Roberto Mancini has several decisions to make going into tomorrow’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Bosnia-Herzegovina, including Nicolò Zaniolo or Sandro Tonali in midfield. It kicks off in Zenica on Friday at 19.45 GMT, and although the Azzurri have already qualified, they still want points to be sure of a top seed spot in the Euro 2020 draw. Bosnia are not entirely out of the running yet, but have a difficult task to catch up with Finland. Mancini saw several players pull out of the squad through injury, including Marco Verratti, Domenico Berardi and Leonardo Spinazzola. The latest was Roma defender Gianluca Mancini, who had been tipped to start at centre-back, so Francesco Acerbi is next in line. There is a gap in the midfield, which will likely be filled either by Roma’s Zaniolo – in a deeper role to the one he usually holds at club level – or Brescia youngster Tonali, who was a late addition to the squad, promoted from the Under-21 side. It was at Under-21 level that Tonali and Nicolò Barella played together, so are a more likely pairing with Jorginho. The usual debate remains in attack between Ciro Immobile and Andrea Belotti, with the Lazio man the favourite considering his Capocannoniere status in Serie A. Federico Chiesa faces competition from former Fiorentina teammate Federico Bernardeschi to complete the trident attack with Lorenzo Insigne or Stephan El Shaarawy. Italy (probable): G Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Acerbi, Biraghi; Barella, Jorginho, Tonali; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/
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With insecure TV actors, a naive porn star, a notorious foreign cricketer, the fifth season of Big Boss came with a promise of tons of drama and controversy. However, for all their antics, only few have survived the pressure, the fights and politics that could put our country’s leaders to shame. With the finale tonight, let’s look at the ‘Infamous Five’ up for voting in the finale:Juhi Parmar: Known as Balaji Telefilms’ Kumkum to most before entering reality TV, Juhi is one of the most balanced contestants on the show. Sporting, helpful, dominating when provoked, Juhi is one of the few, who are still liked both in and outside the house. A strong contender for the win.Amar Updhyay: Another Balaji alum, Amar Upadhyay won many hearts on the small screen as ‘Mihir Virani’. Things turned out quite different in the house where he tried to get cosy with not one, but two of the contestants and they ultimately had to remind him of his wife and kids. Amar’s in it to win it and he made it clear early on. Let’s see if his “gameplan” helps him take home the prize.Siddharth Bhardwaj: Cute boy of the house Siddharth Bhardwaj entered late and jumped right into action. Even so, he developed a close bond with Shonali Nagrani while finding a clear enemy in Sky. Known to be somewhat bratty, he adds tons of entertainment to the show. So for all we know, he could come out a winner for reasons very different from Juhi’s.advertisementSky (Akashdeep Saigal): If Siddharth adds entertainment, Sky brings in annoyance. From instigating others to fight to forming groups in the house, he’s done it all. He even had a minor tiff with host Sanjay Dutt. While some like him for being straightforward, others find him pure annoying with his endless arguments and loud voice. His would be a truly surprise win.Mehak Chahal: Actor and Norwegian model Mehak Chahal is the female Sky of the house. But she’s known to be Salman Khan’s favourite and this might have been the reason behind her re-entry to the house. While she brings in the much-needed glamour to the house, only destiny will bring her victory.
The venue was a give away. Akshay Kumar and Prabhu Deva were obviously making it clear that their upcoming biggie Rowdy Rathore aims to woo the masses when they chose to launch the film’s music and first look at a Mumbai chawl rather than a snazzy five-star hotel.Worli’s BDD Chawl was abuzz with fan frenzy on Monday as Akshay – sporting his distinct, mustachioed look in the film along with dark glasses – took to the brightly-hued makeshift stage along with Sonakshi, who made a traditional style statement in printed kurti and dazzling orange lowers.While the 500-strong crowd had turned out to catch a glimpse of Akshay who was at his jocular best and Sonakshi, who made for a pretty photo-op, but the show really came alive when director Prabhu Deva took to the stage to show off some of his trademark dance moves.Akshay Kumar, Prabhu Deva and Sonakshi Sinha at the music launch.Prabhu returns as director in this Sanjay Leela Bhansali-produced film for the first time since he made the Salman Khan blockbuster Wanted in 2009. If the dancing sensation-turned-filmmaker shared a quick jig with Salman in the ‘Jalwa’ number in Wanted, Monday’s gala saw him shake a leg with Akshay and Sonakshi.The crowd kept asking for an encore every time he stopped dancing, till Prabhu finally picked a hallmark dialogue from his film to make himself clear. “Don’t angry me!” he told the fans in mock fury, just as Akshay says in the film.The trailer of the film was leaked online a good 24 hours before its official launch on Monday and had already gone viral.The first look of the film, however, grossly reminded one of Wanted, revealing similar bonecrushing, gravity defying action sequences that have been spectacularly shot using CGI effects. Akshay, however, was in no mood for comparisons.”I do not want to compare myself with anyone, he (Salman) is my friend and both of us do our respective work,” the actor said. Rowdy Rathore is slated for release on June 1.advertisement
11:35 pm | WINNER’S CORNER: Kolkata’s Ryan ten Doeschate says, “It was good to win, it was a pretty easy chase. we made it difficult in the end. It is important to win our home games. I thought we bowled well, 140-145 was a winning score on this pitch. We have done well chasing in this ground.”11:30 pm | MATCH ANALYSIS: Good effort from KKR. The pitch was assisting the spinners a lot. The gulf in the class of the spinners between the two teams decided the match in the end. A brave effort from Rahul Dravid and his boys, perhaps the quiet middle overs of their batting stint hurt the team badly. Both teams now have 4 points each after 4 games. Kolkata will stay at home to meet Punjab on Sunday while the Royals travel to Bangalore on Sunday in what should be an emotional homecoming for Rahul Dravid in his first match since retirement. 11:20 pm | KKR WIN BY 5 WICKETS (19.2 overs): It’s all over. A great finish to a great game of cricket. Ryan ten Doeschate smashes a six to secure Kolkata’s second win in this year’s tournament. This one the Knight Riders will remember for a long time. They had to fight for every run here and that will give them a lot of confidence going forward. [KKR 137/5]11:15 pm | SHAKIB ALMOST SEALS IT (19 overs): This is unbelievable. Both teams are not giving any breathing room to each other. The pressure was on Kolkata and Shakib Al Hasan rose to the the challenge with a six. But, as has been the case all along, Rajasthan immediately hit back. A slower delivery from Amit Singh does the trick. Shakib goes for another big hit, but is caught at point. And guess what! Yusuf Pathan steps up a few balls later and slams a four to level the scores. This game has been a true nail-biter, but surely, there is nothing more that Rajasthan can do. Shakib Al Hasan c Menaria b Amit Singh 16(10) [KKR – 131/5] 11:10 pm | ANOTHER SETBACK FOR KOLKATA (17 overs): Well the see-saw battle continues. Kolkata are just now being allowed for finish this match. Rajasthan are snapping at their tail every ball. Brad Hogg, the 41-year-old veteran, makes his contribution for the Royals by getting the dangerous Manoj Tiwary stumped. Manoj Tiwary st Goswami b Brad Hogg 24(18) [KKR – 108/4] 11:00 pm | RAJASTHAN HANG IN (15 overs): Royals are refusing to go away. Just when it seems Kolkata are ready to land the knock-out know, Rajasthan come back in the game. Ashok Menaria with a breakthrough this time. He’s sent back the set batsman, Manvinder Bisla. Shakib Al Hasan is the new man at the crease. Bisla c Rahane b Menaria 29(29) [KKR – 94/3]10:55 pm | BISLA CUTS LOOSE (14 overs): After a short high of the wicket, it’s back to the grind for Rajasthan. Kolkata have restored sanity by steering the temporary shift in momentum without any more losses. After being watchful for long, Manvinder Bisla is starting to cut loose. He’s just hoisted Ankeet Chavan for a big six. Interestingly, this was Kolkata’s first boundary in four overs! Amazing how this match is panning out.10:40 pm | KOLKATA LOSE 2ND WICKET (11 overs): Is there a twist left in this game? Rajasthan have been rather sedate so far, but here is a chance for them to come back to life. Johan Botha lifts the mood among his team-mates by dismissing Jacques Kallis. The delivery was looped up outside off and spun back in. Kallis looked to sweep and was struck on the pads in front of off-stump. The South African wasn’t happy with the decision, but the umpire’s view is all that matters. Kallis lbw b Johan Botha 31(38) [KKR – 70/2] 10:35 pm | EASY GOING FOR KKR (10 overs): There’s nothing happening for Rajasthan. Jacques Kallis and Manvinder Bisla are strolling at the moment. Rahul Dravid really needs to shake things up if he wants to make a match out of this. [KKR – 68/1]10:25 pm | KOLKATA ON CRUISE CONTROL (7 overs): There is no panic in the Kolkata team — not in the dressing room and not on the pitch. The Knight Riders are cruising towards their target of 132 runs. The run-rate and required-rate are pretty much equal at the moment. There is no need for the batsmen to take risks and they are doing nothing silly. 10:10 pm | FIRST BREAKTHROUGH FOR RR (4 overs): Rajasthan have made the much-needed initial breakthrough. It was confusion in running between the wickets that cost Kolkata the wicket of Gautam Gambhir. Jacques Kallis flicked a ball off the pads and wanted a single. There was a lot of hesitancy in the middle between the two batsmen and Rahul Dravid swooped in from mid-wicket with a direct hit. Interesting to see what Rajasthan can make of this lucky break. Gambhir run out (Dravid) 11(11) [KKR – 22/1] 9:55 pm | FLYING START FOR KKR (1 over): Just the kind of start the home team was looking for. The skipper steps up to the plate and smashes two boundaries in the very first over. 10 runs from it. Kolkata are on their way and Rajasthan are straight away under pressure.9:50 pm | KOLKATA BEGIN CHASE: Jacques Kallis and Gautam Gambhir have stepped out to open the innings for the Knight Riders. The target isn’t too much, but the way the Kolkata slow bowlers stemmed the flow of runs, perhaps there is some hope for Rajasthan. Johan Botha to open the bowling for the Royals. 9:45 pm | BALAJI ON KKR BOWLING: “I was trying to bowl on one side of the wicket, some came up well but one went into the stands. Hodge is very good with short and length stuff. The wicket is pretty slow and we need to bat well to reach the target. I hope that I do not need to go out and bat.” 9:35 pm | END OF RAJASTHAN INNINGS (20 overs): 132 runs is the target for Kolkata. It’s was quite a roller-coaster ride for the 2008 champions and the fans at the Eden Gardens. Initially, it seemed it was just not going to be Kolkata’s day, but full marks to their spinners, what a turnaround they caused for the home side. A last-over cameo from Brad Hodge has provided some sort of momentum for Rajasthan, but they still need an outstanding show with the ball. 9:30 pm | BIG WICKET FOR KOLKATA (19 overs): Rajasthan’s downhill slide continues as Kolkata tighten their grip on the game. Owais Shah tried his best, but the quality of KKR bowling has been fantastic, apart from the first five overs of the innings. It’s clear that Kolkata would get a pretty manageable target now. Owais Shah st Bisla b Narine 31(33) [RR – 113/5]9:25 pm | NO WAY OUT FOR ROYALS (17 overs): It was about time Rajasthan tried to break the shackles. It worked for an over and a few delivers with one six and two boundaries boosting the Royals. However, Kolkata have again managed to gain the upper hand by dismissing Sreevats Goswami. Goswami c Balaji b Shakib Al Hasan 24(22) [RR – 108/4]9:15 pm | KOLKATA KEEP A TIGHT LEASH (15 overs): Runs have dried up for Rajasthan. This is a great spell of bowling by spinner Sunil Narine and medium pacer Rajat Bhatia. Only 12 runs have come in the last three overs. The pressure is building on the men in blue.9:00 pm | ALL EYES ON SHAH (12 overs): Rajashtan’s hopes against rest of the England batsman. So far, Owais Shah has continued from where he left in the last match, hitting Yusuf Pathan for two boundaries. The Royals dug out will be praying for him to produce another sizzling knock in this game. 8:45 pm | BIG ONE FOR KKR (9 overs): A promising start has gone completely awry for Rajasthan. They have lost three wickets for just six runs in the last three overs. The latest setback has been the biggest — captain Rahul Dravid out for 28. One has to praise Kolkata’s spinner’s here. They came on to bowl at a tough juncture and they have certainly delivered. Dravid c Manoj Tiwary b Shakib Al Hasan 28(27) [RR – 51/3]8:40 pm | KOLKATA HIT BACK (8 overs): Rajasthan’s cruise has been jolted by two quick wickets. The spinners have done the trick for Kolkata. Shakib Al Hasan gave the hosts the first breakthrough by getting rid of Ajinkya Rahane for 19. Yusuf Pathan followed it up with some brilliant fielding off his own bowling to run out Ashok Menaria. Crucial blows these, coming at a crucial time. [RR – 48/2] 8:30 pm | ROYALS STEP UP PACE (6 overs): Rajasthan’s opener’s are certainly getting in the groove now. Rahul Dravid is leading the way with five boundaries to his name. More importantly, the Royals haven’t lost any wickets. Let’s hope they can capitalise on this good start and get a big score on the board. 8:15 pm | CAUTIOUS START FOR RR (3 overs): Just three boundaries in the first three overs. Not a bad start, but certainly on the slow side considering the kinds we’re used to in the IPL. The good news is both batsmen are looking comfortable at the crease. Rahane, especially, we know can turn it on when required, so the slow run-rate at the moment won’t bother Rajasthan too much.7:55 pm | ACTION ABOUT TO BEGIN: All eyes will be on young Ajinkya Rahane as the batsmen strides out to the middle. Rahul Dravid to take first strike. Lakshmipathy Balaji will open the bowling for Kolkata.7:45 pm | KOLKATA PLAYING XI: Gautam Gambhir(c), Jacques Kallis, Manvinder Bisla(w), Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Ryan ten Doeschate, Shakib Al Hasan, Debabrata Das, Rajat Bhatia, Sunil Narine, Lakshmipathy Balaji.7:45 pm | RAJASTHAN PLAYING XI: Rahul Dravid(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Ashok Menaria, Brad Hodge, Owais Shah, Shreevats Goswami(w), Johan Botha, Ankeet Chavan, Brad Hogg, Amit Singh, Siddharth Trivedi.7:36 pm | CAPTAIN’S VIEW: Gautam Gambhir says, “It was important to get off the mark with a win. We will hope to continue with the momentum. It is difficult to choose 4 foreign players out of our bunch. Lovely to play in front of the home crowd. I would have batted first as well. Just one change for us. Narine will come in place of Brett Lee.”7:33 pm | CAPTAIN’S VIEW: Rahul Dravid says, “It is tiring to travel but we have had some good fun. We have had a lot of travel to do over the last few days. The pitch here is usually on the slower side. We have a pretty young bowling attack and we need to give them some time. The wicket looks dry and we would love to bat first. We need to assess the situation and need to score around 150. Kevon Cooper is injured and will be replaced by Brad Hodge.”7:31 pm | RR ELECT TO BAT: Good start for the visiting team. Rajasthan Royals have won the toss and elected to bat. Let’s see if they can make the most of it or not.7:25 pm | BUZZ AROUND THE GROUND: Hello and Welcome to the live coverage of the 15th match of IPL 2012 between Kolkata and Jaipur. Gambhir led his side to a confident win in the previous game against RCB, and he will look to exact revenge against Jaipur who beat them in the first encounter in their home-ground. Stay tuned for the toss and pitch report.advertisementadvertisementadvertisement
India Today NEWS PICKModi gets his way, Joshi quits BJP BCCI boss caught in Jagan web? Paris won, London next for Sania-Hesh Happy birthday Shilpa! Rare childhood pics of Bollywood queen and her family What’ll Nano look like in 5 yrs?Days after changing the fortunes of bottom-enders in the first four seasons of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to the champions of the latest edition, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) Gautam Gambhir batted for a heavy penalty for the franchises who were unable to control the conduct of their players.”Somewhere down the line franchises need to control these things. A certain player from a certain team does these things, the franchise needs to be fined and it has to be fined heavily,” Gambhir said in an interview with Headlines Today on Friday.Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Luke Pomersbach had been accused of molestation by an American national during the just concluded IPL 5 tournament.The southpaw put up a strong defence of the IPL and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), saying, “It is the responsibility of the franchise to control its players. BCCI can’t appoint one person each to keep a watch over every player.””Players who have a history of binge drinking and have got into trouble in the past, franchises should impose a curfew on them and they should be sent back to their rooms,” he said.The IPL also faced allegations of spot-fixing and black money leading some, including BJP MP Kirti Azad, to demand a ban on the popular Twenty-20 tournament. However, Gambhir put up a stout defence of the BCCI shifting the onus to franchises.advertisement”We keep blaming the BCCI and the IPL for all these things. A lot of these things can be sorted out if the franchise is strong enough. Whatever we sign for is given, and nothing is given under the table,” he said.Answering the parliamentarian’s demand for a ban, Gambhir said, “I am sure there are a number of other issues for Parliament to debate than the IPL.”Gambhir admitted that he would love to be a Test captain.”I would relish the opportunity to be Test captain. Who doesn’t want to? But captaincy won’t change my passion for the game,” the Delhi batsman said.He said that his effort was to make KKR a team known for its on field achievements. “In the last three years, KKR has been known too much for what happened off the cricket field. I wanted to change that,” he said.Gambhir said after the kind of receptions he received at the Eden Gardens, he now considers himself a Kolkata boy. However, the one thing that Gambhir cannot do is dance for KKR co-owner, actor Shah Rukh Khan.”The one thing I cannot do is dance for Shah Rukh Khan. He has succeeded in everything he tried. The only thing he has failed to do is make me dance. And I hope he will not try again,” he said in a lighter vein.
IRON OZ: The victorious world champs at the Wanderers, JohannesburgThe Australians were far and away the least sentimental, most spirited and most professional team in the World Cup. As with the cases solved by Sherlock Holmes, the little things told the story. Asked to absolve his famous leg-spinner in a,IRON OZ: The victorious world champs at the Wanderers, JohannesburgThe Australians were far and away the least sentimental, most spirited and most professional team in the World Cup. As with the cases solved by Sherlock Holmes, the little things told the story.Asked to absolve his famous leg-spinner in a manner nowadays more available to Australian captains than to humble citizens such as Popes, Ricky Ponting refused to do so. Ranks did not close around Shane Warne. The facts were faced, the truth was told, and the show moved on. A slightly demented young man from West Australia took over the spinning duties and promptly proved harder to read than Dostoevsky. Warne was harshly treated by a sceptical Australian public, most of whom viewed his punishment as mild. Meanwhile South Africans were trying to convince themselves that Hansie Cronje was not so bad after all, a notion that has survived the revelation that he had 71 bank accounts, more than some villages manage.Nor was there any shilly-shallying among the Australians about Jason Gillespie. As soon as it was discovered that he could not bowl again, he was put on a plane and flown home. Meanwhile Jonty Rhodes was desperately trying to persuade his selectors to allow him to stay with the party as a talisman. Strong teams do not rely upon emblems and symbols, let alone the superstitions with which half of India tried to convince itself that the Australians must fall at the final fence, a fate that once befell a horse belonging to the Queen but was never likely to affect a bunch of rough Antipodeans.Captain Ricky Ponting has inherited a strong ethos from Steve Waugh and maintained it in his own uncomplicated way. His team did not look back with regret or sideways with concern. Instead it simply marched towards the next match, confident of victory. The Australians were far more aware of their strengths than their weaknesses. TOp Of The PopsThey were not trying to defend a title that had been won by a previous team under a captain who had suffered the fate of all Australian cricketers, the phone call that comes a year earlier than it is the case in countries where sentiment rules. Instead they were trying to put their own mark on the game as a vibrant team led by a man with a chequered past and strong convictions.Ponting’s team regarded this World Cup as a wonderful opportunity to prove itself. Significantly Warne and Gillespie were hardly mentioned from the first day till the last. If the Australians wanted to prepare the ground in case of defeat they could have reminded all and sundry that the squad had been wounded. No such timidity was tolerated; Ponting & Co were not interested in hard luck stories. They wanted to win the Cup.The Australians are a tough lot. On the way up they must survive a rigorous system that weeds out weeds and eradicates soft thinking. Andrew Symonds did mention Warne once, saying he had been so angry with him that he produced the innings of his life when his team was in trouble against Pakistan.To understand the Australians properly it is necessary to put the clock back a couple of years. In those days Matthew Hayden was too stentorian to score runs against top-class bowling. Symonds was an overrated cricketer with a poor record. Andrew Bichel was a willing worker who could not quite cut it in the highest company. Adam Gilchrist had moved to Perth to get a game and was booed on his first appearance for his country. Steve Waugh was a great captain and competitor. Brett Lee was on the comeback trail and seemed as likely to succeed as Bob Dole. Brad Hogg was hanging on to his place with his state side and could not land his wrist-spinners. Ponting was a headstrong fellow inclined towards drinking and fighting. Oh yes, and the coach was a gook. None of them seemed like supermen. Somehow Australian cricket managed to detect and extract their strengths. No one bothered much about their supposed weak points.Service is important in Australian cricket. The prevailing philosophy is that the team is greater than the individual and the country is more important than either. When Mark Waugh’s time is up he is thanked and dumped. The minute Steve Waugh starts looking old he is dropped from the 50-over side, and there is no going back. People argue in Australian cricket because it is the national game and it matters. No one has an agenda. Whereas past players from India and England secretly and sometimes blatantly seek power, their Antipodean counterparts serve in whatever capacity is decreed. For years Allan Border was happy to assist the youth team. Dennis Lillee has helped the fast bowlers, and Rod Marsh coached at the academy. Not that positions in Australian cricket are reserved for the great men of yesterday. On the contrary, the current senior and academy coaches owe their appointments not to any achievements on the field but to their accomplishments in the relevant area. Unlike other countries, Australian cricket is not a closed shop, the preserve of famous men convinced that they alone have the key to the cabinet. Rather, men are regarded and decisions made upon their merits. The same applies further down the scale.All five age-group teams at local clubs practise together. Men bat in the order of their arrival. Regular absentees are not considered for selection. If a man scores runs, he goes up whilst repeated failures herald demotion. Players of exceptional ability are, however, spotted early and pushed along because Australians like sport and want to see it played well. After wintering in the Northern Hemisphere when I returned Down Under, I rang up a former Australian player to ask if there was “anything or anyone about”. He replied that there was a young bloke from Launceston called Ricky Ponting they reckoned could play a bit and someone said he could straight drive off the back foot. The point is that he had heard of this 16-year-old from an obscure island and was excited by him. My newspaper printed the resulting article in a prominent position. Australians are not scared to take a punt. They are direct and intolerant of procrastination.The willingness to take risks and to give youth a chance reflects the vigour of a young nation that finds in sport an opportunity to forge an identity and to put into constructive form the drive and physicality of a people suspicious of sophistication and still trying to survive the challenges of a harsh land. Australian cricket has a unity and purpose missing in any rival, characteristics that turn a small nation into a mighty force on the cricket field. Australian cricketers can be ruthless and abrasive but they are seldom dull or cynical because they realise they represent something more than themselves, namely a tradition symbolised by the decrepit cap Steve Waugh made such a point of wearing. Australian cricket tries and often succeeds in combining the best of its past, present and future. Now it is up to the rest to catch up.Sydney-based Peter Roebuck is former captain of Somerset and one of the world’s foremost cricket writers.advertisementadvertisement
Balanced Trial Jaswant Singh’s budget is like an attractive icing on the hard cake that is our nation’s dismal economy (“Middle-class Muscle”, March 10). The budget prompts the middle class to earn more, buy more, borrow more, spend more and eventually pay more (taxes). Only goes to prove that the,Balanced TrialJaswant Singh’s budget is like an attractive icing on the hard cake that is our nation’s dismal economy (“Middle-class Muscle”, March 10). The budget prompts the middle class to earn more, buy more, borrow more, spend more and eventually pay more (taxes). Only goes to prove that the middle class is the lifeline of India’s economy. K. CHIDANAND KUMAR, BangaloreThis year’s budget will go down in history as a dream budget for middleclass Indians who aspire to become the upper class. The reduction in the interest of small savings instruments should drive home the point to millions of people that the days of safe and high returns guaranteed by the government are over. Let us realise that when we manage and work for our personal health and career, we must also manage our finances for future savings and retirement benefits instead of depending on government-backed savings instruments. KANAK R. NAMBIAR, KaraikalJaswant deserves to be complimented for fulfilling his task in a difficult political environment. Nevertheless, the cumulative effect is bound to be inflationary. This reminds me of the words of John F. Kennedy: “Inflation is like getting stuck in a traffic jam; you find you are part of the problem but you cannot work out what to do about it.” The consolation perhaps lies in British economist O.W. Holmes’ observation: “Inflation and taxes are the prices we pay for being in a civilised society.” K. GOPAKUMAR MENON, TrichurBack in the Pavilion”Jaswant Singh wanted to pull the budget straight to the extra-cover fence, got the inner edge and was caught behind by his own NDA allies.” RAAJ GOPAL MEHROTRA, KanpurCaste, the CredoI am shocked at the furore over the unveiling of V.D. Savarkar’s portrait in Parliament (“Picture Imperfect”, March 10). If Savarkar was indeed a traitor, as some would like to believe, why would he put so much at stake, make several sacrifices and launch a revolutionary movement? Isn’t it ironic that a man who ended the dominance of a few and opened numerous temples to Dalits in Maharashtra, is construed to have been casteist just because he was a Brahmin? The fact of the matter is that we are ungrateful wretches and simply don’t deserve the freedom we have got courtesy the blood, sweat and tears of heroes like Savarkar. VIRAJ V. KULKARNI, MumbaiIn our freedom struggle there was a unique “Mahatma”, a unique “Netaji” and a unique “Veer”. A true Indian cherishes the memories of all these three great patriots. Savarkar’s portrait may or may not adorn the walls of Parliament but he lives in the hearts of millions of Indians and Maharashtrians. GP-CAPTAIN (RETD) S.R. PURANDARE, on e-mailAwkward PositionThe preposterous presumption of self-appointed experts that sex education is the panacea for all related ills in society has always appalled me (“Oral Lessons”, March 10). A teenager’s emotional turmoil is not so simple as to be interpreted in terms of being merely repressed sexual urges. I do not think it is wise to promote and encourage free sex through insinuating and titillating advertisements. If someone seeks specific information, then certainly it should be readily and correctly made available to them but not as a matter of encouraging experimentation. I am no prude, but please let us not make the mistake of stretching the rubber jollies too far and too thin. VIVEK KHANNA, PanchkulaCost EffectiveUnlike the junkets of chief ministers of other states, the foreign travels of N. Chandrababu Naidu have brought about tangible results to Andhra Pradesh (“Flight of Fancy”, March 10). He has not shied away from taking tough measures to bring financial respectability to the state. He doesn’t pamper an average Andhraite by doling out unreasonable sops and his election campaigns are far from rabble-rousing rhetoric. He is one of the rare chief ministers who has taken personal interest in providing a transparent and accessible government. To add visibility to Brand Andhra, his jaunts to overseas destinations are steps in the right direction. Perhaps an investigation into the journeys of other chief ministers would show that Naidu has attracted one of the highest foreign investments per rupee spent on foreign travels. AADITYA VIDYARTHI, on e-mail”Pt Ravi Shankar’s assertion that music is in Norah’s genes is as absurd as drawing a circle around a gunshot mark and claiming to be an ace shooter.” RAJNEESH BATRA, DelhiCheer UmpireThe former-cricketers-turned TV commentators are either suffering from amnesia or have forgotten how they used to play (“The Other Battle”, March 10). The harsh comments they now make are mainly due to jealousy- during their times there was no scope for the money earned by current players. M.S. RAO, BelgaumThe Indian team’s anger at the venom being vented against it is fully justified. Agreed, the team was not doing well when it left for the World Cup but the last thing it needed was the abominable public behaviour. Adding fuel to fire were the unwarranted, uncharitable remarks made by people from the same fraternity. We need to respect those who are doing such a difficult job. They represent our country and the least we can do is give the Indian team moral support. JONAKI BHATTACHARYA, PuneProvocative statements should be taken in one’s stride. Polished euphemisms for bad play and superlative encomiums for occasional good performance are no longer preferred in these days of competitive sports. P.S. DESIKAN, on e-mailFair-weather FansThe ridiculous reaction of the so-called fans of the Indian cricket team after it lost to Australia was evidence of the fact that they only want to be a part of the team’s wins and not of its losses at all (“Back from the Brink”, March 3). This only shows their selfish attitude. As far as Sourav Ganguly’s captaincy is concerned, each of his critics should take turns captaining the side and see what it is like to lead a team that has the expectations of one billion people on its shoulders and is trying its best to fulfil them but still gets sneered at and criticised. ABHILASHA RAO, Sambalpur, OrissaFalse DopeI don’t much care for the Australian cricketers- they have an ego the size of an ostrich egg-but the way you mauled the reputation of Shane Warne was appalling (“Cricket in Chaos”, February 24). What would your reaction be if Sachin Tendulkar took a flu tablet and found himself in the same situation Warne was in? When the Mike Denness affair erupted Indians said that he had been too hard on Tendulkar and the others, and they had been discriminated against. What about this discrimination against another matchwinner and icon? Warne is no druggie. He is too great a cricketer to need tablets and pills to help him. RICHARD THOMPSON, on e-mailThug of WarThe way George W. Bush is frantically trying to convince the world that Saddam Hussein is the bad guy reminds me of a folktale in Kannada (“The War is On”, March 3). A tiger who wanted to devour a lamb started threatening him for muddying the water of his stream. When the petrified lamb tried to reason that he was nowhere near the stream, the tiger came up with all sorts of ridiculous excuses: that it must have been his mother or his father or his grandparents. Finally, the tiger blurted out before pouncing on the lamb, “Who cares? I am going to kill you now!” The attitude of the US is similar. RAGHUNANDAN GOLLAHALLI, on e-mailOne of Their KindThe death of the seven astronauts on board Columbia deserves our sympathy and grief (“Eternal Voyager”, February 17). But the praise heaped on Kalpana Chawla reflects an exaggerated sense of Indianness. Chawla was no longer an Indian and had in no way contributed to our country. So many Indians die each day trying to save their motherland. When are we going to appreciate these real heroes and their sacrifices? Chawla did not represent our country unlike the Israeli astronaut in the ill-fated space shuttle. Even at the time of her death she was carrying the US flag on her space-suit. DR C. XAVIER JAYASEELAN, NagercoilObject to Affection”Why get hyper about public display of love when it is part of social change?” MAYA BHATKAR Mumbai”Openness may be okay but not at the cost of our culture. It has an ugly impact on young minds.” MOHAMMED TAUSEEF, PatnaDrawing the Party LineI was highly amused to read Shobhaa De’s column, coming as it did from as avid a partywallah as I am (“Join the Party”, January 27). I like to celebrate life, I do so without any compunction and certainly without any hypocrisy. The Des are on my social list because they have very graciously in the past invited me to a number of their social dos. Because I believe in reciprocating, I, in turn, invite them to mine. However, after reading the article, I have realised that Shobhaa De treats invitations from “partywallahs in Parliament” with a great deal of contempt and, therefore, to spare her further agony, I shall not invite her to any of my parties, including my birthday, my friends’ birthdays or my children’s birthdays. Hopefully, that may spare her some of the effort that so exhausts her when she is required to “network” or, in her own words, to indulge in “contact making”. AMAR SINGH, Member of the Rajya Sabha, Delhiadvertisementadvertisementadvertisement