Tag Archives: Australia

Seven Girls In Junior World Cup Hockey Squad Are Anaemic: Michael Nobbs

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By Soumitra Bose

Ex-Aussie Olympian identifies flaws in India’s hockey system but says with scientific approach and immaculate talent spotting, the former world champions can regain the golden days.

Michael Nobbs quietly flew out of Delhi in the wee hours on Thursday before telling sports.ndtv.comthat at least seven girls in the junior India squad that won a historic World Cup bronze in Monchengladbach, Germany last Sunday were suffering from anaemia

In an exclusive chat, Nobbs congratulated the junior girls for winning India’s first World Cup medal but cautioned against a general “burnout” due to a lack of scientific and long-term diet plan in the coaching system. “I have two teenaged daughters and they are part of an Australian system that not only takes care about their skills but their health as well. India have to adopt such an approach or else, these girls from rural India would be lost forever,” said Nobbs.

“The welfare of India’s hockey has always been topmost in my mind. I am not trying to point fingers at anyone, I am just trying to say that India can do much better with proper scientific training and approach”, Nobbs said. Anaemia is a medical condition indicating iron deficiency in the body leading to tiredness and lethargy.
“It’s a very common among girls and in India it is acute. How do you expect the girls to match the healthier and stronger European girls in a world competition? Considering this, the bronze (India beat England) has been a brilliant achievement. It’s nice to give cash awards, but there is a lot to do with these kids,” said Nobbs.

The veteran coach said anaemia can be controlled with proper scientific diet and monitoring. “I was surprised to meet a dietician in SAI, Bangalore who has been working for the last 40 years without having done anything noteworthy,” Nobbs said, adding the government was simply wasting its resources.

Nobbs said India had the potential to make it big in world hockey with a scientific approach and careful talent spotting. Unlike most foreign coaches who leave on an extremely bitter note, Nobbs said he would be happy to return to India, but wasn’t sure if he would like a second innings as chief national coach. (Also read: Rani Rampal: A cart-puller’s daughter who stormed world of hockey)
The 59-year-old Australian, who resigned last month on health grounds, is flying to Perth to seek medical advice for hyper-tension before travelling to Hobart to meet his 15-year-old daughter, a hockey prodigy. Nobbs’ elder daughter is an international figure skater.

Nobbs left with mixed feelings on Indian hockey. While his deteriorating health condition – fluctuating blood pressure and hemorrhoids – forced him to stand down as national coach, the genial Australian was unhappy with several issues that threw a spanner in his work.

“I was getting cranky at small issues which I would normally overlook. I think my health was also refusing to side with me. In Holland during the world league, I thought I would die, I passed out twice and was sometimes seeing 44 players on the pitch” said Nobbs. (Suggested read: Ministry to now fund customised training for 50 sportspersons)

“I couldn’t have carried on like this and with a few things not going the way I was wanting, I think resigning was the best option. I surely wasn’t sacked. The media reported without checking the facts but that’s expected when you are doing a high-pressure, high-profile job,” said Nobbs.

Nobbs didn’t elaborate on the “few” things that irritated him but selection matters and the way players without credibility were picked to attend national camps clearly angered him. “I surely don’t want to work for Hockey India again but India have the potential to match any country in the world. It’s oozing with talent and there is no dearth in resources. I have seen this with my own eyes and there is a lot of work to be done,” he said. (Also read: Sports Minister unimpressed with CWG, Asian Games progress)

Nobbs said Hockey India’s secretary-general Narinder Batra was a man with a mission. “He surely is eager and putting in a lot of effort and money in Indian hockey. He surely is demanding and why not? But he won’t be able to do things alone. For example, if the national selectors are watching just eight games and picking talent for a national, Indian hockey is going nowhere. You are doing injustice to a great kid because his team lost in the first round,” the Australian Olympian said.

Nobbs has presented a vision statement to the Sports Authority of India, a much maligned body in India. The Aussie, on the contrary, says SAI has a big role to play and can turn things around in the country. “My understanding of SAI is that it has to be the driver. If SAI is funding Indian sport, it has the right to ask questions. That’s not happening. National federations must be answerable to SAI and I can tell you there are honest men in SAI with lot of vision,” said Nobbs.

The Australian said India badly needed a Sports Bill. “It will raise accountability. There are just too many people in the establishment who have taken things for granted. And the national bodies have to be wary about ex-players who act like advisors. The game is much more scientific now. You have to accept change to keep pace with the world,” said Nobbs.

The Aussie said the pressure will now be on Roelant Oltmans, Hockey India’s High Performance Manager, who will double up as coach in the Asia Cup in Malaysia later this month. “Roelant is a man with proven caliber. He will learn a lot in Indian hockey as I have learnt in my two years here. It won’t be easy for him but I wish him all the luck,” Nobbs said. (Related: Oltmans congratulates junior women team)

India must win the Asia Cup from August 24-September 1 in Ipoh to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in The Hague. India missed a World Cup berth after a poor show in the Hockey World League in Rotterdam recently. Only the Asia Cup winners gain a direct entry to the world championship. (Suggested read: Dhanraj Pillay says foreign coaches not the solution for team)

“India normally play well against Asian teams. We should be able to beat Malaysia, Pakistan and Korea to make the World Cup,” said Nobbs, who of course added that India are not at full strength. According to him, the absence of Shivendra Singh, Sandeep Singh (both dropped); S.V. Sunil and Danish Mujtaba (both injured) will be felt.

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London Underground Explained By A Londoner

By Disha Shah

Each city has its own lifeline and for London it is its connectivity through underground trains. Every morning, a Londoner gets up and checks the tube update to plan a smooth journey to his/ her destination.

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London Underground Logo

London Underground was formed in 1985 and today it’s a major business with three million passenger journeys made every day, serving 275 stations and over 408kms. It has 13 major tube lines covering the whole of London.

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London Underground train

The transport for London website (http://www.tfl.gov.uk/) provides a journey planner where one just needs to provide the intended start and finish destination and the planner provides you with all information, such as time to reach station from home, which tube line to take, around what time, where to change trains, if required, time to reach the destination from the end station, total journey time, any planned closures, etc.

Journey Planner

                                    Journey Planner

The tube connects every part of the city to each other and it’s very convenient even for tourists. There are multiple ticketing options as well as day passes available to choose from. I would recommend just buy an oyster and top it up with single fare or day pass or weekly or monthly pass. Oyster is accepted on bus journeys so it has added advantage. The balance along-with the deposit os refunded back whenever one desires.

oyster card

Oyster card

There is a lot to learn from 150 years old transport system which breaks at times however never stops!

 

Indian Rookies Have A Lot To Play For

parvez rasool

By Kartik Kannan

India are currently ranked No. 1 in ODIs and one of the hallmarks of a top-ranking side over time is the quality of bench strength. While India get ready to play Zimbabwe without some of their senior players, it’s a good opportunity for some of the newcomers to perform and prove that the team’s DNA is not dependent on a few individuals, but is a high-performance culture that runs deep. I am reminded of the quadrangular series between England, Zimbabwe, Australia A and Australia in 1994-95, where the finals were contested by the two Australian sides. That showed to the world that Australia’s second XI was better than many international sides. India can learn a thing or two from that series as they aim to build an ODI team for the future. Over to the youngsters.

Parvez Rasool

The offspinning allrounder from Jammu and Kashmir has made it to the team on the back of consistent performances in the domestic season. Rasool will be looking to ease himself into the international scene in Zimbabwe, where the pressure on him to deliver would be lesser. He’s had a taste of the highest level, having played against the touring English and Australian sides recently.

If Rasool clicks, India would have found someone to share the spinners’ workload with R Ashwin. Rasool’s partnership with Ravindra Jadeja, who turns the ball the other way, will make for interesting viewing in the middle overs.

Pepsi IPL - The Final CSK v MI

Mohit Sharma

Mohit Sharma’s rise to the top was fast-tracked by his 2013 IPL season for the Chennai Super Kings. Mohit’s key strength is the ball that goes away, and he bowls an impressive attacking line. He was handled well by MS Dhoni in the IPL, and that surely played a part in his success. Having Mohit and Bhuvneshwar Kumar – a swing bowler who bowls at a lesser pace – bowling in tandem will give India an edge with the new ball.

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Cheteshwar Pujara

India’s new-found performance man in Test cricket finally gets a chance to shine in the shorter format. Despite a tremendous List A average of 56.97, Pujara has unfairly been labelled as a slow run-getter. Given his recent successes, there’s no question over his technique on tricky wickets or against good quality seam bowling. In recent times, India have missed a sheet anchor in ODI cricket, and with two new balls coming into play, Pujara could be just the man for them.

Jaydev-Unadkat

Jaydev Unadkat

Unadkat sure knows the demands of international cricket, having endured a forgettable Test debut in South Africa in late 2010. He is a vastly improved bowler now, and has forced his way back into the set-up with consistent IPL performances. He has also had very successful A tours in New Zealand and England in the last couple of years. Zimbabwe’s spongy bounce could be helpful to his style of bowling, which relies on hitting the seam more often than not. His inclusion brings variety to India’s inexperienced seam-bowling group.

Ambati Rayudu

Having been one of the lynchpins of Mumbai Indians’ renaissance since IPL 3, Rayudu’s chance to represent the India team comes at just about the right time. He will lend depth to the middle order, and in Dhoni’s absence, could slot in as a finisher. Dinesh Karthik is likely to be India’s first-choice wicketkeeper, which could work against Rayudu. But if he gets a look-in, possibly ahead of Ajinkya Rahane, he should make it count.

This article was originally published at cricinfo and has been published with the authors permission

Rebuttal To 11 Rules For Women During Cricket

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By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

Dear Menfolk,

It is becoming increasingly ostensible that you seem to be laboring under the delusion that you are entitled to special manly treatment. We allow you to think you’re the boss because it suits us, but the consequences of your behavior, especially during cricket matches do need to be addressed.

So here’s getting certain things straight…

1. Cricket for women isn’t unfathomable, ubiquitous, and completely pointless, which may be the case for a man trying to knit!

Conversation with women is like a sporting competition, you either win or lose, not both. Mind you, we never make it easy for you all. Looks like you realize how tough it is to talk to us and use cricket as an excuse to save yourselves from the shame that may befall on you.

2. A remote in your hand all the time? Maybe it is like a security blanket or something to do with being “in control”, that’s probably the only time you are in control fella!

3. “Do not get distracted” should be your bible! We would dress and do as we please. If the game interests you more, keep your eyes glued onto the idiot box only!

4. Neglect us at your own peril. Pretending you are blind, deaf and mute during a game is not considered acceptable behavior and will result in a stream of unrelated-to-cricket conversation that will require your due participation.

5. Don’t blame us for making faces at your bunch of friends. Their faces must remind us of several comic characters that we can’t help a laugh escape our throat. For your sake, we stifle it! Let me just remind you that your friends come over to watch a game because their own partners/wives/significant others must have put their foot down about watching it at their house. And you thought ‘twas your company that they enjoy…sigh!

6. Please, if we see you are distressed because your team is losing and we say “get over it, it’s only a game” or “they might win next time” that is because it IS only a game and can in no way be considered as important as going to see a new movie. Besides, at least we are showing interest.

7. If we decide that watching a game with you can be construed as “couple bonding time”, you will accept this with gratitude. This is the price you are obliged to pay for our showing what supportive partners we can be by showing such gracious tolerance of the things that interest you.

8. Match replays are always there for you to catch up with the “lost” game!

9. You think we’d be happy having you around all the time?!? Spare us; we definitely want our “me” time – time away from your constant bickering!

10. Same as above! We’ll be glad to have you out of our way!

11. We don’t mind having cricket tournaments all through the year. Saves us the trouble of heaving you to the malls to indulge in one of our favorite pastime.  Worried we’ll be alone?!? Naah…we are taking along (y) our li’l plastic friend – CREDIT CARD!!!

George Bernard Shaw referred to cricket as a game played by 22 flannelled fools and watched by 22,000 bigger fools. Looks like we know who the bigger fools are (chuckle). Your loss (that is, money) is our gain (read goodies)!!!

Ciao couch potatoes!!!

Bemoaning The ‘Destruction’ of Cricket

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BCCI President N. Srinivasan is the most destructive man in cricket, says an angry Australia daily. Amazing how threat perceptions are tempered when it comes to making big bucks in the IPL, or otherwise in Indian cricket, observes Jaideep Ghosh.

Cricket is a dangerous and destructive sport. Has always been, but with the development of insanely huge bats and immensely aggressive batsmen, it’s become quite a risky affair to play, or even watch the game, as some spectators in the Indian Premier League have experienced over the last couple of editions, especially the last two.

Equally, India is a risky place. The traffic is insane, the law and order leaves a lot to be desired and the corruption levels, according to the said newspaper, are somewhere in the high 90s (almost as good as Bradman’s average).

Funny though, how none of this stops Australian players, coaches, physios, therapists, psychologists, umpires, commentators, cheerleaders and assorted guests in various team jerseys from thronging the country, savouring its diverse culture, food, rapidly deteriorating weather and most of all, the greenbacks pouring into their accounts.

Oh by the way, how many of these people have work permits?

All that is fine, till such time as when the Australians are challenged at the international level – namely the international players union, FICA.

As all would know by now, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan beat former Australia off-spinner Tim May as chief executive of FICA over three bouts of voting – the scores progressively ranging from 1-9, 5-5 and finally 6-4 – in favour of the former Indian leggie.

The Australian media reacted like they always do. Badly. They just can’t handle going down to these Indians, be it on the field (where there was precious little left to say) or off it.

Sure, the election process wasn’t sacrosanct, but do excuse me, which thing in the sport is? The International Cricket Council (ICC) has had situations where two matches under its umbrella have been played in two venues – one with DRS, one without.

Chucking has been legalized with some gibberish about 15 degrees of flex (??). Fixers aren’t ever caught by the Anti-Corruption Unit but invariably by the police of the said nation where the fixing was enacted.

So to expect FICA, which is essentially another arm of the hydra that is cricket, to have absolutely free and fair elections, is a little optimistic. This is cricket, after all.

The Daily Telegraph had little material to fall back on, so barring the angst surrounding the use of muscle by BCCI, its article essentially has what all Srinivasan is being investigated for; how badly India does on the transparent international corruption index (94 to Australia’s 7), etc., are thrown up.  It is essentially not a swing at Srinivasan and BCCI, but India as a whole.

As for the CBI investigations, I am sure even the Daily Telegraph knows that a person is presumed innocent unless proven guilty. A transparency index rating of 7 should surely ensure that?

Or maybe only in Australia.

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A Gentleman’s Game. Why Question Now???

Pak Players

Ankush Kumar talks how irresponsible talks and books only take away the interesting and unpredictable factor away from the game. This one is as straight as it gets and we hope it reaches Ed Hawkins.

Bookie update… India will bat first and score over 260, 3 wickets fall within the first 15 overs, Pakistan will cruise to 100, then lose 2 quick wickets, at 150 they will be 5 down and crumble and lose by a margin of over 20 runs.

I happened to read the book authored by Ed Hawkins. For people who don’t know him, you have Google. For those who know him very well, Read On!!!

India beat pakistan

Mr. Ed Hawkins ‘you’ have been awarded the prestigious sports betting writer of the year award. You know what? It is like our filmfare awards, when Shahrukh Khan cannot win the most coveted prize; we honor him with the power award.

It has possibly become a fashion statement to criticize every good performance by Team India in cricket matches. And for writers like you and many others from the west, it is pretty easy to post such scandalous blogs and taint our glory forever.

‘The only source of defense the book has perhaps is that ‘this information was passed on by an Indian source/bookie/punter’. Can the author tell us one thing, how do you trust such people when the law of the land says that they are doing illegal activities?

If you look at that script very closely ‘Sir’ (pun intended) such predictions are made by kids galore in different parts of India every day. And trust me quite a few actually get it right. So does that makes all these people fixers?

If this script is going to be a benchmark for you to ‘SELL’ your books (and people like me buying it). I can give you better screenplays, that can actually fetch you the most ‘coveted prize’.

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The first script dates back to 1999. The Australia vs South Africa world cup Semi final. Oh Boy! It was a pot boiler. Australia’s top order crumbles, Steve Waugh’s catch is dropped, and he goes on to say possibly the finest line in cricketing history ‘Mate! You have just dropped the world cup’. South Africa starts their modest total chase in a brisk fashion and then Warnie spells doom. Lance Klusner gets them to the finish line and they still lose the spot in the finals. Isn’t that quite similar to the above script? There is a difference though, this one had dialogues too!!!

The generic defense I am sure will be ‘Oh South Africa’ is a jinxed team! Maybe the jinxed factor can be used to good effect and we can have a potential story!

World Cup 1996 Semi Final: Australia v West Indies

The second script dates back to the 1996 World Cup semi-finals. (Must say semis are a big bet). Australia make a lowly total of 208 on a flat batting surface, thanks to batting efforts by Ricky Ponting and Stuart Law, West Indies make heavy weather of that chase, once again Warnie weaving his magic and Courtney Walsh getting bowled attempting a big heave when Richie Richardson was on the other end. Was this one fixed too?

Authors around the world might argue that it was not, because Australia was firm favorites to win that match. India were favorites too, to win the semi final against Pakistan in 2011. In fact we were tournament favorites to win the championship and we did it pretty well.

ireland winning

There are numerous other examples you have mentioned in your book, that ‘suggests match fixing’. ‘Sir’ the only problem is that you have very conveniently forgotten the ‘Ireland v/s England match’. I believe it was on pure merit that the Irish won that match, but since you have said it through your book ‘that cricket won’t be watched without suspicion again’ I have raised my doubts here.

With due respect to all the people who have questions on their minds, ‘when Team Australia won the world cup nobody raised any questions, when Sri Lanka an island nation won it for the first time nobody raised any questions’. It is time to respect the fact that ‘Team India won on pure merit and nothing else’.

Cheap talks will linger on for time immemorial but this is where ‘respected’ people like you and others come into play, rather than believing what an irrational idiot says for generating eye balls to 24 x 7 media channels, we should applaud the efforts of cricketing nations.

P.S: The jinxed factor has a potential story ‘Sir’, and the ‘coveted prize’ is all for the taking.

 

How Ravindra Jadeja Trolled His Critics

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From mockingly calling him Sir Ravindra Jadeja to making thousands of memes on him, Ravindra Jadeja has seen fun being made on him everywhere on the internet. It was him though who finally had the last laugh

24 wickets in a Test series against Australia. Yes, you got the numbers right. Jadeja, who till a few days back was being trolled left, right and center on the social media, bagged 24 wickets against a good team, proving a few points to his critics.

The last image I saw of him was that of being in the illustrious company of Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne (Yes, you guessed right, in the same famous picture with Sir Don Bradman, replacing the Don from the frame). The image is attached for your perusal.

But what none can deny are the improvements he has made to his game, especially his bowling in Indian conditions. After all, twenty four wickets in a series is no joke. With every wicket he took and he dismissed Michael Clarke (probably Australia’s best batsman) on all occasions, he made his critics feel pathetic about themselves and their understanding of the game. He won a clear battle, one in which he was declared loser even before the show began.

For all those who feel wronged about an Ajinkya Rahane not getting selected to play courtesy his showing in the Ranji Trophy (though I don’t consider the Indian domestic performances as any yardstick to see talent) probably missed Jadeja’s crazy numbers. 800 runs in five matches with two triple hundreds was what he managed with the willow, and if that was not enough, he picked up 24 wickets at an impressive 20.7. To me he was the one who single handedly took Saurashtra to the finals.

But even with such numbers, he was trolled when he was selected. I heard a Facebook status saying that the entire press box clapped when he got bowled out to Pattinson leaving a delivery outside off because everyone in unison felt he did not deserve a place. For the selectors though, considering the numbers, it was an easy choice. Fortunately Sandeep Patil and party knew what they were upto and they did not got bogged down to what others thought.

Let’s not debate this further and just bring out the things he brings to the table being an all-rounder in the Indian conditions. A balanced batsman (he has to work a lot more to be called perfectly balanced) who can bat at any position that the skipper asks him to. Believe me; having seen him from close quarters, he is much better than what most people think he is as a batsman. As a bowler, here is someone who knows his limitations and works around it, something which is a rarity for Indians as a breed.

Courtesy his tight line and length he can dry up runs and the moment he comes to know what the pitch offers, he is someone who grabs it by both hands (Delhi was just one example). And let’s be honest, we all love seeing him throw those grenades from his fielding position, don’t we?

To me, I saw a more matured Ravindra Jadeja in this series. He looked like having worked on various bits of his bowling. His line, immaculate length, bowling consistently at a defined trajectory and occasionally surprising the batsmen who were definitely low on batting technique (except Clarke and Watson) was a delight to the eyes.

Let’s not forget, the legendary spinner Shane Warne, on his first stint as captain of Rajasthan Royals in the IPL had called Jadeja a cricketing ‘Rockstar’ and had at that time predicted he would be India’s next shining star. Probably the time has come.

What I am more excited about is the dimension that Jadeja gives to the Indian team in South Africa. With the team wanting to play three seamers in those helpful conditions, Jadeja is the perfect fit who can take up the second spinner’s role and that of an all-rounder. If domestic performances are any yardstick, his batting is good and courtesy his showing against Australia, he definitely will get his chances in South Africa, if he does well, he surely will prove his belonging.