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Women have been playing cricket since 1745. Unfortunately, the gentlemen of the game never gave women’s cricket prominence and importance, and so it remained a village entertainment. In the late 19th and early 20th century in England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, there emerged a movement to establish women’s cricket.
In 1926, a women’s cricket association was founded. It was only in 1958 that the International Women’s Cricket Council was formed to coordinate cricket around the world.
In India, the efforts of just one man who selflessly pioneered the formation of the Women’s Cricket Association of India in 1973 has now borne fruit because of his vision and belief. Mahendra Kumar Sharma, a young cricket enthusiast from Lucknow, finally put women’s cricket on the Indian map. He conducted the first ever national tournament amongst only three teams — Maharashtra, Mumbai, and Uttar Pradesh — in Pune.
Preceding that his marketing efforts to get 200 spectators to watch the games in Lucknow and also his efforts in popularising women’s cricket should be recognised in the annals of Indian cricket history. With very limited financial resources at his beck and call, he went around the streets of Lucknow in a cycle rickshaw broadcasting the first ever match to be played by women at the Queen’s Anglo Sanskrit College. Sharma’s efforts bore fruit as women from other associations also joined in taking the game to several parts of the country.
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The first national camp at National Institute of Sports for women was held in Patiala. Legendary cricketer Lala Amarnath took the onus of supervising it. The women could not have had a better coach and mentor than him. Amarnath’s immense knowledge of the game and his strict regime turned the girls into a cricketing unit. He taught them the nuances of the game and the seed that he sowed has now blossomed into a fruitful entity.
It was only in 2006, when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) finally accepted to recognise women’s cricket. Until then they had several ups and downs. Finance was always a constraint and so they depended on the generosity of well-wishers and corporate sponsorships. The Indian Railway, public limited banks, and Indian Airlines played a major part in encouraging and boosting women’s cricket. The railway, however, is still the major supporter of the women’s game.
The sunshine days of women’s cricket have finally come to roost. A tour to England next month followed by a visit to Australia was just a dream come true for them. Having just played 36 Test matches in all these years, playing another in Bristol, England, from June 16 and a day-night Test from September 30 in Sydney will be a challenge.
India last played a Test match way back in 2014 against England in Wormsley and beat the host. India were led astutely by Mithali Raj, who is still at the helm when India play England next month.
Unfortunately, women’s Test cricket has not been the prime agenda of the ICC. The format is not, according to them, a commercially viable option and so the ODIs and the T20s are what they have focused on. The conventional form of cricket needs to be encouraged. If money is the be-all and end-all of keeping a sport alive, then men’s Test matches may also become unimportant.
The Indian women’s team is a bunch of very talented cricketers. They seem to have gone astray more with infighting and jealousy rather than their cricket. There has been more chopping and changing of their coaches rather than the players. One gathers from several articles published that the senior players are warring amongst each other and their unhappiness with a coach is all it takes to replace him.
Ramesh Powar, the recently appointed coach, has already had an open tiff with Mithali Raj, who will lead India in the only Test and the three ODIs in England. Both are professionals and so a truce, we hope, will soon be in the offing. However, the past could catch up if things do not go their way. Powar’s first task would be to get the captain and her teammates together believing in the one word that is so important to get harmony — trust.
The Indian women’s team reminds one of the Indian men’s team of the early 2000s. The stylish Smriti Mandhana is as graceful as Rohit Sharma and a hard hitter like Yuvraj Singh. Young Shafali Verma is in the same mould as Virender Sehwag while Jemimah Rodrigues and Poonam Raut have the ability to play their game in the way Rahul Dravid approached it.
Mithali has proven to be the Sachin Tendulkar of women’s cricket. Since she is close to the end of her career, she can be the aspiring star for young women cricketers. The cricketing brilliance of Harmanpreet Kaur puts her as the most destructive batter in the team. The unbeaten 171-run innings that she played in a World Cup semi-final match against Australia in 2017 will be remembered as the best innings ever played by an Indian woman. She along with Deepti Sharma are the all-rounders that India will depend on immensely.
Tania Bhatia, back as the wicketkeeper, is a live wire behind the sticks and with the evergreen Jhulam Goswami to spearhead the pace bowling, the duo should complement one another in the pace friendly English conditions that most likely will prevail.
Spin bowling is an area that the Indian team needs to take a relook at, especially the leg-spin of Poonam Yadav. Teams have analysed her to a fair degree and, therefore, she will need to mix her deliveries to surprise her opponent.
The two weakest links in Indian women’s cricket is the fielding and their mental state when put against the wall. Fitness, agility, and a safe pair of hands are the areas that they can practice in the bio-secure bubble, however, they need to get not just physically fit, but also mentally.
With both the men’s and the women’s team in the bubble, some good interaction between the two squads would be extremely helpful, especially to the women, to build and learn how to approach the highs and lows of the game.
Embarking on a cricket journey to two of the top playing countries is sunshine for women’s cricket. One can already see a wonderful rainbow at the end of it. All the best to women in blue! (IANS/KR)
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to examine a seeking direction to the Election Commission to de-register a political party, which fails to comply with the court's direction to disclose criminal antecedents of candidates fielded in polls. Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay requested a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli to list the petition urgently, against the backdrop of the ongoing election process. He contended that nomination for the first phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election has started, and the political parties and candidates are brazenly violating the top court judgments.
After briefly hearing Upadhyay, the bench said: "We will consider it... will give a date".
The plea argued that allowing criminals to stand for election threatens democracy and secularism. | Wikipedia
The plea claimed that the cause of action for filing the plea arose after the Samajwadi Party fielded alleged gangster Nahid Hasan from Kairana but neither published his criminal records in electronic, print and social media nor the reason for his selection within 48 hours. On February 13, last year, Shamli police imposed the Gangster Act on Nahid Hasan, who is a two-time MLA from Kairana. "He (Hasan) has multiple criminal cases and is the 'mastermind' behind the Hindu exodus from Kairana. There are many criminal cases including fraud and extortion, and he was declared a fugitive by Special MLA-MP Court," the plea said.
The plea argued that the consequences of permitting criminals to contest and become legislators are extremely serious for democracy and secularism. The plea sought a direction to the Election Commission to take steps to ensure that every political party publishes the details regarding criminal cases of each candidate along with the reason for such selection on the homepage of its official website in bold letters within 48 hours in the spirit of top court orders passed on September 25, 2018, and February 2, 2020. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: uttar pradesh assembly election, hima kohli, justices a.s. bopanna, chief justice n.v. ramana, political party, election commission, the supreme court, tainted candidates, action, plea)
There will be no chief guest at the Republic Day parade this year also as the plan to host state heads of five Central Asian countries -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- seems to have been cancelled due to the Covid situation in India as well as in the respective nations. Though the Ministry of External Affairs is yet to confirm this officially.
If the guests arrive, then this would be the second time when India hosts a group of state heads as the chief guests on the Republic Day. In 2018, state heads of ASEAN countries graced the occasion with their presence. Apart from Kazakhstan, none of these countries' state heads had been invited as the chief guests on the Republic Day. In 2009, Kazakhstan's then president Nursultan Nazarbayev was the Chief Guest.
The Government of India is in no mood to take any risk to invite any foreign guest.Unsplash
As per sources, due to the corona situation, the Government of India is in no mood to take any risk to invite any foreign guest, so the plan seems to have been cancelled. Last year, British Prime minister Boris Johnson was invited for the same, but later cancelled due to rising corona cases in the UK.
In the past, there have been occasions when the Republic Day ceremony was celebrated without any foreign guest. In 1966, there was no foreign chief guest in the Republic Day parade ceremony as the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had passed away in Tashkent in January, and Indira Gandhi took oath as Prime Minister on January 24. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : chief, guest, Republic Day, parade, India, January, pandemic, 2022, host, nation, guest, invite, foreign, occasion, presence, celebrate.)
A team of scientists from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) have found a cure for those suffering from chronic wounds, particularly with diabetic foot ulcers. The team led by Prof Gopal Nath of the department of Microbiology, Institute of Medical Sciences, said that wounds that took months and years to heal, could now be cured in days or months. The findings of study have been published in the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, National Institutes of Health, US.
Prof Nath said that a wound is defined as a breach in the skin or body tissues due to injury. An acute wound is defined as a "recent break that is yet to progress through sequential stages of healing". The wounds where normal healing process is stalled due to underlying pathology (vascular and diabetes) or infection beyond three months is defined as chronic wound. While chronic wounds always get infected, the contaminated wounds are reasonably susceptible to infection.
A significant improvement could be achieved in the form of complete wound epithelization within a few weeks.Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash
Infection with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and biofilm formation halt healing progress. These wounds cause significant psychological and physical morbidity. The traditional treatment strategies often succeed in healing wounds, he said adding that many wounds have been observed recalcitrant to them, leading to persistence and recurrent infections. Search for alternatives to antibiotics has now become a compulsion. Fortunately, bacteriophage therapy is a re-emerging solution to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Prof Nath's team carried out phage therapy of acute and chronic infected wounds in animals and clinical studies. It showed efficacy against Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a mice wound model. Furthermore, they evaluated the efficacy of phage cocktails in animal models' acute and chronic osteomyelitis caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. They also observed biofilm eradication from K wire in rabbits' wound infection model. Clinical trials of phage therapy initiated by the BHU have reported the efficacy of topical phage in healing chronic wounds in three prospective exploratory studies and no adverse events mimicking the results in vivo animal models.
Scientists have found a cure for those suffering from diabetic foot ulcers. Unsplash
A clinical study by Gupta demonstrated the significant role of bacteriophage therapy in the chronic wounds associated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The study employed a total of twenty patients with chronic non-healing ulcers for more than six weeks duration. A significant improvement could be achieved in the form of complete wound epithelization within a few weeks. Another study, employing 48 patients having a minimum of one eligible full-thickness wound that did not heal in six weeks with convention wound management, showed the promising result, and significant improvement was observed in the wound healing.
The study projected that specific phage therapy is equally effective regardless of the diabetic or non-diabetic status of the patient though the healing was relatively delayed in diabetic patients. Another successful study has shown encouraging results on healing process of infected acute traumatic wounds. The average number of days required for complete granulation of wounds and attaining sterility and healing was half compared to conventional therapy. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : scientists, cure, chronic, wound, suffer, ulcer, diabetes, healing, pathology, health, infection, bacteria, study, patient, therapy, successful.)
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