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Saturday, June 27, 2020

Covid 19 - people sharing statistics and ray of hope !!

India has been locked down since 24.3.2020 ~ the intense lockdown in Tamilnadu (some districts) from 19.6 is drawing closer to its end amidst speculations that the general lockdown might get extended .. .. .. the numbers are threatening. One really would not like to hear the increase in nos. again and again yet sadly, in News, in every social media, people have the habit of posting the statistics and no. boards again and again.  It saddens and is depressing to see them again and again with newer adjectives – ‘the highest’; the new high and more !

World has changed since the dreaded Corona Virus named Covid-19 emanated from Wuhan, China.  There are news that  Beijing is battling an “explosive outbreak” of the coronavirus, with health authorities reporting 36 new local infections in the city in one day – all linked to a food market. As scientists try to track how the latest outbreak in Beijing emerged, the capital and neighbouring regions have stepped up emergency measures, including renewing lockdowns.  Europe has seen an increase in weekly cases of Covid-19 for the first time in months as restrictions are eased, the World Health Organization (WHO) says. In 11 places, which include Armenia, Sweden, Moldova and North Macedonia, accelerated transmission has led to "very significant resurgence", said Regional Director.  His warnings about the risk of resurgence had become reality, he said.

However, Sweden rejects it - Swedish state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has rejected a warning from the World Health Organization stating  it was a "total misinterpretation of the data". Sweden had seen a rise in cases, he argued, because it was testing more. (sounds familiar !)  According to WHO data, EU member state Sweden has seen 155 infections for every 100,000 inhabitants in the past 14 days, far higher than anywhere else in the organisation's defined Europe region, other than Armenia. Sweden's response to the pandemic has been very different to other European countries. There has been no lockdown, with schools and cafes staying open, but large gatherings have been banned and most Swedes observe social distancing.

In Hongkong, quarantine rules for domestic helpers may be revised to ban employers from isolating at home 10,000 workers expected to fly into Hong Kong from the Philippines in the coming weeks, the city’s labour minister has revealed, as he warned the influx could bring in an estimated 65 imported Covid-19  cases. Secretary for Welfare and Labour Law Chi-kwong’s remarks came as Hong Kong on Saturday reached two weeks without any locally transmitted cases of Covid-19.  The city has been hit by a surge of imported cases recently, recording 69 infections from residents returning from abroad this week, mostly from Pakistan. Nine cases were from the Philippines. 

After rapid surge in COVID-19 cases across India, several states have announced complete shutdown in some of their districts to combat the further spread of the highly contagious virus.  The country’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases has inched towards 5,00,000 mark, while the death toll also crossed the 15,000-mark.  Ten districts and cities–Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Thane, Palghar and Pune in Maharashtra , Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy in Telangana, Ahmedabad in Gujarat and Faridabad in Haryana–have accounted for 54.47 per cent of the total caseload.  Between June 1 and June 26, the country recorded 2,99,866 cases, an analysis of the data showed. The recovery rate is, however, steadily improving to touch 58.24 per cent, the ministry said.

Tamil Nadu on Thursday crossed the million mark in terms of number of Covid-19 tests. It was the first state to do so. That translates to around 15,000 tests per million of population (or 1.5% of the population), lower than Delhi’s 23,000+ and even Andhra’s 15,000+, but still among the highest in the country. The number is also much lower than that in some of the countries ravaged by the coronavirus disease — the US, UK, Spain, Russia, Italy, that have all tested between 8% and 12% of their population -- but it is still higher than the national average in India of around 5,834 tests per million of population.

The state has rapidly increased testing. On June 11, it carried out only 16,829 tests. By June 25, this number increased to 32,543. And its daily positivity rate hasn’t changed much. This is a measure of the number of positive tests to the total tests, expressed as a percentage, and it has gone from 11.14% on June 11 to 10.78% on June 25. The lowest daily positivity rate for the state in this period was 7.21% on June 20, and the highest was registered on June 11. Tamil Nadu may well be the first state in India to be testing enough. Its positivity rate is following the trend (described previously in this column) — an increase, then a plateau, and then, finally, as a country, state or city begins testing adequately, a decline. Still better, the positivity range is exactly what the World Health Organization and experts at the Harvard Global Health Institute recognise as adequate.

India is much better placed than many other nations with respect to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, Prime minister Shri  Narendra Modi said on Saturday. PM Modi’s comments came during his inaugural address on the occasion marking the 90th birth anniversary celebrations of Rev. Dr Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan. “The world is fighting a strong battle against a global pandemic. Covid-19 is not only a physical sickness that is a threat to the lives of people but also takes away our attention to unhealthy lifestyles,” the prime minister said during his virtual address. The prime minister said that earlier this year, some people had predicted that the impact of the virus in India would be very severe but due to the lockdown, various initiatives taken by the government and a people-driven fight, “India is much better placed than many other nations”.

Before concluding, weeks of torrential rains and heavy flooding in southern China have affected 14 million people and caused economic losses of around 27.8 billion yuan (US$3.8 billion). The emergency management ministry said 744,000 people across 26 provinces had been displaced, with 81 missing or dead, and more than 10,000 houses had collapsed.  China is experiencing an unusually intense flood season this year, with rainstorm alerts issued for 26 consecutive days in June, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Amidst all data, views and news, one sincerely hopes that Covid 19 gets contained sooner, vaccines and medicines are found and humans start living lives as happily as they were prior to start of 2020.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Thursday, June 25, 2020

How should the Nation remember this day (25th June) in History !!

Today is 25th June . .. .. and my memory immediately took me back to the iconic image of  Kapil Dev standing at the Lord’s balcony holding aloft the World Cup.

There obviously is more in the history about this day ! – about 45 years ago, India suffered dark age with Govt making blatant and extensive use of its power of preventive detention. People were arrested and detained only on the apprehension that they may commit an offence.       According to Shah Commission, nearly 1,11,000 people were arrested under detention laws.  There were many reported incidents of torture and custodial deaths occurring ! and that of another clan who did not hold any official position at that time but exercising enormous control over the administration and interfering  in the functioning of the government.

On 25.6.1983, Indians were underdogs – they had never been in Finals.  Their opponents were mighty West Indies who had rock solid batting and fearsome quartet of pace bowlers.  India had a worst start – Gavaskar struggling and getting out.  Krishnamachari Srikkanth entertained us – hooking, going down on his knees for a square cut but the team ended up at just 183.  That day Doordarshan provided live coverage with a couple of ‘breakdowns’ – towards the end, commentary went-off and they quickly added radio commentary to the visuals. 

It was Sri Azhagiya Singar Aani Brahmothsavam ~ those were the days, when people would at street corners stand in group listening to radio commentary.  Gordon Greenidge left to a big banana inswinger of Balwinder Sandhu – trying to leave the ball, but the ball kept coming in and clipping his stumps. Viv Richards strode in and took on the bowlers – Madanlal was the workhorse and every Indian supporter would remember that frozen moment.  Richards getting into the line and flicking Madanlal over midwicket – Kapil Dev kept running back and took the catch with effortless ease – an exemplary effort – great anticipation, finest athleticism and classy fielding. It was really a combined effort as India defended the low target to emerge victorious.  Most of us thought Srikkanth’s pick and throw caught Bacchus short of the crease but those of days when TV replays would not be conclusive.

On this day in 1991 Martina Navratilova won her  record 100th singles match at Wimbledon, beating Elna Reinach of South Africa 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the 1st round.  In 1903, Eric Arthur Blair  known by his pen name George Orwell,  was born. As a writer, Orwell produced literary criticism and poetry, fiction and polemical journalism; and is best known for the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945) and the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).  

RMS Lancastria was a British ocean liner requisitioned by the UK Government during the Second World War. She was sunk on 17 June 1940 during Operation Ariel. Having received an emergency order to evacuate British nationals and troops in excess of its capacity of 1,300 passengers, modern estimates range between 3,000 and 5,800 fatalities—the largest single-ship loss of life in British maritime history.  Operation Aerial was the evacuation of Allied forces and civilians from ports in western France from 15 to 25 June 1940 during the Second World War. The evacuation followed the military collapse in the Battle of France against Nazi Germany, after Operation Dynamo, the evacuation from Dunkirk and Operation Cycle, an embarkation from Le Havre, which finished on 13 June.

The Luftwaffe attacked the evacuation ships and, on 17 June, evaded RAF fighter patrols and sank the Cunard liner and troopship HMT Lancastria in the Loire estuary.  The Luftwaffe  was the aerial warfare branch of the Wehrmacht during World War II.   The ship sank quickly and vessels in the area were still under attack during rescue operations, which saved about 2,477 passengers and crew. The loss of at least 3,500 people made the disaster the greatest loss of life in a British ship, which the British government tried to keep secret on the orders of Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister. The official evacuation ended on 25 June, in conformity with the terms of the Armistice of 22 June 1940 agreed by the French and German authorities.

Inheritance of power and wealth in the Mughal empire was not determined through primogeniture, but by princely sons competing to achieve military successes and consolidating their power at court. This often led to rebellions and wars of succession. As a result, a complex political climate surrounded the Mughal court in Khurram's formative years. In 1611 his father married Nur Jahan, the widowed daughter of a Persian noble. She rapidly became an important member of Jahangir's court and, together with her brother Asaf Khan, wielded considerable influence. Arjumand was Asaf Khan's daughter and her marriage to Khurram consolidated Nur Jahan and Asaf Khan's positions at court.  Aurangzeb was born in 1618 as the third son and sixth child of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. In June 1626, after an unsuccessful rebellion by his father, Aurangzeb and his brother Dara Shukoh were kept as hostages under their grandparents' (Nur Jahan and Jahangir) Lahore court.

45 years ago -  in 1975, India saw its darkest phase when then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared emergency across the country. The emergency was issued by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed under Article 352(1) of the Constitution and lasted 21 long months beginning 25th June 1975 and going on until 21st March 1977.  
3 past PMs of India - Rajiv PV Narasimha rao and Indira Gandhi

On 12 June 1975, Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha of the Allahabad High Court found the PM  guilty on the charge of misuse of government machinery for her election campaign. The court declared her election null and void and unseated her from her seat in the Lok Sabha. The court also banned her from contesting any election for an additional six years. Serious charges such as bribing voters and election malpractices were dropped and she was held responsible for misusing government machinery and found guilty on charges such as using the state police to build a dais, availing herself of the services of a government officer  and use of electricity from the state electricity department.   Indira Gandhi challenged the High Court's decision in the Supreme Court. Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer, on 24 June 1975, upheld the High Court judgement and ordered all privileges Gandhi received as an MP be stopped, and that she be debarred from voting. However, she was allowed to continue as Prime Minister pending the resolution of her appeal.

JP Narayan and Morarji Desai called for daily anti-government protests. On 25th June 1975  JP organised a large rally in Delhi, where he said that a police officer must reject the orders of government if the order is immoral and unethical as this was Mahatma Gandhi's motto during the freedom struggle. Such a statement was taken as a sign of inciting rebellion in the country. Later that day, Indira Gandhi requested a compliant President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed to proclaim a state of emergency. Within three hours, the electricity to all major newspapers was cut and the political opposition arrested.

So from 25th June 1975 for 21 months it was dark days of Emergency – the order bestowed upon the Prime Minister the authority to rule by decree, allowing elections to be suspended and civil liberties to be curbed. For much of the Emergency, most of Indira Gandhi's political opponents were imprisoned and the press was censored. News was censored and remember that Thuglak had nothing but a dark black colour on its coverpage and Indian Express used to release its paper with dark ink cutting out many of its daily news.

How much the Nation remembers its history !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Monday, June 22, 2020

India's hour of glory this day 37 years ago !!

Can you identify this Cricketer, the unsung hero of World Cup 1983 ! – yes it is Yashpal Sharma, he manned covers gracefully those days, made a heroic 89 in the 1st match against WI and scored again in the Semis.  Remember before 1983, India had lost all its 6 matches in Cricket limited overs World Cup (60 overs those days !) [pic credit Blooming Buds school in Moga,  Punjab]

Captain Kapil Dev who made that epic 175* -   according to  critics was only a natural Cricketer and not a strategist ! – yet would any one explain the Captain not completing the quota, Balwinder Sandhu bowling 8 (off the 12) and S Madanlal bowling just 5 – then who completed the 60 ?  It was 12 by  Roger Binny, Mohinder Amarnath and Kirti Azad ! – this day 37 years ago ! – a famous victory at Old Trafford Manchester.

The West Indies cricket squad completed its 14-day isolation period in England on 22.6.2020  (this day 37 years ago, India made history ) and will step up its preparations for next month’s Test series by playing a three-day internal warmup match in Manchester. The tourists have been in quarantine at Manchester’s Old Trafford cricket ground and adjoining hotel since arriving in Britain on 9 June.  While the West Indies will start its first warmup game on Tuesday, England’s 30-man training group will report at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton and be tested for COVID-19 on arrival along with the management team.

The name Manchester originates from the Latin name Mamucium or its variant Mancunio and the citizens are still referred to as Mancunians.   The recorded history of cotton fame  Manchester began with the civilian settlement associated with the Roman fort of Mamucium.  Manchester’s unplanned  growth was brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution; the building of the Bridgewater Canal in 1761 built to transport coal triggered an early-19th-century factory building boom which transformed Manchester from a township into a major mill town.

As the players of Manchester City and Burnley took a knee inside an empty Etihad Stadium in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, the sound of an aircraft could be heard overhead.  It had a very different message. “White Lives Matter Burnley” read a banner being pulled by the small plane that circled the ground for several minutes on a clear Monday evening in the east of Manchester. Ben Mee, the captain of Burnley, couldn’t help but notice. He and his teammates had heard rumors just before they walked out for the match that such a stunt had been planned.

Old Trafford is England’s second oldest test venue and one of the most renowned.  It was the venue for the first ever Ashes test to be held in England in July 1884. In 1956, the first 10-wicket haul in a single innings was achieved by England bowler Jim Laker who achieved bowling figures of 19 wickets for 90 run.  It was at Manchester in 1982 that Sandeep Patil famously moved from 80 to 104 in a single over of Bob Willis (6 fours struck in that 7 ball over !) ~ it was here that India’s parttime bowlers Mohinder & Kirti Azad bowled 24 overs costing  only 55 runs. 

After Bob Willis had won the toss, their openers put on 69 at more than 4 an over — a fantastic platform considering the era. The wicket was slow, and not at all ideal for stroke-play.  In fact  Chris Tavare considered a slow starter hit 4 fours. Indian bowlers and particularly the duo of Mohinder Amarnath and Kirti Azad choked the scoring.  England batsman struggled after a very good start from Greame Fowler and Chris Tavare.  The generally slow Tavare made 32 off 51; Fower 33 off 59; David Gower 17/30;  Allan Lamb 29/58; Mike Gatting 18/46; mercurial Ian Botham 6 off 26 ball struggle; Ian Gould 13/36 .. …   Indian batting was much organized and they could romp home with 32 balls to spare.  Gavaskar 25; Krish Srikkanth 19; Mohinder46; Yashpal 61 – Sandeep Patil 51* and Kapil 1* saw them through.

After Srikkanth and Gavaskar (that  washis highest in WC 1983 !) [his scores read : 19; 4; dropped; dropped; 0; 9; 25 & 2) exited, Amarnath and Yashpal steadied the innings. Runs came at a slow, steady rate. The two picked the gaps and ran hard. It was this 92-run partnership that washed away all hope and when after 2/3rds – they opened up.  Mohinder hitting Marks for a 6 and Yashpal hitting Allot straight for a 6 and then audaciously moved inside and dispatching England’s fastest bowler Bob Willis over square for another.   A brilliant piece of fielding and throw by Allott ended the partnership and then Yashpal skied towards the end.    Sandeep Patil thrashed Willis again.  With scores level,   Willis called all his men over to the off-side to ensure their reaching the pavilion faster.  Sandeep Patil ended with an unbeaten half century.  Mohinder was the man of the match.

On the same day, in the other Semis, Pakis made 184/8 in 60 overs.   West Indies won the toss and put  Pakistan to bat.  Malcolm Marshall (3/28) and Andy Roberts (2/25) starred with the ball. Viv Richards spectacular  (80 from 96 balls, 11 fours, 1 six), saw them through with loss of just two wickets

~ the final was played at Lords on 25th June 1983 – rest is history

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Sunday, June 21, 2020

when WI ruled Cricket World ~ something on Clive Lloyd and .. .. Greenidge (3) !!!

This day (June 21) – 45 years ago ! culmination of the First World Cup – Prudential World Cup 1975 – a tense finals.  WI put in  by Ian Chappell were   in a spot of bother at 50 for 3, big Bertha strolled to the middle. A hooked six off Dennis Lillee set the tone as Clive  Lloyd careened to an 82-ball hundred -   led his team to 291 from their 60 overs. Australia were well placed in the chase, but a solid top-order foundation was undermined by three run-outs, each involving a young Viv Richards.   At 233 for 9, the result seemed confirmed, only for Lillee and Jeff Thomson to cobble together 41 for the last wicket, before the fifth run-out of the innings sparked a jubilant pitch invasion from the heavily Caribbean crowd.

Lesser known facts of that tall 6.4” stooped shoulders, thick glasses, large moustached man are : he is related to Lance Gibbs who was the first spinner to 300 wickets club and that he debuted in Mumbai in Dec 1966.  Reportedly his eyes were damaged when he was 12 in a fisticuff in school.   Clive Hubert Lloyd, born in Georgetown in 1944 became a big name and more importantly was instrumental in West Indies rule the Cricket World with opponents mortally  fearing them.  In 110 Tests he made 7515 runs and another 1977 runs in 87 one dayers.  During his tenure as captain he handed white-washes and blanked their opponents.

When West Indies came to England in 1976, they had won the WC but had been thrashed downunder, yet England realized  that Clive Lloyd's team would go on to dominate World cricket for a good decade or two.   Perhaps life was simple for the Captain who had Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Collin Croft, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall and any fringe bowler of their team would walk into most other teams as prime bowler – added to this was the openers – Gordon Greenidge & Desmond Haynes, followed by Allwyn Kalicharan, Viv Richards, Clive himself (4 world class fierce pacers; 5 batsman + wicketkeeper Derryck Murray (Jeff Dujon) + someone like Larry Gomes) – you will have to search for combinations to beat them.   Gordon Greenidge made his debut in Nov 1974 at Bengaluru scoring well in his first test which WI won by 267 runs.  In the next test at Delhi, when Venkatraghavan was the captain, Viv Richards  who too had debuted at Bangalore, flourished.

Greenidge could be the murderer of bowling !  in the World cup there was Roy Fredericks (remember him hooking for a 6 and treading on to the wicket).  Whey Roy retired,  there was sort of a PR war among the islands of the Caribbean. Each had its candidate to replace the punchy left-hander - a veteran of 59 Tests, for 17 of which over the last three-and-a-half years he'd been partnered by a strong young strokemaker called Cuthbert Gordon Greenidge - as opening batsman for the West Indies. Picked to open in the West Indies' first post-Fredericks international in 1978 - an ODI against Australia in Antigua - the 22-year-old Haynes made a compelling claim for the spot.  Together they made a great pair amassing runs.  Greenidge retired in 1991, Haynes carried on until 1994 in international cricket, finally packing up in 1997. Since then they've made livings in the usual ways: some coaching (Haynes the more regular of the two), tour hosting, playing in exhibition matches, after-dinner speaking: generally being a professional ex-player, trading on their names, making back some of the money they didn't earn while playing for the best team in the world.

When Alvin Kallicharran led a depleted team to India in 1978 – there was another Greenidge - Alvin Greenidge,  a tall opening batsman for Barbados.   He scored a half-century on his debut in the third Test at Georgetown, and another in fourth Test at Port-of-Spain. He was picked for the tour of India in 1978-79 but struggled for form, and when the Packer rebels returned he was discarded. He had one more glimpse of the big time in 1980 when he was summoned from Holland - where he played club cricket - to field for the injury-hit West Indies at The Oval. Greenidge continued to score prolifically for Barbados without ever coming close to selection again, and his career ended when he toured South Africa with a rebel West Indies side in 1982-83.  Remember that he played in the Pongal test in 1979 when Vishy scored a century and India won by 3 wickets.

B u t, the end of the great Captain was different – in the 5th Test at Sydney in Dec 1984 – leggie Bob Holland and a little known left arm spinner Murray Bennet spun WI to a defeat – that was his last test.  Months later, in the Semis of  Benson & Hedges WC at Melbourne on 6.3.1985 – the formidable West Indies were bowled out for 159 with part time bowler Mudassar Nazar taking 5 wickets.  Thus he lost his last match as Captain !

Most regular followers of WI fortunes also may not know that there was another Greenidge.   Geoffrey Alan Greenidge was another stylish opener.  He debuted against New Zealand at Georgetown in Apr 1972 – his co-debutants were Alvin Kalicharran and Tony Howard.  Howard played in that test only.  Geoff Greenidge played 2 tests against Kiwis and 3 against Australia, scored 209 runs in all with 50 as highest.  He was a leg spinner too and  continued to play with success for Barbados and, between 1968 and 1975, with mixed fortunes for Sussex. In 1976 he was at the centre of a massive row when the Guyanese government cancelled the Shell Shield match with Barbados because Greenidge had visited Rhodesia with an international side the previous winter. Barbados refused to back down and returned home. He was the last white player to be picked for West Indies.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Thursday, June 18, 2020

WI arrive in England ~ will Test Cricket resume !!

Most of us were following it and were not happy when India folded again at Christchurch.  On Mar 2,2020, NZ cleansed a whitewash and reached no. 2 in Test rankings - their bowlers took 47 minutes to take the four remaining India wickets and then their openers made the 132-run target look easier than it was in conditions that continued to be torturous for the batsmen. The depth in New Zealand's five-man seam attack outshone India's three-man party, which was missing Ishant Sharma and also had to deal with an injured Mohammed Shami on the third day.  The scorecard reads :   New Zealand 235 (Latham 52, Jamieson 49, Shami 4-81, Bumrah 3-62) and 132 for 3 (Blundell 55, Latham 51) beat India 242 (Vihari 55, Agarwal 54, Pujara 54, Jamieson 5-45) and 124 (Boult 4-28, Southee 3-36) by seven wickets.

We never thought that for months that would be the last Test played .. .. today the Corona count is reported to be : 8,408,204 with death toll globally put at 4.51 lakhs !!   

Most sensible people are out with masks ! – masks has thus become our integral part of life .. .. ever  since health experts and agencies around the world started to stress the wearing of masks – or “face coverings” – as one of the best ways to restrict the spread of the novel coronavirus infection.  The question asked is what kind ? – surgical, cloth masks, multi-layered ones or N95 !  While research remains ongoing, most experts agree that N95 respirators provide the best protection against Covid-19; however, these masks are meant mostly for specialised use, and are expensive and uncomfortable to wear for long.  “Most of these masks have a hydrophobic exterior. You can check whether your mask has this hydrophobic layer by placing a drop of water on it, and if the mask is water resistant, the droplet will roll off!. 
Roddy Estwick with Jason Holder

Understand that N is Respirator rating.    It stands for “Non-Oil” meaning that if no oil-based particulates are present, then you can use the mask in the work environment. Other masks ratings are R (resistant to oil for 8 hours) and P (oil proof). 95: Masks ending in a 95, have a 95 percent efficiency.  .3 microns: The masks filter out contaminants like dusts, mists and fumes. The minimum size of .3 microns of particulates and large droplets won’t pass through the barrier, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.)  The filtration material on the mask is an electrostatic non-woven polypropylene fiber.  Some disposable N95 masks come with an optional exhalation valve. “The presence of an exhalation valve reduces exhalation resistance, which makes it easier to breathe (exhale,)” according to the CDC.

Covid 19 pandemic has impacted Sports and Cricket in particular.    Bangladesh's matches against Ireland were postponed on 21 March 2020. On 24 March 2020, the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed that all ICC qualifying events scheduled to take place before 30 June 2020 had been postponed. On 9 April 2020, Australia's tour to Bangladesh was postponed.  IPL too was postponed.

Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings believes it is "unlikely" and "unrealistic" that the Men's T20 World Cup will take place in Australia as scheduled this year. The fate of the tournament, scheduled between October 18 and November 15, is being deliberated fiercely by the ICC Board which last week deferred to take the final call. The ICC has continued to remain optimistic despite the growing likelihood of the tournament being postponed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Eddings, who sits on the ICC Board, though, felt time was running out. He pointed out that with many of the 16 participating countries still under the grip of the pandemic it was "very, very difficult" to stage the tournament and said that CA had presented different options to the ICC Board for the tournament to be moved.

West Indies is all set to resume its international cricket with a Test series against England starting from July 8. They reached the United Kingdom last week and are quarantined and training in Manchester in a bio-secure environment. While the players were tested before departing for the tour and will be again tested during the isolation period.  The West Indies squad have landed in Manchester and are now safely tucked away in their hotel, which overlooks the pitch at Old Trafford. For the next fortnight they will be in quarantine practising for the cricketing challenges ahead. It will not be a fun tour as of old because players will be locked away in a bio-secure bubble during and between matches over the next seven weeks.

The tourists, coming from a region that has avoided the worst excesses of the pandemic, are making significant sacrifices by agreeing to play in a country that has endured the second highest number of deaths from the virus in the world. No wonder the England and Wales Cricket Board is so grateful they are here.  Jason Holder, now a long-serving and highly respected captain, recognises the significance of a series that has acquired historic status. It has become a trailblazing event that can demonstrate cricket is possible in these bleak circumstances and, despite what the cynics may say, it will be the first Test series to be played without any spectators present. The Caribbean team last played international cricket in March in Sri Lanka where they played 3 ODIs and a couple of T20 Internationals. Rather they will be playing Tests after a long time having last featured in the format in December last year in a one-off Test against Afghanistan.

As West Indies is set to play the Test series against England, Windies assistant coach Roddy Estwick believes that their fast bowlers can be a massive challenge for the hosting side. He opined that the bowlers are working more on fitness which is key to beat the opposition. West Indies consisting of Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, Alzarri Joseph and captain Jason Holder in their pace attack will play the first Test match in Southampton from July 8. Estwick said that Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph had gained enough experience from their past performance. Also, Kemar and Shannon’s presence makes them the challenging team in the world, as per the coach.

Roderick Orville Estwick  is a former Barbadian first-class cricketer. A fast bowler, he played for Barbados, toured Zimbabwe with a Young West Indies team in 1983-84, and played for Transvaal.  He won the South African Cricket Annual Cricketer of the Year award in 1988 after taking 36 wickets at 16.41 in his first season in South Africa. His best first-class bowling figures were 6 for 68 against Leeward Islands in 1983-84. His highest score was 43 not out in the 1987-88 Castle Currie Cup final, when, batting at number 11, he added 74 for the tenth wicket with Ray Jennings.  He is the half-brother of West Indian cricketer Sylvester Clarke. He is currently one of the Assistant Coaches to the Regional West Indies Senior Team.

Jason Holder, West Indies' captain, says that his team must prepare to embrace the "new normal" after touching down in England to embark on a historic Test series, but admits that the shift in global narrative, from the Covid-19 pandemic to the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, could help to galvanise his squad in such extraordinary circumstances. "It's not going to be a normal bilateral series here in England," said Holder. "But at the end of the day this is where we are with the state of world cricket - the state of the world, per se. No doubt it will be different. But we just have to get on with it and try to make the most of the circumstances in these trying times."

When asked if West Indies would join the BLM protests during the Tests, perhaps by taking a knee in the manner of the NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Holder insisted that he could not speak on behalf of his team-mates until they had decided as a squad how to respond. "I just want equality to excel - to get everyone on the same page. So we can have less fighting, less killing, less adversity in society. For me that is the main message I would like to contribute."- said Holder.

Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul -  refused to tour England for the three-Test series, to be  conducted in a bio-secure environment to combat the COVID-19 threat.  “Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul all declined the invitation to travel to England for the tour and CWI fully respects their decision to choose to do so,” Cricket West Indies said in a statement.

England face a mounting bill to ensure the Test series against West Indies takes place in July, with the need to charter private flights for the tourists and cover the cost of up to 15 additional squad players. As the recipient of all broadcast revenues the home board for an international series would, in normal times, pay for the away team’s travel and accommodation up to a set number of people – roughly 25 players and support staff – as well as providing tour fees and individual daily expenses allowances. This time West Indies need a squad of 25-30 players for what is planned to be seven weeks in the UK, including four weeks of quarantine and training before the first Test on 8 July.  The breakdown of the bill makes up part of the negotiations between the two boards but, along with the additional cost of creating biosecure conditions, it appears a price worth paying for the England and Wales Cricket Board given each Test is estimated to be worth £20m in broadcast revenue.

The new normal is far different than what normal was !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Nation should rise as One - support Army, Support the Country - War against China

The Sino-Indian War of 1962 is not a happy memory. It is remembered for the humiliation of India’s total defeat, the betrayal of Hindi-Chini-Bhai-Bhai and the devastating personal blow it dealt Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. It left us minus large chunks of territory and an inability to admit this that has resulted in the ridiculous policy of having to stamp every book and magazine that does admit this with the assertion that they are incorrect.

On Tuesday, after the violent stand-off between China and India at Galwan valley, CPI (M) came up with a statement on 16th June, wherein it did not criticise the neighbouring country. The party in its statement said, “The Government of India should come out with an authoritative statement as to what actually happened. It is imperative that both the Governments immediately initiate high-level talks to defuse the situation and advance the process of disengagement on the basis of the agreed understanding of maintaining peace and tranquility on the border.” ~ clearly making it known who are the masters and where one’s heart lies !!

Monday’s deadly clash  between Indian and Chinese troops has officials from both sides blaming each other for the violence that erupted amid a seven-week long military stand-off at their disputed border.  At least 20 Indian soldiers have died, with more reportedly injured. Indian media say there are 35 Chinese casualties but Beijing has not confirmed if any of its troops were killed or injured. The editor-in-chief of the hawkish Global Times Hu Xijin tweeted on Tuesday night that China was remaining silent on the numbers as an act of “goodwill” so that there would be no comparison of deaths that could inflame nationalist sentiments.

Today, Major General level talks are being held between India and China to resolve the issues related to the June 15-16 violent face-off, according to sources in the Army. Similar talks took place on Wednesday as well but they remained inconclusive without any changes on the ground.  India maintained that what happened in Galwan was a "pre-mediated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties." External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar made it clear that India wants restoration of old status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) prevailing before May 2020 when the first reports of Chinese incursions started appearing.

As news broke that a vicious melee had broken out between Indian and Chinese troops along the Sino-Indian border in the Ladakh area on Tuesday (June 16), an illustration showing a Hindu god battling a Chinese dragon surfaced on social media.  It shows Lord Rama drawing a bow and preparing to shoot a huge arrow into a Chinese dragon beside the words "We Conquer. We kill." – not in India but  was posted on the Hong Kong social media site LIHKG.

Hong Kong Twitter user HoSaiLei soon shared it and wrote "An Indian friend has already finished this exquisite Sino-Indian war poster." Within 21 hours, the post had gained 861 likes, 300 retweets, and 34 comments. Many Indian netizens thanked HoSaiLei for sharing the image, and he responded to one user by saying, "Likewise!! Please know this, we support you!" Below the image, some Hongkongers jokingly posted screenshots of the character Dhalsim from the video game "Street Fighter" defeating the Chinese character Chun-Li. Netizens from Taiwan and Hong Kong alike took to social media to express their support for India in the clash with China. Curiously, many posts replying to the image spoke of a 'Milk Tea Alliance'. The Milk Tea Alliance is an informal term used on social media to reflect solidarity among countries in Asia that have a custom of adding milk to their tea—the notable exception in the region being China—where black tea is more popular. With India, Hong Kong and Taiwan each known for their milk tea, the concept of the milk tea alliance also reflects a larger anti-China sentiment in such countries.

The internet support comes as tensions between Taiwan and China have been growing, with Chinese warplanes flying inside Taiwanese airspace for the 4th time in two weeks on Wednesday. The war of words between Taiwan and China has intensified of late, with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's assertion early in 2020 that Taiwan was an independent country and that Beijing must face this reality. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan's  exclusion from the WHO also sparked calls for WHO reform and greater accountability of the role of China in spreading the virus across the world. Relations between India and Taiwan have been warming. Several Indians reportedly participated in a motor rally in Taipei on June 13 to thank the country for its successful contamination of the coronavirus. In May, two BJP MPs virtually attended the swearing-in of Taiwan's re-elected president Tsai Ing-wen. That month, Taiwan also donated one million masks to India to help in the national effort against the Covid 19.

Hong Kong too has seen its issues with China flare-up of late, as protests that raged through 2019 gradually resumed after a brief lull during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in the city. A new bill by Chinese lawmakers that makes it illegal to insult the Chinese national anthem had sparked a new wave of protests, as had a controversial new national security bill. While 2019’s protests were initially sparked over a bill that would allow for Hong Kongers to be extradited to China to face much-harsher prosecution in certain instances, they later snowballed into a larger pro-democracy movement, in response to accusations of police brutality against the Hong Kong police. While the extradition bill was eventually shelved, the new national security bill could end up having the same effect, as a Hong Kong lawmaker recently pointed out that it too could be used to extradite Hong Kongers to China to face punishment.

Ladakh’s Bharatiya Janata Party MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal on Tuesday responded to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s question on whether China had occupied the Indian territory in Ladakh with a detailed map, and claimed they had done so under the Congress’ regime.  The BJP leader claimed that the Chinese had occupied the Indian territory during the Congress’ rule. “Starting from the 38,000 sq km of Aksai Chin in eastern Ladakh seized by China in the 1962 war,” Namgyal wrote. “The Tia Pangnak and Chabji Valley [250m length] in Chumur area till 2008 during the UPA [United Progressive Alliance] time.”  The young leader from Ladakh asserted that "it was no longer the India of 1962, and the country is led by a courageous leader like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, not by the Congress". 

The Congress party’s kid-glove treatment to China and the soft-condemnation against the Communist nation has now raised eyebrows as to know why the principal opposition party has been soft towards the hostile neighbour of the country. It is being said that the close connections between the Congress party and the CPC may be one of the reasons why the principal opposition party has now chosen to remain mute in attacking the Chinese and instead has been unleashing all its attacks against its own government. During UPA1 in 2008, the Congress party and the Communist Party of China (CPC) had signed a deal in Beijing for exchanging high-level information and co-operation between them. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) also provided the two parties with the “opportunity to consult each other on important bilateral, regional and international developments”.  Interestingly, the MoU was signed by the then Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and on the Chinese side, it was signed by none other than Xi Jinping himself, who was then the Chinese vice-president and standing committee member of the CPC’s politburo. The MoU was signed in the presence of his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi.

During the India-China war of 1962, the radical wing of the then Communist Party of India (CPI) opposed the unqualified support to the Nehru government, because of its class character, in its fight against China. This event was believed to be one of the major factors responsible for the split within the Communist Party of India. Thus, by 1964, the differences among the communists increased beyond reconciliation.  One India & Indian Express reports state  that the  former Chief Minister of Kerala V S Achutanandan who was a CPM politburo member at that time was sacked for suggesting that they should organise a blood donation camp for the Indian Army soldiers. The pro-India line he took was declared anti-party by the Communists. It was an known fact that during the 1962 war, the CPI had supported China. They cited ideology and put the same above the nation.  

The proposal of blood donation  was immediately shot down by O J Joseph a communist leader. VS however did not give up and tried at the next meeting. This led to a scuffle between him and Joseph. The jail authorities had to intervene and subsequently the news leaked to the media. Jyoti Basu who was part of the West Bengal CPI ordered an inquiry into the incident. The row escalated and VS dropped his plan. In 1965 a party worker filed a complaint with the party leadership. In his complaint he spoke about the anti-party activities of VS. A probe was immediately order and VS was found guilty. The Kerala committee of the party ratified the probe findings and came to the view that the views taken by VS was anti-communist. VS was then demoted from the central committee to the branch level.

A couple of years back, Kerala State Youth commission chairperson Chintha Jerome’s second book ‘Chankile China’ (China in my heart) was released by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.  The book is about her journey to China and should be a travelogue, yet its caption perhaps indicates something else ! .. she was to say that being  a Communist supporter, I uphold universal humanity.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

If you ever thought that photo of Lord Rama was posted by a Sanghi – you are wrong.  This appeared in Taiwan press in its first page !

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

naked aggression of China - Indian soldiers killed at Galwan

Sad ! ~ lives of Indian soldiers lost by brazen aggression of a Nation always looking bloody.  To them war is an act of senseless passion coupled with political objective.  This Nation lost 14 million people of their Nation in WW 2, yet continues to be blood thirsty. Covid 19 emanated from its place, WHO was careful enough to name it in such a fashion that it does not reflect the place, the Nation or anything else and continued issuing false statements on Corona virus.

In civilized World too, there are ‘Rogue states’ – the ones that are to be outlawed for threatening global peace. In WW II, the scale of China’s involvement was massive. Chiang, for example, fielded four million troops, while China as a whole lost an estimated 14 million in the war. Had China folded, Japan’s capacity to fight the U.S. or even the Soviets would have been vastly amplified.  On the Chinese side, after 1949 when the civil war was over, the Nationalists had been exiled to Taiwan, and Mao was victorious on the mainland, it rewrote  a virgin history in the mainland of China—that the only people who had made a contribution to fighting and defeating the Japanese were the Chinese communists.

It is never a peaceful State nor the one that wants peace.  Now Xinfadi food market puts China’s capital city in a “wartime” contingency mode. Over 100 cases have now been traced back to the sprawling wholesale market since Thursday after the city had previously gone 55 days without a locally transmitted case. But rather than taking care of their own people, leave alone trying to contain it within the country, the rogue Nation is trying to get involved in another skirmish.

The Galwan River flows from the Aksai Chin region to Ladakh of India. It originates in the area of Samzungling on the eastern side of the Karakoram range and flows west to join the Shyok River.  It is named after a Ladakhi explorer from Leh, who first explored the course of the river. In 1899, he was part of a British expedition team that was exploring the areas to the north of the Chang Chenmo valley, when he ran into this previously unknown river valley.

A very sad day for the Nation.  Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in a "violent face-off" with Chinese troops at Galwan Valley in Ladakh, the army said on Tuesday, in the most serious escalation between the two countries along the border in five decades. News agency ANI claimed that sources had confirmed 43 Chinese soldiers have been killed or seriously injured because of intercepts, though the army's statement did not refer to this. A statement in the morning that confirmed the death of a Colonel and two jawans spoke of "casualties on both sides". India blamed the clashes on "an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo there", rebutting China's claims that Indian soldiers crossed the border.

Colonel B Santosh Babu of the Bihar regiment, Havildar Palani and Sepoy Ojha laid down their lives for India, the army confirmed earlier on Tuesday. "17 Indian troops who were critically injured in the line of duty at the stand-off location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries. Indian Army is firmly committed to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation," the army's fresh statement said.

For more than six weeks, soldiers from both sides have been engaged in a stand-off on at least two locations along the Line of Actual Control -- the 3,488 km de-facto boundary between India and China, and rushed additional troops to the border. They have been facing each other at the Galwan River, which was one of the early triggers of the 1962 India-China war, and at the Pangong Tso -- a glacial lake at 14,000 feet in the Tibetan plateau.

Since 1975, this was the first casualties for India due to a clash with the PLA. In 1975, Indian Patrol was ambushed by the Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh in 1975. The he three Service Chiefs, Defence Minister Rajnath reviewed the current operational situation in Eastern Ladakh. During the meeting, the external affairs minister S Jaishankar was also present. The area where the troops of both sides are confronting is the first time since 1962. Though the LAC is clearly defined here, this is the first time that tensions are brewing in Eastern Ladakh.

In 1962, China attacked India across the eastern and northern borders. And the construction of a road between Xinjiang and Tibet was the trigger for this. Around 179 km of this highway which passes through Aksai Chin in the Indian Territory is better known as G219. The road the Chinese had built then was without India’s consent. And since the Chinese wanted to control any movement by the Indian Army from West to East, mountain passes are required to go across the mountain ranges. And the Chinese have also ensured that the LAC goes through the highest Crestline and also which is located to the west. This means that India does not control dominating heights and there is more depth which stretches between LAC and the Chinese G219 highway.

The Galwan river is the highest ridgeline and it allows the Chinese to dominate the Shyok route passes, which is close to the river. Chinese are keen on controlling this area as they fear that the Indian side could end up threatening their position on the Aksai Chin plateau by using the river valley. India is trying to construct a feeder road emanating from Darbuk-Shyok Village – Daulat Beg Oldi road (DS-DBO road). This road runs along the Shyok River and is the most critical line of communications close to LAC. It comes up Patrol Point 14 (PP14).

The Sino-Indian War, also known as the Indo-China War and Sino-Indian Border Conflict, was a war between China and India that occurred in 1962. Chinese military action grew increasingly aggressive after India rejected proposed Chinese diplomatic settlements throughout 1960–1962, with China re-commencing previously-banned "forward patrols" in Ladakh. China  abandoned all attempts of peaceful resolution on 20 October 1962, invading disputed territory along the 3,225 kilometre- (2,000-mile-) long Himalayan border in Ladakh and across the McMahon Line. Much of the fighting took place in harsh mountain conditions, entailing large-scale combat at altitudes of over 4,000 metres (14,000 feet).  The Sino-Indian War was also notable for the lack of deployment of naval and aerial assets by either China or India.

37,244 square kilometres of land. That’s almost Bhutan, almost Kerala, almost Manipur and Nagaland put together. That’s Aksai Chin, the north-eastern end of India’s crown under Chinese occupation for many decades now, the first move made much before the Sino-Indian war of 1962.  Sixty one  years ago, Prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had informed the nation, belatedly, about what the Chinese had been up to in Aksai Chin, “where not even a blade of grass grows”. Making a statement in Lok Sabha on August 28, 1959 (Jawaharlal Nehru: Selected Speeches, Volume 4, by Publications Division), Nehru said: “There is a large area in eastern and north-eastern Ladakh which is practically uninhabited. It is mountainous, and even the valleys are at an altitude generally exceeding 13,000 feet. To some extent, shepherds use it during the summer months for grazing… The Government of India have some police check-posts in this area but, because of the difficulties of terrain, most of these posts are at some distance from the International Border.”

Photo at the start - Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat's statue at the Jaswantgarh memorial in Arunachal Pradesh. He was awarded the Mahavir Chakra. (Photograph: Rajesh Karkera/

Paying homage to Indian soldiers – Jai Jawan !

With grief and profound sadness
S. Sampathkumar