India might have beaten South Africa in a nail-biting match at the Eden Gardens to square the two-Test series and retain their top place in the ICC rankings, but the performance of the Indians, though praiseworthy, leaves a lot of long-term questions which the national selectors and the powers that run cricket in the country will have to address sooner than later.
The biggest question which is not being asked now that the Indians have just managed to square the series is why did India surrender so abysmally in the first game of the series at Nagpur. At the moment, all are basking in the glory of the match at the Eden Gardens, which, at one stage, was hanging by the slenderest of threads with barely nine balls to be sent down when Harbhajan Singh broke through the defence of left-handed Morne Morkel to take India to a thumping innings win. This came after Morkel had put up a 76-run stand with Hashim Amla, who not only scored centuries in both innings at Kolkata but also had a double at Nagpur.
True, in the first game at Nagpur, India were without some of their established middle-order batsmen, notably V.V.S. Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh (the last two took no part of the series after suffering injuries in a tour of Bangladesh which one thought India could well have given a miss) but the way the replacement players performed gave ample proof that India still lacks adequate bench strength in crunch situations. And it was the series against Bangladesh which would have been an ideal place to blood players like M. Vijay or S. Badrinath instead of throwing them in the deep end against a team like South Africa. Such a move (of sending second-string players to Bangladesh) would have given the top batsmen some time to rest after the tense series against Sri Lanka and also an opportunity to the fringe players to try their hand at the highest level.
At Nagpur, Tendulkar's 91st international century in the second innings, just like Virender Sehwag's 30th in the first innings, was a remarkable innings in isolation but inadequate given the fact that the Indian middle order was very thin. Once Sachin got out with India still 133 behind, it was always going to be a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’. The end came much before time with Dale Steyn completing his fourth career 10-wicket haul. And on hindsight, it must be remembered that it was Sehwag’s dismissal in the first innings which led to a collapse and saw the Indian first innings folding up at 233 in reply to the visitors total of 558 for six, which came in the face of some very insipid Indian bowling, never mind what Harbhajan Singh had to say at the end of the series at Kolkata.
But there was a complete transformation at the Eden Gardens. There were a couple of minor changes in the squad (Laxman came in place of the hapless Saha, who was used as a regular batsman instead of specialist job of stumper) and, more important, the team got to perform in front of a packed crowd even as the stadium is undergoing a major renovation for next year’s World Cup in contrast to the empty stands at Nagpur. India meant business, after all, a defeat here would have seen an end to their reign as the number one team in the world, and on the first day itself the visitors, batting first, were restricted to just 296 in their first innings after being 218 for one at one stage, an inadequate effort given the nature of the pitch. Then the Sehwag storm struck South Africa with full force as the Delhi player raced to his 13th 150-plus score. Amid the mayhem, it was easy to forget Sachin Tendulkar's 92nd international century — his fourth in four Tests. They added 249 runs for the third wicket and even when they were out, there were Laxman and Dhoni to carry on the good work to grind the South African attack into the dust on their way to individual centuries and virtually batted South Africa out of the game. Four centuries in the innings saw India piling up 643 for six declared, an effort which was enough to put the visitors against the wall.
The only problem (barring of course the weather which saw a substantial time loss on the fourth day of play) for India in their march to a win on the last day of play was the fact that after speedster Zaheer Khan pulled a muscle, they were reduced to just three frontline bowlers who had the task of taking the team to victory with the visitors on 115 for three on a rain-hit day. And once Harbhajan Singh got into the act, it was only a matter of time which nearly ran out before the Punjab spinner could wrap up the wicket of Morkel, leaving Hashim Amla stranded at the other end.
Where does Indian cricket go from here? With no Test series in the near future they should be able be retain their number one spot till at least June and after that much will depend on how Australia and South Africa, the two teams closest to India in the ICC table, play and take on other rivals. Of course, the BCCI is trying to squeeze some more Test matches in between so that India can stay on top. Why more Test series were not planned earlier is an altogether different question.
To safegaurd your health, use organic and eco-friendly colours instead of synthetic colours this Holi," states Dr Vikas Bhutani, consultant, Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital, Mohali. "The synthetic colours available in the market, including dry colours, water colours and pastes, can be hazardous to health. The hazard increases if they are used after mixing with oil, as then they easily sneak into the body systems through the skin," he adds.
Dry colours (gulaal, as they are commonly called) contain a number of toxic chemicals or heavy metals which have harmful effects on the skin. Lead is the most dangerous of all the heavy metals found in Holi colours and can affect the nervous system, kidneys and the reproductive system. Among children, it can affect the physical and mental growth and thus delay development. In case of pregnant women, it can result in premature birth, low birth weight, miscarriage or abortion. Other health hazards due to exposure to heavy metals include skin allergies, dermatitis, drying and chapping of the skin and even skin cancer, rhinitis, asthma, and pneumonia, metabolic disorders of the bones and nervous system disorders.
Gentian violet, the most widely used colour concentrate in water colours, can cause skin discoloration, dermatitis, irritation of mucous membranes and lead to keratoconjunctivitis and dark purple staining of the cornea. Holi pastes contain very toxic chemicals such as lead oxide, copper sulphate that can have severe health effects , ranging from renal failure, eye allergies and contact dermatitis to skin cancer.
"On the other hand, organic colours are very safe and can easily be made at home," says the doctor. Giving examples, he says, "You can use haldi mixed with flour for dry yellow colour, boiled and soaked petals of pomegranate again for yellow colour, beetroot pieces soaked in water for magenta colour, petals of flowers of semul/tesu for saffron colour, lime mixed with haldi for a deep red colour and henna powder mixed with flour for mehndi colour".
w Don’t throw colour on sensitive parts of each other’s bodies, such as the eyes. However, if a colour comes in contact with the eye, one should immediately wash it with a lot of `A0water and in case irritation persists, medical aid should be sought immediately.
w Don’t apply oil all over the body before playing Holi, as it eases the penetration of colours into the body.
w Use a hat or a cap to protect your hair from being colored with hard-to-rinse dyes.
w Use dental caps to protect your teeth from staining.
w Use sunglasses to protect your eyes from the harmful chemicals of the Holi colours.
w Wear full-sleeved T-shirts or shirts and leggings that cover your legs fully to protect your skin from the harmful effects of colours.
w Try to save yourself from all possible attacks on the face. In case such attempts fail, keep your eyes and lips tightly shut if you are coloured on your face.
w Keep the car windows thoroughly shut in case you have to move out. Better still; avoid travelling on Dhulendi, the day of playing colours.
w Stay away from a`A0frenzied group or mob if you take to the streets. — TNS
Holi reminds us of pakoras, kachoris, samosas and bhajis, not to forget the sweets and drinks. The thandai slowly gives you a mild high. The sweet snack gujjia is quite popular and the other Holi favourites are aloo chat, dahi bhalla, papri, jaljeera, kanji vade, kesar chawal, and vegetable pakoras. When one traces the history, the reasons for the popularity of these snacks are their high satiety value, non-perishable nature, the colour they add to Holi and the welcome they offer to the spring season.
Not only that, as Holi is celebrated from the beginning of the day till the fading of afternoon, it becomes essential to pre-cook these snacks and make do for the breakfast, lunch and evening tea, all clubbed into one. As Holi marks the end of winter, these calorie -rich snacks also get set for hibernation and what best to do before bidding adieu to them than eating to one’s hearts content on this colorful and joyful festival. But here are some tips to keep the calories in check:
w Drink lots of water so that all the toxins which may be caused because of the high intake of oily foods are flushed away .
w Drink plenty of fresh lime / coconut water prior to playing Holi, in order to avoid any dehydration. Eat in moderation to avoid any stomach upsets.
w All those individuals who are hypertensive, diabetic or are suffering from any other medical condition have to be careful about the quantity of these foods and should not miss the prescribed medication for the day as well.
— The writer is with the VLCC
The moment we have a headache, the most common thing to do is to pop a pill to relieve it. While medicines provide good relief from pain, few people realise how they add chemicals to our body that interfere with natural health. A pain reliever can only stop the symptoms, but yoga can completely free you from headaches.
Headache is a common occurrence for a number of people and is caused by a number of factors. In the majority of cases, the common headache is caused by tense neck muscles, which could be a result of stress or strain. Although a number of prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines are available to ease headaches, it is important to create a lifestyle change to reduce their occurrence. Yoga is one of the best changes that you can make in your life which will inevitably relieve headaches.
Certain yoga postures help to alleviate tension in the neck and shoulders, which, in turn, increases blood circulation to the head, reducing headaches. The breathing techniques that are taught along with the postures, when practised in a calm atmosphere, can go a long way in eliminating your tension-related headaches. Pain relievers temporarily help with headaches, but they cannot prevent them from occurring. Yoga, however, leads to a decrease in the intensity as well as the frequency of headaches.
It is important to incorporate a series of asanas, pranayama and meditation along with a healthy diet to your day-to-day regime in order to reap the maximum benefit. The following are the asanas to get rid of headaches:
w Nadi shodhana pranayam
w Ardha matsyendrasana