Friday, November 22, 2013

From Master Blaster to Master Laster: Eminent Journalist Sumit Chakraberty Shares Some Inconvenient Truths About Sachin Tendulkar

In a cricket-crazy country where the game enjoys the status of a religion and players are hero-worshipped, Sumit Chakraberty, author of Master Laster: What They Don't Tell You About Sachin Tendulkar, dares to tell some inconvenient truths about the God of Cricket - Sachin Tendulkar. Sumit is an eminent journalist, who has extensively covered topics like cricket, food, travel and books for the last 30 years. During his long career, he has been associated with media moguls like DNA, UTV, The Times of India, and Indian Express as analyst, writer, editor and mentor. In his book, Sumit neutrally examines Sachin's approach towards this Gentleman's game and how the Master Blaster became a Master Laster. In a freewheeling chat exclusively with Infibeam, Sumit speaks about the title of the book, what kind of criticism he received from Sachin's fans and gives his unbiased views on a phenomenon called Sachin Tendulkar.

Que: Why Master Laster and not Master Blaster in the book title?

Mr. Sumit Chakraberty: Sachin Tendulkar started his career with a blast. His centuries at Sydney and Perth, in particular, not only came on foreign pitches but were made at a fast clip against a good bowling attack.

We should have won the Sydney Test, but Ravi Shastri's double century took too long, and Australia escaped with only two wickets standing. After the nineties, Tendulkar's strike rate fell. Ironically, in December 2003, it was Tendulkar's conservative approach while making a double century at Sydney that was partly responsible for Australia escaping with a draw, this time with four wickets standing. In that sense, the Master Blaster had become a Master Laster. He was now more interested in spending time in the middle and reaching his milestones, than scoring quick runs even when the team needed him to hit out. That’s why Rahul Dravid was right to declare the Indian innings at Multan when Tendulkar was on 194 not out. His ODI career has followed a similar trend. In the nineties, he earned the moniker of Master Blaster after becoming an opener and smashing a number of centuries in India and Sharjah. India used to win over 80 per cent of the time when Tendulkar scored a century those days. But after the nineties, when his strike rate dropped in ODIs too, India was as likely to lose as win if Tendulkar made a century. The win percentage of his last 25 ODI centuries was around 50% compared to 80% for the first 24. And finally, in the last three years of his career, the runs dried up too, not just the strike rate, but he continued playing. Tendulkar’s batting average in his last 14 Tests over a period of two years was below 25. No other player could have lasted in the team with returns like that in series after series. Hence the title of Master Laster: What They Don’t Tell You About Sachin Tendulkar. No other book on Tendulkar has dwelt on these inconvenient truths.

Que: What kind of criticism have you received from Sachin's fans across the globe?

Mr. Chakraberty: Quite a lot of it is emotional and skeptical, of course, because Sachin Tendulkar is their hero. But many have come up with intelligent criticism of my interpretation of the data, and I enjoy such exchanges because they give me food for thought and also a chance to clarify my position. One oft-repeated question is whether Tendulkar can be blamed for not being more of a match-winner and compared to the likes of Ricky Ponting of Australia who played in a team with stronger bowlers. In my book, actually, I have mostly compared Tendulkar with his own team-mates. In some crucial areas, like batting under pressure in the second innings to win Tests outside Asia, for instance, which is the ultimate test for an Indian batsman, both Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman have done much better than Tendulkar. It is not as though Tendulkar did not contribute to such victories, but always in the first innings. That is not something any book on him has tried to analyse. I should also mention here that many people have also welcomed one revisionist book on Tendulkar among the many gushing ones. We have a democratic tradition, and people enjoy debate and argument by and large, I believe.

Que: How would you react if people consider you an iconoclast or image-breaker after reading this book?

Mr. Chakraberty: If Copernicus had not questioned a widely held belief, we might still have been under the impression that the Earth is at the centre of the universe. I am no Copernicus, of course, just a devotee of cricket who believes that conventional stats do no justice to the evaluation of a player’s contributions to team goals, which is after all the point of the game, not reaching individual milestones. Besides, elevating one player to demigod status devalues the contributions many others have made in a selfless and self-effacing manner. Rahul Dravid had a batting average of over 50 in his last 20 Tests, roughly the same as his career average, but he quit after one bad series to make way for Cheteshwar Pujara, who is now our top Test batsman. In the last seven months of his Test career, Dravid made five centuries, four of which were outside Asia. A revisionist assessment would indisputably put Dravid, not Tendulkar, at the pinnacle of Indian Test cricket in this millennium.

Que: Javed Miandad said that Sachin would fade from public memory once he retires. Your comment on this.

Mr. Chakraberty: Sachin was a prodigious talent and I will be among millions who will never forget the joy this cherubic, curly-haired batsman gave with his compact, punchy batting style. The book does not dispute his talent and popularity. It disputes the undue weightage given to individual milestones in a team sport, and lack of focus on a player’s impact on team results. This is strictly a cricket book, but it is meant for both pundits and those with a fleeting interest in the game. The idea is to look beyond the inane records commentators keep putting before us, thereby enriching how we see and enjoy cricket.

Que: Last question. Imagine you are with Sachin Tendulkar on a deserted island. What could be the scene like?

Mr. Chakraberty: We would be talking cricket, I'm sure.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Three Lucky Winners From Infibeam Met Kareena Kapoor and Imran Khan in Delhi

They say it takes lot of patience, hard work and luck to meet famous people, but Infibeam defies this notion since the company provides great many chances to its customers to win super prizes and meet celebrities. had recently organized an event on Gori Tere Pyaar Mein Audio CDs. Under this offer, three of the customers of Infibeam got to meet the star cast Kareena Kapoor Khan and Imran Khan in person at +Hotel Le-Meridien Near New Delhi on 12th November, 2013. 

The lucky winners were Juhi Chaturvedi, Rashmi Parijat Bhatt and Pankaj Dixit all them not only met both the lead stars of the movie Gori Tere Pyar Mein [AUDIO-CD] but they also got an autograph on their Audio CDs of the movie purchased from Infibeam. The lucky winners were chosen in a lucky draw held by the company that had the names of all the customers who had brought the Audio CD of the movie., has gained much popularity on account of such exclusive opportunities that it provides to its customers. Plenty of quiz and contests are organized by the company on their Facebook page and the winners take home not only great prices but such priceless moments like meeting great and famous personalities.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Discussion with Dr. Somesh Gupta via Google Hangout on Importance of Sexual Health

Infibeam recently arranged for a discussion on STI with Dr. Somesh Gupta through Google Hangout. Sexual Health is a known field that was introduced by WHO long time back. But not much has been done on taking care about the issues related to physical relations. Sexual Health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well being. During the discussion Dr. Somesh had received a few queries from Priya during the discussion such as:

How effective are condoms in preventing STI and HIVs?

Condoms play a major role in preventing such diseases and its effect has been seen in South East Asian countries. Though Indian do not use a lot of these they can prefer the safer way of physical relation to prevent any such diseases. Physical relation is an important part of everyones life. Dr. Somesh also put light on that a man can have a multiple sex partners in comparison to women. Thus the chance of STI increases here. 

What are the common sexually transmitted infection and are they still a significant public health problem?

These problems are hidden as they are related to sex and they are not seen immediately as the infection moves internally and gets increased with pace of time. There are many problems that occur and a screening needs to done on regular basis to detect such diseases. Some may have skin related problems, some may have internal problems, etc. If this issue is not taken care of then there could be serious problems in your late on life. It is important to understand that this needs to controlled and taken care of. There were many such questions that were answered during the question. Priya asked all the questions viewers had put forward who were viewing the discussion. Incase you missed on it you can see the discussion again Google Hangout through this link

Would also like to tell you that Dr. Somesh Gupta is the Regional Director of Asia Pacific Region of International Union against STI. He is also the Editor of Elsevier Journal for STI. He is an Honory Treasurer Elect of Indian Association of Dermatologist, Venereologist and Leprologist. He is an assistant professor at Department of Dermatology and Venereology at AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences). As a global leader in science and health information and tools, Elsevier serves more than 30 million scientists, students, and health and information professionals around the world with over 1,800 journals, 2,200 new books each year, software and databases, pharma communications.