Disappointed with India’s performance in Australia: Olympians

first_imgFor the last 10 days, champion double trap shooter Ronjan Sondhi has been in a quandary. For someone who is used to hitting the bull’s eye, he doesn’t know how to react to the taunting SMSes of his first coach, Australian Russell Mark, who has been messaging him after India’s defeat in the first Test in Melbourne.Sodhi’s other Australian friends have joined in, adding to the bulging inbox of his mobile phone after India lost the second Test as well. But Sodhi, a keen cricket follower and a staunch Sachin Tendulkar fan, has gone silent.”My Australian friends, including Russell, have been bombarding me with messages after the defeats. But I’ve not replied for the last 10 days as I don’t know what to say,” Sodhi told MAIL TODAY. “They are teasing me because in shooting, we beat Australia all the time. And when India beats Australia in cricket, I also send similar SMSes to them.”Sodhi, the reigning World Cup Finals winner, copped some more embarrassment for Virat Kohli’s finger gesture in Sydney. “After the Kohli incident, one of my Aussie friends sent a message saying ‘the Indians have forgotten to play with the bat and ball, and now they have started playing with fingers’,” he disclosed. “It was embarrassing.”Not just Sodhi, but the entire Indian sports fraternity seems to be in a state of shock.Sodhi’s senior Mansher Singh, a member of the Indian trap team, and an avid cricket fan, has stronger views. “Every morning I wake up charged, hoping to see India’s revival. But it’s not happening,” he said.advertisement”It’s basically the mindset. The cricketers’ mindset has gone completely haywire. These people have lost out the sharpness to win while the Australians are scoring triple centuries. I’m shocked to see that they can’t stay at the crease and the team loses several wickets in every session. They are in IPL mode, in terms of their thought process,” he pointed out. “They also look fatigued after the World Cup triumph.”Former India hockey captain Zafar Iqbal opined that Dhoni’s men are not playing as a team and lack planning. “The Aussies have the home advantage and, no doubt, they’re a good team. Their teamwork is always very strong, even in hockey. They have a clear-cut game plan and they are not bothered by big names, like a Tendulkar or a Dhanraj Pillay, in the opposition ranks,” he averred.Zafar felt that the famed Indian batting line-up has failed to adjust to the pitches. “What I’ve noticed is that they are not able to play on the bouncier and faster pitches. Also, they (Aussies) have looked more determined than us.”Ace golfer Gaurav Ghei concurred with Zafar. “Obviously, there’s something wrong, if you are not winning. Every time we play, our batsmen have a problem in handling pacers on bouncy pitches. We should get stronger in that area,” Ghei, the first Indian to win an Asian Tour event in 1995, told MAIL TODAY.However, Ghei, known as a gentleman on the circuit, said the criticism should be balanced as cricket should not be treated as just another sport. “It’s more than a game, bordering on fanaticism, considering its large following. It has a different bond with people. We’re very negative about cricketers,” he said.Multiple world billiards champion Michael Ferreira is disappointed too, but agreed with Ghei on the issue of heavy criticism. “We are always ready to criticise; we’ve to remember they too are human beings,” he told MAIL TODAY.Former India football captain Chuni Goswami, who also captained Bengal in the Ranji Trophy, refused to believe that an overdose of cricket could be cited as a reason for the team’s abysmal performance.”Unfortunately, this (defeats) has happened earlier – on the recent England tour. The team has been at sea, but I don’t subscribe to the view that they are playing too much cricket,” said the man who played 46 first-class cricket matches.”Our batsmen can’t play when the ball comes consistently at a height. For eight-nine months, they play on Indian pitches where the ball comes at only knee height and can be tackled by going forward,” said the batsman whose favourite shot was the square cut.Ferreira had the last word: “Forget about the past and get on with the job at hand. Also, my suggestion to my countrymen is: lay off and let them do their job and they’ll come back strongly.”last_img read more

Haryana’s Harshal Patel and Rajasthan’s Rituraj Singh dream big after sensational Ranji start

first_imgSeamer-friendly conditions and two seamers accounting for 22 wickets is a rarity in domestic cricket. When Haryana and Rajasthan were fighting a battle of nerves in a Ranji Trophy semi-final at Lahli, Rohtak, this week, on a wicket that tested the batting skills of one and all, it made for some absorbing cricket, not always gripping, but one that kept almost every player engaged right through.The centre of attraction was two young pacers – Haryana’s Harshal Patel and Rajasthan’s Rituraj Singh – both bowling with discipline and consistency to reap the rewards. The two have clearly made an impression in their first year of first-class cricket.Patel, with seven Ranji matches under his belt, backed his eight for 40 against Karnataka in the quarter-final with another excellent performance, taking eight for 34 in the first innings against defending champions Rajasthan to finish with his maiden 10-wicket haul.Rituraj, playing only his third Ranji Trophy match, scalped 12 for 82, including 5/ 37 in the second innings that saw Rajasthan defend 184 runs and make it to the final inside two and a half days.At the start of the season, Patel found the going tough and got only nine wickets in his first five Ranji matches. But he learnt his lessons quickly, and when bigger occasions came, the 21-year-old stood counted. In the quarterfinal, against Karnataka’s strong batting line-up, Patel cleared the road for Haryana’s upset victory.”I will rate my bowling against Karnataka above my performance in the semi- final. It was a special one because the conditions were more difficult for a bowler. The Bangalore wicket was helpful only in the morning when it was fresh and after that it turned out to be a good batting wicket. The wicket at Lahli was sporting. There were runs for the batsmen, but at the same time the bowlers had a chance if they pitched it in the right areas,” Patel told Mail Today.advertisement”I did the basics right, bowled the desired line and length and maintained the intensity,” said Ahmedabad-based Patel, who headed to Haryana as he was not getting a berth in Gujarat team.Patel is well aware of his strengths and the aspects of his bowling that need to be polished. “I can move the ball both ways and that is my biggest weapon. I would like to be a little quicker.” For that he is making some adjustment in his action and working with well-known Essex coach and former fast bowler Ian Pont, who has a contract with Haryana.”You get a lot of wickets in junior cricket but it is a different ballgame when you play at the senior circuit. You have to be consistent and patient for a long time. Nothing comes easy. This is something I learnt after the first five Ranji matches,” said Patel, who started as a batting all- rounder before choosing to concentrate more on his bowling.Patel had to make a tough choice very early in his career and he has been proved right. His family had to shift to USA when he was 16. But Patel decided to stay back and pursue his cricket. “Initially, living alone was difficult. I was very young and had to take care of everything. Now I have adapted to the change. I visit my parents in summers. They backed my decision and are happy with my success.”Rituraj came as a replacement for medium-pacer Deepak Chahar, who made headlines in the previous season. Chahar was down with jaundice and that paved the way for Rituraj, trained by Anil Sinha, to grab a spot.He immediately turned the fortunes of Rajasthan around with 22 wickets in three matches that included three five-wicket hauls.Swing is Rituraj’s strong point even as he aims to improve his pace. His ability to bowl on and outside off left the Haryana batsmen laden-footed. “I believe in line and length and it helps my style. It was important that I did not get carried away by the helpful conditions at Lahli. It was a fine learning process for me.”I know this is just the first step for me. I have a long way to go. I have to improve and keep doing the good work,” says Rituraj, echoing the thoughts of Patel as well.last_img read more

John Wright’s Indian Summer reveals details of Team India’s tangles with BCCI

first_imgIndian SummerMore than their covers, books are now usually judged by their pre-release publicity. Former India cricket coach John Wright’s memoirs have produced more headlines in less than a month than the New Zealander did in five seasons with the men in blue.Other than the last of Kapil Dev’s three,Indian SummerMore than their covers, books are now usually judged by their pre-release publicity. Former India cricket coach John Wright’s memoirs have produced more headlines in less than a month than the New Zealander did in five seasons with the men in blue.Other than the last of Kapil Dev’s three autobiographies released in 2004, Wright’s is the first insider account of Indian cricket in more than a generation. It is both an insider’s version of what it is like to live and work with the country’s favourite sports team.At the same time, it is an outsider’s take on the mostly mad, sometimes bad world of Indian cricket. During his tenure as India coach, Wright observed and read, talked and listened to people in and around his team. John Wright’s Indian Summers is about cricket and cricketers, runs and wickets, victories and defeats, but also about the relationship between a country and a game.Here the Kiwi gets his first taste of the constant relationship between his captain and match referees and then runs into the redoubtable Jagmohan Dalmiya.EXCERPTSTeam talk: Wright with the squadIn Zimbabwe I got my first real experience of dealing with match referees. Before drinks on the first morning of the first test, the late Dennis Lindsay summoned me to his room to tell me that we were appealing too much-13 times in 35 minutes, he said, of which only two were upheld. I wondered why on earth he was counting. He followed this up by giving our wicketkeeper, Sammy Dighe, a talking-to at lunchtime. Our manager, Chetan Chauhan, asked, ‘What is this? Are we playing backyard, friendly cricket?’ Apparently, we were. Lindsay reminded me of my old housemaster (‘Wright, I’ll see you in my study’), but we ended up getting on well…advertisement”All those who want to do things differently are prisoners of a system they can’t crack from within.” (In Sri Lanka) Ganguly had started what was to become a habit-or perhaps trademark-of getting offside with match referees. He and I have probably spent more time in disciplinary hearings than any other captain and coach. It must have been a combination of my flawed messages and Ganguly’s blithe refusal to take the slightest notice of what anyone told him to do. His high-handedness often annoyed me but I secretly admired his rebellious streak because it gave the team some pepper and got up opposition noses, most famously Steve Waugh’s.The match referee was Cammie Smith, the name who’d let Michael Slater off scot-free when he lost his rag with Dravid in Mumbai. He accused Ganguly of abusing a Sri Lankan on the evidence of what he’d seen on TV. After the apparently damning visual evidence had been replayed ad nauseam, it all seemed to hinge on Smith’s lip-reading skills as no one would admit to having heard Ganguly say a bad word to anyone; not the umpires, nor the alleged victim, nor his batting partner. If the Sri Lankans had wanted to put Ganguly away, they could have, as it was their word against ours. But it would have soured relations between the teams. Instead, they played the game and pulled the rug out from beneath Smith’s feet. But like the Mounties, Cammie got his man. Given out leg before in the next game, Ganguly examined his bat and looked heavenwards before wending his way off the field like a man searching for his lost car keys. Smith banned him for dissent.Long before I met or spoke to him, I’d heard all about Jagmohan Dalmiya. An English county chairman called him ‘that awful man from India’. Another administrator described him as ‘a cricket terrorist’. Sandeep Patil, the ex-India batsman who coached Kenya, took the opposite tack: he reckoned I couldn’t hope to work with a better man.”Ganguly’s high-handedness annoyed me but I admired his rebellious streak, it gave the team some pepper.” Who was he and why did he matter? Well, on the first morning of my first test match as Indian coach, Tony Greig took me aside. ‘Never forget one thing, John,’ he said. ‘Jagmohan Dalmiya is the most powerful man in Indian cricket.’ It was a big statement given that the man in question hadn’t held any position in the BCCI for three years, but Greig wasn’t the only person who portrayed him in that light. Some people talked about him as if he was a master puppeteer, the man behind the scenes pulling the strings. Others portrayed him as a monarch in exile, biding his time until he was ready to reclaim his throne.advertisementTough master: Referee Mike DennessThe board elections were taking place as the tour of South Africa began. According to the rumour mill, Dalmiya was poised to sweep back into power, and if that happened, anyone with links to the previous regime could start polishing their CV because he wouldn’t be taking prisoners. Supposedly, at or near the top of his hit-list were the foreign coach and the foreign physiotherapist. The buzz was so persistent that Andrew Leipus and I concluded that if Dalmiya won, we were history. The timing wasn’t propitious either, as my one-year contract was about to expire right in the middle of the South African series.I’ve always been a bit of a worrier, but India made me fatalistic… I’d come to realise that there was no point in fretting about things that were out of my control, and what Dalmiya thought of the ‘goras’ (whiteys) with the India team certainly fell into that category. All I could do was keep doing my job to the best of my ability and get some results. Having said that, I followed the pre-election maneuvering closely via the internet-it was all about 31 votes… As we trooped into the dressing room after a tough fielding practice in Johannesburg, (manager) Dr Bhargava gave us the news: Dalmiya by 17 votes to 13. The players shrugged and went on with what they were doing. Leipus and I looked at each other and said, ‘Oh, shit’. I was out of contract and the bitter rival of the man who’d employed me was now calling the shots.The media guys started treating me as if I’d been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Six days after the election I got a fax from Dalmiya who wanted to know why the team was inconsistent, why our batsmen couldn’t turn ones into twos, and why they lost their wickets by getting “caught in the dilemmas of yes and no”. Then he got to the point: “Are these a result of natural disability or a lack of proper training programmes?” He went on to talk about India’s passion for the game, the BCCI’s moral responsibility to the public and the fact that, despite cricket being a game of “glorious uncertainties”, India needed professionalism “instead of always putting the onus on the whims of uncertainties”. He wanted Andrew and I to spell out the factors that were hindering the team’s performance and the problems we faced and put forward suggestions for addressing them…. I’d got on well with (the former BCCI president) Muttiah, but we rarely discussed my role or what was happening with the team because he preferred to use Raj Singh Dungarpur as his point man. Dalmia was ob-viously the opposite-completely hands-on.”After Dalmiya took over, I certainly sensed a difference in the way we were treated by match referees.” Our hopes of winning the second test in Port Elizabeth and my hopes of hanging on to my job were severely reduced by a balls-up for which I blame, er, the coach. We picked two spinners, then sent South Africa in to bat because it was overcast. If I’d been trying to impress my new boss with a tactical masterstroke-which I was-I’d managed instead to shoot myself in the foot. To make matters worse, this bungle was witnessed by a number of ex-Indian players in the commentary box, some of whom were founder-members of the We Don’t Want A Foreign Coach brigade, some of whom were advisors to Dalmiya, and some of whom were both. Going by the expressions on the faces of the media contingent, it was time to check into a hospice.Two days later I spoke to Dalmiya for the first time, but not about my future. The ICC match referee Mike Denness had pinged Tendulkar for ball-tampering and half the team for excessive appealing, coming down particularly hard on Sehwag. Dalmiya rang me at about 11 in the evening. He had three questions: was Tendulkar spoken to by the umpires? Was Ganguly asked to control his players? Was Sehwag spoken to by the umpires? Then he asked me to fax him my version of events immediately and said he’d leave his mobile on all night if we wanted to ring him.advertisementThe way Dalmiya handled this row sent out a very clear signal to the rest of the cricket world that from here on India wasn’t going to take any crap from any quarter. His critics accused him of inflaming public opinion and turning a cricketing issue into a post-colonial ‘us versus them’ confrontation, but from the team’s point of view it felt as if our integrity was being defended and our interests protected. I certainly sensed a difference in the way we were treated by match referees after Dalmiya took over. He replied to my report… The tone was slightly warmer, but he noted that we’d been bowled out in four hours in the second innings at Bloemfontein… Within three days of getting back to India we were playing a test against England in Mohali, which we won by 10 wickets. I was still picking up the buzz that I was on the way out. I’m not sure there would have been much point in me making the trip to Delhi to meet Dalmiya.”One manager handed out the meal allowance in the dark so that it was hard to count; another nicked official shirts.” Within minutes of walking into his suite at the Taj Palace, I knew I was dealing with a pro. Dalmiya was immaculately dressed, thoroughly briefed, and all business. There was no false bonhomie or any attempt to put me at ease; the opposite in fact. He was quite a cold fish, with a piercing gaze, but I quickly found that I could speak bluntly to him. He grasped the issues and his questions cut right to the core of the matter. I’d made up my mind in advance that I wasn’t going to be tentative or deferential. I told Dalmiya that if he wanted to get Indian cricket right, there were issues that had to be tackled whether, one remained the coach or not. I suggested he should give me some of the things I was asking for and if he was still unhappy in six months, show me the door.At the end of the meeting he said that a lot of what he’d heard about me on the grapevine seemed to be off the mark. ‘You’re quite tough,’ he said, ‘and I think perhaps we may be able to work together.’ I could have said exactly the same… That first meeting with Dalmia set the tone for our relationship. I found I could do business with him. I always told him what I thought and I knew where I stood. We didn’t always agree and I didn’t always get what I asked for- for instance, a full-time bowling coach. From time to time former Indian players would turn up at our training camps without being invited-by me. They were there because Dalmiya wanted them there.Looking back on it, I tend to think we were all prisoners of the system, even Dalmiya… I know for a fact that many coaches and former and current players want to do things differently, but they too are prisoners of a system they can’t crack from within and don’t know where to begin. The BCCI is 75 years old and so is the practice of the vote deciding every little thing… Why did we have a new manager for every tour? So that the people in power could reward an association that had voted for them by putting one of its representatives in charge of the team for a couple of months. There are jobs for the boys everywhere, but this job was too important to keep shuffling around.”The BCCI is run by people who often make bewildering decisions and don’t give a hoot what the world thinks.” Every time a new manager was appointed, I had to develop a working relationship from nothing and do it quickly. They came from a variety of backgrounds and professions- there was a Member of Parliament, a bank employee, a doctor, the owner of a trucking firm, another who owned a printing business, a civil servant with the railways, a professor of chemistry, and a fighter pilot-with varying levels of competence and efficiency. Some did everything, others did nothing. Some knew a lot about cricket, others didn’t. Some smoked and drank, others frowned on both. As a rule of thumb, the good ones had a strong cricket background that included playing for India, but administrators like Professor Shetty and Wing Commander Baladitya-who flew Mirage jets for the Indian Air Force- were excellent. I liked sitting next to Baladitya on planes, because if you hit turbulence, he could tell you exactly what was happening.Big two: Ganguly with DalmiyaIn one sense, the ideal manager was a relaxed individual who viewed the whole exercise as a junket; at least that meant I could get on with my job without interference. The worst was the bloke who had a misguided confidence in his understanding of the game and was itching to get involved in the coaching. There was Colonel Sharma, who waved his handkerchief every time we got a wicket and considered himself a yoga expert, so much so that we once had to let him take the warm-up.There was a gentleman who handed out the meal allowance money in the dark so that it was hard to count, and another who nicked the players’ official shirts. There was the manager who unilaterally changed the departure time for what would be a full day’s travelling, with the upshot that half the team was on the bus and the rest were still in bed. When Andrew and I passed adverse comment on his organisational skills, he reported us to the BCCI, and at the end of the series he made me return all the white practice balls. One guy used to slip a sheet listing the scores of players from his region under my door and another managed to lose the entire party’s meal allowance money for the last two days of a tour. Just as well aircraft meals are free. The saving grace of this arrangement was that I made some friends for life.Another by-product of the BCCI system which had a direct impact on the team was euphemistically called ‘rotation’. Rotation was the system for devising schedules and venues for home series, and was also a means of driving a bunch of more-or-less sane cricketers around the bend. Since 2001 the BCCI has followed a policy of allocating tests and ODIs among the nine Test and 24 ODI venues in a fixed order. The idea was to ensure an even spread; in practice it locked the BCCI into a rigid programme, because no one wanted to give up their turn, and resulted in some of the most lunatic travel schedules imaginable. Rotation paid no heed to geography, airline schedules, or common sense.The bizarre itineraries were compounded by baffling travel arrangements. It took three flights and a bus trip to cover the 750 km between Jamshedpur and Nagpur. We could have done it on an overnight train and saved an entire day’s travel, but that was ruled out for “security reasons”. It wasn’t quite so bad for the players because they had the happy knack, one I never acquired, of being able to fall asleep anywhere, anytime.The BCCI is an extraordinary organisation. It’s run by a handful of people who often make bewildering decisions and don’t give a hoot what the outside world thinks of them. Its half a dozen paid staff in the Mumbai headquarters are kind, friendly and amazingly loyal-one of them told a local paper he hadn’t had a raise for 35 years. Although the BCCI generates a major proportion of cricket’s total revenues, its office in Mumbai has concrete floors and a toilet that requires key access. I reckon those ramshackle surroundings are the greatest feat of camouflage since a wolf put on sheep’s clothing.last_img read more

Jagmohan Dalmiya remains king of Bengal cricket, Buddhadeb cries foul

first_imgKOLKATA: The final tally read – Jagmohan Dalmiya: 61, Prasun Mukherjee + Buddhadeb Bhattacharya + Sourav Ganguly: 56. A day after the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) election, a fuming Bhattacharya, synonymous with power in West Bengal, proclaimed that this was a “triumph of evil over good”. But none could,KOLKATA: The final tally read – Jagmohan Dalmiya: 61, Prasun Mukherjee + Buddhadeb Bhattacharya + Sourav Ganguly: 56.A day after the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) election, a fuming Bhattacharya, synonymous with power in West Bengal, proclaimed that this was a “triumph of evil over good”. But none could defeat CAB’s president, re-elected on July 30 after a nail-biting election.That is because not everyone was against him. At the Maidan, the city’s hub of cricket clubs, his supporters want Dalmiya to continue the “good work”. Dalmiya’s fight for his last piece of turf, after he lost the elections of Board of Control for Cricket in India last year, had indeed turned murky.TRIUMPHANT: Jagmohan Dalmiya (left) after winning CAB pollsIt took a political hue when the chief minister decided it was his duty to get CAB a new president and fielded Police Commissioner Prasun Mukherjee, while advising Dalmiya to steer clear of the elections. Sourav Ganguly, desperate for a recall to the Indian cricket team, changed loyalties to e-mail the Mukherjee camp alleging the current CAB administrators of ruining cricketers’ careers.But Dalmiya won, and humbly said this was just a platform to fight the BCCI cases pending against him. Bhattacharya, who has never tasted political loss, was taken aback by Mukherjee’s defeat. He now has a lot to answer for-CPM stalwart Jyoti Basu and his own partymen want to know why he interfered with the independent election process of a sports body.Basu has also strongly disapproved of Bhattacharya’s public outburst where he demanded, “I want Dalmiya to leave.”The truth remains. Jagmohan Dalmiya is still the king of Bengal cricket, and that is unlikely to change anytime soon. Meanwhile, the inswings continue.advertisementlast_img read more

‘Salman Khan is the only actor who dares to be different’

first_imgSameera ReddyState of Affairs It is evident from your story that Punjab and Kerala have topped the list again because of their emphasis on what they are good at-agriculture and education (“North South Lead”, August 16). Transparency and good governance are the keys to being a good state. K. CHIDANAND,Sameera ReddyState of AffairsIt is evident from your story that Punjab and Kerala have topped the list again because of their emphasis on what they are good at-agriculture and education (“North South Lead”, August 16). Transparency and good governance are the keys to being a good state. K. CHIDANAND KUMAR, BangaloreDespite the fact that different states have bagged awards for development in some sector or the other, not a single state has attained self-sufficiency in infrastructure development. Had they done so India would have been ranked first in the comity of developing nations. S. NAGARATNAM, MumbaiThe left parties have always been critical of the policies and programmes of other parties but your survey shows that Left ruled West Bengal is lagging behind in almost all parameters with an overall rating of 14 among the big states. The Left does not have any moral right to preach to anyone else. They should set their own affairs in order first. M.M. GURBAXANI, BangaloreKerala has never tried to shed its post-independence slumber on the economic front even though it has taken enviable care of education and health. It should focus more on sustainable and growth-oriented economic ventures with employment generation within the state rather than depend on overseas dollars and dinars. ANIL THOMAS, ChennaiYour story should be an eye-opener for states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Lagging way behind on almost all socio-economic fronts, these states’ performances have hit rock bottom. Governance is conspicuous by its absence. Illiteracy and poverty are all-pervading. How long will these states be content to be mocked at as laggards of democracy? ALOK SRIVASTAVA, DelhiYou have missed some vital parameters like economic disparity, employment and growth of population while conducting your survey. All these factors have a lot of impact on the social and economic life of the people. Even the UN and other international research organisations take them into consideration while conducting studies. SURESH SURATWALA, MumbaiYour otherwise comprehensive report missed out two important factors- sustainable environment and ecological balance. Aren’t fresh air and clean drinking water important? Similarly cheaper and cleaner energy sources would attract investments and might be an answer to the soaring LPG and petroleum prices. YASH TOKARSI JAIN, on e-mailKerala cannot be considered a progressive state by any yardstick. A state that does not allow any industry to develop even during these times of liberalisation has nothing to do with any kind of progress. Nani Palkhivala had rightly said that social justice, when not accompanied by economic growth, is meaningless. T.S. PATTABHI RAMAN, on e-mailHaving a stable government does not necessarily mean that the state will witness economic progress. Had that been the case states like Bihar, where the RJD has been ruling for the past 14 years, andWest Bengal, where the Left Front has been in power for 27 years, would have prospered like Punjab and Kerala. RAJIB SARMA, on e-mailYour survey has many contradictions. Bihar is ranked last in health but in life expectancy and infant mortality the state is in the top 10. And how can West Bengal, with the fourth largest state GDP (and projected to be the second largest in 2020) be 18th in investment scenario? SAIBAL BAGCHI, on e-mailFloundering AroundThe BJP has been indulging in introspection and analysis of the reasons for its defeat in the Lok Sabha elections (“Still in a Stupor”, August 16). But so far it has only managed to replace “Hindutva” with “Bharatiyata” and “vikas”. SHIKHA KATARIA, PanchkulaThe BJP, the so-called party with a difference, is acting like a child whose lollipop has been snatched away. The Congress too is not behaving like a mature winner. Both parties seem to have forgotten that there are important issues to be dealt with. But instead of cooperating they are only trying to embarrass each other at every available opportunity. JOHN ERIC GOMES, Goa advertisementOne expected the BJP to act in a more responsible manner and Atal Bihari Vajpayee to provide the right guidance. But both have been big let-downs. MADHU SINGH, Ambala CantonmentPrice of HealthLow-cost blood glucose testing machines are indeed a must (“The Sweet Check”, August 9). But the fact is that the cost of the machine is only a part of the total cost of testing at home. The glucose testing strips are a major and recurrent cost. The testing device is of no use without these strips and diabetics would benefit only when the price of these strips come down. RAKSHIT TEWARI, AhmedabadSafety CatchDo our politicians and actors feel their lives are more precious than those of our soldiers or senior citizens who are soft targets for anti-social elements (“VIP Insecurity”, August 9)? People should not be forced to pay for the security of the privileged classes. S.L. BEDEKAR, BangaloreHit ParadeSalman Khan is the only actor who dares to be different (“Role Reversal”, August 2). When most other actors are doing only one or two films a year, Salman will have seven releases in a single year.With his hattrick of hits one can easily say that he is one of the most bankable stars in Bollywood. NITESH VYAS, on e-mailBasic ProblemThe Punjab Government is well within its rights to promulgate the legislation cancelling all its watersharing agreements (“Troubled Waters”, July 26). Punjab is an agrarian economy and it needs water to support the farming community. Contrary to popular belief, it relies heavily on groundwater to meet its agricultural requirements. But now even groundwater levels have dipped because of the indiscriminate installation of tubewells. SATISH SHARMA, DelhiCHARGE COUNTER CHARGEIt is difficult to believe Shujaat Hussain’s contention that Nawaz Sharif is lying because none of his pro-India statements would have endeared him to anyone in Pakistan (“Nawaz Sharif is Lying”, August 16). KESHAV AGARWAL, on e-mailBlame game seems to have become the national sport of Pakistan. The interview raises doubts about whom we should believe. SUBHAM PATHAK, BangaloreHussain’s statements on the Kargil war conceal rather than reveal what actually took place. H.R. BAPU SATYANARAYANA, Mysoreadvertisementlast_img read more

Spot-fixing scandal rocks Parliament; Ajay Maken asks BCCI to act

first_imgThe spot-fixing controversy led to a ruckus in Parliament on Tuesday forcing Sports Minister Ajay Maken to assure strict action against the culprits. Maken was reacting to BJP’s Lok Sabha member Kirti Azad’s demand that government should take stringent action over match-fixing or spot-fixing allegations raised by India TV’s sting operation. Maken also asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to take the matter seriously and resolve it as soon as possible. “It happens in other sports too and not only in cricket. It is both a challenge and opportunity. BCCI must go to its root and try to sort it out in the interest of millions of cricket lovers in India,” Maken said. Earlier, Azad, who happens to be a former Indian cricketer, had asked the government to step up internal auditing of different sports bodies and associations to check the spot-fixing. “Corruption comes from top to bottom. Lot of politicians have come into sports, be it from ruling party or opposition. When maters come up on malpractices they all become together and that is unfortunate part. Fixing has been going on since many years and I have been raising it. We need to have internal audit about it,” Azad said. No one will be spared: IPL chairmanRattled by the sting operation exposing spot-fixing in cricket, the Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman and BCCI vice-president, Rajiv Shukla, who also happens to be a Congress MP, said, “no one will be spared” and “we will be very strict with the players”.advertisementlast_img read more

Delhi Police to take Israeli diplomat attack to Georgia and Bangkok

first_imgThe Delhi Police said on Saturday they were sending teams to Georgia and Bangkok on the trail of evidence in connection with the bombing of an Israeli diplomat’s car in New Delhi.The police’s special cell also made its first official mention of a connection to Iran in an in-camera hearing at a Delhi court, according to sources.The police have already arrested Indian journalist Syed Mohammad Kazmi in connection with the February 13 attack, which allegedly saw a man on a motorbike attach a bomb to the car carrying Israeli diplomat Tal Yehoshua-Koren. A similar attack appeared to have been foiled in Tbilsi, Georgia the same day, with a driver for the local Israeli embassy discovering a bomb under the car and getting the police to defuse it. The next day, Bangkok police claimed that Iranians were behind a series of explosions that injured five people in the Thai capital.The special cell believes Kazmi was in touch with the perpetrators of these attacks. He was arrested on March 6, with the special cell claiming he had been in touch with four Iranians who allegedly carried out the attack.According to sources, the application to extend the probe moved in the court of chief metropolitan magistrate Vinod Yadav included references of the evidence recovered from Kazmi’s cell phone records connecting him to the other alleged attackers. It also mentioned the alleged involvement of Iranians, likely to be connected to a number of people from that country for whom the court has issued non-bailable warrants previously.advertisementBut the information won’t directly enter the public domain or even be given to the accused after the police invoked a section of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act that would keep it a secret.Kazmi, meanwhile, wants a probe into his ‘missing’ remand papers. After getting some relief from a sessions judge who ordered that Kazmi be given his remand papers despite the secrecy concerns, the journalist’s counsel has now moved a plea, looking into the documents that appeared to have gone ” missing”. Court staff had been unable to locate the remand papers for several weeks before suddenly finding them on the day a plea regarding the documents was being heard.last_img read more

Fajardo leads PBA Governors’ Cup BPC race; Durham top import

first_imgHowever, Fajardo’s quest for a record-setting sixth BPC plum is in peril if sixth-seed San Miguel does not make it past the quarterfinals, where it will take on a third-seed Ginebra armed with a twice-to-beat advantage.Meralco swingman Chris Newsome is at distant second with 33.273 SPs after leading the Bolts to the top seed at the end of the eliminations.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingGinebra center Greg Slaughter is at third with 33.091 SPs, San Miguel forward Arwind Santos at fourth with 32.273 SPs, and TNT’s Jayson Castro at fifth with 32.200 SPs.Rounding out the top 10 are Alex Cabagnot of San Miguel (30.273 SPs), Stanley Pringle of GlobalPort (29.444 SPs), Calvin Abueva of Alaska (29.000 SPs), Baser Amer of Meralco (28.900 SPs), and Kevin Alas of NLEX (28.727 SPs). Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. NBA players express frustration with Trump’s words LATEST STORIES MOST READ ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims No more menthol cigarettes: New ban on tobacco, vape flavors Trump to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups Argentine bishop appears at court hearing on abuse charges Winter storm threatens to scramble Thanksgiving travel plans Meanwhile, Allen Durham is poised to reclaim the Best Import plum for the season-ending conference after averaging 27.82 points, 19.36 rebounds, 7.09 assists, and 1.18 blocks to amass 61.364 SPs.Chasing him for the award are TNT’s Glen Rice Jr. with 55.625 SPs, Phoenix’s Brandon Brown with 54.500 SPs, Blackwater’s Henry Walker with 53.250 SPs, and GlobalPort’s Murphy Holloway with 53.222 SPs.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netJune Mar Fajardo is once again on pace to etch his name in the history books as he leads the statistical points race for the Best Player of the Conference in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup.The 6-foot-10 giant emerged as the top local performer after amassing 37.900 statistical points (SPs) powered by his averages of 18.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, and 1.7 assists.ADVERTISEMENT Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ View comments Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:42Despite decorated career, June Mar Fajardo is not yet done: ‘I don’t want to be stagnant’00:50Trending Articles02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Gameslast_img read more

Kobe Bryant says he’d kneel for anthem

first_imgNo more menthol cigarettes: New ban on tobacco, vape flavors Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games MOST READ NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said he expects the players in the league to stand during the anthem, and the league issued a memo to teams offering suggestions on how they might address the current political climate when the season opens this month.READ: Silver expects NBA players to stand during national anthemFEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingDemonstrations during the anthem have become a hot topic across sports after US President Donald Trump bitterly criticized NFL players who declined to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” to draw attention to racial injustice.Bryant himself weighed in on Trump’s remarks last week via Twitter. Bolts return to PBA finals Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Trump to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Winter storm threatens to scramble Thanksgiving travel plans LATEST STORIEScenter_img Argentine bishop appears at court hearing on abuse charges Kobe Bryant. AP FILE PHOTOLOS ANGELES—Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant said he would kneel during the pre-game national anthem if he was still playing in the NBA.Bryant, appearing on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast released on Wednesday, responded during a series of rapid-fire questions “kneel” when asked what he would do.ADVERTISEMENT Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “A #POTUS whose name alone creates division and anger. Whose words inspire dissension and hatred can’t possibly “Make America Great Again”,” Bryant tweeted.Bryant retired in 2016 after two decades with Los Angeles where he won five NBA championships.In their pre-season games so far, the Lakers have stood with locked arms during the anthem.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ View commentslast_img read more

Brazil striker Robinho given nine-year term in Italy for rape

first_imgIt is not the first time the player has faced allegations of sexual misconduct.He was questioned by British police in 2009 after a woman accused him of assault at a nightclub in Leeds, northern England while he was playing for Manchester City. He was eventually released without charge.The 33-year-old won 100 international caps for Brazil and played in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.He was one of the first big-money signings at Manchester City, joining for 32.5 million pounds on the day the English Premier League club was taken over by the Abu Dhabi United Group.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Robinho of Brazil’s Atletico Mineiro gestures during their 2017 Copa Libertadores match against Bolivia’s Wilstermann held at Mineirao stadium, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on August 9, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / DOUGLAS MAGNOFormer AC Milan and Real Madrid striker Robinho has been sentenced to nine years in prison in Italy after he was convicted of gang rape, according to local media reports Thursday.The alleged incident occurred in January 2013, when the Brazilian was playing for Milan in Serie A.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH MRT 7 on track for partial opening in 2021 LATEST STORIES ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims The Fatted Calf and Ayutthaya: New restos worth the drive to Tagaytay View commentscenter_img PH still in the running for 2023 Fiba World Cup hosting Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ After 30 years, Johnlu Koa still doing ‘hard-to-make’ quality breads The court in Milan also ordered those found guilty to pay the victim 60,000 euros ($71,000).Robinho, who is currently playing for Atletico Mineiro in Brazil, posted messages on his Instagram and Facebook profiles protesting his innocence and his lawyer said an appeal against the verdict had been launched.“We have already said that he has defended himself against these accusations and stated that he played no role in this incident,” the statement said.“All legal measures have already been taken.”The sentence is suspended while appeals take place.ADVERTISEMENT He was found guilty in absentia by an Italian court for raping a 22-year-old Albanian woman.Five of the player’s friends were accused of the same crime. One of the accused was also given a nine-year prison sentence while the trial of the four others has been suspended because they are on the run.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingAccording to Milan daily Corriere della Sera, Robinho and his acquaintances made the young woman drink “to the point of making her unconscious and unable to resist”.They were then said to have engaged in “sexual intercourse multiple times in a row” with her. Malditas save PH from shutout MOST READ Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claimlast_img read more