Friday, January 23, 2004

Republic day terrorism

Every year since the early 80s, the first indications that the Republic/Independence Day is around the corner are news items about capture of terrorists who plan to disrupt the celebrations.

Interesting thing is that there's no follow up - ever. Or to put it more accurately, I haven't read about any followups. Are these "fake encounters"? Are these stories fabricated? It's hard to imagine, that year after year twice a year, these guys - usually from the flavor-of-the-day terrorist group - plan these attacks and then get arrested.

If it's true, it means that our law enforcement folk get extra-vigilant during this period. In which case they should figure out a way to remain this vigilant all thru the year! If it's not, then someone must out this scam asap.

An onion a day...

If you still haven't, you must check out Borowitz Report. It's like the onion, but there's one served every day. And it's funnier than Jay Leno + Letterman put together.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

The imagination boggles: Akram is India's bowling coach

The Indians are turning into the Lakers of cricket - buying the best talent from all over. But I think having Akram coach the bowlers takes the cake. The Indian pace bowlers have done very well all through this tour of Australia, pretty much without any top flight experience. Obviously, they've had a lot of good coaching available to them. Money can buy everything!

Sunday, January 18, 2004

The only way to be PC is to remain silent

A bunch of us were invited to a friend's place for lunch today. While the hosts were busy in the kitchen, I took the TV remote control in my hand and asked the other guests "Gosh! Isn't this thing ugly?" Everybody was "Aww..." They were all in agreement, mind you; but apparently I had said the unspeakable.

Last night we were at another friend's bachelor bash. We were teasing him. They were asking him, "How tall is she?" So I piped in and asked "What does she weigh?" Again "Aww..." I'd spoken the unspeakable. They were asking "What does she look like?", "What's her skin color?" And I asked "Is she plump or thin?" Again the same "Aww...."

The secret of success in modern cricket is...

... Experience. Boring as it sounds, it seems like to be the only differentiator between cricket teams today. Modern cricket is a thoroughly analyzed sport, like most others. There isn't much left to chance or "talent". The surprise element is usually afforded briefly by a new player who is very quickly absorbed and clinically "taken apart".

It seems to me that the new formula for success is:

The Aussies under Allan Border figured out the value of sticking to the same teams/coaches/trainers for long stretches of time. Combined with their superior training regimen, they became a significant force in cricket. This also explains the coming of age of the Indian team - literally. Sri Lanka has also put a similar system in place with great success also. South Africa was also chugging along just fine with the formulaic approach until the Hansie Cronje scandal upset the apple cart. Pakistan, on the other hand, keep throwing up so many new and talented youngsters... they are the the team with the biggest "surprise element" in cricket today. New Zealand follows the formula, but they just don't play as much cricket as the others and are also going to suffer as a result.

Given the successful entry of Michael Clarke and Brad Williams, it seems like Australian cricket will be fine for years to come. Pakistan needs to put this formula into place, since they are never seemingly short of talent in either the bowling or the batting departments.

This assertion can be statistically proven with sufficient data... hmm...

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