Thursday, February 12, 2009

Expanding horizons

As a part of my preparation for selection to the IIMs, I realised that I should have some basic awareness about economics and other related stuff. So my friend Harsh finally pointed out two sites which would help me start, namely Marginal Revolution & Mostly Economics. And even though I thought it might be a bit boring, all such fears proved to be unfounded. I have really started enjoying both blogs (especially MR, since it has a lot of interesting stuff not related to economics) and following them in the true sense of the word, instead of just adding them to my bloglines account. And as you can see, both of them also feature on my blogroll.

So for anyone who would like to start, join the revolution at MR, one small step at a time.

Friday, February 06, 2009

IPL Auctions 2009

The auctions this year were much less hyped, compared to last year, thanks to the economic recession, as well as the fact that very few players were available. The biggest stars were obviously the England players as well as JP Duminy - the latest South African sensation.

As expected, Kevin Pietersen was the most expensive, and was bought by the Bangalore Royal Challengers. Now that the Royal Challengers have Utthappa and KP, their batting might just be something to look out for. Along with him, the other most expensive player, Andrew Flintoff has joined the Chennai Super Kings, adding great balance to an already very formidable line-up.

The Rajasthan Royals kept a low profile as expected, they only bought Shaun Tait & the surprise pick of the auction - Middlesex all rounder Tyron Henderson. They obviously needed a fast bowler since Sohail Tanveer wasn't available, and Tait seems an apt enough replacement. Tyron Henderson was a bit of surprise since he has no international experience, but his domestic Twenty20 career record speaks for itself, and he should be a handy player to have.

The Deccan Chargers, after having finished bottom last year, decided not to be very flashy and instead picked up West Indian fast bowler Fidel Edwards along with his international tem mate Dwayne Smith. Now Edwards has good speed and should do well, while Dwayne Smith is a very aggressive batsman and a decent bowler, so both of the Chargers' picks seem to be good.

The Mumbai Indians made a very smart pick by buying JP Duminy. Duminy has been in very good form and seems to be a very good player. He also seems to have a good cricketing brain, for he has been able to adapt to various situations perfectly well. The difference in his batting style in the ODIs in Australia proved this. When his team was in trouble in the first match, he dropped anchor and pulled the team out of trouble, while in the last match, when South Africa needed quick runs, he was able to find the boundaries with ease. Duminy is a very exciting prospect and Mumbai would definitely not regret buying him. The other player they have purchased is Kyle Mills, nothing much to say about this guy, he's just a run-of-the-mill player.

It looked like the Kolkata Knight Riders would not be buying anyone, but towards the end they picked up the Bangladeshi fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza for a whopping $600,000 - thats 1100% greater than his base price of $50,000! How useful this proves to be remains to be seen. However, the Knight Riders will also get a chance to bid again later for 4 players, since they had 4 Pakistani players in their squad. Maybe then they could go in for a few more players.

Delhi Daredevils had made a few changes to their squad before the auction itself. They had swapped Shikhar Dhawan for Ashish Nehra, and also bought the Aussie David Warner. He is a clean striker of the ball, as he showed against the Springboks in the one-off twenty20 game and should be a success at the IPL. During the auction, the Daredevils picked up Owais Shah & Paul Collingwood, both of whom would add great value to the side. The Kings XI Punjab also made a good buy by snapping up Ravindra Bopara, another good prospect.

Surprisingly, players like Stuart Clark, Brad Haddin, Andre Nel, Ashwell Prince, James Franklin & Shakib-ul-Hasan couldn't find any buyers. Shakib-ul-Hasan would have been a great pick given the form that he is in, same with Haddin. Maybe they will be picked up later; I , for one, would love to see Clark bowling in the IPL.

So now that the auction's over, I'm looking ahead to another season of IPL. I might not be one of it's greatest supporters, but I must say, it has brought in a lot of excitement and entertainment. And of course, the chance to see the great Shane Warne in action again.

TED 2009

TED 2009 is currently going on. As usual it features some of the best speakers from all all over the world. Bill Gates has already given a talk about his foundation's efforts to improve educational facilities, the video is also available on TED's site. Also go over some of the older talks if you had missed them earlier, especially the top 10 TED talks. For those who don't know about TED, this might help shed some light.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The reason why the economy is in tatters

This is an amazing take on today's economic situation, even though it was first published 15 years ago. Bill Waterson never ceases to amaze.

(Link courtesy: Mostly Economics )