Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Pant Sings ... breaks Aussie spree at Gabba !

During the test - when off-spinner Washington Sundar was bowling, Rishabh Pant shouted from behind the stumps when Paine came to strike and said, "Aise web phenko web (Throw a web like this)"  and started  singing the famous Indian Spiderman song, "Spiderman,  Spiderman" in the same tone, as it could be clearly heard from the stump mic. Today too, he was on a song! 


Way back in Dec 1977 India captained by Bishan Singh Bedi  played their 1st test of the Series at Brisbane.  The series was  overshadowed by the arrival of Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket (WSC), unleashed on the world six months earlier, which left the home side fielding a virtual third XI under Bob Simpson,  a 41-year-old who had retired from the game in 1968, and was  hauled out of retirement to lead the side.  In that test there were 6 debutants : David O Gilvie, Paul Hibbert, Peter Toohey, Steve Rixon (wicket keeper), Tony Mann and Wayne Clark.

 


An opener and the wicket-keeper figured prominently in that chase of 341, which India lost narrowly.  After bowling out Australia for 166, India batted poorly and conceded a lead of 13.  Bedi took 5 in the first innings and Madanlal 5 in the second.  Aided by Simpson’s 89 and Toohey’s 57, Aussies made 327. 

Master batsman Sunil Gavaskar made 113 and was out at 243 (6); his partner Dilip Vengsarkar did not score much (1); Mohinder Amarnath made 47, Gundappa Viswanath 35, Patel out cheaply 3, Ashok Mankad, 21. .. .. but Syed Kirmani made a fighting 55 but was out at 318 – 22 runs short.  Of the many debutants, Paul Hibbert,  a tall, dark, stodgy opening batsman made  a 77-ball 13 and 2 and was never selected again.  

                       The Brisbane Cricket Ground is located in the suburb of Woolloongabba has been Australia’s favourite hunting ground. In  1975, England and West Indies were subject to a fierce spell of fast bowling from Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thompson.   West Indies team  last defeated Australia at this venue in 1988. England has never won a Test in Brisbane since 1986 when Ian Botham hit a century.  In 62 Tests that Australia has played at Brisbane since 1931, Australia has lost only eight times with one match being tied against the West Indies in 1960. In fact, apart from England, West Indies and New Zealand, no nation has managed to beat Australia in Brisbane, thus far. All that is gone and shaken, as India battled to save the test and as the last hour neared – changed gears to win the test with 3 wickets in hand.  

Australian skipper Tim Paine had a forgetful outing while leading the Baggy Greens on Day 5 of the 4th and final Test match   at The Gabba, Brisbane. Leading the formidable Australian side in the high-profile Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Paine's captaincy was under the scanner and the  wicketkeeper-batsman got involved in a verbal spat with  Ravichandran Ashwin in the 3rd Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).  Tasked to restrict the depleted Indian side for a paltry total on Day 5 of the series decider at The Gabba, the Paine-led side remained under the pump thanks to some outstanding batting from youngsters Shubman Gill, Rushabh Pant, and seasoned campaigner Cheteshwar Pujara. Riding on Pant's match-winning 89* on the final day of the Brisbane Test, supported by many including a cameo by Washington Sundar,  Ajinkya Rahane-led Team India defeated the mighty Aussies by three wickets and the visitors also clinched the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a 2-1 margin.  As Team India pulled off a record run-chase in a thrilling series decider on Tuesday, Australian skipper Paine was jeered by the Brisbane crowd at The Gabba. When the Australian skipper walked in to reflect on the series defeat at the hands of the Virat Kohli-less side, Paine was booed by the fans that opted to stay at the stadium after Australia's devastating loss.

 


The score card reads : India 329 for 7 (Gill 91, Pant 89*, Pujara 56, Cummins 4-55) and 336 beat Australia 369 and 294 by three wickets – it may not reflect the real tension and drama, especially on day 5 and close hours at Gabba. Punctuating the end was Rishabh Pant,  who offered chances, rode his luck, but also played many authentic shots.  In all, he remained supreme confident with his approach and in herding his team mates towards that victory.  It was an  expertly paced unbeaten 89 that helped shatter a 32-year streak of Australia not losing at this ground and sealed for India a 2-1 series win with three wickets in hand. Pant's dashing best came during the last hour of play, after a series of partnerships had taken India to within 63 runs of victory at which point they lost Mayank Agarwal. The burden of either pushing for a win or shutting the gates fell on Pant and debutant Washington Sundar.  

Sundar took on Pat Cummins, who had become the singular threat to India's ambitions as the rest of the bowling tired out. Sundar got his first boundary against Cummins, a neat check-punch past mid-off,  astonishingly hooked him for a six and the very next ball had an edge flying over the slips for another 4.   Then Rishab Pant  walked across his stumps to ramp Lyon  fine. A boisterous sweep to the deep midwicket fence came next ball, a crack in the pitch turned Lyon's offbreak into a gigantic legbreak that was too much for Tim Paine, and that 15-run over took India within 24 runs of victory with six overs left.  To bring in some chaos,  Sundar reverse-swept Lyon onto his own stumps, and hope sprung when first-innings batting hero Shardul Thakur miscued a slog to midwicket.  Meantime, Pant  fell on his backside for a pulled boundary, survived a splice to sweeper cover as he looked to finish with a six, and managed to cross over when Thakur's slog was still in the air. Josh Hazlewood had two balls at him, and an injured Navdeep Saini at the other end. He fired a full one down the leg side that Pant looked to sweep, one-handed, and missed. Pant was indignant at not being awarded a wide for it but was composed enough next ball to reach out and pat a tired attempted yorker past the bowler for the win.

In the morning  Shubman Gill did a Gavaskar in scoring a 91 and  Cheteshwar Pujara showed his body – was struck so many times on body and on head but ended up making a very slow 50 but more importantly kept tied one end, which in final stages provided that platform for a great win. 

Well done Team India, as Sachin tweeted, India found different heroes in every Session and despite losing a full team due to injuries, still India managed to win 2 matches after that disastrous 36 all out.

 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19.1.2021
  

Friday, January 1, 2021

Cyclone Nivar brings rains to Chennai - floods washed through Mars 4 billion years ago !!

It is raining heavily now ! in Chennai and in social media messages of an impending cyclone and what one should do, including stocking of food is ripe ! ~ remember in my school days, in 1976, there was a cyclone that ravaged the city and cine stars collected fund from commoners for relief work at Kotturpuram. In a decade and half, we have seen, Bob05, Fanoos, Nisha, Jal,  Thane, Nilam,  Madi, Roanu, Kyant, Nada,  Vardah, Ockhi,  Gaja … as Nivar is threatening now.

Many a times, during November, there would be talks of Cyclone too – but they would not make a landfall in Chennai but eventually move towards coastal Andhra Pradesh crossing at Nellore, Ongloe, Masulipatnam, Kakinada, Vizag or move farther towards Orissa, West Bengal.



The low pressure area over the south Bay of Bengal has concentrated into a depression and lay over Southwest Bay of Bengal at about 9.5°N and 84.2°E at about 560km south-southeast of Puducherry and 590 km south-southeast of Chennai at about 08:30 IST of 23.11.2020. It is very likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm during next 24 hours. It is very likely to move northwestwards, intensify further into severe cyclonic storm and cross Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram as a severe cyclonic storm with wind speed of 100 kmph-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph around 25th November 2020 afternoon.  ~ reads the report of Indian Meteorological Department

 “It is very likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm during next 12 hours and into a severe cyclonic storm during subsequent 24 hours. It is very likely to move northwestwards and cross Tamil Nadu and Ousucherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram around Puducherry during November 25 evening as a severe cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph,” IMD says. Chennai and surrounding areas started receiving rain from Monday night. Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami today  announced suspension of intra and inter-district bus transport in Pudukkottai, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Cuddalore, Villupuram, Chengalpet and Tiruvallur districts from  November 24. The announcement comes into effect from 1pm (on Tuesday) onwards until further orders. Six teams of NDRF would camp in Cuddalore and two teams in Chennai with adequate machinery, the chief minister said in a statement.

Cyclones, floods are not new to humanity and not to the Universe !  -  Floods of unimaginable magnitude washed through Gale Crater on Mars around 4 billion years ago, raising the possibility life once existed on the Red Planet. Researchers from Jackson State University, Cornell University and the University of Hawaii worked with NASA to examine sediment data captured by the Curiosity Rover. Dubbed a 'raging megaflood' by scientists, it was likely caused by an asteroid or comet hitting the planet, heating and unleashing ice stored on the Martian surface. Water as much as 78ft deep raged across the crater at 32 feet per second, leaving behind gigantic ripples that are tell-tale structures familiar to scientists on Earth.

On Earth where water is found 'there is life', according to co-author Alberto G. Fairen, and on Mars four billion years ago microbial life may have developed, he said.  The close up image of rocks on Mars show changes in the bed interval including rounded coarse sand and pebble fragments suggesting water once flowed through the area.  The ripples created by flooding - also known as antidunes - are up to 30ft high and spread about 450ft apart, according to Ezat Heydari, co-author. As is the case on Earth, geological features including the work of water and wind have been frozen in time on Mars for about four billion years - they convey processes that shaped the surface of both planets in the distant past.  

In one instance that water entered Gale Crater, and when combined with water coming down from Mount Sharp in Gale Crater, produced gigantic flash floods. The antidunes seen in data from NASA Curiosity are identical to the features formed by melting ice on Earth about two million years ago, the researcher said. The water vapour and gases combined to produce a short warm and wet period that could have resulted in the development of life, researchers claim.  'The warm and wet climate persisted even after the flooding ended, but its duration cannot be determined by our study,' the team wrote in their paper. The condensation from the heat generated by the impact likely formed clouds of water vapour which created torrential rain - possibly across the planet.  An earlier study, also using data from Curiosity, revealed evidence of storms that filled lakes and rivers with rainfall on the planet - about four billion years ago. The findings have been published in the journal Scientific Reports. 

Pray that Cyclone Nivar gives rain and passes without causing harm to people and property, already under the stress of Covid 19. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23.11.2020. 

Tanker vessel hijacked in UK waters near Southampton ??

The Andromeda Galaxy, is a barred spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years (770 kiloparsecs) from Earth and the nearest major galaxy to the Milky Way.  The galaxy's name stems from the area of Earth's sky in which it appears, the constellation of Andromeda, which itself is named after the Ethiopian (or Phoenician) princess who was the wife of Perseus in Greek mythology.  The number of stars contained in the Andromeda Galaxy is estimated at one trillion (1×1012), or roughly twice the number estimated for the Milky Way.  The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are expected to collide in around 4.5 billion years,  merging to form a giant elliptical galaxy ! 



The first U.S. airplane hijacking occurred in 1961. The number of such incidents, also known as skyjackings or air piracies, grew during the 1960s, with 40 attempts made in 1969. Many of the early hijacking incidents involved persons seeking to divert airplanes to Cuba, where they could gain Asylum.  The seizure of a commercial vehicle—airplane, ship, or truck—by force or threat of force is known as hijacking.

Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence by ship or boat-borne attackers upon another ship or a coastal area, typically with the goal of stealing cargo and other valuable items or properties. Those who engage in acts of piracy are called pirates, while dedicated ships that are used by them are called pirate ships. The earliest documented instances of piracy were in the 14th century BC, when the Sea Peoples, a group of ocean raiders, attacked the ships of the Aegean and Mediterranean civilizations.  Hijacking is the modern term for "piracy."   The word gained popular currency during Prohibition (1920–33), when bootleggers commandeered truckloads of liquor from each other, and reappeared when political activists began to seize commercial airplanes in the 1960s. 

The Achille Lauro hijacking happened on October 7, 1985, when the Italian cruise ship was hijacked by four men representing the Palestine Liberation Front off the coast of Egypt, as she was sailing from Alexandria to Ashdod, Israel. A 69-year-old Jewish American man in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer, was murdered by the hijackers and thrown overboard. The hijacking sparked the "Sigonella Crisis". Upon learning of the hijacking and that there were Americans on board, members of the Reagan administration in Washington, D.C., in a time zone seven hours behind Egypt's, moved to take decisive action.  The ship then headed back towards Port Said, and after two days of negotiations, the hijackers agreed to abandon the liner in exchange for safe conduct and were flown towards Tunisia aboard an Egyptian commercial airliner. This plane, however, was intercepted by US fighter aircraft and directed to land in Sicily, where the hijackers were to be tried for murder, but could not be extradited. The four terrorists were sentenced to prison terms by the Italian courts, while the operation's mastermind, who had not taken part in the actual hijacking, was given passage to Yugoslavia and escaped.

A major incident is today underway after a group of stowaways were discovered hidden aboard an oil tanker as it headed into Southampton, according to reports. Police are currently dealing with the 'security incident', which reportedly involves a group of 'at least' seven stowaways, on a Libyan-registered oil tanker near to the Isle of Wight. A mayday call was made at around 9am today. Crew members are reportedly sheltering in a safe room on the vessel, named the 'Nave Andromeda'. However lawyers representing the vessel's owners, which had come from Nigeria, today told the BBC the incident was '100 per cent not a hijacking'.

The crude oil tanker is currently to the south of Bembridge. Police have set up a five mile exclusion zone.  Home Secretary Priti Patel is being kept up-to-date on the incident, according to Sky News. Officers and coastguard crews were called after a group of stowaways were reportedly discovered on a Libyan-registered ship as it made its way to Southampton.     The Libyan-registered ship named ‘ Nave Andromeda’  is a crude oil tanker and was   seen taking a ziz-zag type path near to the Isle of Wight. The vessel was due to be heading to Southampton this morning.  According to reports, a UK coastguard helicopter could be  seen circling the tanker, as seen on Flight Tracker, while the 748-foot vessel has made a number of zig-zags in the area, according to Marine Traffic.

A restriction zone of five nautical miles is now in place around the vessel, while a coastguard helicopter is also circling the ship, according to Sky News. A spokeswoman for Associated British Ports (ABP), which runs Southampton port, said they had not had any contact with the vessel and they had no further comment. The Coastguard said: 'We are currently assisting Hampshire Constabulary with an incident on board a vessel situated off the Isle of Wight. 'The search and rescue helicopters from Lee on Solent and Lydd are in attendance.' The incident will likely lead to involvement from the Royal Navy and the Special Boat Service.  

The Nave Andromeda was built in 2011 and weighs 42,338 tonnes. It was last known to be docked in Lagos, Nigeria on October 6. It was scheduled to arrive at Southampton at 10.30am on 25.10.2020. Speaking about the incident to Sky News today, Conservative MP for the Isle of Wight, Bob Seely, said marine counter-terrorism forces will likely be called in, while a COBR meeting is likely to be held, or has been already. He said: 'They will be looking at the ship's registration, who's on it, what it is carrying, how many stowaways there are, can they get in contact with the crew if they can't get in contact with the skipper.'  He said authorities are also likely to be planning how to get onto the ship.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25.10.2020 @10.43 pm. 

Red Rose .... ... and wars for England throne !!

They are beautiful .. .. though there could be hundreds of variants, most common is a ‘Red Rose’ but can one imagine them being associated with wars and brutal killings !!   A rose is a woody perennial flowering plant of the genus Rosa, in the family Rosaceae, or the flower it bears.There are over three hundred species and tens of thousands of cultivars.  They form a group of plants that can be erect shrubs, climbing, or trailing, with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles. Flowers vary in size and shape and are usually large and showy, in colours ranging from white through yellows and reds. 



Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York was killed this day 560 years ago !   He inherited vast estates and served in various offices of state in Ireland, France, and England, a country he ultimately governed as Lord Protector during the madness of King Henry VI. His conflicts with Henry's wife, Margaret of Anjou, and other members of Henry's court, as well as his competing claim to the throne, were a leading factor in the political upheaval of mid-fifteenth-century England, and a major cause of the Wars of the Roses. 



The Red Rose of Lancaster was the heraldic badge adopted by the royal House of Lancaster in the 14th century. In modern times it symbolises the county of Lancashire. The exact species or cultivar which it represents is thought to be Rosa gallica officinalis. The red rose was first adopted as a heraldic badge by John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster  third surviving son of King Edward III of England and father of King Henry IV, the first Lancastrian king, who seized the throne from his first cousin King Richard II. John of Gaunt's younger brother Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, adopted the White rose of York as his heraldic badge. Their respective descendants fought for control of the throne of England during several decades of civil warfare, which became known as the Wars of the Roses, after the badges of the two competing cadet royal houses.  

The Wars of the Roses were a series of English civil wars for control of the throne of England fought between supporters of two rival cadet branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster, represented by a red rose, and the House of York, represented by a white rose. Eventually, the wars eliminated the male lines of both families. The conflict lasted through many sporadic episodes between 1455 and 1487, but there was related fighting before and after this period between the parties. The power struggle ignited around social and financial troubles following the Hundred Years' War. With Richard of York's death in 1460, the claim transferred to his heir, Edward. After a Lancastrian counterattack in 1461, Edward claimed the throne, and the last serious Lancastrian resistance ended at the decisive Battle of Towton. Edward was thus unopposed as the first Yorkist king of England, as Edward IV. Resistance smouldered in the North of England until 1464, but the early part of his reign remained relatively peaceful.

A new phase of the wars broke out in 1469 after the Earl of Warwick, the most powerful noble in the country, withdrew his support for Edward and threw it behind the Lancastrian cause. Fortunes changed many times as the Yorkist and Lancastrian forces exchanged victories throughout 1469–70 (and Edward was even captured for a time in 1469).  The accession of Richard III occurred under a cloud of controversy, and shortly after assuming the throne, the wars sparked anew with Buckingham's rebellion, as many die-hard Yorkists abandoned Richard to join Lancastrians.   

Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York  arrived at York's stronghold of Sandal Castle on 21 December to find the situation bad and getting worse. Forces loyal to Henry controlled the city of York, and nearby Pontefract Castle was also in hostile hands. The Lancastrian armies were commanded by some of York's implacable enemies such as Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland and John Clifford, whose fathers had been killed at the Battle of Saint Albans, and included several northern lords who were jealous of York's and Salisbury's wealth and influence in the North. On 30 December, York and his forces sortied from Sandal Castle.   York was killed in the battle. The precise nature of his end was variously reported; he was either unhorsed, wounded and overcome fighting to the death or captured, given a mocking crown of bulrushes and then beheaded. 

Totally unrelated is the picture at the start  of Rose, an Australian actress. Mary Rose Byrne made her screen debut in the film Dallas Doll (1994),  and continued to act in Australian film and television throughout the 1990s. She obtained her first leading film role in The Goddess of 1967 (2000), which brought her the Volpi Cup for Best Actress,  and made the transition to Hollywood in the small role of Dormé in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002), followed by larger parts in Troy (2004), 28 Weeks Later (2007), and Knowing (2009). 

Interesting !

 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30.12.2020

  

Novavax vaccine trials successful in monkeys !

                                        2020 has kept humans worrying all along .. .. now the count of Corona globally is : 5,56,24,562.

The dynamics in India has been changing.  India may have seen its peak in terms of Covid-19 cases in September, with the graph resolutely pointing downwards since then, but its capital city has not been able to rest easy. That is because Delhi, after already dealing with two spikes in new cases in June and September, has in November seen its worst figures yet. On November 19, the city recorded 7,546 new cases with 98 deaths, taking the total toll to 8,041. The highest number of cases had been reported on November 11 with around 8,593 cases. That week, the city recorded an average 7,000 fresh cases daily. On November 18, Delhi recorded 131 deaths, the highest so far because of the virus.  .. .. down South, Kerala is also reporting high number of cases, after the initial hype of successful control.

People react differently.  A week or so ago,  German police fired water cannon during an anti-lockdown rally in Frankfurt and eventually broke up the gathering as rules like wearing masks and socially distancing were not observed.  In Australia,  South Australia began a six-day lockdown with strictest restrictions in place. State Premier Steven Marshall said that lockdown is necessary to prevent the virus from spreading. The lockdown imposed by South Australia, is being considered as one of the strictest lockdowns as only one person from a household will be allowed to leave home each day and that too for essential reasons. … while Germany has 27,82,114 – the total number of people affected in Australia is 9,27,990.

India entered nineties – now the total is 90,95,806 though the live cases are much lower.  Maharashtra continues to be on top with 1774455; followed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

The World now awaits vaccines with bated breathe. Trial successes from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. have buoyed hopes that a Covid-19 vaccine is coming soon. But much of the world, outside of rich nations like the U.S., is counting on another company’s shot to escape the crisis. Findings from the final stage of AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine studies are due to be released shortly, and the stakes for lower- and middle-income nations are immense. The shot developed with the University of Oxford accounts for more than 40% of the supplies going to those countries, based on deals tracked by London-based research firm Airfinity Ltd.  Astra vaccine costs a fraction of the price set by Pfizer and will be manufactured in multiple countries, from India to Brazil. It should be easier to deploy far and wide than other shots that need to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures. But if the U.K. partners can’t match the lofty efficacy levels Pfizer and Moderna delivered or roll out their inoculation quickly, the pandemic might continue spreading death and disease in countries relying on it.

The movie ‘Dasavatharam’ was all about a bio-synthetic virus developed in US lab for experimentation.  The extremely hazardous, superfast replicating virus contained in a vial would be consumed by a lab-monkey, ‘Anu’ which would bleed to death and Scientists would contain the spread with  Sodium Chloride (NaCl) – experimentation for the benefit of humans on a ‘monkey’.  Monkey is a common name that may refer to groups or species of mammals, in part, the simians of infraorder Simiiformes. The term is applied descriptively to groups of primates, such as families of New World monkeys and Old World monkeys. Many monkey species are tree-dwelling (arboreal), although there are species that live primarily on the ground, such as baboons.    The rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) is a species of Old World monkey. It is listed as least concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and lives  close to human settlements.


Not many would have read fully of - Novavax Inc stating a week or so ago, that  it is on track to begin a delayed US-based late-stage study of its experimental coronavirus vaccine later this month. The company also said the vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, had gained the US Food and Drug Administration's "fast-track" status and that expected data from the trial could support US authorization and approval. Novavax, which is testing the drug in a late-stage study in the UK, last month postponed the start of the U.S. trial by roughly a month, due to delays in scaling up the manufacturing process.  Novavax, Inc. is an American vaccine development company headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, with additional facilities in Rockville, Maryland and Uppsala, Sweden.  

Now comes the encouraging news that a  company in the global race to produce a Covid-19 vaccine has raised hopes that its jab could stop humans spreading the virus to each other following successful trials in monkeys. Novavax told The Mail on Sunday that its vaccine 'prevented infection' between rhesus macaque monkeys in testing. The US pharmaceuticals firm is now going to study whether the vaccine could have the same effect in the human population – potentially helping to bring the pandemic to an end.  'If it happens in humans, that would be the dream scenario for a vaccine,' said Dr Gregory Glenn, president of research and development at Novavax.

Scientists last night described the breakthrough as 'exciting' but urged caution, warning of significant differences between the way viruses work in trials on monkeys and in human populations. The race to produce the earliest and most effective vaccine is reaching fever pitch, with a major announcement on trials by Britain's AstraZeneca and Oxford University expected within days. The promising results so far from US giants Pfizer and Moderna show their jabs should protect people from falling ill – but there is insufficient data on whether they stop the spread of Covid to others.  If asymptomatic people who have received a vaccine are still able to infect others, the virus could keep spreading. 

After a successful trial on mice, Novavax gave a dozen rhesus macaque monkeys two doses of its vaccine of varying strengths three weeks apart before infecting them with Covid. The virus did not make most of the animals sick as it did not appear in their noses. It only replicated in the lungs of one monkey, which received the lowest dose of the vaccine. That monkey fought off the infection in four days. Dr Glenn said the antibodies created by the vaccine had been 'so strong', they had created 'sterile immunity' – preventing the virus moving from the monkey's lungs to its nose and stopping the animals spreading Covid. The US pharmaceuticals firm is now going to study whether the vaccine could have the same effect in the human population. Monkeys are commonly used in US vaccine and drug studies and typically represent the last step before human clinical trials.  

The Novavax vaccine is being trialled in humans across the UK. The company initially began testing 9,000 people – including broadcaster Adrian Chiles, who has written about finding the experience 'weirdly fulfilling' – and is expanding the late-stage trial to 15,000 people. Initial results are expected early next year or potentially sooner. Danny Altmann, a professor of immunology at Imperial College London, said the data on Novavax's trial was keenly awaited by scientists. He added: 'Human life is much more variable than a macaque monkey study in a lab, because we're all being infected with different doses all the time, whether you're standing in the supermarket queue or the pub. 'You don't know how it's going to play out in real life, but it's pretty exciting.'

Maryland-based Novavax, which has received funding from Microsoft founder Bill Gates' foundation and the US Government, was founded in 1987 and is relatively small compared to its vaccine rivals. It has never before brought a vaccine to market.  The UK has committed to 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine, which will be produced at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies in County Durham.

Interesting ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

22.11.2020.

Basking in glory .. Indian win at Melbourne ..

What a day for Indian Cricket fans .. .. only recently they were distraught – bowled out for a paltry 36 .. .. and today they have bounced back.

India first played at Melbourne way back in Jan 1948 – it was a ‘8balls per over’ Six day Test which Australia won by a huge margin of 233 runs.  Donald Bradman scored a century (132) in the first innings as Australia was all out for 394.  Dattu Phadkar had the honour of claiming Bradman, while Lala Amarnath and Vinoo Mankad took 4 apiece.   Lala Amarnath captained the side.  Indians made 291 with NH Mankad making a century (116), Phadkar remained unbeaten on 55. In the second Aussies declared at 255/4 wth AR Morris and Donald Bradman making unbeaten centuries and sharing an unbroken  partnership of 223 [Aussies were 32/4 at one stage].  Chasing a target of 359 Indians buckled and were shot out for 125.  Now comes the news that the Third Test will be at Sydney only !   

The threat of a COVID-19 outbreak in Greater Sydney will consume health authorities in the coming days, as the number of mystery cases outside the northern beaches multiplies and testing rates nosedive.  Three new unlinked cases have been detected in Greater Sydney: one in the inner west, one in northern Sydney and another in a Wollongong resident who had visited the Sydney CBD. The new infections bring the number of mystery cases outside the  northern beaches to seven, flaming fears that the virus could again be spreading by stealth in pockets of the city.  NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said there "will be relief" for people in the lower northern beaches on January 3, foreshadowing an announcement on January 2.

Back to the Cricket arena at Melbourne – ‘defeat is the strongest motivator’ !, while victory takes off that finest edge that divides the teams. The sting of loss hones the concentration like nothing else. Complacency has no cure, and no matter what they say, to have dismissed an opponent for 36 runs engenders whatever tiny percentage of complacency it is that makes the difference.

This morning, India pulled off one of their greatest Test wins, chasing down Australia’s fourth-innings target of 70 to secure victory by eight wickets at the MCG.  After being skittled for a record-low of 36 in Adelaide 10 days ago, without star captain Virat Kohli,  and injuries to key bowlers, India levelled the series at one-all to become the first touring side to win consecutive Boxing Day Tests in Melbourne since England in 1982 and 1986.

This morning, stayed away from social media apprehending too many memes of comparisons back to that ‘36’ as India suffered some anxious moments in the tiny chase, falling to 19-2, but debutant opener Shubman Gill (35 not out) and stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane (27 not out) guided them home in the 16th over.   A few authentic boundaries by Shubman Gill, and solid performance by Rahane, took them home comfortably. Led superbly by Rahane, who made a courageous 112 in the first innings, India controlled the contest from day one when they rolled Australia for 195. While Rahane’s 12th Test century – which Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar hailed as one of the most important innings in the country’s history – was vital, it was the bowlers who set the game up.  India could have slumped when veteran quick Umesh Yadav hobbled off with a lower-leg injury, shortly after dismissing out-of-form opener Joe Burns for four to follow the Australian’s first-innings duck.  But Jasprit Bumrah and pace debutant Mohammed Siraj stepped up with spinners Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to never relent against the brittle Australian top-order. The load was shared between the front-line attack in both innings, with Bumrah (six wickets), Ashwin (five) and Siraj (five) dominating.

The scorecard reflects the grand performance :  India 326 (Rahane 112, Jadeja 57, Lyon 3-72, Starc 3-78) and 70 for 2 beat Australia 195 (Bumrah 4-56) and 200 (Green 45, Siraj 3-37) by eight wickets

Australia have been fined 40% of their match fee and docked four World Test Championship points for maintaining a slow over-rate against India in the Boxing Day Test at MCG. David Boon, the match referee, imposed the sanction after Australia were ruled to be two overs short of the target after time allowances were taken into consideration.  Ajinkya Rahane, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravi Ashwin, are world class in any conditions, and debutant Mohammed Siraj was able to cover not only for the absent Mohammed Shami but, in Australia’s second innings, also for the injured Umesh Yadav. India needed only three bowlers to dismiss Australia for 200 on a good pitch; the thrashing in Melbourne was even more comprehensive than it looked- and another debutant played some delicious shots.

                   Captain Tim Paine pleaded guilty to a charge that the Australians were two overs behind the rate once allowances had been taken into account. Australian players have been fined 40 per cent of their respective match fees and the Aussies have been docked four points in the World Test Championship.  Teams are penalised 20 per cent of their match fee and two WTC points for every over they are deemed to be short.  The four-point deduction is unlikely to have a huge impact on Australia's hopes of making the WTC final given they and India are well ahead in the standings.  The ICC said that on-field umpires Bruce Oxenford and Paul Reiffel, third umpire Paul Wilson and fourth umpire Gerard Abood, levelled the charge, with match referee David Boon imposing the sanction on his 60th birthday.

Australia's sports media has reacted coldly to its cricket side's second consecutive Boxing Day Test loss to India.  Cricket legend Shane Warne has outlined two major changes for the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar series after Australia was defeated by India in the Boxing Day clash. Joe Burns’ spot in the Australian side is under severe pressure after his early exit on day three, while Shane Warne believes there should also be change in the middle order.  

Of our two wins at Melbourne, the latest one came in Feb 1981 – a Test which was almost sparred by ‘smoke was coming out of my ears and I heard nothing’ comment of Sunil Gavaskar.   In Test No. 895, Indians led by Gavaskar, made 237 with a brilliant 114 by Gundappa Vishwanath.  Dennis  Lillee scalped 4,  Len Pascoe took 3.  Aussies made a massive 416.  India had the best opening partnership of 165 when Gavaskar was adjudged LBW to Lillee when he had nicked it on to his pads.  Chauhan went on to make 85 and Indians made 324 – a target of 143 looked simple and Kapil was not fit to bowl with a strained thigh muscle

But in the dramatic last session Aussie lost 3 wickets for 24.  Ghavri removed Jack Dyson; Wood was out to Doshi and Greg Chappen was out bowled by Ghavri for a first ball duck.   The next morning Kapil dev fired them out with figures of 5 for 28 bundling them out for 83 – one of the great movements in Indian Cricket. The first win in Dec 1977/ Jan 1978 was different.  It was a great series in which all the 5 matches produced results.  Indians were led by Bishan Singh Bedi; Australians brought back Bobby Simpson as some key players had joined Kerry Packer and were unavailable for National side.  Aussies secured an early 2-0 lead and the 3rd Test (Test No. 812) was at Melbourne.  Jeff Thomson was at his furious best and Indians straightaway were off to the worst imaginable start losing both the openers without a single run on board.    Mohinder, Vishwanath, Vengsarkar and Ashok Mankad took the score to 256.  Craig Serjeant made 85, while rest Dyson, Coiser, Ogilvie, Simson, Toohey, Rixon went out cheaply and were bowled out for 213.  Chandrasekhar took 6 for 52.      In the second India made an imposing 343 with Gavaskar making 118.  Set an improbable 387, Aussies mustered only 164 giving Indians their first win – a big one at that.  Chandra was the hero with another identical 6 for 52.   The accomplishment of the first win in 12 tests in Australian soil was outrightly due to Chandra’s magical figures of 12 for 104 in the match.

Those days, an half hour capsule called ‘highlights’ would be telecast few days after the match in the night time and we clamoured seeing the Indians performance on TV – when ‘the slow-motion’ of the action – delivery, catch, run out etc., caught the attention of everybody and were the  most talked about events.  Only few households had TV sets and people would crowd in those houses to watch those half an hour capsules………

Some strange statistics - 1887 - was when a visiting team's spinners last averaged better in Australia. India's spinners figures for this series so far read 13 wickets at an average of 16.92…. and Ravichandran Ashwin stands tall

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
29.12.2020. 

Boxing Day Test ... Ashwin snares Smith for a duck !!

Today is 26.12 .. .. like the (forgotten) tradition of Pongal Test (once upon a time) at Chepauk, Melbourne hosts ‘Boxing Day’ test – Australians are batting first !



Despite Mike Tyson's son Miguel Leon not opting for a career in boxing, it appears that the Tyson fighting gene is rife as he displayed some quick hands on the pads.  In a recent Instagram post, Tyson uploaded a pad session of his son which has received an abundance of appreciation from boxing fans.  "He just started. Not trying to box just trying to stay fit. Morning workouts with the Baddest Dad on the Planet," Iron Mike captioned the video. The post received a wealth of support, with many fans claiming that he should definitely turn to professional fighting.

World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has made a substantial donation to help fund amateur boxing in Britain - saying he hopes "we have not lost the next generation" of fighters. Some clubs have closed and boxing was not included on a list of sports that received a £300m bailout in November. Briton Joshua, 31, gave a six-figure sum to the amateur boxing federations of England, Wales and Scotland. "Without grassroots boxing, there is no Anthony Joshua," he said. "The doors to these gyms are always open to any kid from any background," Joshua, who turned professional after winning Olympic gold at London 2012, told BBC.   

Boxing Day tests at Melbourne are a tradition – on this day in 1975, Lawrence Rowe was out for a duck .. .. ..and today Ashwin snared Steve Smith for a duck.

Could recall that on this day in 2003, Virender Sehwag set Australia ablaze with a brilliant knock of   195 on that first day.  He redefined the way you went about it at the top of the order.  He  hit 25 fours and five sixes and struck the ball so hard at times.

By change of events – now Ashwin is back to his prime place as ‘numero Uno’ spinner in Indian team.  As Gavaskar wrote, if he had not performed so well in the 1st, he would have been victimized !! – today he in the first session he took 2 wickets, with Smith (0) being one among that.   Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj made their debuts.

Less than two months ago Melbourne was yet to come out of its 112-day lockdown, although it was in its final stages. For that reason, even a month ago there seemed about as much chance of the Boxing Day Test being played at the MCG as there was of Field Marshal Mark McGowan of the Western Australia brigade softening a border. Cricket Australia had been making and re-making plans for alternate locations for the last Test match of the year. Could two Tests be played in Sydney as had happened several times before the WACA ground became a Test venue?   With Queensland’s politicians again making ad hoc exclusions to travellers, the most delicious solution came late last week when it was suggested that the Gabba would lose its Test as no travellers were allowed into the Sunshine State, including media and production staff. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, but apparently there are some state premiers with a sweet tooth.

The Melbourne Test starting on the 26th is a tradition of the modern kind. The original Boxing Day Test was in 1950 and followed up in 1952 but only held once in the 1960s, twice in the 1970s and then without a break since the New Zealand Test in 1980. Christmas cricket in Melbourne post-World War II was reserved mostly for the Victoria v NSW Sheffield Shield game, which ran either side of yule. Christmas Day was a rest day and, when possible, in the age of airlines some NSW players took a flight home at their own expense to spend the day with family.

When we played here last in 2018 – India won by 137 runs.  India 7 for 443 dec (Pujara 106, Kohli 82, Agarwal 76, Rohit 63*) and 8 for 106 dec (Cummins 6-27) beat Australia 151 (Bumrah 6-33) and 261 (Cummins 63)  

Boxing Day Test matches are cricket matches that are typically held on December 26, a day after Christmas, in Commonwealth nations Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand. But, the most popular one takes place at Australia’s iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)… .. ‘Boxing Day’ does not connote ‘boxing’ sports! .. ..  the  date got the name because alms boxes were traditionally opened on the day, others state that servants were given presents on December 26 for working on Christmas Day.  It's also a public bank holiday in the UK. When 26 December is a Saturday, the Boxing Day bank holiday is moved to the next Monday. If 26 December falls on a Sunday, then the holiday is the following Tuesday.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26.12.2020

  

retirement and politics of Pakistani Cricket

At  Adelaide, the Test is in a far different position than what Cricket Australia or any other Australian Cricketer thought of.  The scorecard reads :  India 244 (Kohli 74, Starc 4-53) and 9 for 1 lead Australia 191 (Paine 73*, Ashwin 4-55, Umesh 3-40) by 62 runs.  In the day-night Test first day saw 7 wickets fall and in the 2nd 15 tumbled.  It was an object lesson for Indian selectors too, who had sidelined Ravichandran Ashwin, who rightfully deserves places as numero uno spinner of their attack. 

Away from Indian Cricket, this post is on a retirement.  The first price of popularity is that one is hounded quite often of ‘retirement’……… the great genius writer Sujatha in his heydays was confronted in a student’s forum with the Q  : Sir, when will you stop writing ? Pat came the reply – ‘in the night ~ when I feel too sleepy’………… ~ one need not be guided by the Q and can have one’s own way !! The Genius Little Master  SAchin Tendulkar was haunted with the Q of his retirement .. .. and so many critics were speaking of the retirement of the mercurial Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Pak Cricket was rocked – or was it that some of their important figures knew it well before ? -  On 1 November 2011, two of their pace bowlers  were convicted at Southwark Crown Court, along with another premier leftarm pacer  who had previously pleaded guilty, of conspiracy to cheat at gambling and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments.  The man was sentenced to 6 months in Feltham Young Offenders Institution, whilst the two others  were sentenced to 30 months and 12 months in prison respectively. The pace bowler  was later transferred to Portland Young Offenders Institute in Dorset, from which he was released on 1 February 2012, having served half of his six-month sentence.

Just like West Indies, in Pakistan too, fast bowlers come out of nowhere.  Sometimes they get recognised even before they play their league, if some of the power that be spots the ‘speed gift’ – one recent example was  the  fast-tracking of Mohammad  Hasnain to the top echelons of cricket. He was a club cricketer at 12, a Pakistan Under-19 player at 17, a Pakistan Super League pacer at 18 and a World Cupper at 19. The big break into the squad of 15 for England was on the back of the much-publicised 151 kph thunderbolt he bowled for Quetta Gladiators in the PSL.  Pakistan, historically, has a weakness for speed demons. They make them jump the queue, put them on a pedestal. They even vote them into the Prime Minister’s office.

When India toured Pak in 1978 after decades, it was Sarfraz Nawaz and Imran Khan.  Then at Delhi, Sikander Bakht  who had been  included in the team in place of Ehteshamuddin jumped to fame.  Other than legends like Wasim Akram,  Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar – there were many others too, but they faded sooner.  Remember a Paki left armer debuting against India in 1983.  Azeem Hafeez went on to play 18 tests though he had a big challenge, he had two fingers missing on his right (non-bowling) hand.

Now comes the news that Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir has announced his retirement  from International cricket, as confirmed by the PCB. Amir represented Pakistan in 36 Tests, 61 ODIs and 50 T20Is, and recently played in the inaugural Lanka Premier League for runners-up Galle Gladiators.

"Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan spoke with Mohammad Amir this afternoon following reports that the fast bowler had announced his retirement from international cricket. The 28-year-old confirmed to the PCB chief executive that he has no desires or intensions of playing international cricket and as such, he should not be considered for future international matches," a PCB statement said. "This is a personal decision of Mohammad Amir, which the PCB respects, and as such, will not make any further comment on this matter at this stage."



The statement serves as another reminder of the extent to which relations between Amir and the current team management have broken down. It came off the back of an interview he gave to Samaa TV earlier on Thursday, in which Amir claimed he had been "mentally tortured" by the team management, taunted frequently and was being deliberately sidelined by them.  "I am leaving cricket for now because I'm being mentally tortured. I don't think I can bear such torture. I've borne lots of torture from 2010 to 2015, for which I served my time. I've been tortured by being told the PCB invested a lot in me. I'll just say two people invested in me a lot: [former PCB chairman] Najam Sethi and [former Pakistan captain] Shahid Afridi.  Discontent had been simmering for a while before finally coming to a head on Thursday. Amir, who retired from Test cricket last year, had found himself excluded from the PCB's list of central contracts earlier this year, and omitted from Pakistan's 35-man squad to New Zealand last month.

Upon that squad announcement, Amir said on Twitter "only Misbah" could explain why he hadn't been included, before criticising bowling coach Waqar Younis for talking about his workload. That, coupled by Amir's frequent praise of former Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur, at one point saying he would "love to play under Arthur for any side in the world", offered insight into how he viewed his relations with the current coaching staff. That he singled Sethi out for praise in his statement is unlikely to have played too well in front of his successor Ehsan Mani or CEO Wasim Khan, further condemning Amir to international exclusion.

The 28-year old is still widely sought after in T20 leagues around the world, which his complete international retirement should allow more time for.   Bursting onto the international scene in 2009, he played a pivotal part in the 2009 T20 World Cup final against Sri Lanka, dismissing Player of the Tournament Tillakaratne Dilshan in the first over as Pakistan clinched the title. He would go on to take five wickets in the Boxing Day Test later that year, and continued to torment Australia in England in 2010, taking seven wickets at Leeds as Australia were skittled out for a first innings 88, and Pakistan won their first Test against that opposition in 15 years. Five wickets at Lord's against England were next before the spot-fixing scandal erupted.

Following his comeback, he was never quite at that scintillating best, though glimpses of that outrageous talent were obvious from time to time. The spell with the new ball in the 2017 Champions Trophy final may be his most famous, as he removed Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan to set up a romping 180-run win.

The controversies and politics of Pakistan are too deeply mired and cannot be understood perhaps by outsiders.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

18.12.2020 

game of Chess in spotlight !

For a month or so till 10th of November 2020, it was exciting to watch IPL matches – and now we look forward to Indians downunder .. .. various cricketers in the last few weeks have spoken about how difficult it is to stay in Bio-Bubble for long durations. Now Indian cricket team players have also joined the list. Indian cricket team is currently staying in a bio-bubble in Australia where neither they are allowed to mingle around, move outside or dine together. Most of the members of the Indian cricket team were earlier in IPL 2020’s Bio-Bubble for 3 months and from Dubai were directly transported to Bio-Bubble in Sydney.  .. .. the standard Q is not there other Sports – why attach so much of importance to Cricket.]

Something on Chess !  .. .. do you know the first Chess player to receive National honours was -  Anupama Gokhale (born Anupama Abhyankar. She won the Indian Women's Championship five times (1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, and 1997) and the Asian Women's Championship twice (1985 and 1987).  Gokhale was the recipient of the Padma Shri Award in 1986  and the Arjuna Award in 1990. She is the youngest Padma Shri awardee, being only 16 years old when she received it. She is married to Dronacharya Award winner Raghunandan Gokhale, a chess player himself.   

A few months ago, G Akash was confirmed as a Grandmaster by FIDE, the world chess governing body. That the feat didn't cause much of a ripple even in a time starved of sports-news was down partly to chess's niche status, but also because of this: an Indian becoming Grandmaster, while still as prestigious and commendable, was no longer extraordinary or unusual. In Akash, India now had its 66th GM.  It took two decades for India's Grandmaster count to go from 1 (when Viswanathan Anand became the country's first GM, in 1988) to 20. By contrast, there have been 21 new GMs in the last three years, eight of them between ages 10 and 19.  Amongst Indian chess players there are 66 Grandmasters, 125 International Masters, 20 Woman Grandmasters, and 42 Woman International Masters, and a total of 33,028 rated players, as of September 2020 according to FIDE, the International Chess Federation.

Away, in Western World, Chess is finally having a moment in the spotlight thanks to Netflix's hit drama The Queen's Gambit, which sees the fictional prodigy Beth prove players can be sexy and fashionable. But stylish contestants aren't only found on the small screen, with a real-life Woman Grandmaster revealing how she likes to bring a touch of glamour to her matches by wearing trendy dresses and headpieces as well as standout lipstick. By the age of 18, Dorsa Derakhshani, now 22, was a Woman Grandmaster and International Grandmaster, and it the highest-ranking female chess player in Iranian history.



Having taken up chess at the age of two she recently placed third in a national competition in the US, and has also been an International Chess Federation (FIDE) trainer since 2016. She is currently studying a degree in biology at Saint Louis University, Missouri, on a chess scholarship.  However, despite her love for the game, the Iranian student admits the world of chess is even more sexist than the programme suggested - with 'lots of predators' and players treating women as 'inferior', Dorsa told The Daily Telegraph.  In spite of her success, Dora’s been told ‘you can be pretty or you can play chess’, and one of her European coaches even said wearing lipstick would put her at a disadvantage during her game.  Male contestants constantly question her chess scholarship and many get annoyed when she wins.

She confessed: ‘It gets boring that they’re surprised I can beat them, as if I were still a 10-year-old girl. It doesn’t matter how much you prove you’re good as a woman, when you have a bad game they still say, “see, we knew it was going to happen”.  In The Queen's Gambit, which is set in the 1950s and 1960s, viewers witness similar sexism happening to teenage Beth as she visits her first tournament and the male players around her are in disbelief as she storms through her opponents. Beth is also constantly left baffled by the media's decision to highlight her gender rather than her chess-playing prowess. One particular scene sees Beth interviewed by a reporter for Life magazine, and she is asked what it feels like 'to be a girl…among all of those men,'  - before replying that she 'doesn't mind'. But eventually Beth finds respect, knowledge and camaraderie with the men around her.  She is helped by former opponents such as Harry Beltik (played by Harry Melling) and Benny Watts (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) when against Russian players. And even when competing in the country, which is America's fiercest competitor, she is respected by the other players, such as Grandmaster Vasily Borgov (Marcin Dorociński).


In Netflix Chess drama  -  The Queen's Gambit  - Anya Taylor-Joy plays Beth Harmon, a chess prodigy and orphan from Kentucky whose genius is never in doubt, but whose drug and drink addictions mean disaster is constantly stalking her — both on and off the board.  As well as serious themes, the seven-part series offers the escapism of glamorous locations – with tournaments in Las Vegas, Mexico City and Paris – and the delights of the period fashions of the 1950s and 1960s that play such a key role in the storytelling. Based on a 1983 book The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis, the show tells how Beth is brought to live at the Methuen Home for Girls after her mother, a maths professor, kills herself.  At the orphanage, the children are given tranquilliser pills, and Beth, aged eight, becomes hooked on the drug.  She also starts to play chess, taught by the janitor Mr Shaibel — working out how the pieces move herself and visualising strategies on the ceiling while others sleep. At 13, she is adopted by Alma and Allston Wheatley and starts to play in male-dominated tournaments across America, and later the world.

Dorsa Derakhshani is an Iranian chess player representing the United States since September 2017. She was awarded the titles Woman Grandmaster and International Master in 2016.   She played for the Iranian team in the women's division of the Asian Nations Cup in 2012.  The accredited FIDE journalist was a speaker at TedxTalk in Munich, Germany in July 2019.  In Feb 2017,  the Iranian Chess Federation banned Derakhshani from playing for the Iran national team or playing in any tournaments in Iran for "harming national interests", after she played in the 2017 Gibraltar Chess Festival (when she was already a temporary resident of Spain) without wearing a hijab. Her 15-year-old brother Borna, who is a FIDE Master, was also banned for playing Israeli grandmaster Alexander Huzman in the first round of the same tournament.  Following the ban, Derakhshani accepted a place at Saint Louis University to study Biology on a pre-med track, winning a scholarship to play on the Saint Louis University Chess Team.

Interesting ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
21.11.2020.
  

the legend - Diego Maradona, is no more !!

Heard of or remember - Bogdan Ganev Dochev (1935 – 2017) a Bulgarian football referee. He is known for having refereed two matches in the FIFA World Cup  !!

The 1986 FIFA World Cup, the 13th FIFA World Cup, was held in Mexico from 31 May to 29 June 1986. The tournament was the second to feature a 24-team format. With European nations not allowed to host after the previous World Cup in Spain, Colombia had been originally chosen to host the competition by FIFA but, largely due to economic reasons, was not able to do so and officially resigned in 1982. Mexico was selected as the new host in May 1983, thus becoming the first country to host the World Cup more than once. It was won by Argentina (their second title, after winning in 1978). Argentina was captained by the 25-year old Diego Maradona, who played a large part in his team's success.   He carried the Nation’s dream and ensured its happening.



Diego Armando Maradona  is widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time.  He was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award.  Maradona's vision, passing, ball control and dribbling skills were combined with his small stature (1.65 m or 5 ft 5 in), which gave him a low centre of gravity allowing him to manoeuvre better than most other football players; he would often dribble past multiple opposing players on a run.   A precocious talent, Maradona was given the nickname "El Pibe de Oro" ("The Golden Boy"), a name that stuck with him throughout his career.   He preceded Sachin in wearing that jersey with 10  -  was the first player in football history to set the world record transfer fee twice, first when he transferred to Barcelona for a then-world record £5  million, and second, when he transferred to Napoli for another record fee £6.9  million. In his international career with Argentina, he earned 91 caps and scored 34 goals. Maradona played in four FIFA World Cups, including the 1986 World Cup.    

Maradona became the coach of Argentina's national football team in November 2008. He was in charge of the team at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa before leaving at the end of the tournament. He then coached Dubai-based club Al Wasl in the UAE Pro-League for the 2011–12 season. In 2017, Maradona became the coach of Fujairah before leaving at the end of the season.  In May 2018, Maradona was announced as the new chairman of Belarusian club Dynamo Brest  .. .. today he passed away, is the news !!

Besides his sporting glory, his life was ruined by   his addiction to cocaine took hold. In 1991, the year he left the club, he was banned for 15 months for drug violations. In 1994 he was thrown out of the World Cup in America after failing a drugs test, before retiring from football in 1997. In 1999 and 2000 he was taken to hospital suffering heart problems, the second time requiring a respirator to breathe. He has undergone two gastric bypass operations to control his weight and received treatment for alcohol abuse. Three week ago he was admitted to hospital for surgery on a blood clot in his brain, before being discharged to recover at home. It was there that he died on Wednesday. The Argentine news outlet Clarin broke the news on Wednesday afternoon UK time, describing the news of Maradona's passing as having a 'worldwide impact'.  The iconic former Argentinian footballer was driven away from the private Olivos Clinic just before 6pm on November 11 as hundreds of fans of photographers tried to get a glimpse of him.

                   In 2014, Maradona said of his drug use: 'I gave my opponents a big advantage. Do you know the player I could have been if I hadn't taken drugs?' In 1996, Maradona said publicly: 'I was, am and always will be a drug addict.'  Diego Maradona has died from a heart attack just days after turning 60.

Bogdan Ganev Dochev (1935 – 2017) is a Bulgarian football referee. He is known for having refereed two matches in the FIFA World Cup, Italia - Cameroon 1:1 in 1982 and Paraguay - Belgium 2:2 in 1986. Dochev was a linesman in the famous Brazil versus Italy match in 1982 and in the game between England and Argentina in 1986 in which the ‘Hand of God and Goal of the Century’  were scored by Diego Maradona.  On that day 22nd June 1986 – whole World watched Argentina play England  in the quarter-finals of the 1986 FIFA World Cup at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. The game was held four years after the Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom, and was a key part in the already intense Argentina–England football rivalry. It was also a match which included two of the most famous goals in football history, both scored by Diego Maradona. The first goal, after 51 minutes, was to become known as the "Hand of God goal", which Maradona scored by using his hand. His second, four minutes after his first, saw him dribble past five England players, Beardsley, Reid, Butcher, Fenwick, Butcher (again), and finally goalkeeper Peter Shilton, and became known as the "Goal of the Century". Argentina won the game 2–1 and went on to win the 1986 World Cup with a victory over West Germany in the final match.  Maradona won the golden ball for player of the tournament whilst England's goalscorer on the day, Gary Lineker, won the golden boot for being the tournament's top scorer.

The soccer legend is no more !! – bye Diego Maradona

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

25.11.2020