Umesh Yadav : The pace spearhead

While it was the in-form Robin Uthappa who delivered with the bat, Umesh Yadav’s containment of the KXIP batsmen was instrumental in sending KKR to their second IPL final in three years.

Before Wednesday’s encounter against the on-song KXIP, Sunil Narine and Morne Morkel were being touted as the biggest threats to the swashbuckling KXIP batting line-up. The Kings XI Punjab batsmen had tormented bowlers all through the tournament’s group stage and hence it was crucial for Morkel and Narine to bring their A-game to the 1st Qualifier of the 2014 IPL. Surely, KXIP would have prepared to take on the dynamic duo. What they probably wouldn’t have counted on was an inspired (and ultimately match winning) bowling display by Umesh Yadav.

Umesh Yadav was at his best against KXIP in Qualifier 1

Yadav had had a below-par season leading up to the game; 7 wickets from 10 games at an economy of over 8 runs per over. He had strayed in line and his variations hadn’t quite worked in his team’s favour. But all of that changed at The Eden Gardens, as Umesh bowled perhaps his best spell ever. His figures were impressive enough: 4-0-13-3. But what was far more impressive was his approach to the task at hand.

He never allowed the batsmen to settle. Dismissing the dangerous Sehwag early would have been on top of KKR’s priority list and Umesh did just that. He looked much more in control and his line-length was spot on throughout. Glenn Maxwell has looked a shadow of his former self in the past few games and Umesh took full advantage of Maxi’s jittery form and trapped him leg-before before he could do any damage. In the final over of the game, Umesh had 30 runs to defend and did so with efficiency, conceding only a single while picking up the wicket of George Bailey.

It was quite a show from the Vidarbha speedster, who was rightly adjudged Man of the Match for his stellar show with the ball which restricted Punjab to a mere 135/8.  Successfully executed variations, good shape on the ball and consistency in hitting the right areas meant that Umesh carried out KKR’s plan of cramping the KXIP batsmen to perfection. This was the main reason for everyone’s surprise at the exclusion of Yadav from India’s squad for the upcoming tour of England, where his pace and ability to generate late swing would have come in handy.

Regardless, Umesh has managed to steer his side to the final of IPL 2014. He will need to put his best foot forward once again, in one last push, as his side look to claim their second title in three years. It will be either KXIP or CSK who challenge KKR for the title in Bengaluru on June 1. It could be the perfect stage for Umesh Yadav to show everyone just what Team India will be missing in England in the near future.

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The Favorites Humbled by the Knights!

The stage was set, the atmosphere was jam packed, and the teams were ready to battle it out to be the first team to qualify for the finals. Yes, it was the first Qualifier of the ongoing Indian Premier League. The two teams gunning for glory were the hard hitting Kings XI Punjab and the clinical Kolkata Knight Riders. The match venue was Eden Gardens which made t all the way more enthralling with the audiences cheering to their loudest possible shrills. Coming in to the first qualifier, Kings were tipped as the favorites and rightly so. They had been in scintillating form, winning 11 of their 14 league games. They lost on just two occasions, even in which two of the defeats came against the Mumbai Indians. Incidentally, their third defeat was again the Kolkata Knight Riders. So were the Knights destined to knock the Kings again? Kolkata, on the other hand, had a stuttering start to the season but clicked well at the business end of it. They won their previous seven encounters and were certainly on a winning spree. This is how the match unfolded.

The Kolkata Knight Riders were put into bat at the toss. Captain Gambhir said he wished to chase but it was against his wills and wishes. The in form pair of Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir stepped in the middle. But much to the disappointment of the crowd, skipper Gambhir was dismissed cheaply in the second over by Mitchell Johnson.  Manish Pandey was the new man in. Uthappa continued his brilliant form and was looking in good touch for another good performance. The orange cap holder was dismissed in the 9th over by young left arm spinner Akshar Patel. Uthappa scored a 30 ball 42 hitting 2 towering sixes and four boundaries. In the very same over, Patel managed to get through the defenses of another set batsman Manish Pandey who scored a 20 ball 21. It was a double jolt for the Knights. Shakib Al Hasan and the hero of the previous game Yusuf Pathan were the new batsmen at the crease trying to rebuild the innings. They put on 41 runs in 33 balls for the fourth wicket before Shakib was dismissed by Karnveer Singh. Yet again a double jolt awaited the knights. Yusuf Pathan was dismissed on the very next delivery in similar fashion. Both batsmen were dismissed by Karnveer Singh and caught by David Miller. Ryan ten Doeschate clobbered two sixes before getting out on a 10 ball 17. Suryakumar Yadav and Piyush Chawla chipped in with 20 and 17 respectively to take the total to 163-8 in the stipulated 20 overs.

Chasing 163 didn’t look big for a side that had chased down 190+ three times in the tournament. But Kings had a jittery start as Sehwag fell cheaply on Umesh Yadav’s first delivery. Vohra and Saha put on 41 in 28 deliveries for the second wicket. Vohra, who scored 26 0f 19 balls, was dismissed by Morkel. In walked the star of the season, Glenn Maxwell. But he was caught plumb infront of his wicket by Umesh Yadav and all he could manage was a 9 ball 6. Saha was joined by Miller but neither of them looked comfortable at the crease. Saha made 35 of 31 balls before getting out on Morkel’s delivery and Miller followed soon as he fell in Chawla’s spin trap. A miscommunication saw Akshar Patel get runout in the very next over and it was all as good as over for the KXIP. Skipper Bailey was at the crease with Rishi Dhawan. Dhawan struggled for his 15 ball 14 and got out in the 18th over. Mitchell Johnson walked in but simply could not read Sunil Narine who gave just 4 runs in the penultimate over. Bailey perished in the last over and scored a 17 ball 26. The game ended with KXIP reeling on 135-8.

 

It was a thumping victory for Knight Riders who made it to the finals.  “The support we have got in all our home games has been fantastic. We can’t thank the crowd enough. At the toss I wanted to chase but now I would take batting first. We were always thinking of the first 5 overs as you can’t really know how the weather will play in Kolkata. I was thinking about today’s game and was not thinking about the Indian team selection”, quoted Gambhir in the post match presentation. Umesh Yadav was adjudged the Man of the Match. The KKR registered their 8th win on a trot and are favorites for the finals now. Winning is a good habit, isn’t it?

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Mumbai Indians achieve ‘Mission Impossible’

In the most thrilling fashion, defending IPL champions Mumbai Indians pulled off a coup against Rajasthan Royals and booked their place in the play-offs.

Only a week ago, Rajasthan were all set to finish 3rd in the points table and Mumbai were pondering where they went wrong as they found themselves at the wrong end of the table. After successes and failures of an entire season - stretching across 14 games and two countries, the fourth and final play-off spot was still up for grabs as Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals squared off at the Wankhede in Mumbai. It was Rajasthan’s to lose; and boy! did they ever! The equation of 190 runs needed from 14.3 overs for MI, boiled down to a boundary needed off a solitary delivery to acquire a better net run-rate (NRR) and qualify for the play-offs. And with one mighty heave from Aditya Tare, MI did the seemingly impossible. And this win, in many ways summed up Mumbai’s season - one of resilience and resurgence.

After failing to register a single win from five games in the UAE leg of the season, the defending champions were looking deflated. But with six wins from their remaining eight games, coupled with teams around them dropping points, Mumbai have qualified. It’s been a roller-coaster season for Rohit Sharma and his team, who only started to play to their potential once the tournament came back to India. The past few games in particular have seen the players come into their own and shine.

Michael Hussey, who was misfiring for a good part of the season, seems to have found his touch. An unlikely hero who has played a central role in salvaging Mumbai’s season is West Indian Lendl Simmons, who’s swashbuckling innings’ powered MI to some crucial wins in the latter part of the season. Simmons has accumulated 327 runs from just 7 games, including the first century of this season’s IPL. This has coincided with Mumbai stringing together a run of good results. Rohit Sharma remained gritty in the face of adversity, both as a batsman and captain.

Lendl Simmons’ blistering form has come at the right time for MI

Ambati Rayudu has staked a serious claim to a spot in the national side with his performances this season. Along with scoring 359 runs at a healthy strike-rate, he has done a fair job of keeping wickets as well. Kieron Pollard has chipped in with crucial runs, though he hasn’t been at his flamboyant best. Corey Anderson has shown in spells, why he is such a highly rated young cricketing talent; and  never more so than in that crucial last game against RR, smashing 95*(44).

The Mumbai bowling unit has been a mixed bag. Lasith Malinga was unsurprisingly, their leading wicket-taker with 16 scalps in just 10 games. But with the ‘slinger’ away on international duty, Mumbai needed other bowlers to step up. And the veteran Harbhajan Singh responded with a return of 12 wickets. Bhajji’s contribution with the ball was all the more important as the usually reliable Pragyan Ojha has been a major disappointment, picking up only 3 wickets from 11 games. Jasprit Bhumrah hasn’t run through opposition batting line-ups, but with his unorthodox bowling action has managed to bowl some decent spells at crunch times. Some above-average fielding has helped their cause as well.

The Mumbai Indians squad pose with owner Nita Ambani after their sensational win against Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede

It would be unfair to say that Mumbai don’t deserve a place in top four, particularly on the back of their performances in India. But one cannot deny the fact that they were given a major helping hand by other teams such as Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals themselves, who couldn’t get the job done when it mattered most. But with all said and done, the reigning champions will now hope to ride this wave of momentum into the Brabourne Stadium as they take on the resolute Chennai Super Kings in the Eliminator on May 28. And if they can channel this rich vein of form and translate it into performance on the field, they could well be on their way to defending their crown in Bengaluru on June 1.

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MUMBAI INDIANS: THE GAME CHANGERS

If there is something called twenty20 cricket, then this is it! If there is something called a cricket team, then this is it! If there is something called spirit, then this is it! and, if there is someone who can be called champions, then MUMBAI INDIANS it is……..!

Wow! What a game of cricket. It is no more that game where precise movement of the feet qualified by a calculated swing of the bat at the right moment takes away a well swung ball pitched at the right spot by the bowler. It is no more that game, where you wait for a loose delivery to happen. It is that game where nothing less than the spirit of the game and the situation that controls you. Cricket has evolved, evolved, evolved and evolved to become what Mumbai Indians played against the Rajasthan Royals.

The batting performance from the Rajasthan Royals was nothing short of a classy innings. Sanju V Samson and Karun Nair took the game away from the Mumbai Indians just like the snap of the fingers. Copy book shorts from Sanju had no trouble to face even from the top class deliveries of quality spinners like Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha. Karun Nair, on the other hand, was blazing hot with whatever he felt like doing in the crease. This partnership meant that most of the viewers other than RR and MI fans switched off their television as their was little point in believing that this mammoth total would be chased down by the unstable MI lineup.

But, what was unbelievable has happened now. Mi has chased down the total in just 87 balls! The intent from the MI was just evident from the very first ball that Lendl Simmons smashed for a boundary. Just as Mumbai were cutting loose and had scored over 60 within five years, they had lost three wickets. Just after that Rohit fell as well. So, it was happening- Mumbai was going for the kill and as usual they were loosing wickets at the right interval. From here on what happened is something that happen only in dreams.

Ambati Rayudu and Corey Anderson were smashing six after six, with a few boundaries to form the icing. They were smashing the cricket balls just like hitting away tennis balls. They just made the unbelievable happen! When Rayudu was run out in the 86th ball, it was thought that the bewildering effort has gone in vain. Even when the screen showed that a boundary in the next ball would win Mumbai the match, it was doubted whether Tare can score a first ball boundary under this pressure situation. But, even a Faulkner delivery was smashed into the stance and Mumbai sealed their win.

All those who have turned their heads against IPL after the incidents last year, see what is cricket. A few rotten apples, cannot rot the whole pack, if it is picked out at the right moment. Well, this is cricket. With Sachin, Rhodes, Kumble, Pollock, John Wright and all their players among the ranks, Mumbai has done what they are capable and what they have so far done only on papers. Thank you Mumbai Indians for the treat. You deserve the trophy again!

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Google and the art of disruption

The giant of Silicon Valley

There are very few companies that have changed the way the world works. Ford Motor Company was one such company in the 20th century. It introduced low cost cars to the American market with stupendous success. At a time when owning a car was a luxury beyond the reach of the average American, Ford’s Model T bridged the gap and started a new era of affordable automobiles.

On the same lines, in the 21st century there have been certain technology based corporates that have altered the way the system works. Google is one such immensely powerful company. It is the world’s most visited website with an ambitious goal to “organize the world’s information”.

Disruptive Technology

Wikipedia describes disruptive technology as:

an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology.

Google, in its capacity as one of Silicon Valley’s giants, has been at the forefront of disruptive innovation. Google does not think and function on the same lines as that of an average tech based company. The concept of disruption has been at its core business strategy. Does it sound far-fetched? Not really. Let us analyse.

Adwords

As of 2013, the net revenue of Google was USD 59.82 billion. Around 90-95 percent of it was derived from Adwords, its golden goose in terms of revenue. In the past, when search engines like Yahoo were charging potential advertisers with hefty amounts to publish ads, Google came up with an innovative idea of Cost Per Clicks. According to this method, an advertiser has to pay only when his ad is clicked by the internet user. This idea sounded the death knell for many upcoming online advertising portals and effectively ended Yahoo’s reign as the most popular site for advertising.

Not only the C-P-C method sounded fresh and economical, it also contributed to the aesthetic look and feel of the search results pages. While Yahoo and other sites looked ridiculously cluttered with flash banners and popping ads, the clean interface of Google was refreshing. Since then, Adwords has grown on to become the primary source of Google’s revenue. This has allowed the company to be financially secure and constantly experiment with path breaking ideas.

The important aspect to note here is Google’s strategy to eliminate competition by introducing a risky yet disruptive business model. Though it is an altogether different issue that the model clicked perfectly, it highlights the way Google thinks.

Android

On August 17, 2005 Google acquired Android, a mobile software company for USD 50 million. Two years later, Google offered to give away the newly developed operating system for free to device manufacturers. A consortium of companies called the Open Handset Alliance was formed and the OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) were exempted from paying any royalties for using the Android software.

Considering the market situation back then, it was shocking and sounded insane. Why would a company invest millions on a product for two years and yet give it away for free? During that period, Symbian and windows mobile operating systems were the dominant market players and were very well established. Competitors like Nokia and Microsoft shrugged off the impact of Android’s introduction and its threat was considered as null. Yet, Android is the most widely used operating system in the world today. For every iOS device being activated, in comparison there are three Android devices in the world. It has also pushed the once popular Symbian operating system into complete oblivion. As of 2013, Android owns 78.9 percent of the market share, a huge lead over Apple’s iOS, which is a distant second at 15.5 percent.

The important question to ask is : why did a search engine giant invest so heavily in delivering a mobile operating system? For starters, it wasn’t because they wanted to diversify their sources of income. It practically gains nothing from Android when compared to its other income sources.

Here comes the interesting part: Google realized that the world was swiftly transitioning towards mobile based searches. The percentage of users using mobile devices for searches showed an upward trend and this was a worrying factor for Google. It wasn’t imperative that a mobile user would always access the Google website for a web search. Google would lose huge amounts of search related data that is necessary to generate user specific ads. It needed a native application on the phone to facilitate quick and hassle free web searches and also accommodate its growing number of services such as Google Maps.

Thus, the entry of Android into the mobile hemisphere was significant. With an open source API and a large base of developers contributing to its app store, Google could lure users into buying android based devices and yet subtly enforce their services upon them.

Protect the golden goose

The final equation in every move Google makes ultimately strips down to one single entity: the web search. All said and done, Google is an internet search engine company and majority of its revenue comes from search based advertising. With the wide usage of Android devices, at Google’s disposal is a huge database of user data that can be used to generate user specific ads and deliver better results to the advertisers. With location based and personal data about each user being recorded at Google’s servers, it is literally an information goldmine. The more accurate the user specific ads, better the advertising performance and ultimately better revenue.

It is fascinating to know the lengths to which Google can go to safeguard its principal entity : the web search. In order to maintain dominance in the area of web searches, it has even launched the flagship Nexus brand of smartphones and tablets. An attempt to demonstrate the power of Android and reinforce the faith in potential customers.

Not just Android, potentially every move Google makes is to safeguard its dominance in the area of web searches and advertising. Be it Google Maps, Google Docs, Google News or the other multitude of services that are offered for ‘free’, they all add the enticement factor and keep the users hooked onto their ecosystem. This is market disruption to a new level. A stroke of genius driven by astute business thinking and strategy.

But then again, Google was never your average tech company and it never will be. To quote an article headline:

Disruptive innovation is not a tactic. It is a mindset.

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Smiling Assassin: George Bailey

The seventh edition of the IPL has reached the business end and the tournament has been known for some spectacular hitting and immaculate spells of bowling. There have been eye grabbing catches taken and some scintillating fielding by the blend of youth and senior professionals. The teams of Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Superkings and Kings XI Punjab have been dominating forces this season. But it has been Kings XI Punjab who have made giant strides and surprised one and all by topping the points table. So what has been the key to their success? The batting, the bowling…but foremost the able leadership of George Bailey makes KXIP a different team altogether.

George Bailey, who played for Chennai Superkings in the previous editions, was bought by the Kings XI Punjab for Rs 3.25 crores at this year’s auction. The KXIP think tank, especially the coach Sanjay Bangar, wanted a solid head to lead the team. They found the most suitable person in the form of George Bailey. Both the owners and the Coach of the team have accredited the team’s grand success this season to the epigrammatic leadership of Bailey. Bailey is no rookie when it comes to captaincy. He has led his Australian domestic side to win on quite a few occasions. The most striking feather in Bailey’s hat is the fact that he captained his national side on his t20 debut for Australia! It was only on the second occasion that a debutant captained the national team after Dave Gregory (Australia) in 1877!

Bailey didn’t get much of success in the previous editions of IPL; rather he didn’t get many chances for that matter. But coming into IPL 2014 and leading the KXIP squad, he had a steady mind and has been very successful with his decisions. KXIP have won 10 of their 13 games so far kudos to brilliant batting by Maxwell and Miller and economical bowling by Sandeep Sharma, Mitchell Johnson and Akshar Patel. But most importantly, it has been captain cool Bailey’s crucial cameos and bold decisions which have put the side over the line on most occasions. On the personal front, Bailey has done reasonably well with his batting. The KXIP top order has been a dominant force and as a result, Bailey hasn’t really got much of the chance to bat; but he has cashed in whenever his team needed him. In their second game against CSK, they wanted to finish on a high. Bailey stepped in the 17th over and finished with a 13 ball 40 taking his tam past 200. A few low scores came at the fag end of the matches that followed for this Tasmanian right handed batsman. But when the team needed him again, he was right there. George Bailey and David Miller put together a 52 run stand ensuring a successful run chase for their team. Bailey being the major contributor with an unbeaten 35. KXIP chased down a target of over 200 for the second time this season! Playing against the Rajasthan Royals at Mohali, Bailey and Miller put on an unbeaten 60 run partnership for the 5th wicket to take the team to a winning total of 179. Bailey has been one such contributor to the team who has made his presence felt.

George Bailey is certainly not the most fancied player nor is he known for his six hitting capabilities. But he is a man who is prominent because of his escapades as a team leader. He has trusted his bowlers and crafted new talents like Shivam Sharma, Akshar Patel and Sandeep Sharma. He backed his batsmen when needed. In a game against SRH, when Dhawan and co were clobbering young paceman Sandeep Sharma, it was Bailey who ensured that the young man felt no pressure and supported the lad. A team succeeds when the players have a belief in their leader and they trust him. This is what has been the success mantra for KXIP this year.

20-year-old Patel attributes his success to his captain George Bailey

An ever smiling face of George Bailey exudes positive energy in his team members and this smiling face is the symbol of danger for the opposition. George Bailey, the unsung hero of KXIP, continues to be the smiling assassin for all the teams.

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Delhi Daredevils: The Heartbreak Saga

Ever since the 7th edition of Indian Premier League started, everyone has been talking about the successes of various teams and the big guns who have performed exceedingly well. Some teams have pleased everyone with their scintillating and clinical performances, while some have had an average IPL season. But there is one team that has been total out of sorts and has failed to put up the right combinations on the field and have thus been underperforming throughout this edition of IPL. This team of Delhi Daredevils has been the biggest disappointment of 2014 IPL season.

“The frustrating thing is that we get so close but don’t get over the finish line. It’s really unfortunate but we’ve to try to win the next game on Sunday and then see what we can do next season. For the kind of effort Gary and the other staff put in behind the scenes, it’s hard to believe that we’ve won only 2 games. We’ve to get the combinations right next season”, a disappointed Kevin Pietersen quoted after their recent defeat against Mumbai Indians.

The auction of 2014 was a good one for the Delhi franchisee. They retained the dazzling South Africa born Englishman Kevin Pietersen. They roped in the Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik, making him the one of the costliest players at this year’s auction. They managed to get the talismanic and classy opener Murali Vijay and aggressive Bangalore opener Mayank Agarwal. The big match players like JP Duminy and Ross Taylor were pocketed by the Delhi team at the auctions. The services of South African wicket keeper Quinton de Kock were also fetched by the team. On the bowling front, they had Wayne Parnell, Nathan Coulter Nile and Mohammed Shami to about and were later joined in by Imran Tahir. The team management put forth the name of Kevin Pietersen as the captain and the squad left for the UAE leg of the tournament.

Delhi played their first game against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Kevin Pietersen was down with an injured finger and it was Dinesh Karthik who led the side. RCB thumped Delhi by 8 wickets in the game. In the next game they played, which was against Kolkata Knight Riders, it was a close finish but the DD managed to be on the winning side and registered a 4 wicket win. But a couple of defeats right after that put the Delhi Daredevils on the back seat. Ross Taylor and Jimmy Neesham were dropped from the playing eleven and the New Zealanders have not made it to the playing eleven since then, albeit Taylor making one more appearance. Nathan Coulter-Nile looked solid with both bat and the ball but was forced to fly back to Australia due to an injury. South African leggie Imran Tahir joined the squad as his replacement. Delhi registered their second win against Mumbai Indians in the 5th game that they played. But since then, they have not tasted a victory. The Delhi Daredevils lost 8 games on a trot which has left them reeling at the bottommost position on the points table. The Kotla crowd has been supportive and has turned up in large numbers to support the home team despite of the team’s poor run. Skipper Kevin Pietersen has got starts but has failed to get big scores. JP Duminy has been the lone ranger with the bat but could not take his team to a victory on most occasions. Similarly, Imran Tahir has been bowling well and Kedar Jadhav has come up with his cameos but all in losing cause. The bowling unit has been dismal. DD have picked up an average of only 3 wickets a game which is the worst among all the teams this season. Dinesh Karthik and Murali Vijay have also come up good in bits and pieces but showed no consistency.

It has not only been poor performance but also the fact that DD have run out of luck this season. They looked set to win the game against Sunrisers Hyderabad scoring a par score of 150+ but rain gods intervened which turned the tables for Delhi. In the game against KXIP, they played well and KXIP needed 9 runs of the last over. But Parnell messed it up big time. Against Mumbai Indians, they were cruising along chasing the target with Duminy and Tiwary scoring 40s but wickets tumbled in the penultimate Marchant De Lange over and they lost by 15 runs.

Delhi’s journey in 2014 has been a heartbreak saga. The team needs to figure out what went wrong especially when they have Gary Kirsten and Eric Simmons in their core group. A modest Delhi Daredevils owner quoted “It was not a good outing by the team. We are looking forward to the next edition.”

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THE BROKEN HALF OF THE SKY

“Today at work”, she says, “My boss went berserk”
Has all the luxuries of the world,
Except if you see closely,  she has no one.

Beautiful and intelligent she is for sure, but
Rumors tell me she was never chosen
Oh! That’s what happen when you,
Keep postponing it, till it is too late
Everyone has moved ahead fast
Now, no one wants to marry an old hag.

Happily, she walks away,
After a few days, she sits down with me again
“Last night”, she says, “He worked till the clock struck twelve”
Fallen into the cycle of work, she says.

Of course, he isn’t married that’s why
Followed the path his heart desired.

This view of her amazes me and I ask
He isn’t married? Isn’t that his fault?
Empty and lonely, I remember you had said last.

She waves her hand and says, “Oh! Don’t be foolish”
Keen on his career he worked on,
You can’t blame a man for a choice well thought of!

 

This was my attempt at acrose poetry. In this form of poetry,  the first letter, syllable or word of each line spells out a word or a message. In my poem, it spells out the title ‘The Broken Half of the Sky’.

This poem was quite a bit of a challenge, because I first had to think of the appropriate line and still make sure that the poem had a continuity to it.

Hope you enjoyed my amateurish attempt!

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RELIGION, CASTE AND POLITICS

After the huge success of the biggest democratic process in the world, India is getting ready to install her latest government. Even Mr. Obama congratulated India for completing the election in a competent manner. But, after it has all resided it is now the time to evaluate ourselves and create the report card of the behaviour of our leaders during the election campaigning. To be very frank, we need to realise that a majority of the candidates were very much below the standards.

If not with the ‘To Be’ Prime Minister candidate, then with whom shall we start? In Varanasi, the techniques he employed went very far from the nation’s habitual standards. We are a Hindu majority nation, but we have always shown the quality to accept different religions and consider them all equal. That is why we could accept the arrival of Mughals and empowering us. We did not worry a lot on foreigners bringing in religions like Judaism, Christianity, etc. with them and establishing their places of worship on our soil. We rooted the formation and growth of religions like Buddhism and Jainism and never obstructed its growth. But all of a sudden the Prime Ministerial candidate in his campaigning requests for votes under the label of being a hindu and because he is from a lower caste. It is really true that with people of Varanasi, campaigning with international issues might not yield the same results it would with people elsewhere. Whatever be, there should be some limitation on the use of religion and caste to gather votes.

This is not the case with our destined PM alone. This has been a common scenario all around the nation. In almost all the constituencies candidates use caste and religion as a tool which often seems to be pitiful. Some constituencies in the country have been earmarked as the fortress of particular castes, where a candidate from some other religion would fail for sure. Even the political parties pay immense care while deploying some candidate in these constituencies. This helps to fulfill the theory the framers of our constitution had in mind while drafting it. It ensures participation of all sects of the society. But doesn’t it carry some negative influence regarding the message we deliver to the generation next about our culture.

Its high time we think about it. It is not a college student from some end of the country who should think and jot down about it. But, it is the so called policy makers who need to frame a policy for themselves about the way they would behave in public. And there is something that all these politicians should realise- that there is a growing generation watching them. But they are not as traditional as the previous generations were. Current youth are ready to air their voice when needed!  

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Indian pacers rule the roost at IPL 2014

While T-20 is usually considered to be a batsman’s game, young Indian fast bowlers have been making a name for themselves with some stellar performances at this year’s IPL.

At the beginning of IPL 2014, fans and pundits predicted a duopoly of Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga and West Indian spinner Sunil Narine over the Purple Cap, the reward for being the highest wicket-taker in an IPL season. But as the tournament nears its business end, it is clear that this season has seen the rise of a phenomenon - that of young Indian pace bowlers coming into their own against the best opposition in the world. And if this IPL season is anything to go by, the future of Indian pace bowling looks to be in capable hands.

The next generation of Indian fast bowlers have demonstrated their skills quite brilliantly. May it be knocking over top order batsmen to pile on pressure on the opposition, cleaning up tail-enders at the death, or slowing the scoring rate in the middle overs; young Indian quicks have shown this season that they are ready to step their game up to a whole new level.

Consider this - four of the top six wicket-takers this season are Indian pacers. These four pacers have accounted for a combined 71 dismissals between them. With an average age of just 23 years, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma and Varun Aaron have exhibited traits which give some assurance with regard to fast bowling in India in the years to come. In a country where emphasis on nurturing quality young fast bowlers has gained steam over the past few years, the 2014 IPL has certainly provided a glimpse into the future.

Bhuvaneshwar Kumar - the current Purple Cap holder

Bhuvi has cemented his place in the national team over the past year and a half. Ever since his debut in a T20I against Pakistan in 2012 (where he finished with figures of 4-0-3-9), he has shown a lot of promise. He isn’t the quickest bowler, but what he lacks in speed, he makes up for it with swing. This season, bowling alongside one of the world’s best - South African Dale Steyn, Bhuvi seems to have evolved in his bowling - particularly in the death overs. The young lad from Uttar Pradesh has outshone Steyn on most occasions this season, which is no small achievement. No wonder then, that with 20 wickets, he currently holds the Purple Cap.

Mohit Sharma - CSK’s highest wicket-taker in IPL-7

After the ICC World T-20 in Bangladesh, which preceded the IPL, not many knew what to make of young Mohit Sharma. After playing 12 games and taking 18 wickets for the Chennai Super Kings this year, Mohit has made a name for himself on the international stage. Despite the likes of R. Ashwin, Ravi Jadeja and Ben Hilfenhaus being in the squad, Mohit has managed to stand out and deliver the goods for his team. And though he could do with a slightly lower economy rate, we are sure to see more of Mohit Sharma in the coming years.

Kings XI Punjab spearhead - Sandeep Sharma

Perhaps the greatest find at this year’s tournament has been Sandeep Sharma. However, Sandy isn’t a rookie, despite being only 21 years old. Along with having represented India at two Under-19 World Cups (2010 and 2012), Sandeep was the leading wicket-taker of the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy season. He has carried over his domestic form to the IPL, and with 17 scalps from 10 games, has played a key role in the rise of Kings XI Punjab this season. The fact that most of his victims have been top-three batsmen make his exploits all the more impressive.

Varun Aaron - RCB’s pace machine

Jharkhand quickie Varun Aaron has been a mixed bag for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. He can work up some serious pace, without question. Consistently touching (and crossing) the 140 kmph mark, Aaron has taken 16 wickets in IPL 2014. His problem has been in the middle overs and also at the death, where he has gone for quite a few runs in recent matches. Still, he remains a key figure on the bowling front for his side.

The IPL has provided new prospects for Indian cricket. While some players have burst onto the scene, others have reaffirmed themselves. One thing is certain though - with this new breed of Indian pacers, there is much to work with and one can expect great things in the future from this fantastic quartet.

 

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