Monday, 24 November 2008

India 4 - 0 England

Sounds like a football scoreline doesn't it... if only... Its the status of the current ODI cricket series in India between the two countries, and despite the fact the latter 2 of the matches' outcomes were determined by Messrs. Duckworth and Lewis, it has still been a pretty clinical display by the youthful Indian side. Being 4 - 0 up in a 7 match series with the trophy in the bag this team finds itself in a position that not many of its predecessors have been in, able to change the team line up for the next 3 games and give the rest of the squad a chance to shine. I'll probably jinx them with this article and so don't be surprised if England pull one back in the next match. This Indian side has something that was seriously lacking in those of the last decade and a half... depth... and a dynamic captain who's able to put it to good use. Well done boys :)

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Conferderations Cup Participants

Oh by the way... In case you didn't know these are the teams competing in the Confederations Cup, South Africa 2009

1 - South Africa (Host)
2 - Italy (Reigning World Cup holder)

Regional champs
3 - Brazil
4 - USA
5 - Spain
6 - Iraq
7 - New Zealand
8 - Egypt

How to get tickets for the FIFA Confederations Cup (14 -28 June 2009)

Pre-sales ticket applications are now open to VISA customers! All the dates, venues and ticket pricing have been released. The actual draw, which will determine which teams are pit against each other (and where), will happen in a couple of days on the 22nd of November. Be sure to check where your favourite team(s) (be it Brazil, Italy, Spain, South Africa or one of the others) are playing. So you wanna buy tickets? Here's how...

Step 1 - Register on
Step 2 - Check pricing, dates (times also cause some of the matches are on weekdays) and venues.
Step 3 - Proceed to use your VISA card (which has been enabled for electronic transactions) and apply/purchase for the tickets online.
NOTE: There are discounted tickets for South African Residents (Category 4) and tickets are available on a first come first serve basis naturally :)

Step 2 can be accomplished partially by reading this article and fully by reading the next article which will be posted on November 22 following the draw.

All data below has been obtained from the official FIFA site.

FIXTURES (click on images to enlarge)

Venue Specific

Individual Matches

Friday, 07 November 2008

The ushering out of the previous generation...

Anil Kumble called it quits after the recent test in Delhi. One would have expected him to play out the last test of the series against Australia currently on the go but it appears the injury to his hand he picked up in the last test would hamper his fielding ability [the little he has :D ] and he decided to call it a day. Not a bad effort with 619 test wickets since his tenure begun in 1992. Its Amazing actually... He's India's top wicket taker by far, just to add some perspective he's got more wickets than the combined efforts (to date) of Zaheer Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Irfan Pathan, Agit Agarkar, Ishant Sharma, Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag! Aai Gaa Anil Bhai!

Speaking of records, Sachin Tendulkar has eclipsed 12,000 test runs in the series against Australia on the go. Yup, that makes him the highest run getter of all time worldwide and he's also racked up over 40 centuries and 50 fifties in his test career... phenomenal. Sachin's not done :) no sign of retirement for India's most revered son just yet.

Sourav Ganguly who had previously stated that this would be his last series is also stepping down after a long and illustrious career.

The trio above along with Laxman who is playing in his 100th test were honoured for their achievements yesterday.

[Images Courtesy:]

What happened to the airlines!

The indian aviation sector which was booming just a year or two ago is now in the doldrums. Many domestic airlines have been cancelling/postponing inducting new aircraft orders and there are signs of releasing pilots and crew. The two big rivals, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines are rethinking their routes and international strategies and have even formed an alliance on their ground services to reduce costs. Rising fuel costs are a killer to the airlines especially in India where jet fuel tax is the highest in the world at up to 40%, this is the main reason for the dismal performance in recent times. The resulting ticket price hikes coupled with the global credit crunch have had the effect of declining load factors reported across the aviation industry world wide. Lower revenues and higher operating costs result in reduced profit margins for some... and losses for others.

Normal programming has resumed...

The month of November (what's left of it rather) has been declared blogging month here on 'Peering Inside', look out for regular posts on whats caught our attention while we were off. Your comments, suggestions and feedback are welcome as usual...

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Beijing Extravaganza!

The 2008 Olympics have just concluded in China and despite signs of protest prior to the games the events were hugely successful and very impressively staged.

So what or who rather will these Olympics be remembered? If I were to choose my top 3 performers of this Olympics they would be:

-1- In first place the fastest man ever on track even though it appears he isn't even straining himself, Usain Bolt, the star performer and joker on the track will undoubtedly be the name most people will remember from the Olympics. He took 3 golds and all 3 in world record time for the 100m(9.69s), 200m(19.30s) and 4x100m relay (37.10s).

Bolt became the first sprinter to break both 100 & 200m records at the same Olympics and it was also the first gold Jamaica have claimed in the Olympic 100m competition.
Following his victories, Bolt donated $50,000 to the children of the Sichuan province of China in aid of those harmed by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

-2- Micheal Phelps is the next best thing to a dolphin in the pool claiming 8 Gold medals in swimming competition 7 of which were new World records and the other an Olympic record!!!

A truely exceptional feat as he was virtually competing day in and day out and to sustain his stroke through so many events is simply incomprehensible, he becomes the first Olympian ever to capture 8 Gold medals in a single competition.

-3- Team China The entire Chinese squad produced an astonishing effort in their home Olympics to ensure they finished with a 100 medals comfortably topping the standings with their 51 Gold medals. Now I can't say for sure but I serious doubt that any nation in history has been able to claim over 50 Gold medals in a single competition in Olympic history.

Looking at the results from the past 4 competitions a clear picture can be formed of China's improvement to their current feat. Plainly since Atlanta in 1996 China has progressively risen up the rankings from fourth to first in Beijing. Though the USA still had the most medals overall they were clearly No.2 in Beijing losing out to China overall in number of Golds won and Jamaica in the most hyped track events on which the US have traditionally held a foothold.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

NeoConnect Package Details

The packages and options are rather clearer now, indeed the service is offered as a 24 month contract, pricing includes cost of the 'phone' equipment, if the customer decides to discontinue the subscription then the payment will become R89 a month (this is for the hardware). The table below details the key aspects of the packages.

Apparently Neotel intends to double their base stations around Gauteng in the next month, current coverage includes the following areas Joburg CBD, Sandton, Rosebank, Randburg, Bedfordview, Menlo Park, Waterkloof Glen, Pretoria CBD, Hatfield. It is quite odd that Neotel hasn't released a coverage map so those who would like to check if their residence has reception can do so. At the moment the only way to find out is through the Neotel call center (0800 333 636) or by email if you're lucky (

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Brace yourself, Neotel is arriving...

Finally after years of waiting it appears that Neotel are gearing up for a public internet consumer service offering in May. This along with recent statements that they now have access to the SAT-3 undersea cable are very promising indeed.

Details of the first consumer offering titled NeoConnect Prime have surfaced and initial impressions are that Telkom and the Mobile operators will have to make changes to their packages or else watch as they lose many potential and existing customers. Word on the street is that Telkom is planning to reduce adsl tariffs, we'll have to wait and see.

Neotel haven't advertised their consumer launch in the common print/television media as yet so it may be a while yet before the public are able to sign up. One would hope that by the end of May they sort all the initial admin issues and have a proper launch in the proposed regions (Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape town and Durban) with the entire range of bundled options.

One thing that hasn't been indicated is if the service is provided as a contract for a fixed period (most related offerings are 2 year contracts), it may be safely assumed that the service will be a contract offering as the 'phone' equipment will be provided 'free of charge'.

The internet/broadband landscape in South Africa is about to undergo a radical upgrade with respect to performance, quality and cost. With Neotel and NeoConnect soon to become more than just names and various WiMax services set to come alive later this year Telkom will be dealt a knockout punch, one which will have them reduce their tariffs if they are to regain consciousness.

Remember you read it first right here... priceless information that'll save you loads...

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

IPL team websites

The IPL begins this week and while I struggled to find a good tournament website, (the 'official' one hasn't been updated) the team websites are quite impressive. Seems most of the teams gear is provided by either Adidas or Reebok. Below find links to the team websites:

Bangalore Royal Challengers
Chennai Super Kings
Deccan Chargers
Delhi Daredevils
Kings XI Punjab
Kolkata Knigtriders
Mumbai Indians
Rajasthan Royals

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Indian Owned - Jaguar... Land Rover

That's right, the deal was formally announced yesterday, 26 March 2008, that Tata Motors of India has acquired British marques Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford. Ford put up the two brands for sale so as to focus on its core business of making general purpose vehicles for its primarily US market. Ford continues to own Swedish marque Volvo and a significant stake in Japanese manufacturer Mazda.

Will Tata be able to do what Ford failed to and promote the brands to be profitable and competitive with their very successful German rivals? Time will tell... Its clear that it will be an uphill battle, Jaguar is unprofitable and Land Rover just managed to reach profitability in the past year, but if anyone can change things its got to be Tata.

Tata have pledged to retain production plants in the UK along with company staff and also have agreed to continue with the 5 year plans drafted by JLR (Jaguar, Land Rover) which run till 2011. My guess is that turnaround won't happen overnight, but in time the acquisitions may pay off. This is the motor industry and success of a company is mainly down to sales, and sales are driven by the product offering. If you can offer a product which is superior to the competition at the same price then the trajectory of the sales figures will gather vertical momentum.

A vehicle offering is judged by a number of categories, some of the key ones are:

> Performance
> Technology
> Design
> Reliability
> Value Retention
> Environmental Friendliness (increasingly important)
> Brand Name

On pondering over these areas its evident why Jaguar is not profitable.

> Performance have not been on par with German offerings.
> Technologically incomparable to German rivals (resulting in lower engine outputs, higher fuel consumption and interior gadgetry that's outdated).
> Design has not been bad but the classic trends have not been to everyone's tastes.
> Reliability hasn't been in the same league as the Germans/Japs.
> Value Retention the above factors result in the 2nd hand value dropping more than other marques.
> Jaguar do not make hybrid or smaller engined cars, and this is bad when it comes to the 'Enviro' rating.
> The Jaguar marque does have a history of producing luxury cars so this is one area they aren't suffering.

So Tata and Jaguar have quite a bit to do, some encouraging signs are that the latest offerings from Jaguar have modern appealing designs and appear to have improved in interior technology spec. The alliance with Tata may also help Jaguar when the new emissions laws get imposed in the west as Tata makes many small engined vehicles (the Tata Nano is the latest example) and if these are exported to the west then the overall 'Enviro' score may meet the requirements (other marques already use this technique to avoid penalties on their Luxury brands).

From this it can be seen that all is not gloomy and hence the reason for my quiet optimism. Either way it should be interesting to see if Tata's bold move pans out to be the stupid decision that'll have all the critics saying 'I told u so, anyone could have predicted it' or one that leaves them speechless.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

IPL... Going once, Going twice, Sold to the highest bidder...

If you haven't heard of the IPL cricket league as yet then where the hell have you been :) The first round of bidding and preliminary team analysis have been done extensively by various sources including our very own rambler Iby.

The second phase of bidding is now happening and the team squads are beginning to take shape. How they've come up with some of the names I haven't the slightest, but here they are:

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Jet airways to SA in April '08? Not Anymore!

Jet Airways has scrapped its plans to launch a Mumbai-Johannesburg flight from April in favour of more lucrative destinations.

Provisional schedules had indicated Jet Airways would launch direct flights between Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo Intl Airport) to Mumbai from April this year on a 3x weekly service however the airline has now postponed its planned operations to South Africa indefinitely in favour of more profitable routes to destinations such as the US and China.

Wednesday, 06 February 2008

Global MBA rankings

The 2008 Financial times rankings of global MBA institutions is out.

The top 5 institutions don't raise any eyebrows, ranked as follows:

1> University of Pennsylvania: Wharton - USA
2> London Business School - UK
3> Columbia Business School - USA
4> Stanford University GSB - USA
5> Harvard Business School - USA

Other noteworthy institutions were:

20> Indian School of Business - India
71> University of Cape Town GSB - South Africa

The only representative from Africa is the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business - South Africa which is ranked 71st (lower than the rank they obtained last year around the 57 mark), a credible achievement nonetheless. UCT GSB is also rated 2nd best in terms of value for money of the course, now thats definitely a major draw card.

The sole Indian institution in the top 100 is the Indian School of Business (Hyderabad) coming in at a very praiseworthy rank of number 20, but for me the most astonishing thing about the results is that the weighted salary (average alumni salary today) which is topped by the Indian School of Business!!! I was expecting the exact opposite. However it appears that ISB is quite expensive and is comparable to the US institutions (which are undoubtedly the most expensive) in terms of value for money rank.

UCT GSB also beats many top rated business schools in the weighted salary category, their graduates are paid 11th best according to the findings! Indeed, go have a look for yourself, go to the FT page and sort by the weighted salary column (click on the column heading to sort by that respective category).

Well well well... Some things aren't the way they seem after all... I attribute this to the higher demand for graduates from these institutions as they are so much better than their peers from the local region (India and South Africa only have one institution ranked in the top 100 as opposed to countries like USA with many more).

Friday, 01 February 2008

Its all about the Money !

The number of announcements of retirees from international cricket has be baffling of late. Big names Shaun Pollock, Adam Gilchrist, Shaun Tait, Boeta Dippenaar... and i'm thinking theres more to come in the next couple of months...

True some of the guys have past their peak and are now going down hill, but personally I think the fact that there is sound (very sound) source of income in store from the IPL (Indian Premier League) tournament that has been announced recently has made the decision to call it quits much easier to bare. Not only do will they get a much more relaxed schedule (IPL is a Pro20 match format) but the pressure of playing at international level will be another weight lifted off their shoulders.

So, for the more mature players and those who have never been assured a place in their national side the IPL may prove to be a new gold mine, indeed players will probably earn more playing in the IPL than from their international contracts... Hence the drop out... Shane Bond and others banded following their participation in the ICL rebel league also don't seem too perturbed.

Other stars who openly say their least favourite stadiums to play at are in India (eg Jacque Kallis) are all part of the IPL setup! The reason is simple... Its all about the money!

Monday, 28 January 2008

Jet airways global expansion goals for 2008

This piece is credited to a recent article from TravelBizMonitor.

Recent International routes opened
- Belgium
- USA (NY)
- Canada
- The following destinations in the Gulf region
+ Bahrain
+ Kuwait
+ Doha
+ Muscat

Planned new routes for 2008
- Dubai
- Abu Dhabi
- Zurich
- Milan
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- Vancouver
- Tel Aviv
- Johannesburg
- Shanghai
- Saudi Arabia
- Hong Kong
- Iran

The first phase which will completed by mid-2008 will be to connect to more European and American cities. And presumably the 2nd half of the year flights to new Asian and African (i.e. Johannesburg, South Africa) will be launched. Flights will be launched inline with the delivery of new aircraft on order.