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Cricket: Should The Toss Be Tossed Away?

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Although the practice of tossing the coin before a cricket Test match by the two captains is as ancient as the game, in recent times we have seen a huge lot of cases where the toss winning team puts the losing team at distinct disadvantages, including an evolving negative mindset. In some cricket playing nations like England, Australia, the West Indies and New Zealand where the focus is on grooming fast bowlers pitches with grass are prepared and once the host team wins the toss in a day match they put the opposition into bat, particularly if the morning is cloudy apart from the moisture fresh on the grass, and obviously the visiting team suffers not at all due to their fault or their weaknesses. The reverse of this is true in countries, particularly India or Sri Lanka, where the focus is always on the spinners, grassless slower-flat pitches are prepared and the toss-winning team naturally bats first, because in most cases the pitch begins to turn dangerously from the 3 rd or the 4 th

T20 World Cup: India Gone With The Windy Kiwis As They Clean Up The Afghani Chicken Dish!

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The most eagerly awaited match between New Zealand and Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi today came as an anti-climax for millions of Indian fans as the Kiwis made mincemeat of the Afghans   winning by 8 wickets, thus eliminating India from the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup-2021. This super Sunday in terms of viewership turned out to be a spoilsport the same as the previous two ‘super’ Sundays for the hugely disappointed fans. Realistically speaking, it was quite unreasonable to expect a team that was demolished by India just three days back to bounce back and defeat a team that has been very dominant in international cricket for the last few years. Afghanistan won the toss and reverted to their original tactic of batting first. When asked about the reversal of decision captain Nabi said that that evening in the match against India the dew was a factor which actually was not ultimately, but today’s  being a day match with a good batting surface and three Afghan spinners the decision was made. However

T20 World Cup: Australia Edge Out South Africa On Better Net Run-Rate To Enter Semi Final In Group-1, India Await The Afghani Verdict!

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Australia beat the West Indies by 8 wickets and ensuring a better net run-rate ousted South Africa even as the latter beat England, ending their unbeaten streak. In the crucial last match in Group-1 for Australia in Abu Dhabi today, the defending Champions West Indies, for whom the match was of no consequence after being eliminated owing to their loss against the already-ousted Sri Lanka, came out with the right intentions of playing for respect put into bat; but after a few lusty shots by Gayle the same old story unfolded as three wickets fell in quick succession. Chris Gayle, the oldest playing international cricketer at 42 years of age, made only 15 in probably his last appearance in international cricket. A partnership promised to grow between Evin Lewis and Hetmyer, but Lewis getting out for 29 at the team score of 70 ended that. A partnership again seemed to bloom between Pollard and Bravo, but it happened to be only a brief one. Captain Pollard (44), this time, stuck on and help

WHO Approves India-Made Covaxin On The Eve Of Diwali!

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Finally, the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of the World Health Organization (WHO) has given its approval to fully India-made Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin for Emergency Use Listing (EUL) today. The approval comes after a crucial meeting held on 26 th October 2021 where the TAG had asked Bharat Biotech for some additional information and the WHO indicated its approval once that piece of information was received (source: The Indian Express report). The EUL is set to clear the way for listing of Covaxin by more and more foreign countries easing the overseas travel restrictions being faced by Indian students and other travellers. The EUL is also set to help India to supply the vaccine doses to underdeveloped and poor countries through the WHO COVAX programme, depending of course on the production which has so far been quite low compared to Covishield in the Indian vaccination drive since January 2021.   This comes as a Diwali gift considering the long del

T20 World Cup: England and Pakistan Enter Semi Finals!

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England and Pakistan, the unbeaten teams so far in Group-1 and Group-2 respectively, have earned 8 points each with one match each remaining and have sealed their places in the semi-finals. England is probably the best team of the tournament defeating all tough rivals easily and busting the myth that teams winning the toss and bowling first go on to win the matches which, in fact, have been a trend in the sluggish pitches and the dew factor later in the night at Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai. However, England in particular and also Pakistan have proved that any good team can always win under any circumstances. It had been really tough for England to bat first against Sri Lanka, particularly handling the Lankan good spinners; but their in-form batsmen took up the   challenge and Buttler went on to hit the first century of the tournament remaining unbeaten thus helping the team to put up a healthy total of 163 runs. And then, their bowlers and fieldsmen delivered as in all previous matche

Schools Are Reopening Even As The Rollout Of Vaccines For Kids Is Not In Sight!

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Schools have reopened in several states of India, namely Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa and most of the north-western states, last month or earlier; in the capital of the nation—Delhi, Kerala and in Tamil Nadu schools are being started from today; and most other states including West Bengal have preferred to reopen after the Diwali festival at different dates. The decisions of the reopening have been taken at various times in various states in the last few months, but the state governments concerned were hesitant due to mostly the objections of parents, the lack of vaccines for kids and the fluctuating numbers of daily infections. However, with the capital Delhi schools operating from today, we are witnessing scenes of kids going back to schools after nearly 19 months. Of course, with various conditions and restrictions attached. Many of  the parents are still not convinced which gets accentuated by the fact vaccination for kids is yet to start despite ZyCov-D, the first ever DNA-based ne

T20 World Cup: New Zealand Crush India As If Fulfilling The Hot Favorites’ Death Wish!

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For the second time in a row India captain Virat Kohli lost the toss, this time to New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and the latter unhesitatingly decided bowl first. In Dubai, the venue of this crucial encounter, in all the six matches played so far the chasing teams have won all the time. If that was not enough Kohli took Ishan Kishan in place of a supposedly injured Suryakumar Yadav and allowed him to open which was somewhat justified as left-right combination. But the biggest shocker came when Rohit Sharma, one of the most successful openers for India in all the formats of cricket, did not come in to open. As I mentioned in an earlier post the dropping of a sound opener Shikhar Dhawan who performed very well in the IPL-2021 was a huge mistake and his absence is now felt at every moment apart from disturbing the right-left combination. Then, the non-bowling, the supposedly non-fit Hardik Pandya still remained in the team. The team lost its balance completely and that effectively e

Movie Dybbuk: A Standard Indian Horror Flick With An Interesting Plot!

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The latest Hindi movie to premier on Amazon Prime Video, on 29 th October 2021 to be exact, is titled Dybbuk directed by Jay K who also directed the original Malayalam movie Ezra (2017) and started shooting this Hindi remake in 2019 and due to the pandemic could not plan a theatrical release, selling the rights to Amazon and premiered as an Amazon Original Movie. It is a horror movie with some elements of suspense and an interesting plot. Perhaps for photographic reasons the shooting was done in Mauritius apart from a little scene in Mumbai. The leads are Emraan Hashmi and Nikita Dutta. The film has all the elements of a horror flick like an overly loud background score, jump-cut scares, moving figures behind your back, an ugly face in the mirror or in the almirah and quite a few scary scenes that turn to be humorous inadvertently. However, the movie a bit better fare than the traditional Ramsay Brothers type or the Vikram Bhatt kind of horror thanks to its interesting plot involvi

T20 World Cup: Who Will Be The Top Two Teams In Group-2?

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Pakistan have almost sealed their berth in the semi-finals as probably the top team in Group-2 winning three out of three matches and notching up 6 points so far. What is more significant is the fact that Pakistan have crossed the main hurdles by defeating the toughest opponents in the group, namely India, New Zealand and Afghanistan. Now they have only two teams to overcome, considered to be weaker rivals. Of course, Namibia, creating another historic chapter by winning their first ever Super-stage match against Scotland, and Scotland are not pushovers. However, considering the roaring form Pakistan are in now winning against those two teams is not likely to be very tough, and in that scenario they will have 10 points—the maximum any team can manage in the group. The Pakistan team has arguably the best bowling attack of the tournament—combining pace and spin—and a very balanced team with someone up or down the line to finish the game. Captain Babar and wicket-keeper batsman Rizwan hav

The COVID-19 Masking Mosaic!

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The citizens of Planet Earth have been wearing masks for nearly two years now or rather have been forced to do that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic that seems to be extremely reluctant to help usher in the much-awaited unmasking of the Homo sapiens. There have been varying degrees of protests or complaints or deemed-hazards of wearing masks continuously. In a way the citizens are showing signs of an acute mask-fatigue which is actually very unfair to even hint at in view of the pandemic-fatigue experienced by the tirelessly working medical fraternity—particularly during the peak periods like the disastrous Second Wave in India. However, the angle of the citizens cannot be wished away, because this is very real; in some cases the mask-fatigue leading to huge protest marches/uprisings in the US or in some European countries like Germany. Therefore, it becomes our noble duty to analyze the factors while, of course, keeping our mask-sincerity securely in place.  All around us we’ve been