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Sunday, August 31, 2014

India wins 3rd ODI at Trent Bridge goes 2-0 up.... parttime bowlers to the fore !

Victory tastes sweet, especially when it comes after thrashing – happy day for Indians at Trent Bridge – where at the start of the Test Series, the tail, first Indian and then English – made history.  Trent Bridge is located on river Trent, one of the major rivers of England. Its source is in Staffordshire, flows through the Midlands and  joins the River Ouse at Trent Falls to form the Humber Estuary, which empties into the North Se.   Trent Bridge is an iron and stone road bridge across the River Trent ~ there is town Trentbridge which houses the Cricket ground, the home of Nottinghamshire.

Call it luck or tactical, the change seems to be working – after that disastrous Test Series, BCCI announced that former Captain Ravi Shastri would be the Director  assisted by  Sanjay Bangar and Bharat Arun as the Asst. coaches of the team.  R.Sridhar became the fielding coach – and overnight Indian fielding and catching has improved quite a few notches !  It was over no. 34 – part-time offie Suresh Raina was bowling – he did not even care to turn to receive the throw from long- perhaps thought the fielder to be slow – bang came the throw from Mohit Sharma disturbing the stumps directly and Ian Bell was short of crease……..

Earlier Dhoni won the toss, put England in – and they cruised – now a days – in ODI, teams are playing the first few overs rather slowly, may be due to the fact of 2 new balls …. 10 overs 45 seems to be the norm.  In the prematch hype, Gavaskar, Ganguly, and Harsha Bhogle spoke about host of things including spinners succeeding when pacers remove the top early – and the role of part-time bowlers – Ganguly happily extolled that he was never a part-time bowler …  When MS Dhoni won the toss he spoke about wanting to bowl because of "early morning help" for his quicks. Bhuvneshwar Kumar had the ball curling around, producing plenty of edges, he couldn't produce the breakthrough. An hour after the start, England were comfortably placed at 75 for 0, with Alastair Cook finding  semblance of ODI form and Alex Hales providing some of the dynamic hitting he was picked for.
image courtesy :

~ and Dhoni this time employed 7 bowlers – Alex Hales got out to Raina – then Dhoni used plumpy  Ambati Rayudu – who tried bowling a la Muralitharan – Cook, charged at him, missed – Dhoni doing the rest.  Once the occasional bowlers claimed wicket apiece came Ashwin and Jadeja – from 82 without loss, suddenly it became 149/6 and eventually all out for 227.  Between 18th and the 44th overs only one four was hit.  That parttime bowl was necessitated by the injury as Mohit Sharma hobbled off the field with a leg injury in the 11th over.  He came back but was not required to bowl.  That throw from deep by Mohit claimed Ian Bell, who was run out for the 16th time.  Marvan Atapattu, tops with 41 while Rahul Dravid and Inzamam-ul-Haq have been run-out 40 times – though the no. of matches vastly differ. 

India had a methodical chase, finishing in 43 overs with 6 wickets in hand.  Dhawan failed. Rahane 45; Kohli 40; Raina 42 made runs and Ambati Rayudu remained unbeaten on 64.  Ashwin was the man of the match. 

After the remaining 2 ODIs and solitary T20, India hosts WI and will play 5 ODIs, 1 T20 and 3 tests in October-November 2014.  The match-schedule is :
One Dayers : 8 Oct – Kochi; 11 Oct – Vizag; 14 Oct – Cuttack; 17 Oct – Kolkata; 20 Oct – Dharamshala.  T20 : 22nd Oct Delhi.

Test Series : 30 Oct – 3 Nov,  Hyderabad; 7 Nov – 11 Nov, Bengaluru; 15 Nov – 19 Nov,  Ahmedabad.

Too early to say ‘happy days are back again’ …. Yet it is quite a turnaround from the Test Series
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

31st Aug 2014.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Mitchell Johnson shatters glass and peace ... posting of video costs a place !!

Are you on WhatsApp …. Do you post messages and videos – ever wondered what will happen if your Manager were to see that ???  At Harare, Prosper Utsaya, the offie is on a roll….including a hat-trick - the wickets of Quinton de Kock, RR Rossouw and DA Miller ….and 5 of the 6 wickets to fall .. taken in 9 overs….. do you know who took the first hattrick in ODIs ?

It is the landlocked country in Southern Africa between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers, formerly known as Southern Rhodesia (1923), Rhodesia (1965), and Zimbabwe Rhodesia (1979). The first recorded use of "Zimbabwe" as a term of national reference was in 1960, when it was coined by the black nationalist Michael Mawema.  Its Capital is Harare and de jure sovereignty from the United Kingdom in April 1980, following 14 years as an unrecognised state under the conservative white minority government of Rhodesia, which unilaterally declared independence in 1965. Zimbabwe has 16 official languages, with English, Shona and Ndebele being most common. The State is in turmoil and its economy is turbulent.

Cricket in Zimbabwe was a crisis that lasted mainly from 2003 to 2007 where player withdrawals such as the "Black-armband protest" by Andy Flower and Henry Olonga along with a mass loss of players in 2004 due to a general strike resulted in very poor performances by the national team. Economic crisis and dollarisation has taken the economy from difficult times to a new kind of security, which has still left many ordinary people struggling to keep up with increased prices.

In 1983, in that famous World Cup – they shocked a star studded Australia and then reduced India to 17/5 when Kapil played that immortal knock ….. they were great fielding side and remember seeing Kevin Curran’s fielding prowess at Chepauk way back in 1987, when he stood at short cover and stopped more than couple of full-blooded drives of Geoff Marsh and Alan Border.  In that match in 9th June 1983  was played the match  Trent Bridge, Nottingham – a match, which Australians would love to forget.  Batting first the minnows made 239; it was the present Indian Coach – Duncan Fletcher captaining them – made 69 off 84 balls.  Those were 60 overs aside;  the situation and the game was played  was much different than what you comprehend from present day T20.   Dennis Lillee had figures of 12-1-47-2 and Jeoff Thomson 11-1-46-0. Chasing 240 in 360 deliveries,  Australians crawled making 226 for 7 in 60 overs at rate of 3.76 runs per over ~ and perhaps the grumpy Duncan smiled !!

Now the Zimbabwean in news is their coach Stephen Mangongo who  has denied excessive heavy handedness in the suspension of a player from the national squad. That bowler will not feature in the remainder of the triangular series against Australia and South Africa after what ZC's press release described as "indiscipline" and what Mangongo explained as being "unacceptable by any stretch of the imagination."

Mitchell Johnson's path of inadvertent destruction is haunting Zimbabweans ……….his huge six off Panyangara shattered the commentary box sending Neil Manthorp and Pommie Mbangwa scurrying for cover ~ and more importantly his video of short-pitched barrage sent a player out of the National side.   In what must rank as one of the harshest firings in cricket history, Zimbabwe fast bowler Tinashe Panyangara was charged  for sharing a video (of Johnson in action against England during last Ashes) with teammates on  Whatsapp chat.  Sending around the video of Johnson's bouncers, and implying Zimbabwe's batsmen might be in for a tough time against the quickest man in world cricket, has been deemed worthy of a $US1000 ($A1082) fine and being stood down for the rest of the tri-series.

The man to suffer Tinashe Panyangara who has played 6 Tests and 34 Onedayers has been dropped as a disciplinary action.  Zimbabwe Cricket issued an official statement which made no mention of the reasons for Panyangara's punishment, however it said the team's disciplinary committee had found the side's most experienced seamer "disruptive in the build-up to the first ODI of the triangular series". It's not the first iron-fisted decision made by Zimbabwe coach Steve Mangongo in recent times. He dropped Luke Jongwe for breaching team curfew and the team's best player Brendan Taylor for an unexplained reason. 

Mangongo reportedly sets a tight 9.30pm curfew for Zimbabwe players and doesn't let them consume alcohol. The tall allrounder’s posting was concluded a crime by the coach who is reported to have stated that "In any sport, to post a video of the opposition annihilating another team will not be tolerated. I was perplexed that a senior bowler behaved in such a childish manner," Mangongo told ESPNcricinfo.  Mangongo is quoted as saying that  Panyangara had "not been banned and could be back after the tri-series and added that we have eight other bowlers so we are not worried of who comes in or who goes out.

Have we ever heard any such strong statement or seen firm action from our Coach or the Board !!! …… Jalal-ud-din was the first bowler to take a hattrick in ODI – In Sept 1982 at Hyderabad against Aussies – the victims being Rodney Marsh, Bruce Yardley and Geoff Lawson.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
29th Aug 2014.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

India wins at Cardiff - city set to host NATO has 10 miles fencing ...

Cardiff of which I posted yesterday, has been a happy hunting ground – and India won by a huge margin of 133  in the 2nd  ODI at the Glamorgan County Cricket Ground, or SWALEC Stadium  situate on the west bank of the River Taff in Cardiff.   India made 304 the same score that they made in the last ODI they played against England in Cardiff, in 2011. In both games India also lost six wickets. Further, both games were decided by the D/L method,  the main difference  is England won in 2011. Suresh Raina’s first hundred in ODI outside Asia was a great effort; remember he already has a T20 hundred made in WI.  English players are yet to make century at Cardiff, while Raina, Dhawan and Kohli have made here.

Cardiff is in news for more ....  Cardiff city centre has been turned into a high security ‘prison’ with 10 miles of fencing - which is being dubbed the ‘ring of steel’ - ahead of the Nato conference next week.  This will be the first NATO Summit since Chicago in 2012, and the first NATO summit in the United Kingdom since Margaret Thatcher welcomed NATO leaders to London in 1990. During working sessions at the Celtic Manor and more informal events in Cardiff, world leaders will look to address issues which threaten NATO countries’ national security, from fragile states to piracy, from terrorism to cyber attacks.  Announcing that Wales would host the NATO Summit 2014, the Prime Minister said: It’s a great moment for Wales to advertise its modern and economically brilliant face to the world. We are going to have up to 60 world leaders coming to Wales for this vitally important NATO conference, so I think it’s a very good moment for Wales to put its best foot forward. On 4th & 5th September 2014, Wales will host the largest gathering of international leaders ever to take place in Britain as the UK hosts the NATO summit. President Obama, Chancellor Merkel, and President Hollande are expected to attend along with leaders and senior ministers from around 60 other countries. The summit comes as NATO draws down from its longest ever mission in Afghanistan and against a backdrop of instability in Ukraine. It is an opportunity to ensure that NATO continues to be at the forefront of building stability in an unpredictable world.

~ and to take care of the 150 World leaders, Police have erected nine feet high security fencing around Celtic Manor resort in Newport and Cardiff city centre. Kim Howells, former foreign office minister, fears that home grown Islamic State terrorists could be planning to attack – more than  than 9,000 officers from across the UK have been drafted in to police event and traffic disruptions are likely.  Daily Mail reports that Cardiff city centre resembles a high security prison with its 10 miles of fencing - dubbed the ‘ring of steel’.  Mounted police officers also patrol the security fence in front of Cardiff Castle ahead of the conference, which will see patrols increased to 9.500 officers from across UK – and with eight miles of fencing surrounding the Newport resort and three miles in and around Cardiff city centre, Gwent Police are preparing for traffic disruptions. Pedestrians too will have to go through access points when walking around the city of Cardiff before and during the Nato summit. Gwent Police say the costs will be met by Nato and No.10 Downing Street – which is leading the event - but opponents have predicted it could cost in the region of £50million, according to the South Wales Argus.

Protesters are expected to arrive in the city this week for a peace camp at Tredegar Park and demonstrations are scheduled for August 30 and September 4. NATO summits have previously provided a focus for protestors and the Police Service respects the right for peaceful protest.

Whilst the summit itself is being held at the Celtic Manor Resort, the UK and Welsh Governments have announced that three iconic Welsh venues – Cardiff Castle, Tredegar House and The Royal College of Music and Drama – will all host events for the international guests attending the summit. The Royal Navy’s newest type 45 frigate, HMS Duncan, which will be docked in Cardiff Bay during the week of the summit, will also be used for the events. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

28th Aug 2014.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Richie Benaud to work from home for India - Aussies Series

Not coming to office and ‘working from home’ is a concept popular in some, especially IT & ITES sector.  On the contrary, ‘work-at-home’ scheme is a get-rich-quick scam in which a victim is lured by an offer to be employed at home, very often doing some simple task in a minimal amount of time with a large amount of income that far exceeds the market rate for the type of work. The true purpose of such an offer is for the perpetrator to extort money from the victim, either by charging a fee to join the scheme, or requiring the victim to invest in products whose resale value is misrepresented.

This man retired 50 years ago – but is still popular, overwhelmingly sought that he is now ‘allowed to work from home’ ....  Mr Gyngell was quoted as once saying, 'In the Nine family, he sits at the head of the table.'   

He is a famous Cricketer ..... his bowling reached a new level on the return leg of Australia's overseas tour, when they stopped in the Indian subcontinent in 1956-57 en route back to Australia. In a one-off Test against Pakistan in Karachi, he scored 56 and took 1/36 as Australia fell to defeat. He claimed his Test innings best of 7/72 in the first innings of the First Test in Madras, allowing Australia to build a large lead and win by an innings. It was his first five-wicket haul in a Test innings. After taking four wickets in the drawn Second Test in Bombay, he bowled Australia to victory in the Third Test in Calcutta, sealing the series 2-0. He took 6/52 and 5/53, his best-ever match analysis, ending the series with 113 runs at 18.83 and 24 wickets at 17.66.  He captained that 1961 tour (remember the 1st tied Test) .......

After the 1956 England tour, he stayed behind in London to take a BBC presenter training course. He took up a journalism position with the News of the World, beginning as a police roundsman before becoming a sports columnist. In 1960 he made his first radio commentary in the United Kingdom at the BBC, after which he moved into television. After retiring from playing in 1964, he turned to full-time cricket journalism and commentary, dividing his time between Britain (where he worked for the BBC for many years before joining Channel 4 in 1999), and Australia (for the Nine Network).  The idea for what became his trademark, wearing a cream jacket during live commentary, came from Channel 9 owner Kerry Packer, who suggested the look to help him stand out from the rest of the commentary team.

The man is Richie Benaud whose popularity is comparable to Sir Don Bradman.  He played in 63 tests scored 2201 runs and took 249 test wickets.  Benaud blended thoughtful leg spin bowling with lower-order batting aggression. Along with fellow bowling all-rounder Alan Davidson, he helped restore Australia to the top of world cricket in the late 1950s and early 1960s – and captained Aussies from 1958 to 1964.   

Yesterday, Benaud was not at the Sydney Cricket Ground when he was the first of 15 broadcasters and reporters revealed as the inaugural inductees into the ground's Media Hall of Honour. Alongside Nine stablemate Ray Warren, the legendary Norman May and respected author Ian Heads, Benaud is one of only four living inductees. His wife, Daphne, accepted the honour on his behalf.

Now comes the news that Australia's voice of cricket Richie Benaud has been offered the chance to commentate on Test matches from his home this year if he is not well enough to get to the grounds, according to broadcaster Channel Nine. The 83-year-old former Australia captain has been absent from the commentary box since crashing his Sunbeam Alpine, a sporty two seat open car of 1963 into a low wall as he drove to his home in the Sydney beachside suburb of Coogee last October. Channel Nine chief executive David Gyngell said his desire to have Benaud on board for the four-Test series against India later this year meant the offer to broadcast from home was a serious option. Gyngell is quoted as stating that he would prefer Richie calling at the ground but if that were not to happen, he will be calling it from home. 

While Benaud's ill-health meant he missed the last Ashes series, he was represented at the Sydney Test by dozens of fans dressed up in silver wigs and beige suits waving oversize Channel Nine microphones. Richie is so important that Channel Nine boss David Gyngell has asked the ailing but resilient voice of cricket to call Australia's series against India from his Coogee home.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

27th Aug 2014.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

India to play at Cardiff, Glamorgan .... 5 batsmen who hit 6 Sixers in an over

At a time when Indian Apex court stood heavily on coalgate scam, Team India is going to play at a place connected with coal handling …. Cardiff Docks is a port in southern Cardiff, Wales. At its peak, the port was one of the largest dock systems in the world with a total quayage of almost 11 km (6.8 mi). Once the main port for the export of South Wales coal, the Port of Cardiff remains active in the import and export of containers, steel, forest products and dry and liquid bulks.

India desperate for a win is to play the 2nd ODI at the Glamorgan County Cricket Ground, or SWALEC Stadium  as it is currently known under a naming rights deal, situate on the west bank of the River Taff in Cardiff.  The park in which the stadium was constructed is Sophia Gardens, named after Lady Sophia Rawdon-Hastings. The park was acquired by Cardiff City Council, then the Cardiff Corporation, from the Marquis of Bute in 1947.

Cardiff  is the capital and largest city in Wales and the ninth largest city in the United Kingdom. Cardiff is a significant tourist centre and the most popular visitor destination in Wales.  The city of Cardiff is the county town of the historic county of Glamorgan; a small town until the early 19th century, its prominence as a major port for the transport of coal following the arrival of industry in the region contributed to its rise as a major city.

Indian  skipper MS Dhoni’s declaration in Bristol that coach Duncan Fletcher would lead the team into next year’s World Cup has not gone down too well back home with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Along with coming down strong only Dhoni’s statement, where he also claimed on the eve of the first ODI that Fletcher ‘is still the boss’, the Indian board also tried to reinforce their status quo in terms of making high-profile decisions. While Fletcher’s contract runs up to the World Cup, his place at the helm of the Indian team’s affairs has come under intense scrutiny of late after Ravi Shastri was appointed as Director of Cricket for the limited-overs leg of the England tour.

Glamorgan first played at Sophia Gardens against the Indian touring team in May 1967, but it was not until nearly three decades later that it officially became the county's home. The distance between Bristol and Cardiff is only 44 miles over the Severn Bridge (24 miles as the crow flies), which has led some to question the need for Bristol to have become England's tenth international ground.

In 1968, Glamorgan’s spinner Malcolm Nash had his moment of infamy in a match against Nottinghamshire at Swansea.  The  ball allegedly used in the famous over was sold for a record £26,400 at Christie’s in London in 2006……….. those of us regularly following Cricket know it too well – in that match the poor spinner was torn apart by Garfield Sobers for six sixers in a over ……… later to be matched by Ravi Shastri, Herchelle Gibbs, Yuvraj Singh and Jordan Clark (Nash, Tilak Raj, Daan van Bunge, Stuart Broad and Gurman Randhawa – being the sufferers).  A Cricinfo search reveals that apart from that 36 runs over to Gary Sobers, Nash was hit  for five sixes and a four, by Frank Hayes of Lancashire and in his moment of glory he himself once hit four consecutive balls from Dennis Breakwell of Somerset for six.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th Aug 2014.

Coalgate ... Apex Court strikes down coal allocations between 1993 - 2009

The duration clause reads : ‘This insurance attaches as the subject-matter insured is loaded on board the oversea vessel at the port or place named herein for the commencement of the transit, continues during the ordinary course of transit and terminates as the subject-matter insured is discharged overside from the oversea vessel at the destination named herein’ …………. It is that of Institute Coal Clause.

Chennai Port has been handling tonnes of coal ….  In 1961, Jawahar Dock was inaugurated by the then prime minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri. In 1964, the Jawahar dock with capacity to berth 6 vessels to handle dry bulk cargoes such as coal, iron ore, fertiliser and non-hazardous liquid cargoes was created on the southern side changing the topography of the port.  There was some plan to convert Jawahar Dock (E) berth to a container terminal and in the beginning of the year, the Madras High Court  granted an interim stay.   There have been moves to shift handling of dusty cargo to Ennore. 

Coal  which means  "mineral of fossilized carbon" is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. Coal is composed primarily of carbon along with variable quantities of other elements, chiefly hydrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen. Throughout history, coal has been used as an energy resource, primarily burned for the production of electricity and/or heat, and is also used for industrial purposes, such as refining metals.  Coal is the largest source of energy for the generation of electricity worldwide.  Coal is king and paramount Lord of industry is an old saying in the industrial world. Industrial greatness has been built up on coal by many countries. In India, coal is the most important indigenous energy resource and remains the dominant fuel for power generation and many industrial applications.

~ it is dark and can leave black stains too……… the Supreme Court on Monday declared as "illegal and arbitrary" 218 coal block allocations between 1993 and 2009, ruling that the Central government of the day adopted a process which lacked transparency in the absence of competitive bidding.  United Progressive Alliance (UPA) governments bore the brunt of the apex court's order as 155 of the blocks nullified were allotted during their tenure, including 134 allocations made when former prime minister Manmohan Singh handled the coal ministry.  The remaining 63 allocations were made by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) during its rule from 1999 to 2004.

The Supreme Court on Monday said it was evident that the allocation of blocks by the Centre was driven by the intention to "grant largesse".  The bench rejected the Govt's contention that it was only a first statutory "innocuous" step. "The allocation of coal block by the central government results in the selection of beneficiary, which entitles the beneficiary to get the prospecting licence or mining lease from the state government. Obviously, allocation of a coal block amounts to grant of largesse," said the bench headed by Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha. The bench rejected former Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati's contention that "allocation itself did not confer any right on the allottees to mine the block, that it was just a letter of intent and a lot of procedures are to be followed thereafter, like securing environmental clearances, which are the responsibility of the state".  "It is true that allocation letter by itself does not authorise the allottee to win or mine the coal, but nevertheless the allocation letter does confer a very important right upon the allottee to apply for grant of prospecting licence or mining lease," said the bench.

How do you view that …. Sad over the occurrences or feeling happy of the judicial activism that has at last overturned the nefarious decisions of the Govt.  Coal allocation scam or Coalgate, is a political scandal concerning the Indian government's allocation of the nation's coal deposits to public sector entities (PSEs) and private companies by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.  In a draft report issued in March 2012, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) office accused the Government of India of allocating coal blocks in an inefficient manner during the period 2004–2009. Over the Summer of 2012, the opposition BJP lodged a complaint resulting in a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into whether the allocation of the coal blocks was in fact influenced by corruption. The essence of the CAG's argument is that the Government had the authority to allocate coal blocks by a process of competitive bidding, but chose not to.  The CBI has named a dozen Indian firms in a First Information Report (FIR), the first step in a criminal investigation. These FIRs accuse them of overstating their net worth, failing to disclose prior coal allocations, and hoarding rather than developing coal allocations.

The issue has received massive media reaction and public outrage. During the monsoon session of the Parliament, the BJP protested the Government's handling of the issue demanding the resignation of the prime minister and refused to have a debate in the Parliament. The deadlock resulted in Parliament functioning only seven of the twenty days of the session. The Parliamentary Standing Committee report on Coal and Steel states that all coal blocks distributed between 1993 and 2008 were done in an unauthorized manner and allotment of all mines where production is yet to start should be cancelled.

The Supreme Court's 'Coalgate' verdict needs to be welcomed as it gives India a rare second chance to fix terrible decisions made by our politicians.  The coal allocations scandal is not an outrage merely because undeserving companies got coal blocks. It is an outrage because it concentrated the ownership of India's coal reserves among a handful of businesses.  Thank Apex Court for digging deeper in to the black mines…

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th Aug 2014.

man falling victim to addiction : Devadas to Paul Gascoigne

Every shop you see milling crowds ... sad state of affairs – poor spend whatever they earn here.... the TASMAC shops and sale of ‘quarter’ .... elsewhere the photo of a legend – now looking frail and weak carrying a bottle of gin and cigarettes is doing rounds.

We have all seen this story .... a feudal lord's son, falling in love with a poor girl  - not able to marry .... ends up spending life in frustration in the company of liquor.  Heart-broken he dies in front of her house singing as a destitute seated near a dustbin with a stray dog in company – the song ‘ulage mayam vazhve mayam’ of Ghantasala remains evergreen hit....  the film ‘Devadas’ – 1953 released in Telegu starring A Nageswarara Rao, made in Tamil too – based on the Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay's Devdas. Samudrala Raghavacharya wrote the dialogue and screen adaptation. The film is listed among CNN-IBN's list of hundred greatest Indian films of all time.

Famous falling to disgrace due to their addiction is no new news ... still – the following makes a sad reading... remember this star attracting headlines frequently ...... Paul John Gascoigne – an attacking midfielder, famous for his technique and later for  off-field problems.  He began his professional career with local club Newcastle United in 1985. Three years later he was sold on to Tottenham Hotspur for a £2 million fee. He won the FA Cup with Spurs in 1991, before he was sold to Italian club Lazio for £8.5 million the following year. In July 1995, he was transferred to Rangers for £4.3 million, and helped the club to two league titles and two trophies. He returned to England in a £3.4 million move to Middlesbrough in March 1998. He made his debut in the Premier League in the 1998–99 season, having already featured in the 1998 Football League Cup Final. He switched to Everton in July 2000, and later had spells withBurnley, Gansu Tianma (China), and Boston United.

A man famous in the European continent for his flair, he earned 57 England caps.  He was part of the England squad that reached fourth place in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, and was famously reduced to tears after receiving a yellow card in the semi-final with West Germany, which meant he would be suspended for the final itself had England won the game.

It is very grim to read that Paul Gascoigne is in trouble. Addiction is a relapsing illness - families of addicts become wearily familiar with the pattern: a period of abstinence raises the hopes – perhaps with a commitment to treatment, firm promises of change and agonised apologies for past betrayals; but it's only a matter of time before those hopes are dashed again, when the sufferer has a "slip", and crashes off the wagon yet again. Most English press has carried out news and photos of Gascoigne in emergency detox after latest hospital drama.   

The legend referred to in first para as looking frail and weak carrying a bottle of gin and cigarettes in the town centre of Bournemouth is none other that Paul Gascoigne who recently had been kept in hospital for  emergency detox to help him recover from his latest alcoholic breakdown. Reports state that the former footballer was hospitalised after he collapsed outside his home in Sandbanks, Dorset, clutching a bottle of gin. Friends of Gascoigne have said he is desperate for another stint of rehab, but following a string of failed business deals has no cash to check himself in. The Sunday Mirror reports Gascoigne had been left depressed after he was rebuffed by several television channels he had approached in hopes of working as a World Cup pundit. He was also said to be upset at not being offered the chance to appear on any reality TV programmes.

As could happen to any addict, misery is heaping on – as reports further suggest that he could be homeless in just 10 days after being told he must quit his £3million rented penthouse apartment. A man who was probably the idol of many youths – is in a wretched condition due to alcoholic breakdown.  In the most shocking chapter yet of his long and often very public battle with alcoholism, onlookers had dialled 999 after finding him slumped tearfully against a wall with his head in his hands – and that should be a lesson for many.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar                                                                                  26th Aug 2014.

Monday, August 25, 2014

waiting infront of Nalli, Kumaran, Pothys ............... and e-buying in Flipkart....

Jokes galore about T Nagar shopping experience – be it jewellery or clothes – the benches in front of Kumaran  and Pothys will remain occupied by (im)patient husbands waiting for the wife to finish shopping and to be called in for paying ! ………… one always thought that buying is better done physically -  see, feel, share and compare … ‘e-buying’ is set to change …

Of the many e-platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, BuildaBazaar, Zepo , Kartrocket , Shopify, Powerstores, Quikr, Olx and more….. Flipkart went live in 2007 with the objective of making books easily available to anyone who had internet access. Today, they are into selling various categories including movies, music, games, mobiles, cameras, computers, healthcare and personal products, home appliances and electronics, stationery, perfumes, toys, apparels, shoes …..

In yet another hype - Flipkart and Xiaomi combined in announcing sale of limited number of devices into the market – 20,000 units at a time. There was news that in the mad spree the site crashed for a while.  In its official Facebook post, the company  announced Mi 3 accessories that are now available for pre-order. The accessories list includes flip covers in white, blue and black.  Earlier when it put on sale, within 40 minutes, Flipkart claimed the Mi 3 was out of stock.  Xiaomi’s fifth batch of smartphones that went up on sale on August 19 at 2PM sold out within mere seconds, yet again.

Flipkart  was founded by Sachin and Binny Bansal; headquartered in Bangalroe and  operates exclusively in India. It is registered in Singapore, and owned by a Singapore-based holding company.  Now they are more in news as Textiles Ministry inked a pact with them to provide an online marketing platform to handloom weavers across the country, an initiative to boost the handloom sector, empower the weavers and uplift manufacturing in the country.  Firstpost quotes Textiles Secretary S K Panda as stating "What we are starting now is only on a pilot basis, nobody is compelled to sell only to a particular agency. Our aim is to eliminate middlemen, assist the master weaver... After a period of 3 to 6 months we will go for bidding". Textiles Minister Santosh Gangwar, who was present on the occasion, emphasised that the focus of this association should be to help weavers and weaver entrepreneurs to produce products in tune with the buyer requirements and grow them significantly so that they may become manufacturers not only at a local but also at a national level.

Through this exclusive agreement, Flipkart will provide weavers in India an online marketing platform, infrastructural support in data analytics and customer acquisition to help them get remunerative prices for their products and scale up their business. According to the report, Flipkart will charge  weavers  3 to 4% commission on sale. This kind of a coordinated effort has been planned and executed for the first time with Flipkart for handloom weavers which will bridge the missing linkages of market intelligence, market access and logistics and help the Indian weavers in getting remunerative prices for their products," the Textiles Ministry said.

The weavers will sell their products under their brand name and evolve as an entrepreneur selling his products directly to buyers across the country without stepping out of their workplace. The Data analytics and market intelligence provided by Flipkart will help the weavers focus only on producing better saleable product ranges. This in turn will help them plan their production and inventory and expand their business.

Do you have a Flipkart ID and have you so far made on-line purchases ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

25th Aug 2014.

an evening Marina beach .... in August ....

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever ~ and one such is ‘Marina beach’ known for its  pristine beautiful sandy shores - that runs from Fort St George to Besant Nagar. This beach has a long history.  This was conceived in 1884 and christened by Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant-Duff, the then governor of Madras – the beautiful beach  is famed for the  ambience and rich eco system though it  stands a lot polluted now.   On the road side, many stone statues, some of them installed during the Tamil World Conference adorn the area.

Early morning the famous Marina beach offers intriguing things.  There are young, old, fast, slow, and varied people indulging in chit-chatting, eating and drinking the various health drinks ! that are sold on pavements.  You can see people walking, walking fasting, jogging, sprinting, skipping, doing physical exercises, yoga, laughing out loud – more – all law unto themselves – thinking and spreading that these are the passport to good health. 

You can hear the sea, the sound of waves  and nearer – the  waves jumping and touching the shore and then submitting themselves to the shore but trying to comeback to conquer again ! would be very interesting sight  – One  can see monstrous  ships anchored in the middle of sea, some fishing boats and Sun coming out as a red ball from the Sea – all great sights to behold.  To those given to enjoying Nature, the morning at Marina  provides innumerable things like morning birds, dogs – stray, and owned – local and foreign breeds of various sizes; posh cars; bi-cycles; vast expanse of sand and more…..

Chennai swelters a lot and when Summer is peak - more people come to Marina to enjoy the natural cool sea  breeze……… during  summer vacation -  the Police control and regulate the flow of oncoming crowds by making beach road one way and by diverting vehicles at various points.  

Long back the great Sujatha wrote a short novel titled ‘Marina’ – the plot was woven around misdeeds of a wastrel son of a rich father – it described the shady night time of beach haunted by spoilt rich who get into unadulating crime…… the climax would reveal not who the killer was but there was no murder at all -  yet the spoilt-broth in a poetic justice would get arrested for some other crime !

In end Aug, it is no longer summer – there have been rains –  this Sunday (24th Aug 2014) had a casual stroll in the shores of Marina beach and the beach had so many people  - enjoying the evening.  Here are some photos taken by me.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pro Kabbadi League - which teams will enter Semis ... women Cricketer's commentary

Not sure whether you are following Pro-kabbadi these days (I am forced to see some as my son has become a compulsive fan !) – with less than a week to go for the Finale of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League, the competition is heating up. The stage is all set for high decibel action as the tournament now enters the 'do or die' stage. At this juncture, the Jaipur Pink Panthers have already qualified with 101 as Score difference – they have 53 points so far in 13 matches with 10 wins, 2 loss and 1 draw.  There seems to be exciting contest between U Mumba, Patna Pirates, Telegu Titans, and Bengaluru Bulls and Dabang Delhi for the remaining places in Semis.  Can you guess the ticket price for tomorrow’s match at Bengaluru between U Mumba and Dabang Bangalore….
Sandeep Narwal of Patna Pirates caught by Telegu Titans

The top performers have been : Rahul Chaudhari (Telegu) 146; Anup Kumar (UMumba) 121; Maninder Singh (Jaipur) 107; Nitin Madane (Bengal) 101 and Surjeet Narwal (Dabang) 100.  Elsewhere there is another Kabbadi tournament  the “Wave World Kabaddi League”  a professional Circle style Kabaddi League  with participation from  India, USA, Canada, Pakistan and the United Kingdom. The Indian team in the fray there is “Khalsa Warriors”  -  who registered their 3rd consecutive win by defeating Vancouver Lions by 67-45 in the 10th match – and for the games at Birmingham, a famous sportswomen wielded the mike !

Moving to UK and to Cricket - Gloucestershire  is a county in South West England. Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England – where the 1st ODI between India and England is to be played tomorrow (i.e., on 25th Aug 14) The city received a Royal charter in 1155. It was part of Gloucestershire until 1373 when it became a county in its own right.

The Schedule is : 2nd ODI at Cardiff on 27th; 3rd at Nottingham, 30th; 4th at Birmingham, Sept 2; 5th Leeds on 5th Sept – all at 15:00 IST.  Cricinfo reports that England have lost 3 consecutive bilateral ODI series – losing to New Zealand, Australia and Sri Lanka…… and India has not won since 24 years – the last time being in 1990 when India won 2-0.  India have played 3 Series since – however this statistics does not reckon the Natwest win in 2002 (Sehwag, Ganguly, Yuvraj, Kaif excelled in chasing 325) and Champions Trophy of 2013 as these involved more than 2 teams.  

The match is to be played at the County Cricket Ground (also known as Nevil Road) in Bristol; home ground of Gloucestershire County Cricket Club. Initially known as Ashley Down Ground, it was bought in 1889 by W. G. Grace and has been home to Gloucestershire ever since. It was sold to local confectionery firm J. S. Fry & Sons and renamed Fry's Ground. The club bought the ground back in 1933 and it reverted to its original name. It was sold again in 1976, this time to Royal & Sun Alliance who renamed the ground the Phoenix County Ground for eight years before changing to The Royal & Sun Alliance County Ground until the ground was again bought by the club and took it up its current title.

The person involved in commentary in Kabbadi at Bristol was Anjum Chopra, an Arjuna Awardee in 2014.  The left handed batsman and all rounder won laurels on the field and it was reported that when former India cricket captain is approached to do commentary in a kabaddi tournament -  she just walked over to the nearest ground and tried her hand at the sport after accepting the offer. Gentlemen, the tickets are priced at Rs.45 and Rs.200/- per match

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

24th Aug 2014.

Pelicans spotted at Adyar creek

My knowledge about birds is very little……….this morning I spotted some birds nearer  Foreshore Estate – I think them to be Pelicans. சாம்பல் கூழைக்கடா அல்லது மத்தாளிக் கொக்கு  என்பது  Pelican  பறவை.
 At the mouth of Adyar river estuary, there is creek which extends from the sandbar at the edge of sea nearer Adyar bridge – extending to small islets near the Chettinad Palace and another near Foreshore estate bridge where there is bus stand and small body of water across the beach road leading the Mandaveli too. 
It is here this morning I saw these birds – I had earlier posted about birds of Pallikaranai and those seen at Karapakkam – I do not remember to have spotted them over there.  Pelicans have a pouch under their bill and are generally big birds.  Pelicans use their pouch to store the catch.
Understand that Pelicans fish by swimming in cooperative groups. They may form a line or a "U" shape and drive fish into shallow water by beating their wings on the surface.  Pelicans are found on many of the world's coastlines and also along lakes and rivers. They are social birds and typically travel in flocks, often strung out in a line.  They are splendid fliers and can soar like eagles with a wide wing span. 
Here are some photos taken by me this morning.
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

24th Aug 2014.