|SPORTS & WELLNESS|
Where is M. S. Dhoni
going wrong and why?
M. S. Dhoni going wrong and why?
So, everyone remembers India’s loss to South Africa in the World Cup. Ashish Nehra bowling the last over, a gamble gone horribly wrong, a batting collapse that made it look like the Men in Blue had been hit by a tsunami on the field. Poor out-field work to dropped catches: almost everything that could go wrong, ultimately did. It was one of those days that people don’t forget in a rush, and they shouldn’t. On the flip side, it is equally important that the team doesn’t dwell too much on the loss. There is a match against the West Indies still to win and, if possible, three matches after that.
But still, with opinions flowing in by the minute, where exactly did Team India go wrong? How has suddenly Captain Cool started looking too cold for the ambitions and dreams of a billion people?
For starters, while M. S. Dhoni does get the blame for asking Nehra to bowl the crucial last over, it was just a spontaneous decision, and like it happens at times in sport, it backfired. But then, it is easy to recall how he made Piyush Chawla bowl the penultimate over against England. The over, finally, cost India a point.`A0
How and why is Dhoni making such ridiculous decisions? Well, he is not. What he did has all along been the trademark of his captaincy.
For reference, just turn back to the 2007 T20 World Cup. The India-Pakistan final, last over, crunch time, and Dhoni brings on Joginder Sharma. The rest is history, but at that time, surely not many had been delighted by ‘Dhoni the gambler’. So, while it was a mistake, one cannot say that Dhoni has suddenly gone crazy with on-field decisions. This has been his style all along.
Then, the BIG one: the batting collapse. Nine wickets for 29 runs is probably more rare than witnessing a full solar eclipse. While it was really as ridiculous as people are making it out to be, still 296 is not a meagre total. It’s almost run-a-ball for the opposition from the word go, and the bowlers should back themselves to defend such scores. But then why is Dhoni to be blamed for the batting folly? There are a couple of very sound reasons actually.
Firstly, why on earth was Yusuf Pathan sent above Yuvraj Singh? While Yusuf is a destructive batsman, can any bowler guarantee that he will contain Yuvraj? Especially, when the Chandigarh lad is hitting form, and had three back-to-back half-centuries going into the South Africa game. He might not be as big a maverick as Yusuf, but his ability to handle pace with consummate ease makes him a far better bet in a batting power play against the likes of Steyn, Morkel and Kallis.
Secondly, what has happened to MSD, the batsman? The man who was known for the lusty, unconventional hitting style, where has he disappeared? The Indian middle order, if you take out Yuvraj Singh, really lacks a consistent power hitter. Gautam Gambhir is a class act, but not as destructive, Virat Kohli always takes his time to get into his stride, and is again not too big on the big shots and Yusuf is way too erratic to be considered a defining factor. That leaves a gaping hole in the middle order, when the fireworks are really required. Something that was all too evident as India made a complete hash of the batting power play against South Africa.
Dhoni batted with what seemed like a ‘middle-overs mentality’, bringing guys like Nehra on strike to Steyn and Co. It made little or no sense why he was not hungry for the strike, and why he was not trying to get the big shots in with just the tail left to bat with and just about seven overs to bat. Did he really think Nehra or Munaf could pull off something he couldn’t?
While he still averages more than 30 in the past one year, his batting style has definitely seen a drastic change. He isn’t getting any prettier to look at as a batsman, rather there is a sense of monotony about the way he has been batting. It really should be left to guys like Kohli and Gambhir to drop in the anchor and Dhoni should be throwing caution to the winds. India need it, and they need it during the World Cup more than anything else.
While the bowling is a definite area of concern, there wasn’t too much wrong with the performance against South Africa, except the last over, of course. Zaheer was splendid, and totally accurate. Munaf kept his line and length composed and Harbhajan was miserly, too. Even Yuvraj filling in the overs is doing a fine job, with whatever help he gets from Yusuf. Nehra was the weak link, and was painfully exposed against the Proteas.
While Chawla is not the answer to the puzzle, neither is R Ashwin. So much has been said about how he should be played, he cannot be expected to fix it all by himself. But not playing Ashwin at all has definitely put Dhoni in a spot. His reasoning for keeping him out, too, has barely made sense. The fact that the team cannot fit in two off-spinners finds little backing as Dhoni, who captains Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, has played Muralitharan and Ashwin in the same side time and again. In fact, Ashwin has opened the bowling in the IPL against the likes of David Warner, Dilshan and Sehwag. If he can hold his own in the slam-bang version, what is keeping him out here is what is baffling.
There is little time, and little scope to fix everything as India take on the West Indies, a game they are favourites to win. But going by the trend this team has been showing, let’s just hope they are not planning to surprise us again. A tied game, and a nail-biting last-over finish have given us enough edge-of-the-seat moments, now the fans might just want an old-fashioned 80-run or 7-wicket win.
Come March, one is thankfully out of the restrictive winter season. Spring is in the air and so are the exams. As if it isn’t bad enough to be indoors in this wonderful season, the poor youngsters also have to deal with staying up till unearthly hours, with the additional burden of anxiety about results. Alas, there is no magic wand to cope with this stress, so if you want to supercharge your brain, just eat the right foods.
Let us first look at the various nutrients that help in keeping the brain active and reducing anxiety to a great extent.
Vitamins: Vitamins are essential for a healthy body and brain. They help feed the brain and keep it active. Vitamins B such as folic acid, B12 and B6 play an important role in the functioning of the brain. While they are vital for the normal brain function, they play an important role in preventing depression and anxiety. Rich sources of folic acid are wheat germ, spinach, broccoli, soya bean and eggs. Vitamin B6 is found abundantly in bananas, potatoes with skin, brewer’s yeast, and lentils. Significant dietary sources of Vit B12 are meat, chicken, seafood, eggs and milk and milk products.
Fats: Fats are never associated with good health. One is always advised to avoid excess fatty and deep fried foods. But there are some fats which are essential for good health. One of them is omega-3 fatty acid. About 40 per cent of the brain is covered in a component called DHA that is found in omega-3 fatty acids. Fats help the little messengers in the brain regulate certain aspects of the body such as blood circulation, memory and the immune system. For full performance of the brain, omega-3 fatty acids are vital and should be included in your meals, especially before an exam. Fish like salmon, tuna are rich sources of omega3 fats but even the locally available varieties are good enough. Vegetarians could opt for soybeans, tofu, flaxseeds plus nuts like walnuts and almonds.
Carbohydrates: Eating the right carbohydrates before an exam may help you feel more relaxed and less anxious. Carbohydrates help absorb tryptophan, which is a substance that is converted into serotonin within the brain. Once the carbohydrates are consumed, and the serotonin levels rise, a person may be able to think clearer for several hours. Eating a well-balanced diet that includes complex carbohydrates from whole grains and vegetables may help lessen confusion and anxiety before taking an exam.
Proteins: Proteins are an essential brain food. Once foods rich in protein are digested, they are broken down into amino acids that help feed the brain. Feeding the brain with protein will help keep you alert during an exam. Eggs, milk products, fish and chicken are rich sources of protein.
Antioxidants: All the brightly coloured fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals. These are extra special nutrients, which protect our body against heart diseases, malignancies and also enhance our immunity. They reduce the risk of developing cognitive impairment during stressful periods. Therefore, one should eat lots of oranges, papayas, strawberries, black grapes, spinach, and broccoli during exams.
Probiotics: Probiotics are the foods that contain friendly bacteria, which help to keep our gut healthy. When one is stressed, appetite is gone. Some get constipated while others may have diarrhoea. So, eat foods like curd, lassi, yogurts and other probiotic drinks regularly and your gastrointestinal system will remain healthy and you will remain high on energy throughout the day.
Never skip breakfast: You have heard that phrase time and time again but IT is really the most important meal of the day, it kickstarts your brain. Without breakfast, your body would be like a car trying to run without petrol. We have a few healthy recipes for you.
Keep yourself hydrated: Drink lots of water while you are studying. Sufficient water in the brain helps it work at optimum levels. Other alternatives are fresh fruit juices, herbal teas, saunf ka pani. Avoid too much of caffeine, as it can also make you jittery.
Snack smartly: Eat healthy snacks during exams or while studying. Try bananas, nuts like almonds walnuts, cashews, or a small baked potato with cheese. Avoid eating chocolates and sweets. If you want to have chocolate, dark chocolates are better. Here are a few healthy snacks recipes which will come handy.
A final word for all the youngsters caught up in the examination grind. You are our nation’s future, so please take a pledge to eat right and be healthy. Not just during the exams but for the rest of your lives.
The writer is a dietician with the Department of Dietetics, PGI
Splish and splash, missiles of coloured water, colour bombs and tonnes of fun and frolic. This is the scene of a typical Holi party. Most of us have already started planning the nitty-gritty of the festivities.
of us look forward to enjoying it to the hilt. The only sad part is that
at the end of the Holi celebrations, many are left with skin problems
like rashes, irritation and itching, allergies, contact dermatitis,
dryness and roughness on the face, neck
While it is nearly impossible to escape fun on Holi (and certainly you shouldn’t even), it is still possible to play a skin-safe holi. Always pick up natural colours such as gulaal made from flowers like rose, marigold, tesu etc. Stay clear of those heavy colours like purple, electric blue, green, black etc. These often contain harmful metal oxides, such as lead oxide, which are extremely harmful for the skin. The chemicals in these colours cause contact dermatitis and skin allergies.
Keep in mind that before playing Holi, you should nicely moisturise your face and hands with a good moisturiser or almond oil and coconut oil. Oil creates a physical barrier over skin pores and prevents the colour pigments from penetrating deeper into the skin.
Once the bash is over, it’s time to clean up. Use a gentle cleanser to wash off the colour. Scrubbing your face with harsh soaps is suicidal. Opt for a homemade besan and flour mix in milk cream to clean your skin. Post-bathing, generously moisturise your skin.
If you notice slight irritation then, apply calamine lotion to soothe the skin. Consult a dermatologist immediately if you get rashes that itch. This is an allergic indication and needs proper attention. So, go ahead and play safe.
The writer is a dermatologist, Skin Alive Clinic