Daily Archives: March 11, 2015

Sri Lanka fret over Mathews’ injury in Scotland win

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HOBART: Angelo Mathews is to undergo a scan on his Achilles tendon on Thursday after the Sri Lanka captain hurt himself in the 148-run victory over Scotland to join his team’s fast growing list of injured players at the ongoing World Cup.

Mathews blasted six sixes in his 21-ball 51 with the bat but spent much of the second half of the team’s last Pool A match at Bellerive Oval in the dressing room.

“I have got sore Achilles tendon,” the 27-year-old all-rounder told the presentation ceremony after his team’s comprehensive win in their last pool match.

“So management felt it was wise to stay out of the field and take bit of caution.”

The 1996 champions are already battling with a spate of injuries that has already forced a fourth injury replacement.

Batsman Dimuth Karunaratne and Dinesh Chandimal, all-rounder Jeevan Mendis and fast bowler Dhammika Prasad have had their World Cup campaigns cut short by injuries but Mathews had no such fears.

“I don’t think so. It was pretty sore but then the physio thought just not risk, got to assess in the next couple of days.”

His deputy Lahiru Thirimanne shared his optimism as Sri Lanka bid for their second World Cup title.

“I think he is cramped up at the moment. Hopefully he will be ok. I think he’s going for a scan tomorrow,” Thirimanne told reporters after the match.

Amid the injury gloom, outgoing hero Kumar Sangakkara’s red-hot form was a source of inspiration for the Sri Lankan players.

Sangakkara, who will quit one-dayers after the World Cup, became the first batsman to hit four consecutive ODI hundreds and fans believe Sri Lanka would sorely miss their batting mainstay who is still good enough to carry on.

“Sangakkara is getting better and better each and every game,” Mathews said of the 37-year-old stumper-batsman.

“I’ve almost gone on my knees and begged him not to retire but unfortunately he has called it a day and we got to respect his decision.

“He’s served the team, the country for such a long time, we’re really thankful for the service.”

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Mathews begs Sangakkara not to quit

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HOBART: Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said Wednesday that he has gone down on his knees to beg record-breaking batsman Kumar Sangakkara not to quit after the World Cup.

Sangakkara, 37, will call time on his ODI career at the end of the tournament but he is still in a rich vein of form — on Wednesday he became the first batsman to score four consecutive one-day centuries as Sri Lanka thrashed Scotland by 148 runs.

The left-hander hit 124 off 95 balls and 38-year-old Tillakaratne Dilshan made 104 as the Islanders piled up 363 for nine and then bowled Scotland out for 215 in the Pool A match at the Bellerive Oval.

Sangakkara had also made 105 not out against Bangladesh, an unbeaten 117 against England and 104 against Australia.

He is also the leading scorer in the ongoing tournament with 496 runs from six games.

If that wasn’t enough, Sangakkara also took two catches to overtake Adam Gilchrist as the most successful World Cup wicketkeeper with 54 dismissals. The Australian had 52 victims to his name.

“I’ve been on my knees asking Kumar not to retire but we have to respect his wishes because we are thankful for all the times he has represented the country,” said Mathews.

The skipper added: “The boys played really well and credit should go to Dilshan and Sangakkara, they are getting better and better with age.

“We have to take one game at a time and play positive cricket. If we can improve our bowling and fielding, it will be great but the batters have posted 300 four times in a row. That is never easy.”

Despite his form, Sangakkara, who has played 403 ODIs and made over 14,000 runs, insisted that there will be no going back on his decision.

“Retirement is not about form, it is about time and place and whether it feels right. It is never about whether you can play or not,” he said.

Sri Lanka had already qualified for the quarterfinals and will likely face South Africa in the last eight while Scotland have now lost all five matches.

But the Scots made a fight of it with skipper Preston Mommsen (60) and Freddie Coleman (70) putting on 118 for the fourth wicket.

“Today was a huge learning experience, especially watching some of the best batsmen in the world. We saw how they kept calm under pressure, so we could learn a lot,” said Mommsen.

“Sangakkara is definitely No. 1 in terms of the players we have had to play against.”

Kumar Sangakkara hits record fourth successive ODI ton

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HOBART (Australia): Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara on Wednesday became the first player to make four successive one-day international centuries.

The 37-year-old reached the landmark in the World Cup Pool A match against Scotland at Hobart’s Bellerive Oval.

Sangakkara had made 105 not out against Bangladesh, an unbeaten 117 in the game with England followed by 104 against Australia.

That century against the hosts at Sydney on Sunday took him alongside Zaheer Abbas, Saeed Anwar, Herschellle Gibbs, AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock and Ross Taylor in making three successive centuries.

Beware smartphone users, your thinking process going for a toss!

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Frequent smartphone usage is a setback to one’s own thinking and analytics, according to a study published in the journal ‘Computers in Human Behavior’.

Smartphone users are likely to use their device’s search engine frequently rather than their own brainpower when making any decision, the research said.

In contrast, analytical thinkers second-guess themselves and analyze a problem in a more logical sort of way.

Highly intelligent people are more analytical and less intuitive when solving problems.

In three studies involving 660 participants, researchers examined various measures including cognitive style ranging from intuitive to analytical, plus verbal and numeracy skills.

Then they looked at the participants’ smartphone habits.

Participants in the study who demonstrated stronger cognitive skills and a greater willingness to think in an analytical way spent less time using their smartphones’ search engine function.

The results also indicate that use of social media and entertainment applications generally did not correlate to higher or lower cognitive abilities.

VD

Why Greece and Cyprus May Be Better Off Without the Euro

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The battles may be over, but the war is just beginning. Although the Eurozone’s 19 finance ministers recently threw Greece a much-needed economic lifeline, and the latter repaid the first of four loan installments that it owes the IMF in March 2015, there’s no long-term relief in sight for the troubled economy.

Greece has only managed to wrest the four-month extension of a stability program. Soon, the newly elected Alexis Tsipras administration will have to start implementing the cost-cutting measures that it had promised voters it would avoid. The question is whether the austerity program will help or hurt Greece.

Judging by the travails of another struggling Eurozone economy, Cyprus, the outcome is far from certain. Two years ago, the much-hated Troika (the European Central Bank, the European Commission, and the IMF) provided €10 billion to Cyprus after insisting that it should contribute €5.8 billion (later, that went up to €13 billion) to the rescue package. The bailout was small compared to the sums the Troika gave Greece (€240 billion in two rounds), Spain (€100 billion), and Ireland (€85 billion), and the latter was a significant percentage of Cyprus’ GDP of €17.7 billion in 2012. Yet, Cypriot policymakers had no choice but to accept the harsh terms; the alternative would have been economic collapse.

The austerity program is threatening to be more a curse than a panacea, with Cyprus’ economy contracting by 2.4% in 2012; 5.4% in 2013; and by an estimated 2.8% in 2014. In fact, the island’s growth has been below the global average since 2009, with the gap widening since 2012. Unemployment in Cyprus touched 16% last year, with 35.5% of its youth without jobs.

Worse could happen in Greece. While the Troika has refused to budge on the austerity agenda, Greece’s GDP has shrunk every year since 2008, with the biggest contraction being 9% in 2011. With youth unemployment of over 50%, and total unemployment of around 25%, the Greeks’ living standards have plummeted.

Austerity programs, several economists argue, have lost their credibility. When governments reduce fiscal stimuli, it tends to lead to deeper recessions. To be sure, policymakers have to tackle the structural issues, such as bloated public sectors and high national debt, in Cyprus and Greece. However, that should be done over time, and, ideally, when those economies are strong enough to deal with reductions in government spending rather than when they are at their most vulnerable.

Clearly, the exit of both Cyprus and Greece from the European Currency Union is a distinct possibility. The scares about what would happen if they left are unjustified, especially in the medium term.

A return to the national currency would give the governments of Greece and Cyprus control of key economic levers rather than having to bear the fiscal inflexibility and targets necessitated by a single cross-national currency. In fact, Cyprus and Greece probably don’t need to be part of the Eurozone to grow. Cyprus’ growth was higher between 1980 and 2004, before it joined the Eurozone, than between 2004 and 2014, and it has been particularly low since 2008, when it adopted the Euro. There’s no reason why its economy cannot be strong without being part of the Eurozone, or that foreign currency deposits will flee the island if the local currency is not the Euro.

An alternate way forward may be to use higher government spending to assist vulnerable people, to lend to business, and to execute projects that inject money into the economy. The state can do that in conjunction with structural reforms that will, over time, reduce the size of the public sector, increase the flexibility of labor, improve tax collections, invite foreign direct investment, and get debt under control. The relatively cheap national currencies would provide a boost to exports, real estate, manufacturing, agriculture (for instance, olive oil production), and services such as tourism.

Business thrives under conditions of certainty, which has been sorely lacking in Cyprus and Greece since the implementation of the austerity agenda. A managed exit from the common currency could alter that.

Local companies would be able to focus on globalization strategies and exports in order to capitalize on cheaper currencies. They would become more efficient and productive; they would have to optimize the use of more expensive imports. Foreign companies might find the greater confidence and low costs attractive for making investments in Greece and Cyprus, which would further enhance business confidence. These outcomes seem more desirable than an era of austerity with no end in sight, an epoch that will leave Greece and Cyprus unable to cope with future crises.

HBR

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