Technology –a boon or a bane to Cricket
An honest opinion on how the Cricket World Cup
has changed over the last few years based on the advent of technology, a blog
by the true and honest me.
When we talk of the advent of technology in the
cricketing field, the immediate picture that comes in our mind is the UDRS. The
Umpire Decision Review System, from the time it was officially adopted by the
ICC had been a matter of debate, whether it is between the cricketing boards,
the players, the ex-players, the experts and commentators alike. Even the
general viewers and the cricket buffs have not been spared of this debate.
The most widely argued reason for the debate on
the UDRS is due to the controversies it has created, every time it has been
tried out for adoption in any cricketing match. The controversy and the
argument always had been over the contentious issue of the accuracy of the
technology, with the teams and players coming up with their views and counter
views based on their share of knowledge of and experiences with the technology.
I would
not be using my space here to explain what exactly UDRS is but for the novices
in cricket, I wouldn’t be
doing justice if I do not at least run through it. UDRS as the full form of one
of the alphabets of the acronym itself suggests, is the new review system
launched by ICC in November 2009 first introduced in test matches and later
made mandatory in all matches from October 2011.
Under the UDRS, each team is allowed to make
unlimited successful and two unsuccessful review requests per innings during a
match to review a non out or out decision, which can be availed either by the fielding
captain or the batsman being declared dismissed, by signaling a “T sign” using
both the arms.
The technology that is used in the UDRS may
vary from the much simpler Hawk-Eye, the relatively easier Snickometer to the
more sophisticated Hot-Spot.
The Hawk-Eye, which is a just a computer based
technology which just tries to visually track the trajectory of the ball and
record the most likely statistical path of the moving ball. This is a much
simpler method and can be used only to indicate whether the ball would or would
not have gone one to hit the stumps in a leg-before-the-wicket decision.
The more sophisticated technology which is the
talk of all debates on UDRS is the Hot-Spot, which is an infra-red imaging
system which is used to determine whether the ball has struck the bat or pads
or any other part of the batsman’s body
during its travel and where it has struck.
The raging debate on the use of Hot-Spot is the
whooping cost involved in it, which seems to be approximately around $56,000
per day, which translates to close to Rs.25 lakhs in Indian currency. Though
the cost is surely a concern, it is quite ironical that the richest cricketing
body in the world, the BCCI is vehemently opposing this on the matter of the
cost.
The high cost of this technology is due to the
fact that it requires two infra-red cameras to be installed on opposite sides
of the ground above the play area which continuously records the images.
Wherever there is a snick or bat/pad event, it gets recorded in the infra-red
image by way of a bright spot due to the elevation of the local temperature
recorded where the contact friction happens. Sounds too technical, yeah it is.
Another simpler variation of it is the
snickometer which is used to graphically analyse the sound and video and hence
tries to confirm whether there was a fine noise, or snick as the ball passes
the bat.
The technology being adopted is certainly a great
boon for the game of cricket and hence it has been responded quite positively
by most of the players. Though surely human errors cannot be completely
dispensed with, this technology has certainly helped in reducing these errors
to the minimum.
However, we must also admit the fact that
technology is created by humans and therefore they also may be fallible at
times. The creators of this technology, themselves going around declaring the
possibility of high percentage of inaccuracy, add fuel to the already raging
debate.
We should also be honest to state that the
hot-spot may perhaps not pick up feather touches which does not result in
substantial change in temperature, or the haw-eye just predicts the
predetermined path of the ball, as programmed by the software but does not
consider the amount of seam, bounce or spin, it would have actually got, in the
real sense. But all in all, we all would need to admit that it has reduced
human error to the minimum.
In my opinion, embracing technology is always
good, in any part of life, and cricket is so exception, but the existing flaws
in the UDRS system should be pruned up and it should be made consistent and
100% accurate so as to avoid further controversies. I also feel that this
technology should more and more be used in domestic level matches too (of
course the cost is to be borne in mind), so that the players and umpires get
used to it and understand its usage more effectively and efficiently.
Further the review system should be consistent
in its results or else instead of improving umpiring decisions, it would only
lead to increasing the number of controversies relating to non only on-field
umpiring but third-umpiring as well. When I say this, I would need to refer to
the recent case of a match in the World Cup where a batsman was found trapped
in front of the stumps twice. The first time, the batsman was given not out by
the on-field umpire and when the fielding team called for review, found that
the ball was hitting the leg stump and hence the on-field umpire was allowed to
sustain his original decision. The second time, the same batsman was given out
by the on-field umpire, and when the batsman called for review, found again
that the ball was hitting the leg stump and hence the on-field umpire was
allowed to sustain his original decision. Sounds funny, but on both occasions,
the ball was hitting the leg stump, but the first time, because the appealing
team reviewed it, it went against them because they were challenging the
on-field umpire and the second time, it went 
against the reviewing batsman, because he too was challenging the on-field
umpire’s decision.
UDRS is a challenge for many umpires too, with
the case of a senior Umpire being removed from important matches of the World
Cup because most of the cases reviewed against his decision had gone against
him, is also a thought to ponder.
In conclusion, I would say that technology need
to be pruned and fine-tuned and the flaws removed to provide 100% accuracy or
else the controversy surrounding it will continue and we will have more and
more “spot”-on debates on this “hot”topic,
but will still end up realising that the “feather” touch is still wanted and there is still so
more to catch the “eye”.
Written for the #BloggerDreamTeam

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Faith – my definition of it
I have grown up with learning
quite a distorted meaning of the word faith. From the time I started
understanding things and trying to put them in the rational perspective, I
started questioning the tradition. I had my serious difference of opinion on
rituals and prayers and that eventually made me an outcast in the society.

I was branded as an atheist, a
non believer, a person not having faith, much below in standard to the
faithful. I decided to adopt that stigma and try to really make people
understand my concept of belief, of godliness and of faith.

Checking out on the dictionary
meaning of the word, faith, we realize that faith has been defined as the
confidence or trust. The trust can be in anything or anyone. It can be on a
being, an object, an organism and not necessarily on God or a deity. Further
meanings searched, and I have even understood that faith is what we call hope,
in any outcome, which may be rational or irrational.
I have always pondered whether
faith has anything to do with belief. I could not find any conclusive evidence
of anything common between them. We are living in a community where people
follow different religions, and then there are people who follow none. Does it
mean that only those who follow some specific written and laid down rules are
the ones who have faith? I beg to differ. I feel that we all are people of
faith, because faith is the basic element of human nature. I shall take the
very simple example of our world, our universe. The whole universe is so
infinite and so complicated that we have not been able to study and understand
it fully since ages. In spite of so many studies on the subject, even
scientists have admitted that the human knowledge on this subject even to this
date is only perhaps a tiny fraction of the reality. In spite of not really
knowing how this universe functions, we just accept it as awe-inspiring and
impossible to be understood by finite human minds. This is what faith is.
Faith is what allows us to carry
on with what we do every single day without even realizing that we hardly know
anything of how it all functions. I can have faith in certain principles that I
hold high, in the community that I abode, in the institutions that have been
laid down to govern us. I can have faith in myself and I can have faith in the
universe as a whole. I have faith, and my faith is the ability to trust
something from the core of my being. In that aspect am I not being a person of
faith?

For me, faith is trust, a
trust that I get emotionally involved in, which is far deeper, far more sacred
than belief. For me, faith is the trust, which hurts me bad, when broken. For
me, faith is the trust which allows me to find trust again, when broken,
despite the pain and the hurt I had gone through.
In my advocacy on my concept
of faith, I am not at all against people who hold religious beliefs as the meaning
of faith. I honestly feel that the people who hold any particular religious
belief are also people of faith. They are the people who have agreed and
committed to each other to trust one another and care for each other, if not
the physical care, but the care of each others’ souls and spirits.

The only fear that I have
about religious faiths is that more often than not it leads to hypocrisy or
fundamentalism. And when it happens, either one of them, it does not remain
faith anymore. And when it does, it starts doing harm. When people of one
religious faith starts believing and holding that their faith does well, but
other faiths do harm, then it is not faith but emotions which take over their
minds. I get scared when emotions take over sensibility, because that’s the
first step towards strife. The hatred happens naturally because different
people following different religious faiths substitute different emotions.

Epilogue:

In conclusion, it is a
debatable issue. The Christians have faith in resurrection as much as Communists have in the Karl Marx’s theory of Value.  We humans are not qualified enough to defend
either of the two, rationally or irrationally.

I would just leave it to
best judgment and a prayer that we be tolerant to each other. Defend your
faith, by healthy debate, but please do not defend it by war. May your faith
save you!

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Axis Mobile – Carry the Bank in your pocket
“Carry the Bank in your pocket” –
yeah! That’s the tag line and this mobile banking application launched by Axis
Bank promises just that.

 

How many times have we not
shuddered at the thought of having required to make that tedious journey to our
bank branches’, negotiating the traffic snarls on the way, and then again end
up queuing up at the counters to transact business. And consider the irritation,
when we know that we are doing all this to handle our own money, which is lying
at the mercy of the bankers.
Came the era of internet banking
and all these started becoming obsolete. What we could do only by a visit to
the Bank could now be done sitting at the comforts of our homes and offices. But
then, we needed to be at home or office to do all these. What about people like
me, always on the move? People who live out of their suitcases! They probably
have to take a day off or depend on the mercy of others to help them out with
their banking routines.
This problem was addressed with the
advent of the mobile banking. It was banking on the tiny rectangular piece of
engineering marvel that we hold in our palms and carry around with us
everywhere, the thing that we call our smart-phone. Yeah! You heard it right.
The banking transactions slowly got shifted to the mobile platform. But virtual
banking, you can say, was mired with controversies, instances and news of
security being breached, phishing, and our hard earned money just vanishing
into thin air. People somehow could not trust the invention too sincerely.
As Banks were losing out
customers on this significant sector, someone needed to take the lead to herald
the era of secure banking on the mobile. Who else could lead the way in this
than Axis Bank which had always excelled in providing financial solutions to
the customers with smart use of technology, a bank which ensures fair practices
and complete transparency in it transactions?
The Axis Bank Mobile application was
born which would go ahead and revolutionize the way, banking is transacted.
With this simple, user-friendly, convenient and secure mobile banking application,
banking became just a touch away, whichever may be the platform, whether
Android, i-Phone or Windows. You just need any one of the following OS
(operating system) on your smart phone and you are ready to do banking on the
go:
a)      Android
b)      iOS
c)       Windows
d)      Mobile
Web (from Mobile browsers)This mobile application can be
used by all the customers of Axis Bank. In short, you need not be an account
holder holding a savings or current account to be able to operate this application.
You hold a credit card of the bank, or just have a loan, housing or vehicle or
otherwise, from the bank, you can transact your business through this application.
Furthermore, you need not be residing in India to operate this, as it is
available for customers across the globe, whether residents or non-residents.

So it is for:
a)      Saving
account holders
b)      Current
account holders
c)       Credit
card holders
d)      Loan
account customers
e)      A
combination of one or more of the above.
I am just amazed by the features
of this mobile banking application. I can just go on and on, if I am asked to
speak on this, but when I write, I need to unfortunately restrict myself. Oh
poor readers, wish I could come personally and explain to you. But just a few
of them here, and you would be in awe of it:
1.       So
many multiple statements, so many call centres to call up, I used to be really
fed up. Now I can view my account statements, my deposits summary, my credit
card summary as also the entire details of my various loan accounts under one
umbrella.
2.       Always
a fan of plastic money, I don’t think twice before flaunting my credit card on
shopping sprees, but on happy realizations after coming back home, I always
used to wonder, and how much would be my damages in the next billing cycle. Now
I don’t have to worry about the payment due dates. I can view my unbilled
transactions and pay off as and when I have the resources to do it.
3.       I
don’t now have to worry about missing the deadline in paying the utility bills
and them standing at my doorstep threatening to discontinue the services. I can
view and schedule bill payments on the go, so that it automatically gets
debited from my account on the due date or on the date that I wish.
4.       As
I am getting addicted to their mobile banking features, the bank is continuously
adding more and more awe-inspiring features. The latest on the list is the
facility to convert my transactions into EMI, block and replace my credit card
instantly before even the thief attempts a transaction.  I feel like going on a big shopping expedition
and I can check my eligibility for credit limit increase and apply for the same
so that on the date of my splurging, I am not embarrassed.
I am tired going on and on, but
the list is never ending. One would say, these features are almost there in
other banks’ applications too. So what’s new? Of course there is; some of them
being absolutely unique to Axis Bank mobile banking alone. Do you want to hear
it out? Then here I go.
1.       I
feel the need and necessity to transfer funds urgently to somebody, whether an
Axis bank account holder or not. I can do that now by just adding beneficiaries
and transferring funds on real time, absolutely instantly.
2.       I
now have the authority to fix up my own transaction limits. It is up to be me
to decide whether I want it at only Rs.50,000/- or I can be magnanimous to my
wife and family, and put it at a whooping Rs.10 lakhs.
3.       Absolutely
unique is the Axis Bank reward points, wherein you can accumulate reward points
for anything. So you now need not spend money on purchases if you are not a
shopaholic, you just keep your funds in your account and you get reward points
even for the balances in your account.
Being a finance
guy, I am very particular about the safety features. I would never attempt
anything unless I am sure of it. And so with the Axis Bank mobile banking
application, I can be absolutely sure and secure. The amazing feature that
takes care of this aspect is the SIM locking, which allows anyone to onboard
the application only with the Bank registered mobile number (RMN). And at every
stage you need not just your mobile phone with you; you need your MPIN which is
known only to you, as secret as what you know about your neighbor’s wife J
Security
features are plenty, but to name a few:
1.       I
can add beneficiaries using the 2FA security, which means that I need not use
the internet banking for making fund transfers, thereby compromising on security.
2.       I
can switch off and on my debit cards at my whims and fancies. I feel that my
card has been misplaced, just switch it off in a jiffy; find it and switch it
on again.
3.       Your
mobile phone gets stolen, which is quite common these days, still no one can
access the application without the MPIN. But still, you want to be doubly sure,
just get the app account terminated in the phone.
4.       Feel
that grown up kids using your phone can splurge on online purchases, using the
app, just moodily the daily transaction limit for the app as per your needs and
surprise the kids.
5.       The
online requests for blocking and replacing the credit cards are so instant and
hassle free that I need not worry a bit on misplacing it.
6.       Amazingly,
Axis Bank has thought much beyond we could. You need time to get assimilated to
the features, and hence using third party help. The Bank understands this and
the daily transactions limit is restricted to only Rs.30,000/- for the first 5
days after registration.
All these are
what I would want from my mobile banking application. For those guys who are
still hard to please, here are some pleasing features too.
1.       Just
check out and find offers near you whenever you want.
2.       Give
a personalized touch to transactions by adding photos for your accounts and
beneficiaries.
3.       Feel
like short of funds, but still need to go for that online sale, you can view
and redeem edge loyalty points at any time.
4.       Social
worms can have their social media seamlessly integrated into the application.
5.       Got
tempted to buy that expensive diamond necklace for your wife but now wondering
how to pay it off on the due date? Smile and convert your credit card transactions
into EMI with one simple click.
6.       A
snob, you get irritated logging in and typing info every single time, you can
set your most frequent transactions as favorites for one click payments.
7.       Last
but not the least, our priorities change and the Bank adapts to it. We just
recorder the menu as per our choice.
Isn’t that enough? We would say,
Yes! But these techno-freaks at the Bank don’t seem to think so. We are in for
surprise regularly with new features being added every 45 days, since it was
launched in August 2013. Just the beginning of this month of Feb 2nd
was the last update and be prepared to get some more pleasant surprises in the
next update due on 15th March.
So, just get, set go and carry
the bank in your pocket with a smile. Axis Bank is there to travel with you
everywhere. Start banking a new way, your way!

 

 

This post is about ‘Make the Axis Acquaintance‘ meet conducted
by Axis Bank in association with BlogAdda.com 
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