Federer, Anand and more
1. Viswanathan Anand won Corus tournament for the fifth time yesterday. With that win, his ELO rating crosses 2800 for the first time in his career. This is a big moment in Anand's career. Crossing 2800 is a magnificient achievement. I think, over the years Indians have taken Anand and his achievements for granted. We don't appreciate him enough, for what he has done and achieved. He has stayed in the top of the rung for so long now. He is just the fourth person in history to cross 2800. I picture him as the lone Indian against the onslaught of Russian/East-European chess machines, going on and on, year after year, scaling new peaks and constantly improving his game. Since he made it big, Chess became a big fad in India, but the fact that no one has even come close to Anand's stature shows how ahead of the pack he is. That said, I frequently read articles on Anand's tournaments and somehow, PTI and UNI constantly refer him as the "NIIT brand Ambassador". Wonder why. Why do they find it necessary to mention in a chess article that Anand endorses NIIT? Will they refer to Tendulkar everytime as the "Boost promoter"?
2. Roger Federer won the Australian Open and no one batted an eyelid. I missed watching the match live Saturday night. Early Sunday morning, while driving, I was listening to Fox Sports Radio and ESPN, and it took more than half an hour and a couple of sports bulletins before they mentioned in passing that Federer won. I know Tennis is not popular enough, but the lack of coverage and emphasis on Federer's performance was disappointing. Watch out, Federer is on his way to become one of the best Tennis players ever. He has won more titles than other superstars of the game like Becker, Edberg. His win-loss record in each of the past four years is 12-0, 81-4, 74-6 and 78-17.
3. Enough with Jerome Bettis and his homecoming and his parents and all that.
4. I don't really care for who wins the Superbowl. I will probably just catch the highlights of the game instead of sitting through a six hour ad-fest.
5. After pre-season hype and optimism that this will be the year of the Warriors turnaround, it is back to familiar turf. Warriors are losing as usual, Byron Davis & co are not heading to the playoffs, they have a losing record yet again, and talking heads are quickly jumping off the bandwagon. May be next year.. May be with a different coach.. Anyway, I will be going to the Spurs-Warriors game this thursday.
6. Winter Olympics.. huh, whatizzit?
7. On the India-Pakistan series:
a. The series has not been worth the hype.
b. They should ban the use of heavy rollers at each innings break. The pitch yesterday was behaving very differently when Pakistan came to bat. This causes unfair advantage for the home team.
c. There should be a ban on the likes of Moin Khan from writing syndicated articles.
d. Let's skip the ODIs, I can't wait for the India-Eng Tests to start.
e. Gambhir, Jaffer and Parthiv Patel, hope you guys did at least a good amount of sightseeing.
f. Apparently, Shoaib Akthar's action has gone from bad to worse. It is high time chuckers are sent out of the game.
g. Irfan Pathan's first over hat-trick not withstanding, I think he is still a disappointment as a bowler. If Zaheer Khan gets his act right and Balaji gets healthy again, let Pathan stay as a batting allrounder!
h. Yuvraj/Ganguly will have competition from Mohd.Kaif, especially if Kaif leads his team to victory in the Ranji Trophy finals (Kaif scored 92 yesterday against Bengal).
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