Saturday, June 19, 2021

the legend flying Sikh leaves ever-lasting imprint !

Legends never die !  .. they leave ever-lasting imprints !!


Day 1 of World Test Championship at Southampton was washed out – many of us are following .. .. other than Cricketers, not many sportpersons have garnered Nation’s awe and attention.

One great man, an  Army man, a track legend, and a trailblazer who demanded excellence from all those who represented India, is no more ! — Milkha Singh passed away from COVID-19 complications yesterday.   Missing what could have been India’s greatest track and field medal — a bronze at the Rome Olympics in 1960 by 0.1 seconds — independent India’s first sporting superstar taught a nation entering its teens what a heartbreak felt like.

Captain Milkha Singh (20 November 1929 – 18 June 2021), is the only athlete to win gold in 400 metres race at the Asian Games as well the Commonwealth Games. He also won gold medals in the 1958 and 1962 Asian Games. He represented India in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome and the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. He was awarded the Padma Shri, in recognition of his sporting achievements.

The race   best remembered is his fourth-place finish in the 400 metres final at the 1960 Olympic Games, which he had entered as one of the favourites. Various records were broken in the race, which required a photo-finish and saw American Otis Davis being declared the winner by one-hundredth of a second over German Carl Kaufmann. Singh's fourth-place time of 45.73 seconds was the Indian national record for almost 40 years.

The title ‘Flying Sikh’ was accorded from a totally different quarter. The then Pakistan President, Ayub Khan, had invited Indian athletes for an Indo-Pak sports meet in Lahore.

It was the Asian Games, where Milkha announced his arrival at the international stage. Milkha first ran in 1958 Tokyo games, where he won gold in 200 meters. He ran the race in 21.6 seconds to win the title. Winning the medal was also sweeter as Milkha defeated Pakistan’s Abdul Khaliq in the final. In 1958, when Milkha Singh first participated in the games, Abdul Khaliq was Asia’s fastest runner in the 100-meter event. This was the first time when Milkha and Khaliq met each other and from there on the rivalry between both the athletes started to gain momentum.  Milkha went onto win gold in 400m too.   When the race started,   Milkha and Khaliq were running neck to neck in the first 100m, but it was Milkha who overtook Khaliq in the final stretch to win the gold, but the final decision came after a long delay by the judges. Milkha Singh who spoke about the incident in his book ‘The Race of my life’ said that both of them had eyes on each other and the race was so close that anyone could have won it. Just before the finish line, there was a muscle pull in Milkha’s right leg, but he still ran and fell on the finishing line in pain and at that very moment Khaliq also crossed the finish line. The judges watch the picture from a various angle before declaring Milkha the winner. By doing this Milkha became the second athlete to win gold in 200m. Milkha registered a timing of 21.6 seconds, while Khaliq took 21.7sec to finish the race.

After the thriller at Asian Games, Milkha and Khaliq rivalry got more intense as people from India and Pakistan both enjoyed the clash between both athletes. In 1960 Milkha went onto beat Khaliq in Lahore after which Pakistan’s interim Prime Minister field marshal Ayub Khan gave him the name Flying Sikh’.

Milkha Singh was born on 20 November 1929 at Govindpura, a village 10 km (6.25 mi) from Muzaffargarh city in Punjab Province, British India (now Muzaffargarh District, Pakistan). He was one of 15 siblings, eight of whom died before the Partition of india. He was orphaned during the Partition when his parents, a brother and two sisters were killed by Muslim mobs in the violence that ensued. He witnessed these killings !  Escaping the troubles in Punjab, where killings of Hindus and Sikhs were continuing,  by moving to Delhi.  He joined Indian army and  while stationed at the Electrical Mechanical Engineering Centre in Secunderabad he was introduced to athletics.  

Before Vikas Gowda won the gold in 2014, Milkha was the only Indian male to have won an individual athletics gold medal at those Games. At the 1962 Asian Games, held in Jakarta, Singh won gold in the 400m  and in the 4 x 400m relay.  

All of Singh's medals were donated to the nation. They were displayed at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi and later moved to a sports museum in Patiala,  where a pair of running shoes that he wore in Rome are also displayed.  Milkha Singh was admitted to the intensive care unit at Fortis Hospital in Mohali on 24 May 2021 with pneumonia caused by COVID-19. His condition was, for a while, described as stable, but he died on 18 June 2021 at 11:30 PM IST. Sad that his wife, Nirmal Kaur, had died a few days earlier on 13 June 2021, also due to COVID-19.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th June 2021. 

Friday, June 18, 2021

Is Wedlock a bondage ! ... .. how long can people be bound together ??

Is wedlock a bondage !  ~ how long can people be bound together ?  .. .. .. . Viktoria 'Vika' Pustovitova, 29, and Alexander 'Sasha' Kudlay, 33, from Kharkiv in Ukraine, were bound together for 123 days !  ~  then what happened ? ! ?


நிலத்தினும் பெரிதே; வானினும் உயர்ந்தன்று;

நீரினும் ஆர் அளவின்றே- சாரல்

கருங் கோல் குறிஞ்சிப்பூக் கொண்டு,

பெருந்தேன் இழைக்கும் நாடனொடு நட்பே.


இது குறுந்தொகையில் இருந்து ஒரு பாடல்.    எட்டுத்தொகையில் உள்ள நூல்களுள் ஒன்று குறுந்தொகை.   தலைவனின் அன்பின் ஆழத்தையும் தலைவியின் நம்பிக்கையையும் எடுத்துரைக்கிறது இப்பாடல்.  இதன் அர்த்தம்  " மலைச்சாரலில் வளரக் கூடிய, கரிய கிளைகளையுடைய குறிஞ்சி மரத்தின் பூவிலிருந்து பெருமளவு தேன் உருவாகும் நாட்டைச் சேர்ந்தவனாகிய தலைவனிடம் நான் கொண்ட நட்பானது, இந்தப் புவியைக் காட்டிலும் பெரியது; வானை விடவும் உயர்ந்தது; கடலின் ஆழத்தை விடவும் அளத்தற்கரிய ஆழம் உடையது."  

Indian marriages are grand affairs  ~ in Tamil Nadu, it used to be for 3 or even a week’s affair – all relatives assembling on the grand occasion and being happy ! The Indian society of yore was different – lot was placed on family ties – there were ONLY  arranged marriages – people getting married at young age – mostly to unknown people, not having seen them even a day before the day of marriage, yet got married, led family life, had children and lived happily thereafter……………. Or at least lived together, till they were separated by death ! ~ there were not much of complaints !  

Still, queerly some would ask – how would one marry and immediately have family relations with a total stranger ! – the concept of meeting [not to think of living together] was sort of unheard of (say, 6 decades + ago !!)  

Graeme Craig Smith captained the Proteas efficiently and scored runs at will.   He succeeded Shaun Pollock after the 2003 Cricket World Cup and handed over the captaincy to AB de Villiers after the 2011 Cricket World Cup.  Smith married Irish singer Morgan Deane,  at Cape Town in Aug 2011 and had daughter and a boy.  News reports stated that Smith's wife 'found out he wanted a divorce when he accidentally sent her a text message meant for his lawyer'.  Smith allegedly told his wife that he was keen to make their marriage work; but  he accidentally ! sent her a text saying that he wanted a divorce.  It is thought that the text had been meant for his lawyer and sent in mistake  Couple announced their separation days later  shocking South Africa.  

Nobody wants broken marriages – at the same time once cannot deny the fact that they are on increase due to varied reasons.  You find and hear of them more frequently than ever before.  Understand that divorce in India is not an easy procedure. The entire process of divorce that starts from coping up with emotional ups and downs to contesting for the long awaited divorce decree for several months,  a tough affair to get through. Due to existence of diverse religious faiths in India, the Indian Judiciary has implemented laws separately for couples belonging to different religious beliefs.  Some state that mutual divorce can be filed only when they have lived apart for at least a year.  

Comparatively, people of modern age have choices, can explore, think, talk, discuss before marriage – check of various aspects of compatibility and yet we get to hear too many instances of people not happy, couples separating, unhappy family life and more.  A  generation earlier,  women were less likely to file for divorce even  in an unhappy or abusive marriage. Most were financially dependent on their spouse and feared the social stigma of divorce.  Today women are more likely to have careers of their own, are less financially dependent on their spouse and no longer fear the social stigma of divorce.  The % of couples seeking divorce has been going up – in a Society where still entering Court is looked upon as not so good and where there could be a sizable number living alone, having separated but not formalized in a Court of law.    

Viktoria 'Vika' Pustovitova, 29, and Alexander 'Sasha' Kudlay, 33, from Kharkiv in Ukraine, were bound together for 123 days. But as the chain was severed by giant cutters in Kiev, they couldn't wait to go their separate ways. 'I want to live my own independent life, and grow as an independent person,' announced Vika. She shouted 'Hurray' as they were freed from each other. 'I am finally free,' she said. 

The couple parted when their heavy-duty chain was cut at the same Unity monument in Kiev where they had been locked together.  The couple had planned to marry and were united in bonding but admitted that being so close with no space or privacy in the end cost them their relationship and their wedding plans.  Her now ex Alexander commented after the chain was cut: 'Thank you all for supporting us. 'Look, we are now at a distance from each other. 'We were happy, and we are now happy to have had this experience in our lives.' They were 'proud' of setting a record in Ukraine, they said. In their joint social media, he posted as they came to the end of their up-close-and-personal experiment: 'Difficulties are snowballing. 'As soon as we find one plus in a situation, immediately there are two minuses. 

'Vika wants to get back to the rhythm of her earlier life, she misses what she used to love to do. 'She doesn't respond well to my suggestions to keep doing what she likes to do alongside me.' He admitted he was fed up with being alongside her as she did her makeup. 'We are trying really hard not to escalate conflicts,' he said.  Perhaps the idea of locking together with chains was not great – there were practical difficulties and there had been the pain of togetherness caused by burns from the chain on their wrist  and another problem has been using public toilets when she takes him into the 'Ladies' which has not always gone down well. 

The record that the  couple spent 126 days shackled together may not serve any great purpose and may not be a great reminder to both of them is tragic. A month ago, Vika saw the writing on the wall, saying: 'We are a bit fed up with each other. It is complicated for me… I was nervous, am nervous and, probably, will continue to be nervous.  They had planned to wed but now this is cancelled.

Akexander was even able to get behind the wheel of a car despite his girlfriend being chained to his right hand, though he appeared driving  an automatic which would have helped make this easier.  Alexander has managed to work selling cars and car parts, with Viktoria accompanying him. They also hoped to make a fortune from their stunt but it is not yet clear how much money they have made. In the end, what big benefit is derived by this experiment that went horribly wrong – the  unchaining was supervised by Ukrainian records chief Vitaly Zorin.  Alexander was to say : 'Since this is Vika's first free evening, I'm going to introduce myself to her.' 

To many – these appear purposeless challenges – living life with purpose is the challenge.


With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th June 2021 

Thursday, June 17, 2021

technical glitch causes chaos at Wimbedon 2021


This is a post on Wimbledon chaos !!

For Tennis lovers, it is the top-most event – the 2021 Wimbledon Championships   is scheduled to take place at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, London, United Kingdom. Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep are the defending singles champions from when the tournament was last held in 2019.

Following the cancellation of the 2020 tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the main tournament is due to begin on Monday 28 June 2021 and finish on Sunday 11 July 2021. Wimbledon 2021  will be the 134th edition, the 127th staging of the Ladies' Singles Championship event, the 53rd in the Open Era and the third Grand Slam tournament of the year.   The tournament is organised by the All England Lawn Tennis Club and International Tennis Federation.

                          It consists of men's (singles and doubles), women's (singles and doubles), mixed doubles, boys (under 18 – singles and doubles) and girls (under 18 – singles and doubles), which will be also a part of the Grade A category of tournaments for under 18, and singles & doubles events for men's and women's wheelchair tennis players as part of the Uniqlo Tour under the Grand Slam category, also hosting singles and doubles events for wheelchair quad tennis for the first time.

The tournament will be played only on grass courts; main draw matches will be played at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. Qualifying matches will be played, from Monday 21 June to Thursday 24 June 2021, at the Bank of England Sports Ground, Roehampton.  

Former champions Venus Williams and Andy Murray were named in Wimbledon's initial list of wildcards for the  Grand Slam. American Williams, who will turn 41 on Thursday, has won five out of her seven Grand Slam singles titles at Wimbledon but has slipped to 103rd in the women's world rankings. She has not made it past the opening round at any tournament since reaching the second round of the Australian Open in February. Britain’s Murray won Wimbledon titles in 2013 and 2016 but is currently ranked 124th having endured a spate of injuries in the past few years. Murray underwent hip resurfacing surgery in January 2019 and his comeback has also been complicated by niggling injuries which have limited his participation in tournaments.

Prize money for this year's Wimbledon will be a little over 35 million pounds ($49.4 million), a 5.2% reduction from 2019 when the grasscourt Grand Slam was last held, organisers said. 

Tennis great and 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal said today  that he will be pulling out of Tokyo Games and Wimbledon 2021 in a bid to focus on taking care of his body and prolonging his career. Nadal has won Wimbledon twice in 2008 and 2010 and won the Olympic gold in men's singles tennis in 2008. Rafael Nadal, who was beaten by eventual champion Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros recently at  Roland Garros  was worried that the short time between French and Wimbledon,  doesn't allow him enough time to recover. Nadal maintained that Olympic Games will always be special to him and that he had the honour of representing Spain in 3 Olympics.  It’s never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discuss it with my team I understand that it is the right decision," Nadal said. "The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy, that is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at the maximum level of competition," he added.

Tennis fans have been left frustrated by enormous queues to purchase tickets for this year's Wimbledon after over 170,000 were put on sale at the same time.  There was chaos just after 1pm on Thursday when hundreds of thousands of people logged on to try and secure tickets in the first online sale. It led to virtual queues for the show courts so big most people had absolutely no chance of securing any tickets, which sold out in about 40 minutes.

Many were complaining that they hadn't been emailed their access code after pre-registering for the sale on the 'myWimbledon' website. Others didn't get theirs until well after the 1pm opening of the sale. Everyone hoping to secure tickets for the reduced capacity Grand Slam, which runs from June 28 until July 11, had to pre-register before midnight last night. Tennis fans were left fuming after technical issues on the Wimbledon ticketing website saw them miss out  - many took to Twitter to complain about having little to no chance of securing tickets in the sale .. .. one person  posted: 'I literally clicked on Ticket Sale button the SECOND it became active… and yet there's 10,000 people ahead of me in the virtual queue. Others demanded an explanation from Ticketmaster and Wimbledon organisers as to why their code hadn't arrived in time.

The historic sporting event, which was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, usually distributes tickets via a ballot several months in advance. But uncertainty over coronavirus restrictions at this year's Wimbledon led to an online sale being held through the Ticketmaster platform. There will be a second opportunity to buy tickets next week.  A statement issued to MailOnline by Wimbledon read: 'As expected, we received enormous demand for this initial sale of tickets for The Championships 2021.   'We appreciate the disappointment of those who were not able to get tickets on this occasion, but there will be additional opportunities to purchase tickets for this year's Championships.  

The tournament will initially be played in front of 50 per cent of capacity crowds and this will rise as the fortnight progresses. The men's and women's singles finals on the 15,000-capacity Centre Court will be played before full capacity crowds with the events treated as a pilot event. This makes them exempt from the strict capacity limits that have been placed on sporting events by the Government to make them Covid-19 safe and will occur despite 'Freedom Day' being pushed back to July 19.  

Everyone attending Wimbledon will need to provide certification of a recent negative Covid test to gain entry or proof of being double vaccinated. Once inside, however, they will be free to roam the grounds as is usually the case. The Wimbledon Queue, another way to gain access to the grounds, will be absent this year.  

It is simply a technical glitch that created chaos and prevented fans from buying ticket .. simple !  .. .. but imagine, what the British media especially BBC would have written if the same technical glitch had occurred in India say for a Cricket test at Chepauk.  Double standards, thy name !! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
17th June 2021.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

After Coca-cola, it is Heineken ~ after Ronaldo, it is Paul Pogba

After Coca-cola, it is Heineken.  Heineken Lager Beer   or simply Heineken is a pale lager beer with 5% alcohol by volume produced by the Dutch brewing company Heineken N.V.. Heineken beer is sold in a green bottle with a red star.

Austria forward Marko Arnautovic was banned Wednesday for one match at the European Championship for insulting a North Macedonian opponent. Arnautovic was charged with “insulting another player” under UEFA’s disciplinary rules. He was accused by the North Macedonian soccer federation of insulting Ezgjan Alioski. Alioski’s family roots are Albanian. Arnautovic’s father is Serbian and his mother is Austrian.

Just like our addiction to Cricket, this is more in Europe and elsewhere – UEFA 2020 - 2020 UEFA European Football Championship,  or simply Euro 2020, is the 16th UEFA European Championship, the quadrennial international men's football championship of Europe organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).  The tournament, being held in 11 cities in 11 UEFA countries, was originally scheduled from 12 June to 12 July 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe and rescheduled for 11 June to 11 July 2021 – though happening now in 2021 it has retained the same name "UEFA Euro 2020".

UEFA President Michel Platini said in 2012 that the tournament was to be hosted in several nations as a "romantic" one-off event to celebrate the 60th "birthday" of the European Championship competition. Having the largest capacity of any of the stadiums entered for the competition, Wembley Stadium in London is scheduled to host the semi-finals and final for the second time, having done so before at the 1996 tournament in the stadium's former incarnation. The Stadio Olimpico in Rome was chosen to host the opening game, involving Turkey and hosts Italy. Originally to be played at 13 venues, two hosts were later removed: Brussels in December 2017 due to the abandonment of building the Eurostadium, and Dublin in April 2021 as there was no guarantee that spectators could attend. Spain also changed their host city from Bilbao to Seville to allow an audience at matches. The video assistant referee (VAR) system made its debut at the European Championship in this tournament.

Portugal are the defending champions, having won the 2016 competition in France. Cristiano Ronaldo’s removal of two Coca-Cola bottles during a press conference at the European Championship has coincided with a $4bn fall in the share price of the drinks company. The Portugal captain is a renowned health fanatic and made it clear what he thinks of the carbonated soft drink. The 36-year-old shifted the bottles of Coca-Cola away from him during a press conference in Budapest on Monday in the prelude to his country’s Group F game against Hungary. Ronaldo followed it by holding up a bottle of water before declaring in Portuguese: “Agua!”, appearing to encourage people to choose that instead. Coca-Cola is one of the official sponsors of Euro 2020. The company’s share price dropped from $56.10 to $55.22 almost immediately after Ronaldo’s gesture, a 1.6% dip. The market value of Coca-Cola went from $242bn to $238bn – a drop of $4bn.

A meeting of France and Germany is one of Europe’s clásicos, a collision of grand old storied aristocrats. It is a stirring spectacle just taking in the colours, the anthems, the staging, the feeling of the sporting heartlands in play. France versus Germany doesn’t always have to be thrilling or back and forth. It just is. Germany started in a back three, with Joshua Kimmich employed in the Andy Robertson role as a kind of right-sided roaming creative hub. The France team were all silk and steel. The front three, Griezmann Benzema Mbappé, have a combined 98 goals this season which, for all the talk of chemistry, feuds, wrongs of the past, really is a lot of goals.

Pogba made the only goal of the game. Sometimes he just stops, looks up and produces these passes – odd, improvised, brilliantly creative little moments of craft. He pinged the ball back across, where Mats Hummels could only thump it clumsily into his own net, his confusion owing something to the pass, which left the white shirts wheeling around, surprised to find this note of obscure geometry in the middle of all that tension.

At one point in the first half in Munich, as Paul Pogba glided around the pitch pinging and flicking and drifting the ball into strange, unexpected spaces, freezing the action around him with a touch, Antonio Rüdiger threw his arms around his chest, leant closer and seemed to take a nibble of Pogba’s shoulder. Maybe it was just a sniff or a lick.  In those opening 45 minutes Pogba moved around the pitch like a champion in a team of champions. And over the course of this 1-0 victory France were good in the way France are good, reeling off another sleek, unruffled tournament performance against a Germany team that was almost always held at arm’s length.

Antonio Rüdiger has denied biting Paul Pogba during France’s 1-0 Euro 2020 win over Germany and will not face any punishment from Uefa over the incident. The Germany defender appeared to make contact with his mouth on Pogba’s back in Tuesday’s Group F opener. Pogba initially reacted in shock but later insisted Rüdiger should face no punishment. Rüdiger is understood to harbour regrets over the incident. Uefa has chosen not to open a disciplinary case after reviewing the matter. The referee, Carlos del Cerro Grande, and his team of officials took no action and Pogba said after the match he agreed with that.  

Pogba attracted more news after the match too .. ..  Paul Pogba removed a bottle of Heineken that was in front of him as he sat down to speak after France's 1-0 victory over Germany. This is not the first time Euro 2020's sponsors have been removed from the table. A day earlier Cristiano Ronaldo removed two bottles of Coca-Cola, telling people to drink water instead. As a result the global drinks brand suffered a dramatic share fall of billions !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th June 2021. 

Ronaldo flips Coca-cola - shares come tumbling down !

Portugal is a country on the Iberian Peninsula, in Southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost country of mainland Europe, being bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and by Spain.  The Portugal–Spain border is 1,214 km (754 mi) long and considered the longest uninterrupted border within the European Union. The land within the borders of current Portugal has been continuously settled, invaded and fought over since prehistoric times. .. .. ..  and there is this sportsperson from Portugal !!  ~ called : Cristiano Ronaldo

•        In Feb 2021,  he became the first person in the world to reach 500 million followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

•        In March 2021, he passed Brazilian legend Pele's goal tally; a hat trick against Serie A foe Cagliari pushed him up to 770 goals in all competitions.

•        His four-year contract with Juventus is worth an average of $64 million a year and expires in 2022.

•        Ronaldo, a five-time FIFA player of the year, in 2020 became the first active team-sport athlete to surpass $1 billion in career earnings.

•        In addition to a lifetime deal with Nike, Ronaldo makes money off the pitch with his CR7-branded clothing, accessories, hotels and gyms.   

                   Cristiano Ronaldo netted a double to become the European Championship's all-time leading scorer as Portugal struck three times late on to beat a stubborn Hungary 3-0 in their Euro 2020 opener at a packed Puskas Arena on Tuesday. The holders, who appear to have a much stronger squad than when they won their first major title five years ago, laboured for long periods in Budapest. 

A decade or so ago, - the ad campaign 'Thanda matlab Coca-Cola' made the almost universal rural word for soft drinks a hot catchphrase, and the marketing strategy ensured that villagers slowly turned converted to ‘sugary bottled drinks’! away from the traditional drinks like palm, coconut and the odd kalimark soda ! 

“Everyone is entitled to their drink preferences':  was the blunt response of Coca-Cola to Cristiano Ronaldo removing Euro 2020 sponsor's bottles from press conference and telling fans to 'Drink water'.  Rolando removed bottles of Coca-Cola from Euros press conference last night. Ronaldo followed it by holding up bottle of water before declaring in Portuguese: “Agua!”, appearing to encourage people to choose that instead.  Health-obsessed star was clearly irritated, telling fans to 'drink water' instead - Coca-Cola, which sponsors the tournament, responded - insisting that 'everyone is entitled to their drink preferences' – in between the video went viral and Coke’s shares came tumbling down !!

The health-obsessed 36-year-old Ronaldo  took offense after the fizzy drinks were placed in front of his seat before an interview before the match  - so he moved them out of shot and told fans to 'drink water' instead. Now, the multi-billion dollar drinks firm - which sponsors the tournament - has responded, acknowledging in blunt fashion that everyone has 'tastes and needs.' 'Players are offered water, alongside Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, on arrival at our press conferences,' a spokesman added.  

As an official sponsor of Euro 2020 the drink was on display as Ronaldo entered the room – but his  disdain was clear to see as he shouted 'drink water' having removed the Coke bottles. Ronaldo made the gesture at a press conference ahead ahead of Portugal's first game of the Euros, which took  place against Hungary.  The Portuguese star, one of the greatest footballers to have ever played the game, is notoriously fastidious about his diet and exercise regime. His laser focus on fitness and well-being has allowed him to continue playing at an elite level well into his 30s, when many players retire. He has previously revealed that his diet consists of six mini-meals spread throughout the day, featuring plenty of fruit, vegetables, and clean protein such as fish or chicken cooked without oil. His favourite dish is a Portuguese classic called Bacalhau à Brás that consists of layers of cod, onions, thinly sliced potatoes and black olives on top of eggs.

Mostly, the sportsman drinks water - though revealed that he enjoys the occasional glass of juice with breakfast and wine with dinner. In terms of training, Ronaldo is thought to work out for three to four hours at a time, five days a week, and swears by a mixture of cardio, weights and football drills to keep himself in top physical condition. Eight hours of sleep per night to help keep up his 'mental strength' rounds out the routine of one of the fittest men on the planet.  

Following the press conference, a 2006 advert that appears to show Ronaldo promoting Coca-Cola has resurfaced online. The Asian commercial, which appears to have been part of the soft drink brand's marketing for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, shows a woman opening a fridge to find Coca-Cola cans featuring animated likenesses of Ronaldo, which pass the ball to each other. Social media users mocked the apparent change of heart in the comments section on YouTube.

Fans can expect Ronaldo to be in peak condition when Portugal get their Euro 2020 campaign underway  - it is vital they get off to a strong start despite having to cope with the Budapest crowd, with matches to come against France and Germany in Group F. The Portuguese captain will become the first player to appear in five European Championships should he lead his country out as expected, and Ronaldo spoke of what he sees as the key to achieving such longevity. 'The most intelligent thing about a footballer is the ability to adjust,' Ronaldo said. I am more mature now.  'If a player wants to play for many years he needs to know how to adjust and adapt and the numbers speak for themselves. From 18 to 36 I have managed to adjust and adapt.  

Cristiano Ronaldo’s removal of two Coca-Cola bottles during a press conference at the Euros has coincided with a $4bn fall in the share price of the drinks giant. Coca-cola is one of the official sponsors of Euro 2020. The company’s share price dropped from $56.10 to $55.22 almost immediately after Ronaldo’s gesture, a 1.6% dip. The market value of Coca-Cola went from $242bn to $238bn – a drop of $4bn.

                     In 1950, The Coca-Cola Company opened its doors to India for the first time. However, 27 years later, in 1977, they chose to exit the country, protesting new regulations and legislation by the Government of India (Janata Party at that time) limiting the dilution of equity of multinational corporations. On October 24, 1993, they decided to re-enter the market, and have maintained a strong presence ever since.   At that time, Coca-Cola alleged that it had decided to exit India as local authorities wanted full disclosure of the formula for making the concentrate. That allegation was not entirely true.  After Coca-Cola's exit, several Indian employees of the company were left jobless. To avoid a backlash, the government decided to come up with its own version of Coca-Cola.  George Fernandes said a 'swadeshi' substitute drink called Double Seven or 77 was ready and would be marketed in a few weeks. The name of the drink had a political undertone as well, since 1977 marked the end of the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi, her defeat in the elections, and Janata Party's ascension to power.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th June 2021.


what's in a name ! - new born named 'HTML' !!

At Rajkot in ODI ODI no. 2932 on 15 Dec 2009 – Welegedara  made his debut and took the wicket of Virender Sehwag but had figures of 10-0-63-2 as India won the match by 3 runs !  It was a memorable match, not for the debutant but!

Face is the first identification – now-a-days, when we go out, we struggle to recognize masked faces !!   All of us have ‘names’, yes Names… A Name is a word or term used for identification.  They can bring identity to a person, class or category of things….. even horses and ships are named in elaborate ceremonies. A name that is considered common in one place could be unique in another.  From ancient times, names have been thought to be powerful and influence one’s life. 

In the Shankar directed Kamal starred movie ‘Indian’ [Bharatheeyudu] -  amidst a crowd in front of Regional Transport Office, Goundamani will at first sight tell  Crazy Mohan,  his name as   Parthasarathi – indicating that it is so typical a brahminical name !! –  Of course, there are many  Parthasarathis’ from Triplicane,  Ranganathans  and Ranganayakis     from Thiruvarangam;  Perundevis from Kanchipuram !!

Have seen English pace bowler Bob Willis bowl at Chepauk (he was one hit for 6 fours in an over by Sandip Patil) …. a search on him would reveal the name as ‘Robert George Dylan Willis MBE’ – initially could not identify the tall Bob with this long name…… then understood that in England there are some common abbreviations -   Jon (Jonathon), Rob (Robert), Will (William), Mike (Michael), Dave (David), Tom (Thomas), Doug (Douglas), Chris (Christoper), Alex (Alexander), Sue (Susan), Chris (Christine), Meg (Meghan), Nance (Nancy) and some times Cindy (Cynthia), Becky (Rebecca), and some oddity like -  Bob (Robert), Bill (William), Jim (James), Maggie (Margeret) ……………..

Names, Naming and more …. Mankind’s desire know no limits…. You study to earn and become rich; you aspire to get married ~ have kids – bring them up – save or keep wealth that would last for few more generations and in between you keep re-revising your earlier targets as ambitions [unbridled wishes] keep growing. When a child is born or much earlier to that, parents start thinking of naming the child.  The Naming ceremony is celebrated on different days in different fashion ~ many have religious significance.   In Hinduism, naming is considered sacred ~ called Namakaran, it is an elaborate festivity.  It is usually done on the 10th day. In Vaishnava tradition, naming is mostly after the presiding deity of the famous temples……… thus you have so many Balajis, Srinivasans, Parthasarathis, Narasimhans, Devarajans and after Acharyars like Ramanuja.  Periyazhwaar in his ‘Periyazhwaar Thirumozhi’  (Nankam Pathu – Aaram Thirumozhi) devotes 10 songs on the need to name the children after Sriman Narayanan – those who are named after Maha Vishnu will be bestowed with all goodness and their parents will not go to hell is a firm belief.  That is for the believer. 

A rose by another name will smell as good – what is in a name one might tend to ask, away from the religion.- and by naming a Mango tree something else, the yield would never be bananas or coconuts but believers would tend to believe that it would yield better mangoes. !!

HTML is an acronym which stands for Hyper Text Markup Language which is used for creating web pages and web applications.  Hyper Text: HyperText simply means "Text within Text." A text has a link within it, is a hypertext. Whenever you click on a link which brings you to a new webpage, you have clicked on a hypertext. HyperText is a way to link two or more web pages (HTML documents) with each other. A markup language is a computer language that is used to apply layout and formatting conventions to a text document. Markup language makes text more interactive and dynamic. It can turn text into images, tables, links, etc.  A web page is a document which is commonly written in HTML and translated by a web browser. A web page can be identified by entering an URL. A Web page can be of the static or dynamic type. With the help of HTML only, we can create static web pages. Hence, HTML is a markup language which is used for creating attractive web pages with the help of styling, and which looks in a nice format on a web browser. An HTML document is made of many HTML tags and each HTML tag contains different content.


In Social media the news of ‘Socialism marrying  Mamta Banerjee’ in the presence of Communism and Leninism has been circulating.    It wasn’t a political prank, but the coming together of a peculiarly named couple whose wedding invitation drew the attention of many on social media.  The groom is A M Socialism, son of A Mohan who belongs to a traditional CPI family, while the bride is Mamta Banerjee, daughter of K Palanisamy-P Neelambal from a Congress family.

A Facebook post announcing the birth of a newborn in the Philippines has gone viral due to the child's unique name. Hypertext Mark-up Language Rayo Pascual - or HTML for short - was introduced to the world via a Facebook post from his aunt  recently.  The child's father Mac Pascual, a web developer, is thought to be responsible for choosing the unusual name as a tribute to his profession. He told local news site that uncommon names run in his family, explaining that his own name is short for Macaroni 85.  He said that one of his sisters' official names was Spaghetti 88 and claimed her two children are called Cheese Pimiento and Parmesan Cheese, though they go by Chippy and Peewee for short.

A Facebook post announcing the birth of a newborn in the Philippines went  viral due to the child's unique name – ‘ Hypertext Mark-up Language Rayo Pascual - or HTML in short’ ! reported that HTML was born healthy, weighing 2.25 kilograms (4.9 pounds) at the Bulacan Medical Mission Group Cooperative Hospital, about an hour's drive north of the capital, Manila. His mum, Salie Rayo Pascual, told the website that she is delighted to welcome her child and said relatives were pleased with the choice of name. HTML's aunt, Sincerely Pascual - full name Sincerely Yours Pascual - shared a snap of the newest addition to her family on Facebook, writing: 'Welcome to the world HTML.'

The post has been shared more than 8,978 times and inspired numerous jokes from social media users.  Several users suggested some computer-based names for any future children: 'Results-based management system',  'JavaScript' or 'Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)'.  

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and singer Grimes raised eyebrows when it was announced in May 2020 that their son would be called X Æ A-12 Musk.  Seventeen years ago, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and singer Chris Martin drew derision for naming their daughter Apple. While music superstars Beyonce and Jay Z were mocked back in 2012 for choosing the name Blue Ivy for their first child.

Getting back to Welegedara – it was on the day when 825 runs were scored in a single day.  The numbers were mindboggling enough. Virender Sehwag and Tillakaratne Dilshan made big hundreds  and  Kumar Sangakkara's 90 from 43 balls electrified the chase. The decisive spells were bowled by Harbhajan Singh, whose three overs in the middle had gone for 32 runs, and Zaheer Khan, who finished expensive at 10-0-88-0. At the end of it all, after 100 overs in which 825 runs were scored, Sri Lanka fell short by 3.  When India piled up a team-record 414 for 7, it seemed as though this too would be a depressing no-contest.  The debutant’s full name is : Uda Walawwe Mahim Bandaralage Chanaka Asanga Welegedara

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th June 2021. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Donkeys on the rise in Pakistan !!

Sure you have read this interesting fable of father, son and donkey.  On the move, father and son walked with a donkey.  First the father sat – people commented that the elder  making the young boy walk, while he sat on donkey; when son sat, people commented – that youth  is cruel in making his father walk- both of them sat on donkey – people said that cruelty is meted out to the poor animal ! – and they carried the animal !!!  Moral : Never try to please all.

In Economics according to the theory of Demand and Supply, when demand is more  and supply is scarce, the price increases and suppliers tend to provide more!  

Equus africanus asinus, a domesticated member of the horse family, Equidae – is found in the heart of Chennai too …. In villages, it could be a common sight – a few years ago, nearer Vivekananda College in Sivasami Salai, one can find a few donkeys, an animal used extensively by launderers. A male donkey or ass is called a jack, a female a jenny or jennet.  As beasts of burden and companions, asses have worked together with humans for millennia.  Donkey’s work often goes unrecognized be it in  Office or for the original animals.

Humans owe a lot to the humble donkey. Domesticated for more than five millennia, they have been used for everything from farming to warfare.   In this advanced industrialised World too,  the  poorest communities still rely on donkeys for their day-to-day needs.  A couple of years back, had posted about the little country – Burkina Faso and its donkey trade to far-off China.   

Pakistan is nearly broke with the drying up of foreign cash reserves and mounting external debt. Earlier in February, China had come forward with a loan offer of 42.5 billion and now, in return, Pakistan will be exporting donkeys to its "all-weather ally". Pakistan, which has the third largest donkey population in the world, will export the animal to China, opening the avenue to earn millions from the trade, according to a media report. Donkeys are highly prized in China, especially for their hide which is used to manufacture traditional Chinese medicines. Gelatin made from donkey skin has been long considered to have medicinal properties in China, traditionally being thought to nourish the blood and enhance the immune system.

Pakistan has seen an increase of 100,000 more donkeys within a year. According to Economic Survey 2021, the number of donkeys has increased from 5.5 million to 5.6 million during the fiscal year 2020-2021. The survey also revealed that there was a 1.2 million increase in the number of buffalos in the country. Meanwhile, the number of sheep has increased from 31.2 million to 31.5 million after an increase of 400,000 in a year. The latest animal census in Pakistan  confirmed that the number of donkeys in that country is going up. In contrast, the last animal census in India indicated in 2019 that the number of donkeys in this country is declining sharply.

Curiously both the increase in Pakistan and the decline in India are attributed to the high demand of donkey hide in China. It is apparently used to make a gelatine which goes into making a traditional Chinese medicine. In addition, donkey meat is said to be in high demand in parts of Andhra Pradesh, where it is believed to enhance virility. Pakistan’s newspaper Dawn reported this week, “Donkey population in Pakistan increased by 100,000 during the current fiscal year of 2020-21 to reach 5.6 million. However, the population growth of horses and mules remained stagnant, the Pakistan Economic Survey 2020-21 revealed.”

Donkeys are being exported to China, the report added, where it is highly priced ‘especially for their hide which is used to manufacture traditional Chinese medicines. Gelatin made from donkey skin is believed to have medicinal properties, traditionally thought to nourish the blood and enhance the immune system.

In India, a  major reason is said to be the decline in the use of donkeys for short-distance transport as carriers or cart-pullers. The poorest donkey-rearing communities are also said to have migrated to other occupations and they are unable to provide for the donkeys any longer. Despite their dwindling numbers, donkeys continue to be deployed in large numbers in sectors such as brick kilns, construction, tourism, agriculture and transportation of goods and people. Since donkeys have mostly disappeared from Andhra Pradesh, donkeys are being brought in from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Donkey meat is not categorised as an “animal food” under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s Food Safety and Standards, 2011, making its slaughter and consumption illegal.

A Donkey Drop is a delivery bowled with a very high flight before it bounces. One of the reasons for a donkey drop is when the ball slips out of the hand of the bowler, leading to it popping up high in the air and landing in front of the batsman. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
15th June 2021.
Pic credit : twitter page of Primrose donkey sanctuary. 

Monday, June 14, 2021

China accuses G7 World leaders of slander ~ after they spoke on Covid 19 origin !!


For commoners, there are seemingly unending Qs :  When will Covid 19 end ?; when will people return to normalcy ?; will schools and colleges reopen ? – how did China manage despite so much opposition on the origin of the dreaded virus ? – what made WHO certify that China had indeed provided all details to the World and why it ensured that by naming Covid 19 – the Corona virus did not reflect the country of its origin .. .. and what is the role of Pharma Companies ?

China today  accused G7 leaders of 'slander' after they vowed to investigate the origins and Covid-19 and take a harder line on Beijing's human rights abuses in a joint statement.  The statement scolded Beijing over a range of issues as a gross interference in the country's internal affairs, and urged the grouping to stop slandering China.   The G7 leaders on Sunday blasted China's human rights record in the heavily Muslim region of Xinjiang, called for Hong Kong to keep a high degree of autonomy, and underscored the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan strait - all highly sensitive issues for Beijing.  The statement sparked a backlash from China's embassy in London which said it was strongly dissatisfied and resolutely opposed to mentions of Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan that distorted the facts.

Beijing has taken aim at Australia following the G7 summit and branded it a 'double-faced' nation, after an eerie cartoon warning of the fall of western democracy went viral on Chinese social media. A cartoon parody of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, featured in an article by the Communist Party mouthpiece, The Global Times, depicts the US, UK, Italy, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, India and Australia as their national animals plotting to 'rule the world'. The fresh propaganda attack comes after Scott Morrison won key backing from world leaders at the UK summit, with a multilateral pledge to tackle Chinese economic distortion as well authoritarian crackdowns in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Britain's daily Covid cases have risen by another third in the space of a week, according to gloomy new data released just hours before Boris Johnson is expected to delay Freedom Day by a month. In figures that will likely be seized on by the Prime Minister to back his four-week delay, Department of Health bosses today revealed 7,742 positive tests, up from 5,683 last Monday.  Amid mounting pressure on No10 to delay June 21's final unlocking to allow millions more adults to be fully vaccinated, the Prime Minister is tonight expected to urge Britons to be patient. He is set to announce that the relaxation of Covid restrictions will be pushed back until July 19 because of the rampaging newer  variant.  But his own MPs are among those most restless, with fears running high that this delay is only the first, and  he may have to delay the end lockdown again, possibly into August. He will face a Commons showdown with them before the end of the month, with the new dates requiring a vote. While it is almost likely to go through with Labour support, the scale of the rebellion from Tory MPs will show the level of anger he is facing. 

Meantime, there is some comforting news at home – over 25.87 crore vaccines administered in India.   The total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has gone past 25.87 crore, the Union health ministry said today.  It said 20,99,621 beneficiaries in the 18-44 age group received the first dose, while 1,16,326 got the second dose of the vaccine on Monday. Cumulatively, 4,34,35,032 people in the 18-44 age group have received the first dose while 8,33,808 have received the second dose across the country since the start of the third phase of the vaccination drive against the viral disease.

The Covid-19 situation in India is improving. The country has been reporting below 1 lakh new Coronavirus infections for the past few days. The daily positivity rate has also gone down below five percent as recoveries continue to outpace new cases for the past few weeks. India reported 70,421 new Coronavirus infections, the lowest since March 31, taking the country’s infection tally to 2,95,10,410, according to Union Health Ministry’s data on Monday. Active caseload dropped below 10 lakh after over two months and now accounted for 3.30 percent of the total infections. The country’s Covid-19 recovery rate has also improved to 95.43 percent.  

Meanwhile, some states have started the unlocking process as cases continue to fall. National capital Delhi begins Unlock 3 from today. On Sunday, Delhi witnessed 213 new Covid-19 cases, the lowest in over three months, and 28 more deaths.  .. .. in another heartening news, Mumbai's Dharavi recorded zero cases of COVID-19 today, as per Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. On April 8, Dharavi reported highest-ever single-day spike of 99 cases.   Aggressive testing helped in taming second wave, said Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant municipal commissioner of BMC G North ward.

Tamil Nadu recorded 12,772 positive cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the state tally to 23,66,493. Among these, Chennai reported 828 positive cases, bringing the city’s total to 5,25,826. The state recorded 254 deaths on Monday, putting the state toll at 29,801.197 of them had succumbed due to comorbidities.  The three infected lions at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park (AAZP), popularly known as the Vandalur Zoo here, are responding “very slowly” to treatment and all efforts are being taken to help them recuperate, a senior official at the zoo said

Hope things return to normalcy sooner !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
14th June 2021.

the monies behind World Test Championship .. .. Test Cricket beckons !!

India is to take on New Zealand in World Test Championship Finals – and Indian Women’s Team is going to play a Test after a gap of nearly 7 years .. .. Test Cricket has changed a lot.  In the midst of T20s and ODIs – still Tests have not lost their charm – one of the reasons is they are producing more results now, rather than dreary draws that used to be the order in late 1970s, 80s and 90s.

Any reference to Test No. 752 will flood memories of that  classy knock of Gundappa Viswanath -  great bowling of Andy Roberts and the defeat (100 runs at that) suffered by Clive Lloyd against Pataudi led Indians in 1975.  Those days Pongal tests were great festivities and tension would build up couple of days before the match – India opening with Eknath Solkar and FArokh Engineer – lost both and were 24/2; Gaekwad went cheaply, so did MAK Pataudi; (41/4); Ashok Mankad hooked Roberts -  at 76/6 Mankad and Madanlal too gone, Vishy had only the tail – whether it was Andy Roberts 20.5-5-64-7 or the fluent 97 n.o. of Vishy that was brilliant will be an endless debate.  Roberts was to take another 57/5 in the second innings too.  In the second essay, a flurry of adventurous shots by Engineer gave India an encouraging start, but by the end of the second day they were 85 for four and once more everything rested on Viswanath to steer India clear of the rocks. This time he received assistance from Gaekwad, who played with remarkable coolness and looked destined to make a century when he was run out for 80. With Viswanath, Gaekwad added 93 for the sixth wicket and with Ghavri, 68 for the eighth. 

An year later, when India toured WI and won that historic chase at Port of Spain – there was blood bath at Sabina Park, Jamaica  -  the Fourth Test at Kingston – Test no. 776 on 21 – 25th April 1976.  The score card would read  India 306/6 decl !! ; WI 391 all out.  India 97 all out and West Indies making the 13 runs required without losing a wicket.  Statistics will never reveal the real story.  The first day, shortened by bad light, belonged to India. They scored 178 for one, a position that must have encouraged them.  Gavaskar and Gaekwad put on 136, lasting almost until tea.  Gaekwad came through the day with 60, needing great courage to survive, for he took several blows on the body and on the arms, an innings of raw courage with balls directed at body, blood being cheered and no protective gears, no helmets !  Gaekwad scoring 81* was forced to retire bleeding in his ears.  At 273 Brijesh Patel retired hit on the mouth.  At 306 Venkatraghavan got out.  Bedi wished to protect himself and Chandrasekhar from injuries and hence declared at 306/6.  that was the test when one player after other had to be escorted to hospital with bleeding injuries.   

One cannot say whether Anshuman Gaekwad's scoring range was limited but his raw courage against pace was unlimited, a  precious commodity in Indian cricket.


Anshuman Gaekwad in middle and R Dilip Vengsarkar

The India women's team will be donning a Test jersey for the first time in nearly seven years, when they take on England at the Bristol County Ground later this week. Apart from being India's first Test appearance since November 2014, it is also the first non-Ashes Women's Test in more than six years.  The Mithali Raj-led team on Wednesday will be returning to Test cricket after a break of 2401 days. It is the third-longest gap between two Tests for India Women, with two of the top three intervals coming in the last 15 years. India toured England in 2014 for a one-off Test and hosted South Africa for a Test the same year. Those are the only matches for India Women in Test cricket in the past 14 years, by far the fewest they have played in any decade.

When the Pakistan cricket team landed in India in September 1983 for a three-Test series it was clear that interest would be lukewarm. India had just won the World Cup on 25th June 1983 .. .. the  rain-affected first Test at Bangalore was drawn and the teams moved to Jalandhar for the second Test. The Burlton Park was the 55th ground to stage a Test match and the 13th Test venue in India. Kapil Dev won the toss, put Pakistan in to bat and took minimum time to strike by trapping Mohsin leg before with the first ball of the match. That brought together two debutants in Qasim Omar and the other opening batsman Shoaib Mohammad. Both however did not last long with Kapil dismissing Shoaib and Roger Binny getting rid of Omar both through catches by Syed Kirmani.

Wasim Raja dazzled making his highest Test score of 125, compiled off 207 balls studded with 17 fours and two sixes, took Pakistan to  337. By stumps Hafeez dismissed Sunil Gavaskar (5) and Mohinder Amarnath (7) and India were rather shakily placed at 37 for two at close. Pakistan were in a position of considerable advantage but two events then had a profound effect on the match. It rained on the third day ruling out play. But the following day, the rest day, was sunny. The authorities made a request to the captains to continue the match on the rest day but quite inexplicably Zaheer refused. Pakistan were in a position to dictate terms and Zaheer turning down the offer to make up for lost time only strengthened the impression that a draw was all he was looking for.  

Anshuman Gaekwad was in his twilight zone – the bespectacled 31-year-old opener from Baroda had won back a hard fought place only midway through the previous season after 3-1/2 years in the wilderness and missing out on 37 Tests.  There was no question of a result and the match had the word draw written all over it and Gaekwad just kept going even as wickets fell at the other end. Sandip Patil and Ravi Shastri both of whom got 26 helped Gaekwad in partnerships of 58 and 78 for the fourth and fifth wickets. There was no sense of urgency and the Indians scored only 154 runs from 85 overs on the fourth day for the loss of two wickets. At close of play India were 201 for four with Gaekwad on 121 his highest Test score. On the final morning Binny (54) and Gaekwad gave the innings some momentum with a sixth wicket partnership of 121. Anshuman passed Chandu Borde’s 177 not out – the highest by an Indian against Pakistan compiled at Madras in January 1961. Gaekwad with unrelenting determination and unwavering concentration did not falter and duly got to 200 in the company of the No 9 batsman Madan Lal. It  was the slowest double century in all first class cricket. The previous slowest was notched up by another Indian the Nawab of Pataudi who had batted 622 minutes for scoring exactly 200 for South Zone against West Zone in the Duleep Trophy final at Bombay in 1967-68.  Gaekwad had taken 652 minutes (and 426 balls) to reach the landmark. Eventually Gaekwad was eighth out at 353 after scoring 201. In all he batted 671 minutes and faced 436 balls and hit 17 fours. It was the seventh longest innings in Test history.

Now a days, such draws do not happen – and at times, matches fold in 3 or 4th day – first half too.  The winners of the India vs New Zealand World Test Championship (WTC) final will take home USD 1.6 million (INR 11.70 Crores), as well as the Test Championship Mace, while the losing team will get USD 800,000, the ICC has announced. In case there is a stalemate, or weather prevents a winner from being identified despite the reserve day, the two teams will split the total prize money of USD 2.4 million (INR 17.5 cr apprxo).

It will be the first time the sport will have official world champions in the format. "It (the WTC) has come to symbolise the best team in Test cricket, and with the Test championship now being used as the vehicle to identify the best team in Test cricket, the mace is on offer," Geoff Allardice, the ICC chief executive, said in an interaction with members of the media. In a statement, the ICC explained that the Test mace, which was earlier awarded every year to the teams topping the Test team rankings, will be given to the WTC winners from now on. In case of a draw or a tie, India and New Zealand will share possession of the mace during the time they remain champions.

Australia, who finished third on the points table, England, who were fourth, and Pakistan, the fifth-placed side, will receive USD 450,000, USD 350,000 and USD 200,000 respectively, while the remaining teams that were a part of the competition - West Indies, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh - will get USD 100,000 each.

The final between India and New Zealand will be played in Southampton, and will be played from June 18 to 22, with June 23 slotted as a reserve day, to be used only if any time lost during regulation play on each day is not made up on the same day. It will comprise a maximum of 330 minutes or 83 overs plus the actual last hour.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
14th June 2021.