tells fans in
Singapore he’s open
to villain roles
PAGES 8 & 9
delivered to your doorstep. Call 6319-1800 or e-mail email@example.com.
Catch us online at www.tabla.com.sg
Tamil actor Vijay Sethupathi at the launch of the new Malabar Gold & Diamonds outlet located at Serangoon Road.
I don’t need to be hero
Look out for
THE GOOD LIFE
MCI (P) 135/03/2018
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
DECEMBER 14, 2018
WHAT’S NEXT FOR
MRS NICK JONAS?
Tel: 6419 0753 / 6419 0752
E: firstname.lastname@example.org / www.mustafa.com.sg
6D North India.................
5D Best of Sri Lanka.......
5D Seoul, Korea..............
5D Beijing China.............
5D Dubai & Abu Dhabi....
6D Turkey Highlights......
6D Greece Wonders........
5D Japan Tokyo/Hakone...
Includes: airfare, apt tax,
4*hotels, meals, tours. Excludes: visa fees, tips & optionals
Priya Varrier is India’s most
googled person this year
Malayalam actress Priya Prakash
Varrier has become the most searched
personality of the year, according to
The 19-year-old became famous
after her “wink song” Manikya
Malaraya Poovi from the film Oru
She was followed by actress
Priyanka Chopra’s husband Nick Jonas
on the list of most-searched
personalities. Priyanka was placed
The third and fifth positions went to
dance performer Sapna Choudhary
and actress Sonam Kapoor’s husband
Anand Ahuja respectively.
Bombay Canteen is India’s
The Bombay Canteen has been
crowned India’s best restaurant.
The Mumbai restaurant moved up
one place from last year to top the list
at the second edition of the Conde Nast
Traveller & Himalayan Sparkling Top
The iconic Indian Accent restaurant
in New Delhi was ranked second.
The winners had to go through a jury
of 111 tastemakers and experts in a
process audited by Deloitte Touche
Taj Mahal hikes ticket prices
The ticket price for Indians to the Taj
Mahal in Agra has been raised by 400
per cent in a bid to lower tourist
numbers and reduce damage to the site.
International tourists will pay about
$19 to enter, up from $16.
Experts say the huge flow of people
is causing irreversible damage to the
marble floor, walls and foundations.
The price hike comes only months
after Indian authorities restricted the
number of tourists to 40,000 a day.
Previously, up to 70,000 people would
visit the site at weekends.
Tamil Nadu to rename over
The Tamil Nadu government will
rename more than 3,000 locations in the
state. These include renaming Triplicane
to Thiruvallikeni, Trichy to
Tiruchirappalli, Tuticorin to Thoothukudi
and Poonamalle to Poovirundhavalli.
The decision to rename the locations
was made after the state’s 32 districts
set up a joint high-level committee to
finalise the new names. The committee
studied suggestions from historians and
Zomato sacks driver for eating
customer’s delivery food
Takeaway delivery firm Zomato has
apologised after one of its drivers was
filmed eating a client’s food and
resealing the containers.
The video, filmed in Madurai, shows
a man wearing a Zomato shirt eating
food out of the packed orders, then
resealing them and putting them back
into a delivery bag. It has sacked the
delivery man. Zomato said it will
introduce tamper-proof tapes to seal
food delivery boxes to prevent such
incidents from occurring again.
Nehal’s Miss Universe costume
features majestic throne
Nehal Chudasama is in Thailand
representing India at the Miss Universe
2018 pageant. For the national costume
round, she will be dressed as an Indian
The costume, which weighs 50kg,
features a portable throne inspired by
scenes from the movie Rudrama Devi,
which showcases the Kakatiya Dynasty – a
South Indian dynasty which was ruled by
the North Indian Sultanate.
It was designed by Neeta Lulla and
Melvyn Dominic Noronha.
The national costume show is a separate
part of the pageant and does not count
towards contestants’ overall scores. The
segment allows the participants to honour
and celebrate their countries.
Singapore Press Holdings
(English/Malay/Tamil Media group)
V.K. Santosh Kumar
Write to us at
Talk to us at
For home delivery, call
(Mon to Fri 9am to 6pm)
Catch us online at
Advertise with us by calling
Kalwant Kaur at 9171-4327
Nishal Rampersadh at 8395-0438
Marketing Team Head
After suffering an electoral thrashing at the hands of
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP) in 2014, India’s small regional and caste-
based parties are back in the reckoning months ahead
of the next general elections.
Losses for Mr Modi’s party in three key states – Mad-
hya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh – on Tuesday
– blamed mainly on rural anger at weak farm prices and
sluggish job creation – have opened the door for new
and old alliances between the main opposition Con-
gress and smaller parties bitterly opposed to Mr Modi.
One of the smaller parties, the Bahujan Samaj Party
established in 1984 to mainly represent people in the
lowest strata of India’s ancient caste hierarchy, said on
Wednesday it would support the Congress to form gov-
ernments in the big states of Madhya Pradesh and Ra-
jasthan, where it fell just short of a majority.
Congress has the numbers to form a government on
its own in the central state of Chhattisgarh, while re-
gional parties Telangana Rashtra Samithi and Mizo Na-
tional Front won in Andhra Pradesh and Mizoram, the
two other states that also went to the polls in recent
However, most political strategists still expect the
BJP to cling on to national power, albeit with a smaller
majority, in an election due by May next year.
But they also acknowledge this week’s results in
three big heartland states have opened up the outside
possibility that Congress could stitch together enough
support from smaller parties to form the next govern-
ment at the Centre.
“At the central level, Prime Minister Modi main-
tains overwhelming popularity over his competitors,
and anecdotal evidence suggests BJP has more boots
on the ground than other parties to mobilise during its
re-election campaign,” Japanese financial holding com-
pany Nomura said in a research note. “However, we do
expect talks of a grand (opposition) coalition to raise
political uncertainty into the 2019 general elections.”
A Congress-led coalition involving multiple smaller
parties could find it difficult to govern, and make eco-
nomic reforms particularly contentious.
That is because almost all the smaller parties have
their own local or community-based agendas that may
not fit with many national policies. For investors that
could mean dealing with more policy uncertainty or
even gridlock over some critical issues.
Adding to that uncertainty, Congress says it will not
announce that its president, Mr Rahul Gandhi, would
be its prime ministerial candidate in the event that it
could put together a coalition, as it seeks to respect the
aspirations of its alliance partners.
Many of the regional leaders are highly ambitious
with years of experience in office.
Mr Gandhi, although heir to the Nehru-Gandhi dy-
nasty that has dominated Indian politics since indepen-
dence, has never held any government position.
On Monday, a day before the state election results
were announced, the Congress led a meeting of nearly
two dozen opposition parties who pledged to oust the
BJP government and “confront and defeat the forces
that are subverting our constitution and making a
mockery of our democracy”.
Heartland turns hurtland
party’s victory in
December 14, 2018
In January 2011, when Michael
Clarke was named the new Aus-
tralian captain in place of Ricky
Ponting, he announced his retire-
ment from Twenty20 cricket to con-
centrate on the longer versions of the
Fourteen of his 28 Test hundreds came thereafter –
between 2011 and 2015 – including his highest Test
score of 329 not out versus India in Sydney.
In the case of Cheteshwar Pujara, it was a simple is-
sue of him not being endowed with anything that
would make him “look good” on TV. No athletic de-
meanour, no trendy beard, no ponytail, no funky tat-
His batting, at times, is even less exciting to watch
than grass growing. This was patently visible in the In-
dian Premier League games he participated.
And yet, the greatness of his game lies in his humble
acceptance of who he is and his commitment to stay
true to his style – along with his immense powers of
It is that lost skill of batting in Tests that proved once
again last week how valuable it can be in difficult situa-
tions. It’s where a batsman’s strength is not his boom-
ing cover drive, but his meticulous judgement in leav-
ing balls outside the off-stump.
India made history on Monday by winning a tour-
opening Test in Australia. It is their 10th visit Down Un-
der and their sixth win overall in 41 attempts there. It
could not have happened if it weren’t for one man: Pu-
If Rahul Dravid was called “The Wall”, I would like
to call Pujara “The Anchor”.
Once again India started a Test series with little
preparation and were five wickets down for less than
100 runs in the first innings of the first Test of an over-
seas tour this year. But that is where the script changed
this time round in Adelaide.
Pujara was like King Leonidas leading 300 Spar-
tans to war against a Persian Army of 300,000. Or at
least that is how it must felt to him at 41-4 with Pat
Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc in full
flight and with only the middle and lower order for
While everyone around him was swashbuckling
their way back to the pavilion, he remained calm, col-
lected and resolute. Slowly but surely he wore down
His effort in the first innings lasted 246 balls and
yielded 123 runs – almost half of his team’s score of
250. His match returns of 194 runs came from a stag-
gering 393 balls, almost a third of the total faced by his
team-mates in the Test.
It was his partnerships of 45 with Rohit Sharma
(37), 41 with Rishabh Pant (25) and 62 with R. Ashwin
(25) that ensured India got out of jail and scored 250 –
giving their bowlers something to work with.
Picking four bowlers in the side to me is less conser-
vative and more fraught with risk. It needs all of them
to be on top of their game and at least one of them to be
the workhorse – which is difficult to sustain in a four- or
five-T est series.
But, once again, the Indian bowling unit responded
magnificently, as they have done all year round.
Ishant Sharma has been a revelation this year. His
33 wickets in nine Tests at an average of 22.03 and a
strike rate of 49.27 is a far cry from a career average of
34.7 and a strike rate of 64.91.
He is troubling top-order batsmen and bowling im-
maculate lines with radar-like accuracy.
Jasprit Bumrah is robotic. He is “mechanical effi-
ciency” combined with high levels of intelligence. If
his body can hold up, one will see him win many more
matches for India.
He is also a keen student of the game with a very ma-
ture head. This makes him, in my opinion, a leadership
candidate in the future.
The pick of the Indian bowlers was Ashwin. As
much as I would love to see him in a more attacking
role – conceding a few more runs and probably taking
five wickets or more, he responded to his skipper’s de-
mand to bowl tight with incredible professionalism
and delivered great results.
I don’t think taking wickets was his job description
for this Test as much as it was keeping one end plugged.
So, any criticism of his numbers, particularly in the
wickets column, is unwarranted.
Bowling 86.5 overs in two innings, with 22 maidens
and giving away only 1.72 runs per over to pick 6-149
in the match is nothing short of a herculean effort.
However, I don’t think this is sustainable, and, more
importantly, I do not believe it is what Ashwin is best
meant to do. He is a match winner and needs to be
given the same latitude as given to Nathan Lyon, his op-
Unfortunately for India, Ashwin won’t figure in the
second Test, starting in Perth today, as he has a side in-
jury. Rohit is also out with a back injury.
Thanks in large part to Ashwin’s effort, India were
able to make up for the disappointment of Mohammed
Shami’s indifferent form in the first Test.
The medium-pacer just does not look the part. His
bowling is mostly inconsistent with intermittent
flashes of brilliance. His batting is an atrocious effort to
say the least, and he looks like he doesn’t care.
I am surprised he even made it into the XI ahead of
Having taken a lead of 15 runs in the first innings,
one that had more of a psychological bearing, India
needed to do a lot better in the second innings if they
were going to win the Test.
Lokesh Rahul got out playing a terrible shot six
short of what could have been a good 50. You think he
would have learnt something watching Rohit throw
away a similar start of 37 in the first innings.
What was good, however, was to see everyone that
followed in the top-order willing to fight it out.
Kohli’s was a patient knock of 34, while Pujara was
“The Anchor” once again. It was most heartening to
see Ajinkya Rahane finding form and playing “the
shot of the match” – cover driving Cummins to the
He is the vice-captain and his form is going to be vi-
tal to India’s chances in the series. It also takes a whole
lot of pressure off Kohli – which in turn will allow Kohli
to score more freely.
India’s overall lead of 322 was eventually enough,
but only just, with the Australians getting to within 31
runs off the target, thanks mainly to the rearguard.
The contribution from India’s lower order of Ash-
win, Shami, Ishant and Bumrah was incredibly discon-
certing. They scored 35 runs in the first innings and
only five in the second.
Compare that to what the Australians produced –
Cummins, Starc, Lyon and Hazlewood totalled 49 in
the first innings and 107 in the second.
This has been the story all-year round: Either it is
the Indian tail that can’t bat to save their lives or their
bowlers are unable to wrap up the opponents’ lower or-
To me such a vast gap in runs will continue to hurt In-
dia and cost them games unless something is done
about it immediately.
I had said that the Adelaide and Sydney pitches
would offer India the best chances to win in this series
in Australia. The Perth Test will be tough but India can
do well given that they have started on a winning note.
Despite missing the experienced David Warner
and Steve Smith in their batting line-up, the Aus-
tralians have given an incredible account of their fight-
ing abilities. Things will start to get more interesting if
their top order starts to fire. I am hoping they will do so
sooner rather than later for it will make for more en-
thralling contests between the two sides.
The Adelaide match showed how important it is to
have top skills to play Test cricket. What a great adver-
tisement it was for my favourite format of this amazing
Zubin Shroff, a former national captain, is the
chairman of selectors of the Singapore men’s teams.
Pujara stood like
a rock in both
helped India to
win the first Test
|Singapore Press Holdings|
|Copyright © 2018 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co|