|SPORTS & WELLNESS|
OUT with TUSKERS
Duncan Fletcher might just prove to be the best coach that the Indian cricket team was looking for after the exit of Gary Kirsten. Or, he might just turn out to be an ordinary coach under whom the Indian team fails to achieve much. It’s too early to say that Fletcher is the right man for the job. At the same time, it’s also early to write him off. At this stage the best we can do is to see things that are in favour of Fletcher. And also analyse the points that are against him.
The list of things in favour of Fletcher is impressive. He comes highly recommended by outgoing coach Kirsten. He achieved a fair bit of success with the English team that included winning back the Ashes in 2005. A slew of top international players vouch for the positive vibes that he brought to their cricket. These players include the likes of Jacques Kallis, Kevin Peitersen, Andrew Strauss and Marcus Trescothick.
Fletcher was the captain of the Zimbabwe team in the 1983 World Cup and in his debut game turned in a highly impressive all-round performance to win the man-of-the-match award, as his team beat Australia by 13 runs. Fletcher scored 69 and picked up four wickets. So, he’s been a player and he’s been a fairly successful coach as well. And, it should not come as a surprise if he carries on the good work of Kirsten and takes the Indian team to further glory.
Fletcher is also the kind of coach (and person) whom you can underestimate quite easily. In that sense, he is quite the opposite of Greg Chappell (who was the coach before Gary Kirsten). Chappell was dominating and wanted to be in charge of everything. If you were in a group stuck on an elevator with Greg Chappell, without question he would be in charge, even if you had CEOs of companies in there. There are just people who exude authority, people who will walk down the street and people will just know that they are a head honcho or some top shot. Chappell was like that.
So, while Fletcher can be underestimated because of the way he carries himself, Chappell was overestimated for exactly the same reason.
Now, the list of things against Fletcher is also pretty long. For starters, Fletcher is old. The 62-year-old former Zimbabwe captain is 19 years older than Kirtsen. The Indian Board has said that Fletcher’s age is not an issue at all. Well, it’s not an issue for the Board but it could be for the players of the Indian team. Fletcher has been given a two-year contract and it’s safe to assume that the likes of V.V.S Laxman, Rahul Dravid and, perhaps, even Sachin Tendulkar will make their way out of the Test team by that time and Fletcher will have to usher in young players like Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma into the Test set-up and take them to the next level. At 62, Fletcher seems well past his sell by date to be coming out with fresh ideas and communicating with the youngsters in the team.
It was under Fletcher that England won the Ashes at home in 2005 but he was also the coach when England were whitewashed 5-0 in the next Ashes in Australia. It was also under Fletcher that England had a miserable time in the 2007 World Cup. So, as coach, he has had his highs but there have been quite a few lows as well.
During his eight-year term as England coach, Fletcher had extremely frosty relations with the British media and he could have a difficult time with the Press here as well.
Fletcher’s appointment has also (once again) thrown up the issue of foreign vs Indian coach. While former Indian players like Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev have criticised this move, some prominent foreigners (like John Buchanan, Mike Atherton and Micheal Bevan) have backed Fletcher.
It is being said that Gavaskar supporting Mohinder Amaranth this time is a bit strange, as the former was on the panel that rejected Jimmy (Amarnath) the last time when Kirsten was selected. True, but Gavaskar was not the only one on that panel. Sunny had supported Amaranth even then, but the majority was in favour of Kirsten. So, Sunny rooting for Jimmy now is not as strange as some people imagine.
It is also possible that this time Gavaskar was not consulted by the BCCI and he is unhappy about that. So, too, is Kapil Dev. Some have even said that Sourav Ganguly would have been a good choice for the coach’s job.
Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming could also have been a smart choice since he has worked with M. S. Dhoni as coach of Chennai Super Kings and the team has done really well in the IPL.
But, in the ultimate analysis, the BCCI wants a coach who will not confront them. The Indian Board wants a coach who has the credentials but who is not dominating -- someone who will listen to them and follow instructions. Not someone who will lay down the rules. `A0BCCI honchos also want a coach who is not too thick and pally with the media. In that sense, too, Fletcher fits the bill. So, seen from the Board’s perspective, it appears it has made the right choice.
OUT with TUSKERS
That the IPL throws up unannounced talent is an open secret. But what often goes unnoticed is the fact that the big-ticket entertainment show also provides many a helpline to international players currently out of favour with their national selectors. Even a string of cameos in the shortest format are, at times, enough to pull one out from the wilderness and you can again nurse the dream of wearing the national colours soon.
IPL 4 is close to entering its business end and there have been some solid performances from players who once donned the Indian blues and are looking to regain their spot in the team. One such case in point is of India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.
For the 22-year-old left hander, who piggybacked on his superb all-round IPL 1 performance to firmly put his feet into the Indian dressing room, this is a typical case of history repeating itself. Within the first three editions, he has seen it all; the high of playing for the national side, the rejection after his controversial one-year ban; to joining the newly created Kochi Tuskers Kerala this time.
In a freewheeling chat, he says he is on course to being back with the Indian eleven, though his immediate focus remains to contribute towards Kochi’s victories. Excerpts:
IPL I had brought you into the Indian side? How do you see the current season directing your future?
The tournament is designed such that it gives everybody an ample opportunity to showcase their skills and impress the selectors. I performed well in the first edition and got a look in. I missed out on the World Cup berth but I am aiming to reclaim my place in the side and if I do well and contribute to the success of my new team, Kochi Tuskers, I am sure I will be in the reckoning.
How does it feel to be labelled as a genuine all-rounder?
It feels great but you have to work out of your skin to consistently hold on to that tag. I have made a conscious effort to work on my batting and bowling. I have been the second highest run-getter for the team after McCullum, besides I have been the highest wicket taker for the team also.
Being a new side, how difficult was it to be a part of KTK?
Not at all. The owners have been more than accommodating and helpful. The best part about them is that they do not interfere as far as cricket is concerned and they leave cricketing decisions to the sportsmen only. The team is ably led by Mahela Jayawardhene and you can sense us enjoying each other’s company while on and off the field.
Which team do you think is best suited to win this time?
Mumbai Indians, on the paper, seems to be a very dangerous contingent. But you never know in T20. One or two overs are enough to change the fortunes. We have a good side and on the given day can beat any side.
You have been clearing the fence with some lusty hits. Any special preparation?
I have practised hitting long sixes a lot. Before the start of IPL 4, we had a 20-day camp and I was greatly helped by our assistant coach Sanjay Bangar. He made me understand my role in the team. The inspiration was enough for me to work harder and now I seem to have developed a penchant for hitting long sixes. I will try to take the tally forward.
An online survey conducted on a random sample of 1,085 mothers, aged 18 plus, has revealed that given a choice, more mommies would today prefer a ‘makeover’ than ever before. A survey by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) shows that if cost were not an issue, 62 pc of mothers would consider a "mommy makeover" that includes a tummy tuck, breast augmentation and/or breast lift.
According to ASPS statistics, the number of women getting "mommy makeover" procedures is on the rise.
Nearly 112,000 tummy tucks were reported in 2010, up 85 pc since 2000, 90,000 breast lifts, up 70 pc and 296,000 breast augmentations, up 39 pc.
"In the last decade, we’ve seen women’s attitudes about cosmetic surgery change. Today, women are not afraid to admit that they love their children, but they wish their bodies looked the way they did before their first pregnancies," says Phillip Haeck, ASPS president.
"And they’re not afraid to acknowledge that they may need a little help beyond a healthy diet and exercise," he adds.
ASPS member surgeons are also noticing that more younger mothers are now coming for "mommy makeover" than a decade ago.
"In the past, we saw a lot of women in their 50s getting these types of procedures. But today, we are seeing young mothers in their 30s coming in for procedures such as tummy tucks and breast lifts," Haeck reveals.
"The techniques and the technologies are to the point where we can do these procedures in an outpatient setting in a very safe and effective fashion, minimising the amount of downtime and pain. This appeals to our patients," said Dr. Rosen, ASPS Member Surgeon in Montclair, New Jersey. — ANI