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Sunday, July 26, 2020

21st anniversary of India’s victory in Kargil war ~ Kargil Diwas

Earlier it was known as  Purig ~   the  Suru River,  a 185 kilometres (115 mi) long river, that originates from the Panzella glacier enriches it – it is the place in news and apt to be remembered by the entire Nation today – 26th July 2017. 

Starting in 1590,  the Gyalpo of Leh extended his control over Western Tibet. Between 1640–1675, Purig came under the control of his grandson Bde-ldan-rnam-rgyal, along with Zanskar and other parts of the modern Ladakh Division. Centuries later, in 1822, Raja Gulab Singh of the Dogra dynasty was anointed as the Raja of Jammu by the Sikh emperor Ranjit Singh. In 1834, Gulab Singh sent his general Zorawar Singh Kahluria to conquer the territory between Jammu and the Tibetan border. Marching through Kishtwar, Zorawar Singh reached Purig and defeated the Bhotia leader Mangal at Sankoo in August. Kartse, the then capital of Purig, fell into Zorawar Singh's hands, who built a fort there before advancing towards Leh.

Following the First Anglo-Sikh War and the Treaty of Amritsar (1846), Gulab Singh was made an independent Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. The princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, as it eventually came to be called, was organised into two large provinces, Jammu and Kashmir, and two frontier ilaqas, Ladakh and Gilgit. Ladakh was a wazarat (district) with a governor called wazir-e-wazarat. It had three tehsils: Leh, Kargil and Skardu.   The city of Kargil always had a tehsil headquarters.

We have seen Cine heroes donning role of  Army Jawans and applaud them too –  the Nation needs to read and know more about the real heroes who protect the Nation.   In our history books, we have read about 3 battles of Panipat, Plassey, Arcot and more ….. the text books should have the battles of  Tololing  and Kargil ! ~ on every 26th of July, I circulate something on Kargil – (with a tinge of sadness that not all media remembers, however this year  appears different with the Prime Minister himself  and the Nation  remembering Vijay Diwas) 

The Simla Agreement  was signed between India and Pakistan on 2 July 1972 in Shimla, the capital city of   Himachal Pradesh. It followed the Bangladesh Liberation war in 1971 that led to the independence of Bangladesh, which was earlier known as East Pakistan and was part of the territory of Pakistan. India entered the war as an ally of Bangladesh which transformed the war into an Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. The agreement was the result of resolve of both the countries to "put an end to the conflict and confrontation that have hitherto marred their relations". It conceived the steps to be taken for further normalisation of mutual relations and it also laid down the principles that should govern their future relations.
The Nation today pays homage to the jawans who sacrificed their lives in the 1999 Kargil war against Pakistan.
“On Kargil Vijay Diwas, we remember the courage and determination of our armed forces, who steadfastly protected our nation in 1999. Their valour continues to inspire generations,” PM Modi tweeted.  Modiji criticised Pakistan and said it undertook the misadventure with sinister plans to capture India's land and to divert its ongoing internal conflicts. Speaking at the 67th edition of his monthly radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat', he said Pakistan tried to backstab in response to India's friendly endeavours.  On this 15th August eve, I urge people take resolve to get freedom from Coronavirus, for Aatmanirbhar Bharat, to learn and teach something new, and abide by our duties.  The prime minister used the hashtag #CourageInKargil.  Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh   visited National War Memorial today and paid tributes to soldiers who fell in the line of duty during Kargil War.

The Battle of Tololing was one of the pivotal battles in the Kargil War between India's armed forces and troops from the Northern Light Infantry aided by other Pakistan backed irregulars in 1999. The Tololing is a dominant position overlooking the Srinagar - Leh Highway (NH 1D) and was a vital link. The Indian army's casualties on the Tololing peak were half of the entire losses in the whole war. Much of the losses had to do with the nature of the terrain as World War I style frontal charges had to be mounted to reclaim the peaks to dislodge the intruders. The 3 week assault finally culminated with India taking control of the peak and changing the course of the war. 23 Indian Soldiers were killed in the final assault, resulting in one of the costliest battles of the entire war.
We have National Holidays;  We celebrate important days for the Nation including The Independence Day (Aug 15th ) Republic Day (26th  Jan) – we recall the birth and death days of important National leaders.    A day  more important than most of them is … 26th  July…. The Kargil Diwas..   should be  a much celebrated day commemorating the victory in an important  battle for the honour of the Nation.

Great People – Country must remember the Names -  :  Captain Anuj Nayyar, Captain Amol Kalia, Captain Manoj Pande, Captain P.V.Vikram, Captain Vikram Batra, Deputy Commander Sukhbir Singh Yadav, Driver-Soldier Gopinath Moharana,  Flight Engineer Raj Kishore Sahoo, Grenadiar Amardeep, Grenadiar Bajinder Singh Naik Surjeet Singh, Naik Subedar Lal Chand, Naik Vikram Singh, Naik Yoginder Singh, Rifleman Ansuya Prasad Dhayani, Rifleman Bachan Singh, Subedar Sumer Singh Rathore, Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, Squadron Leader Rajiv Pundir, Squadron Leader Lal Singh, Squadron Leader Ojha, Zrfn Man Singh,  Kaushal Yadav – all should feature  in the history books of the school curriculum.   The illustrious list is not full only some of those 527 heroes who sacrificed their future for protecting the honour of the Nation….. yes these are only some of the names of Indian jawans and officers who made the supreme sacrifice in the battle field of Kargil.

If you can't be a Soldier, admire  a Soldier. If you can't fight at the border, fight the chaos in your neighbourhood. If you can't nurse a soldier's wound, wipe the tears of his family members. If you can’t feed a soldier, pray he sleeps indoors tonight. If you can’t thank him personally, thank his parents. If you can’t help him get back, make sure his body gets home, with all due respect and much more. If you can’t be a soldier, thank them everyday. If you can’t be a soldier, encourage your child to be one. If you can't be a Soldier, learn to always  respect one.

Today,  we remember the martyrs of Kargil. The nation is observing the 21st anniversary of India’s victory in Kargil war, remembering its brave martyrs who laid down their lives to safeguard our borders from Pakistani intruders.
Jai Jawan, Jai Hind………

Saluting the Warriors guarding us and saving our Nation….

With  love for the Nation & Great respect to Soldiers – S. Sampathkumar.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Jofra Archer oversteps - out of Old Trafford Test

This is a Cricket post and not a political one ! ~ decades ago, Great Britain proudly proclaimed ‘Sun never sets in British Empire’.  British Broadcasting Corporation for long was considered the most authentic – now frequently, they would run stories on how poor India and most other Nations are ! ~ how Indians are suffering without adequate infrastructure, health facilities and – in the present circumstances, they would write concern (!) on whether Indian States have sufficient no. of hospital beds to house Indian Covid victims. .. .. Not much would be written on how UK is suffering, how many have died, and how hospitals have fared !  .. .. .. since first being recorded late last year in China, the Covid-19 coronavirus has spread around the world, and been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

A pub landlord in Cornwall in south-western England has hit the headlines in the UK for his unique method of ensuring Covid-19 secure social distancing guidelines by installing an electric fence around the bar area. Jonny McFadden, who runs the popular Star Inn in Saint Just town of Cornwall, said there is limited space at the bar where drinks are served and therefore he resorted to what he says is “just a normal electric fence” found in many field perimeters to control cattle and sheep around England. The man reportedly  said the fence is for everybody’s benefit due to the space constraints.  "It's there for social-distancing. Before the fence, people were not following social distancing and were doing as they pleased, but now people take heed to the guidance around social distancing. It's for everybody's benefit," he said.

As many as 649,000 people lost their jobs between March and June during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown in the UK, official data released recently showed, with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak admitting "difficult time ahead" but stressed that the government had a comprehensive jobs plan in place.  The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recorded 649,000 people leaving company payrolls, a figure which does not reflect a surge in the country's unemployment figures because large numbers of firms have put their employees on the government-backed furlough, or forced leave scheme, put in place by the Indian-origin finance minister.

In between Britain accused Russia and the Kremlin today  denied claims by Britain that "Russian actors" sought to meddle in last year's general election and that Russian intelligence services most likely hacked coronavirus vaccine research. "We have no information on who could have hacked pharmaceutical companies and research centres in Britain," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the TASS news agency.

Getting back to Cricket – the 2nd Test between England & West Indies,  got off to a wet start at Old Trafford today.  Pakistan all-rounder Kashif Bhatti has become the first member of the visiting team to test positive for coronavirus after landing in the UK. The 33-year-old was one of the three players who had flown to the UK in the second week of the month. As per a report in Cricket Pakistan, Bhatti has entered self-isolation. The PCB is waiting for the report by England Cricket Board, the report adds. Bhatti had initially tested positive for COVID-19 but his test returned negative on July 1. He, along with Haider Ali and Imran Khan, was cleared to fly to the UK after the trio tested negative for the second time three days later. Since he has now tested positive for the infection, Bhatti is unlikely to take part in the series. ECB and PCB are expected to come up with official word regarding his health soon.  The Pakistan tour of England was unlikely to take place after 10 Pakistan players tested positive initially. The PCB decided to add three players to the squad and the first batch flew to England last month. Questions were raised over PCB when Mohammad Hafeez, who had tested positive initially, tested negative a day later. He was cleared to fly after his test returned negative in PCB's testing.

On to England Test Series, Lancashire County Cricket Club was founded  in 1864 as a successor to Manchester Cricket Club, Lancashire have played at Old Trafford since then and, in 1865, played their inaugural first-class match, beating Middlesex at Old Trafford.  Our own Farokh Engineer, the flamboyant keeper and opener played alongside Clive Lloyd between 1968-76.  Years later, the left-arm spinner Murali Karthik too played for this club.

 The immediate reference of modern times of this place would of course be – ‘Manchester United Football Club’ the professional football club, based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester; founded in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club and changed name to Manchester United in 1902.   Manchester United is one of the richest football clubs; in Augt 2012, Manchester United made an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.

Manchester's fortunes decreased after the Second World War; however investment spurred by the 1996 Manchester bombing led to extensive regeneration, particularly in the city centre. Manchester was the site of the world's first railway station and is where scientists first split the atom, and developed the first stored-program computer. Manchester is also regarded as the birthplace of Women's suffrage in the United Kingdom, and both capitalism and communism.  Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels began to write the Communist Manifesto at Chetham Library, the oldest public library in the English-speaking world.

At Old Trafford ground, Jason Holder mixed up his bowlers during a one-hour first session after rain delayed the start until 12.30pm local time. Opening bowler Shannon Gabriel who took nine wickets in West Indies' first-Test victory, struggled early with his run-up and was wayward. Having won the toss and elected to bowl first in hopes of making the most of the conditions, Holder took Gabriel and Kemar Roach out of the attack after three overs each, replacing them with himself and Alzarri Joseph. But it wasn't until Chase entered in the last over before the break that they managed to make something happen as Chase trapped Burns with his second delivery.  Roston Chase grabbed two wickets in as many balls either side of lunch to put England at 29 for 2.

England have rung in the changes for this crucial second Test. Jofra Archer is out, while James Anderson and Mark Wood are being rested. Stuart Broad is back after his omission from the first Test, which left him feeling, in his own words, "frustrated and angry". It'll be a while before we see him though. West Indies will bowl first after winning the toss.

"Not sure I like the words in terms of 'unbelievable'," Holder said, rubbing the back of his head with his two fingers, trying hard to hide his annoyance. "But, look, this series is still wide open.  The question, asked during the virtual media briefing on Wednesday, was: "The West Indies, you are pretty much on the verge winning a Test series. I mean it is unbelievable to be saying this, but are the guys geared knowing that they are just one Test win away from winning a Test series in England in some 30-odd years?"

Whether he likes it not, though, Holder's team now stands on the cusp of history after taking the series lead in Southampton, a significant achievement in itself. Not since 1995 have West Indies won a Test series against a major Test-playing country, a feat achieved Courtney Walsh's team which won 1-0 against New Zealand. But in a series involving three or more Tests, West last emerged victorious under Richie Richardson when they pipped Australia 2-1 to win the Frank Worrell Trophy in 1992-93.

Jofra Archer is out – after that spell, none can dream of dropping him .. ..yet he has been dropped not due to poor performance but due to over-stepping !!  He has been severely reprimanded after breaching England’s biosecure protocols by stopping off at his flat in Hove during the journey from Southampton to Old Trafford.  England’s players travelled on Monday in separate cars following their four-wicket defeat at Hampshire’s Rose Bowl and were told there must be no breaks in the 230-mile journey bar the use of a designated biosecure county ground for lunch and pre-approved petrol stations.

But Archer used the travel day to visit his flat en route, details of which only came to the attention of the England management on Wednesday evening after naming him in their 13-man squad for Thursday’s second Test. Archer, who must now spend the next five days in isolation at the team hotel at Old Trafford and undergo two additional Covid-19 tests, said in a statement: “I am extremely sorry for what I have done. I have put, not only myself, but the whole team and management in danger. I fully accept the consequences of my actions, and I want to sincerely apologise to everyone in the biosecure bubble. “It deeply pains me to be missing the Test match, especially with the series poised. I feel like I have let both teams down, and again I am sorry.”

The statement from England, which explained the decision, but gave no details on the breach, said: “Jofra Archer has been excluded from the #raisethebat second Test against the West Indies starting today (Thursday 16 July) at Emirates Old Trafford following a breach of the team’s biosecure protocols. Archer will now commence five days of isolation and will undergo two Covid-19 tests in this period, which have to test negative before his self-isolation period is lifted.  “The West Indies team have been made aware and are satisfied with the measures that have been imposed.”

According to ESPN's Alexis Nunes, a close personal friend of the player, Archer stopped off at his flat for approximately an hour, and avoided any close personal contact while he was there. While conceding that he was "very frustrated" with the situation, Nunes added that Archer had not made any excuses for his actions. "Home is his safe place," she added, "which is why he didn't think it was that much of a risk."

So, for the 2nd Test – England lost a crucial wicket – out dangling with Covid 19
Strange are the ways of people !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16.7.2020 @ 2100 hrs.

Tamil Nadu +2 Results ~ SYMA celebrates with 100% pass - 2020

+2 Results - SYMA Growth students secure 'All pass' - 2020

Today  16th July 2020  is a Happy Day for us all ~ SYMA Growth students have performed exceedingly well.  *It is ‘all pass’ *  The Academic year 2019-20  was  12th year of SYMA Growth.

SYMA has an unsaturated desire for serving the Society.  SYMA [Srinivas Youngmen’s Association]  has been in the field of Social service since 1977 ~  in the past few years, our initiative in the field of Education ‘SYMA Growth’ has been prospering.  SYMA Growth – a fullfledged tuition centre, is our  cherished initiative in educating the economically poor children, uplifting their standards and making them responsible citizens, by providing quality educational support throughout the year free. In this beautiful World, most students are frightened to face the Public examinations.  SYMA’s vision is  to provide good quality education training free of cost  for those students who suffer for want of opportunities.  On 6th  July 2008,  Mr. R Sekar, IPS, Commissioner of Police launched our Tuition Centre ‘Growth’  and a right beginning was made.  Every year since, we have been tasting grand success with very good results. 

The classes for the present academic year started  in June 2019  after our initial screening ensuring that the most deserving were selected on economic criteria.  The Centre provided quality education support  on all days from 6 - 8 pm in the evening and on Sundays @ 10-12 am and has  +2 Commerce, + Science Group; X standard – Tamil and X Std English medium.

As you would know,  Govt of  Tamil Nadu decided to promote all students of X standard  on the basis of quarterly, half-yearly exams as well as their attendance. The decision was necessitated due  to rising COVID pandemic in the state.  Today, the  Directorate of Government Exams (DGE), Tamil Nadu declared the result for the Higher Secondary or class 12 exams.  This year, a total of 7,99,717 students appeared for the Tamil Nadu class 12 exams 2020.  With an overall passing percentage at 92.34, TN +2 students have cleared the exam with flying colours -  Girls were ahead at 94.80% as against boys' 89.41%.  Tiruppur recorded 97.12% pass percentage and topped among districts followed by Erode with 96.99% and Coimbatore with 96.39%.

Earlier, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami has announced that all students from first to ninth standard in the state will be promoted considering the closure of schools to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. The decision was taken considering the welfare of students, who could not sit for their annual examinations due to closure of schools due to Covid-19 pandemic followed by the nation-wide lockdown.

An interesting statistics reveal that the pass % in Computer Science was highest @ 99.51% while in Zoology it was 92.97%  !

WE  are very happy in sharing our glee  that ‘all our + 2 students have passed’ [10 of them in Science group and 27 in Commerce group]   Our Student V Karthick is the topper with 490 marks – 9 of our Commerce students secured more than 400.  In Science, 3 out of 10 got more than 400 and the toppers are Ms Madhumitha & Ms Narmatha with 441 marks.    

Those of us involved realize well the challenges faced in educating children from lower echelons – sometimes we stumbled upon lack of attitude, absenteeism, uncaring attitude and negligence shown by parents.  Besides some students faced stress and negative environ at their home and elsewhere.

The success of SYMA Growth in uplifting the students from lower echelons of society is fully because of the untiring efforts of teachers of SYMA Growth.    SYMA places on record our profound thanks  to the Management of NK Thirumalachariyar National Boys High School, Mr S. Venkatadri, HM, NKT Boys High School, our beloved teachers of SYMA Growth, Mrs Gayathri , and the volunteers.  Special gratitude is  due to M/s Manpower Group India (Mr PV Venkatesan  & Mr Karthik Kapoor) – for their support in fully-funding this project.

There are so many of you, who have contributed in the success of Growth and a BIG THANKS to you ALL.  The ensuing Academic year   would pose greater challenges to the student community.  We pray to Emperuman Sri Parthasarathi  that Covid 19 is eradicated, things are back to normal, schools reopen and our Education centre, Growth would continue providing quality educational support to the students from the lower echelons of Society.

Together we will strive for the improvement and in this endeavor WE thank on all our donors and supports  for the  cooperation and support extended over the years and seek your continued support.

We once again thank and seek your continued support in our 13th year of Educational support -   together we will strive to provide quality educational support and ensure upliftment of society.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
Secretary, SYMA

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

remembering the man of masses ! ~ the simple yet great Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu

The First legislative assembly election for the Madras Presidency was held in February 1937, as part of the nationwide provincial elections in British India. The Indian National Congress obtained a majority by winning 159 of 215 seats in the Legislative Assembly. This was the first electoral victory for the Congress in the presidency since elections were first conducted for Madras Legislative Council in 1920. The Justice Party which had ruled the presidency for most of the previous 17 years was voted out of power. The assembly was constituted in July 1937 and C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) became the first Congress Chief Minister of Madras.  None were to know that the winner from Sattur would make history and find a permanent seat in the heart of people !

This tall leader was a real champion of the masses.  In Aug 1942, after completing all the organising work for successful and strong protest for Quit India,  he called the Police and declared that he was ready to be arrested. Jail was not new to him and he had already spent above three-thousand days in jail from his earlier three terms!  On the 4th time, he was incarcerated for almost three years from August 16, 1942 to June 30, 1945. He was transferred to Amarotti jail for two years and then back to Vellore jail

Today  Nation should be remembering this simple man, who stood for poor.  It is 117 years since he was born in a small village.  Known for his integrity and his modesty in conduct,  this gentleman exercised his political power for the benefit of the masses. Dealing with significant phases of his life the author explains his actions in a larger historical context.     He was a  full-time patriot, unafraid of going to jail and not making political gains out of it.  Can you name him ? ~ did you remember him today ??   ~  he too was an Opener, having started something anew !

Down South on the banks of river Thamirabarani lies the hamlet Cheranmahadevi, which in someways  changed the way children go to school in our Great land…………………. It is stated that  decades ago, the then CM of Tamilnadu, saw a boy near the town of Cheranmahadevi herding livestock he asked him, “What are you doing with these cows? Why didn’t you go to school?” The child immediately retorted, “If I go to school, will you give me food to eat? I can learn only if I eat." Unknowingly, this young boy had touched on a critical problem facing the nation’s children: they cannot learn on a hungry stomach. His simple response sparked a series of events which gave rise to the Mid-day Meal Scheme as it is known today. Started in the 1960s in Tamil Nadu, the program was set up to reduce hunger and encourage universal primary education.

The key objectives of the programme  was to protect children from classroom hunger, increasing school enrollment and attendance, improved socialization among children, addressing malnutrition, and social empowerment through provision of employment to women. The scheme introduced statewide by the then Chief Minister K. Kamaraj in 1960s was later expanded by  MG  Ramachandran’s  government in 1982. It has been adopted by most Indian states after a landmark direction by the Supreme Court of India on November 28, 2001.

The man of the masses undoubtedly is : Kumarasami Kamaraj ,[K. Kamaraj] acknowledged as the "Kingmaker" in Indian politics during the 1960s, was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu during 1954–1963 and a Member of Parliament during 1952–1954 and 1967–1975. He was known for his simplicity and integrity.

As the president of Indian National Congress, he was instrumental in navigating the party after the death of Jawaharlal Nehru and bringing to power two Prime Ministers – Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1964 (whose birthday falls today) and Indira Gandhi in 1966.  Back home,  he is remembered for bringing school education to millions of the rural poor by introducing free education and the free Midday Meal Scheme during his tenure as chief minister.  

In April 1954, Kamaraj became the Chief Minister of Madras Province. To everyone's surprise, Kamaraj nominated C. Subramaniam and M. Bhakthavatsalam, who had contested his leadership, to the newly formed cabinet.  Kamaraj remained Chief Minister for three consecutive terms, winning elections in 1957 and 1962.  With his acumen, he sensed the party was slowly losing its sheen. On Gandhi Jayanti day 2 October 1963, he resigned from the post of the Chief Minister. He proposed that all senior Congress leaders should resign from their posts and devote all their energy to the re-vitalization of the Congress. He  was elected the President of Indian National Congress on 9 October 1963.

                     Kamaraj passed away on 2nd Oct 1975 at the age of 72. Indira Gandhi was considered the least likely in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s list of dark horses to become Prime Minister after Lal Bahadur Shastri’s sudden death in 1966 while Congress president K. Kamaraj “probably” had the broadest support in the party.  He was posthumously  awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1976. The domestic terminal of the Chennai airport is named "Kamaraj Terminal",- the beach road was renamed  "KamarajarSalai", Bangalore's North Parade Road as "K. Kamaraj Road" and the Madurai Kamaraj University also stands in his honour. He was humble, good, heard the poor and worked for the poor –

but .. .. sadly, how did Tamil Nadu treat him is sordid saga !  People would remember history well and the cruel ways  -   such a popular leader and good person was ridiculed by his political rivals citing his physique  and  in 1967, Kamaraj lost his seat in Virudunagar by 1285 votes to the student leader P. Seenivasanof DMK.

If you do not know or have not visited, there is a memorial in Chennai – just away from the bustling T Nagar, on Thirumalai Pillai Road stands this simple building that houses the memorabilia associated with the great leader.  The memorial, spread on the two floors of the building, showcases the personal photographs and items related to Shri Kamaraj, providing an insight into his life. The ground floor has a bedroom which was once the personal den of this well-regarded personality. The room is adorned with plain furniture, symbolizing the plain and simple life Kamaraj led. There is also a well stocked library in the house, occupied by the books like volumes of 'Lok Sabha Debates', '100 Modern Lives', 'Churchill' and 'Doctor Zhivago'.

Though Shri Kamaraj had to put an end to his formal education in his early days, he became a well-read man, fond of reading several books.  The man changed the way poor village children went to school !  He showed the World that  good administration can be provided by a simple person with little educational background.  Remembering him today….  Sad that the party for which he devoted his life remembers while the ones who ridiculed him and sometimes abused his physique too speak as if they were close to him – lessons of life and politics. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
15th July 2020.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Jermaine Blackwood, Jason Holder, Shannon Gabriel stand tall in WI Test win

I waited for history to happen on this day 12th July 2020 ~ for people like us under lockdown from Mar 24, 2020 – this indeed is interesting ! – yes a test match happening after 4 months – amidst Covid and the touring West Indies emerging winners.  A significant win to Jason Holder and West Indies !

There was nothing particularly festive about Nicola Sturgeon’s recent visit to the Cold Town House, a newly reopened Edinburgh pub, but maybe that was the point. Sipping coffee and surveying plexiglass dividers, Ms. Sturgeon, the leader of Scotland’s government, warned customers not to expect the jolly, sweaty intimacy of nightlife before the coronavirus pandemic. “No beer garden or cafe should feel the same as it did before,” she said as a drenching rain fell, obscuring the stony ramparts of Edinburgh Castle that tower above this once-teeming establishment.

As Scotland emerges from a three-month lockdown, it is moving more carefully than neighboring England, a divergence that owes a lot to Ms. Sturgeon’s cautious style and her conviction that England, under its more freewheeling leader, Boris Johnson, is taking too many risks in a headlong rush to resume public life. For now, Scotland’s approach has made it a bright spot in coronavirus-ravaged Britain. New cases have dwindled to a handful a day, and deaths to a trickle. If Scotland maintains this progress — a big if, given its open border — it could stamp out the epidemic by the fall, public health experts say. Such a goal seems fanciful in England, which is still reporting hundreds of new cases and dozens of deaths every day.

On to the playing area, he was peppered with shortballs and sometimes he was shaping clumsily, was hit too on a couple of occasions but he stayed.  Michael Holding wielding the mike said, we were instructed to stay till the cows returned home (sound familiar) and went on to explain, in Caribbean, the farmers would go out with their cattle &  return late in the evening when Sun would be setting !

Though he displayed dour attitude, he is a n aggressive batsman from Jamaica.  Jermaine Blackwood broke into the West Indies Test squad in June 2014, during the home series against New Zealand, after a successful first-class season. If there were any doubts about the kind of cricket Blackwood was going to play, he laid them to rest with his second scoring shot - a six over long-on off New Zealand seamer Trent Boult. Blackwood went on to score 63 runs but was left out in the third Test as West Indies opted for an extra bowler.

Back home, on Dec 20,2012, England played India  in a T20I at Pune in the newly built MCA stadium (Maharashtra Cricket Association), it has hosted few International matches too.  England set a target of 158 only to be overhauled with 13 balls to spare and 5 wickets in hand. You cannot think that India had this bowling line up.  Ashok Dinda, Ravi Ashwin, Parvinder Awana, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla, Virat Kohli & Yuvraj Singh !

Some parts of England will run out of water within the next 20 years unless "urgent action" is taken, is the  view of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in a report on the state of water supplies. It's calling on the government to establish a league table for water companies to pressure them into dealing with leaks. It also wants efficiency labels on domestic products like washing machines and dishwashers to be made compulsory. The government responded by saying it had already initiated a programme to improve performance in the water industry.

Lot happening in United Kingdom.  The PM Boris Johnson is urging people to act "safely and sensibly" as lockdown is eased from this Saturday.  Many businesses - including restaurants, pubs, hairdressers and cinemas -  have been  allowed to open their doors for the first time since March.  At a press conference on Friday, the PM will warn "we are not out of the woods yet" when it comes to the virus. The pub industry said the re-opening was "fantastic" but urged customers to respect staff and changes in practices. Pub-goers are being encouraged to book tables in advance, while live gigs and standing at the bar will not be allowed.

England has resumed Test Cricket in a bold move by having a Test match under bubble environ, and are planning more of the game.  All 18 first-class counties will compete in a shortened red-ball tournament named in honour of Bob Willis, the ECB has confirmed. A majority of counties voted to play both red-ball and white-ball cricket when the season resumes on 1 August.  The truncated T20 Blast will begin on 27 August, although a full fixture schedule is yet to be announced. Neil Snowball, the ECB's managing director of county cricket, said: "The enforced break due to Covid-19 has provided a challenging period for the county game, during which time the 18 first-class counties have been united with a common goal to get back to our core function of playing cricket. "The commitment of the chairs and chief executives of the first-class counties to work together to achieve that ambition has been resolute, and we will remain in close discussion as we continue to assess risk factors that need to be mitigated in order to ensure the safety and welfare of their players, coaches and staff.

Meantime, the First Test against the touring West Indies was played at the Rose Bowl, Southampton, England.  Formerly known as The Ageas Bowl, West End, the ground home to Hampshire was rebuilt by Hopkins Architects (formerly Michael Hopkins and Partners),  a prominent British architectural firm established by architects Sir Michael and Patricia, Lady Hopkins.  The practice was established in 1976 by Michael and Patty Hopkins and is now run by five Principals.  The practice has won many awards for its work and has completed prestigious projects including London  Velodrome,   Evelina Children's Hospital,  Portcullis House and Westminster Underground Station.  The practice's first building outside of the United Kingdom was the headquarters for GEK in Athens in 2003, followed by Tokyo's Shin-Marunouchi Tower in 2007.

The test was engrossing at Tea with West Indies needing 60 odd runs with 6 wickets and 41 overs at hand.  That was a very comfortable position.  When they started their chase of 200, at the end of 4th over  John  Campbell   hobbled off. A broken toe, suspected, as he   took a yorker  from Archer on the foot – he retired hurt. Not sure, whether he could return but certain that he cannot run.

In earlier days, a runner was allowed [in local parlance, help-runner]  to run  between the wickets for an injured batsman. This was covered by Law 25 of the Laws of Cricket.  When a runner was  used, the batsman would stand in  position and play shots as normal, but would not move – as the runner would do the running.    When the injured batsman moves off strike, he would take  up the position near the square leg umpire (not at the bowler's end), as the runner would stand in the bowling end.  In a strange incident in 2003  in the 4th test match of the series in Guyana against Australia, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and wicket-keeper batsman Ridley Jacobs both had runners in Wevell Hinds and Marlon Samuels.

After Campbell hobbled off, wickets fell in a heap and at 27/3 the future looked bleak.  FoW : 1-7 (Kraigg Brathwaite, 5.4 ov), 2-7 (Shamarh Brooks, 7.3 ov), 3-27 (Shai Hope, 11.4 ov), 4-100 (Roston Chase, 35.4 ov)

From there Blackwood really stood tall, winning it for the Windies with good support from Chase and Dowrich – earlier their bowlers Jason Holder and Shannon Gabriel had bowled their hearts out.  When Blackwood got out at 95 – he had placed WI well and truly in sight of a win – injured Campbell walked in to complete with the winning shot !

In case, you wonder the relevance of reference to Pune Stadium, this too was built by Hopkins Architects

Good for Test Cricket and good for the island Nation

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
12.7.2020 @ 22.25 hrs.