Saturday, April 09, 2011

A Pawn who fell in love with the enemy Queen!


I found this little gem in youtube. A Chess love..

Meanwhile, do send in your thoughts to our interactive blogging experiment!  "Why people Leave Lanka?" ....

Stay tuned....

Friday, April 08, 2011

Interactive blogging !

In the coming days, I will be putting bit more time into my other two blogs. AI Game Development and Software in General.

However, I am certainly not planning to leave this blog unattended! In fact, I'm preparing for my next post... In a totally different manner ! Like to know ?

This is an experiment!

Before writing the article, I'm going to announce the topic and give 1-2 days for our readers to comment on it. Those who know me can call/email/chat with me and give me their thoughts like they have done in last few weeks, however, commenting them on here would be even better! That way there will be discussions/arguments and I will do my best to take essence from all valid points and accomadate them in the post!

Have you heard those funny Cinema experiments to provide interactive movies ? Well, this would be not that exciting, but certainly will add a new dimension to traditional blog posting. It should be possible for letting readers to take a more active role in blogging than this, right ? Taking reader's ideas BEFORE A POSTING can also lead to interesting outcomes!

What do you think ?

Let's see...

OK, Next post I'm going to write is about "Why people leaving us?"

No, it's not about broken hearts / relationship breaks or anything like that!

What I mean is why good educated professionals are leaving Sri Lanka? Is it because of selfishness or is it because Sri Lanka is really not a good place to live ? or bit of both, or something entirely different ?

More importantly, what can we do to keep our good friends in here ? Can we turn this tide on it's head ? Should we try to do it in the first place ...... So many questions!

Keep your thoughts/suggestions/questions/answers coming.....

This is going to be exciting!

Stay Tuned ................

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Daily Quotes

Daily winners will be archived be archived in this "hall of fame" for quotes. If you miss a daily quote, this is where you should look.

Got a good one? share with us !

Similarly, Daily images will find their resting place in here.
------------------------
2013
July 2012 : “Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.” - Virginea Satir

Thursday May 30th : “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” - Albert Einstein

Monday May 20th : “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” - A.A. Milne

Sunday May 19th : "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once. But I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times." Bruce Lee

Friday May 17th : "It's not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential." - Bruce Lee

2012
Wednesday January 18th : "Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future." - Oscar Wilde

Sunday January 15th : "Heart of the best women is pitiless toward sorrows of a rival." - Alexander Dumas

Friday January 13th : "Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't." - Jerry Rice

Friday 8th July    : "People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within." - Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Tuesday 5th July : "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" - Joseph P. Kennedy

Saturday 25th June : "The Enlightened take things Lightly." - Principia Discordia

Friday 24th June : "Properly speaking, there is no such thing as revenge. Revenge is an act which you want to commit when you are powerless and because you are powerless: as soon as the sense of impotence is removed, the desire evaporates also." - George Orwell

Thursday 23rd June     : "The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one." - Wilhelm Stekel

Wednesday 22nd June : "That government is best which makes itself unnecessary." - Wilhelm von Humboldt

Tuesday 21st June     : "Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen." - Michael Jordan
 
Monday 20th June    : “Pretty much all the honest truth telling in the world is done by children.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes


Sunday 19th June       : "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." - Thomas Edison


Saturday 18th June     : "Some men worship rank, some worship heroes, some worship power, some worship God, & over these ideals they dispute & cannot unite, but they all worship money." - Mark Twain

Thursday 16th June    : "The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt." - Bertrand Russel

Wednesday 15th June : "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject." - Winston Churchil

Tuesday 14th June : "Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential." - Winston Churchil

Monday 13th June  : "Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love." - Khalil Gibran


Sunday 12th June    : "Freedom is just another word for having nothing left to lose." - Clint Eastwood


Saturday 11th June : "As I slowly grow wise I briskly grow cautious. " - Mark Twain


Friday 10th June     : "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

Wednesday 8th June : "Dignity does not come in possessing honors, but in deserving them." - Aristotle

Tuesday 7th June     : "Security is mostly a superstition... Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." - Helen Keller

Saturday 4th June    : "For myself, I am an optimist, it does not seem to be much use being anything else." - Winston Churchill

Friday 3rd June        : "It is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong." - John Maynard Keynes

Thursday 2nd June   : "Defer not till tomorrow to be wise, Tomorrow's sun to thee may never rise." - William Congreve

Wednesday 1st May : “I am not my memories. I am my dreams.” - Terry Hostetler

Tuesday 31st May            : “The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”Isaac Asimov

Monday 30th May         :  "There are two kinds of freedom to be found in our world, the freedom of desires, and the freedom from desires." - Ajahn Brahm

Sunday 29th May       : "The only thing that saves us from bureaucracy is its inefficiency." - Eugene McCarthy
 
Saturday 28th May        : "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." - Confucius

Friday 27th Friday         :  "No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar." - Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday 25th May : "The graveyards are full of indispensable men." - Charles De Gaulle

Tuesday 24th May : “Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.” - Albert Einstein

Monday 23rd May : "A mind always employed is always happy." - Thomas Jefferson

Sunday 22nd May   : "The difference between a smart man and a wise man is that a smart man knows what to say, a wise man knows whether or not to say it." - Frank M. Garafola

Saturday 21st May  : “The reason grandchildren and grandparents get along so well is because they have a common enemy.”- Unknown

Friday 20th May     : "Do not handicap your children by making their lives too easy." - Robert A. Heinlein

Thursday 19th May : "It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment." - Sherlock Holmes

Wednesday 18th May : "Nothing is more active than thought, for it travels over the universe, and nothing is stronger than necessity for all must submit to it." - Thales

Tuesday 17th May  : “The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you're in control of your life. If you don't, life controls you.” - Anthoney Robbins

Monday 16th May   : "We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing." - Bukowski

Sunday 15th May    : “If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” - Bruce Lee

Saturday 14th May  : "Yes, stand a little out of my sunshine." - Diogenes (When Alexander The Great asked him if he wanted anything)

Tuesday 10th May   : "Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours." - Dale Carnegie

Monday 9th May : “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.” - Napolean Hill
 
Sunday 8th May   : "To appreciate heaven well, it's good for a person to have some fifteen minutes of hell " - Will Carleton

Saturday 7th May : "It only takes 20 years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea." - Robert Anton Wilson

Friday 6th May     : "It's easy to be miserable. Being happier is tougher—and cooler." - Thom Yorke

Thursday 5th May : "If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization." - Murphy's Laws

Wednesday 4th May : "Knowledge is realizing that the street is one-way, wisdom is looking both directions anyway" - Unknown

Tuesday 3rd May : "I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who overcomes his enemies." - Aristotle

Monday 2nd May : "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." - Antoine de Exupery
 
Sunday 1st May : “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” - Plato

Saturday 30th April : "Send me 300 francs; that sum will enable me to go to Paris. There, at least, one can cut a figure and surmount obstacles. Everything tells me I shall succeed." - Napoléon Bonaparte (in 1791, just before making history)
 
Friday 29th April     : "Opportunity is missed by most people, because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” - Thomas Edison

Thursday 28th April : “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” - William Arthur Ward
 
Wednesday 27th April : "I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I've ever known." - Walt Disney
 
Tuesday 26th April    : “Fashions have done more harm than revolutions.” - Victor Hugo

Monday 25th April    : “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?” - Jesus Christ
 
Sunday 24th April     : "I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe." - Dalai Lama

Saturday 23rd April  : "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." - Socrates

Friday 22nd April      : "Freedom is being happy to be where you are." - Ajahn Brahm

Thursday, 21st April : "To save the world requires faith and courage: faith in reason, and courage to proclaim what reason shows to be true." - Bertrand Russel

Wednesday, 20th April :
"Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and little minds discuss people." - Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
Tuesday, 19th April : "Even this shall pass." - Theodore Tilton

Monday, 18th April : "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." - Albert Einstein

Sunday, 17th April : “In the beginning you will fall into the gaps in between thoughts – after practicing for years, you become the gap.” – J.Kleykamp (Regarding meditation) 

Saturday, 16th April : “The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going.”Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, 15th April : A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. - Mark Twain

Thursday, 14th April : "Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man." - Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday 13th April : "The superior man is distressed by the limitations of his ability; he is not distressed by the fact that men do not recognize the ability that he has." - Confucius


Tuesday 12th April : "But how could you live and have no story to tell?" - Fyodor Dostoyevskey 

Monday, 11th April 2011   : Boredom: the desire for desires. Leo Tolstoy 

Sunday, 10th April 2011 :  “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” - Charles Darwin
 
Saturday, 9th April 2011 :  "I haven't failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." - Thomas Edison
 
Friday, April 8th 2011 : “You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger.” - Buddha

Thursday, April 7th 2011 : "Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that's twice as big as it needs to be." - George Carlin

A selection of interesting imgaes from the net


              
-----------
Monday 4th July           : Wrong Turn  
Thursday 23rd June      : oh dear
Tuesday 21st June        : Presidential Hybrid
Sunday 19th June         :  Happy Fathers Day! wait, what ?
Monday 13th June        : A fancy Chess Board
Sunday 12th June         : 'yes' from Eastwood 
Sunday 5th June           : Tsunami Cloud
Saturday 4th June        : You are what you eat   
Thursday 2nd June       : Curious Owl
Wednesday 1st June     : Body Building Hacker
Monday 30th May        : Scenary ++
Saturday 28th May      : Fantasy vs Reality
Friday 27th May          : Flood
Thursday 26th May      : Neat
Wednesday 25th May  : Chance Encounter
Tuesday 24th May       : Refreshing!
Monday 23rd May       :  Some workplace!
Sunday 22nd May        : Different Perspectives   
Thursday 18th May     :  Traps
Sunday 7th May          :  Mothers Day :-)
Friday 6th May            :  Why Here?
Thursday 5th May        : Hidden Depth
Wednesday 4th May     : Breeze
Tuesday 3rd May         : Finals. Live!
Monday 2nd May         : Parade 
Sunday 1st May           : Twister
Saturday 30th April     : Tornado
Friday 29th April         : Timing! 
Thursday 28th April     : Lone Reader

Wednesday 27th April  : Restaurant
Tuesday 26th April       : Who's Watching Who
Monday 25th April       : Horses
Sunday 24th April        : Frozen Wave 
Saturday 23rd April     : Childhood
Friday 22nd April        : SpiderMan  
Thursday 21st April     : Must find meat ..
Wednesday 20th April : Salt Lake
Tuesday 19th April      : Baby Owl
Monday 18th April      : Humming Bird
Sunday 17th April       : Greed 
Saturday 16th April     : Blast Off
Friday 15th April         : 5 Weeks After 

Thursday 14th April    : Happy New Year!! (source flickr.com)

 
Wednesday 13th April : Some Bridge!


Tuesday 12th April 2011   : Image 

Monday 11th April 2011   : When Down under heavy load.. (source : http://www.reddit.com)

Sunday 10th April 2011   : Butterfly (source : http://www.bbc.co.uk)


Saturday, 9th April 2011 : From Time Travel Wish List (source : http://www.daylife.com)

Friday, 8th April 2011 : Wallet

Thursday 7th April 2011 : Lines of Life

Wednesday 6th April 2011 : Best Out Of A Bad Situation

Tuesday 5th April 2011 : Back To Reality (source not known)
Monday 4th April 2011 : May Be Next time

Sunday 3rd April 2011 : Final Of The Final

Saturday 2nd April 2011 : Some guys Have All the luck

Friday 1st April 2011 : Image Of The Day - Check the Date!

Thursday 31st March 2011 : Chinese Circus

Wednesday 30th March : I'm Out Of Here!

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Every Image that will get published in "Image of the Day' section, will be archived in this resting place for them. If you miss a daily image, this is where you should look.

Similarly Daily quotes will find their resting place in here.

Enjoy!

Quote of the Day!

Starting from today, there will be a new feature in this blog, "quote of the day".

Few reasons for giving out a famous quote everyday (not all are equally noble:-))

1) A good quote is like a good image. It conveys a message quickly across and powerfully.

2) Quotes are short and easy to read hence, tend to stay in memory.

3) Because a quote has to be short, creators have to pack a big idea into as fewer words as possible. In this sense they are like high powered medicine. Concentrated juice if you like! Maximum benefit for the readers for the amount of time spent on reading them!

4) A good quote can make us feel good and gives an opportunity to learn something or to experience a new way of thinking.

and some of less noble goals are :

5) Quotes are easier to find from net, no shortage at all!

6) It takes only a little time to type a quote and and link to it's source, could be handy on busy days where there is not enough time to make a new post yet want to keep the blog updated as well.

Enjoy!

PS : got a better idea! each day, when I remove the last days quote, I will append it on a dedicated quotes page in Daily Quotes. This way, there will be a quote page that is growing daily! people who miss the daily quote can always find them there! What's more you all can chip in with your own favorite quotes and share them with others via comments. When I see a good one, I will move them to the Daily Quotes page from your comments.

Similarly, I will do the same for images here in Daily Images.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

King Ravana, Chess and Lanka


Every once in a while we here a nice story/theory about how advance the great king Ravana was in his day and a new addition or two to the list of high tech gadgets he allegedly possessed. Air crafts, space crafts, nuclear weapons etc were never in short supply for him. (Yet he somehow managed to loose the war to a army of apes, but that's a different discussion altogether). It doesn't end there either... theories/stories expand further into describe how Ravana had links with Aliens, and how the mythical lost civilization of Atlantis was a part of Lanka once etc...

Therefore, I really didn't take it seriously when I saw a piece of news on the net claiming King Ravana has invented Chess. "Ah.. one of those Ravana stories again... must be coming from either Dr Sooriya Gunaseka, Arisen Ahubudu or Jackson Anthony" I thought. A humble person like me would normally require little bit more hard evidence to believe in simple stories like nuclear wars in 3000 or so years ago etc. (With all the respect for above knowledgeable individuals and while admiring and appreciating their creativity and imagination).

Just as I was going to pass the news item... something else caught my eye. The author (or at least the person from whom the claim is coming from) was not one from Sri Lanka! In fact, it was non-other than the current world chess champion! yes, well loved and respected Viswanathan Anand himself!

I know you may be checking the date of publication of this article now and making sure it is not April first. Yes, it is not April 1st alright! Here are few links on the story.

ndtv, The Indian, chess.com, chessBase, Susan Polgar's Blog

All these sites confirm above mentioned essay of Anand's to Time Magazine (I couldn't find the original essay itself, if someone find the link, please submit in comments) and the excerpts they present are all alike. So I deduce that Anand has indeed made the comment. Here are few key comments :

"It would take me 17 years to find that route, and along the way I've had hundreds of conversations about the origins of chess - with players, fans, officials, taxi drivers, barbers and who knows how many people who sat next to me on a plane. I've heard the ownership of chess being claimed by Russians, Chinese, Ukrainians, Arabs, Iranians, Turks, Spaniards and Greeks. My own view is that the sport belongs to everybody who plays it, but the question of its origins is easy enough to answer: chess comes from India."

Anand goes on to supplement his argument by delving into history. He says: "Our claim is based not on dominance - although the Indian school is now producing lots of high-quality players, including (ahem) the world No. 1. Some of the oldest references to the sport are found in ancient Indian texts. In the great epic Ramayana (which, according to some sources, was orally transmitted sometime between 750 B.C. and 500 B.C.), the demon king Ravana invents chess to amuse his wife Mandodari. A brilliant mind, she promptly beats him at it. My grandmother told me that story when I first began to play the game at age 6. "

Wait! isn't there something very wrong here? "chess comes from India" since it was invented by Ravana ?

Unlike nuclear weapons and space crafts, chess is something we certainly know as something which was invented long ago and there is no particular reason why it shouldn't be in King Ravana's day... Problem is Ravana is made to look like an Indian King in those paragraphs !!

Indians are well known for their reverence for king Rama and Hanuman, for them, they are Gods while Ravana is a daemon king at best. A daemon king from Lanka whom King/God Rama justifiably and gloriously beat in the war. Normally, in Hindu mythology (some may say it is history, not mythology. I don't want to argue on that here, let it be history/mythology whatever!) very little (or none at all!) respect is given to king Ravana. After all, he is the villain in the story!

Here however, we see they give the credit to Ravana (his wife Mandodari or the sister Surphanaka to be precise) for inventing chess but in all those articles the origin of Ravana himself is portrayed as in India! In no where it is mentioned about where Ravana's kingdom was, even though all present Indians and mythologists firmly believe Ravana was in Lanka and Rama's army had to cross Falk Straight to get at Ravana etc. The fact that Ravana was a Lankan king was hidden in this case.

One can't help get the feeling that Ravana is a daemon king from Lanka in all other times but except in certain times where he can be useful, at those times he is silently and conveniently being passed as a Indian king so his inventions also belongs there!

Personally, I really don't care much whether the credit for origination of Chess goes to India or Lanka, to me what matter most is how do we fare in chess at present. We are doing very poorly in chess compared to India, in that light it may seem ludicrous if Lanka too stage a claim to the origin of chess. (or may be it won't if we back it up with more facts!) I would like to think about present and future rather than living in past glory, we as a nation has a weakness for living in the past bit too much. It is true some great past Kings have done us proud.. interesting question is, "are we doing enough at present to live up to it?" However, if there is a clear error/mistake happening in reporting, it is good if can correct it. Sooner the better!

We hear all fantastic hard to believe stories like nuclear weapons, Atlantis, space crafts and even about Ravana helping Egyptians building pyramids! yet, we are letting this great invention of Chess (which is much more easier to believe and on that even Ravana's most ardent enemies agree!) pass from us. I haven't red or hear from anywhere that any of our chess fans or historians or mythologists (mind you, even the theory Anand is putting forward is based on mythology and stories nothing else!) speaking up on this story. For western world, this may be the first time most of them have even hearing about a King Ravana and that they hear as if he was an Indian King! Now that would be little wrong wouldn't it?

When we publish an article in web, we try to give a link to the source site, if we have an image we try to give credit or link to the source. In that manner one would except at least a slight mentioning about Lanka when one is talking about Ravana and trying to claim something he has invented as theirs. One can't help thinking that above courtesy haven't been done in this case. May be this was something not intentionally done from Anand's part (for the gentleman he is), may be the press got that part missed.

Ideally, if Ravana indeed has invented chess, the credit should come few hundred kilometers southwards! Of course one can not except foreigners to talk on behalf of Lanka and carry Lanka's name forward, it should be up to Lankans. This is the biggest problem I see about Lankan historians and fans of Ravana, while they are busy trying to prove much fancier (and harder to prove) theories, they have let a real gem pass under them without even taking notice!

May be that is because Ravana fans and historians in Lanka were not that aware or interested in chess! Come to think of it, chess fans are rare in Lanka, Ravana admirers or historians are rarer still. Intersection of these two groups may be negligible! (The fact that there is a International chess tournament in Sri Lanka named after Ravana may mean it is not that negligible after all!) While in India chess is huge, and thanks to Ramayana and everyday worshiping of Hanuman and Rama as Gods, Ravana (even as a daemon!) too is a house hold name.

If there are any Lankan chess fans who are equally into history / mythology / and/or a admirers of Ravana, may be this is a topic they can and should take onwards and take into the world. That way, even if Lanaka to loose the battle on the origination of chess, at least Lanka will keep their Ravana!

Come to think of it... it would be a fun argument and a campaign to have, it will at least generate some attention to Lanka and Chess both, (not to mention Tourism) nothing much to loose anyway!

What do you think ?

PS : I found the original Times Article.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Wonderings on UFOs and a theory on conspiracy theories


UFOs are a favorite subject for many, and a hot topic for some. Rather Disappointingly, I don't have anything new to add onto UFO sightings or theories. So, don't blame me if you end up leaving here disappointed! (always safe to keep expectation low!)

Yet, there was a time I wondered on following channels of thoughts....

Assume (just for a minute, don't get carried away!) that UFOs actually are real and there are indeed extra terrestrial beings more intelligent than us, watching on us everyday. Now, if we do believe that (again, only for a moment, imagine just for the argument's sake), we will ultimately have to deduce that there is a conspiracy by governments and higher authorities to cover up that 'fact'.

That is, either all those stories about UFO sightings are just hoaxes and/or misguided beliefs, illusions. Or at least some of them are real (if just one story is real then that will do for the pro UFO camp!) in this case, since no government, air force, NASA, etc admits such an event, a pro UFO enthusiast will eventually have to also believe in a combined government conspiracy to hide the 'truth' from public. Otherwise it will simply be impossible to explain how US/Russian/Sri Lankan government, NASA, air forces in the world can not see what many people have seen. I hope I'm clear this far.

Now, I don't belong in any of those camps. Personally I'm just open on this subject like many of you who read this. When we don't have good enough facts or knowledge on something, sometimes it is best to just stay shut up! However, like mentioned before, I did have this crazy way of reasoning once. Just assume (for the arguments sake only) that UFOs are real and then wonder why should a government and/or some other body should try to conceal that knowledge from general public. Most common answers would be to prevent a mass panic, use that knowledge and technology as a weapon, to keep a competitive technological advantage over other nations etc, But I came up something far more interesting to ponder upon! something little bit more controversial yet sounds logical at the same time!

If you are not bored already, you are now in a position to click below and read that old article I have written on that point. If there is a conspiracy to cover up UFOs what is it and why such a conspiracy is necessary ? Now, this doesn't mean UFOs do exist or there is a conspiracy to cover them up or anything like that! This is just a train of certain thoughts. Also, it doesn't reflect any prejudice towards any religion. In fact, the article also tries to understand if there are certain set of believes which can influence a person to believe in extra terrestrial.

In fact, what I present here is not even a personal opinion. Just publishing a certain thought because I haven't heard from anywhere else before and found it as interesting (at least in a conceptual and an intellectual way)

Of all the posts I have written back then, this short old post was the one which got red most and triggered most conversations/arguments at the time. You are welcome to share your thoughts on this as well...

Alright, now that I believe I have taken adequate security measures, over to the wonderful world of conspiracy theories on UFOs.....

Monday, April 04, 2011

Post-Mortem on World Cup Final


This blog is getting increasingly like a cricket blog, which was not my intention at all. So for all those who are not much into Cricket, I do apologize a bit and promise that there won't be a cricket post for a while AFTER THIS. Really and seriously....

At the same time, I do hope it will be OK by all to bare with me for one last cricket post. After all, a world cup comes only once in 4 years and a world cup with our team in the finals has happened only twice for the whole 10 000 or so history of "modern" human civilization! Surely, no harm giving some coverage to such a rare event ?

Now then, back to the finals.... As so many people in this country keep asking, "what happened to SL team? why did Sri Lanka loose ?" Well, first of all, India and SL both teams were at least equally likely to win and India was the tournament favorites and the final was played there under conditions which are more suitable and familiar to them. In that light, even the very question "why SL lost ?" become less important as it shouldn't be a much of a surprise to many. It just was one of 2 equally likely out comes to happen. So, cool down......... Nothing wrong in an Indian victory. They were a good team too and certainly the better team on that night.

However, SL did win the toss. Courageously (after loosing the way early) posted a imposing target of 275 . What's more, SL bowlers (Malinga) dismissed both high profile Indian openers early. Therefore we can ask the same question little bit more specifically. Why (and how) SL lost after getting India into 31 for 2 wickets ? Now, that's an interesting question indeed! We have heard so many cricket pundits voiced their opinion on this and heard many theories, so much so that this topic already sounds like old news.

Surely, everything which need to be discussed is already discussed and done with, right ? Since all experts have already given their verdicts and we have already made up our minds and are happy with runners up, not much point going over this again right ? What more can laymen like us add new into this discussion ?

Well, all those are very valid points and I don't have a convincing argument to even to make you read rest of the article (or for me to write the rest in the first place!). Yet, I do think some of verdicts people have given and some of expert comments on this are utterly non sense. Some real issues and reasons were never discussed in my mind. So here we go .........

First of all, few off the mark (according to me) reasons as to why SL lost.

1) SL could have taken at least 350 to stop the strong Indian batting line up. (275 was not enough)

This argument really came only after Sanga did his diplomatic and sporty comments to the press after the game. (hats off to that speech, he had to say something graceful like that in front of the press after losing the world cup final. One has to praise the winning team and give the due credit to their batters, thats the sensible way of handling the press after all, and Sanga being a skillful lawyer himself, knows it better than you and me!) However, during the first 3 quarters of the game I heard no one saying 275 is not enough! This was a world cup final, Indians were playing under pressure in front of their crowd. They were playing under lights. If all those were not enough, consider this : Tendulkar and Sehvag both were already back in the pavilion well before even the start of bowling power play!

Do you really believe SL batters haven't put a decent score to defend ? SL was considered to be possessing the strongest bowling attack in the tournament. 275 was enough to win! (it was only made to look smaller, ore on that later) that was not the reason why SL lost. At least it alone can not explain the SL defeat after putting India on 31 for 2 at one stage!


2) Choosing Kapugedara over Chamara Silva and/or Kulasekara over Rangana Herath.

This is not it either. After injury to Matthews, SL was forced to pick the other all rounder Thisara Perera. But he was not enough replacement for Matthews' batting for SL has already having a issue with middle order batting strength, so they have decided to include Kula as well to bolster batting and to get something out of the wicket which was offering some bounce. A totally justifiable option! The fact that Kapugedara didn't perform with the bat was a non issue here. (It is actually a sub argument of point 1 above. SL did make a good score even without Kapugedara scoring, so how can it explain the loss ?) I think selectors were spot on on all those decisions. Selecting Thisara, Kula and Kapugedara and omiting Chamara Silva and Rangana Herath was OK.

3) Angelo Mathews got injured.
This again is a sub argument of point 1 above. SL did score enough even without Mathews! Unless someone is saying Matthews was one of our strike bowlers, this argument doesn't make much sense. For those who say Matthews could have made a difference as a fielder and a bowler. I simply do not agree. He may have done a little difference but not enough to change the result! Mathews was not among top Sri Lankan strike bowlers whom they depended on taking wickets.

4) Dew.
It set only in final 20 overs or so, the game was already starting to go Indian way by then. Besides, Sri Lankan spinners did perform well even with the dew against NZ in the group stages. We heard the stories those days about how they practiced with wet balls etc.. Once again, total absence of dew might have made some impact but not enough to change the result of the game.


Now then. What really made them loose then ? 275 on board, India were 31/2 and without Tendulkar and Sehvag. What really happened from there....

1) Choosing Randiv against Mendis.
To me this is it! Mendis was the most economical bowler in the Sri Lankan team throughout the tournament. He was considered a top strike bowler as well. One who can take wickets! Why dropping him and bringing Randiv whom wasn't even on the squad and haven't played a game for months is simply beyond me. I heard Arnold making the comment that India can pick Mendis well and so he was not in. This is poor reasoning in my mind. When was the last time India played against Mendis ? When we had his recent bowling figures to back him, (the real evidence) why worry over how Indians handled him in the past ? Mendis's recent figures suggested he has done his home work and improved as a bowler and was performing well in the competition. If that's not enough, what is ? If SL had Mendis bowling at Indians with all his variations on an assisting pitch with turn and bounce both, that would have been some sight to watch. Since there was a sizable score on board, Mendis could have bowled with lot of freedom, concentrating on wickets.

To back it further, look at following statistics of top SL bowlers, first figure is runs per wickets, second is runs given per over :
Murali 19.40, 4.09
Malinga 20.74, 5.54
Dilshan 15.75, 4.06
Mendis 19.14, 3.14

Mendis is not only the most economical, no other bowler is even near him on runs per over! As a short note, one also get the feeling whether Sri Lanka has under used Dilshan. He has the best average and second best economy rate, yet has bowled very few. Shouldn't they have used Dilshan more in the power-plays instead of Thisara and Nuwan Kulasekara ?


2) Bad fielding
This is the most obvious one and almost all have got this one right. SL fielding was not worthy for a international game let alone for a world cup final! A drop catch, a missed run out, several over throws, misses at the boundary line etc. This is one big reason why the good score 275 was made to look like a smaller total and a one which is hard to defend. Of course you can not defend even 300 if you are dropping catches and mis fielding resulting in additional runs!

3) Seemers (except the slinger) Giving it away.
This need some statistics to prove :
Muralitharan : 39 off 8 overs (rate under 5)
Randiv : 43 off 9 (rate under 5)
Malinga : Malinga 42 off 9 with two wickets (rate under 5)
Dilshan : 27 off 5 with a wicket (rate under 5.5)

We used to say spinner didn't deliver on that day, yet the chart shows they havn't done that badly either. True, they couldn't take wickets but yet they managed to keep the run rate checked. India needed a rate of 5.5, All the bowlers listed above managed that while taken 3 top wickets among them.

In total, Murali, Malinga, randiv and part timer Dilshan has bowled total of 31 overs between them and given away 151 runs for 3 wickets. Not only they have given below 5 runs per over, the 3 huge wickets they have got all came at an early stage of the match! making maximum impact. Malinga was also the one who had bowled most balls in power plays. Rest of specialized bowlers had to bowl 19 overs and only had to give something below 6.5 per over!

So we could afford to be little specific and say Kulasekara and Thisara Perera were the actual ones who failed with the bowl that day. (not to mention the missed catch) Between them they had bowled 18 and gave away 119 for just a single witket! Even that wicket came too late to make any impact on the match.

True, spinners didn't win Sri Lanka the match but they haven't lost it for them either. Rather than saying the entire SL bowling line up was a total disaster, I think we can safely say that only 2 bowlers had issues that night.

4) Indians batted really well.
This I think is the main reason above all the rest! specially M.S Dhoni batted brilliantly and easily smothered any Sri Lankan come back at it's inception. His brave decision to bat up in the order paid up nicely.

In summary, If SL had Mendis bowling at Indians, Sharp fielding instead of sloppy nut pickings and dozen loose deliveries less, we could have see a much tense struggle than that.

Congratulations India, you were the deserved winners!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Image of the Day - Final of the Final


Source : http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/image/509275.html

Note : There will not be a separate post for "Image of the Day" from today onwards. Instead, it will appear on top, left (yes, on that place where you today see the disappointed faces of SL team members)