Friday, March 23, 2007

Support the Indian cricket team now

Well, its official now. India is almost certainly out of the world cup unless Bangladesh decides to be generous and lose to Bermuda. Srilanka deserved to win today. Its even more important that we stay calm and not hurl abuse at our cricketers. We need to recognise the kind of pressure heaped on them and how impossible it is to keep performing at your best under such constant pressure. The Indian cricketers not only need to worry about their performance but also about what will happen to their houses and family back home.

Sachin Tendulkar was out for a duck today. For all his achievements, the only thing the short sighted media will harp about is his failure in the finals fours years ago and his duck today. He may not be the same batsman he was 4 years ago but without doubt, he is still one of the better batsman in the Indian lineup.

I have been following the world cup and supporting India with as much passion as any other Indian. That doesn't mean that we own them. They have tried their best and some times, best isn't good enough. They were outplayed by Bangladesh and they were outclassed by Srilanka today. Our run up to the world cup was pretty good with convincing series victories over West Indies and Srilanka. Unfortunately, we had a bad run in the world cup and that's it. There is no point getting worked up over it. If you cant stomach it, don't support the team. This is not the time to act like fanatics and be ungrateful. It may be the last world cup for some of our players including Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly and Anil Kumble. It's more likely that they will be gutted to the core without the public having to rub it in. All these players have given us so much pleasure that the least we can do is to act with dignity and give them to time and space needed to recover. Over the years, the same Indian team have given us so much pleasure and joy and lets be thankful for that. They are after all trying to do their job and they don't need to be scrutinized so much after each failure. Imagine, if we were scrutinized as much at our jobs. We would all be one nervous wreck.

I have been reading reports about how the world cup committee and the sponsors will face huge losses if India fails to qualify for the super eights. Well, damn them. If India fails to qualify, all it means is, that the teams that deserved to qualify made it. This would make the super eights all the more competitive and fun to watch. It would also give countries like Bangladesh and Ireland an opportunity to pit themselves against superior opposition and show what they are worth. They may get hammered and make some matches one sided but they did well enough to qualify. Lets not mourn that India didn't make it. Lets enjoy the performance by countries that did make it.

Finally, its the public and media together that makes a star out of a cricketer and vilifies them after each failure. We should learn to be more dispassionate and objective. This will help us in accepting defeats with the same grace that we accept victories. Its a game after all and not a matter of life and death. GET A LIFE. DEAL WITH IT.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Dolphins - Deep Thinkers

I came across the documentary Deep Thinkers on BBC channel. It was about dolphins and how intelligent they are. Has some amazing footage and the dolphins as always are really cute. I have uploaded the files on rapidshare and here are the links. Please drop a line of comment if you enjoy the videos

For those who didn't watch this episode, here it is:

The episode is of 35 minutes duration. You need to download all the 4 files to extract the video and watch it. The combined file size is around 350 MB.

I have also uploaded another documentary from National Geographic here. Its called Megacities and there are 2 episodes available covering the cities of Mumbai and San Paulo. Must watch.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

What a start

This has been one heck of a start to the cricket world cup. No one would have predicted the kind of results that have been coming out of the qualifying rounds.

Firstly, there was the 'Thrilla in Jamaica' between Ireland and Zimbabwe. It was riveting to watch and I didn't realise that cricket played between two minnows could be that interesting. The match resulted in a tie and no team deserved to lose. The Irish were put into bat on a seaming wicket and though they did initially wobble, their opening batsman Bray came to the party and scored a century on debut, which is quite a feat. They put on a decent score of 221. When Zimbabwe batted, it looked as if they might win comfortably but their lack of experience showed through and a couple of wickets towards the end changed the complexion of the game. With one over remaining, they had to get 9 runs with 1 wicket in hand. They narrowed it down to 1 run in 1 ball but their batsman were unable to score of the last ball resulting in a tie.

Then came the next shocker of the tournament. India losing to Bangladesh. This is not to underestimate the Bangladeshis. They have improved a lot under Dav Whatmore and they showed that yesterday against the Indians. Dravid made a shocker of a decision to bat first after winning the toss. It was pretty clear that the pitch offered some help to the seamers in the first hour and I was expecting Dravid to make complete use of it especially with Zaheer Khan and Munaf Patel in good form. Deciding to bat, none of the batsman got going with only Ganguly and Yuvraj scrapping together a partnership and providing a moderately decent score to defend. One thing that has baffled me is Dravid's support for Sehwag. Other one being the decision to bat Tendulkar down the order. They have tried this a few times in the past especially in the 99 world cup. While not a failure, he was no way the prolific scorer that he was when batting at the top. Tendulkar may not be the same attacking batsman as he used to be but he still is the BEST opening batsman for India. If Sehwag, infact, needs to play and be a part of this team, he should be batting in the middle order where he wont be facing the seamers and swinging deliveries and will probably have more success against the spinners. It's becoming apparent that Dravid is making fundamental mistakes and hope some sense prevails and he reverts to what used to work rather than make changes just for the heck of it. Bangladesh team gave an extremely good account of themselves and their young batsman showed no fear in chasing the total and attacked the Indian bowlers with relish. While India is still not out of the tournament, it is a long and hard path ahead.

The same cannot be said for the other Asian team that is already out of the world cup. Pakistan, were never contenders in my opinion, given their shambolic handling of team selection just prior to the world cup and doping scandal, but I really expected them to qualify for the super eights. While their loss to West Indies wasn't that bad, their performance against the Irish was appalling. They were put into bat on a green top and as usual capitulated. They showed no spine and even Mohammad Yousuf was made to look like a novice. Having put only 133 on board, it was always going to be hard task for the bowlers to defend. They tried their best but the Irish prevailed thus causing the first biggest upset of the tournament. While, the tournament will miss the excitement of watching a Pakistan team grace the cricket field, the Irish deserved to qualify and a few more upsets may not be out of question.

India have made it extremely hard for themselves to qualify and it may not be totally unthinkable to see a list for the super eights that doesn't include India as well. Hope that doesn't happen though.

But what a fantatstic start to the world cup....

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

ICC Cricket World Cup 2007

ICC Cricket world cup 2007 has moved to the land of reggae and calypso and there have already been a few close calls to some of the leading cricket nations in the friendly matches. New Zealand suffered a reverse against Bangladesh and the Irish almost scared the hell out of South Africans. All the contenders for the title like Sri Lanka, South Africa and New Zealand have fared badly during the friendlies. While that may not be an indication of how they will perform during the actual tournament, it doesn't look good and inspiring for their followers. India and Australia have played convincingly and won both the matches but Australia are definitely not the side they used to be. That aura they used to have is now missing. I do see them struggling to make it to the semis and only if other teams play even poorer, will Australia have a chance.

For the first time in ages, most of the teams have a good chance of winning the world cup. Australia has pretty much dominated both the tests and one day arena in the last 5 to 7 years. With their sudden decline in form and many players having retired recently, Australia too are struggling to perform as consistently as they used to. India are peaking at the right time and hope it stays that way. New Zealand have come into the tournament with a morale boosting series win over a depleted Australian side. So have England, who having performed pathetically for most of the Australian summer somehow managed to clinch the VB series cup making a mockery of the long qualifying stage where they lost most of their matches. In my opinion, I feel that it would be India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and New Zealand that would qualify for the semi-finals. Well, as with every prediction, I could land with an egg on my face. Australia is one of my favourite teams but I really feel that they have lost their edge and the current crop of bowlers excluding McGrath are pretty ordinary and will not terrify the batsman from the opposing team.

It's nice to see a major tournament being played in the Caribbean. A lot of effort has been in put in by the member countries to make it as good as the previous ones or even better. I have a gut feeling that this world cup is going to be a fantastic one. The pitches are newly laid and even the West Indies team don't have a clue as to how it will operate. Thus, any team that can quickly adapt to changing conditions will have a very good chance. Also, all the matches to be played are day affairs instead of the usual day-night games. This gives both the teams an even chance of outperforming the other team just based on skill without other factors such as dew, early moisture, floodlights affecting them. The stadiums are quite smalls compared to what we see in the subcontinent or Australia and thus will hold only lesser number of spectators. I do think that gives a more intimate atmosphere to the way matches are being played and those who do get to watch the games live, will have a good time.

I have never been interested in watching the game live in a stadium. I have become a product of watching the games on TV with the usual assortment of replays, super slow motion tricks, commentary etc along with putting up my feet with hot samosas fresh from the kitchen. Living in the UK now, the world cup is perfectly timed as I will get to watch most of the matches live on TV without having to skip work and having to stay up late in the night. This is going to be one hell of a world cup.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Another trial for Microsoft

What do you do when the FBI raids your home and finds porn all over your PC? One man, who had his home computer seized by the bureau, has decided that his best course of action is to sue the companies that failed to keep that data private for him. You guys should read this. Its hilarious.

read more | digg story

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