Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dhoni Out, Kohli In

The king is dead, long live the King.

Full on disclosure: I am a Dhoni fan. So while I am trying to be objective, it might inherently be biased.

A lot of blame has been put on Dhoni for being a defensive captain. I would suggest that a team that does not have the ability to pick up 20 wickets in a test match cannot talk of being aggressive. I believe Dhoni put the team's interest front and center and not his personal ambitions. Who wouldn't want to have wins against his name. Take the Adelaide game. Everyone is gung-ho about Kohli's aggressive attempt to win the test match. Consider what he had to lose: If India won, he would have firmly staked his claim on captaincy and won the admiration of billion(s) of fans with his win overseas. If he lost, oh well, he was the standby captain anyways. Imagine if we were able to draw the match. Do not get me wrong, we should have gone for the win. But there was a stage where we are at the middle order and reaching the target seemed a tall order. This is where Kohli should have dug in his heels and played for a draw. The greatest standard of captaincy is to be aggressive, yet flexible (and practical). Kohli's famous declaration that the thought of playing for a draw did not even enter his mind is not a strength but a hint of weakness. He has preconceived notions of how the match will progress and does not want to course correct on the way.

Seeing him play his game, I believe Kohli is playing for himself. Yes, captaincy (and responsibility) brought out the best in him. But the bigger challenge for a captain is to bring out the best in the team. Can he do that? Example: Yes - Rahane and Kohli had a great partnership in the 1st innings for the 3rd test at Melbourne, but it was amply clear that Rahane was very disturbed with the developments in the middle of the field. Also, for a boisterous Aussie team that was subdued by the loss of their own, this jarring sledging and posturing could have been avoided.

Finally, Dhoni's retirement: Lot of critics are questioning his resignation from the long form of the game in the middle of the series. But isn't it true that he has given Kohli another chance at captaincy in a already decided series with very little but pride to play for. He could have continued under Kohli's captaincy but as a man who gives his fullest, it might have some conflicting and disastrous consequences playing under the captain (in waiting) who wants it all.

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Nouveau Bermuda Triangle

Is the south east asia sea waters becoming the new bermuda triangle. It seems to be too much of a coincidence that the 2 flights (MH370 & QZ8501) that disappeared in almost similar fashion. Is there some other sinister explanation. At least in case of QZ8501, there seems to be some communication from the cockpit asking for a diversion. But then, how can we lose 2 airplanes over the same area in a span of 9 months.

The last thing on the mind of the families of victims are sensationalism and some conspiracy theories and this is not an attempt to do that. I just wonder aloud if anyone took at any other recent disappearance of vessels (airborne or sea worthy) in the last couple of years to find a trend.

My condolences and sympathies with the families of the passengers and the crew of the 2 flights in question.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Modi/Shah's game plan

There seems to be a lot of bad press about Modi's focus on elections rather than on governance. But there is a logic to this focus. In our system of governance, while the BJP has full majority to push its agenda (hopefully an agenda of development and integrity) in the lok sabha, it cannot pass the Rajya Sabha in a partisan environment. So Modi's focus on "conquering" the states in aimed, I assume, at beefing up the strength in the Rajya Sabha eventually. This would give him a virtual free hand in pushing his agenda (of reforms) forward without any hindrance.

So while I am no die-hard Modi fan (though I do not see him putting a step out of place so far), I do think the country should give him the benefit of doubt for the next five years.

Also, the exit polls seems to indicate a loss to Modi (& BJP) in J&K. By no means do I believe the vote share and the seats (as predicted by the exit polls) a loss. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if these exit polls are setting the stage for raising some "poll violations" if the BJP does indeed win more than the predicted seats.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Changing views on NDTV - Coverage on "Bad Taliban, Good Hafiz Saeed?"

I have been an ardent follower for NDTV. I believe they were one of the most neutral and intellectual media house. I have started changing my views in recent times due to the involvement of Barkha Dutt in the Radia tapes episode. But even more so, their coverage of the national elections 2014 (and the lead up to that) was very colored and biased. The final straw came today: Yes, I blame Pakistan for most of the external issues in India. I blame Pakistan to be sponsorers of terrorism. I blame Pakistan for giving shelter to criminals like Dawood Ibrahim and Hafeez Saeed. But....a day after the terrible incident in Peshawar, the way that Nidhi Razdan went after Asma Jahangir and Tariz Azim, it was in a very bad taste. It was a day for tough questions but those questions were better raised from within Pakistan. It was a day for introspection in Pakistan. Nidhi conveniently kept saying that she is not pointing fingers while doing exactly that. The day for external intervention could have come later. Let the country grieve and we should share that grief as human beings given the victims were young innocent children. But on this day, by crying hoarse and raising a stink about the sins committed by Pakistan as if that somehow justified what happened in Peshawar was unpardonable. Pranoy sir, I have a lot of respect for you but I think it is time you cleaned the stables. Mani Shankar Aiyar and Nalin Kohli were both almost apologetic for the direction that the program had taken.

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