Wednesday, May 25, 2005

You'll Never Walk Alone!

The Mother of all comebacks! – At half time everyone (including yours truly) thought it’s going to be a bloodbath – The reds proved otherwise. What a crazy game!

5 English teams in Champions League next year (It’s got to happen now, Liverpool have to defend next year). Wow! Suddenly English are the pride of Europe!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

It’s all over...

It was vintage Man U. They showed their true potential but they paid for not closing it out.

They will be back, we will be back, I will be back – Glazer or not. Nothing will change. (at least in 2006).

And so is Michael Schumacher & Ferrari.

My plans for seeing the god have just been shelved. Two times in the past, in two different circuits, the god answered my prayers. I will wait for my hatrick chance!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

I love this game!

Steve Nash! Steve Nash! Steve Nash! What a player! What a player! What a player!

If ever there is anything called a one man team, here is the perfect example!

I salute you Steve! The MVP! I am not sure if you can win the Western conf finals. But what the heck…thanks for everything.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Hang him/Shoot him or hang him & then shoot him!

Gaurav of Vantage Point writes about the predicaments of a rape victim, behavior of the rapist, etc here

I disagree with some of the opinions mentioned there. My take on it:

So is the person who covers the head, the guilty one?

I think that the rape victim covers the head more due to embarrassment rather than the feeling of guilt. Imagine this scenario: you are on a live tv show & someone pulls your pants down (lets assume that you were not wearing anything under your pants that day). Now when you come back from the tv station, would you not cover your head & come? You are not covering the head because you are guilty; you are covering because you are embarrassed. You know that it’s not your fault that the idiot or a SOB pulled your pants down. You know & the world knows that he was the guilty one. But you also know that its still you who have to live with it. You can react to this either by covering your head & assuming that no one notices you or by being open & not caring a damn about it .Both are human nature & I guess the same choices holds good for a rape victim as well.

We cannot/should not coax the rapists to cover their heads and neither should we campaign for the girl to open the veil. For both of them, it’s their personal choices. Irrespective of who covers the head, I think that the main issue here is that justice should be served quickly & fairly.

Gaurav also writes in “Only a society which attaches unnecessary stigma to a rape victim would think of advocating a death sentence for rapists” Again, I have to disagree. Gaurav has not voiced his opinion about what he thinks is the correct punishment. But according to me, rape is a serious criminal offence and ‘Capital Punishment’ or ‘Death Sentence’ is definitely the way to go for a rapist. It dissuades people like Sunil More and would go a long way in reducing the number of rapes in India. But I think our wise men who framed the rules have not gone for death sentences for rape because sometimes the definition of rape can be difficult to interpret. Can a woman who had sex with a man for a favor cry rape after the man did not carry out his promise?, Can a wife claim rape if her husband had forced sex with her? Also can the girl cry rape even though she agreed in the first place but wants the guy to stop halfway through, but the guy refuses to stop? Our lawmakers have indeed been wise that they have not gone for the strictest penalty for rape cases. But for a ‘slam dunk’ case like Sunil More, I definitely support death sentence/capital punishment.

P.S: Since ‘Comments’ are not enabled in ‘Vantage Point’ blog, I have mentioned my views here. Normal service should resume from next post...after I watch the FA cup final between the Red-devils & the Gunners ;-)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

John Wright II

India’s coach is to be announced tomorrow (5/20). Cricinfo calls the process chaotic. Cites example of a half an hour delay, overshooting the time, problems with laptop connectivity & meeting VIP’s (Prime Minister!). Wait a minute…Isn’t all this considered Indianess? ;-) Gee when did we change it from calling this ‘It happens only in India’ to ‘Chaotic’? ;-) You know what... I guess sometimes we are being harsh on judging India. I think we are using global yardsticks to measure India. C’mon guys, finally we had a transparent interview process and an eminent panel (yeah including the 2 jokers!). Let us highlight the positives.

If I were a betting man, my money would be on Greg Chappell & if I were a betting syndicate, these are the bets that I would offer:

Greg Chappell - 1.45
Tom Moody - 2.35
Mohinder Amarnath - 4.65
Desmond Haynes – 25

Any buyers? ;-)

Monday, May 16, 2005

We are the MOST POWERFUL nation in the WORLD of Cricket.

Yes, it’s official. We heard rumors, we heard stories and we heard some opposition players/teams/officials grumble about it…but now the truth is out. India is the most powerful nation in world cricket. Sri Lanka has officially announced that they have postponed their search for the coach till India decides. This is what Jayantha Dharmadasa, chairman of the government-led committee running Sri Lanka Cricket had to say

"We have to realise that the Indian board is the richest in the world and coaching the Indian team is a prestigious job," said Dharmadasa. "Since the Indian board kept things on a hold, our candidates wanted some time as well"

What more proof do we need?

With money, comes power & with power comes responsibility! India from now on must act as a powerful nation in world cricket. It must talk the talk & walk the walk. From now on, we must use our influences to spread the game & also make the game more interesting. Rather than viewing it as an untouchable, ‘Twenty Twenty’ should be embraced quickly. If the game were to spread & if they games were to be interesting, 20/20 is the best option available. Cricket matches must be over in 3 ½ - 4 hours if it were to spread its wings to other parts of the world and also if it were to retain its existing base in this ever changing world. A lot more changes in the rules must be made so that the game is more even between the bat & ball.

Some of the changes that could be made so that the contest between bat & ball is more even are:

    • Field restriction for 15 overs in a 50 over game or 4
      overs in a 20/20 game at the discretion of the fielding captain.
    • No limit for number of overs for bowlers – The 10 over limit in a 50 overs game and 4 overs in a 20/20 game should go, but 5 bowlers to be used. Which means in a
      20/20 game, though 1 bowler can bowl 10, another 7; three other bowlers will have to bowl one over each.
    • No balls to be judged on popping crease
    • 2 substitutes to be allowed – who can bat and/or bowl – but still only 11 players can bat & 10 wickets to take.
    • If substitutes cannot be allowed, then there should at least be an option of announcing the playing 11 after the toss.

If all the above rules are enforced, it could make the game really interesting!

Remember the days when rains use to play spoilsport in an ODI game and matches were truncated to 25 overs a side. These matches had pure adrenalin in them, the matches were always action packed & interesting till the very end. After seeing the 25 overs a side game, we always felt the 50 over ODI to be boring (Particularly the period from 16th over to 40th over). 20/20 is the evolution to 50 overs ODI cricket. It has none of this slack.

India must push for these changes. India must be the innovator. It should position itself as the ‘Super power of World Cricket’. To do this, India must adapt quickly to the changes & also lead the changes from the front. Domestic series in India should be held in the 20/20 format. The goose must be bred and we must not wait till the goose dies to find a new goose. If crowds for the last Indo-Pak series are a benchmark, then India must act soon. Eden Gardens cannot be half full. It pains to hear that India’s pride was half full for a test match (even a Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal attracts more crowd in Kolkatta!)

India must also push for the inclusion of countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Canada and Middle Eastern countries in the ODI format. There is a large number of Indian diaspora living in all these countries and it would be easy to target these countries with cricket.
If cricket can be used for talks with an old enemy, it can certainly be used to make friends. India must take the initiative now and start acting like a cricket power house. With India already having a large share of the pie, India must now look to increase the size of the pie. That is the only way that we can continue to grow and use cricket to our advantage.

20/20 should be used for spreading the game while the 50 over ODI/Test cricket is played among the faithful. India should lead this change & it is in India’s best interests that we act as leaders and not followers in this change. Australia has the best players, England has the history but India have the money and we need to leverage this money power for more benefits to India & its economy.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Get Lost Malcolm Glazer!

Supporting the Fans! Though a lost cause :(

Losers all!

If there is one team in the world of Cricket that tries very hard to lose the matches, then it’s got to be the West Indies. They just work towards their defeat! Nothing else! Remember World Cup 96 semifinal…Walsh went for glory in that final over against Fleming, when Richardson the captain (who had announced his retirement) was at the other end with 4 balls to spare….I am not even going to talk about the league match against Kenya in the same world Cup.

How can a team loose from being at 281/6 chasing 285 to win in 7 balls? It’s only possible by West Indies! No other team in world cricket can ever match their spineless performances. I just don’t get this…even if the team members are stupid, cant the captain or coach tell the players just to put bat on ball??...2 of them bowled, 1 of them lbw for a hatrick…pathetic!

Elsewhere, I saw the Arsenal vs Everton game, what a drubbing!...another sign that Everton will struggle in Champions league & EPL next year (unless they don’t sign any good players in the summer)….Did you see the smile on Henry, Bergkamp faces?.. even Arsene Wenger was smiling! They treated Everton like a schoolboy team.

NBA is getting hot now…except the Heats & Spurs games…the other 2 games could go down to the wire.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

BAR controversy analysis - "Lies, Damned Lies!"

After being banned for two races, BAR today said that it will go to the people’s court with the facts. As stated in BAR website "In an effort to provide the greatest possible visibility to the outside world of its case, B.A.R Honda today will publish its entire submission to the FIA International Court of Appeal on its website for anyone interested to examine it." The entire article (PDF file of 103 pages) can be found here.

Now just in case, you are wondering what this controversy is all about. Here is a quick summary: FIA rules clearly state that the car (Car & Driver) should be more than 600 kg during the race. The FIA defines the ‘Car’ as the car drained of fuel. When Jenson Button’s car (Car & Driver) was weighed after the race, the weight was found to be 606.1 Kg (Jenson Button – 73.6 & the Car – 532.5 Kg respectively). But then the FIA found a ‘secondary compartment’ in the car with fuel and asked that the fuel in the compartment be drained. After it was drained, the car’s (Car & Driver) weight was found to be 594.6 Kg (Button – still the same 73.6! and the Car – 521.0). FIA contends that the ‘Secondary Compartment’ was a ‘Secret fuel tank’ and that BAR used it to retain the fuel pumped into the car during the final pit stop. BAR says that the secondary compartment was a ‘forward fuel collector’ and that the forward fuel collector is an integral part of their fuel system. They say that the fuel collector needs a minimum fuel level in order to maintain pressure in the accumulator.

BAR Honda claims that the cars were never below 600 Kg and the closest that they could have come was 600.9 Kg (weight calculated by using the backward calculation mechanism – since you know the final weight, you start adding/deducting the other variables that were added/used during the race ) at the first pit stop. But it is debatable since you cannot exactly calculate the tyre wear & weight due to brake loss & oil consumption (since FIA does not have official data on those). While Article 2.4 of FIA clearly states that the team should seek clarification if they feel that the regulations are unclear, BAR claims that they had no doubts on these rules & the regulations were clear to them!

Liars, Liars. After having read all the supporting facts from BAR, I am convinced that BAR did try to exploit the gray areas in the rules and certainly were dishonest with the FIA.

There are two instances in the BAR submission, that clearly points to BAR’s shenanigans.

One of them is the following:
(Since the PDF file is encrypted, I am not able to copy the text; here is the image of the PDF file)

Can you see how they have deliberately tried to hide the facts? When asked if all the fuel has been drained. They said ‘Yes’, even though the fuel collector had fuel! C'mon BAR, It is how thieves/convicts/cheats answer. (Did you steal the cash? No, No, after hours of grilling they will admit they stole only Jewels & not cash and they never said any lie)!

The second thing is an email from BAR to the fuel cell supplier. The suppliers answer is in red.

Instead of looking into their problem and fixing it, they have looked around to see if there are any other culprits and if they can find a common ground there. Sadly for them, they couldn’t find any accomplices. Again a classic example of ‘convict mentality’!

But luckily, the International Court has called the bluff. It has banned the BAR team for two races, stripped them of the points they collected in Imola & have given a 6 months ban suspended for a year. (Initially the FIA’s own stewards had bought the arguments by BAR and confirmed the third place for Button. But the FIA appealed to the International Court of Appeal)

Following is the excerpt from the International Court of Appeal’s verdict against BAR
WHEREAS it is not possible for the Court to find, on the basis of the evidence that it was provided with, that Lucky Strike BAR Honda deliberately committed fraud, their actions at the time of the emptying procedure of the vehicle after the event, and the fact that they did not use their right in accordance with Article 2.4, to address a request for clarification on the rules to the Technical Formula One Department of the FIA, show at the least a highly regrettable negligence and lack of transparency
Read the entire verdict here

The verdict is indeed a fair one! Since there were gray areas in the rule, a complete guilty verdict could not be arrived at. But, BAR HONDA ~ your credibility is definitely in question now!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Cricket in US!

The last Sunday while flipping through the New York Times, I happened to see something that resembled a cricket image in the newspaper. I looked up to see the headlines of the article “Bowling for Democracy” and couldn’t believe my eyes. Cricket in NY times?

The article is written by Orlando Patterson and Jason Kaufman, both associate professors at Harvard. The article tries to analyze why Cricket did not sustain in US & Canada compared to the rest of cricket playing commonwealth countries. Yes, I believe cricket was played in US & Canada in the 19th!

The article says:

The puzzle only deepens when one considers that cricket was once popular in both Canada and the United States. It rivaled baseball for most of the 19th century, with as many stories in the sports pages of The New York Times until 1880. Indeed, the world's first international test match was played between Canada and the United States in 1844. So the puzzle is not so much why it was never adopted in North America, but why in the early 20th century it was subsequently rejected.

It then goes on to explain the main reasons for the shift towards baseball in US. The article also showcases the difference between what happened in US & in the rest of the commonwealth countries. In the US, the elite wanted to differentiate from the masses. While in other countries (India, Australia, Caribbean), people wanted to emulate the British and beat them at their own game. (I think this could possibly explain the significance attached to Ashes!)

But to me the revelation in the whole article was the following paragraph:

The game itself partly facilitated this process. Cricket requires no contact between players, and its strict and complex rules, dress code and officiating largely eliminate any risk of embarrassment in play with those of different ranks or castes. So did the careful allocation of positions; less glamorous roles like bowling and fielding were assigned to social inferiors while those of specialist batsmen and team captain were reserved for elites.

How true, how very true! I remember having read sometime back (have no idea where), that for the very same reasons explained above, that Brahmins in India took to cricket. To an extent, I think even now this mindset is still prevalent . In our unconscious mind we still attach more importance, charm & weightage to a batsmen than a bowler. A bowler is remembered as a workhorse (remember Kapil Dev) and a batsman is remembered as a classic (remember Sunil Gavaskar or Sachin Tendulkar). Do you get it? The Batsmen have always been perceived to be superior to bowlers. How else can we explain the fact that there have been so few 'bowling Captains' (captain who were only bowlers like Walsh, Waqar) in world cricket? Has there ever been any great bowling captain(s)? (One bowler who could have been a great captain is Shane Warne. But due to so many controversies surrounding him, it never happened (except for a few games which he led in Steve Waugh’s absence)).

But my bigger question is this “Are bowlers (esp fast bolwers) not smart enough (perceived) to be captains?” Do we always think them of being inferior when compared to a batsman?

Just when the article is about to end & when you are wondering what the title has to do with the article (nostalgia revisited: remember Indian movies – there is some title with no significance to the film & just in the climax the hero/heroine will say something related to the title ;-)?, the authors have a section on Democracy & Cricket.

The article ends with:

WHAT broader lessons might the history of cricket have for the globalization of Western cultural practices? It shows that such practices can be promoted or discouraged from the top down; it is not necessarily a bottom-up process, as is commonly believed. Nor does such downward dissemination require the point of a gun. The passion for cricket in places like Pakistan and India also shows that a complex Western cultural practice can be adopted in its entirety by very different cultures, even when highly identified with its country of origin. Might the same be true of other Western cultural practices, like democracy?

Are you kidding me? I could use the same cricket story and say that THIS is the main reason why US is hated the world over. While everywhere else people adjust, conform to the existing standards, it is the US mentality of being unique & shunning other cultures & practices that is causing today’s problems. Except for the last paragraph, the authors have done an amazing job, in hindsight you could probably excuse them for the last paragraph too, how else can this article make it to New York Sunday Times? ;-)

With help from Bugmenot, I found the article in the NYT website. Read the entire article here. If asked for login/password provide eranko/timoeranko (courtesy bugmenot)

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Best team lost!

“The Best team lost”, “The Best team lost”, “The Best team lost”, “The Best team lost”. Jose Mourinho said four times in a row yesterday after his team was fairly & squarely beaten by Liverpool. One could probably pardon him for being such a loser! He was probably predicting today’s game!

In today’s Champion’s league semifinal, PSV did everything possible. They still lost. They were the best team of the day. They had lost due to Home Disadvantage!

Personally, I would have been happy to see a Liverpool vs PSV final. That would have been a battle of the equals & both teams would have played attacking and entertaining football. Now my fear is that this game will be a repeat of Liverpool vs Chelsesa second leg. Rafael Benitez would know that Milan is a stronger side & may go for the same tactics that took him to the Final. They will just look for an odd goal & then defend as if their life depended on it.

Milan is favorites to win but Liverpool are more desperate for the Champions league trophy than any other team. May 25th in Istanbul should be a cracker of a game. No Home or Away. It is just one game & the winner takes it all.

P.S: Can any one tell me what Michael Owen is thinking now? ;-) I’ll tell you, funny game, this football is! :)

1 over of googly!

Ball 1: Maverick points out in one of the comments about Chelsea’s statistics (read the entire article here). The last line sums it up brilliantly “The Premiership has proved to be an expensive cup to buy - but to the fans, it will be worth every penny”. Thanks Maverick for the information.

Ball 2: While talking about money & football, there is this another controversy that is going on...with Malcolm Glazer trying to buy Manchester united. Unlike the Chelsesa situation, I think this will work out exactly the opposite way…I agree with the fans, Malcum will make the club poorer not richer (unlike how Roman brought laurels to Chelsea, Malcolm might do the exact opposite). The fans have now demanded a match boycott (Read it all here)

Ball 3: BAR could be thrown out of F1 this season if found guilty of intentionally running an underweight car. Read it all here. This is just too much, are the F1 bosses insane?

Ball 4: In the NBA playoffs (without Lakers in the playoffs!), Detroit are now through to their second round play offs. And it looks like the the Lakers might go to Phil Jackson again! Read it here

Ball 5: 1462 runs were scored in 5 days in 2 innings & 31 overs. A really bad advertisement for test cricket! Ganguly should probably visit the ground for batting practice ;-). Are you asking me which ground…oh!...the same ground where Lara made 375 & then again 400 (lets not take anything away from Lara, he is a genius!). If you want to know more about the road where they played this game read it here

Ball 6: Jose Mourinho will be around for 5 more years!! (read it here)..Chelsea have not done a Claudio Raineri on him ;-) (Claudio took Chelsea to the CL semifinals & still was sacked, okay okay…Jose is miles ahead oh him, but still cant avoid taking a jab at Chelsea ;-)

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Chelsea stay put at Stamford Bridge!

When I saw the match between Chelsea & Bayern Munich in a local bar about a month back, Chelsea were dominant & thrashed Bayern 4-2. The same day AC Milan beat Inter 2-0. When AC Milan scored the second goal, all the Chelsea supporters started the chants (pointing towards the AC Milan supporters) “See you in Instanbul”, “See you in Instanbul”, “See you in Instanbul”.

Tonight the dream is over. Chelsea is not going anywhere. They were just a shadow of how they played against Bayern. They were probably tired (I am sure that this would be the excuse/reason that is going to be used quite a lot, P.S: I still have not seen seen/heard any reactions from Liverpool/Chelsea, I am posting this as soon as I came back after seeing the game on tv) but that is still no good reason for not trying hard! Credit should go to Liverpool for having come out with a plan & executed it perfectly. Their defense was good. But not brilliant. Eidur Gudjohnsen had a chance in the 6th minute of injury time to seal it. The goalkeeper was beaten, but still (agonizingly!) he hit it across the face of the goal. If he had scored, Chelsea would have been through. Read the reason here.

Roman Abramovich clapped & cheered his players, Jose Mourinho hugged them, put his arms around & showed no disappointment. Chelsea deserve to have their heads high, except for the games against Liverpool in Champions League, they have been oustanding. Now can Rafael Benitez emulate Jose Mourinho and win the Champions League (he has already won the UEFA cup with Valencia, the last man to do that was Jose Mourinho)??

Though, I would have liked Chelsea to win, I am not dissapointed, all I need is an English team to lift the cup in Instabul, if Liverpool can do it, I am more than pleased for them. Actually I am slightly happy, okay make it mischievously happy…why?..are you asking me why..? Its elementary my dear Watson, its elementary…the last English club to do a treble was who..? say it again…who was it..? yeah…it was the Red Devils ;-) I am more than happy that it stays that way! :)

To Leander!

In Davis cup, India advances to the world group play-offs to play Sweden at home in September. Leander shows us (another to his already growing list of achievements) why he is not only India’s best sportsman and most patriotic but also the most unselfish sportsman. But if there is one man in the Indian sports who can be selfish, it is Leander. He has done so much for India. I think we should name the Arjuna award as Leander Paes award, so that every Indian sportsman knows what passion, commitment & dedication to India is all about.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Simple Equation: Pressure (P) = Force/Area; My team (P) = 0; (P) >1 for Other Team

Liverpool says: "All the pressure is on Chelsea. They have spent a lot of money and are expected to succeed in this competition" Read it here

Chelsea says: "We will go back to London as heroes whatever this result because we won the championship. If they lose they will have nothing. I think the pressure is on Liverpool." Read it here

Hilarious!...these so called mind games!

Mirror, Mirror on the wall…

I just came across this article. It talks about Aishwarya on the Oprah Winfrey show. (I think the show is already broadcast) Anyway, there is a link in the article to the David Letterman show and it claims that Ash did fine on the show! Excuse me Mr.Author of that article. Did you see that show or was it a press release by one of Ash’s PR agency?

What on earth do you mean by 'that she did fine'? Contrary to what the Indian media had projected, that show (Letterman) was an absolute failure. It was a disaster, I think Letterman cut the show off early & they went to a break where more than the fair share of advertisements was shown that day. Ask Ash, she will tell you. She seemed disinterested in the whole show. As a viewer who constantly follows the Jay Leno, David Letterman, Jon Stewart and Conan O'Brien, I could see that Ash was out of place in that Letterman interview. Her PR advisers had forgotten to tell her that a Late night show is all about letting your hair down & being funny. This is not crossfire or hard talk! You do not have to talk about facts here, but just be funny. The secret to success in a late night show is about being able to laugh at your self. So many times in that interview she snubbed Letterman (Indian media have reported that it was a witty remark!).

But one thing stood out, when asked if she still stays with her parents, Ash shot back saying that yes and that she does not have to take appointments to meet the parents (as they do in US). Though it was a good answer, her body language sounded more aggressive than funny. From when have we started comparing Indian culture to US?? Be proud of our culture & heritage, but that does not mean that you take pot shots at others culture. It is because of their (US) culture that US breeds entrepreneurship. Anyway that’s a whole different topic.

I think this is how the conversation ended:

DL: “How did you get in to films”…(he was looking for Ash to tell him a story, so that while the message reaches the audience, he can also be funny with her with his word play)… But Ash was too upright, refused to be lured into a conversation & shot back at DL “How did you start doing this (your show)?”

Ash sucked big time in the show. She disappointed with her choice of dress as well..a short skirt & leather jacket!...when was that fashionable..? 80s? Some of her answers were more or less the same that was said on CBS 60 minutes as well. But that’s not her fault; she was being asked the same set of questions!

Now coming back to the CBS - 60 minutes interview…That day CBS 60 minutes consisted of two parts, first one was about Google & second was about Ash. Ash looked more beautiful, assured & intelligent in that interview. Probably because 60 minutes was well rehearsed. (Letterman show was live in front of the studio audience). She held her own in that interview. But her giggles was just one too many. She acts in front of the camera. She just can’t be Ash the person. It’s always Ash the Miss World, model or actress. For every question, she looked straight into the interviewer, waited for some time after the question & giggled before answering. Had she done it once or twice it would have been beautiful, but she did it for every question!

Now my diatribe against Ash is (like all the millions of Indians) because I like her and also want her to be successful. She is the only one currently in show business who can showcase India to the world. She has got the potential; she has got the brains…If only she had a good PR agency/Manager, She could go places!

Me, Myself & the Blog

When I started this blog, I had no agenda…was blogging for the first time & wanted to just blog about things which were interesting for me. It was a no-brainer that Sports is what interests me. But if I come across interesting topics in current events, I will blog about it here. But Sports will always be my first love!

Btw the name tifoc is to be pronounced as (teefosee). Yes, I actually wanted to get tifosi..which means a Ferrari fan. But it was already taken:(, so had to settle for this (TifoC) :)