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15 September, 2019

UAE businesses upgrading Microsoft Office 365. Have you?

WPP Plc, the British multinational creative advertising, and public relations transformation company is among the early ones to move toward upgrading to a single Microsoft Office 365 tenant following the merger of its flagship companies Wunderman and J. Walter Thompson that includes their Dubai business.                                                                                                                                                         
According to WPP's Chief Information Officer James McLellan, until now each company was using
Image by Microsoft Azure
the Microsoft Office 365 business productivity apps as per its individual requirement.

"Our current plan is to have a single Microsoft 365 tenant with everyone taking advantage of the full set of rich and easy-to-use Microsoft 365 capabilities, including Microsoft Teams, Power BI, OneDrive, and Office 365 ProPlus, which will deliver a continually updated productivity suite. As we continue with our deployment, Wunderman Thompson is creating a modern workplace that will serve as the blueprint for digital transformation across WPP," McLellan wrote in a post on Microsoft News.

 A Microsoft Office 365 tenant relates to a suite of items such as users and subscriptions attached to a domain. In other words, when an Office 365 is set up, it creates a tenancy to store data including SharePoint, OneDrive and Yammer.

Power BI is a business analytics service that helps end-users with an interface to create their own reports and dashboards through interactive visualizations and business intelligence.

 Microsoft Office 365, as you must be aware, has become a necessary and essential product for virtually all students and businesses in the world. To meet this escalating need and demand, Microsoft has started new data centres in Abu Dhabi and Dubai that will work as the first Microsoft Azure regions in the Middle East, helping companies scale globally as they migrate their businesses to the cloud infrastructure and get Artificial Intelligence ready.

 According to Microsoft, Azure serves more than a billion customers and 20 million businesses.

If you are from or located in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt, you can get or upgrade by clicking here: Microsoft Office 365.

Your 'go-to' tool for Forex Trading

Trading in financial instruments, especially Foreign Exchange currencies or Forex has gained further moment in the Middle East.

If you are aspiring to become a professional Forex player or want to pursue this field as an alternate source of income, iForex offers you an all-in-one amazing platform, ideal for beginners. You may still want to know why iForex?

It's because this online trading platform gives you real-time rates, signals, and reliable data, all crucial for you to be able to make an informed decision. Their all-in-one platform also includes a friendly interface, 4-chart station, trading sentiment, and accessibility from anywhere.

iForex has trained representatives to help and hand-hold you on your way to become a pro and has dedicated educational tools that you'll have complete access to.

Once you've registered with iForex, learning the tricks of trading will then only depend on how focused you are. You can even scale up to and include CFD trading to your moneymaking goals. CFD or contract for difference will help you trade in commodities.

And if you register now, you can be sure you'll be prepared to network at all the Forex Expo scheduled in the UAE, the first of which is scheduled for 2-3 October, 2019 at the Jumeirah Emirates Tower, Dubai.

Click here to register: iForex.

13 September, 2019

Friday the 13th in Indian tradition: Lucky or Unlucky?

You have paraskevidekatriaphobia if you believe in and consider Friday, 13, 2019 as an unlucky day for you

Did you plan to hold a black cat in your arms and walk in the middle of a Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru or any busy road in India to prove Friday the 13th is not unlucky? If no, good. That would've been termed as suicidal.

Friday the 13th is also a horror movie
franchise. Photo bu
Superstition is popularly known in India as Andhashradha. Or, is it...andhaviśvāsaṁ in Malayalam;
Mūḍha in Telugu; Mūṭanampikkai in Tamil; Mūst nambike in Kannada; Vahima in Punjabi; Kusanskāra in Bengali; Andhaśrad'dhā in Gujarati? Please feel free to write back if you feel any of these are incorrect.

Maharashtra and Karnataka have enacted a law on superstition and Kerala is about to legislate one. However, it is unclear whether our constitution has any such law on this weird belief. Anyway, the law in Maharashtra does not include luck or being unlucky which Friday the 13th is associated with for thousands of years.

This belief has almost died in modern, progressive India where young women and men from all faiths converge each day to work in a corporate environment. In fact, you might have wished one of your colleagues celebrating their birthday on 13th September 2019.

Not surprisingly though few among us continue to live this Friday the 13th as an unlucky day, fearing something will go wrong. If you are among them, you have paraskevidekatriaphobia (It has 23 letters)!

National Public Radio, or the NPR says if you learn to pronounce this word correctly, you'll never fear this day again in your lifetime. Want to try it? Just break it up into syllables: Paras - kevi - deka - tria - phobia.

It's also called friggatriskaidekaphobia.

In India, Friday the 13th or any 13th day or number is considered auspicious. So, the unlucky concept or belief has been more of western world influence.

Fear of number 13 would mean you have triskaidekaphobia.

Author Devdutt Pattanaik, widely known for work in mythology and interpretations of ancient Indian scriptures, stories, symbols and rituals wrote an article on Friday the 13th on 11th January 2008. This article goes without a shelf life as it'll be relevant as long as this belief exists. See: Friday 13 Modern Mythmaking. has come with reasons and the origin of Friday the 13th. See: Why is Friday the 13th unlucky?

Other media platforms educating their readers, sharing about this belief:

News18: Friday the 13th: Here's How the Superstition Started

The Indian Express: Friday the 13th: Spooky for a few, not for most

Mashable India: Upcoming Friday The 13th Lunar Event Makes 'Once In A Blue Moon' An Understatement

Hindustan Times: Bhoot Part 1 poster: Vicky Kaushal brings the horror on Friday the 13th

10 September, 2019

Is Indian Economy In a Recession, Growth Recession, Quasi-Recession? Or, what?

By Francis Adams

Experts in the United States have sounded the alarm on recession in their country, mainly citing the Trump administration's pesky trade war with China. Few of these experts have also hinted at a recession in the United Kingdom although the BBC News on Monday reported that the economy grew 0.3% in July, quoting the Office for National Statistics.
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

How do you know a country's economy is in a recession?

The BBC says a recession has set in when a country's economy sees contraction for two consecutive quarters. In India, experts see contraction of three quarters in a row as a sign of recession.

While few experts have lent chorus to the opposition (especially the Indian National Congress)'s shrill shouts of our country already in the grip of recession, others using various media platform, have offered differing opinions.

Bloomberg, the Manhattan-based media company, has maintained an opinion that India has, effectively, entered a quasi recession. It has made this assumption while referring to a comment from an economist, Teresa John, working with retail broking company Nirmal Bang.

Neither Bloomberg nor Nirmal Bang have provided extended clues, explanation on what is quasi in this context, leaving us to refer to the dictionary meaning that says, seeming; resembling.

Meanwhile, India's largest-selling English-language publication, The Time Group's Economic Times, on Monday, ran a report released by news agency IANS that claimed that India's economy is in a growth recession. According to this report, a growth recession is a technical term used when the economy continues to grow, albeit at a slower pace.

The major impact, says this IANS report, has come from a steep fall in the Private Financial Consumption Expenditure, a term so long that you might be forgiven for sarcastically saying that the recession will have hit by the time you complete pronouncing this term correctly.

This PFCE combined with another long terminology, the Government Final Consumption Expenditure, GFCE, is said to have been driving our country's economic growth since the first major economic reforms were introduced in 1991.

Apparently, you have spent and consumed less in the June 2019 quarter, causing the PFCE to slide to a miserable 3.1 percent compared to the previous quarter percentage of 7.2 percent.

The other major factor, IANS claims, is a drastic fall in the Gross Fixed Capital Formation, GFCF, meaning contribution of investment to the economic growth fell by 6.2 percentage point during the period 2014-19 compared to 2011-14. As a result, this has hurt further infrastructure development.

Another expert, Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, consulting editor with the Economic Times, in his Swaminomics column on Monday, cited Global cyclical economic downturn and serious structural flaws or lack of reforms as the reasons behind India's GDP growth hitting 5% in the quarter ended June 2019 compared to 8.2% a year ago.

Aiyar also claims that the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has brought in cheerful measures to boost the economy, such as withdrawing income tax surcharge on capital gains that had seen foreign portfolio investors move away; the removal of angel tax on investors in startups; and reversing the punishment on corporations for not fulling their Corporate Social responsibility, CSR.

Then there are experts who continue to be critical about the Narendra Modi-led government on their reformative implementation of Demonetization and the Goods and Services Tax, GST as triggers for this slowdown.

However, before you step on the side of these critics, let's spare a thought on what triggered this government to take such bold steps.

Among these measures could be a strong reason to stop what this report from the Global Financial Integrity reveals. GFI is a Washington, DC-based think tank that analyzes illegal financial flows. In this June 3, 2019 report, GFI has revealed that trade misinvoicing (fudging) is likely to have cost the Indian government potential tax revenue losses of US$13 billion in 2016.

You may be aware that this government wound up the Directorate General of Supplies and Goods, DGS&D. In its place, it rolled out a transparent Government e-Marketplace, GeM.

Today, you too can, using your appropriate citizen identity, register on the GeM site, or the etenders site and know every tender detail that the government has released.

This e-marketplace, the government says, eliminates human interface in vendor registration, order placement and payment processing, thus transforming the way in which procurement of goods and services is done by the Government Ministries/Departments, PSUs, autonomous bodies etc.

You may, probably, argue or ask in a supportive manner that would it have been a little better had these bold reforms been delayed until the government got hold of the Indian black money, estimated to be about 90 lakh crores (US$1500 billion) in Swiss and other offshore banks?

Could be. But then again, huge corruption bubbles such as the Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) with banks, illegal money and several such messes inherited by this government needed to be got rid of immediately. This would have ensured that our economy does not see big bubbles burst the way the U.S. economy saw in the 2008 crisis.

The latest report says that the Swiss authorities will be releasing the first set of detailed financial information about Indians having Swiss bank accounts, including those closed since last year.

While this process happens, you can continue to remain positive, cheerful and help the economy by boosting domestic consumption, starting with this festival season.

As you know, India has traditionally been self-sufficient in several aspects, including a cash-rich Domestic Institutional Investors (DII) group that has mitigated the blows the stock market could have received on occasions the Foreign Institutional Investors (FII)'s have withdrawn their money from our bourses.

India's current position among the list of Less Corrupt Nations is 78. If you and the rest of 1.25 billion Indians lend this government support for their transparency goals, it is only going to help us and the millennials.

If we gave the previous government more than enough time and got little in return, why not allow this government some more time to make India what we all want her to be.

02 September, 2019

Hartalika Teej, Goddess Parvati and Ganesh Chaturthi with Bappa

The Ministry of Women and Child Development launched Poshan Maah 2019 to coincide with Hartalika Teej and Ganesh Chaturthi, both epitomizing devotion and love of a husband, wife and their children 

At 4.57pm India Standard Time on September 2, 2019, millions of women in India and Nepal
Pic by
completed their two-day fast-without-water in devotion, love for their husbands -- equal halves in the modern-day world -- and for the continuation of their happy, married life.

This devotion celebrated as Hartalika Teej (as Gowri Habba in southern states Karnataka, Tamilnadu,  Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala) and directly inspired by Goddess Parvati, ushers in another biggest occasion, Ganesh Chaturthi.

It was, agreeably, the most opportune moment for the Ministry of Women and Child Development,
Government of India (@MinistryWCD) to launch Poshan Maah 2019. This campaign with a tagline 'Sahi Poshan, Desh Roshan' (Correct nutrition, healthy nation) is initially aimed to run from September 1 to 30.

Click here for: Puja kit, Pooja kit

Developed through the National Nutrition Misson, this drive will target reducing stunting, undernutrition, anemia (among young children, women, and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight.

As you can see, just as Parvati's love and care for her child Ganesha was undiminished, so too all mothers in India are expected to ensure their children are raised healthy. To make this drive successful, 13 lakh Anganwadi workers have spread nationwide to guide, educate and help women provide their kids with healthy nutrition.

You could see these Anganwadi workers as messengers of Lord Ganesha, who is known for his wisdom, knowledge, help in removing of obstacles, protection, good fortune and success. So, as you celebrate Ganpati Bappa Morya, you'd surely want to wish malnourished children throughout India to get a new beginning through this holistic nourishment programme initiated by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

As you invite Lord Ganesha in your homes, visit pandals near you chanting "Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha" and apart from wishing Poshan Maah 2019 success, you'd also want to recall Bappa's teachings.

The most important among the teachings your friends, parents would often like to narrate is how Ganesha impressed his father Lord Shiva, mother Goddess Parvati and saint Narada as he circled his father and mother at Mount Kailash to win the contest with his brother and win a mango.

Although Ganesh shared the mango with his parents, brother, offering Narada the seed, the moral of this story, not to be forgotten is: While his brother took few days traveling around the universe to fulfill the contest's requirement, Ganesha did it faster by going around his father and mother whom he considered the universe.

By doing so, he signified that you must not look outside of God to learn about the universe and life.

Buy your Hartalika Teej related requirement, here: Puja Thali, Kum Kum Box and others

Buy your Ganesh Chaturthi related requirement, here: Puja kit, Chowki, Modak & others

26 August, 2019

11 reasons why Pomegranate is back in the spotlight

India Health Trending: Pomegranate, a tropical fruit has been a symbol of fertility in folklore worldwide. A new study has brought this exotic produce back on top of must-have health ingredients

Pomegranate, called Anaar in Hindi from its origin in Northern India, is well-known as a good source of nutrients. It provides you with Vitamin C and has useful fibre if you eat the seeds.
Pic by

In a latest development, clinical researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital, the second-largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, on August 21, 2019, published their study that explored whether Pomegranate extract could help in developing brains of newborns when they are in their mother's womb, especially those with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).

This study was published in the science journal, PLOS ONE, in which a community of researchers, from Nobel laureates to the early ones, regularly publish their findings.

Although you may want to have the Pomegranate or its extracts in fresh form, fear of contamination such as the effect of wind splashed rain on the fruit may stop you from having it. See: Study from Vikaspedia, a portal developed as part of the India Development Gateway initiative of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India and implemented by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Hyderabad.

If you make juice at home or have the whole fruit, ensure you wash the produce thoroughly under running water.

Store-bought juices or their extracts can be nutritious, too. They are pasteurized, processed.

You may choose to buy:

Dabur's Real Fruit Power, Pomegranate, 1L (Pack of 2) :  A vegetarian product, this pack claims to be rich in natural antioxidant nutrients, does not have any added colour or preservatives, and boosts up your immunity levels.

Chtoura Garden Pomegranate Molasses, 500 ML : A vegetarian product, it claims to be 100% natural, goes well with salad dressings because of its sweet and sour taste or in desserts. Also, good for creating cordials and sorbets.

Go Organic Pomegranate Peel Powder, 150 g :  This extract from the fruit's peels claims to prevent the breakdown of collagen (pronounced: kol-uh-juh n), and when applied topically, can promote cell growth. Also helpful in fighting acne, pimple scars. Can also be used in hair masks to remove dandruff and prevent hair loss.

Namdhari's Fresh Pomegranate (1 Kg) : This fresh, whole fruit produce claims to be own grown, hygienically packed, and safe for consumption.

Pic by AmazonUK

Apart from the above newly discovered reason on why Pomegranate is in the spotlight, this fruit is beneficial for/as:

1. Antioxidant

The red colour of the Pomegranate seeds come from Polyphenols or micronutrients. These polyphenols are rich in antioxidants that provide several health benefits.

2. Helps Diabetes

According to Israel21c, a Technion-Israel Institute of Technology study discovered that antioxidants found in pomegranate juice may be especially beneficial for diabetes patients. WebMD, a portal that provides health information, tools and support for managing your health, citing this same study quoted the lead researcher, Professor Michael Aviram saying: "In most juices, sugars are present in free - and harmful - forms. In Pomegranate juice, however, the sugars are attached to unique antioxidants, which actually make these sugars protective against atherosclerosis."

People with diabetes are at a higher risk of atherosclerosis, a form of hardening of the arteries.

3. Helps Boost Memory

Hindawi, a United Kingdom-based portal that promotes and publishes open research studies, says that Pomegranate juice helps improve memory and fMRI activity in middle-aged and older adults with mild memory complaints. fMRI stands for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging or functional MRI. It measures brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow.

4. Reduces Blood Pressure 

Pomegranate seed oil, says, Rxlist, may improve triglycerides and “good” (HDL) cholesterol levels. Rxlist is an online medical resource, acquired by WebMD. The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM), part of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford, says that "rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals, and drinking pomegranate juice has been reported to reduce blood pressure."

5. Helpful for Arthritis

San Francisco and New York-based Healthline says that "one of the foods most often recommended for symptom and inflammation reduction is pomegranate. Pomegranate is low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and it’s rich in nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants." Other reports have suggested that flavonols in pomegranate juice may help arrest the inflammation that triggers osteoarthritis and cartilage destroying enzyme.

6. Helps Digestion

Having Pomegranate juice is known to help and improve digestion as its friendly constituents reduce any inflammation of your gut. It's ideally suited for those with inflammatory bowel disorders. When mixed with honey and taken, it may also help get rid of giddiness.

7. Anti-ageing and face punch

The Times of India got skin doctors to reveal tips on creating Do It Yourself protection of skin treatment. One of the participants, Dr Saumya Shetty Hegde, suggested making a face pack using Pomegranate paste and a tablespoon of honey. "Apply this paste on your face and neck and wash it off with rose water after 30 minutes," Dr Hegde suggested. According to her, because Pomegranate is a rich source of vitamin C it also has anti-ageing properties. She also recommended applying probiotic curd properly on the face as a pack and wash it off after 5 minutes.

8. Good for controlling Heart Disease

Researchers have found that this fruit and its extracts offer great benefits for your cardiovascular system. It prevents damage to the arterial walls and besides preventing hardening of arteries, thus reducing blood vessel damage.

9. Good for athletes and workout enthusiasts

Studies have shown that Pomegranate is good for athletes and those who workout or exercise regularly. The healthy compounds in the fruit help reduce muscle soreness and speedy recovery from any damage caused by exercise.

10. A friend for your libido and fertility

If you are looking to have increased levels of testosterone and do not want to consider taking any pills, a glass of Pomegranate juice a day will give you encouraging results. The rich oxidants in this fruit may boost male fertility by improving sperm concentration.

Today, you can even buy Pomegranate plants online, including Bonsai ones. See:

Nelesa Gardening Live Pomegranate Fruit Plant

Vamsha Nature Care Live Bonsai Dwarf Pomegranate Afghan variety

All Season Gardens Rare Dwarf Turkey Giant Pomegranate Punica Granatum Fruit Plant - 
1 Healthy Live Plant

Other Pomegranate-based extracts available are:

Pristine Naturals 100% Pure Pomegranate Juice, Guaranteed (500ml x 5)

Chalowkart® Easy Plastic Pomegranate (Anar) Seed Extractor, Cutter with Oranges Juicer

Ryaal Pomegranate Seed Oil for Hair Skin and Nails (15ml)

Finally, if you are a Kaun Banega Crorepati fan as well as a General Knowledge enthusiast, you may want to know how many seeds does a Pomegranate fruit have?

It is said to contain 613 seeds, but there's an allowance for an error of +/- 200! You may want to count them with your loved ones during a lazy weekend.

P V Sindhu is now Persevering Venturous Stalwart

Playing the #WBFChampionship title match on her mom's birthday, additional inputs from Korean coach Kim Ji Hyun, trainer Srikanth's efforts and cutting herself off from using her phone regularly inspired Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, 24, on way to her maiden world crown, India's first

By Francis Adams

Most of you may have read Napolean Hill's bestseller Think and Grow Rich and pondered or debated over the hidden secret the author has hinted at in every chapter of the book. If you still do not have the answer, you'll get a perspective by reading the online debate about this secret on Quora.
  Until last month, P V Sindhu had this worry as the common element with most of us. She lost to Japan's Akane Yamaguchi on July 21 then abruptly decided to withdraw from the Thailand Open (July 30- Aug 4, 2019) in which she was seeded fourth. She had decided to move away from the spotlight, briefly. Just the way you relish behind-the-scenes or video clips on making-of-a-movie, there was closed-door activity happening with Sindhu. See the video shared by the Suchitra Badminton Academy that confirms what actually happened behind the scene. 

It has now been revealed after her brilliant world title victory that Sindhu was focusing on conquering that secret. In her case though it wasn't money. Her BURNING DESIRE was as told to the BWF Championships website: "I felt really bad after the first World Championships final and last year I was angry, I was sad. I went through all my emotions, asking ‘Sindhu, why can’t you get this one match?’'

Gold or a victory in the final, to be on the podium soaking in our country's national anthem had eluded her four times in the past. She won the Bronze in 2013 and 2014, followed by Silver in 2017 and 2018. So she worked on decoding the secret. The moment came at the most memorable moment, her mother's birthday, on August 25, 2019. "This is my answer to the people who have asked me questions over and over. I just wanted to answer with my racquet and with this win -- that's all," she told this website.

The happy, cherished moment.
Pic by Badminton World Federation
Her 21-7, 21-7 crowning glory over another Japanese Nozomi Okuhara in 37 minutes wasn't ruthless or bludgeoning as reported by a large section of the media. The triumph played out at St Jacobshalle arena, Basel, Switzerland, was methodical and won with controlled aggression, aspects she fine-tuned, along with her skills and fitness after pulling out of the Thailand Open.

Three days before the World Championships began on August 19, Sindhu told the Press Trust of India: "I have been working on my defence, physical fitness and also on-court skills. We do have all kinds of strokes but to improve we have to keep training. So I have to do it all the time to make myself perfect."

To achieve this perfection she sacrificed a few liberties she was entitled to. India's largest selling English-language publication The Times Of India quoted her physical trainer Srikanth Verma Madapalli saying: "In the last couple of months, Sindhu stopped using her mobile phone. She even changed her phone number. Whatever we tell her she just does that, no questions asked."

India's first world badminton champion made it a point that her trainer's efforts for her did not go unnoticed. "I want to thank my trainer Srikanth Verma, who helped me stay in good shape. He is working very hard with me for the last two years," Sindhu told TOI.

Pullela Gopichand, the All England Badminton Men's Singles winner, at whose academy Sindhu has been training for more than a decade, is her constant source of support, inspiration and coach. The Sports Authority of India in April 2019 also hired Korean Kim Ji Hyun, women's singles gold medallist in the 1994 Asian Games to add value to Sindhu's quest for gold. Kim represented her country in two Olympics in 1996 and 2000, before retiring in 2001, the year Gopichand became the All England champion.

Bengaluru-based English-language publication Deccan Herald reported that after she withdrew from the Thailand Open, Sindhu had trained extensively with Kim who brought changes to her game. Kim, apparently worked on polishing the wristy shots Sindhu was using, guiding the champion on when to use which shots. Sindhu was trying to put these to perfection in Japan and Indonesia last month.

By winning the world title, Sindhu equalled the legendary Zhang Ning's record of five world championships medals. Off the field, Sindhu has strengthened her association with the Chinese. In February, 2019, the TOI reported that Sindhu has signed up a Rs 50 crore endorsement deal with popular Chinese sports brand Li Ning.

Sindhu also endorses brands including JBL, the company that manufactures and sells audio equipment, such as, headphones, speakers, professional compact powered desktop reference monitors and subwoofer.

Sindhu also has a tie-up with Bridgestone Tyres, Gatorade, pain reliever cream Moov, mobile phone manufacturer Nokia, Stayfree, Panasonic, Boost, APIS Himalaya, Ojasvita and few others.

Earlier this month, Forbes announced that P V Sindhu is the only Indian athlete among its list of world's highest-paid sportwomen. With total earnings of $5.50 million, Sindhu is ranked 13th on the list, headed by Serena Williams.

Despite all the fame, Sindhu remains grounded, a trait most celebrities lack. Her Twitter handle is @Pvsindhu1. This is because she joined Twitter only in 2014 whereas the handle @pvsindhu was already taken by someone from Kolkata.

Any other celebrity would have used the influence of both, money and power to get this as their original handle. Not Sindhu.

This clearly shows that Sindhu, her parents and the Think Tank at Team P V Sindhu are all genial and take happiness only through the champion's exploits on the court. Anyway, the 1 added to her name on her handle suits her. Hashtag #1.


Persevering, because Sindhu kept on believing in herself and persevered until she unlocked the secret to gold.

Venturous, because she chose to venture into the nightmarish territory dominated by the Chinese and Japanese and came out victorious. Goran Ivanisevic, a tennis legend in Croatia refused to take the court during a crucial Davis Cup tie against India in New Delhi in 1995. He was playing against the gutsy Leander Paes, who was down 0-3, but was bouncing back into the game. Ivanisevic couldn't pump himself up seeing Paes' resolute fightback and the crowd support. This, despite his father by his side and encouraging him to get back on the court.

Stalwart, because hers is the most perfect example for parents to share with their kids and encourage them if the kids wish to become sportspersons.

If you too want your child to join the Suchitra Badminton Academy and help your kid follow in Sindhu's footsteps, here's the admission form link: Suchitra Badminton Academy

The academy's address and contact: Suchitra Junction, Qutubullapur (M), RR(Dist), Hyderabad – 67.
Phone: +91-91772 99900 / 91773 99900. Email: Accounts:

01 July, 2019

Why Mayank Agarwal now?

Experts, fans and the media are offering diverse reaction to this startling 3-dimensional Vijay Shankar's replacement

By Francis Adams

Mayank Agarwal's dramatic inclusion into the World Cup team has delighted
as well as shocked cricket pundits, fans and the media.
Pic courtesy:
Mayank Agarwal, who hasn't played a single One Day International for Team India is on his way to join the World Cup squad instead of traveling to the Caribbean along with his India A teammates.

The Karnataka batsman, who wasn't even among the standbys for the CWC2019, has suddenly been propelled into limited overs cricket's marquee championship. This has triggered mixed and varied responses from fans, media and the experts as this decision defies every criterion that the Board of Contol of Cricket in India (BCCI), selectors and the team management had agreed upon.

The criterion: 

1. Performance in the IPL will not serve as benchmark for selection into the World Cup team. Cricinfo, however, has reported that the selectors were indeed impressed by Agarwal's IPL performance for King's XI Punjab. He scored a total 332 runs with a strike rate of 141.88.

2. Any player ought to have played a modicum of One Day Internationals, at least in a bi-lateral series for the Senior team so that the team management and selectors can gauge his temperament and approach during match at the highest level.

3. Standbys whose names were announced after the first 15 had been picked were assured that they would get a preference should there be a requirement owing to injury to any of the players in the playing eleven. Rishabh Pant, who was on standby, was drafted in as a replacement for Shikhar Dhawan and played India's last World Cup match against England on June 30. The other standby, Ambati Rayudu, ideally a middle order specialist batsman has thus been overlooked and Agarwal given the go ahead instead.

This surprising move from the selectors and team management has obviously raised a few eyebrows. Former India player and now commentator, Aakash Chopra used his twitter handle, @cricketaakash, to gently cock a snook saying: "An opener got injured, a middle order batsman was called upon. 
A middle order batsman gets injured, an opener is called upon. Shankar is Out. Mayank Agarwal is In. #CWC19 #MenInBlue"

Noted mediaman and cricket columnist, Ayaz Memon, announced on his Twitter account @cricketwallah: "BIG: Vijay Shankar ruled out of World Cup, Mayank Agarwal to replace him. India's woes mount."

Another popular commentator, Harsha Bhogle tweeted: @bhogleharsha "Then there is Mayank Agarwal. Top of his game for a couple of years, fine test debut, not among the contenders & then an opportunity to play in a World Cup at a crucial time. Delighted for him & it is a good choice. But it also tells you how far poor Rayudu has gone off the radar."

Sanjay Manjrekar, now among the regulars in the commentator's box for Hotstar in his tweet directed to VVS Laxman, wrote: @sanjaymanjrekar "@VVSLaxman281 See it’s happened! Mayank Agarwal is a great choice as replacement."

Manjrekar seemed to be among the few exceptions who showed delight at Agarwal's choice and sudden elevation. 

What exceptional reasons could have prompted India's selectors and team management, headed by coach Ravi Shastri, captain Virat Kohli and batting coach Sanjay Bangar to summon Agarwal?

The most plausible reasons could be:

1. He did encouragingly well when he batted in four India A one-day innings in England last year, scoring 287 runs at an average of 71.75 with a strike rate of 105.90.

2. In the absence of Dhawan, the burden of positive intent whether batting first or chasing rested on the shoulders of Rohit Sharma and Kohli. KL Rahul, promoted to the opener's slot showed promise but has failed to share the responsibility up the order with Rohit and Kohli due to fanciful shots that have caused his quick exit, as was evident in the match against England.

3. With Pant displaying heart-warming approach to the long-debated No. 4 spot (he scored 32 off 29 balls before getting out to an outstanding catch by Chris Woakes) and with Team India only a step away from sealing their semi-final position, the team management desperately wanted to plug the loophole that Rahul's cavalier approach was exposing. Agarwal, to them, could be the ideal choice.

Bangar, according to Cricinfo, has reiterated that Pant will be persisted with. "He had a decent innings, He got 32. And he got a couple of good shots, got a partnership going. Yes, we are going to persist with Rishabh."

With Rohit, Kohli and Pant, Agarwal could add solidity to Team India's top order. This'll not only help Kohli to play a little more expressively but also address the team's worry of wanting the top order to occupy the crease until 40 overs before the likes of Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni could step in and unleash their aggressive repertoire to finish off the game.

Agarwal's selection has also opened up many more possibilities. Aspiring youngsters, especially those from the India under-19 World Cup and India A teams can now look up with bright hopes of making it to the senior team sooner, provided they maintain their form, including in the Ranji Trophy.

If Agarwal clicks, this would be seen as a bold, masterstroke decision by the BCCI, selectors and team management. For this, Shastri, Kohli and Bangar will themselves have to be bold and make Agarwal play India's last two league matches, against Bangladesh on July 2 and with Sri Lanka on July 5., 

The ideal likely XI for these two matches would be: Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja (In place of Kedar Jadhav), Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Back in place of Mohammed Sham), Jasprit Bumrah.

28 May, 2019

Two batting suspects, Dhoni and Rahul pass the test

#CWC2019 India's warm-up matches review

Openers continue to worry skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri with below-expected practice performance

By Francis Adams

Eoin Morgan and Virat Kohli make a happy picture here. Their seriousness will be on display when India take on the hosts and favourites on June 30. Picture courtesy:

Two of the four suspects in batting, the ageing Mahendra Singh Dhoni and a circumspect KL Rahul on Tuesday brought relief to Team India and their fans with encouraging centuries.

They delivered on the purpose of the two warm-ups, that is,  "middling the ball" as former India captain and commentator Sunil Gavaskar would like to describe it.

Team India have complained on several occasions during previous overseas tours of lack of good practice matches that help the players acclimatize to the conditions. 

The batsmen are required to start hitting the ball from the middle of their bat and help their confidence ahead of their life-defining main matches. 

The bowlers are meant to use these opportunities to test and tweak their line and lengths.

Not much serious analysis was done of Team India's first warm-up loss to New Zealand. Even the effigy-burning fans at home have by now come to understand that a loss in the first practice match should not be treated as an alarm bell of things to come.

India will take on Pakistan on June 16 at Old Trafford, Manchester.
Picture credit:
However, these very fans would have felt agitated had there been a negative result against our South Asian neighbour, Bangladesh. Any negative result against Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and critically Pakistan is not taken sportingly.

In this regard, Rahul by filling up the much-debated No 4 position and Dhoni, with an entire world's scrutiny focused on him, did well by boosting their confidence with centuries barring a few hiccups. Rahul with a sublime 108 from 99 balls and Dhoni, a belligerent 113 from 78 deliveries.

The other two suspects, Dinesh Karthik and Ravindra Jadeja batted satisfactorily from the few deliveries they got to bat.

The biggest worry now for Kohli and Shastri, ahead of India's first match on June 5 against South Africa is the brittle form of openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. Both have shown similar traits: When they are in form they can decimate any opposition, and both take a long time to come back to form.

Their poor start would mean pressure on Kohli and one that could trigger a domino effect. 

It is, thus, very crucial for India's batting coach Sanjay Bangar and Shastri to ensure that the openers get special attention at the nets every day, during next week, until they step on to the Hampshire Bowl pitch in Southampton to take on the South African bowlers.

It is heartening to note that Team India have a gap of more than three days between their matches, 1 to 3. These gap days will allow the players to destress and rejuvenate themselves for the next match.

However, surprisingly, this gap reduces to two days for the players to re-energize themselves for their must-win match against Pakistan on June 16. Again, they have only two days between their match with the West Indies on June 27 and versus England on June 30. There's only a single rest day, July 1, before they play Bangladesh, although they'll be playing this match at the same venue in Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Considering the round-robin nature of this World Cup, rest days are important for teams to recuperate and physically be ready to win their next match. A total of 48 matches will be played in 46 days during this World Cup, pretty much like IPL 2019.

Apart from the openers, Team India will be worrying over the not so encouraging form of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. His inability to strike early is putting added pressure on the team's trump card, Jasprit Bumrah. 

Will Mohammed Shami be able to step up consistently and fill the void of a spearhead wicket-taker?

Spinners Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav showed positive signs of hitting form in the warm-up match against Bangladesh.

As for Vijay Shankar and Hardik Pandya, you can only hope that they come good with their allrounder tags. If they do for each of India's nine round-robin matches, the World Cup trophy will be in sight.

Legends and allrounders of India's 1983 triumph here in England, Kapil Dev, Mohinder Amarnath and Yashpal Sharma are proof that having more than one performing allrounder in the team gets you closer to the Cup.

22 May, 2019

What's the jersey got to do with it?

The official logo of the #CWC19 

If you too are asking whether the colour along with the design of the jersey plays any role in a player's and team's performance, read on 

By Francis Adams

It's a tough task identifying who designed the team jerseys, selected and approved the colour combination for few teams vying for the 12th ICC World Cup 2019.

England's  ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 skipper Eoin Morgan,
along with Khalid Rasheed and Jonny Bairstow in their new kit.
Picture credit: @Englandcricket
The England team were the latest to receive mixed reaction from fans. Were it the designers? Or, is it that the kit manufacturer influenced the decision taken by the country's cricket board.

A few hours after their official kit was unveiled, the England Cricket Board posted this pic, right, on Twitter seeking reaction from fans.

While former England pace bowler Stuart Broad (@StuartBroad8) responded with: "A beautiful kit to lift the World Cup in," there were not so encouraging remarks by fans.

Some of them replied in typical British satire.

"It’s a great idea to have England in big letters across the chest, as it does get confusing when there are as many as 2 teams on the pitch at once," wrote Paul Brookes.

Another fan, Nick Boggon added to the thread with: "I always get confused between the man in pads standing in front of the three sticks and the man in pads standing behind the three sticks. This will help."

Many among us might enjoy such pun-intended retorts. After all, it's a sport!

Yet, there were others who chose to call a spade the way it is. Paul Leech, did not hide his displeasure saying: "Really? It looks awful. Straight out of the 90’s." He found support in Josh Boulton who said: "It's a strong NO from me."

UK's leading publication, The Telegraph, devoted time while announcing "England unveil World Cup kit inspired by 1992 - the last time they made it to the final" then asked "Will it make any difference? Do clothes maketh the cricketer?" 

Ask India's M S Dhoni. The legend, with 341 One Day Internationals played and who'll be playing his fourth World Cup told The Quint on, March 1, 2019, that the new team jersey will act as a motivating factor for him and other team members to contribute an additional 10-15 percent.

Dhoni participated in the launch, along with Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw and India's woman cricketers Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues.

Kohli told The Quint: "I can feel the change. It (new jersey) is so light on the body. It is breathable. I feel there is no restriction at all. It is very stretchable, more than the last jersey. I can’t wait to step on the field with this one."

According to the publication, Nike, the manufacturer of the kit has introduced multiple innovations to make the jersey more meaningful. They are:

1. The jersey's inner back, just below the collar, has India's three World Cup victories, 1983 under
Image credit: The Qunit and Nike
Kapil Dev; 2007 T20 win under M S Dhoni; and 2011, again under Dhoni, emblazoned along with "Bleed Blue" under the milestones. These prompted Dhoni to say that the inscriptions will remind the team of their rich legacy every time.

2.  As Kohli pointed out, the material stretches from all sides. This is because of its interwoven or meshy structure. This also helps the temperature regulation of the body.

3. Nike had recycled plastic bottles to prepare the Team India jersey for World Cup 2015. This time, the company has made the material more futuristic by using recycled polyester. A delighted Kohli said this jersey was the best he has worn in the past 10 years.

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