdoor broadcast van, would interrupt the live speech of CM, use the mimicry artist Jayaram to air something else and humiliate the politician. 

It was public hearing something other than the original script – there is the shocking news of a High Official reading out somebody else’s speech………  what a flub !   To add to the insult, the Official was quoted as saying it was simple inadvertence and such things do happen because many of these speeches make the same initial points.   He was quoted as saying  "There was nothing wrong in it,  adding "there were so many papers spread infront of me so by mistake the wrong speech was taken out."

It was not any speech in any obscure forum. The venue was United Nations Security Council and it was the  debate on security and development.  India's external affairs minister SM Krishna read out the wrong speech for about three minutes before being corrected by India's envoy to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri.  Reports state that Krishna read Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado's speech, without realising his mistake, apparently because the first portion related to general issues pertaining to the UN, development and security. The Portuguese minister had already spoken before India.  The Indian Minister is at Newyork on a two day state visit  to push India's agenda for Security Council reforms.

The person is our External Affairs Minister and the forum is UN Security Council.  This purportedly was a high level meeting convened by Brazil, which is the President of the council for the month of February.  Their Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota was to preside and foreign ministers from several other countries including Germany, Columbia, Portugal were present.  The meeting was to discuss the big picture on peace and security as well as the connections between security and development.  India was to lobby for the issue of UNSC reforms and for expanding the no. of seats in both permanent and non-permanent categories as India has been putting forth itself as a candidate for permanancy asserting that the present 5 member committee is a legacy of the post WW and has to change in tune with the times. 

Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna  (born in 1932) was the CM of Karnataka from 1999 to 2004 and Governor of Maharashtra from 2004 to 2008.  He is a Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka and is the Minister of External Affairs.  He holds a law degree and studied in Dallas before returning to India. 

His supporters claim that the mistake was inadvertant and was corrected within minutes.  But there are reports that he was stopped by  Hardeep Puri, India's Permanent Representative to the UN  and reportedly had read out  "On a more personal note, allow me to express my profound satisfaction regarding the happy coincidence of having two members of the Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), Brazil and Portugal, together here today."

The Portugal Minister had already finished his speech and the English translation was being distributed which got mixed up with Krishna’s papers.  Some official’s head is bound to role on this fiasco which certainly is an embarrassment for the Nation which is pitching for a permanent UNSC seat.  Reports recall the gaffe of Irish PM Brian Cowen in 2009 when he had read a few paras only to realise that he was repeating the speech President Barack Obama had given earlier. 

A school teacher would rehearse his speech many a times, even for the umpteenth repetition to the class students.  Krishna is 78 and many of our politicians are aged.  As people age, they tend to forget more and confuse more but none of these would sufficiently reason out the damage that it could cause to the National’s interest..  A repetition of a mistake does not condone it or make it acceptable.  In many ways, it only explains the callous attitude of the politicians. 

Regards – S. Sampathkumar. 
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro  is the star forward playing for Spanish club  Real and captained the Portuguese National team in the soccer WC.

WC Trivia - Second World Cup for the Second Nation..

The match at Mirpur was looked forward with interest as it was sort of match between equals.  Bangladesh could not afford to lose this match and Ireland was expected to give them a run.  In the end it was more comfortable a victory than the 27 run margin that was recorded.    Bangla were bowled out for 205 but Ireland’s chase was never truly on.  

After their last WC performance when they beat Pak & Bangla, lot was expected of them.  There were many known faces – Porterfield, Brien brothers, Boyd Rankin and Ed Joyce.

Ed Who ?   Yes the same Joyce who played for England in the last version of WC  topscoring 75 against Kenya !    Ed Joyce  is playing his second World Cup for his second country and homeland.

He has played for Sussex, Middlesex and England and then decided to switch to his country of birth to have a rebirth in International career.  It was a special dispensation of the ICC.  Edmund Christopher Joyce was born in 1978 in Dublin – a left handed batsman and bowls right arm medium.   He should consider himself luckier as similar dispensation was not granted to Hamish Marshall who had also requested to play for Ireland after shifting from New Zealand.  Hamish John Hamilton Marshall  played for NZ in 2007 WC but will be eligible only after April.   Generally 4 years is the qualification period for the shift.   Ed Joyce had his Irish background and strong ties from his childhood in his favour.   Joyce selection helped Ireland’s cause in the ICC trophy. 
marshall twins - james throws ; hamish looks

Hamish Marshall on the other hand was born in Auckland and played the last of his 66 ODIs against Ireland at 2007 WC.  Remember he played for Royal Bengal Tigers  in ICL.  He played in 13 tests and 66 ODIs – made his test debut against SA in 2000 and was known to be a good fielder.  His twin brother James Andres Hamilton Marshall also played for Newzealand in 7 tests and 10 one dayers.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar

Friday, February 25, 2011

Presenting our Feb 2011 issue of BLISS - the newsletter of SYMA

Dear (s)

The February 2011 issue of BLISS, the voice of  Srinivas Youngmen’s  Association is  here Bliss-022011   at a click of a mouse :   

It shares our concern on the scams and the turbulence in Arab World.  Something on IPL auction and concern on the abduction and holding to ransom of the  District collector of Malkangiri of Orissa.

The issue dwells at length on the Goldwinner SYMA Childfest that we conducted recently, in which close to 3000 school students participated.  

Our monthly Q is on the city of Sakchi (as it was known till 1919) and its modern day claim to fame.

With the Cricket fever at its height, SYMA is conducting a competition for predicting the winners and top performers of ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.  Alongside this funfilled competition, we wish to enroll more blood donors who would be of service to the Society.  

Look forward to your response.

S. Sampathkumar [Editor]

Ps :  For those new, SYMA is a Social Service Organisation with more than 3 decades of existence and BLISS is the newsletter of SYMA

Renaming ... Will Rose by any other name smell the same ?

Constitutionally, INDIA  that is BHARAT is a Union of States.  Today there is a news item in The Hindu ‘this day that age’ of the decision of the Govt. of Madras to rename the Madras State as Tamizh Nadu.  The news item read as under :

““ dated February 25, 1961: Renaming Madras State :   The Government of Madras have decided that Madras State be referred to in Tamil by the name “Tamizh Nadu” from now on. This replaces the present equivalent of “Chennai Rajyam” used by the Government. Madras City would, however, continue to be called “Chennai” and the English equivalent of the State's name and that of the capital would be Madras. The decision of the Government was announced in the legislative Assembly on February 24 by Mr. C. Subramaniam, Finance Minister and Leader of the House, replying to the discussion on a non-official resolution for renaming the State as Tamil Nad. Mr. Subramaniam said that the State Government did not propose to sponsor any legislation in Parliament to amend the Constitution of India for the purpose of altering the name of the State. He however, sounded a warning that the change of name should not lead to any linguistic fanaticism but should only foster greater love for Tamil.””

Renaming seems to be an obsession – Madras became Chennai, Calcutta – Kolkatta, Bombay – Mumbai, Bangalore – Bengaluru, Orissa – Odisha and more………  this is not restrictive of States, Cities but has spread to Streets also.  Curiously, there are many streets in Chennai with English Names such as Wallers Road, Blackers Street, Warren
Road, Belfours Roadand more – sure that most of us do not know the significance and why these roads were named so ?

Madras Presidency was renamed Madras State;  Madras State or Madras Rajdhani became Tamilnadu;  Madras the capital of the State was renamed Chennai.  Some of the roads in the City which have been renamed would include : 
           Mount Road to Anna Salai.
           Edward Elliot Road to Dr.Radhakrishnan Salai
           Elliot's Beach Road to Sardar Patel Road
           Mowbray's Road to  T.T.K Road after Thiruvallur Thattai Krishnamachari
           Commander-in-chief Road to Ethiraj Salai after V.L. Ethiraj
           Nungambakkam High Road to Mahatma Gandhi Salai.
           Warren Road to Bhaktavatsalam Salai
           Lloyds Road to Avvai Shanmugam Salai
           Oliver Road to Musiri Subramaniam Salai
           Montieth Road to Red Cross Road
           Pycrofts Road to Bharathi Salai
           Bells road to Babu Jagjivan salai
           Chamiers Road to Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar Road
           Griffith Road to Maharajapuram Santhanam Road
           Beach Road became 'Kamarajar Salai
           Ponamallee High Road became Periar EVR salai
           Walltax Road to VOC Salai
           Royapettah High Road became Thiru Vi Ka Salai after Vriddachalam Kalyanasunduram
           LB [Lattice Bridge] Road became Dr.Muthulakshmi Salai

Chennai and Tamilnadu have a long history claiming to be older than the stone age.  The language and places have existed for long and the civilization is believed to be one among the oldest.  After the Sangam period, the age of the  four ancient Tamil empires of Chera, Chola, Pandya and Pallava are well recorded in history, Those Kings ruled over the land exhibiting unique culture and enriching language

The Madras Presidency was a creation of the East India company in some ways.  At its extant   Madras Presidency included much of South India which in effect is the modern day Tamilnadu, Malabar regions of Kerala, Lakshadweep, coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, Ganjam dist of Orissa, Bellary, Udupi districts of Karnataka.  For a few years there was the winter capital at Madras and summer capital at Ootacamund.

The origins were from the agency of Fort St George established by the British East India Co soon after the purchase of village of madrasapatnam in 1639 from Chenna kesananaickers. Perhaps in some ways the British way still existed when the legislative assembly functioned till recently from the Fort. St. George and now moved to the new premises in the erstwhile Omanthoorar estate. 

Though the resolution of renaming the State was announced in the assembly in 1961 itself, it was not until 1968, the name change occurred.  On Jan 26, 1968, officially Madras State came to be known as State of Tamilnadu.  The vast geography which it had, had been reduced on previous occasions.  In 1953 was the split along linguistic lines. Under the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, the States of Kerala and Mysore were carved out of the Madras state. 

This Act was a major reform of the boundaries and governance of Indian States.  This also amended the Indian constitution replacing the 3 types of States with a single type of State.   Arising out of this, the State’s geography further shrunk or rather reorganized with the transfer of Malabar district to Kerala and the southern part of Travancore was added to the state and came to be known as Kanyakumari district.  

Again, the old Act enacted in 1784 had a bearing on all these.  It was the Pitt’s India Act of the British Parliament  which was made to bring the administration of East India Company under the control of the British Govt.  Significantly, it regulated primarily to weed out corruption in the East India Company in Bengal. The legacy has spread so wide and far………….

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cricket World Cup 2011 – the Team preparations and Role of Coaches and Support Staff.

The present day Cricket is played more out of the field much before the events start happening.  A great reliance is placed on the Coach and other support staff and each team have big complement of them.  For India, in the present WC 2011 – the head coach is Gary Kirsten accompanied by :
           Mental conditioning coach: Paddy Upton
           Fitness trainer: Ramji Srinivasan
           Physiotherapist: Nitin Patel
           Masseur: Ramesh Mane
           Performance analyst: C.K.M. Dhananjai
           Bowling consultant: Eric Simons ( For a period of 6 months starting January 2010)

In the last WC 2007 where India performed poorly and exited in the first round, the coach was Greg Chappel.  Greg coached the team for 3 seasons developed lots of fissures in the team; reportedly had a tiff with Sachin, was at loggerheads with Sourav Ganguly.  Perhaps Dravid was happier and Irfan was – Irfan was promoted to no. 3 in many of the matches when Greg was at the helm.  In recent interview he had confided that the decision to relinquish the post of Indian coach was made much before the WC 2007 as there was a clear philosophical clash and that he was not prepared to compromise (what !!)  He had also tried to clear the air stating that he never doubted Sachin’s commitment and that they differed on the batting order concluding that he would have handled Sachin  differently now than he had done earlier.

The present coach Gary Kirsten played earlier for South Africa in 101 tests and 185 tests.   He has been with the Indian team from March 2008 and reportedly has brought in considerable improvement in performance levels. He has stated that he would not renew the contract due to family reasons to spend more time with his sons and wife.  Incidentally the tenure of SA coach Corrie Van Zyl is also about to end.

How well a team would perform because of a Coach and whether fortunes would swing wildly because of an individual Coach are debatable.  Here is something of the past, which would make an interesting reading.  The lines below  were circulated to my group through e-mail on 12/6/2007

Shambolic: To  Ford  - Kent is bigger than India !!! but why did BCCI wanted him in first place ???.

The BCCI's shambolic efforts to find a national coach took an embarrassing turn today with the much touted Graham Ford, turning down the offer.  Yesterday's flavour became today's bitter aftertaste.  The story is  often heard in Software parks and in some Insurance Companies as well.  The wisemen select somebody thoroughly satisfied with their credentials of fitting bill (sometimes a fat one!) but the incumbent after receiving orders, gives it a rethought and chooses to stay back with the erstwhile people.

During 2005, Tom Moody, Mohinder, Desmond Haynes were the names that went rounds but it was Greg Chappel.  At Chennai on Saturday (9/6/07) a seven-man committee listened to presentations from  Graham Ford.  To create the illusion of a contest for a job that had once interested so many, the board roped in Emburey, a man with no coaching credentials to speak of.  Both of them had flown in, in the same flight & Emburey returned empty handed. It was no secret that Ford was the players' choice, with the grapevine suggesting that the move for him had been initiated by Rahul Dravid, the Indian captain. After Greg Chappell's tenure, characterised by off-field controversy as much as anything on the field.  Ford - who has a reputation as a back-room facilitator rather than an outspoken disciplinarian - was seen as the perfect choice to heal the fissures within the Indian team.

Earlier the press suggested that Dav Whatmore had already been offered the job.  Though he denied any such motive, Sunil Gavaskar, a member of the committee  had a while back pointed out in a newspaper column that Habibul Bashar, the Bangladesh captain, hadn't received enough tactical help from the think-tank during the recent home series against India, a statement that seemed to hint at his disapproval of Whatmore.

Ford – Who ???
His playing record is nothing significant. . A top-order batsman, he averaged 13.5 in seven first-class matches for Natal B.   He reportedly  is unassuming and determinedly low key but ascended gradually to the position of South African coach, by-passing several bigger and more familiar names along the way.   At the beginning of 1999, Ford was appointed assistant to Bob Woolmer, a role he carried through to the 1999 World Cup, before taking over the senior position when Woolmer's contract ran out after the World Cup. The Hansiegate Affair, however, massively disrupted the South African side, and Ford was fired in 2001. He moved to Kent as director of cricket in 2004, and while there oversaw an influx of South African players to the county. In 2006 he returned home to take charge of the Dolphins and in June 2007 was offered the challenge of coaching India but, to the embarrassment of the BCCI, declined.

The fiasco has merely highlighted the board's ineptitude in finding the right man for the job. India were sent packing from the World Cup long before the April-fool jokes were sent out, yet no serious attempt was made to draw up a shortlist of replacements for Greg Chappell.  Squads will be selected on Tuesday to tour Ireland and England and there is no time to find a coach to accompany the team Test series against England, begins?  For a start, do they even know where to look? This is an embarrassment that the BCCI has brought upon itself

The aftermath of that – with the resignation of Greg Chappen and declinature of Graham Ford, India embarked tour of England in 2007 without a Coach.  The hard hitting Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan were not in the squad dropped to poor performances, while Irfan Pathan and Munaf Patel were declared not fully fit.  

India won the 3 Test series : 1-0.  The top 3 run getters were Dinesh Karthik, Ganguly and Sachin.  Zaheer took 18 wickets.   In the 7 ODI series, England won 4 – 3.  

28 years ago, when Kapil’s devils lifted the Prudential World Cup 1983, the team did not have a Coach or a Doctor or a Physiotherapist.  A solitary representative of BCCI  Prof. Chandgadkar was present to see off the team.  Air-India forced the BCCI to pay for the extra baggage for the trip to London. There was a single official travelling with the team – PR Man Singh from Hyderabad who was the designated Team Manager.  In one of his interviews, he had stated that the nets were manned by Jimmy Mohinder Amarnath whilst Kapil and Sunil Gavaskar decided on batting order and bowling line-up.  In the finals, right through the innings, a slip fielder was positioned.  The members of the 1983 World Cup squad reportedly were paid Rs. 12,500 each as tour money and shared the winner's purse of £30,000. After all the celebrations of being World Cup champion, each of them including Man Singh ended up with Rs. 2.5 lakhs each.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Collector abducted in Orissa – have you heard of Malkangiri earlier !

There are photos circulating in internet of the house of the telecom minister arrested in Navi Mumbai as also his farm house at Kausali in Himachal Pradesh.   Perhaps these are  miniscule representation of the democratic loot!  In the six decades of democracy crores of money have been looted by dishonest politicians, bureaucrats and others.  In land where there is huge gap between rich and poor, where the basic needs of people are not met in many places – the power and opulence of some really needs some tough action, which all these long years have not been coming.   In some ways they are immune to any action.  Gandhi’s words of ‘ a good government is no substitute to self government’ cannot be accepted at this stage when self governance only means looting of public money.

There is also the flawed Govt policy of resettling refugees from neighbouring Bangladesh and Burma and not controlling influx from Pakistan, which is leading to creation of pockets of lawlessness.  

There is the state of Orissa (Odisha) where there woes of suffering.  This state in the eastern coast is the modern name of ancient Kalinga.  There are 30 administrative districts and the lesser known Malkangiri is in news for wrong reasons.  It is a land of dense forests, small rivers, undulating plateaus and rich tribal culture.  It is mythologically important place.  Legend connects it to The Ramayana, that the environs of river Tamasa encouraged Saint Balmiki to record Ramayana.  There are places which are believed to have been visited by Rama and Sita.  Also during the agnyata vasa (period of exile) Pandavas are believed to have spent a period in the dense forests here.  The community of Koyas worship a sword believing it to be the weapon of Pandavas.

Laxman Naiko, a great freedom fighter hailed from this place and led the tribals in non cooperation against the British.  A demonstration was held in Mathili in 1942; police opened fire and killed some demonstrators.  They foisted a case against Laxman Naiko for the death of a forest guard for which he was accused and arrested.  He was sentenced to death.  Advocate Radha Charan Das of Berhampur and famous freedom fighter Uma Charan Pattnaik of Berhampur went to Patna High Court for an appeal which was finally rejected.  Quite tragically this patriot was hanged at Berhampur jail in 1943.

In its earlier days Malkangiri was a part of Madras Presidency. In 1936, Koraput District from Madras Presidency merged in Orissa and Malkangiri Tahasil war included in Koraput District. In 1st January, 1962, Malkangiri Sub-Division came into existence. In 1958, Dandakaranya Development Project was implemented to settle the refugees coming from East Pakistan. This project was continued for 30 years until it was declared closed in the year 1988.    In Oct 1992, Malkangiri was identified as a District carved out of Koraput.    

The present day Malkangiri  is a notified area – a home of bangle refugees and also housed  Lankan tamil refugees.  Last week a  District Collector Mr. R Vineet Krishna was kidnapped by the Maoists in Orissa.  The senior IAS officer was abducted in Malkangiri district on 16th Feb 11,  when he was coming from an interaction programme in Gumma block of tribal-dominated Malkangiri.  The press reported that as being the first time of Maoists kidnapping an IAS officer in Orissa.   According to the official sources, Mr. Vineet Krishna was in Badapada area and was moving on a motorcycle. 30 years old Krishna is an IIT-Madras graduate and he joined administrative services in 2005. He was appointed as the Collector of Malkangiri about 16 month ago. He has been  interacting closely with the local people thus he is more popular.

The incident was widely reported but has not created any shockwaves in the administration or amongst people outside.  The initial reaction of the Home Secretary was to condemn the incident and stating that there was not need for any operation to release and that the State Govt. would negotiate and get his release !  - what words from the administration.   The Collector is the official in charge of the entire gamut of governance and are officers of Indian Administrative Service and are the most powerful Govt. officials entrusted with handling law & order, revenue collection, taxation, and more.  

More than a week after the abduction, the collector remains in the custody of the banned rebels.  A junior engineer Pabitra Majhi of the banks of Balimela reservoir at Jal bai village was released yesterday.  There have been parleys and newspaper reports indicate that they are seeking release of some accused of criminal acts.  Among the demands put forward by the Maoists was the release of senior party leaders Sriramalu Srinivalasalu and Ganti Prasadam. While Prasadam was granted bail by the Orissa High Court  recently , Srinivasalu's bail application is to come up soon.   

A war by the State against its own people or people revolting against the State is not welcome for a democracy.  But as I started, the experiment of democracy would work fine with mature State and refined leaders.  Sadly enough, the rebels in the peripheries of our system are also missing the woods for trees and are wasting their time, burning down schools and kidnapping honest District Magistrates!

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Post script :  25th Feb 2011 :  The district magistrate of Malkangiri R Vineel Krishna, who was abducted by the Maoists nine days back, was freed by his captors yesterday evening  bringing to an end the worst ever hostage crisis in the state.  Krishna was released in a praja court convened by Maoists in Tentuliguda forest near Duliamba in Malkangiri district in the presence of hundreds of tribals and media representatives.  It is reported that he appeared to be in good health and stated that he was not subjected to any physical or mental torture during the captivity.
The Maoists had called for the release of Srinivasulu, Ashutosh, and Shobha, after Orissa government had already conceded 14 original demands. Junior engineer Pabitra Mohan Majhi, kidnapped along with Krishna on February 16, was released on Wednesday and carried with him a letter containing the fresh demands.  The government agreed to release Ganti Prasad whose bail application was heard in a Koraput court on Thursday, apart from Padma, Ishwari, Sarita and Gokul. The key Naxals whose release was sought but rejected by the government are Srinivasulu and Ashutosh. Shobha, another dreaded Maoist, is in a Jharkhand jail and the Orissa government said it would take up her release with that state.

After being released inside forest near Doliambo village, Krishna moved in a motorcycle to Janvai ghat from where he crossed the Balimela reservoir in a motorboat to reach Chitrakonda. From there, he traversed the 60-km stretch between Chitrakonda and Malkangiri town in a four-wheeler, amid cheers from hundreds of people.

There was moving news of his driver Shankar Rao having spent eight days on the shores of the Balimela reservoir, arriving at five in the morning and leaving only after darkness fell, waiting for the moment when he could take Mr. Krishna back home.  News reports state that as  Mr. Krishna stepped off the motorboat, Mr. Rao opened the car door and prepared to take his place behind the wheel. Mr. Krishna rushed to embrace him as Mr. Rao broke down. “Why are you crying?”

A happy ending for the Collector, his family and for the people as nothing untoward happened to the captor.  But for the State a huge set back as they appeared to have acceded to all the demands.  It is time State sets off a strong policy and addresses to the needs of people especially tribals ensuring that these things do not recur again…..