- The RTE has done more harm than good with respect to learning outcomes. It focuses on only strengthening the hardware, not the software
- The education sector needs de-regulation. Competition is the only way to improve quality
- The government just cannot do a good job of teaching in a country as large and complex as ours
Friday, February 27, 2015
Friday, January 02, 2015
- Anil Kumble won India more matches than Sachin Tendulkar
- Anil Kumble would have made a better captain than Sourav Ganguly
Maybe it was because he came from my home state, Karnataka. Maybe it was because he held a degree in Mechanical Engineering from one of Karnataka’s best engineering colleges, RVCE. Maybe it was because he acted and bowled like a tear-away fast bowler (something Indian cricket fans sorely missed) – glaring at the batsmen and wiping out tails. Maybe it was because he once bowled with a broken jaw.
While the second assertion made above is tougher to verify, I decided to spend some time digging through the data to verify the first assertion.
I also did the same analyses for Sachin, Dravid and Kumble. They played together in 29 Test wins. Shockingly, Kumble’s contribution (63) equals that of Sachin and Dravid combined (64)!
PPS: In a future blogpost, I will analyse drawn games in which Sachin performed well, but India failed to close out the win due to a poor performance by Kumble and the bowlers.
Backup data and analysis: https://www.dropbox.com/s/r6d369yzydqz0va/Sachin%20vs%20Kumble%20vs%20Dravid.xlsx?dl=0
Monday, February 28, 2011
Choice of game
The Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru is easily one of India’s best cricket stadiums, so the choice of game was a no-brainer. The atmosphere is always electric, the pitch batsman-friendly and spectator comfort right up there with the best. The new look KSCA administration led by Kumble, Srinath and Venky even managed to up the comfort levels with free refreshments, clean toilets and fancy bucket seating! Of course, the other (more practical) reason for picking Bengaluru was the fact that I only managed to get tickets to the Bengaluru WC games through family contacts!
India. Obviously. I was rooting for a close finish, and couldn’t have asked for more.
There were several key performers in this match for the ages. Sehwag showed us his entire range of cut shots, most notably the upar cut as christened by the Pepsi ad campaign. The Master composed a masterpiece and treated us to his entire repertoire - the cover drive, the backfoot drive, the lofted straight drive , the flick through midwicket, the nudge to fine leg, the slog sweep over midwicket. I counted him playing only one false shot in his entire innings. Bresnan had a typically workmanlike game. He ran in with energy, bowled good lengths and without anyone noticing, sneaked in a terrific 5-wicket haul. But the player of the day undoubtedly was Andrew Strauss. Straussy combined the brutal pulling of Shane Watson with the rasping cuts of Jayasuriya and the crisp sweeping of his coach, Andy Flower in a career-defining innings.
I had a complimentary ticket from the KSCA right below the players’ dressing rooms. So big stars weren’t short in supply in our stand. Ganguly looked dapper and hung out with Dravid before the game. Kumble, Srinath and Venky were busy pleasing their bigwig guests with photo ops. Azim Premji arrived but had to soon leave as he couldn’t find a seat! Kannada film superstar Upendra walked in halfway through the Indian innings and the crowd made space for him. Poor Uppi had a tough time catching the action though as he was incessantly bugged by fans for photos and autographs. Srikkanth arrived with ICC head honcho Haroon Lorgat. Right through their 10 min conversation, Chika did all the talking while Haroon looked on in mild amusement. Even Captain Gopinath from Air Deccan was spotted in our stand.
The home of the UB Group’s Royal Challengers felt more like a popular disc than a cricket game, especially during the Indian innings. The IPL’s influence was clearly seen. How else would you explain loud pop music played mid-over in a WC match. At one point, while Sehwag was on the attack, the systems rather ironically blared “I know you want me, You know I want you..” as Anderson was running in!
The rather unpopular stadium MC however failed to get the crowd on his side. He urged the crowd to watch the screen and do the Stumpy (the WC mascot) dance, but was met with a stony silence. He coaxed us to scream Yahooooo in unison but all he got was a series of booooos! The crowd was happier sticking with the good ol’ South Indian cheer – Jinkalakala Waikalakala, Hoo haa, Hoo haa! Also, what were Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy thinking? Their WC theme song is so fail, it’s not funny.
Blame your equipment moment of the day
Towards the end of his innings, Gambhir went for a full blooded cover drive off Anderson but missed the ball by a mile. What did he do next. Looked unhappily at his bat and asked for a bat change! Nice try, Gauti.
The bouncer barrage
With a middle order comprising of Yuvraj, Yusuf and potentially Raina, India can expect to see many more overs this WC like the innings’ 41st when Bresnan bowled 6 bouncers!
Zak wakes up
It is incredible how many one day games swing in favour of the bowling team during the batting powerplay. This time, it was Zak who suddenly woke up from deep slumber and bowled a terrific spell. These days, he somehow manages to turn it on at just the right moments, in spite of his apparent lack of fitness. He ambles around the ground and looks like a bowling version of that great energy preserver, Ranatunga. My cousin has a theory that Zak is referred to as the attack leader and not strike bowler because well, he doesn’t really look like a strike bowler!
Astonishing statistic of the match
There was only one 3 scored by either team in a total of six hundred and seventy six runs. Crazy. The result of a small Indian ground and a lightning fast outfield.
The twin towers
Chris Tremlett (who was carrying drinks for the visitors) has no place on a cricket field. 6 ft 8 in and rather grave looking, he looked like he belonged more in a rugby scrum. India’s gentle giant, Munaf Patel though was as endearing as ever. While a few lucky kids walked hand in hand with the players on to the field for the national anthems, Munna picked up his escort by the hip and had him dangling by his shoulder. And later in the day, he won a few fans in the crowd through his return catch cum save my face from disfigurement moment.
Once in a lifetime moment of the day
The day had plenty of those once in a lifetime moments. Sachin’s near flawless 100. Strauss’s splendid knock. A tie in a WC match. But for me, the moment that topped all of these was the crowd’s reaction when Bell was called back by Billy Bowden on the UDRS review. How often does one get to see 35,000 grown up men and women shouting “Cheating! Cheating! Cheating!” for one whole minute!
The uninsightful rating system
All through the game, Castrol Cricket had some ridiculous ratings flashed on the giant screen. They kept informing us about the top performers to look out for through a rating index. The funny thing was it was calculated on the basis of performance till that point in the game. Also, they kept informing us about the relative positions of the teams in the game, and these swung like a pendulum! That’s what happens when lukkha engineers over-analyse a sport.
Spectator cheer of the day
The rowdy Indian crowds never fail to disappoint when it comes to interesting cheers (or anti-cheers, as we call it in these parts). A particularly enterprising lot in our stand took to poor old Luke Wright. They kept shouting out ‘Wright Wright’ to him, and when he looked back to acknowledge their cheers, he was greeted with ‘Left Left’!
Marks out of 10The perfect 10. As my Kannadiga neighbour at the ground described it, it was a miracalu at Bengaluru.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
I'm soo going to miss these lukkha weekends next year.
Also stumbled upon an interesting address delivered by Steve Jobs at Stanford in 2005. One para resonates most with me today.
'When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.'
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Recently, she attended the local Mahila Mandal (Women's Club) meeting where the women were giving each other household tips. One said that ginger when dried in the sun is easier to cut. Another offered tips on how to prevent your eyes from watering while cutting onions. When my mom's turn arrived, she began.
"When you have had a tiring day at work, make some tea and sit down at the dining table with your husband. After narrating to him the tough day you have endured, get up and limp towards the kitchen. Bemoan the fact that you have to now wash vessels and cook dinner. Your husband will follow you and offer to help you with the dishes. Gladly accept this. Then start cutting the vegetables. When he has almost finished with the washing, grab hold of a couple of onions and rue the fact that your eyes are soon going to water. He will then offer to help you with the onions!" And so on.
This incident reminded me of my history teacher in school, who had a great sense of humour. Once, he was talking to us about the changing roles of men and women in Indian society. How women now work and how men are expected to help with the housework. Animal husbandry is what he called it!
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Our guide was a replica of the great Dev Anand. He hero-worshipped him so much that he even called himself Dev Anand!
The next 2 hours were pure, unadulterated entertainment.
This is our wonderful first shtop. Enjoy the beauty of the nature in full glory. Yahan aapke liye 1 min photography, 14 min baaki.
Boy, Dev Anand was without a shadow of doubt the best tourist guide I have ever had. The rest of Mahabaleshwar was fun too. Nice quaint town with amazing food and views. And the usual dose of typos that are a part of every 'sight-seeing' trip in India!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
This December, as always, my hostel room was taken over by a bunch of friends and acquaintances during Mood Indigo. This has both its positives and negatives. On the bright side, I always seem to discover a host of new years' gifts during my marathon post-MI room cleaning sessions. This year, Santa had stashed away a nice little gold watch inside one of my shoes. A couple of weeks of inquiries later, I still hadn't located the owner of the watch. So, I decided to gift it to the housekeeping staff on my hostel floor (a good friend of mine). Initially, he refused to accept it, but a little coaxing resulted in him finally taking it. Two days back, I bumped into him in the corridor.
Me: (wave) Kya chal raha hain?
Him: Achcha hun, sir.
(I walk past, and he calls out)
Him: Sir, meine ghadi ko Hall Manager ke office mein jama kar diya. Achcha nahi laga, log kya sochenge.
He had felt uncomfortable wearing the fancy watch. There was no way he was going to jeopardize the trust of his community for a glittering gadget that he had no real use for. No wonder people in the slums do not feel the need for doors in their houses.
My all-time favourite real life incident is a story narrated to me by a friend of mine who is a frequent traveller on the Virar fast, Bombay's most crowded local train.
Once, an old uncle travelling by the Virar fast wanted to get off at Jogeshwari. The problem with that was that the Virar fast does not stop at Jogeshwari. On realizing this, Uncleji pressed the panic button and asked his co-passengers what to do. They comforted him and told him that there was no cause to worry. All fast trains slow down at slow local stations, and they would help him jump off the train. All he had to do was continue running to maintain his momentum. Father Newton would take care of the rest.
So, Jogeshwari arrived and as promised, he was helped off the train. Remarkably for his age, he timed his jump, landing and subsequent jog to perfection. Piece of cake. Now, in Bombay, when you see a fellow Mumbaikar in need of help, the thing to do is to lend a helping hand. On noticing Uncleji running beside the train, the passengers in the next compartment did what comes naturally to them. They pulled him back into the train!
At least you cannot fault their intentions. Beautiful city this is :).