SPORTS TRIBUNE
 


The great debate
Sunil GavaskarAbhijit Chatterjee on Geoffery Boycott’s claim of being a better batsman than Sunil Gavaskar
They belonged to different eras. Their style of play was different. They played for different countries where the cricketing ethos was different. Then why has former England opener Geoff Boycott raked up a controversy by claiming that he was technically superior to India’s Sunil Gavaskar in the new book Sunil Gavaskar: Cricket’s Little Master?

Fit Zone
Cure for sinus
BHARAT THAKUR BHARAT THAKUR
Bacteria and viruses are in the atmosphere as well as in our bodies all the time. Yet, diseases crop up when any particular organism increases in number and causes a problem in one part of the body. The reasons could be many — a weak immune system, excessive stress, lack of rest, improper diet, or all of the above. The result is that the disease becomes strong and your body becomes weak. Beyond a point if this continues, the body becomes dysfunctional and diseased.

The name’s strong
Lance Armstrong battled cancer to finish among the top three in Tour de France this year. This remarkable survivor is undoubtedly the world’s best athlete, writes K. Datta
There can be no greater hero in sport than anyone who wins the Tour de France, the world’s toughest cycling event. To stress the point, if that is at all necessary, welcoming citizens of Madrid repeatedly sang the Spanish National anthem when this year’s winner, Alberto Contador, returned home as a reminder to tour organisers who accidentally played Denmark’s anthem at the podium ceremony.

 

 

 

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The great debate

Abhijit Chatterjee on Geoffery Boycott’s claim of being a better batsman than Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar (left) and England’s Geoffery Boycott (right) are both, undoubtedly, among the greatest players of the game. Gavaskar played the fast bowlers without enough net practice and belonged to an era when the Indian team was not that strong. Boycott played for England at a time when the English players ruled the cricketing world

They belonged to different eras. Their style of play was different. They played for different countries where the cricketing ethos was different. Then why has former England opener Geoff Boycott raked up a controversy by claiming that he was technically superior to India’s Sunil Gavaskar in the new book Sunil Gavaskar: Cricket’s Little Master?

Boycott played for England at a time when English cricket ruled the cricketing world, while Gavaskar came on the cricketing scene when Indian cricket was yet to get recognition beyond the country’s borders. Gavaskar made his Test debut in March 1971 and ended his career in March 1987, while Boycott played his first Test in 1964 and hung up his bat in 1982 after playing in a Test against India at Kolkata in January 1982.

There is probably a pattern in what Boycott has done. Nothing sells better in India than a controversy. And a cricketing controversy has the cricket follower lapping it up, no matter what the issue is.

And Geoff Boycott is no different from the various writers of modern times who have raked up controversies, both in books and in the cricketing arena. Australian John Buchanan (who probably carries a chip on his shoulders for being denied the opportunity to coach Team India) had a brief, but stormy, stint while coaching Kolkota Knight Riders in the first two seasons of the IPL.

He did try to rake up a controversy in his recent book by criticising the cricket set-up in India but the issue became a damp squib when the fans at large did not accept the bait, which his book had tended to offer.

The same seems to be the case with Geoff Boycott, who was at one time the darling of the Kolkata crowd as he backed the then India captain Saurav Ganguly to the hilt and also named him the “Prince of Kolkata”.

The only common link between Sunil Gavaskar and Boycott was the fact that both were openers. And if opening a cricket innings was all about being impregnable then Boycott would always get 10 out of 10. But cricket is not about only staying on at the crease and not scoring runs (which Boycott tended to do time and again).

Gavaskar, whose game was built around near perfect technique and enormous power of concentration, played with equal felicity off both the front foot and the back foot (as his number of centuries would testify) but statistics do not truly reflect his immense contribution to the growth of Indian cricket in an era where India were the underdogs right from the word go.

As the records show Sunil Gavaskar played more matches, scored more runs and centuries than the Yorkshire batsman. Gavaskar played 125 Tests and scored 10,122 runs (average 51.12) with 34 centuries while Boycott scored 8,114 runs from 108 games (average 47.72) with 22 centuries. In one-day cricket Gavaskar played 108 games in which he scored 3,092 runs at an average of 35.13 while Boycott appeared in 36 games, scored 1,082 runs at an average of 36.06. Gavaskar held the world record of 34 Test centuries for nearly two decades before another Indian, Sachin Tendulkar, broke the record towards the end of 2005.

The one major difference between Gavaskar and Boycott was the fact that Gavaskar had to face the best fast bowlers of the world without adequate practice at nets since in the early 1970s India did not have any fast bowler of repute. But Boycott had no such trouble since the English attack was as lethal as any.

The best compliment which the batting of Gavaskar could fetch probably has come from umpire Dicky Bird in the same book. He has put Gavaskar ahead of Boycott while naming his World XI where the other opener’s slot has gone to South Africa’s Barry Richards, who unfortunately could not exhibit his skills fully to the cricketing world due to his country’s political system.

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Fit Zone
Cure for sinus
BHARAT THAKUR

Parvatasana
Parvatasana


Bhujangasana

Bacteria and viruses are in the atmosphere as well as in our bodies all the time. Yet, diseases crop up when any particular organism increases in number and causes a problem in one part of the body. The reasons could be many — a weak immune system, excessive stress, lack of rest, improper diet, or all of the above. The result is that the disease becomes strong and your body becomes weak. Beyond a point if this continues, the body becomes dysfunctional and diseased.

Sinusitus is a problem that all of us face in our life at some point or another. Sometimes it is mild and at others it is severe. Yoga is a natural detoxification tool that helps to keep the sinus attack in check as it maintains the balance of different fluids in the body. Also, the practice of certain inverted postures helps to prevent the attack before it can gain strength.


Sarvangasana

If one feels an attack coming on, yoga can be a great way to avoid the entire attack. Most often what we try and do is pretend that nothing is wrong. We take a crocin or a painkiller to numb the sensations, and continue with our usual schedule. After two days, when the attack is full blown you have no way to fight the problem. Instead, had you caught the infection early on, you could have taken the necessary measures to make sure that the body fights it off before it gets worse. Make sure that when you are stressed or overworked or lacking in proper sleep and rest, you take time off to eat good healthy home cooked food, drink lots of fluids, and do some breathing and some simple yoga postures.

Remember that yoga is mostly preventive, so if you are already in the middle of the attack, there’s not much you can do beyond taking rest and listening to your doctor. But for those who are on the verge of an attack or those who are prone to attacks, there are a few things they can do which will ensure that they never get a sinus attack. Inverted postures are those that bring fresh blood to your head and upper body. Kapalbhati kriya is a breathing technique that helps to keep the nasal passage clear. The practice of these techniques every day will keep you free from sinusitus and many other related diseases.


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The name’s strong

Lance Armstrong battled cancer to finish among the top three in Tour de France this year. This remarkable survivor is undoubtedly the world’s best athlete, writes K. Datta

There can be no greater hero in sport than anyone who wins the Tour de France, the world’s toughest cycling event. To stress the point, if that is at all necessary, welcoming citizens of Madrid repeatedly sang the Spanish National anthem when this year’s winner, Alberto Contador, returned home as a reminder to tour organisers who accidentally played Denmark’s anthem at the podium ceremony.

But people in another part of the world thought there was also another winner of the gruelling 3,500 km race over all kinds of terrain and weather in France mountains and plains. They, too, had their own point to make.

For them, Lance Armstrong, a seven-time winner from Texas, coming back into the sport after three-and-a-half years in retirement and taking up the third spot on the podium behind Andy Schleck of Luxembourg was no less a hero. At 37, Armstrong is 11 years older than Contador.

Both Contador and Armstrong have had a brush with death. Armstrong, who would complain of pain the in groin, was found to be suffering from testicular cancer.

To know more about his long, painful fight against the dreaded disease pick up a copy of It’s Not About The Bike the next time you are at a bookstore. Contador, after complaining of headaches, was diagnosed with cerebral vascular disorder. He was back on his bike after recovering from surgery, the scars of which he still carries on his skull.

Such is the stuff champions are made of. If the relations between the two sporting heroes have less than cordial, leading to a parting of ways, it is their own business. You could call it a clash of egos. Both men rode for team Astana this year, but next time around

Armstrong will be riding for RadioShack, an electronics chain with 6000 stores and employing over 30,000 people, an arrangement he has arrived at with an eye on the money the new sponsors will be offering to his Livestrong Foundation for cancer research, a cause very dear to Armstrong’s heart and the reason he decided to return to the sport.

Now that the Tour is over, sports fans are debating who is the world’s top athlete. Making comparisons among sporting heroes is an unjust exercise. But were a popular vote undertaken to decide the greatest contemporary athlete of the world, this writer for one would not be surprised if Armstrong wins it ahead of such phenomenons as Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt.

Endurance is something that the world has admired more than speed, explosive power or skill since the Marathon was first run by a heroic Greek soldier thousands of years ago. Sport in the modern age knows of no sterner test of endurance than the Tour de France. One tends to agree with the New York Times which has compared it to running a marathon several times a week for three weeks and likened the total elevation of climbs to scaling three Everest.

Starting 1999, Armstrong has won the Tour an unbelievable seven years at a stretch, during which he was the most frequently tested cyclist for drugs, but without anybody succeeding to find him guilty. And now he has come back for an admirable podium finish at the advanced age of 37. The RadioShack contract only shows that Armstrong’s passion for cycling has not dimmed. In fact, the podium finish has rekindled it with renewed vigour. Although he will be one year older when he returns to France next year, he will remain a force to reckon with. Armstrong was 5 minutes and 24 seconds off the pace in the three-week marathon in which every second counts. He seems keen to set his own unbeatable pace next year and finish the race in the winner’s yellow jersey that his mother and four children missed seeing him wearing in Paris on July 26, 2009.

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