The Dollar’s demise?

Check out this piece about the dollar and its demise. The article helps put things in perspective.Besides, it gives you a nice “techie” analogy which I thought was interesting.

One economist likens it to using the Windows operating system for your computer; sure, it’s expensive and has bugs, and sure there are freeware alternatives, but it’s more convenient to use Windows because ‘everyone else is using it’. And like Windows, reserve currencies enjoy an ‘incumbency advantage’: unless a new currency can demonstrate that is offers vastly superior benefits, it cannot dislodge the entrenched one….

The author summarizes saying…

All this is not to say the dollar won’t weaken in the short term; it will. And over time, as other economic powers rise and US’ share of the global economy shrinks, other reserve currencies could organically emerge.

But the only ones who are profiting from short-term volatility driven by market hysteria of a ‘dollar collapse’ are dollar bears and bullion bulls who are looking to make jackasses of us others.

Dravid Dropped: Right Move, Poor PR

There seems to be plenty of press about Rahul Dravid being dropped from the ODI side for the home series against Australia. “He got a raw deal”, “this is weird”, “It makes no sense” etc.  seems to be the common sentiment and understandably so.  Rahul Dravid was brought back to the ODI team after the young turks in the Indian team where found wanting when it came to negotiating the short pitched delivery.  Dravid played the series against Sri Lanka and the Champions trophy in South Africa and did a decent job before being dropped for the home series against Australia. The obvious questions that arise are: Why was he brought back? Shouldn’t the youngsters have been given a chance in South Africa to see if they are capable? What did he do to be dropped? Is this a way to treat one of our cricketing heroes?

Despite of all these legitimate questions, by far the most troubling was the fact that the selectors did not face the media after announcing the team (it is quite surprising given that Kris Srikanth is fairly outspoken).  This is ridiculous to say the least (PR at its worst) given that cricket is so obsessively followed in India. It is highly possible that the selectors didn’t have a discussion with Dravid either about the rationale behind the decision either. However, I guess that Dravid has the maturity to take this in his stride if not understand the thinking behind this decision. An interview with Dravid (while he was fielding!) in the recent Champions league gave some interesting insights to the man himself and his mental make up. The conversation went something like this ..”Rahul, you running around like you are in your 20s”…”Well, this is T20 and you have all the young boys running around so you can’t exactly hide in the slips like in a Test match”…”Well Rahul, for someone who holds the world record for the number of slip catches, I wouldn’t exactly call it hiding in the slips”

The decision by itself is not a bad one for several reasons.  There is plenty of proven young talent that can do well on Indian pitches.  Dravid’s dropping has little to do with his form or his performance. This series is a perfect chance for youngsters to prove their mettle against the best ODI team in the world. If they can’t deliver on Indian pitches then they are not up to “scratch” anyway. Besides, with the return of Sehwag, Gambhir and Yuvraj there is plenty of strength in the batting order.  Moreover, this series is not like the Champions trophy where the stakes are simply much higher. Last but not the least, cricket is played all round the year, so there are always injuries and loss of form to deal with from time to time.  If such situations arise, Dravid can certainly be called upon like he was recently. I only wish the selectors had given Harbhajan and Ishant Sharma a rest as well. Both overexposed, jaded, out of form players who are being dragged around from series to series with no significant contribution to speak off, Bhajji’s five wickets against SL not withstanding.

p.s: The coaches were also fired. I guess someone had to be held accountable for the recent back to back defeats in two major tournaments. Wonder if this is a message to the captain?

Cricket: Rotation is the best policy

India failed to qualify for the semi-finals in two major back to back tournaments — the World T20 and the ICC World Championship. While the first had a lot to do with fitness (and fatigue following the IPL), the second was mostly due to poor performance, particularly by the bowlers. With a year long cricket season having become pretty much the norm, its impossible for players to perform continuously over a long period without succumbing to injuries or by simply losing form.There are no shortage of examples. Even Sachin Tendulkar looks his best every time he returns from a break.  Rahul Dravid and Ashish Nehra appear to be back in reasonable form after a break. Sehwag, Gambhir, Sreesanth, and Yuvraj have been struggling with injuries. Dhoni has run into indifferent form and has become a shadow of his former belligerent batting style. Gone are the days when Dhoni could whack the ball from the get go. Rohit Sharma and Robin Uthappa belong to the category of talented young players who lost form (though some argue that these two have been busy in fashion shows and the like).

It is best for the selectors to settle on a formal rotation policy — one which is well communicated and understood by the players without giving them the feeling that they are being dumped everytime they miss out on a game.  Ishant Sharma, R.P. Singh and Harbhajan Singh top the list of those badly in need of a rest.  It is a complete mystery as to why there have been no calls whatsoever for giving Harbhajan a rest. He has been so thoroughly overexposed that the Pakistan batsman appeared to be capable of playing him in their sleep. The Aussies had little trouble either. His  five wicket haul in Sri Lanka was an anomaly rather than the norm. Barring this fine bowling in the final in in Sri Lanka I can’t remember the last time he produced a match winning performance. He has played the role of defensive bowler for way too long while what India lacks is a wicket taking bowler. Pragyan Ohja and Amit Mishra are both promising younger players who deserve an extended run. Piyush Chawla and R. Ashwin are both capable players who deserve a shot as well. Besides, Romesh Powar and Murali Karthik are still around if experience is preferred. In short, Harbhajan badly needs a break and its time the selectors gave him one. His continued presence in the team is not only preventing India from winning it is also shutting the door on other promising, talented players.

Looking ahead to the next World Cup, India is still in need of an all rounder. Irfan Pathan has fizzled out. While his batting is impressive, his bowling is unreliable and is getting slower by the day. Yousuf Pathan seems more suited to T20. Abhishek Nayar and Ravinder Jadeja appear to have promise but thus far are mostly untested. India has to fill the all rounder spot if it has to consider itself as a serious contender for the next World Cup. It makes sense to rotate a pool of players, and pick those in form but give everyone a share of rest without making them feel dumped.