Wednesday, May 27, 2009

IPL 2: Curtains Down

The month long cricket carnival has come to an end. A new champion has been crowned. And it's time to take stock of what was and what wasn't in the final few days of the IPL.
Well to me Chennai's loss in the semis came as a bit of a shocker. I couldn't get down to writing a post about that game. But I'm over it now. For me Dhoni's decision to play Oram instead of Hussey backfired on him. It was a difficult call to make. Oram had played the whole tournament and added depth in the bowling department. Hussey had just come back from national duties and would have played his first IPL game of the season had he been given the chance. It was a tough call to make. With Mattie Hayden doing as well as he was in the tournament and the batting looking very good I'll give Dhoni the benefit of the doubt there. Most fans feel that Chennai's bowling let us down. But given the circumstances I think we performed really well in bowling. What let us down was the batting. Had the batsmen put on 10-15 more runs on the board then it would have been a very different game.
To take nothing away from Bangalore though. Chennai had got off to a flyer and B'lore did wonderfully well to come back the way they did. And they went about chasing down the score also in a very professional manner. They made the most of the initial fielding restrictions. Put together a couple of useful partnerships and they found the boundary whenever it was required.
The other semi was an all out Gilly show. It was batting at it's brutal best and even Sehwag had to admit that there was nothing he or his bowlers could do about it. I feel sorry for Delhi. They played the best cricket in the tournament. But Gilly has this uncanny ability to raise his game when it's a big one. And he did it again and sent Delhi packing.
So this year's finalists were actually last year's bottom finishers in the league table. Fantastic turnaround for both teams. B'lore had done magnificently to come to the final. They were not doing too well in the initial stages of the league. Only when Pietersen left and Kumble took over the reigns did B'lore's fortunes change. Chargers on the other hand had gotten off to a handsome start but faltered mid-way. Andrew Symonds's return added strength and dimension to the team and they made the most of that. Rohit Sharma and R.P. Singh played fantastically through the tournament and Deccan rode in to to finals.
It was a well fought final. B'lore bowled and fielded really well. But Deccan managed to strut together a few crucial partnerships and Gibbs played responsibly(not something that you'd associate with him!) to bat through the innings. It was a good total put up by the Chargers but not something that was beyond B'lore. B'lore's chase began in right earnest but they kept losing wickets. There was a brief time, when Ross Taylor and Virat Kohli were batting, that B'lore looked to be in control of the game. But Symonds's match- changing over, when he managed to dismiss both of them in two consecutive balls, swung things the Chargers way.
In the end the Deccan Chargers prevailed and were crowned IPL CHAMPIONS 2009.
The closing ceremony was an insipid affair. I couldn't sit through Akon's non sense. Now this is a man who sells his music through his vulgar lyrics and perverted videos. What were the organizers thinking in bringing him on for the closing ceremony? One would have liked to see the IPL babes in swim suits and things like that. But there was nothing of that sort. And Katrina Kaif had far too many clothes on to be interesting. So that was that.
Anyways.... the IPL was a great way to pass off the evenings during this summer. I hope Chennai will do better next year. I hope you have enjoyed reading my posts this IPL. Thank you. Will be back next year also. :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Singh is King!

Yes people Singh is King.
Lots has happened in the political landscape these past few days. I know I'm a little late in acknowledging Mr Manmohan Singh's victory in the general elections. I needed time to collect my thoughts. I wanted to get a feel of what I and others around me were thinking about this landmark victory for Mr Singh and the "Grand Old Party" of India.
Generally everyone is very pleased that Mr Singh is coming back to the PM's post. He has the goodwill of the people. He might lack oratorical skill and personal charm, but he more than makes up for it with his honesty, efficiency and vision. I might disagree with him on certain policies but I have no doubt that he will continue to do a good job running this great nation of ours.
Most political pundits are surprised by the performance of the Congress party in these elections. The Congress has delivered it's best performance in the Parliament in over two decades and that too under an incumbent Prime Minister. The election results have been nothing short of brilliant for the Congress.
Most notable was the Congress' performance in UP and West Bengal. In West Bengal the Trinamool-Congress combine managed to break the hegemony of the CPI-M and Left parties. In UP the Congress managed to break away from the politics of hate, caste and religion and offered a viable, more stable alternative.
Many people are seeing these results, especially the performance in UP, as proof of Rahul Gandhi's 'coming of age' as a politician. The youth are very enthu about someone like Rahul becoming PM in the near future. The media has almost made it their mission to deliver him the PM"s post.
I don't share in these views. To me he is no match to someone like Mr Singh (who not only has the qualifications but has also delivered in the past). I admit here that I have a grudge against the dynastic tendencies of our politics. I admire the way the Family, especially Mrs Sonia Gandhi, have handled themselves in the public eye. One of the most brilliant political moves in India's political history will be that of Mrs Gandhi's decision to make Mr Singh PM. But that still is no reason to make Rahul next in line. To me he is yet to prove his credentials as a mass leader. He has made many strategic errors in the past. He has also belittled an ex-PM from the Congress party(Mr Narasimha Rao who was arguably one of the best PM's we've ever had). So though this might be an important victory for the Family there is still a long way to go for Rahul to prove(to me at least!) that he is PM material.
Mr Singh now has the strength and the mandate to do all he can for the good of this country. I hope to see more in the way of Economic reforms and also some packages for the economy which at the moment is struggling with the recessionary after-effects from around the world. He must do more on the Home security front. I hope he retains Mr Chidambaram for the Home Minister's post. Infrastructure will receive a massive boost. So will education. Mr Singh must not ignore Health, the Environment and reforming of the Judiciary to make sure that there is speedy dispensation of Justice.
I wish him well for his second term.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


The Chennai juggernaut was brought to a halt by the Bangaloreans today. It was a good game. Low scoring one. It finished in the last over of the second innings.
Bangalore is a team inspired. I've said this before and I'll say it again- Kumble is an inspirational leader. He should have been made captain in the first place. Pietersen is not captain material. Kumble's made the guys believe in themselves and they've backed him by pulling off two sensational wins in two games.
RCB's chase against KKR will go down as one of the best in IPL history. And Ross Taylor's knock that day will go down as one of the best ever played in a 20-20. Today it was a more all round effort from the team. Everyone had some roll to play. And they all ended up doing their bit.
What won the game for team RCB was undoubtedly the exceptional fielding performance. It was a joy to see the RCB team on the field. Not bad for a team that counts the not very athletic Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble amongst it's ranks. There was brilliant ground fielding, outstanding catching, breath-taking run outs. It was all there.
It was a welcome change from the dismal fielding standards that all other teams have put up in this competition so far. (Chennai of-course tops the charts when it comes to worst fielding units. Who can forget Jakati trying to run out Devon Smith from about 6 inches from the stumps and missing!)
The turning point of the match I feel was when Van de Merwe caught and bowled Dhoni. It was one of the best catches I've ever seen in my life. I actually got up from my sofa for that one. It was that good! That catch and it's brilliance actually turned the momentum towards Bangalore. It often happens in sport where one moment of inspiration is enough to lift an entire team. This catch was one such moment.
RCB's batting woes continued. And though they won I have to say they made a mess of the chase. It was also some very good bowling by Chennai. Albie Morkel was precision personified in his 4-over spell and that helped Chennai pile on the pressure early. Muralitharan was brilliant as usual. Even guys like Balaji, Jakati, Tyagi and Oram bowled really well. It was the batting that let us down.
Hayden has been bludgeoning the bowling right through this season. I'm glad that he's a Chennai "local" boy (albeit adopted, and a very very big boy!). Raina, Dhoni, Vijay and Badrinath couldn't sustain the momentum that Hayden's knock provided. Oram and Morkel look horribly out of sorts with the bat. Maybe for the next game or two we could try putting one of these guys up the order to give them more time to set in and build some form.
B'lore's win has certainly thrown open the competition. There is still 6 teams in the reckoning for a place in the semis. Every match from now on will be do-or-die for the teams. That should make for some intriguing and entertaining cricket. I'm fairly confident that Chennai will make it through. After all we still have one game against KKR. :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I Vote Tomorrow!

Ladies and Gentlemen, tomorrow is the day I cast my vote to decide the future of my country. Yes the big Mela that is the Indian elections is in it's final stage. And Chennai, where I stay, decides it's candidates for the Lok Sabha tomorrow.
Now these elections have brought technology to the forefront of political parties. I'll give you a few examples. The other day I got a call from Karunanidhi! It was a recorded message in Tamil and I didn't understand most of it. But no doubt a new tool for the politicians.
Then there have been the websites. I've been through the Congress & BJP websites. I must admit I've been quite impressed with both. Then there were sites like Jaago Re and Google helping out with details of the contestants. That was also welcome.
What surprises me most though is the pathetic state of the Election Commission web site. It's like all things to do with the Govt in this country. It's complex, horribly organized, and the voter's list is in Tamil and not in any other language. Wow!
Now I've made an effort to find out who the candidates are, what my parliamentary constituency is( strangely enough this is not mentioned in your Election ID Card), what the agendas are of the political parties etc. And I still feel I don't know enough. I mean here I am, an educated guy, with access to the Net, TV, Newspapers and other Media and I still don't have the relevant info. What could be more weird than that?
The Election Commission has been doing fantastic work in having free & fair elections in our country. But it clearly needs to do more.
It needs to be more pro-active about furnishing information and this information should be made available in all the official languages of the country.
The Election ID Card should have all required details in it. You shouldn't have to go about searching what your constituency is every time.
It should also play a leading role in getting the electorate to know it's candidates better. I know that there will be many of you arguing that this is the duty of the candidate and not the Commission. But in keeping with the spirit of public funding of elections and equal opportunity for all candidates it is imperative that the Commission steps in. As a start the Commission could come out with a pamphlet/newsletter containing the details and agendas of all the candidates contesting the election in the particular constituency. Then there should be a forum where the public should be able to see these people actually debate their manifestos. I think this would go a long way in informing the voter.
Let's hope things change soon. In the meanwhile I'm happy I can vote. Jai Hind.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Days after the Exams

Well it's been exactly a week since my final exams got over in coll. Apart from figuring out that I will never attempt anything of that sort again I haven't been on to anything-yet.
Then there were the farewell parties. It's been a week of "good times" for me. I've enjoyed it. Been hanging out at pubs. Caught almost every game of the IPL this last week. I haven't blogged because once you're inebriated it becomes a little difficult to type. : ). I've been hogging all the time. I've eaten at all my favourite joints. It's been one long carnival. Said good-bye to a few friends. Don't know when I'll be meeting them next.
It's time for me to decide what I want to do with my life. I can't make up my mind. There are so many things that look good. There are others that are horrible. But then everythin has it's plus and minus points. It's so hard to be objective about these things. Should you be objective about these things? You see my line of thinking and why I'm in this state of inaction?
I don't want an ordinary life. I'd rather just jump of a cliff. I want to do something different. Something exravagant. Something that involves a lot of travelling. Something that will allow me time to read, mix with different people, give me time for myself. Something that's challenging everyday. That refreshes me. That's dynamic and useful. Ya I'm after the dream job that everyone wants but noone gets.
Look I'm just about to start here. So be a little understanding right. Give me ideas. I'll be grateful. Don't load me with scepticism and sarcasm. Help me think up something.
I'll be eagerly looking for ideas. Thanks.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Kasper's Birthday

Yesterday was Kasper's birthday. He's eight now. It seems like only yesterday we brought him home as a small pup.
Kasper is an 'all-black' Daschund. From what I've seen so far that's a rarity, and that makes him special.
Kasper is the ultimate 'brat'. The little fella used to bite and destroy the furniture. We've had to change our sofa set thanks to his exploits. He'd do his big job in the most unusual places in the house. Often we'd find out that he'd crapped only after we got the stench! It was one big relief when we finally got him potty trained.
One of my most favourite scenes of him is him trying to climb the stairs when he was a real small pup. The gap between steps was just too much for him. So he has his fore-legs on the front steps and then he's trying to lift his behind. But all he could manage was to wiggle his backside.
I still remember going to the Vet to select a dog. He had these puppies playing on the table and Kasper caught my eye immediately. And in one of those strange coincidences that life is he was the guy all four of us wanted. And so we brought him home. He has been by far the best thing to happen to us in Chennai.
I remember him holding on to Amma's sari from behind. Amma was just casually walking and she had no idea that she was dragging 'skater boy'.
Then there was the time the vet came and Dad was holding him but he escaped and I tried to catch him. But he was too fast and he got through in between my legs and I tripped and fell.
Till about three years ago he'd drink his milk only if Dad told him a story. Amma still loves feeding him by hand. She actually gets down on the floor and puts the food in Kasper's mouth. He's so spoilt that when she's around he refuses to eat any other way. My sister spoils him the most though. She's always coochie-cooing him. Always hugging him and patting him and buying things for him.
He usually sleeps on the bed. He has this habit of taking the centre of the bed and making it difficult for anyone else to lie down. And how much ever you nudge him and cajole him he won't move. Oh yes, he knows when the AC's on and he always manages to pounce on the bed before anyone else can.
I've tried to teach him to fetch a ball. He'll go fetch it all right. But then he comes back and as soon as you are ready to remove the ball from his mouth he runs away. That's Kasper.
And the bestest most delightful thing about him is how he jumps when you get back home. Especially if he's not seen you for a few days. Ah, then it's the welcoming of the century. It's simply incredible.
We've all got our nick names for him. We are all always vying with each other for his attention. He knows this and he uses it. That's the fun part.
One of the best things about the guy is when he suddenly comes and he rest his head on you. It could be your lap, or hand, or feet. He just puts his head there and he's off to sleep.
I love taking him for his walks. He starts of slowly but then picks up pace. He's a little nervous outside because of his small size. But you touch a raw spot and you've got yourself an opponent. There are innumerable instances of him trying to bark down Alsatians and Labradors.
Kasper you have been just incredible. Always stay the same. I love you Kasper. Have a super year ahead of you.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The half way stage of IPL-2

Sorry people for not blogging these past few days. Been held up with a few things. Should be more regular now. So stay tuned!

Well we're at the half-way stage of the IPL with most teams having played 7-8 games. And for 7 of the 8 teams a semis birth still looks possible. We have an exciting couple of weeks ahead of us.

Chennai leads the table today. Yes the SUPER Super kings are on the rampage. They've won 3 games in a row. The momentum is all with them. And yes I'm a big fan. SO? It is the truth. Opponents Beware!
Dhoni has found his touch. Which means all the 'fast bowler raascaals' better 'mind it!'. With Vijay opening the line up and Jakati playing in place of Jogi Sharma the team has found the right balance. Things are looking good for Chennai. They have 6 games to go in the league stages and have to try and win 4 to ensure that they get in to the semis.
Mumbai is a team that's on-again, off-again. On certain days they look like they'll tear apart every other team. And on other days they look very ordinary. But with the likes of Tendulkar, Jayasuriya,Duminy, Bhajji and Malinga you can't afford to count them out.
Delhi and Deccan built momentum in the first few matches. But both have looked off colour their last few games. The top order in both teams has not performed consistently. Deccan especially relies too much on it's openers Gibbs and Gilchrist. These two teams are still among the best teams in the tournament with balanced sides and players in form. Delhi is probably the team of the tournament 'on form'.
Bangalore is a team inspired. Ever since Pietersen left the team has been playing brilliantly. Their win over Mumbai in the last game was just fantastic. Kumble has managed to bring spirit in to his boys and it shows with consistent performances on the field. Here's another team with momentum that should do well in the remaining games.
With Shane Watson returning to the Royals they are going to be a very formidable team. This team of under-dogs has so far managed to stay in the tournament by the skin of their teeth. I like these guys. They look short in every department of the game except fielding and spirit. I hope they make it to the semis.
Punjab should benefit from the returning Aussies. James Hopes and Simon Katich definitely add strength to what was already a good team. The main worry for this team though is the bowling. Irfan has lacked consistency. Yusuf Abdullah has been quite exceptional and he's the main reason that these boys are still in the tournament.
Ah and finally the Knights in shining armour. Right now this team is so down on luck that it couldn't win the lottery even if they bought all the tickets. The team is plagued by internal politics and rivalries. And the fault for all this lies squarely with coach Buchanan. He's wrecked the team. Technically they could still make it to the semis by winning all their matches. However, keeping technicalities aside, that looks a far possibility.

Friday, May 1, 2009

IPL-2 : CSK vs RR

We're back people. Yes! Finally!
It feels so so so good to have a win under your belt. The Royals are not the formidable team of last year. But every game counts and every win even more.
It was a good win. Most experts on TV are saying it was comprehensive, but I don't want to go that far. On paper CSK are a far far better team than the Royals. Royals are without their two stars of the last season. They don't look even half as formidable as last time.
Suresh Raina put in a scintilating performance today. His 98 was one of the best knocks I've seen in any IPL match. It was extremely unfortunate for him to miss out on his century.
Badrinath came up the order and batted very well. Morkel bowled well. Dhoni did find some sort of touch with the bat. The new chap- Tyagi, also bowled quite decently. However, for my eyes, the Chennai team is still not playing to full potential.
The next game for the Chennai boys is with the Daredevils. Chennai will still be smarting from it's loss in the first leg game. Delhi are a very good side. It should be a great contest.