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Column: Curtains for India – Close-in




The final of the Cricket World cup has the host England playing against New Zealand. Both the countries have been at the last stage of the tournament in the past, but unfortunately, they have never got their hands on the trophy and have returned with disappointment and despair. Finally, one of them should deservedly do so on July 14 on the prestigious Lord’s balcony. A proud moment for the country that wins as both of them have been a part of cricket history without having the most valued cricket trophy as their show piece.

Australia, having beaten England in their league encounter, lost to them under the skies of Birmingham. A good spell of opening fast bowling by England, in a similar fashion faced by India against New Zealand, had Australia in complete disarray.

The New Zealand captain, Kane Williamson and his merry band of men, very much in the mould of the heroic English folklore outlaw, Robin Hood, are the only ones left to steal the thunder of an English crown. New Zealand defeated the mighty Indians, a result that stunned the cricketing world. Through their two renowned marksmen/batters in Williamson and Ross Taylor, they fought and batted to inch towards a total that looked like a target which the strong Indian side would devour as their appetizer.

A run chase of just 240 runs, for the champion side, on a bright sunny day should by most accounts have been a walk in the park, but the uncertainty of cricket had a different tale to tell.

The “Matt” laid out by Henry and the thunder of “Boult”, the two fast opening bowlers of New Zealand, had the strong Indian batting at 24 for 4. The highest run scorer of the tournament and the dependable Rohit Sharma, the best in class, Virat Kohli, the in-form K.L. Rahul and the experienced Dinesh Karthik were all back to the comfort of the dressing room. One’s thoughts went back to the third Test match at Old Trafford, the same venue in 1952, when the great English bowlers Alec Bedser and Fred Trueman had the top Indian batsmen at 17 for 5. India, thereafter, lost the Test match, but with a sea of blue at the stadium and through millions of prayers from their well-wishers around the world, the hope of a God sent miracle of a win, was still prevalent in the minds of their supporters.

The initial strike by the New Zealand bowlers exposed the soft belly of the Indian middle order. One was always wary of this possibility, but the scintillating performances by the Indian top batters in the previous eight games put ones doubts to rest. The lack of cricketing common sense and the aggression of the millennial mind set had the hard hitting Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya gift their wickets away.

In walked Ravindra Jadeja, the talented cricketer from one of the purest regal cricket abodes of India, Jamnagar, the city famous for the great world cricketers — Ranjitsinghji, Duleepsinghji and India’s two similar bowling and batting legends Salim Durrani and Vinoo Mankad . Jadeja, the Rajput brandished his bat like his ancestors did with a sword and stood tall like a warrior prince giving a glimpse of hope for a billion Indian cricket followers. A single-handed demolishment needed some support from his teammate, the Chanakya of Indian cricket, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The former captain did marshal the proceeding, but, like a Band Master.

Dhoni, needed to support the dream exhibition and the golden spell of Jadeja’s batting, but for once, the master strategist misjudged the situation. He needed to be a bit more aggressive and rather than putting all the onus on the shoulders of Jadeja, he had to also try and make an effort on his part. The eerie silence that followed when Dhoni was run-out and his slow and sad walk back may have been a funeral march to India’s exit from the World Cup, but India did show some valour in their defeat.

The semi-final structure of the top team playing the fourth qualified side in the group stage and the second playing the third is perfect for a tennis championship or a football World Cup. When teams are grouped together, the two top teams do require some sort of a recognition for their effort. The Indian Premier league (IPL) is a perfect example of the two top of the table teams playing each other and the loser getting another opportunity to play the winner of the third and fourth qualified side. It is quite unfair to see Australia and India, the sides that finished at the top after nine grueling matches, to be struck out of the competition. The ICC, should seriously look into it and maybe implement the new format in the very next World Cup.

India, played some wonderful cricket and did look like a champion side. The lady luck and good fortune which had stood by India, let them down when most needed. The rain interruption and extending play to the next day, gave the then depleted New Zealanders, the opportunity to regroup their thoughts and strategy. The momentum on the first day was in India’s favour and a run chase then would have been much easier for them mentally too.

The curtains have been drawn for India’s quest in winning the WC 2019, but the Indian team did give us the joy of being a consolation winner by topping the group stage. Winning and losing are a part and parcel of playing a sport. India needs to now think four years ahead, as the next Cricket World Cup in 2023 is to be held in their backyard. A repeat of their win in 2011 will be just the icing on the cake that they need.

(Yajurvindra Singh is a former Test cricketer)


BJP denies tickets to 3-time MLA Kulwant Rana, 25 others

Rana became the youngest candidate to win the elections in 2003, while he retained his seat from Rithala constituency in 2008 and 2013 too.





New Delhi, Jan 17 : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday announced the first list of candidates for the Delhi Assembly elections to be held on February 8.

In its first list, the party announced 57 candidates while it denied tickets to 26 leaders, including former state vice president and three time MLA Kulwant Rana.

Rana became the youngest candidate to win the elections in 2003, while he retained his seat from Rithala constituency in 2008 and 2013 too.

The BJP has still not announced its candidates for 13 seats, including New Delhi, Mehrauli and Sangam Vihar.

The party has fielded Manish Chaudhary in place of Rana from Rithala. Sources said the party denied a ticket to Rana as he was involved in some controversies.

Similarly, Rajni Abbi has been replaced by Surendra Singh Bittu in Timarpur, while Rajesh Yadav from Badli, Gugan Singh Ranga from Bawana, Prabhu Dayal from Sultanpur Majra, Surjeet from Mangolpuri and Nandkishor from Trinagar have not been given tickets for the upcoming Assembly polls.

The party has also denied the ticket to Vivek Garg, who lost the elections in 2015 from the Model Town seat, and fielded former AAP Minister Kapil Mishra, who joined the BJP after quitting AAP.

The party has also denied tickets to Praveen Jain from Sadar Bazar, Shyam Lal from Ballimaran, B.B. Tyagi from Laxmi Nagar, Jitendra Chaudhary from Gandhi Nagar, Sanjay Jain from Seelampur, Ajay Mahawat from Ghonda and Krishna Teerath from Patel Nagar.

The party has also changed the candidates in Janakpuri, Uttam Nagar, Palam, Jangpura, Malviya Nagar, Ambedkar Nagar, Greater Kailash, Kondli and Patparganj.

(Navneet Mishra can be reached at [email protected])

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No need to reconfigure Asia-Pacific as Indo Pacific, halt strategies to contain China, says Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov



Sergei Lavrov

Speaking during the fifth edition of the Raisina Dialogue 2020 in the Indian capital, Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday slammed both United States and India for making an attempt to establish a concept of Indo-Pacific to contain China.

At a global conference to discuss the most challenging issues facing the world community, Lavrov furiously questioned the rules- based word order by the US while simultaneously violating international law, “Why do you need to call Asia-Pacific as Indo-Pacific? The answer is evident — to exclude China. Terminology should be unifying, not divisive. Neither SCO nor BRICS is exclusionary.”

Stating that US deliberately reconfigured the region just to isolate China and apparently pointed to the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD, also known as the Quad) strategic dialogue between the United States, Japan, Australia and India , the diplomatic and military arrangement as a response to increased Chinese economic and military power and influence in South China Sea.

Accusing Western countries of not adhering to the United Nations charter for discussions based on sovereign equality of states, noninterference in internal matters, territorial integrity and peaceful resolution of disputes, he asked, “Why do our Western friends insist on a rules-based order and not international law.Western friends are using international law less. Instead, they have coined a new concept which they call as a rules-based world order.”

He emphasized that China’s influence in the region is enormous and said that any strategy should not exclude anyone rather cooperation should be extended to all.

Russia has been urging New Delhi and Beijing to continue coordinating their efforts to ensure global and regional security, including in the Asia-Pacific region.

China’s assertive territorial claims in the South China Sea has infuriated many as Southeast Asian nations Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei all have rival claims.
He further added that Russia is also committed to the values of equal and indivisible security.

“The ongoing process of creating a more fair and democratic polycentric world order requires us to closely coordinate our efforts and to forge consolidated stances,” the Russian foreign minister had said. “It is important to keep promoting positive and unifying international agenda, directed at ensuring global and regional stability and security, at achieving goals of sustainable development, at improving the framework of inter-state relations, including in the Asia-Pacific region.”.

He said that Russia was very much concerned with the situation in the Persian Gulf region and suggested that Gulf countries start thinking about a collective security mechanism as a confidence-building measure.

Lavrov backed India for the permanent seat in the United Nation security council

“G7 can’t decide any issue of significance for decisions on BRICS it should be G20. India & Brazil should absolutely be at the UNSC. Developing countries should be given adequate representation there,” Lavrov said at the event while advocating representation of developing countries in the UNSC.

While concluding his speech, he talked about Indo-Russia ties, and said, “We want to develop such relations with all countries of the region and I hope that our Indian friends will be promoting the same ideology.”

Blog : By Arti Bali,


(Senior Journalist)

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Gehlot asked to pilot anti-CAA activities




Gehlot, Pilot

In a major development, which indicates growing clout of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in the party, he has been assigned to coordinate with the Congress and alliance Chief Ministers to block the new citizensip law (CAA) and the National Population Register (NPR).

Gehlot will also play a key role and steer the anti-CAA resolutions by Assemblies. The Congress has communicated to its Chief Ministers and alliance partners to adopt a resolution against the CAA.

Punjab could become the first Congress-ruled state to pass an anti-CAA resolution in the Assembly.

Gehlot has been asked to meet all the Chief Ministers for this as well as to oppose the NPR.

According to sources, the resolutions will be moved as a private member bills as the government can’t move such a resolution.

Till now, only Kerala has passed such a resolution. West Bengal has said it was against the CAA.

The opposition meet, convened by the Congress here on Monday, urged all the Chief Ministers to stop the NPR process.

“The CAA, the NPR and the NRC are part of a package and unconstitutional. They target the poor, downtrodden, SCs/STs and linguistic & religious minorities. The NPR will form the NRC’s basis. We demand withdrawal of the CAA and immediate stoppage of the nationwide NRC/NPR. The Chief Ministers who have announced that they will not implement the NRC in their states, must consider suspension of the NPR enumeration as it’s the prelude to the NRC,” it said in a resolution.

Earlier the Congress Working Committee, said the Narandra Modi government had unleashed the brute state power to suppress, subjugate and stifle the voice of youth and students across the country.

“A concerted attack on the Constitution, rampant unemployment, commercialisation of education, unprecedented fee hikes and autocratic refusal to listen to the voice and concerns of youth/students have led to spontaneous protests across campuses,” it said.


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