John Key has continued his tour of India as he attempts to press his case for a free trade deal between the India and New Zealand cricket teams. Key had spent the last few days sightseeing around India and will today meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh soon for bilateral talks.
Talking exclusively to Ozy Mandias Warning, John Key said that he would press the case for a free trade agreement, but New Zealand would not sign up to any agreement which was not quality. He indicated that any deal must include one opening batsman, a middle order batsman and one quick left arm bowler, at the very minimum.
Although there were different views between the two countries on issues such as the use of power plays and the role of the local TAB, he said coming to a solution was not unmanageable.
Ultimately however, it is believed that Key has more chance of getting through his trip without getting the ‘Dehli Belly’ than bringing any quality players back to New Zealand.
The problem arises from New Zealand’s exports in the cricketing market. While India has plenty of quality exports many Indians feel that the quality of New Zealand exports has dropped over the last few years. This was highlighted, early in the Key’s tour, when he offered the services of Tim Southee as part of the free trade deal. Unfortunately the gulf between the two nations was highlighted when India came back with by offering 4 manky cows, and a 12 year old left arm swing bowl from the Dehli slums, as their trade for one of our better bowlers.
We give umpires a hard time and most of the time they deserve what they get. However, here is a superb umpiring decision from the South Africa v India series. Don’t think billy Bowden would have got this one.
The 2010 Indian Commonwealth Games Committee has added a final sporting event to this years games. Not content with the usual British sports the committee has decided to add a ‘spot the spectator’ element to each sport.This has been a decision made in the first few days of the Commonwealth Games
Speaking earlier today the chairman of the Games, Mala Bolamie, talked about this new initiative. “With so few people turning up to watch sports we had to do something about this drastic situations. Many people believe we should give away tickets but this is India, not some third world backward country. So we have decided to invent a new sport. Prior to the sport starting each competitor must pick a seat number and if your seat is sat in by one of the 34 spectators then you gain a point for your country. The beauty of this sport is every athlete is involved and the winning country will be declared at the closing ceremony.”
At this stage New Zealand is lying in forth place in this event with India the run away early leader. India are so far ahead there have been rumours of match fixing but at this stage there has been no official inquiry.
India is the latest country to pull their team out of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. This follows the high profile departures of Fiji, Google and the entire Malawi Press Association, all citing inhuman conditions at the tournament.
With crumbling venues, unfinished athlete accommodation and the threat of terrorism and kidnap, team after team have pulled out of this year’s competition that rivals the Olympics in terms of number events, if not number of teams, media coverage and most other measures.
With most of the Indian team collecting their Indian polo shirt, cap and water bottle last night many of them felt the time was right to now depart. Already many of these items are now on e-bay and will earn most athletes more than their normal yearly wage.
Rubbish Binny, head of travel for the Indian Commonwealth team, justified pulling out of a competition being held in their own country.
“Due to financial cut-backs, all the athletes are required to make their own way to Delhi, and I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Delhi, but traffic there is a nightmare. This is nothing to do with the accommodation. Several of our team live outside Mumbai, and this accommodation is like the Paris Hilton to them. You’ve seen Slumdog Millionaire?
In other news it has been reported by India Games authorities that Malaria has been struck off the list of banned substances for the upcoming Games.
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The Indian Prime Minister, Punjabi Singh, is in a state of disbelief that many of the world’s finest athletes are deciding to stay away from the 2010 Commonwealth Games. In a statement released yesterday he condemned many of those who have decided that the facilities in India are not up to standard.
“I have been to every games facility and I find no reason why these stuck up ‘first world’ athletes are putting the boot into my wonderful country. In every area of the games we have delivered beyond what was expected. The Commonwealth Committee asked for a 50m pool and we have delivered beyond expectations a 3km pool complete with float debris and bathing children. Just because we have brown water, a few of the athletes believe it is unsafe. Our indoor stadium comes complete with an open air roof which will provide much need air circulation into the facility.
Earlier today I visited the Games Village and was impressed with every inch of the facility my country men have made with a few sticks, a little concrete and plenty of dried mud. We have provided a corner diary on every single corner, there is a 24hr curry house with a multi-lingual menu and each room has cable TV with 24hr Indian TV. What more does anyone need in life? There is running water available to every athlete, they just have to walk 2km and collect it in buckets, like 700million of my country women do every day.”
While the Indian PM was talking and inspecting the games facilities, I took a couple of pictures of what the facilities our New Zealand athletes will be using over the coming weeks.
India faces a race against time to get ready for the Commonwealth Games which start in 9 weeks time. So far not one of the venues for the World’s 7th largest sporting event is completed and time is running out for the country where the curry flows and the sun blazes.
A number of contries, including superpowers Fiji, Tonga and South Africa have express disapproval at the lack of progress being made and have even hinted at boycotting this years event. As yet the New Zealand Olympic committee has not yet issued a formal statement. Chairman Fred Dagg has recently returned for a trip to India to inspect venues and has yet to recover from extensive diarrhoea, malaria and food poisoning.
However, over the last two weeks things have started to turn in favour for the host countries. In an inspired move the Chairman of the Olympic committee has called a halt to all ‘corner diary’ building a focus on more sports related construction. This move coincided with a recent spell of wet weather which was much needed to fill the swimming pool has improved the moral of all people living in India.
So with things starting to look brighter for India can they turn the tide with 58 days to go. Judging by recent photos taken from India they have a long way to go.