Saturday, July 18, 2009

Out of our comfort zone

Muttiah Muralitharan bowls, Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Mirpur, 1st day, December 26, 2008
In an era of homogenisation, Murali has struck multiple blows for heterodoxy © AFP
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The most prolific Test bowler of them all has made a case for tackling cricket by one's own lights, and forced a generation of players and cricket watchers to reassess their conceptions of the game

In the cricket match between the villagers of Champaner and the local British garrison that climaxes the sprawling Bollywood epic Lagaan, the film-makers pay an implicit tribute to Muttiah Muralitharan. The villagers' captain Bhuvan, played by a bare-chested Aamir Khan, calls to the bowling crease his friend Goli, whose self-taught method is to bowl from a standing start after a dozen anti-clockwise rotations of his arm. At once there is consternation. "He should not be able to bowl like that," the beastly British cad Captain Russell complains to the umpires. "It is improper."

The umpires look like acquiescing until the cad's comely sister Elizabeth intervenes. The memsahib, inevitably in love with Aamir and better versed in cricket than some ICC referees, avers that the Laws are not so prescriptive where bowling actions are concerned. The umpires nod sagely, and the game proceeds, although the cad and his fellow bounders continue griping. "Damn ridiculous," complains one defeated batsman. "Dangerous too."

In its majestic, longer-than-a-Twenty20-game sweep, Lagaan has a lot of fun with cricket past and present: the English, for instance, perpetrate the first "Mankad", while an Indian pioneers the scoop over the keeper. But the Goli sequence is perhaps the most obvious take on a contemporary theme, and repays some consideration as Test cricket's greatest wicket-taker nears the end of his extraordinary career, having hardly bowled a legal delivery - at least as far as many Australians are concerned.

No English rose was ever going to smooth over Murali's action with honeyed words. Allan Border faced his first few deliveries in Test cricket, took the tangle of arms and bulging eyes as accessories to legspin, and watched in bemusement as they turned massively in the opposite direction. Even before the matter of his legality, Murali stretched the game's lexicon to breaking point, being an offbreak bowler whose rotations were more a function of a rubbery wrist than dirty great Gibbsesque digits. Offspin is cricket's rubbish skill - something easy to do in a mediocre fashion, and the eternal preserve of the untalented. John Howard bowled offspin - as indeed do I, and utter filth it is too.

That said, offspin is supremely difficult to do excellently. The game's annals contain perhaps fewer great bowlers of offbreaks than legbreaks. After Trumble, Laker, Tayfield and Prasanna, who? Murali, then, shone a bland skill through the prism of his wrist into a rainbow of possibilities. He made it turn, he made it bounce. He made it unintelligible, scrambling the seam, so that the ball approached in a cloud of white noise. Most renownedly, he and Saqlain Mushtaq fostered the doosra, the googly's evil twin, the finger-spinner's revenge.

As a result of a congenital deformity, of course, Murali also bowled with an arm that was not straight - and bowling is traditionally a straight-arm exercise. Oddly enough, nobody knows why. The best Rowland Bowen can do in his finest of cricket histories is to advise: "At some unknown stage, the idea took root that 'cricket' bowling involved a straight arm." We can point at least a little more precisely to when, in the sense that it probably wasn't until the 1890s that the Law was strictly enforced, when MCC, and its chief agent, the Australian umpire Jim Phillips, imposed a fatwa on "chuckers" in English county cricket.

Murali could still be within the Law, providing he did not straighten his arm, and whether he did or didn't became one of the most intractable controversies in cricket history. The answer was pursued with fantastic zeal, by combinations of naked eye and lay opinion on one side, and medical and technological analysis on the other. And the answer was: it depends. Yes, Murali's arm bent, but no more, and in some instances less, than the arms of every bowler. This was not an answer anyone had really expected. Science was meant to provide answers, not to furnish further questions. But it left lawmakers with a choice, between a zero-tolerance approach based on assertion, or a scheme with a 15-degree shade of ambiguity derived from biomechanics. They went the latter route - and the five years since seem to have proven them right.

It is worth saying that while the vast majority of complainants about the tolerance limits have been Australian, the limits seem to follow Sir Donald Bradman's oft-quoted view of throwing: "It is the most complex problem I have known in cricket because it is not a matter of fact but of opinion and interpretation. It is so involved that two men of equal sincerity and goodwill could take opposite views." The limits haven't dispelled doubts around the doosra, so physically difficult to bowl that it must inevitably skirt the borders of legality. But they have calmed tempers in a debate that inevitably generated more heat than light, and they also invited disputants to contemplate the essence of Murali's alleged transgression.

Murali's greatness rests only partly on his capacity to set the ball in motion: there is his accuracy, his keen grasp of batting weakness, his encyclopaedic knowledge of opponents, his unflagging love for a game that has on occasion treated him pretty unkindly

The assumption underlying critiques of Murali's action is that he obtains from it an undeserved advantage. Yet cricket is hardly a stranger to advantages that aren't quite deserved. How does a batsman deserve a flat, lifeless wicket? How does a seamer deserve a greentop? For that matter, how does a captain deserve to win the toss and take advantage of either? If you were a conspiracy theorist and a bowler, you might be trying to make out figures on the grassy knoll right now. For the last decade, bats have become so powerful as almost to demand licensing as assault weapons; boundaries have been reined in to rinky-dink proportions. Cricket is currently involved in mandating a potentially huge advantage to batsmen - two-faced bats, effectively doubling the batsman's effective hitting area - amid no discussion whatsoever. What are degrees of extension in a bowler's arm by comparison? What is the ability to spin the ball more against the capacity to hit it further, more productively and more flexibly?

For this is, in essence, the edge that allegedly accrues to Murali: he spins the ball more than it is felt he ought to be able to. A fast bowler who chucks poses a potentially enhanced physical danger; no such consideration attaches to a comparable slow bowler. And, to be sure, powers of rotation do matter where slow bowling is concerned. But if they were an advantage as decided as some critics seem to believe, then David Sincock should have been the greatest spinner of all time. Murali's greatness rests only partly on his capacity to set the ball in motion: there is his accuracy, his keen grasp of batting weakness, his encyclopaedic knowledge of opponents, his unflagging love for a game that has on occasion treated him pretty unkindly. In his affable autobiography, Bully For You, Oscar (2000), Ian Austin, provides a lovely vignette of Murali's assimilation at Lancashire.

I've never known anyone who knew so much about cricket - or anyone who could talk about the game for so long. There's a hell of a lot of international cricket being played all year round these days, but Murali knew all about it. He knew more about Lancashire's record than Lancashire players themselves. We'd be sitting in the dressing room or in the bar in the evening at an away game and he'd suddenly start talking about one of our games from years back. He'd know all the facts and figures and couldn't believe that the rest of us didn't remember every last dot and comma of the game he was talking about.

It is hard to reconcile such a paragraph with the conviction that Murali's has been an altogether malign and Pandora-like presence. But this belief has always been non-specific about where the exact harm has been inflicted. A common assertion through Murali's career has been that his example would condone and encourage other dubious actions, and there seemed some grounds when Sri Lanka fielded Jayananda Warnaweera. But the only international bowler to attract attention since the 15-degree latitude was recommended in October 2004, Johan Botha, seems to have been dealt with efficiently by the system.

The doosra was subject to suspicion and condemnation when it came into the game - as, indeed, was the googly, whose double-dealing nature was in some quarters regarded as unethical. Yet the doosra proved as harmful as helpful to co-inventor Saqlain, unable to bowl anything else by the time his international career was through, while Daniel Vettori ended his doosra dabblings when he found that the habit of stretching his front leg and opening up his action was interfering with his accustomed rhythm: there were easier and simpler variations almost as effective.

An abiding annoyance about Murali, particular in Australia, arises from the conviction that the ICC was acting ultra vires in legitimating his methods. "In Murali's case, the Laws were changed to bring him inside the scope of legality," complains Adam Gilchrist in True Colours (2008). "That's a poor precedent to set." But the precedent was ancient: it's how cricket progressed from underarm through round-arm to over-arm bowling, the Law adapting in each case to the efforts of innovators. Nor is it unknown for games to alter rules in response to the prowess of individuals: in Australia, witness Walter Lindrum and the revision of the baulk-line rule in billiards.

Gilchrist's book is actually worth reading for what else he writes about Murali, especially in relation to Australia's tour of Sri Lanka in March 2004. This often-forgotten visit is one of the signal achievements of Ricky Ponting and his team, and a neglected classic of the modern era: Warne (26 wickets) v Murali (28 wickets), with Australia prevailing in three tight encounters. "The more I batted, the more I loved the challenge of facing Murali," writes Gilchrist. "I couldn't pick him out of the hand, but gradually I taught myself to become familiar with his body shape and the flight he put on the ball, and to select shots where it didn't hurt me if I misread the spin. He varied his position of delivery on the crease, and I grew to predict the spin from that. I started trying to read his plans and counter them with plans of my own."

The deadly duo: Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan shared 19 wickets between them, Sri Lanka v India, 1st Test, SSC, Colombo, 4th day, July 26, 2008
His legacy? It can hardly be a coincidence that Murali's team-mates now include the world's three most innovative young players: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis © AFP

What Gilchrist describes is worth celebrating: a great batsman's response to the challenge of extraordinary bowling. There was, in fact, much excellent Australian batting in that series, including two hundreds from Damien Martyn, who gambled on playing back to almost everything, and two hundreds from Darren Lehmann, who kept altering his guard, outside leg one ball, on off the next, going right back, then scampering down the track. Gilchrist concludes his account proudly: "It has to be said that this was one of our most 'intelligent' series all round."

Marcus Trescothick and Alastair Cook provide similarly informative expositions about combating Murali in their recent books. Cook recalls Trescothick's shrewd advice not to be distracted by the whirlygig of arms: "The ball does not lie." Trescothick notes drolly: "As time passed, I grew to appreciate that views in the dressing room over whether he chucked the ball tended to depend on whether he had just got you out and for how many." Murali cajoled even unheralded batsmen into new approaches. Jason Gillespie enjoyed some success simply by reference to the line: the wide ball, he deduced, was probably the offbreak; the ball on the line of the stumps was probably going straight on.

Even in the anticipation, Murali has been a force to be reckoned with. New Zealanders readying for him have trained on rough ground like used, dry and footholed pitches, in order to replicate his unpredictability. The result? Vettori makes the canny observation in his Turning Point (2008) that opponents he met during his career who had just come from playing against either Sri Lanka or Australia always seemed more adept and composed against spin than others. In other words, Murali and Warne helped batsmen, and therefore cricket, improve: what could be a greater compliment to them?

To anticipate any player's legacy is fraught with difficulty. Warne has left a wonderful trove of memories, but also an enormous gap: there has been no renaissance in Australian wrist spin to speak of. Because it is hardly less difficult to imagine a copyist of his methods, the same may prove true of Murali. Yet he has also, in an era of unprecedentedly intense coaching and 24-7 television coverage, with their homogenising influences, struck blow after blow for heterodoxy, for tackling cricket according to one's own lights. It can hardly be a coincidence that Murali's team-mates now include the world's three most innovative young players: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis.

Again life imitates Lagaan. In the movie, Goli's effectiveness proves temporary - the English work out that he grunts just before he lets go of the ball, allowing them to pick him off. It is the Mendisian mystery spin of the untouchable Kachra that proves decisive. Ultimately, however, art is outdone by reality, because Aamir Khan is nothing on Kumar Sangakkara.

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer. The Movers and Shapers series looks at cricket's most influential players

RSS Feeds: Gideon Haigh

How to Disable Sticky Keys in Windows

Stickykeys is a feature of Windows operating system. It allows the user to press a modifier key, such as Shift, Ctrl, Alt, or the Windows key, and have it remain active until another key is pressed. If you play games then you might have had an annoying experience with this feature while pressing a key like ‘shift’ for five times.

But don’t you worry, you can get rid of this feature by disabling it. If you want to disable the Sticky Keys feature then follow the below steps:

Firstly, click on the ‘Ease of Access Center’ link in the Sticky Keys pop up.
In the next window click on ‘Make the keyboard easier to use
In the next window clickSetup Sticky Keys
In the final window uncheck the box ‘Turn on Sticky Keys when SHIFT is pressed five times’.
That’s it! It shouldn’t annoy you anymore.

In Windows XP, StickyKeys can also be disabled in Control Panel> Accessibility Options under the Keyboard tab by unchecking Use StickyKeys.


The telecom major “BPL” giving free WAP connections on all their cellphone plans(in India), have created a lot of buzz in the Market. People wonder how they can afford giving a free unlimited data transfer plan for WAP on all their mobile connections for free.

Also the effective download speeds(I got a maximum of 20 kbps and average of 13-15 kbps) and the connection quality of the WAP services is quite good. So, people have started trying to connect their Mobile phones to their PC’s so that they can take advantage of free Unlimited Internet Plan. But this being a WAP service it is said that we are unable to use this service on our Computers for getting free unlimited Internet. After inquiring in the BPL galleries at various places, I noticed that all the engineers present there say that the free WAP service cannot be used as free Internet for PC’s.


I am having a Nokia handset so I will tell you how to connect a Nokia handset to internet. Firstly, You need to install Nokia PC suite and then connect your Mobile to your PC through A DATA cable(USB cable) or Bluetooth. Connect the Mobile in PC suite mode. It may take a few seconds to get connected.

Then when the Phone is connected, you will get the following screen:

Nokia PC suite

Click on the Highlighted option of One touch Access. The following screen will show up:

One touch Access.

The highlighted button should be used to Disconnect or Connect to internet. After your connection is established, Open any of your favorite browsers like Opera or Mozilla Firefox.

In Firefox Menu Bar, go to Tools>>Options>>Advanced>>Network>>Settings. Now do the settings as shown in the image below and click OK.

connection settings

You are Done. Now you can use Free unlimited internet in Firefox.

The Configuration for Opera can be Set Up as follows:

In Menu Bar, go to Tools>>Preferences>>Advanced>>Network>>Proxy Servers. Now do the settings as shown in the image below and click OK.

proxy servers

Thus you can use you free BPL WAP service as unlimited Internet service for your Computer/PC.

Another method

I found out that some of you are having problems connecting to the Internet with the above method,So here is one more method for you.

Step 1: Go to Control Panel >> Network Places and Create a Dial up connection, using your Mobile.

Step 2: When being asked about the UserName and Password, Type +91…(your BPL Phone number) and Password as bplmms

Step 3: Keep the Dialling number as *99# and press Connect.

Create a Dial up connection

This method works for sure. Now without closing that connection Box open your Browser and Make the settings as shown in the First method.

Download Norton Internet Security 2010 Beta

Norton Internet Security 2010 Beta is now available for download. Norton has been one of the best internet security solutions. And now they have improved even more. It offers superior performance, improved protection, and also ensures that your computer is performing better.

Download Norton Internet Security 2010 Beta

Norton Internet Security 2010 includes identity theft protection; this feature is in the form of a browser plug-in. It warns you of unsafe and dangerous websites. Norton Protection System has been enhanced with Norton Safe Web, an extraordinarily effective new antispam engine and SONAR 2 technology is used to stop new and unknown threats. Norton Internet Security 2010 also includes all the features of Norton Antivirus 2010.

The Norton Parental control and Norton spam filtering features are improved in this new edition. The interesting part is that the Norton Internet Security 2010 users will receive a free subscription to OnlineFamily.

Download Norton Internet Security 2010 Beta

Download Norton AntiVirus 2010 Beta

Norton AntiVirus 2010 is going to be the fastest and lightest malware scanner Symantec has ever produced. Wow, ain’t that amazing? The all new Norton AntiVirus 2010 includes intrusion detection to detect malicious code hidden in web sites before it can infect your computer. The regular updates updates ensure that the software is updated regularly with latest databases.

Improved Norton Safe Web technology blocks Internet threats before they can infect your PC. So you can browse, buy and bank online with confidence. Plus, Norton AntiVirus 2010 provides easy-to-understand threat and performance information to help you avoid future threats and keep your PC running fast.

Download Norton AntiVirus 2010 Beta

Norton Antivirus 2010 Features:

Performance Enhancements- The 2010 products improve on the very high performance bar already set by the 2009 products. The Beta builds will be regularly updated, with later builds improving on performance and functionality.

Enhanced Norton Insight- Norton Insight is built on the Symantec Quorum backend intelligence technology first introduced in the 2009 products. In 2009 Norton Insight only quantified trustworthiness, in 2010 Norton Insight also provides information on prevalence, age, and runtime performance data.

Download Insight- Download Insight is a new line of defense against the introduction of untrusted applications on your system. Download Insight monitors new application or installer downloads, automatically analyzes and classifies the application using the Quorum technology, and provides you with a trust rating for the application before allowing the application or installer to execute.

Performance Monitoring- The system performance monitoring now also monitors system events such as application installations, and we monitor process performance. This information is graphed over time, to make it easier to determine if an application may be the cause of degraded performance.

Enhanced SONAR- The SONAR behavioral protection technology was completely re-written for the 2010 products. SONAR now also utilizes the Quorum backend intelligence technology to further improve detections and reduce false positives.

Power Savings- Power saving options are available that helps conserve battery power by only running non-critical when on AC power.

Silent Mode- The Silent Mode functionality was enhanced to include Quiet Mode on automatic detection of CD/DVD burning and media recording applications. Users can now also define their own applications that will trigger Quiet Mode.

Anti Spam- The Anti Spam technology was completely re-written for the 2010 products. The Anti Spam engine is now using the world’s leading Symantec Brightmail technology. The engine is further enhanced to not only perform local scanning, but to also double check the results in real-time against the backend system, further increasing the effectiveness and reducing false positives.

Windows 7 Support- Full support for Windows 7.

Download Norton AntiVirus 2010 Beta

How to Unlock iPhone 2G with OS 3.

since the iPhone OS 3.0 released. All iPhone users were very eager to jailbreak and unlock their iPhones with the OS 3.0. But, unfortunately the Pwnage Tool which was out could unlock iPhone 2G only on Mac and didn’t support Windows. But, luckily today RedsnOw is available for Windows as well as Mac users. You don’t need to wait for the Quickpwn tool to unlock your iPhone 2G, you can unlock it using the ResnOw tool. Here’s a detailed procedure that I found on tech-exclusive:

Stuff required:

RedsnOw 0.7.1 for Windows | RedsnOw 0.7 for Mac
iPhone OS 3.0 for iPhone 2G
Bootloader Files – bl39.bin & bl46.bin


How to Unlock iPhone 2G using RedsnOw?

Firstly, create a folder on desktop and name it as ‘RedsnOw’.

Move the above downloaded files into this folder.

Now, connect your iPhone using the USB cable.

Start RedsnOw, browse the .ipsw firmware file from the folder and click on ‘Next’ to proceed.

If you want to unlock the iPhone then select ‘Unlock’ option from the window. Make sure you also select ‘Install Cydia’. Once done, click on ‘Next’ to continue.

A bootloader window will appear, perform the instructions given on the screen.

Once you finish with the above process switch off the device and click ‘Next’ to start with DFU mode. Put your phone in DFU mode by using screen instructions. (Hold the power and home button simultaneously and connect the cable. You need to hold them for 10 secs and then release the power button while holding the home button. Hold until the phone enters into DFU mode.)

The redsnOw tool will automatically start the unlocking procedure. Just wait for few minutes to get your iPhone unlocked.

Jetico BCWipe Total WipeOut v2.20

Jetico BCWipe Total WipeOut v2.20 | 7.2 Mb

BCWipe Total WipeOut utility (formerly known as BCWipePD) is designed for high-security environments – such as government agencies, banks and large corporations -- where there is a need to safely eliminate all contents of hard drives before computers are retired or removed from the premises.



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HainSoft LanHelper v1.89

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LanHelper is specially designed for effective network management. A powerful network management, discovery and monitoring software for office network and home network. No server program needed.


Memory Improve Professional

Memory Improve Professional | 5.30 Mb

Use Memory Improve Professional to monitor and automatically resolve your memory issues. Windows is capable of running many programs at the same time. This is great for users, enabling the existence of some tools that work constantly in the background and provide useful services.


Sonne CD Copy Master

Sonne CD Copy Master | 8.22 Mb

CD Copy Master is a useful CD copy utility. With the program, you can copy all kinds of CD disc, and the copied CD would be all the same with original one.

You can also use CD Copy Master to copy audio tracks from CD on your hard disk; rip audio tracks from a CD and save them to your hard drive in various audio formats, like MP3, WMA, OGG and other, and create custom audio CD from MP3 , WAV, OGG and WMA files; and erase rewritable discs.

CD Copy Master is able to work with audio CDs as well as with data discs.


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