Tag Archives: England

Ashes, Champagne And Yuck: The Ill-Defined Peeing Episode

england players

By Ganesh Subramanian

So after the final test drew to a close after England’s late charge towards victory was halted by bad-light, the Poms well and truly got to lay their hands on the historic Ashes urn. Australia was totally outplayed in the series and England fittingly won the series 3-0. No doubt the historic rivalry of the Ashes transcends ages and generations, but that doesn’t call for an utterly disgusting way to celebrate the victory. For those who are wondering what I am talking about, a few players of the England team celebrated their victory by urinating on the Oval pitch.

Now comes the apology from the English camp for any offence that might have been caused to anyone by their actions. A few lines from the apology statement published in ecb.co.uk website are given below:

“The England cricket team would like to state that during our celebrations after winning the Ashes at no time was there any intention to disrespect Surrey CCC, the Oval or anyone else involved in the game we love,”

The interesting thing about this statement is that while England says that it did not have any intention to disrespect Surrey CCC, the Oval or anyone else involved in the game we love, what they actually ended up disrespecting was the very spirit of cricket by their “taking a leak” act. It was a shameful act to hear itself, let alone see it for the true connoisseurs of cricket. Wonder what MCC has to say on the English players’ actions given that MCC is the custodian and guardian of cricket!

The apology goes on to say that the act was a simple error of judgement from the English players more than anything else. How much more mean could that excuse be? No international player in his sane senses is expected to indulge in an act like that whether it’s a feeling of euphoria after the victory or something else.

In a series already marred by DRS controversies, Lehmann-Stuart Broad spat and so on, this was the last thing the series or more importantly the game of cricket needed. With interesting happenings in cricket on right now with Zimbabwe beating Pakistan in an ODI after 15 years, India A squaring the test series with RSA-A after their 2nd test loss, etc this post Ashes episode leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. One can only hope that in their quest for becoming a world-beating side, the English team learns a bit of modesty and humbleness also along the way.

Let’s Pledge To Sledge! Err I Hate Grammar! Cricket’s Best Battles

cricket sledging

By Ankush Kumar

The purists hate the idea of sledging; it apparently spoils the crease of their suits. The broadcasters love the banter amongst the players as it fills their coffers a little more, than expected. Cricket as they say is played between two teams of eleven players each, every era has seen domination by one team, but the winners of sledging still remain undecided.

Here are a few from trip down memory lane, enjoy and savor the one liners, and don’t forget ‘cricket still remains a man’s game, gentle though is passé’.

Rod Marsh to Ian Botham, when the England star took guard: So, hows your wife and my kids?

Merv Hughes to Robin Smith, after the batsman repeatedly played and missed ‘ you fucking cant bat. The next bowl was dispatched to the boundary and Smith said ‘Hey Merv we make a nice pair I fucking cant bat and you fucking can’t bowl’.

Michael Atherton during his first tour of Australia stood his ground during an appeal. At the end of the over Ian Healy said ‘Fucking cheat’ he replied ‘When in Rome, dear boy’.

James Ormond while playing his first Test match for England, Mark Waugh quipped ‘what are you doing here mate, you aint good enough to play for England’ He replied saying ‘atleast I am the best player of my family’.

After going past a couple of deliveries Shaun Pollock told Ponting ‘its red and round and weighs about five ounces’. The following ball was dispatched to the boundary and Ponting said ‘You know how it looks like, go find it’.

Glenn McGrath once asked Eddo Brandes ‘Hey man why are you so fat’? The Zimbabwean replied ‘because every time I sleep with your wife she gives me a biscuit’!

A young batsman was clean bowled by the great Fred Trueman and he said ‘that was a great ball Fred’ the great shot back saying ‘ Yeah! And it was wasted on you’.

PS: Hoping you enjoyed it and though you might consider yourself a purist, deep down if you are a man am sure these would have brought back a few youthful memories. 

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.

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Oyster card

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

 

Indian School Girls: Then And Now

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By Ravi J Singh

10 things that have changed in Indian schoolgirls since I have left school –

  1. The skirts were 2” below knee; now these are 2” above.
  2. You’d call her ‘hot’ and she will go to teacher with a complaint; now you call her ‘lovely’ (and not ‘hot’) she will go to the teacher with a complaint.
  3. School loo were used for the usual stuff; now these are used as photography sessions
  4. Girls used to bunk at least 1 day in a week; now girls go to school at least 1 day in a week
  5. They used to have a Boyfriend; now its Boyfriends
  6. The age of having a boyfriend has also gone down. My times were between classes 8-10; now it is between classes 6-8.
  7. A non-veg joke to a girl was a strict no-no; Now it’s a part of daily cuisine.
  8. Very less girls had career aspirations then; very few now don’t have.
  9. Behenjis were majority then. Numbers are skewed towards fashionistas now
  10. There is a similarity though. They used to top schools; they still manage the feat

Disclaimer – Before the women brigades come after me calling me ‘a sexist’ or generalizing me as ‘shithead’, the points above are a mix of reality, fun, exaggeration and illusion.

A lot has changed since the time we used to be in school in 90’s and now. The paradigm of the Indian society has shifted, definitely has, towards west or its own ancient culture of more open. Non-conservatives can be a debatable fact of course.

Why We Still Cheer For Team India

dhoni with CT

Ankush Kumar tells us why some fans will always cheer for Team India and nothing to the tune of fixing, conflict of interest and media hype will bother them

The only conflict is his interest in the success of Team India perhaps. The silence at the final press conference before MSD left for English shores was a damp squib. The media still generated their masala and hounded him no end. His integrity was questioned; social media and its lame authors nailed him from all quarters.

MSD and his boys were cornered tigers, and like they do a step backwards was taken. Only to make a giant leap forward and here they are crowned winners of the last edition of the champions’ trophy.

The final yesterday was robbed of a great contest by the weather. For a long period the beer in the refrigerator disappeared with each thundershower that hit Birmingham.
By the time the contest actually began I was left sipping only cold water. Mind you that was equally intoxicating as India scripted a win from the jaws of defeat.

Last time when South Africa choked at the international stage, England was their nemesis. This time the English relived the same tag that has haunted them since 1979. If ever a time machine is invented, England should go back in time and erase the memory of inventing the sport.

They way they have lost big-ticket finals since 1987; they don’t deserve such great tags. India on the other hand played outstanding cricket from the word go. When they won the first two warm up matches, lot of us felt they were flattering to deceive. But the way they romped home against quality sides reconfirmed their tag of being the number one ODI side in world cricket today.

Today as it stands MSD has become the first captain to win all major ICC titles; this would not have been possible without the support of the technical team yesterday.
The ICC goofed up for not having a reserved day for a big final, but quick thinking by them ensured that we at least had a rain-curtailed match. The high drama in those forty overs was enough for the audience who had waited patiently to make their monies worth.

Last time when Team India won the CWC, Nasser Hussain had said ‘since they haven’t beaten England the win is not complete’. Today as it stands sir ‘Shut up & Bounce’. Every time the sport has hit by an alien source, Team India, has countered the demons and come out triumph. This one though is sweeter as it has come in overseas conditions. Well not quite! Yesterday Birmingham looked more like the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai than in England.

It turned out to be home territory for us. The crowed jeered the Pommies and cheered us. The pitch that should have been bouncy turned square, Alaistar got cooked and MSD was yet again crowned Mr. Cool!

Captain Cool did not miss an opportunity to thank the BCCI for their contribution in developing great infrastructure that has helped Team India grow as a fielding unit. He in a very subtle manner also highlighted to the west that ‘India are the big daddies of world cricket today’.

This victory means a lot to fans like us, who have stood by our heroes in times of crisis, we have never questioned the integrity of our soldiers, we have always believed that theories like conflict of interest or scandals like spot fixing can never be a deterrent for the love of the game, and today our superstars have repaid us back by not just winning the championship but by doing it in style.

P.S: England is supposed to be the mecca of cricket, but it’s Team India that ‘Lords’ over the world today.

Ball-Tampering? So What?

Cricket - ICC Champions Trophy - Group A - England v Australia - Edgbaston

 

Accusations of ball-tampering by England aren’t such a scandal as they are being made out to be. The game has left it open to cutting corners, by all teams concerned, says Jaideep Ghosh.

Cricket is a strange game. It has, over the years, succumbed to the pressure of commercialization to such extents that rules being bent to suit the free flow of commerce have made it a little bit of a joke when it comes to discipline and fair play.

The current situation, where for England fast bowler Bob Willis and others have cast aspersions on the England team in the ICC Champions Trophy have been met with indignant protests from the team management. “We don’t tamper,” is the flavour of the protest.

Point is, so what if they do?

Here is a game where the arm is bent to get more purchase and the parent body allows it. The bats stand on the verge of violating the dimension norms, but that adds to the run-gathering. Grounds are of all shapes and sizes, from 60-yard ovals to 93-yard hexagons. You can use DRS, and then, you can do without it. Switch hits, reverse sweeps, everything is on the cards and nothing is sacrosanct.

So why should scratching the cricket ball a little bit be such an issue?

The irony is that it was the same Englishmen who had gone ballistic when Pakistan came up with the dubious art of reverse swing. They were never short of criticism, suspicion and accusations against the Pakistanis, and other teams, mostly the sub-continental sides, since the batsmen weren’t being able to handle the reverse swing, and the bowlers were unable to master the art initially.

So for them to act coy about using a little bit of magic fingers to get the ball to act according to their whims is where the issue is. Otherwise, every team does this.

It seems that the designated ball polishing job is given in the current side to skipper Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara (not sure if is sub-continental credentials have anything to do with this). Essentially, the job goes to players of lower profiles, or higher credentials of ‘sporting’ behaviour.

Why? Simple. They aren’t under scrutiny of the TV and press cameras that much.

Using lozenge-derived glycerine-enriched saliva to polish the cricket ball isn’t such a rarity either. One of India’s players, renowned for his squeaky-clean reputation and demeanour, always had a toffee in his cheek while playing. But since he was above and beyond reproach, it never became an issue.

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Zaheer Khan got incensed during one series in England when some smart alec dropped some jellybeans near his bowling run-up. It wasn’t a joke. The suggestion was pretty direct.

So all those throwing up their hands in horror at the red cherry, or its white cousin, being polished of scratched the ‘wrong’ way need to take a chill pill. Nothing new there. Cricket,after all, isn’t just cricket any more.

cook explaining

 

 

 

Hangover 3 – The Madness Gets Reviewed

Kartik Kannan reviews the Wolf Pack’s last adventure! The hangover does not seem to have lasted this time!

hangover-3

Get Drugged, Wake up in a strange place with an animal, one of your comrades missing, and re creating your night story through a treasure hunt with clues, in the underbelly of a hedonistic city- That’s the Hangover template, that after passing through Vegas and Bangkok, decided to chart a different path ( or so we heard in the reviews).

To get prepared, we downed 3 Kamikazes in an hour before we rushed to the theatre and started watching the flick. It helped us do the ROTFL act more naturally, but somewhere deep down, the movie meandered away without a serious plot, and ended pre maturely.

The movie starts with the demise of Alan’s father, and how the family wants Alan to move to rehab, so that the chinks in his brain get ironed. The wolf pack convinces Alan,and accompanies him to the rehab facility, when the predicted twist happens( Its already 15 minutes into the movie, and its about a twist was manufactured). A gang kidnaps the 4 musketeers, and want them to locate Chow, in connection with some unfinished business. 3 days of time to go find Chow, else one of their partners get killed(who’s held hostage).

To find an international criminal in 3 days, that the FBI and Interpol could not, our wolf packs set themselves on this mission, which is as tough as the Indian Cricket team chasing 300+ totals in England. Chow keeps messaging Alan, and they end up finding Chow. Chow takes them on a trip and deceives the trio and that forms the core of the movie. In between there’s time for Alan to meet some one like minded, and a few LOL moments, but just when you think its time for take off, its touch down time, with a mild hint of what looked like a curtain raiser for another wolf pack adventure. That’s what keeps you happy, as you leave the cinema hall.

For a movie that featured Bangkok, in its sequel, you’d expect a ‘happy ending’ to the 3rd part, but you’ve got to do some self service (like get 3 Kamikaze shots nursing a mild hangover) to really get the ‘happy ending’ that the movie should have given!

Blaming IPL for Spot-Fixing is Hypocritical

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The latest spot-fixing saga involving Test cricketer S Sreesanth and two other players has brought the negative focus back on the IPL. A tournament which could otherwise be such a great one internationally to unearth exceptional talent is being bashed for poor governance. I still feel, blaming the IPL for something that has plagued the sport for decades is hypocritical to say the least. 

Now let’s be honest, when was the last time we heard of spot-fixing. It was with Pakistan bowlers Mohd Asif and Mohammed Aamer bowling no-balls against England in England. That was also not the first time it had happened. The relation between all sports and betting is probably as long rooted in a sports’s history as its origin and existence. Which means way before IPL was even thought of, so why make it a scapegoat. Just because there is huge money involved and its a franchise system with big names does not mean we blame all corruption on it.

Frankly, match-fixing is a much bigger malaise and we had evidence against match-fixers from India from 1999 onwards. What happened to them? Someone’s a politician and many are actually commenting on the sport today, having remained scot-free with no one being able to catch them from their collar outside a court complex. Did we ban Indian cricket then, did we put a temporary ban of even 5 years on it? So why now the IPL.

The IPL is certainly one of the best breeding grounds for talents. Players not only get a chance to showcase their talent on the world stage, play with the best of international folks, learn from them but to add to all this, make loads of money even without being lured into heinous activities like the one that came to light yesterday.

What is more important to understand is that all ponds have bad fishes and the need to the hour should always be to find those and fix them, rather than emptying the pond and making thousands dependent on its water die of thirst.

I loved one tweet yesterday which said and I quote “for every Sreesanth and Chandila, there are folks like Dravid and Warne” which basically means there are enough examples to look up to and feel that the game is not tarnished because of a few bad examples. Like every industry and like life in general, there would be rough times, the tough ones have always survived though.

PS: For anyone who thought I am an IPL fan, rest assured, I am one of its staunchest critic. Unfortunately though I am still sane to know where to fix the blame and where to worship. 

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https://missionsharingknowledge.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/zero-tolerance-and-zero-credibility/

https://missionsharingknowledge.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/spot-fixing-cracked-for-easy-understanding/

Zero Tolerance and Zero Credibility

The spot-fixing arrests of Sreesanth, Chandila and Chavan goes to prove that the BCCI’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy is a joke, when combined zero information and zero transparency, says Jaideep Ghosh

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BCCI boss N. Srinivasan, in a pretty hastily-organised press briefing, reiterated what we already know, while it also threw up a few more enlightening points.

Let’s start with the two statements of novelty. The first jewel is that the Indian Premier League is not corrupt, cricket is. Thank you sir, for making that distinction. We were seriously beginning to presume that IPL indeed WAS cricket. Now we know better.

The second is the expression of shock that an international player had been arrested. So the BCCI was a little happier that those hauled up before were people of lesser denomination? That is bigotry.

The rest was business as usual – beginning with ‘shock’ at the ineffectiveness of the BCCI’s Anti-Corruption Unit.

But what is new there? BCCI or the International Cricket Council (ICC) anti-corruption units have been ineffective at the best of times, especially since the ‘zero tolerance’ is never initiated unless some police force – be it in India or England – throws up yet another fixing scandal.

We hope that they are just incompetent and not actually sweeping such incidents under the carpet. That would indeed be a crime, much bigger than the one the three players have been charged with. Or others, over the years.

But one thing we agree with. Srinivasan says Indian players are paid enough. In fact, it would suffice to say they are paid obscene amounts by cricket and IPL (the distinction having been decisively established).

So how much money then, is too much? Evidently, there isn’t a limit. If the three are indeed guilty, one needs to see what their pay packages were in the IPL, or in international and/or first-class cricket.

But lure of money isn’t really the problem here. The problem is that the game’s governing bodies have been criminally lax when it comes to enforcing any sort of discipline in this area, a fact enhanced by the fact that the arms invested with power to take action are largely useless.

Over many assignments all over, yours truly has often seen this ACU official checking-in into five-star hotels with a very sleuth bearing and a mysterious smile. Then he vanishes from the scene, with equal mystery. But I guess detectives can be expected to be undercover.

But not at the cost of doing anything. Srinivasan is disappointed with the ACU. So are we. But we are equally disappointed with the BCCI and ICC for allowing the ACU, players, fixers and bookies a free run, interrupted by occasional feeble attempts at righteousness and order.

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5 Reasons Why You Can’t Write-Off Sehwag

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Geoffrey Boycott, the legendary former England opener has opined that we might have seen the last of Virender Sehwag. Here are five reasons why we think he is wrong.

  1. Sehwag has been written off many times previously but he has always come back stronger. People write him off stating his attitude towards hard work and his work ethic but what they forget is the huge amount of talent and the reason for that attitude. He probably has never had to struggle and on times he had to, he has come back strong, courtesy the same ego and nonchalant attitude. History is proof that only the ones with the biggest willpower succeed against the battle of aging. One cannot possibly have greater willpower than Viru.
  2. Some numbers will tell us why we are so confident he would make a comeback. We are talking of numbers that only legends could boast. For starters, Sehwag’s average of 51.72 is the highest by any Indian opener and a second all Test cricket’s best for a player who has opened for his country’s cricket team in 100 or more innings. Let’s take strike-rate because it’s important considering the number of matches players like Sehwag win on their hitting prowess. Keep aside Shahid Afridi, and Sehwag comes out number one on numbers. Sehwag’s strike rate is above 82 and do we need to tell how many times India has won after a Sehwag blitzkrieg.
  3. The bigger the challenge, the more dominating Sehwag has been so how can we write him off in a daunting situation like this. He knows the chips are down, he knows there’s huge pressure considering calls for his exit are loud but at the same time he also knows all about his talent and has been sounding confident on and off when we hear from him. He was once before also discarded from the team and we all know the kind of comeback he made so rest assured of another happy surprise and a nightmare for opposition.
  4. India’s biggest challenge lie ahead in foreign conditions, in South Africa, in New Zealand and though we have seen some youngsters of the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane do well, we still know what can happen to a young team with no experience in African conditions. For the sake of India, it would be great to see Sehwag back in the side and leading the younger brigade from the front. He might not have the best technique in foreign conditions but we all do remember what he did in Australia a few years back and a similar repeat is not out of consideration.
  5. The last bit is the fact that IPL has always been kind to Indian stars and this is Sehwag’s opportunity to tell the world his worth. We all know the potential, we all know the carnage qualities, it’s just that there has been a delay in display. He would be burning inside as well considering the amount of criticism he has seen in the last few months. The timing of IPL could not have been better for him to hit his critics on their backs.

Overall, someone like Viru cannot be written off just like that. He is a confidence and a quick 30 sometime might get him back to what he does best. I am hopeful that the showman, Indian cricket’s biggest entertainer stays for a while and entertains at the top of the order. 

Sehwag IPL