Search This Blog

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Pune Curator Pandurang Salgaoncar dismissed for malpractice !!

In Feb 2017, I had posted an article on him based on ESPN report, the man is in news today for wrong reasons !!

Pune situated 560 metres (1,837 feet) above sea level on the Deccan plateau on the right bank of the Mutha river, is the administrative headquarters of Pune district and was once the centre of power of the Maratha Empire established by Shivaji. In the 18th century, Pune was the political centre of the Indian subcontinent, as the seat of the Peshwas who were the prime ministers of the Maratha Empire.

Gutkha baron Rasiklal Manikchand hariwal  (80) died on Tuesday night in Pune. He was suffering from throat cancer. He was facing trial under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA) in a 2004 case registered in Mumbai.  New Zealand won the first ODI at the Wankhede Stadium courtesy their preparedness against India's spinners, and the success of a key tactical move - swapping the batting positions of Colin Munro and Tom Latham. Three days later, following a trip down the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, India turned the tables with their own counter-tactics, on a pitch with just enough grass on it to allow their fast bowlers to bowl a traditional good length.  Bhuvneshwar Kumar finished with three wickets and Jasprit Bumrah with two, the pair conceding only 83 in their 20 overs as New Zealand set India a target of 231 to level the series. The chase proved straightforward, with Shikhar Dhawanand Dinesh Karthik scoring half-centuries to lead India home with four overs remaining.

In a serious note, the BCCI has "dismissed" Pandurang Salgaoncar, the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) curator, for "malpractice" that was captured on camera by undercover reporters. The controversy did not affect the start of the second ODI between India and New Zealand, which began as scheduled after a routine pre-match pitch inspection by ICC match officials. Ramesh Mhamunkar, a member of the BCCI's grounds and pitches committee, was put in charge of the pitch. The nature of what the BCCI called "malpractice" emerged in a sting operation video carried out by reporters from India Today TV. In the released footage, which has been edited, Salgaoncar is shown interacting with the reporters and talking to them about the pitch for the ODI - the voiceover says the reporters are posing as bookies though the released footage does not show them introducing themselves to Salgaoncar as such.

The conversations in the released video are centred on the pitch. Shot over Monday and Tuesday, Salgaoncar said in the video that the pitch - No. 8 of the 15 strips - would have runs. "It is very good. It will garner 337 runs. And 337 will be chaseable." The ground is a new one and before Wednesday's game had only hosted two ODIs. First innings scores in those two were 304-8 and 350-7 (an average of 327); the latter score was chased down. In a different clip, at the stadium, Salgaoncar alerts the reporters to the presence of Mhamunkar at the ground. He tells them that as per regulations no outsider is allowed to be at the pitch. Nonetheless one of the reporters is shown tapping a pitch. In another exchange, in a car, the reporter asks whether two fast bowlers could be given some help from the match's pitch. Salgaoncar replies that the pitch always helps fast bowlers.

In response to the video, BCCI immediately "dismissed" Salgaoncar. As the incident concerns an international match the ICC will also be involved. "We are investigating the allegations from Pune this morning, as with all international cricket, the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit has an ICC ACU Manager on the ground in India and we are in close contact with him," an ICC spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo. Salgaoncar, a long-time curator and former fast bowler, was involved in another pitch controversy earlier this year, after the surface for the first Test between India and Australia in March was rated poor by the ICC match referee Chris Broad.

In feb 2017  ESPN Cricinfo had an interesting article that  this man would make debut at 67 !  - it was about Pandurang Salgaoncar, who made  Test debut as a curator. Those who have watched Salgaoncar, (67 now), bowl in the 1970s swear by his pace. Salgaoncar himself never tires of telling you how he made batsmen run away in fear. He once hit Sunil Gavaskar on the hand, forcing him to miss the next Test. That was enough to spread the word in the whole country but the selectors. He came close to playing for India on three occasions, all in the two years leading to first World Cup.

In Nov. 1972, in the  Duleep Trophy semi-final between South and West Zone in mid-November featured many of the stars of those recent Test victories. Farokh Engineer (by then a rarity on the domestic circuit, as he lived most of the year in Lancashire) was West Zone's keeper. More  enticingly, Nawab Mansur Ali Khan of Pataudi was returning to cricket after a self-imposed exile from the game. He joined Gundappa Viswanath  in the middle order of South Zone's batting line-up. Still others (Ramnath Parkar and Michael Dalvi, for instance) were knocking on Test cricket's doors.

In those days, Chepauk was a square turner of a pitch, where nearly all the wickets accrued to spinners and most matches were low-scoring thrillers.  In South's first innings, Salgaoncar finished with 5 for 55 off about 18 overs, but it was in the second innings that he really lit up the place. When South began their second innings 83 runs in arrears, a draw loomed as the most likely outcome. As the shocked Chepauk crowd dispersed, our partisan disappointment at losing the match was greatly tempered by the thought that maybe, just maybe, we had finally unearthed a genuine fast bowler.  Yet barely 38 overs later (17 of which were bowled by Salgaoncar), South had been skittled for 97 runs and West won the match outright by ten wickets shortly after tea. Salgaoncar ran through South's line-up like a freight train crashing through a picket fence, timber flying all over the place. He picked up another five-for, this time for 56 runs, to make it ten for the match.

Less than a week later, Salgaoncar was at it again. In the Duleep final he grabbed 7 for 72 in the first innings as Central Zone careened to an innings defeat.  Yet, he could not break into the Indian team.  Month later,  India's new-ball "attack" plumbed the depths by the third Test, at Chepauk, when Eknath Solkar and Sunil Gavaskar took the shining cherry in the first innings, and (dispensing any pretense at all) Bishan Bedi joined Solkar to open the bowling in the second.
Though Salgaoncar was strongly tipped to catch the flight to England as India's tour got underway in May of 1974, he again, inexplicably, did not make the cut. In fact, Salgaoncar never played for India. Salgaoncar went to Sri Lanka to play unofficial Tests in 1974, and fondly remembers a match in which he bowled 24 overs out of 55.4 to help enforce a follow-on. He then bowled 38 overs in the follow-on. In 1975, Salgaoncar says, he bowled 12 overs for 11 runs in a trial match for World Cup team selection, but wasn't chosen.

He missed playing for India, but people now would rue for allowing him to be around the playing arena.  Sad

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th Oct 2017.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Kiwis play spin well ~ beat India : Virat Kohli 200th ODI

The Auckland cricket side recovered slightly from a horrendous start to the Plunket Shield season, but were  still all out for 62. The Aces slumped to 23 for eight after being sent into bat against Wellington. They may not be reading this as their Press for sure would have covered more of their victory at Bombay and how their batsmen played Indian spin well.. ..

In the first ODi, Man of the match Tom Latham admitted conditions made it tough work for New Zealand in their opening ODI win over India in Mumbai.  It is October, part of our winter starting yet the sweltering heat was especially demanding on Latham, who had to keep wicket through India's 280 for eight, then bat through another 32 overs for his fine, unbeaten 103 which set up New Zealand's six-wicket victory.  Latham paid tribute to the contribution of senior batsman Ross Taylor in their record-setting fourth wicket stand of 200, Taylor finishing on 95.

In a statistical match, Virat Kohli, in his 200th ODI, sought to play the perfect innings on a slow pitch and in sapping heat,  went on to score his 31st hundred. New Zealand took more risks collectively, opened with almost a pinch hitter.  Kohli was a loner with a 121, whereas all New Zealand batsmen contributed - Ross Taylor and Tom Latham added 200 - as they chased down 281, only their third win when batting second against India in India.
Kohli brilliantly caught over the ropes

Virat Kohli is reaching new highs with almost every match, with every ODI century. In the series opener against New Zealand at the Wankhede, the India captain brought up his 31st century playing in his 200th ODI. He became only the second batsman after AB de Villiers to get to a century in the 200th  ODI. He's now the second-highest hundreds scorer in ODI history behind only Sachin Tendulkar's 49 tons. Kohli has got there playing just 200 games. No other batsman has had better career figures than Kohli after their 200th ODI.

MCA facilitated him on his 200th cap in ODI, this is not a great record – for there are 72 others who have played 200 ODIs are more.   Sachin Tendulkar leads the list with 463 matches – in the top 10 there are 2 Indians, Sachin and Dravid, 4 Lankans -  Mahela Jayawardene, Kumara Sangakkara, Sanath Jayasuriya, Muthiah Muralitharan; 3 Pak – Shahid Afridi, Wasim Akram and Inzamam ul Haq – only non-Asian Ricky Ponting .. MSD has played 307 !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

23rd Oct 2017.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Diwali India photo from space ~ Paolo Nespoli from ISS mission 52..

Born in  1957 in Milan, Italy, Paolo Nespoli’s hometown is Verano Brianza, Milan, Italy. He enjoys scuba diving, piloting aircraft, assembling computer hardware, electronic equipment and computer software.  

Paolo received a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering in 1988 and a Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1989 from the Polytechnic University of New York. He was awarded the Laurea in Ingegneria Meccanica by the Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy, in 1990.  This man is in news ~ and this post is for a photo tweeted by him from outer space **

Since its inception in 1958, NASA has accomplished many great scientific and technological feats in air and space. NASA technology also has been adapted for many nonaerospace uses by the private sector. NASA remains a leading force in scientific research and in stimulating public interest in aerospace exploration, as well as science and technology in general.  Expedition 52 is the 52nd  expedition to the International Space Station. It officially began on June 2, 2017 10:47 UTC, with the undocking of Soyuz MS-03. Due to a decision to cut down the number of participating Russian cosmonauts in 2017, only two crew members were launched on Soyuz MS-04, which brought the ISS total crew down to five people.

Recently I had posted on ‘fidget spinner’ video posted by NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, who is currently aboard the space station as part of Expedition 52/53, of him  and his colleagues playing with a fidget spinner. In the video that gone viral, the team performs a series of tricks with the NASA-branded (of course) spinner, pretending to spin along with it in various directions as they float through the microgravity of the space station. For example, flight engineer Mark T. VandeHei holds the fidget spinner while he himself does full rotations along a horizontal plane; another crew member Joe Acaba does dizzying somersaults while the fidget spinner rotates in his hand.

The International Space Station (ISS) is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit. Its first component launched into orbit in 1998, and the ISS is now the largest human-made body in low Earth orbit and can often be seen with the naked eye from Earth. The ISS consists of pressurised modules, external trusses, solar arrays, and other components. ISS components have been launched by Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets, and American Space Shuttles. The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology, and other fields. The ISS is the ninth space station to be inhabited by crews, following the Soviet and later Russian Salyut, Almaz, and Mirstations as well as Skylab from the US. The station has been continuously occupied for 16 years and 354 days since the arrival of Expedition 1 on 2 November 2000. This is the longest continuous human presence in low Earth orbit, having surpassed the previous record of 9 years and 357 days held by Mir. The ISS programme is a joint project among five participating space agencies: NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ESA, and CSA.

Deepavali was celebrated very grandly all over India.  In Thiruvallikkeni divyadesam, the purappadu of Sri Parthasarathi with Acharyar Sri Manavala mamunigal took more than 3 hours as there were dazzling varieties of fireworks on mada streets. Now a picture of India on Diwali, taken from space by 'NASA', has  become immensely popular.  Year after year, we get to see a photoshopped picture getting circulated and hence people are skeptical …   but this year Astronaut Paolo Nespoli, the 60-year-old Italian astronaut shared a photo of India, taken from space on Oct 19, 2017.

Sharing a photograph of India, as seen from space, he wished everyone a happy Diwali.  This is very much on his FB page and many credible news media pages.

See this lovely photo here.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

22nd Oct 2017.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Google honours Nobel laureate who studied in Triplicane

It was a grand colourful Deepavali  ~ the sound of crackers was heard throughout the day and at Triplicane (perhaps in all other places too) as one looked at the sky, the night’s stars were not visible as the dazzling fireworks lit up the sky.  This is no post on Deepavali celebrations but something on  a man who probably did  more than anyone else to tell us about the mysteries of the night sky.  The man, became famous for his discoveries about the evolution of the stars. His work was vast, and he began early, developing his theory of stars' evolution before he had even turned 20.

The name  * Thiru Allikkeni * (meaning the sacred pond of lily)   pronounced Thiruvallikkeni  by natural laws of linguistics, was crudely rolled and twisted out of shape by the English tongue as Triplicane.   Triplicane houses some best historic educational institutions driving home the point of scholastic excellence for decades. 

Those who have been in and have  seen Triplicane,  would  never miss that imposing [Red / Saffron] structure at 149 Big Street, Triplicane, Chennai 600 005.  A landmark by itself – an imposing structure - bricks and saffron coloured walls with Indo-sarsenic architecture that  has inspired many and created many worthy students.  Hindu High School founded as Dravida Patasala for Tamil boys which later amalgamated with The Hindu Andhra Balura Patasala for Telegu boys that were in existence in 1852. In 1860 they were amalgamated as The Triplicane Andhra Dravida Balura Patasala and in 1898 renamed “ The Hindu High School”.  It has been a great learning  centre producing eminent personalities and transforming the lives of tens of thousands of people into responsible citizens for the cause of nature building.   The school was for long, considered as one of the best schools in the Madras Presidency and was once the feeder school to Presidency College, another institute of formidable repute of yore.

Today’s Google doodle honours - Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar who was  responsible for some of the most important research that has helped mankind understand the evolution of stars, inching closer to better understanding the nature of the universe itself. Mr Chandrasekhar, whose 107th birthday would have been today, was the first astrophysicist to win a Nobel Prize for his theory on the evolution of stars, determining that not all stars will turn into white dwarfs.

Interestingly this Tamilian, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was born in Lahore, on  October 19, 1910 to Smt.  Sitalakshmi  and Chandrasekhara Subrahmanya, who was in Lahore as Deputy Auditor General of the Northwestern Railways.  He was a child prodigy, who had published his first paper and developed his theory of star evolution by the age of 20.  At just 26, Chandrasekhar was recruited as a deputy professor by the University of Chicago, where he spent the rest of his career. Though initially his theories and equations on the structure and evolution of stars were met with skepticism, they later earned him wide acclaim.

During World War II, he performed research for the US Army, and was invited to join the Manhattan Project which produced the world's first nuclear bombs, but delays meant he didn't contribute.  Scientists acknowledge that  Mr Chandrasekhar’s work challenged  previous understanding of the late-stage evolution patterns of stars. That understanding, concluded by scientists in the early 1930s, determined that after stars would collapse into white dwarves after they converted their hydrogen and helium stores. White dwarves, which are about the size of Earth, are extremely dense from the compression of the star’s electrons and nuclei.  However,  Mr Chandrasekhar  was to expand on that understanding, determining that not all star is created equal ! He found that some stars don’t simply stop contracting later in life. Stars that have a mass more than 1.44 times that of our Sun, he found, would continue to contract. That 1.44 figure, known as the Chandrasekhar limit, was a major step in understanding how neutron stars are created, and what sparks supernova explosions.
This pic credit : the sun

The Indian-American physicist was also elected to the Royal Society of London before the age of 34, and became a distinguished service professor of Physics not too long after that. These included the National Medal of Science, the Draper Medal of the US National Academy of Science, and the gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society.  Pinnacle of glory was to be conferred later as Mr Chandra was awarded   the Nobel Prize in Physics, which he won in 1983 alongside William A. Fowler.

The decorated astrophysicist died suddenly of a heart attack at the University of Chicago hospital at the age of 84.  His wife, Lalitha Chandrasekhar, survived until 2013, when she passed away at 102.  His paternal uncle was the Indian physicist and Nobel laureate C. V. Raman. His mother was devoted to intellectual pursuits, had translated Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House into Tamil and is credited with arousing Chandra's intellectual curiosity at an early age.  The family moved from Lahore at 1916 to Allahabad and after two years, finally settled at Madras in 1918.

Chandrasekhar was tutored at home until the age of 12.  He attended the Hindu High School, Big Street, Triplicane, Madras during the years 1922–25. He later studied at Presidency College, Madras and the University of Cambridge, where he was to spend  most of his career at the University of Chicago.

In 1998, the search engine founders Larry and Sergey drew a stick figure behind the second 'o' of Google as a message to that they were out of office at the Burning Man festival and with that, Google Doodles were born. The company decided that they should decorate the logo to mark cultural moments and it soon became clear that users really enjoyed the change to the Google homepage.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th Oct 2017.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

31 year old Austrian politician set to become youngest World leader !

Today (Sunday 15th Oct 2o17), Austrians are going to the polls to vote for the country’s National Council, the main legislative body. All 183 seats are up for grabs. A 31-year-old Austrian politician will become the world's youngest leader after pledging to cut all benefits for foreigners, polls suggest.  Back home, in our Nation, the  current Lok Sabha is the second oldest house of independent India; the first was the previous Lok Sabha (15th). The youngest MP in the current House is 28, and the oldest MP is 88. The median age of MPs is 58, that is half of the MPs are 58 years and above.

The Austrian government is taking its case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over Germany's plans to introduce charges to use its motorways and highways from 2019. Under the plans drivers would be charged up to £117 (€130) per year to use its roads. Vienna believes the move contravenes European Union (EU) law because although everyone will have to pay, German motorists will get a refund via a reduction in their vehicle tax.  Austria also reportedly is to file a lawsuit against the European Union's approval of the Russian-financed expansion of a nuclear plant in Hungary.

Austria is a federal republic and a landlocked country of over 8.7 million people[2] in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary,  Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west.  The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects of German as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country's official language.

The origins of modern-day Austria date back to the time of the Habsburg dynasty, when the vast majority of the country was a part of the Holy Roman Empire. Among the many wars,  Napoleonic invasions weakened the power of the Emperor in the north of Germany, but in the south, and in non-German areas of the Empire, the Emperor and Catholicism maintained control. During the 1914 July Crisis that followed the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on June 28, Austria-Hungary, emboldened by a pledge of German support, on July 28 declared war on Serbia because that country had not fully complied with an Austrian ultimatum. Austria was thus the first to go to war in the July Crisis, which would ultimately escalate into World War I.

After the collapse of the Habsburg (Austro-Hungarian) Empire in 1918 at the end of World War I, Austria adopted and used the name the Republic of German-Austria (Deutschösterreich), in an attempt at union with Germany, but this was forbidden under the treaties the Treaty of Versailles and Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919). The name was changed to Austria (Österreich) and shortly afterwards The First Austrian Republic was established in 1919. Today, Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states. The capital and largest city, is Vienna.

Media reports suggest that Conservative Sebastian Kurz, 31, is set to take power and form an alliance with the far-right.  As well as his pledge on payouts to migrants, he wants to slash Austria's red tape and keep the EU out of national affairs. It would be a fresh headache for Brussels as it struggles with Brexit and the rise of nationalism in Germany, Hungary, Poland and elsewhere. But all signs indicate that Austrians want to swap the gridlocked centrist rule for a more hardline government for the first time in a decade following an influx of asylum seekers.

MailOnline reports that today Mr Kurz was pictured voting in the Austrian capital Vienna alongside his girlfriend Susanne Thier - a finance ministry worker who he met at the age of 18.  According to exit polls, the People's Party, rebranded by 'whizz-kid' Kurz as a 'movement', is forecast to reap more than 30 percent of the vote with pledges to go tough on migrants and easy on taxes.  The eurosceptic Freedom Party is battling for second place with the beleaguered Social Democrats of incumbent Chancellor Christian Kern. Kurz - who as new People's Party leader forced the snap vote in May by ending the coalition with Kern - has yanked his party to the right and is expected to seek a coalition with the far-right.

Founded by ex-Nazis in the 1950s, the Freedom Party almost won the presidency last year and topped opinion polls in the midst of Europe's migrant crisis. Some 6.4 million people are eligible to vote in the closely-watched ballot which is expected to be a tight race.  Political analysts over there state that  a right-wing government could turn Austria into a tricky partner for the EU 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

15th Oct 2017 @ 11.10 pm.

keeping Ashwin out of scheme ? - Smit Patel 99 - Tripura who ??

One may not easily identify this young lad - Gujarat wicketkeeper-batsman Smit Patel moved out  to join the Tripura cricket team. Patel, a winner of the Under-19 World Cup title in 2012, signed for the North East stating "better opportunities available at Agartala".

Tripura, in Northeast India is the third-smallest state in the country.  It  covers 10,491 km2 (4,051 sq mi) and is bordered by Bangladesh,  the Indian states of Assam and Mizoram.  The area of modern 'Tripura' was ruled for several centuries by the Tripuri dynasty. It was the independent princely state of the Tripuri Kingdom under the protectorate of the British Empire which was known as Hill Tippera while the area annexed and ruled directly by British India was known as Tippera District (present Comilla District).  The independent Tripuri Kingdom (or Hill Tippera) joined the newly independent India in 1949. Ethnic strife between the indigenous Tripuri people and the migrant Bengali population due to large influx of Bengali Hindu refugees and settlers from Bangladesh led to tension and scattered violence since its integration into the country of India, but the establishment of an autonomous tribal administrative agency and other strategies have led to peace.

This news was interesting !  -  Power ministers of India’s northeastern states have proposed a power transmission line between Tripura and West Bengal through Bangladesh.  It is reported that this proposal was put forth in a meeting between the ministers at Shillong, Meghalaya.  , Tripura’s Power Minister Manik Dey reportedly told the reporters that - “Tripura’s transmission line is connected to West Bengal via Assam. It passes through hilly areas and forests. As a result, Tripura and its counterparts in the Northeast often suffer from power disruption.” Tripura, south Assam, Mizoram and Manipur would be benefited if a power line connecting Tripura and West Bengal is set up via Bangladesh, he added.

We are reading about Tripura more because it is in Group C of Ranji Trophy 2017-18 relaid format of 4 groups :  the teams in this group are : Andhra Pradesh, Baroda, Madhya Pradesh, Mumbai, Odisha, Tamil Nadu & Tripura.  The group is tough as only the top 2 teams from each group move to QF.  Tamilnadu did not do all that well in the first match against Andhra and now is playing Tripura at home.

Smit, who moved from Gujarat to Tripura last year, was superbly caught by J Kousik off Washington Sundar on 99 on day one while attempting to hit a six. "It feels bad to get out on 99. The ball was there to be hit and I did go. But I don't regret it because I played really well whole day. The one run could have made a difference," he said. Smit used his feet brilliantly against R Ashwin to unsettle the ace Indian offie during his knock. "I didn't give a thought about the name Ashwin. I played the ball. TN bowlers bowled very well. But whoever was bowling, I was playing on the merit of the ball," he added.

After Aussies, the team from Kiwiland is to tour India – play 3 ODIs and 3 T20s.  One dayers are scheduled on  Oct 22 at Wankhede; Oct 25 at Pune and Oct 29 Kanpur; T20s at Delhi on Nov 1; Rajkot Nov4 and Nov 7 at Thiruvananthapuram. Shardul Thakur and Dinesh Karthik have made their way back into the ODI squad for the three matches against New Zealand starting October 22 in Mumbai. Shikhar Dhawan, who had sought leave for the Australia ODIs to be with his ill wife, also returned to the 15-man squad.  KL Rahul, who was in the squad for the ODIs against Australia, was left out. India's frontline spinners in Tests - R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja - were also not part of the squad which meant the spin trio of Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel was retained.  In the pace department, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami were left out from the squad after both of them played only the fourth ODI against Australiain Bengaluru.

The continuous keeping away of ace Ravichandran Ashwin is baffling to say the least ! – the pair of Ashwin and Jadeja have been exceptionally good in Tests and very effective in limited overs format too .. is there something cooking ! – what is the real reason – a player of his calibre cannot be rested for too long and certainly, not against strong opponent like Australia. Is he not our mainstay for the WC 2019 ? Qs and more Qs …. !!

In the Ranji, allrounder Washington Sundar's maiden first-class hundred - 156* off 223 balls - underpinned Tamil Nadu's dominance against Tripura in Chennai. Opening the batting in the absence of M Vijay - who is suffering from a neck spasm - Sundar struck 14 fours and a six to give his team a 74-run first-innings lead at stumps on the second day. He first added 162 for the opening stand with  captain Abhinav Mukund before combining with B Indrajith for an unbroken 152-run stand for the third wicket. Abhinav made 76 off 130 balls - his second successive first-class fifty - while Indrajith stayed unbeaten on 73 off 121 balls. Tripura used seven bowlers with only Joydeep Bhattacharjee and Gurinder Singh finding success. The hosts, ultimately, closed the day at 332 for 2, scoring at over four runs per over.

Earlier, seamer K Vignesh's 4 for 41 helped Tamil Nadu dismiss Tripura for 258 from an overnight 244 for 7. The visitors had lost their last seven wickets for just 55 runs.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

15th Oct 2017.

celebrating Deepavali SYMA way - at SYMA Growth Tuition centre 2017

Deepavali ‘the festival of lights’ is always enchanting – an occasion to wear new clothes, eat sweets, burst crackers, be with friends and relatives – a festivity which brings enjoyment….

The festivity could be felt in the air even before a fortnight, when one walks either in T Nagar area, where every shop be it selling Gold, silver or clothes – are overcrowded – the entire area would be flowing with people jostling to buy more and more.  In our childhood, a small sum of rupees spent would provide a bagful of crackers which would be our pride possession of exhibit to friends and neighbours.   

The reasoning of festivals is to make people happy – sharing of happiness by being with the people, sharing sweets and paying obeisance to elders.  SYMA stands for all the social values.  For creating a better tomorrow, we are striving to provide quality education to poor students.  Only education can uplift the poor to higher echelons – we are creating the infrastructure and are striving to help the poor children, [some of them - first generation students] by providing quality tuition assistance throughout the year in organized manner.  At our fulltime tuition Centre – SYMA Growth, we are now training 115 students [X – Tamil & English medium; +2 Commerce & Science Groups English] in our tenth year of operation [2017-18]

We talk to them, nurture them, guide them, make them understand the good and bad and realize the need for studying well. We strain ourselves to make them feel happy – with Deepavali around the corner, if the students are to be asked, what would make them happy – there would be a list [no our students will not say ‘holidays’ !!]

Today (Sunday, 15th Oct 2017) as the students entered, they were made to assemble in the front hall of NKT Boys High School, little would have they expected what was to follow.  In a well organized planned move [TJ Ramani, Kasthuri, SRP, Sadagopan, Sanjeevi, Mani, Sudarshan, Venkatesh, MK Prema mami, Meyyur Kannan and many others] SYMA gave them some gifts.

As they assembled at 10 am, in a small speech Yours Truly welcomed them, greeted them ‘wishes for Happy and safe Deepavali celebrations’.  Mr Sridharan, REtd Official of State Bank of Travancore and R Kannan, Trade Union leader of Postal employees and others greeted the students providing them insightful information on the need to stay focussed and feel confident of doing well in future. The students were given Deepavali gifts and glee on their faces will have to be seen to be felt.

SYMA supported in this endeavour by Sri AMR Kannan (our ex-office bearer, now in USA) Mr VA Seshadri [our member, now in USA]; Mr TK Mani, Triads [ through our committee member Mr Srinisavan (Fallam)] – the gift packet consisted of
o   Shirt bit [for boys] / chudidhar material [for girls]
o   250gm sweets packet
o   1 veshti and one saree for their parents

The package costs overall around Rs.85000/- overall and we thank our donors for making this happen and our volunteers for the good work in procuring and packing.

One often gets queried on when one should start doing social work, how much one should have to spend for the society, and how much of time, one should devote weekly or monthly .. .. ..  there are answers readily available – not only by looking at our founder members and those who continue to serve SYMA and thereby the society – there are 2 boys Venkatesh & Naveen ~ both of them are studying 11th and this year they have been coming daily to our Tuition centre and helping our coordinator Mrs Thara in her daily chores in administration.  Such commitment and zest for social service is rare ~ SYMA found it necessary to honour them and they were the first recipients of ‘Deepavali Gifts’ for Growth students.

Come join us, support us ~ together we will strive to ensure that the society is much better place to live.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

15th Oct 2017.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Judging players by Yo-Yo test ~ is fitness important or talent !!

Don’t blame the rain God ! blame the Selectors ~ it is monsoon time and it has been raining daily in these parts ! - The deciding T20I between Australia and India in Hyderabad was abandoned as a result of a wet outfield. Over two weeks of heavy rain leading up to the match meant the ground had taken in a lot of water. And even though there was at least two hours of clear weather before the first ball was due, the ground could not be gotten ready.  For the fans, selecting him and not picking him in playing X1 was a cruel joke on 38 year old left arm seamer Ashish Nehra  who stunned cricket fans with his decision to retire from international cricket after the game against New Zealand at the Ferozeshah Kotla in the Capital on November 1, many asked him to play a few more seasons of the cash-rich Indian Premier League. The  senior pro has made it clear that he trained to play for the country and not IPL.  He last played a Test in Apr 2004; One dayer in Mar 2011 and T20 in Feb 2017 !!

I vividly remember this guy who made his debut against England in Dec 1984 – the bowling lineup missing Kapil Dev read, Chetan Sharma, Manoj Prabhakar, Ravi Shastri, Roger Binny and Rajinder Sing Ghai.   Alongside Ghai, Kiran More, R Robinson and Richard Ellison also made their debuts.  Rajinder Singh Ghai was one of several new ball bowlers tried out to supplement the seam attack in the mid eighties when the one day game became fashionable in India following the World Cup triumph.

After the not so good initial match against Andhra in Ranji, comes the news that – ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who is out of the side for the ongoing Australia series, headed to Bengaluru for the Yo-Yo test !  The off-spinner wrote on his Twitter feed that he had got through the test, which is now a must to play for India. "  Ashwin had said earlier that he was ready for the Yo-Yo test. "I am a man for systems and any system put in place, I would strive my level best to try and match up to it. Every leader has his own vision of how to bring the team about. This is the vision of the current leadership group and it's important to respect it," Ashwin had said.

Sometime back, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) suspended Danushka Gunathilaka for six white-ball matches for misconduct. This is why the opening batsman was omitted from Sri Lanka's squad for the ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE. He was also fined. ESPNcricinfo  reported that Gunathilaka missed a training session, turned up to a match without his gear, and was generally found to have had an indifferent attitude towards training - all during Sri Lanka's recent home series against India. One other player had also been pulled up about his off-field behaviour, but has received only a warning, as unlike Gunathilaka, SLC believed he had displayed full commitment to training and matches.

Australians and South Africans are  supremely fit ~ the same cannot be said of Asian teams Pak, India, Bangladesh and Srilanka – we have had Inzie, Vengsarkar, Arjuna Ranatunga, Rohit and more ~ oozing with natural talent… is the outlook changing !!

Every cricketer — not just those who play the energy intensive shorter versions, but even Test cricketers — will now need to have a basic level of aerobic endurance prescribed by the Indian team management. According to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, even if a cricketer happens to be injury-free and in form, failure to meet the mandatory fitness parameters would result in him making way for a fitter player. “The captain, coach and chief selector, along with the other members of the selection committee in consultation with the support staff (trainer and physio), have set the parameters. The fitness parameters set by the team management for athletes to be eligible for selection are non-negotiable,” Johri told The Indian Express. He said that the present set of players — who were part of India’s limited overs series against Sri Lanka and those involved in the ongoing home series against Australia — had all cleared the first of the management-approved parameters: the yo-yo test, the globally-recognised cardio drill for international athletes.

It is the dreaded test ‘Yo-Yo’ that tests the players capabilities and not their talents – the test requires players to pace themselves methodically — starting with a modest jog to the eventual gut-busting sprint — as they shuttle back and forth between two rows of cones kept 20 metres apart. Each run needs to be timed with the three beeps that are played in the background. These are the signals for start, turn and finish. With the timing between the beeps constantly decreasing, each subsequent 40m circuit requires more speed. Getting beaten twice by the beep means the end of the test. The final score is determined by the laps completed and the speed gathered.

It is stated that for starters, the Indian cricketers have been asked to achieve a basic score, but gradually the fitness bar will be raised. “On the yo-yo scale, the grade needed to be achieved is 16.1, which is the minimum standard set for an elite international sportsman. The players have been informed of such parameters and most current players have already achieved this standard. In case of any exceptions, we’ve given them sufficient time to raise their fitness levels.”

A former member of the Indian coaching staff said the team management should keep in mind that aerobic endurance can’t be the only criterion for selection. “The yo-yo test can’t be the only criterion to test a cricketer’s fitness. It’s a skill-based sport. There’s so much mental stamina that’s required too,” he said, adding that many of the past legends would have failed the test.  True can one imagine putting the likes of Erapalli Prasanna, Bishan Bedi, Gundappa Viswanath, Vengsarkar, Ashok Malhotra and more going through this – is it not he talent that is material ?

A web search reveals that in general, there are two different versions of the Yo-Yo tests (the intermittent endurance (YYIET) and the intermittent recovery test (YYIRT)), each having two different levels (level 1 and 2). As a result there are a total of four different tests. Media reports suggested that veteran cricketer, Yuvraj Singh and left-handed batsman, Suresh Raina were left out of the Indian ODI squad for the Sri Lanka tour due to a failed yo-yo test ! though there were some denials too.. ..

So is fitness the ultimate key – a player may make runs a plenty or take bagful of wickets but if he fails the Yo-Yo fitness test, will he not be  picked in the Indian team.  In that sense, would not Yo-Yo change the dynamics of selection, alter the manner the player’s capabilities are judged.  Is it fitness or talent which is most important ?

The BCCI has set 16.1 as the benchmark score to clear Yo-Yo. Soon, we could have the bar raised to 17.5. In countries such as Australia, the mark is around 20. It is not only Suresh Raina  and Yuvraj who fell by the way side.  Reports suggest that promising off-spinning all-rounder M.S. Washington Sundar was all but selected in the Indian team for the three-match Twenty20 series against Australia before falling to Yo-Yo. He scored 15.7 in the test conducted at NCA; he is still not 18 years of age!

"His idea of a fitness program was a bit of pig shooting, a bit of fishing. Running around the oval wasn't one of his high priorities. But he was happy to bowl all day" Greg Chappen once wrote on legendary pacer Jeff Thomson.

Ashish Nehra’s inclusion in the Indian squad for the tree-match Twenty20 series against Australia may have surprised many, mainly because of his age. A 38-year-old fast bowler in T20 Internationals is seldom heard of. But his friend and former teammate Virender Sehwag revealed, on-field fitness is not a concern for the veteran, in fact his score on the “yo-yo” endurance test is on par with that of Virat Kohli, arguably one of the fittest cricketers in the world.

A couple of decades ago, was present at Chepauk stadium eagerly watching the Indian Cricketers train .. .. Dilip Vengsarkar came out did a little bit of stretch near the pavilion barriers and was standing with hands on hips [he perhaps had the easiest of stance at crease and made runs with elan]; Sunil Gavaskar walked around talking to people and practicing mock drives; spinners were rotating their arms – Kapil Dev captured attraction with his exercise drills, then went running around the ground as hundreds of us cheered him as he got closer – alongside Rajinder Singh Ghai ran so easily and tirelessly for 6 or 7 rounds of the stadium – we all spoke about his attitude and stamina – he was to play in only 6 one dayers making a solitary run and 3 wickets in all.

Judge the players by their talent and how they have performed against International teams ~ not merely by how fit they are !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

13th Oct 2o17