Month: July 2011

India not Lords of Cricket

India lost the Lord’s Test by 196 runs on 25/7/2011. It was 2000th Test and 100th Test between England and India. Before the Test India ranked No. 1 and England No. 3. It was the first Test of a four Tests series.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni had won the toss and should have elected to bat. Electing to field was a mistake. Many years ago Mohammed Azharuddin had won the toss and had elected to bat. In that Test Graham Gooch scored 333 runs in the first Innings and 123 runs in the second Innings and became the first person to score a triple century and single century in the same Test and that was a new world record. Before that there were some who had scored a double century and single century in the same Test. Sunil Gavaskar, Greg Chappell and Lawrence Rowe were among them.

Some things went wrong for India. After getting two wickets Zaheer Khan was out of the field. On the second day Dhoni bowled eight overs. Rahul Dravid kept wickets. In the first over the field umpire had ruled Kevin Pietersen out. Kevin Pietersen made use of UDRS and commentators said he was out and third umpire ruled him not out. He went on to make 202 not out. Kapil Dev criticized Dhoni for bowling. If there had been no UDRS the result would have been different. Dhoni could have got more wickets. Once in Pakistan Dhoni had bowled one over. His long hair was liked by Pervez Musharraf. That time Rahul Dravid was the captain.

England declared 474/8. India were all out for 286. That was 188 runs lead for England.

Sachin Tendulkar got fever. Gautam Gambhir was hit on the elbow.

On the fourth day Ishant Sharma had taken three quick wickets had before lunch and England were 62/5. After lunch Dhoni did not ask him to bowl and England consolidated. When Ishant Sharma was brought back and he took a wicket it was 107/6. After that no wicket fell and England declared 269/6. To win India had to make 458 runs or play for a draw. It was 80/1 at the end of the day.

On the fifth day the options before India were draw or defeat. India were all out for 261.

India failed to take 20 wickets in this Test. It took 14 wickets. To win a Test a team must be able to take 20 wickets. Zaheer Khan had rest after IPL. On the first day of the first Test he was out of action.

This is not a humiliating defeat. In 1974 India had done worst. In the second Test India were all out for 42 and lost the Test by an Innings and 265 runs. In the third Test England lost two wickets and won the Test by an Innings and 78 runs.

Phone hacking

On 19/7/2011 at 7 p.m. (2.30 p.m. GMT) Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch appeared before UK’s House of Commons Home Affairs Committee to answer questions about phone hacking by News of the World. NDTV 24×7, Times Now, Headlines Today, BBC, CNN, CNN-IBN, News X, NDTV Profit, CNBC TV18 and Bloomberg were showing the event. ET Now was the exception. Hillary Clinton‘s visit lost importance. Rupert Murdoch said “This is the most humble day of my life.” In the beginning his answers were “Yes” or “No”. James Murdoch answered in sentences. Later Rupert Murdoch answered in sentences. On Left Right and Centre there was little discussion and it was telecast for most of the time. Someone said the Murdochs had been tutored well and Rupert Murdoch must have rehearsed the sentence thousand times. On Face the Nation after some discussion it was telecast of Rebekah Brooks answering questions.

Phone hacking in Britain was going on for a long time. People did not protest when phones of royalty, politicians and celebrities were hacked. When it became public that phones of a murder victim Milly Dowler, 7/7 victims and of soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan were hacked there was outrage.

The phone hacking scandal has made international headlines. Not only there was hacking but also bribing of police officers to know the phone numbers of the queen and her itinerary.

Rupert Murdoch was considered invincible. The scandal made him vulnerable. Advertisements to News of the World stopped and he shut it down. He had to give up his BSkyB bid. He met Milly Dowler’s family and said sorry. He took out advertisements on newspapers saying sorry. He had to appear before MPs and answer questions. He said he did not know about phone hacking. His enemies were happy to see him in trouble. It is said that the character of Elliot Carver in the film Tomorrow Never Dies was based on him. However the way the death of Elliot Carver was reported in the film was similar to the death of Robert Maxwell. Unlike Elliot Carver who wanted a war between China and UK so that his newspaper could flourish Rupert Murdoch did not want a between China and UK.

The scandal led to 10 arrests and resignations of Commissioner of Police Paul Stephenson and Assistant Commissioner of Police John Yates.

In India there is legal and illegal phone tapping. Private detective agencies do illegal phone tapping. Radia phones were legally tapped. Who leaked the tapes is not public knowledge but Coomi Kapoor of Indian Express had written that a business rival of Ratan Tata had distributed the tapes to media houses. If industrialists wanted a corrupt minister to continue in his ministry and used a lobbyist, the publication of such matter is of public interest.

There is need for tough punishment for phone hacking or illegal phone tapping. The punishment should be more severe if police officers or other public servants are bribed to reveal the phone numbers of people they are meant to protect. Any terrorist can pose as journalist and kill people. In Afghanistan Ahmed Shah Masood was killed that way.

Prashant Bhushan and Supreme Court

A bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices Altamas Kabir, Cyriac Joseph and H. L. Dattu wants Prashant Bhushan to apologise to the court for saying in an interview to a magazine that half of the former CJIs were corrupt. Harish Salve had taken Prashant Bhushan to court saying he had cast aspersions on present CJI S. H. Kapadia also. That resulted in a contempt of court case. Supreme Court is not ready to accept truth as a justification for Prashant Bhushan’s statement and wants “one word of regret” from Prashant Bhushan. Prashant Bhushan is ready to utter “10 words of regret” to S. H. Kapadia. Altamas Kabir said it is not a matter of a person, but an institution.

An institution is made up of individuals. If individuals are corrupt they bring disrepute to the institution. Judges who were or are corrupt should be punished. It is a travesty of justice when corrupt judges go scot-free and people who speak the truth about corrupt judges are punished or asked to apologise. India’s national motto is Satyameva Jayate, truth always triumphs. Punishing people for speaking the truth is making a mockery of our national motto. The provision regarding contempt of court was meant to punish the people who defy court orders and not for punishing the people for speaking the truth, more so when they expose judicial corruption.

Prashant Bhushan should make public what he knows about corrupt CJIs. The law must be changed to hang corrupt CJIs. Prashant Bhushan has been in the forefront of fight against corruption and was in the committee to draft Lokpal Bill. He should not apologise. If he goes to jail it will show the abuse of the power of the court to punish the innocent. That may result in a law that will define contempt of court and take away the power of judges to act arbitrarily or scrapping the provision altogether. Many constitutions do not have the provision of contempt of court.

Udit Raj and Vineet Narain have mentioned some CJIs as corrupt. Why is Harish Salve silent about them? Vineet Narain is hostile to Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan.

Many times the Supreme Court has ordered CBI investigations in cases of corruption involving politicians and others. On some occasions the Supreme Court has set up Special Investigation Teams. In one case it appointed a prosecutor. Sometimes newspaper reports are treated as Public Interest Litigations. The Supreme Court should order an investigation in cases of corruption involving CJIs. If the charges are serious they should be behind bars like A. Raja, Suresh Kalmadi, Kanimozhi and so on. The judges should not have one standard for themselves and another standard for others. If the Supreme Court does not act, the government should act. If CJIs are in jail that will be a signal to judges that they are not above the law.