Friday, July 3, 2015

Dropped on Sunday, Captain on Monday – The Curious Case of Ajinkya Rahane

“Life is really unpredictable”!! You completely feel down & out on one day and on another day you are suddenly on top.  Many of us have experienced this situation in our lives. The same thing has happened with Team India’s most technically gifted current batsman named Ajinkya Rahane. After being dropped for last two ODIs of recently concluded Bangladesh tour, Ajinkya Rahane has been named as Team India’s captain for the tour of Zimbabwe which will consist of 3 ODIS and 2 T20s. A major reason for his appointment is that most of the senior players have been rested along with the current ODI skipper MS Dhoni. “Team India” has been playing non-stop cricket since last 6 months so these senior players opted to rest for this series.

            Ajinkya Rahane has blossomed into a complete Test Match batsman since last year or so. He scored his first test ton at Basin Reserve, Wellington against the Kiwis in February 2014. It was followed by a magnificent Test Match winning century on a green top at Lords against England few months later. His knock of 147 against Australia at MCG in last December was a true masterpiece & provided him recognition all around the Cricketing Globe. With a batting average of close to 50, Ajinkya Rahane is now the backbone of Indian Test Match batting line up along with Virat Kohli.

            However, his ODI career has been a bit of enigma. Since making his ODI debut as an opening batsman in 2011 at Chester-le-Street in England, Ajinkya is still fighting for his spot in Indian ODI squad. With an average of 30.63 in ODIs, there is always pressure on Ajinkya when he bats in this format. With Rohit-Sharma & Shikhar Dhawan having cemented their opening slots, Ajinkya Rahane has been batting at No. 4 since last few months which included the recently concluded World Cup. Many former cricketers including Sourav Ganguly picked Ajinkya Rahane to be one of the success stories of India in World Cup. However, Ajinkya had an average World Cup by his high standards. Only saving grace was his knock of 79 runs against South Africa which was laden with 7 boundaries and 3 sixes.

            An interesting fact to note here is that Ajinkya Rahane made his ODI debut in September 2011 whereas he played his first Test Match in March 2013. His international T20 career has been on the same path as his ODI career. Although, Ajinkya Rahane has done remarkably well for his franchise Rajasthan Royals in IPL, he is not a regular fixture in Indian T20 squad. With T20 World Cup approaching early next year, Team India is scheduled to play a handful of T20 matches till next T20 World Cup. If given a chance it will be very interesting to see how Ajinkya Rahane performs in these games.

            So with Zimbabwe series starting next week it will be a special moment for Ajinkya Rahane when he will lead Team India at Harare on 10th of July 2015. However, he is just a stand-by captain for 3 ODIs and 2 T20s in Zimbabwe but this experience will help him immensely to develop his ODI & T20 game. After a poor series in Bangladesh, “Team India” is hoping for a turnaround in Zimbabwe. But beating Zimbabwe in their own backyard in the absence of star players like Dhoni, Virat, Rohit, Raina, Dhawan & Ashwin won’t be that easy for Team India. If Ajinkya Rahane leads India to victory in both ODI & T20 series, then it will be a huge confidence booster for him & Indian cricket team.

One good thing is that Ajinkya Rahane has always had support & confidence of senior cricketers & Coach. Although MS Dhoni dropped Rahane from Playing XI for last 2 ODIs in Bangladesh, he talks very highly about him when it comes to Test Match Cricket. India’s Test Match Captain Virat Kohli also rates Ajinkya Rahane very highly. Another thing that goes Ajinkya’s way is his fielding. For me he is the best Indian fielder & easily saves around 15 to 20 runs in an ODI match through his fielding. So Captain Rahane has a tough task in next couple of weeks of discovering himself as an efficient ODI & T20 Cricketer and leading India to victory against Zimbabwe after disappointing Bangladesh series.  

Monday, June 15, 2015

Memories Unlimited coz its Monsoon Time

So after suffering from serious scorching heat since last three to four months, finally Monsoon has hit Mumbai. Monsoon for Mumbai in simple words can be described as “Love it or Hate it but you Need it”. If you are a Mumbaikar, where travelling by public transport is an integral part of your daily routine, than this season of monsoon can pose a serious challenge for you. Most of the trains run late, road transport is affected because of water clogging so reaching your office in time can be quite a task. Another serious issue is mud pools or puddles which makes walking on road a torture.

                In spite of all this trouble and difficulties, month of monsoon or Rainy Season is one of the most awaited & enjoyed season in Mumbai. For children it’s the season to get drenched in the rain, show-off their new Rain wear, make Paper-Boats, bunk school at times because of heavy rain. For youngsters, Monsoon is the season to enjoy their romantic life to the fullest, play a game of football under heavy rain, have those weekend parties with their favourite drink at a nearby Resort. If you like travelling and are fond of nature, then visiting places like Khandala, Bhivpuri, Malshej Ghat during rains can be a visual treat for you.

                For foodies, season of monsoon offers you some nice dishes to enjoy! ‘Kandabhaji’ – a famous Maharashtrian delicacy tastes best during rains. Try it once if you have never tried it.  ‘Kandabhaji’ is available at most of the roadside food stalls in Mumbai. Another food-item which makes a regular appearance during Monsoon is Charcoal Roasted Corn’. “Makka” or “Butta” as it is called in Mumbai is the famous street food during monsoons. Roasted Corn is good for your health, so you do not have to worry about calories while indulging in this roadside delight of Mumbai during rains. 

                If you are having a weekend off and it’s raining heavily, the best thing to do at times is to quietly listen to the serene & tranquil sound of raindrops. This can be one of the ideal ways to ease away your stress. So with lots of memories, the beautiful and the most important season of monsoon has just arrived in Mumbai. Let’s pray to God for a sufficient monsoon all over India to overcome the problem of water scarcity around country.  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Being Salman

Indian Media is Salman-ified since last week coz it was time for Bhai's verdict. Salman was sentenced for five years rigorous imprisonment in the 2002 hit-and-run case by Sessions Court in Mumbai on Wednesday i.e. 6th May.  However, hours after he was sentenced to five years imprisonment, Salman Khan was granted interim bail by the Bombay High Court till 8th of May. Instead of being in Jail on 6th of May, Sallu Bhai received a heroic welcome at his Bandra residence by his followers. During that period lot of Bollywood Celebrities, Political-big-shots met Salman Khan to show their support as if Salman was going to jail because he had killed a Terrorist and not a poor footpath dweller.

            As expected The Bombay High Court on last Friday i.e. 8th of May suspended the sentence of actor Salman Khan and granted him bail till his appeal is decided. So it was celebration time for Salman and his loyal fans who had seen his each & every film since “Maine Pyar Kiya” days.  Fire Crackers were busted outside his Bandra residence & huge party was organized at Salman’s Panvel Farmhouse to celebrate his release from jail.

            Going back to life & career of Salman Khan, ‘Bhai’ as he is popularly called is always in news. Controversies have been following Salman, may it be the Backbuck case, comments about 26/11 attacks or altercations with his Bollywood friends like Vivek Oberoi, Aishwarya Rai and Katrina Kaif. However, Salman is one of the successful actors in Bollywood whose films are guaranteed to touch a whooping 100 crores mark. Salman also has a huge fan base not only in India but all around the globe.

            Salman Khan is also known for his Charity Work & his “Being Human” Charitable Foundation which was started in 2007 has helped thousands of underprivileged children by providing them with healthcare & Educational facilities. Apart from that Salman Khan is also known for helping lots of Bollywood aspirants by giving them financial assistance & other help as & when needed. Talking about body building in India, “Salman Khan” is a role model for lots of youngsters.

Since last few days Social Media is divided on the Salman Topic with one section wanting Salman to be in jail so that the power of Law thrives over power of money. On the other hand there is a huge Salman fan following who wants their hero out of the jail. According to them what Salman did was wrong but looking at this Social Work, his star power, the Bollywood Actor should be given another chance. Few of them are even saying that it was not Salman’s fault but the person who died in accident was at fault as he was sleeping on footpath. So this Salman “hit and run case” is going to take lot of twist and turns in coming months. Let’s hope that Court makes a proper judgment, so that common man does not lose his faith in the Indian Judicial System.   

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Primetime, Marathi Movies & Shobha De

With Maharashtra State Government making it mandatory for multiplex owners to screen Marathi movies at Primetime, the decision has caused premature whining from lots of Bollywood & Page 3 personalities. Plenty of discussions & debates are going on the issue especially on Social Media. Decision has been welcomed by all Maharashtrians in general except few Uncle and Aunties who try to act differently to create their unique identity at all times.

                Mahesh Bhatt, Mukesh Bhatt lead this so called Anti-Marathi brigade and are joined by Mr. Perfectionist Aamir Khan and our own “Marathi Mulgi” Shobha De. Mumbai, being a capital of Maharashtra, I don’t think there should be anyone opposing this decision & those who are doing it should rightly called Anti-Marathi. For all Khans, Kapoors, Khannas of Bollywood let me remind them one thing that it was “Marathi Manoos”  Shri. Dada Saheb Phalke who started the movement of Cinema in India in real sense.

                 Since last decade quality of Marathi movies has improved a lot. Movies like Dombivali Fast, Me Shivaji Raje Bhosale Boltoy, Aga Bai Arrecha & Timepass can easily give competition to any Bollywood movie. “Shwas” , a Marathi film released in 2004 was India’s official entry to the 2004 “Oscars” & was ranked 6th in the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film Category. With Current shit made in Bollywood most of the Multiplex Screens are not even 30% full during Primetime.

Finally coming back to topic of Shobha Aunty i.e. Shobha De who really has a good command over English language during most times makes misuse of her words especially on Social Media Platforms. After Primetime slot for Marathi movies was announced Shobha Aunty was at her best criticising the decision on Twitter (For what she wrote, kindly check her Twitter Handle). Intoxicated by Page 3 Culture Shobha Aunty not only criticised Marathi movies but also Marathi Culture. ShivSena today rightly protested outside her house as this people should learn to respect the culture of the state where they live.
 I am not defending all Marathi movies made because even today high percent of Marathi movies are ordinary, leave along going to Theatre you cannot even watch it on TV. So with Primetime slot allocated to Marathi movies by State Govt.  it’s now responsibility of Marathi filmmakers to make quality Marathi movies which people  can watch at Theatres. Just as I am on verge of completing the blog I just saw this Tweet

#Breaking Maha govt relaxes prime time diktat, says Marathi films can be screened on any 1 screen in multiplexes any time between 12pm - 9pm

But still I hope that #AcheDin comes for Marathi Cinema 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dream is Over #WeHaveGivenItBack BUT Well played “Team India”

#WontGiveItBack was the caption with which our World Cup campaign was promoted on Star Sports India & other Social Media platforms. We played fierce, competitive & ruthless Cricket throughout the World Cup winning 7 out of 7 games. Our form prior to the World Cup was poor to say the least. We were not able to win a single game in the entire Australian Tour which consisted of 4 Tests followed by a Tri-Series involving England. Leave alone Australia Indian Team was even defeated by England twice in the Tri-Series which was a major concern for all Indian Cricket lovers.

            To make matter worse for Indian Teams & its fans our opening encounter in the World Cup was with our archrivals Pakistan against whom we enjoyed a winning record of “5-0” in World Cups. After looking at India’s performance against Australia & England plenty of fans even made statements like “Forget the World Cup just win against Pakistan and it will be like winning World Cup for us”. Finally historical day arrived on a glorious Sunday on 15th Feb 2015 at Adelaide & Team India really played like champs to defeat Pakistan convincingly. Fans were ecstatic & post match celebrations were of the nature as if India has already won the World Cup. Even I celebrated by drinking two bottles of Budweiser (My loyal Brand of Beer).

            Virat Kohli scored a swashbuckling century along with Mohammad Shami who picked up 4 Pakistani wickets were heroes in India’s victory against Pakistan. India’s next match was against the strong South African side who were considered as tournament favorites along with Australia. However Team India floored the Proteas at the Packed MCG courtesy brilliant hundred by Shikhar Dhawan & classy 79 by Ajinkya Rahane which allowed India to post 307. Chasing this huge target South Africa folded out for 177 due to some brilliant bowling by R.Ashwin who claimed 3 South African wickets & some spectacular fielding added to South African downfall.

  Team India made an easy meal of minnows UAE in their next encounter before making a heavy weather of the mediocre Target of 182 set by West Indies in their next match at Perth. Captain Cool Mahindra Singh Dhoni in partnership with his CSK Teammate Ravichandran Ashwin guided India to an easy victory against the Team from Caribbean. Having already qualified for the Quarter finals India’s next 2 encounters were against the minnows Ireland & Zimbabwe. To retain their Number One position in Group India needed to win both the games which they did in style. So as the Group stage came to an end, Indian Fans who had written off Team India before the tournament now started believing that Team India can defend the World Cup Trophy.

            Since India topped their group we had a luxury of playing Bangladesh in quarter final. Bangladesh are no pushovers and which team would know it better than India who were knocked out of 2007 World Cup because of shock defeat by Bangladesh in group stages. Bangladesh was playing some good cricket in World Cup & deserved to qualify for the Knock-Outs. They beat England in a crucial game & also gave tough fight to favorites New Zealand. #RiseOfTheTigers hashtag was justified and was trending ferociously on Social Media platforms. However India in spite of being in some trouble against the Tigers when they were reduced to 115/3 in 28 overs managed to post 302 because of sublime hundred by Rohit Sharma. Target was too much for Bangladesh and they were folded for 193 in 45 overs courtesy Umesh Yadav’s 4 wicket haul.

            After remaining unbeaten & claiming 70 wickets in 7 matches stage was set for a Semi-Final showdown against the dangerous Aussies at SCG on 26th March. Whole India was on Holiday to watch the match & it was Sea of Blue at SCG as if it was a home game for India. Many Cricket pundits were of the opinion that India can beat Australia because of their current form. Even Aussies were a bit nervous going into the match. However, Australia displayed a clinical performance and shattered the dreams of millions of Indians as they thrashed India by 95 Runs. Batting first Australia riding on brilliance of Steven Smith & Aaron FInch posted a mammoth target of 328. Chasing 329 despite of a solid opening partnership of 76 in (12.5 Overs) Indian batsman crumbled under pressure & India were bowled out for 233. So the journey of World Champions finally came to a halt at Sydney on 26th March 2015. 

            It was a journey full of some beautiful memories which will remain with Indian fans forever. From Rohit & Shikhar’s batting to consistent fast bowling by Umesh, Shami & Mohit, Indian fans enjoyed every bit of the action. Shikhar Dhawan & Ajinkya Rahane’s batting & R.Ashwin’s classical Off-Spin bowling at MCG will surely remain in the minds of 87,000 odd supporters who were at MCG for a long time. Virat’s historical century against Pakistan, Raina & Dhoni’s match winning partnership against Zimbabwe to Rohit Sharma’s classic of 137 against Bangladesh. Team India has given lots of great memories for Indian fans to cherish.

            However one bad game at SCG and our dream of retaining the most prestigious crown in the history of the game was shattered. Lots of people have started criticizing the team after the loss at Sydney but it’s more out of disappointment than frustration. However this is the time when our Heroes need our support so it’s the duty of all Diehard Indian Cricket Fans to support Team India who gave us so much to cheer in this World Cup. Every team can have a bad day at the office and for Team India it was unfortunately at SCG against the mighty Aussies. So we have to accept the defeat & wish our team & captain success in future tournaments because it is only the Game of Cricket which is worship by billions which unites India.

- Well Played Team India

-We are Proud of You  

Monday, March 23, 2015

CW 2015- Semi-Final Showdown

CW 2015- Semi-Final Showdown

It’s Semi-finals time at ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. As expected top four teams have made it to the Semis. Three mouth watering clashes are in store for cricket buffs over the next six days. Semi-Finals will be held on Tuesday, 24th March & Thursday, 26th March followed by a big Final which will be staged on Sunday, 29th March.

Come Tuesday, the lazy city of Auckland in New Zealand will be up & cheering the Black Caps at the Picturesque Eden Park stadium where they take on the flamboyant South Africans in the 1st Semi-Final. Both countries have never made it to the World Cup final so one can understand the significance of this contest. Almost entire New Zealand & South Africa will be glued to their Television Sets where as the lucky ones will be at the Eden Park to support their Teams.

If the group match at Auckland between Australia & New Zealand was anything to go by, one can hardly imagine what will the scenes in Auckland if the game goes down to the wire as it happened during the league match between the two "Trans Tasman Cousins".  Proteas with world class players like AB De’villiers, Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn & JP Duminy are looking slight favorites at this moment but it is very difficult to predict the result of this contest.

If ABD & his team can perform to their potential without choking under the pressure of Semi-Final they can emerge victorious. But for that to happen they have to play their best Cricket against the likes of inform Martin Guptill, Brendon Mccullum, Trent Boult & co. Whatever be the outcome let’s get ready to enjoy the showdown between two teams who have never won a World Cup Semi-Final.  

The Second Semi-Final is scheduled this Thursday at the Traditional Sydney Cricket Ground between the current World Champions India & the host Australia. These two teams have seen enough of each other in last three months or so. Australia since they are playing at home has a slight edge in this clash but they will be nervous of competing against the World Champs who after their dismal tour down under have won seven straight games in the tournament. If Rohit, Shikhar, Virat & Ajinkya start middling their strokes it will be very difficult for the likes of Johnson, Starc & Hazlewood to contain them.

On the other hand if Warner, Finch, Watson, Maxwell start connecting the big ones than it will be a daunting task for in form Umesh , Shami, Mohit & Ashwin to stop the run flow. One positive thing for Team India is the leadership of Captain Cool Mahendra Singh Dhoni who has outstanding record in ICC Knockout matches. Even though this Semi-Final is a home game for Kangaroos don’t be surprised if Indian Fans outnumber the Aussies at SCG both in terms of attendance & decibel levels and turning it into a home affair for Indians.

After watching four one-sided quarter finals, Cricket Fans all around the globe are excepting some thrilling close encounters at Auckland & Sydney. As Cricket’s biggest carnival is reaching its ultimate climax, let’s get ready to enjoy some sensational Semi-Final games between the top four cricket playing nations on the planet. If you are an Indian Cricket Fan just keep praying for Team India’s victory against the mighty Aussies. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

World Cup 2015 – It’s time for Knock – Outs  

After a month of some high quality, electrifying Cricket it’s time for Knock-Outs. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 jointly hosted by Australia & New Zealand till now has proved to be a great success. Lots of high scoring games, Close Encounters, Gayle’s double hundred, AB De’villiers brutal hitting to some deadly pace & swing bowling by Mitchell Starc, Trent Boult, Mohammad Shami & Co.It has been a true festival of Cricket. Associate Nations also made their mark in the World Cup & it will be very cruel of ICC if they reduce the 2019 edition to 10 country event. Overall, World Cup has entertained Cricket Addicts all around the globe.

Finally the most crucial phase of the tournament is starting on Wednesday i.e. 18th March when South Africa will lock horns against Sri Lanka at SCG in the 1st quarterfinal. All the teams which were fancied to reach the quarter finals before the start of the Tournament have qualified barring England who is elegantly replaced by resurgent Bangladesh Team who knocked the ‘Poms’ out of the Tournament by beating them in the league phase last week.

After Sri Lanka – Proteas battle on 18th, another #BlockbusteratMCG  is scheduled on 19th when the World Champions India take on Bangladeshi Tigers. The 3rd quarter–final is between the Unpredictables Pakistan & the deadly hosts Australia at Adelaide Oval on 20th. Co-Hosts New Zealand will battle it out against the dangerous West Indies in the last quarter final game on 21st March at Wellington.

As per the current form in the league games South Africa, India, Australia & New Zealand are favorites to qualify for the Semis. But cricket is the game of glorious uncertainties so anything can happen on a given day. But one thing is for sure that the four games coming up will all be high-voltage affairs with tension growing every second minute. One bad game & its over. Take for example India or New Zealand, if they by any chance crumble under pressure and lose their matches both the favorites who hold the 6 – 0 winning record in league phases will be out of the Tournament.  

So let’s get ready for the Tension filled week in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Its AB’s cunning batting vs Malinga’s slinging Yorkers, Its between Rohit’s elegant Stroke Play vs Shakib-Al-Hasan’s all round skills, its Mitchell Johnson & Starc’s lethal bowling vs Misbah-Ul-Haq’s experience & its between Gayle-Force & Southee-Bolt fast swing bowling show. So fasten your seat belts as huge week of Cricket is coming ahead. Cancel all your appointments, take leave from work & enjoy the magic of the beautiful event called World Cup that comes only once in 4 years.