Monday, December 29, 2014

India vs Pakistan in ICC World Cup 2011 : Sachin Tendulkar gears up

Just one step away from his hundredth century in international cricket, Sachin Tendulkar is leaving no stone unturned while preparing for the semi-final against Pakistan here. With Pakistan possessing considerable pace and precision in its arsenal, the little master practised against the fast and rising deliveries at the PCA Stadium here on Monday.

Batting on a separate strip which had a marble slab, Tendulkar asked the net boys to bounce the ball off it at top pace. He practised his late and upper cuts for almost half an hour, asking the bowlers to change the pace accordingly.

The wicket in Mohali is known to have a fair amount of pace and carry and irrespective of any pace attack that Pakistan selects on Wednesday — Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz or Gul and Shoaib Akhtar — there will be no dearth of the short stuff.

After the outing, Tendulkar worked on his new bats with a wooden hammer, knocking out any dents and compacting the grains of the blade. The veteran opener has been working on a new set of bats for a few days now and has made its preparation an exact science.

The entire Indian team had a bowling and batting session, with only Zaheer Khan taking time out to work on some strengthening exercises. It was only after all the other bowlers had a fairly long run did the leftarm pacer decide to roll his arm over. Harbhajan Singh, who had joined the team late on Sunday after returning from his home town Jalandhar, bowled with the rest of the spinners – Piyush Chawla and R Ashwin.

The Indian team had a session with motivational expert Mike Horn late on Sunday and given the importance of the match, all help would be welcome at this point.

The Indian batting line up is slowly coming into its own in the tournament and Pakistan know that it will be a battle between their bowling and India’s batting. With pace spearhead Umar Gul troubling the batsmen with pace and swing, the new ball bowler is looking forward to his battle with the Indian top order. “I am an opening bowler and am supposed to take wickets of top order batsmen. Whether it is Sachin or Sehwag, it doesn’t really matter. My job is to take wickets,” he said after training here on Monday. “I am enjoying my bowling at the moment. It would be a good experience to bowl against India.

“I have been bowling well in this World Cup and I am at my peak at the moment. Our bowling department is also doing very well, with Afridi as the leading wicket-taker. Our bowling is good and after the last game, even our top order has started to click.”

What could make the contest even sharper is the prospect of seeing Shoaib Akhtar face of against Tendulkar for one last time, even though the possibility of that happening seems slim given the fitness issues of the pacer. Gul, however, hoped that Akhtar would play and share the load with him.

“Shoaib is a great and experienced bowler. If he plays along with me, it will be good as there will be less pressure on me. Last time, I bowled alone and the entire responsibility was on me. It’s wrong to say the team is upset with him. The team is together and there is no problem between Akthar and the management.”

Gul said that dew could be a factor in the day-night encounter, though the team hadn’t had a look at the venue after dusk. PCA curator Daljeet Singh said that over the past few days, very little dew had been witnessed and anyhow, the possibility of heavy dew this time of the year were slim.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Army general Hooda showcaused in Adarsh case

Major general R. K. Hooda, an additional director general with the army’s mechanised infantry, has been served a showcause notice by the Pune- based Southern Command for his alleged involvement in the Adarsh land scam.

Hooda is the only serving army officer against whom action has been taken in connection with the scam. He was the general officer commanding of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa from November 2007 till July 2010, when he joined army headquarters.

A three- member court of inquiry had been instituted to probe whether Hooda had hidden facts from his superiors, whether he had issued the mandatory “ no- objection certificate’ and how he managed to a get an apartment at the housing complex that was meant for the families of Kargil martyrs. The court of inquiry, led by Lieutenant- General J. S. Rawat, wound up two days ago.

Army sources said that Hooda has already responded to the showcause and now the “ competent authority”, the Southern Army Command, will have to decide what action would be taken against him.

DMRC chief Sreedharan not impressed with Delhi Metro Airport Express line

DMRC chief E. Sreedharan felt so bitter after a surprise inspection of the Airport Express line on Tuesday that he decided to make his views public.

Here’s what he didn’t like: He wants the speed of the trains increased to 120kmph from the present 105kmph He was disappointed with the present frequency of the trains moving 20 minutes apart and wants the frequency of the trains increased He was dissatisfied with passenger amenities at the stations.

The Airport Express line does not have any tea or coffee vending machines. Sreedharan felt the stations must have refreshment kiosks Lack of proper signages and mobile connectivity in the underground sections Announcements made inside the trains and at stations were not adequate and, often, inaccurate Sreedharan boarded a train at New Delhi at 9am and travelled up to Dwarka Sector 21. He got down at all the operational stations on the line and personally inspected the amenities.

“ There should be seamless platform to platform connectivity for commuters moving from the Delhi Metro network to the airport link and vice- versa at the Dwarka Sector- 21 station,” he said in a statement later.

The airport line is run by Reliance Infra-owned Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL). DMRC supervises the running of the line. Sreedharan had earlier also criticised DAMEPL when it failed to start the project on time. The airport link is the first project where the Delhi Metro has gone for a public- private partnership.

Metro’s statement following Sreedharan’s visit, however, has some positive remarks about the airport line. “ He appreciated the efforts of the staff in keeping the system neat and clean. He said the corridor was one of the most technologically advanced in the world and was at par or even better than most other airport Metro links in the other cities globally,” the statement said.

DAMEPL officials, when questioned about Sreedharan’s dissatisfaction, defended themselves and said measures were being taken to address the problems.

Hike in toll rate again on Gurgaon expressway

Commuters using the Gurgaon expressway will have to pay more from April 1 this year. It is for the fifth time that toll charges for the 27.7 km expressway have been increased by the authorities in the past three years.

According to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) officials, this is an annual practice and it was increased in 2010 as well at the same time.

According to the new rate, the cars would have to shell out Rs 21 per trip at the 32-lane toll plaza. At present, car commuters pay Rs 20 per trip at this toll plaza. Executives of DSC Limited, which collects the toll, said the user fee for cars would also increase at Kherki Dhaula and IGI toll plazas.

“The toll charge for cars at Kherki Dhaula would be Rs 27 against the present fee of Rs 25. Similarly, we propose to increase the toll at IGI plaza from Rs 13 to Rs 14 per trip,” an executive said.

A DSC spokesperson said commuters can buy discounted smart tags at Rs 1200 as against their normal price of Rs 1500. The scheme is now available till April 15, 2011. During this period, the company would also provide a free replacement of all faulty tags provided they have not been damaged or tampered with, he added.

The calculation for revised toll has been done based on the provisions of the concession agreement.