Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rekindling Hope from Anna Hazare and the Indians

There are many things to like about the movement started by Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal. Three of them are important to highlight: public awareness, national unity and future vision. There have been various movements in the past like this, the great man himself had spearheaded some of them. This time it was different, a bit like what happened during Jessica Lal murder case.

Public Awareness & National Unity
This was one of the rare times, that Indians got united as a whole. I can only think of two instances before this when this happened: Jessica Lal murder case, and a week back when India won the World Cup. In fact, 2nd April is even more important now that it was on that very day. The euphoria from the win, the spirit of nationalism, that fresh enthusiasm of national unity, everything was still alive and very much inside our hearts when the movement by Annaji started.
The second was the bill itself. Internet made sure the contents were available to any person in or outside the country at any time (s)he wanted. And that made even the common man (I will NEVER use the term "aam-aadmi" after this) at least partially aware of what exactly Annaji wanted. Even if somebody does not like to follow the online news, they were made aware of the issue through facebook, twitter or online blogs (which are more lucrative mediums to follow). And this brings us to the next point ...

Future Vision
Everybody knows that the bill is not perfect, and has its flaws. In fact, some say it might even lead to worse conditions such as dictatorship or have enough scope for manipulation by the government just like the CBI or the IT department. And we know that the bill is not the end means to end corruption, it is only the start. Which is why I was heartened after reading Annaji and Arvind Kejriwal's comments that the celebrations for the Independence Day will start with yet another war for independence if the bill is not passed to its completion by then. And these comments form the headlines of the news and were the first comments by the fighters right after the government conceded to the public -- when the spirit and enthusiasm of people was still fresh and alive after the campaign, when the hearts were still pounding with nationalism.
Indians have more faith in these campaigns now because of successful campaigns held in the past, and are more than prepared to spare a few days of a hectic week to extend their support. And now that these campaigns are not just limited to the rush of adrenaline, but are also assisted by the required knowledge, and future vision, the end goal looks nearer than ever. There is much more hope today, and its a sign that things are changing.
Rather than still being surrounded by the web of cynicism and skepticism, I am prepared to believe this time, and even if it fails, give it another try. Just like this child ...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

India vs Pakistan - Hype Led to Substance

Post match thoughts from the India vs Pakistan match
  • This match was considered to be a battle between the strongest batting side against the strongest bowling line up. It turned out to be one between the weakest bowling unit (which performed admirably) and the weakest battling line up (which performed miserably).
  • If I were to summarize the match succinctly, I would use the age-old cliche in cricket -- "Catches win Matches."
  • Indians did not bowl a SINGLE wide or a no-ball till the 37th over, and only 1 wide till the 40th over. They bowled a bunch of that in the last ten overs, but the match was virtually over by then.
  • I am finally starting to admire Dhoni's captaincy. After his lackluster performance in the league stages, he has been proactive in the field with his bowling changes, field placings and energy factor (normally cool and calm on the field, he showed tremendous excitement on every Pakistani wicket that fell down, it helps). Against Australia, Tendulkar got away even after bowling three full tosses. That happened just because Aussies had not seen the Little Master bowl for I-don't-know-how-long.
  • Two moments made my day. Munaf Patel sprinting from fine leg towards deep square leg, and restricting Pakistanis to just a single. And Ashish Nehra diving full length and deep mid wicket and almost managing to take off a spectacular catch (the ball bounced just in front of him). I mean, if the worst two fielders of the side were showing such athleticism ...
  • Speaking of which, they both pleasantly surprised with their bowling. Munaf's leg cutter to bowl out Razzaq reminded me of Wasim Akram special to dismiss Alan Lamb in the WC '92 Final.
  • It was great to see Yuvraj back at backward point, diving to save a certain boundary. Moments later, though, he missed a regulation run out of Umar Akmal of his own bowling. His 'knack' is coming back, but it'll take some time, some more runs, and some more wickets.
  • A great read at cricinfo about Sehwag's crucial cameo, and Misbah's utterly useless innings.
  • Never a fan of Yusuf Pathan. Suresh Raina further justified the elder Pathan's exclusion.
  • Despite this being an Indo/Pak match, I still found the Ind/Aus match more 'absorbing' and felt happier after that victory. Victory against the world champions count for more than a victory against the political enemies -- at least to me.

India vs Sri Lanka
  • Both have won one World Cup, and have been in one other final. Both lost to Australia.
  • Prepare a seaming track. Exclude Ashwin again (those guys practice against Murali and Mendis!) and keep our three-pace attack + Bhajji and Yuvraj.
  • Note to Dhoni: If you win the toss, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't field first, no matter how overcast the conditions may be, and no matter how green the wicket turns out to be. Just remember WC '87 SF (England) WC '96 SF (SL), WC '03 F (Aus), WC '07 league match (SL).
  • India needs to get expose Sri Lankan middle order quickly. Their middle order is brittle, and not yet exposed in the tournament.
  • The final in Mumbai will hurt SL. They are yet to play a game outside SL in this tournament.
  • As a Sachin Tendulkar fan, can't help but mention this. It can be a dream come true. Sachin scores his 100th 100 in his final ODI match and ends up winning the match, and the World Cup.