Welcome to my weekly newsletter. This is a new effort to share and express thoughts on events of prior week. This week’s edition is all about events from India. What a week it has been. Without any more delays, let’s get started!
There is only one place to start. We’re over the moon!
What’s common between August 23, 2023, and April 2, 2011? In a way not a lot. But in a way, it sums up India. On both days, Indians were nervous but positively optimistic. On April 2, 2011, when MS Dhoni hit that six, to win India Cricket world cup, entire country was relieved. Similarly on August 23, 2023, when ISRO successfully landed on South Pole of the Moon, Indians were jubilant and relieved. Relieved part perhaps comes from failure of Chandrayaan – 2.
Success of Chandrayaan – 3 is huge. I have rarely seen more than a billion people glued to their TV, Phone, laptop etc. screens. Usually its for sports (majority of times Cricket). What ISRO achieved is going to inspire next generation of kids for STEM careers. My 7-year old chose to watch moon landing instead of cartoon in the designated TV time! India’s future indeed looks bright.
India’s all-rounder woes –
On Monday August 21, BCCI announced the team for Asia Cup. The team selection was on expected lines. Jasprit Bumrah making comeback from injury is a good sign.
But no matter how many positives you try to find, this team has a week link. In an era of multi skilled workforce, Indian Men’s cricket team doesn’t have enough all-rounders. Captain Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav or Tilak Varma can’t contribute with the ball. Similarly, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj or Prasidh Krishna can’t contribute with the bat. Only recognized all-rounders in the team are Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur and Axar Patel. Compare this with India’s world cup winning team of 2011. Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina could contribute around 20 to 25 overs between them with 2 or 3 wickets. India’s current top order can’t contribute in similar way.
Another major problem facing this team is lack of diversity in terms of left-handed batters. 17 men squad has only 5 are left-handed batters. This group of 5 includes Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav. I don’t think all 3 would play together. In top order, Tilak Verma and Ishan Kishan are left-handed batters. Honestly, I am not sure how many games these 2 would play. There is a possibility that India’s top order may not feature a left-handed batter at all. This is stark contracts to India’s 2011 world cup winning squad that had Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina to give great balance between right and left-handed batters. With team dominated by right-handed batters, it makes oppositions job very easy. My only hope is between now and World Cup, Indian selectors would get their act together…
India and Athletics –
On Sunday night, there were lot of Indians glued to their TV screens to watch World Athletics championships. Usually, this privilege of fans watching late night sporting events has been reserved for cricket or football matches (a trend that has emerged in last decade or so). But performance of Neeraj Chopra, 4×400 meter men’s relay team has done everybody proud. Who would have thought India athletes would compete with America and Caribbean athletes for top awards! India athletes have started to arrive on world stage…
That’s it for this week. But before signing off, special mention for 18-year-old chess prodigy Praggnanandhaa who finished second in 2023 FIDE Chess World Cup. This kid has a really bright future ahead!