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Showing posts from March, 2012

Cricket: India-South Africa One-Off Wonder Derailed!

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What a pity! Team India went all the way to Johannesburg, South Africa to play just one match against the hosts. That too, a T20 cricket international or a three-hour cricket movie. But unfortunately even that little show was brutally cut short by rains. Winning the toss a still defensive Indian skipper opted to field first and his non-strike bowlers helped South Africa to post a mammoth 219/4 in allotted 20 overs. India started well and raced to 71 runs in about 8 overs when rains came down. As per the D/L method India were below the required runs and so South Africa were declared winners by 11 runs. The wonder worked ponders for India and us!
The reasons for this one-off wonder were not far to seek. This was supposed to celebrate the 150 years of India-South Africa relations. But in fact, the landmark was achieved in 2010 itself and there were celebrations too in various ways. So this must have been preserved and reserved for ‘wonderful’ celebrations!
For a change Dhoni did not…

Bizarre Happenings and Politics of Turmoil!

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From ancient times it has been a proven war strategy to try strike the enemy at it weakest point. At the moment the ruling coalition of India seems to be the common enemy thanks to all sorts of campaigns and bizarre happenings. And of course, the coalition has been at its weakest due to the number game and a series of unending scams.
If a few crucial allies withdraw support the ruling coalition of India will be reduced to minority and these allies got emboldened by the recent election results in five states of the country where Congress—the main part of the coalition—did poorly including at the most politically strategic state of Uttar Pradesh.
Opposition political parties saw another opportunity to corner the government and joined hands with the allies directly or indirectly. The state election results also indicated a possible reemergence of regional forces at the cost of the national opposition parties. The debate on center-state power equation in the federal structure of the count…

Paan Singh Tomar: Serious Bollywood Cinema With A Strong Statement!

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Paan Singh Tomar was a real-life hero of India—a great athlete specializing in Steeplechase run winning National awards for the country. He was in army service while achieving his medals during 1958-64. He was seven times national champions and also represented India in Tokyo Asian Games in 1958. His record in 3000 Steeplechase stood the test of time for nearly a decade. After retirement he returned to his native village and tried to live happily as a farmer. But eventually the pride of India turned into an outlaw and was killed by Indian police in 1981. As a great sportsman he was unheard of, but carried a big award as a most-wanted dacoit of India’s notorious Chambal Valley.
The melancholic story of this real-life hero inspired director Tigmanshu Dhulia to make this movie titled Paan Singh Tomarthat released all over India on March 2, 2012. There is no dearth of dacoit-genre films in India, but Dhulia opted for the serious kind of cinema with a strong statement. Powerful story-tell…

Movie 'Kahaani': A Riveting Suspense Flick!

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Suspense films are a rare genre in India. You can very easily count such films since the sixties to the present. Maybe genuine suspense plots do not fit into the mass-entertainment formula mostly adopted by mainstream Hindi cinema called Bollywood. Efforts have been made over time to make such movies, but most often elements of suspense get submerged and totally neutralized in the flood of song-dance sequences, overpopulated action scenes and compulsorily loud comedy track. 
Kahaani (The Story), directed and co-produced by Sujoy Ghosh, successfully emerges as a genuine suspense flick keeping you engrossed and guessing till the very end. Released on March 9, 2012 the movie had earned wide critical acclaim and also the super hit status as a Bollywood movie. 
In a female-oriented plot Vidya Balan plays the role of the protagonist Vidya Baghchi (pronounced as 'Bidya' in Bengali), a software engineer in an advanced stage of pregnancy who lands in Kolkata from London in search of her…

Asia Cup Cricket: Bangladesh Win Hearts, Miss History By Two Runs!

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Bangladesh broke the hearts of thousands of fans when they failed to reach the target of 237 runs set by Pakistan by just 3 runs at the Asia Cup-2012 final played at Mirpur, Dhaka today. It was a thriller down to the last ball bowled. Bangladesh had Pakistan in a spot for most part of the match, but chasing in a big Final watched by home crowds pressure started building up along with the asking rate and Pakistan managed to have better nerves to win their second Asia Cup title.
Bangladesh won the toss and elected to field first as had been their preference throughout this tournament. Pakistan had a horrible start and continued to struggle losing wickets on regular intervals on a slowish pitch. Shahid Afridi came good when the team needed him most and somewhat rescued Pakistan from a tottering 133/6 in the 35th over to 178 in the 42nd over. Sarfraz Ahmed scored the highest individual score of 46 for remaining unbeaten. Crucial runs were given away by Bangladesh after the Pakistan inning…

Asia Cup Cricket: Pakistan-Bangladesh Final Tomorrow!

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Even the historic feat of Sachin Tendulkar failed to inspire the Indian cricket team. Instead of celebrating the glorious moment with a win Team India gave away the match to Bangladesh after posting an imposing total of 289. Aiming for the perfect yorkers Indian bowlers were only raining full tosses which helped Bangladesh tremendously in the death overs. This loss became India's costliest mistake finally leading to the team’s ouster from Asia Cup-2012. In fact losing to Bangladesh, still termed as ‘minnows’, has a legacy. In World Cup Cricket-2007 India lost to them in a group match which led eventually to India’s elimination from the Super Eight stage.
Virat Kohli’s heroics add to the ironies. He played like someone possessed on two occasions. First in the CB Series played recently in Australia when faced with a do or die situation Team India had to win against Sri Lanka with a bonus point which they did thanks to Virat Kohli, Gambhir and Raina. Same situation arose in Asia Cup w…

Cricket: Yuvraj Singh Wins Battle Against Cancer!

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Dashing Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh has just won the most challenging match of his life—his battle against cancer. He had been suffering from mediastinal seminoma--a rare germ cell cancer in his left lung maybe from the time of the World Cup-2011 when he had bouts of coughing and vomiting even while in action. The brave soldier never showed his pain but went ahead fighting for his nation. His exemplary efforts contributed significantly towards India becoming the World Champions and him being crowned with the Man of the Series award.
Yuvraj had been officially discharged from a hospital in Indianapolis, USA where he successfully completed the three cycles of chemotherapy. Doctors said that he had earned the ‘I will never return’ tag and could come back to normalcy within the next two months. Chemotherapy did not affect his liver and kidney adversely and these organs remained robust which was so important for a normal cricketing life, the doctors added.
Yuvraj tweeted his thanks t…

Asia Cup Cricket: 'Virat' Victory Over Pakistan!

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Prior to the Blockbuster there was a downpour last night followed a mild earthquake today morning in Dhaka! Maybe Nature too could not help getting agitated for the titanic clash between the eternal rivals! 
Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first. Right from the start openers Hafeez and Jamshed looked confident and went on with clinical execution. They scored runs at will maintaining a high run-rate throughout. The first hundred run partnership was achieved in over no.18 and then double-hundred partnership in as early as the 33rd over. Both them helped themselves with worthy tons--Jamshed making his maiden hundred (112) and Hafeez made 105. Their getting out in quick succession hardly made any difference to the scoring momentum and a total in excess of 350 looked imminently possible. Finally a target of 330 was set for Team India as Pakistan made 229/6 in fifty overs. 
Lack of depth in Indian bowling was sorely visible one more time. Pravin Kumar became the most expensive with a…

Silence Of The Lamps!

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Just remembered one very old joke that was doing its rounds in our childhood days. Immensely liked it those times and never forgot it till today! So why not put it out here for all of you! Though many of you may already know it or might have disliked it and for many more it could be clichéd. But no harm done in view of the ever building tension and suspense for the India-Pakistan Asia Cup encounter this Super Sunday.
Two drunks were having a heated debate under a street lamp quite late in the night. One said one thing and the other denied it vehemently. “See how beautiful the bright shining sun looks!” “Are you crazy buddy? This is the most beautiful blessed full moon I have ever witnessed!” ‘It’s indeed the sun!’ and ‘No, this is the moon!’ rent the still night air in the lonely street and the noise was getting louder all the time. At that moment a third drunk happened to pass by. The two debaters decided to take the third opinion to settle the issue. “Hey pal, just a minute ple…

Asia Cup Cricket: Sachin Tendulkar Creates History And Bangladesh Win A Cracker!

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Finally it had to be in Bangladesh and against Bangladesh. Coincidentally it was his first ever century against Bangladesh in one-day cricket after scoring in multiples against all cricket playing nations. As if he had reserved Bangladesh for this historical moment and grateful Bangladesh reciprocated in an incredible manner!
Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar finally accomplished the feat of the hundredth hundred in the 4th one-day international of the Asia Cup at Mirpur, Dhaka today. Opening the Indian innings he played with determination staying at the crease almost the whole of the innings and scored 114 runs off 147 balls. Now he has 51 Test and 49 one-day cricket centuries apart from being the first in many other records. Hailed as the second greatest batsman of world cricket after Don Bradman, Tendulkar achieved this after an agonizing gap of almost a year or since the World Cup-2011.
Media hype for the hundredth international hundred put lot of pressure on him maybe thus p…

Politics of Coalition and Contradictions!

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The ruling coalition of India led by the Congress has been moving from crisis to crisis for more than two years now. Blackmailed and stalemated at every step of its operations by the allies and the opposition parties. After Congress did poorly in three of five states where Assembly elections took place February-March, 2012 the worst was expected. Now, with the start of the Budget session of the Indian Parliament from12th Marchthe worst fears seemed to have been confirmed.
Political parties join a coalition for grabbing the dictating power and a few ministerial berths. Being responsible ministers of the government they do not still bother to work for it, but rather think of ways to destroy it from within. The opposition parties as ever look for opportunities to ally with the ‘allies’ to corner the government, stall its functions and even to dethrone it so that they have a chance to come to power in mid-term polls. For a weak coalition withdrawal of even a single ally with only a few se…

Finally It Was An Easy Victory For India Over Sri Lanka!

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Gautam Gambhir who missed centuries on at least two occasions in the recent Australian tour made exactly 100. Virat Kohli continuing from his brilliant match-winning knock of 133 runs in the last league tie against Sri Lanka at Hobart hit another super ton. Between the two they had a 200 runs plus partnership helping India post a big total of 304. Only Sachin Tendulkar looking for his hundredth ton missed again falling cheaply and tragically to a full toss. The second match of the Asia Cup today between India and Sri Lanka in Dhaka, Bangladesh posed to be a humdinger, but finally gave a clear verdict.  
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to field first--maybe due to the Hobart experience. Malinga was also not in the side again maybe due to the drubbing he got from the Indian batsmen, particularly Kohli. The Indian innings started on a steady note thanks to some tight Sri Lankan bowling. In the sixth over with India's score at 19 runs Tendulkar fell to Lakmal caught by skipper Jay…

Asia Cup Cricket Begins! India Vs Sri Lanka Tomorrow!

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The four-nation Asia Cup for one-day internationals began on March 11, 2012 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In the inaugural match host Bangladesh met Pakistan. It was a thriller to kick off the tournament with both teams undergoing the extreme highs and lows of performance and swinging fortunes. 
Pakistan looked to dominate at one stage with 135 for no loss, but Bangladesh reduced them to a hopeless 198 for 7. Then, Pakistan bowler Umar Gul played a brilliant cameo of 39 to lift the team to a challenging 262 for 8 in fifty overs. Bangladesh decided to give a healthy chase as they always prefer chasing. 
But when after a relatively good start Bangladesh got reduced to 135 for 5 the old script was about to be written. Then again, Shakib Al Hasan had other ideas and partnering with Razzak brought the team within striking distance of victory with only 39 runs needed off 40 balls and five wickets still remaining. But experienced Pakistan had the last high with Umar Gul as a bowler now …

The Wall of Indian Cricket Retreats! Joy of Hindi Cinema Vanishes!

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Fondly called the ‘Wall’ or ‘Mr. Dependable’ Rahul Dravid retired from international and first class cricket on Friday, the 9th March, 2012. Early morning the same day ‘Joy’ Mukherjee of Hindi Cinema (not called Bollywood in his time) passed away at a Mumbai hospital. These two events are not linked, but may impact a large mutually inclusive community to which this writer belongs.
The news was doing the rounds almost the whole day on Thursday that Rahul Dravid had called a press conference at noon the next day. Almost all in media knew what it would be about and the preparations began in earnest.
Rahul Dravid, the consistently No.3 batsman in India’s test matches and in one-day internationals too to a large extent, announced his retirement at a press conference in Bangalore around noon. The end of an era.
For the last 16 years we had been watching him, witnessing him and adoring him in all of India’s cricket matches here or abroad. We always looked to him for guiding India—first to …

Honest Cop Murdered by Mining Mafia!

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Narendra Kumar Singh, a young officer of the elite Indian Police Service (IPS—2009 batch), was mowed down by trolley laden with stones in Morena district of Madhya Pradesh on Thursday. An honest and upright officer, Narendra Kumar was trying to stop the trolley, allegedly belonging to the mining mafia, for carrying stones illegally.
He was posted as a sub-divisional police officer in that district just about two months ago. The area has been notorious for illegal mining activities and Narendra had been very active taking the initiative and conducting checks, seizures and arrests round the clock. Acting on a tip-off that day he along with his driver and security guard intercepted the trolley ordering it to stop. The vehicle did not stop and ran him over. He was rushed to the nearby hospital and was announced brought dead. A horrific price of honesty young Narendra had to pay.
His distraught father while taking pride in his son’s crusade against criminals asked some very crucial quest…

Australia Winners of CB Tri-Series ODI Cricket!

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Australia emerged winners of the Commonwealth Bank Tri-Series ODI cricket defeating Sri Lanka by 16 runs in another low-scoring thriller today at the Adelaide Oval. Australia won the best-of-three finals 2-1.

Sri Lanka missed a tremendous opportunity today. They bowled out the mighty Australians for just 231 and the total could have been less than 200 if Sri Lanka capitalized on the chances given on the field. Their fielding was not at all the quality they are used to normally and they also missed a few crucial catches. Strike bowler Lasith Malinga was more of a liability today giving away too many runs without taking a single wicket. Maybe he has been still reeling under the hammering given by India in their last league match which Sri Lanka lost after amassing 321 runs. Even then, the target of 232 was a modest one, but the pressure of a big final was always there. It has been observed in the last few matches of the CB Series that teams found huge totals harder to defend and low one…