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A heavenly emoticon

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Due to a rare celestial alignment of the moon, Jupiter and Venus, the sky smiled down upon us last night.

Smiley sky

Smiley sky (click for full-sized image)

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Smiley against a lamp-post

Something nice on a otherwise cheerless day, wordl-news wise.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

December 1, 2008 at 9:16 pm

Adieu, Fab Four

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Well its only Sourav Ganguly who is retiring (and given his performance, there is enough pressure on Dravid as well), however, yesterday was the last innings where the Fab4 of the Indian middle order – Sachin, Sourav, Dravid and Laxman – got to play together.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t pretty: Sachin and Laxman scrapped around, Laxman got a brilliant ball from debutant Krezja, Ganguly played a slightly lazy shot for a first ball duck, and Sachin had a mind-fart three balls before tea looking for non-existent runs. And Dravid continued his woeful slump in form.

In total the Fab4 contributed 19 runs, and if it wasn’t for Dhoni and Harbhajan’s rear-guard, aided by Captain Prickly’s decision to push forward the over-rate to avoid a suspension, their last test together might have ended on a losing note.

As it stands now, Australia needs a record run chase to win. The pitch has not worn out as much as it should, and I would have given the game in favor of the Aussies if they had someone like Gilchrist in the middle.  But The Australian batsmen will still go for it – I don’t think they would like to surrender the Border-Gavaskar Trophy that easily.

The interesting part will be the morning – Hayden is the other Aussie who can turn the game on its head, and getting him early will be the key.

Hoping for the best. It would be wonderful to wrap up a series 2-0 against Australia.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

November 9, 2008 at 7:41 pm

Posted in Australia, Cricket, India

In which I am Conn-ed

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Gautam Gambhir apparently purposefully elbowed  Shane Watson yesterday in the third test between India and Australia. The Aussies are furious. How dare Indians turn cricket into a physical sport ! It should have been an innovation coming from them.

I reckon they have a fair enough complain, banging into opponent players has no place in cricket. However, reading most of the reports from the Australian media, you would have no idea about all the sledging being indulged by the Aussies all through the day. Or the fact that just before Gambhir’s elbowling, Watson had in a very unsporting manner stuck his hand out to block Gambhir’s running.

Local lad Gambhir and Watson continued their series-long feud and exchanged verbal barbs from the moment Gambhir charged the blonde fast bowler. This tension escalated when Gambhir appeared to purposely nudge Watson in the ribs when he completed a second run in the 51st over.

Nope, the Aussies were as pure as freshly fallen snow. Just watch this video and observe the Aussie bowlers indulging in ‘jaw exercises’ through the day.(you can see the elbowing incident here too) Now suppose the exact incident happened but with Matt Hayden elbowing Ishant Sharma. Here is how Australia’s leading cricket journalist Malcolm Conn would have seen it:

Having copped a verbal barrage all day from the frustrated Indian bowlers and close-in fielders, matters reached a boiling point when Sharma – in a blatant contravention of the spirit of the game – blocked Hayden on his way to the first of an easy two runs. In response, Hayden nudged Sharma with his elbow on his way back, a gentle reminder to the young speedster that it was the burly Queenslander who held the upper hand at that stage of the game.

(inspired by this post and my comment there).

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

October 29, 2008 at 8:22 pm

‘Voluntary retirement’

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In the current Indian test team playing against Australia, we have two players who made their debut at the same time (and quite spectacular ones at that); both subsequently went on to be integral parts of the Indian middle-order and played important roles in the resurgence of Indian cricket in the post-Azhar match-fixing era, and both went on to captain the Indian team.

However, over the last few years, the batting form of both players are supposed to have declined, along with that of two other important middle-order players (dubbed together fancifully as the ‘Fab Four’.) Such is the decline that there has been vociferous calls for these ageing players to step down voluntarily and make way for young blood.

Fair enough, after all the young blood has worked wonders for India at the T20 and ODI levels. Thus, one of these two batsmen has decided to call it a day, and will be retiring at the end of the current test series.

But lets have a quick statistical look at the decline: here is player 1’s record in the last two years (Matches-Runs-Highest-Score-Average-Strike Rate-100s-50s): 23 -1842-239-47.23-59.07-4-9.

Here is player #2 during the same period: 23-1292-129-33.12-40.40-2-7.

So, about six hundred more runs, average of 47 versus 33 (even at a higher strike rate of 59 versus 40), two more centuries and half centuries for one player.

Now guess which player is retiring [1]?

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[1]: Even though the said player is retiring voluntarily, make no mistakes that the circumstances forcing his decision were anything but voluntary.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

October 19, 2008 at 8:01 pm

The youth disappoints me….

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In more ways than one. These aren’t scenes from some pop-concert, as might be expected, but the most misleadingly named World Youth Day being held at Sydney.

(source)

Update: To elaborate briefly, what dispppoints me is that young people are embracing a religous hogwash with fervor one expects them to associate with a say, Christina Aguilera (or whoever the latest fad is), concert. One worries about the future if people are falling prey to piety so early.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

July 17, 2008 at 3:55 am

Top-shelf rant

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One of my recurrent peeves with bars down under is how so many of them misuse their ‘top-shelf’.

And it is not just restricted to local pubs, but many of the classier, up-market establishments are guilty as well.

The ‘top-shelf’ is supposed to be reserved for the superior quality (and thereby more expensive) spirits and liqueurs; your single barrel Bourbons, single malt Scotch, XO and above Cognacs, premium vodkas and such. Hence the term ‘top-shelf drink’, as opposed to ‘well-drinks’ (cheaper liquors that lie in the well of the bar and is easier for the barmen to get to).

A simple storage space for Smirnoff Vodkas is not what the top-shelves are for. Yes, I have seen that for real.

Worse still, as I spotted last night at a trendy local bar, a top-shelf should  not be used to display beer-bottles – unless it is a beer-bar; at least not Matilda Bay brews (which mind you are quite decent brews); but especially not…….. Corona Extra Light !!!!

I have vented before about the puzzling fascination Aussies seem to have for this watery ghastliness, especially with the insufferable lime wedges. At least there is no accounting for bad tastes.

But to place the stuff on a top-shelf is pure sacrilege.

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1: note that at a newsagent, the word has different connotations.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

July 10, 2008 at 10:36 pm

Possibly useful trivia….

with one comment

Offered in response to this story, which seemed to have caught the fancy of several on the desi blogosphere and specifically for those more familiar with the US lingo: in the land down-under, thongs does not refer to the undergarment but to a pair of flip-flops/chappals/sandals.

So if you ever hear an Australian girl say she is planning to wear her thongs – don’t get any ideas.

Similarly, if a guy happens to mention it, don’t judge too quickly.

(as aside, for the few regular visitors (?), I am alive and well: shifted my base – in fact, from one coast to another – so settling in etc. Regular rantingprogramming to resume shortly).

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

June 20, 2008 at 1:49 am

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