Insight into South Asia

The Deccan Chargers: a deadly combo!

It’s not easy to be classified as a champion team when you finished dead last in last year’s championship. However, the Deccan Chargers from Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) have done just that – from the zeroes of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2008 to the undisputed champions of IPL 2009, it has been one dream journey for this deadly combination of crack cricketers led by Adam Gilchrist.

No one doubted the potential of this team – they have a great mix of youth and experience, a cool combination of seasoned international pros and talented young Indian cricketers. But, in last year’s inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket, the team simply failed to click. All that is history now!

Gilchrist took over as the captain from VVS Laxman for this year’s IPL that was shifted to South Africa since the Indian government could not provide security for the tournament, as the dates coincided with the General Elections. It was a blessing in disguise for the League as it helped to increase its popularity beyond Indian shores. Full credit goes to Cricket South Africa for organising a fantastic tournament at a very short notice. We all look forward to the big one – the 2010 FIFA World Cup. South Africans have proved to be great organisers and wonderful hosts!

For the Chargers, it was a superb team effort that took them all the way. Gilchrist and his fellow Aussie, the DC coach Darren Lehmann have managed to bring out the best in all their boys. Young cricketers like Tirumalasetti Suman, Rohit Sharma, Pragyan Ojha and Harmeet Singh have proved themselves on the big stage while seasoned international pros like RP Singh (who won the Purple Cap for taking the most number of wickets in the tournament), Herschelle Gibbs, Ryan Harris and Andrew Symonds made great contributions at crucial stages to keep the charge going. Not to forget Gilly’s sterling contribution – he not only shouldered the burden of keeping wickets while leading the team, but got the Chargers’ off to a flying start with his aggressive batting as an opener. Chasing a big target in a pressure semi-final against the highly rated Delhi Daredevils, Gilchrist played the knock of the tournament, single handedly demolishing the Daredevils’ attack with his incredible hitting. It was champion stuff from a champion cricketer!

The Royal Challengers Bangalore is another team that deserves apprecation. The boys from Bengaluru (Karnataka) finished second last in the IPL 2008 and made an ordinary start in this year’s edition. Anil Kumble lifted the RCB to a new level when he took charge as skipper. The Challengers put together a string of successive victories over top teams and knocked out last year’s runners-up, the Chennai Super Kings, in the second semi-final. They lost the final narrowly to the Chargers in a pressure cooker situation.

There is no doubt about the heroes of this year’s IPL, though. It has to be the Chargers from Hyderabad! A word of praise for T. Venkattram Reddy, the DC team owner. He solidly backed his team and could be seen in the team dugout with his boys when some other team owners chose the comfort of the hospitality box. The team is owned by the Deccan Chronicle, a reputed broadsheet and South India’s largest selling English language newspaper. I guess when you are the undisputed numero uno in one field, it tends to rub off on your other business ventures too!

I look forward to watching the Deccan Chargers in action at the T20 Champions League. As the Chargers’ cheerleaders and fans say: GO, Chargers! GO, Chargers! GO, go, go, go!!! 🙂

Thanks to Prakash for his contribution in putting this post together!

Written by An alien Earthling

An alien Earthling, a.k.a Raj, is a blogger whose interests include current affairs, technology and sports. He is an engineer by profession.

Filed under: Entertainment, Sports, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The truth behind the IPL Cricket shift

South Africa is reported to be the most likely host. South Africa goes to the polls on April 22 but is keen on hosting the IPL.   



South Africa is reported to be the most likely host for IPL. South Africa goes to the polls on April 22 but is keen on hosting the IPL.

What no one is saying is that the foreign players have expressed their unwillingness to come to India subsequent to the terrorist attacks in India and in Pakistan. So the IPL organizers and the team owners had no choice, if they are to recoup their investments and make the kind of profits they were hoping for. And please ! could they stop going on and on about how this is not about money but for the good of cricket ?? I loved the IPL tamasha last year, but through the year no one talked about anything but the revenues from advertising, the cost of players etc etc. It is all about money.

But the IPL having to leave India for security reasons is a blow to our credibility. Tourism, for example, that has already gone through a devastating season now stands drop even further. I am surprised at our Home Minister Chidambaram’s statement today in the press that Pakistan is in danger of becoming a failed state, and the Talibanization of Pakistan is a real threat to India.

Has he just woken up ? We have been discussing this on our blog and elsewhere for months now. Which makes it even more important that in the coming elections the security and protection of the people of India is a prime agenda. Can the parties please please for once put the people of India ahead of their own mindless lust for power ? My argument still is that a new leader will arise from outside the political system. Someone not polluted by it.

Is there such a leader ?

Written by guest writer Shekhar Kapur

Shekhar Kapur is a noted film maker with international repute. One of the few Indian movie directors to make a career in the U.S., Shekhar Kapur has proved his filmmaking worth in both countries. You can read his blog here.

Filed under: Asia, Culture, Entertainment, Politics, Sports, , , , , ,

Slum Dog rides on White Tiger

Written by Malarthamil

Malarthamil is a civil engineer and writer-poet inspired by Thirukkural.

The Purchase of English cricketers Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff for 1.55 million dollars each, in the bid for IPL cricket, may project outlandish scenario of erstwhile slaves buying their former masters . Already Forbes lists four Indians among the top ten billionaires of the world and the most number of Billionaires in Asia are living in India. But the portrayal of India by Arvind Adiga and Danny Boyle contrast these facts. Strange, the world is fed with misleading facts on big bellies in the media and left to see the reality of small bellies in fiction works.

Who thinks about 390 million Indian people living with a paltry earning of just Rs.20 ( $0.20 )a day? No one knows because their faces are unfit for repeat telecast. India is placed at 127 in Human Development Index, when compared to China at 85 and Sri Lanka at 93 out of the total 177 countries surveyed by United Nations. Millions of poor hungry Indians went to bed for another sleepless night while their fortunate fellow citizens visited Mangalore pub to take a kick from fundamentalist thugs.

What we have done to eradicate Hunger if not Poverty so far from this entire planet??

From the curse of an ancient sage,

“If some must beg and live
Let the creator himself beg and die.”

To the fury of a modern poet,

“If even a single man starves
We will destroy the world.”

our civilization has shamelessly traveled about 2000 years while millions perished for want of food. As an individual many share their food as a religious duty but the Governments have miserably failed in their responsibility to achieve Economic Justice. Universally we have evolved the Government as a system of sharing the wealth gained through individual labor. Therefore only the Governments of this world should have a policy and plan to wipe out Hunger.

At present the UN agencies rush to help only when the poor Governments fail due to famine or internal disturbances. United Nations have not evolved to run a world Government for sharing the wealth to address the hunger. Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger is the first of the eight millennium goals set by United Nations. There may be many schemes to achieve this goal in Africa and Asia, but the unique experience in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. calls for splitting this goal into two, tackling Hunger first and Poverty next.

It started in 1959 when the Government of Tamilnadu provided free lunch to the students in the Primary schools run by local government mainly to protect children from class room hunger. In 1982 it was extended to all the enrolled children of the state in Government schools under nutritious meal scheme. Later, with the inclusion of free eggs thrice a week, the scheme is still continuing indicating that eradicating poverty is not yet achieved. After caring for young ones, the Government turned to adults by providing heavy subsidy on the rice, the staple food grain of south Indians, distributed to the poor families through Public Distribution System(PDS)

In 2006 the price for this rice was drastically reduced to just Rs.2 per kg .And in 2008 it was further reduced to Rs.1 per kg. A middle class family spends Rs.400 to 800 for 20 kg of quality rice whereas a family living below poverty line ( BPL) needs only Rs.20 for 20 kg. per month. Such schemes are now adopted by other states of India and in other countries.

If the Government of India brings a national scheme for free grains of at least 10 kg per BPL family, it could be a good movement towards food security to ensure that every citizen is fed and freed from hunger first since eradication of poverty is not to be achieved in near future. We hope the billionaires are not inhuman and they will show their responsibility by sharing the finance.

. “Food for all” should no more be a dream. Back to the poetic words cited, there is indication of a connection between the food and the end of the God or World. We should only wish our future generations live long in the endless world along with or without God.


Filed under: Business & Economy, Culture, Entertainment, Politics, Sports, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Australian Open: Yet another futile attempt by Federer

Written by Bharat Varathan.

Nothing changed in six months… Another gripping Rafa-Fed grand slam final ending in a fairy tale for Rafa and sorry tale for Fed… Two differences: 1. Players swapped their rankings, 2. Different Surface…

All the hard work done in the first week and sublime form attained in the course of second week went in vain as the world No.2 failed to deliver when it mattered the most against his nemesis… The man, but for whom Andy Roddick would have added at least 3 grand slam victories to his lone US Open title, remains at the receiving end for the past 12 months in the hands of this bulry, Spaniard 5 years younger to him…

Roger Federer started rewriting the book of tennis, in the year 2003, in a brand new style with his fabulous forehand and graceful back hand… Before he could even finish the book another man started rewriting it again with a style of his own filled with ferocious forehand and powerful backhand strokes combined with unimaginable athleticism… Both styles are equally effective and when they come together in a single court against each other it is treat to watch for the viewers…

Both players, having great respect for each other, came in the Aus. Open final with nothing much to chose between them… (Stats. Aus Open 2009 till S.F: Fed (Sets W/L) 18/2, (Games W/L) 123/67; Rafa (Sets W/L) 18/2, (Games W/L) 123/68)…

Both players started the match nervously (Rafa appearing in his first grand slam final in hard court, Fed one short of record 14 grand slam titles) by exchanging service breaks… Federer came out of the nervousness and broke Nadal again to go 4-2 up in the first set… In the seventh game of the match, with Fed serving 30-15, Rafa came up with two unbelievable shots to go 30/40 and finally breaking back to go on-serve… With his confidence level up with those points he started holding his serves without much trouble… In the 11th game he broke Fed again to snatch the thrilling first set 7-5…

With a set in his kitty Rafa started to feel comfortable on the other hand Federer started feeling the pressure resulting in handing over a break to nadal early in the second set… Starring down the barrel Fed started to raise his game by shifting to next gear… His back-hand slashes started to land in the right areas consistently and his fore-hand winners doing the finishing job of snatching a much needed break from Rafa… Though Fed had just 37% of proper first services in the second set he compensated them with his magical volleys and reliable fore-hand strokes… Breaking Nadal again at 4-3, after 5 hard fought duces, Fed closed out the set easily…

Though score line suggest one set all the momentum shifted in favor of Fed for the first time… In the third set Fed started holding his serves with ease while Nadal struggled as all his service games touched duce at least once… But Nadal came on top in all crucial break points to force the set into a tie break… With the frustration of not able to convert any of the 10 plus break points Fed started making lots of unforced errors and finally surrendering the tie-break and set with a double fault to Rafa…

When everyone thought the game wouldn’t last more than 4 sets with the momentum shifted in Nadal’s favor Federer came up with a spectacular performance in the 4th set, as he did when he was down and out in the Wimbledon ’08 final, and won the 4th set 6-3 without much hiccups…

All set for an entertaining 5th set… But when the play progressed it seemed like Fed drained all his energy in the first four sets, though it was nadal who played a marathon 5 setter in the SF… Nadal broke Federer twice and closed out the match when yet another Fed forehand landed long…

Same old story with the same old ending but this time in a different surface…

People were not convinced about Nadal’s game in the hard court… He proved everyone wrong as he came up with strong performance, which was evident when Verdasco mentioned “To win a point against Nadal you have to win it three times”, after his semifinal clash… Federer’s reaction after the match confirmed it as he couldn’t say anything about his defeat…

Federer was at his best today… Nothing went wrong for him except his first service… But that didn’t matter as he won a set in which his first service percentage was poorest in the match… So no excuse this time, like it was a bad day for Fed… He was just not good enough to beat Rafa because Rafa improved his game as Fed stays where he was… Nadal proved his supremacy over Fed on three consecutive occasions in three different surfaces.

Nadal is on the verge of turning in to a complete player and the only one in the current crop capable of winning all 4 slams in the same year…

Let’s see how long he is able to deny Federer a chance to win 14th GS title.

Filed under: Entertainment, Sports, World, , , , ,