Monday, June 29, 2009

Confederation Cup 2009......Samba Football again!!!!

Confederation Cup 2009 has been won by arguably the best football playing nation, Brazil.

This tournament, considered to be the dress rehearsal for the World Cup it precedes, is played every four years, normally hosted by the country who is due to host the World Cup. It is played between the winners of six FIFA confederation championship --> CAF(Confederation if African Football), CONMEBOL(South American Football Confederation), AFC(Asian Football Confederation), OFC(Oceania Football Confederation), CONCACAF(Confederation of North, Central American & Carribean Association Football), along with the FIFA World Cup Winner & the host nation.

This year's tournament, hosted by South Africa had produced a lot of upsets in the league round itself, with current World Champs Italy getting booted out & Egypt giving fancied Brazil a scare in the opening game itself. However, in the semis came one of the most stirring upsets, with USA, a surprise entry into the semis, humbling Spain 2-0. Almost everyone had expected Spain to cruise past the USA for a place in the finals, but the men in white put up a dogged fight, & brought about the biggest upset of the tournament. In the other semis, holders Brazil were made to toil hard to get past hosts South Africa with last minute 1-0 margin.

28th June evening was a soccer treat to watch as Spain took on South Africa for the 3rd & 4th slot & Brazil met USA for the finals. This was probably football at its best for the tournament as all the four sides put up a superlative performance.

In the first match, South Africa, who had lost to Spain 2-0 in the group stages, surged ahead in the 73rd minute through substitute Mphela & looked like pulling through with the match. However, Guiza, another substitute, had other ideas & he scored a brace for Spain in the 88th & 89th minute. It looked all over for the host nation, before Mphela scored once more in the injury time to tie the score sheet at 2-2. In the extra time it was attack vs counter attack as tired legs tried hard to retain balance, & finally Alonso scored the winner for Spain in the 107th minute from a 30 yards free kick. It was all over for South Africa, but they had put up a splendid performance against top teams like Brazil & Spain. For Spain, it was some glory restored after losing to USA in the semis.

The finals, later in the evening, had more drama in store. Before this tie, Brazil had beaten USA 14 times in their 15 meetings till date, & the Samba brand was expected to sweep the men in white. However, USA were a determined lot, & the win in the semis against Spain had put them in top gear, as they started the game withe extra zeal & momentum. They did not allow their more fancied rivals to settle into a rhythm, and against the run of play, scored the first goal in the 10th minute through hard working midfield, Dempsey. One more goal was added by skipper Donovan in the 27th minute, as a result of a counter attack, as the Brazilian defence failed to cover up. USA up 2-0 against mighty Brazil & the crowd stunned to silence. At the lemon break, there were speculations of a major upset, as Brazilian coach Dunga huddled up with his team to give the much needed boost & vocal tonic. After the break, Brazilians were a changed side, the one we all know & worship. A minute into the 2nd half, & Fabiano received the ball just outside the USA box, did a quick half turn & drilled a left footer into the acute left corner of the net. USA goalie, Howard, who had been saving the post like a rock till now, dived in vain. Brazilians had tasted blood & were all over the ground. Waves after waves of Samba football rocked the USA defence & it was a matter of time before the defence cracked. in the 60th minute, Kaka headed in from a goalmouth meelee, which Howard punched out, though the replays clearly showed the ball entering the net. The referee had however blew the whistle in favour of the US. In the 74 minute Fabiano headed in to take the score to 2-2. Brazilians were by then ruling the turf & in the 84th minute, skipper Lucio, headed in from a Elano corner, making sure that the holders kept their reign over the cup in order.

It had been a brilliant display of football by the USA, who had the youngest team in the tournament. Goalkeeper, Howard who had kept the pacy Brazilians at bay on numerous occasions, won the Golden Glove award as the best goalie of the tournament. Fabiano won the Golden Shoe for being the highest scorer, while Kaka won the Golden Ball as the player of the tournament. Brazil also won the Fair Play Trophy.

The Brazilians look a well knit & hungry unit under the coaching if Dunga. The team may not be displaying the legendary skills of Pele, Tostao, Zico, Socrates, Romario, Ronaldo etc but, seem to combine well in attack as well as in defence.

Look forward to some outstanding game of soccer when the World Cup starts in South Africa next year.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson.....your music beats, & moonwalks, while u rest in peace...forever!!!

It was the mid 80's & I was just out of college those used to keep my company & Cliff Richards, Steve Wonder, Roger Whittiker, Paul McCarteny etc would get me swinging. Around that time I first heard the voice of Michael Jackson......a rather queer voice which did not have the base or depth of my yester year favourites.....but there was something about the voice that was captivating. It would touch high notes with surprising ease, sometimes, giving a feeling that it was a woman singing. And the the King of the Pop exploded the scene with his now legendary had set the world of teenagers & youngsters simpy beserk....the endearing eyes, the robotic dance movements, the crotch clutching gyrates........the high pitch musical scores......this was a show from out of imagination......Michael Jackson had become a household name across the globe.....His 'just beat it'.......seemed to be playing at every nook & corner, with audacious attempts at moonwalking by almost every became a fad of the time.... In fact my first attempts at moonwalking had friends around me bursting into laughter as I kept messing up.....but still wanting to try once more.....Michael Jackson had come to stay in the hearts of music lovers...especially the rock, the hiphop, the pop beat lovers...... music had taken a new dimension, the world over. With him came to limelight, Janet, his sister, who had the looks & the body to mesmerise men the world over.

Michael had enough reasons, sometimes wrong, to attract the attention of media & papparazzi the world over. If his glittering costumes & funky black hat, with strands of hair loosely hanging by the sides drew squeals of wonder from the young crowd, his aviator glasses prevented the crowd from peering into his endearing eyes. His later public appearances as a masked man, & then donning a burqa gave him the Wacko Jacko way to speculations that all was not well with Michael. He was believed to be suffering from an inferiority complex of being black & went through multiple plastic surgeries in an attempt to change the colour of his skin. This resulted in serious abuse of the natural skin & there were reports of his nose crumbling, his skin peeling, & his eyes kept looking rounder & bigger, making him look unnatural & unreal. There were reports of drugs & child abuse as the King of Pop went into hiding & wilderness. The pressures of name & fame & glitz & glamour & lights & camera.......was probably too much for him to handle. The use & excessive abuse brought an untimely end to a legendary peformer in the wee hours of 26th June 2009. Michael finally succumbed to a cardiac arrest.

But Michael Jackson would live ever after in our memories, & we shall keep revisiting him through his numerous musical numbers......the ones that still gets feet tapping & body gyrating to funky yet frenzied beats.....the world over. Just beat it, Billie Jean, Bad, We are the world(co written with Lionel Richie), Dangerous, Earth Song etc would remain etched in the annals of musical history for ever.

Let the music Just beat it........ as Michael rests in peace.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rim Jhim Gire Saawan........finally the rains

Finally the rain gods relented & Mumbai is getting its first showers of the monsoon. Since last sunday the skies have been laden with dark clouds & all Mumbaikars were longingly looking up, waiting for the downpour. Finally since yesterday, it has started to rain at various parts of the metropolis, bringing down the sweltering heat by many a notches......suddenly, everything around is looking green & breezy......Hopefully the water table of all the nearby lakes will come up gradually now, & Mumbai can breathe a sigh of relief. The news channels, FM channels have been doing the rounds on how we should seriously look at water conservation. There have been water supply cuts as well across the city oover the last few days. This is definitely becoming a serious issue with every passing.

Meanwhile, there are colourful brollies in various sizes & shapes coming out...some fashionable, some conventional.....& some are coming out along in their raincoats. People look to be in jovial mood & the traffic snarls over the last couple of days have not resulted in people snarling at each other. The rains have surely cooled the tempers along with the temperatures.

The roadside joints are doing brisk business with Vada Pao & samosas selling fast & furious. This along with a cup of tea to wash down.....ummmm....its just so delectable to the taste buds....

Getting wet in the rains, especially the first rains, has its own charm......& I am certainly one of the freaks, who love doing such stuffs. I had a Swamiji coming to my place yesterday in the evening. So after settling him & serving him with hot pizzas, I decided to go out & get drenched.......I drove down to the Versova beach, parked the car & then got out to open my arms & feel the needle pricks of the really is an awesome experience.....just letting a child, kick at the puddles, look up & see the sky joining me in the fun......soaking myself in rain & breeze......after a while, I decided to return home. The mood was now for music & we then jammed for about an hour on our guitars....singing soft melodies of yesteryears along with an occasional bhajan in between.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Saina Nehwal...the teen Champion for India

Saina Nehwal, the teen shuttle sensation from India, pulled the biggest coup in her career till date, as she emerged victorious in the finals of the Indonesia Super Series at Jakarta. She had tamed the fast & furious World No 3 & 3rd seed Chinese, Wang Lin - 12-21, 21-18, 21-9. The teenager had been in the news over the last couple of years with her penchant for giant killing. This has been her third major title, following her win at Phillipines Open(2006) & Chinese Taipei GP Gold (2008). "Saina, breathes, sleeps, & dreams badminton", thats how her coach, ex India no 1, Gopichand describes her. Saina, the lone Indian woman to have achieved this title, has been winning against top players in the circuit over the last few years. her focus on the game & her dedication to the cause is simply exemplary. At an age, when girls are busy day dreaming, or giggling over something cute or falling head over heels in love, this 19 year old sensation has been firmly focussed on badminton. Her daily regime of practice is simply unbelievable, & we all believe that she can scale greater heights. According to Prakash padukone, India's best player till date, Saina's game is truly world class. Her control at the net & deceptions are truly outstanding.

Earlier women shuttlers from India, Ami Ghia, Aparna Popat, Madhumita Bist all were good players, but could not mkae much of an impact in the international arena. Saina, seems to have that passion & drive that separates champions from regular players. This win has taken Saina to the top 6 bracket & she now aims to be in the top 5 in the world.

Lets all wish her glory & success as she makes a name & place for herself in the World of Badminton.

Pakistan...T20 Winners

The T20 final yesterday between Pakistan & Sri Lanka brought back memories of the 1992 World Cup held in Australia - New Zealand. The then Pakistan team was led by the indomitable Imran Khan, & were on the verge of elimination, when rains saved them in a match with England. they shared points as the match was washed out, & from there on the Pakistani team kept on winning against all odds, & eventually in the finals defeated the English team as well to claim the glittering trophy. Inzamam Ul Haq & Wasim Akram were the stars of the team to emerge from the shadows of the seniors.
This time around, The team has been led by another soft but firm spoken captain, Younis Khan. Again the tournament had started with losses & it seemed that the team would get wiped out soon. However, rains came to rescue once again, & the Pakistani team survived to reach the Super Eight. Here again, they lost to the Lankans, but came back strongly to defeat the Kiwis & then Ireland to claim a berth in the semis. The green brigade had by then tasted blood & were roaring on the field. They had risen like Phoenix from ashes as they consumed the tournament favourites South Africa in the semis & suddenly looked extremely capable of winning the title at the Lords.

The match started with the Lankans winning the toss & electing to bat. Over dependence on Dilshan & being top heavy in batting had to get exposed some day, & unfortunately it happened in the finals. Dilshan got out for a duck to Aamer & Mubarak sent ahead as a pinch hitter got out to Razzak, also for a duck. It was just the 2nd over of the match & teh score read 2 for 2. Jayasuriya along with skipper Sanga tried some lusty hitting, but the Paki attack was very lethal on this day. Suddenly the Lankans were reeling at 70 for 6 in the 13th over with Sanga waging a lone battle. Along with Mathews he finally stitched a partnership of 68 runs, with Sanga remaining unbeaten for a fine 64 of 52 deliveries & Mathews made a useful 35 from 24 deliveries. The total of 138 gor 6 at the end of 20 overs, was certainly worth defending, & challenging, though it was a good 2o runs lesser than what was expected of the batting order. Razzak, Afridi, Gul......all had contributed to restricting the famed Lankan batting. The law of averages had caught up with Dilshan & the Lankan batting had crumbled.

When Kamran Akmal & Shahzaib Hasan came to chase the total, the Lankans needed quick wickets to stay in the match. But the till now lethal bowling was put to sword as Pakistan went about the chase in clinical fashion. The first wicket fell at the score of 48 & the second fell at 63, but the asking rate remained firmly in control. Afridi & Shoaib Malik took them to victory in convincing fashion, as the Lankan attack could not make any dent. Afridi was a lost player in the initial stages of the tournament & there were serious discussions of dropping him. He looked completely out of sorts coming down the order, but CAptain Y Khan spoke with him, gave him confidence & the license to hit freely & asked him to come up the order. This had a radical transformation & Afridi had rolled back the years to find sublime form & become the player of the tournament. He claimed the man of the match in both semis & the finals to become the most valued player. Be it his batting or bowling or fielding, he was a man possessed. Last time the Pakistani team had missed it out to India y 5 runs, but this time they managed to retain their cool & made the most of the opportunities that came their way.
After 17 years, Pakistan had claimed a World Cup trophy in cricket, the last being in 1992. A country, which has been witnessing political turmoil, a country that has been witnessing terrorism show its ugly face time & again, a country, where no other team wants to tour to play because of safety reasons, now has a reson to celebrate. they can now stake serious claims again on hosting the next World Cup.

Its a team that most people love to hate, but its a team which keeps on producing world class mavericks, who entrall the crowds the world over. The Phoenix rises again...from the dirt.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Jeete hain DilShan se...Lankans cruise to the T20 finals

The 2nd Semifinals between West Indies & Sri Lanka turned out to be quite a damp squib. The Sri Lankans won the match without much trouble or bother. From the very beginning of the match, the Windies have been off colour. At the toss, Gayle chose to field, a decision, which felt strange, especially on a wicket, where it would become considerably slower as the match progressed, & the Lankans have a brillinat spin attack.

The Lankans however started the proceedings with Sanath Jayasuriya & Dilshan, the former looking scratchy for the beginning. They still managed to put on 73 runs for the first wicket, before Jayasuriya holed out in the deep for a rather subdued 24 of 37 deliveries. Sangakkara & Jayawardane got out cheaply & this was the only phase of the game, when the Windies looked in control. While others struggled to put bat to the ball or score freely at one end, Dilshan was at his unstoppable best. HIs batting was simply superb as he scored one of the best innings of T20 till date & remained unbeaten till the end. At the end of 20 overs, he had contributed 96 runs of just 57 deliveries, missing out on a well deserved hundred,as he did not get enough strike in the last over. The Lankans were struggling till the 15th over reaching just 98 runs for 3 wickets. But thanks to Dilshan & later a brief cameo by Mathews, they had plundered 60 runs of the last 30 deliveries to take the final score to 158 for 5. A score that had seemed unprobable till the 16th over. Dilshan had treated the capacity crowd to some exhillarating batting. Certainly a total that was good to defend on a wicket that was fast crumbling.

When the Windies came into bat, it was expected that the top order would fire from the word go. But they were shocked & blown into disarray in the very 1st over. Mathews, with the new ball wreaked havoc & bowled out Marshall in the 2nd delivery, Simmons on the 4th delivery & then Bravo in the 6th delivery. 3 prized wickets gone in the 1st over for just one run. Gayle at the other end could only gape in disbelief, as the Lankans tied the noose firmly in the game. The match was virtually dusted & buried there iself. Chanderpaul in next tried to bring some semblence back & along with Gayle took the score to 43, but then got out in the 9th over. The asking rate kept on increasing, as Gayle tried his best to score at the other end. Batsmen kept loosing wickets & it was all over in the 18th over, with the team total at 101. Gayle was left stranded at the other end for a fighting & a rather subdued, 63 of 50 deliveries. the next best contribution was 11 runs from extras. No other batsman could manage to reach double figures. Ramdin was the only batsman other than Gayle to hit a boundary. Apart from Mathew, who finally ended with figures of 3 for 16, Murali got 3 for 29 & mystery spinner Mendis got 2 for 9 in his quota of 4 overs. It was abject surrender for the Windies, who were just not upto the mark against a brilliant Lankan team.

Dilshan was the obvious choice for the man of the match. His tally in the tournament is already 317 runs from 6 innings at an average of 63.47. The Lankans would be certainly looking at him for one last big contribution on Sunday, when the meet Pakistan in the finals.

The T20 World Cup is surely headed for the subcontinent, clearly defining the supremacy in the World of Cricket. In terms of sheer brilliance, its the all round performance of Afridi, useful batting by Younis & Misbah, lethal bowling of Umar Gul & Razzak for Pakistan at one end vs explosive batting of Dilshan, Sanga & Jayasuriya & scorching bowling from slinging Malinga, wily Mendis & Murali for the Lankans.

Surely a match that promises excitement. May the best team win.

Friday, June 19, 2009

T20 World Cup.......Proteas Choke again in the semis

T20 world Cup is now on the final stages.

Pakistan vs South Africa :

In the first of semifinals, it was a clash between favourites South Africa & mercurial Pakistan. South Africa have always been very good & clinical in the league stages, but are known to falter when they reach the knockouts. They have till date won only the mini World Cup in 1998 as a big tournament, & have been known as the Chokers, messing up just when things look to be moving their way. On the other hand, Pakistan has been going through very tough political situations back home for the last two years & the cricketers have been in indifferent forms. They were heavily dependent on the individual brilliance of Afridi, Misbah & Umar Gul.

Having won the toss, Younis, the Pakistan skipper decided to bat. They opened with Kamran Akmal & Shah Hasan in whirlwind fashion with Kamran hitting two sweetly timed boundaries through the offside cordon in the very first over from Dale Styn. But Parnell on the other end, the very next over got rid of S Hasan to a skier taken by Merwe, with score reading 8 for 1. Afridi walked in next & pulled two consecutive boundaries immediately & one more off the last ball. It was match on with score reading 22 for 1 in two overs. Both team looked hungry & bold upfront. Kamran hit a six in the next over but in wanting to hit the bowlers out of the park holed out to Styn. In walked Shoaib Malik. With Afridi showing glimpses of his fearless hitting Pakistan reached 47 for 2 at the end of 6th over. At the end of 10th over it was 68 for 2, but in the 11th over 18 runs were plundered as Afridi let loose on Botha. 50 for Afridi came off just 32 deliveries in the 12th over. He was looking good, but got out immediately after, holing Duminy to the mid on. This put brakes in the Pakistan run assault. Malik could not push the score & when he got out in the deep, Razzak walked in, but he too could not find the boundaries. Parnell was extremely good at the death bowling & pakistan ended up with only 149 for 4 in their 20 overs. Certainly at least 15-20 runs short of what was expected of them.

South Africa started as usual with Greame Smith & Jaques Kallis. The start was good & they reached 40 before Smith got out at the end of the 6th over. Gibbs came in & was straight against the maverick Afridi. He was bowled to a beauty & then AB, their star batsman till now in the tournament, too got out in similar fashion. Suddenly, the chase had become difficult, with score reading 50 for 3 in the 9th over. Kallis & Duminy did try their best, but the Pakistan bowlers were just getting better & better. Umar Gul was just brilliant with his reverse swing & yorkers, & the asking rate kept on increasing. Kallis got out in the deep trying to hit out for a hard worked 64 in 54 deliveries, & at the end of 19th over it was still 23 runs away. Duminy did try hitting, but finally the Proteas fell short by 7 runs. Shahid Afridi was simply pumped up & absolutely outstanding in the match. After a blistering half century with the bat, he again shone with the ball with 2 wickets for just 16 runs in 4 overs. Truly deserving to be the man of the match.

The best team of the tournament till now, South Africa had been tamed by the maverick Pakistanis, & once again, the Chokers fell in the semis.

Pakistan reach the T20 World Cup finals once again.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dhoni needs to settle down............

I was seeing a close up of Dhoni in one of the dailies today, & what caught my attention of the captain of India was a hint of worry.........a hint tension in the eyes. The stubble & the sidelocks also showed up a few grey strands, obviously an outcome of the enormous pressure he is in right now. India under him were clear favourites to bring back the T20 trophy from England, but the team had been humbled out in the Super Eight level, losing all the three matches. Media had been at loggerheads with him recently & this performance only got more tongues wagging against him. Indian Captaincy has always been a crown full of thorns & extremely difficult to sustain. With his batting also letting him down, since IPL days, MSD is showing visible signs of sleepless nights. Fans all over the world are seeing him in various advts on the TV, but are dying to see his breathless batting, which seems to have deserted him as of now.

The team is now headed for the Caribeans for a 4 match ODI series, where they would be under tremendous pressure to perform. The Windies are currently in the T20 semis, & if they manage to do any better, they would be on a high on their home grounds, making life miserable for MSD & his bunch of men in blue. The team has five changes from the last ODI sqaud that had toured the Kiwis. Suresh Raina & Virender Sehwag have been left out due to niggling injuries, while Irfan Pathan & Munaf Patel have been left out on poor performances. Sachin Tendulkar has also been rested keeping in mind the heavy schedule of cricket ahead. In their place, RP Singh & Ashish Nehra come in as the bowling options. Badrinath & Murali Vijay come in as the batsmen & Abhishek Nayar comes in as the allrounder. While RP & Nehra certainly deserve this call to play for the country, one is a bit surprised to see Badrinath & Vijay getting a chance. Both have not done anything significant in recent times, including the IPL. Abhishek Nayar of course is a good inclusion, as he can lend depth in the middle order. He has been outstanding in domestic cricket as well as IPL of late.

Dhoni would need to shrug off the indifferent form both with the bat & with Captaincy asap, if team India has to perform well ahead. He has worked hard along with Coach Gary Kirsten to build this outfit. Its time to realise that with success there woould also be has to learn & move on. Take on the new challenges with vigour....

We wish Dhoni & his men in blue all the best ahead. May they brng more laurels for us.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

T20 World Cup......match updates !!!!!

Sixth & the last day of the Super eight clashes, & it was Sri Lanka shutting out New Zealand in the first match & the South Africa humbling defending Champions India in a spinning track.

Sri Lanka vs New Zealand :
Having won the toss, Sangakkara decided to bat first. Openers Dilshan & Jayasuriya walked to the crease, but Jayasuriya was out for a nought in the 1st over itself. Chamara Silva too perished soon in the 4th over with the score at 25 for 2. However Dlishan stood ground & along with skipper Sangakkara took the score to 87 in the 12 over before getting out. Later, Jayawardane carried on the good work, as the Lankans reached a respectable total of 158 for 5 at the end of 20 overs. Dilshan with 48 of 37 deliveries, Sanga with run a ball 35, & Jayawardane with an unbeaten 41 of 29 deliveries motored the innings. The Kiwi bowling was not upto the mark & only Vettori put up a decent show with 2 wickets. Oram & N McCullum were economical, but did not really trouble the batsmen. The Kiwi run chase was expected to be fast & furious, but losing McCullum early took away the steam. Though Redmond(23 of 13 deliveries) & Guptill(43 of 34 deliveries) put up some resistance, finally the asking became too much to handle & the Black Caps just folded & surrendered to some magnificiant bowling by Ajantha Mendis. he was ably assisted by Murali, Malinga & Udana, as the Kiwis innings ended at a dismal 110 all out in the 17th over. The Lankans had stormed into the semis, with a match against giant killers West Indies. The match certainly promises to be a cliffhanger & cricket fans can look forward to some good contest.

South Africa vs India :
South Africa, with already an assured berth in the semis continued their winning ways against defending champions India, who, having ousted from the tournament were playing for pride. The Proteas lost Gibbs early & also realised that the pitch was playing dual & assisting spin. They did not go for fanciful shots & kept the scorebook ticking with neatly placed singles & occasional boundaries. AB DeVilliers was in sublime form & he carried the innings along. While no one else could really establish control against some very good spin bowling from Jadeja, Bhajji & Yuvi, The Proteas innings folded at a paltry 130 for 5 at the end of 20 overs. At that stage, it looked like, Indians would be able to make a credible exit with a win. Indians are known to be good players of spin & despite the pitch assisting spin, it looked an easy reachable target.
However, Rohit Sharma & Gautam Gambhir opened the innings & looked comfortable initially with the score reacing 34 for no loss in 5 overs. The introduction of spin had an immediate effect & Gautam in an attempt to hoik Botha ended up in a catch to Duminy in the covers. Raina, the next man in was clearly short of confidence & scratched for 3 before holing out Botha at long on. His performance in the tournament had been nightmarish with just 20 runs in 4 outings. Poor by any standards. Rohit was the next to go & India was 58 for 3 at the halfway mark. The first 6 overs had produced 47 runs without a loss & the next 6 overs had given only 17 runs for the loss of 3 wickets. It was simply inexplicable. Dhoni was the next to go for a dismal 5 of 15 deliveries & Yusuf Pathan was out for a duck, as India slipped to 69 for 5 in the 14th over. Yuvi & Bhajji tried long handle hitting out & got some success taking the score to 100 before Bhajji holed out to AB off Botha. Yuvi & Zaheer followed next & India finally ended their pathetic run with a total of 118 for 8 in thier quota of 20 overs. Botha had super figures of 3 for 16 in 4 overs. Any Indian fan watching the batting was red faced with shame. It was an abject surrender of sorts. The batting lacked a plan, or punch & as Dhoni said in the post match presentation ceremony, that batting let the team down miserably.
Dhoni's captaincy has also come under severe criticism & many have questioned his tactics. The Indian Captain has now started to feel the pressures of the Indian Captaincy.

The Proteas continue their unbeaten run in this tournament & are the current favourites to lifet the title. If they manage to shrug off theit choker's tag in the knockout stage, the men in green can certainly claim to fame their first major World Cup title under Greame Smith. Semifinals for them is against a resurgent Pakistan who have started to come good. It would be an interesting contest ahead.

T20 world Cup....match updates !!!!!!

Day five of the Super Eight clashes was quite perdictable. Pakistan beat ireland to book a semifinal berth, while party spoilers West Indies tamed England for a berth in the semis.

Pakistan vs Ireland :

Pakistan won the toss & elected to bat, in an attempt to put up a large score & choke the rookie Ireland. Kamran Akmal & S Hassan started in style & put up 38 runs before Hassan holed out to midoff. next in Afridi was better today, & scored a good 24 of 13 deliveries. Small but meaningful contribution from all the batters, got the Pakistan total to a healthy 159 for 5 at the end of the alloted 20 overs. Kamran Akmal shone with a sparkling 57 of 51 deliveries. Ireland needed someone to bat out of the skin, but that was not to be. Despite a brave 40 runs of 36 deliveries by their skipper Williams Portersfield at the top of the order, Ireland had very little resistance to put up. With fiery Umar Gul (2 for 19) & wily spinner Saeed Ajmal(4 for 19), ripping through the batting order, Irish batsmen did not stand any chance. The team folded at 120 runs for 9 wickets, giving Pakistan a healthy win of 39 runs. It was a sweet revenge for them against the minnows, who had humbled them in the last ODI World Cup in the Carribeans in 2007. It had also led the team to a lot of controversies then, with the mysterious & shocking death of their coach Bob Woolmer. Akmal was the deserving man of the match. Pakistan now meet South Africa in the semis, a match, which promises to be a humdinger.

West Indies vs England :

This was a do or die, knockout match for both the teams. The winner would move to the semis, while the loser would be out of the tournament. At the toss, the Windies were in jeopardy, as their pacer Fidel Edwards had got hurt just minutes before the toss & was ruled out, bringing in mediu pacer D Sammy. Gayle, actually looked pale (pun intended) & concerned, as his attack now looked quite feeble. England won the toss, & Colingwood decided to bat. Despite losing Wright early on, Bopara & Peiterson were in good nick & runs started flowing. When all looked good for the English fans, Peiterson got needelessly carried away & spooned himself out in the 8th over to Simmons. the score read 64 for 2. The going became tough form here on, as no other batter could push the scoring. England laboured to 150 & only two giant hits off the last two deliveries of the inings by Stuart Broad, took the final score to 161 for 6. a competitive score but definitely not out of reach. Ravi Bopara at the top had lend foundation to the total with steady 55 of 47 deliveries. With rains threatening to disturb the turf, Duckworth Lewis was surely coming into play. Steady rains kept everyone guessing & finally when the covers were removed & D/L calculated, the Windies were handed a target of 80 runs from 9 overs....advantage had definitely shifted away from the Barmy army. The English team was ruing the loss of crucial wickets towards the end of their innings. Chasing the new target, Windies were in trouble straight away with Fletcher falling for a nought(his 3rd successive duck), & Gayle, after a couple of belligerent pulls to the fence, fell too in the 2nd over. Simmons, their most consistent batsmen also fell for a duck at beginning of the 3rd over, spooning a catch to sidebottom off the bowling of Broadwith score reading 16 for 3. After a very brief resistence, even hard hitting Bravo & Pollard fell, & Windies were clearly in trouble with score reading 45 for 5 in the 6th over. England fans were already celebrating as the asking rate had climbed over 10 an over, when two of the most experienced batsmen walked to the crease. Chanderpaul & Sarwan had a job at hand & they delivered. They added 37 runs of just 18 deliveries & took their team past the winning mark, as the English fans were left red faced & speechless. Sarwan had hit 19 of just 9 deliveries & was declared the man of the match while Chanderpaul had kept company with 17 from 10 balls.

The Windies have been the biggest party spoilers in this tournament, scalping Aussies, India & now the England. the now meet the winner from Sri Lanka & New Zealand in the semis. As Gayle said in the post match presentation, that the team is focussed on one more victory which will place them in the finals, after which it is anybodys game..... With the team coming good, at the right time, Gayle could well look at one more glory.

Monday, June 15, 2009

T20 World Cup....match updates!!!!!

Super Eight contests are taking the fans to the edge of their seats, as minnows are catching the stronger oppositions by the scruff of their neck.
The fourth day of the Super Eight contest saw Sri Lanka escape with a narrow win over spirited Ireland, while defending Champions India were sent packing back by a resurgent England. The biggest upset of the tournament till now.

Sri Lanka vs Ireland :
Sri Lanka had entered the match with a feeling of comfort, wanting to give players good match practice before the knowout stages & chose to bat, when Sangakkara won the toss. But the plot went horribly wrong, as inform batsman Dilshan got out in the very second ball of the match for a nought & Skipper Sangakkara followed suit in the 4th over, with the score reading a poor 14 for 2. Old warhorse Jayasuriya & Jayawardane settled down to resurrect the innings & took the score to 81, when Jayasuriya fell. The rest of the batsmen could not make much of an impact & the Lankans closed the innings at a dodgy total of 144 for 9. One would have expected the mighty Lankans to rampage the Irish attack, but were completely taken off guard & it was only because of Jayawardane's fighting 78 of 53 deliveries that got them to a respectable total.
The Irish run chase was quite enterprising & they were sitting pretty at 87 for one in the 14th over, looking good to overhaul the Lankans for a major upset. However, mystery spinner Mendis & slinging Malinga had other ideas. They bowled brilliantly to cut into the Irish defence, & despite a gallant 18 runs plundered in the 19th over, Ireland fell short of thier target by 9 runs. It was truly well fought, but the senior pros had managed to scrape through. With this win, the Lankans are more or less sure of a berth in the semis. they seem to be peaking well, as the tournament reaches the knockout stage.
Man of the match was a deserving Jayawardane.

India vs England :
In a do or die match, it was surprising to see Dhoni deciding to chase after winning the toss. One would have expected him to put on a decent total & then challenge an English batting that is so very dependent of Peiterson alone. Seems Dhoni had less confidence in his bowling attack.
Opener Wright was consumed in the 2nd over itself, but Bopara & Pieterson came back strongly to take the score to 74 in the 11 over, when Bopara got out. Pieterson made mincemeat of the Indian attack that was quite ordinary, & he ended up with a solid 46 of only 27 deliveries. Other batsmen falied to create an impact as spinners Bhajji & Ravindra Jadega tied the noose towards the end. However, in the last over by Bhajji, Yuvi surprisingly allowed a boundary to sneak through, & Bhajji also bowled wides. In the final context of the game, these runs proved very very costly for India. England managed 153 for 7 in their quota of 20 overs.
The Indian run chase had to be authoritative form the beginning, but openers Gautam Gambhir & Rohit Sharma looked extremely tensed & were seen mistiming their hits. The English think tank had done their homework on the Indian batting. They had watched Indians struggle against the short pitched deliveries of the Windies & lose the game, & they deployed the same tactics. Each bowler was bowling to a plan & almost 50% of the balls were pitched short. Rohit played on to a Sidebottom bouncer & Raina holed out trying a cross bat to another Sidebottom bouncer. The Indians were reeling at 24 for 2 in the 4th over & Dhoni tried one of his famous out of the hat ploys in sending Jadeja at no 4. But the rookie was completely out of sorts & while he comsumed a lot of deliveries, he could not bat out of trouble. Gauti on the other end was also not in his usual flowing rhythm. The asking rate kept piling up & when Jadeja & Gauti finally got out, it was a near impossible task for the later batsmen. Yuvi was one who could have taken India to victory & he raise hopes with a six of the first ball he faced, but got out stumped, with the score reading a dismal 87 for 5 in the 14th over. Dhoni & Yusuf Pathan made a valient attempt, though Dhoni did not seem to have control over the proceedings. Finally, though the duo put on 63 runs in the last 6 overs, they fell 3 runs short of their target. When Sidebottom came to bowl the final over, Indians were still needing 19 runs. Yusuf & Dhoni however could not really go after the bowling & ended up with just 15. Indians had paid the price for being too edgy & tensed in their run chase. Yusuf's valiant attempt of 33 in 17 deliveries was not good enough in the final count.
Sidebottom was the man of the match for his brilliant bowling upfront.
The Champions were made to bite the dust by a team which did not look capable of a surprise, at least on paper. Indians now only have a non consequential match with South Africa. Sad to see a team so rich in talent & capabilities, lose back to back matches.
"Yeh Cup is baar wapas nahi aayega"............I guess the advts now will have to change the slogan to this dismal looking line.
Dhoni must now be feeling the pressures of the Indian Captaincy, as his lady luck seemed to have deserted his this time around. The recent tiff with the media would also have dented his composure.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

T20 World Cup.....match updates !!!!

Third day of the Super Eight contests, with South Africa scoring a facile victory over West Indies & Pakistan shocking New Zealand.

South Africa vs West Indies :

Chris Gayle won the toss & put the South Africans to bat, on a pitch, which promised to provide early swing & movement. However, openers Smith & Kallis went off to a rollicking start & smashed boundaries with disdain as the score kept piling at a brisk pace. Smith was the first to go with 54 runs on board after 6 overs & then Kallis left in the 12th over with score at 105. From here, the Proteas batting stumbled a bit as batsmen could not convert starts into a big innings. However, there was still enough willow hitting the leather as the Proteas ended up with an imposing total of 183 for 7 wickest. Gibbs had put up a sterling 55 of 35 deliveries, Smith had made a lovely 31 of just 18 deliveries & ageless Kallis stroked a brilliant 45 of 31 deliveries. The Windies had actually been superb in the field for the last 6-7 overs & did not allow the score to go past 200. What the Windies needed was fearless hitting by Gayle at the top to stay in the contention. However, the South African seemd to have done their homework well & the opening bowling attack was spot on from the first ball. Steyn & Parnell were accurate & attacking & got rich rewards in the bargain. Fletcher was out in the 2nd over & the dangerous Gayle holed out in the 4th over & the Windies were left rattled at 13 for 2. Simmons & Bravo put up some resistance for the 3rd wicket before Bravo fell with the total at 70 in the 9th over. From there on it was a losing battle as the Windies batters could not find enough boundaries to boost their total. The final score of 163 for 9 was only because of a fighting 77 of 5o deliveries by Simmons, but still way short of the target. Parnell with his accurate left arm seam had demolised the batting with 4 wickets for just 13 runs in his quota of 4 overs. he was the deserving man of the match. The South Africans are looking better & better, with semifinal slot looking almost assured.

New Zealand vs Pakistan :

Daniel Vettori returned from injury to the Kiwis squad & elected to bat after winning the toss. It seemed to be a correct decision as McCullum started with a bang in the first over, hitting two wonderful boundaries. But Abdul Razzaq, back in the Pak squad after quitting ICL, celebrated with some fine swing bowling. He first removed the dangerous McCullum in only the 2nd over of the innings & then consumed Guptill in the 6th over, as the Kiwis faltered with score reading 37 for 3 in the 6th over. Umar Gul, introduced in the 13th over was simply devastating. He cleaned the Kiwis with astonishing figures of 5 wickets for 6 runs in 3 overs. The Black Caps were bundled out for a paltry 99. None of the Kiwis could make an impression & the innings folded in the 19th over. Shocking display of batting, made the task of run chasing very easy for Pakistan, in their must win match. What New Zealand needed were a couple of big wickets early in the innings, expecting the opposition to wilt under pressure, but the total in the kitty was hardly anything & the Pakistan batting line up managed to hit the winning runs in the 14th over itself. There was a flutter in the batting camp, when three wickets fell quickly, & the score read 71 for 4 in the 10th over. But Captain Younis Khan along with Afridi took the team to a much needed victory with a 29 runs partnership & kept hopes alive of a semis berth. It was a shocking defeat for the Kiwis. They now need to get back to the drawing board & plan well, to have any scope of reaching the semis. Umar Gul, with his brilliant bowling was the obvious choice for the man of the match.

The T20 tournament has truly opened up with many possibilities of a semifinal line up. Lets look forward to some exciting cricket.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

T20 World cup 2009....match updates !!!!

The second day of the Super Eight contests provided with the first major upset. While Sri Lanka eased into a victory over Pakistan in the first match, West Indies stunned defending Champion India with a 7 wicket victory.

Sri Lanka vs Pakistan :
Sangakarra won the toss & elected to bat, wanting to put pressure of a huge score. The start by Jayasuriya & Dilshan would have made every Lankan fan delighted, as they rattled up more than 60 runs in the first 6 overs. It was looking like another Lankan batting carnage, when Jayasuriya departed at the beginning of the 9th over & suddenly the Lankans found run making getting very difficult. Dilshan too left in the 11th over with 89 runs on board, & the Pak spinners in Afridi & Saeed Ajmal, their mystery spinner, choked the run scoring. The final total was only 150 runs, propped by 20 extras & Pakistan looked in control. The Lankans seemed to have lost the early advantage.
The Pakistani innings however could not make the start they needed at the top. Salman Butt left for no score & Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal followed suit shortly. The score of 35 for 3 at the end of 6 overs looked very poor. Misbah & skipper Younis did put up some resistance for the fourth wicket & took score beyond 100, but then wickets tumbled in a heap & the team could manage only 131 for 9 wickets at the end of 20 overs. Lankans had snatched back the initiative & the match by 19 runs. Malinga with his slinging action was superb with figues of 3 for 17 off 4 overs. All the bowlers had been disciplined in their attack & the Pakistan batsman could not get on top.
Man of the match : Dilshan.

India vs West Indies :
Dhoni won the toss & elected to bat & one expected that such a strong batting line up would do serious damage to the Caribbean bowling. But the Windies pacers had other ideas, & before the dreaded Indian batting line could get some bearing, they had already lost in form Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina & Gambhir, with the total reading a dismal 29 for 3 in the 5th over. Dhoni & Yuvi tried to put things in order, but runs were just not coming & when Dhoni got out at the beginning of the 13th over, the score read only 66 for 4. Yuvi & Yusuf Pathan after that, pushed the scoring with some lusty hitting & then Bhajji did use the long handle to good effect. The total read an uninspiring 153 for 7 off 20 overs. Certainly not the kind of score, Dhoni & his boys would be proud of. Barring Yuvi (66 runs of 43 deliveries), & Yusuf ( 31 of 23 deliveries), the famed batting had failed to deliver in the first serious challenge thus far.
When Gayle along with Fletcher came to open for the Windies, Dhoni as expected started the bowling with the spin of Yusuf Pathan. This did bring in dividends, as bothe openers could not score rapidly, & were back in the dug out with total reading 42 for 2 in the 8th over. Match on, is what every Indian fan thought, with the dangerous Gayle out of the firing line. But at the crease were two Carribean mavericks in Dwaye Bravo & Simmons, who believed in thier capabilities. Runs started to come at a fast clip, as the Indians were unable to dislodge the pair & when Simmons finally left in the 15th over, the score was 100. In walked veteran Chanderpaul & he too hit out, with Bravo & the Windies had outscored the defending Champions. Bravo had scored a brilliant 66 off just 36 deliveries. he had also taken 4 wickets for 38 while bowling. Truly a man of the match performance. West Indies had met India in England after 26 years, when they had lost to Kapil's devils in the '83 World Cup finals. Sweet revenge for them.
India are now staring into the barrel, with matches against England & South Africa ahead. they have to win both the matches to stay in the semfinal contention. Not impossible, but certainly a very tall order. As for the Windies, they just need one more win & at this stage look good to hit the last four stage.

Friday, June 12, 2009

T20 World Cup 2009.......match updates !!!!

The first night of the Super Eight contests went as predicted.

In the first match of the Group F, New Zealand thrashed minnows Ireland by 83 runs in Nottingham. Aaron Redmond, a late replacement for the injured Jesse Ryder, played with gay abandon at the top of the order & scorched up a blinding 63 runs off just 30 balls. This set the pace for the Kiwis, who despite loosing McCullum cheaply went on to put up an imposing total of 198 for 5 wickets in their quota of 20 overs. Guptill put up an unbeaten 45 off 32 deliveries, while Styris gathered 42 off 25 deliveries only. The total would have been challenging for any team, & minnows Ireland had no answer to the bowling of the Black Caps. Botha & Wilson put up some resistance for the 3rd wicket, but the target was way too far for them to reach. The team finally folded up for 115 in the 17th over. New Zealand had an easy win to relish.

The second match was expected to be a tight contest between South Africa & hosts England. However, the Proteas lived upto their tag of being one of the tournament favourites & blew away the English barmy army to a 7 wickets win. Collingwood won the toss for England & decided to put up runs on board by batting first. But even before the crowd had settled in their seats for the evening, England had lost both their openers, with score reading a miserable 4 for 2. Pieterson was the man the English fans would have looked up to put up some semblence, but he too perished to a stupendous catch by Merwe in the deep, after a brief flurry of boundaries. Wickets kept tumbling one after the other, & it was Owais Shah, who stood alone amongst the ruins, scoring 38 off 33 deliveries. The final score was a paltry 111, with all wickets down. The Proteas were surprisingly cautious at the beginning & lost skipper Smith early. But next in Gibbs along with Kallis got about the business of acumulating runs without any hurry or worry. While Gibbs & later AB fell, Kallis took his team home with a polished 57 off 49 deliveries. The target had been achieved with 10 balls to spare. Throughout the match, England never looked to make any dent & the Proteas were always in control. They look good as a unit.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

T20 World Cup..... Yeh Cup wapas aayega????

T20 World Cup is in full swing in England & the Super Eight stage is ready. These elite eight teams are now placed in two groups of four each, where they play against each other. The top two teams from these groups would play in the knckout stages of semis.

Group E : India, England, West Indies & South Africa.

Group F : Pakistan, Ireland, Sri Lanka & New Zealand.

The biggest casualty thus far has been the mighty Aussies. Under Ponting, this team had looked good to at least reach the last eight, but in the group of death along with Windies & the Lankans, the Aussies wilted under pressure & had to bow out so early in the tournament losing bothe their matches. The team, which has looked so good in the one dayers & test matches till now, were a pale shadow in this format of the game. The introduction of the latest talent David Warner & Shane Watson did not make any significant difference & the yellow green brigade have been dumped. Bangladesh has been the other surprise losers to Ireland. The team, has lots of talented players, but they all seem to be in a hurry to score. Hopefully they come back strong next time.

The team which looks very good & balanced at this stage is the South Africans. This team seem to have extreme depth in their batting. Smith, Kallis, Gibbs, Merwe, AB, Duminy, Boucher, Morkel, Botha, Parnell & is just unending. Any three click & they can rattle up a commanding total. The bowling is well balanced with loads of allrounders. This team is looking really good & should make it to the semis at least. If they can hold their nerves & shed the chokers tag......the Proteas can well be the smiling team at Lord's on 21st June. For Greame Smith, it would be a dream come true finally.

New Zealand is another team, which is quietly confident. They may not have any major stars in their ranks, but have a lot of good useful performers. As a team they are clicking well. McCullum, Taylor, Guptill, Oram, Styris, Vettori, all have it in them to bundle out any team. Excellent fielding & restrictive bowling make them a vert strong contender. A berth in the semis looks assured for them as of today.

Sri Lankans, is also another team which is peaking steadily. a team which starts with maverick Jayasuriya at the top along with Dilshan is always a threat to any opposition. This follows the likes of Sangakarra & Jayawardane, Silva & Mubarek. Bowling is in the hands of wily Murali, mysterious Mendis & slinging Malinga, which can tame any opposition. But the team seems to be too top heavy in batting & if the top order crashes, it would be interesting to see how this team fares. However, they look good to reach semis at least, after which its a knockout stage.

The West Indies have been flattering to decieve over the last few years. On their day, they will murder the best of the teams, as they did with Aussies earlier in the tournament. When Gayle fires, any total would be reachable & then they have Bravo, Pollard, Marshall, Simmons, who are adept in this version of the game. Its however a surprise that Dwayne Smith has been left, even after a brilliant performance in the just concluded IPL. The bowling is just ok with Edwards, Taylor, Benn & Bravo. I will be happily surprised, if they make it to the last four.

Pakistan, England, Ireland have not done enough till now to evoke confidence in their fans. the barmy army English team & the mercurial Pakistan look quite rusty at this stage. The big players have not fired as yet & most of the players have been scratchy in their performances. we just hope that they touch form & produce good cricket for the tournament. However, I dont see anyone of them making the last four grade.

Men in Blue, India looks impressive & clinical. Under Dhoni, this team has been going from strength to strength over the last two years. Despite losing Sehwag to injury, the team looks exceptionally gifted in batting. Rohit Sharma has slipped into the vacant opening slot superbly & along with Gambhir gives a rollicking start to the innings. With Raina, Dhoni, Yuvi, Pathan brothers & Bhajji to follow the batting looks majestic & awesome. Bowling is again extremely solid with Zaheer, Ishant, Bhajji & Ojha. We still have RP & Pravin Kumar waiting in the wings. The team looks fit & hungry for success. The only hitch could be excessive cricket that the team has been playing over the last few months. Fatigue can easily set in & cause the damage. I believe, this team can lose only of they do harakiri.....& hopefully under Dhoni, that would not happen. He & coach Kirsten bring in a calming effect on the team which is so very important. The recent fracas between Dhoni & the media has been unnecessary & could've been avoided. Like all fans, I would love to see Dhoni bringing back the Cup & we sing to the advt..."Yeh Cup kahin nahin jayega"..............

From today starts the Super Eight clashes, which promises entertaining cricket for the next 11 days. Am sure all cricket lovers across India do not mind the late night viewing over the idiot box. Though Aamir Khan has a point & option, with his advt for Tata Sky jinga lala, where you can watch the recorded match next day, but I dont think it can be a substitute to live coverage......sorry Aamir....I would rather keep awake, while you go to sleep....I prefer to soak the excitement live.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Woman.......a dream....a promise or a farce???

In my life till now, it has been a woman, who has given me the most, but strangely enough, its again a woman who has also taken away the most!!!!! what do I call a infidel, a cheat; or epitome of love, a reassurance!!, or just a dream, that only promises, but never delivers?????

My first impressions of a woman has been my mother, a quiet lady, who has stood by me through all that I have gone through in life. When I was a young brat & a difficult child to manage, she would keep me engaged with lovely stories & developmental activities. She would quietly but firmly manage to absorb the anger of my father from blowing me over. She would treat me to the best of the dishes, & manage me & my tantrums. She would be a good listener & then give proper advice. She would always be encouraging & believed that I could achieve my dreams. She would pamper me no ends, but would point out, whenever I crossed the line. I could easily confide in her, in almost everything that I would do.
I left home early in life, just after school, as I had got into a tiff with my father (incidentally over a woman, whom I loved!!)
Having come over to an alien city to face the tryst of life, I struggled to get a foothold. Those were real challenging years. Through all these troubled times, my mother stood firm & kept encouraging me to move move on.....
As a lady, she has patiently stitched our lives & kept the family close. She speaks less & listens more, but still manages to give a sparkling smile, an assuring nod..........Having survived a near fatal paralytic attack, & serious diabetes, today, as she takes on life, ever smilingly, at the ripe age of 80 yrs, she still teaches me to smile & move on.......not allowing anything to bog down......Could there be anyone like her....ever????

My first serious love was when I was in high school. It lasted around two years.........I guess lovely two years, when dreams & music kept our company, & nothing else mattered. But she succumbed to a fatal disease & left us all.......numb with pain & grief. Too young to handle such a situation, I was left insane. Life just felt like snuffed out. It took me many years to recover from the grief, & I guess, even today, I have not been able to completely erase the pain of that separation. Even today, she comes in my dreams, gently telling me to believe in LOVE....

Over the years, I did have a few flings, but nothing serious emerged. Memories of my school love kept me away from serious commitment. However, some years later, I allowed a girl to come close. She was going through a low in her life & she turned to me for support & love. Our common friends also added to the pressure & I started giving her time & attention. Just out of college, I was working on building my career, & they were struggling years for me. She hailed from an extremely rich family & was very emotional & temparamental......too many mood swings & tantrums. She was madly in love with me.........I guess she was too carried away by my free flowing lifestyle.....the carefree attitude......the adventurous world of mine. Though, I did not exactly love her, I thought, we could build a life together & was willing to give the relationship a chance. But, just when everything seemed to be falling into place & I was looking forward to a home finally, the world came crashing down......She did something unpardonable. This led to serious disagreement & we split. Friends, families, et all, added to the spice & suddenly I was all alone.......again!!!! Overnight, the whole world seemed to be my enemy & I was at the receiving end of all the blame. Except for my mother & a couple of my friends, I was the villian. Almost everyone, was taking potshots at was dark & lonely & desolate. Why does love turn into very easily??????

Destiny had more in store for me. There was this girl, who came into my life. She would remind me of my first love.....we hit off instantly, & against all odds, started dating. We would feel amazingly drawn towards each other & felt, that life had finally come to terms with us. We both had come through tough times, & looked forward to a happy union. This was my woman........I thought. We had almost everything in similar, except that she was a good dancer & I could not dance to save my life & I was a fabulous driver, while she was scared to death to drive. She was a faboulous cook & an extremely talented singer. She had the most endearing pair of eyes, & a lovely smile. Politely plump, she was always so much fun to be with.
She got me into a community serving organisation, & I gave up my job to get into it full time. We became instructors together, & plunged into serving the society. Both of us felt the cause appealing enough to invest ourselves. We would be in different locations, but, the love kept us together. We would meet, whenever we could & shared our experiences. While, I had started to dream about settling down, Life was actually flattering to deceive.
She had her share of trauma from the past & would slip into feelings of insecurity once in a while. I tried providing her with all support I could, but I guess, I was never good at understanding a woman. Looking for that elusive love everywhere, she slipped......and she slipped big time. She did something that killed me from within. Out of fear she started keeping away from me, but kept slipping further down. In an attempt to hide, she lied to me, but, as fate would have it, the bitter truth came out. People around her did not help her cause & she went through a serious low. I watched almost helplessly as we started to drift away. She would be off contact for months, as I experienced a slow death of emotions within me. Finally the whole thing exploded out in the open & she had nowhere to go. People on whom she had trusted or expected support from, simply left her alone. I was under severe pressure from common friends to completely remove her from my life. My love for her was probably deeper & thicker than my anger on what she had done. Despite having to face people & their smirks & caustic remarks, I stood by her in support through all this & we finally had to meet Guruji for His counselling & support. Guess Love prevailed. Guruji wanted us to settle down immediately, but she could not muster enough courage to do so. In her effort to come back on track, she immersed herself completely into community service work in the remotes.......or so I thought!!!.....if I were to believe my well wishers, she has been making a mockery of our relationship.....For me Trust, is the backbone of any relationship, & she has floundered it time & again....I am not sure our relationship is going anywhere. Though we keep talking regularly, I am not sure, this will culminate in a settled relationship. Both of us have enormous egos, something, that has not helped our cause at all. I dont know, how & why a woman would do so, is simply unbelievable......but then, reality says it it a case of split personality ???......or are today's women like this ????....
Frankly, as of now, I am far too pained & bruised to look at settling down. I have more reasons to doubt, than trust a woman.......something I never thought I would do.

And now very recently, someone close to me has gone though an almost similar situation. This boy, who has loved his girlfriend dearly, stood by her through all thick & thin had to bear the pain of knowing how she has let him down. The glitz & the glamour blanking her out. This inspite of him warning her, this despite me cautioning her. However, the silver lining is that, she gathered courage to speak out the truth to him & he in his mad love for her has accepted her with everything. I only hope they come closer to each other & for good. I wish them all the success in life. But, my faith in woman has only gone down!!!!!
As I look around, I see many happy couples.......but in my mind, I doubt, whether there is true happiness???, whether there is true commitment????, or is it all a big farce!!!!!!!!

My experiences with women have ranged from comic to horrific, from outrageous to unbelieveable, from soothing to painful, & from bold to bizzarre !!!!!!

As for me, I seem to be one of destiny's favourite whipping child..........a desire for a home, only keeps taking me away from it, just when it is round the corner. Love, that keeps showing up, only to disappear.......maybe just prodding me, only to elude......and I continue, never giving up.....doing my bit & waiting for my turn to come.

As Robert Frost has said,
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep............."

So I keep the promise to live & smile & serve & hope. There are people, who look to me for inspiration. They look at me for support. They look at me with admiration & awe & quote me as an example. Little do they realise, how much bruised & battered I am from within.
I would never have written all this, but the burden & the experience of pain over the years has been just too much to handle & I needed to open up somewhere.

Question is, When will I get my home???? When will I get to sleep????? When will I meet real Love?????

Any views????........My question is open to all who would read this article........maybe one of you has the answer..........

Roger Federer conquers the Red Soil.....finally !!!!

Roger Federer, has finally conquered the red soil of the French Open. The Swiss, touted to be the best tennis player of all times, has now won all the four Grand Slams, a feat achieved by only two men before him.....Rod Laver & Andre Agassi. In fact, Federer, along with Agassi has the rarest achievement, having won the Olympics gold medal as well. Federer has some unprecedented records besides his name, thus far. He has equalled Pete Sampras's 14 Grand Slam titles now, & has reached 20 consecutive Grand Slam semis. he has also played in all Grand Slam finals for two years in succession. Fedex(as he is popularly known, seems to be moving as smoothly as a Swiss timepiece.

At the French Open this year, Rafa Nadal finally lost to Robin Soderling in the fourth round, after 31 consecutive wins on the red soil over the last four years. Rafa, a nemesis for Federer over the last few years, had been the winner for the last three years, giving life to speculations, that Federer would never win here, as long as Rafa rules. Well, with Rafa finally bowing down to Soderling, Federer had his task cut out & easy. He whipped up superb tennis in the finals & won the title in straight sets, demolishing Soderling, who could only watch in awe.

Federer could not contain his tears on holding the trophy, which he richly deserved, as his beautiful wife smiled from the VIP box. The couple are expecting their first child soon.

All this achieved at just 27 years of age, Fedex promises many more titles & records & captivating tennis ahead. May his rivalry with Rafa Nadal reach dizzying heights, which allows us tennis lovers to savour each of these contests.

Salute the King of Tennis........Roger Federer.

Racial attacks on Indian Students......a serious concern

Over the years, Australia has always been a safe haven for travel & migration, especially for the Indians. It has been a country with low crime rates, vibrant economy, great escape destinations & high standards of living. The Australian Govt has been encouraging students from the subcontinent & also work permits, which made the land down under a favourite destination for many Indians.
However, things seem to be taking an ugly turn & the recent racial attacks on students have left a huge Indian contingent completely miffed. The last few weeks have brought to light, multiple cases of attacks on unsuspecting Indians, who have become easy targets of probably the jobless aborigines. Infact, some Indians mention that such incidents have been on the rise since the last few years, & the Australian Govt has failed to control such attacks.
The Federation of Indian Students in Australia(FISA), who feel that the authorities are not taking this seriously, have already staged peace march in Melbourne, which had thousands joining them on the streets, demanding justice for the victims & action against the culprits.
Our PM, Dr Manmohan Singh has already approached his conterpart in Australia, Kevin Rudd, for quick action, demanding protection for the Indians in Australia & a high level enquiry. Trying to face this rather rude shock, the Aussie Premier has said in a press release that, a task force has been set up with high level officials to deal with the problem.

The worry, however, is the nature & the number of the attacks. Young miscreants seem to be bullying & mugging the Indians & getting hostile as well. Shravan Kumar, one of the victims, was attacked with screwdrivers & had to admitted to the hospital, where he had slipped into coma. While he has recovered & has been taken off life support, doctors are unsure whether Kumar would fully recover. Another student received serious burn injuries from a petrol bomb thrown at him, while he was studying at home in Sydney. There seem to be a rise in such brutal attacks & Indians are feeling very insecure in Australia.
There are more than 100,000 Indian students in Australia currently & possibly a double of that as Australian citizens, who are from Indian origin. The recent attacks pose a real threat to all of them, & the Govt of India needs to set up diplomatic pressures to ensure safety for these people. A mass exodus by the Indians could mean a serious blow to the earnings of the Aussie Govt as tution fees are a healthy source of income for the Australian Universities. This could also seriously dent the safe image of the country.

Kevin Rudd has a job at hand, where he needs to come up with quick solutions.

UPA.....all the best

Well the 2009 general elections has finally given the verdict of India. The common man has again decided to go with the Central Govt of UPA under the leadership of Dr Manmohan Singh. With opposition not being able to establish a possibility of holding the Centre for a full term, Congress lead UPA gained the confidence of the voters for a stable Govt.

The good thing that emerges out of the polls is that UPA has got a clear mandate & does not have to worry about post poll alliances, which would have been a stumbling block. Infact the allies are more than willing to listen to the Central leadership, which augurs well for the Congress. Now the Centre can focus on growth & ensure that promises are kept. Its time to perform now.

Dr Singh looks more resourceful & firm on his decisions this time & his Mr Clean image is working wonders for his party. The newly formed Govt has a wonderful mix of new & old veterans, which promises to deliver. People like Agatha Sangma, the youngest ever MP, at 28 years of age exudes refreshing warmth & confidence & looks like going the distance. Perhaps, out country needs such young turks to take on the challenges & usher our country into the growth track.

The BJP in the opposition have their task cut out. With the elections results out, they need to assess the reasons of the debacle & work at correcting them. They need to realise that the Country today is asking for very specific growth related agenda, & for this they need to evaluate, identify & them work at the grass root levels. They need to establish themselves as a strong National party. This demands that the party workers have a clear direction & work in the interiors towards visible development. They also need to support the Centre in all growth oriented activities, but maintain the pressure of performance.

Lets look forward & wish the new UPA Govt all the very best. Jai Ho......