CRICKET AS A SPORT AND AS A RELIGION

 

‘Haven’t you got anything to study? All the time you would be in front of the television watching all these people hitting a ball with a stick. What do you think you get from this?’ This is a common question in almost all the houses in India with kids. What is more interesting is that the adult, who has just shouted at the kid, would have been as much enthusiastic and excited about cricket, as the child is, in his childhood days. But now

cricket has become a waste to him. It has become just like any other sport. What could be the reason?

 

For almost all the kids around, Sachin Tendulkar is their role model, Yuvraj is their most favourite cricketer and Virat Kohli is the synonym for glamour. This is quite usual because it is in a country called India that they are born. Here cricket is a religion. At least the highlights of some match are a must for the survival in this country. A Bharat Ratna for scientist Rao makes little impact here. But one for Sachin Tendulkar becomes a national celebration here. Might be Indians are becoming mad here, but our emotional attachment to cricket is as tall as Mt. Everest, if not taller.

 

Almost all the kids in the country breathe cricket. Cricket is their food. The most common scene in India during the vacations and holidays is that of children playing cricket, wherever a strip of flat land is available. Come the teenage, there is nothing more interesting as crickrt in india. A six hit by Dhoni would surely be a matter of debate in almost all the schools and colleges. At the age of twenty, watching cricket live in some stadium becomes something to boast about. But after this, cricket dies out. Why?

Once you grow up, you realise how cricket is being degraded as a market commodity. You realise that it is nothing but business. Moreover, Ajay Jadeja , Mohammad  Azharuddin, S. Sreesanth, etc. have taken away the faith we had in our team and our players. BCCI president Sreenivasan’s shameful descent from his ‘throne’ makes things even worse. Cricket has always been under the shadow of corruption and favouritism. Remember the Hansie Cronje issue? All these have made cricket like any other sport.

There should be some sort of a resurrection for cricket soon, very soon in fact. It should be good enough to raise cricket as a religion yet again. It should be able to revive the real love for cricket in Indians. It is not as easy as it seems. One has to work all over, from the scratch to do it. Hopefully appointing Sunil Gavaskar as the BCCI chief does the trick. ‘Long Live Cricket.’

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LIVE FOR FOOD OR FOOD FOR LIFE- A different approach

A question that has been troubling mankind ever since its origin - whether to live for food or to eat food just in order to sustain life. From the time immemorial, when Kumbhakarna, the brother of Ravana, the then emperor of erstwhile Lanka, used to feed for six months nonstop and sleep out the next six months to this day when i heard my neighbour shouting at his son and asking him “Is your life meant for eating food or will you ever find your means yourself”, this particular topic has been relevant.

 

When you see the poor children, the children of the street, if you are a human in the true sense, you would definitely feel sympathy towards them. Even a tinge of humanity, if present in you, should make your eyes wet. These children, the so called beggars, come and plead us for little money to buy food, to satisfy the cries of their stomach. Their goal is after all to find some means to get food whenever hungry. Yes, these people live for food.ou would definitely feel sympathy towards them. Even a tinge of humanity, if present in you, should make your eyes wet. These children, the so called beggars, come and plea

And then there is another group of people. They work day and night to fulfil their aims. It is said that Rajiv Gandhi used to sleep just around two to three hours and that he used to take food only when his schedule permitted him to do so. Mother Theresa never used to consume food unless she had fed all the others whom she was taking care of. We have also heard of the hard work Millikan had put in to establish that his Oil Drop experiment had not gone in vain. Sporting greats occasionally mention that they limit their food so as to suit their practice and match schedules. It can be assumed that these people have little affinity for food and that work is worship for them.

There is yet another group of people who have money and for whom having food does not cause trouble in their professional life. But still most of these people avoid food to take care of their beauty or health. The undertake diets just to maintain the slimness of their body. And some avoid food to balance diabetes and cholesterol troubles. These people would love to have food but their circumstances and ways of thinking do not allow them to do so.

A fact still remains that most of the people spend a majority of their income on food, if not at the home then outside in some restaurants or so. Most of the parties for celebrating some graceful occasion or some successful accomplishment are meant for serving food in the name of the happiness of the host. All these taken together and summed up, it feels that the heading should be changed from ‘whether to eat food as a basic necessity or to eat food as a luxury symbol’.

 

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De Villiers knocks England out from the T20 World Cup

South Africa defeat England, makes it into Semi’s

The official broadcasters of the T20 world cup had been publicizing the tagline “How one over that will change the game “. As the script unfolded in Chittagong last night, a mere 6 balls of the 18 over of the innings, was all it was required to swing the fortunes in the favor of the “Proteas”.

The wrecker-in-chief was none other than arguably the best batsman in T20 cricket at present AB De Villiers who hammered a hapless Jade Dernbach all over the park and consequently made the target a lot more than it looked for the majority of the innings.

Dernbach is a bowler whose frequent debacles with the bowl have long been overlooked by the ECB for this ability to win matches .Perhaps after the show last night, if the board has any sense of meritocracy left surely he has bowled his last balls in international cricket.

England began the day as the lady luck finally shined on them as they won the toss and opted to ball first. This has become the trend as the heavy dew factor has time and again come into play in this tournament. England skipper Stuart Broad pre match claims that it was time ‘Mother Cricket’ owned them a few favors was put rest after umpire Rod Tucker’s shocking decision to rule a no ball which reprieved last match centurion Alex Hales when he was caught at Point.

Earlier in the day, despite being forced to start their innings three times over due to the recurring floodlights failures,  Hashim Amla and Quinton De Kock managed to put up a partnership of 90 runs for the first wicket . Amla was finally out of Broad but not before he reached his maiden half century in T20 internationals.

The England players were sloppy in the field; they were leaking runs, dropping catches, missing regulation stumping chances thus they are only themselves to blame for the disappointing result they got in the end .

De Villiers was the man of the moment, the stand in skipper in place of suspended regular Faf Du Plessis took the responsibility on his hands and delivered on all fronts, smashing an astonishing 69 of just 28 balls which comprised of lusty hitting as well as innovative shots being showcased at will. It was majorly his efforts that made the final score reach 196 and ensured that the English batsmen start their innings with the asking rate near about 10.

In reply, England got off to a flying start courtesy Alex Hales and MIcheal Lumb, It was finally in the 8th over when the downslide began when Wayne Parnell got Hales out slicing it straight to David Miller.Hales raised his eyes to the heaven as he walked back and surely he knew that was a turning point as next ball Moin Ali got a thin edge to De kock .

Eoin Morgan and Ian Butler tried to steady the ship, but with the required rate climbing over to 12, something had to give, Morgan went for leggie Imran Tahir had perished in the attempts. Buttler briefly threatened while Ravi Bopara did at least manage to take the game into the final over with a breezy but inconsequential 31.

Ever if any team requires 22 runs of the final over, they would never wish to face Dale Steyn. After his last match heroics, South Africa sensed that the match was in the bag. Needing 20 off the final 3 deliveries a frustrated Tim Bresnan finally made some contact hitting it consequently over for 6, 4 and a 6 and finally losing it by just 3 runs.

The South African’s were phenomenal in the field and that probably made the difference. Having qualified for the Semis now, the team cannot drop their guard now as their ‘choking’ credentials will certainly come to haunt them if they fail to be right up their mark.

Meanwhile all England team can do now is play for pride against Netherlands in their final match and return back to the British soil with the warm memories of their triumph over Sri Lanka.

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The Ultimate Escape-Challenge 1

So used to the idea of safety on Earth we are, we seldom think about its vulnerabilities. Doomsday prophecies from time immemorial, the recent Mayan scare, predicted asteroid hits…we haven’t seen the last of them and the threats and predictions will continue. At any random moment, an asteroid, comet or some other unwelcome extra-terrestrial material can barge into our home, safe home, Earth and wipe out all that is there, and will be, in one debilitating stroke. The worst case scenario is a neutron star* spinning its way to us. It’s the worst case scenario because “you cannot blow it apart, you cannot steer it off-course, you get out of its way or you can suffer the consequences of being in its path”. So, in this most extreme of scenarios, where we have no choice but to escape for our survival, can we really evacuate the Earth with the technology we have now? This is the answer we seek in the 7 part series, The Ultimate Escape.

The first question that would arise is—where do we go when we evacuate Earth. The nearest Earth like planet, where the scientists place there safest bets is the star system around a star called the Bernard’s star. The problem—it’s a little less than 6 light years away. Imagine taking a little more than 7 round trips around the earth along the equator in a second. Travelling at that speed will take us 6 years to reach the planet. It’s going to be 40 trillion miles away. We obviously cannot use the present space shuttles considering the fastest man-made object in space is the voyager craft which travels at 0.006% of speed of light. We need to find a method of propulsion that would take the craft to a considerable percentage of speed of light.

The very basis of “propelling” something is Newton’s third law: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Conventionally, when a rocket is launched, the exhaust from the chemical combustion of fuel is shot out of the rocket and the reaction force propels the rocket. Thus, the faster you can shoot out the material, the faster you travel. But for our new spacecraft, we cannot use this way of chemical propulsion. To achieve really high speeds, you need to shoot out materials faster which would mean more fuel. But if you use more fuel, you would need to shoot out materials even faster to propel the space craft with the extra weight. This is essentially a “cat chasing its tail scenario”—the more fuel we use, the heavier it becomes, the more fuel we need to move the space craft!

An entirely different idea for propulsion is the solar sail. Just as the wind drives a sail boat on the seas, a solar sail can drive the space craft in space. The only difference is, in a sail boat, it is the reaction force of the sail on the air molecules as they strike the sail in the form of wind that impels it forwards. In case of the solar sail, it is the radiation pressure—the reaction force of the photons in form of solar energy—that drives it to very, very high speed. The problem however is that as the craft moves farther from the sun, the solar intensity decreases, and hence the increase in speed goes on decreasing so that by the time the space craft reaches the orbit of Neptune, it does not acquire sufficient speed to cover the rest of the distance to the destined planet in a feasible time.

A solution that might appear to be straight out of science fiction is the use of anti matter—mirror image of matter. When anti matter and matter come into contact with each other, they annihilate, releasing energy equal to 10, 000 times the energy obtained by chemical combustion. However, this energy is extremely difficult to control and can be contained only by strong magnetic fields in a vacuum chamber.

The most feasible answer is, surprisingly, not new. The idea is to propel the space vehicle by nuclear bombs. If big plates of shock absorbers are fitted to the back of a large space craft and nuclear bombs are exploded at some distance behind the shock absorbers, the pressure would accelerate the space vehicle to high velocities. The space craft can achieve speed equal to 7% that of light with continuous such explosions every 3 seconds for 10 days. This idea called project Orion is 60 years old. A working model was made and it was a success. However, nuclear ban treaty was introduced and the research was suspended. We can just pick up the research from then and design our new propulsion system.

Now that we have found a way to reach our destination, the next important thing to consider is the conditions inside the craft itself—at the speed achieved with the help of our new propulsion system, it will take us 80-100 years to reach the new planet Earth2. Gravity, light, air, water and food are what we need.

(The article is based on a National Geographic series: Evacuate Earth.)

*When a star much more massive than our sun (more than 10 times the mass of the sun) runs out of its fuel of hydrogen, its outer core collapses causing a supernovae explosion, hurtling colossal amount of matter at enormous speeds. The core that is left behind is extremely dense and made of neutrons. Barely 10 kilometer in diameter, even one spoonful of this matter would weigh as much as Earth. Its immense gravity tears apart and pulls in everything that comes into its way.

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Watch out. The young brigade is here.

 

It is sometimes frustrating to live in mediocrity and hope that one day you will find the right balance and emerge stronger. MS Dhoni has lived that cricketing life for about three years now. Nothing went right in test cricket for him after the famous 2011 World Cup win and he was staring at an ageing team full of superstars, who were well past their sell by date. But, fate always has a way of accommodating the things at the opportune time.

Looking at Indian batting order today, there is a general feeling that the much anticipated young brigade has well and truly arrived. The much dreaded transition phase of the batting order in Indian cricket, Dear Gentlemen, has finally bid adieu.

It must not be misunderstood that all is well for the Indian team in all the formats. They still haven’t won a single test outside the sub-continent since 2011 and their previous two ODI tours have been nothing but disastrous. While defeats can be attributed to a lot of factors, wins occur only where the hopes exist.

At the time of writing this article, India has lost the first test and drew the second game that should have been with days to spare, against a lower ranked New Zealand team. India still has not won a single match (both Test and One Day) in 2014 and have no wins overseas in Test matches since 2011. Signs of trouble, you might say.

But, on the contrary there is something heart-warming about the way the Indian test team, especially the batting has performed.

When India was going through their worst phase in test cricket in recent times, namely the ill-fated tours to England and Australia, it was almost inevitable for the normal cricket fan to be nervous and pessimistic. They had the best batting line-ups of the world then, but it all got crumpled in spectacular fashion. You can only run an experienced machine so long as it functions well. In all those confidence shattering losses, most of them being innings defeats and India was, to state the obvious, bullied, beaten and severely battered.

Since that torrid time, things have not improved much in Test arena outside the subcontinent, but the team’s conduct and performance has renewed new hope among the Indian supporters. Yes, India lost the South Africa tests 1-0, but at the end of the first test, they had given the top ranked test team a run for their money and almost won it, if not for the sheer brilliance of the opposition batsmen. While South Africa managed to crush India in the next test and neatly wrap up the series, the way the inexperienced Indian batting order performed, made the world stand up and take notice.

Their marquee player, Virat Kohli, the best batting talent they currently have, made a century right in the first innings of a test, on Day One, against a top notched bowling attack. If that was not an indicator of things to come, their Mr.Dependable, Cheteshwar Pujara, notched up a ton in the second innings, as if to say “I’m here too!”.

Rewind to a week before the first test and the cricketing world was going gaga about how the South African safari would be too scary for the Indian batsmen and the opposition bowlers warning them that “it is not Mumbai, where they can score freely”. Ironically many experts were completely taken aback by the response of this young brigade.

Barring Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, the other batsmen in the top six had recorded at least one fifty in either of the two tests. While that is not a great statistic to boast of, it is not bad either, considering the fact that none of them had any prior experience on South African pitches, let alone test matches there. Though questions were raised over Shikhar Dhawan’s technique and style of play at the end of the tour, he has answered them in style with a century in New Zealand and by becoming the only fourth Indian opener to have a fourth innings century.

To be brutally frank, fans, including the author were flabbergasted with the response of the Indian batting unit against a dreaded bowling attack in their own backyard. With the desire to perform and outdo the critics, the rather “young and fearless” batting unit, as they described themselves recently, have enhanced their reputation at least by a grain, if not by an inch. When the world expects you to be rolled over in under three days in a test match, the best way to respond is by taking the match to the fifth day and give the top ranked opposition a scare.

The defeat and draw in New Zealand can be attributed to lacklustre captaincy in crucial phases of the game and some uninspiring bowling from the bowling department. The batting again, considering that none of these batsmen had ever played there before, was not really bad.

While it is indeed true that none of those matches were won, they were not pathetically played either, at least in terms of batting performances. The draw at Centurion will be remembered for years to come, as a symbol of hope for fans that their batsmen can indeed stand up and perform. If at all Dhoni had shown an aggressive approach and some imagination, the test results in New Zealand might have turned out to be different.

Balance is the key to any successful team and it has stayed the cricketing norm for decades. Seemingly, India have serendipitously discovered a settled batting order, at least for now. In Shikhar Dhawan they have the so called X-factor at the top, the aggressive opener who can also mend his ways to suit the situation. In Murali Vijay, they have the doggedness and solidity that one needs at the top in case of worst case scenarios. Pujara has already taken the cricketing world by storm with his feats and his technique and temperament are grudgingly admired by the cricket pundits.

In Kohli, there is the powerhouse of energy and talent who will enthral the ticket buying public with breath-taking strokes and the “can-do-it-all” attitude. With already a record 5000 runs in ODI cricket, freakish averages and an ever increasing century tally, he is on his way to the zenith.

While Rohit Sharma, in all certainly, is a bit of a hit or miss these days, his talent has never been in doubt. Ajinkya Rahane has been one of the highest domestic run scorers for a long time now. But till recently, warmed the benches for lack of openings in the batting order. He deserves a special mention as his ability to reinvent himself from a long format player to a slam bang T20 cricketer and ever come back stronger has been one of the best stories in recent times. It is only fair that he got to his maiden century in the second test at New Zealand.

While Dhoni and subsequently Jadeja/Ashwin make up the rest of the recognized batting, it is on the above mentioned players that the burden of carrying the legacy of Indian batting rests.

India’s bowling department still remains grossly inadequate in both incision and depth and the hopes of leading from the front will rest on the batsmen. The problem with India’s ever disappointing bowling unit warrants a longer discussion.

However, the new crop of batsmen have at their disposal: rare talent, hunger and most of all, ample opportunity. While the execution solely rests in their hands, with their current deeds, these young batsmen have raised the hopes of the average Indian cricket fan.

Gone are the days when people used to switch off their TV sets when a star batsmen was out. Today, when one young Indian batsmen falls, watch out for the other one. The young brigade, with its resoluteness and vigour, is here to stay.  To quote Vivekananda:

“The history of the world is the history of a few men who had faith in themselves.”

If optimistic in approach, there are exciting times ahead.

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DREAMS COME FREE OF COST…

The rate of heart beat of every Indian youth would be high right now.  All the hopes are not lost.  There is a pond still visible, though far away.  Might be the general elections of 2014 will make our dreams come true.  Might be this election would end the reign of corruption.  Dreams come free of cost!

Yes, like every human being, we, the young men and women of India do dream.  We dream of India, we dream of the poor and the disabled; we dream of a better life in a far better society.  We dream of an India, where women are given due respect.  We dream of an India, where love and care stands above money.  We dream of an India, where parties stop criticizing each other and start serving the society.  Of course, dreams come free of cost!

It is not a Manmohan Singh or a Narendra Modi, who wins or loses an election.  It is the poor, the so-called ‘below average Indian’, who loses or gains in the general elections.  But, for many a year, there has not been anything to cheer about.  A government of coalition nature is like a wrestler, who has not seen food in weeks. It has no strength, nor has it any courage.  It has to first sought out issues within itself and then with the opposition and finally with the media.  This means five year cost.  Might be the forthcoming elections would end this usual sequence of events. Dreams come free of cost!

 

Whether BJP or Congress or even other minions doesn’t matter, there haven’t been many happenings.  As usual, thousands and thousands of projects are thought of by each ministry and a few hundreds of them come out of paper, from among which, only a very small proportion gets completed.  By then the next party would come in power and cancel away all these and start the cycle from the scratch.  At least, this year, there would be a change to this scenario.  Yes, dreams come free of cost!

 

Whether it is waste disposal, energy production, ration distribution, subsidy giving, water and fuel distribution, or price hike, luckily, our government is silent.  They are so patient that they do not go for immediate steps at all!  The death of a few hundred from the 121 crores does not matter, after all!  This should be the reason why infants of Muzzafirnagar are still shivering without blankets!  Or, are we keeping mum so that the market forces can gain something from all these issues and then react?  Might be, all these activities of our ‘intelligent’ politicians would yield better results than we believe.  After all, dreams come free of cost!

 

Our country, now, has a special method of dealing with international issues.  When Pakistani soldiers trespass the Radcliff line and chop off the heads of our soldiers, our politicians tell them, like kings used to, in the ancient times, “We will no longer play cricket with you”!  When the Chinese penetrated into our land and added parts of our nation to the official map of China, we dealt with the issue in professional manner-we hold high level diplomatic talks.  The turnaround of these meetings, as usual, is not communicated to the ‘Aam aadmi’.  Possibly, not playing cricket would end Pakistan’s hatred towards India! Why not, dreams come free of cost!

 

Analyzing the situation in the country, the word ‘corruption’ should be taken out of the dictionary. “I do this for you, you give me a reward and the government gives me my legal tender for having passed the public exam”, is the trend of the day.  And, now, it is no more a rare activity of crime.  As it seems, even the top most positions of the administrative tree seems to be submissive to this idea.  It has started to appear as if collecting money as reward, not as a bribe, from the people for their service, has become the right of every government servant.  Might be just like hiking the salary of MPs from Rs 16,000 to Rs 50,000 in the past years to generate interest in our elected members to do their own duties, corruption should be made legal so that the government servants would discharge their duties in a better way!  This would all be for good, let’s hope, as the Gita says.  Dreams come free of cost!

When the supreme court initiated the cleansing of Indian politics by declaring that politicians with criminal spots in their timeline should be barred from contesting in elections, we saw all the politicians of the nation, irrespective of their origin and culture, irrespective of their ideologies and the colour of their flags, protesting and creating havoc against the declaration of the apex court.  At least for this purpose, we could see all the politicians of the nation together.  Hopefully, this carries to other sectors of political management as well.  Hm!  Dreams come free of cost!

 

It seems that when all the other nations of the world, at least the developing ones, are striving and thriving, day and night to make their names appear at the top of the list of the developed nations, our politicians and officials appear to be toiling, restlessly, with heart and mouth involved and working hard to make very serious and complicated political scams.  It would not be a bad idea, if the government decides to hold a “political big bash” instead of the national film festival, because the former is more in number and the provisions for selection are many.  Each politician can come forward speak about the political scam, the efforts it demanded, his hard work behind it and the “advantage” of this scam to the common man.  Might be these are the short cuts to become the most developed nation in the shortest possible interval!  Dreams come free of cost!

 

My country men, why are we playing to the tune of these idiotic butcherers, at least some of them, who does not realise the value of the common man?  Why are we allowing ourselves to be fooled?  Are we playing the silent man in the poem “I see, look out and am silent” by Walt Whitman?  Are we so dumb not to react?

 

It is high time that we stop voting for these worthless magicians and realise that it is not the colour of their flag but that of their heart that matters. We are not fools to fall in when they speak a few good words.  Stand up, rise, to touch your heart and say “I‘ll vote only for the best”.  Pledge yourself that you will always up hold “Bharath Matha Ki Jai.”

 

Like every human being, we dream! Not those dreams that just pass by free of cost, but those dreams that shall be realized. We need to take the intiative and implement them. Government should just be made the exchequer. Men and women with pure blood in their heart should take over. India should be taken to the heights she deserves, for it is she, who has made us what we are today.

 

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Until You Dip Your Toe

The water is cold;
What lies below unknown;
It may be pitch dark
With ghosts of your past;
But you shall never know,
Until you dip you toe

They all lie in front of me. Like perfect peaches on a tree, tempting me towards them. Each and every one of them is as golden as the other. I see people around me picking out their favorite with so much ease. They have it all figured out. But I am just standing there. I am standing there, looking at all the choices.

When I decide to take a step ahead, the space around me echoes with the sound of my failures. They remind me of what I couldn’t do. They remind me of what I left unfinished. The insecure bug crawls into my mind. I am not good enough. I won’t be able to. I do not deserve the perfect fruit.

The choices are looming around me now. They are mocking me and forcing me to decide. Time is running out. But I am helpless. I look around to find someone to take my decisions. I could just shut my eyes and the decision would be made. Maybe, that way the responsibility will no longer lie on me.

My ambitions seemed so perfect in my head. I thought life would be a fairytale with all my dreams coming true. But what if I spoil the utopia by trying?  I am in the pursuit of perfection, running away from reality. This pursuit is caging me in. It is stopping me from taking that first step. I know I have to move. I don’t know exactly in which direction, but I have to move. Or else, it will be just me and my perfect illusions.

The water is cold;
What lies below unknown;
But what if in the darkness, there exists;
A paradise that you always wishes;
But you shall never know,
Until you dip your toe.

 

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UNSPOKEN

 

‘She asks me, “Will it be okay? What if something goes wrong?”
I shush her. I say, “Everything will be fine, as long as you are strong”’

The lights are psychedelic. They criss-cross around the floor, creating flashes of blues, greens and reds, wherever they go. The music is blasting from every corner. I feel my heart thumping with every beat. I sway with the rhythm, letting go of everything. All that matters is the present. A laugh here, a jiggle there - is all what I see of my friends. The lights are blurring the edges between the known and the unknown.

I look across to her. She is happily moving to a Punjabi number. I pass her a huge grin and she returns it back. “Our favorite song!” she shouts. We madly dance to it together, stopping just in time to scream out the chorus. It is a perfect night to dance all my worries away. I am in my twenties and life seems pretty good right now.

Suddenly, something brushes across me. I flinch. Never mind, I tell myself. After all, it is a crowded place, there is bound to be a bit of chaos. Forget it, I tell myself. But then, it happens again. I turn to check, but all I see are unknown faces. They all look the same to me. Maybe I should stick closer to my friends. As I inch closer towards them, I feel a pinch on my bottom. I flip. I see a train of guys dancing across the room. It could be anybody. I feel lost in the sea of people. In a millisecond, a million things rush through my mind. Should I stop the last person? But what if he is not the one? Will I create a scene? Am I dressed okay? Is this skirt kind of trashy? Should I have worn something else? Maybe it’s the way I am dancing! Should I tell someone? What would they say?

I look across to her. She is dancing merrily. It must be me then. I must have done something wrong. All of a sudden I feel very guilty. I do not know why, but I feel guilty - guilty for coming out tonight, guilty for wearing a skirt, and guilty for attracting attention. I try to hide this flood of emotion from everyone, even from her – my best friend. I want to forget everything and just let go of it all. But, with every flashing light, the guilt keeps haunting me. Everywhere, I feel eyes staring down at me. I can’t stand it any longer. I want to run away from these eyes. I pull myself away from the dance floor. My feet feel heavy. I find the chair in the farthest corner and slump down.

‘She runs to me and asks,
“What’s wrong?”
I manage a smile and say,
“Never mind girl, you carry on”’

When we come back home, I want to tell her what happened. I want to tell her everything, but I am embarrassed. I am scared of her judgments. We fall on the couch and talk about how great the evening was. I fake laugh through the entire conversation without giving anything away. It was going all right, until the staring eyes flash in front of me again. I pause. I look away and I tell her everything. I change the words to make it sound not as bad as it was. You see, I don’t have the courage to remember it myself.

‘I look across to her,
Tears are rolling down her cheeks,
She says, “The evening was no different for me
The touches and pinches broke me down,
Until I was too afraid to speak”.

I stay silent. The truth is too sad to be told. There is so much to be said but our voices are stifled. If only we had told each other. If only we hadn’t blamed ourselves. Why were we being strong for everyone except ourselves? We had no answers. All we had was guilt. We lay on the couch for a long time just thinking about it all.

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Warnistic Mishra

The chitchat ahead of the T20 World Cup includes one which is hard to believe and even harder to digest after the match winning performance in back-to-back matches, that Amit Mishra had a better option than playing cricket as bringing gifts and pictures of mates, as travelling with the Indian team through different countries is all that he had been doing. But consecutive Man-of-the-Match performances in the tournament have given answers to his critics with a spinning smile on the other side.

Who dreamt of a leg spinner using flight and spin to take wickets in T20 other than the great leg spinner of the century Shane Warne? Mishra invites batman to go after him and that is the plan that is working out for him in the ongoing T20 World Cup. He follows his idol, Shane Warne when he talks about how to take wickets and not about keeping runs down in the shorter format of the game. In fact, this isn’t new to Mishra, he has been doing the equivalent substance in the IPL and has just about 100 wickets, with multiple hat-tricks, at an
economy of less than seven per over.

 

Amit Mishra celebrates after picking up a wicket in the ICC World T20 2014 held in Bangladesh
Amit Mishra’s performances in the tournament so far has earned him a comparison with the legendary Shane Warne.

Mishra’s maiden wicket over was the turning point which changed the course of the game against Pakistan. The over proved the difference as it bring shackles onto the two batsmen and developed pressure which
resulted in mistimed shots and wickets for India. Fist he got rid of Ahmed Shehzad, who has just started opening hands by the classic leg break and then Shoaib Malik with a flighted delivery outside off. It should be noted that in the final three overs, Indian pacers went on to give 28 runs but thanks to the spin trio to keep the Pakistani
batsmen quite throughout the innings which helped them make an easily achievable target in the end.

Mishra’s dream run and pleasing sight for leg spinners to bring batsman out of the crease and getting him stumped continued in the match against West Indies. He did the same magic to Marlon Samuels
this time as he did in the previous game to Ahmed Shehzad. His confidence was high and on the very next ball caught Dwayne Bravo in front of the wickets by his googly. As to the likings of Indian Team and particularly Amit Mishra, this over became the one which allowed them to restrict West Indies to a low total. Mishra finished with the figures of 4-0-18-2 and this time was well complemented by Bhuvneshwar Kumar who conceded just three runs of the three overs he bowled.

 

Mishra in previous times has rarely got the opportunity to play such a crucial role in the team. More often than not, he plays simply when some of the favourite bowlers don’t. Team Management and Captain Dhoni prefers R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who have shown their skills with both bat and bowl. Unless the conditions suits spinners, Mishra keeps the benches warm. And when he is given a chance, he is expected to deliver at the very moment.

The performance against Pakistan in the Asia Cup with figures of 10 overs and 28 runs with two wickets earned him a spot in playing eleven against the same team in the T20 World Cup. With such performances, Mishra has proven the faith shown in him by the slectors and answered his venerable critics.
Wishing Mishra and team India some pleasant sights to deliver to the fans all round the globe, it is right to say well bowled Mishi.

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Toothless Bangladesh disappoint fans again

Originating from sun-kissed islands, some with that spirit and with passion, others with neither spirit not passion, together; They played, they lost.

That has been the story of West Indies cricket recently. Though their cricket is special and brings a unique flavour to the English game, the always passionate fans are experiencing what Indian fans had to go through before the nineties. The team is rarely delivering. However the worst thing is that the team is failing to put a fight. While the lethargic behaviour was very evident in their opening game against India, West Indies displayed their best ruthlessly crushing the host yesterday.

Bangladesh cricketers have just not lived up to their expectations

 

After owning the unwanted record of being the slowest opener ever in T20I history in the match against India, Dwayne Smith was quicker and sharper to start proceedings with a pull to midwicket. When it seemed Gayle is being calm before the storm-front foot block, lazy push to mid-on, getting beaten more often than not- the storm mellowed down to weak drizzles. Being uncannily troubled by the rookie off spinner Sohag Gazi, Gayle finally got rid of his rustiness slaughtering him over long on and while the world was waiting Gayle to explode, Smith stole the show to shock the ever enthusiastic crowd. Though the bowling was near terrible with everyone spraying down the leg, the good deliveries were swept and short ones were deposited over the boundary for flatter sixes. The tenth over was the pick of Smith’s innings- reminiscent of Ab de Villiers, Sohag Gazi was smashed all around the park for four consecutive boundaries and  by the time Bangladesh managed to get him out he had done enough damage. The next batsman Simmons was quick enough to get back running himself out without facing a single ball.

Samuels, the next batsman, never seemed to threaten and apart from Smith that was the case with all the West Indies batsmen. However the final score was a good 171 - thanks to below par fielding efforts, contributing as much as the third best batsman in the game. It seemed like the whole of Bangladesh was there to witness the results: Men and Women cheering loud within the fence; desi flags all around, loaded with pride and constant roar from within. On the stadium, torn up by the ‘Smith Storm’, the local players did little justice ending up disappointing the crowd yet again. The chase never really took off, their best batsmen falling like a pack of cards in clusters.

The domination was right from the beginning with the top order collapse in just four overs. Highly rated Santokie delivered two absolutely brilliant cutters dismissing Anamul Haque and Shakib al Hassan in the same over. Getting Tamim initially, Badree showed no issues with dew, kicking another collapse in the eleventh over claiming three wickets. The tail was exposed and by the time West Indies completed the formalities the utterly dominated contest, the passionate crowd returned home empty handed. When you look at the faces of fans coming to stadium even after all these years of failures, you would wonder if the Bangladesh team has done enough to repay their faith and passion in the sport. However, the answer to the question is no - obviously though. When it was expected the team would do far better in home with it just being a T20 world cup, with all unpredictability in this format, the result of Bangladesh match is often predictable. The fans deserve a better showing and the team should ensure they put everything to have a much better fight in the next few games.

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