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First of all happy new year to everyone. A challenging 2008 has given its way to an exciting 2009. 2009 is also going to be the year where we are going to witness some pulsating series in my favorite sport…Cricket. This year is going to be the year where India is looking to defend its T20 title. And also England trying to regain its lost ashes. The current world champions are going through a lean period against South Africa and would hope for a reversal this year. So all in all its going to be an exciting year for cricket and I am going to express and rank the rookies who could turn in to greats in the coming years.

10. Raqibul Hasan: Raqibul hasan from Bangladesh occupies the tenth spot. He is a pretty good middle order batsman who showed signs of some consistency among his inconsistent team mates.

9. Yusuf Pathan: This man from Baroda is known for his big hitting and proved that in the inaugural Indian premier league. Although he had a rough start in international cricket, I believe he is going to be the next Afridi (of his prime).

8. Tim Southee: The kiwi seam bowler who excelled in under-19 world cup made his debut this year. He had a successful start to his international career and may go on to become a good bowler for the kiwis.

7. Praveen Kumar: This guy made his debut in 2007 but proved his mettle in the tri series in Australia. A bowler who can swing both ways he can be handful in bowling friendly conditions.

6. Greame Swann: Well he is not a rookie but made his test debut in the recent series against India. He actually out bowled the two main spinners from both teams and went on to become England’s second choice spinner.

5. Amit mishra: This haryana leg spinner made his debut against Australia and picked up his first five for. A leg spinner in the classical mould he can be deadly if the batsman cannot pick him from his hand.

4. Jason Krejza: The man who made a crazy debut at Nagpur occupies the 4th spot. He is essentially an off spin bowler of attacking nature. He may be the answer for Australia’s spin trouble.

3. Jesse Ryder: The kiwi batsman has been consistent in all forms of the game and also is an attacking player. He bowls medium pace like many of the kiwi batsman and also a character.

2. Jean-paul Duminy: He is the batting rookie of the year and made a stunning 50 in the record run chase at Perth. He went one step better at MCG and played a series winning knock.

1. Ajanta Mendis: The latest spin wizard from sri lanka destroyed India in asia cup final and in the following test series. He is the ICC emerging player of the year and also my rookie of the year.

Well, This is my personal list and people who differ can post their views.

Rookie batsman of the year

Rookie batsman of the year

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The Kolkata visit has everyone excited.Some say that this is one of the most glorious moments for Indian football while others are merely overawed by the situation. Certain sections believe that Maradona will turn the attention of a cricket crazy media towards the most popular sport in the world.

People are waxing lyrical about the sports management agency and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) minister Shamik Lahiri for playing a key role in arranging the Maradona trip.

“If a man’s character would be formed by circumstances, then it would be necessary to make the circumstances more human,” wrote Karl Marx.

Very true in this case and certainly the only way to explain the reason behind West Bengal government’s involvement who trying their utmost to give a Communist angle to the trip, given Maradona’s leaning towards the left wing!

Many feel that Maradona’s presence will inspire many youngsters to take up football or even develop an interest in the game. Well, for those unaware, the curiosity for the beautiful game is quite widespread throughout the nation. The 2006 World Cup final was one of the most watched games in India and that was beaten recently by the Premiership battle between Arsenal and Manchester United almost a month ago.

Let’s be a little realistic. Maradona is coming, will attend a few events and then fly off. It’s an all -expenses paid trip. Surely, his presence will get even ‘those lukewarm football fans to read about him or maybe switch on their TV sets. But, beyond that, there’s nothing.

The men behind arranging Maradona’s trip are aware of the fan’s psychology and have worked on it very commendably. They know that there is a market out there and they have catered to that need.

The Argentinean coach will inaugurate the Indian Football School in Maheshtala, Kolkata. He shall also visit the ‘Missionaries of Charity’. He is also expected to have a football clinic at the Mohun Bagan grounds on Sunday. It’s just a two day trip filled with felicitations, an exhibition match, press conference and some meetings.

Apart from the football fans managing to get a glimpse or two of their idol, this trip is nothing more than a commercial gimmick. For Maradona, it will be a two day holiday.

Earlier this year when Bayern Munich came to play an exhibition match in May against Mohun Bagan, Indian national team coach Bob Houghton made a very interesting comment.

“I think the match organisers must have spent around $1.5 million though they must have recovered some later. But what was its benefit on Indian footballers? It was just filling up the pockets of Bayern players who are already rich with two million dollars a month salary. The money could have been spent in laying an artificial pitch in India for training of kids.”

Going by this statement, the organisers would surely have recovered their money with all the marketing and sponsorship deals despite having spent a huge amount to get Maradona to the country.

If the same money were to be utilized elsewhere and in a much more constructive manner keeping the future in mind, it would have benefited Indian football for good.

But ‘man is condemned to be free, because once thrown in this world, he is responsible for everything he does,” said the famous existentialist Sartre.

And so, how the other spends his fortune isn’t any of our concern and so, we are no one to tell them as to how they could have spent that money.

A few weeks back, Indian skipper Bhaichung Bhutia was quoted saying,” We can’t just expect his (Maradona) being here will change things. We need to have a long-term plan in place for the coaching centre and develop it accordingly. We need to do the follow up.”

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