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Showing posts from June, 2006

Ponting v Vaughan: there is no argument

This winter's Ashes in Australia has taken a new look.

Nothing sums up the difference between both sides than the state of both captains. Since that awesome Ashes series last summer came to a euphoric end at The Oval in September, Ricky Ponting
has gone from superb talent to virtual phenomenon, while Michael Vaughan has slumped from leader of a new era to hobbling, crippled has-been. Ponting's brilliant face-saving hundred against Bangladesh in early April was his ninth in 14 Tests - including an average of 76 in his last 10 - and the manner in which he scored those runs has been incredible. Forget Tendulkar, Lara, Hayden, whoever. Ponting is the most dangerous batsman in world cricket.

His jaw-dropping run began with a magnificent 149 at the Gabba against West Indies - none of his team-mates went past 50 - and progressed to a superb hundred at the MCG on an opening day when eight wickets fell, a double-bill at Sydney (his 100th Test), and culimated with two more hundreds again…

The 1975 World Cup final: How it all began

World cricket was tried in 1912 in a three-way series among the Test playing nations of the time - Australia, England and South Africa. Hubris and poor weather torpedoed the tournament. The failure was salutary; it was not tried again until 1975. The first World Cup Series in 1975 gave formal status to this shorter version of the game.

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Kunderan is no more

Budhi Kunderan, the dashing wicketkeeper-batsman of the 1960s, passed away at the age of 66 today. He had been suffering from lung cancer, diagnosed in October 2005.

Against England in 1963-64, he became the first wicketkeeper in history to pass 500 runs for a Test series. Looking back at the series, the 1964 edition of the Indian Cricket almanack writes:

"It was strength and depth in batting that made India look a shade stronger than England. They were given a splendid start in the first Test itself by Kunderan, who played a breath-taking innings of 192, and Manjrekar, who hit up a classic hundred. India were indeed lucky that Kunderan played instead of Engineer who hurt his finger on the eve of the match, and Kunderan never looked back. He went on to play another three-figure innings, in the fourth Test. It was different in character, being more controlled and more responsible, but throughout the series he remained a most colourful batsman."

His rivalry and camaraderie with F…

The best movies of the year

Truth hasn't just been stranger than fiction this year; it's been better, with documentaries emerging as some of the strongest -- and best-reviewed -- films so far.

Forget blockbusters -- go for documentaries.Read more

Wade leads Miami to first title

I'm eating my words, my hat. The Miami Heat came back from behind to defeat the Mavericks 4-2 in the NBA finals. Dallas paid the price for some sloppy ball, and Miami got their best from Dwayne Wade. He is a true superstar. Period.

I thought Miami would lose, but hats off to them. And to Pat Riley. It's back to waiting for next season to see if Dallas or Phoenix can come up trumps.

Lets go Red Sox!

For whom the bell tolls

Well, it looks like Screech may need some cash. Saved By the Bell star Dustin Diamond is selling shirts on a private website in an attempt to collect $250,000 and save his house from being foreclosed. The Boston Globe decided to take a look at the rest of the cast, and see how well they're getting along.

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The Second Coming of Pearl Jam

A decade after turning their backs on fame, Seattle's grunge survivors are ready for Act Two

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kissa kiss ka

So you must have heard about the infamous Mika-Rakhi Sawant 'smooch' from last week. This must be the longest kiss goodnight ever given. It's not over....ho-hum...

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Hazaaron khwaahishein aisi...

One of the guys at work brought in the dvd of the old television show Mirza Ghalib starring Naseeruddin Shah. Great show, great acting. Reminded me of the first time I heard Ghalib:

"Hazaaron khwaahishein aisi ki har khwaaish pe dum nikale
Bahut nikle mere armaan lekin phir bhi kam nikle

Nikalnaa khuld se aadam kaa sunte aaye hain lekin
Bahut beaabroo hokar tere kuuche se hum nikle

Mohabbat mein nahin hai farq jeene aur marne kaa
Usi ko dekh kar jeete hain jis kaafir pe dum nikle

Khudaa ke vaaste pardaa na kaabe se uthaa zaalim
Kahin aisa na ho yahan bhi vahi kaafir sanam nikle

Kahaan maikhaane ka darwaazaa 'Ghalib' aur kahaan vaaiz
Par itnaa jaante hain kal woh jaataa thaa ke hum nikle"

And one more for the road....

"Maut ka ek din mu'ayyan hai
Neend kyon raat bhar nahin aati ?

So you think you can do a better job than the boss? You're right

The corporate world is obsessed with leadership. What makes a fine leader? Why do successes such as Jack Welch and Richard Branson become cult figures? Why are psychologists still squabbling over whether great leaders are born or made?

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Sox rally, hold on for sweep

Boston puts up a six-run eighth to shut the door on the Braves...

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Consistently different

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With Rang De Basanti and Fanaa being unequaled blockbusters, Aamir Khan never had it any better.

Shah Rukh Khan may still draw the crowds with Karan Johar's help, but Aamir is the most dependable star around. Dependable is a word that is often fickle in Bollywood, and many will gladly throw up Salman Khan's name before Aamir's. Where SRK will always only do well in YashRaj films and will remain out of synch in any other role, Aamir has, since the brilliant Rangeela way back in 1995, made a conscious effort to do cinema that excites and challenges him.

It's his constant need to reinvent himself that has seen Aamir stand apart from his contemporaries. The chocolate lover boy of the 1990s has made way for a serious, thinking, perfectionist who has attempted to keep himself ahead of the rest. He has faltered, on occasion (Mann, anyone?) and not all of his experiments have worked. Mangal Pandey - The Rising opened big, but failed to captiviate the audience for long. It took …

Fandemonium

When Dan Shaughnessy examined the Boston sports fan in 1990, the Bruins were contenders, the Celtics were chic and the Sox were cursed. Times have changed.

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Six of the best: too many Ashes Tests is never enough

The Big Fella's gone now, and even He didn't reckon He'd be staring down at us from the celestial corporate box at the SCG. So I don't need to whisper it: I WANT SIX ASHES TESTS! Umm, back.

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Good Cinema, haazir ho!

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Had the pleasure of watching a selection of the late Renu Saluja's finest works - she was one the best film editors Indian Cinema has seen - during a nine-film festival at Fun Republic this weekend. Didn't catch all nine, but the ones that I did were special.

The one that stood out - I hadn't seen it previously - was Saeed Mirza's under-rated social satire Mohan Joshi Haazir Ho!, translated as 'A Summons for Mohan Joshi'. A parody on housing legislation, this film was based on a simple yet taught screenplay, deft direction, an ensemble cast that turned in wonderful performances, and cinematography that captured the city of Bombay brilliantly.

The plot, in brief: Joshi, a retired clerk who lives with his wife and family in old Bombay tenement - a chaal, to use Mumbai-speak - sues his landlord, which starts a complicated and expensive legal procedure. Eventually Joshi realises that one cannot win against entrenched economic powers.

Released in 1984, the film still…

Two beginnings

Harsha Bhogle reflects on two Indian debutants in the summer of 1996.

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The Heat is on....

Dwyane Wade scored 36 points on a sore knee to help the Heat even the series. Okay, I'll retract some of what I said earlier about Miami being chokers. A few days ago this series looked to be over, now it's more than alive.

And hey, did you hear about the Red Sox? Yeah, they dropped three games to the Twins. Jason bleepin' Kubel homered for the third straight game as the BoSox went down 5-3. We're a freakin' game away from dropping to third in the AL East. It was the first four-game losing streak for Boston in more than a year. Come on, up on your feet!

Pietersen finds perfect belief system

There is no room for doubt in the world of England’s most destructive batsman, writes Matthew Syed in The Times.

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Jhalak dikhlake, aashiq bana diya...huzoor!

Is Himesh Reshammiya the guy India hates to love, or loves to hate? Are his tunes everyone's guilty pleasure?

That nasal twang, those jhankaar beats, those gawdy pop videos, the cap, the sometimes-stubble-sometimes-beard, the long coats....this guy is different.

Whatever it is, this dude has India rocking to his beats. Though he had composed random hits in various Salman Khan movies, as well as a surprise hit in the Humraaz OST, it all exploded with 2005's Aashiq Banaya Aapne, a soundtrack that was "inspired" by Arabic and Pakistani originals but which catapulted Reshammiya into the big league. The rest, as they say, is history.

In an industry which is dominated by Anu Malik and AR Rehman, Reshammiya has certainly made a niche for his own kind of music. His compositions for Aksar, 36 China Town, Chup Chup Ke, Phir Hera Pheri and that controversial additional theme song for Humko Deewane Kar Gaye had the country either tapping their feet, gyrating their hips, or runni…

too much happening these days...

Bloody rain robbed India of a win in the St Lucia Test. And a fine piece de resistance from that man Brian Charles Lara. Awesome innings from him. Two Tests, two classic escape acts from West Indies.
And yes, the Sox dropped another to the Twins. Again, Matt Clement was the guy who messed it up - he tossed eight consecutive balls at one point - and left the mound injured. The Red Sox offense struggled for the second straight game, totaling five hits . Sad.
And what about the Mavs? Dropped one to the Heat to open up the finals. Interesting.
Soccer still the thing to watch nowadays, though.
More later...

Dallas on the road to glory

The Mavs lead 2-0 in the finals. Suh-weet. My man Dirk came back strong in Game 2 and smothered those damn Miami kids. Shaq, sorry - you ain't getting another title anytime soon. Wade, buddy, move to another city.

Anyway, kudos to Avery Johnson, who gave this team what Don Nelson couldn't in his ripe old age. "We're not playing perfect basketball..if you don't play perfect basketball and still can win another game like this - they score 80 and 85 points - we'll take it," Johnson said after Game 2. Dude, you guys can hold of Miami. Stick to the basics, back yourselves, and the title is yours. Go Mavs!

And as for the dear Red Sox over in Bean Town, they went down 6-13 to Texas in the second game of a double-header. COME ON! Wake up and play ball! Dont' give the lead to the Yanks - who lost 3-0 to Oakland - again....aye!

Thats it for my US sports brief....back to India v West Indies, day three in St Lucia...Kumble!

adios

Kaif's coming of age

Mohammad Kaif finally got a Test hundred. Whew. Here's a guy who has been on the cusp of the Test side for a while now, but who has had to sit and watch other more favorable batsmen get chance after chance even though coming up short. But on the second day of the St Lucia Test against West Indies, Kaif took his career by the reins and got to the landmark.

Impressive about this particular innings was how straight he played. Competent against both the quicks and the spinners, Kaif used his feet well to move down the track and meet the ball. His running between the wickets was good and together with Rahul Dravid he forced the scoring rate.

Everyone will remember his awesome Natwest innings back in the summer of 2002, but maybe not so many his maiden ODI hundred in his next match, against Zimbabwe in the ICC Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka. That was an innings in which he bettered his famous 87* at Lords. believe it or not. Batting at the No.7 spot, he hit an unbeaten 111 from 112 balls a…

Aamchi Mumbai

And so I am back in hot, humid Bombay. Three weeks away and your realize how hot it gets here. The news from here? 'Fanaa" has garnered a historic opening at most centers, despite the Gujarat fuss, the rains have threatened to cause havoc once again, and the World Cup fever has hit big time.
Back to work - yay CMS - and the second Test between India and West Indies begins tomorrow.
Dying to watch the NBA finals - go Mavs - but dont know if ESPN is going to show all the games.
Redsox dropped their series against the Yankees. Whats that all about?
Watched "The Omen" and "Inside Man"...the first was good, couple of good moments, while the second caught me napping...though that was probably the jetlag.
Anyways, more later.
Adios

Adios, Boston

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And so my time in Boston comes to an end. A good time was had with friends new and old, as well as the crazy cousins, Jay and Shibs, and being back in the city was great.

Got to watch tons of baseball and basketball - but not enough - and the food, as expected, was awesome. A big thanks to everyone who chilled. A special holla to my man Sid, who was up for anything at any time, and who put up with three Alters. Whiffle ball, the batting cage, the cricket, it was good. 10 cent wings and pitchers of Molson, and of course those cheap Brubakers, at Our House - sweet. The Imrie three, thanks.



Covering the India-West Indies one-day series was fun, even though India lost badly. Put that aside, and the time was better. Didn't get to see everyone I would have liked to, but hey, whatever.

I'll take back to India some good memories of this trip, and rekindled love for certain things here.

Can't wait to come back in a year.