Saturday, 19 August 2017
The last time this was experimented in was in 1912, before the advent of television and internet or even floodlights and before there was money pouring into cricket. The Triangular Test Series played between England, Australia and South Africa, with England winning the series was largely deemed a failure owing to the highly uncompetitive matches and failure to draw crowds, partly due to a much weaker Australian side.
However, right now the talk amongst the cricketing fraternity does seem to be inculcating an interest in test cricket, how to solve the problem of declining viewership, lack of crowds and sometimes, players’ lack of interest (for instance – Lasith Malinga retired from Test Cricket to focus more on being a T20 mercenary). Many believe that the day night test could bring back the charm of test cricket, including former England captain Andrew Strauss, who said the format could keep the format ‘alive and vibrant’.
So far, ICC has announced their intentions to host a World Test Championship and repeatedly, as the date draws nearer, the tournament gets cancelled, for some reason or the other (financial problems is the norm), both in 2013 and 2017 and instead, back in 2013, a redundant ODI tournament was revived. The 20 over format needed a world tournament, it had one, the fifty over version already had it, since the 70s and there was no point in carrying on another 50 over tournament.
However, 2013 had the revival and considering it was India who won, there was a lot of interest generated in the tournament and thus, the Champions Trophy lingering on became imminent. On the other hand, the chance of a World Test Championship has also become bleak; while the stands remain largely empty during the early hours even on countries. This is not a phenomenon restricted to nations where there are other popular sports such as England, Australia or New Zealand, but also in countries where cricket is the primary sport such as Sri Lanka and India.
Constraints of a World Test Championship
The format and the manner of conducting a World Test Championship has been largely undecided, if there is to be some sort of a round robin with each side playing everyone else at least once, there are twelve test playing nations at present (including Ireland and Afghanistan); the number of matches come to a staggering 66 – meaning a minimum of 330 days; a tournament going for a whole year. There could be leagues or others worked out but the duration is always going to be a constraint.
At present, the proposal seems to be that the top four sides over a four year period will play a tournament but that is something that has not yet been tested and the present situation seems to be that the tournament scheduled for the year 2021 also stands cancelled.
Thus, it is evident that it is difficult to decide on a format that would be interesting and also be good on the time factor.
With T20 leagues throughout the year at some part of the world and a lot of players turning out to prefer the lucrative deals over playing test cricket, working around the leagues for a schedule would be very difficult or; the latter is an even more difficult task of retaining the key players. It so happens that most nations have stopped scheduling bilateral series during the time of the Indian Premier League these days, let alone a World Test Championship.
No guaranteed success
There is no guarantee that this experiment could be a success, perhaps it could be a repeat of 1912 and considering that this would be marketed at such a massive scale should such a tournament be scheduled, a flop show would be a disaster for test cricket as a whole and its failure could even mark the beginning of the end. Thus, one has to thoroughly research viewer interest before taking such a decision.
Thus, it seems very evident that at the moment, a World Test Championship has a lot of problems, however, an idea that has not been tried, since 1912 has been a triangular test series and sometimes, adding more diversity to a series could help.
For instance, the upcoming West Indies versus England series seems to be a huge quality mismatch, but at the same time, an experience of playing against a top side is perhaps what the young Caribbean sides need; but the cost of that experience is going to be one sided matches and total lack of interest from the viewers. The same could be said of the recently concluded series between Sri Lanka and India wherein there wasn’t much of a competition between the two sides though this experience could help the Lankan side in the future.
So, to add some flavour to these sort of series, the 1912 experiment could be revived, wherein three test sides play a series, even if we have a simple format where each team plays each other once – and the best two would reach the final – it comes to a total of just four tests, which is similar to most bilateral series. Of course, there is the issue of determining the best two, especially when there is a possibility of matches going for a draw (especially in the final); in which case the entire debate of whether a points system should be in place comes in but I believe this is something easier to come to a consensus to, than a World Test Championship.
A World Test Championship is of course a great idea and if pulled off well, it would be a feather in the cap for the glory of test cricket but at present, it is a lot more pragmatic to go for it step by step. Australia have often conducted tri-series, I hope in future, some cricket board takes up the idea of a triangular test series.
Just to conclude, had it been a triangular series, with a side like South Africa (who had just toured England) along with West Indies, the press would not have declared England as the winners of the series, even before the same was conducted.
Have a nice day,
Thursday, 17 August 2017
Amidst the numerous social interactions that we, as humans, have in our world, filled with the social media giants which govern our daily lives in ways that aren’t by any stretch of the imagination, infinitesimal, I often end up thinking about the people we term as friends. Due to the distances connected by the social media, people who otherwise wouldn’t have interacted, are now available in the list of friends of a varied demographic. It’s a fun and interesting place to be.
I am not an active participant in social media. I rarely interact with people outside the group which is familiar to me. Being the person that I am, I prefer cultivating friendships that last a lifetime. The fleeting interactions that lead to someone becoming a friend, create acquaintances. A friend to me, holds a much deeper meaning. A friend to me, is a person who makes a person better in all respects. Amongst the few friends that I have, I am certain that all of them know me, my thoughts, my capabilities (or lack thereof), and so on. I know I can go to them with anything I want and not be judged for what I ask or say. These friends, and the friendships they have granted me, would perhaps, last till the times where both parties stop remembering anything.
Friendships are analogous to the life cycle of a tree. Akin to these marvels in nature, friendships have a rugged exterior, malleable interiors and branch out to very finite spaces wherein all the branches are distinct, intriguing in their own accord and is overall, integral to the subsistence of the ecosystem that is a human being. I have observed the parallel tracks a tree takes in its lifetime that that friendships take in theirs.
To elaborate, the various seeds that scatter upon the ground, intentionally or unintentionally, are like the boundless interactions we humans have amongst each other. Not all conversations take root into the tree of friendship. The people indulging in what we tell them, find the right nourishment for their friendship to take roots. The symphony between the waves of thoughts expressed and received becomes apparent, enough to water the tree and beget the once dormant life within. Thereafter, what happens is a natural progression. We converse, exchange thoughts, debate, argue, participate in moments that get etched upon our minds, irreplaceable and irremovable, walk together on the path one wouldn’t otherwise have traveled had it not been for a friend, and other such events, activities and moments that imbibe the tree with vigor and strength it needs to take on the natural forces that oppose its growth.
Like the many friendships a person has in life, many are uprooted; many stand; but the most valuable ones flourish under the most distressful conditions, paying no heed to the forces on the mission to uproot them. Such friendships absorb the best made available to them, filtering out the poisons lurking in the soil, air and water that surround them. Each moment in time that is spent with such friends branches out from the tree, takes its place amongst the many unique branches forming the overall edifice, tall and magnificent. This is the defining stage of any friendship; the stage that determines whether it would inhale the poison and form a contagion, wither away and die, or use the more sentient moments to form branches from branches till such time that it is thick enough to combat and force of nature.
Once the veritable tree has grown to the fullest extent it is permitted to grow, the point comes where the friendships we strived to grow, mature. Thereon, there isn’t a force, available in our everyday lives, which can erode away the friendship. The tree no longer needs water from us as the roots are deep enough to make it self-sufficient. It would have a near unlimited reservoir of nutrients through the endless experiences we have shared.
I am not one to say the tree cannot be shaken or moved. It very well can be. We all can be a handful if we want to be. Others would simply brand us with a term, perhaps derogatory, perhaps uninviting or perhaps distasteful. However, these friends, and their friendships, forged through the trials and tribulations of life, never give up on us. I have known this to be the case with mine. I have stretched them to their limits, infested our conversations with my incessant ranting, fought over trivial matters which would appear highly nonsensical to a witness, and what not. They however, have looked beyond these failings of mine, knowing that that tree that we worked so hard to grow, wouldn’t even budge on such things. These minor incidents have only served to prove that to a true friendship, these incidents would hardly ruffle through the leaves, get resisted by the foliage, and die out as if it never existed. Even if one arose, that could break a branch, a new one would form in its place as the tree is alive and well.
I cherish my friendships and all events and incidents entailed within. These are the people who have made me who I am, shaped a greater part of my life, and nurtured me with humanity. I might have turned out a lesser human than I am now, if not for people such as them. Everyone has friends, who if thought about, would be a parts of your trees, or whole trees themselves. The thought that inspired me to write this was that each person has their own trees, and yet don’t realise that these trees have matured into unshakable friendships. Misunderstandings are easily sorted, however heavy they may seem when they happen.
Monday, 6 February 2017
Wednesday, 9 November 2016
|Trump delivering his speech post victory|
The entire campaign was dismissed as a joke Donald Trump announced his intention to run for the office of President of The United States in mid-2015 as, back then, the establishment favourites for rebublican nomination was still Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio.
However, he started appealing to the far-right of the public announcing certain populist yet unrealistic plans, such as building a wall across the US-Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it for the latter is sending US 'drugs and rapists', his plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States (and then strangely announced an exception for the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan); his plans to defeat ISIS, bring back torture and waterboarding and of course, his master plan of bringing 'jobs back to the country' even though he never announced how he is going to do it.
While he has announced no concrete plan for any of them, he managed to appeal to the far right fascist elements that the country was once great and today everyone is looting the once great nation and he'd help them regain their lost glory and picked on a suitable jingoistic slogan - Make America Great Again. Whether these plans materialise or not, what it has shown us today is that it is definitely effective to win public support, akin to what happened during Britain's EU referendum. However, despite Mr. Brexit Nigel Farage sharing a stage with Trump and the latter continually drawing inspiration from Brexit, going on to announce November 8th 2016 as independence day for the United States, very similar to what Farage did, which could perhaps be construed as an insult to the founding fathers of The United States; I shall not compare Brexit and the US Presidential election because:
Trump denied climate change, promised to violate nuclear non-proliferation treaty, break an alliance with Japan, disband NATO, reduce taxes for wealthy (backed up by a baseless trickle down argument) but then, while I can find these ideas stupid, the people knew that a Trump presidency means whatever I have already stated and they felt it was still worth it and he has very broad plans whereas in case of Brexit, the politicians who campaigned for it have no clue how to go about it, till date, nearly five months on. Moreover, if Trump really fails to deliver on his promises, he could be voted out in four years whereas, reversal of Brexit is not really possible.
At the end of the day, Democrats would have to wonder what went wrong for them, considering they had an experienced candidate with some controversies around her which even Trump does, I felt the underlying assumption that all of Sanders' votes were transferrable to Clinton turned out to be a mistake, especially considering the loss in Michigan which was last won by a Republican in 1988, by George Bush Sr. The loss in Wisconsin too, is perhaps a surprise for the Clinton campaign followed by the loss in nearly every swing state, maybe Clinton could have campaigned more, maybe Sanders could have campaigned more aggressively to avoid a Trump presidency, maybe the super delegates shouldn't have given an overwhelming support to the Clinton campaign during the primaries but in the end, the Democrats are losing some of their core voters and something needs to be done to prevent a repeat of Trump Presidency.
The debate that took place in 2000 would start again, where George W. Bush had more electoral college votes whereas Al Gore had the higher popular vote and with the ongoing trend, it seems like this election is going to end up the same way and the silver lining is the fact that Trump can't claim that a majority are behind him for, he is president only because of the system he claims to be rigged. This is the second time in five elections that this is happening and perhaps, it indicates a serious rethink is required to reform and revamp the current system.
On a side note, I also found the Liberals unusually silent throughout the campaign, while the internet was filled with far-right pro-Trump banners (comments section), nobody from the public bothered to speak for the liberals except the liberal leaning mainstream media (Fox News excluded). The same thing happened for Brexit and I believe, that as liberals, we must increase our voice on social media and show that we too have the numbers and the voice. I wrote an article earlier in this blog titled Noise or Voice? following the failure of UKIP in 2015 general election in UK but then, I take those words back and I shall do my best to keep liberalism alive and I could only hope that Le Pen doesn't end up as President of France in 2017, for, whatever she has wanted has been happening so far, be it Brexit or Trump winning the election; the liberal voice is needed to stop Le Pen to become the President of France. In a world that is coming ever closer through technology, we cannot let it stop by opportunistic politicians.
Perhaps what every politician in the world has learnt is that to win an election, you don't need sound plans or experience, all you need is to make populist statements backed up by jingoistic remarks and the latter cannot be contested because if you do, you are immediately deemed unpatriotic and of course, is also very unpopular with the electorate and on the other side, such slogans are very popular with the voters.
Another critical personal lesson I have learned today is, tactical voting is very important, all along I voted on principles, even if I knew that my favourite candidate had nil chances of winning but then, now I realise that I should change my ways considering what has happened in this case, I am sure a majority of Gary Johnson or Jill Stein voters (a number over five million) would not have preferred a Trump presidency, especially the 1 million people who voted Jill Stein and had they voted tactically, the results could have been different.
I could only hope that Trump doesn't ignore climate change in its entirety, and upholds the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, realises that the strength of the United States is its diversity and not go on a witch hunt against every non-white. I also hope he stops admiring authoritarians such as Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong-Un and uphold the values that US brought to the world. I really am not bothered about what he did or said in the past, but I hope he does better in the future and manages to maintain the respect that President Obama brought to the office and it is a great start that he has tried to strike a conciliatory note in his victory speech (unlike his Brexit counterparts) and I hope this carried on.
He need not make America great again, merely needs to retain its greatness.
Have a nice day,
Saturday, 13 August 2016
|Commander in chief? Quite seriously?|
Note: I am more of a political commentator than an artist; I know that a good cartoon needs no explanation, but mine can't reach those standards. For your general information, both the persons in the cartoon is Donald Trump.
I have written a lot of political articles in this blog but I couldn't keep quiet about Donald Trump for too long. It was long time since I last drew a cartoon and hence I decided that this was a good time to draw a cartoon on Trump before he becomes outdated (a lot of my ideas for a satire was lost because I procrastinated).
Khizr Khan, the father of the slain US soldier Humayun Khan made a claim in the Democratic National convention that Donald Trump has probably never read the constitution; while he would definitely deny that; one thing is for sure, he knows very little about his country's history and the treaties that his country signed, which is the focus of this cartoon.
On the left side, you have Donald Trump, dressed up as a security guard representing the United States Security Service (USSS); standing in the Sea of Japan, warning Kim Jong Un that Japan and South Korea have paid their current month dues and if he were to attack, US would defend. Trump recently stated that if Japan needed US support, they have to pay for the service.
Does he have any idea about the post Second World War situation in Japan? In case if he is reading, which I am sure he wouldn't be, I would say it anyway, nonetheless, US forces occupied Japan till 1952 after their surrender and demilitarised the country. In the mean time, they also set up their own military bases. In 1951, the two countries entered into a Security Agreement to allow the US to use land, air space and military bases in Japan 'for the purpose of contributing to the security of Japan and the maintenance of international peace and security in the Far East'. Secondly, in the year 2016, The United States is said to have spent around $ 5.3 billion in Japan (in a total budget of $ 580 billion); added to that, Japan is said to reimburse a lot of costs such as internal relocation, wages of Japanese staff all of which amount to roughly 48% of the total amount spent in Japan. So effectively, US gets a trustworthy ally in the Asian side of the pacific for a cost less than 1% of their budget and here is a Presidential nominee who is willing to throw it all away in his bid to become president.
On the right side, I have Trump setting up a stall, selling 'Nuclear Weapons' and the paper that is in the bin is of course, the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which the United States has been leading for the last four decades. Reports have also consistently shown that the US led effort has significantly brought down the total number of nuclear warheads over the years. But yet again, there comes the Potential POTUS who wants to change all that in a matter of four years, claiming the US would be better off letting Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia have their own nuclear weapons programme and is perhaps, even willing to sell it to them, setting up that 'stall'.
Effectively, his plan to 'MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN' is by turning America into a Security Service contractor also running a nuclear warhead stall.
Personally, one might argue that I am a foreigner who need not be bothered about what is happening in some other continent and that is perhaps why I ignored him for so long but then, I can't stay too quiet when he plans to make our world more weaponised, more hateful and ultimately, more dangerous. It is good news that his support has been dwindling; Clinton is not the best candidate (I wanted Sanders to clinch the nomination) but is certainly a better option than Trump.
My plea; if you are reading this and you have a vote; DON'T VOTE FOR HIM.
Have a nice day,
Thursday, 30 June 2016
Boris Johnson rules himself out of Tory leadership race – video https://t.co/uDNZW90hKh— The Guardian (@guardian) June 30, 2016
I read this, today, ideally I should have been happy that the Former Mayor of London whose only claim to fame was successful conduct of Olympics with an exorbitant budget and overseeing the housing in London skyrocket, increasing transport fares after promising to decrease; I should have been glad that this liar decided to not become the Prime Minister of a G-8 nation.
|A picture speaks a thousand words|
But then, now that we think of it, when Cameron announced the referendum in February, 2016, Johnson was yet to pick a side even though he had Eurosceptic leanings. At least, with regard to Farage or Gove, whatever my disagreements are with them, I knew where they stood with regard to issues but with regard to Johnson, he has been pro immigration, pro single single market and at the same time, decided to campaign against the membership. Yet, after announcing that he was going to campaign for leaving the EU, he made strong statements about taking measures to curtail immigration, such as introducing points system; even though evidences have suggested that such measures have in fact increased immigration; like in the case of Australia, where in Victoria, a majority of them have at least one parent born outside the country. He spread further lies about how he would save 350 million pounds a week and spend it on NHS instead, a figure which was confirmed as misleading and now, after the vote, Farage confirmed that it can't be guaranteed.
It was evident that Boris Johnson had no plan as to what to do after leaving the Union, not that he ever had plans about anything, his absence at the House of Commons since the 'no vote' has not gone unnoticed, considering he might be asked to express a plan if he goes to Westminster, if not at the house, by the media when he walks out. So, when his close ally, Michael Gove decided to run leadership himself, our lad Boris pulls out saying; 'I am not that person who could give the country that direction'; I fail to understand how he believed he was the person to lead a campaign but not after the campaign.
Boris Johnson was the face of the campaign that spread the lies, now has created the mess, the 350 million that he promised has perhaps already been lost with the pound plunging and the markets crashing and after creating this mess, he has decided to chicken out and let someone else handle the mess that he has created. For once, I genuinely wished he had become Prime Minister, own up for his false campaign and accept responsibility for the mess that he has created. Boris Johnson steered the ship to unknown waters and now that the ship is too deep into it, he has ended up becoming the first person to run away from it, leaving the ship directionless.
Michael Gove, the likely alternative, is no commendable person either, while Boris promised more spending on the NHS, the Lord Chancellor has been sceptical not just about the EU, but also about the NHS. Moreover, he also had similarities with the other members of his campaign, when it came to spreading lies, when he claimed support of the former England football player John Barnes, only for Barnes to deny and pledge support for the Remain campaign.
It is unfortunate that UK are being placed under such uncertainty, owing to the petty politics and ego of the Tories where a serial liar manipulated the people into voting for a particular choice and now that it has gone disastrous, he has turned into an escapist. One can only hope that things become better with time.
Have a nice day,
Tuesday, 28 June 2016
|As Britain is set to be in limbo for the next three months, the man currently at the helm chooses to do nothing.|
I was watching the House of Commons session live, yesterday, the first session since the vote to leave the European Union, the Union that had given the continent peace and stability for seven decades. With that said, I was observing David Cameron answer questions posed to him by the various MPs. While I appreciate the gracefulness with which he has accepted the defeat of his campaign to remain in the EU, I couldn't help but observe three things:
1. A Labour MP (not a very commendable one, a geriatric Eurosceptic himself) had addressed Cameron as 'Dodgy Dave' in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal which led to the MPs suspension from the house. However, David Cameron, yesterday, was in every way, being dodgy, evaded every difficult question saying that it was for the next government to decide, which won't be in place for another three months and yes, the only thing about changes in the UK, the best answer he had was that at present, UK is still a member of the Union and there would be no change till then and the negotiations have to be carried on by the new government.
2. Nobody but Cameron could make as many contradictory promises totally incompatible with each other; the last time the Brits did such a thing, I recall was with regard to Palestine, with a plan to capture it for themselves in an agreement with the French, a promise to the Arabs provided they revolt against the ruling Ottomans (which they did) and also to the Zionists. Alas, such contradictory promises led to disastrous results. Some such promises made yesterday included the following:
- A particular MP had stated that there were a lot of EU citizens in his constituency and they are worried about their future for which the PM assured a retention of the status quo.
- However, another MP, a Eurosceptic, who cited the same thing and said now that the country voted to leave, steps must be taken by the Prime Minister to contain the number of immigrants in his constituencies to which also, he agreed.
- While the Leave camp was largely sceptical about the so called regulations imposed by the Single Market, Cameron asserted that he'd actively try to ensure that Britain has its place in the single market.
- Agrees that no contribution would be made to the EU budget but still wants to be part of single market while agreeing that no country exists as of today, which does not contribute to the EU budget but has access to the single market.
I can go on but I would stop here with regards this aspect.
3. Cameron, promised that there would be no consequences to Brits living in other parts of the EU, UK would still have access to the single market, and no tariffs would be imposed on British goods despite staying out of EU membership. Imagine if Cameron says he is leaving No. 10 this September but still would do everything to retain all his powers and privileges as Prime Minister; the above promise is as absurd as that, I mean, why would the EU agree to all the demands of a non-member Britain? As such, the EU has made it absolutely clear that Britain got the best deal that they could offer and if they opt to vote out, they would not be treated with kid gloves.
What I also understood from yesterday's discussion that the Leave campaign has no plan as of now, as to how to take the country forward, and in fact a Leave campaigner is known to have said that they had plan and it was No. 10, who was supposed to have had one. Moreover, the 350 million more towards the NHS, the nonsense which was being publicised by the Leave Campaign; the poster boy of the campaign, Nigel Farage, has already distanced himself from the claim that he can't guarantee that. Be that as it may, regarding the Leave campaign's lack of planning; Cabinet Minister Priti Patel, when she was asked about how she'd use the excess money, she said 100 million towards the NHS and had no clue as to how she'd use the rest. Well, this 350 million number (false) was probably the one that probably put the Leave campaign 4% ahead in the referendum and after everything is over, Farage is callous enough to admit that they lied and the people aren't even given a second chance or a second thought.
Britain has succumbed to the opportunism of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage and from what I can anticipate, France would do their best to make Brexit terrible for Britain so that they would be able to keep the far right movement in their own country at bay. The French were probably dreaming of the days when the British would be at their mercy and it is ironic that finally, the British have given it themselves, without any effort from the French (Le Pen's insignificant voice is not considered).
While it is senseless to expect Britain to go back on this stupid referendum, and even worse, the future of Britain is uncertain for the next three months as Cameron promises to do nothing till the next government takes over and of course, the to be new government, as of today, have no clue what they are going to do anyway while the Pound is on the run and the FTSE is on a free fall.
All I would say is, I hope that Europe doesn't return to its dark ages yet again.
Have a nice day,