Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Airtel Super Singer western round – Day 1

Western round began last night with 7 singers still left in the competition. This round threw up some interesting possibilities as Prasanna, Ajeesh and Vijay escaped elimination last week. This week contestants might not be that lucky. All of them have to perform well to get through and there will surely be elimination this round (At least that’s what I hope).

My guess this week was that it will be tough for Renu and Ajeesh as rest of the pack will pull it off with comfort. Okay now coming back to last night’s show, I knew that there will only be 3 singers performing and the night started with Ranjani.

Ranjani began the western round with “Jillunnu oru Kadhal” song. This was a Jazz composition by AR Rahman, sung by Tanvi in the original. Ranjani did a fair job. Even though there were few errors here and there overall Ranjani’s attitude impressed the judges. She was rightly spot selected.

Sometimes during this season Vijay TV seems to go out of the way to extend or prolong super singer 2008. It’s really very irritating as the viewers have been watching it for almost a year and all of us would want to know who the super singer is. I did not get the idea of making the singers sing the song which they have prepared if they were not spot selected. This was another cheap trick to make sure that there are only three singers performing on the first evening on the show.
Anyways my frustrations aside, the second singer of the night was Vijay. As I mentioned earlier this is a bread and butter round for Vijay “Adams” (As he is called by the judges). Vijay is very comfortable with western songs which he has constantly proven in the previous rounds. Vijay sang “Uyirin Uyire” from “Kaaka kaaka”, the original sung by one of my favorite singers Kay kay. Vijay did a fantastic job. His attitude and improvisations were brilliant and as Srinivas rightly said Vijay knows how to perform on stage. He always displays right energy and attitude required for a western number. Vijay was spot selected and was requested to sing “Hotel California” song on the final night of the competition. That was the song he would have sung if did not get spot selected.

So that makes it 2 in 2. The final singer of the night was Ravi (The classical Guru of the group). Ravi sang “Oh Mama Mama” from the movie Minnale, another Harris Jeyraj song. He did a good job and with the hood pulled over his head he gave a rap song effect to the performance. There were few mistakes or probably I should say some improvements pointed out by Unni but overall everyone liked his performance. He was spot selected too. He was asked to sing his other song choice again and he sang a Linkin Park song.

So three singers perform on the first evening and all three get spot selected. This leaves Prasanna, Raghini, Renu and Ajeesh to perform on the second night. It will be very interesting to see how Renu performs. We have seen her struggle with breath while singing fast numbers in the past and let’s see how she goes. I don’t think that Raghini and Prasanna would have any issues in this round.

That’s all about last night’s show and just before I end this piece just wanted to mention that Malini Yugendran at last gave Yugendran chance to talk last night and hopefully this trend continues. I am just fed up of the bad pronunciations and horrible anchoring by Malini.

India are not No1 but most improved

I have been watching cricket for 20 years. I have been following Indian cricket since that time and looking at the progress they have made its heartening. I am not going to claim that India is the best side in the world but I will for sure say that they are one of the most improved sides.
Watching Indian team during the nineties was one of the most frustrating experiances especially when they toured abroad. Indian team was very good at home beating all top sides consistantly under Azhar and then Sachin but when they toured abroad they were clueless.

During the 90’s and till Sourav took over the mantle India toured Australia twice, England twice, WI once, New Zealand twice, SA twice, Zim twice and never won a single test. I almost resigned to the fact that India cannot. I will mostly look for some good performances from induvidual players like Sachin scoring a hundred or Kumble taking a fifer something like that and be happy with that.

It was dissapointing as we were constantly pasted by Australia and SA and the Indians had no answers. The tag of poor travellers was rightly associated with the team. Ganguly took over the reigns in 2000 after the match fixing row and boy did India improve after that.

I am by no means suggesting that we are blasting teams out since then but we are a fighting unit since Ganguly took over. We have won a series in England and WI. Drawn a series in Australia, Won a test in SA, won in Perth, Won a series in Pakistan and so many others such wins. In the last 8 years are so except for few series here and there we have at least managed to win one test match everywhere we have played.

I feel that we richly deserve the No 3 tag which we currently hold. The team under Dhoni has merely carried the legacy that Sourav has left behind. I would attribute most of our current success to Sourav and Wright combination in the way they nurtured youngsters like Sehwag, Harbajan and Yuvraj who are important cogs in present Indian wheel.

Dhoni has been the perfect leader India has been looking for and even though Kumble and Dravid did their best to keep the team going Dhoni has actually moved it forward a notch. Its too early to praise Dhoni and call him great but what he has done in the last year or so cant be cast aside as fluke. Its the consistancy which has got India the No 3 ranking.

As an Indian supporter who has been following the team for 20 years now its been a wonderful journey. From a team who just made up the numbers while travelling abroad to the team who are expected to win abroad regularly. The Indian captain and coach realise that they arent the No 1 side yet and have to consistantly perform to reach the pinacle which is a good sign.

I thought the team under Sourav called themselves world beaters too soon. I am also happy for Sachin who went on numerous tours abroad without ever winning anything in the 90’s most often rescuing his team from absolute pastings. Standing alone amidst chaos. Also for the numerous other Indian greats in the Nineties like Azhar, Jadeja, Srinath etc who would be really proud of what this current Indian team has achieved.

It was very thoughtful of Dhoni to dedicate the win in New Zealand to the seniors. Contrary to what the media portrayed of Dhoni, he is very respectful of the seniors which was very much evident when he called Anil to collect the trophy when we won the series against the Aussies and also requested Ganguly to captain in the dying moments of his final test match. This humility and respect will go a long way in Dhoni having a successful career as a player and captain.

This is an article of a happy Indian fan who knows that India have improved leaps and bounds from the frustrating 90’s. I am not claiming my team to be the best in the world right now as Australia and SA deserve those positions through the consistancy they have displayed over the years but we are the most improved in world cricket by a distance.

I am really proud of this team. They might not win everything but they will for sure compete.

Tale of two teams

Accepting having a problem is the first step towards improvement. This is what the Australians have done in the past one year. When they defeated WI 2-0 in a closely fought series the Australian captain said that his side is no longer going to roll over sides as they used to, few month before. This was a good assessment from the captain on the team which was finding it hard to replace few retired players. Australia beat New Zealand and then had the worst few months in the last decade when they were beaten both by India away and SA at home in tests.

South Africa also defeated them in the ODI’s to claim the top spot in the rankings. Australia though started experimenting with new players and quickly accepted that they have to do some serious rebuilding if they have to return to their dominating best. They did it admirably. The brought in Phil Hughes who is just 20 and Peter Siddle an unknown material in International cricket and then Hilfenhaus who played in few ODI’s before. They added Marcus North in the middle order who can bowl some useful off spinners and look where they are now.

Australia defeated the South Africans away 2-0 without the experience of Brett lee and Stuart Clarke. Ponting is now hailed as the genius who turned it around for the team from a guy who was bashed all around in the media last year and was also asked to step down. Australia back to No 1 spot in test cricket and looking impressive and I have no doubts in my mind that they will regain the Ashes.

The English though have gone the other way and currently are on a slippery slope. They are living in denial and don’t seem to be accepting the fact that they are at best No 5 in the ranking. They currently had a poor test series against a team who has not won a series in the last 5 years. The English team and the supporters though are full of excuses, blaming everything else except for themselves for the losses. England though hasn’t won against the top sides in tests since beating Australia in the Ashes in 2005.

That’s a long time ago considering the fact that they have been beaten by India, Australia and South Africa in tests both home and away. Their one day form is even worse. The problem with English cricket is that they always think they are better than what they are. They fail to give credit to the opponents and were so happy about the Australian slump last year that they forgot that they are in a bigger one. The Ashes is to start in a few months time and when we look at the progress of both the teams and we know who is clearly on top.

England fired Kevin Pieterson from captaincy after he had some sort of rift with the team members and coach. Considering that KP is only English player who is slightly different in approach from the other captains, it was a big blow for the team. They left to WI saying that it will be almost a walkover and it will be a good practice for the Ashes but what transpired in the last couple of months surely was not in Andrew Strauss’s script.

England lost the test series 1-0 and now has lost the Twenty20 badly. England has blamed everything after the test series loss and has currently lost on excuses for the Twenty20. They are currently tied in the one-day series 1-1 after they were beaten in the second game by 23 runs by the WI. They won the first game after a blunder from the WI coach who messed up the Duck-worth and Lewis calculation which handed England the game. I guess unless they accept their failure and do something drastic in the coming months, I don’t see them posing any challenge to the Aussies. Two separate approaches from two separate team managements and the difference is there to be seen.

I am thinking another bashing for the English team as they still live in constant denial. Anything other than an Australian win in the Ashes will be surprising and looks highly impossible.

Airtel Super Singer western round – Preview

Airtel Super Singer moves to western round this week and yes we still have 7 contestants. The judges decided to keep all the 7 after last week’s classical round as they felt that it was varying amount of training which separated the contestants. So they did not want to penalize the contestants for their lack of classical training.

This week though it’s going to be different as it is western round and I am sure there is going to elimination. This round will be interesting and I think Vijay and Prasanna will be really relieved after they scraped through classical round.

This round will be strong point for Prasanna and Vijay and I expect them to sail through. I watched few rushes from the show and it seems like Anupama will be the chief guest of the show. They showed performances of Ravi, Ranjani and Vijay in the trailer and it seems like they rocked the stage with their performances. At least Ravi and Vijay did, I am not sure about Ranjani though.

It will be interesting to see Ajeesh and Renu perform in this round as I feel that they will be the ones who might not get spot selected. Raghini and Prasanna might have it easy in this round but I am not sure if they will be spot selected.

Well let’s wait and see what transpires in today’s show. I am expecting a fun round and hopefully it will be great.

India crushes New Zealand to go 1-0 up

India hammers New Zealand to win their first test on Kiwiland after 33 years. It was a clinical performance from this Indian team as they thrashed the hosts by 10 wickets. Gautam Ghambir hit the winning runs as India reached the target of 39 runs in just 5.2 overs. Daniel Vettori and the New Zealand team will be aware that they have been beaten by the better team.

The pitch was really flat and New Zealand began the fourth day on 75/3 with Ross Taylor and Flynn at the crease. The Indian bowlers persisted hard and kept the balls in the right areas to induce false strokes from the Kiwi batsmen. Munaf removed Taylor for 4 to leave New Zealand 4 down and then it was Bajji show all the way. Harbajan demolished the Kiwi middle and lower order to leave them 199/8 with Brendon Mccullum stranded at one end with Ian O’Brien to join him.

Harbajan took his first fifer against the Kiwis and his first here in New Zealand. It was a great performance from Bajji considering that the pitch wasn’t suitable to spin bowling. The wicket was pretty flat and it was the variations which Harbajan had which caused the home batsmen to make mistakes. There was a frustrating partnership between Mccullum and O’Brien which took the Kiwis to 275 but once it was broken their innings folded up pretty quickly on 279. Mccullum was the last man out for 84 caught by Laxman of Yuvraj to leave the Indians to get 39 runs to win the game.

This was a great win by the Indians considering the pre-tour reports where it was said that the Indians would struggle in New Zealand. It seems like India will win this series if they play to their potential. Sachin Tendulkar received the man of the match award for his sublime 160 in the first innings which helped India to gain a 240 run lead over the Kiwis. It was a total team effort and rightly acknowledged by the skipper in the post match interview.

This is yet another feather in the cap for Dhoni after the T20 world cup and CB series in Australia. It will be better if India manage to win the test series. The teams meet again in a few days in Napier for the second test match and I would expect India to play an unchanged team. The Kiwis will be hoping to put up a better performance next time around as they would not want to lose this series.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Day 2 – India gain a slight advantage

Three half centuries from the top order gave India a slender advantage in the first test match against New Zealand in Hamilton. The Indians began the day 250 runs behind the Kiwi total and soon lost Sehwag to a brilliant fielding from Franklin. Sehwag and Ghambir had a slight misunderstanding which left the former way short of his crease. Rahul Dravid joined Ghambir in the middle with the score on 37/1 and forged a good partnership to take India to 108/1 at lunch.
After lunch the Dravid-Ghambir combination took India to 142 when Gautam Ghambir was caught behind of Martin for 72. It was a good innings from Ghambir but he played one shot too many. Sachin Tendulkar joined Dravid with the score on 142/2 and took India to 177 when Dravid was bowled of a beauty from Ian O’ Brian for 66 leaving the visitors 177/3. Laxman and Sachin took India to tea.

After tea India lost Laxman for 30 with the score on 238. Laxman was scratchy throughout his knock of 30 and was dropped once of a difficult chance in the boundary by Ian O’ Brian. Yuvraj and Sachin took India to stumps with the visitors just 1 run behind the New Zealand total. Sachin accelerated at the end of the day when the new ball was taken to remain 70 not out with his 42nd hundred in sight. He is currently joined by Yuvraj who is unbeaten on 8 and would like to push the lead beyond hundred tomorrow.

The first session again will be really important and the Indians would like to keeps wickets in hand. The pitch has something for the seam bowlers and was constantly encouraging them throughout the day. Daniel Vettori will be happy with the bowler’s performance as they were able to keep the Indians to just 249 runs for the day. The best bowler for the hosts was Chris Martin who finished with 2 wickets and Ian O’ Brian who took the wicket of a set Rahul Dravid. Kyle Mills was disappointing and Vettori was not effective. Ryder bowled a few overs but was not that threatening.

Day 3 will determine which team has the upper hand as the game is slightly in India’s favor. Couple of wickets in the first session will give the hosts a chance to get back into the game. It will be interesting to see the approach of the Indians tomorrow as they were really subdued on day 2.

Airtel Super Singer classical round – Day 3

Last night was the elimination night and Sudha Ragunathan was the chief guest. The contestants were supposed to sing a classical song which hasn’t featured in a film. Even though there were four singers to perform I always felt that it was between Prasanna and Vijay as they were the least trained members in the pack.

The night began with Ranjani who sang “Paalvadiyum Mugam” song and impressed the chief guest and the judges who praised her for her professional performance. Sudha Ragunathan said that Ranjani had a great voice and sang very well. Srinivas said that it was again a clinically effeciant performance from Ranjani. Sujatha and Unni pointed out some small things here and there but overall they liked her performance.

The second contestant of the night was Ajeesh. His was a good performance (I forgot the song though). Sudha Ragunathan said that Ajeesh has to work on his modulations a little bit as listening to him becomes a little bit boring after a while. She said that he has a great gift and is a natural but has to develop his talent a little bit. The judges felt the same and they said that it was a commendable effort from Ajeesh.

The next performance was from Prasanna. I was eagerly waiting for his performance as this was an out and out classical round. Prasanna though stunned everyone and gave a fantastic performance. Sudha Ragunathan praised him very much and said he had a great future. Prasanna was in tears when Sudha Ragunathan said those words. His performance was emotional and even moved the judges and the chief guest. All the judges praised him very much and said that he has to take some sort of music training as he is an excellent talent and has the right voice for play back singing.

The final performer of the night was Vijay and he sang a bajan. He said later that since he was currently getting trained in Hindustani music he decided to sing the same. The performance was really good and the chief guest praised his voice and she said that she liked his performance very much. The judges also felt the same and Srinivas told that Vijay needs more concentration as he feels that he is a good musician.

All the performances were complete and when finally the time for elimination came they decided to let Ranjani back with the other spot selected contestants as they felt that she gave good performances. So it was between Prasanna, Ajeesh and Vijay and the judges decided to not eliminate anyone this round as they felt that none of them performed badly enough to get eliminated. Sudha Ragunathan said that they can take the pointers from this show and implement it later in the show. So no eliminations and 7 people carry over to the next round. We have to wait till the next round to see who will get the next axe from the judges.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Airtel Super Singer classical round – Day 2

The classical round day 2 started with 4 singers yet to perform and I was mostly interested in seeing Prasanna perform. Since Prasanna and Vijay were only two people in the group who are not currently learning music.

The first singer of the evening was Ajeesh and he began by singing “Aadal Kalaiye” from Shri Raghavendra and did a great job. He sounded very well and his classical training came to the fore during his performance. The judges were impressed and even though they found few mistakes here and there over all they all liked it. Ajeesh unfortunately did not get spot selected.

The second singer of the night was Renu and she sang “Kanda Naal Mudhalai” song from Kanda Naal Mudhal movie and did a great job. The judges liked her performance very much and said that it was clean singing from Renu. Unni though gave her few variations in the end to sing which she wasn’t able to do so. But as the judges said that wouldn’t affect their judgment and spot selected her. Renu I guess has been little bit lucky with the selections as there have been better performances. I though Ajeesh did a very good job on a tough song and was unlucky. Anyways that’s my opinion.

The next contestant was Raghini and she sang a completely classical based song “Ellam Inbamayam” and gave a fantastic performance. The judges were little bit in shock I guess after her performance. Srinivas couldn’t believe that he has to spot select Raghini and gave her some light variations of the Raaga that her song was based on just to test her but she came out trumps. Raghini was spot selected and rightly so.

The final contestant of the day was Prasanna and Classical round for sure is not his strength. He sang a song from Kadhal Oviyam (forgot the song, if someone remembers please let me know) and gave an honest performance. The judges felt that his performance had the energy and force required for the song but he fell short in the classical part. He had lots of pitching problems and also struggled rendering the swaras. The Judges requested him to start learning music as they felt that he is an extremely talented singer. As expected earlier Prasanna did not get spot selected in the classical round.

Well so it is Prasanna, Ajeesh, Vijay and Ranjani who will be performing on day 3 of the classical round. They have to sing a classical song not featured in movies. I guess it will be between Vijay and Prasanna tonight. I guess one of them will not make it to the next round. Prasanna clearly struggled in the classical round and I will be surprised if it will be any different today. Only past performances might help him to get through if it comes down to that. Lets see tonight how it unfolds in non-filmy classical round.

Day 1 - Ryder and Vettori rescue the Black Caps

The first test between India and New Zealand got underway in Hamilton yesterday and thankfully there was no rain delay. The Indian captain won the toss and invited the hosts to bat first. The pitch was supposed to help the seam bowler at least in the first session of play. The Indian bowlers did not disappoint the captain as the Black Caps were in tatters by lunch losing 6 wickets for 61 runs.

Zaheer had 2, Ishant 3 and Munaf 1. It was a perfect session for the visitors and it seemed like they will bowl out New Zealand for a 100 or 150. The revival for the Kiwis started after lunch when Daniel Vettori and Jesse Ryder joined hands. Vettori and Ryder had some luck along the way but they batted brilliantly to guide the home team towards respectability.

The next session until tea was fantastic for the black caps as they did not lose any wickets and the Ryder, Vettori combination still undisturbed. The final session continued in the same vein as Vettori and Ryder made the Indian bowlers struggle as the wicket eased up for batting. Vettori scored a brilliant hundred and looked like taking the game away from the Indians when Munaf finally struck. Vettori was caught of the bowling of Munaf for 118.

It was a brilliant innings from the captain leading from the front. Munaf accounted for Mills the very next ball with a brilliant Yorker for zero leaving the home team 8 down. Ryder still batting on 70 needed some one to stay with him Ian O’ Brian did that for a while. Ryder reached his maiden test hundred for New Zealand is having a dream run in this series. He already made his first one-day hundred this series earlier.

He looks like a brilliant prospect for New Zealand but would do well to lose some weight. The New Zealand innings though finally came to an end on 279 with Harbajan and Ishant getting one wicket each in the end. The best bowlers for India were Ishant with 4 wickets and Munaf with 3. The Indian openers had to negotiate 7 overs which they did without losing any wickets as they finished on 29/0.

The first session on Day 2 will be really important for the Indians as there might be some help for the pacers. The home team though would want to get rid of Sehwag fast as a session or two from him might swing the game decisively in India’s favor. The first day was brilliant and hopefully the second day will also follow suit in terms of action in the middle and also the weather. Let’s hope for another cracking days play.

Anoop finally does it

Anoop gave a stunning performance yesterday and at last chose the right song. It was a fantastic performance and made all the four judges say that his was the best of the night.

This was good for Anoop as he was ordinary in the past couple of weeks and this was a good comeback. I am sure that he will be in the top 10 and hopefully will keep up the good work.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

American Idol Tonight

American Idol tonight and me cheering for Anoop again. I hope that he puts in a good performance tonight. He has to impress the judges with his song selection in tonight’s show.

They had chosen him as the extra member in the show based on his ability and personality. He for sure showed his personality in the last couple of rounds but fell way behind in the performance. I hope that he corrects the same.

Major test awaits Dhoni

The first test begins tonight and the Indians will have some selection headaches. Dhoni and his team have had a fantastic one year in ODI’s but the same cannot be said in the traditional format of the game. Indian performance in tests last year has been patchy. The year 2008 began with India losing to Australia in the controversial Sydney game and followed that up with a fantastic win in Perth. The next series India played was against the South Africans at home which they drew 1-1.

The team under Kumble was very inconsistent in that series too. They had the highs like in Perth and lows such as the 3 day defeat in Ahmadabad. The Srilankan series also saw the Indians performing inconsistently and lose 2-1 to the home side. The year ended on a high note with the wins against the Australians (2-0) and against the English (1-0) under Dhoni’s captaincy.

Even though the year ended well, the performance of the team in test cricket was rather inconsistent overall last year. Now India plays New Zealand at the start of 2009 after winning the one day series convincingly. This is an important and most significant series for the Indian team in a long time. The scars of the 2003 series still fresh in the minds of the players and the fans needs to be erased. The team’s quest to become No 1 in all forms of the game can be majorly hurt if they lose here in New Zealand.

New Zealand though will be happy to be underdogs and let Dhoni face all the pressure. Daniel Vettori will be thinking that no one will blame them if they lose to the No 3 side in the world and a win will give them a huge push up in the rankings. Dhoni will know that this series very important for his team and his captaincy.

This Indian team though will be confident and would want to turn in some consistent performances in this series. Dhoni will know that if they play up to their potential then they should win this comfortably. The Indians though have few selection headaches before the start of the play tonight. The first one will be that of a batsman. It will be between Yuvraj and Vijay.
Yuvraj though will be the first choice but looking at his performance on the only pitch which aided seam movement is not that encouraging. M Vijay though made a solid 90 odd for the NZ state side in a domestic game. So the choice will be interesting but I feel that Yuvraj will be still selected for the first game. The second selection will also be an interesting one between Kulkarni and Balaji. Munaf probably will not be in the running for the third seamer spot after his inconsistent performance in the ODI’s.

Kulkarni had a good spell in the domestic game in NZ where he picked up 3 wickets and Balaji also turned in decent performance in the game he played. So this is also going to be an interesting selection for the team management. I am thinking they might go with Balaji for the first game or probably even go with Munaf to see how he goes. We have to wait till the morning of the play to find out the same.

All in all rain permitting its going to be an interesting contest. I hope that we get a full game without any rain interruptions and may the best team win. I am just fed up of seeing high scoring draws, so hopefully this is not one of them.

Airtel Super Singer Classical Round – Day 1

The classical round began yesterday with just 7 singers remaining in the competition. The contestants had to sing Classical based songs in the movies. If they are not spot selected then they would be have to sing a classical song which did not feature in movies. It was always going to be interesting as I thought that Ajeesh and Ravi would relish this round before it even began. I was more interested to see the performances from Vijay and Prasanna.

The first singer of the night was Ravi and as expected he gave a stunning performance. He sang “oru Naal Podhuma” song and he was brilliant. The judges absolutely loved it and so did I. Ravi was always expected to steal the show this round and as Srinivas pointed out this was his strength. Ravi has been one of the strongest contenders in Airtel super singer since the selection times. He is highly trained and can sing with flawless brilliance most of the time. Yesterday was yet another such performance from him. Even though there were little mistakes here and there pointed out by Unni and Sujatha he was rightly spot selected.

After a fantastic beginning to the evening the next singer was Ranjani. She had a hard act to follow but I thought did a commendable job with her rendition of “Kannodu Kanbadhelaam” from Jeans. The Judges felt that it was a good attempt but was nothing spectacular. Srinivas said that it was too much of a clinical performance from Ranjani and the song required little bit of wildness. Ranjani unfortunately was not spot selected.

The third singer of the evening was Vijay Narayanan. He was one of the singers I wanted to see last night. Vijay is an excellent singer and he is one singer who is not afraid of experimenting. He sang “Isaiyil Todunguthamma” from the movie Hey Ram. This is one of the toughest song to sing and has too many sangadhi’s one after the other without a break. The Judges felt that Vijay made a great attempt on a tough song. I felt that Vijay did a brilliant job. Sujatha felt that it would have suited Vijay better if he had chosen something more lighter. Even though the judges appreciated Vijay for his song selection and the attempt, he was unfortunately not spot selected.

Only three singers performing in 1 hour was little bit disappointing. I know that Vijay TV is trying to push the show to 3 days in a week and have 4 singers sing on the day2 but still it was something very irritating. The constant hamming of Malini Yugendran is something which is hard to take. I guess its unfortunate for the show that Chinmayi decided to pull out. Anyways four contestants left to perform and yet another interesting show ahead tonight.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Airtel super singer Classical round – preview

The Airtel super singer classical round begins today for us in the US. The problem is that in the US Vijay TV is delayed by couple of weeks, so we get to see it late. So coming back to the classical round it will be an interesting one. This round will be bread and butter for someone like Ravi who we know relishes singing classical based round but what about the others?

We are down to top 7 now so the singers should be able to handle any challenge thrown towards them. I think that the two singers who might have some issues would be Prasanna and Vijay Narayanan. I say Prasanna because he has just started learning music and probably would have some issues pulling off a complete classical song. I would expect him to choose a Semi-Classical song which might suit his voice. He is a fantastic singer and an entertainer and I would like to see him progress to top 6.

Vijay Narayanan though is lucky to be in this round as he was the weak singer in the B & W round and got through as Rohit pulled out. But I think that he will be one of the strong performers this week. He is classically trained and should be able to give a better performance than the last round. I expect Vijay to go through this time. But this depends on how the rest of the group performs.

Raghini is another singer who has been relatively inconsistent in the previous rounds. She again should not have any problems in the classical round as we have seen here giving some good performances in the past. I remember she was in the safe zone with Ravi singing a classical based song in the “Duet Round”.

Ranjani again should be finding this round to her liking and so will Renu. Both these singers are classically trained and should be able to pull of a classical based song quite well. Reni has to work on her breathing issue this round as it might work against her as the rest of the singers are pretty strong.

Ajeesh I guess will be one of the stronger singers in this round along with Ravi. I tip him to get spot selected along with Ravi as he is a very good singer. I saw the rushes of the program last week and saw him singing “Aadal Kalaiye” from the movie Raghavendra and was sounding very good.

All in all this is going to be yet another riveting 3 days. This is the Top 7 of 2008 and we should expect a very close competition. I am sure that the judges will have a tough time eliminating any of the contestants. I think that Sudha Ragunathan is the chief guest of the show which will give some jitters to the contestants. Let’s hope that the best six contestants make it to the next round.

Dead rubber blues

India lost yet another dead rubber and this time it was against the Black Caps. The Indian batting continued in the same merry way as the other games where the pitches were more suited to the batters. The pitch at Auckland had something for the seam bowlers and the Indian batsmen kept swinging and lost wickets at regular intervals to get bowled out for 149. The game was shortened by rain and India decided to bat first which actually surprised Daniel Vettori as he claimed that he would have bowled first if he had won the toss.

The Indian batting started aiming for 300 or something with Sehwag and Ghambir both trying to hit out, but were still able to provide a decent start. Once Ghambir departed Sehwag was joined by Raina who again continued the approach. After Raina departed playing an ugly swing across the line, Sehwag joined him pretty soon with another rash shot.

India was three down and the team needed a partnership which never happened. Jesse Ryder was brought into the attack and he took the wickets of Dhoni and Yuvraj which put the Indians completely out of the game. Rohit Sharma tried to get some respectability to the total but did not get too much help from the others in the top order.

It was a really bad performance by the Indians after dominating the series. The New Zealanders would have been happy to get the win as it would give them the much needed confidence ahead of the test series. This is the third time in last one year that India has lost the dead rubber after dominating the series till then.

The test series gets underway in Hamilton on the 18th and it will be interesting to see how the Indian batters go about their business. It will be a different team with Dravid and Laxman coming in for Raina and Rohit. I am sure that the approach will be much measured and calculated than the mindless swinging of the bat we saw in the last game. The test wickets for sure are going to have something in it for the bowlers and the Indians should respect the same. Hopefully it will be an Indian win which will make this series more memorable.

Friday, March 13, 2009

India look to make it 4-0

The Indian team who has already won the series 3-0 would want to keep the momentum going by winning the final ODI at Auckland. The Indians probably will rest few of their key players but still would want to retain the core. Dhoni would probably want to rest Zaheer and give Munaf or Balaji or Kulkarni (If available for ODI’s) a chance as it will help him to decide on the third seamer for the first test.

I guess Ishant will still play as he looked very rusty in the 4th game. The batting though will be interesting but I would assume that Dhoni and Kirsten would not want to make too many changes in the squad. The Kiwis confidence has been dented in the ODI’s and India would want to leave it that way. Any let up in pressure would give the hosts enormous confidence for the upcoming test series. The Indians though would want to guard against complacency which could creep into their games.

In the past year or so they have not been that good in the dead rubbers. In Srilanka last year the Indians were leading 3-1 going into the final game and lost badly chasing a modest target. Earlier this year they repeated the same mistake as after leading 4-0 they let up the pressure in the final game. This series though is not just about the ODI’s but since the test series is just around the corner the Indians would want the New Zealanders to be under constant pressure to win.

This has been yet another great series for the Indians but there have been some flaws which were eclipsed by the batters. The fielding has been very poor, catches have gone down at crucial times, bowling has lacked discipline but in spite of that they have won which should give the team confidence. But to be at the top Gary Kirsten needs to work on ironing out the flaws. The Indian one day team is made of youngsters and should not be having any issues with fielding.

The New Zealand captain though would be looking for a win to end the series. They have been battered to submission by the Indian batting but would want to end the series on a high. The test series is just around the corner and a win here would give the team a lot of confidence. Vettori would know that and would want to reverse the trend a little bit. The key for the home team to win is to bowl with more discipline and get rid of the Indian openers fast which they haven’t been able to do since the Twenty20 games.

Once they do that the Indian middle order will be under pressure and would have to consolidate. Lets hope that this game is also as exciting as the previous ones and I am predicting an Indian win again.

Why Red Carpet??

Recently I was looking at winners of the 54th Film Fare awards and was startled to that Bollywood called pre-show interviews as Red carpet interviews. I don’t know why they have to do that. It seems like the Hollywood bug has bitten the Film Fare awards too. Film Fare awards are the finest in Indian cinema and its unfortunate that it’s lost its originality. I am not sure who the organizers are trying to impress here. They are not increasing their viewership in America as they are not interested in knowing which Bollywood movie is the best of 2008.

Yeah there are few Americans who watch Bollywood movies but that’s about it. They are not going to be interested in the awards in India. Are we trying to impress the Indian Audience? I am not sure because how many Indians in India do actually watch the Oscars to know what Red carpet means. The actors and actresses behave as if they are in Hollywood with their dressing and interviews. I hardly saw anyone wearing Indian costume in an Indian award. None of the actors give interviews in Hindi which seems to be out of fashion.

So by talking in English they are already cutting out more than 50% of our own people watching the show as they don’t understand what’s going on most of the times. Unfortunately the quest to gain International attention seems to be affecting Bollywood big time. They have to realize that the NRI’s are not Americans but they are Indians who have settled in America. We don’t care about the Red carpets and the fashionable dresses which the actresses wear. We see it already in the Golden Globe and the Oscars and I don’t think we need to see the same in Film Fare in India.

An Indian award needs to be Indian that’s what everyone wants. The shows on Television and awards need to first cater to the Indian audience and then to the International community if they actually watch the show. By aping Oscars in Film Fare awards Indian movies don’t become world standard. To get International recognition India need to make movies which are world standard rather than doing such ridiculous things which aren’t going to impress anyone but the Bollywood themselves.

I am really happy that the south awards are still maintaining the traditional approach and yes we don’t call it Red carpet yet. I hope that it remains this way. Indian film industry needs to be Indian first which I guess is a message lost on most of the actors and organizers. India has the talent to make an impact on the world stage but that can only be achieved by quality in cinema.

It’s unfortunate and saddening to see that we copy everything that happens in Oscars and none of the legends in cinema seems to talk about it. Recently Amitabh said that he thought calling Hindi cinema Bollywood is a derogatory as its copied from Hollywood but its seems like copying the Oscars doesn’t seem to affect anybody. Red carpet is just one of them. I guess in few years time the Hindi audience will turn their back on their own awards as it would seem alien to them. I hope that the organizers realize the same and maintain some Indianness in these functions.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Anoop gets through

Anoop made it through to the next round yesterday but chose another wrong song on Tuesday. The judges were clearly not that happy and he recieved very bad comments from all the judges even from Paula. Anoop has to really pull up his socks if he has to remain in this competition.

I am afraid till now he seems to be going the Sanjaya way. I hope that he stays in this competition through his ability rather than his popularity. He should choose the right songs to suit his voice and should perform better if he has to avoid elimination. Lets hope that he does that in the next round.

Airtel Super Singer B & W round – Day 3

This was the day of elimination and had three contestants fighting to survive the same. Manorama Aachi and PBS were gone and we had LR Easwari amma as the chief guest on the third day. She enthralled the viewers with her legendry songs such as “Kaadhodu Thaan”, “Lovely Birds” and also her version of “Ketukodi Urimi Melam”. She was very insightful and was all praise for Ravi and Prasanna.

The program started with Ravi singing yet another classical song and was appreciated by everyone. The comments also were not that serious as this was just a guest performance by Ravi. Srinivas though felt that Ravi could have probably sung a different genre as he had already sung classical based song in the main round.

The first contestant of the night was Vijay Narayanan and he chose to sing “Paatu padava” from Thaen Nilavu. The song was good at parts and the ending was excellent. Overall it was an average performance from Vijay, considering this was a elimination round. The judges gave him good comments but it was by no means a great performance.

The second singer was Prasanna and he decided to sing a melody a genre which he has not often attempted in this competition. He did a fabulous job with the same. LR Easwari amma enjoyed it very much and so did the judges. Sujatha actually said that if Prasanna had sung this in the first round he would not have been here. Prasanna has improved by leaps and bounds during the course of this competition and is one of the most consistent singers among the pack.

Finally when the time came for Rohit to perform Malini and Yugendran revealed that he will not be able to make it as he has pulled out of the competition. The reason cited for him pulling out was his academics and attendance in college. A video message was played with Ravi apologizing to the judges who clearly didn’t seem that happy. Rohit’s father though came on stage and apologized to the judges and the audience. The judges were disappointed as they felt that they could have selected Aruna instead in the previous round as it was so close.

I feel that Rohit did what he needed to do and what he felt was important for his future. Best of luck to him and hope he does not stop singing. Vijay Narayanan got a lucky break this week as he escaped from elimination due to Rohit pulling out. He seems the most likely candidate for elimination though. Anyways we have 7 singers now and the race for super singer hots up.

India wins their first series in New Zealand

It was a great performance by the Indian team to win the one day series in New Zealand for the first time. Yesterday’s match again was rain affected and the way Sehwag and Ghambir kept India way ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis (DL) calculation was absolutely brilliant. The Indian bowling though was patchy. The start was good but they did not keep up the tempo letting Mccullum and Ryder to get off to a flier. Yuvraj and Yusuf Pathan were brought into the attack and they were successful in putting the brakes on the Kiwi openers.

The Indian fielding again was not up to the mark. There were lots of misfields and missed chances along the way during the New Zealand innings. Brendon Mccullum was given two reprieves during his innings of 77 and Dhoni’s miss stumping was the worst of the two. India’s bowling at the death was also not that spectacular as they were carted around easily by Andrew Mcglashan and Grant Elliot. After the rain interrupted first innings New Zealand reached a competitive 270/5 in 47 overs which was bumped up to 281 for the Indians to chase by the DL. Ishant Sharma was rusty on his return to the side and was inconsistent. Even though he picked up two wickets he was really shabby with no balls and got hit around a little bit.

Hopefully he will get his act together before the important test series to start in a week’s time.
So India started their innings needing almost 6 an over which is kind of tough in a game with so many rain interruptions. Well it’s not something which troubled the Indian openers though as they took the kiwi bowlers to the cleaners. Nothing worked for the New Zealand captain last night as the Indians rattled along at over 7 runs per over. All the bowlers were treated with equal contempt by the Indian openers. Sehwag blasted his way to a brilliant one day hundred of just 60 deliveries which is an Indian record. It was a display of calculated hitting and it came of brilliantly for the Indian opener. Sehwag finished on 125 unbeaten when the rain interrupted play for one final time. The Indians were racing along in the pursuit of 220 of 36 overs as they were 201/0 in just 23.3 overs.

The Kiwis will be really disappointed in losing the series 3-0 as this is the first time they have lost to the Indians at home. Dhoni and his team though would be enjoying this moment as it adds yet another brilliant win to their resume. The Indians though would want to finish the series 4-0 and get as much confidence as possible for the test series. They would have been bolstered by the news of Rahul Dravid scoring a fantastic hundred in the New Zealand domestic game. All in all a great performance from the Indian team after losing the first two Twenty20 games. Hope they carry this confidence to the test series too.

Airtel Super Singer B & W round - Day 2

The Black & White round day 2 was interesting with some surprise performances. First PBS was missing today even though Manorama Aachi was still there viewing the performances. Already there were two spot selections from day 1 and day 2 had 5 performances in the offing.

The first performance of the day was Vijay Narayanan. His was a very inconsistent performance. I just felt that his pitch was all over the place when he started but later on he picked up. The judges felt the same and rightly he wasn’t spot selected. I guess Vijay has to do something about his “Sruthi” if he has to progress in this competition and currently looks like the one to receive the axe in this round unless he does something spectacular tonight.

The second performance of the day was Raghini. I just feel that Raghini is always a hit or Miss Singer but yesterday she gave a stellar performance with the “Elandha Pazham” song and the judges loved it. The good thing about her performance last night was that she was smiling throughout her performance and also after it. The Judges and Manorama Aachi were really impressed with her version of the song. She was spot selected two rounds in a row which is impressive if we take into account that she was mostly in the final two before the recall. It seems like Raghini is improving. This is a good thing as it will help her to go further in this competition.

The third performer of the day was Ravi who was in his elements yesterday. He sang a classical based song yesterday which we know is a meat and drink for someone with the caliber of Ravi. He absolutely mesmerized the judges and the chief guest of this show Manorama Aachi, who stood up and applauded Ravi’s performance. It was a brilliant performance from him. I am positive that I saw some tears coming down from Srinivas’s eyes yesterday. Even though Ravi got spot selected Unnikrishnan requested him to perform on the third day too.

The fourth performance of the day was Ranjani who gave a good performance. She sang a song which was perfect for her voice and pulled it off brilliantly. The judges liked it and she was through to the next round to join Ajeesh, Renu, Raghini and Ravi.

It seems like Rohit was unable to come in yesterday due to some unforeseen circumstances, the judges said that he can perform with Prasanna and Vijay on the third day. That ended the show last night and without doubt the performer of the day was Ravi.

I am not sure who will get eliminated today but I am guessing it will be someone between Vijay and Rohit. Lets wait and see.

India look to wrap up the series

The Indians have already taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series and would like to wrap up the series in Hamilton, the venue for the 4th ODI. New Zealand has already dropped Tim Southee and Ian Butler for the fourth game after their disastrous performance in the series till date. The hosts will be bolstered by the return of their captain Daniel Vettori who was absent in the third ODI to be with his wife for the birth of his first child.

The Indians though might be without Sachin Tendulkar for the fourth ODI and would probably replace Munaf Patel with Ishant Sharma (if fit) or with Irfan Pathan. Munaf has been really struggling in this series and completely lost the plot in the final overs of the Christchurch game. Munaf seems in a need of a break and probably will find it difficult to get into the test X1 too. Rohit Sharma might get into the squad in the absence of Sachin and Ghambir will move up the order to join Sehwag. The rest of the team will remain the same for the Indians in all probability.
Dhoni would not want any slip up and would want to get the series wrapped up here in Hamilton. If India manages to achieve that then it will complete a wonderful run in 50 over format for the Indians since they won the CB series in Australia. For the Kiwis though this is a do or die game and they would want to contain the Indian scoring to have a chance. The bowlers for the home team have been really wayward and except for the captain the rest of the line up seems to lack consistency.

The New Zealand coach said that they have plans for every Indian player but the bowlers haven’t been able to implement the same in the middle. That’s been the problem for Vettori and co; they haven’t been able to contain the Indian batsmen. The pitches are good and the grounds are small so it’s been hard for the kiwis to contain Indian line up. Vettori would be hoping for a change of fortune in Hamilton. He would be hoping that the Indian batters would miscue few more of their shots and they take their chances.

Hopefully it will be another cracking game and may the best team win.

Airtel Super Singer – B&W round – Day 1

The Super singer B&W round day 1 completed yesterday in the US (Yeah the show is a week or two behind here) and it was fantastic. The contestants had to sing B&W songs and it was a great performance from all the three singers who sang yesterday. It was also fantastic to see PB Sreenivas coming in as a chief guest along with the legendary Manorama Aachi. They seemed to enjoy the show very much as the contestants sang classics which were beautifully rendered.

First contestant on the stage was Prasanna and he started off with a bang. He sang “Kettukodi Urimimelam” (Original Sung by TMS) with lots of energy and I thought he did a great job. It’s not easy to sing a TMS song as he had such a high range and is a legend in Tamil cinema. Prasanna, I felt did justice to the song and was unfortunate not to be spot selected.

The next contestant was Renu and I normally don’t like her performances as its one dimensional. She normally picks out either Susheela or chitra songs and always struggles with the breathing. Yesterday again she picked out a Susheela song but she was bang on this time. The round demanded such a song and her rendition of “oru naal yaro ennai” was very nice and sounded great. Manorama was completely spellbound and said that Renu took her back to the olden days. It was a good performance from Renu after a series of mediocre attempts in the earlier rounds. She was the first contestant to be spot selected yesterday.

The final contestant of the day was one of my favorites Ajeesh who was dressed up like the legendary comedian Nagesh who passed away recently and sang “Avalukku Enna”. Ajeesh has a fantastic voice and always sounds great and as usual it was a good performance from him yesterday. It was great the way he has improved so much during the course of the Airtel Super Singer and seems to be working hard on ironing out the flaws. He along with Prasanna is one of the most improved singers since the start of the competition. I really enjoyed his performance and the judges did too and rightly spot selected him.

So three singers perform on day one and two of them spot selected. I am really looking forward to the day two as my other favorite Ravi will be performing and I am sure he will do a good job. Airtel super singer once again proved that it’s the best talent hunt show in Tamil and has the best voices among all the other shows in other channels.

Just before I finish the piece, I have to mention that Malini yugendran is getting on my nerves with the way she presents the show. It’s unfortunate that chinmayi left the show and we have to deal with this substandard attempt at presenting the show. I really feel sorry for Yugendran though as the poor guy hardly seems to get a chance to talk. Anyways the contestants though with their performances make the show a great watch, in spite of Malini’s constant hamming.

The Little Master guides India to 2-0

What a performance from the little master, 163 from 133 balls was a phenomenal effort. Considering that people were gunning for his throat in the One day format, this was a special performance. Sachin answered his critics through his willow rather than on papers. That’s something which separates this great player from the others. His humility and his ability to keep his feet firmly on the ground have made him the great player that he is.

Coming back to the game itself, it was a batting paradise at christchurch and it seemed at the end that no score was safe. India would be really happy that in the end they got enough to win the game. In the absence of Daniel Vettori, Mccullum won the toss and invited India to bat, a decision which he would have regretted. India started with Sehwag and Tendulkar. Sehwag played an atrocious stroke to get bowled for 3 which brought in Gautam Ghambir to join Sachin in the middle.

Sachin Tendulkar though launched a brilliant counterattack after Sehwag’s exit which kept the Kiwis on the back foot. When things were going smoothly for the visitors Ghambir decided to run the ball to third man only to guide it into the hands of Andrew Mcglashan to leave India 2 down. Yuvraj then walked in to join the little master and what followed in the next 10-15 overs was an absolute carnage and something which the Kiwis did not have answer to.

The ground was too small for Yuvraj as he dealt mostly in boundaries during his knock of 87. Sachin and Yuvraj just hammered the New Zealand bowlers to submission. When Yuvraj was finally out for 87 India were already past 200. It was an ideal platform for Dhoni and the rest of the batting order. Dhoni had a lucky reprieve when Andrew Mcglashan missed an easy stumping of the bowling of Patel. Dhoni and Sachin continued the hitting and by the time Sachin retired due to injury for 163 India were already past 330 with 5 overs to go.

Suresh Raina then joined the Indian captain in the middle and helped India to reach 392/4 in 50 overs. This was the highest ever ODI score in NZ and the second highest for India.

The Indian bowlers though did not find the short boundaries to their liking. The New Zealand opening combination of Jesse Ryder and Brendon Mccullum got off to a flier scoring at almost 8 runs/over. The fielders also did not help India’s cause as they grassed two simple chances offered by both the openers. The first wicket fell at last with the New Zealand score on 165 when Brendon Mccullum was run out by Raina/Dhoni combination.

New Zealand though lost their way after that wicket in spite of Ryder’s brilliant hundred to lose 6 wickets for 50 odd runs. India though were unable to get rid of a tail who lead by Kyle Mills launched a brilliant fight back which put enormous pressure on the Indians. The Indian bowlers did not handle the situation well and Munaf was terribly disappointing. Dhoni looked visibly upset at the way Munaf was going about his bowling. The umpire finally ended Munaf’s misery when he took him off for bowling two over the waist deliveries in the same over.

India finally bowled the hosts out for 334, 58 runs short of the target. Even though the final score line suggests a comfortable win for India, Dhoni will not be happy with the way his team bowled and fielded. The game could have been much shorter if the Indians had hung on to the catches offered by the openers earlier in the innings. India would like to iron out the flaws before the next game and would hope to wrap up the series 3-0.

Airtel Super Singer

Airtel Super singer is finally reaching the business end of the show. After meandering aimlessly for the past few weeks they have finally got back to the serious competition. The Super Singer is one of the better talent hunt shows in Tamil. I have watched few other channels trying to ape the concept but have pretty boring versions. The SunTv’s “Adhiradi Singer” is one of the worst in the pack. For some reason I am unable to watch that show in spite of my undying love for music.

Coming back to the super singer, I am happy that they have finally returned to the serious competition and the countdown for the best singer of the year 2008 has begun. The show for a while was making no sense to me. Yeah I can understand the recall round as all the reality/talent shows on Indian television have that concept but bringing back 4 singers was little bit over the top. The top 6 singers were already identified and probably adding two more singers from the recall round would have been appropriate.

Well currently they have 8 singers left and the funny part is that the two singers who got eliminated were the ones recalled. The reason for this show to stand out from the rest is their judges. Srinivas, Sujatha and Unnikrishnan are legends in their own right and are great singers. Most often the comments are measured and they give proper suggestions to the singers. They strictly stick to music rather than stupid antics to increase TRP’s for the show.

Airtel super singer for sure is one of my favorite programs on television. Well my Favorites in Top eight are Prasanna, Ravi and Ajeesh. I am fine with Rohit, Raghini and Vijaya Narayanan but I don’t think that they will win the competition. Anyways let’s see how the competition shapes up this week. I just feel that they have brought the four contestants back into the show only to eliminate them one by one, as we saw in the last couple of weeks. Already Hari and Aruna have been eliminated and for some reason Renu seems to stick on after mediocre performances just because the judge’s think that she has a good voice.

Well let’s hope that the show now moves on fast and there are no breaks in between as it has dragged around enough to get the viewers frustrated.

Salad bar queue

It’s a known fact that the Americans are not that sympathetic towards vegetarians. If you need variety in food in America you better be a meat eater, except of course if you are in an Indian restaurant. I mostly have my lunch in the office cafĂ© and well as usual there are slim pickings for the vegetarians over there. Most of the times I need to be content having the salad which is like a self serve buffet sort of arrangement.

Occasionally I will be lucky enough to find a vegetarian soup or a Taco bar which gives me a different option. But most of the times it’s the salad which I have to be content with. The salad bar is interesting at my workplace and is quite different in terms of its variety. But the menu is not something I am going to talk about here.

The most frustrating part of the salad bar is its queue. Well it would seem a simple exercise, take a bowl and fill it with whatever you like from the bar. But there is something which makes the above exercise little bit complicated though, the contents of the bowl have to look pretty, yes that’s right “Pretty”.

The most frustrating part is that you stand in the queue and most of the times it’s a long one and you see people arranging the Salad by picking one cucumber at a time. It’s not a rule or something it’s just the way people do it by default. They have to precisely place each and every vegetable at different spots in the bowl and make sure when they take them out to bill it looks wonderful. The person at the counter who bills doesn’t care how good your salad looks; it’s just the weight they worry about. For me it seems little bit funny though as it’s just a salad and you are going to eat all of it so what difference does it make where you place a broccoli. To be frank I never got the point.

For me it’s just a mix of some leaves and vegetables with some dressing on the top. You mix everything together and eat it that’s about it. I never found a reason to arrange anything in the bowl. Placing cut tomatoes one each on every corner of the bowl is something I would never understand. Anyways that’s me. I don’t come from a country where we eat salad that often so probably I am missing something.

Anyways it’s almost lunch time and I am off for another bowl of salad and again I have to stand in the queue looking at the masterpieces which are made in front of me.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

I love Ghost Hunters

Ghost Hunters is a different and interesting show, much better than the number of stupid reality shows on TV. For the people who don’t know about the show, Ghost Hunters is about a group of people investigating paranormal activity reported in houses or other buildings trying to capture evidence for it or against it to disprove the same. That’s where this show differs from the rest of the reality show. The fact that the TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) as they call themselves, go into a house where a paranormal activity is reported with the intention of debunking the theory rather than scaring the inmates even more.

I am one of the guys who love horror movies and the thought of someone investigating paranormal activity live is something which keeps me interested in Ghost Hunters. It’s like watching different horror movie with different theme every week with the same cast.

The episodes are exciting. The leads in the show Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson along with their team keep the viewers interested by giving their expert comments and giving explanation of each and every gadget they use whenever possible. There is little bit of drama here and there in the show but that can be excused as it does not occupy a lot of time on the screen. Most of the time there is action and there are rearely any dull moments in the show. You sit in anticipation of seeing something paranormal on the screen, even though most of the time you are disappointed as the TAPS find no evidence.

But still the overall process of them going to the location, setting up the equipments and then the investigation part is quite enjoyable and action packed. These are few things we cannot say about too many reality shows on the television. At least we don’t see too much of crying and fighting on the screen.

I look forward to Wednesday evenings for the Ghost Hunters. I am not that keen on watching the Ghost Hunters Internationals (GHI) though as I feel that the cast is not that great when compared to Ghost Hunters. I just think that the GHI cast go little bit over the top for me which makes is hard to enjoy the show.

GH cast members are the ones who make the show enjoyable and I hope that they continue giving their best and keep the show as it is right now. Three cheers to Ghost Hunters and its cast. Its one of the few shows I love on television.

Rain frustrates the Indians

India were 188/4 in 28.4 overs when the rain stopped play for the final time in the second one day international in Wellington. There were three stoppages of play within the 28.4 overs bowled by the Kiwis. The game began as a 50 overs contest, reduced to 44 after the first break and then to 34 after the second before being called off.

The Indians were really well placed to set a difficult target to the Kiwis. The visitors were scoring at 6.55 runs/over when the rain halted the play with the captain Dhoni and Raina at the crease. The Indians once again started briskly with Sehwag and Sachin putting on 76 for the first wicket. Sehwag was out after making a whirlwind 52. Gautam Ghambir Joined Sachin at the crease.

Once Sehwag was out Sachin cut loose and India were motoring along at 7 runs/over when the rain halted the play for the first time. The score during the first interruption was 130/1 in 19 overs. The hosts pulled things back after the resumption with the wickets of Sachin for 61, Ghambir for 20 and yuvraj for 0. But the problem for the Kiwis was that the Indians were still scoring way over 6 runs/over.

It seems to be the strategy of the Indian think tank that they keep the run rate up all the time and one of the two batsmen at the crease always goes for it and the other forms the anchor. Since all the ODI games seem to get interrupted by rain the strategy seems worth the try and for now seems to be working for the Indians.

New Zealand bowling except for their captain again seemed to lack in direction and consistency and Vettori will not be happy with the same. This is the second game in the running they have allowed to get the Indians of to a flier. The Indian batting line up is aggressive and is not dependent on Sachin as they used to be few years back.The only way to contain the Indian batting line up is getting wickets at regular intervals and getting rid of Sehwag early.

Dhoni will be really disappointed as this might have been another huge chase for the hosts and could have been a victory for the Indians. Now they have to wait for the third game to try taking the lead to make is 2-0 which will make sure that the Indians cannot lose the series. The Kiwis need to find a way to restrict or get rid of Sehwag early to have a chance at keeping the target to manageable proportions.

The rain has been really frustrating and it seems like the players have to play all the games with the Duckworth Lewis in the mind all the time. Hopefully we can see at least one full 50 over contest in the coming three games.

Anoop makes it to top 13

Anoop Desai makes it to the top “13” (Yes that’s right 13 and not 12) yesterday in the Judge’s wild card round. When Anoop’s name was not called out in the end I was little bit disappointed but when Simon asked him to stay and told him that they have decided to make is top 13, I was like everyone else surprised but was elated. I thought that Anoop deserves to be in top 13 more than Sanjaya did.

I hope that he makes it to the top 10 and keeps going. Only thing he has to make sure is that he chooses the right song which suits his voice. Well now I am really looking forward to the next week’s show and I hope Anoop does justice to the selection.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

American idol wildcard - Go Anoop

It will be interesting tonight and I will get to see Anoop Desai perform once again on the stage in the Judge’s wildcard round. I lost a little bit of interest this year when Anoop did not make the top 12 earlier but this will be his second chance and I think he might just make it. I hope he does as it will keep me glued to this season of the Idol.

I am keeping my fingers crossed for tonight’s show. Go Anoop go!!

India look to build on the Momentum

India put behind their dissapointing twenty20 outing with a strong performance in the first ODI at Napier. Everything went according to the plan for the men in blue starting with the toss. Dhoni won the toss and decided to bat on a good batting pitch and his batsmen did not dissapoint him. Newzealand bowlers were wayward and Sehwag along with Sachin got India to a flier before the rain halted the play for the first time. India were 27/0 in the 5th over.

The game began after a 2 hr 20 minute break as a 38 over a side contest. Sehwag and Sachin began positively putting on 69 for the first wicket of just 10 overs. Sachin was out trying to run Ian Butler to third man and much to the surprise of everyone the Indian captain walked out to the middle instead of Gautam Ghambir. I am sure that this was not something the Kiwis were expecting. Dhoni formed the anchor at one end allowing Sehwag followed by Raina and Pathan to play freely. After Sehwag departed for 77 there was a small dip in the scoring rate and with Yuvraj runout for 3 Newzealand would have felt they had a chance of restricting the score.

Raina walked in to join the captain in the middle and what happened for next twelve overs put Newzealand completely on the back foot. Raina played a brilliant innings. When he came on to bat the game was still in balance and India needed a good partnership. Dhoni and Raina added 110 in just 74 balls to put the Kiwis out of the game. Raina was out after scoring 69 of just 39 deliveries. It seems like Raina is at last fulfilling the potential he displayed when made his debut few years back.

278 to win of 38 overs was always going to be tough for the home team. They lost 4 wickets for just over a hundred when the rain stopped play for the second time. When the players came out the batting team needed an impossible 105 of 46 deliveries. Few overs later NZ found themselves 9 down with just 132 on the board when harbajan struck thrice in four balls. Daniel Vettori with Ian O’ Brian made sure that the home team arent bowled out. NZ finished on 162 for the loss of 9 wickets going down to the visitors by 53 runs.

India yet again turned in a clinical performance with both the batting and the bowling clicking well for them. Praveen Kumar swung the ball consistantly and troubled both the openers and Zaheer as always was consistant. Munaf Patel needs to step up in the absence of Ishant Sharma. Ishant will be out again for the second game in the westpac stadium at Wellington giving Munaf another opportunity to prove himself. India would most probably go with an unchanged team barring any injuries. NZ though have an injury scare with Brendon Mccullum and may think of playing Tim Southee in the place of Kyle Mills as the latter had a horrible first game. The hosts have a great record at the Westpac stadium and have won their last 5 ODI’s played here.

Daniel Vettori would want a better performance from his bowlers and would hope that they can draw level in Wellington. Dhoni and India though would want to take a 2-0 lead to put more pressure on the Kiwis.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Cricketers not safe anymore

It was one of the darkest days in cricket history. A cricket team was targetted by the terrorists which was deemed as not possible by the Pakistani politicians when India decided to pull out of the series. Pakistan cricket which was already in the doldrums after International sides refused to tour there received a great setback. There has been lots of speculation in the aftermath of the attacks regarding the security provided and stuff but the reality is that the damage has been done. It will be difficult for Pakistan to bounce back from this disaster.

The Srilankan cricketers were really lucky to have survived the attack and it was only due to the bravery shown by their bus driver they escaped with minor injuries. The Srilankan’s were one team who always wanted to travel to Pakistan and what happened to them was attrocious. Srilankan cricketers are humble and friendly. Even when they are the opponents its hard to hate them. Its really unfortunate that this has to happen to them after they had graciously accepted to tour Pakistan after India had pulled out. Six srilankan players were injured during the attacks including the captain Jayawardane and the vice captain Sangakkara. Thilan Samaraveera and Tharanga were the worst affected and they were fortunate that the bullet just hit them at an angle that it couldnt penetrate.

As said in the media cricketers are soft targets for the terrorists and this will for sure put fears in the mind of teams around the world. This actually can have far greater implications on pakistan and rest of the subcontinent. Western teams would think twice about touring even India and Srilanka after these attacks. This has been the first instance of a cricket team to be targetted directly. As Harsha said in his column in Express India ICC have to take some harsh decisions regarding the WC. They have to stand up and behave like the leaders which they havent been doing all these years.

My prayer goes to the families of the security personnel who were killed protecting the pride of their country and the bus driver who was unfortunately killed during these attacks. This is an unfortunate incident which has made sure that cricket will not be played in pakistan for quite sometime now and unless there is a miracle in the next two years the WC 2011 might not happen there too. I salute the bus driver Khalil who putting his life in line drove the Srilankan players to safety. If not for him this might have been a bigger tragedy. I also salute the Srilankan players who in spite of going through a traumatic experiance handled themselves gracefully. Hopefully we will see these humble and great cricketers well soon on the cricket field doing what they know best.