Tag: england

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.

Riots in England

The riots that began in London and spread to other cities including Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Salford and Wolverhampton have exposed the ugly side of England. There was arson, loot, robbery and vandalism. Masked marauders rampaged. Houses, shops and vehicles were set ablaze. There was looting of shops, not all by criminal gangs. Some parents sat in cars outside the shops and sent their sons to loot. Police were attacked. Firemen who went to douse fires were attacked. In London more than 560 were arrested and there was no place in prisons. England had not seen anything like this for many decades.

Various reasons are given. Some say poverty, unemployment and economic deprivation are reasons for the looting and arson. Some blame cut in welfare measures and closing of youth centres. Unemployment benefit was cut and simmering discontent has come to the surface. Some say reduction in police force left it unprepared to face the rioters.

William Dalrymple said England has a rich tradition of rioting and thuggery. In the 16th century a French ambassador had complained of riots, extortion and robbery. England used to send its criminals to India. Now there is no empire and criminals remain in the country.

I do not know how many criminals England sent to India. England sent most of its criminals to Australia. Before that it sent its criminals to America. The criminals who landed in Australia in 1788 became its founders. In India the British sent long term prisoners to Andaman. England has Pitcairn Islands and it can send its prisoners there.

UK’s PM David Cameron and London’s Mayor Boris Johnson had to cut short their holidays and return to London. Cameron spoke of tough action against rioters. He attributed looting by young boys to lack of proper parenting and proper upbringing. He said those who are old enough to commit crime are old enough to face action. Boris Johnson was heckled. Someone said “You are too late.” Someone asked “Where were you?”

There is criticism of soft policing. There is demand for using water cannons, cage charges, tear gas shells, rubber bullets and tasers. Cameron has allowed use of rubber bullets. Curfew should have been imposed in London during the first night of riots. It is not imposed anywhere and criminals have a free run. Police have released photos of criminals and asked people to identify them.

Someone wanted the government to focus on London instead of bombing Libya. Someone wanted troops in Afghanistan and Libya recalled and blamed spending of money on useless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The criminals who looted used social media sites such as Facebook and Blackberry Messenger and there is a demand to ban them. However banning something because criminals used them is unreasonable. Those who used them should be caught and punished. Some used social media sites to gather and clean the city.

London is host to Olympics 2012. There is enough time for London to beef up its security. However the riots have called into question the wisdom of hosting sporting events that cost billions while ignoring a large section of people.

Blunders of the world

here have been several lists of Seven Wonders of the World. A private organization after phone, SMS and E-Mail poll recently came up with a list of Seven New Wonders of the World. I want to present a list of the blunders of the world. The list will not be restricted to seven.
I begin with Nariman Point. It was a blunder to reclaim land from sea and build buildings for commercial use at one end of Bombay. This has put a great strain on railways. In the morning trains towards Churchgate and VT are crowded and trains from Churchgate and VT go empty. In the evening it is the other way round. The solution is to turn all commercial complexes at Nariman Point in residential complexes and shift offices to other places.
Channel tunnel linking France and England is the second blunder. The cost incurred on this tunnel was huge but the recovery was not on expected lines.
At present I stop with these two. As more blunders are known they will be added to the list.