Getting fighting fit: The date between the UK’s Carrier Strike Group led by the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and the Indian Navy has finally begun. Ships from the two navies are on their way now into a three-day naval war exercise, more politely called “complex maritime interactions”. Read what you will also into the other description of the joint exercises: “multi-ship, air, sea and sub-surface maritime evolutions, as well as, close-quarter manoeuvring.” Given the global focus on the Indo-Pacific, this will be the first of many more to come.
‘Open-and-shut’ case: After the lockdown, it’s the shutdown in Britain. A record 618,903 alerts were sent out last week to people warning they must isolate because they may have come in contact with someone Covid positive. This then leads to knock-on alerts. The result is that factories are shutting down, shops and stores opening fewer hours with fast emptying shelves because a big chunk of the workforce – by some estimates close to a third – are isolating as a result of such alerts. One way or another, the British are fast learning to do nothing. Except that the country is in the last stretch now of getting paid to do nothing.
Kundra’s very adult problems: The arrest of Raj Kundra inevitably throws up questions about differing laws between India and the UK arising from differing moral perceptions. Pornography production is not illegal in Britain so long as it’s a matter among consenting adults. India enforces laws arising from the Indian Penal Code that was introduced in 1861, though it was drafted close to 40 years before that. Perceptions have changed dramatically since those days. Kundra’s company is based in the UK. What that means by way of prosecuting him will now be for an Indian court to decide.
Haseeb Hameed another unknown factor for Team India: With dangerous fast bowler Ollie Robinson, India will also be up against new England opening batsman Haseeb Hameed, who justified his inclusion in the team for the first two Tests against India with a century in the County Select match. The Indian bowlers did fairly well against the other trial batsmen, though Bumrah produced less than the magic always expected of him. But the Indian team looked better on the field than they have so far through selfies taken at various hotels.
The Hundred hopes to bowl over English crowds: The Hundred cricket has taken off, in which eight men’s and women’s teams will compete in 68 matches over five weeks. The Hundred, meaning a 100-ball game, shortened slightly from the maximum of 120 balls to be bowled in a T20 match, is clearly modelled on the IPL. That has been a money-spinner for India, and The Hundred is hoping to do the same for England, through both domestic and foreign players. Much will depend of course on how many viewers The Hundred can draw at stadiums and online, and what level of money can be drawn from sponsorship and ads.