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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

India loses at Durban and when Janine danced........

A loss (of the Test and the Series) - Alviro Petersen and Graeme Smith needed only 48 minutes and 11.4 overs to knock off the runs. It meant that Jacques Kallis, playing in his last Test, did not need to bat again after his first innings of 115 built the platform for South Africa to take a crucial 166-run first innings lead.  The score card reads : South Africa 500 (Kallis 115, de Villiers 74, Jadeja 6-138) and 59 for 0 beat India 334 (Vijay 97, Pujara 70, Steyn 6-100) and 223 (Rahane 96, Peterson 4-74) by ten wickets – but somehow the loss does not hurt so much !!!!!

In a season of retirements, Pretoria gave their fine batsman Jacques Kallis' a perfect end – he himself made it grand too.  Kallis will retire satisfied at having been an integral part of a South Africa side who are the undisputed No. 1 in Tests, having lost just one of their previous 25 series stretching back to 2006. Steyn blowed them over……….. Rohit Sharma had shouldered arms and lost his middle stump first ball in the first innings, but he fared better this time around. There was plenty of chat with a fired-up Steyn, who sledged him with lines like "I've got more runs than you this series," and "You have done nothing in your career." Rohit survived both Steyn's spell and the verbals, but there was no redemption on a disappointing tour for him as he was caught lbw by a ripping incutter from Vernon Philander for 25. His Mumbai team-mate Rahane, though, has vastly enhanced his reputation on this series.

This 1-0 series defeat for India has in someways exceeded the expectations off this young and inexperienced team.  At the Wanderers they had almost batted South Africa out of the game, but then witnessed a miraculous comeback that nearly left them beaten. At Kingsmead, India were 198 for 1 on a flat pitch but still ended up losing a Test that was shortened by rain and bad light.

This series once again exposed the poor bowling … not able to defend and almost losing the target of 458 and now allowing 500 when they were 387-7 at one stage. India in South Africa thus far… is 17 matches – 2 wins and 8 losses….   … in 1992-93 it was 0-1(4); in 1996-97 0-2 (3); in 2001/02 0-1(2); in 2006 it was 1-2 (3); in 2010 it was 1-1-0(3); that way 0-1 (2) is not bad….. but this has again exposed how Indians perform when abroad.  The inexperienced batting line-up stood up…. Murali Vijay made some good runs; Cheteshwar Pujara distinguished himself and so did Virat Kohli… Ajinkya Madhukar Rahana ozzed class – Dhawan, Rohit, Dhoni and Jadeja failed with the bat…

Dhoni was very cool when SA came so close in the 1st test but at Durban he was perhaps too defensive and some positive play on day 4 perhaps could have got us some more runs though whether they in any way would have changed the result is debatable. Dhoni's explanation for playing the waiting game with the softer ball that wouldn't travel off the bat hinted at the fast bowlers' shortcomings. He is quoted as asking "What will we do with the new ball?" Dhoni asked. "Can't swing it. Who will bowl the 25 overs to get it to reverse? [Ravindra] Jadeja won't be effective because it's hard and new, so you have to see what your strength is and take a decision. No point. Yes it [the match] started on the 26th, it's Christmas time, but I am not Santa to let them score freely, and say, 'We won't bat for four sessions, we are ready to bat for six sessions.' It's about strategy and what works for you." The India bowlers had bowled a lot in Johannesburg, and were back playing in the hot and humid Durban three days later. The energy was clearly down. Possibly Dhoni worried about those 25 overs with lower intensity, and wondered who would be fresh to bowl if it started reversing after those 25 overs. He also pointed out another shortcoming in the attack.

Jacques Henry Kallis took a bow after moving past  Ricky Ponting to become the second-highest scorer of Test centuries, behind only Sachin Tendulkar with 51.

On a parting note,  here is Janine Kallis who had to dance when Kallis was out first ball in an IPL game castled by Delhi Daredevils' left-arm pacer Dirk Nannes. Janine Kallis was part of the cheerleaders' troupe based in Port Elizabeth and as luck would have it, she has been selected as a cheerleader twice to cheer for Jacques' opposition.  

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Monday, December 30, 2013

Goldwinner - SYMA Childfest 2013-2014 at NKT Girls High School

Dear Student(s)  & Parent(s) ….

Welcome to :  Goldwinner – SYMA Child Fest 2013-2014

SYMA Childfest -  is the grand Inter-school competitions being organized by SYMA.  Srinivas Youngmens Association, popularly known as SYMA has been in the field of Social service since 1977.  We have a Medical Centre providing consultation @ Rs.2/- and free medicines to poor patients from 5 pm to 7 pm on all days excluding Sundays and National holidays.  We run a Educational Tuition centre titled ‘SYMA Growth’ providing free tuition centre for 2 hours  on all days of week.  We have been actively engaged in various other activities including provision of free uniforms, educational aid, health camps, blood donation, environmental cleanliness, civic programmes and more.

Children are our future and inculcating good qualities in them and making them responsible citizens is the responsibility of the Society.  SYMA all along has been striving betterment of society  and imbibing discipline, commitment, mental strength, self-consciousness and other virtues.  Child Fest is one such attempt aimed at imbibing in them the skill sets, confidence and more importantly competitiveness. Child Fest provides a competitive platform for showcasing talent in various fields.

Over the years, this has become immensely popular with schools and with children, as the numbers are growing multifold year after year. The fete is a two day affair with individual participation in Drawing and Fancy Dress – the rest are representation through schools.

This year, at Goldwinner- SYMA Childfest, we will have the following competitions :-

Drawing Competition : (6 groups) on 25th Jan 2014

Lkg-Ukg; 1st & 2nd; 3rd – 5th; 6th – 8th; 9th & 10th; 11th & 12th

v      Students can come direct to the Venue, register and participate.
v      Students are required to carry School identity card
v      Students are required to report 30 minutes before the schedule time
v      there is no topic for students up to 8th standard.
v      for Group  E & F (9,10, 11 and 12) - the topic is 'Conservation of Forest'.
v      the chart for drawing would be provided by SYMA - participants have to bring pen, pencil, colouring material of their choice. 

Fancy dress Competition : on 25th Jan 2014

v      For Lkg, Ukg and 1st Standard Students only
v      Students  can come direct to the Venue, register and participate.
v      Students are required to carry School identity card
v      Students are required to report 15 minutes before the schedule time

Variety Entertainment : on 26th Jan 2014 (Group A)

v      This is a Team competition ~ each team should have minimum of 5 students
v      Group A is for students from Lkg to 5th Standard
v      Only one team from each school and entry form duly completed must be sent by the school.
v      A school will be allotted maximum of 20 minutes only
v      Each school should present minimum of 3 different programme in the given time
v      Weightage would be given for programme on National leaders.

Variety Entertainment : on 26th Jan 2014 (Group B)

v      This is a Team competition ~ each team should have minimum of 5 students
v      Group B is for students from VI to XII  Standard
v      Only one team from each school and entry form duly completed must be sent by the school.
v      A school will be allotted maximum of 20 minutes only
v      Each school should present minimum of 3 different programme in the given time
v      Weightage would be given for programme on National leaders.
v      Dance (solo and group) is not allowed to be part of the event

Quiz Competition : on 26th Jan 2014 (Group B)

v      To be held in 2 groups
v      Group A for students from 6th Standard to 9th Standard
v      Group B for students from 10th Std to 12th Standard
v      Each team shall have only 2 students
v      A school shall send only one entry for each group
v      There will be a preliminary (written) round which will be held at 11.00 am
v      Students are required to report 30 minutes before the scheduled time

the timing of individual Groups are as under …

The Venue is :
NK Thirumalachariar National Girls High School
Dr Besant Road, Triplicane, Chennai 600005

The school which is a landmark by itself is near Vivekananda House, Ice House Police Station and Sri Parthasarathi Swami temple.  This great educational institution was founded way back in 1944   by Shri N.K. Thirumalachariar, a leading Member of the Bar. Shri C.R. Pattabiraman, a doyen of the Bar was also one of the Founders of the Society.  The trust is  managing N.K. Thirumalachariar National Boys' High School Triplicane and N.K. Thirumalachariar National Girls' Higher Secondary School, and the Staff training college also. 

The winners of  all the events will be awarded Prizes at a function to be held at 0600 pm on 26th Jan 2014  at the venue itself. For all further enquiries contact :  044 – 28441078 /  or e mail us at :

With regards – S. Sampathkumar, Secretary, SYMA.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

AC coach of Bengaluru Nanded Express catches fire - 26 feared dead

The Nanda Dynasty originated from the region of Magadha in ancient India during the 4th century BC. At its greatest extent, the Nanda Dynasty extended from Bengal in the east, to Punjab in the west and as far south as the Vindhya Range. The Nanda Empire was later conquered by Chandragupta Maurya, who founded the Maurya Empire.

Nanded  is the second largest city in the Marathwada Division of Maharashtra, India, and the headquarters of Nanded district. Nanded is of great historical significance for Sikhs, and it has many Sufi shrines as well. The city is situated on the bank of the Godavari, and is a regional educational hub.  Nanded was the capital of the district of Telangana under Aurangzeb. In 1708, the year following Aurangzeb's death, Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth spiritual leader of the Sikhs, came to Nanded. He proclaimed himself the last living Guru and established the Guru Granth Sahib as the eternal Guru of Sikhism, elevating the reverence of the text to that of a living leader. Nanded became part of the Hyderabad State in 1725 and continued to be part of the Nizam's dominions until 1948.

Nanded is in news for wrong reasons ~ a rail accident where 26 people are feared dead … fire on board the B1 air-conditioned coach of the Bengaluru-Nanded express early on Saturday morning(28.12.13). The train was travelling from Bangalore to Nanded when it caught fire near the small town of Puttaparthi in the early hours…. Sadly the frequency of train accidents causing loss of lives is on the increase. As the bodies were being transported to Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru, Union Minister of State for Railways Kotla Jayasuryaprakash Reddy visited the accident spot in Kothacheruvu and announced compensation to the victims, serious injuries and minor injuries. He said the Indian Railways would bear the cost of the treatment too. It is reported that sleeping passengers woke to the blaze that was caused by an electrical fault; Train doors had been locked and windows encased in metal bars ; survivors forced to smash toilet windows to escape.

Newspaper reports quoting officials say that many of those trapped suffocated as the result of smoke inhalation after the blaze that took place in the early hours of the morning. The unfortunate met their end in the early hours when they were fast asleep. Firefighters had to force open the  locked doors open to retrieve the charred bodies of those who did not survive ~ survivors were unable to help all other passengers out of the train through the narrow toilet windows which were the only way to escape.

Though numbers vary around 68 persons are believed to have been travelling in the ill-fated air-conditioned carriage at the time of mishap. India's Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh  expressed his 'shock and sadness' at the incident.   The PM has also ordered the railway and state government authorities 'to extend all possible help to the victims in rescue and relief operations'.

The first people to reach the scene were from nearby villages as initial relief efforts were hindered by winter fog, reports indicate.  Railways Minister Kharge said the railway board chairman would lead an inquiry into the cause of the accident and a more complete report would be issued at a later date. The engine driver stopped the train when he spotted flames about an hour away from Nanded, a police officer was quoted on The Hindu newspaper website as saying.

A sad day indeed as the Nation mourns the innocent lives lost in the ghastly accident
With regrets – S. Sampathkumar
28th Dec 2013.

Photos :

stray thoughts - placid pitch scorer ... prices of CNG & PNG

Its mad crowds everywhere.   ,….. but before you read something on the record attendance at Melbourne and something on a cinema (yes Movie preview !!)   read the post on Kanithamethai Ramanujan movie : – there is lot of rhetoric from the Congress' anti-corruption avatar, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi expressing  reservations on the manner in which the Maharashtra cabinet rejected the Adarsh probe report. "I don't agree with the Maharashtra government's rejection of the Adarsh probe report. Adarsh probe report should be reconsidered," Gandhi said at a press conference in New Delhi which was attended by all Congress-ruled chief ministers including Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan

And as AAP is preparing to take oath of governance, comes the news that prices  of compressed natural gas and piped natural gas are rising in Delhi, while they are falling in Gujarat. CNG is auto fuel and PNG is the cooking gas distributed through pipes. The development has the potential to queer the pitch for a war of words between political parties at a time when the newly formed Aam Aadmi Party, which had high energy and water prices as the theme of its campaign, is about to take charge in Delhi. That Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is the main opposition party’s prime ministerial candidate only adds more colour.

At Durban, the second day began with grey skies and a persistent rain that wiped out the morning session but when play began, more than three hours behind the scheduled start, it was in blazing sunshine with the fans reaching for the sunblock.  As we looked forward to dominance from Indians and century by Murali Vijay, Steyn scripted something else.  He rolled over the lower order to have a 6 for and had India reeling to  334 from 198 for 1….. despite Kohli and Rahane making some runs India folded suddenly with ducks by Rohit Sharma and Jadeja who got out to Duminy….. Manjrekar was part of a discussion on whether Dhawan is a wonder only on placid wickets but……… what about the most talented Rohit Sharma ?

At the time of posting this, England are 105 runs ahead after scoring only 255 in first essay……….. they bowled well and should be blaming themselves for that last wicket partnership which took Aussies from 164 to finish at 204.

On a Saturday, how do you feel going to work ?!?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
28.12.13 @ 07.40 am

Friday, December 27, 2013

Sale attracts huge crowds .... and record attendance at Melbourne

This started to be a post on ‘crustaceans’ ~ somehow slipped away to be this….  I had posted on Pongal Test at Chepauk drawing parallel to Boxing day test at Melbourne where England is struggling…

·                    1880 to 1888: 4
·                    1889 to 1899: 5
·                    1900 to 1938: 6
·                    1939 to 1945: 8
·                    1946 to date:  6

Can you make out what the above is ?..... as you ponder over – there reportedly were total chaos in London as bargain hunters swamped stores.  Newspapers report that thousands of shoppers queued outside branches  of retail stores even before the shops opened in the morning……… the queue consisted of international shoppers too, desperate for deals on luxury goods. Chinese visitors were predicted to be the biggest spenders, shelling out nearly £1,400 on each transaction ~ there are so many retail websites which have offered good discounts, still shops attracted thousands…

If you are wondering the numbers in the 2nd para (in blue) … it is the no. of balls per over that England employed….. down under - Australia employed eight-ball overs in 1924-25 and from 1936-37 to 1978-79 inclusive, South Africa from 1938-39 to 1957-58, New Zealand from 1968-69 to 1978-79, and Pakistan from 1974-75 to 1977-78. West Indies, India, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh have used only six-ball overs in home Tests.

~ interestingly, there are views that Australia gave up the eight-ball over in 1979-80 and reverted to 6 balls per over due to Kerry Packer's Channel 9, which took over the televising of Test cricket in Australia in that season, pointing out that they would get more commercial breaks - and thus more revenue - with six-ball overs than with eight-ball ones.

In this boxing test at Melbourne, spectators have swarmed to the ground despite Australia having already clinching the Ashes 3-0 after the third test at Perth last week……. The crowds attendance reportedly surpassed the 1961 record, set also at Melbourne, on Day 2 of the fifth test of the West Indies’ tour of Australia.

A world record crowd of 90,831 attended day one of the fourth Ashes test between Australia and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, according to Cricket Australia. The Thursday crowd surpassed the 90,800, also at the MCG, set on the second day of the fifth test of the West Indies’ tour of Australia in 1961.

The 1961 tour was by West Indies led by Frank Worrel; Aussies were captained by the famous leggie Richie Benaud, who is well known as a commentator too. The first test of the 5 match series is remembered till date for the result – ‘ a tie ’ – which was to be repeated at Chepauk years later.  It was considered to be an exciting series and the WI players were welcomed everywhere… there are reports that prior to their departure from Australia, the team were paraded through Melbourne in open-top cars and were cheered by enormous crowds. Worrell's success as captain was particularly significant, because all previous West Indies captains had been white (except for George Headley in a single home Test in 1947-8).

It was the first time when the Australian Broadcasting Corporation covered all five Test matches of the series.  The 5th test was played at Melbourne in Feb 1961- WI made 292 and 321; Australians made 356 and 258/8 winning the test by 2 wickets. It was a 8 balls per over era.  The second day of that test was a Saturday, and a then world record crowd of 90,800 saw that match………. Many a times crowds far exceeding that no. perhaps have attended at Indian venues especially Kolkatta, but suffer because there are no exact counts officially recorded unlike in Australia.

Soon would post something on the spring and the movement of millions of crustaceans in Australia ~ there were times when people bought tickets and turned out in large numbers even for seeing Ranji matches in India…………. Lahli attracted crowds for that match between Haryana and Mumbai as little master Sachin Tendulkar played his last Ranji there.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

27th Dec 2013.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Indian Railways introduces 'dynamically priced' train : 22913 / 14 Mumbai - Delhi

‘old order changeth .. yielding place to new’ the immortal words of Le Morte d’arthur.

Life has changed a lot… if there is one Organisation (a State run one at that) ….. [run is apt description]….. which has kept abreast with technological changes and continues changing dynamically – the prize for sure would go to Indian Railways…. Which keeps introducing innovative ideas and solutions…for those of you who are cynical, go back to 1980s where booking a train ticket required special skills and hours of leisure……… + the art of standing in serpentine queues only to be told when nearer that ‘tickets have all been booked’…the Moore market reservation complex at Madras ushered in a revolution – whence one can stand in any queue and book for any train – not necessarily emanating or destined for Chennai – the computerized reservation was indeed a great step forward…….. then came e-ticket and now we are habitually travelling without caring to carry the printed ticket !!!

Time-based pricing is a pricing strategy where the provider of a service or supplier of a commodity, may vary the price depending on the time-of-day when the service is provided or the commodity is delivered. The rational background of time-based pricing is expected or observed change of the supply and demand balance during time.  Airlines ticketing is an easy example and now days you wonder how much your neighbour would have paid for the same travel !!

Elders of Chennai would recall the ‘Moore market’ which was originally built housing the hawkers of Broadway… read that its foundation stone was laid by Sir George Moore, president of the Madras Corporation in 1898.  In May 1985, a fire destroyed the market building – and in its place rised the Chennai Suburban Railway terminus and reservation centre catering to thousands of passengers.

There are many trains between the capital Delhi to Commercial capital Mumbai………… there are Rajdhanis too… still 22913/22914 is different………… and here is an attempt to book a ticket by that train. It is special not because it is a Rajdhani, not because it does not stop elsewhere, not because its advance period is shorter and is just 15 days; not because it has no Tatkal facility……………. But because the price of this premium train is dynamic……….. confusing !!

With a view to meeting the peak demand for travel on the eve of Christmas/New Year, Indian Railways has proposed to operate a few trips of premium Air-conditioned special trains on the busy New Delhi-Mumbai sector between 24th December 2013 to 2nd Jan 2014. The fare for this train is dynamic and would increase depending on the demand intensity.

It reportedly started at a price band of Rs.2,175 for 3AC and Rs.2,910 for 2AC on Saturday, the prices by Monday evening had risen to Rs2,197 for 3AC and Rs3,357 for 2AC.  This attempt to book a ticket on 30.12.13 showed a price of Rs.1815/- only.  In the dynamic pricing system — which is used widely by airlines — the price of thousands of tickets are determined by computer servers and may go up or down in the days before the journey, according to demand.

According to officials, by Monday morning, 48 seats were available in the train’s 2AC section and 421 for its 3AC section for the train’s December 26 Mumbai-Delhi journey. For its Mumbai-Delhi journey on December 29, the seat availability was 154 for 2AC and 549 for 3AC. Prices could shoot up further as the demand for the train increases. “It remains to be seen how high the ticket prices will go. But we believe this is the future of ticketing and we wouldn’t be surprised if the railways add more such trains in future,” said an official.

According to a statement released by the railway ministry, the booking shall be available only through the Internet (IRCTC portal) and not through counters at reservation centres. Passengers are required to carry the prescribed original photo identity card which is used at the time of booking. Most importantly, the fares applicable for each day or transaction would be indicated at the time of booking on the IRCTC e-ticketing website.

There will be no waitlist and there will be no refund too unless the train itself is cancelled. Everyone will be charged the adult fare.  The train has no commercial stops enroute; has only AC 3 tier and 2 tier ~ No Tatkal/ Ladies/Other Quota tickets in this train and no concession is applicable. The menu and tariff of the catering services will be similar to other Rajdhani Trains.

Welcome to yet another new innovation from Indian Railways

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th Dec 2013.

2nd Test at Port city of Durban starts today

SA were agonizingly close to a historic victory in a match where India can take a lot of credit…. Eventually Dale Steyn and Philander were booed in their own country ….. they were expected to blow Indians over….now the scene shifts to Durban, a port city.

Durban is the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. It is also the second most important manufacturing hub in South Africa after Johannesburg. Durban is famous for being the busiest port in South Africa and Africa. It is also seen as one of the major centres of tourism because of the city's warm subtropical climate and extensive beaches.  The idea of Durban as a port dates back to 1824 when the first European settlers made a landing with the intention of setting up a trading post. The Bay of Natal (Durban Bay) was one of the few natural harbours available along the east coast of southern Africa between Algoa Bay and Delagoa Bay (now Maputo Bay). Vasco da Gama is said to have sighted the Bay on Christmas Day, 1497.  Since then ships called sporadically over several centuries.

The modern day Durban is a busy port having a total of 59 effective berths excluding those used by fishing vessels and ship repair. The bay also has an inner anchorage. A single buoy mooring at Isipingo on the southeast side of the Bluff caters for very large crude carriers (VLCC) that are too large to enter the port. A total of 302km of rail tracks extends throughout the port area along with several major marshalling yards. It is a famous container port and the second container terminal on Pier One commenced operations in 2007. Africa's biggest and busiest container terminal, the Durban Container Terminal ranks among the top in the world.  The terminal has a combined capacity of 3.6 million TEU per annum, which will increase to 4 million TEU after the berth extension. (source of news and photo : 

Little more than a stone's throw from the ocean, is located  Kingsmead, home to sandy beaches and surfing. The ground has played host to tests since January 1923 when England and South Africa played to out a draw. Indians  were skittled for just 66 in 1996. In 2003 Kingsmead staged the World Cup semi-final between India and Kenya. Statistically, this is South Africa's worst Test venue in recent years. Worst not just at home. Anywhere. They have lost to Sri Lanka, India, England and Australia in their last four matches at Kingsmead. There reportedly  isn't much grass here this time.

The pace attack remains unchanged – no Ashwin now and Sir Jadeja walks in…. Imran Tahir is dropped and in comes Robin Pietersen.  At least Indians are not bruised as they have already exceeded expectations on this tour, but this is not the time for them to take stock of that. They can take pride in having told South Africa that it will take nothing but their best to win this home series. A step further, though, will cap a remarkable year for them.

Though he is still there for today’s match – SA will find it hard to recuperate from the loss of Jacques Kallis who has affirmed solidity to batting and energy to bowling besides catching whatever came his way. To me, it appeared that his announcement was well prepared but well disguised too in tune with timing which has been his quality – be it the drives or the clever placements.  He was more or less the grafter,  the run-machine, the amasser, he was piling runs and raking up centuries at will and was breathing hard on Sachin Tendulkar……….now his retirements puts more premium on Sachin’s achievements.  While all of us know of his batting and bowling too………. he has 199 grabs as an efficient slip fielder with bucket hands.  He led South Africa only twice in Tests, both times against Australia.

Early this year, he had to sit out against Pakistan at Centurion because of a calf injury picked up at an optional training session. Kyle Abbott featured in his place …………but was dropped when Kallis returned ~ a luxury, when you read of what Abbot did in that match.  The fast bowling Kyle Abbott is part of this squad coming as a back up for Morne Morkel, but did not get his 2nd chance.  Abbot  had had a terrific start to his Test career -  in his debut Test in February 2013, against Pakistan in Centurion, he took a match haul of nine including 7 for 29 in the first innings.  In that test no. 2075 in Feb 2013, the debutant ran through Pak claiming – Mohd Hafeez, Younish Khan, Misbah, Sarfraz ahmed, Saeed Ajmal, Ehsan Adil & Mohd Irfan….bowling them out for 156 with his figures being 11.4-4-29-7.  when Pak followed on he took the wickets of  Imran Farhat and Ehsan Adil ~ was man of the match, but is yet to play his 2nd test……… will such a thing happen in the sub-continent ?

In 2010 India beat SA at Kingsmead by 87 runs in a low scoring test ~ and that raises lot of hopes for the visitors

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

26th Dec 2013

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

MV Akademik Shokalskiy struck in ice - in Antarctica

Chennai is lot cool…………. Chill in the mornings and in Delhi it was around 10oC………  Thaw refers to the process of melting, or: to go from a frozen to a liquid state (melt)

Bluff is a town and seaport in the Southland region, on the southern coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It is the southern-most town in New Zealand (excluding Oban) and, despite Slope Point being further to the south, is colloquially used to refer to the southern extremity of the country. According to the 2006 census, the usually resident population was 1,850, a decrease of 85 since 2001 ~ some passengers boarded the ship from this Port on a month-long expedition and are in news.

Yuly Mikhailovich Shokalsky,  was aRussian oceanographer, cartographer, and geographer. He is credited with more than 300 articles….  His most important monograph was Oceanography (1917), a collection of his lectures which examined connection between meteorology and hydrology and emphasized the importance of monitoring marine phenomena in order to understand global changes of climate. His name is given to the Shokalsky Strait connecting the Laptev Sea and the Kara Sea, to the large Shokalsky Island in the Kara Sea, and to the ship Akademik Shokalskiy.

It is vast ~  ice-covered continent, surrounded by stormy, icy seas - Antarctica is indeed a challenging place to reach! Only the most adventurous would plan to visiting the freezing ice and snow….  The World's 5th largest continent is 98% covered with ice which averages 1.6km in thickness. The ice sheet contains 90% of the world's ice and 70% of the world's fresh water.  Antarctica is not a country; but governed by a treaty of many nations, preserving Antarctica for peace and science ~ its estimated penguin population is more than 50 million (7 of the 17 species of penguins) ~ it has no permanent human inhabitants, 1000 to 5000 work in scientific bases …. It is Antarctica- the coldest, driest, windiest and highest continent on earth. Uninhabitable to land animals it is paradoxically home to abundant wildlife during the summer season.

There is news now that the ship MV  Akademik Shokalskiy is apparently stuck in ice part-way through her Australasian Antarctic Expedition towards Mawson's Hut at Cape Denison. According to reports nobody is in present danger and three nearby icebreakers are being sent to assist. The Akademik Shokalskiy is a fully ice-strengthened expedition vessel renowned for polar exploration, because of its strength, maneuverability and small passenger numbers.  MV Akademik Shokalskiy  was built in Finland in 1982 and originally used for oceanographic research.  In 1998 it was fully refurbished to serve as a research ship for Arctic and Antarctic work.

70 humans are reportedly on board the stranded vessel - 50 tourists and 20 crew members  who were on a tour from New Zealand to visit several sites along the edge of Antarctica. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) received a distress call on Christmas morning, notifying the rescue co-ordination centre that the ship was trapped in ice and would need help.It is not known how long the ship has been unable to break free from the ice floes ~ but all those on board are reported to be safe.

How alone is understood by the fact that the nearest ship is two days away, 1,500 nautical miles from the tourist boat – and until rescue vessels  reach closer, it will not be known whether the passengers would have to be taken off the ship and moved out of the area on larger vessels.  It is reported that the stranded ship was on a research expedition to commemorate the centenary of Australian geologist Douglas Mawson's exploration of Antarctica.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

25th Dec 2013.

Pongal Test; Boxing day test at Melbourne - Kallis retires - Sachin fans happy

A glimpse of Chepauk stadium … the MA Chidambaram stadium to be precise – brings in lots of memories … the famous stadium is named after  M. A. Chidambaram, the former President of BCCI and the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association. Today is a holiday…. Boxing ~ pugilism is a combat sport – known as contest of strength, reflexes, speed and more… but can be quite nasty. 
Photo courtesy :

Boxing Day perhaps has nothing to do with pugilism but traditionally the day following Christmas day when people would receive gifts from their employers known as Christmas box (not here in India) … understand that it is most popular down under; but in South Africa, Boxing day was renamed to day of Goodwill in 1994. India play South Africa at Durban tomorrow i.e., 26th Dec 2013 and down under Aussies take on battered and bruised England at Melbourne.

Here are some tests… Test No. 708 – India won by 4 wickets against England;  Test No. 752 ever remembered by that classy knock of Vishwanath; great bowling of Andy Roberts and the defeat (100 runs at that) suffered by Clive Lloyd against Pataudi led Indians in 1975; Test no. 841 Kalicharran led WI lost to Gavaskar captained India in 1979; Test no. 869 – grand Indian win against Pakistan in 1980 – Kapil Dev Man of the Match, Sandip Patil made his debut;  Test no. 1089 Vivian Richards led WI lost badly (255 runs) to Ravi Shastri led Indians – Hirwant made dream debut taking 16 wickets – WV Raman and Ajay Sharma also made their debuts….  Perhaps you would have seen all of them… the Q is what unites all these Tests among more played ?!?!?
the chepauk stadium

~ all Indian wins …. Not the only link… all Chepauk tests… and more importantly the Pongal Tests !!!...............  the ground at Chepauk has been in existence from imperial days – the first ever test here was in 1933-34 when Douglas Jardine played Ck Nayudu led team.  Crowds have always come in large numbers  ~ it is not only the numbers – they are reputed to be most knowledgeable and appreciative……….  And all the above tests took place on Pongal day……… for long Chepauk used to host Test matches on Pongal days………….

There is another long standing tradition, - the Boxing Day Test match  hosted in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia involving the Australian cricket team and an opposing national team which is touring Australia that summer. It begins annually on Boxing Day (26 December) and is played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Every four years, the Boxing Day Test forms part of the 5-match Ashes series with England.  The popularity of the Boxing Day Test also has something to do with Australia's relaxed outdoor lifestyle, which sees sports lovers appreciate a fine summer's day spent with friends watching sporting greats battle it out on a well-manicured field.

The first ever Test match involving Boxing Day took place in 1950. Prior to that, Boxing Day at the MCG had been the domain of Sheffield Shield cricket, often the highly popular Victoria-New South Wales encounters.  Many famous events have happened during the Boxing Day Test, including umpire Darrell Hair calling Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing in 1995 and Shane Warne taking his 700thTest wicket in 2006 against England in his final MCG Test. Now tomorrow, the  2013 Boxing Day Test will be held from December 26-30 between Australia and England.  1950 saw the first ever Boxing day test……… Aussie won the thriller by 28 runs.  The 2nd was against South Africa in 1952 ~ and there have been so many since…………… England is unlikely to reverse the trend of losing in the present series…………..

Sachin bowed out in style ~ Greame Swann surprised many and now comes another one……………… the news is that Jacques Kallis, one of the game's greatest allrounders, will retire from Test cricket after the Boxing Day match against India. Kallis announced his decision on the eve of the second Test against India, but stated that he would still like to play the 2015 World Cup for South Africa. In a statement, Kallis said: "It wasn't an easy decision, with Australia around the corner and the success this team is enjoying, but I feel the time is right. I don't see it as goodbye, I still have a lot of hunger to push South Africa to that World Cup in 2015 if I am fit and performing. The last two years specifically have been a memorable journey with an exceptional group of cricketers. I am fortunate enough to have ended my Test career amongst a group of talented cricketers but, more importantly, friends whom I will cherish for years to come."

Kallis has been a phenomenal all rounder and one who scores so consistently with the bat… he made his test debut against England in December 1995; has played 165 Tests, scoring 13174 runs at an average of 55.12, with 44 centuries and 58 half-centuries. He is currently fourth on the list of leading run-getters in Test cricket, and is also second on the list of batsmen with most Test centuries, apart from having scored the most runs for South Africa in Tests.

In one way, for Sachin’s fans – Kallis retirement is a thing to celebrate as it is he was the potential person to challenge his 51 test centuries… presently he has 44 in 165 tests and a couple of series against ordinary opposition could have taken him much closer.  Now the gap is enormous and far too long for anybody to bridge… after Sachin’s 51; Kallis’s 44 – it is Ponting 41; Dravid 36; Gavaskar / Lara 34; Sangakkara 33; Steve Waugh 32; Jayawardene 31 and Hayden 30 above Bradman / Chanderpaul 29. 

So Sachin (his record of max Test centuries)  would remain at the helm………. With no serious contenders to think of !!!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

25th Dec 2013.