Thursday, 22 September 2022

Two flamboyant cricketers ahead of their time!


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Two flamboyant cricketers ahead of their time!

After the Joshi and Tamhane rivalry which went on till 1960-61, which was the last year for both of them, Indian cricket witnessed another interesting rivalry, between Kunderan and Engineer, both of whom loved attacking batting more than keeping. Both crowd pullers, Kunderan and Engineer drove the fans crazy. 

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Two cricketers arrived on the Indian cricket scene almost at the same time. Both were natural cricketers, immensely talented, dashing stroke players. In the sixties two young smart wicketkeeper batsmen came on the scene, who changed the style of wicket-keeping for others like Kirmani, Dhoni and others to follow in the later years. One was a street-smart cricketer, a product of Mumbai maidan cricket who had come up the hard way. His father was a clerk in Voltas and not interested in sports. And another was a suave and stylish product of University and club cricket. His father was a doctor and loved sports.

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Budhi Kunderan hailing from Mangalore and brought up in Fort area in Mumbai close to the maidans and the other was Farokh Engineer, a typical Mumbai Parsi cricketer. Before him another Parsi was the Indian captain Nari Contractor and later Rusi Surti. They brought in cavalier and attacking brand of cricket, in both wicket-keeping and batting. In a way they were ahead of their times. Many old fans say, they would have been successful and big names in today’s shorter version of the game. Their keeping was good and batting was assertive putting the opposition bowlers under pressure. They exhibited glimpses of changing the approach of Indian cricket, particularly wicketkeepers. Their brand of cricket was attack from the word go. Two of India's most flamboyant cricketers, Farokh Engineer and Budhi Kunderan, in Lord's 1967; this was one rare occasion when both played together. Otherwise the irony was one of them had to sit out to accommodate the other.

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After the Joshi and Tamhane rivalry which went on till 1960-61, which was the last year for both of them, Indian cricket witnessed another interesting rivalry, between Kunderan and Engineer, both of whom loved attacking batting more than keeping. Both crowd pullers, Kunderan and Engineer drove the fans crazy. Kunderan rose to fame with a run-a-minute, 71 at Madras against the Aussies in 1959- 60, playing outrageous strokes. He also scored a double century on his debut in the Ranji Trophy match for Railways against Jammu-Kashmir. 

In 1965, Kunderan left his job in the Railways and played for Mysore and the South Zone. The benefit was that he got a chance keep wickets to the bowling of the famous three of the Indian quartet -Chandrasekhar, Prasanna and Venkatraghavan in domestic matches. Recalled against West Indies in 1966-67, Kunderan scored 79 in 92 minutes in the Bombay Test. It reminds of the famous incident on the field in that test match. Early on in the innings, he appeared to have been caught by Garry Sobers but as the batsman prepared to depart, Sobers indicated that he had taken the catch on the bounce. One Test later, Kunderan again found himself out of the team. The team that toured England in 1967 included both Kunderan and Engineer, but from here Engineer asserted himself as the primary keeper. Kunderan played purely as a batsman in the second and third Tests of the series. When Sardesai retired with a hand injury in the Lord's Test, he opened with Engineer and top scored with 47 out of India's 110 all out. He opened both batting and bowling at Birmingham where India played four spinners. This was to be Kunderan's last Test. Kunderan was not happy with the selectors had made it amply clear in an interview.

He shifted to Scotland and married a local woman. He served as a professional in the Lancashire league and then with Drumpellier in the Western Union in Scotland. In the early 1980s, he played for Scotland in the Benson and Hedges Cup in England. Kunderan lived in Scotland from the turn of the 1970s. His brother Bharat, also a wicket-keeper, played first class cricket for Indian Universities in 1970-71 and later played for Khar Gymkhana. Budhi Kunderan died of cancer at the age of 66. In June 2018, he was awarded with a Special Award by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). He was a down to earth cricketer.

Farokh Engineer rose to fame with a seven-catch haul in a Ranji match in 1960-61, Bombay against Delhi game, equalling Limaye's 1957-58 record. Both Engineer and Kunderan were similar in the sense that they had a knack of taking difficult catches while dropping easier ones. The Indo-China war put Kunderan temporarily out of action as the team which he represented, Railways and Services were withdrawn from the competition; he just played one Ranji match. Engineer forged ahead; he even started to open. But in 1964, when England toured India, Kunderan came back following an injury to Engineer, where he had a chipped finger, and scored nearly a double century as an opener (194) and also hit a 100 and 55 to take his series tally to 525 runs. His keeping though slipped a bit. The selectors kept him out of all the three Tests against Australia in 1964, but he was not even replaced by Engineer, he was replaced by K.S. Indrajitsinhji. In England, in a test match, Engineer kept wickets while Kunderan opened the batting and bowling. When Pataudi asked Kunderan, what did he bowl. He humbly replied, I don’t know. He bowled medium pace. Isn’t it unique, a wicketkeeper opening the bowling for India!

Engineer resumed the rivalry with Kunderan in the 1965 series against New Zealand. Kunderan played in only one Test as an opener, with Engineer performing the role of the wicketkeeper. Kunderan's chance came again in 1966-'67 against the West Indies when he blasted 79 runs with 15 fours in the first Test. Next Test he opened and hit 39 in 45 minutes before Hall bowled him with a yorker. The selectors felt that his keeping was not up to the mark and in spite of Kunderan scoring 104 in 120 minutes with 4 sixes and 11 fours two days after the second Test in a tour match against the West Indies, it was Engineer who played in the next Test in Chennai. Engineer silenced the critics and the public outcry against Kunderan's exclusion by nearly scoring a century before lunch (94). He went on to score 109 and thereafter he never looked back at Kunderan, who he had left behind. The game of musical chairs between the two continued till 1966–67, when Kunderan packed his bags and settled in Scotland.

Engineer was born into a Parsi family in Mumbai. His father Maneksha was a doctor by profession, while mother Minnie was a housewife. He studied at the Don Bosco High School in Matunga and then studied at Podar College, Matunga where Dilip Vengsarkar, Sanjay Manjrekar, and Ravi Shastri also studied and who also went on to play for the country. His father enrolled him in Dadar Parsi Colony Sporting Club where he learnt the nuances of the game from the seniors and later became a regular member of the team. Engineer played his debut first-class match in December 1958 for the Combined Universities side against the touring West Indies, while playing for Bombay University. Farokh Maneksha Engineer played 46 Test matches for India, played first-class cricket for Bombay in India from 1959 to 1975 and shifted to England and played for Lancashire County Cricket Club in England from 1968 to 1976.

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M&M in talks to raise up to $500 mn for EV push

Mahindra is in early talks with global green funds and private equity firms, says a source. Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra is in talks with global investors to raise between $250 million and $500 million to accelerate its plans to build electric vehicles (EVs), a source with direct knowledge. Mahindra is in early talks with global green funds and private equity firms, adding that it wants a long-term investor who can help build out its EV business. Some investors, however, in recent months have shown interest in participating in a funding round of worth around $800 million, two banking industry sources said, adding that they have held talks with the company about such offers.

While Mahindra is not actively looking to raise a higher amount than $250-$500 million, it is not closed to the idea of raising the deal size depending on the terms and valuation, the first source said. Mahindra told Reuters in a statement it has committed to investing $500 million in the electric SUV space along with BII, and that the two companies will work together to bring other "like-minded, climate focussed investors" in the EV unit. The talks come weeks after Mahindra outlined an ambitious plan to launch five electric SUVs over the next few years and is targeting such models to make up 30% of its total annual SUV sales by March 2027. The carmaker's first electric SUV is expected to be available for sale in January.


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Wednesday, 14 September 2022

What gift a foreign tourist can buy in India?



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What gift a foreign tourist can buy in India?

Travellers, casual visitors and tourists as they go sightseeing, look out for souvenirs and gifts for their relatives and friends. Be it for gifting purpose or personal use – souvenir hunting is and will always be an integral part of travelling and vacation. The human instinct of collecting things that catch our fancy makes a traveller taking time out of his/her tour plan to indulge in some souvenir trail. This blog will make your buying easy.

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India, a vast country with innumerable cultures is home to thousands of hand made products that serve as perfect souvenirs. If you are embarking on a voyage in India, these famous souvenirs are what you must by for your loved once. But making the right choice and buying it is an arduous task though it might appear simple and straight forward. It’s not so, believe me!

India is being promoted as incredible India. India is a vast country, almost a subcontinent, stretching right from the cold Himalayas in the north to Kanyakumari in the south touching the warm waters of the Indian ocean with Arabian sea on the west coast and Bay of Bengal on the east coast; and with Gujarat in the west stretching to the seven northeastern states to the east sharing borders with Bangladesh and Burma.

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India is a modern developing country, progressing rapidly and at the same time retaining its old values and ancient customs and traditions which keep Indians rooted to their culture and their civilization. With India’s old traditions like Ayurveda, Yoga, meditation, handicrafts, performing arts, music, painting and ancient texts and literature like Vedas, Upanishads, science and technology are an attraction to foreign tourists. Indians believe in Atiti devo bhava, which literally means – the guest is God.

India was in the news for constructing the highest bridge in Kashmir and recently for commissioning of the made-in-India aircraft carrier and a frigate. And the recent news of India’s GDP growing in double figures and surpassing UK to become the fifth largest economy in the world. Very soon many experts expect India to be in the top three economies in the world. The focus is on India, while many countries around the world are facing issues of slow economic growth, price rise and shortages. This drives foreign tourists to India.

The world is looking towards India and India is growing rapidly and progressing in various fields. Indians seem to be all over with Indians heading international organizations, holding top positions in foreign countries and CEOs in corporate giants around the world. This growth, progress and development are attracting a large number of foreign visitors and tourists, who like to travel the length and breadth of the country. India has become a tourist destination. Medical tourism is also driving many tourists to India.

The tourist and visitors apart from sightseeing look out for gifts and souvenirs. But the problem is what to buy where since India is a vast country with diverse culture. To make your task simple, we give you a list of items from where to get. This will make your buying easy, help to make a proper choice to buy the right kind of gifts or souvenirs for your relatives and friends.

While traveling across India, you can see and witness her diversity and distinctiveness. There is a unique mélange of art and culture in the country and you can view them on your journeys across India. The art, handicrafts, and handlooms of India have found their way in Indian souvenirs that you carry back home as your memory of traveling in India.

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We suggest a list of gifts to buy from India. The best souvenirs to buy in India include traditional clothing and jewelry, artifacts, beautiful paintings, intricate carvings, brass and silver ware – figurines and bowls, handicrafts, locally produced tea, spices, nuts, etc. Below is a list of items one could buy in India.

*Sarees – Sarees can be a great Indian souvenir to carry back home. Indian sarees come in various designs, texture and fabric. Cotton and silk sarees are the most famous ones in India. Banarasi, Mysore, Kanjeevaram, Bandani, Chanderi, Patola, Chikankari.

*Traditional Paintings – Madhubani, Tanjore, Pattachitra, Kalamkari, Kalighat and Warli paintings.

*Tea – Darjeeling tea, Assam tea, Kerala tea and Coorg tea

*Coffee – Chennai, Chikmangulur and Coorg coffee in Karnataka

*Spices – From South India

*Toys – Kondapalli, Channapatna, Nirmal, Thanjavur dolls, etc.

*Jewellry – Traditional and tribal

*Kullu topi from Himachal Pradesh

*Incense sticks, dhoop sticks of various fragrances

*Kolhapuri Chappals from Kolhapur in Maharastra

*Ayurvedic products from Kerala

*Pashmina Shawls and carpets from Kashmir

*Blue pottery from Jaipur

*Home-made candles from Nainital

*Terracotta pottery from Bishnupur

*Sandalwood products from Mysore

*Marble items from Udaipur

*Perfumes from Kannauj.

*Brassware – statues, lamps, figurines and traditional items

India is vast and has 29 states and you can actually pick up souvenirs unique to each of the states. As an Indian, I am sometimes confused about what to buy in India. I am sure it must be as difficult for a foreign traveler or tourist to decide to buy an Indian souvenir. In this blog, I have made a list of a few Indian souvenirs that you can buy in India and have also mentioned the places where they are produced. If it has helped you, do not forget to comment.

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No to Double Lives!

Infosys email warns employees against moonlighting. IT services firm's warning prompts non-profit group to say what 'employees do outside working hours is their prerogative.’

IT services firm Infosys has warned its employees that it will not allow moonlighting and violations may lead to termination, mailing them about rules days after Wipro chairman Rishad Premji called the trend "cheating--plain and simple". Bengaluru-based Infosys sent an email to employees titled "No Double Lives" and said: “…dual employment is not permitted as per the Employee Handbook and the Code of Conduct.”

The Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES), a non-profit group, protested Infosys’s email to say: “IT Employees are working more than 9 hours a day without any overtime benefits. Would there be any energy or time left if an employee is working 10-12 hours a day. Also, many IT companies have developed monitoring systems to measure employee’s productivity.

"Employees have contract to work with Infosys for 9 hours only. What the employees do outside working hours is their prerogative. The article 21 of Constitution of India has provided Right to livelihood to every citizen hence such emails sent to the employees is illegal and unethical. Citing clauses of contract will not help Infosys in the court of law as the clauses are included arbitrarily,” said NITES in an email.

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Tuesday, 30 August 2022

The man who was called Tiny!


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The man who was called Tiny!

The present generation must have not heard about Tiny in Indian cricket. He was tiny but his achievements were big. He was small but large-hearted. He brought something special and fearsome into the Indian team of that era. Finally the Indian team felt they could give back to the foreign teams what they were made to face during the matches overseas.....

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In the early years before independence in the forties, India had two fearsome world-class genuine fast bowlers in Mohammed Nissar and Amar Singh. The opposition were vary of them and their bowling prowess and skill. But after their retirement India couldn’t produce any fast bowler of repute, pace and skill. In the coming years, India was fully dependent on spin bowling. And India had world class spinners like Subash Gupte, Bapu Nadkarni and others; then came the spin quartet of Bedi, Venkatragavan, Prasanna and Chandrashekar.

The present generation must have not heard about Tiny in Indian cricket. He was tiny but his achievements were big. He was small but large-hearted. He brought something special and fearsome into the Indian team of that era. Finally the Indian team felt they could give back to the foreign teams what they were made to face during the matches overseas. Ramakant Desai was an Indian fast bowler, who stood 5 feet 4 inches tall, earning him the nickname "Tiny". He made his Test debut against West Indies in 1958–59 took 4/169 in 49 overs.

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In those years and later, most youngsters and cricketers who came into the limelight were either batsmen or spin bowlers. Medium pacers as a mere formality were used in matches to open the bowling and remove some shine of the ball, after which the spinners were given the responsibility of restricting the runs or taking wickets. There were times when Pataudi and Kunderan bowled to remove the shine on the ball. This was the story of Indian cricket. It was more like not losing a match and end it with a draw. It was difficult to force a win without genuine fast bowlers. If the pitch was not helpful to spin, then the opposition batsmen would plunder runs and it was difficult to stop the flow.

The situation got so bad that since there were no quality fast bowlers, Indian batsmen struggled against genuine pace bowlers as there were no fast bowlers to test them in local games. So they were easy prey for foreign teams loaded with a battery of pace bowlers, most of them really quick. In a desperate move, the Indian board invited and  included four West Indies fast bowlers in four of the major Ranji Trophy teams so that top Indian batsmen get a chance to play quality pace bowlers which would help them to face foreign teams packed with pace bowlers like Australia, England, West Indies and New Zealand.

Then as a ray of hope, came a young 19 year old man by the name of Ramakant Desai. He was small, slim and just 5’4”. He had a smooth run up and was fast and had a knack of bowling deadly bouncers, surprising the opposition batsmen and putting even reputed batsmen on their back foot. He was noticed by a cricketer bowling in a local game. He was fast, accurate and showed promise. He passed on a word about this rare talent.

He hadn’t played any first class game or even Ranji Trophy. Word spread about his fast bowling in cricketing circles. He was picked directly to play for a side game against a touring West Indies side. He had an excellent game taking wickets and showed great promise. The selectors showed courage and foresight and picked him for the Test match against the touring team. Rest is history.

Ramakant Bhikaji Desai was this Indian cricketer who represented India in Test cricket as a fast bowler from 1959 to 1968. Ramakant Desai was a fast bowler, who stood 5 feet 4 inches tall, earning him the nickname "Tiny". He made his Test debut against West Indies in 1958–59 took 4/169 in 49 overs. He was a permanent member of the Indian team.

He troubled the batsmen with sharp bouncers, which was unusual for an Indian bowler at the time, given his size and built. Most of the batsmen took it easy but soon realized after facing him, what he is capable of. He would make the best batsmen hop or put them on the back foot or even duck. People who have seen him play say he was quick and accurate, often surprising the batsmen.

He toured England in 1959, West Indies in 1961–62 and Australia and New Zealand in 1967–68. Against Pakistan in 1960–61, he took 21 wickets in the series. At Bombay, he scored a quick 85 batting at No.10, an Indian record, and added a record 149 for the ninth wicket with Nana Joshi. His best bowling performance in Tests was 6 for 56 against New Zealand at Bombay in 1964–65. At Dunedin in 1967–68 his jaw was fractured by a ball from Dick Motz, despite which he added 57 runs for the last wicket with Bishen Bedi.

In his first year in the Ranji Trophy, he took 50 wickets in 7 matches at an average of 11.10. It is still a record for Bombay. It included a performance of 5 for 10 and 6 for 28 against Saurashtra. In the Ranji Trophy final in 1960–61 he took 7 for 46 and 4 for 74 in Bombay's victory over Rajasthan. Two years later, also against Rajasthan in the final, he scored his only first-class century, 107, in another victory. In his 11 years in the Bombay team (1958–59 to 1968–69), he never finished in a losing side. Desai announced his retirement at the prize distribution ceremony of the 1968–69 Ranji Trophy final.

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Since he was the only pace bowler in the side without any support from the other end, he had to bear the extra work load. He bowled with the same zeal, skill and aggression. There was no much money in the game or media limelight nor glamour. But he continued undaunted on unresponsive Indian pitches. It was a  routine back-breaking job bound to affect the body in the long run.

As the only bowler of pace in the Indian team, he was perennially overworked. When Desai retired from regular first-class cricket after the 1968–69 season, when still only 29 years old, P.N. Sundaresan wrote that he "bowled his heart out on the dead pitches in India ... A more judicious use of his talent both in the Ranji Trophy and other matches could have preserved him as a penetrating bowler for a longer period.

Desai was the chairman of selectors from 1996–97. He resigned the post a month before his death. He died four days after being admitted in a hospital in Mumbai from cardiac arrest.

When most cricketers reach their peak at the age of 29 years with rich experience behind them, he retired from cricket leaving behind a void which was filled many years later by another young man from Haryana.

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Gautam Adani becomes world's third-richest person

It's the first time an Asian person has broken into the top three of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index -- fellow citizen Mukesh Ambani and China's Jack Ma never made it that far. He’s first Asian to do so. Gautam Adani has added $60.9 billion to his fortune in 2022 alone, five times more than anyone else. 

Few outside of India had heard of Gautam Adani just a few years ago. But the Indian businessman, a college dropout who first tried his luck as a diamond trader before turning to coal, this week became the world’s third-richest person. With a $137.4 billion fortune, Adani has overtaken France’s Bernard Arnault and now trails just Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos of the US in the ranking.

The group now owns India’s largest private-sector port and airport operator, city-gas distributor and coal miner. While its Carmichael mine in Australia has been criticized by environmentalists, it pledged in November to invest $70 billion in green energy to become the world’s largest renewable-energy producer.

Adani has added $60.9 billion to his fortune in 2022 alone, five times more than anyone else. He first overtook Ambani as the richest Asian in February, became a centibillionaire in April and surpassed Microsoft Corp.’s Bill Gates as the world’s fourth-richest person last month.

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