Monday, March 31, 2008

Chennai test ends in a dull draw

The first test match between India and South Africa ended in a dull draw with the visitors on 331/5 when the play was eventually called off. Except for some great induvidual performances this match was truely one of the most forgettable games in recent times. The only silverlining was provided by Sehwag's great triple hundred. The innings in itself was great but the way he scored those runs was exceptional.

The Indian team would be really dissapointed the way this test match turned out. Every team would want to put the visiting team to their toughest test in their first test match on the tour but we decided to give them a great batting practice. SA batsmen gained more in this test match than the Indians. With centuries from Mckenzie, Amla and half centuries from others in their top order SA batsmen will be really confident ahead of their second game in Ahmedabad.

The pitch in Chennai was really dissapointing as it provided no help to the bowlers, fast and spin alike. The batsmen from both the teams enjoyed great success as it became difficult for the bowlers to dislodge them. This isnt a great advertisement for test cricket when the Twenty20 is ruling roost in this country. After a wonderful series against the Aussies, this was really a dampner on the games oldest format. Hopefully the Ahmedabad pitch will provide some interesting tussle between bat and ball.

The Indians have some injury concerns ahead of the second test with Sachin Tendulkar being the noteable absentee. India have recalled Mohammed Kaif to replace him but I am afraid he will lose that spot to Yuvraj. For some reason Yuvraj seems to have lot of backing from his team mates and keeps getting chances even though he is very inconsistant in this form of cricket. India could afford to miss Sachin for a home game. In the bowling department RP Singh seemed to be unfit in the first game and looked very ineffective. India would be hoping that Ishant Sharma recovers from his injury. RP singh can have a little bit more time off to make sure that he is completely fit.

India would be hoping that the second test is played on a better surface and will produce some interesting cricket.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Why do tamil directors want to act?

Recently an article on a famous website stated that director Mysskin of Anjathe fame has decided to act as hero in his next movie. This is not new to Tamil cinema as we have seen Cheran, SJ Suryah, Thangar Bachan, Praveen kanth and Perarasu trying their luck in front of the camera. To be frank it has been a real torture for the audience to see them performing the lead roles in the movies. Recently Cheran expressed dissapointments on the comments from the media for sarcastically comparing him with Kamal Hassan. Why does Cheran want to become like Kamal? Cheran is not an actor, accepted that he is a very competant director but I think that his aim should be to become like a Maniratnam or a Balachander rathan than trying to become an actor like Kamal.

The Tamil directors for a long time now have underestimated the intelligence of the movie going public. People for sure dont want to pay money and watch perarasu delivering punch dialogues on a big screen. The work of a creator should remain behind the scenes and try to make people see them through the characters on the screen. The success of directors like Mani Rathnam, KB, Balu Mahendra, Bharadhiraja was based on their great screenplays and scripts which made the viewers appreciate them without them having to come on the big screen. So whats with this new trend of directors becoming heroes after couple of successes in the box office? I will never know the answer to that.

The fact that list keeps growing is a worrying factor for the tamil movie watchers around the world. Its not only the directors but now a famous song writer Pa.Vijay also has decided to act in movie as the male lead. We all can take the example of Sonu Nigam, who after couple of unsuccessful ventures decided to stick to his strength which is singing. As a fan of "Good" tamil movies it pains me to watch these directors trying to act.

Well unless and until these directors realise themselves that they are more of creators than actors we will not see the end of this fiasco.

Sehwag's triple breathes some life into the game

Sehwag remained unbeaten on a magnificent 309 (n.o) as records tumbled on the third day of the first test match between India and South Africa in Chennai. This was Sehwag's second triple hundred making him only the third in the history of test cricket after the legendary Sir. Don Bradman and Brian Lara. Sehwag also became the fastest to the landmark scoring the runs in only 278 deliveries.

South African bowlers toiled hard on a flat pitch and the rate at which the Indian innings has progressed would have given the coach and captain Greame Smith a lot to think about. SA would be hoping to dismiss Sehwag quickly on the fourth day to get the RR down which is more than 4 runs per over for the Indians.

The Indians would be hoping to go ahead by 200 runs by tea and put pressure on the SA batsmen later in the day. Sehwag's innings was punctuated with 47 hits to the fence which include 5 sixes. This is his second consicutive ton after his match saving hundred against Australia in Adelaide.

All in all it was great day for the Indian team and for the first time it seems like there can be a result in this test match. Much will depend now on the rest of the Indian batting and the spin duo of Anil and Bajji, when SA start their second innings. India are just 72 runs behind with two days to go and 9 wickets in hand. Day 4 promises an exciting day of cricket. But for now lets celebrate one of the finest innings played by an Indian cricketer.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

South Africa continue to dominate the chennai test

Hashim Amla scored his fourth test century and his first against India as South Africa dominated the second day. The day started with SA on 304/4 with Hashim Amla on an unbeaten 85. He did not waste too much time getting to three figures hammering Sreesanth for three boundries in a row. De villiers played one shot too many to edge a Sreesanth delivery to Dhoni, he made 44. Sreesanth bowled a good spell in the morning troubling the batsmen with pace and movement and looked like the only bowler capable of getting any breakthrough.

After De Villiers departed Boucher joined Amla and after surviving a close LBW appeal, he settled down and scored 70. Amla was clearly the star of the day for the proteas as he made 159 and guided his team to an imposing first innings total of 540. The Indian bowlers struggled in the heat of chennai with the pitch not giving them any assistance. Sehwag and Jaffer survived the new ball against the pace of Dale Steyn but they have a long way to go. Day 3 in a way will decide which way this game will go as a batting collapse by the Indians could hand the advantage to the proteas.

India would be hoping to get close to the SA total and see if they can put some pressure on the visitors on the 4th and 5th days.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

SA gain upper hand

SA on top after day 1 of the first test in Chennai. The SA team finished on 304/4 with Amla unbeaten on 85. The opening pair of Mckenzie and Greame Smith gave the proteas a great start, later captalized by their middle order to finish strongly on day one.

The India bowlers toiled hard on an unresponsive pitch and struggled to control the run flow. RP Singh and Sreesanth started very well with the new ball beating both the SA openers regularly but were unlucky not to dismiss them. Once the early overs were negotaiated the South African batsmen took control and mostly remained untroubled. Anil Kumble and Harbajan claimed two wickets each for the Indians. If there is any truth in Harbajan's statement after the end of the days play its going to be hard work for the bowlers for the next couple of days.

The Indians would be hoping that they can dismiss SA for less than 500 if possible. Again the onus will be on the spinners.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cricket takes centerstage again

After all the recent hype and hapoola surrounding the IPL and the Australian tour, focus is back on cricket with the India-South Africa series. In the recent times the youngsters in the Indian team have indulged in too much of trash talk after the series down under. India did well there and the series was controversial, but it should have ended once they landed on the Indian soil. There has been too much of trash talk going on in the media by few Indian players. India has a chance of becoming the number 1 team in the world but we have a long way to go. The series in Australia was just a step closer to the goal and was not the destination. We play Australia, SA, Srilanka and England this year and its going to be a tough season. Australia got the tag of world beaters with consistant performances over a decade and not by winning couple of titles.

South Africa on the other had have remained calm and composed. They havent gone overboard with their comments in the media even though there was one inappropriate one by their cricket chief. SA know that the best way to win a series is on the cricket field and not in papers. India should be happy that the test team is different from the ODI team and the seniors have taken a measured approach when dealing with the media. They all expressed their happiness over the team's success down under but also spread the word of caution regarding any complacency.

The youngsters should realise that they need not retaliate to any comment made on them in the media. The great example to that was Ishant Sharma replying to John Buchanan's comment advising him to put on some muscles. There was not need for any retaliation as the former Australian coach was just expressing his opinion while praising Ishant's performance down under. Dhoni's comments on the seniors on the wake of a test series was uncalled for as he was playing with all of them in the same. Even though everyone seems to be backing his comments, the timing of the same is the one causing concern.

Amidst all the media frenzy concerning the IPL and the player auction, the Indian team prepares for their second stern test in the last few months. The team returned with their pride intact after the first one but the series against the proteas will be an equally important hurdle for them to cross. Anil Kumble will know that and thankfully he has the experiance of himself, Sachin, Sourav, Laxman and Dravid with him.

I hope that this series lives up to its expectation. India would want to win this series to cap off a great 4 months of cricket.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Raghuvaran - An actor with substance

Couple of days back there was a news flash which said actor Raghuvaran is no more. I was shocked at the news as there were no indication of his bad health. He was a fine actor with a wide variety of roles in Tamil cinema especially.

His best work includes movies like Puriyatha Puthir, Baasha, Mughavari, Run etc. He had his own style of acting and brought believability to the roles he played. Who can forget the role of a suspicious husband in Puriyatha Puthir or the Mark Anthony of Baasha. Whatever may be the character he played he always brought great value to the roles with his unique stlye of acting and dialogue delivery. His role as Madhavan's brother-in-law in Run showed that he had great comic timing too and is one of my favorites of his performances.

He was and will remain one of the most versatile character artist in Tamil Cinema. He will be missed for sure.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Is Hindi our National Language?

Is hindi our National language? The answer is "No", Should it be our National Language? Again the answer would be "No".India does not have a National language which not many Indians know(Including myself until last week). According to the National languages act of 1963 Hindi and English together was made the official language of communication for the central government. The act also mentioned that each state would have their own official language together with English. So according to the act people in TamilNadu, AP or in Gujarat need not know Hindi as thats not their state's official language.

This is not a great situation though as I think that knowing the language is a great plus for every Indian no matter where he comes from. The reason why I said that Hindi should not be declared as our National language is because it may cause a huge regional clash and the people, not the politicians will be blamed for not knowing the language. I was lucky enough to grow up in Delhi, so can speak the language fluently but not all Tamilians have that luxury. The problem is that most of us do not know that Hindi is not our National Language and keep blaming the people from south for not knowing the same. Well now we have an excuse and reason for not knowing the language. People from North have to realise that not all Indians need to speak Hindi.

Being a Tamilian myself who can speak Hindi, I just think that by knowing the language my life has become little bit easy. I guess by knowing hindi it gives you more freedom to move around within India and makes life very simple when you travel abroad. Regional politics played by the politicians in TamilNadu has made sure that people from that state are discouraged to learn the language. We do have people who learn the language through their own efforts by giving "prathmic" exams and stuff but the number is too less. With the growing IT market and people moving to different parts of the country to work, it becomes easier if you can speak Hindi.

Unless and until the Govt can make sure that every state in India will cooperate and make learning Hindi madatory, we cannot even think of making it our National language. The possibility of that happening is very less as no sooner there is a talk about making hindi our National language there will be riots accross India. At least now we know that the people from different parts of India are not required to know that language and it boils down to personal interest to learn the same. When people used to say to me that every Indian should know Hindi as its our National language, I never had a defense against the same but now I do. Its not the mistake of any Indian that he cannot speak hindi but its the politicians and the respective state governments who deny us that chance.