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Thursday, 21 February 2013

Speculations about the touring Aussies

When India take on Australia, there's often more than just the cricket.
Australia's string of match-winning players always had the ability to rattle rivals with bat, ball and mouth.
For a while, some of India's more gifted cricketers stood up and tried to match them at these 'mental disintegration' tactics. In the early half of the first decade of this millennium  India was probably the only team that troubled OZs not only in India but also in their own backyard.
Now, the Australian team is on an upward trajectory while the Indian team seems to be in free fall. 
Both are in the middle of rebuilding. The difference is the more organised infrastructure surrounding the Australian team that has allowed them to go about the process in a more effective manner. The results have been plain to see in the recent past -eight wins, three draws and one loss for Australia in 2012, while India has lost 10 of its last 17 Tests.But in a post-Sydneygate world,with both teams in transition, will the sparks fly like old times?

Times have changed. India who were becoming an Invicible Team in their backyard were thrashed by England in a 4 test match series on turning wickets.An Aussie touring party coming to India doesn't always have four spinners in their lineup. But following the 'Monty-Swann Effect - in which England's spin duo decimated India in their own den - the approach of touring teams has changed, and the Australian team getting ready for the four-Test series has Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith, Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell doing spin duties. The Aussies also have another rookie left-arm spinner in Ashton Agar, who will be with the squad, though not on official capacity. Lyon, Australia's No. 1 spinner, has already mentioned that he is looking forward to seeing two spinners in action,and the intent was pretty clear in the first practice session on Saturday. Aussies do know what they have at hand in a country where the wizard Shane Warne also struggled. But the TEAM has faith in Lyon. Nathan is a young boy taking about three-and-a-half wickets per match.
But I would like to see young Steven Smith getting a game. He can play as a batsman and a part time spinner.While he certainly is more then just a part time spinner and being a leg spinner he is an attacking option.

Talking about the Australian batting line-up, it looks messed up as ever touring to India, after Hayden-Langer era has passed. Prior to the three-day game, it was perceived that Phil Hughes was likely to slot in at No. 3 in the Test XI, while Usman Khawaja was not a certainty. But it was Hughes who failed both times, scoring 1 and 19. Khawaja and Hughes were the big disappointments among the top-order batsmen in the Australians’first innings in their three-day warm-up game against India A. In their second innings, while Hughes failed again, Khawaja showcased some solid defence against the India A spinners whose unbeaten 30 in the second innings spanned 110 minutes. 

But with David Warner yet to be declared fit, there is still some uncertainty about Australia’s starting XI for the Chennai Test, starting on Friday .It will be interesting to see what Michael Clarke and Mickey Arthur decide for the first Test. Shane Watson will be the biggest threat to the Indian team. He would certainly attack the spinners in a way that  he won't just allow them to be able settle in to a certain line and length.
He scored two quick fiery half-centuries in the 3 day warm up game to show that he is up for the challenge . Michael Clarke was in a great form against the South Africans. Dale steyn had to bowl the most unplayble deliveries to get him out in that series.
Ozs have a lot of options when it comes to the pace bowling.Moises Henriques bowled brilliantly in the Warm up game and in the last game. But he is unlikely to get a game.Peter Siddle was lovely; he hit the deck hard and got it around the new faces of India. Australia would like to go with Siddle and Johnson if they are looking to play two spinners.We might see Pattinson or Stark if thats not the case.

Here is my eleven for the first test- Michael Clarke (c), Ed Cowan, David Warner/Phil Hughes , Shane Watson, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The curious case of Mr. MS DHONI

Mahendra Singh Dhoni...truely one of the most successful Indian captains. He made his One Day International debut in December 2004 against Bangladesh,as a consequence of a series of experiments conducted by the BCCI to fit in a wicketkeeping batsman. A year later played his first Test, this time against Sri Lanka.This bloke  from Ranchi gained everybody's attention by scoring a  breath taking 148 againnst pakistan..followed by a even more brilliant knock of 183 against the Lankan lions in a near 300 chase..
finishing the match in about 45 overs.
Under Dhoni's captaincy India became the first team after a  gap of more than 20 years to whitewash Australia in a Test series. Dhoni also led the Indian team to the  number one position in ICC rankings in Test cricket for the first time. Under his captaincy, India won the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, CB Series of 2007–08, the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2008 and 2010 against Australia 2–0, Asia cup 2010 and 2011 World Cup. His Test, ODI record is best among all the Indian captains to date. He also captained Chennai Super Kings to victory in the 2010, 2011 IPL and in the Champions League.
In the final of the 2011 World Cup, he hit 91 not out of just 79 balls to lead India to victory.

He is one of the Best batsman in the one day format at the present, argubaly the best finisher of all times..But what does he lack when it comes to the Test cricket.He hasn't been contributing as a test batsman. Which has made him lose his confidence in his captaincy as well.
What exactly does he lack when it comes to the Test format.Temprament? Skill? or Something else?

Admitting technical flaws in his batting, skipper MS Dhoni says he just looks to adapt well to the different  conditions  Does he need to make technical adjustments to succeed in alien conditions? Is he good enough to score runs away from home?
Dhoni has been bold enough to admit that he isn't technically sound. He  shouldn't and he doesn't look to make too many adjustments. Because, what we have learnt over the years, right from schooldays, is that it's very difficult to change your technique in just one series, or couple of series. So, what's important is to adapt well. India lost 8  overseas Tests in a row. One of the technical problem that Dhoni has is him being a strong bottomhanded player...he pushes at the ball Although most of the Indian batsmen has that kind of problem,the reason being brought up on low bouncy pitches,flat surfaces where you can hit through the line and can play your shots on the up.
We have to understand that Test and oneday cricket are different.Dhoni knows how to build an innings in the ODIs.What he lacks in Test cricket is the ability to approach his innings in a certain way.He isn't sure how to play. His natural game is ofcourse attacking but when he is able to change his game in ODIs. He tries to do the same in tests...still not being sure whether to play attacking or defensive. Test Cricket gives us the privilege to play our natural game but if your technique suffers from certain flaws you ought to alter your game even in the Tests. Leave a lot of delievries.build your innings according to the Situation and conditions.
His innings of 99 against England in the 4th test of the recently concluded Test Series showed he can be a better test match batsman if he tries to spend some time in the middle with application of his batting skills and determination to bat longer.

All Dhoni needs to do is to use his mind...follow the basics and make minimal but appropriate changes in his technique. What he must do is to play with straight bat in the Test cricket,early on in his innings..Try to present the full face of the bat And don't try to play square of the wicket in the conditions where ball tends to move and tends to move late.
He has to avoid pushing at the ball and punching the ball. Try to avoid his bottomhand dominence and keep his elbow up while playing straight
Sometimes he just feels for the ball while the front foot goes nowhere.Get the foot to the pitch of the ball
thats what he should be doing.And once he is set he can play his natural game.

If he uses a heavy bat for Test matches too..he should try to play with the lighter bat. The heavier the bat, the more the bottom hand has to come in to control the bat. Graeme Smith is a case in point, his dominant bottom hand grip has made his ability to control off side shots problematic.  He has mastered this now, but for many years it was a challenge for Graeme to be able to dominate the off side with this grip. Go with a lighter bat where you have control of the blade and are able to use touch and feel to steer the ball into space.
The challenge with a heavy bat is that the weight of the bat takes over the shot and you lose the ability to control the blade.

Dhoni hasn't been playing too well in the test arena...but his recent one day form is good...We all can hope that he will find his own ways to tackle the strategies of Oz bowlers in the upcoming series.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Why do we need poetry in our lives?

So today I was thinking about poetry... why do we need poetry?...what exactly poetry does..what it can do....? Let me start out by saying that poetry is calming and soothing;It is therapy and it doesn't cost a thing! I love writing poetry and i love reading the poetry of others.I once read somewhere.."Poetry is just the evidence of life.If your life is burning well,poetry is just the ash." Well it sums up right there...But does it account for every single human...?

Poetry is a special kind of language.The office of poetry is not to make us think accurately, but feel truly. Poems are most often for peace, for kindness, beauty and all the other aspects of life. But what it does is that it puts light on the life..It gives us a chance to look at the life in a close shot. Poetry works against a systematization of knowledge. Poetry is reason beyond reason. Where philosophy gives room to desperation,poetry takes over thought. Poetry is the place of material imagination.As said "Matter is dreamed not perceived."
"A poet's work is to name the unnameable,to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world,  and stop it going to sleep."
When it comes to pain...As poets we have to acknowledge pain,don't have to look away from suffering. Well here is the plain truth, Jim Morrison once said, "Pain is meant to wake us up." People try to hide their pain. But they are wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio.You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It's all in how you carry it.
All the great cultures have revered poets — the Greeks, the British, the French, the countries of the Far East. In the Latin American cultures poetry is deeply intertwined with people’s lives. Little children love poetry. Its rhythm helps ease them into the world. Lovers’ emotions find expression in poetry. The bereaved often let poetry in, because it can say what mostly cannot be said.

We don't need to read and write poetry because it's cute.  We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race.And the human race is filled with passion.
And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble  pursuits and necessary to sustain life.  But poetry, beauty, love, spirituality, these are what we stay alive for.Reading poetry can ease you into the life.Just give a shot even if you can't understand those words..eventually you would start to love it.

So Let a little poetry in your life!
David Carradine  once said..."If you cannot be a poet, be the poem".......

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Fourth Dimension

We live in a world of three dimensions.We can take the simplest of examples of driving in our car: We go forward. That's one direction. We turn left or right, that's a second. Our journey up a mountain road, that's a third. The fourth dimension is time. Well, we only perceive three dimensions. We can hypothesize many more dimensions. But, they are difficult to imagine.

Because of Einstein, we often call time the fourth dimension. Special relativity shows that time behaves surprisingly like the three spatial dimensions.The Lorenz equations show this.Coordinate transformations between inertial reference frames are given by the Lorentz transformation tensor  Length contracts as speed increases. Time expands as speed increases.
Isn't that fascinating for you if you are a physics maniac and a bit surprising perhaps if your relation with physics isn't so good?
Well that must be the case...I am a physics maniac and this thing fascinates me..day in and day out.

Mathematically, and in accordance with relativity, time and space are,in some sense interchangeable, but we do know that they form co-equal parts of a larger 'thing' called space-time, and it is only within space-time that the most complete understanding of the motion and properties of natural objects and phenomena can be rigorously understood by physicists. Space and time are to space-time what arms and legs are to humans. Although,in some sense they are interchangeable.
By combining space and time into a single manifold, physicists have significantly simplified a large number of physical theories, as well as described in a more uniform way the workings of the universe at both the supergalactic and subatomic levels.
Scientists have been graphing time, as if it were a length, for hundreds of years. Time never behaves exactly like a spatial dimension. You cannot go backward in time. And you normally cannot go forward at different rates. But, there are surprising parallels. For some purposes, it is handy to call time a fourth dimension. For other purposes, it is not.
The fourth dimension is also used in Cartesian geometry and orthogonality. Euclidean geometry is what provides many different shapes to exist in dimensions well beyond just three. Learning how the fourth dimension works also helps reinforce your knowledge of the other three dimensions, and spatial patterns using dimensions.
I will get back next time with some interesting facts of TIME TRAVEL!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

No mountain too High

Is life that tough?...Can't we achieve what we want in our life. Sadly... that is the case... most of us fail to be what we want to be... Because we don't have that one person who believes in us. We are surrounded by family and friends who think we aren't good enough.They keep on reminding us how we tried and failed or maybe even remind us of what we used to be instead of reminding us where we are going. These kind of people are nothing but poison to our thoughts and the more you give them your ear, the further you draw yourself away from where you want to be. Don't be the block in other people's path to bring something to the world. Be the reason others rise to greatness. Remember when you help someone to get up, you are basically not helping them but cushioning yourself in case you fall tomorrow. Everybody needs somebody to believe in them if they are to achieve their dreams. So when you hear a friend saying he/she wants to do something...as long as it is good, instead of reminding them how competitive is the world or maybe how he/she does not have the required skills or maybe how the economy is not on their side...believe in them even if you see no reason to believe in them. Even a fire requires a spark first for it to ignite.
 It is not the skills that we have at the beginning of the journey that determines the end of the journey, but the passion we have before we make the first step. And if we can keep that passion alive, then the skills will come as we need them and when we need them. Everybody needs somebody to believe in them. It may be a child from a poor background who wants to be an astronaut, a junkie who desires to be drug clean, a harlot who wants to have a happy family, a friend who wants to start a business, a brother/sister who wants to be big in life, a patient in grave conditions who wants to be well, a broken heart who yearns to find true love...everybody needs somebody to believe in them. Great is the faith that we have for ourselves but greatest is the faith we have for others. So stop reminding others of can't(s) and past falls and keep them focused to where they want to be.

We all need somebody to believe in us and on our behalf and not to forget we too need to be that person who believes in others too no matter the situation..

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Leap of faith

We always run to see who will dare to follow us, build walls to see who dares to break them down and as a way of protecting ourselves but we keep doing this till we forget how strong we are. Sometimes the best we can do is stop running, stop building walls and face our fears...just then we will learn to know our greatest strength...it's all in the leap of faith.. 

Now how can one Build faith...self-belief.This is important when it comes to putting your thoughts into action in everyday life. If we set ourselves to a task but are lacking the faith in ourselves to complete it then subconsciously we are accepting defeat as inevitable. However, if we are able to convince ourselves subconsciously that we can achieve what we set out to do then our efforts will be boosted and the results will reaffirm our self belief and strengthen our faith. It is difficult for people to strengthen faith if they are lacking it. However, it is achievable and is done by a process which involves encouraging positive thoughts and emotions in the subconsciousmind rather than negative ones. This can be more clearly understood if we take a moment to think about how people fall into negative habits such as alcoholism. When a drinker remembers their first ever drink they will more than likely say they did not enjoy it. After becoming accustomed to drinking regularly and enduring the bad side effects they eventually start to embrace alcohol and eventually begin to rely on it. This example suggests that if thought impulses of any kind are repeated and encouraged then that person will seek to express those thoughts through their actions. If the thoughts are positive and result inconstructive actions then faith may be strengthened. If thoughts are backed by strong emotions such as faith and love then they have more chance of being expressed through actions. Therefore our actions can be affected by any strong emotion whether it is positive and productive or negative and destructive. If we are to become successful in whatever goals we have set ourselves in life then we need to avoid negative emotions and encourage positive ones. As aconsequence we will acquire a subconscious mind that will start to act upon all the positive emotions including faith. One of the most common causes of a lack of faith is low self confidence.

 This Can be overcome through a similar process to the one just mentioned. If we take the time towrite down all our positive experiences and attributes and then read these to ourselves daily, we will find that the repeated positive affirmations will reassure us of our accomplishments subconsciously and restore faith. 
By making others believe in our ability we can also reaffirm our self belief. 
The process of positive thinking has been called auto-suggestion and is a key to success. 
Remember success is in the leap of faith and Self-belief

Friday, 16 November 2012

A few Englishmen India should watch out for….

The highly-awaited India vs. England Test series has sparked the cricket battle between the old rivals. England hasn’t won a series In India in 28 years. Indians have been almost invincible on their home turf in the recent past. But they still have enough firepower in their ranks to trouble the Home team in the upcoming series.  Here's my pick of those individuals that Team India need to watch out for during the four match series

  James Anderson has been the leader of the English pace attack.... but the conditions in India doesn’t suit his bowling style, though his performance in Sri Lanka against the hosts this year, where he picked up 9 wickets from 2 tests, proves he can be dangerous in the sub-continent too.  But the conditions in India are a bit different from Lanka and I doubt if Anderson would be anywhere near Lethal. But the man that Indians should watch out for is Stuart Broad.  He is very intelligent and has grown in stature.  He is one of the best new ball bowlers going around and his ability to swing the ball and nip it around at decent pace makes him very dangerous.  He may not get much assistance to do that here but he will look to reverse the ball. He has the ability to produce unplayable deliveries now and then and his battle against the Indian Batsmen will be incredible to see. The tall lean fast bowler who has a stock of variations…the variations in length and pace along with cross seam deliveries and cutters, is certainly a man who would keep trying something all the time and produce break through at the crucial junctures.

         Captain Cook must love batting in India. This is the south paw's third tour in seven years. He scored a century on debut and with 304 runs in 4 Tests appearances in India, He scored tons of runs when India travelled there and will be hoping to do the same this time. His patience and grit is phenomenal and he has the ability to handle toughest of situations. He will have to score big if England has to do well here. He also scored a magnificent knock of  119 runs in the practice match against India A.But his performance against the Pakistan team earlier this year in UAE was much disappointing. The way he played mystery spin wasn’t   particularly impressive in the early part of that series. He looked clumsy at times. Though he looked good in the latter part of that test series and I am quite sure he will be able to tackle with the conventional spin attack of the home team.

3      The Alarm Bells started ringing during India's tour to England last year, when Ian Bell tormented the visitors by scoring runs by the ton... a 100 in Nottingham followed by a double ton at the Oval resulted in Bell becoming the series' 2nd highest run scorer. He would clearly be an asset for the visitors. His solid defence and ability to hit boundaries at rapid rate would help Englishmen dictate to terms the Indian Spinners and won’t let them settle.  Thankfully for India the 'dad to be' would be missing the 2nd test to be by his wife's side for the arrival of their first child. With the Indian selectors picking three specialist spinners for the first two Tests in Ravichandran Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh, the decision could take an unfavourable turn for the visitors as the outcome of the series all but depends on how they tackle India’s spin doctors on slow, turning wickets.

4       Many consider him the best spinner in the world today. What he lacks in variation he makes up for it with his toss and guile.... Graeme Swann made his test debut in India 4 years ago in Chennai, when he took the wickets of Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid in his first over.... and has come a long way since then picking up a total of 192 test wickets. It is a treat to see him bowl and a lot will depend on him. He will get tracks that will assist turn and Swann will know that he has to deliver for England to do well.  He has troubled the most batsmen of the world. He doesn’t have a doosra yet his arm bowls are lethal because he lets his offies rip at pace. Swann is noted for being an attacking spinner, generally delivering the ball with plenty of flight and bounce. He is also capable of subtle changes of pace. Unlike many contemporary off-spinners he does not have a doosra in his armoury. Instead, his variations include a well-developed arm ball, and also a flatspinner delivery that he has nicknamed his "flying saucer ball" that rotates around its horizontal axis and generally bounces straight on. He plays cricket like a man eager for a scrap and not too bothered about the niceties. He bowls like a man expecting to take wickets and unaware that finger spin had been consigned to the dustbin (at any rate unless it was backed up by a mystery ball or curious conveyance and bewildering progress). Swann had no such weapon at his disposal and still rose to the top. He certainly will have to come good in order to help the Englishmen end 28 year drought.

      But the biggest threat for India will be England's talismanic batsman Kevin Pietersen........ the "polarising" figure of Kevin Pietersen will have a major role in what he believes can be a successful England Test side in India. Star batsman Pietersen has  made his return to the Test arena in Ahmedabad yesterday after missing the climax of England's home series against his native South Africa having been dropped for sending "provocative texts" to Protean players. But with then England captain Andrew Strauss having since retired, Pietersen has been welcomed back into a top-order that would otherwise be short on experience not to mention talent. Pietersen, in an England team now captained by Alastair Cook, showed his class with a typically aggressive 110 against Haryana in the tourists' final warm-up match. threw him a lifeline by selecting him for the India tour at the 11th hour. The way he can attack the bowlers in an form of the game pushes the opposition to back foot. He would try to boss the bowlers and toy with them which could certainly change the course of the game. Though India will have the left arm spin of Ojha and Yuvraj to trouble KP but he can come good with his destructive style of play. Recently West Indian batting legend Vivian Richards reckoned that Kevin Pietersen is cricket's answer to Muhammad Ali, and he believes the English batsman has got the "X-factor" to respond to his critics in the upcoming four-Test series in India. It will be very Interesting to see how KP will be able to respond to all these expectations.