Tonali: ‘I’m more of a Jorginho’

first_imgSandro Tonali admits he is “more of a Jorginho” at Brescia, but can adjust his style to play alongside the Chelsea man for Italy. The 19-year-old was given his first start in the Azzurri jersey during a 3-0 Euro 2020 qualifying victory away to Bosnia and Herzegovina. “I am happy with how we all played. I’m glad that I got through the emotion of my first Italy start and am enjoying all of it,” the Brescia youngster told Rai Sport. He was drafted in from the Under-21 squad to replace injured Paris Saint-Germain star Marco Verratti, playing in a 4-3-3 with Jorginho and Nicolò Barella. “This can also be my role. I am more of a Jorginho at club level, let’s say, but it’s not that different, so I have no real problems playing wider in a midfield three. “I’ll give my all every week for the club, then the decisions the coach makes are up to him. I’m there and will give my best.” Italy set a new all-time record with their 10th consecutive win and guaranteed themselves top seed status in the Euro 2020 final tournament draw. They can complete the 100 per cent record in this group when hosting Armenia at the Stadio Barbera on Monday. “We believed in ourselves. Wins help you to win and we got a 3-0 result away to a tough side like Bosnia, but we won’t take our foot off the gas ahead of the final game in Palermo.” Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/last_img read more

Rule flout on sports triggers a warning

first_imgColleges planning to conduct trials on their own in defiance of Delhi University (DU)’ s new sports quota rule may not have their way after all.University vice-chancellor Deepak Pental on Friday made it clear that any admission done through individual college trials will be as considered “illegal”. ” We will not recognise these (admissions) as valid and it’s the students who’ll bear the brunt.So it’s my request to colleges that they should not trouble applicants unnecessarily and adhere to the new rule,” Pental told Mail Today . The vice-chancellor also expressed doubt whether such candidates will at all be allowed to represent DU in inter-university events. “The university should have some say in the admission process. They will represent us at events after all,” he added.This year, DU changed the admission criteria under sports quota to quite an extent. Unlike previous years, the sports trials this time will be conducted centrally for all colleges.In other words, there will be a common calendar for trials unlike in the past when trial dates of different colleges used to coincide and cause inconvenience to students.Once the trial scores are tabulated, they will be sent back to the respective colleges (which had initially forwarded names of candidates eligible for the trials based on their achievement/ merit certificates), which will admit students on the basis of these scores.Unhappy over the way in which this decision was taken (see box), the physical education teachers along with colleges are locked in a pitched battle with the university.advertisementOn Friday, St Stephen’s College started conducting its own trials in the Mori Gate grounds.Simultaneously, teachers of other colleges announced their decision to dissociate themselves from the sports admission process this year.St Stephen’s, in fact, went ahead with its decision to keep away from the central trials without intimating the university.”The university’s decision and trial schedule came after I had already announced our own datesheet. I cannot go back on my announcement and no, I haven’t informed them (university) of our decision,” said Valson Thampu, principal, St Stephen’s College.Jesus and Mary College, too, will follow in Stephen’s footsteps.Zakir Husain College (day) has decided to conduct its own set of trials, but after the central ones are over.”Once the university sends the trial scores back to us, we will have our own trials to select the final candidates. I don’t think the vice- chancellor or the sports council will have any problem with this as we will consider their scores as well,” said Aslam Parvaiz, principal, Zakir Husain College ( day).S. K. Vij, dean, students’ welfare, however, denied there was any such provision in the new rule. “If this is what the college will do ultimately then what is the point of us conducting trials then,” he said.last_img read more

Show him you care!

first_imgTo the most important man in my lifeMy father just finished writing a book in Bengali. Since he is not keen on translating it in English but wouldn’t have minded an English version, I offered my services as a translator, knowing that the book is very dear to him and if translated by a professional translator, the finer nuances of the book might be lost in translation. So, my gift to him is patience and time – I will listen to his demands (endless!) for the English version, stay calm through the repeated calls that’ll be made and gift the translated manuscript to him! Here’s another gift that works for him (and for me!): He likes his drinks and is a connoisseur of wine, so I often pick up Cabernet Sauvignon for him when he is visiting my sister and me in Delhi. Then we spend the evening together, having wine and nibbling at cheese, olives and crackers and chatting. We also play the music of his choice. He feels pampered at such times, with both his daughters taking time out for him. – Aparajita Mukherjee Dads just refuse to indulge themselves, simply because they’ve always been so involved in “providing” for their children. I’ve seen my father struggling with his old camera – the flash wouldn’t work, or the photographs, when they finally came, would have a strange dark shadow. So on his last birthday, just before an impending trip to Leh, my sister and I got him a digital camera. He was overjoyed and couldn’t stop clicking throughout the trip. He continues to boast that his daughters gifted him “special moments”, which makes us feel really good in turn! Think a little – your Dad may already have a cellphone but may have a secret fetish for a fancy new model; or he may be fascinated by your son’s iPod? these are signals for you to pick up. On Father’s Day, drive him to a shop that he would be comfortable in and insist he pick up what he likes. Last year, I took my dad shopping and he picked three shirts and was overjoyed! – Neharika MathurFor the “pest” you loveWhat do you give a brother who has everything? Especially if he loves collecting watches, pens and art? If I stretch my budget, I can indulge my elder brother Ajit with a really special gift – something he’s had an eye on for a while, a Baume & Mercier watch from the Riviera collection for men. It’ll set me back by a cool Rs 90,000 but the look on his face would be worth it! Ajit is car-obsessed: Not only does he drive a mean machine himself, he knows the year and make of nearly every automobile that’s been rolled out since the 1960s. To fuel his obsession, I would love to gift him a two-year subscription to either Top Gear or AutoCar magazine – both of which he tends to pick up on his weekend market runs. But the icing on the cake would be season tickets to the Formula One Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi (UAE). Every week, Ajit dutifully watches his speeding heroes burn the racing tracks around the world. It’s been his greatest wish to watch F1 live, so what better present than a three-day pass to the Yas Marina circuit (around Rs 31,500 ), booked online from India. My brother’s also always loved animals; in fact, his favourite television channels (when he’s not watching golf or F1) are National Geographic and Discovery. He’s been to safaris in Africa, as well as Ranthambore, Corbett and the jungles of Assam and Kerala. What he really needs is a good pair of binoculars to catch his favourite fauna up close. Pentax and Nikon have some good models (around Rs 5,000). In fact, not only does Ajit enjoy watching animals, he also enjoys shooting them, and no, this doesn’t involve any bullets. Ajit’s a keen photographer, so I’d like to nudge him to enter a photography contest (either an online one, or one in Photography magazine). I’d also persuade him to hold a photo exhibition (he’s particularly good with portraits) in a cosy gallery (the India Habitat Centre, Delhi, has a couple of nice exhibition areas), with a wine and cheese party. – Priya Kumari RanaMy brother Pierre, loves to travel and he is fortunate that his job requires him to visit some really interesting and fun places all year round. While out shopping with friends one afternoon, I came across this nice black, casual jacket in a store. At first it just seemed like any other jacket, but on closer inspection I found it had an inner fleece layer that could be detached from the top, depending on how cold the climate was. It also had huge pockets that would come in handy whilst travelling. My brother loved it and has used it on all his travels abroad in winter, ever since. What makes a gift special and valuable is the thought and the consideration that goes behind it, not the price tag attached. Something else he really treasures is my handmade card with a letter inside for his 18th birthday, when he was away from home, at his first year in university. He still has it and treasures it for the “cute” gesture (or so he says!). – Vanessa FitterMy son, my friend (almost)A gift for my teenage son? I’ve decided to give him Patient & Logical Responses for his teenage years. I think he appreciates it. For example, he wanted a tattoo on his forearm. My first instinct was to recoil in horror. But then I kept quiet and thought it over. A tattoo is not on the lines of irresponsible sex and alcohol abuse, which should I get to know of, I’ll have to clam down on violently. Also, I wanted to show appreciation for the fact that he didn’t just go and get the tattoo, but asked me first. After a day, I told him that I’m okay with it, but with a few (rational) conditions: I would check out the clinic for hygiene purposes personally; we’d choose the tattoo together because it has to be on a budget; and I needed him to think through once more – the tattoo would be with him for life. He agreed. He’s got his tattoo and I don’t have a battle at hand? So here the principle becomes the gift. (I hope to “continue” this gift for the next few years, in part to make him happy, but also to ensure my own peace of mind.) – Manjira DuttaA spouse for all seasonsMy husband is not a man of indulgences; so deciding on a gift for him is a tough one. Some years ago, after much thought, I hit upon an idea and decided to action it. Had I checked with him, he would have been outraged and refused because he doesn’t like doing anything “unconventional” – and for him a holiday by himself, without family, would be unthinkable, even though he enjoys being by himself, and doesn’t feel the need to talk and discuss everything and anything always, as I do! I booked him for a weekend – one night at a hotel in Rishikesh, near the Ganga, with its own stretch of beach; and another night at Ananda in the Himalayas, the wellness resort. He went with some reluctance but had a wonderful time, just being by himself and came back totally delighted! I think it’s a good idea to spend some time thinking hard on what the person would really like, even though he or she may never ever do it for themselves. Sometimes you have to force the “gift”. Do it but take a little care not to go wrong. A friend once bought a new flat for her parents and thought they would be over the moon as it was much better than the house they were living in. The elderly couple appreciated her effort but, as they confided in her friend, would have been happier in the old house with their friends, family and familiar vendors around them… Kindness, like gifting, has to work for the person who receives it, not vice versa. – Manjira DuttaThoughtfulness for an in-lawMy husband and I teamed up with his brother and wife to purchase a medical policy when my father-in-law retired. It was a lumpsum amount that provided coverage for him and my mother-in-law. Apart from hospitalisation, it includes the purchase of daily medicines as well. My in-laws find it a boon, and we feel good about the fact that we’ve taken care of such a major expense for them at a time when they have to manage the house on a pension. You can check for such schemes with any insurance company?For in-laws, the other good thing is to try a hobby-related gift. If he’s fond of yoga, gift him a set of instrumental music CDs (adding a mat can be a nice touch). If he’s into gardening, get him a set of implements, some seeds, saplings and a few pots? – Madhu Rai & Neharika MathurMy nephew, my “son”My 12-year-old nephew Karnavir, like a lot of boys his age, loves computer games. His mother gifted him a PlayStation Portable (PSP) last year – a handheld video game console with a built-in web browser. To satisfy his ever-growing appetite for games, I would gift him the latest FIFA World Cup Football 2010 game, Guitar Hits, Buzz! Brain Bender or Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (each game costs around Rs 1,000-1,500). If I’m feeling extra generous on his milestone birthday (his upcoming 13th, the first year of his “teen” years), I’ll encourage him to excel in his chosen sport, golf, by presenting him with a brand-new golf set (split with his parents, total cost Rs 70,000).But all said and done, golf is an expensive game; a cheaper option is to give him a Wilson K-Factor tennis racket, which costs around Rs 9,000. And if I’m feeling broke, but big on ideas, I’ll encourage him in the way only an aunt can: I’ll give him a good book to read, to improve his vocabulary and writing skills! I particularly like tomes from the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony or Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox). But ours is a land rich with stories and excellent storytellers. So maybe I’ll present him with the Malgudi Days collection of stories by RK Narayan or Tales from the Panchatantra, that are cheeky and fun. Since he loves sketching, simple paints and brushes make for a great gift as well! – Priya K RanaIdentify desiresDr Rachna Singh, a psychologist and lifestyle management expert, talks about how a woman can gift happiness to the man in her life?Gifting happiness begins with identifying that relationships are special and need you to pay attention to small details. Says Dr Singh, ‘Give priority to the man in your life – make him feel all-important. Always make your father/husband/brother feel that they are cherished. Men are supposed to be the more practical sex, less in need of emotional gratification. This perception results in our not paying enough attention to their smaller needs. Think about it – we tend to pore in great detail over what to gift our mothers; when it comes to our fathers, we just pick up from the stock gift ideas – a pen, a shirt, a kurta or a scotch bottle. Be creative and caring in your thought. Look away from their “provider” act and figure out what it is that they want or need. They don’t show their desire to be cherished or pampered but may need it all the same. As a gift to your favourite man, add value to his life.’While the softer side of the man should be explored, don’t go overboard with “soppy” gifts. Their way of being pampered is different from that of a woman. So while a candy box might not be an appropriate gift for your husband or your brother, a ticket to a cricket match and the box makes for a great gesture! A Father’s Day card, proclaiming that you love your father, is not the only way to tell your dad that he is important. Drive him to a spa and get him a head or body massage. Use the gift of perception (that comes naturally to women) to identify what he desires.’- As told to Aparajita Mukherjeeadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementlast_img read more

CWG organisers finally name caterers

first_imgAfter months of delay and a controversial cancelling of bids, the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee today awarded contracts for the catering services to four different companies, asserting that the lowest bidders have clinched the deal.”The catering for the lounges has been divided into total of eight clusters. Two clusters have been awarded to Graviss Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. for Rs 5.94 crore, while IRCTC has got the contract for Rs 1.70 crore for one cluster and remaining five have been awarded to Seven Seas Pvt. Ltd. for Rs 6.29 crore,” the OC said in a statement.”Food packets for Organising Committee workforce, volunteers and security personnel will be taken care of by AFP Manufacturing Pvt. Ltd. at a cost of Rs 8.75 crores,” it added.For the 17 venues divided into clusters for catering contracts, seven firms, including a few of Delhi’s fast food outlets had submitted their bids.The tendering process had suffered delays in the past two months after the OC cancelled the bids that it had received earlier to reissue the tender for better rates.The OC said it has also roped in a firm to oversee the quality of food at the venues.”To ensure high quality and hygiene, the Organising Committee has proactively engaged TQS Global Manufacturing Systems and TUVSUD, South Asia for Food Safety and Audit.”The firm will supervise and ensure safety audit checks for the entire food, production and distribution process including the kitchen distribution mechanism. This contract was worth Rs 88.24 lakh,” the OC statement said.”All the catering contracts have been awarded to the lowest bidder in respective categories,” the OC insisted.advertisementThe catering for the Games Village has already been awarded to an Australian firm Delaware North, which has the Taj SATS as its consortium partner.”The kitchen at the Village is under installation and will be functional by the first week of September,” the OC said.last_img read more

The golf play

first_imgCourses to suit every golfer at Mission Hills-HainanThe Chinese have a penchant for the grandiose. But there’s nothing ostentatious or pompous about Mission Hills’ new golf resort in Hainan, though it is a testament to the equally legendary Chinese efficiency.Its genesis is the now typical China success story: 5,000 acres,Courses to suit every golfer at Mission Hills-HainanThe Chinese have a penchant for the grandiose. But there’s nothing ostentatious or pompous about Mission Hills’ new golf resort in Hainan, though it is a testament to the equally legendary Chinese efficiency.Its genesis is the now typical China success story: 5,000 acres of land, roughly the size of Hong Kong, savaged by half a century of stone quarrying and blanketed by lava rock, transformed in a mere matter of 18 months into a worldclass property with as many as ten golf courses, a five-star hotel, several clubhouses, even a spa.How do they do it? “We have many hands in China,” says Dr. Ken Chu, Vice Chairman of Mission Hills, with a grin. Chu knows what he’s talking about. Mission Hills is the biggest developer of golf courses in China, and the jewel-inthe-crown resort at Shenzhen, on the mainland, is home to a staggering 27 courses built by Jack Nicklaus, Ernie Els, Nick Faldo and Greg Norman, amongst other celebrated players-turned-designers.The enthusiastic team on the greens greet golfers with a cheerThe city of Haikou seems an obscure place for a project of this magnitude till you consider the relative proximity to Taiwan and Korea, both nations besotted by golf. “It’s not just the Koreans and the Japanese, although they do constitute the majority of our visitors. We’ve started getting visitors from Europe and even the United States,” he says.It doesn’t take long to figure out why the resort registers almost 800 rounds a day. The top-notch Blackstone course, spread over 350 acres is a serious championship layout, comparable to the best courses in Asia. It’s obvious, even at first glance, that the course, with its natural amphitheater green settings, has been designed with significant numbers of spectators in mind. It’s by no means a walk in the park as far as players are concerned. The difficult greens and serious length, a full 7,800 yards from the tips, mean that the more forgiving white tees are the only option for the mid- or high-handicapper.advertisementHainan has a dramatic volcanic landscape and the course designers, the Arizona-based firm of Schmidt-Curley Golf Design, have attempted to incorporate the inherent character of the dramatic rock into the courses. It’s probably the only common thread linking otherwise very diverse designs. “As the volcanic rock was so prominent, it just made sense, from both an aesthetic and economic standpoints, to weave it into each golf course to varying degrees,” explains Brian Curley.The lobby of the hotel at Mission Hills-Haina reflects the pared down, contemporary aesthetic of the propertyThe courses are very distinct in all other aspects. “This project is a celebration of my appreciation for golf’s great history and the many genres of courses found around the world,” Curley says.Sandbelt Trails is inspired by Australia’s Sandbelt courses, and is highlighted by large, distinctive bunkers and eucalyptus trees, while The Preserve is a user-friendly course with a more modern feel. Another striking configuration is The Vintage, which is fashioned after turn of the (20th) century courses with a natural undisturbed terrain. Wicker tee markers and wicker baskets for pins add to the old-world authenticity. “The oldest course in China is a new course in Haikou,” is Curley’s take on The Vintage.Lava Fields at 7,400 yards is no pushover either. The course gets especially tricky, especially when the wind picks up. Compared to Blackstone, there is hardly any tree cover, and the feel of big open spaces is exaggerated. The first hole is a mammoth 585-yard, par 4 which affords great views of the Haikou skyline. It’s a good time to get used to practicing a lay up on a par 4. Rest assured, you’ll end up doing that quite a few times on this new and somewhat tricky course.There is hardly any tree cover on the course and the first course affrods great views of the city skylineAfter you’re done with the day’s golf it’s a good idea to head to the colossal spa for a traditional Chinese massage. Mission Hills-Hainan is certainly a complete package. It’s not likely, thought, to catch up with Thailand as the preferred golfing destination for Indian players for a while. There are no direct flights from India to Hainan and the trip via Hong Kong or Bangkok takes close to 12 hours.Language can become another issue, especially if you want to step out of the Mission Hills premises and explore Haikou. The neighbouring city of Sanya with its sun-kissed beaches and gamut of water sports is an good getaway from a frustrating day on the greens. If you’re an inveterate golfer, simply the surfeit of courses within golf-cart riding distance is heady stuff. For the sheer variety and convenience, Mission Hills-Hainan is in a league of its own in Asia.advertisement Navigating the coursesBlackstone: A genuine championship layout spread over 350 acres interspersed with lakes and wetlands. 18 holes, 7,800 yards, par 72.Sandbelt Trails: Fashioned after the courses of the Australian Sandbelt region, this course features large bunkers and eucalyptus trees. 18 holes, 7,325 yards, par 72.The Vintage: Wicker baskets for pins and wicker tee markers are just a few of the features which give this course a decidedly vintage character. 18 holes, 7,363 yards, par 72.Stepping Stone: A pretty pitch-and-putt course. 18 (par 3) holes, par 54.Lava Fields: Similar to Blackstone; a long and intimidating championship layout. 18 holes, 7,400 yards, par 72.Meadow Links: Modelled after traditional US Open courses (of the eastern United States), this layout has ‘church pew’ bunkers and large greens. 18 holes, par 72.The Preserve: Beautiful landscaping and an abundance of palms trees and flowering shrubs make this one of the most scenic layouts. 18 holes, par 72.Double Pin: An interesting innovation of two pin options to play to every hole on this par-3 course makes for a unique experience. 18 (par 3), par 54.Stone Quarry: A tribute by the Schmidt-Curley team to their mentor, Pete Dye. 18 holes, par 72.Shadow Dunes: A short course with the biggest greens out of the 10 courses. 18 holes, 6,600 yards.last_img read more

100th ton: Sachin Tendulkar picks Duncan Fletcher’s brains

first_imgThere is a fine line between having your sights set on a goal and having a blinkered vision. That’s not to say Sachin Tendulkar doesn’t know what he is doing. But the wait for his 100th international century has stretched to nearly one year now and the persistent bombardment of pleas, prayers, wishes and the occasional jibe might have begun to cloud his vision.At times like these, a frank assessment is possibly the best remedy. Nudging the genius and pointing out something that might be obvious to the observer is a job that just had to be done.On Friday at the ‘Gabba, India coach Duncan Fletcher took Tendulkar next to the square and talked to him for half an hour.There were no batting diktats, pointers on how to duck a bouncer or fine-tuning of the elbow position. Just a simply chat between two members of the Indian contingent, with one attempting to know what is churning in the mind of the other.As the rest of the Indian team was immersed in fielding practice at the boundary ropes, the two had their little therapy session oblivious to what was being attempted in the fielding drills or in the following game of football.It can’t be easy for Tendulkar to talk about it. That the two talked for so long, it is certain they didn’t discuss the curtain shades at their homes. It seems there is a level of acceptance on Tendulkar’s part to seek help.At this stage of his career, the 38-year-old wouldn’t gain much from any ‘intervention’. However, if there is one person with who a player can discuss any part of his game with total faith in the ability of the listener, it is Fletcher.advertisementEven when the Indian Test batting kept failing miserably, most Indian players only had good words for Fletcher, deeply appreciating his knowledge of the game and unique yet insightful views.The Australian tour began with two words played in a trance-inducing loop – Sachin’s 100. As its effects started to wear off in the absence of the triple figure score, the focus shifted completely to the disastrous showing of the Indian team.And now that the Indians have given a fairly good account of themselves in the triseries so far, Tendulkar, it seems, has been given a chance to actually think of his game.That he doesn’t have worry about the team’s performance, which has been good enough for some time, would be a huge relief as Tendulkar would be spared the sight of a team in despair and the Rs 100′ monkey still on his back.Irfan walks extra mileWhile the Indian squad had a jolly time on a cool Brisbane afternoon, going through the fielding routines, one member of the Indian squad was more than eager to make each minute on the field count.Irfan Pathan did the needful in the field and after the session wound up, the Baroda pacer again went out and bowled a fairly long spell on the practice area.The light began to fade rapidly and when coach Fletcher came out to check if everyone was back in the dressing room to leave, the left-armer was still putting himself through the paces.last_img read more

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is too smart for his own good

first_imgIf any doubts remained about the state of Indian cricket after the 0-4 whitewash in the Test series against Australia, they have been set to rest by the failure of the Indians to make it to the final of the one-day tri-series. While a distinct pattern emerges from the performance of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team in the two formats of the game in the tour Down Under, there is yet a need to distinguish the showing in the one-dayers from the debacle in the Test matches earlier.Policy One, the quality of the performance in the one-dayers has not been of the abysmal kind we saw in the Tests.Two, while the Test matches led to serious questions being raised about the batting superstars of yesterday, the issue had less relevance for the one-day team since it was a largely young side that India fielded, with Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag being the only players who belonged to the old order. The fact that this young side was found wanting, with our batting prospects of tomorrow – if one were to exclude Virat Kohli who has been the find of the tour – failing to adapt to the Australian conditions, raises a question mark over the team’s future prospects.Three, the manner in which the team management handled the tri-series may well have played a good deal of role in the eventual outcome.That some tendency to find scapegoats had been at work as far as the discourse on aging superstars during the Test series was concerned became clear when a new set of ‘veterans’ – Gautam Gambhir (30 years old) and Virender Sehwag (33), besides Sachin Tendulkar – became the centre of debate during the one-dayers. In Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s schema, playing together the three, who were slow on the field, would have entailed the batsmen having to score 20 extra runs. So without playing a single match, without giving the team a fair chance the management went in for a rotation policy.advertisementMind you it was this very team that had won the World Cup last year. With the one-dayers being a different format altogether, the team management ought to have wiped the slate clean after the whitewash in the Test series, stuck to the basics and pushed the team’s strengths.But it seems that the criticism that Dhoni received after eight successive losses in overseas Test matches had played on his mind in negative ways, giving rise to a personal agenda of sorts. We had a glimpse of it earlier when on the eve of the vital Perth Test, he strangely talked about quitting the longer format of the game. Speculation has been rife about his rift with Sehwag for long but a captain that thought positively would have taken care to keep his flock together and put his best eleven on the field. By going in for a rotation policy he may just have come in the way of the team, especially the opening combination, finding its rhythm. It was forgotten that this was not the first time that the Indians, never known to be the sharpest of fielders, were going to play on the big fields of Australia. Why, they even won the tri-series the last time they toured Down Under.Alternative Dhoni only compounded matters by going public on the issue. Having the team atmosphere vitiated was the last thing the Indians needed at a time when the focus should have been on doing well in the tournament. The Indians had in fact not done badly in the first half of the tri- series, having won two and tied one out of the first four matches. Significantly, if Sehwag is to be believed, the veterans had been given a different explanation for the rotation policy, with building a team for the 2015 World Cup to be held in Australia cited as its aim.Rotation or no rotation, Dhoni was not under any obligation to play Tendulkar, Sehwag and Gambhir in all matches. Sehwag had been an underperformer in the Test series and after a couple of poor showings in the one-dayers he could have been rested. But resting Sehwag or for that matter Tendulkar should have happened on the basis of their batting performance. This approach would have also helped avoid the bizarre scenario of a Gambhir who had got two 90s having to sit out for one of the matches.Tendulkar The debate over whether Tendulkar should continue playing ODIs provides a good example of how Indians approach their cricket, seeing it as less of a team sport and more about individual performances. When the tour Down Under began, all attention seemed to be on Tendulkar getting his 100th ton. It even seemed as if the 100th century was more important than the team’s prospects. With Tendulkar having failed to oblige, the same instinct was at work again in the form of calls for his exit from the shorter version of the game. It seemed to have become irrelevant that Tendulkar’s poor showing, though significant, was part of the larger failure of the Indian batting line- up which saw no one, barring Kohli, Dhoni and Gambhir, even manage an average of 30.advertisementAlso overlooked was the fact that Tendulkar has, by choice, largely stayed away from the one-day format in recent times – of the 61 one-dayers India has played since March 1, 2010, he has featured in just 18. Keeping in mind the thrashing the Indians got in the Test series it was in fact good that Tendulkar made himself available for the one-dayers. It is another thing that with his presence failing to yield any dividends for the team and his biological clock touching 39 in April, he now needs to take a call on his future.But Tendulkar’s future is surely not the most important issue facing the Indian team in the one- day format, as is being made out. The real challenge arises from the poor account that the Rohit Sharmas, Suresh Rainas and Ravindra Jadejas gave of themselves in Australia, players who are supposed to be the flag-bearers of India’s cricketing future.devbrat. chaudhary@ mailtoday. inlast_img read more