Archive for August, 2012


It is time now for VVS Laxman to step down and way for the youngsters who have been trying to get a chance to make it to the playing XI in the test matches. This retirement has come 5 months after Rahul Dravid announced his retirement. I believe this is what the media pressure can do to you, by making you take such a strong step. To be honest 5 months back I was really shocked on hearing Dravid’s retirement, as at that time I was probably expecting Laxman to take that step as media was more harsh on him after the failures in England and Australia. But after Dravid exiting the show no one would have expected Laxman to retire too. In fact now with Dravid gone, everyone was expecting Tendulkar and Laxman to help the youngsters like Raina, Kohli, Rohit Sharma and mentor them to help them perform consistently at the top level. So now this news of his retirement is a shock to the complete nation and not just me. This shock only increases as Laxman was not dropped from the side, and was selected for the upcoming New Zealand series. And his sudden announcement will surely make many people vary to know why this actually happened. To be honest I would have loved to watch Laxman to play one last time at least and why just him, even Dravid, as given that they really are legends of Indian cricket they definitely deserved a better farewell. All I can say, is that this loss will have to bared entirely by Indian cricket. As now on 23rd when the Indian team walks out onto the field, they will do so without the services of Laxman and Dravid (not just the two of the finest batsman India has had in recent times but also the two highest catch takers in the history of Indian cricket).

Here is the complete article covering his retirement from the ESPNcricinfo site:

VVS Laxman has announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect, ending a 16-year career that will be remembered for several innings of extreme grace under extreme pressure. Laxman, 37, had been included in India’s squad for the home series against New Zealand starting next week but said he took the decision over the past few days.

He announced his decision at an emotional press conference in his hometown Hyderabad, which he will represent in the Ranji Trophy this coming season.

“I would like to announce my retirement from international cricket with immediate effect,” Laxman said. “I have always kept my country’s success and need ahead of my personal aspirations. And while I would love contributing to the team’s success, especially against England and Australia, I think this is the right time to give the youngsters a chance in home conditions ahead of international assignments coming up next year.” The chance he said, could be, “no better than against an inexperienced New Zealand bowling attack.”

Dressed in a sharp, formal suit, Laxman made his announcement in a conference room at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, in Uppal to the north east of his home city, Hyderabad. Several members of family, including his parents, wife and two children, were present at the function. Shortly into his speech the lights of the conference room went out, and Laxman grinned, an otherwise sombre occasion turning informal.

He admitted that this sudden retirement had been “a tough decision to take,” adding, “I have always listened to my inner conscience. I have always done that right through my career. There was a lot of debate in the last four days. I felt this is the right time to move on.”

The decision to quit had been arrived at only on Saturday morning after Laxman admitted he had toyed over the idea over the last few days. “Till last night I was unable to make up my mind, but in the end I listened to my inner voice and arrived at my decision to retire. I informed the chairman of selectors (Krishnamachari Srikkanth) this morning that I would not continue playing for India. I also spoke to many of my team-mates, they were surprised that I was retiring before the series. It was all very emotional.”

Laxman read out a prepared statement in which he thanked everyone who had been part “of my journey” in which he said he had been able to “live his dream” and felt “blessed that I had got the opportunity. Very few get the opportunity to play for their country.” His voice shook only briefly in the early part of his statement and his wife Sailaja was seen wiping away tears. Laxman gathered himself, finished his statement and took questions about quitting only five days before the first Test against New Zealand in Hyderabad. He said that while his family had waned him to play in the Hyderabad Test but he had made up his mind in what had been the “toughest three or four days of my career.”

In a touch of the dramatic after he had read out his prepared statement, the president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) G Vinod appealed to Laxman to change his mind about retirement and agree to play in the Hyderabad Test versus New Zealand next week. In response, Laxman only smiled.

He did admit however that until a few weeks ago, he had not thought about quitting the game before the Test series versus New Zealand. It was the “internal debate” over the last few days that led to this decision. It was not however, made in haste or with regret. “I have always read and listened to a lot of sportspersons who have excelled in their careers and they have all said that at the end of their career, there will suddenly be a feeling, a thought within you that a day has come that you have to leave the sport and move on. It is what I have experienced in the last four or five days… I feel really satisfied that I have left the game with the same ideals that I have played the game.”

When asked whether his decision to retire had come about largely due to adverse criticism following two poor series in England and Australia, Laxman said, “Those comments have definitely not allowed (sic) me to make the decision.” The Australia series he said was, “very disappointing. No cricketer would want to lose in such a fashion.”

Responding to being criticised, Laxman said, “Right from the start of my career there have been a lot of people who wrote negative about me and there have been more people who have been well wishers and talked positive about me. In a country like India, where cricket is more like a religion than a sport, if you try to satisfy each and every one, it’s next to impossible.”

Laxman represented India in 134 Tests, scoring 8781 runs at 45.97. He made his debut against South Africa in the home series in 1996 but shot to the limelight with a knock of 167 against Australia in Sydney in 2000. Perhaps his greatest achievement was his 281 at Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 2001, against Australia, then the highest score by an Indian batsman in Tests. Part of a record stand with Rahul Dravid, it set up a stunning victory for the home team after following on and ended Australia’s consecutive 16-match winning streak.

Laxman last played an ODI in 2006 but had, by then, become a regular in the Test side and played his 100th Test in 2008, against Australia in Nagpur. Laxman made six of his 17 Test centuries against Australia, with an average of 49.67 in 29 Tests and success both home and away.

His performances in the eight Tests during India’s disastrous tours of England and Australia in 2011 were disappointing. He averaged 22.75 in England and 19.38 in Australia, prompting some to call for him being dropped from the side with a long-term view of grooming a youngster to take his place.

 


On the 66th Independence Day celebrations the President approved awards of 62 gallantry awards to Armed Forces, Paramillitary, and Police personnels.  This includes 15 Shaurya Chakra, 01 Bar to Sena Medal (Gallantry), 42 Sena Medal (Gallantry), 03 Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry), 01 Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).

The list of the recipients of gallantry awards to Armed Forces personnel and others is as follows:-

SHAURYA CHAKRA:

  1. IC-56887X LIEUTENANT COLONEL DHRUVJYOTI CHANDA, 13TH BATTALION THE SIKH REGIMENT
  2. IC-58687A MAJOR AMIT MOHINDRA, 666 Army Aviation Squadron (Reconnaissance and Observation)
  3. IC-59849M MAJOR TN UNNIKRISHNAN, 15TH BATTALION THE DOGRA REGIMENT
  4. IC-60369P MAJOR HIMANSHU PANWAR, 26TH MARATHA LIGHT INFANTRY BATTALION
  5. IC-61591H MAJOR CHANDRA SHEKHAR SINGH, 666 Army Aviation Squadron (Reconnaissance and Observation) (POSTHUMOUS)
  6. IC-66537Y Major Vijayendra Singh Yadav, BRIGADE OF THE GUARDS / 21ST BATTALION THE  Rashtriya Rifles
  7. IC-67215L Major Saurabh Suyal, BAR to SENA MEDAL, ARMOURED CORPS / 22ND BATTALION THE Rashtriya Rifles
  8. SS-40921H Major Pradeep Mishra, JAT regiment / 5th BATTALION the RASHTRIYA RIFLES
  9. IC-72377A Lieutenant Satya Jeet Ahlawat, ARMY ORDONANCE CORPS / 9th Battalion The Sikh Light Infantry
  10. 15126119H Havildar Charanjit Singh, REGIMENT OF ARTILLERY /30TH BATTALION THE Rashtriya Rifles
  11. WING COMMANDER VATSAL KUMAR SINGH (24223), FLYING (PILOT)
  12. SQUADRON LEADER AJIT BHASKAR VASANE  (27697),  FLYING (PILOT)
  13. SQUADRON LEADER GUNADNYA RAMESH KHARCHE (29037), FLYING (PILOT)
  14. SHRI NAGENDRA SINGH, ASSISTANT COMMANDANT, OFFICE OF THE COMMANDANT-207, CoBRA at GC, CRPF, DURGAPUR-14(WB)
  15. SHRI  VINOJ P. JOSEPH, ASSISTANT COMMANDANT, OFFICE OF THE COMMANDANT-207, CoBRA at GC, CRPF, DURGAPUR-14(WB) 
     

BAR TO SENA MEDAL (GALLANTRY):

  1. 15614636W Lance Naik Patey Tassuk, SENA MEDAL BRIGADE OF THE GUARDS / 21ST BATTALION THE Rashtriya Rifles (POSTHUMOUS) 

Well I am just listing out the list of major gallantry awards. For the complete list of awards that were declared please click here.


The Indian contingents have performed extremely well  in the Olympics this year. Six people have managed to end up with a podium finish, which is an exceptional result for the Indian sports. And I am more happier because in my previous posts (before the start of the games) I did mention about India winning 6 medals, and today it feels as if my wish has been granted.

Let us start with the positives from the games:

  • Well India has managed to win a medal in shooting for now three continuous Olympics which definitely be a big boost and be a huge inspiration for the Indian shooters for the Olympics 2016 and the new generation that will get into the sport of shooting.
  • And to add to this, this time around India has won 2 medals in shooting with Gagan Narang winning a bronze and Vijay Kumar winning a Silver in their events. To be honest one was expecting a lot out of Gagan Narang and finally he has managed to deliver which is great for him, and yes Vijay Kumar was a big surprise winning a Silver, even though he was a Gold Medallion at the Commonwealth Games 2010 .
  • Saina Nehwal managed to deliver what was expected from her, a podium finish when she managed to win a Bronze at the games, and with age at her side, she would want to better the result in the Olympics next time. Another big result at badminton was Parupalli Kashyap who reached the quarterfinal stage in the Men’s single and lost to World number 1 and eventual silver medalist. However, his performance will definitely be a huge boost for the budding players back home.
  • Mary Kom, became the first Indian women boxer to win the medal, and made it the second consecutive Olympics where India has won a medal in boxing, which would make the Indian boxers very proud and motivate them that they too can win at the world stage. Apart from Mary, no other boxer could win a medal but surely the way Devendroo Singh, Vikas Krishnan Yadav, and Sumit Sanghwan fought in the ring they did win a lot of hearts.
  • And yes wrestling, a sport that came into limelight once again in the last Olympics, doubled it’s reputation with two medals coming in the sport. Yogeshwar Dutt fought fearlessly to win a Bronze, and Sushil Kumar was brilliant in the event except in the finals where he faltered a little and had to be content with Silver. But with this Sushil Kumar has proved that he is probably the finest ever Indian Olympian as he managed to become the first Indian individual player to win medals in back to back Olympics. Well a bronze in 2008, a silver in 2012, will it be a gold in 2016, would be a question on everyone’s mind as he returns home with the laurels.
  • Although now medal came in Athletics, but Krishna Poonia and Vikas Gowda (both in the Discus Throw events of women and men respectively) did manage to make it to the finals of the events and probably would come back stronger next time around and with a hope to finish on the podium. Another athlete was Irfan Thodi who finished 10th in the 20km walk which I believe is a big achievement in its own, and he surely too has won a lot of hearts.
  • In shooting Joydeep Karmakar came very close to a medal but just could not finish on the podium and ended up at a heart breaking 4th position. Hopefully he too will come mentally much more stronger in the next event 4 years later.

 

Now lets talk about the negatives. However, they were hardly any but surely there were a few disappointments in the games and they were:

  • Abhinav Bindra, who made history in Beijing in 2008 by winning a gold did not qualifying the finals. He definitely would be disappointed with his performance but Gagan Narang did make up for it somewhat by winning a bronze in the event. Along with him even Rojan Sodhi would be disappointed as he too was another big medal hope but somehow just could not manage to win one.
  • Indian tennis would surely be disappointed with their performance at the games, and there were hopes of not just 1 but maybe 2 or 3 medals in the sport. All the controversy around Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupati, and Sania Mirza also probably did not help. Probably the biggest disappointment was the performance of Rohan Bopanna and Mahesh Bhupati’s pair in the doubles team as they were the strongest contenders but they lost very early into the tournament which was disappointing. To be honest I really did not believe Leander Paes and Vishnu Vardhan could finish on the podium, unless Paes played magically well, but definitely Vishnu played his heart out in the event and proved that he is a great prospect for the Indian tennis. Paes and Sania also played well but unfortunately lost to the pair from Belarus that eventually won the gold medal in the quarterfinals. What would be the biggest disappointment would probably be that maybe this was the last time Bhupati and Paes played at Olympics, and may not return for the next event due to the age not being at their side, and not winning a medal would be a big disappointment for them personally.
  • A lot was expected from Vijender Singh, though he did start of very strongly, but personally would be disappointed of loosing in the quarterfinals, just a win away from the podium.
  • Their was a lot of hype around Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa as well, but they did play well, but their hearts were broken as they could not qualify to next round, maybe even if it was due to the controversy of match fixing that took place in the sport in the events, due to which probably even after playing well due to other teams deliberately under-performing lost a berth into the next round.
  • Probably a medal in archery was not really thought of but with Deepika Kumari being the current world number 1, there were a lot of expectations were there from her, and the way she lost in the very first round, probably was the most disappointing.
  • Probably the biggest disappointment came from the hockey field. Although as I did write in my previous post, not many must have expected a podium finish, but ending up last in the tournament, and that too without a win or even managing to have a draw is what is the most disappointing.
  • Another disappointment was that after every loss in the boxing event, the Indian officials cried for foul play. Maybe they were correct and unjustice was done to them, but crying out an appeal after every loss, probably did not portray a very good figure on the Indian Boxing arena in front  of the world.
  • And yes, probably another of the big disappointments is that India missed out on a gold medal in the event. Sushil Kumar came the closest but missed out. Even though India has won 6 medals which is probably the biggest achievement in the history of Indian sports, but none of those 6 being gold would be a disappointment, maybe not at a huge level but surely there would be a little sadness that could any 1 of those been a gold it would have been a cherry on the cake.

Nevertheless, this has definitely been the best Olympics for India. And now with the expectations going bigger and bigger, India would want to touch a double figure next time in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

In the end I would like to congratulate all the medallions for the feat especially Sushil Kumar for creating history.