Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: Cricket

Turning tracks

India won Test series against New Zealand 2-0. After winning the first Test at Hyderabad by an Innings and 115 runs Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the wicket was not turning enough. Spinners had got 18 wickets out of 20. R. Ashwin got 6/31 and 6/54, total 12/85. About Bangalore wicket he said it was like that of Napier. The curator said the wicket will be sporting one with equal chances to all. India won the Bangalore Test by five wickets.

What does Dhoni want? Spinners getting 20 wickets out of 20 in every Test. Perhaps he wants spinners to bowl the new ball. First bowler will get six wickets in his over. Next bowler gets four wickets off four balls. The Innings of rival team is over on zero. Indians bat as long as they want. The spinners repeat their feat in the second Innings. Indians are victorious.

What next? Spinners may do well on Indian tracks. Some may be better than Indian spinners. Dhoni may want umpires who rule favourably when Indian bowlers appeal and unfavourably when visiting bowlers and fielders appeal.

Some call Indian team “Lions at home, lambs abroad.” Some others call “Tigers at home, pussycats abroad.” That description is not accurate. Indians had victories abroad and defeats at home. A great team wins anywhere. Australians twice won 16 Tests in succession. Indians should strive for greatness and not mediocrity.

New Zealand did not have a practice or warm-up match before Hyderabad Test. That was home advantage for India.

Unmukt Chand controversy

All students are equal. Students who are sportspersons are more equal. A student who is the captain of a cricket team that wins U-19 World Cup is the most equal.

That is the view of Ajay Maken, Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Shukla, Kirti Azad, Arnab Goswami and many others who live in a world that is worse than George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Valson Thampu, principal of St. Stephen’s College, appeared on many channels on 30/8/2012. He faced hostile questioning on Times Now.

Many channels condemned St. Stephen’s College for not allowing Unmukt Chand to sit for exams though the college was following Delhi University rules. As per those rules students in general should have 66.66% attendance and students who are sportspersons should have 33.33% attendance to appear for exams. Unmukt Chand had only 8% attendance. The principal did not have the power to waive attendance requirement. Valson Thampu said he had sent Unmukt Chand to meet vice chancellor who could waive the requirement but vice chancellor being busy Unmukt Chand could not meet him.

Kirti Azad said his attendance was worse than that of Unmukt Chand. He had 5.7% attendance. His principal and professors supported him. If the college had allowed Kirti Azad to sit for exams in contravention of prevalent rules it was wrong.

Kavita Sharma, former principal of Hindu College, said they had helped Gautam Gambhir. They had special classes for him.

Jerry Fernandes, Deepak Mukharji and Sunil Bikhchandani defended the college. Jerry Fernandes asked whether the issue would have been raised if India had not won the U-19 World Cup or reached the final. I have another question. What if the captain had been Laloo Prasad Yadav’s son and the team had lost all its matches and did not reach even the semi-final?

Valson Thampu said hype is created. After one month no one will remember.

Kirti Azad’s father Bhagwat Jha Azad was a Congress politician. When he was chief minister of Bihar the speaker had ruled that he could not be the leader of Legislative Assembly as he was not an elected member of the Legislative Assembly. The speaker had to quit.

India had won U-19 World Cup in 2000 and 2008. Both times there was not much hype though in 2008 an event management company had hired students to welcome the cricketers when they landed at Bangalore airport at night. Boys were paid 200 rupees each, girls 1,000 rupees each.

Some exaggerate the importance of cricket in India and call it a religion. One company that bought cricket telecast rights could not make profit. Now another company holds telecast rights at higher amount. IPL teams have not made profit. Kochi Tuskers disappeared after one season. Many players have not received payment for 2012 season. Deccan Chronicle pledged its IPL franchise to banks. DLF did not renew IPL sponsorship.

Sports quota for admission in colleges should be abolished. It is difficult to get admissions in good colleges in Delhi where first cut-off percentage is 100%. Even after final cut-off students with 90% marks do not get admission. It is unfair to give the seat of a student who has 90% marks to someone who has 74% marks in sports quota, more so when he cannot even maintain 33.33% attendance. It is not fair to demand special classes for sportspersons. Sportspersons should choose between college and sport. If they want degree they can do correspondence course. Sachin Tendulkar, Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal did not attend college.

Vested interests manipulate media and create hysteria. Serious issues are forgotten. A girl in Delhi, 16 years old and Class XI student, had gone to a market in Prashant Vihar around 10.30 p.m. on 29/8/2012 to recharge her mobile phone. Nine young men misbehaved with her. She called two friends on mobile who came in a car and picked her up. The group of nine criminals followed them in another car, blocked the car of girl, pulled out girl’s friends, battered and robbed them. The criminals raped the girl in the car. TV channels did not report the incident and hold discussions on it. Abduction, battery, robbery and rape in Delhi are ignored by news channels. Have Delhi and central governments co-opted news channels? Something is rotten in Indian news channels.

Kapil Sibal made a mess of education. Promoting students from Std I to Std VIII even if they fail annual exams has ruined education. Now there is a proposal to do away with annual exams. His interference in Unmukt Chand case is not good.

Are we a country governed by rule of law? Where is the equality mentioned in the constitution? S. M. Krishna and Ajay Maken interfered in selection of tennis players for Olympics. Two pairs of men’s doubles were sent. They returned without medal.

On 31/8/2012 at 7 p.m. DU VC Dinesh Singh in a press conference said Unmukt Chand will be allowed to go to second year. He spoke of balance. One cannot get Maths (Honours) degree without attending maths classes.

IPL is a commercial venture. When Unmukt Chand played in IPL he did not represent college, university, Delhi, North Zone or India. Absence from college to play in IPL should not be condoned or permitted even if it is for two matches and six days. Those who want to make sports their career and want to attend college with low attendance should join physical education colleges.

From chokers to champions

On 29/8/2012 South Africa defeated England in ODI and with that they attained No. 1 rank in all three formats of the game. They had beaten England in England 2-0 in Test series and had attained No. 1 rank in Tests. They held No. 1 rank in T20. Attaining ODI No. 1 rank completed their domination.

England had their problems. They lost the first Test by an Innings. There was dissension in the team. Kevin Pietersen was dropped for the third Test. On 29/8/2012 at Southampton in second ODI wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter dropped Hashim Amla on 42 and 92 who went on the score 150. South Africa scored 287/5. England were all out for 207 in 40.4 overs, lost the ODI by 80 runs with 9.2 overs to spare. Same day Andrew Strauss, England’s Test captain, retired from all forms of cricket.

For long South Africa were known as chokers. They had lost matches after being in commanding positions. Last year England had defeated India 4-0 in Tests, 3-0 in ODIs and 1-0 in T20. What a difference a year had made.

South Africa had abundance of talent before. It seems their losses were due to non-cricketing reasons. There was betting and match-fixing. When many people put money on South Africa winning South Africa lost. Bookies made money. People lost faith in South Africa’s ability to win. They stopped betting on South Africa’s wins. South Africa winning became profitable for bookies.

Three unexpected and unnatural deaths had South African connection. Hansie Cronje was South Africa’s captain. Robert Andrew Woolmer was South Africa’s coach though at the time of his death he was Pakistan’s coach. Peter Roebuck, a cricket correspondent, died in South Africa.

Rankings of Tests and ODIs began around ten years back and of T20 some years later. For a long time Australia dominated the rankings. India attained No. 1 ranking in Tests and held it for about 18 months. England was No. 1 in Tests for a year.

As on 29/8/2012, in Tests, South Africa had 120 points followed by England with 117 points and Australia with 116 points. In ODIs, South Africa had 124 points followed by India with 120 points and England with 118 points. In T20s, South Africa had 130 points followed by England with 129 points and Sri Lanka with 119 points.

Retaining No. 1 rank in all three formats of the game is a tough task. England are South Africa’s rivals with second place in Tests and T20s and third place in ODIs. In the next one year India will play many of their matches at home. To remain No. 1 South Africa will have to win most of their Tests and all of their ODIs and T20s.

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