Tony Becca: The Australian inspiration

first_img Everybody was playing, young and old. They played in the backyard and in the front yard. They were seen on television enjoying the Test matches, and by playing everywhere and anywhere, and by playing every day and everywhere, the young players were in a position to replace the stars whenever their time came to step aside. They had the numbers. That was how it was in those days. While it is basically the same in the other countries, it is no longer so in the West Indies, and certainly not so in Jamaica where a cricket match, almost any cricket match, is like a ghost town. Today, the team, the West Indies team, still wins a few matches, but they are few and far between, and mostly against teams as low as Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. And they are gradually catching up with the West Indies. Their performers are few and far between, and with one like Chris Gayle and probably another like Dwayne Bravo not involved, the relatively good performers are Darren Bravo, Kirk Brathwaite, and Marlon Samuels, and they are so only now and again. The reason is that those who are equipped to take the places of the stars are not around, or by playing only now and again, they take too long in getting there. It is difficult these days to spot, not only another Brian Lara or another Curtly Ambrose, another Shivnarine Chanderpaul or another Courtney Walsh, but also a player who really looks like for one for the future England, Australia, South Africa, and especially India turn these type of players out almost every season. They flow like off a production line, Alistair Cook, Ian Bell, Steve Hamison, Joe Root, Jos Butler, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, and Steven Finn, Michael Clarke, David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steve Finch, Michael Johnson, and Mitchell Starc, Jacques Kallis, Herschelle Gibbs, Hashim Amla, Quinton De Kock, Faf Duplessis, A.B. De Villiers, Makhaya Ntini, and Dale Steyn. And from India, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinka Rajane, Rohit Sharma, R. Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Suresh Raina, and many more. It is almost like you hear about them today and by tomorrow they are gone, and not because they are not that good enough, but because a better one appears on the scene. One of the reasons why England, Australia, South Africa, and India keep producing more and better players more often than the West Indies is because their cricket fraternity really loves cricket. Based on what I have seen they go to cricket from they are young until they are old, and during that time, they play cricket, in the backyard, in the front-yard, and even competitively until after their 75th birthday. The Australians, who were in Jamaica two weeks ago courtesy of Paul Campbell’s Sports Innovation Group, played four 20-over games against a Kingston CC Masters Invitational X1, a Melbourne CC Masters Invitational X1, and two games against a Paul Campbell Masters Invitational X1, were from Victoria. They came to Jamaica from Mexico and Cuba, and they were heading to Vancouver in Canada before going on to Philadelphia in the USA for a seven-match series in five days to end the tour. The Philadelphia series has been going on for the past 20 years. The reason for the headline is this: the tour was an eye-opener for the Jamaicans, certainly to regulars like former Jamaica nationals Delroy Morgan, John Gordon, Terrence Corke, and Odelmo Peters and to regular master league players like Mark English and Myron Chin. The local players were, however, nowhere near 60 or 75 years old, and while there were maybe a few of them, who may play five or six games a season, the Australians number thousands, who play a minimum of 15 competitive games a season. It is because of that why the Jamaicans were astonished by these older Australians, who, while were attired in the green and gold of Australia, ran sprightly and smartly between the wickets, something which is almost foreign to West Indies cricket these days. “Boy, these guys certainly taught us a lesson. Imagine, 70 and 75 yeas old and still playing, and playing two games a day on top of that,” said one of the Jamaicans who was just pushing his 50th birthday. That’s what made cricketers like Clarke and Smith, and also others like Johnson, Starc, and company. “These guys really love cricket, man. We really have to take a leaf out of their book if we are to match them,” said one of the Jamaicans who required a substitute fielder half way through the match at Melbourne Oval. If the West Indies played cricket like the Aussies, they probably would not have suffered so badly for so long: 1995 to 2016 at the bottom, or near to the bottom, of the Test and One-day rankings. Competitively Some people may now be questioning the reason for this headline, The Australian inspiration. After all, the West Indies did go from 1976 to 1995 losing only one Test series against all comers, they defeated Australia mercilessly in seven series from 1980 to 1993 and during all those years there skill was such that they were considered the greatest set of cricketers ever to play the game. Maybe the headline reflected the 4-1 defeat in 1951-52 when Australia first played the West Indies, or maybe it brought back memories of the 3-0 thrashing they dished out in 1955 when they first toured the West Indies. No, it could not have been. Those defeats, and others, were well and truly avenged during the 19 years of ascendancy and the many thumpings that Australia received from the West Indies during that time, even though those victories are nearly as far away and as long ago as the wonderful and historic 3-1 victory against England in 1950. The headline is for another reason. Back in those days, cricket was popular among the six or seven countries which really played the game, and Test cricket was what other cricket was judged by. Whenever stumps were driven into the ground and two men in white walked out of the pavilion, it was the signal for the people to turn out in their thousands, or for rain to come tumbling down. People loved the sport, and they used to revel in who wins and the successful performers were the toast of the day, as they are today. In that atmosphere, with everybody, toddlers to grandparents, probably even to great grandparents, involved in the game, England, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, the West Indies, India, and Pakistan were happy. They won series and they lost series. They produced good players. Young playerslast_img read more

SAA takes delivery of new aircraft

first_img24 July 2013 South African Airways (SAA) has taken delivery on Tuesday of the first two of 20 A320 Airbus planes that the airline has on order from Airbus. The shipment of the state-of-the-art, fuel-efficient aircraft is set to deliver significant cost efficiencies while allowing South Africa’s national carrier to expand its regional route network in the rapidly growing sub-Saharan African market. The A320s will replace SAA’s current fleet of 737-800s and augment the A319s it already has in service. Airbus describes the A320 as “the world’s best-selling and most modern single-aisle aircraft”, with over 9 600 ordered and more than 5 600 delivered to over 380 operators worldwide. “With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 family has the lowest operating costs of any single-aisle aircraft,” Airbus said in a statement on Wednesday. “Operating a modern and homogenous fleet plays a significant role in cost reduction and boosting revenue,” SAA chief executive Monwabisi Kalawe said. “The A320 will assist SAA to achieve this while providing our passengers with a more superior cabin product.” John Leahy, Airbus’s chief operating officer for customers, said that South African Airways “has long been regarded as a bellwether for Africa on aircraft selection, and we are looking forward to expanding our relationship. “Our reliable, fuel-efficient and comfortable A320s will give SAA a competitive edge and help the airline achieve sustainable profitability.” SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

RS passes Motor Vehicles Bill

first_imgNew Delhi: The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed a bill to tighten road traffic regulations such as issuance of driving licence and imposed stricter penalties for violations in an attempt to improve road safety.The Upper House passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 with 108 votes in favour and 13 against it, with three amendments moved by Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari. The legislation was passed by the Lok Sabha on July 23 but the bill will be sent to Lok Sabha again because of a typo. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Replying to a debate on the bill, Gadkari allayed concerns of states, saying the Centre was not encroaching on any of their rights including the right to levy vehicle registration charge and permit fee, besides posting of officials. Not a single penny of state revenue would be taken by the Centre, he asserted. Also, the rights of the states to set up driving training institutes too will remain untinkered. The legislation provides for stricter punishment for various traffic related offences as well as higher penalties, including a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for death and Rs 2.5 lakh for grievous injury in a motor vehicle accident case. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KGadkari said the legislation will instil fear of law in people who violate traffic rules as an intelligent traffic system will monitor traffic offences. The minister said India was facing shortage of 22 to 25 lakh drivers and to fill this gap, driver training institutes were planned pan India and the Centre was ready to provide Rs 1 crore subsidy for each centre. He said such centres were not needed in metropolises like Delhi, Mumbai or Chennai but in remote rural areas to uplift tribals and poor and 1,000 such centres were planned. The minister also allayed fears of members regarding roping in of corporates, saying no rights were being given to companies and in fact a few firms had come forward with Rs 20-25 crore free-of-charge training centres under CSR. Gadkari said the process for obtaining driving licenses would now be computerised and anyone, whether a minister or MP, will get licenses only after passing online tests. He said the government has no intention to intervene with the power of states and state transport corporations were free to run their buses. He advocated the London transport model, stating that many state government undertakings had turned NPAs and the government was also exploring bringing in foreign funds. The minister made it clear that vehicle registration rights remained with the states and asserted that the Centre was not benefitting by even a rupee. He also stressed on the need to promote electric buses and having a transport policy. He said a 265-seat bus skybus was planned between Dhaula Kuan and Manesar. The bill proposes a National Transportation Policy for ushering in guidelines on the transportation of goods and passengers. The minister said it will be framed only after holding consultations with the states. Once the bill becomes a law, the new vehicles will be registered at the dealers level and it will eventually remove buyers’ interface with the registration authorities. The bill, which was pending for approval in the Rajya Sabha, had lapsed after the term of the 16th Lok Sabha ended. It proposes Rs 10,000 fine for not giving way to emergency vehicles and Rs 10,000 for driving despite disqualification. Aggregators violating driving licences will be fined up to Rs 1 lakh. The proposals are based on the recommendations of transport ministers from 18 states, which were vetted by a standing committee of Parliament. The bill includes penalties in the range of Rs 1,000- 2,000 for over-speeding. Driving without insurance will be punishable with Rs 2,000 fine, while driving without helmets will attract Rs 1,000 penalty and 3-month suspension of licence. Also, the guardian/owner will be deemed guilty in case of road offence by juveniles, while registration of the vehicle will be cancelled. As per the new provisions, “guardian/owner shall be deemed to be guilty and there will be a penalty of Rs 25,000 with three years imprisonment and cancellation of registration of the Motor Vehicle”. Traffic violations would now attract a penalty of Rs 500 in place of Rs 100 earlier, while disobedience of orders of authorities will attract a minimum penalty of Rs 2,000 in place of Rs 500 earlier. Penalty for unauthorised use of vehicles without licence has been proposed at Rs 5,000 while those driving without licence will have to shell out the same amount and those found driving despite disqualification would be fined Rs 10,000. Penalty for dangerous driving would be increased to Rs 5,000 from Rs 1,000, while drunken driving under the proposed new law would attract a fine of Rs 10,000. “If aggregators are found violating lincensing conditions, they will be charged a sum of up to Rs 1 lakh” while overloading of vehicles would attract a penalty of Rs 20,000.last_img read more