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Saturday, November 7, 2020

India (ISRO) successfully launches EOS-01 satellite + 9 customer satellites

Another proud day for the Nation.. .. Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro)   successfully launched EOS-01, an earth observation satellite, into space, earning plaudits from many, including Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji. The launch was carried out from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota. It was to take place at 3:02pm but was delayed by 10 minutes due to bad weather conditions.

Today, India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its fifty first flight (PSLV-C49), successfully launched EOS-01 along with nine international customer satellites from the First Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.  PSLV-C49 lifted-off at 1511 Hrs (IST), after a delay of nine minutes because of inclement weather conditions observed during countdown. After 15 minutes and 20 seconds, EOS-01 was successfully injected into its orbit. Subsequently, nine commercial satellites were injected into their intended orbits. After separation, the two solar arrays of EOS-01 were deployed automatically and the ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network at Bengaluru assumed control of the satellite. In the coming days, the satellite will be brought to its final operational configuration.

“PSLV-C49 successfully placed all ten satellites precisely into their orbit” Chairman, ISRO, Dr. K. Sivan declared.  He congratulated both the launch vehicle and satellite teams for rising to the occasion amidst the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. Dr. K. Sivan also briefed about the upcoming missions. EOS-01 is an earth observation satellite, intended for applications in agriculture, forestry and disaster management support. The nine customer satellites from Lithuania (1), Luxembourg (4) and USA(4) were launched under a commercial arrangement with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL).     Besides being the 51st launch of PSLV, today’s launch was also the 76th launch vehicle mission from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota.

The EOS-01, as per Isro’s official website, is an earth observation satellite intended for purposes such as agriculture, forestry and disaster management support.   It is the first Indian launch vehicle to be equipped with liquid stages. After its first successful launch in October 1994, PSLV emerged as the reliable and versatile workhorse launch vehicle of India with 39 consecutively successful missions by June 2017. During 1994-2017 period, the vehicle has launched 48 Indian satellites and 209 satellites for customers from abroad.

Besides, the vehicle successfully launched two spacecraft – Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 and Mars Orbiter Spacecraft in 2013 – that later traveled to Moon and Mars respectively

A total of 10 satellites, including EOS-01, have been launched in this mission. While EOS-01 is the only Indian and primary satellite of the mission, the other nine are foreign: Four each from the US and Luxembourg and one from Lithuania.  The nine foreign satellites, called the ‘customer’ satellites, have been launched under a commercial agreement with the NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), which is the commercial arm of Isro and comes under the Department of Space.


In an unconnected news, China launched  world's first 6G test satellite into orbit. It went into orbit along with 12 other satellites from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the Shanxi Province.  The satellite also carries technology which will be used for crop disaster monitoring and forest fire prevention.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


Pics from Twitter


Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Indian twitter handles - impacting US elections !!!

Do you think US elections stimulate lot of interest in all parts of India ! ~ and more, do you ever imagine that Indian response can have some impact on the elections ? – not that of Indians settled in USA, but those from rural India !!!

At 3.30am in Vienna, there are still helicopters circling overhead, readers are stating. Because it was the last night before Vienna’s lockdown came into effect, many people were taking the opportunity to go out for one last time. While some who were in the city have finally made it home, others are spending the night in the places they were at when the attacks began. There are stories of  lawyers sleeping at their offices, from attendees at a barre class that ended shortly after 8pm who are sleeping in the studio – this morning saw hashtag : #austriaAttack – trending twitter.   Do you tweet ? – what is your twitter handle ? – mine is : @KairaviniSampat

Twitter is a modern public square where many voices discuss, debate and share their views. Media personalities, politicians and the public turn to social networks for real-time information and reactions to the day’s events.  .. .. .. the % of population using Twitter, following Twitter, tweeting could be much smaller yet it is very influential and most observed !

          Almost 4.66 billion people were active internet users as of Oct 2020, encompassing 60 percent of the global population. China, India and the United States rank ahead all other countries in terms of internet users. Twitter is particularly popular in the United States, with  audience reach of 68.7 million users. Japan and the India were ranked second and third with 51.9 and 18.9 million users respectively. 80% of Twitter users are affluent millennials.  The top three countries by user count outside the U.S. are Japan (49.1 million users), India (17 million), and Brazil (15.7 million).

The World has remained shut-down since mid Mar 2020 and there have been voices of economic difficulties.  Pandemic ! economic slowdown – what ? - Twitter has announced financial results for its third quarter 2020. “We have grown our daily audience by 42 million in the last year as people all around the world come to Twitter to find out about the topics and events they care about most. I’m pleased mDAU grew 29% year over year to 187 million, driven by global conversation around current events and product improvements,” said Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO.  “Advertisers significantly increased their investment on Twitter in Q3, engaging our larger audience around the return of events as well as increased and previously delayed product launches, driving revenue to $936 million, up 14% year over year,” said Ned Segal, Twitter’s CFO. “We also made progress on our brand and direct response products, with updated ad formats, improved measurement, and better prediction.

With less than 36 hours to go for the US presidential elections, President Donald Trump held rallies in battleground states of Michigan, Iowa and North Caroline and planned stops in Georgia and Florida. Biden made an appearance in the closely contested state of Pennsylvania. Biden is set to close his campaign in Pittsburgh where he made his maiden campaign appearance in April 2019. After attacking the main-in ballot system throughout his campaign, President Donald Trump says that he is gearing up for legal challenges in the counting of mail and absentee votes in Pennsylvania. “I think it is a terrible thing when ballots can be collected after an election. I think it is a terrible thing when people or states are allowed to tabulate ballots for a long period of time after the election is over because it can only lead to one thing,” Trump said. “We are going in the night of — as soon as the election is over — we are going in with our lawyers,” he added. 

Within two weeks of Biden selecting Kamala Harris as his running mate on August 12, his Twitter following jumped by 738,595 new followers—a 9.1 percent leap. The number hit 11 million by the third week of October. .. .. … A close examination has revealed unusual patterns. A large number of Twitter accounts that followed Biden’s appear to have been created exclusively for that purpose. And a large number of the users are located in small towns in rural India—in places where English-speakers are rare, and from handles run by people who don’t speak English as their first language, nor appear to be genuinely invested in American politics. 

Joe Biden's Twitter account got a sizable boost beginning in August from tens of thousands of fake followers purchased on the open market from troll farms in rural India, an investigation has found. Within two weeks of Biden selecting Kamala Harris as his running mate on August 12, his Twitter following jumped by 738,595 new followers—a 9.1 percent leap. The number hit 11 million by the third week of October. A close examination has revealed unusual patterns. A large number of Twitter accounts that followed Biden's appear to have been created exclusively for that purpose. And a large number of the users are located in small towns in rural India—in places where English-speakers are rare, and from handles run by people who don't speak English as their first language, nor appear to be genuinely invested in American politics.

A Zenger News investigation reveals that Biden's increasing social media footprint in India came from the country's infamous troll farms boosting his candidacy.  An interesting article in NewsWeek states -  Kamala Harris's ethic heritage is in part rooted in India, but her share of Indian and apparently Indian followers is far lower, about 0.12 percent.  Some of the operators who worked on the campaign spoke at length about how propaganda agencies in New Delhi and Mumbai activated a widely distributed troll network to amplify Biden's campaign impact on Twitter.

In discussions over the Telegram app, Harshit Patel and Yajpal Yadav discussed the part they played.  Patel runs a small cybercafé near the railway station at Umbergaon, a small town four hours north of Mumbai near the Maharashtra-Gujarat interstate border. From 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, he scans IDs of customers and allots them a PC for twenty rupees an hour. On the side, he and his Photoshop-savvy wife Sejal make photocopies, print ID cards, do small design jobs and offer lamination services.

"This was started as an internet café by my father in the late 1990s," Patel said, speaking in Gujarati-accented Hindi. "Back then, men came in mostly for chatting in IRC [Internet Relay Chat] rooms and surfing porn. It was brisk business. But then internet became so cheap and everyone got smartphones and business petered out. We had to rely on passengers asking to print railway tickets, fill up online forms, and get documents photocopied. But that didn't even cover the costs of maintaining the PCs and paying the electricity bill. Things changed in 2012–13 when [Narendra] Modi started his campaign for prime minister. And this became my main business." What Patel means by "this" is the business of running a troll farm after his shutters go down at 8:00 p.m.—which is 10:30 a.m. in New York and 7:30 a.m. in California.

Four of his employees, young men who live in the neighborhood, take their stations at long desks that line two walls of the tiny shop, and open up task sheets assigned to them. A Google Doc tells each one of them who to follow, who to retweet, what to retweet and what comments to leave on specific posts. Using aliases—each worker controls several hundred—they schedule tweets, check engagement stats and, at the close of their shifts, fill up a spreadsheet with their analytics from the previous day.  India's troll farm business is now one of the most decentralized and robust in the world. They offer nearly anything to paying customers, according to Patel: fake news, Photoshopped images, support and "hate" campaigns, and even incitements of mob violence.  

Yajpal Yadav, based in the eastern India town of Patna, has a similar story. The high-school dropout invested in 5 PCs and a broadband connection in 2016. His IT services agency, as he calls his one-room setup, now employs six people in addition to him and his brother Rajpal. "Each one of us controls two to three hundred profiles across different platforms," Yajpal said in Hindi, his only language. "We get daily targets from agencies in Delhi and Mumbai, and we simply engage with the target as we're told." "Political parties are our main clients, but even brands and celebrities who need promotion come our way," Yajpal said. "This is a business like any other.

"We don't pick and choose. Joe Biden the person is irrelevant to us. We got a target in August to follow him and engage with his tweets, and we did. The agencies in Delhi who we work with don't tell us any details, and we don't ask," he said. Yajpal described a pyramid-shaped campaign structure akin to multi-level marketing, but without the mid-level payoffs. "There are so many levels [of subcontractors] in this, nobody can really trace anything back. We don't even get paid through banks. We settle in cash once a month" via Hawala, a popular international money transfer system that uses bookkeepers outside official banking networks. He declined to share specific financial details: "I won't tell you how much we make, but what I will tell you is this setup is feeding all our families. And I don't have to ever worry about a roof on my head or about paying my children's' school fees."

Zenger News data-dumped a large sample of Joe Biden's new Twitter followers from August 19 to August 28: seven days of 15,000 data points per day, the maximum allowed by Twitter's rate-limits.  "Typically, fake accounts are identified by looking at combinations of attributes of the handles in question," said Saikiran Kannan, a Singapore-based Open Source Intelligence analyst.  He flags some suspicious and unusual activities by spotting other factors, too, like Twitter handles that include random-seeming numbers or that leave the default "egg" as their profile pictures. Excessive duplicate tweets raise red flags, as do those in incoherent English and tweets that contradict each other. Most "sock puppets," as they're called, typically retweet only a few specific accounts in intermittent bursts of high volume. Based on the sample Zenger News examined, it appears that more than 100,000 such accounts joined Biden's legitimate followers in August.

Of the 105,000 followers in the sample, 31,981—more than 30 percent—were created on August 12 or later. Of the 62,478 accounts created before 2020, 16.5 percent have tweeted fewer than 10 times. Half of those have not tweeted this year at all.  Taking this into account, Zenger analyzed the remaining 60,000 accounts. A high percentage have popular Indian last names like Kumar and Singh and display evidence that Hindi is their preferred language. Saikiran said it was possible but highly unlikely that Americans were using virtual private networks (VPNs) to fool Twitter into thinking they were tweeting from India.

"Twitter is very strict about VPNs," he said. "If you try to sign up or run an account using a VPN, Twitter flags your account and asks for two-factor authentication." VPN service providers almost universally offer locations in large cities, not the small towns where the troll farm industry has thrived. And Twitter's two-factor authentication scheme requires a phone with a physical SIM card—not a virtual number like those available from Google or Microsoft's Skype platform. Indian regulations permit only nine registered SIM cards per person. But even that has loopholes, said Patel, the Internet café owner, and if social media platforms were to require identity verification, he's ready. "Think a bit," he said about identity verification by photo ID. "I just told you that I scan IDs of everyone who uses my cybercafé, didn't I?"

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Wing Commander Abhinandan release ~ Pak army chief's legs were shaking !!

It lasted only 14 days ~ in the battle of Padma, nearer Jessore, Squadron leader Kumar gets ejected from his fighter aircraft and lands in an area, with full presence of Paki military.  Pak committing atrocities on locals takes custody of Indian Squadron leader.  He is tortured by Capt,. Mohammad Sultan of Pak army, in whose veins hatred against India runs.  When Pak surrenders – Sultan takes Kumar out, and shoots him in his stomach, minutes later, he is arrested by advancing Indian troops who provide medical aid to Sultan .. .. that is ’14 naatkal’ [14 days] novel of Sujatha.

It is good to be back in my country," was the first reaction of IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman as he set foot on Indian soil. This was stated by an official quoting Varthaman after he received the pilot at the Attari-Wagah border soon after his release by Pakistan.   

1st  March 2019, Friday was a Happy India for the Nation, as we celebrated the return of Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who had been captured by Pakistan after the MiG-21 Bison jet that he was flying crashed.  The IAF pilot returned to India from Attari-Wagah border at around 9:20 pm, where thousands had been waiting for hours for a glimpse of him.   Prime Minister Narendra Modiji  and other leaders welcomed  the brave pilot, who has become a hero for the entire nation after he showed immense grit and grace while in the enemy's captivity. Wing Commander Varthaman's release had been delayed due to certain reasons.   According to a report in news agency PTI, the IAF pilot’s return was delayed as he was asked to record a statement on camera by Pakistani authorities before he was allowed to cross the border. The recording released on the official Twitter handle of Government of Pakistan was later deleted. It was not clear whether he was made to record the video under duress. The video also had several jump cuts indicating that it had been edited heavily. “Recording of his video message caused a delay in his handing over,” a source said.

THE United States and India have signed a Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement which is expected to boost their bilateral defence and military ties at a time when India is facing a tense stand-off with China in Ladakh. American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper flew into New Delhi to sign the pact with their Indian counterparts. BECA has finalised the completion of four pacts of a strategic nature between the two countries. BECA will give India access to classified geospatial data as well as critical information that has military application. The regional tour by these senior US officials, which has included visits to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, is aimed at countering growing Chinese influence. In this respect, the US secretary of state raised the issue of India’s border tensions with China and expressed solidarity with New Delhi. In Sri Lanka, the US official called China a “predator”. The Chinese foreign ministry responded by saying Mr Pompeo’s accusations reflected his “Cold War mentality” and urged him to “stop sowing discord between China and regional countries as well as undermining the regional peace and stability”.

The US may have its strategic reasons to block Chinese influence in the region, but it should be well aware of the complexities that are weaved into interstate regional dynamics here. Cosying up to India is one way in which Washington wants to resist the domination of China but this has a direct impact on its relations with Islamabad. .. .. the news below is more interesting !!

Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa's "legs were shaking" while Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the meeting of parliamentary leaders that India was about to attack their country, said a Pakistani lawmaker as he recounted the events of February 2019 meeting during which Imran Khan government decided to release Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman.

In a speech in the National Assembly, Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) leader Ayaz Sadiq said that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had in an important meeting pointed out that if Pakistan did not release Abhinandan Varthaman, India would attack Pakistan “that night by 9 pm.” The PML-N leader told opposition leaders that Qureshi in a meeting with the parliamentary leaders, including PPP and PML-N and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, had asked for Abhinandan to be let free. “I remember Shah Mahmood Qureshi was in the meeting in which Imran Khan had refused to attend and Chief of Army Staff General Bajwa came into the room, his legs were shaking and he was perspiring. Foreign Minister said for God’s sake let Abhinandan go, India’s about to attack Pakistan at 9 PM”, Sadiq recounted the events of the important meeting.

Dunya News further quoted Sadiq as saying that the opposition has supported the government in all issues including Abhinandan but will not be able to further support it.Wing Commander Varthaman shot into limelight after he shot down a Pakistani aircraft F-16, which had transgressed into the Indian airspace during a dog fight between Indian and Pakistani air force on February 27, 2019 and in the process, his plane crossed over to Pakistani side and was shot down. 

Abhinandan was returned to India from the Attari-Wagah border on  March 1, 2019. He has been awarded the Vir Chakra on Independence Day by President Ram Nath Kovind for his exemplary bravery.   

"With legs shaking and sweat on the forehead, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said to us, 'For God's sake, let him (Abhinandan) go back now'," he had claimed, adding "no attack was imminent; they only wanted to capitulate and send Abhinandan back". As his comments went viral on social media and were picked up by Indian television channels, Sadiq issued a clarification on Thursday, saying the tweets and Indian media reports were "totally contrary" to what he actually said in the parliament.

However, his criticism of Prime Minister Imran was unrelenting. He questioned the circumstances under which the decision to release Abhinandan was taken and insisted that the move was wrong. "Abhinandan had not come to Pakistan to distribute sweets; he had attacked Pakistan and it was a victory for Pakistan when his plane was shot down," he said in a video message.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

opportunities do not come easily ~ when they come, make best use !!

Long ago, in 1970s – Tamil Nadu Ranji openers were V Sivaramakrishnan & V Krishnaswamy ~ they made runs playing for the State perhaps never got the fame or money that modern day Cricketers enjoy .. .. life was different those days – IPL catapults young guys to fame and more importantly ‘money’

B u t  .. .. even in modern times, life is not all that easy, success does not come that easily and even most talented do not get their due – to me, one of the shining examples is Kieron Pollard, the towering Cricketer from West Indies who generally comes when 20 odd balls are left and scores 3 or 4 sixers – good that he is leading MI in the absence of Rohit Sharma – he is one of the most underrated captains too ! .. .. not many would have noticed that the Caribbean all-rounder Kieron Pollard created history on Sunday (25th October) night as he became the first fielder to take 300 catches in T20 cricket history.

The 33-year-old Trinidad cricketer Kieron Pollard is already holding the record of most matches in T20 cricket history as he is still the only cricketer to appear in 500+ T20s. Captaining  Mumbai Indians (MI)   in the 45th match of the IPL 2020 against Rajasthan Royals (RR) at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium (Abu Dhabi), it was the 523rd T20 match for Pollard.  The big burly six hitter,  Pollard reached another milestone in his T20 career as he became the first fielder or non-wicket-keeper to take 300 T20 catches.  

He captured everyone’s admiration with his measured words and gestures.  Following the loss against Rajasthan, Pollard  credited that Rajasthan’s top order complimenting Stokes and Sanju for playing  really well, and stating  Pandya’s innings gave them a good enough total. Mumbai Indians' loss against the Rajasthan Royals has not hampered Mumbai's chances of qualifying for the playoffs. They still need to win just one of their remaining three matches to make the final four. The Royals, however, are now at sixth place with 10 points, and can reach a maximum of 14. By beating Mumbai on Sunday, the Royals have also knocked the Chennai Super Kings out of the playoff race for the first time in the history of the competition. Despite the heroics by Ben Stokes to help get the Royals over the line, their playoff spot will still depend on how the Kolkata Knight Riders, the Kings XI Punjab and the Sunrisers Hyderabad go in their remaining fixtures.

Yesterday night it was big chase well organized - Ben Stokes played so well making an unbeaten 107 off 60 balls as the Rajasthan Royals chased down Mumbai Indians' 195 for 5 with relative ease in the end in Abu Dhabi.  Earlier, Hardik Pandya's 60 not out off 21 balls, studded with seven sixes and two fours, had lit up the evening. But that didn't prove enough as Stokes and Sanju Samson added 152 off 82 balls in an unbroken third-wicket partnership to take the Royals home with ten balls to spare.  The first flame came from Quinton de Kock who has  scores of 53, 78*, 53 and 46* coming into this game. He pulled a 149.6kph Jofra Archer delivery for a six to get off the mark. Archer, however, pitched the next ball a little fuller and a bit wider, and de Kock chopped on with an angled bat.

Moving away, India has done remarkably well in ICC U19 WC but not in 2014 edition where they finished 5th.  That was the  tenth edition of the tournament. Sixteen nations competed: the ten Test-playing teams, the United Arab Emirates as hosts, and five additional associate and affiliate qualifiers (Afghanistan, Canada, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, and Scotland). India entered the tournament as defending champions, having won the title in 2012 in Australia under the captaincy of Unmukt Chand. In the final, South Africa beat Pakistan by six wickets to win the tournament. South Africa captain Aiden Markram was awarded Man of the Series.

Not many would know or remember that Monu played in that edition.  Hailing from Ranchi like his CSK skipper MS Dhoni, Monu has represented Bihar and the Indian U-19 teams as well. He's taken 25 wickets in the shortest format at an economy rate of 6.90. Monu had travelled to the United Arab Emirates with the junior India cricket team for the 2014 U-19 World Cup. He claimed four wickets in three matches back then, and was part of an outfit which included the likes of Shreyas Iyer, Kuldeep Yadav and Sanju Samson. He even featured in India's quarterfinal loss to England that year. Twelve wickets from eight games during Jharkhand's run to the 2018 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy's Super League got Monu an IPL contract with CSK.

Monu Kumar was picked up by the Super Kings in the mega-auction in January 2018. He has been part of the side since then without ever getting a game, as the Super Kings won the title in 2018 and finished runners-up in 2019. He began IPL 2020 in his now familiar role on the bench, but the worst season that the Super Kings have endured meant they were more open to changes in the playing XI, and Kumar finally got a go, having been on the bench for 44 matches: 16 in 2018, 17 in 2019 and 11 in 2020.

He ended up bowling only two overs and conceded 20 runs, including three wides and a no-ball. Off the free hit that came via the no-ball, Kumar nailed a leg-stump yorker to de Villiers to keep him to a single. Super Kings bowling coach Eric Simons said the yorker was a delivery Kumar had great confidence in.

Life does not present great opportunities for every one but when one comes on the way, one must make best possible use of it.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Remembering Sardar Vallabhai Patel ~ the Iron man of India

Away from IPL - Test no. 483 played at Kanpur in Dec 1959 was significant !

The Sardar Sarovar project was a vision of the first deputy prime minister of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The foundation stone of the project was laid out by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru after carrying out a study on the usage of the Narmada river water that flowed through the states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and into the Arabian Sea. A project report prepared for the dam led to much dispute over the means of distributing the Narmada water among the three states- Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. As the negotiations bore no fruit, a Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal (NWDT) was created in 1969 to decide the fate of the project.   The construction for dam begun in 1987, but the project was stalled by the Supreme Court of India in 1995 in the backdrop of Narmada Bachao Andolan. In 2000–01 the project was revived but with a lower height of 110.64 metres under directions from SC, which was later increased in 2006 to 121.92 meters and 138.98 meters in 2017.  The water level in the Sardar Sarovar Dam at Kevadia in Narmada district reached its highest capacity at 138.68 metres on 15 September 2019.  The man, real visionary and tall leader ..

He was the Man instrumental in the creation of the All India Services which he described as the country's "Steel Frame". In his address to the probationers of these services, he asked them to be guided by the spirit of service in day-to-day administration. He reminded them that the ICS was no-longer neither Imperial, nor civil, nor imbued with any spirit of service after Independence.  He, more than anyone else in post-independence India, realised the crucial role that civil services play in administering a country, in not merely maintaining law and order, but running the institutions that provide the binding cement to a society.  

Rashtriya Ekta Diwas (National Unity Day) was introduced by the Government of India and inaugurated by  Respected  Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji  in 2014. The intent is to pay tribute to Patel, who was instrumental in keeping India united. It is   celebrated on 31 October every year as annual commemoration of the birthday of the Iron Man of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, one of the founding leaders of Republic of India.  National Unity Day celebrates the birthday of Patel because, during his term as Home Minister of India, he is credited for the integration of over 550 independent princely states into India from 1947 to 1949 by Independence Act (1947). He is known as the "Bismarck of India”.

Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel [31.10.1875 – 15.12.1950), popularly known as Sardar Patel,   served as the first Deputy Prime Minister of India. He was an Indian barrister, and a senior leader of the Indian National Congress who played a leading role in the country's struggle for independence and guided its integration into a united, independent nation.  Patel was born in Nadiad District Kheda and raised in the countryside of the state of Gujarat.  He was a successful lawyer. He subsequently organised peasants from Kheda, Borsad, and Bardoli in Gujarat in non-violent civil disobedience against the British Raj, becoming one of the most influential leaders in Gujarat. He was appointed as the 49th President of Indian National Congress, organising the party for elections in 1934 and 1937 while promoting the Quit India Movement.

As the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India, Patel organised relief efforts for refugees fleeing to Punjab and Delhi from Pakistan and worked to restore peace. He led the task of forging a united India, successfully integrating into the newly independent nation those British colonial provinces that had been "allocated" to India.

In Gujarat, now a statue stands tall remembering him.  The world’s tallest statue of Sardar Vallabhai Patel, fondly called - the Statue of Unity, India has added another destination to visit among the thousands already present in the country.  The 600-foot-tall statue is located in the Narmada district of Gujarat and is three-and-a half kilometres away from Kevadia town and about 200 km from Ahmedabad. The statue now adds to the growing list of tourism spots in Gujarat, which already consists of the Great Rann of Kutch and the Gandhi circuit which are big attractions.  The statue is twice the size of the Statue of Liberty in New York ; Visitors can reach up to the observational deck, located at 400 feet high, which is more than half of the statue.

The idea was not born in a day ~ back in 2013, when Modiji was the CM of Gujarat, he is known to have kept   a small-scale prototype of the proposed statue on the desk in his office. When hosting foreign dignitaries in the office, he would spend considerable time explaining the significance of the grand project. He even gifted small replicas to some of them.  The dream is a reality.   Iconography is not only an art but also intrinsic to politics.  He made sure that people of India were with him in this ambitious initiative. He persuaded the people across the country to emotionally invest in the building of the statue.

More than the statues, dynasty is killing Indian democracy and politics.  Every political observer knows that most parties distribute tickets in elections to the clan of erstwhile leaders – that way the sons and daughters walk over the party cadre.  An example is Nehru family – Motilal Nehru served as Congress President and his son Jawaharlal Nehru was chosen by Gandhi to becoming the   first Prime Minister of India.  Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, eldest daughter of Motilal Nehru, represented India in UN General assembly.  Brijlal Nehru,  son of Nandlal Nehru and a nephew of Motilal Nehru,  was the Finance Minister of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir during the rule of Maharaja Hari Singh.  Indira Gandhi became the  the first woman Prime Minister of India.  Her husband was earlier MP. Brajkumar Nehru, son of Brijlal, served as Governor.  Arun Nehru, great grand son of Nandlal Nehru was a union minister during the 1980s.  Rajiv Gandhi became the 7th PM of India.  Sanjay Gandhi dazzled in politics before untimely death.  Sonia Gandhi, is President of Indian National Congress and MP;  Maneka Gandhi  serves as the Indian Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development;  Rahul Gandhi is being projected to be the leader; Priyanka, Robert Vadra – all are in politics.

 In  1967 Kappal Ottiya thamizhan VO Chidambaram’s Pillai contested  from Ottapidaram but was defeated – the political parties did not support him !  .. .. Patel’s family too tried to dangle with politics.  Sardar Patel’s four family members fought elections: son Dahyabhai, daughter Maniben, daughter-in-law Bhanumati and her businessman-brother Pashabhai Patel. Dahyabhai Patel was a Congressman and an elected member of the Bombay Municipal Corporation in 1939, when Sardar Patel was still around. He spent 18 years at the corporation, out of which he was a leader of the Congress party for six years.  By his own account, when he was all set to   fight the 1957 Lok Sabha election as a Congress candidate, Nehru was not willing to acknowledge Sardar Patel’s contribution and it became all too apparent at the annual session of Congress in January 1957  Dahyabhai left the  Congress  and was later elected to Rajya Sabha in 1958 as nominee of Maha Gujarat Janta Parishad.  Interestingly Dahyabhai was an insurance man, employed by  the Oriental Insurance Company.  

His elder brother too was a prominent freedom fighter but died away in  Geneva in 1933. Vithalbhai alongwith Nethaji Subash Chandra  Bose had been highly critical of Gandhi's leadership during their travels in Europe. "By the time Vithalbhai died in Oct 1933, Bose had become his primary caregiver. On his deathbed he left a will of sorts, bequeathing three-quarters of his money to Bose to use in promoting India's cause in other countries.  

Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg (1815 – 1898)   was a conservative German statesman who masterminded the unification of Germany in 1871 and served as its first chancellor until 1890, in which capacity he dominated European affairs for two decades. He had previously been Minister President of Prussia (1862–1890) and Chancellor of the North German Confederation (1867–1871).   Following the victory against Austria, he abolished the supranational German Confederation and instead formed the North German Confederation as the first German national state, aligning the smaller North German states behind Prussia.  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has  o inaugurated Sardar Patel Zoological Park, popularly known as Jungle Safari, in Kevadia,  Gujarat's Narmada district. Sardar Patel Zoological has been set up near the 182-metre Statue of Unity. The zoo houses wild animals and birds brought from all over the world. Kevadiya, a small town with a population of 6,788 people and just 3.5 km from the Statue of Unity in Gujarat, is growing, has its own railway station, which would be a Green certified one. 

Concluding in a lighter vein, at Kanpur in 1959, India tasted its maiden Test victory against Australia and the hero was a Patel.  Off-spinner Jasu Patel in that 2nd test against Richie Benaud’s Aussies took 14 wickets. His 9 for 69 was India's best Test bowling figures till it was overtaken by Anil Kumble nearly 40 years later.  There have been some more Patels as well in Cricket – the names that readily comes to my mind are :  Brijesh Patel, Ashok Patel, Munaf Patel, Rashid Patel,  Parthiv Patel,  Axar Patel, Dipak Patel (NZ), Jeetan Patel (NZ); Samit Patel (Eng)


With regards – S. Sampathkumar

phenomenon called Chris Gayle - hits 1000 sixers in T20 and decision to keep him out !!

Following the controversy surrounding the BCCI and Lalit Modi in 2010, the Indian Premier League announced on in Oct  2010 that it had terminated the franchise contracts of Kings XI Punjab and the Rajasthan Royals. The teams announced that they would take legal action to remain in the Indian Premier League. Initially, the team tried to negotiate a solution with the league, but when one could not be reached, they decided to file a case in Mumbai High Court accusing the IPL of getting rid of the two teams so that when the bidding process would start for the 2012 IPL season, the contract would be given to a more lucrative bidder. Kings XI Punjab was reinstated with the involvement of the High Court. 

The Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) is based out in  Mohali (Chandigarh CR), Punjab,   jointly owned by Mohit Burman, Ness Wadia, Preity Zinta and Karan Paul. The team plays its home matches at the PCA Stadium, Mohali. Since the 2010 IPL, they also have been playing some of their home games at either Dharamsala or Indore. Fairly big contingent of think-tank :  Director of cricket operations and head coach: Anil Kumble; Assistant coach: Andy Flower; Batting coach:  Wasim Jaffer; Bowling coach:  Charl Langeveldt; Fielding coach: Jonty Rhodes; Team physio: Andrew Leipus;  Trainer: Adrian Le Roux.. .. ..

Anil Kumble was happily chatting with his commentary-mates of Dugout and said – ‘every year all will speak of Kings in the Finals (meaning Chennai Super Kings)- hopefully, this year, it would be Kings X1 Punjab !!

What a performer he is !  - “He (Gayle) should never retire. He is always in great touch. I have never seen him struggle. He is probably the greatest T20 player ever,” Kings XI Punjab batsman Mandeep Singh said recently on his admiration for the longevity of Chris Gayle in T20 format.  His performance reads : 99 off mere 63 balls – 8 sixers ! against RR today; 51 Vs KKR; 20 Vs Sun Risers; 29 Vs DC; 24 vs MI & 53 Vs RCB – total of 276 in 6 innings !!

No one has produced quite the contrasting campaign in the Indian Premier League 2020 than Kings XI Punjab. From losing six matches in a row, the 2014 finalists have staged a remarkable campaign winning their next five games, and in the process, kept their hopes for a place in the playoffs alive. With 12 points from 12 games, KXIP are placed fourth on the points table and with three placed still left, the franchise will be hoping to cap off a memorable league phase with wins in their remaining two games.

At the start of their match today – KX1 had played 12 – won 6 lost 6   Points 12, NRR -0.049.  Remaining matches: vs Royals, Super Kings.  The Knight Riders' loss has given some wriggle room to several teams, and Kings XI are among them. While two wins will definitely take them into the playoffs - they could even finish among the top two - even with 14 points they now have a better chance of making the cut because their NRR of -0.049 is much better than that of the Knight Riders and the Royals - two of the other teams which can finish on 14.  Even if they lose to the Royals today, Kings XI can still qualify if they win their last game and if other results go their way. Currently, Sunrisers have a much better NRR, so Kings XI wouldn't want them to win their last two games and get to 14.

.. .. perhaps one man who has changed their wheel of fortune is Chris Gayle and why was he kept out earlier sounds so illogical !!  Chris Gayle's gutsy knock and a cameo by Nicholas Pooran powered Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) to 185 runs against Rajasthan Royals here at Sheikh Zayed Stadium today. KXIP smashed 14 runs both in the 18th and 19th over respectively. The run-scoring was largely powered by Gayle as he smashed 99 runs off 63 balls. The 'Universe Boss' also completed 1000 sixes in the T20 cricket. Meanwhile, Pooran scored 22 runs off 10 balls.

However, Jofra Archer ended Gayle stint at the crease as the 'Universe Boss' missed his century by a run. After getting out Gayle sent his bat flying, then shook hands with Archer. Put into bat, KXIP got off to the worst possible start with Mandeep Singh back in the hut in the very first over. Gayle then joined skipper KL Rahul and started whacking boundaries. The 'Universe Boss' started off from where he left the other day. With 14 runs coming in the sixth over, KXIP smashed 53 runs in the powerplay. Gayle continued his onslaught as KXIP got over the 100-run mark in the 13th over. Meanwhile, the left-handed Gayle completed his 31st IPL half-century as Rahul continued to play the role of second fiddle.

Ben Stokes dismissed Rahul in the 15th over as a 120-run stand for the second wicket came to an end. Pooran, who came into bat at number four, whacked two sixes as KXIP looked to finish on a big note. The duo continued to whack the ball as KXIP smashed 14, 11, and 14 runs in the 16th, 17th, and 18th over respectively. However, a stunning catch by Rahul Tewatia ended Pooran's cameo in the 18th over. In the end, KXIP scored 185 runs in their allotted 20 overs. Brief Score: KXIP 185/4 [Chris Gayle 99(63), KL Rahul 46(41), Ben Stokes 2-32, Jofra Archer 2-26] (ANI)

Way back in Apr 2013,   Gayle then playing for RCB  took a single off the very first ball and the first over was otherwise uneventful, though a wide 4 came.  The 2nd over it was Hanuma Vihari (who ?) the offie……….. was it a plan or putting someone on the altar ?  - and off the very first ball in IPL on his debut…………. he got the prize wicket of Chris Gayle – caught behind – a faster one, bounced slightly, Gayle went for a cut of a delivery that was too close and the mighty Gayle was on his way back…. unbelievable……….

For records Chris Gayle has 7214 test runs from 103 matches with 15 tons and 98 sixers; 10480 ODI runs in 301 matches 331 sixers and 1627 T20I runs with 105 sixers.  Today he has another absolutely incredible! feat  .. .. Chris Gayle has now hit 1000 (ONE THOUSAND) sixes in Twenty20 cricket ~ and which Cricketing brain thought it fit to keep him on the bench on the first 7 matches of this season ??

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30.10.2020 @ 10.oopm


US Elections .. .. .. did Joe Biden forget the name of the President ?!?!

A few decades ago ~ elections in Tamil Nadu were different.  Before you read further – Thiru : A Subbarayalu; Panagal Raja; Dr P Subbarayan; P Munuswamy Naidu,  Ramakrishna Ranga Rao(Raja of Bobbili), PT Rajan,   Kurma Venkata Reddy Naidu, C Rajagopalachari [Rajaji], Tanguturi Prakasam &   O P Ramaswamy Reddiyar – were the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu prior to Indepedence and general elections in free India.

Remember in my younger days there would be public meetings at street corners, cycle rallies, candidate canvassing in open jeeps and some orators reeling out statistics and qualities of the candidate on the mike in auto rickshaw (I myself have spoken on that mike traversing the electoral village consisting of many a streets).  For every candidate, election manager, campaigner, speakers – good oratorical skills, eloquence, knowledge of the area, candidate, capabilities of the party and more were required .. .. (perhaps not any longer !) – remember what could happen if the candidate makes a guffaw in calling wrongly the name of Chief Minister himself ! – for sure, he would become object of ridicule.

Miles away, US elections are on the anvil.  The American presidential elections are always held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Americans vote for people called "electors" in their state who are supporting the candidate they want to become president - this process is called the electoral college. The more people who live in a state, the more electors there are for that state. So California for example, with a population of 38.8 million, has 55 votes - while Delaware, (population 936,000), has just three votes. There are currently 538 electors in total, corresponding to the 435 Representatives (Congress men and women) and 100 Senators, plus the three additional electors from the District of Columbia. The Constitution prohibits any federal official, elected or appointed, from being an elector. The candidate with the most electors wins all the state's electoral college votes and the first candidate to win enough states to get to 270 electoral votes is elected to that office.

The 2020 US election is a week away. With the presidential debates over, we are into the final days of campaigning. But the coronavirus pandemic has thrown many aspects of the race into uncertainty. The virus has already dramatically affected the running of the election, including the chaos caused by Donald Trump being diagnosed with Covid-19. It is also unclear what election day itself will look like, given the risk of catching the virus by voting in person. A record number of people are expected to vote before November 3 by opting for postal votes. Election experts suggest this could mean the result may not be declared on election night, but may take several days - or even weeks - to emerge.   With the coronavirus pandemic expected to impact public life well into the autumn, the 2020 election is likely to go down in history as one of the most unconventional US presidential races ever held.

Media reports may not be conclusive in saying whether it would be Joe Biden or  Donald Trump in the national polls for the presidential election.  The leads as shown in the Press any way  doesn’t guarantee the candidate’s  victory. Hillary Clinton also had a clear lead over Trump in the polls for almost the entire 2016 campaign. She ended up losing in the electoral college. Because the presidential voting system assigns each state a number of electoral college votes, which go to the state’s victor regardless of the margin of victory, a handful of swing states will probably decide the election and be targeted heavily by campaigners.

In order to track how the race is developing in the areas that could decide the election, six of the eight states we focused on were those that flipped to Trump in 2016 after backing Barack Obama in 2012. Arizona and North Carolina were also added due to what they might tell us about a shifting electoral landscape – they could emerge as vital new swing states this year.

Donald Trump has mocked 'Sleepy' Joe Biden for apparently forgetting who was president after the Democrat candidate said 'we need to stop four more years of George.'  Biden was addressing a virtual concert when he said: 'Four more years of George, er, George, er, he - we're going to find ourselves in a position where, if Trump gets elected, we're going to be in a different world.' The 77-year-old appeared to receive a prompt from his wife Jill who was sitting beside him, muttering 'Trump' under her breath.

Hours later President Trump blasted Biden, tweeting: 'Joe Biden called me George yesterday. Couldn't remember my name. Got some help from the anchor to get him through the interview. The Fake News Cartel is working overtime to cover it up!' Many speculated that Biden was thinking of George W. Bush, president from 2001-09, or perhaps George H.W. who was in office from 1989-93.  Democrats however said that Biden was speaking to George Lopez, one of the hosts of the rally.  The blunder once again was used by Republicans to raise questions about Biden's mental capacity - a topic Trump has repeatedly referenced in the run-up to the election.  

Interesting ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


Covid 19 ~ India has handled the situation better - reveals statistics !

Congress MP TN Prathapan has written to Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja as he sought action into the alleged lapses in the treatment of a 67-year-old woman, a Covid patient. According to the patient's family, she was found lying on the floor - injured and bleeding - at the Thrissur Medical College. While the family has alleged her hands were tied to the hospital bed, the hospital administration has denied lapses, stressing the patient "was not tied down, but was physically restrained on the advice of a psychiatrist, so that she would not remove her cannula".

Though too early to celebrate, there are some good signs in the Covid 19 front in India.  As per the data released by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India on October 26 reported single-day spike of 45,149 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours. 480 deaths in the same period, pushing the COVID-19 toll in the country to 1,19,014. India’s confirmed cases of coronavirus stand at 79,09,960 which include 6,53,717 active infections after a decrease of 14,437 in last 24 hours.  Today (26.10.2020)  is the 217th day since India implemented a nationwide lockdown, to help curb the novel coronavirus pandemic. So far, India has recorded 79,09,960 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 1,19,014 deaths. Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have reported the highest number of cases.  India’s recovery rate continues to rise and now stands at 90.2 percent.  

There was a time when couple of States were blamed and couple appreciated even winning awards. Now today’s statistics reveals the real picture .. .. one can see which States are badly affected  .. .. ..please see the new cases curve !

Globally, many countries are suffering in what is stated as second wave.  Britain is now recording more Covid-19 deaths each day for the size of its population than the US for the first time since June, data has revealed. Both countries are currently recording around two Covid-19 deaths for every million people — but Britain's rate stands slightly higher at 2.63, compared to 2.4 in the US. The UK suffered far higher daily death counts in the spring, relative to its population. But over the summer, while Britain's outbreak fizzled out, America's failed to improve.  Coronavirus cases have picked up once again in Britain as it battles a 'second wave' and deaths are climbing at a fast rate. Around 180 Covid-19 patients are dying every day, double the rate ten days ago. It can take infected patients several weeks to fall seriously ill and die, meaning there is always a lag between cases and fatalities.

The US currently has the highest cumulative death toll in the world at 228,477. And researchers warned last week that the grim tally could pass half a million by February, in a worst-case scenario. When looking at the total coronavirus death toll since the pandemic began, the two nations are on par with almost 700 deaths per million people so far. This is because the UK — which has endured around 45,000 Covid-19 deaths — is home to around 66million people, whereas the US' population stands at around 330million. The figures come amid soaring cases in both nations, with officials in the US posting a record-high of 83,757 new infections on Friday. Britain also posted its highest ever daily number of cases tally last week, registering 26,688 positive tests on Wednesday.  Officials in both nations have been highly criticised for their handling of the crisis. Donald Trump's administration was blamed for 'one of the greatest losses of American life in history' by his presidential election rival Joe Biden, while Boris Johnson was accused of failing to act quickly enough in March.

The Czech Republic is facing a 'catastrophic' Covid-19 outbreak and needs a 'miracle' to avoid new restrictions, its prime minister said last night with its infection rate now the highest of any major country in the world.  Andrej Babis said the current lockdown measures 'are not working yet' after the country's coronavirus deaths doubled in the space of two weeks. Like many countries which escaped lightly from the first wave, the Czech Republic is now seeing record numbers of fatalities, with average daily deaths rising from 14 at the start of October to 111 today - after a peak of just 10 in the spring. When adjusted for population, the Czech Republic's current rate of deaths is around four times higher than Britain's.  The light death toll in the spring means that many older and vulnerable people in the Czech Republic had yet to be exposed to the disease when the second wave struck.   The spike in deaths could also be linked to the rising average age of patients - with over-50s now making up 35 per cent of new infections compared to 22 per cent in early August.

In addition, the spread of the virus among doctors and nurses is worsening the strain on Czech hospitals, with as many as 1,000 medical workers being infected every day and medics having to be drafted in from abroad.  Saturday saw a new record of 126 deaths along with 15,258 cases, and the current Czech infection rate is the highest on the planet except for tiny Andorra. 

~ not everything is bad.  Down under, after New Zealand, Australia too is faring better.  Melbourne will finally exit lockdown this week after nearly four months as Australia's second biggest city today recorded zero new infections or deaths. The city will exit its coronavirus lockdown under onerous restrictions, authorities announced Monday, as zero cases were reported for the first time since June 8. Stay-at-home orders for Melbourne's five million residents will be lifted from midnight Tuesday into Wednesday while restaurants, beauty salons and retail stores will be permitted to throw open their doors.  Australia's Victoria state has spent months under tight restrictions after becoming the epicentre of the country's second wave of coronavirus infections

Melbourne and the surrounding Victoria state recorded the first 24-hour period without any new Covid-19 cases since June 8 - before security bungles at quarantine hotels housing returned international travellers sparked a major outbreak in July.  Victoria has seen 20,341 total Covid-19 cases and its coronavirus death toll stands at 817. Announcing the much-anticipated relaxing of restrictions, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews' voice cracked as he declared it an 'emotional day'.

Looking at all these Indian Government has certainly handled the crisis better.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26.10.2020 @ 10.55pm



will KKR take a preposterous decision of dropping !!


On Apr 27, 2019, United States of America played Papua New Guinea in ICC World Cricket League and lost the ODI  ! ~ Khan made his debut .. .. will KKR take a preposterous decision of dropping DK ??

Today on Vijayadasami day, we will watch the 46th IPL 2020 match at Sharjah with CSK only team out of contention for play-off.  Today Kolkata Knight Riders play  Kings XI Punjab.  KX1 were  at the bottom of the pile only 10 days ago. Suddenly, they have won  four games on the trot, and looking for a fifth that will vault them into playoff contention.  Kolkata Knight Riders will move up to 14 points with a win, and will open up a four-point lead between them and the fifth-placed Kings XI Punjab. If they lose,  KKR can still get up to 16 points if they win their two remaining matches, but Kings XI can also get there with two wins, and they will do so with a better NRR. Incidentally, both teams will play Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings in their last two matches.  If  KKR win only one of their remaining two games, then they will finish on 14, and will be at the mercy of other results going their way. If it comes down to NRR, they will probably lose out.

At this stage, will team management try any new face ? – unlikely it would appear .. .. there was a stray suggestion that they might drop Dinesh Karthik and bring in NZ Tim Seifert who has just joined them .. .. how ? is a long story !

Five days after his 28th birthday in Dec  2018, Ali Khan (who ?) was sitting on the front steps of a Florida mansion known as the Cricketplex Resort, sobbing. Minutes earlier, Khan and three friends - Maq Qureshi, Shawn Qureshi, and former Pakistan Test batsman Faisal Iqbal - had been watching the IPL auction on a giant plasma screen with climactic excitement. After waking up at 5am for the auction coverage from Jaipur, Khan and his pals had waited more than four hours for the moment his name would be put up. It only took another 29 seconds for the auctioneer to turn Khan's dream into a nightmare, slamming down his gavel to shout, "Unsold!"

Khan had performed well for  Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) coming in  as a replacement for Ronsford Beaton in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).  He took   16 wickets in a title-winning campaign.  .. .. then KKR roped   in USA's 29-year-old fast bowler Ali Khan as a replacement for the English seamer Harry Gurney. Gurney  was scheduled to have surgery related to a shoulder injury, and pulled out of both the IPL and England's Vitality Blast last month. Khan's signing made him the first USA player to feature in the IPL.

Muhammad Ahsan Ali Khan, was born in   Attock, Punjab, Pakistan and had hoped to play in IPL just as   Rashid Khan has done for Afghanistan.  Nicknamed 'The Yorker Machine' for his pinpoint accuracy, the 29-year-old was picked up by KKR after impressing in the Caribbean Premier League for the Trinbago Knight Riders. Born in the Attock region of Pakistan, Khan and his family moved to USA when he was 19. The idea of playing elite-level cricket was nothing short of a pipedream and then   flying with West Indies' Sunil Narine and coach Brendon McCullum in a private jet   was a surreal moment."

Leg-spinner Rashid Khan, the world's number one ranked T20 bowler, has undeniably put Afghanistan cricket on the map.  Khan wanted to replicate his success for America !   but all that hope fell flat as a   side strain that he had carried with him from the CPL to the UAE has forced him to return home.   New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert has been roped in as Khan's replacement.

A report in Stuff on Friday had mentioned that Northern Districts, Seifert's domestic team, had "confirmed" that the cricketer "was another absentee [for the Plunket Shield] in coming weeks, summoned to the IPL as a replacement player". Seifert, is a short-format specialist, who has turned out for New Zealand in three ODIs and 24 T20Is, and averages 22.85 with a strike rate of 139.75 in the latter.

IPL is no doubt interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26.10.2020 @ 18:50 hrs.