Don’t let work stress ruin your relationship

Today, work stress is a part of life. It gets really worrisome, however, when it begins to take a toll on your relationship. When it comes to relationship busters, work stress has gradually made its way to the top of the list. These tips will help you keep it from ruining your relationship:

Leave work at the office: Work, these days, keeps you glued to your gadgets. You need to choose a time when you can disconnect. Everyone needs to do what it takes to keep their jobs but taking calls or reading mails during meal times, conversations or in bed could make it difficult.

Have some quiet time: When work is stressful, leaving the office every day could feel like retreating from a war zone. While your partner may understand, nobody looks forward to being with a person who is perennially grumpy. When you leave work, have some quiet time to yourself to calm down and then be with him.

Limit the venting out: What is venting out to you might be cribbing to your partner after some time. Cut down on it, avoid repeating the same things and also make a conscious effort to ask and genuinely listen to how his day went.

Balance with positives: It might be difficult to make time but you need to balance the negatives with positives. Spend time being affectionate or doing fun things together. This will maintain the happiness levels in your relationship and also leave you rejuvenated enough to resume work the next day.


20 Things You Didn’t Know About 2001

What more can be said about 2001: A Space Odyssey? This month celebrating its 45th anniversary, it’s one of the most influential science fiction films ever made — with its DNA spliced and replicated in a host of other films from Blade Runner to Inception — despite being so very singular. It transformed sci-fi from the sex-and-monsters exploitation schlock that glutted the genre in much of the ‘60s and showed that sci-fi could be transcendent and spiritual. It baffled many upon its first release — Pauline Kael and Stanley Kauffman were among its high-profile detractors, while Steven Spielberg called it the “big bang” for his generation of filmmakers. Its meanings have been so endlessly scrutinized and dissected that any further analysis seems redundant. And yet, there are so many details about its origins, production, and initial release that you probably don’t know. Here are 20 things about 2001: A Space Odyssey that we’re guessing you’ve never heard of before. You’re welcome.

1. Though 2001: A Space Odyssey and the novel of the same title were conceived at the same time, Kubrick didn’t think at first that sci-fi novelist Arthur C. Clarke would be willing to take on the job. The science fiction writer was living in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and was thought to be a recluse. When his agent telegraphed him about the offer to work on Kubrick’s project, Clarke’s response was, “Frightfully interested in working with enfant terrible… what makes Kubrick think I’m a recluse?”

2. Alternate titles considered for the project early on were Journey Beyond the Stars, Universe, Tunnel to the Stars, Planetfall, and How the Solar System Was Won. The last was a reference to MGM’s 1962 epic Western How the West Was Won, which 2001: A Space Odyssey was originally going to copy by using that film’s three-camera super-widescreen Cinerama format.

3. Though the 2001: A Space Odyssey novel, released shortly after the film in 1968, only listed Clarke as its author, originally, the film’s screenplay was going to be credited to “Stanley Kubrick & Arthur C. Clarke,” while the novel would list “Arthur C. Clarke & Stanley Kubrick” as its authors.

4. In his book The Cosmic Connection, celebrity astronomer Carl Sagan wrote that Kubrick and Clarke asked him how they should portray extraterrestrial life. They had been thinking about showing the aliens that transform astronaut Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) into the Star Child as humanoid themselves. But Sagan said that the chances of alien life looking like humans would be so remote that to include human-looking aliens in the film would immediately render it false. So Kubrick and Clarke decided not to show the aliens at all.

5. HAL 9000 was originally to have had a female persona and to have been named Athena. A female HAL (named SAL, of course) does appear in the completely un-Kubrickian sequel 2010: The Year We Make Contact.

6. There was originally going to be a lot of voiceover in 2001: A Space Odyssey, which would have made certain plot points much more obvious. For instance, the satellites orbiting Earth were originally to have been specifically identified as carrying nuclear weapons. That means that the famous million-years-spanning match cut of the bone the ape tossed in the air to the shot of the satellite wouldn’t have indicated how far humankind had come as how little it has changed, at least when it comes to our love of weapons.

7. 2001 was originally going to have ended like Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, with the Star Child detonating the nuclear bombs that humanity has in orbit. However, a fireworks show of nuclear blasts was thought to be too similar to the ending of Kubrick’s previous film, Dr. Strangelove.

8. The Discovery’s final destination was originally going to be Saturn, but special effects guru Douglass Trumbull and his team weren’t able to make convincing-looking rings, so Jupiter became the last stop instead.

9. Pavel Klushantsev, a Russian documentary filmmaker of the 1950s, strongly influenced Kubrick’s vision of weightlessness in space — and the idea of a spinning space station — with his film Road to the Stars. 2001: A Space Odyssey, in turn, would influence Russian master Andrei Tarkovsky to make Solaris, which the director intended as a humanistic response to Kubrick’s film, which he thought was antiseptic.

10. For the famous shot of the astronaut running around the circumference of the cylindrical Discovery fuselage, Kubrick commissioned a 30-ton rotating “Ferris wheel” to be built, at the cost of $750,000, that would make it look like the astronaut was at times running upside down.

11. The movie was originally to have opened with a 10-minute black-and-white prologue featuring interviews with real-life scientists like Freeman Dyson discussing alien life. (Star Trek: The Next Generation fans will know Freeman Dyson for his work in hypothesizing a Dyson Sphere, a massive structure that theoretically could be built around and enclose a star.) After MGM execs balked, that beginning was deleted.

12. All the deleted footage other than the 17 minutes of scenes that Kubrick subsequently cut after 2001’s April 1968 premiere in Washington D.C., including that 10-minute documentary prologue, he had burned shortly before the director’s death, in order to prevent posthumous reedits or “deleted scenes” to be included on future DVD releases.

13. Kubrick had all of 2001’s sets, props, and miniatures destroyed so they would never be able to be recycled for future movies, the way Forbidden Planet’s props surfaced in later films.

14. Unused Stargate footage from the end of 2001 made its way into the instrumental “Flying” sequence in The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour movie.

15. Ray Bradbury shared Andrei Tarkovsky’s view that 2001 is anti-humanistic, suggesting that audiences don’t care, or aren’t supposed to care, when astronaut Frank Poole dies.

16. George Lucas stated upfront in 1977 that he thought 2001 was better than Star Wars. He said, “Stanley Kubrick made the ultimate science fiction movie, and it is going to be very hard for someone to come along and make a better movie, as far as I’m concerned. On a technical level, [Star Wars] can be compared, but personally I think that 2001 is far superior.”

17. As part of their legal defense that Samsung had not stolen Apple’s design for the iPad, Samsung’s lawyers pointed to the tablet computers used in 2001 as “prior art.” Specifically, their legal brief said the following: “Attached hereto as Exhibit D is a true and correct copy of a still image taken from Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. In a clip from that film lasting about one minute, two astronauts are eating and at the same time using personal tablet computers. As with the design claimed by the [Apple iPad] Patent, the tablet disclosed in the clip has an overall rectangular shape with a dominant display screen, narrow borders, a predominately flat front surface, a flat back surface (which is evident because the tablets are lying flat on the table’s surface), and a thin form factor.”

18. Rock Hudson was among those mystified at 2001’s L.A. premiere at the Pantages Theater. Roger Ebert, in attendance, bears witness that Hudson said, upon storming out before it had ended, “Will someone tell me what the hell this is about?”

19. Malcolm McDowell’s Alex De Large sees a soundtrack album for 2001 when he enters a record shop in A Clockwork Orange.

20. Conspiracy theorists — like one featured in Room 237, the new documentary about the multitude of diverse readings that fans hold regarding Kubrick’s later film The Shining — suggest that NASA commissioned Kubrick to stage the moon landing footage after seeing 2001. However, they ignore the most important bit of evidence that debunks that idea: the moon footage would have looked a hell of a lot better if Kubrick really had directed it.

Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt

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7 Things You Never Knew About ‘Zoolander’

That Zoolander 2 is so hot right now, and we can’t wait for the film to hit theaters this week. But while we kill time waiting for our latest dose of Le Tigre and Magnum, and find out if there really is anything more to life than being really, really ridiculously good looking, we thought we’d dig up a few things you may not know about the unbelievable first film.

1. Blue Steel is Ben Stiller’s Bathroom Face

Derek Zoolander’s most iconic look is Ben Stiller’s own creation – it came from his wife Christine Taylor (Matilda in the film) making fun of the way he combed his hair in the mirror.

2. “But Why Male Models?”

One of the movies funniest moments comes when the film’s plot is finally revealed, only for a confused Derek to helplessly repeat: “But why male models?” Except that isn’t what he was meant to do – Stiller forgot his line, and everyone else just went with it.

3. You Can’t Watch it in Malaysia

Zoolander revolves around a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister of Malaysia for his efforts to end child labor. Even though Malaysia comes out of it all pretty well, the country’s government didn’t see it that way: the film was deemed “definitely unsuitable” for release.

4. Mugatu Comes Straight Outta ‘Star Trek’

Ben Stiller is a self-confessed Trekkie, and cribbed the name of Will Ferrell’s villain ‘Mugatu’ from an original series monster. That wasn’t the only inspiration either – Ferrell’s character got his tufts of curly white hair from the albino, yeti-esque creature too.

5. It’s A Family Affair

Not only does Ben Stiller’s wife play Derek’s love interest in the film, he brought most of the rest of his family along too. His dad, Jerry Stiller, plays Maury Ballstein; his later mother, Anne Meara, plays a protester who eggs Mugatu; and his sister, Amy Stiller, is part of Hansel’s crew.

6. A Goat Almost Made it R-Rated

When the film first went to the MPAA for approval, it came back with an R-rating – not least because of the goat included in the film’s orgy sequence. Stiller re-cut the scene five different times and even personally appeared in front of the MPAA board to get it passed at a PG-13 – but the goat didn’t make it.

7. Justin Theroux’s Breakdancing is For Real

Justin Theroux almost stole the movie as ‘Evil DJ’, the dreadlocked, breakdancing disc jockey with a penchant for “Relax”. What you may not know is that Theroux’s breakdancing was all for real – Stiller first saw him do it at his wedding and persuaded him to bring his skills to the film.


SpaceX successfully launches and lands a used rocket for the first time ever

Some things, like gum and diapers, are designed to only be used once. According to SpaceX though, their Falcon 9 rocket is not one of those things. For the first time ever, SpaceX has launched and landed a rocket that had flown to space before. This historic milestone was described as a “huge revolution in spaceflight” by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk following the mission. The rocket carried a communications satellite to orbit that will provide service to Latin America. This rocket was previously flown in April of last year.

SpaceX started working 6 years ago to try to make their rockets reusable, something Musk has envisioned for a decade and a half. Before this point however, SpaceX had to build and test an entirely new rocket for every launch. This ended up costing tens of millions of dollars to do. The actual part that is reused is the core which houses the main engines and most of the rocket fuel.

In addition to this, SpaceX recovered the Falcon 9’s $6 million nose cone for the first time as well.

Following a launch, the rocket core is rigorously inspected and tested to ensure there is no damage. This process currently takes up to four months, but getting this time down is beneficial for both SpaceX and its customers. Musk’s next goal is to be able to relaunch a rocket within 24 hours of its previous flight.

Evidently, one of the primary benefits to reusing rockets is the cost savings. SpaceX is estimating about a 30% reduction compared to a new rocket. This means launches could start around $40 million, an unthinkably low cost in the not to distant past. Although they don’t fly anymore, NASA’s Space Shuttle and its boosters were also reusable. SpaceX has plans to launch up to 6 additional second-hand rockets later this year.


IPL 2017: In season of injuries, Rohit Sharma wants to put his season of injury behind

Rather than thinking what has happened, it is better to think how I am going to make myself ready. That is how I was thinking about all the time.”

Rohit Sharma Rather than thinking what has happened, it is better to think how I am going to make myself ready. That is how I was thinking about all the time.”Rohit Sharma

THE BUILD-UP to IPL 10 so far has been more about those who’ll miss out rather than those who will grace the stage for the big anniversary edition of the T20 extravaganza. But one familiar face will be using the glitzy platform to make a return to big-ticket cricket after a five-month layoff. And Rohit Sharma, who’s led Mumbai Indians to two title triumphs in the last five years, on Sunday sounded both relieved and excited to be back.

This was his first media appearance since suffering a harrowing injury back in late October, and we’re at a posh South Mumbai hotel where he’s flanked by new coach and fellow batting stylist, Mahela Jayawardene. But ask him about the injury and you can almost see him cringe while recalling the moment when he realized his home season was more or less done with. It led to him having to undergo thigh surgery in London that robbed him off some considerable playing time at a crucial stage in his international career. So much so that the sound that he heard while scrambling across for a single during the final ODI of the India-New Zealand series in Vizag, is still very vivid in his memory.

“I was scared when that happened. It’s something which has never happened to me. I heard a very loud noise while taking a run. I was a little scared until we got an MRI done, I did not know what to expect and what it was. But once everything was clear, once the days passed by, we spoke to a lot of doctors around the world and with Patrick (Farhart, the Indian team physio) as well, they all gave me the confidence saying it was not a major problem, it’s just a small injury that you need to go through,” he said.

A lot has changed since Rohit limped off around the time the lengthy home season was just about getting warmed up. India won every series across all formats, and consolidated their reign at the top of Test cricket for starters. A number of Australian players aren’t Kohli’s “friends” anymore and India has a new triple centurion, one who might not have played if Rohit had been fit. In many ways, Rohit will have to start afresh and the IPL, a tournament that he’s taken by storm with the bat very often, could be just the stage he needs to make his presence felt again. Rohit will obviously be a shoo-in for the Indian squad that will travel to England to defend the Champions Trophy in June. But having started off with a special series against New Zealand, which was one of his best in Test cricket, missing out on 10 Tests must have been debilitating, especially since he’s yet to make the longer format his own.

So it was only natural for him to not take too kindly to his rehab stint at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore being referred to as a “holiday” by one reporter. “I was not on holiday. I was in Bangalore (National Cricket Academy) if you want to call that as a holiday destination then you may,” he said before adding, “Most important thing at that moment is your mind-set. Rather than thinking what has happened, it is better to think how I am going to make myself ready. That is how I was thinking about all the time. It was tough to sit in the hotel room, watching the team play. It is always tough. But I guess you have to go through it. I have been through it many times before. These things happen. I was only focusing on how quicker I can get back on to the field.”

While most of the interaction was dominated by queries and responses to how Mumbai Indians are preparing and hoping to fare in the tenth edition of the IPL; the more poignant moments surrounded their long-standing captain’s inopportune injury and how he’s coped with it. But he didn’t quite agree with a suggestion that the layoff had set his career back a few steps. Said Rohit, “I don’t think so. I am just 29. Injuries are part and parcel. Five months of missing cricket does not do any bad. These things are bound to happen. Even in future, these things will happen. The focus is always on, if you get injures, to stay strong and come back stronger. I am looking forward. There is so much cricket coming up.”

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5 Things We Know About The ‘Sense8’ Special

It’s been a long time since the release of the first season of Sense8. We still have until May 5th of next year for season 2. But the good news is that we’re getting a Christmas special on December 23rd! So what do we have to look forward to? Here are five things we know about the special so far.

1. We will see Aml Ameen‘s replacement for the first time.

The actor who played Capheus is not returning to the show. He has been replaxed by Toby Onwumere.

.2. We pick up with Sun’s storyline from prison

We left off with Sun still in prison for her brother’s crime. But will the special show her getting released? This photo shows that she is being questioned. This could be due to an investigation concerning Mr. Whispers, or the fact that she’s unjustly in prison.

3. Wolfgang and Kala might be meeting in person.

The couple has been slowly building their relationship over time. It looks like they might actually be meeting in person in this special since both of them are wearing coats!

4. We’ll get an update on Mr. Whispers.

December 23. #Sense8 — Sense8 (@sense8) December 6, 2016

The cluster was able to escape the leader that was hunting them down in the finale. But we’re not quite done with him yet. It looks like he gets into someone else’s head again and is getting close to Riley.

5. Someone might die?

December 23. #Sense8 — Sense8 (@sense8) December 7, 2016

This is a tough hint to read because Lito and Hernando are obviously standing at a grave but it doesn’t seem like a sad occasion. It’s possible someone might die and they visit another grave along the way and are reminiscing.

Will you be checking out the Sense8 holiday special?


9 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Divergent’ Hottie Theo James

One of the best parts about the Divergent series is Theo James as the sexy and tattooed, Four. Seriously, we don’t even really need to pay attention to the plot of the sci-fi thriller when he’s onscreen. In celebration of the British God’s 31st birthday, here are 9 things you never knew about Theo James.

1. His real name is Theodore Peter James Kinnaird Taptiklis.

Obviously, Theo James is just a tad easier to spell.

2. He used to clean up dead people’s body fluids.

This was his job when he worked for the National Health Service in England. Acting might just be a little easier.

3. Theo fell into acting by accident.

After graduating from the University of Nottingham, his girlfriend at the time wanted to try out for Drama School. Theo went along for the ride and ended up getting in. The girlfriend however, did not.

4. He got his big break on Downton Abbey.

Unfortunately, his character, Mr. Kemal Pamuk only lasted one episode because he dies in the middle of a sex session. However, Pamuk changes the course of the ENTIRE show.

5. He adores Harry Potter just as much as we do.

Theo confessed to GQ that he was hesitant about being in a YA franchise, but he remembered being obsessed with Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings growing up.

6. He can beat box!

Seriously, this dapper dude has rhythm. He was also a singer and guitarist in a band called Shere Khan.

7. He’s quite keen about practicing his smooches.

Theo spilled the beans at an LA press conference for Divergent. He said, “I wanted to practice the kissing scene as much as possible, I kept being like, ‘listen, we need to go over that scene again.’ Genuinely, though, we wanted it to be as good as possible because that’s the only time [Tris and Four] get together. When they eventually kiss, I want it to seem earned and not just, ‘Oh, they need to get it on.’” We’re available if you need more practice Theo!

8. He’s a hero in real life!

Theo’s Divergent costar Zoe Kravitz chatted with SheKnows about a trailer door getting accidentally slammed in her face. She said, “The door slams shut…and I just feel the blood coming down.” Theo then had her lie down and applied ice. “Being the gentleman that he is…he was like, ‘Do you want to see it or do you not want to see it? It’s not that bad, but it’s kind of bad’” What a gentleman!

9. He’s been called the next Brad Pitt!

We’ll take it!


Alex Rodriguez Confirms He’s Dating J.Lo on ‘The View’

Jennifer Lopez’s new boyfriend Alex Rodriguez is full of praise for the “amazing” superstar, insisting they are “having a great time” dating.

The Latina beauty’s relationship with retired baseball ace Alex, a longtime friend, blew up in early March (17), just weeks after J.Lo insisted her rumoured romance with rapper Drake was nothing more than a friendship.

Jennifer and her new man jetted off to the Bahamas for a brief getaway, before returning to his home base in Miami, Florida, where they have been photographed on a number of outings in recent weeks.

The former New York Yankees star even introduced the singer/actress to his family, and it’s clear he is smitten with the mother-of-two after being quizzed about the budding romance while appearing as a guest co-host on The View on Friday (31Mar17).

Asked who his new lady is, he replied, “It’s obvious, we’ve been having a great time.”

“She’s a New Yorker, she’s from the Bronx, and a big Yankees fan,” he teased, before confirming he was referring to Jennifer, who shares nine-year-old twins Max and Emme with ex-husband Marc Anthony.

“We’re having a great time,” the 41-year-old smiled. “She’s an amazing, amazing girl, one of the smartest human beings I’ve ever met, and also an incredible mother.”

Alex went on to suggest he and Lopez bonded over their shared love of sports, explaining she was “an awesome, awesome athlete” in high school, while insisting the Love Don’t Cost a Thing hitmaker really doesn’t have lavish tastes.

“She just likes simple things,” he shared of the 47-year-old’s favorite things to do. “I mean, she’s a very, very simple person. Loves family. Is a great sister. Is a great daughter.”

Alex also revealed some of J.Lo’s guilty food pleasures, quipping, “She’s gonna kill me if I say too much,” before revealing she is a sucker for “chocolate chip ice cream and chocolate chip cookies”.

His candid comments are the first remarks either star has shared about their romance.

Alex is no stranger to high-profile relationships – he was previously linked to Madonna, Kate Hudson, and Cameron Diaz, and split from businesswoman Anne Wojcicki in February (17) after nearly a year of dating.

He is also a father-of-two – he shares daughters Natasha, 12, and Ella, eight, with his ex-wife Cynthia Scurtis, and like Jennifer and Marc, the former couple has remained close for the sake of its children, something Alex is truly thankful for.

“We live five blocks away from each other…,” he explained. “If I’m home, she’ll come over, have dinner, we’ll do homework together (with the kids), and then Cynthia goes home, and vice versa, I can go to her house anytime. It’s just really incredible. Our girls can walk to each other’s home (sic). We’re very lucky.”


Maturity came after marriage, says Umesh Yadav

Umesh Yadav has grown leaps and bounds as a bowler over the years. Umesh Yadav has grown leaps and bounds as a bowler over the years.

It took some prodding from wife Tanya and vital tweaking in bowling to find the correct length and focus for Umesh Yadav as he transformed from erratic tearaway to dependable spearhead. Bharat Sundaresan listens in as India’s latest pace sensation traces back his run-up to success…

You have found new ways to take wickets this season, intimidating the Aussies in Dharamsala to beguiling them with cutters in Bangalore.

I have been working really hard over the last 10-12 months. The first thing I was focusing on was getting consistent with my line and length. To ensure that I land the ball exactly where I want to land the ball at will. Then it came to getting batsmen out. These days I keep an eye on batsmen a lot more, observe their footwork closely. I have also started using the crease to develop new angles of delivery this season, especially the last 6-7 months. I first study the batsman, to see what ball is troubling him, which ones he’s comfortable against. On that basis, I make my plans. So if I see he’s playing me off the back-foot then I know I have to keep targeting him with full-length deliveries. Because he’s waiting to play me off the backfoot, and a full ball will trouble him.

That’s how I plan. Then there are batsmen who stand covering the off-stump, so I have to get them out by using a wide angle. If I keep bowling from close to the stumps every ball, they’ll get used to me. So I make sure to bowl from wide of the crease. But when I can bowl from the corner of the crease, and then get the bowl to swing away from the right-hander from that angle, that becomes difficult for him. He will play with the straight bat, and will get into trouble. Anil bhai (Kumble) and Sanjay bhai (Bangar) have been of great help. Sanjay bhai was the one who told me about working with these angles. He said you have pace and everything else. But if you start using the angle then you will become more dangerous with that variation. It took me 4-6 months to get comfortable with it.

Former bowling coach Bharat Arun said you like to practice something new with the action before feeling comfortable…

I tried it out in the nets. You have to change your run-up a little. Different bowlers try different ways to do it. Some just run in straight like they do normally and then jump wide, others start running in from wide. Some corner to corner. It all depends on your jump and landing. It takes some time for your muscles to get used to that movement. Initially there will be some issues. Kabhi aapka angle galat ho jaata hai. You want to pitch it somewhere, but you end up sliding it wide. That’s why you need to practise it a lot before trying it in the match.

The Umesh Yadav of old would bowl a lot of great spells but wasn’t known to be someone who thinks batsmen out…

These things come through when you start playing a few matches on the trot. Your confidence keeps improving, and you get more match experience. So once I started playing matches continuously, I started having conversations with Sanjay bhai and Anil bhai, to get an idea. They told me when you are bowling, “batsmen ke upar focus rakha kar ki woh kya kar raha hai“. From then I started studying batsmen a lot more closely, and their movement, like are they going from leg-stump to off-stump or front to back.

So is this more satisfying, to think batsmen out?

Definitely. When you are bowling to get a batsman out with a plan it’s a lot more interesting and challenging as compared to just trying to get him out. It’s a lot of fun, and I’m enjoying it. There really isn’t one specific wicket that I planned and succeeded that I rate above the rest. I have always been someone who believes in taking wickets. That’s what gets me going. I don’t count kisko out kiya, or kaise out kiya. Whether it is a tail-ender or a top-order batsman, it’s the wicket that counts.

Yes, there doesn’t seem to be a bias in terms of who you’re dismissing. 16 righties and 14 lefties, and 16 out of 30 have been in the top 4, and 12 in the tail. But what’s been amazing is the number of times you have come on in a spell taken a wicket, Matthew Wade in Pune and Adil Rashid in Chennai come to mind.

Fitness is of course the key. But it’s more about when a bowler is enjoying his bowling and is confident about what he’s doing, things start happening. It’s all a result of the hard work that I have put in over the last 10-12 months. These days, I don’t feel any pressure. It’s not like oh, ab wicket lena hi hai come what may. It’s just that I know taking a wicket is my role and it’ll happen. A fast bowler will always stick to the best ball, which he knows will get him that wicket. I have the confidence that if I bowl that ball, which for me is on a length at full pace, often enough, I can get any batsman out in any spell, on any pitch and in any situation.

You keep talking about the hard work in the last two years. How has it been different to before?

Before that I used to play on and off, and often I wasn’t getting wickets. I was left out of a Test, I was left out of a certain series. I never felt settled. But I think the maturity that I have now came after I got married. Then you start thinking about the other person, and know that there’s someone there for you always. Then you start thinking about the future more practically. Once my wife (Tanya Wadhwa) came into my life and the first 2-3 years (they married in 2013) she saw the ups and downs, she started pushing me harder. She was like yes you’re doing well and trying hard, but I think you can try harder and do better. She kept saying, “Umesh you have that ability. I think you’re not doing as much as you can.” To the extent that when there were times when I felt like let me just take a break today from training and sit at home, she’ll say, “Koi chutti nahi. Practice jaani hai toh jaani hai.” So I couldn’t bunk or even go late for practice. She was like “tum training karke aao phir free time mein jo karna hai karo“. This is your job. This is your passion, pursue it. Hearing those words from someone so close and to see her support made me realize again that cricket is my life. Sab ki nazaron mein toh theek hai, uski nazaron mein apne ko iss kaabil banao ki she thinks yes my husband deserves this and he’s got it. That was the starting point of the transformation. Those words always remain etched in my head.

It was a good fun some where in between the Hills Mulshi @y_umesh 😊 — tanya umesh yadaav (@tanya_wadhwa) 27 February 2017

So she continues to push you then?

Yes, I don’t think I’ve reached the level at which she wants to see me. She wants people to come up and say Umesh is a world-class bowler. I want to keep working hard to reach a point where she gets to hear that.

She’s in the fashion line . So when you look into the mirror, you don’t just see a better fast bowler but a more stylized person?

She’s in fashion retail. And she takes the call on most things. Even when I wanted to renovate my house, I just let her take all the calls. I can say that it’s not just my bowling that has improved but also my style and lifestyle that has improved since she came in. I have always had a passion for shoes and clothes, but these days my wife helps me a lot in my choices.

How did you two meet?

We met through a common friend. We dated for two years and then we decided it’s time we got married. Hame woh pasand aa gayi, hum dono ke aadate hume acche lagne lage, toh socha shaadi kar le. Right partner at the right time, what else can you ask for.

How did maturity reflect in your training?

I was always hard-working. But at times you aren’t as focused as you need to be. You are bowling a lot but you aren’t training with any direction. Then you realize something’s missing. What it is, you just can’t identify on your own. You need to have the mindset and focus to be the No.1 bowler in the world. Only then you can get there. So after I heard her say those things, I also realized I have pace and swing, it’s just about becoming a regular part of the team, and not just be in and out of the team anymore. It also helped that the Indian team was becoming a great unit and we got great coaches in the mix. They helped a lot in building my confidence. All my teammates are so supportive and I’m having fun in the dressing-room. And jaisa chah rahe ho, woh ho raha hai. Technically, I haven’t changed much. It’s just a clarity of thought that was needed.

Virat Kohli would always lament in his early days as captain about how his fast bowlers never had the same intensity in their later spells when the match was at the crossroads

The boys are now aware of how to deal with a spell once the body is tired. The idea is to set your field for one plan and keep bowling on that spot, and let the batsmen make mistakes. Just ensure you don’t make any mistakes.

Your career can be divided into two halves, pre-Delhi Test and post-Delhi Test..

Everyone has that Test after which you get that confidence and you get positive reviews from everyone and your own team. The management starts talking you up, then you realize that I only have to look ahead now. No point looking back. Basically in Delhi, I tried different things, like using angles from wide of the crease, dropped my arm and bowled side-arm because the ball was reversing. Because I wasn’t bowling with my natural release it was swinging late, the batsmen was confused by that movement. And it clicked.

Your economy rate and Pujara’s strike-rate always get debated over. It’s dropped drastically in your case.

It’s about focus again. Earlier what would happen is if I wasn’t getting wickets, in that quest I would bowl some half-volleys or stray down leg. Now I know what my length is and that if I keep bowling on the right spot, I will get wickets. So I realized that if I keep doing that my economy rate will come down and enhance my chances of getting wickets.

Bharat Arun had also said that you would get affected by getting hit for boundaries but that has changed…

Yes. It used to happen earlier, when you are playing one match, and sitting out the next. You get hit for a boundary, it does affect your confidence. And you start thinking about kya kare, kya na kare boundary chale gaye toh. But you learn. I have learnt to calm myself down in those scenarios, how to forget that ball and bowl a better delivery, that’s my greatest strength now I feel.

You have a background in fitness with your dad and him making you run around as a kid. But has it changed much of late and were you wary of playing nearly all of the 13 Tests in the home season?

My fitness routine is still the same. The trainer gives me a program and I stick by it. I have always known what I need to do and what I shouldn’t. My recovery, my strength program I stick to religiously. I know how much I need to train in a day. It’s very important to know your body. It comes from family background too in my case. I got it in my genes, my focus is to maintain it for as long as possible. My body is more suited to dealing with fatigue, maybe it’s God’s gift, but even when I’m tired, the body works at that same speed and intensity always without going down. My athletic background, sprinting and other sports that I played, have kept my body fit and flexible.

❤😘 — tanya umesh yadaav (@tanya_wadhwa) 14 February 2017

Did you have to change your diet. You used to be a Ghee fanatic.

No, I still keep eating ghee. No problem. Haven’t changed my diet much. I eat what I should as a sportsperson. Avoid sweets, don’t eat much fatty food, only what is required for the body. I have ghee one time a day for sure.

But a fast bowler sporting a Buddha tattoo and bowling bouncers?

I had a Mother Mary tattoo made for my late mother. Then you get that chaska. So got two more made. Shiv ji ko maanta hoon toh unka tattoo. I bowl bouncers only to get batsmen out, that’s my job so I do it, but otherwise my nature is the same like Buddha, calm and cool.

You seem to produce deliveries that fly off the wicket even on slow, low tracks…

I think if you’re confident enough and are powerful in body and mind you can produce those deliveries on any kind of wicket. You have to be aggressive as a fast bowler. I’ll bowl a bouncer on a paata and a bouncy wicket with the same intensity. Fast bowling is similar to batting in the sense like they say you have to positive and confident while playing a shot, it’s the same for a fast bowler. He has to think he’ll take a wicket on any pitch.

You have been this shy guy who seems like a reluctant star, so how are you dealing with this all this sudden-adulation?

It’s good for me. When you are so focused on doing well, and things start going your way, you stop worrying about negative things. You don’t waste your time on them. You’ll go to the ground, training and come back home. I am only focusing on what’s important for me in life, my wife, my dad, family and my cricket. The other things will take care of themselves.

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We will have solid bench strength in four years: Pullela Gopichand

Indian shuttlers have been plagued by a series of injuries and Gopichand admitted things got a bit messed up last year due to the Olympic qualification. (Source: PTI) Indian shuttlers have been plagued by a series of injuries and Gopichand admitted things got a bit messed up last year due to the Olympic qualification. (Source: PTI)

Olympic silver-medallist P Sindhu will take Indian badminton “through” for at least the next four years, feels chief national coach Pullela Gopichand, who foresees a strong bench-strength emerging at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Gopichand, who shaped Sindhu and Olympic bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal among others, believes it will take some time for the next big star to emerge.

“Sindhu is just 21 and I think she will take us through for the next few years and by the time she is 25, we will figure something. I don’t want to pick a junior name right now, but I can assure you that four years from now we will have solid bench strength in women’s singles,” Gopichand told PTI.

“It will take a little time, we have prospects like Ruthvika and Rituparna, who also have the potential of doing well. There are others in the ranks. I think it is not easy to produce players back to back.”

Asked about the doubles players, Gopichand said: “I think we can say that Pranaav and Sikki have done well and Chirag and Satwik are also there.”

“There are at least 6-7 players under the age of 20 who have the potential to do well, so overall good signs for Indian badminton,” he added.

Talking about Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, who recently won their fifth International challenger title at Vietnam Open, Gopichand said: “…they are just 18 and 19 years old and they are doing well for this age. These matches give them a lot of confidence and they are developing very well.

Indian shuttlers have been plagued by a series of injuries and Gopichand admitted things got a bit messed up last year due to the Olympic qualification.

“One can’t predict injuries but last year we messed it up a little bit in terms of the number of tournaments ahead of the Olympic qualification because a couple of them played more tournaments because of the Rio Games. But this season it would be better,” he said.

“I don’t think injuries are a cause of concern. It is a learning curve. Each of them is learning about themselves. Mulyo Handoyo is also working on the players, he has been with us for two months.”

Asked about the status of Glasgow Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap, who has been going through a long injury lay-off, Gopichand said: “Kashyap is fine and he should play in China Open in two weeks’ time.”

Asked about his life post-Olympics, Gopichand said: “Fortunately or unfortunately, the Olympics have made my life a little tougher in terms of my schedule, so I have not been able to give much time to all projects. I think a lot still needs to be done in every department.”

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