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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Zealand Seal ODI Series At 3-0, India Suffer Second Consecutive Overseas Drubbing!

Ross Taylor

Overseas woes drown India as New Zealand won the one-day international (ODI) cricket Series overpowering a hapless Team India in the 4th ODI match by 7 wickets with 11 balls to spare in Hamilton today.  The Kiwis take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match Series reducing the last match to be played in Wellington on 31st January to only an academic interest. Team India managed to do absolutely nothing so far in its Tour of New Zealand except for that inexplicable tie in the third ODI in Auckland on 25th January. That match did not fit into the category of an epic encounter, because surprising lapses and worrisome attitudes somehow took the match to a tie. The Kiwis should have won the Series with ease then and there, and when India finally needed two runs off the last ball Ravindra Jadeja just did not seem to be interested in taking the second run. For India there was a record in Indian ODI cricketing history as their 6th , 7th and 8th (Dhoni-Jadeja-Ashwin) batsmen scored a half century each. Today Dhoni completed his third consecutive half century and Jadeja his second. Unfortunately, Ashwin did not have a chance to bat. After a very poor and sluggish start India finally managed 278/5, virtually wasting five batsmen who could not come out to bat. With consistent centuries from the Kiwi batsmen in every match, today Ross Taylor played the match winning innings of 112 not out and was declared the deserving player of the match.  If that weird tie kept the Series still alive today’s match killed it all—India meekly surrendering the chance of fighting back and leveling the Series. 

Team India seemed to have lost all sanity. After continuing toss wins Dhoni today finally decided to bat first, but at the same time dropped their best attacking opener Shikhar Dhawan who showed some promise in the last encounter and also the best attacking middle-order batsmen Suresh Raina who could have proved his worth in the first positive gesture by his captain even after a series on non-effective scores. Besides, these two batsmen were part of the team that at least saved the last match. Dhoni made a positive decision, but robbed his team of getting benefited from that. His tactics were also questionable as he took off both his spinners at a crucial juncture and allowed New Zealand to plunder runs in gay abandon. Virat Kohli has been terrific in this Series, but he was never an opener. All customary positions of all Indian batsmen were disturbed by the captain’s whims and fancies. The Scorecard: 

In South Africa 2-0 defeat, in New Zealand 3-0 defeat so far. Imagine, a team that started its overseas venture with six consecutive ODI Series triumphs lost it all for all the obvious reasons which tormented the team over decades. The two-match Test Series starts on 6th February. Maybe with its five-day specialists Team India still has a chance which is corroborated by the fact that they nearly won the first Test against South Africa before surrendering.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New Zealand Lead 2-0 In ODI Series, India Lose No.1Rank!

New Zealand beat India by 15 runs on Duckworth/Lewis method in the rain-interrupted second one day international (ODI) match in Hamilton today delivering one more professional performance in all areas of batting, fielding and bowling. India, by virtue of this fourth consecutive ODI defeat, lose the NO.1 ODI ranking that they enjoyed since January, 2013. Australia thunders back to No.1 position after they lost it in the beginning of 2012. 

There is not much to write home about this match. It followed almost the same pattern, spirit or the lack of it as far as India is concerned and the performances except, of course, for the several rain interruptions that reduced the match to a 42-over affair. Dhoni again won the toss, and again due to lack of faith in his batsmen or due to fear of the short and bouncing stuff decided to hand over the good batting opportunity to New Zealand, Again, Anderson, the blossoming all-rounder, was instrumental in plundering 100 runs in the last 8 overs. This time Williamson scored the highest individual knock of 77 runs with useful contributions from Guptil and Taylor. For India Kohli had to be the key again with the Indian highest of 78 runs with captain Dhoni managing a half century and other batsmen failing or getting on again. The Indian bowlers were lackluster, again. Shami took three wickets, but hardly controlling the free-style New Zealand scoring. 

Overseas woes continue for India. New Zealand lead the five-match ODI Series 2-0 now. India is facing the uphill task of fighting back. What they desperately need is regrouping in all areas of activity and giving it back as a team. At the moment that possibility looks bleak. Like the Arving Kejriwal flop show back home Team India’s flop show abroad continues. The Scorecard:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

New Zealand Beat India In Napier ODI, Brilliant Virat Ton Goes In Vain!

Mitchell McClenaghan In Fury! 
After losing both the ODI and Test Series in South Africa Indian batsmen today in the first one-day-international (ODI) against New Zealand in Napier had a great chance to reverse their poor overseas cricket trend, but they failed miserably despite a brilliant hundred by Virat Kohli (123 in 111 balls) as New Zealand beat India by 24 runs. As is usual for Indian ovseseas cricket the Indian Tour of New Zealand started with a defeat. Again, it is more of a story of the Indian batsmen not able to negotiate short balls and bouncers with four of the top batsmen failing due to sheer pace. Even then, reduced to 129 for 4 in the 29th over chasing a daunting target of 293, Kohli and Dhoni (40 off 46 balls-the second highest individual score for India) built a fast-paced partnership bringing India within sight of victory, but a quick fall of three wickets sealed an exciting New Zealand victory. Possibly it is the same fear of the short stuff that made Indian captain MS Dhoni give New Zealand the first chance of batting on a good track after winning the toss. The contrast to Indian batting is more striking when we see that New Zealand tailenders CJ Anderson and L Ronchi put together 98 runs in just 58 balls between themselves taking New Zealand to an eventually winning total. CJ Anderson went on to take two crucial Indian wickets to prove his credentials as an emerging all-rounder. MJ McClenaghan took 4 wickets including a burst of three quick ones to take his team to a great victory.

Most of the Indian bowlers were expensive though Mohammed Shami put pressure on the hosts by taking the first two wickets pretty quick. In fact India managed to slow down New Zealand most of the times when the hosts threatened to run away with the match. However, no bowler could prevent the destructive Anderson-Ronchi duo hitting sixes and fours at will taking the score to 292/7 after fifty overs. The two Indian spinners Ashwin and Jadeja gave away more than hundred runs between themselves for just one scalp making you wonder why two spinners were actually selected for the match. The Scorecard:

New Zealand lead the five-match ODI Series 1-0 at the moment. It will take a huge effort from India to come up and fight back. Of course, there is ample time left for regrouping. After the loss MS Dhoni admitted it to be a batting failure and stressed on the need of having long partnership. Team India must also try capitalising on superlative efforts by players like Virat Kohli. It is extremely depressing that Kohli got the rare misfortune of scoring a brilliant century and his team losing which never happened in his last 12 of his 18 ODI hundreds. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Darbari Politics: Do Not Go Overboard, Mr. Kejriwal!

Emperors or Kings of ancient and medieval India used to have their ‘darbar’ or ‘courts’ to hear and address the subjects’ problems. These autocratic monarchs had full authority to decide action or punishment on the spot and nobody dared question the verdicts. However, modern Indian democracy is much more different, and Arvind Kejriwal’s brand of ‘common man rule’ is the extreme contrast with everybody having the right to ask, question or contest. Besides, Indian mob behavior is only too predictably well known. In an almost unmanageably overpopulated country plagued by unemployment and inflation the huge crowds at the employment exchanges, freebie events and public transport stations are only to be seen to be believed. And then the ‘me first’ mentality has been a constant witness to innumerable stampedes at religious places, fatal road accidents and huge traffic snarls. Having a Chief Minister within a touching distance you can lucidly imagine how desperately the crowd would behave. Therefore, the common man’s Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal’s decision or promise to have ‘janta darbar’ or ‘people’s court’ to hear and redress problems on the spot was fraught with dangers from the start. Yesterday on Saturday, the utter chaos of his first attempt of ‘janta darbar’ proved the point beyond doubt. He had to escape from the desperate ‘janta’ by canceling the hearing and had to apologize later expressing his fear of ‘being crushed by the crowd otherwise’. However, he stuck to his promise saying that next time suitable arrangements would be in place. Alas!

As per his most important anti-corruption agenda-related promise Arvind Kejriwal launched the Corruption Helpline in Delhi on Wednesday, 8th of January and in the first three days it received nearly 15,000 complaints. So far so very good. Normally, a Helpline is supposed to ‘help’ the callers or complainants and not ask/solicit their help. But this Helpline demands the complainants to execute a sting thus providing crucial ‘evidence’ against the ‘guilty’ parties to the government. Now, how a complainant is supposed to do a sting is left to the imagination of the unspecified. Cynics would say that this compulsion of doing a sting is set to initiate another corruption racket with complainants trying to hire ‘resourceful’ professionals for the job at minimum cost implying a chain of bargaining or influence, not to say about how the stressed police or the overburdened courts are going to view or review such precious sting ‘evidence’ eventually. The inherent dangers involved in this system are well imaginable. Fighting corruption in India is extremely difficult and therefore the way to fight it must be foolproof. Sticking to his promise Kejriwal on Friday replaced the normal number with a friendlier four-digit number, which is 1031. Alas!

Considering the tremendous euphoria and hope all over the country following Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) coming to power in Delhi with big shots from almost all fields including industry, IT, electronic media and the arts joining the AAP fold, Arvind Kejriwal must tread very carefully controlling his populism and fulfillment of election agenda impulses, and not to go overboard. He also must understand that the big and established political parties are waiting patiently for a huge AAP mistake so as to expose the ‘common man rule’. They would be too overjoyed if they get a chance to expose before the General Elections in April-May, 2014.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Humor In Corruption: Speed Money And The Honesty Dilemma!

Somewhere in India.  In a small nondescript town two friends are sorting out issues. 
Friend 1: “Hi buddy! ...You seem to be in a bit of a worry. What happened?” 

Friend 2: “Well, a debate is raging within me…You know I told you about my land settlement issue. Job is almost done except for one last document. And the concerned official is asking for ‘speed’ money to expedite it quickly…”

Friend 1: Ha! Speed money? The legalized term for a plain simple bribe? 

Friend 2: “I don’t really know. People nowadays hardly have enough time for odd jobs. But these have to be done too. I’m told people readily pay ‘speed’ money to save precious time. …Anyway, my predicament is not actually that. Something else is disturbing me…”

Friend 1: “You mean to say you are ready to pay bribes! How could you be so immune to the anti-corruption wave going on around?” 

Friend 2: “How do I matter? Meaning how do I solve the problem by my so extremely personal example? I need to close this chapter quickly for my own benefit. …And what do you see? Arvind Kejriwal has become the Chief Minister in no other place than the capital of our country. But what happens? People are still brazenly paying and accepting bribes there. You need a news channel sting to bring it to the government. You see, like all bad elements in our blood such as cholesterol or creatinine ‘corruption’ too runs in the Indian veins.”

Friend 1: “If everybody thinks like you what changes can you expect in this god forsaken country! ...Anyway, tell me your real problem.” 

Friend 2: “Okay, I pay the speed money…bribe… for the job. Now I’d expect the job to be done quickly as assumed. But would they be loyal enough to do that? I mean if they just pocket the money and do nothing!” 

Friend 1: “Ha! Ha! Ha! Trust the corrupt? No my friend, you cannot even expect the minimal ‘honesty’ in corruption in this…whatever country! Well, if you include bribe-takers in the larger tribe of criminals, and rightly so, then criminals need to show some sort of ‘honesty’ too in their dealings or crimes. But no, but they don’t care…you must have seen in so many Bollywood movies how one member of a gang finally eliminates his/her ‘comrades’ or ‘partners’ or ‘inseparable friends’ to run away with the loot!” 

Friend 2: “Yes, that is why…I am unable to decide what to do…”

Friend 1: “But why should you join the ‘criminals’ by being a bribe-giver? Why at all? Say a loud NO to bribes and decide once and for all. …Wait for your job to be done in the normal course.”

Friday, January 3, 2014

Politics Of Corruption: Common Man Rule In Delhi Extended As AAP Wins Trust Vote!

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal won the trust motion in Delhi Assembly on Thursday, January 2, 2014 on a voice vote, 37 in favor and 32 against. After an eventful day on the floor of the house Congress maintained its promise of outside support and with its 8 members (7 voted) ensured an AAP victory. One additional vote came from the lone Janata Dal-United member and the independent member making the mathematics clear—AAP (28) +Congress (7) +JD-U (1) + Ind.(1)=37. The main national opposition BJP had been objecting from the beginning for clear reasons—that being the single largest party in the assembly they could not or rather did not form the government; that it always maintained AAP as being opportunistic or immoral for obtaining support from the very political party (Congress) which they identified with corruption and became a political entity fighting tooth and nail against it from Anna Hazare days and that when Congress is on one side the traditional rival BJP cannot but oppose, additionally because the future of their Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi depends on how effectively they carry on their non-stop diatribe against Congress or Corruption. At the moment BJP does not seem to have any other election strategy.

In an unprecedented anti-corruption wave that changed the politics in the capital of the country AAP, in its first political venture, became the second largest party in Delhi Assembly Elections. With outside support from Congress and emboldened by a public referendum favoring formation an AAP government Arvind Kejriwal, the quintessential common man, was sworn in as the youngest Chief Minister of Delhi on 28th December, 2013. It seemed like a scene straight out of a Bollywood blockbuster with the struggling hero finally in power maybe for a day or few more. However, now it turns out to be more real than reel. The General Elections being just round the corner and the anti-corruption movement capturing public attention Congress could ill-afford go against AAP. The party had already got the anti-corruption Lokpal Bill passed by befriending a desolate Anna Hazare and later its high command had forced the Maharashtra Government to review the Adarsh Report earlier rejected in Nagpur Session of Maharashtra Legislature. In fact, on the same day the Maharashtra Cabinet has partially accepted the Report promising legal action against the guilty officers, but failing to find any criminality involved against the six political leaders implicated by the Judicial Commission on Adarsh. The Opposition led by BJP is far from happy and is demanding a special session of the legislature. Yes, BJP too has to be against corruption, but it cannot afford to ally with Congress except for a 'larger' Lokpal Bill and also cannot afford not to allow Yeddurappa, the corruption personified of Karnataka, come back into the party. Well, the kind of corruption-compulsions doing rounds in political circles of the country! For the Congress the problem is corruption scams keep on unfolding so fast for them that by the time they take care of one more lurk round the corner.

The Common Man seems to be moving from strength to strength at the moment and why not. Honest and transparent governance has been a distant dream and now it is being realized in the capital of the country. Arvind Kejriwal broke away from Anna Hazare to enter politics with the aim of cleaning the system from within, and his party's chosen election symbol is also the broom. The Indian citizens have solid good reasons to be optimistic. The Common Kejriwal Man Government has already put an end to the rampant VIP culture by refusing to travel by official cars or to put on the red beacons. It has also fulfilled two major election promises, namely supplying about 700 liters of free water and reducing electricity rates by half for Delhi commoners. The only caution AAP needs is not to get bowled over by populist agenda and try hard on good, economically sensible and efficient governance apart from being honest, simple and straight forward.

In Hindi Aam Aadmi means ‘common man’, and AAP means ‘You (respectfully)’. Therefore, it is basically ‘AAP KI SARKAR’ Or ‘YOUR GOVERNMENT’.  No way for any complaints, the common man can only feel happy about it and hope AAP to spread far and wide in whole of India. Bigger and established political parties better fall in line. 
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