Thursday, September 13, 2007

Twenty20 - A beneficial evolutionary pressure on cricket

I am disappointed at the mindless criticism meted out to Twenty20. I don't understand why people insist on degradation of cricket quality in Twenty20s. It is a different format and thus needs different skills. Yes you need skill to play inTwenty20s. Sport is considered to be a great leveler and Twenty20 is even more so because it gives a chance to non-test countries to shine and progress.
I also do not believe that bowlers are rendered useless in Twenty20. In fact, I think Twenty20 will make bowlers evolve and become more skillful. They evolved to accommodate ODIs, they will do so in Twenty20s also. and because every team will try to smash every ball out of the park the only way teams can better each other is gain new batting skills. I am not sure what these are but I am sure we will find out just as we did from the Sri Lankans in 1996.
So stop quibbling and enjoy the beauty of the sport.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Indian hiring future

How Infosys plans to fight the war for talent

Praveen Bose in Bangalore | June 22, 2006

T V Mohandas Pai's position is not an enviable one. The head of HR at Infosys has one of the toughest challenges among all honchos at the Bangalore-based IT leader: finding the talent needed to support the company's ambitious growth plans.

The IT sector is on a hiring spree, targeting an intake of 3 lakh this year. Of this, Infosys alone will absorb one-twelfth, and the pace is unlikely to slow down.

"The leading IT players will do their hiring this year but the bigger challenge will come next year. The market is getting tighter," says Pai.

Even fulfilling the current year's targets will be an achievement, since Infosys has set out to hire 25,000 people in 2005-06, upping its head count, IT and BPO taken together, by virtually 50 per cent in a single year-- and this at a time when other firms are also on a recruitment spree.

This is how Infosys plans to achieve the numbers: It offered jobs to 6,500 youngsters last year to join this year. Progeon, the BPO arm, is on course to hire 6,000 during the year.

"That leaves us another 12,500 to recruit in the rest of the year, which we will manage," adds Pai. The first quarter target of 8,000 is being achieved. Hiring will take place all over the country. And Infosys is doing something new-- hiring 750 BSc mainstream science graduates for the parent firm.

But in order to avoid losing its cost advantages, it is not going overboard on the package it is offering to freshers. It is paying no more than last year's rates, plus inflation. This year fresh recruits are being offered Rs 2.7 lakh (Rs 270,000) per year, compared to Rs 2.4 lakh (Rs 240,000) last year.

Pai is not losing sleep over the possibility of the Indian IT leaders pricing themselves out. He is confident that their productivity gains will enable them to keep ahead of rising costs. But he certainly worries about the overall skills scenario confronting the organised sector.

The supply-demand situation is just about balanced this year. The country will produce 3 million graduates, of whom around half are good enough for the organised sector. It will thus end up recruiting the 1.5 million it needs, which is exactly what is recruitable. This explains why Pai uses words like "tight" and "challenging".

"The best of IT can pay more without getting affected. We can manage but what happens to the rest of the organised sector?" asks Pai. He is worried because there are both vacancies and new positions to be filled for the economy as a whole.

Over the next 10 years 30 per cent of the present work force will retire. In the services sector the situation is particularly bad. A quarter of the million people who work for the financial services sector, for example, will retire over the next five years.

And if the economy doubles in size over the next 10 years, as it will if it keeps growing at 7 per cent per annum, the organised sector workforce too will have to double over the next decade, and replacements found for those who retire.

There is only one solution, argues Pai: "We need to sharply accelerate our higher education capacity so that we can double our output of graduates in the next five years."

Infosys has announced that it will recruit the top 20 per cent of students from engineering departments of colleges and rely on a selection process involving a series of tests and interviews. With 'catch 'em young' being the firm's slogan, it has taken initiatives to expand the available talent pool by working with education regulators and academia in India and abroad.

The company's 'Campus Connect' initiative aims to improve the industry-readiness of students while they pursue a regular education. In the last fiscal, Infosys partnered 250 colleges in India and four universities in China and helped 188 faculty members with specialised courseware.

If you catch 'em young you must train them right'. To ensure availability of skills in line with needs, Infosys has set up an extensive training infrastructure. Competencies required are identified and developed along multiple dimensions: technology, domain, leadership, management.

New employees undergo training for 14.5 weeks before being deployed on engagements. The firm has established a 'global education centre' (GEC) in Mysore to train 4,500 employees simultaneously.

To manage with a young workforce Infosys has a programme to upgrade the skills of its staff across the board.

Last fiscal, the firm launched a 'competency certification programme' aimed at certifying its employees in various industry domains, technologies and project management processes. The certifications are mandatory for the future growth of employees.

The attention to skill development has enabled Infosys to become 'a role-based' organisation, cutting the number of levels from 15 to seven.

Infosys' HR practices have been assessed at Level 5 of the 'people capability maturity model' (PCMM), thus putting it at the forefront of the battle for skill development.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006


Who, in India, is not a fan of cricket? You? Me? Let’s be serious. Most of us watch cricket and the proportion of people who do not, is countable.

Cricket, without a shade of doubt provides unimaginable excitement and joy. It makes a spectator grow nuts and leaves him in an island of extreme ‘insanity’. I dream of watching Sachin on the field. Has he burnt out as a consequence of 17 years of cricket toil or is he so weak to burn out easily? 17 years is indeed a lot of cricket. Agreed. Flip the coin, What about India’s relatively new finds- Pathan, Sehwag, Dhoni and Yuvraj? Add a few more greats to this list – Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting and Inzamam. All these cricketers feel they are being burnt out. CRICKETERS’ BURN OUT, the issue I am desperate to write about.

Cricket Legend Sunil Gavaskar once said, ‘the player’s should not complain about excessive cricket. Cricket is their profession and they need to play for their country. If you ask me to play for India, I will without any doubt.’ A valid viewpoint I’d like to put forward following gavaskar’s quote, Should the players be allowed to play that amount of cricket that eventually results in their easy wear and tear? A haunting consequence of this would be a short cricketing career. (Though that would be enough to spend a life of luxury after the amount a player makes.)

Commentators, cricket critics, column writers and we cricket lovers do our work off the field. We watch cricket for entertainment, analyze the game for records, and work off-field to make money, in many ways. Does anyone have the faintest idea how it actually feels playing cricket in piercing 40degrees or chilling 15degrees or 80percent humidity, not for an hour but for an effective 6 hours, not ‘once in a while’ but a ‘million times in a while’? I guess ‘No’. No wonder the issue features great captains.

A sad scenario prevails in world cricket today. Players are made to dance on the field to ICC’s tunes and in India it is to the money making body. ICC has recently devised a seven year plan for all countries and without any surprise India plays the most number of matches. It appears BCCI has a defective thirst quenching mechanism. The more money it drinks, the thirstier it becomes. The member-heads are death-eaters. They command and if the player doesn’t listen comes the patronus charm. Sehwag has become India’s first victim. A player’s freedom of speech is stolen and warned not to talk something that does not interest the board. The ganguly issue is slowly and steadily fading. India’s greatest captain is abruptly forgotten and is sadly, no more a hero. The player who took India to the peak of international cricket in terms of performance and fame is the most disliked person now, to such an extent where his ex-teammates are ordered to forget him. What a fitting end! The board wants the talker not to produce any stalker, an example of a rich kingdom reigning.

It is a clear case of realism. The board runs through one policy – ‘Don’t Talk, Just burn out.’ In fact, the board is very clever, they pay the cricketers handsomely but a multiple goes into the members’ pockets.

It is a call for Cricketers like Dinesh Mongia, Hemang Badani, Zaheer Khan and many others. Is it better for them to live a peaceful life playing for a county side outside the country rather than playing the role of a rich slave in India? They have been exceptional in their cricket and I’ll be the first one to vote for them. I have tracked their performance in the counties -160s, 6 wickets, and mere consistency. Yet they find no place in the national squad.

So, Don’t Talk…Let the bodies tear…

-Rajeev Turlapati

May 11, 2006

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Probable team for Ind Vs. Eng Test matches 2006

Here is my prediction of the team composition for the India-England test matches.
If anybody cares.
I am going through this exercise in public to help people choose the right team for their cricinfo fantasy league.

1 st test match- Nagpur:
I think India will want to go with their strongest team for the 1st match and pin England down to earth. Dravid-Chappell may not be inclined to blood too many youngsters in one match. As always you never know but hey we got to try.

The line up:
  1. wasim jaffer
  2. virendra sehwag
  3. rahul dravid
  4. sachin tendulkar
  5. v.v.s laxman
  6. mahendra singh dhoni
  7. irfan pathan
  8. anil kumble
  9. harbhajan (depending on the status of his finger) or piyush chawla
  10. rudra pratap singh
  11. sreesanth
The first 7 automatically pick themselves. I am pretty sure sreesanth is going to get his test debut because he has performed well in ODIs and want to preserve that c0nfidence by picking him ahead of VRV. Nagpur has historically been a spinnig wicket so I wont be surprised if they go in with 3 spinners and leave out sreesanth but i see that as highly unlikely given India's recent strategy of picking 3 pacers.

2nd test match - Mohali

Mohali is great pitch for pace bowling so i think VRV will definitely get his debut here and I think it is his home ground also.

The lineup:
  1. wasim jaffer
  2. virendra sehwag
  3. rahul dravid
  4. sachin tendulkar
  5. v.v.s laxman
  6. mahendra singh dhoni
  7. irfan pathan
  8. rudra pratap singh
  9. vrv singh
  10. sreesanth
  11. harbhajan
I know i left out Kumble but I think this is the best place to try out 4 a pacer combination.

3rd test - Mumbai:
by this time we have sealed the series and remembering how the mumbai pitch behaved with the aussies i think the team will have spinners galore

The lineup:
  1. wasim jaffer
  2. virendra sehwag
  3. rahul dravid
  4. sachin tendulkar
  5. v.v.s laxman
  6. mahendra singh dhoni
  7. irfan pathan
  8. anil kumble
  9. vrv singh/sreesanth ( depending on test 1 and test 2 performance)
  10. piyush chawla
  11. harbhajan

I will leave the one-day lineup for later when the team is decided by BCCI.

This is how my fantasy team is going to be and i am going to make big bucks.

Friday, February 24, 2006

BCCI: Busy throwing Crap at Cricket and Indians

Ponting says, "If we're going to be playing more and more of it [Twenty20], we're going to have to look at starting to take the game a bit more seriously" and adds, "Maybe there is a long-term future for it."

BCCI says, "We are very clear that we will not participate in the Twenty20 championship and no one can force us to play," and adds, "This form of the cricket is not played in our part of the world. We don't need this version of the game because one-day cricket is already very popular"

I cannot help but be bewildered with the abject blindness of BCCI to shifting market forces. Michael Porter must be seething with rage.

I love cricket in any form but it is clear that the ODI format needs to be shortened.

BCCI thinks just because Indians are just plain fanatical about their cricket it means they will continue to be so. Granted ODIs have been BCCI's golden goose but its reaching a point where they have the goose by the neck and are strangling it to lay more eggs. Of course, everybody knows what happens next in the story.

Pure market dynamics will drive out interest in ODI in favor of Twenty20. What worries me is that while other countries have already had some exposure to Twenty20 India does not have any experience with it (although, I read something about some domestic Twenty20 matches). Regardless, it took India around 30 years to master the one-day format and I am afraid by being blind to market forces and not adopting Twenty20 they might take another 15 years if not 30 to master the new format. BCCI has never cared for cricket lovers in India so I urge Team India to take up this matter to the board.

Basically, I don't understand why BCCI is so worried about Twenty20. Even if it is played alongside or supplants ODIs; Twenty20 has the opportunity to bring in more money than ODIs because it increases the target audience.

Finally, this is not the first time ODIs saw a change in its format. In fact it has been done before twice: Once while reducing from 60 overs to 50 overs and then from 8-ball overs to 6-ball overs.

Everybody knows most ODIs now have a predictable pattern. The reason ICC introduced power plays was to make the middle overs more interesting. Both ICC and BCCI know there is a lurking malaise in ODIs. While ICC has to be commended that for once they got something right, BCCI seems to revel in its ineptitude.