Monday October 23, 2017
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Shiv Sena politics on cricket pitch

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By Tarun Pratap

Around a hundred Shiv Sainiks barged into the BCCI headquarters forcing the scheduled meeting between BCCI head Shashank Manohar and his PCB counterpart Shaharyar Khan to be called off.

India-Pakistan cricket rivalry has been one of the most intense sporting rivalries ever. These matches have always been played under the huge pressure and expectations of respective countrymen.

The first test match between both countries was played during October 16-19, 1952 in Delhi. With the countries torn apart by political strife and wars in recent times, cricketing ties have been intermittent. However, that only increased the intensity of the rivalry.

This rivalry took another step in the modern era. In the 90s, ODI cricket grew popular and both countries won a World Cup each. Cricket had advanced to the television now, which multiplied the numbers of people watching the game.

This was also the phase when insurgency started and whenever there were any terror attacks from Pakistan, India suspended the cricket ties as well; be it the 2001 parliament attack, the 2008 Mumbai attack or the latest political tensions.

In 1991, Shiv Sena dug up the Wankhede pitch just before the ODI match and as a result, Pakistan canceled the next three tours. Finally in 1999, when the Pakistan team came to India after 12 years, Shiv Sena still protested but PM Vajpayee himself assured security and the series went on without trouble. Shiv Sena dug up the Kotla pitch this time.

On October 19, 2015, Shiv Sena targeted BCCI Chief Shashank Manohar. The ease with which some people just barged into the BCCI headquarters is an alarming issue. Even more alarming is the fact that all the attackers got released on bail.

This leads us to ask: Who is running Mumbai: Maharashtra Government or Shiv Sena?

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said, “Whatever they are doing, it is the people’s will, and it is in the national interest”. On the other hand Anurag Thakur, BCCI secretary, who is also a BJP MP, condemned it and said cricket won’t take place until both the governments allow it, so there was no point in going after BCCI.

Shiv Sena is, apparently, looking for publicity. If they think India should not have any ties with Pakistan, which is not entirely wrong, then they should protest against the Central government for granting visa to Shaharyar Khan. Shiv Sena targeting BCCI is just a show of power.

How can Shiv Sena claim that they are following the nation’s will? A thousand people or so, marching and protesting, don’t make any nation, let alone India.

It has been Shiv Sena’s habit to create nuisance. With the ongoing Bihar elections, the party seems determined to hurt BJP’s image. The Sudheendra Kulkarni incident, followed by this BCCI fiasco shows the intentions of Shiv Sena.

Shiv Sena said that they always followed their policy of ‘intense nationalism’ whether they were in government or in opposition. This statement speaks of carelessness towards governance and a thought process that they were, somehow, custodians of Indian nationalism.

This statement and recent moves by Shiv Sena have hurt BJP like never before.

Arun Jaitley sent a stern message that these actions were not acceptable. He said that there was no space for violence in a democracy. He said Shiv Sena should engage in debate, not in vandalism.

In recent times, the BJP and NCP chief Shard Pawar have cozied up towards each other. A few days ago, Jaitley attended the function in Baramati organized by NCP where he praised Pawar for Baramati model. Perhaps, this is a way for Shiv Sena to remind BJP about their clout.

BJP has to get a hold of their allies. The 2014 general elections were the first instance in 30 years when a party achieved majority on its own and that was because voters wanted a government that can take decisions without pressure, a government that is stable.

On one hand, the BJP government is trying to woo investors and open markets, and on the other, their allies like Shiv Sena are dragging them back.

Any act like this weakens India’s image on the world stage. As a precautionary measure, ICC had to withdraw Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar before the last ODI match between India and South Africa which is scheduled to be held in Mumbai. Former Pakistani cricketers, Shoaib Akhtar and Wasim Akram, were pulled out of the commentary team because of security reasons. India might not be a super power in the world yet but it is definitely so in world cricket. These incidents hurt India’s image big time.

India is the host for the upcoming T20 World Cup in 2016. If such atmosphere doesn’t wane away, it would hurt India’s revenue as well as popularity as a cricketing nation. Pakistan is yet to come out of international rejection after the 2009 terror attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team.

It is the government’s job to ensure safety of visitors, once they are invited. If Ghulam Ali is given visa to perform, the government should be responsible for the security arrangements. Either, end the cultural ties with Pakistan as a state policy, or stop these Shiv Sena hooligans from disrupting the peace of nation in the name of nationalism.

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Will the exciting lineup of new IPL Players get to play in the 2019 Cricket World Cup?

The bench strength looks impressive, but it has to be tested sooner than later.

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When will the exciting IPL stars get a chance if others are allowed to consolidate their positions playing at home? Pixabay

-by Veturi Srivatsa

New Delhi, October 23, 2017 :
 So much of cricket is being played around the world — Tests, One-Day Internationals and Twenty20s. The so-called pecking order is going for a toss with each passing series.

India, who got to the No. 1 position in the One-Day Internationals after beating Australia, vacated it for South Africa who went up beating Bangladesh.

Bangladesh are still playing in South Africa, Sri Lanka in the Gulf, home of Pakistan, and New Zealand are in India for a series each in the two shorter formats. Australia are getting ready for the Ashes and the South Africans will be looking forward to settling a score with India.

Every international side is seriously looking to the 2019 World Cup, building their core component, or is it rebuilding with less than two years for the mega event. Some top cricketers around the world are happy playing in the shorter formats to prolong their careers and with an eye on the pay packages.

There was a time good Test cricketers used to move into the One-Day format on the strength of their technique and fitness. Players now look to get into the Test squad on the weight of their performance in the ODIs. Both the players and the selectors are striking a blance between the long duration domestic cricket and the Twenty20 Indian Premier League (IPL).

India are going through a peculiar renaissance of sorts. Players who are thought to be indispensable not long ago are being rested, rotated and dropped whichever way one wants to take the selectors’ and team management’s perspective.

Not one or two players, practically the entire Test attack is banished to domestic cricket. Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajay Jadeja, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav are playing in the ongoing Ranji Trophy just to keep them in the loop. Jadeja is, with a vengeance, scoring hundreds and taking wickets.

The captain and chief coach Ravi Shastri seem to be calling the shots. Virat Kohli, like his predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni, is slowly seeing the back of senior cricketers who he feels are slow coaches in the field, Jadeja being the exception. Both Jadeja and Ashwin had to go out for their inability to take wickets in the middle-overs on a regular basis.

Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal are providing the variety in the attack and importantly they are taking wickets bowling at any stage of the match. Axar Patel is doing the backup job. If Ashwin and Jadeja are in consideration for 2019, then they should also get to bowl a lot of overs before their fate is decided once and for all.

If there are four players good enough to open the innings, none of them is being considered for a middle-order position. Actually, Lokesh Rahul is the man the team management wants to keep him in the squad. He also prefers to open the innings and he just couldn’t adjust at No.4 behind Kohli. Hardik Pandya was tried at four and looked good in one match and then he became a floater, pushing Dhoni up and down.

Ajinkya Rahane continues to be a stop-gap opener, getting an opportunity whenever Rohit Sharma or Shikhar Dhawan are out through injuries. Strangely, he is not seen as a middle-order bat after an impression was created that he cannot rotate the strike, though it was during his early years in international cricket.

The other middle-order slots are now with Kedar Jadhav and Manish Pandey, both have good performances and the powers that be think the two should to be nursed, particularly Jadhav who is not only a handy bowler but also a decent wicket-keeper in an emergency. Rahul is another who keen keep wickets. Amazingly, the squad to play New Zealand has a regular wicket-keeper, Dinesh Karthik as a batsman. He is also seen as a contender for the No.4 position.

Kohli continues to be the man to hold both the top order and in the middle, more so while chasing. His record is amazing going into his 200th match on Sunday against New Zealand in Mumbai. He has 12 hundreds more than Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly who had 18 each at the very stage of their careers.

Kohli’s faith in Dhoni as his onfield consultant gives a totally different connotation to captaincy. None of the Fab Four or Five ever looked demonstrably carrying the side as Dhoni looks today. The arrangement is working out perfectly fine. The two are pulling the the youngsters in the side with them to give them confidence.

When will the exciting IPL stars get a chance if others are allowed to consolidate their positions playing at home? When will Rishab Pant, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer, Nitish Rana or someone like all-rounder Washington Sundar and fast bowler Mohammad Siraj get a look in?

The bench strength looks impressive, but it has to be tested sooner than later.

(Editorial note : This article has been written by Veturi Srivatsa, a senior journalist and was first published at IANS. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached at sveturi@gmail.com)

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Asia Cup : India Emerge Champions for third time, Beat Malaysia in Asia Cup Hockey Championship

India emerged victorious for the third time

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(representational Image) India vs Malaysia Hockey Match wikimedia

Dhaka, October 22, 2017 : India overcame Malaysia 2-1 in the final on Sunday to win the Asia Cup hockey championship for the third time.

Ramandeep Singh (3rd minute) and Lalit Upadhyay (29th) scored for India. Shahril Saabah (50th minute) scored the reducer for Malaysia. (IANS)

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Film Stars step out for a Friendly Cricket Match to Raise Awareness and Funds for Cancer Patients

Cricket is something everyone plays since childhood in India. It is the biggest sport in India and to mix it with a social cause is the best thing

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Rajneesh Duggal was part of the crew who played the friendly match. Wikimedia

Mumbai, October 22, 2017 : Film celebrities like Rajneesh Duggall, Zayed Khan and Saqib Saleem stepped out for a friendly cricket match to create awareness and raise funds for cancer patients.

They played as part of the Ink Cricket Blast 2017 here on Saturday.

The cause is close to Rajneesh’s heart as someone in his family is suffering from cancer.

“This is a great initiative and I am always up for a social issue. This is something which is very close to my heart. Someone in my life has been suffering from it and cancer is something I’ve always personally associated with and I feel whatever I can do from my side, I must do,” he said.

“Fukrey” fame actor Varun didn’t participate in the game, but he was there to show support.

“There is always a connection with a social cause. If you combine sports with a social cause, there is nothing better than that! Cricket is something everyone plays since childhood in India. It is the biggest sport in India and to mix it with a social cause is the best thing,” he said.

Saqib said “it’s a great cause and cricket is religion in India”.

The actor is currently finishing a film with Taapsee Pannu. It’s tentatively called “Makhna”, which will come out early next year. (IANS)