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Cricket is no more a gentlemen’s game

We are living in times of fast food where time is essence and the game of cricket is no exception.



Cricket is traditionally known as the gentlemen’s game but after the advent of T-20 it has witnessed a sea change and of late some outrageous shots have become part of batsmen repertoire. This raises a serious question whether cricket is still a gentlemen’s game which hitherto was known for its strictly copybook shots.

We are living in times of fast food where time is essence and the game of cricket is no exception. The game has changed a lot after T-20 became popular in last 10 years and now emphasis is more on scoring maximum runs at a faster rate in 20 overs. The finesse and elegance of batting has taken a backseat while improvisation and thinking out of box is the necessity.

I have chosen six most popular shots which were not part of the game few years back but now we often see these shots being executed by most of the international players. These unconventional shots are associated with specific players who made it popular. Let us find out which are those six shots which of late are producing the bulk of runs in the instant version of cricket.

Upper Cut

The best exponent of this unique shot was our own master blaster Sachin Tendulkar who used it so successfully against Shoaib Akhtar in the semi final of 2002 world cup in South Africa. Before that classic duel Shoaib Akhtar always used to have the upper hand against the ace batsman as his main weapon was a bouncer delivered at 100 kmph. Shoaib Akhtar got such a battering from Tendulkar in this match that he never used this weapon again against him.

Sachin also used this shot to tackle the bounce of Makhaya Ntini and Nantie Hayward of South Africa on the South Africa tour of 1996-97. Sachin’s partner Virender Sehwag took a cue from great Tendulkar and used this shot quite effectively against world’s top speedsters.

Image result for Tendulkar plays the Upper Cut

IMAGE: Tendulkar plays the Upper Cut. Photograph: ICC

After T20 became the most popular version, almost every batsman has tried to include this shot in his arsenal but no one did it better than Sachin.

Reverse Sweep

A B de Villiers of South Africa and Glenn Maxwell of Australia are two names which come to our mind when we talk about reverse sweep. These are the two most destructive batsmen in the shortest form of cricket who use this shot when field on the off-side is up inside the circle.

They also used this particular shot adeptly to negotiate and unsettle the Indian spinners R Ashwin and R Jadeja which made Indian skipper to scratch his head.

Image result for A B de Villiers Reverse Sweep

IMAGE: AB Devilliers Photo Gallery ICC World Cup 2011

This shot also needs lot of skill as it involves a high degree of risk resulting in most of batsmen getting caught at point or cover after they miscue the shot.

Switch Hit

When we talk about swich hit, the only batsman who perfectly used this shot was none other than Kevin Pietersen, the South African born batsman who played as a middle order batsman for England.

This may look very similar to the reverse sweep but in this shot the batsman deliberately changes his regular stance and plays the ball in the gap to help him with much needed four or a six.

In the local lingo, it is also called as Alti-palti in India but KP was the first international batsman who mastered this stroke to perfection. To start with, this shot created lot of debate in the world cricket, some calling it outstanding display of skill while others labeling it as unethical as in their opinion if a batsman changes his stance; he gains an unfair hand over the bowler.

But ICC, which administers the game, declared it legitimate in 2012 and who can forget David Warner, who used this shot so skillfully to punish the top bowlers.

Image result for Kevin Pietersen plays the Switch Hit

IMAGE: Kevin Pietersen plays the Switch Hit. Photograph

Helicopter Shot

This is the trademark shot of current Indian one day and T-20 team’s wicketkeeper batsman and the ex captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The Helicopter shot is an expression of Dhoni’s brute power coupled with amazing wrist work and bat speed.

Image result for Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the best exponent of the Helicopter Shot

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the best exponent of the Helicopter Shot. Photograph: Dailymotion

This shot helped Dhoni to score against the most difficult ball of the game known as Yorkers. This ball is among the safest deliveries for a fast baller to be bowled during the death overs. Though, of late many batsmen have adopted this shot but the Helicopter Shot will always remind cricket aficionados of Dhoni who has undisputedly patented this.


You talk of Dilscoop or a ‘ramp shot’ and you immediately think of Srilankan opening batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan, who during the 2009 ICC T-20 World cup, played it quite consistently . The other leading batsmen who play this shot to good effect are India’s Rohit Sharma and Brendon McCullum of New Zealand. It is also one of the most difficult and innovative strokes to play which is also used by the tail enders quite regularly.

Image result for Tillakaratne Dilshan attempts the Dil-scoop

Tillakaratne Dilshan attempts the Dil-scoop. Photographs: Pic Espn

The technique required to play this stroke is for batsman to go on one knee to a normal good length or slightly short of length delivery from a fast or medium pace bowler and ‘scoop’ the ball over the wicket-keeper’s head where in all probably there is no fielder.

Paddle Sweep

Cricket fans all over the world will always remember Sachin playing this shot to counter the legendary Australian leg spinner, Shane Warne in the 1998 ODI tri-series at Sharjah where he scored back to back hundreds.

In the modern era of T20 cricket, batsmen try this shot in order to take advantage of wide gaps in the fine-leg region. Gautam Gambhir, the ex Indian opener and captain of Knight riders franchise in the IPL plays it quite beautifully.

Image result for Sachin Tendulkar plays the Paddle Sweep

IMAGE: Sachin Tendulkar plays the Paddle Sweep. Photograph: ICC Cricket Live

Now most of international batsmen have paddle sweep in their repertoire of shots which makes life more difficult for the fielding captain. The game is continuously evolving and batsmen are not scared of trying new shots to outwit the bowlers which will only make the game more interesting and breathtaking.


Arun Jaitley blames Auditors, Management for failing to detect PNB scam

PM Modi cannot afford to campaign in 2018 and 2019 elections on giving corrupt free government as massive scams are coming to light and government is assisting capitalists to run away with taxpayers’ money.



Arun Jaitley

After five days,Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was quick to blame the PNB management and auditors for the Nirav Modi’s Rs. 11,300 crore fraud. It is pertinent to remind Jaitley that Dr Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister was charged for being responsible for the 1992 Harshad Mehta scam, therefore in the present context Finance Minister Jaitley cannot acquit himself of the eroding credibility of India’s banking system that has a direct cost on the country and the taxpayer and an indirect cost on borrowings and development as well.

Finance Minister and Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot absolve their constitutional and democratic responsibility for the enormous scale of the scam which has many dimensions including fake bank guarantees or letters of Understanding.

Firms associated with Nirav Modi got fake LoUs from the Punjab National Bank (PNB), which is distributed to other banks stationed overseas seeking credit.The fraudulent transactions worth Rs 11,400 crore by Nirav Modi and his maternal uncle Mehul Choksi has embarrassed the government that claims to provide scam-free governance.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot afford to campaign in 2018 and 2019 elections on giving corrupt free government as massive scams are coming to light and government is assisting capitalists to run away with taxpayers’ money.

PM Modi’s silence is amazingly stunning as he is not at all worried about India’s economy,one of the country’s biggest bank frauds, security and other problems of the common man but is rather living in his own false world and brags of giving good governance , acche din and Mann ki Baat where he continues on giving one sided communication.

Modi has fielded Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Education Minister Prakash Javadekar  to defend the government and clean the blot that could not have taken place without “top leadership involvement”.

Modi should step down for the financial fraud as 293 letters of undertaking (LoU), many letters of credit (LC), were issued during March, April and May 2017. Trying to hide failures of NDA government, the centre has sought the aid of seven agencies (Enforcement Directorate, Interpol, Central Bureau of Investigation, Income Tax department, Central Vigilance Commission,Ministry of Corporate Affairs) both at home and abroad to investigate the entire scam and investigators are conducting t searches at PNB branches and Nirav Modi’s properties.

Modi even claimed that his government had deregistered over 3 lakh dormant and shell companies listed with the Registrar of Companies but How is it possible that the ministry of Corporate affairs failed to identify the 200 shell companies of Nirav Modi and Choksi which the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate found to have been used to invest the Rs 11,400 crore of fraudulently obtained money.

The Indian banking sector is already struggling under the weight of bad loans or the NPAs valued as high as $150bn. and the government recently announced it would inject $32bn into the sector to help banks clean up their books, but analysts have questioned whether the money is enough without reforming the banks themselves. The Bharatiya Janata Party is also diverting the attention by saying that the Nirav Modi scam occurred during UPA regime and trying to accuse the Opposition for their failure to detect scams.


By: Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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India’s Sri Lanka challenge

From all accounts, India’s encirclement has begun with ruthless efficiency. Pakistan is gone. Maldives is about to fall. Nepal is almost there.



70th Independence Day celebrations in Colombo

My wife and I recently visited Sri Lanka on a holiday with friends. For both of us, it was the first visit after almost 15 years. At that time, the idyllic island country was caught up in a deadly civil war that claimed countless lives and devastated the economy. When Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed power as the Sri Lankan President, he made the elimination of the Tamil Tigers his foremost objective. After 30 months of relentless assaults, the 26-year-old civil war finally ended in 2009, with the killing of Tamil Tigers (LTTE) leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and the ruthless decimation of his supporters.

It is argued that widespread human rights excesses occurred and that the Tamils were openly discriminated against. This is true. Yet, what is also true is that the island country finally saw peace for the very first time after decades of unrest, uncertainty and terrorism. The Sri Lanka we visited was in complete contrast with the one I had grown accustomed to, with gun-toting security personnel everywhere. Now there was a sense of calm. Even impatience, at being held back for so many years. It is as if it was time to claim the life that had been long denied.

For India, the end of the civil war and of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was good news. It had already declared the LTTE as a terrorist organisation, but domestic compulsions — with its allies in Tamil Nadu openly aligning with Prabhakaran — forced New Delhi to opt for covert support for the anti-LTTE military operations. Tragically, with the end of the civil war, history repeated itself and India, once again, lost its momentum. Today, we are on the brink of losing Sri Lanka to Beijing.

The Chinese presence in Sri Lanka is not covert. Far from it. You see them everywhere and the pace of the activity is hectic. Chinese dredging ships can be openly seen working at a furious pace. Work on the Hanbantota port has started. Chinese workers are everywhere, from shopping malls to pubs. Many are learning to speak Sinhalese. Hotels, roads and infrastructure, performing arts theatres, a swanky cricket stadium are not simply projects on the drawing board. People can see them. The importance of the visual should never be underestimated. And given the speed with which the Chinese execute projects, a real estate transformation is credibly under way.

Over a period of 12 years (2005–17), Beijing has poured in $15 billion into projects in Sri Lanka. The Chinese Ambassador conveyed an unambiguous message to India, which sees Chinese presence in Sri Lanka as an intrusion in its immediate sphere of influence, when he said, “No negative force can undermine the cooperation between Sri Lanka and China.”

For India, this is a disturbing development. Indian foreign policy has relied heavily on “time-tested civilisational links”. While this is undoubtedly appealing, there is an aspirational impatience among Sri Lankans that India failed to see and respond to with the scale, speed and imagination that only Beijing appears capable of.

It is common enough to hear Sri Lankans say how disgruntled and unhappy they are with the intrusive presence of the Chinese, who are loud and arrogant. It is like a deadly embrace but one that they find lucrative, if they wish to fast-track to a prosperous future. Artists impressions of future Colombo tell Sri Lankans that it will rival Singapore. It will bring in investments, tourism, employment and economic well-being. This can be seriously tempting.

From all accounts, India’s encirclement has begun with ruthless efficiency. Pakistan is gone. Maldives is about to fall. Nepal is almost there. And Sri Lanka is under an understandable hypnotic trance. India genuinely faces its most serious security challenge.

If India is to get its act together, it needs not only imagination but the speed and efficiency to deliver on its promises to offer Sri Lankans a future that the civil war denied them. For Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, India’s neighbourhood will be a disturbing challenge. The problem he would face is convincing the political, bureaucratic and corporate partners that India faces its greatest-ever security threat and one that we are on the brink of losing.

As the legendary chess player Bobby Fisher once remarked, “If you are playing the game, you play to win. But if you’ve lost the game, it’s because you took your eyes off the pieces and then, you deserve to lose.”

By : Amit Dasgupta

(Amit Dasgupta is a former Indian diplomat. The article is in special arrangement with

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Netanyahu threatens ‘to act’ against Iran



Benjamin Netanyahu-wefornews-min

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has warned  Iran saying he was ready to go to war if Tehran continued to entrench itself in Syria. Netanyahu addressed the Munich Security Conference which was attended by International leaders.

Directly addressing Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif and holding a piece of an Iranian drone shot down by Israel last week after it infiltrated its territory, Netanyahu during his speech said: “Do you recognize this? You should. It’s yours. You can take back with you a message to the tyrants of Tehran: Do not test Israel’s resolve.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif dismissed Israeli premier’s remarks and called them ‘a cartoonish circus.’

Equating Iran with Nazi Germany, Israeli PM drew many comparisons. “Let me be clear, Iran is not Nazi Germany,” he said. “There are many differences between the two,” he said, but, he noted, “there are also some striking similarities.”

He drew a parallel between the 1938 Munich Agreement, seen as a failed attempt to appease Nazi Germany, and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that has “unleashed a dangerous Iranian tiger in our region and beyond.”

The tensions between Israel and Syria escalated after an Iranian drone that crossed into Israeli airspace was shot down by the Israel Air Force on February 10.

Bolstered by the support US President Donald Trump, the prime minister reiterated he does not support a full Palestinian state, but a “state minus.” Netanyahu said the Palestinians should have self-rule, but not the “freedom to threaten our security.” Netanyahu indicated that he has been discussing legislation with the United States that would effectively annex settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Condemning the remarks, Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation termed it as “land theft” with US complicity.While Israeli police recommended the indictment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Accusing Tehran of seeking a permanent military foothold in Syria by supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in civil war entering its eighth year, Netanyahu said Israel could act against Iran itself — not just its allies — after border incidents in Syria brought the Middle East foes closer to direct confrontation.

Worried over the increase of Iranian influence in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, Netanyahu stated that Israel would not allow Iran to establish military bases in Syria.

At a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of a major security conference in Munich, Netanyahu declared that the Golan Heights would “remain in Israel’s hands forever.”

The Syrian Golan Heights has been under Israeli occupation since 1967.



By: Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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