Thursday, August 30, 2007


The game of boxing does not command a significant following in India because of the lack of discernible international success. Notwithstanding the strenuous efforts of the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation, Indian boxers have failed to land the knockout punch at the big stage.

At a time when most of the sports are trying to reach out to the younger generation banking on the popularity of star players, boxing in India languish in the sidelines with no world-class talents in the horizon.

In the 2006 Colombo SAF Games, even though Indian boxers managed to bag four gold medals, Pakistan walked away with the top honours claiming seven gold medals.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


India's chess scenario is indeed rosy with a bevy of youngsters making it big at the international stage. India is fast emerging as a chess powerhouse thanks to the growing number of International Grandmasters.

With more and more young kids taking to the game, the domestic tournaments have witnessed a healthy competition and a considerable improvement in the overall standard of the game. With young talents giving their older peers a good run for their money, parents are encouraging their wards to consider chess a career option.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Riding on the success of Indian golfers, the game of Golf has made rapid strides across the length and breadth of India. Over the years, Indian pros have consistently raised the bar in international events and the domestic tour is being organized in a professional manner.

The coming of age of Indian golf that started with Ali Sher's memorable Indian Open triumph is continuing unabated with the golfers breaking fresh grounds in distant lands. Jyoti Randhawa and Arjun Atwal topping the Asian Tour Order of Merit, Gaurav Ghei's qualification to the British Open and Atwal becoming the first millionaire out of the Asian PGA are but a few of the glorious achievements by Indian golfers.

In addition to the good showing by the players, the Indian Golf Union (IGU) is making earnest efforts to improve the standard of the game in the country. In 1995, in a landmark decision, the IGU agreed to form a separate body called the Professional Golfers' Association of India (PGAI).

The game got another shot in the arm when the PGAI decided to hand over the managing and marketing rights of the Tour to a professional company in 1997, with Delhi-based Tiger Sports Marketing winning the rights in an open bid.

At present, the Indian PGA Golf Tour is titled the 'Amby Valley PGAI Tour' after Sahara India acquired the title sponsorship rights.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Both as a general activity and sporting event, swimming is widely popular in India and appeals to people of all ages. Notwithstanding such a considerable following, competitive swimming is one of the few Olympic events that have not seen any notable Indian triumphs at international competitions.

The maladies afflicting Indian swimming are not difficult to pin down. Lack of foresight and planning on part of those at the helm of affairs in the Swimming Federation of India are proving to be the bane for India's promising swimmers.

Monday, August 20, 2007


The game of archery is making rapid strides in India with more and more youngsters taking to the game. With international laurels pouring thick and fast, India is fast emerging as an archery powerhouse.

With a bunch of young talents like Jayant Talukdar, Tarundeep Rai and Rahul Banerjee making waves at the big stage, India looks all set to break the Korean stranglehold on the World Archery Championship. The fact that Indian finished second to the mighty Koreans at the 2005 World Championship is ample proof of their growing stature.

At the home front, archery has found favor among a wider section of the society with modern equipment coming in and with job opportunities opening up in a big way for the sport's stars. Traditionally dominated by champion archers from tribal communities, today a major chunk of the archers come from non-tribal areas with good educational backgrounds.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Full Name: Yuvraj Singh
Born: December 12, 1981, Chandigarh
Major teams: India, Punjab, Yorkshire
Batting style: Left-hand bat
Bowling style: Slow left-arm orthodox

Achievements: More than 1000 ODI runs in the 2005-06 season; 4000 runs in ODI career with 7 centuries

Yuvraj Singh made an explosive entry into international cricket when he smashed a blistering 84 against Australia in the Nairobi Mini-World Cup in 2000-01. Since then Yuvraj's aggressive batting and sublime fielding at the point region have been the hallmark of many Indian victories.

After the initial hurrah, Yuvraj's batting was soon found to be suspect against quality spin and questions were raised about his commitment levels to the team cause. Yuvraj found himself out of the team but made a strong comeback against Zimbabwe in 2002 with a couple of matchwinning knocks.

Then Yuvraj played a pivotal role in India's dream run in the Natwest Series that culminated in the memorable final triumph against England thanks to a glorious partnership between Yuvraj and Mohammad Kaif. After waiting in the wings for 15 months, Yuvraj made his Test debut against New Zealand in 2003 and notched up a century against Pakistan in only his third outing.

The 2005-06 season has witnessed a phenomenal consistency from Yuvraj in ODIs with Man of the Series awards in successive tournaments. The gifted strokemaker has shown a matured and calculated approach in finishing games with clinical precision.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Full Name: Virender Sehwag
Born: October 20, 1978, Delhi
Major teams: India, Delhi, ICC World XI, Leicestershire,
Batting style: Right-hand bat
Bowling style: Right-arm offbreak

Achievements:First ever Indian to score 300 runs in a Test innings; highest individual score by an Indian in Tests (309); highest-ever Test score at over a run-a-ball (254 off 247 balls against Pakistan); involved in the highest opening partnership for a Test played away from India (410 with Dravid)

Virender Sehwag, whose physical attributes resemble that of his idol Sachin Tendulkar, has been able to emulate the little master in decimating attacks from all around the world. But more than his repertoire of strokes, it's Sehwag's audacious approach to batting that puts him in a league of his own.

When Sehwag made his ODI debut against Pakistan in 1998-99, the cricket world was already abuzz with talk of his batting style bearing a striking resemblance to that of Tendulkar. Sehwag quickly made his mark with his swashbuckling style and a dazzling array of shots.

Initially stereotyped as a One Day player who lacks the technical prowess for a Test outing, Sehwag proved his detractors wrong by scoring a breathtaking ton on his Test debut against South Africa. Sehwag confirmed his growing stature as a Test batsman, when, opening the innings in Tests on the tour of England in 2002, he made two scintillating knocks of 80 and 100 in his first two matches.

Since then, Sehwag's pyrotechnics at the top of the order has put fear in the minds of opposition bowlers and has given India an edge over their rivals. The watermark of his illustrious career has been the magnificent 309 against Pakistan in 2004. It was the highest score by an Indian batsman in a Test match, not to mention the fastest 200 by an Indian batsman in Tests and the second-fastest 300 in Test match history in terms of balls faced.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Full Name: Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman
Born: November 1, 1974, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
Major teams: India, Hyderabad
Batting style: Right-hand bat
Bowling style: Right-arm off break

Achievements:His innings of 281 against Australia in 2001 was ranked sixth in Wisden's list of 100 great Test innings in history; Wisden Cricketer of the Year 2002

VVS Laxman made his Test debut against South Africa in 1996. Despite his sublime skills and unquestionable talent, Laxman would probably be remembered as the perennial underachiever of Indian cricket who never did justice to his potential.

When on song, Laxman is a treat to watch as he unleashes delectable strokes all around the ground. Laxman's batting bears a striking resemblance to his role model Mohammad Azharuddin who was renowned for delightful wristy shots on the leg side.

Laxman provided ample glimpse of his awesome talent when he scored a fine 167 in the third Test against Australia in January 2000. Since then Laxman has developed a particular liking to the famed Aussie attack scoring runs almost at will. But it was Laxman's memorable innings of 281 against Australia in 2001 that would remain the watermark of his career. With the Indians staring down the barrel after having to follow on, Laxman went on play an innings of such high caliber that, besides winning the match, virtually changed the complexion of the whole series.

When India toured Australia in 2004-05, the ghost of Laxman resurfaced to haunt the Aussies, the highpoint being the back-from-the-dead, match winning, 300-plus partnership with Kolkata ally Rahul Dravid at Adelaide.

Despite these bravura performances, Laxman hasn't quite managed the consistency that could have turned him into a batting great. Many a time Laxman has thrown away his wicket when he appeared to be set for a big one.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Full Name: Sourav Chandidas Ganguly
Born: July 8, 1972, Kolkata, Bengal
Major teams: India, Bengal, Glamorgan, Lancashire
Batting style: Left-hand bat
Bowling style: Right-arm medium

Achievements:Most number of Test victories as India captain; more than 10,000 runs in ODI cricket; highest ODI score by an Indian in World Cup; first Indian captain to win a Test series in Pakistan; India captain in most number of Tests

Sourav Ganguly made his ODI debut against Australia in India's tour of Australia in 1992 but a lackluster show ensured that he kept toiling in the domestic circuit for another four years. In 1996, when he was recalled to the national side for a Test series in England, Ganguly took the cricket world by storm with consecutive centuries in his first two Tests.

Following the heroics in England, Ganguly cemented his place in the One Day side and, along with Sachin Tendulkar, formed one of the most destructive opening pairs in history. Ganguly quickly made a name for himself in the shorter version of the game and his audacious strokeplay played perfect foil to Tendulkar's skills.

When Saurav Ganguly took over the reins of the Indian team in 2000, he proved to be an assertive and uncompromising skipper. The aggressive and no-nonsense attitude of the captain encouraged a young Indian team to believe in themselves and deliver the goods. He went to become India's most successful captain with India winning a number of Test matches abroad.

Ganguly is widely credited with grooming a bunch of talented youngsters like Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh. Ganguly led India all the way to the World Cup final in 2003 and later that year, in Australia, an imperious hundred at Brisbane set the tone for the series-where India gave the mighty Aussies a good run for their money.

Sunday, August 5, 2007


Full Name: Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar
Born: April 24, 1973, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Major teams: India, Mumbai, Yorkshire
Batting style: Right-hand bat
Bowling style: Legbreak googly

Achievements:Most runs and most centuries in ODIs; highest number of Test centuries; first cricketer to make 10,000 runs in ODIs; most runs in World Cup history; highest individual score by an Indian (186 not out); most Man of the Man awards in ODIs; Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1997; Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award for 1997-98

More than his cricketing genius, the greatness of Sachin Tendulkar lies in his approach towards the game of cricket and the commitment he shows while playing for his country. In terms of his mind-boggling cricketing achievements and the mass adoration he commands all over the world, Sachin is an once-in-a-lifetime cricketer.

Since his debut against Pakistan in 1989-90 as a precocious talent, Sachin has metamorphosed into a cricketing phenomenon by dint of his skills and an uncompromising work ethic. In his illustrious career spanning 16 years and counting, Tendulkar has amassed 24,000 international runs made with the aid of more than 70 centuries.

A statistician's delight, the Tendulkar juggernaut has broken cricketing records of all hues, while consistently setting new benchmarks of excellence. Till date, Sachin is the only player to score a century while making his Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy and Irani Trophy debut. He has scored the highest number of runs and most centuries in One Day cricket. With at least five years of cricket still left in him, Tendulkar is sure to scale greater heights in both forms of cricket.

But impressive as his statistics are, they cannot represent the true essence of his genius. Apart from his sublime skills, Tendulkar is blessed with a shrewd cricketing brain that helps him achieve a better understanding of the game and come up with his own set of innovations.