India’s Next-Gen cricketers

The scorecard showed India needing one run to win of 68 balls. The Indian team stood expectantly and excitedly by the boundary ropes, arms around each other. Harvik Desai took guard. Will Sutherland’s bowled full and Desai sliced the ball inside-out over backward point. The ball raced to the fence. The batsmen in the middle jumped-up in joy as the Indian team came running in from the side-lines. India won the U-19 Cricket World Cup for the fourth time. No team had won the championship four times. History was made.

Prithvi Shaw led India’s under-19 team won the world cup after six years. India’s pervious title had come in 2012 under Unmukt Chand’s leadership. This time around India romped home, undefeated.

The Indian under-19 team has produced some of the finest cricketers to have played for the country in recent times. Noteworthy names include Yuvraj Singh (member of the 2000 world cup winning team), Virat Kohli (captain of the 2008 world cup winning team), Mohammad Kaif (captain of the 2000 world cup winning team) among others. It has been the breeding ground for some of India’s finest young talent.

This time, too, some stellar performances have made this win this possible.

  1. Prithvi Shaw

Indian captain Prithvi Shaw has been the talk of the tournament. He has represented the Middle-Income Group Cricket Club in Mumbai and has captained the Rizvi Springfield High School under-16 cricket team. He held the record for the highest score in an innings by any batsmen in organised cricket when he scored 546 in a Harris Shield game in 2013. That record was broken by Pranav Dhanawade in early 2016.

Shaw scored 261 runs in the tournament at an impressive average of 65.25. He has become the highest scoring Indian captain at the under-19 cricket world cup. His consistent performances in India’s youth cricketing circuit have brought him into the limelight. Delhi Daredevils signed him for Rs 1.2 crore for upcoming 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

  1. Shubman Gill

Vice-captain Shubman Gill has been India’s top-scorer in the top-scorer in the tournament. He has come through as a big match player and has consistently been amongst the runs. He made List A debut for Punjab in the Vijay Hazare trophy in February 2017 followed by his first-class debut for Punjab in November.

Gill scored 372 runs in the series. His stats include top score of 102 not out and three half-centuries. He was named Player of the tournament for his performance. Gill was bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs 1.8 crore in the IPL auction.

  1. Kamlesh Nagarkoti

Kamlesh Nagarkoti has impressed one and all with his express pace in the under-19 world cup. The Rajasthan pacer has consistently clocked speeds above 140 km/hour. Prior to the tournament he played for the Rajasthan under-16 and under-19 teams. He ended the tournament with nine wickets. His best figures read 3/18 against Bangladesh.

Nagarkoti was snapped by the Knight Riders for a whopping Rs 3.2 crores.

  1. Shivam Mavi

Another young pacer, Shivam Mavi, has grabbed eyeballs in the tournament. Like Nagarkoti, Mavi has repeatedly bowled in the 140s. He picked-up nine scalps in the world cup. The young Uttar Pradesh lad kept up his pace and exhibited control, something which is indispensable to a fast-bowler. He may well become India’s next lead-pacer from Uttar Pradesh after Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Mavi has played for Uttar Pradesh under-19 before he played for India.

The Knight Riders bought Mavi for a thumping Rs 3 crore.

Mavi and Nagarkoti are bright prospects for India’s future. India has always been in search of good fast bowlers. Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Mohammad Shami have done well for India in recent times. However, next generation of Indian pacers needs to be groomed.

Its good news for Indian cricket that these players have attracted huge sums in the IPL. They will rub shoulders with the best in business and grow as cricketers and in turn be assets for the Indian team in the near future.

  1. Anukul Roy

Anukul Roy is budding all-rounder from Jharkhand. The young left-arm orthodox spinner is India’s highest wicket-keeper and the joint highest wicket-keeper in the tournament with 14 scalps. His 14 wickets include a five-for against Papua New Guinea. The Mumbai Indians have bought Roy for his base price of 20 lakh in the IPL auction.

These young boys have great prospects. They play in the IPL next and have the best possible opportunity to play with and against the best in cricket. They will be guided by some of the best minds in the game and will certainly grow as cricketers.

A bright future with the blue-jersey awaits these young players.


Roger Federer wins record 20th Grand Slam with Australian Open win

The final Federer serve was challenged by Marin Cilic as the latter felt it bounced out of bounds. Every eye in the Rod Laver arena followed the hawk-eye on the screen excitedly. The screen showed the ball leave Federer’s racket, sail over the net, and bounce on the left side-line before crashing into the advertising board. The centre court at Melbourne Park erupted. Roger Federer had just won his sixth Australian Open championship and 20th Grand Slam title. He raised his arms, acknowledging the cheering crowd, and hugged Cilic at the net. A thrilling five-set final came to an end.

The final began at 7:30 in the evening with the roof shut owing to the warm weather. Federer was at his aggressive best in the first set. A flurry of strong forehands and few well-placed volleys unsettled Cilic. In a short span of 26 minutes, Federer won the first set, 6-2.

Cilic gained momentum and found his rhythm in the second set. He got his big forehand going. Both players held their service games and the set headed to a tie-break. Cilic brought his best on court in the tie-break. A few strong forehands and a smash saw him clinch the second set, 7-6.

Federer hadn’t dropped a set until now in the tournament. The match was set for an enthralling middle period.

Federer hardly broke sweat and finished the third set, 6-3. The match had Federer written all over it.

However, fortunes turned in the fourth set. Cilic played some sensational tennis. Federer’s first serve percent fell drastically and Cilic capitalised on the same. Cilic bagged the fourth set, 6-4.

The match headed to an exciting finish. Federer’s five set record wasn’t as great at Cilic’s, and the Croat certainly fancied his chances.

However, Federer played some classic tennis in the decider. He capitalised on Cilic’s many errors and double-faults, and clinched the set, 6-1. The final set had a stamp of vintage Federer.

Roger Federer became the fourth player, after Margaret Court, Steffi Graf, and Serena Williams, to win 20 Grand Slam titles. His closest male challenger, Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam titles stand at 16.

After yesterday’s win, a flurry of records came by Federer’s name. He is tied with Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson for the most Australian Open titles. He holds the record of winning 10% of all open-era men’s singles Grand Slam titles since Tennis turned pro in 1968. He has won 96 ATP titles and stands a realistic chance of making them 100 by year-end. His next tournament is in Dubai in February. If he wins in Dubai, he will secure the top-spot in the world rankings and become the oldest player to hold the distinction.

Federer couldn’t hold back his tears as he accepted the Normal Brookes Challenge Cup. “I’ve won three Slams now in 12 months. I can’t believe it myself,” he said.

He is set for an exhilarating 2018. Every Federer fan hopes that 2018, like 2017, is the year of Roger Federer.

Caroline Wozniacki defeats Simona Halep in an epic final at the Australian Open

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark lifted her first Grand Slam Singles title at the Australian Open by defeating Simona Halep of Romania in a hard-fought final match. The 2-hour 50-minute final was an exemplary instance of tenacity and diligence as both players sensational tennis. It was Wozniacki who had that extra bit which saw her through in a final of epic proportions.

The script of the final couldn’t have been written better. Top-ranked Halep and second-ranked Wozniacki had never won a Grand Slam title. Thus, the winner stood to take home her first Grand Slam title along with the World No 1 ranking.

The first set saw Wozniacki race ahead to a three-game lead after breaking Halep in the second game. Subsequently, the set played its course with both players holding their serve. Wozniacki seemed comfortable to take the first set. However, things turned as Halep broke Wozniacki to level the set. The first set headed to an exciting tie-break. Wozniacki brought her aggressive best to court. A combination of deep and wide forehands and quick volleys forced a number of errors from Halep. Wozniacki’s onslaught for too strong for Halep and she won the tie-break 7-2, thus, winning the first set, 7-6.

The second set saw longer games. Both players held their service games. At 4-3 on Halep’s serve, she called for a medical timeout. She found it difficult to continue owing to the heat and humidity. Also, the ankle injury she suffered in her first-round game troubled her.  However, she overcame this obstacle and broke Wozniacki in the subsequent game to take a 5-3 lead. She went on to win her following service game and bagged the second set 6-3. Throughout the set, just when Halep seemed down and out, she came up with a flurry of shots that Wozniacki did not have answers to.

The match was set for an engaging final set.

The decider saw Halep and Wozniacki play to their strengths. The scoreboard oscillated between Deuce and Advantage on a number of occasions. Both players broke each other’s serves a number of times. It was Wozniacki’s time to call for a medical timeout.  She was treated for a niggle on her knee. The next two games had Wozniacki written all over them. She breezed through her service game and dominated Halep’s service game. A double fault from Halep gave Wozniacki her first championship point. Rod Laver arena erupted as Halep netted her backhand. The Dane fell to her knees in tears of joy as she converted the first and only match point of the tie.

Caroline Wozniacki won her first Grand Slam Singles title. The final scorecard read 7-6, 3-6, 6-4.

12-time Grand Slam winner Billie Jean King awarded the finalists with their trophies.

“I want to congratulate Caroline, congrats to you and your team. It has been a great tournament for me. I didn’t start well with an ankle injury but I just wanted to do well every match. Of course, I’m sad I couldn’t win, but Caroline was better than me today,” said Simona Halep at the post-match presentation.

“I’ve dreamt of this moment for so many years and my voice is shaking, it’s a very emotional moment. I want to thank everyone who makes this tournament happen, it’s been an incredible two weeks. I want to congratulate Simona. I know today is a tough day. I’m sorry that I had to win, but I’m sure we’ll have many matches in the future. It was an incredible match, an incredible fight,” said Wozniacki she said after receiving the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.

Wozniacki has become the first Danish woman to win a Grand Slam title. She also sits atop the WTA rankings post her win at Melbourne.

Match Summary:

Caroline Wozniacki vs Simona Halep (7-6  3-6  6-4)

Match Duration: 2 Hours 49 Minutes

Simona Halep Caroline Wozniacki
61% 1st Serve Percent 58%
6 Aces 2
1 Double Faults 6
40 Winners 25
47 Unforced Errors 28
5/12 Break Points Won 5/14
11/12 Net Points Won 11/17
108 Total Points Won 110

Sources: No sources. I watched the match.

Change in route for metro near Pune station

The second corridor of the first phase of the much-delayed Pune metro rail project from Vanaz to Ramwadi will be partly changed. The section of the route from the Civil Court at Shivajinagar to Ramwadi will be altered.

The proposed section, from the Civil Court to Ramwadi, was via Mangalwar Peth and Pune Railway Station’s main entrance before joining Ruby Hall Clinic’s metro station. However, railway authorities requested a change in the alignment since they have planned expanding the main entrance. To avoid further chaos in the area, they appealed for the realignment. The rail officials suggested realignment from the Raja Bahadur Mill entrance. The new proposal was accepted by MahaMetro officials.

As per the new plan, metro will pass through Kamgar Putla, cross the Sangam Bridge above the rail lines to RTO on Wellesley Road, and reach Pune railway station near the divisional railway manager’s office. The onward route to Ramwadi stays the same. To ensure smooth transit, the metro station will be constructed in such a way that it directly connects to the railway foot over-bridge.

Joint efforts between MahaMetro and transport authorities are planned at Shivajinagar for smooth inter-changing of services among PMPML, MSRTC, railways, and metro.

After facing several hurdles over the years, construction of the Vanaz-Ramwadi line began in September 2017. The line is expected to be complete by 2021.

Sources: TOI, Pune Mirror

Anandiben Patel appointed as governor of Madhya Pradesh

Image Courtesy: ANI
Former Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel to be the next Madhya Pradesh Governor.

New Delhi, January 19:  Anandiben Patel has been appointed as the governor of Madhya Pradesh. The former Gujarat Chief Minister has replaced Om Prakash Kohli, who additionally held the charge of the office of governor of MP along with the office of governor of Gujarat.

The announcement was made by the official Twitter handle of the President of India.

Patel assumed office of the Chief Minister of Gujarat following Narendra Modi’s election as the India’s Prime Minister. She became the first woman to take charge as Gujarat’s Chief Minister. In 2016, she resigned from her post citing overage reasons.

However, there were speculations that her handling of the Patidar reservation agitations and Dalit protests led to her resignation. She was replaced by Vijay Rupani, who is considered to be her rival in Gujarat politics. She did not contest in the recently concluded Gujarat polls, citing her age to be the rationale.

She is the second Gujarat Minister from the BJP to be appointed as the governor of a state, after Vajubhai Vala, the present governor of Karnataka.

Madhya Pradesh elections are scheduled for later this year. Her appointment as the governor of the state is being seen strategic, keeping the forthcoming polls in mind.


Sources: The Hindu, The Indian Express

Baby Moshe accepts PM Modi’s invite, will visit Mumbai this week

Moshe Holtzberg, then a two-year old toddler, was miraculously rescued when Chabad House in Mumbai feel prey to terrorists on November 26, 2008. His parents, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, directors of the Chabad House, lost their lives in the attack.

Baby Moshe’s nanny, Sandra Samuels, found the child standing between his parents’ bodies. She grabbed him and fled the building. Presently, Moshe lives with his grandparents in Alufa, a town 90 km from Jerusalem.

Moshe had expressed his desire to visit Chabad House when he turned 13. “I hope I will be able to visit Mumbai. When I live there I will be the director of Chabad house,” the young boy had said.

However, his visit to Mumbai will happen two years earlier than expected. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on his visit to Israel in July last year, met Moshe and invited him to India. “Anytime you can come to India. Anytime you can go,” PM Modi said to the young boy.

Moshe accompanied Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the latter’s six-day visit to India. Moshe is expected to arrive in Mumbai on Tuesday, two days before Netanyahu’s planned visit to Mumbai.

Remove ‘University’ from name or lose deemed status, says UGC to institutes

Prominent Indian educational institutes could lose their ‘deemed-to-be’ status if they fail to drop the word ‘university’ from their titles, subsequent to a University Grants Commission (UGC) directive.

This warning follows a UGC notice on November 10, 2017, over the use of the university title to nearly 123 deemed-to-be universities across the country. The notice, citing a Supreme Court order dated November 3, 2017, stated that the use of word ‘University’ by deemed-to-be universities is in violation of the Section 23 of the UGC Act. Prominent names such as Symbiosis International University, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Teri University, Jain University, among others, feature in the list.

The apex education regulator, had given the institutes time till 4 pm on Thursday, November 30, 2017 to drop the ‘university’ title against their names.

Representatives of these institutions argue that the order will affect their brand cognizance. This may lead to uncertainty among students and guardians regarding their status as autonomous or affiliated institutions or degree-awarding institutions.

Bengaluru’s Christ University has become the first institute to conform to the UGC directive followed by Punjab University of Technology which has switched to its former name Punjab Engineering College.

Sources: Economic Times, Hindustan Times