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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Republic Day Parade 2020 ~ motor cycle daredevilry

From my childhood days ~ I have relished Indian Republic Day more – living closer to Marina beach, the RD parade has always been a great attraction.  This morning TN Governor Sri Bhanwarilal Purohit hoisted the National flag and flagged off the parade.

70   years back, a salute of 21 guns and the unfurling of the Indian National flag by Dr. Rajendra Prasad heralded the historic birth of the Indian Republic on January 26, 1950; that significant day was  894 days after our country became a dominion following withdrawal of British Rule. Since then, every year the day is celebrated with great pride and happiness all over the nation. The transition of India from a British colony to a sovereign, secular, and democratic nation was indeed historical. It was a long journey of around two decades that started with the conceptualisation of the dream in 1930 to its actual realization in 1950.

The seeds of a republican nation were sowed at the Lahore session of the Indian National Congress at the midnight of 31st December 1929. Those present in the meeting took a pledge to mark January 26 as "Independence Day" in order to march towards realizing the dream of complete independence from the British. The Lahore Session paved way to the Civil Disobedience movement. It was decided that January 26, 1930 would be observed as the Purna Swaraj (complete Independence) Day.

On Republic Day, flag hoisting ceremonies and parades by armed forces and school children are held in different parts of the country. The grandest and most important of these parades is held at Rajpath in New Delhi, which showcases a multi-hued image of the country's rich cultural heritage and military prowess. This parade is presided over by the President of India.

26th Jan 2020 marked the 71st Republic Day of the Nation.  At the National Capital, the celebrations began  at 9am with the flag-hoisting ceremony by President Ram Nath Kovind, after which the Republic Day parade started from Rajpath.   To mark the importance of the Republic Day, every year a grand parade is held in the capital, New Delhi, from the Raisina Hill  Rashtrapati Bhavan (the President's residence), along the Rajpath, past India Gate. Similar parades are held in State Capitals and in District headquarters too.  In Chennai, in Kamarajar salai, there was a grand parade – first by armed forces, police and others – with school children and other cultural dances, followed by the tableaux representing the might of armed forces and then floats of various State Govt. departments.

Tailpiece :  on the Independence Day right from 1947, the Prime Minister of the Nation unfurls the National flag at Red Fort; while it is President on Republic Day.  In the States, it is the CM & Governor respectively.  However on RD 2017, it was TN CM Mr O Panneerselvam who  hoisted the national flag for the first time on the 68th  Republic day of India at the Marina beach in Chennai. Tamil Nadu Governor (in-charge) C Vidyasagar Rao holding dual charge  was in Mumbai on Republic Day and hence the flag was hoisted by the CM.

Here are some photos taken this morning during the Parade in Chennai. Gripping acrobatics on motorbikes by the daredevils of the Army's Corps of Signals, drew loud applause at the  Republic Day celebrations. There was daredevilry, formations including display of  'Jimmy', a symbol of the Corps of Signals, balancing himself belly down on his moving motorcycle, displaying the 'swift and secure' traits of the corps. The last 5 photos are of Delhi parade courtesy

With regards – S. Sampathkumar    
30th Jan 2020.                                     

China constructs specialised hospital for Coronavirus patients in record speed

The Wuchang Uprising was an armed rebellion against the ruling Qing dynasty that took place in Wuchang, Hubei, China on 10 Oct 1911, which was the beginning of the Xinhai Revolution that successfully overthrew China's last imperial dynasty. The uprising and the eventual revolution directly led to the downfall of the Qing dynasty with five millennia of imperial rule, and the establishment of the Republic of China (ROC), which commemorates the anniversary of the uprising's starting date of 10 October as the National Day of the Republic of China. On that day, the  New Army stationed in Wuchang launched an assault on the residence of the Viceroy of Huguang. The viceroy Ruicheng quickly fled from the residence, and the revolutionaries soon took control of the entire city.

The city - Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province, People's Republic of China. It is the largest city in Hubei and the most populous city in Central China. The name "Wuhan" came from the city's historical origin from the conglomeration of Wuchang, Hankou and Hanyang, which are collectively known as the "Three Towns of Wuhan".  It lies in the eastern Jianghan Plain, on the confluence of the Yangtze River and its largest tributary, the Han River, and is known as "China's Thoroughfare".  This place has garnered global attention albeit for wrong reasons.

Wuhan today is considered the political, economic, financial, commercial, cultural and educational center of Central China. It is a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and expressways passing through the city and connecting to other major cities. The "Golden Waterway" of the Yangtze River and its largest tributary, the Han River, traverse the urban area and divides Wuhan into the three districts of Wuchang, Hankou and Hanyang. The Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge crosses the Yangtze in the city. The Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest power station in terms of installed capacity, is located nearby.

For the millions of residents trapped in an unprecedented lockdown in Wuhan, the epicenter of China's deadly coronavirus outbreak, life has not been easy -- but some are trying to make the best of a bad situation. The city of 11 million people in central China's Hubei province has been in lockdown for almost one week as Chinese authorities struggle to contain the spread of the deadly new coronavirus that has killed at least 170 people and sickened more than 7,700. Flights, trains and buses leaving Wuhan have been cancelled, highways out of the city blocked and all intra-city public transports suspended. On Sunday, the city even banned private vehicles from the roads to discourage people from moving around.

This is no post on the Coronavirus, its death or the struggle of people – but on the Govt initiative in handling the epidemic – the building of a hospital.  China's first coronavirus hospital was opened  after workers and volunteers spent two days converting an empty building to a 1,000-bed medical centre.  It is proudly proclaimed that the  emergency facility in Huanggang city was up and running in 48 hours.  Serving the purpose of its built, a  batch of coronavirus patients were transferred there immediately.  It is stated that three more such hospitals are being built, two in Wuhan and one in Zhengzhou, even as the death toll of the life-threatening infection has soared to easily more than 100. The facility known as Dabie Mountain Regional Medical Centre is the first dedicated coronavirus hospital, constructed in a city near Wuhan is a 1000 bed emergency facility, built-up by  workers and volunteers in  just two days converting an empty building.

A handout from the Huanggang government claimed that it was put up in 48 hours showing workers from the city's electricity company working to connect the building to the grid so it can treat coronavirus patients.  Within a very short span of time,  all of the beds had been set up by volunteers, and water, electricity and internet had also been connected, according to the government of Huanggang.  All of the coronavirus hospitals are modelled on a temporary medical centre, which was built in Beijing in seven days to tackle SARS in 2003 and treated one-seventh of the country's SARS patient in the space of two months. In a picture put-up,  dozens of diggers could be seen working overtime to build the six-acre coronavirus hospital in the Caidian District in the western suburb of Wuhan, China.

Wuhan, which is ravaged by a deadly new virus, had vowed to build a special, 1,000-bed hospital in less than a week to fight an outbreak.  More than 500 workers and a dozen heavy vehicles worked two days and nights in order to complete the task on time.  Situated 75 kilometres (46.6 miles) south-west of Wuhan, Huanggang has a population of around 7.5 million and is one of the cities that have been hit by the coronavirus the hardest.  The Wuhan authorities instructed four construction companies to toil through the Chinese New Year holiday in order to complete the urgent task.

Although the Huanggang coronavirus hospital was the first to open, it was not the first to be planned. The government of Wuhan announced last Thursday that they would build a coronavirus hospital in a week. There are at least four of such facilities completed or being completed in the country. The coronavirus epidemic has killed at least 106 people - all in China - and sickened more than 4,592 worldwide. The intensifying health crisis has led the authorities to quarantine at least 56 million people living in central China's Hubei Province. China's central government has sent around 6,000 doctors to Wuhan from across the nation to help the city deal with the outbreak.

With the whole World watching them and with news of affected persons spreading,  China is maintaining a solid front – President Xi Jinping said the nation would 'win the battle against the devil virus' and a Chinese scientist said he thinks the outbreak and the 'battle of Wuhan' will peak in 10 days' time.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30th Jan 2020.

concussion sub - vaseline lever - Pongal test - Mohinder and more

I remember seeing that Pongal Test at Chepauk in Jan 1977.  Critics booed India for their lacklustre performance.  Those were the days when Test matches had a rest day !  In that Test no. 793, England opened with Dennis Amiss and Bob Woolmer who was born in Kanpur and later died in Jamaica mysteriously during WC 2007, when he was the coach of Pakistan.  Tony Greig was the captain- John Brearly, Roger Tolchard, Derek Randall, Alan Knott, John Lever, Chris Old, Bob Willis and Derek Underwood played and were all out for 262.  Bishan Bedi took 4; Madanlal and Prasanna 2 apiece.  India could muster only 164 – Lever took 5/59.  England were bowled out for 185 [Chandra took 5/50; Prasanna 4/55] and chasing 284, Indians were bundled out for 83 – Willis  3/18 and Underwood 4/28 inflicting the damage.

Could recall that South African Bob Woolmer opened – Bob was to die in mysterious circumstances in 2007 World Cup and after lot of hyped Qs, the investigation led nowhere. JM Brearley who was later touted as a very brainy captain played a very dour innings making 59 off 205 balls – scorecard would read his dismissal as C&B Erapalli Prasanna. There was another dour player Roger Tolchard who made 8 off 85 balls – he would jump to spinners, defend and get back to safety.

                       John Lever who had just debuted in the Delhi Test looked unplayable.  There was Chris Old and big burly Bob Willis – and spinning Underwood too – but John Lever running in and bowling fast left arm raised eye-brows. In fact, he was booed and there was a huge banner screaming ‘Cheater Lever – go back’.  – Capt Tony Greig too was asked to go back.

A sudden jerk to the brain can lead to metabolic and chemical alteration in the brain, as well as stretching and damaging the brain cells. As a result, the brain cells fail to communicate properly, causing changes in the brain’s normal functionality. It is concussion. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). It can occur after an impact to one’s head or after a whiplash-type injury that causes one’s  head and brain to shake quickly back and forth. A concussion results in an altered mental state that may include becoming unconscious  - although concussion is not life-threatening, it can lead to deterioration in cognitive and motor functions. Most commonly, a concussion occurs during playing a contact sport, including football, hockey, rugby, soccer, and boxing. Sometimes, a person can have a concussion without showing any apparent symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 3.8 million individuals who are engaged in sport and recreational activities get concussions in the US each year; of these, only a small fraction recognizes the condition and undergoes medical treatment.

Zimbabwe opener Kevin Kasuza was taken off the field on a stretcher after being struck flush on the helmet for the second time in two Tests. He was rushed to the hospital for scans and was later diagnosed with a mild concussion. Although he is stable, medical staff will continue monitoring him. Timycen Maruma has been named as his concussion substitute. Kasuza sustained the blow on the third morning of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Harare when Kusal Mendis nailed a powerful back-foot pull, which hit the side of the helmet of forward short-leg fielder Kasuza, who immediately hit the ground even as the ball ricocheted to square leg, where Carl Mumba took the catch to send back Mendis for 22 off 73 balls. Kasuza was in visible pain and was consequently stretchered off the field by the Zimbabwe medical staff.

Incidentally, it was a repeat of what happened in the first Test. Then, too, it was Mendis, who had struck Kasuza on the helmet when he was fielding at the same position on the third day of the match. In that game, Kasuza had not immediately felt the effects of the blow, but suffered a delayed concussion and was eventually substituted out of the match, which was his international debut. As a result, Zimbabwe named a like-for-like replacement in opener Brian Mudzinganyama.

In that Pongal Test, Mike Brearly pulled Prasanna.  The sound could be heard on the stadium.  Mohinder Amarnath standing at forward short leg took evasive action, but the ball struck his head and ricocheted towards the bowler, Prasanna took a simple catch.  It became a Caught & Bowled dismissal – Mohinder on seeing the bowler catch, started laughing.  Was it pure courage ? or ?? – the blow certainly would have been painful and might have caused concussion too – but those were the days, when these were taken lightly – there was no physio running, no medical treatment – all is fine !

In the series opener, in Delhi, John Lever, a fast-medium swing bowler from Essex, had taken 7 for 46 and 3 for 24 (aided by "a rogue ball which swung extravagantly") on his Test debut, as England won by an innings, marking him out as the man to watch. After another comprehensive England win in Calcutta- by ten wickets - the newspapers were turning on India and the players, especially the captain, Bishan Bedi, were feeling the pressure.  Lever was among wickets at Chepauk too, though Underwood dominated here.  John Lever  played 21 Tests took 73 wickets in all but never performed anywhere closer to his debut Test and series.  It swing bowling was an art and he could do it so well in India, why the ball never swung such in his own place in much more favourable circumstances ! – will he or his Captain would ever explain ?

Years later, Tony Greig had to say of that Vaseline incident :  -  In his wisdom, our physiotherapist decided that he should do what marathon runners do, that is put some Vaseline-impregnated gauze into the eyebrows of the bowlers. By doing so, it would channel the sweat down the side of the eye, as opposed to allowing it to go into the eyes. Well, I can tell you that it was a very silly thing to do because under the laws of the game, if you introduce a foreign substance onto the ball it is clearly cheating. What happened was that John Lever had a habit of taking sweat from him brow, which is perfectly legitimate as long as it is only sweat. However, he did mix the Vaseline-impregnated gauze with some of the sweat on his brow, because he had this habit of going straight across his brow.

Statistics reveal that out of his 73 test wickets in 21; 26 came in first 5 in that debut series !!!  ~ was that poetic justice, he played his last Test against India at Leeds in 1986 when India won by massive 279 runs.

PS:  Vaseline is a brand of petroleum jelly based products owned by Anglo-Dutch company Unilever. The Vaseline name is considered generic in Portuguese and Spanish speaking countries, where the Unilever products are called Vasenol.  In India, the product perhaps did not need any further advertising, and sold well enriching the coffers of its makers !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30th Jan 2020.

Fire Insurance Policy - what is flood ?- what is Inundation ! - Apex Court judgment

Insurance has evolved over the years – there are lot of terms, conditions, wording- all capable of being understood and interpreted in varied manner.  In a recent judgement noteworthy for the interpretation of the peril  termed as ‘Flood & Inundation’ – the Supreme Court has dwelt at length – significant for the Insurers, Intermediaries and insuring public.  Before you read the extract of that judgment, a detailed introduction, I feel, is necessary.  Please do read on :

Fire insurance contract  is "an agreement, whereby Insurer in return for a consideration undertakes to indemnify the other party against loss or damage to  defined subject-matter being by fire or other named perils”.  The contract of insurance involves all the elements of an ordinary contract and insurance contracts. In India, now we have the ‘Standard Fire and Special Perils Policy’ being used by all the General Insurers.  Contrary to common belief, a Fire insurance policy offers indemnity not only against fire but against certain other specified perils that includes ‘water perils’ as well. The term Fire for the purpose of a policy has a wider meaning that that ordinarily associated with the word fire. Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light and various reaction.

For those new to Insurance, the Insurance contract i.e., Policy document is drafted by the Insurer and any discrepancy in interpretation is certain to be held against the party drawing the contract wording. The Indian market now predominantly follows the “All India Fire Tariff” effective 2001. The Tariff has been subjected to revisions and amendments from time to time. During 1980s, the Fire Tariff presented bewildering demonic proportions being of big volume and too difficult even for the Insurers. During those days, there were restrictions of ‘night work’, usage of petrol / flammable material, material in open and for each of these there were restrictions by way of warranties and additional premium.

The Tariff was largely simplified and released with a new look effective April 1987 when there were three variants Fire Policy A, B & C. The first two, broadly, covered residences and non manufacturing / storage risks. Based on the perils covered, B & C offered similar protection. Policy A covered 9 perils : Fire, Lightning, Explosion/Implosion, RSMD, Impact damage, Aircraft damage, STFI, Subsidence & Landslide and Earthquake Fire & Shock. B covered only first six perils. C covered first six but the latter 3 could be extended upon payment of additional premium.

The Standard Fire and Special Perils Policy (Material damage) which came into effect from April 2003, defines Fire as : other than destruction or damage caused to the property insured by (a) its own fermentation, natural heating or spontaneous combustion (b) its undergoing any heating or drying process (c) burning of property insured by order of any Public Authority. This is a named peril policy specifying 12 perils.  The peril group VI. Storm, Cyclone, Typhoon, Tempest, Hurricane, Tornado, Flood and Inundation (termed STFI peril) has been widely discussed upon. contention. Another interesting aspect is Insurers bitten by frequent losses were charging premium compulsorily for this group of peril – with the introduction of IIB rates, there is sigh of relief and Insures would perhaps return to the tariff regime of premium rates !

What is covered under this ‘STFI’ and more specifically what is defined as ‘inundation’ has been clearly elaborated by the Apex Court Bench judgement dated 28th Jan 2020 in an appeal preferred by The Oriental Insurance Co Ltd against JK Cement.

The cause of action arose when Nimbahera had heavy rains on 29.08.2003 and 30.08.2003, some of the coal was washed off, and the stock of coal suffered damage.  A claim was preferred by the policy holder, the surveyor assessed the loss at  Rs.58,89,400/-  - upon receipt of the FSR, the Insurer sought a clarification from the surveyor, as to whether the loss could be said to have been caused by “Flood and Inundation” in terms of the wording of the insurance policy.  They also hired a Chartered Accountant. The  surveyor reaffirmed its stand that the losses in question were payable to the Respondent as per the terms and conditions of the policy. On the other hand, the Chartered Accountant hired by the Appellant reported that he was unable to verify the declarations because the Respondent had not provided the necessary documents to him.

In Dec 2004, Insurers repudiated the claim on the ground that the loss caused to it did not fall within the scope of the policy, having occurred due to heavy and extraordinary rain and not ‘flood’ or ‘inundation’.  Aggrieved by this repudiation, the Respondent filed a consumer complaint before the NCDRC seeking compensation to the tune of Rs.1.32 crores. Vide the impugned order dated 18.11.2008, the NCDRC allowed the complaint to the extent of the loss assessed by the surveyor, i.e. Rs.59,89,400/-  and directed the Appellant to pay the said amount along with interest  at the rate of 9% per annum. The Insurers went on appeal filing petition before the Apex Court.

Counsel for Insurer argued that the terms ‘flood’ and ‘inundation’ refer to two significantly different phenomena that cannot be equated with each other. He contended that the term ‘flood’ refers to overflowing of water bodies such as rivers, ponds, lakes etc. Accordingly, he submitted that since it was not the case of the Respondent that there was a water body near the factory which had overflown into the coal yard, the loss cannot be said to have been caused by a ‘flood’. With respect to the term ‘inundation’, he argued that the same refers to ‘accumulation of water’ and could thus not be applied to the instant case as the coal had merely been washed off due to heavy rains.

Per contra, learned counsel for the Respondent submitted that even if the Appellant’s definition of ‘inundation’ as ‘accumulation of water’ were to be accepted, the surveyor’s report had clearly observed that that there was an accumulation of water in the coal yard, thereby making the policy applicable.  It was also brought to the attention of the Court  that the surveyor had relied on the rainfall data of Nimbahera for 29.08.2003 and 30.08.2003, as received from the Meteorological Department of the Government of India, to conclude that that there were adequate rains in the area to cause floods/inundation. It was also submitted that the Appellant could not have appointed a second surveyor unilaterally, as the procedure under Section 64 UM of the Insurance Act, 1938, requiring permission from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority before appointing a second surveyor, had not been followed.

The Court noted that Insurers  had only appointed a Chartered Accountant for the purposes of verifying the accounts books of the Respondent regarding its daily stock of coal. In their considered opinion, the appointment of a Chartered Accountant for this limited purpose is not tantamount to the appointment of a surveyor.  The quantum of loss was not in dispute but the central Q was -  whether the loss   occurred due to ‘flood’ or ‘Inundation’.

The Court delved on  the dictionary meanings of the terms ‘flood’ and ‘inundation’.

 The word ‘flood’ is defined in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 8th edition (1990) as follows: “…1  an overflowing or influx of water beyond its normal confines, esp. over land; an inundation. b the water that overflows. 2  an outpouring of water; a torrent (a flood of rain)…” Particularly in the context of insurance contracts, Stroud’s Judicial Dictionary, 5th edition (1986) defines the word ‘flood’, in reference to Young v. Sun Alliance and London Insurance, [1977] 1 W.L.R. 104, an English case decided by the Court of Appeal, and reads as follows:
 “Flood” in an insurance policy meant a large movement or irruption of water, and did not cover mere seepage from a natural source...”  The word ‘inundate’ is defined in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 8th edition (1990) as follows: “…1 flood; 2 overwhelm (inundated with enquiries)…” Further, per Black’s Law Dictionary, 9th edition (1990), the word ‘inundate’ means: “To overflow or overwhelm; esp. to flood with water” . Simply put, a flood may be described as overflow of water over land. Floods can be broadly divided into the following categories: coastal floods, fluvial floods (river floods), and pluvial floods (surface floods).

                             So far as the term ‘inundation’ is concerned, it can be used to refer to both the act of overflow of water over land that is normally dry and to the state of being inundated. Inundation can also be intentional, which is sometimes carried out for military purposes, as well as for agricultural and river  management purposes.  It flows from the above discussion that overflow of water due to a flood may result in the state of inundation. As discussed above, floods are of different types, and may be caused due to several factors complementing each other. Usually, non-coastal floods originate from rainfall, but the magnitude of rainfall sufficient to cause a flood, and the damage that a flood causes, may vary depending on a variety of aspects such as the location of land,  the water retention capacity of the soil, and the density of population and man made construction in the area, among other things. In rare cases, a non-coastal flood may also occur without any rainfall. For instance, shortcomings in the construction of a dam may lead to its complete breakdown, resulting in a flood.

In the impugned case, Insurers were not contending that coal was not properly stacked or alleging any negligence on the part of the claimant.    The only arguments advanced by the Appellant were : firstly, that the terms ‘flood’ and ‘inundation’ cannot be equated, and, secondly, that ‘flood’ needs to be understood in a narrow sense to refer only to the overflowing of a water body, and to exclude instances where overflowing of water occurs due to excessive rainfall.

The Honble Court inferred that the terms ‘flood’ and ‘inundation’ are often used synonymously to refer to the act of overflowing of water over land that is generally dry. Therefore, the first argument of the Appellant cannot be sustained.   Similarly, given the detailed discussion on pluvial floods, which occur independently of a water body, it is clear that floods are not restricted to overflow of water bodies. Thus, the second argument raised by the Appellant also lacks merit.  Furthermore, the second argument made by the Appellant seems tenuous even if we look into the intent of the parties entering into the contract, as it has not come on record that there was any water body near the coal yard or the factory premises. In such a scenario, where there was no risk of water from a water body overflowing onto the dry land where the coal yard was located, it could not have been the intention of the parties entering into the contract to give a restrictive meaning to the term ‘flood’. Such a narrow interpretation would lead to the conclusion that the insertion of the term ‘flood’ was superfluous, which could not have been the case.

In the impugned case, Insurer did not dispute heavy rains in the Nimbahera region which was the affected premises.  The surveyor too had observed that there had been heavy rainfall in the area causing flood-like condition that resulted in some of the coal kept in the insured premises being washed off.  The FSR  also stated that there was accumulation of water due to the heavy rains, that had caused the coal to get washed off.

The NCDRC in the following cases: (i) Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Co. Ltd. v. M/s. Gondamal Hardyal Mal, [2009] NCDRC 127, (ii) Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. v. M/s Sathyanarayana Setty & Sons, [2012] NCDRC 124, and (iii) Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. v. M/s R.P. Bricks, [2013] NCDRC 494, had held that damage caused by heavy rainfall would not fall beyond the ‘flood and inundation’ clause of the Standard Fire and Special Perils insurance policies.  This was also put forth by the learned counsel appearing for the Respondent that the aforesaid view has been consistently taken by the NCDRC. The aforementioned view of the NCDRC supports the impugned judgment and the same cannot be said to be erroneous. The Apex Court Bench decreed that in view of the foregoing, the appeal by the Insurer is dismissed.  The Court directed the Insurer to pay the sum awarded by the NCDRC within a period of eight weeks from the date of this order, to the Respondent.

There are learnings for everyone concerned.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30th Jan 2020.

Biblio : Civil Appeal no. 7402/2009 – decided by  Bench:  Hon’ble Mohan M. Shantanagoudar, R. Subhash Reddy

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Ro(w)hit ~ Kiwis ill-luck with Super Over continues !!

What a match ! ~ what a thriller T20 no. 1035 at Hamilton turned out to be !! – have you been haunted by the memories of Austral-Asia Cup finals at Sharjah, Apr 18 1986! New Zealand team would try hard  to forget today and expunge any  reminiscence of that T20 match at Auckland on Dec 26, 2008.  They also would be forever haunted by the memories of World Cup 2019 ODI Final in which they were robbed off the Cup by a ridiculous rule – ‘Super over’ ! ..

For the not so well informed – a ‘Super Over; called  a one-over eliminator  is a tie-breaking method used in limited-overs cricket matches, where both teams play a single, additional over of six balls to determine the winner of the match. A match which goes to a Super Over is officially declared a "tie", and won by the team who scored the most runs in the Super Over. If the Super Over also ends in a tie, the winner is typically decided by some other parameters.  A Super Over was first used in 2008 in Twenty20, replacing the bowl-out method that was previously used for breaking a tie. The Super Over was introduced into One Day International (ODI) cricket at the 2011 Cricket World Cup knockout stage, but it was left unused.

The entertaining Cricket World Cup 2019 ended with ‘a virtual no result’ – yes – ‘a tie’ – a super over ending in another tie but England winning the tournament after 48 games, for the first time and, and New Zealand not losing the match !   "Ridiculous", "absurd", "random", "arbitrary", "unsatisfactory", "galling", "unfortunate", "a shame" ~ is what Kiwis media had to scream for they felt treated unfair.  Black Caps fate  on a World Cup final was decided by a countback of boundaries hit.   The hosts England became the World Champions after tying with New Zealand on 241 each after their respective 50 overs. They both scored 15 in the super-over shootout – but England won thanks to hitting more boundaries in their 50 overs.    
Today there was another Super Over – NZ after performing so well, were swept off – ended up losing the Series.  Things appeared rosy – they batted first in the Super over and the best end-over bowler Jasprit Bumrah was ripped.

Williamson and Martin Guptill opened for  New Zealand. Kane  Williamson was on strike – field of  deep point, long-on, fine leg, deep midwicket, and deep square leg  on the boundary. First ball hit to longoff for a single; next Martin Guptill took another single. 3rd ball was taken from outside off and hoicked over square leg for a 6. A full toss on leg stump followed and was scooped over mid-off for a 4; next they sneaked a bye as KL Rahul missed the stumps. Last ball was it in the gap between deep midwicket and longon for another 4.  17 runs after 2 from 2 ! – good start indeed.

In the match, Kane Williamson made this the classic it turned out to be, scoring 95 off 48 balls - 25 of those runs were made off the normally unhittable Jasprit Bumrah, at a time when the chase was becoming unbearably close - but his team-mates let him down. Walking off the field, with the equation reading two off three balls, he would never have imagined - even having endured that bizarro World Cup final - the events that followed.  Credit is due to Mohammed Shami – final over  started with a six off the first ball – yet strove manfully to  beat Tim Seifert not once but twice with short and wide deliveries and then bowled Ross Taylor off the last ball of the match to force a tie.

The match was all the way - Williamson's stellar 95 from 48 balls had brought the Black Caps back from near-certain defeat at Hamilton's Seddon Park, only for a shambolic finish to unfold; the hosts butchering the final over, and the match going into the most despised of all the tiebreakers.  Their cup of woes, in the World Cup final, then the England Twenty20 decider, and now, a third Super Over in six months. This time, Williamson and Martin Guptill produced what should have been a winning total, hitting 17 from Jasprit Bumrah's Super Over, only for Rohit Sharma – needing 10 from two balls - to smack Tim Southee for back-to-back sixes to send another dagger into New Zealand hearts.

The template for how to bat had earlier been set by Rohit  Sharma, who took 27 from an over from Hamish Bennett, as part of 65 from 40 balls. At 77-0 after seven overs, India had set a stellar platform, but the Black Caps – aided by a wicket that saw slower balls grip bowled well.  Indicating that he felt the wicket had slowed, Virat Kohli's 38 off 27 was a measured approach to setting a difficult target, and while Ish Sodhi made things difficult with four overs for just 23 runs, Southee saw his final over go for 18 as India reached 179-5. It looked a tricky total, and a winning one when Williamson surveyed the scene with seven overs left. 80 runs were needed, Jadeja looked unplayable, and the best death bowler in the world, Bumrah, had two overs left.

Black Caps had someone special to draw on as well. Jadeja went for two sixes, Bumrah was carved for three fours, and with India having a horrendous day in the field, several singles were turned into quick-thinking twos as the equation rapidly reduced – from 52 from 30, to 29 from 18, then 20 from 12. Not even Bumrah could stop the flow, and when suddenly just two runs were required from four balls, the game looked in the bag. .. .. but alas, not to be for Black Caps for another time.  Kane got out in that last over having made a great 95.  Tim Seifert couldn't connect with the next two deliveries, scampering a bye off the second to leave Ross Taylor needing one to win from the final ball. An inside edge onto the stumps was all he could muster, and lo and behold, it was time for another ludicrous Super Over.

Another Super Over decider - another heartbreak. .. and what a thriller it turned out to be.  New Zealand lost their third consecutive Twenty20 match - and the series - against India in Hamilton on Wednesday night in the most punishing way. Rohit Sharma smashed 16 runs off the last three balls of India's batting Super Over to give them victory and a 3-0 series lead. 

Tim Southee had the ball and it was Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul – for once I thought India might be tempted to use the inexperienced big hitter Shivam Dube or Virat Kohli himself !  first ball Rohit slogged could get what he wanted, ended up running two – a hard throw would have challenged, though Seifert fumbled in collecting. 2nd ball was a single; 3rd was a sweep slog by Rahul for 4 – 11 off 3 and 4th was a single. 10 off 2 -  Southee was launched over wide longon for a big six !  Then came the cruncher – a brilliant lofted inside-out shot over long-off for another 6. Incredible are the six hitting ways of Rohit Sharma and the successive sixers took India home ! ~ what a win.

Kiwis would certainly have been heart-broken .. now getting back to some history, the first ever Super Over was on 26th Dec 2008 also involving New Zealand and West Indies.  Daniel Vettori was the "nominated bowler" for New Zealand; while  Chris Gayle and Xavier Marshall opened the "mini-innings".  Marshall was run out without facing a ball, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul  remained at the non-striker's end. The big burly Christopher  Gayle hit 25 runs off the 6 balls he faced.  Sulieman Benn was the nominated bowler for the West Indies.  NZ opener Jacob Oram was caught on Benn's third "Super Over" delivery. Ross Taylor hit a six but was then clean bowled on the next ball. Oram's "Super Over" opening partner Brendon McCullum didn't face a delivery. So NZ were allout for 15/2 in 5 balls losing the first ever Super over in T20.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
29th Jan 2020.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

India beats Australia -moves into Semis - U19 WC 2020 @ Potchefstroom

Voortrekkers trekked long  and fought battles too.  Their  initial area of settlement extends too far south – south of Thaba Nchu and what would become Bloemfontein.  The Great Trek was an eastward migration of Dutch-speaking settlers who travelled by wagon trains from the Cape Colony into the interior of modern South Africa from 1836 onwards, seeking to live beyond the Cape’s British colonial administration. The Great Trek resulted from the culmination of tensions between rural descendants of the Cape's original European settlers, known collectively as Boers, and the British Empire.  It was also responsible for the displacement of the Northern Ndebele people, and was one of several decisive factors influencing the decline and collapse of the Zulu Empire.

Today while having my dinner, watched the game as India appeared leading as Aussies skied from 64/4 to 5.  A frail looking fielder chased the ball, dived full length and tried digging in the ball back at cover boundary, a couple balls later, he was fully air-borne a la Jhonty Rhodes at point.  It was Ravi Bishnoi, an electrifying fielder – a   legspinner who can also bat lower down the order. 

Then there was another bowler Kartik Tyagi, touching 140s with a good run up and delivering them in style.  He was the player of the match.  He has a very humble background.  A member of a poor farming family, Kartik and his father Yogendra faced a lot of hardships early on to get him proper cricket training. As a teenager, the lanky seamer’s used to transport sacks of agricultural produce from his father’s farm in Hapur and that is how he gained strength in his arms. As a 17-year-old Kartik performed exceptionally in the Under-19 Cooch Behar Trophy and was thereafter slotted into Uttar Pradesh’s Ranji Trophy team. Thereafter, he bowled his team to victory against defending champions Vidarbha.

There was great action in match no. 1 – Quarterfinals between Champion teams – India and Australia. Super League Quarter-Final 1, ICC Under-19 World Cup was today played at Potchefstroom. Potchefstroom  is an academic city in the North West Province of South Africa. It  is on the Mooi Rivier (Afrikaans for "pretty (or beautiful) river"), roughly 120 km (75 mi) west-southwest of Johannesburg and 45 km (28 mi) east-northeast of Klerksdorp. Some attribute the name as having come from the word 'Potscherf', meaning a shard of a broken pot, due to the cracks that appear in the soil of the Mooi River Valley during drought resembling a broken pot".

Today, India put in struggled but contrived to make 233/9 and bowl out Australia for 159 finishing the match in 43.3 overs.  Opener Jaiswal, scoring his third fifty in four World Cup games, combined in a 48-run fourth-wicket with Siddhesh Veer, but he was bowled by Sangha's legspin just after the team crossed 100 in the 26th over. Murphy then deceived wicketkeeper-batsman Jurel with a loopy delivery that took his outside edge to take his second wicket, and when Veer's attempted pull was top-edged to third man, India were at 144 for 6 with 12 overs to go.  At that stage, it looked like India wouldn't last the full 50 overs with Australia's bowlers having exposed the lower order, but allrounder Atharva Ankolekar got together with Bishnoi to drag India past 200. Bishnoi, who made 30 in 31 balls, was eventually run-out in the 48th over with India searching for quick runs, but Ankolekar provided a flourishing finish for India, reaching his half-century with a six in the last over.

Ankolekar and Bishnoi ran their twos hard and found the occasional boundaries. Their 61-run stand for the seventh wicket came in 59 deliveries and raised India's run-rate significantly. In their last two overs, Ankolekar and the last two batsmen scored 24 runs and India finished on 233 for 9. India had wrested the momentum from Australia by the end of the innings and after Tyagi's three wickets in the first two overs of the chase, they always remained ahead in the game.  In their chase of 234, Australia received a punch to the gut right at the start, when their in-form opener Jake Fraser-McGurk was run-out for a diamond duck. After that India's right-arm quick Kartik Tyagi delivered three blows in his first two overs to put Australia down for the count which they couldn't ever recover from, eventually losing to the defending champions by 74 runs at the first quarter-final in Potchefstroom. India's win sets them up for a semi-final clash against the winners of the quarter-final between Afghanistan and Pakistan, while Australia can now, at best, finish fifth in the tournament.

Tyagi, consistently clocking speeds in upwards of 135kph, bowled very well.  His first delivery was driven by Sam Fanning to mid-off, but he took off for a single while Fraser-McGurk was watching the ball and as a result was run-out without facing a ball. By the end of the over, Australia's misery had compounded thrice over, with their captain Mackenzie Harvey lbw to a full delivery - although it pitched outside leg stump - and Lachlan Hearne bowled for a first-ball duck to Tyagi's yorker. In  his second spell, Tyagi dismissed  Patrick Rowe in the 21st over as his fourth scalp, to reduce the batting side to 68 for 5.    Fanning and No. 7 Liam Scott - who wasn't in the XI but was batting as a concussion substitute following Corey Kelly's injury while fielding - put on 81 for the sixth wicket. The score of 149 for 6, however, soon became 155 for 9 following a team hat-trick and in the end India won comfortably.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th Jan 2020.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Assam's Elephant Doctor conferred PadmaShri 2020

I have a special liking for elephants and  this news on Republic Day 2020 eve makes me feel happy !

For the last 32 years, Dr Kushal Konwar Sarma hasn’t taken a single weekend off. Given the moniker of the Elephant Doctor of India, he has been working with more than 700 jumbos, both wild and rogue bulls, every year. He became a vet in 1983, obtained his master’s degree in 1986, completed his PhD in veterinary surgery, and specialised in anaesthesia in elephants by 1994. He is the pioneer of the remote tranquilising injection technique in the North East. From tranquilising and capturing 139 rogue jumbos to rescuing and treating hundreds of captive and injured elephants over the years, Dr Sarma has contributed to the conservation of the Asian Elephants in India. Notably, he holds a world record for this feat.

Padma Awards - one of the highest civilian Awards of the country, are conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. The Awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities, viz.- art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc. ‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; ‘Padma Bhushan’ for distinguished service of high order and ‘Padma Shri’ for distinguished service in any field. The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year. These awards are conferred by the President of India at ceremonial functions which are held at Rashtrapati Bhawan usually around March/ April every year. This year the President has approved conferment of 141 Padma Awards including 4 duo cases (in a duo case, the Award is counted as one) as per list below. The list comprises of 7 Padma Vibhushan, 16 Padma Bhushan and 118 Padma Shri Awards. 33 of the awardees are women and the list also includes 18 persons from the category of Foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI and 12 Posthumous awardees.

Assam veterinarian Dr Kushal Konwar Sarma has been conferred Padma Shri for his outstanding contribution in the field of wildlife treatment and Asian Elephant conservation. Dr Sarma is the professor and head of the Department of Surgery and Radiology of the College of Veterinary Science at Khanapara in Guwahati.  While weekdays see him as the Head of the Department of Surgery and Radiology in College of Veterinary Sciences in Guwahati, weekends are spent tailing elephants — either sick or rogue — across Assam and it befitting that he has been honoured with Padma award.       
It’s a love he says he can’t describe. A relationship he has worked on for thirty-three long years — despite the kicks, shoves and near-death experiences that come with it. But at 60, Dr Kushal Konwar Sarma — one of the 118 Padma Shri awardees announced for the year 2020 — maintains that his first and only love will always be elephants. Famous as the “elephant doctor” of Assam, Dr Sarma was awarded the Padma Shri in the field of medicine on Saturday — along with five other names from Assam: classical dancer Indira PP Bora (art), writer Lil Bahadur Chettri (Literature and Education), Dr Ravi Kannan R (Medicine), historian Jogendra Nath Phukan (Literature and Education).

It is an affinity that can be traced back to his childhood spent in the village of Barama in Assam’s Kamrup district, surrounded by forests and rivulets. “My grandmother had an elephant called Lakshmi — we were best friends, spending all day together,” he said, “I began to love elephants so much that even at this ripe old age, I dream of them!” said Dr Sarma.  While it was in 1983 that he became a veterinary doctor, it was only in 1994 that he specialised in anaesthesia in elephants. The years that have followed have been eventful to say the least, as Dr Sarma has gone on expedition after expedition to tame rogue elephants on ‘musth’ (aggressive behaviour in male elephants as a result of surge in testosterone levels), often risking his own life.  But on most days, Dr Sarma is typically moving around Assam treating ailing animals — whether they are cows, pigs, hens, goats. “In fact even when the call from the Home Ministry came, I was treating a pig. I almost did not pick up the call — but thank god I did!” said Dr Sarma, adding that he never imagined that he was being considered for an honour as high as the Padma Shri.

In 1998, Dr Sarma led an expedition to tranquillise a rogue elephant in the forests of Upper Assam. The elephant had gone on a killing spree trampling to death 29 people, and among them was forest ranger Narayan Sarmah, the brother-in-law of Dr Sarma. “That incident scarred me. For a long time after that I was in a state of shock and I didn’t know what to do,” said Dr Sarma. However, that was one of his rare failures — till date Dr Sarma has tamed 139 rogue tuskers and treats at least 600-700 elephants on an average every year.

In Assam, where human-elephant elephant conflict is a major concern, Dr Sarma has emerged as an important figure who helps relocate wild elephants back into the forests. He is the first person in Assam to have used tranquilizing darts to subdue ‘musth’ elephants — not only helping save the elephant but people in surrounding villages too. In Assam, Dr Sarma has helped relocate wild elephants back into the forests. “However, till now, we have just treating the ‘symptoms’ — an elephant might walk in to a main road in the heart of Guwahati city, and we might successfully put it back into Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary. But that is no reason to celebrate because we have done nothing to treat the real disease: encroachment,” he said. The Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary is located on the eastern periphery of Guwahati and is known to have a lot of “illegal” settlements on forested land.

“The explosion of human population is what has created the problem. And we have deprived animals their legitimate space,” said Dr Sarma, “In Assam today, a term frequently used in political discourse is ‘khilonjiya’ or ‘indigenous’ — the original inhabitants of the land. Actually the ‘khilonjiya’ is not people of a particular community or religion. The khilonjiya is the forest, the trees, the animals, the plants, the fish, the elephants, the birds. This land belongs to them.”

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
-with inputs from many web sources; mostly reproduced from the Indian Express article.