Friday, 4 January 2013

Commonwealth Games: Siri Fort Scam Reported

The CBI is conducting raids in Mumbai and Delhi in connection with a new case of corruption related to the Commonwealth Games.

This case focuses on the construction of a new sports stadium at Delhi's Siri Fort complex.  

The Games were held in October 2010 in Delhi; their trademark was inflated contracts designed to benefit companies who were selected by the Organizing Committee of the Games. Many senior members of this committee are now in jail including former Chairman Suresh Kalmadi, who is also an MP from Pune.

The government's auditor had found the Games littered with instances of bare-faced corruption. In its report, the Comptroller and Auditor General faulted many contracts signed for equipment and services. In the case of Siri Fort, the auditor felt that there was "an inexplicable delay of nearly a year" to engage Australian design consultants Peddle Thorp from Melbourne.  Investigators studying the different contracts used for the Games have found that often, consultants were hired at the last minute which meant they had to be paid sky-high rates to ensure that tight deadlines were met.

The auditor had also reported deficiencies in the contracts signed to ready the venue for table tennis matches at Siri Fort.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

CRICKET: Reaction to Sachin Tendulkar's retirement

"I'm not surprised by his decision. He has done what he thought was right. I don't think there was any pressure of selectors on him. It is his decision. No one can drop him." — Former India captain Sourav Ganguly

"I'm surprised by his move but he is leaving ODI cricket on a high. I am sure he will want to leave on a high in test cricket also. He will be looking forward to a good test series against Australia."— Former captain Krishnamachari Srikkanth, under whom Tendulkar debuted against Pakistan in 1989.

"If he is continuing with international cricket then he should have continued with ODIs also. We play almost 25 ODIs in a season. It is very important to keep playing international cricket. In ODIs, he opens the innings and plays the full innings so he gets used to international bowling. I am surprised he opted out of ODIs."— Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar.

"When you've played 23 years of international cricket, a time comes when ODIs don't excite you anymore as you have achieved everything that you possibly could have. Sachin has also won the World Cup, therefore his decision is understandable." — Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja.

"I think he has obliged Indian cricket by retiring. The god has ultimately decided. Everybody was talking about his retirement. The selectors didn't take a call. I think he was also tired of the selectors not taking a call. I'm very happy that he has ultimately taken a decision at the right time." — Former India allrounder Kirti Azad.

"Masters - 463 matches, 23 yrs, 18426 runs !!!! These numbers nobody else will be able to come close to. Salute salute salute to Sachin. Sachin tendulkar a grt batsman .grt human being. a grt frnd.grt man 2 look up 2. proud indian. Real son of india. I salute u nd luv u." — India offspinner Harbhajan Singh on Twitter.

Does Indian football deserve more Media coverage?

This is a question which I have been asking myself for a while. If we look at the year 2011 so far, we have had Indian participation in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup after 27 long years, then there was the successful 2012 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers in Kuala Lumpur plus the I-League is heading for an interesting finale; but then there was also India's 2011 Cricket World Cup triumph and now we are into the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League.

But is this all somehow linked? Certainly if you are looking at the media coverage that Indian football gets in the national media. And I am explicitly saying Indian football and not football in general; then the English Premier League, Spain's Primera Division, other European leagues and the UEFA Champions League have mostly retained their slots on television and place in newspapers though the EPL did lose some airtime on ESPN-Star Sports during the Cricket World Cup.

I strongly believe that Indian football deserves better television coverage! But no one is willing to take a chance or even a gamble in today's media industry. There is a simple reason behind it, then whoever tries some new or out of the box and fails will be out of a job. So many in the industry simply cover what the others are broadcasting. And sadly this attitude is hurting not only Indian football, but Indian sports in general.

Currently on national television there is no Indian football coverage, only a regional Bengali news channel shows the I-League matches live involving the three Kolkata sides - East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Chirag United. Some will say better then nothing, but this is harming the I-League, the image of the league, its reach and its marketability. There are rumours in the industry that Sony's Set Max or Neo Sports could take the rights for the next season, but by then we have lost a year.

On national news channels football or other sports have mainly disappeared from their topics of coverage with cricket, cricket and even more cricket being covered. I remember last year at a conference I was sitting with the sports heads of two news channels and had to tell them that East Bengal would face Mohun Bagan in the Federation Cup final a couple of days later, which was even a topic on

The only exception to this happens to be Kolkata and their numerous sports programs, who regularly cover football stories, but mainly related to Kolkata and the big Maidan clubs. Why else would they cover?

In newspapers it sadly isn't much different with up to 75% of sports pages filled with cricket or cricket related news these days. The I-League has become a side story which is covered in a column or sometimes a little more with match stats completely disappearing from the papers.

I have been reading again and again that fans would love to see the use of social media and YouTube for coverage, but I do not see that as a priority. We need to have Indian football covered by mainstream media first then everything else follows. Otherwise the coverage will become a niche product and we want Indian football to reach more and more people.

True Face Of Indian Media: An Appeal

Let’s get into the recently-concluded London Olympics. India won almost double the number of medals than they won in the previous edition. Awards, cash prizes, government job offerings, etc. poured in from all corners for those who made our country proud. News flash on every channel – ‘XYZ wins gold/silver/bronze for India!’ It hasn’t even been a month since the London Olympics concluded, and the London Paralympics are still in progress. Do most of us know that? Do we even know what Paralympics is? Where are the athletes now? Mary Kom, mother of two, made the country proud when she won silver in the women’s boxing category. There was a huge media storm over her win. Add to this some coverage to her arrival from London and grand reception at airport by some ‘proud Indians’ (and the awards that followed too).

But where is she now? Do we even know which state she belongs to? Do we know what a mother of two beautiful twins, who is more than 30 years of age, had to go through in her life to achieve what we Indians just celebrated a mere number of days ago? ‘Like and Share if you are a true Indian’ is what was trending in most popular social networking websites
Bragging around that we are ‘true Indians’ at websites by liking and sharing photos and pages doesn’t take us to that level of patriotism at all. If we have actually done something which has made every living soul in the country proud, then we are entitled to be called a ‘true Indian’ (I strictly don’t include the modern day politicians in the list. They are involved in far more scams or scandals than the number of MMS scandal videos you would find at any premium rated xxx website).
It is true that the media is the eye of a common layman. It is through them, and only them, that a common Indian will get to know about almost everything. It is their responsibility to lead people (or mislead, which they often do) to any information or happening around the world. The monopoly of making an athlete famous overnight and making him/her disappear the other day belongs to the ‘free’ Indian media. Sorry to say, but they suck at the job of reporting when it comes to sports and athletes, cricket being the exception.
What are they doing? A prime-time show at a national news channel goes like this: “Do aliens drink cow milk? A special report!” Are you kidding me? And nowadays the ‘Ekta-Kapoor-serials-inspired’ special effects are in full use; news flashes from all corners of the screen multiple times are announced with special sound effects, of course, to add more masala to the report and terrify the audience. They make a serious news report funny and humorous. In this open letter to the Indian media I want to say – you are making a mockery of yourself just to earn a few extra TRPs.
Billions would have been proud and inspired to watch the life stories of the hard-working, dedicated, ‘lesser-known’ athletes if those stories would have been showcased instead of aliens and cow milk!


Indian Media Slam Poor Field Hockey Display

 Indian newspapers and commentators have heavily criticized the country's eight-time champion men's field hockey team after it lost five consecutive matches at the Olympic tournament, including a 3-0 defeat to Belgium in its last pool match.
"A new low for Indian hockey: Played 5, lost 5" read a front-page headline in the Hindustan Times on Wednesday. The Hindu newspaper's headline for its match report read: "National game now a national shame!"
Other newspapers and television networks were also critical of the national team, with only midfielder Sardara Singh receiving praise for his performance throughout the tournament.
India, which failed to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, plays South Africa on Saturday in the match to determine 11th place.
Former captain Dhanraj Pillay blamed field hockey officials and the coaching staff led by Australian Michael Nobbs for the poor showing.
"Overall, it has been a disaster of a performance by the Indian hockey team except for one player, Sardara Singh, who played his heart out for the country," Pillay wrote in a column in The Times of India on Tuesday.
"I don't know what our coaching staff has been doing in London. Hockey India should learn from this."
Hockey India replaced the Indian Hockey Federation as the national ruling body three years ago after the IHF was disaffiliated by world body FIH over administrative issues.
However, the now-rebel India Hockey Federation organized the World Series Hockey league earlier this year in which several former India players participated at the risk of being ignored for national selection.
Pillay, who came out of retirement to play in the WSH, blamed Hockey India officials for banning players who played in that league.
"Our selectors have dropped some of the most experienced players," the four-time Olympian wrote. "There was no competition to select the Olympic team, anyone could have walked in."
Another former player, Mohammad Shahid, said the current Olympic team did not deserve to be in London.
"They have let the whole nation down," he was quoted as saying on the front page of the Hindustan Times.
India has won eight gold medals at the Olympics, including six in succession beginning in 1928 at Amsterdam. But it has been struggling to stay competitive since synthetic turfs, not prevalent in India, were introduced in the 1970s.
But expectations were high that India, which won the last of its gold medals in the boycott-affected Moscow Olympics in 1980, would finish among the top six after it scored an 8-1 victory over France in an Olympic qualifying tournament in New Delhi.
Criticism for the hockey team came amid a rousing welcome home for badminton player Saina Nehwal and rifle shooter Gagan Narang, who both won bronze medals at London

Role Of Indian Media In Spreading Cricket

Indian cricket is very popular in sub continent. There are few countries in sub continent that are involved in cricket. Indian team is considered a balanced and powerful one to compete with any strong team of the world. People are crazy and very passionate about cricket in India. Indian cricket team has always been very strong. It got its name registered in cricket history by giving innumerable records. Indian cricket team has given many world-class batsmen, bowlers who created history. In India, if it to be said that people talk cricket, read cricket, sleep cricket and walk cricket, it will not be wrong.Indian cricket has been under tremendous pressures till now. This makes Indian cricket player tense and disturbed. We happened to see that pressures on international ground. We lost some almost winning matches due to pressures. Indian cricket has never been free from controversies. Even some controversies overshadowed world cricket. Controversies have been responsible placing ups and down in Indian cricket.Indian cricket has been influencing from media, politician and of course of their fans. These elements have stunned Indian cricket time to time. Players, coaches and selectors had to face fans aggressions. This caused them to feel agony. That led government to increase Security and safety of Indian cricket team. Indian cricket is governed by BCCI and BCCI is richest board of cricket world. It lured politician and industrialist to join board. That created tussle between board's members. It became a big issue of discussion for cricket fans. Former president of BCCI Dalmiya had to resign for bungling of fund of cricket board. Now current president is Shard Pawar.There have been foreigner coaches for Indian cricket. John Wright was first foreign coach of the Indian team and he is from New Zealand. Greg Chappell is the current coach of Indian team. Unfortunately no one is spared in Indian cricket Sourav ganguly had to go out after breaking out skirmish between him. That led to change Indian captain few years back. There can be taken few names that rose to controversy. Those ugly affairs dented the Indian cricket team.There is a very interesting part of Indian cricket is influence of media. The impact of Media over Indian cricket has been very powerful. Tiny issues or any controversy could not be sneaked away from eyes of media. Whether the matter is of off the field or on the field, media extensively covered the issues. Media influenced selection committee and the bating line up of Indian cricket team. Media captured all issues of Indian cricket with utmost priority. There is not only negative aspect that media offered but also there has been a very encouraging role of media. Indian cricket acquired highly esteemed status in India due to media's extensive coverage. This caused great popularity of cricket in India.Indian cricket manage to get corers of rupees due to ad business. Every player gets a chance to make money through ads. Sachin Tendulkar, M.S.Dhoni, V.Sehwag are ads star who seem busy in signing up ads. Indian cricket has achieved big commercial deal with ad companies. That has promoted celebrity image of cricketers. Sometimes, cricketer has to pay price for it in form of criticism if they fail to perform up to the mark. The positive aspect about Indian cricket team is that after sustaining immense pressures and ups down it achieved a lot in bringing name and fame to Indian cricket.