Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: Sports and Games

Deccan Chargers for sale

There is the story of an emperor who wore just an underwear and was riding a horse. The people could see that but everybody said the emperor was clothed in a fine robe and were praising the qualities of the robe. Then one boy said “The emperor is naked.” After that everybody said the emperor is naked.

Similar is the story of IPL. There was lot of hype and hoopla about it. Many said it was a great brand. The franchisees were not making profit. Some of them thrived on thousands of crores of rupees they borrowed from public sector banks which they did not return. They went for corporate debt restructuring (CDR). That meant they got more time to pay. Debts were converted into shares at higher than market value.

Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd, owners of Deccan Chargers, borrowed from different banks and defaulted. Deccan Chargers owe 35 crore rupees to players. DCHL pledged Deccan Chargers to banks. Banks wanted sale of Deccan Chargers. Bids were invited. PVP Films was the only bidder. The bid amount was 900 crore rupees, much higher than 428 crores paid by DCHL for Deccan Chargers. However the banks rejected the bid supposedly because they wanted full amount in cash, PVP offered 450 crore rupees in cash and 450 crore rupees in convertible debentures.

The glamour, glitz and gloss of IPL could not conceal the hollowness of the brand. Players wanted to play in IPL but not for their country. The money for playing in IPL was many times of what they got for playing for their country. Never before in the history of cricket so many cricketers got so much money for playing so less cricket. Now there is no certainty that players will get money if they play in IPL. It is said that Royal Challengers players except for Chris Gayle have not got their money.

There is some talk of action against paid news by politicians during election time. There should be some action against false news. There were reports of many companies bidding for Deccan Chargers. One report even said Videocon has bought Deccan Charges for 860 crore rupees.

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.

Pistorius in Paralympics

Paralympics is meant for physically handicapped athletes. Olympics is for normal or able bodied athletes. If an athlete takes part in one he/she should not be allowed in another.

Oscar Pistorius of South Africa had taken part in 2004 and 2008 Paralympics and won gold medal in 200 metres race. In 2012 he wanted to take part in Olympics. IOC officials did not want him in Olympics. Pistorius argued that prosthetics did not offer him advantage over normal athletes and was allowed to take part in Olympics. In one relay event his team did not complete the run because one athlete fell down and did not hand over the baton to Pistorius but the fall was blamed on an athlete of another team and Pistorius’ team was allowed to proceed to the next round.

Having taken part in Olympics, Pistorius should have been barred from Paralympics but was allowed to take part.

On 3/9/2012 Alan Oliveira of Brazil won 200 metres race in 21.45 seconds and gold medal. Pistorius came second in 21.52 seconds. Soon came Pistorius’ outburst.

“Not taking away from Alan’s performance, he’s a great athlete, but these guys are a lot taller and you can’t compete stride length.”

“You saw how far he came back. We aren’t racing a fair race. I gave it my best. The IPC have their regulations. The regulations allow that athletes can make themselves unbelievably high. We’ve tried to address the issue with them in the weeks up to this and it’s just been falling on deaf ears.”

“He’s never run a 21 second race and I don’t think he’s a 21 second athlete. I have never lost a 200 metre race in my career.”

One has not lost before does not mean one cannot lose now or in future.

Pistorius’ complaint was that Oliveira wore longer blades. Oliveira did not break any law. IPC issued a statement. “There is a rule in place regarding the length of the blades, which is determined by a formula based on the height and dynamics of the athlete. All athletes were measured today prior to competition by a classifier and all were approved for competition.”

In the race Oliveira had 98 strides, Pistorius 92. Pistorius had longer strides. In the heats, Pistorius had completed the race in 21.30 seconds, a world record, and faster than Oliveira’s time in the final. Pistorius could have used longer blades in Paralympics. If that had made him run faster than in Olympics it would have proved technology makes a difference.

Pistorius later said “I do believe there is an issue here and I welcome the opportunity to discuss with the IPC but I accept that raising these concerns immediately as I stepped off the track was wrong.”

There is an issue here but it is not about length of blades but an athlete taking part in both Olympics and Paralympics.

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