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Sunday, March 31, 2019

resentment at Triplicane and Cricketer turned MP

Though Elections are less than 20 days away, there is not much of activity – Triplicane is under an identity crisis ~ for ages, it was Thiruvallikkeni Assembly constituency falling under South Madras – last time, it was merged with Chepauk becoming – ‘Chepauk-Triplicane’ assembly segment falling under Chennai Central.  Last week CM Mr Edappadi campaigned for the PMK candidate near Sri Parthasarathi swami temple, and drew huge turnout – there is obvious resentment against the DMK, more so after the unpalatable remarks of DK Veeramani and failure of DMK leadership to condone such uncivil acts.

Away in the North, lies Karnal which is praised as ‘ricebowl’, a city in Haryana.  Karnal is believed to have been associated with Mahabaratha warrior Karnan. It was a place of refuge for British survivors of the 1857 Uprising in Delhi.  The candidate race for BJP has become hotter after  former Congress leader and two-time Karnal MP Arvind Sharma joining the BJP in the presence of chief minister Khattar in Delhi – there have been many  local leaders of the party actively lining up for this seat.

Not sure whether you watched or followed the 57th season of Irani Cup – once a premier competition.  It is an one-off match between the winner of Ranji trophy and rest of India.  This year it was Vidarbha amidst reports that this competition could wane away.   Vidarbha successfully defended their title and defeated Rest of India on first-innings basis to win the tournament, becoming the third team after Bombay and Karnataka to defend both the Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup. Hanuma Vihari became the first player to score 3 consecutive centuries in Irani Cup.

Remember reading in newspaper about the Irani Cup in 1975 – it was a star studded Bombay team with an youngster.   It was  Sunil Gavaskar, Ramnath Parkar, Sudhir Naik, Ashok Mankad, Ajit Pai, Karsan Ghavri, Abdul Ismail, and Padmakar Shivalkar.  Rest of India too was a strong side – there was Madanlal, Bishan Bedi and Erapalli Prasanna.  Chandra, the famous leggie was not playing (now only read about his replacement) Minna !.   Rest of India were bowled out for 210,  and they  ran into a pencil-thin college student who clobbered them all over Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground — and often beyond — with a stunning hundred.  It was Dilip Vengsarkar and that knock catapulted him to National reckoning.    Punjab’s Ashwini Minna, a teenage leg-spinner, played  in place of Chandra.  Minna had pulled off a spectacular performance the previous season with 6 for 23 against East Zone Under-22s, 12 for 89 against West Zone Under-22s, and 11 for 156 against West Zone Universities. He was yet to play a First-Class match, but the selectors thought it was the perfect moment to groom him.

Chopra, or Ashwini Minna as he was known, was part of the Rest of India squad and did nothing exceptional but scalped his maiden first-class wicket — Sunil Gavaskar.  He was to give up the game and manage his family business, newspapers.. ...     His family suffered in the militancy years in Punjab — grandfather Lala Jagat Narain was gunned down by Sikh militants in 1982, and two years later, his father, Ramesh Chandra, met a similar fate. Minna perhaps grew up  living in fear despite the family members being given Z plus security.

Ashwini Kumar Chopra, is now known not as the Cricketer, but as journalist, Resident Editor,  of Punjab Kesari, and politician !  He got elected to 16th Lok Sabha from Karnal as a candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party.  He  is the eldest son of the third generation from the journalists family owning  the Hindsamachar group of newspapers. Punjab Kesari is commonly called as the newspaper of martyr journalists.

After graduating from Guru Nanak Dev University, Minna did a Master’s in Journalism from Berkeley, and found a new career as journalist in San Francisco Chronicle. He earned a reputation as Resident Editor of the fiery Punjab Kesari.  So his passion for journalism made him given up Cricket – his representing Punjab curbed.  He was a leg spinner who could have made some higher grade !!

Ashwini is well known for his daily page one, Special Editorial with bold and popular wording and for his huge win in Karnal.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
31st Mar 2019.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

young Drug Officer shot and killed in Punjab ~ drug mafia !!

The phenomenon didn't start with the Netflix series, but Narcos certainly helped revive 1980s Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar's status in North American popular culture. Since it premiered in 2015, the controversial series fuelled conversations about Colombia's persistent international image as a cocaine paradise dominated by charismatic drug traffickers.As a response, the Colombian journalists behind YouTube channel La Pulla (in Spanish, “the taunt”), a project by Colombian newspaper El Espectador, made a video responding to people who still glorify Escobar as a “hero”. Among other things, the video highlighted tragic episodes — and statistics — of one of the darkest periods of Colombia's history, such as the assassination of El Espectador's former director Guillermo Cano in  1986, and the bomb attack next to their offices in 1989.It is terrorism of a different kind – gruesome killings associated with drug mafia.

Pablo Emilio Escobar Gavíria (1949 –  1993) was a notorious and wealthy Colombian drug lord and an exclusive cocaine trafficker. In 1975, Escobar started developing his cocaine operation. He even flew a plane himself several times, mainly between Colombia and Panama, to smuggle a load into the United States.  Reports state that he later bought fifteen new and bigger airplanes (including a Learjet) and six helicopters, he decommissioned the plane and hung it above the gate to his ranch at Hacienda Napoles. The war against Escobar ended on December 2, 1993, when Colombian National Police assisted by Colombian electronic surveillance team,  using radio-triangulation technology, found him hiding in a middle-class barrio in Medellín and  shot him dead.   The Robin Hood image that he had cultivated continued to have lasting influence in Medellín.

Year 2012, miles away in Mexico, Courageous Mexican mayor Maria Santos Gorrostietahad cheated death twice when she survived assassination attempts by druglords — but could not remain successful for the third time.  Gorrostieta,  known as a “heroine of the 21st century” for her refusal to be cowed by the ruthless cartels that rule much of Mexico, was kidnapped in broad daylight after leaving her home in the town of Morelia. She was driving her daughter to school when thugs in another vehicle blocked her white van. They pulled her out and began kicking and beating her in front of passers-by. The 36-year-old mother begged the men to spare her girl and appeared to get into the thugs’ vehicle voluntarily, witnesses said.

Gorrostieta was one of at least seven women who were willing to serve as mayors or police chiefs.  Poor bad criminal history bemoans Medico as two of them, Hermila Garcia Quinones and Silvia Molina, were assassinated. A third, Erika Gandara, was kidnapped and is feared dead, and a fourth, Marisol Valles Garcia, 21, left her job and fled to the United States. Gorrostieta, a doctor who studied medicine in a university in Morelia, began getting threats after she ran for mayor of Tiquicheo and was elected as a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party in 2008.  She ignored the threats — at her own peril. The  fearless woman mayor who survived two drug gang assassination attempts was beaten to death and dumped by the roadside.  It  was described that going by the stab and wound injuries she could have been tortured to death. 

Earlier, showing her  wounded, mutilated, humiliated body, she had defiantly stated - 'despite my own safety and that of my family, what occupies my mind is my responsibility towards my people, the children, the women, the elderly and the men who break their souls every day without rest to find a piece of bread for their children.’ 'Freedom brings with it responsibilities and I don’t dare fall behind. My long road is not yet finished - the footprint that we leave behind in our country depends on the battle that we lose and the loyalty we put into it.'

For long, I had been under the impression that such things are shown with exaggeration in movies or such things happen elsewhere in globe .. .. but sadly, a similar fate bemoaned at Punjab too .. .. .. a senior health official was on Friday shot dead at point-blank range at her office in Punjab's Kharar by a man who later pumped a bullet into himself, police said. The official, Neha Shorie, was posted with the Drug and Food Chemical Laboratory in Kharar and dealt with licensing in Mohali and Ropar districts, they said.The accused, Balwinder Singh of Morinda, entered her office and fired three bullets from his licensed revolver at Shorie at around 11.40 am, a police official said. After firing bullets at the woman health officer, the accused tried to flee the spot on his motorcycle but was caught, the official said.

"The people nearby caught hold of him. After being held, he initially tried to threaten those who had caught hold of him by pointing his revolver towards them but when he found trapped, he fired at himself, the official added. Kharar DSP, who reached the spot, took the accused into custody. Singh is undergoing treatment at PGIMER at Chandigarh and is in a critical state, police said. A case of murder was registered and a probe initiated, they said.Preliminary investigations revealed that the accused was running a chemist shop in Morinda and in 2009, Shorie, who was then posted as District Drugs Inspector in Ropar, had raided his store and had reportedly recovered intoxicant drugs from there, following which she had cancelled his drugs licence. Though the motive of the cold-blooded murder was not yet confirmed, it is believed that the accused was nursing a grudge against the woman health officer since his drugs licence was cancelled.

The accused had got the new arms license of a .32 bore revolver a couple of months back. Even as the model code of conduct imposed for the Lok Sabha polls since March 11 required every licensed weapon to be deposited with the police station concerned, he was still possessing his arms, which he used to commit the crime. Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh has directed Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta to ensure speedy probe into the killing of Shorie. The chief minister ordered prompt investigation into the matter and ensured that the accused will be given exemplary punishment.He said no one would be allowed to interfere or intimidate any public servant in the discharge of their duties. After the incident, opposition SAD and AAP trained guns at the Congress government in Punjab, alleging law and order had broken down and even officials were not safe inside their offices.

The hippopotamus at the start are in Columbia .. .. Hippos are native to Africa, not South America.  Around  60 wild hippos  reportedly live  around Hacienda Nápoles, a ranch southeast of Medellín. Some of the hippos have already made it to the nearby Magdalena River, with a few sighted more than 150 miles away. They would never have been in Colombia but  for the drug lord Pablo Escobar, who had them in his private zoo.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30th Mar 2019.

Friday, March 29, 2019

garlanding statues ~ EC directives .. .. and covering of statues !

Lok Sabha Election is the most trending news !  - India goes to polls in seven phases from   11 April to 19 May 2019 to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha. The counting of votes will be conducted on 23 May, and on the same day the results will be declared. Legislative Assembly elections in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim will be held simultaneously with the general election.  Since the independence, political parties in India have grown many folds, up by about 780 percent from a handful of 54 parties in 1950 to 475 parties in 2014.To be recognised as a state or national party, registered political parties have to secure a minimum percentage of valid votes/numbers of seats in the Lok Sabha or state assembly.

Election Commission is the body that conducts elections; they have prescribed model code of conduct for guidance of political parties and candidates.

The General conduct prescribes that :
1.       No party or candidate shall include in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic.
2.       Criticism of other political parties, when made, shall be confined to their policies and programme, past record and work. Parties and Candidates shall refrain from criticism of all aspects of private life, not connected with the public activities of the leaders or workers of other parties. Criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or distortion shall be avoided.
3.       There shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes. Mosques, Churches, Temples or other places of worship shall not be used as forum for election propaganda.
4.       All parties and candidates shall avoid scrupulously all activities which are “corrupt practices” and offences under the election law, such as bribing of voters, intimidation of voters, impersonation of voters, canvassing within 100 meters of polling stations, holding public meetings during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for the close of the poll, and the transport and conveyance of voters to and from polling station.
5.       The right of every individual for peaceful and undisturbed home-life shall be respected, however much the political parties or candidates may resent his political opinions or activities. Organizing demonstrations or picketing before the houses of individuals by way of protesting against their opinions or activities shall not be resorted to under any circumstances.
6.       No political party or candidate shall permit its or his followers to make use of any individual’s land, building, compound wall etc., without his permission for erecting flag-staffs, suspending banners, pasting notices, writing slogans etc.
7.       Political parties and candidates shall ensure that their supporters do not create obstructions in or break up meetings and processions organized by other parties. Workers or sympathisers of one political party shall not create disturbances at public meetings organized by another political party by putting questions orally or in writing or by distributing leaflets of their own party. Processions shall not be taken out by one party along places at which meetings are held by another party. Posters issued by one party shall not be removed by workers of another party.

.. .. .. ..  Election commission has jumped into action ~ at many places, the names of political leaders inscribed on public platforms, statues etc., have been covered – at Marina saw that newspapers have been pasted at the pedestal of many statues crudely covering the name of the then Chief Ministers who had inaugurated at that time .. .. Marina beach has many statues dotted along – the recent addition being that of ‘Tholkappiyar’ in front of Oriental research Institute of Madras University nearer my home.  ……. the culture of statues has a long history and is not new to Tamilnadu alone – and there have been some clashes arising out of issues involving statues, it is another colonial vestige.  At important road junctions, at landmark buildings – we have statues of leaders and others lying uncared for in a state of neglect.  There are statues in a row in the Marina beach with bird droppings and dirty looks.  In the northern State, one CM went berserk installing statues of party symbol and self and the opposition leader appealed to the Centre not to release funds to State fearing that they would create more statues.

Originally, statues were installed to propagate the memory of great leaders, poets and visionaries of the Society and even in a place where rationalists question religion, there arose very many statues to leaders of importance. It was to instill in upcoming generations some knowledge and recalling of the glorious acts of the erstwhile leaders. It is unfortunate that instead of learning, sometimes they become the reason for public disturbance. 

some Chennaites would remember this ~ at the all important junction known as Kathipara [now overshadowed by the clover bridge and Alandur Metro Station] was once a junction, a roundabout with the statue of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The statue was removed from its place to give way for the flyover and now stands forlorn in the roundabout from airport towards Porur beneath the bridge. It has some added significance as on that fateful day in May 1991 –on an election campaign, Rajiv Gandhji landed up at Madras, met the press, stopped at Kathipara Junction at around 0915 pm to garland Jawaharlal Nehru’s statue …… reached Sriperumpudur, garlanded the statue of Indira Gandhi and took that fateful step at around 10.20 pm at Sriperumpudur… makes a sad reading.

A few years ago, during the elections in Uttar Pradesh Election Commission (EC) ordered masking of the umpteen elephant statues that Mayavati had erected across the state.   In  Tamil Nadu in 2014, they issued orders to cover CM’s  pictures on the boards of "Amma Unvagam" (Amma Canteens), her block-buster food security initiative that serves hot cooked meals to thousands of people every day.  A fortnight ago, in a move defying every logic came the order to cover beautiful kolams inside Sri Villiputhur Sri Andal Temple under the pretext that they were lotus, party symbol of BJP’.  There were many protests on the social media and subsequently that order was revised.

Now read this news in TOI Chennai edition : activists who garland freedom fighter Su Nellaiyappar’s statue in Chromepet on his birth and death anniversaries every year had to keep their routine celebrations on hold till the last moment. Poll officials had covered the statue mistaking Nellaiyappar for a political leader.Members of a local organization submitted a letter at the Chromepet police station and sought help to remove the cloth wrapped around the statue. S Meenakshi Sundaram, treasurer of Tamil Peravai, spoke to the assistant returning officer and election officer after which the statue was uncovered.

“We have been garlanding the statue for 30 years. We also distribute food to 100 poor people in the neighbourhood on his birth and death anniversaries. We have been trying to approach officials to let us garland the statue but they kept dodging us,” said Meenakshi. With the celebrations in doubt till Thursday morning, Tamil Peravai members could not arrange for the food.“Nellaiyappar was not a politician and there was no need to cover his statue,” said R Ramadoss, lawyer and social activist. Nellaiyappar was a native of Parali, a village in Tirunelveli. A school in his name was later set up in the mid-1950s in Bharathipuram, Chromepet to educate children free of cost. He had donated the plot for the school. However, it was shut down due to lack of patronage.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
29th Mar 2019.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

NASA offers 12 lakhs + for lying in bed ~ 'summa iru' and earn

In a hilarious comedy, Vadivelu would challenge a person to remain idle (summa iru) for an hour ~ the man who would ridicule Vadivelu for being one without work, would find it so difficult to sit idle for an hour, would admit losing the challenge ! ~ what for do people earn ? – there is this story where a management consultant, went to a man sitting and not doing anything.  He offered to change the life of the man – motivating him to do some work, earn money, make it a fortune, then relax with the earned money. .. .. the man shot back ‘if being relaxed is the end objective’, I am already at it – why push oneself and end up at this ? – can you sit idle, be associated with top notch NASA and paid for that ? – sounds a dream !

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.  NASA was established in 1958, succeeding the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). Since its establishment, most US space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo Moon landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, the Space Launch System and Commercial Crew vehicles.  NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System.  Scientific research on the International Space Station is a collection of experiments that require one or more of the unusual conditions present in low Earth orbit.

Researchers are investigating the effect of the station's near-weightless environment on the evolution, development, growth and internal processes of plants and animals. In response to some of this data, NASA wants to investigate microgravity's effects on the growth of three-dimensional, human-like tissues, and the unusual protein crystals that can be formed in space.  .. .. and according to this story in Daily Mail UK, volunteers are being offered £14,000 [12.67 lakhs Indian Rupees] to lie in bed for two months and watch TV to help NASA understand how space travel will affect astronauts.  The dream job for many is designed to see how 'artificial gravity' affects the human body and participants will need to do everything lying flat, including going to the toilet.  Space experts from both NASA and ESA will study them around the clock in a bid to understand how astronauts may be affected by prolonged spells in space, with muscle wasting the main concern.  ESA claim it is integral in understanding the damage that may be caused by weightlessness, cosmic radiation, isolation and spatial restrictions.

They will be propped up at a slight incline with their feet elevated above their head and body to reduce blood aggregating in the body's extremities. This is expected to mimic the effects of being in space and may result in numbness and muscle wasting.  Two dozen volunteers will be subjected to the 60 days of permanent bed rest in Cologne and all participants must speak German.  The other requirement is that  participants are between 24 and 55 and healthy.  If you think this may be a 'dream job' for that lump currently taking up space on your couch, you may be severely disappointed. “Couch potatoes is not an accurate description for what we are looking. Subjects need to be veryhealthy,” says NASA’s news chief, Kelly Humphries. Those who are short-listed in the application round go through a modified Air Force Class Three physical, which is a rigorous physical exam. In addition, there is a psychological screening in which subject candidates fill out a battery of tests, followed by ninety minutes one on one with a psychologist.

 “Once they qualify physically and mentally, we do rigorous physical exercises to test muscle strength and aerobics capacity. We want people who have the physical and psychological characteristics of an astronaut. They should be able to do the kind of activities that astronauts do.” Said Dr Cromwell.  The project from the two space agencies will provide participants with ample entertainment and reading material in exchange for their time.  It also recommends the participants use the time and opportunity to enrol in some online courses.

Half the participants will undergo treatments akin to that of an 'artificial gravity' chamber. They will be spun around in a centrifuge at 30 revolutions a minute in the hope it will force blood back into their extremities.  It is hoped comparing and contrasting the physical deterioration of the two groups - spun and not spun - will provide data to help mitigate this during long-term space travel. A three month time block will need to be cleared in order to take part in the study as a two week period of rehabilitation will follow the test and the 60 day slog is preceded by a five day orientation period.

This is not entirely new as in 2013 too, NASA offered   around $18,000 for lying in bed, playing games on your phone, reading books, skyping with your friends and family, taking online classes – and even go on with your day job if you can get away with working remotely, so long as you don’t get out of bed for that entire duration.

So would you rush for this dream job where you get paid for being idle (summa iru)

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th Mar 2019.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Ravichandran Ashwin, Mankad - criticism and ... Paddy Upton

The Cabinet Mission sent in March 1946 by the government of Clement Attlee cleared the path towards freedom, but that process would prove tumultuous, with large-scale communal riots in Calcutta that August giving a taste of what was to come a year later when the country was partitioned. 

That was still a time when the Nation was nearing pangs of birth, but Cricket was still important for the British;  undeterred by war and despite the continuing domestic unrest, an Indian team sailed for England ~ it turned out to be the last team from undivided India to tour Britain.Iftikhar Ali Khan, the Nawab of Pataudi, who had made his debut for England during the infamous Bodyline Series of 1932-33, was now leading the nation of his birth. The Indian cricket board had voted to give him captaincy over Vijay Merchant by ten votes to eight !!  ~ a Captain selection by votes !  - part of that team was the famous all rounder.

Have seen Ashok Mankad play at Marina; he  was touted to be the  great cricketing brain in India, especially leading Mafatlals in Buchi Babu Trophy.  His father  MulvantraiHimmatlal Mankad  known as Vinoo Mankad, the  more illustrious taking 162 wickets and scoring 2109 runs in Tests is the man in news.  Ashok Mankad did not succeed in a big way, though immensely talented.  His brothers Rahul Mankad and Atul Mankad were also first class cricketers.  He was married to Nirupama Mankad who was a former Asian Tennis champion. Their son Harsh was a member of Indian Davis Cup team.  Though people may not know this long history, Mankad is a name trending now ~ because of Ashwin action – and is there a particular bias to such criticism – all England players & critics have jumped bandwagon, joined by the likes of Shane Warne.

Paddy Upton, the coach of Rajasthan Royals also is vehemently voicing – and after the match, when players crossed shaking hands, he exchanged something palatable to Ravichandran Ashwin – is that in the spirit of the game ?.. ..and after the match he said that they were leaving it for the Cricket World to judge Ashwin’s action calling it controversial and also went to say that the actions of Ashwin, speaks for him and represents him.  When I looked in the eyes of his teammates, I’m not sure it represented his teammates. We’ll leave it up to the IPL fans to decide if that’s the kind of thing they want to see, and we’ll leave it up to the cricket world to judge R Ashwin’s actions tonight’.  ~ who asked him to read the mind voice of the Punjab team, let him coach the team he is assigned to .

Paddy is a learned man – in Big Bash League when he became the coach for Sydney Thunder, he   gave his freshly-assembled squad an unusual task.They were sent far away from a cricket field and asked to hold their breaths underwater. Remember that when Gary Kirsten was appointed as Head Coach in 2008, Upton was recommended to the dual role of Mental Conditioning coach and Strategic Leadership Coach.

It could lead back to the role of Coaches, mental conditioning and more – remember that when Kapil Devil’s won the World Cup in 1983, the only non-playing member was Manager Man Singh who for sure did not mentor Kapil on how to bowl or bat, nor did he tamper with the unconventional approach of KrishSrikkanth.  Chris Gayle has no footwork, neither did VirenderSehwag excel in that area. Chris Gayle clobbers bowlers – standing at the same place – and a similar ball sails once over mid wicket, then straight and then over extra-cover – nothing in the Cricket manual.  With Bumrah’s action, one cannot dream to bowl a single ball straight – generally, when the bowling arm goes up, the other comes down !

In Sports, Coaches have made big money by their theories and they have taken over the business World too.  There are Fortune 50 companies that have coaches – but whether the change is real and whether all brought about by these high flying coaches only is debatable. 

South African born Patrick Anthony Howard 'Paddy' Upton is a Coach who does mental conditioning also.   He holds Masters degree in Sport Science at University of Cape Town.  After working with SA Cricket and Rugby teams, he had a Second Masters degree in Business Coaching from Middlesex University (2003).  Between 2012-2018 Upton has been Head Coach in 12 professional T20 cricket seasons, for five different teams across three tournaments, including the Indian Premier League, Australian Big Bash League and the Pakistan Super League. Upton has degrees from four different Universities, including two Masters degrees. In 2015 he was awarded the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Achiever Award, awarded to Alumni who made significant contributions to their specialist fields and contributed to the development and well-being of society at local, provincial, national or international levels. In 2017 he was appointed Professor of Practice at Deakin University.

He is vociferous against Ashwin, perhaps trying to justify his role for the team that has him at the mantle.  There was one infamous incident, in Sept 2009 when the man who recommended him Gary Kirsten too sought to distance himself from the controversial dossier that encouraged his players to have sex during the Champions Trophy to increase their competitive edge, claiming it was entirely the handiwork of his conditioning coach, Paddy Upton. As   effigies of Kirsten were set alight in Indore  upon news – there were suggestions that the man whom he had brought along had issued a detailed document to players before a major tournament and  Upton was not available for comment.

Gary Kirsten claimed that he would never indulge in such a thinking and that the  leaked article was written by Paddy Upton and provided information for the players on the relationship between sexual activity and sports performance. The dossier, first leaked to the Hindustan Times, was the talk of the Champions Trophy. The section on sex asked: "Does sex increase performance?" And the answer began: "Yes, it does, so go ahead and indulge." India's players were told: "From a physiological [body] perspective having sex increases testosterone levels, which causes an increase in strength, energy, aggression and competitiveness." Kirsten's own hormone levels were also rising yesterday, although that was more to do with the urgent need to protect his job.

At that time, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, then India's captain, was asked whether the advice had been taken on board. "No comment," he said, smiling. "You knew when you asked that I wouldn't be able to say anything about that."

~ what is the controversy all about – when you are the non-striker, stay within the crease, till the ball leaves the hand of the  bowler ! ~ and when there is rule, what non-sense of prior-warning ! – would anyone drop a catch, miss a stumping or a run-out, simply because the batsman is on threshold of a milestone ?  Spirit is in keeping with the rules and not cheating .. .. and those who claimed fake catches, teams that indulged in Vaseline and ball tampering .. .. and more are now talking..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th Mar 2019.

Mission 'Shakti' places the Nation on a high orbit

Another significant milestone for the Nation ..  Today expectations rose high and anxiety hung in air as our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji  tweeted that he would be addressing the nation at around 11:45 am to 12.00 noon with an important message. "Do watch the address on television, radio or social media," he had said without indicating what it could be about.

Nation has moved forward long after ‘Aryabhatta’ launched on 19.4.1975 from Kapustin Yar, a Russian rocket launch and development. It was built by the Indian Space Research Organisation. The launch came from an agreement between India and the Soviet Union directed by UR Rao and signed in 1972. It allowed the USSR to use Indian ports for tracking ships and launching vessels in return for launching Indian satellites. Aryabhatta is the first man made (artificial) Indian satellite.  The satellite returned to the Earth's atmosphere on 11 Feb 1992.

A Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is an Earth-centered orbit with an altitude of 2,000 km (1,200 mi) or less (approximately one third of the radius of Earth), or with at least 11.25 periods per day (an orbital period of 128 minutes or less) and an eccentricity less than 0.25.  Most of the manmade objects in space are in LEO.  The LEO region is defined by some sources as the region in space that LEO orbits occupy.  The International Space Station conducts operations in LEO. All crewed space stations to date, as well as the majority of satellites, have been in LEO.

Today as most of the Nation was glued to the media, PM Modiji began his address to the nation.  He stated that an anti-satellite missile destroyed a live satellite in 3 minutes ~ and with this the Nation  has entered its name as an elite space power. An anti-satellite weapon A-SAT, successfully targeted a live satellite on a low earth orbit. 'Mission Shakti' operation was a difficult target to achieve which was completed successfully within three minutes of launch. India has registered herself as a space power today; till now only US, Russia and China have achieved this; now India is the 4th country to achieve this feat: said our honourable PM

Today, we have enough satellites that are contributing in various segments such as agriculture, disaster management, communication, weather, navigation etc; PM Modiji added that – “I assure the world community that our new prowess is not against anyone”.  The A-SAT missile will give new strength to India's space programme. Mission Shakti is special for 2 reasons -- India is only the fourth country to acquire such a specialised and modern capability, and the entire effort is indigenous.

"India stands tall as a space power! It will make India stronger, even more secure and will further peace and harmony," PM Modi said in a tweet after his address to the nation.
Anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) are space weapons designed to incapacitate or destroy satellites for strategic military purposes. Several nations possess operational ASAT systems, with others in development or design. Any state that manages to get the upper hand in this frontier can be expected to dominate the outcome of any war. A state with command over space-based assets can jam enemy satellites or destroy them. The three major powers-the US, Russia and China-have proven ASAT capabilities while several other space-faring nations are working on securing such assets.

The foremost aspect linked to an ASAT weapon is the type. There are a variety of ASAT capabilities that range from cyber-attacks on space systems, Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) explosion devices, directedenergy weapons and targeted missiles for destruction of satellites.

Today is an important milestone with India becoming super power capability of ASAT made indigenously.  Great !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th Mar 2019.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

ill-directed anger of Upton and Butler - Mankad is nothing new !!

Heard of : Keemo Mandela Angus Paul, a  17 year old from Guyana, bats right handed and bowls fast right arm ~ and how do you connect him with ODI 459, the 9th match of Reliance WC played at Gadaffi Stadium, Lahore in Oct 1987 ?

Have seen Ashok Mankad play at Marina; he  was touted to be the  great cricketing brain in India, especially leading Mafatlals in Buchi Babu Trophy.  His father  Mulvantrai Himmatlal Mankad  known as Vinoo Mankad was more illustrious taking 162 wickets and scoring 2109 runs in Tests.  At Chennai way back in 1956 against New Zealand he hit 231 in an opening partnership of 413 with Pankaj Roy which stood as a record for 52 years.

Yesterday in IPL, dugout pundits initially predicted the visitors would end up with an under-par 144. But in the next five overs Kings XI plundered 70 runs, treating those middle overs as the death overs, destroying another established tenet in T20 cricket. Incidentally, in the final four overs, with Gayle having departed, Kings XI managed 39. Of those 70, Gayle scored half and did not spare any of the Royals' bowlers including the much-vaunted Jofra Archer. In fact, Archer's first delivery to Gayle in the evening was an fiery 149kph toe crusher from around the stumps. Archer wanted to cramp Gayle with the new ball. Gayle knew it. He bided his time. By the time he faced him next, in the 14th over, Gayle nonchalantly picked a length delivery outside off stump and dispatched straight for a six, picking 10 in the over. Jaydev Unadkat (19 runs) and Ben Stokes (14 runs) also suffered at Gayle's hands before the Jamaican pulled the Englishman into the hands of deep midwicket to miss out on another T20 century. At that point, 15.5 overs, the Forecaster had gone up to 180.

Jos Butler reignited   the spirit-of-cricket debate ! ~ he was run-out – shouted at Ashwin trying to find fault with the way of the dismissal .. ..   Running in to deliver the penultimate delivery of his final over, Ashwin stopped after entering his delivery stride. Buttler didn't have his eye on the bowler and slipped out of the crease. As soon as he saw that, Ashwin simply turned around and broke the stumps at the non-strikers' end with the batsman out of his crease. The decision was sent up to the third umpire, who didn't need much time to send Buttler on his way.  An irate  Buttler had an unpleasant exchange with Ashwin, the Kings XI Punjab captain, while the third umpire made his decision. He walked off angry, and was seen shouting in the general direction of one of the dugouts.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Ashwin said of the incident: "Look, it was very instinctive. On my part, it was very instinctive. It was not planned or anything like that. It's there within the rules of the game. I don't understand where the spirit of the game comes, naturally if it's there in the rules it's there.

This was not the first time Buttler had been run out backing up too far. On air in host broadcaster Star Sports' "Dugout", Kumar Sangakkara pointed out how, in a game against Sri Lanka in 2014, Buttler was run out in a similar fashion after two warnings by Sachithra Senanayake. Royals' coach Paddy Upton, though, didn't bother about the technicalities. He was miffed, and it showed in the press conference. There cannot be a more cruel joke than an Aussie speaking on the spirit of the game !

Buttler was looking in control of the chase of 185 at that time, having scored 69 off 43. His wicket, though, triggered a collapse as hosts Rajasthan Royals lost seven wickets for 16 runs to lose by 14 runs. At the end of the match, Buttler shook Ashwin's hand, but refused to look his way. Just behind Buttler, Upton seemed to have said something to Ashwin while shaking his hand, which made Ashwin stop in his tracks and give them a bemused look.

Laws 30 to 39 discuss the various ways a batsman may be dismissed. Law 38: describes  Run out. A batsman is out if at any time while the ball is in play no part of his bat or person is grounded behind the popping crease and his wicket is fairly put down by the opposing side.  A batsman may be dismissed Run out whether or not a run is being attempted, even if the delivery is a no ball (i.e. not a fair delivery). The rule is very clear in the description “Running out a batsman "backing up".  As a bowler enters his delivery stride, the non-striking batsman usually 'backs up'. This means he leaves his popping crease and walks towards the other end of the wicket so that it will take him less time for him to reach the other end if he and his batting partner choose to attempt a run. When the batsman leaves the popping crease before delivery, the bowler may attempt to run the non-striker out.  This is clearly legal.

The earliest of these type of out involved Vinoo Mankad and occurred during India's tour of Australia on 13 December 1947 in the second Test at Sydney. Mankad ran out Bill Brown when, in the act of delivering the ball, he held on to it and whipped the bails off with Brown well out of his crease. The Australian press strongly accused Mankad of being unsportsmanlike, though some Australians, including Don Bradman, the Australian captain at the time, defended Mankad's actions.   After this this type of run out came to be known as ‘Mankaded’. There have been  instances of such outs in Tests and  in One dayers which includes :  Brian Luckhurst by Greg Chappell, England v Australia, Melbourne, 1974-75; Grant Flower by Dipak Patel, Zimbabwe v New Zealand, Harare, 1992-93 and Peter Kirsten by Kapil Dev, South Africa vIndia, Port Elizabeth, 1992-93.

Courtney Walsh of the West Indies famously refused to mankad last man Saleem Jaffar of Pakistanfor backing up too far in a group match in the 1987 World Cup, but let him off with a warning. Pakistan went on to win the match while the defeat cost the West Indies a place in the semi-final.  In 2012 at Srilanka,   Sehwag went gone one step further,  withdrew the appeal after Ashwin breaking the stumps and appealing; - the result was similar though, Indians losing the match !!!!!!!!

In the U19 WC at Bangladesh,   Keemo Paul effected a mankad to claim the last Zimbabwe Under-19 wicket - that of Richard Ngarava - with three runs needed off the final over. Paul ran through the bowling crease without entering his delivery stride and broke the stumps, catching the non-striker Ngarava with his bat on the line while he was standing a couple of steps out of his crease.

Jos Butler is a classy cricketer but knows or remembers  little of past.    Let Butler, Upton and others  turn the pages of almanac to read about the first Test played at Wankhede Statdium in Nov 1981 – Test No. 911 – a bitter one as India won by 138 runs.  Krishnamachari Srikkanth made his debut – out for a duck in the first innings.  In the second essay, he was extremely nervy;  he had the peculiar habit of walking towards the square leg umpire after every delivery.  He fended one towards the slip and took his casual walks – not attempting a run but out of the crease.  John Emburey at the slips threw the wickets down and the whole England team celebrated !  Srikkanth was declared run out.   That day, it was well within the spirits of the game – Gavaskar openly admonished Srikkanth and there was the remorseless remark that this boy should learn that this is not ‘juhu beach and he is not going for a walking’ !

For all those pundits – do we require the Wicket keeper to warn the batsman before effecting a stumping ? ~ you are outside the crease, you are likely to get out !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th Mar 2019

Saturday, March 23, 2019

IPL 12 set to begin ~ no inaugural ceremony - ticket collection donated for Pulawama

                      The big extravaganza IPL 12 – is all set to begin today .. CSK takes on RCB at Chepauk .. ..  In Mar 2012, it was a great show blitz in Chennai ~ the inauguration of IPL 5 ~ it was not at Chepauk, far away from the Cricket stadium at Nandanam there were more crowds – mad people spending so much – not for seeing cricketers in action………….. but  the event that kickstarted the game.   IPL was touted  to be  a treat of entertainment ~ but they opened the stage with bollywood diva Kareena Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Prabhudeva, Priyanka Chopra, Salman Khan, Colonial Cousins and Katy Perry.  Yes, an  American Singer, songwriter and actress - Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson better known by her stage name Katy Perry performed for IPL at  YMCA College of Physical Education ~ an innovative move to promote and popularize and patronize cricket !!!

To those die-hard Cricket fans, when we started following Cricket in mid 1970s – there were : Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy, Deodhar Trophy (remember that 129 by TE Srinivasan at Chepauk against star studded West Zone) & Irani Trophy.. .. there tournaments have lost charm over the years.  The 2018–19 Ranji Trophy was the 85th  season of the Ranji Trophy, the premier first-class cricket tournament ~ Vidarbha were the defending champions. For long the Cup rested with Bombay – then there were Delhi, Karnataka .. .. .. .. and .. and some other teams.  This year on 3rd Feb 2019, the finals was played between Vidarbha and Saurashtra !  Vidarbha defeated Saurashtra by 78 runs in the final, to become the sixth team in the tournament's history to retain their title.  For Saurashtra, it was their third straight loss in Ranji Trophy finals, with their captain Jaydev Unadkat saying he was really proud of how his team performed during the tournament.

Statistics may sound music but in reality, the game is not watched, if not followed.   In a sense, Vidarbha’s success is not unexpected. The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s decision to share its monumental largesse with state associations has led to an improvement in the payment of, and the facilities available to, first-class cricketers . A former Vidarbha cricketer, who played for 21 seasons, said that along the way he had seen his meagre match fee of Rs 250 jump to over one lakh rupees. ~ but the crowds have thinned and are closer to dying down – some matches are literally played before empty stands – that is the status of the Premier tournament.  In a match  between Delhi and Andhra Pradesh at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in the Indian capital, there were about the same number of people in the stands -- around 20 -- as on the pitch. On the final day of the four, this swelled to 150, but only because it was a special occasion -- the swansong of former India opener Gautam Gambhir. People in cricket-mad India also no longer have much passion for the four-day Ranji games -- named after a maharaja who played for England in the 1890s -- preferring the excitement of one-day games and the razzmatazz of Twenty20.

So is it the game or any individual, who is bigger – even in a phase of his career where critics uncharitably thrust mortality stating that this is his last match at this venue and so long – and he himself has chosen out of Test Cricket midway in a Series and presently is planning to play in WC 2019 – the legend MSD – when he walked to Chepauk (not for any match) but for a practice session, more than 12000 spectators were live shouting at peak of their voices chanting – dhoni ! dhoni! Dhoni!!    he can still walk into stadiums across the country and set them alight. For one, the inimitable Super Kings whistle. More significantly: how long the welcome lasted, for nearly a minute-and-a-half, whistles and all, almost as if it were his last game there.

There is another reason though – last year was comeback for CSK - Dhoni and the Super Kings could play only  one match in the city in the last three years.  crowd shrieks; he isn't visible when the video begins, and is likely somewhere behind the backpedalling cameraperson, in the MCC enclosure's vicinity. This is the part of the stadium where people would have first spotted MS Dhoni walking out from behind the sightscreen, two bats in his right hand, and a helmet tucked under his left wrist. Walking out with him is a man, also carrying two bats, who is assisting him. Four bats in two right hands, moving steadily away from our shrieker.  By now, Dhoni's on the field, and everyone has seen him. That's nearly 12,000 people at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, gathered to watch Chennai Super Kings train.  That is the video on the twitter page of CSK.

This year, the IPL will not have an opening ceremony after the Committee of Administrators (CoA) running Indian cricket  decided to allocate the money set aside for it to the families of the CRPF personnel killed in the Pulwama terror attack. The opening ceremonies of the cash-rich T20 league are a heady mix glitz and glamour with performances by Bollywood stars being the highlight. However, as a mark of respect to the slain CRPF men, it has been decided to scrap the ceremony for the event's 12th edition beginning March 23.  .. and ..  ticket proceeds of Chennai Super Kings’ first home match in the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Chepauk on March 23 will go towards the families of the victims of the Pulwama terror attack, the team's director Rakesh Singh announced on Wednesday. Tickets to the highly-anticipated clash between defending champions CSK and Virat Kohli’s RCB were sold out within hours on the opening day of sale. “Our captain MS Dhoni, who is honorary lieutenant colonel of the Indian territorial army, will present the cheque,” Rakesh said.

On Monday, it was announced that military bands will perform at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium ahead of the opening fixture. Officials from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also confirmed that the Board will contribute Rs. 20 crore for the welfare of the armed forces in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, where 44 CRPF personnel were killed.  Representatives from the Indian Armed Forces have been invited for the match, which will also be attended by the three members of the Committee of Administrators (CoA).

The extravaganza is about to begin .. CSK kku oru visil podu !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd Mar 2019.