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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

West Bengal celebrates KKR victory - India beats Malaysia

Cricket whether in its pristine Test format or the pyjama T20 is enjoyable – but be clear IPL is Club Cricket has no National or State leaning – Chennai Super Kings is a franchisee with Chennai based India Cements owning it – otherwise it does not represent the State of Tamilnadu or the metropolis of Chennai. Some seem to have some delusions still !

On Sunday [27.5.12] in a thriller, little known Bisla helped KKR beat CSK in the finals of IPL 5  - it stretched into night and trying to keep awake, I waited to listen the post match interviews; the award ceremony; expert views; may be ex-cricketers receiving cash purse and more…….. but ended up seeing the theatrics of Shahrukh Khan, his acrobats, he applauding his children, thanking his wife and keeping the mike for long.  The great orator Sherry (Navjotsingh Sidhu) ended up praising and speaking something un-understandable…….. being away from the ordinary crowd is one’s mistake !!

Away at their home, Kolkatta is buzzing with happiness.  Petrol hike or any other problems are common man’s – elated at the KKR’s maiden title triumph, the West Bengal government has announced that it  will felicitate the victorious city franchise in a ceremony at the Eden Gardens.  The CM, Mamata Banerjee  is quoted as saying  "This is a big achievement. The team from the city  has won and we are all proud of that. Shah Rukh  is our brand ambassador and his team has won, so we want to felicitate the winners on behalf of the state government”.  The IPL champions will also participate in a road show Tuesday starting from Hazra Crossing in the south of the city and going to the state secretariat, the Writers' Buildings. The show will culminate at the Eden Gardens where the felicitation ceremony will be organised.  Many State Minsters are expected to participate in this National event !!

This morning India defeated Malaysia 3-2 in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup which obviously would attract much lesser attention.  It is an annual international men's field hockey tournament held in Malaysia. It began in 1983 as a biennial contest. The tournament became an annual event after 1998, following its growth and popularity. The tournament is named after the ninth Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) of Malaysia, Sultan Azlan Shah, an avid fan of field hockey. The current champions are Australia, who won the title by defeating Pakistan in 2011 final. 

Goalkeeper Bharat Chettri is leading the 18-member Indian hockey team in the 21st Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Tournament being held at Ipoh, Malaysia  from May 24-June 3.  The seven-nation tournament  features Argentina, Britain, India, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand and Pakistan. Apart from hosts Malaysia, all other teams shall be playing at the London Olympic Games in July.  India lost to NZ; beat South Korea; lost to Britain and have now beaten Malaysia.  India will play Argentina on 30th and Pakistan on 31st May.

India have won the title on five earlier occasions -- 1985, 1991, 1995, 2009 and 2010.  Much is expected of Sandeep Singh, Ragunath, Rupinderpal Singh, Birendra Lakra, Chettri, Danish Mujtaba, Tushar Khandker.  

Today, India bouncing  back from Sunday`s loss to Great Britain,  played a brisk game in a fast-paced encounter and led from the start, but had to ward off Malaysia`s determined fightback.  The  highlight of the day was title favourites Great Britain`s 2-3 shocking defeat at the hands of Argentina which  has completely opened up the tournament.  New Zealand still leads the standings with nine points from three successive wins, while both Argentina and India lie second with six points from four matches each.

Danish Mujtaba deflected in Sarvanjit Singh`s shot into the boards in the 10th minute and then Shivendra Singh sent a scorching grounder into the boards from top of the circle in the next minute. India  wasted a number of scoring chances as S K Uthappa shot straight into goalkeeper Subramiam Kumar in the 16th minute and then Yuvraj Walmiki shot wide after the ball was switched around in a brisk counter-attack in the 26th minute.  This was Malaysia`s first loss in three outings, having drawn their previous two matches.

May be they are speaking the truth – but yet it makes a sad reading.   Former India hockey captain and India`s chef-de-mission for London Olympics Ajitpal Singh feels that it won`t be possible for the current team to win any medal at the quadrennial extravaganza.  India have qualified for the London Olympics in February after a gap of eight years and the former players said a top-six finish will be a good performance for the current team.  Former Olympic gold medallist Zaffar Iqbal is also of the opinion that a medal is a distant dream.

But to an ordinary devout Indian fan, these words do not matter, as we hope against hope for a podium finish for India at the Olympics.  All the best to our National Team

With regards
S. Sampathkumar
29th May 2012.

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