Saturday, September 24, 2005

Critics of Saurav Ganguly

There are critics and then there are critics.
This is one of those few times when the entire media - newspapers, web news portals, tv channels etc - is up against the indian cricket team captain: Sourav Ganguly. This is such a time when Saurav can not do a single thing right; even if he scores a century or wins test matches, he gets back only one thing: criticism. Let's see how many times Saurav was criticised and how many times they were fair/reasonable.

1. Saurav Ganguly is out-of-form.
(i) he is not batting well
Fair enough. Everyone would agree to this and if selectors remove him from the team I would neither be surprised nor be sad. But my respect for him would not diminish - all players retire one day.
(ii) he is not captaining well
Debatable but if some one raises this point then it cannot be termed too unfair.

2. Saurav Ganguly should be criticised for scoring such a slow century against some 'pedestrian bowling attack and belter of a pitch.'
But no body except Laxman scored a century in that match against the same 'pedestrian bowling attack and belter of a pitch!' The indians got all out for 360 in the second test and it might have gone the same way had he not be part of two century partnerships and take the total to 550+. Rahul Dravid played all his life at that pace when in best of forms and he is called a true test player! And Sunil Gavaskar rebuked a similar comment from an ameteur zimbabwean commentator saying that Saurav is not playing for survival as he is not edging anything; he is meddling everything from the middle of the bat. He chose to play a slow, cautious and keen innings and not that he was unable to score at a faster pace. (Rahul Dravid played a similar innings in the second test match, which sort of mocked at every one who earlier criticised Saurav Ganguly)

3. Saurav won against a weak team
True. No credits to him or the team for winning the series abroad after 18 years. But a series win eluded india against a similar team when it earlier toured zimbabwe so, if we don't want to praise them, atleast lets not blame them for the 2-0 series win.

4. Saurav Ganguly is going to extremes to stick to his captaincy
Not true according to me but not too unfair on part of the critics if they think in that line. My reasoning is that we have seen very few cricketing persons in the world who might have opted to voluntarily pull-out from the team when they ran through a bad form. Moreover Saurav said in all honesty that he would not mind if he has to play under someone else.

5. Saurav Ganguly is an embarrassment
This was the headline of an article on and I have not read a more ordinary piece of journalism than this for some time now. The reaction speaks a whole lot - more than 80% of the comments rebuke the article in very strong terms - by both die-hard Saurav fans and his hardcore critics. Personally, it was a blot on the reputation of; I don't even want to comment on that.

4. Saurav Ganguly is arrogant, indisciplined and/or rude
It may be true but my question will be to ask when did this transformation take place? He became like this in the recent past or was he like this all the time? If he was like this for all the time then why raise this issue now? Why no body complained about it when india was tasting success?

5. Saurav Ganguly has crossed the line by going to public about Greg Chappell issue
He can be fairly criticised for caring less for the established norm about what can be and what cannot be talked about in the media. At the same time, an apology is also expected from him on this issue (which I think he indeed sent to Greg Chapell).

What I do wonder here is, where as it is fair to criticise Saurav to talk about internal matters in public, is the media fair enough in not saying a word about Greg Chappell who actually seem to have committed a bigger blunder? Who gave a coach the authority to ask/suggest/influence an acting captain selected by formal procedures by Board-elected Selection committee? Who would have been responsible if Saurav had stepped down, someone else named the captain and India would have gone on to fair very badly in the test(s)? If a coach can make such suggestions mid-series, what is the role of the systematic procedure of selection of the team and the captain by the selection committee? If the coach finds 4-5 undeserving candidatesin a given team, can he ask for other players from outside of 15-player team?

6. Saurav defied the oppurtunity to deserving Mohammed Kaif to play the tests
Selection committee has taken the decision to name Saurav the captain so how can *he* chose not to play? Shouldn't the blame go to the selection committee instead of Saurav? Wouldn't Saurav be blamed if he opts out of the team to make room for Kaif? And even if agreed to the fact that Kaif deserved a place in the top-11, the fight could have been between Yuvraj and kaif, Laxman and Kaif or Sehwag and Kaif because Kaif was in a form better that all these players(apart from Saurav). So all of these players should be blamed or, more correctly, Selection Committee should be blamed.

Either play Saurav or don't play him. Let Selection Committee take a decision. Until then, lets be fair in the criticism and lets not indulge in any person-bashing, or settle personal grudges or get reduced to some pedestrian journalism.

Questioning Greg Chappell

When asked about who gave the authority to Greg Chappell to suggest Saurav Ganguly to pull-out from the playing 11 for the first test match against Zimbabwe, some of the critics gave such tame justifications:

I. "Greg Chappell is a professional, so he did not shy away from giving his advice 'for the betterment of the team.'" Does that mean that the intentions of selection committe was to harm the team interest?

II. "First the exact context has to be understood in which Greg made that suggestion'." Why no one tried to understand the 'proper context' in which Saurav made that public statement? Why is he openly blamed at the first oppurtunity for the smallest of mistakes and Greg is protected for what ever he does by trying to find a 'proper context' for his behaviour?

III. "Greg gave that suggestion when he was asked to give 'elder brotherly' advice by Saurav himself." If this is true then all the blame rests with Saurav and a clean chit must be given to Greg Chappell.

IV. "Greg is always right - he is tough, aggressive, wise and professional." When Saurav was packing the bag to leave, it was Rahul Dravid who suggested that it would not be wise to take such a decision in the middle of the series. I don't know why some people consider Greg to be the wisest of all while he is no match to the wisdoms of the likes of Rahul Dravid and Sunil Gavaskar.

The recent truce seems to have swallowed all the differences between Saurav and Greg which seems to have made the job of BCCI review committee on this issue all the more easy. The Selection committee might in all probability drop Saurav in the next series, which would be the more accepted way of removing a captain, and should put an end to all the controversies. But the apprehension remains that Greg may repeat similar acts in future if not asked to explain himself properly by the BCCI (and media).

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Nokia 3660, Bluetooth and Internet

Got fed up with the IrDA communication between my mobile(Nokia 3660) and the PC, so decided to go for an USB Bluetooth Adapter/Dongle. Searched through various online shops and found some really cheap ones for around $8. The last time i checked, price was around Rs.1000 in the local market, so this was a very good price. Encouraged, called a computer shop and checked for the latest local price and whoa! its for Rs. 450 now. Hurried to the shop and got 'advik' bluetooth adapter which came with the Bluesoliel driver.

A new computer device sometimes means a lot of problems and this was that time. I tried and tried and tried but in vain. I searched through articles on the internet, read through nokia and the driver docs, uninstalled and re-installed the software(Bluetooth driver and Nokia PC Suite)...but with little luck. Finally installed the latest versions of both Bluetooth driver and PC Suite, followed the directions from readme file of PC Suite and everything fell in place! Filled with joy, I copied all the images from my phone to the PC, transferred some files to my phone and installed the NetFront Web Browser. It was all a breeze from the PC Suite.

Now was the time for a test: how to share my PC's internet connection with my phone through the bluetooth connection. There were some threads at allaboutsymbian and other sites to help me out and it was a rather simple procedure. Browsed google with NetFront on my phone and felt satisfied. 8hrs of work with some positive results in the end :) NetFront and Opera both cost money after the trial period, so now the hunting starts for an open source HTML browser for series 60 devices.
(NOTE: Nokia is currently working on an open-source browser for its devices )

Friday, September 16, 2005

Under-Estimated Sourav Ganguly

Mr. Saurav Ganguly, I am impressed.
I have always liked Saurav Ganguly as a cricketer but yesterday's talk of his with Sunil Gavaskar and Harsha Bhogle took me by complete surprise. The kind of maturity as well as honesty he showed in answering all the (trciky) questions posed to him was unexpected from a cricketing person, much less from Sourav, who is known for arrogant and, sometimes, rude behaviour. Atleast in recent times, he was looking very weak and vulnerable as if going through a frustrating period. But he was gracious enough to accept all the criticism of the past 6 months and looked every bit in peace with himself. One would believe him when he said that captaincy is not at all an issue for him and he wouldn't mind one little bit if he were not to captain the next test match. Atleast i believed.

He even joked that he was hoping that it was not the end of his career, when presented with a plaque commemorating his 48th test cap as the captain of the indian test squad, highest by an indian. It was saddening to hear that since the time his captaincy was questioned, all is not going well in the dressing room and that is affecting the team's performance. But it was heartening to see Saurav prompting everyone to keep their differences with themselves and show some maturity to hold the game of cricket above anything else. He supported every young indian cricketer when they first came to the international scene and when some of those same players are not supporting him in his crisis, atleast he is not complaining. He may not captain the team in the next series but he atleast should be bid adeu with some respect as none of the past captains can compete with his success as a captain, and i doubt how many to come in the future can hold their own in front of him.

Whatever may be his achievements in winning matches as a cricketer or as a captain, his contributions in building the team and a team spirit and a terrific atmosphere in the dressing room will make me remember him as one of the best ever cricketer in indian cricketing history.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Hunt for an mp3 player: Zen or iPod?

The easy job was done when I planned to buy an mp3 player for myself; then started the hard job of choosing which mp3 player to go with. Quickly zeroed-in on these 4 players:

Creative Zen Micro 5GB (USD 190, offer: USD 165)
Apple iPod mini 4GB (USD 200, offer:USD 170)
Creative Zen Touch 20GB(USD 205)
Apple iPod 20GB (USD 230)

I could not find any offers currently for iPod 20Gb or the Zen Touch.
All the reviews I read on the web(amazon, cnet,, tomshardware. anandtech etc) either said that the players from Creative have superior audio quality or said that the difference is not very much. Creative players definitely have the price advantage. But iPod wins in a crucial department:'style' statement. Its cool to possess an iPod these days and not so for any other player. The problem for me is I am buying from US but I don't live in US; so I prefer a player with user-replaceable battery. Only Zen Micro has this feature. But iPod mini looks so cute in its green, pink colours.
what to do? I still have a few days left to make the decision and most probably I will go with the Creative Zen Micro player.