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Friday, October 31, 2008

GAIL-Indian Oil to set up petrochemical plant

NEW DELHI: State-run gas transmission company Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) on Friday entered into an agreement with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to explore the possibility of setting up a Rs. 10,000-crore petrochemical plant at Barauni in Bihar. The proposed plant will use 2.50 lakh tonnes of naphtha produced by IOC’s Barauni refinery and the natural gas GAIL plans to bring from Eastern offshore and imported LNG through the planned Jagdishpur-Haldia pipeline.

“GAIL and IOC have signed an MoU for exploring the possibility of setting up a cracker complex, including downstream derivatives at Barauni,” GAIL Chairman and Managing Director, U. D. Choubey, told newsmen after inking the agreement here. The two companies would prepare a techno-economic feasibility study for the unit that would take up to five years for construction.

“Naphtha prices in India and the world-over are on a downturn. It is selling below fuel oil (price) as demand is not there. We are forced to export naphtha and the proposed unit will enable us to extract value from the fuel,” IOC Chairman, Sarthak Behuria, said.

A 130-km spur line from Gaya to Barauni would be laid to transport gas to the Barauni fertilizer plant, IOC’s refinery and the proposed petrochemical unit. GAIL’s Jagdishpur-Haldia pipeline would transport gas found in Eastern offshore. GAIL had already announced plans to double its Pata petrochemical plant’s capacity to 8 lakh tonnes in 3-4 years. Mr. Choubey said the proposed unit at Barauni would be of a minimum 3-lakh tonnes capacity.

Indian American beauty dons many hats

She is Miss India America 2007, hosts online South Asian video content website desiyou, is president of Riverside campus South Asian club of
Ridhi Patel
Ridhi Patel (TOI)
University of California, and is also part of a professional Bollywood dance team.

Wearing so many hats doesn’t bother Ridhi Patel. As the face of growing breed of "not confused" American-born desis, Ridhi knows how to blend the best of both cultures. A student of Business Economics, Law and Spanish and an aspiring lawyer, Ridhi grew up in a typical Gujarati household. Her father from Kenya and mother from Gujarat moved to the US in 1980 and run a family-owned print shop in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Unlike her American peers, she continues to stay with them even after joining college.

Browsing through the internet she ran across the pageant information and saw the opportunity as a way to add to her resume. Her parents though, in her own words "weren’t jumping with joy but were not unsupportive as well". "They have always said that I can do anything as long as I am consistent and give it my all. They did not see exactly why I needed to do the pageant and thought of it as a distraction to my studies but they did not forbid me to continue with it," she says.

Winning the pageant has kickstarted her modelling career and boosted her confidence too. "I do not have professional modelling experience but when I was younger I used to get involved in fashion shows for local Indian dress stores, which were displayed at large South Asian events. After the pageant began my real start in modeling, I never saw it in my reach until now," she says. Patel helps out in family business, is financially independent and is keen on taking up a career in law and business entertainment. "I eventually want to become a lawyer and have begun steps in that direction. But I see PR, marketing and entertainment more of my niche and look to expand myself in business entertainment," she says.

ANALYSIS-Cricket-Gambhir ban again sours India v Australia clash

NEW DELHI, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Batsman Gautam Gambhir's one-test ban has again drawn attention to the acrimony that has marred India's recent tussles with Australia.

Gambhir was suspended by International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Chris Broad on Friday for elbowing Shane Watson while taking a run on the opening day of the third test in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Australia all-rounder Watson was fined for provoking the batsman, the incident bringing to a head a series of verbal clashes forcing the umpires to intervene.

Gambhir was also fined for barging into Shahid Afridi in a one-dayer against Pakistan last November.

The Indian cricket board has lodged an appeal against his latest ban, which would allow the 27-year-old to play in the fourth and final test.

This series started in the shadow of India's tour to Australia in January when spinner Harbhajan Singh was at the centre of another storm.

India then overstepped the line again when paceman Zaheer Khan was fined 80 percent of his fee in the second-test win in Mohali for a verbal send-off of opener Matthew Hayden after the Australia opener had been dismissed.

Players from both sides made good-behaviour pledges before the series but have since shown scant regard to Broad. Some pundits say the Indians are adopting a tit-for-tat approach against Australia, who have long been accused of gamesmanship by sledging rival players.

"It is a sign of self-belief," former India captain Ravi Shastri told Reuters. "Give back as good as you get but make sure you don't cross the line and look stupid.

"It is India who have played well against Australia in the last three or four years."


Shastri said England skipper Kevin Pietersen had shown the best way to tackle Australia was to stand up to them.

"Kevin has shown he is capable of backing his words by taking that extra pressure upon himself and performing," he said.

Shastri backed Gambhir's ban and warned players against violating the spirit of the game but also said the Indian verbal response was having its effect on Australia, who trail 1-0 in the series.

In the controversial Sydney test in January, Harbhajan was initially banned after being found guilty of racially abusing Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds. India threatened to pull out of the tour if the ban was upheld and he was eventually let-off with a fine after the charge was downgraded to use of abusive language.

The attitude of the Indian players has changed markedly since they won the Twenty20 World Cup in 2007, beating Australia on their way.

During this series Zaheer, Vangipurappu Laxman and India vice-captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni have dubbed Ricky Ponting's side too defensive.

Some pundits say India's young, self-confident players are more aggressive but that the captains should help ease the tension and ensure the focus of attention is firmly on the playing of the game rather than side issues.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Too hot to handle: Gambhir and Laxman hit doubles

Gautam Gambhir and VVS Laxman hit double centuries in Delhi yesterday as India all but batted Australia out of the third Test of the four-match series. The opener hit 206 - the maiden double century of his career - and Laxman made an unbeaten 200, at which point Anil Kumble declared with India on 613 for seven. Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich closed the day on 50 without loss having seen off the final 15 overs.

Australia began the day banking on the second new ball to break the partnership between Gambhir and Laxman, worth 139 overnight. Those hopes turned to dust as Gambhir hit 26 fours and a six before being bowled off the inside edge by Shane Watson, 4½ sessions after he first came out to bat. The fourth-wicket partnership had yielded 278 runs in 72.1 overs, the best ever at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.

It had taken 35 overs for Watson to be introduced and Ricky Ponting, who had bowled two overs himself by then, saw the all-rounder remove Gambhir with his sixth ball. Katich came on at the same time and broke through in his second over, Sourav Ganguly hitting to the captain at short cover, and when Watson had Mahendra Singh Dhoni caught behind for 27 Australia had taken three for 46, their best period of the game.

"The [Australians'] total approach has been defensive right from the start of the series," Laxman said later. "You see the captain saying that they are the underdogs for the series; that puts them in a defensive mode. Our captain, Anil [Kumble], despite the criticism he's been facing, he's very, very positive in the way he's talking about his team. And Ricky is talking about the Indian team rather than his own.

"They've got the resources," he added. "Except for [the retired] Adam Gilchrist, the team doesn't look different from what we played in Australia when they beat us 2-1. I think it's just that mental approach. I'm not sure why they've been defensive in the way they've approached the series."

Watson, meanwhile, has been fined 10% of his match fee for a confrontation with Gambhir. The pair clashed while the Indian was taking a second run off him during the first day's play. Gambhir has admitted a more serious offence and his case will be heard today.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sachin – the evergreen bestseller

Anand Philar

Sachin Tendulkar is to Indian cricket what Beatles were to music. Never has a single cricketer aroused so much emotion and passion as Sachin has over the past 19 years since he first represented India as a curly-haired 16-year-old. I vividly recall the sensation this wonder kid from Mumbai created when he made his international debut at such a tender age back in 1989.

We could hardly believe that one so young was thrown into such a competitive arena to face the likes of Imran and Akram in Pakistan. We cheered every stroke he played, every run he scored and gasped in disbelief as he took on the Pakistani attack despite suffering a bloody nose. To think that we continue to follow every move of this little man in 2008 is a testimony to his greatness and iconic status.

Perhaps, it would take a Neville Cardus to do justice to Sachin’s cricketing ability that evoked wonderment from even the reticent Sir Donald Bradman. A million words have already been written on Sachin surpassing Brian Lara’s record and going on to become the first batsman to cross the 12,000-run milestone, and in this context, I admit I am a late arrival in applauding these feats that underline his endurance. Nevertheless, it is always a pleasure to write about a player who set our heart aflutter every time he walked in to bat.

Wish Sachin | Sachin Special

There has been the usual comparison between Sachin and Lara. The former Aussie captain Ian Chappell perhaps summed it up nicely the other day when he said Sachin learnt to reinvent himself with age while Lara at the end of his career batted in the same as he did at the start. I would say that Sachin is more like quality wine that matured with the passage of time and something to be sipped and savoured while Lara was a heady cocktail, much like the potent Jamaican Rum!

Despite all our admiration for Sachin, we have also been guilty of castigating the great player every time he failed, without making allowance for the law of averages. From the onset, he had set such a high standard that even a little drop would see heckles rise.

In the recent past especially, we overlooked his great deeds and wrote that it was time he bid adieu. His own Mumbai crowd booed him in a moment of madness at a time when Sachin was struggling with form and injuries. Yet, we didn’t get any reaction from him except that he continued to bat on as if he was unaware of all the criticism hurled at him.

And at Mohali when he crossed Lara’s record and went on to make 88, Sachin in his inimitable style made his critics to eat their own words. It was typical of him to let his bat do the talking rather than get tangled into an unseemly war of words.

Looking back at his career, Sachin nearly made it to the Indian team on its disastrous tour of the West Indies under Vengsarkar in 1987-88. Sachin had made waves with his triple hundred in a Harris Shield schools tournament and also a world record partnership with his mate, Vinod Kambli. Many believed that Sachin was good enough to face the fearsome West Indian fast bowlers at that time, but wiser counsel prevailed and he was not included.

Full coverage: Australia in India | More cricket news

In 1987, when I was working in Bombay, some of my friends urged me to do a piece on Sachin. One of my colleagues said: “You got to watch this boy. He is an amazing talent and perhaps, we should do a feature on him.” I dismissed the suggestion thinking rather cynically that making runs in schools tournament was no big deal considering the quality of bowling. Till to date, I regret the opportunity that I missed.

So, what is it about Sachin that sets the entire country afire? The obvious reason I can think of is that he is living our dreams. After all, most of us nourished an ambition of playing for India, hitting the fast bowlers for fours and sixes, making a century and winning or saving a game single-handedly. Sachin did all of these and, going by his Mohali form, is not in sight of the finish line.

If I were to pick one flaw in Sachin’s personality, it is that he failed as a leader. Had he been successful in his two stints as India captain, it would have polished those little rough edges in his persona. But then, even a Bradman was denied of perfection that only lies in the realm of Utopia. I am sure, it would have pleased Sachin a great deal more had he shaped the team into a fighting unit, like Ganguly did after him.

Off the field, being a very private person and extremely sensitive to exposing his family to public glare, few really know Sachin the man. I have spoken to a few who have closely followed his career and life, but none could throw light on his family life, or rather, chose not to talk about it for reasons that are a mystery to me.

Perhaps, a day would dawn when Sachin decides to write an autobiography and I have no doubt, it would be a best seller, much like himself.

Dhoni continues to top ICC ODI batsmen ranking

Dubai: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni continued to top the batsmen chart in the Reliance Mobile ICC ODI rankings issued on Wednesday.

Dhoni, with 793 rating points to his kitty, is way ahead of Australian Mike Hussey (776) and South African Graeme Smith (764) who are at the second and third position respectively.

Full coverage: Australia in India | More cricket news

Dhoni's teammate Sachin Tendulkar is the other Indian in the top 10 list at the eighth spot with 724 rating points.

Smith, however, is eyeing second place in batting list as South Africa face Kenya in a two-match ODI series in Bloemfontein on October 31 and in Kimberley on November 2.

In the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers, Australia's Nathan Bracken heads the list with New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori in second spot and left-arm pacer Mitchell Johnson, another Australian, in third.

Comment: Adam Gilchrist and his True Colours | India favorites for Kotla Test

In the ODI championship table, India is in the fifth spot above Pakistan. India and New Zealand both have 113 points, but the Kiwis are on fourth position after recalculation upto two decimal points.

Australia (131) leads the table while South Africa (118) and England (116) are in the second and third positions respectively.

Gambhir accuses Australians of pressure tactics

Delhi: India's century-maker Gautam Gambhir on Wednesday accused Australia of resorting to pressure tactics to get him out on the first day of the third cricket Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla here.

Gambhir had run-ins with spinner Simon Katich and medium pacer Shane Watson. First he had an exchange of words with Watson when the all-rounder got in his way of taking a second run. Gambhir elbowed him out, but insisted that it was not deliberate.

Full coverage: Australia in India | More cricket news

Gambhir then got into a heated exchange of words with Katich who, on his follow-through, came in Gambhir's way to prevent him from taking a single. Gambhir was furious and umpire Billy Bowden had to step in even as skipper Ricky Ponting and his deputy Michael Clarke ran in to pacify Katich.

"The way we batted, they had no other way and they were desperate to get me out. Under the circumstances it was important for me to maintain my concentration," Gambhir told reporters after the day's play.

But the 27-year--old downplayed the incidents, saying that such things happened in international cricket and that the team management is not going to lodge any complaint with match referee Chris Broad. "It has been a hard fought series and such things are bound to happen," he said.

Comment: Adam Gilchrist and his True Colours | India favorites for Kotla Test

Gambhir's unbeaten 149 was his second consecutive Test century and also the first at his home ground. The Delhi batsman admitted that the 104 in the last Test in Mohali helped him to ease the pressure.

"My century in Mohali was very crucial. Before the start of the series, there was a lot of talk about my batting and I feel that century helped to take the pressure off me. I was playing at my home ground and I didn't feel any pressure."

Gambhir rated his century here better than the one at Mohali.

"In Mohali, the century came when we were already 200 runs ahead. But here I had to give a good start to the team and put runs on the board for the bowlers," he said.

Gambhir also said since Australian spinners, especially Katich, was able to get some turn out of the track, the job for him and the other Indian batsmen will be to put up a big score.

"It is still a good track to bat on. But as the match progresses, the pitch will crumble and there will be inconsistent bounce. So our target now will be to pile up a huge score for the bowlers so that they can take the 20 wickets," he said.

Ind vs. Aus 3rd Test Match: Australian Bowlers Puzzled in the Indian Conditions

Review : Day 1, Session 3 (post - tea break) of the Third Test Match of the 'Border - Gavaskar Trophy' between India and Australia at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, New Delhi.

Once again a good start by Australian Bowlers became a dismal performance by the end of the day. Kudos to the Indian batting line-up for firing for their Team after early set backs happened in the morning in form of Sehwag and Dravid.

Magnificent batting performance by talented youngster Gautam Gambhir with excellent support from the Master Blaster Tendulkar and the Classy VVS Laxman made the day for the Indian Cricket Team. Gambhir scored a very well crafted 149 n.o. on day 1; a innings which seemed to be well planned and executed as he played calm and composed innings till Tendulkar was going great guns in the middle and in the next phase Gambhir fired with wristy Laxman playing an unlikely innings today.

Laxman is unbeaten on a score of 54 with Team Indian ending the day with a cricket score of 296 runs for a loss of 3 wickets. The run rate never went down below 3 runs per over once Tendulkar went out to bat and got accelerated with Gambhir - Laxman partnership, who added 139 runs from 37.1 overs with a run rate of 3.73 runs per over.

Indian Dressing Room will surely see happy faces today and all will be charged up for one more day of kangaroo hunting tomorrow. Cricket360 feels proud as its estimate of Indian Team scoring 250 plus runs today for a loss of 3 wickets came true. The Cricket360 review for the first session of the day estimated those figures with an outlook of Indian Team getting on top in this Test Match with the achievement of the estimated figures.

Congratulations to Team India for a successful day of play and Cricket360 worries for the Aussies as the pressure in building on them. Aussies had a poor over rate in today and had 30 overs left to be bowled in the last 45 minutes of the play. Ponting had to bring in non-regular bowlers like Katich and Michael Clarke to take care of the over rate and take Australia out of one more poor show in India.

The Aussie bowlers were helpless once the early moisture dried up and they had a pitch like Mohali once again infront of them. Neither their strategies and studies on reverse swing helped them nor did the ‘Coaching Classes’ of Bishan Singh Bedi prove to be fruitful.

Start re-thinking or Cricket360 must say Aussies should go for a 'Cricket Process Re-engineering' before every Indian Tour.

Cricket360 will present a Cricket Special Review for the days play in a short time from now. Till then let us take a break and cherish the wonderful moments of the day with our friends through Cricket360 video chat and blogs.

Sachin upset by lack of respect for the seniors

Zeecric Bureau

New Delhi, Oct 29: Sachin Tendulkar finally opened his mouth in the whole ‘junior-senior’ debate that has been dogging Indian cricket for some time.

Taking a firm stand on the whole issue, the Master batsman, who has recently broke Brain Lara’s record to become the highest scorer in Test cricket, said the seniors including him would decide the place and time of their retirement.

“The seniors including myself will decide the time and place of retirement”, said Sachin.

In an interview to a private news channel, Sachin also said, “The lack of respect towards the seniors does not happen anywhere”.

"We all know when to move away from the sport. But people have their opinions. Sometimes these opinions are not correct. But still one is made to believe that yes this is the right opinion and all kinds.”

"I think this should be left to an individual. Having said this, we have played enough to know exactly when to move away from the game. The individuals will take their decisions when feel it`s the right time," said the batting maestro.

“It’s only in this country that not enough respect is shown to the seniors who made major contributions”, Sachin added.

Tendulkar thought there was not a single player in the team who believed that if he was not enjoying the game he would still stick around. "I don`t think there is a single individual like that in the team".

He also categorically said that he was surprised to learn Sourav Ganguly’s decision to quit cricket at this juncture of his career.

"I am sure it must have taken him a long time to reach there. And it`s a big decision. But if he feels that it is the way to go, then we all should respect," Tendulkar said.

Asked why he chose to skip the Twenty20 World Cup last year, Tendulkar said, "I felt my body was not up to it. I was struggling a bit with my body and If I am not able to give my best, I should not be a part of it. Because it is going to be a fast game and I don`t want to be those players inside where captain is trying to protect me from this and that."

"I wanted the team to go out there and give their best without thinking me as a sort of handicap for them and I felt I was not in a position to give my best. I don`t want the team to think about my injury but focus on how to get the cup back home," he said.

On the emotional aspect of playing in front of Mumbai crowd, he said, "That`s where I grew up and there are plenty of friends sitting in the stands and so it`s different. I can`t deny that I have got support from all over the country, got affection and love. But Mumbai is something different."

Tendulkar praised ODI captain MS Dhoni for possessing a balanced head and sharp mind.

"He got a balanced head on and off the field and I think he has got a sharp mind. His situational awareness is very good and that the quality that I noticed quite early in him."

Asked about his suggestion of Dhoni`s name when Rahul Dravid stepped down from captaincy, Tendulkar said, "I have never talked on this publicly. I conveyed to the president Mr Pawar at that time and also to Dilip Vengsarkar. I don`t believe in talking about certain things publicly.

He also does not think that his batting form dipped during his stint as India captain.

"It was media who projected it wrongly and if you go back and see my record as a captain I was averaging 51. It was projected as if I am not scoring runs. In some 20 games I have scored 700-800 runs and I averaged 51," he said.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Don't sell stocks in panic: Chidambaram

New Delhi, October 23: : Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday advised investors in equity markets to take informed decisions and not to act in panic.

"There is no reason for Indian market to go down just because the eastern markets are down...nobody should sell in panic," he said in New Delhi.

On the fall in rupee value, he said, capital is going out of the country because there are redemption pressure on FIIs back home.

Once these pressure eases, money will flow into the country in the form of ECB, FCNR, NRE.

Bishop suspended for adopting woman

In what is perhaps the first instance of its kind, Bishop John Thattunkal was suspended in Kochi for adopting a 26-year-old woman as per the civil law.

The adoption was opposed by priests and leaders of the Latin Catholic Church.

The suspension comes after an inquiry conducted by a three member commission. The Bishop will be out of office till the completion of the inquiry.

German girl rape case gets murkier

The mother of the 14-year-old German girl, who was allegedly raped by cabinet minister Babush Monseratte's son, has now said her daughter was also physically abused by PWD minister Churchill Alemao's nephew.

The mother, however, is yet to file an official complaint. Meanwhile, Alemao and his nephew have denied the allegation.

The new allegations were levelled by Fadela Fuch's lawyer, who claims that PWD minister Churchill Alemao's nephew Warren abused the 14-year-old.

Fadela Fuch's campaign for justice for her daughter is now becoming murkier. Her 14-year-old daughter may have been victim to more than one politically connected Goan.

Fuch' s lawyer has accused Warren, the nephew of Goa's PWD minister of sexually abusing the girl. This comes ten days after the police charged the son of Education Minister Babush Monserrate with raping the minor.

"I have verbally asked the Kalangut police to investigate Warren in this case," said Aires Rodrigues, Fuch's lawyer.

The mother still has to file a police complaint, however, Alemao has reacted with a hurriedly called press conference wherein he denied the allegations.

"I say these allegations are false," said Alemao.

The case threatens to drag out more skeletons from Goa's political establishment. But the police have faced a major stumbling block even in the Monserrate case as so far, the girl has not recorded her statement.

Vaiko arrested again for pro-LTTE speech

Tamilian first or Indian that is the question provocative politician and MDMK chief Vaiko had to answer on Thursday after being arrested for a speech that the government says amount to sedition.

The MDMK Chief has been booked for sedition and sent to the Puzhal Prison on the outskirts of the city. In his speech made last week, he threatened to lead an arms struggle in Sri Lanka
, which got him into trouble again.

"If you give arms to the Sinhalese to kill our Tamil brethren, will we not take up arms and if required I will be the first person to lead this," said Vaiko, general secretary, MDMK.

This is the second time Vaiko is being jailed for a speech supporting the Tamil Tigers. In 2002, Jayalalithaa was chief minister, who had ordered his arrest under POTA for a similar speech.

But Vaiko is unrepentant and says his stand that the LTTE is the sole representative of the Tamils, remains unchanged.

"We are second to none to defend the sovereignty and unity of India. At the same time, in the name of protecting the unity of Sri Lanka, if India gives arms support to them to perpetuate genocidal attacks, it is a betrayal of the Tamil race," said Vaiko.

Fab Four will be difficult to replace, says Jonty - ‘I’ve never seen an Aussie team let opposition off the hook’

Mumbai: Jonty Rhodes, cricket’s original fielding king, has acknowledged India’s domination of Test cricket following their comprehensive win over Australia in Mohali, but foresees challenging times ahead for the team when the Fabulous Four hang up their boots.

The former South African player, in the city on a promotional visit, said that he was surprised by the way Australians had played in the two Tests and that, perhaps, there were a few lessons from their defeat for India as well.

“The proceedings in Bangalore were an indication of what was to come in the second Test. I have never seen an Australian team get ahead and then fail to finish it off,” Rhodes told reporters at the Cricket Club of India.

“In the last 10 years of my career, I have seen that whenever the Australians get ahead, they close the door on the opposition.”

The 39-year-old Rhodes, who represented South Africa in 52 Tests and 245 ODIs, praised the Indian team, particularly the fast bowlers, but also pointed out the contribution of the senior players.

“India have been always a formidable team at home and of late they have been producing results on tours also. And the Fab Four are getting better with age like old wine,” he said.

“They are a solid team now. My only concern for India is their seniors. What happens in one year when they leave and there is a void? As Australia have showed, you can’t replace experience.”

Nevertheless, Rhodes was all praise for the India’s frontline bowlers, Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma.

“Indian fast bowlers are fast bowlers now. They are not there to take the shine off the new ball and make way for the spinners,” he said.

“Pakistan is known for producing genuine pacers who can do reverse swing. The Indians are getting that reputation.”

The man from Natal, who would soon be working alongside Sachin Tendulkar when he joins the IPL Mumbai team as fielding coach, was effusive in his praise of the Indian star who surpassed Brian Lara as Test cricket’s highest run-getter in Mohali.

“To have started at 16 and still be playing is an amazing effort. He has always scored runs, especially away from home, consistently. His record, both on and off the field, has been good. But I am not sure whether he would like me giving him the fielding drills,” he said with a mischievous smile.

Rhodes said the Indians should not go ga-ga over Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s captaincy.

“Dhoni has captained the team for four and half days and everything he touched has turned to gold. But he could have had the Test backfire. It depends on how consistent he is in the long run,” he said.

Gilchrist questions Tendulkar's honesty

FORMER Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist is set to further inflame tension between cricket's superpowers by questioning India's sportsmanship, singling out its most revered player, Sachin Tendulkar.

Gilchrist has implied that Tendulkar is a sore loser, and has questioned his honesty during last summer's "Monkeygate" affair that soured relations between the Australian and Indian sides.

In his autobiography, an extract of which appears in tomorrow's Good Weekend, he describes as a "joke" Tendulkar's evidence at an appeal over the episode, in which Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh was accused of calling Andrew Symonds a monkey. He said that when Tendulkar told the initial hearing that he could not hear what was said, he was "certain he was telling the truth" because he was "a fair way away".

But Tendulkar told the appeal that Harbhajan used a Hindi term that sounded like "monkey" to Australian ears. Harbhajan's suspension was quashed, infuriating the Australians.

"The Indians got him off the hook when they, of all people, should have been treating the matter of racial vilification with the utmost seriousness."

Gilchrist, considered one of the fairer players to represent Australia during its dominance, makes it clear he believes Harbhajan was guilty and says India's threat to abandon the tour was "a disgraceful act, holding the game to ransom unless they got their way".

He says there was a cultural difference in the way the teams approached the game. "In the Australian mentality, we play it hard and are then quick to shake hands and leave it all on the field. Some of our opponents don't do it that way. Sachin Tendulkar, for instance, can be hard to find for a changing room handshake after we have beaten India. Harbhajan can also be hard to find.

"I guess it's a case of different strokes for different folks."

The comments are certain to revive ill-will between the rivals, which are in the middle of another testy series. India has taken a 1-0 lead in the series this week, with tension bubbling over and Indian bowler Zaheer Khan fined 80% of his match fee for abusing Matthew Hayden.

The book also reveals the depths of Gilchrist's feelings about the malicious whispering campaign about his private life during Australia's 2002 tour of South Africa.

He describes how he received a telephone call from his manager telling him to turn on his laptop and check his emails.

One of them linked to a website that featured an anonymous email saying his recently born son Harry had been fathered by his former teammate Michael Slater.

"At first I thought it was a prank, and had a chuckle," Gilchrist writes in True Colours. But as he re-read the email, he "got a sick feeling in my stomach". He immediately called his wife, Mel, back in Australia, who was extremely agitated and had to be "calmed down".

Before taking the field in the first Test in Johannesburg, he spotted a huge banner reading: "Baby Gilly, who's your daddy?" Next to it, another sign read: "Slater, Slater."

"This was a disgusting thing to do," Gilchrist writes. "But my initial feeling wasn't outrage. It was more a vicious stab of paranoia. It set me thinking: 'Is the whole world talking about it behind my back? Are my teammates talking about it?' "

Gilchrist describes the rumour as "preposterous nonsense".

Slater agrees: "There was absolutely nothing in it." He said the website had to make a payout, but "that didn't heal the hurt".

By the time he batted, Gilchrist was "in a terrible state". Nevertheless, he went on to score 204 not out, racking up the fastest Test double century in history. "This was the first time I cried on a cricket field," he writes.

Tendulkar is a bad sport: Gilly

Former Australian vice-captain Adam Gilchrist is set to further inflame tensions between the two most powerful cricketing nations by questioning India's sportsmanship - singling out their greatest player, Sachin Tendulkar.

The retired wicketkeeper claimed the biggest difference between Australia and India was that his former teammates left hostilities on the field while many of their antagonists including Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh often snubbed their opponents.

The explosive claims in Gilchrist's autobiography, to be released next week, centre on the hostilities between the two cricketing powers last summer which escalated after the Indians claimed Australia had not played in the spirit of the game.

Gilchrist surprisingly hinted at tensions with Tendulkar, revealing he was "hard to find for a changing room handshake after we have beaten India", and questioned his honesty during the Monkeygate scandal.

He also continued the Australians' attack on off spinner Singh, who was accused of racism, and criticised both the Indian and Australian boards for their handling of the scandal, which he said drove "a stake through the entire summer".

Writing about the dramatic final moments of the SCG Test when the last two batsmen, Anil Kumble and Ishant Sharma, walked off without any Australians offering a handshake, Gilchrist said: "We went into the Indian changing room and shook hands.

"Not all their players could be found, which points to another subtle cultural difference. In the Australian mentality, we play it hard and are then quick to shake hands and leave it all on the field. Some of our opponents don't do it that way. Sachin Tendulkar, for instance, can be hard to find for a changing room handshake after we have beaten India. Harbhajan can also be hard to find.

"I guess it's a case of different strokes for different folks. But the criticism of us for not immediately shaking hands with Kumble and Sharma was unfair, and typified a moment when everything we did was wrong."

In his book True Colours, serialised in tomorrow's Good Weekend Magazine, Gilchrist also took aim at the Indian players and officials over the major scandal of the tour - Symonds's claims that Singh called him a monkey, which began after the off spinner patted Brett Lee on the backside as they passed mid-pitch.

Recalling the events of the day which seem to have tarnished the relationship between the nations, Gilchrist said: "The next thing I saw, Symo … said to Harbhajan something like, 'Don't touch him, you've got no friends out here."'

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mishra's five helps India dominate

Amit Mishra had to wait six years for his second call-up to the Test squad but the timing was nothing short of perfect and his performance the definition of heart. Handed a Test debut after Anil Kumble was ruled out by injury, Mishra, the 25-year-old legspinner from Haryana, picked up five wickets and spun Australia out for 268 to give India a 201-run lead. Shane Watson batted superbly for a career-best 78, the highest score in a disappointing Australian innings, but couldn't take his team past the follow-on mark. India chose not to enforce it, however, and their openers rattled off 100 in 23 overs, extending the lead to 301.

If India go on to win this Test their think-tank should pat itself on the back because the decision to play Mishra, plucked out of relative obscurity, paid off spectacularly. India bowled with determination and resolve through the day but Mishra was the pick of the lot. Short and stocky with an easy action, he bowled the ball slow and that earned him the massive wickets of Simon Katich and Michael Clarke yesterday. The remaining three came either side of a 73-run partnership for the eighth wicket between Watson and Brett Lee, and proved crucial in strengthening India's position.

India gained the early advantage by removing Michael Hussey in the first session, but Watson and Brad Haddin looked to be settling in when the persevering Harbhajan Singh struck. He bowled Haddin with an offbreak that went through the bat-pad gap before Mishra doubled India's joy by sneaking a googly through Cameron White. India were made to toil for over two hours during the one period Australia can claim to have dominated. Watson played a positive innings and remained in control throughout, timing the ball superbly through the off side. He leant into his drives and caressed the ball- six of his fours came on the off side.

Watson batted with composure despite the ball turning enough to beat the bat or strike the pad. He walked in after lunch on 39 with the responsibility of lifting Australia from 174 for 7, and was fortunate to be given not out by Rudi Koerzten, when the first ball of Ishant's post-lunch spell swung in and struck him plumb in front. With a couple to long-leg in the same over, Watson equaled his highest Test score of 41, and bettered it with a pull for six when Mishra dropped short. His fifty came with a cut behind point for four and the Australian dressing room voiced its appreciation.

Watson and Lee batted out the first hour after lunch, scoring 47 runs, and were nine minutes away from tea when Harbhajan was rewarded for tight bowling when Lee pushed hard and edged low to Rahul Dravid at slip.

Mishra was immediately called back into the attack, and he ended Watson's resistance on 78, trapping him on the back foot with a slider. Soon after, the flight did it for Peter Siddle, who failed to get his back foot down before Dhoni completed a smart stumping. Mishra's 5 for 71 was the best return for an Indian bowler on debut since Narendra Hirwani's 8 for 61 against West Indies in 1988. Fittingly, the camera panned to a beaming Hirwani, now a selector, in the pavilion. Plenty had been written about India's persistence with two spinners, and Mishra stepped up commendably. He didn't get a lot of turn, but got enough, and his fearlessness to toss the ball up was refreshing.

Expectedly, Mahendra Singh Dhoni did not enforce the follow-on. Australia needed wickets but Ricky Ponting spread the field and started with one slip. Gautam Gambhir survived a vociferous leg-before shout off the first ball from Lee and opened up with a pleasing square drive. Virender Sehwag batted aggressively and received support from Gambhir who played a couple of superb drives either side of the pitch. India's 50 was up in 12 overs and, soon after, Siddle pitched the ball up and Sehwag slammed him over extra-cover. Sehwag's fifty took 68 balls and he promised much more on day four.

The day began with Australia in difficulty at 102 for 4 and ended with them facing the prospect of chasing a gigantic target.

(E)N-powered India races to the moon

Pallava Bagla
Monday, October 20, 2008 12:04 PM (Bangalore)

India having broken its nuclear shackles after getting its way with the nuclear deal inked, the country is now racing to reach its nearest celestial neighbor the moon. This will make India only the sixth country in the world to attempt a mission to the moon.

The country's maiden spacecraft to the moon, Chandrayaan-1, has been readied and is now being accommodated atop India's workhorse rocket the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the journey is all set to begin on the morning of October 22, from a nondescript island on the coast of the Bay of Bengal.

The Chandrayaan is not just a technological marvel from a country half the population of which lives below the poverty line but also an assertion of India's growing prowess as a regional superpower. "It is not a question of whether we can afford to go to the moon. It's whether we can afford to ignore it", explains Dr. K. Kasturirangan, Member, Rajya Sabha and Former Chairman, Indian Space Research Organization.

Chandrayaan-1 is a Maruti 800 car sized unmanned satellite that will orbit the moon for two years while mapping the resources of the moon like never before. The Indian mission is carrying the largest suite of instruments ever to be carried to the moon by any country in more than the half century of lunar exploration. That ISRO is all set to make history even as it steps out of the earth orbit for the very first time only shows that Indian scientists are second to none.

The satellite hides in its golden glory 11 different scientific instruments that will work in tandem to generate a complete three dimensional geographical atlas of the moon with a resolution of almost 5 meters. Till date, there exists only a sketchy atlas of the lunar surface even though twelve human beings have walked on the moon. The Indian mission hopes to map both the near side and the far side of the moon.

This US $ 100 million mission is going to be the most intense search for water that has ever been conducted on the moon. Several instruments are dedicated to unravel water that may be hidden deep inside the dark craters which are located around the lunar poles.

Finding water on the moon is a significant objective as humans hope to establish permanent colonies on the moon in the very near future and then may decide to use the moon as a staging point to go to Mars and other planets. Since without water there is no life, and carting water across 400,000 kilometers is expensive.

The Indian mission will also search for that magical element called Helium 3, a so-called panacea for meeting the earth's ever-growing energy requirements. Helium 3 could possibly feed into the futuristic nuclear fusion reactors and result in a clean source of energy.

Role Reversal

The nuclear apartheid may just have been removed, but this poor country of a billion plus people had agreed to provide free tenancy to instruments from several countries which had erected these unjust technology denial regimes against India. Chandrayaan is an Indian mission that has as many as 14 international partners.

Two instruments from NASA are being flown to the moon. Four more are being flown for European nations like UK, Germany, Bulgaria and Sweden. These partners are not paying even a single paisa for this 400,000 kilometer journey, being fully paid for by the Indian tax payer. Yes, the Americans, the Brits, the Swedes and the Germans are getting a free ride to the moon; in return they have to share the scientific data that they collect from the lunar surface with the Indian team.

In a way Chandrayaan is also an assertion of India's growing ambitions of geopolitics. One of the first tasks Chandrayaan has been assigned to conduct is to place the Indian flag on the lunar surface. This will happen when India deliberately drops a probe onto the moon surface, a feat that has not been attempted for the last 32 years. When that is achieved India would become the fourth country after Russia, America and possibly Japan to have placed their national emblems on the moon. This is being done so that in the distant future when lunar riches are shared India could well have a right over the moon.

If the moon is the first stepping stone the Indian space agency also has its eyes all set on several deep space missions which already include sending a small buggy that will move on the moon and analyze lunar soil by 2012, a project being conceived in collaboration with Russia for which the government has already sanctioned Rs 425 crores. A mission to study the sun, aptly called Aditya, is also being planned while missions to Mars and an asteroid are also on the anvil. Dr. G. Madhavan Nair, Chairman of ISRO emphasizes, "India cannot lag behind in access to space."

Taking Indians into space on indigenous Indian rockets being launched from the Indian spaceport of Sriharikota has not escaped the attention of the Indian space agency. ISRO feels it can undertake a manned spaceflight within eight years of a nod from the government but this would cost the exchequer upwards of Rs 10,000 crores. A newly energized India is now getting ready to assert its cutting edge capabilities in high technology and compete with the very best in the world.

India set Australia 516 for second test victory

By N.Ananthanarayanan

MOHALI (Reuters) - India set Australia a massive 516-run target for victory in the second test after the hosts declared their second innings closed midway through the fourth afternoon on Monday.

Led by opener Gautam Gambhir's 104, India raced to 314 for three before stand-in skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni opted to end the innings one hour after lunch.

Indian bowlers, who helped forge a 201-run first innings lead after dismissing Australia for 268, have four-and-a-half sessions to try and seize a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.

The visitors, meanwhile, will probably be content to just hold on for a draw.

Dhoni, who shuffled the batting order to keep the scoreboard moving, scored a breezy 68 not out after making 92 in the first innings.

Australia's bowlers toiled with little success on a dry and slow Mohali pitch where India scored 130 runs from 26 overs in the first session.

Left-hander Gambhir, who made his second test century, and fellow Delhi batsman Virender Sehwag piled on 182 runs for the opening wicket after India had resumed on their overnight 100-0.

Sehwag was dismissed for 90, edging paceman Peter Siddle to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin to miss out on a 16th test hundred on his 30th birthday. The aggressive opener, who survived a caught behind appeal on 88, hit eight fours from 122 balls in three hours.

Gambhir hit seven fours and one six facing 138 balls as both openers fell before lunch chasing quick runs.

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting spread out the field but could not really stem the flow of runs.

Brett Lee, who has been below his best in the series and needed two stitches on an injury to his right hand, removed Saurav Ganguly for 27 in his only spell of the second innings.

On Sunday, all rounder Shane Watson (78) and Mike Hussey (54) helped Australia score 268 as leg spinner Amit Mishra claimed 5-71 on debut to help India take a 201-run first innings lead.

The first test in Bangalore ended in a draw.

India PM to visit Japan and China to boost ties

By Rina Chandran

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Armed with a potentially lucrative civil nuclear technology deal, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Japan to push energy and trade partnerships and China for a summit of Asian and European nations this week.

India and the United States earlier this month signed a deal that will allow India to buy civilian nuclear technology for the first time in three decades, seen as bolstering its strategic clout in Asia.

Japan, which had supported India's inclusion in the Nuclear Suppliers Group despite strong local opposition over India's failure to sign nonproliferation accords, is keen to participate in the Indian nuclear energy market estimated to be worth around $27 billion over the next 15 years.

The two countries will be looking to boost trade, which is small compared with the flow between the fast-growing economies of India and China, and cementing what some analysts see as an alliance of democracies in Asia to counterbalance China.

India and Japan carried out military exercises last year along with Australia and the United States.

"India and Japan have shown they are serious about strengthening their relationship," said Lalima Varma, a professor at the Centre for East Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

"But there is still a lot of ground to cover on the economic front."

Singh is scheduled to meet Taro Aso, the new Japanese prime minister, during his visit from Oct. 21-23. Singh had last visited Japan in 2006. Japan's trade with India in 2007 was about 1.21 trillion yen ($11.8 billion), according to the Japanese finance ministry, slightly more than 4 percent of Japan's trade with China.

Japan's Hitachi Ltd and Westinghouse Electric, a unit of Toshiba Corp, will now compete with global giants including General Electric Co and France's Areva for a slice of India's nuclear energy pie.

Japan is also expected to invest in a dedicated freight corridor between Delhi and Mumbai, while Japanese financial services firms and automakers are stepping up their presence in India as regulations ease and to offset sluggish Western markets.

Japan's Daiichi Sankyo Co earlier this year acquired control of Indian drugmaker Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, and Indian firms are keen for a larger share of Japan's generic drugs market, the world's second-largest after the United States.

"Japanese industries will be keen to have more access to a growing market in India," said Kohei Shiino, deputy director at the international economic research division at Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO).

High import tariffs imposed by India on Japanese exports such as auto parts and steel products are a sore point, he said, but both countries may push for a free trade agreement.


Singh's visit to Beijing for the Asia-Europe Summit comes on the heels of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's visit there. Singh has called a China-India relationship an "imperative necessity" and has dismissed talk that India was ganging up with the United States, Japan and Australia against China.

Conventional wisdom is that India will act for the United States as a counterbalance to China, and the nuclear deal will mean China faces an emerging strategic competitor.

But India has resisted being drawn into a "China containment strategy", instead focusing on improving ties with Beijing, boosting trade and solving a long-running border dispute.

Meanwhile, India's nuclear-armed rival Pakistan is trumpeting its closer ties with China, with China agreeing to help Pakistan develop its civil nuclear power generation capacity as well as investing in a mega-dam and hydro-electricity project.

India, whose booming economy has brought New Delhi closer to Washington, has sought to forge common ground on issues such as climate change and energy security.

"Yes, there are irritants, but we want to engage with China and keep the dialogue going," Varma said.

PRESS DIGEST - Indian Business News - Oct 20

MUMBAI, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Indian newspapers carried the following stories in their print or Web editions on Monday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.


* The government may ease rules for more foreign direct investment to infuse more investments into the Indian economy.

* The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group is looking to buy out the Asian insurance business of American International Group (AIG) (AIG.N: Quote, Profile, Research). The asking price for AIG's wholly-owned arm has been pegged around $10 billion.


* Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL.BO: Quote, Profile, Research) fears that raising funds to buy equity in projects which would generate 6,400 megawatt of electricity in partnership with state governments will be difficult due to the current liquidity crunch. The company has plans to develop 8 units of 800 megawatts each.


* NTPC Ltd (NTPC.BO: Quote, Profile, Research), India's biggest power producer, has been told to keep away from nuclear energy and concentrate on its core business of thermal power generation. Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd will have a monopoly on nuclear power generation for at least another decade.

BUSINESS STANDARD ( * The Securities and Exchange board of India said it is keeping its options open on banning short sales. So far the market regulator has maintained that there is no need to ban short selling.

* The Reserve Bank of India is keeping close tabs on all remittances made by Indian banks. The central bank is now monitoring transactions every day. Banks normally report transactions fortnightly and monthly.

* Subscribers to direct-to-home satellite television will soon be able to switch operators without paying for a new set-top box that comes with every connection.


* Telecom operators will have to pay up to 50 percent higher licence and spectrum fee. The department of Telecommunications has decided to hike licence and spectrum fee by 1 percentage point.

($1= 48.88 rupees)

Looking for more information from local sources? has 25 sources. For details about our products, please call your local help desk. To find out more about Reuters visit (Compiled by Jasudha Kirpalani, Editing by Prem Udayabhanu)

PRESS DIGEST - India Commodity News - Oct 20

MUMBAI, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Indian newspapers carried the following stories in their print or Web editions on Monday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.


* The anticipation of a bumper soyabean crop, a major vegetable protein source in poultry feed, the poultry industry is heaving a sigh of relief as it hopes prices will cool during the festive season.


* With rising input costs and a bumper rice harvest which has dampened open market prices of rice, farmers in Haryana and Punjab are demanding an increase the minimum support price from the current 850 rupees to 1,500 rupees per quintal.

They also want a bonus of 100 rupees per quintal.

Looking for more information from local sources? has 25 sources. For details about our products, please call your local help desk. To find out more about ThomsonReuters visit (Compiled by Nandita Bose; Editing by Prem Udayabhanu)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

'Lord Snooty' Ganguly divided and conquered

MICHAEL KASPROWICZ was reading the Ahmedabad Mirror when he answered his phone. With a trigger-finger photographer in his face to capture unforgettable images of him eating breakfast, Kasprowicz turned his back on the intruder and cast his eye over the newspaper story entitled, Sourav Ganguly - tragic hero or devious villain?Fair and timely question. Ganguly is about to retire. Some will miss him. Others will tell him to scram. Cricketing historians are hurriedly trying to find the right pigeonhole for the most successful, divisive, annoying, agitating, brave, cowardly, noble, cheating - and downright confusing - Indian cricketer of modern times.

"He did have the knack of irritating you, grating you," Kasprowicz, who locked horns with "the Raj" on countless occasions, told The Sun-Herald between matches for the Mumbai Champs in the Indian Cricket League.

"There was the third Test at Nagpur in 2004. He requested a spinning wicket. The groundsman went against Sourav and made a good cricket wicket, hard with a bit of bounce, which suited our bowling attack more than theirs.

Ganguly was captain but Rahul Dravid walks out to do the toss. Adam Gilchrist was our captain. Ricky Ponting was injured. Gilly asked, 'What's happened here? Where's Ganguly?' Dravid says: 'Oh, who knows'?"

Ganguly not only skipped the toss. He threw the toys out of the cot, withdrawing from the game altogether. The hosts fell apart, losing by 342 runs to hand Australia their first series win in India since 1969.

"Sourav liked to play by his own rules," Kasprowicz said.

"Sourav's record, and what he did for his country as captain, is highly commendable. But he has alienated a few people. That's not just the Australian perspective. The Indians think the same thing."

Ganguly infuriated Steve Waugh by arriving late for the toss on four occasions in 2001. Waugh knew Ganguly was trying to annoy him. Annoyingly, he had to admit it worked. Former Australian coach John Buchanan said: "Sourav is … almost contradictory in everything he does.

"He is so skilful with his batting and bowling, yet so lacking in basic skills when it comes to fitness, running between wickets or ground fielding.

"He is a great tactician, yet makes many tactical errors. He is so courteous, yet so ignorant of basic human courtesies at times.

"He can be an inspiring leader, yet can be the wrong person to lead. He is a deep thinker of the game and issues but can be quite mystical and live in his own world." Ganguly's actions, as much as his aloof attitude, anger Australia. He once claimed a victory at a toss despite the coin falling Waugh's way. And celebrated a half-century by wiping his face with a red handkerchief, mocking Waugh's fondness of his own red piece of cloth.

But Waugh also admitted to a kind of begrudging respect: "I saw in Sourav a committed individual who wanted to inject some toughness and combativeness into a side that had often tended in the past to roll over and expose a soft underbelly," Waugh wrote in his biography.

Ganguly was dubbed "Lord Snooty" while playing county cricket. Once, upon reaching his 50, he raised his bat to the home balcony at Glamorgan. It was empty.

Ganguly can have his Kolkata mansion, billions of rupees, 111 Tests and 7000-odd runs and counting, and the record as India's most successful Test captain … his biggest accomplishment has been getting up the noses of a team that succeeded in getting up the noses of everyone else - Australia.

ICL issue ICC warning

15 hours ago

The Indian Cricket League has issued an ultimatum to the International Cricket Council to resolve the issue of recognition by November 4 or face legal action.

The ICL has been banned by the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the ICC have also refused to recognise the Twenty20 league.

The BCCI initiated talks with the ICL earlier this week but they lasted barely 20 minutes before breaking down and BCCI president Shashank Manohar is due to submit a detailed report to the ICC.

In a letter to ICC president David Morgan, Subhash Chandra - the chairman of Essel Group who own the ICL - claimed legal proceedings would be started against the ICC if recognition is not granted under Rule 32 of the ICC operating manual within 21 days.

The rule deals with authorised unofficial cricket.

"Mr Morgan, I would appreciate ICC's sincere efforts to resolve the issue without us going to the courts but it seems to me that ICC will have to take a decision in this regard and grant us approval under section 32 of the ICC charter, after expiry of 21 days from October 14, which expires on November 4," Chandra wrote, according to the Times of India.

"I request you to call a Board meeting of ICC and communicate to us a decision by closing of the week of November 7.

"Alternatively, we will have no option but to initiate legal proceedings in the appropriate court of law."

In his letter, Chandra alleged that the BCCI would deal with him on the condition that he left the ICL.

"This was a no-brainer for me to respond negatively, as we have an obligation towards more than 500 players and other staff working in the ICL. I cannot just desert them or hand them over to someone."

Champion's story not over yet

Sachin Tendulkar reached a beautiful cricketing crescendo on Friday afternoon. And no sooner did he edge past Brian Lara's world record, Tendulkar
, like he usually does, looked to the heavens to seek his late father's blessings. As the firecrackers went up and the stands erupted into frenzy time stood still for those fleeting moments.

To be sure, in his nineteen years of cricketing pilgrimage Tendulkar has been living a dream for an adoring nation. Brian Lara, of course, scored those runs in lesser number of Tests while a certain Viv Richards was almost always pleasingly brutal. Yet, what makes Tendulkar's record memorably distinct is the fact that for almost two decades he has been the signature of Indian cricket, carrying the burden of expectations of a billion people on his shoulders.

At the peak of his prowess, India was a 'One-man' team. Again it's hardly surprising that Shane Warne, arguably the best spin bowler to have played the game, has Tendulkar heading the roll call of excellence in his list of 100 best cricketers. To most of his passionate fans, to see him grace the batting crease is akin to see the sun rising everyday. Even his walk to the wicket, which is celebrated with wild cheers from the packed stands, is a spectacle in itself.

Those who know Tendulkar as a mere cricketer may find his fawning over by the Indians quaintly amusing. However, to understand that you have to be both a cricket lover and an Indian. There are things about him more than his cricket that we admire. He is successful but not drunk on success. He is rich but not arrogant about his riches. At the height of his success, when he can order the world upside down, he remains a dignified champion.

All along Tendulkar has inspired a generation of cricketers. When he speaks, a nation listens in rapt attention, likewise when he is on a song fans watch in sheer amazement. He has grown up so fast, and is also ageing gracefully, before our eyes. For someone who started off as a shy cricketer, his interviews are rare but, of late, never short of depth and wisdom. Some time back, when asked about this change, he said, "Maybe it's a sign of growing up."

He always extends his warmth whenever his friends go through tough times. Likewise he is always respectful of the elders. More importantly, he also reaches out to the handicapped kids and supports the underprivileged with their education without making a song and dance about it. He is that kind of a person. And over the years, he hasn't changed one bit. Seldom have personalities occupied our personal mind space like that.

Winning a World Cup is probably the only thing he hasn't achieved in his magical career. And it's this inner desire that will give him the strength to go on till 2011 when India hosts the next World Cup. The Tendulkar story is not over yet. It has a few volumes still to be published.

Stop military aid to Sri Lanka: DMDK

Special Correspondent

— Photo: K. Pichumani

GREETING CADRES: DMDK president Vijayakant at the party’s youth wing rally in Chennai on Saturday.

CHENNAI: The Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam, led by actor Vijayakanth, has urged the Centre to stop any direct or indirect military assistance to the Sri Lankan army.

In a resolution passed at a youth rally here on Saturday, the DMDK called upon political parties in the State that are part of the Congress-led UPA to withdraw support to the government.

A resolution adopted at the party’s youth wing conference accused the Sri Lankan government of denying food and medicine to innocent Tamils who were being targeted in the name of military offensive.

“They have become refugees in their own country. They are not even able to bury the bodies of those killed in the war.”

The resolution urged the Centre to send food and medicines through the Red Cross or the United Nations.

Another resolution termed the Re. 1 a kg rice scheme a ploy to divert people’s attention from the steep increase in prices of essential commodities.

The AIADMK and the DMK had failed to formulate schemes to augment power supply in the State.

They had never acted with any farsightedness, the resolution said.

The conference called upon the youth to take a pledge against dowry, violence and terrorism.

Earlier, Mr. Vijayakanth viewed the rally from a specially-erected dais near the Munroe Statue on Anna Salai. The Island Grounds, venue of the conference, was bursting at its seams.

Job Fair evokes good response

By Team Mangalorean Bangalore

BANGALORE October 18, 2008: The Job Fair organized by the Karnataka Government has evoked a good response on the first day and 700 candidates registered seeking jobs.

Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who inaugurated the two-day Job Fair, called upon the educated youth to utilize an opportunity to get jobs. The Labor Department conducted the programme for providing jobs to candidates of industrial training institutes of the state. About 100 industrialists participated in the fair. The fair would be concluded on Sunday.

The State Government has decided to organize similar fairs at the district and taluk levels and in November and December the job fairs will be held in Hubli and Gulburga respectively, the chief minister said. A sum of Rs. 25 crores had been released for conducting h job fairs and creating facilities for providing training to the job seekers. The authorities would be instructed to hold jobs fairs in all district headquarters before 30 March 2009, Mr. Yeddyurappa said.

The Government had committed to generate 10 lakh jobs in the next five years. A Skill Development Corporation has been created which will take steps to enhance the employability skill levels among the educated youth, Mr Yeddyurappa said.
Mr.Yeddyurappa also launched the job hotline 080-600-12345 and a website 

The Government has also an agreement with five different industries giving effect to the training and employment process to over 30,000 youths.

Labour Minister B.N. Bachche Gowda said the countrys top companies including Infosys, Maruthi Udyog Limited, L&T and many other firms are participating in the job fair. There were 958 Government and private Industrial Training Institutes functioning in the state and about 90,000 trained youth were coming out every year.

A large number of graduates and diploma holder in various industrial grades from Gulburga, Raichur, Gadag, Hubli, Bidar, Dakshina Kannada and other districts had queued up before the counters to register their names.

Skills Commission

Karnataka Government today has formed the 'Skills Commission' to provide training to ten lakh youth in the next five years and empower them with skills to take up suitable employment.

This year's budget provided Rs 25 crore for skills development programmes and an additional Rs ten crore would be made available in the supplementary budget, the statement added.

CM welcomes Centres decision

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa today welcomed the Centre's decision on holding a joint survey of the controversial Hogenekkal Project, across River Cauvery, undertaken by the Tamil Nadu Government.

Speaking to newspersons on the sidelines of 'Job Fair' organised by the State Labour department here, he said, the truth will come out and Karnataka which had objected to the project will be vindicated. Stating that for the first time the Centre had acknowledged the Karantaka's concern over the project by agreeing to hold a 'Joint Survey,' the Chief Minister said the State would extend all co-operation for Centre's initiative on the issue.

The Karnataka Government had raised an objection over the project contending it was being built in the area belonging to it. It had also petitioned to the Centre seeking a joint survey and also the details of the Rs 1,240 crore project.

Man of the masses

Today, in commercial Tamil cinema, Hari is one director the trade salutes. A look at the career graph of this low profile mass film maker, whose

Seval with Bharath is due for release this Diwali, shows why he is considered a safe bet by producers.

In the last six years, he has dished out eight films, out of which one has been a blockbuster, two have been super hits and three have been hits.

Hari is a producer’s dream as he sticks to his budget and completes the film in less than 75 days. All his producers have made table profit on his films.

Says M A Jinnah, a leading distributor and producer of Seval, “Hari is the safest bet in Tamil cinema. He has an awesome strike rate at the box-office and is one of the few directors today who makes films for the masses, catering to the B & C segments of the market. Did you know that Seval was sold out in all areas, even before the shoot was completed?”

What makes Hari’s films tick at the box-office? His films always have short titles which the common man easily understands and uses in his daily life. Some of his catchy titles are — Ayya, Thamizh, Saamy, Kovil, Aaru, Vel and now, Seval. Hari says, “I want my films to reach across to the masses, and the titles are very important. It should be taken from common usage in our daily life, easy to remember and should have reach.”

After he registered the title Seval and his next film Singam, two superstars approached him and told him they wanted the title for their films! Hari refused even though they offered him priority dates for a future project.

“My films work because of their title value, story and racy screenplay. For me, story and presentation are more important than the star. Of course, stars help my films to get a good opening but ultimately, it is the story and presentation that bring in the audiences in villages and small towns,” is Hari’s matter-of-fact explanation on how possessive he is about his titles.

Most of his films are set in village milieu and shot extensively in the Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Kanyakumari belt. The characters and situations like caste wars, politics and ambience, have the south Tamil Nadu flavour.

His films are always about good triumphing over evil and his heroes are always larger than life. The man’s movies reek of heroism and have a lot of sentimental elements such as annan-thankachi pasam (the affectionate bond between a brother and sister), a hero introduction mass song and a melody plus crass comedy and mass fight scenes.

Hari is proud about the way he makes his films. “My films are sugar-coated family entertainers strictly for mass consumption. My theory is that the audiences should cry, laugh, enjoy and feel good at the end of the film.”

For a man born and brought up in Chennai, he understands the pulse of the people in villages. Says Hari: “I grew up in Chennai, but I could understand the mass audiences because my father and mother are from a village near Tirunelveli and during our vacations, we used to go there and mix with all our relatives.”
The people in the trade are saying Seval may emerge as the dark horse this Diwali.

Concludes Hari: “Seval has shaped out well. I have not tinkered with my formula; the story and screenplay are the strength of the film. Bharath has done a good job as he carries the film on his shoulders.
Simran is the pivot around which the story revolves. GV Prakash’s music, especially the melodious Thulasi Chedi, is already a chartbuster, It has all the fireworks associated with a mass entertainer.”

Government committed to improve infrastructure in the country


The Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Thiru T.R. Baalu has said that the Union Government is committed to improve the infrastructure of the country to meet the growing needs of the economy. Presiding over the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ennore Port Ltd and Nissan Motor (India) Pvt Ltd for export of Cars through Ennore Port in Chennai today, Thiru Baalu said that the country’s economy is poised to take a great leap and to give the economy a big boost, Government has planned to give an impetus to infrastructure development.

He said that over Rs. 20,00,000 crore (20 lakh crore) would be invested during the five years of 11th five year plan for the infrastructure development out of a total investment of over Rs. 36,00,000 crore (36 lakh crore) which is 56.4% of the total investment.

Thiru Baalu said that the Department of Shipping has launched the National Maritime Development Policy (NMDP), which has put the port sector in India in an overdrive mode during the past 4 years. He said that the capacity of major ports stood at 384.5 million tonnes in March 2004 and it has leaped forward to 532 million tonnes as on March 2008, representing a 36% growth in capacity in the last four years. Likewise, the traffic through the major ports went up from 344.79 million tonnes in 2003-04 to 519.23 million tonnes in 2007-08, registering an impressive growth of 51%, the Minister added.

He informed that the NMDP comprises of 387 projects involving a total investment of Rs.1,00,339 crores (approximately US $ 21 billion). Out of this, Rs.55,804 crores (approximately US $ 12 billion) is for the Port sector and the balance Rs.44,535 crores (approximately US $ 9 billion) is for the Shipping and Inland Waterway Transport sectors with the target of completion by 2011-12. Thiru Baalu said that Tamil Nadu’s Gross State Domestic Product (GDP) for 2007 is estimated at Rs.2,75,000 crore which comes to 9.50% per year and which is in line with the national growth of 9.08%. He said that keeping in view the pace of development in the State in last few years, as also the glorious maritime history, a total of Rs.13,284 crores has been allocated by the Department of Shipping, Government of India to Tamil Nadu for the development of the three major ports, namely, Ennore, Chennai and Tuticorin. This translates to around 23.80% of the total NMDP investments. Of this, Ennore Port’s share at Rs.6,466 crores alone is nearly half of that for Tamil Nadu at 11.59% of the NMPD allocation for the 12 Major Ports.

Commending the performance of the Ennore Port, which is the first corporate port of the country, the Minister said that though youngest, the Port has embarked on the ambitious programme under Phase-I of the NMDP to develop various projects at an estimated cost of Rs.2,700 crore. The total investment by private partners through the BOT projects is around Rs.1100 crore and apart from this, the Ennore Port is investing Rs.300 crore in connectivity and harbour deepening projects, the Minister informed.

He also commended the Ennore Port for taking up the major initiative to facilitate export of Cars in pursuit of which, the EPL and Nissan Motor (India) have signed an MOU today. He hoped that the project would be completed on time and the export of cars would commence immediately after commissioning of the Nissan’s upcoming Car Plant at Oragadam, near Chennai.

Thiru Baalu added that Ennore Port along with Chennai Port would be a catalyst in making Chennai the Detroit of Asia by facilitating seamless exports and imports, and it would be the Engine of industrial and economic development of not only Tamil Nadu but also its hinterland in the other Southern States.

Tamil Nadu raises voice for Wanni

Political parties and several organizations in Tamil Nadu have planned an agitation campaign to protest the ongoing military thrust by the security forces in the Wanni.

The protests will begin with a demonstration by film actors, producers and directors at Rameshwaram today. This will be followed by a human-chain campaign in Chennai on Tuesday, while two top Tamil actors-Kamalahasan and Rajinikanth will go on a token one-day fast on the same day.

Tamil Nadu’s political gimmicks

By Wilson Gnanadass
Commencing with an all party protest fast initiated by the Indian Communist party, the month of October had been a hectic one for the state of Tamil Nadu in India.

The protest fast was concerning the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils in the north.Besides, the Minister of Local Governance and Deputy Treasurer of the DMK, M.K. Stalin has also called for a human chain protest on Tuesday 21, in Chennai, against what he described as, ‘atrocities against the innocent Tamils in the north of Sri Lanka’.

Last week’s resignation of Raj Sabah member and daughter of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms. Kanimozhi , over the Tamil issue in Sri Lanka, has also been a significant event in the history of Indian politics.

In a significant move amid the growing momentum in Tamil Nadu, where Tamil party leaders are up in arms against the Sri Lankan Government’s decision to deal with the LTTE militarily, the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the leader of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam J. Jayalalitha also extended her support to a fasting campaign organised by the Communist Party of India (CPI).
In a letter addressed to the CPI General Secretary D. Pandyan, Jayalalitha indicated that her party extended, ‘wholehearted’ support to the success of the campaign.


Political analysts have been rather skeptical about the sudden transformation of Jayalalitha, who has been a long standing rival of the LTTE.
Her change of stance in this instance is viewed from a political platform, as a mere change to throw a challenge to her arch rival and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M. Karunanidhi.
In her letter, Jayalalitha has initially put pressure on the DMK led by Karunanidhi, by describing the all party meeting summoned by him, as a ‘drama’, while also boycotting the meeting.

In retaliation, Karunanidhi has now planned to organise the Human Chain protest on Tuesday 21.
Karunanidhi has told the Indian media that the agitation would demand the fulfillment of the demands including sending food and medicine to the displaced Tamil population through the International Red Cross Society.

He has also said that the Human Chain protest is expected to be a ‘massive protest’ that would express the sentiments of the entire population of the Tamil Nadu, since people from all the districts are expected to participate.

His rival Ms. Jayalalitha in a ridiculing statement has said that when Karunanidhi, should be in reality protesting against the Central Government for training Sri Lankan military and should be voicing his concern over the civilian population caught in LTTE areas, he was only demanding that the war be stopped.

It is clearly understood that Tamil Nadu, while becoming hyper-sensitive to this issue, is also divided by it, with both powerful politicians locking horns, and trying to gain some mileage from an issue that keeps burning several miles away from their homes.

Political gimmick

India is only about six months ahead of an election and political parties are already finding ways and means to make mountains out of molehills.
Questions are raised as to whether the military engagement of the Sri Lankan troops to fight the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), has been taken out of context by the Tamil Nadu political parties as their campaign slogan.

Many political analysts have confirmed that the issue raised by the Tamil Nadu is certainly a political gimmick as commonly described in Sri Lanka as ‘political gundu’.
However they (analysts) also argue that elections are all about issues and slogans and therefore come to the conclusion that this issue of the north east conflict, could from now onwards, be a serious matter in India.
In the history of politics, election gimmicks have brought many solutions as elections are fought on issues.

Serious queries are therefore raised as to whether the present campaign in the Tamil Nadu could lead to a permanent decision by the Indian government not to involve herself in the Sri Lankan war.
The lawyers in India from another platform are mounting much pressure on the Central Government saying the Centre should stop its military assistance to Sri Lanka.

Many Sri Lankan political analysts believe the Indian Government will at least react to this demand of the Tamil Nadu lawyers to restrict its involvement in the Sri Lankan war temporarily, until the heat settles down in the TN.

“Otherwise, the Indian Government will not exert overt pressure on Sri Lanka in her pursuit to crush the LTTE,” they opined.

Sudden upsurge

It has been seen that whenever civilians in the north-east became sandwiched between the LTTE and the Government troops, Tamil Nadu becomes politically active and aggressive.
The massive movements that had joined hands together today in Tamil Nadu in support of the LTTE, never existed when the war was on in 1995.

At that time, the then President Chandrika Kumaratunga, while fighting the LTTE, also offered a substantial political package that was far beyond even the 13th Amendment. However this did not materialise as the LTTE opted to fight.
Though only smaller parties in the Tamil Nadu have been supportive of the LTTE, and had been raising sporadic concern about the north east situation, bigger parties have never joined them in the past. This was because successive Sri Lankan Governments had placed before the people a package to solve the north east crisis. This method however did not weaken the LTTE.

The present Government under President Mahinda Rajapaksa has for the first time taken a different approach – to deal with the LTTE militarily until they are weakened and then pursue negotiations.
The President’s approach to a political settlement has also not so far been successful due to the time factor.

The All Party Representative Committee (APRC) that was appointed to find a solution has unfortunately not completed its target, thus giving the impression to the outside world that the incumbent government is only hell bent on finding a military solution.

However, the delay in finding a political solution has raised concern and suspicion in the minds of the people living in Tamil Nadu. They believe, if LTTE is eliminated the Tamils will have no representation: a claim, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has already refuted to the international community.
In his statement to Parliament as well during his recent visit to Australia, Bogollagama clearly stated that the LTTE did not represent the Tamil community.


The reaction of the Sri Lankan Government has been noteworthy. The Government has said that it has taken serious note of the message that was sent by the Indian Premier Dr. Manmohan Singh that it was both concerned and unhappy at the plight of the Tamil civilians in the north, where armed forces are locked in battle with the LTTE.

The Government also maintains that India has been to a great extent misled by LTTE propaganda, and has said that civilian casualty had been kept at minimum.
Having said this, the Government has also informed India that military offensive against the LTTE would continue, while at the same time it will take every measure to protect the civilians.

To Constitution Affairs Minister D.E.W.Gunesekara the Indian factor in relation to the national question has two aspects; one is the Tamil Nadu politics and the other is the Geo politics.
He says the Tamil Nadu factor arises because of the close links the Tamils of the north have with the Tamils of the Tamil Nadu. He says whatever takes place in Tamil Nadu has a spill over effect in the north of Sri Lanka.

In this instance, he says that when the LTTE is isolated or cornered, nationalist feelings do arise in the Tamil Nadu, and the pro LTTE elements in the Tamil Nadu are bound to exploit this situation.
He pointed out that this development was taking place on the eve of the Lok Sabah elections, and the two major parties in the TN who vie for power are engaged in a fierce competition to woo the Tamil voters.

“At this juncture when some elements go to India and say that many Tamils are killed and isolated then obviously political parties become very concerned. But the Indian government for the last two decades has been very fair. Even after Tamil Nadu’s pressure, the Centre, while expressing concern, had only requested the UPFA Government to expedite a political solution,” he said.

India’s own problems

India is also engulfed with several issues that are yet to be ironed out.
India has enough problems with her neighbour Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.
Understandably former Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharaf and the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh almost came to an agreement on the Kashmir issue, but Musharaf’s exit has again kept the issue alive, with both countries continuing to frown upon each other.

Besides, there are other problems that are still not answered. Within the country, there is a religious conflict that is raising its ugly head in India. Several churches have been damaged and preachers killed.
Therefore, it is unlikely that India would overtly exert pressure or directly interfere in the Sri Lankan conflict at present.

Tamil Nadu’s blunder

While fittingly raising the issue about the war in Sri Lanka, the Tamil Nadu has however failed to hit the nail on the correct place.
The concerns about the northern war have raised much suspicion about the Tamil Nadu’s sympathy to the LTTE.
Why, for example, did Karunanidhi, while insisting that the Sri Lankan Government should stop all forms of military operations against the LTTE, also not use the same fingers to point at the LTTE for taking several thousands of civilians hostage?

This has annoyed Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF ) leader V. Anandasangari who says the Indian Government has no business to tell the Sri Lankan Government to stop the war.
He explained that while the Indian concern for the civilians cannot be ignored, the Indian pressure to stop the war against the LTTE can easily be ignored.

Instead, he argued that the Tamil Nadu could have mounted pressure on the Centre to exert similar pressure on the Sri Lankan Government to throw a political package that would ultimately find a solution to the crisis. “I wonder why the Tamil Nadu has failed to do this?” he queried.

According to Anandasangari this is where the suspicion has arisen. He charged that this went to prove the Tamil Nadu’s sympathy to the LTTE, and not to the Tamil people, who today are displaced.
He also said that the TN should have exerted equal pressure on the LTTE to let the people find their own way to safety.

“Why is the LTTE holding on to the people? The people are being used as human shields. Why is that the Tamil Nadu could not take up this issue, and mount pressure on the Centre for a speedy action?” he asked.

He also accused all the Tamil Nadu politicians who today are crying foul, for making ‘unnecessary statements’ without paying a single visit to the north east or even to Colombo.
“Have any of these politicians who are shedding tears visited Sri Lanka? Do they know the actual problems in the country? Do they know the actual killers in this country? Without knowing all this, they are just shouting,” he said.

UNP frowns

The main Opposition United National Party (UNP) has so far not taken any decision regarding the Indian pressure, but will meet tomorrow to discuss this issue.
However, UNP sources have questioned as to what happened to the deadline given for the war by the Government.

“If the Government had stuck to the deadline then the war would have been over by now. The Government promised to bring Pirabhakaran’s head. Where is the head now?,” the source queried.
The UNP’s stance is that the Government while fighting the LTTE, should ensure the safety of the civilians.

The party is opposed to the Government’s restriction on the Opposition politicians, the media and the aid workers to move into the Vanni.
“This is why we say there is no transparency in this war. We do not know what is happening. The Tamil Nadu is obviously concerned about the people because nobody knows the truth,” UNP sources pointed out.

The plight of civilians

Mere rhetoric will not suffice to meet the immediate needs of the innocent civilians who today, are undergoing immense hardship in the Vanni.
Nearly 200,000 are already displaced according to official figures. With the war escalating on the one hand, ensuring a smooth food supply to the Vanni is also becoming a difficult task for the Government.
However according to the respective Government Agents from Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya, the Government has so far managed to send food to the civilians to ensure they are fed.

Last week 50 lorry loads of food stuff returned to the base in Vavuniya due to the ongoing war.
Majority of the people have taken refuge under vehicles and under the trees in the jungles.
In Dharmapuram alone over 180 people have been bitten by poisonous snakes. This includes a 13 year old girl who succumbed to a snake bite last week.

Dharmapuram is a small village in Kilinochchi infested by poisonous snakes. There used to be a lot of ant hills in Dharmapuram and snakes had taken residence in these ant hills. But when people began to cultivate land and started using chemical and fertilisers, the snakes disappeared.
However due to lack of cultivation during the past several years following the on going war, this village has again become the home for snakes, and the snake population has multiplied.
The people who are forced to take refuge in this village are thus bitten by snakes daily.

No solution to IDPs

It is no secret that in any military confrontation there is bound to be Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and that until the confrontation is over there cannot be any solution to the IDPs.
This is why the civil society is calling on both the Government and the LTTE to find a solution to the conflict expeditiously.
In fact, the invitation extended to the LTTE by President Rajapaksa to lay down arms and come for peace talks, is a positive sign for ultimate peace in Sri Lanka.