Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Why I believe in God

WE are still in the dawn of the scientific age, and every increase of light reveals more brightly the handiwork of an intelligent Creator. We have made stupendous discoveries; with a spirit of scientific humility and of faith grounded in knowledge we are approaching ever nearer to an awareness of God.

For myself, I count seven reasons for my faith:

First: By unwavering mathematical law we can prove that our universe was designed and
executed by a great engineering intelligence.

Suppose you put ten pennies, marked from one to ten, into your pocket and give them a good shuffle. Now try to take them out in sequence from one to ten, putting back the coin each time and shaking them all again. Mathematically we know that your chance of first drawing number one is one in ten; of drawing one and two in succession, one in 100; of drawing one, two and three in succession, one in 1000, and so on; your chance of drawing them all, from number one to number ten in succession, would reach the unbelievable figure of one in ten billion.

By the same reasoning, so many exacting conditions are necessary for life on the earth that they could not possibly exist in proper relationship by chance. The earth rotates on its axis 1000 miles an hour at the equator; if it turned at 100 miles an hour, our days and nights would be ten times as long as now, and the hot sun would likely burn up our vegetation each long day while in the long night any surviving sprout might well freeze.

Again the sun, source of our life, has a surface temperature of 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and our earth is just far enough away so that this "eternal life" warms us just enough and not too much ! If the sun gave off only one half its present radiation, we would freeze, and if it gave as much more, we would roast.

The slant of the earth, tilted at an angle of 23 degrees, gives us our seasons; if the earth had not been so tilted, vapors from the ocean would move north and south, piling up for us continents of ice. If our moon were, say, only 50,000 miles away instead of its actual distance, our tides might be so enormous that twice a day all continents would be submerged; even the mountains could soon be eroded away. If the crust of the earth had only been ten feet thicker, there would be no oxygen, without which animal life must die. Had the ocean been a few feet deeper, carbon dioxide and oxygen would have been absorbed and no vegetable life could exist.

It is apparent from these and a host of other examples that there is not one chance in billions that life on our planet is an accident.

Second: The resourcefulness of life to accomplish its purpose is a manifestation of an all-pervading Intelligence.

What life itself is, no man has fathomed. It has neither weight nor dimensions, but it does have force; a growing root will crack a rock. Life has conquered water, land and air, mastering the elements, compelling them to dissolve and reform their combinations.

Life, the sculptor, shapes all living things; an artist, it designs every leaf of every tree, and colors every flower. Life is a musician and has taught each bird to sing its love song, the insects to call one another in the music of their multitudinous sounds. Life is a sublime chemist, giving taste to fruits and spices, and perfume to the rose, changing water and carbonic acid into sugar and wood, and, in so doing, releasing oxygen that animals may have the breath of life.

Behold an almost invisible drop of protoplasm, transparent, jellylike, capable of motion, drawing energy from the sun. This single cell, this transparent mist-like droplet, holds within itself the germ of life, and has power to distribute this life to every living thing, great and small. The powers of this droplet are greater than our vegetation and animals and people, for all life came from it. Nature did not create life; fire-blistered rocks and a saltless sea could not meet the necessary requirements.

Who, then, has put it here?

Third: Animal wisdom speaks irresistibly of a good Creator who infused instinct into otherwise helpless little creatures.

The young salmon spends years at sea, then comes back to his own river, and travels up the very side of the river into which flows the tributary where he was born. What brings him back so precisely? If you transfer him to another tributary he will know at once that he is off his course and he will fight his way down and back to the main stream and then turn up against the current to finish his destiny accurately.

Even more difficult to solve is the mystery of eels. These amazing creatures migrate at maturity from ponds and rivers everywhere - those from Europe across thousands of miles of ocean - all bound for the same abysmal deeps near Bermuda. There they breed and die. The little ones, with no apparent means of knowing anything except that they are in a wilderness of water, nevertheless start back and find their way not only to the very shore from which their parents came but thence to the selfsame rivers, lakes or little ponds. No American eel has ever been caught in Europe, no European eel in American waters. Nature has even delayed the maturity of the European eel by a year or more to make up for its longer journey. Where does the directional impulse originate?

Fourth: Man has something more than animal instinct - the power of reason.

No other animal has ever left a record of its ability to count ten, or even to understand the meaning of ten. Where instinct is like a single note of a flute, beautiful but limited, the human brain contains all the notes of all the instruments in the orchestra. No need to belabor this fourth point; thanks to human reason we can contemplate the possibility that we are what we are only because we have received a spark of Universal Intelligence.

Fifth: Provision for all living is revealed in such phenomena as the wonders of genes.

So tiny are these genes that, if all of them responsible for all living people in the world could be put in one place, there would be less than a thimbleful. Yet these genes inhabit every living cell and are the keys to all human, animal and vegetable characteristics. A thimble is a small place to hold all the individual characteristics of almost three billion human beings. However, the facts are beyond question.

Here evolution really begins - at the cell, the entity which holds and carries the genes. That the ultra-microscopic gene can absolutely rule all life on earth is an example of profound cunning and provision that could emanate only from a Creative Intelligence; no other hypothesis will serve.

Sixth: By the economy of nature, we are forced to realize that only infinite wisdom could have foreseen and prepared with such astute husbandry.

Many years ago a species of cactus was planted in Australia as a protective fence. Having no insect enemies in Australia, the cactus soon began a prodigious growth; the alarming abundance persisted until the plants covered an area as long and wide as England, crowding inhabitants out of the towns and villages, and destroying their farms. Seeking a defense, entomologists scoured the world; finally they turned up an insect which lived exclusively on cactus, and would eat nothing else. It would breed freely, too; and it had no enemies in Australia. So animal soon conquered vegetable, and today the cactus pest has retreated - and with it all but a small protective residue of the insects, enough to hold the cactus in check forever.

Such checks and balances have been universally provided. Why have not fast-breeding insects dominated the earth? Because they have no lungs such as man possesses; they breathe through tubes. But when insects grow large, their tubes do not grow in ratio to the increasing size of the body. Hence there never has been an insect of great size; this limitation on growth has held them all in check. If this physical check had not been provided, man could not exist. Imagine meeting a hornet as big as a lion !

Seventh: The fact that man can conceive the idea of God is in itself a unique proof.

The conception of God rises from a divine faculty of man, unshared with the rest of our world - the faculty we call imagination. By its power, man and man alone can find the evidence of things unseen. The vista that power opens up is unbounded; indeed, as man's perfected imagination becomes a spiritual reality, he may discern in all the evidence of design and purpose the great truth that heaven is wherever and whatever; that God is everywhere and in everything that nowhere so close as in our hearts.

It is scientifically as well as imaginatively true, as the Psalmist said: The heavens declare the Glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Why are we Suprised ???

Why are we surprised ??? So what if VVS saves the day yet again ??? We just have to wait for him to fail once to be dropped! And that should not be too difficult to arrange if he has to come in to bat at 6 or 7 and either the tail-enders leave him stranded or he plays too aggressively and gets out.

But the Selectors rather a bunch of Jokers, as once famously Quoted by Mohinder Amarnath will keep him for the Australian tour because they know he is the only Indian batsman who can counter-attack the Australian bowlers on bouncy tracks and the other batsmen will have to play around him if we are to show some mettle, as we did when we went there last.

Laxman's place being even debated in our country is indeed a shame - he has rarely been made to feel secure in this line up and often times ridiculous names of players with a flash-in-the-pan performance has been discussed in the same breath.

But surely, Yuvaraj is playing with far more responsibility, class and consistency ... He also needs to be blended into the equation somehow but not at the cost of making a very, very special Laxman feel the heat.

Couple of days back, Mohinder Amarnath, the master of comebacks, made a telling statement on Neo Sports. When queried about the fact that in recent times, VVS has been under pressure every time he walks out to bat for India, he said, 'That speaks poorly of the state of Indian cricket. He should be an automatic choice for the kind of player he is'. I could not help reflecting that this was true in Jimmy's own case at many points in his Illustrious career.

What is heartening though is that this situation has actually impelled Laxman to dig deeper and show character apart from class, which is good for Indian cricket.

Till few days back every one was saying "why is laxman in the team and Yuvraj out?"... On the Second day of the Delhi Test Match Laxman played a straight drive off tanveer which should answer this question ...

Laxman, is so easy on eyes he often goes unnoticed ... Its a pity that india have not utilized his servcies in the one day cricketing Format ... He is one man who enjoys rather relishes the challenges ... Remember, last time India toured australia, he was just unstoppable and Not often you hear Ricky Ponting say, we are not able to find a way to get him out.

Laxman has been and will remain the Rodney Dangerfield of Indian cricket ... Gets no respect but always delivers ... Not comic relief but relief to Indian fans, who after yet another spectacular middle order collapse know that until Laxman is around, there is hope. And to add to the charm - be it cameos of 30-70 or great knocks of 167 and 281 ...Its always done with style.

The reason I'm there is the sheer beauty he brings to the game ... A Laxman defensive shot also oozes grace and silken touch. Forget scores, winning knocks, his inumerale innings while batting with the tail, his great slip catches ... He should be there playing international cricket for the pleasure --- a cricketers' cricketer!

During the last Ashes series ... Geoffrey Boycott said one thing to his fellow commentator ... "Have you seen the battle between Shane Warne and VVS laxman at Kolkata in 2001 ... It was one of the Most outstanding battles ever fought on the cricketing field ... Shane Warne was bowling round the wicket on the 4th day , pitching the ball in rough , his leg breaks turning miles and at other end Laxman was somehow managing to get his right foot to pitch of the ball and he would drive it through mid on, picking it from off stump" ... This is what class is all about !!!

At another Test match ... Shane Warne was bowling and Ravi Shahstri was the commentator ... Warne was bowling over the stumps.. laxman kinda rushed to the front foot and the ball was leg stumpish then he quickly moved on to the back foot and Gloriously picked up that ball from offstump and drove it through Mid on ... The way he managed was simply awesome and after watching that drive Ravi shashtri commented "it would take Me 25 more years to see any English player playing such a kinda stroke"

And finally ending it with a Steve waugh's quote ...

"If you get Dravid, great. If you get Sachin, brilliant but If you get Laxman, it's a miracle." Brett Lee repeats the words of wisdom of his former captain, Steve Waugh

Tyrannosaurus Rex: Extinct 65 million years ago
Irish Deer: Extinct about 7,700 years ago
Cave Lion: one of the largest lions ever - Extinct 2,000 years ago
Aurochs: a very large type of cattle - Extinct Since 1627
Dodo: the archetype of extinct species - Extinct Since 1650
Steller's Sea Cow: the defenseless beast - Extinct Since 1768
Great Auk: largest of all auks - Extinct Since 1844
Quagga: half zebra, half horse - Extinct Since 1883
Thylacine: the Tasmanian Tiger - Extinct Since 1936
Caspian Tiger: the third largest - Extinct Since 1970
Vangivarapu Venkata Sai Laxman - Extinct Since 2006 from ODI's
Very Very Special Laxman: Declared Endangered Species - Please save and support him

P.S: If 6 6's in an over deserves a PORCHE then the 281 at Eden deserves TWO.

Women on Top !!!

So we finally have a woman as the president of this Largest Democracy in the world ... Big deal ... While announcing Pratibha Patil's candidature, Sonia Gandhi hailed her nomination as a "historic occasion".

According to the ever-delightful Sonia Gandhi, it was a true symbol of women's empowerment in India. Yes, she really thinks we are stupid enough to buy that line Truth be told, one was downright disgusted, and insulted, when a woman as president of India was equated with the overall empowerment of women in the country.

It is obvious that Pratibha emerged as the top choice mainly due to her loyalty to Gandhi-Nehru family. That, along with the fact that she was a compromise candidate, what with the Left sticking to its guns and spiking the candidature of other prospective candidates.

To an outsider it would seem that the women of India enjoy high status and respect, equalled only by the reverence we reserve for our gods. And they do, but only in name. On one hand, we Indians chant various incantations praising women and on the other, we feel no qualms in suppressing them in more ways than can be counted. The same ghar ki Lakshmi' is beaten to pulp if she fails to bring a hefty dowry or bear a boy child. Millions of women in India face discrimination and poverty often linked to Age - Old traditions which require the parents of a bride to pay a large dowry to the family of her eventual husband

And that is just one example of the many atrocities inflicted upon women. Women in India, like the president, have a ceremonial high post in society. Go ahead, fete Pratibha on her victory but Just don't call it women's empowerment. It is a symbolic sham and means very little.

Now coming to the Statistics Mrs Patil, 72, won nearly two-thirds of votes cast in state Assemblies and in India's parliament ...The former governor of the Northern Indian state of Rajasthan described her win as "a victory of the people".

Some people see her victory as an important step towards Gender equality in India ... It may sound funny but that is what they have to say :-)

Anyways as I have touched the point of Women Empowerment, Gender Equality blah blah blah in the same breath i also want to briefly talk about Women Reservation for that Matter the General Reservation in our Country ... In the first place can any one Make me understand Why exactly we need the reservation on the basis of Gender, Caste and Religion ??? May be in 1950's and 1960's there was a time when the Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste people used to be treated very badly by their Upper Caste Counter parts and they used to have limited access to different resources like Hospitals, Temples, Educational Institutions etc ...

So May be at that time it was the Need of hour which Made the Members of the Committee which was created to draft the Constitution to go ahead and give reservation to that Section of people who were facing discrimination from all facets of Society ... Same holds true for Women reservation too ... Now the Scenario has Changed May be it has turned upside down a complete 360 degrees and No longer the SC and ST People are discriminated on the basis of their caste Neither the women ... Always you can come up with some exceptions and Just by pointing to those one or odd circumstances saying that we still need reservations on the basis of Gender and Caste is nothing else than Sheer Stupidity ...

Why should Women and a Section of people from SC, ST's be given reservation in IIM's, AIMS and IIT's ??? does that make any sense and by doing so aint we diluting the Output that these premiere institutions are gonna provide ... Think hard you yourselves will get the answer for this ...

Anyways I m planning to put up a separate write up on this reservation stuff ... So the bottom line is Should the reservations be there ??? Ofcourse there should be but it should be based on Financial Status rather than on a Meagre Gender and Caste basis ...

Bips Oops !!!
Now that the factoid is in the public domain, I guess its okay to talk about it: Bips had a boob job. There, I said it.

Is that News? Apparently so. For those not in the loop, this is about a Gorgeous actress called Bipasha Basu getting silicon implants to enhance her God-given breasts, in order to do better justice to her role in a movie appropriately titled Jism (Body) ...

The news was recently broken by a tabloid, quoting the surgeon who performed the operation and claims he was not paid for his services. What’s the bet it is the same man who leaked the story to a friendly journo? Is that what its come to? What became of medical ethics?

Jism capitalised on Bipasha’s ample assets, and made serious money for the producers. After its success, Bipasha became the IT girl, with a string of roles that required skimpy attire. Her bikini clad appearance in Dhoom-2 , plus her sizzling item number ( Beedi jalailey ) in Omkara propelled her into a bracket that saw big bucks rolling in.

How short sighted of her not to have paid the surgeon his fees, considering they amounted to such a piddly amount in comparison to what those enhanced breasts earned her. Well, the paradox today is that these surgeries have gone legit. No eyebrows go up in shock and frankly, Nobody cares. Every other Aspiring actress goes under the knife to fix assorted body parts. The only thing big about this deal are the extra inches a surgeon adds. Too bad Ms Basu’s doc isn’t a Gentleman. I believe after this leak, he never recovers his money :-)

Let's have another Beedi BIPS

Adieu: Brian Charles Lara

Mankind isn't a landscape of just wonderful people. Lots of human beings in this world are mediocre, boring and bad. However, nature occasionally generates incredible humanexemplars, wonderful people who's existence is pure light for the world, making it a more beautiful and exciting place where to be.

After delighting Millions of people across the globe with his batting pursuits for the past 17 years finally Brian Charles Lara calls it a day ... It's been a complete and utter privilege watching his career ... When in full flight he is a sight for the Gods ... Has any one ever played Cricket the way he did, Probably No ... Has any player been so burdened by the weight of expectations ??? Richard Hardlee was one, Sachin Tendulkar another and Mike Atherton in the Nineties but lara remained near the top till the end of his career ... There were breathless highs and inexplicable lows ...

The ambitions of his mind as much as the liquidity of his movements have been of fascination ... No one's got 365, so he gets 375 then a couple of months later, he gets 500. Time passes - there were no challengers - appears that was his high. Then Hayden gets 380 - Thats the new high. Guess who bounces back - passes 380 and gets 400. Its all individualistic, may be - but that bit (selective timing) captures the essence of Brian Charles Lara ...

Brian Lara's 277 against Aussies in 1993 his maiden test century, 501 against Durham in 1994, 213 against Aussies in 1999, his unbeaten 153 in the following test, Massive 600 odd runs that he emulated in 3 tests against SL in 2001, almost 10 years to the day, Lara breaks the record again goes on and scores a magnificient unbeaten 400 against the same opposition which he teared apart a decade ago, his masterful 216 against Pak in Multan are just some testimonials of his greatness ...

In 2003 a man at deep midwicket was taken out and was put beside another behind point. This comes from Adam Gilchrist in The Australian a couple of seasons ago. "Mistake," hissed Lara. Next ball Lara lofted to midwicket for six. Gilchrist taunted Lara to take on the two men behind point instead. Lara strung it between them for four. Next ball was straighter, Lara backed away and strung it through again. Best remain silent now, Gilchrist then decided. This was to demonstrate precision of his skill. But I particularly liked "mistake". 'You don't know what I can do?' was the strut. That is the Lara motif.

A bloody legend, that's what he was ... Nobody made the game look better and few ever played it better ...


The word 'Inflation' refers to a general rise in prices measured against a standard level of purchasing power i.e. Inflation is measured by comparing two sets of goods at two points of time, and computing the increase in cost not reflected by an increase in quality ... Measuring inflation is a question of finding objective ways of comparing nominal prices to real activity ... The Purchasing Power Parity adjusts for the inflationary effects of goods being non-tradeable between two or more economies ... Inflation is defined as a sustained increase in the general level of prices for goods and services. It is measured as an annual percentage increase. As inflation rises, every dollar you own buys a smaller percentage of a good or service

During World War II, you could buy a loaf of bread for $0.15, a new car for less than $1,000 and an average house for around $5,000. In the twenty-first century, bread, cars, houses and just about everything else cost more. A lot more. Clearly, we've experienced a significant amount of inflation over the last 60 years. When inflation surged to double-digit levels in the mid- to late-1970s, Americans declared it public enemy No.1

The value of a dollar does not stay constant when there is inflation. The value of a dollar is observed in terms of purchasing power, which is the real, tangible goods that money can buy. When inflation goes up, there is a decline in the purchasing power of money. For example, if the inflation rate is 2% annually, then theoretically a $1 pack of gum will cost $1.02 in a year. After inflation, your dollar can't buy the same goods it could beforehand.

Inflation is no stranger to the Indian economy. In fact, till the early nineties Indians were used to double-digit inflation and its attendant consequences. But, since the mid-nineties controlling inflation has become a priority for policy framers. The natural fallout of this has been that we, as a nation, have become virtually intolerant to inflation. While inflation till the early nineties was primarily caused by domestic factors (supply usually was unable to meet demand, resulting in the classical definition of inflation of too much money chasing too few goods), today the situation has changed significantly.

Inflation today is caused more by global rather than by domestic factors. Naturally, as the Indian economy undergoes structural changes, the causes of domestic inflation too have undergone tectonic changes. The twin causes -- excessive liquidity due to undervaluation of various currencies (technical) and fear of the US dollar collapse leading to increased purchase of various commodities to hedge against a fall in US dollar (psychological) -- needs to be tackled upfront if inflation has to be confronted globally.

What has further compounded the problem is the near-zero interest rate regime in Japan. With almost $905 billion forex reserves, it makes sense to borrow in Japan at such low rates and invest elsewhere for higher returns. Obviously, some of this money -- estimated by experts to be approximately $200 billion -- has undoubtedly found its way into the asset markets of other countries.Most of it has been parked in alternative investments such as commodities, stocks, real estates and other markets across continents, leveraged many times over. Needless to reiterate, the excessive dollar supply too has fuelled the property and commodity boom across markets and continents

What actually compounds the problem for India is the fact that lower harvest worldwide, specifically in Australia and Brazil, and the overall strength of demand vis-a-vis supply and low stock positions world over, global wheat prices have continued to rise. Wheat demand is expected to rise, while world production is expected to decline further in the coming months, as a result of which global stocks, already at historically low levels, may fall further by 20 per cent. These global trends have put upward pressure on domestic prices of wheat and are expected to continue to do so during the course of this year. No wonder, despite the government lowering the import tariffs on wheat to zero, there has been no significant quantity of wheat imports as the international prices of wheat are higher than the domestic prices.

Another cause for the increase in the prices of these commodities has been due to the fact that both India and China have been recording excellent growth in recent years. It has to be noted that China and India have a combined population of 2.5 billion people. Given this size of population even a modest $100 increase in the per capita income of these two countries would translate into approximately $250 billion in additional demand for commodities. This has put an extraordinary highly demand on various commodities. Surely growth will come at a cost.
One policy route yet unexamined in the Indian context by the government is the exchange rate policy, especially revaluation of the Rupee as an instrument to control inflation.It is time that we think about a revaluation of the Indian Rupee as a policy response to the complex issue of managing inflation, while simultaneously address the constraints on the supply side on food grains through increase in domestic production.

A higher Rupee value vis-�-vis the dollar would mean lower purchase price of commodities in Rupee terms. The Indian economy has undergone significant changes in the past decade and a half. With increased linkages to the global economy, it cannot duck the negatives of globalisation.

Laxman Misses the bus again

Shell Shocked ... If i could put words to my emotions then this was the state of mind i was in when i went thru the list of Final 15 who gonna make it to West Indies 4 WC 2007 ...

Except two (Virendra Sehwag and Dinesh Kaarthik) the rest of the team looks fine to me ... If they had selected Dinesh Kaarthik as a stand by Wicket keeper then that act would have been a perfectly justifiable one ... but according to the selectors they picked Dinesh Kaarthik as the seventh Specialist batsmen in the Squad ... Now can anyone tell me how the bloody hell in this world Dinesh Kaarthik could be rated as a specialist batsman that too ahead of a player of the caliber of VVS Laxman ...

Yes now this brings us to the pivotal point why Laxman was omitted out of WC 2007 Squad ... Interestingly Selectors do have answers for this ... According to those three wise men headed by Dilip Vengsarkar Laxman is a no good runner between the wickets and also a no good fielder ... If its so then so are Saurav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, Munaf Patel, Virender Sehwag, Harbajan Singh and Zaheer Khan ... then how come these players been included into the Squad ... Anyways i dont want to emphasis more on this concept of relativity :-)

Barring Jhonty Rhodes according to me no one else can save more than 15-20 runs in a single match with just his fielding abilities ... If its so then a player of Laxman's class would be definitely able to compensate those 15-20 runs with his flawless batting display ... If you ask me these are just bloody lame excuses given by the Selectors to keep him out of One day scheme of things ... I really dont understand what else Laxman is supposed to do / can do to get a berth in the Indian ODI side ...

It brings us to a conclusion that Merit/Talent alone cannot guarantee you a berth in this Indian side ... for that you need the backing of your Selectors, the backing of your Captain and most importantly you should have a God Father ala Sourav Ganguly ...

"Can Laxman win a World Cup Final for India ? I think he can" ...No man might have ever played Cricket the way VVS Laxman does ...


My Ambition ... I may win, I may loose,

Will not leave what i choose,

Back off?? --- No ... Never.

Stop me ... who ever.

What i can??? What i cant????

I just care what i want

I may sound odd,

But no faith, no god god.

Just my heart is my lord.

What it says i listen.

What it asks i do.

What it dreams is my Mission,

That's my Ambition ...

A Tiny Little Girl !!!

She walked past me … A sweet little charming girl, A foot or two in height, so easy to lose sight.
Her eyes said it all …The curse of hunger, The zeal to earn a meal, No house to go back to, No friend to walk back to.
Something she would never do, Was spread her arms for a penny or two, Gulping hardships in large doses, She was earning by selling roses …
"Four for 10", that's what she said, "One for 5", enough I said, "What you pay is what you get"…"Two for 5", is right she said …"I want to help", not buy, I said, Gave me two, and with no regret she left.
Hard to believe though it may seem, She taught me what was SELF ESTEEM, A tiny little girl she was … Belittled by her was all I was.

Very Very Special

A his sublime best, VVS Laxman is a sight for the gods. Wristy, willowy and sinuous, he can match - sometimes even better - Tendulkar for strokeplay. His on-side game is comparable to his idol Azharuddin's, and yet he is decidedly more assured on the off side, and has the rare gift of being able to hit the same ball to either side. The Australians, who have suffered more than most, paid the highest compliment after India's 2003-04 tour Down Under by admitting they did not know where to bowl to him. Laxman, a one-time medical student, finally showed signs of coming to terms with his considerable gifts in March 2001, as he tormented Steve Waugh's thought-to-be-invincible Australians with a majestic 281 to stand the Kolkata Test on its head.

There’s always talk of Indian cricketers over thirty declining. The moment they get to the early thirties, selectors put the knacker’s yard on their speed dials just so there’s no delay in turning old bones into glue. Some players go into an early decline: Laxman’s been declining in the opinion of selectors and captains since his late twenties. He was dropped for the World Cup four years ago because his knees were shot; old before his time, poor fellow. Now he’s thirty-plus. So are Tendulkar and Dravid, but as Orwell pointed out in his lost cricket classic, Keep the Money Plant Climbing, all over-thirties are old but some over-thirties are older than others. One or two unusual talents grow younger as they head for thirty. Dinesh Mongia’s just got back into the one-day team because he bowls left-arm slows better than Laxman. This is true. Laxman’s useless at bowling left-arm slows.

Also, Mongia’s really fast between wickets. Laxman’s nowhere near as quick at getting to the bowler’s end when he’s batting with numbers ten and eleven. You should have seen Mongia’s confidence in Ten and Jack in Malaysia; he was really Australian, not coddling the tail, making Munaf Patel and R.P. Singh take responsibility as Waugh would have done. It did wonders for their confidence. They didn’t last long enough to give this confidence a decent outing and India lost, but the game isn’t just about winning and losing. It’s about implementing key disciplines because cricket’s a journey and you have to get the right processes in place.

So you need players who are flexible, at home in a variety of roles. Like Yuvraj who can tear an attack apart, fields like an angel and (this is increasingly crucial in Indian cricket), bowls left-arm slows. His recent Test match performances have allowed Chappell-baiters to claim that he’s a rubbish Test batsman, who can’t bowl at all and drops catches as often as he takes them, but this is the kind of motivated carping we’ve become innured to. Look how he won us that Lord’s final in the summer of 2002. Form is temporary, class is permanent. That’s why Dravid and Chappell dropped Laxman to make room for Yuvi for the Mumbai Test. It was tough on Laxman, but he was up against the best left-hand batsman India’s had since…Dinesh Mongia. Okay, so India lost but people forget what happened against Australia in Mumbai the last time they toured. Michael Clarke, a rookie part-time bowler, took a fiver and nearly won Australia the match. And what does he bowl? You guessed it: Yuvi’s specialty, left-arm slows.

Versatility: that’s where Laxman loses out. All he can do is bat. He’s a super-specialized batsman in a three-in-one world. I use super-specialized advisedly. If you look at his record, he’s a superb batsman who bats superbly…against Australia! How can you expect Chappell and Dravid to assure him a steady place in the side with the Champions Trophy and the World Cup coming up. These are tournaments with a whole bunch of teams, not just Australia. The need of the moment is players who can take on Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and Kenya and New Zealand, these dangerous floaters, and destroy them. You can’t block up a place in the team for a man who specializes in Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath. His record against Australia is very creditable and all but who is going to take on Shahid Afridi? And Shaun Pollock? Pollock isn’t as fast as he was but his hair’s still red. Also Warne doesn’t play one-day cricket any more, so Laxman won’t get to thump him even if we do play Australia. Warne’s absence is another reason not to pick him for the World Cup.

Think back to the last World Cup. We didn’t have Laxman. Did we miss him? No. We got to the final. All right, we lost the final. Okay, we got hammered. But that was because Ganguly put the Australians in. Dravid wouldn’t have done that. And Mumbai doesn’t count: that was a Test match. Anyway, the point is, you can’t pick a team just to defeat the world champions. That’s so daft that it shouldn’t need saying. The trick is to pick a team that’ll beat the rest of the world and hope that one of the other teams in the tournament knocks the Aussies out. And if Laxman insists that the Australians can be taken on, bat in hand, and beaten, all the more reason to leave him out of the team. Humouring lunatics is a dangerous business.

For the World Cup, Chappell has put a process into place that’ll help us play Dutch cricket. No wisecracks about French cricket, please. This is a serious strategic plan, which requires the Indian team to play cricket in the style in which Cruyff’s team once played total football. The Dutch football team of the Seventies had no assigned positions; its players switched places incessantly, confounding opponents and undermining their plans. In just that way has Chappell drilled the Indian team and in Malaysia we saw the first fruit of his daring. Bowlers have become batsmen and batsmen have become bowlers. The opposing captain doesn’t know whether he should plan for Harbhajan Singh or Virender Sehwag, Irfan Pathan or Dinesh Mongia, left-arm fast or left-arm slow (Ganguly doesn’t make the cut because he’s right-arm medium.).

Pathan and Dhoni have played in pretty much every position from the opening slot to the tail-end of the team. Dravid has moved from the middle order to opening the batting. The move mightn’t have worked but the important thing is not the result but Dravid’s attitude, his willingness to commit himself to the total process. Compare this to Laxman’s rigid refusal to open the innings in Test cricket. He’s a dinosaur, really, as fixed and old-fashioned as the Maginot Line.

I know there are small-minded nit-pickers who point to Pathan and say that total cricket has made a fine strike bowler into an occasional pinch-hitter, but malice will out and Chappell should ignore the gossips and stand by his disciplines and processes. Total Cricket, like Total Football, needs exceptional levels of fitness. It needs young legs and strong bodies, built by climbing mountains, rappelling down cliff faces and trekking through obstacle courses and rough terrain. And that’s not Laxman. He’s the kind of old-style batsman who just plays cricket.

I’m second to no one in my admiration of Laxman. He’s been a great servant of Indian cricket and he’s earned his gold watch and pension. And yes, I know that his 281 was voted the greatest Test innings ever played by an Indian batsman. But that was five years ago, in 2001. Class might be permanent but we’re talking about 2001. 2001 is when 9/11 happened. It’s, like, history. In fact, now that 20-20 is here, the specialist, five-day batsman is history. We need young, greased-lightning type like Raina. And luckily he’s left-handed. Which means Chappell’s got him practising the subtle art without which no modern Indian batsmen is complete: left-arm slows.Sourced by: Poli Venkata Kiran & The Telegraph