Tuesday August 20, 2019
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Proteas juggernaut halted by skilled Indians

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New Delhi: South Africa tried to replicate on the fifth day of the fourth Test against India what they had been doing for the past nine years so as to maintain the streak of not losing abroad, that is, put your head down and take it on. Proteas tried it in Delhi too but were halted by Indians, finally.

India wrapped up the resilient South Africa in the fourth and last test at Firozshah Kotla in Delhi and won the series by 3-0. The number one team in test cricket, South Africa suffered its first away series loss in nine years.

India team climbed up to number two in rankings with this series win. Off-spinner Ravi Ashwin was declared the Man of the series for his tally of 31 wickets and Ajinkya Rahane, who scored hundreds in each inning of this test, was awarded the Man of the match.

India, who had taken an unassailable lead before the start of this test, set a target of 481 for South Africa. Proteas in reply went for a dig in. Captain Hashim Amla and AB De Villiers defended out of their skin. Amla played 244 balls for his 25 and AB batted 297 deliveries for 43. In the end, this valiant effort fell short of the mammoth target.

This is India’s first series win against South Africa since 1997.  The whole series drew a lot of conflicted point of views over the nature of pitches. Nagpur pitch was rated as ‘poor’ by ICC. However, Indian team defended themselves that every country created pitches that suit home team.

This is a pattern in the world cricket that as soon as there is a turn on the wicket, eyebrows are raised over the quality of the 22 yards. If there is extravagant movement in the form of seam or swing then it is said to be a ‘use of skills’. This double standard is unfair. If one needs talent and temperament to play on seaming deck then it must be the same for turners too.

A normal wicket in India is either batting friendly or a turner and people tend to have ‘problems’ with both. If India makes a batting deck then everyone comes up with ‘flattrack bully’ tag for the Indian team. Recently, Perth had a batting paradise where David Warner scored 253 and Ross Taylor replied with 290 runs.

A Nagpur-like rank turner is any day better than Perth’s heaven for the batsman. But not one person questioned the quality of Perth wicket and everyone praised Warner which he deserved. However, if the same Test would have been played in India and, let’s suppose, Dhawan had scored those 253 runs, then the world media and specialist would, for sure, have rated it as a flat track inning and blamed India for creating a pitch that is finishing Test cricket.

Even now, when India is the ‘super power’ in world cricket, people have their doubts whenever the sub-continent team wins. According to them, it happens either because of pitch or luck; talent can’t get these teams a win.

When Pakistan created reverse swing, they were called cheaters and today when James Anderson does it, it is a skill.

A seaming deck gets Stuart Broad wickets, it is purely his talent but if Ashwin gets wickets on a turner, it is all pitch. Indian batsmen are considered as the ones who score only at home. This series proved that scoring in India is not really that easy.

If one checks the stats, then one would realize that Virat has just three test hundreds at home out of his total of 11 and, on the other hand, David Warner has 12 tons at home out of 15 and still Virat has to prove time and again that he can bat anywhere in the world.

India won the series, but Indian batting which is relatively new has to bat well. Except for Rahane, nobody reached three figures. The worst part is Indians did not look that comfortable against spin which they should have. Indians were lucky that Ashwin was bowling for them, not against them.

This series is a special win. The result might show it as one sided, but this took a lot of efforts from the team, especially from the spinners who were not defending big totals.

While people will always have their doubts but nobody can take away the credit that Indian team deserves for the win. There will be challenges ahead in future, but it is important that this win is celebrated and not overshadowed by pitches and other unnecessary talks.

(Image: Cricinfo.com)

Next Story

India to Set Up “Border Haats” with Myanmar

The Minister said, The success of the "Border Haats" running along the Bangladesh border in Meghalaya and Tripura has prompted us to go for similar 'haats'

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India, Border Haats, Myanmar
To carry out border trade with Myanmar, the location for the construction of 'Border Haat' has been identified in four places -- Hnahlan, Zote, Vaphai (Saikhumphai) and Sangau (Pangkhua) in southeastern Mizoram. Pixabay

The success of the “Border Haats” with Bangladesh has prompted other northeastern states of India to go for similar arrangements with Myanmar. At the instance of the Mizoram government, the Centre is likely to set up four “Border Haats” (market) along the border with Myanmar to boost local trade and livelihood of the people living there.

“To carry out border trade with Myanmar, the location for the construction of ‘Border Haat’ has been identified in four places — Hnahlan, Zote, Vaphai (Saikhumphai) and Sangau (Pangkhua) in southeastern Mizoram,” Mizoram Commerce and Industries Minister R. Lalthangliana told IANS.

The Minister said, “The success of the “Border Haats” running along the Bangladesh border in Meghalaya and Tripura has prompted us to go for similar ‘haats’ with Mynmar in Mizoram.”

Mizoram Commerce and Industries Department Director J. Hmingthanmawia said that the state government has sent the detailed proposals in this regard to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for its approval.

India, Border Haats, Myanmar
The success of the “Border Haats” with Bangladesh has prompted other northeastern states of India to go for similar arrangements with Myanmar. Pixabay

“Once we get the green signal from the MEA, we would seek funds from the Union Industries and Commerce Ministry,” Hmingthanmawia told IANS. He said that officials of the Mizoram government and Myanmar have recently conducted a joint survey and identified the locations to set up the “Border Haats”.

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga in his Independence Day speech had said that the proposed “Border Haats” would become important trade points between India and Myanmar.

“Land Custom Station (LCS) at Zokhawthar, the lone trade route for Mizoram with South East Asian countries, is being proposed for upgradation. Construction of Trade Facilitation Centre at Tlabung has already been completed.”

“The Indian government has also proposed construction of an Integrated Check Post (ICP) at four places at the border in Mizoram — Marpara, Tuipuibari, Silsuri and Nunsury. The construction of ICP at Kawrpuichhuah is also expected to commence shortly,” the Chief Minister added.

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Mizoram has an unfenced international border of 404 km with Myanmar and 318 km with Bangladesh. The Border Security Force (BSF) has been guarding the Bangladesh border and Assam Rifles personnel are posted on the border with Myanmar.

Experts and various studies suggest that if the “Border Haats” are set up, smuggling of drugs and other commodities would be checked to a large extent. Security expert Manas Paul said that large-scale smuggling of drugs from Myanmar via Mizoram and other neighbouring states has increased in the last few years.

“What is really worrisome is the fact that these synthetic drugs have got a domestic market inside the state, especially among the younger generation. Cross border legal activities including setting up of “Border Haats” could curb the smuggling of drugs and other contraband,” Paul, who has authored books on security and terrorism in the northeast, told IANS.

The CUTS International, a Jaipur based international NGO, with support from the World Bank, had conducted a study in 2016 to understand and examine the effect of “Border Haats” on poverty alleviation and other multiplier effects such as informal trade.

India, Border Haats, Myanmar
At the instance of the Mizoram government, the Centre is likely to set up four “Border Haats” (market) along the border with Myanmar to boost local trade and livelihood of the people living there. Pixabay

CUTS International Executive Director Bipul Chatterjee said that trade will increase income, curb smuggling, and cross-border crimes will also go down.

“‘Border Haats’ have contributed to the border area development, roads have improved, trafficking of women has stopped, unemployment issues have been addressed,” said Chatterjee.

Currently four “Border Haats” are operational in Meghalaya and Tripura. The first “Border Haat” was started on July 23, 2011 at Kalaichar (India)-Kurigram (Bangladesh) in the West Garo Hills of Meghalaya. Three other “haats” followed in Meghalaya and Tripura.

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The Union Industries and Commerce Ministry has been spending on an average Rs 3.5 crore to develop the infrastructure and necessary facilities for each “Border Haat” along the Bangladesh border. The Bangladesh government is not providing any funds for the purpose.  (IANS)