Victrix Pro interview – Ozhan Maker – Ready PlayerOne

first_imgBased out of San Diego, California. Victrix is trying to revolutionise what players expect from their gaming peripherals. Victrix believes their line of Headset, Fight Sticks and AMP’s will be an experience like no other.Victrix holds two partnerships with esports sides, Team Kaliber in late 2017 and Red Reserve in 2018. We spoke to Ozhan Maker, General Manager at Victrix about their products, partnerships and what the future might hold for the company.Esports Insider: Could you start by introducing yourself and telling us a little about what got you into esports?Ozhan Maker, General Manager at VictrixOzhan Maker: Hi, my name is Ozhan “Oz” Maker, my Gamertag is “PlayerOne” and I run an esports hardware brand called Victrix. I’ve been in video game hardware product development for 18 years cutting my teeth in large and mid-size gaming companies and now managing this boutique esports hardware outfit. I’ve always been a gamer and passionate about racing games; qualified for PlayStation’s GT Academy regional finals once when I lived in Hong Kong as an expat but in recent years I’m playing CoD mostly because my wife is into it.ESI: The market for headsets and fight sticks in gaming and esports is a busy one, how do Victrix stand out in these markets?Ozhan: By developing beautifully designed products made using premium materials and held to the highest manufacturing standards. Everything we release under Victrix is developed to spec, brings high-end tech innovation and pushes the known benchmarks in gaming peripherals. We will stand out against competition because it will be a disadvantage to play against our fight stick due to its blistering speed or main stages will not be quiet enough for pros without our active noise cancelling tech.“I’m sure we’ll help challenge other companies to step up their game as well but by the time they reach where we are today in terms of offering we’d have moved on to a new tier”I’m sure we’ll help challenge other companies to step up their game as well but by the time they reach where we are today in terms of offering we’d have moved on to a new tier. Also, our colour is purple and to our knowledge, we’re the only gaming hardware who adopted this colour so, in a sea of blue & green and orange stuff, our accent colour gets noticed. Our exact ultraviolet hue is the Pantone colour of the year in 2018; we picked it three years ago; we’re quite proud of this colour that we’re also known for.Victrix Pro FIght StickESI: Speaking of headsets, recent reports have claimed Fortnite has seen a huge increase in sales of headsets due to its massive success, is this something you have noticed at Victrix?Ozhan: We, of course, notice the positive effect of Fortnite and we’re glad this phenomenon is happening as we launch our first headset. Communication is key in this game, our customers have been telling us how clear they sound in the game to their friends. It’s due to our mic filter design we borrowed from a military tech. It was originally designed to make a helicopter pilot intelligible in a 120dB loud environment; it’s overkill for gamers but it gets the job done.ESI: So far you’ve signed deals with Red Reserve and Team Kaliber, how have these partnerships worked out and do you see more such deals in the future, especially with the Fighting Stick launching?Ozhan: Red Reserve is a fantastic esports organisation, very professional and successful in CoD and CS:GO among other genres. Our first deal was with Team Kaliber, at the time coming out with their first win in CWL back in December 2017. Since then they won two more major titles becoming this season’s most successful CoD esports team. Both TK and Red feature team houses and employ substantial influencers who help us tell our story to the gaming community in their own way which is very authentic.We’re also proud sponsors of the longest running tournament series, Capcom Pro Tour. Victrix is the official audio partner of the tour and our headsets are used in the main stages and open bracket in all events. This relationship is very important for our upcoming fight stick, the Pro FS and introduces our brand to the FGC community. We just came back from EVO for example where we were showing off our upcoming stick and it was a big hit within the community. We are talking to more organisations and event organizers and will have more sponsorship announcements next tournament season.ESI: What are Victrix plans for the future, can we expect to see new products or developments?Ozhan: We will indeed release more products in our year two onwards. Especially in audio we are expanding our offering as well as looking at other categories. If there is a significant improvement we can make or meaningful innovation we can bring in a product category, you will see us working on those products categories. We will have some announcements on this topic at TwitchCon this year. (Oct 26)ESI: Do you have any final words to share with our readers?Ozhan: Our products are not for everyone. We are not trying to please everyone by making mass market items. We develop these products for particular use cases and for specific type players and do not cut any corners while making them, therefore, they are costly. They are worth it though, Victrix will be the last headset or fight stick or amp you’ll need.Sign up to our newsletter!last_img read more

Ateneo nears elims sweep, ousts UE

first_imgThe Eagles led by as many as 36 points in the final period as they eliminated the Red Warriors from contention in the Final Four.With the outcome settled as early as the end of the third period, Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin had the luxury of playing rookies Geo Chiu and Jason Credo, who combined for eight points in the final period.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSAndray Blatche has high praise for teammate Kai SottoSPORTSBig differenceSPORTSAlmazan status stays uncertain ahead of Game 4The Eagles’ unforgiving defense held the Warriors to just 35 points in the first three periods.UE, which got off to a promising start in the second round with an 80-74 upset of Adamson, just shot 33 percent as it fell to a fourth straight defeat. Phivolcs: Cloud seeding in ashfall affected areas needs study For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. 2 village execs nabbed in Bohol buy-bust Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. ‘People evacuated on their own’ DSWD Bicol donates P1.5M worth of food packs for Taal eruption evacuees Daybreak as smoke, ash billows from Taal volcano PLAY LIST 01:04Daybreak as smoke, ash billows from Taal volcano01:05Poor visibility, nakaapekto sa maraming lugar sa Batangas03:028,000 pulis sa Region 4-A, tuloy ang trabaho03:57Phivolcs, nahihirapan sa komunikasyon sa Taal01:04Sold-out: Stores run out of face masks after Taal spews ash01:45Iran police shoot at those protesting plane shootdown No need to wear face masks in Metro Manila, says scientist Alex Diakhite finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds, but Rey Suerte was the only other player in twin digits with 10 points. LATEST STORIES ‘Gago’ View comments LOOK: Taal Volcano island 2 days after eruption 400 evacuees from Taal eruption take refuge in Mt. Banahaw MOST READ Andy Murray reaches 1st final since hip surgery in Antwerp Photo from UAAPANTIPOLO – Ateneo moved within a couple of wins from an outright finals slot while eliminating University of the East with an emphatic 84-50 triumph last Sunday in UAAP Season 82 basketball tournament atYnares Center.Isaac Go fired a season-high 13 points, while Ange Kouame and Thirdy Ravena contributed 11 each for Ateneo, which had 14 of its 16 players entering the scoring column in their 12th straight win of the season.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

Fishing boat crew safely rescued by Lough Swilly RNLI

first_imgLough Swilly lifeboat volunteers came to the aid of a fishing vessel during a successful mission off Fanad Head on Tuesday afternoon. The fishing boat was six nautical miles away from shore when it got into difficulty due to a fouled prop.The Lough Swilly ALB was launched at 1.10pm to assist the crew. Rescue volunteers attached a tow line to the vessel and landed them at Ballyhoorisky Pier in Fanad.The mission was a success and no injuries were reported.(Feature image via Lough Swilly RNLI.)   Fishing boat crew safely rescued by Lough Swilly RNLI was last modified: August 30th, 2018 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Equipment funding of more than €12,000 granted to Gaoth Dobhair Golf Club

first_imgFunding of more than €12,000 for Gaoth Dobhair Golf Club for new machinery to maintain the course has been granted, it has been announced. The announcement, made by Joe McHugh, will come as a massive boost to the community in west Donegal.Minister McHugh said: “Galf Chumann Gaoth Dobhair does great work promoting the Irish language and acting as a great outlet for the local community and attracting tourists and visitors to the area. “This latest €12,000 funding will help ensure the course is as good as it can be.“The announcement of the grant is just a few weeks since I was able to confirm Government funding of about €13,000 for repair and refurbishment work on the clubhouse.“Tá súil agam go dtabharfaidh an t-airgead seo an deis don chlub an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn i measc na baill, an pobal áitiúil agus do thurasóirí sa cheantair.”“These two grants will go hand in hand to bring the golf club up to a great standard and help the members to continue the great work they are doing promoting the Irish language among local people and visitors.” The grants were approved by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht as part of the Government’s Action Plan 2018-2022 for Irish, which was launched in June 2018.Equipment funding of more than €12,000 granted to Gaoth Dobhair Golf Club was last modified: February 11th, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Donegal fundinggolfGweedore Golf ClubJoe McHughlast_img read more

Amazon Opens a Kindle Store for the iPhone

first_imgTags:#Amazon#E-Books#news#web Today, Amazon finally released an iPhone-specific version of its Kindle eBook store, which makes it a lot easier to browse and buy books while on the go. Sadly, though, Amazon did not release a new version of the Kindle app with a built-in browser (yet). So users are still being kicked out of the iPhone app and taken to Safari in order to browse the store and complete transactions. A button that takes users back to the Kindle app only appears after a purchase in Safari has been completed.The iPhone-optimized site is basically just an eBook-specific version of Amazon’s regular mobile site. Except for the ability to send eBook purchases to your mobile devices – the Kindle and the iPhone – nothing really sets the iPhone Kindle store apart from the rest of Amazon’s mobile site. The mobile site itself is quite well done and makes it easy to browse and buy books (or anything else that Amazon sells for that matter). frederic lardinois Conflict with Apple?A lot of the discussion around the new iPhone optimized Kindle store currently focuses on the fact that Apple, with the upcoming iPhone 3.0 OS update, will make it easy for developers to charge for transactions from within a specific app. Obviously, eBooks would be one of the many areas where developers could not only make good use of this capability, but where Apple could also get a nice 30% cut from every transaction. By going through the web, Amazon can bypass Apple completely.What About Stanza?What will be more interesting to see, though, is if Amazon will also start to integrate some of the technology it acquired when it bought Stanza last month. Stanza already featured the ability to browse books without ever having to leave the app, though the final transactions were also handled on the sellers’ websites. Before the acquisition, Stanza had also been working with Adobe to create a standard for online book catalogs, based on Stanza’s own specifications, and we hope that the Stanza team will continue this work under Amazon and maybe the next version of the Kindle app will integrate some of this work. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

Innovation/SaaS: As Software Evolves, Where Will it Take Us?

first_imgIt’s hard to keep up with the daily web technology trends and announcements, much less try to extrapolate where things will be five or ten years from now. But Timothy Chou, former President of Oracle on-Demand, tries to do just that in an Informationweek’s Optimize magazine by predicting four lessons for the future of enterprise software.1. Keep it Simple. Google is an example of a company that has become great by keeping their focus and providing a service that is simple and easy to use — information search monetized by targeted ads. Chou sees a future of software composed of very many highly-focused services from many vendors delivered on-Demand.Infrastructure costs will continue to plummet. And platforms like Amazon’s EC2 will make it easy for vendors to deploy on-Demand services. The foundation is in place to encourage the growth of thousands of specialized on-Demand services.On-Demand services will be very low-cost and sold at high volume. Traditional software sold in the range of $100/user/month. Software sold as SaaS is now being sold more on the range of $10/user/month — a drop of a factor of ten. Chou thinks that in the not distant future that those costs will drop by yet another factor of ten.For non-business use we’re already seeing costs plummet to nothing. Google Apps offers an introductory business bundle for small companies that is free. Zoho Office offers database applications, documents, and project planning for free or nominal costs.2. Software as a Commodity. The focus of computers has moved from hardware to software over the years. Chou sees another transition where software becomes more of a commodity and the value to consumers will center on information.3. Business software to become more game-like. Games have historically excelled at state-of-the-art graphic presentations and interactivity. On-line global multi-player games are experimenting with new elements of group collaboration. Business software can learn much from game software capabilities in the areas of graphics and collaboration.4. Software will be more service-based than product-based. Increasingly software companies are relying more on service dollars rather than dollars stemming directly from products. From 1996 to 2005 services revenues grew. For example, Sun Microsystems shifted from 0 to 40 percent, and IBM moved from 30 percent to more than 50 percent.last_img read more

The new world of marketing

first_img Posted on 26th November 2018Digital Marketing FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+share HomeDigital MarketingThe new world of marketing The new world of marketingYou are here: Machine learning is reinventing marketing — and a growing number of marketers know it. According to recent research from the IBM Institute for Business Value, 91 percent of marketers at companies that outperform their competitors believe artificial intelligence is important to the future of their organizations.At the same time, only about a quarter of them use it today. Industry analysts report AI empowers businesses to mine and interpret valuable data and make stronger connections with their customers. Yet most still aren’t applying AI to their marketing strategies.Today’s consumers expect a lot from digital experiences. They want marketing content that’s useful and relevant to their lives. In an age when deep learning has become so advanced that it’s uncovering multi-faceted customer behavior and helping brands forge lasting relationships, the time to leverage AI is now.And the place to start is with IBM’s leading AI platform for marketers, Watson Marketing.How well do you know your customers? With so much data sourced from online behavior, social media activity, and browsing patterns, delivering messages that matter to them should be easy. But consumers are complex. To provide a totally relevant marketing experience across channels, you need to extract the deep, evolving insights from behavior as it’s happening, something that only AI can do.ING DIRECT Australia took this approach to create the “bank of the future” for its customers. Using Watson Marketing, ING interpreted users’ actions to help identify customer preferences, build loyalty, and boost trust. AI’s diverse capabilities enabled the company to filter data based on more than 100 contextual triggers daily, and deploy relevant messages to 1 million prospective customers a month.Without the holistic view that AI can provide, it’s impossible to get the whole story about your customers’ behavior. You could wind up delivering the wrong message and compromising that vital loyalty and trust. But AI can help you positively influence the customer journey to get the conversions you need.As digital technology has grown more sophisticated, the task of managing critical customer data has become overwhelming. There’s so much data to process and assess that humans simply can’t do it alone. If you want to succeed in today’s ever-changing, omnichannel environment, there’s no question about it: you’ve got to connect data from multiple sources. And doing that is easier than you think.Watson Marketing can be used to automate even the most labor-intensive activities, bearing the brunt of routine tasks like data collection so marketers are free to focus their energies on higher value work like strategy and creativity. Because AI built into a variety of products, all you have to do is add your data to Watson Marketing, and you’re on your way.“When tedious marketing tasks are automated at scale, and data-driven customer insights are readily available, marketers have more time and energy to innovate,” says Mark Simpson, VP of offering management at IBM Watson Marketing. “In essence AI is like another member of the marketing team, able to lend knowledge and expertise to unburden marketers of time-consuming, repetitive tasks while helping to support, augment, and amplify their campaigns.”Atlanta’s Georgia Aquarium uses Watson Marketing Insights to fill the gaps left by having siloed data sources. As a result its email newsletters produced a 32 percent lift in revenue and double the traffic to its website. ”As a nonprofit, we are always looking to do as much as we can with as little as possible,” says Andrew Carlson, manager of digital marketing with Georgia Aquarium. “So we looked to AI to help us expand our team without adding headcount to be able to see what insights we can get out of it and provide a better, more personalized experience to our customers and guests.”Delighting customers when they interact with your brand is no longer a perk, but a core component of successful marketing experiences. One of the best ways to satisfy this criteria is with personalized messaging. “We’re constantly engaging our users with content and information that they’re unable to see anywhere else, so we can give them up-to-the-minute insights, summaries, and even triggers to act in a certain way,” Carlson says.Customer interactions with brands should feel seamless and rewarding, and tailoring content to their interests meets these requirements while also improving ROI. Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, for example, uses Watson Marketing to maximize its data and analytics and determine exactly what its international audience of shoppers wants.Offering a personalized commerce experience with AI allows the luxury fashion retailer to build a “one-to-one relationship” with its customers by providing more relevant promotions. Combining customer data with external data like social, research, and even the weather — which can influence fashion purchasing decisions — lets Yoox Net-a-Porter create that personalized experience consumers increasingly expect.The marketing world is changing. Consumers are complex, and so is their data. With an AI-powered marketing platform, you can blend analytics with creativity to help transform both the customer experience and the way your team works.If you want to reach your customers now and in the future, the answer is simple: Work smarter with the help of AI.Find out more about how Watson Marketing can uncover insights to help you better understand your customers.The post The new world of marketing appeared first on Marketing Land.From our sponsors: The new world of marketing Related postsLytics now integrates with Google Marketing Platform to enable customer data-informed campaigns14th December 2019The California Consumer Privacy Act goes live in a few short weeks — Are you ready?14th December 2019ML 2019121313th December 2019Global email benchmark report finds email isn’t dead – it’s essential13th December 20192019 benchmark report: brand vs. non-brand traffic in Google Shopping12th December 2019Keep your LinkedIn advertising strategy focused in 202012th December 2019last_img read more

Royal Family welcomes new baby

first_img(AP) A formal baby announcement has been posted at Buckingham Palace saying Queen Elizabeth II welcomed the birth of Prince Harry and Meghan’s son, her eighth great-grandchild.A pair of uniformed staff members placed the framed announcement on an easel just inside the palace gates Monday afternoon, observing a long tradition hours after the new prince’s arrival was announced on social media.The ceremonial easel carried an announcement of Prince William and Kate’s third child, Prince Louis, in April 2018. It remained there for about 24 hours.last_img read more

Greed, ego, complacency turn Team India into ‘losers’

first_imgOn the third day of the third cricket Test in Perth, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni , 30, kept the door of his $200-a-day Hyatt Regency hotel room open for more than two hours. It was Team India ‘s third straight loss in the four-Test series. Two teammates stepped in,On the third day of the third cricket Test in Perth, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni , 30, kept the door of his $200-a-day Hyatt Regency hotel room open for more than two hours. It was Team India ‘s third straight loss in the four-Test series. Two teammates stepped in to ask if he was expecting any visitors. “I am expecting all of you. May we discuss why we are in this mess?” he said. No one dropped in.Perhaps the cricketers, having already lost the Test series 0-3, were thinking of the auction for the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), scheduled in Bangalore on February 4. In the T20 capital of the world, ipl earnings have become critical for top players since the cash-rich league started in 2008. What began as a frivolity has become the primary interest of cricketers tempted by wealth rather than motivated by national pride. The brand value of ipl in 2011 was $3.67 billion (Rs 18,350 crore), according to a Brand Finance report. The sideshow appears to be taking over the main event.In 2011, Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar, 38, earned Rs 9 crore each from playing the fourth edition of IPL for Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians respectively, while Gautam Gambhir, 30, who captained Kolkata Knight Riders, earned the highest last year, Rs 11 crore. This was almost five times the amount they would have earned from playing Tests, one-day internationals (ODI) and T20s in 2011. Top Indian players in Grade A get an annual retainership of Rs 1 crore and earn Rs 7 lakh per Test, Rs 4 lakh per odi and Rs 2 lakh per T20 match. In 2011, some cricketers played, on an average, 15 Tests and 30 odis, earning a maximum of Rs 2.25 crore in match fees.advertisementMahendra Singh DhoniIn this new commercial culture of the game, there is little incentive for good players to raise their game and become members of the elite club, Team India. Take Yusuf Pathan, 29, who is yet to play a Test but earned Rs 10 crore by playing ipl for Kolkata Knight Riders in 2011. Or Robin Uthappa, 26, uncapped in Tests and who played his last odi game in 2008. He earned Rs 10 crore from Pune Warriors. Contrast ipl earnings with what cricket boards hand out to their players. Cricket Australia’s highest paid player gets around Rs 7 crore. The maximum annual contract fee paid by the England and Wales Cricket Board is Rs 3 crore. Fast bowler Umesh Yadav, 24, is a classic example of divided loyalties bred by divided royalties. He is a Grade C player in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) contract system and gets Rs 25 lakh a year. In 2011, he earned Rs 3 crore by playing for Delhi Daredevils. His ipl value in 2012 will multiply after his impressive showing in Australia. At its best, IPL can be a force multiplier for a young cricketer with promise. At its worst, it can be a deterrent to performance for a player who is avaricious and lazy.Cricketers alone are not attracted to IPL lucre. So is their governing board, the BCCI. In 2010-11, BCCI earned Rs 1,667 crore in revenue-Rs 973 crore came from ipl. Sixty per cent of BCCI revenues come from TV and TV loves the Indian Paisa League. IPL-4 had an average TRP of 3.91, the lowest for any season. Even that was better than the depressing TRP figures for the first three Tests between India and Australia-0.89, 0.7 and 0.6. Set Max earned Rs 900 crore from IPL-4 from about 60 days of the intense cricket circus, with ad rates of Rs 1.5 lakh for 10 seconds. The India-England series, billed as a fiery face-off, earned Rs 100 crore for the broadcaster ESPN Star Sports, over 24 days of cricket at Rs 80,000 for every 10-second ad spot.”Even selectors know that the players want to earn the maximum as quickly as possible. No one is worried about Test losses,” says former Indian coach Aunshuman Gaekwad. “Everyone wants a slice of IPL,” adds former Indian bowler Manoj Prabhakar. “IPL brings loads of money, Tests only get you the contract money and match fee.”A sullen Team India after losing the last Test against Australia in Adelaide.IPL often breeds greed and it has led to angry debates when players appeared to have chosen club over country. Take Gambhir, who sustained a shoulder injury during the World Cup. He went on to play all 15 matches in IPL-4 despite knowing he was not fit. He then dropped out of the West Indies tour where he was to captain the ODI side and eventually had to return home after two Tests in England when the injury flared up.As if that was not enough in the deadly mix that is killing the soul of Indian cricket, there is ego. And it begins at the top, with the man who scripted India’s success at the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, icc World Cup in 2011 and helped India become the No. 1 Test team in the world. After eight successive defeats in Tests (India lost 0-4 in England in 2011 immediately after the World Cup win and 0-4 in Australia), he is looking like a loser, and a sore one at that. Minutes after Australia pulverised India by an innings and 37 runs to wrap up the series in Perth, Dhoni refused to lead the team to the ground for the prize distribution ceremony. He had to be persuaded by coach Duncan Fletcher.advertisementClick here to EnlargeDefeat has turned the A-team of Alpha Males into a B-team of Bored Passengers. There is little camaraderie on the field, at the nets, or in the hotel. It hasn’t helped that some in Team India have openly aligned with vice-captain Virender Sehwag, 33, thinking he will soon be made skipper of the Test side. There have been several rumours to this effect but Dhoni has made no effort to tell bcci President N. Srinivasan that he is troubled by them. His attitude during defeats has also been distant. Once known for his morale-boosting SMSs to players, he has remained confined to his hotel room with wife Sakshi. Srinivasan is aware of the heightened talk about a rift. “I have heard of some ego issues in the dressing room. These two (Dhoni and Sehwag) are competent enough to iron out their differences, if any,” Srinivasan told India Today.But Dhoni’s unhappiness runs deeper. In private conversations with friends, the India captain has repeatedly expressed his frustration with the selectors led by former skipper K. Srikkanth. “I have often told him he should voice his concerns but doubt he will talk,” says Arun Pandey, Dhoni’s partner in Rhiti Sports Management, which handles his endorsements. “I wonder whether he can put things across bluntly. No one speaks his mind in the Indian cricket team,” argues Santosh Lal, longtime friend and member of the Jharkhand Ranji team.Dhoni has dropped broad hints. On the first day of the first Test against England in June last year, he unstrapped the wicket-keeping pads and started bowling after Zaheer Khan, 33, picked up a hamstring strain. Khan’s injury had left India with three specialist bowlers for the rest of the match. “It was risky to have an injury-prone Zaheer in a team that has four specialist bowlers,” says former India captain Kapil Dev. “Why can’t he speak to the selectors?”Click here to EnlargePerhaps because they don’t listen. Consider the England fiasco in August-September 2011. Despite his warnings not to include injury-prone cricketers, the selectors name Khan, Gambhir, Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, 31, and Harbhajan Singh, 31, in the squad. They were declared fit when their names were included. But trouble started almost immediately. Khan was the first to go after the hamstring injury, followed by Gambhir two Tests later. Sehwag, who batted with buds in his ears, was eventually diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss. More exits followed-Yuvraj, out with a fractured thumb, and Harbhajan, who picked up a hamstring injury. “Selectors must be answerable to the board,” says Gaekwad.In England, the Indian cricketers, having won the World Cup and having played the fourth edition of IPL, seemed complacent. Suddenly, Test cricket was not important for the cricketers. “England was one big party, it was not cricket,” says ESPN commentator Harsha Bhogle. The Indian team for the four-Test series Down Under was chosen on November 26 in Mumbai. Dhoni tried hard to push Tamil Nadu batsman Abhinav Mukund, 22, and Harbhajan, but both requests were turned down, as also his demand for a vote in the selection process. The five selectors-Mohinder Amarnath, Raja Venkat, Narendra Hirwani, Surendra Bhave and chief selector Srikkanth-were reluctant to remove “creaking gladiators” V.V.S. Laxman, 37, and Rahul Dravid, 39, from the side. Tendulkar was considered an automatic inclusion. Retaining all three is not mere sentiment. bcci knows television viewers tune in to watch familiar faces.advertisementDhoni’s leadership has suffered. Gone is the game-changer who, as former Australian skipper Ian Chappell puts it, “took bold decisions”. In its place is tentative experimentation. Dhoni went with an all-pace attack in the Perth Test, dropping off-spinner R. Ashwin, 25, to include debutant pacer Vinay Kumar, 27, who was pasted all over the ground. “Dhoni was definitely not in command in Australia,” former Indian coach Gary Kirsten told India Today from Cape Town.A frontline spinner, if included in the side, could have saved the day for the team at Perth. Much of the blame should be shared by the new bowling coach, South African Eric Simons. Head coach Fletcher has not helped with his stoic silence. Paddy Upton, the team’s motivational speaker, left with Kirsten. The fielding has been dodgy but no one questioned the role of fitness trainer Ramji Srinivasan. The team skipped practice as many as four times during the Test series. Pictures of them relaxing on the beachfront in Melbourne instead of sweating it out in training solidified the sense of drift.The message to the cricket fan is clear: wealth breeds indifference. Ironically, money may well be the imperative that wakes BCCI and persuades it to act before the slide becomes a swamp. The BCCI cannot make money out of a defeat-prone team. The BCCI working committee is meeting on February 12 and at the top of the agenda should be a list of fix-its. Sourav Ganguly, chairman of the BCCI technical committee and a commentator, has been asked to attend the meeting for a larger role in shaping national selection.Perhaps Dhoni sees in adversity an opportunity to ensure that BCCI splits the captaincy so that he can focus on the shorter versions of the game. That appears to be his plan, as evident from his comment on January 31: “Captaincy is just a position I hold. If there’s a better replacement, he can come in.” He had earlier hinted at retiring from Tests on January 12 to focus on the 2015 World Cup. There may be pressure from family. His father, Paan Singh, says in Ranchi that “my son will not cling to anything. I will ask him to quit. We have enough”. Also, as his first coach in Ranchi, Keshav Ranjan Banerjee, says, Dhoni has told him he has little patience for Test cricket. He certainly doesn’t want to keep wickets in Tests, says long-time friend in Ranchi, Shabbir Hussain. In fact, the BCCI annual general meeting in Kolkata on October 26, 2011, discussed the issue of split captaincy but did not come to any conclusion. There is talk though that Dhoni’s no-Test agenda has Srinivasan’s complete backing.So, will IPL kill Test cricket in India? It will definitely tire the players. Since the World Cup campaign ended on April 2, 2011, India have played 10 Tests, 20 ODIs, and three T20s. Australia, in contrast, have played seven Tests, 11 ODIs and two T20s. Don’t forget many of them have not had the distraction of attractive cheerleaders who are “walking porn”, glamorous after-parties and team owners determined to milk their investments. No wonder the champions of 2011 are looking like the hapless losers of 2012.-With Kaushik Dekalast_img read more