Everything you need to know about the recent #SandPaperGate Scandal

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The setting

It was the day 3 of the 3rd test of a yet another beautifully set up series in Southern Africa. As expected, South Africa had made a stellar comeback by winning the second test match, after being humbled in the first at the hands of the Aussies. Proteas had gained a handy lead of 55 after the first innings. At 129/2, thanks to a set Aiden Markram things were looking up for the home team.


Mom
ent that caught the eyes

Suddenly, Cameron Bancroft was seen to have taken out something yellowish from his right pocket and then placing it in his underpants (seriously?)

Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth from England who were umpiring for this game, came in to chat with the great Bancroft. After the umpires’ inquiry Bancroft presented them with a soft cloth and a plastic cover (sun-glass case-ish); and these were definitely not the yellow object he was seen putting in his under pants.

By the end of the day the clips of Bancroft roughening the Kookabura with the yellow thing(Sandpaper?) were all over the Internet with #SandpaperGate now taking rounds. Andy Pycroft, the match referee for this game then registered Bancroft for ball-tampering.


The Press Conference that followed

Steven Smith and Bancroft headed the press conference which definitely had the least to do with the actual cricket but the stories of ball tampering that surrounded it.

Steven Smith accepted the allegations and informed the world about the involvement of the ‘leadership group’ of the team. When inquired about the involvement of the coaching staff in this conspiracy, Smith was seen to clearly deny the same. When asked if he’d step down as a captain, Smith replied with assurance that he still feels to be The Man to lead the crew.

For the rest of the Test match both Steven Smith and David Warner gave up their Captaincy and Vice Captaincy respectively. Tim Paine led the team for the remaining day(s).

To make matters even worse, Australia was crowned over by a mammoth and harrowing 322 runs defeat by the host team. International Cricket Council stepped in and Steven Smith was banned for 1 test match and was fined 100 percent of his match fee, while Cameron Bancroft was given 3 demerit points(demerit points combine to become suspension points, which further combine to result in serious charges such as ban for a number of matches / for a length of time) and was asked to give 75% of his match fee.


The Aftermath

The situation turned to be so intense that even the Prime Minister of Australia had to come out and express about how hampering the incident has been to the Australian spirit.

 

A number of legends took the opportunity of expressing their dissent on the #SandPaperGate.

 

Lets try to understand the mechanics of this unfortunate incident.


What is ball tampering?

Any attempt to alter the cricket ball’s condition by unlawful means come under this term.


What
are the laws with respect to altering the ball’s condition?

This has been made clear in Law 41.3 of the MCC’s Laws of Cricket. Simply, a fielder is only allowed to:
1. Polish the ball with his clothing;
2. Remove mud in umpire’s supervision, or;
3. Dry it up with a piece of cloth approved by the umpires.

To supplement it further, Clause 2.2.9 of “The International Cricket Council Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel” document prohibits the following –
(i) throwing the ball in the ground with the intention of roughening it;  
(ii) applying artificial/non artificial substance with any intention but to polish it;  
(iii) scratching the ball’s surface with finger or thumb nails;
(iv) interfering with the seam of the ball.


What is reverse swing and why it is effective?

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Conventional swing happens due to the shininess of the ball. When the ball gets old, it is handled in a way that one side of it remains shiny, where as the other side is left to get roughen and deteriorate.

Now, the condition of the ball becomes such that the two sides of the ball separated by the grip would show different amount of resistance to the air.

The ball will swing towards the rough side. This art of bowling was developed by Sarfraz Nawaz of Pakistan in the early 1970s. It was passed onto Imran Khan by him, who later taught this skill to the duo of Waqar and Wasim.


What do players try to achieve with ball tampering?

Naturally, ball roughening is a slow process. It might take 40-45 overs before a decent distinction can be made between the two sides of the ball. Ball tampering is hence an illegal method of fastening that process.


What do I feel about this recent incident?

As a fan who has been seeing cricket for 15+ years, this might be the most shocking incident this sport has unfolded to me. A sport that should spread the feeling of brotherhood, camaraderie and love is now in a grave danger to be seen as just another money producing venture. When a valiant Aiden Markram’s gritty inning gets overshadowed by the acts of a cheat, you know it’s time to be more severe with the punishments.

I am from a generation who has seen the most talented teenage fast bowled Mohammed Amir being booked for match fixing, a promising Sreesanth self-damaging his career, Turbanator Harbhajan Singh being banned for violence.

I am also from the same crowd who remembers that over from Andrew Flintoff’s Man Of The Series campaign at the 2005 Ashes, or the Ponting Vs Ishant’s Rivalry at the Perth from the 2008’s India’s Tour of Australia. The wreckage Stuart Broad caused in the 4th Test of the 2015 Ashes with his 8 for or Sachin’s over sweeper six on Shoaib Akthar’s bouncer, which set the tone for the 2003 World Cup.

The beautiful thing about cricket is that whenever it has been quagmire-d by controversies, it has always found its way out; thanks to a few players who with their performances and attitude have always snatched cricket from the darkest nights. (Remember how Dinesh Karthik’s last ball six in the Nidahas Trophy which ended recently calmed the chaos created by Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the previous game!!)


The recent developments

Cricket Australia has called Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft before the last match of the test series, back home. While, Tim Paine has been named as the captain for the final game to be played at the Wanderers in Jo’burg. The last game will be played from the 30th of this month. Matthew Renshaw, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns shall replace the 3. Cricket Australia has promised to present the sanctions on the 3 players it has called back home in the next 24 hours.

UPDATE (17:00 IST 28th March 2018) :- Steven Smith and David Warner have been banned from playing international and domestic cricket by Cricket Australia for the next 12 months. Also Steven Smith won’t be able to captain sides for a year after the completion of his ban. David Warner is banned from captaincy for his life now. They have also been prohibited by the BCCI to participate in the Indian Premier League this season.

Whereas, Cameron Bancroft would not be able to compete in any international and domestic cricket for 9 months according to the sanctions put on him by Cricket Australia. Also, he won’t be able to lead the side for the 12 months after the completion of the ban.

UPDATE (21:00 IST 28th March 2018) :- Darren Lehmann has decided that the last test match of the tour would also be the final one of his career as the head coach of the Australian Cricket team.

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Problems with India’s Education System

 

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My neighbor’s child, a 13 year old in her most formative years of education had a computer science exam a few days back. She came to our home to prepare as the parents had a wedding to attend. Seeing her all perplexed, I came in to help. I asked her questions, such as what is a cell in a spreadsheet?. Closing her eyes, trying to regain from her last 2 hours effort of learning; in the most parrot-fashion there is, she muttered hastily, “A cell in a spreadsheet is a..”. It took her a few more attempts after which she finally was able to spit the whole definition, “A cell is the intersection between a row and a column on a spreadsheet”. I was a little unsettled after seeing her journey to the answer. Being a topper of her class comes with the expectations of her being a rational and a logical student. I then went deeper with the question, asking her to explain to me where a cell or a spreadsheet was used. Upon her silence, I tried to probe the cause of such an apathy. Her statement in defence stood that she didn’t have many practical classes. Sadly, this is the sorry state of one of the most renowned centrally funded schools of our country.

The present scenario of the state of schools in our country shows a uniformity in the learning pattern. Every kid receives the same textbooks, and gets the same notes. But how then do we grade our students? In order to do this, the country follows a uniform system of education which primarily aims at imparting basic education to the great 41 percent of our population. We believe that students need to be brought to the same footing across the country so that they have an equal shot at the life that awaits them. But in doing so, we try to measure the capabilities of every student with the same yardstick, forgetting the niche of every student.

The recent upsurge in the number of students who score 90% and above in boards, and not an equal one when it comes to their employability, goes on to reveal the nuances of the system that rote-learning has been successful in producing. Question papers are designed in such a way that any student having decent rote-learning capabilities can score well. Hence, there is a very limited motivation for the students to dive deeper in the subject. The propensity of their parents in wanting them to finish at the podium only worsens the case.

School years are the time when we can make our kids fearless in exploring. We can pick their curiosity and help them in stretching it to the extents of the Universe. Also, the roles of teachers in the schools are so strictly defined that even a hint of difference between what is taught to the children and the doubts that occur to them is almost always ignored and left under appreciated.

The definition of education in India is restricted to a handful of subjects and the appreciation for kids in fields other than those is lowly applauded. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Kathak queen or a Violin prodigy; all of them are only encouraged to score well in the 10th and prepare to become a Doctor, another engineer or the white collared Chartered Accountant.

To build a strong nation, it is required for it to have a solid foundation. For a country which has its 2/5th population under 18, it becomes imperative that a rightful methodology is placed in the education system. This 41% of India will define where our country ranks itself on the social, economical, political and scientific fronts for the century to come. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “what is really needed to make democracy function is not knowledge of facts, but right education”.

Hedge Funds v/s Mutual Funds

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Recent efforts by the Indian government to weed out black money from the economy and increase the tax base have called for a paradigm shift in the way people in India choose to save their money. The pumping out of cash from the economy has brought the citizen to a point where he is considering alternative investment options to save his money. This has led to an increase in the number of people who are now investing in the securities and derivative market. With a boom in the stock market over the past year, people are now more inclined to invest in securities, while carefully trying to avoid losses. It is the success of these markets that Long term capital gain tax found its way into the Budget announcement in February this year.


What are Hedge Funds and Mutual Funds?
Hedge funds and Mutual Funds are investment funds made by the fund management companies. The aim of these is to generate profits by investing in more than single entity i.e. through a diversified portfolio.

How do they work?
Investment from different parties gets pooled into a single portfolio. Both (Hedge Funds and Mutual Funds) of these play the stock, invest in land, real estate, currencies and derivatives in order to have high capital gains. They decide upon different investment options with the will of maximising the profits and create a single portfolio out of it.

What are the differences between Hedge Funds and Mutual Funds?
ELIGIBILITY
Hedge Funds are regulated by SEBI and are registered under SEBI, Alternative Investment Funds Regulation 2012. A Hedge Fund should have a minimum corpus of Rs. 20 Crores and minimum investment of Rs 1 Crore by each investor or member of the fund.
Whereas, Mutual Funds are regulated under Securities and Exchange Board of India (Mutual Funds) Regulations, 1996. A firm interested in opening Mutual Funds must register as trusts under the Indian Trusts Act, 1882 and set up a separate Asset Management Company, with the net worth of the parent company / AMC be amounting to at-least Rs 5 Crores.

AUTONOMY
Hedge Funds may at times be only available to a list of high profiled businesses and individuals. They are entrusted with total autonomy and are are allowed to take key decisions at all times. This luxury is not available to the Mutual Fund investors. Owing to the low budget nature of their clients, they are required to be more cautious.

LIQUIDITY
When it comes to liquidity, hedge funds are somewhat stricter. One cannot withdraw their shares whenever they want to. There is a lockup period, during which one cannot withdraw their stake. In the case of mutual funds, one can withdraw their funds whenever they want to.


In the light of recent developments in the Indian securities ecosystem, hedge funds and mutual funds serve as lucrative investment options for corporates and public alike.

 

Numbers and recipes at Codenmath.com

A much awaited day, a long lost dream, finally comes to life with codenmath.com, a wish I had for 9 years now; has awaken only to become a reality. At last a place where I can share all my knowledge, of whatever I have. A belly that has been so full of words will finally get some peace.

I would be sharing my views on numbers, scripts, programs, movies and maybe eh humans! To start of, my favorite number is 28, the only number known to mankind that can be represented as a sum of first few prime numbers(2,3,5,7,11), first few composite numbers(4,6,8,10) and as the sum of its own proper factors(1,2,4,7,14). Fascinating.

Behold! fasten your seat-belts for the ride that is about to come! Also let us know your favorite number. 🙂

My take on Web Development

Having participated for few months in coding contests, I felt a need to switch, to learn a skill which would help me in bringing a difference to the lives of people. After giving a lot of thought to both Mobile App and Web Development, I went with the latter.

There are currently 3 billion people who have access to the INTERNET, it is almost 40% of the World’s total population, hence web is the closest you can get to the remotest of beings. If you can produce a web app that eases the lives of the people, the impact could be global. It’s fascinating, the power of INTERNET, without losing the place you are seated on, you can contribute to the development of your favorite programming language, the only prerequisite is a will to learn, with the help of the World Wide Web, millions of people, use MOOC to enhance their skills, daily. Websites like Github, LinkedIn act as  breeding platforms for the technologies of tomorrow. If you have useful content on your website, you’ll get the audience.

Tons of connections, a higher degree of satisfaction and a way to become a part of a project that could make lives of billions better, if that’s what you are looking for, Web Development is a great choice.