November 29, 2009

Preserving pace's space

November 29, 2009 Posted by Vijay No comments
When was the last time India had a bowler bowling at over 145 kph ? Oh well, recent memory might serve up Ishant Sharma. But, rarely has he touched 145 kph. He was effective more out of his height and the bounce he extracted. So then, who else ? Zaheer Khan when he initially burst on the scene was almost always in the 140 kph mark. Munaf Patel too clicked the high 140s. Even Agarkar used to clock the mid 140s until few years back. Well, these instances were not even spanning one season, forget more than a year. All of these bowlers are still playing active international cricket for India, but none of them possess the pace to trouble batsmen, even on foreign soil.

The recent decline in Ishant Sharma's form is hardly surprising. Within a month of a famous spell in Perth against Ponting, he was offered nearly a million dollars for Kolkata Knight Riders. Irfan Pathan is a similar story, when he burst on the international scene in Australia in 2004. He has become a part of distant memory of the selectors and the spectators alike. Unlike Ishant, his batting abilities helped elongate his struggle for over 4 years. Its quite remarkable that these supposedly quick pacers invariably lose steam within a season of international cricket.

No ease with Chinese

November 29, 2009 Posted by Vijay , No comments
The past few months has seen some unusual posturing  by India on the international stage, especially against China. There are a lot of factors backing India's new found confidence. India has come out largely unscathed from the economic recession, posting a strong growth of over 6% thus far in the preceding quarters. That the Indian prime minister, was hosted by Obama for his presidency's first state visit is testament to India's growing stature.Issues, which plague India quite often, have not subsided though. Drought due to a delayed monsoon, and then the monsoon itself unleashing its fury, has befuddled farmers and the government alike. Inflation which was in the negative territory after the government stimulus is on the rise and food prices are already shooting through the roof. Issues which, by design or ignorance have left a blemish in an otherwise healthy growth scenario.

Unfazed by these domestic issues, India has sent out a slew of strong messages to China. Even at the White House during his visit a week ago, Manmohan Singh, though unprovoked, minced no words in questioning China's human rights record, while conceding China's far superior growth rate. Earlier, the Indian establishment expressed its displeasure in no uncertain terms, on the Sino US statement of China having a role in South Asian matters. India clearly conveyed that no country needed to play mediator in Indo-Pak disputes. Both China and US issued clarifying statements, allaying Indian concerns of external mediation.

Using its strong growth story,  India seems to be asserting more against China's recent posturing at the border areas in Sikkim, Arunachal and Ladakh. Frequent incursion related incidents had raised eyebrows on the Indian government's inaction. India now, through its own diplomatic measures has sent a strong signal back to Beijing. In the past few months, China has been trying to rake up its claims on Arunachal Pradesh repeatedly. By conducting peaceful and successful elections with a high voter turnout India sent out the apt signal of what its citizens want. On top of this, India hosted Dalai Lama, in Tawang in November, despite constant protests from China, questioning India's motive in entertaining the Tibetan leader's visit. China has has also been issuing stapled visas for Indians of Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh domicile. India, finally took action and declared any such stapled visas as invalid. Three strong signals in a span of a month, have surely acted as a rebuttal to Chinese assertions.

November 26, 2009

Publicity from Audacity

November 26, 2009 Posted by Vijay , No comments
A year on, India may have learnt some lessons. 26/11 for Mumbai, befell from some evil script written by satan. What has changed post 26/11, is the harsh reality of how cruel and audacious terrorists and their attacks can be. So far, and still, it is mostly fidayeen attacks, or other timer based bombs. Laying seige to a city by holding soft spots like hotels hostage came out of the blue. Expectedly, India was caught unawares.

What however was troubling, was that this was probably the first time, that 2 days or so of terrorist attacks were telecast live on television. And the entire world was witness to less than 10 terrorists, creating panic amongst an entire nation. In fact, it is now clear, that such attacks magnify the terrorist activities, and this is precisely what they want. Sensational events, covered by media, where the terrorists can claim responsibility and get away with ample free publicity, out of sheer audacity.

While the media has been, and will always be criticized for sensationalism, there is no doubt that message through the media, especially the visual medium is here to stay. Innumerable news channels, can influence an entire public mindset, turning the tide for or against political parties. However, annoyances and uselessness from this very medium (especially television) are equally on the rise.

November 12, 2009

Flickr 2 Twitter !

November 12, 2009 Posted by Vijay , 1 comment
How HOT is Twitter ? I was loathe to using Twitter, for I was getting irritated with the number of social networking sites on the web. I am on orkut. But then, the list is fast becoming endless. Facebook is the other. Twitter too was out of bounds for me, since I did not want to venture into more networking sites and not concentrate on any at all. I seldom go to orkut either these days.

But Twitter, seems different. As a blogger, it does give me a window of opportunity to have more visitors to my blog, and any other publicly shared articles or materials of mine, which of course I believe are worthy of sharing :). Twitter is unique in another way. It is so upto date with any information, that new sites have to be on watch. It is undoubtedly real time information, though in an amateurish, first hand way from any normal netizen. But, it opens up a plethora of information for netizens who sit and browse from distances far away.

Here is an example that often comes to my mind. If I wish to go hiking to a spot, 6 hours away, I would want to make sure the weather conditions over there are reasonably good. This would expecially come of use, when it is in a matter of hours that I want to travel. If there is someone on twitter, tweeting about the weather conditions, I can just go, look it up and make a decision in a matter of minutes and deicide for or against my hiking plan. That, for me is the power of twitter. Short yet 140 sweet, pertinent characters are slowly revolutionizing how the web will collect the hottest news stories around the globe.

November 11, 2009

ODIs - No Epitaphs Please

November 11, 2009 Posted by Vijay No comments
Though a day late, I can't but write about the fate of one day internationals in cricket. ODIs have been questioned for their relevance and the boredom during the middle overs it has created. Leading many critics, seeking modification to the format of the 50 over a side game, to retain interest in spectators against the rapidly increasing 20-20 format.

Over the past few weeks, it has become quite evident, that there is still a massive place for ODIs in cricket. Beginning with the 7 match ODI series between Australia and England in England, then the Champions' Trophy. Comparatively, the Champions' League 20-20 matches held in India, drew only a lukewarm response from television audience and spectators alike.

The reasons, for many would seem very simple. Champions League was held in India, with many of the IPL teams falling away during the league stages and the lack of Indian cricketers in the games. The Australia-England ODI series was held in home conditions in England. So is the ongoing India-Australia ODI series which has been a resounding success, with jam packed stadiums for all the matches. Home conditions one may say. But the positive to be taken is, there is no need to write an obituary for the ODI format as yet.

This brings to focus the need or the lack of it, to refine ODIs. The difference and the benefits of each of these formats cannot be ignored. While the romping success and million dollar prizes accompanying 20-20 tournaments has catapulted cricket into the global arena, ODIs are more favoured by cricket followers. It is vital for cricket to have a global audience than stagnate as just a colonial game with not more than 10 officially recognised nations.

November 10, 2009

MNS - Mentally N-ill Sena

November 10, 2009 Posted by Vijay , 5 comments
Note : This post does not intend to hurt or insult Maharashtrians. It is only an attempt to scoff at the absurdity of MNS in trying to push their agenda. I whole-heartedly respect every human and am proud to be an Indian (HINDUSTANI!) and respect every Indian, wherever (s)he hails from. Only after my identity of an Indian, can I claim to be part of any state in India.

Imagine a scenario: Ponting takes the field in the mysteriously titled Honour Series (The what ?!. Courtesy:Times Now) or the still more bizarre Grudge Series(The what what ?!, courtesy:Headlines Today) in the final ODI in Mumbai tomorrow. Imagine the contradictorily paradoxical coincidence of Ponting at the press conference with Dhoni. Ponting, speaking in Marathi !?! duh ! MNS workers wielding swords and threatening the Aussie cricket captain at the post match podium - "We don't even care what happens to non-Marathis being assaulted in Australia. But while in India, and that too in Maharashtra's capital, you better be talking in Marathi. We have recorded your on-field conversations. They were in English. How dare you not learn Marathi and set foot on our proud Marathi land ?!" Ponting blinks - "?!?!"

Imagine a scenario: Call Center and BPO firms in Mumbai and Pune. MNS workers would be at the office premises, shouting slogans - "We demand all call centers be shut until the calls are answered in Marathi!". All the employees would be stunned and scratching their heads. But, the justification could well neigh be, more employment opportunities. Don't get it ? Employ a Marathi translator (re-director ?) for every Call Center employee.

Wait. Should the voices on the other side of a call also be in Marathi ?! I wonder. More technological advances to be ushered in. When a caller, calls a number which is at that moment in Maharashtra, owing to pressure from MNS, the incoming voice data service provider should translate the language in the air waves into Marathi and transmit to the receiver ! Language support should be enabled, even if the call is from a tribal land in Somalia. Wow, more employment opportunities. Courtesy, MNS !