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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Formula One Green Revolution : Honda F1

Its the first of its kind.
To spread awareness of the environmental issues which are affecting the planet earth F1 Honda team has come with a new initiative . Its RA107 F1 car will have a huge image of the earth at a place where normally sponsors logos and advertisements and prominent.


img: HondaF1

This is seriously a noble initiative and a call to all the human beings of the earth to take an action before its too late.
As written on the website myearthdream
Our car will race to create awareness of the environmental issues and to encourage people to make a difference to the world around them.
Honda F1 Racing CEO Nick Ray
“F1 is a hugely powerful communication device with audience and global reach only behind that of periodic sporting events such as the Olympics and the World Cup,” says Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer of Honda Racing F1 Team. “We believe that F1 with its huge global profile and cutting edge technology can play an important role in not only highlighting the issues but also playing our part in developing solutions.”

We can have our name on the HondaF1 car just by making a pledge. I made a pledge there that i will not leave my appliances on standby and my phone on charge unnecessarily. I submitted the pledge and they will contact me on 12th March

One green revolution changed the future of India , lets pledge that we will contribute in saving the earth.



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Good Luck Team India

img: cricinfo

Indian Team is leaving for WI today. Good Luck to the team , We hope this time Sachin and company will bring the cup and all the four legends Sachin, Ganguly, Dravid , Kumble will fill their resumes with the Cup winners as they have filled it with everything else.

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Memoria III



Well we have had a couple of pretty good 'memoria'-posts on two nail biting contests.......Here I will try to describe one of my personal favorite encounters……. Actually thisa bit low-profile……in the sense that it was not as popular……may be because it was not cricket……..


Venue: Wimbledon, London.

Date : July 9,2001.

Enter Goran Ivanisevic.

Enter Patric Rafter.

(2 of my all-time favorites)

For some reason, star sports was not broadcasting this match...........one of the biggest regrets of my life.......is not being able to watch this match live........Anyway.......where was I.......ya

Enter Goran Ivanisevic.

Enter Patrick Rafter.

Here was one guy who had reached the Wimbledon final on three occasions in the past only to end up second best……….and almost resigned to the fact that, that was as far as he could get……so was my thinking. Hampered by a sore shoulder that will require surgery at the end of the year, he came to the tournament with his career in an 18-month freefall. He needed a wild-card invitation because his ranking had tumbled to 125th. But, for all his inadequacies, he had one answer………that three letter word…….ACE……..just in case you did not guess who I am talking about:

GORAN IVANISEVIC

And of course, up against him was the old warrior, the veteran, the Aussie—Pat Rafter.

Because rain washed out most of Saturday's schedule, the men's final began on a Monday for the first time since 1922. Finals are typically sold out in advance, but 10,000 tickets went on sale 2 1/2 hours before the match.

As the result, the stands were filled with a younger, noisier crowd than usual, with many fans likely attending Wimbledon for the first time. They sang, chanted, cheered double-faults and turned Centre Court into a kaleidoscope of flags, inflated kangaroos, face paint and clown hats.

For once, the only suits were in the royal box.

I don't know if Wimbledon has seen anything like it," Rafter said in a post-match interview. "I don't know if they will again. It was electric."

"So many Australian fans and Croatians, like a [soccer] match," said Ivanisevic after the match . "The crowd was just too good."

The atmosphere was similar when rain forced Wimbledon to play on the middle Sunday in 1991 and 1997, but the staid tournament had never staged a final like this.

Goran started confidently, from where he left off against Henman-How he beat Henman is another story……but lets concentrate on this one now……Almost every other serve of his went past Rafter without the racket touching the ball and the popular Croat raced to a three-nil lead. Even though Rafter played pretty good, a three-nil lead was a little too big to overcome and another missile from Goran at 5-3(40-15) mean —First Blood Goran.

But we all know about the Aussies…..dont we?......Rafter did to Goran what the Croat did to him…….6-3…….and the stands became a sea of red, white and blue Aussie flags.

Every point found at least one player at the net. There were no baseline exchanges and few rallies of more than four shots. This was grass-court tennis at its best.

But the stakes, atmosphere and swings in momentum made each point exciting nonetheless. Cheers at times drowned out the chair umpire's requests for "Quiet, please."

And soon……..the Croat gained some lost momentum……as he fought back to win the third set 6-3……..

Ivanisevic briefly came unhinged in the fourth set. Facing a break point, he hit an apparent service winner, but a lineswoman cited him for a foot fault, the only one of the match.

"Nooooooo!" he screamed.

He thought his next serve was an ace and skipped in glee before realizing it had been called wide -- a double fault that gave the game to Rafter. Ivanisevic threw his racket and kicked the net, then argued in vain with the chair umpire.

"I got a little crazy," he admitted in the post-match interview.

In an amazing turnaround he went on to lose the fourth set 6-2. The past came back to haunt Ivanisevic. Oh…….when he came so close in ‘92 against Agassi…….and in ’94……..and again in ’98……this time to be gunned down by Pistol Pete.

In the past, such situations have unraveled his game and cost him matches.

Then, the fifth set began with the momentum very much in favor of the Aussie…….But the lankily built French-bearded Goran quickly gained the lost composure. There were no service breaks: 1 all, then 2 all then 3,4,5,6 and then seven all……Yes it was the final set …….so no tie-breakers……

15th game: Rafter missed four first serves and Ivanisevic took advantage, smacking three excellent returns. The third one, for a winner at 15-40, gave him an 8-7 lead and a chance to serve for the championship.

Because he's never-boring Goran, he blew an easy volley, then double-faulted to fall behind 15-30. Two big serves, including his 27th ace, took him to 30-30.

Then………..this happened:


"I knew I was going to be one, two double faults," Ivanisevic said. "My arm was so heavy."

He collapsed as the crowd roared, then rose in a daze. At the net Rafter gave him a hug, a pat on the back and a rub on the head.

Ivanisevic then crossed the court and ran up a stadium aisle to the VIP box for a group hug with his father, coach and friends. When he climbed onto a broadcasting booth with a grin as wide as his outstretched arms, the crowd renewed its chant of "Go-ran! Go-ran!"

"I don't care now if I ever win a match in my life again," he said. "Whatever I do in my life, wherever I go, I'm always going to be Wimbledon champion."

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hobbes - the run machine

There are some things that you look and feel, is there a limit, and here is a cricketing career that makes you feel the same, Sir John Berry Hobbs aka Sir Jack Hobbes. The least talked about member of the Wisden's best five of the 20Th century(along with Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Garfield sobers, Shane Warne, Sir Vivian Richards) is one of the most productive batsman of my grandfather's age, my dad's age and my age.


He was the first cricketer to be knighted back in 1953. Playing for England and Surrey he made as many as 61760 runs, ohhh myyy gaawwwddd, this guy must have run the whole continent twice to take all these runs. As a part time bowler he has the best figures of 7/56 as well. Created in 1932, he must have been the biggest motivation for superman. And now some statistics to solidify the thought of his greatness.


First-class Batting

Matches played :834

Innings :1325

Not outs :107

Runs :61760

Highest Score :316*

Average :50.70

Centuries :199

Half Centuries :273

Catches :342


After serving cricket for a long long time, the oldest centurian of test cricket (46 years old), also known as "The Master" departed in 1963 leaving behind a prolific cricketing career and unbelievable numbers. These are the legends of the game!

Image srcs : bbc.co.uk and cricinfo.com
Statistics src : cricinfo.com

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Another victim of injury - Razzaq out of World Cup

Just prior to Pakistanis scheduled departure for the West Indies, came a jolt to their World Cup plans in the news confirming Abdul Razzaq unfit n out of the tour owing to a knee injury.

"I am simply devastated. One moment we are practicing and planning for the big tournament and next moment doctors tell me I am out of it," Razzaq told agencies. "It is hugely disappointing for me to go out this way," said Razzaq, who would have been playing in his third World Cup, had it not been for the last-minute injury.

The veteran Azhar Mahmood who was kept on a standby given the injury worries in the fast bowling line-up, will take his place.

Image Source: cricinfo

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Who all missed the bus to Caribbean?

The prediction time is over, and every country has disclosed their 15 for the World Cup. The follow-up had all the flares of surprises n expectations. When on one side India selectors relied on experience for their bid to clinch the trophy, we have England side that is full of youngsters that gives them extra fire and aggression. Along with some surprising inclusions like Danish Kaneria (Pakistan), there has been few surprising exclusions too. After all this hoo-hulla about World Cup Team selection, lets throw some light on players who had represented their team on a more often basis since 2003 but still couldn't make it to WC 2007.

Ramesh Powar (India)
In Harbhajan Singh n Anil Kumble, India saw no more requirement in their spin-club. But no doubt, when former seemed to be less attacking n latter on the wane, Ramesh Powar, arguably the slowest flightest offspinner in the game was on his dream ride taking wickets at a rate of almost two a game. The only negative aspects for the man who calls himself fat but fit must be his belligerent batting of late which framed him otherwise.

Mohammed Kaif (India)
We all could never forget Kaif's under pressure stand with Yuvraj Singh, that accounted to India successfully chasing a 300+ target in Natwest Trophy in 2002 with Sachin, Ganguly n Dravid back in the pavilion. That day we made Kaif our overnight star. The other positive point was his electric fielding that added an extra flair to a side who are not so known for their athelitic show on the field. Team started expecting a lot from Kaif thereafter and he was started being considered as the mainstay of Indian middle order. Not able to adapt to this role n responsiblities attached to it, Kaif soon found himself not picked for SA tour in late 2006, and his WC inclusion was never on the cards.

Yasir Hameed (Pakistan)
An opener by nature, in a department that has been Pakistan's Achilles Heel since Saeed Anwar bade goodbye to Cricket, only got a chance to play in just 4 ODIs in last two yrs and he scored at an average of 52. The only reason for him to offend Pakistan selectors would have been his strike rate, but even that might be unquestionable provided slow wickets expected in Carribean. Instead, Pakistan trusted Hafeez, Nazir, Akmal to provide a combination that can improve on their tally of only three 50+ stands in past one yr.

Boeta Dippenaar (South Africa)
Dippenaar never really got a chance in recent South Africa outings to impress with his talent. I still remember the day, when I appreciated Dippenaar to get out at a score of merely 1 run off 7 balls when SA was chasing 434. Nevertheless, he averages 107 from 10 matches in Caribbean and never finished on the losing side, he might be worth a place as a lucky mascot.

Chamara Kapugedera (Sri Lanka)

This 20 yrs old youngster has time very much on his side. Coming late in the order, Kapugedera provides the apt pinch hitting required at times in the slog overs. But with Sri Lanka finding a balanced line-up by having Arnold, and bringing back Atapattu n Jayasuriya, who all are expected to turn out, it won't be long before Kapugedera will be ushered back in the side.

Runako Morton (West Indies)
One of the game's most notorious bad boys proved his mettle with his unbeaten 90 against Australia in last year's Champions Trophy that propelled his side to the final. The memorable inning was followed by lacklustre performances and next thing we knew he was no longer in consideration for West Indies WC plans, and was once again reduced to margins. Eventually he missed the bus to home.

Cameron White (Australia)
Cameron White has long seemed destined to play a significant role in Australia's future. You call him nagging legspinner, a solid middle-order bat, a pinch hitter or a bit of all three. He had a qualified success in the recent two series which though Australia lost ironically. Luck ran out off him, when Shane Watson returned from his injury and swapped his place with unfit Symonds. Eventually Australia opted for the safer bet by having Symonds (expected to be fit soon) n Hogg to serve with bat n ball.

Other names include Khaled Mashud (Bangladesh), Mal Loye (England), Hamilton Masakadza (Zimbabwe).

Image Source: cricinfo

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Carling Cup final beats Hollywood and Bollywood..




......And they say it's just a game.All the emotions, agony, pain, cheer, drama, anger, denial, distress, celebration and many many more, a clash between two big English clubs had it all on the fourth Sunday of February '06. Chelsea beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Arsene Wenger puts on display the Arsenal youth (visible from the fact that average age of Arsenal players was 21!) because of a lot of injury issues for the gunners, and Jose Morinho playing a strong line-up. Terry making a come back strengthening the Chelsean wall with Carvalho and Cech.

Gunners kicked the match off in style and in the initial minutes only they looked like making an impact with a superb strike from Baptista, which was followed up by an authentic Arsenal one-two game, and young Walcott draws first blood for gunners. Twelve minutes and its already 1-0. Soon after on Ballack's pass, avoiding off side Drogba nudges one across the second choice keeper Manuel Almunia to make the scales level again. Nineteen minutes in the game, 1-1 tells the scoreboard.

The game moved to the interval in a steal and steal back manner with Fabragas, Diaby, Walcott showing skills in red dresses and Essien, Lampard and Drogba in blues. Chelsea made their first change and in comes Arjen Robben for Claude Makelele, an attacking move from Jose. A few more fouls, a few more moves for next few minutes before the moment of shock and despair came for the blues, accidentally in the crowded goal area, John Terry coming fresh from an injury gets a boot on his head attempting to head the cross behind the nets, Terry moves out of the field on a stretcher and has been given an oxygen mask, Mikel replaces him and the game restarts after a long six minutes break. The whole stadium gracefully farewells him off the ground, all prayers for him!

Now, Wenger makes a couple of changes Emmanuel Eboue replaces Armand Traore and then Hleb comes in for Diaby. And after 15 minutes Emmanuel Adebayor replaces Jeremie Aliadiere.

When it looked certain that we will witness another 30 minutes of great football in extra time, Drogba denies the thoughts and heads one behind the bars on another Ballack pass, and its panic in Gunner's house. 6 minutes of game play left and they are 2-1 behind. Just before the 90th minute Shevchenko hits one hard on the woodwork and Arsenals try it all to level it back.


Fourth officials tell that the injury time will be as much as 7 minutes, a little relief for the Arsenal fans, but then the real drama began. Clock says 95 minutes and Toure and Mikel leave soccer and start a little bit of wrestling and it turns into a mini royal rumble with Adebayor, Fabregas and Lampard also jumping in. In next 40 seconds Wenger and Jose are on pitch controlling players, and it is the unwanted anti climax to a great game. Mikel and Toure are shown the red card and they move out. Next card flash was for Adebayor, another red and he decides to play a rebel and tried to discuss it out with the referee, oh! this is absolutely absurd, Fabregas pushes him out of further controversy and he moves out furiously. Lampard and Fabregas get a yellow each.Game restarts for a few final seconds.

Kalou comes in for Shevchenko and with a free kick from Fabregas the game is over. Chelsea wins the Carling cup. Drogba gets the player of the match for his two strikes.

This story ended on a bitter note, but the first ever all London clash in the history of League Cup couldn't have asked for a bigger Oprah than this, long live the game, long live the glory!

Fighting Sequence

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Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal

Its Carling Cup Finals 2007 and Chelsea take on a depleted Aresenal for what could be a possible 'quadruple' with the Champions League, FA Cup and Premiership for Chelsea. And for once, my head and heart were in no disagreement as to whom I supported :)

For Chelsea, John Terry was back and that ensured that Chelsea fielded a full-strength eleven against an Arsenal Team that surely missed the likes of Henry and Rosicky. But if one thought with the opening line ups that the young gunners were going to show nerves, it only took 8 minutes to cause panics in Chelsea camp when Peter Cech just about manages an extraordinary save and prevent the gunners going up one-nil, and these young gunners took just three minutes more to prove everyone wrong when Theo Walcott footed the ball past Peter Cech into the net. The scoreline read Aresnal 1. Chelsea 0.


Theo Walcott scores first for Arsenal.
Image Courtesy: goal.com


With the Gunners in lead and Chelsea apearing shell-shocked, all seemed lost for the blue jerseys this early in the game until the Ivory Coast striker, whom we know by the name Didier Drogba, romped home the equalizer. It's Chelsea 1. Arsenal 1. Ballack's superb cross and Drogba puts the ball in the net for his 27th goal in the season, taking advantage of the linesman's flag and one might still argue if the Off-side decision should have gone Asenal's way.


Diabe's attempt to clear the corner catches Terry right on the face.
Image Courtesy: goal.com


What followed was purely fascinating football. Action was thick and fast as Fabregas came inches close to taking Arsenal back in the lead just going wide off the post, and then Terry received a kick on the face and had to be carried off the field, neck in a brace just 15 minutes after the second half. That certainly brought concern on the faces of all Chelsea supporters. And when Lampard stuck the crossbar in the 76th minute, one seemed to wonder if the match would be decided in the stipulated 90 minutes, until Drogba did it again for Chelsea in the 83rd minute.


Drogba gives Chelsea lead in the 83rd minute.
Image Courtesy: BBC Sports

That Drogba's magical header endured that Chelsea were, for the first time in the match, leading the Gunners. Robben's fine cross was headed right past Alumnia to seal the Chelsea victory. 28 goals so far in the season and Drogba must be feeling like the King of the world. The Carling Cup 2007 was Chelsea's, another feather in Mourinho's cap. Arsenal might have lost but I'll have to say, they played some majestic football, whatever the scoreline read at the end.

And if one thought that was all one was to witness, the fireworks were not over yet. A mass brawl sparked off when Mikel and Toure got involved in a fight over a Mikel foul that forces the managers to rush to the field to pull off their players. Three red cards- Mikel, Toure and Adebayor were sent off and Chelsea were reduced to ten men to Arsenal's nine. An incident both managers condemned. Arsens Wenger had to say this on the incident: "You must always keep calm, no matter what happens. I regret the incident. That's not what we want, we want to play football." And I'll have to say, they played some majestic football, whatever the scoreline read at the end.


The only low point in what was a fascinating clash. This mass brawl resulted in three red cards.
Image Courtesy: BBC Sports


1 down. 3 to go. No one has ever done it before. This Chelsea team, however, has all that it takes to do it.


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Salute the Legend : Roger Federer

Today marks the 161st week of Federer's reign as no 1 player in the tennis world. Today he has broken the record of Jimmy Connors who was no.1 for 160 consecutive weeks.



Federer Says
It was never really one of my goals to achieve this specific record. I had reached my goal in 2004, when I took over the lead in the world ranking. I remember the moment as though being set free somehow; I then suddenly started playing a lot better and gaining more confidence. All these changes have allowed me to stay at the top for this long. So it is rather surprising to me to beat Jimmy Connors’ 30-year-old record today.
Cutting the cake when Federer became No.1 for the 1st time
img src http://www.atptennis.com/en/players/gallery/?Event=federer161


This record is really commendable as no other player in the past 3 years has ever come near to challenge Federer for the no.1 post, though there were some battles with Nadal but Federer is far ahead of Nadal in ATP points. Federer has 8120 Atp points to Nadal's 4705. One more year of reign is on cards :)

Stats from Federer's Site

The stats

Consecutive weeks at number one
1. Roger Federer (SUI): 161 (between February 2004 and February 2007)
2. Jimmy Connors (USA): 160 (between July 1974 and August 1977)
3. Ivan Lendl (TCH/USA): 157 (between September 1985 and September 1988)
4. Pete Sampras (USA): 102 (between April 1996 and March 1998)
5. Lleyton Hewitt (AUS): 75 (between November 2001 and April 2003)

Total weeks at number one
1. Pete Sampras (USA): 286
2. Ivan Lendl (TCH/USA): 270
3. Jimmy Connors (USA): 268
4. John McEnroe (USA): 170
5. Roger Federer (SUI): 161
6. Björn Borg (SUE): 109
7. Andre Agassi (USA): 101
8. Lleyton Hewitt (AUS): 80
9. Stefan Edberg (SUE): 72
10. Jim Courier (USA): 58

Years ended at number one
1. Pete Sampras (USA): 6 years in series (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998)
2. Jimmy Connors (USA): 5 years in series (1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978)
3. John McEnroe (USA): 4 years in series (1981, 1982, 1983, 1984)
3. Ivan Lendl (TCH/USA): 4 years (1983, 1985, 1987, 1989)
5. Roger Federer (SUI): 3 years in series (2004, 2005, 2006)


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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Womens World Cup Pic

Sportolysis wins at Indibloggies

Just came to office and checked the results and was surprised to know that we Sportolysis have won the Indibloggies Best Sports Blog Award
-Nitesh
Was in the office cab and Nitesh calls me, I wasn't surprised at all though. Great content, good template and all the readers made it possible.
-desh

Check the results

Thank you all readers and voters for your valuable votes. Here is the final votes tally:

(Source: indibloggies.org)

Waiting for the prizes :-)

One more thing, soon we are going to move onto a domain of ours with a new name. This will happen in 2-3 weeks. So keep looking this space for more. Keep reading and keep blogging.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

World after UEFA Matchday 7 - II

Day - 2

A day of spreading immense respect, of gamesmanship talks, of sharing honours, a day of 3 draws and 1 win.

Lyon, ah my favourites, played a respectful draw against host Roma. Roma had problems, extended ones, when they go to France, along with their passports they will be carrying a lot of yellow cards, 8 in all shown to Italians in this match, while the frenchmen got 3. Tough task for Roma to book a birth in the quarters, lets see, all eyes on Totti!

And now THE match of this weekend, lived up all the hype and the defenders face an early exit, Riise and Bellamy (hey, were these the boys last weekend, ahh..shh) shot two painful bullets after Deco gave Barca a great start by putting one behind the net early on. Now, with a lose at home they travel to England, trouble trouble and more trouble, Barca, missing you badly! (Barca 1-2 Liverpool)

Jose's boys must have been looking for a victory, but a decent 1-1 draw gives them relief and atleast no gittery scares, what they need to do is get their act together in next match and move to the next stage, the team that's dying to be European champion, for once, for god's sake, once! (Porto 1-1 Chelsea)

And, the current Italian Champions take on a good Spanish side in Italy, and ends up accepting two away goals from them. A 2-2 draw, which sees Valencia almost through to the quarterfinals, unless Inter comes up with something amazing at Valencia home and Viera's injury adds to the wounds. Crespo, boy, come up with a beauty. (Inter 2-2 Valencia)

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World after UEFA Matchday 7 - I

Matchday 7, first leg, teams travelling around the europe and eight pretty close matches, I don't say this, this stats speak, 1 draw of the opening day and 3 on the following, and the victories also of just single goal margin. Platform is pretty well laid for the first week of february encounters. Lets have a brief look at the matches.


Day - 1

Celtic hosts European giants Milan, and share honours on their home ground, Celtic is an unpredictably good team strengthened by players like Nakamura and Naylor and they were able to keep Milan devoid of any outside success that they were hoping, but life will not be easy for the scottish when to travel to Milan. No prizes for guessing, my money on Milan. (Celtic 0-0 Milan)

Gunners, love you hate you. Being an avid Indian cricket fan, Arsenal has to be my favourite club, it's so much like Indian cricket team, too unpredictable for their ability. PSV, lost their last game and came back strongly to beat the previous year finalists just to keep their hopes on, but remember, I said unpredictable, and at home gunners can be demoralizingly brutal, PSV wants a draw, Let's see. Ah, 60-40 Arsenal! (PSV 1-0 Arsenal)

History and Revenge, Controversies and Chaos, game on! Lille home, Giggs dido and Manchester United continues the 20 year celebration of great manager-giri. Life seems to be difficult for the French club after losing their backyard encounter. And if Lille plays this years quarter final, book a DVD of Manchester United - Lille 7th Mar match already, because it will be a miracle.(Lille 0-1 Man U)

And finally the match we Indian could see live (Thank you so much Ten Sports), Two historic European champions ( Read UEFA retrospect articles) and a expectedly fan treat on plate. The match started and it started raining goals! Raul, then Lucio equalizes, then Raul again (lucky he, it should have been Helguera's) making it 2-1 and then Rudd van taking it to a comfortable 3-1, and it says only 34 minutes, and when it looked like a landslide, Van bommel appeared and made the scene look different a late goal and the scoreline says 3-2. A real victory but with 2 away goals makes Bayern happy, they just need to get a 1-0 victory when real visits them. Wearing a cannavaro t-shirt right now, but I think it will be Bayern to proceed. (Real 3-2 Bayern).

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The Unsung Heros


"Its that man......Carragher again" --remarked Andy Gray........as the lion-hearted defender cleared the ball and thwarted yet another Ronaldinho masterminded--Barcelona attack.

This prompted me to write about some unsung heros of sport.......but don’t expect too much……..it’s a very short article…….focusing only on cricket and futbol.

The Gerrard-inspired Liverpool came from three nil down to complete one of the most remarkable comebacks. "Gerrard was sensational"........he indeed was....."Dudek's saves were unbelievable".......they sure were........but I dint hear anyone say "Carragher--He saved our asses".

Just think about it.......someone like Rio Ferdinand earns about 120000 pounds per week,but Carragher does not even get paid half of that.

Henry.........to Pires.......to Bergkamp......to Ljungberg.......to Henry!!........and you know what happened next......Agreed, that the 49 match unbeaten run of the gunners would not have been possible without the French combo of Pires and Henry.......but few recognize the contribution of Sol Campbell.

Like defenders in football, bowlers in cricket do not get the credit they deserve. Just compare Dhoni and Kumble for instance. Here is one guy who has been playing for more than a decade.....working day in and day out.....But I can hardly remember any commercials starring Kumble......On the other hand ......Any one following India cricket is expected to know by default ki "Din ka Dhoni kitne litre doodh pita hai?"

Coming back to futta....I think Andrea Pirlo was sensational in the world cup for Italy.........While the contenders for golden ball were Zidane and Cannavaro......and rightly so........but Pirlo dint get the credit he deserved........its quite ironical that......a defender over-shadowed a playmaker in this case......

What generally happens in such cases is that.......till that player retires not many realize his importance..........

Arsenal now realise the importance of Sol Campbell.......I am sure the void left by Kumble, when he hangs up his boots, will be a huge one to fill..........

and I seriously fear for Liverpool for the day when Carragher calls it a day.......Ok......you might get the quality that Carragher posseses......but the passion and the fight that he shows for Liverpool........i dont think that can be substituted with so easily.........

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Is this the beginning of the End??

Is this the beginning of the End??
That’s was the lingering thought in my mind when they lost to Valencia over weekend , but suddenly after watching them against Liverpool it seems like a reality waiting to just explode.
Sometimes I wonder, who is success biggest competitor, is it fear of failure or something like that, but watching the events unfold at Barcelona I have to the conclude that its success itself which is its biggest competitor. Can you imagine a team which is Spanish Champ plus European Champion and most important of all the world best Football Team, even Jose Mourinho admits that, fighting like that. Something, somewhere is seriously wrong. I don’t know who is at the wrong side nor I am interested in knowing , I don’t care what is happening between Eto and Rjikard , what matters to me is football and at present I don’t think they are playing that good football.
Coming to last Night match Liverpool once again showed why they are considered so esteemed in Europe, they never play spectacular football just keeps the basic right, absorbs pressure and hit other teams on the break. The turning point of the match was undoubtedly the blunder by Valdes, the header by Bellamy was nothing but easy catch, but he made total mess of that. That was the moment which turned the match upside down; it not only gave Liverpool confidence but also completely broke the Barca’s confidence. Second half was no contest, completely dominated by Liverpool.Barca seems like a demoralized side.
Coming to individual performance Momo Sisoko was outstanding running everywhere, Gerrard as usual consistent, Bellamy with his pace always created problems for barca defense, but that golf swing which he did after scoring that goal, will be the one most remembered. Otherwise it was clinical performance by Rafa’s sides.
Barcelona nothing much to write about, deco was brilliant, ronaldinho and saviola good whenever they got the ball. The problem for me was the supply from Mid field which wasn’t up to the mark. Defense has never been Barcelona strength, but if goalkeeper is also in a state of nervous disorder, then it can be a big problem.So is it all over for the reigning champs, not for me …ya its difficult to defeat Liverpool in Anfield, but Barcelona in form can score in any stadium around the world. But the question is of the psychological state they are in, they are looking vulnerable and that is the problem. Eto, in probability will be back for the second leg, is he that crucial link they are missing so badly . Only time will answer that question , but till then we all pray that sanity prevails in Nou Camp because we don’t want the end to happen so soon,as End usually is ugly and Barca plays this Beautifull game real beautifully.

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Budget 2007 : What's in for Sports

We reap what we sow. We are the makers of our own fate.
The wind is blowing; those vessels whose sails are unfurled
catch it, and go forward on their way, but those which have
their sails furled do not catch the wind. Is that the fault of
the wind?....... We make our own destiny.”
Swami Vivekananda




This quote was used by the FM during his last year budget speech. Another year has passed by and now we are again waiting for the D-Day of FM when he will be presenting the budget for the 2007-08. Big question is what to expect from the FM regarding the sports budget. Will it same as previous years a marginal increase.

I will weave around the words of Vivekananda

We reap what we sow :

Very true what we reap we will sow. So we need very good investment by government of India is sports to expect some medals from the players in Olympics. There is no shortage of talent in a county of billion , but that talent has to be tapped for doing that we should give opportunities to budding players. There has to be stadias in plenty , sports equipments in plenty, coaches to train players to guide them, professional institutes to train coaches.
How will these come ? Not with mere 500 crores and considering the pattern that 400 crores will not be utilised effectively you all know why (Corruption, filling pockets). With 100 crores we expect a rich haul of gold and this discussion always start 2 months before the olympics with news channels coming with wacky headlines like
Kya abki baari jeet hogi hamari ? Kya abki bari bharat gold medal la payega


We are the makers of our own fate:

Old saying hard work always pays stands true to much extent but the big question is players work hard , they practice hard , what is to be done about the politicians who don't know ABCD of the sports whose committee they are heading for the past ten to fifteen years or so. Who is to blame for the continuous practice of sports ministry sending more officials then players in major tournament.


The wind is blowing; those vessels whose sails are unfurled
catch it, and go forward on their way, but those which have
their sails furled do not catch the wind.


Wind in form of having got the opportunity to organize big events like 2010 commonwealth games and bidding for the 2014 Asian games in Kuwait on April 16 and 17 . Getting to stage big events alone is not gonna help alone. There were rumors also that India is bidding for 2016 olympics, there is a need to have a strong base on which development/grooming of players and coaches is done. Take the example of china it is hosting the event when it has shown to the world its sports talent and there is high chance that china will dislodge the Americans in the medal tally in 2008 olympics. China sent a 700 strong squad mainly consisting of rookies in the qatar asian games. Do India has enough strength to send such a contingent? We have to utilize the 2010 commonwealth games as our base for olympics. We need to be in top 2 in these games with a rich medal haul not of 12-15 golds only.

Is that the fault of
the wind?....... We make our own destiny.

To a big extent it is the fault of government, but now I am hopeful that FM will give a big boost to sports. Tax benefits are expected for sports goods this measure will increase the sale of various sports equipments by large population. We need a big sports budget atleast bigger then the BCCI earnings. We need bigger grants not meager as in the last decade.

We will make our destiny, we are waiting for a ray of hope then future will be ours.

Am I right or ???? Comments..........


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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Notes on Sports, Need your Votes

Vote for me!It's election time and thanks to all the Junta and Jury which filed our nominations. Nice to be nominated for indibloggies. So Vote for Us and make it the Best Sports Blog around. We assure all the readers that atleast "humari zamaanat zapt nahi hogi."

In a way I feel sad for the other participants because we are sure to garner more votes, but as someone from a Church on a Hill said,

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. "
Stupid arguments apart, just Vote for us. Thats it, we not going for any Manifesto or something. We can discuss that later. But exercise your vote, that is more important.

Start Voting Here

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India to bid for AFC Asian Cup 2011

We are into our nervous nineties. This is post number 91, I hope we will get to the three figures very soon. Let's see who will write the 100th post.

There is a good news for Indian football fans. India is among the last three countries who have shown interest in bidding for hosting the AFC Asian Cup in 2011. Other countries are Iran and Qatar. Iran is the highest ranked asian team in the fifa rankings , ranked at 32. Qatar is at 77 and India is way behind at 157 out of total 199 fifa members.

The three countries have to bid officially now by 1st April after showing their interest. Qatar and India are experienced a lot in hosting big events. Qatar recently hosted the asian games and India will be hosting the 2010 commonwealth games.
Last AFC cup was held in china with Japan regaining their title. AFC has to prepone the 2008 Asia Cup so as to avoid clashing with Olympic games and the euro cup. This year cup will be jointly hosted by Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia with 16 teams participating in the event out of 24 qualifiers, 12 qualifiers and 4 host nations.

Lets see who wins the bid, if India wins it will give a big boost to the Indian Football, india will get a chance to play in the cup as a host nation and the nation will be able to see the best of the asian football and who know India going crazy for football as cricket.


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Monday, February 19, 2007

Few Moment of Brilliance

The whole of weekend I was thinking what to write, Aaj Tak makes you to write about Madan Lal and his expert comments on cricket, ESPN about Australia demise and PHL, Star Sports about FA Cup, Ten Sports about WWE, Zee-Sports about National Football League and lastly DD sports about the poor old National Games. What a mess I was in, so as usual what happened I couldn’t write anything.
Come Monday I came to office expecting nothing…but then u have a look at sportolysis, read the wonderful articles and the motivation is back. So to keep this inspirational stuff going on I would like to share some defining images which I just can’t ever forget.
Centurion, 2003 World Cup, a dream Match India vs Pakistan –Batsmen on strike Sachin Tendulkar , bowler Wasim Akram , a perfect delivery , pitched just short of good length and was curling in , Little Master goes on to the backfoot and then you heard Robin Jackman’s voice over Microphone “Ah what a shot , this has bisected the gap between Mid Off and Covers ”. This was the best back foot cover drive I have ever seen in Cricket and mind you it still remain the Best. Also that exaggerated follow through by Sachin was the defining moment of World Cup 2003.
From Centurion to Istanbul, 25th May, Champions League Final Milan Vs Liverpool. Milan 2003 champions were the heavy favorites and they seem to be on the path to glory again by smacking 3 goals in the first half against the lackluster and the hapless Liverpool. Second half and nobody even gave them a chance, to score 3 goals against an Italian side is next to impossible. But then comes the 6 minutes of madness , lead by the inspirational skipper Steven Gerrard they score 3 times in 6 minutes to tie the score and they reached the Penalty shootout no one can even doubt the result. Pool were the European champs and that image of Gerrard waving towards Liverpool fans after scoring the first goal was the unforgettable moment of inspiration.
To be continued…………..

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UEFA Champion's League Schedule

Analysis, Criticism, Predictions, Teams, Coaches, Practices, Transfers, Rivalries, Away Goals, Fans, Articles and another hundred kinds of blah blah, the game is back and those 90 minutes which matter the most. So all those critics, experts Shhhhhhhh, sit back, grab your beer cans and watch the action. And ask your secretaries to schedule your meetings accordingly!

Matches on 20 Feb and 7 March


Celtic - Milan

PSV - Arsenal

Lille - Man. United

Real Madrid - Bayern

---------------------------

Matches on 21 Feb and 6 Mar

Roma - Lyon

Barcelona - Liverpool

Porto - Chelsea

Internazionale - Valencia


Who's getting your support?

F1-2009 Abu Dhabhi

F1 season is the begin soon in few days from 18th march with Australian GP. F1 is slowly expanding its wings to new countries. Arab world is taking giant strides towards F1. After Bahrain Abu Dhabhi is coming up with a state of the art F1 track.
It will host its first F1 race in 2009.

Watch the Abu Dhabhi's track

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Memoria - II

Titan Cup
9th Match: India vs Australia
PCA Stadium, Mohali, Chandigarh.

I've always credited this match as my first blood of interest in Cricket. It was during October I heard my father talking something about procuring tickets. I wasn't aware he was talking about a Cricket Match. It was only two days before the match I get to know I am gonna watch a match live for the first time in my life. And the timing couldn't be less perfect. Tell you what, if a writer of fiction had dreamt this one up, he would have been accused of the grossest exaggeration. A full house. Two international teams, battling each other for a place in the final. Spectacular batting performances. Brilliant fielding. Suspense till the very end. And a result in the very last over...

The teams
India had one change in its lineup - Robin Singh replaced Aashish Kapoor to strengthen the batting. Australia for its part brought back Mark Waugh n Ian Healy who recovered from their respective injuries. Jason Gillespie replaced Damien Fleming.

Even being aware of India's propensity to panic when chasing, Taylor fresh from miraculous last ditch win pulled off by Kumble n Srinath and taking in the consideration the dew while bowling second, invited India to bat, and the match was on..

I must confess, initially I was not satisfied with the view I had before my eyes. We got our seats just below commentator box. But it didn't took me long to realize that I wasn't there to follow the score after every ball. As I stood in PCA stadium with thousands of other fans and we witnessed the finest moment of India flourishing under pressure.

Indian Innings
It was an era, where Indian Cricket was in the hands of Tendulkar who was the mainstay of Indian batting. Every match was a battle for him with himself to dash out any pressure on his teammates. If and when Tendulkar fires, and he did that today again, the only task left for rest of the batsmen was to keep up with the momentum. Sidhu was his usual self. After he got out at 54, the next surprise was Srinath walking in fresh from his recent cracking hitting. The move results in a no-show and in came Azhar. The day belonged to him. Or I should say till the time India's batting got over. After Tendulkar's wicket, his blazing start was followed by a steady middle ensured by Azhar and the classy Dravid who emphasized on deft placing and quick running. And at the very end, the perfect timed acceleration from the typical hustler Ajay Jadeja and surprisingly Mongia. All combining to give India an eminently defensible score of 289 for six in 50 overs.

Australian innings
I was too young to think of the fact that every chase got itself a plan already discussed during the slot in which I was more concerned about my Cold Drink. I remember the day more for the junk food I could see around me. Not once it came to my mind that in Cricket, tracks got their roles too. I already awarded the win to India. But the guys in my favorite color Yellow had some other plans that day. The openers struck right on money with Mark Waugh looking dangerous and fortunate Taylor riding on his luck. The first breakthrough came from Robin Singh who came into bowl after seven years and took surprise wicket of Waugh. For skipper Tendulkar, he was worth his place for that wicket alone. But Robin Singh provided icing as the next man to go was Stuart Law in the very next ball. Steve Waugh survived the hatrick n settles very quickly. What a strong lineup they had, that even the wicket of Steve n Taylor later on didn't provided any threat to the next in line Bevan n Slater, who almost batted India out of the game. But it was for this moment, I have always had a soft corner for Prasad, as he got rid of Bevan with his dream slower delivery. With Ian Healy departed in the same minute he arrived, Australia's two quick wickets provoked the third one of Slater. Yesssssssss....finally Srinath got a wicket in this series, he ended a long drought and what more he could have asked for after getting rid of aggressive Slater. The tailenders chipped and nudged the runs, and it all came to the last over.

The nerve game
This one scene alone suffices to encapsulate the game. It is the first ball of the very last over. Australia needs six for a win, with one wicket in hand and six balls remaining. The Indian captain, who has surprisingly not bowled a single over till then, decides to put himself on the firing line and bowl the last over himself.

The field is set. There's a kind of hush all over the ground...

The ball is bowled - an attempted swipe to the boundary, an LBW appeal, two batsmen frantically scrambling a single, the keeper, partially unsighted, reacting with lightning speed at the very end of a long, hard day, throwing a dew-drenched ball with unerring accuracy to run the non-striker out.

Sachin Tendulkar goes up in the air - a picture of sheer ecstasy.

While at the other end, the tall, loose-limbed Glenn McGrath stands perfectly still. Head down. The very personification of misery...

Oh well!

The essence of sport, frozen in that one tableau. India had won, by holding its nerve; Australia had lost, by losing its...

Image Source: Rediff

World Cup -2007 Semifinalists

Would you believe it aussies are on a four match loss streak.

Aussies have now got used to scoring 300+ runs and losing the match. This happened at the wanderers when SA chased the mammoth 434 and yesterday it was black cats who made record of the second successful chase , scoring 337 with 8 balls remaining. Kiwis thereby won the Chappell-Hadlee trophy with two successive victories, last one was 10 wicket thrashing of world champions.
Aussies are really missing the services of ponting, gilchrist , injured symonds and lee. Aussies have a huge chance of avoiding the 3-0 whitewash as NZ's strike bowlers Shane Bond and Daniel Vettori will be unavialable tomorrow as they have sustained minor injuries.

These defeats have really opened the world cup wide. England is on a revival string after winning the CE trophy. India is back roaring though at home. West Indies will be a potent contender for the cup. We can't forget the lankans though they lost the series in india but they were without Vass and Murli. As usual kiwis will be the dark horses. South Africa are at all time high rankings of 1. We cannot forget the pace attack of Pakistan

Its very difficult to guess the semifinalists. But still i would take a wild guess
  • South Africa
  • England
  • WestIndies
  • India
Readers also give there guesses , lets see who is the closest at the end.




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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Memoria - I

How many times we get sporting treats that become part of our hard disk, the memories of those moments never fade away. A last minute goal, or a diving catch by a slow fielder, a long volley in a long five set game, or a run out resulting a tie. Too much to handle and too difficult to forget. And the best part is the boomerang action of these events; they visit us strongly and make us feel great about those moments of great excitement. So, we will try to take you on a ride of nostalgia and do the necessary brushing up (ahh, frankly saying its just a feel good drug that we inject to ourselves as we love to talk about the games we have seen.)

1996 World Cup quarter Final

ODI no 1078, 2nd quarter final of the 6th world cup, M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore and a Science exam next morning. India Vs Pakistan and the whole country come at a standstill for those 8.5 hours. I knew it was our day when we(India) won the toss and like we kids always did, India batted first. Oh Sachin and Sidhu, my two favorites gave us a great start, 90 opening runs used to be a great opening stand (remember, the story is based in 1996). Then traditionally we dragged through the middle overs taking singles here and there and forcing us to go for an early tea break, the score soon was 226-5 with Jadeja and Mongia on crease and four days after Holi we saw diwali. Ask a cricket fans date of birth he may take some time, say "jadeja" and "QF 1996" he will shout in less that 2 seconds "45 in 25 balls", its imprinted, won't go now. Waqar bhai, sorry not your day and after making 96 runs in last 60 balls, we get a formidable score 287-8, looks so defendable (I told you it's 1996).

Indians are loyal, they try to give the audience complete worth for their money and when Pak batters came to bat, it looked that Indians will find it difficult to stop Sohail and Anwar as they piled up runs in the restriction overs. And then came the moment, do i need to even mention it? You are already seeing it so clearly in your eyes, that four, that bat flash, that inside edge, that dislodging of bail and that showing him the route. Was too much for a 13 year old at least (I knew my mom would kill me for science exam and I knew I can't miss this match, It's India, a patriot was born that day). Prasad and Kumble looked in good touch and at the other end Malik and Miandad were taking the match to an exciting finish, but they took it to not so disrespectful loss and pakis were bundled out for 249 in 49 overs (1 over penalty, slow Pakistanis).

The amout of happiness that one day gave me is unexplainable. We were on roads like everyone else on our dear Bajaj Chetak eating sweets, ohh, what a festival. We look back and say "those were the times" and I still feel “There is more to come".

Image Source : Rediff

The Great Sporting Divide

I tried to write this one on Cricket in America at first, but my first encounter with Cricket in USA urges me to discuss issues I feel arise from a “Sporting Divide”, which may not be as prominent as the Cultural or economic divide but it exists there none the less.

I always used to wonder that with a population of 1000 million (US lingo got stuck on to me it seems); ok with a population of 100 Crores, why India can’t produce decent sportsmen (leave Cricket out). It did not take me long to realize after landing in the US the reason for this.

Ok, will try to quote an example. Every semester here in Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas there is a tennis ball cricket tournament. The quality of cricket is expectedly quite poor. But, I was absolutely astonished at the professionalism shown by the organizers. And if you think that whether its Netherlands or Namibia (Cricketing Minnows), it’s the NRI’s running the show, you quite wrong. The organizers are the entire gore log. Now for the illustration, just let me warn you may be shocked after reading this.

  • If a match was scheduled at 9 am, it meant that a team reporting at 9:01 would be disqualified.
  • Walky-talkies are used for communication between scorers and umpires.
  • Every run scored, every ball balled and even all the byes, leg byes were correctly noted down.
  • All the officials-scorers, umpires etc are paid.

And all this for a sport which the Americans don’t care about. Just imagine how the facilities would be for Baseball, American football, Basketball or Tennis.

Ok, there may be a case for argument that India may not be financially so strong as to equip the officials with a walky-talky. But, it’s the sheer attitude, the professionalism of these guys which really left me dumbstruck.

Talking about finance, I tend to think “Is cricket ruining other sports?” Well that’s an interesting question. This comes from a die-hard, kill-hard Cricket Fan, so mind you no biases involved.

When Gopichand (I hope you remember him) won the all-England badminton championship in Britain no one cheered or cared because in the same week Harbhajan Singh took a hat-trick and V. V. S. Laxman scored 281 in the Kolkata Test against Australia.

No one remembers the Olympic bronze medals won by tennis star Leander Paes (Atlanta, 1996) and weightlifter Karnam Malleswari (Sydney, 2000), but Anil Kumble's 10-wicket haul, Harbhajan's hat-trick, and Virender Sehwag's 309 will be evergreen in memory.

But, then another argument.

In America, baseball reigns supreme (a game played in fewer countries than CricketJ). But would one dare to say that baseball kills football, which is a less popular sport in US. After all, the Americans reached the quarter-finals in 2002 world cup football. (And yes, its football, its something which people here call SOCCER but it’s and insult to the beautiful game, call it FOOTBALL)

There exists a Sporting Divide, something similar to a Cultural or economic one between the two countries. Sports in US runs on the principles of professionalism and collectiveness, we run on idol-worship, much more an attribute to our cultural and religious inclinations possibly.

Let us consider the case of Sania Mirza. If a sportsman or a sportswoman in this case is willing to put in the hardwork and does something worthwhile the media does give him/her the deserved recognition. But hold on was it Sania Mirza’s tennis or was it because it was Sania Mirza- the pretty looking jeune fille that she was, that made her popular. Well I can hardly answer any of these questions.

Now some sort of a trivia for you,

Identify the sports personality. (Don’t Google please)

Clue 1- He/she won the World under-14 championship, 2001, Castellan, Spain.

Clue 2- He/she won the World junior championship, 2001, Athens.

Clue 2- He/she was Asia's youngest International Master, 1999.

Clue 3- He/she was India's youngest Grand Master, 2001.

Clue 4- He/She is not Vishwanathan Anand.

Clue 5- In 2002, he/she become the first chess player from India to receive the Men's Grandmaster title.

Clue 6- As of July, 2006, he/she was world number 2 in women's rankings

Clue 7- At 15 years, one month and 27 days, he/she also became the world's youngest Grandmaster to achieve full Grandmaster status, beating the record of Judith Polgar, who achieved the feat at 15 years, four months and 27 days.

Clue 8- Her name is Koneru Humpy.

Piece of cake, was it or wasn’t it?

The point I am trying to make here is the Indian media which has gone bonkers over Sania Mirza – who hasn’t gone past the fourth round of any grand slam, is that a bigger achievement a bigger one than Humpy’s? Who is the culprit here then- surely not Sania Mirza, after all she is the best female tennis player India has produced and it’s not you or me either. Or is it Media? Confused me.

To put it in plain text, Sania Mirza is more popular than Koneru Humpy because she is SEXY, wears short skirts and has got all the right curves. And, I don’t think that’s fair, or may be it is. I am again not sure.

But we need to rise. We need to rise above the idol-worship and be a little more secular like we are culturally in respecting all sports as we respect all religions. Sports should inculcate our culture in it, just not runaway from it. Giving respect to all and equality is what we have been taught (remember the preamble of our constitution) and that is what we should aim at achieving in every aspect of life.

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