Wednesday, September 16, 2015
“Hey pal, what is your menu tonight?”
“Menu is quite luring! But, you see, it has gone to the authorities for approval. Finally we’ll have what they want us to eat!”
This is the popular refrain doing the rounds in the mammoth aftermath of the Ban Culture initiated in several states of the largest democracy called India. So much heat is generated over the matter that it threatens to replace the still rampant Bandh or Closure Culture. The ban is mostly on meat—ranging from chicken to all kinds of red meat. Somehow fish is spared with some authoritative people saying that fish is not slaughtered. Well, if fish is not slaughtered then it is definitely left to die taken out of water. Now, which is crueler to animals? The debate is very interesting, but not at all appetizing.
Turbulence is not entirely a new phenomenon for the Indian kitchen. It has been there since time immemorial thanks to the eternal politics concerning the full right or jurisdiction over the kitchen area. Let it be the traditional village kitchen or the most modern one, the lady of the house normally exerts her full authority. The male members are easily handled out because of their presumed susceptibility to supposedly messing up the act of cooking rather than being a help. Real trouble brews when the daughter-in-law moves in. Politicking is rampant in any household still persisting with the joint family tradition.
Interestingly, the joint family system is very symbolic of the basic conflicts that are equally true for the country. Eating or not eating preferences of certain members lead to creating power centres. One centre prevails upon the other to impose those preferences. Surprisingly, no power centre ever tries to mutually settle the issues asking all disputing parties to respect each other’s choices.
Some smart ones, of course, play down the whole matter. They just stockpile the ‘food’ in their freezers to feast even on ban days. However, they are not aware of the fact that their preferred ‘aroma’ could very well be a ‘stench’ to some and those could very well report the ‘stench’ matter to the appropriate authority. Nosing around others kitchen matters has been a celebrated trait of the Indians. Then, there is the more troublesome eventuality of being found violating official orders.
If one is capable of doing a simultaneous survey of all the kitchens across the country from north to south and from west to the north east at one point of time they would be overwhelmed with the mind-boggling variety of cuisines and aromas. This immense diversity of tastes should indeed be a matter of great pride for our countrymen and a huge challenge for the hotel industry. If gourmet is okay for us why not then you be a connoisseur too.
Kitchen is a vital place that makes our gastronomical dreams become realities. In all decency one should stop smelling around a lot and withdraw from asking constantly ‘what’s cooking’ to unsuspecting citizens of the country. Maybe this change of ‘food’ mindset would make the authorities to see reason too. Not eating has been a major weapon of politicking in India. In technical parlance this is called fasting. As far as eating is concerned this should best be left to the eaters alone.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
I thought had I punched him hard on his firmly set jaws I might have had some emotional reaction from him. Of course, to that extreme extent I could never have proceeded thanks to my perseveringly peaceful nature, office decorum and possible police involvement. I had to think of that violent possibility, because it showed my pent-up frustration that I could vent only through my wordy violence, as much as I was capable of doing so.
I was pulling up my technical associate for not settling an important file concerning corporate clients despite my repeated reminders from time to time—gentle in the beginning and slowly growing sharper as the interminable delay continued. I could not ignore it any longer and first thing I did on that day was to summon him. Immediately I started firing him all barrels and guns. And there he sat in front of me, staring up at me without a word as if wishing to be through with the ordeal or if at all as soon as possible. His firmly shut mouth showed no fear or sorrow or anger or regret. There was not the slightest trace of any emotion in his eyes. His stoic body language too never betrayed any discomfort.
Failing to elicit any kind of reaction or emotion, forget an admission of guilt or an apology, my fury and frustration grew. When you think you are justified in firing up someone you expect some emotion or reaction from him/her that somewhat soothes you and assures you of some positive results. But not for this deadpan guy. Earlier anecdotes started coming to my mind now. On numerous occasions whenever I asked him to do a job he would never affirm it or refuse it. He would not say yes or no. His deadpan expression would never convey to me of any forthcoming action or no action. Eventually some of the assignments he would complete and some would keep on pending indefinitely. I had to adopt myself to a formula of compromise, patience and anger-management apart from most of the jobs that I could do on my own, entirely. However, I hoped the ultimate showdown that I thought I had to unleash some day would at least have had some impact on him without being successful in changing his stoic attitude.
I was getting desperate. How long could I go on firing my salvos without having anything to show as an effect? He continued to sit immobile and stare at me, expressionless. As I was fast getting unsure what to do next, fortunately, the associate’s mobile phone rang. Nonchalantly, he took it and stared at the screen. To my surprise he got up immediately and moved away from me answering the call. Now it was my turn to offer a deadpan face not knowing what to expect or what to expect not as I continued to sit at my desk.
From the passage I heard him speaking on his phone. A series of incomprehensible words, rather noise. His voice seemed to have covered all the notes in all the three octaves. Sometimes shrill beyond recognition, sometimes subdued and sometimes plain-sounding angry. It was a staccato of non-stop syllables delivered at immense speed. He was speaking in his own language and, even otherwise I could not have followed him. But I was sure that he was showing all kinds of emotions a human being was capable of displaying. I was at my wit’s end.
Afterwards, as I took a post-lunch stroll in the passage I called the peon, a smart and lively boy.
“Who was my associate speaking to so heatedly? You know his language, no?”, I asked him.
Apt came in the reply, “Sir, his wife!”
Monday, September 7, 2015
The still raging mystery of the Sheena Bora murder case is just another reflection of the modern society. It brings out again the erosion of morals, the degeneration of cultures and the fast spreading malaise of depravity, inhumanity and perversion. Ironically, Indian television serials have been decried by many including this writer for portraying devilish characters of grandmas and mothers, but now, these soaps stand vindicated by seeming to show the ‘realism’ in our society. Today’s criminals could be your next door neighbors or people who are a part of your day-to-day existence, and you are at a total loss to anticipate their vile moves that could endanger lives all around you at any moment of time. This is relevant not only to India, but to the whole of modern society across the world. Of course, India with its uncontrollable population and accompanying unemployment is at a far greater risk.
Of particular concern is the fact that today’s adolescents are emerging as the most dreaded criminals—raping, murdering and plundering. Their mindset has become so atrociously wrong that even terrorists can invade their innards and enroll them as cadres at will. This evil has become so pervasive in India that the Government had to ponder consider and change juvenile laws. However, the menace can no longer be controlled by mere promulgation of laws or rules. They are the largest chunk of India’s population and instead of promising to be the future they are busy destroying the enduring fabric of the country.
Maybe keeping with the degeneration terror has also undergone basic changes in terms of inhumanity and barbarism. It has ceased to be operating on specific targets, but has taken over the charge of annihilating innocent unsuspecting people all over the globe including countries that have no record of terror strikes ever. If we were trying to wish over the horrors of 9/11 by Al-Qaeda or the 26/11 Mumbai attack by Pakistan terror outfits we were not being realistic enough. More lessons in the annals of barbarism had to be learnt with the Taliban ravaging Pakistan and Afghanistan. And then to the most dreaded terrorist organizations, the Boko Haram and the ISIS—the very names inspiring fearful chills down your spine. The US did in fact kill Osama Bin Laden, but even deadlier monsters than Laden have multiplied in the meantime.
All limits of inhumanity or barbarism are being crossed nonchalantly creating milestones of cruelty at every step. Who could forget the massacre of innocent children in Peshawar making it the worst terror strike ever to happen in Pakistan? Who could forget the massacre of innocent people including women and babies in Assam—a state of North Eastern India? And the horrific details of the ISIS or the Boko Haram, unfolding every moment? A monstrous competition seems to be raging on trying to break the records of barbarity set by one by others. And just imagine, some people in our society are ready even to welcome such depraved deeds by demons.
Some say that the mythical Kalyug or the age of downfall is at its last phase and that demonic acts are only likely to worsen leading to the shattering climax. So then, is the end near? There is no end of forecasts setting date after date for the Armageddon and the resulting total destruction. The end of the world soon?
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
India under the young Test skipper Virat Kohli finally managed to break the 22-year no-win jinx in Test Series hosted by Sri Lanka defeating the hosts by 117 runs in the third Test today thus winning the Series 2-1 after wasting a huge opportunity in the first of the three Tests mostly dominated by them. In the first Test at Galle a win for India seemed only a formality when a dismal bout of batting ensured a win for Sri Lanka. In the third Test in Colombo India put Sri Lanka on the mat setting a huge target of 386 runs and capturing three vital wickets for 67 runs at stumps on the fourth day yesterday. They needed to capture 7 wickets today for a series win in Sri Lanka after 22 years, but their bowlers again showed the haunting lack of penetration for most part of today with the scare of Sri Lanka either drawing or even winning the match and the Series looming large. However, at the last moments of the fifth day Ashwin came back to capture 4 wickets ensuring a win for India. In the second Test India won hands down by 278 runs giving the first ever Test victory to Kohli as a captain. Ironically, it was after the second Test that the legendary Sri Lankan cricketer Kumar Sangakkara decided to retire from test cricket and in the third Test without this mainstay of batting, wicket keeping and all-round leadership India could not capitalize to a desired extent upon the hosts.
The third and the final Test match between India and Sri Lanka in Colombo has proved to be the best one with the series level at 1-1 prior to it, both teams staging fight-backs from tight situations, tails of both teams wagging and the match stretched to full five days. Sri Lanka gave India an advantage too by opting to field first after winning the toss—maybe because playing without the assured presence of Sanga after some years. However, India struggled to make 312 and in reply Sri Lanka struggled more, but finally able to reduce the lead to just 111. India struggled again and finally managed to reach 274 setting a seemingly invincible target of 386 runs. And finally on the last day today Sri Lanka could not prevent India from creating history by breaking the jinx. Virat Kohli has an away Series win under his belt now. R Ashwin who took a total of 22 scalps was rightfully named the Man of the Series. Unfortunately, Ishant Sharma got a 1-Test ban for his undue aggressiveness on the field and so will miss the first Test against South Africa. Well, if Australians are aggressive it is only natural, when Indians do, rarely though, it is an offence!
For India Dhawan, Kohli, Rahane, Rahul, Pujara and Sharma scored quite a few runs each. However, the consistency was lacking with almost all making big individual scores in one outing followed by flops in the next. Of course, India had the disadvantage of playing without the service of their regular openers—Dhawan and Murali Vijay. Dhawan could not play after a century in the first Test. Vijay played only the second Test. Ravichandran Ashwin’s ten-wicket haul in the first Test went in vain, but Ishant Sharma’s improved line and aggressiveness gave India something to hoot for in the near future. For Sri Lanka too the batting lacked consistency except for the glorious 162 by Chandimal in the first Test and some good scores by Mathews. On the bowling front Herath’s performance in the first Test was memorable with some aggressive bursts from pacers Prasad and Pradeep. Next India go into the home series named Gandhi-Mandela Series against South Africa starting end of this month. There will be three T20s, five ODIs and four Test matches with the first T20 starting on 2nd October and the first Test starting 5th November in Mumbai.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
The late sixties to the late eighties—the golden period for us as far as the habit of reading book is concerned. For my father the period started from around the early forties. Rightfully, my father and we children were termed as ‘book worms’ by family and friends. We used to coil up wherever and whenever possible with books—books of various nature ranging from detective novels to heavy non-fiction in mostly English, Assamese and Bengali. We can hardly forget those golden moments of reading—on a fresh morning in the veranda armchair or reclining on the sofa in the drawing room or half inclined on the pillow in the bedroom or on winter nights after supper inside the warm quilt with the table lamp burning. On Sundays my mother had a hard time getting us on to the table after serving lunch. My father had the usual habit of trying to finish a book on a single sitting and we also tried to imitate him on various occasions. Thanks to my father’s childhood we favoured English classics a lot and were desperate to procure those from all possible sources apart from the huge home reserve of classics built up over time.
My father was in the civil service and it was transferable. Therefore we were used to move from town to town every two or three years. Coming to a new town our prime focus was to locate the public library. Normally my father took us two brothers there and we were never happy with two membership cards insisting on four and getting them due to his support. Almost at every weekend we brothers used to walk up to the library, returning the read books and searching all nooks and corners for newer ones. Back home we used to display our treasure of books enticingly enough knowing that father would soon hover over them. He would select and pick one and retire to his favourite place to devour. We would contend ourselves with the rest for the time being with our sisters also joining in now.
Those days it was not easy to buy books even though the price was much lesser, because earnings were also very less, and our father, being an honest officer, had only his meagre salary to take care of everything. So we tried to save out of our daily pocket money to save enough to buy books later; we used to cajole and beg ‘able’ family guests to take a trip with us to the book-store and once there we were bolder to get our demands through; on our birthdays or any special festive occasions we used to request, depending on opportunities, the likely visitors to gift us only books.
There was such a ‘book-reading bond’ with our scholarly father that whenever we managed to buy a book we used to show it first to him and if he preferred to devour it immediately we let him to do so waiting for our turn with a happy and joyful heart. Even my farmer grandfather and half-literate grandmother were avid readers too. When they visited us they would normally join us reading books at every opportunity. During the time when grandmother came to live with us a crisis of sorts was building up. She was devouring books at an alarming rate and we were running out of our stock of books. Since that time we brothers got employed outside the visits to the public library became far and less. So often we would discuss the problem with our mother how to solve it!
I remember one particular book-store in a particular town. Not having enough savings at the time and enticed by a whole new series of exciting books I went over there with my bicycle quite often. I would always ask the owner for a particular book and try to demonstrate by leafing over that I really intended to buy it. As the owner got busier with other customers I would proceed to the corner of the counter and read the book then and there. I would finish it in about two hours if I was lucky and would return the book with a smile. I repeated the exercise many times and the kind owner never showed any suspicion. Maybe he knew and was amused or maybe he did not suspect genuinely.
Now your mobiles, iPhones, tabs, laptops or desktops and the 24-hour television channels hardly give you enough time to read books. Whatever little or more you may read now it is invariably on the electronic screens. Many of you may have already left the habit irreparably behind. Personally I would buy a book with all pristine excitement planning to read it coiling up in my favourite corner, but would not succeed for days on end. However, it is such a beautiful experience that everyone would like to come back to it now or later, I’m sure. Members of the present young generation should first try to realize what they are missing out on before getting hooked again to their gadgets. For me the nostalgia is just overpowering.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
It was just unprecedented and a supreme moment of stupefied indecision for a quiet hilly city of Shillong in the state of Meghalaya of north eastern India. News of global proportions rarely happens in this city. The easy-going people here are not much bothered about breaking news or that kind of stuff and are happy with their daily chores—going to work, going to markets, going for their favourite dishes and worrying about rains or the lack of it and electricity or water supply or cleanliness. So nobody was ready for such kind of a huge news break that could go livewire globally. To confound matters, the media did not have a clue about this visit of an eminent personality, even in a small city like Shillong. Finally then, when the news broke around 8pm on that momentous day of 27th July, 2015 it was incredulity, sheer disbelief, indecisiveness and numbing inaction. The men here in power were mostly looking for protocol and for ways how to handle it. The Governor, the ministers, the bureaucrats, the police and army officers, the doctors—all found themselves rushing to the hospital without giving any thought to making an official declaration. The media acted on their sources and camped at the hospital waiting hours for the doctors or any authority to come down and make it official. The easy-going folks were shaken out of their reverie and took to the streets crowding the hospital campus and the surroundings.
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was no stranger to Shillong or Meghalaya. He had been coming here since 2002 mostly for his lecture-interaction with students and some other official inaugurations in the role of the Indian President. This time he was scheduled to give a lecture here in the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Shillong on the topic ‘Creating a Liveable Planet Earth’. He had been in the faculty of the IIM and came for lectures quite often in the last two years. Accordingly on 27th July he arrived in Guwahati by a flight from Delhi and undertook a road journey to Shillong. Upon his arrival in Shillong after 5pm he was taken to a guest house for a little rest with tea and light refreshments. After 6pm he was there in the auditorium of the IIM for giving the lecture to senior students. He was his usual self—jovial, eager to interact and in full energy.
|His Last Lecture|
Barely ten minutes into his lecture the Missile Man fell silent suddenly and collapsed. The IIM doctor examined him and declared a medical emergency. He was shifted immediately to the nearest Bethany hospital and admitted into the ICU. Apart from the hospital doctors the Army doctors and the state government doctors were called in to treat the former President. Desperate efforts continued to revive the beloved teacher and the scientist. The mouth to mouth news went viral.
The Governor of Meghalaya, V Shanmuganthan rushed to the Bethany hospital and stayed there for hours. The state ministers, the top bureaucrats, the army commands and top cops started landing at the hospital. Meanwhile the reception lounge of the hospital got filled with hyperactive media personnel and the outer courtyard and the surrounding streets were filled beyond capacity with his ardent and anxious admirers—mostly young people and students.
Finally at around 10.30pm the body of the immensely versatile personality of utter simplicity, draped in the tricolor, was brought down to the courtyard to be taken in an ambulance to the military hospital. The large crowd looked on in utter disbelief and with a sense of profound loss, and then erupted into an endless chain of spontaneous reaction. The slogans of ‘Long Live Abdul Kalam Sahab’ rent the air around. Most of them were out with their mobiles and cameras trying frantically to record a last glimpse of their beloved and ever inspiring leader-teacher. Many of them were in tears.
The last journey of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam began. His mortal remains were taken on a helicopter to Guwahati in the wee hours of 28th July and from there to New Delhi by a special aircraft. Next day he was taken to Rameshwaram, his native place in Tamil Nadu. And today, the 30th July, 2015, the People’s President was finally laid to rest with full state and military honors. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ministers and top leaders of the whole country attended the funeral paying their soulful homage for the last time.
Popularity of Dr. Abdul Kalam has to be seen to be believed. Even in this farthest north eastern region of the country tributes were paid to him in almost every corner and the striking highlight is that everywhere it is the common people or the students who showed their pain at this great loss so emphatically. Yes, he has been a role model and source of inspiration for the youth to succeed in life, and his down to earth nature and incredible simplicity won millions of hearts all over. Long Live the People’s President. We pray for the eternal bliss of his noble soul.
Shillong in the meantime has been coming to terms with the reality. The state government had declared a holiday on 28th July, maybe to recover from the shock and prepare for the next course of action. There were mixed reactions all around here and in the social media. Some objected to the holiday declaration saying this was contrary to what Dr. Kalam stood for. Some found even a glory in this profoundly sad happening—a glorified death for Shillong. They posted or tweeted that the great scientist did a favour to Shillong by choosing to breathe his last here. Now, Shillong will figure prominently in Google searches and people all over the globe will come to know what Shillong is and where it is. The reason for this is simple. People here have always to contend with the nation’s colossal ignorance about the north east India and a sense of being neglected over the decades. People here struggle to come into the national mainstream not for the wrong reasons that usually include natural disasters or terrorism. Now at least, they have the best possible reason to be considered seriously—Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
About the media not having a clue to this visit the IIM sources said that Dr. Kalam came for strictly class-room lectures where no distractions could be allowed. Besides, in 2014 when he came for his usual lecture media came to know about it and the eager teacher was very upset at being disturbed in his mission. They have good reasons to block the media this time. But the loss is immense. Millions of his followers were deprived of the audio-visuals of his last lecture.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Money continues to talk. Such is the extent of the dirty dough, the immense stakes and the clout of the stakeholders inherent in the scam-stricken Indian Premier League (IPL) that even a verdict from the apex court of the country does not prove to be enough to force the richest cricket Board of the world straight away into action. It has been therefore a natural follow-up that the Supreme Court of India had to intervene to make the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to see reason, to force its president to at least step away, to appoint committees to probe into the scam and finally give a verdict that should be binding where no other authority in the country commands such ‘authority’. The two franchises under suspension are the two super brands of IPL—CSK and RR—and it is quite clear how much money-powered clout these teams and the superstar cricketers playing for them command.
Of course, since it is the Supreme Court empowered Lodha Committee there was some pressure indeed for the BCCI and the IPL to fall in line. So the BCCI-IPL Governing Council held an emergency meeting in Mumbai on Sunday, the 19th of July, 2015 to examine the ‘implications’ of the IPL Verdict. What really about the implications? Do the cricket mandarins fail to understand the implications of a somewhat plainly obvious verdict? The cricket board had to say that “BCCI respects the verdict of the Lodha Commission and will abide by their decisions, in toto” and yet they went on to say “The members recognised that there is an urgent need to understand the impact of this decision and the wider ramifications for BCCI in detail, so as to uphold the paramountcy of the game in our country.” The so-called members are so erudite and elevated that they on their own must study the points to take action as they desire! And the BCCI-IPL themselves had drafted a clause 11.3 (c) of the franchise agreement that says the agreement can be terminated if “the Franchise, any Franchise Group Company and/or any owner acts in any way which has a material adverse effect upon the reputation or standing of the League, BCCI-IPL, BCCI, the Franchise, the team (or any other team in the League) and/or the game of cricket.” They have the rule and they have the binding verdict. Why cannot they act straight away? It is the delay or the need for buying more time which is of utmost urgency for this conglomerate of vested interests. And delay it was they managed in that meeting—at least by six weeks.
The BCCI so decided to constitute a working group to study the order and the recommendations of the Lodha committee within a period of six weeks. Then the report will be submitted to the BCCI’s all-powerful Working Committee and it is supposed to take the final decision on the decision of none other than the Supreme Court. And pray who are the members of the working group? It will be chaired by IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla and will have BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur and Treasurer Aniruddh Chaudhary as members. Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly is the fourth member. BCCI's legal adviser U N Banerjee will assist the panel. It is so obviously self-contained and vested. What will they represent except the clout in the corrupt-confused Board? Ganguly does represent the players of course, but he has been getting ‘retirement’ benefits from both the BCCI and IPL. So it is extremely scary at the moment as to what ‘decision’ they will finally arrive at which may even cause disregard to the apex court verdict! It is the national cricket craze that generates all the money and this money in no time turns dirty big creating the Frankenstein of a clout. Therefore, anything is possible in this dirty business called IPL! Despite everything!
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
July 14, 2015, a very important day for Indian Cricket. On the one hand the forcibly-constituted second-string Team India has crushed Zimbabwe 3-0 in the ODI Series being played in Zimbabwe. On the other the Supreme Court appointed Justice Lodha Committee delivered a historic and ruthless verdict on the IPL Spot Fixing scam. Operation Clean-Up Indian cricket has begun with a big bang. In these pages we have always opposed the sleazy cricket in the garb of the Indian Premier League (IPL) tracking all the important developments including the Supreme Court of India coming into the picture taking on the corrupt practices both in the tournament and in the Indian cricket board, BCCI. Now the IPL is in the worst crisis ever. Now, we stand vindicated, we say now…scrap the IPL.
Sans the superstars the second-string Indian team played freely in Zimbabwe under the ‘no-choice’ skipper Ajinkya Rahane. They have built up big partnerships that the main team was found lacking in recent matches; several key batsmen hit centuries and what is important stayed on for the team’s interest that many superstars of the main team could not do; they have pulled the team out of tricky and dangerous situations especially in the first and the third one day internationals winning both matches whereas as found recently under the same situations the main team would have given up meekly; without pondering over the ability or the lack of it of the opposition they have batted, bowled and fielded with determination winning finally in style. For the first time Stuart Binny got the opportunity to showcase his all-round abilities. He was in the World Cup-2015 team, but was hardly utilized. Within a few days the new team grouped well and delivered. And what about the superstars? They forced out the ‘rest’ because they were IPL-weary. Now, most of them find that they have no IPL teams to play for.
The sensational IPL Verdict has banned two major franchises—Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR)—from the IPL for two years. The axe fell on these two teams due to their two key officials—Gurunath Meiyappan of CSK and Raj Kundra of RR—who were found guilty of being involved in heavy betting. Despite their obvious complicity no action was ever taken against them by the concerned franchisee or the BCCI. Meiyappan and Kundra are banned for life from all cricket activities and from all cricket matters relating to the BCCI. Crucial evidence in this regard was submitted by the Mudgal Committee last year.
Question marks are also on the current one-day skipper MS Dhoni who also leads the CSK as to what he disclosed or hid from the Mudgal committee. He was found to be in close coordination with Meiyappan, the CEO of the franchisee, in all matters related to CSK. The shadow of doubt on him and several other star cricketers are bound to continue till further disclosure. Three players of RR were arrested for spot fixing and with the co-owner Raj Kundra also implicated nobody in the franchisee bothered to examine or take action. This is not the end of justice being done; this is just the beginning of operation clean-up Indian cricket. More is bound to follow with the Lodha committee set to take up the corruption and lack of transparency in the BCCI next.
And what about N Srinivasan? His team gone, his company Indian Cements debarred from any business with the BCCI and his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan banned for life. However, well known for his craze for power, N Srinivasan will not step down or resign from his ICC Chairmanship or other cricket posts. Questions will be raised again on his role, but the great cricket-czar is still looking for options expressing his disappointment at the ‘unfair’ verdict. One thing is sure though, Indian Cricket cannot be the same after today.
Monday, June 29, 2015
Finally all the IPL-weary Indian cricket superstars have to be rested, especially after the full-strength Team India failed to deliver in the just concluded Bangladesh tour losing the ODI series 1-2. The rested players are ODI captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Test captain Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and spinner R Ashwin. With Dhoni not around some decisions became easier to take. Like dropping Ravindra Jadeja, bringing in Harbhajan Singh to the one day team after he made a comeback to the Test team in Bangladesh and selecting the captain for the second-string Team India for the tour of Zimbabwe starting 10th July. The tour consists of three one day internationals (ODI) and two T20 matches. This made-easy squad was announced by the BCCI national selectors in New Delhi today.
Of course, having rested all the 'worthy' cricketers there was nobody 'worthy' enough to lead the team except for Ajinkya Rahane whose 'quality' is conveniently discovered now. After the humiliating defeat in the first Test against Bangladesh this very captain-now player was dropped for the second Test. This writer criticized the move mentioning his quality as a reliable batsman in these pages. But now, with no alternative available, the same player is named captain. Well, this is always a toss between the musts and the expendables that the Indian cricket Board exercises for team selection. And mind you, the BCCI has the 'wisdom' to justify the move of a forced second-string Team India on the ground of so-called preparations for the ICC World T20-2016. Their 'young blood' argument falls flat on so many occasions, yet they continue taking guard on the same. Maybe the Lalit Modi revelations regarding three star Indian cricketers may have some influence on the decisions notwithstanding the fact that the BCCI has given them all a clean chit. With the kind of storm Lalit Modi is creating all over the country anything seems to be plausible.
Robin Uthappa, Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, Sandeep Sharma, Krn Sharma and Manoj Tiwary manage to get selected now. Now Murali Vijay too manages to come back to the team. His super form was immaterial when selection for the World Cup-2015 was made. Anyway, let us see what this team does in Zimbabwe after the tour was revived.
The Indian Squad: Ajinkya Rahane (capt), M Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Manoj Tiwary, Kedar Jadhav, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Harbhajan Singh, Axar Patel, Karn Sharma, Dhawal Kulkarni, Stuart Binny, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma.
Monday, June 22, 2015
Bangladesh have made history on the night of 21st June, 2015 at Mirpur in Dhaka. On the first International Yoga Day they have made their golden day in cricket. They have won the first ever One Day International (ODI) cricket series against mighty India. Not only won, they have outplayed, mauled and humiliated India in all departments of the game and in every cricketing way possible. Bangladesh defeated India by 6 wickets with 9 overs to spare of the 47 allotted through D/L method due to rain interruption in the second ODI against India last evening. In the first ODI they won by 79 runs thus outclassing India in the series and taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the 3-match series. For the first time the erstwhile ‘minnows’ have beaten India in two back to back ODIs. The sensational débutante of the first ODI, Mustafizur Rahman took an incredible haul of 11 wickets and became the first bowler in the world to do so in his first two one day internationals. And, Bangladesh have qualified for the ICC Champions Trophy to be played in England in 2017. What is more significant is that they have deserved this fully—displaying tremendous cricketing abilities. From here they can only go up and up in the ladder of world cricket.
Whatever chance Team India had of regrouping and giving it back to Bangladesh in this do or die encounter was nipped in the bud when Team management ‘changed’ the team. The primary reason why India lost in the first ODI was the casual and complacent approach of mainly the superstars. But the management, as usual, ‘managed’ to axe only the expendables—Ajinkya Rahane who could have been invaluable on his day and bringing in an IPL expert Ambati Rayudu; Umesh Yadav who could have been lethal with his pace and bringing in another IPL expert Dhawal Kulkarni and Mohit Sharma who could have been encouraged to find his line and length and brining in Axa Patel who perhaps had nothing to prove except being close to the Indian captain. Yet again, the superstars performed in almost the same way as before while the ‘changes’ hardly changed anything. Nobody in the management seems to be aware of the fact that Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni and to a lesser extent Rohit Sharma continue to be out of form and unpredictable.
This series calls for a lot of introspection for Indian cricket. In fact except for the bright interlude in the World Cup-2015 Team India has not been performing to its potential. It has reached the climax now. If the usual complaint of ‘too much cricket’ is to be held valid then the two-moth long IPL tournament comes into deep focus. Maybe the Indian cricketers were too tired after giving in everything for the dollars of the IPL. And for Mahendra Singh Dhoni, undoubtedly the most successful and positive Indian captain, this could finally be the end of the road as far as at least captaincy is concerned. He had already escaped from Test captaincy and nothing is clicking for him at the moment. His batting form continues to be dismal, his wicket keeping not being of top class and his captaincy is coming to be questioned most frequently. His ‘protection’ within the cricket Board also seems to be gone. However, for a cricketer of his class he should decide fast before being unceremoniously axed.
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